Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Doubles Down On North Korea Rhetoric; President "Disappointed" With Sen. McConnell; Trump: Opioid Crisis Is An Emergency; War-Ravaged Aleppo Slowing Rebuilds. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired August 11, 2017 - 05:30   ET



[05:30:10] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If anything, that statement may not be tough enough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would be tougher than fire and fury?

TRUMP: Well, you'll see, you'll see.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Indeed, what could be tougher than fire and fury? Hopefully, we will never know but the president is standing by his strongman stance on North Korea.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Trump's new comments on North Korea delivered in his most wide-ranging public comments in months.

What he said about the Senate majority leader, the Russia investigation, and his curious little comment about Vladimir Putin.

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

MARQUEZ: I'm Miguel Marquez in for Dave Briggs this week. It is 30 minutes past the hour. Happy Friday to you.

ROMANS: Nice to see you.

MARQUEZ: Nice to see you.

President Trump did not use the exact words fire and fury but he didn't back down on his warning to North Korea, either. In fact, escalating his combat of warnings to Pyongyang and criticizing past administrations for not doing enough to curb North Korean aggression.

Not only is he backing down from his threat to unleash fire and fury, the president says maybe he didn't go far enough.


TRUMP: The people that were questioning that statement, was it too tough, maybe it wasn't tough enough. They've been doing this to our country for a long time, for many years, and it's about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country and for the people of other countries. So, if anything, maybe that statement wasn't tough enough.


ROMANS: This, one day after North Korean state media said a plan would be formalized within days to launch missiles toward the U.S. island territory of Guam. The president effectively drew a red line saying if Kim Jong Un does fire toward Guam he would respond.

MARQUEZ: China's foreign ministry, moments ago, called on the U.S. and North Korea to exercise caution in their words and actions rather than flaunting force.

The president is set to meet with his U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley today.

We want to bring in CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer, historian and Princeton University professor.

Good morning to you.

ROMANS: Morning.


MARQUEZ: Thank you very much for being here.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

MARQUEZ: Foreign policy is tough for any president. You are speaking at the same time to your domestic audience, your -- the people who voted for you and those that didn't. You're speaking to the country you want to change -- whose behavior you want to change, and you're speaking to the wider world.

How is this administration doing so far on this issue?

ZELIZER: Well, this issue has been a little bit chaotic. It's not clear there's a well thought through strategy.

We have a State Department that is not fully staffed and missing many key members in this particular region of the world.

And the president has been sending mixed messages. Last week was all about diplomacy, this week is all about the threat, and that's OK. I mean, there are moments when you hear multiple messages but what we need to know is that the president has some kind of a game plan in terms of how this all unfolds because the rhetoric is really hot right now.

ROMANS: The president criticizing his predecessors saying that, you know, it's basically their ineptitude that got us where we are today with North Korea. Now he will deal with it.

I want to play the sound bite where he's -- where he warns North Korea it better gets it act together.


TRUMP: And I will tell you this. North Korea better get their act together or they're going to be in trouble like few nations ever have been in trouble in this world.


ROMANS: That's very Trumpian-like.


ROMANS: As few nations have ever been in trouble in this world. He talks like that, you know, in big -- you know, in big, grandiose terms. But it is a departure from what we've heard from other American presidents, so is that the policy?

ZELIZER: Well, all American presidents have understood that North Korea provokes and it was always important that the president doesn't respond with more provocation. So it's either a diplomatic track or some possible military track, but not using the rhetoric because that heats everything up. And that's what the current president is doing and that's why there's such fear all over the world about where this is.

It's hard to control the military option.


ZELIZER: It's not as if it's all going to work exactly according to some game plan. That's why this rhetoric is dangerous.

ROMANS: But isn't it a point that here we are with, you know, the North Koreans testing missiles and threatening -- you know, threatening Guam and saying, you know -- still saying that they want to, you know, wipe out the United States -- they could wipe out the United States and no one was able to stop this. I mean --

ZELIZER: Well, they can't wipe out the United States so let's remember that, and that's important, and no one disagrees that North Korea is not a problem. And so, the question is what do you do about a problem when there is no clear solution.

And it's not even clear that some kind of targeted military strike will solve everything.


ZELIZER: You could instantly have a war in South Korea. You could instantly have really terrible conditions which can escalate. So no one disagrees on the problem and the question is how do you find the best solution. Look, the Obama administration was trying to work with China and trying to do the Asia pivot through economic policy to increase pressure on North Korea. We abandoned that, so now we're kind of free-floating from --

[05:35:11] MARQUEZ: It does feel like a very freeform sort of situation.

Well, while that is happening overseas, the president has a very aggressive domestic agenda that he says he wants to get done. He ran on a populist campaign that promised lots, but he is having it out with his own Senate majority leader. Let's listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should Sen. McConnell consider stepping down as majority leader?

TRUMP: Well, I'll tell you what. If he doesn't get repeal and replace done; and if he doesn't get taxes done, meaning cuts and reform; and if he doesn't get a very easy one to get done, infrastructure -- he doesn't get them done, then you can ask me that question.


MARQUEZ: If Mitch McConnell were a Democratic that would make sense --


MARQUEZ: -- but it doesn't seem that they are on the same playbook domestically, either.

ZELIZER: Absolutely, and these battles between the president and Congress often don't well -- end well for the president.

Congress doesn't care about national polls. Members of Congress have a lot of stability within their states and within their party, and many Republicans are not going to go to bat for President Trump right now if he goes after McConnell.

So, McConnell can tie up the rest of his agenda, he can make sure nothing happens, and he can say sure, investigate all you want and that would be a problem for the administration.

MARQUEZ: Right. There's not much for McConnell in that as well -- either -- but if he's being threatened my guess is like North Korea, you're not going to do what somebody wants to do just because they're saying to do it.

ZELIZER: No, absolutely. This isn't "THE APPRENTICE" and that kind of threat doesn't work with members of Congress.

ROMANS: Right. This is a wide-ranging, you know, pressers -- twopressers really, yesterday with the president, and he also spoke about -- he was asked about Bob Mueller and whether he would consider the dismissal of the special counsel. Listen to his answer.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, have you thought about or considered leading the dismissal of the special counsel?

TRUMP: I haven't given it any thought.

I mean, I've been reading about it from you people. You say oh, I'm going to dismiss him. No, I'm not dismissing anybody. I mean, I want them to get on with the task.


ROMANS: I want them to get on with the task, something that he had called --


ROMANS: -- you know, a witch hunt before, now he wants them to proceed with.

ZELIZER: Well, we have to remember he did dismiss someone, James Comey, a while ago and that looms large over all these discussions. But that was a different tone. I don't know if he will keep it up.

That's pushback from Congress. That's members of Congress saying don't fire him. Don't go down that path because the Republicans won't stand with you. So there you see President Trump was a little scared and actually backtracking from where he was a week ago.

MARQUEZ: Yet another interesting thing the president said yesterday was on the Intelligence Community. He has had a fraught relationship with his own Intel Community. Here's what he said about them.


TRUMP: Look, I have -- nobody has greater respect for intelligence than Donald Trump, but you have to have the right leaders. I have great respect for intelligence as led by the people that I have in charge now. We have great people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is that intelligence telling you about North Korea and the nuclear --

TRUMP: It's telling me a lot of things but you'll probably find out about it before anybody else, right? Huh? With your leaks. We've got to stop the leaks. The leaks are very dangerous for our country.

But, no, I have great respect for the Intelligence Community.


MARQUEZ: Well, he had -- he has respect for his Intelligence Community, he doesn't have respect for the previous Intelligence Community. But even though he has great people in, they're going to leak it to the press.

What is he saying? I mean, he mixes his own messages as he's mixing his messages.

ZELIZER: Part of this is a president who feels a bit cornered and I think that's a thread through everything. He is lashing out at Republicans, at some intelligence officials, at governments overseas. And this is not a president who's setting the agenda, who is setting the tone for the country, and that's what you're watching, even in the statements about the Intelligence Community.

ROMANS: Julian Zelizer, so nice to have you this Friday morning. Thanks for coming in early for us.

MARQUEZ: Thank you very much for getting up early.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

MARQUEZ: Have a good weekend.

ZELIZER: You, too.

MARQUEZ: President Trump declaring the opioid crisis a national emergency. The surprise announcement coming two days after Health and Human Service Secretary Tom Price indicated the president would not be making the declaration despite a recommendation from the White House commission studying the epidemic.

The president now vowing to spend a lot of time and money on the problem, declaring the opioid crisis an emergency. It means federal and state agencies will receive more resources to fight it.

ROMANS: President Trump's new immigration plan would cost 4.6 million jobs by the year 2040. That's according to a new study from the president's alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. It found the U.S. economy would shrink two percent under his proposal -- this proposal.

Last week, Trump endorsed something called the RAISE Act. It aims to preserve American jobs by curbing immigration. But most economists say the labor market badly needs foreign workers. That's because baby boomers are retiring -- millions of them -- and there aren't enough young Americans to replace them.

Currently, 44 million Americans are retired. That's up dramatically since 2000. At the same time, the labor force has only grown 12 percent. Immigrants bridge that gap.

[05:40:05] They also create more small businesses than U.S.-born Americans. They're twice as likely to start a business. One in 10 Americans are employed by a business owned by an immigrant.

The White House claims the study is flawed and that immigrant jobs come at the expense of American workers. However, despite the White House's backing, experts say the bill has little chance of passing. MARQUEZ: "SNL" finally gets its take on the wild summer at the White House, including the short tenure of Anthony Scaramucci.


MICHAEL CHE, ANCHOR, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE WEEKEND UPDATE": We did hope that you'd stick around a little bit longer.

BILL HADER, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE" ALUM: All I did was sell my company, miss the birth of my child, and ruin my entire reputation, all to be king of Idiot Mountain for 11 days.


MARQUEZ: More of "WEEKEND UPDATE" summer edition. That's straight ahead.


[05:45:10] ROMANS: Some bizarre new developments in that acoustic attack on employees of the American embassy in Havana.

A U.S. government official tells CNN this was not a case of eavesdropping gone wrong. And the possibility of a third country being involved is now under investigation.The theory is another country could be trying to drive a wedge between the White House and Cuba.

It's now believed some kind of sophisticated audio device was used outside or potentially even inside residences of the U.S. diplomats in Havana.

MARQUEZ: Several reports of hearing loss and concussion-like symptoms. Government officials in Havana are allowing FBI agents onto the island to investigate. The attacks have subsided for now.

At least one Canadian diplomat in Havana has also suffered unusual symptoms. The Canadian Embassy is about three miles from the U.S. Embassy.

ROMANS: All right.

CNN has a firsthand look at the rebuilding of war-torn Aleppo.

Late last year, the Syrian Army took back Aleppo, a divided city since the early days of protests against President Bashar al-Assad.

Syria's second-largest city, it's still in ruins but slowly rebuilding.

CNN senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen traveled to Aleppo. He has this report.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): It was one of the most brutal battles in the Syrian conflict when Syrian government forces backed by Russia launched their final assault on rebel-held areas in Aleppo, taking them back from the opposition.

Nine months later much of Syria's second-largest city still lay in ruins, but life is starting to emerge once again.

Thousands have returned to former battle zone neighborhoods, many relying on aid donations to get by. We came to this neighborhood just as residents were rushing to get bread handouts.

ABDUL RHAMAN RAZOUK (speaking foreign language).

PLEITGEN: Most people who return are in bad need of almost everything, the local head of this NGO says. Many come back and find that their homes are reduced to just walls and ceilings. We help them as much as we can.

Some stores are also reopening and market vendors coming back.

This area was once held by rebels. Some who fled fear reprisals if they return. But all the people we met were vocal supporters of the government and its Russian backers.

MUSTAFA AL BAB, ALEPPO RESIDENT (speaking foreign language).

PLEITGEN: The Russians are our friends, this man says. They are honest with us like we are honest with them. Bashar al-Assad and the Russians are one.

Amid this massive destruction, the tiny efforts at reconstruction appear almost like a drop in the bucket. But inside the bombed and burned ruins Aleppo's industry is starting to spring back to life.

We came across this textile shop where they repaired the machines and are manufacturing clothes once again.

RAMI ABOU SOUF, TEXTILE WORKER (speaking foreign language).

PLEITGEN: When the people who fled see that business is coming back they'll return and will work together to make Aleppo as great as it used to be and even better, the shift leader says.

Aleppo's historic old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, much of it now reduced to rubble.

Some of the fiercest battles revolved around the highest point of the city, the ancient Citadel.

PLEITGEN (on camera): The ancient Citadel was one of the main battlegrounds here in Aleppo and like so many parts of the city repairing the damage will be a monumentous task.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): We climbed to the highest point of the Citadel, getting a stunning view of all of Aleppo, one of the oldest cities in the world badly damaged but now with a chance to stand up once again.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Aleppo, Syria.


ROMANS: Thanks for that, Fred.

MARQUEZ: Such a stunning city.

ROMANS: All right. More trouble for Google. The company canceled a worldwide staff meeting over safety concerns for its employees. I'm going to tell you why on "CNN Money Stream," next.


[05:53:26] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I want to thank him because we're trying to cut down on payroll. And as far as I'm concerned, I'm very thankful that he let go of a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll.

There's no real reason for them to go back, so I greatly appreciate the fact that they've been able to cut our payroll for the United States. We'll save -- we'll save a lot of money.


MARQUEZ: President Trump with that curious response when he was asked about Vladimir Putin's order to cut American diplomatic staff in Russia. Whether he was joking, we're not so sure.

But "SNL" had plenty to joke about as the show rolled out its summer "WEEKEND UPDATE" series. Here's a little sampler plate.


COLIN JOST, ANCHOR, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE WEEKEND UPDATE": Well, it's been a crazy year this past few weeks. I don't know if you guys --


I don't know if you guys noticed but there were some minor staffing changes at the White House.


I don't know if Trump is colluding with Russia, but he's definitely colluding with "DANCING WITH THE STARS."


Also, how do we at "SNL" miss Anthony Scaramucci?He was like Christmas in July.


Actually, he was like Hanukah in July because he was around for about a week and it's a miracle he lasted that long.


CHE: President Trump announced his support for a new immigration policy that would favor people who speak English and have higher education or well-paying job offers. Well-paying job offers?

Damn, when did the Statue of Liberty get so boujee?


She used to be desperate like send me your poor, your tired, anybody. I just need a man, Lord.


Now, she's all tender like he's got to be rich, and smart, and light- skinned, and six-four.


[05:55:05] MIKEY DAY, CAST MEMBER, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": The border has never been more secure, and the story of the summer --

ALEX MOFFATT, CAST MEMBER, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": When he met with the Russians?

DAY: No, Eric.


JOST: What about the reports that your father actually helped craft the statement you made to the public to mislead them deliberately?

DAY: Look, all my father did was give me some advice. He said, son, go out there and tell the truth.

MOFFATT: And then he winked.


DAY: OK, uh -- you want to play with your fidget spinner, buddy?

MOFFATT: Yeah-huh.


DAY: I mean, what is the big deal. Eric, Eric, you've got to spin it, buddy.



MARQUEZ: It's a little bit of both. It's a little too -- they need a little work, I think. They need something. ROMANS: Well, they've -- they -- after their hiatus they all certainly had a lot of material.

MARQUEZ: Yes. They had too much material. Too fertile, the ground.

ROMANS: Fifty-six minutes past the hour.

Taylor Swift took the stand at the civil trial in Denver that centers on her charge she was groped by former radio deejay David Mueller when they took a picture together at a fan meet and greet. This was back in 2013.

Swift was combative at times with Mueller's attorney, describing the incident as horrifying and shocking, and telling the lawyer quote, "I'm not going to allow you or your client to make me feel in any way that this is my fault because it isn't."

Mueller claims Swift's allegation ruined his career. He's suing her for $3 million. The trial resumes later this morning.

MARQUEZ: A miracle baby who spent three days stuffed inside a garbage bag is recovering this morning in New York State -- a New York State hospital. Doctors in Elmira say the eight-month-old girl is doing well.

She was discovered by a neighbor who heard noise coming from the bag and ripped it open. The child was badly dehydrated and had stopped breathing.

The infant's mother, identified as 17-year-old Harriette Hoyt of Pennsylvania, is charged with attempted murder -- horrible.

ROMANS: And we're happy to report --

MARQUEZ: My goodness.

ROMANS: -- that baby is expected to recover.

Fifty-seven minutes past the hour.

Let's get a check on "CNN Money Stream."

Global stocks down this morning -- look at that -- extending those big losses on Wall Street amid these North Korea tensions. President Trump's latest rhetoric sending volatility sky rocking -- Wall Street's -- skyrocketing, rather. Wall Street's so-called fear gauge surged 44 percent yesterday hitting its highest level since the election.

Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is under fire again. He is being sued by Uber investor Benchmark Capital to force him off the board. The lawsuit accuses him of withholding information about mismanagement from shareholders and trying to keep power on Uber's board, even after he stepped down as CEO. Kalanick denies these claims.

He was forced to resign as CEO in June after a series of scandals at the company.

All right. The retail apocalypse for department stores continues. Same-store sales at Macy's, Kohl's, and Dillard's all fell last quarter triggering a sell-off for all three of these stocks. Macy's, alone, is down more than 40 percent --


ROMANS: -- this year.

This is yet another sign of the toll the rise of Amazon is taking on traditional retailers. Stores are resorting to discounts and promotions to attract customers and, of course, that ultimately hurts profits.

Google canceling that company-wide staff meeting on diversity because of fear of online harassment of its employees.

The meeting was to address the fallout over the firing of a male engineer and the memo he posted saying that women are not biologically fit for tech roles.

Google's CEO pulled the plug on the meeting after employee questions leaked online and some of those questions included the employee's identity, exposing them to harassment and threats.

Instead of a large-scale meeting, the CEO says employees will meet in smaller groups in the future.

You know, 60,000 people on a -- you know, in a live stream for something that's just so volatile as this subject, the company thinks it would be better to do it in small groups.

MARQUEZ: Even a tech pro like Google can't keep it private.

ROMANS: That's true.

MARQUEZ: Nothing is.

ROMANS: Thanks for joining us this Friday morning. I'm Christine Romans.

MARQUEZ: And, I'm Miguel Marquez. Good to be with you this week.

If you thought the president's fire and fury warning to North Korea went too far, the president says it didn't go far enough.

"NEW DAY" starts now.


TRUMP: If he does something in Guam it will be an event the likes of which nobody's seen before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the president's saying is making it much more challenging for us to have a successful end to this crisis. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is nothing incoherent about what is being

presented by the United States government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's playing chicken on a geopolitical scale.

SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-NH), MEMBER, FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: If you cry wolf often enough, pretty soon you don't have any credibility.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Our new president had excessive expectations about how quickly things happen.

TRUMP: I'm very disappointed in Mitch.

TOM PRICE, SECRETARY, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: The opioid crisis can't be addressed without the declaration of an emergency.

TRUMP: The opioid crisis is an emergency. It's a national emergency.


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

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Friday, August 11th, 6:00 here in New York.

Alisyn is off.