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EARLY START

Immigration Deal Or Government Shutdown?; Will Oprah Run? Talks Between North and South Korea Begin; Alabama Wins National Title in Overtime Thriller; Trump Administration Ends Legal Protections For Salvadorians. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired January 9, 2018 - 05:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[05:00:02] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: They're focussed on DACA, the Dreamer program protecting undocumented immigrants brought here as children.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: If Republicans and Democrats can't agree, the federal government could shutdown at the end of next week. The president had assign Chief of Staff John Kelly to guide his immigration proposal 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 space.

BRIGGS: Not much time left and the talks still have a long way to go with one person directly involved saying it's, quote, a mess. With the latest, we turn to CNN's Sunlen Serfaty on Capitol Hill.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Dave and Christine. 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 for it to get the 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 he huddled with Republican leaders at Camp David. Here's President Trump this weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And 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 want great security for our country. So important.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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 build that wall.

Dave and Christine?

ROMANS: All right, Sunlen, thank you for that.

Joining us to discuss day and politics, Washington Examiner White House Correspondent Gabby Morrongiello, live in our D.C. bureau. Nice to see you. Good morning this Tuesday morning.

GABBY MORRONGIELLO, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Good morning.

ROMANS: So you've got this issue set up with the president with his bipartisan meeting on immigration 11:30 this morning. John Cornyn says the Democrats are holding them hostage. The Democrats say wall funding is out of the realm of reality. So they both dug in.

Here's what the president says about immigration reform and the wall in particular.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We are going to end the lottery system and we are going to build the wall.

Every American child deserved to grow up in a safe community. And to live a life full of dignity, purpose and hope. That is the future we all seek. And we will fiercely defend for all Americans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: We're told this process right now is a mess. Where do they go? How do they move forward from here?

MORRONGIELLO: Well, I think a lot of Republicans have been really surprised by the demands of this White House. If you listen to John Cornyn yesterday, the second most senior Republican in the Senate, he told reporters that going into this, they felt as though the White House would be satisfied with nearly one area of border enforcement or border security both jinxed in a bill that also addresses DACA.

But in fact the president has actually pushed further and really illuminated three different demands that he has. One is of course for that physical barrier or border wall along the southwest border. Number two is to end chain migration and to sort of shift us to a merit-based legal immigration system. And number three is to reform this diversity lottery program we've heard about from this White House for several months now.

And really, they're looking to get at least two out of three of those demands met in order to agree to some path to citizenship or path to permanent legal status for a lot of these so-called Dreamers. And I think that's what really complicating things here as the president's demands and what we're hearing now from Democrats and Republicans is that this type of deal really hinges on what the president ultimately is going to draw as his red line.

Is it going to be funding for a border wall or is he willing to cave and concede to Democrats and agree to a deal that merely includes you know, that end to chain migration, something that addresses some border security measures but also addresses DACA.

ROMANS: That 04:24 is a 50,000 green cards a year I think or 50,000 people a year. It's no the really that big --

BRIGGS: But it appears the wall is between the two sides.

ROMANS: Right, absolutely.

BRIGGS: And who has the leverage do you think? Because both sides are saying the other is going to risk a government shutdown.

MORRONGIELLO: Yes, that's a really tough situation because on the one hand Democrats have always wanted nothing to do with President Trump's border wall. And I think that's a position that they've staked out clearly from the get-go.

And so any bill that includes some funding for a physical barrier is going to be a no-go for them immediately. It's going to be a non- starter.

[05:05:00] But at the same time, you know, shutting down the government as we've seen previously in public opinion polls, particularly for legislation that would address illegal immigrants is not something that would be popular for Democrats in a midterm year. But of course Republicans are in control of Congress right now and so you can also imagine the narrative that would play out.

If the government shutdown does occur, Democrats would most certainly blame Republicans for that. And so I think, again, this is a really interesting situation where you have both sides claiming that they have leverage but at the end of the day it ends with President Trump and what his decision will be.

BRIGGS: It's not entirely clear Congressional Republicans want to this physical wall either. It may just be the president and John Kelly and Steven Miller.

ROMANS: And when you're talking about Dreamers, you also -- I mean, there's a longer term issue with 11 million -- I think 11 million people estimated who are here in the country illegally right now, you know. Will the president try to do some sort of negotiating on that wall, an actual physical wall in exchange for something down the road for those 11 million that could be palatable to Democrats? That still remains to be seen.

MORRONGIELLO: That would be something that would most certainly be included in some type of big comprehensive immigration bill which is what it seems like we're heading towards right now. But I think right now, the most pressing problem is addressing these undocumented young immigrants who are here, you have had this -- you've been protected from deportation for a number of years under the Obama administration. And determining what to do with them, do they need to be protected permanently with legal status, do we need to create a path to citizenship? If we do that.

And if that is something that is included in legislation, how do you then prevent perspective illegal immigrants from going ahead and crossing the border if they feel that's an incentive for them to do so. And that's really the argument that this White House is making. That is why you would need enhanced border security, enhanced enforcement measures to accompany any legislation that cements in these protections of the Dreamers.

ROMANS: I think it's pretty clear where the president's heart and head is. With the temporary protection status of the people from El Salvador who he says have, you know, until the fall of 2019 to leave the country. To leave the country. Some of these people, half of them have been here for at least 30 years. A third of them according to a study have mortgages, you know. So we know where he is on that.

BRIGGS: But, from the wrong pit of the buzz and that's all about Oprah running for president in 2020. And that really controlled the talk yesterday in D.C. And Ivanka Trump raised a few eyebrows with a tweet saying, "Just saw Oprah's empowering and inspiring speech at last night's Golden Globes. Let's all come together, women and men and say, hashtag times up, hashtag united."

Whether or not Oprah runs for president, much debate will happen on the next year or so. What do you make of Ivanka's tweet there? She was savaged on line for that.

MORRONGIELLO: I'm always a little surprised to see Ivanka Trump weigh into any debate surrounding sexual harassment considering her father is among the accused. But I do think that, yes, if you look at the responses to this, it's pretty clear that a lot of women who stand against this White House, who are opposed to her father's administration feel that she has been somewhat of a steady hand but also has failed to stand up for women in instances where she's had the opportunity to do so.

And it was a little shocking to see her weigh into this debate about whether or not Oprah Winfrey should run for president in 2020, but she wasn't the only one who did so. I mean, you a number of former or current White House aides yesterday including Sean Spicer, the former press secretary who said Oprah would be a formidable opponent for President Trump heading into 2020.

So it's interesting to see not only Ivanka Trump but also other allies of this White House considering Oprah to be a potential challenger heading into 2020.

ROMANS: It is really interesting to me how quickly we went from Oprah giving a fantastic speech about sexual harassment and women's right and suddenly it's Oprah 2020. Just how quickly that went from this --

BRIGGS: And with a slogan, a new day is on the horizon. It just seemed perfect for a launch.

ROMANS: Gabby Morrongiello, we'll come back in a few minutes. Washington Examiner White House correspondent. Nice to see you this morning.

MORRONGIELLO: Thank you.

ROMANS: Nine minutes pass the hour. North and South Korea face-to- face, the first high level talks in more than two years began overnight with the leaders of both countries. They're able to listen in, in real-time.

Some progress already announced on military matters, on the Olympics. But the U.S. merely a bystander to these talks.

For the very latest, let's go to CNN's Paula Hancocks. She is live for us at the entrance to the DMZ. Paula, bring us up to speed.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine, what we know for sure at this point is North Korea has agreed to sand a high-level delegation to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics here in South Korea which starts next month. Athletes, also a cheering squad and visiting group and a press corps will be coming here.

They're trying to hammer out the details though. We've already heard from the foreign minister here in South Korea that they may potential lift some of those sanctions that they have against North Korea temporarily just to make sure that they can come here.

[05:10:01] Now, presumably that is for the reason that they were considering sending a cruise ship from South Korea to North Korea to bring the delegations down where they could also accommodate them. But of course that is against sanctions because any ship that has been in North Korea is not allowed to dock in South Korea.

So these are the technicalities they're working through at this point. We know just half an hour ago another round of talks finished. They were trying to hammer out a joint statement so we could well hear something quite shortly from both sides.

Also, we know that they reopened a military communication channel which the South Koreans had wanted military talks to make sure that there could be no miscalculation which could lead to conflict in the future. And the South Koreans is pushing to have family reunions, families which have been split from the Korean War back in 1950 not being able to see each other since. They want reunions of those two sides.

So at this point, it seems like a lot has been decided today and it seems fairly positive. Christine?

ROMANS: All right. And the U.S. is a bystander, just an observer from afar in all of this. Paula, thank you for that. BRIGGS: That make 30 days before the Olympics.

All right, A backup freshman quarterback is the big man on campus this morning. Alabama with the title win in ages and Coy Wire was there. He's up somehow, magically. He has the bleacher report, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:15:29] BRIGGS: All right, a freshman quarterback who hadn't started a game all season leads Alabama to a thrilling overtime win in a college football championship. And now who's definitely around to say his name.

ROMANS: Coy Wire has more of this morning's Bleacher Report. I'm pretty sure he knows how. Hey there.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Good morning, Christine and Dave. You said how am I awake? I never went to sleep. So a lot of energy and adrenaline still flowing though guys, but the legend of 18-year-old Tua Tagovailoa from Hawaii as the gun.

Here in Atlanta, he led Alabama to a come from behind win over Georgia in the national championship game. And the legend of Nick Saban's coaching genius continues to grow too. Down 13 though at the half, second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts struggling, Saban makes the move calling Tagovailoa's number.

And with under four minutes to play, fourth down, Saban decides to go for it and he gets it. The true freshman Tua with a touchdown pass to Calvin Ridley to tie the game at 20. Jalen Hurts is the first player to celebrate with Tua.

Now the Tide would get it with seconds to go for a (INAUDIBLE) attempt for the win but it's wide left so it goes into overtime. The Bulldogs strike first the 51-yard field go but then Bama would have to score on their next drive and they do. Tagovailoa finds another freshman, DeVonta Smith, 41-yard bunk stealing the victory, 26 to 23, Tide rolling. Fifth national title in nine years.

Their emotional team, There's Tagovailoa hugging his dad, his two younger sisters, his brother were right there. My cell phone up in there. I caught up with the freshman in the tunnel moments after the game.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TUA TAGOVAILOA, OFFENSIVE MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: I told my family we did it. I told them I loved them. That's the only people I wanted to see after the game but all glory goes to God.

JALEN HURTS, ALABAMA QUARTERBACK: I told my man, play your game, do your thing. He looked me in the eyes and he knew that was all genuine. All together.

BRADLEY BOZEMAN, ALABAMA CAPTAIN: It's unbelievable. Honestly, I can't even describe it. To go out like this, it's real deal. (END VIDEO CLIP)

WIRE: Now that was Bradley Bozeman the team captain talking in his second national title in his 13-year. Might not have been even the highlight of this night.

Look at that. Dropping to a knee, proposing to his girlfriend Nikki Hegstetter. Pops the question, and I said why did you choose tonight? He said, well, if I was going to get a ring, I figured she should too.

President Trump was also at Mercedes-Benz Stadium here in Atlanta on the field before the game. During the national anthem he sang along with parts of it, and the president left at half time, and missed the epic come back, missed all the excitement.

But in sports, as you know, on the other side of excitement is the losing team. We're hear at Atlanta so a lot of UGA fans. Hearts are broken for them because what a valiant play for UGA.

ROMANS: Yes, it really was.

BRIGGS: You know, Coy, my producer pointed out what is it with Georgia teams blowing big leads on the national stage. Your thoughts?

WIRE: You know, this game was more than about the University of Georgia, it was about the city of Atlanta. The state of Georgia, that epic come from behind fail by the Atlanta Falcons, my former team last year ripped the hearts out of this city. This was the chance to rejuvenate and revitalize the city. And it happens again, guys, so just really heart breaking for this region indeed.

BRIGGS: Twenty to seven lead. Well, we appreciate you staying up all night long. Get yourself some executive time.

ROMANS: Thanks, Coy.

BRIGGS: Thank you, Coy.

ROMANS: Oh, well played.

President Trump promised to help coal country. Now regulators he appointed are rejecting a proposal to prop up the industry.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:23:28] BRIGGS: It's 5:23 Eastern Time. More than 200,000 citizens of El Salvador could lose their legal status in the U.S. in the next 18 months. The Trump administration says temporary protected status will end by September 2019. Officials say it will give them time to find other legals means of staying in the U.S. or face deportation.

The president of El Salvador taking a more optimistic view calling it an 18-month grace period allowing Congress to find a long term fix. CNN's Tal Kopan has more from Capitol Hill. TAL KOPAN, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Thanks, Dave and Christine. The decision yesterday by the Trump administration was widely expected but that by no means lessens the blow to many of these groups that had hoped that perhaps there would be a deal reached.

What happened is there's this category of protections called temporary protective status that is extended to nationals of countries that have suffered disasters. In this case, a natural disaster. A series of earthquake in 2001 but it can also apply to epidemics and war.

And there are more than 250,000 nationals of El Salvador that the Department of Homeland Security says are covered by this temporary protected status in the U.S. They all must have lived in the U.S. since 2001. They've been working, many of them have had U.S. citizen children.

The decision yesterday extends for 18 months a window for those individuals to make the decision now. Can they find another way to stay in the U.S.? Will they be able to do so in time? Do they separate their families, or they do take everyone back home? Or do they continue to live in the shadows in the U.S.?

[05:25:00] The issue is also now punted to Congress to a certain extent. You know, the Department of Homeland Security says if lawmakers are upset about this decision and there is bipartisan outrage on both sides of the aisle that Congress should be the one to take action here. So certainly, this is not perhaps the end of the saga with temporary protected status, but this is a major decision that's going to have shock waves for hundreds of thousands of individuals going forward.

Dave and Christine?

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

President Trump promised to help coal country but federal regulators rejected his administration's plan to prop up the struggling industry. The federal Energy Regulatory Commission including four Trump appointees voted unanimously against subsidizing coal and nuclear power plants.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry said the plan was necessary to bolster the nation's electricity grid. The commission didn't see it that way and they said that he did not provide enough evidence and that the plan unfairly limited competition. That's because Perry's proposal favored plan that store a 90-day fuel supply on site like coal.

The rise of cleaner energy has hurt the coal industry. Critics say helping coal would hurt consumers. Thanks to a competitive power market, electricity prices are near historic lows. This plan would have cost Americans up to $4 billion more a year in energy costs and would it have helped only a handful of coal companies like Murray Energy.

Murray Energy CEO told CNN the law would have ensured coal plants can supply electricity during sever weather like the recent cold spill. However, most power (INAUDIBLE) are caused by downed lines not a short fuel supply.

It's really interesting.

BRIGGS: It sure is.

ROMANS: It's so interesting to see the Republicans too trying to speak -- you know, they don't play favorites. In general, Republican administrations don't like to play favorites. The president won this election though by promising coal miners that they were going their standard of living back.

BRIGGS: This does seems against to what we normally expect from consecutives economically speaking.

Ahead, the president says no wall, no dreamers. Democrats say no DACA, no government funding. The immigration battle playing out at the White House today with the shutdown looming next week.