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EARLY START

The 89th Academy Awards Epic Fail Ending; White House Crackdown on Leaks; The Father of Slain Navy SEAL Seeking Investigation; U.S. and North Korea Talks Called Off; Malaysian Government Confirms Toxic Agent Killed Kim Jong-Nam. Aired at 4-4:30a ET

Aired February 27, 2017 - 04:00   ET

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


[04:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FAYE DUNAWAY, ACTRESS: "La La Land."

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- were standing on your shoulders. We lost, by the way, but you know.

JORDAN HOROWITZ, "LA LA LAND" PRODUCER: I'm sorry. No. There's a mistake. "Moonlight" you guys won Best Picture.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The award for best drama goes to the Oscars. An ending for the ages that saw one film awarded Best Picture only to see it taken away.

Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: I've seen it nine times and I still can't get over it. I'm Dave Briggs. Steve Harvey, you are off the hook.

It's Monday, February 27th. It's 4:00 a.m. in the east. And Hollywood's biggest night ends with a bang, just not the one anyone expected. A bizarre colossal blunder marred the end of the Academy Awards. It all started when legendary stars Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway took the stage to announce the winner for Best Picture.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FAYE DUNAWAY, ACTRESS: "La La Land."

(APPLAUSE)

DUNAWAY: It says Emma Stone.

ROMANS (voice-over): Just one problem, "La La Land" did not win Best Picture, the moment bringing squirm inducing flashbacks of Steve Harvey announcing the wrong Miss Universe in 2015. After two and a half minutes of acceptance speeches and on stage celebration for "La La Land," the mistake was announced.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- were standing on your shoulders. We lost, by the way, but you know.

HOROWITZ: I'm sorry. No. There's a mistake. "Moonlight" you guys won Best Picture.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Moonlight won.

HOROWITZ: This is not a joke.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not a joke. I'm afraid they read the wrong thing.

HOROWITZ: This is not a joke. "Moonlight" has won Best Picture. "Moonlight" Best Picture.

(APPLAUSE)

JIMMY KIMMEL, OSCAR HOST: I think you guys should keep it anyway.

Warren, I'm sorry. Guys, this is unfortunate what happened. Personally, I blame Steve Harvey for this. I would like to see you get an Oscar anyway. Why can't we just give out a whole bunch of them?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to be really proud to hand this to my friends from "Moonlight."

KIMMEL: That's nice of you.

(APPLAUSE)

WARREN BEATTY, ACTOR: Hello. Hello. I want --

KIMMEL: Warren, what did you do?

BEATTY: I want to tell you what happened. I opened the envelope and it said Emma Stone, "La La Land" that's why I took such a long look at Faye and at you. I wasn't trying to be funny.

KIMMEL: Well, you were funny.

BEATTY: Thank you very much.

KIMMEL: Wow, this is --

BEATTY: This is "Moonlight," the Best Picture.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: All right. I guess everyone was very graceful and gracious afterwards, but what a gaffe -- a gaffe for the ages. I want to bring in senior media correspondent Brian Stelter. He's host of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES." Good morning and thanks for coming in or good night. You've been up maybe all night watching this. We watched this half a dozen times. What happened?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: This is like the new Zapruder tape. You have to study this and figure out exactly what happened and what you hear is Warren Beatty clearly confused when he's looking at this envelope. So he has Faye Dunaway read it instead. It seemed like he knew something was amiss. They were actually reading the card for best actress for Emma Stone for "La La Land." So Faye went ahead and read the card --

ROMANS: You can see him there he's got the card.

BRIGGS: He looked for something else in it.

STELTER: Exactly. There's that kind of moment where I thought he was just trying to build anticipation and suspense but actually there was confusion of what was on the card. So, just a few minutes ago, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the company that's in charge of this and it has been for decades came out with a statement.

They are taking all the blame here saying, "We sincerely apologize to "Moonlight," "La La Land," Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway and Oscar viewers for the error that was made during the award announcement for Best Picture. The presenters had mistakenly been given the wring category envelope and when discovered was immediately corrected. We are currently investigating how this could have happened and deeply regret that this occurred."

And as you mentioned, Christine, the grace that was shown on stage, PricewaterhouseCoopers thanking everyone for that grace. Jordan Horowitz is the producer you hear say, "No, this is a mistake. "Moonlight" you won. And he says, "I'm going to be proud to hand this over to my friends, the producers of "Moonlight." So he kind of under that moment of pressure was, you know, handing the statue over.

[04:05:05] ROMANS: To get Best Picture and then have to give it to somebody else, you know.

STELTER: After having started to give the speeches, yes.

BRIGGS: So let's hear some of that graceful reaction to this gaffe from some of the central characters involved.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOROWITZ: I'm a little bit in a daze, but you know, it's what happened and I'm glad that I got to stand up there. I'm glad I got to invite my friends from "Moonlight" up there. I was just saying that, you know, it's become an incredible community of people and I've become particularly close with a lot of the people in that cast and on that crew. And it was, you know, things happen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When they said this is wrong. "Moonlight" actually won what did you guys -- what did you guys think? TREVANTE RHODES, ACTOR: We thought it was -- I mean, it seems as if

it was a joke, you know, I mean its Jimmy Kimmel. But I was like yes, kind of the most disrespectful joke you could play on somebody but OK, or it was like they were just like when "Moonlight" is the real winner, you know, they were just paying -- Yes, you know. But then it was real. And that was just the most unique moment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: You know what's really, I mean, remarkable to me how everyone was so cool and graceful about it, but it was a night where the headline was not about politics or political tone. It was a night where something else is finally the headline.

STELTER: You're absolutely right. The headline I have started to write (INAUDIBLE) was "La La Land-slide." That "La La Land" won a number of awards earlier in the night for song and for best director and all of that. And then best picture. Everyone erased, erased, erased on that headline.

"Moonlight" actually kind of sharing (ph) in the prizes. A lot of different movies are won during the night, but all of the jabs at President Trump, and there were quite a few, all of those definitely overshadowed by this.

BRIGGS: Let's play some of the political moments, most of them from Jimmy Kimmel in the open.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIMMEL: This broadcast is being watched live by millions of Americans and around the world in more than 225 countries that now hate us. We are very welcoming to outsiders here in Hollywood. We don't discriminate against people because or based on what countries they come from. We discriminate against them based on their age and weight.

But I want to say thank you to President Trump. I mean remember last year when it seemed like the Oscars were racist?

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Was there a Meryl Streep moment?

STELTER: Nothing like the Golden Globes with any of the winners making a big political statement. However, the man who was not on stage, the director of that film from Iran, "The Salesman" won the prize for Best Foreign Language Film. He boycotted the Oscars because of Trump travel ban. And instead, the person read a statement from him saying that that ban is inhumane and calling for empathy from the world.

So there were political moments throughout the event. Isn't that Kimmel joke is significant. We all did talk last year about the lack of diversity of the Oscars. Oscar so white was the hashtag. Not this year. From the end of the show, "Moonlight," an African-American film featuring African-American leads, but all the way also to the beginning of the night.

Actually a lot of diversity on that stage including the first Muslim actor to ever win an Oscar. It's amazing that in 2017, that is still a record. But there was a lot of diversity on stage -- gender, race and a variety of ways. So it's notable, a big change from last year.

ROMANS: Quickly, best actor was Casey Affleck, is that right?

STELTER: That's right, "Manchester by the Sea."

ROMANS: Interesting. I've not seen that one yet, but all right.

BRIGGS: But of course we'll all remember that gaffe.

STELTER: That was one of Amazon's first Oscars ever. You can actually stream "Manchester by the Sea" soon on Amazon.

ROMANS: All right, great. Thanks so much Brian. We'll talk to you in a few more minutes.

BRIGGS: We'll see you around half an hour. Well the outline of the president's first budget is coming together. What programs are safe and which agencies could see big cuts. That's ahead.

[04:10:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BRIGGS: This morning, the big build up begins to President Trump's first address to a joint session of Congress, that's tomorrow night in primetime. But first, the president has a busy day ahead of that speech with the special focus today on healthcare including meetings with the governors and health insurers, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Last night, the president joked about repeal and promised a quote, "very special replacement."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As most of you know, the Obamacare has had tremendous problems. I won't say in front of the Democrats. I'll just say it to the Republicans. It doesn't work but we're going to have it fixed and we're going to repeal and replace and I think you're going to see something very, very special.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: The White House also said to release outlines of its first budget proposal. Officials tell CNN the Trump budget will safeguard social security and Medicare but some other federal agencies including the EPA won't be spared.

ROMANS: More details could emerge on the president's plan for healthcare today, but if it resembles what GOP lawmakers are proposing, millions of Americans could lose coverage. A draft of the bill dated two weeks ago and obtained by CNN shows three reasons why.

First, subsidies based on income would be replaced with tax credits based on age, but may drive costs too high for older Americans and for those with a lower incomes or people who live in areas of higher medical costs. Second, the GOP plan eliminates enhanced funding for Medicaid. This was expanded under President Obama to help states support low income adults. The cut spending would leave some without coverage.

And finally, the plan keeps protections on pre-existing conditions, but let's insurers charge more for people who let their coverage lapse. That could price out some potential enrollees. The Republicans think this would be key to drawing and keeping younger, healthier people enrolled into this coverage. Something Obamacare has struggled to do in some areas.

BRIGGS: That's everything really, keeping younger healthier people -- buying the insurance and not waiting for the fine.

ROMANS: You have to have (INAUDIBLE) healthy in the pool, otherwise it just doesn't work.

BRIGGS: Yes, the stakes are huge for President Trump. Well, aides to Sean Spicer are now on notice.

[04:15:01] The White House Press Secretary asked his staff to hand over their work and personal cellphones so he could make sure they were not communicating with reporters. Spicer's crackdown comes following a series of leaks that proved embarrassing to the White House.

Sources say Spicer told his aides the use of encrypted texting apps like Signal and Confide violate the Federal Records Act. One source as Spicer also asked his staff not to leak details of this meeting or this crackdown on leaks, oops.

ROMANS: President Trump is back recruiting for a new Secretary of the Navy after his pick for the job backed out on Sunday. Philip Bilden withdrew his nomination citing complications created by his business interests. Bilden recently retired as a private equity investment manager.

In a statement, he says he concluded he would not be able to satisfy government ethics rules without disrupting his family's private financial interests. Bilden is the second service secretary nominee to withdraw after Vincent Viola backed out of the army secretary job citing his financial interest.

BRIGGS: And the father of the first service member killed under the Trump administration is slamming the president for green-lighting that mission that killed his son. Navy Seal William Ryan Owens was killed in a raid in Yemen last month. The White House has called the mission a success, but Owens father told the "Miami Herald," quote, "Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn't even barely a week into the administration? For two years prior there were no boots on the ground in Yemen. Everything was missiles and drones because there was not a target worth one American life. Now, all of a sudden we had to make this grand display?"

Owens also said he declined to meet President Trump when he showed up at Dover Air Force Base to pay his respects.

ROMANS: All right, the White House Correspondents Dinner is going on as scheduled but for the first time in decades, the president of the United States will not be there. Mr. Trump -- President Trump tweeted this, "I will not be attending the White House Correspondents Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening."

The last president to skip a correspondent's dinner was Ronald Reagan because he was recovering from an assassination attempt. President Trump's action comes as his administration escalates its war with the media. CNN, "The New York Times" and other media outlets were blocked from an off camera White House briefing on Friday.

BRIGGS: And we'll see if that is yet over as we'll have another press briefing with Sean Spicer today and they will certainly address that. Well, the U.S. and North Korea set to hold back channel talks until those announced that VX gas was used to kill the relative of North Korea's dictator and Kuala Lumpur. Were live in Malaysia.

[04:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: All right, good morning and welcome back. Planned back channel talks between the U.S. and North Korea are off at least for now. The Trump administration now withdrawing visa approvals for Pyongyang top officials on American relations. This last minute cancellations came just hours after the Malaysian government announced a toxic agent was used to kill Kim Jong-Nam, the half brother of North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-Un.

We have seen Alexandra Field live for us this morning in Kuala Lumpur. She's been following the twists and turns of this bizarre story. We understand Alexandra, South Korea made a major announcement about this investigation just a few minutes ago issue. Bring us up to speed.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sure. Intelligence officials in South Korea are pointing the finger directly at Kim Jong-Nam's half brother, the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un, calling this an act of terror saying he ordered it.

They are saying that the attacks on Kim Jong-Nam was carried out by two assassination groups with the help of a support group and they say the women who deployed that chemical weapon inside that busy airport terminal had been recruited by members of North Korea's National Security Ministry and also its foreign ministry.

The women who are seen on the CCTV video inside that airport just a few minutes before Kim Jong-Nam dies after being poisoned by the VX agent, have told diplomats from their home countries of Vietnam and Indonesia that they believed that they were playing part in a prank. Malaysian officials not buying that line. They say that these women were trained to handle what is classified as a weapon of mass destruction. How did they get it into that busy airport terminal? Well, experts tell us that you only need a couple of drops or a swab

of that incredibly potent liquid in order to kill a person in just a few minutes. The health ministry here in Malaysia is now saying that Kim Jong-Nam likely died a painful death and that he died within 15 to 20 minutes of the time that he was attacked with that nerve agent. Again, that question of how the women got it in the airport is raising a lot of alarm.

It was just this weekend however that investigators were in protective suits, went into the airport terminal conducting a sweep. They have determined there were no hazardous substances left in the airport. That certainly a relief Christine considering the fact that the airport has been open and operating as normal for nearly two weeks since this has happened.

ROMANS: Alex, quickly, how did the women not poison themselves if they have this on their hands?

FIELD: Yes, big question here. Look, North Korea has denied any allegations if they were involved in this at all, and they have asked the same question saying if these women poisoned him, why weren't they killed by the VX nerve agent. That's a question that Malaysian officials are looking at.

They are now examining the possibility that the women were given some kind of antidote. They also say the women were trained to protect themselves, that they knew how to handle this liquid. They could have had a barrier in place and they also appear in that video to walk away with their hands up. They were clearly instructed not to touch themselves the Malaysian authority say.

ROMANS: All right, Alex, keep us posted on all of this twist and turns. Thank you.

[04:25:08] BRIGGS: Another disturbing act of vandalism at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia. Police say between 75 to 100 headstones were overturned Saturday night. Investigators say they have not established a motive. It comes less than a week after a similar incident at a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis where vandals damaged dozens of headstones. From the start of the year, at least 69 bomb threats have been made to 54 Jewish centers and the U.S. and Canada.

ROMANS: All right, a great night at the Oscars for "La La Land" until the very end. We're going to show you the monumental flub. They got the wrong movie named best picture.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BRIGGS: If you went to bed thinking "La La Land" won Best Picture, well, think again.

[04:30:00] We have the epic envelope slip that ended the Oscars.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: Nice to see you this Monday morning everybody. BRIGGS: You too.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. Its 30 minutes past the hour.