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Warning Shot to Democratic Establishment; Judge: Reunify Families Within Weeks; FBI Agent Peter Strzok Before Congress. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired June 27, 2018 - 04:00   ET



[04:00:14] ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D), NEW YORK CONGRESSIONAL NOMINEE: I cannot put this into words.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: An election stunner in New York. A ten-term incumbent sent home by an upstart Democratic socialist. The Democratic leadership scrambling for a way forward.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Hours after the president's travel ban was upheld, a new legal battle brewing on immigration. A federal judge says all families separated at the southern border have to be reunited fast.

BRIGGS: The FBI agent at the center of President Trump's conspiracy theory will finally face lawmakers. Peter Strzok behind closed doors with the House Judiciary Committee.

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to EARLY START on an extraordinarily busy news Wednesday.

ROMANS: Yes, it is. I'm Christine Romans. It is Wednesday, June 27th. It is 4:00 a.m. exactly in the East. Good morning, everyone.

It is the biggest upset of the political season so far. Ten-term incumbent Democrat Joe Crowley ousted in New York's 14th district primary by Democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The 28- year-old Latina trouncing Crowley in her first political campaign.

Congressman Crowley is the fourth-ranked Democrat in the House leadership. Two Democratic lawmakers said tonight the upset significantly alters the competition for the speaker's gavel if -- big if -- Democrats take the House.

BRIGGS: Ocasio-Cortez ran defiantly to Crowley's left with demands for universal health care, a federal jobs guarantee, and abolishing ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Crowley leaned heavily on his stage as a veteran liberal, but Ocasio- Cortez was not deterred.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OCASIO-CORTEZ: It's surreal. I did not see these numbers until I

walked in right now. I saw these numbers on television with you, so I'm still processing a lot of this.

Working-class Americans want a clear champion and there is nothing radical about moral clarity in 2018.


BRIGGS: Ocasio-Cortez now likely to be the youngest woman ever elected to the House. Crowley outraised her 10-1 and hadn't faced a primary opponent in 14 years. Crowley was gracious in defeat however, saying he will keep his word and back Ocasio-Cortez in the general election.


REP. JOE CROWLEY (D), NEW YORK: We have a great opportunity this fall in November to win back the House, and although I maybe -- I maybe sacrificed a little morally in that cause, I'm committed to that end.


ROMANS: President Trump clearly paying attention to the race tweeting, wow, big Trump hater, Congressman Joe Crowley, who many expected was going to take Nancy Pelosi's place, just lost his primary election. In other words, he's out. That is a big one that no one -- nobody saw happening. Perhaps he should have been nicer and more respectful to his president.

Might have more to do with the politics of his opponent than the politics of the commander in chief.

BRIGGS: That is the mother of all misreads on a Wednesday.

It is all but certain meanwhile Mitt Romney will be the next U.S. senator from Utah. The former presidential candidate easily defeating businessman Mike Kennedy to capture the nomination with over 70 percent of the vote. Romney had the backing of President Trump and is calling for a more respectful tone in Washington.


SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R), SENATE NOMINEE: We prize education and rigorous debate, and we expect the people who are leaders to carry out these debates with civility and dignity.


BRIGGS: Romney's political career appeared to be over after losing to Barack Obama in 2012. He was encouraged to run by retiring Senator Orrin Hatch. Romney will face Democrat Jenny Wilson, a member of the Salt Lake County Council in November general election.

ROMASN: All right. Several other Trump-backed candidates won races. South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster winning a runoff to secure the Republican nomination. His re-election bid bolstered by a pre- election appearance by the president.

In New York's GOP primary, incumbent Congressman Dan Donovan easily defeated the man who held the seat before him, now ex-convict Michael Grimm. President Trump backed Donovan, and Rudy Giuliani and Donald Jr. campaigned for him.

BRIGGS: On the Democratic side, former NAACP president Ben Jealous capturing the Democratic nomination for governor in Maryland. He could become the state's first black governor, but will have to defeat popular Republican incumbent Larry Hogan.

And voters in Oklahoma easily approving a medical marijuana law that allows doctors to prescribe cannabis for a broad range of ailments. But hold the Cheetos. Governor Mary Fallin thinks the measure is written too loosely and essentially legalizes recreational pot.

[04:05:04] She's calling for a strict framework before implementing the law.

Some breaking news overnight. A federal judge ordering the reunification of families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border. San Diego's federal judge Dana Sabraw ordered federal officials to stop detaining parents apart from the children unless the parent is unfit. The judge required the government to reunify parents with children under 5 within two weeks and ordered parents reunified with children 5 and older within 30 days.

ROMANS: The judge's order says in part, the unfortunate reality is that under the present system migrant children are not accounted for with the same efficiency and accuracy as property. Certainly that cannot satisfy the requirements of due process.

Health Secretary Alex Azar says only six kids have been reunited with parents since the president's executive order last week to stop separations.

BRIGGS: At the moment, confusion still reigns as authorities try to reunite more than 2,000 families. Multiple agencies including the departments of homeland security, health and human services, and justice share responsibility. No single agency said it is leading the way.

For more, let's bring in Nick Valencia in South Texas.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, we're outside the Port Isabel Detention Center. We want to be clear about something -- this is where on Friday, ICE officials told us that family reunifications would be happening. If that is the case, we've seen no evidence of it. It's part of the ongoing issue here on the ground, mixed messages from the Trump administration and mass confusion, especially among those who are separated from their children.

It was earlier that I spoke to a mother named Yenitza (ph) who says that she's been separated from her 6-year-old little girl since early June and has been able to talk to her. But the 6-year-old is too young to understand the family separation policy and blames her mother for abandoning her.

We're hearing these heartbreaking stories as a coalition of 18 attorneys general are filing a new lawsuit against the Trump administration. They're suing the Trump administration for, they say, constitutionally violating the due process rights of children and their parents.

They call the Trump administration's family separation policy irrationally discriminatory -- Dave, Christine.


ROMANS: All right, Nick, in Texas. Thanks, Nick.

First Lady Melania Trump has announced she will pay a second visit to immigration facilities sometime this week. A spokeswoman says Mrs. Trump is moved by what she is hearing and wants to continue to check on children.

BRIGGS: But what will she wear, Romans? What will she wear?

Jeff Sessions claims critics of the Trump administration's immigration policy are radicals and hypocrites. The attorney general slamming what he calls the open border crowd. In a speech before the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation in Los Angeles, he told the group that opponents of the president's zero-tolerance policy are on the lunatic fringe.


JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: These same people live in gated communities, many of them, and are featured at events where you have to have an ID to even come in and hear them speak. They like the little security around themselves. And if you try to scale the fence, believe me, they'll be even too happy to have you arrested and separated from your children. They would like to see that.



BRIGGS: You can hear the laughter and applause. Sessions went on to say the president's critics will complain no matter what we do.

ROMANS: All right. Senior FBI agent Peter Strzok set to speak to lawmakers behind closed doors this morning. Sources tell CNN he will appear voluntarily before the House Judiciary Committee. Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte lifted a subpoena, one he imposed even though Strzok had already said he was willing to testify.

President Trump and conservative backers have made Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page the heart of their claim the bureau and Justice Department are biased against the president. BRIGGS: Strzok was removed from the Mueller investigation after it

was found here and Page exchanged private texts disparaging candidate Trump and his supporters. In one of the texts, Strzok said, we'll stop Trump from becoming president. The committee chairman says Strzok will face a public hearing at a later date.

Tomorrow, the committee holds a public hearing with FBI Director Chris Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. They will face questions about the government watchdog report on the FBI probe of Hillary Clinton's emails.

ROMANS: A potential Trump-Putin summit will be discussed when national security adviser John Bolton sits down with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov today.

Matthew Chance live in Moscow.

Good morning, Matthew.


That's right. John Bolton, U.S. national security adviser, is having a sit down working lunch with Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, a couple of hours from now in the capitol. They're going to discuss a range of issues, but the focus is going to be laying the groundwork -- and this is what we've been told from both sides -- for a potential meeting between President Trump and Vladimir Putin of Russia.

[04:10:04] There's been lots of anticipation about that summit taking place. A time and location has not been set yet, but various venues have been suggested. He's going to be in Europe, President Trump, over the course of mid July. He's attending a NATO summit which can be held in Brussels on the 11th and 12th of July. After that, he's visiting United Kingdom on a state visit.

So, the speculation is that the meeting with President Putin, the summit, will take place either side of that. Whenever and wherever it happens, it's still going to be extremely controversial. The optics of it are going to be very controversial, as well.

This is a figure, Vladimir Putin in Russia, who stands isolated in much of the western world at least for his fueling of the conflicts in Ukraine and in Syria. His military is accused of shooting down a passenger airliner in 2014 in which nearly 300 people were killed. He's accused, of course, of meddling in the U.S. presidential election.

So any kind of summit between the leaders will be seen as Trump's critics as rewarding this Russian leader despite him not having modified his behavior -- Christine.

ROMANS: Absolutely. All right. Matthew Chance for us in Moscow this morning -- thank you, Matthew. BRIGGS: Well, it's about 30 minutes of news in 11 minutes. But

there's a lot more to get to. A ruling that could embolden the president's hard-line stance on immigration, his travel ban upheld by the Supreme Court, but the justice who provided the swing votes with some word of caution for the president.


[04:15:34] ROMANS: Very good day for President Trump yesterday, a vindication. The third version, the third version of his travel plan, a version he once called watered down has been upheld by the Supreme Court.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a great victory for our constitution. We have to be tough, and we have to be safe, and we have to be secure.

At a minimum, we have to make sure that we vet people coming into the country. We know who's coming in and we know where they're coming from. We just have to know who's coming here.


ROMANS: The 5-4 ruling gives the president broad powers to restrict travel in the name of national security, and the majority essentially disregarded his campaign statements calling for a Muslim ban.

BRIGGS: The high court's swing vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy, sided with the majority but sent a message to the president in a concurring opinion saying, quote: The very fact that an official may have broad discretion, discretion free from judicial scrutiny, makes it all the more imperative for him or her to adhere to the Constitution and to its meaning and its promise.

Many are waiting to see if Justice Kennedy will retire, giving President Trump a chance to replace him with an ideological conservative.

ROMANS: The high court ruling also a big win for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. In 2016, he blocked the nomination of President Obama's Supreme Court pick Merrick Garland. That paved the way for President Trump to nominate Justice Neil Gorsuch who voted to uphold the travel ban. That's left Democrats wondering what if.


SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), NEW JERSEY: This is a moral moment in our country. What the Supreme Court decided today, it's not just wrong, it is dangerous. It makes us less safe and it undermines the values of our country.

REP. KEITH ELLISON (D), MINNESOTA: It sends a very ugly signal to people who -- who look at our country as a beacon of freedom and beacon of inclusion. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Steve Bannon, a strong advocate for the travel ban when he was White House chief strategist, tells "Axios" the decision is a big deal for the president's psyche, bolstering his certainty that his instincts are right and the haters are wrong. The travel ban restricts entry from countries including North Korea, but there's said to be little concern in the administration this decision could hurt efforts to engage Pyongyang in these denuclearization talks.

ROMANS: All right. President Trump walking back plans to restrict Chinese investment in the U.S. technology. Instead, he may give more power to an existing committee to protect U.S. tech. The administration will unveil investment restrictions this week.

Sources say it will block Chinese firms from buying industrially significant technology targeting Beijing's "Made in China, 2025" plan. That is a plan from Xi Jinping to dominate high-tech industries.

Here's what Trump said yesterday --


TRUMP: We have the greatest technology in the world. People copy it and they steal it.

But we have the great scientists, we have the great brains, and we have to protect that, and we're going to protect it. And that's what we were doing. That can be done through CFIUS, we have a lot of things we can do it through, and we're working that out.


ROMANS: CFIUS, the Committee on Foreign Investments in the U.S., it is a body that reviews foreign investments for national security threats. Using that panel as a more measured approach than sweeping restrictions. It already is in place. It's been used by other administrations.

Trump added that the action will hit all countries, not just China, echoing Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Mnuchin and trade adviser Navarro sent messages on Monday that really confused the markets. Mnuchin said the new measure will affect any country stealing U.S. tech, Navarro indicated it would focus solely on China.

Some of the indications from the administration prior to now is that this was about China and protecting the U.S. from some of the Chinese shenanigans in trade --

BRIGGS: Seems those two are really butting heads, Mnuchin and Navarro, inside the administration.

ROMANS: It certainly looks that way. One is more of a globalist. The other is a real China hawk.

BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, the president took his shots. Now late- night hosts respond.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're still going to lunch?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, where do you want to eat?




BRIGGS: More of the late-night team effort, next on EARLY START.



[04:24:20] TRUMP: Jimmy Fallon calls me up, looks like a lost soul. Jimmy, be a man.

The guy on CBS is -- what a lowlife. But there's no talent. He's not -- they're not like talented people.


BRIGGS: President Trump at a rally in South Carolina Tuesday night bashing some of America's late-night hosts. Last night they teamed occupy a video conference call and fired back.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, lost soul. What are you up to? Be a man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll try. What are you up to?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm busy having no talent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you see Trump's rally last night?


[04:25:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Me either. I heard he said pretty bad stuff about us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really? That doesn't sound like him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard him say we're no-talent, lowlife, lost souls.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, that's not right. That's Conan. Hold on, I'll get him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, guys, what's up?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump said --



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump. The real estate guy who sells steaks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's president?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow. How's he doing?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh. Guys, give him time, OK? And remember, please, be civil. If we're not careful, this thing could start to get ugly.


BRIGGS: They conclude by meeting up at the Red Hen for dinner.

ROMANS: Oh, I see --

BRIGGS: The Red Hen, by the way, will remain closed according to reports for another week or two. That is where Sarah Sanders was of course denied service, asked to leave.

ROMANS: Interesting.

All right. The late-night hosts with their video conference.

And a jolt to the Democratic establishment to tell you about. A ten- term incumbent, member of leadership, defeated by a political newcomer in New York's primary. What it means for the party and efforts to retake the House in November.