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EARLY START

CNN Poll: Trump's Trust Issue; North Korea Threatens to Retaliate; Secretary Tillerson Turns Up Pressure on North Korea; South African President Faces No-Confidence Vote. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired August 8, 2017 - 04:00   ET

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


[04:00:14] MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN ANCHOR: There is growing distrust of the Trump White House. New CNN polling with a stark reality for the president this morning.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And North Korea not taking new U.N. sanctions lightly. Pyongyang says the U.S. is pushing the world to the brink of nuclear war, and it will make America pay if it takes action. Harsh words.

Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

MARQUEZ: Good morning to you. I'm Miguel Marquez, in for Dave Briggs this week. It is Tuesday, August 8th, 4:00 a.m. here on the East Coast.

President Trump has a problem. The American people don't trust him. That's just one key finding in one new CNN poll showing the president with his approval rating at just 38 percent, its lowest point in CNN polling. Only one other newly elected president has held an approval rating below 50 percent at the six-month mark since the modern polling era began. That was Bill Clinton, still well ahead of President Trump at 44 percent.

ROMANS: Now, this trust issue is telling fewer than one American in four says they trust most of what they hear from the White House. And 60 percent, 60 percent say they don't trust the commander in chief. Now, even President Trump's base is starting to erode here. Only 53 percent of whites who did not graduate from college, that's a core group that helped put him over the top in the election, now support him. That's down from 59 percent in April despite the president's Monday Twitter claim that his base isn't going anywhere.

MARQUEZ: And speaking of Twitter, many people say they have big concerns about that. Seventy-two percent say the president's tweets send the wrong message to world leaders. President Trump's highest marks came on the economy and national security. But those were split and within the margin of error.

ROMANS: Meanwhile, more than six in 10 disapprove of his handling of health care and foreign affairs. Overall, nearly, six people in 10 say Donald Trump has not had the right priorities in dealing with the country's problems.

MARQUEZ: Now, a Twitter tirade Monday showed why the president's social media habit was a special focus of a CNN poll. It came during what President Trump is calling a working vacation at his New Jersey golf club.

CNN White House correspondent Sara Murray has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Miguel and Christine.

President Trump is insisting he is hard at work as he spends the week at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. The White House, though, is offering very few details about what he's up to. On Monday, we know he got a daily intelligence briefing, and he spent about an hour on the phone with his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and his chief of staff, John Kelly, to discuss the situation in North Korea.

But, of course that left plenty of time to tweet. And tweet the president did. He took aim at "The New York Times." He insisted he's not losing his base of supporters and he went after Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, someone who is pushing for legislation that would protect the special counsel in the Russia investigation from any kind of political interference.

Now, some had hoped the president's new chief of staff, John Kelly, would be able to calm down these Twitter tantrums. But we are told by sources that Kelly's top priority is not policing President Trump's social media.

Back to you, guys.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right, Sara Murray. Thank you for that, Sara.

One other tweet from President Trump is causing some confusion. Take a look. On Monday afternoon, the president wrote: The fake news media will not talk about the importance of the United Nations Security Council's 15-0 vote in favor of sanctions on North Korea.

Now, the president tweeted that out yesterday at 4:15 in the afternoon. Take a look at CNN's reporting exactly two minutes before he hit send.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Breaking news in our world lead now. North Korea is vowing revenge against the United States after the U.N. Security Council led by U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley unanimously adopted the toughest sanctions yet against that country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: All right. That was the first of back-to-back segments on CNN about North Korea. In fact, CNN has been reporting on North Korea extensively and interviewed U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley after the U.N. sanctions vote.

MARQUEZ: And there is fierce pushback from North Korea itself in the face of those tough new sanctions imposed by the U.N. Kim Jong-un's regime accusing the United States of trying to bring the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war. North Korea's foreign minister declaring his country will not put its nuclear program on the negotiating table under any circumstances.

We want to go live to CNN's Will Ripley. He has reported many, many, many times from Pyongyang in North Korea. We want to go to him to bring us the latest live from Beijing.

Will, good morning.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Miguel.

Well, what we have seen in this region is a lot of response, very strong response to what really was a significant diplomatic win for the Trump administration. A 15-0 United Nations vote approving what is essentially a $1 billion economic assault on the Pyongyang regime led by Kim Jong-un, cutting their exports of things like iron and coal and seafood, and also limiting their access to international banks and financial institutions.

[04:05:15] All of this designed to cut North Korean export income by as much as a third if the sanctions are implemented. And, of course, here in China that is the key, because there have been six rounds of increasingly strong sanctions. And yet, what we have seen is North Korea continued to test missiles, nuclear devices, and we saw a response from Pyongyang really doubling down on their nuclear missile program saying these sanctions will not stop their efforts. In fact, they say they will work harder to fight against what they call a violent violation of their national sovereignty, even hinting at a physical response against the United States.

Now, we've heard this kind of rhetoric before from North Korea. I've heard officials in the country as recently as when I was there in June talk about the fact that despite any sanctions as a result of their missile program, that would be the last programs they cut. They'll continue to push forward. But the new dynamic here is that never before has North Korea had an intercontinental ballistic missile that analysts say could reach theoretically much of the mainland U.S. -- Miguel.

MARQUEZ: All right. North Korea sticking to their guns in a literal sense. Will Ripley for us in Beijing -- thank you.

ROMANS: The American Secretary of State Rex Tillerson among those joining efforts to keep the pressure on North Korea here. Kim Jong- un's nuclear program, a topic of wide concern at the just-concluded summit of South Asian leaders in Manila. South Korea, Japan, and China are all urging Pyongyang to comply in the face of those new U.N. sanctions.

CNN'S Alexandra Field has more live for us this morning from Seoul, South Korea. We heard the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson saying there's no

daylight between allies here and neighbors in the region. They want an end to the nuclear program. We've heard from North Korea there will be no end to its nuclear program.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. And, Christine, China is taking a strong stand. They're saying all the right things, saying they'll pay the price for enforcing these sanctions. Of course, they have the heaviest price to pay as they have the largest economic relationship. But they say they're doing it for peace and for global security.

Secretary Tillerson is spending his time in the region, talking to his counterparts about what they can do to fully enforce the sanctions. And it's a message that he takes with him as he leaves Manila and now arrives in Bangkok. Thailand does have diplomatic relationship with North Korea. There is an embassy there. U.S. officials say that North Korea uses Thailand as a hub for some illicit activities.

So, the secretary of state will be carrying a message to Thailand saying they can be a key partner in the effort to freeze out North Korea, and that they are relying on support from Thailand to further isolate North Korea to achieve the objectives of trying to work toward a denuclearized Korean peninsula.

The global security questions that Secretary Tillerson is facing while he's here are not limited to the North Korean nuclear problem. He is also being asked about the fight against ISIS in the Philippines. He had a meeting with the controversial Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, who's, of course, made colorful comments about U.S. policy and the previous Obama administration.

But the two did meet at one point. Duterte saying to Tillerson that he was a good friend, a close ally. A reporter did, however, asked Tillerson how the U.S. can provide support to the Philippines in their fight against ISIS, in terms of information, resources, and training without endorsing human rights abuse in the Philippines. Secretary Tillerson said that he sees new conflict between providing support to fight ISIS and what are the alleged abuses associated with President Duterte's war on drugs which has left thousands of people dead -- Christine.

ROMANS: Yes, certainly that photo-op, that handshake, you know, sidestepping any conversation about human rights abuse getting a lot of attention this morning here in the United States.

Alexandra Field, thank you so much for that.

MARQUEZ: Now, an alarming draft report by government scientists says climate change is already severely affecting the U.S. there are concerns the Trump administration will try to keep their report under wraps. The draft obtained by "The New York Times" says the average temperature in the U.S. has risen dramatically since 1980 and may climb over the coming century beyond the point at which changes being catastrophic.

Another key finding -- it is possible to attribute some extreme weather to climate change.

ROMANS: Now, this study by scientists from 13 federal agencies directly contradicts claims by the president, by President Trump, and some of his cabinet officials who say the human contribution to climate change is uncertain. The National Academy of Sciences has signed off on this draft. The authors are awaiting permission from the administration to release it.

One of the scientists involved tells "The New York Times" that he and others worry the White House will suppress this study which is why you have found it in the pages of a newspaper instead.

[04:10:00] MARQUEZ: The lawsuit against two psychologists who helped design the CIA torture program is now set for trial next month. The ACLU taking Dr. James Mitchell and Dr. John Bruce Jessen to court on behalf of two CIA detainees and the family of a third detainee who froze to death in prison. The suit claims the men were taken into custody and tortured during the war on terror. The psychologists were contracted to craft the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques after 9/11.

A federal judge said Monday they can be sued, ruling private contractors who work for the U.S. government are not immune from litigation.

ROMANS: The deadline for next year's Obamacare contracts in late September. But the exodus of insurers has already begun.

Anthem announcing it is pulling out of Nevada's marketplace completely and cutting its presence in Georgia by half. Right now, nearly 10,000 Americans in 17 counties are at risk of no option. No option on the Obamacare exchange next year, 2.7 million may only have one option.

And experts blamed Anthem's exit for much of the current instability. Anthem participated in 14 states this year but already withdrew from Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, and much of California.

You know, insurers hate uncertainty, and Washington's actions so far has fueled Obamacare's instability, particularly President Trump's threats to stop paying cost-sharing subsidies. Carriers rely on those to help pay for low-income consumers. The president has called them a bailout, the money that goes to help low-income Americans afford their health care. He's called it a bailout.

Anthem could be the first of many insurers to downsize or hike premiums. Carriers have one week now to set rates for next year. So far, nearly half of companies plan to increase premiums by 20 percent or more.

Many of these companies say without any clarity from the Trump administration, clarity that they will indeed continue to uphold the law and pay those subsidies, it's just -- it's too volatile an environment.

MARQUEZ: If the federal government doesn't keep at it, could have problems with the entire health care industry. Updates next on two police manhunts in the Midwest, a cop killer on

the loose in Missouri, and a gruesome end to a search for an escaped rape suspect in Ohio. We have the latest on both those cases coming right up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:16:19] MARQUEZ: A manhunt is underway for a Missouri man authorities say shot and killed a police officer during a routine traffic stop. Thirty-nine-year-old Ian James McCarthy of Clinton, Missouri, faces first-degree murder charges and is considered armed and dangerous. He was pulled over by Officer Gary Michael for a registration violation Sunday night and allegedly opened fire on the officer once he stepped out of his patrol car. Officer Michael was with the Clinton Police Department for less than a year.

ROMANS: The search for an Ohio rape suspect on the run since last week is over. Police say Brandon Lee Powell shot and killed himself after they tracked him down to his parents' home in the rural town of Antwerp. They tried to coax him out of a crawl space. It is not clear whether his parents knew he was in the home. Powell escaped police custody last week when he overpowered a deputy in a transport van and took off with the officer's handgun.

MARQUEZ: Now, a horrifying story at an Orlando preschool last night. A little boy dead inside a van in the Little Miracles Academy's parking lot. The child is believed to be about 3 years old. Police are not releasing his identity or details about his death. The Little Miracles Academy's Website was taken down last night. It was taken down last night, and calls to the facility have not been answered.

ROMANS: Opening statements set to begin in a civil trial filed against Taylor Swift. The singer is expected to testify at some point. David Mueller, a former Denver deejay at KYGO Radio, a CNN affiliate, he claims he lost his job after Swift accused him of groping her backstage at one of her concerts in 2013.

Mueller filed a suit against Swift, her mother Andrea, and her radio promotions director in 2015. He is seeking $3 million in damages. Swift, who was 23 at the time of the encounter, is countersuing Mueller.

MARQUEZ: And Google reportedly firing the employee who wrote a memo saying women are not biologically fit for tech roles. A spokesperson for the company declined to confirm the male engineer had been let go, but the report follows an e-mail from Google's CEO Sundar Pichai condemning the controversial memo last week. A Google engineer published a 3,300-word manifesto criticizing Google's efforts to increase diversity, adding that the company's liberal bias make it difficult to discuss the issue.

Pichai told employees he supports them expressing their opinions, but the sections of the memo violates Google's code of conduct by advancing harmful gender stereotypes. A source inside the company told CNN that breaching that code often results in firing. ROMANS: That was the water cooler story of the day yesterday.

Everyone was talking about the memo and about Silicon Valley and efforts to diversify Silicon Valley and --

MARQUEZ: It always puts them in a very bad position as well. You want to foster openness among your employees, but you don't want people saying whatever they want.

ROMANS: That's so interesting.

All right. Nineteen minutes past the hour.

MARQUEZ: President Trump isn't the only world leader facing a lack of confidence. A vote underway in South Africa could see the president and his entire cabinet ousted. We're live in South Africa.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:23:54] ROMANS: Twenty-three minutes past the hour.

Thousands of protesters gathering in South Africa this hour for and against the country's controversial president. Jacob Zuma facing one of the most serious tests of his scandal-plagued years in office: a no-confidence vote in parliament that could force him out of office.

Zuma has survived no-confidence votes before. This one, though, is different.

Joining us now from Cape Town, CNN's David McKenzie with the latest.

Why is this one different?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine, it's different because he faces this no-confidence vote in a secret ballot. So, you could see the party of Nelson Mandela turning on South Africa's president. If they do it in sufficient numbers, then you could see in the coming hours a new president of South Africa. The cabinet will be dissolved, and thousands of protesters are concentrating around the parliament in South Africa.

As you say, President Zuma has faced scandal before. He's faced votes before of this kind. But real sense of anticipation here that this is a critical juncture in South Africa's young democracy. You're going to have protesters from both sides converging in a small area, a combustible situation.

[04:25:04] And certainly all eyes in the coming hour whether the opposition represented by people behind me can get enough of those votes to push the president out. He says he's done nothing wrong. But even so, he still faces more than 700 counts of fraud, corruption, and racketeering -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. David McKenzie keeping an eye on that for us this morning in Cape Town -- thank you so much for that.

MARQUEZ: Now, do you trust what you hear from the president? If you do, you're in a shrinking minority. Not good news for the White House. We'll have that and more surprising findings from a new CNN poll coming right up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: There's a growing distrust of the Trump White House. Brand- new CNN polling with a stark reality for the president this morning.

MARQUEZ: And Pyongyang says the U.S. is pushing the world to the brink of nuclear war, and North Korea will make America pay if the U.S. takes action.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Miguel Marquez, in for Dave Briggs this week.