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Gov. Haley Being Considered For Sec. Of State; Trump Proposes 5-Year Lobbying Ban; Trump To Meet Japanese Prime Minister; Clinton's First Speech Since Concession; Pepsi Boycott Over Fake News; Obama In Berlin For Visit With Merkel; Medal Of Freedom Winners Announced. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired November 17, 2016 - 05:30   ET



[05:30:45] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: A one-time critic of Donald Trump could join the Trump administration. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley meets with the transition team today.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A world leader due at Trump Tower in a matter of hours. The Japanese prime minister pays vice president -- or the president-elect, rather, a visit.

HOWELL: And these two world leaders get together later this morning. It is President Obama's farewell visit with German chancellor Angela Merkel.

Good morning. Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm George Howell.

ROMANS: Nice to see you today, George. John Berman's off.

HOWELL: Good to be here.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It's 31 minutes past the hour. New this morning, word from a transition source that Donald Trump is considering South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley for Secretary of State despite their stormy history. Haley is set to meet with the president-elect today at Trump Tower. She spent most of the primary season slamming Trump and backing Marco Rubio. That is, until Trump won the Republican nomination and then Haley reluctantly said she would vote for him.

Meantime, the transition team is putting some teeth into Trump's promise to drain the swamp announcing overnight that any registered lobbyists would have to un-register before they could be vetted for a senior job. Those people would also be banned from lobbying for five years after they leave government service.

For the very latest on the transition let's bring in CNN's Sara Murray.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Good morning, Christine and George. Donald Trump spent Wednesday ensconced in Trump Tower taking visits from his top aides and also from his family members. But while all that was happening some of his top staffers were pushing back on the notion that his transition was in disarray.

They're particularly hitting back hard at the idea that Jared Kushner is shaking up some of the transition staffers and ousting others as a way of getting revenge for the fact that Chris Christie put his father in jail. In fact, they're saying that Donald Trump was taking a look at some of the staffers in the transition. His top aides worrying, saying these weren't necessarily the kinds of people they wanted their government. That they wanted to get the lobbyists out and that others, they felt, simply weren't doing their jobs.

Now, they're insistent that things are calm, that they're organized, and that different agencies in Washington, D.C. will see landing teams to get the work of a Donald Trump administration started in the coming days.

But not all of Donald Trump's visitors were necessarily admirers. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, a liberal Democratic, stopped by with a warning.

BILL DE BLASIO, MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: I tried to express to him how much fear there is. How much fear there is in communities all over this city. A whole range of people in the biggest city in the country who are fearful about this current dynamic and how we need to see things that will give people more assurance that all New Yorkers and all Americans will be respected.

MURRAY: Yet another reminder that as Donald Trump's top staff is working around the clock to staff a government, Trump, himself, may have some work to do to continue to unite the country. Back to you guys.


HOWELL: All right. Sara Murray reporting for us. Thank you.

Later today the prime minister of Japan will become the first world leader to meet with the president-elect. Shinzo Abe says that he is eager to build trust with Donald Trump, hoping to safeguard the decades-old alliance between the two countries. Trump argued during the campaign that the U.S. should withdraw its military from Japan and South Korea and that those two countries should obtain their own nuclear weapons to protect themselves from North Korea.

Top aides to Abe say members of the transition team have told them not to take all of Donald Trump's remarks serious -- literally.

ROMANS: A top Republican official claims President-elect Trump is committed to making sure his conflicts of interest are cleared up by the time he assumes office. Trump has talked about setting up a blind trust and turning his business over to his children. But critics say the president-elect is not addressing obvious conflicts, something the RNC's chief strategist insists will be cleaned up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEAN SPICER, CHIEF STRATEGIST, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Everybody is well aware of Donald Trump's success and his holdings. This is part of why he was elected. I think people have looked at him as a successful businessman and I think that we're going to have a great presidency. That he will do whatever it takes to make sure that all of those conflicts of interest are resolved properly and legally and that the assets are handed down and the company is run by the kids, as he mentioned.


ROMANS: Legal experts tell CNN if Trump transfers his assets to his children and puts his children in charge of his business -- his corporation -- it does not -- it does not meet the definition of a blind trust.

[05:35:05] HOWELL: There's a lot to talk about -- blind trust, Nikki Haley. Let's bring in CNN POLITICS digital managing editor Zachary Wolf, live in Washington with us.

ROMANS: Morning.

HOWELL: Zachary, good morning.


HOWELL: Let's first talk about Nikki Haley. I mean, certainly a star of the Republican Party, though during the election -- the primaries and all -- there was a stormy relationship between her and Donald Trump. But now she will meet with Donald Trump at Trump Tower, possibly for the role of Secretary of State. How would that play out for Nikki Haley to take on that role?

WOLF: You know, I think it was such a contentious primary and then Trump said some things that were so contentious in the general election, but it is a very powerful thing for a Republican to have the White House. So I think in the coming weeks and months we will start to see Republicans who were opposed to him come to terms with the fact that they will be in power, essentially, with him next year and they will have to figure out a way to deal with this.

And I don't think it's outside the realm of possibility that people who opposed him, even vocally opposed him, will sort of come on board. You saw that with a lot of Republican voters who ended up voting for him. That said, Nikki Haley is this kind of rising star amongst Republicans. She adds some diversity to the party that it doesn't otherwise have. She's a female governor of a southern state, she's from a different ethnic group, so those are all really interesting elements to this.

ROMANS: I'm not hearing you say foreign policy chops.

WOLF: Well, yes, and that's what I was going to get to. She is not -- she has basically no foreign policy chops. She is -- you know, being the governor of a southern state I'm not sure qualifies you in the traditional sense to be Secretary of State where you'll be outside talking to foreign leaders and things like that. So that resume problem -- that resume problem could be a real issue for her.

ROMANS: We're nine days now into the transition here and the first few days furiously marked by pushback against Steve Bannon, the pick for this very important senior strategist role. And then now, I don't know, I feel like yesterday the storyline started to turn a little bit. Again, this morning we're talking about Nikki Haley but last night you heard from Bernie Sanders sort of reviving his real anger over one of these top picks from the president-elect. Listen.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: I call upon Mr. Trump to rescind the appointment that he made of Mr. Bannon. A President of the United States should not have a racist at his side -- unacceptable.


ROMANS: That pick will be a rallying cry for progressives in the Democratic Party, won't it?

WOLF: It will, and it will continue to be. It's not a Senate- confirmable job -- you know, the special adviser thing in the White House -- so he can choose Steve Bannon and ignore all the -- all the -- all the criticism and that will be his counselor. And it's clear that this was a person who basically got him over the finish line --


WOLF: -- in his presidential campaign. So if there's any loyalty involved it's not clear that Trump will get rid of him. He obviously knew going in -- I mean, he's appeared on radio programs with this guy a lot. Everybody knows what Breitbart, the website and company that Steve Bannon used to lead, are all about so none of this should be a surprise to Donald Trump.

But at the same time he's now saying he wants to be the president for all Americans so that sort of changes, maybe, the dynamic a little bit. I don't think there's any indication right now that he's going to get rid of Steve Bannon anytime soon.

HOWELL: You know, there's this sentiment, as Donald Trump is set to take office, among world leaders. Shinzo Abe, his top aides are telling him not to take Donald Trump literally. And that's the sentiment, not to take him literally with the many things that were said during the campaigning season.

So I want to play this sound bite from Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker talking about the Iran deal. You remember all the things that were said about that. Let's listen to what he's saying now and we can talk about it on the other side.


SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: I don't think he will tear it up and I don't think that's the way to start. I think what he should do is build consensus with these other countries that -- they're definitely violating the agreement and he's going to have Congress with him on that. And I think what he -- I think that's a much better approach.


HOWELL: So again, there was a lot said during the campaigning but now there seems to be a rereading of what Donald Trump would really mean.

WOLF: Yes. I mean, this is what makes covering Donald Trump so very difficult. What does he mean when he says words? Does he mean the words or does he mean something sort of like the words, you know? And it's been difficult to cover him as a journalist. And you can imagine as a foreign leader where English is your second language and you don't understand maybe the bravado behind the things --

[05:40:10] ROMANS: Right.

WOLF: -- that Donald Trump is saying. You know, this is -- it's -- words escape me to describe how you shouldn't take a president seriously or literally about his words. That is what you must do with presidents.

ROMANS: The best thing -- the best thing I read during this whole -- this whole process was that the media, public figures, mainstream, they heard Donald Trump and they took him literally but not seriously, for months. His supporters took him seriously but not literally, and it was two different ways of reading Donald Trump. And now we're all trying to adjust to what will the President Trump be like and how do we -- how do we take him? Seriously, but not literally? We don't know yet.

Zach, thank you so much. Nice to see you.

HOWELL: Thank you, Zach.

WOLF: Thank you.

HOWELL: Well, new remarks overnight from Hillary Clinton in her first public speech since she conceded to Donald Trump last week. Clinton spoke at a gala for the Children's Defense Fund. That's the organization where she started her legal career back in the early seventies. The former presidential candidate admitted that it wasn't the easiest thing for her to come to the event but she urged her supporters to stay strong in the face of a Trump administration.

CNN's Joe Johns was there and has the story.


JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Christine and George, Hillary Clinton going back to her roots with a speech before the Children's Defense Fund in Washington, D.C., the first speech she has given since her concession speech at the New Yorker Hotel after that crushing defeat by Donald Trump. She did not mention the president- elect by name. It was intended to be an encouragement for her supporters to stay the course in public life.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know this isn't easy. I know that over the past week a lot of people have asked themselves whether America is the country we thought it was. The divisions laid bare by the selection run deep but please listen to me when I say this. America is worth it. Our children are worth it. Believe in our country, fight for our values, and never ever give up.

JOHNS: Secretary Clinton agreed to make this appearance before the election. The Children's Defense Fund happens to be the first group Bill Clinton spoke to after he was elected president -- Christine and George.


ROMANS: All right, Joe Johns. Thank you.

A group of Donald Trump supporters is calling for a boycott of Pepsi over something that actually never happened. Some Twitter users are circulating this bogus quote from the Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi claiming she said Trump fans should "take their business elsewhere". That quote came from sites designed to -- well, trick people, including TruthFeed and Gateway Pundit. It's just -- it's fake. She never said that but it's spreading on Twitter and now all of these Trump supporters are saying they're not going to buy Pepsi. They're going to boycott Pepsi.

Gateway Pundit also incorrectly claimed Pepsi stock plunged five percent because of the comments that never happened. Nooyi never told Trump supporters that Pepsi does not want their business. She congratulated the president-elect on his victory at a "New York Times" conference last week. She condemned the ugly rhetoric of the campaign and discussed the impact of the election on her employees.

But it shows you what a world we're in where somebody on Twitter can start saying all this stuff about a company and some of these Trump supporters get so fired up about it. They're calling for a boycott.

HOWELL: Just make it up.

ROMANS: Make it up.

HOWELL: President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet in just a matter of hours as Donald Trump is sure to be part of that conversation. CNN is live in Berlin, next.


[05:47:45] HOWELL: Welcome back to EARLY START. President Obama is in Berlin this morning preparing to meet with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, an ally that he calls his closest international partner. The two leaders have faced many challenges together over the past eight years, including the global financial crisis and climate change, for one. But with Donald Trump set to assume office the legacy that they forced is now on the line.

CNN is live in Berlin. Atika Shubert is following the story. Atika, good morning. ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, George. He has that one-on-one meeting coming up with Angela Merkel later today in addition to a dinner. And tomorrow he'll be meeting with other E.U. leaders -- Italy, France, and the U.K., as well, joining in. And this is really sort of a huddle to figure out what to do about the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump.

There's been a lot of worry and concern here in Europe about what kind of a president he will be, especially with some of the things he's said on the campaign trail. Namely, that -- for example, the U.S. should take a backseat on NATO, the bedrock of security here in Europe in the post-Cold War environment.

Also, what to do about the trade agreements that Donald Trump says he wants to throw out, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. And also climate change which, of course, Donald Trump has said in the past is a hoax. This is something that's very close to the heart of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She's pushed very hard for green energy here in her own country, but also for a reducing climate change worldwide.

So there are all things they'll be taking a look at. And Merkel is the strongest leader in Europe now to sort of defend that liberal democratic globalized point of view and in many ways President Obama will sort of be handing over to her to look after his legacy.

HOWELL: CNN's Atika Shubert live in Berlin. Atika, thank you for the reporting.

ROMANS: All right. Let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY". The lovely and talented Alisyn Camerota joins us now. Good morning.



CAMEROTA: You read it just the way I wrote it. Thank you very much for that. So coming up we're going to have New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on our program. Mayor de Blasio is very interesting because he met with Donald Trump, president-elect, yesterday, and de Blasio is one person who is recommending blunt talk about and to Donald Trump. That's very different than the conciliatory words we've heard from people like President Obama. So when Mayor de Blasio is on we're going to ask him exactly what was said in that behind closed doors meeting.

[05:50:14] Also, as you guys know, there are reports of hate crimes, both physical assaults and verbal assaults, ever since President-elect Trump was elected on both sides. People who support Donald Trump and people who oppose Donald Trump. So we're going to have two victims of these hideous crimes on to tell us their story and what they have been experiencing.

All of that when John Berman and I see you at the top of the hour.

HOWELL: It is disturbing to hear that.

ROMANS: Oh, you stole my Berman today.


ROMANS: All right. Be nice to him.

CAMEROTA: I'll take care of him.

HOWELL: Thank you.

ROMANS: Thank you. The stock market has been in rally mode since Donald Trump won the election but another metric just hit a 13-year high. Ah, I thinkI've even got a cool chart. Nerdy charts, OK --

HOWELL: I'd love to check it out.

ROMANS: -- when we come back.


[05:55:06] HOWELL: Welcome back. Twenty-one men and women, including Bruce Springsteen and Tom Hanks, will receive the nation's highest civilian honor at the White House next week. Michael Jordan and Bill Gates also headlining the list of presidential Medal of Freedom award winners. The honor is for significant contributions to the national interests of the U.S. or to world peace. Among the other recipients, actor Robert DeNiro and Robert Redford, talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, legendary baseball broadcaster Vin Scully, and NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

In the meantime, legendary musician Bob Dylan has decided not to accept his Noble Peace Prize in person. He told the Nobel committee that he feels very honored to win the Nobel Prize in literature but has preexisting commitments. The committee calls it unusual but not unprecedented. If Dylan wants to receive the award, though, he will have to deliver a lecture in Stockholm by early next June.

ROMANS: Let's get a check on CNN Money Stream this Thursday morning. Stock futures holding on to some slim gains this morning. A surprise policy move out of Japan, a rise in U.S. dollar have global markets trading mixed right now. The Dow's seven-day winning streak is over. It fell 54 points yesterday, but even with that dip the gains over the past week and one-half are stunning. The Dow up 5.4 percent, nearly 1,000 points in a week and one-half.

The big surge last Monday -- it seems like ancient history -- that came as it looked like Hillary Clinton would win the election. Then Donald Trump won and the markets freaked out and then turned around. Gains rolled on as Trump proclaimed victory. Some say the stock market, though, has come too far, too fast.

But other metrics are also resetting ahead of the Trump administration. The U.S. dollar, the highest in 13 years on hopes the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates more quickly under a Trump presidency. You know, there's a big irony here. Trump has criticized the Fed chief, Janet Yellen, for keeping rates low for so long. Fed officials, over the past couple of years, have been pleading with lawmakers to pass fiscal policy and help boost the economy. The Fed didn't want to do it alone. The Trump administration may give the Fed exactly what it wants.

Shares of Target jumping more than six percent, making it best performer of the day on the S&P 500. The stock having a rough, rocky year. Traffic at its stores, though, is picking up and Target expects that to continue into the holidays. Shoppers want discounts and low prices were the big draw, especially back-to-school deals. So were Apple products, kids' clothing. Target is still struggling with the grocery -- its grocery store venture.

Rival Wal-Mart will report earnings before the opening bell. It has spent billions paying employees more money. It gave everybody a raise, remember, and that's actually helped its result over the past two quarters. The investment, Wal-Mart has been saying, into paying people more and to really -- investing in the customer experience --


ROMANS: -- it's helped with turnover, it's helped with -- I mean, it's just been -- it's worked out for them. So we'll be listening to their call in just a couple of hours.

All right, that's EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell. There are more names in the mix for key Trump cabinet posts. CNN's "NEW DAY" starts right now.


NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The beginning of any transition with this has turmoil.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: And I know the president-elect, he's very happy with how transition is going.

JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No administration is ready on day one. We weren't ready on day one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jared's someone the president-elect trusts very much.

MEGYN KELLY, FOX HOST, "THE KELLY FILE": And he said oh, I almost unleashed my beautiful Twitter account against you, and I still may.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But we're not going to have any lobbyists involved.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you bring in the outsider, in the end, you get a better product.

CLINTON: America is worth it. Believe in our country, fight for our values, and never ever give up.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Thursday, November 7 -- 17th -- going back in time -- 6:00 in the East. Chris has the day off. John Berman is joining me. Great to have you.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: I'm very much in the present, just so you know.

CAMEROTA: That's good. I'm glad one of us is. Up first, Donald Trump's transition team taking steps to "drain the swamp" in Washington if you think lobbyists are the big problem. Trump announcing a ban on lobbyists serving in the administration and a five-year lobbying ban once officials leave the government.

BERMAN: And as for the inner workings of the transition the Trump team says things are going just fine, thank you. Enough with the reports of chaos and turmoil. But still, the transition has yet to officially contact some federal agencies, including the Pentagon. This, as we're learning some surprising names, including one-time Trump skeptics -- names of folks being considered for key cabinet posts.

We are covering this from every conceivable angle. Let's go first to CNN's Sunlen Serfaty outside Trump Tower here in New York City -- Sunlen.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, John. Well, the Trump team really trying to rein in and reclaim the narrative around their transition right now, one that has been plagued by reports of infighting.