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Trump, Democrats to Meet Again on Shutdown; Russian Lawyer Seeks American Paul Whelan’s Release on Bail; Hunt for Gunman Who

January 4, 2019

xfdls EARLY-START-01


<Date: January 4, 2019>

<Time: 05:00>

<Tran: 010401CN.V34>

<Type: SHOW>

<Head: Trump, Democrats to Meet Again on Shutdown; Russian Lawyer

Seeks American Paul Whelan’s Release on Bail; Hunt for Gunman Who

Killed 7-year-old Texas Girl Intensifies; Aired 4-4:30a ET>

<Sect: News; International>

<Time: 04:00>

<End: 04:29>

[04:00:00] TUCHMAN: Their cases have been postponed right now. So we don’t know if Cindy and Alison’s case will start on the day it’s supposed to -- Don.

LEMON: Thanks, Gary. And thanks for watching. Our coverage continues.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Day two of divided government in America. The new House passed bills destined to go nowhere in the Senate.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), HOUSE SPEAKER: We’re not doing a wall.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will have no deal without a wall.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Day 14 of the government shutdown. Will another sit room sit-down today do anything to break the stalemate?

ROMANS: Life or death drama. Caught on video, this man trapped on the second floor of his burning home with only one way out.

BRIGGS: Who will host the Oscars after Kevin Hart quit? Well, how about Kevin Hart? A new interview out today is fuelling speculation that he could make a comeback.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I’m Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: I’m Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: Good morning.

ROMANS: It is Friday, it is January 4th, 4:00 a.m. in the East. And we have day two of Briggs beard.

BRIGGS: Yes. Yes.

ROMANS: I’m wondering, who wore it better, Ted Cruz showed up yesterday with his own version of the Dave Briggs beard. (LAUGHTER)

BRIGGS: I wondered who wore it better.

ROMANS: Who wore it better?

BRIGGS: I wondered, is that what I look like? When I saw Ted Cruz show up, your answer?

ROMANS: I don’t know. It’s a new year. 2019. I guess this is the year of the beard.

BRIGGS: The holiday beard.

ROMANS: We shall see.

BRIGGS: Who wore it better? You didn’t answer the question.

ROMANS: Well, I’m partial, Dave, because --

BRIGGS: OK. Well, thank you.

ROMANS: So you wore it very well.

BRIGGS: I appreciate that.

ROMANS: All right. Another meeting in the situation room this morning between the president and congressional leaders. The aim is to find a way to end the partial government shutdown. But at the moment, Democrats and Republicans seemed deeply dug into their positions and in no mood to compromise.


PELOSI: We’re not doing a wall. Does anybody have any doubt that we are not doing a wall? So that’s it.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you worry about backlash?

PELOSI: No, it has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with a wall is an immorality between countries. It’s an old way of thinking.

PENCE: The president’s made it clear. We are here to make a deal, but it’s a deal that’s going to result in achieving real gains on border security, and you have no border security without a wall. We will have no deal without a wall.


ROMANS: CNN’s Manu Raju has the latest on the stalemate from Capitol Hill.


Now Democrats in the House on their first day in power moving to reopen parts of the federal government that have been shuddered since before Christmas in the aftermath of that bitter feud between Democrats and Republicans over the president’s demands for billions of dollars in funding for his border wall.

Now two measures passed the House last night. One to reopen the Department of Homeland Security through February 8th, punting on the funding wall -- funding of the wall. and then another to reopen the other agencies on funding levels agreed to by both Democrats and Republicans on the Senate side in the last Congress, hoping that that could persuade some Republican senators to support it.

But the problem is this. The president opposes these measures because it does not fund his wall. So now Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will not put those bills on the floor, even the one to keep the Department of Homeland Security open until February 8th. That’s the same bill he put to the floor before Christmas. He thought, at the time, President Trump was going to sign it into law.

The president changed his mind, he opposed it. And so now we’re at a situation where it’s unclear where the standoff is going to end. Both leaders and the White House plan to meet today behind closed doors to see whether or not they can come up with any sort of solution. But pessimism growing intensely on Capitol Hill that any deal could be reached anytime soon, which means, Christine and Dave, this could be going on for quite some time.

ROMANS: All right, Manu Raju, thank you for that.

President Trump showed up in the White House briefing room yesterday, his first-ever official appearance there. He arrived on very short notice from what was billed as a briefing. It was not, in the sense that he took no questions. Instead he congratulated Speaker Nancy Pelosi on her, quote, “tremendous, tremendous achievement” and spoke about infrastructure as an area of common ground with Democrats.

But the president spent the rest of his eight-minute appearance pushing for his border wall, backed by Border Patrol and ICE officials.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have never had so much support as I have in the last week over my stance for border security.

Thank you all very much. Appreciate it. Thank you.



BRIGGS: Newly-emboldened Democratic lawmakers wasting no time going after the president. New York Congressman Jerry Nadler reintroducing a bill that will bar President Trump from firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller for anything short of serious misconduct or other good cause. Senator Ron Wyden, ranking member of the Finance Committee, reintroducing a measure requiring sitting presidents and presidential nominees to release their tax returns to the public.

[04:05:09] And Representative Brad Sherman of California defying the wishes of Speaker Pelosi by introducing Articles of Impeachment against President Trump on day one of the new Congress.

ROMANS: Last night, Democrats passed a new package of rules that will reshape the way the House conducts business. Among the changes, the measure creates a new select committee on climate change. It bans discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and allows people to wear religious headgear in the House chamber where -- fun fact -- hats have been banned since 1837.

BRIGGS: And quite a funny moment from Pelosi at the Capitol Hill news conference. House majority leader Steny Hoyer accidentally gave the wrong time for today’s White House meeting and Speaker Pelosi stepped in to correct him.


REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD), MAJORITY LEADER: And the president has asked us to come down to meet tomorrow at 10:30. And we will do that and we’ll have a discussion. At 11:30? Excuse me, 11:30.

PELOSI: Well, he told me 11:30.


PELOSI: Maybe the real meeting is at 10:30 with the men.


BRIGGS: Pelosi’s first speech after reclaiming the speakership heralded the largest number in history of women in the House.

ROMANS: All right. Many of the same fears that affected Wall Street last year carrying over into this one, folks. The Dow dropped 660 points. That’s 2.8 percent after Apple warned it will badly miss its quarterly sales forecasts because of weakening growth and trade tensions in China. Apple plunged 10 percent. That’s the worst decline in six years. The S&P 500 fell 2.5 percent and the Nasdaq fell 3 percent, closing back in bear market territory.

Even administration officials are warning of more trouble ahead for corporate America. The chairman of the White House Counsel of Economic Advisers Kevin Hassett told my colleague Poppy Harlow more U.S. companies with sales in China will follow Apple’s footstep by downgrading their outlooks.


KEVIN HASSETT, CHAIRMAN, WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL ON ECONOMIC ADVISERS: Well, now we’ve got the U.S. growing at about 3 percent, the fourth quarter is looking about 3 percent as well, but the rest of the world is slowing. And that is having an impact on earnings, you know. And it’s not going to be just Apple. I think that there are a heck of a lot of U.S. companies that have a lot of sales in China that are basically going to be --


HASSETT: -- watching their earnings being downgraded next year until, you know, we get a deal with China.


ROMANS: But only Apple investors are rattled by a report showing U.S. manufacturing activity in December deteriorated to two-year lows. All eyes will turn to the U.S. jobs reports coming out in a couple of hours. A weak December report could reinforce those jitters that the U.S. economy is slowing.

BRIGGS: The latest now on that American ex-Marine who’s sitting in a Russian prison charged with espionage. Paul Whelan’s lawyer calls his client’s detention without bail excessive and unwarranted. But a Russian state news agency claims the government caught Paul Whelan red-handed. CNN could not independently confirm that report.

For the latest, let’s bring in senior international correspondent Sam Kiley live in Moscow.

Good to see you, Sam. What’s the latest?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, in a confusing new twist, Dave, the British Foreign officers now asked for access to Paul Whelan, the former U.S. Marine who’s been charged here with espionage, because he was born a British citizen and with this demand for consular access would indicate that he is still a British citizen, albeit also an American citizen.

He’s already had a visit in prison from Jon Huntsman, the U.S. ambassador here, Mike Pompeo, the secretary of State in the United States, has said that they are taking this case up at the highest level.

And then we have this report from Rosbalt, which is a local tabloid Web site really, we have no way of independently verifying it. We have reached out to Russian authorities, haven’t heard back yet, suggesting that he was in receipt of some kind of electronic device shortly before his hotel room in the Metropol Hotel which is just next to the Kremlin was raided by security forces here in Moscow and he was arrested, allegedly, with this device containing a list of sensitive information.

Now we have, as I stressed, no way yet of independently verifying that. But this is the sort of story the Russians would put out if they were trying to prove a point that this was a genuine case of espionage. But he doesn’t, Dave, fit the profile of a CIA recruit. He has a background that’s a little bit tarnished in that he was given a bad conduct -- he was dismissed from the Marines for bad conduct. Conduct for felony, which would preclude him entirely from being recruited by the CIA either as an agent or an operator.

So it remains very murky. And of course there is inevitable speculation here in Moscow and in the United States that perhaps he’s been arrested as part of some future potential spy swap, quote- unquote, between him -- for him and Maria Butina or others who are in U.S. detention -- Dave.

BRIGGS: All right. We’ll stay on it. Sam, thank you.

ROMANS: Sources tell CNN the Trump administration is scouting locations for a second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un despite the fact that talks between the countries appear to be at a stalemate. The developments come after President Trump announced from the Oval Office Wednesday he had received what he called a great letter from Kim. No one has written letters like this, he says.

He did not reveal what it said, but sources familiar with the letter say it was designed to remind Trump of the strength of their relationship and reinforced the president’s enthusiasm for the process. And I would say that’s exactly what it did.

BRIGGS: And reports suggest that the president pulled that out of his pocket and tossed it over to Chuck Schumer in their meeting the other day trying to impress upon the Senate minority leader failing to do so.

Ahead, the first big name candidate in the 2020 race for president hits the road in just a few hours. More on where Elizabeth Warren is headed and why, next.

ROMANS: And one man’s harrowing escape through the window of his burning home.


BRIGGS: Later today, Senator Elizabeth Warren heading to Iowa, making her first trip to the state that begins the Democratic presidential nominating process. She will arrive in Council Bluffs this evening with the first of five stops over the next three days. Warren launched an exploratory committee for a 2020 presidential bid on New Year’s Eve and allows her to begin racing money for the campaign and makes her the first big name candidate to jump into the race.

ROMANS: “New York Times” is reporting Jim Webb, the former Democratic senator, may be in line to permanently take over James Mattis’ job as Defense secretary. Mattis stepped down in December protesting President Trump’s abrupt announcement he is pulling troops out of Syria. One official told the “Times” representatives for Vice President Mike Pence and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney reached out to Webb.

[04:15:02] Webb served as the secretary of the Navy under former President Reagan. He represented Virginia in the U.S. Senate and launched an unsuccessful presidential bid in 2016.

BRIGGS: Police in Texas releasing this surveillance video in the hunt for a gunman who killed a 7-year-old girl. It shows the suspect’s car near the scene of the fatal shooting. Jazmine Barnes was killed as she was riding in a car with her family early Sunday. Tips have poured in to investigators, but the suspect remains on the loose.

CNN’s Nick Valencia spoke victim’s family who say they are living in fear.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, it was earlier that we sat down with LaPorsha Washington, she’s the mother of Jazmine Barnes, and we also spoke to Alexis Dilbert, that’s Jazmine’s sister. Now both LaPorsha and Alexis were in the car at the time of the shooting. In fact, Alexis says that she made eye contact with the suspected shooter. She also says that the description released by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office is slightly different from the man she saw.

Choking back tears, both of them, sitting next to each other, spoke to CNN.


VALENCIA: What his face look like, what his demeanor.

ALEXIS DILBERT, SISTER OF JAZMINE BARNES: He just looked like sick. Like when he looked in the car he just looked sick. Like his face was really pale. That’s like all I can remember. And his eyes were blue. His face was thin and pale.

LAPORSHA WASHINGTON, MOTHER OF JAZMINE BARNES: And the next thing you know, I didn’t even hear the first gunshot. All I remember is my glass shattering. I turned the light on in the car and turned around and looked at my baby. And she was leaned over on the door and blood was everywhere.


VALENCIA: LaPorsha Washington says she believes that race played a factor in the shooting. The Harris County sheriff says that it is part of their investigation, but right now it’s not their focus. Meanwhile, the family is terrified, scared that this gunman may come back and hurt them.

Social activists Shaun King as well as the attorney representing the family, Lee Merritt, have banded together and raised $100,000 reward for any information leading to the capture of the suspected killer -- Dave, Christine.

ROMANS: All right, Nick. Thank you for keeping us up to speed on that one.

An attempted robbery at a hotel in Davie, Florida, caught on camera. Police are searching for the armed gunman who is seen on surveillance jumping over the counter and grabbing the hotel clerk last month. A brief struggle takes place as the suspect demands a woman opens the safe and then the register. The suspect was distracted by a hotel guest walking by and after a five-minute struggle decides to bolt. Anyone with information about the suspect seen wearing a black hoodie was asked to call police. BRIGGS: Dramatic video from Southern California as the husband and wife jump from their second story apartment to escape smoke and flames. Marco Hernandez says he and his wife were trapped in their bedroom by heavy smoke. Before firefighters arrived, Hernandez lowered his wife to safety with the help of people below. Moments later he took the leap himself, dropping five feet to the ground, landing hard but uninjured. The cause of the fire still under investigation.

ROMANS: The death toll rising to seven in a fiery multivehicle crash on Interstate-75 near Gainesville, Florida. The Florida Highway Patrol says two tractor-trailers and two passenger vehicles were involved in this crash Thursday afternoon. 50 gallons of diesel fuel spilled on to the southbound lanes of I-75. According to fire officials, multiple people suffered critical injuries in this fiery accident.

BRIGGS: In Oklahoma, four people killed in weather related crashes and the state trooper narrowly avoided becoming the fifth. Watch this dashcam video closely. Lieutenant Colby Overstreet rendering aid at the scene of a crash in Tulsa. On the left you see a maroon car hit the patch of ice on the overpass, spin out and crash into the pickup truck which then hits Lieutenant Overstreet. Luckily the trooper was uninjured. The driver of course ticketed for going too fast for conditions but it could have been much worse for everyone.

ROMANS: All right, 18 minutes past the hour. Will Kevin Hart host the Oscars after all? Next, what the comedian told Ellen DeGeneres about his decision to quit and if he would reconsider.

BRIGGS: Plus a guy who’s suing Burger King saying the burger joint owes him free food for life.


[04:22:35] ROMANS: All right. Good Friday morning to you.

Could Kevin Hart still end up hosting the Oscars? In an interview on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” airing today, Ellen reveals she called the Academy because she wants Hart to host. And she learned they would be thrilled to have him back.

It comes nearly a month after Kevin Hart backed out as Oscar host amid an outcry over past homophobic tweets and his initial reluctance to apologize.


KEVIN HART, COMEDIAN: And I had to address it and apologize, and say I understand what those words do and how they hurt. I understand why people would be upset, which is why I made the choice to not use them anymore. I don’t joke like that anymore because that was wrong. That was a guy who was just looking for laughs and that was stupid. I don’t do that anymore.

I’m on social media every day. I’ve got over 40,000 tweets. To go through 40,000 tweets to get back to 2008, that’s an attack. That’s a malicious attack on my character. That’s an attack to end me. That’s not an attack to just stop the Oscars. Somebody has to take a stand against the, quote-unquote, “trolls.” You have to.

ELLEN DEGENERES, HOST, “THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW”: Right, but they’re going to win if you don’t host the Oscars, you know?



ROMANS: Hart tells Ellen he has regrets and will reevaluate or evaluate retaking the Oscar host role. Ellen’s interview with Hart was originally scheduled to air on Monday but she decided she didn’t want to sit on it.

And, you know, one wonders, preparation time. You know, if you’re someone who is a professional like Kevin Hart.


ROMANS: The more time that passes, the more risk of not being ready, I think, you know. Because it’s really -- it’s a hard job.

BRIGGS: Yes, I don’t know if it was an attack as he suggested. Those were out there. You learn from that. But I thought the Academy did a poor job in vetting Kevin Hart.

ROMANS: Right.

BRIGGS: If they didn’t know that was issue, but meanwhile, the stars will be out Sunday for one of Hollywood’s biggest night. The 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards.

That was fantastic. The revival of “A Star is Born” directed and starring Bradley Cooper along with Lady Gaga there could take home the Best Picture Drama prize. Cooper and Gaga also favored to win for Best Actor and Actress in a Drama.

Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney biopic “Vice” had the most Golden Globe nominations with six and will contend in the Best Picture, Musical or Comedy category.

[04:25:08] Christian Bale’s dramatic transformation as Cheney likely Best Actor Winner.

And Emily Blunt’s masterful turn as the magical British nanny in “Mary Poppins Returns” a favorite to win Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical. On the TV side “Killing Eve” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” are favored to take home the awards in the Best Drama and Best Comedy categories. “Killing Eve” star Sandra Oh will co-host the Globes along with comedian Andy Samberg.

ROMANS: There is just so much good TV and so many good movies out there. It’s like the golden age for American viewers, I think. All right. A whopper of a lawsuit in Oregon. Curtis Brooner is suing Burger King, claiming the fast-food chain revoked a store manager’s promise of free food for life after he was trapped inside a bathroom at a Portland area Burger King for more than an hour. The next two weeks, the 50-year-old Brooner ate for free at the restaurant until a district manager put the kibosh on the deal. Now his suit is seeking $9,026.16 in damages.

If you’re wondering about that specific figure, it’s the estimated cost of one Whopper meal per week for the next 22 years.

BRIGGS: Tack on the cost for a bypass at some point.

ROMANS: It’s good.

BRIGGS: A wildcard weekend presents a unique dilemma for football Hall of Famer and FOX NFL TV host Howie Long. His two sons, Chris and Kyle, go head-to-head Sunday when the Bears play the defending champ Eagles in Chicago. Chris Long a defensive end for the Eagles. Kyle Long an offensive lineman for the Bears. And to top it off, Sunday is Howie’s 59th birthday.

ROMANS: No way.

BRIGGS: So what’s a dad to do? Well, according to the NFL network, Chris who is three years older than Kyle is 2-0 going against his brother. What a weekend for the Long family.

ROMANS: That’s cool. That is really cool. Happy birthday. I guess you spend, you know, half the time on one sideline, half the time on the other?

BRIGGS: I guess. Howie is a great dude. He’ll figure it out.


BRIGGS: Smart guy.

ROMANS: All right. We’re just hours away from another White House meeting between President Trump and Democrats aimed at ending the government shutdown. The big question today, will either side budge?


(Byline: Dave Briggs, Christine Romans, Manu Raju, Sam Kiley, Nick Valencia)

(High: Both sides digging in with Democrats saying no wall funding while Vice President Mike Pence said no wall, no deal. Russia charged the ex-Marine with espionage. Police released surveillance video in the fatal gun attack that killed 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes.)

(Spec: Donald Trump; Nancy Pelosi; Mike Pence; Paul Whelan; Jazmine Barnes; Kevin Hart; Accidents; Arms Control; Asia; Awards; Backgrounders; Budget; Business; Children; Cities; Civil Rights; Computers; Congress; Crime; Death; Economy; Elections; Electronics; Entertainment; Espionage; Europe; Families; Government; Guns; Hostages and Kidnappings; Human Rights; Immigration; Internet; Justice; Lawsuits; Legislation; Media; Meetings; Murders; Nuclear Weapons; Peace; Police; Policies; Politics; Prisons; Profiles; Race Relations; Refugees; Safety; Stock Markets; Taxes; Trade; Travel; Treaties and Agreements; Trials; Violence; Weapons; World Affairs)

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