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Trump Attacks Mueller On Twitter; Deadly Wildfire Rages In California; Final Report On Malaysia Airlines Jet; New York Publisher Warns Trump; U.S. And Taliban Face-To-Face Talks; RBG Signals She Has Five More Years On Court; Geraint Thomas Wins 1st Tour De France. Aired 04-04:30a ET

Aired July 30, 2018 - 04:00   ET



LAURA JARRETT, CNN EARLY START GUEST HOST: President Trump calls out Robert Mueller by name claiming the Special Counsel has conflicts of interest.

DAVE BRIGGS, EARLY START SHOW CO-HOST: Several people are still missing as the wildfire rages through California claiming at least six lives.

JARRETT: A just released report is supposed to close the book on the mysterious disappearance of the Malaysia Airline Jet full of passengers. Good morning and welcome to Early Start. I'm Laura Jarrett in for Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: Good to have you here my friend, how was your weekend?

JARRETT: It was awesome, I am thrilled to be here. Thank you.

BRIGGS: Welcome to 4:00 a.m. I'm Dave Briggs, it is Monday, July 30th, 1:00 a.m. in California. We will have the latest on those wildfires straight ahead, but we stowed the president what was a quiet weekend suddenly became not so quiet. Escalating his battle against the Russia investigation. Taking the rare step of calling out Special Counsel, Robert Mueller by name.

On Sunday, he did it twice in a series of what else, tweets. One slamming that Robert Mueller rigged, witch hunt and another the president tweeted in part, is Robert Mueller ever going to release his conflicts of interest with respect to President Trump. Third person, including the fact that we had a very nasty and contentious business relationship. I turned him down to head the FBI and fired FBI Director, James Comey is his close friend.

JARRETT: President Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani on Sunday, slamming former Trump attorney, Michael Cohen, calling him a pathological manipulator and liar after previously praising him as honest. More now from White House correspondent, Boris Sanchez.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN NEWSROOM HOST: Laura and Dave, CNN has reached out to the White House to get clarity on specifically on what business conflicts President Trump was talking about in that tweet mentioning Robert Mueller. We have yet to hear that, but previous reporting may give us an indication of what the President is talking about. Earlier this year, The New York Times and The Washington Post, both reported that President Trump privately had expressed concerns about possible conflicts of interest on behalf of Robert Mueller based on a dispute over fees related to Mueller's membership at the President Trump's golf club in Virginia.

Now a spokesperson for the Special Counsel told the Washington Post that the reporting at that time, the suggestion made by President Trump, were inaccurate. The back drop of all of this, the president reigniting the frustration with Robert Mueller are these revelations coming from Michael Cohen. Several sources reporting that Cohen is prepared to testify to the Special Counsel that President Trump approved of that meeting in June of 2016 between his son Donald Trump Jr. and some Trump campaign officials and Russian nationals promising dirt on Hillary Clinton.

It also comes on the heels of the release of these secret recording made by Michael Cohen in a conversation that he had with President Trump. This weekend, Rudy Giuliani, the president's relatively new attorney drawing the voracity of those tapes in to question.


RUDY GUILIANI, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: He abruptly ended the recording as soon as the President as soon as the president said the word, check. We are now, what we are investigating is how did that happen and what actually did happen. What was eliminated? Then you have to raise that question with every one of these tape. How many of them did he play around with? We have determined the fact that he tampered with the tape in the sense that he abruptly mid conversation turned it off. Now, we know he didn't do that for a good reason.


SANCHEZ: The President and his legal team making their strategy here very clear. Just a few months ago, they were calling Michael Cohen an honorable man and now they are questioning, not only his credibility of the recordings that have come from his legal team. Dave and Laura.


BRIGGS: All right, Boris, thanks. President Trump had a meeting with the publisher of The New York Times earlier this month, but he and A.G. Sulzberger are offering conflicting versions of what went down. The President revealed the meeting yesterday from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, tweeting, he spent much time talking about the vast amount of fake news being brought out there by the media and how that fake news has morphed into phrase enemy of the people. Sad. Sulzberger said the White House requested a meeting and asked that it remain off the record.

But after the President Trump tweeted about it, the Times had to be released, Sulzberger's note. The Times publisher says quote, I told him that although the phrase fake news is untrue and harmful, I'm far more concerned of about his labeling journalists is enemy of the people. I worry this inflammatory language is contributing to a rise of threats against journalists and will lead to violence.

JARRETT: The President is also threatening to shut down the government in September. If Congress fails to fund his border wall and change the nation's immigration laws. Mr. Trump tweeting quote, I would be willing to shutdown government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for border security which includes the wall.

[04:05:03] Must get rid of lottery, catch and release, etcetera and finally go to system of immigration based on merit. We need great people coming into our country. Of course, the President repeatedly promised Mexico would pay for the wall. Since February, he has been floating the idea of shutting down the government to get taxpayers to fund it.

BRIGGS: Trump administration officials promising strong economic growth is not over. U.S. growth on domestic product at 4.1 percent the second quarter that is the fastest pace since 2014. On Fox News Sunday, Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin suggested this is just the beginning.


STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY: We can only project a couple of years in the future, but I think, we are well on this path for several years. So, I don't think this is a one or two-year phenomenon. I think we definitely are in a period of four or five percent -- four or five years sustained 3 percent growth at least.


BRIGGS: For many economists are predicting slower growth for the second half of this year that is probably because some one-time factors boosted growth in the second quarter. For example, exports surged 9 percent. Some of that was driven by farmers rushing to sell their soybeans overseas before the tariffs took effect. That will likely cool off in the current quarter.

JARRETT: Federal air marshals are tracking you at U.S. airports even if you are not suspected of a crime. The Boston Globe is the first to expose a TFA program called, Quiet Skies, involves federal air marshals tracking American citizens in order to gather data on their travel behaviors. The goal is to thwart any potential aviation threats. Marshals are looking for things like abnormal awareness of surroundings, excessive fidgeting or perspiration, rapid eye blinking and rubbing or even whether you slept during your flight.

BRIGGS: Well, the fast spreading Carr fire in northern California has now claimed six lives. The wildfire more than doubling in size to over 95,000 acres this weekend. More than 1,000 structures have been damaged or destroyed. A broken hearted, Ed Bledsoe lost his wife and two great grandchildren in the fire. He was on the phone with them as the flames closed in.


ED BLEDSOE, LOST WIFE AND GRANDCHILDREN IN CARR FIRE: I talked to Jr. on the phone until he died. He just kept saying grandpa, come and get me. The fire is coming in the back door. Come on, grandpa. I said I'm down the road. He said come and get us. Emily said I love you, grandpa. Jr. says I love you. Come and get us. Come and get us, I said I'm on my way. I said he talked until he died.


BRIGGS: Just devastating. Seven people are still listed as missing. We get more from CNN's Dan Simon.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Laura, conditions remained challenging. But we are beginning to hear fire officials only for the first time express optimism about the overall effort. They got about 3,500 firefighters working the lines and it seems to be paying off. In the meantime, we are in the lake Redding estates neighborhood. You can see this house behind me, destroyed, but to underscore the random nature and all you can see this house next door is perfectly intact.

At this point, you do have six people that have died as a result of these fire. Two firefighters and four civilians. And you have so many people that remain under an evacuation order. About 38,000 or so. In some ways this region really feels paralyzed. You have all the hotels are completely full. You cannot even get a reservation somewhere. And the evacuation centers, a lot of them are at maximum capacity as well. But hopefully with the collective efforts that the crews put in all of these, hopefully is beginning to make a difference. Dave and Laura.


JARRETT: A deadly shooting at the New Orleans strip mall Saturday night now appears to be gang-related. Three people were killed and seven others injured when two people opened fire into a crowd outside a daiquiri shop. Both suspects remain at large. One of the injured victims in in critical condition. The other six have non-life threatening wounds.

BRIGGS: Medical officials in Denver Colorado are awaiting test results from the state lab this morning, after isolating a man just back from the Congo for possible Ebola. Initial tests perform that Denver Health and Hospital were negative and officials say they consider Ebola unlikely. The man fell ill suddenly Sunday morning. And the Denver Post reports, he told officials he had been working as a medical missionary in Eastern Congo. The man is reported in fair condition and said to be improving. The ambulance crew that transported the patient is being held in isolation and health officials looking for significant other for testing as a precaution.

JARRETT: The long awaited final report is here on the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Jet full of passengers was just released. [04:10:04] A live report is coming up.


JARRETT: Breaking overnight. The Malaysian government just released its long awaited report on the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, the finding leading family members of the victim's frustrated ad in tears. CNN's Will Ripley, tracking the story for us live from Hong Kong this morning. Will, what is the latest?

WILL RIPLEY, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Hi, Laura, it is hard to believe it has been 1,606 days, since MH370 disappeared on March 8 2014. I remember it well. It was my first assignment when I joined CNN. And I remember the anguished of those families at the airport in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia after feeling that the government was not giving them answers. Was not being transparent. So here we are now, more than four years later and there is this 495-page report which was released for the sake of full transparency.

[04:15:01] But I have to tell you, in all of this, there is almost no new information. Certainly no conclusion on the part of investigators as to why the plane carrying 239 people disappeared and presumed to have crash somewhere in the Southern Indian Ocean. But there had been -- there has been an exhaustive search, there was a search of more than 120,000 square kilometers conducted by Australian government that turned up nothing. It was called off earlier this year.

Then, Malaysia hired a private company, Ocean's Infinity. They conducted 112,000 square kilometer search over a period 90 days using the most advanced technology available looking in areas where by the best estimates of teams of scientists and engineers, they thought the plane might be and it has turned up nothing. We know that there had been 27 pieces of debris that have been washed up along Africa East Coast, as far as north Tanzania, far south of South Africa, only three pieces of debris, three pieces of the wing that actually had been 100 percent confirmed to be from MH-370. But still no fuselage and no answers as to where all of those people are resting and lying right now. So, the anguish continues for the families more than 1,600 days later, Laura.

JARRETT: Will, so many questions, Will, thank you.

BRIGGS: Two Americans among four cyclists killed Sunday by hit-and- run driver in Tajikistan. Three other people were injured. The identities of the victims have not been released. The U.S. embassy in central Asian nation said it is working closely with Tajik's authorities and with the ongoing investigation. The interior ministry of Tajikistan sent CNN, a statement that say, one suspect has been arrested, two others has been quote, eliminated. We are waiting for clarification of the word, eliminated.

JARRETT: The U.S. and Taliban are talking. That is according to the Wall Street Journal. The two sides met face-to-face last week, in Qatar to lay the ground work for peace talks in Afghanistan. The New York Times report Afghan government officials were not present. Alice Wells, a top U.S. envoy for south Asia, reportedly headed up the U.S. delegation. The Times report, the Trump administration gave top U.S. diplomats the green light to see direct talks with the Taliban. A reversal of long (inaudible) on U.S. policy.

BRIGGS: A polar bear was shot and killed over the weekend after it attacked the cruise ship guard. It happened on land while the German ship is docked at an island in Norway. The company Hapag-Lloyd crew's said the guard and three other colleagues had not spotted the bear before the attack. The guard is said to be in stable condition and being treated for no-life threatening injuries. In the statement, the company said guards acted in self-defense and that it is sorry the incident happened. That is not enough for social media. Outrage is spreading. Ricky Gervais, the comedian among those calling them morons, but look, in 2011 same situation has killed a British tourist, a polar bear did was also shot and killed. Tough situation.

JARRETT: Yes, sad situation all around, certainly. How much longer does 85-year-old justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg plan to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court? Her answer just ahead.


BRIGGS: 4:22 Eastern Time. More than 700 children were taken from their parents at the Mexico border still in custody of the U.S. government, even though a quarter of the deadline to reunite eligible families has come and gone. There is no indication when those reunifications may happen, because hundreds of those parents have been deported, while many others are being kept waiting or without explanation. We get more now from CNN's Kaylee Hartung, McAllen, Texas.


KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dave, Laura, over the course of reporting on the impact of President Trump's zero-tolerance policy. We have learned that no two family's stories are the same. But there had been common thread among them. That is confusion and frustration, chaos and incredible challenges in communication. The story that best encapsulates where we are today though, that is a woman who we will call Alejandra. That a month ago she and her six year old daughter crossed the U.S. border, they were fleeing gang violence in their home country of Honduras. They were detained and separated. 11 days ago, Alejandra was given her paper work for release and told that later that day, she would be reunited with her daughter. That did not happen. As of today, she remains in a detention facility here in Texas. Her daughter still in New York. And she sits in limbo and looks for answers, here is what she says she is told.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (TRANSLATOR): The first thing that I ask is always, do you know when we will be? My girl would be brought so she can be reunified with me? And they tell, no. I don't know anything. They say to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HARTUNG: HHS tells says they will not comment on any specific cases.

But they say any family who has not been reunited at this time is because of specific concerns they have with the family. Her daughter's attorney had been told a red flag has been raised in these case. Like I said, Dave and Laura, no two stories are the same for these families, but frustration remains for so many.


JARRETT: One of Britain's most talented young snowboarders died on her 18th birthday. Authorities say, Ellie Soutter, died near her home in France. And official cause of death has not been yet determined. But British ski and snow board, the governing body of the sport in the U.K. posted a lead to a suicide prevention charity when announcing her death. Soutter was expected to begin competing again in New Zealand next month and was tip for a place at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

BRIGGS: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says she hope to serve five more years on the U.S. Supreme Court.

[04:25:00] Speaking in New York, Sunday, RBG said she would like to follow the footsteps of retired colleague Justice John Paul Stevens. Stevens step down from a recorded age 90, Ginsburg was attending a play about her good friend the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Ginsburg added it is not the bald eagle, but the pendulum that is the true symbol of the United States. She say, once it moves far in one direction, you can count on it swinging back.

JARRETT: And Britain's, Geraint Thomas capturing his maiden tour to France title, Sunday in Paris. The 32 year old won by the tour by 1:51. Thomas Geraint on the Netherlands. Four time champion Chris Froome who started the three week tour as the odds on favorite came in third. But Thomas' win, team sky has won six of the last seven tour de France titles. Thomas telling the BBC the win is quote, incredible, the stuff of dreams.

BROOKS: Congrats to him. All right. Take a look at this. Former President Barack Obama and First lady Michelle Obama jamming out at the Beyonce and Jay-z concert near D.C. on Saturday night. Videos of the pair getting down in the box seats with several on lookers filming their moves on their phones. Michelle Obama attended a Beyonce and Jay-Z concert in Paris just two weeks ago where she was caught on video dancing with Queen B's mom. Quit a show it was there, did you attend?

JARRETT: I did not. Unfortunately, I could not make it. Who doesn't love Beyonce and Jay-z?

BRIGGS: I'm more of a Beyonce guy than a Jay-Z fan. But I would definitely dance in my suites.

JARRETT: It is a dynamic duo. The two of them.

President Trump launching one of his most direct attacks yet on Robert Mueller as Rudy Giuliani suggests that the Michael Cohen recordings may have been tampered with. Top stories coming up next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)