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Record-Setting Trump Rally Rolls On; New York Times Interviews Trump; How Kushner Helped Trump Win; Computer Scientists Find Evidence Of Vote Hack; Chattanooga Grieves School Bus Crash Victims. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired November 23, 2016 - 05:30   ET



[05:30:45] BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: There's some big names in the mix for President-elect Trump's cabinet, so who will be the next one announced?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The president-elect pulls back. How Trump seems to be softening his stance on climate change and Hillary Clinton.

SANCHEZ: And, could Hillary Clinton have grounds for a recount. A curious pattern discovered in three key states won by Donald Trump.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Boris Sanchez.

ROMANS: Nice to see you here this morning, the eve of Thanksgiving. I'm Christine Romans. It is 31 minutes past the hour. Donald Trump making history -- we'll start with this -- in the stock market. The incredible rally since he won the election hitting new heights this morning.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average now about 19,000 for the first time ever. It's up nine percent this year. Astunning three percent rally, almost 700 points since Trump was elected. Records for the Nasdaq, the S&P 500, and the small-cap Russell 2000. Why? They're looking for big cuts in regulations, in taxes, spending on infrastructure.

Here's where we stand right now. More gains ahead. Stock markets in Europe and Asia are mixed right now. The U.S. stock market closed tomorrow for Thanksgiving but futures are looking bright right now. Investors think Trump will boost growth, spend big on infrastructure, cut taxes. All of that will likely lead to higher interest rates.

SANCHEZ: And we're expecting an update from the Trump transition team. They're scheduled to hold a conference call with reporters today. We're also supposed to hear from the president-elect, himself. He's set to release a Thanksgiving video message from Mar-a-Lago, where he's going to be spending the rest of the holiday week.

Trump flew down to Florida after a wide-ranging on-the-record sit-down with "New York Times" reporters, editors, and columnists. It is raising some eyebrows. Among the newsmaking highlights, Trump backing off his promise to prosecute Hillary Clinton. This, as sources tell CNN that Mitt Romney is thinking hard about taking the job of secretary of state, of course, if Trump should offer it to him. Let's bring in CNN's Jim Acosta for the latest.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Boris and Christine, CNN has learned Mitt Romney is seriously considering the possibility of joining Donald Trump's administration as secretary of state. A source familiar with transition discussions says it's likely the 2012 Republican nominee will be consulting with his family over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. A decision to select Romney would send a message that Trump is open to moderating his administration.

Trump, himself, seemed to reveal he is open to toning down his positions in a wide-ranging interview with "The New York Times". The president-elect told the "Times" he is leaning against urging the prosecution of Hillary Clinton, something he vowed to do during the campaign. And his top advisers say it's a signal Trump is ready to move on.

RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: Look, there's a tradition in American politics that after you win an election you sort of put things behind you. And if that's the decision he reached that's perfectly consistent with sort of the historical pattern of things come up, you say a lot of things, even some bad things might happen, and then you can sort of put it behind you in order to unite the nation.

ACOSTA: As for the prospect of Romney joining the Trump administration, a source tells CNN a decision is not expected until next week -- Boris and Christine.


ROMANS: All right, Jim Acosta. Thanks, Jim. President-elect Trump tweeting he is seriously considering Dr. Ben Carson for secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The former rivals met at Trump Tower Tuesday. Dr. Carson's spokesman tells CNN the retired neurosurgeon is honored by Trump's insistence that he take a cabinet post and will spend the holidays thinking it over. Now we're also told Dr. Carson made it clear he would prefer to advise Trump from outside the administration.

SANCHEZ: Meantime, another cabinet post potential candidate backing away. Michelle Rhee says she will not be pursuing the role of education secretary in the Trump administration. The former chancellor of Washington, D.C.'s public schools met with the president-elect last weekend despite heavy criticism from the education community. On Tuesday, she tweeted, "I have appreciated the opportunity to share my thoughts on education with the President-elect of the United States. Our job as Americans is to want him to succeed."

ROMANS: The Trump Foundation admitted violating IRS rules by improperly giving money to someone close to the organization. That's according to a recent federal income tax filing obtained by CNN and the non-profit watchdog GuideStar.

Now, on this return the foundation checked a 'yes' box when asked did the foundation transfer any income or assets to a disqualified person or make any of either available for the benefit or use of a disqualified person. That disqualified person is IRS speak for someone with significant influence over the organization or someone related to those people. The filing did not disclose who that person was. The Trump team did not respond to our request for comment. Tax experts say the foundation will have to explain the payouts and possibly pay a penalty.

[05:35:20] SANCHEZ: Meantime, some fascinating revelations from Jared Kushner. He is revealing that he played a pivotal role in the stunning election of his father-in-law by setting up a sophisticated secret data operation. Kushner tells "Forbes" magazine that he called some friends from Silicon Valley and they helped him develop a social media microtargeting strategy. That involved a 100-person team at a data hub in San Antonio working to unify fundraising, messaging, and voter targeting to get the most out of a lean marketing budget. We've been talking about how little the Trump campaign spent, really, on advertising, at least --


SANCHEZ: -- compared to Hillary Clinton.


SANCHEZ: And I guess that's one example of --

ROMANS: I know.

SANCHEZ: -- how you do it.

ROMANS: All the people who supposedly were in the know kept saying he needs to spend more on T.V. ads. I guess he didn't.


ROMANS: Let's discuss today's Trump transition developments with CNN political analyst Josh Rogin, columnist for "The Washington Post". Good morning.


ROMANS: You know, we talked to you a little bit about a half an hour ago about all of these big headlines of the morning, but I wanted to dive quickly into the infrastructure stuff. A trillion dollar infrastructure -- a plan here over the next 10 years. And Donald Trump talking about tax breaks for companies to be involved -- $137 billion in tax breaks to entice the private sector to help fund what is a very big lineup of infrastructure needs here.

What do you make of some of the criticism starting to emerge already about the infrastructure plan? You know, criticism from CEOs that 4.9 percent employment -- they might not have the workers or they might not actually have the money they need to do this. What are you hearing?

ROGIN: Right. Well, I think this was explained best by Ronald Klain, a former Obama administration official writing in "The Washington Post", who simply laid out Trump's infrastructure plan and showed how it's different from what people think of as an infrastructure plan, which is what we saw in the Build America time during the early Obama administration after the financial crisis.

Basically, what you have is a difference of starting new projects or giving tax breaks and incentives for CEOs that are maybe already involved in existing projects. And the question is, will Trump's infrastructure plan actually spur brand new jobs or will it simply alleviate the burden for companies and CEOs who are already involved in projects that are ongoing? And that's a debatable question.

Overall, infrastructure is held up as the one rare opportunity where the Trump administration and Democrats could really work together. So there's a lot of bipartisan sort of enthusiasm, although not really amongst some Republicans in the Senate.

ROMANS: Interesting, right?

SANCHEZ: Right. One of the things a lot of experts say that he should work on, partly because there is that bipartisan feeling there. Josh, we have to ask you about mister softie. Have you seen the cover --

ROMANS: Yes, the "Daily News".

SANCHEZ: -- of the "Daily News"? The headline, "Trump backpedals a bit on Hill, climate torture, and more as he cozies up to nemesis Times in interview". Obviously, "New York Times" hosting Donald Trump yesterday for an on-the-record interview, one that was really eye- opening not just because he's talking to "The New York Times" on the record in seemingly congenial terms after saying so many disparaging things about them on the campaign trail.

Also eye-opening because of this list of things that he's seeming to soften his stance on. Let's put that up first. Now, he's keeping parts of Obamacare after saying that he would repeal it on day one. The wall that he's talked about the entire campaign might suddenly be fencing.

He backpedaled on what he said in a debate that he would appoint a special prosecutor. Suddenly, he says he's not going to prosecute Hillary Clinton. He says he is not considering opening up libel laws. And, a really fascinating one, he's opening up his mind on climate change. This, after saying that it's a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.

I want to read you a quote from that sit-down with "The New York Times" yesterday in which he talks about the relationship between humans and climate. He writes, "I think there is some connectivity, some something. It depends on how much." Josh, what is going on here? This seems like a completely different person from the guy we saw on the campaign trail. ROGIN: Well, that's exactly right. First of all, we should allow

President-elect Trump to sort of switch from campaigning to governing, OK?

ROMANS: Right.

ROGIN: It's not necessarily a bad thing for him to get into office --


ROGIN: -- and as President Obama predicted, sort of learn the issues, develop informed positions, and then find a way to govern that can really, maybe, even perhaps unite the country, so we shouldn't be reflectively critical. At the same time, it does seem like he says whatever he thinks the person sitting in front of him wants to hear. So when he's tweeting mean things about "The New York Times" and then he walks into "The New York Times" and says oh, you guys are great, I'd love to work with you, you know.

ROMANS: I respect you.

ROGIN: So there's a -- there's a sort of a consistency problem here. I mean, the bottom line is the appointments will tell us a lot. For example, if Donald Trump --


ROGIN: -- appoints Mitt Romney to be secretary of state, that's a guy who is pretty tough on Russia. Does that mean Donald Trump will abandon his idea to be very cozy with Vladimir Putin? Potentially, right? So, first, we have to get the appointments, then they have to sort of get together and meet, then they have to decide what their policies are going to be. It's a blank slate.

[05:40:10] We shouldn't look to the campaign for any real indications of what the Trump administration's policy is going to be. There's going to start from now and anything's possible.

SANCHEZ: Uncharted territory.

ROMANS: Absolutely. You know, you look at markets around the world, for example. They are assuming that Donald Trump is not going to do what, to them, would be the scariest parts of his agenda, and he's going to cut taxes, and he's going to get some sort of infrastructure bill due, and he's going slash regulations. I mean, they're assuming those will be the priorities of this administration.

ROGIN: Yes, and I think there is some confidence that there will be some pro-business, especially for small business policies. At the same time, if he really does start a trade war with China, as he's promised to do, that's going to have the opposite effect, OK.

ROMANS: Absolutely.

ROGIN: So when you're talking about the stock market, as you well know, Christine, it's about the expectations game -- ROMANS: Absolutely.

ROGIN: -- so right now it's looking good, at least better than we thought it would on November 7th. But until we get these policies it's really going to be hard to sort of game it out and figure out what investors should do.

ROMANS: You know, I look at the bond -- the bond market's bigger, right? I look at what the bond market is telling me, too, and the bond market is telling me that you're going to have higher interest rates, you're going to have inflation, you're going to have growth in the United States from some of these policies. And, you know -- we don't have time to get into this but, you know, the big talk now about TPP. China stepping in now in the void of the United States on TPP and China.

SANCHEZ: And writing the rules, huh?

ROMANS: China actually strengthening its grip in that region. That will be a big challenge for business, American business and for this president-elect, I'm sure.

ROGIN: And that's not just an economic challenge, that's a security and strategic challenge as well.

SANCHEZ: No question.

ROMANS: All right.

SANCHEZ: Josh Rogin, thank you so much for joining us early this morning.

ROMANS: Happy Thanksgiving.

ROGIN: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: We wish we had you for another 40 minutes. Thank you so much, Josh.

ROGIN: Anytime.

ROMANS: All right, this other story we're following today. A group of top computer scientists are urging Hillary Clinton to demand a recount. The computer experts say they have found evidence that vote totals in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania may have been hacked. They say Clinton performed seven percent worse in counties that use electronic voting than in counties using paper ballots and scanners.

The scientists have told Clinton campaign officials they have not found evidence that proves hacking but this pattern is concerning to them. They say the pattern needs to be investigated. Clinton would have to take all three of those states to change the results of the election. The deadline to file for a recount in Wisconsin is Friday.

SANCHEZ: We've been following this really tragic story out of Tennessee and we're learning new details that are simply disheartening. Five children killed in a school bus crash. New questions this morning about the man who was behind the wheel. Should he have been driving that bus? That's next on EARLY START.


[05:46:35] SANCHEZ: Grief and, frankly, anger gripping the city of Chattanooga this morning. Tears were flowing last night at a vigil for five young kids killed in a gruesome school bus crash. Mourners paid tribute by releasing dozens of balloons into the night sky. Neighbors and friends try to make sense of what really is an unimaginable tragedy. We get more now from CNN's Martin Savidge.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Morning Boris, morning Christine. Investigators will once again be sifting through the wreckage of the school bus, but also going over the crash site itself, trying to determine not just what happened but also why it happened. A lot of the focus of their investigation is on the bus driver. That's 24-year-old Johnthony Walker. It turns out that he only had his commercial driver's license since April and he was involved, apparently, in a bus-car crash as recently as September. He is continuing to cooperate with authorities.

And then the other facet here, and that is the treatment of those children still injured. There are six said to be in critical condition. The focus there is on trying to heal what are very severe spinal cord, as well as possible head injuries. They had a lot of children. When they all came in one of the things that was unexpected was the fact that they were so young. They had no way to identify them and many of these children couldn't say who their parents were, couldn't say where they lived, didn't even know their telephone numbers.

How did they reunite them? Parents came in with photographs. Most of them carry them, as we all do, on their cell phones, and that worked very, very well. They were able to find out what children they had in the E.R. and match them up with the photographs the parents had, to one very poignant moment when they realized that there were parents showing up with photographs whose children were not back in the E.R. -- Boris and Christine.


ROMANS: All right, Martin Savidge, just a terrible story. Thanks, Martin.

President Obama has reduced the sentences of 79 more federal prisoners. This now marks his 1,000th commutation, a milestone for his record-setting effort to reduce harsh sentences. The president says he hopes to bring the existing sentences of inmates more in line with current shorter sentencing guidelines for non-violent drug crimes.

SANCHEZ: Well, it's that time of the morning. Let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY". The Chris Cuomo joins us now. Happy Thanksgiving eve to you, sir.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Ah, very well said, Boris. There's no terribly tragic news so let me start by saying I am grateful to work with smart and good looking people like you and Christine. One of the things I'm grateful for this year.

ROMANS: But what about Camerota?

CUOMO: Huh? She's not here. Show them the chair. Camerota's not here.

ROMANS: All right.

CUOMO: I say that every day to Alisyn, by contract.

SANCHEZ: She's listening in makeup, though.

CUOMO: By contract, I tell Alisyn how beautiful and grateful I am every morning. So don't worry, I've got that covered, Christine, but thanks for trying to throw me under the bus. Move him out of the way.

ROMANS: You're welcome, you're welcome.

CUOMO: We're going to have more this morning on Donald Trump's sit- down with "The New York Times". This is interesting because it was on the record. That's the way the "Times" does it. The T.V. execs who met with him, that was off the record. Of course, things leaked out because you had a bunch of reporters in the room. But it's an interesting interview he gave to the "Times" not just in terms of his media relationship with them. That's more for insiders like us than it is for people at home like you, in terms of curiosity.

But it will be interesting for you to hear what he opposes and what he's in favor of. You're getting a lot of buzz, Christine and Boris, about the prosecution of Hillary Clinton. We had all been speculating during theelection itself that he wouldn't make good on that promise. It's too hard to do and it's of too little benefit to him. Another big issue will be Trump's conflicts of business and whether or not he is getting the chance that he won in the election. Is the coverage of him, so far, fair?

[05:50:13] We'll get all of it as we talk about everybody who's trying to get away for Thanksgiving and what's it like out on the roads and travel, in general. That's what we've got.

ROMANS: You know, I've got to tell you, those business conflicts -- we've been just sort of trying to untangle this bowl of spaghetti that is his business dealings and it gets more complicated by the day.

SANCHEZ: One hundred and fifty companies in 25 countries.

ROMANS: Yes, it's just so easy.

CUOMO: Five hundred and sixty-four corporate entities --

ROMANS: Yes. CUOMO: -- because of how he structured his business. That's why we need you, Christine. You're great on that stuff.

ROMANS: And, you know -- and I'm telling you. He's about to appoint the person who's going to run the department that has the agency that is investigating his own taxes.


ROMANS: I mean, think of that. It's remarkable to think about. All right, Chris Cuomo, we are thankful for you. Please tell your mother we are thankful for her and your entire family.


ROMANS: Tell her a happy Thanksgiving, OK?

CUOMO: I will, you're very kind.

ROMANS: OK, thanks. All right, 50 minutes past the hour. The post- election rally in the stock market making history. What Dow 19,000 means for your money. That's next.


[05:55:12] SANCHEZ: Vice President Joe Biden shooting down the idea of becoming chairman of the DNC. His spokesman says he's not interested although he does plan to remain deeply involved in the reshaping of the Democratic Party. An election will be held in the spring to succeed interim chair Donna Brazile. Biden leaves office in January after 36 years as a U.S. senator and eight years as vice president.

Meantime, President Obama getting set to carry out a classic White House tradition one final time, his eighth and final Thanksgiving turkey pardon. He will commute the execution sentence for one of two birds named Tater and Tot. Both were born on the same day in July so there can be no accusations of ageism. Neither will end up on your Thanksgiving table. Both birds will actually be sent to their new home at Virginia Tech, where their minor celebrity status will get them tended to for life with grasshoppers and massages and saunas.

ROMANS: All right, on tradition. From turkeys to bowls. Let's get a check on CNN Money Stream. Donald Trump making history in the stock market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average above 19,000 for the first time ever on Tuesday. It's a psychological level, of course. The gains are for real. The Dow is up nine percent this year. It's up three percent since Trump was elected, about 700 points of a Trump rally.

The Nasdaq and the S&P 500, record highs there. The Russell 2000, a gauge of small-caps, record highs there. We could see records again today. Futures were up. They just turned slightly lower. Stock markets in Europe and Asia are mixed. And the markets are closed tomorrow so you could see investors around the world take a beat but, clearly, smashing records in so many of these gauges. Millions of workers were about to get a raise, though. Thanks to new

overtime rules passed by the White House not anymore or, at least, the hold button has been pressed on that. A federal judge in Texas suspending that rule from going into effect. This is a blow to the president's legacy here on raising wages for workers. The ruling finds the Obama administration overreached its legal authority by hiking the overtime limits so significantly.

Here's what would have happened on December first. The salary threshold to be eligible for overtime was going to go from $455 a week to $913 a week or about $23,600 a year to nearly $47,500 a year. The Labor Department says it would project overtime for 4.2 million workers. This injunction is temporary until the judge comes to final decision on the new rule.

But, essentially, people who are working in relatively retail jobs, restaurant jobs -- they could get clerical duties and then they become a manager and then they're exempt from overtime. The president wanted to change that.

All right, the housing market, one of the hottest parts of the U.S. economy right now. Home resales -- existing home sales grew two percent in October, the highest annual rate in nearly a decade. The average home price nationwide now $232,200. That's up six percent over the past year.

The National Association of Realtors says the strengthening labor market is helping buyers afford these higher prices. Now, that process is slow but first-time homebuyers are key. That segment has been increasing in recent months and now accounts for one-third of all home sales, so that is a really important bright spot. You've got housing, stock market, labor market -- all of these things improving here in sync.

SANCHEZ: We all saw this coming.

ROMANS: No. That's EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

SANCHEZ: And I'm Boris Sanchez. The president-elect pulls back on his campaign promises. All that and more on "NEW DAY", starting right now.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: I call it the failing "New York Times".

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's declared that it's not possible for the president to have a conflict of interest.

SEAN SPICER, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, RNC: He is going above and beyond what the law requires and he's going to make sure that there's a wall between his business and the way he governs.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I do hope that all the things that Donald Trump said about how crooked she was, that we just don't let it go.

TRUMP: I don't want to hurt them. They're good people.

GIULIANI: After you win an election you sort of put things behind you.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Mitt Romney is seriously considering a possibility of being secretary of state.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt would be great.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: I can think of 20 other people more compatible with the Trump vision.


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

CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It's Wednesday, November 23rd, 6:00 in the east. Up first, President-elect Donald Trump facing real questions from the media and backing off some of his most extreme campaign promises. Trump now dropping his threat to jail Hillary Clinton and also changing his tune on waterboarding and maybe even climate change. All of this in this big interview with "The New York Times".

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Mr. Trump also addressing hot button issues like denouncing support from the hate groups, as well as some conflicts of interest. The president-elect is now in Florida for the Thanksgiving holiday but we're told we could get more cabinet announcements as early as this morning. So we have it all covered for you. Let's being with CNN's Sara Murray. Good morning, Sara.

MURRAY: Good morning, Alisyn. Well, you're right. Donald Trump is showing a little bit more flexibility on some promises that were really calling cards during his presidential campaign. And as for the support he's been getting from some white supremacists, he says he doesn't want to be the candidate who is energizing these groups.