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Steinle's Killer Acquitted; Corker's Tax Concerns; Roy Moore Versus Jimmy Kimmel. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired December 1, 2017 - 04:00   ET


[04:00:14] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: It's the criminal case that propelled Donald Trump's political rise, but it's not guilty verdict has the president and conservatives steaming. Sanctuary city critics demanding justice.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Senate Republicans are poised to advance the tax plan but, first, the party has to satisfy concerns of the key senator, one the president has squared off with before.


JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST OF JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE: So if you are challenging me to a fight, here's what we'll do. Let's find a place to do it. I'll wear a Girl Scout uniform so you're going to have something to get excited about.


BRIGGS: You'd think Roy Moore has bigger things to do than to square off with Jimmy Kimmel, but that's exactly what Moore did. And as you can hear there, Kimmel fighting back. Square off in the State Department as Rex Tillerson --

ROMANS: Oh, wow, yes.

BRIGGS: Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is Friday, the very first day of December. Make your list and check them twice.

BRIGGS: Sometimes you shock me by telling me the date.

ROMANS: It is December 1st and it is 4:00 in the East. Up early up and at them, 4:01 now.

Stunning verdict in that California murder case as Donald Trump used to launch the populist movement that became his springboard into the White House. A San Francisco jury acquitting, acquitting Jose Garcia Zarate of murder and involuntary manslaughter in the 2015 shooting death of Kate Steinle. Prosecutors had argued he shot Steinle intentionally as she walked on the city's waterfront, because Zarate's lawyer said the gun went off accidentally and the bullet ricocheted off the ground before hitting Steinle.

BRIGGS: Garcia Zarate had been deported five times and released from custody in San Francisco before the shooting. Steinle's death is a prime example for candidate Trump as decried San Francisco and other sanctuary cities which limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

ROMANS: Sanctuary city proponents argued that immigrants are more likely to cooperate with local authorities if they don't feel it would lead to deportation. Garcia Zarate's public defender gave this blunt warning to critics of this verdict.


MATT GONZALEZ, ATTORNEY FOR JOSE GARCIA ZARATE: There are a number of people that have commented on this case in the last couple of years, the attorney general of the United States, the president and vice president of the United States. Let me just remind them that they are themselves under investigation by special prosecutor in Washington, D.C., and they may, themselves, soon avail themselves of the presumption of innocence and beyond a reasonable doubt standard. And so, I would ask them to reflect on that before they comment or disparate the result in this case.


BRIGGS: What that has to do with this case is not clear.

President Trump took three hours shockingly to reflect and tweeted this, rather restrained: A disgraceful verdict in the Kate Steinle case. No wonder the people of our country are so angry with illegal immigration.

CNN's Dan Simon covered the trial. He has more from San Francisco.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, this is really the case that made the term sanctuary city part of the American vocabulary. Before this happened, nobody had really ever heard the term and they had no idea what a sanctuary city was.

That all changed on July 1st, 2015. That's when 32-year-old Kate Steinle was taking a stroll off Pier 14 with her father. Pier 14 is being a popular tourist spot in San Francisco. She's enjoying the views in San Francisco. And then in all of a sudden, a shot rings out.

About an hour after, police had their suspect in custody: 45-year-old Jose Ines Garcia Zarate. He's an undocumented immigrant. He had been deported to Mexico five times and he would have been a sixth time but San Francisco, a sanctuary city, does not comply with the federal immigration detention rules and therefore let him go.

The defense said this was nothing but an accident. They said that the gun was found under Garcia Zarate's seat, that it was wrapped in some cloth and when he examined this object, the gun just went off. They also said that this gun, a 40-caliber pistol, a Sig Sauer, has a history of accidental discharges and the jury found enough here to declare reasonable doubt.

He was found guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. He'll be deported back to Mexico. And keep in mind, he has already come into the country several times. So, some might make the argument that he might attempt to come back to the United States once again -- Christine and Dave.


ROMANS: Deported five times. All right.


ROMANS: Dan Simon, thank you so much.

Swift reaction to the jury's verdict, the conservatives blaming San Francisco's sanctuary city status for the outcome.

[04:05:00] Attorney General Jeff Sessions releasing this statement: I urge the leaders of the nation's communities to reflect on the outcome of this case and consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to cooperate with federal law enforcement officers.

BRIGGS: Prosecutors calling the verdict disappointing. The Steinle family, as you might imagine, expressing disgust. This statement from Kate Steinle's brother, Brad: The system failed Kate from the state. Why would the verdict be any different? It is failure after failure. The culmination of events is an epic fail.

Kate's father Jim said he was saddened and shocked, adding: justice was rendered but it was not served.

ROMANS: All right. Five minutes past the hour.

Senate Republicans trying to pass a tax bill. They can see the finish line but they can also the huge high hurdles remaining before a hoped- for final vote later today. The top concern right now, the deficit. There was bad news for the GOP on that front. A new report from the nonpartisan congressional scorekeeper for taxes, the Senate bill estimated to cost more than twice as much as it generates in revenue.

BRIGGS: And that was a big problem for one the president's loudest Republican critics in the Senate, Tennessee Republican Bob Corker. He has promised not to let the tax code drive up the deficit, so he's fighting for big changes here. Corker's stance leading to a testy huddle as you can see here on the Senate floor.

Now, some Republican lawmakers are furious at Corker's tactics.

Our Phil Mattingly with more on the tax bill drama on Capitol Hill.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine and Dave, take a look at this. On the Senate floor, a huddle. Bob Corker in the center of the scrum, all of his leaders around him in the Republican Party as he threatened to bring the bill down altogether, at least in the near term.

His issue? The deficit. That's always been the case.

But Republicans thought they had a fix. Essentially, they would put a trigger into place, some type of mechanism that would snap tax increases back into place both in the corporate and individual side. If the rosy growth projections they've been working with on that Senate tax overhaul didn't actually come to pass.

Here's the problem: that idea ran afoul of Senate rules.

Here's another problem: the Joint Committee on Taxation earlier in the day released what's called a dynamic score, essentially what Republicans have been saying would lead to all of the growth. The biggest problem with that, well, that proposal, that plan, that analysis only showed $458 billion of increased revenue because of their proposal. That meant the bill would still cost $1 trillion. And there was no deficit trigger in place.

And that was Senator Bob Corker's problem. A problem that could have sank the entire bill altogether based on what he was doing on the floor.

Now, Senator Corker eventually went along with his Republican colleagues but the issues were laid bare. And the solutions to those issues, those haven't been figured out yet. But the reality right now is this: Senate Republican leaders almost thought they were on a glide path to get this bill done. As of Thursday night, heading into Friday morning, that is no longer the case -- Christine and Dave.


ROMANS: Yes, this is going to be fast and furious. A lot of these guys are saying that defeat is not an option here, failure is not an option. The congressional report that have set deficit hawks is a dynamic score or analysis that factors in economic growth, along with things like lower tax rates. And the result, growth from the Senate plan won't pay the full cost of tax cuts.

By the numbers, the Senate bill costs $1.4 trillion over 10 years and creates an estimated $408 billion in growth. That still leaves above a trillion in deficits over the next decade. That's the math. Why?

At first, the bill increases labor supply and investments. But those effects diminish when a number of provisions expire in 2025. GOP leaders are confident they will make up the difference, but that means new streams of revenue like eventual tax hikes, raising the corporate rate each year, or restoring the alternative minimum tax.

Meanwhile, the Treasury Department hasn't yet to release its analysis of the bill, that's despite Secretary Mnuchin's frequent claims it shows growth pace for tax cuts. So, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren demanding an investigation into the delay, questioning if Mnuchin misled the public about the extent of the Treasury Department's analysis.

A Treasury spokeswoman did not reply for comment. But long-time Treasury watcher and reporters have been sort of pulling their hair out the last couple of days because they like to see what this analysis is that the Treasury Department has. Nothing has been released.

BRIGGS: Well, people would ask, is this the reason this thing was rushed so fast through the Senate. Is that your analysis?

ROMANS: My analysis is that they want to get something done and they don't have a legislative calendar that allows them to get it done by the end of the year unless they move very, very quickly. Also, they've been talking about tax reform for 30 years. So, they know the kind of, the pieces that they have to put together of the puzzle. It's just getting that agreement.

BRIGGS: But, still, the AMT, the alternative minimum, and the carried interest loophole not discussed as added revenue.

ROMANS: And the carried interest one is really interesting to me.

BRIGGS: Not even discussed.

All right. Palace intrigue on the menu for President Trump's lunch with Rex Tillerson today.

[04:10:03] Reports of a tentative White House plan to replace the secretary of state swirling around Washington. CNN learning the plan was leaked in an effort to express President Trump's displeasure with Tillerson and to publicly shame him. We've seen this before.

The administration seriously considering replacing him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. A source familiar with the situation says, quote, the clock is ticking.

ROMANS: Our friend Josh Rogin is reporting in "The Washington post" that Pompeo has been informally preparing for this for some time, reaching out to potential jobs candidate, and looking into how the State Department can be reorganized.

But the president's chief of staff, John Kelly, tells State Department staffers the reports about Tillerson being replaced are not true. Publicly, the White House insists everything is status quo.





BRIGGS: Tentative plans to replace Pompeo at the CIA with Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas could pose a bit a problem for the president. It would put another Senate seat in play in 2018, at a time when Republicans have a razor-thinned majority if Cotton gets the job. Arkansas Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson would select a replacement and under state law someone else would most likely have to run in the fall.

ROMANS: The State Department raising concerns about protests at U.S. embassies around the world after President Trump's retweeting of anti- Muslim videos. Those embassies on alert throughout the day yesterday, with no incidents reported so far.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders admitting, admitting the president likely did not know those videos that he retweeted came from a far right alter nationalist political group, a group in Britain considered a hate group. This is her take on it.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think what he's done is elevate the conversation to talk about a real issue and a real threat and that's extreme violence and extreme terrorism, something we know to be very real and something the president feels strongly about talking about and bringing up and making sure is an issue every single day, that we're looking at the best ways to protect Americans.


BRIGGS: An official confirms there is discussion inside the White House about making a stronger statement that addresses the president's tweets and their impact on the Muslim world.

A source familiar with the president's tweet storms over the last few days says he's aggravated over a number of things, including still Jeff Sessions, the attorney general. The president blaming Sessions from taking the A.G. job, recusing himself from the Russia investigation and leaving behind a messy Alabama Senate race to fill that vacant seat.

This is -- this is the playbook. And nothing should surprise us regarding that story.

One of the more bizarre Twitter fights you've ever seen ahead. Roy Moore challenging Jimmy Kimmel to face him man to man. Yes, really.


KIMMEL: With me, he wants to go man to man. Maybe if he want man to man instead of man to little girl, you wouldn't be in this situation.


BRIGGS: What led to that dust-up? Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [04:17:13] BRIGGS: Michigan Congressman John Conyers being treated for stress this morning, still hospitalized, as calls for his resignation mount. The 88-year-old Democratic lawmaker facing a House Ethics Committee investigation into multiple allegations of sexual misconduct. House leaders from both parties calling on Conyers to step down.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Yes, I think he should resign. He should resign immediately.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: The brave women who came forward are owed justice. I pray for Congressman Conyers and his family and wish them well. However, Congressman Conyers should resign.


BRIGGS: Conyers' attorney lashing out at the house minority leader. He says Nancy Pelosi, quote, sure as hell won't be the one telling the congressman to leave.

ROMANS: All right. Stay turned there.

The Senate Ethics Committee opening up a preliminary investigation into the allegations against Senator Al Franken. Among the numerous sexual misconduct claims faced by the Minnesota Democrat, a new incident shared by a woman who came forward Thursday. Forty-one-year- old army vet Stephanie Kemplin told CNN Franken cupped her breasts during a photo op in Kuwait.

BRIGGS: Several other women have alleged Franken groped them. Franken spokesperson responded to the Kemplin accusation, reiterating the point that senator takes tens of thousands of photos, means tens of thousands of people, quote, has never intentionally engaged in this kind of conduct.

Meanwhile, hip hop mogul Russell Simmons apologizing and stepping down from his company in the wake of another accusation of harassment and sexual assaults. Screenwriter Jenny Lumet detailing in a "Hollywood Reporter" column in a 1991 encounter where she says Simmons forced her to have sex with him.

ROMANS: Also Thursday, HBO announced it was dropping Simmons from an upcoming standup series he produced with the network, which is a sister company of CNN. Simmons earlier denied separate accusations in a "L.A. Times" report he and director Brett Ratner engaged in sexual misconduct.

BRIGGS: With the big election less than two weeks away, Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore taking time out for a Twitter feud with Jimmy Kimmel. The spat started when Kimmel sent one of his writers to an Alabama church where Moore was speaking Wednesday night. Moore issuing this challenge to Kimmel on Twitter: If you want to mock our Christian values, come down here to Alabama and do it man to man. ROMANS: Kimmel firing back: Sounds great, Roy. Let me know when you

get Christian values and I'll be there.

And later adding: OK, Roy, but I'm leaving my daughters at home. P.S. Wear that cute little leather vest.

Kimmel, he elaborated on the late show, late night talk show.


KIMMEL: I think you're actually going to like this, Roy.

[04:20:01] I'm going to come down to Gadsden, Alabama, with a team of high school cheerleaders. OK? We'll meet you at the mall. Don't worry.

Maybe when you say come down to Alabama and we'll do it man to man, maybe that means you're challenging me to a fight which is kind of what it sounds like. If you are, I accept, by the way. I accept that.


BRIGGS: Yes. It's incredible what Jimmy Kimmel has become in a presence in most political issues this year. Stayed out of the tax debate so far.

ROMANS: But in terms of Alabama, we have seen Alabama Roy Moore supporters, they don't like the attention this is getting their state. They think this is Washington elites, Republicans, and --

BRIGGS: Even though it's Alabama residents making the complaints.

ROMANS: Absolutely. Absolutely.

BRIGGS: The president, meanwhile will campaign in Florida today, but it will be on in the Mobile, Alabama television park. So he won't appear with Roy Moore but clearly doing that to support him without being there.

All right. Ahead, could North Korea actually slow its nuclear program? A surprising prediction from South Korea, next.


[04:25:35] ROMANS: All right. South Korea does not expect another weapons test by North Korea any time soon. A spokeswoman for the government's unification ministry says now that it has test-fired a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile, the Kim Jong-un regime will likely refrain from further provocation for sometime. The spokeswoman says the North does not appear ready to prove it can actually hit a target with the warhead.

BRIGGS: Meantime, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urging China to squeeze North Korea by doing, quote, more with oil. Pyongyang depends on the Chinese for 90 percent of imports, President Trump not exactly pleased with Beijing's latest efforts, tweeting, the Chinese envoy who just returned from North Korea seems to have had no impact on little rocket man.

ROMANS: Eighty-five-year-old Japanese emperor Akihito announcing plans to abdicate on April 30, 2019. His eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito will ascend one day later. It will be the first abdication from the chrysanthemum throne in about 200 years.

Akihito signaled his desire to abdicate last summer, citing his age and his health. Akihito was 56 years old when he ascended to the throne in January of 1989 after the death of his father, Emperor Hirohito.

BRIGGS: Ahead, a California jury finds an undocumented immigrant not guilty, in a case that helped launch Donald Trump's political career. The president is angry and sanctuary cities back under the microscope.

ROMANS: It could be a historic day in the senate. A rewrite of the tax code expected to come up for a vote. But could Senator Bob Corker take it down over the deficit?