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Families Desperate For Word On Missing Loved Ones In TN Wildfires; How Do Trump Supporters Feel About his Transition Decisions?; U.S Marines Heading To Norway-Russia Border; Trump To Leave His Business "In Total" To Focus On Presidency. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired November 30, 2016 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:30:00] (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Michael Reed has not heard from his wife or two daughters since Monday night as they tried to escape.
MICHAEL REED, WIFE AND DAUGHTERS MISSING IN FIRES: I've called the other shelters here. They said she isn't there. I'm just hoping for a miracle.
GRAY: And just a sense of despair and desperation living through this nightmare, of course. It is raining now. We had some heavy rain overnight, again today. It should be raining most of the day so the sooner they can get these fires out, the sooner people can return to their homes, Alisyn, so the rain is definitely helping things.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Jennifer, that is just so heartbreaking. We're praying for that man that he can find his family, as well as everybody down there. We'll check back in with you throughout the program. Thank you.
OK, back to how are Donald Trump's supporters feeling today about what they've seen thus far from the president-elect? Do they like his cabinet picks, his tweets, his pivots on some of his promises?
Let's bring in CNN contributor and "New York Post" columnist Salena Zito. She traversed the country talking to Trump supporters before the election and you continue to talk to them now. Great to see you this morning.
SALENA ZITO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks for having me.
CAMEROTA: There is -- let's talk about the big coup that Mr. Trump has announced last night. He has secured a deal with Carrier Air Conditioning to keep 1,000 jobs in Indiana that were set to go to Mexico. You're going to Carrier tomorrow.
ZITO: Yes, I am.
CAMEROTA: You went before the election and talked to those folks. Did they think he was going to be able to deliver on that promise? ZITO: You know, there was such a sense of uncertainty and instability and people were afraid to pin their hopes on that, but he made a convincing argument that he was going to do it and he had their back. And last night Carrier tweeted that a deal had been made and there would be at least 1,000 jobs kept in the town. I think it was a total of 1,400 that were going to be moved so that's a big deal.
CAMEROTA: That's like a 'drop the mic' moment --
CAMEROTA: -- because he's not president yet.
CAMEROTA: So this is what people always said about him -- his supporters.
ZITO: He's a dealmaker.
CAMEROTA: He's a dealmaker.
ZITO: He's a dealmaker. You know, people couldn't understand why blue-collar workers found this billionaire Manhattanite sort of appealing, but he's appealing because he makes deals. And nobody -- for them, they believed that nobody has made any deals for them in a very long time. He won states likes Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. No Republican has done that since Reagan and Eisenhower. That's it.
CAMEROTA: Now -- I mean, mind you, we don't know what the deal is.
ZITO: Well, there is --
CAMEROTA: We don't know what they were promised --
CAMEROTA: -- and hopefully all of that will come out. We, in the press, certainly like to know --
CAMEROTA: -- the nitty gritty of these details. Let's talk about some of the tweets that he has sent out in the past 48 hours. He tweeted that millions of people voted illegally. That was not true. He tweeted that he would believe in jailing people if they burned the flag. That is actually protected freedom of speech. You don't have to like it but it is protected --
CAMEROTA: -- by the Supreme Court and the constitution.
CAMEROTA: Do his supporters care about these tweets? Do these things fire them up?
ZITO: They do fire him up. Look, he has fed off of their support the entire time. He gets energized by it. It makes him feel connected to them, especially when he was doing rallies, and he doesn't have that ability to do that for the past three weeks. This is a way to connect with them and it's a way for them to connect with him, which is important.
CAMEROTA: But when there -- but when he sends out erroneous things -- I mean, just flat out false, they forgive that.
ZITO: Just like they forgived (sic) it at rallies.
CAMEROTA: And why do they not demand the truth?
ZITO: Well, I think they expect it in his actions but not in his rhetoric, so they look at his rhetoric as a way to get excited and get connected. And he's talking the way that they would probably talk at the watercooler or at the diner or at the coffee shop, or whatever. You know, people tend to exaggerate when they -- when they're discussing things of big consequence and --
CAMEROTA: And he's talking about how they feel. Yes, people should be jailed for --
ZITO: Yes --
CAMEROTA: -- burning the flag.
ZITO: -- for burning the flag.
CAMEROTA: Technically, that's not where we are in this country.
ZITO: Exactly. If you looked at what Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin from West Virginia said yesterday, about he would kick them in the posterior if they did that.
CAMEROTA: That feels good.
ZITO: Once Americans --
CAMEROTA: Feel that way.
ZITO: They do feel that way.
CAMEROTA: Mitt Romney said, in no uncertain terms during the campaign, that he did not believe that Donald Trump was fit to become president. Now they are breaking bread and it's possible Mitt Romney will become secretary of state. How do Donald Trump's supporters feel about something like this? Do they feel betrayed, do they feel --
CAMEROTA: No, this is another deal.
[07:35:00] ZITO: They don't -- this is another deal. They like the idea of all different varieties and types of people. Look, he ran a non-ideological race so this is -- this is not about like more conservative or less conservative or a Democratic or the criticisms. I mean, we have a great history of doing that. If we would look back at what Seward said about Lincoln when he ran against him in 1860, and then he becomes the secretary of state, you know -- we tend to bring our rivals on because we know that they're the ones that kept us on our toes.
CAMEROTA: And similarly, bringing in Goldman Sachs billionaires to the cabinet. His -- Donald Trump's supporters don't see that as a betrayal because they're looking for deals.
ZITO: They're looking for deals, they're looking for stuff to get done, they're looking for people with knowledge. They don't -- you know, people think oh, they want this blue-collar hero. No, they don't. They want someone that's going to accomplish things, that offers tangible benefits to them and to their lives and livelihoods in their communities.
CAMEROTA: We're going to be meeting -- we are going to be sitting down with some of Donald Trump's supporters today and we'll bring that to everyone tomorrow on the program. Salena Zito, great to see you.
ZITO: Nice to be here.
CAMEROTA: Thanks so much for being here.
CAMEROTA: Let's get over to Chris.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: We're getting news out of Norway. Nerves are on edge there over the possibility of Russian aggression. Hundreds of U.S. Marines are heading there soon. Will President-elect Donald Trump talk of reevaluating NATO? Is that what sparked this new aggression? We'll give you the details next.
CAMEROTA: Authorities now say that that plane chartered by a Brazilian soccer team may have run out of fuel minutes before it crashed just miles from the airport in Medellin, Colombia. At least 71 people died, including most members of the soccer team. Six people, though, survived. Brazil is observing three days of mourning.
[07:40:05] CUOMO: Authorities say the Ohio State University attacker was likely inspired by ISIS and specifically, the late Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Facebook posts by the attacker made reference to Awlaki, who led al Qaeda in Yemen. The Somali-born student was killed by a campus police officer. Investigators say there's no evidence he was an ISIS soldier. This appears to be one more of those lone wolf attacks.
President-elect Trump tweeting this morning about the case. "ISIS is taking credit for the terrible stabbing attack at Ohio State University by a Somali refugee who should not have been in our country." There is no basis for why this man should have been excluded when he immigrated to the country years ago.
CAMEROTA: Giant flames erupt following a pipeline blast just north of the Kansas City International Airport. The pipeline apparently ruptured on a private field away from any homes. The gas was immediately shut off and fire crews rushed to the scene. No flights were affected and no one was hurt. The cause of this explosion is under investigation.
CUOMO: All right. So, hundreds of U.S. Marines are going to be stationed in Norway coming this January. Why? Well, to help that country prepare against potential aggression from Russia. The action coming on the heels of President-elect Donald Trump's wavering commitment to NATO.
CNN senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh had exclusive access to the training exercises that are going on in Northern Europe. He joins us right now. Help us understand what is exactly going on here because this comes out of nowhere for people in the U.S.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump, on the campaign, talked about the need to revisit the NATO alliance. The idea that if you attack one member of that alliance, you attack all of them and you get the Americans back in that fight. That makes people right next to Russia -- with historically good relations but who have a lot of nerves after seeing what Russia did in Ukraine, one of its other western neighbors -- need extra assurances from Washington.
So what we saw, ourselves, in the very frosty north is the beginning of an increased American presence starting in January, and that's all about trying to make sure the Norwegians feel safe that America has their back. Here's what we saw.
WALSH: War just got very cold again for these U.S. Marines training with tanks in Norway on the eastern borders of a NATO that's suddenly nervous once more. They're moving forwards now towards the fake enemy positions but these kind of exercises, since Russia's moves in Ukraine, have taken on a new kind of realism and urgency.
In January, 300 Marines will move to Norway permanently. That's how worried about Moscow's intentions they are. For now, a unit from North Carolina are readying these Abrams tanks, normally stored deep in caves but now the furthest north of the Arctic Circle they've ever been. After Iraq and Afghanistan, these are old new war games about protecting Europe and they know that when the enemy isn't role-playing it will probably by the newly-emboldened Russian military.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 2014, that was a clear sign that Russia has stepped into an area where they are willing and able to use military. You know, suddenly we have changed focus from what was going on, in particular, in Afghanistan, and to collective defense -- national defense.
WALSH: A change in focus somebody's watching. Norwegian police investigating 10 sightings of medium-sized unidentified drones over these exercises. At a furthest point north of the border you can go, it's an open game of watching a Russian helicopter land, rare here.
And when Donald Trump questioned America's commitment to NATO and seems to want to now taunts (ph) with Russia, that bit of land just there, it gets noticed here. So all of you here, did you hear about Donald Trump becoming U.S. president?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I did.
WALSH: What do people think out here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not allowed to talk about that, actually.
WALSH: It's not really a Russian invasion they worry about here but, rather, the sort of separatist uprising Russia fermented in Ukraine. Little green men with guns creating trouble.
We're heading out with the Norwegian border patrol towards their frontier with Russia, a presence on the ground being vital for them and ensuring nothing untoward happens with their large, at times unfriendly, neighbor.
That's really the reason the Norwegian and American tanks you saw earlier to be sure that even out here in the empty pines and crisp snow, no matter what the Trump presidency brings there's enough muscle already here to enforce NATO's promises of collective security.
Do you see Russians at all?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Uh, it happens. You just salute them.
[07:45:00] WALSH: Would you like to talk to them if you could?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Uh, probably, but it's illegal.
WALSH: Very strange to hear Norwegians, NATO members, talk so vividly again about the Russian threat. The constant and real backdrop to this survival training happening tonight under a staggering display of the northern lights. Not until now is being sure you're ready happened with such a sense of insecurity about Europe's very borders that mount slowly as the Trump presidency nears.
CUOMO: Wow, the beauty --
CUOMO: -- the brutality of the conditions, and the unknown. How many U.S. forces are we talking about? How long and what's their real role?
WALSH: Just over 300 and, initially, for a year trial period. But they're really there to make sure the equipment you saw there, the Abrams tanks that are new -- they've always been stored underground in caves in Norway to keep them warm and functioning since the Soviet times. But now it seems they're being replenished and they're being taken out to make sure that equipment is ready more regularly.
This is all part of them training through arctic conditions but, really, the underlying message is just nervousness about what Vladimir Putin's intentions are and what Donald Trump's desire for a better relationship with Russia actually might mean for places like that where Russia, you saw, is just a few feet away.
CAMEROTA: So what did they tell you about their concerns about a Donald Trump presidency?
WALSH: There's a fear that if he does what he said he was going to do on the campaign trail they might be rewriting the idea of European security. The guarantees people used to feel that if we get attacked we can appeal to the United States to assist us. I think some of this -- some of this training, some of the exercises are designed to make sure that there's already Americans there so that if anything did happen there's no question about the United States being involved in that fight.
But just do a step back here. We're talking about rethinking decades- old certainties the Europeans have always felt they could rely upon. But if this did occur the whole point of NATO, Article 5 and that treaty, is that you'd have collective security. Attack on one is an attack on all, as well. It's what George Bush invoked after 9/11. It was to say we need you at our back and it led to the assistance of Afghanistan and Iraq from NATO allies.
CUOMO: And some of it predates Trump, obviously. What happened in Ukraine happened under Obama's watch and it shook that part of the world that wow, the U.S. really is staying out of this even though Russia is rolling in and annexing half that country.
WALSH: It's just two nations, really. The reassurance exercise the Obama administration put into play after Ukraine to make those eastern neighbors of Russia feel more secure. It's happening in Estonia, it's happening in Norway, as you see there, just trying to make them feel that yes, we've got your back. But secondly, Donald Trump's message is making people think well, how secure -- how many of these guarantees will we be able to rely on in the future, Chris.
CAMEROTA: Nick, great to see you in the warm studio off the tundra. Thanks so much for bringing that to us.
So, Donald Trump promising in a series of tweets this morning that he will not have any conflicts of interest when he becomes president. What does he need to do about that? Our next guest explains.
[07:51:37] CUOMO: President-elect Donald Trump actually tweeting about something that matters this morning, his future in business. He said in a series of posts that he's going to hold a major news conference on December 15th with his children to discuss leaving his business "in total to focus on running the country." Trump says he will have, in no way, a conflict of interest. How will he do that?
Let's discuss with David Rennie, the Washington bureau chief for "The Economist". His latest article focuses on Trump's business dealings. It's good to have you with us, David.
Part of the discussion has been answered for us. Trump is now addressing this, saying he's going to come out and hopefully be somewhat transparent in how he's going to achieve this. Let's start with the basic idea. Why is this important, Trump dealing with apparent conflicts?
DAVID RENNIE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE ECONOMIST: Well, I mean, he's an unusually rich man. He also has a very complicated, unusually opaque business empire. Very few kind of public accounts that you can read and make sense of what he owns. He has a lot of overseas assets and overseas investments and ventures, often involving powerful businessmen linked to foreign governments. That is clearly a recipe for a massive conflict of interest.
I think what we say in "The Economist" this week is that there's two unrealistic positions being put forward. One is Donald Trump's assertion that the law doesn't really cover presidents and conflicts of interests, and if he hands off his businesses to his children then that makes him arm's length and independent. We think that's not right because his children have no essential separate business identity from his own that he adds to his empire and they've always just worked for him.
But the other unrealistic call is for him to sell everything before he becomes --
RENNIE: -- president. We make the point that it takes a least a year to prepare an IPO for a well-run and transparent public company -- private company. He doesn't have a year.
RENNIE: And, essentially, if you were to give -- if you were going to liquidate everything you'd be talking about a fire sale of his good assets --
RENNIE -- leaving him with a bunch of draws (ph).
CUOMO: And a lot of it's licensing deals and without Trump's name and full faith of him behind it, what's it worth? And the idea of a blind trust is also easy to say, hard to do because, again, these aren't shares in some company that he could just put into a blind trust, especially with his kids running it.
So we have two different types of concern here. What's going to happen with the ongoing business interests that they already have and how will he do business as president in a way that may be a concern? You point out the example of the King of Bahrain, the event for him
taking place a month before Trump is set to take office. And you make an interesting allusion to an aspect of the constitution that many people won't know anything about -- Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8. It's the restriction on emoluments. This weird arcane word that meant in the Articles of Confederation about profiting from office, an old Latin word. What does it mean in today's reality?
RENNIE: So, that's not actually in our article, but you're right. There is this emoluments clause and public officials are not allowed to benefit from, essentially, gifts with a political purpose. It's also about the optics.
It's astonishingly bad for governments like Bahrain to think when they come to America, we've got this. We know how this works. This works as it does in, say, the Arab world or in Uzbekistan. You book a big event in the hotel owned by the president or the family of the president. That happens in other countries. Other countries think they understand that that's how the world works. It's not how it's meant to work in American and it's really serious.
[07:55:12] There are serious, sensible, practical things that Donald Trump could do to make this go away. You saw a blind trust is very hard. You're absolutely right, but he could consolidate all of his businesses under one roof. He could have consolidated accounts. He could publish those. Independent board of directors. An independent CEO is vital.
He should promise not to make any new foreign investments and, essentially, turn his business empire into a kind of mature portfolio of domestic property businesses which provide the family with money through rental income. If he did that a lot of these problems would go away.
CUOMO: All right. So, obviously, you're right. It's not the economists, it's political, and people should look there for their reporting on why they have these concerns about people coming to his events or paying for spaces that are his once he's President of the United States.
Now, two more issues. One is should we be able to see the legal documents that he's talking about? Of course, it's a private company but do you think as President of the United States there will be an ethical requirement on him to let there be scrutiny of these documents? And two, what about his kids? If his kids are able to sit in on meetings with government officials from other countries, isn't that an inherent conflict?
RENNIE: Absolutely, and that's why we say that if he's going to keep these business assets, and we think he should be allowed to, he has to hand them over to an independent board of directors. His saying his kids will be arm's length just doesn't cut it. You're absolutely right.
It doesn't cut it because for one thing we've already seen his daughter and son-in-law in a meeting with the prime minister of Japan. That's just not a clean way to separate your business, personal, and government business. But it's also -- his kids just aren't realistically independent business figures. They are his kids. They've always been attached to him umbilically in business terms. It's a kind of -- it's a fake to say that they can run an independent business.
CUOMO: What about seeing the documents? Obviously, transparency has been something that he has rejected violently to this point. Do you think these documents are something that need to be scrutinized to be believed?
RENNIE: Absolutely, and beyond that. We need to see consolidated accounts for his businesses. We don't know even how much his businesses are already worth. We don't know who he owes money to. He hasn't published his tax returns. He has to understand that when he says confidently during the campaign that his supporters don't care about this stuff, that may have been dismayingly true during the campaign. But he's now president and his whole world has changed, and we don't yet see evidence that he's fully brought that on board.
CUOMO: One of the things that he's saying in his own defense is the law does not require this. He's being a little cute with that, isn't he, David? There is no law specifically on this, but there's lots of precedent for what the ethical requirements are that would show that running a business at the same time that you're president would be completely and wholly unacceptable.
RENNIE: It is true that the law is silent on the president and vice president when it comes to the kind of conflict of interest that might catch a lower official. But here's our appeal to Donald Trump and we put it on leader this week. Does he really want his presidency to be consumed by this stuff? Does he really want his entire kind of plan for making America great again to be sidetracked by endless accusations and conflicts of interest? Endless perceptions that he's up to no good. This could drown his presidency in bad publicity, investigations, and noise.
He doesn't need to do this. There are perfectly sensible things he could do to make this go away. To give it to an independent board of directors. We're not asking him to bankrupt himself or sell his assets off cheap. He just needs to do something sensible which nods to the fact that the public deserves a transparent president who's not just obeying the law, but is seen to obey to kind of spirit of the law.
CUOMO: And yet, it's still -- it's a unique situation where the value of the business is so closely tied to the value of his name and that brand. David Rennie, thank you very much for the reporting this morning. Appreciate it.
We have a lot of news this morning. There are wildfires burning that we have to tell you about. They've turned deadly. Let's get to it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER GOV. OF MASSACHUSETTS: I've been impressed by what I've seen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's going to make a tremendous difference as our next president.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: We'll see what happens.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: We say to our Republicans who want to privatize Medicare, go try it. Make our day.
REP. TOM PRICE (R), HHS SECRETARY NOMINEE: I believe that the president's health care law violates every single principle we hold dear.
CAMEROTA: The president-elect touting a deal to save 1,000 manufacturing jobs in Indiana.
GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE PRESIDENTIAL-ELECT: It's going to be a busy day. Stay tuned.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is crazy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The city on fire.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've had a difficult 24 hours.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was flames everywhere. It was a firestorm.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, November 30th, 8:00 in the east. Donald Trump's economic team taking shape. We now know his pick for Treasury secretary. It will be Wall Street veteran, Steve Mnuchin.