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10-Term Dem Congressman Falls in Upset; Romney Wins GOP Senate Nomination; Judge Orders Migrant Families Reunited; Supreme Court Upholds Trump Travel Ban 3.0; Argentina Advances at the 2018 World Cup. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired June 27, 2018 - 05:00   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): -- center of the president's conspiracy theory will finally face lawmakers. Peter Strzok behind closed doors with the House Judiciary Committee.

Good morning, everyone, welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): I'm Dave Briggs. Wednesday, June 27th, 5:00 am in the east. It's a red alert, a stunner on primary night in New York. 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 on the House leadership. Two Democratic lawmakers said tonight the upset significantly alters the competition for the Speaker's gavel if Democrats take the House.

ROMANS: Orcasio-Cortez ran defiantly to Crowley's left with demands for universal health care, a federal jobs guarantee. She wants to abolish ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Crowley leaned hard on his record as a veteran liberal but Ocasio-Cortez was not deterred.


ALEXANDRA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D), NEW YORK CONGRESSIONAL NOMINEE: It's surreal. I did not see the 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.


ROMANS: Orcasio-Cortez is likely to be the youngest woman ever elected to the House. Crowley out-raised her 10:1 and had not faced a primary opponent in 14 years. Crowley was gracious in defeat, 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 --


CROWLEY: -- I maybe sacrificed a little early in that cause, I'm committed to that end.


BRIGGS: He later belted out "Born to Run" on the guitar in a tribute to the young winner.

President Trump clearly paying attention to this race tweeting overnight, "Wow, big Trump hater, Congressman Joe Crowley, who many expected was going to take Nancy Pelosi's place, just lost his primary election. That is a big one that nobody saw happening."

That is true. Perhaps we should have been nicer and more respectful to his president, that not so to much. Joining us this morning, CNN Politics senior writer and analyst, Harry Enten and in Washington, CNN Politics digital director Zach Wolf.

Good morning to you --


ROMANS: Good morning, guys.

BRIGGS: Harry, since you have not slept, we'll start with you, sir.

Did Crowley get cantered?

Is this about national sentiment or is all politics, localist Tip O'Neill said, was this about local demographics shifting?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN POLITICS DIGITAL DIRECTOR: I think it's both. This is a district that has become much more diverse since Crowley first came into office. It's majority-minority but it's also about national politics as well. We've seen the rise of women candidates so far this cycle.

We certainly know the Democratic Party is going further to the Left. More than that, we saw in 2016 that sometimes politicians who are willing to challenge the establishment can do pretty well in Democratic primaries.

ROMANS: Zach, you weigh in here. This is a 28-year-old candidate who, we're told, is still paying off her student loans. So she's really relatable to so many people in this district and relatable to young people, who are feeling left behind by the Democratic establishment.

ZACH WOLF, CNN POLITICS DIGITAL DIRECTOR: I think clearly. The other element is this is the kind of person that Democrats are trying to go after. They're trying to make their base more diverse and younger. This is -- she's in the wheelhouse for who the Democrats want to be. And that's an important point.

BRIGGS: There's a lot to be learned from her certainly, Harry.

But what about from Joe Crowley?

We should mention, there was 27,000 votes. Not a huge turnout. But Crowley largely, some say, did not pay attention to his voters; sent a stand-in to a recent debate.

What can be learned from how he campaigned or did not?

ENTEN: I learned the lesson from my old congressman, Eliot Engel, who ran every primary like it was going to be his last one. I think that's an example that should be followed by other politicians: never take anything for granted.

Look, I don't know if the turnout was larger whether it would have made a difference. But the fact that the turnout was what it was and Joe Crowley didn't seem to take the primary challenge too seriously certainly contributed.

ROMANS: Zach, let's talk about the other primaries, because it was a good night for the president. The candidates he backed won. It was a good day for the president. The third version of his travel ban upheld by the Supreme Court, maybe validating his political instincts.

WOLF: Sure. And I think he -- he will crow, too, as Dave was pointing out, about the Democratic result, as well. You know, the Michael Grimm race was kind of the one a lot of people were looking at. He was somebody who tried to run to get back into his seat.

A second Republican ex-con trying to get into -- trying to get on Capitol Hill, failed. But Trump had weighed in on the other side.


WOLF: No bad news, I think, yesterday for the president.

BRIGGS: Yes, that was a fascinating race in particular, because Grimm, the ex-con, was running as a Trumpian candidate, although it was Donovan who was backed by Trump.

Let's talk a bit about the national mood as we look way forward to 2020.

Can you read into this win by Orcasio-Cortez?

Is it an anti-establishment also taking hold on the Left?

ENTEN: I would say that there's an anti-establishment mood, an anti- Washington mood. They're looking for someone to challenge the president in a way that gets that anger across and they're looking for anyone to do that. It's one race. We can't take too much away from it but, again, as I

point out, this is part of a larger movement within the Democratic Party in order to get candidates like her elected.

Ben Jealous, former NAACP president, wins the Democratic primary for governor in Maryland.

Is that similar in terms of the progressive wave?

ENTEN: Yes, Bernie Sanders endorsed Ben Jealous. He's certainly on that same part of the party. I would just say at this particular time, if we're looking forward to 2020, someone on the Left, who's a minority, who's young and an outsider, I think if you can match all of those, you might have a pretty good shop.

ROMANS: Zach, meanwhile, in the Republican field, there's someone people may not have ever heard of, his name is Mitt Romney, who did pretty well last night in Utah.

What -- how does Romney set up as a potential voice or resistance within the Republican Party to President Trump?

Or will he not?

WOLF: Mitt Romney is one of the most fascinating people in politics right now because this is his 12th act or something, I've lost count. He's coming back after, you know, being the party's nominee, after trying to stand in the way of Donald Trump.

But he'll be here presumably on Capitol Hill in November, in this elder statesman role but never having really been in Washington, which is kind of a remarkable place to be.

But if you look at him coming in, the sort of alarm bells for Nancy Pelosi in this Democratic win, it's -- like Harry said, the outsiders and how Mitt Romney became an outsider. He'll be essentially an outsider in Donald Trump's Washington, is a remarkable place for him.

ROMANS: And he'll have to build consensus with 99 other senators, which will be interesting because he says such a leadership role -- listen, he talked to Dana Bash. Let's listen to what he said.


DANA BASH, CNN SR. U.S. CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: When you go to the Senate, which Mitt Romney is going to go?

The one that called Donald Trump a fake and a phony?

Or the one who talked to him about being secretary of state?

MITT ROMNEY (R), SENATE CANDIDATE: I believe I've made it pretty clear that I'll stand with President Trump if the policies he's proposing are good for the state of Utah, for other states, for the nation. On the other hand, if he were to say something that is divisive and

significant, something which were racist or anti-woman or anti- immigrant, then I feel a moral responsibility to speak out. So I'll speak my mind.


ROMANS: It will be, Harry, very interesting to see how that dynamic will play out. That was, of course, Harry, before the primary.

ENTEN: Yes. Look, Mitt Romney is the candidate who -- certainly the senator who could be the most anti-Trump out of any of the Republicans in Washington. He's running in Utah, which is a state that Donald Trump only won by a little less than 20 points. Romney won by a little less than 50 points in 2012.

So there's clearly an anti-Trump mood within the Republican Party in Utah compared to others. And it will be interesting to see whether or not Romney takes full advantage of that.

ROMANS: All right, come back in a half hour. Zach, I want to ask you about all the Harley-Davidson stuff. This is really -- it's also really fascinating how that's going to work out for the president. So come back in a few minutes, guys. Thanks.

Breaking overnight, a federal judge ordering the reunification of families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border. San Diego federal judge Dana Sabra ordered federal officials to stop detaining parents apart from their children unless the parent is unfit.

The judge required the government to reunify parents with children under 5 years old within two weeks and ordered parents reunified with children 5 and older within 30 days.

BRIGGS: 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 Caesar says only six kids have been reunified with parents since the president's executive order last week to stop separations.

ROMANS: Just six kids reunited.

At the moment, confusion still reigns as authorities try to reunite these more than 2,000 families. Multiple agencies, including Departments of Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, the Justice Department, they all share this responsibility.

You know what, so far no single agency has stepped up to say it is leading the way.

BRIGGS: First lady Melania Trump has announced she'll pay a second visit to immigration facilities sometime this week. The spokeswoman says Ms. Trump is moved by what she is hearing and wants to continue to check on children.

But what will she wear the second time around?

Senior FBI agent --


BRIGGS: -- Peter Strzok set to speak with 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 ha already said he was willing to testify.

President Trump and conservative backers have made Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page the heart of the claim that the Bureau and Justice Department are biased against the president.

ROMANS: Strzok was removed from the Mueller investigation after it was found that he and Page exchanged private texts disparaging candidate Trump. In one of those 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 hears from FBI director Chris Wray and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein. They will be questioned about the watchdog report on the probe of Hillary Clinton's emails.

BRIGGS: Coming up, a ruling that could embolden the president's hardline stance on immigration. His travel ban upheld by the Supreme Court. But the justice who provided the swing vote with some words of caution for the president.





ROMANS: Vindication for President Trump. The third version of his travel ban, a version he once called watered down, has now been upheld by the Supreme Court.


TRUMP: 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, we know where they're coming from, we 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. 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, you'll recall he blocked the nomination of President Obama's Supreme Court pick, Merrick Garland, paving the way for President Trump to nominate Neil Gorsuch, who voted to uphold the travel ban. That has 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 is 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 an ugly signal to people who look at our country as a beacon of freedom and a beacon of inclusion.


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 seven countries, including North Korea.

ROMANS: President Trump is backtracking on his tough talk to restrict Chinese investment. Instead, he may give more power to an existing committee to protect U.S. technology. The administration was supposed to unveil tough investment restrictions this week.

Sources told us the government would block Chinese firms from buying industrially significant technology, targeting Beijing's "Made in China 2025" plan to dominate high-tech industries. But here's what the president said yesterday.


TRUMP: We have the greatest technology in the world. People copy it and steal it. We have the great scientists, the great brains and to protect that. We're going to protect it. That's what we're doing. That can be done through CFIUS. We will a lot of things we can do it through. We're working that out.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: CFIUS is the Committee on Foreign Investments in the U.S. It reviews foreign investments for national security threats, using that panel as a more measured approach than sweeping new restrictions.

Trump added that the action will hit all countries, not just China. He's echoing what the Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, has said. Mnuchin and trade adviser Peter Navarro sent mixed messages on Monday that frankly really confused folks in the market, who have been watching this on trade in China.

Mnuchin said any new measure will affect any country stealing U.S. tech. Navarro said it would focus on China. The big complaint about stealing U.S. technology has not been from really anybody but China.

BRIGGS: Perhaps some clarity from the administration later this morning.

Ahead, Lionel Messi and Argentina advance to the World Cup knockdown stage after coming within minutes of being eliminated. What a dramatic win it was. Andy Scholes has the "Bleacher Report" next.





BRIGGS: On the brink of elimination, Messi and Argentina find a way to survive to move on in the World Cup.

ROMANS: Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report."

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: After Argentina lost to Croatia, they had to have pretty much everything go right in order to advance out of the group stage. Yesterday they had to beat Nigeria.

Nigeria, meanwhile, could move on with just the tie. This was an absolutely fantastic game. Messi finally showing up at this World Cup. He came through with an amazing goal in the 14th minute to give Argentina the lead.

And Nigeria would even the score in the second half on a penalty. So it was desperation time for Argentina late in this game. Minutes away from their World Cup, coming to an end. But in the 86th minute, Marcos Rojo, a goal the entire country will never forget. Argentina fans in the stands overcome with emotion. Kids were crying. Grown men were crying. Argentina legend Diego Maradona held up two fingers, letting everyone know how many goals they had.

Check out the scene back in Buenos Aires.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SCHOLES (voice-over): It was just pandemonium when they scored that goal that gave them the win. The celebration even going as far south as Antarctica. Check out a research team celebrating the win in sub- zero temperatures. (INAUDIBLE).


SCHOLES (voice-over): -- continues this morning. Big day for Mexico. They can either win their group or even be eliminated, based on today's result with Sweden. They kick off at 10:00 Eastern. Brazil and Germany will also be in action today.


SCHOLES: And LeBron James has until Friday to let the Cavs know if he is going to opt out of his contract and become a free agent. The Lakers remain the overwhelming favorite in Vegas to land LeBron. Lakers' president of basketball operations, Magic Johnson, saying yesterday, if he doesn't land a marquee free agent this summer or next, he'll quit.


MAGIC JOHNSON, PRESIDENT OF BASKETBALL OPERATIONS, LOS ANGELES LAKERS: It's going to be a two-summer thing for the Lakers, this summer and next summer. And that's it. And then if I can't deliver, I'm going to step down myself so you won't have to fire me. I'll step away from it. You know, because then I can't do this job.


SCHOLES: Some strong words from Magic Johnson. He seems eerily confident that he's going to be able to make something happen.

BRIGGS: I don't get it, LeBron and Paul George, that's not enough to win a title. I don't think he can rule out Philly.

SCHOLES: My money's still on the Lakers.

BRIGGS: OK. That should be the story of the off season. Thank you, Andy, appreciate it.

ROMANS: All right, 26 minutes past the hour. A jolt to the Democratic establishment. A 10-term incumbent, a 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.