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tv   Early Start with Christine Romans and Dave Briggs  CNN  February 28, 2018 1:00am-2:00am PST

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major developments for the president and his inner circle. jared kushner's security clearance downgraded. hope hicks admits she lies to protect the president. now mr. trump's own actions the focus of the russia special counsel. students return to stoneman douglas high school in florida today two weeks after 17 lives were taken. the chances of major gun reform appear slim. good morning, and welcome to
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"early start." i'm christine romans. >> slim to none, right? i am dave briggs. imagine for those kids. going back to school -- >> a tough day. >> i was there 19 years ago, columbine, when they went back. those kids never wanted to go back to that school. we start with the president. was donald trump's decision to run for president tied to his company's business dealings in russia? the mueller investigation is looking directly at the actions of president trump before the 2016 campaign. sources say investigators are asking witnesses when mr. trump became serious about running for president, how that timing co-ins sided with his business -- coincided with his business moves including the effort to brand a trump tower in trump tower. >> and compromising information the russians may have on mr. trump. sources do not know whether mueller has evidence of wrongdoing. the team is reaching beyond the campaign at how the russians may have sought to influence mr. trump. the president claimed any
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inquiry into his family's finances would exceed the special counsel's mandate. an attorney for the president and the trump organization both declined to comment. this morning, senior white house adviser jared kushner no longer has access to the nation's most closely held secrets. at least for now. the first son-in-law's interim security clearance downgraded from top secret to secret. the new clearance level will allow access to far less information, excluding, for example, the president's daily brief of top-secret material that kushner read each and every day. a top republican source said the quote directly undercuts jared's main job. for more, white house jeff zeleny. >> reporter: something of a bomb bombshell with jared kushner, senior adviser and son-in-law, no longer able to look at the nation's top-secret intelligence information here. white house chief of staff john kelly has made good on his plan
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to sort of clean house in the security clearance front. jared kushner, of course, for the last 13 months or so, has been operating under a temporary security clearance. in the wake, of course, of the resignation of staff sergeant rob porter, the chief of staff said he was going to institute a tighter policy for security clearances. jared kushner, the most prominent person to fall under that. this, of course, will affect how he does his job. he's the -- essentially the leader on middle east peace. now he and his supporters say he's going to continue doing his job. he's going to stay on here. but without that top-secret security clearance, it will be done in a different way. questions about jared kushner's security clearance and his standing here at the white house certainly will hang over the administration again today. >> all right. jeff zeleny. thank you very much for that. jared kushner's attorney claims his client has done more than what it expected of him in the security clearance process, insisting he will accept the
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decision about his downgrade and will not ask for any special treatment or permission from president trump. a final resolution could come soon. a source telling cnn the fbi is expected to wrap up kushner's background check in a month. a report in the "washington post" says officials in at least four countries discussed ways they could manipulate jared kushner, according to the report. mexico, israel, china, and the united arab emirates considered taking advantage of kushner's intricate business arrangements, his lack of foreign policy experience, and financial troubles. it's not clear based on u.s. officials familiar with the intelligence reports if they acted on those conversations, though. >> the "post" report says the subject was first raised in intel briefings after national security adviser h.r. mcmaster learned kushner had contacts with foreign officials, contacts that he did not coordinate with the national security council. kushner did not respond to cnn questions. a spokesman said they won't
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respond to "unnamed sources peddling secondhand hearsay." hope hicks didn't have much to say during a nine-hour closed door appearance tuesday before the house intelligence committee. according to a source with direct knowledge of her testimony, the white house communications director did admit she has to tell "white lies" for the president on occasion. she insisted she has not had to lie about anything substantive. >> she refused to answer questions about her time in the white house. she did not invoke executive privilege but told lawmakers she had been instructed by the administration not to answer the questions. >> hope we'll get to all the answers. >> reporter: has there been a subpoena issued for her? >> no. >> reporter: should there be? >> yes. >> reporter: why is that? >> as within who doesn't answer -- with anyone who doesn't answer questions, they ought to be subpoenaed. >> corey lewandowski also declined as did steve bannon to
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answer questions. the head of cybercommand has confirmed he's not been granted by president trump to disrupt russian election hacking operations. here is admiral mike rogers testifying tuesday on capitol hill. >> it's probably fair to say that we have not opted to engage in some of the same behaviors that we are seeing. president putin has clearly coming come to the conclusion there's little price to play here. >> bingo. >> therefore i can continue this activity. >> that is frightening stuff there. white house press secretary sarah sanders disputing the notion that rogers needs more authority. she insists he is not the only official tasked with confronting russia. students at marjorie stoneman douglas high school make an emotional return to their classrooms this morning. they'll be on a modified half-day schedule for the week. three victims from the massacre are still in the hospital in fair condition. we're learning the carnage could
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have been worse. >> the shooter still had more than half his ammunition remaining when he fled. investigators telling cnn he may have tried to break a window to fire on students as they ran from the building. the hurricane-proof windows did not break. florida's legislative session ends next friday, meaning time is short to pass changes to the state's gun laws. >> the state senate rules committee has already approved a bill aimed at keeping firearms away from those with mental health issues. it also prohibits most people under 21 from purchasing a fireman. an amendment to ban the sale of bump stocks failed, but a bump stock ban is part of a bill in the florida house. chances of banning assault-style weapons seems remote. progress at the federal level is lagging. president trump this afternoon meets with lawmakers from both parties on gun laws and school safety. a bipartisan group of senators working to reach a deal that could pave the way for votes on gun-related amendments as early as next week.
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there is clearly no appetite in the gop-controlled house or senate to pass anything significant on gun control. >> we shouldn't be banning guns for law-abiding citizens. we should be focusing on making sure that citizens who should not get guns in the first place don't get those guns. that is why we see a big breakdown in the system here. >> many democrats support a plan to incentivize state and federal authorities to enter more data into the country's background check system but say that's not enough on its own. >> replay the tape. crisis, handwringing, and nothing gets done. delta's decisions could hurt amazon's dreams. delta is based in atlanta, on the short list for the amazon second headquarters. h.q. 2 would bring a $5 million facility and 50,000 cities. many will lure amazon with terrific tax breaks.
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with georgia's political spat, georgia may think twice. the senate is reporting a tax break for delta after it stopped deals for nra members. a signal to amazon that political politicians, local politicians put scoring political points over business interests. facing consumer pressure, delta is one of a dozen companies cutting the nra ties. delta claims it wants to be neutral in the gun debate. it doesn't want to give special discounts for nra members. billionaire warren buffett says companies should be careful taking a big political opinion. he told cnbc it's ridiculous to boycott gun owners or stocks. >> i have not issued any edict, for example, to the two managers that run my -- besides me at berkshire that they can't own stock in them. they can own stock in the gun manufacturers. >> he's talking about some money managers who are talking about ways to maybe divest of gun
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manufacturers, put pressure on them. clearly in the case of delta, they're not boycotting anybody. you can still get a ticket. you're just not getting a special discount. despite this, buffett says he admires the work of the parkland students. they inspire him, he says. wearing his heart on his sleeve and the name of a parkland shooting victim on his views. dwayne wade was vintage hitting the gamewinning shot as the heat beat the sixers in miami. before the game, wade wrote, "joaquin oliver's" name on his shoes, buried in his number 3 jersey. wade dedicated his return to miami and the rest of the heat's seen -- heat's season to oliver. good stuff. ten minutes past the hour. the fbi lab looking at a letter sent to a virginia military base. 11 people sickened after it was opened. what investigators know and what they don't next.
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the fbi is investigating a
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suspicious letter sent to a military base in virginia. officials say 11 people sickened after the letter was opened at joint base ft. myer henderson hall. four people are in the hospital and in stable condition. field tests for the letter came back negative for any harmful substance. officials say the letter contained derogatory language. at times it was unintelligible. it was address today to a commanding officer at the -- addressed to the commanding officer at the base. a federal judge who was once attacked by the president for his mexican heritage has handed down a ruling that could pave the way for mr. trump's border wall. a u.s. district judge, gonzalo curiel, saying they have the authority to waive governmental laws for construction. he said he ignored politics to reach his decision and writes, "in its review of the case, the court cannot and does not consider whether underlying
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decisions to construct the border barriers are politically wise or prudent." >> the president came under criticism in june, 2016, when he said judge curiel, born in indiana, was biased against him because of curiel's mexican heritage. the president softening his tone in a tweet last night write, "u.s. judge sided with the trump administration. now this important project can go forward." in reality, the judge's 100-page order does not mean construction of the wall will begin yet. congress first has to authorize or provide funding. the battle is escalating between oakland's mayor and federal officials. more than 150 people have been arrested in northern california since sunday for a variety of alleged violationings. saturday, the day before the operations began, the oakland mayor said she was warning the public to protect residents. oakland is a sanctuary city with a policy of not coordinating with federal immigration officials. the i.c.e. deputy director
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criticized the mayor for what he described as a reckless decision. he says the warning increased the risk for his officers. the mayor says she does not regret going public. that battle is not over there in california. >> no. 17 minutes past the hour. two of the world's most terri terrifying regimes linked by a common thread. how is north korea helping syria gas its own people? live in the middle east. never settle for 25%. always go for 100. bring out the bold™ they have businesses to run they have passions to pursue how do they avoid trips to the post office? stamps.com mail letters ship packages all the amazing services of the post office right on your computer get a 4 week trial plus $100 in extras including postage and a digital scale go to stamps.com/tv and never go to the post office again
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providing supplies and manpower. cnn has the latest live from oman, jordan. what do we know? >> reporter: well, this is coming from a report, it hasn't been published yet, by a group, a panel of experts at the united nations. now according to a diplomat at the security council who has seen the report and shared information with cnn, the information is, according to the report, materials and experts sent to syria from north korea. when it comes to the materials they're talking about, acid-resistant tiles, vials, thermometers, presumably to use in production facilities. and also according to the report, north korean missile experts were sent to syria in 2016, 2017, and at least one of those trips they stayed on a military base. according to a diplomat at the city council, they're saying
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that they believe -- the security council, they're saying that they believe there are north korean experts in at least three syrian cities now. according to the report, syria, which has long denied these accusations of using chemical weapons against its own people, is denying these accusations and also saying that these north koreans are sports trainers. this all comes as we're seeing that disastrous humanitarian situation in eastern ghouta with the regime campaign going on, that humanitarian pause in fighting that was ordered by president vladimir putin falling apart on the first day, on tuesday. we're waiting to see if today is any different. >> all right. certainly the new development getting attention this morning. thank you. a sixth grader getting credit for bringing an end to the west virginia teachers strike after a cooling off period today. teachers return tomorrow following a five-day walkout. governor justice announcing a 5% raise for employees in the first
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year as long as lawmakers approve it. the governor says he decided on a larger pay hike after a conversation with a sixth grader. >> gideon tightus glover, whose mom is a teacher, asked why funds were being spent on tourism. he asked the governor wouldn't it be an investment to invest in smart teachers? >> i heard that they added an extra $5 million to tourism. and so i just thought that is it really right? isn't that money -- that money could have gone to a raise for teachers. so kind of thought like that was wrong. >> all right. not everything is fixed. the issue of insurance is still unresolved and will require a task force. a lot of teachers at the state capitol booing when they heard it. dave, what i found fascinate being this story, teachers have hard jobs, as you know. before they walked out, they spent a day or two packing backpacks of food for the children because so many students in west virginia
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actually receive a good amount of their calories every day through the school district. >> absolutely. not uncommon. >> the teachers who are feeding their students and, you know, educating their students. so just to give you context about -- it was not an easy choice for teachers to walk out. >> no, indeed. good to see a child there have impact. meanwhile in charlottesville, virginia, a judge ruling tarps covering statues of generals robert e. lee and stonewall jackson must be removed. an official said it's not clear if it will appeal the ruling. the statues were closed after two troopers and heather heyer were killed in violence surrounding a white nationalist rally. the state of the statues is unclear. the city wants them permanently removed. opponents of removal have threatened legal action. the reverend billy graham will lie in honor today and tomorrow at the capitol rotunda. graham is only the fourth private citizen to lie in honor, similar to lying in state in recognition of his contributions
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to the nation. he is america's pastor. president trump, house speaker paul ryan, senate majority leader mitch mcconnell will be among the speakers at a service for the world-renowned evangelist. he died last week at 99. graham's funeral will be held friday. >> what an impact he had. counseling a dozen presidents. >> yeah. >> never be another like him. ahead, the president has said family finances should be off limits to the special counsel. now robert mueller's looking directly into whether mr. trump's decision to run for president coincided with business decisions in russia. with expedia one click gives you access to
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his life is... pretty comfortable. rick blomquist thought he had comfort all figured out. but then, he laid on a serta and realized his life was only just sorta comfortable. i've been living a lie. the new serta icomfort hybrid mattress. not just sorta comfortable, serta comfortable. purchase an icomfort mattress and get a free boxspring or up to $500 off an adjustable set. big developments for the president and his inner circle. jared kushner's security clearance downgraded. hope hicks admits she told white lies to protect the president. and now mr. trump's own actions are a focus of the russia special counsel. and students return to stoneman douglas high school in florida today, two weeks after 17 lives were taken.
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chances of major gun reform, meanwhile, appear thin if not altogether nil. >> replay the tape. >> yeah. it has fallen -- followed similar patterns. this time different because the institutions failed these students on so many different levels. welcome back to "early start." i'm dave briggs. >> i'm christine romans. 31 minutes past the hour. we'll begin with donald trump and his decision to run for president. was it tied to his company's business dealings in russia? the mueller investigation is looking direct iii actions of president trump -- directly at the actions of president trump before the campaign. investigators are asking witnesses when mr. trump became serious about running for president and how that timing coincided with his business moves, including the abandoned effort to brand a trump tower in moscow. >> investigators also asking about potentially compromising information the russians may have on mr. trump. the sources say they don't know whether mueller has concrete evidence of wrongdoing, but
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questions indicate mueller's team is reaching beyond the campaign at how the russians might have sought to influence mr. trump. the president has claimed any inquiry into his family finances would exceed the special counsel's mandate. an attorney for the president and the trump organization both declined to comment. >> this morning, senior white house adviser jared kushner no longer has access to the nation's most closely held secrets. at least for now. the first son-in-law's interim security clearance downgraded from top secret to secret. the new clearance level will allow him access to far less information, excluding, for example, the presidential daily briefing of top-secret material. now a republican source who has worked closely with the white house tells cnn the change "directly undercuts jared's main j job." more from senior white house correspondent jeff zeleny. >> reporter: something of a bombshell at the white house with jared kushner, the president's senior adviser and, of course, son-in-law, no longer able to look at the nation's
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top-secret intelligence information here. white house chief of staff john kelly has made good on his plan to clean house on the security clearance front. jared kushner has been operating under a temporary security clearance in the wake of the resignation of staff secretary rob porter. the chief of staff said that he was going to institute a tighter policy for security clearances. jared kushner the most prominent person to fall under that. this will affect how he does his job. he's the -- essentially the leader on middle east peace. he and his supporters say he's going to continue doing his job, he's going to stay on here. but without the top-secret security clearance, it certainly will be done in a different way. questions about jared kushner's security clearance and his standing here at the white house certainly will hang over the administration again today. >> thanks.
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jared kushner's attorney claims his client has done more than what's expected of him in the security clearance process, insisting he will accept the decision about his downgrade and will not ask for any type of special permission from president trump. a final solution could come soon. a source telling cnn the fbi's expected to wrap up mr. kushner's background check within a month. at that point, it would be the white house's call. meantime, a report in the "washington post" says officials in at least four countries discussed ways they could manipulate jared kushner. according to the report, mexico, israel, china, and the united arab emirates considered taking advantage of kushner's intricate business arrangements, his lack of foreign policy experience, and his financial troubles. it is not clear based on u.s. officials familiar with intelligence reports, if they acted on those conversations. the "post" report says the subject was first raised in intel briefings after national security adviser h.r. mcmaster learned kushner had contacts with foreign officials, that he
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didn't actually coordinate with the national security council. kushner did not respond to questions tuesday. a spokesperson says they won't respond to "unnamed sources peddling secondhand hearsay." longtime trump aide hope hicks did not have much to say during a closed door appearance before a house committee tuesday. according to a source with direct knowledge of her testimony, white house communications director admitted she has to tell "white lies" for the president on occasion but insisted she has not had to lie about anything substantive. we should note hicks did say after the election there was no communication between the campaign and any foreign entity during the campaign. >> hicks refused to answer questions about her time in the white house. she did not invoke executive privilege but simply told lawmakers she had been instructed by the administration not to answer those questions. >> let's hope we'll get to all the answers. >> reporter: has there been a subpoena issued for her? >> no. >> reporter: should there be?
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>> yes. >> reporter: why is that? >> as with anyone who doesn't answer questions, they ought to be subpoenaed. >> former white house chief strategist steve bannon and former trump campaign manager corey lewandowski also declined to answer questions about events that occurred after the 2016 election. the white house pushing back after the head of u.s. cyber command confirmed he has not been granted authority by president trump to stop russian election-hacking operations, to disrupt him. here is admiral mike rogers testifying on capitol hill. >> it's probably fair to say that we have not opted to engage in some of the same behaviors that we are seeing. president putin has clearly from to the -- conclusion there's little price to pay here. >> bingo. >> sarah sanders disputing that rogers needs more authority and insists he's not the only official tasked with confronting russia. students at marjorie
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stoneman douglas high school make an emotional return to the classroom this morning. they'll object a modified half-day schedule the rest of the week. three victims from the massacre remain hospitalized in fair condition. we are learning the carnage could have been much worse. >> the shooter still had more than half his ammunition remaining when he fled. investigators tell cnn he may have tried to break a window to fire on students as they ran from the building. some kind of sniper position. the hurricane-proof windows did not break, thankfully. florida's legislative session ends next friday meaning time is short to pass changes to the state's gun laws. >> the senate rancho cucamonga has approved a -- senate rules committee has approved a bill to keep firearms away from those with mental health issues and to keep anyone under 21 from buying a fireman firearm. -- a firearm. a bump stock ban is before the house. chances seem remote. >> even as states take action on
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gun violence, progress at the federal level is lagging. president trump will meet with members of both parties on gun laws and school safety. a bipartisan group hoping to reach a deal to pave the way on gun-related amendments as early as next week. >> there is clearly no appetite in the gop-controlled house or senate to pass any significant gun-control legislation. >> we shouldn't be banning guns for law-abiding citizens. we should be focusing on making sure that citizens who should not get guns in the first place don't get those guns. and that is why we see a big breakdown in the system here. >> the conversation right now -- >> keeping guns out of the hands -- >> of people who shouldn't have them. that's what the conversation is. >> right. that depends on how you view that. the ar-15, should that be told to people 18-years-old? there will not be any movement on that from what is sounds. many democrats support a plan to incentivize state and federal authorities to enter more data
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into the country's background check system. they say that on its own is not enough. georgia republicans sparring with delta, vowing to block a tax break after delta stopped discounted flights for nra members. georgia state senator michael williams is making this claim about delta to cnn's briana keilar. they're going to pull the discount for nra members, why not pull it for planned parenthood or the left organizations out there? >> so keeler pressed williams for proof that delta offers discounts to planned parenthood. he told her he didn't know the exact source but they saw it on google. a few problems here. there is no evidence that mr. williams' position is true. planned parenthood doesn't actually have members. and planned parenthood told cnn donations to the organization doesn't come with corporate perks or discounts. delta did not respond immediately but does offer corporate discounts to groups of 15 or more. on facing consumer pressure, delta is one of a dozen companies ending discounts for
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nra members. the nra calls this political cowardice. delta claims it is neutral in the gun debate. but suddenly discounted air fares has become part of the culture wars in america. >> it is a battle and one that's not over. the lieutenant governor of new york weighing in yesterday saying, delta, come here, bring your headquarters here. >> i wonder -- they're looking at -- >> h.q. 2. >> potentially in atlanta. do you want to fight with local lawmakers over taxes and issues? wearing his heart on his sleeve and the name of a parkland shooting victim on his shoes, dwayne wade goes vintage hitting the game-winning shot as the miami heat beat the sixers 102-101 in miami. before the game, wade wrote joaquin oliver's name on his shoes. oliver was buried in wade's number 3 jersey. wade has dedicated his return to miami and the rest of the heat's season to oliver. nice gesture by d. wade. the fbi lab now looking at a letter sent to a virginia military base. 11 people sickened after the letter was opened.
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the fbi is investigating a suspicious letter sent to a military base in virginia. 11 people got sick after the letter was opened at joint base myer-henderson hall in arlington. three people were taken to the hospital and are in stable condition. law enforcement officials say field tests for the letter came back negative for any harmful substance. officials say the letter contained derogatory language. at times it was unintelligible. police are looking into what relationship if any the sender had with the base. housing and urban development secretary ben carson and his family under scrutiny after $31,000 was spent last year to replace an office dining room set. that follows a cnn report about a top hud employee who says she was pressured to find funds
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beyond the $5,000 legal limit to renovate carson's office. helen foster alleges she was demoted after pushing back on that request. she claimed she was told carson's wife was behind it. a department official at you head is disputing -- at hud is disputing whether the table is subject to the $5,000 limit since it was unrepairable and said the decision to replace it was made by career staffers in charge of the building. >> a nice taste at costco, really nice, like -- >> that is some tone-deaf stuff right there. they know what hud presides over. >> he promised to be honest and to cut spending there. a federal judge who was once attacked by the president for his mexican heritage has handed down a ruling that could pave the way for mr. trump's border wall. u.s. district judge gonzalo curiel deciding the administration does have the authority to waive certain environmental laws for construction. he pointed out he ignored politics in reaching the
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decision and writes, "in its review of the case, the court cannot and does not consider whether underlying decisions to construct the barriers are wise or prudent." >> the president came under criticism in june of 2016 when he said judge curiel, who was born in indiana, was biased against him because of his mexican heritage. mr. trump softened his tone quite a bit last night writing, "u.s. judge sided with the trump administration. now the support and project can go forward." in reality, the judge's 100-page order does not mean construction of the wall will begin yet. congress first has to authorize or provide funding. a battle escalating between oakland's mayor and immigration officials. federal agents have arrested more than 150 people in northern california since sunday for a variety of alleged violations. on saturday, the day before these operations began, the oakland mayor, libby schaaf, warned the public. she said she was doing it to
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protect residents. oakland is a sanctuary city with a policy of not coordinating with federal immigration officials. the i.c.e. deputy director criticized the mayor and described this as reckless. he says her warning increased the risk for his officers. mayor schaaf says she does not regret going public. another sign of potential midterm trouble for republicans. democrats have flipped their 38th and 39th gop-held house seats since president trump took office. the wins coming in a new hampshire district where the president won by 13 points. in connecticut the democratic candidate taking a seat republicans held for 44 years. the two races the latest in a string of legislative victories that democrats see as a sign of strong voter enthusiasm heading into november's midterms. depends on how you see it. some people say the economic messages in favor of republicans, it depends on what people are walking in and voting on. >> that's right. 48 minutes past the hour. papa john's breaking up with the nfl, ending its eight-year
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go to stamps.com/tv and never go to of de pere, wisconsin. his life is... pretty comfortable. rick blomquist thought he had comfort all figured out. but then, he laid on a serta and realized his life was only just sorta comfortable. i've been living a lie. the new serta icomfort hybrid mattress. not just sorta comfortable, serta comfortable. purchase an icomfort mattress and get a free boxspring or up to $500 off an adjustable set.
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small business, internet providers promise you a lot. let's see who delivers more. comcast business offers fast gig-speeds across our network. at&t doesn't. we offer more complete reliability
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with up to 8 hours of 4g wireless network backup. at&t, no way. we offer 35 voice features and solutions that grow with your business. at&t, not so much. get internet on our gig-speed network and add voice and tv for $34.90 more per month. call 1-800-501-6000. the united nations now connecting syria's chemical weapons program to north korea. a diplomat saying they're helping syria make deadly weapons by providing supplies and manpower. we have the latest live from oman, jordan. good morning. >> reporter: good morning, dave. that information is coming from a report by a u.n. panel of experts. that report hasn't been published yet.
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but a u.n. security council diplomat who's seen the report gave cnn some detail saying that north korea had sent experts and materials to syria over the past couple of years. when it comes to the materials, they're saying it is acid-resistant tiles, valves, and thermometers, presumably to use in a production facility. the experts say it is a missile, experts, and they traveled to syria in 2016 and 2017. several visits. at least one of those trips, they state department on a military base. according to one security council diplomat, they remain in at least three syrian cities now. the syrian regime has repeatedly denied allegations that it has used chemical weapons against its own people. and when it comes to these accusations in this new report, according to the diplomats, they say the syrians are also denying the allegations and saying that
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the north koreans are sports trainers, dave. >> sports trainers, okay. thank you. a sixth grader is getting credit for bringing an end to the west virginia teachers strike. after a cooling off period today, teachers resume to classrooms tomorrow following a five-day walkout. there will be a 5% raise in the first year as long as lawmakers approve. the governor says he decided on the largest pay hike after a conversation with a sixth grader. >> gideon titus glover, whose mom is a teacher. he asked why funds were being spent on tourism. the government talked about return on investments. and gideon asked wouldn't it be smart to invest in smart teachers? >> i heard that they added an extra $5 million to tourism. so i thought is it really right? couldn't that money go to a raise for teachers? i kind of thought that was wrong. >> the issue of insurance for teachers is still unresolved. a lot of teachers at the state
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capitol booed when they heard that. barack obama taking a subtle shot at the man who succeeded him in the white house. this audio leaked from an event last week in boston. the former president points to the lack of embarrassing scandals in his administration and what we've seen since president trump took office. >> there were stakes we'd screw -- there were mistakes, we'd screw up. but there wasn't anything -- during eight years. and that's -- i know that seems like a low bar, but during the presidency that's no small thing. >> according to the magazine "reason," the former president expanded on the role social media platforms play in spreading false or toxic information. >> the sports analytic conference in boston there. heavier rain in the south liable to worsen the flood threat for millions today. meteorologist allison chinchar with the forecast. the flood threat still
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exists, especially for areas along the mississippi. we still have flood watches and flood warnings in effect. and likely will continue for at least the next several days. that's because thanks to the front system that you see here, that's giving us enough lift to pull up a lot of that gulf moisture over the spots that have been seeing rain for the last week. here's a look at where the areas will see it today. you see some of the heaviest regions are places like tennessee, arkansas, mississippi, as well as alabama. now one thing to note is that it's also very warm down there, as well. a lot of these areas still looking at temperatures well above average. atlanta looking at a high of 66. little rock about 70. nashville, high temperature of about 63. even some milder temperatures into portions of the northeast. say new york about 59. boston, looking at a high of 58. even cincinnati looking at a high about 56 degrees. >> thank you. let's check cnn "money" this morning. interest rate fears are back. i told you -- every day just a
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rate drama. global stocks lower after a sell-off on wall street. the dow lost 300 points, the first drop in four days. the nasdaq and s&p 500 fell more than 1%. new federal reserve chair jerome powell was on capitol hill. he said he's optimistic about the u.s. economy, and that had water worried that could mean faster interest rate -- that had wall street worried that could mean faster interest rate hikes this year. amazon already owns your doorstep, now it wants to secure inside your home. the company is buying home security company ring. it makes security cameras and internet-connected doorbells. you have seen the commercials. that will pair nicely with amazon key. a smart door lock that allows amazon to drop packages inside people's homes. the company did not discuss how much amazon is paying or other details. papa john's breaking up with the nfl. ending an eight-year sponsorship with the league. last year then-ceo john schnatter blamed slumping sales of pizza on the nfl protests,
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specifically how the league handled it and players. his comments prompted a lot of criticism, forcing the company, papa john's, to apologize. schnatter left at the end of the year. despite cutting league ties, papa john's will keep partnerships with 22 individual teams. do you think that there's a correlation? i've asked you before -- >> absolutely i do. >> between pizza and protests? >> there is none. no -- >> you jest. >> they will have a new sponsor, they say, by the season. do you have one of those online doorbell apps? >> no -- yes, i do. don't come to my house. >> they're brilliant. no matter which you pick, it's creepy but brilliant. "early start" continues right now with the latest from the white house, shoot investigation. >> creepy but politicalyant. -- but brilliant. big developments to the president and his inner circle. jared kushner's security clearance downgraded. hope hicks admits she tells white lies to protect the president. now mr. trump's own actions are a focus of the russia special
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counsel. students return to stoneman douglas high school today in florida, two weeks after 17 lives were taken. while the chances for major gun reform appear slim to none. >> replay the tape. good morning, thanks for getting an early start with us. i'm dave briggs. >> i'm christine romans. wednesday, february 28th, 5:00 a.m. exactly in the east. good morning, everyone. was donald trump's decision to run for president tied to his company's business dealings in russia? the mueller investigation now looking directly at the actions of president trump before the 2016 campaign. sources say investigators are asking witnesses when mr. trump became serious about running for president and how that timing coincided with his business moves, including the abandoned effort to brand a trump tower in moscow. >> investigators also asking about potentially compromising information the russians may have on mr. trump. the sources say they don't know whether mueller has concrete evidence of

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