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Immigration Showdown At the Border; U.S. Readies For Korea Talks; Major Merger For T-Mobile and Sprint; White House Correspondents Dinner Controversy. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired April 30, 2018 - 04:00   ET



DAVE BRIGGS, EARLY START SHOW CO-HOST: A dramatic test of the president immigration policies at the U.S. and Mexico border. They are supposed to be watching a caravan of migrants arrived overnight and have a political target on their backs, but the group vowing to stay put.


We know the history, we know the risks. We will be very different. We will negotiate in a different way.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, EARLY START SHOW CO-HOST: The U.S. gearing up for talks as North Korea on the heels of the historic Korean summit. How soon could Kim Jong-un close his nuclear testing site? We are live in Seoul.

BRIGGS: What a mega merger for two mobile phone companies. Why a union with T-Mobile and Sprint could mean you pay more for service. They say it will lead to lower prices, though. We will discuss in a moment?

ROMANS: We will. We will and I wonder what regulators will say about that, you know, there is a new scrutiny from this administration.

BRIGGS: That is another big question. Good Monday morning everyone. I hope you had a great weekend. Welcome to "Early Start." I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is Monday, April 30th, 4:00 a.m. in the East, 1:00 a.m. to you in the Mexico, 11:00 a.m. in Amman, Jordan.

Right now, a new immigration showdown, now we are playing out at the U.S. and Mexico border. A caravan of Central American migrants camped out, waiting at the border crossing in Tijuana after a hard month long journey. Dozens of asylum seekers are vowing to remain outside the immigration processing center until every last one is admitted in the U.S.

BRIGGS: At a rally in Michigan over the weekend, President Trump talked about the approaching caravan. He did not sound sympathetic.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Are you watching that mess that is going on right now with the caravan coming up? Are you watching this? And our laws are so weak, they are so pathetic. Given to us by Democrats. They are so pathetic. Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer. Our laws are so corrupt and so stupid. I call them the dumbest immigration laws anywhere on earth.


BRIGGS: Last week, Homeland Security said it would arrest anyone crossing the border illegally. Today, though Vice President Pence will be near another border crossing, 90 miles away for an update on border wall construction and border agent. For the latest on the caravan, migrants in Tijuana, let's bring in CNN's Leyla Santiago.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Dave, what remained of the caravan, the migrants are still here. They will wait throughout the night to be able to reach the United States, to reach some of those asylum officers and make their claims. Let me show you one, right now what we are seeing.

We are seeing some of these Central American families that actually put down blankets with intentions of staying the entire night here. They say they will get to the United States to seek asylum. So what is the problem right now? Well, the United States is saying that they do not have the capacity to process these claims. These migrants, they had a long day obviously, a very long month in this caravan as it has made its way north.

Right now, inside behind the gates, beyond where we are right now, there are about 20 to 40 women and children who had made their way inside, but they were told by the U.S. officials again, they don't have the capacity to process their asylum claims. So, they are waiting to see if that will change overnight. In the meantime, they plan to stay here. Again, it has certainly been a long journey for them. March 25th they started at the Southern border of Mexico, they had made their way up staying in shelters, riding on trains, riding on buses, walking for days and they say it is important to do this the legal way.

They had turned themselves in or trying to turn themselves in at the port of entry as U.S. Federal Law permits. But now, they are waiting to see when asylum officers, when U.S. officials will actually allow them to go through with their claims. Christine. Dave.


ROMANS: Right, Leyla Santiago for us on the border there.

Four minutes pass the hour, U.S. Intelligence Agencies are ramping up their surveillance of North Korea as a Summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un draws closer and now that the leaders of two Korea's have committed to peace and denuclearization, the Pentagon's spy agencies and other Intel are briefing the White House, just about daily using data from satellites and drones.

BRIGGS: Newly elected Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo sees an opportunity to rid the Peninsula of nukes, but insists any deal must be irreversible.


MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: We use the word irreversible with great intention. We are going to require those steps that demonstrate the denuclearization is going to be achieved. We are not going to take promises. We are not going to take words. We are going to look for actions and deeds. And until such time, the President has made incredibly clear. We will keep the pressure campaign in place until we achieve that.


[04:05:10] BRIGGS: The dramatic progress on the Korean Peninsula had the President's supporters in a frenzy at a Saturday night rally in Michigan.


TRUMP: That is very nice. Thank you. That is very nice. Nobel.


BRIGGS: Nobel Peace Prize for President Trump. Yes, start thinking about that possibility. For the latest developments on the Korean peninsula, we go live to Seoul and bring in CNN's Paula Hancocks. Paula, good morning, if this happens, it sure is, what more than likely. What is the latest there this morning?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dave, we have some more information now about exactly what Kim Jong-un was talking about from that summit on Friday. The Blue House saying that he has agreed to shut down the Punggye-ri nuclear test site in May.

May starts tomorrow, so, that is a very tight timeframe that we have. They are saying that they actually have two extra tunnels within that site that they never told anybody about, but they are in very good condition according to Kim Jong-un, but he is going to shut it down. He also invite experts and journalists to view this, to make sure that it is all completely transparent.

Another thing as well, we had a quote from Kim Jong-un through the Blue House saying, that he is not the kind of person to launch a nuclear missile against the United States. Now, clearly this is a very different Kim Jong-un that we are seeing at this summit as just months earlier. That is exactly the sort of threat that North Korea was leveling against Washington, against Seoul, against New York, but certainly a very different situation now. And from the South Korea side, we know that from tomorrow, from

Tuesday, they are actually going to start dismantling these propaganda broadcast speakers on the border to show that they are pulling back on hostilities. But we had heard though that the U.S. is waiting for actions rather than just words. We heard that from John Bolton as well, saying that they are not going to get any concessions to North Korea before they see physical evidence that they are denuclearizing.

BRIGGS: We hear they are also -- they are going to unified time zones, they were half an hour apart -- but let me ask you about that test site. There are reports that that mountain where they tested was ready to collapse. Do you know anything about that?

HANCOCKS: That is right. Yes, this is what we heard from Chinese biologists. They said that is obsolete, it is irrelevant that Kim Jong-un is shutting it down, because it is not able to be used. Kim Jong-un addressed that apparently. He said that is simply not true. We have two more tunnels that we never told you about, they are in very good condition, but they are still going to shut it down, Dave.

BRIGGS: Hence the importance of journalists being welcomed in. Paula, great stuff. Thank you.

ROMANS: Multiple reports this morning say White House physician, Ronny Jackson, will not be going back to his old job as President Trump's personal physician. Jackson withdrew his nomination to be Secretary of Veteran Affairs. Of course after a string of damaging allegations emerged, unproven allegations. Congressional officials say the allegations are based on interviews with nearly two dozen sources, Jackson had denied the claims and official told CNN las week, Jackson had returned to the White House Medical Unit, but not as the President's physician.

BRIGGS: Navy officer Sean Conley took over as the President's personal doctor and will keep the job. According to these reports over the weekend, the President launched a Twitter tirade against Senator John Tester, calling them on the Democrat to resign for going public on these allegations against Ronny Jackson. He kept up the attack in Michigan.


TRUMP: Tester started throwing out things that he heard. Well, I know things about Tester that I could say, too. And if I said them, he would never been elected again.


BRIGGS: Tester calls it his duty to fight for Montana Veterans to quote, get what they need and have earned.

ROMANS: All right, to money news. T-Mobile plans to buy Sprint for $26 billion leaving just three major wireless carriers in the U.S. The two will merge after years of negotiations. T-Mobile and Sprint are the third and fourth largest U.S. carriers. To mind the new company will have a 127 million customers in a worth about $80 billion, making it a fierce competitor for Verizon and AT&T.

Now the deal still needs regulatory approval. T-Mobile and Sprint first discussed the merger in 2014, and it was blocked after regulator said, having four big wireless company benefitted consumers. If the deal going goes through, many experts say, customers will pay more. Well, companies though, could eliminate their lower pricing and unlimited plans.

T-Mobile's CEO, John Legere, there he is, he says that this time U.S. regulators will see the benefits of the deal. He will lead that the merge companies, he said in a call Sunday that the merge will create thousands of jobs, it will help the U.S. beat China in the race to 5G. A recent report found China and South Korea currently lead 5G development.

BRIGGS: All right, breaking news overnight. At least 25 dead and 45 injured in the pair of blasts in Kabul. Among the dead, at least nine journalists including a camera man for the French press agency, AFP.

[04:10:10] Officials in the Afghan capital says, a suicide attacker on a motor bike detonated explosives around 8:00 a.m. Local Time. Kabul police spokesman says, someone disguised as a cameraman carried out the second attack. That explosion killed AFP's chief photographer in Kabul, Shah Marai. AFP says that, the attack targeted a group of journalists who had rushed to the scene of the first explosion.

ROMANS: It is a tragedy there.

BRIGGS: We will keep on that story and update you on the latest. Ahead, the Secretary of State in the Middle East with the major decision approaching. Will the President pull out of the Iran nuclear deal next week? We are live in the Middle East.



AMB. JOHN BOLTON, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: He will make the decision. It's his call. I am the National Security Adviser, not the National Security decision maker. In fact, on the Iran nuclear deal issue, I have presented him with options. And I'll continue to do it right up until he makes the decision.


[04:15:06] BRIGGS: National Security Adviser, John Bolton confirming President Trump has not decided whether to back out of the Iran nuclear deal. He has less than two weeks to make up his mind. Bolton says there is still hope for European allies to try to convince the President to amend the agreement rather than abandon it.

ROMANS: The Iran deal, is just one of the issues being tackled by Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. He is in Jordan this morning after slamming the Iranians as the world's greatest sponsor of terrorism, during a visit to Saudi Arabia on Sunday. Let us go live to Amman, Jordan, and bring in CNN's Ben Wedeman. When

was in Saudi Arabia, you know slammed the Iranian as the world greatest sponsor of terror. What are we expecting from him in Jordan?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, after both in Israel and Jordan, slamming the Iran, he is going to have to change gears somewhat here in Jordan. Here in Jordan, really the main concern is U.S. policy toward the Palestinian/Israeli conflict.

The Jordanians were very unhappy when in December, President Trump announced that United States will be moving the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In fact, the King of Jordan, King Abdullah, went to a meeting in Turkey where he stood on the stage with the President of Iran where they condemned that moved. So, it is somewhat different set of priorities here.

The Iranian threat is post as presented by the Americans, Israelis and Saudis is not necessarily felt so much here. Here, the main concern is merely instability spilling over from Syria into Jordan. This country has more than 1 million Syrian refugees and in fact last week, we were covering joint military exercises between the United States and Jordan.

Preparing very much for the possibility of perhaps limited military action just on the other side of the Jordanian/Syrian border. Preparing for the possibility of terrorist attacks, the possibility of having to evacuate U.S. Embassy staff. So, their concerns are little more focused than this broad Iranian threat that the Trump administration likes to talk about.

ROMANS: All right. Ben Wedeman for us this morning in Amman, thank you.

BRIGGS: Meanwhile, Syrian TV reporting a new round of missile strikes targeting government military installation in Hama and Aleppo. The reports did not say who fired the missiles or whether there were casualties or damage. Earlier this month, seven Iranian military personnel were killed in a strike against the Syrian airbase and Homs. Syria, Iran and Russia all blamed Israel. Which refused to confirm or deny. The Pentagon officials telling CNN, the U.S. and coalition forces were not involved in the latest attack.

Ahead, TV sets were not the only ones shocked by this weekend's White House Correspondents dinner.


MICHELLE WOLF, COMEDIAN: It is like what they are all saying, if a tree falls in the woods, how do we get Kellyanne under that tree?


BRIGGS: And that was some of the less objectionable material. Now the head of the White House Correspondents Association says she won't stand behind the comedians act.


ROMANS: Well, the head of the White House Correspondents Association is offering a mea culpa after comedian, Michelle Wolf's controversial performance at the group's annual dinner this weekend. President Margaret Talva had released a statement, Sunday. Last night's program was meant to offer a unifying message about our common commitment to a vigorous and free press while honoring civility, great reporting and scholarship winners. Not to divide people. Unfortunately the entertainer's monologue was not in the spirit of that mission.

BRIGGS: Michelle Wolf's comments sometimes vulgar, routinely included jabs at President Trump, his top aides and his family. One of whom was sitting right next to Michelle Wolf. Listen.


WOLF: There is, of course, Ivanka. She was supposed to be an advocate for women, but it turns out she is about as helpful to women as an empty box of tampons. She has done nothing to satisfy women. So, I guess like father like daughter. She is the diaper genie of the administration. On the outside, she looks sleek, but the inside it's still full of (BEEP).

I actually really like Sarah, I think she is very resourceful, but she burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Like, maybe she is born with it. Maybe it's lies. Probably lies. And I am never really sure what to call Sarah Huckabee Sanders. You know, Sarah Sanders, is it Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Is it cousin Huckabee, is it anti-Huckabee Sanders? What is Uncle Tom, but for white women who disappoint other white women?


ROMANS: A lot of people in the room, did not quite know what to make of it, because here is sort of the awkward -- silence, at some point and then sort of awkward responses. Many members of the media agree that Wolf went too far. The President himself calling the event which he declined to attend for the second year in a row.


ROMANS: An embarrassment adding the comedian bombed. He said, the White House Correspondent Association should put the dinner to rest or start over. The Washington Post media agrees.

BRIGGS: In the article titled "For the sake of journalism" stop the White House Correspondent Dinner. Margaret Sullivan says, trust in the mainstream media is low, a new populist has caught fire, all of the Western world and President Trump constantly pounds the news media as a bunch of out of touch elites, who don't represents the real interest of Americans, the annual dinner or at least the optics of the dinner seem to back him up.

04:25:15] Now, let's just back up our show to a moment where journalists were killed covering a war region. That is what journalism is all about. Look, the White House Correspondents Association got what they asked for. They did not vet her. They did not looked at YouTube for five minutes. They deserve this performance. It was good, she was funny, but she went way too far with Sarah Sanders. Way too personal, but they should have known that. They should have expected it. They should have watched some of her standup routine.

ROMANS: I was surprised there wasn't a, you know, at least even a preview of the remarks.

BRIGGS: Some of those jokes were actually used prior in Michelle Wolf's stand-up routine. It should have not come up as a surprise.

ROMANS: Not a surprise. Not a surprise.

BRIGGS: All right. President Trump holds his third Joint news Conference in less than a week later today. The president of Nigeria by his side, but new developments out of North Korea and the caravan of migrants at the U.S. border can give him plenty to address.



CROWD: Nobel. Nobel. Nobel.


ROMANS: Nobel Peace Prize. Part of programming for the president to waive reviews in Michigan. Meanwhile rapid developments in the effort to get North Korea to give up its nukes are still could Kim Jong-un close its nuclear testing site. We're live in Seoul.

BRIGGS: A very dramatic test of the president's immigration policies at the U.S.-Mexico border. As closely watched caravan of migrants drive overnight and they are vowing to stay put.

ROMANS: And it is deadline day for the president on trade tariff.