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EARLY START

Rudy Ratchets Up Trump Defense; CIA Nominee Offers To Step Aside; Volcano Threats Grows; SNL Skewers Trump In Star-Studded Cold Open; Chicago Sees Spikes In Gun Violence; Infinity War Hits That Milestone In Just 11 Days. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired May 7, 2018 - 04:30   ET

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


[04:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you are innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, THIS WEEK'S SHOW HOST, ABC NEWS: Are you confident the president will not take the fifth in this case?

RUDY GUILIANI, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: How can I not be confident of that?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, EARLY START SHOW CO-HOST: The Vice squaring that circle. That is just one headline from the latest head-spinning interview from President Trump newest attorney, Rudy Giuliani.

DAVE BRIGGS, EARLY START SHOW CO-HOST: The president's nominee to lead the CIA offering to step aside as it would help the White House. Why Gina Haspel decided to fight on for now.

ROMANS: And new eruptions, dozens of homes destroyed and concerns about toxic gas as the Kilauea Volcano remains a big threat in Hawaii this morning. Welcome back to "Early Start," everybody I am Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I am Dave Briggs. 31 minutes past the hour. 10:31 in Hawaii, we will check in there shortly.

We will start with another predictable eruption though from Rudy Giuliani making a series of startling new headlines as he cranks up his defense of President Trump. Among them the new member of the Trump legal team did not rule out the President taking the fifth as the Special Counsel Russia investigation rolls on.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Are you confident the President will not take the fifth in this case? GUILIANI: How can I ever be confident of that? When I'm -- when I'm

facing a situation with the President and all the other lawyers are in which every lawyer in America thinks he would be a fool to testify. I have a client who wants to testify. Please, he said it yesterday. And you know, Jay and I said to ourselves, my goodness. I -- you know, I hope we get a chance to tell him the risk that he is taking.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Worth noting here, the President said during the 2016 campaign that only quote, the mob takes the fifth. And you don't do that if you're innocent.

ROMANS: The President and Giuliani met face-to-face on Sunday. Afterwards, Giuliani told CNN, the President said quote, feels like things are moving in the right direction. He said Trump has bigger things to focus on than the Russia investigation, like Iran and North Korea. For the latest from the president and his new lawyer, we turn to Boris Sanchez, at the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN NEWSROOM HOST: Dave and Christine, the president and his newly minted Attorney, Rudy Giuliani, making some news on Sunday, speaking to my colleague Dana Bash following a meeting that he had with the president at Trump National Golf Club in Virginia. He essentially said that he believes that the founding fathers wanted the President to have a sort of, special executive privilege that would keep them from being indicted. And part of that led him to a conclusion on one of the Sunday morning talk shows suggesting that he does not believe that the President would have to comply with the subpoena from the Special Counsel to be interviewed by Robert Mueller. Listen to more of what Giuliani said.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What happens if Robert Mueller subpoenas the President? Will you comply?

GUILIANI: Well, we don't have to. He is the President of the United States. We can assert the same privileges as other Presidents have.

SANCHEZ: It is a different strategy than we are seeing now from the president's legal team very, very different on what we have seen before and possibly a sign of things to come moving forward. Dave and Christine.

(END VIDEO)

BRIGGS: All right. Boris, thank you. Giuliani did not stop there. The President's new attorney not ruling out the possibility that there are other women out there like Stormy Daniels, who received payments from Michael Cohen for their silence.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: You said he -- this was a regular arrangement he had with Michael Cohen. Did Michael Cohen make payments to other women for the president?

GUILIANI: I doubt no knowledge of that, but I would think, if would be necessary yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Wow. Giuliani calls the $130,000 given to Daniels a quote, nuisance payment. He also predicts Michael Cohen is going to cooperate with the investigators, but insists Cohen has no incriminating evidence against the President.

ROMANS: Kellyanne Conway is trying to defend and add some nuance to the President's claim that he did not know about Cohen's hush money payment to Stormy Daniels. Here is what Conway says what the President meant to say on board Air Force One last month.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: When the President said no on Air Force One, he is talking about he did not know when the payment occurred. The very fast moving exchange between him and Cathryn Lucy (ph) of the A.P., I believe. And so he is saying he did not know about it when the payment occurred. He found out about it after the fact.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Conway also told Jake Tapper, she does not believe the White House has a credibility crisis.

BRIGGS: President Trump's pick to run the CIA, offering to withdraw her nomination after some White House officials raised concerns about Gina Haspel's ability to get confirmed. As first reported by "The Washington Posts," Haspel the current acting CIA Director offered to step aside if it would help make things easier for the White House.

[04:35:04] Later Friday, she received a visit from Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders, and Legislative Affairs Director, Mark Short, and the tension cooled. On Sunday, the White House was still in her corner saying Haspel's nomination on not be derailed by partisan critics who side with the ACLU over the CIA on how to keep the American people safe.

ROMANS: Before reports of Haspel's meeting with White House officials, former CIA Director, Michael Hayden, had nothing but praise for her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL HAYDEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: With the President who does not always attach decisions to the real world and to data and to evidence, Gina Haspel is the one woman I want in that room when everyone else will be going into no resolve auto bob and saying, you are right, boss. Gina Haspel won't.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: No resolve auto bob (ph). Haspel faces a contentious Senate

confirmation hearing Wednesday. Her nomination would be in jeopardy, if she loses any support among Republicans who hold a 51-49 majority.

BRIGGS: The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee says, critical comments from the Federal Judge do not signal the Special Counsel's case against Paul Manafort is in jeopardy. Judge T.S. Ellis, scolded prosecutor in Manafort's bank fraud case on Friday. Claiming their real motivation was to oust President Trump. Judge Ellis remarking quote, in the time honored practice of prosecutors with which I'm fully familiar with, you can tighten the screws and they can provide information in what you are really interested in. That appears to be what is happening here. Here is the reaction from Democratic Congressman, Adam Schiff.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D), CALIFORNIA: It is appropriate to ask about the scope of what Bob Mueller is doing, but he is well within the scope of his jurisdiction and charging Manafort and Flynn and the others. And while, you know, certainly within the Judge's prerogative, to ask this questions, I don't think it really bears on the legal issues. And so I think that Bob Mueller will prevail in the sense of being able to go forward with this litigation. I don't think, there is any legal question about that. But yes, it is concerning that the Judge would express this opinion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Manafort asked the Judge to review Mueller's authority to bring charges base on events that took place years before the campaign. Judge Ellis said, he will make a decision at a later date about whether Manafort's case can go forward.

BRIGGS: The international intrigue building ahead of President Trump's deadline this week on whether to remain in the Iran nuclear deal. A new report from "The Observer," in Britain, says aides to the President tried to discredit the deal by hiring private investigators to dig up dirt on officials from the Obama administration who helps negotiate the deal. CNN's Fred Pleitgen, who has covered Iran extensively, joining us live report from Moscow this morning. Good morning Fred. What do we know here?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes, good morning Dave. Apparently this wasn't Israeli firm that was hired by what they say are Trump aids, this is not just the British Observer that has pick up on this, but some other publications and outlets that are doing the same and apparently it was Ben Rhodes and Colin Kahl, who of course, two top aid in the Obama administration who were essentially asked whether or information was gathered on their personal lives, but also of course their dealings around trying to get that Iran nuclear deal to be put in place.

Now, on top of this, this firm apparently also contacted some journalists who had perceived to be for the Iran nuclear agreement. And at least one of those journalist has now come forward and said he was contacted by someone a while ago and some asked questions that he thought were strange.

He said he pushed back on those questions and then never heard from the person who called him again. Now, it is important to state that the Israeli firm that is being named in some of these reports has put out a statement saying they have nothing to do with any of this and they say they have no contact with the Trump administration, with the Trump White House or with Trump team or with the Iran nuclear agreement.

But of course all of this comes at a very important time before that May 12th deadline when the Trump administration and President Trump has to decide, but to essentially axe the Iran nuclear deal or not. The Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has already come out and said that it would be quote a historic mistake for the U.S. to do that, also saying that the Iranian would not renegotiate the nuclear agreement. Dave.

BRIGGS: Wow. Major developments there. Fred Pleitgen, good reporting. Thank you.

ROMANS: North Korea accusing the United States of being deliberately provocative ahead of the expected summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. A foreign ministry spokesperson insisting the White House is misleading the public opinion by claiming the Kim regime only agreed to negotiate, because of U.S. sanctions and pressure. The North Koreans giving the credit instead to the recent summit with South Korea.

They warned the White House, rhetoric can be viewed as a quote, a dangerous attempt to ruin the hard won atmosphere of dialogue and bring the situation back to square one. President Trump says everything is now set for the U.S.-North Korea Summit. And a date and location could be announced soon.

BRIGGS: Melania Trump is ready to layout her official platform as first lady, 16 months into her tenure. She has a Rose Garden event set to this afternoon. Mrs. Trump has said, for months she plans to focus on the wellbeing of children. But it is has been less clear exactly what that means.

[04:40:11] A spokeswoman for Mrs. Trump tells CNN, the platform will include a variety of issues that affect children. Her public events in recent months, have touched on everything from the effects of opioid abuse on newborns to being nice on social media and prevent social bullying really online.

ROMANS: Some contours of what that mission is going to look like later today.

All right. The eruption of the Kilauea volcano with some new trouble here. High levels of toxic gas. A report from Hawaii next.

[04:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BRIGGS: It's 10:45 p.m. in Hawaii where the erupting Kilauea Volcano remains a major threat on the big island of Hawaii. At least 26 homes had been destroyed. The U.S. Geological survey says Friday's, 6.9 magnitude quake was the island's most powerful since 1975.

All residents of Leilani Estates will leave about 1700 people and nearby Lanipuna Gardens remain under evacuation. Public schools on the big island will remain open today, but a new concern aside from the lava flow is the rising levels of toxic gas. More now from Stephanie Elam.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Dave, residents of Leilani Estates were able to get in and get last minute things they were not able to evacuate with the first time around, but they are not allowed to stay there. They want those residents to get what they need and get out as these fissures continued to open in these neighborhood. They are also very much concerned about the toxic gasses coming out from the earth as well, as lava is spewing forth out of this vents.

That gas is really quite dangerous. And so that is why they widen the perimeter as these fissures continued to open. If you take a look to where I am standing now, this is the lava flow from 2014. But this gives you an idea of the concern. You see how this lava cascaded down and around and built up this wall on the side. There is no way to actually stop lava from flowing when it is coming down at that speed and that heat.

It is hard and it is really difficult to move. This has just been sitting here like this for four years. And that is why for those people who live in these communities, it is terrifying, homes have been destroyed. And for some of these people, they will never be able to go back to the neighborhood the way it was. Dave and Christine.

(END VIDEO)

ROMANS: Stephanie Elam in Hawaii for us. Thank you Stephanie.

The White House sharply criticizing China's for issuing a warning to U.S. airlines. China's Civil Aviation Administration, told more than 34 airlines, they must remove any information suggesting Taiwan is not a part of China. China considers self-govern Taiwan a part of its territory, comes down hard on any suggestion, in otherwise, the White House calls this quote, Orwellian nonsense. Ordering China to stop threatening in coursing American carriers and citizens. This public criticism follows high stake trade talks between U.S. and China. The Trump administration demanded among other things that China cut its trade surplus by $200 billion on the next couple of years.

The two countries threat each other with billions of dollars in tariffs. The U.S. also has been targeting Chinese technology companies, like ZTE. Last month, the U.S. banned U.S. companies from selling tow of the Chinese telecom from breaching sanctions on Iran. Last night, ZTE formally asked the Commerce Department to suspend that ban.

BRIGGS: For the first time, Senator John McCain admits he regrets not picking Senator Joe Lieberman to be his running mate in 2008 instead of then Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

"The New York Times" reports this revelations from McCain's upcoming memoir, "The restless wave," McCain's is battling brain cancer and the debilitating side effects of its aggressive treatment at home in Arizona.

Former Vice President, Joe Biden, recently paid McCain a visit. Biden telling the "Times" quote, John knows he is in a very, very, very precarious situation and yet he is still concerned about the state of the country. We talked about how our international reputation is being damaged and we talked about the need for people to stand up and speak out.

ROMANS: McCain also encouraged Biden to not walk away from politics. Sources close to former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama said, they have been asked to deliver eulogies at McCain's funeral. A source close to McCain's says, President Donald Trump is not expected to be invited.

BRIGGS: An alarming up taking gun violence in Chicago. The police department reports at least 81 people shot in the city since last Monday. 39 of those shootings occurred just between Friday and early Sunday during a cold first four months of 2018, shootings fell in Chicago by more than a quarter compared to the same period last year.

But as temperatures have climbed, so have the shootings. And a manhunt now under way for the gunman who critically wounded an ATF agent there Friday.

ROMANS: Another midair incident involving a cracked window on a passenger plane. JetBlue flight 1062 from -- heading from San Juan to Tampa, Sunday, was diverted to Fort Lauderdale when the outer layer of the cockpit windshield shattered. A reporter from CNN's affiliate WFTS was on that plane. A flight attendant said, they did not lose cabin pressure, but the window cracks did force the plane to land in Fort Lauderdale. The incident juts coming days after a crack outer window force the Southwest flight from Chicago to Newark to be diverted to Cleveland.

[04:50:13] All right, Rudy Giuliani left no shortage of material for "Saturday Night Live."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: During his kings of dementia comedy tour --

(LAUGHTER)

-- Giuliani also said the hush money was quote funneled through a law firm. Dude, funneled is not typically a word innocent people use when talking about money. No one says, yes, my grandma funneled me $5 on my birthday.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: Some surprise guest showed up for the cold open. We have

that next.

[04:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BRIGGS: SNL skewering the latest on Trump world news after a stunning week, stories about Michael Cohen. They did it with some help of some very special and surprising guest. Check it out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Trump, we're in big trouble. I think they know about our illusion K and obstruction of justice J.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Surely, I don't speak Spanish. Are you on a secure line?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely, I dialed *86 before the number so, it is completely untraceable.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Michael, did we hear Giuliani called Jared disposable on national television, because Jared is furious.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, man, what the hell. I mean, I could cut a bitch --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Call up Stormy Daniels and fix this once and for all. Maybe keep me on the phone, too. I'll just be quiet and listen.

(APPLAUSE)

(CHEERS)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stormy? This is Michael Cohen. Are you alone?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what are you wearing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Excuse me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, Michael, I can take it from here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, but as your attorney, I highly advise against --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So what up, girl? We'll always have shark week. I solved North and South Korea. Why can't I solve us?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sorry, Donald, it's too late for that. I know you don't believe in climate change, but a storm's is coming, baby.

(APPLAUSE)

(CHEERS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've never been so scared and so horny at the same time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: All right. That is your funny, here is your money. This Monday morning, Global markets around the world are higher right now. Starting the week mostly higher. On Friday, DOW climbed 332 points. Driven by a huge Apple rally and a solid jobs report. Record high for Apple shares after Warren Buffett revealed he bought $75 million shares during the first three months of 2018.

And in that jobs report, we learned the unemployment rate fell below 4 percent for the first time since 2000. The U.S. also added a 164,000 jobs and wages grew 2.6 percent. Not fast enough to trigger worries about inflation. In February, U.S. stocks fell and wages grows faster than expected.

Oil hadn't higher right now, Iran fears driving oil back above $70 overnight. That is the first time since 2014. Investors betting the President will abandon the Iran nuclear deal which allows Iran to export more crude oil. The oil prices were rising even before that. Up 16 percent this year as major exporters cut production. That means higher gas prices for you, U.S. drivers. Experts expect gas prices this summer to be the highest in four years.

"Avengers," reached the $1 billion club in record time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLACK PANTHER, AVENGERS: Engage our defenses and get this man a shield.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: "Infinity War" surpassed $1 billion worldwide in just 11 days. That is the fastest in movie history. And it did it without Chinese audiences. The film opens in China, the second biggest movie market this weekend. This is not the first record. The "Avengers," last weekend, "Infinity War," had the biggest opening box office ever both in the U.S. and around the world. I have not seen it yet. Have you?

BRIGGS: I have not. I'm dying to. How about your kids? Did they head out this weekend?

ROMANS: I haven't seen it yet.

BRIGGS: All right this week, we are committed. "Early Start" continues right now. Errol Lewis joining us with the latest on Rudy Giuliani.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: If you are innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Are you confident the president will not take the fifth in this case?

GUILIANI: How can I not be confident of that?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: That is just one headline from the latest head-spinning interview from President Trump's newest attorney Rudy Giuliani.

BRIGGS: And the President's nominee to lead the CIA is offering to step aside. If it helps the White House, why Gina Haspel has decided to fight on for now.

ROMANS: New eruptions, dozens of homes destroyed and now concerns about toxic gas as the Kilauea Volcano remains a huge threat in Hawaii. Good morning everyone, it is Monday morning. Welcome to "Early Start," I am Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I am Dave Briggs. It is Monday, May 7, 5:00 a.m. in the East it is just about 11:00 p.m. in Hawaii. We will check in there shortly. We start with another eruption from Rudy Giuliani, making a series of startling new headlines as he cranks up his defense of President Trump. Among them the new member of the Trump legal team, not ruling out, the President taking the fifth, invoking his right against self-incrimination in the Special Counsels Russia Investigation.