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Hacking Revelation; Who Pays for the Wall?; Dueling Priorities for GOP. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired January 6, 2017 - 05:00   ET


[05:00:03] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A big revolution into the election hacking. A U.S. intelligence report identifies it says ferried the hacked e-mails from Russia to WikiLeaks. What is President-elect Trump saying ahead of his own sit-down with intelligence? Complete coverage ahead.


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




TRUMP: By the way, 100 percent.


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

ROMANS: And the Republicans now looking to target Planned Parenthood while they dismantle Obamacare. Could doing both at once end up hurting their cause?

It is 5:00 on the nose. Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START, everyone. I'm Christine Romans.

MARQUEZ: I'm Miguel Marquez. Good to see you.

I can confirm, it is Friday, January 6th, 5:00 a.m. here on the East Coast.

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 that new information after the election 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 sometime today.

What is Mr. Trump saying about this? We'll get to that in a moment.

But we start with justice correspondent Pamela Brown and the latest on the 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.


ROMANS: Pamela, thank you.

So, who are those go-betweens that the intelligence agencies say carried the stolen emails from Russian hackers to WikiLeaks? That's 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 Biden 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. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUEZ: Now, 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 and it could damage public confidence in the 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 preview.


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.

The FBI and DN at odds this morning over whether the bureau ever asked to access the party's computer servers after that initial DNC hack.

Now, the DNC tells BuzzFeed the FBI never asked to access servers. But a senior law enforcement official told CNN last night the DNC rebuffed a request from the FBI and that delayed the overall investigation.

[05:05:03] Donald Trump latching on to that earlier BuzzFeed report with those tweets Jim Acosta mentioned, trying to sow doubt about intelligence in Russia he disagrees with. He writes this, "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: 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 in Moscow. I assume they are watching very, very closely.


Certainly, they are watching closely and they were angry and frustrated by what they heard in the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

However, it seems as though they are a little more happy about what they are seeing on Trump's Twitter feed, especially that tweet that Christine mentioned about the servers that apparently the FBI department didn't access. That's one of the things that's at the center of the Sputnik News report, which is one of the state-run new agencies here.

They are now saying that that kind of work is usually outsourced by the FBI and usually done by a company that is against Russia as well. So, certainly, they are trying to sow their doubts there. However, official Russia is certainly quite angry about those Senate Armed Services Committee hearings.

As the hearing was going on yesterday, I received a message from the spokesman for Vladimir Putin. His named is Dmitry Peskov.

And he had the following to say. 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, that coming directly from Vladimir Putin's spokesperson.

Another thing the Russians clearly are very, very angry about is the fact that DNI James Clapper said that Russia was also spreading fake news to influence public opinion in U.S. There is a senior lawmaker in Russia coming out and saying it's the U.S. that spreads fake news. You can see how the mood is souring, Miguel.

MARQUEZ: Fred Pleitgen for us, in Moscow this morning -- thank you.


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: All right. A central theme of Donald Trump's campaign, a promise to make Mexico pay for the wall along the U.S./Mexico border. It turns out, it won't Mexico footing the bill. It will be you, the American taxpayer, at least at first.

House Republicans tell CNN Trump's team has informed them 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.

Some top Republicans are refusing to commit to the 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 that could be accomplished if the U.S. pays up front.

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.

That decision could slow the efforts to dismantle Obamacare because Senate 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 will push multiple individual measures, concerned one large bill could be hard to push through.

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 I've been here in the Senate, big comprehensive bills are not the way to go."

But that doesn't square with what Congressman Chris Collins says, and he is the liaison to Congress for Trump's transition.


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. On 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 weighing in, chastising the GOP for not having really ideas for replacement.


[05:10:00] 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: Oh, they are serious about undoing it. So, like I said, lots of luck in your senior year. Undo it. See what happens.


ROMANS: There is also research suggesting repealing key provisions of Obamacare without immediate replacements could damage the economy. Nearly 3 million jobs could be lost in the next few years if Congress repeals the Medicaid expansion and the subsidies that help low and middle income people pay for coverage. That is because doing so would double the number of uninsured and cause higher costs for providers.

The data comes from the Commonwealth Fund and George Washington University School of Public Health.

All right. The crazy thing is we have barely scratched the surface. We will dive into the headlines with CNN's Eugene Scott and Tal Kopan, next.


ROMANS: A new classified intelligence report identifies go-between to carry Russian hacked e-mails to WikiLeaks which released to the public. It sounds confusing. We are talking about the chain here of hacked e-mails and how they got to WikiLeaks and to the public.

Helping us break this down morning, the big story, CNN politics reporter Tal Kopan in Washington and Eugene Scott right here.

Eugene, let's talk about this. You know, Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, had said it wasn't the Russian government that directly gave them the e-mails. That this classified reporting we're hearing, this classified intelligence analysis we're hearing is that, oh, yes, but there was a chain that came from Russia. What does this new information mean?

EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: I think this new information is going to give voters the opportunity to see just how things perhaps got to them. I mean, no one specifically has always said that it was a direct exchange between the Russian government and WikiLeaks.

[05:15:00] We know there could have been go betweens. But what he has clearly pushed back upon in that interview that he was at FOX News was saying that he got it directly from Putin and no one is saying that is the only way you could have gotten it. MARQUEZ: Assange almost sounded like a lawyer in the interview with

FOX News about where it came from.

Tal, on James Woolsey, who was a former CIA chief. He's worked for four administrations. He has now stepped away and quit his job as adviser to the transition team. How significant is this in D.C. circles?

TAL KOPAN, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Well, keep in mind that before he stepped away, he had been fairly vocal in support of the intelligence coming out that pointed the finger at Russia for both the hacking and directing some of the WikiLeaks disclosures. And so, you know, it's raised eyebrow because the question is, you know, was there a separation here because of the stance he was taking on Russia and is there going to be a sentiment within Trump's circles, the fear among some is the sentiment will be they don't really appreciate the sort of contradictory voices?

So, it is unclear right now exactly what happened inside, and I'm sure you'll get some push back on the idea that he was asked to step away because of his position. But that is certainly what -- there is concern about happening here from some in the intelligence community.

ROMANS: Well, I think intelligence is at the core of this. I mean, there is a bipartisan concern that Donald Trump is -- the very people who are going to advise him, the people who put their lives on the line in many cases, to get information for him, he doesn't trust them. And you've got to wonder what is the motivation here?

And one thing I heard in the hearing so many times yesterday, that two and a half hour hearing, Eugene, was that this is not about Donald Trump being elected because of Russia. This is about Russia meddling overall, right? This is not about delegitimizing the Donald Trump presidency or the election. It's about what are the Russians doing in here meddling at all? And this could be really dangerous going forward.

I wonder if Trump shifts a little bit and starts to see that distinction.

SCOTT: Well, his party leaders and comrades are certainly hoping so. We saw Lindsey Graham speaking clearly that if Russia, if the U.S. government does not respond to Russia's alleged involvement in this election, we could in the future maybe China, maybe Iran, get involved in future elections, including hacking the Republican Party's e-mails.

So, this isn't just about Clinton and Trump. This is way bigger than that.

MARQUEZ: You used the right word, comrade.

ROMANS: Comrade.

SCOTT: I saw you jump a little bit.

MARQUEZ: Tal, I want to play sound from the vice president on PBS and his thoughts and his ideas on what Mr. Trump should do.


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


MARQUEZ: He was talking about the various tweets that president-elect Donald Trump has been sending out and clearly saying grow up. I take it this is not going to be welcome advice for the president-elect.

KOPAN: I can't imagine given the long track record we have now with how Trump has dealt with criticism that he is going to take this very favorably. Yesterday, we saw him use his Twitter account to call the Senate minority leader, the top Democrat, Chuck Schumer, the head clown of that party. So, we'll see what kind of nickname comes up for Joe Biden.

But, you know, keep in mind, it has to be difficult for the outgoing administration. President Obama has spoken forcefully about the importance of a calm transition of power. But they are really witnessing something that could mean the dismantling of their entire legacy. So, it's not unexpected to see a little bit of frustration with the new administration coming in and some of Donald Trump's tactics. It definitely stands in contrast to what we have seen for last eight years.

ROMANS: Gutting Obamacare is something else that Joe Biden talked about yesterday. Everybody is talking about it in Washington, gutting Obamacare. Now, this new development the House Republicans may want to link defunding Planned Parenthood with Obamacare.

Tal, that could that slow their efforts?

KOPAN: It absolutely could. And, in fact, if you guys keep in mind on this morning, I have a story coming out very soon about how narrow the Senate majority is this year.

Keep in mind, Senate Republicans cannot lose more than two votes on any bill if Democrats vote against them or they will not be able to pass the legislation. Right now, you have two senators who are pro- choice, who are anti-abortion and would respond to this attempt to defund Planned Parenthood unfavorably. Add to that, you have Rand Paul opposing the bill because he says it adds to deficit spending and right there, you don't have enough votes to pass.

So, with this narrow, narrow margin that we got in the Senate this year, you have to have everyone on board with the party to move legislation.

[05:20:01] And if the House goes ahead with this, it puts a showdown on the table between the House and Senate over how exactly they're going to be able to proceed.

ROMANS: All right. Come back, everybody, in about 20 minutes. MARQUEZ: Was it more mind boggling? They are just -- they're talking

about massive tax reform at the same time. This is like --

ROMANS: I know, I know.

KOPAN: Plus, nominees.

ROMANS: I know. I mean, I think the tax reform -- Donald Trump was critical of Toyota yesterday. I mean, the third car company of the week and he talked about a border tax again. We are talking about the tax reform threats are starting to take shape.

MARQUEZ: Incredible.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks, guys. Come back in about 20 minutes.

MARQUEZ: All right. Four people now facing hate crime charges after a video of them torturing a mentally challenged man was streamed online. The victim's family and President Obama weighing in.


ROMANS: All right. The president-elect taking on a third automaker this week, blasting Toyota for breaking ground on a plant in Mexico to sell Corollas in the U.S. Make them in Mexico, sell them in the U.S.

Trump tweeting, quote, "Toyota Motors said it will build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build Corolla cars for the U.S. No way. Build a plant in the U.S. or pay a big border tax."

We heard that from him before. The third automaker he targeted blasting for building plants in Mexico. Toyota strongly defending itself, saying the plant in Mexico will not cost any U.S. workers their jobs.

It also pushed these stats. Toyota says it has $22 billion invested in the U.S., 10 manufacturing plants, 1,500 dealerships. It employs 136,000 workers in the U.S. And it says the majority of the cars Toyota sells in the U.S. are made in the U.S.

[05:25:04] Toyota also exports cars from the U.S. to other countries.

But clearly, talking about that border tax, Donald Trump is really drawing a line here in the sand. If you make something overseas, if you're an American company or foreign company, you make something overseas, and you sell it in the U.S., he wants you to have to pay a border tax on it.

More than 150 financial companies hold debt in Donald Trump's companies. That's according to a brand new report in "The Wall Street Journal" this morning. These are banks, mutual funds, investors. They hold $1 billion in debt in Trump companies, far bigger than the financial disclosure he submitted in May. That showed $315 million in debts to 16 companies.

"The Journal" says the $1 billion figure includes bonds that Trump's companies sold which were repackaged forms of debt he owes. It underscores the potential business conflicts. Wells Fargo owns $14 million of Trump debt. As president, Trump will oversee the Justice Department and the SEC, both are investigating Wells Fargo. No comment from Trump's presidential transition team this morning.

MARQUEZ: Very difficult to assess a tax on an individual company, though, isn't it?

ROMANS: What is the retaliation then? If you do this through tax reform, what is the retaliation from other companies? And does that raise prices for American consumers? It's all very interesting.

MARQUEZ: Four suspects will appear in a Chicago courtroom today, charged with a hate crime following that gruesome beating of a special needs teenager streamed live online. They say one of the suspects, Jordan Hill, was friends with the victim and a day of roughhousing turned into abuse. The victim's family is absolutely stunned.


DAVID BOYD, VICTIM'S BROTHER-IN-LAW: We're overwhelmed and surprised. We're happy that everyone is concerned. And, yes, this should never have happened.


MARQUEZ: President Obama weighing in following the hate crime charges saying race relations have not gotten worse, but getting more attention 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.


MARQUEZ: Now, the video shows the attackers yelling anti-white and anti-Trump comments.

ROMANS: Just horrible. Just horrible.

All right. The U.S. identifying how hacked Democratic e-mails made their way from the Russian government all the way to WikiLeaks. How the president-elect and the Kremlin responding.