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President Trump's Big Week Ahead: SCOTUS Pick, Europe Trip; Secretary Of State Dismisses North Korea's "Gangster" Comments; Eyewitness Says Fifth Boy Rescued From Thai Cave. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired July 9, 2018 - 05:30   ET


[05:30:00] BRIGGS: Rescue crews making the dangerous trip back through that 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.

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

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It's 30 minutes past the hour and again, we're expecting --


ROMANS: -- news any moment really there.

They have been at least four and a half hours into this rescue mission of those eight boys who are there in that cave and their -- and their coach. We know that they resupplied the oxygen tanks and the like after successful rescues yesterday.

BRIGGS: Some reports emerging that a fifth boy has been pulled out but we are working to confirm all of that.

What we understand is the four pulled out yesterday were the strongest -- the ones that they felt most confident about surviving an arduous and difficult journey, but a live update straight ahead.

ROMANS: Yes, stick with us on that.

Let's talk about domestic politics here because today marks the start of what could be arguably the biggest week of the Trump administration so far.

The president set to announce his pick to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in a prime time address tonight from the East Room.

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

BRIGGS: While all of that's going on the president's legal team signaling it's becoming less and less likely Mr. Trump will grant an interview in the Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Boris Sanchez has more.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: 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 backdrop 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's 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's 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's going to do. I think if he does, we could have the subpoena quashed.

To subpoena the president -- 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 haven't 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, to visit the United Kingdom, and his sit-down -- his one-on-one chat with Vladimir Putin next week in Finland -- Christine and Dave.


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

Let's bring back in CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer.

And talk first about the Supreme Court choice tonight in prime time. We know the top contenders are Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Raymond Kethledge, Thomas Hardiman.

What's your -- what's your bet?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, HISTORIAN AND PROFESSOR, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Well, it's a bet maybe Hardiman but, you know, that's a guess. I think the thing we know is this pick will shift the court to the right --


ZELIZER: -- and it's a historic moment for this president where he can have a lasting legacy that can go on for decades.

So this really is a big moment. It's not simply saying that.

BRIGGS: It is something you can bet on. You said what's your bet?


BRIGGS: The oddsmakers have now Amy Coney Barrett --


BRIGGS: -- who has surpassed Brett Kavanaugh who was originally thought to be a lock.

But now, people are concerned about while working under the Bush administration, will that help him or will it hurt him --

ROMANS: Right.

BRIGGS: -- in the eyes of President Trump. And will having an extensive legal writing background -- 12 years on the Appeals Court -- will that help or hurt him because much is known about him?

But it's interesting what Orrin Hatch wrote in an op-ed over the weekend saying, "No matter the nominee's background or credentials, progressives will do everything they can to paint her as a closet partisan." It ends with "not what she wants it to be."

That would lead you to believe -- chairman of the judiciary committee -- that it is Amy Coney Barrett.

If it's here, what would that tell you about where the president is and what he's looking for in this pick?

ZELIZER: Well, it will tell us that the president feels very confident that he can go big and bold and that he could get in a fight with the Democrats over this.

BRIGGS: Over Roe v. Wade perhaps specifically.

ZELIZER: That's exactly right. Remember, conservative have -- conservatives have been waiting for this pick. This is delivering a promise from the campaign. And if he goes forward with her, she is the most obvious to deliver that promise.

And so, we'll see how confident he's feeling in his own political standing.

ROMANS: So there will be that big reveal this evening in prime time, then the president goes on the road.


ROMANS: And he was someone who was -- he really was elected to rock the boat --


ROMANS: -- and he will rock the boat and has with our European alliances and friends.

[05:35:03] And then he's going to have a meeting with Vladimir Putin. We know that anything that undermines the West and the Western alliances is something that Vladimir Putin wants.

Is President Trump going to give him that win?

ZELIZER: Well, he's been doing this now for a year so we don't have to speculate. He has been weakening our connection with NATO. He has been stirring up the pot with some of our allies and so there's no reason to think that he's going to reverse himself.

This is something he's actually committed to and so I think this will continue and I think his eye is actually on reestablishing relations with Russia.

BRIGGS: And you wrote about this on quoting the film "HORSE FEATHERS."


BRIGGS: We recommend you all check that out.

But it's interesting. The president could go to NATO and say look, I have increased spending -- 25-year high by our NATO allies. And it's reported that another 3.8 percent increase in terms of nations spending their -- presented to their GDP towards defense spending.

He could go there and take a bow. He could bring the group together. It is -- it is his responsibility. He has increased everyone's spending.

If he doesn't do that, what does it tell you?

ZELIZER: Well, that bores him. He wants the fight. He doesn't want to have everyone talking about everything being OK.

The fight is part of what he does politically. The fight is part of what he's about so he doesn't even want to claim credit for things he can.

But remember, NATO isn't simply about paying dues. NATO is also about the relationship --

ROMANS: Right.

ZELIZER: -- with leaders. That's been at the core of why the alliance works. And there, it's impossible to claim success after a year-plus of just wrecking the relations.

ROMANS: A fatality in the U.K. of the Novichok poisoning. Four poisonings in the U.K. by Russian chemical warfare just this year.

Daily cyberattacks on the U.S. infrastructure by Russians. A commercial airliner shot down over Europe by Russians. An invasion of Eastern Ukraine. Russia annexed Crimea.

There is a long list of reasons for us to be very skeptical about Vladimir Putin.

The president's been briefed on this. He just doesn't care?

ZELIZER: Well, either he doesn't care or ultimately, he believes that there is a possibility for some kind of diplomatic breakthrough. If that was the case that might be a good thing, but there's no reason to believe that.

It seems a little more like the relationship with North Korea. He likes the summit, he likes going against the grain, but in the end it's not clear if he even has a plan there.

BRIGGS: It's going to be a fascinating week, my friend.

ROMANS: It really will.


BRIGGS: And then he goes --

ZELIZER: Historical.

BRIGGS: -- and meets with the queen in between NATO and Putin. It should be interesting.

Julian Zelizer, thank you, sir.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

ROMANS: All right, 37 minutes past the hour.

The Justice Department and the ACLU return to court this afternoon. The government is trying to extend the deadline for reuniting migrant families separated at the border. The administration is indicating it will not meet Tuesday's deadline to reunite children under the age of five.

The government admits 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 government list of names of approximately 100 children under five who were taken from their parents.

BRIGGS: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell heckled again over family separations at the border. Protesters following him and his aides as they left a Kentucky restaurant.


PROTESTERS: Vote you out! Vote you out! (END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Protesters also chanting "abolish ICE" and one calling out we knew -- "we know where you live."

According to "The Washington Post," hundreds demonstrated outside Louisville's Immigration and Customs Enforcement office a few miles from the restaurant.

Look, if you want to get to the Senate majority leader why not try Capitol Hill? In his own private life? This is a disturbing development we have now seen in our politics.

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.

Pompeo says the talks represent progress. The secretary of state insisting the process is still on course.

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 war with the United States.

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

And a former wrestler 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 the conversations because he was there.

The Ohio lawmaker denying any knowledge of -- that he knew of sexual misconduct once again this weekend.


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


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

[05:40:03] ROMANS: All right. The Trump administration taking another swipe at Obamacare and insurers say it will send premiums higher.

Over the weekend, the administration temporarily froze a $10 billion payment for its risk adjustment program. That program offsets the cost for insurers to cover high-risk individuals. The administration halted that payment citing a federal court ruling that said the government was using a flawed formula to determine payment amounts.

Now, the insurance industry criticized the payment freeze. It's arguing it's going to hurt consumers by creating uncertainty in the market and will increase premiums next year.

This comes amid other efforts by the White House to chip away at Obamacare. In June, the Justice Department refused to defend Obamacare in court. Last year, it ended cost-sharing payments that helped pay for lower-income enrollees.

BRIGGS: All right.

A race against time in Thailand where rescuers have reentered that cave where eight boys remain trapped. We're live at the scene with the latest update, next.


[05:45:10] BRIGGS: All right, some breaking news at 5:45 eastern time.

Rescue operations have resumed in Thailand. Divers reentering the underground cave where eight boys and their soccer coach remain stuck for a 17th day now.

ROMANS: Yes, pins and needles here as we're waiting for news. Officials say four boys evacuated Sunday from the flooded cave are in good health. The rescue teams are simply running out of time, the mission complicated by a forecast of heavy rain.

CNN's Ivan Watson is live near the cave with the very latest -- and we don't have him.

BRIGGS: We're having a little bit of audio difficulty reaching Ivan.

But again, the forecast was for heavy rains but Ivan Watson told us last half hour that it was a sunny day -- there was no rain -- so that certainly give them a bit of window as they look to get the next group of boys out.

From what we understand, they rescued the four strongest boys -- those they were most confident in making this arduous journey out of the cave yesterday, and they will go in that order.

ROMANS: We know that there was a press conference recently that said the water levels and the weather are in their favor for today's operation and an official with the Thai government there said they hope to speed up the rescue attempts today. Still, they do have plenty of rescue teams above ground still looking for holes, so trying to cover all their angles there.

BRIGGS: Yes, and we talked to a diving rescue expert earlier in this program who said essentially, they are being towed out -- the boys. There is lead rescue diver tethered to the boy and then a second diver behind the boy. So they don't have to necessarily learn how to scuba dive to get out.

But this is a frightening situation for anyone with experience diving in caves, let alone someone who didn't know how to swim and had never even begun to learn what scuba diving is.

ROMANS: All right. It is going to be a long road to recovery for these youngsters even after they get out of the hospital.

Let's check in with CNN chief medial correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine and Dave, these doctors have had a long time to think about and prepare for what is unfolding now.

Their basic concerns when the boys come out of the cave, and you can pair it down to simple ABC -- airway, breathing, circulation. You want to make sure that you address these things at the scene -- at the mouth of the cave and make a decision then how quickly do the boys -- these players -- even the divers if something happens, need to get to a hospital.

We saw one boy get airlifted. It could have been a problem with some breathing. It could have been a problem with blood pressure as a result of dehydration -- don't know -- but that's how these decisions get made.

Keep in mind the time line. This is something the doctors are really paying attention to as well to sort of predict what these boys will need.

June 23rd, the boys and the coach go missing. Nine days before some of that food shows up as a result of those rescue divers.

What were the conditions in the cave? We know the oxygen levels dropped. We know that there's concern about dehydration. That's how you sort of process things from a medical standpoint.

If I had to guess, I would say most of these boys probably won't be in the hospital that long because whether it's dehydration, malnutrition or some other concern, most of that can be addressed pretty quickly.

So from a physical standpoint, pretty fast. Psychologically and mentally, we'll have to wait and see -- Christine and Dave.


ROMANS: All right, Sanjay. Thank you for that.

All right, here is some breaking news at this hour. An eyewitness who was part of the rescue operations stationed at the entrance of that cave is telling CNN he saw a fifth boy being carried out on a stretcher at 4:27 p.m. local time. We told you that there were these reports -- there was a lot of chatter around the cave entrance that someone had come out -- another boy had come out. Now we're told there was a boy -- the fifth boy -- on a stretcher at the cave entrance there.

BRIGGS: That's just over 20 minutes ago. This journey, we're not sure how long it takes. Somewhere between six and as many as 11 hours depending on the difficulty of it, depending on the condition of the kids.

We're told those who were pulled out are in decent shape but being separated from their parents over concerns for infectious diseases. They still have not been able to see their parents.

We now have Ivan Watson joining us live from the scene with the latest -- Ivan.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Dave, that's right -- breaking news.

We have a member of the rescue operation who is stationed at the entrance to the cave network telling CNN that he witnessed a fifth boy being removed from the cave on a stretcher.

So it sounds as if the rescue operation that has been underway now for more than five hours has successfully emerged with one of the remaining eight boys that was left inside the cave network after four were rescued on Sunday evening has now emerged.

[05:50:03] That's about all the details we have now of this latest rescue.

At the start of the day we had eight boys left in the cave network and their soccer coach, a 25-year-old man. And now it appears that that number has reduced by one.

We don't have any information about the health or the state of this latest rescue and we'll bring it to you as soon as we find out.

We do know that the four boys that were rescued Sunday evening, they came out kind of staggered within two and a half hours of each other. The first two, they were about 10-20 minutes apart, and then two hours later another two boys brought out. And that the rescuers used kind of full-face masks to bring them so that they could breathe, basically.

The rescue effort, it's about 90 people, Thai officials say. It's a mix of Thai rescuers as well as international rescuers.

We know that there are divers from around the world who are helping in this incredibly difficult effort -- dangerous as well. It claimed the life of one former Thai Navy SEAL last week.

The boys -- when they are rescued they are taken out by ambulance. They're then Medevac'd on a military chopper to a hospital -- it's about an hours' drive away -- where a floor has been kind of sequestered just for these children.

And they remain there in quarantine because Thai officials say that they're worried that their immune systems could be weakened. They're not even being allowed to see their parents yet -- the first four boys who have been rescued.

But the news as of now is that within the last, I would say, half hour at 4:27 local time a fifth (audio gap) was being brought out of the cave network on a stretcher -- Dave and Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Ivan Watson, thank you so much for that.

And you can see it's a bright, sunshiny day. We've been hearing from officials that there was a big forecast for rain this afternoon there in Thailand. It didn't happen --


ROMANS: -- and that's helping them. Water levels and bright, sunny skies has been something that's working for them so far today.

Let's go to the hospital. About an hour drive away from where Ivan is is our Matt Rivers and he has been there reporting on the boys as they've been coming to that hospital.

Matt, are you there?


ROMANS: Great.

So we now know a fifth boy has come out of the cave. He's on a stretcher. That's all we know. Presumably, he's headed toward you.

RIVERS: Yes, and what we expect to happen is exactly what we saw here last night. We were here live reporting when we saw the first four ambulances with the four first boys who were rescued yesterday here in Thailand, and the protocol we expect to be very similar.

What happens here is that media access gets locked down as has just happened. Media was allowed to kind of roam freely outside the hospital which is right there behind me. The road has been shut down and that's exactly what we saw yesterday Christine before these boys made their way here. So we are expecting a similar protocol.

And what's happening inside the hospital -- earlier this week, a protocol was set up by the Ministry of Health here. A special section of the eighth floor of that hospital was transformed from a normal ward into a specialized, sterilized isolation unit. And what we're being told here is that as the boys come out of the cave they're going to be put in that unit.

For one to two days they are going to remain isolated and if a family member comes to see them they have to wear a special suit and they can't get within two meters of those boys. There is a distinct fear, officials tell CNN, that there could be weakened immune systems, they could have diseases that they're not sure about yet.

So they're taking every precaution necessary to make sure that these boys are given the best chance to recover and also that they don't get their family members sick.

And then after that, five two seven days we're told, of an observation period for these boys in the hospital just in case symptoms present themselves several days after they arrive out of the cave. They want to be sure that they can be treated here. So that's what these boys are facing.

But, Christine, there is a sense of progress. There is a sense of unity by the people behind us here -- the police, the medical personnel. Everyone is jubilant that yet another boy has come out of this cave.

And the hope that all of those beds inside that specialized isolation unit can be filled up over today and tomorrow, and perhaps the day after that.

BRIGGS: That's great reporting, Matt.

So again, what we understand is they evacuated the first four yesterday -- the strongest. Those they thought could survive this swim the easiest yesterday. The fifth now pulled out at 4:27 p.m. local time.

And Matt, from what we understand, the parents don't even know who has yet been pulled out of that cave. Not only can they not visit them but they don't even know who's been pulled out yet. Is that correct?

RIVERS: Yes, that is our understanding that all of the parents, according to a source, are actually up near the cave entrance. They're doing that as a form of solidarity. When all the boys come out then they're all going to presumably come down here to the hospital.

[05:55:06] Officials are apparently keeping it pretty close to the vest in terms of which boys have come out. There's a lot of conflicting information that has been going around. We've been hearing some names but nothing that CNN can independently verify and so we're staying away from that reporting.

Presumably, parents are hearing those kind of rumors too but it does appear that there is solidarity amongst this group of parents who have gone through so much over the past two-plus weeks. They have gone through a lot together. They are in a unique position that no one else in the world is in and it appears that they are sticking together.

They are going to get through it together and hopefully, all of those parents will be able to come meet all of their loved ones when all 13 of those people hopefully are extracted from that cave safely.

ROMANS: All right. Thank you so much for that, Matt Rivers. We're going to come back to you again as this is unfolding. The fifth boy rescued from the Thai cave. An eyewitness telling CNN that he was brought out, he has been put on a stretcher, and he will be headed your way.

Let's go to London now. We have a guest -- an experienced cave -- an experienced diver, Dave.

BRIGGS: Michael McDonald joining us from London this morning.

Michael, if you can just give us a sense of how difficult this journey is for boys that don't know how to swim and certainly do not know how to scuba dive, let alone someone who's an experienced cave diver.

MICHAEL MCDONALD, EXPERIENCED CAVE RESCUER: Well, it's the hardest thing anybody can possibly do and I have full admiration for these boys to be in zero visibility, under rock, miles from home. It's about the most difficult thing that a human body can sustain really, so I have full admiration for them.

They'll be scared although now that the rescue is continuing and five boys are out then, of course, moral is growing and all those boys left in the chamber will be very happy. And they'll be saying to themselves well, if my mates can get out then I can.

So moral, which is very important in these circumstances, will be sky- high and they'll just be waiting their turn to get themselves ready and hoping for the best.

ROMANS: The kind of rescue we're talking about here is some of these sections are completely under water -- muddy, rushing water. Others are very tight to try to squeeze through with equipment as well. So there are some dry sections in here and there are some really hairy, hairy sections as well.

How important is it for the rescuers to keep these boys calm? I mean, it's not natural to be breathing out of an apparatus in the dark with the rushing, muddy water around you.

MCDONALD: It isn't. It is man's worst fear, isn't it really? You're in the dark, you're in water, you're in an environment you've never experienced before.

All these children have done before is probably get their head wet in the sea and in the swimming pool -- that's all they've done -- so they're doing a remarkable job. It's just truly terrifying for them.

The only solace they have, of course, is they're heading the right direction. They're heading out towards their friends and family. And also, of course, they're heading towards open pastures and some air space which will give them some respite from the water.

It's not as though they have to come all the way out underwater. At least they can rest and recuperate in some of the dry passageways and some of the air bells that they'll be coming across.

BRIGGS: OK. So, five boys have been pulled out of the cave. That leaves seven and their coach.

Michael McDonald live for us in London. He will have much more in "NEW DAY" as they continue our breaking news coverage --


BRIGGS: -- of this rescue.

ROMANS: Berman and Erica pick it up from here. That's it for Dave and I this morning.

Again, breaking news. A fifth boy out of that cave.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Monday, July ninth, 6:00 here in New York.

Erica Hill here in for Alisyn.

The breaking news from Thailand, the miracle apparently continues. The rescue operations back underway there and an eyewitness tells CNN that a fifth boy has been carried out of the cave. This happened just a few minutes ago.

That means there are still seven boys and their soccer coach trapped inside that cave with oxygen levels falling and the water level threatening to rise.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: And the four boys who were successfully freed on Sunday were obviously cause for so much hope and celebration. The task though, as John mentioned, is growing difficult and dangerous more so by the moment.

We want to begin with Ivan Watson who is live there in Northern Thailand with more on the breaking news on those rescue efforts and on this fifth boy, Ivan.

WATSON: Good morning, Erica.

Yes, I'm delighted to report that according to this eyewitness, part of the rescue operations stationed at the entrance to the cave complex says that about 40 minutes ago, 4:27 p.m. local time, he witnessed a fifth boy being taken out -- taken out on a stretcher.

Now, this is about six hours after a second day of the rescue operation began with roughly the same multinational team that was here yesterday and that successfully rescued four boys from deep within the mountain behind me after more than two weeks trapped deep underground by rushing waters that forced them to --