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tv   Early Start With John Berman and Christine Romans  CNN  February 15, 2017 1:00am-2:01am PST

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♪ breaking overnight -- top adviser to donald trump's campaign in frequent contact with russians at the same time moscow was executing the hack of the dnc. and the white house struggling to limit the damage following the resignation of michael flynn. new questions are emerging about why key information was kept from the vice president. a very busy morning, good
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morning to you, welcome to "early start." i'm alison kosik. >> i'm john berman. it's wednesday, 4:00 a.m. in the east. you can't sleep at all. operation of the news developing right now. breaking overnight, surrounding the white house, russia in the eye of the storm, 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 as part of routine surveillance of russian officials and others. our sources say it drew the attention of law enforcement partly because it came as russia was known to be hacking mostly democratic organizations. now, the new revelations comes as the white house tries to limit the damage following the resignation of michael flynn, after he misled the white house about his own contact with russia during the transition. for the latest, let's bring in
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cnn's pamela brown in washington. >> well, good morning. high-level advisers were in constant communication during the campaign to those known to russia, and tells cnn, president-elect trump and then president obama were both briefed on the details between suspected operatives and according to u.s. officials familiar with the matter. and both the frequency of the communications and proximity to those close to trump raised a red flag to law intelligence and law enforcement. according to communications were intercepted during collection of information targeted russian officials and other russian nationals known to intelligence. among those regularly communicating with russian nationals was then campaign manager manafort and prashls say
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representatives communication between foreign governments is not unusual. however, due to the frequency and level of the trump advisers involved. investigators have not reached a judgment on the intent of those communications adding to those 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 the russians could have been exaggerating their access. john and alison. >> i think it's moving fast, the few revelations coming after at the white house faced a barrage of questions about the forced resignation of michael flynn as national security adviser. now, flynn was fired during the transition at tuesday's briefing, press secretary sean spicer was asked to confirm that no one on the trump team spoke with russia before election day.
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listen to this. >> back in january, the president said that nobody in hi campaign had been in touch with the russians. now, today, you can 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 what general dmrin has now expressed, during the transition period, we were very clear, during the transition period, he did speak with the ambassador -- >> i'm talking about during the campaign. >> there there's nothing that would conclude that anything has changed during that time period. >> and where have we seen this before. then the vice president elect mike pence also refuted that any officials had communication during the campaign. >> was there any contact in any way between trump and his associates and the kremlins or cutouts? >> well, of course, not, why would there be any contacts between the campaign? chris, this is all a
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distraction, it's all part of a narrative to delegitimize the election and question the legitimacy of this presidency. >> and now mike pence again finally denying there were any contacts between the campaign and the russians, that is not the reporting this morning. of course, there is irony in this. the same day of the interview you just saw right there, january 15th, mike pence was on another sunday show, he denied that mike flynn had spoken to the russians about sanctions and that turned out to be false. former campaign aides frustrated. telling don lemon overnight that red flags between russia and contacts were raised and ignored. >> it's nothing short of a bombshell. and it collaborates a lot of us what those who worked on the campaign suspected so long where
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we had a lot of trouble quite frankly getting people to pay attention to it because it seemed so surreal. the more reporting coming up since the election, more and more is being confirmed as true. >> as brian fallon. and mook wrote i'd like the fbi to explain why they spent so much time on clinton and not this. saying that the fbi was investigating e-mails for hillary clinton, 11 days before the election cost her the presidency. 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 creme linl hkro say now? let's go to clare sebastian. what is moscow saying now? >> well, the issue whether there were any contacts with the russia campaign is nothing knew here. we heard from the deputy
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foreigner prior to the days to the election that there was anything unusual about that and we don't know anything about the content other frequency. but we are expecting to get the first high-level face-to-face meeting between russia and the u.s. that should happen tomorrow between russian foreign minister sergey lavrov and secretary of state rex tillerson. and this comes at a heim of heightened tension, news coming out of the u.s., three separate military incidents from russia, plus a military source telling cnn that russia has deployed a ground launch missile in violation of a 1987 treaty. we also hear from military sources in the u.s. that a russian spy ship is floating in international offer of delaware. that has happened before. but not that often. and the final incident happened
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last week, three russian planes, according to the u.s., bumping a u.s. navy vessel in the black sea. russia is denying that saying those incidents didn't happen. frankly surprised that russia is worrying about it. and then coming out of moscow, as well, mixed messages concerned about coming out of the u.s., particularly that comment that we had from sean spicer that president trump would like to see crimea returned to ukraine. that's causing great consternation here in moscow. one official saying it was like a cold shower over expectations of improved relations between russia and the u.s. >> so many headlines coming out of moscow as well. we'll be interested to hear perhaps in that meeting. turmoil at 1600 pennsylvania avenue. that's to say the least. sources telling cnn the white house is in chaos as it tries to
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move past controversy. we're told top officials aren't even speaking to each other because they're too busy trying to take each other down. our sources explain it as the game of thrones. saying the level of trust between the president and general flynn had deteriorated. >> turns out vice president pence, one of the last to find out about the investigation that led to the resignation of the national security adviser, even though mike pence is the one that michael flynn misled about his talkings to the russian ambassador, the white house claims the president knew about the justice department probe into those calls two weeks before the v.p. but apparently kept him out of the loop. flynn was questioned by the fbi before the justice department warned the white house about his contacts january 26th. sources say he was cooperative with no sign he tried to mislead the bureau. all of this triggering a rather unusual, sort of ominous warning
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from the head of special operations command general raymond thomas. he said our government continues to be in unbelievable tur mout. i hope they sort it out soon because we're a nation of war. we rarely hear that from senior officers. general thomas oversees navy s.e.a.l.s and the army green beret. >> lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are agreeing there's a need to investigate the trump administration ties to russia. but who should conduct that investigation? what exactly needs investigated? that remains points of contention. let's get more from cnn congressional reporter manu raju. >> democrats on capitol hill trying to push for a separate independent investigation to look into the whole russia investigation as well. flynn's role talking to the ambassador during that transition period. that is something that so far
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republicans aren't willing to go that far. at point, willing to go to the house intelligence committee and senate intelligence committee on the house side, there's a little more resistance into looking into specific context between president trump and president-elect trump at the time, and then michael flynn, whether or not he told michael flynn to talk to the russian ambassador. the chairman of the house intelligence committee told me yesterday that he doesn't think those contacts between trump and flynn would be subject to their review because of executive privilege. now, on the other side of the capitol, senate republicans are suggesting that intelligence committee will look into that aspect. as well as will look into more broadly speaking russia's meddling in the election as well. senate majority leader mitch mcconnell addressed this yesterday when i asked him specifically about the flynn controversy. are you confident that president trump did not direct mike flynn to talk about the issue of sanctions with the russian ambassador? >> the fundamental question for
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us is what is our involvement and who ought to look at it. and the intelligence committee is already looking at russia involvement in our election. the senator has indicated it's highly likely they will want to take a look at this episode as well. they have the broad jurisdiction to do it. and any question why the president did what he did ought to be directed to the white house. >> question is what if any of this information will be revealed publicly. we know the intelligence committee typically does its work behind closed-doors in a classified setting. john and alison. >> thank you. it's interesting that today marks the day 27 of the trump administration and -- wow. >> things are happening awfully quickly. >> of course, the white house is hoping to sit the conversation, hosting the israeli prime minister. we're live in jerusalem with a preview.
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everything else going on, all the questions about white house turmoil and russian contact, president trump hosting
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israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu at the white house today. their meeting comes on the heels of the disclosure that a two-state solution to the israeli palestinian conflict is not something that president trump will now insist on. the white house tells cnn the administration policy on israel is still a work in progress. we're going live to jerusalem to bring you cnn's oren liebermann. oren, the idea that the two-state solution is no longer at the forefront of the white house agenda, or the u.s. agenda i should say more accurately. that's a major development. >> it is, the senior official says the white house insists on a two-state solution and open to any suggestions that bring about peace. and saying look, it's clear that there is only one option here, that is a two-state option next to a israeli-palestinian state. the white house is still formulating its middle east policy and we've seen that change over the last few months.
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president donald trump in his campaign had promised to move the embassy. he's backed away from that promise. he appeared to be pro-israeli settlements in the west bank he's now criticized them as being unhelpful to the peace process. that policy still being formulated here. and what we're learning president trump has taken that from the diplomats on how to navigate the area. for president trump, he wants to keep it focused on iran. his coalition, his party wants him to back away from his public compliment to a two-state solution. that is something he's not likely to do because that would fly in the face of the international community. john, i point out there say statement coming before the meeting because it's before the meeting, it's unlikely they'll say anything big comes from the statement. but the optics are important. both trump and netanyahu want to make it clear that this
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relationship is off to so much better a start than the rocky relation between president obama and netanyahu. >> we just lost oren at the end there. we should also note if there's anyone who understands u.s. politics, it's benjamin netanyahu. he comes in here, it's interesting to see how he operates inside all of the chaos that's taking place in washington right now. thank you, oren, for that. lets move to the exit for obamacare. humana saying next year, it's going to drop coverage in the 11 state where is it sells individual policies both on the obamacare exchange and outside of it. now, it covers 152,000 policyholders in those states. they will be covered through the end of this year, though. humana saying it expects to lose $45 million. it's already seeing sicker, more expensive patients. and it has been the major lock
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on obamacare that insureds are saying there's just not enough healthy enrollees to offset the sicker ones coming into the pool. it's the first major surge to exit obamacare under president trump. the president tweeting on the news saying obamacare continues to fail. hunan is pu-- humana is pulling out in 2018. and insureds are getting divided on how to repair and replace obamacare. some have warned they're going to drop coverage unless lawmakers provide more clarity about their plans. and guess who the fall guys in all of this -- people, average americans trying to get insurance, you look at tennessee because humana is going to be dropping out, i think it's 16 tennessee county, 50,000 people could have no obamacare exchange to go to. or insurance company to go to.
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unless another insurance company goes into those counties to pick up what was lost. >> it could be the impetus to get politicians to act quickly. a strong story out of malaysia, kim jong-un half brother poisoned to death. is there a link to the north korean dictator?
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officials in south korea say the sudden death of kim jong-nam, he's the half brother of north korean leader kim jong-un was murdered. they say kim jong-nam was poisoned and two women are believered to be the suspects.
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cnn sarah mohsen joins us. what more are you learned about how he died and the suspects? >> reporter: yeah, alison, right now, an autopsy is being carried out in the morgue outside of the hospital here in kuala lumpur. we understand diplomats have gone in perhaps to help out with the identification. he's believed to have been poisoned. when he was due to boards a flight. and when he came to a counselor and said that he was grabbed from behind and his face smothered, he was rushed to a medical clinic by the airport. he was rushed to the hospital because they couldn't help him. now, the most information we've gotten so far is actually from the south korean government. they held a national security
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council meeting early wednesday, near kuala lumpur. and they told the media that they believed that two asian women carried out the attack at the international airport in kuala lumpur. they believe that kim jong-nam was traveling to visit his family. he wasn't in malaysia to seek asylum as some people have suggested. and they confirmed that this was poisons, but they couldn't tell us how he was poisoned. that's why we're here at the morgue here. >> all right, saima, thanks very much. there are major developments overnight that have a lot of people questioning whether russian official has influence over donald trump presidential campaign.
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♪ breaking overnight, new
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controversy for president of the united states trump dating back to his time as candidate trump top advisers to his campaign were in frequent contact with russian officials. so what were they talking about? >> and new questions over michael flynn's departure from the white house. why was the vice president kept in the dark about the probe into flynn's conversation with russia about sanctions? welcome back to "early start," everyone. i'm john berman. >> good morning, i'm alison kosik. it's 30 minutes past the hour. breaking overnight, sources tell cnn there was constant communication during the 2016 campaign between russian operatives and top aides to donald trump when he was a candidate. our sources are telling us it drew the attention of u.s. intelligence and law enforcement, partly because it came as russia was known to be hacking mostly democratic organizations. new revelations are coming in as
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the white house tries to limit the damage following the resignation of national security adviser after he misled the white house with the latest on the transition. for the latest, let's bring in cnn's pamela john. >> well, good morning. high-level advisers were in constant communication during the campaign to those known to russia, and tells cnn, president-elect trump and then president barack obama were both briefed on the details of 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 the matter. and both the frequency of the communications and proximity to those close to trump raised a red flag to law intelligence and law enforcement. and according to these officials, the communications were intercepted during routine
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collection of information targeting russian officials and other russian nationals known to u.s. intelligence. among those regularly communicating with russian nationals was then campaign manager paul manafort and adviser michael flynn according to our sources. officials say communications between representatives between foreign governments is not unusual. however, due to the frequency and level of the trump advisers involved. investigators have not reached a judgment on the intent of those communications adding to those u.s. ambassador were concerned that 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 the russians could have been exaggerating their access. john and alison. >> the new revelations came just after a barrage of questions
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about the forced resignation of michael flynn as national security adviser. now, flynn was fired during the transition at tuesday's transition and because of a loss of trust about what he said. and on tuesday's press briefing, press secretary sean spicer was asked to confirm that no one on the trump team spoke with russia before election day. >> back in january, the president said that nobody in his campaign had been in touch with the russians. now, today, you can 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 what general flynn has now expressed, is 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. >> there there's nothing that would conclude that anything has changed during that time period. >> sean spicer denying that question. and then there is this.
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then the vice president-elect mike pence, he was asked directly, is this january 5th, he was asked directly whether any officials had contact with russia during the campaign. >> was there any contact in any way between trump and 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. >> of course not says mike pence. and the reporting from cnn, of course, and "the new york times" says that there were contact it's between campaign officials, mike flynn, also paul manafort with some russians during the campaign. we should note the same day of the interview, january 15th, mike pence was also on another sunday show. the morning he spoke that he
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spoke about sanctions. we now know that turned out to be false. and former campaign staffers are stressing the frustration. brian fallon telling cnn's don lemon overnight that red flags over contacts between trump aides and russia were raised and ignored. >> it's nothing short of a bombshell. and it crorroborates what a lot of us that worked on the campaign suspected all along, during those months, where we had a lot of trouble, quite frankly, getting people to pay attention to it, because it seemed so surreal. but the more reporting that's coming out since the election, more and more is being confirmed as true. >> clinton campaign manager robby mook wrote, i'd like the fbi to explain why they sent a letter about clinton but not about this. saying the fbi was investigating more e-mails connected to hillary clinton 11 days before
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the election cost her the presidency. you there every twist and turn of this, moscow has denied again and again that it did anything to influence the u.s. election. although there's now plenty of evidence to the contrary, including that report to u.s. intelligence agencies. so what does the kremlin have to say now? cnn's claire sebastian joins us live from moscow. the latest, paul manafort and michael flynn with contact during the campaign with russian officials. and the russians now say -- what? >> well, it's interesting, john, because the fact -- the fact that there were contacts between russian officials and the trump campaign is really not anything new here in russia. we actually had just a few days after the election from russia deputy foreign minister in an interview with interfact, saying there were contacts, didn't
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elaborate on the frequency of them. but it's interesting when this takes place in a time, suddenly in the last 24 hours or so, this relationship which many had high hopes for improving under the new u.s. administration has been very strained. the reports of three separate military incidents coming out of washington. first, that the russians have deployed a cruise missile that violates a 1987 treaty. the kremlin spokesman say to get russian agency that russia is in full compliance with that treaty. and there have been no official accusations. it's actually a russian spy ship according to cnn is now in international waters off the coast of delaware. that has happened before but it's suddenly very unusual. and the third incident, the buzzing of russian planes of a u.s. naval ship in the black sea. russia has denied any incident it's. said it was frankly surprised that the pentagon was concerned about this but this certainly
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raises tensions within that relationship. for russia, a real cause of concern at this point is the suggestion we heard from sean spicer yesterday that president trump wants crimea to be returned to ukraine. we heard just now from its foreign ministry spokesman saying this would not happen, crimea is part of russia and will not give it back. >> clare sebastian in moscow. thanks so much. sources tell cnn the white house is in chaos, as it tries to move past the michael flynn controversy. and we're told that top officials aren't speaking to each other because they're try too busy trying to take each other down. our source described it as a game of thrones. and we're finding out more about the leadup to flynn's resignation. the white house says the level of trust between the president and general flynn had deteriorated forcing a change. >> and now we are told the v.p. was one of the last to find out about the investigation into general flynn. even though he is the one that
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flynn allegedly mislead about his talks with the russian ambassador. the white house claims the president knew about the justice department probe into those calls two weeks before the v.p. but apparently kept him out of the loop. flynn was questioned by the fbi before the justice department warned white house about his contacts with russia. that happened january 26th. sources say he was cooperative. all of this is a very unusual warning from the head of command general raymond thomas. he says our government continues to be in unbelievable turmoil. i hope they sort it out soon because we're a nation at war." you really never almost hear comments from an acting serving commander. general thomas oversees operations of the navy s.e.a.l.s and green beret. and saying that kellyanne
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conway has been disciplined for promoting ivanka trump's fashion line on tv. saying there's a strong reason to believe that conway violated and likened to appearing in a tv commercial and has requested a response from the administration by the end of the month. >> the white house is looking for anything to change the conversation at this point. will a visit from the israeli prime minister do the trick? we're live in jerusalem with a preview.
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♪ welcome back. a major exit from obamacare, humana saying next year it's going to drop coverage in the 11 states where it sells individual policies both on the obamacare exchange and outside of it. it covers 152,000 policyholders in those states. they will be covered through the end of the year, though. it expects to lose $45 million.
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humana says costs are too high. it's already seeing sicker, more expensive patients. and the president tweeted on this news saying this. obamacare continues to fail. humana to pull out in 2018. will repeal and replace and save health care for all americans. but insureds are getting more and more jittery about where health care stands in this country. many have warned to drop coverage unless lawmakers have more clarity to replace obamacare. and the aetna with humana, and cigna also, anthem on the hook for a $1 billion payment to significa
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cigna. president trump hosts israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu. it comes on the heels that the two-state conflict is now not something that the president will insist on. the white house insists that it's still a work in progress. we want to go live to jerusalem and bring in cnn's oren liebermann. the idea that a two-state solution is now not something that the white house will insist on. that's the language we're being told. that's a significant development, oren. >> it absolutely is. it's a major break with some five decades of u.s. foreign policy. the white house saying it won't insist on it but open to any agreements which israel and palestinian leaders have agreed to. and the international consensus very much is an israeli state new york stock exchange a palestinian state. one palestinian leader even said if trump has some different idea on a one-state solution then give details about it. is it a state where israelis and palestinians have full rights or apartheid state where only
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really have rights. what is clear on the israeli-palestinian conflict it's not finalized. it's still a work in progress. and we've seen it develop over the last few months as president trump has backed away from his promise to move the embassy to jerusalem. and the right wing and the settlers now he's criticized them as being unhelpful to the peace process. so this statement not insisting on a two-state solution gives him wiggle room as the white house figuring out its policy with working with arab flow the mas. for netanyahu, he wants to keep it focused on iran, he wants to keep it focused on security while staying away from a two-state solution. that's because his coalition and even his own party is urging them to back away from a two-state solution. the two will make a statement together, netanyahu and trump. john, it's worth noting that it comes before their actual meeting. comes before they talk policy.
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it's very much about the optics, both of these leaders want to make it clear they're off to a strong start and they have a very good relationship together that is much better than the relationship between former president obama sand netanyahu. the optics appears to be important to both leaders here. >> flynn was seen as being the closest in line with benjamin netanyahu on the iran deal. now, michael flynn is gone. it will be interesting to see if that affects these discussions today. oren liebermann in jerusalem. thanks so much. and the record rally for the stock market rolls on. investors enjoying four straight day, of all-time highs. even more impressive, the stock probably part of your 401(k). we're going to show you the big gains -- next. they release medicine fast, for fast pain relief. tylenol®
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all right. u.s. defense secretary james mattis is in brussels this morning to meet with nato allies
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for the first time. topping the agenda, nato's strained relations with russia and fighting extremism. general mattis is also expected to discuss the resignation of michael flynn. cnn is live in brussels. a swirl of questions here in the united states, erin, that secretary mattis will not be able to avoid this. >> reporter: that's right, john. this is seen as one of the most important in recent years. officials really making great efforts to try and impress secretary mattis. in the words of one senior nato diplomat, they have sort of overprepared, kind of like, quote, a good school student. secretary mattis for his part saying that he's going to be listening to what nato officials have to say. but also talking about transformation. especially considering what president trump has said that he wants to see more in terms of
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defense spending from the allies he also wants to see a greater focus on counterterrorism. officials here say they want to know precisely what he means in terms of contrite proposals. michael flynn's resignation will also weigh heavily on this meeting as well. in the words of one senior diplomat we've spoken to, his resignation, quote, far from reassuring. general mattis asked about it on the flight over to brussels. take a list ton what he has to say. >> frankly, it has no impact. obviously, i haven't changed what i'm heading there for. it doesn't change my message at all. and who's on the president's staff is who i will work with. and, so, you know, it's full speed ahead. >> reporter: now, that senior nato diplomat saying that they recognize for the trump administration there is a learning curve when it comes to russia. but they hope that very quickly, the united states will recognize
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russia as a dangerous player that needs to be taken seriously. john. >> erin mclaughlin for us in brussels. big meeting there today. thanks so much, erin. finally, some closure for the family of a boy kidnapped and murdered in new york city in 1959. a jury has convicted 56-year-old pedro hernandez of killing and kidnapping etan patz on his way to a bus stop. prosecutors called it the most painful unsolved crimes. better been an agonizing wait for the family. but etan's father stanley says there is final some measure of justice for his son. nearly 200,000 people have the green light to return to their homes. this in the shadow of the oroville dam in northern california. authorities lifted the mandatory evacuation order on tuesday, with the lake water dropping. crews scrambled to repair the damage of the spillway before
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new storms hit starting tonight. >> those are amazing pictures. >> president trump has approved emergency aid for the area while the evacuation order was lifted. an evacuation order staying in effect. rumor has it there's a best in show. rumor is the name of the winner of the top prize of the 141st westminster dog show. >> now, that's a dog. >> a german shepherd is a dog. as opposed to a big cat. this dog beat out nearly 3,000 competitors from nearly 200 breeds. >> look at him. >> german shepherd, rumor. it's a she. she was the runner-up last year in 2016. she is not going to be going to disney world. after the win, the handler said we're going to go home, relax and find her a husband. >> it might be a nice ball to play with. just be a dog. >> she's got some work to do.
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let's check on cnn money stream this morning. record run. it's been a record run for stocks set to date five this morning, dow futures are higher. s&p 500 futures up slightly. both have hit four straight record highs it's amazing. stock markets in europe and asia are climbing as well. two wildly held stockings also at all-time highs. goldman sachs hitting its first record close since the recession. investors are loving bank stocks in 2017. that's thanks to president trump's promises of lower taxes and less regulation. apple also closing at an all-time high. shareholders are optimistic about the next iphone after a sales rebound. >> how do they know. they don't even know what the new iphone is? >> it's the anticipation. the expectation. >> it's the rumors. wireless rumors. the ceos of seven major retailers heading to washington
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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 t

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