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EARLY START

No Clear Path to Avoid Government Shutdown; Declining View of U.S. Leadership in the Trump Era; Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired January 19, 2018 - 04:00   ET

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


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[04:00:13] SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER: The reason we're here right now is our friends on the other side say solve this illegal immigration problem right now or we're going to shut the government down.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), MINORITY LEADER: I'm not trying to play for political points. I am trying to get us to come together on a bipartisan nature.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: There was laughter there if you couldn't make it out. Democrats and Republicans firmly entrenched in their corners as the clock ticks to midnight.

Will the Senate act in time to keep the government open? We have reports on our top stories this morning from Capitol Hill, as well as China, Iraq and London.

Good morning, everyone. And welcome to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Christine Romans. Nice to have you back, Dave.

BRIGGS: Good to be back.

ROMANS: Feeling better, I hope. It is Friday, January 19th. It is 4:00 a.m. in the East. We are now just 20 hours away from a possible government shutdown. One that is increasingly likely, folks. After the Senate adjourned last night without a vote on a stop-gap funding bill, there is no clear path to a solution. And government workers are preparing to shut the doors and turn off the lights at midnight.

BRIGGS: The Senate returns at 11:00 a.m. with both sides dug in. We're told Democrats have enough votes to block the spending bill. One Democrat tells CNN the senators are resolute, determined and united against the measure.

On the Senate floor last night, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer floating the idea of a stop-gap measure that funds the government for a matter of days, but aides to Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell said they don't see the point in such a short stopgap. ROMANS: When Schumer said during debate he was not, quote, "trying to

play for political points," several Republican senators laughed out loud. Majority leader Mitch McConnell went right after the Democrats.

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MCCONNELL: There is a real emergency in the immigration area. We have until March to deal with it. So make no mistake about it. We are where we are for one reason and one reason only, within a day of the government shutdown. And that is the insistence of our friends on the other side. That we deal with this non-emergency right now.

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ROMANS: Even the simple matter of trying to adjourn for the night raised an objection. Here is independent senator, Angus King.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there objection -- senator from Maine.

SEN. ANGUS KING (I), MAINE: I object. I object.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection is heard.

KING: I don't understand why we're adjourning when we're in this urgent situation. We can vote tonight on cloture and have an entire day tomorrow to work on this matter. We're -- this is irresponsible and I just don't understand it. So I object to the motion.

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BRIGGS: The Senate took up the four-week continuing resolution after the House managed to pass it with some frantic deal-making. Conservatives say they got a promise from GOP leaders that they will pursue a separate hardlined Republicans-only immigration bill. That runs straight up against Democrats' demand for an immigration bill that will satisfy their base leaving little room to maneuver.

ROMANS: Still the White House insists it does not expect a shutdown and President Trump plans a weekend trip. He is going to Mar-a-Lago to mark the one-year anniversary of his inauguration. That's right. The one job of Congress, to keep the government running, they may fail to do that, the president is going to Florida.

For more, let's go to Phil Mattingly on Capitol Hill.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine and Dave, we are now under 24 hours until the federal government shuts down. And basically here is the state of play.

The House passed their short-term funding bill. Four weeks. Republicans had the votes on their own. Didn't need Democratic help and they weren't going to get it. Leader Nancy Pelosi saying very clearly House Democrats were not going to help Republicans pass their bill. Here is the problem. This is a tale of two chambers. Not just one.

And in the Senate, there is currently no clear resolution forward.

Now the blame game has already very clearly started. Take a listen to what House Speaker Paul Ryan had to say after his chamber passed its bill.

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REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: Senator Schumer, do not shut down the federal government. Do not jeopardize funding for our military and for our national security. Do not jeopardize funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program.

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MATTINGLY: Battle lines being drawn. Partisan fights breaking out. Nobody necessarily talking about the pathway forward. Instead everybody talking about who would be to blame for a shutdown that by all accounts looks very much like it's going to happen.

Look, the issues here aren't new. Democrats have made clear. They want some type of DACA resolution, some type of DACA deal attached to any short-term spending bill. Leader McConnell has made clear, there is a short-term spending bill that will allow them to continue those DACA discussions. They should just pass that and move forward.

So long as those two positions aren't in some way shape or form bridged, a deal is not on the table to bring those two parties together, to bring the White House into play. There is no pathway forward at anytime soon.

[04:05:05] So the big question is, how are they going to figure this out? As I've talked to Democratic aides, Republican aides in the House, in the Senate, right now nobody has a great idea and everybody is predicting that at midnight tonight a shutdown will begin -- Christine and Dave.

BRIGGS: Nobody has a great idea. Thank you, Phil.

Sixty yes votes are needed in the Senate to pass the spending bill and keep the government operating. At least three Republican senators say they'll vote against advancing the House bill. That's making Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's job that much more difficult as he tries to rally Democratic support.

McConnell plans to keep the Senate in session through the weekend if Democrats block the short-term fix. Republican leaders eager to force Democrats up for reelection into some difficult votes.

ROMANS: Both sides deeply entrenched here because their core supporters are. In a new CBS poll, 57 percent of Democrats believe it is worth shutting down the government over DACA. 51 percent of Republican believe the fight over a border wall is worth a shutdown.

The House passed the continuing resolution after President Trump spoke by phone with Freedom Caucus members late in the day. Republican source close to the process telling CNN he is annoyed. The president did not spend more time working the phones to find votes.

BRIGGS: President also nearly blew everything up Thursday when he tweeted, "Funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program should not be part of a short-term extension." The White House later had to walk that back. The CHIP part of the House bill actually contains six years of funding, something John Cornyn had to point out just hours after the president's tweet.

ROMANS: So with the clock ticking a senior administration official confirms calls are ongoing to make sure agencies do have plans in place for dealing with the shutdown. The National Park Service has already been told not to shut their parks and monuments that require only minimal staffing.

President Trump insists Democrats will take the worst political hit in the event of a shutdown. Here's his primary argument.

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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For any reason it shuts down, the worst thing is what happens to our military.

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ROMANS: The president made that comment outside the Pentagon. The fact is, a shutdown would not stop the military from operating. The military is considered an essential function of government.

BRIGGS: And the president knows this or he at least once did. Look at this 2013 tweet from then Citizen Trump. He told his followers, quote, "All essential services continue. Don't believe lies." Now if a shutdown does stretch into February, paychecks for service members could in that case be delayed.

ROMANS: The House Intelligence Committee abruptly postponing testimony from White House communications director Hope Hicks. Hicks' highly anticipated appearance delayed to give investigators time to work out with the White House what she can and cannot discuss. This follows Steve Bannon's appearance before the committee. The former White House chief strategist refused to answer a whole bunch of questions, citing executive privilege. His attorneys said the White House itself instructed Bannon not to answer those questions.

BRIGGS: Four sources telling CNN the question is whether Hicks who has close ties to Trump pre-dating the campaign would respond to questions about the transition and her time in the West Wing. The White House says it's cooperating with congressional investigators.

We're also learning the co-founders of Fusion GPS, the firm paid to compile this Trump dossier suspected possible crimes between the Trump team and Russians.

ROMANS: Glenn Simpson's interview transcript released by the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday, Simpson raised the possibility the Trump organization laundered Russian money and said if that happened it would be with the knowledge or approval of the Kremlin. Republicans questioned whether Simpson had evidence to back up his allegations.

BRIGGS: President Trump's pick for a chief spokesman at the government's Volunteer Service Organization resigning under fire after a CNN KFile Review uncovered some hateful remarks made on the radio.

Former Navy SEAL and conservative media personnel Carl Higbie was a surrogate for Mr. Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. Listen to these 2013 comments unearthed by CNN ranging from racist and sexist, to anti-Muslim.

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CARL HIGBIE, CHIEF SPOKESMAN, VOLUNTEER SERVICE ORGANIZATION: It's a lax of morality. The taxpayers are tired of supporting government checks to go into these people who think that breeding is a form of employment. I was called Islamophobia and I was like, no, no, no, I'm not afraid of them. I don't like them. Big difference. And they were like, well, you're racist. I said fine. If that's the definition of it, then I guess I am.

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BRIGGS: The White House did not respond to a request for comment. In August the president appointed Higbie to be head of external affairs for Corporation for National and Committee Service which run AmeriCorps and SeniorCorps.

ROMANS: A highly unusual budget request from the national -- from the nation's consumer watchdog. It wants zero dollars. The Trump administration not asking the Federal Reserve for a cent for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau next quarter. This is the watchdog that protects consumers against credit card lenders, payday loans, shady operators who try to separate Americans from their own money.

[04:10:12] The former CFPB chief and Obama appointee asked for $87 million for the prior quarter. But interim director Mick Mulvaney says the $177 million the bureau already has in its coffers will cover its expenses for the second fiscal quarter. The head of Allied Progress, a consumer watchdog group, calls the zero-dollar request the clearest signal yet Mulvaney is trying to dismantle the bureau.

BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, the global view of American leadership tanking. We are live in China, the Middle East and Europe to explain why.

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ROMANS: One year into Donald Trump's presidency a brand new polling shows the world's confidence in U.S. leadership has plunged. Look at this gallop conducted across 134 countries. Approval of American leadership slipping to 30 percent, slightly behind, China, just three points ahead of Russia and down -- and this is the important part. [04:15:09] Down nearly 20 points from the rating during Barack Obama's

last year in office.

BRIGGS: We have reporters positioned around the world to weigh in, starting with Matt Rivers in China.

Matt, good morning to you.

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Yes, here in China the view of President Donald Trump has largely centered on China's ability to work with the Trump administration on North Korea. That has dominated the first year of the Trump presidency, the U.S.-China relationship. And kind of surprisingly, perhaps in part thanks to a close personal relationship between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Donald Trump, both sides have been able to cooperate in some ways when it comes to levying sanctions on the Kim Jong-un regime.

Three different rounds of sanctions levied against the regime in 2017. And there could be more coming in 2018 if those provocations from the North continue. That said there's plenty of disagreement between both sides and look no further than trade. In the next several weeks, the Trump administration is going to decide whether to levy tariffs on Chinese imports, on products to the U.S. ranging from solar panels, all the way to aluminum foil.

So they know they have to work together on North Korea. But there are major policy differences when it comes to trade. Looking forward to 2018. Those are going to be the big issues.

BRIGGS: All right. Matt Rivers live for us in China. Thank you, sir.

According to the Gallup survey Germany is now the top rated global power in the world with an approval rating of 41 percent.

Let's go live to London and bring in Nick Paton Walsh.

Nick, what's the view there in Europe?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think there is still some confusion, frankly, amongst, European allies as to what the Trump administration still wants after a year of officially being in power. Certainly something crucial like the Iran nuclear agreement the Trump White House has talked tough and promised massive change. But actually not really implemented much at all.

Also here in Britain certainly his decision to re-tweet the British First Group, a pretty seriously right-wing, extremist group here without necessarily realizing the consequences of that has left many deeply confused as well.

And then also, too, pulling out of the Paris climate agreement that's left many people potentially deeply concerned about what used to be U.S. leadership over climate change. So a great confusion I think here to some degree perhaps an element of relief that some of the worst fears haven't necessarily come through. You know, we have not seen the Korean Peninsula, for example, enflamed in ways many were concerned much of being the case. But still certainly here I think the degree of trepidation as to what could be happening potentially in the next three years ahead.

BRIGGS: All right. Nick Paton Walsh live for us in London this morning. Thank you.

ROMANS: All right. Huge gains against ISIS in Iraq. But the opinion of U.S. leadership in the Middle East has also taken a hit in the past year.

CNN's Arwa Damon live from Irbil, Iraq for us.

Bring us up to speed. What is the overall sentiment there? Because when you talk to Trump supporters here in the United States ,they point out that ISIS is almost obliterated and on the run.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And that was one of the president's pledges on the campaign trail. That he was going to bomb the hell out of ISIS. Now that is one promise that was kept. But in doing so, the United States also bombed the hell out of the civilian population that ISIS was holding hostage.

And we were in the old city in Mosul. And it's been six months since it was declared liberated and people are still digging through the rubble looking for the bodies of their loved ones that remain buried there. And essentially across the entire region is that this administration, this president is anti-Muslim, whether you look at the Iran nuclear deal that the U.S. government has been promising to or threatening to nullify perhaps more crucially and much more controversially.

The decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel that not only incensed the Palestinian population but also enraged Muslims across the world and basically for the time being at least took America out of any sort of negotiations when it comes to a future peace process to the immigration restrictions. What has often been referred to as the travel ban or the Muslim ban.

There really is a sense that this administration either out of arrogance or ignorance is trying to further enflame an already volatile region.

ROMANS: In Irbil, live for us, Arwa Damon this morning. Thank you so much, Arwa.

It is 20 minutes past the hour. Prosecutors in California outlined years of physical and emotional abuse by parents who are charged with holding their children captive. No showers, no food, chained and padlocks. Horrifying. More next.

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[04:23:17] ROMANS: All right. After months of waiting, Amazon revealed the short list for its second headquarters or HQ2 as it's known. The list has 20 cities, not so short, but remember, Amazon received 238 proposals. Some were widely expected. Denver, Austin. But there were some surprises like Nashville and Columbus. Only one candidate on the West Coast L.A. Toronto is the only non-U.S. city. Competition is fierce. The winner could see 50,000 new high-paying jobs and $5 billion in investment.

So many cities proposed big tax breaks trying to lure Amazon there. Newark, for example, pitched $5 million in incentives. Others offered more creative gestures like lighting up the Empire State Building in Amazon orange.

Amazon's announcement follows another big-tech company, Apple. It also plans to build a new campus. A U.S. expansion for both Apple and Amazon not only highlights their rapid growth but it fights the populist outrage they face due to that growth. Apple has made a fortune producing its products overseas. Now it promises to reinvest $30 billion in the U.S. economy. Amazon has been called a job killer. But pledged to create 100,000 new jobs on top of the 50,000 HQ2 will bring.

BRIGGS: When you talk about this new headquarters, so many of these companies are given enormous tax breaks so much so that it costs the state money. Is there anything protecting states from making these same mistakes?

ROMANS: Well, they want these 50,000 high-paying jobs. And the difference here with the Amazon headquarters I think than some other, you know, data centers we've seen lately.

BRIGGS: Yes.

ROMANS: Is that there will be jobs. It's not going to be like construction jobs and 10 guys who are keeping the lights on.

BRIGGS: Right.

ROMANS: It's going to be high-paying jobs and the kind of economic engine.

BRIGGS: Hopefully a net win for whomever it is because Foxconn in Wisconsin doesn't look like that right now.

[04:25:02] All right. Some heartbreaking details about those 13 malnourished kids allegedly held captive by their parents in their California home. The Riverside County D.A. says what started out as neglect became severe, pervasive, abuse. He called it depraved conduct.

Prosecutors said the children were only allowed to shower once per year and some were so severely malnourished they have cognitive impairment.

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MIKE HESTRIN, RIVERSIDE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Punishments included frequent beatings and even strangulation. One of the reasons for the punishments were if the children were found to wash their hands above the wrist area, they were accused of playing in the water and they would be chained up. They would buy food, including pies, apple pies, pumpkin pies, leave it on the counter. Let the children look at it but not eat the food.

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ROMANS: David and Louise Turpin face charges including torture, child abuse, false imprisonment. Mister Turpin also charged with a lewd act on a child by force. The Turpins both pleaded not guilty on all counts. A judge set bail at $12 million each. Their attorneys say the case is going to be a challenge.

BRIGGS: Just disturbing.

All right. The task is tall. The time is short. All signs pointing to a government shutdown at midnight. Leaders in the Senate left shifting blame.

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MCCONNELL: My Democratic colleagues' demand on illegal immigration at the behest of their far-left base have crowded out all other important business. Crowded it all out.

SCHUMER: There is no promise and no likelihood that another kicking of the can down the road will get something done. We have to sit down together and solve this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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