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Scope Of Mueller's Investigation; Pence Slams Report He's Planning Presidential Bid; North Korea Under Pressure; Trump Marks 200th Day In Office At N.J. Golf Club. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired August 7, 2017 - 05:30   ET



[05:30:52] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROD ROSENSTEIN, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: Bob Mueller understands and I understand the specific scope of the investigation and so, no, it's not a fishing expedition.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Special Counsel Robert Mueller can investigate any crime he uncovers in his Russia probe. That clarity from the Justice Department after the president, himself, said his finances should be off limits.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The vice president put a harsh rebuke to a "New York Times" report that he's laying the groundwork for a White House run. He slammed the suggestion as disgraceful, offensive, and absurd.


REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: It's quite clear in terms of there being no daylight among the international community as to the expectation that North -- that North Korea will take steps.


MARQUEZ: Global pressure growing on North Korea to curb its nuclear program after sanctions are slapped on it unanimously by the U.N. Security Council.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Miguel Marquez in for Dave Briggs today.

ROMANS: Nice to see you.

MARQUEZ: Good to be here.

ROMANS: We're going to have you here all week.

I'm Christine Romans. It is 31, almost 32 minutes past the hour. Good morning, everyone. The second in command at the Justice Department rejecting any suggestion Special Counsel Robert Mueller cannot dig into Trump family finances. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Mueller can look into any crimes he might discover within the scope of his probe.

Rosenstein's remarks come days after the president, President Trump, said Mueller would cross a red line if he were to dig into his family's finances.

MARQUEZ: Now, CNN reported last week federal investigators are looking into potential financial ties between Russia and the president, and his associates, viewing any such ties are fertile ground for their probe.

Rosenstein, who authorized a special counsel, said he'd have to approve any expansion of Mueller's probe.


ROSENSTEIN: A special counsel is subject to the rules and regulations of the Department of Justice and we don't engage in fishing expeditions. Now, that order that you read, that doesn't detail specifically who may be the subject of an investigation --


ROSENSTEIN: -- because we don't reveal that publicly. But, Bob Mueller understands and I understand the specific scope of the investigation and so, no, it's not a fishing expedition.


ROMANS: Also this morning, intrigue around the White House and who may occupy it come 2020.

Vice President Mike Pence emphatically denying a "New York Times" report that he is laying the groundwork to run for president if President Trump doesn't seek a second term.

All this with the president beginning what he calls a working vacation at his golf club in New Jersey.

That's where we find CNN White House correspondent Athena Jones with the latest.


ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine and Miguel.

Vice President Pence is pushing back hard on this "New York Times" story as are other White House officials. The vice president taking the unusual step of putting out an official statement on White House letterhead to respond to this story.

In the statement, the vice president called the story disgraceful, offensive, categorically false, laughable, and absurd.

Two Pence aides, his spokesperson and his chief of staff -- his chief of staff was mentioned in "The New York Times" story -- also taking to Twitter to refute the story, calling it fake news.

And, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway appearing on ABC's "THIS WEEK," called the story complete fiction -- watch.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: It is absolutely true that the vice president is getting ready for 2020 for reelection as vice president. And he's also getting ready for 2018.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOLOUS, HOST, ABC "THIS WEEK": So no concern he's setting up a shadow campaign?

CONWAY: Zero concern. That is complete fiction. That is complete fabrication.

And I know that his advisers who had comments attributed to them have pushed back very strongly, as has the vice president. And as have -- as am I right now, unequivocally.

Vice President Pence is a very loyal, very dutiful, but also incredibly effective vice president -- an active vice president with this president.

JONES: And I think the operative phrase in what Kellyanne Conway said was 'very loyal.'

White House officials want to make it very, very clear that the vice president has no designs on the president's job in 2020.

And I think it's important to note that President Trump has made it quite clear that he plans to run again -- that he hopes to be a two- term president. In fact, he filed the paperwork to do so very early in his presidency and has held multiple campaign rallies. That is why we're seeing such strong pushback from the White House on this story -- Christine, Miguel.


[05:35:15] MARQUEZ: Thanks, Athena Jones.

And to help to bring clarity to all this is "CNN POLITICS" reporter Eugene Scott. Good morning to you.

ROMANS: Mr. Clarity.

MARQUEZ: Mr. Clarity.

ROMANS: Good morning.

MARQUEZ: You better have your best clarity with you this morning.

EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: I'll try, I'll try. MARQUEZ: So look, there's reports that the vice president has started this political action committee -- that that indicates perhaps a certain willingness or at least positioning himself.

Ben Sasse, Sen. Tom Cotton, also Sen. John Kasich (sic) also making similar moves to sort of reach of out to figure out what's going on.

In a statement about "The New York Times" article, the vice president said this.

"Today's article in the New York Times is disgraceful and offensive to me, my family, and our entire team. The allegations in this article are categorically false and represent just the latest attempt by the media to divide this administration.

Whatever fake news may come our way, my entire team will continue to focus all our efforts to advance the president's agenda and see him reelected in 2020. Any suggestion otherwise is both laughable and absurd."

Does he protest too much?

SCOTT: It seems like it. The media isn't dividing this administration. The administration seems divided and the media is reporting on it.

The reality is that those of us who are covering conservative voters regularly meet people out in all parts of America who are dissatisfied with the president who look at Mike Pence a bit more favorably. I think it would be less than honest to suggest that he's not aware of that message as well and that there may be some people in his world who are looking into seeing whether or not he could be received more favorably than Trump is.

ROMANS: Yes, whispers in Washington for some time that they expect Ohio Gov. John Kasich to mount a bid against the president -- a primary run against the president, but that's a pretty crowded field when you look at --


ROMANS: -- all those names that they're talking about -- talking about there.

Meantime, you have the president tweeting about his 200 days. Last night he said this.

The fake news refuses to report the success of the first six months: Supreme Court -- S.C., surging economy and jobs, border and military security, ISIS and MS-13, et cetera.

These are all things that I know you have reported on --

SCOTT: All at "CNN POLITICS," yes.

ROMANS: -- that I have reported on. We talk a lot about the economy, of course, and how strong it has

been. We talk a lot about job creation and the million jobs that have been created in the first six months of this year that just about matches the million-plus created in the final six months --


ROMANS: -- of the Obama administration.

The president also -- and he takes to Twitter to try to get his own message across, but there's now a new way --


ROMANS: -- that the White House is going to be getting news. Tell us about that.

SCOTT: Yes. Well, we're seeing the White House release videos that they call real news. Now, the real news features positive Trump news that some have called propaganda on social media in response because it doesn't feature the criticism that the president is receiving, the low poll numbers. It doesn't feature news regarding the Russian investigation.

And I think the desire is to keep people on the Trump train amid record low approval ratings of people who perhaps have an unfavorable view of the president.

MARQUEZ: His base, which is not necessarily all Republicans --

SCOTT: Sure.

MARQUEZ: -- are incredibly upset --

SCOTT: Sure.

MARQUEZ: -- that the media isn't getting the story out there of all of the great things that he has done.

ROMANS: Well, you know what?

MARQUEZ: There you look at his --

ROMANS: There is --

MARQUEZ: -- approval ratings right now.

ROMANS: There's no question that there is a pro-business climate that this president has unleashed, right? I mean, there's no question about that.

The question to me for the Trump supporters, the Trump voters -- I know you've talked to a lot of people out there. Where were you just this last week?

MARQUEZ: Michigan, Wisconsin, western Pennsylvania -- western -- ROMANS: Is that pro-business stock market high Trump -- the president takes credit for that -- tries to take credit for that, you know, strong economy. At what point does it connect to the working class -- the people who elected him, and at what point is there a disconnect there?

MARQUEZ: Well, you guys, as well -- but, I mean, I find there's a huge disconnect between what he promised, what they're seeing, and where they feel the Republican Party is going. The most ire I hear from Trump supporters is at the Republican Party, itself.

ROMANS: Really?

SCOTT: Yes, indeed. I think you have people who are on team Trump who aren't necessarily on team Republican, right? And we see some of that rift that we see in the White House among people who voted for Trump as a whole.

I think what's very interesting what the president risked in putting some of his better voices on his network is that he takes these people off of mainstream media who could be useful and helpful in getting people who aren't --


SCOTT: -- already voting for Trump to look at him more favorably.

I think what you need to do is have some -- have your message in a place that can reach new people.

ROMANS: Speaking of message --

MARQUEZ: Speaking of message, but which message --

ROMANS: The Kelly effect.

MARQUEZ: They Kelly effect. I mean,

ROMANS: The Kelly effect. You've got a new --


ROMANS: -- chief of staff --


ROMANS: -- and I think this is -- could probably be the most important -- the most important thing we've seen here in some months here.

This is what we're expecting, I guess, right?

You can only get into the Oval Office by appointment. No more dropping by and sliding, you know, a copy of a --

SCOTT: Open door presidency. ROMANS: -- of a -- of something that you printed out on the Internet in front of the president.

Wrangling his Twitter account and vetting documents. Patching up relations with Congress. This is what we expect him to do.

[05:40:00] SCOTT: Yes, and I think what's really interesting -- I mean, we all know that the president has a lot of respect for generals and I think what we're seeing is that this is a new general who's taken charge in some of the ways that Donald Trump likes to see leaders take charge. And it may, perhaps, be that he's even honoring that himself.

MARQUEZ: There's a little less Twitter. A little less Twitter is all I'm saying.

SCOTT: Yes, we'll see.

MARQUEZ: There may be an effect.

SCOTT: We'll see.

ROMANS: Right. Thanks so much. Nice to see you, Eugene.

MARQUEZ: Thanks, Eugene. Happy Monday.

ROMANS: Monday -- oh, a phenomenal run for investors who generally ignore the political headlines in Washington.

Over the first 200 days of President Trump's tenure, two things driving the gains here. This pro-business climate -- this hope for tax reform, and stellar corporate profits. Companies are making a ton of money.

Let's take a look at how the stock market has reacted to the president's first 200 days.

U.S. stock futures, right now, slightly higher. The Dow gained 66 points Friday. There was a stronger than expected jobs report. That makes it eight straight days of record highs for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Since the president took office the Dow has gained more than 11 percent. Call it the cherry on top of the bull market that began in March of 2009 when President Obama was president. Now, this president taking credit for the stock market records.

Also taking credit for strong jobs growth. More than a million jobs created since the president took office -- you can see it right there. It just about matches the pace of jobs created under the final six months of the Obama administration.

Those are the numbers, right there.

All right.

North Korea facing steep penalties for its nuclear program. We're live in Manila where world leaders are speaking with one voice.


TILLERSON: Yes, we've not had an extended period of time where they have not taken some type of provocative action. That would be the first and strongest signal they could send to us is just stop these missile launches.



[05:45:55] MARQUEZ: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the international community is united in wanting North Korea to take steps to denuclearize. Tillerson is in the Philippines at a forum of Southeast Asian nations. He's ramping up the pressure on North Korea just days after the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved the toughest sanctions to date against the Kim Jong Un regime.


TILLERSON: So, the next steps, obviously, are to see that the Security Council resolution sanctions are enforced by everyone. We will be monitoring that carefully and certainly having conversations with any and all that we see who may not be fully embracing not just the spirit of those sanctions, but the operational execution of those sanctions.


ROMANS: The attention now on China, North Korea's largest trading partner. The Chinese voted for the U.N. sanctions. The Chinese will be key to implementing them.

Let's go live to Manila. I want to bring in CNN's Ivan Watson.

The gathering of leaders there and what are we hearing from the Chinese?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they had a bilateral, one-on-one meeting between the Chinese foreign minister and North Korea's foreign minister on Sunday and the Chinese diplomat did say you guys do need to follow these United Nations Security Council resolutions. You can't be firing all these missiles.

And that is a message that I think the U.S. Secretary of State was delighted to hear because the State Department says its real goal was to try to diplomatically isolate North Korea at this meeting.

And so the American delegation arrived with the wind at its sails with this new U.N. Security Council resolution banning North Korean exports of coal, of iron, of seafood. That, in theory, could really hurt North Korean export revenues. The question will be will it be fulfilled in practice?

The message was also backed up by Southeast Asian nations that expressed grave concern over North Korea's two intercontinental ballistic missile launches that took place just last month. Again, by that message the came from the Chinese, as well.

But the statement that came out of Pyongyang today suggests that the North Koreans remain defiant. They called the U.N. Security Council resolution with these new sanctions a gross violation of North Korean sovereignty.

They said nothing can convince North Korea to stop with its nuclear weapons program and added a warning to the U.S. saying quote, "There is no bigger mistake than the U.S. believing that its land is safe across the ocean." Christine --

ROMANS: Well, that's quite a threat.

All right, thank you so much for that. Ivan Watson for us in Manila.

All right, 48 minutes past the hour.

A Google engineer's sexist memo saying women are not suited for tech jobs for biological reasons.


ROMANS: Oh, we'll get a check on "CNN Money Stream," next.


[05:53:05] MARQUEZ: Welcome back.

Excessive corrosion caused a ride to malfunction at the Ohio State Fair last month, killing a teenager and injuring seven others.

The manufacturer of the Fireball, KMG, says the interior gondola's support beam eroded so badly over 18 years it caused a catastrophic failure. The ride broke apart, launching some people 20 feet through the air.

The Fireball had been checked several times in the days before the accident. A new inspection protocol has been developed by KMG to prevent similar incidents.

ROMANS: All right. A nationwide manhunt underway for an Ohio man who overpowered a sheriff's deputy and escaped after a visit to a psychiatric hospital.

Thirty-two-year-old Brandon Lee Powell, a rape suspect, was restrained by leg shackles and handcuffs in the back of a transport van. He managed to jump over a seat, put a deputy in a headlock, and cause the van to crash.

Powell then got hold of the deputy's gun, forced him to unlock the restraints, handcuffed the deputy to the steering wheel, making off with his wallet and weapon.

MARQUEZ: A crazy story. The governor of Minnesota declaring Saturday's bombing at a Minneapolis area mosque a cowardly act of terrorism.

About a dozen men were praying nearby when an improvised explosive device detonated and set the imam's office on fire. No one was injured but the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center suffered extensive damage.

The FBI's special agent in charge of the investigation says he will not speculate on a motive.

ROMANS: All right, let's get a check on "CNN Money Stream" this morning.

U.S. futures slightly higher right now. The Dow gaining 66 points Friday after that stronger than expected jobs reports.

A refresher here. The U.S. added 209,000 jobs in July. The unemployment rate ticked down to 4.3 percent. That matches a 16-year low.

Wage growth, the missing piece of this, still sluggish. Wages grew only 2.5 percent. You know, the Federal Reserve would like to see wage growth pick up to more like 3.5 percent.

[05:55:08] Investors this week keeping an eye on earnings -- a whole bunch of them.

Snapchat's parent company reporting on Thursday. Wall Street is not holding its breath for anything positive. In May, Snapchat revealed a $2.2 billion loss in its first quarter.

Also a big week for retailers like Macy's, Nordstrom, and Kohl's. They've been struggling against online retailers. We'll also hear from Disney this week.

More bad news for Wells Fargo.

There could be even more unauthorized accounts created than Wells Fargo originally reported. That was 2.1 million fake accounts. The bank said it expanded its investigation to review accounts opened between 2011 and 2015.

Wells Fargo has been trying to fix its battered reputation since that scandal broke in September. The bank was hit with a $185 million fine. It has fired more than 5,000 employees tied to that scam.

All right. An engineer at Google circulating a 3,300-word sexist memo. This male engineer says women are not suited for tech jobs based on biological reasons. The document has been circulating inside Google for some time but was made public this weekend.

A CNN tech hasn't been able to identify the author just yet. He is reportedly a rank and file software engineer at Google.

So what does he say in this memo? That Google doesn't have more female engineers because men have a quote, "higher drive for status." That Google's commitment to hire more women will make the company less competitive and that the gender wage gap is a myth.

Now, in a letter to employees this weekend, Google's diversity vice president said this.

"Like many of you, I found that the document advanced incorrect assumptions about gender. It's not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes, or encourages."

What I can tell you is everybody is talking about the sexist Google engineer this morning.

MARQUEZ: I wonder if he still has his job this morning?

ROMANS: We shall see.

Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

MARQUEZ: I'm Miguel Marquez.

"NEW DAY" starts right now.


ROMANS: President Trump spending his 200th day on the job on a working vacation, as the vice president pushes back against a report he is positioning himself for 2020.

CONWAY: That is complete fiction. That is complete fabrication.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's face it, I don't think that anybody should count anything out.

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D), DELAWARE: It's in President Trump's interest for Bob Mueller to continue this investigation to its conclusion.

CONWAY: We've been doing this for, oh, about a year now and what is there to show for it?

ROSENSTEIN: Bob Mueller understands that the specific scope of the investigation. It's not a fishing expedition.

NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: This was a gut punch to North Korea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These resolutions are not going to change the calculus in Pyongyang.

H.R. MCMASTER, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: We have to provide all options and that includes a military option.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.


Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Monday, August 7th, 6:00 here in New York.

Alisyn is off. Our friend Brianna Keilar joining us. Thank you, as always --


CUOMO: -- my friend. And you bring with you news.

Here's our "Starting Line."

Donald Trump marking 200 days of his presidency with a little downtime at his New Jersey golf club. The president insists his 17-day trip is not a vacation and that he has piled up a list of accomplishments that have been ignored. So we will test that for you this morning.

Meantime, Vice President Mike Pence slamming a report that he's positioning himself for a run in 2020 if President Trump does not seek a second term. The vice president making his loyalty clear and calling "The New York Times" report disgraceful and offensive.

KEILAR: And all of this coming as President Trump dismisses the Russia investigation as a quote, "total fabrication." In a new interview, the deputy attorney general says Special Counsel Robert Mueller can investigation any crimes that he might uncover within the scope of his probe.

And the war of words is escalating again between North Korea and the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the reclusive regime must stop missile launches to begin negotiations. But the North is vowing to bolster its nuclear arsenal and says it will retaliate against the U.S. after tough new sanctions.

And we have all of this covered for you. We want to begin with Joe Johns, live for us from Bridgewater, New Jersey -- Joe.


Normally at this time, with control of both houses of Congress, a new president would expect to be fully in control of his own agenda. But at this time there are a lot of legislative challenges for President Trump and there are even a few questions about whether he'll be on the ballot in the next election.


JOHNS (voice-over): President Trump waking up on his 200th day in office at his golf club in New Jersey where he'll be spending the next two weeks on a quote, "working vacation as the White House undergoes renovations." The president stressing on Twitter that he will still be taking meetings and calls while spending time at his resort.