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Trump Lashes Back At CIA Chief; Trump Says His Obamacare Replacement Nearly Ready; Trump Planning To Make Offer To Putin; Trump Feuds With Civil Rights Icon John Lewis; Washington Gears Up For Inauguration; The "Let's Make A Deal" White House; Who Does Trump Trust, Putin Or Merkel? Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired January 16, 2017 - 05:00   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: I'm Miguel Marquez. Good to see you. Happy MLK Day. It is January 16th, Martin Luther King Day. It's 5:00 a.m. here on the east coast.

Overnight, Donald Trump lashing out at the head of the CIA, John Brenan. Brennan criticized the president-elect in an interview with Fox News Sunday suggesting that Trump's desire for friendlier relations with Russia could run smack into the reality of Moscow's real intentions.


JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR: I don't think he has a full appreciation of Russian ability and intentions and actions that they are under takings in many parts of the world. That is what the obligation and responsibility the intelligence community is.

I very much hope that our relationship with Russia improves in the coming administration. But there is a fair amount of responsibility on Russia's part to change their behavior and actions.

I think he has to be mindful that he does not yet, I think, have a full appreciation and understanding of what the implications are of going down that road as well as making sure he understands what Russia is doing.


MARQUEZ: Now Sunday night, Trump hit back quoting a Fox News headline about the interview in a pair of tweets, "Outgoing CIA Chief John Brennan blasts President-elect Trump on Russia threat. Says he does not fully understand." Trump responds, "Oh, really. Couldn't do much worse."

Then Trump listed a few recent sore spots in the U.S. relationship with the kremlin, "Just look at Syria and the use of chemical weapons that crossed President Obama's red line. Crimea, Ukraine, and the buildup of Russian nukes. Not good. Was this the leaker of fake news?"

That last line aimed at Brennan refers to a dossier of unverified claims that Russia allegedly has compromising information on Trump and to Trump's belief that the intelligence community leaked that dossier to the media.

ROMANS: All right, new word this morning on Donald Trump's own plans to dismantle Obamacare, in an interview with the "Washington Post," the president-elect said his proposal for an Obamacare replacement is just about ready for unveiling.

Now he would not reveal specifics, but he said, quote, "We will have insurance for everybody even those who can't afford it." This is an apparent contrast to Republican leaders who say they are aiming for universal access. Not necessarily universal coverage.

Trump promised his plan would be, quote, "Much less expensive and much better." Part of achieving that will be targeting pharmaceutical companies forcing them to negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare and Medicaid.

MARQUEZ: In the interview, Mr. Trump offered a combination of pep talk and warning to lawmakers saying "The Congress can't get cold feet because the people will not let that happen and that was in fact the message carried by thousands of people, up more than 40,000 rallies from Maine to California on Sunday.

Former Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders, appeared at one of those rallies in Michigan where he spoke to CNN.


SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS (D), VERMONT: Millions of people think it is insane to repeal the Affordable Care Act without having a replacement. You just cannot throw 20 million people off of health insurance, raise the cost of prescription drugs for seniors. Do away with very important patient protection provision. You just cannot do that unless you have another plan in its place.


MARQUEZ: Some Republicans have also expressed concern about rushing to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan on the table. Even so, the House voted Friday to take the first procedural step on the road to repeal.

ROMANS: And then this, a Chinese state run newspaper slamming Donald Trump as an amateur over his remarks on Taiwan. On Friday, Trump told the "Wall Street Journal" that America's One China policy officially recognizes Beijing's government but not Taiwan.

He said that policy, One China, is negotiable. Overnight, the tabloid "Global Times" called it despicable for Trump to use the U.S. stance on Taiwan as a bargaining chip in trade negotiations.

State newspaper says, "We were simply angry initially, but now can't help but laugh at this U.S. leader-in-waiting. Maybe American voters "promoted" him too quickly. His amateur remarks and over confident manner are equally shocking."

The editorial adds a fight with Trump over One China would only make Beijing speed up efforts to reunify Taiwan, quote, "We would strike back so hard until the entire Taiwan society realizes that Washington is hurting them."

MARQUEZ: And Donald Trump has plans to cut a deal with Russia. The president-elect suggesting in a new interview he will offer Russian President Vladimir Putin an end to sanctions in exchange for nuclear arms reduction.

Trump is quoted as saying, a lot of people are going to benefit from the deal he plans to offer. That's not the only headline to come out of Trump's interview with European media.

[05:05:04]For the latest, let's bring in former CNN Moscow bureau chief, Jill Dougherty. Good morning, Jill. This idea that you can trade nukes for sanctions. Does it make any sense?

JILL DOUGHERTY, GLOBAL FELLOW, WOODROW WILSON CENTER: Not to a lot of people who know about nukes. A few minutes ago, that idea was raised to the spokesperson for President Putin, Dmitry Peskov. He said sanctions are not on the Russian agenda. Let's wait until he becomes president.

So obviously he is side stepping it. I think members of the parliament are also beginning to say not exactly what we are going to talk about right now.

There were other things in this very interesting interview that raised a lot of eyebrows in Europe. One was comments by President-elect Trump criticizing Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, one of the closest allies of the United States, and criticizing her about refugees. Here's what Donald Trump said.


DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT-ELECT: I have great respect for her. I felt she was a great, great leader. I think she made one very catastrophic mistake and that was taking all of these illegals -- you know, taking all of the people from wherever they come from.

I'll see her and meet her and I'll respect her and I like her, but I think it was a mistake. People make mistakes. I think that was a very big mistake.


DOUGHERTY: Now the president-elect also got into some other areas. One of which basically repeating what he said all along about NATO. Calling it obsolete. That was greeted by the kremlin spokesperson a few minutes ago, Mr. Peskov, saying that Russia agrees. No surprise there. On Syria, however, Trump was pretty critical of Russia saying that it was very bad thing that they were doing. That these attacks were creating humanitarian problems.

And then also he said Brexit. The decision by the U.K. to pull out of the European Union would ultimately be a great thing. He was also asked about Twitter whether he is going to give up Twitter when he goes into the White House.

He said essentially no way. He has millions of people following him on social media. And of course, why not? Because it gives him a chance to go around the media and go directly to the American people. Back to you.

MARQUEZ: Jill Dougherty for us in Moscow. I was very concerned about Twitter. Thank you very much.

ROMANS: Big weekend in international news relating to the United States and Donald Trump.

OK, a feud between President-elect Trump and a civil rights icon, John Lewis, escalating tensions in Washington over Martin Luther King weekend. This started when Congressman Lewis said on NBC's "Meet The Press" that he will not attend Trump's inauguration. He explained it this way.


REPRESENTATIVE JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: I believe in forgiveness. I believe in trying to work with people. It will be hard. It will be very difficult. I don't see this president-elect as a legitimate president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You do not consider him a legitimate president? Why is that?

LEWIS: I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected and they have destroyed the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.


ROMANS: All right, true to form. Trump punched back. He fired back at Lewis in a series of tweets. He wrote this, "Congressman Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district which is in horrible shape and falling apart not to mention crime infested rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk. No action or results. Sad."

The controversy has both sides digging in. Our Suzanne Malveaux has the latest on this from Washington.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine, Miguel. Trump's war of words with Congressman Lewis especially coming during the MLK weekend is deeply troubling to many African-Americans. But Lewis is getting strong push back from both the RNC head, soon-to-be chief of staff, Reince Priebus, as well as the vice president-elect, Mike Pence.

Some Republicans are clearly trying to give Congressman Lewis his props regarding his stature in the civil rights movement, but at the same time, they are coming to Trump's defense because they are vehemently opposed to any notion that Trump is not legitimate winner of this controversial election. Despite Trump's own admission that Russia had a role in hacking it.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT: Look, Donald Trump upon this election fair and square. Thirty out of 50 states including Georgia. More counties than any Republican candidate since Ronald Reagan. And to hear John Lewis, a man that I served with and I respect, to question the legitimacy of the election and say that Donald Trump will not be a legitimate president was deeply disappointing to me.


MALVEAUX: This all comes on a day where Washington is preparing for the inauguration events. We've seen dress rehearsals and band practices taking place at the capital this week.

[05:10:08]Law enforcement officials are gearing up not only for the close to 800,000 expected in D.C. for the inauguration, but also for the close to 100 protest groups that have formally announced they are coming as well -- Christine and Miguel.

ROMANS: All right, Suzanne, thank you.

So as Donald Trump prepares to take office, Americans are preparing for the Trump economy. In a new survey shows a deep divide in how people feel about their money right now.

Overall, 51 percent of respondents believe their own financial situation will improve over the next four years and 37 percent think everyone's financial situation will get better. That's according to a brand new survey from credit tracking firm, Experian.

Check out, though, this difference between Democrats and Republicans, 70 percent of Republicans are optimistic about their personal finances, 77 percent think the entire country will be lifted up financially.

Look at Democrats, only about a third of them feel they will be better off in four years and just 19 percent of them think all Americans will benefit from the Trump economy. That is a stark difference in outlook.

MARQUEZ: We are overdue for a recession, aren't we?

ROMANS: We are long overdue for a recession, although, when I look at this expansion and the stock market rally, and right it's the second longest I think in history, and I placed it on top of the first longest, we are still years to go. But traditionally, time is like the enemy of -- you know, the economy expands and contracts. It spins in a cycle. You know, it doesn't just go straight up. So we will have to see.

MARQUEZ: Thank God again, Christine Romans is here.

ROMANS: God has nothing to do with it.

MARQUEZ: We will get into all the headlines with our political panel. You will hear that when we come back.

ROMANS: Greg knows about the business cycle.


ROMANS: All right. Welcome back to EARLY START this Monday morning, Martin Luther King Day weekend. I hope all of you have some kind of a service plan for today? This is day of service. Whatever you're doing to make the world better, good luck at that today.

[05:15:00]Meantime, we are looking at politics. The early days of the Trump administration will resemble an episode of let's make a deal on Obamacare and drug companies, One China, and Russia sanctions, on and on. Donald Trump says he can get the best deal for all Americans.

I want to bring in CNN political reporter, Eugene Scott, good morning, sir, and political economist, Greg Valliere in D.C. He is the chief strategist for Horizon Investment.

I want to start with you, Greg. I want to play some sound. We heard some really fascinating opinions from Trump this weekend in a variety of different interviews. One of those interviews was in his office with the "Bild" newspaper.

He was asked about Vladimir Putin and coming in office. Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel from Germany, where does he rate these leaders. I want you to listen to his response.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whom do you trust more if you talk to them, Angela Merkel or Vladimir Putin?

TRUMP: I start off trusting both. Let's see how long that lasts. It may not last long at all.


ROMANS: Joint interview with "Bild" magazine and "Times of London." You heard what he said. We'll see how long that lasts, but he puts them on equal footing. Is this just a negotiation? Is that how Donald Trump does business or does he believe that America's uber ally Germany is on the same footing as Russia?

GREG VALLIERE, POLITICAL ECONOMIST: We're going to find out pretty soon, Christine, how much is this is just bluster and how much is this is real on health reform, on Europe, all of these big, big issues. But to seemingly put Putin and Merkel on equal footing is astonishing. She's been a loyal ally of the U.S. He largely has been an adversary.

MARQUEZ: And Greg, your take that you can trade away nukes for sanctions on Moscow whether it's Ukraine or Crimea or the Russian hacking in the U.S. elections. Are those two things fungible? Can you deal with one on the other?

VALLIERE: Well, the devil will be in the details. I mean, these are complicated issues as Jill Dougherty said earlier. There is a lot of details to get ironed out. It's not quite as simple as he portrays.

ROMANS: Not quite as simple and certainly, you know, one of the questions that I have is about the stock market and about all the economic enthusiasm you have been seeing in the United States. Can that continue if you have a trade war with China?

For example, this Chinese newspaper basically laughing at the president-elect calling him amateur for his statement on the One China policy. Putting Merkel and Putin on the same level. Greg, can stock markets go higher if you have uncertainty about those relationships?

VALLIERE: Well, if the economy does well, yes. Here's the big issue for the markets, Christine. He is going to have to expend a lot of political capital on health care. What did Barack Obama come in (inaudible), spending a lot of political capital on health care? And I think if Trump spends too much political capital, if the health care reform doesn't go well, what does that say for other issues like tax reform?

ROMANS: I have been reading that "Washington Post" interview he did about health care. It will be great and cheaper. It's going to be better. We are going to make drug companies pay for it. Still looking for more details.

MARQUEZ: OK, the globe is one little issue he's going to deal with and already making waves on. The intelligence community continues to be an issue with him, Eugene Scott. The CIA director, John Brennan, had this to say about how Trump's -- how he should be more disciplined. Listen.


JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR: If he doesn't have confidence in the intelligence community, what signal does that send to our partners and allies as well as our adversaries? So I think Mr. Trump has to be very disciplined in terms of what it is that he says publicly.

He is going to be in a few days' time the most powerful person in the world in terms of sitting on top of the United States government. I think he has to recognize that his words do have impact. They can have very positive impact or they can be under cutting over nationality security.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MARQUEZ: Eugene, the split between him and the intelligence community just seems to get wider and wider. It should be narrowing at this point. I take it this is not welcome in the halls of power in Washington?

EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Not at all. Because what many people in the intelligence community are seeing is their work and their integrity questioned by Donald Trump. At least that is how they are interpreting. What I am really interested in seeing it's how things change when Mike Pompeo gets in, Donald Trump's CIA director pick, and hopefully Trump will be able to see that what he is being presented with is not a personal attack about him, but this is about the United States and national security.

ROMANS: There are those who think once he has his guys around him, the people he's picked as his guys then he will believe the information. He wants to reset the table with the chess board and I'll mix my metaphors here. You know, reset the way he wants it and then he'll believe that information maybe.

SCOTT: Yes, because the thought right now amongst some Trump supporters is that the information he is receiving is political and it's being put out to taint his victory. People repeatedly in the intelligence community are saying it is not about that at all. It's way bigger than that.

MARQUEZ: But Pompeo has not been exactly a friend to the intelligence community either. Is he likely to being seen as somebody who is a threat to them or are they going to play along?

[05:20:10]SCOTT: There will certainly be people within the intelligence community who are doubtful that he can continue the investigations and the focus and the priorities that they already have laid out and prioritize regarding national security. Time will reveal these things as he has more information to all of the investigations that are happening right now.

MARQUEZ: All right. Eugene Scott, Greg Valliere.

ROMANS: Yes. When you guys come back, we are going to talk what you guys think the inauguration is going to look like, you know, what you guys are expecting later this week because we'll all be there.

MARQUEZ: Do your homework. Come up with your -- give us your best.

ROMANS: Get a cup of coffee, come back in a few minutes.

MARQUEZ: The Pittsburgh Steelers advancing to the AFC title game even though they failed to score a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs. Coy Wire with a heart stopping finish in this morning's "Bleacher Report." He's coming up next.


ROMANS: All right, no touchdowns. No problems for the Steelers as they advance to the AFC championship game. One late penalty call has one Chiefs player upset.

MARQUEZ: Coy Wire, thank God he's here with this morning's "Bleacher Report." Good morning, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, guys. This one went down to the wire. The Steelers did not score a touchdown. Kicker Chris Boswell set an NFL post-season record with six field goals in this game.

But let's check out the highlights. This would come down -- the Chiefs need to go for two and they did it. Look at that, to Demetrius Harris. It's good. They are celebrating. Eric Fisher called for a hold against James Harrison. They get a ten-yard penalty and have to retry the two-point attempt. This time from the 12-yard line. No good.

[05:25:03]Chiefs Team Captain Travis Kelce said the official should have never made that penalty call on his teammate.


TRAVIS KELCE, CHIEFS TIGHT END: You fight all year. You fight all game. For it to end like that with the ref taking it out of our hands. That hurts. Ref shouldn't be able to work again.


WIRE: Dallas and Green Bay went down to the wire. Cowboys kicker, Dan Bailey 52 yards out and ties the game at 31. Season on the line and he nails it. One problem, he left Aaron Rodgers and the Packers 35 seconds to work, third and 20. Rodgers on the move, a flick of the wrist. Jared Cook on the sideline, an incredible catch.

That sets up a 51-yard attempt for Packers kicker, Mason Crosby. Sending the pack to the NFC Championship game from 51 yards out. The Packers have now won eight straight. So we are all set. Only four teams remain. The Packers heading to Atlanta.

Where they say they want to get on a 50-yard line in the Georgia Dome for the final game ever played there against the Atlanta Falcons. The Steelers traveling to Foxboro to take on the Patriots who are making the sixth straight AFC title game appearance.

The Steelers did not have Big Ben when they played in the season. The Pats are 53-0 at home in Gillette Stadium in playoff games.

ROMANS: All right, it's going to be exciting days ahead.

MARQUEZ: It's a Super Bowl party at Coy's house.

WIRE: Let's go, guys.

ROMANS: Thanks, Coy.

MARQUEZ: Inauguration week for Donald Trump, beginning the way so many of his weeks started before. He's going after a top U.S. intelligence official and fending off criticism at home and abroad. We will bring you up to date in just a moment.


MARQUEZ: Developing overnight, Donald Trump calling the head of the CIA suggesting John Brennan was behind the leaks that caused a headache for the transition. What did John --