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Blizzard Warnings Across The Northeast; CBO Estimates 24M Uninsured By 2026;Trump Wiretapping Allegations; Ryan Slams Trump In Newly Release Audio. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired March 14, 2017 - 05:30   ET



[05:31:15] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Happening right now, a final blast of winter. Whiteout conditions with heavy snow, strong winds, making its way through the Northeast and affecting tens of millions. We have complete coverage of this late winter Nor'easter.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs on a cold, snowy day.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: I know. It feels like the holidays but it's supposed to be spring.

BRIGGS: In March.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It's 31 minutes past the hour. The snow we've been warning you about now starting to fall across the Northeast, expected to get heavier throughout the morning and keep falling all day long. Tens of millions of people are under blizzard or winter storm warnings and there are states of emergency declared from Maryland on up to New England making for dangerous, potentially deadly conditions.

BRIGGS: New York City and Boston expected to be hit hard here and New York could get a foot of snow or more, and parts of Massachusetts could see up to two feet. Officials are warning of high winds creating potential whiteout conditions. Schools in Boston, Philadelphia, New York City, and many other places are closed.

ROMANS: So far, airlines have canceled almost 5,400 flights. There's the map of what's in the air. This is according to And Amtrak says it will run what it calls a modified schedule in the Northeast today. As always, ahead of the possible blizzard, folks have been clearing off grocery store shelves like it's the end of the world. My kids got two different kinds of Oreos, Chips Ahoy's, Cheetos.

BRIGGS: Don't forget the Cheetos.

ROMANS: There you go. We have the very latest on the storm with reporters all along the East Coast, starting with Chad Myers -- meteorologist Chad Myers, right here at Columbus Circle in New York. You are an hour and 32 minutes into your post today, sir.


MYERS: It's not bad. It's still snowing. It's doing OK and people are dealing with it. There's a 10-year-old kid back here that doesn't know it's cold. I remember those days living in Buffalo and that's a great thing. At least people are enjoying the days off, but later on today it's going to get dangerous. It's not going be a day to get out on the roads and it's just that simple. All the cars driving around now are getting to where they need to be. But by the time three inches where we are -- maybe two -- gets to 12 or 14, all of the sudden it's a completely different storm.

Here's a snow pile right now. I showed you this snow pile about an hour ago. It wasn't nearly this high. They're still scooping Central Park, obviously, here at Columbus Circle. But here's what the light looks like. So, I know this kind of looks like a nice snowfall or kind of a Christmassy scene, but it's truly coming down pretty hard. You know when they -- at a football game when they show the lights and how heavy the rain's coming down, that's what we have. The snow is not indicative on our camera until you really point into the lights.

And so, the rest of the day the snow's going to come down heavy -- heavier than we are now. About 8:00 is our real bogey where we could even see thundersnow. It will be coming down so hard, two to three inches per hour. And west of here an easy 20 inches of snow. Downtown New York City, somewhere between 15-18. But east on Long Island all the way down to New Jersey -- all the way down, even through the Delmarva and D.C., much more rain mixing in, not so much snow. So not as white of a storm, more of a wet storm.

But the problem, guys, is that it's frozen tonight so if you have water or slush on the roads temperatures tonight will be down in the twenties. That will all refreeze.

Now, I was out shopping yesterday, like everyone else. It's a different kind of shopping when you don't -- you don't have a refrigerator to bring your stuff back to. So I have rice cakes, I have Triscuits. I have all the things that aren't going to be bad until probably June. I have expiration dates here. I can stay as long as you need me so I'm in good shape. So let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

ROMANS: Rice cakes and Triscuits, all right.

[05:35:00] BRIGGS: Hunkering down out there with the -- all his goods. All right, a bulk run.

ROMANS: There we go -- all right. CNN's Alison Kosik is live on the road in Woodbridge, New Jersey now. She's got more on current conditions. Good morning, Alison.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hold on. Forget about the current conditions. I want to talk about this snow food. You let your kids have two different kinds of Oreos? Now, you are a cool mom.

(CROSSTALK) KOSIK: How boring am I? All right, let's go ahead and talk about the conditions on the roads here in New Jersey. We are getting back onto the turnpike here in New Jersey seeing, once again, a light coating of snow. We were just following a plow that was plowing the streets just for us. One of the benefits of being inside the roving vehicle, obviously, I'm warm and dry. That's the best benefit of all. But I'm mostly getting a really good bird's-eye view of the different conditions.

And we are really seeing the snow begin to pile up a little more as we get into that window where I heard Chad say we're going to see that accumulation of snow somewhere between 6:00 and 9:00 a.m. Hopefully, though -- that is considered rush hour. Hopefully, people will remain off the roads. Hopefully, they're working remotely. And if you are on the road, especially here in New Jersey, there are speed restrictions on the highways, at least, of 35 miles per hour.

Many people heeding that warning, some perhaps not. I did see a jackknifed tractor-trailer taking out two lanes on the northbound section of the turnpike. It is slippery out here. A beautiful winter wonderland, but don't be fooled because once you do get in your car you realize the conditions can be very dangerous -- Christine and Dave.

ROMANS: Yes, and you've got like the buses from northern New Jersey have been canceled into the city, but you do have some weekend service on the New Jersey Transit, right?

KOSIK: Right.

ROMANS: OK, fantastic.

KOSIK: Exactly -- so yes, you're seeing the commuter rail -- the New Jersey Transit running on a weekend schedule.

ROMANS: All right, Alison. Thank you so much for that.

BRIGGS: I still think it looks like people are staying off the roads.


BRIGGS: Good news. Philadelphia among the areas under a snow emergency this morning. The city taking the brunt before the storm gets here to New York City. Let's get there to Ryan Young who is live in Philly. And we saw Chad Myers with the light, fluffy variety, not what you have there in Philly, huh, my friend?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, and I would love to have that. Instead, we're getting the pelts. We're getting pelted here with the little ice needles and that's been going on for hours at this point. First, we had the snow, and you can see that behind us and that's collected over here, but now it's moved into that icy, rainy mix.

And when you look at the roads and look at people driving -- look, this guy's driving normal speed with nothing to worry about. It's really just a sloppy mess out here. Now, of course, if it gets colder this could turn to black ice which could be a problem. But when I stand here you're really just dealing with that sloppy, slushy mess and that's what we've been noticing over and over again.

The winds are the other conversation here. We've been getting hit with high winds and that has been what's really been pushing through this morning. The snow had really turned itself off around 3:30 this morning, now it's just that wet, icy mess that's been hitting us over and over again. So, so far, it seems like the roadways won't be a problem. The last few plows that have gone by haven't even been able to put their plow down. And like we saw in the last live shot, there've been people going by us on bikes. They're not really worried about the snow this morning.

ROMANS: Oh, man, I feel bad for Ryan.

BRIGGS: That kind of snow is the worst.

YOUNG: It's great for the people. Good for the people.

ROMANS: Yes, yes, yes. Get back in the truck -- the satellite truck.

BRIGGS: Little needles, as he described it.

ROMANS: Thanks, Ryan.

BRIGGS: You can hear it.

ROMANS: I know.

BRIGGS: That's the problem. Well, turning to a political storm, the CBO report has some tough numbers for supporters of the Republican health plan. How are party leaders planning to forge ahead?


[05:42:50] ROMANS: All right. Republicans in Washington on the defensive this morning after the Congressional Budget Office released its analysis of the effect of repealing Obamacare. The so-called CBO score finds 14 million fewer Americans would have health insurance by next year, 24 million fewer in 10 years. Older working-class Americans would expect to pay more under the new GOP health care plan. CBO found premiums should rise in the short-term, then fall 10 percent on average by the year 2026.

Now, let's examine that average. The Republican bill will actually lower costs for younger Americans while raising them for older. About 20 to 25 percent less for a 24-year-old, but premiums spike that same amount for a 64-year-old. The hardest hit would be lower-income people over 50, those not yet eligible for Medicare. That's because the Republican's tax credits are not as generous as the Obamacare subsidies. For example, a 64-year-old making $26,500 a year would pay $1,700 for coverage under Obamacare. Under the GOP plan, that would be $14,600.

Why? Insurers can charge older policymakers -- or policyholders, rather, at a steeper rate under the GOP plan compared with Obamacare. Also, the tax credits don't factor in things like income and cost of coverage as the subsidies do. So, digging into those numbers for you this morning.

BRIGGS: To dig further into these numbers let's bring in Ellis Henican. He's the author of the "Trump's America" column for the Metro Papers. Good morning to you, sir.


BRIGGS: And you call them?

HENICAN: Trump voters.

BRIGGS: They did --

HENICAN: Trump voters.

BRIGGS: Voters over 65 went for Trump, 52-45. But look, the optics are bad when you look at this CBO, but how do the politics change? We've only seen one congressman, Rob Wittman from Virginia --


BRIGGS: -- come out after that and say this bill is not the answer. Again, optics are bad. How does it change the politics and the likelihood of passing this bill?

HENICAN: I'll tell you what we're hearing this morning, is that the Trump administration is sending out signals to the Freedom Caucus -- the more conservative folks -- saying we have great flexibility and we're willing to push the bill a little more in your direction. So, maybe being even a little less generous than it is right now but you know that's going to alienate some of the moderates in the Senate.

[05:45:00] ROMANS: I mean, it cuts the deficit, essentially. It cuts the deficit and it also lowers premiums on average in the end, but average -- in health care it's hard to talk about average because there are different quadrants that behave differently. Paul Ryan -- and I hope you have that sound -- Paul Ryan said that he's not disappointed by this. He's different than Tom Price.

HENICAN: Of course.

ROMANS: He says he's not disappointed by this number. Let's listen to what the House Speaker said.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: Well, actually, I think if you read this entire report, I'm pretty encouraged by it and it actually exceeded my expectations. We're saying the government's not going to force people to buy something they don't want to buy. And if we end an Obamacare mandate that says you must buy this government 'one size fits all' plan, guess what, people aren't going to buy that. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The HHS secretary said he's discouraged by this report and he strenuously disagrees with it. So what's the message from Republicans on this bill?

HENICAN: Well, watch the trashing of the Congressional Budget Office. As long as you're doing that, that's suggesting that you're not really happy with the results. Listen, I think it makes it a harder sell. I think in the end it makes it less likely that there really will be a plan that can get through both the House and the Senate.

BRIGGS: To moderates, you're suggesting?


BRIGGS: That's the tough sell.


BRIGGS: But look, Sean Spicer was spot on when he said, yesterday, the CBO botched the Obamacare estimates by more than half, so he's not making that up. The facts back that up. They weren't close.

HENICAN: That's fair enough. And listen, people hate the Congressional Budget Office from both sides, right? I mean, they do get criticism. But I have to say, when it comes to bipartisan objective scoring it may be the best thing that we have.

ROMANS: All right, let's switch gears and talk about another big story this morning. The White House -- "The Wall Street Journal" says it's backpedaling Trump's claim that his phone line was tapped by President Obama. Let's listen to Sean Spicer at the press briefing yesterday.


SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He doesn't really think that President Obama went up and tapped his phone personally. I think -- but I think there's a -- there's no question that the Obama administration -- that there were actions about surveillance and other activities that occurred in the 2016 election. The president used the word wiretap in quotes to mean broadly surveillance and other activities.


ROMANS: OK, there were a few email -- a few texts, tweets, whatever -- I sound so 20th Century -- where he did put in in air quotes and these two where he did not. It's very clear here. I mean, "This is Nixon-Watergate. Bad or sick guy. He tapped my phones." What's this walk-back accomplish?

HENICAN: I -- you know, I don't know. When you say wiretap, do you mean wiretap? I thought you probably meant a wiretap. I just think it's just -- it's looking for something to say. I don't -- I don't think it has a great content.

ROMANS: I think it's hammered on every single day and we're looking for the evidence. The House Intelligence Committee is going to have to find evidence. We don't see the evidence yet. It asked for me time.

BRIGGS: They've asked for more time. We'll see about that.

HENICAN: The Justice Department doesn't seem ready to produce that, do they? That's interesting.

BRIGGS: OK, so we also want to ask you about some leaked audio -- about Paul Ryan speaking to Republicans about his support of President Trump following those "Access Hollywood" -- that filthy tape. Here's what Paul Ryan said back in October about his support of President Trump.


VOICE OF PAUL RYAN (R-WI), HOUSE SPEAKER: His comments are not anywhere in keeping with our party's principles and values. I am not going to defend Donald Trump -- not now, not in the future. You guys know I have real concerns with our nominee and I hope you appreciate that I'm doing what I think is best for you, the members, not what's best for me. And so, I want to do what's best for our members and I think that this is the right thing to do. I'm going to focus my time on campaigning for House Republicans.

To everyone on this call, this is going to be a turbulent month. Many of you on this call are facing tough reelections, some of you are not. But with respect to Donald Trump, I would encourage you to do what you think is best and do what you feel you need to do."


BRIGGS: Now again, that was back in October after the infamous Billy Bush tape. We reported on it when it happened. Why the release of this audio now? What do you make of the timing?

HENICAN: Well, don't forget that the "Breitbarters" don't like Paul Ryan. They think he's too mushy, he's not tough enough. And so I think it's a little bit of a stab at Paul Ryan when they view him as vulnerable because of all this health care stuff.

BRIGGS: Is it "Breitbart" or is there more to it? Is this potentially linked to someone in the White House who wants to undercut Paul Ryan?

HENICAN: Well, listen, there are a lot of currents and cross currents in there, so -- are there internal enemies? Yes, there are internal enemies.

ROMANS: I know, but they need Paul -- I mean, I see -- why don't they see Paul Ryan as now for tax reform? I mean, they really want to get tax --

HENICAN: Without him, it's hard to choose much.

ROMANS: Yes, I know.

HENICAN: You're absolutely right.

ROMANS: Interesting. All right, Ellis Henican, nice to see you this morning.

HENICAN: Great to see you.

ROMANS: Are you being careful? Did you wear some --

HENICAN: You know, actually, I have grownup shoes on today. I'm sorry.

BRIGGS: You're not going to play it the snow, my friend.

ROMANS: Nothing but class, all the time --

HENICAN: Yes, sorry.

ROMANS: -- even in a snowstorm. Thanks, Ellis.

HENICAN: Good to see you.

ROMAN: Marissa Mayer about to lose her job as Yahoo's CEO, but she has a nice consolation prize. We'll check on CNN Money Stream next.

BRIGGS: And tens of millions getting ready to dig out. A major winter storm barreling through the Northeast right now. We'll have the latest forecast, next.


[05:54:15] ROMANS: The Northeast battening down as a major snowstorm hits the region. A foot of snow, more or less, forecast from Philadelphia up to New York City, and up to two feet in parts of Massachusetts. Federal agencies in the D.C. area are opening three hours late. The day of the Fed meeting, however, will go on, so you can rest assured that your interest rates are being -- are being monitored. High winds also expected. Gusts up to 50 miles per hour leading to whiteout conditions.

BRIGGS: Schools are closed today in Philadelphia, New York City, Boston, along with many government offices. Airlines have canceled thousands of flights along the Eastern Seaboard, more than 5,300 at last count according to

ROMANS: The full forecast when "NEW DAY" begins in just a few minutes.

[05:55:00] All right, Iowa Congressman Steve King under fire this morning, not backing down after that comment he made about "somebody else's babies." It was a tweet -- King's tweet appearing to criticize foreigners and immigrants and their children. It's been condemned by Republican leaders across the country and called racist, bigoted by some Democrats. Speaking to "NEW DAY," Congressman King stood by his remark.


REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: Well, of course, I meant exactly what I said as is always is the case. Individuals will contribute differently, not equally, to this civilization and society and certain groups of people will do more from a productive side than other groups of people will.


ROMANS: He went on to say he was defending Western civilization and Western standards. Here's the tweet that sparked the ruckus. Congressman King wrote, "Culture and demographics are our destiny. We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies."

BRIGGS: The 26-year-old man charged with jumping the fence at the White House last week has been released from custody. A federal district judge ordering Jonathan Tran be free on his own recognizance as long as he's fitted with a GPS tracking device and remains within 100 miles of his San Jose, California home. Jon was caught near the entrance to the White House residence with two cans of mace and more. He is due back in court next month. He faces a possible 10-year prison term.

The United Nations is facing severe budget cuts after the White House ordered U.S. funding for the U.N. to be slashed nearly in half. The cuts include $20 billionfor programs like U.S. Peacekeeping. Funding for any programs outside of regular U.N. dues would end completely. The Trump administration wants to sharply reduce American commitments to international organizations, shifting more responsibility to other member nations. The exact timeline for the cuts is unclear.

ROMANS: Let's get a check on CNN Money Stream this morning. Global markets mostly lower as investors look ahead to that two-day Federal Reserve meeting that kicks off today. Wall Street expecting the announcement of a rate hike. In the U.S., the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 closed slightly higher yesterday. The Dow slipped. Stocks still doing very well. The market has gone 104 days without a one percent drop. Right now, you can see futures are lower.

Marissa Mayer is about to lose her job as the head of Yahoo but she has a nice consolation prize. She has got a -- well, she's got a buyout -- a $23 million severance package. The payout depends on Yahoo getting sold to Verizon -- its key assets sold to Verizon. That sale was thought to be in jeopardy after Yahoo disclosed two big security breaches. However, Verizon agreed to move forward with that deal but at a $350 million discount.

All right, Intel has entered the battle over tech for driverless cars. The company agreed to buy an Israeli firm called Mobileye for $15 billion, with a 'b' Monday. Mobileye makes software for General Motors, Nissan, Hyundai, among others. This deal put the company into direct competition with companies like Tesla for driverless tech and the stakes could not be higher. Analysts predict that market will be worth $96 billion by 2025. Taking people like you and me off the road.

BRIGGS: Well, taking people like you and me off the road today is a good thing.

ROMANS: That's right, that's right.

BRIGGS: All right, stay home, stay inside in New York, Connecticut --


BRIGGS: -- Philly, Boston, stay in.

ROMANS: And be careful. Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, March 14th, 6:00 in the morning here in New York. Alisyn is off. Poppy Harlow braving the blizzard to be here with me.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: I'm from Minnesota.

CUOMO: I know. This is nothing for you. She didn't wear a coat this morning. We do beginwith the breaking news about the weather. It is a powerful winter storm that's slamming the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. Tens of millions are going to be in the path of this storm. You have eight states that are under blizzard warnings.

HARLOW: Right. That just gives you a sense of how broad this is. It's a huge Nor'easter expected to dump as much as one to two feet of snow in some areas. Schools here in New York City closed. Schools closed in Boston and Philadelphia. Whiteout conditions wreaking havoc for travelers. More than 5,000 flights already canceled. Let's begin our complete coverage of this storm this storm with our meteorologist Chad Myers, who is live in a beautiful snowy Central Park. It is full of whipping wind. Good morning.

MYERS: Yes, beautiful is a relative term. It just depends on what you're thinking. And for you, Poppy, being from Minnesota, this is paradise. It's time to go ice fishing but, no, the ice isn't thick enough. Anyway, this is what you need to think about this storm -- at least, remember. The storm is just winding up right now. It's just starting. It's just getting itself into the Atlantic Ocean. It's just starting to bomb out and get to that wind condition and get to the very heavy snow. We're not even there yet.

But this is the snow we already have. This is about a six-foot pile of snow and I can tell you by the consistency of this snow that this is probably still 10 to one snow.