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President Trump Now Says He Holds Putin Responsible For Election Interference; The White House Is Entertaining Russian Proposal To Interrogate Americans; Mark Zuckerberg Clarifies His Holocaust Comments; Emotional Night At The ESPY Awards. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired July 19, 2018 - 05:30   ET



[05:30:40] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Certainly, as the leader of a country you would have to hold him responsible -- yes.


ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump finally holds Vladimir Putin responsible for election interference. Now it's reported the president was told before the inauguration about intel linking Putin to the attacks.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The president called it an incredible offer. Now the White House is weighing Vladimir Putin's offer to let the Russians interrogate Americans. Hear what those Americans have to say.


ALY RAISMAN, American GYMNAST, VICTIM OF DR. LARRY NASSAR: Your truth does matter, you matter, and you are not alone.


KOSIK: Powerful moments on stage. One hundred forty-one victims of Larry Nassar unite to send their #timesup message to the world.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Alison Kosik.

BRIGGS: Good morning. Good morning, everybody. I'm Dave Briggs. Five thirty-one eastern time on a Thursday.

We start with brand new reporting from "The New York Times" this morning that two weeks before his inauguration, president-elect Trump was shown highly-classified intelligence indicating Vladimir Putin personally ordered complex cyberattacks in an effort to sway the 2016 election.

The report says evidence included texts and e-mails from Russian military officers and information gleaned from a top secret source close to Vladimir Putin.

James Clapper, the former director of National Intelligence, was at that meeting. He seemed to confirm the report on CNN last night.


JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: This is his refusal to accept information that he doesn't want to hear.


BRIGGS: Clapper says his biggest fear in the wake of President Trump's summit performance is that it essentially allows Putin to just do whatever he wants.

KOSIK: After days of criticism and repeated clarifications, President Trump now says he hold Vladimir Putin personally responsible for Russia's attempts to interfere in the 2016 election.


JEFF GLOR, ANCHOR, "CBS EVENING NEWS": You haven't condemned Putin, specifically. Do you hold him personally responsible?

TRUMP: Well, I would because he's in charge of the country, just like I consider myself to be responsible for things that happen in this country. So certainly, as the leader of a country you would have to hold him responsible -- yes.

GLOR: What did you say to him?

TRUMP: Very strong on the fact that we can't have meddling. I let him know we can't have this, we're not going to have it, and that's the way it's going to be.


BRIGGS: The president also now says he accepts the U.S. intel assessments Russia interfered and continues to do so. That is something the president would not say when standing next to Putin in Helsinki that he appeared to question as recently as yesterday.

KOSIK: The White House confirms it is entertaining a proposal from Vladimir Putin for Russia to interrogate prominent Americans.

Among them, former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul and American-born financier Bill Browder, who successfully lobbied the U.S. to impose new sanctions on Moscow.

In exchange, the Kremlin would provide assistance in the ongoing probe of Russia's election interference.

BRIGGS: Putin raised the idea during the Helsinki summit with President Trump, who called it "an incredible offer."

Browder and McFaul responded last night. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL BROWDER, AMERICAN-BORN FINANCIER: Putin wants to get me back to torture me to death and Donald Trump says he thinks that's an interesting idea and they're not dismissing it. That's just outrageous.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you feel safe?

BROWDER: I do not feel safe -- of course not. It's -- I've got the most dangerous homicidal sociopath in the world after me. How could I possibly feel safe?

MICHAEL MCFAUL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: This is yet another tactic to intimidate me like he has done with other people. And I wish -- I just hope my own president -- my commander in chief would understand it for what it is and push back both in public and in private.



The White House is considering the proposal. The State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert offered up a forceful rejection, calling Russia's assertions quote "absolutely absurd."

KOSIK: Joining us this morning, CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer. He's a historian and professor at Princeton University. Welcome back.


KOSIK: Let's talk more about this proposal from Vladimir Putin to interrogate Americans which, in itself, yes, it's incredible because I can't believe that this is actually something that's being discussed.

Since when does the president not protect U.S. diplomats? Also, he's pretty much inviting a killer, Vladimir Putin, to come and join in and lock arms and be involved in the U.S. legal system. It makes no sense.

[05:35:14] ZELIZER: Right. The only incredible part is that the White House hasn't given a firm and consistent no to this idea and to say themselves, this is outrageous. This is a precedent that couldn't stand and it's very dangerous that it's even being floated at this point.

BRIGGS: Yes, it should have been shot down initially, just equating the special counsel investigation with Vladimir Putin's --


BRIGGS: -- brand of fears and issues.

So let's talk about this reporting from "The New York Times" that two weeks before the inauguration, President Trump was handed detailed information that laid out all the facts how Vladimir Putin interfered in our election. He had it, all the evidence.

If you're a Trump supporter and here you are in mid-2018, why should this matter to you? When you say look, I just want to focus on the economy and jobs, why should these stories that we hear day after day and everything that happened in the last week -- why should it matter to you?

ZELIZER: Because at the heart of the story is whether our democratic election system is working or it's threatened.

When you have Dan Coats, the head of Intelligence, saying there are blinking lights -- there are red lights that something's wrong because the real threat here, whether you're a Republican, Democrat, liberal or conservative, this is a central issue. We need our democratic process to work well.

KOSIK: Look, after a very rocky week we've got the president finally saying that Putin is responsible for interfering in the 2016 election. But if only he would have -- Trump would have acknowledged this on Monday before the whiplash began. Watch this.


TRUMP: I have President Putin. He just said it's not Russia. I will say this. I don't see any reason why it would be.

I accept our Intelligence Community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place. It could be other people also. There's a lot of people out there.

GLOR: Do you hold him personally responsible?

TRUMP: I consider myself to be responsible for things that happen in this country. So certainly, as the leader of a country, you would have to hold him responsible -- yes.


KOSIK: OK, but President Trump has spent the better part of two years denying all this and suddenly in one interview he says OK, I acquiesce.

Should we think it's credible?

ZELIZER: Well, even in that interview he said I would hold him responsible --

KOSIK: Right.

ZELIZER: -- rather than I do hold him responsible.


ZELIZER: But no, it's not credible. He's spent his whole presidency attacking the intelligence agencies, attacking the intelligence. And this week, standing next to Putin and dismissing the idea and attacking the U.S. again.

So saying this kind of half-hearted statement at the very end doesn't really make up for everything that's happened.

KOSIK: And I'm not feeling any passion from his statement in that interview with Jeff Glor.

BRIGGS: At the heart of all this could be an effort to undermine the special counsel investigation which --


BRIGGS: -- the president has repeatedly, day in and day out, labeled it a witch hunt.

Here's what the FBI director appointed by President Trump said about his own president's assertions yesterday in Aspen.


CHRISTOPHER WRAY, DIRECTOR, FBI: And I do not believe special counsel Mueller in on a witch hunt. I think it's a professional investigation conducted by a man that I've known to be a straight shooter in all my interactions with him in my past life in government and certainly, since then. So I don't think it's a witch hunt.


BRIGGS: Not a witch hunt. How important should that be from Chris Wray?

ZELIZER: Well, it should be very important. To hear that from him should matter more than an ongoing political campaign against the investigation. Unfortunately, it doesn't.

Most people don't know who Wray is. They won't follow his comments at Aspen --

BRIGGS: Right.

ZELIZER: -- compared to what the president's Twitter feed keeps saying -- illegitimate witch hunt -- and those two words are just favorites of President Trump.

BRIGGS: Two thousand eighteen.

KOSIK: Oh, yes.

BRIGGS: Julian Zelizer, thank you, sir -- appreciate it.

KOSIK: Thank you very much.


BRIGGS: All right, we're following some breaking news this morning.

The British police have identified two suspects in the poisoning of a former Russian spy. The source says investigators have been combing through months of surveillance footage from U.K. airports and from Salisbury where the poisoning happened.

Authorities discovered two individuals not previously known as spies by using facial recognition technology. Police have not yet revealed their names.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned back in March. They are both back home and doing well.

KOSIK: The founder of Papa John's Pizza resigned after admitting to using the "n" word on a conference call, but he now says leaving was a mistake. We're going to tell you why, next.


[05:44:03] KOSIK: A possible stumbling block for a Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Two years ago, he told a conservative group he'd like to see the independent counsel statute overturned. His comment on a 3-decade-old Supreme Court ruling is bound to get renewed scrutiny in the midst of the Mueller probe.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you think of a case that deserves to be overturned?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you volunteer one?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pending confirmation hearings -- yes, sir, right here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.

KAVANAUGH: I'm going to say one, Morrison v. Olson.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the independent counsel statute case.

KAVANAUGH: It's been effectively overruled but I would -- I would put the final nail in.


KOSIK: Kavanaugh actually worked under the independent counsel law when he was part of Ken Starr's Clinton investigation.

[05:45:02] BRIGGS: Unclear what Kavanaugh thinks of special counsel Mueller's investigation since there's a difference. The special counsel answers to the Justice Department while an independent counsel effectively answers to no one.

KOSIK: Republican Congressman Jim Jordan confirming he has been interviewed in an investigation of sexual abuse by Ohio State University team doctor Richard Strauss. Jordan says he did not turn a blind eye to wrestlers' allegations of abuse while he was an assistant coach at the school from 1987 to 1995.

A former OSU wrestler now says Dr. Strauss molested him in the 1970s. That is the earliest allegation against the now-deceased team physician. Former wrestling team captain David Mulvin tells CNN he did not report the molestation to his coaches.

BRIGGS: The expected cost of President Trump's planned military parade in Washington, about $12 million. The price tag is drawing criticism because it's nearly as much as the now-canceled military exercises with South Korea which the president called "tremendously expensive." An administration official says the number is a planning figure and that cost estimates could change.

The parade intended to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, scheduled for November 10th.

President Trump's would be-wouldn't be flip on Russian interference got some nostalgic treatment last night on "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT."


TRUMP: The sentence should have been I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia. Sort of a double negative.

SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK, DOUBLE NEGATIVE JUNCTION: Double negative, what's your function? A desperate way to not side with the Russians.

Double negative, how's that function? Confusing the people with sentence construction.

The president isn't in Putin's pocket. The president isn't not in Putin's pocket.

Let's try it again. The president wasn't owned by Kim Jong Un. The president wasn't owned by Kim Jong Un -- not.

Or how about the president isn't trustworthy. Well, let's just let that one stand.



KOSIK: I loved "SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK." I watched it -- I, of course, watched it while watching "BUGS BUNNY." When did you see it?

BRIGGS: We are students of that -- KOSIK: Yes.

BRIGGS: -- generation, as is John Berman who is about 10 minutes away on "NEW DAY."

John, you are, indeed, a "SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK" fan. A pretty solid parody there.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Conjunction junction, what's your function --

KOSIK: Absolutely, yes.

BERMAN: -- Dave Briggs? How does a bill become a law?


BERMAN: I only know this because of "SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK" which would have saved me hundreds of thousands of dollars in that higher education.

Listen, I have a question for you guys. What did President Trump and Vladimir Putin agree to behind closed doors? Do you know?

KOSIK: That's the question.

BRIGGS: No, that's the question. You know, it's interesting you talk about that because, in the interview with Jeff Glor of CBS, the president said you guys were fake news because you didn't cover the meeting enough.

KOSIK: How are we going to cover it?

BRIGGS: We didn't cover the meeting enough --

KOSIK: No one was there.

BRIGGS: -- because we don't what happened. No transcript of it, right?

BERMAN: We covered the heck out of this meeting. We had people there, we were at the news conference. The world watched the news conference.

What we don't know --

KOSIK: There's no read-out.

BERMAN: -- is what President Trump gave Vladimir Putin behind closed doors. And it's a legitimate question -- it's a legitimate question.

Why, because President Trump has changed his answer repeatedly over the course of this week on whether he believes there was election meddling. He's given interesting answers on whether he believes Vladimir Putin was responsible. "The New York Times" reports this morning that Trump was told two weeks before his inauguration that Vladimir Putin ordered this. The president hasn't said boo about that this week.

And then this notion of turning over a former U.S. ambassador --


BERMAN: -- to the Russians for interrogation.

Sarah Sanders, at the White House podium, says this is being discussed. Really? It's being discussed?

What did the president agree to behind closed doors with Vladimir Putin? These are huge, huge questions this morning that get right to the heart of the U.S. role in the world.

We're going to try to get some answers. We're pressing the White House, we're pressing the State Department.

We're going to talk all kinds of former officials on the subject, including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, to find out what she thinks about that.

BRIGGS: Right.


KOSIK: I will be watching to see if you come up with any answers.

BRIGGS: And a continued interpretation of the word "no."

John Berman, thank you, sir. We'll see you in a bit.

BERMAN: Rock on.

KOSIK: All right, let's get a check on "CNN Money" this morning.

Global markets are slightly lower this morning and so are futures, so that could put the Dow's winning streak in danger. The blue-chip index has been higher for five straight sessions. Yesterday, the Nasdaq closed just shy of a record.

The founder of Papa John's now says it was a mistake for him to resign. Last week, John Schnatter stepped down as chairman of the pizza chain. That's after he admitted using the "n" word on a conference call with a marketing agency.

But in a letter to Papa John's board, Schnatter accused the members of not doing any investigation and he says its decision to remove him as chairman was based on rumor and innuendo. Schnatter has hired an attorney to represent him so this could be headed for litigation.

[05:50:12] Papa John's has distanced itself from its founder since the scandal erupted. It's removed his image from its pizza boxes and pulled ads that feature him. There were some glitches early on but Amazon says Prime Day ended up a huge success. The company calls it the best -- or the biggest shopping event in Amazon history with sales topping Cyber Monday, Black Friday, and last year's Prime Day.

Get this, people bought more than 100 million products -- Instant Pots, personal water filters, and the 23andMe DNA test. I had no idea that they sold that. Those are some of the biggest sellers in the U.S.

Amazon's stock, it's been on fire. Yesterday, its market value briefly touching $900 billion for the first time.

BRIGGS: Is there anything you can't get on Amazon. I think the answer --

KOSIK: I guess not.

BRIGGS: -- definitely is no to that.

KOSIK: I know.

BRIGGS: No interpretation --


BRIGGS: -- needed.

Ahead, a fast reversal from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. He defended Holocaust deniers putting material on his site because they're quote "not intentionally getting it wrong." The latest, next.


[05:55:45] BRIGGS: Mark Zuckerberg is backtracking after controversial comments about Holocaust deniers. The Facebook CEO defended leaving their content on the site, claiming in an interview with Recode's Kara Swisher that some deniers aren't intentionally getting it wrong.


MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: There's a set of people deny that the Holocaust happened, right?


ZUCKERBERG: I find that deeply offensive.


ZUCKERBERG: But at the end of the day, I don't believe that our platform should take that down because I think that there are things that different people get wrong. Either -- I don't think that they're intentionally getting it wrong but I think that they -- SWISHER: In the case of the Holocaust deniers, they might be, but go ahead.

ZUCKERBERG: It's hard to --


ZUCKERBERG: -- impugn intent and to understand the intent.



BRIGGS: Within hours, Zuckerberg e-mailed Kara Swisher to say he got it wrong.

His comments coming one week after Facebook confirmed it would allow "Infowars," the site that traffics in conspiracy theories, to remain on its platform.

Facebook now says it will begin taking down content that could contribute to imminent violence but would rely on third parties to make that determination.

KOSIK: A measure to break California into three states will not be on the November ballot.

The state's Supreme Court says significant questions have been raised about Proposition 9. The measure would have asked voters whether California should separate into California, Northern California, and Southern California.

Backers say splitting California allows communities to make better and more sensible decisions.

BRIGGS: An emotional night at the 2018 ESPY Awards as athletes who were sexually abused by disgraced Dr. Larry Nassar honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

Olympic gold medalist gymnast Aly Raisman among the 141 survivors who took the stage together.


RAISMAN: Whether you act or do nothing, you are shaping the world that we live in, impacting others. All we needed was one adult to have the integrity to stand between us and Larry Nassar.

To all the survivors out there, don't let anyone rewrite your story. Your truth does matter, you matter, and you are not alone.


BRIGGS: Bravo, Aly.

Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, who has battled throat cancer for the last five years, received the Jimmy V. Award for Perseverance. His message similar to Jimmy V's -- never give up.


JIM KELLY, RECIPIENT, JIMMY V. AWARD, ESPYS: Make a difference today for someone who is fighting for their tomorrow.

If you have somebody out there who is suffering -- it doesn't have to be cancer. It could be some of you not having a good day, it could be your mom, your dad. It could be your grandparents.

What you say to them and the smile that you have on your face, that can be a difference in them making it to the next day.


BRIGGS: And that is Kelly tough.

The ESPYS also honored three coaches who died protecting students during the massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. Aaron Feis, Scott Beigel, and Chris Hixon all posthumously received the "Best Coach Award" on a very emotional evening at the ESPYS.

KOSIK: Such impactful words, impactful presentations definitely lingering in my mind.

BRIGGS: Nobody's tougher than Jim Kelly.


All right, thanks for joining us. I'm Alison Kosik.

BRIGGS: And I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now. See you tomorrow.


TRUMP: I let him know we can't have this. We're not going to have it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When it really counted, he didn't stand up to Putin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's so convenient that no one other than the interpreter was in the room.

CECILIA VEGA, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "ABC NEWS": Is Russia still targeting the U.S., Mr. President?

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: And the president was saying no to answering questions.

WRAY: Russia continues to engage and malign influence operations to this day.

JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Vladimir Putin got a pass. The only way this is going to be corrected is one word -- vote.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Thursday, July 19th, 6:00 here in New York.

John Avlon joins us on set. Another big day with a lot of news. Let's get right to it.

Americans and the world are trying to figure out where the President of the United States stands on Vladimir Putin. In an interview with CBS last night, President Trump now claims that he believes Putin is responsible for Russia's interference in the 2016 election.