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Trump Backs Plan To Curb Legal Immigration; Russia: Relations With U.S. Will Be 'Extremely Tense'; Trump Getting Ready To Go After China On Trade. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired August 3, 2017 - 05:30   ET




[05:31:12] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This competitive application process will favor applicants who can speak English, financially support themselves and their families, and demonstrate skills that will contribute to our economy.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump unveiling an ambitious plan to slash legal immigration by half, but the bill already facing an uphill battle in Congress.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: A record low, President Trump's approval ratings plummeting to just 33 percent. We'll go deeper into what's behind the sharp decline.

BRIGGS: Plus, the signing and slamming, the Russia's sanctions bill. We'll go live to Moscow for some heated reaction from Russia, and as for that new immigration plan. Well, good morning, folks. Here's how the "New York Daily News" sees it, I don't need to read it, you got it. Welcome to EARLY START, I'm Dave Briggs.

KOSIK: Good morning, I'm Alison Kosik. It's Thursday, August the 3rd. Its 30 minutes past the hour.

And President Trump throwing the full weight of the White House behind a new immigration plan, the most far reaching overhaul in decades, the proposal aims to move the U.S. toward a skills-based immigration system like what's in Canada and Australia while slashing legal immigration to the U.S. by half. It would cut back on so-called Chain Immigration by limiting family members, immigrants could bring over mainly to spouses and minor children.

BRIGGS: The measure by Republican senators, David Purdue and Tom Cotton would award aspiring immigrants points. Those are based on age, education, English language test scores, whether they have a job offer with a high salary or won a top award like a Nobel Prize or Olympic medal or are a major investor in a new business. Applicants' spouses would be scored the same way. KOSIK: The proposal is reigniting the debate about national identity and immigration. That was a central theme of President Trump's campaign. The White House on the defensive, almost as soon as the president's backing was announced, quarreling with reporters, taking fire from lawmakers from both parties, slamming the bill.

Let's go to CNN's Jim Acosta with more.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Alison, the White House is bristling at questions over its plan for sweeping changes to the U.S. immigration system that would install a points system for people coming into the country legally.

The president's policy adviser, Stephen Miller, sparred with reporters who are asking questions about the president's proposal and seemed to suggest that the Statue of Liberty is not the beacon of hope to immigrants that it's been for generations. An inscription on the statue of liberty says, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." Here's what Miller had to say about that.


STEPHEN MILLER, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: I don't want to get off into a whole thing of that history here. But the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of liberty and lighting the world. It's a symbol of American liberty lighting the world. The poem that you're referring to that was added later is not actually part of the original Statue of liberty. More fundamentally, the history --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're saying that that does not represent what the country has always thought of as immigrants coming into the country --

MILLER: I'm saying the nation that the --


MILLER: Let me ask you a question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That sounds like a national part, revisionism.



MILLER: Jim, let me ask you that question. Jim --

ACOSTA: -- for people to --

MILLER: Jim, do you believe -- Jim, Jim, Jim, do you believe -- Jim, Jim, Jim, I appreciate your speech. Jim, I appreciate your speech so let's talk about this.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ACOSTA: Top Republicans are already balking at the president's immigration plan including South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham who said the proposal would damage his state's agricultural and tourism industries. Dave and Alison.

KOSIK: Well, you know, the poem is really what the Statue of Liberty represents.

BRIGGS: Yes. Well, and that's the point Jim was trying to make. There is a great job by Jim Acosta. This is not about Jim or John or any of the other White House reporters or April Ryan. It's about the White House, their administration talking to the American people, conveying their policies, selling them. Some love that fight, some hated it. But did it sell the policy? Did it convince Americans of why it's needed? Let us know what you think at EARLYSTART on Twitter.

[05:35:18] KOSIK: Let's talk to Tal Kopan about this as well. She joined us from Washington with her opinions and expertise and analysis. Good morning.

BRIGGS: Yes, good morning.


KOSIK: You know, you look at this bill. It's looking to slash legal immigration by half. And, you know, Donald Trump standing up there along with the two who co-wrote this bill. And, you know, it's all about making America great again, right?

Well, is this really making America great again? You see Donald Trump focused on growing the economy. But isn't this bill counterproductive? You need immigrant workers to grow the economy. We need them in agriculture and construction.

We're watching the work force change. We've got this aging population in the work force. We need these workers, don't we?

KOPAN: There's certainly a large number of economists who agree with that viewpoint. And look, there are studies on both sides and sort of the school of thought that leads to many of the proposals that you see President Trump and his advisers and supporters sort of latching on to are based on this notion that somehow this low-skilled immigrants or immigrants in general depress wages for American workers. That's one of the arguments you hear it.

It's not necessarily proven in economic science that the idea being that it's somehow harms the sort of lowest level worker in the American economy, and that's who they're really supporting. The problem is that that isn't a widely held consensus in the economic community and in fact, many industries would be crippled if there was a major change to their labor supply like this. And certainly that would have vast ripple effects throughout the economy.

So, you know, what's being proposed here is a massive change in the way we construct our work force. And, you know, it doesn't affect temporary workers, but that is certainly on the table with some of these ideas. It would affect though who gets to stay. And when you think about the symbolic effects of that and the attractiveness of that, that's still has an after effect on our overall the work force.

BRIGGS: A particular concern in the service industry, in the agricultural industry. Some blow back from that Republican senator, Lindsey Graham. Listen.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I don't want an economy that doesn't recognize how diverse we are as a nation. And to take all the green cards and put them in one end of the economy is just I think ill advised, and I can't support that.


BRIGGS: And to be clear, most Republican senators appeared to support this immigration legislation. But you need 60 votes to get this through the Senate. Tal, what are the politics of this? Can they even get 50 in the Senate?

KOPAN: No, that's the easy answer. They can't. You know, theirs is not enough Republican votes for this proposal and that's why, you know, Stephen Miller who was standing at the White House podium, he used to work for Jeff Sessions.

Jeff Sessions in the Senate was one of the largest proponents of something very similar to what we're seeing from the White House now. And that never picked up steam in these ideas in Washington over the past many years have really been marginalized. And there's more of a consensus in the middle similar to what we've saw with the Gang of Eight Immigration Bill in 2013 that passed the Senate with about two- thirds of senators but failed to move in the House. That bill did address some things.

It looked at chain immigration changed the diversity lottery that brings people to the U.S. basically on a lottery system around the world. But instead of eliminating those things, it replaced them with different things that overall allowed people to come to the U.S. And so, there are a lot of Republican senators especially based on economies in their state, if it's heavily agricultural who would say thanks, but no thanks, we're going to do something completely different.

KOSIK: You know, Tal, one key area for this White House as it tries to get back on track with the new chief of staff bringing in the general is the president's credibility. But there's a new poll showing that he's really got an uphill climb with this one. It's a new Quinnipiac University poll showing the president's job approval number slides to an all-time low, just 33 percent with 61 disapproval number there.

And his honesty is being tracked on there, as well. That's not rating as well either. Look, 34 percent say that the president is honest. Sixty-two percent say he's not honest. That's a big deal. If those being polled can't trust the president, see him as what's the opposite of being honest. Lying. If they see him as a liar, how do you -- what do you do as a White House to overcome it?

[05:40:05] KOPAN: Yes, and it's interesting. Some of the biggest slips in that poll actually came among Republicans which is a major warning sign that should be going off for the White House right now. And, you know, there isn't another presidential election for four years, assuming things progress the normal way that they do. And so what you have, the ramifications for this, is that what you're seeing happens.

Lawmakers on the hill of the Republican Party feel increasingly emboldened to not tow the White House line. And it's going to be very difficult to convince any lawmakers to support something with the White House policy that they don't naturally incline. So, it's an erosion of political capital for the White House in Washington when they didn't start out with a ton to begin with.

BRIGGS: All right, Tal, Kopan live for us in D.C. this morning. Thanks very much.

KOSIK: Thanks very much.

KOPAN: Thank you.

KOSIK: Senate Democrats are getting tough on trade, but their rhetoric sounds pretty familiar. Take a listen.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), MINORITY LEADER: Now, nothing. Nothing is more central to creating jobs and increasing take-home pay than rewriting our backward trade laws that have put foreign workers ahead of American workers.


KOSIK: OK, that's senate minority leader Chuck Schumer yesterday. He was introducing policies to protect American workers from foreign competition. The challenge here, the proposal it's essentially echoes Trump's ideas. The plan is built on two main concepts preventing unfair foreign competition and supporting domestic industries.

A highlight includes harshen punishment on companies that outsourced and a crackdown on currency manipulation. Now, the last one is directed directly at China. Just as the Trump administration considers launching an investigation into Chinese trade practices. But Schumer counters their plan is about action, not investigation. This is the second phase of the Democrats' new economic platform which they call a better deal and it aims to appeal to the blue-collar workers that help that helped President Trump into office. So, you see the Democrats trying to --

BRIGGS: I think they wanted a mulligan on their first unveiling of better deal. KOSIK: I think you're right.

BRIGGS: Kind of like how Trump plays golf, they doffed the first one. They dropped the second ball, pretending that first shot never happened.

KOSIK: God, I love your sports analogies. Keep it going, Dave.

BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, the Russian government now, speaking out about the Sanctions Bill signed by President Trump. Russia's prime minister slamming the bill and saying President Trump has been quote, humiliated. We'll go live to Oren Liebermann in Moscow next.


[05:46:47] BRIGGS: The new Russia Sanctions Bill signed by President Trump drawing an angry response from the Kremlin. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev posting on Facebook, "The U.S. president's signing of the package of new sanctions against Russia will have a few consequences. First, it ends hopes for improving our relations with the new U.S. administration. Second, it's a declaration of a full- fledged economic war on Russia. Third, the Trump administration has shown its total weakness by handing over executive power to Congress in most humiliating way."

For more, let's go live to Moscow and bringing in CNN's Oren Liebermann. Good morning to you Oren, so much for the thawing of U.S.-Russia relations, huh?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORREPSONDENT: This seems to be the end of that, and that is a sentiment we've heard not only from the foreign ministry but in other statements, as well that that expectation that we saw lasts for six or seven months, that Trump could improve the U.S.- Russia relations effectively over with the passage and signature of this Sanctions Bill.

Putin as well as other Russian leaders have pointed out that Russia has other options for retaliating against the U.S. for the Sanctions Bill and signature by Trump. Russia has already closed two U.S. diplomatic compounds here and forced the U.S. to cut some 750 members of its staff in Russia. That's more than half.

Putin has said other options not likely now but certainly available. What's interesting here is that most of the anger seems pointed at Washington politicians who they accuse of anti-Russia hysteria and not all at Trump himself. Perhaps because Trump made it clear he didn't really want to sign this bill. He did it because of he had overwhelming support in Congress.

Russia perhaps sees that as a bit of vindication of their position. And yet both sides had made it clear that their relations now are as bad as they've been. It was Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who said they're as bad as they've been since the Cold War and getting worst. Tillerson will meet with the Russian foreign minister this weekend but the event meeting isn't expected to be able to improve relations here much if at all. BRIGGS: Not much. Right, Oren Liebermann live for us in Moscow. Thanks sir.

KOSIK: OK, time for a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Chris Cuomo joining us now, good morning. Get any sleep? I know you were up late on another show.

BRIGGS: Good morning sir.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Sleep is for the weak. Good morning, my good-looking friends.

BRIGGS: Good morning.

CUOMO: Who are we, what are we about? These are these fundamental questions that have been raised by the president's new immigration proposal. It's not just about how many people coming legally into there country. The goal is to cut it by 50 percent. But it's who.

There's a merit-based criteria system that would have made it very likely that you would never be looking at this ugly face because my ancestors would not have made the cut. Could they speak English? No. Did they have enough money to pay for their own health care? No. Were they highly skilled laborers? No. So, these new criteria could be tearing at the foundation of who we are as a projected message to the world.

We have Jim Acosta and a senior policy adviser for the White House who got into it over this. You need to hear that exchange to really understand the situations. So, we'll take you through that with some other big headlines. We also have news on Scaramucci, big event tomorrow.

BRIGGS: Mooch news. You're handsome man Chris Cuomo. We eagerly await the show. Senator Jeff Flake from Arizona joining "NEW DAY" as well, we'll see you in a bit. Thanks.

[05:50:06] KOSIK: See you soon Chris.

BRIGGS: Thank you, sir. Alison.

KOSIK: Stocks continue to reach new highs. The Dow notching a new milestone. That's next on the CNN MoneyStream.


BRIGGS: The president may soon get tougher on trade with China. His administration moving closer to launching an investigation into whether the country's trade practices are unfair, the action would ramp up tensions between the world's two largest economies, but China not taking it lightly. They're ready to fight back.

CNN's Will Ripley live in Beijing with more. Good morning to you, Will.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Dave. China can certainly make it very difficult for American companies doing business here. They can find regulatory violations. They can shutdown locations. They can basically eject people's workers if they want to. There are lots of ways that China could fight back if the United States moves forward with this trade investigation.

[05:55:08] The results of which could result in higher tariffs on Chinese goods. And even the pulling of licenses for Chinese companies. American companies are making money here in China. But they've been complaining for a long time that it's not a level playing field. That will they have to share secrets and cut patent licensing fees for Chinese companies.

The Chinese government is infusing money into Chinese companies, particularly in the high-tech industry and making competition with American companies far more difficult. So what happens now, will everybody doesn't want to hear at least on Wall Street two words, Dave, "Trade War" between the U.S. and China because if things go downhill it could be bad for a stock market that is certainly on the up at the moment.

BRIGGS: Global rise with all eyes on that situation. Will Ripley, thank you, sir.

KOSIK: And speaking of stocks, let's check on "CNN MONEYSTREAM" this morning. Global markets are mixed after the Dow hit a new milestone yesterday, 22,000. We saw the Nasdaq and the S&P close flat. A surge in Apple stock that carried the Dow past that 22,000 milestone, Apple is one of the Dow 30 stocks. So it has a lot of power to move the entire index. Other big point contributors companies like Boeing, McDonalds, and United Health. Those shares helped as well. But the rally may not continue today. Right now we're seeing futures in the red.

The waiting list for Tesla's new Model 3 is growing fast. Tesla now averages is 1800 reservations a day. That's from its latest earnings report. But strong demand could be a mixed blessing for Tesla. It has scaled up production to make good on deliveries. However, it says it remains on track. Also, Tesla's losses for the quarter, less than Wall Street had expected. We saw the stock up 8 percent overnight. CEO Elon Musk sweating a bit saying, get ready for manufacturing hell, though, for the Model 3.

Thanks for joining us, I'm Alison Kosik.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. Happy birthday To Tom Brady, "NEW DAY" starts right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think the economy will be well served by cutting the number of immigrants in half.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't understand why anybody who wants a pro- growth effort in America to oppose this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The members of Congress, they can either vote with the interests of U.S. citizens and U.S. workers or they can vote against their interests.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think it'll pass the Senate. And I will do everything I can to prevent it from passing.

TRUMP: Even the president of Mexico called me.

SARAH HUCKEBEE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: They were direct conversations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wouldn't say it was a lie.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If he continues to do things like this that cut at the core of his credibility.

BRIGGS: President Trump lashing out at congress after reluctantly signing the Russia sanctions bill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Putin has done something that nobody else in America could do, unite the Congress.


CUOMO: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Thursday August 3rd, 6:00 here in New York. And here is our starting line.

President Trump proposes a merit-based system favoring English speakers sharply reducing family-based immigration. Critics say this plan could slow economic growth, keeping out badly need low-wage workers and make it likely that Americans like me and your favorite next to me would not exist.

President Trump signed the bill that puts sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea. But he doesn't like parts of it, saying he did it for the sake of national unity.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: I'd exist, but I'd be living in Rome.

CUOMO: Who knows though? Our people would not have made it in.

CAMEROTA: Good point.

President Trump's credibility is in question again over some apparently made-up phone calls. The White House admits that Mexico's president and the boy scouts never called the president, though the president said they did. Now they say those conversations were in person.

Amid all this, there's a new national poll to tell you about that has President Trump's approval rating hitting a new low of just 33 percent as the president heads to West Virginia tonight for another campaign- style rally. So, we have it all covered for you.

Let's begin with CNN's Sara Murray. She is live at the White House. Hi Sara. SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning Alisyn.

Well it's pretty clear the president is making a play to shore up his base. One other thing that might make his base happy, Chief of Staff John Kelly, CNN has learned called Jeff Sessions earlier this week.

One of Trump's earliest supporters assured him his job is safe. This as Trump makes other moves including unveiling this immigration policy that would drastically rewrite the way the U.S. organizes its legal immigration system.


MURRAY (voice-over): President Trump endorsing proposed legislation to slash illegal immigration in half over the next decade and shift the country to a so-called merit-based system.

TRUMP: This competitive application process will favor applicants who can speak English, financially support themselves and their families and demonstrate skills that will contribute to our economy.

[06:00:03] (voice-over): The rollout of the bill accompanied by a combative press briefing. Senior Policy Adviser Stephen Miller facing off with CNN's Jim Acosta about whether the policy is in line with American values.