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President Trump Withdraws From Iran Nuclear Deal; Secretary Of State Pompeo Visits North Korea Again Ahead of Trump-Kim Summit; Mueller's Team Questions Russian Oligarch About Payments To Michael Cohen; CIA Nominee Gina Haspel Confirmation Hearing Today. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired May 9, 2018 - 05:30   ET


[05:30:12] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This was a horrible one-sided deal that should have never ever been made. It didn't bring calm, it didn't bring peace, and it never will.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the U.S. is out of the landmark nuclear deal with Iran. Moments ago, Iran's supreme leader calling the president's speech silly and superficial. What's the next step to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon?

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: And, breaking news this morning. The secretary of state is back in Pyongyang and three American detainees are expected to leave with him. We're live in Seoul.

ROMANS: And a CNN exclusive. The special counsel is talking to a Russian oligarch about hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to the president's personal attorney. We unpack that.

Welcome back to -- try to unpack that. It's really complicated but --

BRIGGS: To try being the key word.

ROMANS: -- it is such a fascinating development.

Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. It's May ninth. One year ago today, James Comey was fired --

ROMANS: Are you kidding me?

BRIGGS: -- changing political history --


BRIGGS: -- as we know it. I'm sure Comey will tweet about that.

ROMANS: On this day in history. BRIGGS: Sure -- yes, on this day in history. Five thirty-one eastern time.

We start, though, with President Trump ignoring pleas from key European allies announcing the U.S. is quitting the Iran nuclear deal.


TRUMP: It is clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement. The Iran deal is defective at its core. If we do nothing, we know exactly what will happen.


BRIGGS: Now, the president plans to impose new sanctions on the Iranian regime and says any country that helps Iran obtain nuclear weapons would also be quote "strongly sanctioned."

Reaction to the move was swift both at home and abroad.

Let's bring in CNN's Frederik Pleitgen live in Tehran.

Fred, moments ago, Iran's Parliament said it will vote on a motion --


BRIGGS: -- calling for proportional and reciprocal action. We're also from the supreme leader. What's the latest?

PLEITGEN: Yes, Dave, almost a tsunami of reaction coming here from Iran, both from moderates as well as from hardliners as well.

The supreme leader did, in fact, just make some very fiery comments against President Trump literally just a couple of minutes ago, calling his speech silly and also saying that the U.S. was unreliable.

It was a very interesting speech that Khamenei did give there, really ripping into Trump, also accusing Trump -- President Trump of lying several times in his remarks about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action around -- about the nuclear agreement.

Then you have the Iranian Parliament where they just discussed that motion to take reciprocal action. Well, earlier today, they also burned an American flag there and a version of the nuclear agreement.

Now, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, who is a moderate, also made some more moderate remarks right after President Trump gave his speech last night. He said that he hopes that the deal can somehow be preserved but in a smaller version, including the countries that signed it, except the United States.

Now, key to that is the European countries who signed it. They are alienated by the United States, as you mentioned. They say they want to preserve the deal but the Iranians say look, we're going to give it a little time. We're going to see if Europeans are going to follow through on that and then we'll decide whether or not we want to stay in the agreement.

Of course, it's very difficult for European countries and for European companies as well because there is so much pressure from the U.S. not to deal with Iran -- otherwise, there might be big consequences for them.

The Iranians, however, have said if the deal completely does fall apart they are capable and willing to re-amp up their nuclear program. They say they can do that very, very quickly. However, they also say, Dave, that they have no intention of building a nuclear bomb -- Dave.

BRIGGS: So many questions. Can this deal be sustained without the United States? We shall see.

Frederik Pleitgen live for us in Tehran this morning, thanks.


ROMANS: Mike Pompeo in North Korea at this hour and according to South Korean government officials, the secretary of state is expected to return home with three American detainees.

I want to get right to Seoul right now and bring in CNN's Paula Hancocks.

Certainly, these families have been hoping for more than a week now after the president said that this was close. How close are we?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine, we simply don't know at this point.

What we do know is from a pool reporter -- from reporters who are actually with Mike Pompeo in Pyongyang, they said that he had an hour- long meeting this morning with Kim Yong Chol. He's the former spy chief who's been very much involved in the diplomacy recently.

It was behind closed doors. They said they talked about the schedule and the agenda for the summit between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump. And they also talked about Pompeo's schedule for the rest of the day, but there were no details on that.

[05:35:01] It's now 6:34 in the evening here on the Korean Peninsula and it's not clear what has happened over this afternoon.

But what we do know is they also had lunch and there was a very amicable atmosphere between the U.S. secretary of state and Kim Yong Chol, the vice chairman of the Workers' Party.

But, Kim Yong Chol did say that it's not sanctions that has convinced North Korea to try to denuclearize and to have this summit with the U.S. president. It is because they decided to change their policy towards economics.

Now, also we saw just yesterday that Kim Jong Un had another very surprising visit to China to meet with the Chinese president Xi Jinping twice in two months, which is really unprecedented. But it shows that Xi Jinping is trying to make sure that he is front and center when it comes to this flurry of diplomatic activity, potentially giving guidance to the young Kim Jong Un.

And we also know that -- or don't know at this point how exactly Kim Jong Un will respond to the fact that the U.S. has pulled out that Iran nuclear deal. There's been no official reaction here but there's certainly an assumption from many experts that it could be even more difficult to try and strike a deal with North Korea if Kim Jong Un doesn't know that any deal he strikes with the U.S. president could be or could not be respected by a following U.S. president.

So it's really thrown things up in the air as to whether or not it now makes it more difficult to convince Kim Jong Un to denuclearize.

ROMANS: Certainly. It's 6:36 p.m. there where you are. Let's us know if you get any new developments on those three Americans being held.

Thank you, Paula.


Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigators have questioned a Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin about hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to Michael Cohen. A source telling CNN the U.S. affiliate of the oligarch's company made the large payments to President Trump's personal attorney in the months after the election.

And now, a startling allegation from Stormy Daniels' attorney that these payments funded the hush money to Daniels.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz sorts through all of this from Washington.


SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Christine and Dave, Mueller's investigators have questioned a Russian oligarch named Viktor Vekselberg about hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments made to President Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen in 2017.

Now, the payments went from Vekselberg's U.S.-linked company, called Columbus Nova, to Cohen. Columbus Nova is run by Vekselberg's American cousin, Andrew Intrater.

And documents that were released by Stormy Daniel's attorney Michael Avenatti allege that half a million dollars was paid to Cohen beginning in January 2017.

And then last month, the Trump administration put Vekselberg on a list of sanctioned Russians for election interference.

Now, what's not clear is the purpose of the payments that were made to Cohen or the nature of the business relationship between Cohen and Vekselberg.

But the fact that investigators are scrutinizing this is significant because it essentially shows that a company created by Michael Cohen to pay hush money to Stormy Daniels was also receiving money. That same LLC was also receiving money from a U.S. company in New York City that is linked to a Russian oligarch -- Christine and Dave.


ROMANS: All right, Shimon. Thank you for that.

No comment from Cohen or Vekselberg yet.

We do have this statement from Columbus Nova's general counsel.

"I can confirm that the company is 100 percent owned and controlled by Americans. Any suggestion that at any point in time Viktor Vekselberg or any of his companies owned or exercised any control over Columbus Nova is patently untrue."

BRIGGS: As we mentioned, a year ago today, James Comey was fired and it continues to reverberate almost every day.

With all that in mind, are these revelations a coincidence or a big problem for the president. We discuss, next.

ROMANS: Also, remember this?


"BACK TO THE FUTURE": Roads? Where we're going we don't need roads.


ROMANS: Maybe that's the new Uber --

BRIGGS: Who doesn't?

ROMANS: -- the Uber model. What if your Uber could take you off the road and into the skies?



[05:44:02] BRIGGS: Five forty-three eastern time.

The special counsel questioning a Russian oligarch about hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to President Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen just days -- months after, excuse me -- the election. Our sources say the money came from the U.S. affiliate of the oligarch's company.

Christine Romans is taking notes furiously as we try to figure out the flowchart --

ROMANS: I know, look --

BRIGGS: -- of all of this, folks. ROMANS: This is -- this is in "The Washington Post."

BRIGGS: We have a flowchart.

ROMANS: You can't see it but it's like -- oh.

BRIGGS: Let's discuss the flow chart with Zach Wolf, "CNN POLITICS" digital director.

Zach, we hope you could follow this "Washington Post" flowchart because it's difficult, especially at 5:44 eastern time.

How big a problem could this be for the president? How central is Michael Cohen to both investigations, potentially?

ZACHARY WOLF, DIGITAL DIRECTOR, "CNN POLITICS": It certainly doesn't sound good for the president.

I think maybe the larger problem is that it's so hard to follow that flowchart and people are kind of confused about where does this Stormy Daniels investigation in New York end and the Russia investigation begin. It's just hard to keep these threads separate and that could be a larger issue for him.

[05:45:06] ROMANS: And one wonders at what point is the Stormy Daniels-Michael Cohen -- what is the nexus here between the Mueller probe --

BRIGGS: Do the streams cross?

ROMANS: Right. At what --

BRIGGS: Ghostbusters.

ROMANS: There you go. At what -- there you go. At what point -- at what point is there a nexus there?

Let's move on to Iran here because this is the president fulfilling a campaign promise, no question. Dave calls him what, the mixer, not the fixer, necessarily.

BRIGGS: That's right.

ROMANS: What's the next move then?

In France, the French president who wanted the United State to stay in the deal and work out some tweaks and fixes for what the parties thought wasn't working out, but we're out of it completely.

WOLF: Yes. I mean, CNN was reporting yesterday there is, essentially, no plan B here so that kind of leaves us with whatever happens happens. And that kind of seems to be Trump's attitude that this was a bad deal.

He doesn't like president -- he didn't like President Obama. He wants to undo the Obama legacy at all costs so if it's Obamacare, if it's the Iran deal, he's going to pull out of stuff. He's going to try and wreck it and they never really seem to know what comes next.

And they're not -- it doesn't seem like they're planning for that so fasten your safety belts, I guess. We'll just have to see what happens.

BRIGGS: Speaking of safety belts, Zach, a gem of an analogy from the "USA Today" writing about pulling out of the Iran deal. Let's put that up on the screen for folks.

"Imagine if average Americans conducted their personal lives as capriciously as the president conducts foreign policy. It's as though you bought a car, decided after the fact that you didn't like the color or the gas mileage, tore up the sales agreement, and walked away from the remaining payments. Would anyone trust selling you another vehicle?

Trump has a lot of cars yet to buy, not the least of which is a new nuclear deal with North Korea."


BRIGGS: Bravo, "USA Today" editorial board.

To the point that he is a deal breaker, not a dealmaker, what are the implications of that?

WOLF: Well, I think the other thing we have to look at here is that he says he's a man of his word. "I'm a man of my word" is what he said yesterday.

But the U.S. had entered into these agreements and he's essentially making any sort of continuity between administrations impossible. So it would be impossible in the future for countries to say oh well, Trump entered into an agreement. What's the next president going to do?

Without that kind of continuity it sort of makes the U.S. less -- a less viable world player, I think.

ROMANS: Let's talk about those primaries last night and what they tell us about -- you know, I would say the mainstream traditional Republicans --


ROMANS: -- and the Trumpism that people were looking for signs of.

In West Virginia, we saw Blankenship didn't make it, right? Patrick Morrisey --

BRIGGS: A distant third.

ROMANS: Right, 34 percent there.

In Indiana, Mike Braun coming in there, right, with 41 percent of the vote. And in Ohio, Jim -- What does this -- what does this tell you about where we are on heading into the -- into the midterms.

WOLF: Well, kind of the thing with Blankenship, he was the -- he was the undisputed Trump clone --

ROMANS: Right.

WOLF: -- of the -- of the -- of the bunch. He had this race-baiting campaign, he was a former businessman, he had an axe to grind.

But it was really -- Trumpism would have been really bad for Donald Trump in this case because it could have threatened the Senate majority. Republicans really need to knock off Joe Manchin if they want to protect that Senate majority.

They don't have a lot of momentum but they have this really friendly map. So you see him kind of needing to play this Washington chess in order to carry his message.

But this is a huge deal for Republicans and I'm sure they're breathing a big sigh of relief because it really makes this West Virginia seat, which is extremely important -- there aren't that many that are in play. It really makes this one getable for Republicans.

BRIGGS: That is a fascinating number on the screen right now.

TEXT: Last night's Senate primary -- Democratic, 159,891; Republican, 136,220.

BRIGGS: We can't get into it but Democratic turnout in West Virginia was actually bigger than Republican. Democrats -- it was a foregone conclusion that Joe Manchin was going to be their candidate. It tells you a little bit about voter enthusiasm.

But I also think there's some good news for Blankenship. His probation is over.

ROMANS: (Laughing).

BRIGGS: It ended at midnight last night -- the ex-con.

Team Mitch here --

ROMANS: Wait, did he get -- do you think he gets his guns back, too?

BRIGGS: That's right, gets his guns back.

But, team Mitch fired a shot, speaking of. "Thanks for playing, Don" in this tweet referencing a Netflix poster of "NARCOS." Of course, that's a veiled shot at Blankenship calling Mitch McConnell "Cocaine Mitch."

Only in 2018, Zach Wolf. Some fascinating political times.

Thank you, sir. We appreciate it. WOLF: Thank you.

ROMANS: All right, that's your politics. Let's talk about your money right now. Let's get a check on "CNN Money" this morning.

There are just as many job openings as there are unemployed people in the U.S. -- a remarkable statistic. And, American businesses cannot hire workers fast enough.

A record number of job openings in March -- 6.6 million. The jobless rate is at a 17-year low.

Typically, there are more unemployed workers than openings but during the recession -- look at that. There were seven job seekers for each available job. Today, it's one-to-one.

[05:50:02] The number of new hires fell. That shows businesses struggling to find skilled workers. And half of small businesses say they can't find enough qualified employees.

That should be boosting wages. Still, overall, growth is modest in wages. However, there are some measures that are starting to show a stronger wage picture. For example, private sector pay rose at the fastest pace in 11 years during the first three months of 2018.

And could this lure back workers on the sidelines? Currently, there are about six million Americans out of the labor force and not looking for work. They're not counted as unemployed, they're simply on the sidelines, out of the market.

Wild swings in oil prices after President Trump pulled the U.S. from that Iran deal. Oil fell four percent then climbed back above $70 again. Sanctions could cut off Iran's oil exports, putting another dent in tight global supply.

U.S. stocks closed flat yesterday. You know, Wall Street is nearing the end of a strong earnings season but there are these big worries about geopolitical tensions, like Iran, and on trade also that has been overshadowing big company profits.

Right now, global stocks mixed. U.S. futures are up a little bit.

Disney's movies bringing in billions and that's making up for its T.V. business.




ROMANS: That movie there has made more than a billion dollars at the box office. That drove Disney's revenue up nine percent during the first three months of the year to $14 billion.

It also helped offset losses on its T.V. side. Channels like ESPN and ABC are losing money as more customers switch to streaming services.

Do you ever dream of riding in a flying taxi? Uber and NASA teaming up to make that a reality. In 2016, Uber unveiled plans to develop flying cars like the ones seen here.

The aim was to alleviate congestion and provide affordable transportation. Now, NASA wants to help get that concept off the ground.

Uber plans to roll out this service by 2023. It says you'll be able to book rides using the regular Uber app and then you have to go to like a -- I guess, a place where there's a pick-up. The plane pick- up.

BRIGGS: I think that's easier -- look, one of the biggest Uber headaches is your driver like not where you are, circling around and saying --


BRIGGS: -- I'm right here. At least that would happen with --

ROMANS: I guess so.

BRIGGS: -- the airplane. I don't know.

ROMANS: Well, what about all the Amazon drones that are going to be delivering packages? There's just a lot going on.

BRIGGS: Good luck, regulators. OK.

The president's nominee to lead the CIA has her confirmation hearing today. What she'll say to try and sway skeptical senators. This should be a heated environment today on Capitol Hill.


[05:56:36] BRIGGS: All right. Severe weather rolling into the Midwest.

Here's meteorologist Pedram Javaheri.


PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hey, good morning, Dave and Christine.

The storms across the Midwestern part of the country certainly, the severe area to look at. But really broadly speaking here, almost resembles a summerlike regime as far as how warm some of these temperatures are.

But take you out towards portions of Indianapolis on into Gary, Fort Wayne. That's where the severe weather risk is at its highest for damaging winds, large hail being the predominant threats throughout late this morning into the early afternoon hours. And, in fact, upwards of almost 1,000 lightning strikes into the early morning hours pushing in through parts of eastern Iowa, Wisconsin. Minnesota certainly impacted by it as well.

And notice late morning this pushes in through the Chicagoland area and then by the afternoon -- maybe into the evening hours you begin Detroit get in on the action with some strong storms. Certainly, some flights could be impacted across that region by later on tonight.

Eighty degrees in Detroit, 83 in Chicago. A couple of notches shy of 90 already in St. Louis. And these temps, frankly, are running some 10 to 15 degrees above average for this time of year.

And notice even across the Deep South, temps pushing up close to 90 degrees and staying there for Mobile, Atlanta, and Memphis. All in the big-time heat here the next few days -- guys.


ROMANS: All right, thank you so much, Pedram.

Gina Haspel's confirmation hearing is this morning before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The CIA nominee is expected to face difficult questions about her role in the use of harsh interrogation tactics, like waterboarding, in the aftermath of 9/11. The CIA releasing an excerpt from Haspel's remarks guaranteeing the CIA will not restart any such detention and interrogation program.

Most Democrats oppose her nomination even though she has backed off -- she's backed by colleagues -- including senior officials from the Obama administration support her nomination.

BRIGGS: That should be fascinating.

Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets setting the stage for their eagerly awaited match-up in the Western Conference finals.

The Warriors finishing off the New Orleans Pelicans in five games. Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson combining for 75 points in Golden State's 113-104 clinching victory, fourth straight trip to the conference finals.

The Rockets closing out the Utah Jazz in game five, 112-102, led by Chris Paul -- 41 points, a career playoff high. Ten assists and no turnovers, too -- unreal. The first time CP3 has reached the conference finals in his 13-year career.

Game one in Houston on Monday, sadly, 9:00 eastern time. Tough for us --

ROMANS: Dave's --

BRIGGS: -- early risers. ROMANS: -- productivity just went like this.

BRIGGS: Long naps in the daytime, my friend.

ROMANS: Long naps, all right. Lots of naps.

Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

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


MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY FOR STORMY DANIELS: Michael Cohen should not have been accepting money from anyone with Russian ties.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They questioned him about $100,000 in payments that were made to Michael Cohen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't know if Michael Cohen did anything illegal.

JACK QUINN, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: They're paying him for access to the president.

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's very swampy. This is the swampiest of swampy behavior.

TRUMP: The United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will end up isolating the United States. Iran is complying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had limited ability to do inspections. We couldn't go to military bases.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: They don't have a real plan here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He did campaign on this and he is following through on it.