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EARLY START

Building The Wall;Trump Vows To "Send Feds" To Chicago; Trump Stands By False Voting Claim; Deadly Hotel Attack In Somalia. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired January 25, 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] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, President Trump just hours away from his first official action on building a wall, but can he force Mexico to actually pay for it like he promised he would?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The president's move comes as the White House tries to shift from questions about voter fraud after Trump's press secretary said the president stands by claims about millions voting illegally.

BERMAN: A deadly attack overnight at a hotel compound in Somalia, a gunfight just ending. We are live with the latest.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. Thirty minutes past the hour this Wednesday morning. Nice to see you. It was the centerpiece of his campaign and today President Trump will start trying to make the border wall a reality. Coming off a challenging few days in which the president and his administration were accused of making false claims, the White House is now turning the focus on immigration.

The president previewed the executive actions he's expected to take in a tweet overnight. "Big day planned on NATIONAL SECURITY tomorrow. Among many others things, we will build the wall!" This, on the same day a Mexican trade delegation is due to meet with administration officials in Washington. Today's executive action signing is the first in a multi-day rollout of immigration initiatives which is also expected to include moves related to refugees and visas.

Senior White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny has a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: John and Christine, President Trump trying to change the subject today as he travels to the Department of Homeland Security across Washington to sign a series of executive actions focusing on immigration. First and foremost, the border wall with Mexico, something he talked so much about during the campaign.

We are told that he will be signing an executive action on that and other immigration proposals today and in the days ahead, focusing on immigration and security as well as visas and refugees in the days going forward. Talking about terror-prone countries, Syria and elsewhere, of course, that he talked about so much in the campaign as well.

First, he made a claim to ban all Muslims, then he scaled that back somewhat. We are told that this will be a scaled back version of that, focusing on refugees. Now that is expected to come later in the week but today the focus is on border security -- building that wall with Mexico.

Now, the question is who will pay for it? The campaign rally anthem was always Mexico will pay for it but, of course, we know Mexico -- the government has said they will not pay for it. The U.S. government actually will foot the bill at the beginning here and then will ask for a reimbursement, really, as he gets through the week here trying to go through all his priorities, signing those executive actions to get his first 100 days quickly underway -- John and Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: All right, Jeff Zeleny. Thanks so much. In addition to the border wall and the immigration restrictions that Jeff just mentioned, sources familiar with today's executive order say they will include certain policies of allowing some detained undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States without deporting them. The orders will triple the resources for ICE enforcement and removal. They will also work to battle the existence of sanctuary cities. Those are cities and towns that bar their police departments from cooperating with federal immigration authorities. And, the orders will add 5,000 customs and border patrol officers.

A separate order being prepared for the president's signature later this week includes suspending acceptance of all refugees for four months, the White House says, to gauge which countries migrants pose the lowest risk for national security. A program for admitting Syrian refugees would be ended indefinitely. We're going to get more details on all of this in the coming days. Those details still being worked out, we should note.

ROMANS: All right. President Trump also took on gun violence in Chicago overnight via a tweet. "If Chicago doesn't fix the horrible carnage going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings, I will send in the Feds!" Chicago police tell CNN there have been 38 homicides and 182 shootings so far this year. The tweet came a short time after a guest on FOX "O'Reilly Factor" discussed violence in Chicago, using that word carnage and also using those same statistics, statistics a little off from what Chicago is officially reporting.

Mr. Trump last -- President Trump last addressed Chicago violence in early January, tweeting "As president-elect, that if mayor can't do it he must ask for federal help." Chicago's mayor Rahm Emanuel has not directly addressed Trump's tweet from Tuesday but he did say in an interview last night thatover the years the city has had to step up its resources directed at gun violence as the federal government as "stepped back."

BERMAN: All this comes as the White House has standed (sic) by the president's false claims that three to five million illegal votes were cast in the election. This claim has no proof. There is no evidence for it. At the White House daily briefing our Jeff Zeleny asked Press Secretary Sean Spicer if he, himself, believes the claim. This is how Spicer answered.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He believes what he believes based on the information he's provided. Yes, ma'am?

ZELENY: What does that mean for democracy, though, Sean? What does that mean?

SPICER: Thanks, Jeff. Ma'am?

ZELENY: If he does believe that, what does that mean for democracy?

[05:35:00] SPICER: It means that -- yes, I've answered your question.

ZELENY: Have you?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Now, the press secretary did cite a Pew research study but the author of that study has said that while researchers found millions of registrations that were out of date due to people moving or dying or other reasons, there was no evidence that despite the fact that were registrations out of date that anyone actually voted fraudulently as part of that study. The president revived the issue and a lot of people didn't like it, including Republican Sen. Lindsey McCain (sic).

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: He needs to disclose why he believes that. I don't believe that. It is the most inappropriate thing for the president to say without proof. People are going to start doubting you as a person if you keep making accusations against our electoral system without justification. This is going to erode his ability to govern this country if he does not stop it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: That, of course, that was Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham from the state of South Carolina. Now, the reason people are discussing this is that the president discussed it. He brought it up in a meeting with congressional leaders. That meeting was Monday night. He said that three to five million people voted illegally which, he said in this meeting with congressional leaders, was the reason that he did not win the popular vote.

ROMANS: All right, there's a lot to discuss this morning. Let's bring back managing editor of "CNN POLITICS DIGITAL" Zach Wolf, live for us in Washington. Good morning. You know, this is going to be immigration day. We're going to see a whole bunch more executive orders, you know. We've seen a lot of action on trade. We've seen these meetings at the White House with officials from business and the automakers.

Yet, it is sort of the conspiracy theory element of our new president that keeps sort of overshadowing so many of these storylines and so much of the news cycle. Why -- do we think that the false claim about three to five million people voting illegally -- do we think that's going to recede here? That the president's going to leave that alone now?

ZACHARY WOLF, MANAGING EDITOR, CNN POLITICS DIGITAL: Well, at some point I think he's going to have to answer a question about it. He has some, I think, network T.V. interviews coming up and surely he'll be -- he'll be asked about it. Will he put it to rest? Will he sort of admit that this is not going on or will he come up with some sort of basis for it, I think that's an open question and something that it's really going to be interesting to see. I mean, this is a guy who's in office after losing the popular vote. It's clearly a chip on his shoulder, something that he needs to address in his own mind in order to get forward.

BERMAN: So those things are untrue and he continues to say things that are simply not true. At the same time, he continues to keep true to many of his campaign promises. Now there are those who say look, if you can't believe the president on what he says about one thing it really -- it puts a dark cloud over the whole White House. That may be, but the fact of the matter is there has been a lot that has been done by this White House early and this first move to build the border wall today is just one of those measures that his supporters will embrace.

WOLF: Absolutely. I mean, the guy made a bunch of promises on the campaign trail and in these early days he's doing a lot to keep true to them on trade, with TPP, with the oil pipelines yesterday and now, with moving towards building a wall. Now, I will say it's easier to do these things early on. It will be more difficult when he needs money to build the wall. Is Congress going to give it to him? How much is it going to cost? We don't know. What's it going to be made of? Is it even going to be feasible to do it?

I mean, there are so many open questions about this wall idea, even still. But, you know, moving forward in these early days he's clearly sending a signal that he wants to be a man of his word on these promises.

ROMANS: You know, meantime, there's this growing kind of concern among economists and among people who study the economy and follow the economy about whether this administration is going to trust the statistics and the economic analysis coming out of its own Labor Department. You know, you heard him on the campaign trail talking about phony numbers and hoaxes and lies coming out of the Labor Department. I want you to listen a little bit about him basically saying that the jobless rate is not true.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Five and three tenths percent unemployment, that is the biggest joke there is. Don't believe those phony numbers when you hear 4.9 and five percent unemployment. The number's probably 28-29, as high as 35. In fact, I even heard, recently, 42 percent. The unemployment number, as you know, is totally fiction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: OK. Well, it's not fiction. There are several unemployment numbers that come out of the Labor Department and there are, you know, career economists, you know, non-political people who put those together. Is there a concern among these agencies, specifically the Labor Department, that this administration is going to tweak or change or not believe these numbers?

WOLF: Well, I -- you know, there's long been some sort of dispute with the unemployment rate and people who say that a lot of the people that we consider to be employed or underemployed, et cetera. So there is some -- you know, there is some basis --

ROMANS: But those numbers are all clear. They're right there in black and white every month. You can see the people who are underemployed. You can see the people who have left the labor market. You can see the people who are discouraged, and it's not 48 percent.

[05:40:09] WOLF: Absolutely right. I mean -- and that's totally clear. But, you know, when you talk about millions of people voting illegally and there's no basis for that, or a 48 percent unemployment rate, there's no basis for that. I mean, there's are -- he comes up with these things and he just throws them out there. And, you know, I guess the question is we have to continue to call him on it in the media but I don't think he's going to stop doing it.

ROMANS: I don't know what the strategy is behind it. This is what I've tried to get my head around. I mean, there are some who think that maybe it's because he did not want to believe that there was jobs growth during the Obama administration -- you know, the recovery from, you know, 10 percent unemployment at the worst of it to like 4.7 percent more recently. But you would think that if the economy is growing that's going to be a tailwind for him. He'll be able to point to those low unemployment numbers and say look, our policies are actually making this even better.

WOLF: Sure, but the people -- you've got to realize the people in the Rust Belt who brought him into office don't feel like they are employed at the level that they need to be. So if you talk about a monolithic unemployment rate he can still speak to his base --

ROMANS: Yes.

WOLF: -- you know, by not -- by not citing numbers that are meaningless to a lot of Americans.

ROMANS: Right. BERMAN: And, of course, it will be interesting to see if he's talking about this a year from now or two years from now when he really needs to be taking ownership of those numbers. But, Zach, you bring up a good point. By continuing to question things like the unemployment numbers or continue to fabricate numbers of three to five million people voting illegally, he does question, you know, the sanctity of our institutions, and I'm not talking about questioning government. We should all always be skeptical --

ROMANS: Right.

BERMAN: -- and question our leaders and what-not. But, you know, you're talking about institutionsand actual numbers here and it could shake the confidence that people have in the entire system.

WOLF: Absolutely. I mean, you know, if you -- if you look at the unemployment rate people have to believe that the government is an honest broker in this. That they are doing their best.

ROMANS: Right.

WOLF: And if you -- if you -- if you pull the rug out from under them -- if you're saying that these numbers are wrong, they're not going to have faith that the government's going to be an honest broker in anything.

BERMAN: Right.

ROMANS: I'm sure -- I am sure that those CEOs that he's meeting with are telling him oh, by the way, Mr. President, we're having a hard time finding workers. By the way, Mr. President, we are nearing full employment. Because that's what the CEOs say publicly and they say, you know, to reporters, you know, that we're getting close to full employment. We have to have other kinds of policies to pull people off the sidelines.

BERMAN: Right.

ROMANS: Extra training, maybe skills --

BERMAN: Saying unemployment, the numbers are wrong, is different than saying they don't represent the pain being felt in some parts of the country.

ROMANS: Yes.

BERMAN: That's a different thing. All right. Zach Wolf, great to have you with us.

WOLF: Thanks.

BERMAN: All right. A growing death toll following a series of bombings at a hotel compound in Somalia. We're live with some breaking details. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [05:46:55] ROMANS: Breaking news out of Mogadishu. A pair of truck bombs exploded overnight outside the Dayah hotel in the Somali capital. The Jihadist group Al-Shabaab claiming responsibility. I want to bring in CNN's Farai Sevenzo, tracking the latest development lives from Nairobi. And I know folks on the ground in Mogadishu saying there was a gunfight -- a gun battle, even, after those bombs exploded. What's happening now?

FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At the moment, Christine, you're absolutely right, there was a gun battle. This is the modus operandi of this group called Al-Shabaab. They are a vicious terror group like any other -- like ISIS, like al Qaeda.

They target these hotels specifically because they house many of the country's lawmakers. Many members of Parliament live in these hotels but they are so fortified. Big, huge, high concrete walls, 45 gates. And what they did was ram the gate of the hotel and explode a bomb. Five more attackers then went in and started shooting in a gunfight with the security forces. And 15 minutes later, a second explosion from another truck bomb. They want to make sure maximum casualties. That is Al-Shabaab's game.

And the truth of the matter is that since 2011, they've been kicked out of Mogadishu. Many forces -- African Union Forces, the United Nations, United States drones have been targeting this group and it's almost out of desperation that they keep attacking the same targets. And, of course, they have many, many influential spies within the (INAUDIBLE). In 2014, in February, one of the suicide bombers was actually a hotel receptionist.

It is important to remember that Al-Shabaab is losing this fight -- this is desperation. But it is far from over for Mogadishu's people as they try and set up a presidential election to elect a president and bring this country back to democracy, Christine.

ROMANS: It is just such a -- just such a terrible event. Thank you so much for bringing us up to speed. Keep us posted if there are any new developments. Thanks, Farai.

BERMAN: All right, a lot going on this morning all around the world so let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Alisyn Camerota is with us. Good morning, Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Hi, guys. I know I say this every morning but today I mean it. We have a very big show on "NEW DAY." We are going to have Sen. Ron Wyden on. He had a very heated exchange with the HHS nominee, Tom Price. So we're going to talk to Sen. Wyden about whether his questions were answered.

And then we're also going to talk about it looks as though there are now concrete steps being made to build the wall in Mexico. Forgive the pun. So we'll talk about what President Trump plans for that. And then also about why he continues to insist that the election was tainted by illegal votes and what this means for democracy, what this means for his administration, and where he's getting his information. We have a lot to talk about when we see you at the top of the hour. ROMANS: All right. Can't wait for that. Thanks, Alisyn. From Goldman Sachs to government Sachs, one of Trump's top money men just scored a huge payday. We're going to show you the money, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:53:55] (Clip from "La La Land" playing) BERMAN: He can sing and he can dance. That's what Christine Romans tells me, and so much more.

ROMANS: Would you stop talking. Just stop talking.

BERMAN: "La La Land" starring Ryan Gosling and some other people apparently, according to Christine Romans, has tied the record for most Oscar nominations by a single film, 14, tying "Titanic" which Romans loves and "All About Eve" which is actually a good movie.

"La La Land" picked up nominations for its two stars, Emma Stone, it's lead actress and Ryan Gosling, Christine Romans tells me again and again, as lead actor. It also picked up a nomination for the 32-year- old director Damien Chazelle who could become the youngest ever "Best Director" winner. I think he deserves it. I don't get hooked. The film also landed nominations for two original songs. The question is, will the stars sing them at the Academy Awards? I'm very curious to see that.

And after two years of burning the hashtag OscarsSoWhite, a lot of diversity in the nominations. Seven people of color among the 20 acting nominees, with three films about the black experience in America -- "Fences", "Hidden Figures" and "Moonlight" all in the "Best Picture" race.

ROMANS: Can I tell you, I once -- "The Big Short" -- he was in "The Big Short" -- Ryan Gosling, and I went to the, you know, the red carpet thing -- the movie premiere for it and was interviewing all the people. They were like really famous people. Brad Pitt was there. And people outside of the tent could see that Ryan Gosling was in there and I'm telling you, hundreds of people came and were trying to take apart the ropes to get in the tent. Like, it must be hard to be Ryan Gosling.

[05:55:14] BERMAN: When you say hundreds of people, you mean you and some others?

ROMANS: I mean, I do like him. It must be -- it must be --

BERMAN: Including me.

ROMANS: It must be hard to be Ryann Gosling because people were --

BERMAN: Let me tell you --

ROMANS: People outside were screaming and trying to get to him -- crazy. You don't feel him.

BERMAN: Heavy snow and wintry weather hitting the middle part of the country. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has the latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, John and Christine, when you take a look at what time of year it is, of course, the third week of January, this is climatologically the coldest time of year and you notice the snow showers certainly not going to be unusual to see across parts of the upper Midwest. And what is really impressive about this is this is not going to be a major weather-maker. We're going to see generally light snow showers. Temperatures in places like Chicago too warm to support anything really sticking around.

Minneapolis at 33 degrees and total accumulations really best found around northern Iowa, into parts of central and northern Wisconsin. You guys in southern Wisconsin could see some higher amounts of say six to eight inches over the next couple of days. But the storm system quickly moves through the Northeast. Around lunchtime on Thursday some light to perhaps moderate rain showers and some mild air comes in ahead of this and then back behind it is a different story. You've got some frigid air that really parks in here from Friday into Saturday.

And much of early next week looks unseasonably cool across parts of the Northeast. For the major metro cities, though, I think we'll stay in line with where we should be for this time of year. So notice the transition happens from the 50s down into the upper and mid-30s, but really no snow showers anywhere in the forecast, at least here over the next week which, again, this is the coldest time of the year so no complaints if you look at this -- guys.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right. Pedram Javaheri, thank you for that. Let's get a check on CNN Money Stream this morning. After a brief hiatus, Dow 20,000 watch is back, less than 100 points away. Even more impressive, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 had record highs yesterday. Solid corporate earnings and some enthusiasm over that. President Trump's meeting with automakers and other CEOs -- he promised to slash regulations. Executive and investors love slashing regulations so Dow 20,000 could be on for today. Futures are solidly higher right now. Stock markets in Europe are rising. Shares in Asia gained overnight.

BERMAN: It could be the day.

ROMANS: It could be the day. It pays to work at Goldman Sachs. It pays even more to leave Goldman Sachs and go work for President Trump. Gary Cohn, Trump's pick to lead the influential National Economic Council, just scored a payday of more than $100 million. Goldman says it paid Cohn $65 million in cash for bonuses he was owed. It also quickened up his stock awards worth $35 million and listed restrictions on $23 million in Goldman shares so that Cohn could sell them. He will have to pay taxes on all of that payout.

As for his new gig, part of the so-called government Sachs crew in Trump's administration, he's expected to act as the president's quarterback on the economy. He works inside the White House and helps frame the debate on the biggest economic issues.

A federal judge says insurance giant Aetna lied about why it's pulling out of Obamacare exchanges. Last summer, Aetna said it was a business decision due to mounting losses but a U.S. district judge ruled that its real motivation was to specifically evade judicial scrutiny over its upcoming merger with Humana. The Department of Justice blocked that merger one month before Aetna dropped coverage. Shares of both Aetna and Humana surged after Trump was elected due to his promise to reveal -- repeal Obamacare and cut regulations.

BERMAN: Dow 20,000 a possibility.

ROMANS: Maybe.

BERMAN: Stay tuned all day long.

ROMANS: Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SPICER: We need to direct agencies to focus on those who are in this country illegally.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump will sign a series of executive actions aimed at border security.

TRUMP: It's happening big league.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As President of the United States, his claim that 3.5 million people voted illegally.

SPICER: He continues to maintain that belief.

GRAHAM: I would urge the president to knock this off.

TRUMP: We'll build our own pipeline and we'll build our own pipes like we used to in the old days.

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: I have never seen this level of partisan rancor.

SEN. RON WYDEN (D), OREGON: Can you guarantee that no one will lose coverage under the executive order?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

CAMEROTA: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, January 25th, 6:00 in New York. Up first, President Trump taking action on the issue that propels his campaign. A few hours from now the president will announce an executive action ordering the construction of the wall along the Mexican border. CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump also plans to make sweeping changes to immigration policy, limiting the number of refugees coming into the U.S. and posing a ban on travel for what he calls terror- prone countries, and punishing so-called sanctuary cities.

We're now on day six of the Trump administration. Every day is action-packed. We have it all covered. Let's begin with Athena Jones live at the White House. Athena, what do we expect today?

ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Good morning, Chris. Well, the way the White House sees it, it's another day, another promise kept with these executive actions coming. President Trump hinted at his big plans late last night.