Return to Transcripts main page


Poll: Americans Don't Trust Trump; Fierce Pushback from North Korea; Secretary Tillerson Turns Up Pressure on North Korea; South African President Faces No-Confidence Vote; Dow Hits 9th Straight Record Close. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired August 8, 2017 - 04:30   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: There's a growing distrust of the Trump White House. Brand-new CNN polling with a stark reality for the president this morning.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN ANCHOR: And Pyongyang says the U.S. is pushing the world to the brink of nuclear war, and North Korea will make America pay if the U.S. takes action.

[04:30:07] Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Miguel Marquez, in for Dave Briggs this week.

ROMANS: Nice to see you this week.

MARQUEZ: Good to see you.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. Thirty minutes past the hour.

President Trump has a problem -- the American people do not trust him. That is just one key finding of a new CNN poll. Brand-new polling showing the president with his approval rating at just 38 percent, its lowest point in CNN polling.

Only one other newly elected president has held an approval rating below 50 percent at the six-month mark, since modern polling began. That was Bill Clinton. Still ahead of the president, though, President Trump, at 44 percent.

MARQUEZ: Now the trust issue is telling. Fewer than one American in four trust most of what they hear from the White House. And 60 percent say they don't trust the commander in chief.

Now, even President Trump's base is starting to erode. Only 53 percent of whites who did not graduate from college, a core group that helped push him over the top during the election, support him. That's down from 59 percent in April, despite the president's Monday Twitter claim that his base is not being anywhere.

ROMANS: And Twitter is part of this. Speaking of Twitter, many people say they have big concerns about that. Seventy-two percent, 72 percent say the president's tweets send the wrong message to world leaders.

President Trump's highest marks came on the economy and on national security. Those were split within the margin of error.

MARQUEZ: Now, meanwhile, more than six in 10 disapprove of his handling of health care and foreign affairs. Overall, nearly six people in 10 say Donald Trump has not had the right priorities in dealing with the country's problems.

ROMANS: A Twitter tirade Monday showed why the president's social media habit was a special focus of that CNN poll. It came during what President Trump was calling a working vacation at his New Jersey golf club.

CNN White House correspondent Sara Murray has more for us.


SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Miguel and Christine.

President Trump is insisting he is hard at work as he spends the week at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. The White House, though, is offering very few details about what he's up to. On Monday, we know he got a daily intelligence briefing, and he spent about an hour on the phone with his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and his chief of staff, John Kelly, to discuss the situation in North Korea.

But, of course that left plenty of time to tweet. And tweet the president did. He took aim at "The New York Times." He insisted he's not losing his base of supporters and he went after Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, someone who is pushing for legislation that would protect the special counsel in the Russia investigation from any kind of political interference.

Now, some had hoped the president's new chief of staff, John Kelly, would be able to calm down these Twitter tantrums. But we are told by sources that Kelly's top priority is not policing President Trump's social media.

Back to you, guys.


MARQUEZ: Thanks to Sara Murray there.

Now, one other tweet from President Trump is causing a bit of confusion. Take a look. On Monday afternoon, the president wrote: The fake news media will not talk about the importance of the United Nations Security Council's 15-0 vote in favor of sanctions on North Korea.

The president tweeted that yesterday at 4:15 p.m., and take a look at CNN's reporting just two minutes before he hit "send."


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Breaking news in our world lead now. North Korea is vowing revenge against the United States after the U.N. Security Council led by U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley unanimously adopted the toughest sanctions yet against that country.


MARQUEZ: Well, that was the first of back-to-back segments on CNN about North Korea. In fact, CNN has been reporting on North Korea extensively and interviewed U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley after the U.N. sanctions vote.

ROMANS: Fierce pushback from North Korea in light of the tough sanctions imposed by the U.N. The Kim Jong-un regime accusing the United States of trying to bring the Korean peninsula to the brink of war, nuclear war. North Korea's foreign minister declaring his country will not, will not put its nuclear program on the negotiating table under any circumstances.

CNN's Will Ripley has reported extensively from Pyongyang. He brings us the latest live this morning from Beijing.

These are, you know, bellicose comments from the North Koreans. No question. We keep hearing on the American side all the options are on the table. But where are we here on -- in terms of an off ramp for any kind of conflict?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Clearly, what the United States is trying to do here -- and we need to give the Trump administration credit for a big diplomatic win over the weekend. A 15-0 vote in the U.N. in favor of these sanctions as a result of a missile test.

But just keep in mind, here in China, they have never before approved sanctions on the back end of a missile test. It had taken nuclear tests previously for China to approve other rounds of sanctions here. And China is also saying that they are prepared to pay an economic price for this, because this is essentially a $1 billion economic assault on North Korea's exports.

[04:35:05] What they're trying to do is to get North Korea to stop testing missiles and to stop developing nuclear weapons because pretty much all analysts can agree on one thing -- that the military option which the United States insists is on the table, would be absolutely devastating for pretty much all parties involved. It would destabilize the Korean peninsula. There could potentially be a refugee crisis, people streaming over the border here into China, which China certainly doesn't want. The United States would have to take responsibility for what pretty much all analysts say would be a victorious outcome at the end of any military conflict with North Korea.

What would that look like? How long would that last? Not to mention the fact that right now, North Korea has a tremendous amount of conventional weapons pointed at the metropolitan area of Seoul that could kill literally millions of people. So, these sanctions, sanctions, this is an attempt to try to do something to deescalate this rapidly escalating situation.

ROMANS: All right. Will Ripley for us this morning in Beijing -- thank you for that. Excellent analysis.

MARQUEZ: Now, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson among those joining efforts to ramp up the pressure on North Korea. Kim Jong-un's nuclear program a topic of wide concern at the just-concluded summit of South Asian leaders in Manila. South Korea, Japan, and China, also urging Pyongyang to comply in the face of those new U.N. sanctions.

CNN's Alex Field has more live in Seoul, South Korea.

Good morning.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Miguel. Yes, China might have the lion's share of work to do when it comes to enforcing these sanctions, but Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is out here in the region talking to his counterparts about how they can help to enforce these sanctions.

It's a message he is taking to Thailand. He's there in to pay reports to the king who died earlier this year. But he's also talking to his counterparts about how they can help isolate North Korea in the region. There are diplomatic ties between North Korea and Thailand, and U.S. officials say that North Korea has used Thailand as a hub for some illicit business. So, the U.S. is now looking at Thailand as a key partner in its fight to defuse the crisis on the Korean peninsula.

his isn't the only security concern that is being presented to Secretary Tillerson while he's in the region, however. He also had a meeting with the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. They are photographed, seen on camera together.

No official readout of what was discussed at the meeting. But Secretary Tillerson was asked about the U.S.'s support for the fight against ISIS in the Philippines. Namely, we're talking about information, some training, some resources here, and whether that conflicts with or endorses somehow the human rights abuses that have been well-documented in the Philippines.

He said the support in the fight against ISIS does not in any way conflict with what are the alleged human rights abuses that are said to be part of President Duterte's war on drugs where it's believed that thousands of people have now been killed. In a departure from his usual colorful comments about the U.S. and the Obama administration, for example, President Duterte did at one point tell Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the U.S. has been a good friend, a good ally -- Miguel.

MARQUEZ: Alexandra Field for us in Seoul. Thank you very much.

ROMANS: All right. An alarming draft report by government scientists says climate change is already severely affecting the U.S., and there are concerns the Trump administration will try to keep this report under wraps. This draft obtained by "The New York Times" says the average temperature in the U.S. has risen drastically since 1980 and may climb over the coming century beyond the point at which changes become catastrophic.

Another key finding -- it is possible now to attribute some extreme weather to climate change.

MARQUEZ: Now, the study by scientists from 13 federal agencies directly contradicts claims by the president and some cabinet officials who say the human contribution to climate change is uncertain. The National Academy of Sciences has already signed off on the draft. And the authors are awaiting permission from the administration to release it. But one of the scientists involved tells "The Times" that he and others are worried the White House will suppress the study.

ROMANS: All right. The Dow hits its ninth record close in a row, more good news for the market's cheerleader in chief, President Trump. But what about the rest of the economy?

Two hundred days in, it's mainly good news. A million jobs have been created since Trump took office. Housing prices are at record highs. Consumer spending, as a large driver of the economy, is up. And in a reverse from last year, businesses are borrowing more. That's a good sign since consumers can't prop up the economy alone.

However, there are a few weak spots. The hot jobs market has not translated into wage growth yet. And high housing prices are pricing out some first-time home buyers. But overall, the economic picture is not all that different from the last six months of Obama's presidency.

As for stocks, an undeniable win for Trump. The Dow is up 20 percent since the election.

[04:40:01] Even as the White House's economic agenda stalls here, corporate profits are keeping stocks near highs. Now, are you feeling the gains? We're talking about the investor class, what about the worker class?

Stock records are a measure of companies' well being, not worker well- being. Nearly half of Americans are not invested in the stock market.

The real challenge is how to translate what is great for companies into advantages for workers and new factories, and new jobs, and higher wages.

MARQUEZ: The wage growth is really a big concern.

ROMANS: Wage growth is key here, right.

MARQUEZ: It's amazing how fast the economy can grow, but wages just don't go up. They are stuck, it seems.

Now, up next, we have updates on two police manhunts in the Midwest. A cop killer on the loose in Missouri, and a gruesome end to a search for an escaped rape suspect in Ohio. The latest on both those cases coming right up.


[04:45:03] MARQUEZ: Three U.S. Marines have been declared dead after their military plane crashed into the waters off the coast of Australia on Saturday. The announcement comes after an extensive search and rescue effort. The victims identified as First Lieutenant Benjamin Cross, Corporal Nathaniel Ordway, and Private First Class Ruben Velasco. The Australian navy has located the MV-22B Osprey that went down off the Queensland coast. But the remains of the three marines have not yet been recovered.

ROMANS: A manhunt underway for a Missouri man who allegedly shot and killed a police officer during a routine traffic stop. Thirty-nine- year-old Ian James McCarthy of Clinton, Missouri, faces first degree murder charges and is considered armed and dangerous. He was pulled over by Officer Gary Michael for a registration violation Sunday night and police say he opened fire on the officer once he stepped out of his patrol car. Officer Michael was with the Clinton Police Department for less than a year.

MARQUEZ: And a search for an Ohio rape suspect on the run since last week is over. Police say Brandon Lee Powell shot and killed himself after they tracked him down to his parents' home in the rural town of Antwerp and tried to coax him out of a crawl space. It is not clear whether his parents knew he was in their home. Powell escaped police custody last week when he overpowered a deputy in a transport van and took off with his handgun.

ROMANS: The parents of 8-year-old Gabriel Taye filed a lawsuit against the Cincinnati public school district seven months after the boy hanged himself with a necktie in his home. They alleged the school failed to properly respond to their son being bullied. They claimed they were not informed of an incident in a school bathroom that left him unconscious two days before he took his own life.

A Cincinnati homicide detective who reviewed surveillance video from the school says he saw behavior that could rise to the level of criminal assault. The school district would only say that it is aware of that lawsuit.

Poor little guy.

MARQUEZ: Opening statements are set to begin this afternoon in a civil trial filed against Taylor Swift. The singer is expected to testify at some point. David Mueller, a former Denver deejay at KYGO Radio, it's a CNN affiliate, claims he lost his job after Swift accused him of groping her backstage at one of her concerts in 2013.

Mueller filed a suit against Swift, her mother Andrea, and her radio promotions director in 2015. He is seeking $3 million in damages. Swift, who was 23 at the time of the encounter, is countersuing Mueller.

ROMANS: All right. Forty-seven minutes past the hour.

Heavy rainstorms, even some flooding possible from Louisiana to the mid-Atlantic.

Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has the forecast.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Miguel and Christine, the Southeast is the place to be if you like wet weather. And we have lots of it go around the next couple of days. Pretty active line of thunderstorms is expected stretching out of Eastern Texas, eventually on into the Carolinas. The heaviest rainfall concentrated from, say, Northern Georgia, into the coastal region of the Carolinas there, where we think as much as, say, four to six inches could come down.

But generally speaking, two to three inches is what we're looking at. And that does include the greater Atlanta area, as well. So, certainly, some localized flooding possible with this. But notice that 76 degrees for a high temperature in Cincinnati.

It makes it to around 81. Syracuse at 72. St. Louis after a stifling summer so far, an 85-degree afternoon. Even Dallas cool for their standards, right? Around 90 for the high temperatures.

And it looks like it will want to warm up a little each of the next several days. Atlanta keeps it somewhat cool. While in Washington, getting to the middle 80s, same thing for New York City, as well.

And also watching what is left of Tropical Storm Franklin. It has made landfall in the past several hours. Eastern coroner there of the Yucatan, first tropical disturbance here. These tropical storms to make a landfall in the past 12 months across the region.

But storms far from over. It will work across the Bay of Campeche. Could impact Mexico yet again come Wednesday night into Thursday morning as a category 1 hurricane at that point -- guys.


ROMANS: All right. Thank you so much for that.

All right. The fate of that Google engineer behind --

MARQUEZ: I called it.

ROMANS: -- behind the controversial memo criticizing diversity and women's ability to succeed to tech. Oh, and Google's CEO also weighing in.


[04:53:38] MARQUEZ: Thousands of protesters starting assemble in South Africa right now for and against the country's controversial president, Jacob Zuma, facing one of the most serious tests of his scandal-plagued years in office -- a no-confidence vote in parliament that could force him out of office. Zuma has survived no-confidence votes before. This one, however, is different.

We want to go live to Cape Town with CNN's David McKenzie.

This could be huge for the party of Nelson Mandela.

(AUDIO GAP) MARQUEZ: Unfortunately, I think we are not able -- can we hear him?

Go ahead. Go ahead.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If you can hear me, the group of protesters that is coming towards parliament. The vote of no confidence is happening later in parliament. For the president of the country, Jacob Zuma (AUDIO GAP) pretty loud here.

But behind here, thousands of protesters are moving on to parliament. If he gets voted out, he could lose the presidency later today. There could be a -- the dissolving of the (AUDIO GAP) thousands of protesters from both sides moving on to a very confined space.

[04:55:08] A heavy police presence here in Cape Town outside parliament. And there's going to be an intense debate in parliament later and possibly a new president later today in South Africa -- Miguel.

MARQUEZ: This is an amazing -- we will let you go. I know you're having audio issues. But it is amazing reporting you are doing, and it is interesting that this is the first time it's been a secret ballot for South Africans, for the parliament there. And that could make the critical difference.

Fascinating that you have eyes on it for CNN. David, thank you.

ROMANS: All right. Kenyans are casting their votes this morning in a tight race for president. Incumbent Uhuru and his longtime rival Raila Odinga are neck and neck as Kenyatta pursues second and final five-year term in office. The election is largely being fought over and the courting of the youth vote with more than half of the 19 million registered voters under the age of 35. Results are expected within a week.

Let's check of CNN "Money Stream" this morning. Global stocks mostly lower after some disappointing trade data in China. But in the U.S., the Dow and S&P 500 both hit record high closes. This is the ninth in a row for the Dow.

Strong earnings are keeping stocks at record highs. Profits in 2017 are on track for the best growth in six years. And many U.S. companies are being helped by a weaker dollar. About 40 percent of sales for S&P 500 companies last year was overseas. A falling dollar makes U.S. products cheaper for foreign buyers. The U.S. dollar index is down about 7 percent this year.

Tesla will sell $1.5 billion in bonds to fund its Model 3 production. The company is banking on its mass market Model 3 to be a rival for automakers like Ford and Chevrolet. And Tesla already has 455,000 preorders for the electric car. CEO Elon Musk warns Tesla faces manufacturing hell as it ramps up production. So, to help with the cost, Musk is hoping bond investors are as hungry as stock investors for Tesla. Tesla's stock is up 67 percent this year.

MARQUEZ: Not bad. ROMANS: Google reportedly firing that employee who wrote the memo

saying women are not biologically fit for tech roles. A spokesperson for the company declining to confirm that the male engineer has been let go. But these reports followed that e-mail from Google CEO Sundar Pichai condemning the controversial memo.

Last week, a Google engineer published a 3,300-word manifesto criticizing Google's efforts to increase diversity, adding that the company's liberal bias makes it difficult to discuss the issue. A Google CEO told employees he supports them expressing their opinions, but sections of the memo violate Google's code of conduct by advancing harmful gender stereotypes. A source inside Google told CNN breaching that code often results in firing.

MARQUEZ: That memo set people on fire yesterday.

ROMANS: I know. And, you know, I got to say, the sexist stuff people have been saying on Twitter, too, has been so gross. I mean, the anonymity of Twitter that people can root for this guy who thinks that diversity is just a progressive mirage inside Google is gross.

MARQUEZ: Sadly -- sometimes brings out the worst.

EARLY START continues right now.


ROMANS: There's a growing distrust of the Trump White House. Brand new CNN polling with a stark reality for the president this morning.

MARQUEZ: And Pyongyang says the U.N. is pushing the world to the brink of nuclear war, and it will make America pay if it takes action.

Good morning, and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Miguel Marquez, in for Dave Briggs.

How are you?

ROMANS: Nice to see you this week. I am well.

It is top of the hour. I'm Christine Romans. It is Tuesday, August 8th.

President Trump has a problem -- the American people do not trust him. That is just one key finding of a brand-new CNN poll showing the president with his approval rating at just 38 percent. That's its lowest point in CNN polling.

Only one other newly elected president has held an approval rating below 50 percent at the six-month mark since modern polling began. That was Bill Clinton, still well ahead of President Trump at 44 percent.

BRIGGS: And the trust issue, it's telling. Fewer than one American in four says they trust most of what they hear from the White House, and 60 percent say they don't trust the commander in chief. Now, even President Trump's base is starting to erode, including whites who did not graduate from college, a core group that helped put him over the top in November. Only 53 percent of them now support him. That's down from 59 percent in April. Despite the president's Monday twitter claim that his base isn't going anywhere.

ROMANS: Speaking of Twitter, many people will say they have concerns about that. Seventy-two percent say the president's tweets send the wrong message to world leaders. President Trump's highest marks came on the economy and national security. Those were split within the margin of error.

BRIGGS: And meanwhile, more than six in 10 disapprove of his handling of health care and foreign affairs.