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Trump's Big Week: SCOTUS Pick, Europe Trip; Bar Raised For Mueller To Interview Trump; Trump To Announce Supreme Court Pick; Rescue Efforts Resume To Save Trapped Kids In Cave. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired July 9, 2018 - 05:00   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: We are going to live to the scene there. We are told the rescue is are under way. So, we're going to go and see what's happening there.

Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Dave Briggs, Monday, July 9th, 5:00 a.m. in the East, 4:00 p.m. in Thailand where diver rescue operations have started once again. More on that in just a minute.

But today marks the start of what could be the biggest week for the Trump administration thus far. The president set to announce his pick to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in the primetime address tonight from the east room.

He also embarks on a trip to Europe that includes a NATO summit, visit with the queen and high stakes sit-down with Vladimir Putin.

ROMANS: While all that is going on, the president's legal team is signaling it is becoming 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 CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, 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 testifying. 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 GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: I have no idea what he will do. I think if he does, we could have the subpoena quashed. To subpoena the president has never been done successfully in the history of this country. There is 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 of the Russia investigation come during a very busy week for the president. He doesn't just have that Supreme Court pick to announce, but also his trip to Europe to meet with NATO allies, visit the United Kingdom and the sit down with Vladimir Putin next week in Finland -- Dave and Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Boris, thank you.

BRIGGS: All right. Joining us now is CNN Political Analyst, Julian Zelizer, historian and professor at Princeton University. Good to see you.


BRIGGS: The final four tonight 9:00 Eastern Time, the president makes the pick for the Supreme Court. Who do you think he picks and what will it tell us about the direction this president is taking?

ZELIZER: I think he will probably pick Hardiman, but that is a guess. I think he wants someone very conservative. He wants someone he can get through, but he also wants someone who will allow him to fight. We will see how confident he is and his ability to go bold. This is an important pick for him politically and in terms of policy.

BRIGGS: Hardiman is interesting because he was the runner up for Gorsuch according to reports. And the narrative is interesting, first, in his family to go to college, he put himself through college by driving taxi. He is not the typical ivy league guy either.

ROMANS: One woman on this short list for Supreme Court, Senator Orrin Hatch had this op-ed I want to read. It has some interesting language. He said, "No matter the nominees' background or credentials, progressives will do everything they can to paint her as a closest partisan if not an outright extremist.

I will devote all my energies to ensuring that we confirm the kind of Supreme Court justice America needs. A justice who says what the law is not what she wants it to be." What do you make of that?

ZELIZER: Well, I think you are getting an outline of what this is going to look like. I mean, I think everyone in the game, meaning the Republicans want someone to push this court to the right.

BRIGGS: But the word she, you don't -- ZELIZER: Right. McConnell, though, has a different kind of pick. He

is nervous about Barrett and so there are different Republicans. We don't know who Trump will listen to. My guess is he will listen to who Trump wants to listen to, someone big, bold and dramatic. He always wants big, bold and dramatic. So, that's what we should keep our eye on.

BRIGGS: He's in charge of the Senate Judiciary Committee, that's why that matters and she's the one who picks the biggest fight for him because of her past religious writings and what people think that will means for Roe v. Wade. It is going to be a fascinating night.

But let's talk about the week that's ahead for the president. Tomorrow, the NATO summit begins. You wrote about this on In part, being against it seems to b to be president Trump's favorite mantra.

He has stirred up a hornet's nest with our NATO allies, and then he meets with Putin one week from today. What will this NATO summit tell us again about the direction this president wants to take about how he views our allies?

ZELIZER: Well, look, relations with all of the people who will be in the room are not good. They are afraid. They are tense. They are incredibly fragile. I don't think Trump will reverse himself. I don't think the president will all of a sudden have a nice and warm meeting. I think he is going to keep pushing them on issues like defense spending. He will send signals that he wants to talk with Putin.

[05:05:11] BRIGGS: But he has moved them on spending. Why not go there and take credit for it and take a bow and keep unity? Unity is one of the themes of this NATO summit.

ZELIZER: Not this president. This president wants to shake things up and break things even when he is ahead on the policy.

ROMANS: And the editorial board of "The Wall Street Journal" says, "The weakness in Mr. Trump's NATO diplomacy so far has been his willingness to denigrate the alliance even to the point of suggesting America might withdraw from it. Maybe that is meant to scare other members into meeting their financial commitments.

But when Mr. Putin hears the same comments, they sound weak and fracturing West." Putin is driven by the conviction that anything that weakens the U.S. benefits Russia, anything that weakens the alliance benefits Russia. Trump has been briefed on this but chooses to ignore it.

ZELIZER: That is true and that's what the warning has been. These alliances are not a source of weakness. This is what America's strength depends on. Putin has been very he wants to wreck these alliances as well. The president doesn't believe that. In some ways, the president goes against what everyone is telling him.

We have to remember this. There is part of him who believes there is strength in NATO. So, his first response is I will do what I want, and I might just break things up.

ROMANS: In the U.K, you have a mother of three who is dead because of Novichok nerve agent used by Russian assassins. I mean, it is remarkable how our tolerance for Russian shenanigans.

BRIGGS: You have Republicans warning the president on Crimea telling him what he needs to do, but again not going to listen to Republicans. Hey, he is begging for a fight. He is itching for one whether it is the supreme court ornate owe. Julian -- supreme court or NATO. Julian, we'll check back with you in 30 minutes.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

BRIGGS: The Justice Department and the ACLU returns to court this afternoon with the government trying to extend the deadline for reuniting migrant families separated at the border. The administration is already indicating it will not meet Tuesday's deadline to reunite children under the age of 5 admitting it does not know where some of the parents are including at least 19 who have been deported. Over the weekend, the ACLU received a list of names of approximately 100 children under 5 who were taken from their parents.

ROMANS: All right. After meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, North Korea firing up the anti-American rhetoric, accusing the U.S. of having, a gangster-like mindset during denuclearization talks even describing the negotiations as regrettable.

But Pompeo says the talks represent progress. The secretary of state insisting the process is still on course. Senator Lindsey Graham doesn't see it that way. The Republican senator told Fox News on Sunday he thinks China is influencing North Korea's rhetoric as leverage in its trade for with the United States.

BRIGGS: New allegations that Congressman Jim Jordan knew about the sexual misconduct by the team doctor at Ohio state some 30 years ago and did not report it. Jordan was then an assistant wrestling coach at the university.

A former wrester at the school telling CNN he and his teammates spoke openly about how the doctor would shower with the athletes and claims Jordan had to hear their conversations because he was there. The Ohio lawmaker denying any knowledge of sexual misconduct once again this weekend.


REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: I was never saw, heard of, told about any type of abuse. If I had been, I would have dealt with it.


BRIGGS: The chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, Congressman Mark Meadows, calling on members to support Jordan. The Ohio Republican is expected to return to Washington this week to fight these allegations.

ROMANS: American soybean farmers, pork producers, and automakers stand to lose in the U.S.-China trade war. The U.S. and China slapped tariffs worth $34 billion on each other Friday. The U.S. says it is combating China's years of unfair trade practices. Beijing says it's just responding to America's trade bullying.

China's tariffs target high-value U.S. exports like cars that will hurt U.S. companies like Ford and Tesla. Both of them export cars to China. The German automakers also build in the U.S. and shipped to China producing 800,000 cars last year in Alabama and South Carolina exporting about half of those.

Mercedes and BMW warned these tariffs will hurt profits forcing them to either absorb the costs or pass it along to customers. Beijing also targeting cash crops hitting farm country hard. China is a huge customer for dairy farmers, pork producers, and soybean farmers.

Soybeans, the top U.S. agriculture export to China last year. Farm goods are also strategic with about 18 states with the majority of the U.S. soybeans. All but two of those states voted for President Trump. I can tell you, some soul searching happening right now in Iowa, which went for Trump bigtime. Now those farmers are concerned that they will be collateral damage.

BRIGGS: Senator Joni Ernst says they are not concerned. They support the president in this battle.

ROMANS: Soybean farmers in Iowa, they trust the president and support him on this.

BRIGGS: We'll see. A race against time, meanwhile, in Thailand, where rescuers have reentered the cave where eight boys and their coach remain trapped. We are live at the scene next.



ROMANS: All right. Breaking news this morning, rescue operations have now resumed in Thailand, divers reentering the underground cave where eight boys and their soccer coach remain stuck for a 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 a forecast of heavy rain. Ivan Watson is live near the cave with the latest. Ivan, what is the weather like and what is the latest?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The forecast was for rain, but as you can see, it is hot and sunny and blue skies, which is probably good news for the rescue efforts that is now under way, according to Thai authorities, for some six hours now in the cave complex behind me in that mountain where you have a team of about 90 people who are in day two of this rescue operation.

Of course, the big headline from Sunday evening here was they managed to successfully rescue four boys from that cave that's more than a mile deep into the mountain. [05:15:10] Bringing them out with the help of full kind of air face masks over the boys' heads and then they were medivac out by ambulance and helicopter to a hospital in the district capital.

Now we have spoken with one of the parents of the 12 boys who said all of them will remain on the mountain in solidarity basically until all of the team have been rescued. We do know that the authorities don't want to identify those who have been rescued versus the ones who still remain trapped.

They are keeping the boys who have been rescued in quarantine in the hospital for fear their immune systems might be weaker right now. We are told that they are in good health and they have been asking for a particular Thai dish to eat and they probably earned it after more than two weeks trapped in the darkness -- Dave and Christine.

BRIGGS: And that's 17 days there indeed starving. Ivan Watson, thank you. We understand the four strongest boys that were evacuated from that cave first. More rain in the forecast means the window of opportunity to rescue the eight remaining boys and their coach could be closing quickly.

Pedram Javaheri with the latest. We don't have that weather forecast, but again as Ivan Watson just pointed out the good news is clear skies and sunny right now. They went in about four and a half hours ago. Could be out at 8:30 window and 11:30.

ROMANS: All right. Four teams left standing in the battle for the World Cup. France is the favorite with Belgium, England and Croatia still picking as well. Coy Wire has the final match ups in this morning's "Bleacher Report" next.



ROMANS: British counterterrorism police launching a murder investigation now into the death of a woman exposed to the Russian nerve agent, Novichok. Authorities say 44-year-old Dawn Sturgess died Sunday after somehow coming into contact with a contaminated item.

Now detectives are working to identify the source of the contamination, but it's the same chemical that was used in the March attack on former Russian Spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter. They have both been released from the hospital. Russia denies any involvement in that incident. The 45-year-old Charles Rowley was also exposed to the nerve agent last week and still in hospital in critical condition.

BRIGGS: At least 103 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, 13 missing and 68 unaccounted for.

These are the heaviest rains Japan has seen in decades. Two million people have been ordered to evacuate. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed or damaged. Japanese officials say 73,000 people are working on search and rescue efforts.

ROMANS: And this, the U.S. threatened other nations in an effort to weaken a World Health Organization measure that encourage breastfeeding around the world. "The New York Times" reports the U.S. took issue with language in the resolution encouraging member government to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.

More than a dozen participants from various countries told "The New York Times," U.S. delegates threatened retribution on trade and military aide to Ecuador, the measure's original sponsor. The resolution passed, though, largely and changed, why? Russia stepped in to sponsor it.

BRIGGS: Irony. All right. Let's talk some sports. Youth basketball game turned into an all-out brawl between players and referees. It was all caught on video.

ROMANS: Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report." Hey, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Christine. Hi, Dave. The fight took place yesterday morning during game in Emerson, Georgia, 37 miles northwest of Atlanta. It didn't long for the disturbing to go viral. It's trending number two on

It was posted on Twitter, appears to show the referee on the ground blowing his whistle and he gets up and takes a swing when another man comes running on the court. After a few seconds, the shoving start and the punches start flying.

The host of the event posted this statement on Twitter saying, quote, "We are disappointed in the incident that occurred this morning at the Association Basketball Tournament at Lake Point indoor. We are talking appropriate action with authorities. Behavior like this by any party will not be tolerated," unquote. CNN has reached out to the event organizer as well as the police for more information. We have not yet heard back.

The World Cup semifinals don't start until tomorrow. Giving the teams a chance to rest and relax a bit. Look how England is recovering after its huge win with a little yoga. They have been waiting a long time for this.

They'll make the first trip to the World Cup semifinals in 28 years. They take on Croatia on Wednesday for a spot in the final on the line. The winner face either France or Belgium. That game kicks off tomorrow afternoon.

Also, MLB all-stars made their announcements. Starting lineup, Jose Altuve, of the Houston Astros, the leading vote getter. The game is next Tuesday. The home run derby is on Monday.

BRIGGS: Thanks, buddy. It looks like a great World Cup. I have France and England. Who do you have, Coy?

WIRE: I'm with you. ROMANS: I want to do yoga now.

BRIGGS: I'm a big fan of the yoga.

ROMANS: All right. It's 24 minutes past the hour. President Trump has a packed week ahead. No room for yoga. It all starts tonight when he announces his Supreme Court pick. We break down the final contenders next.




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


BRIGGS: A primetime announcement from the east room as President Trump reshapes the Supreme Court for decades to come.

ROMANS: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisting talks between the U.S. and North Korea are still on track. Pyongyang, though, accuses the U.S. of gangster like negotiations.

BRIGGS: Rescue crews making the dangerous trip back to the cave in Thailand where eight boys have been stuck for more than two weeks. We're live at the scene as day 17 stuck in that cave is well underway --