Return to Transcripts main page


President Trump Pressing to Make North Korea Summit Happen; Alberto Turns Deadly; Starbucks Closing for Anti-Bias Training; Warriors Advance to NBA Finals; Fast-Moving Lava Forces Sudden Evacuations. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired May 29, 2018 - 04:30   ET


[04:31:15] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Heighten urgency as President Trump tries to get the summit he canceled with Kim Jong-un right back on track. On two weeks to get it all sorted out.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Subtropical storm Alberto turns deadly. Two members of the news crew killed when a tree falls on their news van. Heavy rains today and more dangerous conditions.

BRIGGS: And don't go to Starbucks today for your afternoon latte. All 8,000 U.S. stores close for anti-bias training. That's a gift, America. You get 5 bucks today. You can keep that in your wallet.

ROMANS: And -- no, you could put it in your 529. It is 529 day, ladies and gentlemen.

BRIGGS: Is that right?

ROMANS: That is the college savings plan and this is the day they use to remind everybody you should be saving for college with the tax advantage 529 accounts.

BRIGGS: Five twenty-nine, save yourself 5 bucks.

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

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is 32 minutes past the hour this morning. Nice to be back with you after a long weekend.

BRIGGS: Good to have you back.

ROMANS: It is two weeks until the on again/off again now maybe on again summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong- un. Urgency is escalating here as the president pushes his aides to make this meeting happen on the original target date of June 12th. A meeting he himself canceled just five days ago.

BRIGGS: Now, "The Wall Street Journal" reports the U.S. has decided to hold off, for now, on pushing major new sanctions against North Korea. The White House had been set to announce the new sanctions as soon as today, but decided Monday to press pause while talks with Pyongyang proceed.

For more now, let's welcome in Matt Rivers live in Seoul this morning.

Matt, what's the latest?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, we've got a couple of indications here that the U.S. continues to engage in working level diplomacy to make the summit a go. So, it was yesterday that we know an American delegation crossed into the North Korean side of the demilitarized zone, just north of where we are here in Seoul to meet with the North Korean side, to try and hash out the details of this summit. That's a huge task, probably the most difficult task facing American diplomats. They're not meeting today, but a source tells CNN they will likely meet again tomorrow.

Go down to Singapore. We know that a North Korean official made his way down to Singapore with his team to meet the American logistics team that's already there. Both sides there going to try and figure out where is this going to happen, what's it going to look like, what are all the minor details that need to be worked out for a summit like this to happen.

And then one other interesting note here. We saw Kim Jong Chul who was often called Kim Jong-un's right hand man, the top nuclear negotiator for North Korea, he was spotted in the Beijing airport. And usually, that's where North Korean officials have to transit through when going to engage in diplomacy elsewhere. We're not sure where he'll be going, but it is interesting that he was spotted there.

So, all of this adds up to the fact that they are working feverishly to try and make the summit happen, but it is in two weeks. We can't stress that enough. There is still no agenda for the summit and yet we are two weeks out, a major task ahead of American diplomats here trying to make this summit a reality.

BRIGGS: Makes for outstanding television. Not sure about foreign policy, but time will tell.

Matt Rivers live for us in Seoul, thanks.

ROMANS: All right. President Trump honoring the fallen and himself on Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery. The president remembered those who made the ultimate sacrifice calling their love of the country more deep and more pure than most will ever know.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They marched into hell so that America could know the blessings of peace. They died so that freedom could live.


ROMANS: Now, before making those remarks, the president used the memory of fallen U.S. soldiers to tout his own agenda, tweeting happy Memorial Day. Those who died for our great country would be very happy and proud at how well our country is doing today. Best economy in decades. Lowest unemployment numbers for blacks and Hispanics ever and women in 18 years, rebuilding our military and so much more. Nice!

BRIGGS: Yes, exclamation.

Then the blowback. Among the critics, former Joint Chiefs chairman, General Martin Dempsey, tweeting: This day of all day should not be about any one of us no matter how prestigious or powerful, no matter how successful we perceive ourselves to be. Rather, this day should be about those who gave their lives so that we could live ours in freedom.

And not many characters needed for this from former CIA and NSA director, Michael Hayden, summed it up with; OMG.

ROMANS: So, then there's this -- this powerful Memorial Day image emerging from Monday's Atlanta Braves game. A junior ROTC member standing at attention next to the stadium's POW-MIA chair of honor, as a fan shields him from the rain with his umbrella. The Braves posting it on Twitter with the one word caption: Respect.

The team dedicated that chair last year to remember the service men and women who remained unaccounted for since World War I.

BRIGGS: Boy, that is a powerful picture.

OK. Subtropical storm Alberto being blamed for the deaths of local TV anchor and his photographer killed while covering dangerous weather in Polk County, North Carolina. WYFF anchor Mike McCormick and photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer had just finished interviewing a local fire chief when the tree crushed their news van.

Chief Geoff Tennant says in 44 years of fire service, he's never seen a tragedy like this.


GEOFF TENNANT, TRYON, NORTH CAROLINA FIRE CHIEF: We talked a bit about how he wanted us to stay safe and how we want him to stay safe. Then, of course, 15 minutes later, we get the call and it was him.


BRIGGS: Officials are warning everyone in the region to stay off the roads because the ground remains saturated. More trees could still fall.

ROMANS: All right. Alberto downgraded overnight to a subtropical depression after making landfall in Florida. That downgrade does not mean that storm threat is over. More than 6,000 customers in Florida are without power. Several related watches and warnings remain in effect.

Let's get to meteorologist Pedram Javaheri. He joins us now.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Dave and Christine.

Yes, we are watching southern Alabama. There is what is left of Alberto. Beginning to impact places such as Montgomery, eventually unto Birmingham. And when you take a look at this region, we've already been hammered with four to six inches of rainfall in parts of this region from the panhandle into southern Alabama are underneath a flood warning.

Notice the broader view here gives us about 30 million people that underneath a flood watch so far for much of Tuesday and as that system is moving north, notice additional heavy rainfall in store for Key West, from Miami, places around southern and central Florida, where rainfall totals particularly in the month of May have been some five to 10 inches above what is normal for this time of year, and certainly any amount of rainfall on top of this will result in additional flooding across that region.

But there goes the system and notice where it ends up. Eventually into parts of the Midwest where it really heads to the warmest temperatures in the country, multiple days of 90 degree readings in the last several days and notice it cools off rather significantly in places like Chicago eventually to as cool as 68 degrees by Friday afternoon -- guys.

BRIGGS: Don't tell the folks in OKC. PJ, thanks.

A Maryland National Guard member still missing after historic flooding in Ellicott City. Emergency responders searching for Sergeant Eddison Hermond. He left a birthday party to help a woman rescue her cat when the flooding started. Witnesses say he was swept away though.

So much damage in Ellicott City. First floors of homes and businesses wiped out, cars wash away. Electricity and gas shut off up and down Main Street. Baltimore Gas & Electric is not able to give a timeline for restoring service until they can survey all the infrastructure damage.

ROMANS: All right. Thirty-nine minutes past the hour.

Oil prices are falling fast. Good news for drivers after a pricey Memorial Day weekend. The price of the U.S. crude is down nearly 10 percent after hitting the highest level since 2014. Look at the right of the screen, that is a big drop.

You can thank Saudi Arabia, the biggest oil producer. Saudi Arabia had been cutting production to nudge oil prices higher. Now, it says it will pump more crude to ease tight supply.

Production cuts are not the only reason, though, for those higher prices. Those, you know, several-year high. The U.S. abandoning the Iran nuclear deal could mean sanctions, which could limit Iran's oil exports. But for now, the story is falling oil prices which will mean lower gas prices, a relief since Memorial Day weekend was the most expensive to drive since 2014.

Prices are up 60 cents from last year. They're nearly $3 per gallon nationwide on average. Gas prices have been a rise all year. A typical family can expect to spend $200 more on gas this summer.

[04:40:04] BRIGGS: It didn't keep people off the roads, though.

ROMANS: I don't think so either.

BRIGGS: I hear it's one of the busiest in years as well.

ROMANS: You're right, right.

BRIGGS: All right. The Cavs and Warriors once again. The NBA finals match up we cannot seem to avoid is back again after Warriors staged a furious comeback in game seven. The latest from Houston, next.


[04:45:04] ROMANS: Welcome back. Forty-five minutes past the hour.

Virginia Congressman Tom Garrett is now the 44th House Republican who will not be running in the midterms. Instead of running for re- election, he will focus on treatment for alcoholism.


REP. TOM GARRETT (R), VIRGINIA: Any person, Republican, Democrat or independent who has known me for any period of time and has any integrity knows two things. I'm a good man and I'm an alcoholic. This is the hardest statement I ever publicly made by far. It's also the truth.


ROMANS: Garrett is newly married with an infant daughter says winning means knowing where your priorities should be.

BRIGGS: He faced criticism after the Charlotteville's white supremacist rally last August when a picture surfaced of him and an event organizer Jason Kessler. Garrett denied knowing Kessler's background at the time of the photo and denounced a rhetoric of the new Nazi groups that participated.

ROMANS: Classes resume at Santa Fe high school in Texas today, less than two weeks after 10 people died during a mass shooting. Now, some students feel since the end of the school year in just so close, returning to the building is not worth the pain. Graduation is Friday.

There will also be funerals today for two of the shooting victims, 14- year-old student Kimberly Vaughn and teacher Ann Perkins. At a fundraiser last night, students raised money for injured students and the families of those killed.

BRIGGS: We are now hearing for the first time from the teacher who stopped the shooter at an Indiana middle school last week. Seventh grade science teacher Jason Seaman was shot three times. The football coach and former college defensive lineman lunged at the shooter, tackling him, and earning widespread praise for his heroics.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JASON SEAMAN, TEACHER, NOBLESVILLE WEST MIDDLE SCHOOL: As a person who isn't looking for attention, nor entirely comfortable with the situation I'm currently in, I want to make it clear that my actions on that day in my mind were the only acceptable actions I could have done given the circumstances. I deeply care for my students and their wellbeing. That is why I did what I did that day.


BRIGGS: Bravo, sir.

One student was wounded. She was in critical condition. School officials say she is making progress.

ROMANS: So, with the nation agonizing over so many school shootings, there's outrage this morning at a new video game called Active Shooter. It is set to be released June 6th on Steam. A gaming platform owned by Valve Corporation. Gamers can actually choose whether they want to be a SWAT team member responding to an active shooter situation, or the school shooter on a mission to hunt and destroy.

Parents who lost children in real school shootings are not amused. Ryan Petty lost his 14-year-old daughter Alaina in the Parkland High massacre. He calls the game and its maker despicable in a tweet.

BRIGGS: More of the same from Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime also died in the Parkland massacre. He is urging a boycott, tweeting saying the Valve Corporation should face the wrath of everyone who cares about school safety.

CNN has reached out to Valve for comment. Active Shooter's developer posted disclaimer with the game saying in no event should anyone attempt to recreate or mimic any of the actions, events, or situations occurring in this game.

ROMANS: Starbucks will shut down some 8,000 company-owned locations this afternoon to give 175,000 employees mandatory anti-bias training. Stores will close around 2:00 or 3:00 p.m. local time. The training stems from an incident in April which two black men were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks. The store manager called police because they were sitting in the store waiting placing an order. The men were there simply waiting for a friend.

Starbucks CEO apologized. The company has changed policy to allow people to use Starbuck restrooms and spend time in stores if they haven't made any purchases. There are limits however. And employees will still have to use their discretion. Closing these stores is expected to cost Starbucks just about $12 million in lost revenue. .

BRIGGS: Trump lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was at Yankee Stadium to celebrate his 74th birthday on Memorial Day. But the crowd was not exactly celebrating with him.


ANNOUNCER: New York Yankees is wishing happy birthday to Mayor Giuliani.



BRIGGS: Wow. New York not known for its subtlety greeted Rudy with thunderous boos. The crowd is not happy with the team who lost to the World Series champs the Astros, 5-1.

The Golden State Warriors are back in the finals after beating the Houston Rockets in game seven of their western conference final series. The Warriors down 11 at the half, outscored the Rockets by 18 in the third as they typically do to take control of this game.

So, Golden State meets, who else, yes, there he is, King James and the Cavs for the fourth straight year. The Warriors have won two of the last three NBA titles. The Finals begin Thursday night in Oakland.

To the ice. Expansion Las Vegas Golden Knights strike first in the Stanley Cup finals, beating the Washington Capitals 6-4 in the series opener.

[04:50:09] The game was close throughout, tied after two. The Knights scored three times in the third, including an empty netter. Game two of the cup final Wednesday back in Vegas.

ROMANS: All right. What was this child's father doing while another man scaled the building to save his son? Hard to watch that little guy dangling there. Look at the rescue.

All right. What was the dad doing? We know now. That's next.


[04:55:17] BRIGGS: All right. Just about 11:00 p.m. in Hawaii.

And you are looking at live pictures right now of the continuing eruption at the Kilauea volcano. Fast-moving lava from the Kilauea forcing sudden evacuations. At least 8 of 24 fissures reactivated yesterday destroying several homes. Authorities going door-to-door in affected neighborhoods. A forecast shift in wind direction could expand volcanic gas emissions toward populated areas.

CNN's Miguel Marquez there and he has the latest for us.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, this is far from over for the residents of Hawaii. Eight fissures over the last 12 hours became active at least for a little while.

What you're looking at look down here, that is fissure eight, destroying houses in Leilani Estates. Ten homes in the last 24 hours have been destroyed. In total, 41 homes and 82 structures have been destroyed by the lava here. And it shows very little sign of stopping. One estimates that volcanologist put out, 4 million cubic meters of

lava is being pumped out into the land here every day. That is a guesstimate on their part. And while the lava is bad, they're also concerned about Kilauea itself and a possible massive eruption there.

They are not entirely sure what's happening underneath Kilauea, but watching it very closely, they are not sure if there's new magma coming up from deep underground into the crater itself. They do know that it has been retreating. The crater in Kilauea has increased in size from 12 acres to over 90 acres and there is earthquake after earthquake in this area, indicating that it is only getting worse.

One other interesting fact: Kilauea itself. The summit has sunk five feet since all this begun -- Dave and Christine.


ROMANS: All right, Miguel. Thank you for that.

And more than four years after Malaysian Airlines flight MH-370 disappeared, that search is now officially over. The U.S.-based company Ocean Infinity resurrected the search earlier this year, promising not to seek payment unless the plane was found. Malaysian officials saying there will be no more extensions. Two hundred thirty-nine people were on board the doomed flight.

BRIGGS: All right. The father whose son was caught hanging from the balcony in France was actually playing Pokemon Go at the time. It's hard to forget this hard-pounding video. A Paris prosecutor tells the BFM television network the 4-year-old's father had been out grocery shopping and decided to play Pokemon Go.

A migrant from Mali rescued the child after scaling the building and pulling him to safety. Just remarkable to see it again. The boy's father could face up to two years in prison. A trial is scheduled for September.

ROMANS: And the prosecutor says the child's father is devastated. He understands.

BRIGGS: Can you believe that 4-year-old was able to hang on to a balcony?

ROMANS: No, I can't believe the man was able to scale like -- they call him in Paris, they're calling him the spider-man.

BRIGGS: The spider-man, yes.

ROMANS: All right. Let's get a check on CNNMoney this morning. U.S. futures lower right now to start the short trading week. U.S. markets closed yesterday for the Memorial Day holiday.

The S&P 500, the Dow closed lower Friday after the big drop in oil prices hurt energy stocks. The price of crude down nearly 10 percent. Saudi Arabia said it's going to pump more crude to ease tight supply. But overall, May has been a strong month for stocks. Look at this the S&P, sell in May and go away. That's what they say

in Wall Street. It's a good thing you didn't. The S&P 500 is up almost three percent for the month, on track for the best May since 2009.

Another reason Wall Street is on the rise. Corporate America had its best report card in eight years. S&P 500 profits all-time high. They have never made so much money. Profit up almost 25 percent in the first quarter. The fastest pace since 2010.

Three quarters companies made more money than they originally predicted. Another of factors: padding corporate America's bottom line, faster economic growth and huge corporate tax cuts. Much of that money has gone right to profits.

ROMANS: Do you use plastic cups and forks this holiday weekend? Imagine how much Americans consumed plastic folks and cups at your barbecues. Europe is looking to ban those products forever.

The European Commission is targeting ten single use items like cutlery, straws and plates. The goal is clean up the ocean. Those banned items make up 70 percent of all litter in the E.U. waters and beaches. It wants plastic producers to pay for the clean up estimated at $25 billion.

You know, there has been a lot of people in the recycling market as a matter of fact. You know, there used to be a market for these things to recycle. But now that market because of China is changing. All of this stuff is just piling up.

BRIGGS: A lot of people are banning straws in the United States. That is a tough one.

All right. EARLY START continues right now with the latest on the Singapore summit, on again/off again. We'll let you know.