Return to Transcripts main page


Trump, I Am Not A Racist; DACA Deal Dead; Changes After False Alarm In Hawaii; Wall Street Big Tax Winner; North And South Korea Holds Second Round Of Talks; Queen Elizabeth Unscripted; Minny Happy Returns. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired January 15, 2018 - 04:00   ET



[04:00:21] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, no, I'm not a racist. I'm the least racist person you have ever interviewed.


DAVE BRIGGS, EARLY START SHOW CO-HOST: Dark and rather unusual words from the President of the United States after reportedly using an expletive to describe African nations now who can and can't remember what was said in that meeting suddenly a partisan issue.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, EARLY START SHOW CO-HOST: The President is blaming the Democrats from bringing the country and the government on the verge of a shutdown. Can talks on immigration deal be salvaged before Friday's deadline?

BRIGGS: And changes in Hawaii after a false alarm of inbound ballistic missile. Warnings set millions running for cover during the worst after months of heated rhetoric. Can you imagine the fear that ran through the hearts and minds of Hawaiians? Good morning everyone. Thanks for getting an "Early Start" with us I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It is Monday January 15, this is the day we remember and honor Martin Luther King Jr. for many of you it will be a day of service, school is out. It's 4:00 a.m. in the east, 11:00 p.m. in Honolulu, 6:00 p.m. in Seoul. President Trump defending himself over days of controversy over those remarks to describe Haitians and African nations. He has said he abused an (inaudible) to describe African nation while talking immigration with lawmakers. This was Thursday. The last night the President pushed back against accusations his words reflect racist believes and now lawmakers within the GOP, they disagree on whether the president used this explosive term at all.

BRIGGS: The President also talked about the possibility of a government with the clock ticking, the Friday's deadline it remains far apart on the deal from DREAMERS. White House correspondent Boris Sanchez traveling with the President has more from West Palm Beach.

(BEGIN VIDEO) BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN NEWSROOM HOST: Christine and Dave, the President

taking a few moments before dinner with house majority leader Kevin McCarthy on Sunday night to answer reporter's questions and he made news on a variety of fronts. For one, having to answer that uncomfortable question that came up this week after the President reportedly made some disparaging remarks about African nations and Haitians during a meeting with lawmakers at the White House. Here is the president answering the reporter's question, are you a racist. Listen to this.


TRUMP: No. No, I'm not a racist. I am the least racist person you've ever interviewed, that I can tell you.


SANCHEZ: And getting back to the question of whether the President said those controversial remarks at a meeting with lawmakers on Thursday, Sunday night the President asked reporters did you see what Senators said about that meeting? The interesting thing about that is that there are very many different answers even just from Republicans about what the President said. Christine and Dave?


ROMANS: All right, Boris Sanchez thank you.

The partisan wrangling over exactly what the President said about immigration meeting becoming increasingly bitter. Listen to two Republican Senators in the homeland security secretary.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you saying the President did not use the word that is being so widely reported?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm telling you he did not use that word, George and I'm telling you it's a gross misrepresentation. How many times you want me to say that?

TOM COTTON, ARKANSAS SENATOR: I didn't hear that word either. I certainly didn't hear what Senator Durbin said repeatedly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're saying in that room you didn't hear any of this sort of lumping everybody together. Is that what are you saying?

COTTON: I did not hear derogatory comments.

About individuals or persons, no.

KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: I don't recall him saying that exact phrase. I think he has been clear and I would certainly say the President will use, continue to use strong language when it comes to this issue. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To say I don't recall seems implausible. If the

President of the United States used the word blank hole talking about countries in the oval office or didn't say it, I would know.

NIELSEN: I understand the question. It was an impassioned conversation. I don't recall that specific phrase being used.


ROMANS: Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen appears tomorrow at a senate judiciary committee oversight hearing that sets up an interesting possible face-off with committee member Dick Durbin that Democrat who says the President definitely used that vulgarity that he heard it, he confirmed that vulgarity was used.

BRIGGS: Senator Lindsey Graham the only Republican in the meeting with a different answer. He did not directly confirm or deny Trump's comments in a statement Friday, but Graham did say, quote, I said my peace directly to him. The President and all those attending the meeting know what I said and how I feel. An initially statement from the White House did not deny the President made the reported comments, although the President said he did not use these particular expletive. There's too much focus on the specific expletive and not on the notion that we want more people here from Norway and less people here from African nation, too much attention is being given to the expletive, who cares? Is it more important to notion, the racist notion that merit based immigration depends on where you are from, who you are, not your skills, not your education?

[04:05:13] ROMANS: It is fascinating and it is a problem now for the discussion about DACA and the DREAMERS. Now you've got a real fight set up. The President blaming the Democrats for the lack of progress on immigration talks. No deal is in site on immigration reform. With government shutdown looming at the end of this week. The president insisting Democrats don't want an agreement.


TRUMP: But I don't think the Democrats want to make a deal and the folks from DACA should know the Democrats are the ones that aren't going to make a deal. I don't know if they'll be a shutdown. There shouldn't be because if there is our military gets hurt very badly. We cannot let our military be hurt.


BRIGGS: The Trump administration is now taking renewal applications for DREAMERS immigrants brought here illegally as children. The federal court order has blocked the White House from terminating the DACA program.

ROMANS: All right time for early start on you money this Monday morning. U.S. markets are closed in observation of the Martin Luther King holiday today, but investors will return tomorrow with the market as all-time highs and a big reason for that, the corporate tax cut. Look at that start to the year. While the President has promised that the tax overhaul will be fantastic for the middle income people of America, the jury is still out on how much of the tax law will benefit Main Street in the long run. Workers are helped by a rising stock market through investment and retirement accounts. The market tends to favor richer Americans more. Here's how. The Federal Reserve says barely one-third of families in the bottom half of earners own stocks, either directly or indirectly and dozens of companies are sharing their tax savings with workers. You've heard about all these announcements of up to $1,000 bonuses, higher wages. Less than 10 percent of the S&P 500 companies have announced worker benefits like wage hike, bonuses or sweetened 401(k) plans at least so far. Maybe that will change, but at least so far. Wall Street wouldn't love the tax law if it were the greatest gift to workers, because that would eat into record high profit margins and it is those profits that are driving the market.

BRIGGS: Did the President say I have or I'd have? Yes another semantic debate. It makes a difference as the White House disputes a quote in the "The Wall Street Journal." the President was answering a question about North Korea and was quoted by the journalist as saying, I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong-un. White House press secretary Sara Sanders challenging that quote claiming the president actually said I'd probably have in as I would have.

ROMANS: President Trump following up with a tweet calling the "The Wall Street Journal" fake news. The journal is a conservative publication and the White House and the newspaper both releasing audio of the comment. They both released audio of this moment, from that interview, here's the clip from the administration. Listen carefully and judge for yourself.


TRUMP: And I'd probably have a good relationship with Kim Jong-un.


ROMANS: The President calling out the "The Wall Street Journal" while insisting the door is open for talks with North Korea.


TRUMP: The "The Wall Street Journal," as you know, quoted totally wrong, but we'll see what happens with North Korea. We have great talks going on. The Olympics you know about. Lot of things can happen.


BRIGGS: When asked if he spoken directly with Kim Jong-un the President, again, refused to answer.

Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona expected to deliver a floor speech on Wednesday comparing President Trump's attacks to the news media for the rhetoric of Soviet dictator to Joseph Stalin. According to an expert, Flake plans to call Trump's tactics, quote, and an assault as unprecedented as it is unwarranted. ROMANS: The Senator's speech reads in part it's a testament to the

condition of our democracy that our own President uses words infamously spoken about Joseph Stalin to describe his enemies. It bears noting that so fraught with malice is the phrase that even the predecessor forbade its use. Flake goes on to scold his own party saying the President's action should be a great source of shame for the senate and Republicans. Senator Flake is not seeking reelection in 2018.

BRIGGS: In Hawaii the emergency management officer who sent a false alarm of an inbound missile has been reassigned. Not fired. Not yet any way. The mishap that sent Hawaiians scrambling for cover came during a routine drill following at a shift change. Officials say an officer in the emergency operations center mistakenly picked the wrong message template, one for sending a warning to the public not just internally.

ROMANS: The office clicked OK to confirm that incorrect message Ballistic missile inbound to Hawaii eek immediate shelter. This is not a drill. That hair-raising warning sent to TVs, radios, every single cell phone in Hawaii. It took 38 minutes to send a follow-up alert that the first message was a false alarm. Meantime emergency officials and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard sent tweets saying there was no missile threat, but the alert itself is not the main issue.


[04:10:17] TUSLI GABBARD, (D) HAWAII: What makes me angry is, yes, that this false alarm went out and we have to fix that in Hawaii, but really we've got to get to the underlying issue here of why are the people of Hawaii in this country facing a nuclear threat coming from North Korea today and what is this President doing urgently to eliminate that threat.


BRIGGS: Officials say it took so long to cancel the false alarm because they had no template for that, an omission that is now been fixed. A manager on duty will also have to confirm any future alerts. President Trump calls it a state issue. The White House says he was briefed although he did not mention the issue for more than a day while tweeting on several other topics.

ROMANS: Meantime CNN's Barbara Starr reports the Pentagon is about to issue its nuclear posture review, a draft linked to the post" shows senior officials not only want to modernize the U.S. aging arsenal, they want to add new ways to wage nuclear wars as Russia, China and other adversaries bolster their own arsenals.

BRIGGS: Some breaking news this morning. 72 people were injured when an entire floor collapsed at a stock exchange Jakarta Indonesia. The second floor inside tower two fell Monday around 12:30 p.m. She says the area's an open space that is frequented by tourists. Trading resumes at normal and the afternoon session. Wow.

ROMANS: 11 minutes past the hour. North Korea and South Korea back at the negotiating table. Their second round of talks in a week about the Olympics and more. We'll go live to Seoul.


[04:15:54] ROMANS: North Korea and South Korea returning to the table. They held a second round of talks overnight on the North in anticipation in the net months winter Olympics in South Korea. The talks were taking place in the truce village. Let's go live to CNN Paula Hancocks as she is in Seoul, South Korea, with the very latest. Back to the table talking again. What do we know?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is right Christine. The second round of talks in just a week. There's less than a month to go before the Olympics so there's an awful lot of details to be ironed out. They have agreed today it really was the knitty-gritty of the discussions. Things like where to put a stage at the Olympics so that the North Korean troops can actually perform their. The entertainers, so it was really quite in detail at this point and there was also interestingly the leader of an all-girl band group which is in North Korea, it's the one that Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader is entertained by from time to time. It's the best known export from North Korea. One of the singers was also part of this delegation, so potentially they'll be coming within the delegation. But they did agree or at least the South Koreans proposed there should be an inter- Korean team when it comes to women's ice hockey. They would like to see a joint team playing and competing under the same flag. That would be the first time within an Olympics if that happens. We've got no word from North Korea at this point whether or not they would accept that. At the same time they're sitting opposite each other at these talks which are significant, there are still articles slamming South Korea. Christine?

ROMANS: All right. Paula. Thank you so much for that in Seoul for us this morning.

BRIGGS: Investigation is under way after commercial airliner skidded off a runway in northern Turkey this weekend coming to a rest, yes, on a seaside cliff with its nose just yards from the water. Officials say if the Boeing 737 jet had gone any further down the slope, the plane would have likely plunged into the black sea. 162 passengers and crew on board. The Pegasus airline flight from Ankara the airline in a statement says everyone was able to make it off the plane uninjured.

ROMANS: That is terrifying.

BRIGGS: Amazing.

ROMANS: All right. A rare interview with Queen Elizabeth to mark the 65th anniversary of her coronation. The queen sharing her memories from the 1950's ceremony and documentary on the Smithsonian channel. She recalls her father King George VI was so determined to prepare her from her coronation that he had her write her complete review of his coronation when she was 11. Queen Elizabeth also revealing she has only won the Saint Edward's crown once in her six decade reign and riding in the gold state coach to the coronation with a horrible experience. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUEEN ELIZABETH: Horrible. It's just -- it's only sprung on leather.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It rocks around a lot.

QUEEN ELIZABETH: Not very comfortable. You can only go walking pace. Horses couldn't possibly go any faster.


ROMANS: The queen says the coronation was going to be so long, guests snuck food, strong drink and even smelling salts into Westminster.

BRIGGS: String drinks and smelling. All right ahead the Minnesota Vikings with a miracle finish for the ages headed to the NFC title game. How this one finished next?


[04:23:49] BRIGGS: The death toll from the California mudslides now at 20. Four others are still missing. The Santa Barbara sheriff's department says it's now a search and recovery operation. A vigil was held last night for the victims. The 101 freeway, the main coastal artery connecting northern and southern California was supposed to reopen today, but officials say it is still not clear for travel.

ROMANS: Just a tragedy.

BRIGGS: Devastating.

ROMANS: Still really in a lot of pain.

All right. Something resembling a real life movie stunt only much more dangerous. In Santa Ana California, look at that. Fire officials say a speeding car hit a center divider in the road, launching it into a second floor dentist office. A fire broke out but was quickly extinguished. Incredibly both people in the car suffered just minor injuries. The driver admitted to using narcotics. He was admitted to a local hospital for observation.

BRIGGS: A Minnesota Vikings are headed to the NFC championship game after a bit of a miracle in Minneapolis. Minnesota with a stunning last second victory over New Orleans. The Vikings dominated this game early taking a 17-0 lead to the half. The lead seesawing back and forth during the fourth quarter with the teams trading field goals.

[04:25:00] New Orleans goes up for 25 seconds left. The Vikings down to their final play, the clock and their season about to expire.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Steps in to, the pass is caught. Side line, touchdown! Unbelievable!

(END VIDEO CLIP) BRIGGS: Remarkable. Case Keenum to Diggs 61 yards to score. 29-24

Vikings. The skull champ rocking U.S. stadium. The Vikings head to Philadelphia next week for the NFC title game. Eagles beat the falcons Saturday. In the AFC, The Jacksonville Jaguars stunned the football world beating up on the Steelers 45-42. Jacksonville makes its first appearance in AFC title game since 1999. The Jags had two New England next week. A nine point underdog to take on Tom Brady and the Super Bowl champion Patriots. The Pats defend the title in Saturday advancing to their seventh straight conference title game. As for the Vikings, they could be the first team ever to play at home for the super bowl. Minnesota will play host first weekend in February.

ROMANS: That was quite a pass.

BRIGGS: It was astounding. I was as sleep my son ran in and woke me up. I was a little started by.

Good stuff.

President Trump says he is the least racist person you've ever met. But his remarks to lawmakers last week suggest otherwise. The fallout deeming hopes for an immigration deal before Friday's shutdown deadline.