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Trump And Corker's Escalating Feud; Trump Campaign Fundraises on NFL Walkout; Deadly California Wildfires; Google Found Russian Ads Related to Election; Dodgers, Astros Advance in Playoffs. Aired 5- 5:30a ET

Aired October 10, 2017 - 05:00   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All of this driven by enthusiasm for tax reform, by solid corporate earnings, by a healing American economy.

[05:00:02] And the latest earning season kicks off Thursday. So, we're going to get a real peek into how companies are doing. And we think it's going to be good. We're going to see JPMorgan and Citigroup on Thursday.

So far, it looks like things could be good. S&P 500 companies have had doubling digit profit growth in the first two quarters of the year. No one cry for your corporate CEOs. They're doing very, very well here.

All right. Millennials don't use credit cards like their mom and dad or their grandparents. And that could be a bad thing. Less than a third of millennials say they have a credit card. Compare to that more than half people aged 30 to 49 and nearly 70 percent of people over the age of 65.

Experts say millennials fear debt. They witnessed the final crisis and saw their parents just under mounds of credit card debt, so they're being cautious, and that is smart, using credit card responsibly can lead to benefits down the road. It can help build credit. So, you want to use them but responsibly. Also, credit cards offer better protection against fraud than debit cards.

So, you know, I say, a lot of people say, I don't want to have one. They young people do. You need to have one, but be very careful with it.

All right. Look out, Amazon, Walmart wants to speed up the on line returns to 30 seconds. Walmart already lets customers return online order in its stores, but now, the company wants to make returns faster by allowing customers to start the process on its app. Part of the company's plan to establish itself as a digital power player. Walmart investing $2 billion in its digital business, buying up popular online retailers like

I think that's really the future of retail. You have to make it so easy for me to return something, you know? You really do. No more, I need the receipt. This is my credit card. Here's the good.

BRIGGS: Free shipping.

All right. EARLY START continues right now.


BRIGGS: New details on the feud between President Trump and a leading senator from his own party. White House officials telling CNN the president is not finished with Senator Bob Corker.

ROMANS: And the White House doubling down on vice president's walkout from the NFL game. Trump's reelection campaign now fundraising off that move.

BRIGGS: And at least 10 dead after wildfires roar across California, mandatory evacuations and curfews in effect as firefighters struggle to contain the blazes in wine country. Oh, tough to see these fires sprawl on the West Coast.

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

ROMANS: Nice to see you all this morning. Nice to be here.

I'm Christine Romans. It is Tuesday, October 10th. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East. It's 2:00 a.m. right now in California.

Let's begin this morning with those new details on the president's feud with a leading member of his own party. A person, of course, Republican Senator Bob Corker, the powerful chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.

And now, former White House chief of staff, Steve Bannon, calling on Corker to step down immediately.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: McConnell and Corker and the entire clique, establishment, globalist clique on Capitol Hill have to go. And if he needs any -- if we need any more proof about what they think you heard it tonight. It's an absolute disgrace. If Bob Corker has any honor, any decency, he should resign immediately.


ROMANS: Bannon demanding that Senator Corker resign for his open skepticism of Trump's fitness to lead. That expressed in an interview with the "New York Times." We now have audio. Let's listen.


SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: I do worry that he's -- sometimes I feel like he's on a reality show of some kind when he's talking about these big foreign policy issues. And, you know, he doesn't realize that, you know, that we could be heading towards World War III with the kind of comments that he's making.


BRIGGS: Sources also telling CNN the president is lashing out at Corker in part over frustration that his legislative agenda is stalled in Congress. Even though the president needs senators like Corker to get that agenda passed, and Corker has been supportive of his agenda. One GOP source in touch with the White House tells CNN Corker has more allies in the Senate than the president does.

Now, the feud is a bad idea for Trump, and there could be more to come. More on that from CNN's Sara Murray.



This is a feud that could continue. White House officials say Trump is not yet done with Corker. That's not necessarily good news to everyone here in the East Wing. This is after President Trump spent the weekend going after Corker on Twitter, saying the only reason Corker has decided not to run for reelection is because Trump wouldn't endorse him and Corker knew there is no way he would win without Trump's backing.

Now, Corker's staff has taken issue with that characterization, disputing it, insisting the president said that if Corker would reconsider and would run again, that Trump would back this senator.

Some are concerned that Trump could be alienating a key ally both on foreign policy and on budget issues.

[05:05:01] Back to you, guys.


BRIGGS: All right. Sara Murray, thanks.

President Trump using the controversy around Vice President Pence's walkout of that NFL game over the weekend, over the national anthem, using that very incident to raise money. This as critics charge that Pence's walkout was in reality a staged stunt paid for buy taxpayer dollars. In Monday's fundraising email, the president slammed members of the San Francisco 49ers who took a knee during the anthem, writing, your vice president refused to dignify their disrespect.

ROMANS: Now, president last night also praising one NFL team owner in a tweet.

A big absolute to Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, who will bench players who disrespect our flag. Stand for anthem or sit for game.

One administration source telling CNN that some in the White House believe this issue plays well for the president.

For more let's turn to CNN's Rene Marsh. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)


It appears the vice president made the trip on Air Force Two knowing that he'd walk out before the main event. And it comes as government watchdogs are investigating several Trump cabinet officials for their use of private jets and military planes. Well, Pence left the Indianapolis Colts versus San Francisco 49ers game in his home state when players from the 49ers took a knee during the national anthem.

Well, Sunday started with Pence tweeting that he was looking forward to cheering on the Colts. Once at the stadium, his aides told orders that Pence may depart the game early and that they should stay in their vehicles. Well, after around 30 minutes in the stadium, Pence tweeted he left the game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our flag or our national anthem.

And then later, the president tweeted, he and Pence discussed walking out beforehand. I asked @VPPence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I'm proud of him and Second Lady Karen.

Well, the walkout is drawing some sharp criticism, with some calling it a very expensive political stunt on taxpayers' dime. It costs $30,000 per hour to fly Air Force Two. Pence flew from Las Vegas to Indianapolis on Saturday, then flew from Indianapolis to Los Angeles on Sunday. The cost? Nearly a quarter million dollars.

The flight cost estimates do not include the cost of advance personnel, Secret Service and support on the ground. We will say that Pence's office contends if it wasn't for the game, he would have flown back to Washington, D.C., and they say that would have been a greater cost -- Dave and Christine.


ROMANS: All right, Rene. Thank you, Rene.

The White House standing by its hard line demands for any deal to protect the undocumented immigrants known as DREAMers. Democratic leaders in Congress calling President Trump's immigration wish list a non-starter. One aide, a Democratic aide, saying the decision to release it on a Sunday night before Columbus Day looked like an effort to bury it. The Republican adviser to the president says, quote, Democrats have to compromise to get their goals or why bother.

BRIGGS: House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi suggests her side of the aisle might withhold spending bills if there's no deal on DREAMers. That needs to happen by March or some 690,000 young people brought to the U.S. as children will lose their protections allowing them to work and stay in the country legally.

So much to discuss with "Washington Examiner" White House correspondent Sarah Westwood. She's live in D.C. this morning. Sarah, good to see you.

I want to start with Bob Corker, and it's not just the World War III, the adult day care center. But what he's saying is the Republican caucus agrees that it takes people to keep him in the middle of the road, that I know for a fact that every single day at the White House is a situation of trying to contain him.

So, everyone was wondering would Republican senators step up, and the profiles in courage, Lindsey Graham, tweeting about President Trump's golf game, how he shot a 73 in windy and rainy conditions really standing up to the POTUS.

So, will everyone else follow the Lindsey Graham model or the Bob Corker model?

SARAH WESTWOOD, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON POST: I think you're more likely to see senators follow the Lindsey Graham model because Bob Corker is only speaking out so candidly due to his impending retirement. If it he were facing a reelection battle in a state like Tennessee where President Trump is still very popular, then I don't think he would be speaking against President Trump.

It's kind of remarkable to see how rapidly their relationship deteriorated because Bob Corker was once among a contingent of senators who were actually very friendly to President Trump, more so than most of the other Republican members, a group that included David Purdue, that included Thom Tillis, people who were considered allies of the president on Capitol Hill. So, to see Bob Corker now taking up the mantle of the GOP opposition to President Trump is pretty startling.

[05:10:02] ROMANS: He will need to work with Bob Corker if he's going to get his legislative agenda through, the president will. We still have immigration reform and this DACA deal that is turning out to be very difficult, the government funding, the debt ceiling that's coming. Tax reform, something of course everyone wants to see and Iran deal, open cabinet positions.

The front page of "The Washington Post" this morning is a story with the headline Trump lashes out at allies, putting agenda at risk. I think anybody -- everyone should read the story this morning.

But I'm asking you, Sarah, is it putting the agenda at risk, the president's temper and president lashing out here?

WESTWOOD: Well, absolutely. Remember, the health care appeal fell apart because of the opposition of one Republican senator. It was just John McCain who sunk years of GOP efforts to repeal Obamacare.

The numbers are not in President Trump's favor. He cannot lose more than three Republicans in the Senate on any given issue. And in some cases, he'll need even some Democrats to cross the aisle to support his legislative agenda items.

So, he can't afford to alienate Bob Corker. Even though Corker has been supportive of the president's agenda so far, there's no guarantee that he will continue to support all of these agenda items, particularly now that he's freed from the restrictions that come with having to think of his re-election battle.

BRIGGS: So, given the dynamics, it's hard to believe this list. Republicans attacked by President Trump. It's a long list. Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Rand Paul, Jeff Sessions, his attorney general, Paul Ryan, John McCain, Jeff Flake, Lisa Murkowski, Dean Heller, that's a long list. It's a far shorter list of Democrats that the president has attacked.

Add to that Steve Bannon last night with Sean Hannity said he wants to go after every incumbent Republican senator except for Ted Cruz. So, there's the agenda that Christine talks about. What are the consequences for the party as a whole?

WESTWOOD: Well, clearly, they want to have the focus be on the Democrats' division heading into 2018. They want the focus to be on the fact that the Democrats still haven't reconciled their internal rifts over progressivism versus more centerism Democrats. They don't want to have that debate themselves. The they hoped that the Trump victory and the majorities of both houses of Congress would have paper over some of those divisions within the GOP.

Now, Steve Bannon and some of the Trump base who are unhappy with what they view as obstructionism from Republicans in Congress are sort of reopening those old wounds and trying to bring back this discussion over establishment Republicans versus more insurgent Republicans. That's not a discussion that I think a lot of Republicans thought we would be having at this point.

And Steve Bannon proved that his influence, that his blend of politics can be lethal in the Alabama Senate primary when he backed a candidate, a different one than President Trump and Bannon's candidate won.

ROMANS: Yes, that's really interesting.

Quickly, we know the president is going to have lunch today with his defense secretary and secretary of state, two people that, you know, Senator Bob Corker actually called part of the, you know, the alliance of grownups, the access of grownups in --

BRIGGS: In chaos.

ROMANS: -- n the White House.

I'm sure North Korea will be on the agenda. What do you make or what do you think we'll expect from today?

WESTWOOD: Well, later this week, President Trump has to make a decision on the Iran deal by October 15th over the weekend. That's the deadline for him to recertify the deal. And we're expecting him to decertify it.

There are a lot of moving pieces as early as -- as late as last week, senior administration officials were saying President Trump hadn't reached a final decision on what he was going to do. So, I think Iran will be at the top of the list in terms of their discussions.

ROMANS: All right. Talk to you in about a half an hour. I want to play a little sound about Ivanka Trump weighing on DACA at the Fortune's Most Powerful Women Conference. We'll talk about that in about an hour.

Nice to see you. Thank you.

All right. Google has uncovered Russian-backed ads related to the election. The latest tech company used to spread misinformation in 2016 by the Russians.

Sources familiar with the investigation told CNN, Google found Russian accounts bought tens of thousands of collars in ads, using YouTube and Google to push divisive messages on race, immigration and gun rights. Google's reach is huge, of course. It's the largest seller of online ads in the U.S. YouTube, which Google owns, is the world's largest video platform.

Google still doesn't know how many ads are connected to something called the Internet Research Agency. That's the Kremlin-linked troll farm that bought ads on Twitter and Facebook. Though Google says it's taking a deeper look to investigate attempts to abuse our systems. Like Facebook and Twitter, Google will publicly testify in Capitol Hill in November. Google also plans to meet privately with intelligence committees before the hearing.

Learning more and more every day about how much we don't know about Russian interference in the kinds of things you see and you read on social media.

BRIGGS: We don't have lot of time to figure this out.

[05:15:01] All right. Ahead, fires raging across California, at least 10 dead. Mandatory evacuations in order across the state. We'll have the latest for you, next.


BRIGGS: Deadly destructive wildfires raging across California from the north to south, forcing evacuations and reducing homes and businesses to ash. The largest fires burning in wine country, Napa, and Sonoma Counties. Ten already people killed and that number expected to climb, more than 100 people now being treated in local hospitals. More than 119,000 acres spanning eight counties now burned. One fire in Anaheim spreading to over 4,000 acres destroying at least six buildings in its path.

CNN's Dan Simon with more from Santa Rosa, California, the heart of wine country.


[05:20:05] DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, this fire has been so explosive, pushed by the high winds. At one point, the fire gusting to 40 to 50 miles per hour.

Take a look at this one neighborhood. This is the Sky View neighborhood in Santa Rosa, California. Devastation as far as the eye can see.

You can see some of the burned out vehicles as well. The fire smoldering here but we're told that the fire is still active in certain places. Crews doing whatever they can to get the blaze under control. I'm told by a fire official, though, that the fire activity is outpacing any resource they can throw at it.

We've seen so much devastation. I saw a McDonald's that burned to the ground. I saw a furniture store, a hotel, a Kmart. Really, it's just unbelievable. At this point, 20,000 people or so have been evacuated. Two hospitals actually had to be evacuated. They took the patients south towards San Francisco, towards Marin County to get those people to safety.

Hopefully, the weather cooperates and crews will be able to get the upper hand on this blaze. But for now, things are still looking grim.

Dave and Christine, back to you.


ROMANS: All right. Dan Simon, wow. Just a tragedy there.


ROMANS: All right. The L.A. Dodgers and Houston Astros advancing to their respective league championship series. Can the Yankees finish off an epic comeback in Cleveland to join them?

Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report". That's next.


[05:25:48] BRIGGS: All right. Baseball playoffs heating up last night. Two teams moving on to the league championship series.

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

Hey, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine and Dave.

If you like baseball, you're like a kid in a candy shop yesterday. Nearly 13 hours of playoff action. It was late night party on TBS in the National League Division Series between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks and L.A.'s rookie sensation Cody Bellinger grew up just down the road from the stadium there in Phoenix, he felt right at home.

Twenty-two years old, he became the youngest Dodger to hit a home run in the post-season. And then, check this out -- sacrificing his body, tumbling into the Dodgers dugout. Yes, he made the catch, too. The guy can do it all.

Let the celebration begin. You know what time it is. Playoff celebration in baseball, champagne. Dodgers win 3-1, sweep the series and advance to the national league champion series.

All right. Now, some had already stuck a fork in the Yankees. They were down 0-2 in their series with Cleveland. Rookie phenom Aaron Judge hadn't even had a hit in the playoffs. But that change last night.

This two-out, two-strike double in the second inning to make it four- zip, got the Yanks rolling. The persistent the strikes get the big win in the Bronx last night, 7-3. They tied up with the defending American League champion. Now, it all comes down to one game tomorrow in Cleveland to advance.

Washington ace Max Scherzer was pitching a no-hitter against the Cubs yesterday, looked like the Nationals had the win in the bag. This was all the way into the seventh inning, then Ben Zobrist said this isn't over, then he goes in spoils Scherzer and the Nat's party, they lose in a heartbreaker, 2-1. Those Cubbies fly the W, leading that series 2-1. Game four later today on our sister network TBS. First pitch set for 5:38 Eastern.

Monday Football supported a baseball type score all the way into halftime. The Vikings led the Bears 3-2. The Bears unleashed their prized number two overall pick, quarterback Mitch Trubisky but Minnesota went and spoiled that party. Vikings Harrison Sweet with a sweet pick. Trubisky ended up having a decent night for his debut. But a late winning field goal would set up by that interception there as the Vikings take this one, 20-17.

One last baseball highlight. If you haven't had your breakfast yet, you might want to turn your head. This is Astros outfielder Josh Reddick. Yes, Christine, I knew this would wake you up. He's rocking a Speedo there in the celebration after the Astros got their big sweep over the Red Sox, clinching that series, rather. They now await the winner of the Yankees and Indians.

We'll just let that in slow-mo all morning for you.

BRIGGS: I appreciate that.

ROMANS: That happens all over the place. Everywhere in business, quarterly reports, you know, that's what happened.

Is that disrespectful to the American flag?

BRIGGS: That is against the flag code for sure. Very much against the flag code.

Thank you, Coy.

ROMANS: Coy, thank you.

WIRE: You're welcome. ROMANS: The public feud between President Trump and Republican Senator Bob Corker, the White House saying, you know what, the present isn't finished with Corker. Well, there's more ahead.