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Scaramucci Alerting FBI About Leaks of His Financial Data; Trump to Ban Transgender People From Military Service; Tragedy At Ohio State Fair; USA Captures Gold Cup Title. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired July 27, 2017 - 05:00   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Is the White House communications director accusing the chief of staff of leaking? A cryptic message from Anthony Scaramucci.


GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: This fair's been here a long time. This is the worst tragedy in the history of the fair.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Deadly accident at the Ohio State Fair. People sent flying from 20 feet off of one of the most popular rides.

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

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It is Thursday, July 27th. It is 5:00 a.m. exactly in the East.

[05:00:02] Some apparent infighting at the highest levels of the White House with the president's new communications director seeming to suggest White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus had a hand in leaking his financial disclosures.

Now, Anthony Scaramucci says he's going to the FBI. Now, this bizarre episode began with a cryptic tweet from Scaramucci. Here it is: In light of the leak of my financial disclosure info, which is a felony, I will be contacting the FBI and Justice Department. #swamp. And look at that. He tagged Reince Priebus.

BRIGGS: Now, the reference to Priebus is not at all clear. But CNN contributor Ryan Lizza tweeted this: In case there's ambiguity in his tweet, I can confirm Scaramucci wants the FBI to investigate Reince for leaking. All this coming after a political story that listed millions in earnings and salary from Scaramucci's ownership stake in the company called SkyBridge before he left to go to the Export/Import Bank in June.

Now, it's not entirely clear whether "Politico" got the document by leak or by public record. In an interview taped before all this happened, Scaramucci said this --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I know I'm in the cesspool called Washington or a swamp called Washington. So, it will be virtually impossible to get rid of every leak. But I think we can take dramatic steps to get rid of leaks.

One of the big problems here that I'm discovering in the comms team is that senior people are really the guys doing the leaking, and they ask junior people to leak for them. And so, I'm very proud to be reporting directly to the president so that I can hermetically seal off the comms team from this sort of nonsense.


ROMANS: That drew this response from the Department of Justice: We have seen an astonishing number of leaks in the classified national security information in the recent months. We agree with Anthony that the staggering number of leaks are undermining the ability of our government to function and to protect the country.

BRIGGS: After all this went down, Scaramucci deleted the initial tweet and sent this one: Wrong. Tweet was public notice to leakers that all senior administration officials are helping to end illegal leaks. And again, he tagged Priebus.

We reached out to Ryan Lizza. He stands by his reporting that Scaramucci wants Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, investigated.

ROMANS: All right. Let's bring in Tal Kopan, CNN digital politics reporter. She's in our Washington bureau.

And this obsession with leaks -- I mean, Anthony Scaramucci yesterday on NEW DAY said that this would be top of mind, getting the leaks under control. What's interesting to me is some of the leaks are coming just because of the out-of-the ordinary nature of business in the West Wing, right? I mean, some of the leaks are in response to the climate in the West Wing, the climate in Washington. Not -- you know what I mean? It's like what came first?

TAL KOPAN, CNN DIGITAL POLITICS REPORTER: Well, and there's a lot that's being painted with a broad brush here. I mean, keep in mind, every administration, a lot of Capitol Hill offices, you know, various entities in Washington sort of selectively leak information to reporters that they want to get their message out there. So, you know, there's a bit -- that's not necessarily counter to the agenda of the office, it's just a way of getting information out there.

So, there's that kind of leak, you know, then there is sort of behind the back, something designed to, you know, harm someone else. Then, you have folks who believe that some information that may be classified is so important that the public needs to hear it.

And so, they work with reporters to get the information to the public. So, there's a lot of different kind of stuff that happens in Washington. And to sort of cast them all in the same light is a bit challenging and sort of difficult to impact exactly what the White House is upset about here.

And like you said in the introduction, we don't even know if what Scaramucci's referring to is a leak because financial disclosure forms become public. This could have been a Freedom of Information Act request for all we know.

ROMANS: Right.

BRIGGS: Yes, anyone could have access to this very material. The bottom line is the Oval Office has become a firing squad, a circular firing squad. And Anthony Scaramucci has not begun to clean that up.

Let's talk about the mess that the president continues to create via Twitter, changing major White House and military policy on Twitter, announcing a ban of transgender community in the military. We don't even know if those 4,000 members of the military can continue to serve or if they could be kicked out immediately. Sarah Huckabee Sanders could not answer that question.

But the bottom line here is, is this in your opinion a military budgetary decision, or is it entirely political?

KOPAN: I mean, it's very hard to say what exactly went into a decision made by the president. Certainly, it's a -- let's say a nontraditional way of announcing such a major policy change.

[05:05:02] And without some really key questions answered --

ROMANS: Sure --

KOPAN: -- you know, keep in mind John McCain quickly put a statement -- the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee -- we can't have such a policy announced by Twitter. This needs to go through the proper channels. The Defense Department has been reviewed this issue in-depth when the president seemingly acted alone.

And, you know, while this was happening behind the scenes on Capitol Hill, there was a government funding debate where there was a dispute over whether to include an amendment that would specifically cover transgender reassignment surgery. There's a bit of sort of wonderment whether the president just decided to take that debate and end it, but almost in a nuclear way, and go very far and just reject transgender people in the military altogether.

ROMANS: We're showing, just for some comparison, you know, the president talks about the costs, the unbearable costs of transgender people in the military. You can see on the left side of the screen, this is the Rand Corporation numbers. They're estimating we'll go on the high side, $8 million for the cost of hormone and gender transition treatments for the people in the military who are seeking them. And then by comparison, you see, you know, the president's seven trips to Mar-a-Lago cost $2 million, about the same as the low end of the estimate. That's just for comparison.

When you're talking about the humongous, two million each, wow, it is two million each -- BRIGGS: Two million per visit to Mar-a-Lago.

ROMANS: Two million per visit to Mar-a-Lago. I mean, if he's worried about costs, there are other ways. That's why it makes this look political, right?

KOPAN: Yes, certainly. And, you know, the other question here is what sort of thinking went into this thinking before they happened, and, you know, was he consulting with his generals who ware analyzing this beforehand? And, you know, the sort of other mood music in all of this is, of course, this came as there was increasing questions about his sort of war on Attorney General Jeff Sessions which has the deep risk of alienating his base who very much respect Jeff Sessions.

And this is something that may fire up his base. So, there are questions about what decision making led to this announcement out of the blue.

BRIGGS: Yes, and that's something when we get to the message this sends about American values around the world. But let's talk about health care, a big day today yet again. And now, it's the skinny repeal that is subject to be voted on. And that brings to mind notions of a reality star's margarita brand or latte at Starbucks. This is the nation's health care, so it cheapens that a bit.

Are there the votes for the skinny repeal which gets rids of the individual employer mandate, the device tax, and does this go anywhere to improving the country's health care?

KOPAN: I think people are probably getting sick of this answer which is we don't know. But the reason you keep hearing it is because in remarkable fashion we don't know. This is happening sort of in real time without a plan of how it's all going to go, which is extremely unusual for what we typically see for votes, especially in the Senate where things are very controlled and usually the outcome is preordained.

I mean, this is getting still, you know, finally written with I's being dotted and T's being crossed. We're still waiting for information as to what the impact will actually be. Democrats have asked CBO for some of that information, but because we don't fully know what's going to be in it, it's a little bit difficult to say.

And we don't know whether the votes are there. They don't look to be there. But again, until that final vote is cast, there's incredible suspense that's happening in the Senate today.

ROMANS: Suspense is one way to put it.


BRIGGS: Dysfunction is another.

ROMANS: It's political suspense.

All right. We'll talk to you in a few minutes. Thanks for getting up early for us, Tal, in this Thursday morning.

KOPAN: Thank you.

BRIGGS: All right. We'll see you in a bit.

One person killed, several others in critical condition after a horrific accident at the Ohio state fair. It's leaving officials and witnesses shaken.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard a girl scream, help. I look over and seen someone fly out. And then I've seen it flat to the ground.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was -- the thing you put over you. They was stuck, and they couldn't move. This girl -- mom -- I remember the little girl's face. She was screaming for her mom.


ROMANS: Tragedy strikes at the Ohio state fair in Columbus. One person was killed when a ride malfunctioned. Seven others injured. Three are in critical condition this morning.

This accident was caught on video. We're only showing part of the video because of the graphic nature. You can see where we stopped the video. What you can't see is one of the cars on the fireball ride spins off. The entire car broke off the ride and slammed to the ground.

Ohio Governor John Kasich ordering all rides at the fair to be shut down and plans to travel there today. Kasich also offering his condolences.


KASICH: It's kind of hard to imagine that you have family that goes to a state fair and those calls come that there was a terrible accident, a terrible tragedy, and somebody you love was involved.


BRIGGS: After the accident, people rushed in to help. Witnesses say cars were thrown 20 feet into the air when it detached.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The ride, it goes really, really fast and goes in circles and rocks right to left. I heard a girl scream, help. I look over and seen something fly out. And then I'd seen it flat to the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole part broke off. Two people flew out in the air. I was able to get off the ride.

[05:15:01] It happened simultaneously. Looked to the right, seen the car flying, two people flying out of their seats. It was crazy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It just looked like, I don't know, something I never seen before.

SUSIE BUCHANAN, ATTENDED FAIR: I feel terrible for those people that they've left behind, their families. You know, you come over, you think you're going to have a lot of fun. Then you end up with something like this. This is really a shame for those families.


ROMANS: The fair's chief ride inspector says there were no red flags when the fireball ride was examined before the tragic accident. State officials say the fair will be open this morning with all other activities resuming as scheduled.

A huge win for President Trump's jobs promise. Foxconn, the Taiwanese manufacturer, is coming to Wisconsin. Flanked by Governor Scott Walker and House Speaker Paul Ryan, the CEO says Foxconn will invest $10 billion in an LCD panel plant which the president takes credit for.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To make such an incredible investment, Chairman Gou put his faith and confidence in the future of the American economy. In other words, if I didn't get elected, he definitely would not be spending $10 billion.



ROMANS: Foxconn employs hundreds of thousands in China assembling products for Apple and Microsoft. Gou teased shifting production to the U.S. shortly after Trump's inauguration. He has promised that before, though. In 2013, Foxconn announced a $30 million plant in Pennsylvania that still has not been built. One possible difference this time, generous tax incentives. Wisconsin's governor says the state will offer up to $3 billion in incentives to create the 13,000 jobs. That translates to about $230,000 from taxpayers for each job.

What's really interesting about the back story about the Foxconn promise is the president had been in Kenosha, Wisconsin, saw this big empty spot of land, and he said to Reince Priebus, they should do something there. They should build something there. Someone should build something there.

So, when he heard that Foxconn was scouting around the country for a place to do manufacturing here, the president said, you know that spot in Kenosha? They should go to Kenosha. So, immediately Reince Priebus, Paul Ryan, Scott Walker, the governor, all really worked hard to attract Foxconn there.

BRIGGS: It could have been arguably the best day in the six months for the Trump administration if it weren't for Twitter.

Meanwhile, the U.S. and Jamaica going to the wire in the gold cup soccer final in California. Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report." What a match.


[05:22:02] BRIGGS: U.S. MNT trending on Twitter because Team USA protecting home soil, winning the sixth Gold Cup.

ROMANS: Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report." Good morning, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, guys. You know, there were nervous moments in this one before Team USA was able to pull it out. It would be an unlikely hero coming to the rescue.

Take a look at the highlights. In the 50th minute, 22-year-old Jordan Morris, seen here, loses track of his man. Jamaica's going to score off the corner to tie the game up at one. Morris would get redemption, 88th minute, he gets the ball in the minute of the box, and he buries it.

And Morris just a winner. He won a national title at Stanford, a title with Seattle. Now he can add a Gold Cup to his resume as the U.S. beats Jamaica, 2-1.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) has no chance of making the next qualifying round --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- for the world cup --



SCHOLES: All right. For the first time ever at the World Championships, Katie Ledecky did not bring home the gold in an event. Ledecky coming in second in the women's 200-meter freestyle. She lost to Italy's Federica Pellegrini, who's the world record holder in the event. Ledecky, the most dominant female swimmer in the world, had been 12-12 in terms of winning gold over the past three championships. She said afterwards that she didn't have her A game in the race.

All right. Marlins Rangers, third base man Adrian Beltre wanted to get a better look at the pitchers. So, he was warming up nearly all the way behind home plate. So much so that you could see him on the normal broadcast view right there. Well, the first base umpire told him, get back on the on-deck circle. And Beltre, he wanted to have fun with it, so he was moving the on-deck circle to the spot of his liking.

Well, that prompted the umpire to just throw Beltre out of the game. And Beltre and the Rangers' manager, Jeff Banister, they were not happy about it. They were probably extra grumpy, too, because they lost the game, 22-10.

All right. Finally, if you were ever fortunate enough to own $150,000 earrings, here's a tip -- don't wear it if you go to the lake. Atlanta falcons star Julio Jones learning this lesson the hard way. Jones was jet skiing. He fell off. When he came out of the water, yes, his earning was gone.

So, Jones hired a dive team to look for it. They went down as far as 65 feet. The diver said finding that earring is going to be impossible.

ROMANS: Yes. It's in the belly of a small-mouth bass.

SCHOLES: So, guys, if you ever feel bad about losing sunglasses or something at the lake, don't feel too bad because they weren't $150,000.

ROMANS: I always keep my $150,000 diamonds under lock and key.

BRIGGS: Yes. You don't go fishing with them? I wonder what a dive team costs. I mean --

ROMANS: I don't know.

SCHOLES: It had to have been a deal, right, where if they found it he would give them $20,000.

[05:25:00] If it's like 1,000 bucks, if you find the earring -- I didn't find it.

ROMANS: I hope he had a rider.

BRIGGS: If only I had Julio Jones' problems. All right. Thank you, Scholes.

ROMANS: I hope he had a rider on his insurance.

BRIGGS: Insurance.


All right. The man brought in to clean up the White House message is sending mixed messages. Does Anthony Scaramucci want the FBI to investigate the White House chief of staff?


BRIGGS: Is the White House communications director accusing the chief of staff of leaking? A cryptic message from Anthony Scaramucci.


KASICH: This fair's been here a long time. This is the worst tragedy in the history of the fair.


ROMANS: A deadly accident at the Ohio state fair. People sent flying more than 20 feet from one of the most popular rides there. Three people still in critical condition.

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

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs.

We'll talk about this tweet from the president about major White House policy. "The Daily News" calls the president the commander-in-hate. Tal Kopan joins us in just a minute.