tv Early Start With John Berman and Christine Romans CNN February 15, 2017 2:00am-3:01am PST
to take on a proposed border tars sources saying the chief executives of target, jy penney, best guy and gap are going to be meeting with president trump plus leaders of tractor supply, autozone and jo-ann fabrics. they're going to be lobbying with congressional republicans for a broad border tax. that could influence any company that imports goods. and could lead to higher prices for consumers and sales. we talk about a lot of uncertainty in the health care environment, but retailers are feeling that uncertainty as well. all right. "early start" continues right now. breaking overnight, top advisers to donald trump's presidential campaign were in frequent contact with russian officials at the same time, moscow was executing the hack of the dnc. and the white house now trying to limit the damage following the resignation of
michael flynn. new questions are emerging about why key information was kept from the v.p. good morning, everyone. a lot going on. welcome to "early start." i'm john berman. >> very busy morning. i'm alison kosik. it's wednesday, february 15th, 5:00 a.m. in the east. breaking overnight, sources tell cnn there was constant communication during the 2016 campaign between russian operatives and top aides to then candidate donald trump. the extensive contact was picked up agency part of routine surveillance. our sources tell us it drew the attention of u.s. intelligence and law enforcement as russia was known to be
hacking mostly democratic organizations. the new revelations coming as the white house tries to limit the damage following the resignation of national security adviser after he misled the white house about his own contacts with russia during the transition. for the latest now, let's get to cnn's pamela brown in washington.
>> reporter: well, good morning, john and alison. high level advisers to presidential nominee donald trump were in close contact with those known to former intelligence and law enforcement tell cnn. president-elect trump and then president obama were both briefed on communications between suspected russian operatives and people soshgtsed with the trump campaign and trump business according to u.s. officials familiar with this matter. and both the frequency of the communications and proximity to trump raised a
red flag to u.s. intelligence and law enforcement. and according to these officials the communications intercepted targeting officials and other russian nationals known to u.s. intelligence. among several senior trump very fares regularly communities were then campaign manager paul
manafort and michael flynn. officials say communications between campaign staff and representatives of foreign governments are not unusual. however, these stood out to investigators due to the frequency and level involveinvestigators have not reached a judgment on the intent of those conversations. but adding to u.s. investigators' concerns were intercepted communications between russian officials before and after the election discussing their belief that they had special access to trump. now, two law enforcement officials tell cnn these officials caution the russians could have been exaggerating their access. john and alison. >> pamela brown in washington. for every twist and turn, moscow has denied again and again that it did anything to influence the u.s. election despite all of the information to the contrary. what does the kremlin have to say now? cnn's is live in moscow. we've in contacts with the trump team during the campaign.
how do they see it now? >> it's interesting, john, we just had a reaction from the kremlin spokesman dmitry peskov when asked about a report out by "the new york times." he said don't read morning newspapers. when pressed on this, he said maybe there is some information about who these people are and when these events took place. perhaps when the time comes, someone will say something about us. let's wait for that. don't believe this personalized information. what we read into this, he's trying to dismiss this is aing it comes from unnamed sources. but interestingly, you know, this is a relationship that's under a lot of scrutiny here in moscow and the u.s. and we are expecting to see a high-level meeting takes place tomorrow in germany, between rex tillerson, the u.s. secretary of state and his counterpart sergey lavrov. they will be looking for more clarity from each other on how
the russia/u.s. relationship is going to go. several key military incidents have been reported on the u.s. side. a russian spy ship floating off the coast of delaware. russian jets buzzing a u.s. naval ship. that apparently happened last week in the black sea. the russian defense ministry denying that. and the report that russia has deployed a cruise missile in violation of a 1987 treaty. there's a lot of concern that this relationship might not be quite as smooth as they had originally anticipated from trump's statements during the campaign. >> watching from washington, clare sebastian, thank you so much. let's break it down, cnn politics digital manager zach wolf. zach, great to see you. let me get your reaction to the news that broke overnight. if you went to sleep for two hours you missed, honestly, the latest giant development the
word from cnn and "the new york times" reporting that trump official has contact with russian officials during the campaign. just a basic question, zach, why should that matter to the american people? >> well, simply because, you know, for so long, there have been these talks about, you know, essentially, this idea of russia and the trump campaign has been something that's dogged it. since day one. i mean there was paul manafort. the then campaign manager who was forced out over, you know, his ties to russia. and then michael flynn, his national security adviser. so the idea of the trump campaign and then the trump administration talking to russia has been something we've been talking about for months now. and the latest revelations show that people in the campaign, paul manafort specifically were talking to people in russia. it's just kind of an incredible thing to learn. that u.s. intelligence and, you
know, the fbi were talking about this stuff. >> and you make a good point. i mean, the white house has really gone to great lengths to try to convince the american people that the white house doesn't have any kind of relationship with russia. even, you know, whether it's kellyanne conway or sean spicer even talking about this hours before the latest information came out. listen to what he said at a white house briefing. >> back in january, the president said that nobody in his campaign had been in touch with the russians. now, today, can you still say definitively, that nobody on the trump campaign, not even general flynn, had any contact with the russians before the election? >> my understanding is that what general flynn has now expressed that during the transition period -- well, we were very clear that during the transition period he did speak with the ambassador. >> i'm talking about during the campaign. >> i don't have -- there's nothing that would conclude me that anything different has changed with respect to that time period. >> you know, it just feels like
there's an incredible cover-up happening here. >> well, it certainly goes to the issue of white house credibility. i mean, sean spicer, he might not have known. he wasn't a member of the trump campaign. he was working for the rnc. so maybe there's obviously some deniability for him there. but, you know, the idea that russia already was working against the clinton campaign, something that's been documented by the u.s. government. and the intelligence committee before trump got in office. but they were also talking to the trump campaign, kind of, it raises eyebrows to be sure. and even republicans, on capitol hill are saying this needs to be investigated now. and that was before the most recent revelations. so, you kind of feel like we're at a tipping point with this whole story right here. >> i do want to get to the issue of capitol hill because of the key players going forward. it's not just sean spicer denying there were contacts. mike pence, once again, on a
sunday show on january 15th, he was asked directly did anybody in the campaign have contact with the russians. listen to what he said. >> was there any contract in any way between trump or his associations and the kremlin or cutouts? >> of course not. why would there be any contacts between the campaign. chris, this is all a distraction. and it's all a part of a narrative to delegitimize the election. and to question the legitimacy of this presidency. >> the question is there actually were discussions. the important question now is what were those discussions about? what did they discuss? did they discuss something that was beyond just pleasantries and looking forward to perhaps the next four years, if donald trump would win. and a lot of that has to do with how much republicans on capitol hill will seek to investigate this? how much will they seek to investigate the michael flynn matter. and we're getting sort of different grades of answers on that right now. >> that's right. i mean, there are a number of
house and senate committees that could look into this. and, you know, to varying degrees of secrecy, if something happens in the intelligence committee, those have a tendency to sort of go away for, you know, months even years at a time. and you don't hear anything about them. is it going to be in a more public committee where people are called up and asked to testify in public. that could be a little more explosive, i think in the public psyche. it seems like, you know, this is a very difficult thing for republicans on capitol hill. they're essentially investigating themselves. it's their guy in the white house. and that's why it's going to be so remarkable to see them investigating, you know, these ties. and you have to call them ties at this point, between the trump campaign and the trump white house. you know, those people are gone, perhaps, now or not. but those ties have existed between them and the russian government. it's remarkable. >> and what they talked about, the content of what they talked about. zach, we've got so much more to
talk about. we're going to bring you back in about 20 minutes to discuss this morning. >> thank you. the white house hoping to shift the conversation today, hosting the israeli prime minister. we are live in jerusalem with a preview. okay, so what's our latest data say? our customer is a 21-year-old female. heavily into basketball. wait. data just changed... now she's into disc sports. ah, no she's not. since when? since now. she's into tai chi. she found disc sports too stressful. hold on. let me ask you this... what's she gonna like six months from now? who do we have on aerial karate? steve. steve. steve. and alexis. uh, no. just steve. just steve. just steve. live business, powered by sap. when you run live, you run simple.
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bring in cnn's oren liebermann. oren, that news came out of a briefing last night from white house officials. the language they used is that donald trump will no longer insist on the two-state solution, being the primary goal of mideast peace. >> and that's a very big break from decades of u.s. foreign policy which says a two-state solution, an israel state and palestinian state is the only option. that senior white house official saying the white house is open to any options that both sides agree to. the palestinians have made it clear there is no other option. they will only agree to a palestinian state next to an israeli state. what this shows, the white house policy remains unclear. it's not net been formally formulated. we've seen a change over the course of the election and the last few months. initially, president trump had promised to move the embassy from tel aviv to jerusalem. that is a promise he's backed away from. the administration saying still
evaluating here. as well as settlement here. felt that president trump hwoul be pro-settler. and now we have more evidence that the middle east policy hasn't yet been formulated. he's waiting for input from arab diplomats. and certainly, president netanyahu trying to get a better ideas of as well. netanyahu wants to keep the meeting focused on both iran and security as well as cooperation between the two countries. he wants to keep it away from the israeli palestinian conflict and certainly any conflict from a palestinian state. that's because he's under pressure from a coalition and even his own party to back away from a peace process in pursuit of a palestinian state. john, this meeting is so important for both leaders. the optics of it, a statement coming before they've even talked. these leaders trying to show that the relationship is off to a very strong start in the early
days. administration here. >> oren liebermann, we'll be watching alongside, 11:00 in the united states. a major exit from obamacare. humana saying it's going to drop coverage in 11 states. it covers 152,000 policyholder in those states. it will be covered through the end of the year. the company says it expects to lose $45 million on those exchanges. humana saying costs are too high and there aren't enough young healthy enrollees in the poll. this is the first major surge under president trump. the president did tweet on this saying obamacare continues to fail. humana to pull out in 2018 will repeal and replace health care for all americans. big news this morning. kate upton is now a three-time
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>> well, the sand castle swimsuit cover model. kate tweeted she's honored and excited to be back with an issue that celebrates beauty and confidence in all shapes an sizes. that's good stuff. her fiance justin verlander was pumped, too, sending out tweets to her. >> you remember how she was with verlander. go back and look at what he said. i can't repeat what he said on tv. top advisers to donald trump's presidential campaign had extensive contact with russian officials. we've got details -- next. why do people put milk on cereal?
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♪ breaking overnight -- new questions for president trump dating back to his time as candidate trump top advisers to his campaign were in frequent contact with russian officials. the question this morning, what were they talking about? also new questions over the michael flynn debacle at the white house. why was the vice president kept in the dark about disclosing flynn's conversation with russia about sanctions? good morning, welcome to "early start." i'mal lason cossack. >> i'm john berman. the swirl in the eye of the storm, sources say there was constant communication between russian operative and then top aides to then candidate donald trump. the extensive contact was picked
almost part of routine surveillance of russian officials and others. it drew the attention partly because it came as russia was known to be hacking mostly democratic organizations. the new revelations comes as the white house tries to limit the damage followed the resignation of national security adviser michael flynn after he allegedly misled the white house on his own transition. let's get the latest on this. breaking developments overnight with cnn's pamela brown in washington. good morning, john and alison. high-level advisers close to donald trump were in communication, former intelligence, law enforcement and administration officials tell cnn. president-elect trump and then president barack obama were both briefed on the instances of communications between suspected russian operatives and people associated with the trump campaign and the trump business, according to u.s. officials familiar with this matter. and both the frequency of the
communications and the proximity to trump of those involved raised a red flag with u.s. intelligence and law enforcement. and according to these officials, the communications were intercepted during routine intelligence collection targeting u.s. officials and other russian nationals known to u.s. intelligence. many several senior trump advisers regularly communicating with russian nationals were then campaign manager paul manafort and then adviser michael flynn according to our sources. officials say conversations between campaign staff and foreign governments are not unusual. however, she's stood out due to the frequency and level of advisers involved. adding that u.s. investigators were concern were intercepted communications between russian officials before and after the election dufg their belief that they had special access to trump. now, two law enforcement of officials tell cnn these officials caution the russians could have been exaggerating their access.
john and alison. >> all right, pamela brown. thanks very much. through every twist and turn in the trump saga, moscow has denied again and again that it did anything to influence the u.s. election despite mounting evidence to the contrary. so what does the kremlin have to say now. cnn's clare sebastian is joining us with the latest. many americans are waking up stunned to hear the revelations. what are you hearing from moscow? >> we just heard from the kremlin spokesman dmitry peskov. he didn't actually deny any conversations. the deputy foreign minister admitted a few days after the election there were conversations with russia and the trump campaign. but the spokesman did pour cold water on the reporting of this saying don't read morning newspapers. he did say, more might come out
so let's waits for that time, leaving the door open there. it is the kind of rhetoric we've been hearing coming outside of russia all morning against the media, mainly. another senior russian politician tweeted earlier trying to beat trump with the russia card. essentially suggesting that the media are trying to whip up anti-russian feeling around this president for a long time saying he had wanted close relations with russia. one thing the russians are worried about, alison, is that comment by sean spicer in the briefing yesterday when he said that president trump wanted crimea to be returned to ukraine. both the kremlin and foreign ministry saying that is a closed issue. that will not happen. something some strain appearing in the relationship after there was so much hope. >> do were have that sound about crimea? let's list to that.
>> the president has been incredibly tough on russia. he continues to raise the issue of crimea which the previous administration allowed to be seized by russia. and at the same time, he fully expects to and wants to be able to get along with russia. unlike previous administrations so that we can solve many problems together facing the world such as the threat of isis and terrorism. >> okay. so, clair, based on what you're hearing out of moscow, we're not seeing that de-escalation that he's talki ing about? >> certainly, it's a closed one here, there is no suggestion from anyone in russia that the state of crimea could change. they see it now as part of the russian federation. they're even building a bridge between mainland russia and crimea. but as we go through the week, we're expecting to hear the first face-to-face meeting between high-level russian
officials tomorrow, secretary of state rex tillerson are expected to meet at the ministers meeting. that could be a crucial point. >> and russia looking to have a good relationship, supposedly with the u.s. and hearing about crimea and these provocations that we talked about before, it's certainly interesting to see russia asserting itself. here to break down the latest on team trump and russia, cnn politics digital managing editor zach wolf joins us again live from washington. good morning. >> good morning. >> you know, we've watched the white house in the past several months go to great lengths to deny there's any relationship between donald trump as the candidate. donald trump and his aides as president. so between that relationship and russia. but we're hearing many different stories from what we're hearing out of the white house. beginning with -- beginning with
the vice president too talked about this on morning shows defending the fact that there is no relationship. and that michael flynn didn't talk about anything about sanctions with russia, during the time when donald trump was a candidate. also hearing the same thing from sean spicer, just hours before these new revelations came out. i want you to listen to all of this. and we'll talk about it on the back side. >> was there any contact, in any way, between trump or his associates and the kremlin or cutouts? >> well, of course not. why would there be any contacts between the campaign? chris, this is all a distraction. and it's all a part of a narrative to delegitimize the election. and to question the legitimacy of this presidency. >> back in january, the president that nobody in his campaign had been in touch with the russians. now, today, can you still say definitively, that nobody on the
trump campaign, not even general flynn, had any contact with the russians before the election? >> my understanding is that what general flynn has now expressed is that during the transition period -- well, we were very clear during the transition period he did speak with the ambassador. >> i'm talking about during the campaign. >> i don't have -- there's nothing that would conclude me that anything different has changed with respect to that time period. >> when you're hearing denial after denial from the trump white house on this, it's really feeling like a cover-up. >> sean spicer, we should note was not part of the trump campaign when these contactses apparently took place. mike pence, we were told, i think, when he made those comments didn't know that the contactses had taken place. he was one of the last people, it sounds like, in the white house to find that out. i would be interested to, you know, hear somebody ask him if he still thinks this is an effort to -- part of a narrative to delegitimize the compin.
and it will be interesting to see if there were contacts between russia and the campaign. i think that's an interesting follow-up. currently, there are consistent denials from the trump campaign and the trump white house that these contacts took place. and it turns out that they did, at least, according to this latest reporting. so, that brings a lot of credibility into question. >> honesty of whether the talks happened or not, the white house had been misleading about that. that is now clear that the conversations did take place as we're now reporting. but the bigger issue is what was taking place during the conversations, what did they talk about? because that matters to. because just talking in and of itself isn't necessarily breaking any rules. in the midst of the investigation, one would think that congress wants to look into this, to find out just what the truth is.
how much willingness is there on capitol hill when it comes to republicans? >> well, republicans on capitol hill would essentially be investigating their own guy. their own white house. we have seen some indications that investigations will take place, likely, i think, in the intelligence -- intelligence committees. those proceedings -- that the intelligence committee level, often, we don't know for sure yet about this because it's on the planning stages, it would happen likely in private. potentially, it michael flynn going to be called to testify. that's kind of an open question here. are we even going to hear from these primary sources. republicans on capitol hill having said that they would do that. the committee that spent the most time investigating the benghazi scandal from the previous administration, jason chaffetz, has said he's not going to investigate this. he wants to punt to the intelligence committee instead. you don't feel the same zeal with the investigation with this
administration certainly as you did with the democratic one, despite the pretty shocking things that we're learning. >> in the meantime, you've got president trump kind of putting the blame on leaks coming out of the white house. he tweeted the real story here is why there are so many illegal leaks coming out of washington. will these leeaks be happening n north korea. et cetera. this isn't about leaks. this is about so much more. >> well, i think there's the policy thing that john was talking about, what was promised, if anything was promised. what was discussed in the calls. that's something that we need to get to the bottom of it. i think for the white house, they want to know that they can have, you know, conversations amongst themselves and not have those things leaked to the media. it's distressing to them. i don't think personally it's a bigger issue than the russia ties. clearly, the white house has a different view. >> zach wolf for us in washington. very busy morning there. thank you so much, zach. obviously, the white house will face questions on this today.
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to play old classics. with chase atms, he can master new ways to deposit checks too. easy to use chase technology for whatever you're trying to master. a very busy day if washington with a lot of questions for the white house and president trump. he will take questions as he meets with the israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu. the prime minister comes to the white house today for meetings. and of course, these meetings also happen at a very big time for the two countries. the white house overnight in a background briefing made clear that it will longer insist on the two-state solution as the ultimate goal to try to solve the israeli-palestinian conflict. sources do tell us that it's certainly a work in progress. let's go live to jerusalem to bring in cnn's oren liebermann. this is a two-state developments.
it's been a cornerstone for international policy for many years. >> it's been the international consensus that a two-state solution is the only way for change. the white house saying, quote it will insist on a two-state solution. saying they're open to any agreement that brings peace between the two parties here. israelis and palestinians. the plans rejectsed that saying there is no other option. that it's an israeli state next to a palestinian state. what's not clear is that the white house is not yet formulated. and from arab diplomats about how to handle a duplex and del kits region especially as it relates to the israeli-palestinian conflict. this meeting also important for prime minister benjamin netanyahu. bit he wants to focus it on iran securities and cooperation and security of america and israel. he wants to stay away from the talk of settlements.
that's because he's understand pressure, not only politically from his coalition but also from his right-wing voter base to abandon the pursuit of a palestinian is state. so, he'd like to keep talk away from that. the optics of this meeting so important. in fact, they scheduled their statement for before the meetingpy they want to talk serious policy but what they want to show here, both trump and netanyahu, is that they're off to a much stronger start than the rocky end to the relationship between former president obama and netanyahu. john, it's sump a critical time for both of these leaders to show that they're strong. netanyahu facing his own criminal investigation back home as the trump administration deals with the resignation of flynn. >> they both deal with domestic, not to mention relationship issues as well. oren liebermann for us in jerusalem. thank you so much. what a day we have ahead. let's take a look at what's coming up on "new day." >> chris cuomo joins us now. >> good morning, john, good morning, alison. we were asked by a gop congressman to to move along
that the situation had ended. we said there's zero chance until the questions got answered. and guess what. there are even more questions now. we've heard from the white house consistently as recently as yesterday that nobody with the campaign was involved in any communications with russia during the election. that is not true. our national security correspondent jim sciutto is going to be here with cnn reporting that proves that that is not the case. we're also speaking with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle because calls for an investigation are growing louder. we now know that the fbi has multiple probes going on around this area of exchange between the current administration and russia. the questions remain, though, who knew what general flynn was doing? had he been instructed to have these communications? what was the timing of all of this? and ultimately what is behind the apiecement of russia.
we're also going to have kevin brady on, he's the ranking gop member head of ways and mean committee. he wants to talk about tax reform that says that's going to make your life better. he wants to have any but stalling them. we'll ask about that as well. >> see you then. the record rally for the stock market rolling on even more impressive. we're going to tell you the big gains, coming up next.
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the spillway. president trump has approved emergency aid to the area. there is a new best in show. the name of that dog is rumor. it is a german shepherd, thank goodness -- >> why? >> because it's a real dog. >> one darn dog. >> neither a lab has ever won, or a retriever. rumor has it. no pun intended. this is the 141st westminster dog show. the rumor beat out nearly 3,000 dog. her owner right now says she'sh. forget disney world. the record run for stocks set to roll into day five this morning. we're looking at dow futures, they're higher. s&p 500 futures up slightly.
both of four straight record highs. and two wildly held stock, they're also at all-time highs. i'm talking about goldman sachs. and apple shares closing at an all-time high. shareholders pretty darn optimistic about the iphone. that's after a sales rebound in the last quarter. the stock market pushing higher despite comments from janet yellen that another rate hike could come next month. testifying before congress the federal chair said waiting too long would be unwise. yellen says if the fed sees steady improvement and employment and inflation it may pull the trigger on another rate hike. its next meeting is set for mid-march. and the ceos of seven major rear tail retailers are heading to washington to take on a proposed
border tax. ceos of target, jcpenney, best buy and gap are meeting with president trump. but tractor supply, autozone and jo-ann. they're going to be lobbying against republicans for a border tax. and that's a tax for any company that imports goods. and to lead to higher prices for retailers. there's uncertainty not only in the health care industry but uncertainty in the health care market as well. >> it would be the most significant tax reform in generations. kevin brady is on "new day" in a little bit. >> thanks for joining us. i'm alison kosik. >> i'm john berman. "new day" starts right now. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. this is "new day." it's wednesday, february 15th, 6:00, here in new york. and we do win with breaking
news. the white house just said there was no contact between the trump campaign and russia before the election. and yet, multiple sources tell cnn several high-level advisers to the president repeatedly made contact with senior russian intelligence officials during the presidential campaign. >> among the names captured in intercepted phone calls are trump's former campaign manager paul manafort. and the now ousted national security adviser michael flynn. so what is the connection between the trump administration? it's day 27 of mr. trump's presidency. let's begin our coverage with cnn's jim sciutto live in washington with all of the breaking details. what have you learned, jim. >> chris and alisyn, good morning. high-level advisers then close to nominee donald trump were in constant communication with those thrown to russian intelligence. this is according to intelligence and law enforcement
officials. president-elect trump and then president obama were both briefed on suspected discussions of operatives and those people associated with the campaign and the trump business. both the frequency of these communications and the proximity to trump of those involved raised a red flag with u.s. intelligence and law enforcement. i should say the communications were intercepted during routine intelligence collection targeting. other russian nationals that are known to u.s. intelligence. officials emphasize communications between campaign staff and representatives of foreign governments are not unusual. however these are different. they stood out due to the frequency and the level of the trump advise sors involved. i should say investigators