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Trump Held Second Talk with Putin; Trump: Let Obamacare Fail; New Details in Minnesota Shooting; Saudi Police Detain Woman in Miniskirt Video. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired July 19, 2017 - 04:30   ET



[04:31:34] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: A second meeting between President Trump and Vladimir Putin just revealed. Why didn't the White House disclose it initially?


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We'll just let Obamacare fail. We're not going to own it. I'm not going to own it. I can tell you, the Republicans are not going to own it.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And with another plan to repeal Obamacare nixed by his own party, President Trump says he's ready to let the law fall apart. But despite long odds of passing repeal, Senate leadership says the vote to proceed to debate will still happen.

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

BRIGGS: Good morning. Good morning, everybody. I'm Dave Briggs. It is 32 minutes past the hour.

The White House pushing back on criticism this morning after it emerged President Trump had a second previously undisclosed discussion with Russian President Vladimir Putin. It happened July 7 at a dinner for world leaders at the G20 in Germany. The White House only going public after they were asked about this discussion. They're also acknowledging that the only witness to the one-on-one chat was Russia's translator, because the U.S. translator at this dinner only spoke Japanese.

ROMANS: So, this conversation raising some questions about what exactly was discussed and why the meeting was never disclosed. President Trump responding to coverage of the revelation of this new meeting, this meeting at the end of the social dinner, with a fiery series of tweets.

Our reporting begins with Sara Murray at the White House.



Another meeting between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin coming to light yesterday. This one was after they held their formal bilateral meeting at the G20. Later, there was a dinner for world leaders and their spouses. A senior White House official says that President Trump and President Putin spoke for nearly an hour.

And Trump is already chafing at the coverage. He took to Twitter in a late night tweet storm, calling the coverage sick and saying the fake news is becoming more and more dishonest. Even a dinner arranged for top 20 leaders in Germany is made to look sinister.

Very clear that even as other big priorities are playing out here in Washington, even as President Trump is struggling to move forward with his domestic agenda, the Russia cloud looms large over White House.

Back to you, guys.


BRIGGS: All right. Thank you, Sara.

The White House offering its perspective on the Putin dinner chat. Officials acknowledge it lasted almost an hour even though the White House statement calls it, quote, brief.

First Lady Melania Trump was seated next to Putin at the dinner. The White House says near the dinner's end, Trump got up from his seat elsewhere and went over to his wife and began speaking with Putin in full view of other world leaders.

ROMANS: All right. The White House statement includes the insinuation that the White House is trying to hide a second meeting is false, malicious and absurd. It is not merely perfectly normal. It is part of the president's duties to interact with world leaders. President Trump has demonstrated American leadership by representing our interests and values on the world stage.

It wasn't just the White House that didn't speak up about this. The Kremlin also kept mum.

CNN's senior international correspondent Ivan Watson live in Moscow for us.

Why would the Kremlin stay quiet about a meeting, a meeting that we're told was some 55 minutes long?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I really don't know. And it may not have been intentional. There was only passing reference from the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov a day or two after the G20, that, hey, the two presidents, that their discussions continued after the bilateral meeting at this dinner.

[04:35:08] He spent more time talking about how Melania Trump and Vladimir Putin, the discussions that they had sitting next to each other. But make no mistake, the first face-to-face encounter between the U.S.

and Russian presidents was very closely covered here, very closely scrutinized by the Russian press. They were doing pretty much a blow by blow analysis frame by frame of the two presidents when they were side by side, and trying to evaluate who got the upper hand, who was stronger there. The meeting, the fact that the first bilateral meeting instead of being a half hour long, extended to more than two hours, that was viewed as a big victory by senior Russian officials here.

So, this was celebrated here. The fact that hours later that President Trump apparently in this improvised encounter then went and sat by Vladimir Putin and then spoke for nearly another hour, that certainly would have been of great interest to the Russian media here in Moscow and certainly would have been seen as yet another victory by senior Russian officials. We don't know why the Kremlin didn't mention it very much, perhaps that is part of why the Kremlin has been rather patient about things like demanding its two diplomatic compounds back and demanding to let some 35 Russian diplomats back in to the U.S.

I'm referring to sanctions imposed by outgoing Obama administration last December, sanctions that Moscow is still very frustrated with, but still apparently willing to give the Trump administration more time to rectify before they follow through on threats to retaliate -- Christine.

ROMANS: Yes, one wonders if that was discussed in this meeting. We won't know. There won't be an official readout. We know it was a social meeting with spouses, a social dinner with spouses. So, that's one way that the White House is trying to down play the significance of the meeting overall.

But, you know, Ian Bremmer, the political scientist who first I guess revealed this quite frankly, he said pretty much everyone at the dinner, he told "The New York Times", thought this was really weird, that here is the president of the United States who clearly wants to display that he has a better relationship with Putin than any of the other members or simply doesn't care. I mean, it is such a scrutinized relationship, these two leaders, spent so much time together, even if, saying, you know, halftime was eaten up by translation, it still is out of the ordinary, isn't it?

WATSON: Again, it's a sign of perhaps of the chemistry between these two leaders during their first meeting, the fact that President Trump had to go become and talk some more. Again, that is something that would be celebrated here and would be seen as a victory for President Putin and those types of victories are typically promoted in the Russian state media.

ROMANS: All right. Ivan Watson for us in Moscow this morning -- thank you very much for that.

WATSON: All right. Turning now to health care, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refusing to concede defeat on the Republican effort to get rid of Obamacare, that's' despite the latest effort for outright repeal now, replace eventually. That failed almost as soon as it was announced. McConnell announced last night, Republicans will hold a first procedural vote on the healthcare bill early next week. It's a move that will force GOP lawmakers to go on the record, to go on the record, to walk the plank really, go on the record ahead of the 2018 midterms.

BRIGGS: Walk the political plank. Yes.

Today, the White House has invited every Republican senator to lunch to talk health care and other issues. With straight up repeal apparently dead, the president says his new plan is to simply let Obamacare fail.


TRUMP: Let Obamacare fail. It will be a lot easier. And I think we're probably in that position where we'll just let Obamacare fail. We're not going to own it. I'm not going to own it. I can tell you, the Republicans are not going to own it.

We'll let Obamacare fail and then the Democrats are going to come to us and they're going to say, how do we fix it, how do we fix it, or how do we come up with a new plan?


BRIGGS: The president also says his party's advantage in Congress isn't strong enough and voters need to elect more Republicans in 2018. But given the sharp divisions revealed by the failure of Obamacare repeal, even that might not solve the party's problems.

More on that now from CNN's Phil Mattingly on Capitol Hill.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Now, Christine and Dave, it's the thing they have campaigned on for seven years. They've negotiated on for more than six months. They own both the Senate and the House in terms of the majority and also, the White House. And now, it appears like they are going to fail. That's repealing Obamacare, the thing we've heard Republicans talk about year after year after year.

Now, if you track back from Monday throughout Tuesday, it was kind of a harried 15 to 20 hours as the initial draft plan collapsed, with two new Republican no votes. And then, Senator Mitch McConnell announced that he would move to another plan, not a repeal and replace plan, as it initially been drafted, but a repeal only plan.

[04:40:05] One problem: senators had already discarded that plan in January; bringing it up also cause problems. Three Republican senators coming out opposed to the new plan, seemingly scuttling that as well. And it's something Senator Mitch McConnell made very clear, the whole process has just been a very difficult one for Republicans. Take a listen. SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: A lot of people have

been involved in a discussion, very passionate discussions, but everybody is giving it their best shot and as of today, we just simply do not have 50 senators who can agree on what ought to replace the existing law.

MATTINGLY: Now, guys, an interesting element here is Senate leaders are still planning to push forward with that vote, at least on the procedural motion, and even though at this moment, they don't have the votes. Essentially, they would be putting it up to fail.

Now, there are a couple reasons, for that, according to Senate aides that I've been speaking to. They want to get all their members on the record. They have a lot of members that made it very clear that even if this isn't going to pass, they want to be able to vote on something. This is as I noted, something that they have campaigned on repeatedly.

But the question becomes, if they fail in this vote as it looks like they are going to, what are the next steps? Is this officially done? Well, that's an open question. Clearly, they don't have the votes to replace. Clearly, if the repeal only effort fails, they don't have the votes for repeal.

So, is there some type of next step, some type of pathway forward? It's something only leaders can answer. But at least at this moment, it appears like no -- Christine and Dave.


BRIGGS: It does appear the case. Phil, thank you.

Iran now promising sanctions of its own against American interests after the U.S. imposed new ones on Tehran. Iran condemning the new sanctions as, quote, illegal, saying it fulfilled its obligations under this nuclear deal. But the State Department says the U.S. remains deeply concerned about Iran's activities in the Middle East, including its support for U.S. designated terror groups and Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Human rights and the development of its ballistic missile program.

This is essentially a bad deal that they are living up to, so there's very little the administration can do in this case.

Ahead, there are new details this morning about what may have led a police officer to shoot Justine Ruszczyk. This comes as Minnesota police try to ease concerns about a lack of early information on the case.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our goal is not speed, but we do recognize the public's desire and right to know as much as possible as soon as possible.

(END VIDEO CLIP) [04:46:42] ROMANS: Welcome back.

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake coming to the defense of his Democratic challenger after she became the target of online hate for being Muslim. Democrat Deedra Abboud wrote a Facebook post about the Founding Fathers and the separation of church and state. Abboud and her words were met with harsh, extremely harsh vitriol which we're not going to share because of the hateful content.

Last night, Senator Flake, the Republican incumbent, posted this on Twitter: Hang in there, Deedra. Sorry you have to put up with this, lots of wonderful people across Arizona. You'll find them.

BRIGGS: New details emerging this morning in the death of a Minnesota woman shot and killed by police. Now, state investigators say two officers, Mohamed Noor and Matthew Harrity, responded to the 911 call placed by Justine Ruszczyk about a possible sexual assault by driving to an ally near her home with their squad car lights off. Officer Harrity, who is driving the vehicle, says he was startled by a loud second.

Seconds later, Ruszczyk approached his window, that is when Harrity says his partner Officer Noor fired at Ruszczyk from the passenger seat. The officer's exited the vehicle and provided medical attention until help arrived.

ROMANS: Officer Noor is so far refusing to speak with investigators. It's one of the many frustrations for Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges.


BETSY HODGES, MAYOR OF MINNEAPOLIS: We do have more information now, though it's frustrating to have some of the picture but not all of it. We cannot compel Officer Noor to make a statement. We can't compel him by law. But I wish that he would make that statement.


ROMANS: It could be several months before state investigators are able to explain what happened. The city is fine tuning its body camera policy and notes that cameras on the two officers were not turned on in this case. Both officers have been placed on administrative leave.

A self-proclaimed drug dealer in Florida busts himself. The sheriff's office in Okaloosa, Florida, says David Blackman called them to report that someone broke into his car, stole 50 bucks in cash and a quarter ounce of cocaine. The sheriff's office says the responding deputy easily solved the case, finding cocaine still in the car, a crack pipe on the floor board and crack rock on the center consul.


ROMANS: Forty-eight minutes past the hour. Right.

Snapchat's rivalry with Instragram is heating up with the addition of a new feature, but which app will come out on top? That's on CNN "Money Stream", next.


[04:53:16] BRIGGS: Video of a woman wearing a mini skirt and crop top in public in Saudi Arabia sparking fierce worldwide debate. Police have detained her and a hashtag was created that pushes for her to be put on trial. The incident is drawing international attention as Saudi Arabia struggles to shake off rules in the past as it tries to move into the future.

CNN's Becky Anderson is live in Abu Dhabi.

Good morning to you, Becky. What do we know?

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dave, it certainly looks normal enough, right? But this is Saudi Arabia. Specifically, this is in a province of the kingdom that is the birth place of the kingdom's ultra conservative Wahhabi school of Islamic thought.

Let's be clear: anyone who lives in Saudi knows that modesty laws dictate women must be suitably covered in public, long loose robes and head scarves. Some cover their faces. So, it's not a total surprise that when this video went viral, authorities tracked down woman and took her in for questioning.

This statement is from the police that we've obtained and it says that she admitted to visiting site this question with a male guardian, and that the viral videos were published by an account attributed to her without her knowledge, the police say.

No further word as of yet on what happens with her next, but social media for which let me tell you Saudis have a veracious appetite is awash with this. This thing went nuts from comments like people who don't respect the kingdom's rules don't deserve for live in it, to suggestions that if she were from the West, people would be falling head over heels for her. And many people actually digging up the images of Melania and Ivanka Trump's recent trip to Riyadh with the U.S. president, of course, during which they got rave reviews for their style despite both of them foregoing head scarves.

[04:55:12] Exceptions it seems are made in Saudi for visiting dignitaries.

The context of this is important. Under the leadership of a young crown prince, de facto leader, some would say, Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia is undergoing major change, introducing what is ambitious economic and social plan. It's called Saudi Vision 2030. At the same time, it's rolling back some of the powers of its religious police.

So, Dave, change is afoot. Believe me, I've been in and out a number of times recently. But long held beliefs by conservative segments in Saudi Arabia will take a lot longer to change.

BRIGGS: Yes, clearly. People here are just looking at that video saying it hardly even raises an eyebrow here. Hopefully, things will change.

Becky, thanks so much.

All right. Swiss authorities may have solved a mystery dating back to the early 1940s. It happened when an employee at a ski lift company came across two bodies near a shrinking glacier at an elevation of more than 8500 feet. Local police say the remains are believe to be those of a Swiss couple who set off on foot in the Alps back in 1942 but never returned.

Authorities say it will take a few days to DNA evidence to formally confirm the identities. The couple's youngest daughter says after 75 years, the news gives her some relief.

ROMANS: Five sons, two daughters. That daughter was 4 years old when their parents left to family to milk the cows and never came back.

BRIGGS: Yes, what an amazing reveal.

ROMANS: It really is.

BRIGGS: All right. Let's get a check on CNN "Money Stream" this morning.

Global stock markets are higher as U.S. tech stocks are back on top. Netflix soaring more than 13 percent on the strong subscriber growth I told you about yesterday, pushing the NASDAQ to a new record high. Index is now recovered completely from the selloff last month. The S&P 500 also a fresh all-time high.

The failure of the Senate's health bill briefly sent stocks lower, causing investors to question the future of the entire Trump economic agenda. But that overshadowed by big corporate profit. When companies make money, a lot of money and are forecast to keep making money, that is what is reflected in the stock market. So, stock prices are reflecting companies making money.

More corporate profits today. Morgan Stanley, Unilever and American Express are reporting.

Chipotle facing a new food safety scare. Investors are not happy about it, but stock fell 6 percent after Chipotle closed a restaurant in Virginia due to people getting sick. The company says the symptoms are consistent with norovirus. It's only been two year since multiple restaurants were hit with outbreaks of norovirus and E. coli, sickening hundreds of customers and dragging down sales.

Snapchat's rivalry with Instagram is heating up. The company is adding a new feature to let you record consecutive videos. It's just the latest in a slew of updates to compete with Instagram. Instagram now offers many of the same features of Snapchat including face filters, stories. So far, Instagram appears to be winning. Instagram stories has 80 million more daily users than Snapchat.

BRIGGS: Have you ever done a story?

ROMANS: I haven't.

BRIGGS: Are you even on Instagram?

ROMANS: I'm not.

BRIGGS: I was searching for you last night.


BRIGGS: That sounds interesting.

ROMANS: No, no --

BRIGGS: We were at a party for our colleague Alisyn Camerota who has a new book out. And we're looking to give it promotion. You need to get on Instagram.

ROMANS: I will.

BRIGGS: That's the point I'm trying to make.

ROMANS: I'm on Facebook and Twitter. And I prefer Facebook actually.

BRIGGS: All right. EARLY START continues right now.


BRIGGS: A second meeting between President Trump and President Vladimir Putin just revealed. So, why didn't the White House disclose it initially?

Plus --


TRUMP: We'll just let Obamacare fail. We're not going to own it. I'm not going to own it. I can tell you, the Republicans are not going to own it.


ROMANS: With another plan to repeal Obamacare nixed by his own party, President Trump says he's ready to let the law fall apart. Now, despite long odds of passing repeal, Senate leadership says a vote to begin debate will proceed.

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

BRIGGS: Good morning. I'm Dave Briggs. It's Wednesday, July 19th, it is 5:00 a.m. in the East.

And this morning, the White House pushing back on criticism this morning after it emerged President Trump had a second previously undisclosed discussion with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Now, it happened July 7th at a dinner for world leader of the G20 in Germany. The White House only going public after they were asked about the

discussion. They are also acknowledging only witness to the one-on- one chat was Russia's translator. The U.S. translator at this dinner only spoke Japanese.

ROMANS: The conversation raising some questions about what exactly was discussed and why the meeting was never disclosed. President Trump responding to coverage of this revelation of a meeting with a fiery series of tweets.