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EARLY START

New GOP Problem: Alabama's Senate Candidate; Will President Trump Meet President Putin?; Melania Trump Speaks Out On Role As First Lady. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired November 10, 2017 - 05:30   ET

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


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[05:30:39] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROY MOORE (R-AL), CANDIDATE FOR U.S. SENATOR IN ALABAMA: You know, before we can make America great again we've got to make America good again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Explosive "Washington Post" report accusing Senate candidate Roy Moore of engaging in sexual conduct with a 14- year-old. President Trump and Republican lawmakers calling on Moore to step down if the allegations are true.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, we are no longer enemies, we are friends. And this port city is bustling with ships from all around the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump in Vietnam this morning along with Vladimir Putin, but will the two leaders meet face-to-face? The Kremlin says yes. That's not what the White House is saying this morning.

BRIGGS: No.

KOSIK: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Alison Kosik. Good morning.

BRIGGS: We'll see what happens there. It should be intriguing.

I'm Dave Briggs. It is 31 minutes past the hour.

Republicans, this morning, trying to figure out what to about their sudden Roy Moore problem. The Alabama Senate candidate accused in a stunning "Washington Post" report of sexual conduct with an underage girl. She was 14.

KOSIK: A parade of top Republicans echoing President Trump, calling for Moore to drop out of the special election race if the accusations are true.

Alabama secretary of state said Moore can withdraw but that it's simply too late to replace him on the December 12th special election ballot, apart from a write-in candidacy.

BRIGGS: Moore is no friend of the GOP establishment, having beat its preferred candidate Sen. Luther Strange in a September run-off.

KOSIK: But some Republicans are coming to Moore's defense.

Alabama's state auditor Jim Ziegler told the "Washington Examiner" this.

"Take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus. There's just nothing immoral or illegal here, maybe just a little bit unusual."

BRIGGS: And former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon compared the claim of sexual misconduct with teens to the shocking "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD" tape released during the 2016 election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: But it's interesting. The Bezos, Amazon, "Washington Post" that dropped that dime on Donald Trump is the same Bezos, Amazon, "Washington Post" that dropped a dime this afternoon on Judge Roy Moore.

Now is that a coincidence? That's what I mean when I say opposition party.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: You know, Steve Bannon's right about one thing. These stories are exactly the same. They tell you how you value women. They tell you do you victim blame.

For more on exactly what Moore is accused of let's turn to Alex Marquardt in Gadsden, Alabama.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alison and Dave.

Well, these are explosive allegations coming just weeks before an already highly dramatic special race to replace Jeff Sessions in the Senate. These allegations centering around a young Judge Roy Moore back when he was an assistant district attorney here at the courthouse in Gadsden between 1979 and 1981.

Four different women have spoken to "The Washington Post" alleging that he tried to sexually contact them or, in fact, did have sexual contact with them.

The most serious allegations coming from Leigh Corfman, a woman who is now in her fifties, but at the time was just 14 years old. She met a young Judge Roy Moore here at the courthouse with her mother who was attending a child custody hearing. He exchanged numbers with Corfman and twice, she says, picked her up and took her back to his house. The second time, she alleges to "The Washington Post," he undressed her, touched her over her underwear, and guided her hand toward his genitals.

There are also three other allegations from women who, at the time, ranged from 16 to 18 years old. They say that he either dated them or tried to date them and kissed at least two of them.

Now these, of course, could be potentially very harmful allegations for a man -- for a candidate who has centered his life, centered his candidacy on his morals and Christian values.

Now, Moore came out swinging, slamming "The Washington Post" report in a series of tweets, the first of which read, "The Obama-Clinton machine's liberal media lapdogs just launched the most vicious and nasty round of attacks against me I've ever faced.

[05:35:05] We are in the midst of a spiritual battle with those who want to silence our message."

Alison, Dave --

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KOSIK: All right, Alex. Thanks very much.

Joining us to discuss all things political, CNN contributor Salena Zito. She's a reporter for the "Washington Examiner" and columnist for the "New York Post."

Good morning and welcome back.

SALENA ZITO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, REPORTER, WASHINGTON EXAMINER, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK POST: Good morning.

KOSIK: I want to get -- show everybody kind of a little perspective of Roy Moore to kind of show you what he's all about, so watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL PRESS, COMMENTATOR, C-SPAN2 "AFTER WORDS": Do you think that homosexual -- homosexuality or homosexual conduct should be illegal today? That's a yes or no question.

MOORE: Homosexual conduct should be.

PRESS: Should be illegal? Should be illegal?

MOORE: Yes. It is immoral, it is defined by the law as detestable. It was against the law in most states until the Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas said that it wasn't.

You wonder why we're having problems in Newtown, Connecticut? All across our country with killing, stealing, committing adultery? Because we've forgotten the law of God. Babies piled in dumpsters, abortion on demand. Oh, sweet land of liberty, your house is on the sand.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSIK: OK. So he's clearly made a career of just being controversial and at least, for now, he's digging his heels in. It doesn't look like he's dropping out of this December 12th election.

What do you think? Can he even survive this in any scenario?

ZITO: Well, I mean, it's possible, you know. The voters of Alabama placed him in office knowing those clips that you just showed were already in existence. So, they overwhelmingly voted for him in the primary.

Having said that, I think the way that he has dealt with this, as well as the sort of echo from Steve Bannon, the former adviser to President Trump, is really poorly done.

Blaming fake news or journalists is clear as I've watched "The Washington Post" reporter come on CNN and talk about in detail how she approached the story and the work that went into it.

I mean, I don't think that does any of us any good to see that kind of attack. I just -- I just think he should have handled it with much more grace and said look, this is not something I did instead of blaming someone else and saying it's just fake media -- that kind of thing.

I mean, the election's what, a month away? He could face enough --

BRIGGS: Yes.

ZITO: -- fallout that a write-in candidate could beat him and/or that a Democrat could beat him. But his alleged behavior is not something that Washington or the Republicans need in Congress.

BRIGGS: No doubt about that.

Let's just keep in mind he was an assistant D.A. at the time in 1979. He certainly knew what he was doing was illegal. He would have prosecuted himself

ZITO: Yes.

BRIGGS: -- in a similar situation.

All right, let's -- broader perspective now. The future looks bleak at best for Bill O'Reilly, for Harvey Weinstein, for Louis C.K., for Kevin Spacey, arguably the four most prominent people in their given profession today.

Why do the rules appear different in politics? And that's on both sides of the aisle, going back to Bill Clinton --

ZITO: Yes.

BRIGGS: -- all the way to this president and Roy Moore.

ZITO: Well, you know, there are several things in Washington where the roles have always been different, right? That's why we have a corruption trial with Sen. Menendez of New Jersey.

That's why we've seen throughout the years, throughout the decades that sometimes people in Washington believe that they are superior or -- not all, trust me, not all, but there's that perception that they can do things that we can't do because they're in a position of power.

And in this age of -- digital age of massive transparency that just can't happen anymore. So you see it in all sort of building blocks in our country, not just in Hollywood but you're seeing it in Washington. I suspect you'll see it in corporate America.

And you are going to see it throughout institutions that people are finally saying you know, it's enough. You all can't do this anymore. It doesn't matter how much power you have.

KOSIK: And it actually seems like constituents seem to be more forgiving of politicians than they are of celebrities. It almost feels like celebrities are held to a higher bar.

BRIGGS: Yes, no question. Everyone retreats to their corners.

KOSIK: Yes.

ZITO: Yes. There's this tribal thing --

BRIGGS: Yes.

ZITO: -- that happens. Like he's a bad guy but he's wearing my team jersey so I'm going to stick with him.

KOSIK: That's right.

BRIGGS: But he's my bad guy, yes.

ZITO: Yes, that's ridiculous.

KOSIK: All right. Let's quickly ask a question about taxes because we've got the House plan, we've got the Senate plan. They're both far, far apart.

Do you see a middle ground here between the two versions? Do you see this legislation even finding common ground?

[05:40:07] ZITO: I think what we'll end up seeing is -- are tax cuts, not really important tax reform. But we'll see tax cuts and I think that we'll see them across the board for most people, whether you are wealthy or whether you're middle-class.

And, you know, it's a start. It's important I think that we're too even within -- both parties are so divided internally that no matter who was in power there was going to be like a big blowup, right? So getting to this is going to be messy, it's going to be ugly, but I do think that you will see some sort of tax cuts across the board.

BRIGGS: Yes.

ZITO: It's just not going to look the way it looks today.

BRIGGS: Yes.

KOSIK: All right, Salena Zito.

BRIGGS: They view it as a political imperative, no doubt about that.

ZITO: Oh, absolutely.

BRIGGS: Yes.

ZITO: Yes.

BRIGGS: All right. Salena Zito, thanks so much. We appreciate it. Have a great weekend.

ZITO: You, too.

BRIGGS: All right. While you were sleeping folks, two world leaders touching down in Vietnam. President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin there for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

The big question, will they meet? It could happen on the summit sidelines today, tomorrow, or never.

A top Russian aide says the sit-down will happen today but White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says no formal meeting is planned at the summit, though the leaders might still quote "bump into each other."

KOSIK: Any meeting between Trump and Putin comes amid multiple investigations into Russian election meddling, not to mention indictments against Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates.

The president also facing criticism for missing a deadline on enforcing sanctions against Russia for cyber meddling.

BRIGGS: The first meeting between Trump and Putin in July at the G20 Summit caused a diplomatic furor. Russia said President Trump accepted Putin's assurance his country did not meddle in the 2016 election. The U.S. firmly denied that.

This time, the White House hopes to keep the focus of the president's trip to Vietnam squarely on business, trade, and security.

For the latest, let's go live to CNN's Jeff Zeleny in Da Nang, Vietnam. Good morning, Jeff.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Dave. That is, again, hanging over this economic summit. What -- is there going to be a meeting, is there not going to be a meeting?

Now, we do believe that President Trump and President Putin will cross paths at some point. There are not that many world leaders here, of course, and the summit is held in a pretty confined space.

But the difference here is a formal meeting. The White House is clearly trying to downplay expectations for a formal sit-down meeting between these two leaders. The Kremlin, however, though, is saying -- is essentially trying to blame this on the White House for a scheduling detail.

So as all of that gets worked out, all those Russian developments, of course, going on back in Washington are still being felt her.

Stephen Miller, as CNN has reported, has been interviewed by investigators in this probe. Of course, he is on this trip. He is helping the president write some of these major speeches that he's giving.

And one of those speeches earlier today, just a few hours here in Vietnam, was the president again talking about North Korea reining in the nuclear threat, as well as that trade imbalance. He talked about his big slogan "America First" here in Vietnam -- let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

D. TRUMP: We are not going to let the United States be taken advantage of anymore. I am always going to put America first, the same way that I expect all of you in this room to put your countries first.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZELENY: And I can tell you even as all of this is going on here this trip is largely now, as the president enters his fourth country here -- has been overshadowed by events at home, as we were saying, including the news from Alabama. The White House watching that very carefully.

The next chance we'll get to talk to the president or ask him questions is tomorrow at a press conference in Hanoi. I can tell you the White House believes that if he did this he should leave the race, but it's more complicated, of course. We'll see what the president says about that tomorrow. He'll surely be asked about it -- Dave and Alison.

BRIGGS: He most certainly will be. Jeff Zeleny live for us. Thank you, sir.

All right. Melania Trump, in a rare interview, opens up about her role as first lady. We have that exclusive, fascinating interview next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [05:48:40] BRIGGS: Melania Trump speaking out about her role as first lady. She stayed behind in China while the president traveled on to Vietnam and CNN's Kate Bennett had the opportunity to speak with Mrs. Trump exclusively at the Great Wall of China.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: How are you feeling one year into this role as first lady? How has it -- how has it been for you?

MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, it's my honor to be a first lady of the United States and it was a very busy year.

And we love to live in Washington. We have a very busy life and it's exciting as well. And I'm looking forward to work on behalf of the children.

BENNETT: Do you have any frustrations or anything that has been unexpected or surprising for you?

M. TRUMP: It's a very exciting life and it's a lot of things that do need to take care of -- a lot of responsibilities and it's part of being a first lady.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: All right. Later today, the first lady will make her way back to the U.S., stopping in Alaska on an Air Force base there to attend an event for military families.

But it's great to hear from the first lady. We don't often --

KOSIK: We don't hear from the first lady --

BRIGGS: Yes.

KOSIK: -- one-on-one. It's funny, she's left behind, going solo, and thinking you know what, I've got this. I'm going to talk to CNN.

[05:50:02] BRIGGS: Took a pass a bit though at the frustrations. But yes -- no, it's interesting to see her one interview be with CNN, no question about it.

KOSIK: Absolutely.

BRIGGS: You know the president is on at Vietnam.

KOSIK: All right, moving on now.

A juror dismissed from the corruption trial of Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez says she believes the trial will end with a hung jury.

Juror number eight, Evelyn Arroyo-Maultsby, has longstanding vacation plans that she's had that the judge agreed to honor. And she says she was dead set against convicting Menendez and his co-defendant Dr. Salomon Melgen. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EVELYN ARROYO-MAULTSBY, JUROR DISMISSED FROM MENENDEZ TRIAL DUE TO VACATION: I told them that they weren't going to change mine so there was no reason for them to try to change my mind.

I already was in the courtroom for nine weeks. In those nine weeks they presented everything they had to present. I didn't fall asleep, I paid attention, and I wrote my notes.

So what I saw in the courtroom was that he was not guilty of all counts, and so was Dr. Melgen. They are friends.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSIK: All right. CNN justice reporter Laura Jarrett joining us now live from Washington with the latest. Good morning to you.

You know, that interview really eye-opening and the access that you had to talk with her really amazing. Where do you think this is headed?

LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes, truly amazing, Alison.

In a truly unusual series of interviews with CNN and other outlets, this juror has now offered us a rare glimpse into the deliberations in this trial. And not only did she say she believes Sen. Menendez is being railroaded by the prosecution, but she called this experience stressful because she said that other jurors were trying to get her to change her mind. And she also indicated that there may be a few other holdouts.

And so now the question is, of course, well, what does this mean for deliberations going forward? They've already been at this for over 16 hours.

And now, an alternate juror who heard the entire trial but was separated from the deliberations so far, she will be officially subbed in on Monday for the woman who was going on vacation. And then, the judge will tell them they're supposed to start all over from scratch.

So we will soon see whether this former juror was right and this case ends in a mistrial after 10 weeks -- Alison.

KOSIK: OK. I know you've been on this trial since day one. I will be looking forward to seeing the verdict from you.

JARRETT: Thanks.

KOSIK: Thanks very much, Laura Jarrett.

OK. Economic adviser Gary Cohn says every CEO is excited about corporate tax cuts, but there's one business leader slamming the plan. We're going to tell you who on "CNN Money Stream," next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:56:58] BRIGGS: New developments this morning in the Russia investigation. Sources tell CNN that special counsel Robert Mueller has interviewed top Trump aide Stephen Miller. This is the first sign that Mueller's Russia probe has entered President Trump's inner circle.

Sources say Miller was questioned about his role in writing a draft of a memo explaining the firing of FBI director James Comey.

KOSIK: CNN has also learned that Mr. Trump's former security chief Keith Schiller told House investigators this week that he rejected a Russian offer to send five women to then-businessman Trump's hotel room during a 2013 trip to Moscow. Schiller told investigators he took the offer as a joke.

OK, let's get a check on "CNN Money Stream" this morning.

Doubts over U.S. tax reform, that's rocking markets. Global stocks and U.S. futures are lower this morning. And on Wall Street yesterday, the Dow fell more than 100 points to end a five-day record streak.

The House and Senate introduced competing tax plans and investors are worried about how tax reform's going to wind up shaking out, particularly that the Senate plans to delay -- to delay corporate tax cuts -- delay it until 2019.

Economic adviser Gary Cohn says every CEO is excited about corporate tax cuts, but one business leader isn't cheering. Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz is actually slamming the GOP tax plan calling it fool's gold, explaining that it's too heavily skewed toward cuts instead of much-needed reform and that corporate America does not need to propose corporate tax cuts at 20 percent.

Schultz, of course, is a well-known Democrat. He stepped down as the CEO of Starbucks this year but many have been speculating for quite some time that Schultz is considering a run for office.

BRIGGS: Not just office, the highest office --

KOSIK: Yes.

BRIGGS: -- in the land.

KOSIK: I wouldn't doubt it if he does.

BRIGGS: Those comments would mean more if he was still the CEO of Starbucks.

KOSIK: I think he still carries weight.

BRIGGS: Yes, no doubt. It is just clear both sides, though, used to believe in corporate tax being lowered. Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama used to believe that and now --

KOSIK: There are lots of loopholes that corporate America uses.

BRIGGS: Yes. It's going to be a bruising tax fight ahead --

KOSIK: Yes.

BRIGGS: -- no doubt.

KOSIK: All right. Thanks for joining us. I'm Alison Kosik.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now. Have a great weekend. We'll see you next week.

KOSIK: Have a good weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These women agreed to speak publicly to show Alabama voters that there's another side to Roy Moore.

KOSIK: If the Moore allegations are true, the president thinks he'll step aside.

BANNON: "The Washington Post" that dropped that dime on Trump dropped a dime on Judge Roy Moore. Is that a coincidence?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was his first project and it has blown up on the Republican Party.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he continues to stay in, the chances of a Democrat picking up that seat go up considerably.

BRIGGS: The White House telling reporters the president will not hold a formal sit-down with Vladimir Putin.

ZELENY: A Kremlin spokesman said there would be a meeting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Russia clearly involving itself to change the American election leads up the question is there a crime committed?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Friday, November 10th, 6:00 here in New York.