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EARLY START

MA 10-Term Incumbent Upset from Left; Tropical Storm Gordon Turns Deadly; Trump Takes Aim at New Woodward Book; Kavanaugh Faces Day 2 of Confirmation; Rafael Nadal Survives Epic Match. Aired 5- 5:30a ET

Aired September 5, 2018 - 05:00   ET

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


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Higher minimum wage in general, and there has been some criticism that so many of these warehouse jobs maybe don't pay as much, and Jeff Bezos makes an awful lot of money.

[05:00:05] You know, that's an income inequality debate for another day.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: More to come on that.

EARLY START continues right with the shocker in Massachusetts politics.

(MUSIC)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AYANNA PRESSLEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Well, it seems like change is on the way.

(CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Another Democratic challenger pulls off a major primary upset.

ROMANS: Tropical storm Gordon turns deadly as it makes landfall near the Alabama/Mississippi border.

BRIGGS: And the Trump White House blasting the explosive allegations in a new book from Watergate legend Bob Woodward.

ROMANS: Protesters rattle the Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings with a critical day of questioning ahead.

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. We will get to hear from Brett Kavanaugh today.

ROMANS: Yes, we will. BRIGGS: Which will be refreshing.

Wednesday, September 5th, 5:00 a.m. in the East. We'll get to that forecast straight ahead, but we start with the breaking news overnight.

Politically, a new Democratic primary upset from the left. In Massachusetts, Boston City Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley soundly defeating ten-term incumbent Congressman Mike Capuano. The 44-year- old Pressley joins a growing list of younger, more progressive Democrats, many of them women and people of color, winning competitive primaries.

Miguel Marquez from the victory celebration.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christine, Dave, just an absolute upset here in the seventh district of Massachusetts. This district had been tested two times by pollster, in February and this August. In February, Capuano was up by 12 points. This August, just a few weeks ago, he was up by 13 points.

She got people out that don't typically vote. She's a city councilperson in Boston. And even though she was part of the political establishment, even though he was a far left by American standards, a progressive, liberal Democrat, she was able to best him by getting people out with basically the campaign slogan that change can't wait. She wanted a bolder campaign.

Tonight, she talked about doing this not only for women, but for African-American men behind the wall in prison, for immigrants.

Here's a little of how she addressed the crowd tonight when she thanked Michael Capuano for making her a better candidate.

PRESSLEY: Mike Capuano is unapologetically himself. On many occasions throughout the years when there was a strike or a rally, I would find myself sharing a stage, a microphone, or a bull horn with him. And, well, he forced me to bring my best, just like in this race, and I thank him for his 20 years of service.

MARQUEZ: Certainly, this is an indication that insurgent energy amongst Democrats across the country, whether it's Florida or Georgia or New York state, and now here in Massachusetts, is alive and well. Within an hour and a half of the polls closing, Michael Capuano had conceded this race. He clearly knew that the votes were just there for her in a very big way. It seems he may be the victim of a very blue wave already -- Christine, Dave.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right, Miguel. Thank you for that.

Mike Capuano could not have been more gracious in his concession speech. The ten-term incumbent had never faced a serious challenge since first winning the seat in 1998. He took that stunning defeat in stride, calling it a sign of the times.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MIKE CAPUANO (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Clearly, the district wanted a lot of change, and apparently, the district just is very upset with lots of things that are going on. I don't blame them. I'm just as upset as they are. But so be it. This is the way life goes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Capuano praised Ayanna Presley, told supporters she will be a good congresswoman who will serve Massachusetts well.

BRIGGS: Tropical storm Gordon making landfall late last night west of Alabama/Mississippi, on the border. It has already turned deadly. A child killed in Pensacola, Florida, when a tree fell on top of a mobile home. Strong winds from the storm also knocking out power in the Florida panhandle and southern Alabama, leaving thousands in the dark this morning.

CNN meteorologist Jennifer Gray joining us live now from Gulfport, Mississippi, with the latest.

Jennifer, good morning. What are you seeing?

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, guys.

Yes, the storm made landfall late last night between just west of the Alabama border and the center of the storm now is well north of us. It's close to Hattiesburg.

And the rain from the storm is pretty much east of Mobile, through the Florida panhandle. We do have flood warnings in effect around gulf shores as well as Pensacola. We're seeing about two to four inches an hour. We're seeing the storms hitting the same spots.

[05:05:02] So, a little bit of flooding going on there. Also, about 2,000 people without power in Mississippi. However, I think things will be quickly getting back to normal, especially around Gulfport, where we are. We barely had any rain from the storm at all. Most of the storm was to the east of us, so things getting back to normal here in Gulfport, guys.

BRIGGS: All right. Jennifer Gray, sounds like it could have been worse. Thank you.

ROMANS: All right. President Trump on a Twitter tirade last night, seeking to discredit a bombshell, new book by "Washington Post" reporter Bob Woodward. The president suggesting baselessly in one tweet that the award-winning veteran journalist is a Democratic operative because the book released two months before the midterms portrays chaos inside the White House.

CNN's Jamie Gangel has more on Woodward's meticulously reported book.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, this explosive, new book from legendary journalist Bob Woodward goes inside the Trump White House with Woodward detailing extraordinary measures that senior aides have taken to circumvent the president, to, in effect, step in and stop what they saw as President Trump's most -- and this is a quote -- dangerous impulses, including stealing and hiding documents right off his Oval Office desk.

There are also some stunning revelations about the Russia investigation. Woodward recounts a dramatic session at the White House in which Trump's then personal attorney John Dowd puts the president through a mock interview to see, if he is capable of testifying to special counsel Robert Mueller without perjuring himself. Woodward reports that Trump fails the test.

What's more remarkable is that Dowd and Trump's current attorney Jay Sekulow then go and re-enact the scene to Robert Mueller himself in an attempt to convince Mueller that Trump is incapable of getting through an interview. According to Woodward, Mueller isn't convinced and responds, quote, I need the president's testimony, and then Mueller says, I want to know what was his intent on Comey, I want to see if there was corrupt intent -- Dave, Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS : All right, Jamie, thank you.

Some of the most startling quotes in Woodward's book come from two of the president's top aides. Chief of Staff John Kelly in the book is reported to have called President Trump an idiot, erratic, and unhinged. Woodward reports an irate Kelly ranted at a staff meeting, quote, we're in crazy town. This is the worst job I've ever had.

The book portrays Defense Secretary James Mattis as exasperated and alarmed by the president. Mattis is quoted as saying Trump has the understanding of a fifth or sixth grader. Both men among the chorus of administration officials pushing back on the book. Chief of Staff Kelly says he and the president have an incredibly candid and strong relationship. He calls the story, quote, total B.S. Mattis also denied that he uttered the contemptuous words attributed to him, describing Woodward's book as fiction.

BRIGGS: One important player not appearing in the book is president Trump himself, and that's why Woodward decided to release audio recordings to prove he did make an effort to interview the president, get his side of the story.

Listen now to the conversation between Woodward and Mr. Trump when they connected by phone three weeks ago.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

BOB WOODWARD, JOURNALIST: And as you know and are living, we are at a pivot point in history.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Right. WOODWARD: And I would have liked to have done that, and I maximized

my effort, and somehow, it didn't get to you or --

TRUMP: It's really too bad, because nobody told me about it, and I would have loved to have spoken to you. You know I'm very open to you. I think you've always been fair, but we'll see what happens.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

BRIGGS: The president did later acknowledge Lindsey Graham told him that Bob Woodward wanted to interview him. Also note that the president concedes on tape that Woodward has always been fair. Overnight, Mr. Trump suggested the legendary journalist included lies and phony sources in his book.

ROMANS: It appears less likely special counsel Robert Mueller will subpoena testimony from the president. Mueller's investigators making a concession to the Trump legal team. They say they will accept written responses from the president on whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to sway the 2016 election in his favor.

Sources say a letter from Mueller's team left open the possibility of an in-person interview as part of the wide-ranging Russia probe.

BRIGGS: Today, day two for Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings after what happened yesterday.

Boy, an ugly scene. Warring senators, jeering protesters, dramatic demonstrations rocking Kavanaugh's hearing on Tuesday. Democrats came ready to attack.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, one of the leading voices opposing President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, called for the hearing to be adjourned almost as soon as it began. He said his colleagues had not had time to review the tens of thousands of documents from Kavanaugh's time at the Bush White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO COLIP)

[05:10:05] SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: Mr. Chairman, we have been denied -- we have been denied real access to the documents we need to advise --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman, regular order is called for.

BLUMENTHAL: -- which turns this hearing into a charade and a mockery of our norms.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well --

BLUMENTHAL: And Mr. Chairman, I therefore move to adjourn this hearing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Kavanaugh's views on reproductive rights and environmental protection have been under a microscope since the moment he was nominated, but one senator on the judiciary committee, Senator Ben Sasse says opponents' hysteria has nothing to do with Kavanaugh and everything to do with Congress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BEN SASSE (R), NEBRASKA: Judge Kavanaugh doesn't lust after dirty water and stinky air. No, looking at his record, it seems to me that what he actually dislikes are legislators that are too lazy and too risk-averse to do our actual jobs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: It was a bit of a circus yesterday. Today, we resume at 9:30 a.m. We will hear from Brett Kavanaugh --

ROMANS: Yes, we will.

BRIGGS: -- which will be a refreshing change.

ROMANS: All right. A high-profile mayor just made a career decision.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL (D), CHICAGO: This has been the job of a lifetime but it is not a job for a lifetime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: More from Chicago's Rahm Emanuel, just ahead.

BRIGGS: And the familiar face replacing the late Senator John McCain on Capitol Hill.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:15:24] ROMANS: Former Senator Jon Kyl tapped by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to replace the late John McCain. Kyl happens to be the Republican attorney who's been advising President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. Now, he gets to vote on his confirmation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON KYL (R), CHOSEN TO FILL JOHN MCCAIN'S SENATE SEAT: It is my honor to be helping on the Kavanaugh nomination. I believe in Judge Kavanaugh. And in that capacity, I've been able to support not just Judge Kavanaugh, but the administration, and I think the proper administration of justice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Kyl is well-liked by the president's political team and by the McCain family. He says he won't be running for re-election, leaving open the possibility of a bruising primary in 2020. BRIGGS: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he will not seek a third

term. He announced the decision at a city hall news conference alongside his wife.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EMANUEL: This has been the job of a lifetime but it is not a job for a lifetime. Amy and I have decided it is time to write another chapter together. We have more to do, and from now until then, we'll do everything in our power to get it done and walk out the door, hopefully, leaving Chicago and Chicagoans in a stronger place.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Emanuel previously represented Chicago in the U.S. House and served as President Obama's chief of staff for nearly two years, bringing that trademark brash style to the mayor's office. He declared the city a Trump-free zone and harshly criticized the president's immigration policies. Twelve candidates have announced they will run to replace Emanuel next February.

ROMANS: All right, an epic quarterfinal match at the U.S. open. Did top-seed Rafael Nadal survive? Hines Ward with details in the "Bleacher Report," next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:21:30] BRIGGS: President Trump weighing in on Nike's new ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick.

ROMANS: Hines Ward has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report".

Nice to see you, Hines.

HINEWS WARD, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, guys. Yes, a day after Nike decided to make Colin Kaepernick one of the faces of its 30th anniversary of the "Just Do It" campaign, President Trump says the company made the wrong choice.

In an interview with "The Daily Caller," the president said, I think it's a terrible message and a message that shouldn't be sent. There's no reason for it. But he added, in another way, it is what the country's all about, that you have certain freedoms to do things that other people think you shouldn't do. But I personally am on a different side of it.

Kaepernick kicked off the protest movement amongst some NFL players in the 2016 season when he began kneeling during the national anthem to raise awareness about racial injustice.

Also, Eagles defensive end Chris Long, who has been a vocal supporter of Kaepernick and even donated his own salary to charity says Nike is sending an important message.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHRIS LONG, EAGLES DEFENSIVE END: And this is a step in the right direction and it's for the reason of there are kids looking at that and saying, well, you know, if I take a risk like Colin and speak my mind and tell the truth, am I going to be kind of shut out from the mainstream? And Nike's doing a good job of reinforcing that that's not true.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WARD: Now, the NFL is also standing up for Kaepernick. It released a statement yesterday saying, the league believes in dialogue, understanding, and unity. The social justice issues that Colin Kaepernick and other professional athletes have raised deserves our attention and action.

Meantime, the first billboard featuring Kaepernick, well, it went up in San Francisco yesterday, you know, the city where he used to play quarterback.

Now, if you went to bed early, you missed an epic match at the U.S. Open. Top seed Rafael Nadal does deep to win the longest match of the tournament. Defending champion lost the first set 6-0, but he stormed back after a nearly five-hour battle that just ended just after 2:00 a.m. this morning. Now, Nadal survives and moves on to the semifinals on Friday.

And Serena Williams is one step closer to winning her record-tying 24th grand slam championship. She beat Karolina Pliskova in straight sets last night. It was sweet revenge for Serena because Pliskova, she was the last player she lost to at the U.S. Open two years ago. Now, Serena is headed to the final four.

Back to you guys. I just love seeing Serena dressed up. She's doing the style on the court.

BRIGGS: She is so fierce. As for Nadal, you know you're in bad shape when you watch the end of the match on your way to work at 2:00 a.m. fantastic.

Thank you, Himes.

ROMANS: All right. Himes, nice to see you. Thank you.

WARD: No problem.

ROMANS: A Democratic primary upset overnight. The challenger who beat a ten-term incumbent, next.

BRIGGS: Plus, the war between President Trump and Watergate reporter Bob Woodward over his damaging new book.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[05:28:38] AYANNA PRESSLEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Well, it seems like change is on the way.

(CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Another Democratic challenger pulls off a major primary upset.

BRIGGS: Tropical storm Gordon turning deadly as it makes landfall near the Alabama/Mississippi border.

ROMANS: The Trump White House blasting the explosive allegations in a new book from Watergate legend Bob Woodward.

BRIGGS: Protesters rattle the Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings with a crucial day of questioning ahead. We will hear from Kavanaugh today.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everybody. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It's about 30 minutes past the hour this morning. Nice to see you all.

Let's begin here, that's breaking news overnight, a new Democratic primary upset from the left. In Massachusetts, Boston City Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley soundly defeating ten-term incumbent congressman Mike Capuano. The 44-year-old Pressley joining a growing list of younger, more progressive Democrats, many of them women and people of color, winning competitive primaries.

CNN's Miguel Marquez filed this report from Pressley's victory celebration.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christine, Dave, just an absolute upset here in the seventh district of Massachusetts. This district had been tested two times by pollster, in February and this August. In February, Capuano was up by 12 points. This August, just a few weeks ago, he was up by 13 points.

She got people out that don't typically vote. She's a city councilperson in Boston. And even though she was part of the political establishment, even though he --