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EARLY START

1-Millions Ordered to Evacuate from Coastal Areas; White House Braces for Book Release; Trump's Approval Rating Sinks; Dallas Police Shooting Victim Remembered; Sam Darnold Start Off Shaky But Ends Strong. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired September 11, 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: Folds supported Bernie Sanders in the 2016 election.

[05:00:01] He was called a member of the unhinged left by the National Republican Senatorial Committee for performing at a fund-raiser for Tennessee's former Democratic governor Phil Bredesen, who is running for the state's open Senate seat.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: He is doing quite well in the polling as well.

Cynthia Nixon defending the unusual bagel order she placed on Sunday, as you can see in this video shot by the Gothamist Website. The actress and candidate for governor of New York ordered cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese at a Manhattan deli. Sounds good, right?

Well, she didn't stop. She added red onion, capers, tomatoes and lox. For the uninitiated, that's smoked salmon. Nixon telling reporters not to knock it until they try it. She said, quote, don't yuck my yum.

Romans, that sounds awful.

ROMANS: I'm either -- like New Yorkers really take their bagels seriously. You keep -- the cinnamon raisin is for cream cheese. The everything is for lox and cream.

BRIGGS: We cannot mix the two, right?

ROMANS: She's an independent woman who can do --

BRIGGS: We'll try it here on the show. I'm telling you.

ROMANS: All right. Let's get a check of CNNMoney this morning.

Relief on the U.S. stocks Monday. The S&P and the Nasdaq snapped A four-day losing streak snapped. Dow fell a bit. Stocks markets in Asia higher here this morning on news about possible second meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

You can there, Tokyo closed up 1.3 percent. Watch shares of Apple, the companies that supply it, shares of companies that supply parts and assemble products for Apple fell yesterday. The drop happened after President Trump said that Apple should shift production to the United States.

Apple's big iPhone event is happening tomorrow. It will take place in the company's underground Steve Jobs Theater in California. Apple CEO Tim Cook is expected to announce a new set of the iPhone X and fancy features from the X could be expanded to other phones.

Apple is expected to remove the physical home button and the fingerprint sensor on new phones. Those features could be replaced with swiping gestures and face-detecting technology. It's already featured on the iPhone X. You could see new hardware on the Apple Watch, possibly an update on wireless headphones.

Tesla's bonds are imploding, $1.8 billion of the electric carmaker's bonds due in August 2025, plunged to a record low Friday. They traded for 86 cents on the dollar, down from 98 cents a year ago. More than $9 billion of Tesla debt is scheduled to mature before 2025.

As Elon Musk steals headlines, he is ramping up Model 3 production which could take pressure off the company. Tesla's share price, stock price plunged 29 percent from the peak on the day that Musk tweeted about a go private plan. This is despite a 6 percent rebound on Monday.

A lot of news. Tesla is in the news. A lot of pressure.

BRIGGS: And particularly on those podcasts with Joe Rogan.

All right. EARLY START continues right now.

(MUSIC)

ROMANS: More than a million people ordered to evacuate as Hurricane Florence approaches. We have the very latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center.

BRIGGS: The White House on guard ahead of the release of Bob Woodward's book today. Trying to say it is business as usual as they hunt for Woodward's sources.

ROMANS: And President Trump's approval rating sinks, now at a new low among political independents.

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

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. Tuesday, September 11th.

President Trump will start the day in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, but then President Trump on hurricane preps. Millions waiting for this monster storm. Hurricane Florence expected to hit North Carolina Thursday night as a category four. And that means sustained winds near 140 miles per hour with higher gusts.

Florence is expected to strengthen tonight and possibly to a catastrophic category five. It is forecast to slow down likely increasing heavy rain and flooding. ROMANS: To get a sense of just how strong Florence is here, look at

the satellite image of the storm out in the Atlantic. Note smooth tiny eye at the center of the hurricane. That signifies a very strong, well-organized storm.

Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us live from the CNN weather center with the new hurricane center forecast.

What are they saying? They'll be updating us repeatedly now until landfall. And I'm hearing comparisons to Hugo.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. You know, that's the best comparison we have as far as proximity to where it made landfall back in '89. And also, the strength of the storm is being very comparable to that storm as well. But the latest update, 5:00 a.m. update coming in, we now have hurricane watches along coastal South Carolina, all the way up to the border of Virginia and same goes for storm surge watches that have been issued across the region.

But everything else remains the same, still a category four, still 140-mile-an-hour sustained winds and storm pushing north and north/northwest at 15 miles per hour. Here we go. And we know water temperatures from here forward will continue to get warmer.

[05:05:00] You need water temps at 82 degrees Fahrenheit to maintain the tropical system. We'll go to about 85, eventually to about 88 before it makes landfall.

That's why there is that outside shot of this potentially even strengthening further, up to a category five as it approaches land. But you take a look, that rapid intensification in place, 36-hour period from a cat one to category four, remarkable system.

And, of course, we looked very carefully at where it's going to end up. And consistency has been all the name of the game with this as far as kind of pinpointing South Carolina and North Carolina and Virginia. At this point, the latest models bring this in some time into the overnight hours now of Thursday into potentially early Friday morning, coming in as category four somewhere around coastal regions of North Carolina from Wilmington up towards Cape Hatteras.

The spaghetti model guidance kind of shows the concentration of which right now around, areas around Wilmington there is the best likelihood for landfall. And Hatteras certainly in line as well. And when you look at the comparison of the most reliable models, you typically go to the American and European, American in red. European coming in blue. Very similar as far as where they are lined up here going into the overnight hours of Thursday.

But notice once they make landfall, both models have it hover for a day or potentially more. That's where it really becomes a dangerous scenario here with the rainfall amounts of 20 or more inches on the coastal communities and the storm surge with high tide which is at 11:00 p.m. on Thursday night, storm surge as much as 20 feet in some of these areas guys, above normal sea level. So, again, it could really decimate some of these coastal communities. BRIGGS: OK. So, heed those warnings. Pedram, thanks so much.

A million people could hit the roads in the region today as mandatory evacuations are in effect for coastal areas in states directly in the path of Florence. United, Delta, American, spirit and Southwest Airlines offering travel waivers and advisories for airports in the storm's trajectory. President Trump approving an emergency declaration for north and South Carolina ahead of Thursday's anticipated landfall.

CNN's Martin Savidge has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Dave. Good morning, Christine.

Mandatory evacuation order for the community of Carolina Beach here, which is on the barrier island, goes into effect in just a short while. Still, no real feeling of the storm other than when you look out for the water. You can see the way the waves are rolling in here, and the local say that is not the way they typically come in.

So, that does suggests there is something lurking just over the horizon here. The people who are enjoying it most, you can probably see the surfers themselves as they go out to ride. There was an emergency meeting of this community last night and they really were using some very strong language.

They were saying this storm coming this way and it is expected to come this way is perhaps the strongest they have ever seen here. It certainly the strongest they felt since 1954 and hurricane Hazel.

Let's show what you they fear may happen. It is the storm surge and everyone knows about that. The water pushed ahead of the storm that comes ashore.

See these berms? They run along the beach here. They go, well, for as long as the eye can see. The water is expected to go over those berms. They're 12-feet high.

That means the storm surge I expected to be 13 feet or more. In the marina, the water level is expected to be 9-feet above the ground. That's why the mandatory evacuation order is going into effect. They hope to have everyone on the island is getting off by 8:00 p.m. Wednesday because that is when the tropical storm-force winds are anticipated here. They are definitely worried -- Dave and Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right, 8:00 p.m. Wednesday. Martin, thank you for that.

President Trump still pushing back on claims made in Bob Woodward's new book and echoed in "The New York Times" op-ed penned by an anonymous senior administration official. The White House repeating the president's call for the Justice Department to investigate the identity of the unidentified opinion writer citing national security concerns.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: If that individual is in meetings that were national security is being discussed or other important topics and they are attempting to undermine the executive branch, that was certainly be problematic and something that the Department of Justice should look into.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Sanders says lie detectors are not being considered to unmask the op-ed author. The press secretary also taking aim at Woodward's book "Fear" which comes out today, depicting chaos and paranoia in the West Wing. She claims the journalist was reckless.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDERS: A number of people have come out and said that Woodward never reached out to corroborate statements attributed to them which seems incredibly reckless for a book to make such outrageous claims.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Meantime, Woodward's publisher says it will be printing a million copies of the book to keep up with demand.

Woodward appeared on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" last night, responding to officials like Defense Secretary Jim Mattis who claimed they never made statements that appear in Woodward's book.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB WOODWARD, AUTHOR, "FEAR: TRUMP IN THE WHITE HOUSE": These are people who are trying to survive and keep their jobs.

[05:10:04] So, look, and I know other reporters who heard things from those people and they heard the exact same thing and it was off the record so they could not use it.

When I did the reporting for this book, no off the record.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: We get more now from CNN's Jeff Zeleny at the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Dave, at the first White House briefing in some 19 days, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked, of course, so many questions about the two anonymous accounts that really have been shaking this White House, offering deep portraits of deep dysfunction inside the West Wing here. Of course, Bob Woodward's book which was officially released today, and that anonymous op-ed from last week in "The New York Times." Now, Sara Sanders said the White House is not focusing on trying to

find out who the author is. She said they're trying to focus on the matter at hand and change the subject and move on. The president, of course, perhaps hasn't gotten that memo. He has been very focused, we are told, internally finding out who this is.

But we also saw an extraordinary comment from the vice president, saying that he would submit to a lie detector test. So, I asked Sarah Sanders this question.

Do you know if the president believes these denials that have been coming in from the top advisers or does he believe that it's someone from within? Does he believe that lie detector test should be issued as the vice president volunteered to do?

SANDERS: No lie detectors are being used or talked about or looked at as a possibility. Frankly, the White House and the staff here are focused on doing our jobs. Not deal with cowards that refuse to put their names in an anonymous letter.

ZELENY: So, clearly, the White House is trying to put the name on the mystery behind all this, you know, Washington whodunit if you will, rather than the substance actually behind these anonymous accounts, the substance of the fact that top aides here are trying to keep the president from harming the country in some respects through what they call, you know, these strange impulses that he has had.

So, clearly, the White House is trying to turn the page beyond this, but the president has kept fueling it himself. We will see if that continues. Now, of course, the president will be flying to Shanksville, Pennsylvania, for a brief stop there to mark 9/11, of course, and coming back to the White House having a meeting as well about hurricane planning and preparation. But it is still the two anonymous accounting shaking the White House that have certainly created a deep sense of paranoia inside these walls -- Dave and Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRIGGS: All right. Thanks, Jeff.

As he mentioned there, President Trump is headed to Shanksville, Pennsylvania, today to commemorate the 17th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Vice President Pence will attend a ceremony at Pentagon with Defense Secretary Mattis and at Ground Zero, moments of silence to commemorate the moment each tower fell. They will also continue the annual tradition of reading the names of the victims.

A sharp drop in president's approval rating in a new CNN poll. He is down six points in the last month, reaching a new low among independents. Just 36 percent say they approve of how the president is handling his job, 58 percent disapprove. He is doing significantly worse among independents, only 31 percent approve, a plunge of sixteen points in one month.

The president is also faring worse on a range of attributes, only about one-third of those polled say he is honest, cares about people like them and will unite the country. Only 32 percent say they are proud to have Mr. Trump as their president.

But on the upside for President Trump, two-thirds of those polled say the economy is doing better.

ROMANS: All right. Speaking of the economy, time for an early start on your money. The White House struggling to keep its focus on that strong economy. The president mucking up the message with false information about just how strong the economy is. Forcing his top economist to come out and contradict the boss.

Here's the bad info. Yesterday, Mr. Trump wrote the GDP rate is higher than the unemployment rate for the first time in over 100 years. That's not true. It happened 62, 63 times.

At the White House press briefing, Kevin Hassett, his top economist, cleaned it up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVIN HASSETT, CHAIRMAN, WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: What is true is that it's the highest in ten years and at some point somebody probably conveyed it to him adding a zero to that, and they shouldn't have done that. And I can say at least, we number geeks here at the White House are grateful for -- when the press finds mistakes that we make, we like making mistakes, but we're grateful when they're pointed because we want to correct them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: You're welcome, because sometimes there is not much gratitude when we point them out.

By the way, it has been since 2006. So, it's not 10 years, it's technically 12 years. What is 20 percent among friends?

With 56 days to midterms, the economy is a strong selling point for the president's agenda. Can they stay on it or does the personality get in the way of the data?

STELTER: Yes, it's just a fascinating dichotomy. We'll talk to Julian Zelizer about the fact that have seen a president with such economic numbers and low overall approval.

[05:15:05]A head, new details of the young man shoot and killed in his own apartment by an off-duty police officer. That officer charged with manslaughter.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BRIGGS: The scene last night at Harding University. The vigil for Botham Shem Jean who attended the Arkansas School. Students remembering the 26-year-old who was shot and killed in his own apartment last Thursday by off duty Dallas police officer Amber Guyger. ROMANS: Also last night, protesters marching demanding justice for

Jean. About 100 people took to the streets demanding Guyger face murder charges. Right now, the 30-year-old is charged with manslaughter. New details about the shooting emerged yesterday in Guyger's arrest affidavit. It says she claims she mistook Jean's fourth floor apartment for her own apartment one floor below.

[05:20:05] She says the door was already ajar when she tried to used her key card, her fob to open it. She claims she saw Jeans' silhouette across the room -- again, she thought she was in her apartment -- pulled her service weapon. The affidavit says she yelled commands at Jean and shot him when he did not comply. Although, of course, he was in his apartment.

CNN's Ed Lavandera has more from Dallas.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, the mother of the 26-year-old man who was shot and killed by a Dallas police officer while he was in his own apartment says she simply wants to know why and how all of this could have happened. There is still much confusion and very few answers as to what transpired when Dallas police officer Amber Guyger says she mistakenly walked into Botham Shem Jean's apartment south of downtown Dallas last week and fired the shots that killed him.

But the attorneys for the victim's family said the officer received special treatment. They don't know why it took three days for investigators to arrest and charge her with manslaughter. They insist that could have been easily done in the hours just after the shooting.

Dallas police say they want to be transparent. That is why they called in the Texas Rangers, state police force, to investigate this shooting. Those investigators worked throughout the weekend leading up to the criminal charges being filed Sunday night.

But now, the district attorney in Dallas says there is a possibility these criminal charges could be upgraded to murder. The prosecutors say they are going to present more evidence and testimony to a Dallas grand jury, and based on that, that grand jury, the D.A. says, could choose to upgrade the criminal charges from manslaughter to murder.

But the timeline for that will probably take several weeks. Meanwhile, the family for Botham Jean say they are planning funeral service for later this week -- Dave and Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right. Ed Lavandera, thank you for that, Ed.

BRIGGS: Just a brutal story.

Ahead, long suffering New York Jets fans have seen the future, although it did not start bright for 21-year-old Sam Darnold. Andy Scholes has the "Bleacher Report" next. What a debut. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:26:48] BRIGGS: Week one of the NFL season in the books. The Jets dominating the Lions on Monday night football and they're fans taking over Detroit.

ROMANS: Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report".

Hey, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, guys.

You know, Jets have not been to the playoffs since 2012. But they have new hope this year with 21-year-old rookie quarterback Sam Darnold. But his NFL career did not get off to a great start. Very first play Darnold rolling out and it is intercepted and taken back for a touchdown. Now, Darnold, he would shake that off nicely though.

Second quarter, watch him drop this pass nicely to Robby Anderson for the 41-yard touchdown. That's up the Jets up 17-7. They would go on to crush the Lions, 48-17. Check out the Jets fans in Detroit. Near the end of the game when the Lions fans left, they gathered behind the team's bench and chanting J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets, of course.

All right. Jon Gruden making his return to the Raiders sideline last night. It got off to a good storm for Marshawn Lynch going beast mode. His teammate gave him help. That is one of the only highlights for Oakland. Rams defense was too good, making stop three times, returning one of them for a 50-yard touchdown. L.A. rules 33-13.

NFL coaches making their debuts with teams this weekend finished 0-7 in week one.

Justin Verlander making his return to Detroit last night for the first time since he was traded last season. Verlander getting a standing ovation from the fans he played for 13 years in front of. He pitched seven innings and struck out ten and getting the win. When he left the game, the fans got another standing ovation. He said that moment was very emotional for him.

All right. Finally, the Phillies and nationals game postponed despite the ground crew and their blowtorches. Check this out, the Phillies ground crew did not expect that much rain over the weekend. They left the tarp off. They ended up getting 1.5 inch it's of rain -- inches of rain at the ballpark.

They tried everything to dry the field, including blow torches, flame throwers. Bryce Harper got a rake out trying to help, it didn't work, guys. They're going to end up playing a double header today. I found it funny they were out with blowtorches.

ROMANS: It did not work, but they had a lot of fun.

SCHOLES: Probably.

BRIGGS: It made one heck of a creme brulee. SCHOLES: You got to be careful with those.

BRIGGS: With the delay, right?

All right. Andy Scholes, thank you, my friend.

SCHOLES: All right.

ROMANS: All right. Hurricane Florence barreling towards the East Coast here. More than a million people ordered to evacuate from the coastal areas. CNN weather center has the latest forecast next.