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President Trump and Omarosa Battle Continues; Fierce GOP Senate Race In Wisconsin Primary; Aretha Franklin In Hospice Care. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired August 14, 2018 - 05:30   ET



[05:30:15] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The reality T.V. fight du jour. The president challenging Omarosa's accusations in her new book that he is a racist. The White House bracing for what else she might have on tape.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A key round of primaries today, including Wisconsin. Republicans attaching themselves to the president as they try to oust a red state Democratic.

BRIGGS: And the queen of soul in failing health. Aretha Franklin in hospice care. She performed at three presidential inaugurations.

ROMANS: Oh, yes.

BRIGGS: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is about 31 minutes past the hour this Tuesday morning.

The president is on the record this morning refuting one of Omarosa Manigault Newman's most damning new charges that there is an outtake from "THE APPRENTICE" in which Mr. Trump uses the "n" word repeatedly.

Now, 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 aide. He even retweeted his former lawyer Michael Cohen who also secretly recorded the president.

Many in the White House now bracing for Omarosa to turn out even more recordings which all cast a spotlight in a longtime favorite tactic of the president, non-disclosure agreements.

White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins with 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 and saying that she was someone who was vicious and disliked by her White House colleagues, as well as skipping White House meetings and work altogether. 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.

OMAROSA MANIGAULT NEWMAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE AIDE TO PRESIDENT DONALD 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 -- that this was not something that was acceptable.

COLLINS: But, Omarosa's recordings of her conversations with John Kelly and President Trump himself have created a 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 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.


ROMANS: Kaitlan Collins at the White House. Thanks, Kaitlan.

BRIGGS: All right. Joining us this morning, CNN senior writer and analyst Harry Enten. Good morning to you, sir.

ROMANS: Hi, Harry.


BRIGGS: Harry is leaving here and heading straight to Barnes & Noble on Fifth Avenue to get "Unhinged" because he can't wait.

ENTEN: People my age don't read books that are in paper.


ENTEN: I'm sorry.

BRIGGS: All right. So what do we make of this?

Look, I know it's gossip for tabloids but he's known Omarosa for 15 years. The president hired her repeatedly over and over again. Of course, Omarosa's on record saying this about President Trump.


NEWMAN: Every critic, every detractor will have to bow down to President Trump.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST, "CNN TONIGHT": So no woman problem for him, you think?

NEWMAN: You know, Donald Trump has an authentic problem. He's too real for the Republican Party.


BRIGGS: When everyone has a credibility problem who do we believe?

ENTEN: I don't know who to believe in this. This is the nuttiest thing I've ever seen whereby you take someone like Donald Trump who fact-checkers have pointed out over and over again that he says many things that are simply untrue, and then you bring in someone else who says things that are even more untrue.

It's like -- I guess I believe President Trump here insofar as that we have documented proof that Omarosa has said things in her book that are simply not true. And it's not just Trump refuting it, it's like Frank Lund (ph) refuting something that Omarosa said was untrue that she said he said.

BRIGGS: of course, the president has made more than 4,000 false or untrue statements according to "The Washington Post" count so that point being credibility --

ENTEN: Right. No one has --

BRIGGS: -- in short supply.

ENTEN: Right, no one has credibility here. And it should also be pointed out that President Trump hired her and brought her into the White House.

BRIGGS: And gave her the top White House salary of $180,000.

ROMANS: Only the best people. Only the best people.

ENTEN: Because she says nice things about him and that's really the most important thing.

[05:35:01] ROMANS: That's right.

BRIGGS: And just throw our hands up --

ROMANS: That's right.

BRIGGS: -- as we do most days.


ROMANS: Let's talk about the -- let's talk about the primaries today because voters are going to the polls today and casting votes.

And I want to talk about Wisconsin -- in particular, the Senate races. Tammy Baldwin, Democrat; Kevin Nicholson who used to be Democrat, now running as a Republican and trying to out-Trump the other one on this race, Leah Vukmir.

What is so important for Wisconsin today?

ENTEN: I mean, look, Leah Vukmir is likely going to win that nomination if you look at the primary polling and also the fact that she has the endorsement from the state party, and that's usually a very telltale sign.

But I think what to me is most interesting about the Republican side of the aisle is trying to attach yourself to Trump -- which both what Vukmir and Nicholson are trying to do -- while at the same time recognizing that some of Trump's policies, including his policy towards Harley-Davidson, aren't necessarily helpful toward the state.

And it's a very tough balancing act and it's been interesting to watch the two of them trying to do it.

ROMANS: Some of the Democrats have tried to pivot the Harley -- the president's attack on Harley-Davidson and yesterday, saying it would be great to have a boycott against Harley.

They tried to pivot that to say look, the president is attacking Harley workers and our state. And his own trade policies are hurting the Upper Midwest, which is an area that helped get him elected.

ENTEN: I think that's exactly right. I mean, if you look at the polls that were just up on the screen that showed the general election match-up between Baldwin and either Vukmir or Nicholson, you see that Baldwin is well ahead.

We've also seen that Donald Trump's approval ratings in the state have fallen over the past few months. And so, to me, when you combine all of that it suggests a very tough road that either one of those Republican candidates would have in the general against Baldwin.

BRIGGS: So, President Trump obviously a factor in just about every district in the state --


BRIGGS: -- in the country.

So, too, is Nancy Pelosi and it's because Republicans had featured her in just about every ad in every state. She fired back about the notion of getting rid of her as a speaker if they take the House, on MSNBC.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: And I know NBC has been on a jag of this. This is one of their priorities to undermine my prospects as speaker.

But putting that aside, the -- I have not asked one person for a vote. I haven't asked a candidate or an incumbent for a vote. What's important -- and I know better than anybody how important it is for us to win this election.


BRIGGS: What do the numbers suggest about how central a factor she is in races from coast to coast?

ENTEN: Yes. I mean, look, her approval ratings are not good nationally. Her disapprovals are well ahead of her approval ratings.

But at the end of the day, in a midterm election, despite -- and here's another one. The NBC-Wall Street Journal poll -- more people says it's less likely they'll vote for someone who backs her than more likely and by a wide margin. Although the majorities say either more likely or it doesn't matter.

But look, this is a midterm election. Midterm elections are about the President of the United States. They are referendums on the president. What Republicans are trying to do when they bring up Nancy Pelosi is turn it into a choice.

But I went back over time and looked at approval ratings for the opposition party leaders in midterm elections since 1994. And when you look at them there's just simply no correlation with the end result. It's the president's approval rating that matters.

BRIGGS: No one is going to walk into a booth and vote against a future Speaker of the House.

ENTEN: Right. I mean, it's a hypothetical --

BRIGGS: How would you imagine that happens?

ENTEN: Right. It's a hypothetical versus the fact that the president is well-known by everybody and if you look at poll after poll after poll the number one factor for voters seems to be the president and it's whether or not you like him or dislike him.

ROMANS: All right, Harry Enten. Nice to see you this morning. Thank you so much.

ENTEN: Nice to see you.

ROMANS: Run out and get that book.


ROMANS: Just kidding.

Breaking news.

Counterterror police in the U.K. are investigating after a man crashed his car into barriers outside Britain's Parliament.

Several people were hurt. The driver was detained at the scene. Officers do not believe any of the injuries are life-threatening.

Prime Minister Theresa May says her thoughts are with those injured.

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

Of course, Sen. 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, Mark Salter. He tweets, "For those asking did I expect Trump to be a (bleep) hole today, no more than I expected it to be Monday."

ROMANS: Later in the day, the president recycled a familiar swipe a Sen. McCain at an Upstate New York campaign event.


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 in the morning.


ROMANS: That repeal of Obamacare.

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

BRIGGS: The FBI defending its decision to fire Peter Strzok, the agent whose anti-Trump texts are fueling the president's conspiracy theories.

FBI's deputy director David Bowdich terminated Strzok, overruling the FBI's discipline office which recommended Strzok be suspended and demoted.

The Bureau says, "The deputy director has the delegated authority to review and modify any disciplinary findings in the best interest of the FBI."

[05:40:04] Strzok's lawyer tells CNN he believes Bowdich had the power but not the right to fire his client.


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 he 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.


ROMANS: The president, on Twitter, called Strzok a "total fraud."

Strzok says he is deeply saddened by the decision to fire him. He tweeted a link to a GoFundMe account to cover his legal bills and lost income.

Strzok's firing also sparking a bit of family drama. Bobby Goodlatte, the venture capitalist son of Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte, denouncing his father.

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

BRIGGS: 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."

ROMANS: All right.

Concerns about a new economic crisis this morning -- the Turkish lira. Now, Turkey's president is threatening to cut off all U.S. electronics.


[05:45:35] BRIGGS: 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 canceled a pair of performances, including one at the New Orleans Jazz Fest on doctor's orders.

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

Her career spanned six decades. She got her start singing gospel music in a Detroit church where her father was the minister.

And she performed at three inaugurations -- Clinton, Carter, Obama. And, President George W. Bush awarded her the Medal of Freedom in 2005.

ROMANS: All right.

"NEW DAY" is about 10 minutes away. Erica Hill joins us this morning. What have you got on tap, Erica?

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, good morning.


HILL: At the top of the hours, guys, we are releasing some new CNN polling with some very interesting numbers in terms of the Mueller investigation. Not only how Americans feel about it, how important they think it is when it comes to the midterm election, and some new numbers as well on the president's approval rating.

Something in this poll for everyone so we'll see how they spin it later in the day. We will present it to you unfiltered, first thing at 6:00.

ROMANS: Fantastic. All right, Erica Hill. See you soon.

BRIGGS: See you in a bit -- thanks.

ROMANS: Let's get a check on "CNN Money" this morning.

A currency crisis in Turkey as the lira hits new lows, but global stocks are rebounding today. Wall Street fell yesterday as Turkey's lira fell another 10 percent. It's now down more than 40 percent this year.

The concern is over Turkey's economic stability. Turkey faces sanctions, its president is feuding with President Trump. In fact, Erdogan just announced plans to boycott U.S. electronics.

Erdogan also opposes raising interest rates in his country, fueling inflation in Turkey just as U.S. interest climb. That all makes the dollar -- U.S. dollar more attractive in investors and more expensive.

And a stronger dollar means Turkey now has soaring debt payments it may not be able to make. That hurt bank stocks with exposure to Turkey, particularly in Europe, but the U.S. as well.

Shares of Goldman Sachs and Bank of America both fell at least one percent. We'll see if they rebound today.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk finally offering some details of his plan to take Tesla private. Last week, Musk tweeted he secured funding but said little else.

Now he has named the backer of those funds, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund. 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 investor lawsuits and an SEC probe into the accuracy of his statement.

Papa John's is bailing out franchisees hurt by its recent P.R. nightmare. Sales fell 10 percent in July after it was revealed the founder, John Schnatter, used a racial slur on a conference call. Papa John's will offer financial assistance to its struggling restaurants, including cutting royalties, food prices, and online fees. It will also help franchisees pay for new marketing images.

Papa John's stopped using Schnatter's image after he stepped down as chairman. It's been a real saga for Papa John's.

BRIGGS: And those two companies, Tesla and Papa John's, so closely identified with their --

ROMANS: That's right.

BRIGGS: -- CEO. It's hard to think of another company --

ROMANS: It shows you --

BRIGGS: -- more closely tied.

ROMANS: It shows you the risk.


ROMANS: That's right.


Ahead, police cleared a Florida man of charges after a fatal shooting over a parking spot, but prosecutors say otherwise. We'll tell you why they see it differently.


[05:53:26] ROMANS: All right, updating our breaking news out of the U.K.

A man has been charged with terror offenses after Met Police say he crashed his car into barriers outside Britain's Parliament. Several people were hurt.

The driver was detained at the scene. Officers do not believe any of the injuries are life-threatening.

More throughout the day here on CNN.

BRIGGS: Now, the latest from that gruesome and bizarre scene in New Mexico.

A judge there granting bail to five adults accused of child abuse at this makeshift 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 the threat with evidence Siraj Wahhaj took a series of gun classes in Georgia in 2015. They also introduced a letter to Siraj's brother instructing him to quote "die as a martyr." ROMANS: The district attorney claimed 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 that little boy who suffered from epilepsy died during one of the rituals.

But defense lawyers accuse prosecutors of judging their clients based on their race and religion.


THOMAS CLARK, ATTORNEY FOR SIRAJ WAHHAJ: 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 seems to be something nefarious.


ROMANS: Officers found the body of a child --


ROMANS: -- buried there at the compound.

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

BRIGGS: 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.

[05:55:10] Meantime, firefighters gaining ground on more than a dozen fires burning across the state. At last check, the Holy Fire was 59 percent contained.

ROMANS: A stunning reversal in a 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 in a dispute over a parking space 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 overrule the sheriff, citing witness interviews and surveillance video.

The family of Markeis McGlockton, the man who shot and killed, says the charges give them a measure of hope justice will prevail.

BRIGGS: A Utah man is dead after crashing a plane into his own home. It happened within minutes of Duane Youd being arrested on domestic violence charges Monday. He was formally charged shortly after midnight.

After 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. Youd's wife and son were at home at the time -- you can see the home here. They managed to escape.

ROMANS: Investigators are hoping technology will be the key to finding missing Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts. Detectives launching a new Web site It has functions to help jog the public's memory and a link to anonymously provide tips.

Police have received more than 1,500 tips and conducted more than 500 interviews. The reward is now $336,000.

Tibbetts was last seen jogging on July 18th.

BRIGGS: Grammy-winning musician John Legend making a push for criminal justice reform in his home state of Louisiana.

He's written an op-ed in "The Washington Post" pointing out Louisiana is one of only two states where a person 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 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 calling out what he describes as powerful forces in the state that are resistant to change and writing, "It's time to come together, 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."

That other state, by the way, is Oregon.

ROMANS: Interesting -- all right.

While you were sleeping, late-night comics diving into Omarosa's newly-released White House recordings -- listen.


NEWMAN: It confirmed that he is truly a racist.

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, CBS "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": This is huge. This is huge, John. Finally -- we didn't know.

Finally, we have proof that the guy who refused to rent to black tenants, said that a Nazi Klan rally had some fine people, and called Africa a (bleep) hole is a racist.

JIMMY FALLON, HOST, NBC "THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON": Experts said nobody's ever made a recording in that room, and that one guy said that you know about.

Trump's campaign tried to keep Omarosa quiet by offering her $180,000 in hush money. When Stormy Daniels heard that she was like oh my God, what'd she have to do for the extra $50,000? Holy moly. SETH MEYERS, HOST, NBC "LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS": Omarosa Manigault, yesterday, played a record 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.


ROMANS: Cringe -- all right.

Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now. We'll see you tomorrow.


NEWMAN: I am going to blow the whistle on a lot of them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Clearly, Omarosa is in a very desperate situation. I really do feel sorry for her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just kind of unthinkable that that would happen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many people have this type of blackmail against the president?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He did want to stay. He loved the Bureau.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The text messaging and e-mails, they were not of sound judgment. They destroyed his reputation and now they're destroying his career.


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

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's August 14th -- it's a Tuesday -- 6:00 here in New York.

Alisyn is off; Erica Hill joins me.

What's your favorite reality show?

HILL: Oh, it's hard to pick just one, isn't it?


HILL: OK. I'm a big fan of "FIXER UPPER."

BERMAN: They're both very different than what's going on right now.

HILL: They are.

BERMAN: Yes. There is an escalating battle overnight between two former reality stars. One used to work in the White House, the other still does and that one happens to be the President of the United States. So really, it must be sweet.

In the past, President Trump heaped praise on Omarosa Manigault Newman. Overnight, though, he called her wacky and deranged and made the eye-opening statement that there are no tapes of him using the "n" word while filming "THE APPRENTICE."

Incidentally, he also, for the first time, seemed to admit that White House employees have been asked to sign confidentiality agreements.

On the other side, in the past, Omarosa has heaped praise on the president.