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EARLY START

President Trump's Warning To NATO Allies; President Trump Has Interviewed Four High Court Candidates; Search Teams Unsure How To Rescue Trapped Boys In Thailand Cave; Secretary of State Pompeo Returning To North Korea. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired July 3, 2018 - 05:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:31:28] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The latest sign decades-long alliances are crumbling. The president warning he'll pull American military might if NATO allies don't increase defense spending.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Our first look at the short list for the Supreme Court. The president conducts his first four interviews with more to come. He's said to want a woman for the job.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RESCUER: How many of you?

CHILDREN: Thirteen.

RESCUER: Thirteen?

CHILDREN: Yes, 13.

RESCUER: Brilliant.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: A huge sigh of relief as a youth soccer team is found alive in a cave, but a daunting task for rescuers in Thailand getting everyone out.

We have reports this morning from Thailand as well as Germany, China, and Washington. It is the story we can't enough of and here is their cover of the "New York Post" -- "The Lost Boys." What a compelling turn of events.

ROMANS: Yes.

BRIGGS: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is 32 minutes past the hour.

We're told that there are Navy SEALs staying with them. They're not being left alone.

BRIGGS: Wow.

ROMANS: They've been given some power packs -- liquid gel power packs for --

BRIGGS: Yes, and they were malnourished.

ROMANS: --nourishment. And now, they have to figure out how to get those kids out of there.

All right, let's start here, though.

President Trump dealing another damaging blow to post-war alliances. In letters to the leaders of America's longstanding NATO allies, the president is demanding they increase defense spending and scolding them, threatening to alter America's global military presence if they don't.

The letters, first reported by "The New York Times," were sent to countries including Belgium, Norway, Canada, and Germany last month. According to the "Times," the president was especially critical in his letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

BRIGGS: He writes, quote, "Continued German underspending on defense undermines the security of the alliance and provides validation for other allies that also do not plan to meet their military spending commitments because others see you as a role model."

The letters fit a pattern of Trump critiques of NATO, particularly over defense spending. NATO members did increase overall defense spending for a second straight year in 2017 but the U.S. still paid about 70 percent.

The president travels to Belgium next week for the NATO summit.

ROMANS: Chancellor Merkel also facing a domestic problem with global consequences. She just avoided a breakup of the German government over immigration.

In a major reversal, she has now agreed to conservative demands to build camps for asylum seekers. Merkel had been a standard-bearer for welcoming migrants and she stakes her global reputation on it.

We get more from Atika Shubert live in Berlin.

Atika, any reaction this morning to this report that we've been telling you about, about the president's demands of Angela Merkel and NATO allies -- the president's scolding letter, frankly, that they pay more?

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, nothing official from the chancellor's office yet. She's obviously been tied up in that political crisis you mentioned earlier. But there's already been a lot of anxiety in Germany, and certainly in the government, about the upcoming NATO summit.

There is no doubt Germany currently spends 1.2 percent of its budget for defense. That is far less than the two percent target that NATO needs -- or is actually, voluntary in NATO -- and it's set to pay only 1.2 percent for the next four years.

So this is a major point of contention between the U.S. and Germany. We're waiting to see what the chancellor will say.

We do know the defense minister, Ursula von der Leyen, is expected to hold some sort of a briefing later this evening, so if we get any reaction from that we'll let you know.

ROMANS: All right. Atika Shubert for us live in Berlin this morning. Thank you so much.

[05:35:01] And, Angela Merkel, with her domestic issues going on about the migrant crisis --

BRIGGS: Yes.

ROMANS: -- and also sort of this external pressure from the President of the United States -- the scolding letter saying you guys need to pay up.

BRIGGS: It should make for a fascinating NATO summit --

ROMANS: Oh, yes.

BRIGGS: -- won't it?

Joining us this morning from Washington, Daniel Lippman, reporter and co-author of the Politico "Playbook." Welcome back, sir.

ROMANS: Good morning, Dan.

DANIEL LIPPMAN, REPORTER, POLITICO, CO-AUTHOR OF POLITICO "PLAYBOOK": Thank you, good morning.

BRIGGS: If you are Vladimir Putin, what do you make of the president's breaking down of these alliances -- in particular, NATO?

LIPPMAN: So, Putin would not be happy if European countries actually spent all that more money -- all that additional money that Trump wants them to spend. But it's almost like he could have suggested to Trump just keep scolding those European leaders -- let's try to put them down more.

Because it just hurts the European-U.S. alliance when you have open antagonism between us and Europe because you really want a united front against a Russia that seems to be trying to test its capabilities to expand and project its power.

They have meddled in our elections, they have meddled in a number of European country's elections. And, Trump doesn't seem to want to talk about this but he wants to continue hitting them over this defense spending issue.

ROMANS: It's a remarkable conflict of the G7. The president says he'd like Russia to come back in and make it the G8 again.

You've got the president talking about ways that he can skirt rules of the World Trade Organization.

And then, this NATO summit coming up where there could be conflict. And you have veteran diplomats, Dan, who are really concerned about conflicts among friends that position Trump to be very friendly with an adversary when he meets one-on-one with Putin.

LIPPMAN: And a lot of those veteran diplomats that you speak of, Christine -- all of them are retired. There are not that many people still left at the State Department with a ton of experience.

I wrote a story last year about how the number of applicants to join the U.S. Foreign Service, part of the State Department or diplomatic core, have plummeted.

ROMANS: Wow.

LIPPMAN: And so, that's a real concern about is Trump getting enough advice or is he going to leave -- is he even listening to the State Department and Foggy Bottom when they advise him on what to do with Europe and the rest of the world?

BRIGGS: All right.

Meanwhile, domestically, it's that Supreme Court opening that is front and center for President Trump. All attention will be focused on that. We got our first glimpse at the first four the president interviewed and four that are clearly on the short list.

And here's what the president had to say yesterday about this opening and who he might pick.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I interviewed and met with four potential justices of our great Supreme Court. They are outstanding people. They are really incredible people in so many different ways -- academically and every other way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Now, the fact, Daniel, that it's already been farmed out -- that list of The Federalist Society -- these are already --

ROMANS: Right.

BRIGGS: -- very conservative candidates, what's left on the president's list of qualities he wants to see in this opening?

LIPPMAN: So, he wants to have good personal chemistry with the nominee and the White House counsel's office is also very interested in what their views are on the regulatory administrative state. Remember, Steve Bannon -- his big hobby horse was deconstructing the

administrative state and you're already seeing that down in Texas where they just did not do the proper processes in terms of making sure that they would reunite the kids if they were -- if they reversed that policy, which they did.

One striking detail that you probably saw but maybe not all of our viewers did, was that Trump is interested in making sure that his justice nominee is very academically well-qualified, but he's not going to actually read any of the papers --

ROMANS: Right.

LIPPMAN: -- that he's written or any of the opinions.

He said a couple of days ago that he -- you know, that the opinions were brilliant, but I guarantee you --

ROMANS: Yes.

LIPPMAN: -- that he has not read a single Supreme Court opinion. Those are even -- those are hard for even Supreme Court reporters to get through.

BRIGGS: Yes.

ROMANS: This president is -- he -- television banners and short amounts of material is what everyone around him has said that really motivates him.

BRIGGS: Central casting will be key here.

ROMANS: Let me ask you, quickly -- tariffs, that's my beat. The president taking on the world on tariffs. You guys are leading on Politico this morning with a story about how in his own party there are -- there are those who'd like to kill the president's ambitions with tariffs.

Bring us up to speed there.

LIPPMAN: Yes, they want to limit his ability to enact tariffs and they also see him abusing his authority on the so-called national security provision. It's hard for the administration to argue that Canada and Europe is a threat to our national security when we're importing products from them.

[05:40:08] And so they're trying -- Republicans, traditionally the party of free trade, they want to limit Trump's ability to actually carry out these economy-damaging tariffs.

ROMANS: It's been so fascinating, too, just to listen to some of these companies complain that they're trying to get exemptions from the president's steel and aluminum tariffs and what a bureaucratic mess it is. And then, the lobbying from the American steel producers -- aluminum producers against other American companies from getting exemptions. This is a White House that -- it sort of -- he came into power by saying he was going to get rid of bureaucracy. It's going to take a huge bureaucracy, frankly, to be able to implement his --

LIPPMAN: And thousands of applications for extensions or withdrawals from --

BRIGGS: Yes.

LIPPMAN: -- exemptions from those tariffs.

ROMANS: Fascinating.

BRIGGS: Daniel Lippman, from Politico. Thanks, my friend.

ROMANS: Nice to see you.

LIPPMAN: Thanks, guys.

ROMANS: All right.

The Trump administration has one week -- one week to meet a court- ordered deadline for reuniting children under five and their parents who were separated under that Trump policy at the border.

The Department of Health and Human Services is refusing to discuss how many families have already been reunited or even how the process is going. Now, the total number of children in the agency's care unchanged since Friday.

BRIGGS: On Monday, 11 Democratic senators, including Elizabeth Warren, sent a letter to HHS and the Department of Homeland Security demanding weekly updates and briefings.

Not long after that request, the official White House Twitter account took a partisan turn targeting Warren and Sen. Kamala Harris for their recent comments about abolishing or reforming ICE. Those posts were actually then retweeted by the president's official account.

Coming up, they are alive but their ordeal is far from over. Rescuers working on a plan to get that youth soccer team out of a cave in Thailand. We are live there, next on EARLY START.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:46:09] BRIGGS: All hope was about lost. Now, enormous relief in Thailand as rescue teams found a youth soccer team alive in a cave nearly 10 days after the group went missing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RESCUER: How many of you?

CHILDREN: Thirteen.

RESCUER: Thirteen? CHILDREN: Yes, 13.

RESCUER: Brilliant.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: The rescue mission, though, far from over. They still must find a way to get the kids and their coach out from underground.

CNN's Anna Coren live for us in Thailand near the opening to that cave. What a scene it must be and a sense of relief. Anna, good morning.

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Dave. Look, it was the outcome everybody was hoping for but few actually thought would happen, and when we got news that those boys were alive -- well, everybody was cheering and crying. There is just a sense of elation and relief.

Now, I want to take you over to the entrance of the mouth of the cave. We can't access it. It's been cordoned off to the media now but this is where the divers, the cavers -- where everybody is accessing the cave.

A few hundred meters in that direction, that is where they head every single day. There's another diver coming.

Over here where the blue tents are there's scuba gear. There's lots and lots of oxygen tanks and they are going to need them over the coming days, weeks, and who knows, possibly months, Dave.

There is a real possibility that they're going to have to train these 12 boys and their coach how to scuba dive, which in these conditions is extremely, extremely difficult.

You're talking about flooded caves, you're talking about narrow passageways. The water is muddy, it's thick. Professional divers can't even see in front of their eyes.

Some of these young boys -- some of these kids, they can't even swim so they are going to have real challenges insofar as teaching them to scuba dive, encouraging them to swim up against torrents of water.

I mean, people would like to think that they're going to come out in the next couple of days or weeks but it could very well be much longer, Dave.

BRIGGS: Still, at least to have some hope. A tremendous turnabout.

Anna Coren live for us in Thailand, thank you.

ROMANS: All right.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo heading back to North Korea this week to meet face-to-face with Kim Jong Un. The Trump administration pushing for a deal to dismantle the region's nuclear program as, frankly, doubts swirl in the U.S. Intelligence Community about Kim's commitment to giving up his nukes.

CNN's Will Ripley tracking the latest developments. He is live for us this morning -- evening there in Beijing. Hi, Will.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Christine.

Yes, the pressure is really on Sec. Pompeo and his delegation when they arrive in Pyongyang on Thursday and they'll be there for two days. And they are expected to present a plan to the North Koreans for full denuclearization in 12 months, but what they're expecting is a full inventory of North Korea's nuclear program.

How many warheads they have. There have been some estimates that there's upwards of 60.

What about the nuclear facilities? What about the missiles facilities?

The United States expects full transparency and a time line. They want the denuclearization process to happen as quickly as possible and frankly, that could be very different -- it's likely very different from what the North Koreans are prepared to give.

They have long looked at the denuclearization process as a long, step- by-step process with the United States giving up some of its nuclear assets in exchange for North Korea doing the same, and that could really be a non-starter kind of putting to end all of the warm feelings that happened after the Singapore summit.

President Trump saying that he trusts North Korean leader Kim Jong Un but trust can only get you so far when you're talking about a country that has its nuclear arsenal written into its constitution.

The Defense Intelligence Agency telling CNN they do not believe that Kim is ready to give up his nuclear weapons anytime soon. That intelligence report being shared around the United States Intelligence Community. If they all concur, that would be a complete intelligence assessment formally passed up to President Trump.

[05:50:04] But with his skepticism about things like the Russia investigation and other U.S. intelligence work, will he believe the intelligence or will he push forward with possible plans for a summit in the United States in September with Kim Jong Un, as Axios is reporting?

After Sec. Pompeo leaves Pyongyang he'll travel to Tokyo to meet with his Chinese and South Korean counterparts, and then he will brief the president at the NATO summit in Brussels. And certainly, they'll be lots to talk about, Christine.

ROMANS: Oh, absolutely, no question.

All right. Will Ripley for us in Beijing. Thank you so much.

Let's get a check on "CNN Money" this morning. Stocks around the world are mostly higher right now. It will be a short day for Wall Street. U.S. markets close at 1:00 p.m. today to get a jump on the Fourth of July.

A positive day yesterday. A big tech rally countered trade tensions between the U.S. and its trading partners.

Dell is ready to return to Wall Street, going public after five years. The computer company went private back in 2013 to look at overhaul its business free from the scrutiny of investors. Dell first went public in 1988.

Lyft is moving beyond cars. It is buying Motivate, the largest bike- share operator in the U.S. It runs Citi Bike in New York and Capital Bikeshare in Washington.

Lyft has been moving into other forms of transportation, integrating public transit into its app and allowing users to carpool, but this also lets Lyft compete with rival Uber. Uber bought a bike-share company back in April.

Summer blockbusters minting a record at the box office, raking in $3.3 billion in the second quarter, the most ever. Two big movies led the way -- "INCREDIBLES 2" and "JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM." Both are sequels to well-known properties and together earned about $1.3 billion in June, a big rebound for Hollywood.

Last summer was the worst box office haul in a decade but this year up, so far, 15 percent. It could go even higher. There are a number of blockbusters still set to be released, starting with Marvel's "ANT- MAN AND THE WASP" this weekend.

A lot of good movies out there to see and --

BRIGGS: Yes.

ROMANS: -- it's hot, so a reason to go.

BRIGGS: I was just going to say the heat is a good reason to get inside the theater.

Speaking of that heat, it's become very dangerous. It could make you feel as hot as 110 degrees today in the east. The heat wave even turning deadly.

The full forecast, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:56:35] BRIGGS: A Cleveland man facing terror charges. Officials say Demetrius Nathaniel Pitts made plans to bomb the city's downtown Fourth of July parade.

The FBI put Pitts under surveillance last year after he said on social media he wanted to join al-Qaeda. Pitts told an undercover agent last month he would case downtown Cleveland for potential targets. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUSTIN HERDMAN, U.S. ATTORNEY: He looked for locations to park a van that would be packed with explosives. He talked about taking targets like St. John's Cathedral off the map.

And just yesterday, he discussed giving remote control cars packed with explosives and shrapnel to the children of our military uniformed members.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Wow. No comment yet from Pitts' attorney.

ROMANS: Hot, dry, windy conditions fueling the wildfires in the west.

In California, more than 2,000 personnel battling the County fire in Napa and Yolo counties. In Colorado, more than 100 homes destroyed in the Spring Creek fire. Both those fires have burned more than 60,000 acres.

And a wildfire burning in north-central Utah exploded Monday into a 30,000-acre blaze forcing the evacuation of between 200 and 300 homes. Officials describe the Dollar Ridge fire as so extreme they can't get aircraft or personnel anywhere near that one.

BRIGGS: The heat wave blanketing the east coast has turned deadly. Pennsylvania officials say a woman died after going into cardiac arrest Saturday while working in her garden. Nearly 60 million Americans remain under a heat alert.

Meteorologist Ivan Cabrera in the weather center for us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

IVAN CABRERA, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hey, guys. Again, another hot day today. I think though if we get through today we'll be in much better shape heading into Independence Day, Thursday and Friday. We'll get temperatures back to where they should be for this time of year.

But look at all the heat warnings. Millions upon millions of us still under a either heat advisory, right, or a heat warning across Philly and into New York as well.

Oh, and by the way, we're sharing the love or pain with the midsection and in Cincinnati as well. We have a heat watch, just a tick down from the heat advisory or warning.

But still, no matter how you slice it, it's just going to be hot. We're talking temperatures into the 90s and 100s. I'll show you those in a second.

But while we're here take a look at, once again, large hail and damaging wind potential. Some strong thunderstorms from Rapid City to Lincoln and down towards Yuma as well. Here are the numbers. Highs in the 90s. You factor in the humidity because that's what's been the killer, really, the last few days, right, and it makes it feel like about 100 to 110 for later this afternoon.

But by tomorrow, temperatures will come down. Look at this. Highs -- oh, this is going to feel like winter now. Temperatures in the mid- 80s from Wednesday heading into Friday and into next weekend -- guys.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right. Ivan, thank you for that.

Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now. We'll see you tomorrow.

ROMANS: Thank you for the hot --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I interviewed four potential justices. They are outstanding people.

CHARLIE DENT (R), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, PENNSYLVANIA: If the president were playing smart politics he would probably nominate a woman.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Another conservative (INAUDIBLE) to dial back the clock decade. This is an all hands on deck moment.

RESCUER: How many of you?

CHILDREN: Thirteen.

RESCUER: Thirteen?

CHILDREN: Yes, 13.

RESCUER: Brilliant.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: After nine days, all 12 missing Thai soccer players and their coach have been found alive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This rescue has really only just begun.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

BERMAN: All right. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, July third, Independence Day eve, 6:00 here in New York.

John Avlon also with us this morning.

This is the "Starting Line."