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Administration Takes Action Against Immigrants; White House: We Need Moore's Vote; Turkey Day for Trump; Feds Sue to Block AT&T-Time Warner Deal; Celtics Extend Winning Streak to 16 Games. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired November 21, 2017 - 05:00   ET


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Haitians who came to the United States after the deadly earthquake in 2010 have 18 months to leave. The administration ending protected status ending, despite concerns Haiti cannot handle an influx of tens of thousands.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The White House may not want Roy Moore, but they need him in the Senate. How does that square with leading Republicans who have promised to expel Moore if he wins?

BRIGGS: And a day of epic proportions at the White House. Two turkeys, one pardon. The president gets to wield his presidential power controversy-free.

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

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is Tuesday, November 21st. It's 5:00 a.m. in the East.

We begin here with Haitians who took refuge in the United States after that earthquake in 2010.

[05:00:02] They now have to be out of the U.S. by July 2019. The Trump administration announcing it is ending Haiti's coverage under TPS, the temporary protective status that has allowed nearly 60,000 Haitians to live in the U.S. since the 2010 quake. The change is part of a wider administration effort to tighten immigration to the U.S.

BRIGGS: The TPS program meant to shield immigrants fleeing disaster or conflict zones from deportation. The decision comes after the Homeland Security Department determined the extraordinary conditions created by the earthquake no longer exist, but critics of the decision aren't buying that, including Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros- Lehtinen of Florida, who tweeted: I traveled to Haiti after the earthquake in 2010 and after Hurricane Matthew in 2016, so I can personally attest that Haiti is not prepared to take back nearly 60,000 TPS recipients under these harsh and difficult conditions.

ROMANS: Democratic Party Chairman Tom Perez also blasting the move, saying Donald Trump's cruelty knows no bounds and adding: I'm disgusted at the president's heartlessness. With this decision, Trump is tearing families apart and turning his back on the values that have made our country great. BRIGGS: Also new overnight, President Trump overruled in his bid to

target sanctuary cities. A federal judge permanently blocking the president's executive power that would have slashed funding to cities that limit their cooperation with U.S. immigration authorities.

ROMANS: Judge William Orrick rejecting the administration's argument that the order affects only a small pot of money. The judge used comments by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the president himself as evidence the order was intended to target a wide array of federal funding.

BRIGGS: The judge's ruling affects lawsuits brought by two California counties, San Francisco and Santa Clara. San Francisco's city attorney calling the decision a victory for the American people and the rule of law. The Department of Justice blasting the ruling, accusing the court of exceeding its authority and promising to take action.

Let's discuss all this with CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer, historian and professor at Princeton University.

ROMANS: Good morning.


BRIGGS: Good morning to you, sir.

Well, look, the Haiti situation's a difficult one. Nearly 60,000 will be sent back by 2019, but they had temporary status. At some point, they had to go back home.

ZELIZER: That's true, but what becomes difficult under the Trump presidency is to understand whether this program should end, which many critics of the president say this is not the time to end it, or whether this is part of an ongoing war against immigration.

BRIGGS: But is it ever -- here's what they say -- will it ever be time to end their temporary status?

ZELIZER: Well, there is time to end the temporary status. It's not clear that it's now. And this fits in a broader pattern of the administration to go after programs that have benefited different kinds of immigrants, temporary or otherwise.

ROMANS: Well, historically, this has been a program that shows the heart of the American people and the American role in the world, right? When something terrible happens, mudslides in Nicaragua, earthquake in Haiti, the United States opens its doors and lets people in. And people then can work and they can be here. Sending all these people home.

Usually the program -- if the conditions aren't good on the ground, you don't send people home. That's why people say they're permanent temporary status. Is this part of the president's crackdown on immigration in general, do you think?

ZELIZER: It is. I think it is.

Look, we had a war on poverty under Lyndon Johnson, a war against terror under George Bush and we have a war on immigration with this president.

It's been a consistent part of his policy. He doesn't hide it. This is how he started his campaign, and he is making many efforts to curb the number of immigrants in this country, legal and illegal. And so, I think this becomes part of that pattern and that agenda.

BRIGGS: All right. Of course, the huge story that unfolds one day at a time is the sexual harassment scandal in seemingly all walks of life. Yesterday, Glenn Thrush of "The New York Times" suspended, Charlie Rose of CBS suspended.

And the story with Roy Moore continues to -- we continue to learn more, because his accuser, Leigh Corfman, spoke out to the "Today" show about what happened.

Here's what she said.


LEIGH CORFMAN, ROY MOORE ACCUSER: He basically laid out some blankets on the floor of his living room and proceeded to seduce me, I guess you would say. And during the course of that, he removed my clothing. He left the room and came back in wearing his white underwear.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Roy Moore denies these allegations and further says he does not even know you.

CORFMAN: I wonder how many mes he doesn't know.


BRIGGS: Despite all that, the White House appearing to flop now and wanting Roy Moore in the Senate because of tax cuts.

Here's Kellyanne Conway switching positions on this.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: The principle -- the incontrovertible principle is that there's no Senate seat that is worth more than a child.

[05:05:05] Doug Jones in Alabama, folks, don't be fooled. He'll be a vote against tax cuts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, vote Roy Moore?

CONWAY: I'm telling you that we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BRIGGS: Look, credit "Fox & Friends" for actually trying to get her on the record on this. Clearly, they are OK with Roy Moore's many despicable sins if it gets them tax reform.

ZELIZER: Look, this is a moment of moral reckoning, both for the administration and for the Republican Party. And we understand the impulse of partisanship, and Kellyanne Conway was brutally honest. We'd rather have the vote than get rid of the candidate who is guilty, perhaps, of horrendous accusations.

But this is a moment when presidents can leap. This is the time, where he is in the Senate, to eliminate the problem, to make sure he's not part of this body. But if the president doesn't take a stand, many Republicans will listen to Kellyanne Conway and they'll vote their partisan heart, rather than their moral conscience.

ROMANS: Meantime, you have the Department of Justice suing AT&T and Time Warner from their deal, something the president promised he would do on the campaign trail. Another example, I think, of how this administration, we're learning more about how this administration is going to behave.

It's so interesting to me because there is this sound bite from the Justice Department's top antitrust cop, when he wasn't in that job, before he had that job, right after this merger was announced, where he didn't think this big vertical merger would be a problem. Listen.


MAKAN DELRAHIM, JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ANTITRUST CHIEF: This is more of what we would call a vertical merger, a content with distribution, rather than two competitors merging. So, I anticipate that the FCC will have little, if any role, and it would be a pure antitrust. It shouldn't be, I think -- you know, just the sheer size of it and the fact that it's media I think will get a lot of attention. However, I don't see this as a major antitrust problem.


ROMANS: -- make of the Trump administration's role in the business world now. Typically, this would be something that would be hands off.

ZELIZER: Absolutely. If we look at the precedent on this issue, this is not someplace where the government has intervened. There is a debate about this, and there are proponents and opponents of mergers.

The problem is, there are doubts this is really what's motivating the administration. That this really gets to the president's adversarial relationship with the media with this network, and that colors the whole debate.

And so, this is about the First Amendment rather than a debate about antitrust, and it's hard to walk away from that. All you have to look at is the Twitter feeds, the campaign statements, and it's hard to have a rational, legitimate discussion about antitrust in that context.

ROMANS: Well, because a month after Mr. Delrahim said that, President Trump on the campaign trail said we will not allow this deal to go forward, so it seems like some pretty easy arguments that AT&T will present in court, because they are fighting this. We'll discuss more with you in about 30 minutes. Thanks.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

ROMANS: All right. The FCC plans to roll back rules protecting an open Internet, a move that could alter the way we use the Web. This week, the FCC is expected to unveil a full repeal of net neutrality. That's according to "Politico". Net neutrality is an Obama-era rule designed to keep the Internet fair. It requires Internet service providers to treat all web traffic equally. In other words, companies can't speed up or slow down traffic to specific sites or charge higher fees.

The FCC chair, Ajit Pai, appointed by President Trump, is against net neutrality. He says it puts burdensome regulations on Internet providers, stifling investment. Critics say it could lead to a power grab by a handful of companies, which could mean higher costs and slower speeds for you. The tech giants like Google, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, they all oppose rolling back net neutrality. The FCC began the process of reversing net neutrality in May. It's set to vote on the changes in December.

All right. Nine minutes past the hour.

How hard is it to say thank you?


LAVAR BALL, FATHER OF LIANGELO BALL: Are you going to say thank you to me? Are you going to say thank you to me?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: At the end of this interview, I will thank you, I guarantee you.

BALL: No, are you going to say thank you now? Are you going to thank me now? Are you going to thank me now?

CUOMO: Not yet. You haven't earned it yet.


ROMANS: That's the LaVar Ball interview on CNN that went off the rails and never came back. We got that, next.


[05:13:43] ROMANS: LaVar Ball in a verbal tug-of-war with CNN's Chris Cuomo, in an interview that lasted 23 head-spinning minutes. Ball refused to thank President Trump for getting his son and two UCLA teammates out of jail after their arrest for shoplifting in China. BRIGGS: Ball had minimized the president's role over the weekend, to

which Mr. Trump responded by tweeting that ball was very ungrateful. I should have left them in jail.

Ball telling CNN he's still not convinced the president helped bring these guys home.


BALL: If he said he helped, that's good for his mind.

CUOMO: What do you mean good for his mind?

BALL: But why even got to say it? If you help, you shouldn't have to say anything. If you helped, you shouldn't have to -- if I helped someone, I don't walk around saying, you know, I helped you now. Come on now, you give me some love. I helped you! Come on, for real?

I would have said thank you if he would have put them on his plane and took them home. Then I would have said, thank you, Mr. Trump, for taking my boys out of China and bringing them back to the U.S. There's a lot of room on that plane. Did he help the boys get out? I don't know.

CUOMO: Why do you doubt it?

BALL: I don't know. If I was going to thank somebody, I'd probably thank President Xi.


BRIGGS: The interview did end on a festive note with LaVar Ball telling Chris to wish Mr. Trump a happy Thanksgiving.

[05:15:02] ROMANS: Whitefish Energy halting work on Puerto Rico's electric grid because it owed more than $83 million by PREPA, the island's power authority. In an exclusive interview, Whitefish CEO Andy Techmanski tells CNN his company has reached the point where it can no longer sustain operations.


ANDY TECHMANSKI, WHITEFISH ENERGY CEO: We came here to try to do something positive for the people of Puerto Rico and help PREPA get back on its feet. Our subcontractors do an equal risk. But at some point, we're never getting paid on a weekly basis of what we were spending, so at some point, we had to stop.


BRIGGS: CNN has reached out to PREPA with no response. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority came under fire for signing a $300 million contract with Whitefish, a tiny Montana company that had only two full-time employees at that time.

ROMANS: It turns out the death toll in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria has been dramatically underreported. The official total is 55 fatalities, but CNN investigators surveyed 112 funeral homes on the island. Only half of the total number of homes on the island, funeral homes. Those facilities identified 499 deaths in the month after Maria hit. That is nine times the official count.

BRIGGS: Texas Governor Greg Abbott authorizing a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction following the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez. A spokesman for the Border Patrol Council Labor Union says Martinez and his partner were injured on patrol near Van Horn, Texas.

ROMANS: Martinez was struck multiple times, possibly with a rock, and died from his injuries. His partner, whose name has not been released, is in serious condition. Officials say he is having trouble remembering the incident. The area of the attack is a well-known drug smuggling route.

BRIGGS: Still need a lot more information on what happened to those agents, but a tragic story.

All right. They say timing is everything, but when it came time for the Georgia Dome to implode, people streaming it live -- well, they got a very different view. Coy Wire, he shows us what happened, next in "Bleacher Report."


[05:21:33] BRIGGS: How about the Boston Celtics, extending their winning streak to 16 in a row, but it was not easy.

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

Hey, Coy.

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

The Celtics, they started out 0-2. They lost their star player Gordon Hayward, but here they are winning their first straight, proving they have the grit, the want to, to be quite a team. They were down double digits to the worst team in basketball, but Kyrie Irving wasn't going to let the Mavericks beat their streak here. Celtics forcing it into overtime. They capture a 110-102 victory and their 16th straight win!

Irving had a lot of points he wanted to make in this game, 47 of them, in fact, but he also made it a point about his state of mind when facing pressure cooker situations.


KYRIE IRVING, CELTICS GUARD: I don't really see it as a pressure situation. It's just basketball, man. It's just like being in the park. I don't want to say the NBA's like playing at the park, but for me, you know, I kind of just see it as that fun basketball, you know, just being out there. Fans are into it, especially when you're on the road or you're at home, and you know, it's just a fun environment.


WIRE: All right. If you went to bed early, you missed a thriller Monday Night Football. The Falcons up by 11 late in the fourth to the Seahawks, but Russell Wilson wasn't done. He hits Doug Baldwin for the touchdown, and then they would go on to get the two-point conversion to cut the lead to three. Seven seconds remaining in regulation, Seattle kicker Blair Walsh with a chance to tie the game, 52 yards. So close, but not close enough!

The Falcons go on to get the victory. Seahawks torn up. Falcons elated. They have three home games coming up, those Falcons. Look out.

In case you missed the implosion of the Georgia Dome, the old home of the falcons in Atlanta yesterday, it may have been because you were watching the feed of the Weather Channel. The MARTA bus, the rapid transit bus here in Atlanta literally stole the show from viewers, right at the moment that the only facility in the world to have hosted an Olympics, Super Bowl, and a final four was blown to smithereens!

Oh, they missed it. They missed it all. You can check our Twitter feeds here at EARLY START if you want to see the whole thing.

All right. Seventeen-year-old high school student Mike Shelly, who overcame cancer, might be having chicken for Thanksgiving instead of turkey. Listen to this. After nailing a layup, a free throw, a three-pointer, and that half-court shot that you're going it see right here with just 45 seconds to do it all, this is in Philly on Saturday.

He won 76 Chick-fil-A gift cards. Everyone gets a biscuit. That's over 20,000 of them there in the arena. And thanks to the Sixers and Chick-fil-A, he's going to be flying on the team plane to catch the 76ers playing in Atlanta against the hawks later this season. That's Markelle Fultz and crew wishing that young man a congrats, but he's been through a lot. Overcame stage four lymphoma, guys.


WIRE: His brother recently passed away. And there he is enjoying this moment.

BRIGGS: You had us at Chick-fil-A, but that is an extraordinary story.

ROMANS: What are the chances of making all those shots?




ROMANS: Wow, amazing.

All right, Coy. Nice to see you.

BRIGGS: Good stuff. Nice to see you.

WIRE: You too.

ROMANS: All right. President Trump set to wield his pardon power without controversy at a Rose Garden ceremony today. The president will grant clemency to two hand-picked turkeys named Drumstick and Wishbone. This White House video shows the free birds arriving in the nation's capital Monday.

[05:25:02] They spent the night at a suite at a luxury Washington, D.C. hotel, relaxing before their big day.

BRIGGS: A little big bird background here. Both share a June birthday. Drumstick has a slight height and weight advantage. After the ceremony, they will join last year's turkeys, Tater and Tot, at Virginia Tech's gobblers rest exhibit.

ROMANS: All right. Twenty-five minutes after the hour.

Sixty thousand Haitians who came to the U.S. after the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti, they now have to leave. Why the White House is ending their protected status.


ROMANS: Haitians to came to the U.S. after the deadly earthquake in 2010, they now have 18 months to leave the country. The administration is ending protected status, despite concerns Haiti can't handle an influx of tens of thousands of people.