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EARLY START

Trump: China Can Solve North Korea; Republicans Try to Make Sense of Election. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired November 9, 2017 - 04:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[04:30:33] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: China can fix this problem easily and quickly. And I am calling on China and your great president to hopefully work on it very hard.

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ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump with a face-to-face appeal, asking the Chinese president for help with North Korea. Plus, why did President Trump compliment China for taking advantage of the U.S. on trade?

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: And Republicans looking to reset after Democratic wins on Election Day. Will GOP lawmakers stand by an unpopular president? That is a huge question as we head closer to those 2018 midterms.

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

KOSIK: Good morning. I'm Alison Kosik. It's 30 minutes past the hour.

And President Trump in China making a direct appeal to President Xi Jinping to help solve the North Korea nuclear crisis. The president lashing out at Pyongyang during a meeting with Chinese business leaders, and again while delivering a joint statement with Chinese leader at his side.

BRIGGS: Mr. Trump calling on all responsible nations to stop harming and working with what he calls a murderous regime.

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TRUMP: And the entire civilized world must unite to confront the North Korean menace. And the entire world is watching us right now.

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BRIGGS: The president's remarks coming after the North Koreans accused him of warmongering, referring to his threats as, quote, filthy rhetoric spewing out of his snout like garbage that reeks of gun powder to ignite war. Some colorful language there.

Let's go live to Beijing and bring in CNN's Jeff Zeleny.

Jeff, surprising to hear the president say that China can fix the North Korean problem here quickly, and here Xi Jinping not even address the issue at all or did he?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dave, good morning. I mean, they certainly had a long and what was described as a productive discussion about this. He did address the issue in terms of saying that China is committed to denuclearizing the Korean peninsula but, of course, North Korea already has access to nuclear weapons so unclear how far that commitment goes.

But the reality is the two leaders did talk for a couple hours really in a rolling series of meetings here. But the president, when he was talking to reporters earlier, he said that they shared a commitment on this unified goal. Let's watch.

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TRUMP: We agreed not to replicate failed approaches of the past, and there were many. Together, we have in our power to finally liberate this region and the world from this very serious nuclear menace. But it will require collective action, collective strength and collective devotion to winning the peace.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZELENY: So you hear collective strength, collective devotion, that was really a theme of this entire visit. President Trump clearly trying to build a rapport with the Chinese president because he knows the best hope for controlling North Korea is with the help of China, economically, as well as militarily. But that's certainly was the major focus of the meeting here.

We had a briefing just a short time ago with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson talking about the rest of the president's trip and there is still a question if that meeting with Vladimir Putin is going to happen at Vietnam at a economic summit there. Secretary Tillerson said it is not finalized. They want to make sure that there can be a substantive discussion of a variety of issues from Syria to other matters at that meeting.

I asked him if Russian meddling was still on the table for a discussion between President Trump and President Putin. Secretary Tillerson said yes that would be on the table for any meeting should that happen. So, we will find out if it happens on Friday as the president makes his way to Vietnam from here in China Dave and Alison.

BRIGGS: The president has repeatedly called on Russia on this trip to do more to stop North Korea.

All right. Jeff Zeleny, live for us in Beijing -- thank you, sir.

Senator Bob Corker, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee holding a meeting next week on the president's authority to use nuclear weapons. The Tennessee Republican claiming many colleagues raising questions about the authority of the executive and the legislative branches when it comes to using nuclear force. It's been more than 40 years since either the Senate Foreign Relations Committee or House Foreign Affairs Committee examined the nuclear authority issue.

[04:35:08] Senator Corker has frequently criticized President Trump, recently refusing to say whether he trusts the president with a nuclear code.

KOSIK: In a radical change in tone, President Trump is praising China's trade practices, saying he doesn't fault the country for taking advantage. Listen.

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TRUMP: I don't blame China. After all, who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country for the benefit of its citizens? I give China great credit.

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KOSIK: It's definitely a 180 from what we heard from Trump during the campaign. So, instead, Trump blamed past administrations for America's huge trade deficit with China.

Now, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump's words tongue in cheek, but it was a huge departure from his usual tough talk. Trump often calls China's trade dealings unfair and that they hurt U.S. workers. Trump made these remarks after two hours of talk with Chinese President Xi Jinping. He also announced $250 billion in agreements between U.S. companies and China. But that figure won't make a dent in the $309 billion trade deficit with China. That happens to be the biggest for the U.S.

Republican lawmakers trying to recover their footing after big election losses Tuesday night, and now, it remains to be seen if the party can get anything done legislatively and if the GOP can avoid a disaster in the 2018 midterms. Exit polls show anger at President Trump energized Democrats. They voted in bigger numbers than in the recent past, especially if you look what happened in the suburbs where the most competitive house seats are located.

BRIGGS: Republicans appear divided about what drove their defeat. Frequent Trump critic John McCain scolded his fellow Republicans, quote, I predicted this, OK? And unless we get our act together, we're going to lose heavily.

KOSIK: The conservative editorial board of "The Wall Street Journal" added its voice to the chorus of warnings, calling the vote an anti- Trump wave. They wrote: Democrats came out in droves to send a message of opposition to Donald Trump, and GOP candidates were swamped in the undertow. While the cliche is not to reach too much into an off-year election, this defeat was broad and deep enough to signal that Republicans will struggle to hold Congress next year. BRIGGS: Other Republicans pinning the problem less on Trump and more

on frustration by the party's base over unmet campaign promises.

Congressman Mark Meadows, chair of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus, saying: We need to start making our legislation match our campaign rhetoric and to date, we have not done that.

KOSIK: Now, Republicans are scrambling to confront a big question posed by their losses. Can Trump's message work when the messenger himself is Mr. Trump? Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon back Republican Ed Gillespie who lost the Virginia governor's race.

Now, Bannon retreating from his claims that Trump's ideas could win even without Trump to sell them.

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STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: We lost by five points. You know, I'm a Virginian, and I never had a lot of confidence. It was never in our battle plan that we're going to win Virginia. I thought, even with Donald Trump at the head of the ticket, we would by one or two points. We lost it by five points. I mean, Virginia, because of northern Virginia, is really not a purple state anymore. It's a blue state.

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BRIGGS: We also have new evidence this morning that the struggles faced by Republican candidates are in fact linked to an eroding view of the president's performance. New CNN polling one year after the election reveals real concerns with President Trump even among his core constituents. Sixty-four percent of Americans say they have less confidence in him now than when he took office. Only 30 percent they are more confident.

KOSIK: White non-college educated voters, the heart of the president's base, also losing faith, 52 percent say they're confidence in Mr. Trump has declined.

So, how is the president faring on keeping his campaign promises? Only 40 percent say he's doing it, down from 48 percent in April.

BRIGGS: Asked if the president has respect of other countries, 68 percent say no, just 24 say yes. When it comes to the president's handling of the nation's health care policy, 59 percent disapprove, with just 33 percent saying he's doing a good job.

ROMANS: According to exit polling, health care was a top issue for voters in Virginia where Democrats rule the day. That comes as no surprise to Democratic Senator Patty Murray.

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SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D), WASHINGTON: If Republican leaders haven't gotten the message, voters made it pretty clear last night that they reject the deeply partisanship we have seen on health care.

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BRIGGS: Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden tearing into President Trump after Tuesday's vote. At an event in Philadelphia, Biden was asked for his blunt take, he slammed the president's response to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville over the summer.

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[04:40:03] JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: Did any one of you ever think that you would see in one of the historic cities in America folks coming out from under rocks and out of the fields with torches, carrying swastikas, literally reciting the same, the same exact anti- Semitic bile that you heard in the '30's.

This is eating at the fabric of this country. It is wrong. And I think what happened last night, all across the country, including with Republicans, is tired of this. It's undermining the social fabric of the nation.

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KOSIK: Biden was asked if he would have defeated Trump in the 2016 election had he run. He was saved by the bell as his wife Jill jumped in saying we've got to go, while the crowd laughed and applauded. But something tells me this is not the last we will see of Joe Biden.

BRIGGS: Do you think he's going to run? You get a feeling there's a chance.

KOSIK: I do.

BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, former top officials say they're concerned that the CIA chief met with a noted conspiracy theorist at the urging of the president. More on that next.

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[04:45:27] BRIGGS: Two former top intelligence officials expressing surprise and dismay that President Trump asked CIA Director Mike Pompeo to meet with a conspiracy theorist who appears on Russian TV. That conspiracy theorist, former National Security Agency employee William Binney, denies Russia meddled in the 2016 election. He claims the theft of DNC e-mails was actually an inside job.

KOSIK: Now, former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden, and former director of National Intelligence James Clapper questioning the president's motives for setting up that meeting. In an interview with CNN, Hayden asked, quote, why did the president turn to the CIA director rather than the DNI? Structurally, this should have been a DNI question since the Binney article challenged an overall community assessment.

BRIGGS: And Clapper says, quote: This episode I think adds to the image perhaps unjustifiably that Pompeo is a political activist, as a go-to guy for Trump. Not a good place for a director of the CIA to be. Clapper and Hayden both suggest Pompeo took the meeting with Binney reluctantly. Clapper says he is heartened that Pompeo later affirmed the intelligence community's finding that Russia did interfere with the election.

KOSIK: The Pentagon says its investigation into the ambush in Niger that killed four U.S. soldiers should be finished by January. The Defense Department says the U.S. Africa Command Investigation team will travel to locations in the U.S., Africa and Europe to gather information. The soldiers' families have been told they will be kept informed if extra time is needed to complete the probe.

BRIGGS: Four American soldiers were killed on October 4 when the green beret-led team got separated. The body of one soldier, La David Johnson, was not recovered until 48 hours after the ambush.

KOSIK: FEMA will begin transporting 3,000 Puerto Rican hurricane survivors to the U.S. mainland at the request of the island's governor. The agency telling CNN it is working to set up agreements with both Florida and New York to take in survivors currently residing in shelters. Those two states selected by Puerto Rico's governor. The U.S. territory is still suffering major problems after Hurricane Maria hit in September. Power is still out across much of the island.

Incredible.

BRIGGS: It's devastating.

KOSIK: All right. Sick of getting stuck in it traffic? Why not fly over it. More on Uber's new partnership on CNN "Money Stream", coming up next.

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[04:52:22] MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know the cherished names of the fallen will live on forever in the hearts of those who knew them. And let me assure you, their names will also be enshrined in the hearts of every American forever.

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KOSIK: Vice President Mike Pence trying to console the grieving Sutherland Springs, Texas, community at a vigil honoring the 25 people and an unborn who were killed in Sunday's church shooting.

The vice president saying evil descended on the small town. He also held a meeting with the victims' families, sharing hugs and listening to their stories.

BRIGGS: In remarks to the media, Pence says bureaucratic failures are partly to blame for the gunman getting a weapon and he promised to find out why information from his violent past was not reported properly. This Sunday, the service is scheduled for the remaining First Baptist Church members, and will be held at the Sutherland Springs community center. It's roughly 50 feet from the church itself.

KOSIK: Local pastors organizing the service. So, First Baptist church pastor, Frank Pomeroy who lost his 14-year-old daughter Annabelle on the attack and preach without worrying about planning the details.

BRIGGS: A manhunt in Tennessee for three inmates still on the loose after breaking out of the county jail Wednesday morning. Authorities say one of escapees, 20 year old Dylan Ferguson, is charged with criminal homicide. Earlier reports saying he has been captured turned out to be false. Officials say Ferguson has been added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's 10 most wanted list and a reward up to $2,500 is being offered for information leading to his arrest.

Later this morning five capital police officers will receive the department's Medal of Honor for their response to the shooting at the GOP congressional baseball team practice back in June. Officers displayed courage, risking their lives after an open shooter opened fire. Among the congressional leaders who will be on hand for the ceremony, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was critically injured in the shooting.

KOSIK: Well, it's early November but it's going to feel a lot like January by Friday.

Meteorologist Derek Van Dam has the chilly forecast. Good morning.

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DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Dave and Alison.

You'll want to pay close attention to this weather forecast. Things are about to change across the East Coast and the Midwest as an arctic plunge of air will come in. In fact, temperatures will not feel like the middle of November. They will feel like early to mid-Jan for places like Chicago, Cleveland, New York and Boston.

Check out the next four days for these locations. Just for example, New York City today, 53, on Friday, 35 degrees, just a few degrees above freezing.

[04:55:06] It's all thanks to this cold front marching east ward.

There's also a storm system bringing much needed rainfall into the south and east, places like Alabama, Georgia and into the Carolinas. Expect maybe a quarter to half an inch of rainfall before this system departs the East Coast. Now, with this cold front pressing through the Great Lakes, cold enough air rushing across the waters, this creates the potential for lake effect storm. In fact we have winter storm warnings for places in parts of Michigan.

Back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BRIGGS: Cold, my friend.

All right. Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley did not shy away from the political climate. In their opening monologue in the 51st Country Music Awards, it came after the CMA released and rescinded under pressure, guidelines barring journalists from asking questions about politics. Listen.

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CARRIE UNDERWOOD, SINGER: The CMA has given us some guidelines with specific topics to avoid, so we can't be doing any of our silly little songs because this year's show is a politic-free zone. To present our first award of the night, the stars of the new -- what are you doing, Brad?

BRAD PAISLEY, MUSICIAN: I'm definitely not doing this one. Right now, he's probably in his PJ's watching cable news, reaching for his cell phone.

UNDERWOOD: Really?

PAISLEY: Right now, he's probably asking Siri how in the hell do you spell Pocahontas.

UNDERWOOD: Well here we go.

PAISLEY: And in the middle of the night from the privacy of a gold plated White House toilet seat, he writes Little Bob Corker, NFL and covfe.

UNDERWOOD: Covfe --

PAISLEY: Covfefe?

UNDERWOOD: Covfefe.

PAISLEY: Covfefe.

UNDERWOOD: Covfefe.

PAISLEY: Fefi.

Thank you.

And it's fun to watch it, that's for sure, to little rocket man starts a nuclear war and then.

UNDERWOOD: Maybe next time he'll think before he tweets.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSIK: I love that.

BRIGGS: That is a brilliant remake of Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" song. A hit. On a more somber note the show began with a tribute to the victims of the Las Vegas shooting which happened during a country music festival.

KOSIK: All right. Let's get a check on CNN "Money Stream" this morning.

Global stocks lower after another record on Wall Street. The Dow notching its fifth record close in a row. S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also hitting all-time highs.

Earning season is almost over, and it's been a solid one. Roughly 87 percent of S&P 500 companies, they reported so far, and three quarters have beat expectations.

Apple also stock hitting a milestone yesterday. It's now the first public company worth, drum roll please -- $900 billion.

BRIGGS: Come on.

KOSIK: Former CEO Marissa Mayer was given one final job for Yahoo, getting grilled by Congress. Mayer testified before a Senate committee about Yahoo's massive 2013 security breach. It was the single biggest in history, affecting 3 billion accounts. Lawmakers pressed Mayer on why Yahoo waited three years to disclose the breach. Mayer apologized but defended the company, adding that Yahoo reported the breach as soon as it was discovered.

Verizon recently bought Yahoo and Mayer left the company when the deal closed in June.

If you get stuck in traffic, why not fly over it? Uber's new partnership could mean flying taxis by 2020. That's not so far away. Uber is teaming up with NASA to develop air traffic systems for its flying taxi. It's called Uber Air.

The company first unveiled plans for a flying taxi fleet in April and it's planning for tests in Los Angeles in three years. Of course, L.A.'s known for his headache-inducing traffic. So, my opinion, L.A. is a perfect test ground for these flying vehicles. Fly over instead of going through.

BRIGGS: Air traffic control nightmare, I will skip that, my friends.

EARLY START continues right now with the president is in Beijing, what he said about trade and North Korea.

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: China can fix this problem easily and quickly. And I am calling on China and your great president to hopefully work on it very hard.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: President Trump with a face-to-face appeal, asking the Chinese president for help with North Korea. Plus, why did the president compliment China for taking advantage of the U.S. on trade.

KOSIK: And Republicans looking to reset after Democratic wins on Election Day. Will GOP lawmakers stand by an unpopular president?

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Alison Kosik.

BRIGGS: And I'm Dave Briggs. It is Thursday, November 9th, 5:00 a.m. in the East. It's 6:00 in Beijing.