Return to Transcripts main page


Massive Manhunt For Waffle House Shooting Suspect; Trump To Ask North Korea To Dismantle Nuclear Arsenal Before Talking Sanctions Relief; French President Macron Arrives Today For State Visit; Russian Reporter Falls To Death; U.K.'s Duchess of Cambridge In Early Stages Of Labor With Third Child. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired April 23, 2018 - 05:30   ET


[05:31:08] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news. The gunman who killed four people at a Nashville restaurant is still on the run and could be armed.


JAMES SHAW, JR., TACKLED WAFFLE HOUSE GUNMAN: I chose to react because I didn't see any other way of me, you know, living.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The customer who charged the gunman and ripped the rifle away telling his story.

ROMANS: President Trump reportedly wants North Korea to dismantle its nukes before he'll talk about lifting economic sanctions.

BRIGGS: Breaking overnight, Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, admitted to the hospital in labor with another royal baby on the way. Hashtag #royalbaby3.

ROMANS: And she'll be just like us now.

BRIGGS: How's that?

ROMANS: Three kids, three kids.

BRIGGS: Oh, yes, and that may be the only way she's just like us.

ROMANS: And that's the only way we are just like her.

BRIGGS: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It is 31 minutes --

BRIGGS: You're a princess, though.

ROMANS: Oh, why thank you.

BRIGGS: You are.

ROMANS: I'm the queen in my house.

Thirty-one -- 32 minutes past the hour.

We're following a breaking story this morning. Authorities warning people to keep their doors locked and their eyes open as long as the gunman in the Nashville Waffle House attack remains on the loose.

Twenty-nine-year-old Travis Reinking shot and killed four people with an AR-15-style rifle early Sunday morning. Reinking known to have a history of mental problems.

Last July, he was arrested after breaching a White House security barrier demanding, at the time, a meeting with the president -- President Trump. Federal law enforcement arranged to have his firearms taken away but the guns were given to his father who later gave them back to Reinking.

For more, let's go to CNN's Dianne Gallagher in Antioch, Tennessee.


DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dave, Christine, of course, above all else right now, people here in Antioch, Tennessee and really surround everywhere are really on edge because we're looking at more than 24 hours now since this shooting and they still do not know where he is. They have been looking for him. They have used canines, trying to find this man and still, no sign of 29-year- old Travis Reinking.

Now, they say that just after 3:00 a.m. on Sunday, Central Time, he came to this Waffle House here and parked his truck. He was nude except for a green jacket, armed with an AR-15. Came into the parking lot, opened fire. He killed two people in the parking lot.

Went inside the Waffle House and began shooting again. He killed two more people inside the Waffle House.

They say if had not been for the heroic actions of one customer, James Shaw, Jr., that this could have been much worse.

SHAW: The gun was kind of jammed up and it was pushed down, so we were scuffling. And I managed to get him with one hand on the gun and then I grabbed it from him and I threw it over the countertop. And after that I was trying to get out the door and I think he was pretty much in the entranceway so I just took him out with me.

GALLAGHER: The last time anybody saw Reinking he was walking down the street. He'd put pants on by that time. He wasn't seen again.

In Washington, D.C. in July of 2017, U.S. Secret Service actually arrested him trying to get onto the grounds of the White House. He told them he was a sovereign citizen, that he was having a meeting with President Trump.

Shortly after that, the FBI and his --authorities in his home state of Illinois interviewed him. Illinois revoked his authorization to have weapons. They confiscated four guns.

They gave those guns to his father. Now, police here say that the father has acknowledged he gave those four guns back to his son. One of those guns, according to police, was the AR-15 used in the shooting here at the Waffle House.

Authorities in Illinois in his home town, according to those reports, also had some run-ins with him with some mental health things. He threatened to kill himself with a gun before. He had also told them that he was having -- that basically, the pop star Taylor Swift was stalking him.

Authorities here recognize that we could be dealing with someone with some mental health issues. Right now, though, Dave, Christine, they really just want to find him.


[05:35:04] BRIGGS: Indeed. Dianne Gallagher there for us in Tennessee.

Now to the latest on North Korea. According to "The Wall Street Journal", President Trump plans to ask Kim Jong Un to dismantle his nuclear arsenal before any significant concessions are made on economic sanctions. Not clear, though, how the North Korean leader might respond to such an offer.

But a source in Pyongyang tells CNN Kim is committed to denuclearization and wants to focus on economic growth, and realizes the best path forward is to normalize relations with the international community.

Let's go live to Seoul and bring in CNN's Paula Hancocks.

Paula, a pivotal week given a meeting that happens on Friday. What's the latest?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, yes. Everyone's looking towards Friday now, Dave -- that meeting between the North and South Korean leaders.

We're getting a few more details about the meeting itself. That South Korean leader will be able to cross the border into North Korea so that they can film Kim Jong Un actually crossing into South Korea.

It's the first time that a North Korean leader is ever going to do that and it's certainly an historic moment. It does suggest he will be walking across the border although we don't have absolute confirmation of that. There will be welcoming ceremony, we understand, and also a banquet.

And the potential for the first ladies to attend. So we don't have confirmation yet. They're still waiting on North Korea but Ri Sol-ju, Kim Jong Un's wife, could potentially come as well. That's obviously a heads up for the White House as well that there could also be that for the U.S.-North Korean summit as well. But certainly, it is a sense of Kim Jong Un acting like any other leader of any other country at this point. Many analysts saying he has this legitimization with these two big summits coming up. The South Korean President Moon Jae-in saying that it was a -- the nuclear freeze decision was a crucial decision and a green light from the North Koreans -- Dave.

BRIGGS: A healthy bit of skepticism about their intentions.

Paula Hancocks live for us in Seoul, thank you.

ROMANS: All right. Joining us this morning again, Hugo Gurdon, director -- editorial director of the "Washington Examiner." Nice to see you again.


ROMANS: You know, there are a couple of GOP leaders this weekend who were -- basically, they were skeptics about what the intentions and these developments -- the intentions of the North Koreans to denuclearize and these developments overall. Let's listen to that.


SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: He views having deliverable nuclear weapons as his ticket to dying as an old man in his bed. He saw what happened with Gaddafi. Gaddafi's a dead man now because he gave up his nuclear weapons.

And so, to think that somebody's going to go in and charm him out of that is not realistic.

SEN. TOM COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: This announcement on Friday is better than continued testing but it's not much better than that.


ROMANS: Are the -- is the skepticism valid? I mean, you've got to give credit to the president for getting us this far.


ROMANS: I mean, he has certainly changed the conversation in the Korean Peninsula but there is still skepticism. Is it warranted?

GURDON: Christine, absolutely warranted. The North Koreans have been lying for 25 years and that's three generations of leaders who have been lying to the United States in order to calm the United States and the rest of the world into giving them economic help.

The truth is, as the Congressman was saying, that the nuclear weapons are seen by the North Korean leaders as their way of entrenching the Kim regime. They want to dominate and they do not care about the economic conditions and the incredible suffering of their own people. Sure, it would be an improvement that they would welcome if they could get economic sanctions lifted. It's going to be very, very tough for President Trump, Mike Pompeo,

and his whole national security team to persuade the North Koreans to denuclearize.

Stopping testing weapons, stopping testing missiles, sure, that's a good step, as was said. But the real important thing is to make sure they do not have the ability to deliver nuclear weapons either to their regional neighbors like Japan or across the Pacific to the United States, and that's a much bigger question.

BRIGGS: This question -- the president tweeted, "We haven't given up anything" -- in regarding North Korea -- "and they have agreed to denuclearization."

Are either true?

GURDON: It depends on how you look at this perspective. A lot of people would say -- and a lot of people have said in past -- under past presidents that just talking to the North Koreans gives them something. It turns a rogue regime into a negotiating partner --


GURDON: -- with the most important country in the world, the United States. So just by going through these negotiations the North Koreans are gaining something.

On the other hand, President Trump has made a very good point. The United States can still walk away. The nuclear option and various -- and all other options is the continuation of economic sanctions are all still there. To that -- so to that extent, he has not given anything away except the legitimization and the sort of elevation of the North Koreans, and it really depends how you judge that.

[05:40:07] Is that a big thing, is that not a big thing?

ROMANS: But part --

GURDON: I think that that's where the difference lies.

ROMANS: But part of this weekend tweetstorm, all kinds of different things the president was tweeting about. He seemed pretty riled up. There are just some of them.

But, you know, you call this a virtuoso performance even for Trump, and he seemed very defensive as it relates to his lawyer Michael Cohen. He's really rattled by this line of questioning, isn't he?

GURDON: Yes, he certainly is. I mean, I think that President Trump has been incredibly frustrated first, by the allegations of collusion with Russia, then by the suggestions of obstruction of justice. And I think both of those allegations are withering on the vine and are on their way out.

But a new line of investigation has opened up, not by Robert Mueller but by the Southern -- you know, by outside that investigation, and that is into Michael Cohen whose offices were raided, whose hotel was raided. This opens up the whole area of relations between Trump and his lawyer, his businesses.

And the president really did seem in this extraordinary tweetstorm of more than 20 tweets, I believe it was over the weekend, to be very rattled.

There's a very significant thing that he did with the tweets about Michael Cohen. He said that often, people like -- you know, either that the prosecutors try and get someone on side and try to flip them.


GURDON: And he said I don't think Michael Cohen's going to do that. And he was very complimentary about Michael Cohen which is, of course, what you would be if you don't want someone to flip.

But also, he's also said -- the president also said and people tell lies when they've been flipped, which is another way of saying if the guy is flipped, if anything reflects badly on me, the president, then it's not true.

BRIGGS: You know, it's such a great point that we were discussing because just opening the door to him flipping means that he has evidence of criminal wrongdoing by the President of the United States --

ROMANS: He's not saying --

BRIGGS: -- or else what can he flip?

ROMANS: He's not saying there's nothing to flip. He's saying he won't flip.

BRIGGS: That should be his argument -- that there's nothing to flip.

GURDON: Well, that's right. I mean, it's very problematic to try and keep your lawyer on side -- keep anybody on side, say they won't flip, and at the same time if he were to say anything it would be a lie, which is to some extent what -- to take your point, Dave --


GURDON: -- he is saying there is no truth in any allegation that he might make.

ROMANS: Right, right.

BRIGGS: Right. He called him a very fine person and someone he respects.

GURDON: Right.

BRIGGS: We have not heard the last of that.

GURDON: No. BRIGGS: All right. Hugo Gurdon, great to see you, my friend. Thanks for being here.

GURDON: Thanks a lot.

BRIGGS: Ahead, the Trumps hosting Macron for a state dinner this week. The Iran nuclear deal, one of the things on the menu. We'll go live to Paris, next.


[05:47:24] BRIGGS: French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, both in Washington this week. Both expected to press President Trump to stay in the Iran nuclear deal. Macron arrives in Washington today for the first official state visit of the Trump presidency.

Macron says he and President Trump share a common bond as political mavericks.


EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE: We have this very special relationship because both us are probably the maverick of the systems on both sides. I think President Trump's election was unexpected in your country and probably my election wasn't expected in my country. And we're not part of the classical political system.


BRIGGS: Mr. Trump will host President Macron for three days of meetings.

To preview it, let's check in with Melissa Bell, live for us this morning in Paris. Good to see you, my friend.

What should we expect from this intriguing dynamic?

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's been a fascinating dynamic to watch evolve over the course of the last year or so, Dave. And, of course, hearing Emmanuel Macron then reminding the American president of that thing that binds them beyond all their divisions -- the fact that they were political newcomers, that they are very different sorts of men, and that they can do business together.

Really, the thing that the leaders have made absolutely clear that they intend to get out of this trip is saving the Iranian nuclear deal. That is the European priority.

The big date, as you know, Dave, is the 12th of May. That is when the American president chooses once again to waive those sanctions against Tehran on the basis of a deal, or not. He's made it clear that he's unhappy with the way the deal is.

And, of course, behind the scenes over the course of the last weeks there have been awful lot of negotiations going on between European countries and the United States on this question how best to save it. The Europeans could be planning to give some reassurances in the shape of further European sanctions with regard to ballistic missiles, for instance, David.

But really, the thing to look for over the coming days is how far Emmanuel Macron is willing to go towards Donald Trump on the question of what happens to the deal beyond 2025.

A second deal could be struck between the European partners -- Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, and the United States on a sort of separate set of clauses that gives further reassurances to Donald Trump that Iran will not be able to get a nuclear weapon, even beyond 2025 when the current deal falls. That's really what to be watching for over the coming days, Dave.

BRIGGS: Macron's skills as Trump whisperer are put to the test in the next couple of days.

Melissa, thank you.

ROMANS: Human rights organizations are calling for a thorough investigation into the death of a Russian reporter. Journalist Maxim Borodin died last week when he fell from the fifth floor balcony of his apartment.

He was working on a highly sensitive story about a shadowy private military firm that deploys mercenaries in Syria and Ukraine.

[05:50:14] Russian authorities brushing aside Borodin's death, insisting there are no grounds to launch a criminal probe.

CNN's Nic Robertson live from London with the latest developments, and you went to his apartment building. What did you find?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: yes, Christine. We tried to talk to neighbors there about the incident. Everyone was too afraid -- one person too afraid to speak to us.

The one person that did say -- she said that the police came to remove his body from where it fell beneath the apartment but staggeringly, she said, the police have not come back to ask any of the neighbors about what they saw -- what they saw that night, which really raises a lot of questions right there.

One friend of his we talked to said he was not suicidal -- he had a lot to live for.

And another friend said that the night before, Borodin had called him to say get me a lawyer because my place is surrounded by security services people. He was worried about it. Later, he called back and said you can stand the lawyer down -- don't worry about it.

But when I talked to his employer they said look, already, our Internet traffic is being throttled back and they believe that's being done on the words of an official. ROMANS: Interesting. All right, Nic in London. Thank you so much, Nic Robertson.

Fifty-one minutes past the hour. Let's get a check on "CNN Money" this morning.

Global stocks lower after Wall Street finished the week down. The Dow fell about 200 points Friday, dragged down by Apple. Apple shares fell four percent after analysts predicted slowing iPhone sales.

Big earnings week. Today is Alphabet, Hasbro, Whirlpool. We'll listen for what corporate leaders say about tariffs and corporate tax cuts.

"The Guardian" newspaper reports Fox News host Sean Hannity received help from HUD in multimillion-dollar real estate deals, something he did not disclose when he interviewed HUD Sec. Ben Carson last June.

"The Guardian" linked Hannity to shale companies that spent $90 million buying property over the past decade. HUD helped him get two of those mortgages worth about $18 million and insured under a National Housing Act program.

In an e-mail to "The Guardian," Hannity's real estate attorney defended his client saying most people keep their personal and financial issues private.

Fox did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Michael Bloomberg writing a $4.5 million check to cover America's commitment to the Paris Climate Accord. President Trump pulled out of that pact last year. Many business leaders blasted the decision.

So now, the former New York City mayor tells CBS he will pay America's share of the deal.


MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, FORMER MAYOR, NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: America made a commitment and as an American, if the government's not going to do it, we all have a responsibility. I'm able to do it so, yes, I'm going to send them a check.


ROMANS: Bloomberg hopes the president will change his mind. Until then, he says he'll fund the deal in the government's place.

BRIGGS: All right.

Ahead, breaking news. The Duchess of Cambridge in labor with another royal baby on the way. Live to London, next.


[05:57:25] ROMANS: All right, breaking royal baby news. Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, has been admitted to a London hospital in the early stages of labor. She and Prince William are expecting their third child.

CNN's Max Foster is there live in London with the latest -- Max.

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christine, they will be officially outnumbered any time soon, these two parents, by their children. We expect today, as well, because if we go on what happened last time with Princess Charlotte, we had the announcement early in the morning. The Duchess was in the early hours of labor and then later on that day they appeared on the steps behind me in front of this bank of media.

Let's show it to you because it's quite extraordinary, the amount of people that suddenly appeared on the street here. T.V. cameras from all over the world. Also, newspaper reports.

There's some excitement, obviously, in the lead-up to the royal wedding next month. Prince Harry will be bumped down though to number six in the line of succession by the baby that we expect to appear there later on today.

ROMANS: All right, Max Foster. Thanks so much.

BRIGGS: Great day. All right.

The White House releasing a photo of the four presidents and their wives who attended the funeral for Barbara Bush in Houston on Saturday. The photo features Barack and Michelle Obama, George W. and Laura Bush, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and George H.W. Bush, along with current first lady Melania Trump.

The White House says President Trump was absent to avoid disrupting the service. Recent presidents have not attended first lady's funerals, including Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

She was a wonderful woman and it was a fitting tribute.

ROMANS: It really was. I loved the eulogy. I thought it was very well done.

And all the pearls. So many people in the -- in the congregation wearing pearls.

BRIGGS: Let's not leave out the book socks that the former president wore to tribute the literacy --

ROMANS: Literacy.

BRIGGS: -- effort.

ROMANS: All right, thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now. We'll see you tomorrow. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: I'm telling you that the president's concern has been for Michael Cohen -- the way he's been treated.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, FORMER HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR: This is an epic battle for the cooperation of Michael Cohen.

MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY FOR STORMY DANIELS: Michael Cohen is going to flip on this president and he knows where the bodies are buried.

CORKER: This is a great public relations effort by Kim Jong Un.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: North Korea is saying that they have completed their nuclear program therefore no longer needed nuclear tests.

MARC SHORT, WHITE HOUSE DIRECTOR OF LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS, ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: You heard the president. We're going to keep up maximum pressure. We're not going to stop that until they denuclearize.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reinking got out of his truck, armed with an AR-15 rifle and started shooting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this point, the young man could be anywhere.

SHAW: I chose to react. He was going to have to work to kill me.