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Trump & Dems Working on Dreamers Deal; Eight Dead After Irma Knocks Out A/C; Residents Await Basic Services in the Caribbean; Cleveland Indians Make It 21 Wins In A Row. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired September 14, 2017 - 05:00   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: 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?

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: 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.

[05:00:07] 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. BRIGGS: Even Breitbart with former White House strategist Steve

Bannon at the helm taking shots at the president with this headline: Amnesty Don. It was posted earlier Wednesday after Trump met with moderate members of the House from both parties about topics including the border.

Listen to President Trump on the topic 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 two give Congress six months to pass legislation preserving the key provisions of the DACA program before it would be terminated.

BRIGGS: All right. Let's go live to Washington and bring in CNN politics reporter Tal Kopan.

Tal, we love romantic comedies. But this one, Chuck and Nancy in the blue room, it is irresistible.

ROMANS: Chocolate cake?

BRIGGS: Chocolate -- chocolate pie, I think it was, wasn't it? And Chinese food, and which is fascinating. So, they hashed out a deal, it appears, on DACA, saving these 800,000 DREAMers. But taking the border wall off the table.

What do you make of this latest deal?

TAL KOPAN, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Well, I think it may be a bit premature to call it a deal just because the devil is always in the details. It doesn't sound like those were worked out.

Nancy Pelosi sent around a dear colleague letter that said they agreed to a plan to make an agreement. So, that gives you a sense of sort of how from this is, that, you know, the interesting thing here is that border security means a lot to different people. And, you know, I was up on the Hill yesterday all day talking to lawmakers and Democrats said, sure, the concept of border security is something we can get behind, but they're not going to agree to a deal, they say, if it's anything that could jeopardize the family of these DACA recipients, which means, you know, increase interior enforcement and those types of things.

So, there's still a lot of room for these negotiations to go awry. It depends how seriously Republican leadership is going to be about working to get this across the finish line. ROMANS: I mean, border security it's easy to say you support border

security. Border security means so many things to so many different people. We've been arguing about this for years, for generations, when Ronald Reagan gave amnesty I think it was 4 million to 8 million people and said, now, we have ended illegal immigration, and now, we have a secure border.

We haven't. We didn't. It didn't get fixed.

Here's what "Breitbart" headline is on this. Basically, Amnesty Don: Trump caves on DACA. That's we are here to stay with this picture. White House pushes back softly.

This is not playing well with his base.

KOPAN: That's absolutely right. And, you know, like I said, I was up on the Hill yesterday. There are absolutely lawmakers if you talk to many members of the Freedom Caucus who say they didn't want just a narrow DACA border security deal. They're pushing for quite a bit more.

In fact, you know, Raul Labrador, who's a Republican from Idaho who is a veteran of discussions for comprehensive immigration reform, a lawyer who knows this issue inside and out, was talking about things like visa reform, E-verify, I mean, really third rails of this discussion, and somehow, getting that together with a six-month deadline hanging over everyone's head.

You know, Paul Ryan has pledged he will not bring legislation to the floor that doesn't have a majority of Republicans. It is possible that this deal could have a majority of Republicans. There are certainly moderates who would be OK with a border security DACA deal and be willing to move on.

But even if you get half of Republicans, that's a lot of folks who are going to be angry with this deal, and so, that's the pressure that Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, that Donald Trump are going to have to continue to navigate. And a lot of lawmakers say President Trump is really key to this if he addresses the base directly and says it is what he wants. If he doesn't, it can be even more difficult.

BRIGGS: Yes, one thing is clear, Mitch and Paul are in the back seat. I mean, Chuck and Nancy are riding shotgun up there with the POTUS.

Is this is a pivot, or is this a complete U-turn for the president?

KOPAN: I've been trying to figure that out, Dave. You know, trying to make sense of what we've seen over the last few weeks from the White House. There are some who think, you know, this is classic Trump. He sort of sees opportunities and takes them, and it's not an indication of what we may get next week.

And, you know, I think to a certain extent, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi who have been doing this a long time are going into this eyes wide-open themselves. [05:05:05] You know, they may be taking opportunities where they see

them. But I think it's quite clear that Donald Trump wants this issue off his plate.

You know, when he was put in the corner by state attorneys general, he came up with this plan to sun set DACA over six months, urged Congress to act, has equivocated over his decision. This is clearly in particular an issue that vexes him terribly and he seems very eager to move on from it and that maybe what we're seeing here.

ROMANS: If this deal or this agreement to make a deal, is, as the Democrats suggest, what does it say about Donald Trump's deal-making ability? I mean, Laura Ingraham called it --

BRIGGS: He loves good press, TV.

ROMANS: -- the art of the steal. But I mean, I wonder, you know, usually, when you give something, you get something back. I don't see what he got for his base if this deal is as advertised.

BRIGGS: Good question.

KOPAN: Yes, absolutely, Christine. I mean, again, it does come down to the details. Certainly, if at the end of the day, Republicans feel like they can say look at all we got, we got border security, perhaps we got more money for Customs and Border Protection or for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, we got all this great technology, there are lots of things they could say they got at the end of the day.

The question is whether they feel like that's going to resonate with their constituents.

So, there's still room here for Republicans to say they got something out of it, but there's no doubt this was a narrow deal that was designed to get the most votes and cause as little drama as possible. And the funny thing about those no drama deals is often they leave a lot of people disappointed.

BRIGGS: Yes. Read into the fact the president started tweeting about crooked Hillary late night to give his base something to latch onto, to Christine's point.

Tal Kopan, good stuff. We'll talk to you in about 20.

KOPAN: Thank you.

ROMANS: So, they're talking about immigration, talking about taxes too. President Trump says the upcoming tax overhaul will not help rich folks. In fact, hey, wealthy people, your taxes may go up.


TRUMP: The rich will not be gaining at all with this plan. We're looking for the middle class and we're looking for jobs. I think the wealthy will be pretty much where they are, pretty much where they are. We can do that, we'd like it. If they have to go higher, they'll go higher.


ROMANS: All right. They could higher. This contradicts what the administration has said so far. For example, repealing both the estate and the alternative minimum tax cuts, wealthy Americans, tax cuts across the board. Tax rates would benefit wealthy Americans.

Now, the White House has not put out a detail the tax plan yet. Speaker Paul Ryan promises a framework in two weeks. But will the proposal be full reform or just tax cuts? A big difference.

Senator Ted Cruz told CNN's Dana Bash he's open to either.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: We could end up with something kind of like the Bush tax cuts light. Some modest reduction in rates, a little bit of simplification and that's it.


CRUZ: I'd vote for that. That would be an improvement from the status quo. That'd be good.


ROMANS: Also no word if it will be revenue neutral. Speaker Ryan wouldn't answer directly yesterday if that's the case.

But Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told FOX News all tax cuts will be paid for with faster economic growth, dynamic scoring, which is something that budget wonk say is magical math.

The president yesterday very clear he wants a tax rate for companies at 15 percent. That's where the specificity is, 15 percent corporate tax rate. A lot of experts tell me it might have to be higher than that. But the focus of the discussion seems now to really be on making sure companies are going to get that tax break.

BRIGGS: Will the White House take the leadership on the tax proposal? Or will the House, as we thought previously?

ROMANS: The House has been working on this for a long time. Paul Ryan has been working on this since he was in diapers, basically. So --

BRIGGS: That will reveal a lot, won't it?

ROMANS: Yes, it will.

BRIGGS: Who takes the reins on this thing?

Well, the families of eight Florida nursing home residents left devastated after a broken air conditioner cost loved ones their lives. We have reports from Florida and from St. Maarten on the Irma

aftermath, next.


[05:13:20] BRIGGS: A criminal investigation now under way in Florida after the deaths of eight elderly residents at a Florida nursing home. It's being blamed on an air-conditioning system blown out by hurricane Irma.

ROMANS: The victims range in age from 71 to 99 years old, succumbed to the extreme heat and humidity. The rehabilitation center at Hollywood Hills shut down now.

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.

[05:15:08] The police department here in Hollywood, Florida, says it is talking to all the staff members and deeply investigating this facility -- Dave, Christine.


BRIGGS: Miguel Marquez, thank you. Rehabilitation center at Hollywood Hill says staff members set up

mobile cooling units and continually checked on residents. The nursing home releasing this statement. Quote: While our center did didn't lose power, it did lose a 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's not clear if the generator broke or why the air conditioners wouldn't be on that power supply. The nursing home has had safety violations and citations in the past, including two for not following generator regulations in 2014 and 2016. In both those instances, the nursing home corrected the problems.

BRIGGS: President Trump and the first lady heading to Florida today. They'll be making stops in Ft. Myers and Naples, about 3 million customers without power this morning.

ROMANS: Yes, the speed of the relief efforts being questioned on the hurricane-ravaged Caribbean islands, thousands of residents are in dire need of essentials like food and water, electricity, more than a week after Irma barreled through as a category 5.

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

You know, thousands, tens of thousands of people on these islands have some really big decisions to make. Do you stay? Do you go? Where are you going to get the next bottle of safe water?

CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That is exactly how people are thinking about it right here. For instance, the person who helps us, a local journalist, who helps us get the lay of the land since we've been here, every morning before (AUDIO GAP) us, he makes sure his wife and two children have water for the day.

Now, mark my words, enough water for those 24 hours, not two or three days. He can't plan that far ahead. And how's he getting it? He's hustling. Everybody on these islands is hustling. That's why you have 200,000 people in dire need of aid. That number comes to us from the World Food Programme by the way.

So, when I say hustling, it means sometimes small supermarkets open for brief period of time. You rush to get what you can if you happen to be the lucky few who knows about it, because this is all word of mouth. You know, things will open up, pop up around the islands for just a few hours, if you're there, you know about it, you've been told, you have a friend who can grab you some water, some water, some food, great.

Most people obviously, it's very hit and miss, very patch. So, that's very important.

There's another thing I want to get in there real quick, Christine, which is the long-term. We're not thinking about the long-term, but when these cameras leave, they're going have a problem for years. All these buildings that we've seen flattened, 80 percent of the hotel inventory is destroyed here on the Dutch side of St. Maarten, that means the economy is down. That means these people are without a job, without wages.

Today was pay day for the workers of a hotel we inspected yesterday. They haven't heard from management. They don't know whether they're getting that check. So, how are they going to provide a future for their kids if they can't get another job soon and can't get that income coming in? That's the long-term problem as well. We've got to keep on eye on both.

ROMANS: You're absolutely right. The near term problem of finding clean water and food. The long-term problem of actually getting a job and rebuilding those islands. I will make this pledge right now, my next vacation will be on St. Thomas, St. Maarten. I encourage everyone to go and spend money when they get up and running.

Cyril Vanier, thank you so much for that on the island of St. Maarten.

Have you been to those islands before?

BRIGGS: I have not, but the question is when they can get back up and running to Cyril's point?

ROMANS: I know, I know.

BRIGGS: This could be years and years.

ROMANS: These are just gems for this country. And, you know, for the French and Dutch as well. I really wish them the best.

BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, the Cleveland Indians extending their record roll. Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report". The tribe keep on going.


[05:23:36] BRIGGS: All right. We'll get to the rolling Cleveland Indians in just a moment.

But, first, four fans ejected from Fenway Park last night after they hung a banner with an antiracism message.

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

What happened?

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning to you, Christine and Dave.

The Boston sporting events we know they have a checkered past when it comes to racism and a lot of fans of the ballpark were confused to the meaning of this sign at first. It was during the fourth inning that the Red Sox game against the A's. Protesters unveiled a sign on the green mast that read: racism is as American as baseball. It's only up for one batter. Then umpires asked for it to be taken

down. Four people were escorted from the park with one of them saying they were inspired by Black Lives Matter.

The Red Sox said the banner violated policies prohibiting signs hung on walls.

After the game, some Boston fans, didn't seem too happy about that banner.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought it was not appropriate and it's not something we agree with and I don't think it's the right place to be doing things like that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I don't like mixing our politics with our sports. We come to places like this to kind of get away from a bad, escape from that. It kind of unite -- sports tends to unite us more than anything else.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't expect it coming to a Fenway, come to go a ball game like this. Boston is about love and coming together. Not that.


WIRE: More politics and sports colliding.

Did you see White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders seemingly implying yesterday that ESPN host Jemele Hill should be fired for calling President Trump a white supremacist?

[05:25:03] Listen.


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.


WIRE: Now, on Twitter this week, Jemele Hill called President Trump, quote, the most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime, unquote. And she referred to the president as a bigot and a threat.

Late last night, Hill tweeted that her comments were personal and she regrets they painted ESPN unfairly. The network has been criticized in the past for what some feel is a liberal agenda regarding decisions about on-air personalities. Jemele Hill has not received even a suspension for her comments.

The Cleveland Indians made baseball history last night. Indians more like Windians. Twenty-one straight games, tying the 1935 Cubs with the longest win streak ever. Now, Indians have been simply burning up the competition. So bad the ballparks sprinkler system had to put out the flames on the tigers.

Cleveland snagged their victory over the Detroit Tigers 5-3. And now, technically, the 1916 New York Giants won 26 in a row. But that included a tie. The Indians might break that streak.

LeBron James, he's pulling for them.


LEBRON JAMES, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: There's no way I can let another day go by without shouting out the home team Cleveland Indians 21-game winning streak. What you're doing now, keep it going.

I'm about to say it's incredible, but I want to come back and do another video when y'all got like a 40-game winning streak. No pressure.


WIRE: Absolutely rolling. No pressure. Thanks, LeBron. You just put the pressure on them. But they can get win number 22 tonight, guys, against the Royals.

BRIGGS: Now, that 1916 streak is interesting because it was a rainout, eighth inning, rainout, a time when the rules didn't reflect that in the standings. So, that's going to be hotly debated if they keep on winning, which we hope they do.

WIRE: Yes. Good point. And that win could happen next Wednesday if they do make it that far.

BRIGGS: Good catch. All right. Coy Wire, thank you, my friend.

ROMANS: One a time, you guys are getting way too far ahead.

BRIGGS: Way too ahead, good job by Terry Francona, though.

Hundreds of thousands of DREAMers suddenly have a new life line. President Trump reaching a deal with Chuck and Nancy to pursue an extension of DACA. But will it cost the president his border wall?