Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Working To Save Chinese Jobs; New U.S. Embassy In Jerusalem Set To Open; Palestinians Protest U.S. Embassy Move; Bolton Threatens European Companies. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired May 14, 2018 - 05:00   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, traffic is my biggest concern.


President Trump is bringing jobs back to China. A stunning confession from the president. He wants to relax sanctions on a major Chinese telecom firm.

ROMANS: The U.S. embassy in Israel moves to Jerusalem this morning. High level delegation on hand. Protests are expected. What does this mean for America's role in the peace talks? We are live to Jerusalem.

BRIGGS: And is this something you want at your child's prom? Parents and students outraged after a caged tiger is rolled out. Why the school is defending the move. It was welcome to the jungle theme.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to our jungle on EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: We had a disco ball at my prom. Come on.

BRIGGS: That sounds like a hoot.

ROMANS: Over the top. I'm Christine Romans. It is Monday.

BRIGGS: Instagram generation. You got to impress these kids.

ROMANS: It is May 14th. It's 5:00 a.m. in the east, 10:00 a.m. in London, noon in Jerusalem.

President Trump vowing to save jobs, Chinese jobs. Trump says he is working to get Chinese smartphone maker, ZTE, quote, "back into business." He tweeted this, "Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done."

Just last month, Trump's Commerce Department crippled ZTE. It barred U.S. companies from selling ZTE vital parts. That punishment for ZTE for violating the U.S. sanctions by selling to Iran and then lying about disciplining the employees involved.

Here's Commerce Secretary Wilbur Boss last year calling ZTE's behavior egregious.


WILBUR ROSS, U.S. COMMERCE SECRETARY: We are putting the world on notice. Improper trade games are over with.


ROMANS: Are they? Now the White House says Trump expects Ross to resolve the trade action. Trump's tweet drew sharp criticism from Democratic lawmaker, Adam Schiff, claiming ZTE's tech a major cyber security threat and that Trump should care more about our national security than Chinese jobs.

Trump's policy reversal comes as the U.S. and China gear up for round two of trade talks. A Chinese delegation heads to Washington this week. The goal, of course, to avoid a full-blown trade war.

In a second tweet, Trump said China and the U.S. are now working well together after past trade talks were one sided adding, "Be cool. It will all work out."

BRIGGS: All right. A big day in the Middle East, the Trump administration doing what presidents past have promised by moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. In a matter of hours, the formal ceremony set for 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time.

The White House declaring the move reflects the reality that Jerusalem is the Israeli capital. Critics arguing this effectively marks the end of America's role as an honest broker in Israeli/Palestinian peace negotiations.

CNN's Elise Labott joins us from inside the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. Good morning, Elise.

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Dave. It's a big day here in Jerusalem at the U.S. Embassy. The ceremony getting setup. It's going to be starting in a couple of hours. A very high-level delegation coming here today.

In addition to the head of the delegation, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan. You also have Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, who is going to be unveiling his own peace plan in the coming days and weeks, and also Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter, who arrived last night.

And this morning tweeted, I'll let it to you, "Thank you, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Mrs. Netanyahu for the warm welcome to Israel. I'm honored to join you and the U.S. delegation in commemorating the dedication of our new embassy in Jerusalem and celebrating the friendship between our two countries."

Now the ceremony has a lot of speakers. Of course, there will be a recorded message from President Trump to the crowd. Also, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be here on hand. I expect he'll say something along the lines of what he said last night, which is asking all nations to follow President Trump's lead and move their embassies to Jerusalem, consider Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Now as popular as the move is here from Israelis, you see pro- President Trump signs lining the streets on the roads up until the embassy, a devastating day for Palestinians who consider that Palestine will be -- has Jerusalem as their capital, a future Palestinian state.

Now, you know, as much as the U.S. says that this will advance peace and the Israelis say that, too, the Palestinians and a lot of Arab states, obviously, feel otherwise. That's why as happy a day it is for the Israelis.

The Palestinians will be protesting across the country. Expected to see some very tough protest in Gaza today. Hundreds of thousands expected at the wall with Israel.

[05:05:11] Now, one final note, we are also expected to hear from a controversial pastor, Robert Jeffress, the Southern Baptist pastor, who was one of President Trump's greatest supporters during the campaign will be giving the opening invocation.

Of course, critics are saying he is the wrong one to be giving such an address at the opening of the embassy. Of course, he has been criticized for his anti-Muslim, anti-gay, anti-Catholic, anti-Mormon even anti-Jewish remarks.

So, a very controversial speaker at this very controversial event here at the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem -- Dave.

BRIGGS: A very pivotal day there. Elise Labott live for us. One of those critics of the move to have Jeffress speak there is Mitt Romney, of course, running for Senate in Utah. Here's what Romney tweeted out about Robert Jeffress.

He said, in the past, quote, "You can't be saved by being a Jew and Mormonism is a hearsay from the pit of hell." He said the same about Islam. "Such a religious bigot should not be giving the prayer that opens the United States Embassy in Jerusalem."

If you wondered if Mitt Romney would continue to speak out on controversial issues, there's your answer.

ROMANS: This reverend has given a speech "why gay is not OK." He's called Islam a false religion inspired by Satan. So, clearly, a pointed choice of that pastor there.

The U.S. Embassy move to Jerusalem triggering large scale protests on the Gaza border. Israeli defense forces tweeting out a video warning Hamas may attempt to breach security and carry out a massacre. Over 100,000 Palestinians are expected to turn out to demonstrate.

CNN's coverage continues with Ian Lee. Ian is live from Gaza. Tell us what you are seeing there, Ian. There is a lot of black smoke behind you.

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Let me paint you a picture of what is going around us. The chaos we are seeing behind me. You have the black smoke. That is from tires being burned. That is to obscure the site of Israeli snipers. We have also seen a lot of tear gas this morning.

Shortly a while ago, we have seen these drones fly over the crowds and drop tear gas down. We've also heard live rounds being fired. Thousands of people descending on the site we are located now. Hello.

What we are seeing here is the crowds pushing forward are toward the border. Also, that fence -- Israelis say, that is a red line. They will not allow anyone to cross over. They have tiers. They will warn people verbally and non-lethal means like tear gas and they will use ammunition if necessary.

They say the worst-case scenario, though, is a large rush of people crossing over that border. When have a large number of people like this today, they say they will cross over, it will be a very chaotic and possibly deadly day.

ROMANS: Ian, what are folks telling you when they stop by? We saw that gentleman stop to chat, apparently. What are people telling you? What is their biggest grievance about the embassy moving?

He can't hear me. Wow. Incredible picture. All right. Thanks, Ian. Stay safe. Bring us more as it develops this morning. That will officially happen in a few hours.

BRIGGS: Let's talk about this with CNN political analyst, Julian Zelizer, historian and professor at Princeton University, the author of the "Fierce Urgency of Now." Good to see you, sir.

So, this was a very controversial move at the time that the president announced it. It seems that some of that controversy has died down. He's fulfilling a campaign promise. Doing what presidents past have failed to do. Was it much ado about nothing or will this blow up the region?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No, it is a very bold move. Presidents in both parties have said they were going to do this. He is the first one to do it. Overall, reaction has been muted from a lot of countries given what everyone expected. But that doesn't discount what are you seeing. There's a possibility for this to become very volatile in Gaza. There is obviously intense opposition. So, now we will see how this unfolds.

ROMANS: What do think of this minister, Pastor Jeffress from Dallas doing the opening prayer. What does that signal to you, anything?

ZELIZER: It is hard to believe. I mean, here you already have a tense situation and it has to be handled delicately and you inject the pastor of this sort into the middle of the celebration. It is hard to imagine why he picked him. Other than sending signals to various constituents in the United States. His record is no mystery. Many politicians have spoken about this including anti-Semitism.

[05:10:07] ROMANS: Let's talk about this China story because this is fascinating. The U.S. Commerce Department really got tough on ZTE, this Chinese smartphone maker and said, look, you were not playing fairly. You did not discipline your workers after you were selling phones in markets sanctioned by the U.S.

Ant then the president says be cool. It will all work out. Seemingly in the second round of negotiations, he is going to help get Chinese jobs back. Chinese jobs back. Listen for a moment to the president who was elected for his tough talk on China. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We can't continue to allow China to rape our country and that's what they're doing. China taking our jobs, our money, our base, our manufacturing.

What they have done to us is the greatest single theft in the history of the world.

The greatest abuser in the history of this country.

Rampant theft of intellectual property.

A currency manipulator -- they break the rules in every way imaginable.

I have many friends in China. They agree with me 100 percent.

We have lost all of their respect.

They think we're run by a bunch of idiots.


ROMANS: Is there a risk for him trying to save Chinese jobs at ZTE?

ZELIZER: Well, there is a risk, although, he has been able to do a lot of things contradict what he says and get away with it. He knows that as well as anyone else. He is dealing with two realities. One is the reality of a potential trade war. You see him backing away from the threat.

Two, this comes before the negotiations with North Korea and the president wants the Chinese leadership on his side to help with this issue. Those two are pushing him away from the campaign. He bets he can get away with it.

BRIGGS: He has not addressed this ongoing controversy about the awful joke about John McCain last week where White House aide regarding the decision about Gina Haspel. John McCain, he's dying anyway. That doesn't matter. Lindsey graham was offended by this joke. Here is what he said on Sunday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: It is pretty disgusting thing to say. If it was a joke, it was a terrible joke. I just wish somebody from the White House would tell the country that was inappropriate. If somebody in my office said such a thing about somebody, I would apologize on behalf of the office.


BRIGGS: The White House is upset with the leak of this joke to the media. Why not put out an apology? Why do they let it linger?

ZELIZER: Yes. Here is bipartisan agreement on something. The president digs in. The president doesn't like to admit culpability. The president doesn't like to apologize. It takes a long time for him to do so.

And part of the anger is not simply the joke, it's the idea he sets the tone for this White House. This is as much about him and the things he is willing to say, including about Senator McCain back on the campaign trail, and this reflects him.

He doesn't want to apologize. I don't know if he will or not. This is a consistent pattern. By focusing on leaks instead of the comments, he sends a very clear message about what bothers him.

ROMANS: A lot going on this morning. Come back in a few minutes, we'll talk more about it. Julian Zelizer, thank you so much.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

BRIGGS: All right. Iranian officials with a full-court press to salvage the nuclear deal minus the U.S. How long are the Iranians willing to work to save it? We are live in Tehran with the latest.




JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Is the United States going to sanction European companies that do business with Iran?

JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I think the issue here is what the Europeans will do. If they see that it is not in their interest to stay in the deal, we will have to watch what the Iranians do. They love to stay in the deal. Why shouldn't they? They got everything they wanted from the Obama administration. I think the Europeans will see that it is in their interest to come along with us.


ROMANS: National Security Adviser John Bolton refusing to rule out sanctions against European companies doing business with Iran. This as the Iranians announce a timeline for saving the nuclear deal that President Trump just abandoned. Iran's foreign minister touring Europe and Asia in a last-ditch attempt to salvage the agreement.

Fred Pleitgen is tracking the developments for us live from Tehran. What's the view from where you are, Fred?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christine, well, from the perspective of the Iranians here, both hardliners and moderates, they are saying, look, they are willing to give this deal another chance minus the United States, but they say that Iran's interests needs to be preserved.

That means European companies, other companies should not fear U.S. retribution if they invest here in Iran. Now Iran's foreign minister, Javad Zarif is currently in Russia. He has been speaking to Sergei Lavrov, the foreign minister there.

And both of them came up with the common position saying they are both committed to the deal minus the U.S. Russia, by the way, stands to benefit a great deal if this deal continues to go forward.

The big test, though, Christine, is going to be tomorrow. When Javad Zarif goes to Brussels to meet with European leaders there to try and hammer something out. Essentially, what the Iranians are asking the Europeans to do is to go against the United States on this issue and protect European companies when they invest here in Iran. Of course, the U.S., an ally of the Europeans, but it's also no secret, Christine, that the Europeans are pretty angry at President Trump for pulling out of the agreement -- Christine.

ROMANS: And ally and alliance which has been tested no question by pulling out of the nuclear deal. All right. Fred Pleitgen in Tehran. Thank you, Fred.

BRIGGS: All right. From Iran to Lebron, the Boston Celtics refusing to bow to the king in game one of the Eastern Conference finals. Lindsay Czarniak in studio with the "Bleacher Report" in a stunning game one. They just destroyed Lebron.



BRIGGS: In case you were wondering, the Boston Celtics are not afraid of Lebron James and the Cavs. That was clear in game one of the Eastern Conference finals.

ROMANS: That is right. Lindsay Czarniak has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report." Hey, Lindsay.

LINDSAY CZARNIAK, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: It's crazy to watch game two. That was a surprise. It was ugly. The big question for the series is how Boston would counter King James. Lebron has been a one- man wrecking crew this season. They out worked and out shot, outplayed Lebron.

Celtics were on fire. They went on a 17-0 run in the first quarter. They led by 29 at one point. They held Lebron to a playoff low 15 points on the way to a blowout, 108-83. Game two is tomorrow night in Boston. Lebron James not worried about the Cavalier chances in the series.


LEBRON JAMES, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS FORWARD: I've been down 0-1. I have been down 0-2. I have been down in the post season. There is no level of concern no matter how bad I played tonight with seven turnovers.


CZARNIAK: He will get the troops going. Meantime, game one of the Western Conference finals in Houston. Rockets stand in the way of the Warriors as they look to repeat. Golden State in the unfamiliar position of opening on the road. Kevin Durant says it is no big deal.


KEVIN DURANT, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS FORWRAD: Everybody against you guys out there. It brings you together as a team. It makes you feel like you can play in any gym or atmosphere. It's a cool feeling.


CZARNIAK: It's a cool feeling for the Washington Capitals in hockey because this team is now halfway to the Stanley Cup final. Caps making the most of their first trip to the east final in 20 years striking like lightning. They scored five straight goals in the 6-2 win against Tampa Bay Lightning. In game two, Alex Ovechkin scored the tenth goal of the season. They go back to D.C. for game three tomorrow.

And finally, what a difference a couple of days make, Tiger Woods barely made the cut on Friday for the players championship starting the weekend tied for 69th. Yesterday, at one point, tied for second. He finished strong. Seven strokes behind Webb Simpson who took home almost $2 million. Tiger back at it.

BRIGGS: I just cannot decide if it is good or not. Webb Simpson double bogeys for a win and all you are talking about is Tiger Woods. I'm happy to see he is back. Webb Simpson was unbelievable. Bravo for both of them.

CZARNIAK: You are talking about Webb right now.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks, Lindsay. China was one of the president's favorite target on the campaign trail, but now the message is different, be cool. It will all work out he say. The major about face next.