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EARLY START

President Trump Detonates Brexit Bomb In Britain Visit; Protests Greet President Trump In The United Kingdom; Insults, Fighting, And Shouting as FBI Agent Peter Strzok's Hearing Boils Over. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired July 13, 2018 - 05:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:30:32] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The president starts his first official trip to the U.K. by slamming its prime minister. President Trump says trade deals are in jeopardy as Theresa May did not take his advice on Brexit. Meanwhile, tens of thousands are expected to protest the president's visit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI), MEMBER, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Oh, Mr. Chairman, it's outrageous.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN ANCHOR: And that was just one moment in 10 hours of sparks flying as FBI agent Peter Strzok fends off accusations of bias and members of Congress fend off each other.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Michelle Kosinski.

BRIGGS: Yes, Peter Strzok embarrassed the FBI and then Congress said hold my beer, we're going to embarrass ourselves.

Five thirty-one eastern time. I'm Dave Briggs.

First, the pomp, now the politics for President Trump in the U.K. A bilateral meeting between the president and prime minister 30 minutes away.

Expect some uncomfortable moments after combative comments the president made to "The Sun" newspaper. The interview went online just as last night's gala with Prime Minister Theresa May ended.

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 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 U.K, so it will probably kill the deal. If they do that, their trade deal with the U.S. is -- will probably not be made.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: 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 "NEW DAY" anchor and most importantly, EARLY START alum John Berman, live for us in London. John, good morning to you.

Not since the Thrilla in Manila has an American gone overseas more itching for a fight. What about the impact of this "Sun" interview?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Look, here it is right here. I'm holding it in my hands right now and I cannot state the scale of the political explosion that went off overnight --

KOSINSKI: Oh, yes.

BERMAN: -- when this was published. It was just enormous.

Wall-to-wall coverage all morning here in London on all the news stations, the BBC. Panel after panel discussing what the president did. What he did was completely and thoroughly undermine British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Her political career hangs in the balance this morning. It was already a tough position she was in, trying to negotiate the U.K.'s removal from the European Union.

But the president just made it that much more difficult, taking a stand and saying that the deal she wants to strike with the E.U., which would keep them in line with the rules on agricultural and other kinds of products, is not something he would support, and it would mean the U.S. would not strike an independent deal with the U.K. It sounds technical but it's exactly the kind of thing that British Prime Minister Theresa May fears.

And, this broke minutes after she literally rolled out the red carpet for President Trump at Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. You're looking at the picture right there. They were all smiles, there was pageantry.

And the minute he leaves, this interview in "The Sun" -- owned by Rupert Murdoch, it is worth noting -- gets published. And it's not just the policy, either.

Within this interview, the president had gushing, glowing words for Prime Minister Theresa May's main political rival, Boris Johnson, who was foreign secretary until last week. He quit the cabinet over this Brexit negotiation. And the president made sure to say in this interview that he thinks Boris Johnson would be a great prime minister.

Imagine someone coming to the United States --

BRIGGS: Yes.

BERMAN: -- to meet with the president -- a foreign leader saying I think Hillary Clinton would make a great president right now. I'm not trying to sow dissent but she would have been -- she would have been a great president -- she still would be. That's the difficulty here.

KOSINSKI: Yes.

BERMAN: And again, as you note, this is happening as these protests are going on around London. You saw a picture of the balloon. The president critical of the protests, saying they make him feel unwelcome.

Also critical of London's mayor Sadiq Khan who basically said what, you want me to crack down on free speech? This is the expression of what the people feel.

It's all happening right now. The president very much avoiding the city -- I mean, avoiding London because, as he says, he feels unwelcome. Just the beginning of what will be a remarkable day.

[05:35:00] Guys, I'm going to be watching the body language between Theresa May and Donald Trump. They looked very friendly last night. They looked very friendly in Brussels.

BRIGGS: Yes.

BERMAN: I'm not so sure that friendliness will continue over the next several minutes.

BRIGGS: Yes.

KOSINSKI: No.

BRIGGS: I mean, we're expecting Hugh Grant at this bilateral, you know? The "LOVE, ACTUALLY" moment just seems to be brewing here.

John Berman will have Fareed Zakaria, Christiane Amanpour, and many others -- "NEW DAY," 6:00 to 9:00.

Good to see you, my friend. Thank you.

KOSINSKI: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: I can look forward to the "NEW DAY"-EARLY START reunion as an alum.

KOSINSKI: Nice.

BERMAN: That 5-year will be a blast.

KOSINSKI: Thanks so much, John. Well, some 50,000 protesters are expected today and as John just mentioned, the infamous Trump baby balloon has taken to the skies.

For more, we turn to CNN's Nick Paton Walsh. He's usually sneaking in and out of Syria but he's now in London.

Nick, what is going on out there? It seems like a carnival atmosphere.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, even in Syria at times, a little more predictable than here.

Now, we've seen a strangely humorous scene, I have to say, given what's happening to Britain's politics right now. That's kind of slightly incongruous. But one of the key issues here is where are you allowed to protest and not allowed to protest.

To my left here is a man dressed as a gorilla, wearing a Donald Trump mask in a cage made of -- like wood. He's not allowed on Abington Green because he doesn't have permission. Police took him away.

But what is allowed up here on Abington Green is the Trump blimp. Now, that level of permission sounds all very bureaucratic but it's important because it was given by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, no fan of Trump at all.

But the fact that this blimp was being allowed to fly -- and it will be up for another sort of 53 minutes or so -- distinctly offended Trump and made him say in that "Sun" interview that quote, "he feels unwelcome" and also criticized Sadiq Khan, the London mayor's record on immigration, crime, terrorism -- you name it. Things he doesn't decide because that's Central Government policymaking but still, he considers Donald Trump -- that to be something that London's suffered.

I have to say you've got to bear in mind, right, just because Donald Trump says something bad about Theresa May doesn't necessarily weaken her. About 90 percent of Britains dislike Donald Trump. One percent -- sorry, 10 percent approve of him as a president.

So certainly, in this crowd here and in the possibly 100,000 or so protesters that will take to the streets, Donald Trump's undermining of Theresa May, in fact, possibly strengthens her with some part of her electorate at a very difficult time. So it's a more complicated political scene here.

But you cannot underestimate the symbolism of a sitting U.S. president not being able to come to Central London. This is where he should be but instead, we have satirical gorillas and baby blimps of him and his aircraft flying over the skies.

Back to you.

KOSINSKI: Yes, and the threat of such protests kept him away from the U.K. entirely, the first time around. Now he is back with a vengeance.

Nick, thanks so much.

BRIGGS: All right.

Joining us now is CNN political analyst Josh Rogin, columnist for "The Washington Post." Good to see you, sir.

JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Good morning.

KOSINSKI: Hello.

BRIGGS: Look, expecting something different out of this president is kind of the definition of insanity. We expect the harsh rhetoric. We know he went abroad to pick a fight not just with NATO but apparently, with Theresa May.

So what is the real impact of these statements trashing her Brexit strategy and elevating her chief political rival, Boris Johnson?

ROGIN: Right, two things.

I think, first of all, we have to look at what President Trump is actually proposing, OK? He's proposing to work with the E.U. on trade against Great Britain. Does that make any sense?

Isn't this the same president that just started a trade war with the E.U. last month? Is there really a U.K.-U.S. trade deal on the table? No.

So on a policy level what he's saying doesn't really match the reality of the situation and therefore, the impact might not be as bad as we think. But on a politics level, it's devastating, OK?

And what the president has done is he's poisoned the relationship between our government and their government more than necessary. To what gain, right? To what benefit? What possible upside could there be?

And the only explanation that I think makes any sense is that President Trump honestly believes in Brexit. He honestly believes that the Brexiteers are the ones who are aligned with his politics, his base, his movement. He sees that movement as a worldwide movement.

He supports anti -- let's say nationalists -- anti-internationalists, anti-globalist forces all over Europe --

BRIGGS: Sure.

ROGIN: -- and he wants to use his influence and his bully pulpit to undermine the European Union and the international Liberal World Order as it exists to replace it with something that more resembles his ideology and his political movement.

Now again, that's a gargantuan project that probably he won't be able to pull off. But when he does things like that, that's why he's doing it and the effect is to take the alliance structure that we've built over the last 80 years and just set it ablaze.

KOSINSKI: Yes, but surely some of this -- because when we see his attacks as he's going around, there's a lot about each of them that does not make sense or there are inaccuracies built into them that he doesn't seem to care about.

[05:40:04] Is not some of this just wanting to make the biggest possible headlines, make the waves? There are many who see this as being part of a strategy that has everything to do with midterm elections.

ROGIN: Yes. I think there -- that's definitely a part of it. I think that he thinks this -- it's about him, right?

Theresa May didn't do what I said. She didn't follow my advice. She's not smart enough to realize that I understand Britain and the European Union better than she does.

KOSINSKI: Or shaking it all up for his base back home. I know that's how many, even right now in Britain, are viewing these kinds of things.

ROGIN: Yes, and I think they're related.

I think what President Trump is trying to do to realign American politics around more nationalists, more populists, more protectionists, more isolationists ideals is the same thing that he's trying to do in Europe. The difference is he is our president and he's not their president.

So when he tries to realign American politics -- OK, well, let's see how that turns out. When he interferes in their politics on their soil in an insulting rude and inaccurate way, that is above and beyond what any American president has ever done in modern history.

BRIGGS: So, some interesting color regarding this interview with "The Sun," and that the BBC interviewed the reporter who did the interview with President Trump and said that Sarah Sanders repeatedly tried to stop this interview and was quote, "swatted away" and kept on talking.

This reporter's final impression and I'm quoting --

KOSINSKI: She was trying to get Trump away from --

BRIGGS: Wanted to stop the interview beyond the 10 minutes.

KOSINSKI: Oh.

BRIGGS: His -- the interviewer's -- impression, and I'm quoting --

KOSINSKI: Yes.

BRIGGS: -- "He's unchallenged in his own organization. It's like being the court of a medieval emperor."

KOSINSKI: Well -- OK -- yes, that seems like a plan -- BRIGGS: Is it the president just feeling evermore confident in his own instincts -- his own gut?

ROGIN: Yes. I mean, I think all of us who have dealt with this administration have seen a change in year two, right?

BRIGGS: Yes.

ROGIN: None of the people around President Trump are preventing him from indulging his often worst instincts anymore, OK? It's -- they're going along to get along. The axis of adults is over.

Trump has gone Trump, right, and now he does what he feels and we're going to see how that turns out. We're going to see how much winning that produces.

But not Sarah Sanders, John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, Jim Mattis, John Kelly -- none of them are now going to the president and saying you can't do what you want to do because they saw how that turned out for the last round of Trump administration officials.

BRIGGS: This is scary because he meets with Vladimir Putin on Monday in Helsinki.

ROGIN: Exactly.

KOSINSKI: Alone, one-on-one --

BRIGGS: Exactly, yes.

KOSINSKI: -- which we know members of his administration are worried about it, to say the least.

ROGIN: And we know exactly how President Trump feels about the U.S.- Russia relationship. He feels that he wants to make it better and he's willing to do a lot of things to try to make it better that his national security team, Congress, our allies think are -- could be devastating for U.S. national security, for alliances, for the people in the countries of Syria and Ukraine.

But no one can stop President Trump from striking a deal with Vladimir Putin if that's what he intends to do.

And nobody knows what's going to happen when they get into that room and the only readout that we're going to have is going to be from President Trump and Vladimir Putin --

KOSINSKI: Exactly.

ROGIN: -- neither of whom have a real --

KOSINSKI: Yes.

ROGIN: -- strong relationship with the truth.

So that kind of unpredictability is just unfathomable and it has everybody worried, both in Washington and in Europe.

KOSINSKI: And --

BRIGGS: And that deal Josh mentions is pulling the United States troops out of Syria and handing control over to the Russians. You can read that on "The Washington Post" and we will tweet that out.

Josh Rogin, great insight and analysis. Good to have you, my friend.

ROGIN: Great to be with you.

KOSINSKI: Thanks, Josh.

Well, Melania Trump, right now, at Royal Hospital in Chelsea with Theresa May's husband. Their spouses expected to be seen any minute, together.

A very contentious day as embattled FBI agent Peter Strzok testifies before Congress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

REP. TREY GOWDY (R-SC), MEMBER, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I don't give a damn what you appreciate, Agent Strzok.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSINSKI: That's one more of the tame parts of the day, coming up next.

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[05:48:06] BRIGGS: Well, if you missed Peter Strzok's testimony on Capitol Hill you missed quite the spectacle, even by Congressional standards. Heck, even by reality show standards.

Members of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees ripping into the FBI agent and one another for about 10 hours. Republicans had been using Strzok's text messages with former FBI lawyer Lisa Page to promote claims of an anti-Trump bias at the Bureau, but Strzok was having none of it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSINSKI: And remember, 10 hours of this. Agent Strzok went on to tell lawmakers a sensitive and credible source told the FBI about a Russian offer to help a member of the Trump campaign. Strzok says he could have leaked that information to hurt the Trump campaign but he never considered it.

There were plenty of low moments in the hearing like this one when Congressman Louie Gohmert brought up Strzok's affair with Lisa Page.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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: Oh, Mr. Chairman, it's outrageous.

GOHMERT: The credibility of a witness is always an issue and you have not --

REP. BONNIE COLEMAN WATSON (D-NJ), MEMBER, OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM COMMITTEE, HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: Shame on you, Mr. Gohmert. Mr. Chairman, please, there is got --

CICILLINE: Have you no -- Chairman, this is intolerable harassment of the witness.

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: That may have been the winner in this race to the bottom.

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

[05:50:00] KOSINSKI: A devastating 2017 hurricane season has FEMA admitting its response capabilities were stretched at every level. The season included hurricanes Harvey in the Gulf, Irma in Florida, and of course, Maria in Puerto Rico.

FEMA admits it drastically underestimated the devastation Hurricane Maria would unleash on Puerto Rico, hampering the reaction.

And just for perspective, the agency registered 4.7 million households for disaster assistance between August 25th and November 30th alone. That is more than hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Wilma, and Sandy combined.

BRIGGS: All right. Ahead on EARLY START, the latest from the president's combustible visit right now to the United Kingdom. We'll have live pictures for you straight ahead.

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[05:55:12] BRIGGS: All right. Serena Williams has a chance to make history at Wimbledon tomorrow. KOSINSKI: Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report." Hi, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Michelle. Top of the morning to you and Dave.

Serena, just 10 months after childbirth, is back in the Wimbledon final and one win from tying Margaret Court's all-time record for -- of 24 grand slam singles titles.

Now, she is absolutely playing it there. Remember, she nearly died from a pulmonary embolism during childbirth.

And on center court yesterday she swept Julia Goerges in straight sets. Serena has only lost one set the entire tournament and she isn't taking this run for granted, either. Listen to her afterward.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SERENA WILLIAMS, ADVANCES TO WIMBLEDON FINAL: It's no secret I had a super tough delivery. I lost count after like four surgeries because I was in so many surgeries.

A lot of people are like oh, she shouldn't be in the final. But for me, it's like -- it's such a pleasure and joy because less than a year ago I was going through so much stuff.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WIRE: In the final tomorrow there's a repeat of the 2016 Wimbledon final. Serena trying to beat Germany's Angelique Kerber again.

Now, Serena's been playing amongst the royals. Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle having a duchess's day out. Meghan and Serena are friends. Remember, Serena was at her wedding in May.

And, Kate making it an entire tennis weekend. She's going to be in the royal box on Sunday with her hubby Prince William to watch the men's final where on the men's side, it's the battle of giants at Wimbledon today in what could be the biggest semifinals ever.

In one match, two of the biggest names to ever play the game and perhaps tennis' biggest rivalry. Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic -- they played 51 times -- the most meetings ever by two players in the open era and the competition can't get any closer. Joker has won 26; Nadal, 25.

And on the other match, two of the biggest players, literally. At six-foot-10, American John Isner is two wins away from becoming the tallest Wimbledon champ ever. He plays South Africa's six-foot-eight Kevin Anderson.

Isner taller than LeBron James, towering a half a foot over Tom Brady. Look out.

All right, finally, oddsmakers say that our Turner Sports brother and Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley has a shot to win this weekend's American Century celebrity golf tournament. And Dave, you've seen the swing. How is this possible?

Well, they're not great odds, OK? Six thousand to one odds. "The Round Mound of Rebound" has been working hard to improve his swing.

Former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is one of the favorites to win it all. Steph Curry's odds, 15 to one. Aaron Rodgers, 30 to one.

We'll see if Charles can get er' done though for us.

BRIGGS: No. Let me just save you -- save you the drama. That swing is atrocious and he is not winning that tournament.

WIRE: You know where the -- the odds are much better of Dave Briggs going to get his Bloody Mary. It is Friday, it's going to be a great weekend for golf.

BRIGGS: Oh, man, that is quite the visual for me, Coy Wire. Thank you -- I needed that. Have a great weekend, my friend.

WIRE: Yes.

KOSINSKI: Thanks, Coy.

And thank you for joining us. I'm Michelle Kosinski. They allowed me to hang out here today --

BRIGGS: Great to have you here, my friend.

KOSINSKI: -- so thank you.

BRIGGS: She's headed to Helsinki to cover the president's sit-down with Vladimir Putin.

I'm Dave Briggs. Have a great weekend, everybody.

"NEW DAY" starts right now. John Berman live in London.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BERMAN: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Friday, July 13th.

I'm John Berman, live in London. Alisyn is in New York.

Alisyn, can you hear it? Kaboom -- that is the sound that went off overnight here in London. A political explosion set off by this -- this article, this interview that President Trump gave to "The Sun."

He's meeting with the British Prime Minister Theresa May very shortly at Chequers, her country estate, maybe trying to pull the knife out her back that he put there -- or maybe not.

In this extraordinary interview with the British tabloid "The Sun" -- owned not coincidentally by the president's friend, Rupert Murdoch -- the president directly undermined the position of Theresa May at a moment when her position hangs in the balance.

The president criticized the way May is trying to remove the United Kingdom from the European Union. He said he would do it differently and that she is not taking his advice.

What's more, the president lavished praise on May's chief political rival, saying that Boris Johnson would be a great prime minister.

The president ripped London's mayor for his stance on immigration. He said Europe is losing its culture. Think about that. I wonder what that means?

On top of all of that, the president's complaining about feeling unwelcome in London because of all the public protests, many of them taking place as we speak. That Trump baby balloon -- you can see it right there -- is still flying not far from behind me where I'm --