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Cave Rescue Resumes, Boys And Coach Face Dangerous Rescue; Supreme Court Top Contenders Showdown; Diplomatic Disconnect; North Korea, U.S. Has Gangster Like Mindset; Pompeo, North Korea Talks Productive; Murder Investigation Underway On Russia Nerve Agent Attacks. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired July 9, 2018 - 04:00   ET



DAVE BRIGGS, EARLY START SHOW CO-HOST: Breaking news out of Thailand. Rescue crews making that dangerous trip back through the cave where eight boys have been stuck for more than two weeks. We're live at the scene.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm getting very close to making a final decision.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, EARLY START SHOW CO-HOST: A primetime announcement from the east room as President Trump changes the courts for decades to come.

BRIGGS: Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo insisting talk between the U.S. and North Korea are still on track as Pyongyang accuses the U.S. of quote, gangster like negotiations. Good morning everyone. Welcome to "Early Start." I'm Dave Briggs. Good to see you my friend.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It is Monday, July 9th. It is 4:00 a.m. in the East, it is 3:00 p.m. in Thailand. Let us get in there with the breaking news. Rescue operations have resumed in Thailand. Divers reentering the underground cave where eight boys and their soccer coach remain stuck now for the 17th day.

BRIGGS: Officials say, four boys evacuated Sunday from the flooded cave are in good health. But rescue teams are running out of time. The mission complicated by the forecast of heavy rains. CNN's Ivan Watson, live near the cave with the latest. Ivan, good morning.

IVAN WATSON, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Good morning, Dave and Christine, as we speak, according to Thai authorities, a second day of rescue operations are under way deep in the mountain behind me in the cave complex there where the soccer team has been trapped for more than two weeks. We don't know how many of the remaining eight boys and their 25-year-old coach that the rescuers are trying to pull out today. As you mentioned, four were rescued last night and choppered to

hospital in the provincial capital for treatment, where they will be isolated to concerns about potential health risks with the kind of their immune levels are down and worn down after all this time in the caves. The rescue operation, according to Thai authorities involves about 90 people. Many of them foreign experts and international divers as well as Thai divers.

And according to the Thai authorities, they were able to get the four boys out ahead of schedule quite a bit earlier than they had expected. Four boys out within about two and a half hours of each other. Kind of staggered. Two boys about 20 minutes apart. And then two hours later, another two boys 20 minutes apart.

The families are not being told if their children have been rescued yet. They're being kept separated from the rescued children. That may be due to some sensitivities about not wanting to be seen to be playing favorites. It is still a very delicate operation. We will keep you posted as we learn more. Dave and Christine.

BRIGGS: And from what we understand, being kept away from the kids in part over concerns from infectious disease. Ivan Watson, thanks so much, we will check back with you in the next half hour.

ROMANS: An underwater cave rescue like this is among the most difficult type of rescue diving there is. Joining us this morning via Skype rescue diver instructor and cave diver, Paul Sumner. Nice to see you. When you think about these boys, with no diving experience, they cannot swim, they are in murky and muddy waters. Rushing through over a full facemask on. What are your biggest concerns?

PAUL SUMNER, RESCUE DIVER INSTRUCTOR AND CAVE DIVER: Anxiety and panic probably more than anything. These boys and their coach have never done this kind of swimming this type of scuba diving in the past. And for a cave diver, we're trained to deal with emergency situations by the time an individual even trains to become a cave diver, you have to have at least 100 hours of scuba diving under your belt before you can even begin to train. So to have -- to know that you got a comfort level and your instructor would know that you got a comfort level to be in these kind of conditions. To be in these murky conditions that are totally foreign to this entire group and to suddenly put them on to a completely foreign type of breathing equipment and in the dark which they have been for two weeks now. To put them in the water and treacherous conditions that are challenging at best for somebody that is trained to do this is a very difficult, difficult concern that panic and anxiety might lead to panic.

BRIGGS: And particularly with the kids who many did not know how to swim before this began. So, there is a sense of relief, because four kids have been removed. But give us a sense of how big a challenge still lies ahead as we have eight more boys, plus their coach stuck. And now that the weather is turning. The rain is picking up.

[04:05:14] SUMNER: Yes. I heard the number of personnel that are being utilized to now, we had eight boys and one coach remaining. And yet, it only appears that there are four divers that are effecting this, I am sure that they are doing it in small numbers to be sure that there are no complications and if they are they can stop as opposed to trying to move all nine people at one time. But with the rain concerns coming up, I'm sure that is weighing quite heavily on these rescuers and whether or not they have a back-upset of rescuers trying to move the remaining individuals that they are unable move through the system today.

ROMANS: Paul, it is remarkable to think about the logistics of this and we should pause for a moment and remember the rescue diver who died trying to setting up oxygen tanks for these very rescue and ran out of air himself. This is a lot of time to prepare and then just painstaking the removal of the divers. There are a lot of folks involved. Talk to me a little bit about your perception of the logistics here.

SUMNER: The logistics in these case are unheard of for this type of operation. They're not unheard of in the cave diving world. There are a number of divers that have explored systems that have never been seen before and particular case in point here in Florida in the north Florida area, there is an area called Wacoal springs. And a group of divers logistically similar to this that have explored some 13 plus miles underground and continue to explore this system do so with the help of a large number of volunteers that spent two and three days doing exactly or very similar to what we see here.

Staging equipment deeper, deeper and deeper into the caves, so those that are going to make the final push as the term that is used in this case those four dive instructors or excuse me, the Navy SEALS, they are going to make that final push to reach those boys and get these next group out, it is very similar in operation. Except in the case of what we see here from exploration. They are doing it in perfectly gin clear water conditions as opposed to murky, muddy conditions.

ROMANS: We know it is so muddy there, Paul Sumner, rescue dive instructor, former Miami Beach fire and rescue cave diver, thank you so much, sir. Talk to you again soon.

BRIGGS: We will continue monitoring that situation in Thailand.

But today also marks the start of what could be the biggest week for the Trump administration so far. The President set to announce his pick to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice, Anthony Kennedy. And a primetime address tonight from the East room. He will also embark on a trip to Europe that includes a NATO summit and a visit with the queen and a high stakes sit down with Vladimir Putin. One week from today.

ROMANS: While all of that is going on, the president's legal team signaling it is becoming less and less likely Mr. Trump will grant an interview in the Russia investigation led by Special Counsel, Robert Mueller. More now from CNN's Boris Sanchez.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN NEWSROOM HOST: Christine and Dave, President Trump getting set to make that historic announcement tonight at 9:00 for his nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Of course, the back drop of that decision is the news over the weekend that Rudy Giuliani has laid out some very serious demands of the Special Counsel so that Robert Mueller could sit down one-on-one with President Trump.

Giuliani is essentially asking the Special Counsel to provide some kind of evidence that would lead to suspicion of wrongdoing on behalf of President Trump. Giuliani does not believe that Robert Mueller would comply with some of these demands. He has openly said so suggesting that he believes Mueller would then issue a subpoena to try to compel the President to testify. Something that Giuliani says he would challenge in court. Here is more from the President's attorney on "State of the Union" Sunday morning.

RUDY GUILIANI, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: I have no idea what he is going to do. I think if he does, we could have the subpoena quashed. To subpoena the President has never been done successfully in the history on this country. There is a very, very strong law that the president cannot be subjected to criminal process. The reality is that we have a very strong argument that they have not made a case for an interview.

SANCHEZ: Now these developments out from the Russia investigation come during a very busy week for the President. He doesn't just have the Supreme Court pick to announce, but also his trip to Europe.

[04:10:05] To meet with NATO allies, to visit the United Kingdom and his sit down with one on one chat with Vladimir Putin next week in Finland. Christine and Dave.


BRIGGS: All right. Boris, thank you. And the President wrapped up the weekend at his golf course in New Jersey Sunday. He said he is still not settled on a Supreme Court pick. Sources tell us he worked the phones all weekend seeking advice. These appear to be the final four. All federal appeals court Judges. Trying the most buzz in political and legal circles. Former Kennedy Clerk, Brett Kavanaugh, who is hundreds of opinions, so strong conservative views on executive power and religious freedom. Amy Coney Barrett, named by President Trump to the seventh circuit. She wrote extensively on religion as a law professor at Notre Dame.

ROMANS: And Raymond Kethledge, another former Kennedy Clerk, said to share the legal philosophy of Justice Neil Gorsuch. And Thomas Hardiman, runner up for the Gorsuch, he wrote a dissent favoring gun rights in the New Jersey handgun regulation case. Kethledge and Hardiman are both favors to Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell who has been advising Trump or told daily, but another adviser Leonard Leo, who assembled, the president's list contenders has concerns.


LEONARD LEO, TRUMP ADVISER ON JUDICIAL NOMINATION: I think that first of all with regard to Ray Kethledge and Thom Hardiman, they are a little bit less known by conservatives. And their records are a little bit lighter. So, it might take some time. But it is important to have people who are extremely well known and had distinguished records.


ROMANS: CNN will carry the president's announcement live tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

BRIGGS: Who do you got?

ROMANS: I don't know.

BRIGGS: I think the President wants a fight which means Amy Coney Barrett.

ROMANS: You know, there have been a lot of other judicial appointments, you know, down the food chain and there are a lot of very young judges. This President is trying to reshape the courts in a conservative way for decades to come.

BRIGGS: Don't rule out Hardiman. The biography there, I think it is tempting for the president.

Ahead, a major deadline this week and the process to reunite migrant children with their parents. Why the Trump administration is asking for more time. Next.


ROMANS: The Justice Department and the ACLU returned to court this afternoon with the government trying to extend the deadline for reuniting migrant families separated at the border. The administrations already indicating it will not meet Tuesday deadline to reunite children under the age of five. Admitting it does not know where some of the parents are including at least 19 who had been deported. Over the weekend, the ACLU received a government list of names of approximately 100 children under five who were taken from their parents.

BRIGGS: After meeting with Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, North Korea again firing up the anti-American rhetoric. Accusing the U.S. of having quote gangster like mind-set during denuclearization talks and even describing the negotiations as quote, regrettable. But Pompeo says the talks represent progress. The Secretary of State insisting, the process is still on course. Lindsey Graham doesn't exactly see it that way. The Republican senator think China is calling the shots for the North Koreans.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If I were President Trump, I would not let China use North Korea to back me off the trade dispute. We have more bullets than they do, when it comes to trade. There is no doubt in any mind that it is the Chinese are pulling the North Koreans back.


BRIGGS: All right. Let's go live to Seoul and bring in Andrew Stevens. Andrew, what is the reaction from the region?

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN NEWSTREAM ANCHOR: Good morning, Dave. Well, China has just reacted saying it is totally groundless to suggest that China is in any way influencing the talks between North Korea and the United States. They say their role is always to be constructive and they urge as they always do more dialogue between the two key parties. So they are not having a bias on what Lindsey Graham is saying.

Here in South Korea, it is basically, the reaction has been -- yes it has been a bit rocky, but they are still very positive at the Blue House, which is the equivalent of the White House here in South Korea. They say that really because there is such a strong relationship between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, this will happen. Denuclearization will happen. But foundations are strong they say. They quoted a proverb. If the Foundation is strong, it means the building will go high.

Interestingly, though, given what has happened, you have to say those Foundations at this stage, Dave, it look like they are being built on pretty shifting sands. I mean, Mike Pompeo was setting a fairly low bar. He was managing expectations down before he got here. He did not really hit those lower expectations as you looked at it. He did not get any sort of timeline on denuclearization. He did not get a real clear picture, as far as we understand on what sort of the nuclear arsenal. What sort of nuclear infrastructure North Korea actually has and as we know, he did not actually meet Kim Jong-un either and he left being called a gangster.

So you cannot really see that in any positive light whatsoever. Interestingly though, that South Koreans are saying, this is all just a preamble. Really, this is a negotiation. We are seeing images at the surface. We don't know what is going on under the water. But if the surface is any guide, it is pretty ugly under water as well, Dave.

BRIGGS: And it appears and to your point, no meeting with Kim Jong- un says an awful lot. Andrew Stevens live for us in Seoul this morning. And Mike Pompeo says the choice lies with North Korea and its people. I'm not sure the people of North Korea have any choice in the future for their country.

Ahead, a mother of three dies in England after being exposed to a nerve agent. The latest on the investigation and what it has to do with Russia, next.


ROMANS: British counterterrorism police investigating the death of the woman exposed to the Russian nerve agent Novichok as murder. Authorities say, 44-year-old Dawn Sturgess died Sunday after touching a contaminated item. Detectives are working to identify the source where this came from. This same chemical was used in the March attack on the former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. They have both been released from the hospital. Russia denies any involvement in that incident. 45 year-old Charles Rowley was also expose to the nerve agent last week. He is still in the hospital in critical condition.

BRIGGS: At least 100 people in the southwest of Japan have died after days of torrential rainfall that caused flash floods and landslides. Japan's fire and disaster management agency reports 112 people are injured and 15 are missing and 68 unaccounted for. These are the heaviest rains Japan has seen in decades. 2 million people have been ordered to evacuate. Hundred of homes have been destroyed or damaged. The Japanese official says, 73,000 people are working on search and rescue efforts.

[04:25:07] ROMANS: The U.S. threatened other nations in an effort to weaken a World Health Organization measure that encourage breast feeding. The New York Times reports, the U.S. took issue with language and resolution encouraging member governments to protect and promote and support breast feeding. More than a dozen of participants in various countries told the Times, U.S. Delegates threatened retribution on trade and military aid to Ecuador. That was the measure's original sponsor. But the resolution passed largely unchanged after Russia stepped in as a sponsor.

This really surprised so many people, because the health benefits around the world of breast feeding are just not even scientifically opposed. For the United States to step in to weaken that really was something that caught a lot of people by surprise.

BRIGGS: We will let you know, let us think about that at Early Start on Twitter.

Ahead, President Trump with arguably the most consequential week he will had thus far. It all starts tonight when he announces his Supreme Court pick and then he heads to a NATO summit. We will breakdown the final four contenders for the Supreme Court ahead.