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Senate Intel Committee's Bipartisan Plan On Russia Hearings; Protecting Your Internet Privacy; Judge Blocks Trump Travel Ban Indefinitely. Aired 5:30-6a ET
Aired March 30, 2017 - 05:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[05:30:55] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The Senate Intelligence Committee holding its first public hearing on Russia today as questions linger about the House Intelligence investigation and whether Chairman Nunes should step down.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump's revised travel ban dealt another blow. A Hawaiian federal judge imposing an indefinite suspension of that ban.
BRIGGS: Ivanka Trump officially joining the White House as an assistant to the president as big questions about conflicts of interest continue to haunt the administration.
Welcome back to EARLY START, everybody. I'm Dave Briggs.
ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is Thursday morning, bright and early, 31 minutes past the hour. And this morning, the Senate Intelligence Committee holds its first public hearing on Russian meddling in U.S. elections. Republican Intel Chairman Richard Burr and the top Democrat on the committee, Mark Warner -- they're vowing an impartial bipartisan investigation --
BRIGGS: Who'd have thought?
ROMANS: -- in Washington, D.C. Burr and Warner laying out their plans side-by-side at a news conference. They say there are 20 witnesses on their list, starting today with cybersecurity experts and focusing on alleged Russian efforts to spread disinformation -- to spread fake news during the campaign. Take a listen to Senate Republican Intel Chairman Richard Burr.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RICHARD BURR (R), NORTH CAROLINA: It would be crazy to try to draw conclusions from where we are in the investigation. I think Mark and I have committed to let this process go through before we form any opinions, and I would hope that that's what you would like us to do. And as much as we'd like to share minute-by-minute, even the snapshots we get as a team going through it, are not always accurate when we find the next piece of intelligence.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BRIGGS: The Senate's plans stand in stark contrast to the deepening stalemate on the House side. Ranking Intel Committee Democratic Adam Schiff says he'll meet today with Chairman Nunes. This, days after Schiff called on Nunes to recuse himself amid growing accusations of possible collusion between Nunes and the White House. Here is Congressman Schiff on CNN yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: The chairman is going to have to find a way to lift this cloud, otherwise, we're going to need someone else to preside over this. I think we really do need someone else to preside over this if we're going to do this credibly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: All right. Helping us break down the very latest from the Capitol this morning, "CNN POLITICS" reporter Tal Kopan, live in our Washington Bureau. And there's so much drama surrounding all of this on day 70 of this administration and I want to just listen to a little bit from that Wednesday press conference of this -- Senate Intel leaders here of this investigation and just the difference -- the difference fromwhat we're seeing in the House -- listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA: Some of the techniques that Russia used in this election, as we find more and more, I think, would send a chill down anyone who believes in the democratic process in this country or around the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: That was Sen. Warner. Also in that press conference you heard the two of them talking about how their job on the Intel Committee and as senators overshadows their loyalties. I mean, it was a rare moment of bipartisanship.
TAL KOPAN, REPORTER, "CNN POLITICS": Yes, absolutely. And, you know, the Intelligence Committees in both chambers have a tradition of being fairly bipartisan, you know. It's certainly one of the most important committees and, you know, you have to jump through some hoops. You have to get security clearance -- you have to take that very seriously. The lawmakers who serve on those committees really view it as an important responsibility and so it's not entirely surprising given that backdrop that you have an effort here to really show bipartisanship.
But, you know, at this moment in time it's really in everyone's interest to have an investigation into this. It looks completely aboveboard but is unimpeachable because, you know, if findings actually come out of this, even if the findings are no wrongdoing, everyone's going to want those findings to be believed. And so, you know, especially with what's happening in the House, the pressure's really on the Senate Intelligence Committee to appear at that aboveboard investigation. [05:35:00] BRIGGS: And that's keyword, isn't it -- appear? Bipartisanship is an appearance for about two days until Neil Gorsuch hearings. The confirmation begins next week. That will blow bipartisanship out of the water. You mentioned the House. There appears to be two different directions they can go and one is the president reaching out to Democrats instead of that House Freedom Caucus. The other is getting everyone on the same page.
Paul Ryan talked to Nora O'Donnell and here's what he says to her in an interview that will air later this morning. "What I worry about is that we don't do this then he'll just go work with Democrats" -- he, being the president -- "and try to change Obamacare and that's hardly a conservative thing. This is a can-do president who's a business guy and wants to get things done."
He goes on and this is in stark contrast to what you'll read in "The Wall Street Journal" this morning, an op-ed by Daniel Henninger, talking about the House "Un-Freedom Caucus," in his words. "The Freedom Caucus whose leaders are safe districts opened a Pandora's box that pushed these Republicans into impossible vulnerability on the health care bill. Now Democrats will exploit this vulnerability on every issue before the House." There you go -- the reading "Un- Freedom Caucus."
BRIGGS: Which direction will the House take, in your opinion? Does the president reach out to Democrats or can they get everyone on the same page?
KOPAN: Well, what was fascinating to me about that Paul Ryan statement is that it kind of betrays how he feels about the president a little bit. Like, to me, it seemed it was odd that he would say, you know, unless we come together who knows what President Trump is going to do. But I think that's also very telling, right? Trump has come into office as, you know, this reputation of not being a traditional politician, of wanting to get things done. And so, to a certain extent, Paul Ryan's right, you know. If Trump is going to see an opportunity to move his agenda forward he may decide to take.
But, you know, keep in mind, every individual lawmaker in the House makes the decision based on their district --
KOPAN: -- and that "Un-Freedom Caucus," you know, op-ed is correct. Many of these members are in very safe districts and feel like they are actually representing what their constituents want, as do the moderates, and it's causing a bit of a stalemate. So we'll see if a center coalition emerges or if the Republican Party can come together and put aside their differences.
ROMANS: It's an interesting notion, the president reaching out to Democrats to try to get -- he's got an agenda he wants to get done.
BRIGGS: Can he? ROMANS: He wants to get tax reform done and he's got to have some wins here.
KOPAN: And he wants a win.
ROMANS: He wants to win and tax reform is something -- even President Obama had tax reform in his, you know -- on the drawing board, cutting corporate taxes. I mean, they were -- Democrats were for --
ROMANS: -- cutting corporate taxes if they can show how it creates jobs. The other part of the tax reform debate that I think that's so interesting is tying it to infrastructure. If they can do that, somehow, together, that would be a huge win. So how much -- I guess my question to you is how raw are the feelings right now after the health care debacle, and does that hold the Republicans back and push the president into the arms of some Democrats?
KOPAN: Well, I think the feelings are really raw but, at the same time, this isn't Congress' first rodeo, right? You know, they've done this many times and there are plenty of times that emotions have gotten high and people have been very frustration with each other, but they also know how to move on to the next fight.
You know, one thing tax reform would have going for it in this regard is that it needs a lot of time to develop, you know. People are talking about this like it's sort of the next thing that they can turn to, you know, despite the optimism. This is going to take months of work because you're building something from scratch and something that, as you described, is not easy and many presidents before have failed to fully pull off.
KOPAN: And so, you know, depending on how the process builds we're not going to have a vote tomorrow. And so, it is an opportunity for lawmakers to sort of lick their wounds, come back together, and figure out from a policy standpoint what they want to do in this regard.
ROMANS: I know.
BRIGGS: Perhaps the biggest question is will Democrats work with President Trump on anything? Chuck Schumer's posturing does not indicate that's a likelihood.
ROMANS: But he showed up for dinner this week.
BRIGGS: Yes. Well, yes.
ROMANS: He did show up for dinner.
BRIGGS: Do you think they'll work with him on anything?
KOPAN: I mean, that's a really important question, Dave, and it's not entirely clear, you know. I was talking about Republican lawmakers playing to their base. Let's not forget the Democrats base here, and the progressive base has been very unforgiving on Democrats and pushing them to the left in a lot of ways, you know. We may have seen a Gorsuch nomination fly through in past Congresses but I think Democrats really feel like they need to deny Trump a win as much as Trump wants a win. And so, you have those sort of competing factors, you know.
KOPAN: If they actually get a $1 trillion --
KOPAN: -- infrastructure package dangled in front of them or perhaps, you know, some sort of immigration compromise to pay for border wall funding. I'm not really sure what they do, but they're going to look to their progressive base and if the progressive base says no deal, it's going to be very hard for some of these lawmakers --
[05:40:00] BRIGGS: Yes.
KOPAN: -- to feel like they can actually make one.
BRIGGS: It certainly appears what they're doing --
BRIGGS: -- with Gorsuch.
ROMANS: It will be interesting to see if there's any change in presidential leadership or a course correction of what he learned from a negotiation with health care, you know. This guy's a dealmaker. He might find --
ROMANS: He might have -- that might have been such a learning experience, who knows? All right, Tal, nice to see you this morning, bright and early. Talk to you soon.
KOPAN: Thank you both.
ROMANS: Growing outrage this morning over the repeal of internet privacy protections that were set to go into effect later this year. They were repealed, though, by Congress and now they await a signature from President Trump. Opponents say this is an attack against freedom and puts personal information -- your personal information up for sale. The rules would have forced internet service providers to get permission from you before collecting data and notify you of what they're collecting. We're talking about browsing history, app usage, and location, all in an effort to give extra control to consumers.
This was signed by the Obama administration but it was repealed by Congress. Supporters of the repeal say it's an unneeded regulation that's not business-friendly. So, what could you do now, right, if you're concerned about your privacy? Switching to private browsing mode or using privacy tools online won't keep the information private. Many are turning to a tool called a virtual private network or VPN that would protect your online activity from everyone, including internet providers, but do your research. Some reserve the right to sell your information.
The other option is privacy software called Tor. It makes your online activity anonymous, meaning it can be collected but not associated with you. What I think is so fascinating about this fight about your privacy is that everyone from "The New York Times" editorial page to "Breitbart" commentators --
BRIGGS: You talk about strange bedfellows.
ROMANS -- are really upset about this because for the first time in 25 years it was going to give consumers a little bit of control. We're not talking about selling the fact that you like to shop at the Gap or what kind of price discounts you like, we're talking about health records, we're talking about, you know --
BRIGGS: Search history, yes.
ROMANS: -- personal information.
BRIGGS: Yes, you'd think the move would be towards greater privacy protection for citizens but apparently not.
Another big setback meanwhile, overnight, for the 2.0 version of the president's travel ban. A federal judge in Hawaii granting the state's request for an indefinite suspension of the ban. Judge Derrick Watson converting a temporary restraining order issued two weeks ago into a preliminary injunction blocking the travel ban executive order.
Watson ruling the ban likely violates the Constitution by targeting Muslims. Hawaii's attorney general praised the decision, calling it "an important affirmation of the values of religious freedom enshrined in our Constitution's First Amendment." The Justice Department can now appeal Watson's ruling to the Ninth Circuit.
Also breaking overnight, an agreement in North Carolina to repeal House Bill 2, a measure widely criticized as anti-LGBT. Now, the deal leaves bathroom regulation up to the state and goes before the North Carolina legislature in a matter of hours. If HB2 is not repealed today by noon, the NCAA prepared to pull all of its events out of the state --
BRIGGS: -- through 2022. They've already canceled six NCAA games or moved them. Some groups already slamming the repeal compromise as a bad deal that leaves discrimination in place. Governor Roy Cooper says the agreement is not perfect but does begin the process of repealing and repairing North Carolina's reputation.
ROMANS: You know, a lot of different kinds of companies that were weighing in on that one. BRIGGS: Yes, but sports has really held a lot of sway in this debate.
ROMANS: Yes. As the Senate Intelligence Committee prepares for its first public hearing today into Russia's election meddling accusations, how is the Kremlin reacting? We will go to Moscow next.
[05:47:45] BRIGGS: Accusations of collusion between the Trump administration and Russia reaching a fever pitch this morning as the Senate Intelligence Committee prepares to launch a public hearing into the Kremlin's election meddling in a matter of hours. So, how are the Russians reacting to all of this or are they reacting at all? Let's go live to Moscow and bring in CNN's Matthew Chance. I'm sure it's the lead story on R.T. around the clock, right?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, they're trying to ignore that this is taking place, but when they -- when they do talk about it -- you may have heard this before -- they talk about it in terms of the dishonest media --
BRIGGS: Right, right.
CHANCE: -- a witch-hunt, and yes, fake news as well. This has become a common refrain here in Russia just like it is in the U.S. But, you know, Russians are really disappointed, I mean, particularly the government because they thought Donald Trump was going to be good for the relationship between Moscow and Washington. They thought he was going to recognize Crimea, lift the sanctions, cooperate with them on Syria but, actually, it's got a whole lot worse.
They say that the political atmosphere in the U.S. is toxic and poisonous when it comes to the Russia issue and these Senate hearings and the House hearings, as well -- I mean, they're just underlining that for the Russian government.
BRIGGS: All right, Matthew, appreciate that. It's interesting as we stay tuned to this story and what Jared Kushner and what that meeting was. What was his role with the VEB bank? So many questions still to come.
ROMANS: I know. Twenty witnesses will be debriefed in that Senate hearing. Thanks for that, Matthew.
OK. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in Turkey this morning as the fight against ISIS reaches a credible point. We're going to go to Istanbul, next.
[05:53:30] BRIGGS: This morning, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in Turkey. He has meetings and events all day long, some touching on delicate subjects. Just a short time ago he sat down with Turkish President Erdogan. This comes at a critical juncture in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, a fight in which Turkey plays a very crucial role. For the latest, let's bring in CNN's Muhammad Lila in Istanbul. Good morning to you. A crucial relationship at this time between the United States and Turkey.
MUHAMMAD LILA: Well, good morning, that's right. Turkey is a key U.S. and NATO ally here in this part of the world. It's inconceivable to think the United States would be able to defeat ISIS in Syria without some sort of Turkish cooperation. For example, the United States uses an air base in Turkey to launch a lot of bombing runs into Syria against ISIS, and that is done with Turkish permission.
Now, a lot of frayed nerves are -- have taken place over the last several months, perhaps over the last year, simply because of a number of events that have unfolded. Most importantly right now, the United States has chosen to partner with Kurdish groups on the ground in Syria as they begin this move to start to pinch and isolate ISIS in the defacto capital of the city Raqqa. That movement is already underway.
A plan to retake that city could take shape within the next few weeks and Turkey is staunchly opposed to the presence of those Kurdish troops on the ground. Turkey says those Kurdish groups are terrorist groups. That those groups have launched terror attacks inside Turkey and Turkey's been opposed to this from day one. So, Rex Tillerson's job now that he's here is to try to get Turkish buy-in to the American plan to defeat ISIS in Syria and somehow be OK with Turkish groups being part of that offensive.
[05:55:10] BRIGGS: Muhammad, it appears that Rex Tillerson -- whoever might follow him will be dealing with Erdogan for a long, long time. What's he doing to ensure he's not going anywhere?
LILA: Well, there's a referendum scheduled on April 14th and it could be a historic referendum here in Turkey, and that's because it would leave President Erdogan with the opportunity to stay in power for an additional 14 years. That means he would have been in power for almost 30 years when you add it all up. So for one elected leader in this part of the world to be in power for 30 years is not unusual, but Turkey also comes out and says well, it's a secular democracy, and it's riled nerves. Certainly, European leaders have come out very critical of Erdogan, saying that he shouldn't try to stay in power for so much longer.
We don't know if that move is going to come up with Rex Tillerson when he meets with Erdogan today -- or having already met with Erdogan today -- but certainly it's something that's continuing to strain relations between Turkey and the western world.
BRIGGS: But we do know this. Tillerson finally traveling with two pool reporters so that's good news. Muhammad, thank you.
ROMANS: All right, let's get a check on CNN Money Stream this morning. Stock futures are lower after a mixed day yesterday. The Nasdaq quietly riding a four-day win streak. Tech stocks shining. Stock markets in Europe are edging higher. Shares in Asia, they're now closed for the day. They dropped overnight.
Move over, Warren Buffett. Jeff Bezos is now the second-richest person on earth. The Amazon founder and CEO jumping over Buffett during the trading session. That's according to "Bloomberg." He's now worth $75.6 billion. He's got a long way to go to catch up to Bill Gates.
BRIGGS: A little bit.
ROMANS: He's worth like, you know, $86 billion. The big jump in net worth for Bezos is due to this, Amazon stock. Shares are at an all- time high right now. If you've got this in your portfolio you know what I'm talking about. It's above $870 a share. Over the past year the stock has surged 47 percent. That is a good return by any measure.
Amazon's stock isn't the only thing Bezos has to brag about. Check out these pictures. Yes, we are giving you the very first look here inside Blue Origin's space capsule. The company says it has the biggest windows to ever go into space. Everyone gets a window seat. Human test flights are set to begin at the end of this year. If that goes well the first space tourists are set to go into orbit next year.
BRIGGS: See, Warren Buffett's not in space.
BRIGGS: He's got that on him.
ROMANS: No, he's fine. They're all fine. All those guys are. New about leggings making more headlines this morning. Shares of Lululemon are set to fall 18 percent at the open after climbing four percent Wednesday. Despite several big purchases by Dave Briggs --
ROMANS: -- Lululemon warns overall sales this quarter will drop. Why? Their new lineup of leggings are too boring for consumers. The CEO says their styles are lacking depth in color for spring and that visual merchandising wasn't strong enough, so it's rushing more colorful options to its website. But, Lulu's also facing tough competition from companies like Nike, and cheaper options from stores like Old Navy. I mean, I've got to tell you, color is not the first thing I go for when I'm looking for, you know, leggings.
BRIGGS: No, I don't need the bright colors. I've done my job to prop up the company. But, you know, the ladies -- yes, they could have some color to their leggings.
ROMANS: Some color, all right. Thanks for joining us this morning. I'm Christine Romans.
BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now. Have a great Thursday.
ROMANS: The color for the stock will be red.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. CHARLIE DENT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: The House is in a situation where the issues become overly politicized. We're going to have to rely on the Senate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're here to assure the American people we will get to the bottom of this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a chairman more loyal to the White House than the investigation.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: How he conducts himself, when and where he shares things, are issues for him -- that's it.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The president's daughter, Ivanka Trump, will be serving as assistant to the president.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is an ethics crisis in the White House and it starts at the top with the president.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Judge Gorsuch will be confirmed to the Supreme Court.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he isn'tqualified, nobody is.
SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D), OREGON: This seat, for the first time in U.S. history, was stolen from one president and delivered to the next.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Thursday, March 30th, 6:00 here in New York. Chris is off this morning and John Berman joins me. Great to have you here.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: It's all happening right here.
CAMEROTA: It is. Let's get right to it. In just hours, the Senate Intel Committee begins its probe of the alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election and possible ties to the Trump campaign. The hearing is in sharp contrast to the House investigation, which is stalled.
BERMAN: This, as the FBI director breaks his silence about the politically-charged investigations. And first daughter Ivanka Trump's new position in the White House raises new ethical questions. We've got a lot happening on day 70 of the Trump presidency so let's begin our coverage with CNN's Sara Murray live at the White House. Good morning, Sara.
SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. Well, this White House may be sick of talking about Russia but the Senate Intelligence Committee is making clear they are just getting started and they have a long list of people they want to talk to try to get to the bottom of Russia's meddling in the 2016 campaign.