Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Dines with Schumer & Pelosi; Eight Dead After Irma Knocks Out A/C; Residents Await Basic Services in the Caribbean. Aired 4:30- 5a ET

Aired September 14, 2017 - 04:30   ET



[04:30:22] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump and the Democrats giving new hope to DREAMers looking to avoid deportation. But the president already taking heat from his own party for the deal.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Many questions this morning after eight nursing home residents died in Florida. Officials say hurricane Irma knocked out their air-conditioning. The why was there no backup supply? Just a heartbreaking story. Hopefully, there are no more stories like this.

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

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is 30 minutes past the hour.

Let's begin with another potential deal between President Trump and the Democrats. And this one sending shockwaves again through the Republican Party and giving new hope to hundreds of thousands of people known as America's DREAMers.

Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi dining last night with the president and then issuing a statement, reading in part: We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly and to work out a package of border security excluding the wall that's acceptable to both sides.

DACA, of course, is a program that protects young, undocumented immigrants from deportation.

BRIGGS: Republican leaders were absent from last night's dinner. No Chinese food or chocolate pie for you, Paul. How they will react to the tentative agreement or to the fact the president appears to be cozying up to the opposition for the second time in two weeks.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders quickly shooting down the notion that the president is bailing on his promise to build a wall along the Mexican border.

ROMANS: A spokesman for Senator Schumer backing Sanders up, tweeting the president made clear he would continue pushing the wall, just not as part of this agreement. Key there.

The president now facing heavy fire from the right aisle. Iowa Congressman Steve King tweeting: Unbelievable. Amnesty is a pardon for immigration law breakers coupled with the reward of the objective of their crime.

BRIGGS: Even "Breitbart", with former White House strategist Steve Bannon at the helm, taking shots at the president. This headline, Amnesty Don was posted earlier Wednesday, after Trump met with moderate members of the House from both parties about topics including the border.

President Trump on the top of cooperating with Democrats.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we can do things in a bipartisan matter, that would be great. Now, it might not work out in which case, we'll try to do without. If you look at some of the greatest legislation ever passed, it was done on a bipartisan manner. And so, that's why we're going to give it a shot.


ROMANS: The Trump administration announced last week it would give Congress six months to pass legislation preserving the key provisions of the DACA program before it was terminated. More of today's political headlines in a few minutes.

BRIGGS: But now to the tragic fallout from Hurricane Irma, the death of eight elderly residents at a Florida nursing home blamed on a blown-out air-conditioning system. The victims raging from age from 71 to 99 years old, succumbing to the extreme heat and humidity.

ROMANS: The rehabilitation center at Hollywood Hills shut down now with police investigating. The administration claims a transformer failed during the storm.

CNN's Miguel Marquez begins our coverage from Hollywood, Florida.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christine, Dave, in addition to the eight dead here, another 12 are in critical condition. So, that death toll could rise. In total, 158 patients have been moved out of the facility and right now, the state has shut it down.

The latest information coming out of officials is -- reads like a horror story. There was a call at 3:00 a.m. where one person went into cardiac arrest. Then, at 4:00 a.m., there was a second call with somebody having respiratory failure. Shortly after that, a third call.

Then, the fire department here in Hollywood started to look into the facility and realized that it was too hot and that several others were having issues as well.

One of the doctors who was a first responder from Memorial Hospital next door describes what he saw when he walked in that facility. DR. RANDY KATZ, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, EMERGENCY SERVICES, MEMORIAL

REGIONAL HOSPITAL: The scene was chaotic when I arrived. We had 115, at least 115 patients we were trying to evacuate and bring them to safety. I've definitely seen mass casualties and things to this extent, but this is something unique.

MARQUEZ: Memorial Hospital makes very clear that it has no connection to the facilities that are in question but stepped in, treating it like a mass casualty situation where they brought dozens of their staffers in to the rehabilitation center to get those elderly patients out. The police department here in Hollywood, Florida, says it is talking to all the staff members and deeply investigating this facility -- Dave, Christine.


[04:35:04] BRIGGS: Miguel Marquez, thanks.

The rehabilitation center at Hollywood Hills says staff members set up mobile cooling units and fans. They continually checked on residents.

The nursing home releasing this statement: While our center did not lose power during the storm, it did lose one transformer that powers the air-conditioning unit. The center immediately contacted Florida Power and Light. It continued to follow up with them for status updates on when repairs would be made. The center did have a generator on standby in the event it would be needed to power life safety systems.

ROMANS: It is not clear if the generator broke or why the air conditioner s would not be on a supply. The nursing home has had safety violations and citations in the past, though, including two for not following generator regulations in 2014 and 2016. In both instances, the nursing home corrected the problems.

BRIGGS: President Trump and the first lady heading to hurricane- ravaged Florida today. They'll be making stops in Ft. Myers and Naples. About 3 million customers remain without power. Despite the widespread devastation, we are seeing signs of resilience and hope even in the areas hardest hit by Irma.

Here's CNN's Bill Weir with more from Key West.


BILL WEIR, CNN HOST, THE WONDER LIST: Christine, Dave, a very good morning to you from Key West. When we headed out from here from Key Largo a few days ago, on the sea spirit, we feared the worst. We'd heard rumors are dozens of bodies floating but the result is so much better than we could have anticipated. No one I met has any knowledge of a fatality due to Hurricane Irma despite those category four winds.

The estimates of 90 percent damage or destruction to all the homes in the Keys seems vastly overblown. A colleague of mine made the drive all the way down from Miami on U.S. 1 said maybe it's 30 percent or 40 percent. But the water was back on for at least for two hours. They had a

chance to bathe for the first time. The big power lines seemed to have survived, the big ones, while the local ones are down here.

And I finally got a chance to look at my photos. I've been taking some amazing pictures. We're going to get him on

Like Dub, everybody loves Dub who is the caretaker of the sea point condominium in Marathon Key and he would never leave. As soon as the storm blew over, he flew Old Glory.

This is the scene right here on the breakers, the sea wall in Key West. Look at all that, it's just dozens and dozens of wreck ships, Old Glory still flying there, though.

And this is the scene right next to one of the ship wrecks in the ship wreck capital. People were out frolicking, swimming, having beers, doing what you do in the Keys I suppose.

It is a huge mess. It will be very expensive, but the folks I talked, the locals, want America to know they're OK and they'll soon be open for business -- Christine, Dave.


ROMANS: All right. Bill Weir, some great work from him over the past few days.

The speed of the relief effort, though, is being questioned on the hurricane ravaged Caribbean islands. While leaders of Britain, France, and Poland are pledging to rebuild and make their communities whole, thousands of residents are in dire need of essentials like food, water, electricity more than a week after Irma barreled through.

CNN's Cyril Vanier is live in St. Maarten with that part of the story.

And what I've heard again and again, Cyril, is there was a sense of urgency right away, for example, in St. Thomas and St. John, but the U.S. was sort of obsessed -- the attention so was focused on Florida, what was going to happen to Florida. They feel sort of left behind.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: Absolutely. And this feeds into a feeling that exists, you know, at the best of times. But right now, it is just turbo charged. These islands know or feel, I should say, that they are at the best of times are not prioritized by, whether it's in the U.S. in the case of U.S. Virgin Islands, Britain in the case of British Virgin Islands, France or the Netherlands in the case of Dutch and French St. Maarten where I am.

So, they definitely feel six days on when they don't know where their next bottle of clean drinking water is coming from and they don't know where the next ration of food is coming from.

There is definitely a sense of -- have people forgotten about us? Are we just low down on the list of priorities? Why are we not getting handouts? Certainly on the Dutch side of St. Maarten, we've heard that question

time and time again, when we took out the camera yesterday. People telling us, look, interview me. I want to put this out there. I haven't received a single bottle of water and we're seven days into the storm.

So, that is definitely a concern. There's one huge mitigating factor when you're considering the responsibility and the speed at which these first world countries, France, the Netherlands, the U.S., Britain, are responding. The mitigating factors we're talking about.

We flew over here. We traveled along the path of the storm, from over the U.S. and British virgin islands over to here in St. Maarten and it just brought to bare this key point that when you're talking about islands, you're talking about places that are difficult to get to when the infrastructure is down.

[04:40:08] Everything has to be sea lifted by boat or air lifted in. That makes things so much slower. That explains why the progress is so incremental.

ROMANS: Cyril Vanier, thank you so much for being there and for your great reporting over the past few days. Thank you, sir.

A lot of folks over there just really concerned. When you keep hearing about St. John, some of these inlets just wiped out, you know?

BRIGGS: Yes, finally, getting the attention and some of the aid they desperately need.

All right. Ahead, Hillary Clinton not letting James Comey off the hook.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: His investigation, I think, forever changed history.


BRIGGS: What Clinton told Anderson Cooper about the former FBI director and the Electoral College, next.


[04:45:06] ROMANS: All right. President Trump is blocking the takeover of an American company by a Chinese-backed firm, making good on his tough talk on China.

The U.S. is blocking China-backed Canyon Bridge's plan to buy Lattice Semiconductors. The concern here is national security, including sharing intellectual property and the Chinese government's role in supporting this deal. The move puts the White House in a middle of a very controversial issue, Chinese investment in U.S.

Total investment hit $46 billion last year. It raises concerns over China's influence in sensitive U.S. industries like technology. In fact, the administration is already investigating whether China is unfairly getting a hold of American technology.

Candidate Trump was tough on China, focusing on jobs. President Trump accuses them of failing to restrain North Korea.

And Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told FOX News he'd stop trading with China over the issue.


STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: We can stop trade with any country that does business with North Korea. We're going to be careful in using these tools, but the president is committed. We will use economic sanctions to bring North Korea to the table.

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS: You're stopping trade with China?

MNUCHIN: Stopping trade with anybody.


ROMANS: All right. Meanwhile, the Chinese government says it is concerned that the U.S. blocked the deal.

But I got to tell you, Dave, in years of covering these acquisitions, the spate of acquisitions really by Chinese and even Chinese government-backed entities, usually when there's a national security review, it gets passed anyway. Not this time. It shows a new -- definitely a new tone and the president making good on his promise --

BRIGGS: That's one thing. But cutting off trade with China? Is that calamitous potentially for our economy?

ROMANS: That's a big threat. That's a big threat. It's a big threat. That could be a negotiating position there, too.

BRIGGS: Well, no one knows the economy like Mnuchin. This should be interesting.

Hillary Clinton meanwhile telling CNN's Anderson Cooper, it's time to abolish the Electoral College. The former secretary of state and presidential candidate pointing out that once again, she beat Donald Trump in a popular vote in November. Listen to her make the case for changing the way we elect our presidents.


CLINTON: If you look at our recent history, we've had several candidates, nominees who have won the popular vote and lost the Electoral College. What does that say? And it says that an anachronism that was designed for another time no longer works. It needs to be eliminated. I'd like to see us move beyond it, yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: Clinton also claims former FBI Director James Comey rewrote history by becoming too involved in the 2016 election. She says she still cannot come to grips with the fact that Comey publicly discussed the investigation into her e-mails and did not disclose an investigation into Trump's campaign and Russian meddling.

The president for his part weighing in last night via Twitter: Crooked Hillary Clinton blames everybody and everything but herself for her election loss. She lost the debates and lost her direction.

BRIGGS: Meanwhile, Martin Shkreli is heading to jail. The former pharmaceutical executive best known for buying a company that owns an AIDS drug and then jacking up the prices 5,000 percent. After his conviction on other charges, he offered $5,000 to anyone who could grab a strand of the former first lady's hair.

The judge said the post posed a, quote, real danger. For his part, Shkreli said it was all satire. The 34-year-old was convicted of fraud in August. Until Wednesday, he remained free on $5 million bail. Shkreli is slated to be sentenced January 16th.

ROMANS: All right. Another record day for Wall Street. Market hit a new milestone. Some of these numbers are pretty unbelievable. If you have any stock market investments, you've been doing so well. We're going to tell you how on CNN "Money Stream", next.


[04:53:20] ROMANS: All right. Fifty-three minutes past the hour.

Temperatures remain stifling as crews race to restore power and air- conditioning in Florida.

CNN's Pedram Javaheri has the look at the forecast.


PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Dave and Christine, let's show you what's happening across Central and Southern Florida over the next 24 or so hours.

And once again, we're back into the upper 80s, low 90s which believe it or not is in line with the average temperatures for this time of year. But the humidity, the dew point values is up into the middle and upper 70s, so make it feel like 100-plus outside over the next several days. And this is essentially the warmest temperature trend since the power's been out across parts of Florida.

And notice it expands up towards northern Florida as well, where we can see heat indexes in the lower 90s the last couple of days now. You can find widespread areas, middle and upper 90s across some of these regions. So, definitely going to be feeling very, very hot outside across parts of Florida the next few days.

Around the Northeast and parts of the Ohio valley, seeing a few bands of wet weather move in. Le here is what is left of Irma pushing in across this region, and, of course, you give a little bit of instability with the afternoon heating, and you expect a few thunderstorms around, say, Syracuse, potentially out toward maybe around northern New Jersey and parts around Boston getting some wet weather of what is left of Irma working its way across the Northeast today -- guys.


BRIGGS: All right. Pedram, thank you.

The federal government ordering any software made by the Russian cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab be identified in its computer systems wiped clean within 90 days. The Department of Homeland Security alleging U.S. national security information could potentially be compromised due to ties between Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence agencies. Kaspersky denies ever cyber spying for the Russian government.

[04:55:04] ROMANS: Police in Washington state searching for a motive after a student was shot and killed inside a Spokane high school. Three other juveniles are in stable condition at a local hospital. A suspect is in custody.

Police say he brought multiple weapons to the campus of Freeman High. He opened fire Wednesday in a second floor hallway. One of his weapons jammed during the incident. Authorities confirming the student who died confronted the shooter.

BRIGGS: The White House taking aim at an ESPN host who called President Trump a white supremacist. Jemele Hill also referring to the president as a, quote, bigot and a threat on Twitter this week, calling Mr. Trump, quote, the most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime.

Here's the reaction from White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: That's one of the more outrageous comments that anyone could make and certainly something that I think is a fireable offense by ESPN.


ROMANS: In a Twitter post last night, Hill says her comments were personal and she regrets it painted ESPN unfairly. The sports network has come under fire in past, accused of only cracking down on conservative employees. ESPN says Hill has apologized for crossing the line and ESPN has accepted her apology.

BRIGGS: The Cleveland Indians continuing this historic run winning their 21st consecutive game Wednesday, a 5-3 win over the Tigers. That represents the longest winning streak in American League history. The last team to win 21-straight, 1935 Chicago Cubs. Indians go for 22 in a row tonight when they host the Kansas City Royals.

What a run it has been. Remarkable.

ROMANS: Speaking of runs, have you seen the stock market.

Let's get a check on CNN "Money Stream" this morning.

Global stocks lower right now on some weak Chinese data. But, you know, yesterday, another record on Wall Street. The Dow and S&P 500 record high thanks largely to a boost in energy stock.

The bump cements the current bull market, helps it reach a new milestone. It is now the second strongest bull market ever. The S&P 500 has soared 268 percent since bottoming out during the Great Recession. Think of that, 268 percent in the past nine years. That narrowly eclipses the gains of the 1949 bull market. It's also the second longest in history, spanning more than eight years.

Interested in electric truck. Get ready to meet Tesla's beast of a semi truck, an electric semi truck. CEO Elon Musk announced plans to unveil an electric semi next month. That's a bit later than usual. He originally said the battery operated truck would come out in September. You know, Tesla is know for missing self-imposed deadlines, but we'll get more details about what this big beast of a truck would look like.

Facebook making it harder to profit off of smut, vice and fake news. The company promises to keep ads off content with graphic images, nudity or violence. It also will stop users who post fake news stories from cashing in. It also assured companies that their adds will not appear alongside objectionable material, a frequent complaint to Google about YouTube videos in particular.

BRIGGS: A lot of focus on social media ahead of that next 2018, 2020 cycles.

ROMANS: Absolutely.

BRIGGS: Hopefully, we've all learned from this.

EARLY START continues right now with devastation from Irma and this latest deal between President Trump and Pelosi and Chuck, the dream team being formed, right now.


ROMANS: President Trump reaching across the aisle for the second time in as many weeks. This time, he and Democrats are giving new hope to DREAMers. But did it come at the expense of the bothered wall?

BRIGGS: And a devastating story in Florida. Eight nursing home residents succumbing to excessive heat after their air conditioner knocked down. What nursing home officials are saying now.

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It is Thursday, September 14th. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East. Let's begin with politics and another potential deal between President

Trump and Democrats, sending shockwaves through his party and giving new hope to hundreds of thousands of the nation's DREAMers. Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi dining last night with the president and issuing a statement reading in part, we agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that's acceptable to both sides.

DACA, of course, is program that protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

BRIGGS: Republican leaders were absent from last night's dinner. It is not clear how they'll react to the tentative agreement or the fact that the president appeared to be cozying up to the opposition for the second time in two weeks.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders quickly shooting down the notion that the president is bailing on his promise to build a wall along the Mexican border.

ROMANS: A spokesman for Senator Schumer, backing Sanders up, tweeting this, the president made clear he would continue pushing the wall, just not part of this agreement.

The president now facing heavy fire from the right. Iowa Congressman Steve King tweeting: Unbelievable. Amnesty is a pardon for immigration law breakers coupled with the reward of the objective of their crime.