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EARLY START

Ayanna Pressley Upsets Michal Capuano In Massachusetts House Race; White House Tries To Defuse Explosive Woodward Book; Kavanaugh Faces Day Two Of Confirmation; Tropical Storm Gordon Turns Deadly; Tech Giant Execs On Capitol Hill. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired September 5, 2018 - 05:30   ET

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


[05:30:00] MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This August, just a few weeks ago, he was up by 13 points.

She brought people out that don't typically vote. She's a city councilperson in Boston.

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 beat him by getting people out with 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.

AYANNA PRESSLEY (D), NOMINEE, MASSACHUSETTS 7TH HOUSE DISTRICT: Mike Capuano is unapologetically himself. On many occasions throughout the years when there was a strike or rally, I would find myself sharing a stage, a microphone or a bullhorn 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 and thinks he may be the victim of a very blue wave already -- Christine, Dave.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Miguel Marquez, thank you.

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, the award-winning veteran journalist is a Democratic operative because the book, released two months before the midterms, betrays 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 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 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.

And what's even more remarkable is that Dowd and Trump's current attorney Jay Sekulow then go and reenact 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)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: 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 reported in the book to have called President Trump an idiot, erratic and unhinged. Woodward reports an irate Kelly ranted at a staff meeting "We're in Crazytown. This is the worst job I've ever had."

The book portrays Defense Sec. James Mattis as exasperated and alarmed by the president. Mattis quoted as saying, "Trump has the understanding of a fifth or sixth-grader."

Both men among the chorus of administration officials pushing back. Chief of staff Kelly saying he and the president have, quote, "an incredibly candid and strong relationship" and calls the story, quote "total B.S."

Mattis denying 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 Bob Woodward decided to release audio recordings to prove he made an effort to interview the president and 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 VIDEO CLIP)

BOB WOODWARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE WASHINGTON POST, AUTHOR, "FEAR: TRUMP IN THE WHITE HOUSE": 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 --

TRUMP: Right.

WOODWARD: -- 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 VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Trump did later acknowledge Lindsey Graham told him in a private meeting that Woodward wanted an interview.

[05:35:04] Also note, the president concedes on tape there that Woodward has always been fair. Overnight, Mr. Trump suggested the legendary journalist included lies and phony sources in his book. Woodward says he stands by his reporting.

His first interview is Sunday morning.

ROMANS: Let's bring in "CNN POLITICS" digital editor Zach Wolf live in Washington.

Zach, Bob Woodward --

ZACHARY WOLF, DIGITAL DIRECTOR, CNN POLITICS: Good morning.

ROMANS: -- is meticulous, he is well-sourced. He is trusted by insiders in Washington and he paints this sort of picture of people around the president who are trying to protect the democracy from the president himself.

Is this a game changer, though, for this administration and this president?

WOLF: You know, I think you hear Trump come out and say it's totally fabricated. It's getting -- it's not like this book is an outlier. It's not like it sounds so much different than "Fire and Fury" did -- than any of the magazine accounts or the other accounts of former staffers who have -- who have come out.

The quotes in the book are incredible. The access that Bob Woodward had is incredible but it doesn't sound so much different. So it's getting very hard to not believe that this is sort of the state of things in the White House.

I'm not sure that that makes it a game changer because the president's supporters are so engrained with him, but it certainly just another tick that this is, in fact, what's going on there.

(Audio Gap)

BRIGGS: -- campaign and the "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD" (audio gap). You could talk about Charlottesville, you could talk about Stormy Daniels and how many times people said is this a game changer.

ROMANS: And it wasn't.

BRIGGS: Call me skeptical. The truest thing he ever said was if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue he would not lose supporters. I'm not sure this changes the narrative or the game at all.

But what is a game changer, politically speaking, is what's happening in the Democratic Party last night -- a huge upset in Massachusetts. Ayanna Pressley coming from I guess the far-left to knock off the incumbent, a very popular Congressman Capuano.

Look, Tip O'Neill famously said all politics is local and demographics played a huge role there in that district.

What is happening nationally, though?

WOLF: I think that the -- it's clear that the party wants to be a younger party that looks a little bit more like the people it represents. This is a majority-minority district, meaning most of the people in this district aren't white. They have an older white man representing them and his policies seemed very close in line with his challenger Ayanna Pressley here.

ROMANS: Yes.

WOLF: And she even kind of copped to that but -- that, you know, change, they were saying, needs to come and that the district needs to be represented by the people who are there. And you saw the same thing with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York where they said that the district needs to look a little bit more like me. And a lot of that's happening, particularly for Democrats.

ROMANS: Well, then you look at Florida -- the governor race. You have a progressive mayor of Tallahassee there who's closing in really on the Republican for this -- the Republican who has tied his -- has tied his -- his, you know --

BRIGGS: To Trump. He is all Trump in this race. ROMANS: Absolutely, and look at that. Andrew Gillum, 50 percent to 47 percent. So very obviously, very close within three points.

But what's happening in that race?

WOLF: Yes, it's very close, it's very early. I think it will be interesting to see if that can sustain.

There are some ethics questions about Gillum that DeSantis, the Republican, is really trying to flog out there. I don't know if anything will come from that. And that there's also I think a very overt racial element to that race that writ large in the state of Florida.

ROMANS: Yes.

WOLF: I'm not sure how that will play out --

ROMANS: Yes.

WOLF: -- but that's certainly coloring that race in a -- in a way that the others have not been.

BRIGGS: Right, and if the polls are accurate in the first place, Gillum wouldn't even be the Democratic nominee.

WOLF: Right.

BRIGGS: They didn't give him much of a chance --

ROMANS: Right.

BRIGGS: -- to begin with.

Let's move to day two for Brett Kavanaugh -- the Supreme Court confirmation hearings. And day one was an absolute yes. As they call it here in the "New York Post" -- a "Full Court Mess."

Here's what Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said about the proceedings.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BEN SASSE (R-NE), MEMBER, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: 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 risk-averse to do our actual jobs."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: We saw the resistance on full display from the protesters breaking in to the request to adjourn before this thing even began over document requests.

Did the resistance lay a glove on Brett Kavanaugh or was it effective?

WOLF: Well, I mean, let's point out -- and I think you've said this already today -- that only in the U.S. Senate can you set aside an entire day and only get through opening statements.

ROMANS: I know.

WOLF: I mean, part of that is because of the delay from Democrats. I'm not sure that people will, in the annals of all of this, remember day one of this hearing.

There is some interesting video there and there was him refusing to shake hands with the Parkland victim's father. But ultimately, this hearing is going to come down to the coming days when we actually hear what he has to say about some things.

[05:40:04] ROMANS: All right, Zach Wolf. Nice to see you this morning. Thank you so much.

Forty minutes past the hour.

BRIGGS: Thanks, Zach.

ROMANS: And, Tropical Storm Gordon making landfall late last night west of the Alabama-Mississippi border. It has -- it has already turned deadly. A child killed in Pensacola, Florida when a tree fell on top of a mobile home.

Strong winds from that storm also knocking out power in the Florida Panhandle and southern Alabama leaving thousands in the dark.

Let's bring in our meteorologist Jennifer Gray. She joins us now from Gulfport, Mississippi. She's got the latest. Hi, Jennifer.

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEROLOGIST: Hi, Christine.

Yes, the worst of the storm definitely happened in places in southern Alabama as well as the Florida Panhandle.

The storm is now north of Hattiesburg, still carrying about 40-mile- an-hour winds, hanging on as a tropical storm. It will continue its route to the north and continue to weaken as it does so.

There's still a lot of rain though left with this across portions of Alabama as well as the Florida Panhandle where we had some flood advisories there. Two to four inches an hour possible, so still a little bit of a concern for flooding as this storm travels to the north. Also a concern will be brief tornados as this storm continues to push to the north.

Across Gulfport, things will be quickly getting back to normal today. Most of the activity happened to our east.

As far as the power outages go there are about 30,000 people without power across portions of Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle. Most of those being around the Mobile area so crews will be working to try to get their power restored -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right, another busy day ahead for you. Thank you so much for that. Jennifer Grey for us in Gulfport. BRIGGS: All right.

Ahead, two titans of Silicon Valley head back to Capitol Hill for another grilling. A live breakdown just ahead on EARLY START.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:46:03] ROMANS: All right.

Executives from Facebook and Twitter head to Capitol Hill today. They'll defend their efforts to thwart foreign influence campaigns targeting the 2018 midterm elections.

And, Twitter's CEO will likely push back on accusations of political bias against the right. Google executives are expected to be a no- show.

CNN's Samuel Burke joins us live from London.

And Samuel, it's so interesting. Yesterday we heard from Alex Stamos, the former Facebook chief security officer, and he said Congress has kind of been asleep at the switch here on these concerns about meddling in the election. I mean, really mired in their own political problems -- listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEX STAMOS, FORMER CHIEF SECURITY OFFICER, FACEBOOK: Considering how much things blew up later in the year, there was a lot less interest from Congress than I would have expected.

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN SENIOR TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: Really?

STAMOS: Yes, so most of the Republicans were not interested in revisiting what happening in 2016. And because we were not directly talking about activity by the Trump campaign it was of less interest --

SEGALL: Yes.

STAMOS: -- to the Democratic side.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Other than that, everything's great.

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT, CNN MONEY, LONDON: Alex Stamos has also said that it's too late to safeguard our elections --

ROMANS: This year.

BURKE: -- the midterm elections --

BRIGGS: Yes.

ROMANS: Yes.

BURKE: -- this year. He said, too late -- maybe 2020. But in terms of social media, well it's much too late to effectively rehabilitate the elections.

You see what he is saying right there -- election security for the 2018 midterms. "There are straightforward steps the U.S. can take to prepare for potential attacks in 2020."

He says we need laws. The big problem here is that Congress has not laid out what all social media companies need to do, not just Facebook and Twitter, the big ones. There are also so many small ones.

I think there are two big things we're going to see today. One, foreign interference -- there are going to be discussions about that. And number two, is -- are these political platforms biased -- these algorithms biased in some way.

Here's what we're expecting the executives to say. You'll hear Sheryl Sandberg saying things along the lines of we took too long to spot the problems. We took too long to react to the problems.

ROMANS: Yes.

BURKE: Jack Dorsey is going to say we've done studies, we don't see any biases.

And what for me is very interesting, don't expect the stock prices to move. The investors have seen these executives --

ROMANS: Yes.

BURKE: -- be grilled before and they know that Congress doesn't understand technology that well and therefore, is unlikely to create many regulations that could affect these companies.

ROMANS: It's funny those companies lobbied for a really long time though not to be regulated also by --

BRIGGS: Well --

ROMANS: Washington doesn't understand how it works. So now they say oh, we need laws. We need -- we need laws to give us the rules of the road after for 20 years saying we don't laws.

BRIGGS: This will turn into partisan bickering just like every other Senate hearing we've seen over the last couple of years.

Jack Dorsey will also talk about the need for transparency.

But, Mark Zuckerberg preempted Sheryl Sandberg's visit in "The Washington Post" writing, "We've made a lot of progress but companies such as Facebook face sophisticated, well-funded adversaries who are getting better (sic) over time."

But he ends with the key part here. "It will take the combined forces of the private and public sectors to protest America's democracy."

Are we seeing a combined effort? Will we in the future?

BURKE: I think we are seeing a combined effort in the sense that we know that on the private side these companies have created more artificial intelligence.

ROMANS: Yes.

BURKE: They've invested in more human moderators. Imagine that -- human beings looking at content and then flagging it.

But they are also working closely with private investigators -- these cybersecurity firms -- and law enforcement. But what we hear from folks like Alex Stamos, the former Facebook security executive, that there's just not enough investment on the government side.

They've been looking at things like the grid. We've gone on for years about the grid. Meanwhile, we've had this foreign interference in our elections on social media so our eyes were on the wrong ball.

I've just got to say don't underestimate Jack Dorsey. He's been on this media tour so he's had a lot --

ROMANS: Yes.

BURKE: -- of practice on CNN.

Sheryl Sandberg used to be the chief of staff for Lawrence Summers during the Clinton years, so she's got a lot of political experience.

[05:50:04] They're going to be very steady --

ROMANS: Yes.

BURKE: -- in all estimations.

ROMANS: She does have a lot of Washington experience and she'll know how to talk to those -- to those lawmakers.

I think what's really important to underscore here is that the adversaries are diverse. They are well-funded as Mark Zuckerberg said. But also, they're working real hard right now to undermine the midterms and the general presumably in 2020.

BURKE: And to your point Christine, for two years we've been basically talking about Russia. And now, just a few weeks ago --

ROMANS: Iran.

BURKE: -- it looks like the influence campaign is coming from Iran. The threat --

BRIGGS: Right.

BURKE: -- is changing so fast. And so many countries have seen what Russia has been able to do so effectively and now they're wanting do to it not just against Americans but even for their own people. We're getting more and more documentation coming out about how governments are using these tools to manipulate and track their own citizens.

ROMANS: It's so depressing how well they have been able to push -- you know, just drive these wedges on race, on religion, on culture in America and just exploit that so well.

BRIGGS: Side bet on which senator interviews the empty chair for Google's presence that's not there. That will happen. It's about theatrics on Capitol Hill.

Thank you, Samuel Burke -- appreciate it.

ROMANS: Nice to see you, Samuel.

BURKE: How a good day.

BRIGGS: OK.

North Carolina's unconstitutionally gerrymandered map will be used in the upcoming midterm elections. A federal court ruling there is insufficient time to redraw it before November and imposing a new schedule for the elections would likely confuse voters and depress turnout.

Republicans hold 10 of North Carolina's 13 seats in the House. A redrawn map could affect the overall balance of power in the House. The current North Carolina map will not be used again after November sixth.

ROMANS: All right.

Famous filmmaker Tyler Perry stepping up to try to solve a 15-year-old mystery.

BRIGGS: And the mystery surrounding the most famous slippers in movie history is now solved.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:56:37] BRIGGS: Filmmaker Tyler Perry, along with civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, announcing a civil suit against a former sheriff's deputy they believe may be responsible for the disappearance of two men some 15 years ago.

Terrance Williams and Felipe Santos went missing in Naples, Florida -- one in 2003 and the other in 2004. Both were last seen with then- Deputy Steve Calkins who arrested them. He was later fired for giving conflicting statements to investigators but no charges were ever filed.

Tyler Perry doubling the reward he was offering at $200,000 for information leading to a conviction in the disappearance of the two men.

ROMANS: It wasn't the wizard but an FBI sting operation that recovered the most famous slippers in movie history 13 years after they were stolen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUDY GARLAND, ACTRESS, "THE WIZARD OF OZ": Tap your heels together three times.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: There's no place like home.

The ruby slippers that Dorothy wore in "The Wizard of Oz" were taken in 2005 from the Judy Garland Museum in Minnesota. The purloined pumps, size 5 1/2, are one of four known pairs that Garland wore in that classic film. It is estimated they're worth more than $2 million.

Authorities are still looking for whoever stole the slippers. The slippers were returned --

BRIGGS: Yes.

ROMANS: -- but the mystery remains.

BRIGGS: Yes. "Oz" turns 80 next summer.

ROMANS: Really?

BRIGGS: Finally, Fallon, Meyers, and Colbert not holding back on the president as portrayed in Bob Woodward's new book. Here are your late-night laughs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIMMY FALLON, NBC HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON": In his upcoming book about the White House, reporter Bob Woodward says that President Trump regrets criticizing white supremacists and calls it the biggest f***ing mistake he's made.

Then Trump looked at Don, Jr. and said actually second biggest mistake. I'm sorry, Donnie. Come back, Donnie.

STEPHEN COLBERT, CBS HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": He is reportedly scolding his generals about Afghanistan, saying you should be killing guys. You don't need a strategy to kill people.

Yes, and who needs a strategy in war? We all remember what Eisenhower said at D-Day. "Helter Skelter, little piggies."

SETH MEYERS, CBS HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS": Woodward's book also claims that when President Trump learned of special counsel Robert Mueller's appointment he said, quote, "Everybody's trying to get me. Well, not everybody." ROMANS: All right. While you were sleeping they had a field day with the Woodward book -- the comedians did.

BRIGGS: Yes, they're back from their break and they've got --

ROMANS: They are.

BRIGGS: -- plenty of material.

ROMANS: They are.

Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now. We'll see you tomorrow.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESSLEY: It seems like change is on the way.

MARQUEZ: The blue wave took out a very blue member of Congress for a bluer one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Women and minorities are coming out in huge numbers this primary season.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People in the White House recognize the risk of this president in trying to protect his country.

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: If he's got a problem with Sessions, just fire him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This book is not so much fake news as it's old news. You couldn't have a portrait of someone that's more unfit for the office president.

(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, September fifth, 6:00 here in New York. Six o'clock comes fast when there's breaking news.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, especially when your book club assignments get longer and longer overnight.

CAMEROTA: And that's what's happening.

And we do have breaking news overnight.

Another progressive candidate pulls off a political stunner, this time in Massachusetts. Boston city councilor Ayanna Pressley defeating a 10-term Democratic congressman. Pressley is now poised to become the state's first black woman in Congress.