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Democrats may Withhold Votes Unless DACA is Fixed; Trump's Vulgar Comments Stiffen Dems' Spines; Trump: Durbin "Totally Misinterpreted" Comment; Washington Consumed by Immigration Fight; CA Couple Charged with Torture, Child Endangerment; Cranberries Lead Singer Dolores O'Riordan Dies. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired January 16, 2018 - 05:00   ET



ROMANS: Yes, I mean if you're going to be able to use your advertising in the CVS stores, just sell your product because it's your standard, you're going to have to change the standard. I think that's really --

BRIGGS: Will you do two separate marketing campaigns that, would be a question for --

ROMANS: I think so. I think realism is maybe the way this is going to go.

BRIGGS: Wow, fascinating. All right, "Early Start" --

ROMANS: I buy air brushing.

BRIGGS: -- "Early Start" continues right now.

ROMANS: Immigration deal facing long odds after the President's comments on African countries. Now, Democrats are giving a real thought to shutting down the government if demands aren't met.


SEN. DICK DURBIN, (D) ILLINOIS: I stick with my original interpretation. I am stunned that this is their defense.


BRIGGS: The bewilderment grows as Republicans engage in a game of semantics. Top GOP senators are hiding behind the different -- between derogatory terms about African nations.

ROMANS: And this troubling story in California, 13 siblings rescued, held captive in a filthy homes, some of the children chained to death, their parents now facing serious charges. We have a report from California as well Capitol Hill, Jerusalem and London.

Good morning everyone. Welcome to "Early Start". I'm Christine Romans. BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. It's Tuesday, January 16th. It's 5:00 a.m. in the East.

The President unveiling the Trump Taj Mahal or maybe Trump stakes of nicknames. We'll get to that shortly, one that didn't go so well.

We start this morning with lawmakers returning to Capitol Hill facing a complex agenda and a ticking clock. They must agree on a spending plan by Friday when government spending authority runs out. The main issue on the table of course remains a deal on Dreamers, further complicated by the President's racially charged comments last week.

ROMANS: Usually cooler heads prevailed and spending deal has reached. But GOP fiscal conservatives don't want another short-term solution. And this is the first time in memory Democrats are seriously considering withholding their votes. Some want to use this moment, to use this moment to fight for a long-term DACA fix.

Phil Mattingly has the state of play from Capitol Hill.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, there are now four legislative days that lawmakers have to try and figure out some way to keep the government funded beyond Friday. Things are in just as difficult position. The issues are still very complex. And in terms of the pathway forward as it currently stands when we talked to Republican and Democratic aides, one doesn't exist at least at the moment.

Now, the dynamics here aren't new. Democrats say they don't want to vote on any bill to keep the government funded if there's no DACA resolution included with it or around the same time table. Republicans now have made very clear. That resolution, any deal on a potential DACA bill, will not exist by this end of this week.

So here is the dynamic as it currently stands right now, Republicans in the House led by Speaker Paul Ryan need to find 218 Republican votes of their own. They can't rely on Democrats. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has made that very clear. So that is one issue that's on the plate of Paul Ryan.

Now on the plate of Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in the Senate Republicans can't pass a government funding resolution on their own. They need Democratic support. Were Democrats on that? Well, take a listen to what Senator Chris Coons had to say on Monday.


SEN. CHRIS COONS, (D) DELAWARE: Majority of my caucus, myself included, we will not fund the government without a DACA deal. The Republican Majority and the Republican President to put a very sharp point on it have failed to come up with a way that we can fund the government and address the vital needs of states and territories, of families and children all over this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MATTINGLY: So guys, that's where the dynamics currently stand. And that's not even considering or taking into play the comments of the President in the private Oval Office meeting last week. Something that Democratic aides tell me this only serve to hardened the resolve of Democrats who say they're not going to move forward on anything if there is no DACA resolution.

The reality, they say right now, is there's no trust with the White House and more importantly, there is a bipartisan deal, it's one Republican leaders certainly don't like, it's when the President reject it. But what Democrats say, it's the only thing that's currently on the table. If there's no vote on that, if there's no consideration on that, they may be willing to withhold their votes.

Right now, there's more confusion than there are answers. There are more questions than there are pathways forward. That obviously leads a lot of work in just four days to get it all done. Christine and Dave?

BRIGGS: Some long odds. Phil, thank you.

President Trump accusing Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of distorting the comments he made last week to describe immigrants from Africa. And the President unveiled a doozy of nicknames. Here it is folks, Senator Dicky Durbin. He stated there, he added a "y." "Durbin totally misrepresented what was said at the DACA meeting. Deals can't get made when there is no trust. Durbin blew DACA and he's hurting our military." And that only makes sense if totally misrepresented means "shithole" and "shithouse" are two completely different things.

ROMANS: A senior GOP source tells CNN some Republicans in the room thought that President called Haiti and African nations as house countries. That could explain why the Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue and the DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen all insisted they didn't hear the President "s-holes". But then tap danced --

[05:05:06] BRIGGS: Got it.

ROMANS: -- when ask what they actually heard. See, it's all about exactly what bad word was used. The White House and Republicans playing a high stakes game here of semantics.

BRIGGS: Yes, thank you for the clarity. Which ever expletive the President use, the racial implications of taking fewer black and brown immigrants and more people from Norway remain unchanged. Now, Florida Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart who was at the immigration meeting won't say what was said.


REP. MARIO DIAZ-BALART, (R) FLORIDA: And again, I will not comment about what may or may not have been said publicly. But I am committed to -- because look, look, the easy thing to do would be to --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're not going to answer that question. BALART: Well, because the easy thing for me to do is, you know, this person said that, this person said this. The bottom line is I am not in the position to solve this problem.


ROMANS: All right, the one Republican senator in the meeting to call the President out. Lindsey Graham usually an ally of the President. He now says this.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: Mr. President, close the deal, 80% of Americans want to give the DACA kids a better life and 80% of Americans want to secure our border and change the broken immigration system. This is going to take you, Mr. President, working with Republicans and Democrats to get this done. It's not going to be done on Twitter -- by tweeting. This is going to be done by talking and understanding.


ROMANS: Fascinating details from "The Washington Post". It reports before Thursday's meeting, hard liners including Senators Perdue and Cotton were so concern the President would agree to a bipartisan DACA deal, they went to the Oval Office ahead of time before the planned discussion. The aim was to convince this President not to sign off on the deal he was about to see.

BRIGGS: "The Post" also says Chief of Staff John Kelly convinced the President the plan Durbin would outline wasn't good for him politically.

Joining us to discuss all this, Washington Examiner commentary writer, Phillip Wegmann, who certainly might be -- I'd be a little young, remember the Reagan years, but you've definitely read about when we debated the Reagan say, s-house or s-hole, right? You remember reading about that.


BRIGGS: Or you remember Presidents Bush and Obama bestowing nicknames on their political rivals? You don't remember that?

WEGMANN: No, I do not. There were no bleeped out words in my eight grade --


BRIGGS: So let's talk about the President's role in the immigration discussion because in that 55-minute on camera negotiation really, he was very reasonable on immigration. What has been his impact on these negotiations? 3 WEGMANN: Well this definitely seems like the news cycle that won't end specifically with the expletive laden meeting and that's because President Trump keeps resuscitating this thing. We've already seen him bring this back to life twice. First, last Friday with the denial -- non-denial that he posted on Twitter where he said that he was tough and he used tough language but denied saying "shithole."

And then we saw, you know, just recently with his new nickname for Senator Durbin. He keeps pouring gas on the fire here. And we're going to find out whether or not this is to his detriment or in the end if the President is going to get a pass and Republicans are still going to rally to him, and if Democrats will just hold their breath for the sake of some final deal.

ROMANS: You're right. It's the news cycle that just won't die. I feel like the story keeps morphing. We were talking about a bill of love a few days ago. Remember the bill of love?


ROMANS: And were were talking maybe the President will take the heat for conference in immigration reform. And now we're back to this Norway people in s-hole country people out. And the Democrats potentially feeling like they could hold this whole thing hostage, you know, hold out for DACA. You think they will?

WEGMANN: So if there was little chance of getting, you know, a long- term funding solution at the beginning of last week, I think it's impossible this week. All ready Republicans are saying that, you know, they want to have a stop-gap measure here instead of trying to go for the full solution with DACA. But you know, as we heard, you know, during the introduction, Senator Chris Coons and company, they're actively talking about pulling the shutdown lever.

If they do that this week, then this week is going to be the one that define the entire year because you are going to have voters who are going to remember the shutdown at the beginning of the year as they walk into the ballot booth. And I think this is going to flavor everything.

ROMANS: Who gets the blame? Who do you think gets the blame?

BRIGGS: That is the question.

ROMANS: I mean Democrats gambling that the Republicans get the blame?

BRIGGS: Republicans are in control of the House and Senate, and of course the White House. But one theory from Phil Mattingly is that Republicans might attach a long-term funding for CHIP, Children's Health Insurance Program to a short-term extension. That would be a smart play and one would be very difficult to oppose, would it not for Democrats?

WEGMANN: Absolutely. And Republicans, they have to know that the arithmetic is not on their side. They can pass whatever they want on the House. But in the Senate, they need to get nine Democrat senators to buy in. So there definitely needs to be a bipartisanship.

[05:10:00] And maybe CHIP is going to be the sweetener to get this thing to the finish line. But who knows?

ROMANS: One of the interesting things about the s-hole, s-house whatever, this semantic debate is -- that I'm interested in your thought, Philip, is -- because we're talking here about where people are coming from, right? And in the history of the United States, hasn't the hungriest and most kind of, with the least resources, these are the people who have done the best for America?

WEGMANN: So I think what President Trump said was definitely unhelpful but it wasn't necessarily inaccurate. When you look at some these nations like Haiti, El Salvador and Honduras, their struggles are so much more than what you and I would consider on a day-to-day basis. So it's true. Some of these countries do face an upward struggle. But I hope the President realizes that some of our best citizens come from the worse nations.

And I also hope that Democrats realize that if they say that, you know, El Salvador and Illinois are basically equivalent and if there's not a big struggle to emigrate from those nations to this one, I think they reduce the very real sacrifices that those families make. So I think on both sides there needs to be a recognition that these immigrants are giving everything up to come here. And there needs to be a recognition of the very human element at play.

BRIGGS: And there needs to be a one more question asked of Tom Cotton, of David Perdue, of Kirstjen Nielsen. And that's regardless of what word you use, do you stand by the President's characterization? Do you stand by what he was saying, the intent? That question is sorely missing. I'm hoping someone phrases to them on Capitol Hill today. We'll check in with you with more questions in about 30 minutes. Philip Wegmann, Washington Examiner, thanks.

ROMANS: Yes, and for the record there aren't millions of people from Norway clamoring to come to the United States but the joke is everyone is --


BRIGGS: -- the happiest country in the world. That's what at the index.


BRIGGS: All right, a long road to recovery now beginning for 13 siblings ages, 2 to 29. They were rescued after being held captive in their own California home. The community outside Los Angeles left outraged.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now to know that there were that much kids in there, I wish there was something the community could have done.


[05:16:16] ROMANS: Really troubling story out of Southern California. A couple facing charges of torture and child endangerment after police say they found the couple's 13 children held captive in their Riverside area home. Bail said it's $9 million each for David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin. Police say one of the daughters, a 17- year-old managed to escape, called 911 from the cellphone she found in the house.

BRIGGS: Official says the victims range in age from 2 to 29 and were kept in filthy condition, some shackled the beds with chains and padlocks. Here's how a neighbor who saw the Sunday arrest described the children.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were very, very pale-skinned, like -- almost like they've never seen the sun. But I've seen a couple older ones that they all -- and it was mostly girls. And then kind of small framed, I think kind of tiny, almost looked a little malnutrition.


ROMANS: The victims are all being treated for a variety of medical issues. David Turpin, the father listed as the principal of the Sand Castle Day School operated out of the home were the 13 victims were found. It's not immediately clear whether the couple has an attorney.

BRIGGS: All right. Some sad news from the music world, Dolores O'Riordan, lead singer for the Irish rock band the Cranberries has died.

One of the most recognizable voices of that era. Her publicist says O'Riordan died suddenly Monday while she was in London for a recording session. No word on the cause of death.

ROMANS: The Cranberries rose to fame in the '90s with a string of hits, including the "Zombie" and "Dreams", selling more than 40 million albums worldwide. The band released a new record last year, but had to cancel much of that tour due to O'Riordan recurring back problems. She is survived by her three children. Dolores O'Riordan was just 46 years old.

BRIGGS: Iconic.

All right, some breaking news, you will not believe out of Japan. Japan's national broadcaster, NHK just sent a false text alert reporting North Korea had launched another missile. It was received by people with the NHK app on their cellphones in Japan. The broadcaster moments later then corrected itself. This of course just days after a mistake alert was sent to Hawaii about an incoming missile. It took 38 minutes to correct. You would think everyone would have fixed their system immediately after discovering the horror that people in Hawaii had to go through.

ROMANS: I think it shows just how tensed the entire situation is and how close you could be to a miscalculation. This is how -- this is dangerous stuff.

BRIGGS: Terrifying.

All right, tempers flaring between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Houston Rockets. Four players so angry after the game, they tried to get in the opposing locker room to confront a player who didn't even play in the game. Andy Scholes has more in the Bleacher Report next.


[05:23:39] BRIGGS: Let's talk sports, Houston Rockets and L.A. Clippers going out. We're another on, on off the court last night. That league is really into the locker room after the game.

ROMANS: Andy Scholes has more in this morning's Bleacher Report. Hey Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning guys. You know, this was Rockets star Chris Paul's first game against his former team. So there were a lot of emotions out there on the court.

Paul and his former running buddy Blake Griffin, they had a bunch of exchanges during this game. And, you know, reports were these two never really like each other.

Now, Griffin also got into it with the Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni and for Trevor Ariza. Near the end of the game, Ariza actually ripped Griffin ties on this play. Then after another exchange, both players would get ejected. And afterwards, Griffin was asked what he and Ariza were saying to each other.


BLAKE GRIFFIN, FORWARD CLIPPPERS: He asked if I was still coming to his birthday party. I said, yes, I'm going to try. So we'll see. Oh yes, we have a different relationship.


SCHOLES: And so Griffin had jokes after the Clippers win. But the Rockets were not laughing. And according to ESPN, after the game Ariza, Paul and James Harden who did not play, and Gerald Green (INAUDIBLE) backdoor and enter the Clippers' locker room to confront Griffin and Austin Rivers who also did not play in the game. While they went through the back, Rockets Center Clint Capela was knocking on the front door. A security ended up removing all of the players before anything happened.


[05:25:07] DOC RIVERS, COACH, CLIPPERS: Let me put it like this, we were all, our team is in our locker room. That's all I will say. I'll let you do the rest of the investigation. I will say their entire team was not in their looker room. You're going to have to figure it out from there.


SCHOLES: The NBA will certainly investigate this, and likely maybe handing out fines, maybe even suspensions.

All right, for the second and last time, this regulars season the Cavs and Warriors squaring off. First quarter on the break Kevin Durant a monster slam around LeBron. He gives LeBron then a little look as they go up the court.

LeBron know he would get him back. Durant driving again this time LeBron with one of his signature come from behind block. This game was close until the fourth quarter when the Cavs just couldn't buy a bucket.

The Warriors through to a 118-108 win. But guys, the Cavs may have gotten the last laugh because there was apparently no warm water in the warriors showers after the game and all of them had to take a cold shower before heading to the bus in a very chilly Cleveland.

BRIGGS: That wakes you up. Is it good or bad to begin that we're just waiting for these two to play in the finals --


BRIGGS: -- again?

SCHOLES: I know. It -- we're going to get around for come June. It's just inevitable.

BRIGGS: All right, man. Thank you, my friend.

S33OLES: All right.

ROMANS: All right, prospects for a deal on immigration are dimming this morning. Lawmakers reeling after a failed proposal after the President's s-hole or s-house remarks, whatever. Now, both parties are weighing the risks of shutting down the government Friday night.