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The Ever-Changing Russia Stories Of The Two Donald Trumps; Trump Jr. Met Russian For Dirt On Clinton; Trump's About-Face On Cybersecurity Unit. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired July 10, 2017 - 05:30   ET


[05:30:00] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The Kremlin's admission now raising a big question. Is this evidence of collusion?

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: And, President Trump now appearing to walk back his agreement with Russia to create a cybersecurity unit. What's behind this sudden change of heart?

Welcome back to EARLY START, everybody. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is 30 minutes past the hour this Monday morning.

BRIGGS: Happy Monday.

ROMANS: Happy Monday.

President Trump's eldest son now admitting he met with a Russian he says he was told could help his father's campaign.

Donald Trump Jr. responding to a report from "The New York Times," citing five sources, that he was, quote, "promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton before agreeing to meet a Kremlin- connected Russian lawyer." That's a quote from "The New York Times" article during the campaign.

Now, that meeting held in early June, two weeks after Mr. Trump clinched the nomination.

BRIGGS: All right, here's the key. In attendance, senior adviser Jared Kushner, then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Don Jr., and the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya.

It's the first known meeting between several top members of Trump's team and a Russian national during the campaign and it goes to the fundamental question facing FBI and congressional investigators looking into Russian interference in the campaign. Did the Trump campaign college with Russians in an effort to hurt Clinton and win the White House?

ROMANS: Trump Jr. responding with this statement to CNN. It says, in part, "I was asked to have a meeting by an acquaintance I knew from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant" -- that was held outside Moscow -- "with an individual who I was told might have information helpful to the campaign. After pleasantries were exchanged, the woman stated that she had

information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton. Her statements were vague, ambiguous, and made no sense.

My father knew nothing of the meeting or these events."

BRIGGS: Now, Don Jr. has been a vocal critic of accusations there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, even tweeting on June eighth, one day before this meeting, "Thanks, James. Comey debunks New York Times report about Trump campaign having repeated Russian contacts."

And here's what Don Jr. told our Jake Tapper in July when he was asked about collusion.


DONALD TRUMP JR., PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ELDEST SON: Well, it just goes to show you their exact moral compass. I mean, they'll say anything to be able to win this. I mean, this is time and time again, lie after lie. You notice he won't say well, I say this. We hear experts.

You know, his house cat, at home, once said that this is what's happening with the Russians. It's disgusting. It's so phony.


ROMANS: The White House is fighting back against the bipartisan furor sparked by President Trump's meeting with Vladimir Putin. Over the weekend, the president appeared to agree with Putin's assessment that Russia did not meddle in the U.S. election, tweeting, "I strongly pressed President Putin twice about Russian meddling in our election. He vehemently denied it. I've already given my opinion."

Even the president's closest allies are distancing themselves from his position on Russia's election meddling. Listen to U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.


NIKKA HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N: Everybody knows that Russia meddled in our elections. Everybody knows that they're not just meddling in the United States elections, they're doing this across multiple continents, and they're doing this in a way that they're trying to cause chaos within the countries.


BRIGGS: So why can't President Trump bring himself to say what Ambassador Haley and others were proclaiming about Russia's election meddling?

Here's former CIA director John Brennan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: I don't think he demonstrates good negotiating skills when it comes to Mr. Putin. Again, two days before, in Warsaw, he gives Mr. Putin the opportunity to point to the failures of U.S. intelligence. To me, I think he seeded that ground.

And also, right before he met with Mr. Putin and talked with him at some length, which I'm glad he did, he said it's an honor to meet President Putin. An honor to meet the individual who carried out the assault against our election? To me, it was a dishonorable thing to say.


ROMANS: All right. President Trump now appears to be backing away from the idea of forming a cybersecurity unit with the Kremlin. Sunday morning he tweeted this. "Putin and I discussed forming an impenetrable cybersecurity unit so that election hacking and many other negative things will be guarded."

But by last night, a seeming about-face. "The fact that President Putin and I discussed a cybersecurity unit doesn't mean I think it can happen. It can't, but a ceasefire can, and did."

President Trump referring to a ceasefire in southwest Syria he negotiated with Putin. A ceasefire, David, appears to be holding.

BRIGGS: But that good news didn't help him escape the criticism for floating the idea of a joint cybersecurity arrangement with the Russians.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio tweeting, "Partnering with Putin on a cybersecurity unit is akin to partnering with Assad on a chemical weapons unit."

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham also weighing in, saying, "It's not the dumbest idea I've ever heard, but it's pretty close."

[05:35:00] And this from former Defense Secretary Ash Carter.


ASH CARTER, FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: The Russians pulled out the old playbook. I've seen all this going back to Russia and Soviet days when confronted with something they've done wrong, ask for U.S. intelligence -- old trick. Propose a working group, in this case on cyber. But this is like the guy who robbed your house proposing a working group on burglary. It's they who did this.


BRIGGS: All right. Helping us break it all down this morning, "CNN POLITICS" reporter Eugene Scott and CNN law enforcement analyst James Gagliano, retired FBI supervisory special agent. Good morning to both of you.

ROMANS: Good morning, guys. EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Good morning.


BRIGGS: Marco Rubio pretty strong on this, as was Lindsey Graham and Ash Carter there. How would you, James, characterize the notion of working with the Russians on a cyber hacking unit?

GAGLIANO: Dave, I think from an optics perspective on the periphery -- I mean, to forge an alliance where it's in name only, I can understand that. To actually let them into the mechanisms of our cybersecurity, I just can't see that happening.

I think the only thing that's actually fortified me throughout all of this news of the Russian meddling in our election system -- the only thing -- is the fact that no one in the Intelligence Community, to date, has been able to pinpoint an area where they might have actually got into the voting process or mechanisms, so our machines were safe.

But there are folks that are looking at his --

BRIGGS: For now.

GAGLIANO: For now, exactly -- and saying hey, we might be regressing. We might be going back to a time where paper ballots are demanded and needed because there's no such thing as a cybersecurity blanket that is impenetrable. It just doesn't exist nor, probably, will it.

ROMANS: But if you don't have from the very top an admission that this happened, then how do you know that the government is going to with -- you know, with great effort, make sure it doesn't happen?

GAGLIANO: Christine, I think it's part of being too cute by half. I mean, I think Donald Trump, our president, is so concerned about -- and I hate to use this word -- the optics of people thinking that he didn't win it outright. That he --

BRIGGS: Delegitimizing his win, yes.

GAGLIANO: Absolutely.

SCOTT: Right, right.

BRIGGS: And to that point, he says the issue as to Russian meddling in the election is dead but does that set us up for them coming back to James Comey's admission that they will be back in 2018 and 2020? Does it leave us vulnerable?

SCOTT: Well, that's what even Republican lawmakers think, right? The reality is that intelligence has revealed that Russia has tried to interfere in elections before, and not just in the States, but globally. And so, the idea that you would want to partner with them to stop what they are doing and want to do more of suggests that he has not accepted the seriousness of what has happened. ROMANS: And let's be fair. We're also -- in these other countries we're not necessarily talking about getting into voting booths. We're talking about disinformation, which is something that goes all the way back to the Soviet era.

SCOTT: That's right.

ROMANS: I mean, it's been a --

GAGLIANO: Propaganda.

ROMANS: Propaganda has been a big part of the intelligence apparatus in Russia for a long, long time.

BRIGGS: All right, let's talk about this meeting between Don Jr. -- or as the "Daily News" calls him, Kid Pro Quo this morning -- with the Russian lawyer in early June promised some dirt on the Hillary campaign. You could call this oppo research but this is a stunning admission acknowledging that they would accept help from the Russians in the campaign.

Is this a stunning level of naivety or the first crack at collusion, James?

GAGLIANO: Again, I go back to looking at collusion in this. I couldn't find anything that makes this breaking the law, only in the instance of say, in the case of Jared Kushner. You don't fill out the -- you know, the governmental form that the Office of Personnel Management -- the SF-86 requires you to fill them out and you put an inaccuracy on there.

But, Don Jr. -- again, we go back to the gray area because he's taking care of his father's real estate holdings, he helped out with the transition team, but he is not an employee of the White House. Unseemly? Yes.

BRIGGS: But he is a campaign --

GAGLIANO: Smack of impropriety? Yes.

BRIGGS: He is a campaign surrogate.


BRIGGS: He is an adviser. And Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman, was in that meeting.

SCOTT: Yes, yes.

ROMANS: It is, on its own, maybe just oppo research taking in the whole big Russia mess and trying to investigate what exactly was the Russian angle in the American election. That's why it is important at this point, right?

SCOTT: Yes, very much so, and I think the optics of it are added to that to see him vehemently deny that the campaign could have any type of communication with anyone connected to Russia on our show -- on Jake Tapper's show just weeks later, just makes it look unseemly.

I mean, the reality is he said I did not know the lawyer's name. Well, did we know that the lawyer was from Russia? Did we know that the lawyer was -- had criminal connections? There are a lot of questions that need to be revealed.

And I think a bigger concern is that it could suggest that the campaign was meeting with people that they hadn't vetted very well about very sensitive information.

BRIGGS: That's frightening and if you're Bob Mueller, that's what important here -- the special counsel investigating all of this, James. What do you make of the turn of admissions from Don Jr. from Saturday to Sunday because Saturday this was about the Russian adoption issue, and on Sunday he acknowledged in a statement to CNN that yes, this meeting was, in fact, taken to accept some information --

[05:40:18] ROMANS: Helpful information.

BRIGGS: -- about Hillary Clinton? Helpful dirt, if you will.

GAGLIANO: Well, Dave, I've said on this show that if they had a smoking gun with all the leaks, as poor as this investigation has been to date, I just feel it would have been released by now.

However, having said that, I read "The New York Times" piece and the fact that it appeared that they were quoting FBI testimonial documents -- again, it pains me to think that this might be coming from my former agency that these interviews with Kushner, these interviews with Manafort, that information is leaking out. Everyone believed that once Robert Mueller took over this investigation --

ROMANS: The leaks would stop.

GAGLIANO: -- the leaks were going to stop. That doesn't appear to be the case.

SCOTT: Yes, yes, and I would imagine that this also means that more leaks could come. And as you know, way better than I, although nothing has been leaked yet that would confirm collusion the reality is investigations take time and this could be ongoing. And so, we don't completely know everything that's going to happen yet.

BRIGGS: All right. James, Eugene, thank you both. Good stuff.

ROMANS: Nice to see you guys. Happy Monday.

The Senate returns from the holiday recess this morning and will get back to work on health care reform but if Republicans cannot pass a bill, health insurers want them to shore up Obamacare instead.

Insurers say uncertainty is forcing them to boost rates or to leave the exchanges completely. For example, you've got Humana, Aetna, and Anthem. They are already out in 2018. They blame a lack of information on top of millions of dollars in losses. Here are a few complaints insurers want lawmakers to address. Sharing the costs for lower-income Americans, enhancing credits for younger consumers to attract more of them to the exchanges, and making continuous coverage attractive so Americans just don't drop out.

Insurers blame the lack of stability for two-thirds of the 2018 rate hikes. Some insurers will charge as high as 50 percent more to offset the costs of sicker than expected policyholders.

BRIGGS: And that's what you constantly, I assume -- you hear from these businesses they want stability.

ROMANS: Clarity.

BRIGGS: So what if they go with the repeal first, replace later? What does that do to stability?

ROMANS: No one -- it blows stability out of the water. There isn't a --

BRIGGS: Shatters the notion.


BRIGGS: All right, a long road ahead.

Senate Republicans are back on Capitol Hill today. Are they any closer to an elusive health care plan? We'll discuss, next.


[05:46:41] BRIGGS: Senate Republicans returning from the holiday recess this morning and ready to get back to work on health care reform, but it seems no one's too optimistic about getting a plan passed. One idea back on the table now is repealing Obamacare without immediately replacing it.

But, Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy, a physician, calls that idea being pushed by the president a, quote, "non-starter."

ROMANS: And this from Iowa's GOP Senator Chuck Grassley. "Fifty-two Republican senators should be asked that we have not passed health reform by now. We won't be ashamed. We will go from majority to minority."

One thing is clear. Republicans can't seem to get on the same page when it comes to reforming health care. Listen to Senators Ted Cruz and John McCain on the prospects for getting a deal done.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: If you shut out the adversary or the opposite party, you're going to end up the same way Obamacare did when they rammed it through with 60 votes, only guess what? We don't have 60 votes. My view is it's probably going to be dead. SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: If we can't get this done right now I agree with the president, then let's honor the promise on repeal and spend more time to get it done. I believe we can get it done. I think there is an agreement.

My objective for the last six months helping lead the working group on health care has been to reach consensus to bring together and unify the Republican Conference, and the way we do it is focusing like a laser.


BRIGGS: President Trump sounding like it's now or never on Twitter last night, tweeting, "For years, even as a civilian, I listened as Republicans pushed the repeal and replace of Obamacare. Now they finally have their chance."

ROMANS: All right, 48 minutes past the hour. Let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Alisyn Camerota joins us this morning. Hi, there.

BRIGGS: Good morning.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, my friends. Nice to see you guys. Happy Monday.

BRIGGS: And you.

CAMEROTA: OK, so we're going to have a lot more on Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with the Russian lawyer. What was that about? Why was it not disclosed until now? So we have all sorts of experts on that.

We're also going to have foreign policy expert Richard Haass with us. His reaction to the G20, what was accomplished there, and also what he believes America's standing is right now in the world.


CAMEROTA: And then last, Christiane Amanpour is going to have an exclusive interview with J.K. Rowling --

ROMANS: I can't wait.

CAMEROTA: -- about -- and she says that she has a surprise for all of her fans. So we'll bring you that when we see you at the top of the hour.

ROMANS: I know, 20 years of "Harry Potter." Isn't that amazing? Twenty years old and kids still reading them like crazy.

BRIGGS: Have you read them all?

ROMANS: I've read all them, yes.

BRIGGS: Camerota, have you?

CAMEROTA: Oh God, yes.

BRIGGS: I've just read one.

CAMEROTA: Wow, how did you get out of that?

BRIGGS: Oh, I'll leave that for my 11-year-old. All right, we'll see you in a just a bit, thanks.


ROMANS: All right, she's a muggle.

It is a -- it's a day of deals for Amazon and that's good for the company's bottom line just as online competition heats up. "CNN Money Stream," next.


[05:53:40] ROMANS: All right. Heart-pounding moments at a beach north of Miami after a swimmer was attacked by a shark. It happened when the victim was just about to get out of the water at Haulover Beach.

The person was bitten in the lower extremities. We're told the swimmer is expected to be OK. Authorities warning swimmers saying, in part, although these incidents are rare we ask beachgoers to always be aware of their surroundings. They are rare but it's still scary.

BRIGGS: All right, but still, every time you hear one it keeps you of the ocean for the next couple of months.

All right, the west has been baking, now the eastern part of the country about to join in the heat wave. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has the latest forecast.


PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Dave and Christine, a couple of cities across the country this week maybe seeing some of the hottest temperatures of 2017.

St. Louis could be one of them. Heat indices across this region up to around 100 and above 100 in a few places. In fact, Kansas City having a heat advisory in place where we'll certainly expect temps to be right around 100 degrees across the afternoon hours.

But look at Washington, getting up to near 100 as well and it actually stays there for a couple of days toward the heart of this week. And then we'll see a little bit of a cooling trend coming into this weekend with additional thunderstorm potential returning there on Saturday.

Here's what's going on out west. It's still extremely dry, it's still extremely hot. In fact, you look at the situation across parts of the western U.S. -- Fresno, Tucson, Cedar City, Utah, to name a few cities -- have not seen rainfall on 50 to 60 days in a row now. [05:55:03] So this is really beginning to build as far the fire- weather concern being elevated, and we know record heat has been also experienced in recent days. Some 72 record temps in the past several days across parts of the western U.S. and with that elevated fire risk to the north we are watching for some scattered storms. Unfortunately, these are dry thunderstorms so certainly, a story we'll be following for a few days across here -- guys.


ROMANS: All right, Pedram, thank you for that.

Let's get to some money this Monday morning -- money for breakfast.

Global markets higher this morning after the U.S. ended the week with gains, the Nasdaq jumping one percent.

All three indices rose after a strong jobs reports. The U.S. added a robust 222,000 jobs in June. The unemployment rate ticked up for the right reason because the labor force increased. More people are out there looking for work.

Investors this week keeping an eye on quarterly reports, especially for the big banks. JPMorgan, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo all report this week.

U.S. officials are lifting the laptop ban for two more airlines. Passengers on Royal Jordanian and Kuwait Airways, they can now carry their laptops on board. In March, the U.S. banned electronics in cabins on flights from eight countries including Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Turkey. The concern was the devices could conceal explosives.

Last week, the ban was lifted from several other Mideast airlines. Officials say it's because they have all introduced tighter security measures.

All right, it's Amazon's annual day of deals. It's called Prime Day. It's a 30-hour shopping spree for prime members. It starts at 9:00 p.m. tonight.

Amazon uses Prime Day for two reasons, to boost sales and to lure customers to its prime memberships. Prime members spend more on average, about $1,100 a year versus $600 for non-members.

And Prime Day arrives just as competition is really heating up for online shopping, especially from Walmart. Walmart's digital sales skyrocketed 63 percent in the first three months of the year.

There is a war going on at retail. Traditional brick and mortar stores having trouble. You've got this Amazon and Walmart food fight for your digital dollar and I think it's good overall for the consumer.

BRIGGS: For the consumer, yes. We win.

ROMANS: As long as you don't spend, you know, more than you have, you win because they're fighting for your dollars.

BRIGGS: Well, good news for us, we'll be asleep when Amazon Prime Day happens at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time, so we'll save some money.

ROMANS: Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now. We'll see you tomorrow.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer after being promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This wasn't just anybody. This was an advocate and a voice for Vladimir Putin.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), MEMBER, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: We're going to want to question everyone that was at that meeting.

GRAHAM: When it comes to Russia I am dumbfounded, I am disappointed, and the end of the day he's hurting his presidency.

REINCE PRIEBUS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: The president absolutely did not believe the denial of President Putin.

HALEY: From a cyber standpoint we need to get together with Russia. We need to tell them what we think should happen and shouldn't happen.

SCHIFF: We might as well just mail our ballot boxes to Moscow.


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

CAMEROTA: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Monday, July 10th, 6:00 here in New York.

Here's our "Starting Line."

Up first, President Trump's eldest son Donald Jr. changing his tune about his meeting with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer last June. He's now saying that the woman told him she had dirt on Hillary Clinton. What does this encounter say about the Trump campaign's willingness to accept help from the Russians?

Meanwhile, President Trump backtracking on his push for a cybersecurity unit with Russia after facing bipartisan criticism for proposing that these two nations cooperate to prevent election interference.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Adding to the president's Russia troubles, why did Mr. Trump say it is time to move forward on Russia, despite the conclusions of the U.S. intelligence that Putin ordered the hacks on the 2016 election? Did President Trump buy Putin's denial when the two men met last week?

And the battle over health care heating up again. Congress is back in D.C. What will they get done? That question starts in the Senate. Can the GOP -- the senators from the Republican Party get on the same page?

We have it all covered for you. There is news to discuss.

Let's begin with CNN's Suzanne Malveaux live at the White House -- Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. Well, news of this meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian national, of course, first reported by "The New York Times," raising some new questions about the connection between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, really going to the heart of the question over the federal investigation, whether or not there was collusion.

And there's also a focus, as well. Donald Trump Jr.'s changing explanation about why this meeting happened in the first place.


MALVEAUX (voice-over): "The New York Times" reporting that Donald Trump Jr. was promised damaging informationabout Hillary Clinton before agreeing to meet with the Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin, at Trump Tower on June 9th, two weeks before his father became the Republican nominee.