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North and South Korean to Meet at the DMZ; Golden State Killer Arrested; Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired April 26, 2018 - 04:00   ET


[04:00:13] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The White House preparing for the possibility that President Trump's embattled pick to head the VA will withdraw his nomination.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The president's personal attorney Michael Cohen taking the Fifth in the Stormy Daniels hush money case.


BRUCE HARRINGTON, BROTHER OF MURDER VICTIMS: We found the needle in the haystack. And it was right here in Sacramento.


ROMANS: Wow. Police say the arrest of the ex-cop ends a 40-year manhunt for the Golden State killer. An entire generation of Californians grew up in fear of this guy.

BRIGGS: What a fascinating case that has been for decades.

ROMANS: All right. Good morning, welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. And we both have dragon energy. What that means I don't know, but Kanye does. It's April 26th, it's 4:00 a.m. in the East.

Do you know what that means?

ROMANS: I have no idea.

BRIGGS: We'll figure that out later in the show.


BRIGGS: In Seoul, South Korea, we'll check in there live shortly. But new this morning, White House officials telling CNN they are preparing for the possible withdrawal of President Trump's nominee for secretary of Veterans Affairs, Ronny Jackson. And the "Washington Post" citing its own White House sources reports Dr. Jackson has told colleagues he may remove his name from consideration. The White House physician huddled Wednesday afternoon with press office staff.

ROMANS: Earlier in the day Jackson was hit with a barrage of new accusations in a report from Senate Democrats, among them that he was, quote, "abusive to colleagues, loosely handled prescription pain meds, wrecked a government car once while drunk."

Jackson specifically denied that last allegation to reporters.


DR. RONNY JACKSON, VETERANS AFFAIRS SECRETARY NOMINEE: No, I have not wrecked a car. So I can tell you that. That's easy to deduct.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Will you move forward, sir?

JACKSON: Thanks, guys.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Will you move forward?

JACKSON: We're still moving ahead as planned. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Still moving ahead?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did you tell the president that, sir?

JACKSON: Thanks, guys.


ROMANS: Earlier in the day, the White House strongly defended Jackson and the vetting that went into his selection.


SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Dr. Jackson's record as a White House physician has been impeccable. In fact, because Dr. Jackson has worked with an arm's reach of three presidents he has received more vetting than most nominees.


ROMANS: The allegations from the Democrats' report are just that. Allegations. Senate staffers are still working to substantiate them.

BRIGGS: A day in the hot seat for EPA administrator Scott Pruitt with back-to-back House committee hearings. Now Pruitt faces a host of ethical allegations related to extravagant spending, raises for top aides and the below market rent he paid to a lobbyist.

The White House meantime is keeping its options open. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked about Pruitt's ethical challenges.


SANDERS: We're evaluating these concerns and we expect the EPA administration for them. And we'll keep you posted.


BRIGGS: Pruitt's backers like Congressman Tom Cole also questioning his decision to reject the White House offer of how to prep for what Cole calls highly charged hearings.

ROMANS: The Senate is expected to confirm Mike Pompeo as secretary of State in just a matter of hours. The plan is to first hold a vote -- ending debate this morning, following immediately by a final vote. Pompeo has enough support to be confirmed with every Republican senator and at least four Democratic senators backing him.

BRIGGS: Michael Cohen taking the Fifth in the Stormy Daniels hush money case. The president's longtime personal lawyer claiming he cannot testify in her lawsuit against the president of the recent FBI raid on his home, office and hotel room, and the fact that he is under criminal investigation by the FBI and the federal prosecutor in Manhattan. Cohen is trying to put the porn star's civil suit on hold. No ruling yet from the judge.

ROMANS: Rudy Giuliani, the newest member of President Trump's legal team, meeting face-to-face this week with Robert Mueller. The former New York mayor and federal prosecutor discussing a possible interview with the president by the special counsel. Both sides agreeing the negotiations will continue. Giuliani sounding very confident Mueller has nothing on his client.


RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: I can guarantee you this, when Mueller is finished, no matter whatever he does, he's not going to have a stitch of evidence that he colluded with the Russians. Now that's a disgrace. The case should be over.


ROMANS: The "Washington Post" reports Giuliani pressed Mueller on a timetable for ending its investigation. Mueller told Giuliani an interview with President Trump would be essential for investigators before they can wrap up their obstruction of justice probe.

BRIGGS: Emmanuel Macron not at all confident he changed President Trump's mind on the Iran nuclear deal. The French president telling reporters in Washington, his country and the EU will respect the agreement and keep their word to participate in it. And although he believes he made some progress with Mr. Trump, he is not optimistic.


EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT: I have no inside information on what Trump might be deciding for the Iranian nuclear deal. Just like you do, I listen to what President Trump is saying, and it seems to be he's not eager to defend it.


[04:05:08] BRIGGS: Whatever President Trump decides Macron is proposing negotiations to address his three main problems with the deal. Iran's ballistic missile program, sunset agreements in the plan destabilizing activities by the Iranians in the Middle East. ROMANS: A CNN exclusive. U.S. intelligence believes Russian

defectors who resettled in the U.S. were being tracked by Kremlin spies. Spies who were among the diplomats expelled last month by the U.S. Officials tell us in one case, suspected Russian agents seemed to be casing a Russian immigrant who've been resettled by the CIA in a sort of witness protection program. The episode raised U.S. officials' concerns especially after the poisoning in Britain of a former Russian double sergeant. The CIA and the White House declined to comment. And the Russian embassy did not respond.

BRIGGS: Conservative members of the Supreme Court and swing vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy, appeared to be siding with President Trump on the legality of his seven-nation travel ban. The court heard arguments -- oral arguments on Wednesday. At the heart of the case is whether the president's anti-Muslim rhetoric on the campaign trail should be considered here.

Listen to liberal Justice Elena Kagan followed by Justice Kennedy.


JUSTICE ELENA KAGAN, SUPREME COURT: Let's say in some future time a president gets elected to his vehement anti-Semite. What emerges is a proclamation that say no one shall enter from Israel. This is an out- of-box kind of president in my hypothetical. And --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't have those, your honor.

KAGAN: And yes, he thinks that there are good, diplomatic reasons. And there might. Who knows what the future holds.

JUSTICE JOHN KENNEDY, SUPREME COURT: Says 1182 for such a period as he deems necessary and he can have continuing supervision over whether it's still necessary.


BRIGGS: The Supreme Court allowed the president's travel ban to take effect last December pending this appeal.

ROMANS: All right. Housing and Urban Development wants millions of low-income households to pay more rent. Housing and Urban Development secretary Ben Carson unveiled far-reaching changes to federal housing assistance Wednesday. Right now households pay 30 percent of their gross income in rent. That is the guideline. The new plan kicks that up to 35 percent. It also triples monthly rent payments and makes it easier for housing authorities to impose work requirements.

The plan affects 2 million working aged Americans who rely on rental assistance. It does not affect the elderly or disabled, at least for the first six years. Carson said HUD's proposal will help stem the rising cost of housing assistance, but advocates here condemned this rate hike arguing that many low-income Americans, they already work. And HUD can't overhaul the rules on its own. It requires congressional approval.

But this keeps with the Trump administration's push to tighten work requirements on government assistance. Earlier this month, President Trump ordered federal agencies to review welfare work rules. Since then the government has expanded work requirements for people on Medicaid and on food stamps.

BRIGGS: All right. We are just hours away from the summit between South Korean president Moon Jae-in and North Korean dictator Kim Jong- un. South Korea's Foreign minister says credit must be given to President Trump for bringing North Korea back to the negotiating table. This is what she told Christiane Amanpour.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Are you surprised by how quickly this moment has arrived? And let's face it, just four months ago, Kim Jong-un was talking about pressing nuclear buttons from his desk. And President Trump was responding in kind.

KANG KYUNG-WHA, SOUTH KOREAN FOREIGN MINISTER: I feel somebody stepped on the accelerator at the beginning of the year and it's been nonstop since then.

AMANPOUR: How do you account for are it?

KANG: Clearly, you know, credit goes to President Trump. He's been determined to come to grips with this from day one.


BRIGGS: The two leaders will meet in the Korean demilitarized zone tonight.

CNN's Paula Hancocks live near the DMZ with more. Paula, good morning.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Dave. Well, President Moon will be driving across this bridge into the DMZ behind me. They're just setting up the barricades as we speak.

So what we are expecting is that first at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time, we are going to see the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un walk to the MDL, the military demarcation line, which is the actual border between North and South Korea. The different sides of the DMZ.

President Moon Jae-in will be there to meet him. Kim Jong-un will then step over the lip of concrete that is the MDL and that will be the first time ever for a North Korean leader. He will be greeted by South Korean traditional guards from the Army, from the Navy, from the Air Force. There will be an official welcoming ceremony.

Kim Jong-un will sign the guest book. They'll have a reception. But then at 9:30 p.m. Eastern, that's when the hard work start. That's when they will have this summit and the South Koreans have said that the main thing they think they will be talking about is trying to nail down exactly what denuclearization means for both sides.

[04:10:07] It's not clear what it means to North Korea. The United States has said that they want this complete, this verifiable, this irreversible denuclearization. But I have yet to meet an expert on North Korea who truly believes that Kim Jong-un will give up his nuclear weapons. So that is what we're expecting tomorrow.

In the afternoon, as well, they'll be planting a tree together from 1953. The year the Korean War ended. So this is oozing in symbolism. This summit. And then later on we are expecting some kind of signed agreement from the two leaders, potentially an announcement. The Blue House telling us it really depends on how the leaders feel, as to whether we'll hear from Kim Jong-un -- Dave.

BRIGGS: Extraordinary meeting. And just to see those pictures, Paula, will be mindboggling. Thanks so much.

ROMANS: All right. Ten minutes after the hour. Police say they just solved a notorious cold case from the 1970s.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the 51 ladies who were brutally raped, this promise will sleep better tonight. He isn't coming through the window.


ROMANS: More on what's being called the capture of the Golden State killer next.


[04:15:17] ROMANS: We found the needle in the haystack. The words of California authorities following the arrest of a former police officer. The now elderly man suspected to be one of the state's most prolific serial killers and rapists. The so-called Golden State killer, his alleged campaign of terror dating back 40 terrifying years.

We get this morning from CNN's Dan Simon.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, what a scene here in the neighborhood where police are going through the suspect's house collecting evidence. We know this arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo came about after authorities collected what they described as discarded DNA from the suspect.

Now whether that was from the suspect's trash or by some other means, we don't know. But it was matching DNA that allowed police to say that they have in fact captured the Golden State killer.

Now this is somebody who terrorized much of the state beginning in 1976 and it lasted for a decade. He is accused of committing at least 12 murders, 45 rapes and more than 100 robberies.


HARRINGTON: For the 51 ladies who were brutally raped in these crime scenes, sleep better tonight. He isn't coming through the window. He is now in jail and he is history.


SIMON: Police aren't saying what openly led them to collect DeAngelo's DNA but they say the case against him really developed over the last six days. And once they were ready to make an arrest, police staked out his home and got him as he was leaving the house. They say he seemed very surprised by the apprehension.

Now DeAngelo himself was a police officer for two law enforcement agencies in the area. But he was fired from his last apartment for shoplifting in 1985. How he was able to elude authorities for so long and whether his law enforcement background played a role, we do not know. But authorities said they knew they were looking for a needle in the haystack but they knew the needle was there -- Dave and Christine.

BRIGGS: Dan Simon, thanks so much.

Police in Maine hunting for a man accused of fatally shooting a police officer. Authorities say the suspect, 29-year-old John Williams drove away in the officer's vehicle and robbed a nearby convenience store early Wednesday. Surveillance video appears to show him leaving the store. Police say the fallen officer, Corporal Eugene Cole, was a father and outstanding police officer. The governor of Maine has ordered flags to be flown at half staff in Cole's memory for three days.

ROMANS: In Delaware, a gun control measure named for the late Beau Biden is headed to the governor's desk. The state's general assembly passed the legislation Tuesday. The bill dubbed the Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act or protection act would create a process for law enforcement to search and seize firearms from people who mental health professionals deemed dangerous to themselves and others. It is similar to a bill Beau Biden introduced as attorney general back in 2013. That bill failed in the state Senate.

BRIGGS: Teachers in Arizona walk out today pushing for better pay and more money for education. In Tucson and Mesa, they lined the streets Wednesday to build support for their "Red for Ed Effort." More than 100 districts across the state cancelling classes today, and for many of them tomorrow as well.

Teachers in Colorado also starting a two-day walkout rally at the state capitol in Denver today. It's expected to draw thousands of educators.

ROMANS: It's so interesting how that has spread across the country to different spots.

BRIGGS: Like a spark. Yes. ROMANS: I've been looking into the Arizona case. You know, sometimes

you hear people say, oh, the teachers get such big retirement plans or pensions. They're so rich. You know, that offsets the low pay during the career. In the case of Arizona, they now contribute more than 11 percent of their paycheck goes to pay for their own retirement. So when you've got to a pay that has not kept up with inflation, in fact they're paid as much as they were back in 1999, haven't had a raise.


ROMANS: And then you're paying more for your --

BRIGGS: In Arizona.

ROMANS: Right.

BRIGGS: But there are many states where their pensions are breaking the state's budget.

ROMANS: Right. That's right.

All right. 19 minutes past the hour, while you were sleeping, one of America's all-time greatest sports stars pulled off one of the signature moments of his career. That's next.


[04:23:45] BRIGGS: Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel facing a no confidence vote from his own deputies. The catalyst for the public show of hostility was the Parkland school shooting. The deputy assigned to protect the school did not confront the killer and gave other arriving officers incorrect information. The head of the deputies union says Sheriff Israel has refused to take responsibility and department morale has been crushed since the Parkland massacre. Israel for his part has touted his own amazing leadership. The union plans to discuss the results of the vote with Florida's Department of Law Enforcement and the governor.

ROMANS: The jury deciding the fate of Bill Cosby in his sexual assault retrial will resume its deliberations this morning. Jurors got the case Wednesday and deliberated for more than 10 hours without reaching a verdict. They had a series of questions for the judge including one that goes to the heart of the case against the comedian. The legal definition of consent. The 80-year-old Cosby is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault. He faces up to 10 years in prison on each count if convicted.

BRIGGS: George H.W. Bush is out of intensive care at a Houston hospital. The former president still being treated for blood infection. He was hospitalized the day after Barbara Bush 's funeral. A family spokesman says doctors are very pleased with Bush's progress.

[04:25:02] He is said to be alert and talking with hospital staff, family and friends. The spokesman says Bush is expected to remain, though, at the hospital for several more days. ROMANS: Kanye West has not been shy about expressing his fondness for

President Trump. And he's at it again Wednesday in a series of tweets, writing, "You don't have to agree with Trump, but the mob can't make not love him." The rapper calling the president "my brother" and saying they are both, "dragon energy." West also tweeting a picture of himself wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat.

The president responding with his own tweet, "Thank you, Kanye. Very cool." No mention of dragon energy or brotherhood.

BRIGGS: What is dragon energy? I need some of that at 4:25 Eastern Time.

Meanwhile, LeBron James with yet another signature moment in his storied career. The king single-handedly lifting the Cavaliers to 3-2 series lead over the Indiana Pacers.

Check it out, game five, last night, final seconds. LeBron with the block on Victor Oladipo, although let's take a look at the reply. Appears to show goal tending as that (INAUDIBLE) glass burst. Indiana not happy about that. Needless to say. Moments later, the game is tied at 95-95. Everybody knows who is taking the shot.

ROMANS: Oh, my gosh.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: LeBron James delivers. That's a winner for Cleveland.


BRIGGS: There it is. What a moment for LeBron James. Again everybody knew who was taking that shot and he knocks it down. The buzzer beater seals game six in the series set for tomorrow night. Look at the replay. Did you see the buzzer go off?

BRIGGS: Dave, is that one of the best plays of his career?

BRIGGS: It is in the conversation. One of those top five signature moments for arguably the greatest players of all time. At least in good spirit.

ROMANS: Big mature moment.

All right. The fast moving story this morning. Dr. Ronny Jackson's troubled nomination to lead the VA. Is it coming to a head? That's next.