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President Trump Attacks CNN, Literally; Trump Surrogates Stand By Him; Gov. Christie Orders N.J. Legislature To Convene; Liberation Near In Mosul. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired July 3, 2017 - 05:30   ET



[05:30:40] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, PRINCIPAL DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president in no way, form or fashion has ever promoted or encouraged violence. If anything, quite the contrary.



DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Perhaps the White House just has a different definition of encouraging violence. The president's latest Twitter tirade on the media prompting real concerns about the safety of the people who cover the commander in chief.

Welcome back to EARLY START, I'm Dave Briggs. Thirty-one minutes past the hour.

We, at CNN, will keep doing our jobs. The president should start doing his. That's the network's official line after the latest escalation of the president's war on the media.


The president tweeted out this edited clip from a WWE wrestling broadcast originally posted on Reddit. The 2007 video of Trump body- slamming WWE owner Vince McMahon was altered to make it look like he was attacking a figure with the CNN logo for a head. It has since become on the president's most-shared, most-retweeted posts ever, some of the president's fans even laughing at the clip. But members of the media, some of whom had faced threats for their reporting, took it very seriously and it came just three days after presidential spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said this.


SANDERS: The president in no way, form or fashion has ever promoted or encouraged violence. If anything, quite the contrary.


(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING) BRIGGS: CNN's official statement on the wrestling tweet calls that, Sanders' statement, a lie.

Meantime, some Twitter users flagged the tweet, saying it violates the social media company's ban on hateful conduct, but Twitter decided it did not cross the line.

Official reaction from Washington and beyond has been mostly one-sided against the president, in part because it's been radio silence from Republicans. But just before Trump posted the tweet, Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse said on Sunday he's been troubled by the president's recent attacks on the news media.


SEN. BEN SASSE (R), NEBRASKA: There's an important distinction to draw between bad stories or crappy coverage and the right that citizens have to argue about that and complain about that, and trying to weaponize distrust. The First Amendment is the beating heart of the American experiment and you don't get to separate the freedoms that are in there.


BRIGGS: For more on all of this we're joined by Kyle Feldscher. He's the breaking news editor at the "Washington Examiner." Good morning to you, sir.

Ben Sasse, a critic, you might say, of the president, writes in his book, "We are living in an America of perpetual adolescence." However, it appears a 71-year-old man is the adolescent setting the tone.

Here is someone from his administration, Tom Bossert, the Homeland Security Adviser, talking about the president's Twitter habits with ABC yesterday.


THOMAS BOSSERT, HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISER: I think that no one would perceive that as a threat. I hope they don't. But I do think that he's beaten up in a way on cable platforms that he has a right to respond to and he does that regularly, so --

MARTHA RADDATZ, HOST, ABC "THIS WEEK": And you don't think that's a threat to anyone? You don't think that's sending a message do that to the media, do that to CNN?

BOSSERT: No, I certainly don't. I don't think so. And I think that, importantly here, he's a genuine president expressing himself genuinely. And to be honest, I think that's why he was elected.


BRIGGS: Here we are. This is where we are, Kyle. I mean, there is -- the G20 starts on Friday. The president spoke with the presidents of China and Japan last night about the North Korean nuclear threat and here we are talking about Twitter.

Tom Bossert says it's not condoning violence. Do you think it is?

KYLE FELDSCHER, BREAKING NEWS EDITOR, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: You know, it's one of those things -- it's hard to read what this president means. It certainly can be taken that way. I don't think that -- I think that Donald Trump means this as a joke and that this is all a big joke to him. I think that he doesn't realize that there are people who will not take this as a joke and will see this as a call to action or a -- an example of acceptable behavior.

I think it's kind of a disconnect in his mind between what is OK to do on Twitter and something that you can do as a joke. But when you're President of the United States you are implicitly the spokesperson for the country and so people will look to this as a form of acceptable behavior. Do I think that Donald Trump, himself, thinks that journalists should by body-slammed? I don't think so, but I think that he's not sending the right message here because people could take this as a call to action.

[05:35:13] BRIGGS: Do you think this is part of a strategy or just reflective of the attention span of the Twitter troll in chief?

FELDSCHER: That's a great question. I really think that this is just -- like I said, it's all a big game to him it seems like, this whole war with the media. So I don't know if it's that he doesn't have the attention span to really focus on issues.

Or if you saw -- like Tom Bossert, yesterday, went on that show to talk about policy, to talk about the G20, and to talk about this new airport security initiative that Homeland Security has come out with and suddenly he's completely taken aback by questions about this tweet and that kind of is a metaphor for all of Washington. People are thinking about policy and then, all of a sudden, the president tweets something and we're taken aback and focusing on something completely different.

Whether that's a sign that Trump actually wants that to happen or if that's just him playing around on his phone and him and Dan Scavino, the White House social media director, wanting to throw some red meat out to their supporters, it's an open question because no one really wants to talk about that.

BRIGGS: Now, that graphic we just showed really speaks to the hashtag presidential priorities. More attacks on the media than jobs and the military, talking them up, combined. Has it, if at all, hurt the president and his agenda, or no?

FELDSCHER: Well, this president was already going to face a huge opposition from all Democrats and most Independents when he came into office. He is one of the few presidents to take the office while losing a majority of the popular vote so he was already up against it and it seems like he's just playing into that.

In wrestling there is a term for bad guys called 'heels' and they're supposed to be the people who play up the crowd to make them angry and be the bad guy, and it seems like he's almost playing this role on purpose in order to gin up support among his base while also angering the people who didn't vote for him in the first place.

BRIGGS: That has been retweeted 400 and -- or 279,000 times, liked 456,000 times.

I have reached out to the WWE to Vince McMahon for comment. Linda McMahon, of course, Vince's wife, works for the administration in charge -- in charge of small businesses, but back to the base. Has it helped -- actually helped rally the base do you think?

FELDSCHER: Well, earlier today you were talking a little bit about your Twitter mentions. That's kind of a great way to judge --

BRIGGS: Yes, it's a window.

FELDSCHER: It's a great way to judge his base. If he is doing this kind of thing, that is what a lot of his voters wanted him to do.


FELDSCHER: They wanted him to take on media elites and the coast liberals, and people who they view as enemies or as their opponents, and so it really is a thing that works and it's why he keeps doing it. He did it throughout the campaign and it won him the White House, and now he's doing it while in the White House.

There's nowhere to go from here. There's nothing else that he can win aside from running -- you know, actually promoting policies and running the country and whether or not he is interested in doing that is an open question. It seems like he's only interested in getting these kind of public relations victories, as he's been doing throughout his entire career in the New York tabloids.

BRIGGS: Well, you know, people like Christiane Amanpour tell us that world leaders around the globe study the president's Twitter habits. It should be interesting to see what Vladimir Putin -- what some of these world leaders are making of his tweets ahead of the G20.

But, Kyle Feldscher from the Washington Examiner, thanks so much for being here. Happy Fourth of July.

FELDSCHER: You, too, sir.

BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, Governor Chris Christie taking some heat for his family's day in the sun.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Next. Next. Excuse me, next, next. I'm done. We're talking about the closure of government and you're talking about your TMZ stuff.


BRIGGS: Classic. The problem is the Christies were the only ones able to enjoy a New Jersey beach during its government shutdown. That story's next.


[05:43:20] BRIGGS: Governor Chris Christie convening both Houses of New Jersey legislature this morning in an attempt to end the budget impasse. This is day three without a budget for the state.

Thirty-five thousand workers furloughed for the holiday, all state parks remain closed ruining July Fourth plans for thousands of beach- goers, but the governor and his family got to enjoy the sand and surf. The Christies had full run of Island Beach Park, a barrier island where the state-owned governor's residence is located. Christie shrugging of criticism, telling reporters, quote, "That's just the way it goes."


CHRISTIE: Now, it didn't Claude, but go ahead. I didn't get any sun today. No, no, there's no one atIsland Beach State Park. There are no lifeguards, there's no one to pick up the garbage. There's no one providing any services at Island Beach State Park.


Next, next -- excuse me, next, next. I'm done. We're talking about the closure of government and you're talking about your TMZ stuff.


BRIGGS: That's a man with a year left in office with a 15 percent approval rating.

Meanwhile, the state government in Maine also shut down by a budget impasse.


Governor Paul LePage declaring a state of civil emergency. All non- emergency government functions grinding to a halt but state parks, at least, will remain open. Maine lawmakers negotiating into Sunday night. LePage refusing to sign any spending plan that includes tax hikes. The governor's giving state employees an administrative leave day today with pay.

It's the final stand for ISIS in the Iraqi of Mosul.


Next, CNN has an exclusive look at a city where ISIS declared its caliphate and now struggles to survive.



[05:49:15] BRIGGS: In Iraq this morning, the city of Mosul is on the verge of being liberated from ISIS. After weeks of fighting, Iraqi troops are locked in a fierce battle for the last few blocks of Western Mosul that ISIS still controls.

A Brazilian photographer embedded with Iraqi security forces has shared some extraordinary footage exclusively with CNN and Nick Paton Walsh takes you up close to ISIS' last stand in Mosul.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From here to the river is all ISIS has left of Mosul and this is the story of how it fell on the streets around the mosque they once held sacred but then destroyed.


Brazilian photographer Gabriel Chaim is on foot with Iraqi special forces. Every footfall could hit a booby trap. An eerie silence holds in just about everything, endless soot.

[05:50:13] (Gunfire)

The streets empty and each human they meet is either desperate to escape or the enemy. In the alleyways, two men approached them.


One is carrying a bomb. They rush in to help their wounded.


A second man carrying a much larger device. Gabriel struggles to breathe. The dust also means they can't see if there are any other bombers or whether three dead and a dozen wounded colleagues lied.

The advance continues up to and around the mosque --


-- and civilians, human shields for weeks, stoop under gunfire or are even oblivious to it. Some never leave the underground. Loud, constant blasts in the darkness.

Unable to walk, the first man feigns ignorance but soon admits ISIS are on the roof and have lined the entire street. The interrogator later tells his team the man is, himself, ISIS.

For the past week, the desperate rush to life had continued. The U.N. estimated 150,000 people were trapped here, but in the end nobody had any idea or how many lie left behind them in the rubble.


WALSH: "Water, water, I'm dying," she screams, her lips white. In crippling heat and panic, pray we never know thirst like this or what it is like to carry your family out lifeless on a cart. This is his mother. "For God's sake, help me carry him," he cries. They try, running to the closest point in the narrow street a vehicle can reach. "Stop the blood loss," they plead. It's unclear if the boy survived.

Even when this tract of dust is cleared of ISIS the killing in Iraq's fractured society won't stop and her private hell of memories won't suddenly be washed away.


BRIGGS: Just some devastating footage there.

Nick Paton Walsh joining us live now from Iraq. Nick, good morning to you.

Officials have suggested the liberation of Mosul is imminent. What's the status this morning?

WALSH: It's a very slow fight for that remaining two to three hundred meters of the old city. You can see in those images how death-defying and awful, frankly, the progress these Iraqi special forces are making andthe conditions of the civilians who emerge from that rubble.

We are only really speculating on timing. The word has been for days that the fall of Mosul is, quote, "imminent" and, of course, that will be a substantial political moment for Haider al-Abadi, the Iraqi prime minister, and Iraq, more generally. But still, the fight will not end there. There will be sleeper cells, suicide bombers, and low-level insurgency for months, if not years.

It's just simply that moment of feeling the last sectors of the old city are back in Iraqi hands. It's something the world, frankly, and this country believed for so many years it's been waiting for. Back to you.

BRIGGS: Yes. That drone footage just shows one big pile of rubble. Nick Paton Walsh live for us in Iraq. Thanks so much.


President Trump working the phones, speaking to three Persian Gulf leaders about the Arab world's widening rift with Qatar. The president speaking privately over the weekend with the Saudi King, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and the Emir of Qatar on Sunday. The White House says the president expressed his concerns about the dispute and the urgent need to stop the financing of terrorism. Arab countries involved in the boycott agreeing to extend the deadline for Qatar to meet a long list of demands by 48 hours.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh joining us live from Doha. Good morning to you. From your read of the situation, Jomana, the president inserting himself in this situation helping or hurting?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Dave, we've discussed this before during this crisis where people here have been telling us that they feel that they don't understand what the U.S.' position is. They feel that they've been getting mixed signals from the president,

on the one hand, who seemed to be siding with Saudi Arabia and really complicating this crisis. And on the other hand, his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was really trying to push towards mediation and dialogue. This has been the feeling here that they really don't understand the U.S.' position.

[05:55:10] Now, where this crisis stands, as you mentioned, that deadline that was set after the Saudi-led alliance presented this list of 13 sweeping demands for Qatar to comply with about 10 days ago. Now that deadline expired but we do know from the mediator, Kuwait, that it secured a 48-hour extension.

Now, whether that deadline was today, tomorrow, or on Wednesday, I don't think it is going to make much of a difference. The Qataris have not come out and flat out rejected these demands but they've made their position clear, saying that this list of demands was made to be rejected. They say it had nothing to do with fighting terrorism. They say it is about changing their foreign policy and stripping them of their sovereignty.

And they mention some of the examples of what is on that list of demands, like the shutting down of Al Jazeera network, scrapping the plans for setting up of a Turkish military base here, and reducing their ties with Iran.

What we do know, in the past couple of hours, is the foreign minister of Qatar arrived in Kuwait to meet with the Emir there and present him with a handwritten letter from the Emir of Qatar. In it is their response -- their official response to the list of demands, Dave.

BRIGGS: All right. Jomana Karadsheh live for us in Qatar. Thank you very much.

Global markets are higher this morning as we start a short trading week. U.S. markets are open only half the day today, then closed tomorrow for Independence Day.

The first half of the trading year ended Friday. Wall Street had a strong start driven by some stellar corporate earnings and hopes for tax reform. The Dow and S&P 500 both gained eight percent while the tech-heavy Nasdaq surged 14 percent. That's its best performance since 2009. Big-name tech stocks propelled the Nasdaq to 38 closing records this year.

Thanks so much for joining us today. "NEW DAY" with Cuomo and Camerota starts right now. Ben Cardin, the Democratic senator, and Scott Taylor, Republican congressman, join them. See you tomorrow.



BOSSERT: He's beaten up on cable platforms so he has a right to respond to it. REP. LEE ZELDIN (R), NEW YORK: We need to protect freedom of the press. There is a responsibility on everyone, including the President of the United States.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The fake media is trying to silence us but we will not let them.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: I just hope he grows into this job.

BRIGGS: What will and what won't be discussed at the G20 summit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone wants to know whether President Trump will bring up Russian meddling in the U.S. election. Both sides are playing down expectations.

WALSH: Civilians held as human shields by ISIS, risking death to flee from its certainty. (Gunfire)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Soldiers and civilians alike are anticipating the fall of ISIS any moment now.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And we want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Monday, July 3rd, 6:00 here in New York. Chris is off this morning. John Berman is with us.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: It's like Independence Day eve.

CAMEROTA: Yes, it is, and we will be celebrating it all morning long.

Here's your starting line. President Trump escalating his war on the media, targeting CNN in a tweet that many leaders call juvenile at best. Other members of the GOP are simply speechless.

At the same time, the president is preparing for his first face-to- face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Sources tell CNN that Syria and Ukraine will be on the agenda but no plans, at the moment, to bring up Russia's interference in the U.S. election.

BERMAN: President Trump working the phones ahead of this week's G20 summit in Germany, reaching out to world leaders about the North Korean nuclear threat and fighting terrorism.

All this as 29 states balk at a controversial White House request for the personal data of every registered American voter.

CNN has every angle of this covered this morning. Let's begin with Suzanne Malveaux live at the White House -- Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. Well, the president spending much of his day in Bedminster. He'll be coming back here to the White House late today. He's going to be hosting military families tomorrow for the July Fourth festivities. But he spent much of the weekend -- July Fourth weekend -- ramping up his attacks on the media.


TRUMP: The fake media is trying to silence us but we will not let them.

MALVEAUX (voice-over): President Trump escalating his ongoing war against the press, tweeting out this doctored video of himself pummeling a man with an edited CNN logo over his face. The video drawing sharp, widespread condemnation.

ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: It is an incitement to violence.

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's very disturbing. There's nothing light-hearted about it whatsoever.

ZELDIN: And we need to protect freedom of the press. There is a responsibility on the part of everyone, including the President of the United States.

MALVEAUX (voice-over): Homeland Security Adviser Thomas Bossert first shown the video on ABC, insisting the president is not inciting violence.

BOSSERT: I think that no one would perceive that as a threat. I hope they don't.