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tv   Early Start with Christine Romans and Dave Briggs  CNN  January 24, 2018 1:00am-2:00am PST

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flnew developments in the russia investigation. the special counsel narrowing his focus. why michael flynn and james comey's firings could be critical. new reports say the president asked the acting attorney general who he vote for in 2016 in the oval office. it comes as the white house beats back claims andrew mccabe job was targeted by the term. a kentucky town reeling as
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two teens are dead as the epidemic of shooting continues. pardon me, we said acting attorney general, that is acting fbi director who the president asked in the oval office who did you vote for, incineration that he vote -- insinceuation that he voted for hillary clinton. we'll tell you in a moment. >> i'm christine romans. >> i'm dave briggs. january 24th. 4:00 a.m. in the east. robert mueller focusing on the firings of james comey and michael flil ynn. the story reported by the "washington post" that mueller is aggressively scrutinizing efforts by the president or others to hamper the investigation. cnn sources say the terms for the questioning the president are far from set. >> the president's lawyers want him to answer questions in written form only but understand there may also be in-person
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interviews. press secretary sarah sanders was asked why the president has not simply fired mueller. she says he hasn't partly because of how the media would react. >> why doesn't the president just get rid of bob mueller, just fire him? mr. gidley said it's wasting taxpayers' money. in that regard, why doesn't he just end the investigation? because it's wasting the taxpayers' money. >> we want to see this come to a complete and full conclusion. i think we all know what everybody in this room would do if the president did that, and i don't think that's helpful to the process. >> the report on mueller's plans coming as we learn two critical players in the probe have already spoken to mueller's team including a member of the cabinet. more from cnn's jessica schneider in washington. >> reporter: we do now know that both the attorney general and former fbi director james comey have both been interviewed by the special counsel's office.
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the attorney general was questioned for several hours by mueller's team last week on wednesday, according to a source close to sessions. former fbi director comey, he spoke with investigators last year. the interviews, we know, focused on two things. first, russia's meddling in the election. and second, whether or not president trump obstructed justice since taking office, especially as it concerns his firing of james comey in may. jeff sessions and james comey, they are of key interest. sessions for his meetings with the russian ambassador during the campaign, and of course the fact that he was involved in the firing of james comey. of course, as for former fbi director james comey, he took many notes that he's talked about, about his interactions with the president, and of course the special counsel will be interested in comey expanding upon those. the president weighed in on sessions' interview on tuesday. >> are you concerned about what the attorney general told the special counsel? >> not at all.
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not at all. >> did you talk to him about it? >> didn't, but i'm not at all concerned. >> reporter: sessions' interview is a major development in shoot probe. the white house has continually said that it is cooperating with mueller's investigation. >> thank you. robert mueller's team is interested in why the president asked the fbi deputy director, andrew mccabe, who he vote for in the 2016 election. mccabe was acting director at the time of the discussion. according to a story first reported by the "washington post" and then "the new york times," the president and mccabe met in the oval office shortly after the president fired james comey. >> mccabe described the exchange as disturbing. he reportedly told the president he did not vote after de-- not vote. after declining the discussion, president trump said he did not answer after asked mccabe about his family and the discussion pivoting to politics and his wife who ran for virginia senate as a democrat and received huge donations from terry mcauliffe,
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an ally of the clintons. >> the fbi is not commenting. this as president trump denies fbi director christopher wray threatened to resign over pressure from attorney general jeff sessions to fire or reassign mccabe. >> he didn't. he did not even a little bit. nope. and he's going to do a good job. >> white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders could not explain how president trump would know wray has not threatened to resign. she guesses he found out from conversations he had with the fbi director. >> new signs that former trump campaign aide rick gates may be negotiating with special counsel robert mueller's team. gates has quietly added defense attorney tom green to his legal team. that indicates ongoing talks with prosecutors. green was spotted at mueller's office twice last week. in october, gates pleaded not guilty to eight charges of money laundering and failing to register foreign lobbying and other business. his longtime partner, former
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trump campaign chairman paul manafort, has pleaded not guilty to nine counts in the same case. president trump inclined to allow the release of the memos said to allege the fbi has abused surveillance laws. a person familiar with the matter says the move is contingent on the house intelligence committee approving declassification. the vote could come as early as next week. the white house insists no decision has been made on the release. >> conservatives have rallied around this memo, but democrats say it is republicans' latest attempt to undermine special counsel robert mueller's investigation. >> i think it is sloppy, careless, and again, i think has no grounding in fact. >> the top democrat on the house judiciary committee said it was profoundly unfair the house republicans have not shared the memo with the fbi and justice department, the very agencies the memo claims to unmask. new details this morning
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from the latest cache of text messages exchanged by two fbi officials who were later removed from the russia investigation. in one newly revealed text, counter-intel specialist peter strzok seems to suggest he doesn't think there is any there there in the mueller investigation and for that matter doesn't want to be part of the investigation. strzok and lisa page discuss a "secret society" and ways to "fix damage done by the fbi investigation" into hillary clinton's e-mail server. >> this is the latest ammunition for republicans already suggesting there may be something nefarious behind the loss of months of text messages between the pair. the republican chairman of the senate intel committee says don't read too much into that.
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today senate democratic leader chuck schumer has pulled funding for the border wall off the table. he offered the wall in exchange for daca protection for d.r.e.a.m.ers in talks with president trump last week over cheeseburgers. >> last night the president lashed out at schumer's change of heart, "crying chuck schumer fully understands especially after his humiliating defeat that if there is nowalli wall, is no daca." john cornyn called the move a step backward. some say he offered the wall funding as part of the negotiation and for the white house to bank the offer was unfair. >> now this about the only bipartisan compromise -- >> it would not secure or border, encourage more illegal immigration, increase chain migration, and retain the visa lottery system.
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in short, it's totally unacceptable to the president and should be declared dead on arrival. >> one of the deals architects republican lindsey graham responded, the white house "better start telling us what you're for rather than what you're against." >> security secretary kirstin nielsen told spus without commitments it was impossible to negotiate with her. tonight the president heads to davos. not on vacation but on global business, attending the world economic forum. gary cohn, director of national economic council, says the president will sell his accomplishments high and remind world leaders the u.s. is open for business. many cabinet members will travel with the president including treasury secretary mnuchin, secretary of state rex tillerson, and commerce secretary wilbur ross. there are also planned meetings with british prime minister
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theresa may and israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu. >> he heads to davos as trade tensions are running high. the tpp is back on that trade deal, remember, but not for u.s. just as president trump restricts asian imports, trump ditched the transpacific partnership a year ago. the remaining 11 pacific nations have forged ahead without the u.s. japan, canada, mexico and others say their new trade deal will help combat rising protectionism. there's concern that the u.s., a longstanding leader in global trade, is turning inwards as others preach america first. >> i'm defending american companies. they've been badly hurt from harmful import surges that threaten the livelihood of their workers, of jobs all over this country. >> trump signed an order slapping tariffs on foreign solar panels and washing machines to help u.s. companies.
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that could likely hurt some consumers. americans buy washers from other countries. a tariff will make all washers more expensive. foreign makers will have to offset the higher costs. with less competition, u.s. companies can raise prices. tammy duckworth is about to become the first u.s. sitting senator to give birth. the illinois democrat announcing she's expecting her second child in april. nine other women have had babies while serving in congress, but none were in the senate. duckworth says her daughter abigail is ecstatic to welcome her baby sister home adding, "as tough as juggling the demands of motherhood and being a senator can be, i'm hardly alone or unique as a working parent." duckworth is a retired army lieutenant colonel who served as a helicopter pilot in the iraq war. she was elected to congress in 2013. she is a double amputee, folks. this is one of the toughest womenor men in all of congress -- women or men in all of congress. >> just fantastic. great for her and her family. really wonderful --
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>> nice to know. >> it's really important to have working women all over government, right? >> i can agree with that, my friend. 11 minutes past the hour. a kentucky community mourning the loss two of high school students. a 15-year-old facing charges for opening fire at their school. my name is jeff sheldon, and i'm the founder of ugmonk. before shipstation it was crazy. it's great when you see a hundred orders come in, a hundred orders come in, but then you realize i've got a hundred orders i have to ship out. shipstation streamlined that wh the order data, the weights of , everything is seamlessly put into shipstation, so when we print the shipping ll everything's pretty much done. it's so much easier so now, we're ready, bring on t. shipstation. the number one ch of online sellers. go to shipstation.com/tv and get two months free.
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a 15-year-old student facing murder and attempted murder charges after police say he opened fire at marshall county high school in western kentucky. two people were killed. police identifying the victims as 15-year-olds, bailey holt and preston cape. 14 others suffered various injuries. the victims range from 14 to 18 years old. >> these children belong to this community and to specific families in this community. this is a wound that is going to take a long time to heal. >> mourners held vigils last night, and students attending a
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basketball game between two other kentucky high schools wore marshall county high orange and blue as a tribute to the victims. >> the alabama house of representatives has advanced a bill to eliminate special elections when vacancies occur in the u.s. senate. it would instead allow senators appointed by the governor to serve out entire terms. the republican-backed bill passed along party lines and now moves to the state senate. the house member who sponsored the bill says he wants to spare taxpayers the cost. the race to replace jeff sessions did cost $11 million. house democrats say voters should have a say, clearly aware a governor in deep red alabama is likely to appoint a republican senator. and this, of course, weeks after democrat doug jones won a narrow victory over roy moore. formal sentencing expected later today in the trial of disgraced usa gymnastics dr. larry nassar. court resumes at 9:00 a.m. eastern with more of nassar's sexual abuse victims scheduled to deliver impact statements. there have been 163 so far
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including an 18-year-old who demanded an apology and got one. >> i believe in forgiveness, larry. you and i are human beings. we make mistakes. although you have hurt me, i want to forgive you and feel closure and move on to healing in my life. i want you to apologize to me right here. i want to forgive, but i also want to hear you tell me that you regret all the hurt that you've caused. [ inaudible ] >> thank you. >> the ncaa is investigating michigan state university for its role in the scandal. nassar was also a doctor for student athletes there. faculty members have called for an emergency meeting of the faculty senate for a vote of no confidence in president luanna simon. florida voters will decide in the fall whether a million
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and a half felons will get their voting rights back. if 60% approve the amendment would restore voting rights to state residents with felony convictions after they complete their sentences, including parole or probation. the petition spearheaded by the group floridians for fair democracy would not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses, those ex-cons would still be permanently barred from voting. the san francisco board of supervisors appointing one of its members to serve as interim mayor but not without drama. mark farrell was approved after the board voted down president london breed. she's been the acting mayor since the sudden death of ed lee last month. the vote coming after hours. the public comment with charges of racism toward breed who is black. some argue who breed who is running for mayor in the citywide election in june should not have a leg up over other candidates. farrell is not on the ballot. the secretary of state with some harsh words for moscow.
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rex tillerson says russia is complicit in syria's use of chemical weapons. we're live in moscow. hold together. a little to the left. 1, 2, 3, push! easy! easy! easy! (horn honking) alright! alright! we've all got places to go! we've all got places to go! washington crossing the delaware turnpike? surprising. what's not surprising? how much money sean saved by switching to geico. big man with a horn. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more. hi, i'm the internet! you knoarmless bowling.lt? you got this, jimmy! you know what's easy? building your website with godaddy. pick a domain name. choose a design. you can build a website in under an hour. now that's a strike! get your domain today and get a free trial of gocentral.
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we know life can be hectic. that's why, at xfinity, we've been working hard to simplify your experiences with us. now, with instant text and email updates,
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growing rift over turkey's assault on kurdish troops. sarah sanders says the goal is to get turkey to de-escalate. a top adviser tells cnn the u.s. assured turkey it would only support kurdish militias until isis was defeated. turkey considers isis eliminated and says the ongoing military operation is necessary to protect the border with syria. a school in aurora, illinois, closing for a week due to a flu outbreak. one in six students that attend the illinois math and science academy were absent monday. school officials confirm most of them were suffering from flu-like symptoms. 13 of the 55 faculty members were also out with flu symptoms. illinois math and science is a residential high school where students live in dorms on campus. flu remains widespread in 49 states and puerto rico. at least 30 chi 0 children have from the illness. the hard part at this point, as you know, is no one has the flu shot. they are out across the country.
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the vaccine. there might be one clinic in a given city or town which is deep trouble for parents. >> this is january. a lot of people tried to get the flu shot in october, the beginning of the flu season. now there's this rush as people are reading headlines. look, 30 children dying from the flu. >> it doesn't peak until march. >> that's triple from last year. gives you some perspective there. the firings of james comey and michael flynn under increasing scrutiny. rapid developments in the russia investigation, next. if you have medicare
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it comes as the white house beats back claims andrew mccabe job was targeted by the attorney general. and a kentucky community is reeling after yet another school shooting. two teens are dead as the epidemic shootings continue across the country. good morning, everyone, welcome back to "early start." i'm dave briggs. >> i'm christine romans. 31 minutes past the hour this wednesday morning. russia special counsel robert mueller focusing on the firings of former fbi director james comey and former national security adviser michael flynn as he prepares to interview president trump. two sources confirming to cnn a story first reported by the "washington post" that mueller is aggressively scrutinizing efforts by the president or others to hamper the investigation. cnn's sources say the terms for questioning the president are far from set. >> mr. trump's lawyers want him to answer questions in written form only but understand there may be in-person interviews. press secretary sarah huckabee sanders was asked why the president has not simply fired mueller. she said he hasn't in part
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because of how the media might react. >> why doesn't the president just get rid of robert mueller, fire him? mr. gidley said that it's wasting taxpayers' money. in that regard, why doesn't he just end the investigation? because it's wasting the taxpayers' money. >> look, we want to see this come to a complete and full conclusion. i think we all know what everybody in this room would do if the president did that, and i don't think that's helpful to the process. >> the report on mueller's plans coming as we learn two critical players in the probe have already spoken to mueller's team, including a member of the cabinet. more from cnn's jessica schneider in washington. >> reporter: we do now know that both the attorney general and former fbi director james comey have both been interviewed by the special counsel's office. the attorney general was questioned for several hours by mueller's team last week on wednesday, according to a source close to sessions.
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former fbi director comey spoke with investigators last year. the interviews focused on two things -- first, russia's meddling in the election, and second, whether or not president trump obstructed justice since taking office, especially as it concerns his firing of james comey in may. jeff sessions and james comey are of key interest. sessions for his meetings with the russian ambassador during the campaign, and of course the fact that he was involved in the firing of james comey. and of course as for former fbi director james comey, he took many notes that he's talked about about his interactions with the president and, of course, the special counsel will be very interested in comey expanding upon those. the president weighed in on sessions' interview on tuesday. >> did the attorney general tell the special counsel -- >> not at all. not at all. >> did you talk to him? >> no, but i'm not concerned. >> reporter: jeff sessions'
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interview is an important part of the probe. the white house says it is cooperating. >> robert mueller's team also reportedly interested in why the president asked fbi director andrew mccabe who he voted for in the 2016 election. mccabe was the acting director at the time of the discussion according to a report first reported by the "washington post" and then "the new york times." the president and mccabe met in the oval office shortly after the president fired james comey. >> mccabe described the exchange as disturbing. he reportedly told the president he didn't vote. after declining comment to the "post," the white house told the "times" mr. trump did ask the question. a white house official tells the "times" it happened after trump asked mccabe about his family, with the discussion pivoting to politics and mccabe wife. his wife ran for virginia state senate as a democrat. >> and received $500,000 in donations from a pac tied to terry mcauliffe, a clinton ally. the fbi is not commenting.
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all this as president trump denies fbi director christopher wray threatened to resign over pressure from attorney general jeff sessions to fire or reassign mccabe. >> did he threaten to fire -- >> no, he didn't. he did not each a little bit. -- did not even a little bit. nope. he's going to do a good job. >> press secretary sarah huckabee sanders could not explain how president trump would know wray has not threatened to resign. she guesses he found out from conversations with the fbi director. president trump inclined to allow the release of the memo spearheaded by congressman devin nunez said to allege the fbi has abused surveillance laws. a person familiar with the matter is telling cnn the move is contingent on the house intelligence committee approving declassification. that could come next week. the white house insists no decision has been made on the release. conservatives have rallied around the memo, but democrats say it is republicans' latest attempt to undermine special counsel robert mueller's
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investigation. >> i think it is sloppy, careless, and again, i think has no grounding in fact. >> top democrat on the house judiciary committee said it was profoundly unfair that house republicans have not share the policemen oh -- the memo with the fbi and justice department, the agencies the memo claims to unmask. new details from the latest cache of text messages exchanged by two fbi officials who were later removed from the russia investigation. in one newly revealed text, counter intel specialist peter strzok seems to suggest he does not think there is any there there in the mueller investigation. in others, strzok and fbi lawyer lisa page discuss a "secret society" and ways to "fix damage done by the fbi investigation" into hillary clinton's e-mail server. >> this the latest ammunition for republicans, already suggesting there may be something nefarious behind the loss of months of text messages between the pair. but the republican chairman of
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the senate intel committee says don't read too much into that. >> it may be a technical glitch. the bureau, the fact that they have provided the rest of them certainly doesn't show an intent to try to withhold anything. >> attorney general jeff sessions promising to leave no stone unturned, looking into why the texts were not saved by fbi retention software. efforts in congress to find common ground on an immigration bill are not off to a great start. senate democratic leader chuck schumer has pulled funding for the border wall after the table. schumer offered the wall in ex-change for daca protection for d.r.e.a.m.ers in talks with president trump last week. >> last night the president lashed out at chuck schumer's change of heart. "cryin chuck schumer fully understands especially after the humiliating defeat that if there is no wall, there is no daca." john cornyn, second ranked republican in the senate, called chuck schumer's move a step
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backward. dick durbin, second-ranked democrat, said schumer offered wall funding as part of a negotiation and for the white house to bank his offer was unfair. the white house is saying this about the only bipartisan compromise -- >> it would not secure our border, encourage more illegal immigration, increase chain myself, and retain the visa -- chain migration, and retain theviews lottery system. in short, it's totally unacceptable to the president and should be declared died on arrival. >> one of the deal's architect responded lindsey graham said, "the white house better start telling us what you're for rather than what you're against." homeland security secretary kirstjen nielsen got a similar message, pushing for her department's immigration priorities. democrat claire mccaskill said she told nielsen without agreement with president trump, it was impossible. a group of scientists is suing the epa saying they were
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illegally removed from the boards and committees as they received illegal grants. the epa announced it would not allow scientists to serve on the panels to keep advisers and free from potential interference. the scientists argue their removal was aterry and a violation -- arbitrary and a violation of the act. a spokesman refused comment because of pending litigation. democratic senator steve mnuchin of west virginia telling colleagues he will run for re-election this year, that's according to "the new york times." chin's flirtation with -- mnuchin's flirtation with retirement triggered talks among democrats who feared losing the seat to a republican in solid red west virginia. he's been vocal about his displeasure with washington telling chuck schumer and others, "this place sucks." he plans to file re-election paperwork before saturday's deadline. democrats must defend ten states in november and states president trump carried. tonight president trump heads to the swiss ski resort town of davos. not a vacation but on global
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business, attending the world economic forum. gary cohn, director of the national economic council, says the president will sell his accomplishments and remind world leaders the u.s. is open for business. many cabinet members will travel with the president including treasury secretary mnuchin, secretary of state rex tillerson, the commerce secretary wilbur ross. and there are planned meetings with british prime minister theresa may and israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu. this comes at a time when the u.s., there's a lot going on in the trade front. they're in the final stage of renegotiating nafta. that's not going well. the united states has imposed tariffs that are not popularpopulara -- popular among the crowd at davos. >> how do you think he'll be greet thursday? you've been there. >> he's the star. >> he likes pomp and circumstance and pageantry to welcome him. he won't get that. >> he will get a lot of attention. he is now the marquee guest for sure. >> fascinating dynamics. ahead, a kentucky community mourning the loss two of high school students. a 15-year-old facing charges for
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opening fire at their school. another deadly shooting.
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america's most powerful economic job has just been filled. maybe the most powerful job in the world actually. the senate confirmed jerome powell as the next federal reserve chair. powell won with strong bipartisan support. a current fed governor, he helped shape policy for five years under current head janet yellen. and powell's leadership will likely mirror yellen's. he praised her patient approach, gradually raising interest rates and slowly unwinding the $4.5 trillion balance sheet the fed acquired during the financial crisis. powell says he'll find appropriate ways to ease rules on banks while preserving core pieces of dodd-frank like annual stress tests for banks.
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yellen steps down february 3rd. she was first woman to lead the most influential bank. the first chair in nearly 30 years ton get a second term. a 15-year-old student facing murder and attempted murder charges after police say he opened fire at marshall county high school in western kentucky. two people were killed. police identifying those victims as 15-year-olds bailey holt and preston cape. 14 others suffered various injuries. the victims range in age from 14 to 18-years-old. >> these children belong to this community and to specific families in this community. this is a wound that is going to take a long time to heal. >> mourners held vigils around the area last night. students attending a basketball game between two other kentucky high schools wore marshall county high orange and blue as a tribute to the victims. police have yet to reveal a motive. gabby giffords, a victim of gun violence herself, issuing a statement saying this is the
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13th mass shooting this year. >> this calendar -- >> this year. it is january 24th. the alabama house of representatives has advanced a bill to eliminate special elections when vacancies occur in the u.s. senate. it would instead allow senators appointed by the governor to serve out entire terms. republican-backed bill passed along party lines and now moves to the state senate. >> the house member who sponsored the bill says he wants to spare taxpayers the cost. the race to replace jeff sessions did cost $11 million. house democrats say voters should have a say. clearly aware a governor in deep red alabama is likely to appoint a republican senator. this of course just weeks after democrat doug jones won a narrow victory over roy moore. former sentencing expected later today in the trial of disgraced usa gymnastics dr. larry nassar. the court resumes at 9:00 a.m. eastern with more of nassar's sexual abuse victims scheduled to deliver impact statements. so far there have been 163, including an 18-year-old who demanded an apology and got one.
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>> i believe in nor giveness, larry -- in forgiveness, larry. you and i are human beings. we make mistakes. although you have hurt me, i want to forgive you and feel closure and move on to healing in my life. i want you to apologize to me right here. i want to forgive you, but i also want to hear you tell me that you regret all the hurt that you've caused. [ inaudible ] >> thank you. >> the ncaa is investigating michigan state university for its role in the scandal. nassar was also a doctor for student athletes there. faculty members have called for an emergency meeting of the school's faculty senate for a vote of no confidence in president lou anna simon. david and louise turpin will appear at a court hearing today. prosecutors are seeking a criminal protective order that would bar the parents from
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contacting the children before the case goes to trial. it would prohibit direct or indirect contact in person, written, or electronic. authorities allege the turpins held the kids, age 2 to 29, captive in their home, chaining them, not feeding them or letting them shower. both parents are being held on $12 million bail. the san francisco board of supervisors appointing one of its members to serve as interim mayor, but not without some serious drama. mark farrell was approved after the board voted down its president, london breed. she's been the acting mayor since the sudden death of ed lee last month. this after public comment that included charges of racism toward breed who is black, but some on the board argued breed, who's running for mayor in the citywide election in june, should not have a leg up on other candidates. farrell is not on the ballot. a series of storms barreling toward the pacific northwest could dump over a foot of rain through the weekend. meteorologist pedram javaheri with the latest. good morning.
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we've got an interesting setup here across the pacific northwest. a series of storms working across the region. one of which comes in later on today. we bring in heavy rainfall with it. not too unusual for this time of year. a break between wednesday and thursday, and a couple more systems line up with the moisture source directed toward portions of the northwest going into, say, saturday and sunday. how much moisture are we talking about? winter weather advisories, storm warnings, already in place across the region for significant mountain snow and certainly heavy rainfall along the coast. generally six to ten inches, some areas could see more than a foot of rainfall. that's on the immediate coast. get into the mountains, the snow amounts could accumulate to over four feet across parts of the cascades and even into the siskiyous, as well. big story developing over the next couple of days across the pacific northwest. really beyond that, generally quiet. we have snow showers, much of it lake enhanced, across the great lakes. temperatures across chicago into the 30s. little rock, around 60. dallas, middle 60s. new york, normal for this time of year, call it around 40.
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it will stay around the same trend for the next couple of days around the northeast. guys? >> all right. thank you very much. netflix just joined an exclusive club of companies worth $100 billion or more. we'll tell you why on cnn "money stream" next. my name is jeff sheldon, and i'm the founder of ugmonk. before shipstation it was crazy. it's great when you see a hundred orders come in, a hundred orders come in, but then you realize i've got a hundred orders i have to ship out. shipstation streamlined that wh the order data, the weights of , everything is seamlessly put into shipstation, so when we print the shipping ll
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overnight, two dead and at least 12 injured after an attack outside an aid office in afghanistan. one attacker detonated a bomb at the gate. another was killed by security forces inside the building. police are still working to clear part of the building. we'll bring you updates as they become available.
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secretary of state rex tillerson says russia bears responsibility for failing to hold the syrian regime accountable over using chemical weapons against its people. tillerson in paris at a meeting with high-level diplomats to discuss a new international effort to combat chemical weapons. let's go live to moscow and bring in cnn's fred pleitgen. fred? >> reporter: good morning. all this comes after what appears to be another chemical attack that recently happened on the outskirts of damascus there in syria. clearly the u.s. firing at russia over all this holding russia accountable. one of the things secretary of state rex tillerson said toward the russians, he said that russia's failure to resolve the chemical issue in syria called into question its usefulness in trying to find a resolution for the conflict as a whole. now, after tillerson made the comments, there was a big diplomatic battle of words at the united nations between nikki haley, u.s. ambassador to the u.n., and the russian ambassador to the u.n. both sides trading barbs there.
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nikki haley saying, look, this should weigh heavily on the conscience of the russians. the russians for their part firing back and putting forward their own resolution on how to deal with chemical weapons that the u.s. calls a ploy to try and distract from what's going on. all this coming as the russians apparently are looking for new ways to influence u.s. policies. one of the main think tanks that's close to vladimir putin put out a paper saying that the russians will create a lobby inside the u.s. to try to influence things going on there. christine? >> thanks, fred. president trump and turkish president erdogan will speak by phone today amid a growing rift on turkey's assault on troops in syria. the u.s. and the kurds are allies. sarah huckabee sanders says the goal is to get turkey to de-escalate. a top adviser to erdogan tells cnn the u.s. assured turkey it would only support toured issue militias until -- kurdish mishals until isis was defeated.
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turkey says the ongoing military operation is necessary to protect the border with syria. let's check cnn "money stream." global stock markets are lower after the u.s. stocks hit fresh record highs. the dow closed slightly lower, but look at the s&p 500. the nasdaq, all-time highs helped by a strong earnings season. netflix, big story there, surged 10%. reported record subscriber growth. now worth more than $100 billion. it joins an exclusive club of only 59 companies in the s&p 500 worth at least $100 billion. the new tax bill is a gift to big banks and jpmorgan chase is giving some of that gift back to its employees. 22,000 workers will get a raise. mainly frontline employees like bank tellers and customer service representatives. the bank will also open 400 new branches, hiring 3,000 new workers. jpmorgan credits tax cuts, less regulation, and an improved business climate for the investment. it's not so rosy for all companies, though. the makers of huggies and
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kleenex is laying off 5,000 workers. kimberly clark blamed low prices and poor sales of consumer goods. toys 'r' us is planning to shut one-fifth of its stores, closing 180 stores as soon as next month. toys 'r' us declared bankruptcy in november based on the shift toward online shopping. it will close unprofitable stores this. after a brutal year for retaile retailers. u.s. store closings hit a record high in 2017. there's so much change happening in the retail space. and in many ways, it's good for consumers, you know. when there's -- >> how's that? >> there's so many more choices and competition for your dollar, especially on line. but -- >> a lot of people are crushed that their local toys 'r' us is closing. >> true. >> the new ones i guess will emphasize experience and babies 'r' us, a successful model. "early start" continues with a major day in the russia investigation.
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new developments in the russia investigation. the special counsel narrowing his focus. why michael flynn and james comey's firings could be critical. the president allegedly asked the acting fbi director who he voted for in in the oval office. this as the white house beats back claims andrew mccabe job was targeted by the attorney general. and a ken condition community reel -- a kentucky community reeling after yet another school shooting. two teens are dead as the epidemic of shootings continues in 2018. good morning, everyone, thanks for getting an early start with us. i'm dave briggs. >> i'm christine romans. wednesday, january 24th. 5:00 a.m. in the east. let's begin with the russia investigation. the special counsel robert mueller is focusing on the firings of former fbi director james comey and former national security adviser michael flynn. two stories confirming a story to cnn a story reported b

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