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Trump White House: Immigration Deal or Government Shutdown?; Talks Between North & South Korea Begin; Alabama Beats Georgia in Epic Championship Game. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired January 9, 2018 - 04:30   ET


[04:30:53] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: It's a mess. That's how one negotiator described talks about Dreamers and immigration. Bipartisan talks at the White House today with a government shutdown looming next week.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight: North and South Korea with their first talks in two years. We're live at the DMZ.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Touchdown. Alabama wins!


ROMANS: And an instant classic in the college football championship game. A bold move by Nick Saban helped bring the title back to Alabama.

What a game. Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs and a painful morning for Georgia fans. They're up 13-0 at the half, 20-7 late in this game. We'll show you what happened in just a bit.

We start, though, with immigration topping a critical agenda at the White House today as lawmakers try to avoid a looming government shutdown. The president will meet with lawmakers from both parties. They're focused on DACA, the Dreamer program protecting undocumented immigrations brought here, who were brought here as children.

ROMANS: If Republicans and Democrats cannot agree, the federal government could shut down at the end of next week.

The president has assigned Chief of Staff John Kelly to guide the immigration proposals through Congress. It is rare for a chief of staff to get such a specific assignment. Sources tell us Kelly got the job because immigration is the most important issue for Trump's base.

BRIGGS: Not much time left and the talks still have a long way to go. One person directly involved says, quote, it's a mess.

For the latest, we turn to CNN's Sunlen Serfaty on Capitol Hill. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)


A big meeting over at the White House today, a bicameral, bipartisan group of lawmakers will head over to the White House to meet with President Trump to find a way forward on DACA and the big deadline to get its government spending bill passed by January 19th.

Lawmakers are at a real impasse here for DACA, which has been entangled into the negotiations over the spending bill. Democrats say they won't agree to any spending bill that doesn't address DACA and extend those protections for Dreamers. Then you have President Trump pushing very hard, insisting that any deal must fund the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border that he wants to build.

He spoke about this when huddled with Republican leaders at Camp David. Here's President Trump this weekend.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We want the wall. The wall's going to happen or we're not going to have DACA. We want DACA to happen. We all -- everybody -- I think I can speak for everybody. We all want DACA to happen but we also great security for our country. So important.

SERFATY: Of course, building that wall and making Mexico pay for that was one of candidate Donald Trump's biggest campaign promises but for now, President Trump is calling for U.S. taxpayers to potentially foot the bill, requesting from Congress $18 billion over the next 10 years to potentially to build that wall -- Dave and Christine.


ROMANS: All right. Thank you.

North and South Korea face-to-face, the first high levels in more than two years began overnight, with the leaders of both countries able to listen in in real-time. Some progress already announced on military matters, the Olympics. The U.S., of course, is merely a bystander for those talks.

For the very latest, let's go to CNN's Paula Hancocks live for us near the entrance of the demilitarized zone.

Paula, bring us up to speed.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine, the latest information we have is that North Korea has now agreed to reopen military communication channels with South Korea on the western part of the coast. This is significant because South Korea this morning had been asking them to continue or at least restart these military talks because they were concerned about miscommunication, miscalculation which could lead to a conflict, not really surprising given what we've seen over the past couple years and how tense the situation has been. So, North Korea has agreed to that. They've also agreed that they will send a high-level delegation to the

Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. They will be sending athletes and the press corps and traveling with many people. But, of course, the question is, how will they get here?

The South Koreans have suggested they could send a cruise ship up to North Korea to bring every down, bring them to South Korea and then double up as accommodation.

[04:35:06] But what we're hearing from the foreign ministry is they may have to lift some sanctions, some unilateral sanctions against North Korea in order to facilitate getting them here, and then coming to the Olympics, potentially because any ship that has been in North Korea is not allowed to dock in South Korea at this point. So, that's an interesting development as well.

But there's certainly been, it seems, a very positive attitude between the two sides with these talks. Most notably, of course, the fact that the two leaders were able to listen in in real-time and were able to intervene if they wanted. They had hot lines to the area. So, if they didn't like the way something was going, then they could have intervened.

But we understand they have made some concessions and some agreements, so, certainly it seems positive at this point.

ROMANS: All right. Paula for us this morning, thank you. Keep us up to speed if there are any new developments. Thank you.

BRIGGS: President Trump's lawyers are preparing for a request from special counsel Robert Mueller to interview the president directly. They're hoping to limit the scope of the questioning. According to sources, so far, there have been no substantive talks about a potential interview. Trump's attorneys are studying how past administrations have handled similar requests.

ROMANS: They want to determine whether Mr. Trump needs to testify under oath, whether he can provide written answers to questions and whether the testimony should be recorded.

White House lawyer Ty Cobb says his team is cooperating fully with the Mueller investigation to bring it to a swift conclusion. No comment from the Mueller team.

ROMANS: The White House struggling to silence all the talk about President Trump's mental fitness. CNN has learned the president continues to fume privately over Steve Bannon, despite his former chief strategist's semi-apology on Sunday. A source says Mr. Trump considers it too little too late.

BRIGGS: The president we are told is frustrated by the cooperation his other top aides apparently gave to "Fire and Fury" author Michael Wolff.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MICHAEL WOLFF, AUTHOR, "FIRE AND FURY: INSIDE THE TRUMP WHITE HOUSE": Bannon told people to cooperate. Sean Spicer told people to cooperate. Kellyanne Conway told people to cooperate. Hope Hicks --

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: So, then why are they saying it's fake?

WOLFF: Because they're liars. This is -- what are you talking about? This is Donald Trump. This is what he does. Day after day after day after day, incident after incident after incident, he doesn't tell the truth, because he doesn't know what the truth is.


BRIGGS: Wolff also says Bannon is not being truthful when he claims he was no the referring to Don Jr. when he called a meeting at Trump Tower with the Russian lawyer treasonous. He did refer to three top senior level people on the campaign.

Well, they're still partying this morning on the Alabama campus after a thrilling victory in college football's national championship; 26-23 overtime win their rival SEC, Georgia. What a classic it was, trailing 13-0 at the half.

Alabama coach Nick Saban replaced his starting quarterback Jalen Hurts with true freshman, Tua Tagovailoa. He led the Crimson Tide back, tying the game at 20 with a touchdown pass. Alabama had a chance, though, to win this game in regulation, but their kicker shanks a 36- yard game-winning field goal. Oh, that one hurt.

The game goes to overtime. Bulldogs strike first, 51-yard field goal is good. That means Alabama must score, and they do it in dramatic fashion.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fires to the end zone. Touchdown! Alabama wins!


BRIGGS: Forty-one-yard strike to DeVonta Smith. Tide rolled 26-23.


NICK SABAN, ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE FOOTBALL COACH: We showed resiliency to overcome hard and make some great plays. We needed a spark on offense. Tua certainly gave us that and did a really good job.

TUA TAGVAILOA, ALABAMA BACKUP QUARTERBACK: I don't know how coach even found me all the way in Hawaii from Alabama, you know? So, I just thank God he found me, and, you know, we're here right now.


BRIGGS: Legend is born and a marriage proposal. Bama's Bradley Bozeman popping the question to his girlfriend on the field right after the game. You can see the reaction. She said yes. Congrats to them.

Alabama's fifth national championship under head coach Nick Saban, 16th overall.

President Trump at the game including with the national anthem. He stood with hand over heart singing along to, well, parts of the national anthem. He left at halftime missing a lot of excitement, missing the thrilling conclusion. They had thought Georgia was going to be victorious. Let's just leave that up for a moment.

This was a hotly debated topic on twitter. We'll punt as to what we think.

ROMANS: Well I'm going to -- I'm going to make an apology for the president. The service member next to him not singing, he may have been -- he wasn't sure if he was supposed to sing or not.

BRIGGS: We all feel that way, right, when it's an anthem. You belt out the tone, and they hear your own voice --

[04:40:02] ROMANS: Although the polls on Twitter think the president --

BRIGGS: Yes, needless to say.

ROMANS: All right. Speculation around a possible 2020 run by Oprah Winfrey drawing a mixed reaction. You might be surprised who's singing her praises and maybe who's not so sure.


ROMANS: All right. Congress is done with the tax plan but for state governments, the work is just beginning. State legislators must figure out what the new law means for their budgets and your tax burdens. Many states will adopt parts of the federal plan. It's a process called conformity, nerd alert. That reduces administrative complexity and since the federal law lowers taxes for most, many states may cut taxes.

However, the federal also kills many deductions. That actually broadens how much income is subject to tax, including state tax, meaning many states will see an increase in revenue, which could mean an increase on spending on education, health care and law enforcement.

[04:45:06] States really need that new revenue. Budgets took a big hit during the recession and haven't really recovered because of an aging population and the rise of online shopping is cutting into sales tax.

High tax states also face another issue. Capping the deduction for state and local taxes. States like California, New Jersey, New York, they are scrambling for ways to blunt the impact of those taxes on residents. They're getting pretty creative. So, watch this space.

BRIGGS: All right. The president's pick for Health and Human Services secretary appears before the Finance Committee today and some serious questions are being raised about pricing and other decisions made by Alex Azar when he helped run pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly.

CNN's Rene Marsh will cover the hearing and brings us this preview from Washington -- Rene.


RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine and Dave, Alex Azar is President Trump's pick to replace Tom Price as Health and Human Services secretary. He'll be before senators this morning for his confirmation hearing.

He should expect to face some tough questions on drug prices, Obamacare and his close ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Azar served as a top executive at pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly.

Now, the company has raised prices on medications, including insulin and according to "Politico", while Azar was at the company, it also tested an erectile dysfunction drug on children. It was a strategy to get an extension on the drug's patent that was about to expire.

Now, the strategy gained the company a six-month extension for the lucrative drug that makes about $2 billion a year. Now, Azar should expect to get hammered by Democrats on all of this. We should note, this will be his second round of questioning on Capitol Hill -- Christine and Dave.


BRIGGS: It could be contentious. Rene, thanks.

Colorado Senator Cory Gardner inviting Attorney General Jeff Sessions to discuss marijuana. Last week, Sessions rescinded an Obama era policy to take a hands' off across with states that legalize marijuana. Gardener said he would block all of the President Trump's judicial nominees until Sessions' marijuana decision is reversed. Session's move likely to pit federal law enforcement against local officials in Washington, D.C., and eight other states where pot is legal, including Gardner state of Colorado. Gardener says no meeting with Sessions has been scheduled yet.

It's just a whole lot of mess with uncertainty in those eight states, in particular California. He was just rolling it out now.

ROMANS: Well, if you're hungry after that, your Pizza Hut delivery could roll up in a self-driving van. How soon could be -- I'm sorry. That's a type of segue --

BRIGGS: Nice segue, perfect.

ROMANS: -- at 4:47 a.m.

How soon could these vehicles hit the road? CNN Money Stream next.


[04:52:12] BRIGGS: Will she? Or won't she? So many questions swirling around Oprah Winfrey after a rousing Golden

Globe speech triggered talk of a 2020 presidential run.

ROMANS: We're seeing some interesting reactions already, including, I mean, there'll be a lukewarm response from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Here's what she says: I think one of the arguments for Oprah is 45. I think one of the arguments against Oprah is 45. Forty-five, of course, meaning President Trump.

Pelosi continues, if we're going into a place where they've devaluing experience in terms of substance and legislative acumen and stuff like that, you might as well have somebody who knows what they don't know and we'll get the best possible people there.

BRIGGS: Oprah's speech getting a warmer reception from Ivanka Trump, of all people. She says: Just saw Oprah's empowering and inspiring speech at last night's Golden Globe. Let's all come together women and men and say, time's up, united.

Some vicious responses online to that tweet given allegations against Ivanka's father.

For more on what Oprah is thinking here, CNN's senior media correspondent Brian Stelter.



Oprah Winfrey has no official comments about all this 2020 chatter. She's pretty much the only one staying silent. Even the Trump White House responded to this idea and said they would welcome the challenge from Winfrey or anyone else.

It's been a really interesting 24 hours to see all the reactions to Winfrey's Golden Globes speech. It's almost as if her speech, which almost sounded like a campaign stump speech, was a trial balloon of sorts, floated up in front of 20 million people.

Here's what we know for sure. I've been told by two of her close friends that some of her friends are urging her to run for president, that they want her to take on Trump in 2020.

According to these two friends, she is actively thinking about the idea. She hasn't decided she will run, nor has she ruled it out. She is definitely taking this possibility seriously. That's partly, I'm told, because she's horrified by some of Trump's actions as president.

But she also finds that energizing, motivating. In that way, she's a bit like many of the other women that are choosing to run for office. We've all seen the stories about a record number of women, mostly Democrats deciding to run for office for the first time this year.

Now, of course, any talk about 2020, kind of, sort of, has to wait until the midterm elections.

This time next year, we're going to see candidates flocking to Iowa, New Hampshire, trying to get in on the Democratic primaries.

So, this is a ways away but it's already the talk of the political and the media universes, which goes to show how powerful Oprah Winfrey is -- Christine, Dave.


ROMANS: All right. Brian Stelter, thank you, sir.

NBC says a tweet sent out during the Golden Globes touting an Oprah presidency was not meant to be a political statement somehow.

[04:55:04] During the ceremony, the network posted the words: nothing but respect for our future president. There was immediate backlash online. Donald Trump Jr. citing it as an example of need media bias.

BRIGGS: Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said: This tweet puts every reporter at NBC in a bad spot. Foolish thing for them to do, but at least now they are open about their bias.

NBC says that the tweet was sent by a third party agency during the broadcast in reference to a joke made by Seth Meyers during his monologue. The tweet has since been deleted.

All right. Some heavy rain in southern California, the first real rain there since last February. But there's bad news. All the rain threatens to cause landslides in areas hit by the Thomas Fire. Now, some evacuations are under way.

Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has more.


PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Dave and Christine, we're watching a rain event set up across southern California that has a potential to be a significant weather maker, really the most significant weather maker in the country right now is going to be across this region here as the storm pushes right towards Los Angeles points to the south, in fact even as far north as San Francisco. We do have flood watches that are in place north of town there into the Sacramento, even where heavy faithful is anticipated.

But some of the heavier totals Ventura, San Barbara, and also Los Angeles counties. All of these areas have significant burn scars in place. And unfortunately, when such excessive heat is applied to the soil here, and all the vegetations removed, of course, the vegetation is not there to absorb moisture, but the soil due to this extreme heat becomes hydrophobic or water repellant. So, any additional rainfall you get can move the soil down stream and cause landslides, mudslides as well, but also and quick flash flood events across the region.

And when you highlight the map like this, bring in as much as four inch of rainfall across some of these areas, potential up to six inches of rainfall, that will be problematic. So, unfortunately, this is too little too late and something we're going to be watching in the next 24 hours -- guys.


ROMANS: All right. Pedram, thank you so much for that.

Let's get a check on CNN "Money Stream" this morning.

It is that time, global stock market higher today. The Dow closed lower because of health care and bank stocks. But the S&P 500, the Nasdaq, just managed to hit record highs, still the strongest start to the year in more than a decade.

Big changes for GoPro. It is killing its drone business, blaming a hostile regulatory environment in Europe and United States, layoffs big time, slashing 20 percent of its staff. GoPro's fourth quarter revenue fell 200 million bucks, that's about 37 percent from last year, forcing it to cut prices on the Hero 5, its core camera product.

Your Pizza Hut delivery could run day roll up in h a self-driving van, just like this one here. Toyota, Toyota unveiled a concept vehicle called the E-Palette. And it's teaming up with a handful of partners to make this reality, including Pizza Hut, Amazon, Uber. Toyota says this man could host a mobile store. It could act as a ride-sharing service. It could deliver packages.

How soon will it hit the road? Toyota plans to start testing it bin 2020.

Google is being sued for allegedly discriminating against white men. James Damore, a former Google engineer filed this suit. He was fired over his controversial essay which said women were biologically inferior to men in some aspects of engineering. Damore claims the tech firm discriminate against conservatives, white people and men.

In response to the lawsuit, Google kept it brief, telling CNN: we look forward to defending against Mr. Damore's lawsuit in court.

Remember that? Do you remember that --

BRIGGS: I do indeed. But you know me. You know I'm lost at the Pizza Hut story. I'm still focused on a ride-sharing van with a smell of pizza. That's just torture.

ROMANS: That's right. Look, just imagine. You could kill two birds with one stone.

BRIGGS: I suppose that's true.

All right. EARLY START continues right now.


ROMANS: It's a mess. A mess. That's how one negotiator describes talks about Dreamers and immigration, bipartisan talks in the White House today with a government shutdown looming next week.

BRIGGS: And breaking overnight: North and South Korea with their first talks in two years. What progress was made on Pyongyang's nuclear program.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Touchdown. Alabama wins!


ROMANS: And an instant classic in the college football championship game. A bold move by Nick Saban helps bring the title back to Alabama.

We have reports from Capitol Hill, from the DMZ, New York and the college football title game in Atlanta. We're all over the place this Tuesday morning.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs.

What a game it was. A tough morning for Georgia fans.

It's Tuesday, January 9, 5:00 a.m. in the East, 7:00 p.m. in the Korean DMZ. We will go there shortly live.

We start, though, with immigration topping a critical agenda at the White House today as lawmakers try to avoid a looming government shutdown. Now, the president will meet with lawmakers from both parties 11:30 today. They're focused on DACA, the Dreamer program protecting undocumented immigrants brought here as children.