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New Intelligence on Russian Email Hack; Who Pays for the Wall?; Dueling Priorities for GOP. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired January 6, 2017 - 04:00   ET


[04:00:11] MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN ANCHOR: (AUDIO GAP) on the election hacking. A U.S. intelligence report identifies people it says carried the hacked Democratic emails from Russia to WikiLeaks. What is Donald Trump saying ahead of the sit down with intelligence? Complete coverage just ahead.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: Who is going to pay for the wall?




TRUMP: By the way, 100 percent.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Or maybe not. In an effort to speed up construction, Trump's team now wants Congress to fund the border wall. Details on this major flip, ahead.

MARQUEZ: And the Republicans are now looking to target Planned Parenthood while they dismantle Obamacare. But could both -- doing both at the same time end up hurting their cause?

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Miguel Marquez.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans.

MARQUEZ: Happy Friday.

ROMANS: It is Friday. We can report to you, it is Friday. January 6th. It is 4:00 a.m. in the East. Good morning, everyone.

Big developments overnight, a new intelligence report given to President Obama names the third party officials now believe Russia used to ferry hacked Democratic e-mails to WikiLeaks before the election. This as U.S. officials tell CNN that intelligence agencies got information after the election that has increased -- that has increased their confidence it was Russia that carried out the hack and did it, in part, because Moscow wanted to help Donald Trump win. All this ahead of the president-elect's top level intelligence

briefing on the hack expected some time today. What is Mr. Trump saying about all of this? We'll get to that in a moment.

Let's start with justice correspondent Pamela Brown and the latest on this new intelligence.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Miguel and Christine. We are learning more about what is in that comprehensive review that was presented to President Obama and will be presented to President-elect Trump. We've learned that it contains the identities of the go-between people that the Russia used to hand over those stolen documents to WikiLeaks.

You'll recall this week that Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, said that the Russians did not hand over those documents. But we've learned from our sources that the Russian government used a third party. And apparently, the identities of those people are now in that report.

Also, we've learned about these intercepted communications after the election of Russian government officials celebrating and congratulating each other on Donald Trump's win. We're told there is no smoking gun in intercepted communication, but this is just one piece of the puzzle of many pieces, we're told, that that has built the picture of Russia behind the hack and the why, the motivations, also included in this report.

We know the leader of the DNI will be leading this briefing with Donald Trump in New York and Trump Tower, along with other leaders of the intelligence community. Of course, this will be watched very closely.

Back to you -- Christine and Miguel.


MARQUEZ: Thanks to Pamela Brown.

So, who are those go-betweens that the intelligence agencies say carried the stolen emails from Russian hackers to WikiLeaks? That part is classified. But Vice President Biden says that official will be shortly released an unclassified version of intelligence report he received.

What will that show? Here is what he told PBS.


JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it will be probably confirm what a lot of the American people think. The idea that the Russians were not involved in an effort to engage in our electoral process is simply not able to be sustained. They were.


ROMANS: All right. Earlier, lawmakers and intelligence officials weighed in on the Russian hack at a two-and-a-half hour Senates hearing where they mostly criticized the president-elect. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the senators at that hearing that the agencies are more sure than ever it was the Russians behind the leaked e-mails.

Both Clapper and Senator Lindsey Graham underlined the difference between what they call healthy skepticism of intelligence and outright undermining the people who produce it.


JAMES CLAPPER, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I don't think we ever encountered a more aggressive or direct campaign to interfere in our election process than we have seen in this case.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Ladies and gentlemen, it is time now not to throw pebbles, but throw rocks. I wish we were not here. If it were up to me, we all live in peace, but Putin is up to no good and he'd better be stopped.


MARQUEZ: James Clapper, the national intelligence chief, also told senators that his foreign counterparts are worried that the president- elect is disparaging the U.S. intelligence community could damage public confidence in spy agencies.

As we mentioned today, Clapper and other intelligence agency heads are set to brief Donald Trump on the hack in person.

CNN's Jim Acosta has a quick preview.


[04:05:02] JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Later today, Trump will be meeting with top intelligence community officials to go over their findings that Russia was hacking into the November election. Expected at this meeting will be the outgoing director of national intelligence, James Clapper, as well as Michael Flynn, the incoming national security adviser for the president-elect.

Yesterday, up on Capitol Hill, those intelligence community leaders were reiterating their findings that Russia was involved in hacking into the election. But Trump, in a series of tweets last night continued to raise doubts about that assessment.

Meanwhile, he has named retiring Indiana Senator Dan Coats as his new director of national intelligence. But I'm told by a transition official that Coats will not be at that meeting later on today.


ROMANS: All right. Jim Acosta, thank you. Those Trump tweets that Jim mentioned came shortly after CNN reported the Democratic national committee rebuffed an FBI request to examine its computer servers after the initial hack. It's according to a senior law enforcement official who says it forced the bureau, the FBI, to rely on a third party for data and delayed the investigation. This despite the DNC telling BuzzFeed News the FBI never asked to access its servers.

Donald Trump latching on to that report to sow doubt about intelligence in Russia he disagrees with. He writes, quote, "The Democratic National Committee would not allow the FBI to study or see its computer info after it was supposedly hacked by Russia. So, how and why are they so sure about hacking if they never even requested an examination of the computer servers? What is going on?"

MARQUEZ: And as our Pamela Brown noted in our lead story, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange denies that it was Russia that provided the stolen e-mails. But knowing what we know now about that intelligence report, that there was a go between. Listen carefully to the way of Assange says this as speaking to FOX News.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Could you tell the American people 1,000 percent, you did not get it from Russia or anybody associated with Russia?

JULIAN ASSANGE, FOUNDER, WIKILEAKS: We can say and I have said repeatedly over the last two months that our source is not the Russian government and it is not state party.


MARQUEZ: Notice when Assange is asked if he got the leaked e-mails from Russia or anyone associated with Russia, he doesn't directly answer the question. He says it wasn't the Russian government or a state party. He never says whether or not it was a third party go- between, between them all.

ROMANS: All right. As for senior members of the Russian government apparently celebrating Donald Trump's victory, how are those officials reacting this morning to all these new revelations?

CNN senior international correspondent Frederik Pleitgen is live for us this morning from Moscow.

And just listening to that two and a half hour hearing yesterday, the number of times the senators were talking about, you know, the very highest levels of government there in Moscow and, you know, whether any of this could happen without Vladimir Putin knowing. I mean, this was the Russia show yesterday.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it certainly was the Russia show. And you could also tell, Christine, that the Russians were watching it very, very closely, and quite angry and frustrated with what was said at that hearing yesterday. It is interesting because the state-run Sputnik News agency this morning came out not just blasting the hearings themselves, but obviously pointing out some of those tweets by Donald Trump questioning why the FBI didn't look at those DNC computers, saying that all of this is usually contracted out to a company that is critical of Russia as well. So, that's criticism to begin with.

But even as the hearing was going on, Russian officials were coming out with statements. In fact, the spokesman for Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov, he actually texted me while the hearing was going on. And he texted me the following, he said, "We have suggested cooperation on combating cyber threats numerous times. It was rejected. And we are sick and tired of those irresponsibly blaming everything on our country. If there is a need for an enemy, why not try someone else."

So, obviously, you can see that the Russians obviously sticking by their line that they were not behind this hacking and getting more and more frustrated with some of the debate that's happening. And, of course, very interesting for the Russians to see that hearing and to see that it wasn't just pointed out there may have been hacking, but also saying that Russia uses various tools to try and influence public opinion in the United States, including fake news.

And that's where they said one lawmaker here in Russia said it is the U.S. that comes out with the fake news. So, he believes this once again is one gigantic fake. So, pretty fierce views here in Moscow -- Christine.

ROMANS: I would say. All right. Fred Pleitgen, thank you for covering that for us in Moscow for us this morning. Thanks, Fred.

MARQUEZ: The former chairman of the Joint Chiefs is using Twitter to take President-elect Trump to task. Retired General Martin Dempsey has always avoided politics, but with Trump questioning U.S. intelligence finding on Russian meddling in the presidential election, Dempsey is now entering the fray, tweeting, "Intelligence is hard, thankless work. Fortunately, we have a dedicated, patriotic and courageous men and women on the job. Thanks."

[04:10:00] That comment by Dempsey is considered extraordinary by intelligence insiders and is clearly meant to push back against Trump's criticisms.

ROMANS: What a remarkable 24 hours in the news business, guys.

MARQUEZ: Incredible.

ROMANS: So much happening on this front.

MARQUEZ: All right. The president-elect apparently back tracking on his biggest campaign promise. Who is paying for that border wall now?



TRUMP: We are going to build a great border wall to stop illegal immigration. We're going stop drugs from coming in.

Who is going to pay for the wall?




TRUMP: By the way, 100 percent.


ROMANS: OK. Well, that was a central theme of Donald Trump's campaign, a promise to make Mexico pay for a wall, a big wall, he said, along the border with the U.S.

It turns out it won't be Mexico footing the bill. It will be you, the American taxpayer, at least at first.

House Republicans tell CNN Trump's team has informed the president- elect now prefers to fund the wall through the appropriations process. He wants to do it by April. In other words, he plans to use federal tax money.

Now, some top Republicans refuse to commit to that plan. There is talk about Democrats about shutting down the government over this issue. In October, Trump suggested Mexico could reimburse the U.S. for the cost of the wall. It's unclear how it could be accomplished if the U.S. pays up front.

He also talked about garnishing the remittances of Mexican and American workers in the U.S. who send money, you know, MoneyGram home to Mexico.

MARQUEZ: People who work to their homes, I don't know how you do that. But it's all getting very, very complicated.

ROMANS: Yes, it is.

MARQUEZ: Republicans are launching a new push to defund Planned Parenthood, but they're doing it in conjunction with repealing Obamacare. And that could slow both those efforts. House Speaker Paul Ryan says Republicans will try to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood as part of the process they are using to dismantle Obamacare, essentially linking the two.

[04:15:03] That decision could slow the efforts to dismantle Obamacare because Republicans have only two votes to spare. And at least two GOP senators, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska are pro-choice. They won't commit to an Obamacare repeal that includes the Planned Parenthood language.

ROMANS: Meantime, the broader efforts to undo the president's signature health law are getting really messy. Senate majority whip, John Cornyn, of Texas now says Republicans won't offer a comprehensive bill to replace Obamacare, instead opting for multiple individual measures, concerned one large bill could be hard to push through Congress.

Cornyn tells CNN, quote, "We're not going to do a comprehensive bill. We're going to do it in a step by step basis." Cornyn adds, "If I learned anything since being in the Senate, big comprehensive bills are not the way to go."

Now, it doesn't square with what Congressman Chris Collins, who is the liaison to Congress for Trump's transition, said yesterday.


REP. CHRIS COLLINS (R), NEW YORK: We will repeal it quickly. The replacement is something you will see some time in the June or July time frame, and the replacement plan. You know, you've seen five or six different versions of replacement plans on the Republican side. You know, we're going to have to bring those all together to have one final product.


MARQUEZ: Now, as for Democrats, Vice President Biden is weighing in, chastising the GOP for not having any really ideas for replacement.


BIDEN: Democrats should say let's look at what you have right now and let's see if we can fix it. Talk to us. Tell us your ideas are. Mr. Trump's a good man, but he doesn't know much about the health care system.

JUDY WOODRUFF, PBS NEWSHOUR: But they are very serious about undoing it.

BIDEN: They are serious about undoing it. So, like I said, lots of luck in your senior year. Undo it. See what happens.


ROMANS: All right. There is also new research suggesting repealing key provisions of Obamacare without immediate replacements would damage the economy. Nearly 3 million jobs could be lost in the next few years if Congress repeals the Medicaid expansion and subsidies that help low and middle income people pay for coverage. That's because doing so would double the number of uninsured and caused higher uncompensated cost for providers. The data comes from the commonwealth funds and George Washington University's School of Public Health.

MARQUEZ: President-elect Donald Trump once again breaking with tradition. "The New York Times" reporting his transition team demanding politically appointed ambassadors leave their overseas posts by Inauguration Day. In the past, administrations have granted grace periods on a case by case basis. Many ambassadors now considering appealing the decision to Trump's nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson.

ROMANS: Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden has a very clear message to President-elect Donald Trump.


BIDEN: Grow up, Donald. Grow up. Time to be an adult. You're president. You got to do something. Show us what you have.


ROMANS: PBS asking Biden about Mr. Trump's tweets, especially one where he called Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer the head clown. Mr. Biden also said it's, quote, "dangerous for the president-elect to be skeptical of U.S. intelligence agencies."

All right. More than 150 financial companies hold debt in Donald Trump's companies. That's according to a new report in "The Wall Street Journal". "The Journal's" analysis shows that 150 or so banks are holding $1 billion in debt in Trump companies. But a financial disclosure Trump submitted in May show $315 million in debts to 16 companies.

"The Wall Street Journal" says the billion figure includes bonds that Trump's company sold which were repackaged forms of debt he owes. One example of how messy this could get, $14 million of debt is owned by Wells Fargo. That's according to "The Journal".

Once Trump is inaugurated, he'll oversee the Justice Department and the SEC. Both of them are investigating Wells Fargo for the fake account scandal. Trump's presidential transition team did not respond to our request for comment. Trump says he will discuss financial conflicts at a news conference next week.

MARQUEZ: Very, very complicated.

ROMANS: Unraveling a big bowl of spaghetti.

MARQUEZ: You have to have the full picture of everything he is involved in before we know everything.

Four people now facing hate crimes charges after a video of them torturing a mentally challenged man was streamed online. The victim's family and President Obama now weighing in, coming up.


[04:22:56] ROMANS: All right. Twenty-three minutes past the hour.

Four suspects will appear in a Chicago courtroom today, charged with a hate crime following that gruesome beating of a special needs teenager. This as new details surface about the disturbing assault broadcast in real time on Facebook live.

Police say this was not premeditated attack, but a culmination of a weekend hang-out gone terribly wrong. They say one of the suspects, Jordan Hill, was friends with the victim. He drove the victim to Chicago in a stolen van where they met up with other suspects. That's when that day of rough housing turned into abuse. The victim's family is simply stunned.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're overwhelmed and surprised. We're happy that everyone is concerned. And, yes, this should never have happened.


ROMANS: President Obama now weighing in following the hate crime charge charges. He says race relations in general haven't gotten worse. They're just getting more attention now, thanks to social media.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We see visuals of racial tensions, violence and so forth because of smartphones and Internet and media. What we have seen is surfacing, I think, a lot of the problems have been there a long time, whether it's tension between police and communities, whether it's hate crimes or the despicable sort that has just now recently surfaced on Facebook.


ROMANS: In the half hour video, you can hear the suspects yelling anti-white and anti-Trump comments while this victim is in the corner cowering. Police say the suspects have not shown any signs of remorse. Let me say that again. Police say the suspects have shown no signs of remorse.

As for the victim, he is back home with his family. They say he is doing as well as can be expected.

MARQUEZ: The jailhouse writings of Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof now entered into evidence as the penalty phase of his trial resumes today. In the trial journal, Roof says he has no remorse for killing nine parishioners.

[04:25:01] He writes, "I do not regret what I did. I am not sorry." The writings were introduced into court by federal prosecutors seeking a death sentence for Roof. Remorse is a mitigating factor that might help Roof avoid the death penalty. Another is mental illness which Roof has explicitly avoided using.

ROMANS: All right. Millions of Americans up and down the Eastern Seaboard bracing for the battle with snow. Some communities in western New York got a sneak attack with some two feet of lake effect snow falling during the day Thursday. It limited the visibility and brought many roads to a standstill.

Students and teachers at one elementary school hunkered down well into last night, until it was safe to drive home. Oh, look at that.

Some of these kids did not leave until 10:30 last night. And now, Mother Nature is taking aim at the Southeast.

Let's get more from meteorologist Derek Van Dam -- Derek.


DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Christine and Miguel.

A major snowstorm set to affect travel conditions across Southeast today and into Saturday. Winter storm watches and warnings from Alabama through Georgia and much of the Carolinas. Timing this out, this gulf low will actually bring a rain/snow mix to Metro Atlanta by evening rush hour and then transition to all snow across the backside of the system overspreading this precipitation across the Carolinas and into Virginia as well.

How much snow can we anticipate? Well, we have the potential for two to four inches for Metro Atlanta with higher totals as you head into North Carolina. Look out Raleigh.

Check this out. We have another storm system that we're monitoring across the West Coast. Significant amounts of rain and high elevation snowfall anticipated through the weekend and into the early parts of next week.

In terms of your temperatures for the day, 33 in New York, 17 for Detroit. Chicago, a bone-chilling 10 degrees. Your seven-day forecast for the Big Apple shows the mercury taking a nose dive.

Back to you.

ROMANS: All right, Derek.

Let's give a shoutout to the teachers of Buffalo again. Again, 10:30 last night.

MARQUEZ: This actually looks like a good time. I bet they were having the time of their lives.

ROMANS: There's a lot of reasons I love teachers and I love the profession of teaching. It's because, man, it's a good thing you got teachers, right?

MARQUEZ: I love my teachers.

ROMANS: I'm sure they made that fun. I'm sure they made that fun.

MARQUEZ: That is right.

ROMANS: Stay safe, everybody.

MARQUEZ: Now, the U.S. identifying how hacked Democratic e-mails were made their way from the Russian government to WikiLeaks. How are the president-elect and Kremlin responding?