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EARLY START

Lawmakers Silent After Intel Briefings; North Korea Reacts To Canceled Summit With U.S.; Pressure Hits Boiling Point On Iran Nuclear Deal. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired May 25, 2018 - 05:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:32:07] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRET BAIER, HOST, FOX NEWS "SPECIAL REPORT": Were you surprised with what you learned?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Nothing particularly surprising.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: Top lawmakers not saying much after getting briefed on a confidential source in the Russia investigation. One big question, why was the president's lawyer at both of those briefings?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: North Korea says it's still willing to meet with the U.S. but chances appear slim. What is next now for diplomacy after the president pulled out of the Singapore summit?

MARQUARDT: And, Harvey Weinstein is about to be charged with rape. Sources say he'll turn himself in to New York police this morning.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Alex Marquardt in for Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: Nice to see you.

MARQUARDT: It's good to see you. Thanks for having me.

ROMANS: Dave is in for John Berman who is going to be from six to nine this morning.

I'm Christine Romans. It's 32 minutes past the hour as this Memorial Day weekend --

MARQUARDT: Looking forward to it.

ROMANS: -- unfolds here.

Silence from lawmakers after briefings by Justice and Intel officials about a confidential source in the Russia investigation. It's not clear this morning whether the standoff between House Republicans and the Department of Justice is diffused or about to explode. Two briefings and hours of talks yielded no clarity from House Intel chairman Devin Nunes. He's been threatening to hold Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in contempt for not turning over documents which a source now says he did not get.

MARQUARDT: The president and his conservative allies claim that the FBI used a confidential source to spy on the Trump campaign. U.S. officials tell CNN that the source was not a plant.

Thursday's briefings did include a rather stunning appearance by a Trump staffer that one White House official now admits was questionable.

More from CNN's justice reporter Laura Jarrett.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Two classified briefings, a surprise appearance from a White House lawyer, and now many more questions about what comes next as the president's lawyer Rudy Giuliani essentially says the team needs to know way more about this FBI confidential source before they will agree to let the president sit down with the special's counsel office.

Now, the anticipation surrounding these briefings and what they would entail was building all week with the guest list changing minute-by- minute.

But then, Emmet Flood showed up, the latest addition to the White House legal team, raising questions about why the man participating in the defense of the presidency would be involved in a meeting that had to do with congressional oversight.

But the White House essentially saying nothing to see here. Both he and chief of staff John Kelly were only there for the start of the meeting and didn't actually participate in the briefing.

But on the substance of what they heard, the Democrats say they have not heard anything to support this theory about a spy or a mole embedded in the Trump campaign.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Nothing we heard today has changed our view that there is no evidence to support any allegation that the FBI or any intelligence agency placed a spy in the Trump campaign or otherwise failed to follow appropriate procedures and protocols.

JARRETT: The Republicans are not saying very much either. They haven't suggested that they need anything further at this point.

[05:35:02] In fact, the Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell saying he didn't even hear anything that was particularly surprising -- Alex, Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right. Thanks so much for that, Laura. The future of relations between the U.S. and North Korea very much uncertain this morning now that President Trump has pulled out of the Singapore summit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, many things can happen and a great opportunity lies ahead, potentially. I believe that this is a tremendous setback for North Korea and, indeed, a setback for the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: President Trump sending a letter to Kim Jong Un saying, "You talk about your nuclear capabilities but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used."

And then this. He added, "If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write."

ROMANS: This is just moments after the North Koreans announced they had destroyed their northern nuclear test site.

CNN's Will Ripley was at that event and broke the news to some North Korea officials that President Trump had pulled out of the summit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): We were sitting around the table and I got the phone call and read out the letter from President Trump, and I can tell you there was just a real sense of shock amongst the people that I was sitting with -- the North Korean officials. They didn't give any official comment but immediately, they got up and left.

Imagine how they're feeling at this moment given the fact that they just blew up their nuclear site today as a sign, they say, of their -- of their willingness to denuclearize. That they were doing this to make a point -- learning of this.

It was a very awkward and uncomfortable moment and we'll have to see what happens in the coming -- in the coming hours and days on the ground here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: Awkward, to say the least.

CNN has learned that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was promised by the North Koreans that international experts would be invited to witness and verify that test site demolition. But in the end, only journalists were invited.

For more on the reaction from Pyongyang, let's bring in CNN's Matt Rivers, live from Seoul. Matt, neither side is saying that this is the end of any sort of possible summit. They're both saying that there could be a summit in the future, and the North Koreans are saying that they are willing to give the U.S. more time.

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's exactly what people who are hoping that a summit might eventually happen are holding onto after President Trump pulled out of this summit -- that both sides are leaving the door open to meet in the future.

So let me read you a statement, in part, from North Korea's foreign ministry.

It reads, "We reiterate to the U.S. that we are willing to sit face- to-face at any time and in any way. President Trump's statement on the North Korea-U.S. summit is a decision that is not in line with the wishes of those who hope for the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula, as well as the world."

So yes, the door remains open. However, there is a lot of disappointment in this part of the world.

And it's interesting because China just weighed in for the first time. China, of course, what President Trump alluded to as a reason why potentially, North Korea changed its rhetoric recently. But China says look, we want this summit to go forward and that's their public position, at least at this point.

And one other note, Alex. There is no one who is more disappointed in this summit not happening than South Korean President Moon Jae-in. He has staked a ton on this happening. He was the middle-man between North Korea and the United States.

Severe disappointment here in South Korea, coupled with the fact that the South Korean government found out that the summit was canceled the same way we did when that announcement was made in Washington -- guys.

MARQUARDT: Yes, the South Koreans certainly blindsided.

Matt Rivers, thanks very much.

ROMANS: All right, let's bring back in political analyst Julian Zelizer, historian and professor at Princeton University.

And an op-ed in "The New York Times" on this said this. "To his credit, Mr. Trump has accepted the urgency of solving the North Korean threat. His overall goal is right, though achieving it is sure to require patience and concessions from both sides.

If we are lucky this is just a hiccup in negotiating a standoff that has defied resolution for nearly 70 years. There is still time to get diplomacy back on track."

How much of a setback is this?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, HISTORIAN AND PROFESSOR, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY, AUTHOR, "THE FIERCE URGENCY OF NOW": It is a setback but the article is also right, meaning diplomacy usually happens by fits and starts and it is possible to rebuild momentum for this.

But this is a blow. I mean, everything was moving toward a historic summit and here, in something of a yelling match, everything broke down. This is the instability and unpredictability of President Trump playing out on the global stage.

MARQUARDT: But it also highlights the fact that there hadn't been all that much preparation into the nuts and bolts of what was going to be discussed.

ZELIZER: Absolutely, and also the expectations of the administration are very high. They want the whole nuclear program to go away, which is a -- it's a big ask and it's not clear that's ever going to happen.

So more preparation, more diplomatic arms, so to speak --

ROMANS: Yes.

ZELIZER: -- are all necessary, and patience.

ROMANS: I think Christiane Amanpour said -- she said they put the cart before the horse.

MARQUARDT: Right.

ROMANS: All of them did -- the North Koreans, the South Koreans, and the Americans -- and now time to --

MARQUARDT: Focusing so much on --

ROMANS: Right.

MARQUARDT: -- the optics of the meeting rather than the direction.

ROMANS: Let's talk about the president's attorney, Emmet Flood, who came to these two briefings -- just the beginning of the briefing but made this appearance also with the -- with the chief of staff at these briefings yesterday about the informant, spy, confidential source, really.

[05:40:16] What kind of message does that send? Why was Emmet Flood at those meetings?

ZELIZER: Well, I don't know why he was there but the message it sends is one of intimidation. It reminds Republicans that the president is watching and it reminds the Democrats that the president is not going to withdraw himself or his team from this investigation. So that is the most obvious reason to have him in the room just for a few minutes.

MARQUARDT: What about Devin Nunes? He's been such a stalwart ally of the president's. He's threatened to hold Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in

contempt for not -- if he doesn't hand over documents. He's not getting the documents that he wants so what does he do next?

ZELIZER: I don't know. I think part of this is about the storyline.

I think the Republican strategy of Nunes and the administration is to turn this into a story about the FBI -- about spying on the campaign -- rather than the issue that this is all about -- Russian interference into the election.

So I think the documents are less important than the story, and it's the story they want to keep fostering.

ROMANS: Where do you think we are in this Russia investigation?

We know that Jared Kushner had a couple of very long sit-downs with the Mueller team, the most recent in April. And his attorney is saying he thinks that's probably the end of that.

We now also know that the Mueller team wanted to sit down with the president in January. Could this be all over if the president just sat down with him in January or do you think it's almost over -- that we're getting sort of to the end of it here?

ZELIZER: We could be closer to the pre-report stage --

ROMANS: Right.

ZELIZER: -- meaning when Mueller finally produces a story and a narrative about what he has found. We don't know if the public will get to see this or not, but we might be approaching that. We don't know.

I mean, Mueller has been incredibly closed in terms of what is going on. It's a contrast to the administration. So I think we shouldn't assume anything with him.

MARQUARDT: And two other small signs. Jared Kushner got his security clearance back --

ROMANS: Yes.

MARQUARDT: -- at the White House --

ROMANS: Good point.

MARQUARDT: -- and they are now saying that George Papadopoulos, the so-called coffee boy --

ROMANS: Yes.

MARQUARDT: -- at the Trump campaign is ready to be sentenced. So the Mueller team is done with him so they've moved past that stage. Another indication --

ROMANS: Very good point.

MARQUARDT: -- that this may be --

ZELIZER: Right.

MARQUARDT: -- moving forward very quickly. All right.

ROMANS: Julian, thank you. Thanks for coming.

MARQUARDT: Thank you so much.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

MARQUARDT: Harvey Weinstein is about to turn himself in to New York City police this morning. He's going to face rape charges. More, next.

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[05:48:24] ROMANS: Let's get a check on "CNN Money" this morning.

President Trump's decision to cancel the North Korea summit sparked a sell-off on Wall Street. The Dow immediately dropping 280 points when the news broke. All three major indices closed lower.

Volatility spiked with Wall Street's so-called fear gauge, jumping eight percent. Global stocks mixed right now.

Netflix shares rose yesterday, briefly topping Disney in market value. But, Disney regained its crown by the end of the day. It's worth $152 billion -- Netflix just behind. Comcast third at $145 billion.

Home sales are slowing. You can blame low supply, high prices, and rising mortgage rates. Sales of existing homes fell two and a half percent in April. Overall, sales are down about a percent this year.

Inventory is tight, especially for starter homes, so homebuyers are facing higher prices and higher borrowing costs.

Mortgage rates are rising. The 30-year fixed rate mortgage jumped to 4.66 percent this week. That is the highest since 2011.

Facebook finally joining a long-held practice for both T.V. and newspapers. It is labeling political ads. It will include a 'paid for' label on the top of any political ad in the U.S and it will an archive of those ads.

It's not alone. Twitter also working hard to increase transparency, finally, putting a badge and disclaimer on campaign ads and clearly labeling accounts used for political campaigns.

Both Facebook and Twitter faced criticism for allowing meddling during the 2016 election.

MARQUARDT: You said it -- finally. A lot of people were wanting this for -- ROMANS: Finally.

MARQUARDT: -- a long time.

ROMANS: Yes.

MARQUARDT: All right.

Well, "NEW DAY" is just about 10 minutes away. Alisyn Camerota joins us. Good morning, Alisyn.

ROMANS: Hi, Ali.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Guys, it's a disorienting feeling here this morning.

ROMANS: Why?

CAMEROTA: Very hard to get my bearings.

ROMANS: Oh --

MARQUARDT: No Cuomo.

CAMEROTA: There's a large presence missing but we're going to soldier on. We're going to soldier through it --

[05:50:02] MARQUARDT: You'll be fine.

CAMEROTA: -- somehow because there's so much news.

ROMANS: Dave can -- Dave can make you forget all about Chris Cuomo, I think.

CAMEROTA: Well, I'm so glad that I have my old friend Dave Briggs here. This is -- if there's one person who can help me this morning --

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Soldier through. You said there was a large presence missing. I'm a little smaller. The guns are definitely not present here this morning.

CAMEROTA: Not bad.

BRIGGS: I've been working on them. I've been doing curls all morning to try to look like Cuomo.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

BRIGGS: I'm like Ron Burgundy.

CAMEROTA: But let me tell you something. Your news chops are here thank God, Dave Briggs, OK --

MARQUARDT: That's all that matters. CAMEROTA: -- because we have a lot of news this morning. Obviously, what's going on with North Korea. There's breaking news every minute and I'm sure there will be during our show.

And then, during the program, we expect Harvey Weinstein, disgraced Hollywood mogul, to be arrested for sexual assault and rape. So that is a huge development.

I mean, listen -- you know, a year ago before the MeToo movement we could never have anticipated what we will see today.

So watch for that and obviously, we'll have all sorts of reaction as well as all of our pundits and our foreign policy experts to explain where we are --

ROMANS: Great.

CAMEROTA: -- in the world right now.

ROMANS: All right. Have a good time. Have a wonderful weekend. Thank you.

MARQUARDT: Huge day this morning. Take care.

All right.

A critical day for parties trying to salvage the Iran nuclear deal. Nations that remain in the pact are meeting for the first time since the U.S. pulled out. We're live in Vienna, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:55:35] ROMANS: Actor Morgan Freeman is responding after a CNN investigation uncovered a pattern of alleged inappropriate behavior by the legendary actor, both on set and at his production company, Revelations Entertainment.

Eight women told CNN they were the victims of harassment or inappropriate behavior.

Freeman has issued a statement saying --

MARQUARDT: He said quote, "Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows that I'm not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy. I apologize to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected. That was never my intent."

Now, switching gears.

Negotiations reaching the boiling point on the Iran nuclear deal as the countries that still remain committed to the agreement meet for the first time since President Trump decided to pull out the U.S.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen is live in Vienna.

Fred, they are trying to salvage the deal. What are they saying and what chances are there of that happening?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they're saying that there's not that big a chance and they're not really very confident that they're going to be able to salvage the nuclear agreement.

Essentially, what the Iranians are saying is if this agreement is to be saved Alex that they want all of the things -- all the benefits that they would have gotten with America in the agreement even after America pulled out. Sanctions relief, Iran being able to sell its oil on international markets, international investment in Iran.

The Europeans are saying that they're committed to all of the things that are in the nuclear agreement. But, of course, the big question is are they going to be able to follow through without risking the wrath of a Trump administration.

And then also, of course, will European companies still be willing to invest in Iran if it could mean the wrath also of the Trump administration and of the United States.

The Iranians are saying if the agreement falls apart -- and they say they are not very confident that it's going to stay in play -- that they are capable of re-amping up their nuclear program. And they also say that they would have to rethink their nuclear doctrine.

So a lot rides on this meeting. Right now, folks not very confident -- Alex.

MARQUARDT: All right, Fred Pleitgen again. I thank you very much.

ROMANS: Police say an explosion at an Indian restaurant in Canada last night was caused by an improvised explosive device. At least 15 people were injured, three of them in critical condition this morning.

Authorities asking the public for help identifying two male suspects who were on the scene of the blast which took place in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga.

MARQUARDT: And video from a Texas state trooper's body camera is refuting claims of sexual assault made by a woman that he pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Thirty-seven-year-old Sherita Dixon Cole accused the officer of rape during the traffic stop that took place last weekend, but the release of the body cam footage proved that no sexual assault occurred.

Even the woman's lawyer says that the officer quote, "should be cleared of any wrongdoing" and apologized.

Prosecutors are looking into additional charges against Dixon Cole.

ROMANS: Authorities in Nebraska making the largest seizure of Fentanyl in the state's history. State police confiscating 118 pounds of the opioid on April 24th with a street value of $25 million.

A lethal dose of Fentanyl is just two to three milligrams so that's almost 18 million lethal doses.

MARQUARDT: Unbelievably deadly.

Well, on a lighter note, the Houston Rockets defeating the Golden State Warriors last night 98 to 94 in game five of the NBA's Western Conference Finals. Houston now up 3-2 in the series, putting the defending champs on the brink of elimination.

Rockets guard Chris Paul led the team with 20 points but then he suffered a hamstring injury in the final minutes. He's now insisting he'll be good to go for game six on Saturday night in Oakland.

ROMANS: All right, that's it for us this Memorial Day eve edition. I'm Christine Romans.

MARQUARDT: And, I'm Alex Marquardt. Have a great weekend. "NEW DAY" starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I have decided to terminate the planned summit in Singapore on June 12th.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The vice minister saying that we reiterate to the United States we are willing to sit down with them at any time.

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: We need to make sure that when we have the meeting it's going to something that's productive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was an unannounced visit. Emmet Flood was not on the list.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: That looks like advocacy. It doesn't look like a neutral investigation of the facts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't see what the problem is with the president having interest in transparency.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is expected to turn himself in later today.

GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY: Many of these women feared the power that Mr. Weinstein had.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is huge news. He could be facing decades of jail time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Friday, May 25th, 6:00 here in New York.

And I'm so happy to have my old friend Dave Briggs joining me.

BRIGGS: It's good to be here, my friend. CAMEROTA: Great to have you here. We have a very big day.

BRIGGS: We do.

CAMEROTA: It's not a slow Friday.

BRIGGS: No, no time to waste.

This is kind of the NEW DAY purgatory.