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President Trump Could Strip More Security Clearances In Coming Days; Trump's Military Parade Postponed; Fans Pay Respect To Aretha Franklin; Husband Arrested For Murder Of Colorado Mom. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired August 17, 2018 - 05:30   ET


[05:30:00] RYAN NOBLES, CNN ANCHOR: -- for stripping John Brennan's security clearance, while other intel officials could lose theirs in the coming days.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The president's military parade, it will have to wait for 2019. The Pentagon delaying the parade as costs reportedly soars.




NOBLES: And a lot of people waking up to this music. The world paying tribute to a musical icon. Aretha Franklin being remembered for her voice, her spirit, and her soul.

ROMANS: It's rare to see the same -- I mean, she is on the front cover of every newspaper in America this morning. I just love it.

NOBLES: Yes, very -- everyone seems to love her music.

And we welcome you back to EARLY START. I'm Ryan Nobles.

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

Let's begin in Washington where it appears President Trump is not done using security clearances to punish political adversaries. An official confirms the White House is thinking of stripping more clearances in the coming days despite the furor over the president's retaliation against John Brennan.

Some of the former CIA director's intelligence colleagues are rallying behind him. Several issued a new statement, among them six former CIA chief -- six, including all five from 1997 until Brennan came in.

NOBLES: They write, "The president's actions regarding John Brennan and the threats of similar action against other former officials has nothing to do with who should and should not hold security clearances and everything to do with an attempt to stifle free speech.

This action is quite clearly a signal to other former and current officials and that signal is inappropriate and deeply regrettable."

ROMANS: The statement came hours after the architect of the Bin Laden raid, retired Adm. William McRaven, published this stunning rebuke of President Trump.

In a "Washington Post" op-ed he wrote this.

"Brennan is one of the finest public servants I have ever known. Therefore, I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency."

NOBLES: And despite the criticism, few Republicans seem to think that revoking Brennan's clearance is really that big of a deal.


SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: I don't know why former government employees continue to carry their security clearance with them anyway. I don't see Mr. Brennan attempting to help the Trump administration.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Mr. Brennan has gone way over the line in my view and I think restricting his clearance -- pulling his clearance makes sense to me.

SEN. JOHN THUNE (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: The fact that he's out there every single day acting in a very partisan way probably doesn't help his cause.


NOBLES: Former top government officials are generally allowed to keep their security clearances so they can advise future administrations.

ROMANS: All right.

Let's bring in political economist Greg Valliere, chief strategist for Horizon Investments. He joins us from Washington.

What do you make of this? I mean, to those who are critical of the president, this is a political hit list. This is the president trying to drain an intelligence community -- drain an intelligence community that is at odds with his policies to people like John -- Sen. John Thune and others -- Brennan is a partisan hack.

GREG VALLIERE, POLITICAL ECONOMIST, CHIEF STRATEGIST, HORIZON INVESTMENTS: Well, you know, Christine, I still think the reverberations from the Helsinki press conference continue to this day with the intelligence community so aghast by Trump seemingly siding with Putin rather than his own intelligence people.

But I would say this. Brennan did accuse Trump of treason, which I think is punishable by death. And with all of these retired intelligence experts writing a letter, Trump can say see, I told you so. They're all against me.


VALLIERE: So, I mean, there's two sides to the story -- a lot of moving parts.


Greg, I want to talk to you a little bit about this decision by the Department of Defense to hold off on the president's military parade that was supposed to take place in early November. There have been reports that cost estimates were in the $90 million range.

Now, listen to what the Defense secretary had to say --


NOBLES: -- about that cost estimate. This was before they announced that the parade was going to be canceled. Take a listen.


JAMES MATTIS, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Whoever told you that is probably smoking something that's legal in my state but not in most states, OK? I'm not dignifying that number with any reply. I would discount that.

And anybody who said that, I can almost guarantee you one thing. They probably said I need to stay anonymous -- no kidding, because you'll look like an idiot.

And number two, whoever wrote it needs to get better sources. I'll just leave it at that. And I don't know who wrote it -- I haven't seen it and -- but I guarantee you there's been no cost estimate.


NOBLES: So the number is $92 million, Greg. I mean, wouldn't that be enough, perhaps, for the White House and the Pentagon to think twice about putting this parade on?

VALLIERE: I think so, Ryan. I mean, maybe there are national security reasons that we're not aware of.

But we're now entering in a period -- starting in fiscal '19, which begins in about two months -- of deficits exceeding $1 trillion a year.

[05:35:04] NOBLES: Yes.

VALLIERE: And I think with deficits of that enormity --


VALLIERE: -- you know, spending -- whether it's $90 million or $100 million or $80 million -- whatever. The fact that we're spending this much money on a parade, with deficits exploding, doesn't send a good signal. ROMANS: Yes, really. I mean, a $21.3 trillion national debt right now and deficits that are exploding, and this is the Republican Party of fiscal restraint --

NOBLES: Right.


ROMANS: -- that has both houses -- right, that is in control.

Listen to Larry Kudlow, the president's chief economic adviser, yesterday, talk about -- I mean, he's really psyched about the economy. Will you listen?


LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER: Our economy, our investors, our workforce are crushing it right now. We are crushing it.

And people say this is not sustainable, it's a one-quarter blip, is just nonsense -- absolute nonsense. Any business economist worth his or her salt will look at these trends and tell you we're going for a while.


ROMANS: They certainly hope so. But he says people say -- well, people say -- that 4.1 percent is the second quarter. Look at the annual growth.

People say -- the CBO says 3.1 percent annual growth this year. That's good -- that's good for a whole year. But look at how it tapers off as the effects of the tax cuts slow here.

And again, soaring deficits and soaring national debt.

How does the Republican Party square that when you're going to the polls?

VALLIERE: Yes, they're the kasians (ph) all of a sudden.


VALLIERE: That's quite a -- that's quite a shift.

I would say this. I think Kudlow probably has it right for the next couple of quarters. There's so much fiscal and monetary stimulus in the pipeline but I think the economy will stay good.


VALLIERE: But there is a dark cloud. That dark cloud is all the uncertainty over trade. I'm encouraged to see maybe some progress with Mexico; maybe even some progress with China.

But this uncertainty is going to persist and I think because of that, growth will be a little weaker by the time we get to 2019.

The good news -- and you and I talked about this last week, Christine. The good news is that interest rates have softened a bit --

ROMANS: Right.

VALLIERE: -- because when there is this kind of uncertainty -- Turkey, trade -- the investors go to a safe haven.

ROMANS: Right.

VALLIERE: The safest of all havens is the Treasury market. That's been bit up and that means interest rates have fallen.

ROMANS: And certainly, you want interest rates to be falling when you're running deficits like this and you're --


ROMANS: -- jacking up the --


ROMANS: -- national debt so much. And with interest rates rising that starts to become really unsustainable.


ROMANS: All right, Greg Valliere, nice to see you. Have a great weekend, Greg.

NOBLES: Thank you.

VALLIERE: Thank you, too. So long.

NOBLES: Well, nothing but love, admiration and, of course, respect from fans and friends for the late queen of soul, Aretha Franklin.


FRANKLIN: Singing "Respect".


NOBLES: Those are mourners gathered outside the Apollo Theater in Harlem on Thursday to celebrate Aretha's life. She succumbed to pancreatic cancer Thursday morning at her Detroit home at the age of 76.

Look at the Apollo marquee paying one final tribute to Franklin. The theater proudly called itself Aretha's home.

ROMANS: Fans also flocking to her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, leaving behind flowers, photos, even a queen's crown.

Aretha Franklin's life and career earning her more than her share of respect.


FRANKLIN: Singing "Respect".


ROMANS: "Respect" was written by Otis Redding. Aretha made it a civil rights call to arms.

And then, there was "Natural Woman" written by Carole King. It turned into an earthy expression of sexuality by the legendary queen of soul.


FRANKLIN: Singing "Natural Woman".

GLADYS KNIGHT, SINGER-SONGWRITER, FRIEND OF ARETHA FRANKLIN: She was the breaker. She was the person that went out front -- stepped on out there and did what she was supposed to do and set the pace for the rest of us.

BERRY GORDY, FOUNDER, MOTOWN RECORDS, SONGWRITER, FILM AND TELEVISION PRODUCER: The ABCs -- she could sing it and it would become a classic because of the way she did it and how she did it, and the feeling that she had and the -- her soul came out in everything.


NOBLES: Aretha Franklin was the first woman admitted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She had 88 Billboard chart hits during the rock era. She won 18 Grammys.

She started singing at her father's church in Detroit.


FRANKLIN: He did say at one point that one day I would sing for kings and queens -- he did say that -- and I have.


ROMANS: And for presidents. Aretha Franklin is being remembered by political figures on both sides of the aisle.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to begin today by expressing my condolences to the family of a person I knew well. She worked for me on numerous occasions. She was terrific -- Aretha Franklin on her passing.

[05:40:02] She's brought joy to millions of lives and her extraordinary legacy will thrive and inspire many generations to come. She was given a great gift from God -- her voice -- and she used it well. People loved Aretha. She's a special woman.


ROMANS: One of Aretha's most memorable performances was the 2009 inauguration of President Obama.

The Obamas releasing this statement. "She helped us feel more connected to each other, more hopeful, more human, and sometimes she helped us just forget about everything else and dance."

All right, "30 seconds alone with a heartless psychopath." That's what one family member of Shanann Watts says he wants with her husband. That husband is accused of killing Watts and their two little girls.


[05:45:06] Al Qaeda's master bomb maker may be dead, according to a U.N. team that tracks terrorist groups. Ibrahim al-Asiri, long regarded as one of the most dangerous terrorist operatives alive -- he may have been killed in Yemen last year.

He was behind the so-called Underwear Bomber attempt to blow up an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day, 2009.

The U.N. report gave no indication of how al-Asiri died or who may be responsible.

The U.S., Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have conducted counterterror strikes to root out terrorists in Yemen.

NOBLES: An alarming report from the Pentagon reveals that China is actively developing its fleet of long-range bombers and is likely training pilots for missions targeting the U.S.

The report also says that China is pursuing a nuclear capability on its long-range bombers. The deployment would be the first time that China had nuclear delivery systems across land, sea, and air.

ROMANS: All right, it's about 45 minutes past the hour on this Friday morning. "NEW DAY" is about 10 minutes away.

John Berman joins us this morning. Hi, John.

NOBLES: Did you watch the Patriots?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I have my security -- yes --

NOBLES: Did you watch the Patriots yesterday, John?

BERMAN: I fell asleep after the first quarter. Tom Brady had already thrown his first touchdown pass at that point so I knew everything was right in the world.

ROMANS: Do we agree that the 40s are the new 30s, a la Tom Brady and us?

BERMAN: Yes, he's eternal.

ROMANS: Are the 40s -- yes, OK.

BERMAN: He's just eternal. If Tom Brady can do it, we can all do it. Tom Brady, by the way, still has his security clearance this morning.

NOBLES: That's never going away.

BERMAN: I mean, I think I do as well. As for other people, it's getting a little bit more questionable, right?

We found out overnight -- CNN did -- that the president intends to revoke the security clearances of more former intelligence officials maybe as soon as today. This, after he pulled former CIA director John Brennan's yesterday.

Brennan with a scathing op-ed in "The New York Times" yesterday.

William McRaven, former Special Forces admiral with his scathing letter saying, "Mr. President, take my security clearance, too. It would be an honor if you took it away."

And then, this group of former officials saying that what you're doing, Mr. President, is just not right.

We will see how this plays out today. It's very interesting to see people go to their sides here.


BERMAN: And I do want to point out at the end of our show -- you need to watch for all three hours today -- go nowhere. We have Smokey Robinson and Jennifer Holliday --



BERMAN: -- talking about Aretha Franklin.

Smokey Robinson knew Aretha Franklin from the time they were eight years old --

NOBLES: Oh, that's great.

BERMAN: -- in Detroit. They grew up in the same neighborhood in Detroit. Can you imagine one neighborhood producing that much talent?

Smokey Robinson calls her his oldest friend in the world, and we will talk to him this morning.

Jennifer Holliday, the original "Dream Girl" --

ROMANS: Yes. BERMAN: -- will be on as well. Aretha Franklin was her idol.

I can't wait for that conversation.

ROMANS: Gosh, you know, John, she's on the cover of every American newspaper this morning. I mean, another -- everyone with these stunning, stunning farewells to her in all these papers. So it's really just -- she touched everyone in such a -- such a great --


ROMANS: -- great moment today.

NOBLES: Yes. That will be the must-watch.


BERMAN: She deserves all of the adulation, that's for sure.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks, John.

NOBLES: Thanks, John.

ROMANS: Forty-eight minutes past the hour.

Let's get a check on -- quickly, on "CNN Money" this Friday morning.

Global stocks are mixed right now.

China's upcoming trip to the White House, that's boosting Wall Street. A Chinese delegation is coming to the U.S. for trade talks later this month. Previous rounds have failed to make any real progress but investors would like for the two countries to keep trying.

The Dow rose nearly 400 points, the biggest one-day jump since April. The biggest winners were Boeing, Caterpillar, and Walmart.

Walmart stock rose nine percent. It reported its best U.S. sales growth in more than a decade. Same-store sales grew 4 1/2 percent in the second quarter boosted by the grocery business.

Walmart reasserting itself here as a supermarket powerhouse. It has been battling Amazon-owned Whole Foods for dominance.

And digital sales also surged 40 percent. Some analysts had worried that Walmart's digital side was slowing. Nope, this report puts those fears to rest.

The Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, does no regret sending that tweet that he wants to take Tesla private. He has no plans to stop using social media. That's from a brand-new "New York Times" interview with Musk.

Last week, Musk stunned investors by tweeting that he had secured funding for a buyout. That boosted Tesla's stock and invited regulatory scrutiny. The SEC is investigating the accuracy of Musk's statement. Musk says going private removes the pressure of Wall Street.

Tesla has spent the past year struggling to meet production goals which Musk calls excruciating. He told the "Times" -- "It has been the most difficult and painful year of my career."

NOBLES: Well, this sounds good -- med school for free. You've got to be smart, of course, but one prominent school making that a reality. We're going to show you how.


[05:54:12] NOBLES: Breaking news. A Phoenix police officer in critical condition after he was shot last night.

According to police, a man in a parked vehicle in North Phoenix fired at the officer twice. The officer did return fire. Both are in critical condition.

The officer is not being identified yet. He has been with the department for about a year.

ROMANS: A grim end to the search for a pregnant Colorado mom and her two children. Shanann Watts' body discovered on property owned by her husband's former employer. The remains of her 3- and 4-year old daughters, Bella and Celeste, they were found nearby.

Shanann's husband is accused of killing all three of them.

We get more this morning from CNN's Paul Vercammen.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN REPORTER: Christine, Ryan, that husband, Chris Watts, walked into court in an orange jumpsuit and reading glasses, his expression blank. This is the same man who earlier in the week had pleaded for the return of his wife, 15 weeks pregnant, and their two little girls.

[05:55:12] During that interview he had also said, when asked about a possible confrontation, that they had an emotional conversation.

Authorities are saying very little about his arrest on suspicion of three counts of murder.

But who is sounding off -- the victim's brother. He said in a social media post, "I just want 30 seconds alone with this heartless psychopath," and went on to say "May Satan have mercy on his soul."

He has not been formally charged. Chris Watts will be back in court on Tuesday and prosecutors have until Monday to bring charges against him.

Back you now, Christine, Ryan.


The Vatican says it unequivocally condemns the sexual abuse of minors. Pressure had been building on the Pope to address a grand jury report describing crimes of 300 predator priests in Pennsylvania.

The Vatican says, quote, "The abuses described in the report are criminal and morally reprehensible. Those acts were betrayals of the trust that robbed survivors of their dignity and their faith."

Pennsylvania's attorney general says he appreciates the remorse but he hopes the church will embrace the grand jury's recommendations, including eliminating the criminal statute of limitations for sexually abusing children.

ROMANS: All right.

A Salvadoran woman has filed a federal lawsuit. She is seeking to be reunited with her infant daughter who needs to be breastfed. That's right -- separated from her daughter who she was nursing.

Leydi Duenas-Claros also wants the government to reconsider her denied asylum claim.

In May, she came to the U.S. with her then-11-month-old baby. They were separated after she and the girl crossed the border.

Meantime, a California federal judge has temporarily halted deportation of families that have been reunited so the children can have parental assistance on their asylum claims.

A warning for parents whose children use EpiPens. A shortage across the country could send kids with serious allergies back to school unprotected.

The shortage has been an issue for months now, caused by manufacturing issues and local supply disruptions. Sales typically spike during the back-to-school season.

It is not clear how many children could be affected but nearly six million kids in the U.S. have food allergies.

The FDA did approve the first generic EpiPen Thursday. The hope is it will keep prices from skyrocketing, which they have for a decade.

NOBLES: So you want to go to medical school but you don't think you can afford it? Get your application into the New York University School of Medicine.

That's because they plan to offer a scholarship that picks up the full tuition regardless of financial need or academic performance. That's just worth $55,000 per student this year alone.

The offer is designed to boost interest and alleviate concerns about debt. It extends to every new, current or future medical student.

About 75 percent of medical students across the country graduated with debt last year, owing an average of $191,000.

ROMANS: All right, kids, turn off the Fortnight and start studying for the NMATs. That's the lesson there.

NOBLES: Exactly, exactly.

ROMANS: That's the lesson there.

While you were sleeping, Stephen Colbert took some shots at the latest tape released by Omarosa.


STEPHEN COLBERT, CBS HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": Omarosa made it very clear she had more tapes ready to drop.

OMAROSA MANIGAULT NEWMAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE AIDE TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: You know, there are things that I write about and then there are things that I'm going to save to share when the time is right.

COLBERT: And I can tell you exactly when the time is right -- two weeks from now when I'm back from vacation, OK? Not a moment before.

Omarosa is not going away.

NEWMAN: I am not going anywhere. I'm not going to be bullied, I'm not intimidated, and I'm going to go toe-to-toe with him -- everything he throws at me. Believe me, my tapes are much better than theirs.

COLBERT: Maybe, but I bet Russia's got you both beat.


ROMANS: Oh, a zinger. I guess he's going on vacation for two weeks so enjoy your vacation, Stephen Colbert.

Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

NOBLES: Thank you for having me this week with you.

ROMANS: Nice to see you.

NOBLES: And I'm Ryan Nobles. "NEW DAY" starts right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president is still actively seeking to strip clearances from officials.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Add my voice. If this what the president is going to do, take mine too.

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: If you're going to serve in the public arena you're going to have people that rail against you.

GRAHAM: Mr. Brennan has gone way over the line. Pulling his clearance makes sense to me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lara Trump offered her $180,000 for a no-show job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's being recruited into a campaign and they want to make sure she's not going to speak badly of the candidate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is absolutely hush money. It's a pattern for him.


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 Friday, August 17th, 6:00 here in New York.

Alisyn is off; Erica Hill joins me.

I think we have to take a break for the continuous loop of Aretha Franklin music we've been listening to since yesterday.


BERMAN: Happily. Wonderful -- a wonderful tribute --

HILL: Yes, absolutely.

BERMAN: -- to listen to that non-stop.

In the meantime, you've heard of the drip, drip, drip of news. How about the strip, strip, strip?