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Job Protection For Special Counsel; Hillary Trolls Trump At The Grammys; State Of The Union Tomorrow; Grammy Awards Gold; Deadline Day For New Russia Sanctions; Terror in Afghanistan; Eastern Deep Freeze. Aired 04:30-05a ET

Aired January 29, 2018 - 04:30   ET



[04:30:34] DAVE BRIGGS, EARLY START SHOW CO-HOST: Democrats want to protect the Russian special counsel. This comes word when Donald Trump wanted to fire Robert Mueller last year. What do Republican think of these idea?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, EARLY START SHOW CO-HOST: State of the union is 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. One reason why he liked to eat at McDonald's.


BRIGGS: That is just one moment from the politically charged Grammys Awards. We have big moments who took home top honor, it was a big night for Bruno.

ROMANS: Yes it was.

BRIGGS: Reports this morning from the White House, Moscow and London where we are following another the deadly terror attack in Afghanistan capital. The Grammys were certainly eyebrow raising in a lot of way. The red carpet alone saw a lace up hair from Lady Gaga and pro-life abortion dress. And that not even make news once the ceremony began.

ROMANS: A lot of politics.

BRIGGS: All right. Good morning everybody, I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It is 31 minutes pass the hour, it is Monday morning, bright and early Monday morning. Democrats are weighing new steps to protect Robert Mueller following the president's wanted to fire the Russia special counsel last June. Congressional aide tells CNN Democrats will seek extra protections for the special counsel in the upcoming spending bill talks. The current funding expires next Thursday. The details still being work out. Among the ideas being floated is giving the special counsel the right to challenge his firing in court. BRIGGS: Another idea stipulates a special counsel can only be fired

after a Judge finds a good cause or misconduct. Republican reactions so far are mixed armed with their legislation protecting the special counsel is 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 legislation right now to protect Mueller. So we are raising an issue that is not --


ROMANS: Joe Manchin of West Virginia tells CNN Jake Tapper is he not ready to back that legislation yet. Saying the president was probably just blowing of 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.


BRIGGS: Manchin is very supportive of President Trump. The latest Justice Department official to find himself in the president's cross- hairs is Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. That is according to four sources. Two of whom tell CNN Trump vented about removing Rosenstein for overseeing the Russia probe. But the president's advisers stating that is a bad idea. Firing Rosenstein is the only way to get rid of the special counsel.

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

BRIGGS: Rosenstein's reported appearance in the memo suggests that Republicans may focus on him and effort to undermine the Russia probe. Democrats who read the Nunes memo accuse Republicans of cherry picking facts to create a profoundly misleading version of events. Senior White House aide mark Shorts says the President wants to release the memo although the Justice Department warned doing so would be extraordinary reckless.

ROMANS: All right. 34 minutes past the hour. Expect some twitter reaction from the President this morning after trolling reached new heights at the Grammy awards in a spoof called "fire and fury" spoken word auditions. Celebrities from John Legend to Cher and Snoop Dogg and others, all this different excerpts during this audition and then one final (inaudible) give is a try.


[04:35:08] 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?


BRIGGS: 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.

ROMANS: 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.

BRIGGS: 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 of course bleeped out. The #metoo movement also a dominant being throughout the stars wore white roses in the ceremony. 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


ROMANS: The powerful moment surrounded by women. She has been in a legal battle with producer Dr. Luke stemming from 2014 allegations he abused and sexually assaulted her.

BRIGGS: As for the music. The night was pure gold for Bruno Mars fans. The RNB singer won the most trophies, including three of the Grammys top honors. Record and album of the year for "24k magic" and song of the year for "That is what I like."

ROMANS: Yes. He totally deserves it. Big night for Kendrick Lamar winning five Grammys. Including best rap album. Alicia Carl won for best new artist. All right. What a night. 37 minutes past the hour. Lawmakers saying, the Trump administration could sink an immigration deal by doing too much at once. Democrats voicing opposition to the proposal which offers a path to citizenship for 1.8 million DREAMERS, but demands $25 billion for a border wall and sharp cuts to the family immigration visas.

BRIGGS: Democratic leader accused the president of leveraging the DREAMERS as ransom, 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 broad.


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.


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

ROMANS: 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 Fred.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Good morning, Christine. A lot of concerned oligarchs around Vladimir Putin in the past couple of weeks as this report has moved closer. The report will not levy new sanctions against Russia, but it will name oligarchs and Russian business men who are close to Vladimir Putin. When they say name, not just the names of people, but financial information potentially about them and also about their families. Including spouses and children as well. All of this, of course, causes a lot of concern in Moscow. There already had been negative statements from the kremlin. It also puts a lot of pressure on the Trump administration as well. The big question is, is President Trump going to follow through and actually use the list to create new sanctions against Russians or will he hold back?

Still trying to have better relations with Russia. As far as the report, will they release the names or will part of the report be redacted and names hidden in an Annex? That is something the President can do, but is he really going to follow through on that risking the relationship with Russia becoming even worst as they already are. Christine?

ROMANS: Fascinating. Today is the day. All right. Frederik Pleitgen for us in Moscow, thank you, Fred.

BRIGGS: Donald Trump, a feminist? The President thinks that is a stretch. Mr. Donald Trump rejecting that label with an interview with British broadcaster iTV. Piers Morgan brought up the issue just days after thousands of protesters gathered across the U.S. on the one-year anniversary of the women's March on Washington. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You always have Marches. The March I guess was a lot smaller than last year.

[04:40:00] I would not say I'm a feminist. I think that is going too far. I'm for women. I'm for men. I'm for everyone. You have to go out and win. Women are doing great. I'm happy about that.


BRIGGS: President Trump also claims an improving economy means he would do better with female voters if the election were held today.

ROMANS: Republicans who took donations from casino moguls Steve Wynn they are facing some pressure. Growing pressure to return that money. The former RNC finance chairman stepping down over the weekend from that job in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations, first reported by the Wall Street Journal. Republicans were quick to demand the same from Democrats who took money from, remember disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein.

BRIGGS: Now members of the GOP like house speaker Paul Ryan are following through. Ryan agreeing to donate $1,000 he received from Wynn in 2016 to charity. Wynn stepped down from the RNC post claiming the work is too important to be impaired by the distraction. He is blaming his ex-wife for planting stories about him as a litigation strategy. She denies it. Replacement could be named at the next RNC meeting on Wednesday in Washington.

ROMANS: The board of that company is looking into the allegations and the stock was really slammed on Friday by the Wall Street Journal. This is a company that the logo of the company is his signature. It is tied to his reputation.

The President gives the first state of the union address tomorrow. The Blue stocks not likely get the S&P500 jumped 1.4 percent the day after Trump first speech to congress last year. A moderate tone boosted investor's optimism. He would deliver the pro-business campaign promises with tax cuts and aggressive deregulation. Nothing can beat the effect of that pro-business attitude ahead of market. Look at this, U.S. stocks have grown 30 percent or more since the election. Some think shares could drop if the President talks tough on some hot button on economic issues like immigration issues and trade. Immigration helps companies find specialized workers in a very tight labor market and as for trade. NAFTA talks continue without much progress here just as the White House slapped tariffs on foreign washing machines and solar panel. Historically protectionist trade is bad for the economy. Right now, Trump has plenty of reasons to boast about the economy. Look at that, it grew by 2.6 percent in the last quarter. Below his 3 percent target, but capped off a year that was pretty strong. It is interesting. A surge of imports that actually slowed growth a little bit. The American economy is strong and people are buying more imported goods.

BRIGGS: But it didn't sound like a real protectionist at the world economic forum.

ROMANS: He didn't. Remember those forecasts when he was elected, people said it would crash the market. That is because if he really enacted all of the things he said on the campaign trail, it would be devastating for trade. He has been slow this first year to implement some of those things.

BRIGGS: OK. Breaking overnight. Nearly a dozen killed in a terror attack on an Afghan military base. Juts the latest assault in a surge of violence in Kabul. We will have a live report for you next.


[04:47:14] BRIGGS: Breaking news. Another deadly attack in Afghanistan. Afghan officials say 11 military personnel were killed and 16 wounded in the attack on the military base in Kabul. ISIS has already claimed responsibility. Four of the five attackers are dead. The attack comes amid the surge of violence in Afghanistan. An ambulance packed with explosives blew up on the crowded street in the Afghan capital, Saturday killing 103 people. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is monitoring all this live in London for us this morning. Good morning Nick.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dave, what happened this morning is the end of a devastating week for the Afghan capital Kabul. All of these attacks are supposed to happen inside, people call it the ring of steel which protects the most populated part of Afghanistan where the U.S. is still now in the 16th year of a war there. Now, you know, the attack on Saturday used an ambulance to get through security as a suicide car bomb. Outside of those 100 plus dead and there are a 150 families dealing with the injuries suffered there as well. Bear in mind, this morning was a military University that was principally targeted and this was ISIS with the attack on Saturday was claimed by the Taliban.

Before that, an attack of the children's charity on east of the country on Thursday which was claimed by ISIS and before that, attack on the key hotel in Kabul claimed by the Taliban. You see the pattern here. Two parts of the insurgency. ISIS finding new territory in Afghanistan after being kicked back in Iraq and Syria. The Taliban now in the 16th year fighting Americans. 30 years or so of war kind a take the sort of the extremists low ground of you like fighting to see who could be the most hardcore and brutal. That has been the devastating week for the Afghan people and Donald Trump continuing to say the goal is there is to win. And for the American government say that this year is going to start taking territory back from the Taliban, Dave.

BRIGGS: A devastating week. Nick Paton Walsh live for us this morning, thank you.

ROMANS: 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.

BRIGGS: The police say the suspect fired 32 shots at officers and barricaded himself inside his home for hours. Police eventually fired tear gas in the house and arrested him. He faces 33 charges with more expected. The slain officer leaves behind a 9 month old baby. He had been in the force for about two years.

ROMANS: Funeral on Sunday for two students killed last week in a school shooting in rural Kentucky. Friends and family remembering Bailey Holt and Preston Cope. The two teenagers grew up side by side starting in kindergarten. Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin declaring Sunday the state day of prayer. 15 year old bot is being held on murder and assault charges. Marshall county high school reopened its doors on Friday.

[04:50:10] All right. Plan to listen to the latest Grammy winners on your Spotify account? Well the U.S. just made the streaming service pay more for its music. CNN money stream is next.


BRIGGS: A familiar face making a comeback on "Saturday night live." Will Ferrell reviving his George W. Bush impression. Watch.


GEORGE W. BUSH (IMPERSONATOR): I don't know if you read the news lately. I certainly have not.


According to a new poll, my approval rating is at an all-time high. That is right. Donny Q. Trump came in and suddenly I'm looking pretty sweet by comparison.


[04:55:09] At this rate, I may even end up on Mt. Rushmore. Right next to Lincoln and Washington and I want to say Kensington.


I don't know, but the point is I am suddenly popular AF.

(LAUGHTER) A lot of people are saying, man, I wish George W. Bush were still our

President right about now. I just wanted to address my fellow Americans tonight and remind you guys that I was really bad.



Like historically not good. At least the stock market's doing well now. You ever seen a graph of the stock market during my presidency? It is the only graph that comes with the slide-whistle sound effect.


Take a look. The stock market at 26,000 right now. I had you guys down to a cool 8k. Now I'm no economer, but even I know that was no Bueno.



BRIGGS: It is interesting, though, right. Because the economy didn't perform extraordinarily well. His approval is up to 61 percent. From 33 percent.

ROMANS: Just remarkable.

BRIGGS: Just shows you how important some of this rhetoric is.

ROMANS: Time heals all wounds.

BRIGGS: That is indeed true for politicians.

ROMANS: The deep freeze returning to the eastern part of the country. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has the forecast.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Dave as Christine, still hanging on to a few more weeks of really the heart of winter here across portions in the north and north central portion of the country where the (inaudible) is the name of the game in Minneapolis. 16 degrees flip that number you have a 61 down in Charleston, but eventually all of that cold air will end up on the east coast. We have showers in right up to Carolinas today, notice a few flakes fly later in the evening around the Ohio valley. Don't be surprised if you see flakes in the northeast for Tuesday. We have this system exit.

High pressure tries to build and another system comes in back behind it. We really are setting the stage for multiple shots of cold air here and little moisture to work with. Snow at least significant snow is not a concern here. The big-time cold air to yet again to start February is a concern. We go from the 40s to the 30s and eventually back up again for New York City. Look what happens down in part of the south were Atlanta goes from almost 60s down to the 40s in the next few days. The seven-day forecast in D.C. showing the warming trend initially, but snow showers potentially by Sunday afternoon. Guys.

ROMANS: All right. Thank you. That is the weather. Here is your money. Let's get a check on money stream this morning. Global stocks mixed right now, but strong earnings drove Wall Street to another round of records on Friday. S&P500 jumping 1.2 percent. The biggest one-day gain in ten months. We are showing you there economic growth GDP, it is another star studded week for earnings. Including some of the tech's biggest names, Apple and Amazon and Alphabet, Facebook, Microsoft all report this week. We expect big profits. Tech was the best performing sector last year. U.S.s stock up to a great start this year. All major indices are up at least 7 percent so far. It was a good number.

Do you plan to listen to the latest Grammy winners on your Spotify account? Well, the U.S. Government just made it pay more for its music. All streaming services, Spotify and Apple Music, Pandora must pay a fee every time you listen to a song. Reuter of course the copyright royalty board ruled to increase those fees over the next five years giving a larger share to song writer and artists. Many complain about the low payments and payouts from streaming services.

Russian bots retweeted President Trump nearly 500,000 times in the final weeks of the 2016 campaign. That is what twitter told the senate judiciary committee. During that time Kremlin linked troll accounts made up about 4 percent of all of Trump's retweets. And he was retweeted 10 times more than his rival Hillary Clinton. Twitter stressed this behavior represents a very small fraction of all activity. Tweeter has been accused of allowing troll to use its platform to influence the 2016 election, 500,000 some of the numbers are astonishing.

BRIGGS: They never left. That is the one thing that is seems to be ignored in the conversation about the special counsel. Russian interference. They are also forwarding the release of the memo. #Russianbotsbehindthataswell.

ROMANS: Purposely stirring division and trying to keep sides apart in the U.S. Electorate to undermine democracy.

BRIGGS: It is not about them coming back in 2018. They never left. Let's hope that is the attention getter for our administration.

All right. "Early Start" continues right now with the latest on that special counsel.