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EARLY START

President Challenges Omarosa's Book; Key Round of Primaries on Wisconsin. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired August 14, 2018 - 04:00   ET

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


[04:00:00]

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN HOST: The president challenging Omarosa's acquisitions in her new book that he is a racist. The White House is bracing for what else she could have on tape.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN HOST: A key round of primaries today, including Wisconsin. Republicans are running to the right as they try to oust a red state Democrat.

(SINGING)

BRIGGS: And the queen of soul in failing health. Aretha Franklin, in hospice care. Good morning everyone and welcome to Early Start. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is Tuesday, August 14. It is 4:00 am in the East. Let's begin with this. President Trump on the record this morning refuting one of Omarosa Manigault-Newman's most damming new charges that there is an outtake from "The Apprentice" which Mr. Trump uses the N word repeatedly.

The president tweeting last night, Mark Burnett, the producer of the show called to say there are no tapes of "The Apprentice" where I used such a terrible and disgusting word, as attributed by wacky and deranged Omarosa. I don't have that word in my vocabulary and never have.

BRIGGS: The tweet capping a day of attacks by the president against his former Senior Aid. He even retweeted his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who of course, also secretly recorded the president.

Many in the White House are now bracing for Omarosa to turn out more of her recordings. The back and forth between Omarosa and the White House doing a spotlight on a long time favorite tactic of the president, non-disclosure agreements. White House correspondent, Kaitlan Collins, with more.

KAITLAN COLLINS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Dave, a week ago the White House strategy was to not respond to the claims in Omarosa's new book.

But the president went right through that when he was tweeting multiple times about Omarosa, calling her a wacko, saying that she was someone who was vicious and disliked by her White House colleagues, as well as skipping White House meetings and work all together, but adding that he kept her around because she said nice things about him. Someone who made $180,000 of taxpayer funded money.

Now the president also said that he did have Omarosa sign a non- disclosure agreement, but she later denied signing the White House version of that NDA.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OMAROSA MANIGAULT-NEWMAN, TELEVISION ACTOR: I never signed that draconian NDA that they presented to me when I walked into the White House, because I knew from my prior time in the White House, this was my second tour of duty working in the White House. I worked for the Clinton's prior, that this was not something that was acceptable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: But Omarosa's recordings and her conversations with John Kelly and President Trump himself have created this sense of paranoia in the West Wing, when she was about to leave the White House last December, here colleagues long suspected that she was recording their conversations and now those fears have seemed to have come to the light.

Omarosa's promising that she does have more conversations recorded and if the White House retaliates against her, she may publish them. Christine and Dave.

ROMANS: All right, Kaitlan at the White House. Thank you for that Kaitlan.

When President Trump signed the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act on Monday, he forgot to thank one notable member of Congress, John F. McCain. The president thanked several other lawmakers, a long list of public thank you's, but he made no mention of the bill's namesake.

Of course, Senator McCain has been one of the president's leading Republican critics. Take a look at this comment from the Senator's Former Chief of Staff. He tweets, for those expecting did I expect Trump to be a "blank" today? No more than I expected it to be Monday.

BRIGGS: Later in the day the president took a swipe at Senator McCain in an upstate New York campaign event.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would have gotten rid of everything, but as you know, one of our -- one of our wonderful senators said thumbs down at 2:00 o'clock in the morning.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: The John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act represents a $16 billion increase in authorized funding for the Pentagon.

ROMANS: The FBI is defending it's decision to fire Peter Strzok, the agent who's anti-Trump texts are fueling the president's conspiracy claims. The FBI's Deputy Director, David Bowdich, making the decision to terminate Strzok after the office that usually handles discipline ruled a Strzok should only face a suspension and demotion. Now the Bureau says the Deputy Director has the delegated authority to review and modify any disciplinary findings in the best interest of the FBI.

Strzok's lawyer tells CNN, he believes Bowdich had the power but not the right to fire his clients.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AITAN GOELMAN, ATTORNEY FOR PETER STRZOK: We had an agreement with the FBI OPR, Office of Professional Responsibility, which is their main caretaker for internal discipline, that Pete would get a 60-day suspension and a demotion and at the last minute that was countermanded by the higher-ups and he was fired. So, yes, we were surprised.

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[04:05:00]

BRIGGS: President doing a little gloating on Twitter, calling Strzok a total fraud. Strzok says, he is deeply saddened by the decision to fire him and he tweeted a link to a GoFundMe account to help cover his legal bills and lost income.

Strzok's firing also sparked a bit of a family drama. Bobby Goodlatte's denouncing3 his father, Virginia Congressman, Bob Goodlatte. The Republican lawmaker recently shared a fiery House Committee hearing where Strzok endured relentless personal attacks.

ROMANS: Bobby Goodlatte tweeting, I'm deeply embarrassed that Peter Strzok's career was ruined by my father's political grandstanding. That committee hearing was a low point for Congress. Thank you for your service sir, you are a patriot.

The retiring Congressman's venture capitalist son also tweeted that he's given the allowed donation to Jennifer Lewis, that's the Republican -- or the Democrat rather, running for Goodlatte's open seat in November

BRIGGS: Family drama. Paul Manafort's defense lawyers ready to make their case. The prosecution of the former Trump campaign chairman rested Monday after 10 days and 27 witnesses.

Among the last to take the stand, a Federal Savings Bank vice president, who explained how the bank chairman, Steven Calk, insisted on the approval of risky loans to Manafort. Why, the Justice Department, while released e-mails from Calk to Manafort. The bank chairman lists the roles he wanted and a Trump administration that included Secretary of the Army. ROMANS: One major question is as the defense launches it's case, will Manafort take the stand in his own defense. That would open him up to cross examination. Also, anything he says could be used in his second criminal trial for foreign lobbying violations set for September.

BRIGGS: All right, voter's head to the polls today in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Vermont and Connecticut. In Wisconsin, a bitter Republican primary, who will decide who tries to oust a red state Democrat, Senator Tammy Baldwin, State Senator Leah Vukmir and Marine vet, Kevin Nicholson, both trying to convince voters they are most like President Trump.

Vukmir has enough key endorsements, normally make her a shoe-in, but she is under fire from her opponent, a former Democrat, for initially denouncing, then candidate, Trump during the 2016 Primary.

Also on the ballot, eight Democrats, (inaudible) Scott Walker who's seeking a third term.

ROMANS: All right, bad news this morning, seven minutes past the hour. Aretha Franklin's health is failing. A source close to the queen of soul tells CNN's Don Lemon, she is receiving hospice care in her home.

The legendary singer has been dogged by reports of illness in recent years and appeared frail in recent photos, but she has kept her struggles private. Earlier this year she cancelled a pair of performances, including one at the New Orleans Jazz Fest on doctor's orders.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(YELLING)

UNKNOWN MALE: Make some noise for Aretha Franklin.

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ROMANS: A tribute to Franklin at last night's Beyonce and Jay Z concert in Detroit. Tens of thousands singing along to Franklin's music.

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Franklin's career spans six decades. She got her start singing gospel music in a Detroit church where her father was the minister.

BRIGGS: Thoughts and prayers to her family.

Ahead, concerns about a new financial crisis this morning. Why the Turkish lira? How it all ties together, next.

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[04:12:00] ROMANS: All right, Turkey's currency crisis is escalating as the lira hits new lows, shaking markets worldwide. A speech by President Erdogan in policy moves by Turkey's central bank did little to help, so investors worry a local financial crisis could turn into a global one. The lira fell another 10 percent yesterday. It's now down more than 40 percent against the dollar this year.

Two big reasons for the plunge, first, concerns over Turkey's economic stability, the NATO ally faces sanctions, inflation is rising, its president feuding with President Trump. Second, climbing U.S. interest rates, that makes the U.S. dollar more attractive to investors and expensive when the dollar was cheap, Turkey browed heavily. Now that the dollar is stronger, Turkey has joined (ph) debt payments it may not be able to make.

That will hurt foreign banks with exposure to Turkey, particularly in Europe, but also in the U.S. as well. (INAUDIBLE) set global stocks lower yesterday. The lira's tailspin also hurt the currencies of other developing countries, South Africa, Argentina, Mexico, and Indonesia.

The biggest concern, Turkey's financial problems could spread and there is historical precedent like in 1997, the collapse of the taibat (ph) set off a financial crisis throughout East Asia, a relatively small country, a relatively isolated crisis that spread. So, always when you see these kinds of currency moves in developing countries, you worry about contagion.

BRIGGS: European banks being the top concern?

ROMANS: Yes, European banks I would say.

BRIGGS: All right, so, what is Turkey's President Recep Erdogan planning to do about all of this? CNN's Arwa Damon, live in Istanbul with more. Arwa, good morning, how might this impact the authoritarian leader?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, this country is taking quite a blow and based on the redirect we're hearing from President Erdogan, he continues to remain defiant especially after the lira plummeted to those lows that we have barely seen it begin to crawl back from.

Now, of course, all of this is stemming from too many factors. One, is Turkey's own mismanagement of its economy and Erdogan's repeated insistence to not, despite the guidance of the markets, and the advice of the markets, not increase interest rates dealt something of a death blow when then the U.S. administration decided to sanction two Turkish ministers as well as slap tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports.

[04:15:00]

America, President Trump, doing this in reaction to Turkey's refusal to release U.S. Pastor Andrew Brunson who is being held here on terrorism charges or rather, accused of having links to terrorism. And that move by the United States is really what sent the Turkish lira into this death spiral. And even analysts who don't necessarily support the position of the Turkish President are saying that that move was actually attainted to punching someone in the gut when they were already down which has resulted in President Erdogan saying that the U.S. is effectively waging a war on the Turkish economy and stabbing Turkey, a NATO ally, in the back, Dave.

BRIGGS: A developing story there, Arwa Damon, just passed 11:15 a.m., thank you. Some breaking news now, a number of pedestrians had been injured after a man crashed his car into barriers outside Britain's parliament.

According to London's met (ph) police, officers do not believe any of the injured suffered life threatening injuries. Police say the driver was detained by officers at the scene. We'll stay on top of the story, bringing you any new information as it comes in.

ROMANS: All right, police cleared a Florida man of charges after a fatal shooting, but now prosecutors say otherwise. We'll tell you why they see it differently.

[04:20:00]

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BRIGGS: Grammy winning musician John Legend making a push for criminal justice reform in his home state of Louisiana. He has written an op-ed in the post saying Louisiana is one of only two states where a person can be convicted of a felony and sent to prison, even a life sentence, without unanimous jury vote. Prosecutors need 10 of 12 jurors to convict; Louisiana legislature putting a question on the ballot in November asking voters if they support a Constitutional amendment to require unanimous jury verdicts in all criminal cases. Legend calling out powerful forces in a state that are resistant to change writing, "It is time to come together and reject prejudice in all its forms and build a future in which everyone is valued and supported." This ballot question in November is about giving Louisiana her voice back.

ROMANS: A New Mexico judge granting bail to five adults accused of child abuse at a makeshift compound even as the face some truly stunning allegations. The judge said the prosecutors failed to prove the individuals pose a danger to the community. Prosecutors tried to demonstrate the threat with one evidence one suspect, Siraj Wahhaj, took a series of gun classes in Georgia in 2015 and in a letter to his brother instructing him to quote "die as a martyr."

BRIGGS: The district attorney claiming the suspects brought their children from Georgia to New Mexico to perform rituals on Wahhaj's son. A teen rescued from the compound said the little boy who suffered from epilepsy died during one of the rituals. But defense lawyers accuse prosecutors of judging their clients based on race and religion.

(BEGIN VIDEO) THOMAS CLARK, SIRAJ WAHHAJ'S ATTORNEY: We live in a country of religious freedom. If they were white and Christian, nobody would bat an eye at the idea of faith healing or praying over a body or touching a body and quoting scripture, but when black Muslims do it, there seems to be something nefarious.

(END VIDEO)

BRIGGS: All the defendants have pled not guilty. The survivor children now are in state custody.

ROMANS: A firefighter died Monday battling the Mendocino complex fire; the largest fire in California history. The firefighter's name has not been released but we do know he is from Utah. Authorities said a probe into his death is underway. Meantime firefighters are gaining ground on the dozen fires across the state. At last check, the holy fire is 59% contained. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue are in Northern California touring areas devastated by the car fire. Zinke blaming everything but climate change for the ongoing wildfires. He insisted active forest management including tree thinning is the key to stop the fires.

BRIGGS: A stunning reversal of the high profile stand your ground case in Florida, a man who fatally shot a man who pushed him to the ground outside a convenience store is now facing manslaughter charges and will appear in court today. Michael Drejka was initially cleared by law enforcement but the prosecutor has stepped in to override the sheriff citing witness interviews and surveillance video. The evidence of Markeis McGlockton, the man who was killed, say the charges give a measure of hope that justice will prevail.

ROMANS: A Utah man is dead after crashing a plane into his house. It happened within minutes of Duane Youd being arrested on domestic violence charges on Monday. Police say he was arguing with his wife to the point that someone called 911. He was arrested and formally charged shortly after midnight. Upon returning home to grab some belongings, the professional pilot apparently went to his company's plane. Police received word of the plane crash a short time later. His wife and son were home at the time. Look at that house that managed to escape.

BRIGGS: Investigators are hoping technology will be the key to finding a missing college student. Detectives launching a web site, findingmollieiowa.gov. It has functions to help jog the public's memory and a link to anonymously provide tips. With no credible sightings reported, officials are trying to follow Mollie Tibbetts's digital footprint. Police have received more than 1,500 tips and conducted more than 500 interviews. The reward for information leading to Tibbett's' discovery is $336,000. She was last seen jogging on July 18 in the small town of Brooklyn, Iowa.

Ahead, the president says there are no tapes of him using the "n" word during "The Apprentice" but White House staffers are grazing for more tapes from Omarosa.

ROMANS: And the queen of soul, Aretha Franklin, in failing health we're told. Tributes are coming in from fans around the world.

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[04:25:00]

ROMANS: The president challenging Omarosa's accusations in her book that he is a racist. The White House bracing for what else she could have on tape.

BRIGGS: A key round of primaries today, including Wisconsin. Republicans are running to the right as they try to oust a red-state democrat.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

ARETHA FRANKLIN, MUSICIAN: (Singing) R-E-S-P-E-C-T, that's what it means to me. R-E-S-P-E-C-T...

ROMANS: (voice over) The queen of soul in failing health this morning. Aretha Franklin is in hospice care. Welcome back to "Early Start" this Tuesday morning. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: Hi, I'm Dave Briggs. it is 29 minutes after the hour. You can rush to the book stores. Omarosa's book is on the shelves later this morning. I don't know if there were lines around the block last night or not but she's trying.