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Trump: NYC Terror Suspect Should Get Death Penalty; Manhattan Terror Suspect in Court; Astros Take World Series with 5-1 Game 7 Win; Russian-Backed Ads on Social Media Revealed; Obama Pushes For Obamacare. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired November 2, 2017 - 05:00   ET



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have to get much less politically correct. We're so politically correct that we're afraid to do anything.


[05:00:00] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The president now calling for the death penalty for the suspect in the Manhattan terror attack, and his decision to quickly politicize the attack is drawing scorn.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: And disturbing details emerging about the suspect. He began planning a year ago. Self-radicalized in the U.S., and says he feels good about what he's done.

Good morning. Thanks for getting an EARLY START with us, I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It's Thursday, November 2nd, 5:00 in the East.

The president calling for the death penalty by the suspect has already been charged with something that carries a potential death penalty.

BRIGGS: Well, there's that and how might this impact a jury pool and the case.

ROMANS: All right. President Trump already taking heavy criticism for politicizing Tuesday's terror attack in Manhattan. He may have made things worse with the late night tweet. He said this: NYC terrorist was happy as he asked to hang ISIS flag in his hospital room. He killed eight people, badly injured 12. Should get the death penalty.

That tweet came after the suspect was charge in court, with material support to ISIS, which does carry the death penalty

BRIGGS: Legal experts quick to point out this sort of public suggestion could taint any jury pool if the suspect is tried in New York. This came hours after he lashed out at the United States justice system.


TRUMP: We also have to come up with punishment that's far quicker and far greater than the punishment these animals are getting right now. We need strong justice, much quicker and much stronger than we have right now, because what we have right now is a joke and it's a laughingstock.


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

The laughingstock, you know, he's saying that the entire United States justice system is a joke but this person was caught quickly and has already had a court hearing and has been charged and one of the charges does carry the death penalty.

So, do we know what he's exactly talking about?

TAL KOPAN, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: No. We don't. It's the simple answer, Christine.

And, you know, Sara Sanders, of course, was asked about this in the press briefing yesterday and tried to explain it as if Trump was referring to what other people think of the justice system.

ROMANS: Let's play how Sara Sanders reacted.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He said the process has people calling us a joke and calling us a laughingstock. He's simply pointing out his frustration of how long that this process takes, how costly this process is.


KOPAN: Yes. Exactly. So, you just heard what the president said and how Sarah Sanders explained it and they don't really seem to line up. That's certainly to be how she interprets his words.

You know, what I would love to hear is some of the Republicans in Congress who are major criminal justice reform advocates, you know, the Rand Pauls, the Mike Lees.

When you talk about due process rights in the Constitution, there are very clear rights in the Constitution about what a fair trial is, and there are some staunch defenders of that on the Supreme Court in Congress that don't necessarily line up by party. And so, what the president seems to be suggesting is some way to bypass that if a person is believed to be a terrorist, which certainly goes against most of our common law decisions in the United States and arguably against some of the provisions in the Constitution.

So, it's unclear what he is talking about here. At the same time, you know, this seems to be sort of typical Trump rhetoric and it's hard to know how much stock exactly to put into what he's saying.

BRIGGS: They've got to get a tell prompter in that cabinet room perhaps before he tweets too because he tweeting late last night, quote, New York city terrorist happy as he asked to hang ISIS flag in his hospital room, killed eight people, badly injured 12. Should get the death penalty.

No one's going to disagree with the motion that this suspect deserves the death penalty. But how might that impact the case as we move forward?

KOPAN: Well, I'm just picturing a defense attorney polling the jury and asking all of them, do you see the president's tweets? It's truly remarkable scenario if you step back for a moment and think to imagine what a defense attorney might do with this type of material, to ask Americans, who I think the vast majority right now are aware of what the president is up to, whether they could potentially be swayed in a criminal trial.

It's just a remarkable situation to even be in right now. Once again, we talk about the candidate Trump sort of never went away to a certain extent. This is once again sort of appealing to his base, appealing to the public. It's not exactly thinking about the potential ramifications down the road.

And the other interesting piece of it is divulging so much information from the investigation, from how the suspect got here, to what he's been saying, to potential other individuals that this suspect may have been connected to.

[05:05:06] I mean, the president is really revealing a lot before law enforcement, which is another remarkable phenomenon.

ROMANS: At one point yesterday he was saying this guy should be sent to Guantanamo Bay which does not jibe with what Sarah Sanders is saying about how costly things are and how long the process takes because that's his legal limbo that last for years. But putting that aside, let's talk about the diversity lottery.

You cover immigration, I have covered immigration extensively, sadly, sadly to say because it's very complicated and it's like banging your head against the wall, trying to figure out whether Washington will ever get it right here. This is what the president said about the diversity lottery.


TRUMP: Diversity lottery sounds nice. It's not nice. It's not good. It's not good. It hasn't been good. We've been against it.

So, we want to immediately work with Congress on the diversity lottery program, on terminating it.


ROMANS: 1990, Chuck Schumer was the sponsor of it. You know, the president bashing Chuck Schumer. But in the group of eight, they wanted to get rid of this for in comprehensive immigration reform. Do you think anything changes here?

KOPAN: Yes. Talk about the diversity lottery for a second. It sets aside 5,000 visas that can pave the way for green cards and eventually citizenship every year and those go to individuals from countries that typically don't send a lot of immigrants here. In fact, if you send a certain number, your country is ineligible for the lottery. It's sort of conceived as a way to diversify the immigrant pool.

The major complaint about it is it doesn't necessarily select individuals based on matching skills to needs in the U.S. Certainly, opponents of a lot of forms of immigration complain about competing for American jobs. And so, yes, Chuck Schumer, as one of the leaders of the gang of eight compromise in 2013 was part of the deal to overhaul the diversity lottery.

There is a lot of support for that idea and trying to figure out a way to wrap diversity as a factor into other forms of merit-based immigration. The problem is the proposal that the president has supported would get rid of it and not move those visas anywhere else and really transform, cut in half the number of green cards a year, transform the way they're given out. That proposal doesn't have a lot of support in Washington.

BRIGGS: All right. Tal Kopan, you have a got piece up on about does the president's rhetoric match his actions when it comes to his budget suggestions. We'll talk about that in 30 minutes. Thanks.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks.

As for the terror investigation, Sayfullo Saipov now charged with providing material support to ISIS. Authorities say the Uzbekistan native self-radicalized in America after arriving on a visa in 2010.

BRIGGS: The complaint says he chose to strike on Halloween because he believed there would be more civilians on the street.

We get more now from CNN's Jason Carroll.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christine, Dave, the suspect appeared in federal court last night. He appeared a wheelchair. He did not enter a plea. That will come later.

He is facing two counts, including providing material support to a terrorist organization. That organization being ISIS. The U.S. attorney has 30 days to indict and at that time, that is when he's expected to enter a plea.

But he's already talking, giving investigators a great deal of information about his state of mind. And in fact, when he was interviewed in his hospital room, apparently he told investigators that he felt good about what he had done, and at one point asked if an ISIS flag could be hung in his hospital room. Also, according to the federal complaint, more information revealed as

well. He rented that rental truck at 2:06 p.m. on Wednesday, but it was actually on October 22nd that he also rented a truck so he could practice doing turns, we are told.

Also, at one point, he thought about hanging ISIS flags on his rental truck but thought in some way that that might draw attention. And initially, the original plan was for him to go beyond the West Side Highway and continue on to the Brooklyn Bridge, but of course, he was stopped when he crashed into that school bus.

Once again learning more about his connection to ISIS from a letter that was left behind near the truck, which basically was written in Arabic and in English which included ISIS propaganda -- Christine, Dave.


ROMANS: All right. Jason Carroll, thanks for that.

New concerns about north Korea's nuclear capabilities one day before President Trump takes off for Asia. CNN has learned North Koreans are already working on advanced version of their existing KN-20 intercontinental ballistic missile that could potentially reach the United States.

[05:10:00] All this unfolding less than six months after North Korea's first ICBM launch. The development of an advanced ICBM just one element of Kim Jong-un's nuclear acceleration. U.S. officials say additional upgrades are underway to the regime's nuclear fuel, missile launchers and guidance and targeting systems.

Troubling developments.

BRIGGS: All right, 4:10 in Houston, Texas. Anybody still up in Houston? Tweet us if you are. Plenty of joy there this morning.


BRIGGS: Houston Astros bringing home the first title in franchise history. Highlights and celebration, next.


BRIGGS: Houston, Texas, has something to celebrate this morning. Astros champions of baseball winning game 7 of the World Series 5-1 last night over the Dodgers.

[05:15:04] Houston jumping out to an early lead with two runs in the first, they got three more in the second. And George Springer, once again sparking the Astros' offense, doubled and also hit his record- tying fifth home run in the series to take home MVP honors.

So fitting, Jose Altuve made the final out. When that final out was reported, the Astros had their first World Series title in franchise history. And a year that tested this city to its core. A World Series trophy a blissful distraction.

And Houston's favorite son Andy Scholes still drying the tears and champagne off his clothes. Joins us with the "Bleacher Report" next half hour. His smile has not yet worn off.

ROMANS: Did he sleep? That's my question.

BRIGGS: Doubtful.

ROMANS: All right. Today, Republicans the big reveal on the long awaited tax bill a day after missing a deadline, disagreements over key details. To be honest, we don't know what's in this.

House Ways and Means Chair Kevin Brady is set to release it.

Here's what we expect, a simpler code removing most breaks. Big tax codes for individuals and businesses. President Trump has a catchy name for the plan, the Cut, Cut, Cut bill. That's according to a source in touch with multiple White House officials.

Trump has consistently advocated significant cuts even as the Republicans struggle to explain how to pay for them. One way, getting rids of tax breaks like the popular state and local tax deduction. Nixing that would raise more than $1 trillion. But Republicans from high tax states don't want to touch that one, because it affects mainly middle class households. So, tax writers may keep part of it, mainly for property taxes.

BRIGGS: Police in Thornton, Colorado, looking for a murder on the loose. Police put out this picture of a person they want to speak with about the shooting at Walmart. Authorities are warning the gunman is armed and dangerous. They're calling it a random act.

The suspect shot and killed three people. Two men and a woman all shot inside the store. The female victim pronounced dead after being transported to a local hospital. We'll bring you updates throughout the morning.

All right. Lawmakers not happy with new revelations about Russian ads on social media during the leak. Now, powerhouse tech companies are promising to take action.


[05:21:55] ROMANS: A Russian government linked troll group stoking both pro and anti-Muslim sentiment before the 2016 election. The group promoted two opposing events on the same day, the same location in Houston. That tactic was just one thing to emerge as Facebook, Google and Twitter wrapped up days of hearings in Congress about Russian meddling in the 2016 election and unveiled actual pictures of the posts that were planted by the Russians.

BRIGGS: Store that image in your memory for next election cycle.

All three social media companies now promising more transparency and authentication efforts to know who is behind the ads. Lawmakers frustrated, though, over how long it has taken these tech companies to come forward with what they know.

CNN's Dylan Byers has the latest.


DYLAN BYERS, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Christine and Dave, what came out of those hearings was this: one, we finally got to take a look at some of the ads that the Russian Internet Research Agency bought on Facebook as well as some of the accounts backed by Russians that appeared on Twitter. Basically, there was a great deal of deep-seated frustration among senators and congressmen over how long it has taken these tech companies to sort of play ball and come forward with what they know.

Also, a lot of frustration over the question of whether or not these tech companies are actually taking the problem seriously.

There's effectively two different world views here. There's the Silicon Valley world view which says, look, we're open platforms. We can't be responsible for everything that comes up on our platforms. We're also global companies. We don't necessarily put the interests of the American government first.

Obviously, that did not sit well with the American government especially in light of what we learned about Russian' meddling in the U.S. election and in American politics generally.

The fact that Russian agents are using issues like race, religion, immigration, and exploiting the tensions that exist in this country in order to sow an atmosphere of discord and influence the politics is something that these lawmakers say represents a grave threat to the sovereignty of the American electoral system and the American democratic project.

Back to you, guys.


BRIGGS: All right. Dylan, thanks.

Jurors in the corruption trial of New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez set to hear closing arguments from prosecutors this morning. On Wednesday, the judge spent almost three hours delivering final instructions to the panel, imploring them to use common sense when weighing the evidence. Jurors were also ordered to disregard the fact that Menendez and his co-defendant chose not to testify.

The Democratic senator is accused of accepting gifts from a wealthy long-time friend in exchange for using his influence to lobby on behalf of that friend's business interest.

ROMANS: The current administration won't do that job, so former President Barack Obama is making the case for his namesake health care law. The 44th president rolling out a video on Twitter and Facebook, touting the benefits of the Affordable Care Act as open enrollment gets underway. [05:25:00] The Trump administration has been downplaying the signup

season, slashing advertising for enrollment by 90 percent, reducing support for outreach and assistance.

President Trump marking open enrollment with a tweet to promote repealing the law's individual mandate which requires Americans to have coverage or pay a penalty.

BRIGGS: Michelle Obama taking a subtle swipe at President Trump without referring to him by name.

During a conversation with poet Elizabeth Alexander, the former first lady offering young people this simple advice on tweeting.


MICHELLE OBAMA, FORMER FIRST LADY: This whole "tell it like it is" business, that's nonsense. You know, you don't just say what's on your mind. You don't tweet every thought. I'm not talking about anybody in particular. I'm talking about us all.


BRIGGS: Not just good vice for young but old people as well. Mrs. Obama went on to say most initial thoughts are not worth the light of day.

ROMANS: She also said spellcheck. She said young people should remember to spellcheck their tweets.

BRIGGS: And old people alike.

ROMANS: Yes, and old people.

President Trump says the man accused of mowing down eight on a New York bike path this week should get the death penalty. Could that complicate the case down the road?