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China Confirms Kim Met With President Xi In Beijing; Trump Revamps Trade Deal With South Korea; Stormy Daniels' Attorney Wants Trump To Testify; Sacramento Residents Outraged Over Stephon Clark's Shooting Death. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired March 28, 2018 - 05:30   ET


[05:30:35] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: A dramatic global diplomacy debut for Kim Jong Un -- a surprise visit to China. Kim says he's willing to denuclearize but what does he want in return from President Trump?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, Stormy Daniels' lawyer has filed a request to depose President Trump. Will the president have to answer about that $130,000 payment under oath?

BRIGGS: And emotions running high in Sacramento, California as protesters take over the city council meeting demanding answers after the police shooting of an unarmed black man.

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

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It's 31 minutes past the hour.

Let's begin with an image that seemed just unimaginable a few months ago.


ROMANS: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un standing side-by-side with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The two leaders shaking hands during Kim's surprise visit to Beijing, his first trip abroad since taking power in 2011.

Kim calling for a new era in bilateral relations, even inviting President Xi to visit Pyongyang, an offer Xi accepted.

BRIGGS: According to China's state-run media, Kim made the trip because he felt he compelled to personally share details of a change in diplomatic landscape on the Korean Peninsula. This marks the North Korean leader's emergence as a player on the world stage.

It's important to note Xi and Kim are expected to lead their respective countries for life, lending added significance to their talks ahead of an expected summit between Kim and President Trump.

Let's bring in CNN's Ivan Watson live in Seoul for us tonight, just past 6:30 p.m. there. Hi there, Ivan.


North Korea's leader has not left his country in more than six years since he assumed the throne in Pyongyang. This was his first foreign trip and what a way to do it, traveling by train secretly to Beijing from North Korea and traveling for four days, meeting several times with China's leader. And then, both countries only announced the trip after the train got safely back to North Korea.

Now, it's momentous for a number of reasons, part of it being that North Korean and China, though their alliance goes back more than half a century the relations have been frosty between the two countries, in part because of North Korea's nuclear weapons tests and ballistic missile launches which are all banned according to multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader, swept all of those concerns aside. He described this as a strategic choice -- the alliance.

He rolled out the red carpet for Kim Jong Un and in response, Kim Jong Un reportedly mentioned the possibility of denuclearization, which Pyongyang has said in the past is taboo. It is a red line. He mentioned it might be possible if the U.S. and South Korea cooperate -- Dave.

BRIGGS: All right. We've got some new polling here showing two- thirds of Americans approving of the president's decision -- President Trump's decision to meet with Kim.

How could, though, the meeting between Kim and Xi impact potentially the sit-down between the U.S. and North Korea, and does it appear at least that Xi is in the driver's seat?

WATSON: It depends on how you look at it. The White House has been quick to embrace this and has actually argued that it helped create the environment -- the atmosphere for this meeting, arguing that the so-called maximum pressure campaign of economic sanctions has pushed North Korea to begin this unprecedented period of diplomacy.

And it's going to be busy because Kim Jong Un is expected to sit down with the South Korean president next month. That's going to be a first for him.

And then, of course, there's that other tremendous first -- a planned meeting between Kim Jong Un and President Trump, the first ever between a North Korean leader and a U.S. president, so the schedule is going to be very busy.

Kim Jong Un is going from incredible isolation just a few months ago to now potentially meeting in short order the leaders of China and the U.S., the two most powerful countries in the world. That's not exactly isolation anymore, Dave.

BRIGGS: No, quite a turn we've taken. But on the front of "The New York Times" news of a nuclear reactor being fired up -- satellite imagery late in February. David Sanger will be on "NEW DAY" to talk about what that means. [05:35:00] Ivan Watson live for us Seoul tonight, thanks.

ROMANS: All right.

President Trump securing a trade deal with South Korea, removing a divisive issue with the North Korean ally ahead of nuclear talks. The White House confirming details of a revised trade deal between the U.S. and South Korea.

Many key changes. Help U.S. car companies, like new rules and emission standards, and doubling the number of cars American companies can export to South Korea to 50,000.

You know, no U.S. carmaker exported more than 11,000 though last year, mainly due to consumer tastes, not trade barriers. South Korean drivers prefer smaller, fuel-efficient cars.

The deal also exempts South Korea from Trump's steel tariffs. It limits how much it can export though. South Korea is the third- biggest supplier of steel to the U.S.

Officials say this delivers on Trump's campaign promise, promising better trade deals one-on-one.

The U.S. is also currently talking with China to avoid a trade war. Trump threatened tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports last week.

China, by the way, is also the United States' biggest foreign creditor just as the government plans to sell $294 billion of debt this week, the highest level since the financial crisis. China owns more treasury bonds than any foreign country.

The sale is to boost federal revenue. We've got to borrow a bunch of money to balance the books, right folks, because of those big tax cuts.

BRIGGS: Back to China. Do you think we'll try a similar approach as we did with South Korea on cars? Again, the Chinese don't want U.S. cars but if you say you're lowering the tariff you can claim some sort of symbolic victory if you're President Trump?

ROMANS: I think it is such a -- it's a much more complicated relationship there. And also, you've got against the backdrop of China buying U.S. treasuries that is --

BRIGGS: Right.

ROMANS: That is really an interesting dynamic here for negotiators.

Joining us from Washington this morning, "CNN POLITICS" digital director Zach Wolf. Good morning, Zach.

You know, to see China stepping out as a leader here with the North Koreans, really interesting given what have been concerns in the national security community about China trying to isolate or edge the U.S. out of that region. What do you make of this?

ZACHARY WOLF, DIGITAL DIRECTOR, "CNN POLITICS": I think we'll have to see how this plays out. I mean -- I mean, China has been sort of the growing power so it's something clearly the U.S. needs because they, as you said, buy all the securities or pay for our debt essentially. So I guess we'll just have to see.

BRIGGS: Domestically, the president remains focused on building his border wall. Didn't get much money in a $1.3 trillion omnibus, so in a private meeting reportedly floated the concept of taking from the military. Having the military budget pay for that border wall.

Here's what Sarah Sanders said about that yesterday in a press briefing.


SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The wall is continuing to be built currently and we're going to keep pushing forward until it's fully completed in the way that the president feels is necessary to defend the country.

CECILIA VEGA, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "ABC NEWS": And isn't it true at this point that Mexico is just not going to pay for that Wall?

SANDERS: I'm not going to go beyond what the president's already said. I think he still has plans to look at potential ways for that to happen.


BRIGGS: Cannot hide the smirk there as she talks about Mexico paying for the wall.

But let's talk about the likelihood of the military being able to -- or the president being able to, in a sense, borrow from the military to pay for this wall.

What are the obstacles there?

WOLF: I think the obstacles, number one, are the military needs that money -- or, you know, the generals, the Pentagon, they're going to have something to say about taking military funding to build what is a capital structure. That's number one.

And number two, I think Congress wants to be consulted when they -- when they use money and it's not clear to me that any Republicans are going to line up to spend a bunch of Pentagon money on a border wall.

So I think there are a lot of obstacles and we're just kind of hearing about this. I'm not sure it's going to end up being a serious proposal but it's definitely a new one.

BRIGGS: Yes. The military desperately needs that money. They've been very clear about that and Republicans across the board say we are in bad shape militarily.

ROMANS: Well, let's talk about the piece you wrote yesterday about the Second Amendment. You say there's not a snowflake's chance in hell of repealing the Second Amendment.

Why not?

WOLF: Well, I was quoting a UCLA professor there just to make that clear. I didn't come up with it.

But I do think -- I do agree with it because have you ever read about what it takes to pass an amendment? You'd have to have supermajorities in the Congress --


WOLF: -- and maybe a constitutional convention. These are things that take --

ROMANS: It's been done before.

WOLF: It's --

ROMANS: It's been done one time --

WOLF: Yes.

ROMANS: -- with prohibition.

WOLF: Sure, but that was to undo alcohol -- you know, the -- it just seems like the kind of thing where if you can't even pass a bump stocks ban here in Congress how are you ever going to get a constitutional convention or a supermajority -- three-quarters --


WOLF: -- in Congress to do anything like this.

So it's an interesting idea, I just don't understand how it can ever possibly happen.

BRIGGS: It's a conversation for those missed it started by former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, retired. He wrote an op-ed in "The New York Times" calling for repeal of the Second Amendment.

[05:40:00] San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich also reiterated the same thing -- very articulate, educated man, not just some basketball coach.

It's interesting though because some might say this is doing the right a favor. Doing the NRA a favor. Making this now the litmus test.

See what they want to do? They want to take away your guns, they want to repeal the Second Amendment. And, enhancing the importance of getting another Republican or conservative Supreme Court Justice because two are nearing retirement. Does it give them an issue?

WOLF: It absolutely does and, in fact, they've already had the issue even before this. Remember, Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign kept saying that Hillary Clinton was going to take your guns away.

She supported the Second Amendment. She didn't want to repeal it. She said guns were an individual right like the -- like the Supreme Court had said.

So, you know, even before this, President Trump and the NRA specifically were saying supporters of gun control want to take your guns away. This would just fuel that fire.

ROMANS: One of the things I keep hearing though are some people talking about gay marriage. It wasn't that long ago that traditional marriage -- all political parties approved it. You know, traditional marriage. No one thought that we'd so quickly go from candidates like Barack Obama supporting traditional marriage --


ROMANS: -- and the suddenly --

BRIGGS: And like gay marriage, you're seeing the polling --


BRIGGS: -- shift in that direction --


BRIGGS: -- as well.

ROMANS: So, who knows? All right.

Thank you so much. Nice to see you, Zach.

WOLF: Thank you.

ROMANS: Breaking overnight, Stormy Daniels' attorney asking a federal judge for permission to depose President Trump.

Michael Avenatti wants the president to share what he knows about that hush money agreement forcing Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about her alleged tryst with Donald Trump. Avenatti referring to the $130,000 Daniels received a week and a half before the 2016 election.

BRIGGS: He also requested a deposition for the president's personal attorney Michael Cohen who has said he made the payment out of his own pocket.

It comes one day after the White House defended President Trump's silence on the Stormy Daniels allegations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Why the silence? Is someone advising him to be silent or is he following his own advice here?

SANDERS: I don't think it's silent when the president has addressed this. We've addressed it extensively. There's just nothing else to add.

Just because you guys continue to ask the same question over and over and over again doesn't mean that we have to keep coming up with new things to say. We've addressed it. We've addressed it extensively and there's nothing new to add to this conversation.


BRIGGS: They have from the podium but the president has been absolutely silent on this issue, just for clarity there.

Sanders also saying although the president is a counterpuncher he doesn't necessarily punch back at every story.

ROMANS: Yes, every story except this one.

BRIGGS: Yes. You know, Alec Baldwin -- you could go on and on --

ROMANS: Right.

BRIGGS: -- and talk about Colin Kaepernick, Meryl Streep --


BRIGGS: -- but we don't have time left in the program.

Facebook's CEO will testify on Capitol Hill. But, Wall Street didn't like that news, sending the stock to its lowest point in a year.


[05:47:18] ROMANS: Some breaking news this morning.

All 22 women in the U.S. Senate, Democrat and Republican, sending a letter to Senate leadership. They want a vote on stalled congressional sexual harassment legislation. In the letter, the women expressed deep disappointment in the Senate's inaction.

The bill would streamline the process for reporting sexual harassment and provide new resources for staffers filing complaints. The House has already passed the measure.

BRIGGS: The sheriff's department in Orange County, California taking steps to cooperate with federal law enforcement, sidestepping the state's new sanctuary law. The department says it will put the date that inmates will be released on its Website.

The move challenges the California Values Act which limits police communication with federal immigration authorities. Critics say the measure will case too wide a net adding ICE information on undocumented immigrants who may never be charged with a crime.

ROMANS: Let's get a check on "CNN Money" this morning.

It's official. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify before Congress over Facebook's failure to protect user data. Sources tell CNN he felt he had to after calls from the media, public, lawmakers.

Facebook also has a new legal headache. It's being sued for allegedly allowing housing discrimination. Advertisers can target ads, so the suit claims this lets advertisers block single women and families from seeing housing ads.

Wall Street wasn't comforted by either headline. Facebook shares fell another five percent. It's now lost $80 billion in market value since the crisis began.

It was not just Facebook though. Look at this. The whole tech sector just sank.

Twitter, Netflix, Nvidia, Tesla all down sharply. Tesla fell nearly eight percent after the government said it would probe last week's fatal self-driving car crash.

Tech is the market's most valuable sector but as companies face more scrutiny -- more regulatory scrutiny, investors are concerned.

Wall Street closed lower. The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell three percent. Right now, global stocks are down. U.S. futures are down.

What's up? Bonuses. Wall Street banker bonuses making near record highs here despite cries of overregulation.

Last year, the average bonus on Wall Street soared 17 percent to $184,200. That's more than triple the national median household income, just shy of the record in 2006 just before the financial meltdown.

The strong payouts also come as Congress works to roll back some parts of Dodd-Frank. That's the law passed in the wake of the financial crisis.

The Senate passed a bill earlier this month easing regulations on community banks, regional lenders, and mortgage companies.

All right, it just got harder for Dave Briggs to find his latest issue of "Cosmo" at Walmart. He's been crying about this all morning. It's removing the magazine from checkout lanes.

An anti-porn group, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, claims they influenced this decision. It's been working to remove "Cosmo" from stores for years, deeming it porn. Walmart says this was primarily a business decision but that concerns raised were heard.

[05:50:08] "Cosmo" is known for its sex tips and advice for young women. Walmart will still sell the magazine but it will be away from the register. BRIGGS: It is 2018, right? It's -- yes.

ROMANS: It is. I mean, you're going to have read it online.

BRIGGS: Come on. Let us know what you think about this @EarlyStart on Twitter, will you folks?

A city council hearing taken over by protestors in Sacramento.


BERRY ACCIUS, FOUNDER, VOY, COMMUNITY ACTIVIST (holding up a cell phone): As you point this to our council, does this look like a gun?


BRIGGS: Anger over a police shooting of an unarmed black man starting to spill over. The latest, next.


[05:55:10] BRIGGS: A march in Paris today to honor the memory of an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor brutally murdered in her apartment. Mireille Knoll was stabbed 11 times before her home was set on fire.

Police are investigating her death as a suspected anti-Semitic attack. One of two suspects arrested is Knoll's 27-year-old neighbor who served jail time for sexual assault. The other, a 21-year-old homeless man known to police for a violent past.

ROMANS: Emotions run high at a Sacramento City Council meeting after the police shooting death of Stephon Clark. He was shot to death by police officers as he stood in his grandmother's backyard. Police claim they thought the cell phone he was holding was a gun.

Demonstrators seized on that explanation at the Council meeting.


ACCIUS (holding up a cell phone): Does this look -- as you point this to our council, does this look like a gun?

PROTESTERS: Stephon Clark, Stephon Clark, Stephon Clark, Stephon Clark, Stephon Clark, Stephon Clark.


BRIGGS: That young man is Stephon Clark's brother.

Sacramento mayor Darrell Steinberg forced to gavel the meeting to a close early to guarantee everyone's safety.

ROMANS: For the second time in a week protesters also blocked the entrance to the Golden 1 Center, forcing the Kings to close the entrances. That drew an angry online response from ticketholders. The Kings say they had to shut the doors for safety. BRIGGS: A Kansas grand jury bringing murder charges in the gruesome death of a 10-year-old boy on the world's tallest waterslide in 2016. Jeffrey Henry, co-owner of the Schlitterbahn water park and designer John Schooley were charged with reckless second-degree murder, along with the company involved in the designing and building of the 17- story ride.

Caleb Schwab was decapitated when the raft he and two women were strapped into went airborne.

The waterpark issued a statement saying the three men charged are innocent and that they run a safe operation, adding the facts will prove in court this was a tragic accident.

ROMANS: The damage from a catastrophic failure at an Ohio fertility clinic is far worse than officials first thought. The clinic now says more than 4,000 frozen eggs and embryos were lost after a freezer malfunction. That's double the original number. It's unlikely any of them are viable.

The University Hospital's fertility clinic in Cleveland says some 950 families were affected, up from 700.

The malfunction occurred when temperatures fluctuated in the tank where the eggs and the embryos were stored. An investigation revealed an alarm system which should have alerted an employee to those temperature swings -- well, the alarm was shut off.

BRIGGS: On a lighter note, there is a clown running for Congress in South Carolina. You might be thinking well, what else is new, but Steve Lough is the real deal.

After three decades as a professional clown -- think Ringling Bros. -- the Ivy League-educated Lough is running in the June primary for the Democratic nomination in South Carolina's 5th Congressional District.

His campaign Website,, features him in clown makeup and videos of him juggling. His campaign slogan, "Aim High, Vote Low."

He is one of three Democrats vying to face Republican incumbent Ralph Norman. Norman won a special election to replace Mick Mulvaney who left the House to become budget director.

I'm sorry if I offended the clown community, I'm just a bit terrified of clowns. Blame Hollywood. Blame "It" and the -- you know, the crime wave that we've had.

ROMANS: I'm a bit terrified of Congress, actually.

BRIGGS: If he debates in the clown get-up, I'm on board for that. Let's televise that nationally.

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

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now. The president up and tweeting about the Second Amendment, saying it

will never be repealed. Giving the right -- the talking point we just discussed.

ROMANS: That's right.

BRIGGS: "NEW DAY" will discuss it. We'll see you tomorrow.

ROMANS: I wonder if he's watching?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kim Jong Un came to China to get the relationship back on track.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was seen as a clear sign he's preparing for upcoming summits with South Korea and the U.S.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's a step in the right direction in starting to address the concerns of his neighbors. That's the big question is like, how is Donald Trump going to react to that?

ROMANS: President Trump reaching an agreement with South Korea to rework a trade deal.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The deal with South Korea -- we're going to have a wonderful deal with a wonderful ally.

BRIGGS: Stormy Daniels' attorney seeking to depose President Trump.

MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY FOR STORMY DANIELS: Why we haven't heard from the president is really beyond me.

SANDERS: I didn't say he punches back on every single topic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When the people elected Donald Trump, I think they realized they were not electing a choir boy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Recent poll numbers show the president's approval ratings are up. Why would he talk about it?