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EARLY START

Could Omarosa Have More Recordings? Wisconsin Starts Round of Primaries. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired August 14, 2018 - 04:30   ET

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


ROMANS: Oh, it's out (INAUDIBLE). That's right.

BRIGGS: I don't know if there were lines around the block last night or not, but she's trying. President Trump, on the record this morning, refuting one of Omarosa's most damning new charges, that there's an outtake from the Apprentice in 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 (INAUDIBLE) such terrible and disgusting word is attributing by whacky and deranged Omarosa. I don't have that word in my vocabulary and never have.

ROMANS: The tweet capped off a day of attacks by the President against his former senior aid, he even retweeted his former lawyer Michael Cohen, that's right - the President retweeted Michael Cohen who, of course, also secretly recorded the President. Many in the White House are now bracing for Omarosa to turn out, maybe, more recordings.

The back and forth between Omarosa and the White House turn a spotlight on a longtime favorite tactic of the President, non- disclosure agreements. White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins has more.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN 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 whacko.

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, FORMER AIDE TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: 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 Clintons prior. But this was not something that was acceptable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: But Omarosa's recordings of 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, her colleagues long suspected that she was recording their conversations, and now those fears seem to have come to the light.

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

BRIGGS: OK, Kaitlan Collins, thanks. When President Trump signed the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act on Monday, he forgot to thank one notable member of Congress, John S. McCain. Mr. Trump did thank several other lawmakers, but no mention of the bill's namesake.

Of course, Senator McCain has been one of the President's leading Republican critics. He is currently home in Arizona being treated for brain cancer. Take a look at this comment from the Senator's Former Chief of Staff, Mark Salter, who writes on Twitter, for those asking, did I expect Trump to be (INAUDIBLE) whole today, no more than I expected it to be Monday.

ROMANS: Later in the day, the President recycled a familiar swipe at Senator McCain at an upstate New York campaign event.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: He's talking about healthcare - a repeal of the...

BRIGGS: Of course, once again.

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

BRIGGS: Some breaking news. A number of pedestrians are injured after a man crashed into his car outside Britain's Parliament. Met Police say they're keeping an open mind, but counter terrorism officials are leading the investigation. The driver was detained by officers at the scene. Officers do not believe any of the injured suffered life threatening injuries. We'll stay on top of this, bringing you any new information as it comes in, but now, the FBI defending its decision to fire Peter Strzok, the agent whose 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 he should only face a suspension, and demotion. The Bureau says Deputy Director has the delegated authority to review and modify any disciplinary findings in the best interest of the FBI. Strzok's lawyer telling CNN, he believes Bowdich had the power, but not the right to fire his client.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

AITAN GOELMAN, ATTORNEY FOR PETER STRZOK: We had an agreement with the FBI OPR, the 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.

(END VIDEO) [04:35:00]

ROMANS: The President doing a little gloating on Twitter, calling Strzok, quote, "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 firings also sparking a bit of a family drama. Bobby Goodlatte, denouncing his father, Virginia Congressman, Bob Goodlatte.

The Republican lawmaker recently chaired a fiery House committee hearing where Strzok endured relentless personal attacks.

BRIGGS: Bobby Goodlatte tweeting, quote, "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'd given the maximum allowed donation to Jennifer Lewis who is the Democrat running for Goodlatte's open seat in November.

ROMANS: More family drama, the uncle of White House Senior Advisor Stephen Miller referring to his own nephew as an immigration hypocrite, in a scathing editorial for Politico, David Glosser says this about Stephen Miller's attitude towards immigration. If my nephew's ideas on immigration had been enforced a century ago, our family would have been wiped out.

BRIGGS: Glosser described how he watched with, quote, "dismay and increasing horror", as his nephew becomes the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family's life in this country. Glosser will appear on New Day this morning, 7:30 eastern time.

ROMANS: He's talking about the fact that one of their relatives fled the pilgrims (p_ in Belarus to the United States and it was America's immigration policies that allowed the family, literally, to survive.

BRIGGS: Yes.

ROMANS: All right. Thirty six minutes past the hour, voters head to the polls today in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Vermont, and Connecticut. In Wisconsin, a bit of a Republic primary will decide to tries to oust a red state Democrat senator, Tammy Baldwin, state Senator Leah Vukmir, and Marine veteran Kevin Nicholson both trying to convince voters they are most like President Trump.

Vukmir has enough key endorsements to make her shoeing (ph) in normal times, but she's under fire from her opponent, a former Democrat, for initially denouncing then candidate Trump during the 2016 presidential primary, also on the ballot, eight - eight Democrats looking to oust Governor Scott Walker who is seeking a third term.

BRIGGS: Aretha Franklin's health is failing. A source close to the queen of soul, telling CNN's Don Lemon she is receiving hospice care in her home. The legendary singer has dawned 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. A tribute to Franklin at last night's Jay-Z and Beyonce concert in Detroit, tens of thousands singing along to Franklin's music.

Franklin's career spanned six decades. She got her start singing gospel music in a Detroit church where her father was the minister. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family. This morning, ahead, concerns about a new economic crisis, this morning, why? The Turkish lira, how this all ties together and what it means for that man, Recep Erdogan, ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:42:00]

ROMANS: All right, there is a currency crisis in Turkey as the lira hits new lows and it's shaking markets worldwide. A speech by President Erdogan and some policy moves by Turkey's central bank did little to help, so investor worry a local 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. First, concerns over Turkey's economic stability, the NATO ally faces sanctions, inflation is rising, its president is feuding with President Trump.

Second, climbing U.S. interest rates, that makes the U.S. dollar more attractive to investors and more expensive. When the dollar was cheap, Turkey borrowed heavily. Now that the dollar is stronger, Turkey has soaring debt payments it may not be able to make. That will hurt foreign banks with exposure to Turkey, particularly in Europe, but in the U.S. as well.

That fear sent global stocks lower yesterday. The lira tailspin also hit the currencies of other developing countries - South Africa, Argentina, Mexico, Indonesia. The biggest concern, Turkey's financial problems could spread.

There is a historical (ph) president. Back in 1997, the collapse of the Thai baht, a relatively small and isolated incident, set off a financial crisis throughout East Asia.

BRIGGS: So what is Turkey's President, Recep Erdogan, planning to do about all this? Let's ask CNN's Arwa Damon live in Istanbul with more. Good morning, Arwa.

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Dave. Well, the government has announced a series of measures to try to calm down the population and also comfort investors to a certain degree, although that has not really been what is that the markets want to see the Turkish government do, which is increase interest rates because you have to remember that before all of this, the Turkish leader was already at a much slower pace to, of course, losing value.

It was dealt that death flow (ph), though, because of the ongoing feud and spat between Ankara and Washington stemming over Turkey's detention and then refusal to release U.S. Pastor, Andrew Brunson, who Turkey accuses of having links to terrorism.

That led the U.S. administration to sanction to Turkish ministers. Turkey did retaliate, but then what really caused the lira to plummet was when President Trump tweeted about how he was going to be doubling tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum imports.

In response to that, we saw President Erdogan coming out and saying that America was effectively waging economic war on his country, calling all of this a stab in the back made all the more bitter by the fact that Turkey and America are meant to be NATO allies.

Such a low blow, David. Some analysts are even saying that America's move was akin to punching someone in the gut when they're already down. Now, we do know that Turkey's ambassador to the U.S. did meet with America's national security advisor, John Bolton. Exactly what came out of that meeting, we don't know. We do know that they did address key issues, but right now the situation here still remains very, very dire.

[04:45:00]

BRIGGS: Yes, long way from resolution. Arwa Damon live for us in Istanbul. Thank you.

ROMANS: A U.S. general now pressing Saudi Arabia to conduct a transparent investigation into that Saudi led airstrike in Yemen that killed 51 people, including 40 children. The general adjusted his already scheduled visit to the Saudi capital of Riyadh after the airstrike.

CNN has obtained cell phone video of the boys' final moments. We warn you, you might find it difficult to watch. CNN's Nima Elbagir joins us live from London with the very latest. Nima -

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine. Well, it is extraordinarily heartbreaking footage. It shows the boys in their last happy moments. A teacher told us that this was something that they had been so excited over, that they had actually been unable to sleep for days.

The real horror is that in this war-ravished country, the cemetery, which is what you're seeing there, was one of the few places - few green places that the boys could be taken to to actually be carefree and children.

As we know just hours later, Osama, the little boy who filmed that footage, was dead, but not just Osama. Osama, his brother, and dozens of his friends, and as you said, the images are absolutely distressing and graphic but so important because it's these images that have not only pushed the Saudi led coalition to investigate, but also is behind the U.S.'s decision - General Mattis's decision to send a three-star general to be part of the conversation.

The overarching issue, though, Christine, is that so far they have refused to commit to an independent investigation. There has never been an independent investigation into any of the coalition civilian casualties, and that is what so many people on the ground are desperately crying out for. And the hope is as international condemnation continues that perhaps that is coming down the road. Christine -

ROMANS: Nima, hard to watch those but important to tell that story. Nima Elbagir for us in London. Thank you.

BRIGGS: All right, coming up Papa John counts (ph) a scandal for Papa Johns. Now the pizza chain is bailing out franchisees hurt by its recent PR crisis. Romans with the latest in CNN money next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:52:00]

BRIGGS: Well, while you were sleeping, late night comics diving into Omarosa's newly released White House recordings. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OMAROSA MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: It confirmed that he is truly a racist.

STEPHNE COLBERT, THE LATE SHOW HOST: This is huge.

(LAUGHTER)

This is huge John. Finally. Big move. Finally, we didn't know. ...

(LAUGHTER)

... that the guy who refused to rent to black tenants, said that a Nazi, Klan rally has some people and called Africa a (inaudible) hole, is a racist.

(LAUGHTER)

JIMMY FALLON, THE TONIGHT SHOW HOST: Experts say nobody has ever made a recording in that room. And then one guy said, that you know about.

Trump's campaign tried to keep Omarosa quite by offering her $180,000 in hush money. When Stormi Daniels heard that, she was like, oh my god, what did she have to do for the extra $50,000? Holy moly.

SETH MEYERS, LATE NIGHT SHOW HOST: Omarosa Manigault, yesterday, played a recording of a conversation with Chief of Staff, John Kelly, in the situation room, which is the most secure area of the West Wing. Well, the second most secure.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Oh wow. All right, while you were sleeping they were having some fun, the late night hosts.

Grammy winning musician, John Legend, is making a push for a criminal justice reform in his home state of Louisiana. He's written and Op-Ed in "The Washington Post," pointing out Louisiana is one of only two states where someone can be convicted of a felony and sent to prison without a unanimous jury vote. Prosecutors only need 10 of 12 jurors to convict.

The Louisiana Legislature is putting a question on the November ballot asking voters if they support a Constitutional amendment to require unanimous jury verdicts in all criminal cases.

Legend is calling out, what he calls a -- what he describes as a powerful forces in a state that are resistant to change. He writes, it's time to come together, reject prejudice in all of it's forms and build a future in which everyone is valued and supported. The ballot question in November is about giving Louisiana her voice back.

BRIGGS: A New Mexico judge granting bail to five adults accused of child abuse in a make-shift compound, even as they face some truly stunning allegations. The judge saying prosecutors failed to prove the defendants pose a danger to the community.

Prosecutors tried to demonstrate with evidence that Siraj Wahhaj took a series of gun classes in Georgia in 2015. The also introduced a letter to Siraj's bother instructing him to, quote, "die as martyr."

ROMANS: The District Attorney claiming the suspects brought their children from Georgia to New Mexico to perform religious rituals on Wahhaj's son. A teen rescued from the compound said the little boy, who suffered from epilepsy died during one of those rituals, but defense lawyers accuse prosecutors of judging their clients based on race and religion. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS CLARK, SIRAJ WAHHAJ'S ATTORNEY: We live in a country of religious freedom and if these people 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's seems to be something nefarious.

[04:55:00]

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: All the defendants have pleaded not guilty. The surviving children are now in state custody.

BRIGGS: Just a gruesome story there. All right, a firefighter died Monday, battling the Mendocino Complex fire, the largest 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 gaining ground on more than a dozen fires burning across the state. At last check the Holy fire was 59 percent contained.

Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke and Agriculture Secretary, Sonny Perdue in Northern California, touring areas devastated by the Carr fire. Zinke blaming everything but climate change for the ongoing wildfires. Instead, he insisted active forest management including tree thinning is the key to stopping the fires.

ROMANS: A stunning reversal in the high-profile stand-you-ground case in Florida, a man who fatally shot a man who pushed him to the ground outside a convenient store is now facing manslaughter charges and will appear in court today.

Michael Drejka was initially cleared by law enforcement, but a prosecutor has stepped in to overrule the sheriff, citing witness interviews and surveillance video evidence. The family of Markeis McGlockton, the man who was killed, say the charges give them a measure of hope justice will prevail.

BRIGGS: A Utah man dead after crashing a plane into his own house. It happened within minutes of Duane Youd being arrested on domestic violence charges Monday. Police say, Youd 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. You can see it here, Youd's wife and son at home at the time, but did manage to escape.

ROMANS: All right, let's get a check on CNN money this morning. Global stocks rebounding today, even as Turkey's currency crisis escalates. Wall Street fell yesterday as Turkey lira fell another 10 percent, down more than 40 percent this year. The concern is over Turkey's economic stability.

It's president feuding with President Trump, is keeping Turkey's interest rates low, fueling inflations just as U.S. interest rates rise. That makes the U.S. dollar more attractive to investors and expensive and a stronger dollar means Turkey now has soaring debt payments it may not be able to make.

That hit bank stocks with exposure to Turkey, particularly in Europe, but the U.S. as well. Shares of Goldman Sacs and Bank of America both fell at least one percent.

And Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, finally offering more details now on that plan to take Tesla private. Last week he tweeted he secured funding, but said little else. Now he has backed -- he has named the backer of those funds, the Saudi sovereign wealth funds.

That's the investment fund controlled by the Saudi government. Musk said they approached him multiple times about going private. Musk is now trying to add credibility to his proposed buyout. His original tweet triggered investors lawsuits and an SEC probe into the accuracy of his statement.

Papa Johns is bailing out franchisees hurt by it's recent P.R. nightmare. Sales fell 10 percent in July after it was revealed, found John Schnatter, used a racial slur on a conference call.

So, Papa Johns will offer financial assistance to it's struggling restaurants, including cutting royalties, food prices and online fees. It will also help franchisees pay for new marketing images.

Papa Johns stopped using Schnatter's image after he stepped down as chairman.

BRIGGS: Containing some of the sports damage too, a lot of the franchises have quietly begun their partnerships anew.

All right, Early Start continues right now with the reality TV White House feud between the president and Omarosa.

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

BRIGGS: And a key round of primaries today, including Wisconsin, where Republicans are running to the right trying to oust a red state Democrat.

(SINGING)

ROMANS: And the queen of soul in failing health. Aretha Franklin is in hospice care this morning. Good morning everyone, welcome to Early Start. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: Good morning, good morning everyone. I'm Dave Briggs, Tuesday, August 14, 5:00 am in the East. That book, "Unhinged," is on book stands this morning. President Trump on the record this morning refuting one of Omarosa Manigault-Newman's most damming new charges that there's an outtake from "The Apprentice" in 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 use 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.

ROMANS: The tweet capped a day of attacks by the president against his former Senior Aid. He even retweeted his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, that's right, the president retweeted Michael Cohen, a man who also secretly recorded the president.