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Job Protection For Special Counsel; State Of The Union Tomorrow; Hillary Trolls Trump At The Grammy's; Grammy Awards Gold; Deadline Day For New Russia Sanctions; More Terror In Afghanistan. Aired 04-04:30p ET

Aired January 29, 2018 - 04:00   ET



[04:0013] CHRISTINE ROMANS, EARLY START SHOW CO-HOST: Democrats want job protection for the Russia special counsel. This comes word when Donald Trump wanted Mueller fired last year. What do Republican think of the idea?

DAVE BRIGGS, EARLY START SHOW CO-HOST: State of the union is only a day away and the President will make his pitch to the nation, but won't hit the road to sell it.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: He had a long time fear of being poisoned.


ROMANS: Yup. That is just one moment from the politically charged Grammy awards. We have the big moment and who took top honor, with reports this morning form the White House and London where we are following the deadly terrorist attack in Afghanistan capital. Good morning. Welcome to "Early Start." I'm Christine Romans. The Grammy's, I have never seen a politically Grammys.

BRIGGS: No, never in my lifetime have risen either, I'm Dave Briggs. It is Monday January 29, 4:00 a.m. in the east. We did not stay up and watch. Certainly we will get to the highlights. The white rose was the signature move. What you want to call it? Symbol of the movement. A lot of politics on the Grammy night. We start with Democrats with new steps to protect Robert Mueller, the special counsel following news the President wanted to fire him last June. A congressional aide tells CNN Democrats will seek extra protections for the special counsel in the upcoming spending talks. Current funding expires next Thursday. The details are worked on, but among the ideas being floated are giving the special counsel a right to challenge the firing in court.

ROMANS: Another idea for the special counsel can only be fired after Judge finds misconduct or other good cause. Republican reaction so far is mixed on whether legislation protecting the special counsel is even really needed.


SEN SUSAN COLLINS, (D) MAINE: It probably wouldn't hurt for us to pass one of those bills. There are some constitutional issues with those bills, but it would certainly wouldn't hurt to put that extra safeguard in place. Given the latest stories.

SEN LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: I have legislation protecting Mr. Mueller. I'll be glad to pass it tomorrow. I see no evidence that President Trump wants to fire Mr. Mueller now. I don't know what happened last year, but it is pretty clear to me that everybody in the White House knows it would be the end of Mr. President Trump's presidency if he fire Mr. Mueller.

KEVIN MCCARTHY, HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: The President's staff fully cooperated. That is why they are moving forward. We will continue these investigation and see where it goes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think there is a need for regulations to protect Mueller. So we are raising an issue that is not --


BRIGGS: All right. Red state Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia tells CNN Jake Tapper he is not ready to back such legislation. Saying the President was probably blowing off steam.


SEN JOE MANCHIN, (D) WEST VIRGINIA: I believe in the rule of law. It pertains to all of us. We are all treated the same. If any of this had happen, it will come out. You know people from New York have a different way of speaking. I take that literally. I said ok, he blew off about some things.


ROMANS: All right. The latest on Justice Department official to find himself in President Trump's cross-hairs as Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. That is according to four sources, two from CNN. The President has vented at times about removing Rosenstein from overseeing the Russia probe. The President's advisers convincing him that is a disastrous idea.

BRIGGS: And Rod Rosenstein also reportedly focus on the controversial memo prepared by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes. The New York Times reporting this morning the classified memo said Rosenstein approved an application to extend surveillance on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The request indicates the Justice Department had reason to think Page was acting as a Russia agent during the campaign.

ROMANS: Rosenstein's appearance in the memo suggests that the Republicans may focus on him in there effort to undermine the Russia probe. Democrats who had read the Nunes memo accused Republican of cherry picking facts to create a profoundly misleading version of events. Senior White House aide Mark Short says the President wants to release the memo but the Justice Department warned that doing so will be quote extraordinarily reckless.

BRIGGS: Expect some twitter reaction from President Trump this morning after trolling reached new heights at the Grammy Award last night in the spoof called "fire and fury" spoken word audition celebrities from John legend to Cher and Snoop Dogg and others all read different excerpts during the audition then came one final reader.


CLINTON: He had a long time fear of being poisoned. One reason why he liked to eat at McDonald's. Nobody knew it was coming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is the one.

CLINTON: You think so?


CLINTON: The Grammy's in the bag?


ROMANS: That bit from Hillary Clinton got big cheers from the New York audience, but not the administration. U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley tweeting I always loved the Grammys, but have artists read "fire and fury" killed it. Don't ruined great music with trash. Some of us love music without the politics thrown in it.

[04:05:15] BRIGGS: The President's son Don Jr. weighed in with some counter trolling. Getting to read a fake news book excerpt at the Grammy's seems like a good consolation prize for losing the presidency.

ROMANS: There were plenty of political notes to the awards show. Cabello address being a DREAMER, U2 played with the Statue of Liberty at the backdraft mentioning s-hole countries which was bleeped. The #metoo movement also a dominant being throughout the stars wore white roses. Kesha gave an emotional performance with the #metoo theme.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because I'll bring thunder I'll bring rain and when I'm finished they won't even know your name


BRIGGS: Indeed the most powerful moment there surrounded by women stars who wore white roses to the ceremony. She has been in the battle with producer Dr. Luke with the 2014 allegations of drugs and emotionally abuse and sexually assaulted her.

ROMANS: The night was pure gold for Bruno Mars. He won the most trophies, including three of the top honors. Record and album of the year for "24k magic" and song of the year for "That is what I like." BRIGGS: A big night for Kendrick Lamar. He won five Grammys,

including best rap album. And Alicia Carl won for best new artist. To think that Lady Gaga had her hair laced up.

ROMANS: I know.

BRIGGS: And that was not even the (inaudible).

ROMANS: A corset.

All right. President Trump delivers the first state of the union address tomorrow night. He has no plans to take his message on the road this week. Some of the President's advisers believe he is missing an opportunity. A senior White House official tells CNN there is frustration in the west wing, because of the President's ongoing indifference to travel. He did just get back from, you know, the big trip overseas. We get more from White House Correspondent Boris Sanchez.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN NEWSROOM HOST: Christine and Dave, a White House official telling CNN the President is set to strike an optimistic tone in his address to the nation on Tuesday night. A source telling us the President's focus is going to be on building a safer, stronger and prouder America during his speech. He will try to appeal to people outside of his base. In part by touting his success on the economy and booming stock market and low unemployment numbers and then he is going to transition to talking about the future. The President said to ask congress for nearly $1 trillion to fund his infrastructure plan. We also understand that President is going to talk about trade and national security. The main focus on the speech on Tuesday is going to be how he delivers his vision of immigration reform to the American people. The President as it stands now is looking to offer a pathway to citizenship to some nearly 2 million undocumented immigrants in exchange for $25 billion in funding for the long promised border as well as the extensive changes to the legal immigration system as well. This proposal from the White House is not gathering major support on Capitol Hill. The White House is standing by it. Dave and Christine.


BRIGGS: All right. Boris, thank you.

Growing number of lawmakers say the Trump administration could sink the immigration deal by doing too much at once. Democrats with fierce opposition to the White House proposal. It does offers a path for citizenship for 1.8 million DREAMERS, but demands $25 billion for a border wall and sharp cuts to the family immigration visas.

ROMANS: Democratic leaders accuse the President of leveraging the DREAMERS as ransom. While severely cutting legal immigration. Republican Congressman Will Hurd, one of two congressman behind the bipartisan house bill to addressed DREAMERS and the border. He agrees the White House deal is too fraud. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILL HURD, HOUSE INTEL COMMITTEE: I still believe that a narrow bill is most important. The thing we can get through is our congress both houses and the house and senate because the more things you add, you start creating coalition of opposition. Let's keep this narrow.


ROMANS: White House officials reject suggestions of the President asking for too much calling the path for citizenship a dramatic concession.

BRIGGS: Today is the deadline for the treasury department to implement new sanctions against Russia. The sanctions passed in the house and senate in July by nearly you non -- nearly unanimous votes. Let's go live to Moscow and bring in CNN Frederik Pleitgen. Fred, good morning to you.

[04:10:00] FREDERIK PLEITGEN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Good morning, Dave. Naming names is really the operative thing that could happen today. Certainly a lot of oligarchs around Vladimir Putin very concern on this, because the treasury department is set to publish a list with the names of Russian oligarchs that are related who have relationships with the Kremlin and with Vladimir Putin. That list itself does not mean new sanctions ae coming, but it could be the basis for sanctions and that is one of the things that actually puts pressure on the Trump administration. Is President Trump willing to ramp up the sanctions against Russia and the powerful oligarchs that are closed to Putin or will he take the heat for that at home?

The other big thing that is going to be very interesting when this list comes out is how much of it will be published? It is not just the names, but financial information and about their families and spouses and children which could be published as well unless the treasury department decides to make some of the report confidential and hides that information in an Annex. A lot of people will wait and see how much President Trump he is willing published of that list. This comes on the weekend after the Trump administration limited new sanctions against Russia over the Crimea issues and the deputy minister as well. Dave.

BROOKS: Interesting day on that front. Fred, thank you.

Breaking overnight. Nearly a dozen killed in a terror attack on the Afghan military base. Just the latest assault in the surge of violence in Kabul. A live report is next.


[04:15:34] ROMANS: Breaking overnight, another deadly terror attack in Afghanistan. Afghan officials say 11 military personnel were killed and 16 wounded in an attack on a military based in Kabul. ISIS is already claiming responsibility. Four of the five attackers is dead. The attacks comes amid a surge in violence in Afghanistan. An ambulance pack with explosives blew up on a crowded street on the Afghan capital just Saturday. The death toll is 103 people. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is monitoring the latest development, he is live in London. What can you tell us, Nick?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine, this is a staggering week for people living in the capital of Kabul, it is supposed to be protected by a ring of steel. This attack near a military University. ISIS claimed responsibility and they seem to be in a battle with the extremist brutal high ground or low ground you might say. With a longer term insurgency in Afghanistan the Taliban. It was the Taliban White House is behind Saturday - just remember this words what it actually means, an ambulance used as a suicide car bomb that claimed over 100 lives there and left 150 people still in hospital now. Staggering devastation. That, too, in an area that is supposed to be secure and diplomatic quarter. ISIS claimed responsibility hitting a children charity in the east of the country and wind back to last weekend, the previous Saturday that is when we saw the intercontinental hotel in Kabul hit by the Taliban. It appears these groups are trying to show which one is the most prevalent in undermining Kabul security. This is under the issues of President Trump will be winning here and it makes Afghan to look to the police to protect it in the capital particularly when so many fled the violence. Bear in mind that attack on the hotel last weekend the U.S. State department specifically warned such a thing could happen days earlier. Very precarious in Afghanistan. We keep saying this that is not going to be so bad. Back to you.

ROMANS: Four Americans killed in the hotel attack. All right, thank you, Nick Paton Walsh, in London.

BRIGGS: A potentially major security oversight on U.S. military bases. Interactive map that shows where people are using fitness device. Revealing highly sensitive information about the locations of soldiers. The global heat map from GPS tracking companies uses satellite information to map subscriber's locations.

ROMANS: In war zones and deserts in Iraq and Syria, the map is almost entirely dark except for scattered pinpoints of activity, outlining the locations of known U.S. military bases. And the potentially sensitive sites, the department of defense takes the matters seriously to determine any additional training or guidance is required.

BRIGGS: Israeli Prime Minister and holocaust survivors are strongly condemning a proposed law in Poland and that would make it illegal to suggest the country theirs responsibility for Nazi crimes committed in Polish soil. The bill passed by the lower house of parliament Friday on the eve of holocaust remembrance day. A criminal offense punishable up to three years in prison.

ROMANS: The Israeli foreign minister summon Polish officials to object to the bill. The Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says under no circumstance will Israel accept any attempt to rewrite history. The Prime Minister and the polish Prime Minister talked by phone on Sunday. The bill must be approved by the polish senate and President.

BRIGGS: Ahead, the Trump administration considering a federal takeover of 5g networks. Why this ruling is unprecedented and highly controversy move. Next.


[04:23:50] ROMANS: The Trump administration is considering a federal takeover of 5g networks to protect U.S. phone calls from possible Chinese spying. According to the documents obtain by Axios President Trump's national security team, may centralize the U.S. 5g network. Government control would be unprecedented and controversial. 5g is the next generation of wireless and for companies, a multibillion dollar opportunity. Major wireless carriers have already spent billions on 5g and AT&T and Verizon will roll out networks this next year. These documents suggest the government should built its own network renting access to carriers. The best way to combat China severe threat to sober security. The Trump administration had taken a hardline against Chinese investment in the U.S. especially in critical industries like telecom. In fact Reuters has said AT&T scrapped plans to cellphones built by China's Huawei after members of congress lobbied against it. Nit the first time there were security concerns over Chinese devices back in 2012, they were investigated for providing opportunities for espionage.

BRIGGS: Very interesting. Engineers and conductors warn their supervisors they did not feel adequately trained days before a deadly Amtrak derailed last month in Washington State.

[04:25:04] The train was going 80 miles per hour in a 30 mile an hour zone and when several cars flew off on the overpassed spilling on interstate 5. Now sources tells CNN train personnel were concerned about rushed than totally inadequate training.

ROMANS: Sources say some practice runs took place at night with six people in a car with three seats. That meant some trainees had to ride facing backwards. Three people died and more than 100 died in the accident. NTSB said investigators are aware of the training issues had been raised. Amtrak will continue to work with the NTSB to learn from the accident and improve.

BRIGGS: A Detroit police officer 25-year-old Glenn Doss has died just days after he was shot in the head, responding to a domestic violence call. The Detroit's mayor describe Doss's is quote, everything that is good about Detroit. The slain officer leaves behind a 9 month old baby. He had been on the force two years.

ROMANS: the police say the suspect fired 32 shots at officers and barricaded himself inside his home for hours. Police essentially fired tear gas in the house and arrested him. He faces 33 charges with more expected. Such a tragedy.

All right. Should job protections be in place for the Russia special counsel? Democrats had floating as part of the spending bill next week. Would Republicans sign on?