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Presidents Watch Bastille Day Parade; Questions Swirl Around Don Jr. Meeting; GOP Unveils Revised Health Care Bill. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired July 14, 2017 - 04:30   ET



[04:30:39] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Right now in Paris, President Trump, the guest of honor at the Bastille Day parade. It comes, though, with the Russian scandal. Did the president learn weeks before he claims damaging emails to his son about a meeting with the Russian lawyer?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And the new Republican health care bill faces an old problem. Can Mitch McConnell find a way to appease all factions to get this thing passed?

BRIGGS: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. It is 4:30 Eastern Time. It is 10:30 in Paris.

New questions this morning for President Trump over his son's meeting with a Russian lawyer who he hoped would provide the dirt on Hillary Clinton. Now, the big question for President Trump is what he knew and when. Yahoo! News reporting that President Trump's legal team learned more than three weeks ago about this e-mail chain setting up the meeting. The president still says he only learned of the meeting a few days ago.

ROMANS: And there are new concerns within the West Wing that the scramble to respond to reporting on the Don Jr. meeting and those emails may have inadvertently drawn White House aides into the special counsel's Russia investigation.

For the latest, let's turn to CNN's Jeff Zeleny. He is traveling with the president in Paris this morning, where it's a little past 10:30 in the morning.

Good morning.


All those questions about the Russia investigation are hanging over the president as he is here in Paris. He'll be attending the Bastille Day parade which is going to be getting underway momentarily. Behind me here, we're watching the military troops go by. But it is that cloud and the deepening investigation and the central

questions, as you said, when did the president know about the June, 2016, meeting between his son, son-in-law, and campaign chairman at the time, Paul Manafort, and Russian lawyer?

Now, the White House insisting the president only knew the last couple of days. But new reporting suggests this morning from CNN and elsewhere that that's actually likely not the situation. That his lawyers and local team knew about this potentially several weeks ago in June. And that they had been preparing a strategy here.

The reason this matters, the timing is part of the investigation on the House and Senate committees' as well as the White House special counsel here. So, the timing and who knew when and what is a central question the White House is dealing with as well as these legal challenges. The White House team, the advisers' aides, have been trying to stay away from talking about any of this at all. But the discovery of the meeting has potentially drawn them into the legal fray here.

So, all of this will be playing out as the president enjoys a bit of a respite here this morning which also coincides with the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entering World War II. That's the president is here. He will be flying back to the U.S. later today -- Dave and Christine.

ROMANS: Interesting, Jeff, at a time when the U.S. talks about -- the president talks about America first. A reminder from the French president that the last century at least, it was defined by America and its international help and aspirations.

All right. Thanks so much, Jeff Zeleny.

BRIGGS: So, with all that as the backdrop, the president and first lady attending the Bastille Day parade in Paris this morning, along with the president of France and his wife, Brigitte. They'll watch French and American troops marching side by side, marking, as Jeff said, 100 years since the U.S. entered World War I, turning the tide in that bloody conflict.

Joining us from the parade route along the Champs Elysees is CNN's Melissa Bell.

Good morning to you, Melissa.

Let's talk about the relationship if you, can real quick, that was described as awkward coming in. Macron and Trump, would you describe it as chummy so far?

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I wouldn't go so far as bromance, but definitely we're getting close to chummy territory. It had been two alpha males really squaring off against each other until now. Last night what you saw in the press conference, it startled the French press, so friendly were the two men. So great was the complicit apparently between two presidents that at least everything in terms of world vision and ideology divides. But I think there's a sense that they do have in common the fact that

these are two political outsiders, who having established that they had a certain respect for one another, could then sit down together in a bilateral meeting and make progress.

[04:35:11] Once nay got up to speed -- once they got up to speed, you had a sense that they had. I think one crucial thing that's coming out is this is a gamble in the part for Emmanuel Macron. Donald Trump is not popular man here on the European continent precisely because of what Christine was just reminding viewers, that make as, quote, America first slogan that's worried the United States' historical allies.

And the fact that out of that meeting the two could come and talk about the fact that they saw eye to eye on questions of Syria, that they determined to increase cooperation on questions like the fight against terror, where Donald Trump even went so far as to say that even on the Paris climate accord, and it was the first time we heard any shift in his position, there might be some dialogue that was possible. All of these things suggest that this was a winning gamble. In fact, a poll out shows the majority of French people think that Emmanuel Macron did the right thing in inviting the American president.

BRIGGS: And very quiet on the protest front, as well. Melissa Bell live for us along the Champs Elysees, on Bastille Day in Paris, thank you.

ROMANS: You know, it's so interesting when I look back at the history, you know, yesterday, I had a really long walk through the war memorials, the monuments there, they saw the tomb of napoleon. Macron is a former investment banker. Donald Trump is an American real estate magnate.

The biggest real estate deal, the most consequential real estate deal in history is the Louisiana purchase, between the French and the Americans, doubling the size of the United States. Napoleon was the leader of France who signed off on that, like $10 million. Think about that --

BRIGGS: Nice analogy there, Christine Romans.

ROMANS: I'm just saying that we have been business partners and allies longer than anyone in terms of modern democracies. So, that's a little bit of the history of this important relationship. Everything that's going on in Paris, one moment getting outside attention from the president's trip so far, it's his remark to Brigitte Macron, wife of the French president, complimenting her looks. Her appearance. Let's listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You're in such good shape. Beautiful.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: You're in such good shape, beautiful. It's not the first time since taking office the president has drawn attention for commenting on a woman's appearance.

Just a few weeks ago, he interrupted a phone call to remark on an Irish reporter's nice smile. It is one of the mannerisms of President Trump where he talks about women's appearance.

BRIGGS: She looked uncomfortable by it. Are you?

ROMANS: Look, she is a feminist. She is incredibly intelligent. She -- I mean, she has a long resume of accomplishments. She's revered -- especially by young women in France, by the way, who -- millennial women, who think of her as the ideal, what they want to be. You know, smart, beautiful, accomplished.

So, you know, just her shape, being in good shape is such a small part of Brigitte Macron --

BRIGGS: It would be nice to hear remarks about a woman's intellect. But you be the judge.

ROMANS: Maybe it's a generational thing, I don't know. I think you're in great shape, Dave. You look good. You look good.

BRIGGS: Thank you very much. I appreciate that.

Let us know @earlystart on Twitter if you find the remarks offensive.

Ahead, President Trump says conversations are underway with Russia to broker another cease-fire in Syria. Buried a bit in the president's news conference Thursday in Paris, the president gave Moscow credit for its help, adding a second region to its current cease-fire.


TRUMP: By having some communication and dialogue, we were able to have a cease-fire, and it's going to go on for a while. And, frankly, we're working on a second cease-fire in a very rough part of Syria. And if we get that and a few more, all of a sudden, you're going to have no bullets being fired in Syria.


BRIGGS: Trump's comments come as the latest cease-fire in southwestern Syria brokered by the U.S., Russia, and Jordan, remains intact after nearly a week. A hopeful sign in a country where numerous cease-fires have quickly fallen apart.

ROMANS: Breaking overnight, a federal judge in Hawaii loosening the restrictions in president Trump's travel ban. Grandparents and relatives like in-laws, aunts, and uncles, will now be allowed to travel to the U.S. from six mostly Muslim nations targeted by the measure. The Supreme Court ruled last month the administration can bar travelers who lack any bona fide relationship to a person or entity in the U.S. District Court Judge Derek Watson ruling the White House

misinterpreted the rule when they excluded grandparents and other relatives like aunts and uncles. The Trump administration must appeal the decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court if it wants Judge Watson's order lifted.

BRIGGS: Also breaking overnight, two people shot in Jerusalem's old city in what Israeli police are calling a terrorist attack. They say three armed attackers were shot and killed after they fired at police units who responded to the shooting.

[04:40:03] The wounded victims were taken to nearby hospitals. The attack happening near Lions' Gate, next to what Jews call the Temple Mount, what Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary. Officials say that area closed for the day.

ROMANS: All right. The new Republican health care bill still facing the same old problems. And this morning, the president making his thoughts known on Twitter.

BRIGGS: And we're keeping an eye on the Bastille Day parade in Paris. President Trump the guest of honor, alongside Emmanuel Macron. And U.S. fighter jets for the first time part of this parade. You'll see F-16s, F-22 Raptors, on the most important day on the French calendar.

EARLY START coverage continues when we return.


[04:45:04] BRIGGS: Welcome back to EARLY START and a live look at the Bastille Day celebration there in France along the Champs Elysees. A military parade. The U.S. and French jets a part of this parade.

This is the first time ever that you'll see U.S. planes, including F- 16s and F-22 Raptors, and a brilliant look at the planes and overhead of Paris. Most important day on the French calendar.

ROMANS: Sure. You know, this is always a beautiful spectacle, in France, in Paris, small towns around the country. But this is that important day, 100 years ago, the U.S. entered World War I, really changing the tide. One wonders if part of the invitation from Emmanuel Macron to Donald Trump was in part to remind the president, the American president that United States has shown over the years and how, in fact, the last century was really marked by American sacrifice and American willingness to dive into problems and solve problems around the rest of the world.

BRIGGS: Yes, it's a great point. And you've got to look there at the 39-year-old French president, Emmanuel Macron. And what bonds them is not just security and the military, but the fact that they are political outsiders who have stormed the political castle. And they are forming an interesting bond, one that was awkward coming in, but downright chummy thus far in these 24 hours before the president departs. He will come back to New Jersey where his golf course is hosting the United States Women's Open. Emmanuel Macron will, of course, go to Nice and commemorate the terrible anniversary of that terrorist activity where 86 were killed a year ago.

ROMANS: That's right.

All right. We'll continue to dive into these pictures on Bastille Day commemoration where the president -- the American president and his wife Melania are ringside there for the pomp and circumstance.

Meantime at home, U.S. stocks are at the highest in history. A second high in a row for the Dow. The first after the Fed signaled it may be more cautious about rate hikes. The second is thanks to bank stocks.

Financial shares are up 8 percent this year. Banks are making record profits. And the Fed just gave banks the OK to unleash record payouts to shareholders. JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Citigroup all report a fresh rounds of earnings today. That officially kicks off second-quarter earnings.

At last quarter, profits grew at the fastest pace in years. So, expectations are pretty high for this time around. Analysts predict the S&P 500 profits will rise at least 6 percent this quarter.

In a rare event for Wall Street, retail stocks surged. Target, J.C. Penney, and Gap all jumping at least 5 percent. Even Sears which says it may not stay in business saw its stock jump 7 percent. Brick and mortar stores have struggled with the rise of online shopping. Target projects a solid boost in sales over the past two months. That is what kicked off the rally. The target news --

BRIGGS: Sears and JCPenney in particular, some good news for the economy.

All right. Well, there is a new GOP health care bill this morning, but it's stuck in the same old place. Not clear there's enough support to even begin debate on the Senate floor, much less pass this bill. After weeks of triangulation by Senate leaders, it's clear Republicans still face a very uphill battle to get the minimum 50 votes.

President Trump weighing in on Air Force One's flight to Paris, quote, I'd say the only thing more difficult than peace between Israel and the Palestinians is health care.

This morning, the president tweeting, quote, Republican senators are working hard to get their failed Obamacare replacement approved. I will be at my desk, pen in hands. One of several tweets this morning on health care.

CNN's Ryan Nobles has more from Capitol Hill.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, good morning.

And senators have finally revealed their revised plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, and already, that plan is in trouble. At least two senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky, have said that they can't support the bill in its current form. That would mean no other senators could abandon ship if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hopes to get this bill passed.

And let's take a look some of the revisions in place in this bill and it is a 172-page bill, so we can't get to everything. But here some highlights: there's now an option in this bill to offer cheaper plans with fewer benefits. So, they would cost less, but they would not cover nearly as much. There's also a provision that would now allow people to use their health savings accounts to pay for their premiums. Currently, you're not allowed to do that under the law.

There is a boost for spending to help combat the opioid crisis, some $45 billion additional in place for that.

But here's one of the controversial aspects -- there's no significant change to the original bill as it relates to Medicaid.

[04:50:04] Still, deep cuts in place there, something moderates are unhappy with. Moderates are, though, happy with the fact that there is not going to be a repeal on taxes for the very wealthy. There are significant tax cuts in the bill, but not the ones that would go specifically to the most wealthy earners.

So, with so many senators undecided at this point, the score from the Congressional Budget Office is going to be crucial.

We expect that to come as early as Monday, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that he hopes to have the vote on the motion to proceed. That's the critical vote that will bring the bill to the floor as soon as Tuesday. And right now, he can't lose even one more Republican vote -- Dave and Christine.


ROMANS: Ryan, thank you.

BRIGGS: That is a narrow margin.

ROMANS: It sure is.

All right. Are you planning on catching a flight? You may have to pay a little more. Coming up on CNN "Money Stream."

BRIGGS: And it's Bastille Day in France. And President Trump the guest of honor at a military parade along the Champs Elysees. Right alongside Emmanuel Macron, the first ladies of the United States and France. More coverage of this special parade ahead on EARLY START.


[04:55:19] ROMANS: A Pennsylvania man will be spared the death penalty after admitting his involvement in the murder of four young men who went missing last week in eastern Pennsylvania.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: What do you have to say to the families, Cosmo? Anything to say?


REPORTER: Why did you do it?


ROMANS: The attorney for 20-year-old Cosmo Dinardo declining to say exactly what role his client played in the killings. Dinardo's family owns the suburban Philadelphia property where human remains were found in a 12-foot-deep grave. According to his lawyer, Dinardo told police where the bodies were located and is cooperating with the investigation. Another update from the Bucks County district attorney is expected this morning.

BRIGGS: The parents of baby Charlie Gard storming out of Britain's high court two hours into an emotionally charged hearing. Chris Gard and his wife Connie are fighting to bring their son to the United States for experimental treatment of a rare genetic disorder. They bolted from Thursday's hearing after a disagreement with a comment from the judge. They returned after a break with the judge vowing to keep an open mind.

During the hearing an unidentified doctor from the U.S. said there was an 11 percent to 56 percent chance of clinically meaningful improvement with the proposed experimental treatment.

This is just a difficult, painful, emotional story on both sides.

Picture this -- you drive up to an ATM machine to get cash. Instead, it dispenses a "help me" note. This actually happened in Corpus Christi, Texas. A contractor changing out the lock of an ATM access door got stuck inside.

Listen to this officer --


POLICE OFFICER: Sure enough, we can hear a voice coming from the machine.


BRIGGS: I didn't know that could happen. The contractor slipped notes asking for help through the cash dispenser's receipts slot.

Some people thought it was a prank at first. One person realized it was for real. Gave his boss a call. Police freed the man trapped inside. You'd be looking for the camera, wouldn't you? Someone playing a prank.

ROMANS: Yes. Oh, my gosh.

All right. Let's get check on CNN "Money Stream" this morning. Global stock markets mixed after the Dow hit another record high. Why

so high? Bank stocks. Bank profits hitting financial records, shares up 8 percent this year.

The latest bump in anticipation of big-name earnings. JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Citigroup all report today. That officially kicks off second- quarter earnings season. That's the main event on Wall Street. Expectations are pretty high. Last season, profits grew at the highest, fastest pace in years.

Catching a flight? You may have to pay a little more. For first time in years, Delta says it's charging passengers more, raising fares. Fares will jump as much as 4.5 percent this year. American Airlines expects a steeper rise. Years of cheap fuel has spared competition keeping fares low. But now, both fuel and labor costs are rising, so airlines plan to boost ticket prices to offset the cost.

Many college grads say they put off buying a home because of student debt. Now, there's proof. Young ownership has fallen drastically in the past 10 years from 32 percent in 2007 to 21 percent last year. A report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found student debt explains 35 percent of the decline.

The average for those who graduated with debt last year, 37 grand. And monthly payments prevent millennials for saving for a down payment, essentially freezing them out of the housing market.

There's also I think a change in attitude for millennials who don't want homeownership. And you look at the rise in the building of multifamily dwellings, apartment complexes with everything from cool pools to media rooms to awesome drinking decks, for example. That's because millennials don't necessarily want a house.

BRIGGS: Right. They don't want to buy a car. They want to lease. They want to use Uber.

All right. Much more coverage of the Bastille Pay parade. President Trump along side Emmanuel Macron as EARLY START continues right now.


BRIGGS: Right now, President Trump in Paris. He's a guest of honor at the Bastille Day parade. This comes, though, with the Russia scandal looming large. We've learned Jared Kushner planned to tell the president weeks ago about damaging emails. Did he?

ROMANS: And the new Republican health care bill faces the same-old problem. Can Mitch McConnell find a way to appease all factions to get this bill passed?

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: Major implications there. I'm Dave Briggs. It's Friday, July 14th, 5:0:00 a.m. in the East.

New questions this morning for President Trump over his son's meeting with the Russian lawyer who he hoped would provide the dirt on Hillary Clinton. The big question for President Trump is what he knew about it and when?