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Trump, Meeting Was For Clinton Dirt; Iran Sanction Deadline; North Korea Summit Two; 44 People Shot, Five Killed In Chicago Violence; Search Intensifies For Missing Toddler. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired August 6, 2018 - 04:30   ET



[04:30:00] PHIL MATTINGLY, EARLY START SHOW GUEST CO-HOST: -- President Trump finally confirming the Trump tower meeting was only about opposition research on Hillary Clinton. Changing his story about the meeting has critics suspicious. All of that, just ahead.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, EARLY START SHOW CO-HOST: President Trump now admitting the 2016 meeting between his son and the Russian lawyer going for information about Hillary Clinton. Denying he is concern about Don Jr. involvement in the Russia investigation.

MATTINGLY: And Iran bracing for impact of U.S. sanctions that snapback within 24 hours, while the president will speak before that deadline.

ROMANS: Breaking overnight. President Trump could have a second meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un later this year. We have a report this morning from Tehran and Hong Kong.

[04:35:05] This Monday morning. Welcome back to "Early Start." I'm Christine Romans.

MATTINGLY: I'm Phil Mattingly. Two econ nerds. Same table. Same studio, it is all happening --

ROMANS: I'm sorry America.


MATTINGLY: And it is 35 minutes pas the hour. President Trump admitting during that during the 2016 Presidential race his son Don Jr. met with a Russian lawyer, quote, get information on an opponent. In a tweet Sunday, the President called the Trump tower meeting totally legal and done all the time in politics, adding quote, I did not know about it.

ROMANS: That tweet directly contradicting his earlier statements. The President himself now acknowledging explicitly for the first time the purpose of the meeting was to gather dirt on Hillary Clinton and not to discuss Russian adoption. As for whether it is totally legal? The tweets seemed to addresses CNN reporting that the President is now concerned whether Don Jr. might have legal exposure in the Robert Mueller Russia probe. That is according to sources close to the White House.

MATTINGLY: A CNN has also previously reported that Michael Cohen, will he testified the president himself knew about the Trump tower meeting ahead of time, despite his denials. CNN's Boris Sanchez has more.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN NEWSROOM HOST: Christine and Phil, it has been a swift move for this administration from the President suggesting that, to the best of his knowledge no one that he knows has anything to do with Russia to now essentially making the argument that collusion is not illegal. Here is more from Jay Sekulow, one of the president's attorney on a Sunday morning talk shows.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He says the meeting is totally legal and done all the time in politics, but according to the e-mail that Special Counsel, Robert Mueller has, this was a meeting to get information from the crown prosecutor of Russia on Hillary Clinton's campaign. How is that be legal?

JAY SEKULOW, PRESIDENT TRUMP' LAWYER: Well, the question is how would it be illegal? I mean, the real question here is would a meeting of that nature constitute a violation -- the meeting itself constitute a violation of the law.


SANCHEZ: Critics of course, have pounced on this making the argument that the administration and that the President is moving the goal posts. We should point out despite a repeated number of calls from the President and his allies for this investigation to wrap up and in the words of Rudy Giuliani for Robert Mueller to put up or shut up, this investigation is moving forward.

Last week, CNN reported that the Special Counsel is making efforts to interview one key person in that Trump tower meeting, Emin Agalarov. He helped facilitate the Trump tower meeting. Of course he is Russian pop singer whose father has deep ties to Vladimir Putin. He is a Russian oligarch. Whether that meeting takes place or not is unclear, but we do know that Robert Mueller and his team have been working alongside Agalarov's legal team to try to secure an interview now for more than a year. Christine and Phil.


ROMANS: All right. Thank you, for that Boris. As Boris, pointed out the president and his son had twisted themselves into a knot trying to explain that infamous Trump tower meeting. Here is quick timeline, All right, July 8, 207, the New York Times first reports on this meeting. Don Jr. response to the statement claiming it was about Russian adoption. One day later, the Times reports, the President's son was promised dirt on Hillary Clinton at that meeting.

MATTINGLY: And two days after that, Don Jr. releases his email exchange with Music publicist Rob Goldstone. A liaison for former pop star Emin Agalarov, and his oligarch father. Discussing that dirt on Hillary Clinton. The President denies knowing about the meeting beforehand.

July 12th, multiple reports indicate that President Trump was involved in preparing Don Jr. statement about Russian adoptions. The President's lawyer, Jay Sekulow denies Mr. Trump had any involvement at all.

ROMANS: And August 1st, White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders admits the President weighed in on the statement. But Don Jr. tells the Senate Judiciary Committee in September, his father had nothing to do with crusting it that was clearly not true. In January of this year, the president's lawyers told the Special Counsel Robert Mueller in a letter that Mr. Trump dictated the statement himself. CNN reported on that letter to Mr. Mueller in June.

MATTINGLY: Now, go ahead and fast forward to late last month. CNN reports Michael Cohen is willing to tell the Special Counsel that the President did know about the 2016 Trump tower meeting in advance. And that brings us to yesterday's tweet. The president admitting the meeting was designed to get information on an opponent, once again claiming he did not know about it at all.

The trial of former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort on bank and tax fraud charges resumes this morning with defense lawyers cross examining a key prosecution witnesses. Accountant Cindy Laporte, testified Friday, her firm falsified a loan amount to help Paul Manafort pay less in taxes.

Laporte, told jurors in 2016 she sent a fake letter from a shell company to a bank to help Paul Manafort getting multi-million dollar loan. She also implicated long time Manafort Deputy Rick Gates. Saying, she took the actions under his direction. Now, Laporte was given immunity for prosecution in exchange for that testimony. Rick Gates himself is expected to take the stand early this week.

[04:40:04] ROMANS: Exactly three months to go before the mid-term elections. And administration officials are trying to convince voters that President Trump doesn't believe Russian election interference is a hoax. A senior adviser, Kellyanne Conway and national security adviser, John Bolton making rounds on the Sunday talk shows.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: When he talks about the hoax, he is talking about the fantasy, this unproven fantasy that somehow the campaign that I successfully managed for the successful part for the campaign was in cahoots with the Russians.

AMB. JOHN BOLTON, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: I think what he is saying by the hoax is the idea that somehow the Russians directed and controlled his administration that there was some conspiracy or some violation of U.S. law of 2016.


ROMANS: Now, Kellyanne Conway and John Bolton were responding to the President's remarks at the Thursday's rally in Pennsylvania. Judge for yourself whether he is talking only about collusion or Russian interference in general.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In Helsinki. I had a great meeting with Putin. We discussed everything. I had a great meeting. We got along really well. By the way, that is a good thing. Not a bad thing. That is a really good thing. Now we're being hindered by the Russian hoax. It's a hoax. OK? I'll tell you what, Russia's very unhappy that Trump won. That I can tell you.


ROMANS: The President's advisers point to a briefing last week by top national security officials. As proof, Mr. Trump is concerned about Russia's conduct even though he called it a hoax right after that briefing. The president has not affirmed publicly that Russia continues to interfere in America elections.

MATTINGLY: This morning, the Trump administration will explain how it plans to re-impose sanctions on Iran following the U.S. withdrawal in May, from the Iran nuclear deal. Businesses have until midnight tonight to end contracts with the country before some sanctions are reinstated. Now the affective items include, gold, aluminum, steel, graphite, coal and currency. Iranian president Assad Rouhani will address Iranian lawmakers later today as that deadline approaches.

L.A. Times reporter Ramin Mostaghim, joins us live from Tehran and I just want to understand, there is external and internal factors right that are kind of roiling country. What is your sense of the snap-back sanctions, what will they actually have effect-wise in Iran?

RAMIN MOSTAGHIM, CORRESPONDENT, L.A. TIMES: It has effected badly since the pull out. So, the power of the people has reduced more than 100 percent in some cases. There is no hope that it can be reversed in the near future or mid-term future, of course. I can say the economic situation is in limbo as it is today as yesterday. There is no hope in the horizon, but the -- I mean, currency package as they call it, they try to prevent further devaluation of reals, that is only preventing this preemptive measures to stop further devaluation of reals. As far as that is concerned, they have succeed today, to stop further devaluation of real. But nothing else happens. And purchasing power is a steel, much, much less than six months, four months ago. And those who want to buy or sell are in limbo. They don't know what to do, because the detrimental effect of the pullout from the nuclear deal is a steal is biting people and hurting people.

MATTINGLY: Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran. A lot to keep an eye on in that country. Further sanctions being re-impose tomorrow but also further sanctions in November. Thank you very much for your time. ROMANS: Bank of America is earning the biggest profits in years with

tax cuts driving these huge gains. Earnings season is in near the end about 400 of the S&P 500 companies have reported, it has been a seller. Second quarter (inaudible) profit up 23.5 percent. The second strongest quarter since the recession, nearly half the growth comes directly from lower tax bills.

The new tax cut law cut corporate rate from 35 percent all the way down to 21 percent, but for companies that tax boost won't last forever. Analysts say any direct impact will fade after a year and the lasting benefits depends on how companies use their tax savings. Despite strong results, companies still face few strong clouds mainly over trade.

Steel and aluminum tariffs are raising material costs and big American companies which do business around the world just as U.S. is fighting with the biggest trading partners. On Friday, China vowed tariffs on $60 billion on U.S. Goods. China plans to impose them if the U.S. follows through with it, tariffs threat on $200 billion in Chinese goods. When you talk to executives and when you listen to them on these conference calls, as you all know, they say trade is the biggest concern. You know, unnecessary trade fights are their biggest concern.

[04:45:11] MATTINGLY: Yes, since been hanging out there, right. Obviously, earnings season has been spectacular. The tax law is helpful across the board. But this is kind of the big elephant in the room, kit is still there. Everybody is keeping a very close eye on it.

All right. Investigators are looking for a missing 3-year-old. Law enforcement finds 11 children in a frightening compound.


ROMANS: A violent weekend in Chicago. Police say 44 people were shot. Five fatally in a span of 14 hours on Sunday. They say some of the victims were targeted in gang-related violence. In one incident shots were fired into a crowded street party. The city has dealt with significant gun violence in recent years. This year though, police say shootings are down 30 percent and murders are down 25 percent.

[04:50:05] MATTINGLY: And investigators are ramping up their hunt for a missing 3-year-old boy after making a gruesome discovery in Northern New Mexico. 11 malnourished children, rescued from a compound, no food, water, shoes or even clothes to speak up. Five adults with them, two of them armed to the teeth, were arrested on the spot. CNN's Kaylee Hartung has more on the disturbing scene which authorities are likening to a quote third world country.


KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine, Phil, so many more questions and answers as we learn more about the story and see these truly shocking photos. One of the men arrested, Zaraj Rohaj, he is the father of the missing 3-year-old. The other, a man by the name of Lucas Morton. These two were heavily armed when arrested by authorities. And when I say armed, we are talking AR-15 rifles.

They had loaded 30 round magazines. Four loaded pistols and lots of ammunition. These two had amassed these arsenal in these makeshift compound of small travel trailer, partially buried underground and covered in plastic. No water, no electricity inside. Those are the conditions of these two men and three women and 11 children. Those two men still in police custody, Rohaj, he is being held without bond, because of the Georgia warrant for the abduction of his 3-year-old son.

The three women were brought in for questioning and they have since been released though it sound like that they answered many question. None of the five adults could gave authorities any information regarding the status of that missing 3-year-old. The children meanwhile, the 11 children, are in the care of child protective services. It is one thing to see these photos. And it is another to hear the firsthand account of the authorities who responded to this scene. The Taos county sheriff saying it was the worst living conditions in poverty he has ever seen. Christine and Phil.


MATTINGLY: Fathomable, thanks Kaylee.

Police are looking for a gunman who they say opened fire inside a community run radio station in Madison, Wisconsin. Officials say a disc jockey suffers what is described a non-life threatening injury after several shots were fired inside that studio. Police cannot say how the assailant entered the building early Sunday. But there are signs of forced entry when the motive for the shooting is still unclear. Early indications suggest it does not appear to be random. There is no risk to the public.

ROMANS: All right. The reward for missing University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts now stands at $260,000. The 20 year old student vanished more than two weeks ago after going for a run in Brooklyn, Iowa. On Sunday authorities found a body of a young woman they thought might be Tibbetts, but it was not her. Mollie's mother say the family refuses to give up hope she will be found alive.

You know, I was just in the Midwest over the weekend and I would say, from western Pennsylvania to Denver, I mean, this is her poster and picture is everywhere. People are looking for her. Just a real mystery about what happened to this young woman.

All right. 52 minutes past the hour. Hundreds of thousands of cartons of almond milk have been recalled, why? Because they may contain actual milk. Details in CNN Money next.


MATTINGLY: Breaking overnight. Strong possibility of a second North Korea summit. A source familiar with the Pyongyang position on denuclearization tell CNN, a second meeting between Kim Jong-un and President Trump could take place quote, sometime later this year. The time, the place, well TBT. Will Ripley is live for us in Hong Kong this morning with all of the latest. Will?

WILL RIPLEY, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Hi, Phil. Yes it has been than two months since Singapore arguably no progress were very little progress on North Korea's denuclearization, but now a source very close to North Korean cited things is telling us that there is a strong possibility that President Trump and Chairman, Kim could be meeting again later this year. Now, the United Nations general assembly is happening on September 18, when it kicks off would that be the time. The sources is not saying that.

What they are saying that, it was a good sign. That there were letters being pass back and forth between President Trump and Chairman Kim and that the comments kind of string comments, made by North Korea's top diplomat Ri Yong-ho, in Singapore over the weekend should be viewed as a negotiating tactic of course, Ri Yong-ho, said that U.S. actions since the summit had been alarming and that the U.S. doesn't take steps to ease sanctions and make a move toward that peace treaty, formal in the Korean War, something we had first told you about here on CNN, two weeks ago. The North Korea won't denuclearize, it is going to be very difficult to implement the agreement that Trump and Kim signed. But this source is saying that is a negotiating tactics.

The North Koreans really want to sit down again with President Trump, they feel they are going to get the best deal with and only with him and Kim, sitting down face-to-face, yet again. And so that is what they want. They also well aware that the midterms are coming up and they think they can put a little bit of pressure on the Trump administration to get some sort of a better deal, more favorable to the North Koreans, because President Trump obviously wants to point to North Korea as a win and not as some sort of disappointment ordeal that is falling apart, where's there had been a lot of speculation about that lately. Phil.

MATTINGLY: Will Ripley, to the extent you ever get sleep, you might as well, banks some now for that second possible summit. All right, action star Steven Seagal, he have classic to genre like Mark for Death, Hard to Kill and Under Siege, now responding to his new appointment as Russia's special representative on U.S. Russian humanitarian ties. Seagal tweeting that he is quote, deeply humbled and honored and that he takes this honor very seriously. Pouring statement by Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the --