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Trump Delivers Angry, Divisive Speech In Phoenix; McConnell Questions Trump's Future; U.S. Navy 7th Fleet Commander Dismissed. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired August 23, 2017 - 05:30   ET


[05:30:00] MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: -- any hope of finding any survivors.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Those ten families certainly want answers.

Matt Rivers live for us, 5:30 p.m. there in Singapore. Thank you, Matt.

EARLY START continues right now with the latest from a fiery Phoenix rally.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hit them with neo- Nazi, I hit them with everything. I got the white supremacists, the neo-Nazi, I got them all. Let's see -- we have KKK. We have KKK. I got them all.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right. The president ticking off all that he got. Well actually, he did not get them all. But wildly off prompter, the president defends his Charlottesville response with an omission. He declined to mention he blamed both sides, rolling back the Charlottesville controversy last night.

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

Seventy-seven minutes, half of it -- of that speech bashing the media.

BRIGGS: You've got that right. The "New York Post" talking about just that with "Beat the Press," their headline.

Thirty minutes past the hour. I'm Dave Briggs.

It was a fiery night in Phoenix. A night after preaching to the nation about healing, President Trump does a 180 with his speech at a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona.

The president, again, defending his response to the violence in Charlottesville. He spent nearly 15 minutes recounting his words, but with a glaring omission. ROMANS: Mr. Trump neglected to mention he initially blamed the clashes on many sides and no mention of the very fine people who marched with torches in that neo-Nazi march on Friday night.

For context, here's what the president said last night and what he said 10 days earlier.


TRUMP: Here's what I said on Saturday.

We're closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia. This is me speaking. We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence.

That's me speaking on Saturday.

We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides -- on many sides. It's been going on for a long time in our country.


ROMANS: And that was just one moment in a speech that had some, including the former director of National Intelligence James Clapper, questioning the president's fitness to hold office. More on that in a moment.

BRIGGS: The protests turning ugly, though, outside the Phoenix Convention Center after President Trump's angry speech. Three people were arrested. Police using tear gas and pepper spray to try and break up the crowd of protesters in triple-digit heat.

ROMANS: Police say people threw rocks and bottles at officers and dispersed gas in the -- in the area. Phoenix police were on high alert before things turned chaotic. They managed to keep Trump supporters and protesters behind barricades and on separate sides of the street.

BRIGGS: All right, let's bring back Zachary Wolf, CNN digital politics director. Good to see you, sir.

ROMANS: Hi, Zach.


BRIGGS: All right, let's talk about some news the president made.

He hinted that he will pardon controversial sheriff Joe Arpaio. He threatened a government shutdown over border wall funding. He went after two Republican Arizona senators.

What's your headline from this fiery Phoenix rally? WOLF: It's like Dr. Jekyll and President Trump. He -- you know, on Charlottesville, in particular, after going, you know, hard and then dialing back, and then hard and then dialing back. He went very hard again, defending himself and everything he said, sort of stoking that controversy and picking at the scab of this country, you know.

He's clearly somebody who the idea that his words could cause violence doesn't seem to bother him because last night there were protesters on both sides and he did it anyway, which is kind of a remarkable thing for an American president.

ROMANS: You know, he bashed the media for a good half of that time, you know, saying the media is just bad people. Not unfair, but bad people.

And it's interesting, you know. I got a tweet earlier this morning.

"We in MiddleAmerica disagree with you about Charlottesville. We care about jobs, economy, security. You care about tearing Trump and the USA apart."

When you look at that rally last night and how we dissect the news from that rally and talk about the president's demeanor and what the president promised to do, and the things the president said or misspoke about, his base just sees us bashing the president and just is that much more devoted to him.

WOLF: That's right. I don't think there's any way to get around that. He went in and, you know, gave the red meatI think that the people there were expecting at a campaign rally.

He's already running for reelection. Most presidents haven't done that at this point in their -- you know, less than a year into their term are not sort of out having full-on campaign rallies, and that's what this was in Arizona yesterday.

But most presidents also aren't, you know, singling out and attacking Republican senators -- senators from their own party in the state that they're visiting. I mean, these are people that Trump is going to need -- John McCain and Jeff Flake, the senators in Arizona. He needs them to get anything done in Congress with the razor-thin majority that Republicans have.

[05:35:14] So he's not really thinking strategically about how he's going to bring people on board for things like spending bills, for things like tax reform or NAFTA, you know. He says he wants to pull out of NAFTA. If he's going to replace it with something he's going to need Jeff Flake and John McCain to help him do it.

BRIGGS: Yes. You almost picture the gladiator in the arena. Are you not entertained?

ROMANS: Right.

BRIGGS: It felt like that kind of moment.

But let's talk about what you just mentioned there and actually passing legislation, funding the government, the debt ceiling.

Here's what he said about the possibility of shutting down the government over the border wall.


TRUMP: The obstructionist Democrats would like us not to do it but, believe me, if we have to close down our government we're building that wall.

Let me be very clear to Democrats in Congress who oppose a border wall and stand in the way of border security. You are putting all of America's safety at risk. You're doing that, you're doing that.


BRIGGS: Now, to a point he made in the speech, their immigration policies have actually been effective in terms of the border numbers itself, which implies they don't actually need this border wall.

But is this a message? Are people standing in his way? Is it Democrats in Congress or is it Republicans, as well, that stand in his way of getting that border wall funding?

WOLF: Well, I think Republicans would happily pass a spending bill that doesn't have funding for a complete border wall across the entire border, like the one that he says that he wants. There are plenty of Republicans who don't see a border wall in the future so it's wrong of him to single out Democrats there.

At the same time, you know, it's part of the red meat. That's what he throws out to the crowd, that we haven't moved towards the border wall in any constructive way. So it's a little bit disingenuous for him to -- for him to put it that way.

And the other point here is that Republicans have tried to shut down the government before under President Obama. It didn't work very well for them, you know. He was able to play off the Republicans in Congress.

Maybe Trump's trying to do that here. The difference is the Republicans in Congress are people who are of his own party.

ROMANS: Right.

WOLF: They're the people he's going to work with -- or is supposed to be working with.

ROMANS: You know, is -- every Trump event or every President Trump initiative is to grow the base, right, if he wants to run for reelection, and to push a legislative agenda.

Did he accomplish that last night? What did he say or do last night that either grew his base or advanced his legislative agenda?

WOLF: He didn't do either of those things but he clearly wasn't really trying to, you know.

He wasn't -- if you're picking fights with Mitch McConnell you're not trying to accomplish anything legislatively. If you're -- if you're, you know, throwing slings out about Charlottesville you're not trying to grow you base. If you're criticizing John McCain and Jeff Flake you're not trying to accomplish anything.

You know, Bill Clinton tried to triangulate when the base sort of got frustrated with him. He made overtures out to some Republicans to find this middle of the core that could help pass legislation.

Trump is doing the opposite of that. He's biangulating. He's just, you know, stoking up the base and that's settling down and deciding these are the people who support me. These are the people I'm going to focus on.

BRIGGS: So he stayed on message at points on the prompter, then goes off of it at a point talking about the elite, saying quote, "You know the elite? Well, I went to better schools than they did. I was a better student than they were. I live in a bigger, more beautiful apartment and I live in the White House, too, which is really great."

Who are we to listen to? Who are we to respond to, teleprompter Trump or that other guy?

WOLF: You know, and it's so interesting because if you saw somebody like George W. Bush who basically fled -- he went to better schools than Trump but he fled that elitism. He tried to make himself seem like one of the people.


WOLF: But, Trump wraps himself up in being this rich, elite guy. It's -- you know, he has what's worked for him and he's going to keep doing it.

ROMANS: All right.

Zach Wolf, nice to see you. Have a great morning. Thanks, Zach.

WOLF: Thanks.

ROMANS: A lot to go over from last night.

Also, candidate Trump promised to put coal miners back to work but President Trump's commitment to saving coal country apparently has limits. The CEO of one of the largest coal companies says the president has broken his vow to the industry.

Robert Murray claims Trump promised to use an obscure emergency order to protect coal-fired power plants. That's according to a letter to the White House confirmed by CNN. Without it -- without this emergency order, Murray says he would have to lay off tens of thousands of miners.

The order allows power plants to a temporary exemption from environmental rules during an emergency, so it's for an emergency like war or natural disaster. Murray argues the current emergency is possible bankruptcy brought on by too many environmental regulations and market forces.

[05:40:08] Ultimately, the Trump administration decided the emergency order was unnecessary. A rare clash between the struggling coal industry and the president who vowed to champion it on the campaign trail.

BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, the rift appears to be widening between the president and his own Senate majority leader. They have not spoken in weeks and Mitch McConnell said to have doubts the Trump White House can get back on track.


BRIGGS: President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are not talking.

In fact, it's been two weeks since a phone call between the two men erupted into a profanity-laced shouting match.Sources tell CNN the August 9th conversation unraveled when the president began to express his frustration with the Russia investigation and the Russian sanctions bill passed by Congress.

[05:45:04] ROMANS: Since then, the president and McConnell have been publicly questioning each other. "The New York Times" now reports McConnell is privately questioning whether Trump can salvage his presidency.

BRIGGS: A senior White House official dismissing the seriousness of the rift but is not denying the reports the two men are not speaking.

The president and McConnell will have to work together if Republicans want to tackle tax reform, spending package, and raising the debt ceiling. And last night in Arizona, the president called out Mitch, saying they have to do away with the 60-vote filibuster.

ROMANS: All right.

A Missouri death row inmate gets a reprieve from the governor just hours from his scheduled execution. Attorneys for convicted murderer Marcellus Williams say new DNA evidence proves his innocence. Williams was set to be put to death by lethal injection Tuesday night.

BRIGGS: A newly created board of inquiry will now review the case. The St. Louis county prosecutor says he is confident the board and the governor will confirm Williams' conviction after a full review. Further evidence against him included some of the victim's items being found in his car.

ROMANS: All right. Time for a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY" this morning. Alisyn Camerota joins us. Good morning, Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Hi, guys. It's great to see you. What a show we have for you. So, of course, we'll recap the president's fiery speech and we'll have all of our reporters and our analysts to help us understand what happened last night.

And then, at 7:30 eastern time, we have another one of our must-see Trump voter panels. They will tell us their reaction to Charlottesville and the president's response to it. And, they will explain a new conspiracy theory that has taken hold since Charlottesville that they are very attached to, and we will try to trace the source of all of that.

So that's when Chris and I see you at the top of the hour.

BRIGGS: Yes, and you'll have on Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar who was at the rally, thanked by the president. Curious how that rally helps move their Republican agenda. It should be a good show.

CAMEROTA: We'll ask him.

ROMANS: OK, good.

BRIGGS: See you in a bit.

ROMANS: Thanks, Alisyn.

Google and Walmart teaming up to take on Amazon. We'll tell you how they plan to beat the online shopping king. "CNN Money Stream," next.


[05:51:35] ROMANS: Chelsea Clinton has been there and the former first daughter is coming to the defense of the president's youngest son after an article attacked Barron Trump's casual attire.

Chelsea Clinton tweeting, "It's high time the media and everyone leave Barron Trump alone and let him have the private childhood he deserves."

BRIGGS: Her comment coming after the conservative "Daily Caller" Website criticized the 11-year-old's fashion choice, saying of Barron, quote, "The least he could do is dress the part when he steps out in public."

The story getting strong pushback from both sides of the political aisle.

The kid looks good. He --

ROMANS: Dress the part, yes.

BRIGGS: -- combs his hair, which my kids rarely do.

ROMANS: He's playing the part of an 11-year-old. He is dressing the part.

Late last night, first lady Melania Trump tweeting this response to Chelsea Clinton.

"Thank you. So important to support all of our children in being themselves. #StopChildhoodBullying."

A lot of people noted that this was during the president's speech --

BRIGGS: During the speech.

ROMANS: -- that was tweeting to Hillary Clinton (sic) -- to Chelsea.

BRIGGS: And pro-tweeting one of the president's biggest critics in Chelsea Clinton --


ROMANS: -- as well.

All right.

The Navy official removing the commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet after the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with a commercial tanker off the coast of Singapore.

CNN's Matt Rivers live in Singapore with the latest details -- Matt.

RIVERS: Well, this does appear to be the first domino to fall in terms of leadership being removed as a result of this latest deadly accident and, frankly, in response to several other incidents that have happened to the 7th Fleet in 2017, alone. Three different incidents, two of them deadly, involving ships -- warships deployed within the 7th Fleet to this part of the world.

So we know that Vice Admiral Joe Aucoin, who was actually set to retire in just a month, was relieved of his command by his boss, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Admiral Scott Swift, saying -- with the admiral saying that he had no -- no longer had confidence in Vice Admiral Aucoin's ability to command.

This comes at the same time as the Navy is doing what's called an operational pause that will be completed by Monday by all the different commands across the entire Navy, across the entire world where each command will take one day to stand down, to suspend operations. To really take a deep dive into safety precautions.

But, of course, the immediate priority here in Singapore remains the search for the 10 missing U.S. sailors. We know that remains have been found, although we're not sure how many bodies of the missing sailors have been recovered at this point. So that remains the Navy's first priority here in Singapore to try and bring those missing sailors home to their loved ones in whatever way they can -- Dave.

BRIGGS: Yes, 10 families that really deserve some answers.

Five fifty-four p.m. there. Matt Rivers live for us. Thank you.

ROMANS: All right. A huge trade going down in the NBA last night and a big controversy at ESPN.

BRIGGS: Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report."

ROMANS: Hey, Coy.

BRIGGS: Some crazy stuff last night, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Good morning to you, guys.

Mark your calendar, October 17th. That's opening night of the NBA season. The Cavs versus the Celtics in Cleveland, a rematch of the Eastern Conference finals and now it has even more meaning.

Everybody knew that Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland but very few saw this blockbuster trade going down. Shocking is definitely an understatement of the players' reactions around the league.

Cleveland gets Isaiah Thomas, along with a couple of other players in a first-round pick in next year's draft, possibly the first overall pick -- we'll see. Most see that this is a win-win, though, for both teams.

Kyrie wants to be the focal point of the team, away from LeBron James' shadow. He'll get that in Boston.

[05:55:09] And now, LeBron James and the Cavs, they're going to likely still contend for a title with Isaiah Thomas at the point.

LeBron shared this video that someone had posted on Twitter in honor of Kyrie, saying quote "Nothing but respect and what a ride it was, our three years together," unquote.

ESPN has removed an announcer named Robert Lee from calling the University of Virginia football game in Charlottesville quote, "simply because of the coincidence of his name," unquote.

Robert Lee is Asian.

The network said it made the decision with Lee to switch him to another game, citing safety reasons and concerns that the announcer has the same name as the Confederate general whose statue sparked the tragic events in Charlottesville.

ESPN released a statement saying in part quote, "In that moment, it felt right to all parties. It's a shame that this is even a topic of conversation and we regret that who calls play-by-play for a football game has become such an issue," unquote.

The network receiving a lot of backlash online --


WIRE: -- for what many are saying --


WIRE: -- is overreaction to this situation.

ROMANS: Oh, I --

BRIGGS: Getting hammered.

ROMANS: Yes. I mean, come on. Removing -- yes, Ihaven't seen very many supportive comments at all for ESPN on the social media response overnight.

BRIGGS: Thank you, Coy.

WIRE: You're welcome.

ROMANS: All right. The Powerball jacket has reached $700 million -- $700 million. That means tonight's drawing features the second- largest payout for any U.S. lottery game on record. No one has won the Powerball jackpot since June 10th.

The odds of picking the perfect combination are one in never. I'm sorry, one in 292 million. You have --

BRIGGS: And odds that you'll play is a financially prudent one (ph).

ROMANS: You have as much chance of finding the winning lottery ticket on a subway grate in New York City as you do of buying it.

BRIGGS: Getting me 20 bucks in tickets as soon as I leave here.

ROMANS: Dollar and a dream. Dollar and a dream. Briggs wants out of this place.

Let's get a check on --

BRIGGS: Never, never.

ROMANS: Let's talk about real money -- real money.

Global stock markets mixed after a great day on Wall Street. The catalyst yesterday, renewed hope for U.S. tax reform. Stocks here rallied after reports the White House has lawmakers moving ahead with reform.

The Dow surging almost 200 points, its biggest one-day gain since April, while the S&P and the Nasdaq up about one percent.Many credit the promise of tax reform for the post-election rally. The Dow is up 20 percent since the election.

But the president's tone last night and his attacks on fellow Republicans, maybe that changes the mood a little bit here today because he will need those Republicans to get that tax reform through if they're going to do it.

A shake-up for one of the world's largest oil companies. Chevron's CEO, John Watson, may be stepping down.

"The Wall Street Journal" first reporting the company is looking for new leadership and expect a transition next month. Chevron did not confirm the rumor. It tells CNN it does not comment on speculation.

However, Watson's likely exit comes during a dramatic time for oil companies. They are looking for new ways to cut costs as crude prices remain low.

Google and Walmart, they're teaming up to take on Amazon. Walmart will start offering hundreds of thousands of products on Google platforms, including voice ordering through Google Assistant, a direct threat to Amazon's voice shopping with Alexa.

It is the first time Walmart is selling its products not on its own Website, proof of the mutual threat both Google and Walmart face from Amazon.

A team-up does not ensure success over Amazon. Amazon is still the primary stop for most online shoppers.

But I'm telling you, every retailer out there -- anybody who sells anything has an Amazon strategy --

BRIGGS: No doubt.

ROMANS: -- because Amazon is just a category killer.

BRIGGS: And I do not have an exit strategy. I'm still -- I'm still coming to work at 2:00 a.m. --

ROMANS: I'm offended.

BRIGGS: -- when I win the lottery. I'm just taking the helicopter.

ROMANS: I'm offended. Yes, yes.

BRIGGS: I can park it on the roof.

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

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs.

A wild show as President Trump goes off in Arizona. "NEW DAY" has all the headlines and reaction starting right now. We'll see you tomorrow.


TRUMP: If you want to discover the source of the division in our country look no further than the fake news.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This issue of Charlottesville is the albatross around this administration's neck.

TRUMP: They're trying to take away our culture. They've got clubs and they've got everything. Antifa.

JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE:I found this downright scary and disturbing. I worry about, frankly, access to the nuclear code.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president was very much like the president was at almost every one of his rallies.

TRUMP: We were just one vote away from victory.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president had more kind words for the leader of North Korea than he did for a war hero who is fighting brain cancer.


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

CAMEROTA: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, August 23rd, 6:00 here in New York.

We have a lot of news, so here is our "Starting Line."

Angry and defiant, President Trump, last night, attempted to rewrite history of his Charlottesville response, conveniently omitting his blaming of both sides for the deadly violence and his saying that very fine people marched with white supremacists.

The president's combative speech did not stop there.