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Russia Investigation; Giuliani, Truth Isn't Truth; Day Three Of Jury Deliberations In Manafort Trial; Iran, U.S. Is Addicted To Sanctions; U.S.-China Want To End Trade War By November; Pittsburgh Bishop Under Fire; Indycar Driver Injured In Spectacular Crash; South Koreans Enter North Korea For Family Reunions. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired August 20, 2018 - 04:30   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, EARLY START SHOW CO-HOST: 30 hours of interviews with the Special Counsel, but White House lawyer Don McGahn did not fully brief the President's defense team.


MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF, FOREIGN MINISTER OF IRAN: There is a disease in the United States and that is the addiction to sanctions.


DAVE BRIGGS, EARLY START SHOW CO-HOST: A CNN exclusive. Iran's foreign minister says the U.S. relies too much on sanctions without anything to show for it. We are live in Tehran.

ROMANS: And a scary crash at Poconos race way. Sends a driver to the hospital. Robert Wickens, went into the fence and spins several times in that fiery wreck. Just -- even hard to watch. Welcome back to Early Start this Monday morning. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: Remarkable, I'm Dave Briggs. 31 minutes past the hour. Truth isn't truth. We will examines Giuliani's latest gems straight ahead. But we start with this morning with the White House, trying to downplay signs of trouble after "The New York Times" reported White House Counsel, Don McGahn, has cooperatively extensively with the Russia investigation. CNN has learning McGahn's attorney did not give President Trump's lawyers a full debrief after McGahn sat down for almost 30 hours of interviews with Robert Mueller's team. CNN's source saying the President's attorneys did not ask.

ROMANS: The President says this proves the White House is being transparent. But "The Times" said McGahn cooperated so extensively because he was worried the President planned to set him up as the fall guy for any possible illegal obstruction. For the latest, let's turn to CNN's Ryan Nobles.


RYAN NOBLES, WASHINGON CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Dave and Christine, the president and his legal team spent a lot of time over the weekend trying to convince the American people that the report from the New York Times is actually not damaging to the President. And that in fact it was his legal team's idea for Don McGahn to sit down with Robert Mueller and the Special Counsel. Listen to what Rudy Giuliani, has become the President's chief spokesperson in terms of his legal defense, had to say about Don McGahn's cooperation with the Special Counsel.


RUDY GIULIANI, NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: We had a good sense, obviously, of what Mr. McGahn testified to. I can figure it out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't know 100 percent what he testified to -- to Mr. Mueller?

GIULIANI: I think through John Dowd, we had a pretty good sense of it, John Dowd yesterday said, I'll use his words, rather than mine, and that McGahn was a strong witness to the President. So, I don't need to know much more about that.


NOBLES: But the problem is the mayor ignores a key point of the New York Times article where it talks about how the President's lawyers actually really have no idea the depth of the conversations of Don McGahn had and what topics he covered and that is where the problem is for this White House. Yes, they did agreed to a lot of McGahn to sit for the conversations. Yes, they waived attorney/client privilege. But they had no idea exactly what Don McGahn would say when he sat down with the Special Counsel's team. And there are few people who have this much insight into the President's conduct especially as it relates with the Russia probe over the past year and a half. So the big problem today is, the White House just doesn't know how to handle this interactions and what it could mean for the investigation going forward. Dave and Christine.


BRIGGS: Ryan Nobles, thank you.

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani has a new alternative fact style explanation for keeping the President far away from Robert Mueller. Listen to what he told NBC Chuck Todd, about not allowing the Special Counsel to rush Mr. Trump into testifying.


GIULIANI: When you tell me that, you know, he should testify, because he is going to tell the truth and he should not worry. Well, that is silly, because it is somebody's version of the truth. Not the truth. He didn't have a conversation --


GIULIANI: Truth isn't truth. The President of the United States says I didn't -- TODD: Truth is the truth? Mr. Mayor? Do you realized --


GIULIANI: No. No, no. Don't do this to me --

TODD: This is going to become a bad me. Don't do truth isn't truth.

GIULIANI: Donald Trump says I didn't talk about Flynn with Comey. Comey says, you did talk about it. So tell me what the truth is.


BRIGGS: Later in the day, on Sunday, the fired FBI Director appeared to respond. Comey tweeting truth exists and saying truth matters. People who lie are held accountable.

ROMANS: All right. Sources telling CNN, federal prosecutors are preparing criminal charges against President Trump former lawyer Michael Cohen and could announce them by the end of the month. Cohen is being investigated for possible bank and tax fraud and campaign finance violations related in part to a $130,000 hush payment to porn star, Stormy Daniels.

[04:35:07] According to "The New York Times" investigators are also examining more than $20 million in loans to Cohen and his family's taxi companies. Prosecutors have been mindful of the election cycle as they - when to charge Cohen. They had considered bringing charges before September, waiting until after the midterms. No comment from Cohen's team or the U.S. attorney.

BRIGGS: Jury deliberations resumes this morning in the Paul Manafort bank and tax fraud trial. On Friday, jurors ended the second day of deliberations without reaching a verdict. The President deciding to weigh in, calling the trial, very sad while describing his former campaign chairman as a very good person. Manafort's lawyer publicly thanking the President for his support. His client faces another trial in Washington, next month.

ROMANS: A speech writer for President Trump who spoke on the 2016 conference attended by white nationalist, has been terminated by the White House. CNN had reached out to the administration last week about Darren Beattie. The White House asked us to hold off on reporting the story for several days last week. By Saturday, its email address of the White House is no longer active. Beattie has confirmed to CNN that he spoke at the 2016 conference, but says his speech was not objectionable.

BRIGGS: Iran's top diplomat is speaking out for the first time since United States renewed sanctions against this country last week. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sitting down for an exclusive interview with CNN's Nick Paton Walsh. Zarif claims the U.S. is always been too reliant on sanctions to get what it wants.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JAVAD ZARIF: I believe there is a disease in the United States and

that is the addiction to sanctions. Even during the Obama administration, the United States put more emphasis on keeping the sanctions that they had not lifted rather than implementing its obligations on the sanctions that they lifted.


BRIGGS: Let's go live to Tehran and bring in Nick Paton Walsh. Nick, good morning, a disease the United States has, interesting words from Zarif.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Certainly. Remember this is the force of moderation in Iran of wanted to strike diplomatic of deals with the west rather than left conservative elements trying to get more potentially confrontation. They got confrontation with Donald Trump. He is torn up that nuclear deal. Clearly leaving I think a sense of soul searching amongst moderate here as to really what potentially could be next. Sanctions are coming in and they realize clearly that the addiction to sanctions means they were mistaken in looking for a deal. What potentially could come ahead? We had suggestions of immediate talks here and there. Here is exactly what Mr. Zarif had to say about the possibility of talking to the current White House.


PATON WALSH: Could you ever get a deal with Donald Trump?

JAVAD ZARIF: Well, it depends on President Trump. Whether he wants to make us believe that he is a reliable partner. Now, if we spent time with him and he signs another agreement, how long will it last? Until the end of his administration? Until he departs from the place where he put his signature on the agreement?


PATON WALSH: Essentially that is the question. Are they going to buy their time over the next two to six years with the Trump administration? The sanctions kick in more in November which we hit all the sector, which will increasingly damage daily life for Iranians here. At the same time, the current state department in the U.S. moving aggressively forward creating the Iran action group to focus European and other allies against Iran. That, Mr. Zarif, reminded him of the '50s administrations with the U.S. which engineered coup here against Democrats elected government. They are essentially holding out hope in Iran, that they can convince Trump's European allies who wanted to stay in the deal, that that is the best for America too. Back to you.

BRIGGS: Fascinating interview. Nick Paton Walsh, 1:p.m. there in Tehran. Thank you, Nick.

ROMANS: All right. The White House rejecting Turkey's offer to release American pastor Andrew Brunson. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Turkish government wants the U.S. to forgive billions of dollars of fines against a Turkish bank in return.

The Trump administration wants the North Carolina pastor freed before discussing other matters. The impasse could lead to additional U.S. sanctions against Turkey this week. Brunson's incarceration has strained relations between the two countries while sparking a sharp drop in the value of Turkey's currency.

BRIGGS: All right. Stop me if you heard this before. There is a lot of mean, hateful and angry stuff on Twitter. Now the CEO on Twitter trying to fix it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is broken about Twitter today?

JACK DORSEY, CEO. TWITTER: What is broken about Twitter? I mean, I think, --


BRIGGS: What Jack Dorsey has to say about his platform next?


ROMANS: All right. Twitter faces criticism for allowing spam, abuse and misinformation and conspiracy theory to thrive. A fact Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey acknowledges. In a rare TV interview, Dorsey tells CNN's, Brian Stelter what is broken about Twitter and how he plans to fix it.


DORSEY: There's a lot of emphasis today on politics Twitter. Politics Twitter tends to be pretty divisive and it tend to be pretty contentious. And you see a lot of outrage. If you go to other Twitters like NBA Twitter or k-pop Twitter, you see the complete opposite. I believe, it is important to see the dark areas of society so we can acknowledge and we can address them. And I think the only way to address is through conversation. But it is hard especially when it feels toxic and you want to walk away from it.

[04:45:00] We only give people one tool right now which is to follow an account.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: So, you want people to follow stories or subjects or hash tags?

DORSEY: Yes, I mean, we have been focusing a lot of the service today more advising and more toward topics and more towards interests.

STELTER: It sounds like you are ready and willing to rebuild the entire house. To renovate everything.

DORSEY: We are ready to question everything.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: Dorsey added he needs to overhaul the basic fundamentals of

Twitter, but he did not commit to a timetable for any of these changes.

BRIGGS: A very somber Sunday for Catholics attending mass in particular in Pennsylvania. Just days ago, a grand jury report detailed child abuse by hundreds of Pennsylvania priest's over decades. Pope Francis choosing not to address the issue, in his weekly prayer, reaction from Polo Sandoval in Pittsburgh.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine and Dave, important for now about a third of the clergy members that are mentioned in that very disturbing report were from this diocese. We found a mixed reaction on the congregation. There are some of those we are quite satisfied with the way the diocese is handling this, the way they are addressing this and trying to prevent it from happening again.

At the same time, there were other skeptics there among the congregation, some of those who say the church will have to work hard to try to regain their trust. For his part, Bishop David Zubik, the head of the diocese here has submitted an open letter to the faithful in Pennsylvania here and certainly a promising changes starting with the victims. The survivors, saying that they do have to be heard and they have to heal.

BISHOP DAVID ZUBIK, CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF PITTSBURGH: First of all, we listened to them carefully. Second of all, we removed priests from ministry. Thirdly, we have in fact turned over to the district's attorney to the appropriate counties. Fourth of all, we have engage the independent review board to assess and take a look the allegations on whether or not a person would be suitable for ministry again.

SANDOVAL: There are some Catholics here told me this apology from the bishop is simply not enough. They believe that there was a cover-up that spanned decades. And what they want, Christine and Dave, is a full admission from the Catholic Church.


ROMANS: All right. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much for that.

Florida's tourism board launching two programs to help counties affected by red tide. This toxic algae has been detected in eight Florida counties over the past week. Has killed chilling numbers of marine creatures and create a smells that has hurt business along parts of Florida's West Coast. The weather service warns these tide can cause respiratory irritation, skin rashes and burning eyes.

BRIGGS: Another weekend filled with gun violence in Chicago. Police say at least 59 people were shot. Five of them fatally since Friday afternoon. Officials say violent crime in the city had been falling for more than a year until this summer. Chicago's police chief recently called for more community cooperation to help police stem the violent crimes. ROMANS: Aretha Franklin's funeral now set for a week from Friday on

August 31st at Greater Grace Temple in her hometown in Detroit. Public viewing will be held Tuesday and Wednesday August 28th and 29th at the Detroit's right museum of African-American history. Later this fall, her life will be honored by a tribute concert, music producer Clive Davis. He has been quietly planning a concert in her honor for months actually before her death. It is set for November 14th at Madison Square Garden. Aretha Franklin died on Thursday of pancreatic cancer at the age of 76.

BRIGGS: Indy car driver Robert Wickens is hospitalized this morning, after a terrifying crashed Sunday at Pocono race way. It happens on the eighth lap of the ABC's supply 500. Wow, shortly after the restart. Wickens and driver Ryan Hunter Ray touched wheels with Wickens car -- into the fence, spinning several times in midair.

It took safety crews took 12 minutes to extricate Wickens from his wreck car. He was airlifted to a local hospital. Officials say he is being treated for injuries from his lower extremities, his right arm and spine and will likely undergo surgery.

ROMANS: All right 49 minutes pass the hour. Storms and heavy rain in parts of the Midwest today with the brief taste of fall later in the week. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us from the Weather Center.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Dave and Christine. We do have a lot of wet weather across the Midwest. Certainly severe weather as well across the region. We do have a front pushing right through and bringing in some heavy rainfall across portions of the great lakes and even this morning we are going to see some strong storms in a risk for severe weather for about five million people in places such as popular bluff and Paducah and Clarksdale, Mississippi. That is where the heart of this strong -- as strong as it is going to be.

Damaging winds and certainly a large hail being the predominant threat around that region. But notice as we go into later morning hours, St. Louis gets in on the storms. 3 -- 4 -- 5:00 p.m., expect those storms to align right around portions in Chicago. I would not be surprised if we get at least a few delays out of this towards this afternoon into the Chicago airports.

[04:50:00] But the big story becomes the cooler air. Look what happens for Wednesday and into Thursday. You know, setting up shop across these region for the weekend. The northeast, parts of the Midwest with the temperatures dropping off in the mid and upper 70s. And even in New York City on Tuesday and even returning back on Thursday. Highs generally in the mid-70s across the northeast. Guys.

ROMANS: All right. Pedram, thank you for that.

It was a crazy rich weekend for "Crazy Rich Asians." It took the top spot at the box office. A big win for on-screen representation. CNN money is next.

[04:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) BRIGGS: After nearly seven decades apart, a group of South Koreans

have crossed into the north to reunite with family members they have not seen since the Korean War in the early '50s. CNN's Paula Hancocks live in Seoul with the latest. Paula, good morning.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Dave. Well, we are seeing some very emotional images coming from North Korea as these families are meeting their family members 89 families from South Korea are now meeting with love ones that they have not seen in decades. Torn apart by the Korean War back in the 1950s. Many families did not even know if their loved ones were still alive until they were picked to be part of these family reunions.

Now they are reunions which are rare, barely happened when South Korea and North Korea have good relations. They haven't happen for three years. And it is really a fraction of the people who want to meet family members again that they are actually pick 57,000 people wanted to be considered for just 89 were able to be part of it.

Now they are elderly people, all of them. The majority in their 80's and 90s. More than 20 percent of them in their 90's. Knowing that this is really their last chance will have to see their love ones. Now we know they have three days in North Korea, a highly choreographed, highly controlled and times. They met for a couple of hours this afternoon. They will have a two-hour dinner and meet again tomorrow. At the end, they have to get on the bus and come back to South Korea knowing that is the last time they will see their loved ones. It was a bittersweet moment for them, but they considered the lucky ones that they were able to reconnect with family members that they have not seen in decades. Dave.

BRIGGS: Paula Hancocks, live for us in Seoul this morning, thank you.

ROMANS: A remarkable rescue at sea. A 46-year-old British woman who fell off a cruise ship. She was rescued by the Croatian coast guard after nearly ten hours treading water overnight in the erratic sea. The woman telling the Croatian news media, she fell of the back of a Norwegian star cruise liner on its way to Venice and said she is very lucky to be alive. It is not clear how she went overboard. A spokesperson of the cruise line says the woman was taken ashore in Croatia for treatment and will soon be reunited with friends and family. Wow.

Let's get a check on CNN money this morning. Global stocks are higher today as China and the U.S. gear up for another round trade talks. A Chinese delegation heads to Washington this week. Previous rounds have failed to find a breakthrough. But investors, well, they like the two countries keep trying at least, and Wall Street Journal reports the two countries are working on a road map to end their trade war. The deadline is November. That is the next time President Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping will meet.

The bull market is showing signs of age. But it is not dead yet. On Wednesday, the bull market in stocks will be 3,453 days old. That is the longest in history. The S&P 500 hit a low in March of 2009. It has more than quadrupled since then. Many analyst think the bulls have more room to run. U.S. markets had stayed resilient even as some global markets have fallen, thinks largely just strong corporate profits.

All right. It was a crazy rich weekend for "Crazy Rich Asians." The RONCOM took the top spot the box office raking in $34 million that blew away all expectations. It was a big win for on-screen representation. The film is the first major studio films since the "Joy Luck Club," 25 years ago to feature a predominately Asian cast. The box office was not so kind to Kevin Spacey. His new film Billionaires Boys club, it only made $126 total. $126. The film was made before Spacey was accused of sexual assault.

BRIGGS: That is like a family of five.

ROMANS: $126. Wow.

BRIGGS: Wow, another movie "Sharknado" came to a close last night. "Sharknado 6."

ROMANS: I missed that one.

BRIGGS: I didn't get much sleep. Because I had to stay up to watch it.

"Early Start" continues right now.

ROMANS: 30 hours of interviews with the Special Counsel, but White House lawyer Don McGahn did not fully brief the President's defense team.


MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF, FOREIGN MINISTER OF IRAN: There is a disease in the United States and that is the addiction to sanctions.


BRIGGS: A disease in the United States. That is from a CNN exclusive. Iran's foreign minister says the U.S. relies too much on sanctions without anything to show for it. We are live in Tehran.

ROMANS: And a fiery crashed at Poconos race way. Sends a driver to the hospital. Robert Wickens slams into the fence, spins several ties in that fiery wreck. Oh my goodness. Good morning and welcome to "Early Start." I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: Remarkable video. I'm Dave Briggs. Monday, August 20th. 5:00 a.m. in the East. We will get to Giuliani's latest gem. Truth isn't truth in a moment when start this morning with the White House trying to downplay signs of trouble after the New York Times reported White House counsel Don McGahn as cooperative extensively with the Russian --