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New Revelations About Don Jr. Meeting; Senate Republicans Huddling on Health Care; Deadly Military Plane Crash; Yankees' Aaron Judge Winds Home Run Derby. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired July 11, 2017 - 05:00   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump Jr. was told the Russian government was providing damaging information about Hillary Clinton. A stunning new report this morning from "The New York Times", up ahead.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: And 16 people dead after a marine plane crash in Mississippi that left no survivors. The FBI is on site. The latest information is just moments away. A devastating scene there in Mississippi.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is Tuesday, July 11th, it is 5:00 a.m., just about 5:00 a.m. in the East.

Up first, not only did Donald Trump Jr. meet with a Russian lawyer, there's no reporting that Don Jr. was told the Russian government was directing efforts to spread damaging information about Hillary Clinton. That is according to this morning's "New York Times", citing three sources familiar with an e-mail sent to Trump Jr. That e-mail reportedly says the information about Clinton was part of a Kremlin effort to help the Trump campaign.

[05:00:01] BRIGGS: The email was written by British publicist Rob Goldstone, an entertainment business associate of Trump Sr. with connections to Moscow. Although Goldstone suggested the damaging material originated with the Russian government, there's no evidence it was related to the Russian hacking of the DNC. Late last night, Don Jr.'s newly hired attorney dismissed "The Times" report, calling it, quote, much ado about nothing. His statement reiterating that Don Jr. didn't do anything wrong by taking the meeting and that nothing came of it.

ROMANS: The White House consumed on Monday by questions about the meeting. The spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisting that the campaign did not collude, describing the meeting as very short with absolutely no follow-up. Sanders had fewer answers about the White House pattern of denying any possible wrongdoing, only to backtrack and then offer amended answers when presented with contrary evidence.

Listen to this. You can listen for yourself. This is from an off- camera White House press briefing.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) REPORTER: How are we to take all of these blanket denials that occurred through the transition and now when it has been proven and recognized by the president's attorney and Don Jr. that those blanket denials were not factual?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESWOMAN: Look, I think the point is that we've tried to make every single time today and then and will continue to make in those statements is that there was simply no collusion, that they keep trying to make that there was.


BRIGGS: Sanders adds that President Trump only learned of his son's meeting with the Russian lawyer in the last few days. The president himself has been staying largely out of sight. Today, the second straight day with no public events on his schedule.

ROMANS: More questions this morning about the players involved in setting up that meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and the Russian lawyer. The latest additions to the growing cast of characters, music publicist Rob Goldstone, and his client. This guy, Emin Agalarov, a pop star who asked Goldstone to make that meeting happen.

Let's sort out who's who with senior international correspondent Matthew Chance. Bring us the flow chart. He is live in Moscow.

Good morning.


That's right, and Rob Goldstone, he's the figure I think who takes place center of this at the moment because he sent the British national, he's a music publicist. He's based in New York. We've learned that he's currently located in Greece, perhaps on holiday.

But he -- he sent this e-mail to Don Jr., saying, look, you've got to meet -- you've got to meet with this Russian lawyer. She's got information. This is according to "The New York Times," she's got information that comes from the Russian government that would help you in your campaign against the Democrats against Hillary Clinton.

Now, that meeting, as we know, took place, it took place. Rob Goldstone represents a contact of Don Jr. and of Donald Trump in Russia. He -- Emin Agalarov, who you mentioned, he's a pop star in the country, sold a million records. Donald Trump Sr. once appeared in one of his pop videos in which he played the boss reprimanding Emin around the boardroom table and eventually firing him.

The interesting thing about Emin, though, is that his father is Aras Agalarov. He's one of Russia's biggest property developers. He owns Moscow's biggest shopping mall. And he's the businessman who Donald Trump partnered with in 2013 to stage the Miss Universe competition here in the Russian capital. So, there is this direct line of various Russian players from Donald Trump, the president to his son, this music publicist, to the pop star to the biggest property developer, one of the biggest property developers in Moscow.

And so, that's the suggestion that it was through this route that the Kremlin attempted to exert its influence on the Trump campaign. Of course, the Kremlin and the Trump campaign both categorically deny that.

ROMANS: All right. Fascinating.

All right. Matthew Chance, thanks for breaking all that down for us. Nice to see you this morning.

BRIGGS: I could not find Emin on iTunes. But his soothing sounds are available on YouTube if you're curious, folks.

Joining us this morning from "The Weekly Standard," Chris Deaton, he's live in Washington. He celebrates the entire catalog of Emin Agalarov.

Chris, good morning to you.


ROMANS: And concert t-shirt sales --

DEATON: Yes. I was running to it this morning, in fact, 45 minutes ago. You caught me red-handed.

ROMANS: Not exactly running music, but we listen to it --

BRIGGS: Even if it's not great for running. Great to have you.

Is this -- you know, people get tired of the drip, drip, drip, and no real significant details. How major is this one? This feels different, that the Russian government, at least according to the e- mail, this e-mail suggested that the Russian government was the one who had dirt on Hillary Clinton, and that's what drew Don Jr. to this meeting. How does this change the game, Chris?

DEATON: Sure. Contrary to Don Jr.'s lawyer, this is much ado about something to be sure. This is a -- this is a big, big issue just because it is so tangible with this idea of the possible collusion narrative.

[05:05:00] I mean, in this "Times" story, we have to be careful because there's so much delimiting information in there, gaps to fill in about what we do not know or things that are speculative.

The important thing is that what we do know is that Don Jr., based on three sources that were cited in the story, did have information, whether or not it was hearsay, whether or not Goldstone himself had direct knowledge of these facts, that this information did originate with the Russian government. That it was broadly part of a campaign to help Trump in the election. And that, you know, these things were not in question. I mean, there's no reason to believe they're ambiguous. So, even though this is just one instance of it, I mean, from the

"Times" story, we have to realize that it doesn't sound like Goldstone spilled the beans about every single minute detail of this broader campaign. But the fact that we know bits of information about where the information came from. That unlike what Don Jr. said on Sunday, this did not appear to be a pretext for a meeting, but quite clearly and unambiguously the point of the meeting is pretty significant information. It's definitely going to be of interest to investigators looking into this matter.

ROMANS: We know that Don Jr. was tweeting about this yesterday. You know that Donald Trump, the president was tweeting about other things yesterday.

BRIGGS: Everything else.

ROMANS: There's no public events for the public for the second day in a row. Do you expect there's a response from the president?

DEATON: Well, from the president's team, I would hope not. This is the type of situation where I think it's definitely best left to the lawyers and the less said the better. If there is anything that I would expect to hear, I think it's the type of stuff that you typically hear from the president in circumstances like this.

When there is a story that is potentially damaging to him, his family, his White House, his administration's agenda, the strategy is to deflect. So, I would certainly expect that if Trump himself or some of his aides were going to respond to the story and try to redirect attention elsewhere, that it is going to focus on Hillary Clinton and her campaign activities and whatever -- what type of stuff they could possibly dig up from reporting in the last year that just simply reorients or attempts to reorient the focus from them and the story.

ROMANS: I think -- you know, there are unnamed sources in this "New York Times" article. Obviously supporters of the president will leap to that, you know, and -- and say, you know, these are more leaks, that there are too many holes or gaps, as you pointed out. But i does raise concerns among many on Capitol Hill just about the drip, drip, drip of Russian developments. I want to learn to Senator Mark Warner yesterday.


SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA), VICE CHAIRMAN, SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: It's also a continuing pattern that we've seen since the election of Trump campaign and Trump administration officials who have conveniently forgotten meetings with Russians only when they are then presented with evidence they have to recant and acknowledge those kind of meetings. It is why we've got to continue this investigation.


ROMANS: He's the ranking member of the Senate Intel Committee. Clearly, Bob Mueller, the special counselor, has a lot of questions and material to go through. DEATON: Tons. And I think to your point here, Christine, just in

what Senator Warner was talking about, the idea of the drip, drip, drip. So much of this oftentimes from the Trump administration's standpoint is laid at the feet of the so-called deep states or people who are deeply embedded in the intelligence apparatus and are lifers, aren't necessarily part of the Trump team per se. They happen to be incidentally.

This type of stuff here is not coming from Bob Mueller's team. This type of stuff does not appear to be coming from any sort of intelligence apparatus. This stuff has to do with Trump's own orbit now is what it sounds like. And when you see Jared Kushner deflecting attention to Don Jr. needs to answer some of these questions I'm going to focus attention on him, what the president has to look out for is to make sure he has everything lined up in his own backyard. That what seems to be the broader problem here.

BRIGGS: The other problem is health care. They go on the July 4th recess, a number of Republicans opposing this bill increased. CNN's latest vote count has ten Republican senators opposing this bill. We understand there's a tweak and new CBO score, they want a vote by mid to late next week, where do you see this headed?

DEATON: Well, it's difficult to tell without knowing the exact details which -- when have I heard that before with respect to health care reform? But I believe that with this particular read right now, so much, there are really kind of two things on the table, guys. There's this idea from Ted Cruz that would allow insurers who offer an Obamacare-compliant plan on the exchange to offer some noncompliant insurance that might be cheaper, higher deductibles, fewer benefits, but also lower premiums.

[05:10:03] So, that's the type of stuff that's going to be attractive to younger, and healthier consumers might get more market buy-in. There are obvious concerns about how that affects premiums for more vulnerable people. Cruz's contention is that, look, we're going to directly subsidize these people transparently. We're not doing it through regulations. We will just essentially lay the bill at the foot of taxpayers for higher subsidies.

And that's the way Republicans would care to take care of this particular issue, not through regulations, whether that's going to get moderate support, who knows?


DEATON: I'm so interested to know what's going to happen if that fails and we go with the repeal route. A lot of moderates are going to be uncomfortable by that, as well.

BRIGGS: Yes, Chuck Grassley expressed concern that the Ted Cruz amendment could impact a pre-existing condition portion of Obamacare. And that would be devastating for Republican support. I want to ask you about 20 minutes about the president's silence on health care and how he's largely staying out of this debate. We'll talk to you in just a bit. ROMANS: Chris Deaton, thanks for dropping by so early this morning.

DEATON: Thanks, guys.

BRIGGS: To breaking news: 16 people killed when a Marine Corps plane crash in Mississippi. The FBI is at the scene investigating. No survivors of this crash. At this hour, it's not clear what went wrong. The KC-130 went down in rural Leflore County, Mississippi, late Monday afternoon. The 130 is one of military's most widely used aircraft. A local fire chief says the debris field from the crash is five miles in radius, and 4,000 gallons of foam were needed to put out the fire.

ROMANS: Yes, we'll bring you developments in that have breaking story all morning.

A new result restores the rights of millions of Americans to sue your bank or credit card company. It could cost Wall Street billions of dollars. Details next.


[05:15:48] ROMANS: Suing your bank or credit card company just got easier. But this new regulation will mostly likely face some pretty steep political backlash. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the CFPB, is adopting a rule that prevents banks from stopping class action lawsuits. The agency says that insurers that people who are harmed together can take action together.

Right now, you might not know this, but most bank and credit contracts have arbitration clauses. That forces consumers to solve problems in private mediation instead. Companies say it's faster process, protects them. Critics say it doesn't help consumers and it's less effective.

In fact, Congress has already blocked similar clauses in mortgage contracts. So, introducing a new regulation is a bold move right now for the CFPB. The Treasury Department, the Trump Treasury Department accuses the agency of overreach. It has recommended limiting its powers. Just one part of the administration's plan to trim financial regulations.

BRIGGS: New Jersey voters refusing to let Governor Chris Christie off the hook for sunning himself on a beach that he closed to the public. You see, the governor was auditioning for his next potential gig as a sports host on New York's WFAN when the angry calls began pouring in -- especially this one. Mike in Montclair --


HOST: What's up, Mike?

CALLER: Governor, next time you want to sit on a beach that is closed to the entire world except you --

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Yes? CALLER: -- you put your fat ass in a car and go to one that's open to

all your constituents. Not just and yours.

CHRISTIE: Interesting, Mike. You know what --

CALLER: What's that? What's that, Gov?

CHRISTIE: You know, Mike, I love -- I love getting calls from communists in Montclair.

CALLER: Communists in Montclair? You're a bully, Governor. I don't like bullies.

CHRISTIE: You know what -- listen, I'm not the one who came on the air -- hey, hold on, Mike --

CALLER: Your entire career --

CHRISTIE: Mike, I'm not the guy who came on the air, swore on the air, and --

CALLER: Who swore?

CHRISTIE: You did.

CALLER: Get the heck out of here.

CHRISTIE: You know, you're swearing on the air, Mike. You're a bum. So, let's --

CALLER: You know, you got bad optics and you're a bull.

CHRISTIE: Oh, bad optics. Mike, I'd love to come look at your optics every day, buddy.


BRIGGS: Now, let's look at his optics, Romans, OK? Despite Christie's historically low 15 percent approval rating in New Jersey, WFAN confirms the gov is a candidate to take over the afternoon time slot of the legendary spot of Mike Francesa who retires later this year. How would you like it if someone came and got a look at your optics?

ROMANS: I just -- I know, right? I just got to say that sports fans on the radio, it's a whole genre I don't get.

BRIGGS: Oh, they are some fire the up people. But the governor doesn't strike me as someone offended by swearing.


BRIGGS: But he was there.

ROMANS: It was entertaining. All right. Here comes the judge. Yankees slugger Aaron Judge put on

quite a show at the all-star home run derby. Coy Wire gets out his tape measure for this morning's "Bleacher Report." That's next.


[05:23:03] BRIGGS: Yankees rookie slugger Aaron Judge putting the gavel down on the competition last night at the home run derby.

ROMANS: I hope he has a long career of puns.

Coy Wire, we got more in the "Bleacher Report." Hey there.

BRIGGS: All right.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: You can't have fun without some funs in the morning.

Good morning to you, Christine and Dave.

Three-point-nine miles of home runs is what Aaron Judge hit and the lure of Judge continues to grow. He's a seemingly supernatural force, has arguably becoming the new face of baseball while playing for one of the most iconic franchises in all of sports -- 6'7", 282 pounds. A mythical beast of sorts in the sports -- pure, unadulterated power.

And this is the shot that has everyone talking. A home run traveling a whopping 513 feet. That's nearly 1-1/2 football field. He cleared that 500-foot mark four times when no other players did it even once.

The 25-year-old taking home the trophy last night as the home run derby champ, topping the Twins' Miguel Sano in the final round, sending a total of 47 baseball over the wall. Aaron Judge holding court on a national stage and laying down the law.

Now, the day was off to a bad start for Rafael Nadal before his match even began at Wimbledon yesterday, leaping up after tying his shoe in a tunnel slammed his head on a doorframe. Nadal dug himself into the hole early. Dropping the first sets to the 16th seat Gilles Muller.

But Nadal did rally, making the match what some are calling one of the best ever at Wimbledon. And after over four hours, the number-two seed in the world, number two ranked player in the world, rather, Nadal, shocked by Muller in what is an instant classic at Wimbledon.

Cincinnati Reds' shortstop Zack Cozart making his first all star game tonight. But now, he can add another first to his life -- owner of a brand-new donkey. His teammate, Joey Votto, told Cozart he would buy him a donkey if he made the all-star team after Cozart told him how much fun his son Cooper had at a petting zoo.

[05:25:05] But now, the Cozart family has one problem -- they live in a townhouse which isn't exactly donkey friendly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ZACK COZART, REDS SHORTSTOP: For the time being, my mom's going to have to have the donkey. And then I guess I got to get some land to figure it out.

REPORTER: Are you going to name him all-star?

COZART: I don't know what I'm going to name him, but I'm going to have to figure that out soon. Like I said, when we started off after the break, you know, I'm sure that donkey's going to be in the clubhouse somewhere.


WIRE: Can't wait to see video of donkey in a clubhouse. He's going to have the fans help him choose a name. He's probably wishing my son had a good time at the car dealership or something --


ROMANS: Sounds like a pain in the -- get it?

BRIGGS: You are strong this morning.

ROMANS: All right.

BRIGGS: I'm on the Cincinnati zoo website. I don't see a donkey there this morning. So, I'm just watching Cozart. Good stuff. I appreciate it.

ROMANS: Coy Wire, nice to see you. Thank you.

WIRE: You, too. You're welcome.

ROMANS: All right. Donald Trump Jr. was told the Russian government was behind efforts to get damaging details about Hillary Clinton directly to the Trump family. That's according to a bombshell report at "The New York Times". We'll give you the full details, next.