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Rudy Giuliani Stirs More Political Controversy And Ratchets Up President's Defense; Haspel Offers To Withdraw CIA Nomination; Report: Trump Aides Wanted "Dirt" On Iran Nuke Negotiators; SNL's Star-Studded Cold Open; Volcanic Eruption Levels Hawaiian Communities. Aired 5:30- 6a ET

Aired May 7, 2018 - 05:30   ET


[05:30:22] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST, ABC "THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS": Are you confident the president will not take the Fifth in this case?

RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Oh, how could I ever be confident of that?


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Try squaring that circle on a Monday morning. Just one headline from the latest head-spinning interview from President Trump's new attorney, Rudy Giuliani.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The president's nominee to lead the CIA offering to step aside if it helps the White House. Why Gina Haspel decided to fight on for now.

BRIGGS: New eruptions, dozens of homes destroyed, and concerns about toxic gas as the Kilauea volcano remains a big threat in Hawaii. It is 11:30 p.m. there in Hawaii and we'll check in there live shortly.

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

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. Good morning.

BRIGGS: Good morning.

ROMANS: A lot going on. A lot from the weekend to digest and a lot happening today, too.

Let's begin with 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, invoking his right against self-incrimination in the special counsel's Russia investigation.


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

RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Oh, how could I ever be confident of that?

When I -- when I -- when I -- when I'm facing a situation with the president and all the other lawyers are -- and which every lawyer in America thinks he'd be a fool to testify.

I've got a client who wants to testify. Please, don't -- he said it yesterday. And, you know, Jay and I said to ourselves, my goodness, you know -- I hope we get a chance to tell him the risk that's he's taking.


ROMANS: Worth noting here, the president said during the campaign -- the 2016 campaign -- that only quote, "The Mob takes the Fifth and you don't do that if you're innocent."

BRIGGS: That's right.

The president and Giuliani met face-to-face on Sunday. Afterward, Giuliani told CNN the president 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.

ROMANS: And joining us is CNN political commentator Errol Louis, political anchor for "SPECTRUM NEWS." Good morning.


BRIGGS: Morning.

ROMANS: Let's listen to a little bit more Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor, because there was a lot in here to really chew over.

He also said -- he was asked by George Stephanopoulos what if the Mueller team were to subpoena the President of the United States, and this is how he answered.


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

GIULIANI: Well, we don't have to. He's the President of the United States. We can assert the same privilege as other presidents have.


ROMANS: What do you make of this? LOUIS: Well, he's right and wrong at the same time. Yes, they can assert the privilege but there is some Supreme Court precedent on this and we found this out with Bill Clinton. Actually, you do have to comply with the subpoena.

Now, the terms on which you do it, whether or not you're going to go into a grand jury, all of that can be negotiated and needs to be negotiated. But the reality is we know that, at least in a civil case and probably in a criminal case by extension, you've got to answer a subpoena.

There -- we have, you know -- the civics lesson actually does apply here. There are co-equal branches of government. If the Judicial Branch has a request of the president it's only a question of timing -- how, and where, and when -- but you have to answer that subpoena.

BRIGGS: Another attorney, Joe DiGenova, who's closely aligned with President Trump, went on Fox Sunday and said, "The president will not sit down for an interview because this investigation has now reached a level of bad faith."

Clearly, here is where we're going. They're not going to an interview, they're not going to comply with the subpoena.

What are the implications of all this?

LOUIS: Well, and look, there are political implications and legal implications.

Legally, it could end up being a constitutional crisis. We could go back to the Supreme Court, we could add more to the thin, but important, string of cases that go before us, including the Clinton era from 20 years ago, and have the Supreme Court weigh in on whether or not there are co-equal branches and whether or not the executive has to answer.

Politically, I think it would be disastrous. We've already heard congressional leaders -- Republican leaders saying it would be the end of his presidency if he tries to terminate this investigation.

It's one thing to sort of go on Twitter and say it's a witch hunt and I shouldn't be under this kind of pressure. It's another thing to actively try and stop the entire investigation and all of the parts that go with it including just a subpoena which, in the end, is just a request for information. If they are not going to even do that then we have a real serious problem.

BRIGGS: And if you voluntarily do the interview you can set conditions. But if you're forced, according to a subpoena, you don't get to set the conditions. You have to -- you know, you don't get to have an attorney present so there's a big implication there in terms of the interview.

ROMANS: Writ large -- the Giuliani performance -- you've covered him -- New York politics. I mean, he's a real New York character and so much of what we're seeing in Washington right now just feels so New Yorky to me. Don't you think?

[05:35:03] LOUIS: Oh, absolutely.

ROMANS: I mean, it really is. It's astonishing.

But he made this statement and on CNN this weekend he said that "I've just been on board a couple of weeks. I haven't been able to read the 1.2 million documents. I'm focused on the law more than the facts right now."


ROMANS: And then he also said in that interview something to the effect of you know, we'll, there are facts -- will you tell the press -- will you tell the press -- well, how do you see him exactly? Would he tell the press --

BRIGGS: Well, he was asked if lying -- if it's OK to lie to the press and he said, "Gee, I don't know."

ROMANS: Right. So, I mean, what -- where --

BRIGGS: That was a direct quote.

ROMANS: What does that tell you about what's happening there?

LOUIS: My sense of it is that this is Donald Trump trying to do something that has worked very well throughout his career in his commercial life, which is to get a big, blustery New York lawyer who can go into the courtroom.

Famously, Roy Cohn, his attorney when he started out in life -- somebody that Donald Trump looked up to -- would say I don't need the file, I don't need the facts. Just tell me the name of the judge. And he'd go into court cold and sort of work some magic and do some arguing along those lines.

Rudy Giuliani may be trying to do something in the same mold.

BRIGGS: All right.

Let's just go back to this initial statement aboard Air Force One --


BRIGGS: -- and where we've evolved to now. Listen to this evolution, if you will.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?


KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: When the president said "no" on Air Force One, he was talking about he didn't know when the payment occurred.


CONWAY: It was a very fast-moving exchange between him and Catherine Lucey of the A.P., I believe. And so he's saying he didn't know about it when the payment occurred. He found out about it after the fact.



BRIGGS: So it's when the payment occurred. Look --

LOUIS: Ah, he knew that there was a payment, he just didn't know when it had happened, I think is where -- if where she was trying to go. And --

BRIGGS: Do you believe that?

LOUIS: Well, I don't believe that for a minute.

BRIGGS: Right.

LOUIS: The -- but look, frankly, for those of us who have been watching this unfold, the president's demeanor on the plane told me he wasn't being forthcoming, you know, frankly. I mean, you can look at him and say that man's not being truthful.

He could have answered this a long, long time ago. What any other politician, any other corporate, or any other leader in this --

BRIGGS: But why does it matter?

LOUIS: Well, it does matter. The -- look, what the president says to the public needs to be true. It needs to be something you can rely on.

In this case, to not only be less than truthful or fully forthcoming and then also to not have a full-blown press conference -- we haven't seen one in months --

ROMANS: Right.

LOUIS: And then to have his surrogates go out and sort of do this hairsplitting -- kind of, well, he knew there was a payment even though he clearly had said that he didn't --

ROMANS: Why don't they just admit it -- why don't they just admit it and move on? I mean --

LOUIS: Well, you know, we don't know what the "it" is and that's the problem is that, you know, there --

ROMANS: It must be a spin -- all right.

BRIGGS: Cohen clearly -- LOUIS: This is clearly -- this is clearly a lot more than one payment to one alleged former mistress.

It's clearly about more than that when you have the attorney who drafted the non-disclosure agreement having been raided. He's in a whole lot of trouble for a lot of different reasons.

You have a president who, for whatever reason, cannot let go of this. It suggests that there's more to come and that it involves a lot more than just one tawdry payment.

BRIGGS: But they keep trotting out officials to talk about it --

ROMANS: I know.

BRIGGS: -- instead of trying to turn the page. But, Errol Louis, our heads hurt.

ROMANS: Nice to see you. Thanks, Errol.

BRIGGS: Thanks for being here. We appreciate it.

ROMANS: And then there's this. Trump -- President Trump's pick to run the CIA offered to withdraw her nomination after some White House officials raised concerns about Gina Haspel's ability to be confirmed.

As first reported by "The Washington Post," Haspel, the current acting CIA director, offered to step aside if it would help make things easier for the White House.

Later, Friday, she received a visit from Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short and the tension cooled.

BRIGGS: On Sunday, the White House was still in her corner, saying Haspel's nomination "will not be derailed by partisan critics who side with the ACLU over the CIA on how to keep the American people safe."

Haspel faces a contentious Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday. Her nomination would be in jeopardy if she loses support among Republicans who hold a narrow 51-49 majority.

ROMANS: 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 Iran nuclear deal by hiring private investigators to dig up dirt on officials from the Obama administration who helped negotiate it.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen has covered Iran extensively, and this deal. He joins us live from Moscow. What do you make of this?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, it's a really interesting story, Christine.

And apparently, this was an Israeli firm that was allegedly hired by Trump aides to dig up dirt on two top Obama aides, Ben Rhodes and Colin Kahl, apparently looking into their personal lives but also, of course, their efforts around trying to negotiate this nuclear agreement.

[05:40:01] Now, it's interesting because some other papers have picked up on all this as well and have gathered some other information.

It seems as though there were journalists that were also contacted by this firm and then asked questions about the nuclear program. All these journalists perceived to be in favor of the nuclear agreement.

And one of them has now come forward and said yes, he was contacted by someone a couple of months ago -- someone asking a lot of questions that he found quite strange about the nuclear agreement. He says he pushed back on that but he did find the questioning to be curious, to say the least.

Now, all of this, of course, comes at a very, very important time around the nuclear agreement and the company that is being named in some media reports is saying it has nothing to do with this. They say they have nothing to do with the Trump administration -- no contacts also with the Trump team -- and also, nothing to do with the nuclear agreement.

But the Iranians have already come out and said look, ahead of this deadline on May the 12th when President Trump has to either extend this agreement or essentially kill it, they say it would be a historic mistake by the United States to nix the agreement and that they will also not renegotiate any of the agreement or talk about negotiating anything around their other weapons programs, Christine.

ROMANS: Wow. And we know -- you know, oil prices about $70 a barrel Fred, for the first time since 2014 because investors --

PLEITGEN: Oh, yes.

ROMANS: -- think that they are going to withdraw from the deal and that will allow Iran to start exporting oil and making money off of oil again.

Thank you so much for that, Fred.

BRIGGS: Boy, an interesting couple of days to see what the president will do.

Ahead, Rudy Giuliani left no shortage of material for "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE."


COLIN JOST, CO-ANCHOR, WEEKEND UPDATE, NBC "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": During his kings of dementia comedy tour, Giuliani also said that 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 five dollars in my birthday card.


BRIGGS: And some surprise guests showed up for the cold open. We'll show you who, next.


[05:46:13] BRIGGS: "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE" skewering the latest in Trumpworld news after a week of stunning stories about Michael Cohen. Then, boy, they did it with some special and very surprising guests.

ROMANS: Take a look.

BRIGGS: Take a look.


BEN STILLER, ACTOR, PORTRAYING MICHAEL COHEN, NBC "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": Mr. Trump, we're in big trouble. I think they know about our collusion and obstruction of justice (spoken in pig Latin).


Wait, are you on a secure line?

STILLER: Absolutely. I dialed star 86 before the number, so it's completely untraceable.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON, ACTRESS, PORTRAYING IVANKA TRUMP, NBC "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": Michael, did we hear Giuliani called Jared disposable on national television because Jared is furious?

JIMMY FALLON, ACTOR, PORTRAYING JARED KUSHNER, NBC "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": Yes, man. Like, what the hell? I'm so mad right now. You don't even want to see me. I mean, I could cut a bitch.

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


STILLER: Stormy, this is Michael Cohen. Are you alone?


BALDWIN: And what are you wearing?

DANIELS: Excuse me?

BALDWIN: OK, Michael, I can take it from here.

STILLER: OK, but as your attorney, I highly advised against you --

BALDWIN: (Cuts off phone). So, what up, girl?

We'll always have "SHARK WEEK."

I solved North and South Korea. Why can't I solve us?

DANIELS: Sorry, Donald, it's too late for that. I know you don't believe in climate change but a storm's a-comin', baby.

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


BRIGGS: Wow, all right.

Let's discuss this with Alisyn Camerota who is coming up on "NEW DAY" in just a few minutes.

ROMANS: Good morning, sunshine.

BRIGGS: Stormy Daniels' appearance there.

Let's talk about 'Javanka.' What did you think of Scarlett Johansson and Jimmy Fallon as 'Javanka'?

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Well, I liked part of it but I didn't understand the mouth thing that she was doing where she was making Ivanka talk kind of like that. What did you think about that?

ROMANS: I didn't zero in that closely on that one, actually.

BRIGGS: See, that's the analysis you get from Alisyn Camerota. I didn't notice that either.

CAMEROTA: Well, again, this is the searing analysis -- the insightful stuff that only I see.

But what did you guys -- I mean, first of all, I didn't recognize Martin Short. I didn't know throughout that whole skit who that was playing the doctor.

BRIGGS: Dr. Bornstein.

ROMANS: That was Martin Short?

CAMEROTA: That was Bornstein.

BRIGGS: That was Martin Short.

CAMEROTA: And also --

BRIGGS: I forgot about that.

CAMEROTA: Yes. And also, sometimes when I see the real Dr. Bornstein in a split screen, I actually can't tell you which one is the parody.

BRIGGS: You know, Kate McKinnon, I think, finally found a role she can't play and that was Rudy Giuliani there --


BRIGGS: -- which --


BRIGGS: -- may have missed the mark a bit.

CAMEROTA: And so what was -- what was she doing with the hand thing? What was that?


CAMEROTA: Why was she doing the hand -- his hand like this?

BRIGGS: I don't know. You know, it's tough with everything coming out of Rudy's mouth it's almost hard to parody that, but I'm sure you guys will get into that on "NEW DAY."

CAMEROTA: Well, we will, yes. I'm looking for somebody to do Rudy's animated eyes. I think that that is a direction she can go down.

Also, we are going to have on Roger Stone today so that, everybody should tune into because Roger Stone, as you know, close Donald Trump confidant. He has been in the mix for many of the most controversial moments before and since Donald Trump won the presidency and he doesn't talk to the press that much.

So stick around for that as well as all the analysis that we have with all of the developments over the weekend, including Rudy Giuliani's many appearances on the -- well, his long appearance, I should say, on one of the Sunday shows.

ROMANS: All right.

BRIGGS: It was remarkable. All right, we'll see you in just a bit -- thanks.

ROMANS: Thank you, Alisyn. Nice to see you.

[05:50:01] CAMEROTA: You, too.

ROMANS: Let's get a check on "CNN Money" this Monday morning.

The White House sharply criticizing China for issuing a warning to U.S. airlines. China's Civil Aviation Administration told 30 foreign airlines they have to remove any information suggesting Taiwan is not a part of China. China considers self-governed Taiwan a part of its territory and comes down hard on any indication otherwise.

The White House calls this "Orwellian nonsense," ordering China to stop threatening and coercing American carriers and citizens.

This public criticism follows high-stakes trade talks between the U.S. and China. The Trump administration demanded, among other things, that China cut its trade surplus by $200 billion over the next couple of years. The two countries each threatened the other with billions in tariffs.

The U.S. has also been targeting Chinese companies -- tech companies like ZTE. It banned American -- the U.S. banned American companies last month from selling to ZTE after it violated U.S. sanctions. Last night, ZTE formally asked the Commerce Department to suspend that ban.

Global stock markets, right now, carrying the week mostly higher. On Friday, a good day for the Dow, up 332 points.

Big, huge rally in Apple shares and a solid jobs report. Record high for Apple stock after Warren Buffett revealed he bought 75 million shares during the first three months of 2018.

But in that jobs report, we learned the jobless rate fell below four percent for the first time since 2000. The U.S. added 164,000 jobs.

Wages grew about 2.6 percent. That's not fast enough to trigger worries about inflation. In February, you remember, stocks fell sharply when wages rose faster than expected.

And then this. "AVENGERS" reaching the billion-dollar club in record time. "INFINITY WAR" surpassed a billion dollars worldwide in just -- Dave, just 11 days, the fastest in movie history.

And it did it without Chinese audiences. The film opens in China this weekend. That's the second-biggest movie market.

This isn't the first record for the "AVENGERS." "INFINITY WAR" had the biggest opening weekend ever, both in the U.S. and around the world.

BRIGGS: Do they owe it all to the success of "BLACK PANTHER" or is this movie good enough on its own merits?

ROMANS: I think it helped. I finally saw "BLACK PANTHER," which I loved.

BRIGGS: It was tremendous.

ROMANS: I'm always two weeks behind. I never am that first mover on the movies. I wait until --

BRIGGS: I'm about a month behind so you've got me beat by a couple of weeks. All right.

Ahead, the eruption of the Kilauea volcano, showing no signs of slowing. A new concern now is high levels of toxic gas. We'll check in there, next.


[05:57:03] BRIGGS: All right. It's just about midnight in Hawaii. The erupting Kilauea volcano there remains a major threat on the Big Island. At least 26 homes have been destroyed. All residents of Leilani

Estates, a community of about 1,700 in nearby Lanipuna Gardens, remained under an evacuation order. Public schools on the Big Island open today.

But a new concern is rising levels of toxic gases.

More now from CNN's Stephanie Elam.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Dave, residents of Leilani Estates were able to get and get last-minute things they were not able to evacuate with the first time around, but they're not allowed to stay there. They want those residents to get what they need and get out as these fissures continue to open in these neighborhoods.

They're also very much concerned about the toxic gases coming out from the earth as well as this lava. It's spewing forth out of these vents. That gas is really quite dangerous and so that is why they've widened the perimeter as these fissures continue to open.

If you take a look at where I'm standing now, this was a 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's no way to actually stop lava from flowing when it is coming down at that speed and that heat.

It's hard. It's 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'll never able to go back to their neighborhood the way it was -- Dave and Christine.


ROMANS: All right, Stephanie in Hawaii for us. Thank you.

Another mid-air incident involving a cracked window on a passenger plane. JetBlue flight 1052 heading from San Juan to Tampa, Sunday, was diverted to Fort Lauderdale when the outer layer of the cockpit windshield shattered. JetBlue says the plane was diverted out of an abundance of caution.

Just days ago, a cracked outer window forced a Southwest flight from Chicago to Newark to land in Cleveland.

Terrifying, right?


ROMANS: And a pain to have to re-divert.

Thanks for joining us this Monday morning. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: And I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now. We'll see you tomorrow.


STEPHANOPOLOUS: Are you confident the president will not take the Fifth in this case?

GIULIANI: Oh, how could I ever be confident of that?

MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY FOR STORMY DANIELS: There's going to be evidence of payments to other women.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: There is a legal issue if the president -- his credibility is thrown this much into question.

CONWAY: He's saying he didn't know about it when the payment occurred. He found out about it after the fact.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think the American public cares much about this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rudy Giuliani needs to get back into lawyer mode and only speak of that which he knows.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: It's just inconsistent with who we are as a people to have someone who is intimately involved with torture.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She would be willing to step away from this if it was going to be too tough.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: She is very highly qualified and she's excellent at what she does.


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

CAMEROTA: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Monday, May seventh, 6:00 here in New York.

Here's our "Starting Line."

Rudy Giuliani is still trying to get the story straight, apparently.