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7.9 Magnitude Quake Off Alaska; Federal Government Shutdown Ends; Report: Sessions Pushed FBI Director To Fire Deputy; Tensions Grow Between The U.S. And Turkey. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired January 23, 2018 - 05:30   ET


[05:30:14] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The shutdown is over. Now, the real work begins. Senate Republicans guarantee to take up immigration quickly, but can a deal win support in the House or the White House?

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: And the stunning new report overnight says the FBI director threatened to quit. Why did the attorney general try to get Christopher Wray to fire his deputy?

Welcome back, everyone, to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is 30 minute past the hour. All those stories in a moment but first, breaking news.

Tsunami watches, right now, upgraded to warnings in parts of Alaska and British Columbia after a powerful earthquake off Alaska that updated measurements say a 7.9-magnitude quake hit southeast of Kodiak in the Gulf of Alaska.

BRIGGS: Tsunami watches in effect up and down the west coast and Hawaii.

CNN's Ivan Cabrera live in the CNN Weather Center. Good morning, Ivan. What do we know?


And, in fact, the warnings extend through British Columbia and we actually have watches that continue all the way down to San Diego although, of course, there, it would take a longer time for the waves to arrive.

What do we have? Well, a 7.9. It's actually down from what originally this was reported as, which was an 8.2. That would be a great earthquake.

That doesn't sound like a lot of difference but in earthquake world it certainly is as far as the magnitude.

But depth is also important. You don't want a shallow depth. And though 15 miles -- 15 1/2 miles may sound like it's deep, it's actually not. It's relatively shallow and that's important because the displacement of the water with that energy didn't have much to travel to the surface.

And, in fact, we've already had a buoy -- this is my concern here -- that has registered waves of upwards of 38 feet. Now that doesn't mean that 38-foot waves are going to arrive at the coast of Alaska. That's just an indication of the potential significance of the tsunami from the 7.9.

So here are the warnings that extend across Alaska -- the Aleutian Islands, by the way -- and that goes all the way up across the Pacific Northwest. From there, beginning across the United States -- that's where we have the watches that continue along the entire West Coast -- this is basically, just to play it safe, I think the biggest threat right now is going to be across Alaska.

Remember the tsunami is not one wave. It's a series of waves and what happens is they travel at a very fast pace. We're talking 500 miles an hour.

So, if a tsunami has been generated, and I think we can pretty much say that it has as a result of that buoy, it does not take much time because of the epicenter and the proximity and how close it was to Alaska here. So we should be getting information within the next hour as far as weather tsunami waves have arrived in Alaska.

And then, this is kind of what happens here in the next three hours. Any tsunami waves would propagate further south. They would begin to impact the Pacific Northwest and then we're down the plank there towards six hours.

So the man threat right now, because this happened underwater, is a tsunami. We're not too concerned about the shaking as far as an earthquake damaging buildings or anything like that. It was far enough offshore, but I don't think that's going to be a problem, but the tsunami is significant.

By the way, this is as widespread as I've seen warnings and watches from an event in quite a long time, so we'll keep you posted throughout the morning and see.


CABRERA: Hopefully, this doesn't materialize into what it has the potential to -- Dave.

BRIGGS: Well, we hope not. More information straight ahead on "NEW DAY."

Ivan Cabrera live for us. Thank you.

ROMANS: All right.

This morning, back to work for 800,000 federal workers after an unscheduled long weekend. President Trump has signed a stopgap funding bill ending the three-day government shutdown. The bill funds the government now -- the federal government for just shy of three weeks. BRIGGS: The House and 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, another with two red state Democrats.

ROMANS: 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."

BRIGGS: All right, let's discuss all this with "Washington Examiner" commentary writer Siraj Hashmi. Good morning to you --

ROMANS: Good morning, again.

BRIGGS: -- sir.


BRIGGS: Also, they battled back and forth on hashtags throughout the weekend and settled on #SchumerSellout.

What did the Democrats gain, if anything, throughout this procedure, and what's the long-term impact of what happened?

HASHMI: Well, right now, Democrats have gained promises and reassurances from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell which is pretty much, in Washington, next to nothing. That's -- you know, you probably get a gym bag full of dirty clothes which is more valuable in Washington than promises and reassurances.

What I will say, though, is that Democrats still have a little bit of leverage left in terms of the three-week continuing resolution and the government shutdown date of February eighth. We can't really tell for sure if that's going to be something they will actually force but that's the one thing --

[05:35:10] ROMANS: Right.

HASHMI: -- that they have in their back pocket that they can say hey, look, we'll shut down the government again if we can't move forward on DACA.

But I'm pretty sure, at least Republicans will probably get it to the point where they can get an up and down vote on there.

ROMANS: I reminder, too, to everyone just how broken the business of government is, is that we are -- we are governing three weeks at a time, you know. I mean, we forget --

BRIGGS: And that's considered a win.

ROMANS: We forget just how --


ROMANS: -- weird and crazy that is.

So, there are four possibilities, I think, for what happens next.

It expires without a fix -- DACA expires without a fix. You have a trade-off DACA deal for border wall money, although it sounds like that's what Sen. Schumer is trying to do this weekend. Dems trade DACA for concessions on the wall, and new immigration restrictions or Republicans allow a vote on a clean Dream Act.

Which of these looks most likely to you?

HASHMI: Right now, the most likely scenario is that they will fund the border wall, as well as border security, in exchange for permanent reauthorization of DACA.

Now again, I did say in my previous answer that Democrats only got promises and reassurances, which is not only true -- not just one case. I mean, they also got six-year authorization on the Children's Health Insurance --

ROMANS: Right.

HASHMI: -- Plan, also known as CHIP, so that's one of the wins.

But they really won the gold mine on DACA and that's where the fight still lies. I can still see Trump move in on getting the border wall funding as well as border security. They requested $18 billion. I recall seeing a summary last week saying they would only grant him $1.5 million.

Again, these are just ever-moving parts here in Washington.


HASMI: It's -- I can't see him get all the wall funding but I can see him get a good chunk of it.

BRIGGS: The prospect of a bipartisan immigration deal, I think, just dimmed over the weekend.

Now, let's turn to some "Axios" reporting that Attorney General Jeff Sessions actually went and urged his FBI director Christopher Wray to fire his top deputy. Now, Wray said I'm not having it and apparently threatened to resign before firing McCabe.

What are the implications of all this if, in fact, true?

HASHMI: Well, it doesn't look good. I mean, it just shows that the Trump White House is fully engaged in maybe meddling in the affairs of the FBI and they're probably trying to -- you know, Jeff Sessions -- he was under a lot of flak.

I mean, he recused himself from the Russia investigation, you know. This might be his way of trying to make good on what he got wrong in 2017 by trying to force Christopher Wray -- I'm sorry, Andrew McCabe --


HASHMI: -- to resign.

And, you know, Christopher Wray, who was appointed by Trump and was also a Bush attorney general -- assistant attorney general -- you know, these are things that shows that the swamp or a quote-unquote "deep state" as they like to call it, is fighting back against the Trump administration.

I can't see -- I can't say that definitively this is really good for the Trump White House, but it certainly doesn't look good in terms of the whole Russia investigation.

ROMANS: It is fascinating how the storyline -- you know, if the president got tax cuts or he got these companies who are reinvesting in the United States -- not all of them but many of them. He put tariffs on solar panels and washing machines, but the story -- you know, the White House has just not been able to capitalize on those things that you could say are -- you're notching off these wins on his -- on his "America First" agenda. It's all -- you know, it's all this --

BRIGGS: Focus on the economy.

ROMANS: Right.

BRIGGS: There's an awful lot of positive news there.

ROMANS: Siraj Hashmi, nice to see you. Thank you so much.

HASHMI: And thank you for having me.

BRIGGS: Thank you.

ROMANS: All right, 38 minutes past the hour.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is 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.

The gap in communications revealed to lawmakers by the Justice Department as it released a second bath of the pair's text messages.

BRIGGS: The Senate's Homeland Security chairman Ron Johnson first raised questions and was quickly joined by the Republican chairman of three powerful committees.

They say, quote, "The omission of text messages causes us to further question the credibility and objectivity of certain officials at the FBI."

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd claims technical issues prevented the Bureau from capturing messages from late 2016 to May of 2017.

All right. A change of plans for Melania Trump. The first lady will not be joining the president on his trip to Switzerland this week.

East Wing 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.

Melanie Trump has not made a public statement since January 12th when news of a possible payoff to porn star Stormy Daniels was first reported.

ROMANS: All right.

The Trump tax cuts will boost the global economy. That's according to the International Monetary Fund. The IMF says world output will grow 3.9 percent this year and next, the fastest expansion in seven years, thanks largely to changes in the U.S. tax code, particularly a lower corporate rate boosting business investment.

[05:40:15] However, it also warns the possible -- the positive effects will be temporary and that expiring tax cuts and a huge deficit will hurt growth in the longer run, dragging growth lower by the year 2022. Still, the IMF says barring a drop in financial markets the economic momentum will persist.

There are several risk factors the IMF outlined that could hinder growth -- inequality -- income inequality, climate change, inward- looking policies resulting in trade barriers.

BRIGGS: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court tossing out the state's congressional map. The court ordered 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 alleged Republicans secretly designed a map packing Democratic voters into 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.

The ruling comes the same month as a federal appeals panel overturned North Carolina's map. 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: All right. Ahead, Neil Diamond has played his last show. We'll tell you why in a stunning overnight announcement.





[05:45:48] BRIGGS: Five forty-five Eastern time.

And, legendary singer Neil Diamond is retiring after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Diamond, who turns 77 tomorrow, making the announcement on this Website.

He canceled upcoming dates in Australia and New Zealand on his 50th anniversary tour, offering his sincerest apologies to those who had bought tickets to the shows.

Diamond says while he is retiring from concert touring he hopes to keep making music. He plans to continue writing and recording.

Diamond set to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammy's on Sunday.

ROMANS: Marijuana is now legal in Vermont. It's the first state to legalize pot through its legislature, rather than by ballot measure. The governor signed the law last night. It takes effect July first.

Vermont has long been considered one of the most liberal states in the country. It legalized medical marijuana back in 2004 and recently, decriminalized possession of a small amount.

The new law does not permit commercial marijuana sales. Nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational use of marijuana. It is still illegal under federal law.

BRIGGS: Disgraced former USA Gymnastics doctor 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 impact victim statements are expected today at his marathon sentencing hearing. So far, 133 have been read.


EMMA ANN MILLER, VICTIM OF LARRY NASSAR: 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.

TAYLOR LIVINGSTON, VICTIM OF LARRY NASSAR: I have 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.


ROMANS: Three executives with USA Gymnastics -- the chairman, the vice chairman, and the treasurer have now resigned under pressure in the wake of the Nassar case. He worked with the governing body as part of its medical staff or as a national team doctor through four Olympic cycles.


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.

Protest organizers say it has become clear the school's president, Lou Anna K. Simon, has intensified the pain of dozens of sexual assault survivors.

ROMANS: All right, it is Oscar nomination morning. They will be up dark and early in Hollywood to hear the nominees for the 90th Academy Awards.

The ceremony starts just before 8:30 Eastern time. That's 5:30 out on the coast.

Among the names you can expect to hear -- Frances McDormand, after winning a Golden Globe and SAG award for her role in "THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI." She is the favorite for Best Actress in the year, frankly, filled with strong female-led films.


Gary Oldman the one to beat for Best Actor for his performance as Winston Churchill in "DARKEST HOUR."

Between five and 10 films nominated for Best Picture. "THREE BILLBOARDS" considered by many the frontrunner.

The Academy Awards, March fourth.

ROMANS: All right.

Banks, some of the biggest winners under the corporate tax cut, right, but Bank of America has just eliminated an account popular with lower- income customers. Cue the outrage. Details on "CNN Money Stream," next.


[05:53:35] ROMANS: All right. Updating our breaking news from the west coast, tsunami watches in parts of Alaska and British Columbia after a powerful earthquake off Alaska. The USGS says a 7.9-magnitude quake hit southeast of Kodiak in the Gulf of Alaska.

Now, the quake hit a depth of 15 miles. Ivan Cabrera, our meteorologist, assures us that's pretty shallow which is why there's a concern her. Tsunami watches are in effect up and down the west coast and Hawaii.

We will have updates throughout the morning on CNN.

BRIGGS: Meanwhile, tensions growing between the U.S. and Turkey. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson saying the U.S. is concerned about Ankara's offensive against the Kurds. The U.S. considers the Kurds allies in the fight against ISIS.

Turkish President Recep Erdogan lashing back, accusing the U.S. of supporting a terrorist organization.

CNN's Sam Kiley on the Turkey-Syria border with more. Good morning, Sam.


I'm standing outside the mosque where the burial has just been completed for (INAUDIBLE), a 30-year-old worker who was fixing a generator in a camp that was housing members of the Free Syrian Army. That is an Arab militia that is working alongside the Turks in their campaign just across the border here against the Kurds of Afrin.

Now, the Kurds, particularly of the YPG, have been getting American military support. Not so much the Kurds in Afrin, but the Kurds there -- their brothers, if you like, further east.

[05:55:08] Nonetheless, this is a moment in which the two NATO powers with the two biggest armies -- the United States and Turkey -- are at least politically effectively on opposite sides of a war.

The problem for the Americans is that Turkey has a very long border with Syria. It was used in the past to infiltrate into the so-called Islamic State -- large numbers of foreign fighters -- and they want to seal that border using Kurds from the YPG.

They announced a week or so ago that they were going to sponsor a force of 30,000 men to do that, but that is absolutely out the question as far as Turkey's concerned. And they are saying they're campaigning against what they call Kurdish terrorists here just across the border in Afrin.

BRIGGS: All right, Sam Kiley live for us. It's just about 2:00 p.m. there. Thank you, Sam.

First on CNN, an ATF special agent suing the ATF and the Justice Department, alleging they retaliated against her for exposing sexual harassment.

Special agent Lisa Kincaid was tasked with investigating another female agent's claims against a supervisor. Kincaid said she uncovered more disturbing allegations.

ROMANS: But, Kincaid says when she reported the claims she was retaliated against, her career advancement blocked. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LISA KINCAID, SPECIAL AGENT, BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, FIREARMS AND EXPLOSIVES: Throughout the whole process I was naive to think that the system was going work, and the system wasn't going to work. I want to -- I want to know that taking a stand wasn't for nothing.


ROMANS: The ATF will -- would not comment on personnel matters but said they take sexual harassment complaints very seriously.

BRIGGS: In the Philippines, ash from the exploding Mount Mayon volcano falling on evacuated towns nearby. Look at that. Red-hot lava spewing from the volcano Monday night, reaching nearly 2,300 feet while ash and smoke rose up to nearly two miles above the volcano.

A level four threat has been issued, meaning a hazardous eruption is imminent.

ROMANS: All right, let's get a check on "CNN Money Stream" this morning.

Global stock markets higher on a strong forecast for global growth, while Washington lifted Wall Street to record highs. The Dow jumped 143 points after the Senate reached that deal to end the shutdown. The Nasdaq climbed one percent.

Earnings season rolling along here. Expect to hear today from Verizon, United, and Johnson & Johnson.

It's been a strong quarter of the S&P 500 companies that have reported profits so far. Look at that. Eight and 10 come in better than expected, so making more money than they thought.

Banks are some of the biggest winners of the corporate tax cut, but Bank of America has eliminated a free checking account popular with lower-income customers. They now have to maintain a daily balance of $1,500 or you pay a fee. Basic checking balances are expensive for banks.

But many customers are not happy about this change. They're creating a petition with more than 45,000 signatures.

Bank of America tells CNN the new account is a great value and that it offers several ways to avoid the monthly fee. But for paycheck-to- paycheck customers, $1,500 is not going to do it.

All right, Netflix' recent price hike is not denting the subscriber numbers. Look at this. A record eight million subscribers -- that's the strongest quarterly subscription gain ever.

Netflix credits its original content flight, including "STRANGER THINGS," which returned for a second season during that quarter.

But, Netflix took an unexpected $39 million charge for canceled content. What is that? A source tells CNN it was due to ending "HOUSE OF CARDS" and canceling the release of "GORE." Both projects starred Kevin Spacey who has been accused of sexual harassment.

For years, Facebook's touted itself as a tool for connecting the world. Now, it is admitting social media allows people to spread misinformation and corrode democracy. Facebook wrote that in a blog post, part of a larger series about how social media effects democracy. Facebook has been criticized for letting trolls use its platform to meddle in elections.

A lot of people say just too late to the realization --


ROMANS: -- by many of the social media outlets.

BRIGGS: Big factor in the midterms.

ROMANS: Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs.

Susan Collins and Mick Mulvaney on "NEW DAY." We pass the Native American talking stick to Chris and Alisyn. We'll see you tomorrow.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The businessman dealmaker was AWOL for the three days that this government was shut down.

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: What the president did clearly worked.

BRIGGS: President Trump claiming political victory, saying he's eager to negotiate an immigration deal.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: This immigration debate will have a level playing field.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do not trust him at all.

SEN. ANGUS KING (I), MAINE: The question now is will the majority leader honor that commitment, and I think he's under a lot of pressure to do so.

ROMANS: A new report says FBI Director Wray threatened to quit over pressure from the attorney general to fire his deputy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a hundred percent Donald Trump move.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell me one thing that Andy McCabe has done in this investigation that's wrong. I don't get it.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota. ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Tuesday --