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Federal Government Shutdown Ends; Report: Sessions Pushed FBI Director to Fire Deputy; Neil Diamond Diagnosed With Parkinson's; Vermont Legalizes Recreational Marijuana; Larry Nassar Sentencing Hearing; Oscar Nomination Day. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired January 23, 2018 - 04:30   ET



[04:30:29] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The shutdown is over and now the work begins. Senate Republicans guaranteed to take up immigration quickly. But, can it win support in the House, or the White House?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And a new report overnight that the FBI Director threatening to quit. Why do the Attorney General try to get Christopher Wray fire his deputy?

Welcome back to our EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs.

They were debating on Twitter who is to blame for the shutdown with hashtags. Well, now the hashtag is Schumer Sellout. The perception is he got rolled and the left is not happy.

All right, it is 4:30 Eastern Time. Back to work this morning for 800,000 federal workers after an unscheduled long weekend. President Trump signed the stop-gap funding bill ending the three-day government shutdown. The bill funds the federal government for less than three weeks.

ROMANS: Oh great.

BRIGGS: Celebrate.

ROMANS: Right. The House and the Senate voted to end the stalemate after Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell firmed up assurances on immigration and a measure to protect DREAMers, the undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

As the shutdown was coming to an end, the president held two meetings to discuss immigration reform. One with six conservative Republicans and another with two red state Democrats.

BRIGGS: At the White House, celebration. The president himself up late tweeting. "Big win for Republicans as Democrats cave on shutdown. Now I want a big win for everyone. Including Republicans, Democrats and DACA but especially for our great military and border security. Should be able to get there. See you at the negotiating table." So, can a long term deal be reached by February 8th? We get more from Phil Mattingly on Capitol Hill.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Now, Christine and Dave, three days. That's how long the government shutdown lasted. On Tuesday morning, the government will reopen. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers will no longer be furloughed. But the real question is, what did everybody actually get out of this?

You can look at the Democratic votes in the final spending bill both in the Senate and House and recognize that not all Democrats were on board with the deal made that was eventually made.

The reason why? Concern about the promises, about the word of Senate Majority Leader McConnell, about the fact it wasn't tied into any spending bill. What is that? The DACA resolution.

Some type of bipartisan deal to protect those DREAMers, 600,000- 700,000 individuals. That has always been the Democrats' primary purpose, primary goal here. They didn't get any guarantees but they did get that promise. That's what Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer was pointing to.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: I expect the majority leader to fulfill his commitment to the Senate, to me and to the bipartisan group and abide by this agreement. If he does not, of course, and I expect he will, he will have breached the trust of not only the Democratic senators but members of his own party as well.


MATTINGLY: So, guys, you look at what this deal will actually do. It funds the government through February 8th but also extends the Children's Health Insurance Program for six years and delays three different Obamacare taxes that are pretty unpopular on a bipartisan basis.

So, in some level there are wins for everybody in it. But politically, there's no question about it, Democrats felt like they needed an out. And that is exactly why a bipartisan group of senators, 25 in all by the time it was all said and done, helped drive towards this final deal as it is.

Still, there are no shortage of huge issues to deal with and a large shortage of time. At least for now, a clean slate or somewhat clean slate. Christine and Dave?

ROMANS: All right, Phil Mattingly, thank you.

A clean slate. This is how we govern week by week, three weeks at a time. Governing three weeks at a time. I love it.

Republicans and Democrats fight over who won the showdown over that shutdown. The Washington Post thinks the clear winner were the group of over 20 bipartisan moderate senators who spent the weekend negotiating instead of figure pointing. The Post editorial board writes this, "That core group of moderate deal making lawmakers should feel empowered. The broad middle in both houses of Congress should no longer wait for direction from a chaotic White House or spineless Congressional leadership. They may discover that they have more in common with members of the other party also interested in competent, responsive government than they do with the ideologues in their own camp."

One of those moderates, Maine Republican Susan Collins introduced her colleagues to her talking stick.

BRIGGS: Yes, this is my favorite part of the story.

ROMANS: Collins told CNN whoever holding the stick was the only senator allowed to talk to, it's all about listening and prevent arguments. It sounds like kindergarten.

BRIGGS: The talking stick. Cable news needs themselves a Native American talking stick, right in those big panels. You need to pass it back and forth. That's a win on Congress.

[04:35:04] All right, a damaging new report suggests President Trump's public pressure may still causing trouble for top levels of the FBI and his handpicked director threatened to resign over it. That's all according to Axios.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions pressured FBI Director Christopher Wray to fire Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. But, according to three sources cited by Axios, Wray vowed to quit if McCabe if were remove.

ROMANS: Wray's resignation would have created quite a mess for the White House still dealing with the consequences of the James Comey firing. Sessions did meet with President Trump at the White House on Monday. CNN has not confirmed the reason for that meeting.

BRIGGS: McCabe oversaw the Clinton e-mail probe. He has been a frequent Trump target. You can see the tweets dating back to July. Axios said this sort of public pressures what led Sessions to approach Wray about McCabe who's planning to retire soon.

ROMANS: The White House Press Secretary, Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah tells us, "The president has enormous respect for the thousands of rank-and-file FBI agents who make up the world's most professional and talented law enforcement agency. He believes politically motivated senior leaders including former Director Comey and others he empowered have tainted the agency's reputation for unbiased pursuit of justice."

BRIGGS: Wray was assistant attorney general under President George W. Bush. President Trump nominated him last summer after firing Comey. Comey weighing on Twitter after the Axios story broke saying, "Good to read reports of people standing up for what they believe in."

ROMANS: The former FBI Director then quotes Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

James Comey has lately been putting a lot of meaningful quotes on his Twitter page. The FBI and Justice Department have no comment on the Axios story.

BRIGGS: Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowing to figure out how the FBI lost a series of text messages between two of its employees who are under scrutiny by the Justice Department. Peter Strzok and Lisa Page both served briefly on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. Gap in communications revealed two lawmakers by the Justice Department as it released a second batch of the pair's text messages.

ROMANS: The Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson first questioned -- raised questions and was quickly joined by the Republican chairman of three powerful committees. They say the omission of texts messages causes us to further question the credibility and objectivity of certain officials at the FBI.

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd claims technical issues with the FBI's retention software prevented the bureau from capturing messages from late 2016 to May of 2017.

BRIGGS: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court tossing out the state's Congressional map. They court order the map redrawn in the next three weeks. The League of Women Voters challenged the Republican drawn house districts as a partisan gerrymander. The suit alleges Republicans secretly designed a map packing Democratic voters in the five districts.

ROMANS: The ruling could have a major impact on control of the U.S. House. Democrats are targeting several Philadelphia area seats in the 2018 midterms. The GOP holds 12 of Pennsylvania's 18 House seats. Ruling comes the same month a federal appeals panel overturned North Carolina's map.

Now, the U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily blocked that decision and Pennsylvania Republicans are expected to ask the high court to reverse this ruling as well.

BRIGGS: President Trump expected to invite French President Emmanuel Macron to Washington later this year for the first state visit of his presidency. According to two diplomatic sources, the invitation could be extended this week while the president tends the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

A number of world leaders have visited the White House over the past year but none were official state visits. Donald Trump is the first president in decades to not host a state visit during his first year in office.

ROMANS: A change of plan for the first lady, Melania Trump. She will not be joining the president on his trip to Switzerland this week. The East Wing's Communications Director Stephanie Grisham citing scheduling and logistical issues. Just last week, Grisham told CNN Mrs. Trump would be traveling with her husband in a show of support to Davos. Melania Trump has not made a public statement since January 12th when news of possible payoff from her husband's lawyer to porn star Stormy Daniels was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Forty minutes past the hour. The Trump tax cuts will boost the global economy. That's according to the international monetary from the IMF. It says, world output will grow 3.9 percent this year and next. That's the quickest expansion in seven years, thanks largely to changes to the U.S. tax code. Particularly a lower corporate rate boosting business investments.

However, it also warns the positive effects will be temporary and that expiring tax cuts and a huge deficit will hurt growth in the long run dragging it lower by the year 2022. Still, the IMF says barring a drop in financial markets, the economic momentum will persist.

[04:40:00] There are several risk factors that could hinder growth like inequality, a climate change, and inward looking policies resulting in trade barriers.

BRIGGS: All right, ahead, Neil Diamond played his last show. To find out why, the stunning announcement, next.


ROMANS: Forty-four minutes passed the hour this Tuesday morning. Legendary singer Neil Diamond is retiring after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.





ROMANS: Diamond is turning 77 tomorrow, 77. Making this announcement on his web site. He canceled upcoming dates in Australia and New Zealand on his 50th anniversary tour offering his sincerest apologies to those who bought tickets to those shows.

Diamond says while he is retiring from concert touring, he hopes to keep making music. He plans to continue writing and recording. And he is set to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammy's on Sunday.

[04:45:11] We wish him well.

BRIGGS: You haven't heard that song, it's in the FenWay Park, folks.


BRIGGS: All right, marijuana is now legal in Vermont, the first state to legalized pot through its legislature rather than by ballot measure. The governor signed the law into law last night. It takes effect on July 1st.

Vermont is long been considered one of the most liberal states in the country that legalized medical marijuana back in 2004 and recently decriminalized possession of a small amount of pot. The new law does not permit commercial marijuana sales. Nine states in District of Columbia had legalized recreational use of pot but still illegal under federal law.

ROMANS: Disgraced former USA Gymnastics Dr. Larry Nassar is expected to hear his sentence today. Nassar has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting and abusing young girls under the guise of providing medical treatment. About a dozen more victim impact statements are expected today at his marathon sentencing hearing. So far, 133 have been read.


EMMA ANN MILLER, LARRY NASSAR'S VICTIM: My hate towards you is uncontrollable. Larry Nassar, I hate you. You'll probably never talk to a woman again, except for one holding a gun, a taser and a billy club which is a good thing. I found a little bit of peace knowing that the rest of your life, all you will be doing is rotting. But I find more peace in knowing that one day you are going to die and when you do, your pain will not subside.


BRIGGS: Wow. It's the few of the powerful impact statements there. Three executives with the USA Gymnastics, the chairman, vice chairman, and treasurer have now resigned under pressure in the wake of the Nassar case. He worked with a governing body as part of its medical staff or as national team doctor through four Olympic cycles. The Board of Directors will name an interim chairperson as it searches for a permanent replacement.

ROMANS: Students at Michigan State plan to protest Friday demanding the resignation of the university's president. Nassar served as a physician for Michigan State University Athletics. Protester organizers say it has become clear the school's president Lou Anna K. Simon has intensified the pain of dozens of sexual assault survivors and lost the fate (ph) and trust of the student body.

BRIGGS: It's Oscar nomination morning. They'll be up dark and early in Hollywood. Here are the nominees for the 90th Academy Awards. The ceremony starts just before 8:30 Eastern Time, 5:30 Pacific.

Among the names you can expect to hear is Frances McDormand after willing a Golden Globe and SAG Award for her role in "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri." She's the favorite for best actress in a year filled with strong female-led films.

Gary Oldman, the one to beat for best actor for his performance as Winston Churchill in "Darkest Hour." ROMANS: Many OSCAR watchers are hoping Greta Gerwig will be nominated for her solo directorial debut "Lady Bird". She'll be just the fifth woman in Academy history to get a best director nod and the first to do it with her debut film. Between five and ten films will be nominated for best picture. "Three Billboards" is considered by many to be the frontrunner. The Academy Awards will be held March 4th.

BRIGGS: None of which I have seen all of which are on the list. Do you have a favorite that you see this year?

ROMANS: I really want to see the "Darkest Hour" of Gary Oldman. I really want to do that one.

BRIGGS: Me too. That and "The Post". I really want to get to this week.

All right, a soggy Tuesday for much of the East Coast and colder air on the way. Metrologist Pedram Javaheri with the unfortunate forecast.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Dave and Christine, watching the northeast here. Interior portions of the northern areas of New England, something million people underneath. Winter weather advisories and the general concern is the wintry mix. We could see some heavier accumulation the north of Maine there really where the snowfall is coming down at this hour.

But, how about some thunderstorm this morning back in places such as Cleveland and Western Pennsylvania had this front pushes through, you begin to really see the transition here to much colder temperatures. But still far cry from what we saw about a week ago.

And so you'll see the showers and thunderstorms roll through into the early afternoon hours of today around New York City and Boston. Say between noon and 2:00 p.m. there's heavy rains move through.

And then by tomorrow morning, the cold air really begins to settle in across the northeast. So five to almost 20 degrees above average. You spot 62 in Washington, 55 in New York City, 70 down the Charleston coast there this afternoon. But you notice the frigid air really stays confined into Southern Canada. And we still set up transition here into colder temperatures.

So, from 55 to 41 in New York, eventually down to 35 which by the way happens to be very close to what it should be for this time of year. And the trend continues the same for Washington, as well with the cooling trend in (inaudible). Guys?

ROMANS: All right, thanks for that.

All right, banks are some of the biggest winners of the corporate tax cut. The Bank of America has eliminated an account popular with lower income customers. Oh, the outrage ensues. Details on CNN Money Stream next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [04:54:23] ROMANS: All right, tsunami warnings in effect on the West Coast right now after a powerful earthquake off Alaska. Early measurements say an 8.0 magnitude quake hit south of Kodiak in the Gulf of Alaska. A tsunami watch is in effect for the California Coast, from the California-Mexico border to the Oregon-California border including San Francisco Bay. We will have more information as it becomes available.

BRIGGS: Meanwhile, tension is growing between with the United States and Turkey. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson saying the U.S. is concerned about anchored offensive against the Kurds. The U.S. considers the Kurds allies in the fight against ISIS.

[04:55:00] Tillerson urging restraint on both sides.

Turkish President Recep Erdogan lashing out back, accusing U.S. of supporting a terrorist organization. CNN Sam Kiley on the Turkey- Syria boarder. Sam, good morning.

SAM KILEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Yes, it's very striking how Rex Tillerson is having to walk a tightrope between these two allies that are fracturing it out in the mountains behind me. Just in the last few minutes, we've heard several outgoing artillery shells being fired from Turkish positions on the Kurds. The Kurds particularly Kurds from the WPG, have been used and fought alongside Americans and others in the fight against the so-called Islamic state, that was a successful fight ended with the capture of the capital in Raqqa.

But as a consequence of that, the Turks have been pretty much in rage by plans announced by the United States to establish a 30,000 man border force to protect the borders against re-infiltration by the so- called Islamic state along the Turkish and Iraqi borders.

Now that, as far as the Turks is concerned is completely unacceptable because, of course, it is Kurdish militants that have been fighting a secessionist war for many decades against Turkey. The resurged very much in earnest over the last 18 months, this isn't the first time that the Turks have attacked into Syrian territory. About in last year, they went in to try to Jarabulus to try to drive a wedge between the two parts of Kurdish-held territory. And now they are going to slice off this area called Afrin behind me. At least that is their aim.

BRIGGS: Newest times along that border, Sam Kiley live for us. It's about 1:00 p.m. there. Thanks, Sam.

ROMANS: All right. It is that time of morning, let's get to check on CNN Money Stream this morning. Global stock markets are higher on a strong forecast of the global growth, but Washington lifted Wall Street to record highs. The Dow jumped 143 points after the Senate reached the deal to end the shutdown. The NASDAQ climbed 1 percent also, a record high.

Earnings season rolling along here, expect to day hear from Verizon, United and Johnson & Johnson. And it's been a strong quarter so far, 80 percent of the S&P 500 companies that have reported have to had profits that were better than expectations. Banks are some of the biggest winners of a corporate tax cut.

But Bank of America has eliminated a free checking account popular with lower income customers. They now have to keep a daily balance of $1,500 or pay a fee. Basic checking balances are expensive for banks, but many customers were not happy about this change. Creating a change that work petition with now more than 45,000 signatures, Bank of America tell CNN that new account is a great and that it offers several ways to avoid that monthly fee.

Netflix's recent price hike is not denting its subscriber numbers. Look at this, the editor record 8 million new subscribers, the strongest quarterly subscription gain ever. Netflix credit its original content plate including "Stranger Things" which returned for its second season during the quarter. Wasn't all good news, Netflix took an unexpected $39 million charge for content that we've decided not to move forward with. I mean, it was missed.

It's not specified which content but a source tells CNN it was due to ending "House of Cards" and cancelling the release of "Gore", both projects starred Kevin Spacey who had been -- who has been accused of sexual harassment, that's right, $39 million problem.

For years, Facebook touted itself as a tool for connecting the world. Now it's admitting social media allows to spread misinformation and corrode democracy. Oh, no. Facebook wrote that in a blog post, part of a larger series about how social media affects and distorts democracy. Facebook has been criticized for letting trolls use the platforms, that platform rather to meddle in elections.

BRIGGS: And Rupert Murdoch said, he wants Facebook to pay for news running its content.

ROMANS: The legitimate content.

BRIGGS: Yes. Interesting as we head towards 2018. EARLY START continues right now with the latest on the Schumer shutdown or letdown as it was.

Shutdown was brief. It's over. Now the work begins. Senate Republicans guaranteed to take up immigration quickly, but can a deal win support in the House? Will the White House support it?

ROMANS: And a stunning new report overnight says, the FBI Director threatened to quit. Why the Attorney General tried to Christopher Wray to fire his deputy?


BRIGGS: Great news.

ROMANS: Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START, I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. It's Tuesday, January 23rd, 5:00 a.m. in the East. Chuck Schumer, well, bailed on the shutdown, not an effective run for Democrats. This morning, it is back to work for 800,000 federal workers after an unscheduled long weekend. President Trump decides to stop-gap funding bill ending the three day government shutdown. The bill funds the federal government for less than three weeks.

ROMANS: The House and Senate voted to end this end stalemate after Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell firmed up assurances on immigration and --