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Trump's Plea to China: Help Us With North Korea; Republicans Try to Make Sense of Election; Reports: Cowboys Owner Threatens to Sue NFL. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired November 9, 2017 - 05:00   ET



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.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: 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.

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

[05:00:03] 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. That's where we start.

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.

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


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


KOSIK: All right. Let's go live to Beijing and bring in CNN's Jeff Zeleny.

So, Jeff, you know, the president, President Trump talks tough about North Korea, but did he get any firm commitment from President Xi, Chinese President Xi, that they're going to go ahead and pressure North Korea to back off the nuclear program?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alison. That is the key question here. I mean, they definitely agreed to the common goal of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula. President Xi Jinping stood alongside President Trump in the Great Hall of the People here earlier today in Beijing, and they did talk about those principles and commitment to that. But the specifics were not articulated at least publicly.

Now, we do know privately when any were meeting for a couple hours' time, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said they have a frank discussion about North Korea. He believes they're on the same page but did acknowledge President Xi needs more time for sanctions to work.

But this is what President Trump said about their collective idea for stopping that rogue regime.


TRUMP: We agreed not to replicate failed approaches over the past, and there were many. Together, we have in our power the ability to 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.


ZELENY: So, this meeting was about continuing to build the relationship and rapport between these leaders. And we heard something different from President Trump here today, talking about trade and the economy. Of course, during his presidential campaign he blasted China again and again for those trade practices that he says have disadvantaged American workers. He even went so far as to say that China is raping U.S. workers, stealing their jobs.

It was a different tune entirely today. Listen to what the president said.


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.


ZELENY: So he says he gives China credit there. Again, an entirely different tune than what he campaigned on. But he is trying to build that relationship largely because of North Korea. One interesting note, I was at the great hall of the peoples there with the two leaders.

One thing was unusual this time. It was the first visit by an American president where questions were not allowed by the news media since the first visit here by President George H.W. Bush. The Obama administration and Bush administration pushed hard to have questions asked by both sides.

The Trump administration said the Chinese would not agree with that, so they went ahead with the meeting. No questions of either leader today. Simply statements. So, a bit of a sideline issue here in this meeting.

The president will be heading to Vietnam from Beijing tomorrow for an economic summit with world leaders -- Dave and Alison.

KOSIK: And the Chinese government not supportive of free press either.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny in Beijing, thanks very much.

BRIGGS: Hopefully, we get some questions in Vietnam. President Trump's remarks in China came after the North Koreans accused him of war-mongering. State newspaper calling the president's warning's filthy rhetoric, spewing out of his mouth like garbage that reeks of gun powder to ignite war.

Let's bring in CNN's Will Ripley live in Pyongyang, the only Western TV journalist reporting from the North Korean capital.

Good morning, Will.

That's some colorful language there from the North Koreans.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they certainly don't mince their words. So, you got to wonder, who these writers are and how they come up with some of these stuff.

But look, this is pretty typical North Korean fiery propaganda aimed once again at President Trump. Clearly, his more moderate tone in South Korea did not diminish the fact that he really laid down a cutting attack on this country, the system and perhaps most importantly, he was speaking directly to this country's supreme leader, Kim Jong-un.

[05:05:05] And for the authorities there, that is just about as big of a sin as one can commit. But what we have yet to see is any sort of strong response from North Korea as a result of this.

You read that quote from the "Rodong Sinmun", the leading newspaper here where they mention that President Trump gave a speech. No details really about what was in the speech. They focused more that there were anti-President Trump protests in Seoul. They didn't mention pro-Trump protesters as well.

But we were allowed to actually go out in the streets today and tell people what President Trump said. Our government minders allowed us to give them the full readout of the speech. And the response was predictably outrage, denial. One woman told me that President Trump doesn't have a place to talk about human rights and she mentioned the human rights in United States which echoes North Korean propaganda which talks about gun violence and racial inequality and compared that to what North Korea is accused of by the United Nations, and the testimony of hundreds of defectors, using their secret police to crack down on any dissenting voices, jailing enter families.

Obviously a much darker picture of life than what anybody here inside the country would tell us. This is my 17th trip here. I've never heard anybody speak out against the government because dissent here simply is not tolerated.

Back to you, Dave.

BRIGGS: Remarkable how they have the population brainwashed. Will Ripley live for us in Pyongyang. Thank you.

KOSIK: Senator Bob Corker, the chairman of the Foreign Relation Committee holding a hearing next week on the president's authority to use nuclear weapons. Tennessee Republican claims many colleagues are raising questions about the authority of the executive and legislative branches when it comes to using nuclear force.

BRIGGS: It's been more than 40 years since either committee examined the nuclear authority issue. Senator Corker has frequently criticized President Trump recently refusing to say whether he trusts the president with the nuclear codes.

KOSIK: Interesting that they're taking that up.

BRIGGS: Indeed.

KOSIK: All right. A blame game in the Republican Party after bad election losses Tuesday. Will rank and file members stick with the president on key issues like tax reform?


[05:11:23] KOSIK: Welcome back.

Republican lawmakers trying to recover their footing, after a big election losses on Tuesday and now, it remains to be seen if the party can get anything done legislatively and if the GOP can avoid disaster in the 2018 midterms. Exit polls show anger at President Trump actually wound up energizing Democrats. They voted in bigger numbers than in recent past, especially in the suburbs where the most competitive 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.

So, let's discuss all this with Eugene Scott, political reporter for "The Washington Post" and an EARLY START alum.

Eugene, good morning to you, sir.

KOSIK: Good morning, Eugene.


BRIGGS: It's on the front of your paper election results set off a blame game. It's hard to read because Virginia is it's a different state. Trending blue over the years. You really have to drill down on the affluent highly educated suburbs to ask what does this mean for Republicans up for reelection in 2018?

SCOTT: Well, what it does mean is that the candidates who seek voters in 2018 will have to put out rhetoric that matches their promises. One of the big criticisms of Trump in 2016 is that he made a lot of promises he could not back up. And so, he kind of set voters up to be disappointed in the Republican Party as a whole.

That combined with the fact that the Republican Party beyond Trump has not been able to secure any significant successes since Trump entered the White House. That motivated people who were already not on the Trump train to go out who perhaps were not as eager in the 2016 election to go out and support Clinton, combined with keeping people home who gave Trump a chance with the hope he would be able to deliver on some things he has not been able.

KOSIK: You know, Eugene, there was a CNN poll conducted before Tuesday, and one of the questions it asked about confidence in Trump since taking office, this involved white non-college only, it showed a decrease of 52 percent in confidence in the president. You look at how the economy is doing. It's strong and Americans feel confident about the economy. Usually if the economy is stupid, but for some reason they don't have confidence -- not some reason, but they don't have --

BRIGGS: Or they're not feeling.

KOSIK: They're not feeling it and they're not putting their support behind President Trump.

SCOTT: That's in part because many of the successes that Trump points to regarding the economy, like the stock market, are not things that many of white working class voters feel directly themselves.

[05:15:01] We had also in "The Washington Post" reporting that shows a significant percentage of those voters don't have stocks. So, when the president points to how well stocks are doing, these are voters who don't feel it. What the president is going to have to do to keep this group of

American expert is implement policy changes in the economy that they can see. One of the things he campaigned on, bringing jobs back to these areas is something he hasn't been able to deliver.

BRIGGS: What's interesting about Virginia is Gillespie got more votes for Republican governor than any candidate in the state's history. So, Trumpism brought out Republicans, it just brought out Democrats far more so. Is that enough for Democrats it continue to run on that message?

SCOTT: One of the main criticisms a on Hillary Clinton is not she was not able to motivate the Obama collation. So, the thought is that there were more voters on the left who stayed at home in 2016 than voters on the right so they're banging on bringing out more millennials, more people of color and women they weren't able to get in 2016. I don't know if there's that much room for growth for the people that the Trump campaign appealed to in 2016.

I know if there's that much room for growth for the people that the Trump appealed to in 2016.

KOSIK: Let's go to Donald Trump in China because he did a big flip- flop about how he feels about China on trade. Listen to some of what he said.


TRUMP: We can't continue to allow China to rape our country -- that's what they're doing, taking our jobs money, manufacturing. What they've done to us is the greatest think theft in the history of the world.


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.


KOSIK: The first sound you heard was Trump on the campaign trail. When he takes about China paring the U.S, he's referring to China's high number of exports relative to the U.S. But then the soft approach overnight. What gives?

SCOTT: Well, a major criticism of Donald Trump throughout his campaign is that he's the type of politician that is willing to say things at a rally in Mobile that he will not say to his opponent's face.

And one of the things what thing that makes it problematic is his depiction of the Chinese trade policy reinforces the fears Asian leaders have about the policy that is could come under Trump administration. What Trump just communicated is that China first is a policy that puts Chinese citizens first at the risk of other people around the world.

And isn't something that you would se, advantage of them. the fear is could America first, which is Trump's foreign policy put Americans at such an advantage that they take advantage of other people around the world. That isn't something that you would see someone who campaigns to be a grade negotiator find to be the best solution to trade policy.

KOSIK: And you just saw live pictures on Beijing of the president head ands the first lady heading a state din to a state dinner with President Xi, by the way.

BRIGGS: Yes, extraordinary pictures coming in.

Eugene Scott of "The Washington Post", we'll see you in about 20 minutes. Thanks.

KOSIK: See you soon.

SCOTT: Great.

KOSIK: The Senate is expected to unveil its tax bill today following the markup of the House version, but the current bill appears to break two of the GOP's main promises. Tax cuts for the entire middle class and no more than $1.5 trillion added to the deficit.

OK. First on tax cuts for all middle class households, a congressional study finds that's simply not the case. In fact, 11 percent of households would pay more by 2019 and nearly one in five, by 2027.

Now White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney disputes that math but promises this. Listen.


MICK MULVANEY, WHITE HOUSE BUDGET DIRECTOR: If our numbers here at the White House actually show the same thing, if they show that taxes are going up on the middle class, on the House plan, on the Senate plan, on some combination of the two, we won't sign it.


KOSIK: OK. And as for the deficit, changes for the bill brings a total addition of up to $1.7 trillion. And that's above Congress's target of $1.5 trill. The GOP is looking for revenue. One reason -- it is one reason why they're considered axing Obama's individual mandate. That's a tax penalty you pay if you don't have coverage. So, repealing it would $338 billion over 10 years. So, that option is still in play.

BRIGGS: We've got a lot of negotiation.

KOSIK: Time to go.

BRIGGS: OK, a pair of NFL heavyweights. Cowboy's owner Jerry Jones and Commissioner Roger Goodell, what happens when they go to war? Andy Scholes with the answer on the "Bleacher Report" next.


[05:24:26] BRIGGS: Boy, we got a big time power struggle brewing in the NFL. Cowboy's owner Jerry Jones threatening to sue the league if Roger Goodell is given a contract extension.

KOSIK: Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report".

Oh, do tell.


You know, Jerry Jones, arguably the most powerful owner in the league and he's hired high-powered attorney David Boies, who is currently representing Harvey Weinstein to try to keep the NFL from giving Roger Goodell a contract extension. That's according to "The New York Times" and ESPN.

Jones is reportedly not happy with the way Goodell has handled the suspension of Cowboy's running back Ezekiel Elliott and the handling of the national anthem controversy.

[05:25:07] Goodell has with the NFL commissioner for 11 years. His contract expires after the 2018-19 season.

A spokesman for the NFL tells CNN that all 32 owners gave the commission authority to offer the commissioner a contract extension. It's not quite clear what exactly Jones would be suing for. We reached out to Cowboys for comment, and they told us that Mr. Jones is not commenting at this time.

All right. Three players for the UCLA basketball team remain confined to their hotel in China after being arrested to are allegedly shoplifting sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store. They're not being allowed to leave the hotel until the legal process plays out, according to ESPN. One of those players is LiAngelo Ball, the younger brother of Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball. Lonzo was asked about his brother's situation against the Celtics last night.


LONZO BALL, LAKERS ROOKIE: I'm just now focused. I know my people over there are handling it. So I'm just taking care of business. Having talked to any of them.


SCHOLES: Well, Lonzo getting booed heavily by the fans in Boston. He didn't have a great game last night. He gets rejected going for the slam here by Marcus Smart.

Kyrie Irving on the other hand continues to be a human highlight reel. Check it out, he's dribbling around the entire Lakers team before going in and making the lay-up looked like a Globetrotters play. Celtics win 107-96, their tenth straight win for the Celtics. Best record in the NBA right now.

Looks like Kyrie Irving's move to Boston definitely working out so far.

BRIGGS: Yes, looking pretty good. Not looking so good for Cleveland.

All right. Andy Scholes, thanks so much my friend.

SCHOLES: All right.

KOSIK: Thanks, Andy.

All right. President Trump saying China is taking advantage of the U.S. but don't blame them.


TRUMP: 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.


BRIGGS: That plus Republicans back home trying to recover after a bruising election night. Will lawmakers stand with the president on key issues? Ahead.