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EARLY START

Funding/Immigration Showdown Looms; Korea Talks Focus on Olympics, Family Reunions; Alabama Rallies to Win College Football Title; HHS Nominee Azar Faces Senate Committee. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired January 9, 2018 - 05:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:30:45] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN HOST: It's a mess. That's how one negotiator describes talks about Dreamers and immigration. Bipartisan talks at the White House today with a government shutdown looming next week.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN HOST: Breaking overnight, North and South Korea with their first talks in two years. What progress was made on Pyongyang's nuclear program, if any?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALABAMA-GEORGIA FOOTBALL GAME ANNOUNCER: Touchdown -- Alabama wins.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: And, an instant classic in the College Football National Championship. A bold move by Nick Sabin helps bring the title back to Bama.

We have reports from Capitol Hill, the DMZ and, of course, the college football title game in Atlanta.

It is 5:31 eastern time. Executive times ends at 11:00, and 11:30 is a consequential meeting on immigration.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: Just a little pad in there.

ROMANS: Yes -- 31 minutes past the hour this morning -- this Tuesday morning.

And at that meeting at 11:30, immigration tops the 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 are focused on DACA, the Dreamer program protecting undocumented immigrants who were brought here when they were children.

BRIGGS: If Republicans and Democrats can't agree, the federal government could shut down at the end of next week.

Now, the president has assigned his Chief of Staff John Kelly to guide his immigration proposals through Congress. 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.

ROMANS: There isn't 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)

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 a big deadline to get his government spending bill passed by January 19th.

Lawmakers are at a real impasse here for DACA, which has been entangled into the new 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 a 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.

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 want great security for our country. It's 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 build that wall -- Dave and Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRIGGS: All right, Sunlen Serfaty, thank you.

Let's bring back "Washington Examiner" White House correspondent Gabby Morrongiello live in D.C. this morning. Good to have you back.

So, let's hear what President Trump said about these negotiations yesterday in Nashville.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: We are going to end the lottery system and we are going to build the wall. Every American child deserves 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)

BRIGGS: Does that include children brought here by their parents? Of course, Dreamers at the heart of this.

Gabby, is there literally a physical border wall between Republicans and Democrats? Where are we headed?

GABBY MORRONGIELLO, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Well, today is a big meeting to discuss the path ahead for legislation that would address these so-called Dreamers -- young people who were brought to the country illegally but who have been here under protection from deportation for many years.

The Republicans are still looking to cut a deal with Democrats who want to include this in some type of spending legislation before the end of the month, but it looks as though President Trump's desire for this physical barrier or border wall down at the southwest border is really standing in the way.

[05:35:06] We've heard the White House outline a number of immigration principles -- ones that would include enhanced border security, improved enforcement measures. Things like E-Verify to mandate employment verification. Certain measures that would address the visa lottery program, which this administration has been particularly critical of.

But we're still not sure how all of that fits into a comprehensive immigration bill and whether his desire for this border wall that he promised his supporters he would make Mexico pay for is a non-starter if it's not included in that -- in that legislation.

ROMANS: Gosh, if I had a dollar for every time there were serious discussions just getting underway in comprehensive immigration reform, and it always goes up in flames. I mean, it really is difficult here.

Immigration reform, of course, something that the president was elected on. He was also elected by rural voters who -- farmers, really, who really saw this president as somebody who was going to increase their standards of living.

The president, yesterday, in front of the Farm Bureau in Nashville, telling farmers how happy they should be that they had him to vote for -- listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Oh, are you happy you voted for me. You are so lucky that I gave you that privilege. The other choice wasn't going to work out too well for the farmers or the miners or anybody else. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: "You are so lucky that I gave you that privilege." One thing that was interesting to me about that comment and that venue yesterday is because the biggest source of labor for the farm sector is immigration -- legal and illegal immigration.

BRIGGS: Right.

ROMANS: TPP was going to raise farm incomes by some $4 billion. NAFTA has been a boon to farmers. And, the president has proposed cutting subsidies for farmers -- insurance subsidies eliminating immigration, of course. Crop insurance cutbacks.

So, they were watching very nervously yesterday but the crowd was really kind of raucous in favor of him.

Does he run a risk of disappointing these miners and farmers who voted for him?

MORRONGIELLO: Well, I think you have to take a look at the crowd that he was speaking to in this type of instance. I mean, these are rural voters. People in states like Tennessee, West Virginia, Iowa.

Farmers who did, in fact, support his presidential campaign, many of whom are actually supporters of these trade deals like NAFTA --

ROMANS: Right.

MORRONGIELLO: -- but also have priorities that are being met by this administration, particularly the rollback of certain regulations that have affected the farming industry.

ROMANS: Right. A lot of rules they don't like from the -- from --

MORRONGIELLO: Exactly, and so I think the president knows that yes, he does have to walk a careful line here and make sure that he's not implementing programs or putting forward policies that would harm this industry.

Illegal immigration is one that you certainly touched on. I mean, there's a lot of undocumented workers who, you know, work in the farming industry, work in agriculture and viticulture -- a number of these industries across the United States.

And also, legal workers.

ROMANS: Right.

MORRONGIELLO: And we've talked a lot about, under the current discussion on immigration reform, possibly reforming the work visa system and things that would impact a lot of these voters who are either -- or, I'm sorry, a lot of these workers who are either seasonal or here temporarily.

And so, that's something that this president is certainly aware of, but how that fits into this discussion of comprehensive immigration reform, I think, is something to keep an eye on in this -- in the coming weeks.

ROMANS: Gabby --

BRIGGS: We'll certainly relitigate all these battles in 2020. Will Oprah weigh in on them? That is still the subject of discussion in D.C.

"Noprah," the cover on the "Post." But "Yes, She Can" across town on the New York tabloids.

An interesting tweet from Bill Kristol from the conservative "Weekly Standard." Bill Kristol tweeting this.

"Oprah, sounder on economics than Bernie Sanders, understands Middle America better than Elizabeth Warren, less touchy-feely than Joe Biden, more pleasant than Andrew Cuomo, more charismatic than John Hickenlooper. #ImWithHer."

That certainly raised a few eyebrows in D.C.

Is this a sign of Democrats' desperation or, really, more a matter of inspiration? Are the prospects real for Oprah to make a run?

MORRONGIELLO: Well, I think it's a little bit of a mix of both.

And I think Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, had one of the best quotes about this yesterday when she said that one of the reasons we should be wary of encouraging somebody like Oprah Winfrey to run for president is because of what we've seen unfold under the Trump administration. But perhaps, it's also one of the reasons why we should encourage Oprah Winfrey to run for president in 2020 and challenge President Trump.

And so, I do think that this is a lot being made about a small speech yesterday. It was a powerful and heartfelt speech at the Golden Globes on Sunday.

[05:40:00] But whether or not Oprah Winfrey is going to be challenging the president in 2020, I would be reluctant to be so excited about that at this point. It's still very early on.

BRIGGS: No doubt, but "a new day is on the horizon" sounded like a campaign slogan.

Gabby Morrongiello from "The Washington Examiner," thank you.

ROMANS: Thanks, Gabby.

MORRONGIELLO: Thank you.

BRIGGS: All right.

President Trump's lawyers preparing for a request to speak with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and the president's lawyers are hoping to limit the scope of questions.

According to sources, so far, there have been no substantive talks about a potential interview. Trump's attorneys 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. Ronald Reagan did that in the Iran Contra.

Whether he should -- testimony could be recorded. Bill Clinton had recorded testimony for a grand jury.

What would be the process here?

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

BRIGGS: All right, to breaking news this morning.

North and South Korea face-to-face. The first high-level talks in more than two years overnight with the leaders of both countries able to listen in in real time. Some progress already announced on military matters and the Olympics.

The U.S., of course, merely a bystander to all of these talks.

For the latest, let's join CNN's Paula Hancocks live near the demilitarized zone.

Paula, just one month from the Olympics. What are we learning?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dave, we know that North Korea will send a high-level delegation. They have confirmed that. In fact, within the first few hours of speaking.

And when you consider that the leaders of both countries were listening in in real time and could intervene because there were hotlines connected, then it shows that there was will on both sides to make this work.

Now, we also know that at the beginning, the South Korean delegation did mention that they wanted to talk about sorting out a peace settlement and wanted to talk about denuclearization. The North Koreans, we don't understand, actually addressed that directly.

But what they did say is that they would reopen military communication channels, which have been closed because South Korea had asked for military talks to make sure there's no kind of miscalculation which could lead to a conflict on the Peninsula.

Also, saying they wanted to talk about separated families and possible family reunions. So, those families split between North and South Korea since the Korean War in the 1950s.

We've had the first response from President Moon Jae-in. A senior advisor speaking to CNN said that he is very happy and that this is more than anticipated.

When CNN asked him what he thought U.S. President Donald Trump would make of it he said, simply, Trump said go ahead. We had a blessing from him.

But, of course, one interesting thing from the Foreign Ministry. South Korea has offered, potentially, to temporarily lift sanctions against North Korea. Now, these would just be in order to help them to come to the Winter Olympics.

Potentially, something like if a ship has been in North Korea it's not allowed to dock in South Korea. South Korea is thinking of sending a cruise ship to collect the delegation and to accommodate them. So certainly, they have to have some logistical changes.

BRIGGS: So, at the very least, a peaceful PyeongChang Olympics ahead.

Paula Hancocks live for us. Thank you.

ROMANS: All right.

A backup freshman quarterback is big man on campus this morning. Alabama with a title win for the ages.

Coy Wire was there. He's still up, fresh as a daisy, with this morning's "Bleacher Report," next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:48:09] BRIGGS: For the fifth time in nine seasons, Alabama is champion of college football, all thanks to a freshman quarterback and a bold move by Nick Sabin.

ROMANS: Oh, yes. Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report." Good morning --

BRIGGS: Hey, buddy.

ROMANS: -- or good evening, or party on, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: What time is it? Where am I? Who am I? I don't know.

I know a saw a heck of a football game, though. The legend of 18- year-old Tua Tagovailoa from Hawaii has begun. It was here in Atlanta that he led Alabama to a come-from-behind win over Georgia in the National Championship game. And, oh, the legend of Nick Sabin continues to grow, too.

Down 13-0 at the half, second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts struggling. Sabin calls Tagovailoa's number and with under four minutes to play, fourth down, Sabin goes for it and the true freshman Tua tosses it to Calvin Ridley for the touchdown, tying the game at 20.

Now, Alabama would get the ball back with seconds remaining and a 36- yard field goal attempt for the win, but it goes wide left so we go to overtime.

The Bulldogs would strike first with a field goal so Alabama would have to match. Well, Tagovailoa says uh-uh, scratch that, I'm going for the jugular. Forty-one-yard bomb to a fellow freshman Devonta Smith for the touchdown and the win.

The Tide in an instant classic, 26 to 23.

And in this emotional scene, look at Tagovailoa, Alabama's hero, running over to his heroes, his dad, his two younger sisters, his brother, winning the college football playoff National Championship.

All right, he wasn't the only one getting hugs and kisses for the Tide. Check out Alabama's Bradley Bozeman, team captain, dropping to a knee proposing. This is his girlfriend Nikki Hegstetter.

And you know what? She absolutely said yes. Are you kidding me?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRADLEY BOZEMAN, SENIOR OFFENSIVE LINEMAN, ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE: I just thought that she deserved a grand stage, you know. She's amazing, she deserves the world and more. You know, I thought since I was getting a ring tonight that she should, too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[05:50:05] WIRE: Congrats.

Now, on the other side, the agony of defeat. The Crimson Tide and their fans celebrating, it was utter devastation for Bulldog Nation.

Just a month ago they were celebrating their first SEC title in a decade on this very same field inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Now, they're watching confetti rain down on the team that has been the king of college football over the last decade.

Congrats to you guys, as well. The Bulldogs put up a valiant fight but it's all about Roll Tide.

And speaking of confetti, I brought some back. This is actually from the field. It rained down.

So, if you know anybody out there that wants some of these, you know --

BRIGGS: eBay.

WIRE: -- Roll Tide fans. eBay, there we go.

BRIGGS: Make yourself some cash.

Hey, Georgia's going to be OK. Jake Fromm is a future number one pick and they've got some studs coming back. Don't you think?

WIRE: He might be a first-rounder if he came out this year. If he was able, he might go. This kid's incredible.

BRIGGS: I'd take him. That kid has some stones.

WIRE: Yes. Bulldogs, keep those heads up.

BRIGGS: Thank you, Coy.

WIRE: You're welcome.

BRIGGS: Appreciate you staying up.

ROMANS: All right.

Your Pizza Hut delivery's going to be rolling up in a self-driving van. How's that? How soon could these vehicles hit the road and when can we order one?

"CNN Money Stream" is next.

BRIGGS: Come on, bring it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:55:36] BRIGGS: The president's pick for Health and Human Service secretary goes before the Senate Finance Committee today and questions are being raised about Alex Azar when he helped run pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly.

CNN's Rene Marsh will cover the hearing and has a preview from Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION AND GOVERNMENT REGULATION 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.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRIGGS: All right, Rene, thanks.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner inviting Attorney General Jeff Sessions to discuss marijuana.

Last week, Sessions rescinded an Obama policy to take a hands-off approach with states that legalized marijuana. Gardner said he would block all of the president's judicial nominees until Sessions' decision is reversed.

Sessions' move likely to pit federal law enforcement against local officials where pot is legal, including Colorado.

No meeting on the schedule yet. A lot of indecision in those eight states.

ROMANS: All right, let's get a check on "CNN Money Stream" this morning.

Global stock markets higher today. The Dow closed lower on a drop in health care. In bank stocks, the S&P and the Nasdaq just managing to hit record highs. Still, it is the strongest start to the year in more than a decade.

Big changes for GoPro. It's killing its drone business, blaming a hostile regulatory environment in Europe and the United States. Layoffs big time, slashing 20 percent of its staff.

GoPro's fourth-quarter revenue fell $200 million, or 37 percent, from last year forcing it to cut prices on the HERO5, its core camera product.

Google is being sued for allegedly discriminating against white men. The suit was filed by James Damore, a former Google engineer. He was fired over a controversial essay suggesting biological differences may be why there aren't more women in leadership roles in tech.

Now, Damore claims he and others were punished for their political beliefs and that Google discriminates against conservatives, white people, and men.

In response to the lawsuit, Google telling CNN, "We look forward to defending against Mr. Damore's lawsuit in court."

All right. Your Pizza Hut delivery could one day roll up in a self- driving van like this one. Toyota unveiled this concept vehicle and is teaming up with a handful of partners, including Pizza Hut, to make this a reality.

Toyota says the van can host a mobile store, for example. It could act as a ride-sharing service, it could deliver packages, deliver pizzas.

Toyota plans to start testing in 2020.

BRIGGS: I'd recommend those eight states that we discussed prior.

ROMANS: (LAUGHING).

BRIGGS: It might be a nice fit.

ROMANS: I see an actual synergy there. You are right.

All right, thank for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now. We'll see you tomorrow.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: You have Trump saying if I don't get my wall we're not going to do the Dreamer's Act.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't believe that we should be trading the lives of Dreamers for a wall.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope the Democrats will be willing to compromise.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No one thinks Mueller will wrap up the obstruction of justice probe without an interview with the president.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Obviously, his lawyers are going to everything they can to try to control this and limit the scope.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they can constrain this interview, then Donald Trump should do it.

ALABAMA-GEORGIA FOOTBALL GAME ANNOUNCER: It's in the end zone -- touchdown. Alabama wins.

NICK SABIN, HEAD COACH, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA: It's a fantastic night for the University of Alabama. I couldn't be prouder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Believe me, I've dreamed about this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: I know you lost some money on the game last night but don't be upset. You know it was great.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Was it football? I really don't even know -- was it football?

CUOMO: We'll talk -- it was. It was football.

CAMEROTA: OK.

CUOMO: College football, and we'll talk about it a little bit in the "Bleacher Report." But an amazing human interest story for you.

CAMEROTA: Oh, good. CUOMO: All right.