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EARLY START

North Korean and South Korean Leaders' Historic Meeting Tonight; Golden State Killer Arrested; Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired April 26, 2018 - 04:30   ET

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


[04:30:52] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The White House preparing for the possibility that President Trump's embattled pick to head the VA. will withdraw his nomination.

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNE MARIE SCHUBERT, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: We found the needle in the haystack. And it was right here in Sacramento.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Police say the arrest of an ex-cop ends a 40-year manhunt for the Golden State killer. We're talking about a dozen murders and more than 40 rapes in a story that has haunted Californians since the '70s.

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

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is 31 minutes past the hour. We begin here with new this morning White House officials telling CNN they 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. Now the White House physician huddled Wednesday afternoon with press office staff.

BRIGGS: Earlier in the day Jackson was hit with a barrage of new accusations in a report from Senate Democrats, among them that he was abusive to colleagues, loosely handled prescription pain meds, and even wrecked a government car once while drunk. Jackson specifically denied that last allegations to reporters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

ROMANS: And plenty of Obama administration officials who worked with him are defending him.

BRIGGS: Including David Axelrod who was here at CNN.

ROMANS: That's right.

All right. A day on the hot seat for EPA administrator Scott Pruitt with back-to-back House committee hearings even his supporters say will be fairly rugged. 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's wife. Now the White House meantime keeping its options open. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked about Pruitt's ethical challenges here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

BRIGGS: The Senate 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 now backing him.

ROMANS: 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 because 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 from the judge.

BRIGGS: 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.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

[04:35:06] ROMANS: We are 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.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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 it?

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The two leaders will meet in the Korean demilitarized zone tonight. CNN's Paula Hancocks is live near the DMZ with more. What can you

tell us?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine, in about 12 hours or so President Moon Jae-in of South Korea will be driving across this bridge into the DMZ. They're just barricading it off right now. And what we're going to see at about 8:30 p.m. Eastern on Thursday night, we will seem Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, walking in the DMZ to the MDL, this is the military demarcation line.

He will then meet President Moon Jae-in at that line which effectively cuts the Korean Peninsula in half. He'll then step across that part of the border into the South Korean side. And that is the first time that a North Korean leader will ever have done that. He will be greeted by South Korean traditional guards. They will be from the Army, from the Military, from the Air Force. There's will be an official welcoming ceremony. He'll even sign the guest book.

But about 9:30 a.m. Eastern that is when the hard work starts. That's when the official summit starts and when they figure out whether or not they are talking about the same thing when they bring up the word denuclearization. Now certainly the U.S. has said they want complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization. But from the North Korean side, most analysts I spoke to, in fact all of them, do not believe that Kim Jong-un will ever give up his nuclear weapons.

At the end of the day we are expecting some kind of agreement to be signed, potentially even an announcement. But the Blue House here telling us it's really up to the leaders and how they feel in the day as if -- as to whether they will actually address the cameras -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Paula, thank you so much for that. We'll keep -- keep us posted. Thanks.

Emmanuel Macron not at all confident the president -- that 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 on keeping the U.S. in the agreement, he says he thinks Trump, quote, "will get rid of it on his own."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: 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 elsewhere in the Middle East. BRIGGS: All right. A CNN exclusive now. U.S. intelligence believes

Russian defectors who resettled in the U.S. were being tracked by Kremlin spies. Spies 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 emigrate who have 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 agent. The CIA and the White House declined to comment. The Russian embassy did not respond.

ROMANS: 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 hears oral arguments Wednesday. At the heart of this case whether the president's anti-Muslim rhetoric on the campaign trail should be considered.

Listen to liberal Justice Elena Kagan followed by Justice Kennedy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUSTICE ELENA KAGAN, SUPREME COURT: Let's say in some future time a president gets elected through 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 --

(LAUGHTER)

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

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

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The Supreme Court allowed the president's travel ban to take effect last December pending this appeal. BRIGGS: James Comey clashing with CNN's Anderson Cooper over the

release of his now infamous Trump memos.

[04:40:06] In a live CNN town hall, the former FBI director was challenged about leaking his memos from seven meetings with the president after he was fired last May. Comey pushing back claiming he did not do -- what he did was not a leak.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Is it OK for somebody at the FBI to leak something, an internal document, even if it's not classified? Isn't that leaking?

JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: There is a whole lot wrong with your question, Anderson. First, I didn't leak memos. I asked a friend to communicate the substance of one unclassified memo --

COOPER: I mean, whether you --

COMEY: Can I finish for a second?

COOPER: Sure. OK.

COMEY: One unclassified memo to the media. And I was -- really important, I was a private citizen. I was not an FBI employee at that time.

COOPER: Right. But it was an internal document. It was a document you had written while you were FBI director. That is a leak. I mean, if you tell somebody don't give them the document, but tell them what's in the document, that's still a leak. No?

COMEY: Well, not to get tangled up with -- I think of a leak is an unauthorized disclosure of classified information. I --

COOPER: Really? That's it? That's a leak?

COMEY: That's what I thought about as FBI director. We investigated leaks. So unauthorized disclosures.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Semantic debate perhaps. Comey repeated his belief that Donald Trump is morally unfit to be president. When Anderson asked him if he would consider running for office someday, Comey replied never.

ROMANS: He sold a lot of books.

BRIGGS: 600,000.

ROMANS: I would -- this has been quite --

BRIGGS: In the first week.

ROMANS: This has been quite a book tour. And, you know, I wondered if he's speaking so much to so many different outlets. Is he giving up the whole book? You know? Why buy it? And, a lot of people, 600,000 in the first week. Making one of --

BRIGGS: More than "Fire and Fury." More than Hillary Clinton's book.

ROMANS: Yes. One of the biggest sellers of the year.

BRIGGS: That's right. Yes.

ROMANS: Regulators say the largest online lending misled customers about hidden fees and took money from their accounts. Lending Club connects borrowers to investors without banks in the middle. You've probably heard of this organization but the Federal Trade Commission says Lending Club lures customers with the promise of no hidden fees, then deducts hundreds of thousands of dollars up front. The FTC also accuses Lending Club of withdrawing payments from

accounts twice and charging customers who have already paid off their loans. The FTC says the violations have become more egregious over the years and that this case demonstrates of importance of consumers having truthful information from lenders.

But Lending Club calls the charges legally and factually unwarranted. It's fighting and it says its fees are prominent on its Web site, and during the application process, it hopes to resolve the matter in federal court. Either way investors don't like it. This is a publicly traded company. Lending Club shares fell 15 percent after the charges were announced.

BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, police say they just solved the notorious cold case from the 1970s.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRUCE HARRINGTON, BROTHER OF MURDER VICTIMS: For the 51 ladies who were brutally raped in those crime scenes, sleep better tonight. He isn't coming through the window.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: More on the Golden State killer case next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:47:41] BRIGGS: The latest on the Golden State killer. "We found the needle in the haystack." Those are the words of the authorities in California following the arrest of a former police officer. The now elderly man suspected to be one of the state's most prolific serial killers rapists. The so-called Golden State killer. His alleged campaign of terror, 12 murders, at least 50 rapes dating back 40 years.

More now from 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 really 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.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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 department 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.

ROMANS: A remarkable story. Dan Simon, thank you.

The Centers for Disease Control reporting more than 30 new cases of e. Coli linked to romaine lettuce from Arizona. 84 people in 19 states have now become ill during this outbreak. Half of those sickened have been hospitalized. The CDC repeating its message to consumers, restaurants and to retailers not to eat, buy, serve or sell romaine lettuce until confirming that it is not from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region.

[04:50:10] BRIGGS: OK. Teachers in Arizona walk out today pushing for better pay and more money for education. 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, a rally at the state capitol in Denver today expected to draw thousands of educators. It was just a spark that now has spread to a forest fire across the country demanding better pay.

ROMANS: Yes. All right. What data user scandal? What scandal? Facebook just keeps growing. It now has more than 2 billion users worldwide. "CNN Money" next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:55:35] BRIGGS: 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 charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault. He faces up to 10 years in prison on each count if he's convicted.

ROMANS: George H.W. Bush is out of intensive care at a Houston hospital. The former president is still be treated for a blood infection. He was hospitalized the day after Barbara Bush's funeral. A family spokesman said doctors are very pleased with his progress. He is said to be alert and talking with hospital staff, with family and friends. The spokesman says Bush is expected to remain at the hospital for several more days.

BRIGGS: Kanye West has not been shy about expressing his fondness for President Trump. And he was at it again Wednesday in a series of tweets, writing, "You don't have to agree with Trump, but the mob can't make me not love him." The rapper calling the president my brother and saying they are both, quote, "dragon energy." West also tweeting a picture of himself wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat. It was autographed by the way. The president responding with his own tweet, "Thank you, Kanye. Very cool." No mention of dragon energy or brotherhood. And we're still trying to figure out exactly what dragon energy is or how --

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: Dragon blood was Charlie Sheen's.

BRIGGS: Charlie Sheen. Some are linking the two indeed.

ROMANS: Right.

BRIGGS: All right. LeBron James channeling his inner Michael Jordan some might say. The king single handedly lifting the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 3-2 lead over the Indiana Pacers. Game five last night, final seconds, LeBron with a huge block there on Victor Oladipo. Some feel this was goal tending. The Indiana Pacers certainly do. We move forward, though, to the final seconds with the game tied at 95 and the entire arena knew who would take the shot.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twelve seconds for the win -- LeBron James delivers. That's a winner in Cleveland.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: And there it is. Just another signature moment in the storied career of LeBron James. What a remarkable shot. The replay really tells the story. Perfect form. Buzzer sounds. 3-2 series lead. Game six tomorrow night in Indiana. Good stuff.

ROMANS: All right. I don't know if this is as good as that shot.

BRIGGS: Sure it is.

ROMANS: Let's get a check on "CNN Money" this morning. Maybe it is. Global markets mostly higher right now. The Dow snapped its longest losing streak in a year yesterday but by much, closing 60 points higher after five down days. The S&P 500 also higher and the Nasdaq closed down a little bit. Big company earnings really overshadowing fears of interest rate hikes and higher company costs yesterday. Like Boeing.

Look at Boeing. Shares grew 4 percent after projecting it would make more money this year than it originally thought. So far earnings this season have been strong. 83 percent of companies in the S&P 500 have reported profits higher than predicted.

The Ford Taurus is no more. Ford will stop selling almost every one of its car models in North America. It plans to keep only two passenger cars. Only two.

BRIGGS: Wow.

ROMANS: This is huge. The Mustang and the upcoming Focus Active. That means the regular Focus as well as the Fiesta, the Taurus, the Fusion, they will disappear in U.S. and Canada. Americans, you know what, they no longer want traditional cars. They are buying SUVs, they are buying trucks. So Ford will no longer sell sedans. It is a huge corporate shift. By 2020, almost 90 percent of Ford offerings will be trucks, SUVs and commercial vehicles.

All right. What data user scandal? Facebook just keeps growing. It now has 2.2 billion users worldwide. During the first three months of the year, Facebook's users grew 13 percent. That's the very same time the news broke that it failed protect your data. A firm with ties to Trump's campaign accessed info of 87 million users without their knowledge. That angered users, lawmakers and investors. It shaved tens of billions off of the market value of this company.

But right now Facebook shares rose 7 percent overnight. In a call CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook is still committed to making sure its tools are used for good, but that the company needs to keep moving forward.

Does that surprise you?

BRIGGS: Stuns me. But when you talk to young people about their concerns, they don't privacy concerns.