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No Clear Path to Avoid Government Shutdown; Declining View of U.S. Leadership in the Trump Era; Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired January 19, 2018 - 05:00   ET


[05:00:00] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: You know, this is one of the biggest calls into poison control. Children, like 4-year-olds who eat this, because it looks like a piece of candy. We're talking about grownups who are doing this as some sort of a dare. So stupid. And now YouTube basically involved. I mean, honestly, I can't believe I'm reporting it.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: I know. It's hard to imagine. And our emergency rooms are being forced to treat these morons.

All right. EARLY START continues right now for the latest on the possibility of a government shutdown.


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.


ROMANS: Countdown to shutdown. Democrats and Republicans far apart as the clock ticks to midnight. A shutdown looks more likely by the hour.

We have reports this morning on the top stories from Capitol Hill, in China, Iraq and London.

Good morning, everyone. Good Friday morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans. Not going to be Friday for our congressional reporters.


ROMANS: It's going to be one long day.

BRIGGS: Never going to sleep. I'm Dave Briggs. It's Friday, January 19th. It's 5:00 a.m. in the East.

You find people are actually surprised by the brink of a government shutdown. It seems not so much wherever I go.

ROMANS: It seems inevitable. And that's what's different about this shutdown --


ROMANS: -- than I think even in 2013 when we thought maybe they'd be able to come up with something. And there was a shutdown. But usually there is at least a feeling. Now we've moved right onto the blame game.


ROMANS: Don't you think?

BRIGGS: And this will be the first of its kind. That one party has the House, the Senate and the White House.


BRIGGS: That we're having a shutdown. We're 19 1/2 hours from a possible government shutdown, one that is increasingly likely. The Senate adjourned last night without voting on a stopgap funding bill. And there is no clear path to a solution.

ROMANS: The Senate returns at 11:00 a.m. Both sides are dug in. We're told Democrats are resolute, determined, united against the measure. On the Senate floor last night Democratic leader Chuck Schumer floated the idea of a stopgap measure that funds the government for days, but aides to Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell say they don't see the point.

BRIGGS: When Schumer said during debate he was not, quote, "trying to play for political points," several Republican senators actually laughed out loud. Majority Leader McConnell went right after the Democrats.


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.


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


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there objection --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator from Maine.

KING: 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.


ROMANS: The Senate took up the four-week continuing resolution after the House passed it. Conservatives say they got a promise GOP leaders will pursue a separate hardlined Republican-only immigration bill. That runs straight up against Democrats' demand for an immigration bill that will satisfy their base leaving frankly little room to maneuver.

BRIGGS: Still the White House insisting it does not expect a shutdown. President Trump plans a weekend trip to Mar-a-Lago to mark the one-year anniversary of his inauguration.

ROMANS: Yes, we're told there's going to be a big party? Right? Saturday night party?

BRIGGS: $100,000 per couple fundraiser to celebrate the president on Saturday night. That's correct.

ROMANS: Let's bring political economist Greg Valliere, chief strategist at Horizon Investments. He joins us from Atlanta.

BRIGGS: Hi, Greg. Are you going to the party, Greg? I think not, right?

GREG VALLIERE, CHIEF STRATEGIST, HORIZON INVESTMENTS: My invitation got lost in the mail. Yes.

ROMANS: Mine, too. Mine, too. What's the likelihood of a shutdown? It feels to me like this is sort of inevitable. They've moved on to the blame game already.

VALLIERE: Well, Christine, A, they are hopelessly gridlocked and B, everyone is itching for this fight to blame the other as you say. So I got a hunch this could last for a while.

ROMANS: So you think there will be a shutdown and it will last?


ROMANS: It won't just be a couple of days.

VALLIERE: Yes. I mean, everyone talks about the Dreamers, which is a deadly serious issue as we all know.

ROMANS: Right. VALLIERE: But there are other issues. McConnell says there could be

a deal. No, a lot of Republicans who are tired of doing extensions feel that the Pentagon and Defense firms are being hurt. So there are many moving parts that make this potentially a fairly long shutdown.

BRIGGS: But, Greg, are they getting so good at being bad they were actually are insulated from this really having much impact in the country or on the markets?

VALLIERE: Well, you make a good point.

[05:05:01] I think that, you know, the mail will still come, Social Security checks will go out, air traffic controllers will go to work, the military will be ready, on and on and on. They may even open national parks. So I think for most Americans and for the markets, the impact, at least initially, will be pretty limited.

ROMANS: Unless you get a paycheck, you're one of those government workers who gets a paycheck and you're trying to -- or you're a research scientist who's about to get on a plane and go present some important data, a paper, at a conference or I could go on and on and on. It's not the end of the world, a government shutdown, Greg, but it's just stupid.

I mean, this is Congress' job. Oh, they'll get paid by the way. They will still get paid.

VALLIERE: Of course.

ROMANS: They're considered essential services even though essentially they're doing nothing here. So, I mean, do you agree? A shutdown isn't the end of the world but it's just stupid.

VALLIERE: It's negative on two fronts. Number one, if it does go on for several weeks these people who aren't getting paid won't spend money and it could begin to have an impact on GDP. Number two, it's stupid I think because what it does to confidence. Confidence internationally, confidence that we can't get our act together. There is plenty of blame to go around. The fox in all your houses.

ROMANS: I know.

VALLIERE: But I think a lot of it starts with the president who on several fronts yesterday miscalculated, didn't quite understand what was happening.

BRIGGS: Well, let's talk about the role of the president and perhaps we overuse the term optics. Bur how will it look if the president is in fact playing golf at his own golf course tomorrow morning and then having a $100,000 per couple fundraiser to celebrate him at his own private club on Saturday night if in fact the government is shut down, the lights are out? And what is the president's role here? This should be the first ever shutdown to occur with one party in control of the House, the Senate and the White House.

VALLIERE: Yes. Good point. I've talked to a lot of Republicans in the last few days who have said they don't know what the president wants. He keeps changing. He got in a fight yesterday with his chief of staff. So he needs to send a signal, this is what I want. Is he a hard liner or a moderate? Beats me. I got no idea. So he needs to be more explicit in terms of what he wants.

ROMANS: Yes. Mitch McConnell a couple of times now this week has said we need to know where the president is leaning here.

BRIGGS: Yes. Yes.

ROMANS: What he needs here. Let's talk about what the -- everyone is playing to their base here. I want to show you, is DACA worth the risk of a shutdown? The CBS News poll.


ROMANS: Among Democrats 57 percent say yes. Is the border wall worth the risk of a shutdown? Among Republicans, 51 percent say yes. Both parties are playing to those numbers.

VALLIERE: Absolutely. And there's one new player. Big, big player that we didn't see last year. And that's Chuck Schumer. He couldn't stop the tax cut because of a different procedure in terms of votes. But now Schumer just needs 40 votes and he can bring everything to a halt with a filibuster. He has 49 Democrats. So everything starting with this issue has to go through him.

BRIGGS: The president said yesterday that the Democrats want the shutdown to take attention off of the positive impact of the tax cuts. You talked to business leaders across the country. How is this tax cut bill playing in the business world coast to coast?

VALLIERE: I think it's playing well. We get repatriation. I think you look at the stock market, the stock market reflects earnings. I think corporate earnings are going to be great because their top rates have gone down by so much so there's a lot of positive. And you asked the question with the positive impact of the tax cut, why are we going to step on the message? Maybe harm this positive impact with a long, long shutdown that I think eventually could affect confidence.

ROMANS: Credit where credit is due. The economy is doing well.


ROMANS: I mean, my colleague calls it like a marathon runner in the 18th mile. Full stride, doing great. And the government shutdown, a long one, is like sticking your foot off, tripping that runner.


ROMANS: You know, why do you want to mess with that? That's -- you know, that's the bigger picture of a government shutdown but --

VALLIERE: And just -- and one other thing, we always seem to forget the hundreds of thousands of children whose health insurance is now jeopardized and the hundreds of thousands of children who may get deported. They're just simply props in this whole debate.

BRIGGS: It's amazing Congress has a 16 percent approval rating. It's amazing it's that high.


VALLIERE: Yes, exactly right.

BRIGGS: All right. Greg Valliere from Horizon Investments. Appreciate it.

ROMANS: All right, Greg. Come back.

VALLIERE: All right. You bet.

ROMANS: All right, Global view of American leadership. We are live in China, the Middle East and Europe to explain why these numbers have taken a 20-point drop.


[05:13:28] BRIGGS: All right. We're one year into Donald Trump's presidency and the world's confidence in U.S. leadership plunged a bit. Take a look at this Gallup poll conducted across 134 countries. Approval of America's leadership slipping to 30 percent. Slightly behind China. Just three points ahead of Russia and down nearly 20 points from the rating during Barack Obama's last year in office.

ROMANS: We have reporters positioned around the world to weigh in. Starting with Matt Rivers in China.

Matt, with China surpassing the U.S. in global leadership, what's the view of America from where you are right now?

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, around Asia, really what is dominated the U.S.-China, U.S.-South Korea, U.S.-Japan relationship in 2017, the first year of Trump's presidency would be that country right behind me. Just across that river right there. That's North Korea. The ongoing nuclear crisis in that part of the world.

And specifically when you're talking about China, Christine, in a somewhat surprising way we've seen China and the United States be able to work together. In no small part thanks to the relationship between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump. Three rounds of increasingly tough sanctions levied against North Korea in 2017.

And that's being felt right here in the border area. That's dominated the relationship between U.S. and China. But you look forward to 2018. What happens this year? Well then the topics of course include North Korea but also shift to trade. The Trump administration considering levying tariffs on Chinese imports to the United States within the next several weeks and if he goes ahead and does that, how does the president's decision affect the United States' ability to work with China and other countries in the region to continue to try and solve this ongoing crisis in North Korea just across the border behind me?

ROMANS: All right. Matt Rivers for us in China. Thank you.

BRIGGS: All right. There's certainly some positive because ISIS is on the run in Iraq and around the world. But the opinion of U.S. leadership in the Middle East has taken a big hit since President Trump took office .

CNN's Arwa Damon live in Irbil, Iraq with the reason why.

Arwa, you would think, given how much we have obliterated ISIS sentiment would be positive. Why is it not so much?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's a number of factors that go into that. Yes, President Trump while on the campaign trail did promise to bomb the hell out of ISIS and did keep that promise. But in doing so, also bombed the hell of the civilian population that ISIS was holding hostage. And let's look at some of the other major events that transpired.

You have the ongoing attitude with the threats to nullify the nuclear deal with Iran and much more controversially, you have the White House's decision to recognize Jerusalem as being the capital of Israel. Something that in a sense not only the Palestinians, but Muslims across the world. And then you had the restrictions on immigration that seemed to be deliberately targeting Muslim countries in what was also coined the travel ban or the Muslim ban.

And there is prevalent sense here that this White House, much more than any of those past, is staunchly anti-Muslim. And that of course is causing people in this region to doubt what America's intentions really are.

BRIGGS: All right. Arwa Damon live for us in Iraq this morning. Thank you.

ROMANS: 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, feelings about the president of the U.S. have taken a hit lately in Europe. What is the view there?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think to some degree there is a recognition that things could have been a lot of worse but there is still quite a lot of consternation amongst -- quite a lot of consternation amongst European allies. Particularly when it comes to the Iran deal for example which the Europeans still steadfastly stand by, but are quite surprised to see the level of rhetoric from the trump administration.

They've continued to threaten to get rid of it, but doesn't actually ever get around to necessarily taking that particular action. On top of that as well, we have seen here in Britain Donald Trump re-tweeting tweets from a group called Britain First, far right extremist group actually convicted of criminal activity in fact. And that caused a lot of surprise here to some degree as well, as in the middle of the night when he decided to preemptively cancel a visit here to open the new U.S. embassy.

So a lot I think of surprise on what this is doing for the U.S. image in Europe, but possible also recognition that the fiery rhetoric doesn't always match the actions.

ROMANS: All right. Nick Paton Walsh for us in London. Thank you, sir.

You know here of course you've got the stock market at record highs and low unemployment. You know you've got an economy that is certainly moving in the right direction. The president takes credit for it. Will he get credit for it? That's the question.

BRIGGS: And you talk to a lot of Trump supporters and they just say we keep our head down., We focus on what the economy is doing.


BRIGGS: And wage growth. Stock market.


BRIGGS: Ahead, the NBA All-Star Game will have a new look this season, but the team captains will look very familiar.

Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report" next.


[05:23:00] BRIGGS: All right. To perfectly characterizes the NBA, it will be Team LeBron against Team Curry in the NBA's new look all-star game.

ROMANS: Coy Wire has more on this morning's "Bleacher Report."

Good morning this Friday morning, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Happy Friday, Christine and Dave. For the first time, there's no Eastern Conference versus Western Conference. LeBron James and Steph Curry will go head-to-head as team captains picking their teams playground style for a revamped NBA All- Star Game.

They were named captain because they received the most all-star votes from fans and they'll make their picks for next month's game in L.A. next Thursday. King James gets the first pick and with his 14th all- star selection LeBron now has the most consecutive all-star starts in NBA history.

All right. Patriots star Tom Brady didn't practice again yesterday due to an injury to his throwing hand in standard practice a couple of days ago. He did some light drills. And there's no indication that he will not play Sunday's AFC championship game against the Jags. But fans and media want to know how Tom looked out there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DEVIN MCCOURTY, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: Tom looks excellent every day. One of the best looking people I've ever met.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Does it look like his hand was bothering him at all?

MCCOURTY: I -- when you look at Tom, I mean, the facial -- it's hard to look at anything else. So I really only saw his face.


WIRE: True story, Tom Brady looks pretty darn good, guys.

BRIGGS: Breaking news.

ROMANS: Tom Brady is a beautiful man.

BRIGGS: All right. Who do you got? Would wins?

WIRE: The Patriots are going to get right back in. I want to root for the underdog.


WIRE: And then the Minnesota Vikings to be the first team to play in the Super Bowl in their home city. And looking forward to having you up there, Dave.

BRIGGS: Looking forward to hanging with you in Minnesota. He's on record. Vikings-Patriots.

ROMANS: All right.

BRIGGS: I agree.

ROMANS: Write it down. Thanks, Coy.

BRIGGS: Thanks, Coy.

WIRE: You're welcome.

ROMANS: Lindsey Vonn is heading back to the Winter Olympics after missing the 2014 games and Lindsey Vonn is looking forward to her fourth Olympics in Pyeongchang.


LINDSEY VONN, OLYMPIC SKIER: The Olympics are definitely very important to me.

[05:25:02] Not competing in Sochi because of injury was devastating and I have been waiting a long time to try to repeat what I did or improve on what I did Vancouver. I never want to wave the white flag. I always want to continue to try and work hard. And I think I get it from my grandfather. Losing my grandfather, you know, it's just time is precious. If it

weren't for my grandfather, I wouldn't be racing, you know. He taught my father how to ski. And it's because of him that's in our family. He was actually stationed in Korea not far from where we'll be racing. He was behind enemy lines a few times and was held at gunpoint. So I was really hoping that he would make it and be able to come with me over there.

And I had actually gone through the whole process of figuring out like medically get him over there. But I think about him all the time especially when I'm racing. And I feel closer to him when I'm skiing. Now I hope that I can win for him and I hope I can make him proud.


ROMANS: Wow. What a story. All right. Best of luck to her.

BRIGGS: She's fantastic.


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


MCCONNELL: My Democratic colleagues demand on illegal immigration at the behest of the far-left base 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.