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Deadline For Trump's Wiretap Evidence; Stone Admits Contacts with "Guccifer 2.0"; Republicans Fight Over Health Care; Diplomatic Rift Grows Between Turkey and Netherlands; Iraqi Troops Gain Ground In Mosul; Nor' Easter Brewing For The Northeast; SNL Skewers Ivanka As "Complicit". Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired March 13, 2017 - 04:30   ET


[04:30:00] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Now senate Republicans are venting in his direction.

Welcome back to EARLY START. Everybody, I'm Dave Briggs.


BRIGGS: You too.

ROMANS: No snow shovels, no boots, everything ready for tonight?

BRIGGS: The calm before the storm, my friend.

ROMANS: That's true. Thirty minutes past the hour, I'm Christine Romans. Good morning, good Monday morning everybody. This morning is, as much as the White House may want to advance its health care and other issues, the spotlight returns, for today at least, to President Trump's unfounded wiretapping claims.

The House Intelligence Committee has asked the Trump Justice Department to handover any evidence that backs up the President's allegation, his allegation at President Obama personally ordered his phone tapped during the campaign.

BRIGGS: More than a week after President Trump tweeted out that claim the White House still offered no evidence to support it. Ahead of today's deadline, at least one key lawmakers demanding an explanation, White House correspondent, Athena Jones has the latest.

ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine and Dave. An important deadline looms today. The House Intelligence Committee sent a letter to the Department of Justice last week asking the agency to provide all relevant documents regarding the President's explosive wiretapping allegations against his predecessor, President Obama.

There is no indication that the White House or the Department Of Justice is prepared to offer any such evidence, but this is something that members of congress, not just Democrats, but also Republicans, very much want to see -- here is what Arizona Senator, John McCain had to say about all of this on "STATE OF THE UNION". Listen.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Our Director Of National Intelligence, General Clapper testified that there was absolutely no truth to that allegation. So, I think the president has one of two choices, either retract or to provide the information that the American people deserve.


JONES: And one thing that's interesting to note here, is that it's the Department of Justice being asked to provide these documents. It was only about a week ago that the FBI Director, James Comey asked the Department of Justice to publicly refute the president's baseless claims saying that they were simply not true.

While the Department of Justice has declined to do that, but it is noteworthy that this is the agency that's being tasked with providing this evidence -- evidence that several officials say simply doesn't exist. Christine. Dave.

ROMANS: All right, Athena Jones the White House for us this morning.

Long time Trump Associate, Roger Stone not only admits having contact with the notorious hacker, "Guccifer 2.0". He is defending it. "Guccifer 2.0" is the shadowy online persona claiming to be responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee.

Stone says he did have a few innocuous brief exchanges and insists they occurred last August after the DNC had already been hacked. Stone claims that timing proves he did not collude with the Russians to influence the election.

BRIGGS: Growing resentment over the Trump Administrations has brought firing of 46 U.S. Attorneys. Many of those officials finding out they've been dismissed through media reports. Law enforcement sources telling CNN the firings could not have been handled worse with dozens of sensitive court cases now hanging in the balance.

The case of New York's Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the district that includes Manhattan is getting the most attention, Bharara refusing to resign instead engaging in a standoff with the president. He was finally told by the administration on Saturday he was fired. Listen to Bharara though talking to reporters in November after meeting with the president and being told he could keep his job.


PREET BHARARA, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: We had a good meeting. I said I would absolutely consider staying on. I agreed to stay on. I expect that I will be continuing the work at the...


ROMANS: The administration source telling CNN the president originally offered to keep Bharara on as a favor to New York, Senator Chuck Schumer. But the White House now view Schumer as an obstructionist. Bharara, adding to the intrigue by this, tweeting this, "By the way, now I know what the Moreland Commission must have felt like," that's a reference to the New York State Commission that was setup to look into corruption before being abruptly shutdown. Not clear whether Bharara is suggesting he was investigating Mr. Trump.

BRIGGS: And one of the real powerful U.S. Attorneys in the country, some think he was the inspiration for the show "Billions..."

ROMANS: Oh, yes.

BRIGGS: ...taken down some powerful guys, but look most presidents do this. Clean house with these attorneys. He is not doing anything completely unheard of but we'll ask Laura Jarrett about this in the 5:00 hour.

Both sides in the Obamacare repeal battle anxiously awaiting the official analysis by the congressional budget office. That report expected as soon as today will hold a trove of closely lost estimates including the overall cost of the Republican bill and how many people could lose their insurance if in fact this goes into place. Republicans have been busy minimizing the importance of the CBO score, among them House Speaker, Paul Ryan.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), HOUSE SPEAKER: One thing I'm certain will happen is CBO will say, "Well, gosh not as many people will get coverage. You know why? Because this isn't a government mandate, this is not the government makes you buy what we say you should buy and therefore the government thinks you're all going to buy it." So, there's no way you can compete with on paper a government mandate with coverage.



BRIGGS: There is growing frustration with Speaker Ryan among many in congress, especially senators like Rand Paul. He accuses Ryan of being misleading.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: You know what I hear from Paul Ryan? It's a binary choice, young man. And but -- what does that binary choice mean? His way or the highway, it's the Ryan plan or the status quo. And what he has rammed through his committee is his without amendments and that's the question. If we get what we've got from Ryan, ObamaCare-lite, he will not have the votes.


ROMANS: All right, another top Republican Senator, Tom Cotton sounding the alarm warning his house colleagues of possibly dire consequences for passing the current bill.


SEN. TOM COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: Do not walk the plank and vote for a bill that cannot pass the senate and have to face the consequences of that vote. I'm afraid that if they vote for the bill, they're going to put the house majority at risk next year.


ROMANS: The House Budget Committee is expected to take up their repeal bill on Wednesday former chair of that committee, current health and human services secretary, Tom Price, making this bold declaration.


TOM PRICE, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: I firmly believe that nobody will be worse off financially in this -- in the process that we're going through understanding that they'll have choices that they can select the kind of coverage that they want for themselves and for their family not the government forces them to buy.


ROMANS: Price's claim that nobody will be worse off financially drawing fierce fire from the right conservative website "Breitbart" declaring his statement in early candidate for "Lie of the Year". CNN hosts the Town Hall with Secretary Price on Wednesday night. A senior White House official tells us that West Wing will focus heavily on healthcare again this week with both the president and the vice president engaged on the subject.

As we await the official score from the Congressional Budget Office, there are new members showing the huge tax cuts that could be coming to the wealthiest American. The non-partisan joint committee on taxation finds Americans making more than $1 million a year will save an estimated $165 billion in taxes that will take place over 10 years.

Why such a decrease -- well, the Affordable Care Act, ObamaCare, put in place two taxes on the rich. They cover individuals making more than 200,000 and families making more than 250,000. Now, the first is 0.9 percent tax on income earned above those thresholds that helps pay for Medicare. The second is a 3.8 percent surcharge an investment income. Both of those taxes were used to pay for the subsidies the people got under ObamaCare.

The GOP plan uses tax credits and said, "We have to wait for the CBO analysis to see how much the cuts will costs the government and how the replacement plan will pay for those tax credits." Those subsidies are paid for by -- in part by taxes on the rich.


ROMANS: How will they pay for the tax credit under the new management?

BRIGGS: And that's ahead of a massive tax overhaul... ROMANS: That's right.

BRIGGS: ...the president would like to do if he can get this through.

ROMANS: That's right.

BRIGGS: New details about the intruder who breached White House security Friday night carrying a backpack with maze and a letter to President Trump. A 26-year-old Jonathan Tran of California faces arraignment in U.S. District Court this afternoon. He was discovered by a secret service agent near the south entrance of the executive residence just before midnight.

He was also carrying a laptop, passport and book written by Trump. His letter to the president claimed he had relevant information about Russian hackers. Mr. Trump calling the situation sad while praising the efforts of the secret service. This despite the fact that Tran was able to scale the fence adjacent to the White House undetected.

Congressman Steve King of Iowa under fire for making a divisive comment about Muslim children, the Republican lawmaker was retweeting a message endorsing far-right Dutch candidate, Geert Wilders when he wrote, "Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can't restore our civilization with someone else's babies."

Republican congressman, Carlos Curbelo of Florida firing back, "What do you mean, do I qualify someone else's baby?" Republicans and Democrats hammering King for his comment, we'll ask the congressman what he meant whether he regrets what he said when he joins "New Day" at 8 a.m. Eastern Time.

ROMANS: All right, I can't wait to hear that.

BRIGGS: Chris Cuomo is gearing up for that interview.

ROMANS: Yes. All right, the Netherlands and Turkey in a bitter battle after harsh words from one country will follow up by tough action from the other, all right dust-up that really escalating here. We're live in Amsterdam.



BRIGGS: The rift deepening between Turkey and The Netherlands after Turkey's President compares the Dutch to Nazis. Denmark, now postponing a meeting with the Turkish Prime Minister in light of the attack, this all comes as both countries prepare for major election.

CNN International Correspondent Atika Shubert is live in Amsterdam. Is it still a chaotic scene there? Good morning to you.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. No, the streets are much quieter now but at a diplomatic level, it's still very tense. Essentially, it should have been a minor incident, but it blew up until a full-blown crisis when The Netherlands not only cancelled the number of Turkish political rallies here but actually prevented the ministers from even landing here.

So, what's happening is that in Turkey, President Erdogan wants to whip up support for this referendum that will give him a lot more power that's why these sort of political rallies are critical to him. Here in The Netherlands, there's an election on Wednesday and this is why it's very heated here. People wanting to see a more tougher line being taken by the government.

So, what it ended up with was 2,000 people standing in front of the Turkish Consulate very angry that the ministers weren't being allowed to address these rallies. Erdogan calling The Netherlands fascist and racist and The Netherlands saying the country won't be blacked mailed and the Diplomatic fallout has not ended there, Denmark now saying that it is cancelled -- it is pushing back the visit by the Turkish Prime Minister precisely because of these rising tension, Dave.


BRIGGS: Atika Shubert, live for us, thank you.

ROMANS: All right, Iraqi troops are charting progress in the push to drive ISIS out of the Iraqi City of Mosul. The military says 60 percent of Western Mosul has now been liberated even though nearly 100,000 residents have been displaced and we're now getting a look at a museum left barren in the city after ISIS destroyed countless ancient relics or so we thought.

CNN Senior International Correspondent, Ben Wedeman is live in Irbil just about 50 miles East of Mosul with a closer look and that was certainly a propaganda or public relations for ISIS when they took some of those artifacts over but it's a little more complicated than that, isn't it?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, yes. We were at that museum yesterday. It's still an active warzone in that part of western Mosul. Now, back in February 2015, Christine, ISIS posted a video showing members with sledgehammers, jackhammers destroying what appeared to be ancient statues in the Mosul Museum.

They were also toppling over many more. But it turns out that early in 2014, the Mosul Museum was slated for renovation and 1,700 items out of the 2,200 items in their collection were moved to Baghdad for safekeeping and they were replaced on in the displays by cheap Plaster of Paris replicas. So, it appears that many of those priceless ancient items were spared although the ISIS lunatics did break up some of the, what are called Lamassu, those are the winged bulls that were symbol of the power of the mighty Syrian Empire.

So, we have at least one bright spot in a fairly bleak landscape. What we've seen is time and time again, ISIS has gone to ancient lands -- ancient monuments, ancient cities in Northern Iraq bulldozed and dynamited them to smithereens, Christine.

ROMANS: All right, thank you so much, Ben Wedeman this morning in Irbil, Iraq, thanks.

BRIGGS: Today, prosecutors begin questioning South Korea's newly impeached President Park Geun-Hye left the executive mansion on Sunday just two days after the constitutional cord voted her out of office. She's accused of helping to raise donations for a friend's phony charities in a statement Park said, "I believe the truth will definitely come out." An election to replace her expected May 9th. >

ROMANS: All right, the fed is ready to hike interest rates. Will the stock market rally roll on? We will get a check on CNN Money Stream next.


[04:50:00] ROMANS: All right, it turns out the warm weather in the past couple of weeks has been all monumental head fake, a huge winter storm rolling into the northeast starting tonight extending into Tuesday.

BRIGGS: Winter storm warnings posted for much of the east coast from Virginia to Massachusetts, blizzard watch for four north eastern states, expects school closing...


BRIGGS: ...flight cancellations delayed and brutal commutes.

ROMANS: All right, let's bring in meteorologist, Pedram Javaheri.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Dave and Christine. Now, the conditions around parts of the country here were over 100 million people underneath which are weather advisories and alerts, pretty impressive here, that's 1 in every 3 people dealing with these conditions over the next 24 so hours.

Of course, we have snow coming down in Chicago at this hour which is among the first times all year. We've seen some decent snow come down, but the arctic blast is in place. The storm system coming out of the planes going eventually push in and interact with the storm system coming out of the southeast. So, you put the energy together here, you bring the timing into Monday night and to early Tuesday morning.

The potential for a significant amount of snow coming down is very high across this region. In fact, over 50 million people could see at least see a foot of snow on Tuesday afternoon and you take a look parts of New York City potentially could see some of the higher totals and points just to the east there expanding on eastern parts of Connecticut and onto Massachusetts as well over 18 inches possible as they go in towards Tuesday afternoon.

And of course what is making this the most impressive is when you consider how March begin about 70 degrees there in Central Park on the 1st of March, 12 to 20 inches depending on which model you choose as we go in towards Tuesday afternoon, so definitely a very interesting 24 to 36 hours ahead of us here guys. BRIGGS: Oh, should be. Thank you, my friend. Five Jewish Centers in

the U.S. and Canada targeted by bomb threats on Sunday, the threats coming on the Jewish holiday forum for the Jewish Community Center in Rochester, New York. It was the second time in less than a week that members were forced to evacuate. Jewish citizen in Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Houston and Vancouver also targeted in Sunday that makes 154 total incidents nationwide since January.

ROMANS: All right, anger returning to the streets of Ferguson, Missouri overnight with police making several arrests in a new protest over the death of Michael Brown. Demonstrators gathered outside of market Sunday after a new documentary released this weekend contains the teenager did not rob the store as police had indicated. Brown was gunned down by a white police officer in August of 2014 shortly after leaving the store. The shooting brought weeks of violent protests to the Missouri Community, no word yet on how many were taken into custody.

BRIGGS: Time to break out the brackets folks. Selection Sunday is in the books and NCAA college basketball tournament field all set defending champ Villanova the number one seed overall for the third time in school history, joining the wildcats' top seeds Kansas, North Carolina and Gonzaga. The first four begin play tomorrow night in Dayton, Ohio. I know you are geared up for your brackets. I have them for you just it didn't general start.


ROMANS: I did really, really well two or three years ago and I -- honestly, I just was guessing.

BRIGGS: Well, that actually suits you well this year. It is as wide open a field as I've ever seen, so guessing out to work well.

Another pressing political news, how would President Trump react at aliens invaded? Alec Baldwin returned to "Saturday Night Live" as President Trump to answer that very question.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here's what we do -- here's what we're going to do. We are going to bring coal back, OK?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to have so much coal. You're going to say, "Where did all this coal come from?"

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about the aliens? They just vaporized the entire State of California?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's where I won the popular vote.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, I have some terrible news, New York City has been attacked and Trump Hotel has been completely destroyed causing $50 million in damage. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More like $1 billion.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, luckily no lives were lost because no was staying at the hotel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's so true.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The White House is officially calling the bill the American Healthcare Act and not as many people in the media have been calling it Trump Care. How bad this something have to be for Trump not to want to put his name on it?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This guy wants to put his name on a poncey (ph) scheme...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...but even for this, he's like, "I don't wanna take all of the credit."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel like if Kanye's next album was called, but enough about me.



ROMANS: There was another inspired vid, SNL parody that Ivanka Trump perfume...


ROMANS: ...and they called it "Complicit" which challenges the First Daughter's role as a women's advocate.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When she walks into a room, all eyes are on her. She's Ivanka.




ROMANS: That's Scarlet Johansson?

BRIGGS: It is.

ROMANS: Oh, my God very well done.

BRIGGS: It was a well-done ad. They are at their best with politics being the subject, no doubt.

ROMANS: Let's get a check on CNN Money Stream this Monday morning for stock Futures, they are lower right now, Wall Street gearing up for a big week. Stock markets in Europe mixed in the first hour of trading an hour later due to the daylight saving time here in the U.S., shares in Asia finishing with gains overnight.

The Fed Reserve starts a two-day policy meeting tomorrow. That might sound boring but it won't be this time. It will be a major test for the stock market. The Trump rally has slowed a little since the start of the month major averages are just up slightly over the past two weeks. So, higher interest rates will boost profits for banks and we've seen those prospects reflected in the stock market.

But are average American ready for a rate hike? It will make things like new mortgages and adjustable rate loans more expensive plus many home equity lines will become more costly. The cost of taking out a car loan will likely rise and some interest rates and credit cards will also increase.

The Fed is looking at two main things, the labor market and inflation both of those have been steadily increasing in the recent months. So, many believe now is the right time for a rate hike and an increase could give the Fed more leeway in dealing with the slowing economy maybe in the future.

So, all the controversy over Ivanka Trump's fashion brand has translated Dave into a big boost in sales. In the first two months of the year, U.S. sales of Ivanka Trump products on Amazon surging 332 percent from the same time last year that's according to slice intelligence at Macy's sales jumped 148 percent and Bloomingdale sales a 29 spike.

Analyst tells us the brand will likely continue to do well especially overseas because it is now firmly associated with glamor and prestige of the White House along with Ivanka Trump's image as a successful entrepreneur and working mother. She is very, very popular in China and in Asia where she is seen as kind of a -- the model for millennial women.

BRIGGS: But even domestically as kind of people circling the wagons saying, "We're going to defend our own...



BRIGGS: ...on the far right it has worked."

EARLY START continues right now. It's deadline day for the House Intelligence Committee. What

information will the Justice Department handover about the president's wiretapping claim?

ROMANS: A powerful U.S. Attorney not going quietly after being fired by President Trump, why did the president go back on his word with Preet Bharara?

BRIGGS: The Congressional Budget Office is set to weigh in on the ObamaCare repeal plan will show you how the House Speaker is softening expectations in dealing with anger among senate colleagues.

Good morning to you, welcome to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs on this national napping day. Did you know?

ROMANS: Oh, I am a...

BRIGGS: We are nappers.

ROMANS: We are nappers, that's true.

BRIGGS: Everyone should be today.

ROMANS: Yes, I would love it 10 minutes was a -- is a good nap for me but it's not. I'm Christine Romans. It is Monday, March 13th it is 5 a.m. in the east.

This morning, as much as the White House may want to advance its agenda on healthcare and other issues, the spotlight returns for today at least to President Trump unfounded wiretapping claim.