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EARLY START

White House Paves Way to Mass Deportations; Hostile Town Halls; Mixed Response After Trump Condemns Anti-Semitism; Iraqi Forces Advance on Western Mosul. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired February 22, 2017 - 04:30   ET

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


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[04:30:43] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: There's growing fear in immigrant communities nationwide. Homeland Security just put out enforcement guidelines. President Trump new plans for border security come as two of Trump's top officials prepare to visit Mexico.

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BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: And angry constituents greeting Republican lawmakers at town halls and other events nationwide. We have some moments that literally sent members of Congress heading for the exits.

CABRERA: And was it too little too late? The president has now denounced anti-Semitism. Ahead, the strong reaction from a Jewish group that says it is not enough.

Welcome back to EARLY START on this Wednesday. I'm Ana Cabrera.

SANCHEZ: Great to see you this morning, Ana.

I'm Boris Sanchez. We are 31 minutes past the hour. And we start this morning with growing concerns among immigrants across the country about plans for more aggressive immigration enforcement. Guidance just released by the Department of Homeland Security could pave the way for a huge expansion of undocumented immigrants detained and deported.

There's no doubt, much of this will come up as DHS Secretary John Kelly and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visit Mexico City, they'll be meeting with President Enrique Pena Nieto and his cabinet to discuss border security and trade.

Now, let's take a closer look at this new plan from DHS. It increases the number of immigrants who face expedited removal from the country with almost no court proceedings. It also sets in motion plans to end the catch and release policy that limits who can be released pending a hearing. That means that detention becomes the default for thousands more immigrants. And that, of course, takes more resources.

So, the plan calls for a surge in immigration judges and facilities. The guidance also orders more resource for ICE and Border Patrol.

CABRERA: Now, DHS officials stressed that the agency would still target criminals. But they admit that by giving broad latitude to field agents, immigrants not targeted under President Obama may now be deported.

DHS officials say they plan to enforce existing laws, and that there will be no deportation force of National Guard troops, for example. Also, there will not be huge roundups of undocumented immigrants. The Trump administration wants to emphasize that the DACA program protecting so-called DREAMers will remain in place.

Now, this new guidance on deportation coming as we await another big immigration move from the White House, that revised travel ban.

More on that now from CNN's Jeff Zeleny.

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JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Ana and Boris.

President Trump clearly making good on immigration promises he made during the campaign. Now, we are looking for him to sign that new immigration order to do a redo, if you will, of that immigration order he signed in the first week of his presidency that was blocked by the courts. But before he did that, he ordered his Department of Homeland Security to go after specifically tightening immigration laws.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer explained it like this.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Everybody who is here illegally is subject to removal at anytime. That is consistent with every country, not just ours. If you're in this country in an illegal manner, obviously, there say provision that could ensure that you be removed. But the priority that the president has laid forward and the priority that ICE is putting forward through DHS' guidance is to make sure that the people who have committed a crime or posed a threat to our public safety are the priority of their efforts.

ZELENY: Expanding deportations and enforcing the law. That is what this White House says it will do. But it's also creating an alarm throughout the immigrant community.

Now, the White House clearly looking forward to what they say is a new immigration order that they believe will pass legal muster on regarding those seven countries, Muslim majority countries letting people travel here to the country. That new executive order could come today or more likely Thursday or Friday -- Ana and Boris.

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SANCHEZ: All right. Jeff, thank you. Lawmakers are usually happy to get out of Washington as they are this week, spending it away from the Capitol, but some Republicans probably can't wait to get back after the backlash many of them are facing this week in their home district amid growing voter anger.

Among the more notable moments, Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn was put on the spot trying to explain Steve Bannon's prominent position in the West Wing.

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[04:35:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have in the White House now a notorious white nationalist as a special adviser to the president of the United States. I'd like to know your thoughts on that.

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R), TENNESSEE: I don't speak for the president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to know how you feel about it. You're our congresswoman.

BLACKBURN: Yes. My interactions with him have all been fine. The things that have been policy directed have been specific to certain policies. And I am not aware that he's taken anybody's place on the NSC.

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SANCHEZ: We also saw some really uncomfortable moments in Iowa where Senator Joni Ernst faced a hostile full house at an event planned in usually friendly rural territory. The senator slipped in a side door, called almost exclusively on veterans and took only one question on health care.

When she abruptly pulled the plug after 45 minutes, protesters chased her to her car chanting.

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PROTESTERS: Shame on you! Shame on you! Shame on you!

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CABRERA: Republican David Brat also faced a rowdy crowd in Virginia. The crowd there shouts and jeered, as Brat took dozens of questions. His lasted more than an hour. Unlike some of his colleagues, Brat seemed to enjoy the back and forth. He said, quote, "I don't mind the boisterousness, I'm having fun."

Even lawmakers who aren't holding town halls are being targeted by angry voters. Protesters you see here lined up outside of a hotel in Bakersfield, California, where House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes were attending a closed-door Republican fund-raiser. Some people who showed up at town halls wear stickers with their home zip codes on it to prove that they were constituents not just political operatives as they have been accused.

Trump, the president is not buying it. He tweeted, "The so-called angry crowds at home districts of some Republicans are actually in numerous cases planned out by liberal activists, sad."

SANCHEZ: Yesterday, the president did what a lot of people are calling on him to do, he directly condemned anti-Semitism. This following recent threats against Jewish community centers nationwide and destruction of tombstones at a Jewish cemetery in Missouri. Some, however, say it is not enough.

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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful, and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.

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SANCHEZ: For many, it is too little too late. The Anne Frank Center calling the president's comment, quote, "a band aid on the cancer of anti-Semitism that has infected his own administration."

Trump's condemnation came after this tweet from Hillary Clinton where she said, quote, "JCC threats, cemetery desecration and online attacks are so troubling and they need to be stopped. Everyone must speak out, starting with the president."

CABRERA: The Simon Wiesenthal Center is now urging Attorney General Jeff Sessions to create a special task force to catch the people who threatened to bomb dozens of Jewish centers. In fact, the 70th incident came early yesterday in San Diego.

Meantime, in St. Louis, the vigil was held last night, in the area where more than 100 headstones were vandalized on Monday.

SANCHEZ: Texas officials plan to appeal a federal judge's ruling that bars the state from withholding Medicaid money from Planned Parenthood. Texas cut off the Medicaid funds in December, accused Planned Parenthood of selling fetal body parts. It's based on a video secretly recorded by an anti-abortion group.

But the judge said there was no proof in that video that Planned Parenthood violated ethical or medical standards. The Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton says the ruling "flies in the face of basic human decency."

Many questions now surround the future of professional provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos after he resigned as editor for Breitbart News. Yiannopoulos parted ways with the website after old video surfaced in which he appears to condone sexual relationships between younger boys and older men.

Now, the comments cost Yiannopoulos his book deal and the speaking slot at the conservative political action conference. The provocateur says his book will be released later this year by a different publisher. And then he went on to say that he would start his own media company but that it wouldn't directly compete against Breitbart.

CABRERA: The Trump administration may use a new maneuver to try to negotiate better trade deals. Make the trade deficit look worse than it actually is. This change would center around so-called re-exports according to "The Wall Street Journal".

[04:40:01] Those are products assembled in the U.S. and made from parts that have been brought into the country like cars and machinery. Now, if those exports are removed from the trade balance, the trade deficit would skyrocket. That could give President Trump a better bargaining chip as he starts bilateral trade negotiations, especially with Mexico.

Here's a look at where things stand right now. The total U.S. trade deficit in 2016 was $502 billion. Meaning the U.S. imports more goods than it exports. By country, the biggest trade deficit is with China at $347 billion, and Japan, Germany and Mexico all around $60 billion. We haven't heard the president talk much about trade with Germany, but the rest on that list are frequent targets.

All right. Back here, don't forget tonight say big night on CNN. Eight candidates who want to leave the Democratic National Committee and they are set to hold a vote later this week. They will face off tonight in a debate live on CNN. It gets under way at 10:00 p.m. Eastern moderated by our Dana Bash and Chris Cuomo.

Here's why this is so important. This position is critical for the Democratic Party as they try to build the future and try to oppose President Trump and the Republicans who obviously hold the majority in Congress right now. So, be sure to join at 10:00 Eastern tonight on CNN.

SANCHEZ: Well, it's been an effort months in the making, and now, Iraqis say they're facing new obstacles as they try to force ISIS out of Mosul. Some of those challenges are underground. We'll explain, next.

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[04:45:46] CABRERA: Welcome back to EARLY START.

Iraq says it is making progress in a large scale push to retake western Mosul from ISIS. Officials say the U.S.-backed forces have cleared terrorists from a key village overlooking Mosul's airport. But the battle ahead will not be an easy one. As this war wages on, Iraqi forces are now discovering tunneling dug by ISIS, along with bomb-making factories believed to be tied to ISIS.

So, let's get out live to CNN senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman live in Irbil this morning with more.

Ben, officials have warned this was going to be a tough battle. Why is this city so crucial? BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's

crucial because it was really the first large city that ISIS captured back in June of 2014. It's Iraq's second largest city.

Now, the western part of Mosul is particularly problematic because it's more densely populated. There are about 800,000 civilians living there. And, of course, given that ISIS has been in control of the city for 2 1/2 years, they built extensive, for instance, network of tunnels. We already saw the Iraqi army discovering one of them, just south of the city.

Now, at this point, the Iraqi army is on a hill overlooking the airport. The airport is really their first major objective. Artillery has been pounding that airport since yesterday. And at some point, we're expecting them to start to move in.

But it's a hard battle also, because ISIS is using new weaponry. They, for instance, we saw a report this morning that they're using cluster munitions, in addition to drones, armed drones. These are just ordinary drones you can buy anywhere. And they arm them, and these drop explosives on the advancing Iraqi forces.

And not only is it hard going in the western part of the city. But the eastern part which was liberated about a month ago, they're still having trouble. We're hearing that for instance, ISIS sleeper cells which have been setting off bombs in the eastern part of the city, with increasing frequency, are also now passing out leaflets, warning people not to cooperate with the Iraqi forces.

So, you've got the problem of actually fighting ISIS on the ground in the west. And now, of course, you've got the worry about your rear with the sleeper cells increasingly active -- Ana.

CABRERA: All right. Thank you so much, Ben Wedeman, reporting.

SANCHEZ: To Europe now where Stockholm police are suggesting that increase pressure on criminals may have led to riots in a predominantly migrant suburb. Residents clash with police officers, some even throwing stones and setting cars on fire. Police fired warning shots to disperse the crowd as the situation continued to escalate.

They say the chaos broke out during the arrest of a suspect in a community made up of mostly immigrants. The clashes, of course, come just days after President Trump suggested immigrants in Sweden were to blame for increase in crime across the country.

To Asia now where Malaysian authorities want to talk to an employee of the North Korean embassy there in connection with the murder of Kim Jong-un's half brother, who police say was poisoned at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Meantime, security is being stepped up at the hospital where Kim Jong- nam's body is being held. Police say someone whose identity they say they know but they don't want to share made multiple attempts to break into the morgue. Officials say that Kim Jong-nam's cause of death will not be released until lab test from his autopsy are completed.

The story just gets weirder and weirder. I feel like some new revelation is going to come up something bizarre, and we're not going to be surprised. It's already so out there.

SANCHEZ: Indeed. Indeed.

Well, we're waiting to see when the bottom is going to drop out of the stock market which keeps going up and up. It's been an impressive winning streak. One stock helped lift the Dow to a fresh record high yesterday. It might be in your 401(k).

We'll get an early start on your money, next.

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[04:54:14] CABRERA: There are growing tensions between Russia and Ukraine at the United Nations following the sudden death of Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin.

Now, Ukraine is blocking a formal U.N. statement of condolences on Churkin's passing. And now, officials are confirming about 200 ceasefire violations in Eastern Ukraine just overnight.

Let's go to CNN's international correspondent Clare Sebastian live in Moscow.

So, Clare, with trying to block the condolences, what is Ukraine trying to accomplish?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was interesting, Ana, I think it just shows how high the tensions are running between Russia and Ukraine at the moment. This was a U.N. reaction essentially to the sudden death of Vitaly Churkin, Russia's long-serving U.N. ambassador.

[04:55:01] Several parties, including Russia, had wanted a presidential statement on this. This is a formal document issued of the council. But currently, Ukraine is holding the presidency, the rotating presidency of that council, and they blocked that move, opting instead for a press statement, the prime minister saying that was appropriate and another diplomat telling CNN that he believes that is the traditional way things are done.

But very strong words from Russia in response to this, the foreign minister Sergey Lavrov saying this goes against Christian values, it's beyond good and evil. And when asked about this in his regular with journalist on Tuesday, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, let God be their judge. So, extremely tense situation there politically.

And meanwhile on the ground in eastern Ukraine, a cease-fire that has brokered partly by Russia and Ukraine, with France and Germany as well is hanging by a thread essentially. As you said, the OSCE, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, that's an independent monitoring group that's monitoring the cease-fire there. They told me just a few hours ago that 200 cease-fire violations overnight. That half of them were explosions would suggest that heavy weaponry is still there on the front lines.

One of the key tenets of the cease-fire is to withdraw the heavy weaponry to a safe position, away from the other side. That apparently has not happened yet. So, this is still a very fragile situation, and particularly for the people there in that region.

CABRERA: All right Clare Sebastian reporting, thank you.

SANCHEZ: From Eastern Europe to sunny California, but in fact been very sunny. Look at this, mandatory evacuations are now under way in parts of San Jose. Parts of that city hit by severe flooding. More than two inches of rain has come down in the past 48 hours and overflowing creeks submerged whole neighborhoods.

There have been several water rescues, including one by helicopters, others by boat. Hundreds of people have had to be relocated there.

After years of severe drought, it's crazy to see them get inundated like this.

So, when will California see some relief? Let's bring in meteorologist Pedram Javaheri -- Pedram.

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PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Boris and Ana.

Some good news for California here in the next couple of days. Less rainfall expected. In fact, a lot of sunshine here ahead of us for places like San Francisco, they could still some flooding concern around Sacramento. And that risk will taper off as we go towards the weekend.

But I want to show you what we're deal with across places like the city of San Francisco there, where over 16, almost 16.5 inches of rainfall has come down this year. The average for a year, and a good year, is right around 19 inches. So, again, in the first 50-plus days of year, that is troublesome and that is precisely what led to all problems across that region.

But notice the broad spectrum, a lot of warmth, a lot of heat across parts of the country. We're running about 25 to 30 degrees above average in places like Chicago. Nearing 70 degrees, mid-May like temperatures, my friends in places like Chicago. Forty-plus cities could set record high temps by this afternoon and a lot of them right there around the central states and the Midwest.

But notice a cooling trend is in store in places like Oklahoma City, Little Rock and even Dallas from upper 80s down into lower 70s on Friday.

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CABRERA: I'm loving that warmer weather. But you know we're going to pay for it eventually.

All right. Let's get an early start on your money.

The Dow Jones Industrial average is riding an impressive eight-day winning streak and it's sitting at another record high this morning. Now, over the past eight days, the Dow is up 688 points, or nearly 3 1/2 percent. That has helped to more than double the gains for the year. NASDAQ and the S&P 500 also hitting record highs on Tuesday's close. You can expect more gains today. Futures are ticking higher.

Now, the biggest gainer on the Dow at Tuesday's close was Wal-Mart. Shares climbing 3 percent after the company beat profit estimates. Now, Wal-Mart stores in fact had their biggest quarterly in nearly five years, their quarterly earnings. It was the company's online sales that really impressed investors.

And check this out, sales at walmart.com surged 29 percent in that quarter. That's faster pace than Amazon's growth. Amazon has a much higher sales total but the big gain shows Wal-Mart is making up some grounds.

Wells Fargo holding senior managers responsible now for its fake account scandal, (INAUDIBLE) out of a job of this morning. The bank fired four employees who worked for the unit responsible for the illegal sales practices. Wells Fargo admitted last fall that it created more than 2 million fake accounts in customer names.

The bank still under investigation by the Department of Justice, congressional committees and the states attorney general and the bank is facing class action lawsuits from customers, employers and shareholders. That story is not over yet.

SANCHEZ: Not going away. A lot of people, current and former customers of Wells Fargo, certainly happy to see something come of dubious practices.

CABRERA: Accountability, yes.

SANCHEZ: EARLY START continues right now.

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CABRERA: Concern gripping immigrant communities as Homeland Security has outlined how it will enforce President Trump's orders on border security. What the DHS orders mean nationwide, moments away.

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