Return to Transcripts main page

Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Trump Takes Shots At Nikki Haley, Judge 5 Days Ahead of New Hampshire Primary; Pakistan Carries Out Military Strikes On Separatist Targets in Iran; Princess of Wales Hospitalized, King Charles Entering Hospital Next Week; 40+ People Dead After Brutal Winter Storms Across U.S. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired January 18, 2024 - 05:00   ET




Less than five days to go until the New Hampshire primary, Donald Trump leveling personal attacks at Nikki Haley and pushing his rivals to bow out of the race.

The Republican front runner campaigning from the courtroom yesterday, what he said that have the judge threatening to have him removed.

And new overnight, Pakistan has just carried out military strikes inside Iran, who they were targeting, and how leaders are responding this morning.


HUNT: Good morning to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Kasie Hunt. It's Thursday, January 18th, 05:00 a.m. here in Washington.

Only five days left until the high-stakes New Hampshire primary. It's likely Nikki Haley's last chance to demonstrate to voters that she has any chance of beating Donald Trump, who has taken an increased interest in Haley. The front runner, using her given name Nimarata, and making false claims about her immigrant parents.

Last night at a rally in New Hampshire, Trump called on the Republican Party to unify, to beat President Biden.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: It's time for the Republican Party frankly to come together and to unify. We have to unify and focus all of our resources and energy and effort on defeating crooked Joe Biden.


HUNT: And today, Haley making appearances all over New Hampshire and Ron DeSantis back in his home state in Florida. He plans to return to New Hampshire tomorrow. But as for Trump today, he won't be on the trail or in a courtroom

like he's been in previous weeks. Instead, he'll be in Palm Beach, Florida, attending the funeral of his mother-in-law, who passed away last week.

The judge in E. Jean Carroll's defamation case against Trump refused to delay that trial to let Trump attend the funeral. This case will decide how much money Trump owes Carroll for defaming her. He has already been found to have sexually assaulted her.

A reality that Senator Mitt Romney, who was once the GOP standard bearer himself, told CNN, he just doesn't understand. He told our Manu Raju, quote: I think a lot of people in this country are out of touch with reality and will accept anything Donald Trump tells them, Romney said. He went on, quote, you had a jury that said that Donald Trump raped a woman, and that doesn't seem to be moving the needle. There's lots of things about today's electorate that I have a hard time understanding.

Joining us now is CNN reporter Alayna Treene, who covers Trumps campaign for us.

Alayna, good morning. It's always wonderful to see you.

Let's start with those comments. They were in response to some of the Iowa entrance polls as well. It showed that a majority of Iowa caucusgoers don't believe that Joe Biden was legitimately elected.

I mean, this really shows how the Republican Party has changed. No?

ALAYNA TREENE, CNN REPORTER: I mean, it has and I think the thing with Donald Trump that he does so well is he speaks to a lot of voters who really believe -- I agree with Senator Romney, honestly, that they believe a lot of what he says, a lot of the lies that he says talking about the election being stolen, arguing just yesterday, he was saying that Nikki Haley was trying to get rid of Social Security, something she hasn't said, you know, being able to twist the truth in a way that the Republican base really does believe him.

And I do think that this election really shows that his grip on that face has never been firmer. It's always been known that Donald Trump had a very loyal fan base that he could speak to directly on social media, that hears him directly and all of these rallies. But I think the interesting thing with this election as well is that a lot of that base has grown. I mean, a ton of Republicans really are rallying around Donald Trump. And I think that when an Iowa is a clear case of just how strong and loyal a lot of these voters are to Donald Trump, right?

HUNT: I mean, I would, I would just add to that there are some voters who've been pushed out of the party entirely, but the ones that remain are exactly as you and Mitt Romney, frankly described. So let's talk about some of these particularly.

I mean, I'm not surprised that he's gone there. I wish we still lived in a world where these kinds of things were surprising and out of the -- out of the normal way that we do politics. But this is how Donald Trump does politics.

There was Trump using her -- Nikki Haley's given name Nimarata. Then there was this image that they posted that put Nikki Haley and Hillary Clinton's faces together. I want to take it down. I don't want to leave it up on the screen for very long.


Do you think these attacks are going to be effective in New Hampshire for Trump?

TREENE: You know, I think there'll be less effective than in Iowa, I think what we've seen in New Hampshire, and New Hampshire just an entirely different type of race. It's not a caucus. It's a primary. There's more people able to vote in this, you know, you have Republicans but also independents, being able to vote in this.

And this is something that I know from my conversations with Donald Trump's campaign and his advisers that they are worried about, about the types of people voting in New Hampshire that are very different than what they had -- what they saw in Iowa. And so their ground game strategy is obviously different. And, of course, Nikki Haley does very well with moderate. She does very well with independents.

And I do think that these types of attacks do you play differently in state like New Hampshire, and that's why you're seeing Donald Trump more fervently than ever escalate his attacks on Nikki Haley, really trying to do whatever he can in these final days to undercut her before Tuesday's primary and its also why I think you're seeing Nikki Haley, you know, she spent so much time in New Hampshire, far more time than she had in Iowa.

And so, this is really I think a different state, a different type of voting bloc where the voters may not respond to these attacks, as well as they may have another states.

HUNT: Yeah, no, it's very interesting where it -- but it does of course set the stage though for South Carolina, her home state, where these sorts of dirty tricks never had been as front and center is Donald Trump puts them, but they were always happening behind the scenes.

One thing I want to focus on, Alayna, too, with Haley, Ken Langone, he's the founder of Home Depot. He's long been a Republican donor, tried to be a player in these presidential primaries. He told "The Financial Times" yesterday that he's waiting to give her a nice sum of money until after New Hampshire. He told the paper, quote, if she doesn't get traction in New Hampshire, you don't throw money down a rat hole. That is a striking quote.

But it does seem to lay out the stakes for Haley.

TREENE: It does. I think a lot of people will agree with that statement that if she cannot pull it off in New Hampshire, that its going to be very difficult for her to keep up her momentum as she heads into Nevada and South Carolina. And I think a lot of the candidates also recognize that as well. I

know that the former president and his team, just from my conversations with his campaign, recognize that it Haley does not do well in New Hampshire. She doesn't win New Hampshire, really, they believe that its only a matter of time until other candidates begin to drop out as well.

Of course, those are all predictions we have to see what happens, but there's a lot riding on this. Donald Trump had such a massive when in Iowa, the points the way that he led -- it really was a dominating force for him and what his campaign wanted to do. They wanted to win by big enough margins that they think they could want them the momentum of other candidates. And so, I think a lot really is riding on New Hampshire.

We also know that Donald Trump and his campaign believed that by mid- March would be able to have enough delegates for him to essentially be the presumptive Republican nominee, even though the convention is not until July. And I think a lot is riding on New Hampshire to see if they're actually able to do that.

HUNT: Right. Last chance for somebody really to make a dent here in that inevitability.

Alayna Trump -- Alayna Treene, my goodness, I'm so sorry. Thank you very much for being with us this morning. I really appreciate it. See you soon.

And you can watch Nikki Haley take part in CNN's town hall in New Hampshire, moderated by Jake Tapper live at 09:00 Eastern tonight. Don't miss it.

And now, up next, for the fourth time in less than a week, the U.S. has launched strikes against Houthi rebel targets in Yemen. It's raising concerns about a dangerous escalation in the region. We'll have that.

Plus, the princess of Wales hospitalized for two weeks as King Charles prepares to check into the hospital next week. That's up next.



HUNT: New overnight, Pakistan and Iran have now taken the extraordinary step of attacking militants on each other's soil this week. Tensions between the neighboring countries are escalating after Pakistan carried out a series of military strikes against separatist military hideouts inside Iran. Pakistan says the operation killed a number of militants.

Ivan Watson has been tracking these developments for us.

Ivan, the region, of course, does not need another military conflict. Things are already so tense.

Where do things stand between Pakistan and around this morning?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They're tense. This is a crisis, and it would have been very hard to predict even just 34 days ago, Kasie, because both Pakistan and Iran, while they're not the best of friends, they're both officially Islamic republics. Neither of them have recognition or diplomatic relations with Israel, and suddenly, they were actually holding naval exercises, joint naval exercises together earlier this week.

And then suddenly Tuesday night, Iran carried out these cross-border strikes against what it said were Iranian as they put it, terrorists operating in Pakistani territory. It killed at least two children, wounded several others.

The Pakistani government was incensed It withdrew -- it recalled its ambassador from Tehran. It said that Iran's ambassador to Islamabad is not welcome. And within the last couple of hours, the Pakistani government has announced that it carried out each one cross-border strikes into Iranian territory against what it describes as Pakistani militants operating there.

Take a listen


MUMTAZ ZAHRA BALOCH, PAKISTAN FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON: This morning, Pakistan undertook a series of highly coordinated and specifically targeted precision military strikes against terrorist how hideouts in Stano Baluchistan province of Iran.


A number of terrorists were killed during the intelligence based operation.


WATSON: The Pakistani army, it says that it used killer drones, rockets, loitering munitions and standoff weapons to carry out these strikes, Iranian officials are saying at least nine people were killed, including three women and four children. It's condemning this and demanding a response. We just don't know where this new tension between these neighbors could go from here -- Kasie.

HUNT: A tinderbox as always.

All right. Our Ivan Watson -- Ivan, thank you.

All right. Now this two royal health concerns this morning, Catherine, the princess of Wales, expected to spend up to two weeks recovering in the hospital after undergoing abdominal surgery. And before she even gets home, King Charles is going to enter the hospital for treatment for an enlarged prostate.

Let's bring in CNN's Max Foster, who is our jack of all international trades, but a particular expert on the royal family. Max, lets start with Princess Kate. I mean, what do we know about this procedure and the recovery mean? This has to be really significant for her to have to be in the hospital for two-plus weeks

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. We weren't told until the procedure was over, we knew it had gone well, but and it's non-cancerous. We mentioned that yesterday. But I think it has become -- it has been a bit of a shock to British people because and as she has this vibrant centerpiece really of the royal family, she's the one that makes the front pages and she's hugely popular and she's very much seen as the future of the monarchy, the next queen after Camilla.

But people were raised eyebrows really at this extensive recovery plan two weeks in hospital, up to two weeks, up to three months, home, effectively on bed rest.

So, some concern about that, but I don't think were going to hear any updates, frankly, unless something unexpected happens or she actually leaves hospital, I'm sure we'll get an update on that, but I think people will miss her. She does constantly he appear in the media. We're not going to see her at all effectively for up to four months.

HUNT: Yeah, pretty remarkable. I have to say -- I'm a big fan of the royal family, having done some work -- college work in the U.K.

It's not cancer, correct?

FOSTER: No, exactly. It's not cancer-related at all.

HUNT: Okay.

Now, tell us about the king and kind of -- he's obviously getting the treatment, but he's also talking about it publicly. Why?

FOSTER: Well, he's got an enlarged prostate. He has to go in for a procedure next week to deal with that. It didn't necessarily have to announce it.

The palace, as you know, a very careful about any medical information that they released because they feel they do have a right to a private life. So didn't necessarily have to announce this one. And the same way as they probably did with Kate, she went into hospital.

But there was a big meeting today in Scotland involving ministers. He didn't want to let everyone down because he's not going to be able to go to that. Didn't want people travel to travel unnecessarily for that.

But also, a source telling us he did want to publish size this because he thinks its important that men have themselves checked yes, that does speak to it and we now have three out of the four senior royals out of action. So, you're going to have people like Anne and Edward stepping in as well to support the queen who really leads on that.

HUNT: I have a big soft spot for Princess Anne, so if were going to see more of her, I'm all for that. FOSTER: She's very hardworking, as you know.

HUNT: Yeah. Max Foster -- Max, thank you. I'll see you tomorrow.

All right. Still ahead here, a pair of Apple watches banned in the U.S. again. We'll explain why. And another round of brutal temperatures and deadly winter weather on the way. Allison Chinchar is going to bring us our storm report, that's up next.



HUNT: Welcome back.

We've got quick hits across America now. Apple Watch imports have been banned in the U.S. again. Federal appeals court has denied Apple's motion to pause the sales ban on the new watch models. Apple says it will disable the blood oxygen monitoring feature to comply with the ban, which stems from a patent dispute.

And today, the Justice Department is set to release its independent review of the police response to the 2022 shooting at Robb elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and two teachers dead. Family members of victims met with Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday.

Also, families of the American hostages held in Gaza by Hamas will meet with national security adviser Jake Sullivan today. The U.S. believes six Americans remain in captivity. It's been more than 100 days since their loved ones were abducted.

All right. Let's turn now to weather. A wave of snow and brutally cold temperatures have caused dangerous conditions on the roads. They've killed at least 40 people across the U.S. since last weekend.

Fatalities have been reported in all of these states that you can see. Tennessee with the highest number of weather-related deaths at 14, and it's not over yet. Another round of snow, ice and extreme cold is expected across parts of the Central and Eastern U.S. today.

Our meteorologist, Allison Chinchar, has been tracking all of it for us.

Allison, what do you expect?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yeah, some more cold temperatures. Those are arriving as we head into the weekend. You'll notice today, the focus is really over the high plains, but that cold air is really going to start to spread south and east in the coming days. So this brief reprieve we're getting today, enjoy it while at last.

Take for example, Atlanta, looking at a high today in the 50s probably not that same for as we head into the weekend, taking a look at this. Louisville going with a high of 36 today, back down to a high of only 22 on Saturday. Same thing for dc going almost 40 for their high temperature today, back down into the mid 20s by Saturday, as that cold air begins to spread farther south and eastward.


You've got some patches of snow across some areas, including this area across Midwest, portions of say, Gary, Indiana, down through portions of Missouri, looking at some snow, still dealing with a lot of moisture out across portions of Washington state, as well as Oregon today. The good news is not nearly as bad as we've seen the last few days. That one system, however, is going to start to spread up into the mid-Atlantic and into the normal for the east as we head through the day today and into tomorrow.

So, be prepared that you may have some more travel delays as well for some of those cities. Overall, here's a look at the swathe of forecast snowfall. Again, you can see it's mostly focused along the Ohio River Valley where we're going to see some of those higher totals, portions of the Central Appalachians and then up into areas of the Northeast.

Another area where what were likely going to have some pretty impressive snowfall totals is up around the Great Lakes, but you can see this giant swathe here of where we anticipate a lot of that winter weather to be lake effect snow warnings are in effect for two separate areas were high totals are expected in the next 24 hours.

HUNT: All right. Allison Chinchar, thank you very much for that.

Coming up next here, Donald Trump tangling in court with the judge in the E. Jean Carroll defamation trial. There contentious exchange up next.

And a cybersecurity challenge for JPMorgan Chase. The banking giant fending off billions of hacking attempts every day. We'll have details ahead.