Return to Transcripts main page

EARLY START

Judge Blocks 3D Gun Plans; Escalating Trade War With China; Manafort Trial Underway; More Than 800 Homes Destroyed By Carr Fire. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired August 1, 2018 - 04:00   ET

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


[04:00:13] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: A federal judge says instructions to make 3D guns cannot go online as planned, but how long will untraceable guns stay out of dangerous hands?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: China and others -- remember this -- have targeted our farmers. Not good. Not nice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump defending his trade policies with China. Now word overnight the next round of tariffs on China could escalate dramatically.

BRIGGS: Shifting blame. Heated statements in a $15,000 coat. A fast start to Paul Manafort's trial on financial crimes.

Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

I am not, Laura Jarrett, wearing a $15,000 ostrich jacket. I'm more of an off-the-rack guy.

JARRETT: We've got to get pictures of that coat.

I'm Laura Jarrett, in for Christine Romans today. It's Wednesday, August 1st, 4:00 a.m. in the East.

A federal judge blocking a government settlement that would allow plans for 3D guns to be downloaded online, the ruling coming just hours before those plans were set to publish, with growing concerns about people being able to make their own untraceable plastic weapons. The judge's block is temporary, but it puts a hold on the settlement a gun rights group and the government reached back in June that would make it legal to post the plans on the Internet.

BRIGGS: The founder of the gun rights group Defense Distributed says his company's site is going dark until he can review the judge's order.

Before the ruling came down, he spoke to CNN's Laurie Segall about concerns publishing plans could endanger the public.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LAURIE SEGALL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The democratization of guns online, giving people the ability to 3D print their own guns would make it feasible for felons, minors, mentally ill, to have access to firearms. Are you worried about those repercussions?

CODY WILSON, FOUNDER, DEFENSE DISTRIBUTED: No, I don't believe that access to information is ever tremendously negative or a bad thing. I know that people can use information for bad things, but this isn't a justification to, what, stop a publisher from speaking?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: Nearly a dozen states sued to stop the firm from publishing the printable plans.

President Trump even weighed in yesterday, tweeting: 3D plastic guns being sold to the public doesn't seem to make much sense.

The White House later confirmed it supports the existing law on the books.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

HOGAN GIDLEY, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: The president is committed to the safety and security of all Americans. He considers this his highest responsibility. The administration supports a nearly two-decade-old law and will continue to look at all options available to us.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

BRIGGS: It is worth noting, the State Department cleared the way for the settlement that would have allowed the printable 3D gun plans. The NRA releasing a statement saying it supports existing laws that make it illegal to manufacture, sell, and possess an undetectable firearm.

But just last month, NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch defended exactly the opposite viewpoint.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANA LOESCH, NRA SPOKESPERSON: What Democrats call, quote/unquote, ghost guns and the rest of us simply call freedom and innovation, 3D- printed guns.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: Under terms of the settlement, 3D-printed gun plans were supposed to be not available online until today, but more than 1,000 people have already downloaded the plans to print an AR-15-style semiautomatic assault rifle.

BRIGGS: All right. Time for an EARLY START on your money.

The Trump administration's pending China tariffs could be significantly higher than first announced. A source familiar with discussions has confirmed that tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods could be raised from 10 percent to 25 percent. They would cover things like fruits and vegetables, handbags, refrigerators, rain jackets, even baseball gloves.

China's foreign ministry moments ago saying blackmailing and pressure by the U.S. will never work and promising to take countermeasures, if needed. The U.S. has already imposed 25 percent tariffs on Chinese goods worth $34 billion. China quickly retaliated with tariffs on $34 billion in American goods. The president addressed the trade war at a rally in Tampa last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: China and others -- remember this -- have targeted our farmers. Not good. Not nice. And you know what our farmers are saying? It's OK. We can take it. These are incredible people. We can take it.

Now, we're going to open up markets. We're going to do it the way it should be. And all of this stuff, you're going to make it back and it's going to be made back faster than anybody would know, but we haven't been treated right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: President Trump says the tariff tit for tat will eventually open up markets. That may be the end game. But so far, it is destabilizing well-established markets. As a stop gap, the administration announced a week ago it's preparing a $12 billion emergency aid package for farmers caught up in the trade war.

[04:05:07] The move has been panned by many Republicans for being a short-term fix. Markets in Asia were down slightly overnight.

JARRETT: Today will be Paul Manafort's first full day in front of a jury. One thing certainly became clear in opening statements yesterday, President Trump's former campaign chairman is ready to pin the blame for his alleged financial crimes on his top former aide. CNN is told the president followed developments in the trial from Air Force One.

CNN's Jessica Schneider has more from Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Laura, it was a fiery first day in the Paul Manafort trial. Lawyers for both sides, they gave the jury their opening statements. Prosecutors called Manafort a shrewd liar and said he's made millions of dollars in secret income from what they called a, quote, cash spigot, that came from working with his golden goose in Ukraine, the pro-Putin president, Viktor Yanukovych.

Of course, that is all the basis of these charges in Virginia, that Manafort hid the money he made from foreign lobbying in 37 foreign bank accounts. Prosecutors say he never paid taxes on any of that money, and then they say he lived an extravagant lifestyle, complete with multiple homes, and even, get this, a $15,000 jacket made of ostrich.

On the flip side, Manafort's attorneys will be mounting a dual defense. First, they say it was the Russian oligarchs Manafort worked for who actually demanded he pay into those secret accounts. And secondly, Manafort's lawyers are trying to shift the blame to Rick Gates, saying it was Gates who, of course, is Manafort's former deputy, who's already pleaded guilty to other charges. They say Gates was really the one stealing and embezzling the money.

So, of course, it was a lot packed into this first day of the trial with the White House continuing to distance itself from Paul Manafort and pointing out that these charges have nothing to do with Manafort's time as campaign chairman for President Trump -- Dave and Laura.

(END VIDOTAPE)

BRIGGS: Jessica, thanks.

CNN has learned special counsel Robert Mueller has referred several cases to federal prosecutors in Manhattan. Sources say they relate to whether high-profile Americans failed to properly register as foreign agents.

Among the subjects, longtime Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta, along with a former Republican congressman and a White House lawyer under President Obama. All three men did work on behalf of Ukraine. Mueller has already turned over a case involving Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen. No comment yet from the special counsel, the U.S. attorney, or any potential subjects.

JARRETT: President Trump putting a little physical distance between himself and the Mueller investigation by campaigning for Republican candidates in Florida last night. Things got tense when his supporters fiercely heckled CNN's Jim Acosta.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)

JARRETT: President Trump did nothing to calm the crowd or stop it. The president's son, Eric, retweeted the video, which was then retweeted by the president.

Jim Acosta has more for us in Tampa.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Laura, at a rally here in Florida, the president steered clear of the subject of the Russia investigation, instead returning to one of his favorite topics on the campaign trail, immigration, telling his supporters here that there should be voter ID laws across the country. At one point remarking that you need an ID to buy groceries.

Here's what he had to say. TRUMP: Only American citizens should vote in American elections,

which is why the time has come for voter ID, like everything else.

You know, if you go out and you want to buy groceries, you need a picture on a card. You need ID. You go out and you want to buy anything, you need ID, and you need your picture.

ACOSTA: The president also lashed out at the news media, referring to reporters in the back of the room as fake news, even talking about what he considers to be fake polls. But at the same time, the president talked up a poll that shows he's one of the most popular Republican presidents in recent history -- Dave and Laura.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRIGGS: Thank you, Jim. And anyone wondering, you do not need an ID to buy groceries.

Elsewhere, immigration officials have agreed to hold off briefly on deporting a group of families that have just been reunited after being separated at the border. An attorney for the family said last night the government will stay removals through Friday, a small win as advocates try to buy more time for immigrants they say have not had a full opportunity to make their case for asylum in the United States.

JARRETT: Earlier at a hearing on Capitol Hill, an HHS official heading up the reunifications told lawmakers he had warned over the past year about the dangers of family separation. But the head of ICE's enforcement division had these glowing words about detention centers where the government is housing these children.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[04:10:01] MATTHEW ALBENCE, ICE EXECUTIVE ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF ENFORCEMENT: I think the best way to describe them is to be more like a summer camp. These individuals have access to 24/7 food and water. They have educational opportunities. They have recreational opportunities, both structured as well as unstructured.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: Now, officials at the hearing had few details to offer about the plans going forward for reunifying the hundreds of children still separated from their parents at the border.

BRIGGS: Facebook removing a network of suspected Russian-linked accounts it says were organizing political events in the U.S. It's the most extensive effort to interfere in American politics the social network has publicly disclosed ahead of the midterms. The social media giant trying to prevent a repeat of 2016 when accounts connected to a Kremlin-linked troll group posed as Americans on its platform.

JARRETT: At a cybersecurity summit in New York, Vice President Mike Pence blamed the Obama administration for the attack.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In a very real sense, we inherited a cyber crisis. The last administration all but neglected cybersecurity, even though the digital threats were growing more numerous and more dangerous by the day.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: Asked by CNN to respond to the Facebook reports, a Russian official said she hoped materials will be presented to the Russian side.

BRIGGS: All right, coming up, identification could take years, but this morning remains believed to be Americans from the Korean War are being flown back home. We're live at the ceremony in South Korea.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:15:41] BRIGGS: A military ceremony for the remains of what are believed to be U.S. soldiers killed in the Korean war is taking place this morning at an air base in South Korea. The remains handed over last week by the North will be flown to Hawaii for forensic examination.

Officials say that process could take a very long time.

CNN's Paula Hancocks joining us live from Osan Air Base in South Korea.

Paula, good morning.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDEN: Hello, Dave. Well, that repatriation ceremony is currently under way. The (INAUDIBLE) commander in chief saying words at the beginning, saying how important it is that all service members are brought home from combat zones around the world, and that is what today is about.

Now, there are 55 caskets in that hangar at Osan Air Base as well during that repatriation ceremony. They will be brought here to be loaded onto the C-17 planes, taken to Hawaii then for formal identification where Vice President Mike Pence will be receiving them as they touch down for the first time on U.S. soil since the Korean War, some 65 years ago.

Now, we have been hearing some details from officials. They say that after the initial investigation, a couple of days, they believe these men, these service members were from the Korean War. They believe many of them were American.

One dog tag was found amongst those remains. That family has been identified. So, for at least one family, there is some sense of closure since these remains have been returned from North Korea. Also, some other military hardware, some helmets, some boots. All of this equipment is going to be crucial for forensics experts in Hawaii to try and figure out who exactly is represented within those 55 caskets. But a very solemn day here at Osan Air Base, a very important day for the United States military for the United Nations command as well to say they will continue to try to find all of their service members who are missing around the world -- Dave.

BRIGGS: Hopefully, a step towards closure for all those families.

Paula Hancocks live for us in South Korea, thank you.

JARRETT: A passenger and the pilot of an Aeromexico jet are in critical but stable condition this morning following a crash in Durango, Mexico, on Tuesday. Aeromexico Flight 2431 was headed to Mexico City but went down after takeoff in a field just beyond the runway. There were 97 passengers and 4 crew members on board, 49 people were hospitalized, but no one died.

Embraer, the Brazilian maker of the aircraft, says it's ready to assist Mexican authorities in their investigations.

GRIFFETH: Coming up, a superhuman feat accomplished by a man fittingly named Clark Kent. A young swimmer beats a record held by an American icon. That story ahead on EARLY START.

(COMMECIAL BREAK)

[04:22:54] BRIGGS: One-twenty-two in California, where there's a glimmer of hope this morning. The Carr Fire is now 30 percent contained. Police say 16 of the 20 missing people in the fire have been located. Still, the flames have scorched nearly 113,000 acres, and the search continues for four people.

Chefs Guy Fieri and Jose Andres are joining forces to help feed the evacuees and first responders.

More than 12,000 firefighters battling 15 wildfires burning across California.

CNN's Nick Watt is in the city of Redding with the latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Laura, the so-called Carr Fire still burning here in Shasta County, and it is now the biggest wildfire in Shasta County's history. Over 800 homes have been destroyed and the stories of the people who lost those homes are beginning to trickle out.

We spoke today with a nurse who lost her home. She'd lived there 20 years, raised her kids there. She actually left even before the evacuation order, says she saw a wall of fire in her rearview mirror.

She is a nurse. She is back at work. She saved her scrubs before she left her home. She says it's good to be back at work, it's good to feel you have a purpose to not feel like you are a victim.

Now, the weather is not helping this fire. It is still very, very hot here. Humidity is not high. High humidity would have helped the firefighters. The skies are very overcast, which makes getting planes and helicopters up there to help this fire, makes that very difficult.

Dave and Laura, back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JARRETT: Nicky, thank you for that report.

No prison time for a former Penn State fraternity brother who pleaded guilty in the hazing death of a sophomore pledge last year. Ryan Burke was sentenced to 30 months probation, including 3 months of house arrest and 100 hours of community service.

The charges stem from the death of Timothy Piazza in February of 2017. The 19-year-old died after drinking large quantities of alcohol on his first night pledging at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. Piazza suffered a traumatic brain injury from several falls.

[04:25:03] This was the first guilty plea in a case that involves 26 defendants. An attorney for the Piazza family calls the sentence an important step towards justice.

BRIGGS: He's not Kryptonian, just human, but 10-year-old Clark Kent Apuada is superman in the pool, anyway. Over the weekend, the swimming phenom shattered Michael Phelps' longstanding record set in 1995. Clark Kent beats Phelps' time in the 100-meter butterfly by more than a second. Not only is he fast, he's pretty smart.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLARK KENT APUADA: Always have fun and never give up on your dreams, no matter what anybody says. And yes, that was one of my dreams, to beat Michael Phelps' record, since I was 7.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Phelps went on to win 28 Olympic medals. Clark Kent has been swimming competitively for just four years. Incredible.

All right, a federal judge stops blueprints for 3d printed guns from going online. How long can it keep dangerous people from carrying untraceable guns?

JARRETT: And prosecutors call Paul Manafort a shrewd liar, but Manafort's side is blaming a former deputy for his troubles.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)