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Trump Will Keep Sessions for Now. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired August 31, 2018 - 05:00   ET



KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN ANCHOR: -- league, and arbitrator refuses to rule it out. A big win for Colin Kaepernick --


HARTUNG: -- in a legal battle there. Good morning and welcome to Early Start. I'm Kaylee Hartung in for Christine Roman.

BRIGGS: Happy Friday, Kaylee. Good morning to all of you. I'm Dave Briggs. Friday, August 31. It is 5 a.m. in the east. We'll get to those stories in a minute. We start with politics, of course. The nation's capital no longer a matter of if President Trump will fire his attorney general but really when.

The president in an interview with Bloomberg says Jeff Sessions's job is safe through the midterm elections, but he makes no promises after that. We know the president is angry over Sessions recusing himself in the Russia probe. A source tells CNN the frustration runs deeper.

Mr. Trump wants Sessions to address stories in concern of (ph) media about the Russia probe. He said as much in this Bloomberg interview.


DONALD TRUMP: I'd just like to have Jeff Sessions do his job, and if he did I'd be very happy. But the job entails two sides, not one side.


HARTUNG: The president also telling Bloomberg he sees the Mueller investigation as illegal and did not say whether he would comply with a subpoena. So the question of who would replace Sessions and oversee the Russia probe is taking on greater importance. We get more now from CNN's Jeff Zeleny.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOSUE CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Kaylee, President Trump answered a lingering question that has been hanging over the White House and, indeed, the Justice Department - will he dismiss or fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions?

Well, he told Bloomberg News that Jeff Session's job is safe at least until November. That did not stop the president, however, from going after the Justice Department at a rally Thursday night here in Evansville, Indiana.


TRUMP: Our Justice Department and our FBI have to start doing their job and doing it right and doing it now. What's happening is a disgrace, and at some point, I wanted to stay out, but at some point if it doesn't straighten out properly - I want them to do their job - I will get involved and I'll get in there if I have to.


ZELENY: So the president not specific at all about how he will get involved. He has made that suggestion from time-to-time over recent months that he will get involved, but he has not yet done so.

Of course, his lawyers and others have warned him against interfering in the Russia investigation. But one thing was clear, President Trump clearly had Russia on his mind even though he rarely talked about it as he rallied Republican voters here in Indiana, clearly focusing on the 2018 midterm election. Even if he talked far more about his own race, his favorite race back in 2016. Dave and Kaylee -

BRIGGS: All right. Thank you, Jeff. President Trump also telling Bloomberg Allen Weisselberg, the Chief Financial Officer of the Trump Organization did not betray him by agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors in the Michael Cohen investigation.

We learned last week Weisselberg received immunity. He was one of the Trump execs who reimbursed Cohen for the hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels, but the president doesn't seem at all concerned about the CFO talking.


TRUMP: 100 percent. He's a wonderful guy. It was a very limited, little period of time.


BRIGGS: Trump refused today whether he knew before the election about the Stormy Daniels payment despite past claims he did not. Trump also knocked the threat of Democrats trying to impeach him saying, "I don't think they can impeach somebody that's going a great job." Says it was set a precedent, making it too easy to remove future presidents.

HARTUNG: President Trump also defending his response to John McCain's passing, telling Bloomberg he did not miss a chance to unite the country.


TRUMP: We had our disagreements, and they were very strong disagreements. I disagreed with many of the things that I assume he believe in. But with that being said, I respect his service to the country.


HARTUNG: White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders, was in the room during the interview, and Mr. Trump jokes that she was having a nervous breakdown during his answers about McCain.

BRIGGS: Senator's body arriving in Washington last night from Arizona, the family greeted by Defense Secretary, James Mattis. You see there McCain will lie in state today at the U.S. capital where the public can pay respects. Before that, McCain family, including his 106-year-old mother, Roberta, will attend a ceremony at the capital. Vice President Pence expected to deliver remarks.

HARTUNG: On Thursday, thousands packed a Phoenix church to say goodbye to McCain. Among the speakers, former Vice President, Joe Biden, who talked about their friendship and how they both lamented a bygone era in Washington.


JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: For all we do today is attack the oppositions in both parties their motives, not the substance of their argument. The last day John on the Senate floor, what was he fighting to do? He fighting to restore what we call regular order, to start to treat one another again like we used to.


HARTUNG: And the Arizona Cardinals's wide receiver, Larry Fitzgerald, he spoke about his unlikely friendship with McCain.



LARRY FITZGERALD, ARIZONA CARDINALS FOOTBALL PLAYER: He ran for president. I run out of bounds. He was the epidemy of toughness and I do everything I can to avoid contact. I have flowing locks, and well he didn't.

He didn't judge individuals based on the color of their skin, their gender, their backgrounds, their political affiliations, or their bank accounts. He evaluated them on the merits of their charter and the contents of their hearts.


BRIGGS: With Fitzgerald in uniform the Cardinals pay tribute to McCain before last night pre-season finale in Arizona. A funeral service will be held tomorrow at the National Cathedral in Washington. John McCain will be buried on Sunday at the U.S. Naval academy in Annapolis.

Today's deadline day for NAFTA, the U.S. and Canada making a late night push to modernize the trade agreement. But there's no deal yet. President Trump telling Bloomberg the two are close but it may not be today. The U.S., Mexico, and Canada have been re-working NAFTA for more than a year.

Canada rejoined talks after months on the sidelines giving the U.S. and Mexico time to work out their own deal. Now Canada and the U.S. must come together. And President Trump pledges this new deal will be better for the U.S.


TRUMP: We are replacing NAFTA with a beautiful brand new U.S./Mexico trade deal. And as we speak Canada, and we love Canada right? But they have to get rid of those barriers and they have to get rid of those big tariffs.

We've really developed a really good relationship. Look we love Canada. But they have to treat us fairly. They haven't treated us fairly. This country is tired of being ripped off by other countries.


BRIGGS: Of course congress must approve any new trade deal. And there are still a few sticking points between the U.S. and Canada, especially over Canada's dairy market. The Trump administration wants more access for U.S. farmers. Canada imposes 249 percent tariffs on dairy products. While Canada wants to protect its domestic industry.

HARTUNG: And there's a new sign of trouble between the United States and North Korea, Pyongyang accusing the U.S. of taking hostile actions behind the quote "curtain of dialog". The regime referring to a South Korean report that U.S. Special Forces have been carrying out covert training in South Korea, Japan, and the Philippines, U.S. Forces in Japan tell CNN they are not aware of the alleged drills. The U.S. aircraft and ships operate from Japan daily in support of allies.

BRIGGS: This happened just hours after President Trump told Bloomberg he can be patient with Kim Jong-un. Saying he has more patients then anyone in the world. Trump says his relationship with Kim remains quote "good". He notes that North Korea released several Americans and stayed away from the nuclear missal tests. Despite taking no steps to denuclearize since the June summit.

HARTUNG: President Trump now telling law makers he wants to scrap the pay raise for civilian federal workers. In across the board 2.1 percent pay increase for federal workers was slated to take effect in January. But in a letter to house and senate leaders Mr. Trump described the pay increase as quote "inappropriate".

He also said the nation's budget couldn't support it. Congress does have an opportunity to overrule the president if law makers pass a spending bill that includes a federal pay raise. Though it's not clear in the president would approve a budget that includes the pay increase.

BRIGGS: In-N-Out Burger under searing pressure from democrats in California after a public filing revealed the restaurant chain donated $25 thousand to the state republican party. Late CEO Rich Snyder was and evangelical Christian and supporter of republican candidates. The burger chain does not make its founders Christian values with bible quotes printed on its wrappers.

California's Democratic Party chairman now calling for a boycott of In-N-Out. But it's worth noting according to campaign finance filings In-N-Out Burger also donated $80 thousand since last year to a political action committee that typically supports democratic candidates. On Twitter it was trending through out the day the hash tag boycott In-N-Out. We'll see where this goes.

HARTUNG: You're a Five Guys guy.

BRIGGS: Yes, you know --

HARTUNG: Full disclosure.

BRIGGS: We don't have In-N-Out here, out east. So it's OK. When I'm out in California maybe.

HARTUNG: Maybe, maybe. Well coming up here on "Early Start" the death toll is rising overnight from a head on crash between a tractor trailer and a Grey Hound bus in New Mexico.

More when we come back.



BRIGGS: In New Mexico, at least seven people are dead after a head on highway collision between a tractor trailer and a Greyhound bus. Dozens more were injured, including children. Authorities say the truck blew a tire and lost control, crossing a median, striking the bus along Interstate 30 in McKinley County. Arial footage shows the truck on its side with its contents spilled on the median. Passengers on the bus tried to climb out of windows as bystanders grabbed ladders from their cars to try and rescue them.

HARTUNG: A California man has been charged after allegedly making a series of threats to The Boston Globe. Robert Chain is accused of making threatening calls after The Globe announced it was calling on newspapers across the country to publish editorials standing up to the president for his attacks on the media.

Court documents say on the same day the editorial campaign was published across the U.S., Chain called The Globe's newsroom and echoed the president's words saying, quote, "you're the enemy of the people and we're going to kill every effing (ph) one of you." Chain spoke after his court appearance in California.


ROBERT CHAIN: There is no free press in America. America was saved when Donald J. Trump was elected president. Had Hillary Clinton - the criminal Hillary Clinton, who by the way, who's emails were just hacked by the Chinese now.


HARTUNG: That's his wife pulling him away there. In all, Chain allegedly made at least 14 threatening phone calls to The Boston Globe. He faces five years in prison and $250,000 fine if he's convicted.


BRIGGS: The justice department offering a public show of support for Asian American's suing Harvard over its emissions policy. The court filing is the Trump administrations most significant entry into the debate over affirmative action. And the court favors the DOJs say's Harvard's race based admission process serves as a significant disadvantage to Asian American applicants.

Harvard has rejected the assertion. It sets caps on the number of Asian American students and say's that it's disappointed with the DOJ - recycling the same quote misleading. And hollow statements.

HARTUNG: There are 497 children still separated from their parents after being split at the U.S./Mexico boarder. That number includes 22 children under the age of five, this according to the new court filing. Some of those kids' parents were deported without them.

It remains unclear exactly how many parents were deported without their children, though it's in the hundreds. A total of 1,937 children have been reunited with their parents. But that number is up only 14 from last week. A judge had set a deadline for all reunifications by July 26th.

BRIGGS: After uniting more than a month ago the deadly car fire in California's finally 100 percent contained. Authorities say the catastrophic blaze burned almost 230 thousand acres and destroyed one that 1,000 homes. It began July 23rd sparked by a vehicle driving on a flat tire. Crews will patrol the burn area for several more days. The fire is blamed for eight deaths.

HARTUNG: And the Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers about potential dangers of eating food prepared with liquid nitrogen. The FDA say's serious injury can happen from eating foods like ice cream, cereal, or cocktails that just have liquid nitrogen added. Officials say in some cases there has been damage to skin and even internal organs. If liquid nitrogen is inhaled it can also cause difficulty breathing.

Second it disrupts your holiday weekend bar-b-que plans Dave?

BRIGGS: That's what I had planned for breakfast actually with you and I. Dragon breath is a bad thing.

HARTUNG: He's trying to kill me, apparently.

BRIGGS: All right, ahead another bizarre day at the U.S. Open. A chair umpire turns therapist, what is happening here? Andy Scholes with the answer in the bleacher report next. (COMMERICAL BREAK)


BRIGGS: A win fro Colin Kaepernick, an arbitrator ruling that Kaepernick's collusion case against the NFL will go to trial.

HARTUNG: Andy Scholes, he's got more in this morning Bleacher Report. Andy, tell us what's going on.


BRIGGS: I'll try to make a motion standing up.

SCHOLES: Over Kaylee, do it over Kaylee.


BRIGGS: Over Kaylee's head. Dome (ph) are you in?

HARTUNG: Thanks, thanks Andy. Appreciate you man.

BRIGGS: God I love you Andy Scholes. Have a great holiday weekend my friend.

SCHOLES: Haylee done, done (ph).

HARTUNG: Well coming up more on "Early Start" ahead, as the president put the attorney general on notice. Jeff Sessions job is safe for now. But the mid-terms maybe the breaking point.


BRIGGS: The attorney generals job is safe, but not for long. Jeff Sessions could be replaced once the mid-terms are over.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's fighting to restore what you recall regular order. To start to treat one another again, like we used to.


HARTUNG: Passionate tribes to John McCain before his final flight to Washington. Today McCain is granted an honor only few are. He will lie in state at the U.S. Capital.

BRIGGS: And are NFL teams colluding to keep Colin Kaepernick out of the league. An arbitrator refuses to rule it out.