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Welcome to the Jungle; White House: "Political Stunt by the Eagles"; Iconic Designer Kate Spade Dead at 55; LeBron, Curry Say Teams Won't Visit White House. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired June 6, 2018 - 05:00   ET

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


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Delicious. I'm Dave Briggs. Wednesday, June 6th, 5:00 a.m. in the East, 2:00 a.m. in California.

[05:00:00] The numbers are coming in, constantly updated as we check out the Democrats' efforts to retake the House. The biggest test thus far of the Democrats' effort there, the California primary. Democrats have been worried about the state's top two or jungle primary system, concerned too many Democrats could split the vote, shutting them out of districts they hope to flip in the fall. Some evidence that may be the case.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: One big contest has been settled, the race for California governor. A Republican has made it on to the ballot which could help with down-ballot races in November.

CNN's Miguel Marquez is live for us this morning. He is in Los Angeles.

Miguel, what happened last night in California? Break it down for us.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's who's number two in California, that's the important thing out here. So the top two finishers get to go forward. It wasn't very clear for Republicans that they were going to have anyone at the top of the ticket so they could drive out support for their candidates in November.

Now, it looks like certainly for governor, there will be a Republican at the top of the ticket. A businessman, John Cox will be there. And then on the Senate side, he will face Gavin Newsom. On the Senate side, Dianne Feinstein would either face Kevin de Leonor sort of an unknown Republican from -- not very well known Republican from Laguna Miguel, Jim Bradley. So, that may also come in to play.

The bigger question for the House of Representatives, there were ten seats that Democrats nationwide were targeting, seven of those districts that Hillary Clinton won where Republicans were serving. It wasn't clear because of the mad rush of Democrats into all of those races and you had the top ten -- top two primary system that the vote was so split among so many races that it wasn't clear that a Democrat was going to advance in a few.

Now, it appears that Democrats will advance in all of them. There are still some questions. The 10th district, 39th district, and the 48th district. There are Democrats vying for the number-two spot or there are very close numbers between Democrats and Republicans.

You see Dana Rohrabacher will advance. Harley Rouda and Hans Keirstead fighting it out for number two. But Scott Baugh, very popular, well-known Republican in Orange County, he's coming up on the back side. He may end up getting enough votes.

Because we don't actually know what the final vote is in California, because what happens here, two things happened yesterday. In L.A. County, there were 118,000 people left off the roles here. That means they had to fill out paper ballots at the polling station. It will take time to count those.

The other thing, we have early voting and mail-in ballots. A lot of people walk to their polling station on Election Day, drop off their mail ballot. All those have to be counted. It will take days if not weeks to get through it. California, simple, straight forward, easy.

(LAUGHTER)

BRIGGS: Nothing's ever complicated in California.

ROMANS: Never. All right. Miguel, thank you. Thank you so much.

In other results, CNN projects that Deb Haaland has won the primary for New Mexico's first congressional district. Putting her on track to become the first Native American woman in congress.

In South Dakota, Congressman Kristi Noem, well ahead of the Republican primary for governor, making her the favorite to become the state's first female governor.

BRIGGS: In Alabama's seconds district, Republican Martha Roby forced into a runoff next month with former Democratic Congressman Bobby Bright who ran as a Republican. Roby dropped her support of President Trump back in 2016 in the wake of the "Access Hollywood" tape.

And in New Jersey, Mikie Sherrill, navy vet and former prosecutor, leading in the 11th district has more than twice the total of the leading Republican Jay Weber.

Joining us to talk about this, in Portland, Oregon, tonight, CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein, senior editor at "The Atlantic."

Good morning, good evening. We're not sure if you stayed up.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: We're on the boundary. Yes, good morning.

BRIGGS: OK, Ron, let's just talk about this blue wave that was so much anticipated. Again, to go through the numbers that Miguel mentioned, 23 needed to flip the House. Ten were competitive in California. Seven districts won by Hillary Clinton. How essential is California Democrats' hopes to retake the House?

BROWNSTEIN: It is central. Overall it was a good night for Democrats in the House. I mean, they got all of the candidates they wanted in New Jersey which could have as many as four turnover opportunities for them. They had a record turnout in Iowa. Potentially the highest primary turnout they ever had.

In California, as Miguel said, although it could go the other way, in the end maybe in one or two of the districts the likelihood now is that they will not get locked out of any of the targeted seats which -- and, you know, going into the election, there was fear about one, two, or three in Orange County.

[05:05:00] And I think the fourth big thing, you know, of the night, if you look at it, the preference for Democratic female candidates continues in most cases. Both of their Iowa nominees, both of their New Mexico nominees, you mentioned New Jersey.

The former -- the former prosecutor. And then in California, against Steve Knight and Mimi Walters, two of the other Republicans in districts that Hillary Clinton carried, they also chose female nominees over male opponents. So banking I think very heavily on the gender gap, which is real at this point about Donald Trump and -- showing the GOP.

But overall, Democrats I think got almost everything they wanted out of Tuesday night with the possible exception of not getting the one- two in the governor's race in California.

BRIGGS: And we'll still keep an eye on the 48th and 10th, where they still potentially could get lock out the ballot. So, we'll watch that --

BROWNSTEN: For a while, keep an eye on it.

ROMANS: You talk about women in the role -- exciting women candidates who did well last night. And so that is in part, you know, that is against Donald Trump. That is a movement against Donald Trump.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, right.

ROMANS: But when you look within the Republicans, though, for example, John Cox, came up and did well because of support from Donald Trump. It depends on what party you're in. Trump plays both ways.

BROWNSTEIN: Absolutely. First of all, the -- we've talked about this before. I think the gender gap is overrated. Historically there are other factors that matter more. Married versus single, college verses non-college.

But it is real under Donald Trump. I was looking and the weekly Gallup average, they poll every night, Donald Trump's approval rating among all women is 12 points lower than his approval rating among men. Democrats have been polling better than at any point in the past 25 years in the generic ballot for Congress. They are key to hopes for November.

One thing I wonder about a lot is whether the female candidates are going to help Democrats do better than the first female major party nominee did among blue-collar white women. The big reason why Donald Trump is president is because he won so many working class white women, particularly in the Midwest. Can Democrats do better?

On the flip side, you're right, look, the Republican opposition, the resistance in the Republican Party to Donald Trump has collapsed as an electoral phenomenon. He is a powerful figure in the party, remains a deeply polarizing figure in the country. So, you have Republican candidates who are being pulled almost magnetically toward her, particularly on immigration. The hard line on immigration has become common among Republican candidates. We'll see that in California in a race that is, you know, generally most analysts consider over as of today for the governorship.

BRIGGS: It's a number I've mentioned before for good reason. Donald Trump's at 87 percent with his own party. The second highest number Gallup has tracked only behind President Bush post-9/11. The economy is healthy. We're on the verge of a major breakthrough on the Korean peninsula.

So, has the resistance collapsed, or is Donald Trump turning the tide, and people are waking up to say, well, things are pretty good in this country now?

BROWNSTEIN: Republicans agree with his policies overall. He is getting the benefit of the good economy to some extent among the general electorate. He himself, the way he conducts himself, the way he approaches the presidency, there are no set of policy accomplishments that can completely erase those concerns, and the polarization around that.

You know, again, as we saw yesterday, there is still a lot of energy in the Democratic opposition to Donald Trump. There were a lot of people voting yesterday. You know, we saw that record turnout in Iowa. He is still somewhere in the low to mid 40s in public opinion.

And so, I think -- because of his success among Republicans, as I've written, I think this is becoming a more conventional midterm. It appears that the hopes of Democrats early on, that big chunks of the Republican coalition would shear off away from Donald Trump almost like, you know, an iceberg going into the ocean. That's not going to happen it doesn't look like.

If they are going to take back the House, they have to solve their usual midterm problem, turning out more Latino voters, more African- American voters, more young voters whose participation tends to fall off in the midterm. Some mixed signals from California on that, by the way.

ROMANS: Look, what is -- what is the Democratic Party for? What are the Democrats for in 2018, not just what are they resisting against. I think that some of the excitement among some of the Democratic women who did well last night, like Mikie Sherrill, is that despite what seems to be a party that doesn't have a mission at the moment except for anti-Trump, there's some excitement among the individual women who are running, Ron. BROWNSTEIN: Absolutely. The closest thing to a mission I think that

they've articulated and probably their best asset in terms of the kind of voters I was talking about before, blue-collar women, is health care, is protecting health care. Both -- both --

ROMANS: That was big in Iowa.

[05:10:00] That was big in Iowa we all think.

BROWNSTEIN: I think the argument that if you return the Republican majority with the possibility of expanding the majority in the Senate because of where the contests are, that they will come back and try again to repeal the ACA, not to mention go after Medicare, somewhere down the road to pay for their tax cut. I think that is probably the single-most effective policy argument that Democrats will have.

I still think that the overriding energy here is the idea that Trump is just barreling through, so many norms of the way the president conducts himself in terms of his attitude toward federal law enforcement, the way he talks about race, the way he talks about opponents in society. And that Republicans in Congress are not providing any real oversight or check or constraint. That is the engine on the Democratic side in terms of their turnout.

They have to find the policy argument for the voters. So far health care is by far their best arrow in the quiver.

BRIGGS: Well, you really see two totally different types of Democrats when you're seeing progressives and conservative Democrats. It's hard to find one overarching narrative.

All right. Ron Brownstein, we'll check back in about 30 minutes. Thank you.

Ahead, Mexico makes good on its promise imposing new tariffs on billions of American products. Steel, these, pork, bourbon, and other products, straight from Trump country. More next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:15:55] ROMANS: And Mexico making good on its trade threat, announcing tariffs on $3 billion worth of U.S. goods. Retaliation for the U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs imposed last week. The list includes an equal tariff on steel, 25 percent, 20 percent on farm products like pork, apples and cranberries, 25 percent on cheese and bourbon.

The last is strategic. It hurts Kentucky, home of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. In fact, Mexico tailored its list to hit states governed by senior Republicans. The Trump administration's using tariffs to force trade concessions from other countries like China. "The Wall Street Journal" reports China will buy $70 billion in U.S. goods if the U.S. agrees to abandon its tariff threats. Mexico and may also especially as NAFTA renegotiations drag on.

Economic adviser Larry Kudlow says the president now wants to take a different approach.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVSIER: his preference now, and he asked me to convey this, is to negotiate with Mexico and Canada separately.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: And Trump prefers bilateral negotiations.

BRIGGS: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell canceling most of the senate's August recess. McConnell says it will allow lawmakers to pass spending bills and approve more of President Trump's nominees. Republican leaders and the president have been frustrated by Democratic filibusters slowing business in the Senate. McConnell's decision heads off a potential spat with the White House that could hurt the GOP in midterm elections. The decision not sitting well with Democrats, many of whom would rather be home campaigning.

ROMANS: Republican senators say president Trump has promised to give Congress on a vote on any nuclear deal he strikes with Kim Jong-un. GOP senators say any deal would be in the form of a treaty that requires the support of two-thirds of the Senate. In the Oval Office Tuesday, the president suggested the summit next week could last a couple of days.

BRIGGS: The White House press aide who made a badly inappropriate remark about John McCain's health is done at the White House. Kelly Sadler was let go Tuesday. Not clear if she is relocating within the administration or leaving entirely.

Sadler was widely criticized for her comment that McCain's opposition to Gina as CIA director didn't matter because he was dying anyway. The White House refused to condemn the remark. Sadler did not apologize publicly.

ROMANS: A White House contractor arrested on attempted murder charges as he arrived at work Tuesday morning. The Secret Service was notified Monday that 29-year-old Martese Edwards was the subject of an arrest warrant in Maryland.

BRIGGS: A source tells CNN Edwards was working for the National Security Council. We're told his badge only allowed him executive to the Executives Office Building near the White House, not the West Wing.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says guns will not be a focus of the federal school safety commission. During a Senate hearing, DeVos told lawmakers the focus will be on keeping students safe but claimed guns are not part of the commission's charge even though the White House said age restrictions for certain firearm purchases would be on the agenda. The commission was formed after the February -- after February's Florida school shooting that killed 17 people in Parkland.

ROMANS: Shock and sadness following the apparent suicide of iconic designer Kate Spade. She was 55 years old. New York police sources said Spade was hanged by a scarf tied to a doorknob in her apartment.

Officials say a suicide note was found. In it, Spade addressed her daughter and husband, though the context is not totally clear.

The designer launched the Kate Spade New York brand in 1993 and opened her first shop in the city three years later. Fans and friends including celebrities like Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump posted fond remembrances online. For an entire generation of American women -- actually, women around the world --

BRIGGS: No question.

ROMANS: Your first paycheck, first paycheck when you came into adulthood was digging deep and buying that Kate Spade bag. It was --

BRIGGS: My memories of might have wife having her first one.

ROMANS: Yes, absolutely.

BRIGGS: It's such a sad story.

Ahead, two of the biggest NBA stars defending the Philadelphia Eagles. How do they plan to handle a White House invite? Welcome back. Andy Scholes back with us after his hiatus. He joins us with the "Bleacher Report", next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:24:06] BRIGGS: LeBron James and Steph Curry say no matter who wins the NBA finals, no one will be going to the White House anytime soon.

ROMANS: A guy who looks like Andy Scholes here.

BRIGGS: Scholes!

ROMANS: Welcome back, Andy Scholes with the "Bleacher Report." Nice to see you.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Thank you very much. It's been a while, happy to be back with you.

Now, both LeBron and Steph Curry, they've been asked about this many times before. And again yesterday, asked about a potential trip to the White House if they win the NBA finals. And LeBron saying, you know, he was not surprised when he heard the Eagles had been disinvited by President Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEBRON JAMES, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: It's typical of him. I'm not surprised. No matter who wins this series, no one wants the invite anyways. So, it won't be Golden State or Cleveland going.

STEPH CURRY, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: I agree with LeBron. Pretty sure the way we handled things last year, kind of stayed consistent with that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[05:25:00] SCHOLES: In a statement, the White House says they canceled the Eagles event because not many players were coming. President Trump disinvited the Warriors last year after they won after players said they would not be attending. The team instead took a group of local kids from D.C. to the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American history and culture.

Game three of the finals is tonight. LeBron and the Cavs in a must- win if they hope to keep their championship dreams alive. Tip-off to this one, 9:00 Eastern.

All right. For the first time in school history, Florida State is your women's college world series champions. The Seminoles scoring eight unanswered to beat Washington to claim the title.

Florida State survived six elimination games the past two weeks. They had been in nine World Series without winning a title. The most by any team in the NCAA. But now, they are finally here.

Finally, Gabby DiMarco was taking in last night's Padres-Braves game with her friends when this foul ball finds its way into her beer.

BRIGGS: Cheers.

SCHOLES: As you see, the crowd loved it. Everyone around her started chanting for Gabby to chug that beer, which she did. And impressively downed it. Pretty quickly. Guys, you know that is one of baseball's unwritten rules that if a foul ball lands in your beer --

ROMAN: Is it?

SCHOLES: You have to finish it.

BRIGGS: But hang on. Did she leave the ball in the cub? Is that the rule? Or did she take it out?

SCHOLES: No. I think you're supposed to leave it in the cup --

BRIGGS: That's nasty.

SCHOLES: Chug the rest of the beer.

BRIGGS: Yes, it is fantastic. And pretty awesome for her the way she --

SCHOLES: I'm impressed.

ROMANS: How much --

BRIGGS: But that is nasty.

ROMANS: How much do the beers cost there? The thing is about chugging a beer -- BRIGGS: They're $10 to $15.

SCHOLES: Yes, it was like $11 down the drain quickly. Worth the glory.

ROMANS: Yes, it was.

All right. Andy Scholes, nice to you see.

A Democrat hopes to retake the House. A big test on the California side. But a big win on the Republican could help the GOP in November.

We'll explain.

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