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Protests Greet U.S. President in the UK; President Trump Criticizes Prime Minister Theresa May While Visiting the UK; Strzok Hearing Turns into Political Spectacle; Trump Tweets Very Nice Note from Kim Jong-un; Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired July 13, 2018 - 05:00   ET


[05:00:00] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: -- just added I think to the chaos we're seeing there.


BRIGGS: Build a crowd, they did indeed.

KOSINSKI: EARLY START continues right now.

BRIGGS: The president starts his first official trip to UK by slamming the prime minister. President Trump says trade deals are in jeopardy because Theresa May didn't take his advice on Brexit. Meanwhile, tens of thousands are expected to protest the president's visit and the Trump baby taking to the skies.


REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: How many times did you look so innocent into your wife's eye and lie to her about Lisa Page?

REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D), RHODE ISLAND: Mr. Chairman, it's outrageous.


KOSINSKI: Sparks fly for 10 hours as FBI agent Peter Strzok fends off accusations of bias. And members of Congress fend off each other.

Good morning, and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Michelle Kosinski.

BRIGGS: Good to see you, my friend. I'm Dave Briggs. I think everyone brought a shovel, which has kept digging until they hit bottom.

KOSINSKI: It was so stressful. I mean, the first minutes were stressful. And then 10 hours later.

BRIGGS: Ten hours.

KOSINSKI: Just stressful.

BRIGGS: All right. It's Friday. It is Friday the 13th. Fittingly. 5:00 a.m. in the East. 10:00 a.m. in London. We're live there straight ahead.

First the pomp, now the politics for the president in the UK. Expect a rough road ahead made bumpier by combative comments the president made to "The Sun" newspaper in the UK. The interview went online just as last night's dinner with Prime Minister Theresa May ended.

KOSINSKI: He said May ignored his advice on Brexit strategy and he said her proposals to maintain close ties with the European Union would jeopardize any future trade deal with the U.S.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If they do a deal like that, we'll be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK. So it will probably kill the deal. If they do that, their trade deal with the U.S. is -- will probably not be made.


BRIGGS: It was extraordinary criticism of a foreign leader during a trip to their own country and just the latest example of the president playing nice in person and getting awfully tough in public.

For the latest, let's bring in White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins who's live for us in London on a very eventful morning.

Good morning, Kaitlan.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Dave, this interview is looming large over the city of London today. A stunning interview comments by the president on the day that he is going to meet with Theresa May, be spending lots of time with her including a joint news conference. This interview where the president is ripping her plan for Brexit saying that she didn't listen to him and saying that if Theresa May goes through with this plan, this plan that has caused two of her senior Cabinet officials to resign in protest of it, that a trade deal with the United States would be off.

Now that trade deal is crucial. Theresa May is counting on that if it does go forward. And that is why she has really tried to smooth things over with President Trump in the last few weeks, including standing by him at NATO during the comments that he was making when he was upending that summit in Brussels. But now this stunning interview with the president where he is praising her rival Boris Johnson, the Foreign secretary who resigned last week in protest of her plan for Brexit, saying it was still too similar to being in the European Union.

And now the president making these comments which I'm told by sources inside the White House caught officials off guard. They thought this interview was going to publish today, not last night here in London as the president was wrapping up his dinner with her that was almost akin to a state dinner. But a lot of pomp, a lot of circumstance. They really rolled out the red carpet for President Trump and now this very stunning interview where he is completely criticizing Theresa May is really going to hang over them today as they have this working lunch, they have a joint news conference where they're going to have to face reporters and take questions on this. It really has made things awkward here in London -- Dave.

BRIGGS: It has indeed. Kaitlan Collins live for us this morning in London. Thank you.

KOSINSKI: Awkward.

BRIGGS: Yes. Indeed.

KOSINSKI: President Trump is hop scotching all over the UK, but one place he is carefully avoiding is Central London. Some 50,000 protesters are expected. Before they do, the infamous Trump baby balloon has taken to the skies.

For more, we turn to CNN's Nick Paton Walsh live in London.

Nick, you've been all over the Trump baby balloon. What is the latest?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Obviously not many major stunning developments here. It's been up in the air for 35 minutes. Nothing's changed there. It's got about another hour and 25 under the permission granted by London local authority. Actually London's mayor, Sadiq Khan.

Now go bear in mind there's a lot of political context around this balloon. Just to repeat what it is, Donald Trump as a baby, as an infant, in a nappy or a diaper holding a mobile phone, obviously where he dispatches his favorite weapon of war, Twitter.

Now this was given permission by London's mayor, Sadiq Khan, to be here for just two hours and that's obviously made Donald Trump in the interview with "The Sun" talk about how he feels unwelcome in London.

[05:05:09] He also panned the London mayor's record on terrorism, crime. Immigration, things that are not actually decided by London's local authority, but by central government. No matter, he saw that as a potential chink in Sadiq Kahn's armor. But also we've seen a strange seen here of protest, the police fans arriving actually moving around here, as often seen. Interestingly enough, a British Asian man now explaining to a pro-Trump protester here, he's of African descent, how actually Donald Trump wouldn't necessarily be his friend.

A lot of political discourse continuing here, and also a man who arrived dressed as a gorilla wearing a Donald Trump mask, walking around in his own plastic cage. So quite extraordinary scenes here. This is the element that is being sanctioned in terms of political protest. But we're going to see an awful lot more of it, too. In Central London and Oxford Circus tens of thousands more will be gathering, beginning to march towards Trafalgar Square. So potentially here a day that explains why Donald Trump has avoided all of Central London because the protest frankly and the political culture here deeply reject what he stands for.

Back to you. KOSINSKI: When the sun is out, no telling what the Brits will get up

to. Thanks a lot, Nick.

BRIGGS: Perhaps a bit overblown, if you will. Pun intended on that balloon.

KOSINSKI: No pun intended.

BRIGGS: OK. Let's welcome in Josh Rogin, political columnist for "The Washington Post," a CNN contributor. Let's talk about the president's interview with "The Sun" magazine in which he blasts Theresa May's Brexit strategy, elevates Boris Johnson who could potentially challenge Theresa May's leadership. What's the impact of all this on the relationship between the United States and the UK?

JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Just imagine for a second if Theresa -- if the roles were reversed. Theresa May came to Washington and right before meeting with President Trump blasted all of his policies and said, I bet that Joe Biden would be a great president. What would President Trump have done? Right? He would have flipped out. He would have freaked out. That would have ruined the meeting, right?

Theresa May is now in this position where she has to just grin and take it and pretend everything is basically OK because she is so weak in her position and she is sort of so caught between her need to show a strong leadership with the United States and the political realization in London now that Donald Trump is so toxic as that last report just showed.

She is caught. And he's put her in the terrible position. And that is a terrible effect on what they can possibly do together. And then when you get into the idea of Brexit, it's something that President Trump really believes in, something that he's always talked about. It's part of his frame of breaking up what we know is Europe and the European Union, and then dealing with all of these countries one-on- one.

That's what he thinks is in America's best interest. I happen not to think that that works, policy wise or logic wise, but that's what's driving him. He wants all of the U.S. relationship with European countries to be on a one-on-one basis because he thinks that's the way that America gets the best deal.

BRIGGS: But it also suggests that the U.S.-UK trade deal could be off so it's difficult to read exactly what the strategy is.

ROGIN: Not entirely consistent --


KOSINSKI: First of all, British sources are saying that is absolutely not true about trade deals. And secondly, it's not entirely clear that the president understands that Theresa May, as prime minister, it's not a presidential system, she cannot unilaterally do these things. She needs to get her entire party on board. Here is how the White House responded to all of this. This from Sarah

Sanders, White House spokesperson, "The president likes and respects Prime Minister May very much. As he said in his interview with 'The Sun,' she is a very good person and he never said anything bad about her. He thought she was great on NATO today and is a really terrific person."


KOSINSKI: I can only imagine how the talks today, the lunch is going to go, or is this going to be another situation where blast the leader in public, but then in private it's all our relationship is great. Let's work together.

ROGIN: Right. And, I mean, it's kind of bizarre to say I never said anything bad about Theresa May and the next sentence say something bad about Theresa May. OK. So it begs the question, does President Trump know what he is doing? Is he doing it deliberately? Maybe he really does want a good meeting. Maybe when he gets there, he'll think that everything is fine and dandy.

Everything is not fine and dandy. And it's not just this one comment, it's not just this one interview. The cumulative effect of how the president of the United States has been treating our European allies, specifically Theresa May, but not only Theresa May, for months if not years. OK. And that cumulative effect has now come to a head.

And, you know and you know and everyone who talks to any of these European officials knows that this has now become a crisis in the U.S.-Europe relationship. And that crisis will have implications that will last years if not generations.

KOSINSKI: Yes, remember how upset people got when President Obama talked to Brexit in London right before the vote but --

BRIGGS: Some would argue that Trump supporters, though, are back here saying this is exactly what we voted for, we wanted a guy to challenge this convention.


BRIGGS: But let's spin forward to Monday.

[05:10:03] The president heads to Helsinki. He will sit down and meet with Vladimir Putin. You write about this in "The Washington Post." What is this deal that we believe that Putin will offer and what are the implications of it?

ROGIN: Sure. So there are two things that President Trump definitely wants to discuss with Putin. Syria and Ukraine. On Syria, Trump wants to get out. He wants to hand over responsibility. And if Russia wants to take that responsibility, that's fine with President Trump. Now that's not how his national security officials feel, that's not how our U.S. allies feel. That's certainly not how many of the Syrian people feel. But we're looking at the possibility that the U.S. could strike a deal

that Jordan supports that would basically take all the U.S. troops out and then endorse Russian control over Syria. In turn, Russia will promise to get Iran out of Syria, although it is very unlikely that would ever happen.

It's basically a surrender. It's basically an abdication of the U.S. role in Syria. Now again, Donald Trump supporters may very well like that plan. They may think that, you know, Russia in charge of Syria is better than America in charge of Syria. There is argument for that, but it also has risks. Real risks for Syria, for the region and for the U.S. national security.

And as we look at the way that President Trump is handling all these diplomatic and foreign policy issues, it's hard to have a lot of confidence that he's thought through those risks. And I know for a fact that inside his administration a lot of people share those exact same concerns.

KOSINSKI: For sure.

BRIGGS: All right, Josh Rogin, from the "Washington Post." Thanks for being here this morning.

KOSINSKI: Thank you.

BRIGGS: Fascinating trip. Ahead, a very contentious day as embattled FBI agent Peter Strzok testifies before Congress.


PETER STRZOK, FBI: I don't appreciate what was originally said being changed.

REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I don't give a damn what you appreciate, Agent Strzok.


BRIGGS: Who won this race to the bottom? One of the more tame parts of the day. We'll show you all of it next.


[05:15:53] KOSINSKI: If you missed Peter Strzok's testimony on Capitol Hill, you missed a spectacle. Even by congressional standards. Members of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees ripping into the FBI agent and each other for about 10 hours. Republicans have been using Strzok's text exchanges with former FBI lawyer Lisa Page to promote claims of an anti-Trump bias at the bureau. But Strzok was having none of it.


STRZOK: At no time, in any of these texts, did those personal beliefs ever enter into the realm of any action I took, and the suggestion that I in some dark chamber somewhere in the FBI, would somehow cast aside all of these procedures, all of these safeguards, and somehow be able to do this is astounding to me. It simply couldn't happen.


BRIGGS: Agent Strzok went on to tell lawmakers a sensitive and credible source told of the FBI about a Russian offer to help a member of the Trump campaign. Strzok says he could have leaked the information to hurt the Trump campaign, but never considered it.

There were plenty of low moments throughout these 10 hours like this one when Congressman Louie Gohmert brought up Strzok's affair with Lisa Page.


GOHMERT: And I can't help but wonder, when I see you looking there with a little smirk, how many times did you look so innocent into your wife's eye and lie to her about Lisa Page.

CICILLINE: Mr. Chairman, it's outrageous.

GOHMERT: The credibility of a witness is always an issue --


REP. BONNIE COLEMAN WATSON (D), NEW JERSEY: Shame on you, Mr. Gohmert. Mr. Chairman, please.

CICILLINE: You know, Mr. Chairman, this is intolerable harassment of the witness.

COLEMAN WATSON: What is wrong with you? You need your medication.


KOSINSKI: There were many calls for order during that hearing.

Lisa Page will meet with members of Congress behind closed doors this afternoon. She defied a congressional subpoena to testify on Wednesday.

BRIGGS: Up to 100 cases of salmonella are now linked to a recall of Honey Smacks cereal, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 27 more people have been sickened in a multi-state outbreak that started in March. Florida and Colorado are the latest states to report illnesses raising the total number of states to 33.

KOSINSKI: There is a beautiful weekend ahead for the northeast. Meteorologist Derek Van Dam has more.

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Great Friday morning, Dave and Michelle. While the western U.S. starts to heat up, the eastern parts of the country starting to feel more seasonal especially for places along the East Coast, New York, to Philly as well as D.C. We have a cold front dropping south across the upper Midwest, that is bringing some relief to the hot and humid conditions we've thought recently. But of course with that collision of air masses comes with it the potential of stronger storms. Especially later this afternoon and evening.

Green Bay, Wisconsin, all the way to Omaha, Nebraska. You can see that some of those storms firing just north and west of Chicago on a high res forecast radar imagery. Storm prediction center has issued a low potential spears storms from northern Michigan, right through central Iowa. Large hail, damaging winds, that's the main threat. Otherwise, we still have the remnants of what was tropical storm Beryl churning across the Atlantic Ocean.

The National Hurricane Center still has a 40 percent chance of development with this not really posing any risk factors along the East Coast. Some good news there. 95 today for Chicago. A comfortable 84 for New York. 89 degrees for D.C. Back to you.

KOSINSKI: Whew. A lot of red on that map.

BRIGGS: Yes. All right. Derek, thank you.

The president says he got a very nice note from Kim Jong-un, but what does it mean if Pyongyang doesn't show up to a critical meeting? We're live in Seoul with the latest.


[05:23:56] BRIGGS: President Trump releasing what he calls a very nice note from North Korean --



BRIGGS: Yes. Very, very nice.

KOSINSKI: Special.

BRIGGS: From Kim Jong-un. Kim calls the president "Your Excellency" and describes their summit last month as a start of a meaningful journey. Noticeably absent from that very nice note any reference to denuclearization.

CNN's Andrew Stevens live in Seoul with more. Andrew, good morning.

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN ASIA-PACIFIC EDITOR: Good morning to you, Dave. Donald Trump also tweeting that great progress was being made on the denuclearization on the summit agreement that he and Kim Jong-un signed up to in Singapore back on June 12th. But on the ground, it does seem to be a very different story. Notwithstanding the compliments being paid by Kim to Trump.

The most recent development is the fact that a meeting between the U.S. and North Korea at the Demilitarized Zone yesterday, slated for yesterday, did not go ahead because the North Koreans did not show up. That meeting has now been postponed. It will take place on Sunday we understand at this stage.

Now what they're talking about is the return of remains of U.S. servicemen who were killed in the Korean War.

[05:25:05] What the Department of Defense thinks is that North Koreans have the remains of about 200 service people of the about 5,000 they believe perished in North Korea during the war. So it is politically important, it is also a symbolic gesture obviously to bring those people back to the United States. So that is the next step. We'll have to wait and see how that plays out on Sunday.

But certainly the optics have been bad since the signing of the summit agreement back in June. The Pompeo meeting in Pyongyang was widely regarded as a failure. Very, very little to show for it as far as movement on denuclearization.

And as you point out, Dave, that letter from Kim Jong-un still not mentioning denuclearization.

BRIGGS: Yes. Continued pleasantries but just nothing concrete yet.


BRIGGS: Andrew Stevens live for us in Seoul. Thank you.

KOSINSKI: Yes. Who doesn't love a letter where you're called repeatedly "Your Excellency"?

BRIGGS: I like a nice letter.

KOSINSKI: I appreciate that.

BRIGGS: Yes. Nice note.


BRIGGS: I mean, it's very nice. At least he can sign.

KOSINSKI: So the president starts his trip to the UK with some less than kind words for Theresa May. Their meetings today, his visit with the Queen and 50,000 protesters expected on the streets.

We are live with all of that in London.