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Larry Nassar Sentenced; Michigan State President Resigns; Trump Says He Supports Path To Citizenship For Dreamers; NBA For Legalized Gambling On Basketball. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired January 25, 2018 - 05:00   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: ...United Airlines sparks the sales along the airline stocks. So just how big a deal is artificial intelligence, A.I.? Google boss, Sundar Pichai, says, really big.

SUNDAR PICHAI, GOOGLE CEO: A.I. is one of the most important things humanity it is working on. It's more profound than, I don't know, electricity or fire.

ROMANS: More profound than electricity or fire. Pichai has pushed Google to develop more A.I., saying it can help aid everything from education to renewable energy, but he acknowledges the concerns many have over the potential downsides. Elon Musk, the TESLA boss, by the way, called A.I. and existential threat to the human race. He says machines shouldn't be smarter than us, or humans may be doomed. Wow. Fire or electricity; A.I.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: That's a bit scary.


BRIGGS: Alright, EARLY START continues right now with the President touching down in Switzerland.

ROMANS: The president says he's ready to talk under oath to Robert Mueller. And for the first time ever, he endorses a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers. President just landing in Switzerland moments ago after shedding new light on key issues.

BRIGGS: Republican attacks on the FBI intensify and the justice department now warning it would be reckless to release a classified memo without review.


(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE): I'm giving you 175 years, which is 2100 months. I just signed your death warrant.


ROMANS: Larry Nassar will never see the light of day again. The university president has now quit as survivor's demand accountability. We have reports this morning from Michigan, from Switzerland, Washington, and South Korea where the North and South Korean women's hockey team will be united. Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. It is January 25th, five a.m. in the east. We're going to head to Switzerland live shortly. President Trump says he is eager to swear to tell the truth and talk to Russia Special Council, Robert Muller. The president made that commitment when he unexpectedly dropped by John Kelly's office while his chief of staff was meeting with reporters. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (voice-over): I'm looking forward to it, actually,

REPORTER (voice-over): You want to?

REPORTER (voice-over): You have a date yet?

TRUMP (voice-over): Yes, here's the story, just so you understand. There's been no collusion whatsoever, there's no obstruction whatsoever-and I'm looking forward to it. But I would love to do that. I'd like to do it as soon as possible.

REPORTER (voice-over): What will do you Mr. President?

TRUMP (voice-over): Good luck everybody.

REPORTER (voice-over): Do you have a date set?

TRUMP (voice-over): So, here's the story...

REPORTER (voice-over): Do you have a date set, Mr. President?

TRUMP (voice-over): I don't know, no. I guess two or three weeks, but I would love to do it.

REPORTER (voice-over): In person?

TRUMP (voice-over): You know, again, I have to say, subject to my lawyers, and all of that, but I would love to do it.


ROMANS: Alright, it's a critical moment in the Russia probe. A day after CNN confirmed the special council is focusing his investigation on the firings of Michael Flynn, his national security advisor, and James Comey, as head of the FBI. The story following President Trump all the way now to Switzerland.

He has just arrived in Zurich on his way to the world economic forum, which is just a short helicopter flight away in the beautiful mountain setting of Davos where our senior white house correspondent, Jeff Zeleny is, with the very latest. Good morning Jeff.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning Christine, the President is making his way here to Davos. The very snowy Davos, it's been snowing all week, but sunny here today. The President is going to be meeting with world leaders and delivering a major address tomorrow.

But it is still the Russia investigation that is hanging over him as he comes here to Switzerland. No question, his drop by the chief of staff's office the last evening before leaving the White House certainly added some fuel to that. He does say he is eager to testify, answer questions. Now his attorney walked that back a bit saying the President was eager to leave for Davos and the exact negotiations of any sit-down interview must still be worked out. But the President clearly wanted to make it known that what others may construe as obstruction of justice, he calls defending himself.


REPORTER (voice-over): Do you think Robert Mueller will be fair to you in this investigation?

TRUMP (voice-over): We're going to find out. Because here's what we'll say. And everybody says. No collusion. There's no collusion. Now they're saying, "oh, well did he fight back?" If you fight back-

REPORTER (voice-over): Sir-

TRUMP (voice-over): You fight back, John. You fight back, oh it's obstruction. So here's the thing. I hope so.

REPORTER (voice-over): How do you define collusion? And Maggie asked this earlier during the briefing to Sarah, but...

TRUMP (voice-over): You're going to define it for me, OK? But I can tell you, there's no collusion.


ZELENY: So the President is still saying no collusion at all. Now he did not use the word "hoax" which he has done previously to talk about this investigation. He now says he wants to sit down. That has been a subject of conversation among the President's advisor, if he should sit down or not with the special counsel's team. The President now says he would like to but, adding the slight caveat that the lawyers will have to work it out.


Now all of this is coming as so many more members of his inner circle are also sitting down with the special council; Steve Bannon, the former chief strategist of the white house. He is scheduled to do so by the end of the month. All this of course weight on the President as he is set to arrive here in Davos within the next half hour or so. He'll be meeting with the British Prime Minister and other world leaders here before going back to Washington tomorrow where that Russia investigation of course still waits - Dave and Christine.

ROMANS: Of course. A lot of big, serious issues going on there. I definitely hope you can have some fondue at some point in the next few days. Stay warm.

ZELENY: Indeed.

ROMANS: Thank you.

BRIGGS: Enjoy Jeff. Alight let's bring in CNN politics reporter, (INAUDIBLE). Live from D.C. She did not get to go to Davos. We're sorry about that. But great to have you here this morning with us from the nation's capital. Let's talk about the President's extraordinary back and forward with reporters yesterday, which he said he would be willing to speak to Bob Mueller under oath, but it was really about Hillary Clinton, if you listen to all this audio. He says, Did Hillary Clinton talk under oath? -- pointing out to the reporters no she did not. Doesn't really matter though, does it, because if you lie to the FBI, it is a federal crime regardless of whether you are under oath or not. Is this a PR offensive? Is it a wise legal move? Is it likely to happen the way the president described?

TAL KOPAN, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well Dave, you know, I think we've come to expect that when President Trump is asked a direct question he actually answers it, which is something we're not used to from politicians, and he did manage to throw in the caveat, you know, if my lawyers are OK with it.

But certainly, you could imagine that last night his lawyers saw these comments and sort of scrambled to figure out what they're going to do about them because know he is publicly saying he's open to testify under oath and it becomes much harder to walk that back. So, you know, at the same time, if he feels he has nothing to hide, if he is trying to expedite the wrapping up of this investigation, perhaps he sees this as a necessary way to do that. So, we will have to see what actually comes to pass, but the President speaks his mind, and this is just one more of those examples.

ROMANS: And with this unscheduled talk with reporters is really fascinating. He was walking by John Kelly's office, John Kelly had reporters in his office, the President starts talking, and he really went there on immigration on Dreamers in particular and this was just fascinating. I had to listen to it a couple times. He says he's open to citizenship for Dreamers. Something that many of his base are absolutely opposed to. Listen very carefully to what the president said.


REPORTER (voice-over): Do you want citizenship for Dreamers?

TRUMP (voice-over): We do, we're going to morph into it - it's going to happen at some point in the future.

REPORTER (voice-over): What does that mean?

TRUMP (voice-over): Over a period of 10-12 years, somebody does a great job, they work hard. It gives them incentive to do a great job. But they have worked hard, they've done terrifically, whether they have a little company or whether they work, whatever they're doing, if they're doing a great job I think it's a nice thing to have the incentive of after a period of years, being able to become a citizen.


ROMANS: The President really showing his cards there. I mean, he's pretty precise, 10-12 years, something you morph into if you have a job or you have a business or a company. He's open to citizenship for Dreamers. That's big news.

KOPAN: That's absolutely right, Christine. This is the first time he's sort of definitively said that he is willing to accept that in a deal, which, you know, this is-one of the interesting things reporters do is try to read between the lines and one of the things it signals to me is that he may be listening to some of those moderate republicans who have been coming to the white house quite a bit because this 10-12 year plan is very similar to what some moderate and conservative have proposed as a compromise position for that pathway to citizenship. It's a little bit longer than what the democrats had initially offered, but it's still a compromise.

And when you look at what's happening in the House, that's where this is going to be especially important because on the House side of things, the conservatives in the base for speaker Ryan have been really pushing him to the right. They want to see a hardline bill pass that only has indefinite renewals of three-year-permits and so this definitive statement by the president saying he not only accepts a pathway to citizenship but thinks it's a good idea could perhaps give Paul Ryan some cover to say to his base no, the Senate is going to pass, the president is accepting this, we have to go with the pathway to citizenship as well. That's a big step forward to the talks, not the end all, be all, but it's a big step forward.

BRIGGS: Yes, 2013 you had a bill pass in the senate. Sixty-eight votes didn't even get a vote over in the house. It feels like that also feels like ancient history basically a week ago. Tuesday, Trump came out, said he wanted a bill of love and he would take the heat, and on Thursday Trump talked about s-hole countries and not wanting people here from those countries. How skeptical should we be that this amnesty or whatever you want to call it for Dreamers will continue -

ROMANS: That's a good point.

BRIGGS: -- once the President returns from Davos.


KOPAN: Well, I've been talking to democrats on the hill for weeks and months, Dave, and that's exactly what they say. They say, I don't believe any deal from the president. They say he changes his mind so often, and you've even started to hear republicans say it. I mean, Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham, you know, they've specifically negotiated a situation in the senate where they can vote on a bill regardless of where the white house stands on it because they are so frustrated with the white house walking this back and changing their minds.

But one thing we haven't really had up to this point are such clear public from Donald Trump saying policy-wise, what he wants. He's made statements in the past about supporting dreamers and there have been reports about what he says in closed doors, but this is substantive. He is on the records saying this is something he could support. That's a little bit more firm.

ROMANS: If you're employed, if you're a small business owner, if you're here 10-12 years. There are details, and there are details on that-

KOPAN: School, military

ROMANS: --pretty interesting. We'll see what the feedback is from the right-wing media. Breitbart already has-

BRIGGS: -Amnesty Don.

ROMANS: - Aamnesty Don. We'll see what kind of bug is in the President's ear after he gets back from Davos. Thank you so much for that, Tal. We'll talk to you in a minute.

BRIGGS: He loves nicknames; I'm not sure he'll like that one a whole lot.

And the President of Michigan State University resigning in the wake Larry Nassar's sentence for sex abuse. Even thought Nassar will be locked up forever, survivors know there is a long road ahead.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Larry is sentenced but there is still so much more work to do. And it is truly just the beginning.





JUDGE ROSEMARY AQUILINA: My page only goes 200 years. Sir, I'm giving you 175 years, which is 2100 months. I just signed your death warrant.


ROMANS: Michigan Rosemary Aquilina sentenced disgraced doctor Larry Nassar up to 175 years in prison for the decades of sexual abuse against young, female athletes. Nassar was the former doctor for USA gymnastics and Michigan State University. The scandal now costing the Michigan State President her job.

BRIGGS: Lou Anna Simon stepping down under pressure after faculty and students said they had lost confidence. The US Olympic committee is calling on the national gymnastics board to step down. The USOC also announcing an independent investigation to determine how the abuse by Nassar could have gone on undetected for so long. We get more now from CNN's Jean Casarez in Lansing Michigan. JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christina, Dave, we've got the final

numbers at yesterday's sentencing hearing. One hundred and fifty-six young women stepped up to that podium to give victim impact statements saying they too were sexual assault victims of Larry Nasar and the assistant attorney general has told us that over 200 young women they know were sexually assaulted by him. This was an extremely respected Olympic doctor. Students here at Michigan State University, Olympic athletes, medalists, they all went to him. To even get an appointment with him was something of a notoriety. He would position towels so parents in the room couldn't see what he was doing. At the Olympic level, parents couldn't even be in the hotel room. The last person to give an impact statement was Rachael Denhollander. She was the very first young woman to go public in 2016 with the Indi Star. Listen to her in court.


RACHAEL DENHOLLANDER: I thought daily about all the little women and girls walking in his office and I wondered if it would ever, ever end. I became a mother three times over, and the fear that hung over each birth knowing I would be vulnerable in medical settings cast a horrific shadow over what should have been an occasion of pure joy.. I held my first-born, and then my two daughters. And each time I did, Larry, I remember the day you brought Caroline into your office so that I could hold her. You knew how much I loved children, and you used your own daughter to manipulate me. And every time I held my baby, I prayed to God you would leave your abuse in the exam room and not take it home to the little girl born with black hair just like her daddy.


CASAREZ: Racheal Denhollander is now married. She's a mother and she have now become an attorney. Next week Larry Nassar will face another sentencing judge in another county in Michigan. He pled guilty to three counts of aggravated sexual misconduct and at that point he will be the property of not only the federal correctional system, but also the Michigan state correction system to serve out what definitely will be a life term. His attorneys, however, have a right to appeal- Christine, Dave.

ROMANS: Breaking overnight a Colorado sheriff's deputy shot and killed. Officials say the deputy was responding to a call in the Denver suburb of Thornton, when he was shot. One suspect is in custody. Police are looking for two others. The Colorado Police Officers Foundation identifies the officer as 32-year-old Heath Gum(ph). Police say he was married.

BRIGGS: Alright, let's talk some sports. The NBA backing a plan for legalized betting on basketball. That would include a cut for the league on every wager. Andy Scholes-he's a smart bet, he has this morning's Bleacher Report next.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BRIGGS: The wait continues for Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds and their pursuit of baseball's hall of fame, but the club did welcome four new members yesterday. Huge class.

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

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Yes, big class indeed. For just the fourth time ever the baseball writers are electing four players to the hall of fame in the same year. Chipper Jones and Jim Thome going in on the first, Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hofman going to be joining them. And Thome was overcome with emotion when he got the call.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The baseball writers have elected you to the national baseball hall of fame. Congratulations.

JIM THOME: Thanks, Jack.


SCHOLES: Thome is eighth all time on the home run list. Now to get into baseball's hall of fame you need to be on 75 percent of the ballots filled out by the writers. Chipper Jones getting a whopping 97 percent on his first try.


Vlad, who never met a pitch he didn't like, getting 93 percent of the vote and Hoffman, who has the second most saves ever, getting in on his third try.

Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens meanwhile, receiving more votes this year, getting to about 57 percent, and many writers continue to leave them off because of allegations of steroid use, they have four years left of eligibility.

The NBA is revealing their plan to push for legalized sports gambling. While testifying in front of a New York State senate committee the league said, they want one percent of every bet made on its games in addition to other regulation. Now the NBA is the first big professional league to lobby for legalized sports gambling. An attorney for the NBA saying the league wants fans to have more access to gambling than just casinos, even being able to place bets on your phone or at kiosks while at games.

Alright, Tiger Woods returning to the PGA tour today at Torrey Pines for the first time since he played the same tournament a year ago. This is Tiger's second PGA tour event since 2015 after undergoing four back surgeries. Tiger said his goal right now is to be ready for the Masters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TIGER WOODS: I'm just trying to build towards April and that's what I

told you guys last year in the Bahamas is that I'm looking forward to playing a full schedule and getting ready for the Masters.


SCHOLES: Tiger tee's off at 1:40 Eastern today.

The quarterback match-up for super bowl 52, it's basically David versus Goliath. Tom Brady has more wins and touchdown passes in the playoffs than Nick Foles has for his entire career and was speaking with the media yesterday fully acknowledged what he's up against.


NICK FOLES: He's definitely got it. I've always watched any young quarterback; any quarterback around has watched Tom Brady. I mean, he's done an amazing job. He's probably the greatest quarterback to play the game.


SCHOLES: There are some Eagles' fans out there that are optimistic. One bettor placed a multi-million dollar bet on the Eagles in the super bowl according to reports. That's a big one right now even though the Patriots remain a five-point favorite.

BRIGGS: Imagine if the Eagles win, Foles is the MVP and he's not the starter next year at the start. I mean -


SCHOLES: He'd land somewhere I'd imagine.

BRIGGS: Yes, I would think so too. Alright, Andy Sholes, it should be fun in Minnesota. My friend, thanks.

ROMANS: Trump lands in Davos this morning. Right now, there he is. Beautiful Davos after a quick helicopter ride from Zurich. He made some big news before he left the United States. He says he's ready to talk under oath in the Russia probe.