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Holy Fire Prompts State of Emergency in Southern California; How Will the President Respond?; "Manhattan Madam" Testifies Today; Shooting for the Stars. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired August 10, 2018 - 05:00   ET


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: NFL players seen kneeling during the National Anthem last night.

[05:00:01] How will President Trump respond?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And the so-called Manhattan Madam testifies in front of Robert Mueller's grand jury in just a matter of hours.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The time has come to establish the United States Space Force.


MATTINGLY: The Trump administration shoots for the stars, but what would this brand new branch of the military do?

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Phil Mattingly. I'm in for Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: The last day of your week incarceration here.

MATTINGLY: You made it. I don't know how you do it.

ROMANS: No, you're great.

I'm Christine Romans. It is Friday, August 10th, it is 5:00 a.m. in the East.

Let's begin with those wildfires. Breaking overnight, California's governor declaring a state of emergency as the raging Holy Fire inches closer to homes in the southern part of the state. Now, here is what we know. The inferno is only 5 percent contained. More than 21,000 people under mandatory evacuation.

So far, more than 10,000 acres have burned. Look at these images emerging overnight from the holy fire bearing down on this neighborhood in Lake Elsinore. Firefighters asking a man to leave as he was using a garden hose to put out embers on his roof. Earlier in the evening, a man captured flames on his cell phone burning right in his backyard. He eventually left and told CNN he is not sure if he'll have a home when we returns. CNN's Stephanie Elam brings us the latest from fire-ravaged Lake

Elsinore, California.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Phil, this is the concern.

We are here at the Holy Fire and take a look at how this hillside is going up right now. And if you look downhill -- if you slowly find your way down here you will see that firefighters are taking a stand here. These blazes going up right behind these homes.

It is casting so much dark smoke in the sky you can't even tell how bright it is here right now.

They are fighting this and one of the huge problems that they have right now are the winds, and these winds are not expected to let up anytime soon. So with that in mind, firefighters are saying that they are nowhere near containing this fire here -- Phil and Christine.


MATTINGLY: Amazing pictures. Stephanie, thank you very much.

All right. The national anthem kneeling controversy is alive and well in the NFL.

A full schedule of preseason week one games last night. And take a look at Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson taking a knee during the anthem before taking on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Four members of the Jacksonville Jaguars and three players with the Seattle Seahawks also made statements of their own by waiting in the tunnel during the anthem before taking the field.

The NFL says no punishment will be handed out while it continues to work with the players union on a mutually agreeable policy.

ROMANS: Later today, the Manhattan Madam Kristin Davis appears before a grand jury in Washington. That grand jury is hearing evidence in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe. It is not clear what prosecutors want to ask her. She interviewed voluntarily last week with members of Mueller's team.

One possible line of inquiry is from longstanding connections to Roger Stone, the veteran political consultant and very close Trump adviser who has become a central subject in the Russia investigation.

MATTINGLY: Now, the prosecution is expected to rest its case today in the fraud trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Over the last eight days, the court has heard testimony about Manafort's extravagant wardrobe, secret offshore bank accounts, fake loan applications, doctored bank accounts.

His longtime deputy Rick Gates flipping to become the star prosecution witness. And as the defense prepares to offer up its case, a court filing from special counsel Robert Mueller is sending a clear signal that Gates is also assisting with the Russia probe.

We have more now from CNN's Kara Scannell.


KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: A new detail in the special counsel's investigation was revealed not in court, but in a filing. Prosecutors asked the judge to seal a portion of a sidebar that took place when Rick Gates was on the stand.

Paul Manafort's attorney had just asked Gates about any interviews he had with the special counsel's office concerning his time on the Trump campaign. Gates worked as Paul Manafort's deputy on that campaign and continued on working with the inauguration.

Now, the judge agreed to seal it after prosecutors said that it revealed substantive evidence of an ongoing investigation.

Now, inside court, the jury heard a lot of details about bank fraud allegations, specifically focused on one $3.4 million loan Paul Manafort had taken out from a bank. He had told the bank that it was a second home and prosecutors say that that was a lie and provided the bank's false information when it was actually rental property.

They showed Airbnb records indicating that Manafort had rented out the property and they also had one of the mortgage bankers testify. She said had she known it was a rental that Manafort would not have gotten as much money. Instead, he exceeded the bank policy by $2.4 million.

Now, prosecutors have four more witnesses they plan to call. Two of those have immunity deals. And prosecutors say they intend to wrap their case today -- Christine, Phil.


ROMANS: All right, Kara. Thank you for that.

A federal judge threatened to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other top administration officials in contempt if they did not immediately return two deported asylum seekers back to U.S. soil.

[05:05:10] District Judge Sullivan erupted in court when he was told the woman and her daughter were on the plane to El Salvador. Now, government lawyers promised no one in the case he was hearing would be deported until Thursday at midnight.

Sullivan, the judge, fumed, quote, I'm not asking. I'm ordering. By nightfall, the deportees identified only as Carmen and her daughter, they had been returned to Texas.

MATTINGLY: An investigation under way right now in Texas after allegations surfaced that a child died after being released from an ICE facility. The spokesman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services tells CNN they now have the child's name and have opened a probe into abuse and neglect. A DFPS official testified to state lawmakers on Thursday that they

couldn't investigate the alleged death which surfaced earlier this month. The official then said despite repeated attempts, they could not get the child's name or other key information. ICE at this point tells CNN they do not have any information on the matter.

President Trump's in laws are now officially citizens of the United States. Viktor and Amalija Knavs took the oath on Thursday, having gained their citizenship through a category of family visas, a category their son-in-law has sought to end. Like their daughter, Melania, Mr. and Mrs. Knavs immigrated from Slovenia. A source with direct knowledge says they have been living in the U.S. with green cards sponsored by Melania.

The president has often loudly and angrily denounced family-based immigration, calling for an end to what he calls chain migration. The first lady's office declined to comment.

MATTINGLY: All right. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says he will recuse himself from overseeing the still undecided gubernatorial primary race between Kris Kobach and incumbent Governor Jeff Colyer. Kobach leads by a razor thin, just 91 votes after discrepancies were found in vote totals from at least two counties. He is expected to recuse himself today after Colyer made the demand in a letter last night.


KRIS KOBACH (R), KANSAS GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Well, the counties did the counting of ballots. So it's -- there's really no point to it. But I said if my opponent wishes me to I'd be happy to. But it's fairly symbolic. I don't think he understands the process.


MATTINGLY: Thousands of provisional and mail-in ballots still have to be counted. Election officials are blaming a clerical error in one county where Colyer was short changed 100 votes.

ROMANS: Sinclair's acquisition of Tribune Media is dead, canceling a $3.9 billion that would have created a local TV power house. This is the big defeat for Sinclair, the largest owner of local TV stations in the U.S. It is criticized for the must-run segments of conservative commentary for forcing local anchors to read a promo echoing President Trump's anti-media rhetoric.


ROMAN: Tribune terminated its agreement with Sinclair after the FCC Chair Ajit Pai expressed serious concerns, putting the deal in doubt. The problem: the merger would have given Sinclair access to 72 percent of the U.S. households, well above the FCC's limit. Tribune says it pulled out of the deal after Sinclair did not sell off stations as requested and was unnecessarily aggressive with the Justice Department and the FCC.

Tribune is now suing for breach of contract. Sinclair says it is disappointed the deal failed, but intends to fight the lawsuit.

MATTINGLY: A lot of lawyers going to make a lot of money, I think.

All right. The U.S. and North Korea in a new standoff over nuclear weapons. A little report just ahead.

ROMANS: And NASA's next mission to explore this space hot spot.


[05:12:52] MATTINGLY: The U.S. and North Korea engaged in a new verbal standoff this morning. Pyongyang insisting some, quote, high level officials in the administration are thwarting President Trump's will by amping up international pressure on the Kim regime to denuclearize. On the other side of things, diplomatic sources tell CNN that the U.S. has made specific policy proposals for a fully verified denuclearization. To this point, all of them have been rejected by the Kim regime as, quote, gangster like.

For the latest on this latest impasse, let's bring in CNN's Will Ripley live in Hong Kong -- Will.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Phil. I mean, this is just getting increasingly frustrating for all sides involved. From what we are hearing, this meeting in early July when Secretary Pompeo went to Pyongyang, you know, they made a proposal for North Korea to make a bold move to denuclearize and give up a large amount of its nuclear warheads. "Vox" magazine was reporting 60 to 70 percent. We couldn't verify these percentages.

But we know that the United States made a request. North Korea rejected it. United States makes the request again. It gets rejected.

And this went back and forth, back and forth to the point that both sides became so frustrated that, you know, the meeting that was supposed to happen with Kim Jong-un did not happen. It was widely seen as a snub, although Secretary Pompeo later said he was never sure that there was going to be a meeting anyway.

And now, we have this kind of war of words, this back and forth very publicly. Pompeo and Nikki Haley at the U.N., National Security Adviser John Bolton on cable news making the case that North Korea is not living up to its end of the deal when it comes to the denuclearization, is being difficult.

Now, the North Koreans firing back, saying, hey, they blew up the nuclear test site and not launched anything since November. Why is the United States pushing for sanctions at this time that they're trying to build trust? Why is the United States, you know, not fulfilling its promise to work toward Korean War peace treaty, which the North Koreans feel was a promise? Whether or not the United States agreed to that we just don't know.

What we do know, though, is that they don't feel that they could really work at the lower and what the North Koreans are hoping for wan what they say there's a strong possibility it's going to happen is a second summit with President Trump and there leader Kim Jong-un. They feel they're going to get a more favorable deal if those two sit down. They still have a warm rapport.

[05:15:01] They've been exchanging letters. President Trump has been nice to Kim on Twitter. And yet, they're kind of attacking his -- the people that make up his government. They are even questioning U.S. intelligence, saying that U.S. intelligence has basically been ordered to fabricate information about North Korea's nuclear program, that intelligence said they were developing missiles, building new missiles, enriching nuclear fuel.

North Korea is saying that is a result to undermine this at the lower level. But they are putting their faith in President Trump. So, we'll see what happens, Phil.

MATTINGLY: Yes, kind of familiar hearing somebody question the intelligence. We will keep a close eye on it as always, Will. I know you will.

Will Ripley in Hong Kong, thank you very much.

ROMANS: Vice President Mike Pence calling for the establishment of the Space Force by the year 2020. In his speech to the Pentagon, Pence echoed the president's sentiments that military conflict in space is a real threat.


PENCE: Previous administrations all but neglected the growing security threats emerging in space. President Trump stated clearly and forcefully that space is, in his words, a war-fighting domain just like land and air and sea.


ROMANS: CNN's Barbara Starr has the latest from the pentagon.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Christine, Phil, Vice President Mike Pence coming to the Pentagon to unveil President Trump's plan to radically change one element of war fighting. The president long wanting to see a United States Space Force, a new branch of the U.S. military to focus entirely on war fighting in space, outside the earth's atmosphere.

What he is talking about is taking all the elements of U.S. military service capabilities and putting them under a whole new branch of the military. Whether that is needed or not is still a subject to debate, and Congress would have to approve it.

But people do not dispute, there is a space threat. The Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians, the North Koreans all working on improving their own capabilities in space. Chinese, in fact, in 2007, demonstrated a missile that could shoot down a satellite in space. They shot down one of their old, out of date satellite.

And that was a game changer. That means if you can shoot down a satellites in space and if you could shoot down an American satellites, it would affect life considerably, GPS communications, the Internet, weather forecasting, which could affect commercial aviation. It would fundamentally change American life forever if American satellites were put at risk from an adversary.

So, the president believes having a new United States Space Force is the way to go. Congress still would have to approve the final elements of the plan -- Christine, Phil.


ROMANS: All right. Barbara, thank you for that.

NASA is set to launch a solar probe in the next two weeks that will fly closer to the sun than any previous space mission. The Parker solar probe will come within 3.8 million miles of the sun's surface, that's close, trying to unlock mysteries like why the sun's corona is up to 100 times hotter than the surface. The probe will encounter temperatures of about 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, that's hot, the melting point of steel.

NASA engineers have developed an amazing heat shield made of carbon composite that will keep the probe's interior at a comfortable 85 degrees. The mission expected to take about seven years.

MATTINGLY: I appreciate your cliffs notes. Walking me through. That was pretty good.

Thank you. It's early. I appreciate that.

All right. The NFL, well, it is back and so is the national anthem kneeling controversy. Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report", coming up next.


[05:23:03] ROMANS: NFL players continuing to protest during the national anthem last night as the preseason kicked off for the majority of the league.

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

What's going on, Andy?


You know, the NFL putting the national anthem policy on hold while they continue to discuss with players on how to handle it. So, in the meantime, there is no punishment for players during the anthem. And last night, multiple players did so before the first preseason game.

Now, Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson taking a knee during the national anthem before the game with the Bucs. Stills has kneeled during the anthem the past two seasons.

And he spoke about the decision to continue to do it after the game.


KENNY STILLS, MIAMI DOLPHINS WIDE RECEIVER: Being part of this protest hasn't been easy. You know, I thought I was going to be by myself out there. Tonight I had an angel with me with Albert out there and I'm grateful that he sees what is happening and he wants to stand up and do something about it as well.


SCHOLES: Now, Colin Kaepernick who started the movement tweeting about Stills saying: My brother K. Stills continued his protest of systematic oppression tonight by taking a knee. Albert Wilson joined him in protest. Stay strong, brothers.

Now, elsewhere around the league, according to reports, four players raised their fists during the anthem, while several remained in the locker room during the anthem before taking the field.

All right. Last night was our first look at this year's rookie class in the NFL. Heisman trophy winner and top pick, Baker Mayfield, look at him. Impressive in his debut, he threw for 212 yards and two touchdowns.

Now, the second pick in the draft also shining in this one. Giant running back Saquon Barkley on his very first carry and to take it 39 yards with shifty moves.

[05:25:02] Now, the Browns win that game.

All right. The final golf major of the year is off and running. And it was a rough start for Tiger Woods. He started with a bogey and then followed that with a double bogey. Tiger Woods was able to rally to get back to even par and remain in the middle of the pack.


TIGER WOODS, 14-TIME MAJOR CHAMPION: I could have easily gone the other way with it being 3 over after two. A lot of things could happen. And not a lot of them were positive. I hung in there and turn it around.


SCHOLES: Tiger tees off at 2:48 Eastern this afternoon, guys.

Gary Woodland, he's got a one-stroke lead heading into today.

MATTINGLY: Yes, Andy, I need a favor. Tiger has to be in contention for me to watch six hours of uninterrupted golf --

SCHOLES: You and millions of others.

MATTINGLY: I know you know people. You can pull strings. If you can make that happen, I would be forever in debt to you.

SCHOLES: You know, Phil, I may or may not have Tiger in an office pool as well. So, I got all mixing calls.

MATTINGLY: Thanks, bud. I appreciate it. Thanks, Andy.

ROMANS: All right. Coming up, homeowners battling a raging California wildfire. The frontlines are now in their backyard.

MATTINGLY: Plus, a woman who once ran a high price prostitution ring takes center stage in the Mueller investigation today.