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EARLY START

Pilot Killed in Manhattan Chopper Crash; David Ortiz Back In Boston in Serious Condition; The Battle for Iowa; WSJ: Kim Jong Un's Half-Brother Was a CIA Agent. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired June 11, 2019 - 04:30   ET

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


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[04:31:39] NATHAN HUTTON, WORKS IN THE BUILDING: You could feel the building shake.

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DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: What caused a helicopter to crash and burn on the roof of a building just blocks from Times Square in New York City?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Red Sox legend David Ortiz moved to a Boston hospital after he was shot in the Dominican Republic.

BRIGGS: President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden with dueling campaign stops in Iowa today. Is this what the 2020 race will look like?

ROMANS: Was North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un's half brother an informant for the CIA?

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: Good morning. Good morning to all of you. I'm Dave Briggs. Four-thirty-two Eastern Time on a Tuesday.

We start with that crash in New York City. The NTSB, the FAA and New York City police all on the scene of a deadly chopper crash on the roof of Manhattan high-rise.

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FIRE UNIT: We have what appears to be a helicopter that crashed into the roof. The helicopter is on fire.

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BRIGGS: One first responder described it as a debris field on fire. Agusta A109E chopper flying this poor visibility slamming down on the roof of the 54-story building. A witness describes the moment of impact. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUTTON: You could feel the building shake and you could actually hear the alarms when they went off. The alarms went on, security came in, told us, everybody, get out of the building now. Do not take the elevators. Walk down the stairs.

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BRIGGS: The pilot has been identified as Tim McCormick. He was a certified flight instructor with 15 years of experience flying helicopters and single engine planes. He was also an ex-fire chief in upstate Clinton, New York. His colleagues there left heartbroken and stunned.

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DON ESTES, EAST CLINTON FIRE CHIEF: Tim will be exceptionally missed by his department members, not only for his leadership, but his wonderful sense of humor. Rest in peace, brother.

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BRIGGS: Investigators say there is no sign of criminal intent. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

ROMANS: Red Sox legend David Ortiz back in Boston this morning. The team sent an air ambulance to pick him up after the former Sox star was shot at a night club in his native Dominican Republic. Team president Sam Kennedy says Ortiz's condition is serious, but doctors cleared him for transport to Mass General.

One suspect Eddy Feliz Garcia captured and beaten by bystanders, another fled on foot. An assistant says Ortiz does not know Feliz Garcia but is confident it was not a robbery attempt.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann has this story from the Dominican Republic.

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DAVID OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, we are outside the hospital in Santo Domingo where doctors apparently saved David Ortiz's life, Big Papi as he is known here and in the United States, he was brought here suffering from a gun shot to his back. Doctors had to operate on him for hours removing parts of his colon, intestines and gallbladder in order to stop the internal bleeding.

It is still a mystery why two men apparently approached him at a night club that he was used to frequenting, a very well-known place, a place considered to be safe.

[04:35:02] And one of them took a gun out, police say, and shot him in the back and would have probably escaped had the crowd not tackled him and beat up this alleged gunman very badly. The second man has escaped at least for the moment. Police say they are searching for him. So while that investigation continues, David Ortiz has managed to make

something of a remarkable recovery. He came to and has talked to his family. Doctors here in Santo Domingo gave him the all clear to go on to Boston, a city where he is so famous and revered. But it is going to be the beginning of a very long recovery. But the good news is David Ortiz, Big Papi, is safe and receiving the treatment he so desperately needs -- Dave and Christine.

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ROMANS: All right. Patrick, thank you for that. The Boston Red Sox family was stunned by the news of Ortiz's shooting. They paid tribute to their former star before last night's game against the Texas Rangers.

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ANNOUNCER: Please join us as we offer a moment of reflection, thought and prayer for a complete healing and full recovery for you our beloved Big Papi.

ALEX CORA, BOSTON RED SOX MANAGER: He'll be back with us, he will be in that clubhouse with that big smile and that huge heart. You talk about super heroes without capes, and he is a superhero without cape. That's the way we see him, you know? So, he'll be OK.

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ROMANS: Manager Alex Cora adding that he and the players are trying to stay positive and send prayers to the Ortiz family.

BRIGGS: It does not appear that President Trump and Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden will cross paths today in Iowa where they are both campaigning. The president attending a fundraiser. He's also set to visit an ethanol plant where he'll tout a new federal ethanol policy intended to help farmers.

Biden has community events and two more, Mount Pleasant and Davenport. So far none intersect with Trump's schedule but he is clearly blazing his own path in the first to vote state. He has faced criticism for skipping a big Democratic event over the weekend to attend his daughter's -- his granddaughter's graduation.

CNN's Leyla Santiago in Des Moines with more on that and the day ahead.

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LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine, Dave, former Vice President Joe Biden will be heading right here to Iowa today and so will President Donald Trump. And that comes after a very big weekend here where a lot of the 2020 candidates were here trying to not only stand out, but also show their strength. A lot of the voters here will be waiting to hear what Biden has to say given that he was not one of the 19 candidates that came for the you will Hall of Fame event over the weekend in Cedar Rapids. It is the largest 2020 candidate gathering to date and Biden missed

that event for his granddaughter's high school graduation. But let's talk about the polls here. The latest CNN/"Des Moines Register" Iowa poll shows the former vice president still leading the Democratic pack but with a much smaller advantage than what we've really seen in recent national polls.

In a three way battle for that second spot where you have a few folks there, you have Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren and also Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Now, on the campaign trail, we're starting to see these candidates sort of criticize and knock Biden be it directly or indirectly.

And from Biden himself, not only did we not see him in Iowa over the weekend, we also didn't see him in California the previous weekend for a major event. He also has done minimal national network interviews. How that will all play out with voters, we'll have to wait and see -- Christine, Dave.

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ROMANS: All right. Leyla for us in Des Moines this morning.

Big picture, how do Iowans feel about the historically large field of 2020 Democrats? According to the latest CNN/"Des Moines Register" poll, nearly eight in 10 caucusgoers want some of the candidates to drop out. Just 18 percent say that they relish the chance to consider all of the 23 candidates vying for the party's presidential nomination.

BRIGGS: House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler striking a deal with the Justice Department to get documents from the Mueller report. Documents related on to possible obstruction of justice by the president. That puts off a court fight to enforce the subpoena served to Attorney General William Barr. It is not clear which documents will be provided to the committee. Nadler says the agreement means all judiciary committee members will see Robert Mueller's most important files on obstruction.

ROMANS: Shortly after announcing the deal with the DOJ, Chairman Nadler gaveled in a hearing featuring Richard Nixon's White House counsel John Dean, a CNN contributor. The hearing was called to discuss the lessons learned from the Mueller report, a job handled by a pair of federal prosecutors. Dean told lawmakers he came to provide historical context.

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[04:40:00] JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: In many ways, the Mueller report is to President Trump what the so-called Watergate roadmap officially titled "The Grand Jury Report" was to President Richard Nixon. Stated a little differently, special counsel Mueller has provided this committee with a roadmap.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: You know, Dean said that the Trump administration was in, quote, fast competition with the Nixon White House on the degree of obstruction that it had engaged in. Dean acknowledged from the outset that he was not a fact witness, which angered some Republicans on the judiciary panel.

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REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Here we sit today in this hearing with the ghost of Christmas past because the chairman of the committee has gone to the speaker of the House and sought permission to open an impeachment inquiry but she said no. What I really regret --

DEAN: It is striking, Mr. Gaetz --

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GAETZ: -- you're here as a prop. You are functionally here as a prop because they can't impeach President Trump because 70 percent of Democrats want something that 60 percent of Americans don't. So, they are in this no-win situation and you sit before us here with no knowledge of a single fact on the Mueller report on a hearing entitled "Lessons from the Mueller report".

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ROMANS: President Trump also lashed out at Dean in a pair of tweets and then of course in front of the news cameras.

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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: John Dean has been a loser for many years. So, I've been watching him on of the networks that is not exactly Trump oriented, and I guess they paid him a lot of money over the years. Now, John has been a loser for a long time. We know that. He was disbarred and he went to prison. Other than that, he's doing a great job.

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ROMANS: Republicans had a witness of their own, conservative legal scholar John Malcolm. He offered his view that Mueller's evidence fell short of proving the president obstructed justice.

BRIGGS: Michigan Congressman Justin Amash stepping down from the hard right House Freedom Caucus. Last month he became the first and still only Republican lawmaker to say President Trump committed impeachable offenses. Amash was a founding member Freedom Caucus. He told CNN other members are his close friends and he didn't want to be a further distraction for the group. He says that his resignation is voluntary.

ROMANS: An hour before Monday's opening bell, President Trump called in to CNBC, riffing on market moving events like big defense mergers, and new tech regulation, bashing the Fed, bashing the Chamber of Commerce and American car companies. He also made several claims about China first suggesting a deal will be made because his tariffs are driving away business.

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TRUMP: The China deal is going to work out. You know why? Because of tariffs. Because right now, China is getting absolutely decimated by companies that are leaving China going to other countries including our own because they don't want to pay the tariffs.

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ROMANS: Fact check, there is evidence that American importers are shifting part of their production outside China since Trump imposed tariffs, but little shows there is a mass exodus of companies relocating entirely away from China. Last month, about 60 percent said that they had no plans to relocate manufacturing outside of China because of the tariffs, 60 percent.

And the president said this about this threat of new tariffs on Chinese goods.

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TRUMP: We have another $300 billion to go with China. I haven't done that because it's a very big thing for them, not for us, for us it is not going to matter because we'll be able to buy the product in other countries that don't have the tariffs. So it's not going to have an effect.

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ROMANS: Well, fact check in the near term, it does have an affect. American consumers pay the cost of tariffs until new supply lines and supply chains can be established. New data from Goldman Sachs says 40 percent of the cost of tariffs has been passed on to consumers with the rest split between producers and retailers.

Trump said he will put tariffs on the $300 billion worth of goods, the rest of the goods that the United States imports from China, if he doesn't meet with the President Xi at the G-20. So, a threat there to China's president that if they don't meet face-to-face in Osaka at the G-20, then more tariffs.

BRIGGS: Hard to think of a more consequential meeting than ten days away between the president and Xi.

ROMANS: Yes, only ten days. That's amazing. Right.

BRIGGS: Ahead, a new report claims the late half brother of Kim Jong- un was a CIA informant. New details are next

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[04:48:29] ROMANS: The deceased half brother of Kim Jong-un was an informant for the CIA. That according to "The Wall Street Journal." A source tells that paper there was a nexus between the CIA and Kim Jong Nam, who it says would meet with CIA agents in Singapore and Malaysia.

Now, CNN's counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd says this whole thing may not be so black and white.

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PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTER-TERRORISM ANALYST: Let me give you some other alternatives. I witnessed a lot of instances where somebody was talking to the U.S. government because they thought, for example -- and I don't know if this is the case, but for example, in this instance, they could improve relations between North Korea and the United States, or they were working with another government, a government in Southeast Asia, for example, and they occasionally met with U.S. officials.

I don't know whether he met with U.S. officials or not, but there is a big distance between somebody who was favorable to his former half brother -- or to his half brother or somebody who was a spy. There is a lot of area in between there.

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ROMANS: Kim Jong Nam died in February 2017 after he was poisoned with a nerve agent at Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The two women behind the attack have since been released from custody.

BRIGGS: The last abortion clinic in Missouri can remain open at least for now. A state judge granted a preliminary injunction in favor of St. Louis Planned Parenthood's reproductive health services. The ruling keeps Missouri from becoming the first state in the country to have no assess to legal abortion.

[04:50:01] The clinic's license was supposed to expire on May 31st but the judge is preventing that from happening until he hears arguments from both sides.

ROMANS: People in and around Cleveland are still a bit shaken this morning after a reported 4.0 magnitude earthquake. Highway video cameras captured the moment the quake struck on Monday. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, it was centered in Lake Erie, about 20 miles northeast of Cleveland, near the city of Eastlake, Ohio. Officials say the quake rattled some buildings, but no serious damage has been reported.

I always think of California for quakes, but there is a fault that goes right through the middle of the country. So in the Midwest, you can get some real teeth rattlers.

BRIGGS: Yes, a little frightening for some folks.

All right. Coming up, could be a dead tree or bad omen for President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron.

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[04:55:15] ROMANS: Do you remember this symbolic friendship tree planted at the height of the bromance between President Trump and France's Emmanuel Macron? I think we have some pictures of it. It has died.

What could that symbolize?

Here is Jeanne Moos.

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JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's easy to get sappy over a sapling. Remember Presidents Trump and Macron shoveling dirt as they symbolically planted an oak tree from France on the White House lawn. Symbolizing these ties that bind us -- well, brace yourself, the friendship tree is dead, according to French media. It was planted for the photo-op, then disappeared.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You may notice something missing, gone --

MOOS: Just a yellow spot left on the lawn as the tree went into agricultural quarantine.

(on camera): Rest in peace, sweet sapling. You didn't even make it out of quarantine, died before your tender roots could even be replanted.

(voice-over): European oak tree dies after 14 months in U.S. detention camp, read one tweet. Dozens of others repeated the same thing. Everything Trump touches dies. This is called a metaphor.

A metaphor for the once blooming bromance between the two presidents.

TRUMP: I like him a lot.

MOOS: When they stared into each other's eyes and whispered. They held hands on the White House portico. Trump groomed macron.

TRUMP: We have to make him perfect.

MOOS: "The Daily Show" gave it the French cinematic treatment.

But by autumn, the bromance was described as broken, on the rocks over issues like the Iran deal, climate change, the European Union, the end of illusions was how one French paper put it, though the illusion was still on display at the D-Day celebration. Hands on shoulders, a hug, even a hand on the chest.

Someone had joked about the tree planting, "The new Sopranos season is the best."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at that!

MOOS: As if they were mobsters moving a body. Now the tree is a corpse. Remember that old verse: Poems are made by fools like me, but only Trump, Macron, and Charlie Brown can kill a tree.

CHARLIE BROWN: I've killed it.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN.

CHARLIE BROWN: Everything I touch gets ruined.

MOOS: New York.

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ROMANS: Jeanne is a national treasure.

BRIGGS: She is indeed.

ROMAN: All right. Let's get a check on CNN Business.

You can see markets are all higher here. Stock markets really upbeat after the president dropped the tariff threat toward Mexico. They're also in the U.S. hopes for lower interest rates fueling enthusiasm in U.S. stocks.

On Wall Street, you can see futures are pointing higher. Stocks finished Monday higher. The Dow up not gangbusters, but another positive day in holding above 26,000. It's a six days in a row of gains. That's the first time that's happened since May last year.

The S&P 500 closed up about half a percent. That is OK. But the Nasdaq ended up just over 1 percent, that is a little better. United Technologies was the biggest loser in the Dow. It fell 3 percent. You know, it announced yesterday it would merge with defense business Raytheon.

And then before the opening bell the president jumps on CNBC in a phone call and said that the big merger news could kill competition. So, the president injecting his opinion there in market moving events.

Good news at the pump this summer, gas prices are dropping. U.S. oil production on track to spike on to a record 13.4 million barrels per day by the end of the year. OPEC has been forced to scale back its output, a trend that could continue as the cartel tries to prop prices back up.

So what does this mean for consumers? The price of gas is falling ahead of the summer driving season. National average for a gallon of gas is $2.73. The average price of gas has now fallen for five weeks in a row.

So, that's something I would say that's like a real feel indicator for so many consumers --

BRIGGS: Yes.

ROMANS: -- falling gas prices.

BRIGGS: Indeed.

All right. EARLY START continues with the latest on the helicopter crash here in New York City.

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HUTTON: You could feel the building shake.

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BRIGGS: So what caused the helicopter to crash and burn on the roof of a building just blocks from Times Square, New York City?

ROMANS: Red Sox legend David Ortiz moved to a Boston hospital after he was shot in the Dominican Republic.

BRIGGS: President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden with dueling campaign stops in Iowa today. Is this what the 2020 race will look like?

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And there will be a game six in Oakland. And it was a great job --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Warriors survive game five of the NBA finals but lose one of their superstars to a nasty injury.

And you say the ESPN reporting on the injury is pretty dire.

BRIGGS: They say torn Achilles, and that could change the entire --

ROMANS: Ouch.

BRIGGS: -- NBA for 2019 and '20.

ROMANS: All right. Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs.

Good evening, everybody, June 11, it is 5:00 a.m. in the East.

We start right here in our backyard. The NTSB and New York City police are on the scene of a deadly chopper crash on the roof a Manhattan high-rise.

END