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EARLY START

Mike Pompeo Makes It Clear Denuclearization Before Sanctions Relief; Michael Cohen Switches Legal Teams; Immigrant Families Separated at the Border; World Cup 2018 Kicks Off Today; Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired June 14, 2018 - 04:30   ET

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


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[04:31:05] MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: Verification is central to that. Complete denuclearization certainly encompasses that idea.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: You won't read that in the official agreement, but the secretary of State says verification is required for North Korea to denuclearize. He says sanctions relief depends on it.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The president's mind now back on the Russia investigation. His lawyers set to sit with the special counsel. But first, they'll talk with the president to strategize.

ROMANS: And a possible tornado tears through northeast Pennsylvania. Buildings torn apart, cars overturned, power is now out for thousands there. Tough night there northeastern Pennsylvania.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. 31 minutes past the hour. Happy birthday, President Trump.

We start with the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on a nuclear shuttle diplomacy mission. Flying this morning from Seoul to Beijing, he will discuss North Korea with President Xi and other Chinese officials. Overnight Pompeo underscored the U.S. view that North Korea must denuclearize before the easing of U.N. sanctions. And he tried to ease concerns about verification.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POMPEO: Sanctions relief cannot take place until such time as we have demonstrated that North Korea has been completely denuclearized. The summit created this enormous historic opportunity. For us to move forward together and fundamentally really shape the relationship between the United States and North Korea. Verification is central to that. Complete denuclearization certainly encompasses that idea very clearly.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: All right. Pompeo pushing back hard against criticism that that joint declaration right there signed by President Trump and Kim Jong-un, it doesn't have the words verifiable and irreversible. Now Pompeo insists that the word complete, complete denuclearization which is in that document, the word complete means verifiable and irreversible in, quote, "everyone's minds," and he called questions about the word's omission, he's been asked about why it's not in there, he said well, that's insulting and ridiculous, and frankly ludicrous. And he blasts reporters who are asking, you know, why that isn't in the statement.

For the latest, we turn to senior diplomatic editor Nic Robertson live in Seoul -- Nic.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, Christine, I just want to share with you some information we're picking up from the North Korean news agency. They're running a lot more of their video of Chairman Kim while he was in Singapore and they're running that clip that we all remember seeing where President Trump takes Kim Jong- un to the presidential limousine, the Beast, and opens the door and shows it to him.

And what we're being told by the North Korean announcer over these videos is this is President Trump showing the chairman affection and respect. That's how that's being interpreted. And of course, president -- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been having to sort of dial back the perception that the North Korean media has been putting out to its people, they've been saying in North Korea that there could be sanctions relief if the negotiations and the talks progress or as they progress.

As you have just said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said no, not until there is complete denuclearization. But the other issue that he's faced here in South Korea is the understanding around this stopping of the joint military exercises. The president here said yes, we're entering a new era of opportunity. Yes, we want to see all the talks and the details on denuclearization. We want that to happen fast.

But he did say, and I think this underscores the concern that South Korea has at the moment that it was very happy to see the secretary of state to be able to talk with him face-to-face about the details of what happened in Singapore. The Foreign minister here for her part saying on the joint military exercises that this was a joint decision.

[04:35:07] This would have to be a joint decision between the United States and South Korea, implying that it couldn't be done unilaterally to stop these -- to stop the joint military exercises. And not only for this case, but going forward as well. So secretary of state got a lot of work on his hands not just here, finished, but now off to China as well -- Christine.

ROMANS: Nic, on those joint drills, those are defensive readiness drills. The president called them provocative war games. The president of the United States using the language and the perspective of the Russians and the North Koreans and the Chinese. Not necessarily our allies in the region so that still is ruffling feathers.

Nic, come back soon. We'll talk more about it. Thank you.

President Trump standing by his glowing praise for his summit partner, Kim Jong-un. In post-summit interviews, the president appeared to justify the brutal actions of the North Korean regime.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS HOST: You know, you call people sometimes killers. He -- you know, he is a killer. I mean, he's clearly executing people. And --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's a tough guy. Hey, when you take over a country, tough country, with tough people, and you take it over from your father, I don't care who you are, what you are, how much of an advantage you have, if you can do that at 27 years old, you -- I mean that's one in 10,000 that could do that, so he's a very smart guy. He's a great negotiator. But I think we understand each other.

BAIER: But, I mean, he's still done some really bad things.

TRUMP: Yes, but so have a lot of other people done some really bad things. I mean, I could go through a lot of nations where a lot of bad things were done. Now, look, with all of that being said, the answer is yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The comments about Kim Jong-un's actions echoing the rhetoric the president had used in the past to defend Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

BRIGGS: As President Trump flew back home from the historic North Korea summit, his attention returned to the Russia investigation. Sources tell us he called his lawyers to talk about a potential showdown with Robert Mueller over the president's willingness to answer questions from the special counsel.

The president's team waiting to sit down with Mr. Trump to game out their next moves. Trump's lawyers meet with Mueller's team this week or next.

ROMANS: Meantime, the president's personal attorney Michael Cohen is moving to split with his own legal team, some suggesting Cohen may flip or testify against the president but another of the president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, dismissed that claim last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, LAWYER FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: I checked in with him last night. It's not so. He's not cooperating nor do we care because the president did nothing wrong. We're very comfortable if he cooperates. There is nothing he can cooperate about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: More now from chief political correspondent Dana Bash in Washington.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Dave, Michael Cohen realizes that the legal jeopardy he is in right now requires a law firm or maybe more than one law firm that has experience with and expertise in the Southern District of New York where he's being investigated. In fact to that end I'm told that Cohen spent much of the day on Wednesday meeting with potential lawyers, at least three law firms that fit the bill.

Now the question is why now. My colleague MJ Lee is told by someone close to Cohen that he's fully cognizant of the real possibility that he could be indicted. So going to New York and having somebody with expertise there is one thing. The other reason he seems to be intent on switching law firms is money. He does not want to spend all of his savings on legal fees.

I'm told that he owes a lot to his current lawyer Stephen Ryan and his firm. They've deployed seven or eight lawyers to spend countless hours going through literally millions of documents for Cohen and those legal fees of course have added up. Financial pressure may play into concerns that people around Cohen or maybe even more importantly people around the president are saying that they have -- that Cohen could actually flip. That he could cooperate with investigators.

So I am told that they are not there yet. That there hasn't been a specific conversation between prosecutors in New York and Cohen or anybody in his orbit about the potential for a deal -- Christine and Dave.

BRIGGS: Dana Bash, thank you.

After Tuesday's primaries, there's no denying the GOP is now the party of Trump. Confirming what John Boehner said a couple of weeks ago. Corey Stewart a prime example. The projected Republican Senate nominee in Virginia winning despite refusing to criticize alt-right marchers after that Charlottesville demonstration, instead attacking Republicans for apologizing too quickly there. Last night on "CUOMO PRIMETIME" Stewart was asked about his past support for openly anti- Semitic commentator Paul Nehlen.

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COREY STEWART (R), VIRGINIA SENATE CANDIDATE: You know, when you are losing the argument, you know what you do? You know what the left does? They play the race card. They play the race card. We have a president --

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: You don't think that card applies to the people that you hung out with, with a confederate flag waving around?

(CROSSTALK)

STEWART: You never want to condemn the extremism on your side of the aisle.

CUOMO: There is none on my side of the aisle.

STEWART: And I have condemned that extremism time and time again.

CUOMO: My aisle is the truth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Senator Corey Gardner heads up the National Republicans Senatorial Committee, he tells CNN his committee does not plan to endorse Stewart.

[04:40:07] Meantime, South Carolina Congressman Mark Sanford is reflecting on his defeat in the GOP primary for his own seat. Sanford is a critic of this president. He hopes his loss will not have a chilling effect on fellow Republicans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MARK SANFORD (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I think it's important that we have vigorous dissent. It is never in my lifetime been so tied to an individual personality and a litmus test of are you completely compliant and, you know, are you on board with me as a person as opposed to are on you board with the ideals that this party is based on.

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ROMANS: Hours earlier retiring Senator Bob Corker called out fellow Republicans for being loyal to the president over party and policy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: We are in a strange place. I mean, it's almost -- you know, it's becoming a cultish thing, isn't it?

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BRIGGS: Stunning words there from Corker.

If there's any doubt where the party stands? There's this tweet from GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel last night. "Complacency is our enemy. Anyone that does not embrace the Trump agenda of making America great again will be making a mistake." No mention of conservative principles.

ROMANS: And Meghan McCain tweeting back, "Is that a threat, Ronna?" Some of the --

BRIGGS: It sounds it. No mention of conservative principles.

ROMANS: No.

BRIGGS: That they're supporting one now. ROMANS: All right. 41 minutes past the hour. The Federal Reserve

raising interest rates and faster rate hikes are on the way. The Central Bank hiked short-term interest rates for the second time this year and penciled in four total rate hikes this year. Originally it penciled in three. But the Fed says the economy is doing well. Most people who want jobs are finding them. Unemployment is low, inflation is healthy, and Fed chief Jerome Powell says this move will only help.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEROME POWELL, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: We think that gradually returning interest rates to a more normal level as the economy strengthens is the best way the Fed can help sustain an environment in which American households and businesses can thrive.

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ROMANS: Translation, the economy is strong enough to withstand higher borrowing costs without choking off growth. And that's what higher interest rates mean for you. Higher rates on auto loans, mortgages, credit cards. And for Wall Street, stocks fell. Two reasons, higher borrowing costs could eat into corporate profits. And the fact Powell now plans to hold news conferences after every Fed meeting.

I love this. This made me so happy. Right now it's every other meeting. Investors think this means the Fed may raise rates more frequently in 2019.

You know, when I first started covering the Fed in the late '90s --

BRIGGS: Your excitement --

ROMANS: I know. I was a Fed reporter. I know --

BRIGGS: Stunning.

ROMANS: It's so nerdy. But they -- sorry to all Fed reporters out there, but it is kind of nerdy. But --

BRIGGS: Quite a bit.

ROMANS: They didn't tell you --

BRIGGS: They know.

ROMANS: You had to watch the markets to see how official interest rates rose. They didn't even tell you what they did with rates. And now there's going to be a press conference every meeting? That's awesome.

BRIGGS: Bacon and Fed press conferences.

ROMANS: Yes. Those are things I love.

(LAUGHTER) BRIGGS: OK. Straight ahead, a possible tornado left quite a mark in northeast Pennsylvania overnight. A storm stretching up to a mile wide collapsed buildings, flipped cars and left several injured.

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[04:47:49] ROMANS: Breaking overnight. Strong storms hammer parts of northeast Pennsylvania causing extensive damage. Several buildings collapsed, cars overturned, with some people trapped in and around the Wilkes-Barre area. CNN is told six people were hurt. The storm left behind shattered store fronts, major damage to businesses. And there is an ongoing natural gas leak as well. The storm's path stretched from half a mile to a mile wide. The area was under a tornado warning at the time.

BRIGGS: For more on the storms that rolled through Pennsylvania and where the threat moves today, let's check in with meteorologist Derek Van Dam.

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: That's right, Dave and Christine, a couple of different communities across central and eastern Pennsylvania waking up to devastating destruction from what is likely a tornado. The National Weather Service will send a team of surveyors out to actually determine if it was indeed a tornado. But nonetheless the strong storms ripped through the Wilkes-Barre and Granville Township regions.

Late Wednesday evening it left a path of destruction in its wake. Now the storm has since moved on, the skies are clear. And we'll have a much quieter day across the northeast today. A few scattered showers and thunderstorms remain across the Deep South. Those are really, thanks to the daytime heat from the sun and the chance of severe weather today focused across the northern plains from North to South Dakota.

Look out for damaging winds, hail and an isolated tornado can't be ruled out even as far east as parts of Minnesota. You see some of those firing up later this afternoon. Temperatures today will warm into the 90s across the nation's heartland. 84 for the Big Apple, in the nation's capital 87.

Back to you.

BRIGGS: Thank you, Derek.

With the House set to vote on two immigration bills next week, human toll of the immigration crisis is playing out on the streets of Texas. Border Patrol agents arrested 62 undocumented immigrants in a two- bedroom house in Laredo. They were waiting transportation to another location. On the very same day, authorities discovered 54 undocumented immigrants in the back of a tractor-trailer in San Antonio.

The arrest coming amid concern about the increasing number of children being separated from their parents at the border.

Ed Lavandera is in McAllen, Texas.

[04:50:03] ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Dave, there's more backlash to the details emerging from this zero tolerance policy that is ending up with more and more children being separated from their families. An attorney for the Texas Civil Rights Project says that one woman, an undocumented immigrant, had her young baby taken from her while she was breastfeeding in a detention center. And when she resisted, she was handcuffed.

An official with the Customs and Border Protection says that nothing could be further from the truth, that these are unsubstantiated allegations. But it also comes at the same time that many activists and public defenders are saying that these undocumented migrants are sharing similar stories of being duped into their children being separated from them and then being whisked away to other detention facilities.

A lot of, you know, customs and Trump administration officials defending what is going on here. Trump administration officials are saying that in some way they hope that this is part of the process of restoring law and order to the immigration process here along the southern border and that they hope that in some ways that this serves as a deterrent, that as news of this spreads back to Central America where most of these migrants are coming from, that that will deter people from coming here to the United States -- Christine and Dave.

ROMANS: All right. Ed Lavandera, thank you so much for that.

All right. Apple is making it harder for law enforcement to break into iPhones. That is likely to reignite tensions between Apple and the federal government. We got that in "CNN Money" next.

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[04:56:13] BRIGGS: One day after the U.S., Mexico and Canada were chosen as combined hosts for the 2026 World Cup, the 2018 tournament kicks off today. Host Russia plays Saudi Arabia in the opening match 11:00 a.m. Eastern and over the next 64 matches will be played in 12 venues.

Let's bring in CNN's Alex Thomas who is excited for the events to get underway. He is live in Moscow for us. Just about noon there.

Good morning, Alex.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Dave, and I landed in Russia on Saturday barred the old sign. It was hard to tell a World Cup was happening here. Give it a few days later and the atmosphere is completely turned around. You can probably hear some of the vuvuzela trumpets being blasted by some of the international fans that have landed here. We expect a million to come to the country to enjoy this feat, the football, over the next four and a half weeks.

As you say, it all kicks off later on Thursday with the host nation Russia up against Saudi Arabia. By ranking the two worst teams in the competition. So not exactly a mouth watering one for the footballing or soccer aficionado. Of course the United States haven't qualified along with other notable teams like Italy and the Netherlands. Still plenty of star names, though, and forget all the politics involving Russia, once the sports takes over in my experience, this is my fourth World Cup on the ground, the action takes over and that's all that everyone is going to focus on.

But we got an opening ceremony involving international pop star Robbie Williams and a local Russian opera singer, too, before the action gets underway. The atmosphere is building up very nicely indeed here in Russia -- Dave.

BRIGGS: You're on the spot, Alex. Who wins?

THOMAS: If you have to pick someone, Argentina and their superstar Lionel Messi.

BRIGGS: I like it. OK. I'm going to go with Spain. Alex Thomas, live for us from Moscow. Thank you.

ROMANS: All right. A giant Martian dust storm threatening NASA's Opportunity rover on Mars. Over just a few days it's become considerably darker. That's June 7th on the left, June 10th on the right. Opportunity operates on solar energy so with the light blocked, the rover has put itself to sleep. It hasn't been heard from since Sunday. The storm itself is huge covering an area the size of North America and Russia combined. But Opportunity is pretty hardy. It was designed for a 90-day mission, but it has lasted, Dave, 15 years. (INAUDIBLE) hardy.

BRIGGS: OK. An update on the raccoon that climbed the 25-story Minnesota skyscraper and set social media on fire. Officials say NPR raccoon, as was the hashtag, was captured in a trap on the roof of the high rise baited with some delicious soft cat food. Who wouldn't resist that? Right? She's taken to a private residential property in the Twin City suburbs for release. She ran off into the woods. UBS really should have jumped all over that.

ROMANS: Yes, I love that.

BRIGGS: Claimed it as UBS raccoon.

ROMANS: I love that story.

All right. Let's get a check on "CNN Money" this morning. Global stocks falling overnight. Wall Street closed lower after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates and hinted that faster hikes are on the way. Fed Chair Jerome Powell now plans to hold news conferences after every Fed meeting. Right now it's every other meeting. Investors think this means the Fed may raise rates more frequently in 2019. And higher borrowing costs could eat into corporate profits,

Also a concern trade. The Trump administration may hit China with $50 billion in tariffs as early as today, adding another affront to America's trade war.

A federal judge approved AT&T's purchase of Time Warner, parent of CNN. So Comcast is officially crashing Disney's bid for FOX. In December FOX agreed to sell Disney it's entertainment companies for $52 billion. But it's been long rumored Comcast would try to break up that deal. Now Comcast is formally offering a higher all cash bid of $65 billion. Setting the stakes for a high stakes bidding war over FOX which is great for its stock price. FOX shares jumped nearly 8 percent yesterday to a record high.

Apple making it harder for law enforcement to break into iPhones.