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Trump, Democrats to Meet Again on Shutdown; Russian Lawyer Seeks American Paul Whelan’s Release on Bail; Hunt for Gunman Who

January 7, 2019

xfdls EARLY-START-02


<Date: January 4, 2019>

<Time: 05:00>

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<Type: SHOW>

<Head: Trump, Democrats to Meet Again on Shutdown; Russian Lawyer

Seeks American Paul Whelan’s Release on Bail; Hunt for Gunman Who

Killed 7-year-old Texas Girl Intensifies; Aired 4:30-5a ET>

<Sect: News; International>

<Time: 04:30>

<End: 04:59>

[04:30:59] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Day two of divided government in America. The new House passes bills destined to go nowhere in the Senate.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), HOUSE SPEAKER: We’re not doing a wall.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will have no deal without a wall.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Day 14 of the government shutdown. Will another situation room sit-down today do anything to break the stalemate?

BRIGGS: And candidate Donald Trump said he’d get rid of the national debt. It’s now at an all-time high.

ROMANS: Life or death drama caught on video, this man trapped on the second floor of his burning home with only one way out.

Welcome back to EARLY START this morning. I’m Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I’m Dave Briggs. Happy Friday, everybody. 4:31 Eastern Time. 116th Congress begins with their second week of a government shutdown.

Another meeting in the situation room this morning between the president and congressional leaders. The aim, to find a way to end the partial government shutdown. But at the moment, Democrats and Republicans seemed deeply dug into their positions and in no mood to compromise.


PELOSI: We’re not doing a wall. Does anybody have any doubt that we are not doing a wall? So that’s it.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you worry about backlash?

(CROSSTALK) PELOSI: No, it has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with a wall is an immorality between countries. It’s an old way of thinking.

PENCE: The president’s made it clear. We are here to make a deal, but it’s a deal that’s going to result in achieving real gains on border security, and you have no border security without a wall. We will have no deal without a wall.


BRIGGS: CNN’s Manu Raju has the latest on the stalemate from Capitol Hill.


Now Democrats in the House on their first day in power moving to reopen parts of the federal government that have been shuddered since before Christmas in the aftermath of that bitter feud between Democrats and Republicans over the president’s demands for billions of dollars in funding for his border wall.

Now two measures passed the House last night. One to reopen the Department of Homeland Security through February 8th, punting on the funding wall -- funding of the wall. and then another to reopen the other agencies on funding levels agreed to by both Democrats and Republicans on the Senate side in the last Congress, hoping that that could persuade some Republican senators to support it.

But the problem is this. The president opposes these measures because it does not fund his wall. So now Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will not put those bills on the floor, even the one to keep the Department of Homeland Security open until February 8th. That’s the same bill he put to the floor before Christmas. He thought, at the time, President Trump was going to sign it into law.

The president changed his mind, he opposed it. And so now we’re at a situation where it’s unclear where the standoff is going to end. Both leaders and the White House plan to meet today behind closed doors to see whether or not they can come up with any sort of solution. But pessimism growing intensely on Capitol Hill that any deal could be reached anytime soon, which means, Christine and Dave, this could be going on for quite some time.

ROMANS: All right, Manu Raju, thank you for that.

President Trump showed up in the White House briefing room yesterday, his first-ever official appearance there. But don’t call it a briefing. You know he arrived on very short notice from what they billed as a briefing but it was not in the sense that he took no questions. It was a photo-op really. He congratulated Speaker Nancy Pelosi on her, quote, “tremendous, tremendous achievement.” He spoke about infrastructure as an area of common ground with Democrats. Then the president spent the rest of his eight-minute appearance pushing for his border wall, backed by officials from Border Patrol and ICE unions. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have never had so much support as I have in the last week over my stance for border security.

Thank you all very much. Appreciate it. Thank you.



[04:35:02] BRIGGS: And he was off. Meanwhile, newly-emboldened Democratic lawmakers wasting no time going after the president. New York Congressman Jerry Nadler reintroducing a bill that will bar President Trump from firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller for anything short of serious misconduct or other good cause.

Senator Ron Wyden, ranking member of the Finance Committee, reintroducing a measure requiring sitting presidents and presidential nominees to release their tax returns to the public. And Representative Brad Sherman of California defying the wishes of Speaker Pelosi by introducing Articles of Impeachment against President Trump on day one of this new Congress.

ROMANS: Last night, Democrats passed a new package of rules that will reshape the way the House conducts business. Among the changes, the measure creates a new select committee on climate change. It bans discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and allows people to wear religious headgear in the House chamber where -- fun fact -- hats have been banned since 1837. And there’s a new congresswoman from Minnesota, Somali American woman who wears traditional headgear, obviously, that is why you have to change their rules there.

BRIGGS: Yes. We have some pictures of what unfolded yesterday in the House as this 116th Congress began under way. And some really just historic and dramatic pictures of how different Congress looks today. And here are your Native-American women embrace. The two first Native-American women in this Congress.

ROMANS: In Congress. Anyway, a lot of firsts yesterday. Nancy Pelosi getting the gavel.


ROMANS: The first time a woman has gotten it twice. Right? Also the first woman speaker of the House ever. But really sort of -- and she had all the cool kids come up. Her grandkids. And everybody else’s kids came up, too. It was sort of like a kid fest up there on the gavel. Just showing you kind of a different tone altogether of a more inclusive 116th Congress.

BRIGGS: Yes. Very different as we move forward.

A poignant and funny moment from Pelosi at the Capitol Hill news conference. House majority leader Steny Hoyer accidentally gave the wrong time for today’s White House meeting and Speaker Pelosi stepped in to correct him.


REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD), MAJORITY LEADER: And the president has asked us to come down to meet tomorrow at 10:30. And we will do that and we’ll have a discussion. At 11:30? Excuse me, 11:30.

PELOSI: Well, he told me 11:30.


PELOSI: Maybe the real meeting is at 10:30 with the men.


BRIGGS: She said maybe the men have a separate meeting at 10:30. Pelosi’s first speech after reclaiming the speakership heralded as the largest numbers in history of women in the House.

ROMANS: All right. Also making history, remember as candidate Donald Trump promised to get rid of the national debt, telling the “Washington Post” in 2016 he could make the U.S. debt free over a period of eight years. It was an impossible claim at the time, of course, and not only is it a broken campaign promise, it’s even worse.

New official Treasury Department figures show the U.S. national debt a record $21.97 trillion at the end of last year. That is up $2 trillion since the president took office. Adding $2 trillion to the debt. The debt began to rise last year as the tax cuts passed at the end of 2017 took effect and the lower corporate tax rate lowered Treasury revenue.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the deficit jumped to 3.8 percent of GDP last year. The chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers Kevin Hassett says the president is absolutely concerned about that deficit.


KEVIN HASSETT, CHAIRMAN, WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL ON ECONOMIC ADVISERS: He ordered the Cabinet agencies to cut their spending by 5 percent across the board or almost across the board. And so he absolutely is beginning to focus on spending.


ROMANS: If no changes are made, the CBO projects public debt will rise to 96 percent of GDP by 2028. And of course that’s a dangerous position to be in. It means that all of your money, so much of your money has to go to paying the interest on your debt that you have less wiggle room, you know, for spending, for programs, for education, for defense, for all the other things a country needs.

BRIGGS: And this from a Republican president and Republican House and Senate. How will they turn to cut spending?

ROMANS: A very good point. A very good point.

BRIGGS: The latest now on that American ex-Marine who’s sitting in a Russian prison and charged with espionage. Paul Whelan’s lawyer calls his client’s detention without bail excessive and unwarranted. But a Russian state news agency claims the government caught Whelan red- handed. CNN cannot independently confirm that report.

For the latest, let’s bring in senior international correspondent Sam Kiley live in Moscow -- Sam.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dave, his lawyer has said that Mr. Whelan is upbeat while he’s been in detention since December 28th. That he has had already a visit from Jon Huntsman, who is no less than the U.S. ambassador here in Moscow. Today, also, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has asked for a consular access to Mr. Whelan because he’s a dual British and American national.

[04:40:07] But there is this report in a local online newspaper Rosbalt suggesting from their sources, and we have not been able to independently verify the fact that we’ve reached out to the Russian authorities suggesting that he was arrested soon after receiving some kind of electronic device. Possibly a thumb drive, and then his hotel in the Metropol Hotel room was raided. That’s right next door to the Kremlin where he was believed to attend a wedding. That was his reason for being here in Moscow.

The whole story here, David, is very murky because he is accused and charged with espionage on behalf of the U.S. government but he received a bad conduct discharge from the U.S. Marine Corps where he served two tours of Iraq in the reserves for larceny. That would actually under the rules, as I understand them for the CIA and indeed the Defense Intelligence Agency, mean that he would be unable to be recruited either as an agent or an operator to a U.S. intelligence branch.

And we know also from our own sources that all operatives here in intelligence roles from the United States and I dare say from the United Kingdom do so under diplomatic cover because of the very intense problems that are going on between those two countries and Moscow over the various allegations of interference in elections and of course the attempted -- for the use of chemical weapons against Skripal himself in Salisbury in the United Kingdom, a former Soviet spy.


KILEY: So a very murky case but continuing to exercise people at the highest levels of the Kremlin and in London and Washington -- David.

BRIGGS: OK. Sam Kiley with the latest just before 1:00 p.m. there live in Moscow. Thank you.

ROMANS: All right. Sources tell CNN the Trump administration is scouting locations for a second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un despite the fact that talks between the countries appear to be at a stalemate. The developments come after President Trump announced from the Oval Office Wednesday he received what he called a great letter from Kim. And he didn’t reveal what it said, but sources familiar with the letter say it was designed to remind Trump of the strength of their relationship and reinforced the president’s enthusiasm for the process. Apparently mission accomplished. Trump liked that letter.

BRIGGS: Yes. He loves himself a letter. Chuck Schumer was not impressed when he handed -- the president handed that letter to Chuck in a meeting the other day.

Ahead, the first big name candidate in the 2020 race for president hits the road in just a few hours. More on where Elizabeth Warren is headed and why.

ROMANS: And one man’s harrowing escape through the window of his burning home.


[04:46:31] ROMANS: Later today, Senator Elizabeth Warren heading to Iowa, making her first trip to the state that begins the Democratic presidential nominating process. She will arrive in Council Bluffs this evening with the first of five stops over the next three days. Warren launched an exploratory committee for a 2020 presidential bid on New Year’s Eve. That allows her to begin racing money for the campaign and makes her the first big name candidate to jump into the race. She is already hiring and putting a team together.

BRIGGS: The “New York Times” reporting Jim Webb, the former Democratic senator, may be in line to permanently take over James Mattis’ job as Defense secretary. Mattis stepped down in December protesting President Trump’s abrupt announcement he is pulling troops out of Syria. One official told the “Times” representatives for Vice President Mike Pence and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney reached out to Webb.

Webb served as the secretary of the Navy under former President Reagan, represented Virginia in the U.S. Senate and launched an unsuccessful presidential bid in 2016.

ROMANS: Police in Texas releasing this surveillance video in the hunt for a gunman who killed a 7-year-old girl. It shows the suspect’s car near the scene of the fatal shooting. Jazmine Barnes was killed as she was riding in a car with her family early Sunday. Now tips have poured in to investigators, but the suspect is still on the loose.

CNN’s Nick Valencia spoke victim’s family who say they are living in fear.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, it was earlier that we sat down with LaPorsha Washington, she’s the mother of Jazmine Barnes, and we also spoke to Alexis Dilbert, that’s Jazmine’s sister. Now both LaPorsha and Alexis were in the car at the time of the shooting. In fact, Alexis says that she made eye contact with the suspected shooter. She also says that the description released by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office is slightly different from the man she saw.

Choking back tears, both of them, sitting next to each other, spoke to CNN.


VALENCIA: What his face look like, what his demeanor.

ALEXIS DILBERT, SISTER OF JAZMINE BARNES: He just looked like sick. Like when he looked in the car he just looked sick. Like his face was really pale. That’s like all I can remember. And his eyes were blue. His face was thin and pale.

LAPORSHA WASHINGTON, MOTHER OF JAZMINE BARNES: And the next thing you know, I didn’t even hear the first gunshot. All I remember is my glass shattering. I turned the light on in the car and turned around and looked at my baby. And she was leaned over on the door and blood was everywhere.


VALENCIA: LaPorsha Washington says she believes that race played a factor in the shooting. The Harris County sheriff says that it is part of their investigation, but right now it’s not their focus. Meanwhile, the family is terrified, scared that this gunman may come back and hurt them.

Social activists Shaun King as well as the attorney representing the family, Lee Merritt, have banded together and raised $100,000 reward for any information leading to the capture of the suspected killer -- Dave, Christine.

ROMANS: All right, Nick, for us. Thank you for that.

An attempted robbery at a hotel in Davie, Florida, caught on camera. Police are searching for the armed gunman who is seen on surveillance jumping over the counter and grabbing the hotel clerk last month. A brief struggle takes place as the suspect demands a woman opens the safe and then the register. The suspect was distracted by a hotel guest walking by. After a five-minute struggle finally decides to bolt. Anyone with information about the suspect seen there wearing a black hoodie is asked to call police.

BRIGGS: Some dramatic video from Southern California as a husband and wife jump from their second story apartment to escape smoke and flames. Marco Hernandez says he and his wife were trapped in their bedroom by heavy smoke. Before firefighters arrived, Hernandez lowered his wife to safety with the help of people below.

[04:50:04] Moments later he took the leap himself, dropping the five feet to the ground, landing hard but uninjured. The cause of the fire still under investigation. ROMANS: The death toll rising to seven in a fiery multivehicle crash on Interstate-75 near Gainesville, Florida. The Florida Highway Patrol says two tractor-trailers and two passenger vehicles were involved in this crash Thursday afternoon. Look at that. 50 gallons of diesel fuel spilled on to the southbound lanes of I-75. According to fire officials, multiple people suffered critical injuries in the accident.

BRIGGS: In Oklahoma, four people killed in weather related crashes and the state trooper narrowly avoided becoming the fifth. Watch this dashcam video closely. Lieutenant Colby Overstreet rendering aid at the scene of a crash in Tulsa. On the left you’ll see a maroon car hit the patch of ice on the overpass, spin out and crash into the pickup truck which then hits Lieutenant Overstreet. Luckily the trooper was uninjured. The driver of course ticketed for going too fast for conditions but it certainly could have been much worse for everyone.

ROMANS: All right. Superheroes and Disney paved the way for a record-breaking year at the global box office. But Disney posting the biggest box office year in history. CNN Business is next.


BRIGGS: Stars will be out Sunday for one of Hollywood’s biggest night. The 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards.

The revival of “A Star is Born” directed by and starring Bradley Cooper along with Lady Gaga could take home the Best Picture Drama prize. Cooper and Gaga also favored to win for Best Actor and Actress in a Drama.

Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney biopic “Vice” had the most Golden Globe nominations, though, with six and will contend in the Best Picture, Musical or Comedy category.

[04:55:05] Christian Bale’s transformational performance as Cheney a likely Best Actor winner.

Emily Blunt’s masterful turn as the magical British nanny in “Mary Poppins Returns,” a favorite to win Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical. On the TV side “Killing Eve” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” are favored to take home the awards in the Best Drama and Best Comedy categories. “Killing Eve” star Sandra Oh will co-host the Globes along with comedian Andy Samberg.

ROMANS: All right. A whopper of a lawsuit in Oregon. Curtis Brooner is suing Burger King, claiming the fast-food chain revoked a store manager’s promise of free food for life after he was trapped inside a restroom at a Portland area Burger King for more than an hour. The next two weeks, the 50-year-old Brooner ate for free at the restaurant until a district manager put the kibosh on that deal. Now his suit is seeking $9,026.16 in damages.

So if you’re wondering about that figure, it’s the estimated cost of one Whopper meal per week for the next 22 years. BRIGGS: With or without cheese. Not sure? Got to have cheese in a Whopper.

All right. Wildcard Weekend presents a unique dilemma for football Hall of Famer and FOX NFL TV host Howie Long. His two sons, Chris and Kyle, they go head-to-head Sunday when the Bears play the defending champ Eagles in Chicago. Chris Long, a defensive end for the Eagles, Kyle Long, an offensive lineman for the Bears. To top it off, Sunday is Howie’s 59th birthday.

What’s a dad to do? According to the NFL network, Chris who is three years older than Kyle is 2-0 going against his brother.

ROMANS: Howie wins no matter what. Two kids playing --


BRIGGS: Got to get that split jersey that you’ve seen somewhere, yes.

ROMANS: And it’s his birthday.


ROMANS: All right. Another good soaking in store for the southeast today. And the heavy rain is expected to work its way up the East Coast through Saturday.

Meteorologist Derek Van Dam has the forecast.

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Christine and Dave. The big weather story today still focused on the Deep South. We have this pesky low pressure system that’s brought significant snow and ice to central Oklahoma. On the front side of the system, plenty of moisture to work with. This is all rainfall. And you can see just how that’s impacting the Deep South.

In fact we have flood threat extending from Atlanta all the way to Houston. Flood watches in effect for many locations, including the greater Atlanta metro area. Otherwise, here’s the storm system moving across the southeast and it will impact the mid-Atlantic and across New England later this weekend.

Come Saturday and Saturday evening, in fact, that’s when we expect the evolution of the storm to really bring rainfall to places like D.C., New York, eventually into Boston late in the day on Saturday. You can see how the rain wraps on the back side of the system as well.

Here is a look at temperatures today. 47 for New York. 46 for Chicago. Temperatures cooling off the first parts of next week. Back to you.

ROMANS: All right, Derek. Thank you.

Let’s get a check on CNN Business this morning. Global markets higher on news of new trade talks between the U.S. and China. That’s improving investors’ mood after a very tough week. You can see Tokyo that closed down sharper. That was after that Apple warning. A bunch of -- in Tokyo, you’ve got a bunch of companies that are suppliers to Apple in China. So that’s why that was down.

Shanghai and Hong Kong up on news -- official news from the Chinese Foreign Ministry that there is a trade delegation from the U.S. headed to China.

On Wall Street, we got bouncing futures here, futures are higher after a really terrible day for stocks again yesterday. The Dow fell 660 points. That’s 2.8 percent after Apple blames a big sales miss on slowing growth in China and trade tension. The S&P 500 fell 2.5 percent. The Nasdaq closed down 3 percent. Back in bear market. Apple plummeted 10 percent marking its worst day in six years.

And now we turn to the U.S. jobs report. That comes out in just a few hours. A weak December report could reinforce those jitters that the U.S. economy is slowing. A strong report could soothe them.

Superheroes and Disney paved the way for a record-breaking 2018 at the box office overall. The number one and number two films “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Black Panther,” bringing in a record $41.7 billion last year. Disney posted the biggest box office year in North America history, grossing more than $3 billion at the U.S. box office.

2019 could mark another big year in theaters. “Avengers: End Game,” a live action animated remake of “The Lion King” and the final chapter of the new “Star Wars” trilogy, “Star Wars Episode 9″ are all scheduled for release in the coming months.

Oh my gosh, there’s a lot of good movies.

BRIGGS: That’s good stuff. That “Avengers” trailer has me hooked.


BRIGGS: Almost 80 million views on YouTube already.


BRIGGS: Should be great. EARLY START continues right now with the 116th Congress and week two of the shutdown.

Day two of divided government in America. The new House passes bills destined to go nowhere in the Senate.



(Byline: Dave Briggs, Christine Romans, Manu Raju, Sam Kiley, Nick Valencia)

(High: Both sides digging in with Democrats saying no wall funding while Vice President Mike Pence said no wall, no deal. Russia charged the ex-Marine with espionage. Police released surveillance video in the fatal gun attack that killed 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes.)

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