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San Francisco Jury Acquits Undocumented Shooter; Corker's Tax Concerns; Roy Moore Versus Jimmy Kimmel. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired December 1, 2017 - 04:30   ET



[04:31:36] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A repeat offender, in the country illegally, deported five times, has been found not guilty in the killing of a California woman. It's the criminal case that propelled Donald Trump's political rise. He is steaming. And sanctuary city critics are demanding justice.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: While senators and the Senate will continue to debate the bill tonight, but the next roll call vote will be at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Senate Republicans poised to advance the tax plan but first the party has to satisfy concerns from key senator, one 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.


ROMANS: You would think Roy Moore has bigger things to do than fight with Jimmy Kimmel. But that's exactly what Moore did and Kimmel is fighting back.

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

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. Thirty-two minutes past the hour. We start this morning with the stunning verdict in the California murder case Donald Trump used to launch his populist movement that has become a springboard into the White House.

A San Francisco jury acquitting Jose Garcia Zarate of murder and involuntary slaughter in the 2015 shooting death of Kate Steinle. Prosecutors had argued he shot Steinle intentionally as she walked on the city's waterfront. But Garcia 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.

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 the 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 disparage the result in this case.


ROMANS: A repeat offender five times deported in the country illegally critics say that young woman would be alive in American immigration laws had been enforced.

President Trump took three hours and tweeted this: 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 this morning 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.

[04:35:01] 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.


BRIGGS: Dan Simon, thanks.

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

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.

ROMANS: 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.

BRIGGS: Senate Republicans trying to pass a tax bill can see the finish line but they can also the huge high hurdles remaining before a hoped-for final vote later today. Their top concern is 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.

ROMANS: And that was a big problem for one the president's loudest Republican critics in the Senate, Bob Corker. He has promised not to let the tax bill drive up the deficit, so he's fighting for some big changes. Corker's stance leading to a testy huddle on the Senate floor. Now some Republican lawmakers are furious at Corker's tactics.

Our Phil Mattingly with the state of play 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: All right, Phil Mattingly.

You know, it's not a done deal yet but tax reform is already rocket fuel for stocks. Blasting the Dow past 24,000 for the first time in history, barely a month since Dow 23,000. Look at that, 22,000, 21,000, 20,000. The Dow up 6,000 points since the election.

The Dow surged 332 points yesterday. It was a great day, the biggest point gain in a year. You can thank upbeat economic data and every little move towards tax cuts, progress on tax cuts just keeps fueling this market.

That milestone also prompted a tweet from the president who said the market would be down 50 percent if Democrats had won the election. The Dow has spiked, as I said, 6,000 points. It bears repeating since Trump's election since last year. An incredible run built not just on tax reform but also on Trump's pro-business mood and a strong economy -- that since the election.

[04:40:04] Now, remember the so called Trump bump is the latest league of what has been an eight-year-long bull market that begun under former President Trump. There's the longer view.

But Americans are giving Trump more and more credit for the stock market and the economy overall. When asked who was responsible for the current economy, Americans gave Obama and Trump nearly equal credit. In March, two thirds of voters said Obama was more responsible.

Palace intrigue on the menu for President Trump's lunch with Rex Tillerson today. 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 his secretary of state and to publicly shame him. The administration seriously considering replacing him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, a source familiar with the situation says the clock is ticking.

BRIGGS: Our friend Josh Rogin reporting in "The Washington Post" that Pompeo has been informally preparing for this for sometime, reaching out to potential job candidates 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 of Tillerson being replaced are not true. Publicly, the White House insists everything is status quo.





ROMANS: Tentative plans to replace Pompeo at the CIA with Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas could pose a problem for the president. It would put another Senate seat 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.

BRIGGS: "The New York Times" reporting this morning, President Trump pressed top Republicans over the summer to end the Russia investigation. A highly unusual intervention said to include the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is overseeing one investigation.

According to a half a dozen lawmakers, and aides, the president told Intel Chairman Richard Burr he was eager toe see an end to the probe that has overshadowed much of his first year in office. Burr himself tells "The Times" he informed the president when the committee has spoken to everyone it needs to, they'll finish.

ROMANS: The chairman insists he did feel pressured by Trump. The president also urged Senators Mitch McConnell and Roy Blunt who's on the Intel Committee, to end the Russian investigation swiftly. A White House spokesman telling CNN at no point has the president attempted to apply undue influence on committee members.

BRIGGS: Nonetheless, a surprising revelation from directly to "The Times".

Ahead, there's bipartisan agreement on one uncomfortable topic.


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: Congressman Conyers should resign.


BRIGGS: Against mounting pressure, can Congressman John Conyers hold on to his seat?


[04:47:34] ROMANS: Michigan Congressman John Conyers being treated for stress this morning, still hospitalized, as calls for his resignation mount. The 88-year-old lawmaker facing a House Ethics Committee investigation into multiple allegations of sexual misconduct. House leaders from both parties calling on Conyers to step down.


RYAN: Yes, I think he should resign. He should resign immediately.

PELOSI: 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.


ROMANS: 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.

BRIGGS: The Senate Ethics Committee opening up a preliminary investigation into the allegations against Democratic 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. That's 41-one-year-old army vet Stephanie Kemplin, telling CNN Franken cupped her breasts during a photo op in Kuwait.

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

BRIGGS: Republican Congressman Joe Barton of Texas who has been in hot water since sexual photos and suggestive messages were made public will not seek reelection. In a statement, he said it's time to step aside and let there be a new voice, but did not mention fallout from the scandal. Lewd images and suggestive messages shared during extramarital relationships surfaced online, prompting a number of women he was involved with to come forward. Barton has not been accused of sexual harassment.

ROMANS: The big election less than two weeks, Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore taking time out for a Twitter war with Jimmy Kimmel. The spate 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.

BRIGGS: Kimmel firing back. Quote: 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 elaborating on his late night talk show.


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

[04:50:00] 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.

Whoever wins the fight will give all the money we charge for the tickets to charity. My charity will be the women who came forward to say you molested them, OK?


ROMANS: All of this criticism from outsiders, how is that playing inside Alabama, where they think it's Washington elites and media who are trying to decide this race? Looks like in the polls, he's a little bit ahead.

BRIGGS: He is up 5 in the latest. But Leigh Corfman, the central victim here, said she was abused when she was 14 wrote a letter in Alabama's largest newspaper. She's an Alabama resident saying, look, I'm not lying. This is the truth. I'm not telling this for any gain. She wrote a heartfelt letter in that newspaper.

ROMANS: All right. Fifty minutes past the hour.

General Motors say self-driving cars are the next big thing. Details on CNN "Money Stream", next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [04:55:29] ROMANS: South Korea saying it does not expect another weapons test by North Korea any time soon. A spokeswoman for the government's unification ministry saying 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 more with oil. Pyongyang depends on the Chinese for 90 percent of its 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: Today, Hawaii set to test its nuclear warning siren system, in the wake of renewed tension over North Korea, the first such test since the end of the Cold War. The system is aimed to alerting residents to an impending nuclear missile strike. The air raid siren, the same used during World War II gives residents 12 to 15 minutes of lead time ahead of any inbound missile to the island.

Legislators in Hawaii are also pushing to reopen its nuclear fallout shelters. I can't believe we're doing that.

BRIGGS: It is an astounding story. Yes.

All right. For the first time in 200 years, an emperor of Japan is said to abdicate the throne. 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.

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: All right. It is that time of the morning this Friday morning. Let's get a check on CNN "Money Stream".

Global stock markets down today but hopes for tax reform blasted the Dow past 24,000 for the first time ever. The Dow surged 332 points. Look at that, its biggest point gain in a year. You can thank strong economic data, more strong economic data and progress on tax cuts.

The Dow has now hit 20,000, 21,000, 22,000 and 23,000 this year alone. The S&P 500 also hit an all time high.

Obamacare enrollment could fall short by millions of Americans in 2018. Nearly 2.8 million people signed up so far, quite a bit more than last year. Good news for Obamacare supporters.

But the picture not as rosy when you consider that open enrollment is more than half way over. The Trump administration flashed the enrolment period, shorten the enrolment period by half this year. Meaning the pace will have to pick up a lot to meet the 9.2 million who signed up last year.

All right. General Motors says self-driving cars is the in ex-big thing, plans to sell them by the year 2019. Company promises it will mass produce fully autonomous electric cars by then. The cars will be used for a new ride sharing service. This is a first step toward a big shift in the car business.

The automaker says ride sharing could ultimately be bigger than its current business of simply selling cars. And I've heard this from car manufacturers.

BRIGGS: Is that right?

ROMANS: They think that this model of how you buy a car, and it's your car, that that's going to go away.

BRIGGS: I have a hard time buying that notion, maybe in New York, San Francisco, L.A.

ROMANS: Volvo is going to be working with a subscription service. Imagine if you subscribe to a GM or Volvo car, right?


ROMANS: And then you can get a different one, it's kind of --

BRIGGS: Where you and I come from, you need a big car with your kids' stuff, and sports equipment and toys, and we could go on and on, but we won't.

EARLY START continues right now with the outrageous verdict in the case of Kate Steinle.


ROMANS: A career criminal, a repeat offender deported five times in the country illegally. He has been found not guilty in the killing of a California woman. It's the criminal case that propelled Donald Trump's political rise. He is steaming and critics of a sanctuary cities demanding justice.


MCCONNELL: While senators and the Senate will continue to debate the bill tonight, but the next roll call vote will be at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.


BRIGGS: Senate Republicans are poised to advance the tax plan, but, first, the party has to satisfy some concerns of the key senator and one the president has squared off with before.


KIMMEL: 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.