Return to Transcripts main page

EARLY START

Trump Pulls Out Of TPP; Automakers Set For WH Meeting; Trump Hosts Congressional Leaders; President Warns Of Border Tax; WH Press Secretary Explains Weekend Statement. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired January 24, 2017 - 05:30   ET

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


[05:30:00] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Facing questions, lots and lots of questions, in the den of alternative facts, the new White House press secretary faces his first questions in the briefing room. He was up there a long time.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN HO ANCHOR ST: Ninety minutes. To his credit, 90 minutes.

ROMANS: Ninety minutes answering questions from reporters.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. Thirty minutes past the hour right now and this morning you really do get the sense that things are going to be different. Clearly, the big three U.S. automakers do. That is why they are rushing to the White House for a meeting with the president this morning.

He lectured other business leaders in the Oval Office about keeping jobs in the United States. "Add Jobs or Else," "The New York Times" says. He also signed an executive order pulling the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. That's one of President Obama's key economic initiatives, although it was pretty much dead already without congressional approval. President Trump says he wants to renegotiate NAFTA as well.

The president's tough positions on trade, they brought him a complicated mix of praise and scorn from a complicated mix of sources. This was Bernie Sanders.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: It's one thing to kill the TPP, which is a positive step in my view. It's another thing to develop a trade policy which finally works for American workers and not the CEOs of large multi-national corporations. And if Mr. Trump is serious about moving in that direction, I would be delighted to work with him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: So, Sen. Sanders, a liberal -- a socialist -- says he likes the president's stance on some trade issues, but some trade-friendly Republicans, including Sen. John McCain, not so much. Senator McCain says, "It will create an opening for China to rewrite the economic rules of the road at the expense of American workers."

ROMANS: And, in fact, Chinese officials this morning are saying they are ready to take a lead role in global trade. With trade very much at the forefront, Detroit is coming to Washington today. The CEOs of General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler will meet with President Trump this morning. Foreign automakers were not invited.

Ford CEO Mark Fields was at another White House meeting yesterday. He left, he says, feeling good about the future.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK FIELDS, CEO, FORD: Walking out of the meeting today I know I come out with a lot confidence that the president is very, very serious on making sure that the United States economy is going to be strong and have policies, and tax regulatory or trade to drive that. And I think that encourages all of us as CEOs as we make decisions going forward, so it was a very, very positive meeting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: The rainmakers at the White House, literally, right? You like that? That was a good one.

ROMANS: Yes. No, but there was some -- I mean, big names there. Lockheed Martin's CEO was there. Elon Musk there of Tesla was there. A lot of folks there, you know, summoned to the White House to talk to the president. And you're right, "The New York Times" headline is "Create Jobs or Else."

Now, the CEOs of these automakers are in a tricky spot. The president wants to hear how the industry can create more U.S. jobs, but the automakers just wrapped up the best two sales years ever and analysts -- Wall Street analysts tells us they expect revenue for the automakers to slow this year. So adding workers in a slowly revenue environment, plus all three have increased employment by about 50 percent since the lows of the recession.

Now, the president says he is committed to creating jobs and he certainly seems to be committed to created controversy. Sources tell CNN that in a meeting with Congressional leaders, for some reason the president repeated his unsubstantiated, unproven, not true claim that the reason he trailed in the popular vote was that three to five million people voted illegally. House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer says the president also brought up the size of the crowds at his inauguration. Crowd sizes again.

But sources tell CNN the meeting as a whole -- you know, as a whole -- was more of an icebreaker than a policy discussion and those conspiracy theories were a -- the crowd size things were just a very small part of it. Some of the top Republicans there described it as about building relationships. They said it was pretty lighthearted with a brief discussion about Obamacare and infrastructure spending.

BERMAN: You see Chuck Schumer there, the Senate Minority Leader, talking to Donald Trump. Some Republicans were joking after the meeting that it was basically two New Yorkers, the president and the minority leader, exchanging stories about people they knew in New York. They seemed to be getting along. Paul Ryan was sitting there just, you know, smiling like hi, I'm here and Sen. Schumer was the one talking.

ROMANS: I wonder if Sen. Schumer knows Tom Brady? Maybe they were talking about Tom Brady, who knows.

BERMAN: It's always a good subject to talk about -- an attractive subject, as I like to say.

ROMANS: Oh, my.

BERMAN: All right. Despite the president wading into some controversial waters, and by thatI mean making up things about three to five million people voting illegally, Republicans inside and outside the White House, they're saying they think the administration is back on track after what happened this weekend. The Republicans say spokesman Sean Spicer struck the right tone and that the president, himself, looked presidential. Our senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta has the very latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: John and Christine, later this morning President Trump will be sitting down with executives from American car companies to talk jobs. Yesterday, he went right to work chipping away at former President Obama's agenda. He signed executive actions withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans- Pacific trade deal and he banned federal funding for promoting abortions overseas, as well as ordering a freeze on hiring any new federal workers, though he added the caveat that the freeze did not apply to military personal.

The president also warned U.S. business leaders they'll be facing what he's calling a border tax on their products if they ship their operations overseas.

[05:35:03] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A company that wants to fire all of its people in the United States and build some factory someplace else, and then thinks that that product is going to just flow across the border into the United States, that's not going to happen. They're going to have a tax to pay -- a border tax. A substantial border tax.

ACOSTA: Meanwhile, the new White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was doing some damage control after he and the president railed against the news media over their coverage of the size of the crowd at Mr. Trump's inauguration on Saturday. Spicer got some of his facts wrong in asserting that the president's inaugural had the biggest attendance ever, which was not the case. Spicer said it's not his intent to lie to the press but he also complained that the media's coverage of the inauguration was too negative. Here's what he had to say.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I -- look, I've been doing this a long time. You've been doing this, too. I've never seen it like this. It's a little demoralizing because when you're sitting there and you're looking out and you're in awe of just how awesome that view is and how many people are there, and you go back and you turn on the television and you see shots of comparing this and that. And it's frustrating for not just him, but I think so many of us that are trying to work to get this message out.

ACOSTA: And, Spicer signaled a shift on immigration, indicating to reporters that young, undocumented people in this country, the so- called dreamers, will not be prioritized for deportation -- John and Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right. Jim Acosta at the White House. Thanks, Jim. The president is set to meet today with his new CIA director, Mike Pompeo. The now former Kansas congressman was sworn in last night by Vice President Pence soon after he won confirmation by the Senate. Another key Trump nominee, Rex Tillerson, narrowly cleared a major hurdle. He will become the nation's top diplomat. He passed a committee vote after Sen. Marco Rubio threw his support behind Tillerson.

Joining us now to discuss Trump's first very busy day in office, political analyst and best-selling author Ellis Henican. Good morning.

ELLIS HENICAN, POLITICAL ANALYST, BEST-SELLING AUTHOR: Good morning, guys.

ROMANS: Let's talk first about the president yesterday -- six meetings. He had a big meeting with these -- with these business leaders and he said look, we're going to make things here, really fulfilling, I think what he said in the inauguration -- in his inaugural address that we're going to buy American, we're going to hire American.

And these -- I'm telling, you, these CEOs they're listening to him because he is going to punish them if they don't. He's going to put 35 percent tariffs on things. Let's listen to the president say what his trade stance is and basically tell these companies you're going to -- you're going to hire more people here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We think we can cut regulations by 75 percent, maybe more. The one thing that surprised me going around and meeting with a lot of the people at this table and meeting with a lot of the small business owners, if I gave them a choice of this massive tax decrease that we're giving for business -- for everybody, but for business -- or the cutting down of regulation -- if I took a vote I think the regulation wins 100 percent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: So he said we want to make our products here. You're going to start making your products here and then he said and this is what you're going to get in return. This is the dealmaker and this is first week where he's really going to try to remake America's relationship with trade.

HENICAN: Well, and part of leadership, and I think this applies in politics as well as business, is establishing clear principles, right -- saying them, sticking to them. And, you know, even if some of the details later may be a little complicated, just putting down that marker and banging your fist on the table, there's something potent about that.

BERMAN: And that marker was those meetings yesterday -- the meetings this morning with the big three automakers. The meetings we didn't even talk about with union leaders yesterday. You know, construction unions who were very excited about the idea of huge infrastructure spending. He is meeting with people and it's more than just a show.

HENICAN: No doubt, and one of the interesting pieces of it is that it has the potential, at least, of creating coalitions that are different from the usual ones, not the normal right-left thing. We had Bernie Sanders a moment ago, you know, praising the president on the Pacific Partnership.

BERMAN: Tepid praise but, yes, praise.

HENICAN: Well, but no -- I mean, from Bernie to Trump, that's almost bowing down.

ROMANS: But, Bernie Sanders is saying OK, now what are you going to do with trade, because that's going to be the important thing here. And the president and the president's team will have to do bilateral deals. They dropped -- you know, they pulled out of the TPP, they're going to have to do bilateral deals. They want to renegotiate NAFTA. Obviously, Canada and Mexico don't want to give up any edge that they may have and they have their own complaints about NAFTA, so there's a lot of work that begins here.

HENICAN: No, no -- and don't forget, by the way, that a lot of traditional Republicans are really free traders, right, and it's Democrat -- union-supported Democrats who are the ones who like those tariffs in past years.

BERMAN: There were free traders. We'll see if Paul Ryan and the others still are.

HENICAN: I think that's a really good question.

BERMAN: I want to do some chalk talk on a picture from yesterday with you, Ellis, if we can.

HENICAN: OK.

BERMAN: This was the picture I want to show you from the Oval Office when the president signed one of his executive orders. This one was -- it's called the Mexico City Rule and it has to do with abortion.

HENICANS: Abortion, right. BERMAN: It takes U.S. funds away from groups that receive funds for abortions from other countries. It's complicated but, you know, this is seen as, you know, an anti-abortion measure or an anti-choice measure, whereas usually Democratic presidents sign the opposite.

HENICAN: Right.

[05:40:04] BERMAN: But look at the picture right now. What you see there in this picture when he's signing something about abortion is the president surrounded by a lot of men.

HENICAN: Yes.

BERMAN: Only men.

HENICAN: Yes, yes. I mean, diversity has not yet been the hallmark of this administration and an issue like abortion highlights that maybe more than trade or immigration or other issues.

BERMAN: He's also surrounded by -- it just shows how powerful, you know, Jared Kushner is. There's no question Jared Kushner, right there in front of him.

ROMANS: That's my second thought, is you've got Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner and we're told that they were in every one of those meetings yesterday, you know, as folks look to see who's going to be, you know, holding the levers of power behind the scenes with the president.

HENICAN: And the panned of Steve Bannon, I think, over the past weekend very strong. I mean, from the inaugural speech to some of the tone over the weekend, certainly -- it may be Donald Trump at the center of it but if there are aides who are urging him on and aides who are pulling him back, I think the urgers have won -- the weekend, at least.

BERMAN: Ellis Henican, always great to have you with us bright and early.

HENICAN: Fun seeing you guys.

BERMAN: Thanks so much for being here. I want to show you come pretty scary pictures from the State House in Minnesota. We're going to show you after the break. The governor of that state collapsing as he delivered the State of the State address. The latest on his condition, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:45:20] BERMAN: Some frightening moments during last night's State of the State address delivered by Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton. The governor was talking about the Affordable Care Act in his state when he suddenly began slurring his words.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. MARK DAYTON (D), MINNESOTA: But despite the cost (collapses).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get him to the ground. Get him to the ground, please.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: That's really tough to see. Now, no cause for this fainting spell was given but the governor's chief of staff said the event was hot and crowded and that the governor was checked by EMTs, then allowed to go home. He does plan to present his budget later this morning as scheduled. Local reporters have noted that he was joking with the EMTs and he's at home with his, you know, grandkids and children and said to be doing fine now. But, obviously, something like happens and it's cause for concern.

ROMANS: All right, 46 minutes past the hour. Let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY". Chris Cuomo joins us this morning. Good morning, Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": And, hopefully, he goes and gets all the rest of the tests that he should

ROMANS: Yes.

CUOMO: Sometimes situations like that are sneaky. Good morning to you, Christine. You look great this morning.

ROMANS: Thank you.

CUOMO: John -- so, President Trump repeating the false claim that fraud cost him the popular vote. We're not going to spend a lot of time on this. There is no proof of any fraud of any scale approaching what the president put out there. Why he did it, what it means, we'll leave that to you to play with.

There's some big policy moves that have gone on and it's showing the direction that the country could take. We saw the rejection of the mortgage insurance fee rollback for first-time homebuyers. What does that say about the new president's dedication to the working class?

And then, his signature achievement, so far, is removing the United States from TPP. Yes, delivered on the campaign promise but now, what does that mean? You have all of these critics saying that the President of the United States just gave China trade rights in all of south -- that southeastern region of Asia, so we're going to talk about that.

Also, Mike Flynn and a Russian ambassador are now under investigation. Why, we'll tell you.

ROMANS: All right. You know, on the TPP, I've got to tell you, Chris. I mean, the Chinese authorities, even today, are saying we are glad to take the role of leader in global trade. We will take that role gladly. And so they've already been working on a big deal in that region, a deal that doesn't have the worker protections, the environmental protections, of course, that the U.S. deal did. So now the White House is going to have to do these bilateral deals one at a time and hope that, you know -- as they say, they'll get a better deal separately than altogether.

CUOMO: We'll see. I mean, you understand the metrics much better. We're going to get into it today.

ROMANS: All right.

CUOMO: Appreciate your help.

ROMANS: Yes, all right. See you soon. You look great today, Chris.

CUOMO: Thank you. Do you like my tie?

ROMANS: I do. It looks nice.

CUOMO: My fleshy arms?

ROMANS: I knew -- I knew you'd --

BERMAN: He can't give it up.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: I've been thinking about it ever since you said it. Ever since, I got my little colored weights last night and did all my Jane Fonda exercises. I'll get you, Berman.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks, Chris. Talk to you soon. Yahoo says its deal with Verizon is delayed and a rival wireless carrier is making a big deal of its own. We'll get a check on CNN Money Stream next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:52:40] BERMAN: Breaking news overnight. The United Kingdom Supreme Court ruled that the British Parliament must vote before the government can begin the Brexit process. This decision throws the United Kingdom's exit from the E.U. into some chaos this morning. Let's get the -- exactly what's going on here from CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson. Nic, what do you know about this decision and what exactly does it mean?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, John, I mean, it's not what the British Prime Minister Theresa May wanted. It's not as bad as it could have been. Eight out of the three judges in the Supreme Court said that she must go to Parliament and put her plans for Brexit before Parliament to get them to vote on it, rather than just push through the plans by herself. So this is a little bit of a setback. It's not -- it's not completely unexpected. This is the way the Supreme Court had sort of indicated they might vote.

The worse scenario would have been where Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland -- and Scotland, of course, voted to remain part of the European Union -- could have had essentially veto power. But what it does do for her, it means that she's going to try to put through a bulletproof bill to Parliament that can get passed very quickly. But it does mean that some Parliamentarians will try and attach amendments to it and those amendments will sort of cut at some of the -- some of the ways that she wants to go into this negotiation.

She has said we don't want to give away how we're going into negotiation. That doesn't help us going into a negotiation. So we're already beginning to hear from the opposition that they will do that, however, no one is expecting this to stop Theresa May being able to trigger Article 50 and then getting to those exit negotiation talks, John.

BERMAN: You know, every executive wants to have free range and negotiate the way he or she chooses, and not to be tied down by legislation. That may not happen this time. Nic Robertson outside 10 Downing Street, thanks so much.

ROMANS: All right. New information this morning about recent U.S. airstrikes that killed more than 80 ISIS fighters in Libya. Sources tell CNN terrorists linked to the Berlin Christmas market attack were believed to be inside ISIS camps bombed by the U.S. last week. On December 19th, Tunisian extremist Anis Amri drove a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin killing 12 people. It is unclear right now exactly how the terrorists in Libya helped Amri with that truck attack.

BERMAN: As President Trump gets set to meet with the British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday, we are learning that a missile test involving Britain's Trident nuclear deterrent system failed last year. A U.S. official says the test took place in June of last year in an area used for the test by the United States and U.K., off of Florida's coast.

[05:55:14] The missile apparently veered toward the U.S. but diverted into the ocean. It did not have any kind of nuclear warhead on it. British -- the British Parliament is unaware of the failure -- or was unaware of the failure but renewed the Trident program a month later. So far, the British prime minister has refused to comment.

(Video playing) California Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency after dangerous weather hit his state --

ROMANS: Wow, look at that.

BERMAN: -- causing tens of millions of dollars in damage. Those are stunning pictures there. You can see the mud flows -- a whole bunch of erosion, as well. At least 50 counties, they were hit very hard by the storms. Four weather-related deaths were reported there.

And in the southeastern United States at least 19 people are dead following an outbreak of tornados. Georgia hit very hard. You can see these neighborhoods in that state just ripped to shreds. These tornados killed more people in one weekend than in the United States all of last year. Several people are still unaccounted for.

ROMANS: All right, let's get a check on CNN Money Stream this Tuesday morning. U.S. automakers head to Washington to meet with President Trump a day after he pulled out of a major trade deal and threatened American companies -- hey, create jobs here or else.

Unease keeping a lid on stocks. The Dow inching slightly higher -- Dow futures, at least. Corporate earnings out today could move that stock market average. Stock markets in Europe are rising following the Supreme Court decision in the U.K. Shares in Asia closing mostly higher overnight. Oil is up.

Yahoo says its sale to Verizon is now delayed. It needs more time to close the deal. Shares are up in pre-market trading, John, because the deal hasn't fallen apart. Many had worried that it was all but done. Reports last year claimed Verizon was seeking a deep discount due to major hacks at Yahoo.

Another mobile carrier is making a deal of its own. Sprint is buying 33 percent of the streaming service Tidal. That's the one founded by Jay Z. The partnership will give Sprint customers access to the app's exclusive music content. A source familiar with the deal says Sprint paid around $200 million for that stake in Tidal. It will also contribute $75 million to a marketing fund for artists.

President Trump signing an executive order freezing the federal government from hiring new workers. Press Secretary Sean Spicer says there's been a dramatic expansion of the federal workforce in recent years. Here's what that workforce looks like. There are 2.8 million federal government employees right now. Over the past four years the sector has added about 78,000 positions, so that's an increase of three percent. Spicer says the freeze prevents filling vacant positions and creating new ones, except to meet national or public security responsibilities. It does not apply to the military.

BERMAN: Let me ask you a quick question about today --

ROMANS: Sure.

BERMAN: -- chief business correspondent Christine Romans.

ROMANS: Yes.

BERMAN: The big three automakers going to the White House -- we've got about 30 seconds left -- but not going to the White House, you know, automakers from other countries, including Japan and Germany --

ROMANS: Right.

BERMAN: -- who actually manufacture a lot of cars that are exported --

ROMANS: They do.

BERMANS: -- from the United States.

ROMANS: The biggest exporter of cars in the U.S. happens to be, I think, BMW, a foreign automaker. And I think 40 percent of the cars exported from the U.S. are made by foreign automakers. They employ like 100,000 workers. They are excluded from this meeting. This is the big three automakers. Although, to show you how complicated it is, you know, Chrysler is owned by an Italian company --

BERMAN: Ah.

ROMANS: -- so it just shows you kind of how complicated the whole globalized world is.

BERMAN: Blurred lines, as Robin Thicke once said.

ROMANS: Thanks for joining us.

BERMAN: As that great economist Robin Thicke once said.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. "NEW DAY" starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SPICER: Our intention is never to lie to you.

ACOSTA: The new president said he would have won the popular vote had it not been for these millions of illegal votes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is something that is just not true.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: It's just remarkable what got done in the first day.

TRUMP: We're going to have plenty of trade but TPP wasn't the right way.

SANDERS: If Mr. Trump is serious about moving in that direction I would be delighted to work with him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: U.S. investigators are scrutinizing calls between Mike Flynn and Russia's ambassador to the United States.

SPICER: I asked Gen. Flynn whether or not there were any other conversationsbeyond the ambassador and he said no.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The confirmation of Mike Pompeo to the CIA is confirmed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CUOMO: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is your NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, January 24th, 6:00 here in New York. And up first, the President of the United States once again falsely claims that widespread voter fraud cost him the popular vote during a meeting with top congressional leaders. He offers no proof. There is no proof of that scale. And, once again, the president distracts from his own actions, advancing his policy agenda. ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump delivering on a key campaign promise, signing an executive order to withdraw the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific trade deal. This, as the president's CIA director gets confirmed and several cabinet nominees face more questions today.

We're entering day five of the Trump administration and we have it all covered for you, so let's begin with Athena Jones. She's live at the White House. What's the latest, Athena?

ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn. This is pretty remarkable.