Return to Transcripts main page

EARLY START

President Trump Casts Doubt On North Korea Summit; Progressive Women Score Big Wins In Southern Primaries; Judge Rules In Favor Of Parents. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired May 23, 2018 - 05:30   ET

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


[05:31:17] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't want to waste a lot of time and I'm sure he doesn't want to waste a lot of time. So there's a very substantial chance that it won't work out, and that's OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Will the president and Kim Jong Un still meet on June 12th in Singapore? President Trump now tempering expectations but he keeping hope alive in a reality show-like tease.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The president seething over unfounded claims the Feds spied on his campaign. Allies in Washington will seek classified Russia documents tomorrow but no Democrats allowed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STACEY ABRAMS (D), CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR OF GEORGIA: Tonight, I say thank you all. Now, let's go get it done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: History in the Deep South. The first black gubernatorial nominee from a major party, Stacey Abrams, still faces an uphill climb to win in November.

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

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. Thirty-two minutes past the hour.

The summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un in doubt this morning. With less than three weeks now before that scheduled date for this historic event, Mr. Trump publicly questioned whether it will happen, and he did it with South Korea's president sitting right beside him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: But there's a chance that it will work out. There's a chance -- there's a very substantial chance that it won't work out. I don't want to waste a lot of time and I'm sure he doesn't want to waste a lot of time.

So there's a very substantial chance that it won't work out, and that's OK. That doesn't mean it won't work out over a period of time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the administration is still working toward a June 12th summit and South Korea's national security chief says there's a 99.9 percent chance it's still on.

The president keeping hope alive, offering guarantees to Kim Jong Un.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We will guarantee his safety and we've talked about that from the beginning. He will be safe, he will be happy.

His country will be rich. His country will be hardworking and very prosperous. They're very great people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Let's go live to Seoul and bring in CNN's Ivan Watson.

Ivan, the president appears to be blaming China for the recent shift in North Korea's tone.

And you hear him there guaranteeing the safety and prosperity of the North Korean leader. Is that a guarantee the United States can back up?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's a really good question but it's so striking. Did you ever think you'd hear a U.S. president guaranteeing -- offering to guarantee the safety of a North Korean dictator? It just shows what a remarkable period we're going through in relations between Washington and Pyongyang.

The U.S. made a deal with Libya more than a decade ago for it to hand over its nuclear weapons and some security guarantees. But in the end, the U.S. ended up turning on Muammar Gaddafi and supporting the same rebels who dragged him into a ditch and shot him dead after a rebel uprising backed by NATO and U.S. airstrikes.

So there is a question about whether or not a deal with the U.S. holds, particularly after the U.S. and President Trump just pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal.

The South Korean president, he traveled to Washington to try to convince President Trump that yes, North Korea was serious about talking about denuclearization. But is it the same denuclearization that the Trump administration wants -- complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization?

North Korea, this week, says it is going to make a show to the international press of dismantling its main nuclear testing site. CNN has been invited. South Korean journalists got a last-minute invitation.

But a U.S. Defense official tells CNN that is basically a P.R. stunt and that the site is almost destroyed after North Korea's sixth and most recent nuclear test in September of last year.

[05:35:09] ROMANS: That would sure be nice --

WATSON: Dave and Christine.

ROMANS: -- if those reporters are able to bring some weapons experts with them. Some nuclear experts with them to tell them sort of what they are seeing and make sure it's not just some sort of staged publicity event.

Thanks so much for that, Ivan, in Seoul.

I know Will Ripley is there.

BRIGGS: Yes.

ROMANS: He was sending pictures from the plane yesterday.

BRIGGS: The intelligence was this place was ready to collapse and they couldn't continue to test there.

Let's go live to Washington and bring in "CNN POLITICS" digital director Zach Wolf.

Zach, quickly on this --

ROMANS: Good morning.

BRIGGS: -- North Korea summit, they already have his commemorative coin marking the June 12 summit in Singapore. Now, it's a flip of the coin whether it even happens.

Where are we headed and how would the President of the United States guarantee the safety of Kim Jong Un, arguably the world's worst human rights abuser?

ZACHARY WOLF, DIGITAL DIRECTOR, CNN POLITICS: I mean, I don't how -- exactly how he would guarantee his safety. I guess he's suggesting the U.S. government wouldn't endanger him, wouldn't kill him. I don't know. That's kind of a strange thing for him to say.

It's clearly a lot different this week than it was last week when last week, Trump sounded very bullish on this meeting. You know, not promising it was going to happen but sort of offering it up as his great -- you know, the great foreign policy flag he was going to plant in the ground.

And this week he says if it doesn't happen that's OK. And he's clearly trying to coax Kim to the table.

But there's no denying that he put a lot of his own political capital into his ability to make a deal here and sort of pointed to that as a reason that it's OK to get out of the Iran deal because I'm going to make new deals. You can't make deals if you can't get to the negotiating table.

So it's clear that he really wants this to happen. Whether that will happen, I think, is totally up in the air.

BRIGGS: Yes.

ROMANS: At the same time, playing out in Washington is this drama over a government informant or a full-blown spy operation against the -- against the candidate Trump. That's the way Donald Trump portrays it at least.

This is what the president said yesterday about that issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: If they had spies in my campaign that would be a disgrace to this country. That would be one of the biggest insults that anyone's ever seen and it would be very illegal aside from everything else.

If they had spies in my campaign -- during my campaign for political purposes, that would be unprecedented in the history of our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Now, details of this are still emerging, right, and we're going to hopefully hear more about this --

WOLF: Right.

ROMANS: -- in the days ahead, certainly. The president's allies are tomorrow, I believe, in a big intel briefing.

BRIGGS: No Democrats.

ROMANS: No Democrats.

BRIGGS: Yes. Devin Nunes, Trey Gowdy, the Intel Community. No Dems.

ROMANS: No Democrats invited. But the president can seize on this spies in my campaign, spies in my campaign and that can seed into this deep state mistrust that has worked so well for him.

WOLF: Right, and that's exactly what he's doing. It's just like when he said President Obama wiretapped him, which did not end up being the case. But there was a kernel of truth people being surveilled in Trump Tower and he twists that into this kind of nefarious deep state thing going on.

And it all gets back to the FBI and now the Mueller investigation into possible collusion. He feels like it's this witch hunt out to get him and so he doesn't trust the government that's there. He's leading a government he doesn't trust is the end result.

BRIGGS: Yes, and to your point, all he needs is that kernel -- that one piece that makes it all true even if it's not -- just one piece of impropriety by the Intel Community, by the FBI or the DOJ.

But let's talk about the president late last night surprising everyone in his own administration and certainly Republicans, talking about a second round of tax cuts that might be on the way -- listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We're going to be submitting additional tax cuts sometime prior to November. It's going to be something very special. You see what it's done for the country. It's going to be something very, very special.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: He said he's going to meet with the House Ways and Means Committee. That's the people who write the tax legislation and give more --

BRIGGS: Yes.

ROMANS: -- give more tax cuts.

We already had some pretty big tax cuts for corporations. We have tax cuts that expire for individuals. They're not the -- the polls don't show they're really all that popular overall.

Does the president think he's really going to be able to sort of goose sentiment into the midterms?

WOLF: It certainly doesn't seem like the kind of thing that he would be able to pass through Congress before the midterms so that might be something of a -- of a campaign promise or a campaign tease maybe is a more accurate way to look at it, especially since we don't have any sort of specifics at all.

What kind of tax cuts are there exactly? That might be nice to understand.

But it's clear that Republicans -- you know, their main -- their main accomplishment from a policy perspective was that tax cut law --

ROMANS: Yes.

WOLF: -- and it hasn't really generated the kind of support, at least according to opinion polls, that you'd like to see.

ROMANS: Yes.

[05:40:00] WOLF: It's not going to be a motivating factor for a lot of voters.

ROMANS: I wonder if the fiscal hawks could have any stomach for them. I mean, you look at how the --

BRIGGS: Is the economy too hot already?

ROMANS: The economy is hot and how would you pay for it, you know? How would you pay for it?

BRIGGS: But that's going -- it might be a narrative for 2018 midterms. They want to raise your taxes, we want to cut them. Good political --

ROMANS: Yes, maybe.

BRIGGS: -- narrative moving forward.

Zach Wolf, thank you, sir.

WOLF: Thank you.

BRIGGS: All right.

A history-making night in Georgia. Democrat Stacey Abrams winning her party's nomination for governor in Tuesday's primary. She is the first black woman in the country to win a major party's gubernatorial nomination.

Winning the State House will be an uphill battle, though. No Democrat has been elected governor in Georgia since 1998.

ROMANS: Abrams doesn't know who she will face in November. The Republicans are headed to a runoff. No matter who it is, Abrams says she is ready.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS: This is our moment -- our chance to lift up Georgia. And if we fight, if we push, if we work we will win.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Abrams was not the only woman to win in the South. In Kentucky, a political newcomer, former Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath, defeated Lexington Mayor Jim Gray in the Sixth District primary.

BRIGGS: There's a bit of a sinking feeling setting in at the White House, literally -- a sinkhole just steps from the White House briefing room and it's growing. A reporter first noticed it last weekend after days of steady rain.

The National Park Service bringing in experts to figure out what to do next. A science professor tells CNN the geology of the White House does not naturally lend itself to sinkholes.

It could be the result of previous construction on the lawn or just that draining of the swamp.

Dictionary.com had some good fun with this as did all of Twitter, quite frankly. Two definitions of sinkhole. The second one, a place into which foul matter runs.

There was also a sinkhole one year ago today at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort.

ROMANS: That's right.

BRIGGS: Read from that --

ROMANS: All right.

BRIGGS: -- what you will.

ROMANS: You have a good memory.

Forty-one minutes past the hour.

If you want to buy a political ad on Facebook get ready to give your Social Security number. "CNN Money," next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:46:26] BRIGGS: Five forty-six eastern.

The southeast could see severe flooding over the next 48 hours. Let's get the forecast from Pedram Javaheri.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

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

The south definitely has a flooding concern over the next couple of days.

But I want to start off here across the northeast where we do have some showers -- some thunderstorms this morning. And frankly, this is a pretty good forecast even though it doesn't look like it initially here because the showers are going to begin to taper off as we head in towards the early afternoon hours.

In fact, models do a fantastic job showing us the skies really beginning to clear up and the clouds parting at around 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. So, Central Park, expect some sunshine by this afternoon even though it looks gloomy on the start there.

With the departing system we are in between fronts. Warm weather back behind us, though, going to be really building in across the Central Plains. And as you said, the south, where all the rainfall is really going to be confined the next couple of days.

This morning, generally a quiet setup but one of those summertime regimes. You get the afternoon thunderstorms that bubble with daytime heating so certainly, a possibility of some heavy rainfall across central and southern Georgia and parts of the Panhandle.

Even west Florida, the flooding concern remains high. Generally, one to two inches. Some areas as high as four to six inches of rainfall in the forecast. And also watching carefully a disturbance that has a chance to work its way to the Gulf and become a tropical system over the next few days -- guys.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right, Pedram Javaheri, thank you.

That's your weather, here is your money. Let's get a check on "CNN Money" this morning.

Lawmakers stopping any deal the Trump administration might make with Chinese tech giant ZTE. A Senate panel yesterday said would not accept reduced penalties on ZTE, citing national security concerns, unless this White House can prove -- can prove that ZTE is playing by the rules.

Intelligence agencies warn ZTE tech could be used for spying.

Last month, the Commerce Department banned ZTE from buying vital U.S. parts, a punishment for violating U.S. sanctions. That crippled the Chinese company.

Now, President Trump says he's looking at alternative punishments like a big fine or management changes.

Lawmakers' concern here, the president is prioritizing an economic win over national security, calling this move a trade concession to China.

Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin says that's not true.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVEN MNUCHIN, SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY: This was not a quid pro quo or anything else. This was merely that President Xi asked President Trump to look into this, which he's done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Right now, the U.S. and China working out the details of the trade pact but the president says he's not satisfied with trade talks so far and there is no deal yet.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: But I want this to be a great deal for the United States and I want it to be a very good deal for China, too, if that's possible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross heads to China next week to work on a possible deal. Right now, folks, it's just a framework with really no numbers attached.

Trump's statement sending U.S. futures lower. Dow futures falling more than 180 points overnight, so following Wall Street's lead. U.S. stocks closed lower on concerns about the future of those U.S.-China trade talks.

Americans are doing better moneywise since President Trump took office. According to the Federal Reserve, 74 percent of Americans say they are at least OK in their finances, a four percent jump from the year before.

The strongest growth was in lower-income households. A nice improvement but two in five adults still face serious financial hardship -- the inability to afford food, housing or medical treatment.

If you want to buy a political ad on Facebook get ready to give your Social Security. It's part of Facebook's new policy to prove political ad buyers live in the U.S.

That includes providing the last four digits of your Social, a government-issued I.D., a U.S. mailing address. Facebook will then mail an authorization code to that address, allowing you to buy ads.

Facebook has been working hard to increase transparency. It faces a lot of criticism for allowing meddling during the 2016 election.

[05:50:02] I do love it that all this technology and you're going to get something in the mail in the end --

BRIGGS: Right.

ROMANS: -- that's going to be the verification.

BRIGGS: That could cut into profits, theoretically.

ROMANS: It could -- it could, I guess.

BRIGGS: That's a bold move.

ROMANS: Yes. I mean, but they have got to tighten that up.

BRIGGS: They've got to do something.

ROMANS: Yes.

BRIGGS: All right, does this feel familiar to any of you parents?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TERRY BRADSHAW, ACTOR, "FAILURE TO LAUNCH": Tripp, as long as you're up, son.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY, ACTOR, "FAILURE TO LAUNCH": Come on, Pop.

BRADSHAW: You two have fun.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You live with your parents?

MCCONAUGHEY: Is that a problem?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: How soon is too soon to ask your kids to move out? One Upstate New York couple took their adult son to court.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Tragedy at Yosemite National Park -- a hiker falling to his death trying to climb the famous Half Dome trail.

[05:55:00] National Park Service officials say he was hiking during a thunderstorm when he slipped and fell from the cables that take hikers up the last 400 feet to the summit.

This is the first death in the 5,000-foot high Half Dome since 2010.

BRIGGS: Breaking news.

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Philip Roth has died. He was a towering figure in American literature in the 20th Century, a prolific writer.

Roth authored more than two dozen books, along with short stories. They included "Goodbye, Columbus," "American Pastoral," "Portnoy's Complaint," "The Human Stain," and "I Married A Communist."

He died Tuesday of congestive heart failure. Philip Roth was 85 years old.

ROMANS: A teenager charged with murder in the death of a Baltimore police officer. Dawnta Harris is accused of running over 29-year-old officer Amy Caprio on Monday. Police say he admitted driving into the officer as she tried to get him to leave the car.

The 16-year-old is being held without bond is due back in court June first. Three other teens have also been arrested in this case.

The medical examiner revealed Officer Caprio's death was the result of trauma to the head and torso. The officer did not suffer a gunshot wound as originally reported.

Barbara Underwood appointed the first woman to serve as attorney general of New York State. Underwood replaces Eric Schneiderman who resigned over allegations of assault from several women.

Underwood will serve until the end of the year. She says she does not anticipate running for a full term. Underwood calling her new job the most important job I've ever had.

BRIGGS: The effect of the erupting Kilauea volcano starting to take a real toll on residents of the Big Island. Gas spewing from cracks in the earth's surface for nearly three weeks.

Really seeing dangerous levels of sulfur dioxide. Officials have been handing out masks.

ROMANS: Some residents are battling bowling ball-sized lava bombs being launched from fissures.

Darryl Clinton was protecting his house when a lava bomb hit him in the leg.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wonder if you recognize the fact that had this have hit you somewhere else you might -- you might be dead?

DARRYL CLINTON, HIT BY LAVA BOMB: Yes, I've thought about it a couple of times and it just scares me to think about it.

It could have also missed me and went between my legs, too. I think about that more. Wouldn't that have been nice?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Lava has now reached a --

BRIGGS: Wow.

ROMANS: -- geothermal power plant. Officials are trying to avoid explosions by filling wells with cold water.

At a community meeting in Pahoa last night, officials warned residents to prepare for a long haul.

It's hard to see the upside of being with a lava bomb.

BRIGGS: Indeed.

If your kids won't move out of the house no matter how many hints you drop, you can always turn to a judge. Family drama in Upstate New York where a judge ruling in favor of 30-year-old Michael Rotondo. His parents ordering him to leave their home after occupying a room for eight years.

The parents started court proceedings last month after giving their son five notices since February to move out. They even offered him $1,100.

Rotondo told the judge he needed, though, six months' notice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL ROTONDO, ORDERED TO MOVE OUT OF PARENTS' HOME: I just want, you know, a reasonable amount of time vacate with consideration of the fact that I was not really prepared to support myself at the time where I was served these notices. I don't see why the judge wants to throw people out on the street.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: After leaving court, Rotondo told reporters he plans to appeal the case, saying he finds the judge's ruling ridiculous.

You might say Rotondo had a failure to launch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRADSHAW: Tripp, as long as you're up, son.

MCCONAUGHEY: Come on, Pop.

BRADSHAW: You two have fun.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You live with your parents?

MCCONAUGHEY: Is that a problem?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: When is it time to go, Romans? Thirty is far too late in this parent's opinion.

ROMANS: In one of my books I tell millennials stay at home for a couple of years if you have to pay off your student loans, but eight years is a long time.

BRIGGS: I think we agree on that.

ROMANS: Get a job.

BRIGGS: It's a little much.

ROMANS: Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: If they had spies in my campaign that would be a disgrace.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Trump is trying to deflect attention from the investigation.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It's important that we just let the truth come out on all these things.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): It's inconceivable that they can brief only Republicans.

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: To my knowledge, the Democrats have not requested that information.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To be setting the parameters for a chat with Mueller is inappropriate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is going to have to be decided either through negotiations or a subpoena.

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: I'm optimistic but again, this could be something that comes right to the end and doesn't happen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The date is not important but denuclearization is.

TRUMP: It would certainly be better if it were all in one. I don't think I want to totally commit myself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see no evidence of a plan put together by this president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is your NEW DAY. It's Wednesday, May 23rd, 6:00 here in New York and here's the "Starting Line."

Top U.S. intel officials are set to brief lawmakers about a confidential source tomorrow. This guy has been a lightning rod of controversy in the Russia investigation.