Return to Transcripts main page

AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

Soon: Police Update On Officer Ambush, Manhunt; Trump Meets With Cabinet Candidates, May Reveal Soon; Pence: Romney In Running To Be Secretary Of State; Police News Conference On Officer Ambush, Manhunt; Trump To Meet With Democrat Tulsi Gabbard. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired November 21, 2016 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm John Berman. Kate is off today. Our breaking news, any minute, you are looking at live pictures right now from San Antonio, where police will hold a news conference on the huge manhunt currently under way for the person who gunned down an officer who was sitting inside his police car, just outside police headquarters.

Now after this ambush, the shooter drove away. As I said, there's a manhunt under way right now. We are waiting for updates on any developments there.

For the past 24 hours, four officers around the country have been shot. This has happened in three different states. So this is a cause for concern this morning. Again, we will bring you to San Antonio the minute that news conference begins.

In the meantime, this morning, we are watching Trump Tower, where there is a flurry of activity and a wide range of new unanswered questions, in some cases evaded questions. Is the president-elect about to announce his pick for secretary of state or defense?

Are there any lines at all between the business of Trump Inc. and the business of America? Does he intend to observe any lines going forward? Does Congress intend any oversight over these lines, if in fact they actually exist?

Does Donald Trump dislike all Broadway musicals or just this year's Tony Award winner? All this swirling as President-elect Trump has meeting after meeting today, including we just learned with one surprising Democrat.

CNN's Jason Carroll joins us from outside Trump Tower with the very latest. Good morning, Jason. A lot going on.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A lot going on. Back-to- back meetings yesterday as you know, John, more and more meetings taking place today. You talk about that surprise, that congresswoman from Hawaii, Tulsi Gabbard, is a Democrat now under consideration, former combat vet, perhaps considering for defense secretary, secretary of state or U.S. ambassador.

You will remember that Donald Trump said not that long ago that he would not consider having a Democrat in his cabinet, but as you know, things sometimes change. She was scheduled to meet with Trump within the past hour.

Other folks on the list as well, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chow, also the governor of Oklahoma, Mary Fallon perhaps under consideration for secretary of the interior.

Also scheduled to meet with Trump today here at Trump Tower, a former Texas Rick Perry, who at one point said that he would eliminate the Department of Energy, now under consideration to head up that department. So he might have some explaining to do there.

As I said, back-to-back meetings here today. He also had back-to-back meetings yesterday, not at this location, but at his property in New Jersey. He also met with one of his political foes, Mitt Romney, under consideration for that coveted spot of secretary of state. The meeting apparently went very, very well.

Kellyanne Conway, campaign manager, summed up the whole process in this way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISER: There's a long short list for each of these positions. He's also met with Senator Bob Corker from Tennessee, who is rumored to be on the list for secretary of state. There are others obviously who are qualified.

But again, let's go back to my previous comment which is not everyone who consulted with the president-elect and comes to meet with him is going to be in his cabinet or in his federal government.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARROLL: We should also note that later today, the Trump team is expected to release a video where Trump will outline some of the issues that are key to him, issues that he wants to focus in on such as Transpacific Partnership. He wants to get rid of TPP, energy, national security, immigration and also the condition of U.S. workers.

And John, there's also been some talk about what Trump would end up doing for Thanksgiving, would he stay here, would he head to Florida. Turns out he is going to be heading to Florida for Thanksgiving -- John.

BERMAN: All right, Jason Carroll, thanks so much. It's notable, that video release is that by this stage of the game most president-elects have held news conferences or spoken to the press before with questions or answers or at least made statements to camera.

That really has happened with this president-elect. It is notable he's choosing to release a video, a very controlled release.

Let's bring in our panel right now. Joining us, CNN political analyst, Washington bureau chief for "The Daily Beast," Jackie Kucinich, Princeton professor and historian, Julian Zelizar, and CNN political director, David Chalian.

There's a lot to discuss and I want to get to Tulsi Gabbard the Democrat in the house in just a moment. But I'm going to take some prerogative here because I covered two of his presidential campaigns to start with Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, former Republican nominee, former harsh personal critic of Donald Trump.

Had a meeting in Bedminster yesterday and over the last 24 hours, no one has done anything, David Chalian, to knock down the idea that Mitt Romney could end up as secretary of state.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICS DIRECTOR: That's right, John. You remember before the meeting, a lot of folks in Romney's most inner circle sort of said, well, this is going to be very difficult for Mitt Romney to sort of get to the place of saying to something like this.

[11:05:03]You're right that we haven't seen anyone knock this down yet. We knew that a lot was going to hinge on how that meeting went. The fact that after that meeting, from the Trump side which clearly they would like this, they would like Romney on board with this idea of being secretary of state.

You know, Pence went out again yesterday and said how active and real the consideration is and with no one on the Romney side knocking it down, you have to say that this is being considered by Mitt Romney and I don't know that we will get an announcement today or not, John, but this would be an astounding pick.

I think it goes much beyond Barack Obama putting Hillary Clinton in his cabinet. This would be a real team of rivals moment. Mitt Romney was opposed to Trump throughout the entire general election as well.

BERMAN: David, hang on one second, guys. I want to go to San Antonio right now for this news conference on the officer who was ambushed and murdered outside police headquarters there. I believe this is going to be the police chief, William McManus, explaining what happened, the latest developments in the death of Benjamin Marconi. Let's listen in.

WILLIAM MCMANUS, SAN ANTONIO POLICE DEPARTMENT POLICE CHIEF: Good morning, everyone. Thanks for being here. As I promised, I would keep you all updated. That's what we're going to do this morning. Since the shooting we have been able to develop a suspect from this video surveillance. That suspect is not in custody.

The video of the suspect is posted on SAPD's Facebook. If you would to show it as often as possible. The suspect is described as a black male in his 20s, thin build, 5'8" to 5'10" with a goatee.

The vehicle is a 2009 to 2012 black Mitsubishi Gallant with custom rims. Further information pertaining to this ongoing investigation which could be compromised, which could compromise the future prosecution of the murder when he is arrested, we will not talk about that.

So bear with me if you ask me questions, if I can't release it, the information, I'm going to tell you that and let's let it drop right there. We continue to ask our partners in the public for their assistance in identifying the suspect.

If you have any information, please call police at 911 or Crimestoppers at 224-stop. Our state and federal law enforcement partners are working with us to aggressively investigate this case and we will continue that without stop, without fail, until this suspect is in custody.

Again, we consider this suspect to be extremely dangerous both to the police and to the public. So if you see him, see this car out there, or see the individual that you believe matches the description of the person in the video, please call us. Don't approach him on your own. We'll entertain any questions that you may have.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why was this man outside headquarters?

MCMANUS: We questioned a number of people. He was one of them. Who are you talking about?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The surveillance photo of this man --

MCMANUS: OK. Yes. I don't know why he was in headquarters. We have some ideas why we believe he may have been in headquarters, but we are not quite sure. There's several motives that we are looking at.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In that video he leaned down and said something over the intercom that allowed him access. Do you know what he said to the person on the other end?

MCMANUS: I do but I'm not going to reveal that right now. We don't know that that really plays into the investigation. But I'm not going to put out too many details on that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you ever find out what happened to the original driver? Did he witness any of this?

MCMANUS: The original driver was questioned by our homicide detectives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said you questioned a number of people. Is that correct?

MCMANUS: We talked to a number of people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were all released?

MCMANUS: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chief, the suspect in the video clearly looks agitated. He's pacing back and forth. Do you feel there's a connection between the suspect's state of mind at that point and what happened four hours later?

MCMANUS: I can only be speculating so I don't know. I don't want to speculate on that. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you tell us why you believe him to be the suspect?

MCMANUS: There's a number of reasons for that that the investigators have surmised, but based on their conversations about the issue. But I'm not going to go into that level of detail.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you say what time this happened, what time he tried to get into the police department?

MCMANUS: It was earlier in the morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About 7:45?

MCMANUS: Yes. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chief, do you know who he talked to in the police department and why he left only 20 seconds after entering?

MCMANUS: He's talked to the clerk at the desk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And can you tell us what he --

[11:10:01]MCMANUS: He asked a question, the clerk said that they would help him that and he said never mind and walked out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know what the question was?

MCMANUS: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know what did he ask?

MCMANUS: I'm not going to say what it was.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you categorize the (inaudible) breadth of this (inaudible).

MCMANUS: We have pulled out all the stops. We have engaged our federal partners, our state partners and our local partners in the search for this individual. The search has gone on since we started yesterday afternoon and has not stopped all night, and to this point, and it will not stop until this person is in custody.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened with the person of interest that you guys (inaudible).

MCMANUS: We spoke with him and he was released.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible).

MCMANUS: Pardon?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible).

MCMANUS: There's a task force, I will call it, working on this case. The person was brought in for questioning and released.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chief, have you been in touch with your counterparts in St. Louis? You believe this was just an incredibly tragic coincidence that the same thing happened to an officer there several hours after it happened to our officer?

MCMANUS: I will say that it is certainly a coincidence, but we are not going to venture to say that it's connected.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) based on what's happening around the country, especially yesterday, for lack of a better word, that they feel targeted?

MCMANUS: Absolutely feel targeted. I feel we were targeted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think he was targeted specifically or do you think this person was looking for anybody in law enforcement?

MCMANUS: I think that the uniform was the target. Anyone who happened - first person who happened along was the person that he targeted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) we have heard several calls from people saying they thought they saw the vehicle.

MCMANUS: Say that again?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I said can you talk about what kind of phone calls have you gotten from the public thinking they have seen this person?

MCMANUS: We have been getting many calls.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible).

MCMANUS: Yes. Until this individual is apprehended, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) were there any other uniformed personnel in the lobby?

MCMANUS: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you say doubling up, is that two people per patrol car or two cars following each other?

MCMANUS: Two people -- two officers per car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible).

MCMANUS: Right now, it's an option, but we are encouraging it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you met with Detective Marconi's family? Is there anything the community can do to help?

MCMANUS: I have. The community as always, we are looking for information. Anyone out there who knows anything at all, no matter how trivial they think it may be, we want to know about it, 911 or 224-stop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any more about the suspect that you care to share? Do you know if he's from the area? Is he known to the police department?

MCMANUS: We don't know if he's from the area, but our net is -- we have cast it in a very wide area.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What can be seen on the dashboard cam, if anything?

MCMANUS: A lot of things.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Audio and video?

MCMANUS: I'm not going to go into that part. There's a lot of information on the dash cam video is all I will say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about the officer's family, father, grandfather, kids?

MCMANUS: Obviously as you might suspect, devastated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, folks. Appreciate it. We will have another briefing later on. We will keep you posted.

BERMAN: All right, you have been listening to San Antonio police headquarters right now. That's Police Chief William McManus. He is briefing us on the latest in the investigation into ambush killing of Detective Benjamin Marconi. He was a 20-year veteran of the department.

They do have a suspect that they are looking for right now, a black male in his 20s. They also believe that this man drove off in a Mitsubishi Gallant, 2009 to 2012. There's a manhunt under way, a huge manhunt under way in the San Antonio area.

They believe it was the uniform that it was the uniform that was the target, that this suspect went to police headquarters, actually went inside, ask, the clerks a question so he was inside police headquarters briefly and then he left. Then he murdered a police officer.

There is this manhunt under way right now for this suspect they believe was targeting a police officer, any police officer. We will bring you the latest on the investigation when we get it.

Meantime, we are going to get back to politics right after a quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:18:49]

BERMAN: Just moments ago, at Trump Tower in Manhattan, that former Texas Governor Rick Perry, ran for president twice including once against Donald Trump, is said to be under consideration for secretary of energy.

His experience in Texas obviously with its vast oil and mineral wealth would make him someone with experience in that field. He will be meeting with Donald Trump this morning. Headed up the elevator moments ago to begin that process.

Still, I believe the most interesting and unusual meeting the president-elect has had is with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who was very, very critical of Donald Trump during the primary process and the general election.

I'm back with the panel right now. Jackie Kucinich, I want to play Mike Pence yesterday, the vice president-elect fanning the flames of this notion that Mitt Romney could end up in this administration. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT: I can say that Governor Romney is under active and serious consideration to serve as secretary of state of the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: If you were with us before the break, David Chalian is saying, no one is ruling this out yet, it would be incredibly unusual even by 2016 standards. The flipside of this, besides what it means for Mitt Romney, is what it might mean for Rudy Giuliani who was the fiercest ally in some ways that Donald Trump had, especially in the closing days of this general election.

[11:20:09]Rudy Giuliani had been whispering that he's the most likely choice for secretary of state. What does this mean for the possibilities for him going forward?

JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's unclear. Because if Rudy Giuliani isn't secretary of state, isn't attorney general, I don't know where he would fit in. You are absolutely right, he has been one of Trump's loudest defenders.

Now, some of the scrutiny into his speeches, some of the things he did when he was out of office, some of the consulting he did abroad, has been brought to the forefront and Donald Trump doesn't really like when his advisers are in the news like that. There's too much attention on them.

So has that made him fall out of favor, we don't know. A lot of this is a very large guessing game at this point. But certainly if Rudy Giuliani is passed over for Mitt Romney, that would be quite a moment.

BERMAN: Look, President-elect Trump is supposed to be this guy who rewards loyalty. Chris Christie, who was loyal to him, doesn't appear to be getting a gig. We are not sure. Rudy Giuliani may be in jeopardy of not getting a gig. We may see the limits of that loyalty.

Quickly, Tulsi Gabbard, Democratic representative from Hawaii, going to Trump Tower today to meet with Donald Trump. We hear being considered maybe for ambassador to the U.N., also possibly secretary of defense or state. We will see about that. The fact we are seeing her, what do you make of it?

KUCINICH: It's really interesting. She was a Bernie Sanders supporter and she is someone that a populist, her populist bent does ally with some things with Donald Trump. She was against TPP. She voted for -- she's one of the very few Democrats to vote for a bill that really closed the idea of more refugees coming into the country.

She was critical, openly critical of the president not using the words radical Islamic terror. These are -- this is not necessarily something you think when you think of a progressive Democrat like Tulsi Gabbard is very interesting in that way.

BERMAN: Professor Julian Zelizer, you know, the last several administrations, there has been this tradition of bringing in someone from the other party. Barack Obama as president-elect did it with both Jon Huntsman and Ray Lahood. Before that, George W. Bush did it with (inaudible). Bill Clinton did it with William Cohen. It's something that happens from time to time. Is this something you see Donald Trump doing?

JULIAN ZELIZER, HISTORY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS PROFESSOR: Well, it's done because it's symbolic. It's an effort to show that you are in favor of bipartisanship in an era of party polarization. President-elect Trump had initially said he was not going to do this, but as we see with Donald Trump, part of this is about the show, part of this is about the appearance.

So after going very hard right with his first three appointments, and many other possible appointments, we should remember, are not moderate. They are very hard right on most issues, this could be symbolically appealing. Many Democrats would not sit well with this. They are not open to participating in the administration.

BERMAN: You know, David Chalian, the professor is saying he went hard right. He's also gone hard white. He's got five picks so far, all white, all male. If diversity is something this administration values, they haven't shown it just yet.

CHALIAN: A lot of the names under consideration for a lot of posts fit that white male category. He did meet with Michelle Rhee this weekend as a potential education secretary. Obviously Tulsi Gabbard. So there are some names out there.

But it is very difficult to the professor's point about where Donald Trump sort of will settle because lot of this sometimes is for show, to get the conversation in a different place than it was.

Even to have Mitt Romney hanging out there for as long, even if he doesn't end up picking Mitt Romney as his secretary of state, it's probably benefited Trump getting ahold of the conversation a little bit so that we weren't talking as much about some of the more controversial picks. So he definitely knows how to play this and I think looking at some of the more diverse choices that he is meeting with is part of that as well. Put that on display. We will see where he ends up. We'll be able to assess how diverse the cabinet is once every slot is named.

BERMAN: Professor, what about the show? Because this is an unusual transition in that respect. Donald Trump is not doing news conferences. He's not doing public presentations of his picks. But he is walking people in and out and he is publicly musing about who he might pick.

I'm not going the read the full tweet but he talked about James Madison, said he loved him. He said he was considering him for secretary of defense. It's unusual for the president-elect to sort of engage in a speculation like this.

ZELIZER: It's unusual for a president-elect to do it. It's not unusual for him. This is where his background in "The Apprentice" and his background as a media star in New York is directly affecting how he does this.

He wants to focus the media on his story lines without actually having to engage reporters and he likes to create drama. He likes to create this kind of swirl around what he's doing.

Sometimes to deflect from other issues, the Trump University suit being settled, or the controversy over people like Senator Sessions.

[11:25:11]But journalists will want access to him. This will only go so far. So he's going to have to be careful. He can't live in a bubble for the rest of his presidency.

BERMAN: Can he live in a bubble at least until Thanksgiving? We shall see. Guys, thank you very, very much. Some of those questions the professor was talking about, brand new concerns about conflicts of interest, potential conflicts of interest after this picture surfaced. We have the picture I believe right now. There it is.

Donald Trump in the midst of interviewing people for possible cabinet positions, also as a business meeting with people who have been invested in his properties.

Plus even before Donald Trump chooses his treasury secretary, is he going to war over a treasury secretary from 225 years ago? Why is he doing this and is he winning?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)