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EARLY START

Immigration Showdown At The Border; U.S. Readies For Korea Talks; Major Merger For T-Mobile and Sprint; Team Trump Heads To China; White House Correspondent's Dinner Controversy; U.K. Home Secretary Resigns Over Immigration Scandal; Wall Street Closed Mostly Higher. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired April 30, 2018 - 04:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[04:30:00]:

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And it is deadline day for the president on trade tariff. Redemptions for free country could end tonight and top Trump aide are heading to China to ease trade concerns.

Welcome back to "Early Start," this Monday morning. I'm Christine Romans.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Dave Briggs. It is 30 minutes pass the hour. Dramatic developments as it looks like we are going to see denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, but what does it mean? Let's talk about that. U.S. Intelligence Agencies ramping up their surveillance of North Korea as the summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un draws closer. Now the that leaders of two Korea's have committed to peace and denuclearization, the Pentagon spy agency and other Intel branches briefing the White House just about daily using data from the satellites and drones.

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The dramatic progress on the Korean Peninsula had the President's supporters in a frenzy at a Saturday night rally in Michigan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CROWD: Nobel. Nobel. Nobel.

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: For the latest developments on the Korean peninsula, we go live back to Seoul and bring in CNN's Paula Hancocks. Paula?

HANCOCKS: Well, Christine, we are getting more details now about what exactly happened at that summit between Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un on Friday. The Blue House is saying that North Korea has agreed to close its nuclear site in Punggye-ri in the Northeast of the country in May.

Now, May starts by tomorrow. So, clearly there is a tight timeframe there. They are also going to invite experts, journalists to make sure they are completely transparent, they say. We also heard from Kim Jong-un, through the Blue House saying, that he had said that Chinese geologists saying that the site was obsolete, that the mountain had collapsed was incorrect.

Saying that they had two more tunnels that no one even knew about and they were in very good condition, but insisting that if the U.S. is not going to have a hostile policy against them, then they do not need to have this nuclear program. Now, he also said that according to the Blue House, that he is not the kind of person to launch a nuclear missile against South Korea or the United States. This is a very different Kim Jong-un that we are hearing from now, because just months ago, that is exactly the kind of threat that we were hearing from North Korea.

Now also on the South Korean side, they are trying to show their hostile policy is gone. They are dismantling these propaganda broadcast speakers along the DMZ that used to blare propaganda into North Korea. Now from the U.S. side they are saying, they want to see actions rather than just words. John Bolton saying that there won't be any concessions before they see actual evidence that North Korea is dismantling its nuclear program. Christine.

ROMANS: Fascinating developments, very quickly, Paula, thank you so much for that.

BRIGGS: Meanwhile, an immigration showdown, playing out at the U.S. - Mexico border. A caravan of Central American migrants camped out, waiting at the border crossing in Tijuana Mexico 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.

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

(BEGIN VIDEO)

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 had actually put down blankets with intentions of staying the entire night here. They say they will get to the United States to seek asylum.

[04:35:05] 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 very 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.

(END VIDEO)

ROMANS: Leyla for that.

China and U.S. trade tensions are simmering and Team Trump heads to China this week to revert a full blown trade war. President Trump sending his top econ officials to Beijing for trade talks. The high stakes meetings start Thursday. Each country is threatening the other with billions of dollars in tariffs. The hope is these talks will result in a trade framework were both sides can live with.

One potential problem is Trump's team must present a united front and that could be a challenge. The delegation includes, trade hawks, like Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer and trade Adviser, Peter Navarro. They are joined by free traders, Economic adviser, Larry Kudlow and treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin.

Now officials had down play their differences noting that all four are critical of China's trade practices. But even before officials head to China, the U.S. could face another trade fight. The U.S slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports in March, who gave several countries temporary exemptions those expire in less than 24 hours. The exemptions accounts for about 2/3 of U.S. steel and aluminum imports and some of them America's closest ally, like the E.U., Canada and Mexico.

BRIGGS: Multiple reports this morning say the 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, after a string of damaging allegations emerged. Congressional officials say the allegations are based on interviews with nearly two dozen sources, Jackson had denied the claims and official told CNN last week, Jackson had returned to the White House Medical Unit, but not as the President's physician.

ROMANS: Navy officer, Sean Conley, took over as the President's personal doctor and will keep that job. Over the weekend, the president launched a Twitter tirade against Senator John Tester, calling them on the Montana Democrat to resign for going public with some of the allegations against Ronny Jackson. He kept up the attack at a rally in Michigan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

BRIGGS: Sources tell CNN that President Trump is expected to speak at the meeting of the National Rifle Association in Dallas later this week. It comes just two next after the President drew concerns from conservatives when he told lawmakers not to fear the gun lobbyist and suggested guns be taken away from dangerous individuals without due process -- without due process. The Parkland school shooting re- ignited a national debate about gun laws and spawn a student-led push for gun reforms. Vice President Pence is also said to address the NRA meeting on Friday. The NRA says the Secret Service will coordinate security and will not allow weapons in the arena while he is present that is many claiming hypocrisy, given the NRA claims a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. ROMANS: Breaking overnight, 29 dead and 49 injured in a pair of blast

in Kabul. Among the dead at least eight journalist, including a cameraman for the French press agency, AFP.

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

ROMANS: All right. About 40 minutes past the hour. 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?

[04:40:02] We go there live.

[04:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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. And 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: National Security Adviser, John Bolton confirming President Trump has not yet 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.

BRIGGS: 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. Ben, good morning.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Well, certainly when secretary was in Riyadh and in Tel Aviv, the real focus of the talks was on Iran, on Iranian nuclear deal, on the spread of the Iranian influence in the region and the worries about Iran's ballistic missiles.

But here in Jordan, it is a complete -- completely different set of concerns. And when we saw for instance, the Secretary Pompeo meeting this morning with Ayman Safadi, the Jordanian Foreign Minister, most of the talk was on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, which is the main cause of concern here in Jordan where the majority of the population traces their roots back to historic Palestine. The Jordanians were very unhappy when President Trump announced that

the U.S. embassy would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And the Jordanians are also very concerned about the rising tensions on the border between Gaza and Israel, that had seen more than 40 Palestinians killed and thousands wounded. They are much worried about those problems, those tensions which could spill over into Jordan as well. Then this threat that the Israelis, the Saudis and the Americans, say, is coming from Iran. So it is a very different point of view here in Jordan.

BRIGGS: Many issues to tackle from the Secretary of State. Ben Wedeman, live for us in Jordan, thanks.

ROMANS: 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 any damage.

Earlier this month, seven Iranian military personnel were killed in a strike against the Syrian airbase in Homs. Syria, Iran and Russia all blamed Israel which refused to confirm or deny it. The Pentagon officials tells CNN, the U.S. and coalition forces were not involved in these latest attack.

BRIGGS: Britain's Home Secretary resigning over immigration scandal. Amber Rudd, stepped down Sunday saying she quote, inadvertently misled a government committee about deportation quotas for immigrants. Last week Rudd told the committee, she had no knowledge of certain quotas. The Guardian on Sunday later published a memo written by Rudd saying, quotas have been set. So far no word on her replacement for Amber Rudd.

ROMANS: All right. TV censors were not the only ones shocked by this weekend's White House Correspondent Dinner.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: And that was some of the less objectionable material. Now the head of the White House Correspondents Association distancing the group from the comedian's act.

[04:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BRIGGS: 4:53, Eastern Time. The head of the White House Correspondents Association now offering a mea culpa of source, after comedian, Michelle Wolf's controversial performance at the group's annual dinner this weekend. President Margaret Talev, had released a statement, Sunday night saying, 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.

ROMANS: Michelle Wolf's caustics sometimes vulgar routine included jabs at President Trump, his top aides and his family. In case you missed it, here is a sample.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOLF: There is also 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.

(LAUGHTER)

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).

(LAUGHTER)

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.

(LAUGHTER)

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, is it Sarah Sanders, is it Sarah Huckabee Sanders? Is it cousin Huckabee, is it anti-Huckabee Sanders? Like, what is Uncle Tom, but for white women who disappoint other white women?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[04:55:10] BRIGGS: That, of course, is where Michelle Wolf went way over the line. Many members of the media agree that Wolf went too far. The President himself, tweeting, calling the event which he declined to attend for a second straight year of embarrassment. Adding the comedian bombed and saying the White House Correspondent Association should put the dinner to rest or start over.

The Washington Post media columnist agreed. 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 interest of real Americans, the annual dinner or at least the optics of the dinner seem to back him up. That is spot-on given the dynamic of what happened Saturday night. This is all feeding in the president's narrative. Taking personal shots, the White House, Press Secretary Sanders, while he speaks to real people, did not look good for the optics.

ROMANS: This kind of programming was pretty brilliant at sometimes it is.

BRIGGS: Sure. And he doesn't want to get made fun of. That is why he is not there. He likes praise. Here is my (inaudible). ROMANS: But I have to say, she went after the media too. Said that

we are all a bunch of hypocrites, making money of --

BRIGGS: Michelle Wolf?

ROMANS: Yes, she went after the media really fiercely and news organizations by names. So it wasn't just the administration she was making fun of -- she was making fun of the whole room. That whole room.

BRIGGS: And let us know what you think about all this on Twitter, @earlystart.

ROMANS: Yes. Let's talk money here real quickly. Get a check of money it is 10 in the morning. Global stocks are higher right now. The markets moves on new -- on the news that T-Mobile plans to buy Sprint for $26 billion leaving just three major wireless carriers in the U.S.

Wall Street closed mostly higher, but just barely all three major industries down for the week. Economist Department, reported economic growth slowed in the first quarter. While the Labor Department said, wages jumped at the fastest pace in 11 years. I love to hear that.

But that renewed concerns about inflation which could mean faster interest rate hikes. To get more information on that tomorrow. The Federal Reserve starts a two-day policy meeting. For now, strong earnings are overshadowing fears of higher rates, profit growth is strongest in seven years. So far 79 percent of companies had reported profit higher than predicted.

All right. Amazon stock is on fire. Amazon's profits doubled in the first quarter to $1.6 billion. Sending it shares up nearly 4 percent. Just below an all-time high. That lifted the Amazon's market value to $735 billion. Only Apple is worth more than Amazon. And CEO, Jeff Bezos, already the world's richest person, is now worth $135 billion. Amazon stock is up 35 percent this year. The S&P 500, the broader S&P 500 is down less than 1 percent.

All right. Everybody in this room has seen this movie over the weekend, except for me. "Avengers Infinity War Assembles," the biggest box-office opening ever. Both in the U.S. and around the world. It made $630 million globally. $250 million in the U.S. alone. That just edges out "Star Wars, the force awakens." It made $248 billion of the biggest winner here is Disney. It now holds nine of the top ten biggest openings in North American history.

BRIGGS: And it was looking like a down year for the box office. That one movie alone put it in to the positive.

ROMANS: Absolutely.

BRIGGS: Chris Cuomo and I saw with the kids, we have a producer who saw it --

ROMANS: Twice. BRIGGS: Which is a little questionable.

ROMANS: Jimmy saw it twice.

BRIGGS: Frankly. Must be a good film.

All right. "Early Start" continues right now, for the latest with the North Korean situation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: We know the history. We know the risks. We are going to be very different. We are going to negotiate in a different way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: All right. Rapid developments in the effort to get North Korea to give up its nukes. How soon could Kim Jong-un close his nuclear testing site? We go live to Seoul.

BRIGGS: That expressed as President Trump immigration policies with the U.S.-Mexico border. We are closely watching a caravan of migrants arriving overnight and they are vowing to stay put.

ROMANS: And a mega merger for two mobile phones companies, union between T-Mobile and Sprint, could mean, to pay more for service? Good morning and welcome to "Early Start." I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: And I'm Dave Briggs. It is Monday, April 30th, 5:00 a.m. in the East, 6:00 p.m. in Seoul, noon in Amman, Jordan. Look at the cover of the New York Post, "Let's make a deal." It is a dramatic cover, we were talking about a deal with North Korea on denuclearization. That is where we start this morning.

Denuclearizing the Korean peninsula seems likely and more likely by the day. U.S. Intelligence Agencies ramping up their surveillance of North Korea as the Summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un continues to draw closer. Next couple of weeks, reportedly.

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POMPEO: We used the world irreversible with great intention. We are going to require those steps that demonstrate the denuclearization is going to be achieve. 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)