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Federal Court Blocks Travel Ban 2.0; GOP Health Bill in Trouble?; Trump Doubles Down; Assessing the Dutch Election Results; Rex Tillerson in Tokyo. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired March 16, 2017 - 04:30   ET



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to fight this terrible ruling. We're going to take our case as far as it needs to go, including all the way up to the Supreme Court.


[04:30:00] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, a defiant President Trump promising to push back after his new travel ban was blocked by a federal judge. How will the administration make its case?

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The White House sensing trouble with Republican health care plan. What's the president's saying as the House speaker acknowledges the bill will have to change to pass the house?

ROMANS: And President Trump doubling down on his claim he was wiretapped by President Obama, despite the House intel chairman offering a much different take.

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

BRIGGS: And I'm Dave Briggs.

Trump budget expected at 7:00 a.m. and some cuts across the board, State, the EPA, not good for them. You'll break that down for us?

ROMANS: Yes, we'll look at that in a minute.

BRIGGS: It is a shocker.

This morning, President Trump vowing to appeal a federal court order that blocked the 2.0 version of his travel ban. At a Tennessee rally, the president declaring he'll go all the way to the Supreme Court to overturn the order by Hawaii Federal Judge Derrick Watson. That order issued by Watson just hours before the ban was to take effect.

ROMANS: The Justice Department also slamming the order in a statement, saying it strongly disagrees with the federal district court's ruling which is flawed both in reasoning and in scope. Our senior White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny on the road with the

president has latest for us.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Dave, as the White House and the Justice Department begin crafting its legal strategy on what to do next in the wake of another federal judge putting a restraining order on the president's travel ban, President Trump minced no words Wednesday night in Nashville, at a campaign style rally. He aggressively went after that judge. He even expressed some regret about making changes from that first ban to the second ban. He called it a watering down.

Listen to what he said.

TRUMP: A judge has just blocked our executive order on travel and refugees coming into our country from certain countries. The order he blocked was a watered down version of the first order. That was also blocked by another judge and should have never been blocked to start with.

ZELENY: Now, at that fiery campaign style rally which was paid for and organized by his re-election campaign, not the White House, he went aggressively after the travel ban ruling, as well as on health care and other pieces of his agenda, almost trying to create that magic he had during the campaign.

But the realities of governing now so much different. The president sounded as though like he was still on the campaign trail from a year ago. But this latest judge's ruling makes it clear that governing is so much more difficult than campaigning -- Christine and Dave.


BRIGGS: He really enjoys the campaigning. Thank you, Jake.

So, why did the court's rule against the Trump administration's travel ban again? Well, in a 43-page ruling, the federal judge in Hawaii made it clear the new measure did not pass legal muster, citing several examples of Trump surrogates suggesting it was essentially a revamped Muslim ban.

Listen to presidential adviser Stephen Miller suggesting last month the plan will be implemented despite any legal setback.


STEPHEN MILLER, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Fundamentally, you're still going to have the same basic policy outcome for the country, but you're going to be responsive to a lot of very technical issues that were brought up by the court and those will be addressed. But in terms of protecting the country, those basic policies are still going to be in effect.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: All right. Late last night, in an unusual and unsolicited move, five Republican appointed judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals signed their legal support for the president's travel ban. The judges say, in part, "Whatever we as individuals may feel about the president or the executive order, the president's decision was well within the powers of the presidency."

The Ninth Circuit is the court that shut down the administration's position on the first travel ban. It would consider any appeal from the Justice Department of the Hawaii judge's ruling.

BRIGGS: So, how is the legal setback for President Trump's travel ban being received overseas?

CNN's Ian Lee tracking the latest developments live from Cairo. It's a very split decision here.

What is it like over there?

IAN LEE, CNN REPORTER: Good morning, Dave.

It really is a mixed bag of reactions in the Middle East. You have those countries who are targeted by it. Most of them have come out against the ban, including Iran who has implemented a quid pro quo, saying that Americans traveling won't be allowed in. They have had a few exceptions.

Iraq, though, was on that first travel ban. They aren't on the second one after some heavy lobbying by Baghdad. This is very important as U.S. troops are fighting along side Iraqi troops against ISIS.

Now, the rest of the region has been relatively quiet. We have not heard from some of the countries that usually come out when the U.S. makes a move like this, noticeably Turkey. But we did hear from the deputy crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman, who met with President Trump on Tuesday.

[04:35:04] He said that President Trump was a true friend of the Muslims.

But as far as individuals go, the people who are affected by it, there's a lot of confusion and a lot of anxiousness.

Yesterday, the U.S. embassy here in Cairo had a Facebook chat with people called "ask a consular officer". And a lot of those questions on their Facebook page were wandering what this ban means, especially for people who are from one of those six countries. At the time, the U.S. embassy said they frankly didn't know.

Well, we know this morning after that federal judge in Hawaii blocked that ban. At least for now, that is -- that is on hold.

BRIGGS: Thank you, Ian. Still a lot to learn as Washington and Maryland yet to rule.

Turning now to health care. The Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare may be in trouble. The chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, Mark Meadows, claiming he has the votes to kill the Republican health care bill. A CNN head count found 19 Republican votes against the measure or leaning no. It can lose 21.

Speaker Paul Ryan now refusing to commit to bringing the bill to the House floor next week.

ROMANS: Last night, President Trump telling Fox News that negotiations will be needed to keep Republicans unified behind the bill and that its trademark deal-making could save the day.

At his rally in Nashville, the president blamed Democrats for the bill's troubles.


TRUMP: Just remember this, if we submitted the Democrats' plan, drawn everything perfect for the Democrats, we wouldn't get one vote from the Democrats. That's the way it is. That's how much divisiveness and other things there are. So, it's a problem.


ROMANS: Today, the Republican health care bill heads to the House Budget Committee.

I want to bring in CNN's Sunlen Serfaty with the latest from Capitol Hill.


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Dave and Christine.

Well, the uphill climb the House bill is facing is getting steeper by the day. Here is where we are with the math of all this, which is extremely important. The House bill in its current form can only afford to lose 21 Republican votes. And according to CNN's latest whip count, already, 19 House Republicans have said no to it or that they are leaning that way.

Now, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan Wednesday evening, he would not commit to bringing the House bill to a full House vote next week. Instead, he largely deferred when he was asked about the schedule. He deferred to the majority leader, saying he is he one that sets the schedule here. And notably in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, Paul Ryan refused to say whether he believes this bill can pass in its current form right now.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We have consensus and we are fine-tuning our consensus, going to the goal line with our president to get this done. And then it goes over to the Senate and they start over over there.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: You have consensus. So, if it came up in the House this afternoon, it would pass? RYAN: Well, it's not coming up this afternoon. It's going through

the legislative process. That legislative process has not been finalized. That's -- so that's kind of -- no offense, kind of a goofy question or faulty premise. This goes to four committees, we've gone to two so far.

SERFATY: Now, the mechanics of what happens next will start moving along today. This morning, the House Budget Committee will start marking up their portion of the bill when and if it gets through that committee. Next stop is the Rules Committee. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan indicated that will happen likely early next week or at some point next week. And this is the committee that's very important because this is the committee where they would potentially make tweaks and changes that we are starting to hear about from White House aides and from the speaker himself.

So, very clear this is inching along very slowly on Capitol Hill. But very clear some changes of some magnitude will need to be made -- Dave and Christine.


ROMANS: All right. Sunlen, thank you for that.

The Trump administration is releasing what it's calling a hard power budget. Later this morning, expect deep cuts to government agencies and a boost to military spending. The State Department faces a 28 percent budget cut. This is according to the preview of the budget provided to us by administration officials. That includes a 38 percent cut to foreign aid.

Officials inside the EPA tell us they're expecting a cut of at least 25 percent. Budget Director Mick Mulvaney promises Department of Housing and Urban Development will be cut. He wants to eliminate programs. That's causing alarm among advocates for the poor, specifically people concerned about low income heating assistance and weather programs that literally keep people warm in the winter.

The National Endowment for the Arts could be wiped out. Funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is likely to be stripped. The cuts will create some room to spend big in other areas, most notably the Pentagon. The full budget is expected to be ready by May.

The budget is a president administration's wish list. It is almost -- it just shows you the priorities of who is in the White House and we will get that at 7:00 a.m.

BRIGGS: It's not being met with welcome arms on social media this morning.

ROMANS: Oh, no, no.

BRIGGS: But it wasn't by Marco Rubio either.

[04:40:01] When someone asked him about early reports. He said, we do the budget here, giving some initial pushback. ROMANS: Congress eventually does spend the money. There you go.

BRIGGS: Yes, yes.

President Trump, though, not backing away from his wiretapping claim. Hear what he said that contradicts the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.


ROMANS: All right. Big story in markets and money, folks. The Federal Reserve hiking interest rates for the third time in the past 15 months. Here is what it means for your money. Interest rates will tick higher, things like credit cards, auto loans. Mortgages will become more expensive. But savers, those of you who keep your money in the bank, you could see a bit of a benefit, as rock-bottom rates on saving accounts and CDs will move higher slowly.

If you're in the market to buy home, do not panic. The Fed doesn't set mortgage rates. Those are tied to the ten-year treasury bill. Those yields have been moving higher, though, in anticipation of this move than they actually dropped yesterday because the Fed signaled gradual increases ahead.

[04:45:04] Mortgage rates hit a 2017 high last week, the highest for the year -- 4.21 percent for a 30-year fixed rate loan. That still seems so low, doesn't it, Dave?


ROMANS: Most housing analysts though think rates will remain below 5 percent for the rest of the year.

It's a bigger deal to house hunters in more expensive areas, as they could be priced out as rates rise. For the average home buyer, the Fed's quarter point rate increase will cost $57 extra per month on a new loan. That assumes the national average price of around $235,000 for a home with a 20 percent down payment.

BRIGGS: With top Republicans turning on him, President Trump doubling down on his evidence-free claim he was wiretapped during the campaign by President Obama. Mr. Trump appearing on Fox News hours after the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee claimed his allegation wrong. The president insisting he has proof that he'll reveal by the end of the month.


TRUMP: I have been seeing a lot of things. Now, for the most part, I'm not going to discuss it because we have it before the committee and we will be submitting things before the committee very soon that hasn't been submitted as of yet. But it's potentially a very serious situation.

Wiretap covers a lot of things. I think you're going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks.


ROMANS: All right. Top Republicans aren't buying it. Listen to Devin Nunes, the head of the House Intelligence Committee, making it clear he considers the president's claims baseless.


REP. DEVIN NUNES (R), CALIFORNIA: That evidence still remains the same. We don't have any evidence that that took place. And, in fact, I don't believe just in the last week of time that the people I talked to, I don't think there was an actual tap of Trump Tower.


ROMANS: All right. Frustration with the Justice Department is building, even among Republicans. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary, accusing Justice Department officials of lying to lawmakers when they promised to share information about potential investigations involving Russia and the White House.

All right. Will another billionaire challenge President Trump in 2020? Mark Cuban, he's been rumored to be considering a run for the White House. Or at least we ask him every time we talk to him. So, is he in? Is he out? His answer when we get a check on CNN Money Stream, next.


[04:51:42] ROMANS: Welcome back.

Dutch voters appear to be steering clear of the so-called extremist trends running through Europe. While the votes of the parliamentary election are still being hand-counted, some decisions appear clear. The ruling party appears in line for a victory and says the Dutch people have voted against the populist movement which many there believe gave rise to Brexit and even Donald Trump here.

For more on the votes and what it could mean for Europe, let's bring in CNN's Hala Gorani. She is live for us in the Netherlands.

You make such a good point, Hala, that this is a little country of 18 million people, but it really is a symbol of what's been happening in so many democracies around the world.

HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Yes, this is the case where the status quo, Christine, is actually big news. The D-66 party that is very pro-European came in among the top three or four parties in the country. The party of the incumbent Prime Minister Mark Rutte, even though it lost seats compared to the election of 2012 is the biggest party in the country.

And European leaders, Christine, across the continent were so delighted when the exit polls came out. The French foreign minister and the Italian foreign minister, Angela Merkel through a spokesperson, all expressing absolute relief that this was the result in the Netherlands, because as you mentioned, this is the first big test in Europe after the election of Donald Trump, after the shock results of Brexit in the United Kingdom.

Coming up in the next few weeks is an extremely significant election, and that is the election in France, where Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far right party in that country is pulling ahead of some of the establishment parties. France is a bigger country. What happens there will impact the entirety of Europe and she has made no secret of the fact, she is extremely against the idea of the European Union and would push the referendum for France to exit the E.U.

France is a founding member of E.U. A victory for someone like Marine Le Pen would essentially mean the end of the European as we know it. Has the Netherlands stopped the populist wave? We'll know in a few weeks. But what's for sure is that Geert Wilders, the far right leader, did not do as well as expected, and many in Europe are relieved about that, Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Thank you so much for that, Hala Gorani. And indeed, that French election coming up will be a nail biter. Thanks.

BRIGGS: And they call Le Pen the female Trump.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in Japan this morning, his first Asian trip as the country's top diplomat. This trip comes at a pivotal time with the relations with the Far East. South Korea is dealing with turmoil, North Korea's missile launches, have China trying to play a larger role.

CNN international correspondent Will Ripley, good morning to you, sir.

Now, this is a major trip, though. He has been very under the radar, Rex Tillerson, at this point. What is he saying?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Dave, he certainly has been under the radar, even at his first press conference as secretary of state, there were certain questions that he just didn't even answer. He's actually in the building behind me right now. We just saw his motorcade moved in a matter of minutes ago. He is having a working dinner with his Japanese counterparts and we expect that they are talking about this new approach that the Trump administration says it will be taking in regard to North Korea's nuclear and missile development.

But what we have not been able to get is specifics about this new approach, even when asked directly about them.

[04:55:00] Secretary Tillerson did issue a really scathing indictment of diplomatic policy over the last 20 years or so in regards to North Korea. That would include President Obama, the second President Bush, President Clinton. He said during that time, even though more than $1 billion of U.S. food and energy assistance went into North Korea, the country has only accelerated its development of nuclear warheads and missiles, that with their end game, of course, those missiles eventually being able to reach the mainland United States.

But what we don't know yet, will this new approach involve going from a regional approach involving Japan and South Korea to a more global approach as some in the State Department have been telling CNN? That would be very similar to the Iran model, if you will, which candidate Trump blasted quite a bit on the campaign trail.

Also, no clarification if the U.S. intends to sanction Chinese companies that do business with North Korea. There was talk leaked to CNN from the State Department about that. Secretary Tillerson not addressing any of that, but we do know he moves on to Seoul tomorrow and then Beijing where these discussions will take place.

And one thing is certainly clear, Dave, what has happened so far regarding North Korea just hasn't slowed their weapons progress at all.

BRIGGS: Will Ripley, thank you. Of course, the back drop of all of that, a projected 29 percent cut to the State Department. We appreciate it, Will.

Elsewhere, the deep freeze in the East extending down to Florida with possible record lows this morning.

Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has the forecast.


PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Dave and Christine.

About 50 million people across 14 states dealing with freeze warnings this morning, coming out of much of the south in particular with temps unseasonably cold and you work your way towards the north, some winter weather advisories left in place. And this is from our departing disturbance, some lake enhanced snow showers could come down across this region, and also, some scattered snow showers back out towards northern New England.

But the storm system, there it is, as it pulls away. The cold air has firmly settled in place. Back out towards the west, to mid 90s in the forecast in places like Phoenix, affecting Death Valley in California, could get close to 100 degrees the next couple days.

But there's what's going on across the south. Look at those wind chills, down to 23 in Atlanta, down to 27 in Jacksonville this morning, even Orlando to lower 40s, what it feels like outside and about 19 record temperatures could be set later on into this morning with these temps across this area.

How about the forecast trend? Well, the warming one for the South. It takes up to 67, Washington makes it up to 60. New York City warms up, but very little and even into early next week, guys, I don't like saying this, but you look at the forecast. It doesn't warm up beyond 45. It wants to cool off into the middle of next week -- guys.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ROMANS: All right. Pedram, thank you for that.

Let's get a check on CNN Money Stream this morning.

The stock market rally back on track, thanks to the Federal Reserve. Stock futures pointing solidly higher this morning after the Fed hiked interest rates and signaled more to come.

Stock markets in Europe and Asia are rising. Higher rates will boost bank profits. But those stocks are not the best performers in the Dow this year.

Apple is the biggest gainer. Look at this -- more than 20 percent this year. Strong iPhone sales. Visa and Boeing also among the best performers. But the most surprising stock so far is Nike, new shoe lines and better performance against rival Under Armour have that stock running strong.

BRIGGS: Running strong. You are clever.

ROMANS: Yes. Billionaire Mark Cuban -- I can't take credit for that.

Billionaire Mark Cuban has been a tough critic of President Trump. He said the president is a poor leader and blasted his communication skills. He says the recent leaks out of the White House are evidence of those defects in this president. Cuban also supported Hillary Clinton during the election.

So, how does he feel about potentially running against the president in the next election? Here's what he told Jake Tapper.


TAPPER: Cuban 2020, is that a possibility?

MARK CUBAN, BILLIONAIRE ENTERPRENEUR: I mean, I don't want to say no, but it is not my dream to be president of the United States. I mean, would I like to have influence? I love helping entrepreneurs. I love helping create jobs. I like helping to spur industry. And I'm good at that.

If I can continue to do that, I'm happy. But if I think there is a need -- because I think one other significant issue right now, he's technologically illiterate. And we are about to go into a period with a machine intelligence, artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning and those things, where we literally are going to see a change in the nature of employment. And these companies he is building factories with --


CUBAN: -- don't pay attention to the number of jobs he's saying for the factories. Pay attention to the number of jobs there are in those companies two and three years out. I guarantee you, they're going to be 30 and 40 percent lower.


ROMANS: Yes, he is not only sort of tech expert to say the president is focusing on the wrong way to create jobs. Cuban made his money with technology startups and still active in that space today. You know, Jake asked him, he said, look, there are a lot of people in business who now think maybe if President Trump can be president, why shouldn't they be running? So, maybe we'll see a new kind of crop of candidates.

BRIGGS: What a fascinating debate that would be in 2020, folks.


BRIGGS: EARLY START continues right now.


TRUMP: We're going to fight this terrible ruling. We're going to take our case as far as it needs to go, including all the way up to the Supreme Court.


ROMANS: This morning, President Trump promising to push back after his new travel ban was blocked by a federal judge. How will the administration make its case?