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North Korea Tests Missile That Can Reach U.S.; Senate GOP Advances Tax Plan; Giants Bench QB Eli Manning; Dow Soars 256 Points to Record High. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired November 29, 2017 - 04:30   ET



[04:30:19] SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If we have to go to war to stop this, we will. And if there's a war with North Korea, because North Korea brought it on itself.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: North Korea claims its latest missile could reach the entire U.S. mainland. The defense secretary sounding the alarm and word of another nuclear test could be next. We're live in Seoul.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: Think of sitting there with a Rubik's cube and trying to get to 50.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A Rubik's cube. And the Republicans clear a big hurdle with their tax plan. The leadership still needs to satisfy lawmakers with all kinds of varying demands. Today, the president hits the road to sell the overhaul.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. It is 4:30 Eastern Time.

Major news this morning. No matter where you are in the United States around the world, it appears it might be in range of the latest missile tested by North Korea. The Kim Jong-un regime claims the intercontinental ballistic missile tested yesterday is a new type topped with what it called a super large heavy war head capable of striking the entire U.S. mainland. That threat reinforced by the Defense Secretary James Mattis.


JAMES MATTIS, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: It went higher frankly than any previous shot they've taken. It's the research and development effort on their part continues building ballistic missiles that could threaten everywhere in the world basically.


ROMANS: The launch was North Korea's first since September. It came despite repeated warnings from President Trump. After a threatening fire and fury in August, the president took a more measured tone yesterday.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will only tell you that we will take care of it. We have General Mattis in the room with us and we've had a long discussion on it. It is a situation that we will handle.


BRIGGS: Not every reaction was that tempered. One key senator saying the U.S. will go to war if it has to.

International correspondent Paula Newton following all the latest developments. She joins us live from Seoul.

Good morning, Paula. What do we know?


What we know is basically that the Trump administration is actually agreeing on North Korea that this missile test was quite a success for that regime and that it means that you know, just a few months ago, we were talking about possibly them being able to hit Hawaii, now guess what? All of the U.S. mainland and that includes the East Coast.

What is different about this missile is the fact that it went so far into the air and was up for such a long period of time. And the key thing there is too that the fact that this war head, North Korea claims was what they describe as super heavy. What does that mean? It means that they are saying that they have mastered a way to actually carry a nuclear warhead into a missile. That does not mean that it's nuclear capable yet but that is the next step.

You know, our Will Ripley has been in the country several times and now, North Korea, a source from North Korea telling Will Ripley that they will likely go ahead with a another nuclear test very soon. This changes the game and it changes the stakes for the White House. They have been looking for a way to handle this as President Trump says for quite some time.

What is key here as well is China. They have just reacted in the last hour, saying that while they obviously condemn this unlike Senator Graham and they were asked specifically act that, they do not see a military option and most people that you speak to, Dave, say look, there is no military option here. The South Koreans here, officials tell us, they would like to see someone start some kind of dialogue to try and get North Korea to the table. BRIGGS: Paula Newton live for us, 6:33 p.m. there in Seoul. Thanks

so much.

ROMANS: All right. So, here's that sobering warning from Senator Lindsey Graham in the wake of this latest North Korea provocation.


GRAHAM: The president is not going to allow North Korea to have a nuclear weapon in their hands that can hit America with an ICBM, that can make it to United States. And if we have to go to war to stop this, we will. And if there's a war with North Korea, it will be because North Korea brought it on itself and we're headed toward a war if things don't change.


ROMANS: The president, President Trump, also tweeting last night, tying the North Korean nuclear threat to the possibility of a government shutdown over a funding bill fight in Congress. He writes this: After North Korea missile launch, it's more important than ever to fund our government and military. Dems shouldn't hold troop funding hostage for amnesty and illegal immigration.

BRIGGS: Plans for a meeting on government funding between the president and leaders of both parties took a turn yesterday when Democrats Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi decided to back out. The reason, this tweet from the president right before the meeting blasting both while concluding, I don't see a deal.

[04:35:04] The federal government is set to shut down on December 8th unless Congress can pass a spending bill.

ROMANS: Republicans are making progress on one significant area, their tax bill. This measure passing a key vote in the Senate Budget Committee on a straight party line vote. Many Capitol Hill Republicans heaping praise on the president for his efforts.

Even some who are often critical of him like one GOP aide who tells us this: give credit where it's due. He was coherent. He knew the issues. And more than anything else, he helped us. Credit where it's due.

BRIGGS: That's right. Coherent, a compliment.

The tax bill still has a long way to go. Staffers were working overtime last night, trying to put the promises and commitments their bosses made into legislative language and real action. More than a few Republicans still have concerns even if they're speaking more optimistically than before. Today, President Trump heads to Missouri to tout this tax bill.

For more on the state of play, here's our Phil Mattingly from Capitol Hill.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Now, Christine and Dave, what a difference a couple of hours makes. If you started on Tuesday where Republicans stood on their tax plan, they had problems, serious problems. There was a possibility the bill wouldn't get to the Senate floor, at least not in a timely manner, because they had too many Republicans who were opposed to the bill.

And then President Trump came to Capitol Hill, the Republicans met with him behind closed doors. By the time that 70-minute meeting finished, Republicans were on track. The bill moved through the Senate Budget Committee, on its way to the Senate floor and a lot of the senators who were on the fence, well, they are leaning towards yes.

That said, there are still a lot of steps to go, a lot of difficulties to come and it's something Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made very clear. Take a listen.

MCCONNELL: It's a challenging exercise. Think of sitting there with a Rubik's cube trying to get to 50, and we do have a few members who have concerns and we're trying to address them. And we know we will not be able to go forward until we get 50 people satisfied, and that's what we're working on.

MATTINGLY: And, guys, just to lay out how this is going to go moving forward. The Senate should cake a procedural vote on Wednesday, trying to finish up by the end of the week. But as I noted, there are still senators without standing issues.

There's Ron Johnson and Steve Daines, obviously, they were threatening to be no votes from the very start. Their issue on pass-through rates, how much basically business entities like LLCs, like S-Corps, like partnerships, pay on the individual side when they pay their taxes. They want the tax cut on that front to be larger. So far, Republicans haven't found a solution to that.

Then you have Susan Collins who a lot of people thought would be an automatic no on this. Well, she's not. In fact, she believes she's gotten something in return for her ask up to this point, and that is the state and local tax deduction. What you're looking at right now, according to sources, is the Senate matching what the House did, essentially allowing the property tax deduction capped at $10,000.

And then you have the deficit caucus, Senator Bob Corker, Senator James Lankford, Senator Jeff Flake, they've made clear this $1.5 trillion proposal shouldn't add to the deficit in the long run. Well, how are they going to accomplish that given that growth, this kind of magical thing that they can't necessarily prove with numbers on the outset doesn't necessarily proof itself out. Well, they want a deficit trigger, essentially a mechanism that would snap the tax rates back to where they currently stand if the growth projections don't play out.

Still, a couple of days ago. Still, a lot of complicated issues to work out. There's no question about it. Compared to where they were Tuesday morning, by Wednesday morning, they're in a much, much better place -- Christine and Dave.


ROMANS: All right.

BRIGGS: No question about that. As Phil Mattingly points out, all these concerns seem small in compared to their concerns over their survival as a party over their chances of re-election if they don't pass this.

ROMANS: Look, I kept hearing failure is not an option on this.

BRIGGS: Right.

ROMANS: This is the party of lower taxes and getting the government out of your life and so that is -- they've got to have a win on this. That said, you know, you heard it compared with a Rubik's cube. I would compare it to a Rubik's cube while you're hanging by your ankles while blindfolded. You know, like, I mean, it's really hard, some of these things are going to be really hard --

BRIGGS: That's quite an image.

ROMANS: It's going to be hard to figure out how to do that. But they don't want failure her.

BRIGGS: No, and it doesn't appear they'll have it.

All right. A new report raising more concerns about President Trump's relationship with the Trump and is fondness for conspiracy theories. According to "The New York Times", Mr. Trump still questioning the legitimacy of President Obama's birth certificate during private conversations in recent months.

ROMANS: The newspaper reporting this. One senator who listened as the president revived his doubts about Mr. Obama's birth certificate chuckled on Tuesday as he recalled the conversation. The president, he said, has had a lard time letting go of his claim that Mr. Obama was not born in the United States. "The Times" also go further on earlier reporting the president is still contending that the "Access Hollywood" tape that rocked his campaign is fake.

But you'll recall he earlier admitted it was him and apologized for it.

[04:40:02] BRIGGS: It was locker room talk, as he said.

"The Times" now reports the president told a Republican senator in January he wanted to investigate the recording saying, we don't think that was my voice.

The revelation is drawing concerns from GOP Senator Jeff Flake. He tells the times quote, you've got to have shared facts and on so many of these there's evidence that says no. It says Flake will have some speeches before the Senate before his time is up. ROMANS: I believe yesterday it was "Access Hollywood" that actually

publicly said, no, it is the president's voice. We know it is. It is real.

All right. Pressure is building on Congressman John Conyers to step down. Congressional Black Caucus chairman Cedric Richmond saying he had a very candid conversation with the Michigan Democrat about the sexual misconduct allegations against Conyers. But he insists any decision to resign will be made by Conyers.

BRIGGS: Now, CNN has learned several members of the Congressional Black Caucus are in talks to get Conyers out. Several Democratic sources say they are trying to ease his exit without trampling on his 50-plus year legacy in the House. We're also told Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is not leading the effort to remove Conyers, but is tactically supporting it.

ROMANS: All this as another aide accuses him of sexual harassment. Deanna Maher telling CNN the congressman made three sexual advances toward her when she worked for him at this district office in Detroit from 1997 to 2005. Conyers has denied all of the allegations against him.

BRIGGS: President Trump's pick to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau can keep his parking spot. A federal judge hearing the case over who can rightfully lead the watchdog agency denied a request to block Mulvaney who already heads the White House budget office. It really came in response to a lawsuit challenging the president's authority to appoint Mulvaney as acting director. Now, that followed the resignation of Obama appointee Richard Cordray as director, and his naming his own successor, Leandra English.

ROMANS: The judge ruled the plaintiff had not proven she would be harmed by Mulvaney's appointment. A White House spokesman saying it's time for Democrats to stop enabling these brazen political stunts by a rogue employee. An attorney for Leandra English says they are considering legal options.

Republicans frequently call the CFPB a renegade regulator, including the acting head, Mick Mulvaney. The agency they say handcuffs banks, crippling the American economy. But that critique does not match up with reality.

BRIGGS: The CFPB has enacted rules that protect the consumers from financial predators. But there's no evidence those rules are hurting the banking industry. In fact, U.S. banks are hauling in record profits, $171.3 billion last year, that's the third record in the past four years. Another criticism, banking regulations, cut off lending, both for businesses and everyday Americans.

ROMANS: But household debt is at an all-time high and so are bank loans to businesses. Now, business loans have slowed in recent months but analysts blame uncertainty over tax reform for that, not the CFPB.

When you hear these criticisms about how it is this rogue, renegade regulator, you never really here specifics. You just hear that it sort of is crippling the American economy and it's got its hands all over the economy. What we do know about it is return money to Wells Fargo customers, to Citi bank customers, to people who have been hurt by payday lenders, to people who have been scammed by student loan companies.

So, that's where there's a real disconnect here --

BRIGGS: The one thing I hear is that small businesses have been having a hard time getting loans in recent years. Any truth to that?

ROMANS: Well, that's what they keep saying. But we look at these loan balances, the loan balances are rising and there's record loan amounts. So, I'm not sure that -- that holds true.

BRIGGS: Evidence would help.

ROMANS: Breaking overnight: police have the man they say terrorized the Tampa community for weeks killing four people at random. How they tracked him down, next.


[04:48:31] BRIGGS: Some breaking news, the search for a suspected serial killer in the suburbs of Tampa coming to an end. Police arresting 24-year-old Howell Donaldson III in connection with four fatal shootings in the Seminole Heights neighborhood since early October. The suspect facing four counts of first degree murder.


BRIAN DUGAN, TAMPA POLICE CHIEF: The real goal is to let the people of Seminole Heights be able to get a good night's sleep. It's been 51 days that they've been terrorized in their neighborhood and it is about letting these families know that we're going to bring this person to justice and letting this neighborhood get some rest and hopefully try and put their lives back together.


ROMANS: Tampa police captured Donaldson acting on a tip about a man with a gun at a local McDonald's. They say they're still trying to figure out his connection to the Seminole Heights neighborhood. Police say the four seemingly unconnected victims were all killed but not robbed while walking alone at night within a half mile area.

All right. The U.S. Air Force says it found several dozen instances where criminal records were not properly relayed to the appropriate government databases. The failures came to light as part of a review into the military criminal history of Texas church shooter Devon Kelly. If his domestic assault history had been properly reported to civilian authorities, Kelly would have been prevented from legally buying a gun.

BRIGGS: The Air Force says it has taken action to correct the problem. Among its new procedures, requiring commanders to verify that information from applicable crimes is registered with the FBI. [04:50:03] ROMANS: Flying drones now pose a greater risk to aircraft

than bird strikes. According to researchers working with the FAA, passenger planes are designed to stop a bird from puncturing the aluminum skin of the aircraft. But testing and computer modeling show a drone could penetrate it. The most vulnerable areas to drones, windshield and the horizontal and vertical stabilizers that keep the plane flying straight and level. The FAA says the latest data will help to develop strategies and rules from preventing collisions between drones and planes.

BRIGGS: Scary.

All right. The New York football Giants marking the end of an era and it was not pretty. The team announcing quarterback Eli Manning is being benched in favor of a quarterback already booed out of New York once, Geno Smith, former Jet. Manning's 210 consecutive starts date back to 2004, the second longest streak in NFL history.


ELI MANNING, GIANTS QUARTERBACK: It's hard -- hard day to handle this, but you know, hang in there and figure it out.

REPORTER: One of the hardest days --

MANNING: It's up there. Yes, yes.


BRIGGS: You can see the tears welling up there in Eli's eyes. The move being roundly criticized around the league. A number of Eli's former teammates expressing outrage over the way this was handled.

David Diehl tweeted: I'm absolutely speechless. I've watched every game and sat through this rough Giants season and this is what you do to a man who has led this team for 210 straight games.

And that's one of the more flattering things said about Ben McAdoo's decision yesterday. Just read what fans are saying online. It's going to make for an ugly end to this Giants season.

ROMANS: He looked really emotional.

BRIGGS: Yes, this is a guy who's done it the right way. He's the reason they have these two rings. Hard to see it end this way. But hopefully, they release him and let him go catch on with a team because there would be takers.

ROMANS: All right. Fifty-one minutes past the hour.

A warning for the global work force. Automation may kill 377 million jobs by 2030. What jobs are at risk, Dave Briggs? Yours? Mine? Yours?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [04:56:33] ROMANS: News flash: ladies and gentlemen, the most important story of the day. We now know exactly when and where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will tie the knot. The royal wedding set to happen next May at Windsor Castle. We're also learning the royal bride to be intends to become a U.K. citizen, a process that's expected to take several years, according to a statement by Kensington Palace.

And we're hearing Markle will retain her American citizenship. The couple will hold their first official engagement since their big announcement in the city of Nottingham on Friday. And I joke but I do love the story.

BRIGGS: I do too. We all need a little love especially at 4:56 a.m.

All right. After days shut down by volcanic ash, the main airport on the island of Bali has just reopened within the last few hours. Tens of thousands of people have been stranded on the island since Sunday by the eruption of Mount Agung. Officials downgraded the aviation warning from red to orange. The Mount Agung task force says more than 38,000 people have already been evacuated from the area around the volcano.

ROMANS: All right. It is that time in the morning. Let's get a check on CNN "Money Stream" this morning. Global stock markets mixed today.

Meanwhile, the rally on Wall Street just keeps getting better. Look at this. The Dow soared 256 points. That's a record high. The S&P 500, the Nasdaq also record highs.

The latest cause for celebration: progress on corporate tax cuts. The Senate bill passed committee and this is seen as huge monumental corporate tax relief and the Fed chief nominee, Jerome Powell, is speaking at his Senate confirmation hearing. He signaled support from gradually raising interest rates. That sparked a jump in bank stocks.

And there's no stopping bitcoin. The virtual currency just blew past $10,000 for the first time. It is up more than 900 percent this year. The bitcoin has long been shunned by regular investors.

Unlike regular currencies, these virtual coins aren't really even a coin. They aren't tied to a central bank. They aren't regulated. They're not really based on anything but computer algorithms that mine them.

Bitcoin prices, though, have been rising along with a growing main stream acceptance, even prompting warnings of a bitcoin bubble. But experts say not to worry. Recent gains have been driven by investments from hedge funds and asset managers.

I've been skeptical about bitcoins. But, boy, I've been wrong. They're up 900 percent this year.

BRIGGS: This is incredible. ROMANS: A warning for the global work force. Automation may kill 375 million jobs by the year 2030. That's from a new study from the McKenzie Global Institute. The work most at risk: physical jobs like operating machinery, fast food, data collection and processing. The study says workers must embrace retraining in the future. The governments and companies will also need to help in the transition. News anchor, Jeff Zucker, is not on the list.

BRIGGS: No, there is no way this job could be done by a robot.

ROMANS: It is a really important conversation. I hear so much about artificial -- AI. You know, you hear so much about machines. You hear so much about this mechanized workforce. We're talking about bringing jobs back to this country.

What jobs are we bringing back and are we preparing for the future is going to look like? That's my question.


EARLY START continues right now with the latest on the North Korean missile launch and the tax bill headed through the Senate.



GRAHAM: If we have to go to war to stop this, we will. And if there's a war with North Korea, because North Korea brought it on itself.


BRIGGS: North Korea claims its latest missile could reach the entire U.S. mainland. The defense secretary sounding the alarm and word another nuclear test could be next. We're live in Seoul.