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White House Tries to Explain False Trump Tower Story; President Trump Said to be Angered by "Libya Model" Comment. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired June 5, 2018 - 04:00   ET


[04:00:13] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The Eagles are grounded. President Trump cancels the Super Bowl champs' visit to the White House over the National Anthem controversy.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The special counsel accuses Paul Manafort of witness tampering. Prosecutors want him in jail until trial. Could that make him more likely to cooperate?


TIM COOK, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, APPLE: I don't subscribe to the machines taking over the world. I worry much more about people thinking like machines.


ROMANS: And a candid Apple CEO talks about limiting phone usage. What the company's doing that could change your lifestyle.

Are you on the phone too much?

BRIGGS: What? Yes. Far too much.

ROMANS: I mean, Tim Cook --

BRIGGS: It's a problem. I'm glad to hear him address it.

ROMANS: Yes. And he said he was surprised at how much -- he thought he had it under control and he said he didn't.

BRIGGS: Our children is the big issue.

ROMANS: Yes. That's a problem. The digital natives.


ROMANS: Good morning. And welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. It's Tuesday, June 5th. It is one week until the Singapore summit. It is 4:00 a.m. in the East.

Crowd size still an issue for this president. Quote, "Our president is not a true patriot, but a fragile ego maniac obsessed with crowd size and afraid of the embarrassment of throwing a party to which no one wants to attend." The unfiltered words of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney after President Trump canceled the Super Bowl champion Eagles White House celebration.

The move inflaming the controversy over players kneeling for the National Anthem. In a statement from the White House, Mr. Trump, in the third person, says, "They disagree with their president because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country. The Eagles wanted to send a smaller delegation but the 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better."

It is worth noting no member of the Eagles took a knee during the anthem last season. Safety Malcolm Jenkins did raise a fist as you see there. Last month the NFL announced it will require players on the field to stand during the national anthem or teams will be fined. Some players have been kneeling to protest racial injustice. It famously prompted the president to say this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He's fired. He's fired.


BRIGGS: CNN's Jake Tapper has learned the Eagles held team meetings to discuss the White House invitation and not many of the players wanted to attend, somewhere between 10 and 12. But the president making an issue of players taking a knee was never brought up.

Eagles management releasing this statement. "Watching the entire Eagles community come together has been an inspiration. We are truly grateful for all of the support we have received."

Torey Smith, a member of the Eagles Super Bowl team, who will play for the Carolina Panthers next season, was far more vocal, tweeting "So many lies. The men and women that wanted to go should have been able to go. It's a cowardly act to cancel."

Philly Mayor Jim Kenney, mentioned earlier, echoing those sentiments on CNN last night.


MAYOR JIM KENNEY, PHILADELPHIA: There's no one more disrespectful in this country than the president of the United States, which is a sad thing to say but it's true. The guy talks about being patriotic. He avoided the draft five times in Vietnam. If he wanted to be patriotic he could have been patriotic back then as opposed to this sham of a -- of an issue relative to the national anthem.


BRIGGS: The White House renamed the 3:00 p.m. event the "Celebration of America." The president also tweeting last night, quote, "Staying in the locker room for the playing of our national anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling. Sorry."

Reminder, teams only started coming out for the anthem in 2009 after the government paid them to do so. Also, staying in the locker room is an option next season for NFL players who don't want to stand for the anthem.

ROMANS: All right. The special counsel accusing former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of witness tampering in his criminal trial. In briefs filed in federal court, Robert Mueller's team says Manafort asked witnesses to lie for him. They're asking a judge to send Manafort to jail until his trial. He is currently on house arrest under a $10 million unsecured bail.

The new allegation puts even more pressure on Manafort as prosecutors investigate the possibility he coordinated with Russians during the 2016 race. He faces two trials. One in Virginia next month and another in Washington in September. The charges relate to failure to disclose lobbying for a foreign government and financial crimes.

BRIGGS: President Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani denies the disclosure that the president dictated the statement on his son's 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer constitute a lie. The disclosure contradicts past denials by the White House and the Trump legal team. Giuliani was on CNN's "CHRIS CUOMO PRIMETIME" last night.


[04:05:04] CHRIS CUOMO, HOST, CNN'S "CHRIS CUOMO PRIMETIME": Why do you think they chose to lie about his role in drafting the statement about Trump Jr.'s meeting with the Russians?


RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: Chris, you think maybe somebody could have made a mistake?

CUOMO: That's a lot of mistakes.

GIULIANI: Why is it always --

CUOMO: A lot of mistakes.

GIULIANI: Why is it always that somebody -- you think Jay Sekulow lied? Maybe he just got it wrong, like I've gotten it -- I got a few things wrong in the beginning of the investigation.

You can make a mistake and then if you don't -- if you don't -- if you want to, you can say it's a lie. But it was a mistake. I swear to God, it was a mistake. The guy made a mistake.


ROMANS: White House press secretary Sarah Sanders who's also had some trouble explaining the discrepancies in her explanations about who crafted that misleading statement that came hours after the president tweeted in no uncertain terms he could pardon himself if he wanted to.

Chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta has more.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Dave, the White House is doing some damage control after the president makes some questionable constitutional claims saying that he has the power to pardon himself and also saying the Mueller investigation unconstitutional. That's in addition to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders being questioned by reporters about a statement she made last year when she said the president did not dictate a memo to the "New York Times" about his son Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian attorney promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. Sarah Sanders told reporters last year that the president did not dictate that memo when he did. Here is what she had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: In August you said he certainly didn't dictate that statement. I wonder if you could tell us the basis of your comment when you made that in August.

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This is a reference back to a letter from the outside counsel.


SANDERS: I understand but it's also pertaining to a letter from the president's outside counsel and therefore I can't answer and I would direct you to them.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What was your basis for saying it in August?

SANDERS: Once again I'm not going to get into a back and forth. And I would encourage you to reach out to the outside counsel.


ACOSTA: One of the president's outside attorneys, Jay Sekulow, told CNN in a statement that their latest recollection is that the president did in fact dictate that memo about the Trump Tower meeting. But Jay Sekulow did not tell CNN any kind of explanation as to why there were these conflicting statements about whether the president dictated that memo -- Christine and Dave.

ROMANS: All right. Jim Acosta, at the White House for us. Thanks, Jim.

It is primary day in eight states. Alabama, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota and California, where, boy, much of the attention will be. The state may hold the key for Democrats to regain control of the House. But those dreams could take a nightmarish turn with a surge of new candidates possibly splitting the vote and leaving Democrats out in a hand full of swing districts.

It is the result of California's so-called jungle primary where the top two vote getters advance to the general election regardless of party.

EARLY START begins at 3:00 a.m. Eastern, midnight Pacific tomorrow. Get your feet here early, Dave Briggs. Complete election night coverage begins for us.

BRIGGS: Look forward to it, my friend.

And former president Bill Clinton trying to explain himself after attempting to defend his handling of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Here is what he told Craig Melvin of NBC News.


CRAIG MELVIN, ANCHOR, MSNBC NEWS: Do you feel like you owe her an apology?

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No. I do. I -- I did not -- I never talked to her. But I did say publicly on more than one occasion that I was sorry. That's very different. The apology was public.


BRIGGS: Mr. Clinton was asked to elaborate on that remark during a book tour event last night.


CLINTON: The truth is, the hubbub was I got hot under the collar because of the way the questions were asked.

The suggestion was that I'd never apologized for what caused all the trouble for me 20 years ago. So the first point is I did. I meant it then and I meant it now.


BRIGGS: The president also says he is a supporter of the Me Too Movement calling it, quote, "long overdue."

What did you make of the tone of that interview with NBC?

ROMANS: I thought Craig Melvin's question was very fair and very balanced where he used a piece of what Monica Lewinsky had written in "Vanity Fair." And he just said to the president, in the new light of Me Too, do you feel differently about what happened 20 years ago. And the president was very defensive. And he talked about how he left the office, Oval Office, $16 million in debt. It was almost as if the president was talking about something that happened to him, not something that he did. And that --

BRIGGS: Donald Trump Jr. pounced on that. He also mentioned having a sexual harassment policy in the 1980s.

ROMANS: Right. I -- I think that -- and I was surprised that it felt as though he didn't anticipate the question. And you would think that --

BRIGGS: Which is hard to believe.

ROMANS: That in this -- I mean, this is the story of the last year about men in power and women.

BRIGGS: Right. And given Kirsten Gillibrand's criticism of that you would have thought he would have --


[04:10:01] Anyway, after more than three weeks out of the public eye, Melania Trump attended a White House event Monday. A private reception for dozens of Gold Star families. The event closed to the press out of respect for those families. A person inside the room tells CNN's Jeff Zeleny the president joked about the first lady's extended absence from public view saying the media was asking, where's Melania. It was playful but a bit awkward considering the event was to honor Gold Star families who have lost loved ones at war.

BRIGGS: All right. The timing all set for President Trump's meeting with Kim Jong-un in Singapore. And with just the summit one week away, the president may not be seeing eye-to-eye with one of his top national security officials.

Let's go live to Seoul and bring in CNN's Alexandra Field.

Alex, good morning to you. Might this have something to do with the Libya model?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, entirely to do with the Libya model it would seem. We now know that this meeting is going to take place at 9:00 in the morning just about a week from now on Tuesday. That's the local time in Singapore, Monday night in the United States. And perhaps the most hawkish figure toward North Korea within the administration, the National Security adviser John Bolton, seems to be silent in the run-up to this big meeting.

And as you point out, yes, it does have everything to do with Libya. It was Bolton who made those comments invoking the Libya model when talking about North Korea. That certainly exacerbated tensions with North Korea. It led to the temporary cancellation of the summit altogether. And we know that Bolton wasn't in the room when President Trump met with the top North Korean diplomat who traveled to the United States for that meeting that smoothed everything over.

We're learning now from sources familiar with the top that it was Secretary Pompeo who urged that Bolton not be present for that meeting. All of this seemed to highlight a growing rift between these top advisers of the president. All this happening in the run-up to the summit. National Security Council is denying that there's a rift. The White House is certainly playing it down.

But, Dave, what we've heard in recent days from the president, from the secretary of state is really just that they want to go ahead and have this meeting. This get-to-know-you meeting. So that might in fact mean that Pompeo just remain sidelined at this point. He is again the most hawkish figure going into this. So yes, he might remain on the sideline just in order to have the summit, the purpose of which seems to be just having the summit for now -- Dave.

BRIGGS: Should be an interesting week. Alex, thank you.

ROMANS: All right, 12 minutes past the hour. Even the CEO of Apple admits he spends too much time on his phone. And the new tool to help curb tech -- addiction, rather. A CNN TV exclusive.


[04:16:26] BRIGGS: How much time do you spend on your phone? Even the CEO of Apple thinks he spends too much time on his iPhone. On a TV exclusive, Tim Cook -- Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, tells CNN's Laurie Segall he was surprised by his own tech habits after seeing a data from a newly unveiled Apple tool called Screen Time. Monday's centerpiece of Annual Developer Conference where a key focus was helping users build healthier relationships with their devices. Screen Time tells users how much time they spend on their phones and on each app.


COOK: I thought I was fairly disciplined about this. And I was wrong. When I began to get the data, I felt I was spending a lot more time than I should. Each person has to make the decision when they get their numbers as to what they would like to do. And I encourage everyone to look and everyone to make an informed decision and ask themselves if they are picking up their phone 10 times an hour or 20 times an hour. Maybe they could -- maybe they could do it less.


BRIGGS: Great idea. Apple has also enhanced its do not disturb feature to hide notifications at night when you should be sleeping.

ROMANS: Howard Schultz is leaving Starbucks. Does that mean a run in 2020? Schultz will step down as executive chairman this month ending a 36-year run as the public face of Starbucks. Schultz often took a progressive stance on things like gay marriage, immigration, workers' rights, fueling rumors he did have political aspirations. Something to us at least he has long denied.


HOWARD SCHULTZ, EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, STARBUCKS: I have no interest in public office. I'm here with Starbucks. I have no plans to run for office. I have no plans whatsoever to run for political office. I want to be as involved as I possibly can as a citizen to help the country. I don't know what that's going to mean in the future.


ROMANS: But now that future could include a bid for the White House? Schultz tells the "New York Times" he is considering it. Later telling CNN he's looking at a range of options including public service but is a long way from making a decision. To be fair, people ask him all the time. You know? I mean --

BRIGGS: What's your bet?

ROMANS: You know, I don't know. I think he wants to make society a better place. He has done it in business and now he's trying to find out he can do that now that he is not with Starbucks.

BRIGGS: Fascinating run-up to 2020.

All right. Guatemalan officials say the death toll from the eruption of the Fuego volcano has risen to 69. At least 15 people remained hospitalized including 12 children. Battered residents there facing even more hazards with the cloud of volcanic ash stretching across a 12-mile radius spread by the wind. Officials warning residents to be alert from mudslides and the possibility of new eruptions.

ROMANS: Saudi Arabia has issued its first driver's licenses to women. Ten Saudi women received licenses Monday. Officials expect another 2,000 to seek licenses in the next week. The world's only ban on women behind the wheel ends June 24th. Last year the Saudi crown prince outlined an ambitious plan to reform the economy which included increasing the number of women in the work force.

And sometimes you just have to remind yourself it is 2018.

BRIGGS: 2018.

ROMANS: And 10 women are about to get --


ROMANS: -- the right to drive.

BRIGGS: It's trickle.

ROMANS: It's just human rights.

BRIGGS: Progress, I suppose.

ROMANS: Human rights.

BRIGGS: Ahead, the Supreme Court rules in favor of a baker who refused to bake a cake for a gay couple. But why could next time be different?

[04:20:01] That's next.


ROMANS: Neither side emerging with a clear victory in the Supreme Court case of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple citing his religious beliefs. Now the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of baker Jack Phillips. But the ruling didn't directly address Freedom of Religion. Instead it cited members of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showing hostility towards Phillips suggesting he claimed religious freedom to justify discrimination. The limited scope of the ruling written by Justice Anthony Kennedy leaves broader questions involving religious liberty unresolved. So the case is not expected to set a precedent.

[04:25:03] BRIGGS: A man police say killed six people in the Phoenix, Arizona, area is dead. Dwight Lamont Jones taking his own life after being surrounded by police. According to authorities, Jones fatally shot six people. Some of them having links to his bitter divorce case. The suspect's ex-wife Connie Jones says her current husband recognized a connection to her divorce and notified Phoenix Police. Jones' ex-wife and child are safe. In a statement Connie Jones calls her former husband a very emotionally disturbed person. Investigators are still trying to figure out if his last two victims found dead inside a house on Monday are also connected to the divorce.

ROMANS: At least 117 homes now destroyed by lava from the Kilauea volcano. Hawaii's Civil Defense spokesman says there are still a lot more homes to count. Lava now covers nearly 5,000 acres. This new video shows the conditions at Kapoho Bay. Lava from fissure eight still flowing into the water. That prompting warnings about laze, lava haze, that releases hydrochloric acid and volcanic blast particles into the air.

BRIGGS: The Washington Capitals are one win away from the Stanley Cup. They beat the Las Vegas Golden Knights 6-2 last night to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the Stanley Cup final. The Caps put the game away early scoring three first period goals. Game five Thursday night in Las Vegas.

Coming up, our flag is still there, but the Philadelphia Eagles will not be. President Trump pulls their White House invitation. He says it's over the national anthem. Crowd size also playing in here.