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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

Trump Calls For National Healing in Thanksgiving Video; Will Nikki Haley Take Trump's Lead On Russia?; Green Party Candidate Raises Millions For Recount. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired November 24, 2016 - 11:00   ET

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


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you so much for joining me on this Thanksgiving Day. I'm Carol Costello. "AT THIS HOUR" with Berman and Bolduan starts now.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Pamela Brown. Thank you for spending part of your morning with us. We hope you're having a wonderful Thanksgiving.

President-elect Donald Trump is calling for national healing in his first Thanksgiving address to the nation. Trump kicked off the holiday with his first appointment of women to his cabinet. Both of whom were fiercely critical of him during the presidential campaign.

Trump has chosen South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, the daughter of immigrants, to be U.N. ambassador and billionaire philanthropist, Betsy Devos, the school choice activist to be secretary of education.

We are told not to expect any appointments today as the president- elect spends Thanksgiving with his family at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach.

CNN's Jason Carroll is there and joins us live. So Jason, no announcements today, but what about tomorrow? Will Trump resume meetings with potential cabinet members?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we are hearing is tomorrow at 10:30, there will be a conference call where that will happen is they will get together the transition team members and they'll discuss who they are going to actually be meeting with. That will be on Monday.

So no scheduled meetings for tomorrow. It doesn't mean something might not happen tomorrow in terms of hearing an announcement. As you know, Ben Carson has all but said that the offer for him is on the table so for HUD secretary, so perhaps we will hear something there.

But for now, what we are seeing is Donald Trump, the president-elect, and his family having somewhat of a down day, trying to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday.

The president-elect also put out a Thanksgiving message saying it's time for the country to put the election behind us and it's time to come together as one people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT-ELECT: -- very blessed to call this nation our home, and that's what America is. It is our home. It's where we raise our families, care for our loved ones, look out for our neighbors, and live out our dreams. It's my prayer that on this Thanksgiving, we begin to heal our divisions and move forward as one country, strengthened by shared purpose and very, very common resolve.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARROLL: Now, Pamela, again, it's supposed to be a down day for the president-elect, but he still says that he is working and he sent out a tweet saying I'm working hard even on Thanksgiving, trying to get Carrier AC Company to stay in the U.S., Indiana making progress, will know soon. What's that all about?

As you know, Pamela, throughout his campaign, Donald Trump threatened U.S. companies like Carrier AC Company that they move jobs out of the country overseas to places like Mexico, he would impose a 35 percent tax on imports coming back into the country.

So apparently, he's on the phone working very, very hard, he says, trying to make sure that that does not happen, that companies like Carrier AC stay in the United States. We will see what happens on that front -- Pamela.

BROWN: All right. Let's talk about this "Washington Post" report, Jason, that basically says Trump is not making time for his daily intelligence briefings. He's only had two classified briefings since his election victory more than two weeks ago, is that right?

CARROLL: Well, "The Washington Post" is reporting, yes, that he has had two classified briefings since becoming president-elect. In contrast to that, Vice President-elect Mike Pence, according to the article, has had briefings, these type of security briefings nearly every day.

But the article also points out, Pamela, that this is not unprecedented, that, yes, Donald Trump has had less security meetings than other previous president-elects to date, but once again, that is not unprecedented when you look at the whole history of president- elects receiving these types of security briefings.

BROWN: OK, thanks so much, Jason Carroll. We do appreciate it. Let's do a deeper dive with our panel, CNN political commentator, Symone Sanders, press secretary for Bernie 2016, Steve Cortes, former Trump campaign adviser, Julian Zelizer, historian and professor of Princeton University, and Alice Stewart, CNN political commentator and former Ted Cruz communications director.

Thank you all for coming in on Thanksgiving and being part of our panel. We really, really appreciate it. Julian, I want to start with you for context. I was just talking to Jason Carroll about, is it significant that Trump is skipping his top secret intel briefings?

JULIAN ZELIZER, HISTORIAN AND PROFESSOR, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: I think it is significant. Obviously within the recent years where the story focuses on, he's receiving fewer briefings than before and we are talking about a president-elect who had much less experience in this realm than some of the others, both in government and obviously in national security.

So given the kinds of challenges we face, this was one of the things his supporters and his opponents were hoping for that there would be a lot of information coming his way.

BROWN: But couldn't the argument be made that he's president-elect, he's not president yet. He's busy putting people in his cabinet and making sure he builds a strong administration, Julian?

[11:05:09]ZELIZER: Sure, you can make that, but you can also receive the briefings as the vice president-elect is doing right now. And so I think again, given the learning curve right now, this is going to be very important that he starts to open himself up to more information.

BROWN: Steve, on the other side of this, according to this "The Washington Post" article, there is concern among some in the intelligence community who were already skeptical that this shows indifference on the part of Donald Trump. Is that true?

STEVE CORTES, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: No. Pamela, I don't think it's indifference at all. Look, I think there's a lot of nit- picking going on right now. "The Washington Post" has nit-picked at President-elect Trump for many, many months while he was a candidate and since his election.

I think what's going on here is what he's doing is he's delegating. He did it throughout his business career very effectively and he's doing it now. Is he going to be in charge of national security? Of course, he will be.

He will be a powerful and hands-on commander-in-chief. He is so busy right now, though, setting up his team that he's delegating some of those responsibilities to Mike Pence, who I believe will be one of the most involved vice presidents that we have ever seen in American history.

So I think he's just being a smart man. By the way, it's certainly out of laziness. I can tell you as someone who campaigned with him, the schedule that Donald Trump keeps is nothing short of frenetic.

He's old enough to be my father and I could never keep the kind of schedule that he keeps in terms of his work ethic. So I have no doubt he's just so busy that right now, he's putting some of the briefings in the hands of Mike Pence.

BROWN: As you point out, he is building his cabinet. There's a lot of speculation about Mitt Romney. Alice, if Mitt Romney gets the job of secretary of state, there will be a lot of backlash from Trump's biggest loyalists.

In fact, just this morning, Kellyanne Conway tweeted she's getting inundated with messages from Trump loyalists warning against Romney, as you see right here, in this tweet. Is this a risk Trump is willing to take, do you think, Alice?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, clearly given his decision to bring in Nikki Haley, as U.N. ambassador, I think goes to show he is willing and open to the idea of building a team of rivals.

There has been a lot of skepticism from Trump loyalists such as Governor Huckabee and Newt Gingrich who are fearful Newt Gingrich would be more of a secretary of state for himself as opposed to the Trump administration and question his loyalty.

But look, at the end of the day, Donald Trump I believe trusts his gut instincts. He's had a very positive meeting with Mitt Romney and look, there's going to be critics on both sides with regard to every person for every position without a doubt.

But I think bringing Mitt Romney into the fold will also bring a lot of the anti-Trump and the Trump skeptics that have been against his throughout this entire process, bring them into the fold, too.

And Mitt Romney, he's a politician. He's a statesman. He's going to do what's best for the country. I truly believe if he were to come into that position he would do what's best for our country.

BROWN: Simone, you are obviously no fan of Donald Trump, but the fact that he is turning to some of his harshest critics and foes for his own staff, for his cabinet, do you give him credit for that?

SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, I have to give -- you have to give credit where credit is due. I think Nikki Haley has done a good job in South Carolina. She definitely has some critics, but I don't know what foreign policy experience she has.

So the learning curve is definitely going to be deep and steep on her end. But I know lots of folks that have worked with her in South Carolina, have good things to say about her.

I think Donald Trump is trying -- there are people on his team that are encouraging him to reach out and try to piece together an administration that doesn't get too many people too upset at Donald Trump or anybody else on his team.

But in doing that, you can ostracize some folks. I think it's interesting that we saw Kellyanne Conway tweeting about Mitt Romney. Why would she do that? She's trying to get some attention to it.

Perhaps Kellyanne Conway doesn't believe that Mitt Romney should serve as secretary of state. So there is definitely some possible in- fighting going on, on the Trump team. I think we have to wait and see.

From what we have seen from folks that he's appointed to his cabinet, he hasn't necessarily drained the swamp. He's invited a lot of swamp creatures inside.

BROWN: And Kellyanne Conway also said that she communicated that in private to both Trump and Pence. Alice, back to you because Simone brought up the fact that Nikki Haley doesn't have much foreign policy experience. Do you think she will line up with Trump when it comes to issues like Russia?

STEWART: Well, I think clearly, there's a great divide with Donald Trump and other people he's considering with regard to Russia, and whoever he appoints, they are going to have to represent Donald Trump and the United States.

And I think clearly there is wide gap between where Nikki Haley is and Donald Trump is on that issue, but they will come to terms and put the best foot forward for this country.

I think with regard to her foreign policy experience, a lot of people underestimate the roles of governors with regard to overseas travel, with economic missions and trade development missions that they do.

She's done quite a bit of that. She already has experience with building relationships with foreign leaders and that more than anything will go a long way to helping her get off on the right foot in that position.

[11:10:07]BROWN: Simone, I want to go back to you for a minute because you made a lot of headlines yesterday by saying the Democratic Party does not need white people to lead it. Do you stand by that or do you want to clarify?

SANDERS: I again, the question was in reference to who do -- in reference to chair of the Democratic National Committee. I stand by it. I think it is past time for an elected chair of color. I think representation matters.

The base of the Democratic Party is white people, black people, Latinos, Hispanics, Native Americans, gay, straight, all different types of religions. I really think that it's important if you go out there and speak to those people in the base, there is a need and a want for a chair of color.

So I stand by that. You need different people out there to fight for different things and I am here fighting for millenials of all backgrounds, all races, but I'm definitely also fighting for all brown people, all shades of brown, Latino, African-American, Native American, Asian-American, so on and so forth.

I think we need that representation, not just in the chair's position but in other places throughout the Democratic National Committee and throughout the building.

I don't know if you have ever -- folks have ever been into the headquarter offices, but it has not necessarily always looked representative of America. So I stand by that. I know that makes some people uncomfortable but somebody's got to be out here fighting for the folks and that's me.

BROWN: Steve, what do you make of Symone's stance there?

CORTES: Well, you know, Pamela, I have to say that the Democrats and the left, their fixation with identity politics, number one, it didn't work at all. It hasn't been working, by the way, for about eight years while they did win the White House twice, they have been losing governorships, state legislator seats, and House of Representative seats at a breakneck pace.

So the American people are tired of the divisiveness of identity politics. What they want, what we want, I say this as a Latino, what we want is economic growth. That's what Donald Trump promised America.

That's what he's going to deliver to America as president. Enough of the identity politics. We are Americans and as Americans, we need economic growth and security.

SANDERS: Can I say one more thing?

BROWN: Go ahead, Symone.

SANDERS: I just want to note that it is really important that we talk about intersectionality. So yes, we need economic growth, but if we don't account for intersectionality, for identity as people like to say, then we are not talking about the fact that yes, white women earn 79 cents for every dollar a white man makes.

But black women earn 64 cents for every dollar a white man makes, Latino women, 54 cents. That is intersectionality, that's identity politics and that's something we need to talk about.

CORTES: Symone, none of that is true. If you do apples to apples comparisons of the exact same job that's just not true. Women choose a lot of different professions than men. No, it's not true.

BROWN: There is certainly a wage gap between men and women, Steve. Julian, what do you think about --

ZELIZER: Again, it looks like Hillary has won over two million more popular votes and so I think it's dangerous to kind of read into the victory some large mandate on these kinds of issues.

There's a lot of support for racial justice, for gender equality and for the changes that immigration has brought to this country. So I think it would be important not to read a mandate on these kinds of issues for Democrats or Republicans based on these election results. You can see this in a very different light quite easily.

BROWN: Steve, respond.

CORTES: Well, again, I would point to it's not just the presidential elections. Look at the eight-year trend of what Democrats have done in offices both in Washington, D.C. and around America. It is a pronounced down trend.

So the American people are rejecting that kind of division and identity politics, and by the way, I think to Republicans, of course, we want to look like America. I'm very happy that yesterday we nominated two women to very senior cabinet positions, one of whom is the daughter of an immigrant.

I would also point out in the presidential race, two of our three top candidates were minorities, men of color, and sons of immigrants. We love the diversity of America, we love what America looks like, what immigrants do for America, but we also aren't going to focus on that as a strategy to divide.

We don't want our politics to appeal to people just on that basis. Instead, growth and security are the macros that are winning. There's no debating this. It's winning for the Republican Party.

SANDERS: Because building a wall is not divisive.

BROWN: I want to get Alice into this discussion. Go ahead, Alice.

STEWART: Well, I think to Symone's point about having diversity within the Democratic Party, I disagree with just about everything that Keith Ellison says, our African-American congressman from Minnesota, but I do think he's someone that should be considered for the head of the DNC.

Because he's hit the nail on the head with regard to what the Democrats missed out in this election. That is conveying the message to the American people that their party will help them economically, help create jobs, and I understand where they are missing out with regard to rising up in this country.

He understands that it's not about attacking the Republican. It's about providing a message for Democrats. I think he would be someone that could get the Democrats back on course and get them doing much better in the midterms.

So I think it's not about -- it really doesn't matter, race, creed, color, religion, or national origin, who it is. His message I think is spot on for the Democratic Party.

[11:15:14]BROWN: OK, Symone, Steve, Julian, Alice, thank you for sharing your perspective respectfully on this Thanksgiving holiday. We do appreciate it. Thank you.

Up next, we are going to speak live with a former presidential candidate who is calling for a recount and raised nearly $3 million overnight to make it happen. Jill Stein joins me live.

Plus, what is it like to live inside Trump Tower? Now that its most famous resident has been elected president? We will take you inside.

And breaking news out of Baghdad, we are getting word a truck has exploded killing dozens of people. We'll take you there live right after this quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Welcome back to a special holiday edition of AT THIS HOUR. The push for a presidential election recount in three states is coming down to the wire. In less than 24 hours, the Green Party's former presidential nominee, Jill Stein, raised nearly $3 million to cover recount filing fees in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Activist scientists alerted Hillary Clinton's campaign to the possibility of hack in key counties in those states. President-elect Donald Trump won Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Michigan is still too close to call.

[11:20:09]So let's talk all of this over with Jill Stein, former Green Party presidential nominee. Dr. Stein, thank you very much for spending part of your Thanksgiving morning with us. We do appreciate it. I want to start with the why. Why do you feel the need to challenge this?

DR. JILL STEIN, FORMER GREEN PARTY PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Well, let me put it this way. Why would anyone not want to count the votes and to be sure that they are counted accurately? What we know is that there were lots of hacks taking place around this election, hacks into voter data bases, into party data bases, into individual e-mail accounts.

And what we also know, unfortunately, is that the equipment that we use, much of it is not just open to hacks, it basically invites hacks and malfeasance, tampering, human error, et cetera.

Some of the voting machines in use in Wisconsin, for example, have actually been prohibited in the state of California because they have basically been proven to be wide open to tampering.

So what we are saying is not that hacking or fraud has necessarily taken place. I don't think we have evidence of that. But I think it's only natural and it's good for Americans to be reassured that our votes are counted, especially after such a divisive and bitter election.

Where 80 percent of Americans, according to a "New York Times" poll basically said they were disgusted with this election, they didn't like the candidates that we were limited to, they were screaming for open debates and other choices.

It was a very bitter election where so many people were voting against their worst fear rather than for the candidate that they wanted. I think this is a very positive step.

The fact it has basically funded itself overnight reflects the incredible hunger out there among the American people to actually start doing something positive and to start creating an election system that we can believe in.

BROWN: This is something that several Hillary Clinton supporters would like to be done. Are you doing this to help Hillary Clinton at all, possibly?

STEIN: I think it was pretty clear during the campaign because was asked this question all the time that I do not favor one candidate over another. To my mind, there are problems with our system that have basically produced two candidates that were the most distrusted and disliked in our history. But what I think all Americans can agree on and what I consider worthy of working for right now is creating a voting system that we can trust.

There are glaring red flags right now about this voting system, especially the fact that we are being hacked all over the place and that is proven that these machines are eminently friendly to hacks. So we need to start fixing this voting system.

BROWN: That's not exactly accurate that all these voting systems are so vulnerable to hacks. They are not connected to the internet. It would be extremely difficult for anyone to alter the outcome lection given the fact its own systems and scientist have no evidence at all that there was any tampering or hacks because there's a lot of reporting done leading up to election day. Is this worth your time, you think, all this money? When there's no evidence and given how difficult it would be to hack into these systems?

STEIN: You know, we should not have a voting system in which we have to prove that there's been fraud or tampering in order to have confidence. You know, in my mind, the American people are begging for a system that we can believe in.

There's widespread cynicism and disgust with our basic institutions from the Supreme Court to the presidency to the press, you name it. We are off the charts right now in lack of trust for our basic institutions.

For us to be able to trust our votes and know that our votes count and that they are accurate is just a basic principle of democracy. What we do know is that these machines have been proven in the laboratory of computer scientists and the scientists who look at election security.

What we know is that many of these machines are wide open and vulnerable. So many of them get programmed with similar information cards and yes, they may not be on the internet, but they get programmed with basic cards that could be tampered with at the county level. So this is why I think it's really important to count the votes.

BROWN: I'm just curious if Hillary Clinton had won the election, would you still be doing this? Would you still be pursuing this recount?

STEIN: When I was ask, you know, throughout the election, if there are concerns about the voting systems and the integrity of the vote, will you challenge, and my answer to that has always been yes.

[11:25:03]The Green Party has stepped up to the plate before in 2004. We challenged the vote in Ohio where there was really a rather staggering evidence of vote tampering. In fact, some of the election officials who oversaw that actually wound up serving time in jail for that very fact.

So we have not shied away from I think what the American people are clamoring for. We did not have to work to raise that money. We basically let it be known, we put out a press release, put up a website.

And that money is raising itself because the American people really want to take a step forward. They want to do something positive. We want an election system that we can believe in.

BROWN: Very quickly, filing deadline is tomorrow for Wisconsin. Are you going to be filing?

STEIN: Absolutely, we are. Now we clearly have the funds to do that. By the way, we still have two more states to raise funds for. So if people are interested, it's jill2016.com/recount. Your contributions go directly into ensuring that we can trust our votes.

BROWN: OK. Jill Stein, thank you very much for coming on. We appreciate it.

STEIN: Happy Thanksgiving.

BROWN: You, too.

Trump Tower, some of the world's biggest celebrities have called it home from Michael Jackson to Bruce Willis. Now that Trump has been elected, what's it like living inside? What about its value? Wait until you see this.

Plus a disturbing story out of West Virginia, a white man accused of murdering a black teenager after an argument. Police say the suspect is showing no remorse, eve saying he's glad the teen is off the street. Details ahead.

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