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Porter Urged To Stay And Fight; Would U.S. Talked To North Korea; Justice Ginsburg #MeToo Here To Stay; Olympic Diplomacy; Israel Versus Iran And Syria. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired February 12, 2018 - 04:00   ET


[04:00:12] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Stay and fight. That is what Rob Porter says he was told by senior officials at the White House despite allegations of domestic abuse. His story doesn't line up with the chief of staff.

ROMANS: Invitation is on the table. Kim Jong-un's sister says South Korean leaders are welcome in Pyongyang. Now the Vice President is hitting the U.S. could find itself at the table as well.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are they listening and acting fast enough?



GINSBURG: It's not acting.


BRIGGS: Even if congress does nothing, me too is here to stay. A revealing chat the Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The New York Times profiled her notorious RBG Judicial rock star. Good morning everyone. Welcome to "Early Start." I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine romans. It is Monday, February 12th. 4:00 a.m. in the east. The White House this morning is trying to move beyond the Rob Porter scandal. New reporting and tweeting suggesting Porter was urged not to quit after accusation that rose of domestic violence. Axios reports, Porter telling associate some senior White House officials strongly encouraged him to quote stay and fight to keep his job as staff secretary. That is a key gate keeper for President Trump. Porter said he never misrepresented anything to chief of staff John Kelly.

BRIGGS: This doesn't exactly square with Kelly's version of events. CNN reported last week that Kelly's defenders in the west wing insist Porter mislead him. That story backed up by an unnamed member of congress who told Axios reporter promise Kelly the story concern the verbal and emotional abuse not domestic violence. After days, the speculation of Kelly's future, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said this to our Jake Tapper. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: I said to the president last night, I told him I will be with you today, please tell that Jake I have full faith in chief of staff John Kelly and I'm not actively searching for replacements. I saw that all over the news today. I have faith for him and he does.


ROMANS: The President this weekend also weighing in on the Rob Porter scandal. He did not identified the White House aide by name but did tweet this. People's lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused. Life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as due process? That stunning tweet followed by this remark on Friday.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As you probably know he says he is innocent. I think you have to remember that. He said very strongly yesterday he is innocent. You have to talk to him about that. We absolutely wish him well.


ROMANS: A lot of people were #centralparkfive. You know the president himself has accused people in the past wrongly.

BRIGGS: The President took out an ad in "The New York Times" calling for them to be guilty. They were not. He never apologize for ruining their lives. Meanwhile The President's statement drawing a heated response from Jennie Willoughby. One of Porter's ex-wives who said he abuse her. She write in Time magazine, quote everyone is talking about how Trump implied I'm not to be believed as Trump is a model of kindness and forgiveness. As you rhetorically acknowledge his own shortcomings and show empathy and concerns for others, I forgive him. Thankfully my strength and worth are not dependent on outside belief. The truth exists whether the President accepts it or not.

ROMANS: The ranking Democrat in the House Intelligence Committee says he plans to meet with the FBI to hear concerns about a Democrats memo. The document is a rebuttal to the Republican Nunes memo alleging FBI surveillance abuses. Last week the White House barred publications of the Democrats memo claiming it contains numerous classified and especially sensitive passages. Democrats called that hypocrisy since the FBI warned against release of the Republican document, but the White House did it anyway.

BRIGGS: A group of Republican Senators just released a version of President Trump immigration plan ahead of this week's floor debate comes from the floor debate released. It comes from the conservative members and resembles the proposals outline by the President. This includes a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million eligible immigrants in exchange for a border wall and enhanced border security, plus a number of new laws that would make it easier to detain and deport immigrants. Also included is tighter immigration enforcement and limited family base visas even further. This week, majority leader Mitch McConnell is expected to allow Senators a chance to offer different proposals to compete for the 60 votes needed to advance.

ROMANS: One of the House leading conservative voices is raising concern about of leadership from house speaker Paul Ryan.

[04:05:00] Congressman Jim Jordan of the house freedom caucus says he had issues with Ryan's support frame massive spending bill passed last week.


REP JIM JORDAN, BENGHAZI COMMITTEE MEMBER: He could have stood firm from the position that we passed earlier in the week. The position that our conference then supported. I wish he would have done that. Do I think the speaker has problems? Yes, I do. Particularly now as we headed into the big immigration debate.


BRIGGS: Wow. The deal passed 5:35 a.m. Friday raising budget caps by $300 billion over two years. Congressman Jordan says that is not consistent with the promises Republicans made to cut spending.

ROMANS: President Trump once again praising the new tax bill as a gift to workers. Tweeting Sunday, 4.2 million hard working Americans have already received a large bonus and their pay increase because of the tax cut and jobs bill and it only gets better. CNN checked the White House over the number. More than 300 companies have announced the splashy tax gifts for workers. Particularly big one time bonuses, like Apple and AT&T and Disney and Bank of America and Walmart. Those workers are a small fraction of the 125 million who work for a company in the country. In fact only 13 percent of corporate tax savings will go to workers.

According to the new survey, 13 percent will go to workers, cutting the corporate rate is a gift to companies. Businesses will spend tax savings on new equipment and buying other companies and investors. Look at that, 43 percent earmarks for dividends. That was a huge criticism of the new tax bill. But economist say workers could benefit more as time goes on. Investment in some of those new factories or buying other companies could lead to more jobs and higher wages. There is no guarantee. 13 percent going to workers and pay 43 percent going to investors.

BRIGGS: About what you expect?

ROMANS: I think more going to workers.

BRIGGS: More. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says the #metoo movement will have what she calls staying power.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GINSBURG: I don't think they will be a serious backlash. It is too

widespread. My concern is that it shouldn't stop with prominent people. It's amazing to me that for the first time women are really listened to because sexual harassment often had been dismissed as -- well, she made it up or she is too thin skinned. So I think it's very healthy development.


BRIGGS: CNN's Poppy Harlow interviewed the Supreme Court justice on Sunday in Columbia University.

ROMANS: Meantime leaders of the senate judiciary committee want to know how the office over seen the federal courts is addressing sexual misconduct. The CNN investigation founded just four of more than 1,300 complaints filed during the 2016 fiscal year were referred to a special committee investigation.

The sale of the Harvey Weinstein film studio could be in jeopardy. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, filing a lawsuit against the disgraced movie mogul and his former company. Schneiderman's four month investigation revealing quote, vicious and exploitative mistreatment of employees that started in 2005 and continued all the way through October of 2017. Schneiderman wants any sale of the company to include compensation to Weinstein accusers. Weinstein's attorney releasing a statement claiming there was no criminality in his client's behavior.

BRIGGS: The suspect in the shooting death of two Ohio police officers charged with two counts of aggravated murder. Police say Quinton Lamar Smith shot and killed Westerville police officers as they were entering Smith's apartment responding to a hang-up 911 call involving possible domestic abuse. This chilling 911 call made by the suspect's wife Candace Smith.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911. What is your emergency?

CANDACE SMITH, QUINTON LAMAR SMITH'S WIFE: Please help. Please help. Please help.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is wrong? Tell me what's wrong?

SMITH: He shot the police officer. Hurry up. My daughter is in there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where is your husband?

SMITH: I don't know. My daughter's in the house. She is 1 year old.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A 1-year-old in the house with your husband?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And your husband shot the officers? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He shot the police officer, yes.


ROMANS: Police records show officers had been called to the Smith home for domestic violence reports. President Trump spoke last night with Ohio governor John Kasich who is from Westerville. President offering his thoughts and prayers to the officer's families.

BRIGGS: And no cause has been determined yet for Saturday's helicopter crash in the Grand Canyon that killed three. A pilot and six passengers from U.K. aboard. The four survivors rescued in the grueling operation made more challenging by the windy dark rugged conditions. Officials say all four of the injured were air lifted to the University medical center in Las Vegas.

[04:10:04] Ahead, Kim Jong-un's sister with the charmed effects of the winter games. Will South Korea accept her invitation to Pyongyang? And is the U.S. left on the outside looking in? We are live in Pyeongchang.



JAMES MATTIS, DEFENSE SECRETARY GENERAL: I know people are watching for a wedge between South Korea and Republican of Korea and the United States. There is no wedge there. No wedge can be driven between us by North Korea.


ROMANS: Secretary of Defense James Mattis on the flight to Rome rejecting the idea North Korea could hurt relations with the U.S. and South Korea. That suggestion heard more often since the start of the Olympics where Kim Jong-un's sister put on a quite show extending an invitation to South Korean President Moon Jae-in asking him to visit Pyongyang. CNN Paula Hancocks live for us in Pyeongchang in South Korea. Bring us up to speed.

[04:15:00] PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine, there has been an invitation for Moon Jae-in to go to Pyongyang. We did speak to one governor who is actually within some of those meetings. He said the friendship between the North and South Korea was very warm. Saying it was like brothers and sisters. Over the past few days, it has been an incredible shift when it comes to inter-Korean relations. When it comes to the U.S.-North Korean relations, not so much. The U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said to Washington Post the U.S. would be willing potentially and ready to talk to North Korea. We are hearing from the South Korean side responding to the article in "the Washington Post" that the U.S. and South Korea happens consistently said that if the two Koreas are talking, then North Korea and the U.S. have to be talking as well. There has been a response from the senior diplomatic source with knowledge of North Korea telling CNN's Will Ripley that they believe it was a missed opportunity by the U.S. Vice President. Also saying the fact there was no meeting between the two sides. That you saw the frosty photographs of no engagement whatsoever in that VIP box at the opening ceremony between them. He took the low road referring to the U.S. Vice President. Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Paula for us this morning in Pyeongchang. Thank you.

BRIGGS: All right. A pair of American figure skaters shine in the team event while bad weather wreaks havoc on the Olympic ski slopes. Coy Wire braving the elements in Pyeongchang joins us with the details. Hello, my friend.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Dave, you thought Minneapolis was cold. The winds will punch you in the face and then laugh at you. It is really cold and windy, we will get to that in a minute, but American figure skaters put another medal on the board for team USA. Adam Rippon put on a show in the Olympic debut despite the pressure. He and Gus Kenworthy are the USA first openly gay men to compete in the Winter Olympics. He said they are representing something bigger than themselves. Teammate Mirai Nagasu she made history landing the daunting triple axel becoming the first American woman to ever do that at the Olympic Games. The performances helped the U.S. take bronze for the team figure skating competition for a second straight winter Olympics.

Crazy dangerous 45-mile-an-hour gusts delayed the start of women's snowboard slopestyle competition. We are talking about the best athletes in the world struggling to land their tricks. Mother Nature no match for team USA's Jamie Anderson, this girl is tough. She just had a ruptured spleen and broken bones. These winds were no match for either, Jaime conquer the elements, taking a gold in these event for the second straight winter games. Team USA continuing to dominate in this sport.

All right. Let's get an early start on your medal count, Christine Romans. Norway leading the way with eight in total. Canada with six. Netherlands has five. The U.S. tied for four with (inaudible). Coming up in about half an hour, we will hear from 17 year old snowboarding sensation Chloe Kim coming up. She got attitude and personality for days.

ROMANS: Love it. All right. Had some fun there.

BRIGGS: Get a lid on that bald dome. It's cold.


Looking good, my friend. Thank you.

BRIGGS: Punch you in the face and laugh at you. I can feel that.

ROMANS: All right. 18 minutes past the hour. Tensions burning in the Middle East. Israelis say Iran is launching new drones from inside Syria. President Trump says he is not sure anyone wants peace.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [04:23:13] BRIGGS: President Trump says he is not convinced Israelis

or Palestinians are committed to the peace process. When it comes to releasing a plan for peace, the President tells the Israeli newspaper, we have to see what happens. Right now the region seeing a troubling spike in tension between Israel, Iran and Syria. CNN's Ian Lee live from Golan Heights with the latest details, Good morning Ian.

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Dave. Things have calmed down. Tensions have subdued in the area. The fog rolling in. We are learning more about that Iranian drone. We are hearing it is a copy of the rq-170 sentinel. This is the American stealth drone. One that was operated over Iran in 2011. It went down and Iran was able to captured it and reversed engineered it. It was the drone that was used to get infiltrate Israeli air space. Although doesn't seem to have this stealth capability, because Israel says they were able to monitor it the entire time before shooting it down. Israeli air force commander has said that Israel still be operating over Syria freely even despite the fact that Syria was able to shoot down one of their planes. We are also following this morning that interview that President Trump gave to Israel newspaper owned by the casino owner Sheldon Adelson. In that interview, he did talked about the fact he doesn't believe that Palestinians or the Israelis really want peace right now. That is a blow to his ultimate deal which he has been pushing for. Peace within Israelis and Palestinians, Dave.

BRIGGS: Ian Lee live for us 11:24 there in Golan Heights. Thank you.

ROMANS: All right. Both black boxes have been recovered following Sunday's plane crash in Moscow. The crew of the Saratov Airlines flight did not report issues before the plane went down.

[04:25:03] All 71 people on board were killed. The plane disappeared from radar shortly after takeoff from Moscow. Witnesses report seeing an explosion before it went down. Right now the Russian capital is experiencing the heaviest snowfall in decades. It is simply not clear if the weather played a role in the crash.

BRIGGS: The lights have started to come back on after an explosion and fire cause the blackout in parts of northern Puerto Rico on Sunday. According to the island's power authority, several municipalities were affected, including parts of San Juan. No one was injured in the blast, it is not clear what cause it. Also difficult to determine how many people have power right now in Puerto Rico which is still recovering from hurricane Maria back in September.

ROMANS: It is not what they needed. All right. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will exchange vows at St. Georgia's Chapel in Windsor Castle. Among the new details from the royal family after the May 19 ceremony, a procession will take the newlyweds along the High Street in a carriage through the town of Windsor before finishing back to the castle. Afterward the couple and the guests will attend the reception at St. George's hall followed by a private evening reception for friends and families. The big event is scheduled for New London time that is 7:00 a.m. Eastern Time, convenient for you as viewers who want to see the Prince marry an American.

BRIGGS: Road trip?

ROMANS: I don't know. Maybe I would cover it.

BRIGGS: yes you would. All right. The White House budget comes out today. The immigration goes to the senate floor and the President's infrastructure plan also goes public. Will the Rob Porter scandal overshadow all of it? The White House officials now say they encouraged him to fight for his job despite the domestic abuse allegations.