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FBI Raid Sought Information On "Access Hollywood" Tape; The World Awaits Trump's Syria Response; House Speaker Ryan Will Not Seek Reelection; Kremlin: No Putin-Trump Plans To Speak. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired April 12, 2018 - 05:30   ET



[05:31:49] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Could that "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD" tape come back to haunt President Trump? Sources tell CNN it was part of the FBI raid on the president's personal lawyer.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: And the president's national security team is meeting in a matter of hours. When and how will the U.S. respond to that suspected chemical attack in Syria?


PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Yes, we had a pretty -- we had a lot of friction in our relationship.


ROMANS: House Speaker Paul Ryan's sudden decision to leave Congress. How much does it really have to do with President Trump?

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

MARQUARDT: I'm Alex Marquardt.

ROMANS: Nice to see you.

MARQUARDT: It's good to be with you again.

ROMANS: Yes, good to have you.

MARQUARDT: It is now 31 minutes past the hour.

There are new revelations this morning about what FBI agents were looking for when they raided President Trump's personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen. Sources telling CNN that the search warrant sought communications between the president and Cohen about that infamous "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD" tape.

That is one top of what we already know that investigators were seeking information on efforts to prevent the eruption of two -- of stories on two women who claimed they had affairs with Mr. Trump -- Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.

CNN's Gloria Borger has been reporting on the story. She has the latest from Washington.


GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Alex and Christine, sources tell me that the FBI agents who raided Michael Cohen's home, office, and hotel room on Monday were looking for communications between then-candidate Trump and Cohen, and perhaps others about efforts to prevent the release of the infamous "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD" tape -- and you all remember this -- that captured Donald Trump making lewd remarks about women before the election.

The warrant's specific reference to Trump is the first-known direct mention of the president in a search warrant and sources say it appeared in connection to the tape. This warrant is also the first indication that investigators suspect there was an effort to suppress the "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD" tape but we don't know what, if any, role Cohen or the president would have played in that.

In addition to what we already know about the warrant, we're also learning that investigators wanted records pertaining to bank fraud and wire fraud investigations. And on top of that, the warrant involved communications about other potential negative information about Trump that the campaign might have wanted to contain ahead of the election.

What we don't know is what additional information that might be -- Alex, Christine.


ROMANS: All right, Gloria. Thank you for that.

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon pitching a plan to President Trump designed to crush the special counsel investigation. According to "The Washington Post," Bannon's strategy involves firing deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein and having the president end all cooperation with Robert Mueller's team.

He's also calling on the president to invoke executive privilege retroactively, claiming that would render all interviews already completed with White House officials null and void.

MARQUARDT: All right.

A bombshell on Capitol Hill launching a fierce race to be the next Speaker of the House. That was set off by Paul Ryan's announcement that he will retire from Congress at the end of the year.

In an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, Ryan said that he's leaving to go home to Wisconsin and spend more time with his family and that Republicans' tough prospects in the midterms in November played no part in his thinking.


RYAN: I was able to make that personal decision because I feel like we have put our majority in a good place because we have gotten a lot done. It's making a big difference in people's lives.

So I'm confident we're going to be able to hand -- I'm going to be able to hand this gavel over to another Republican speaker and because of that list of accomplishments I actually feel content and confident.


MARQUARDT: Content and confident. Ryan is also denying that he's leaving because of a reportedly difficult relationship with President Trump.


RYAN: We're very different people. I'm from the upper Midwest, I'm not from New York. We're from a different generation so we definitely have different styles.

But what we learned after we got to know each other -- because we didn't know each other at all in the campaign and yes, we had a pretty -- we had a lot of friction in our relationship. What we learned is we have a common agenda that we agree on and we want to get it done. And we know it's going to make a big difference in people's lives, and that's what we are elected to do.


ROMANS: Ryan, of course, rose to prominence as a sharp-penciled deficit hawk. Yesterday, he touted his role in passing tax cuts -- tax cuts that balloon the deficit to a trillion dollars a year starting in 2020.

[05:35:09] Even so, Ryan's departure if a blow to Republicans who saw him as a stable policy-driven leader in the midst of a tumultuous presidency. The House GOP now faces a possibly months' long battle for leadership as it grapples with the midterms.

Among the leading contenders for the gavel are House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve Scalise. Both of those guys appeared alongside Ryan in this photo tweeted out by President Trump ahead of a White House dinner with Republican leaders last night. Thumbs up, big smiles.

MARQUARDT: What a lineup. All right.

CNN's political analyst Jackie Kucinich joins us against now. She is the Washington bureau chief of "The Daily Beast." Good morning, Jackie.

ROMANS: Hi, nice to see you.


MARQUARDT: Now, we've heard Paul Ryan and it seems genuine, saying that he wants to spend more time with his family, but I want to throw up a line from Karl Rove who wrote in "The Wall Street Journal." "Speaker Ryan's decision reflects a recognition that one of two

outcomes is likely, neither of which is promising for GOP leadership. One is that Democrats take the house. The other possibility is that Republicans end up with a diminished majority that makes governing more difficult."

So, Karl Rove clearly sees this as a political move.

Do you think Paul Ryan would be sticking around if it looked good for the GOP in November?

KUCINICH: It's hard to say that he would and if there was a more -- less of a frenemy in the White House right now because President Trump has made it hard for them to do their jobs in a lot of ways.

Remember all the way back to the health care debate, President Trump saying he was going to something and then saying he was going to do another, and it kind of scrambled negotiations that were going on in the House about a health care bill. So it has been -- and you layer that with the upcoming midterm elections.

It really is a tough political decision for Speaker Ryan. He is a prolific fundraiser. That said, so are Kevin McCarthy, so are Steve Scalise.

Steve Scalise is someone I think everyone should keep an eye on at this point, not that they weren't anyway. But he is someone that when you look at this caucus and if the midterm elections go toward the Democrats we're going to have a smaller, lighter, more southern, male conference. Steve Scalise is the man who would be the representative of a caucus that looked like that -- or conference.

ROMANS: Paul Ryan got his tax cuts. It wasn't the beautiful tax reform I think that he dreamed of --


ROMANS: -- since he was five years old, but he did get his tax cuts.

We're going to have deficits. It's going to balloon the deficit, something he doesn't like, but he can say he got his tax cuts --


ROMANS: -- as a signature achievement for him.

Let's talk about Steve Bannon and this plan --


ROMANS: -- in "The Washington Post." "The Washington Post" reporting that he has this strategy and that he is pitching the White House on a strategy to basically crush the Mueller investigation.

Is Steve Bannon back? KUCINICH: I don't think Steve Bannon every really left. I don't think anyone really leaves the Trump orbit. Even if they are jettisons they always sort of have a foot in if the president liked you to begin with.

Now, Steve Bannon had a spectacular fall because of this Michael Wolff book and what --


KUCINICH: -- he said there, and the president called him insane or something.


KUCINICH: But I think to think that Steve Bannon was ever that far away from the White House is not realizing how President Trump works. It wouldn't -- I mean, he's jettisoned other people --


KUCINICH: -- and they've definitely had a foot in. This seems to be -- this, to me, looks like Steve Bannon trying to get his way back in the inner circle maybe being -- someone said, and I can't remember who, that Steve Bannon tends to be President Trump's aide -- what he really wants to do.

And we know back in -- from I believe "The New York Times" reporting that back in December President Trump wanted to end all of this. So he's really appealing to that part of the president that just wants to get this --

ROMANS: You mean the Russia investigation -- right.

KUCINICH: The Russia investigation. Excuse me, yes, the Russian investigation.

He wanted this over in December. He probably didn't want it to begin with but he wanted to get rid of this a long time ago and Steve Bannon is appealing to that.

MARQUARDT: This is exactly what the president wants to hear and it would be that he's --

KUCINICH: Absolutely.

MARQUARDT: -- equipped (ph) for Bannon to get back in the mix.

Jackie, let's quickly hit on the other big item on the president's agenda today, Syria. He's been deliberating that this chemical attack in Syria happened over the weekend, five days ago. We understand that they're trying to rally a coalition to strike Syria.

For a man who governs generally on impulse, he is not being very impulsive here.

What do we know about the conversations going on inside the White House about a possible strike on Syria?

KUCINICH: Well, let's not forget how this started. He was tweeting before talking to allies, before -- and so this was just --

MARQUARDT: There's your impulse.

KUCINICH: This was backwards --


KUCINICH: -- to begin with and surprising allies, surprising people in the White House. So I think you have maybe Defense Sec. Mattis trying to slow his roll, talking to allies on the back end and really trying to figure out what to do here.

But the president also has this political impulse, right? It seems like it was months ago but I think it was a week ago that the president said I want to pull out of Syria --


KUCINICH: -- and then this chemical weapons attack happened.

So he really is caught between something he's promised versus the actual reality on the ground -- that he's drawn this red line. He was very critical of President Obama and his red line.

[05:40:00] So he -- and also, let's not forget when the president did send those missiles onto an airfield there really wasn't a lot of follow-up --


KUCINICH: -- and I -- that could be why Assad felt empowered to do this again.

ROMANS: Well, there's action and then there's strategy --


ROMANS: -- and the action and strategy go together or do they not, and that's what we're trying to figure out what's happening.

MARQUARDT: And that's a very good point. The thinking now is that he would have to hit Syria harder this time so that they actually do learn the lesson that they were trying to say last time to President Assad.

KUCINICH: And watch and see what he does, yes.

MARQUARDT: All right. Jackie, thanks so much for joining us.

ROMANS: Nice to see you --

KUCINICH: Thanks, guys.

ROMANS: -- bright and early. Thanks, Jackie.

CNN has learned the president's national security team will meet at the White House today to hammer out a strategy on Syria. It's not clear whether the president will participate in that meeting. U.K. officials are expected to hold a similar meeting in London.

On Wednesday, President Trump tweeted "Get ready, Russia. Missiles will be coming toward Syria."

At the time, the U.S. and its allies had no plan in place for the response when the president was saying "get ready."

Here's Press Secretary Sarah Sanders defending the threat.


SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We're maintaining we have a number of options and all of those options are still on the table.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And when the president says get ready Russia, they will be coming -- the missiles are coming -- how is that anything but an announcement of a pending airstrike?

SANDERS: It's certainly one option but that doesn't mean it's the only option or the only thing that the president may or may not do.


ROMANS: CNN's Arwa Damon tracking the latest developments live from Istanbul and, Arwa, how's all this playing where you are?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well actually, we just have some news that is being reported by Turkey's Anadolu, the state-run news agency. They are saying that President Erdogan is going to be speaking at some point today with President Putin, specifically to talk about how to stop the chemical massacre taking place in Syria.

Now, Turkey is in quite an interesting position here because yes, on the one hand, they are a NATO ally and they have been fairly adamant in their statements that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must go. But at the same time, they have kept channels of communication open to both the Russians and the Iranians.

Turkey obviously on edge at this stage because anything that happens in Syria does end up impacting it, whether it's airstrikes that are taking place or anything that causes even more destabilization in what is already a very volatile region.

Of course, a lot of speculation about what kind of strikes may or may not take place, what the targets are going to be, and what the potential fallout is going to be. We've heard some pretty harsh rhetoric from the Russians threatening to retaliate. The Iranians also making that very same threat as well. And when you speak to Syrians that are living inside these rebel-held areas that have been subjected to this brutal bombardment, especially the areas that are under siege, they are greatly concerned and very wary about what is going to be coming next because there is the possibility or, in their minds at least, a fear that the Syrian government could choose to retaliate against them.

ROMANS: I can't even imagine. All right, thank you so much. Arwa Damon for us in Istanbul this morning.

Forty-three minutes past the hour.

President Trump warning Russia to get ready for missiles aimed at Syria. We're going to go live to Moscow next for the new Russian response, plus this.


GOV. ERIC GREITENS (R), MISSOURI: This is a political witch hunt.


MARQUARDT: A familiar refrain now echoed by embattled Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens. Details in a damning new report. That's coming up.


[05:47:28] MARQUARDT: Welcome back.

The Kremlin is now dialing back the rhetoric after President Trump's tweet taunting Russia about smart missiles aimed at Syria.

Let's go to CNN's Nic Robertson. He is live in the Russian capital.

Nic, Moscow had responded very quickly to that tweet from the president and warned the U.S. against any military action. What are they saying now?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, there's been this twin-track approach. Some of the lower level officials if you will have been -- have been responding very strongly.

But what we've been hearing from President Putin and we've just heard in the last few minutes from President Putin's spokesman today, Dmitry Peskov -- he was asked the question does President Putin plan to talk to President Trump or are there any intermediaries in the play at the moment to try to avoid strikes?

Peskov, Putin's spokesman, said no, there's nothing on the schedule for that at the moment. He repeated what we've heard from President Putin, saying that this is a very important time to try to calm the situation down.

But then there was this thing in "The Tale" (ph) where he said that this was -- that if there were strikes then this would have a disastrous and very damaging effect on overall Syria peace settlement. And the implication seems to be in that that if the United States commits the strikes with allies on Syria then Russia might find it very hard to bring Bashar al-Assad and his government to the U.N. peace talks in Geneva.

That said, every time Russia does bring President Assad's team of politicians and negotiators to the U.N. peace talks in Geneva they never actually commit to anything or do anything. But it does seem to be implicit in what we're hearing from President Putin's spokesman that the threat there from Russia is going to make finding peace in Syria much harder if there are U.S. missile strikes.

Also on that call, Peskov did say that the line of communication -- this technical line of communication to deconflate U.S. and Russian air assets in the air fighting ISIS in Syria, that hotline is still open, but he wouldn't say if it was being used right now to exchange information to avoid Russian casualties -- Alex.

MARQUARDT: And we do know that the U.S. warned Russia ahead of time before it carried out a strike exactly a year ago.

Thanks to Nic Robertson in Moscow.

Now, there are stunning new allegations against the embattled Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and a state House committee report is detailing lurid allegations the governor of sexual misconduct and violence. An unidentified woman claiming Greitens staged and photographed her bound and blindfolded, then threatened to release the photo if she disclosed their encounter.

[05:50:09] Governor Greitens already faces criminal invasion of privacy charges in addition to multiple ongoing investigations.

Here he is on Wednesday defending himself before the latest bombshell dropped.


GREITENS: This is exactly like what's happening with the witch hunts in Washington, D.C. Smearing, lying, and attacking people who want to change how things are done is wrong in Washington and it's wrong in Missouri.


MARQUARDT: Familiar language there.

The new report by state lawmakers could set the stage for impeachment proceedings against Missouri's Republican governor.

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

First, Wall Street worried about a trade war. Now, it's a real war. Global stocks dropped overnight after the Dow fell more than 200 points.

President Trump threatened Russia about an airstrike in Syria. The concern for investors, possible escalation and conflict in the Middle East already raising oil prices up two percent, the most expensive in four years.

It wasn't just geopolitical concerns, inflation worries also hurt stocks. The Federal Reserve thinks inflation will rise, hitting its target in the near future, so the Fed will raise interest rates faster than planned.

The U.S. job market is strong, we've been telling you, but there's one glaring problem -- a historically high number of part-time workers that want full-time jobs. Economists have long said this trend was temporary but now the San Francisco Federal Reserve warns it may be a permanent problem. That is unless lawmakers introduce policies to address the issue.

It has been nearly nine years since the recession ended but the Labor Department says there are more involuntary part-time workers today than before the crisis.

Uber doesn't just want to shuttle you around in stranger's cars, now it wants to help you rent them. Uber will begin offering peer-to-peer car rental later this month. It will start in San Francisco with plans to expand.

Users will be able to rent cars right in the app while car owners can decide how long they want to rent their cars, and it can be as short as an hour.

The move is part of Uber's plan to boost transportation options. It acquired a bike-share company earlier this week.

I don't know.

MARQUARDT: The Airbnb of car sharing?

ROMANS: Maybe, maybe.

MARQUARDT: I don't know about that.

ROMANS: We'll see. All right.

A cruise ship heads straight for the dock. We'll tell you how it turned out just ahead.

MARQUARDT: And things got ugly very quickly on the ballfield in Boston. Benches clearing, punches thrown. What caused it, next.


[05:57:05] ROMANS: All right.

Dramatic video of a hit-and-run in south Los Angeles. I've got to warn you this is hard to watch here. You see this car plowing right into this man.

He was apparently trying to diffuse the situation. He goes flying into the air. The driver takes off.

Dozens of people chase after the vehicle but the driver gets away. Police, we're told, are still looking for her.

Witnesses say she was caught on video earlier getting into a fistfight with some of these cyclists. They were -- they were blocking an intersection. It was part of a vigil for a fellow cyclist who had been killed by a different hit-and-run driver the day before.

As for the victim hit Wednesday afternoon, he's recovering in the hospital.

MARQUARDT: Wow. Well, the dramatic video doesn't stop there. Take a look at this out of Honduras.

This 65-ton cruise ship smashing into a dock on the island of Roatan. People can be heard shouting for others on land to get out of the way. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

Authorities inspected the ship and gave the MSC Armonia the green light to head to its next destination in Belize.

MSC Cruises says it is launching an investigation into that accident. I'm sure they are.

ROMANS: All right.

A night of bad blood and brawls in Beantown baseball.

First, Yankees-Red Sox at Fenway. New York's Tyler Austin hit by a 98-mile-an-hour fastball on the elbow.

He charges the mound, both benches empty. Austin and Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly exchanging punches before getting booted.

The Yankees win 10-7.

MARQUARDT: It's like it was contagious.

Just hours earlier, Padres-Rockies in Denver here. San Diego's Luis Perdomo throws behind Colorado's Nolan Arenado, then he throws his glove at the charging third baseman.

Benches again clearing. Five players were ejected and suspensions expected by this weekend.

The Rockies scored five times after the brawl to go ahead and win 6-4.

ROMANS: That doesn't happen with T.V. anchors. We don't -- we don't do that at work.

MARQUARDT: No, it does but we've just been lucky.

ROMANS: It does, it does.

All right, thanks for joining us, everybody. I'm Christine Romans. MARQUARDT: And I'm Alex Marquardt. "NEW DAY" starts right now.


ACOSTA: The FBI agents sought communications regarding the infamous "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD" tape.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This could be about whether Michael Cohen was making an effort to suppress the release of that tape.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is not talking about firing Bob Mueller.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a constitutional crisis in the making.

STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: Ty Cobb and John Dowd had a radical theory. Let's totally cooperate and waive executive privilege. I think that's wrong.

SANDERS: We have a number of options and all of those options are still on the table.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president's boxed himself in now. Once he makes these statements he's got to now deliver.

REP. ANNA ESHOO (D), CALIFORNIA: Was your data included in the data sold to the malicious third parties?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They've got to rebuild trust with the American people.


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

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Thursday, April 12th, 6:00 here in New York.

Here's our "Starting Line."

We have new details about the FBI raid on President Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen. -