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EARLY START

President's First Interview; Trump's Pivot on Executive Action; Remembering Mary Tyler Moore. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired January 26, 2017 - 04:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[04:00:09] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will be in a form reimbursed by Mexico which I --

DAVID MUIR, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: So, they will pay us back?

TRUMP: Yes, absolutely, 100 percent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The president gives his first interview since being sworn in, tackling a number of topics -- immigration, a border wall, voter fraud, torture and more. We'll tell you what he says.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Executive switcheroo. The president with new executive action coming today, just not the ones we thought. This after a new backlash from Mexico over the action taken on the border wall.

ROMANS: And remembering Mary Tyler Moore. The legendary actress has passed away at the age of 80. We have the tributes and a look back on her iconic moments.

BERMAN: So funny and so incredibly talented, too. In some of her more serious roles beyond just the humor.

ROMANS: All right. Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. Great to see you. It's Thursday, January 26th, 4:00 a.m. in the East.

What will the president sign today and who is going to pay for it? Those questions all of a sudden seemed very much up in the air this morning. A day after signing the order on the border wall, we have been told that the president would come with more immigration orders today that could include a temporary ban on all refugees. Instead, we are told he will take executive action on trade today.

As for that border wall, all during the campaign, he said Mexico would pay for it, but his new executive action does nothing to advance that. And new comments from Mexico do nothing to accept. In fact, the Mexicans are saying forget about it. Still, the president was defiant in his first White House interview since taking office.

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TRUMP: We will be in a form reimbursed by Mexico which I --

MUIR: So, they will pay us back?

TRUMP: Yes, absolutely, 100 percent.

MUIR: So, the American taxpayer will pay for the wall at first.

TRUMP: All of this will be reimbursed in a later date from whatever transaction we make from Mexico. I campaigned on the wall and it's very important. But that wall will cost us nothing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Today, the president takes the first trip outside the capital as president.

CNN's Jim Acosta has the latest on that.

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JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: John and Christine, President Trump is traveling to Philadelphia later today to attend a GOP retreat. He has plenty to discuss with his fellow Republicans after signing executive orders to build a wall on the border with Mexico and crackdown on illegal immigration. Here's what the president had to say about that.

TRUMP: We are in the middle of the crisis on our southern border. The unprecedented surge of illegal migrants from Central America is harming both Mexico and the United States. And I believe the steps we will take starting right now will improve the safety in both of our countries. It's going to be very good for Mexico. A nation without borders is not a nation.

ACOSTA: President Trump was scheduled to meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto next week. In a video message to Mexicans, Pena Nieto did scrap the trip, but he did emphasize once again that Mexico is not paying for that wall -- John and Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right. Regardless of whether Mexico pays for it, building the border wall would be expensive. We're talking about 1,300 miles and possibly 40 feet high. That would require 19 million tons of concrete.

President Trump has cited a $10 billion estimate. That was given to him during the campaign by the National Precast Concrete Association. That group tells us they are confident in that figure. But there are a lot of variables. Building a wall in isolated areas

will be more expensive. The train itself could be rugged, even mountainous. In some spots, the U.S. would need to build roads just to reach the border area.

Other estimates suggest there are enough uncertainties to drive the cost up to $15 billion, possibly as $25 billion. That's according to Bernstein Research, a firm that tracks material cost. None of those estimates include the cost of acquiring the land, where the wall will be built. That could also be priced.

It looks like we're slated to give Mexico in foreign aide about $134 million this year. So, if you think about the cost of the wall, even if the president were to start to, I guess, over 10 or 20 years, chip away at foreign aid to pay it back, it would still take an awful long time.

BERMAN: Exactly. Remember, Texas land, a lot of it is private. So, they have to buy that. Just like you said, it's a complicated thing.

This morning, Republicans are considering a special spending bill to start to pay for the president's proposed border wall. House Speaker Paul Ryan confirms taxpayers will have to foot the bill up front. He told Republican lawmakers at a retreat in Philadelphia that they can use a supplemental appropriations bill to fund the project. Now, the president, as you heard and he claims that Mexico will reimburse the United States for the cost. Mexico says no. But Speaker Ryan accepts the president's word.

ROMANS: All right. As for executive actions on refugees, officials say those will not be signed today, but soon, possibly on Friday. A draft executive order obtained by CNN suggests the president is considering a few different ways to keep his campaign promise to crackdown on Muslim immigration. Officials say details have not been finalized, but it calls for a blanket ban on refugees for up to four months. The plan would also bar for 30 days all travelers from seven Muslim majority countries, including Iraq, Iran and Syria.

[04:05:07] BERMAN: The ban also calls for barring admission for all Syrian refugees indefinitely until the president determines the vetting and screening process has been sufficiently overhauled. The president explained the rationale for these new restrictions to ABC.

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TRUMP: Looking at people that come in, in many cases, in some cases, with evil intentions. I don't want that. They're ISIS. They are coming under false pretense.

I don't want that. I'm going to be the president of a safe country. We have enough problems.

We're not letting people in if we think there is a little change chance of some problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: As early as today, the president could sign executive action ordering the Justice Department to launch an investigation into voter fraud. This week, President Trump has repeatedly pushed the false, debunked claim that 3 million to 5 million illegal votes were cast in the election, which is why he says he lost the popular vote. Overnight, the president said an investigation might help prove his claim.

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TRUMP: If you look at the voter registration, you look at the dead people that are registered to vote who vote, you look at the people who are registered in two states, you look at all of these different things that are happening with registration, you take a look at those registration -- you're going to find it and we're going to do an investigation on it.

MUIR: Three million to 5 million illegal votes?

TRUMP: Well, we're going to find, but it could very well be that much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: A senior administration official tells CNN the president wants to discuss the voter fraud issue with Republican lawmakers before launching a probe. The official also says there is some concern within the White House about starting an investigation before the Senate confirms the president's pick to run the Justice Department, Senator Jeff Sessions.

BERMAN: The president's focus on what he calls voter fraud is putting Republican lawmakers in pretty awkward spot. Many are trying to defend the new leader of the party without conceding the mass election fraud.

House Oversight Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz says his panel will not look into the issue. But Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger complains the issue is taking the president off message.

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REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R-UT), HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I just haven't seen the fraud. If it's out there, the president is convinced it's there, he should investigate it. He's got 100,000 people at the Department of Justice to help him to do that. So, but it's not something the Oversight Committee is going to dive into.

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R), ILLINOIS: I would actually encourage the president to come out with whatever evidence he has that makes him believe there were millions that voted illegally. I think it's dangerous ground because it begins to undermine the base of the Constitution, which is idea of a fair election.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: You know, read "The New York Times", he talks about a conversation he had with golfer Bernard Langer who won two Masters and says that that conversation is evidence that he's facing a lot this on. The president -- read the article, Glenn Thrush wrote in "The New York Times."

The president also has been some pointing to the fact that voters -- some voters are registered in more than one state. He calls that voter fraud. Watchdog groups do not call it fraud. A lot of people end up being registered in two states. When you move, you don't necessarily lose your registration.

And note this, his own nominee to be treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, he is registered in two states. His own top strategist, Steve Bannon, he's registered in two states. A lot of the papers note that his own daughter Tiffany Trump, she is registered in two states.

It happens. That in and of itself is not fraud. If you vote in two states, that is fraud. There is no evidence that anyone does that.

ROMANS: Fascinating.

All right. The president getting push back for comments on torture as well. The president says he wants to fight fire with fire combating terrorism. That means reinstating techniques that waterboarding, something the president says he is open to.

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MUIR: President Obama said the U.S. does not torture. Will you say that?

TRUMP: Well, I have a general whom I have great respect for, General Mattis, who said -- I was a little surprised -- who said he is not a believer in torture. I have spoken to others in intelligence and they are big believers in, as an example, waterboarding because they say it does work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Lawmakers of both sides of the aisle are shooting down the notion of bringing back enhanced interrogation techniques.

Listen to the reaction two Republicans, starting with Senator John McCain, a former prisoner of war, he endured years of torture at the hands of the North Vietnamese.

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SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: You name them. Any military leader you respect has said we should not torture people, and I'm very confident that it wouldn't stand a day in court if they tried to restore that.

SEN. JOHN THUNE (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: Those issues are set of law. Congress has spoken. With respect to torture, that's banned. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Several media outlets have obtained a proposed executive order apparently drafted by the Trump administration that calls for policy review that could authorize the CIA to reopen black site prisons overseas and restart interrogation programs that were dismantled in 2009.

BERMAN: All right. New protests overnight after President Trump signed the executive ordering a crackdown on so-called sanctuary cities.

[04:10:03] Here in New York, protesters chanted "resist", while others carried signs say I stand with immigrant New York and here to stay. Mayors in cities, including New York and Boston, immediately pushed back against the president's executive order.

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MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK: Hundreds of American cities where this executive order could undermine public safety create a rift and a disconnect between police departments and those they serve and take away funding from law enforcement. That's the potential magnitude of what we face here.

MAYOR MARTY WALSH (D), BOSTON: If necessary, we will use city hall itself to shelter and protect anyone who is targeted unjustly. Boston was here for me and my family. And for as long as I am mayor, I will not turn my back on those who are seeking a better life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, he said he would open up city hall to immigrants, if need be, to protect them from the federal government.

According to most recent numbers in 2015, more than 200 state and local jurisdiction did not honor requests from immigration and custom enforcement to detain individuals.

ROMANS: All right. Eleven minutes past the hour.

A legendary actress is gone. Mary Tyler Moore has passed away. We'll have more on her life and legacy next.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was always some deeper meaning to whatever chuckles did.

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[04:15:28] BERMAN: A legendary actress, a tireless advocate and role model for a generation, the death of Mary Tyler Moore making so many of us sad this morning. She died Wednesday at he age of 80. Friends and co-stars have offered a flood of tributes on social media and elsewhere. Her ground-breaking career spanned more than 50 years and what one of her more memorable roles forever changed how women are depicted on televisions.

CNN's Jeanne Moos has more.

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(MUSIC)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Mary Tyler Moore's smile has been turned off at the age of 80, not before she made it.

(MUSIC)

MOOS: Her famous hat throw even immortalized in a statue.

MARY TYLER MOORE, ACTRESS: Here it goes!

MOOS: Her first acting break was as an elf, pushing appliances. But her career really got hot --

ANNOUNCER: "The Dick Van Dyke Show" --

MOOS: In 1961 with her first starring role.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to show you off. How about it, Laurie? Will you give me that pleasure?

MOORE: No.

MOOS: In her own show, she played a single TV woman in a newsroom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got spunk.

MOORE: Well --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hate spunk.

MOOS: The show had enough spunk to last seven seasons.

Mary also went after serious roles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you chase these roles or --

MOORE: Yes.

MOOS: She was nominated for an Academy Award for "Ordinary People". In her not so ordinary life, she was married three times, went through diabetes and a benign brain tumor, lost her only son when he accidentally shot himself.

She was a vegetarian and for years an alcoholic.

MOORE: I just made up my mind to stop. MOOS: And checked into the Betty Ford clinic.

Watch her expression when Larry King described her as --

LARRY KING, FORMER CNN HOST: Television's comedy goddess.

MOOS: She said this quote from Dorothy Parker was her motto.

MOORE: What other people think of me is none of my business.

MOOS: If you now think of her as sadness, recall Mary cracking up at the funeral of chuckles the clown.

Remember how that ended?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead, my dear. Laugh for chuckles.

MOOS: Mary Tyler Moore fans may need some tissues, or at least a group hug.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we all need some Kleenex.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's some on Mary's desk.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: That was a nice piece. Thanks.

BERMAN: You said the first woman I saw in a newsroom.

ROMANS: The first woman I ever saw in a newsroom was Mary Tyler Moore, you know? I mean, I think a lot of -- even in reruns, a lot of people relate to it, you know? These young men.

Hollywood remembering Mary Tyler Moore with love.

Among the most notable tributes, Mary's long time co-star, Ed Asner, tweeted, "Mary Tyler Moore, my heart goes out to you and your family. I know that I love you and believe in your strength." He added, "A great lady I love. I will miss her. I will never be able to repay her for the blessings that she gave me."

And Dick Van Dyke, Mary's husband on his sitcom, "The Dick Van Dyke Show", said, "There are no words. She was the best. We always said we would change each other's lives for the better." And he shared this video of their performance of "I Got Your Number".

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BERMAN: They both were dancers before they did this show. If you ever see the reruns, it is a graceful show. I think it has so much to do with how talented they both were. Oh, it's amazing to see that.

ROMANS: All right. Our thoughts go out to her family. Nineteen minutes past the hour.

British Prime Minister Theresa May heading to the U.S. today to meet with Republicans, Republican lawmakers before he sit down with the president. Preview from London, next.

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[04:23:52] ROMANS: All right. The British Prime Minister Theresa May is on her way to the U.S. Her first stop is Philadelphia where she'll address a conference of House and Senate Republicans this afternoon. May is scheduled to meet with President Trump at the White House tomorrow. She will be the first world leader to meet face-to-face with the U.S. president.

Let's bring in CNN's Isa Soares live in London.

Good morning.

ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Christine.

That's right, Theresa May, the prime minister, will be leaving today, this morning, traveling, as you said, to Philadelphia, where she meet Republican leaders, and there it is, where the charm offensive, Christine, truly begin. She wants to renew and refresh the relationship with the U.K., as well as the U.S., and talk of an old and strong friendship harking back to the times of the 1980s between Ronald Reagan, the former U.S. president, and Margaret Thatcher.

But as she goes there, Christine, she needs to walk a fine line because she knows many dislike his populist views, his protectionist views, and indeed his stances on everything from climate change, torture as well as women issues.

[04:25:01] In fact, in the houses of parliament behind me yesterday, one prime minister even said to her, one member of parliament even said to her, why are you even you're going to talk to a misogynist president? Will you even be able to push any of the hard facts? Where she replied, I can have a frank relationship because of our special relationship. Whether she can be harsh, though, is another matter.

On top of the agenda, everything from fighting terrorism to talking about NATO, as well as the Syrian conflict. A very fine balance for Theresa May who wants to get more importantly a trade deal, Christine.

ROMANS: Two new leaders of two countries that have turned inward in recent months. Clearly, a lot to talk about.

Thank you so much for that, Isa Soares.

BERMAN: All right. President Trump says that Mexico will stay pay for the wall eventually, although it does now seem that if a wall happens, the United States and U.S. taxpayers will pay for it first. What does this all mean? (COMMERCIAL BREAK)