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Did Trump Order Comey To Go Easy On Flynn Or Not?; Omarosa Manigault Newman Recorded Chief of Staff Kelly Firing Her; Airport Security Under Scrutiny After Man Steals Plane. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired August 13, 2018 - 05:30   ET


[05:30:00] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: -- returning to the White House tonight following a week at his New Jersey golf club that the White House called a working vacation.

Special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation no doubt top of the mind in the West Wing.

Sunday, Rudy Giuliani told CNN that if the president sits down for questioning by Mueller he will deny he ever directed former FBI director James Comey to end the investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.


RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The president says he never told Comey that he should go easy on Flynn. Comey says the president did. He put it in his memo.

If he goes in and testifies to that under oath, instead of this just being a dispute they can say it's perjury if they elect to believe Comey instead of Trump.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Got that? Contrast that with what Giuliani told ABC back in July.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC HOST, "THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: How is he a good witness for the president if he's saying that the president was asking -- directing him, in his words, to let the Michael Flynn investigation go?

GIULIANI: He didn't direct him to do that. What he said to him was can you -- can you give him a break?


BRIGGS: Can you give him a break? Which is it? The president never asked Comey to give Flynn a break or he did?

Last June, the former FBI director told a Senate committee the president told him during that fateful meeting quote, "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go -- to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go."

Serious concerns about security in the White House this morning now that we know former aid Omarosa Manigault Newman was able to sneak a recording device into the Situation Room.

Omarosa appeared on NBC's "MEET THE PRESS" and claims the recording you're about to hear is chief of staff John Kelly firing her last December.


JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I think it's important to understand that if we make this a friendly departure we can all be -- you know, you can look at -- look at your time here in the White House as a year of service to the nation and that you can go on without any type of difficulty in the future relative to your reputation.

OMAROSA MANIGAULT NEWMAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE AIDE: It's very obvious a threat. He goes on to say that things can get ugly for you.

The chief of staff of the United States under the direction of the President of the United States threatening me on damage to my reputation and things getting ugly for me, that's downright criminal. And if I didn't have these recordings no one in America would believe me -- no one.


ROMANS: Chief of staff Kelly went on to tell Omarosa his concerns about her job performance involved money and integrity issues.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders going on the attack with this statement.

"The very idea a staff member would sneak a recording device into the White House Situation Room shows a blatant disregard for our national security. And then to brag about it on national television further proves the lack of character and integrity of this disgruntled former White House employee."

BRIGGS: You can't make this stuff up, folks.


BRIGGS: Joining us, senior CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer, historian and professor at Princeton University. Will someday be teaching about Omarosa.


BRIGGS: Good luck to you, sir.

Part of this is funny when you look at some old Trump tweets about Omarosa. Here's a couple of gems.

"Omarosa always promises and delivers high drama." Yes, she does. And here's another. "Honest Omarosa, she won't backstab, she'll come at you from the front."

So, the president hired her on -- let me just get this straight.

ROMANS: Only the best people.

BRIGGS: He hired her first on "APPRENTICE", "CELEBRITY APPRENTICE", "ALL-STAR CELEBRITY APPRENTICE." Then again on a show called "THE ULTIMATE MERGER," which I missed. And then, somehow, hired her to be a senior White House aide at the top salary level.

What does it say that she then recorded her firing in the Situation Room and how serious should we take it?

ZELIZER: Well first, it says a lot about who the president surrounds himself with. This White House has not been filled with people with expertise in politics and there's been a bit of a wild west in the Oval Office and the entire White House in terms of how things work.

The fact that this is recorded -- that people are bringing cell phones into the Situation Room is kind of unprecedented and unbelievable.

ROMANS: Wouldn't that be a security breach?

BRIGGS: And terrifying, yes.

ROMANS: I mean, that's she being tapped or she's being spied on by foreign governments. I mean, I'm not saying that she was, I'm just saying that isn't that -- is that a security breach?

ZELIZER: Well look, the whole point of the Situation Room is it is a closed room and these conversations, whether you're talking about sanctions against Iran or Russian interference in the election and what to do, you have this without any fear of being taped.

But that's not what appears to happen. It appears to be loose rules and loose regulations in the White House.

ROMANS: Let's talk --

BRIGGS: She'll be on on the "TODAY" show this morning. We'll see if the president starts tweeting about her. Has not yet other than calling her a low-life on camera.

ROMANS: And she's selling a book, right, so there's going to be --

BRIGGS: Yes, right.

ROMANS: I'm sure they'll be dribs and drabs here coming out.

Let's talk about Rudy Giuliani -- talk about how the Omarosa situation shows you who the president surrounds himself with.

Rudy Giuliani changing -- really changing the story here about the president and what he said to Jim Comey about Flynn -- about Michael Flynn.

[05:35:00] What -- is this a strategy or is this a misspeak? What do you see here?

ZELIZER: Well, it is a shift in strategy.

First, they said what the president said didn't mean what Comey said it meant. Then they said the president can do whatever he wants and so there is no problem. Now they're denying the conversation altogether. So there is a shift in strategy.

At the same time, Giuliani says many things all the time.


ZELIZER: He constantly contradicts himself and I think there is a strategy there. Just throw everything out into the public and then the public's confused and it's hard to know what to believe at a certain time.

BRIGGS: Well, it especially is when you hear this explanation from Giuliani about the contradicting stories -- listen.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST, "STATE OF THE UNION": So you -- he directed to what he said -- can you give him a break? You said that. I mean --

GIULIANI: Yes, I said it but I also said before that I'm talking about their version of it. Look, lawyers argue when in the alternative. I know it's complicated but my goodness, we've been over it long enough that -- I mean, why would I say something that isn't true?

I mean, the president didn't say to him go easy on Flynn or anything about Flynn. He's saying that.

I am talking about their alternative. I'm saying the conversation never took place. But if it did take place -- and here's the conversation that's alleged -- it is not illegal to have said that.


ROMANS: That clears it up.

BRIGGS: As does the expression on Jake Tapper's face there.

Where does this leave us? Just -- you don't know what to believe -- the muddy water?

ZELIZER: Right. Remember, there's two parts of this. There's the legal part and the political part.

The legal part, we don't know how it plays out. But politically, you muddy the water. You don't allow the public to have any clarity in terms of what's happened. And you actually remember the same people, like Giuliani, saying two

or three things. So in the end, you throw your hands up and you don't know what really happened.

ROMANS: I've got to --

ZELIZER: That's the strategy.

ROMANS: I've got to ask you really quickly about Harley-Davidson. The president tweeting about an American company -- urging a boycott of an American company.


ROMANS: Totally out of bounds --

BRIGGS: Who made -- who made smart business decisions, ultimately.

ROMANS: Based on his own trade policies.

BRIGGS: Right.

ROMANS: Where, in history, is the Republican Party on calling for a boycott of an American company like that? Where are the Republicans?

ZELIZER: Look, this is big government Republicanism. I mean, here you have a president directly going after companies. It's not the first time he's done it and it reflects that right now, the GOP is fine with this as well.

First, they were fine with the trade war and now they're fine with him going after specific --

ROMANS: And they're fine with deficits --


ROMANS: -- and $21 trillion national debt, and all these things that are --

ZELIZER: And they have to own it at a certain point. If they're quiet about the president doing these kinds of things, this is what the Republican Party's about.

BRIGGS: Just imagine if Barack Obama tweeted that about an American company, the outrage on the right.

Julian Zelizer, good to see you, my friend.

ROMANS: Thanks, Julian.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

ROMANS: All right.

Breaking overnight, North and South Korea have agreed to hold a third inter-Korean summit. The South's Unification Ministry says the summit is scheduled for September in Pyongyang. This will be the first time a South Korean leader has gone to North Korea in a decade.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in met in April and agreed to another summit in the fall in the North Korean capital.

BRIGGS: Protesters against racism vastly outnumbering the small group of white nationalists demonstrating in Lafayette park across from the White House.

About two dozen white nationalists made their way from a Metro station to a small stage near what was billed as the "Unite the Right 2." They were shadowed the whole time by at least a couple of thousand counterprosters and a large contingent of D.C. police officers.

The nationalists' speech was largely drowned out by the anti-racist group. The white nationalists ended their program early and made a quick exit back to the Metro station.

Organizer Jason Kessler was also behind the organizer -- also behind this "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville that left three dead -- Heather Heyer and two members of the state police. Dozens more were injured.

Kessler blames the low turnout this year on logistical issues.

ROMANS: In Charlottesville, anti-racist demonstrators gathered at the site where Heather Heyer was run over and killed last year. They paid their respects by using chalk to scrawl messages of remembrance on the street and on the walls of nearby buildings, many of them expressing disgust with police who were out in force throughout the city.

Heather's mother, Susan Bro, spoke to CNN about the tribute to her daughter.


SUSAN BRO, MOTHER OF HEATHER HEYER: I burst into tears when I first got there.

There were some people there very traumatized because they had been there last year and it was very challenging for them.

One young man hugged me and he just couldn't stop the tears rolling down his cheeks. Another one came up and said he had been there last year and he's having a really hard time talking to me.

I saw one young lady that just finished her third or fourth and final surgery about a month ago and she walked. She walked up to hug me.


ROMANS: Police arrested four people at the Charlottesville protests. There were no injuries reported.

All right, the GOP weighing its options after New York Republican Congressman Chris Collins suspended his reelection campaign Saturday.

[05:40:01] Collins was indicted last week on charges related to insider trading. Collins maintains his innocence.

A Republican operative tells CNN officials are thinking of nominating Collins for a town clerkship. Now, that's one of the only ways he could be replaced on the ballot.

BRIGGS: Two strong Trump supporters have already indicated they'll try for the seat, one being Carl Paladino who ran for governor in 2010 and lost. He later came under fire for making a racist comment about Michelle Obama.

The Collins scandal puts one of the most heavily Republican districts in New York suddenly in play and may affect the ability of Democrats to flip the House in November.

ROMANS: A jury ordering Monsanto to pay hundreds of millions of dollars, losing its first trial over claims its weed killer causes cancer.

A California jury awarded $289 million to a former school groundskeeper DeWayne Johnson. It ruled that Roundup caused Johnson's Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

A big blow to Monsanto, the company that makes Roundup, the world's most popular herbicide. That's because it sets a legal precedent for the thousands of other cases claiming Roundup caused cancer.

Johnson's case was the first to go to trial because doctors said he was terminal and dying plaintiffs can get expedited trials in California.

In 2015, the World Health Organization said the key ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, is probably carcinogenic to humans. Monsanto disagreed, citing hundreds of other studies that say it is safe.

Monsanto plans to appeal the decision.

BRIGGS: All right, the story everyone's still talking about over the weekend. An investigation underway to determine how on earth a man in Seattle was able to steal this passenger plane, which prompted a military response.

What he told the control tower moments before the crash and the latest on the investigation.


[05:45:56] ROMANS: New concerns this morning about big gaps in airport security after a 29-year-old ground service agent stole a plane at Seattle-Tacoma Airport, took off without authorization, and crashed into a wooded island with military jets on his tail.

Richard Russell expressing remorse to air traffic controller moments before he died in the wreckage and flames. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD RUSSELL, STOLE PLANE FROM SEATTLE-TACOMA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT: I've got a lot of people that care about me and it's going to disappoint them that -- to hear that I did this. I would like to apologize to each and every one of them.

Just a broken guy, got a few screws loose, I guess. Never really knew it until now.



CNN's Kyung Lah in Seattle with the latest on the investigation.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine and Dave.

The NTSB has recovered the flight data recorder from this crash. It is on its way to Washington, D.C. It will be analyzed approximately mid-week. The investigators here hoping to learn a little bit more about exactly what was going on with the plane.

This plane, in the crash, went through several hundred feet of trees. Virtually nothing is left of it, say investigators, other than one small wing section.

The investigation shifting now to 29-year-old Richard Russell. What was happening with the 3 1/2-year Horizon Air employee?

He had security clearance to be there as a grounds worker. He appeared happy at work. He posted video blogs about how much he enjoyed his job. He was, according to his family, happily married.

For them and the friends he had, to hear those conversations he had with air traffic control, it is simply heartbreaking.

MIKE MATTHEWS, RUSSELL FAMILY FRIEND: It may seem difficult for those watching at home to believe but Beebo was a warm, compassionate man.

As the voice recordings show, Beebo's intent was not to harm anyone. He was right in saying that there are so many people who have loved him.

LAH: Now, Beebo is a family name for Russell. That's how they refer to him.

Before giving that statement, the family held hands. They made a circle and they said a prayer. They say it's their faith that is helping them get through this -- Christine, Dave.


ROMANS: All right, thanks for that, Kyung Lah. Such a bizarre story. But the -- but the airport security part of it is something that is going to have to be addressed.

BRIGGS: Right. How easy is this?

That's one of the things they'll check out on "NEW DAY." It's about 10 minutes away. John Berman joining us.

ROMANS: Hey, John.

BRIGGS: Good to see you, John.

You guys will look into that, as well as what to make of Omarosa. I don't whether to laugh or to cry or to scream that she's in the Situation Room recording. What do you do with it?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You can do all three things, Dave Briggs.

Most of all, I'm glad you can shave because after your week off --


BERMAN: -- it's nice to see the clean-shaven face of an anchor. Great to see you both back together again.

Look, I am not recording this conversation between the three of us right now but I have a sense that someone is.

Obviously, we're going to look into what happened inside the White House. Why did this meeting take place inside the Situation Room? Was the law broken or just protocol?

And what else might this woman, Omarosa, who was a senior adviser to the president -- what else might she have to say about her time in the White House? Some very key questions this morning.

Also, Rudy Giuliani versus Rudy Giuliani. He's taking himself on and landing some serious blows, right? I mean, contradicting arguments that he, himself, made one month ago.

What does that mean legally?


BERMAN: What does it mean when a lawyer publicly contradicts himself? It might mean nothing because he's serving more as a political adviser.

Finally, toward the end of the show I'm going to speak with Paul Rosenzweig, who was -- is still a Republican who worked for Ken Starr on the Bill Clinton investigation in the 1990s.

This is a guy who says he's never voted for a Democrat but now says in the midterm elections he will vote for a Democrat because he thinks what the Republicans are doing in regards to the Mueller investigation is inexcusable -- this is what he says -- particularly, Devin Nunes on record now saying that you have to elect Republicans, else the president won't get the support he needs there.

[05:50:05] Paul Rosenzweig will be here to tell us why, this time, he's voting for a Democrat.

ROMANS: And I'll stop by in the 7:00 hour to talk about Harley- Davidson and a Republican president talking about boycotting an American company. Remarkable times we're in.

BERMAN: So glad you're doing that story because it is. I mean, the idea of a Republican going head-to-head with Harley, I -- in a million years, I would never have said that was possible.

BRIGGS: Never.

All right -- John Berman, see you in a bit, thanks.

ROMANS: All right, John. Talk to you soon.

All right.

Currency prices for Turkey is rattling stocks around the world here. Europe opened lower; Tokyo and Hong Kong down more than 1 1/2 percent.

The Erdogan government stepping in to stop this currency crisis in Turkey or try to halt it, at least. The lira fell another 11 percent overnight before recovering after the country's Central Bank stepped in with some liquidity measures. The lira fell 20 percent last week.

Turkey's exports face sanctions, inflation is rising, its president is feuding with President Trump. What happens in Turkey matters. With 80 million residents, this NATO ally shares a border with Syria.

And the lira's tailspin is dragging on bank shares. The concern, banks have exposure to Turkey, particularly in Europe.

But even the U.S. -- Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, all fell at least 1 1/2 percent on Friday. That sent Wall Street lower overall.

Americans, though, are shopping more than ever. Will the boom last? The U.S. releases July retail sales data this week, just as Home Depot, Macy's, Walmart, Nordstrom, and JCPenney report their earnings.

Consumer spending surged last quarter. Investors want to see that trend continue but will also pay close attention to retailers' predictions for the rest of the year because rising prices are beginning to eat into people's paychecks.

Wages only grew 2.7 percent over the past year. Look at the cost of living -- that's up 2.9 percent.

Gas prices are up. Tariffs are raising prices on everything from cars to soda.

Two lawsuits accuse Tesla's CEO Elon Musk of misleading investors to boost share prices. Last week, Tesla's stock, remember, jumped after Musk tweeted he secured funding to take Tesla private at $4.20 a share. He offered no further details.

The suit claimed that that statement was false and violated securities law just as Musk faces a possible probe by Wall Street's top regulator. The SEC is looking into whether Musk's statement was true and why in the world he announced it on Twitter.

BRIGGS: Yes, it is a wild ride keeping track of Tesla.

More than 10,000 people still displaced from their homes as that Holy Fire continues to rage through Southern California. The promising news for firefighters is next.


[05:57:00] BRIGGS: Baltimore police say an officer caught on video beating a man has resigned.

A warning, though, the video from Saturday morning, you might find disturbing. For 12 seconds you can see the officer pummeling the man before pinning him to the ground.

According to police, the incident began when officers approached the man to talk, released him, then approached him again to fill out a citizens contact sheet. Officers are required to do that anytime they make contact with a citizen. Police say the situation escalated when the man refused to provide I.D.

Baltimore's interim police commissioner saying he is deeply disturbed by the incident.

ROMANS: Firefighters making major progress, we're told, battling the Holy Fire in Southern California. As of just a few hours ago, the blaze now 41 percent contained.

Authorities have lifted evacuation orders in several neighborhoods in Lake Elsinore. That's the city most threatened by the fire. More than 11,000 people remain under mandatory evacuation, down from 21,000 Friday.

Meantime, the man suspected of starting that fire, Forrest Gordon Clark, he's being held on $1 million bail. If convicted, he faces a maximum life sentence in prison.

BRIGGS: Heavy rain and rising floodwaters in the northeast giving a bride and groom a rough start on their wedding day. Police in New Jersey helping rescue the couple and their wedding party stuck in the rising waters over the weekend.


BRIGGS: This makes for some interesting photos.

ROMANS: Also, not far away in New Jersey, a major pile-up when -- look at this. The rushing waters sweep a handful of cars off a dealer lot, just tumbling them together there at the bridge.

Flash flood watches remain in effect this morning. More rain coming.


All right, a spectacular final round for Tiger Woods in the PGA Championship, but it wasn't quite enough to catch the winner, Brooks Koepka.

Folks, it's been a decade since Tiger last won a major. His 64 at Bellerive on Sunday, his lowest final round score in a major ever.

Boy, were the St. Louis crowds epic.

Woods finished second, two strokes behind 28-year-old Brooks Koepka who posted a four-under 66 to win his second major of the year. The defending U.S. Open champ has now captured three of the last six majors.

Brooks Koepka is phenomenal --


BRIGGS: -- but, of course, the story continues to be Tiger looking like the Tiger of old.

ROMANS: It was a lot of fun watching that.

BRIGGS: It was outstanding golf.

ROMANS: A lot of fun. All right, a Sunday afternoon of golf.

Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs.

"NEW DAY" starts right now. We'll see you tomorrow.


GIULIANI: The president says he never told Comey that he should go easy on Flynn.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rudy Giuliani maintaining that this is simply a misunderstanding, not a contradiction.

MANIGAULT NEWMAN: If I didn't have these recordings no one in America would believe me -- no one.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Omarosa is a tremendous disappointment here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've never seen a plane that low. We saw a giant plume of black smoke.


RUSSELL: I don't know, man. I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't even put it into words. It was terrifying.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

BERMAN: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Monday, August 13th, 6:00 here in New York.

Alisyn is off. Erica Hill joins me. I survived the meg (ph) this weekend. How'd you do?