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EARLY START

FBI Raids Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen's Office, Seizes Stormy Daniels Documents, Bank Records; How Will Trump Respond To Syrian Chemical Attack?; Chinese President Xi Vows To Cut Auto Tariffs; Facebook's Zuckerberg Testifies Today On Capitol Hill. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired April 10, 2018 - 05:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:31:15] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Why I don't just fire Mueller? Well, I think it's a disgrace what's going on. We'll see what happens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump publicly considers firing the special counsel after an FBI raid on his personal attorney Michael Cohen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: It will be met and it will be met forcefully.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: And, an angry president also facing a critical test on another front. How to respond to a suspected chemical attack that killed dozens in Syria.

ROMANS: And, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg will -- expected to take the blame for his company's data scandal when he is grilled by lawmakers just hours from now on Capitol Hill.

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

MARQUARDT: And I'm Alex Marquardt. It is 31 minutes past the hour.

This morning, we are waiting to see what action President Trump might take in response to an FBI raid on the home and office of his longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen. FBI agents acting on a search warrant that was triggered by a referral from the special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation to the U.S. Attorney in New York City.

The president's anger at Mueller was on full display yesterday in the cabinet room.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Why don't I just fire Mueller? Well, I think it's a disgrace what's going on. We'll see what happens.

But I think it's really a sad situation when you look at what happened. And many people have said you should fire him. Again, they found nothing and in finding nothing that's a big statement.

I have this witch hunt constantly going on for over 12 months now and actually much more than that. You could say it was right after I won the nomination it started, and it's a disgrace. It's frankly a real disgrace.

It's an attack on our country in a true sense. It's an attack on what we all stand for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: Now, this extraordinary raid on the president's lawyer with its implication for attorney-client privilege would have to have been approved by top officials at the Justice Department, likely deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein.

The president, yesterday, renewed his attacks on Rosenstein and his boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as our Gloria Borger reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Christine and Alex, these raids were really extraordinary.

About a dozen FBI agents searched multiple locations, including Michael Cohen's office and a hotel room where he had been staying. The source tells me the raids were largely about the payment Cohen made to Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election but also concerned election laws as well as smaller Cohen personal investments.

This all came as a result of the special counsel's office referring an investigation to prosecutors in New York, and that's according to Michael Cohen's own attorney.

We know that the bank red-flagged Cohen's $130,000 payment to Daniels last October and the warrant involved the payment to the porn star, Cohen's communications with the president and the campaign. As a result, it's likely Cohen's computer, his phone, and his personal financial records were a part of the search.

Cohen's attorney Stephen Ryan called the raids quote "completely inappropriate and unnecessary." And people close to the president say he sees this as the special counsel's really crossing a red line. And he's furious with the deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein and the attorney general Jeff Sessions and right now, maybe even more than the special counsel Bob Mueller.

So what does this mean for their futures? Only the president knows.

Gloria Borger, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right. Thanks for that, Gloria.

Let's talk about this a little bit more with "CNN POLITICS" reporter Saba Hamedy, live in Washington for us. Good morning.

MARQUARDT: Hey, Saba.

SABA HAMEDY, REPORTER, "CNN POLITICS," CO-AUTHOR, "THE POINT": Good morning.

ROMANS: When you talk about -- well, the president was angry yesterday. No question, he was angry and he called --

[05:35:00] MARQUARDT: Incredibly angry.

ROMANS: He called this what? He called this an attack against the country --

MARQUARDT: Disgraceful.

ROMANS: -- and disgraceful. He is -- he is upset that this is -- that this is happening. That the FBI had this raid against his personal attorney.

And, you know, outside of members of his own family this is really someone who is the closest thing to family around President Trump. I mean, listen to what Michael Cohen, his attorney, said back in 2011 sort of describing his role and his relationship with the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL COHEN, ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: My job is I protect Mr. Trump. That's what it is. If there's an issue that relates to Mr. Trump that is of concern to him it's, of course, concern to me and I will use my legal skills within which to protect Mr. Trump to the best of my ability.

They say I'm Mr. Trump's pit bull. That I am his -- I'm his right- hand man. I mean, there's -- I've been called many different things around here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: You know, and just, I think this weekend -- right, in Mar-a- Lago? I mean, he had dinner with him and made a -- made a show of making sure people saw the president was having dinner --

MARQUARDT: And they still talk all the time.

ROMANS: -- with Michael Cohen.

How angry do you think the president is that this has hit so close to home for him here? HAMEDY: I mean, if one thing is obvious it's that the president is angry. I mean, he spent much of his remarks yesterday going off on how this is an attack on him. And he again used the term witch hunt, he blamed Democrats.

So he's very clearly upset because as you both said, Michael Cohen is his closest family to Trump as it gets and it's hitting him really hard.

MARQUARDT: And Saba, we know that Mueller has long been in the sights of President Trump. He's always talking well, should I fire him, should I not fire him. That remains to be seen. And he talked more about -- he raised that question again last night at the White House.

Let's take a listen to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The attorney general made a terrible mistake when he did this and when he recused himself. Rod Rosenstein, who is in charge of this, signed a FISA warrant and he also -- he also signed a letter that was essentially saying to fire James Comey, and he was right about that.

Why don't I just fire Mueller? Well, I think it's a disgrace what's going on. We'll see what happens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: So, openly deliberating there about whether he should fire Mueller, but not just Mueller. Sessions, Rosenstein, Mueller -- all three appear to be in his sights and ratcheting up pressure on all three of them.

HAMEDY: Yes. I mean, it's definitely back to the will he or won't he fire someone conversation. And as I believe Gloria mentioned, it's -- only President Trump really knows.

And we know from previous reporting from last summer that Trump was considering firing Mueller but his legal team advised against it. And now, he doesn't have as many close people in his circle so there's sort of no telling who's advising him to do what and whether he's even going to listen.

ROMANS: Saba Hamedy, so nice to have you here this morning -- this Tuesday morning.

HAMEDY: You, too.

ROMANS: Thank you so much. Talk to you soon.

HAMEDY: Thank you.

MARQUARDT: Thank you.

ROMANS: All right. Tough talk from the president in the wake of the latest deadly chemical attack against civilians in Syria. The president says he will decide on the U.S. response quickly and he claims it will be very tough whether it involves Russia, Syria, Iran or all three.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We're making a decision as to what we do with respect to the horrible attack that was made near Damascus, and it will be met and it will be met forcefully. And when, I will not say because I don't like talking about timing, but we are developing the greatest force that we've ever had.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Russia and Syria vehemently denying any involvement in the attack. They claim rebel forces in the region fabricated it.

CNN's Ben Wedeman tracking the latest developments live from Beirut. And Ben, is there a sense there that there is a strike from the United States -- an attack on Syria that is imminent?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There are certainly all of the signals coming from a president who says he doesn't like to signal what he's going to do or that, as we heard yesterday, within 24 to 48 hours a decision will made. And certainly, all of the words that are coming out his mouth seem to point in the direction of some sort of military action, perhaps in concert with France and Britain.

And perhaps also, targeting Russians and Iranians which certainly raises the prospect of something far more serious than what we saw a year ago when the United States, at the orders of President Trump, launched 59 cruise missiles at an airbase in central Syria. That was in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack in Khan Shaykhun in April of last year. That is a town just south of Aleppo.

[05:40:12] And -- but when you look at the big picture, often people will ask you well, if the United States is going to retaliate for the death of perhaps 50 people by chemical weapons outside of Damascus on Saturday evening, why doesn't it act more forcefully given that over the last 7-plus years of war in Syria almost half a million people have been killed, but not by chemical weapons -- Christine.

ROMANS: That is -- that is devastating. The length and the -- just the terrible loss of civilian life is just horrible.

All right, thank you so much for that, Ben Wedeman.

MARQUARDT: China's president announcing overnight a plan to lower import tariffs on cars and trucks, but there's a catch. We go live to Beijing, next.

ROMANS: And, CNN exposing the biggest Black Lives Matter page on Facebook. It's a fraud.

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[05:45:30] MARQUARDT: Welcome back.

Chinese President Xi Jinping announcing his government will significantly lower tariffs on vehicle imports this year. In a speech on Tuesday, President Xi said he's willing to cut auto tariffs and further open China's economy to global trade. The pledge comes amid the exchange of economic threats between the U.S. and China.

CNN's Matt Rivers is live with us in Beijing. Matt, how does this all play into a perspective trade war between the U.S. and China?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this was a speech from Xi Jinping that was largely conciliatory according to most of the analysts that we've spoken to here in China throughout the day.

He talked about a lot of the things that the Trump administration wants to see. Strengthening intellectual property rights for foreign firms here in China, increasing access to markets here.

And he mentioned specifically, those automobile tariffs going down later this year. That has been a particular sticking point for the president. He even mentioned it in a tweet on Monday.

So all of that taken together would suggest a leader that is trying to avoid a trade war and is very keenly aware of the reality that it could, in fact, happen.

Now, we have seen some reporting in Chinese state media in a commentary that China would not allow those vehicle tariffs to go down for countries that wage trade wars, without naming the United States. That's really just talking tough here domestically though.

The president of China really going out in a speech that he knew was going to be highly watched, including by policymakers in Washington, and being conciliatory.

Now, it goes to -- the next question is how the Trump administration responds. Is that enough? Is that the kind of thing that the Trump administration will look at and say OK, China is doing enough? We're going to take back our tariffs.

Or are they looking at that and saying you know what, we've heard those kind of reforms -- those economic reforms proposed by China in the past and it didn't lead anywhere, and that's how we got to where we are right now.

So that's the calculation facing the Trump administration moving forward with the speech given by the Chinese president seemingly trying to avoid a damaging trade war for both sides.

MARQUARDT: Yes, so many questions about how the U.S. would or might impose these tariffs on China. Lots of threats.

All right, Matt Rivers in Beijing. Thanks very much.

ROMANS: All right, 47 minutes past the hour. Let's get a check on "CNN Money" this morning.

Global stocks and U.S. futures jumping overnight. Chinese President Xi Jinping's promise to open up those Chinese markets and to cut tariffs on car imports eased investor concerns about a trade war escalating. Tensions between the two -- the U.S. and China -- have caused these crazy swings on Wall Street.

U.S. stocks closed higher yesterday but only slightly. Look at that chart there. They fell from earlier heights. The Dow's 400-point rally was almost wiped out in the final hour of trading.

The catalyst here was news that broke that the FBI raided President Trump's lawyer's office. That took all of the euphoria out of the market then.

The Justice Department will allow Bayer to buy Monsanto in a $60 billion deal. The U.S. previously held up this merger because of antitrust concerns.

Together, those two companies would control more than a quarter of the world's seed and pesticides market. That caused concerns about higher prices. But "The Wall Street Journal" reports Bayer won approval after agreeing to sell some of its assets.

All right, a big day for Mark Zuckerberg. The Facebook CEO faces questions about user data on Capitol Hill today.

This is interesting, though. CNN recently discovered that the biggest Black Lives Matter Facebook page is a fake.

MARQUARDT: Unbelievable.

ROMANS: Still fake stuff right there on Facebook. It's titled "Black Lives Matter." The page had almost 700,000 followers.

CNN found that the page is just a scam. It brought in at least $100,000 supposedly for Black Lives Matter causes in the U.S., but most of that money went to Australian bank accounts.

Facebook suspended the account. It also plans to make the people running large pagers now verify their identity and location -- imagine that -- as part of a larger push to fix the integrity or lack of integrity on Facebook's platform.

I suppose you're going to hear him talk about that today.

MARQUARDT: Yes. I mean, on top of a huge data mining scandal it's this regulation that is -- that is the biggest question.

ROMANS: That's right.

MARQUARDT: All right. Well, what will Mark Zuckerberg say today when he's grilled on Capitol Hill in just a few hours? A live report is just minutes away.

ROMANS: And breaking overnight, the deadly crash of a small plane onto an Arizona golf course. We've got that straight ahead.

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[05:53:54] MARQUARDT: All right, welcome back.

We are following breaking news this morning. At least six people are dead in Arizona after a small plane crashed on a golf course in Scottsdale erupting in flames. More than a half dozen emergency vehicles responded.

According to the FAA, the plane went down after taking off from nearby Scottsdale Airport. At this point, it's unclear what caused the crash.

ROMANS: An update now on a breaking story in the U.K.

This morning, Yulia Skripal, the daughter of a Russian double-agent, apparently poisoned last month -- she is out of the hospital. Her father Sergei Skripal is responding to treatment, we're told, and is no longer in critical condition.

Here's the hospital's medical director a short time ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTINE BLANSHARD, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, SALISBURY DISTRICT HOSPITAL, SALISBURY, ENGLAND: Both patients are at different stages in their recovery. We have now discharged Yulia from Salisbury District Hospital. Yulia has asked for privacy from the media and I want to reiterate her request.

I also want to take this opportunity to wish Yulia well. This is not the end of her treatment but marks a significant milestone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Scotland Yard declining to say whether Yulia Skripal is receiving police protection. They're not saying where she is.

[05:55:02] The U.S. and the U.K. have accused Russia of orchestrating this attack on the -- on the Skripals with a powerful nerve agent. America and Britain have since expelled Russian diplomats in retaliation.

MARQUARDT: And a federal lawsuit is accusing three Michigan State basketball players of raping a female student in 2015 and claims the university discouraged her from reporting it to the police. The alleged victim, who was just 18 at the time, claims there was a de facto policy suppressing sexual assault allegations against sports stars.

It's the third rape allegation against multiple MSU basketball players since 2010. Only one was reported to the police.

The university is under investigation by state and federal agencies over its handling of the Larry Nasser case. ROMANS: All right.

Mark Zuckerberg is taking his apology tour to Capitol Hill today. The CEO of Facebook expected to acknowledge that his company has not done enough to protect its users' information as he gets set for day -- two days now of grilling.

"CNN MONEY"s Samuel Burke join us with more on what to expect. Certainly, he's been prepping for what's going to have to be a contrite appearance before Congress.

SAMUEL BURKE, CORRESPONDENT, "CNN MONEY": It's my fault. That is what Mark Zuckerberg is expected to say. He's going to apologize and he's going to say this is his responsibility. He is, of course, the face of Facebook.

And this isn't just about Cambridge Analytica, Christine. This is about a whole host of subjects which politicians on both sides of the Atlantic have been wanting to question Zuckerberg about for ages. So yes, Cambridge Analytica but also fake news, Russian propaganda, hate speech. And, of course, most importantly, data protection.

This is a real test to Mark Zuckerberg's leadership. Just a couple of weeks ago he was telling us here on CNN that he would most likely not be the person to testify before Congress. That he would send one of his deputies. That he's not comfortable in front of the camera.

But there's so much pressure on the stock price losing tens of billions of dollars -- the microscope on him -- that is has to be Mark Zuckerberg.

And this is really not just about Cambridge Analytica and Mark Zuckerberg. It's about Facebook's big business model -- big data -- so it's the entire tech industry that's really going up behind Mark Zuckerberg today as he testifies.

ROMANS: Yes, and a big question about whether Facebook and its business model have outgrown Mark Zuckerberg's expertise as a founder and whether he can live up to that.

All right, Samuel Burke, thank you. We know you'll be following it.

MARQUARDT: And, legendary rock guitarist and vocalist Lindsey Buckingham is going his own way. Buckingham will not perform with Fleetwood Mac on the band's upcoming world tour. It's not known what caused the split.

The 60-year-old Buckingham first joined the group in 1975. He previously left the band from 1987 to 1996.

Neil Finn of Crowded House and Mike Campbell of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers will replace him on the Fleetwood Mac fall tour joining longtime member Stevie Nicks, Christine and John McVie, and of course -- of course, Mick Fleetwood.

ROMANS: All right. Cindy Hyde-Smith making history, becoming the first woman to ever

represent the state of Mississippi in Congress. She was sworn in Monday on the Senate floor by Vice President Mike Pence. Hyde-Smith replaces Republican Sen. Ted Cochran who resigned, citing health problems.

The former Mississippi agriculture commissioner becomes the 23rd woman currently serving in the U.S. Senate.

MARQUARDT: And something earning bipartisan support in Congress this morning. Congratulations to Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth on the birth of her baby girl. Her daughter Maile Pearl Bowlsbey arrived on Monday morning.

Duckworth is the first U.S. senator to have a baby while in office, and this is her second child. Her daughter Abigail was born in 2014 while Duckworth was a member of the House.

Duckworth is an Iraq war vet. She lost both of her legs in 2006 when her Army helicopter was shot down.

ROMANS: Really, best to her.

MARQUARDT: Congratulations.

ROMANS: I just love these working women role models and nice to see one in the Senate. That's really great.

MARQUARDT: Yes, congratulations to Sen. Duckworth.

ROMANS: And great for Abigail to have a little sister.

Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

MARQUARDT: And I'm Alex Marquardt. "NEW DAY" starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: They broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys. It's a total witch hunt.

REP. TED LIEU (D), CALIFORNIA: What the U.S. Attorney's office did was a vindication on the principle that no one is above the law -- no one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president needs to fire Jeff Sessions. He needs to fire Rosenstein. He needs to fire Mueller. This is a sham investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bob Mueller should stay. He should be allowed to turn over every rock.

MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY FOR STORMY DANIELS: Make no mistake about it, there's going to be a lot of sleepless nights at the White House.

TRUMP: We are very concerned. This is about humanity and it can't be allowed to happen.

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: I think we need to take some surgical military action.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two days ago he's talking about leaving Syria. He needs to calm down and work with his defense advisers to come up with a plan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, April 10th, 6:00 here in New York.

Here's our "Starting Line."

President Trump lashing out after the FBI's raid of his personal attorney Michael Cohen's offices, calling it a disgrace and a witch hunt. The president falsely claims that his own Justice Department broke into Cohen's office despite obtaining a lawful search warrant, and claiming that special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation is quote "an attack on our --