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U.S. Appeals Court Hears Trump Travel Ban; Sally Yates to Testify on Russia Hack; Senators Talk Of Starting Over on Health; Macron Victory Sends Euro To Six-Month High; Macron Vows To Unite France At Victory Rally. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired May 8, 2017 - 05:00   ET


[05:00:00] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And she was able to take some time off and bank her dollars and choose the next thing. A lot of women don't have that choice.

DAVID BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: She's fabulous in billions.

OK, EARLY START continues right now.

The former acting attorney general set to contradict the White House's story on Michael Flynn's talks with the Russians. What she'll say and how it could affect the broader investigation of Russia's election meddling.

ROMANS: President Obama with a personal defense of his namesake health law. His message to Congress as the Senate prepares to take up the bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.

BRIGGS: And a political newcomer will assume the French presidency as a populist wave falls short. We'll have Emmanuel Macron's early message to unify the country.

Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. Christiane Amanpour called it a brick wall against a populist wave set to be taking over the globe, not so fast. Hi, everybody. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is Monday, a lot to get to, May 8th. It is 5:00 a.m. in the east. Glad you're with us this morning.

The investigation into Russian meddling in the election is back in the spotlight today with this long awaited testimony from a key witness. A Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hears this afternoon from former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

BRIGGS: Yates is set to contradict the White House story about the firing of then National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Sources say she will tell the panel she warned the White House forcefully about then national security adviser, Mr. Flynn, three weeks before Flynn was fired. But there may be limits to how much Yates can reveal in this public hearing because much of this information is classified.

ROMANS: Also today, President Trump's travel ban goes before a federal appeals court. The administration challenging a judge's ruling from March that blocked the president's travel ban the second version of the ban that barred visitors from six majority Muslim countries. The Maryland federal judge relied on Candidate Trump's own statements from the campaign to find anti-Muslim bias.

I want to bring in CNN justice reporter, Laura Jarrett. She is live in our Washington bureau. Good morning. What can we expect, Laura, at today's hearing?

LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Good morning, Christine. So the real crux of this case is likely going to come down to the willingness of this federal appeals court to look at Trump's statements about Muslims from the campaign and decide whether the lower court got it right and the executive order was likely fueled by some sort of impermissible discriminatory purpose.

Now the Justice Department says that the immigration decisions like this fall squarely within the president's authority, the administration made a bunch of changes to the second executive order to address judicial concerns, explicitly from last time around. And what he said about Muslims simply shouldn't matter -- Christine.

ROMANS: The administration said early on it was urgent to get this travel ban enacted, but now you got many months later, it's still held up in court. How does that affect the government's argument?

JARRETT: Well, early on remember the tweets from the president about bad dudes rushing in the country and this urgent need for the travel ban, but the reality is that this executive order really never got off the ground because it was blocked by federal courts almost immediately, at least the second time around.

So from a legal standpoint, I wouldn't expect the judges to latch on to that at this stage. But the plaintiffs could certainly bring it up to show that this wasn't genuinely about national security concerns, that it was really more about politics.

ROMANS: And this hearing is being held in Virginia, but a Virginia judge actually sided with a White House on the travel ban. Is that a coincidence?

JARRETT: Yes, it's a little curious, right, that the one federal judge that actually has sided with the Trump administration and refused to halt the travel ban sits in Virginia. But that decision actually wasn't appealed. And so the only case in front of the Fourth Circuit today is the challenge from the judge's decision out of Maryland.

ROMANS: All right, Laura Jarrett for us in Washington. Bright and early, 5:04 a.m. in the east on a Monday morning. Thank you for getting up early for us.

BRIGGS: Also great to have her on the program. Also great to have Greg Valliere, chief strategist at Horizon Investments. He's in Washington this morning. Good to see you, sir.


BRIGGS: All right, let's talk about this testifying Sally Yates. How consequential should her words be today?

VALLIERE: Well, it will get a lot of ink and air play. It's just one more story where the Trump administration will be distracted. Just one more reason to think that the rest of his agenda will come later rather than sooner.

ROMANS: You say the Russia story will just hound him for months to come and you think Thursday's victory, House victory is his last victory for a while.

VALLIERE: I really do, Christine. Good morning. I think that he's got a long stretch to go with some nasty issues. The debt ceiling, still no sign that anything will move on health reform. I mean, key senators yesterday basically said we're going to rewrite it from scratch. So that will take many more months.

[05:05:04]The signature issue of course is tax reform. I still think we can get it, but I really think it's unlikely we'll get it done this year.

BRIGGS: All right, but first as you mentioned, this health care battle continues. As it appears, the House bill is almost dead on arrival in the Senate where they will go back to basically square one. Here's what Susan Collins, a moderate, had to say about it.


SENATOR SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: The House bill will not come before us. The Senate is starting from scratch. We're going to draft our own bill. I think that we will do so and that we will come up with a whole new fresh approach that solves the legitimate flaws that do exist with the ACA. I would like to see us put together a bipartisan group to solve this problem.


BRIGGS: We won't get you to weigh in about the likelihood of a bipartisan bill coming out of the Senate, but how if at all what comes out of the Senate will resemble what the House passed and celebrated in the Rose Garden?

VALLIERE: Well, it won't and that's why I think the celebration was grossly premature. Whatever emerges from the Senate on pre-existing conditions, on Medicaid, all this stuff will probably not win enough support in the House. The House has to approve whatever a conference committee does. So because of all this back and forth wheeling and dealing, I still think chances of getting an Obamacare replacement are less than 50/50.

BERMAN: We know we saw Congressman Labrador's town hall, he was basically booed for saying that access to health care -- if you're denied access to health care that people have not died from that. And then any of the President Obama, who it is named after returning to public life and defending his name sake. Let's listen to the president in Boston.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: There was a reason why health care reform had not been accomplished before. It was hard and it is my fervent hope and the hope of millions that regardless of party, such courage is still possible. That today's members of Congress regardless of party are willing to look at the facts and speak the truth even when it contradicts party positions.


BERMAN: So Greg, do you think President Obama adding his voice to the argument is going to help it or hurt it?

VALLIERE: Well, he's talking probably to people like Rod Portman, moderate Republican from Ohio, who probably will oppose most of the deal that came other than from the House. So I think Obama is hoping to get some Republicans to really change this bill dramatically and I think that will succeed.

BRIGGS: President Obama's voice may have helped Emmanuel Macron over the top in the last minute of the French elections on the front page of every national United States paper. Why is this election not just consequential there in France but around the globe?

VALLIERE: Well, the center held, isn't it? I think the euro held and the E.U. held. These are big stories and I think many reasons why people fled to treasuries, everyone wanted the safe haven of treasuries, well, you don't have a big crisis in Europe, you have a great jobs report last Friday in the U.S. You have everyone spending more money in Washington. So the French election and two or three other things lead me to think interest rates are headed higher by quite a bit.

ROMANS: And that's something that affects everyone because interest rates have been so low. You mentioned the jobs report on Friday. I got to tell you what I've been working on in that jobs report, Greg, is looking at health care jobs. Every month, you know, we have 30,000, 40,000 new health care jobs and these are good paying jobs. They tend to be middle class jobs. Do you worry at all about health care reform stalling an important engine of growth?

VALLIERE: It could down the road. It's not imminent. I think the big story right now is for skilled labor. There is a bidding war going on and I think that will lead to higher wages. It's a good story overall, but again, it's a story that will raise interest rates.

BRIGGS: As you say in your opinion less than a 50/50 chance they get a health care bill through both chambers. Fascinating.

VALLIERE: They will get them in both chambers, but then they won't agree on the final product.

BRIGGS: Right. Can they get anything over the finish line? Greg, we'll see you in about 30 minutes. Thank you. ROMANS: Thanks, Greg. All right, a political novice survives two elections and a hack attack to become the next president of France. Emmanuel Macron's message to the country and the world next.



BRIGGS: Emmanuel Macron vowing to unite France after a decisive victory in the presidential election. The 39-year-old Macron crushing his right wing rival, Marine Le Pen, with 66 percent of the vote and he did it without a traditional party affiliation.

Let's go live to Paris and bring in CNN's Melissa Bell. Melissa, good to see you. The French president-elect has no experience governing, is about to take over a deeply divided country, with massive economic issues. What is the biggest issue facing him and that country?

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The challenges are absolutely enormous, Dave. I mean, almost it looks from here insurmountable and yet he will have to do it by finding a parliamentary majority.

We just watched this extraordinary image here with the French remarking 8th of May, 1945, 72nd anniversary of the victory of Europe celebration of the end of World War II and the outgoing president, Francois Hollande, has carried out this official duty with the presidential-elect, Emmanuel Macron, by his side.

The very first official engagement he's carried out, and of course as he goes forward, he has these tremendous challenges within France of bringing together a fractured country that has been further divided by his election like we saw in the United States.

[05:15:01]The emergence in the last few weeks of two Frances, the 34 percent for who voted for the far right, Marine Le Pen, and the 66 percent, who decided to put their trust in Emmanuel Macron. He will have to bring all of them together and then of course, there is the international question.

I mean, really, Emmanuel Macron's big challenges are first of all, Europe will have to be reformed. He is a pro-European and his first foreign trip we learned today will be to Berlin to meet with Angela Merkel.

Beyond that, he will have the challenge of navigating a new path for France in a very different world. We've talked a great deal about how this election in a sense was the continuation of the battle between the ideas that has begun in the United States.

On the one hand, the far right, Marine Le Pen, who wanted to retreat behind national borders, close them to immigrants, leave the European Union and NATO.

And on the other, Emmanuel Macron who embraced globalization and provided another answer to the need for change than the populist one we've seen so far.

The challenge for him now is to take that message to the wider world and work with presidents like President Trump and Prime Minister Theresa May in the United Kingdom, leaders who represent a very different vision of how the world should function than he does.

BRIGGS: President Trump did tweet his congratulations to Macron. We wonder if there will be a phone call. One would assume. Melissa Bell, great to have you this morning. Thank you.

ROMANS: So global investors are cheering on Macron. The euro hitting a six month high against the dollar. Markets here and around the world climbing higher on this news. The euro shot up to above $1.10. That's the highest level since November.

This election was a threat to the very existence of the euro. Macron's far right opponent, Marine Le Pen, wanted to pull out of the European Union and after Britain's exit last year, investors were worried about a so-called Frexit, another made up word that made everybody freak out.

That would be the end of the currency frankly. But the markets like Macron, stocks and the euro jumped last week when the former economic minister rose in the polls and victory last night may translate into a win on Wall Street.

U.S stock futures briefly touching a record high overnight before ticking down a bit. Asian markets also higher. Japan's Nikkei hitting the highest level since December 2015, a 17th month high for Nikkei. A 2 percent move in one day for those Asian indexes is a big move.

BRIGGS: As much as the win means, imagine a loss would have taken two of the largest three economies in the E.U. out of it. So that's why there is celebration in the streets of Brussels.

All right, ahead, heartbreak on the hard court. Houston rockets Guard Patrick Beverley playing just are hours after hearing about the death in his family. Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report" next. Good morning, Coy.



BRIGGS: All right, just hours after learning about the death of his grandfather, Houston Rockets guard, Patrick Beverley, came through with an inspiring performance against the San Antonio Spurs.

ROMANS: Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report." Hey, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine and Dave. Beverley learned about the passing of his grandfather after waking up from a nap yesterday afternoon before playoff action. He said he was going to book a flight to go back home to Chicago, but his family talked him into staying and playing.

Beverley breaking down in tears several times during his pregame routine. But he would start the game with a goose bump inducing moment, knocking down this three pointer for the very first basket of the game.

He points up to the sky to honor the man who helped raise him as a boy. Rockets go on to win 125-104, and after the game, Beverley talked about his grandfather who meant the world to him.


PATRICK BEVERLEY, HOUSTON ROCKETS GUARD: To have somebody that was right there supporting me the whole way, wore my jerseys every single day of his life, to have a person like that have taken from you is so hard. But, you know, it's a bigger plan and I'll keep my faith of course and I'll be there for my family.


WIRE: Eastern conference action, Lebron James and the Cavaliers, my goodness, they look good. Getting some extra rest during the playoffs again, they swept the Raptors as they swept the Pacers before them. The Cavs win 109-102 yesterday.

And that means they can sit back and relax while the Celtics and Wizards battle it out, that series is tied at two games a piece. Lebron had 35, Irving added 27, King James advancing to his 7th consecutive eastern conference final.

The Yankees and Cubs going deep into the night and into the early morning, extra innings. Check it out at Wrigley, Kyle Schwarber for the Cubs stretching it out. The guys would continue to battle 18 innings, lasting just over six hours this game. It combined for 48 strikeouts. That is a Major League record. Yankees win 5-4, sweeping their series with the defending world champs.

We have a good old fashioned tennis grudge match later today. Maria Sharapova continuing her comeback after being suspended 15 months for doping. She will face Canadian Jeanie Bouchard in the second round of the Madrid Open and things could get tense.

Why? Bouchard called her a cheater and saying she should be banned from the sport for life. Sharapova insists that there will be no added incentive for her based on Bouchard's comments. Bouchard says that she has been hoping she will get to face Sharapova in Madrid.

BRIGGS: Jeanie Bouchard is refreshing, but that Cubs/Yankees game, I got to listen to it on the way to work. There were kids there still at 2:00 in the morning at Wrigley. So fantastic stuff unless of course, you're a Cubs fan.

[05:25:13]ROMANS: Sorry about that. All right, thanks, Coy.

White House says Sally Yates only gave them a heads up about Michael Flynn's talks with the Russians. She's ready to testify about a much dire warning than that. More on the big day ahead on Capitol Hill next.


ROMANS: A pivotal day on Capitol Hill in the investigation on Russian election meddling. Did the White House mislead the public on warnings about Michael Flynn's Russian ties? The former acting attorney general will break her silence.

BRIGGS: President Obama has an open plea to Congress over his namesake law as the Senate gets ready to work on its own bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.

ROMANS: And in France, political outsider, Emmanuel Macron, is set to take the presidency in a full throated rejection of far-right nationalism.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.