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President Trump to Sit Down with President Macron; Senate Health Bill May Keep Obamacare Taxes; Remains Found in Pennsylvania Missing Men Case; American Sam Querrey's Magical Wimbledon Run. Aired 5-5:30a ET
Aired July 13, 2017 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump has arrived in Paris. A busy two days ahead, including facing reporters on camera and despite what his son says, the president suggesting Don Jr.'s meeting with the Russian lawyer was just fine. That part of an extraordinary interview yesterday with "Reuters". No remorse from the president given Don Jr.'s meeting.
Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Christine Romans. It is Thursday. July 13th, it is 5:00 a.m. in the East.
And just hours from now, in Paris, President Trump holds a news conference alongside French President Emmanuel Macron. It will be the first chance, the very first chance for reporters' to question this president directly and publicly.
[05:00:00] Since that revelation, his son, Donald Trump Jr., met with a Russian lawyer hoping to get dirt on Hillary Clinton provided by the Russian government. In advance of the conference, Trump tells "Reuters" he was unaware of the meeting Don Jr. agreed to, only learning about it a couple of days ago.
BRIGGS: A Republican source says the president has privately expressed dismay his son agreed to the meeting but believes Don Jr. did nothing illegal. The source also says the president is annoyed the story has become a distraction from the overseas trip last week to Poland and Germany. A trip the White House sees as a success.
So, how will all this affect the president's trip to France?
CNN's Melissa Bell joining us from Paris.
Good morning to you where it is 11:00 a.m. What's on the agenda here, Melissa?
MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the president has now been in Paris for a couple of hours, Dave. We have yet to see him. But he's expected at the American embassy in half an hour, just across the road from here, Place de la Concorde, where he'll be meeting with embassy officials, the ambassador, but also military officials with whom he'll then be having a closed lunch. After that, we should get a chance to see him. He'll be received by
Emmanuel Macron for what would be a very military reception, full military honors, but also a visit to the Tomb of Napoleon (INAUDIBLE). A reminder that it was 100 years ago that America entered the First World War. (INAUDIBLE) is the man who led allied troops on the western front in that war.
The two men will head off for some private meetings. Then that press conference that everyone is so keen to get to because it's been so many days since the American press has been waiting to hear from Donald Trump himself. Then, the first ladies will join the presidents for a dinner at the Eiffel Tower.
Already we have seen Melania. She's been visiting with sick children at a children's hospital here in Paris. But the two couples will be dining tonight on the Eiffel Tower, restaurant at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, before preparing for tomorrow's ceremony which they'll be watching from here, Place de la Concorde, the military parade.
I can tell you, security is pretty tight. There are dozens of police vans really making sure that this entire area is secured, 11,000 extra policemen have been put on call the next couple of days, Dave, just to ensure the security is as tight as it needs to be.
BRIGGS: Melissa Bell live for us in France, thanks so much.
Interesting dynamic, she mentions the first ladies here. One being 64, that's Macron's wife. The other, 47, the 71-year-old Trump's wife.
ROMANS: Both seen as fashion icons at home, by the way.
BRIGGS: Yes, just the optics of this the next 24 to 48 hours will be fascinating.
ROMANS: Let's break down the politics of all this. CNN politics reporter Tal Kopan is in Washington, and CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer is back with us, historian and professor at Princeton University.
Good morning to both of you.
So, after basically being behind closed doors for the past four days, his second now European trip in a week, and the president will face reporters. The president will face reporters in just a few hours. He did speak with "Reuters" late yesterday where he did not condemn that meeting with his son, Don Jr., and someone purporting to be -- who he thought was an agent of the Russian government, an attorney for the Russians.
This is what he says: I think many people would have held that meeting. You have to understand when that took place, this was before Russia fever. There was no Russia fever back then. That was at the beginning of the campaign more or less. There was no Russia fever.
So, the president casting it in terms of the timing of when this was. He goes on to talk about sort of the coordination here with the Russian. There was zero coordination. It's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. There was no coordination. This was a hoax. This was made up by the Democrats. This is the greatest con job in history where a party sits down the day after they got their ass kicked and they say, huh, what's our excuse?
Tal, this is a president who is fighting. He is fighting and he is still holding on to the idea that there's nothing there there.
TAL KOPAN, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Yes. And keep in mind, every time Trump hears anything about Russia and meddling in the 2016 election, what he's actually hearing in his own ears is some sort of question of the legitimacy of his presidency. And he so far hasn't been able to separate out that sort of defensive posture from questions about what actually went down. And you know, whether the Russian government was, in fact, trying to help him.
There's definitely a posture from the White House that if you start to talk about it in those terms, you open the door to the questioning of the legitimacy of the election, whether or not that's actually what people are after. And so, you see the defensive crouch in all of his responses to these types of questions.
But, you know, at a certain level, I don't know what we expect him to say about his son, one of his own children. He's probably going to defend them until the end, no matter what.
[05:05:01] That's something that you can understand as a father. So, certainly coming out swinging, feeling as if he's on attack, is absolutely what we see here.
BRIGGS: That press conference just about an hour away. We'll, of course, bring it to you live.
What will the president say still very much up for debate. I think that "Reuters" interview did give you a hint. Here's what Lindsey Graham clearly wants the president to say about the interaction with the Russians. Listen to this interaction between Lindsey Graham and the nominee to run the FBI yesterday related to Russian interference.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Let me ask you this: If I got a call from somebody saying the Russian government wants to help Lindsey Graham get reelected, they've got dirt on Lindsey Graham's opponent, should I take that meeting?
CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR NOMINEE: Well, Senator, I would think you'd want to consult with some good legal advisors before you did that.
GRAHAM: So, the answer is, should I call the FBI?
WRAY: I think it would be wise to let the FBI know --
GRAHAM: You're going to be the director of the FBI, pal. So, here's what I want you to tell every politician. If you get a call from somebody suggesting that a foreign government wants to help you by disparaging your opponent, tell us all to call the FBI.
WRAY: To the members of this committee, any threat or effort to interfere with our elections from any nation state, or any non-state actor, is the kind of thing the FBI would want to know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRIGGS: All right. That's the harshest terms we've heard, Julian Zelizer. Do we expect the president to say anything like what his FBI director nominee just said?
JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Easy answer, no. I think the president on this has been very consistent. He's not making those kinds of statements. He's dismissing the entire intervention in the election, investigation as a hoax, or as fake news. And there's no reason to think he'll do anything other than this.
This is his strategy. I think this is his genuine response to the crisis.
ZELIZER: And there's no indication it will change. What you see are nominees, members of Congress, trying to work around this -- especially when the last round of information came from the president's family, from his son, not anyone else. It was his emails.
ROMANS: Well, Julian, it's clear the president doesn't accept the central premise that Putin favored Trump over Hillary Clinton. He said as much in an interview with Pat Robertson yesterday. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If Hillary had won, our military would be decimated. Our energy would be much more expensive.
That's what Putin doesn't like about me. That's why I say, why would he want me? Because from day one, I wanted a strong military, he doesn't want to see that.
From day one, I want fracking and everything else to get energy prices low and to create tremendous energy. He doesn't want that. He would like Hillary where she wants to be windmills.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: I mean, the president -- President Trump on the campaign -- you know, disparaged traditional American allies and alliances, the European alliance and the European experiment. And that does line up with Putin's wish list.
ZELIZER: Absolutely. It's clear that Putin was not excited about a Hillary Clinton presidency, was not particularly excited about a continuation of the Obama administration and its policies in any way. And there are many things that have happened since the election that serve the interests of Russia, most notably the two-hour meeting that took place, two-hour plus at the G20, which elevated Russia exactly in the way that Putin had hoped.
Whatever happened in the meeting, the meeting itself was a victory for Russia.
BRIGGS: And some describe that relationship, at least the appearance of it, as chummy. And Tal, let's turn to you now, back to what the president's up to in the next two days. His meeting with Emmanuel Macron who some see as -- should be an ally. But many characterize the relationship as awkward given some of the statements, given the handshake.
What do you expect from the optics and content of this meeting with Macron and Trump?
KOPAN: Well, I think when you have two world leaders sitting next to each other, you know, it's not like the scene from "Love Actually " that everyone likes to remember. It's generally congenial and political. They kind of play is safe. And when they part, they can sort of go their separate ways and take snipes at each other.
But, you know, it's fascinating and I think that setting each other up as their foil really plays to both of their bases, right? I mean, for Trump to continue to use himself as the anti-Macron in the U.S. certainly plays to his base here. And for Macron to set himself up as the anti-Trump in Europe is very strengthening position for him.
So, I think you see in this sense, two savvy politicians recognizing how they need to play this relationship. But as you mentioned, I think everyone's going to be watching the handshake again.
[05:10:00] BRIGGS: Well, Macron called it a moment of truth the first time they shook hands. So, he wants to be at important moment.
ROMANS: Oh my gosh, he made a video in English saying, make the planet great again, you know, against the president's position on the climate agreement, the Paris climate accord. So, they have a lot to talk about no question and Tal Kopan gets the extra points for mentioning "Love Actually," where --
BRIGGS: It's a great movie. We do all love it.
ROMANS: It is, it is.
All right. So, nice to see you, guys. We'll be talking to you in a few minutes.
The Senate expected to unveil its updated version of the health care bill today. It looks like it might not cut Obamacare's taxes on the wealthy. Critics of the bill blast it as a reverse Robin Hood, cutting health care coverage to help pay for tax cuts for the rich.
So, as you can see, it is politically imperative to keep those taxes in there. It may help the Senate get the votes it needs to pass. The two taxes disproportionately affect the wealthy. One is a 3.8 percent tax on investments. The other is a payroll tax on high incomes. Not repealing them will inject $230 million into the current bill. That can help lower premiums for older Americans and lower income consumers.
Now, the GOP, of course, has long opposed taxes, hates them, claiming they strangle economic growth. And keeping them could hurt the conservative support the Trump administration needs for tax reform. The treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, says reform is still on track for this year, saying this week, he hopes to have a full plan in September.
BRIGGS: OK, remains of several people found under 12 feet of concrete after an exhaustive search in Pennsylvania. What police are saying about the suspect, next.
[05:15:43] BRIGGS: Sad discovery for the search for four men missing in Pennsylvania. The body of one of the four has been identified, found buried on a property in Bucks County, about an hour from Philadelphia. Additional human remains were also found in the common grave.
ROMANS: Joining us this morning with the latest on this, CNN's Brynn Gingras. She's been following the story for us.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, guys.
Yes, investigators said they had a lot of leads in this case, and this is where a lead brought them. So, the Bucks County district attorney says that the remains were found in a 12.5-foot-deep grave. The D.A. says one body has been identified. That is of Dean Finocchiaro. He says the 19-year-old's family has been notified.
Now, there are additional remains in the common grave that have not yet been identified. We're hoping to hear more later today. The worst fears, of course, are that they belong to these three other men, Jimmy Patrick (ph), Thomas Meo (ph), and Mark Sturgis (ph), all who went missing last week.
Police have arrested 20-year-old Cosmo Dinardo. The bodies were found after police brought in equipment to dig through concrete that was recently poured on land owned by Dinardo's family.
Dinardo had been arrested Monday -- get this -- on an unrelated gun charge, released on $1 million bail, but then arrested again on Wednesday after police say he tried to sell a car belonging to one of the missing men.
Bucks County D.A. Matt Weintraub, he says he hopes that arrest will give them all enough time to bring now homicide charges.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MATT WEINTRAUB, BUCKS COUNTY, PA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I feel that we bought ourselves a little time in charging Mr. Dinardo with the stolen car case today and getting that $5 million bail. It is my hope that he does not post that, but that's his prerogative, of course, if he can post it. We're going to start looking seriously at the homicide charges, and, in fact, we already have pursued that option.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GINGRAS: And that same news conference, the district attorney says I don't know how it works, but he says cadaver dogs is what exactly helped them locate these remains, even 12.5 feet below ground, under concrete.
The big question now, investigators still looking into. They have two separate investigations going on at the same time here. What's happening there on the scene, when they're digging up the grave, and then also, you know, what happened? Why were these guys connected? Who's in trouble here?
BRIGGS: Expecting more press conferences today.
GINGRAS: We got two on schedule. We'll see. We'll get more information.
ROMANS: All right. Brynn, thank you for following that for us.
All right. Britain's high court today reconvening to hear new medical evidence in the case of baby Charlie Gard. The infant's parents are fighting doctors to keep them on life support, so they can bring him to the U.S. to receive experimental treatment for a rare genetic disorder. His he parents' legal battle with doctors to prolong Charlie's life has gained international attention.
On Sunday, the couple gave the hospital a petition with more than 350,000 signatures from around the world.
All right. There's hope for U.S. tennis fans. An American man reaching a major semifinal for the first time in years.
Andy Scholes has highlights from Wimbledon in this morning's "Bleacher Report". That's next.
[05:23:11] BRIGGS: All right. Welcome back.
Sam Querrey's magical run at Wimbledon continuing yesterday. The 29- year-old, the first American to make it to the semifinals since 2009.
ROMANS: Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report."
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, guys. Sam Querrey trying to become the first American man to win Wimbledon
since Pete Sampras did it 17 years ago. He's now two wins after beating top-seed Andy Murray yesterday.
Querrey has now defeated the top seed and defending champ at Wimbledon two years in a row. He beat Novak Djokovic last year.
Did you know Querrey in 2015 was on the reality show "Millionaire Matchmaker"? But, unfortunately, he did not find a match. Querrey is going to play Marin Cilic tomorrow in the semifinals.
Venus Williams meanwhile also two wins away from winning her sixth Wimbledon title. She hasn't won a major since 2008. Now, Venus is going to take on Johanna Konta in today's semifinals match. The crowd definitely going to be on Konta's side as she tries to become the first British female player to win Wimbledon since 1977.
All right. The ESPY taking place last night in L.A. This year, John Cena presenting the Jimmy V Perseverance Award to 15-year-old Saints superfan JJ Robertson. Now, the award goes to someone who has overcame great obstacles through perseverance and determination. Past winners includes Stuart Scott and were Craig Sager.
Now, JJ has battled a rare chronic liver disease his entire life, going through two transplants and more than a dozen surgeries.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JARRIUS ROBERTSON, JIMMY V AWARD WINNER: The past three years have been a blessing for me and my family. I have been doing things I never thought I could do before, and earning the Jimmy V Award tonight is amazing. I want you all to go out, become an organ donor, donate your time, donate blood, donate money and everything. Just come sign up.
[05:25:01] Jamal, we did it!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHOLES: All right. This year's host of the ESPYs was Peyton Manning. He had plenty of jokes about being retired. His best zinger of the night -- it was at the expense of Kevin Durant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PEYTON MANNING, FORMER NFL QUARTERBACK: Our gymnastics team was so dominant that Kevin Durant told me he wants to play for them next year.
And I got to tell you, I don't think he'd star for that team, Kevin. Yes. Russell Westbrook, what do you think?
(END VIDEO CLIP) SCHOLES: I tell you what, guys, I was watching that live. It would not have been as funny if Kevin Durant was not legitimately upset about that joke. You could see his face there. He's never cracked a smile.
BRIGGS: They were ready with the two camera shots. Solo shots.
SCHOLES: It was great. And Kevin Durant does not like it when you talk about him joining the Warriors --
BRIGGS: No. Speaking of that, Andy Scholes, you're a Rockets fan. Carmelo, it sounds, could be going to your Rockets.
SCHOLES: Fingers crossed.
BRIGGS: All right. Buddy, thanks.
SCHOLES: Have a good one.
ROMANS: But he's not my favorite. All right. Thanks, Andy.
President Trump lands in Paris preparing to face reporters for the very first time since his son's Russian lawyer scandal caused chaos at the White House. Will the president have any answers, or will there be more questions? Live in Paris.