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Budget Deadline Looms: $5 For Border Wall At Issue; Poll: Trump's Approval Rating Hits Historic Low; Shifting Politics In Paris; Secretary Of Defense Mattis Arrives In Kabul; U.S. Citizen Detained In North Korea; Israel Pauses In Honor Of Holocaust Victims. Aired 4:30- 5a ET

Aired April 24, 2017 - 04:30   ET


[04:30:00] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: This is happily, I mean, a lot of folks say it's the most consequential presidential election in my lifetime per se...

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, but not just for France, but the future of the E.U.

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

OK, welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. It is 30 minutes past the hour on a big Monday.

A huge countdown of clock faces lawmakers today as they return to Washington with only a few working days to strike a budget deal. The orders from the president are clear avoid a government shutdown when federal spending authority runs out at the end of the week.

It is true that the message coming from some of the president's top aide is a bit muddled you might say. We'll have more on that in a moment. But senior White House and Republican officials say the president has made it clear, the government will not shut down.

The most likely scenario, they say, is a short-term Band-Aid deal related -- that continues spending at current levels for a week or so, until the deal can be reached.

ROMANS: Much of the debate hinges on President Trump's promised border wall and how to fund it, just how far the president is prepared to go to get that funding depends on whom you ask. And the wall is just one item on the president's jam-packed agenda for the week. Ahead of his 100th day in office, we can debate the importance of that milestone all we want, but...

BRIGGS: And we should.

ROMANS:'s coming. The White House says one key policy item has suddenly moved to the back burner. Our coverage begins this morning with Athena Jones at the White House.

ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine and Dave. A big week ahead here in Washington, a lot on the agenda and an important deadline looming that of course is Friday. Friday is the deadline for congress to pass a bill to keep the government open.

Now, folks here at the White House insist the White House won't allow the government to shut down, but they also said they made their priorities very clear to the folks on Capitol Hill for what they'd like to see included in this spending bill, this must-pass spending bill.

Among those items, money for hiring, more immigration agents, and money for the border wall, a huge campaign promise for the president. The problem is both of those things are nonstarters for Democrats. We've already heard was much from Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer.

So, the big question is whether the president will insist on that border wall funding and whether he will sign a bill that doesn't include it. Take a listen to what Homeland Security Secretary, John Kelly said about this border wall funding.


JOHN KELLY, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: I think it goes about saying that the president has been pretty straightforward about his desire and the need for a border wall. So, I would suspect he'll do the right thing, for sure, but I suspect he will be insistent on the funding.


JONES: I should mention we've heard some mixed messages, depending on which administration official you talk to. And the president himself, in an interview with the associated press was asked directly, "would you sign a spending bill that doesn't include this money?" And he said, "I don't know." So, that is a big question mark hovering over what is sure to be a very busy week. Back to you guys.

BRIGGS: Thank you. You heard Athena mention mixed messages on the border wall from administration officials. Well, there was Homeland Secretary, Kelly saying President Trump would "do the right thing", but insist on funding. Meanwhile, Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus and Budget Director, Mick Mulvaney stopped short of saying the president would shut down the government if a spending bill did not have money to start work on the wall.


MICK MULVANEY, WHITE HOUSE BUDGET DIRECTOR: We want our priorities funded and one of the biggest priorities during the campaign was border security, keeping Americans safe and part of that was a border wall.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will he sign a government funding bill that does not include funding for the border wall?

MULVANEY: We don't know yet. REINCE PRIEBUS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: It will be enough in the negotiation for us to move forward with either the construction or the planning or enough for us to move forward through the end of September to get going on the border wall and border security.

I think that as long as the president's priorities are adequately reflected in the C.R. and allows us to get moving with an increase in military spending and rebuilding of our military as he promised in one of your bullet points, and there's enough, as far as flexibility for the border wall and border security...


PRIEBUS: ...I think we'll be OK with that.


ROMANS: All right, so President Trump on Sunday insisting that Mexico will pay, but acknowledging that won't happen anytime soon. He tweeted, eventually, but at a later date, so we can get started early Mexico will be paying in some form for the badly-need border wall.

BRIGGS: So, with the possible government shutdown and President Trump's 100th day in office both looming, there's a lot for the White House to get done not much time to do it.

Vice President Pence is cutting his overseas trip short by a day so he can return to Washington to work on major policy issues.

The president himself has had an extremely business schedule this week trying to demonstrate action in the absence of any real significant legislative accomplishments ahead of the 100-day milestone.

[04:35:00] ROMANS: Some highlights, today he hosts a working lunch for ambassadors from U.N. Security Council Countries; on Wednesday, he lays out his principles for tax reform; on Thursday, the President of Argentina visits the president; on Friday, the president makes a remarks to the NRA; and then Saturday, he holds a rally to mark his first 100 days.

Now, that rally in Pennsylvania happens at the same time at the White House correspondent's dinner, which presidents traditionally attend, but this is no traditional president.

BRIGGS: No, it is not. Senior officials say there's a flurry of executive orders coming this week, as many as six, but at least four including on veterans, energy, agriculture and trade.

Now, notice what's missing here and all that any kind of house votes on healthcare despite all the activity on the subject last week, and as much as they would like to see movement on the ObamaCare Repeal, Senior Republicans and White House officials say there's no expectation anything will actually happen before Friday.

Also a new national poll shows President Trump nearing his 100th day in office with the lowest approval rating in modern history, but among his supporters absolutely no sign of buyer's remorse. Take a look at this ABC News, Washington Post poll, the president's approval rating slumping to 42 percent. Let's put that in perspective should we.

ROMANS: Yes, look at this at 100th day mark of his presidency John F. Kennedy's approval rating was 78 percent; Lyndon Johnson, 77 percent; Ronald Reagan, 73 percent and Barack Obama was 27 points higher than President Trump, but - but the president's supporters are solidly behind their man.

Look at this poll, 96 percent say voting for the billionaire businessman was the right thing to do, only 2 percent Dave regret it. And check this out, a significant percentage of Americans - well, they're fed up with both parties for being out of touch, 67 percent giving negative marks to Democrats 62 percent, critical of the Republicans.

BRIGGS: Who is it hard to know what to make of those polls, but as Matthew Dowd pointed out with George Stephanopoulos, no president has ever finished his first term with a higher approval rating...

ROMANS: Oh, really?

BRIGGS: ...than he had at 100 days, so that's supposed to be your high watermark, that's supposed to be the honeymoon period.

ROMANS: And the 100 days, you know, that could be - you could just say that's an arbitrary kind of, you know, a temp -- period of time, but that is when the bulk of your political capital can be spent too, right?

BRIGGS: Right.

ROMANS: So, that's why we pay - pay close attention to what gets done in the first 100 days.

BRIGGS: And because President Trump laid out his agenda for the first 100 days on the campaign...


BRIGGS: ...he is very specific. Meanwhile, a programming note, don't miss America united or divided, a special live CNN Town Hall tonight 10:00 Eastern Time. Our guest, Ohio Governor and 2016 Republican Presidential Candidate, John Kasich our Anderson Cooper hosts tonight at 10:00 only here on CNN.

ROMANS: And if you can't stay up that late, I promise you...


ROMANS: will have really good - good snippets tomorrow morning. All right, France's relationship with the U.S. and the E.U. could be on a major shift. Two candidates remain in the race to be the next president of France. I'll tell you the euro and French markets are soaring right now. There's one choice in particular they're interested in. We're live in Paris with more on the impact. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:40:00] ROMANS: Breaking Overnight, U.S. Secretary of Defense, James Mattis landing in Kabul. His arrival comes at a - just a critical time for Afghanistan and just on the heels of a - of a deadly Taliban attack on an Afghan Base that killed 140 soldiers.

Following the story for us, Senior International Correspondent, Nick Paton Walsh from Irbil, Iraq good morning and, you know, he lands in Kabul, he was going to meet with his counterparts but two senior Afghan leaders have resigned in the wake of that horrible attack. What's happening there?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, absolutely. This is clearly a bid for some kind of political accountability after this attack in Masauli Shareef.

Now, we should pause and remember here that the reports suggest 140 Afghan Soldiers actually lost their lives during these attack, suggestions that the attack as Taliban managed to infiltrate the skies as Afghan Army Soldiers.

Now, that is perhaps the deadliest toll we've seen in one single instance inflict on the Afghan Army in this still America's longest war fought even longer by Afghans themselves. His resignation, defense minister and army chief of staff probably very complicated frankly for Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani to contemplate because it was such a complicated task getting his cabinet together in the first place.

But, James Mattis arriving on short, he will see Ashraf Ghani at some point. We iterate American support for the Afghan Government that at times feels deceived sometimes frankly in Kabul given the strength of the insurgency swirling around it. The question really is what more can the Trump Administration do?

In the 16 years of U.S. involvement, pretty much every option has been tried. What else can they try? Something old? Is there something new left? Not really clear. The Mother of all Bombs, the MOAB deployed against ISIS in the past couple of weeks was a new tactic, a huge explosive device.

The biggest nonnuclear one used in U.S. Battle history, but that inflicted a 94-toll on ISIS. The question really is what else do they have in their arsenal? Back to you.

ROMANS: Unbelievable. All right, thanks. Keep us up to speed on any developments. That's Nick Paton Walsh in Irbil, Iraq.

Let's talk about this, the perfect scenario for the markets, that's how one analyst describing the fallout from the first round of the French election. Investors like Emmanuel Macron's chances to win, plus they like that he is a former investment banker and economics minister. They see him as a more business friendly candidate.

Dow Futures set to pop at the open, more 170 points right now, S&P 500 Futures more than 1 percent. You see the stock market in Paris, surging almost 4 percent. Shares in London are higher, stock markets in Asia closing with gains overnight.

The other big move is in currency markets. The Euro jumping 1 percent against the dollar, it's now at the highest level since November. Marine Le Pen campaigned on a threat to dump the Euro, go back to the French Franc. Pull France out of the European Union. She backs frexit or a French exit from the European Union.

On the other side, Macron favor is working more closely with E.U. members. He's also a free trade supporter. At 39 years old, some folks say he's, you know, not a - not a battle-tested politician, but there he is. I mean, he's right there up against Marine Le Pen, who is sort of a household name on the - on the protectionist wing...

BRIGGS: Right.

ROMANS: ...of the French politics.

[04:45:00] BRIGGS: And so if she wins, let's just say, and they're out of the E.U. you have two of the top three economies out of the European Union what's the future of the E.U.? I hate to ask you that question but...

ROMANS: It actually...

BRIGGS: it...

ROMANS: existential crisis for Europe right now. It's what they're facing. And a lot of people are saying this election is sort of like Obama versus Trump.


ROMANS: A lot of people compare Macron with Obama and some of the - President Obama's sort of tendencies and policies and personality. Marine le Pen, though, really surprising a lot of people and getting so much of the vote.

BRIGGS: Yes, within 3 percent and yet, no one is giving her any chance of winning on May 7th...

ROMANS: I don't count anything out.

BRIGGS: ...and no one gave Trump a chance, so...

ROMANS: Don't count anything out.

BRIGGS: No, you can't.


BRIGGS: All right, North Korea detaining another U.S. Citizen and ratcheting up the threatening tone against the United States. We have a live report next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [04:50:00] ROMANS: Welcome back. This morning, the entire nation of Israel coming to a standstill this morning in remembrance of the 6 million Jewish victims of the holocaust, a two-minute siren wailed across the country. The ritual takes place every year marking Holocaust Remembrance Day. Hours earlier, President Trump addressed the World Jewish Congress by video saying, "We must stamp out prejudice and anti-Semitism everywhere it is found." The president will speak at the National Holocaust Museum tomorrow.

BRIGGS: And well, this is a backdraft, a watchdog group says anti- Semitic and the United States are up sharply since the November election. The anti-defamation league says research shows an 86 percent increase in bullying and vandalism and other incidents. Many of those were the bomb threats phoned in to Jewish Community Centers.

ROMANS: Now, we have now learned the identity of the U.S. Citizen detained in North Korea taken into custody at the Pyongyang Airport as he tried to leave the country. This comes as tensions rise on the Korean Peninsula North Korea threatening to sink a U.S. Aircraft carrier in a single strike, President Trump talking to leaders of China and Japan about the situation by phone last night.

CNNs, Paula Hancocks is following all of this fast-moving development. She joins us live from Seoul, South Korea. Good evening to you, Paula.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Christine. It is said it's been a busy day here on the Korean Peninsula. We know now the identity of the American Citizen, as you say, that's detained in North Korea Tony Kim is his name. We understand he's a professor who was teaching at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology.

Now, we had a statement from that school and they said that he was detained as he was trying - he was at the Pyongyang Airport trying to leave the country and they say that they don't believe it had anything to do with his teaching, the reason that he was being investigated, but they don't give any indication as to why he would have been detained or what allegations or accusations are laid against him.

We haven't heard anything official from the regime at this point. We know the U.S. State Department says they're closely following in this and obviously the dealing with the Swedish Embassy as Washington has no diplomatic ties with Pyongyang. They go through the Swedes and the Swedish Embassy also said that he was trying to board a plane in Pyongyang and that is when he was detained.

Now, this comes at a time when once again Pyongyang has threatened to strike the USS Carl Vinson, this is the 97,000 ton aircraft carrier, which is currently off the Philippines carrying out military drills with the Japanese Navy, two destroyers involved in that.

We know the South Korean Military also wants to carry out another military drill with the USS Carl Vinson, so certainly Japan and South Korea are happy to have this extra U.S Military hardware in the region. It's expected to be closer to the Korean Peninsula by the end of this month. And of course President Trump has spoken to the leaders of China and Japan. China called for restraint. Japan said they fully support what President Trump is doing, Christine?

ROMANS: Fascinating, a lot going on there. All right, thank you so much, Paula. Keep us up to speed.

BRIGGS: Meanwhile, Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson offering reassurance to Ukraine's president saying that U.S. Sanctions on Russia will remain in place until the Kremlin returns control of Crimean Peninsula to Ukraine. According to the state department, Tillerson and President Petro Poroshenko spoke by phone on Sunday.

It discussed Tillerson's recent visit to Russia. The secretary of state telling the Ukrainian leader he informed the Russians their invasion of Crimea remains an obstacle to better relations with the U.S.

ROMANS: Meanwhile, an American paramedic working for European monitoring group in Eastern Ukraine was killed Sunday. Two others were injured when their vehicle hit a mine. The state department is calling for a timely transparent investigation and is urging the Kremlin to use its influence with Russian backed separatists to maintain a cease- fire in Eastern Ukraine, just tragic.

BRIGGS: An American Airline's flight attendant suspended after an altercation that left a woman traveling with two young children in tears. A video shows the attendant nearly coming to blows with the passenger who threatened him following the incident. It happened while the American flight from San Francisco to Dallas was boarding on Friday. Witnesses say the attendant violently grabbed the woman's stroller.

ROMANS: The airline's swift response which also included apologizing to the passenger and saying the flight attendant's actions do not appear to reflect the company's values, came a stark contrast to United - that's the video you're seeing there.

That airline faced a P.R. nightmare after a video showed airport officers dragging a passenger off an overbooked flight or a full flight where they try to make room for some crew to travel instead. United initially appeared to blame the passenger before apologizing and offering compensation to those on the flight, act swiftly new P.R. rules.

[04:55:00] BRIGGS: Everyone on the flight, but it is nice to see that passenger get up and look try to defend the mom who was clearly struggling with traveler so many moms are familiar with that, right? I mean...

ROMANS: I have no problem.

BRIGGS: No, never. Heavy rains meanwhile that caused flash flooding in Tennessee now moving east into the Carolinas, Meteorologist, Pedram Javaheri has the latest. PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Dave and Christine.

If you're ever going to see a soggy day across the southeast and in particular some of the beaches around the Atlantic there from St. Charles and out towards areas around Myrtle Beach on to the interior portions of Charlotte and to Columbia, South Carolina this is it.

We're going to see tremendous rainfall on the forecast over the next several hours and to this afternoon. In fact, the National Weather Service assuring a pretty widespread area here where we have flood watches in place for almost 10 million people over the next 24 or so hours, heavy rainfall again, the name of the game for this afternoon.

Some estimates put the forecast up to as much as 10 inches and a few isolated pockets there into South Carolina on its even northern portions of North Carolina through Tuesday night. So, there goes our storm system as it pushes through. Expect the winds to shift across the south into Florida.

The last thing they want to see is warmer temperatures and of course breezy conditions but that is certainly is what is in store in the next couple of days. Active fires approaching 40 now across that region that are considered large in nature, so watching that very carefully and also watching a warming trend in store around the northeast.

Look at New York City. Enjoy the cooler temperatures if you like that because we climb up into the upper 70s even close to 80 degrees for this weekend, guys.

ROMANS: OK, I'll take that one, Pedram. I agree with that forecast today. Here's another forecast for you this morning, this is about your money Futures jumping, investors feeling optimistic heading into a big week for the Trump Administration much of the gains coming from France though, where the stock market is surging more than 4 percent right now. Why?

Well, investors are encouraged by the election results there, stock markets in London and Tokyo also posting solid gains. Now, you have two candidates in France who have to have a runoff election beginning of May, so it will be really fascinating couple of weeks here.

In the U.S., the housing market is heating up, going into the spring buying season. Existing home sales took off in March, their fastest pace in over 10 years jumping 4.4 percent from the month before. The median sales price nationwide now tops $236,000 that's up nearly 7 percent from this time last year that's -- most people, this is your biggest investment and that investment, on average of 7 percent.

Of all the sales in March, 32 percent came from first-time home buyers. That has remained steady in recent months. Those are few points higher than this time last year. I like to see that, Dave. This is a key group...

BRIGGS: So do I -- I'm selling a home.

ROMANS: This is a key group - it will be essential going forward. As baby boomers trade down or move to different areas to retire, you need to see that refreshing of the pool there so the first-time home buyers can get a shot. The biggest hurdle for housing and first-time buyers right now is inventory. There just isn't a lot of choices - there's just aren't a lot of choices out there right now and that's pushing prices up quickly.

Some good news here, if you're in the housing market, mortgage rates are declining, have actually come down since the fed raised rates in March. What? The nationwide average for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is now below 4 percent. That's the first time this year we've seen it below that mark. Mortgage rates are tied to 10-year treasury.

Yields there have been falling as investors scoop up funds on the volatility in the stock market, so the fed raising official rates but the markets rates are actually declining so if you try to lock in, it's still OK.

BRIGGS: Okay. There's a lot going on this morning folks...

ROMANS: In the housing market, yes.

BRIGGS: EARLY START continues right now.

[05:00:00] BRIGGS: With just days until a potential government shutdown, the budget watch takes over Washington. President Trump is weighing in as focus ramps up on one of his most controversial proposals that, of course, funding that border wall.

ROMANS: And two candidates fight on in the most critical presidential race France has seen in years, maybe decades. We're going to break down whose taking sides in the race that could reshape France's role on the world stage.

Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START this Monday morning. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. That election could determine the future of the European Union. It is Monday, April 24th it's 5:00 a.m. in the east,.

A lot to get to. We'll start with the big countdown clock. Facing lawmakers today as they return to Washington with only a few working days to strike a budget deal, the order is from President Trump are clear, though, avoid a government shutdown when federal spending authority runs out at the end of the week.

It is true that the message coming from some of the president's top aides is a bit modeled. More on that in a moment.