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EARLY START

Lawmakers To See Confidential Intel Related To Russia Investigation; South Korean President Visits The White House; Kilauea's Growing Threat As Volcano Spews Molten Rock Into Ocean. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired May 22, 2018 - 05:30   ET

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


[05:31:20] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The investigators are about to be investigated. Lawmakers will see classified information related to the Russia investigation.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A critical day ahead of the North Korea summit. South Korea's president comes to the White House. Can he ease concerns about Kim Jong Un?

BRIGGS: And no signs of slowing for the Kilauea volcano. New eruptions, lava fountains, glass flying in the air. Live pictures at 11:31 p.m. there in Hawaii.

Listen to it. Check it out. Just unbelievable images coming out of Hawaii.

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

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans.

Some of those are like sonic booms --

BRIGGS: It's incredible.

ROMANS: -- when these explosions --

BRIGGS: Fireballs up in the air.

ROMANS: All right. Fireballs in Washington, too, at 31 minutes past the hour.

The president demanded it, now Republican lawmakers get their chance to review highly classified information about the Russia investigation. Top officials at the Justice Department agreeing to share the documents as controversy builds over the Bureau's use of a confidential intelligence source during the 2016 presidential campaign.

BRIGGS: The decision coming after President Trump met with three top intelligence and justice officials at the White House.

We get more now from White House senior correspondent Jeff Zeleny.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Dave, it's another chapter in the development of President Trump's ongoing war with his own Justice Department.

Some fascinating moments here at the White House on Monday when the deputy director of the Department of Justice -- the deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who is supervising the Russia probe, came to the White House to meet with the president, as did the FBI director and the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats.

They talked for about an hour or so Monday afternoon. The result of it is essentially that the Department of Justice is going to at least look into the president's complaint that there was a confidential source, he says, inside the campaign who was potentially providing information to the FBI which launched this entire Russia investigation more than a year and a half ago.

Now, there's been nothing to actually back that up or corroborate that but the inspector general at the Department of Justice is going to look into this.

One thing that came out of the meeting, White House chief of staff John Kelly is apparently going to be sitting down with some congressional leaders later in the week here to look over highly sensitive classified documents. Now that is something that they have been trying to look into.

But at the root of all of this, it's a political fight over this Russia investigation. The president wants the investigators to be investigated.

The president's reelection committee was sending out a blast e-mail to fight the biggest scandal that has happened in Washington in decades.

It's clear the president and his advisers are trying to raise questions about this investigation. They seem to know something more about the investigation than we do. They seem to know that something may be coming, so the president clearly putting much more an emphasis on this on trying to discredit all of this, Dave and Christine.

ROMANS: All right, Jeff Zeleny. Thanks for that.

Let's go to Washington. Let's bring in Philip Wegmann again. He's the commentary writer for the "Washington Examiner."

You heard Jeff Zeleny mention this fundraising off of this. He sent out an e-mail -- fundraising e-mail with the headline "Worse than Watergate."

Tapping into this deep state paranoia has been something that has been profitable politically for this president, hasn't it?

PHILIP WEGMANN, COMMENTARY WRITER, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Absolutely, and I think that what we know here is that there was an FBI source -- someone who was involved inside of the Trump campaign in 2016, and that's bizarre.

We have seen the argument shift from the Trump campaign was not surveilled at all to the Trump campaign was surveilled for its own benefit. And until we get answers and the longer D.C. is kept in the dark, it's going to feed collusion conspiracy theories on the left and those deep state conspiracy theories that you just mentioned --

[05:35:05] ROMANS: Yes.

WEGMANN: -- on the right.

And the longer we debate this without answers, frankly, we are playing into the hands of Putin because what he wanted to do is undermine faith in our institutions -- not only just electorally but now, the entire Justice Department. And I think that neither side is doing the institution a favor when they're trying to score political points.

ROMANS: Well, there --

BRIGGS: It starts at the top, does it not, Phil?

WEGMANN: I mean, absolutely, it does start at the top.

BRIGGS: OK.

WEGMANN: And I think that this president hasn't done himself any favors.

BRIGGS: We agree on that.

So what's the precedent here? What's the precedent for an American president coming up with a theory, ordering his Justice Department to go prove him wrong? What's the precedent here?

WEGMANN: I think the -- I think the precedent here is very interesting because going back to Hoover, I don't that anyone has put a -- you know, an informant inside of a political campaign. I don't care whether you're on the left or the right, that should be frightening and we should get answers to that question first and foremost.

And as far the president putting together a theory and ordering his Justice Department to do so -- look, he has certain motivations. Whether you agree with him or not, the Department of Justice is under the Executive Branch. He's looking for information that has already been subpoenaed by Congress and has not been provided to Devin Nunes and the Intelligence Committee. This is a problem.

We need answers, not more chasing our tail as we're about to go into another midterm.

And look, months ago, the Senate Intelligence Committee -- you had the attorney general say that we're not prepared to deal with another one of these attacks.

ROMANS: Right. WEGMANN: I think that the reason why we're not prepared to deal with these attacks is because we're chasing our tails and going in circles trying to win partisan points.

ROMANS: But it's also an investigation. We don't know what Mueller knows. We don't know where they are.

I mean, one of the reasons why you say we have to clear things up, otherwise it's going to cause -- Putin wins.

You don't want a daily briefing from the Justice Department about what the -- you know, from the special prosecutor about what they're doing --

BRIGGS: Yes.

ROMANS: -- with the --

You also say something -- I'm not sure it's true to say they put an informant inside the campaign. Do we know that's true or do we know that there was someone who had been a paid informant to the FBI who happened to be in this crazy maelstrom of a campaign?

WEGMANN: So, what we know right now, and this is reporting from "The Washington Post" and "The New York Times," is that someone was reporting back to the FBI the actual contours. How that worked specifically we still don't know.

ROMANS: Right, right.

WEGMANN: I think Rosenstein would do all of us a favor if he would turn over that information because look, we don't know what's happening right now and you have a lot of people out there who aren't paying as close attention to the polls. They're not -- to the news. They're not reading through --

ROMANS: Right.

WEGMANN: -- digging through these reports and so they are susceptible to spin on both sides.

ROMANS: Sure, of course.

BRIGGS: Yes. Let's turn to the trade negotiations with China.

Threats of tariffs on steel and aluminum have now gone away. This trade war has been put on hold temporarily.

Did the White House get rolled?

WEGMANN: Well, I think that the White House is hopefully realizing that trade wars aren't easy and that the trade wars aren't good.

I mean, look, the White House found out very quickly that the Chinese were playing ball when they turned around and they targeted soybeans and U.S. agriculture. They targeted those farmers -- those guys with the Trump bumper stickers on the back of the pickup trucks and that was something in this administration's plank which is very difficult for them.

I hope that they're having the sort of realization that you're not going to combat China through the sort of central mercantile planning. But I think that the reality here is that they're realizing that trade wars are not good for the economy and that dangers -- it endangers --

BRIGGS: Yes.

WEGMANN: -- their hopes come November.

BRIGGS: And meanwhile, ZTE, overseen by the Chinese government, will get a slap on the wrist and brought back to life, essentially.

Philip Wegmann from the "Washington Examiner". Thank you, my friend.

WEGMANN: Thank you for having me.

All right. With three weeks to go before the U.S.-North Korea summit, President Trump meets with South Korean President Moon at the White House today.

Sources tell CNN that administration aides are growing increasingly skeptical about the meeting with Kim Jong Un actually taking place after recent harsh rhetoric from the North Koreans.

Ivan Watson live for us from Seoul with the latest -- Ivan.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Dave.

I think some of the cheery optimism that we were feeling as recently as last week has dissipated a bit as North Korea continues to criticize, on almost a daily basis, South Korea for among other things, conducting joint annual air defense drills with the U.S. that are known as Max Thunder, saying that this could be a precursor to an invasion.

It's all the more striking when you consider that North and South Korea just had a summit at the end of last month and were even talking about trying to make peace between two countries that are still technically at war.

[05:40:01] Why is this so important? Because South Korea has been a mediator of sorts between Pyongyang and Washington. And recall that last week North Korea threatened to possibly pull out next month's much-anticipated summit between Kim Jong Un and President Trump in Singapore.

So the South Korean president, he's coming to the White House. He's going to meet face-to-face with President Trump.

And they're still trying to figure out -- that's what the South Koreans are telling us. They're still trying to figure out why exactly North Korea suddenly started criticizing the U.S. and South Korea, bringing apparently an end to what had been a charm offensive that had lasted for months -- Dave, Christine.

BRIGGS: We'll see the presidents in the noon hour but no plans to hear from either one at this point.

Ivan Watson live for us, thank you.

ROMANS: All right.

The pictures are simply stunning from Hawaii. Look at this. A lava fountain, glass shooting up. Now, new concerns about toxic gases and potentially more evacuations. More from Kilauea, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:45:46] ROMANS: All right, it's that time of the morning. Let's get a check on "CNN Money."

A big blow to worker rights. The Supreme Court siding with companies, allowing them to block employees from standing together to fight legal disputes.

Justice Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's appointee, wrote the ruling for the 5-4 majority. The court endorsed the practice of companies forcing workers to sign arbitration agreements, they resolve disputes outside out a courtroom.

Companies love arbitration. It often means smaller payouts, it means solving this behind closed doors. It blocks class action suits which are harder to fight than individual cases. Companies face a growing number of class action claims, especially about worker pay.

This ruling could also apply to discrimination claims like those raised by MeToo.

In dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called the ruling egregiously wrong. She urged Congress to take action to protect workers.

Some companies are doing away with arbitration on their own. Both Uber and Lyft will no longer use forced arbitration in sexual harassment cases, which kept so many egregious crimes behind the scenes away from investors and the public.

A trade war with China may be on hold and Wall Street loves it. Both countries agreed to a trade ceasefire, pushing the Dow 300 points higher. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also rose.

Stocks boosted by companies like Boeing and Caterpillar. Both do big business in China. U.S. computer chipmakers also higher, especially those that supply ZTE. Those companies hope the U.S. will save the Chinese company, right, because they can get more money.

BRIGGS: That's right.

ROMANS: That's not the view of the Intel Community.

Right now, global stocks and U.S. futures are mixed. America's cereal, soda, and soup companies seem to be in trouble. Investors don't think they can keep up with the changing consumer tastes.

Think Campbell's Soup, General Mills, Pepsi. These are called consumer staples and the stocks of these are down 13 percent in 2018, on track for the worst year in a decade.

The problem here, sales growth is stalling and costs are rising for oil, shipping, materials. In the past, companies would just raise prices, right? They'd pass it on to consumers. But now, they simply don't have the pricing power.

The Obamas are coming to Netflix. The couple signed a multi-year deal to produce scripted and unscripted series, documentaries, and features.

Sometimes, the Obamas will be on camera. Other times they will act as producers. Netflix did not say how much they are paying the Obamas.

But this deal gives Netflix some valuable content. Netflix is paying a lot for original programming. You know, they plan to spend $8 billion on content this year alone.

BRIGGS: They want it all. Maybe an upcoming documentary on Harry and Meghan. That would be a -- that would be a good one someday.

Speaking of, Alisyn Camerota was at the royal wedding and she is -- oh --

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR (wearing Meghan Markle mask): What's up?

BRIGGS: That was a little creepy.

CAMEROTA: What do you mean, a little?

BRIGGS: Is that what you brought us back?

CAMEROTA: Yes.

BRIGGS: Oh, thanks.

CAMEROTA: I brought you both back this and this, OK? So, for all of your party fun you can be --

ROMANS: Harry.

CAMEROTA: -- Harry and Meghan.

ROMANS: Right.

CAMEROTA: And then -- and then, Dave, I also brought you back some awesome socks. I know that you are a --

ROMANS: Very well.

CAMEROTA: -- connoisseur of these things.

BRIGGS: OK.

CAMEROTA: And, you know --

BRIGGS: Now we're talking.

CAMEROTA: But you know how they say that we are two countries divided by a common language?

ROMANS: Yes.

CAMEROTA: I can't tell you how hard it was to explain to the salespeople that I wanted socks. I was like hi, can you show me where your socks are? And they were like "sauce -- chocolate sauce."

I was like no, socks -- like socks for your feet. They were like shoes?

BRIGGS: I thought you were going to say something else.

CAMEROTA: Do you want shoes? Do you want shoes?

I was like, socks, socks. They were like, I don't know. What is she saying? Sauce?

It was so hard, so please wear these in good health.

BRIGGS: Well, your coverage was fantastic.

ROMANS: You did a really nice job.

BRIGGS: We really enjoyed it. It was outstanding.

ROMANS: You did a really nice job.

CAMEROTA: It was so nice to have a story based on love --

BRIGGS: Ah.

CAMEROTA: -- and to have a good news story. It was really a delightful weekend there.

BRIGGS: But, that's what we're not talking about today. We're focused on investigating the investigators.

ROMANS: Yes.

BRIGGS: We know we'll have that covered on "NEW DAY."

CAMEROTA (wearing fascinator): Yes. We have all sorts of experts coming on -- legal experts to talk about is this unusual that the FBI --

BRIGGS: You can't take her seriously --

CAMEROTA: Is it unusual --

BRIGGS: -- with the Meghan mask.

CAMEROTA: Joke over.

Is this unusual that the FBI would try to investigate a crime? Isn't that what they do? So we'll be talking about that.

We also have David Sanger coming on with new North Korea developments. Why is the president now expressing trepidation about this meeting? Why is he now nervous about the upcoming summit with Kim Jong Un?

[05:50:08] So all of that when we see you in 10 minutes.

BRIGGS: All right.

ROMANS: OK, looks good.

BRIGGS: President Moon at the White House today.

ROMANS: Thank you. Bye, Alisyn.

BRIGGS: Thank you. All right. EARLY START will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Bodycam video revealing an intense showdown as police tried to find a gunman at Trump National Doral Resort in Miami Friday -- watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GUNSHOTS

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Active shooter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots fired, shots fired.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: What you're seeing there is a police officer firing and ducking for cover before entering the lobby. The officer could be heard asking how to get downstairs before eventually going upstairs as the suspect's description comes in.

[05:55:11] Forty-two-year-old Jonathan Oddi faces charges including attempted second-degree murder.

BRIGGS: All right, you're looking at live pictures and listening to the sound of lava. The ongoing eruption of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano posing danger on several levels this morning. There was another explosive eruption at the summit just before midnight eastern, 6:00 p.m. in Hawaii.

Now there are new concerns. Additional evacuations may be needed.

More now from Stephanie Elam in Hawaii.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, from this vantage point you can see that the Kilauea eruption continues.

Let me step out so you can get a good look at this lava fountain that continues to explode up to the sky here. At times, it does seem to get a little bit stronger, a little bit softer, but the force is still quite obviously there.

Adding to that, a river of black lava that has coursed down the side here into the ocean. And from here and from helicopters, we've been -- we can see that that plume of where the lava is running into the ocean is still very much releasing steam.

That mixture of something called laze -- of hydrochloric acid as well as particles of glass that can be very dangerous to the skin, the eyes, and to breathing as well. The plume has been nonstop since the lava has hit the ocean and continues to hit here.

The air quality is also still a very big concern for the people who live here as those plumes of volcanic gases continue to erupt from the earth.

Also, in the distance, you hear this loud sonic boom sometimes, every now and then. That would be volcanic gases escaping from the earth, sometimes tossing up lava bombs -- huge molten rock pieces that can come out of that. So that's a danger as well.

But at this point, officials are asking anyone who lives south of this rift zone that runs here on the Big Island to be prepared without much notice that they may actually have to get out of here as the lava continues to flow -- Christine and Dave.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right, Stephanie Elam. Thank you so much for that.

In Texas, the governor, Greg Abbott's reelection campaign has pulled a gun giveaway after last week's deadly high school shooting. The campaign was planning to give away a quote "Texas-made shotgun." After the shooting that left 10 dead, a $250 gift certificate has now replaced the gun.

Students in the district will return to class on May 29th. Teachers and support staff due back tomorrow.

The Galveston County sheriff praising school officers for saving lives.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HENRY TROCHESSET, SHERIFF, GALVESTON COUNTY, TEXAS: The heroes from that ISD engaged this individual for at approximately four minutes and stayed engaged with him, keeping him contained and engaged so the other heroes that continued to arrive could evacuate the teachers, the administrators, and the students from this -- from this school.

BRIGGS: The sheriff does not believe any of the victims were killed by crossfire during the confrontation between officers and the shooter. Autopsy results though, still pending.

Expect school safety to be a major topic when Education Sec. Betsy DeVos testifies today before the House Education Committee.

ROMANS: A monkey running amok at San Antonio International Airport after escaping from its crate. Airport officials say the monkey had just arrived Monday on an American Airlines flight from Chicago when he made a break for it. The monkey briefly ran loose before being captured in a baggage handling area.

No passengers or flights were affected by the incident.

BRIGGS: OK. The NBA's Eastern Conference finals all square now at two games apiece. The Cavs beating the Boston Celtics 111-102 Monday night.

LeBron dominating --44 points, his 25th post-season game with 40-plus points, his sixth in this year's playoffs alone.

The series now best of three. Game give tomorrow night in Boston. The Celtics undefeated at home this post-season.

And hockey will get a game seven. Caps-Lightning on Wednesday night.

ROMANS: Love it.

All right, thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs.

Cuomo, Camerota -- the countdown continues. Just three days left.

We'll see you tomorrow.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The Justice Department agreeing to meet with lawmakers to review information related to the Russia probe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's wrong for confidential information about an ongoing criminal investigation to be shared.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's insincere, I believe, to say well, we can't share that when I think the primary reason is because it embarrasses them.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: The president is obviously trying to interfere with an investigation that happens to be an investigation of him.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We'll find out what happened and the American people and all of us will have the facts.

REP. TED LIEU (D), CALIFORNIA: These are not the actions of an innocent person. This shows consciousness of guilt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a bit of a nightmare and it has been for the past couple of weeks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It shows me the power of God. The power of our earth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The cracking continues. This is far from being over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're ready to pretty much leave there in 10 minutes and say goodbye to everything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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.