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Trump Nominates Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court; Trump Pressures European Allies on NATO Defense Spending Ahead of Summit; Operation to Rescue Remaining 4 Boys & Coach from Cave in Thailand Begins Today; Theresa May's Government in Crisis Ahead of Trump Visit. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired July 10, 2018 - 04:30   ET



[04:30:02] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Judge Kavanaugh has impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Brett Kavanaugh is the president's choice for the Supreme Court. Now Democrats vowing to stand in the way. We'll tell you how.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The administration will miss today's deadline to reunite all migrant families with kids under 5. Now a judge says the government cannot extend how long it can hold migrant children.

BRIGGS: And in Thailand, rescue crews are racing to bring out the last boys trapped inside a cave. Four boys remaining and their coach, all expected to come out today. We are live in Thailand straight ahead.

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

ROMANS: A doctor and three SEALs have been with them 24/7, too. That will be the last group.

BRIGGS: Some optimism.

ROMANS: Yes. I think they want it done today.


ROMANS: We are monitoring with Ivan Watson at the mouth of the cave.

I'm Christine Romans. It's 31 minutes past the hour.

Let's begin with the big news. Just seven and a half hours ago, the big reveal. Now the left and right are preparing for battle now that we know President Trump's nominee to replace Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. He is 53-year-old appeals court judge, Brett Kavanaugh. Introduced by the president last night. The Yale-educated lawyer worked on the Ken Starr investigation of Bill Clinton. He worked in the George W. Bush White House. He served 12 years as an appellate judge. Sources close to the selection process say the president was encouraged by the key conservatives who came to Kavanaugh's defense. Jeff Zeleny reporting that Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham and writers for "Breitbart." The president was pleased that they were on his team.

BRIGGS: After the announcement, the nomination fight was instantly under way. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer issuing this statement within seconds, "President Trump has put reproductive rights and freedom and health care protections for millions of Americans on the judicial chopping block."

Kavanaugh himself tried to ease concerns.


BRETT KAVANAUGH, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: My judicial philosophy is straight forward. A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law. A judge must interpret statues as written. And a judge must interpret the Constitution as written, informed by history and tradition and precedent.


BRIGGS: Vice President Mike Pence kicks off the White House campaign to pressure red-state Democrats into supporting Kavanaugh. Pence also said to accompany Kavanaugh to the office of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's this morning.

ROMANS: Sources in both parties tell us, because of Kavanaugh's lengthy paper trail as a judge, moving his nomination along quickly could be a challenge.

For the latest, let's go to Boris Sanchez at the White House.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Dave, "there's no one more qualified or deserving for the position." That is how President Trump described Brett Kavanaugh, his choice to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy following his retirement from the Supreme Court.

Two sources close to the decision-making process indicate that President Trump showed a bit favor for Brett Kavanaugh long before Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement. And that after a conversation with the now-retired justice, President Trump felt even more strongly about the former clerk for Justice Kennedy.

The president talked about his criteria for choosing Kavanaugh during his speech.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What matters is not a judge's political views, but whether they can set aside those views to do what the law and the Constitution require. I am pleased to say that I have found, without doubt, such a person.


SANCHEZ: Some Democrats have come out in total opposition to the nomination. He could potentially win some favor among red-state Democrats. Previously, Kavanaugh made statements suggesting that he would respect legal precedent and potentially uphold Roe v. Wade.

Dave and Christine?

BRIGGS: Thank you, Boris.

Joining us here this morning is CNN politics analyst and writer, Harry Enten.

Good to see you, sir.



What stands out to you about this pick for the Supreme Court, what some are calling Justice Roberts 2.0.

ENTEN: I'm not sure if it is Justice Roberts 2.0. It's Justice Roberts 2.0 in as far as this is a well-qualified nominee. I think this nominee, looking at his record on the bench, is more conservative than Justice Roberts. I believe there was a lot of complaints, you know, of Roberts siding with the Obama administration over Obamacare. I'm not sure that will happen with this selection.

ROMANS: He says he reveres the Constitution. He will interpret the law, not make the law. We heard this before.


ROMANS: What do you think Democrats in particular will be drilling down into? Will it be the position on the Roe v. Wade, on the Affordable Care Act?

ENTEN: It will be those. It will be his position on executive power. They will look for a line of attack. Anything they can grasp onto. When you have well-qualified nominees put forth in front of the Senate, they tend to pass even if, in this particular case, I expect him to pass by a small margin.

[04:35:08] BRIGGS: Here are the names, Senate wild cards to focus on, Republicans, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski. They looked generally

supportive last night in their statements. The Democrats are the real focus here. Three voted for Neil Gorsuch, Heitkamp, Manchin and Donnelly. You can factor in Doug Jones and Jon Tester as Democrats who are really on the spot.

Harry, will they risk their political life with the no vote on this nominee?

ENTEN: They could. A number of the Senators are up in the midterm elections. That is the big question. They will go back home and hear what the people have to say. If the public is on the side of the nominee, and usually that is how it works out in Supreme Court nominations, there will be a lot of pressure to vote for them.

ROMANS: This nominee is a strong proponent of presidential power. This is what Ed Markey, a Senator from Massachusetts, said, "Brett Kavanaugh was the only nominee on Trump's short list who has written that a sitting president should not be indicted. It's not a coincidence that he was elected."

Let's go back and look at a past Kavanaugh statement on presidential power. It's important. "Having seen how firsthand how complex and difficult that job is, I believe if vital that the president be able to focus on his never-ending tasks with as few distractions as possible. The point is not to put the president above the law or to eliminate checks on the president, but simply to defer litigation and investigations until the president is out of office. If the president does something dastardly, the impeachment process is available."

ENTEN: Yes. That is a statement that Democrats will try and hold on to. They'll try and push this away from social issues. Whether that statement on executive power or whether it's a potential position on health care, those are the qualities that Democrats want to hold on to, especially those red-state Democrats. Because they realize that if this becomes about social issues, they are dead in the water in their state. They will try and hold on to issues that are non-red button social issues because that will allow them to potentially oppose the nominee without alienating the more conservative parts of their state.

ROMANS: I love the word "dastardly." It's always nice to have a jurist who uses the word.

ENTEN: I like "dastardly." I like that. That, to me, is perfect for me if you were to describe me as one thing.

ROMANS: Dastardly.

BRIGGS: Dastardly.

Harry Enten, we appreciate you being here this morning. Thank you.

ENTEN: Thank you.


BRIGGS: President Trump kicks off that high-stakes European tour when he flies to Belgium later this morning for the NATO summit. The president has been pressuring America's long-time allies to spend more on defense. Past administrations have done the same thing. We're heard this before. But this president's willingness to follow through on trade threats is fracturing the Western alliance.

We get more from CNN's Kaitlan Collins in Brussels.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Dave, the president is expected to leave the White House headed for Brussels for what is expected to be a tense and divisive NATO summit. As you saw from the president's tweets yesterday, he is going after NATO, trashing them, and singling out Germany for not doing enough on defense spending. These leaders fear, when the president comes, he will really throw whether or not the United States is truly committed to NATO into question, more so than he already has. But they are also worried about the long-term effects. After the president wraps up the week in Europe, he will sit down with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time. A summit that many European leaders fear will be friendlier than meeting with them in Brussels. That is something they fear could result, the talks with the Kremlin could result in less U.S. military in Europe. Maybe stopping of the military exercises as was the result of the summit in Singapore with the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-Un. Those are their fears. They are preparing for a showdown with President Trump. This year, wondering what the president will say, even though aides say the president will have a unifying message when he does meet with the leaders. They are not so sure and want to hear from President Trump himself.

Dave and Christine?

BRIGGS: Kaitlan Collins, thank you.

Breaking news overnight, a federal judge says the Justice Department cannot change rules to limit how long immigrant children can be detained. The DOJ wanted the change to keep families together long term. All that is happening because the president implemented that zero-tolerance policy that led to the separation of families at the border. The judge called the DOJ's request, quote, "wholly without merit." The Justice Department releasing a statement highlighting a single section of the ruling in the government's favor. It says, quote, "The court does appear to acknowledge that parents who cross the border will not be released and must choose between remaining in family custody or requesting separation from their children."

ROMANS: Today is the court-ordered deadline for children under 5 to be reunited with their parents. It is a deadline the government will not meet. So far, only 54 of 102 toddlers will be reunited by today. At another court hearing on Monday, the federal judge who set the deadline say he was encouraged by the progess. The government still has thousands more children, 5 and older, who have to be reunited with their parents by July 25th.

[04:40:18] BRIGGS: OK. The operation to rescue four remaining boys and their soccer coach from a cave in Thailand has resumed this morning. Officials hope the rescue effort will end today.

Let's go live to northern Thailand and bring in CNN's Ivan Watson.

Ivan, it seems optimism is abound there. The weather looks like it is all clear as well.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It dumped rain here throughout the first half of the day. We don't know what effect it will have on the rescue operation, that has been under way, Dave, for more than five hours. There's optimism from the rescuers. They are predicting the last four boys and their coach will emerge throughout the course of the day, as well as the doctor and the three Navy SEAL officers who have been with them since the authorities were able to reach them.

Let's update you on the eight boys rescued on Sunday and Monday from the cave. They are all, we're told, in pretty good mental and physical health. They are held in quarantine in a hospital an hour from where I am. Ferried there by military helicopter. They are being rationed food, not really solids yet. Bread with some chocolate spread, for example. But they have not had solid food for more than two weeks. They have to be careful to reintroduce that to their systems. Learning they had blindfolds on because they have not seen sunlight for more than two weeks and then transition to sunglasses, for example.

Their families of the first four that got out Sunday were able to see them Monday night. But they were not able to touch them or come into the hospital ward. They had to look at them through glass because they are trying to keep them under quarantine in sterile conditions. They are worried about infection. Some children have inflamed lungs, two of them. Families are not able to touch, hug, kiss their boys yet. The boys will be in hospital for at least seven days.

They were invited by the head of FIFA to the World Cup finals in Russia. They will not be able to travel. The Thai authorities are not taking any chances right now. They will remain in -

BRIGGS: We had a little bit of audio difficulty with Ivan Watson but we'll check back with him.

Christine, can you imagine the parents not able to hug their kids?


BRIGGS: I need a hug after a long day at work. But nonetheless, optimism. Sounds like --


BRIGGS: I do. I need that hug at the end of the day.

ROMANS: I know. But everyone is doing it, playing it carefully. That is important.

We will bring you the rescue as soon as we have action on the ground.


ROMANS: All right. The struggle to cut a Brexit deal is causing the biggest leadership crisis of Theresa May's tenure, days ahead of her meeting with President Trump. We are live in London.


[04:47:15] ROMANS: All right. Facebook gets company. Congress is now grilling Google and Apple over how they handle user data. On Monday, House lawmakers sent letters to the CEOs of Apple and Google parent Alphabet asking how both company's Smartphones collect audio and location data, and if they limit third-party access. One concern is if both companies are using the data in ways consumers do not expect, specifically, with their Smartphones, Androids and iPhones, collect audio from conversations taking place near the device even if the user did not use a trigger phrase. The letter also asked if third-party applications also have access without that user's consent. Apple declined to comment. Google says it will answer lawmakers' questions and that "protecting our user's privacy and securing their information is of the utmost importance." Both companies have until July 23rd to respond.

BRIGGS: And 4:48 Eastern time. The British government in turmoil this morning as Prime Minister Theresa May faces the most serious crisis of her leadership. She now has named a new foreign secretary to replace Boris Johnson and a new Brexit secretary to replace David Davis after both resigned dramatically within hours of each other on Monday.

CNN's Nic Robertson is live at 10 Downing Street with more in London.

Good morning, Nic.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Dave. We are watching as the prime minister hits the reset button to stabilize her cabinet. We have seen the cabinet members leave after an hour inside Number 10 Downing Street. Theresa May's first cabinet session since the resignation of Boris Johnson and David Davis. Pretty somber faces. A bunch coming out this morning. You have to say none responding to the shouted questions that, can Theresa May survive and is the country turning into a colony as Boris Johnson is suggesting in the resignation letter.

The prime minister probably can hang on until the summer recess, which is couple weeks away. Challenges to her leadership probably not forthcoming over the next couple of weeks. This may come later on in the year. Boris Johnson has always harbored ambitions for leadership and no one believes for he's given up on the idea of Brexit. But perhaps not for now.

So the turmoil here and the trouble for the prime minister not gone away. On top of that, the outbreak of the Novichok nerve agent poison, again, that Soviet-era deadly nerve agent, killed a British citizen over weekend. That is a problem for prime minister.

President Trump arriving in a couple of days. The fortifications are going up around where he'll be staying in London. I saw them this morning. Concrete blocks, heavy fencing and the premises where he'll be staying will fortified. Protests are expected here, Dave. A very difficult week for the British Prime Minister Theresa May right now. [04:50:02] BRIGGS: Chaos is the back drop to the president's visit.

Nic Robertson, live for us at 10 Downing, thank you.

ROMANS: In Japan, at least 155 people are dead, almost 80 missing or unaccounted for after heavy rain triggered tremendous flooding and landslides. About one million people have been ordered to evacuate as the country turns its focus to search-and-rescue efforts. Thousands of houses have been damaged. Nearly 17,000 customers are without power and phone lines are down across multiple districts.

BRIGGS: Romans, Starbucks?

ROMANS: You are an eco-terrorist.

BRIGGS: Saying good-bye. Good-bye to plastic straws. When and what is the new option? "CNN Money" is next.


[04:55:24] ROMANS: Welcome back. It's 55 minutes past the hour. A fifth former Ohio State wrestler telling CNN Congressman Jim Jordan knew about the sexual abuse of athletes by the school's team doctor and turned a blind eye. Jordan was assistant wrestling coach at the time of the alleged abuse. A former, who wrestler spoke to CNN and asked to remain anonymous, called Jordan a, quote, "phony," proclaiming he was not aware of the doctor's conduct. And says the head wrestling coach finally put a stop to it. But now the head coach now saying no one knew about the abuse. And one of six former coaches at Ohio State have released statements supporting Congressman Jordan.

BRIGGS: Not everyone is buying that. The political action committee, Mad Dog PAC, paid to fly a banner over Columbus, Ohio, calling on Jordan to resign. The congressman still denying any knowledge of inappropriate behavior at Ohio State. A source tells CNN members of the House Freedom Caucus are uncomfortable with the scandal surrounding Jordan and are taking a wait-and-see approach.

ROMANS: President Trump is being sued by his former personal driver. Noel Cintron claims he was forced to work thousands of hours of overtime without fair compensation during his two decades on the job. The complaint said Mr. Trump acted with a sense of privilege and entitlement and demonstrated callousness when he denied Cintron a raise. The lawsuit also refers to Trump as a, quote, "purported billionaire." A spokesperson for the Trump Organization tells CNN, "Mr. Cintron was at all times paid generously and in accordance with the law."

BRIGGS: A miracle in Montana. A 5-month-old baby found alive after being partially buried for at least nine hours in the mountains following a 911 tip. The deputies searching for the child heard the infant's faint cry. He followed the sound and discovered the baby alive, face down, under a pile of sticks and debris. Affiliate, KPAX, reports that the baby has minor scrapes and bruises but is in good condition. And 32-year-old Francis Crowley was supposed to be taking care of the baby. He has been charged with criminal endangerment. ROMANS: Let's get a check on "CNN Money." This morning global stocks mostly higher today. In the U.S., the Dow, S&P 500 both had their best day in a month. Wall Street brushing off fears over a trade war, at least for now, focusing instead on earnings season kicking off this week. Investors expect another strong quarter. S&P profits should be 20 percent higher than last year. Whoa. Some of the largest U.S. banks will be the first to report, including Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. Twitter stock fell 5 percent Monday. The "Washington Post" reported Twitter suspended more than 70 million fake accounts. That was something an investor did not like because it potentially puts user growth at risk. But longer term, that is good to purge the fake accounts out of the business model.

States are investigating fast-food hiring practices that prevent workers from switching jobs, holding down wages and limiting advancement. The attorneys general of 10 states are asking eight restaurant chains about no poach rules. That is, if franchisees have deals that stop them from hiring workers away from one another. That may explain why wage growth is slow for fast-food workers. The states say this limits the ability to earning potential and the economic security of their families. The median pay for restaurant workers is $9.81 an hour.

Starbucks is going strawless by 2020. The latest big company to stop serving drinks with plastic straws, single-use plastic straws. Yesterday, Hyatt Hotels and Starbucks promised to eliminate single- serve plastic straws. Hyatt plans to phase them out completely by the ends of the year. Starbucks will replace straws with flat plastic lids that look like sippy cups. I don't know if we have picture of them. They will serve Frappuccinos -- do we have those pictures -- with straws made from paper or compostable plastic. This is in response to consumer demand. Many say plastic packages are not worth the damage to the world's ocean.

It does look like --

BRIGGS: Just like a little sippy cup.

ROMANS: It looks like a kid sippy cup. And we got a lot of grieve yesterday but --

BRIGGS: I'm pro sippy cup. Are you?

ROMANS: I'm for ending --

BRIGGS: Pro environment.

ROMANS: -- the single serve plastic out of the environment.

BRIGGS: Frappuccino drinkers will still have straws for those but I think the paper version.


BRIGGS: OK. We will have an update from the Thailand cave rescue straight ahead. Also, who is Brett Kavanaugh, Trump's pick for the Supreme Court?

EARLY START continues right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.


[04:59:57] TRUMP: Judge Kavanaugh has impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law.


BRIGGS: Brett Kavanaugh is the president's choice for the Supreme Court. Who he is and why Democrats vow to stand in the way.