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EARLY START

Signs North Korea is Building New Missiles?; Paul Manafort on Trial; Deadly Carr Fire Spreads in North Carolina; Trump Willing to Meet with Iran; Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired July 31, 2018 - 04:30   ET

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


[04:30:06] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: New revelations overnight that North Korea could be building new missiles. The work picking up in the weeks after the Singapore summit. We're live in Seoul.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: And Paul Manafort's trial on financial crimes begins today. A lot riding on the special counsel's case against the president's one-time campaign chief.

BRIGGS: And that Carr Fire in California now chewing up over 100,000 acres. 19 people remain missing in what is now one of the most destructive fires in state history.

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

JARRETT: I'm Laura Jarrett. 30 minutes past the hour.

There are new signs this morning that North Korea could be building more missiles. "The Washington Post" reporting satellite images and other evidence show that work is under way on new intercontinental ballistic missile in the suburb of Pyongyang. Now if true, news about these liquid fueled ICBMs would be a serious blow to President Trump's diplomatic efforts with dictator And Kim Jong-un.

For the latest, let's get to Paula Hancocks in Seoul for us -- Paula.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Laura, we're hearing from a U.S. official that this report from "The Washington Post" is really consistent with what is already known. The intel community has been publicly saying that Kim Jong-un is continuing with his nuclear and missile program so the report saying that two liquid- fueled ICBMs, potentially two or just one, of being constructed right now at that research facility just outside Pyongyang.

Now we're hearing from a U.S. official that the liquid fuel is less of a worry to the United States. Basically because it takes so long to get this kind of liquid fuel into the missile and get it ready for launch that the U.S. intelligence services would have advance warning of this happening . But clearly we've also heard from the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo just last week saying that North Korea continues to produce fissile material. A U.S. official saying that Kim Jong-un has not fully declared or fully agreed to denuclearization. That Singapore summit between him and the U.S. President Donald Trump. In that statement he said he would work towards denuclearization. So

the biggest challenge for the United States right now is to try and find out exactly what North Korea has within this program so that when Kim Jong-un declares what he has when he gives his inventory saying potentially he's willing to give that up, is that everything? Does he have more that he is trying to hide? North Korean observers would suggest that in the past this is what North Korea has done, that they are not transparent about what exactly they have -- Laura.

JARRETT: So many questions remain. Paula, thank you for all that reporting.

BRIGGS: Jury selection begins later this morning in the federal trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort for alleged financial crimes. It's the first public test for Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his prosecutors even though Russia will not be the focus of this proceeding.

We get more now from CNN's Evan Perez in Washington.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Laura, Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, is going on trial today in Alexandria, Virginia, on federal tax and bank fraud charges.

Now this is the first trial to come from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation but don't expect this three-week trial to be about Russia or collusion or even about President Trump. Prosecutors and defense attorneys have said that they plan to stick closely to the issues in the charges which have to do with the government's accusations that Manafort used secret foreign bank accounts to hide millions of dollars that he earned working for the Ukrainian government and that he failed to disclose that money in his tax filings with the IRS.

Now Manafort has pleaded not guilty to these charges. In the hours before jury selection begins, the two sides are still squaring off over what evidence jurors will be allowed to see. Manafort's lawyers asked the judge to block the government from showing some 50 pieces of evidence including e-mails and photos that they say are irrelevant and prejudicial. Mueller's prosecutors responded Monday that the evidence is important to show how Manafort earned $60 million working as a political consultant for the Ukrainian government.

Manafort also faces another federal trial later this year on separate charges in Washington, D.C. - - Dave, Laura.

JARRETT: A White House official confirming the obvious. The president's press team is not coordinating with Rudy Giuliani concerning his comments on behalf of Mr. Trump's legal team. That was apparent Monday when Giuliani made a series of bizarre claims on CNN's "NEW DAY" including the fact that he's not sure collusion with Russia is even a crime.

Now for context, of course the Criminal Code does not use the word collusion, but it is generally understood as a broad term that could include more specific crimes like conspiracy. [04:35:01] BRIGGS: Giuliani also suggested before the infamous Trump

Tower meeting with the Russians in 2016 several Trump aides met for a pre-meeting to discuss their strategy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Lanny Davis has said that there was a meeting two days before the meeting took place with Donald Jr., Jared, Manafort, and two others -- Gates and one more person.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Important to note, Rick Gates, the right-hand man to Paul Manafort, is cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. After repeated requests for clarity Giuliani later said the meeting never even happened and insists his description came from questions from reporters.

JARRETT: This story just keeps changing, Dave.

BRIGGS: It does indeed.

JARRETT: The former head of the human resources at FEMA is accused of trading sex for jobs. CNN has reviewed a summary of FEMA's preliminary investigation. And it finds Corey Coleman engaged in sexual relationships with female subordinates. Witnesses alleged he pressured the women and demoted them if they try to deny him. The first known accusations date from 2015. Investigators say Coleman resigned when he approached them for an interview. FEMA administrator Brock Long calls the allegations deeply disturbing. CNN has been unable to reach Coleman for comment.

BRIGGS: A federal court in California ordering broad changes in how the U.S. government detains and treats migrant children in its secure facilities. The orders range from getting consent before giving psychotropic medications to kids to requiring the government to stop imposing conditions that delay releasing minors to parents or relatives. The judge said the government violated a 1997 settlement that dictates how refugee children are treated in the system. The Justice Department declined to comment.

JARRETT: Progress is slow, but it is being made as crews battle the Carr Fire raging in northern California. This monster blaze has consumed more than 103,000 acres. And right now 23 percent contained. At least six people have died, 19 are still missing. More than 1100 structures have burned, making it the seventh most destructive fire in California's history.

One little girl doing what she can to help. Chelsea Lutz recorded this video of her 2-year-old daughter, Gracie, handing out burritos to firefighters working on the Carr Fire.

We get more now from CNN's Nick Watt in Redding, California.

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Laura, firefighters fighting this fire have described it as chaotic and unpredictable. So they talk about how much of it is contained, but at any moment, a gust of wind and ember can create a problem.

Remember, this fire started more than a week ago and it was under control for a few days until the weather conditions turned. Temperatures soared, humidity dropped and this fire using fuel, dead vegetation from California's four-year drought, just spread through this area.

And it's interesting to note that of the top 12 biggest fires in California, seven of them have taken place since 2015, and the personal cost here has been huge. Six people have been killed, two firefighters. What will happen next with this fire? Well, the forecast is for 100-degree temperatures for the rest of the week and no rain in that forecast, and that could make this fire tricky to get ahold of.

Back to you, guys.

BRIGGS: Desperately need some rain out there.

JARRETT: Yes.

BRIGGS: Nick, thanks.

Republicans relentlessly attacked President Obama when he offered to meet Iran's leaders without preconditions. Now President Trump, he'd do the same. What's the reaction? We're live in the Middle East.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[04:42:56] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- meet any time they want to. And I don't do that from strength or from weakness. I think it's an appropriate thing to do.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you have preconditions for that meeting?

TRUMP: No preconditions. No. They want to meet, I'll meet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: The president's words on Iran. A sharp departure from threats he tweeted against the regime last week. In case you forgot, the all-caps, "You will suffer the consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before" and "be cautious". President Trump has long been a harsh critic of Tehran with his administration pursuing a strategy many see as essentially regime change.

CNN's Oren Liebermann live from Jerusalem. Oren, good to see you. Mike Pompeo cleaned up this a little bit, huh?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Almost seemed like he was put in a position where he had to. President Donald Trump making this stunning about-face from the language about Iran suffering consequences the likes of which few had ever suffered in history, to threatening Iran's economy, to going after the regime, to suddenly being willing to meet him history. Going after the regime and now being able to meet without preconditions in what almost sounded like a reconciliatory tone coming from Trump who's been one of the harshest critics of Iran and one of the harshest critics of the Iran nuclear deal.

Now he did say there would have to be the possibility of something meaningful coming from the talks so that may be a bit of a hedge, but it was Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaking to CNBC who had to do what he could to clarify what Trump said -- what he meant when he said he'd be willing to meet without any preconditions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: If the Iranians demonstrate a commitment to make fundamental changes on how they treat their own people, reduce their malign behavior, agree that it's worthwhile to enter a nuclear agreement that actually prevents proliferation, then the president said he's prepared to sit down and have a conversation with them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LIEBERMANN: This apparent about face looks very much like the one President Donald Trump did when it came to North Korea. Using harsh and threatening rhetoric against them and suddenly being willing to sit down and meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. It has to be noted that Republicans trash and criticize former President Barack Obama for the same idea. The idea of meeting with Iran, so we'll see if they say anything this time. So far they have been fairly quiet when it comes to their thoughts about Trump suddenly meeting with Iranian leaders.

[04:45:07] Now what did they have to say? An Iranian parliamentarian said breaking the deal is worse than any preconditions and said Iran's position remains that there is no possibility for talks.

BRIGGS: Secretary of State now also the translator.

Oren Liebermann, live for us this morning, thank you.

JARRETT: Senate Republicans are rejecting President Trump's threat to shut down the government in September if he doesn't get his funding for his border wall, at least for now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER: Finish up your set of appropriation measures. We've been considering for several days and take four more big steps toward our goal of completing a regular appropriations process and funding the government in a timely and orderly manner.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R), LOUISIANA: If the president wants to shutdown the government, you know, that's his prerogative. I don't -- I think it would be a mistake and I don't think it's going to be necessary.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: Even members of the president's own party are learning to shrug off or simply ignore his sporadic legislative impulses. But still the president persists, reiterating his shutdown threat on Monday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: After many, many years of talk within the United States, I would have no problem doing a shutdown. It's time we had proper border security.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: Now according to a White House aide, Chief of Staff John Kelly is trying to soothe anxious members of the White House Legislative Affairs Office. Kelly telling them the president is still on board with an agreement struck with Republican leadership at a meeting that did not include threats of a government shutdown before the midterm elections.

BRIGGS: The billionaire Koch brothers, their influential political network, sending shockwaves through the Republican Party. They've announced they will not support Republican Congressman Kevin Cramer in his race to unseat Democratic Senate Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota.

Just the latest sign the conservative group is frustrated with the state of the GOP and feels taken for granted. The president of Americans for Prosperity, the political and policy arm of the Koch Network, said its members are raising the bar.

4:46 Eastern Time and a check on CNN Money. It's been a rocky year for Tyson Foods and the ongoing trade war is not helping. Tyson lowered its profit forecast for the year nearly 12 percent yesterday. As uncertainty around tariffs that sent chicken and pork prices lower. The food company stock fell 6 percent and is down 26 percent for the year.

Also not helping the business is a huge oversupply of frozen meat. American meat producers are storing a record 2.5 billion pounds of beef, chicken, pork and Turkey, that according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Tyson also says the company won't get quite the bump it had anticipated from that lower corporate tax rate Republicans passed late last year. Saving about 10 percent less than it expected.

JARRETT: On September 11th, President Trump gets the full Bob Woodward. The Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter releases "Fear." His first book on the Trump administration. The title comes from a 2016 interview in which Mr. Trump told Woodward he believes fear is the real source of real power. The book is based on memos, documents, diaries and notes, including some handwritten by the president himself. A source tells CNN's Jamie Gangel Woodward also went back to his shoe-leather reporting of his Watergate days knocking on doors at night convincing dozens of White House officials and sources to talk to him all on tape.

BRIGGS: Judging by the past of one of the great reporters of our time. This will not be "Fire and Fury." There will be sourcing in this book.

JARRETT: Can you imagine if Bob Woodward shows up at your door late at night?

BRIGGS: Yes. That knock you don't always want to hear.

Ahead, LeBron James taking on the president's attitude toward athletes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEBRON JAMES, FOUR-TIME NBA MVP: He is trying to divide our sport. But at the end of the day sport is the reason why we all come together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: What else LeBron tells CNN about the national anthem protests, opening his legacy school in Ohio yesterday.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:53:54] JARRETT: CBS CEO Les Moonves will remain in his job while the network investigates sexual misconduct allegations. The company's board of directors is lining up outside law firms to investigate claims made by six women in a "New Yorker" magazine story. The board says no other action was taken at Monday's meeting. And it postponed the annual stockholder's meeting that was scheduled for August 10th.

Moonves saying he has promoted a culture of respect and opportunity for all employees but admitting there were times, decades ago, when he may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances.

BRIGGS: The "Guardians of the Galaxy" cast standing by its embattled director James Gunn. The cast led by stars Chris Pratt, Zoey Saldana and Bradley Cooper signing an open letter asking Disney to reinstate Gunn. The director was fired after offensive tweets from the past resurfaced. Gunn for his part accepted the decision and apologized for the way he conducted himself. But the "Guardians" cast says in the letter, "We are not here to defend his jokes of many years ago, but rather to share our experience having spent many years together. The character Gunn has shown in the wake of his firing is consistent with the man he was every day on set and his apology we believe is from the heart."

[04:55:09] James Gunn has not commented on the cast's letter.

JARRETT: Two Minneapolis Police officers shot and killed an armed suspect after a foot chase last month will not face criminal charges.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will (EXPLETIVE DELETED) shoot you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What? What? I didn't do nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got a gun. Put your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) hands up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: Thirty-one-year-old Thurman Blevins was shot on June 23rd after police received a call about a man firing a handgun into the air in a residential Minneapolis neighborhood. The foot chase and fatal shooting all caught on both officers' body cams.

BRIGGS: The announcement by Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman that no charges will be filed interrupted by angry members of Blevins' family.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE FREEMAN, HENNEPIN COUNTY ATTORNEY: Officers are required to reach quickly and intense on certain and rapidly evolving situations. Needed to be taken into account --

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want the officers arrested in the next 48 hours or there will be further consequences. And that is all we have to say.

Mike Freeman, you better think long and hard in regard to prosecuting these officers because if you don't --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Election year --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll let you finish that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Prosecutors say the officers who are both white fired their weapons only after Blevins grabbed his loaded gun and turned toward them. Police say a gun was recovered next to Blevins' body.

JARRETT: And 21 states trying to stop the release of plans for building 3-D printable guns. They've written to the Trump administration asking it to withdraw from a settlement with the plan's designer. Eight states have filed suit, arguing the Trump administration's action would allow criminals and terrorists to access downloadable, untraceable, undetectable weapons.

Under the settlement, people aren't supposed to be able to legally download plans for 3-D printed guns until Wednesday, but because the designs have already been posted online, by Sunday more than 1,000 people already had downloaded plans to print an AR-15-style semiautomatic assault rifle. BRIGGS: That is some scary stuff.

LeBron James believes President Trump is using sports to sow division in the country. LeBron speaking to CNN's Don Lemon after the opening of his I Promise Elementary School for at risk kids in his native Akron, Ohio, Monday. He pointed to a number of instances where he says the president has taken advantage of displays of dissent to stir discord.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES: Kaepernick, who was a, you know, protester in something that he believed in and he did it in the most calm fashion. If you look at a lot of the NFL players that are still kneeling, that makes you look at stuff. You look at, you know, Marshawn Lynch. You look at all these instances, why he is trying to divide our sport. But at the end of the day sport is the reason why we all come together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: LeBron says his voice has to be about more than just sports.

Let's get a check on CNN Money this morning. Looking like a good day for stocks. Global markets are mostly higher and so are U.S. futures. But this comes after the Nasdaq closed more than 1 percent lower yesterday. It marked the first time the Nasdaq had three consecutive declines of 1 percent or more in nearly three years. The index was pushed lower by falling technology stocks. The so-called FAANG stocks, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google parent Alphabet all started the week in the red after two members of the much hyped group spooked investors by growing more slowly than expected.

Another stock suffering this week Helios and Matheson, the parent company of MoviePass. Shares of the movie subscription service plunged 60 percent Monday amid new reports that customers were having problems with the app. The stock fell as low as 78 cents a share Monday raising new concerns that it could eventually be -listed from the Nasdaq Stock Exchange. MoviePass struggled with customer issues this weekend. Some users reported problems checking in and others couldn't get tickets for "Mission: Impossible Fallout," the weekend's biggest movie opening.

And there's good news for gluten-free customers. Dunkin' Donuts now has an option for you. The company introduced its first ever gluten- free bakery product the fudge brownie. It's now available on all of Dunkin's 8500 U.S. stories. Gluten-free food has soared in popularity, is projected to rake in $2 billion in sales by 2020. A 20 percent increase from 2015. That's according to food industry research company Packaged Facts.

I am gluten free. That's great. Brownie for breakfast along with my giant coffee with cream and sugar.

(LAUGHTER)

JARRETT: So healthy. BRIGGS: Healthy. Yes. EARLY START continues right now with new

reporting that suggests North Korea could be working on new missiles.

New revelations overnight North Korea could be building new missiles. The work picking up in the week after the Singapore summit.