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Trial of Paul Manafort Begins. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired July 31, 2018 - 05:00   ET


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The work picking up after the Singapore summit. We're live in Seoul.

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

BRIGGS: And the Carr fire in California now chewing up over 100,000 acres, 19 people remain missing in one of the most destructive fires in state history. And unfortunately it looks like triple digit temperatures for the next five days for the folks out there in California. Good morning everyone, welcome to Early Start. I'm Dave Briggs.

JARRETT: I'm Laura Jarrett in for Christine Romans. Its Tuesday, July 31, 5 a.m. in the east. There are new signs this morning that North Korea could be building more missiles. The Washington Post reporting satellite images and other evidence shows that work is underway on intercontinental ballistic missiles in the suburb of Pyongyang.

If true, news about these liquid-filled IBCMS would be a serious blow to the president's diplomatic efforts with Dictator Kim Jong-un. For the latest, let's turn to CNN's Paula Hancocks in Seoul. Paula?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN REPORTER: Well Laura, a U.S. official has told CNN that this Post report is consistent with what is already publicly known. The fact that Kim Jong-un has not made a full promise to denuclearize in that Singapore summit with the U.S. President Donald Trump.

He quote, he did say that he would work towards denuclearization. Now the same U.S. official when talking about these liquid fueled ICBMS, said that the liquid fuel is not a major worry to the United States, because that kind of technology means that it takes a long time in order to put this missile together, so U.S. intelligence agencies would have advanced warning if this were going ahead.

We've also heard from the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo just last week at a Senate hearing saying that North Korea continues to produce fissile material, even intel agencies are publically saying that they believe Kim Jong-un is continuing with his production and with those -- those programs. Now the big challenge for the U.S. at this point according to one U.S.

official, is to find out exactly what north Korea has ahead of time so that when Kim Jong-un comes up with an inventory of the activity that they have, the nuclear missile arsenal that they have been claimed they will give them up, to make sure there is nothing in reserve; to make sure that is transparent as many North Koreans observers have said in the past, they have not been transparent and they have kept many of these -- these other facilities secret away from the United States. Laura.

JARRETT: We'll certainly be watching this situation very closely. Paula, thank you for that report.

BRIGGS: OK, jury selection begins later this morning in the federal trial of the former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort, for alleged financial crimes. This is the first public test for Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his prosecutors, even though Russia will not the focus of the preceding. More now from CNN's Evan Perez from Washington.

PEREZ: Dave and Laura, Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman, is going on trial today in Alexandria, Virginia on federal tax and bank fraud charges. This is the first trial to come from Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. But don't expect this three week trial to be about Russia or collusion or President Trump.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys have said 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.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty to the charges. In the hours before jury selection begins, the two sides are squaring off over what evidence the jury 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 trial later this year on separate charges from Washington, D.C. Dave and Laura.

JARRETT: A White House official confirming the obvious. The president's press team is not coordinating with Rudy Giuliani concerning his comment on behalf of Mr. Trump's legal team. That was apparent on Monday when Giuliani made a series of bizarre of claims on CNN's New Day, including the fact that he's not sure collusion with Russia is even a crime. Now, for context, the criminal code doesn't use the word collusion, but it generally understood by all that it's a broad term, that it could include more specific crimes like conspiracy. BRIGGS: Giuliani suggested before the infamous Trump Tower meeting

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


RUDY GIULIANI: Lanny Davis has added that there was a meeting two days before the meeting took place with Donald Junior, Jared ,Manafort and two others. Gates and one more person.


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

Speaking overnight for the Daily Beast, Giuliani appeared to blame the confusion on the New York Times reporters, who Giuliani suggests compelled him to proactively spin a potentially damaging story.

JARRETT: The former head of the human resources at FEMA accused of trading sex for jobs. CNN has reviewed a summary of FEMA's preliminary investigation. It finds Corey Coleman engaged in sexual relationships with female subordinates. Witnesses allege he pressured the women and demoted them if they tried to deny him.

The first known accusation dates from 2015. Investigators say Coleman resigned when they approached for an interview. FEMA Administrator Brock Long called the allegation deeply concerning. 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 the facilities. The orders include getting consent before giving kids psychotropic medications and dropping conditions that delay releasing minors to parents or relatives. The judge said the government violated a 1997 settlement that dictates how refugee children are to be 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. Right now, it is 23 percent contained. T least six people have died, 19 are still missing. More than 1,100 structures have burned, making it the seventh most destructive fire in California history.

One little girl doing what she can to help out. Chelsea Lutz recorded this video of her two year old daughter, Gracie, handing out burritos to firefighters working the Carr fire. We get more from CNN's Nick Watt for us in Redding, California.

NICK WATT, CNN REPORTER: 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.

BRIGGS: That's awful news, awful news there. Thank you, Nick Watt. Also fires in Oregon, 1,000 evacuations there. So both states in deep trouble as the heat continues.

Ahead, Republicans relentlessly attacked when President Obama when he offered to meet Iran's leaders without pre-conditions. Now Trump, does he do the same? We're live with reaction (ph).



PRESIDENT TRUMP: ...anytime they want to. And I don't do that from strength or from weakness. I think it's an appropriate thing to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have pre-conditions for that meeting?

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


JARRETT: The president's words on Iran, a sharp departure from the threats he tweeted against the regime last week. But his Secretary of State mike Pompeo did seem to layout conditions moments later.


MIKE POMPEO: The theory (ph) demonstrate a commitment to making fundamental changes in how they treat their own people, reduce their malign behavior, agree that it's worthwhile to enter into a nuclear agreement that actually prevents proliferation, and the president said he's prepared to sit down and have a conversation with them.


JARRETT: President Trump has been a harsh critic of Tehran with his administration pursuing a strategy many see as essentially regime change. Thomas Erdbrink, the New York Times Tehran bureau chief is live for us in Iran. Thomas, thank you for joining us.

THOMAS ERDBRINK, NEW YORK TIMES: Thanks for having me. JARRETT: Please give us your latest reporting on what's going on, on

the ground there.

ERDBRINK: Well, I mean of course the Iranians are now in a tough position because President Trump has so openly invited them to talks. They knew already through diplomatic channels, through other remarks made by President Trump that the United States is ready to sit down with the Iranians, which is basically old American policy.

Obama tried to do the same thing. Bill Clinton tried to do the same thing. But the Iranians never wanted to do this because ideologically they are against the United States. Now, of course they had the nuclear talks in which they did sit down with representatives if the United States, mainly with John Kerry.

But President Trump has now really laid open the cards and said, look I'm ready to sit down with you guys without pre-conditions. And of course, Secretary Pompeo has made conditions, but you can be sure the Iranians are looking at Donald Trump. And it poses the question, are they ready to sit down?

Now, Iran has a long history of talking secretly to the United States. They don't mind to talking to America behind closed doors to make deals as long as for the greater public this doesn't happen. So if President Trump has a meeting in mind between him and President Rouhani, that will be hard, ideologically at least, to swallow for the Iranians.

At the same time, there will be more and more voices here in Iran that will say look, our government has to make amends. The economic situation in Iran is going fastly downhill. The local currency has lost over 50 percent of its value in recent months. So the push for Iran's leaders to actually sit down with Donald Trump, a man they really dislike, is very great.

JARRETT: Thomas, thank you for joining us there in Iran.

BRIGGS: All right, time for an early start on your money. The Trump administration looking to cut another $100 billion in taxes mainly for rich Americans, that's according to the New York Times. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the Times earlier this month at the G20 summit in Argentina that his department was considering overhauling how the capital gains tax is calculated.

That would allow taxpayers to adjust the initial value of an asset like the home or shares of stock for inflation when selling it. Mnuchin went on to say that the Treasury Department is considering bypassing Congress to make the tax cut happen. A recent analysis from the Wharton School showed that over 97 percent of the benefits would go to the top 10 percent of income earners in the U.S.

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

(VIDEO BEGINS) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Finish up the set of appropriate measures. We have 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.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president wants to shutdown the government, you know, that's his prerogative. I think it would be a mistake and I don't think it's going to be necessary.


JARRETT: Even members of the president's own party are learning to shrug off or simply ignore his sporadic legislative impulses.

BRIGGS: Still the president persists reiterating his shutdown threat on Monday.


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.


BRIGGS: According to a White House aide, Chief of Staff John Kelly 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 midterms.

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 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 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: You know, Woodward, an associate editor at the Washington Post, to getting you an idea of the secrecy of this, the Washington Post cites the Simon and Schuster press release. So he has kept this well under wraps.

JARRETT: A lot of anticipation on this one.

BRIGGS: Indeed there should be. Lebron James telling CNN that president, telling CNN he's using sports to create division in America. Andy Scholes has more and a Bleacher Report, next.


BRIGGS: In an interview with CNN, Lebron James says President Trump is using sports to divide the United States.

JARRETT: Andy Scholes has more in this morning's Bleacher Report.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN REPORTER: Good morning, guys. You know, it's the opening of his new I Promise School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. Lebron sat down with Don Lemon. And in the interview, Lebron said he would never sit down across from President Trump and have a conversation with him, and one of the reasons, because he thinks the president uses sports to divide the country.


LEBRON JAMES: He is dividing us and -- and what I noticed over the last few months, that he's kind of used sports to kind of divide us, and that's something that I can't relate to because I know that sports was the first time I was around someone white. I got an opportunity to see them and learn about them and they got the opportunity to learn about me and we became very good friends. I was like, oh wow, this is all because of sports. Sports has never been something to divide people it's always been something that brings someone together.


SCHOLES: You can see more from the video at Lebron also giving CNN a tour of the public school for at-risk kids. The inaugural class is comprised of third and fourth graders and the school will continue to expand year by year until its grade one through eight by 2022. The images of Lebron can be seen all over the school. One of the coolest parts is the lobby that has 114 pairs of Lebron's game worn shoes on display.

All right, NFL training camp is ramping up all over the country. And Arizona Cardinals defensive end, Chandler Jones looks ready for the season right now. Check him out yesterday, breaking the blocking sled. This never happens. That's probably why his teammates were so pumped up about it, they had never seen it before either. Good look to the offensive linemen that are going to line up against Jones this season.

Finally, an awesome moment at Jets' camp yesterday. Safety Jamal Adams making this fan's day. He not only signs his jersey, but gives him a pair of his gloves as well and gives him a big handshake and hug. Guys, that right there is what sports is all about. That pure joy.

BRIGGS: That is good stuff. We have football. What, a week from Thursday? We are not far out.

SCHOLES: Not a week from Thursday, Dave. Thursday is the hall of fame game.

JARRETT: How do you not know the date?

BRIGGS: It's my anniversary. I should know, I really should know. Let's hope they get that anthem policy in order. They've got a couple of days. Andy Scholes, thank you, appreciate it. JARRETT: Thanks so much. New signs North Koreans are building more missiles outside Pyongyang. What it means for diplomatic efforts. We're live from Seoul.

BRIGGS: And the first trial stemming from Robert Mueller's investigation starts today. Don't expect a lot of focus on Russia at Paul Manafort's trial.