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EARLY START

Primary Takeaways: A History-Making Upset In Florida, The Establishment Wins In Arizona; Mixed Messages On Fate Of Attorney General Jeff Sessions; Trump Slams Google For "Rigged" Results. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired August 29, 2018 - 05:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:30:40] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDREW GILLUM (D), NOMINEE FOR FLORIDA GOVERNOR: Tonight, we have shown the rest of the country that we can be the David in the situation where there's a Goliath.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: A primary night shocker in Florida. Progressive Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is the state's first African-American nominee for governor. It sets up a huge ideological clash in November.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The attorney general facing renewed pressure from the president, but he has the backing of a man who knows him well, the Senate majority leader.

JARRETT: And, Google is politically biased, rigged, suppressing conservative voices. That's what the president says, but what does the search giant have to say about all of that?

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett in for Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. Five thirty-one eastern time.

There was a minor earthquake in California but a rather major earthquake, politically speaking, in the state of Florida. And that's where we begin with a historic upset in the Florida Democratic primary for governor.

CNN projects Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, a progressive candidate backed by Bernie Sanders, will win the party's nomination. A victory in November would make Gillum the state's first African-American chief executive.

In a field of five candidates, Gillum was the only non-millionaire.

Florida has not had a Democratic governor in two decades.

Gillum telling CNN he embraces the role of underdog. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GILLUM: My wife refers to me as Sea Biscuit. You know, we sort of -- we're counted at many points. People thought we would not make it. But we kept going slow and steady, even in these dark days of Donald Trump.

That in the south -- with candidates like Stacey Abrams, and with candidates like Ben Jealous, and me here in Florida, that the new south is being recreated. It's being led by the very people who helped to build the south in the first place and I just think there's something pretty powerful and poetic about that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: The Florida governor's race is shaping up as a major test of the national political atmosphere.

Gillum will face Trump-backed candidate Ron DeSantis, who won the Republican primary. The race pits two candidates who in many ways mirror their party's national moves against each other.

Let's bring in Harry Enten, "CNN POLITICS" senior writer and analyst.

So, Harry, what happened here?

BRIGGS: Good morning.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR WRITER AND ANALYST, "CNN POLITICS": Good morning.

I --

JARRETT: This was extraordinary, right?

ENTEN: First off, I know I got very little sleep so I can tell you that definitely happened.

But look --

BRIGGS: You don't sleep.

ENTEN: No, I never need sleep.

Look, Andrew Gillum came on very strong at the end. He got the backing of Bernie Sanders and was able to raise a lot of money. If you looked at the final polls there was some indication that he was rising, but nothing like this.

We all thought that Gwen Graham was going to win, and if it wasn't her it was probably going to be Philip Levine.

So, you just have a major upset here where you have a progressive candidate who also appealed to the African-American community, who also appealed to young voters. Almost a Barack Obama coalition in some sense. BRIGGS: All right, let's set up this race.

Ron DeSantis is running on Donald Trump and almost Donald Trump only. Here's an ad that he's run that's gotten a lot of attention -- watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CASEY BLACK DESANTIS, WIFE OF RON DESANTIS: Everyone knows my husband, Ron DeSantis, is endorsed by President Trump, but he's also an amazing dad. Ron loves playing with the kids.

REP. RON DESANTIS (R-FL), FLORIDA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Build the wall.

C. DESANTIS: He reads stories.

R. DESANTIS: Then Mr. Trump said you're fired. I love that part.

C. DESANTIS: He's teaching Madison to talk.

R. DESANTIS: Make America great again.

C. DESANTIS: People say Ron's all Trump, but he is so much more.

R. DESANTIS: Bigly -- so good.

C. DESANTIS: I just thought you should know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ron DeSantis for governor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: That is not a parody, folks.

ENTEN: No.

BRIGGS: That is a real --

ENTEN: Real.

BRIGGS: -- ad.

So is this indicative of the national mood because on the other side you've got Gillum, who wants to abolish ICE, who wants Medicare for all, single-payer health care, and to impeach Donald Trump?

He said, "The Donald Trump presidency shouldn't even make it through 2018. He should be impeached now." For what, he didn't elaborate.

But how indicative of the national mood is this?

ENTEN: Well, certainly, we know that Donald Trump runs the Republican Party right now. I'm a little less sure whether Andrew Gillum's victory is a sign of where the Democratic Party is exactly, but it is a sign of where the ids of both parties are at this particular point. And I will point out that each side wanted the candidate that the other party -- that won the other party's side's nomination to be the candidate. That is, these were seen as the two weaker general election candidates and that makes it such a fascinating contrast heading into the fall.

[05:35:03] Really, where you have candidates -- you know, we talk about sometimes oh, the two parties are the same. They are not the same in this race at all.

BRIGGS: Do you have a favorite? I mean, the polling?

ENTEN: The polling is very limited. I will point out that, as we said in the opening segment, that the state has not elected a Democratic governor since 1994.

BERMAN: OK.

ENTEN: This is a midterm election where Donald Trump is very unpopular, though perhaps a little less so far. This is the best shot the Democrats have to win the governorship in the Sunshine State since '94.

BRIGGS: Yes. Trump turned around 40 percent in Florida, so not an overwhelming boost there.

JARRETT: Harry, the other big race last night, of course, is in Arizona.

Has McSally done enough to win Trump's base in November in there? Obviously, Trump didn't endorse anyone formally. He, of course, sort of backed all of them. But she's no Joe Arpaio.

ENTEN: No, she's no Joe Arpaio. In fact, she was a fairly moderate member of the House. She, in fact, had to ramp up her rhetoric during the primary campaign. But as the results on the screen show, clearly it worked. She got over 50 percent of the vote.

Look, the general election polling early on actually has Kyrsten Sinema ahead of her, but below 50 percent. It's going to be very interesting to see if she can swoop up all the Republican votes and some of the undecideds because that's what she'll need to win.

But again, Arizona a pretty red state, hasn't elected a Democratic senator since 1988.

BRIGGS: Wow, that is an awfully long time.

But there's the Trump job approval rating in Arizona and that's much like Florida, right around 40 percent. But yet, he's the one factor that all the Republican candidates ran on.

And you brought up these three Republican candidates in Arizona all stumbled over each other trying to be more Trumpian than the next.

So how big a factor is he in a general? ENTEN: Right. You know, a primary electorate is very, very different than a general election electorate. And I would point out that if you look at the 2016 presidential poll and you compare it to the 2012 in that state you saw that Trump did worse than Romney did, and that's very unusual as you look throughout the country.

So, Arizona might, in fact, be moving a little bit more towards the purple column. Has it moved purple enough to elect a Democratic senator? That's why we wait and see what the voters actually say and not just the polls.

BRIGGS: Wow, interesting night. Get some sleep, maybe -- an hour or two.

JARRETT: No.

ENTEN: Whatever -- coffee will work just fine or cream soda -- Diet A&W.

BRIGGS: All right, get this man some coffee.

JARRETT: You're a pro.

BRIGGS: Harry, thank you.

ENTEN: Thank you.

JARRETT: Thanks, Harry.

Well, if Democrats retake control of Congress in November, President Trump warns there will be violence. CNN has heard a recording of President Trump in a closed-door White House meeting with evangelical leaders.

With no real basis for his comments, the president taking a fire and brimstone approach in an appeal to get voters to the polls for the midterms.

BRIGGS: He said, in part, "It's not a question of like or dislike, it's a question that they will overturn everything that we've done and they will do it quickly and violently -- and violently. There is violence. When you look at these Antifa, these are violent people."

Now, the far-left Antifa is a loose collection of anti-fascist groups who stage counterprotests against white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

The president also saying the November election is not only a referendum on him but also on religion, free speech, and the First Amendment.

JARRETT: Attorney General Jeff Sessions gets a much-needed boost from the Senate majority leader.

Two key Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chairman Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham, have signaled in recent days they would be open to replacing Sessions after the midterm elections. But, majority leader Mitch McConnell threw his weight behind Sessions

on Tuesday in no uncertain terms.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I have total confidence in the attorney general. I think he ought to stay exactly where he is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Sessions has lost the president's confidence since recusing himself from the Russia probe last year.

CNN reported last week the president has renewed calls to fire Sessions and Deputy A.G. Rod Rosenstein, but a source telling CNN Rudy Giuliani actually talked him off the ledge

JARRETT: The nation's final farewell to Sen. John McCain begins today on what would have been his 82nd birthday.

McCain's body will lie in state today at the Arizona Capitol where people can pay their respects. A private ceremony will also be held between two public viewings.

On Tuesday, McCain's best friend in the Senate, Lindsey Graham, gave an emotional farewell on the Senate floor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: He taught me that principle and compromise are not mutually exclusive and the foundation of a great person as well as a great nation if you want to help the country.

Be more like John McCain. I believe there's a little John McCain in all of us, and a little John McCain practiced by a lot of people can make this a really great nation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Tomorrow there will be a church memorial service in Phoenix. McCain's body will then be flown to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. He'll lie in state at the Capitol Rotunda Friday.

Mourners will gather Saturday for a service at the National Cathedral in Washington. McCain will then be laid to rest at the Naval Academy in Annapolis on Sunday.

[05:40:01] Breaking overnight, parts of Southern California rattled by a magnitude 4.4 earthquake. It was centered near the city of La Verne but felt over a wide area. It happened at about 7:30 Pacific time last night and was followed by some smaller aftershocks.

There have been no reports of injuries or any significant damage. That's good news. JARRETT: Some good news, absolutely.

Well, if you do a Google search for Trump news, what comes up and why? The president thinks he knows, but facts are not on his side.

CNN's tech correspondent Samuel Burke is here with us, next.

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BRIGGS: President Trump slamming Google, accusing it of political bias. Trump claimed on Twitter that Google's search results for "Trump news" is rigged so that "almost all stories and news is bad," adding "Google and others are suppressing voices of conservatives."

[05:45:02] The president doubled down later in the day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think Google has really taken advantage of a lot of people and I think that's a very serious thing and it's a very serious charge. So I think that Google and Twitter and Facebook, they're really treading on very, very troubled territory and they have to be careful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Google flatly denies everything the president said there.

Let's bring in Samuel Burke, CNN business and technology correspondent. Good to see you here, my friend.

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT, "CNN MONEY", LONDON: Good morning.

BRIGGS: Usually overseas -- good to have you in New York.

So when the president tweeted this just about 24 hours ago --

BURKE: Yes.

BRIGGS: -- you Googled "Trump news." What did it find?

BURKE: And he says only fake news results show up. The very first result, as you see right there, Fox News.

There is no credible evidence here to support anything that the president has tweeted or said about this from the Oval Office in the past 24 hours, even though this sent Google stock down about $7 billion.

It looks like the reason he's talking about this is because conservative Fox News host Lou Dobbs was talking about this on his show, citing PJ Media, probably an outlet that you've never heard of before. They have a report looking at this. But they say that organizations like Bloomberg and CNBC are conservative outlets according to their study. But, of course, the president's own adviser, Larry Kudlow, who's been

talking about this, was from CNBC. So they're calling it a liberal news outlet even though the president's most trusted adviser just came from that outlet.

JARRETT: So, Sam, can you demystify the process for people who are perhaps maybe not as tech savvy? Obviously, Google's algorithms are a secret but how does it determine what's actually going to show up in a search?

BURKE: It's actually something that newsrooms across the world pay very close attention to, from CNN to Fox News, liberal and conservative.

It's interesting because number one, location. If you're in London and Google a story, you'll get more U.K. outlets. If you're in New York, you'll get more U.S. outlets.

But they're also looking at the best journalism out there.

If you do a report from your post in D.C. and everybody is citing your reporting Laura, you're going to be the person whose Google result comes up first -- your CNN story. So it's actually a very smart algorithms.

But you're right, a lot of it we don't know because this is copyrighted stuff that they don't want their competitors to know about.

JARRETT: Yes.

BRIGGS: Fitting that Google went on Fox News -- "FOX BUSINESS" exactly -- to talk about exactly how this goes down. Listen to what they said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICK ZAKRASEK, CO-FOUNDER, GOOGLE FOR JOBS: Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don't bias our results towards any political ideology. We continually work to improve Google search and we never rank results to manipulate political sentiment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: OK, subject -- case closed. But the White House says -- Larry Kudlow says they're going to investigate this.

Where does it go from here?

BURKE: He said they're going to investigate it and kind of winked at the same time --

BRIGGS: He did.

BURKE: -- on camera when he said that. I think what's interesting here is you have to remember, this is not in Google's favor. They want to have the biggest audience possible -- liberal, conservative, and everything in between.

For them to bias their results would be wanting them to get rid of part of their audience and we know these tech companies want the biggest audience possible.

JARRETT: But, Sam, it does seem like there is a tension right now, especially for those on the left who think platforms like Twitter are not doing enough to actually limit or regulate, if you will, hate speech and those who actually propagate conspiracy theories.

BURKE: Absolutely. I mean, you don't feel too bad for the tech companies because they're making money non-stop.

But at the end of the day, you're right. Liberals very upset at them for not taking platforms, like "Infowars." These far-right platforms that spread conspiracy theories -- getting them off of their platforms fast enough.

And then you have the president criticizing them from the Oval Office even though this is a president that's so effectively used Facebook, Twitter, and all these social media platforms to win, taking him all the way to the White House.

BRIGGS: He's not the president without them.

Those techs execs are on Capitol Hill next week?

BURKE: That's right. We're expecting big names there. People like Jack Dorsey.

I think this is very important because at first, a lot of the people who showed up there weren't the top brass.

Now that Mark Zuckerberg has been there they realize that the role their playing is so fundamental and they're in our democracies, not just here in the United States but around the world, that they have to send the most visible people -- their founders and CEOs -- to explain this.

We deserve to know how Google news works even if a lot of the information being spoken about right now and tweeted about is inaccurate.

BRIGGS: If the conspiracy theorist in chief is up right now, I Googled Trump news and another Fox News story turns up right next to a CNN story.

BURKE: Yes, there you go.

BRIGGS: So it's not clear --

BURKE: Facts are facts.

BRIGGS: -- where the facts came from here.

Samuel Burke, great to have you here. Thanks, my friend.

JARRETT: Sam, thanks for that fact-check.

Well, if you were outside in the northeast yesterday the heat was oppressive. More of the same today. The forecast up next.

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[05:54:15] BRIGGS: Breaking overnight, more than 100 undocumented immigrants arrested in north Texas for unlawfully working in the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement made the arrests after Homeland Security search warrants at the trailer manufacturing company, Load Trail.

Investigators were tipped off the company may have hired them fully knowing that their documents were fraudulent. No comment yet from Load Trail.

JARRETT: Well, Seattle teachers and school staff voted to authorize a strike unless a contract is reached by September fifth, the first day of school. Negotiations over pay, health benefits, and increasing social equality in classrooms are all at play.

Strikes already disrupted the first day of school in two southwest Washington districts Tuesday. At least four more districts will join the picket line today.

[05:55:04] A spokesperson for the Seattle School District says they're making good progress and remain optimistic school will begin on time.

BRIGGS: A wayward military mine that was found in Puget Sound has been safely detonated. Navy personnel disposed of the device in the waters between Keyport and Bainbridge Island, Washington.

Officials say the detonation did not create a secondary explosion, indicating it was not active. The origin of the mine is still not known. The Navy continuing to investigate.

Puerto Rico now revising the death toll from Hurricane Maria to 2,975 which is 46 times higher than the previous official figure from the Puerto Rican government.

It comes on the same day researchers from George Washington University revealed findings of a study on storm-related deaths between September 2017 and February of this year.

Puerto Rico's governor signed an executive order to work on recommendations to improve public health and safety for natural disasters.

JARRETT: A 9-year-old boy in Denver killed himself after being bullied at school for coming out as gay. Now his mom is pushing for more focus on bullying and suicide. Leia Pierce says her son came out to her over the summer break and was looking forward to telling his friends. Pierce's son was only in school for four days before the same kids who picked on him last year targeted him again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEIA PIERCE, SON COMMITTED SUICIDE: Four days is all it took at school. I could just imagine what they said to him. My son told my oldest daughter the kids at school told him to kill himself. I'm just sad he didn't come to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Devastating.

The district says it will offer support to the boy's family but Pierce says no one at the school has yet contacted her.

As a reminder, if anyone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. That's 1-800-273-8255.

JARRETT: Just a terrible story.

A jury in Dallas, Texas convicting former police officer Roy Oliver of murder for shooting and killing and unarmed black teenager last year. Fifteen-year-old Jordan Edwards was shot in a car as he left a party with his brothers and friends.

Police initially said the car was moving aggressively towards officers, but body camera footage later showed the exact opposite.

The jury found Oliver not guilty of two lesser charges. He could still face life in prison.

And, 50 million-plus in the Northeast face another day of scorching temperatures.

Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has the forecast for us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Dave and Laura.

Yes, big-time heat across the Northeast here, among the hottest temperatures in the country actually over the next 24 or so hours.

But you notice plenty of activity to our west. A pretty nice frontal boundary pushing in across the Great Lakes. With it, some severe weather on into this afternoon.

And as this works its way eventually off towards the northeast, expect those temperatures to cool off rather nicely as well.

But this is the roughly 50 million people from Boston out towards New York, down even towards Norfolk where we do have pretty dangerous heat in place through this afternoon.

In fact, look at the heat indices. Look what it feels like outside in Boston this afternoon -- 102 degrees; Washington, 104. New York will feel like 101 degrees this afternoon.

Incredibly, in Phoenix here in the heart of summer, it actually a hair cooler than this. The heat indices there -- of course, it is dry heat -- makes it feel a little bit cooler in the air. The temperature they're expecting is actually going to be lower than what it will be, say, in Central Park by this afternoon.

But again, it ends pretty quickly here, especially going from Thursday night into Friday morning. We see a nice shot of cooler air begin to push in towards the Northeast. And again, with it, some showers expected later on this afternoon and this evening as well.

Temps by Friday in Boston, down to 72 degrees -- guys.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRIGGS: All right, sounds good, P.J.

Manhattan was abuzz Tuesday when more than 40,000 bees swarmed a hot dog stand in Times Square.

Fortunately, the NYPD has official beekeepers for situations just like this. A beekeeper in full protective gear spent 45 minutes carefully vacuuming up the insects.

They say the bees, like the rest of us, were probably just trying to escape the sweltering heat after leaving a hive on a nearby rooftop.

JARRETT: Oh --

BARRETT: The bee guy. There's a guy known as the bee guy at the NYPD.

JARRETT: I love that everyone just keeps going on with their day like nothing has happened there.

BRIGGS: Someone's got to market that vacuum even though it's probably just a normal vacuum. Good stuff.

JARRETT: Well, thanks so much for joining us. I'm Laura Jarrett.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. Thanks for being here the last couple of days.

JARRETT: Thanks for having me.

BRIGGS: "NEW DAY" starts right now. We'll see you tomorrow.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GILLUM: I humbly accept the Democratic nomination.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He spoke to every single person and that's why he's getting momentum.

DESANTIS: I did have support from someone in Washington. He lives in the White House.

MCSALLY: We have 70 days to win this seat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Arizona, the two fringe candidates seem to be soundly defeated.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he's saying that the Democrats are going to put Antifa to use violence against Trump supporters.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: It's designed to suppress turnout, to create fear. It is totally reprehensible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, August 29th --