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EARLY START

Trump Demands An Investigation; Report Of Second Trump Tower Meeting; Search For Answers In Texas School Shooting; Talking Trade; Cougar Kills Mountain Biker; Hawaii's Faces New Deadly Threat, Laze. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired May 21, 2018 - 04:00   ET

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


[04:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DAVE BRIGGS, EARLY START SHOW CO-HOST: President Trump hereby demands to know if the Feds infiltrated his campaign. It heeded the following reports a long time intelligence source assisted early in the Russian investigation. Russia may not have been the only foreign power to look in the influence the 2016 election. A new reports says Donald Trump Jr. and a second unknown meeting an emissary with two gulf nations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why don't we not do finds, why don't we do moments of action, why do we don't do moment of change? Why don't we change what is happening? Because it's horrible.

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BRIGGS: Anger, sadness, frustration after another school shooting claims 10 more lives in an American school. Texas lawmakers are searching for answers that may have nothing to do with guns. You are hearing about school exits, violent video games even riddling. Good morning everyone, Welcome to Early Start, I'm Dave Briggs. Christine Romans is off today. It is Monday, May 21st, 4:00 a.m. in the East. Hope you had a great weekend. Here is where we start.

In just a matter of hours, President Trump expected to formally demand his Justice Department review itself and the FBI to determine whether they spied on his Presidential campaign for political purposes. This development comes on the heels of reports last week that the FBI dispatched a confidential source to speak with aides to the campaign about its possible links to Russia. U.S. officials had already confirmed to CNN that no source was embedded in the campaign, but in the interest of heading off a larger showdown, the DOJ says, it is going along with the President's command. More now from Ryan Nobles at the White House.

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RYAN NOBLES, WASHINGON CORRESPONDENT, CNN: No doubt the President was active on Twitter this weekend taking aim at the Department of Justice and the FBI, because he is upset over reports that there was an informant. A source attempting to gain information and access about the Trump campaign. He capped off his weekend of tweets with this tweet calling out the Department of Justice in quote, I hereby demand and will do so officially tomorrow, that would be Monday, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI and DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump campaign for political purposes and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama administration.

And that tweet quickly got some results. The Department of Justice put out a statement not too long after where they said they were going to essentially expand the investigation that was already taking place. The deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, said the following, quote, if anyone did infiltrate or surveilled participants in the presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take an appropriate action.

So they are essentially expanding this investigation to find our and rule in or out, whether or not if there is anyone attempting to launch the investigation for anything other than the reason that they thought there was something inappropriate or illegal going on.

So, this at the very least, also appears to be an attempt by the President to try and discredit Robert Mueller and his investigation. We will have to see if that has any impacts on the Special Counsel going forward.

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BRIGGS: All right. Ryan Nobles, thank you. The Justice Department inspector general is already investigating whether proper protocols were followed when the FBI applied for FISA surveillance orders. But House Republicans want more information. Intelligence Committee Chairman, Devin Nunes, demanding documents related to the confidential source much to dismay of Democrats.

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SEN MARK WARNER, (D) VIRGINIA: I have no information that would indicate that the President's tweets or theory of the case is at all based in truth. I find it outrageous that the President's allies are playing fast and loose with confidential information.

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BRIGGS: Intel officials warn the release of information about a classified source could pose a grave risk to them. The source's identity already though revealed by several media outlets over the weekend.

According to Rudy Giuliani, Special Counsel, Robert Mueller intends to finish his Russia investigation by September 1st. The president's lawyers says Mueller's team shared its timeline about a month ago, in the course of negotiations over whether the president would agree to an interview and Guiliani says the impression he got was that the president did an interview, the investigation could be wrapped up by September. A spokesman for the Special Counsel declined to comment. New questions this morning about another questionable meeting

involving Donald Trump Jr. According to the New York Times, the President's oldest son met at Trump Tower with an emissary for two Arab Prince's three months before the 2016 election. And they are offering assistance to the Trump campaign. The first indication a country other than Russia tried to influence the election outcome.

[04:05:10] The Times identifies the emissary as George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman already cooperating with the Mueller investigation. He reportedly inform the president's son, the crown princes who led Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates were eager to help his father win.

According to the Times, Israeli social media expert Joel Zamel, was also at that meeting as company put together a quote, multimillion dollar proposal for social media manipulation efforts to help elect Trump. Now, it is unclear whether that plan was executed. Prominent Trump supporter Eric Prince, reportedly organized the meeting. He is the former CEO of the controversial private security firm, Blackwater. Prince, previously testified his involvement in the Trump campaign was limited and did not mention the August 2016 meeting. Lawyers for all parties downplayed that meeting, request for comments from the White House and Erik Prince were not return.

Schools in Santa Fe, Texas will be closed today and tomorrow. The city, still reeling from Friday's school shooting that left ten people dead. It was the nation's 22nd school shooting this year. Shocking there have been more deaths in our schools in 2018 than in our military. The Galveston County Sheriff says the entire incident lasted 30 minutes. That included a 25-minute exchange of gunfire between police and the shooter. The suspect telling police, he spared some people so they could tell his story. The mother of one victim, 16-year-old Shana Fisher say her daughter rejected the suspect's advances for months.

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SADIE BAZE, DAUGHTER SHANA FISCHER KILLED IN SHOOTING: My daughter was going up to my mother and telling my mom the past four months and my brother that he had been making advances on her and that she finally stood up to him, because her younger sister was being bullied in school. And she was showing her look, this is what you do. You have to stand up to him and tell him that say no. It is not right.

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BRIGGS: There was a funeral prayer service Sunday for one of the shooting victims. Sabika Sheikh. She was the 17-year-old exchange student from Pakistan. Listen to the President of the Islamic society of greater Houston.

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M.J. KHAN, PRESIDENT ISLAMIC SOCIETY OF GREATER HOUSTON: All of you young people sitting in the audience, don't look at the Austin or Washington to solve your problems. You must solve your problems yourself. Take the lead from those students in Florida. They stood up and they said no more.

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BRIGGS: The suspect's family says they are as shocked and confused as anyone here. What they have learned was quote, incompatible with the boy we love. Authorities say the guns used by the suspect were legally owned by his father. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, asked if the father should face legal consequences.

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ART ACEVEDO, HOUSTON POLICE CHIEF: Anyone who owns a firearm who doesn't secure it probably and it ends up in the wrong hands and used to kill innocent people that should carry some significant consequences. We need to think about that on a national level across these country.

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BRIGGS: Chief Acevedo posting these comments on Facebook, quote, I know some have strong feelings about gun rights, but I want you to know I hit rock bottom. This is not a time for prayers and study and inaction. It is time for prayers and action and the asking of God's forgiveness for our inaction. Especially the elected official that ran to the cameras today, acting on a solemn manner, called for prayers and once again will do absolutely nothing. Many officials, including politicians are still pointing fingers at video games, broken families, too many school entrances and more, but not guns. Many officials still insisting more teachers need to be armed.

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GOV DAN PATRICK, (R) LIEUTENANT TEXAS: We cannot sit back and say it is the gun. It is us as a nation, George. On this Sunday morning, when we all go to church and pray or go to the synagogue or mosque, or wherever we go, let's look in within ourselves at the nation.

OLIVER NORTH, INCOMING NRA PRESIDENT: And the disease in this case, is not the second amendment. The disease is the youngsters who are steeped in the culture of violence. If you look at what is happened to the young people. Many of these young boys have been on riddling since they were on kindergarten.

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BRIGGS: President Obama's Education Secretary, Arnie Duncan, thinks, students should boycott schools until stronger gun laws are passed. He say the idea is tragically necessary and ask what if no children went to school until gun laws change to keep them safe? My family is all in, if we can do this at scale. Parents, will you please join us? Since 2009, the United States leads the world with 288 school shootings. Mexico is second with eight.

[04:10:00] Staggering.

Ahead, the U.S. and China agree to dial back the rhetoric on trade. What each side gives and gets. Next on Early Start.

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BRIGGS: All right. 4:14 Eastern Time. A check on CNN Money now. China and the U.S. calling a trade cease-fire, at least for now. In a joint statement the U.S. and China announced the initial trade agreement. There are few details, but neither will impose new tariffs and China will significantly increase the U.S. goods it buys. It did not name a dollar amount, but that was a top demand of the Trump administration during trade talks. Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin calls this meaningful progress.

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STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY: We are putting the trade war on hold. So, right now, we have agreed to put the tariffs on hold while we try to execute the framework.

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BRIGGS: The U.S. previously threatened tariffs on $150 billion worth of Chinese goods.

[04:15:00] Still unknown here is the fate of ZTE. That is the Chinese tech giant that was crippled after the U.S. banned it from buying vital U.S. parts. On a big reversal last week, President Trump suggested saving it. Mnuchin now insists there is no quid pro quo linking ZTE to a trade deal and that the administration is not going easy on ZTE. Echoed by economic adviser, Larry Kudlow.

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LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, U.S. NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: If any of the remedies are altered, they are still going to be very, very tough. Do not -- please do not expect ZTE to get off scot free, it ain't going to happen.

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BRIGGS: ZTE faces punishment for violating U.S. sanctions and lying about disciplining the employees that were involved.

With the U.S. and North Korea summit, just three weeks away, the New York Times, reports President Trump has big concerns about his upcoming meeting with Kim Jong-un. Reporter David Sanger, says the President is pressing his aides about the risk involved especially if the summit causes him political embarrassment. Mr. Trump was surprised and angered when North Korean chief nuclear negotiator declared last week, that his country would never trade away its nuclear weapons. A jarring shift in tone. Even if it is a familiar tactic by the North Koreans. Let's go live to Seoul and bring in CNN's Ivan Watson. Ivan, good morning to you. President Moon at the White House tomorrow. What do we expect?

IVAN WATSON, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, he is flying as we speak to meet with President Trump. The two leaders spoke over the weekend. And what we have seen is from the almost euphoria of a couple of weeks ago when Pyongyang was reaching not only to Seoul, but also to Washington. It does looks like the North Koreans are kind of put the brakes on since the middle of last week.

For example and certainly with the South Koreans. We are hearing that they have not accepted the applications for South Korean journalist visas to attend what the North Korean said would be a ceremony for the dismantling of their main nuclear testing site later this week. They continue to put out statements criticizing South Korea. It's joint military exercises over the last week with the U.S. and there have been demands for the release of a dozen on North Korean waitresses who supposedly of course in the South Korea, defected on mass in April of 2016.

North Korea now claiming they were abducted. Now last week, President Trump insisted that despite some of the criticism and tough rhetoric coming from Pyongyang that the talks with between the Americans and the North Koreans are still going forward for next month's planned summit. But it does raise questions about how cooperative the North Koreans are feeling right now.

And if the U.S. can really secure a grand bargain and get North Korea to give up all of its nuclear weapons in one swift go as Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State, has proposed. Dave.

BRIGGS: Optimism certainly on the decline. All right. Ivan Watson, live for us in Seoul. Thank you.

Meanwhile, Venezuela's president Nicholas Maduro celebrating his reelection at a victory rally, Sunday after winning another six-year term in the Venezuela Presidential election. His chief rival Henry Falcon, rejected the election as illegitimate citing widespread irregularly. He is calling for a new vote that echoes the sentiment of many countries including United States who called the election a sham and said they would not recognize the results. Maduro for his part says, he would be open to talks with the quote empire of the United States.

Ahead, a rare tragedy in Washington state. A cougar kills one biker and injures a second in a freak attack in the mountains near Seattle. The latest next.

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BRIGGS: 4:23, Eastern Time, a rare attack by a cougar on humans leaving one mountain biker dead and another hospitalized in Washington State. Authorities say the man who survived told them the cougar appeared to be stalking them before it suddenly charged. He says he hit the animal in the head with his mountain bike and it ran into the woods. But as they were catching their breath and getting back on their bikes, the cougar returned.

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CAPTAIN ALAN MYERS, WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE: At one point that the victim reported that his whole head was inside the jaws of the cougar. And as the injuries to go along with that report.

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BRIGGS: That man Isaac Setterbaum tried to fight off the cougar his friend ran. The animal then led him go, and chase and killed the friend identified as S.J. Brooks. Sheriff's deputies later found the cougar standing on top of the victim's body. The animal was later euthanized.

Hawaii's big island residents facing a new danger tonight. Laze. The term combines the word lava and haze. The toxic combination that results from hot lava mixing with the cold ocean. Lava crossed Highway 137 late Saturday night and entered the Pacific. Laze can cause lung, eye and skin irritation and can be fatal. For residents further inland, officials report dangerous sulfur dioxide emissions have tripled. The Kilauea volcano erupted at least twice this weekend. At one point, launching a cloud of ash up to 10,000 feet high.

[04:25:08] In sports, there are 500 to one shots to win the Stanley Cup and now the NHL expansion Las Vegas Golden Knights are just four wins away. Vegas closing out the western conference finals series with the 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets Sunday in game five. Vegas won four straight after dropping the series opener. Now, the Golden Knights will play under Tampa Bay or Washington for the Stanley Cup. One of the great underdog if you will stories in sports history folks.

Elsewhere, the Golden State Warriors coming up big in game three of the NBA Western Conference Finals beating and that is being kind to the Rockets 126-85 in the final, to take a 2-1 series lead. Golden State led by Steph Curry, who scored 35 points including 18 on a third on seven of seven killing as the warriors made a second half statement. Game four in tomorrow night in Oakland. That is now 16 straight home playoff wins. A new NBA record.

The headlines this morning coming fast and furious. The second secret Trump tower meeting. A possible end date for the Mueller investigation and the President demanding an investigation into whether his campaign was infiltrated by the feds.

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