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tv   Early Start with Christine Romans and Dave Briggs  CNN  January 26, 2018 1:00am-2:00am PST

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the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth just got interesting. donald trump ordered robert mueller fired as special counsel last year, but he backed down. why? the white house immigration plan is now on the table and includes a path to citizenship for nearly 2 million. toughens up immigration policies. one democrat calls the deal ransom for d.r.e.a.m.ers. >> apology out of you for the retweets. we would go a long way.
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>> here's what's fair. >> wait until you hear how the president answers that message. he is set to take the global message at the world economic forum. he will have the floor in four hours. good morning. welcome to "early start." i'm christine romans. >> i'm dave briggs. it is friday, january 26th. 4:00 a.m. in the east. it is 10:00 a.m. in davos, switzerland. we start with the president. if and when president trump speaks with special counsel robert mueller, expect one question. did you attempt to have me fired? we now have learned president trump ordered the firing of robert mueller last june. one person familiar says the president backed off when the white house counsel threatened to resign rather than carry out the order. >> this threatened to overshadow the president's speech at the
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economic forum. the address scheduled at 8:00 a.m. eastern time. jeff zeleny is there traveling with the president. clearly, the administration officials have been there talking to people in the hallways and doing interviews. the united states trying to say we are open for business. >> reporter: good morning, christine and dave. you are right. that is what the administration is doing this morning trying to talk about previewing what the president's message will be. i'm told by a senior administration official that the president is not going to be lecturing as much as previous addresses when he travels around the world, but will be wearing his salesman hat. saying america is open for business and talking about the strong economic growth and low unemployment and benefits from the tax law he signed late last year. the reality here is the white house knows this very well. all of this speech and all of this moment is indeed overshadowed by the
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investigation. is overshadowed by the overnight bombshell that is the president last june ordered the firing. wanted robert mueller to be fired here. this is something the white house cannot move beyond here as he tries to address business matters here at davos. the reality here for the last six or seven months, the white house has said it is not true. the president did not want to get rid of robert mueller. this, of course, is not the case. so the white house lawyers are not commenting on this. they are saying they are cooperating with the office of special counsel. the reality here now is this potential obstruction of justice investigation still going on here is centering more on that moment last june when the president, we are now reporting, and told wanted the firing of robert mueller. christine. >> bombshell. you are right. the russian investigation -- every development casting a long shadow to davos, switzerland.
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jeff zeleny, thank you. >> joining us on skype is senior analyst areeva martin. thank you for staying up late. a lot to discuss regarding the president's desire to fire the special counsel robert mueller. his counsel, mcgann said i will resign if you, in fact, go through with the order. legally speaking what has changed? >> well, legally, dave, we now know the president had a specific intent to get rid of the special counsel. that in and of itself is not evidence of obstruction. it is clearly part of the larger part ea-- pattern that is developing. we know he went on to fire james comey and did it because of the russia investigation. we know he was outraged with the recusal of jeff sessions from the investigation. he contemplated firing rod
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rosenstein. this looks like a president intent upon getting rid of mueller not because of cause for him being fired, but because he wanted to cover up his own wrongdoing. >> this this reporting, areva, the president naming three conflicts of interest for robert mueller. one of them dispute over membership fees at the trump golf club. mueller worked for a law firm that represented the kushner family and the day before he was appointed special counsel, he interviewed for the fbi director job. any of the valid conflicts of interest or reason why mueller shouldn't be able to do the russia investigation? >> all of those are completely baseless and obviously white house counsel mcgahn found them to be baseless or otherwise he would not have pushed back on the president when he ordered him to fire the special counsel. we have to look at what was
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going on in the summer, june of last year, when the president ordered the firing. we know that it had been reported that mueller was expanding the investigation to include obstruction of justice. we know mueller was expanding the investigation to look into the financial transactions of jared kushner. he brought on 13 of the nation's top lawyers, lawyers from experience from everything to watergate to enron. mueller's team was really gearing up to launch a full-scale investigation beyond the collusion investigations. i think all of those things that were happening in the summer are far more important than the alleged conflict of interest related to golf fees or the notion that mueller couldn't be objective because he had worked at a firm that also had represented jared kushner. >> former white house communications director
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scaramucci said this is irrelevant because the president did not fire robert mueller. he did not go through with it. if there is no crime, though, if there is no crime they were trying to cover up if we learn that in the end, can you have obstruction without a crime? >> oh, absolutely. obstruction in and of itself is a crime if there is a federal investigation which there is being conducted by the special counsel and the president is engaged in conduct to prevent that investigator from uncovering any kind of wrongdoing that he may or may not have done, that is obstruction. that is a crime. whether there's ultimately a finding of collusion with respect to russia is not the point here. i watched that interview. i have to tell you scaramucci is a harvard law grad as i am. i was perplexed by some of his comments and some of his response s. he seemed more intent upon trying to promote the president's trip and economic speech than deal with the
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reality of how shocking it is that the president would make an order to fire the special counsel at the -- literally one month after appointed and bring up golf fees as justification for that. thank goodness mcgahn pushed back and said he would rather be fired than carry out the order. >> the mooch also blamed or appeared to blame steve bannon for leaking this information. that's another discussion which we have to get into later. many feels this goes back to don mcgahn. areva martin, thank you. mixed reactions to the latest immigration proposal offered up by the white house. it calls for a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million young undocumented immigrants based on employment, education and good moral character.
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the white house framing the deal as a dramatic concession for those eligible for daca and thousands of others. >> and the white house wants a $25 million trust fund for the border wall and more funds for personnel. closing legal loopholes. cutting family based or chain migration beyond spouses and minor children. and end to the diversity visa lottery program. >> several republican senators back the white house plan. those you see here. the response from house republicans largely muted as a sign conservatives are not exactly in love with the president's proposal. democrats are unhappy too. despite the offer of a pathway to citizenship. one calling the plan a way to get every item on stephen miller's white supremacist wish list. >> and dick durbin says this plan would put the
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administration's entire hard line immigration agenda on the backs of d.r.e.a.m.ers. it would be cheaper to he investigate a 50 foot concrete statue of a middle finger pointed to latin america. and the populous president on the global stage. four hours from now, president trump delivers his message at the world economic forum in davos. ahead of the speech, the president making comments on a controversy he sparked last year. cnn's nic robertson is live in davos. nic, good morning. the president doesn't do many interviews back here, but over there, he is talking about controversies. what are you hearing this morning? >> reporter: sure. he met with british prime minister theresa may yesterday. she wanted to meet because she believes the united states and great britain have a special relationship. president trump called it a great relationship. one of the things they discussed
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after britain leaves the european union was the president trip to great britain. this came at the invitation of the prime minister last year. the relationship with the two countries blame clouded and muddy following the retweets of small right wing british national organization. the broadcaster sat down with president trump to clear some of that up, if you will. >> i'm in the united states. i don't read as much about it. perhaps it was a big story in britain and the uk. in the united states, it wasn't a big story. >> can i get an apology out of you for the retweets? it would go a long way. >> here is what is fair. if you are telling me it is horrible racist people, i would certainly apologize if you like me to do that. i know nothing about them. >> reporter: it appears piers morgan trying to help president
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trump. eased some of the british public. a lot of people in. uk consider it inappropriate that this time of political burden for the british prime minister. for president trump, everyone watching the meeting he is heading into right now with the chairman of the african union. expected to perhaps get into the issues of what president trump said behind closed doors at the white house of africa and other nations. >> nic, piers morgan said the president apologized. he did not. that may be the closest thing we heard to an apology. it was huge news when he tweeted those videos back here. maybe not on trump television, but more of the country, that was a concerning story. we appreciate the developments from davos. nic robertson, thank you. the u.s. dollar rebounding after trump told investors don't worry. >> the dollar is going to get
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stronger and stronger and ultimately i want to see a strong dollar. >> the dollar jumped 1% just a day after the treasury secretary steve mnuchin's words said a weaker dollar is good for trade. that is the biggest drop in a year. trump said the comments were taken out of context. with his remarks earned a tongue lashing from the head of the european central bank not to start currency wars. in davos today, as globalization is preached, president trump defending america first. raising alarms about protectionism. not so says gary cohn. >> the president delivers his speech tomorrow. he will talk about the role that america plays in the world and as america grows, the world grows. it is good for the world to grow. we grow when america grows. >> so america first, but not an
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america alone. that is the -- but not america alone. cohn says it is about a level playing field. not proptectionismprotectionism breaking news. 37 dead and hundreds others injured in the hospital fire in south korea. the officials say it started on the first floor of the hospital in the city of miryang. 160 miles from seoul. many were elderly and died from smoke inhalation. it is the south korean deadliest fire in a decade. could it discredit the fbi? senator ron johnson now taking a different approach. what he now says about texts between two fbi officials. the latest twist in the non
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4:18. some exerts between lisa page and peter strozk appeared to look like a special prosecutor was moving in. the last thing you need us going in loaded for bear. response? agree agreed. >> the republicans have been using this issue to discredit the fbi. including a text by page suggesting a secret society wc b within the bureau. ron johnson is now backing off ichlt. >> -- backing off. >> senator, the comment of the secret society is in jest? >> it is a possibility. >> a possibility. not exactly strong enough there from the senator. the justice department inspector
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general informing lawmakers that a trove of missing messages has been recovered. forensic cotools were used to recover those. melania trump unannounced. flying to west palm beach and mystery surrounding her travel. the reason for her florida visit not yet clear. also unclear whether the first lady is back in washington this morning. the first lady made an unannounced visit to the holocaust memorial museum in washington. mrs. trump was supposed to go to swi switzerland. >> there have been no public comments from the first lady since the story broke of the alleged affair with stormy daniels, four months after melania trump gave birth to her
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son. her attorney denies the payoff. stormy daniels scheduled to appear on jimmy kimmel's show. no comment from the first lady there. a lot of folks wonder if she is coming back from mar-a-lago or spending the weekend there. i think monday was their 13th wedding anniversary. >> no comments about the anniversa anniversary. for the one-year inauguration interview. that fueled speculation where she did not mention her husband or the president and showed a photograph of her and an unnamed military adviser or escort. it was interesting. you can read into all that. we shall see when we hear from him. the u.s. olympic committee wants the entire board of usa gymnastics to resign over the larry nassar scandal. now calls for the investigations
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these houses! yes, yes and yes. and don't forget about them. uh huh, sure. still yes! xfinity delivers gig speed to more homes than anyone. now you can get it, too. welcome to the party. the united states olympic committee calling on the members of the usa gymnastics board to resign in the wake of the larry nassar abuse scandal. the head of the usoc is giving board members until the end of the month to leave and interim board in place by february. citing rebuilding of the usa gymnastics culture. >> in a statement, usa gymnastics embraces requirements laid down by the usoc but did not commit to resignations. several members of the house and senate calling for congressional inquiry into the usoc and usa gymnastics.
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more than 150 women and girls spoke out about being abuse by nassar. education secretary betsy devos is investigating actions of michigan state where nassar was employed. >> students at michigan state are going ahead with the planned march today after the university president lou anna simon resigned. organizers say it is a march for survivors and change. cnn learned that president simon has the option to return to the faculty at her current salary of $750,000. the latest in the me too movement. casey affleck has withdrawn from the academy awards. if tradition held, he would have presented the best actor oscar to this year's winner. affleck was sued for sexual harassment by two women in 2010. he denied the claims and lawsuits were settled out of court. academy officials appreciate the decision to keep the focus on
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the show and the great work of the past year. the president and first lady had their eyes on a van gogh. the trump offered to borrow it and the museum offered a gold toilet. it sat in a public restroom on the fifth floor for visitors to use. the museum said the toilet was available if the trumps wanted it installed. >> not their number one offer, but they got a solid number two offer. >> the golden loo. i can't get enough of that one. it may be the scariest and least surprising news of the day. scientists have moved the hands of the symbolic dooms day clock. we are now two minutes from global anniliation.
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the concern over nuclear weapons and climate change. last time this clock was this close to dooms day was 1953 at the height of the cold war. we he got that going for us. which is nice. >> looks like cocktail hour to me. "early start" continues right now with the breaking news the president wanted to fire special counsel robert mueller. some breaking news overnight. the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth got a lot more interesting. president trump ordered robert mueller fired as special counsel last year. why did he back down? a white house immigration plan on the table. it includes a path to citizenship for nearly 2 million, but toughens up other
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immigration policies. one democrat calls the deal r randra ransom for d.r.e.a.m.ers sdplchlt c. >> can i get an apology out of you? >> here's what's fair. >> wait until you hear how the president answered that question. he is said to take his america first message to the global audience at the world economic forum this morning. boy will that message be overshadowed by news back here. welcome to "early start." i'm dave briggs. >> i'm christine romans. it is typical "new york times" fake news. here is what we are talking about. expect one provocative question. did you attempt to have him fired? we have learned president trump ordered the firing of robert mueller last june. one person familiar with the matter told cnn the president backed off when house lawyer don
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mcgahn threatened to quit. senior white house correspondent jeff zeleny joining us live from davos. jeff, good morning to you. pushing back on the breaking news. >> reporter: indeed. good morning, dave and christine. the president as he was heading into the meeting in davos, he was asked by reporters about the bo bombshell report. that he wanted robert mueller fired last june. he said fake news. fake news. typical "new york times" story. the president went on to talk about his warm reception in davos. reporters asked him specifically about. that he respond-- specifically
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that. he gives that speech later this morning he will essentially be wearing a sales man's hat. encouraging to invest in america and the successes of the first year in office. the reality is this speech at davos and trip to davos has indeed been overshadowed by the overnight revelation here that the president was eager to get rid of the special counsel. it is important to think back what was going on at that time. this was in june. a couple of weeks after he fired the fbi director james comey. now, of course, his mindset at the time was he thought the investigation was going in the wrong direction. the question now is is this obstruction of justice investigation. is that what the special counsel is looking at? the president said he would be happy to sit down with the special counsel's office. he may get that wish in a couple weeks.
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dave and christine. >> thank you, jeff. a very busy day. thank you, jeff. >> joining us from los angeles is areva martin. thank you for staying up late for us. a lot of developing news. you heard the president telling reporters and telling onlookers at davos this is fake news. typical "new york times." that is common refrain from this president. when you look at the reporting and this idea that this is almost a saturday night massacre for the president. what do you make of it? >> christine, this is a bombshell report by "the new york times." it is interested to note as trump is calling this fake news, one of his closest allies came on television and said he was considering firing mueller. as the story was developing, they didn't deny the story. i think we have to take it with
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a grain of salt when the president calls this fake fuss. this s -- fake news. this is devastating. this goes to specific intent. to prove obstruction, mueller and his team have to show trump had corrupt intent. was he interfering with the investigation to protect his interests or pursue his own interests? that is at the crux of the story. when you put together the order to fire mueller with the outrage over his jeff sessions recusing himself and reports he wanted to fire rod rosenstein and james comey, this is looking to protect trump and prevent mueller from finding any wrongdoing with respect to his team's collusion or conspiracy with russia during the 2016 election.
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>> you know, it may be tough to label this one fake news when you read into this. it sounds this could only have come from his inner circle of confidants. this could not have come from some enemy or deep state person trying to undermine the president. some suggested it came from mcgahn himself to protect the president from doing it angaaga. that is all speculation. as for legal avenues. three conflicts of interest. the president was over fees at a golf club. the president's golf club in virginia. two was that bob mueller interviewed to be the acting fbi director before appointed special counsel. then he used to work at a law firm that also represented jared kushner. any of those hold up as conflicts of interest legally speaking? >> no, dave. these are all completely baseless claims.
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clearly justification to support the decision by trump to fire mueller. so much so that his white house counsel pushed back on him. if mcgahn thought these were legitimate reasons to fire bob mueller, he would have sanctioned it and followed trump's order. he didn't. he relented. he refused to follow that order because none of the stated reasons would be justification. ro rod rosenstein would not fire mueller. this would have been a saturday night massacre because he would have had to go through several employees at the department of justice before -- assuming he could have found someone to carry out this order. all of this is shocking when we look at the president of the united states rather than being transparent and participating in the investigation as he keeps
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clee claiming he wants to do, we learn he had every intention to fire bob mueller or shut off the investigation and prevent the american people from knowing what actually happened during the 2016 election. >> areva martin, thank you so much for your insight and staying up with us. the president asked about the story on his way to the meeting with the rwandan president. >> fake news, folks. typical "new york times" fake story. >> we will hear from the president in three hours. mixed reactions to the immigration proposal offered by the white house. it calls for a pathway of citizenship for 1.8 million undocumented immigrants. this is a dramatic concession because those are eligible for daca. >> in exchange, the white house wants a $25 billion trust fund for border wall and security
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technology. more funds for personnel. closing legal loopholes. cutting family based or chain migration beyond spouse and minor children. and end to the diversity visa lottery programs. >> several back the plan. the response from house republicans muted. a sign that conservatives are not in love with it. one advocate saying this is a plan to get every item on stephen miller's white supremacist wish list. >> dick durbin said this would put the entire hard line immigration agenda on the backs of the young people. meaning d.r.e.a.m.ers. and this from luis gutierrez. it would be cheaper to erect a
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50-foot concrete statue of a middle finger. and the visa for high skilled foreign workers is looking to expand the program. jeff flake and orrin hatch introduced the bill. it would increase to 85,000 to 65,000 and offer additional 110,000 visas based on demand. demand exceeds supply in silicon valley where the program is near and dear. tech companies recruit skilled workers they cannot find in the u.s. industry groups says it meets the needs of the economy and boost the growing domestic work force. employers may not use the visa to substitute american workers. all right. the populous president on the global stage. three hours from now, president trump delivers his america first message in davos.
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ahead of the speech, the president making interesting comments on the controversy he sparked last year. nic robertson has more on that live in davos. good morning, nic. >> reporter: good morning, dave. we are getting some ideas of the contours of the president's speech. he will hit on iran and opening by saying america is open for business with the regulations in the u.s. is friendly. he is likely to out to how well his policies have done so far. some of the message reflect what we heard at the apex summit back in november. the trade needs to be fair and needs to be equitable. he will say the united states needs to be tough on those who violate intellectual property rights. he is heading into the meeting with the president of rwanda. president trump's comments just
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a few weeks ago about some african nations. yesterday, he met with theresa may, the british prime minister. he said they have a great relationship. she said they had a special relationship. trying to patch things up. he said any reports they were not getting along were false rumors. britain extending the invitation for the president to go to britain. that is likely to happen this year. the president talked with the british broadcaster about the right wing britain first retweets. this is how the interview went. >> i'm in the united states. i don't read as much about it. perhaps it was a big story in britain. in the united states it wasn't a big story. >> can i get an apology out of you for the retweets? it would go a long way. >> here's what's fair. if you are telling me it is horrible -- i would certainly
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apologize if you like me to do that. i know nothing about them. >> reporter: piers morgan trying to get the president to placate for the retweets. >> as we parents tell our kids, nic, you say i'm sorry. those words sorely missing. nic robertson live in davos. thank you. at least 37 people dead and more than 100 injured in the hospital fire in south korea. fire officials still do not know what caused the blaze. it started in the emergency room on the first floor of the hospital in the city of miryang. 160 miles from seoul. many patients were elderly and died from smoke inhalation. it is the deadliest fire in south korea in a decade. after days of spreading information that could discredit the fbi, senator ron johnson taking a different approach.
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what he now says about texts between two fbi officials and that quote secret society.
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new texts exchanges between fbi officials peter strzok and lisa page appeared to show the two discussing the hillary clinton e-mail investigation and whether or not a special prosecutor should be brought in. page writing in 2016, she may be our next president. the last thing you need is loaded for bear. strzok's response agreed. >> supports have been using this and other issues to discredit the fbi. including a text by page suggesting the secret society within the bureau. days after raising alarms about the is secret society texts, ron johnson, chair of the senate homeland committee is backing off a bit. >> senator, this text message seems to be a comment of a
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secret society in jest. do you agree? >> certainly a possibility. >> the reporting now is this is just a joke. >> referencing a gag. >> the ig's office reports a trove of the missing texts between the two has been recovered. tools have been used to recover the texts from december of 2016 to may of 2017. >> it is out there now. you muddied the water. this is why you should practice patience as a united states senator and wait until you get the context and background. ron johnson knows better than that. he knew better than that yesterday. pa pardon me. president trump reversing an obama era directive to shutdown
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guantanamo bay. he is expected to announce his plans during the state of the union next week. a congress member from massachusetts will deliver the democratic response. patrick meehan will not seek re-election. the pennsylvania republican under fire for using taxpayer dollars to pay off a former staff member who accused him of sexual harassment. he said he felt a deep affection for his accuser. he saw her as a soul mate, but never pursued a romantic relationship. she insists he did. he will repay the funds if the house ethics committee found he harassed the woman. the story getting attention this week. decades younger than he was. worked with him as an aide. he had developed by his own admission these feelings for her
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that they were somehow life partners and work partners. women really were just appalled and saying look the younger women who work for you don't want to be your soul mate. they want to work. >> not just say you won't run -- the longer you hang around. walmart looking to japan for help. cnn money stream is next. we do whatever it takes to fight cancer. these are the specialists we're proud to call our own. experts from all over the world, working closely together to deliver truly personalized cancer care. expert medicine works here. learn more at cancercenter.com and i'm the founder of ugmonk. before shipstation it was crazy. it's great when you see a hundred orders come in,
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a grief-stricken mother calling the final phone call from her daughter.
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bailey holt's mother called her cell phone. it rang and rang. bailey finally called back. >> all i could hear was voices and chaos in the background. she couldn't say anything. i tried to call her name over and over and over. she didn't respond. i know she was having a hard time, too. >> he still took her? >> he still took my baby from me. >> devastating. bailey holt died tuesday at marshall county high school in benton, kentucky. the shooter is also 15. charged with two counts of murder and assault. he has not been named. there is still to motive. classes at marshall county high school resume today. casey affleck, the oscar winner last year, has withdrawn from the academy awards. he would have presented to this
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year's winners. no official reason for the move. he was sued for sexual harassment in 2010. the academy officials in a statement saying they appreciate the decision to keep the focus on the show and great work of the past year. the president and first lady have their eyes on the van gogh at the googenheim. the white house asked to borrow it and the museum declined and counteroffered. a functional solid gold toilet. the toilet was part of the interactive exhibit called "america." it rested on the fifth floor for visitors to use. the googenheim said the exhibit was finished and the toilet was available if the trumps wanted it installed. in the scariest move, scientists moved the hands of the dooms day clock 30 seconds closer to midnight. we are two minutes closer to
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annila annililation. the last time the clock was this close to dooms day was back in 1953 at the height of the cold war when the hydrogen bomb was tested. and looking at pictures of president trump in davos, switzerland. >> let's listen in. >> it is an honor to have you as a friend. >> the president will have group discussio discussions with rwanda and the united states. rwanda has benefitted tremendously. many areas where you support
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operatio operations. we have the united states on our side supporting us. we have supported our economy and investment. for the united states to support rwanda, mr. president, i wanted to thank you for the support we received from you and the administration. we are looking forward to working with the united states. where we are moving the reforms to get our act together to do the right things. that helps in cooperating with the united states. it would be more beneficial when we were organized. >> sure. >> for that, i thank you very much. >> i thank you very much. it is a great honor to have all of you here. we'll speak a little bit longer.
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thank you very much. >> thank you. >> the president of rwanda. a lot of people had their eyes on that interaction because of the "s hole" reference the president made. satellite/radrah sanders said t reaffirm the relationship. he called the comments demeaning and unnecessary. no sense if they came up there. >> it shows the president has been taking meetings at davos and his team on the ground talking to reporters and talking to people trying to push this america first, but not america alone message. we will hear from the president in three hours. "early start" continues right now.
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>> the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. just got a lot more interesting. president trump ordered robert mueller fired as special counsel last year. why did he back down? the white house immigration plan is on the table. it includes a path to citizenship for nearly 2 million but toughens other parts of america's immigration system. one democrat calls the deal ransom for d.r.e.a.m.ers. can i get an apology out of you for the retweets? it would go a long way. >> here's what's fair. >> wait until you hear how the president answered that question. set to take his america first message to a global audience at the world economic for um. it is a busy news friday. good morning. welcome to "early start." i'm dave briggs. >> i'm christine romans

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