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Trump Victory Lap; Tacoma Police Officer Shot and Killed; Tennessee Wildfires: 7 Dead. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired December 1, 2016 - 04:00   ET


[04:00:10] WILL RIPLEY, CNN ANCHOR: A victory lap for Donald Trump. He is heading to the plant where he just saved about 1,000 jobs. This morning, questions about the deal and the incentives that help make it happen.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A police officer killed in Washington state. The gunman barricaded in a house deep into the night. We've got the very latest on the standoff.

RIPLEY: A desperate search for the missing in Tennessee. More wildfire damage and deaths as thousands wait to learn if their homes are gone.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Will Ripley, in for John Berman.

ROMANS: Very nice to see you here.

RIPLEY: Great to see you. We're in the same time zone for a change.

ROMANS: I know. I can't believe it. I'm so excited.

I'm Christine Romans. It is Thursday, it is the first day of December. It is 4:00 a.m. in the East.

Let's begin with Donald Trump preparing to take a victory lap. The president-elect is heading to Carrier Air Conditioning plant in Indianapolis today, along with Vice President-elect Mike Pence, the outgoing governor of Indiana. Pence and unknown incentives were key, key, to convincing Carrier to keep 1,000 jobs in the state instead of shipping them to Mexico.

We get more from CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Will and Christine, Donald Trump will be taking a victory lap of sorts later today when he tours a Carrier Air Conditioner factory in Indiana. This is the same factory he railed against throughout the campaign for shipping jobs to Mexico. Now after discussions with the president-elect and vice president-elect Mike Pence, who was the outgoing governor of Indiana, the company says it's keeping some of those jobs in the U.S. New Treasury Secretary Nominee Steve Mnuchin says it's an example of

Trump making good on a promise.

STEVE MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY NOMINEE: The Carrier deal, look, I think it's terrific. The president-elect and vice president-elect picked up the phone and called the CEO of United Technologies and told them we want to keep jobs here. I can't remember the last time a president did that.

ACOSTA: We should point out, the transition is not offering details on the Carrier deal. And later in the day, Trump is scheduled to appear at a fundraiser and rally in Cincinnati, Ohio, a state he carried decisively on Election Day. His staff is calling it part of his "thank you" tour to show his appreciating for being elected the next president -- Will and Christine.


RIPLEY: There are still a lot of things we don't know about the Carrier deal and with deals like this, of course, devil is in the details.

The president-elect's transition team and Carrier are keeping quiet on the incentives and financial considerations to help save all those jobs.

As CNN's Martin Savidge reports, Trump awaits a hero's welcome in Indianapolis and also plenty of questions.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Will. Good morning, Christine.

There are a lot of people looking forward to the visit of President- elect Donald Trump, most of them Carrier employees who want to express their thanks. But they also have a lot of questions. It's not that they're not grateful, they are. But remember, there are 1,400 jobs here. There are only 1,000 are being talked as being saved. That means several hundred people fear that it's their job that is still going to be lost. And until they hear details, they continue to have fears.

There are other concerns, such as, will they have to cut back on wages and just how long is Carrier willing to stay? They don't have answers.

There are other people who want to find out more about just what is the deal that got Carrier to change its mind? It has been suggested that Carrier got more incentives from the state of Indiana. But remember, back in February when Carrier said it was leaving, the state tried to keep the company here. And yet, was unsuccessful.

So, it seems it has to be more than just state incentives. So, it's been suggested perhaps for the president-elect said that he could bring about some kind of deal by reducing the corporate tax code or maybe reducing federal regulations. But there are still some, especially employees of Carrier who suggest that maybe United Technologies, the parent company of Carrier, began to worry that because they do $5 billion worth of defense contracts every year, those contracts could be harmed if they moved carrier to Mexico -- Will and Christine.


ROMANS: In a way, Will Ripley, it's like silent leverage. You know, those big contracts that they have there.

So, you know, Carrier staying and the company -- in a statement that the company emphasized its stance on trade yesterday. Quote, "This agreement in no way diminishes our belief of the benefits of free trade and that the forces of globalization will continue to require solutions for the long term competitiveness of the U.S. and American workers moving forward," end quote.

This will be a challenge for Trump. How will he renegotiate trade deals and make good on his promise for better terms for U.S. companies and workers outside of the Carrier deal? For all of the other companies that are right now this very moment shipping jobs to Mexico? That is unclear.

But we now know it is a top priority for the incoming administration. Trump's commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, he joined CNN's Erin Burnett last night.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: What is the first day you're going to do on day one? Is it NAFTA renegotiation? I mean, was it?

WILBUR ROSS, NOMINEE FOR COMMERCE SECRETARY: Well, we are working out the fine point details. But NAFTA is a logical starting point. That was a large part of his campaign.


[04:05:02] ROMANS: Wilbur Ross will be there clearly at the helm of trade changes. And, look, folks close to the administration and administration is saying, before he is even president, he has already managed to keep some jobs in the United States. Now, the question is, are there other companies that they are negotiating with, right?

RIPLEY: Right.

ROMANS: And what is the carrot?

RIPLEY: What is the strategy? Is this sustainable to go company by company? A lot of experts would say, there needs to be a broader policy.

ROMANS: The traditional conservative position is that, you know, government shouldn't pick winners, right? So, what about those other companies that are in the neighborhood of Carrier that are moving jobs?

RIPLEY: Same page. We get a deal like this, we don't know what the deal is.

ROMANS: I will say, it is -- it is a win for a president to use a bully pulpit like that and keep jobs in the United States. That is a win. We'll see how it translates.

RIPLEY: And tailor made for Trump. A viral video, online outrage, I mean, it just shows the power of social media.

ROMANS: Yes, absolutely.


One of the figure public figures to endorse Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, appears to be confirming reports that she is under considerations to become the secretary of veterans affairs. The former Alaska governor posting a video on her Facebook account, offering her ideas for fixing the V.A. ABC News reports team Trump is considering Palin for the post. A source close to the 2008 vice presidential nomine tells CNN Palin has made the transition team aware of her desire to serve the president-elect.

ROMANS: WWE wrestling executive Linda McMahon stopped by Trump Tower on Wednesday for an interview with the president-elect. The former Connecticut Senate candidate is among the top contenders to lead Trump's Small Business Administration and has been in extensive talks with members of the transition team for days.


LINDA MCMAHON, WWE WRESTLING EXECUTIVE: The meeting went great. It was nice to be up there and I was honored to be asked to come in. Anytime I think the president-elect of the United States asks you to come in for a conversation, you are happy to do that. We talked about business and entrepreneurs and creating jobs and we talked about SBA. So, we had a really good conservation.

REPORTER: Are you looking for a job?

MCMAHON: Well, that remains to be seen.


ROMANS: McMahon was a vocal Trump supporter during the campaign, donated $6 million to a pro-Trump super PAC.

RIPLEY: If Donald Trump decides to pick David Petraeus to be his secretary of state. The highly respected former general would have three days to notify his parole officer. Court documents show he'd also need to notify authorities before leaving North Carolina. And all of his work travel would have to be approved.

Petraeus is serving two years probation for sharing classified information with his biographer and mistress, Paula Broadwell, while he was CIA director. But this former military leader in Iraq and Afghanistan does remain by many, many people think he's the most qualified pick despite his criminal record.

ROMANS: All right. President-elect Trump has narrowed the field to three finalists in the search for a new director of national intelligence. According to sources, retiring Indiana Senator Dan Coats is getting serious. He is competing with former homeland security adviser Fran Townsend, and Admiral Michael Rogers who is currently serving as director of the National Security Agency and head of the U.S. Cyber Command.

RIPLEY: A recount in Wisconsin gets under way this morning. Green Party candidate Jill Stein wiring to election officials $3.5 million that will pay for it. Each county is free to recount the votes any way they choose. A judge rejected Stein's request for a hand recount statewide. Stein's also filed for a recount in Michigan and she's trying to get on started in Pennsylvania with the court date scheduled for Monday.

And you have to wonder how all of these allegations of being a spoiler candidate, both of the third party candidates, that this is playing to the real push to get these recounts.

ROMANS: Absolutely.

All right. In North Carolina, a police officer will not face charges for a fatal shooting, triggering protests and some arrests on the streets of Charlotte. An update on the unrest when EARLY START continues.


[04:12:41] RIPLEY: Breaking news out of Tacoma, Washington. A police officer shot and killed and the barricaded surrounded. The unidentified officer gunned down Wednesday afternoon while responding to a domestic dispute. He underwent surgery but didn't make it.

Right now, police have a home surrounded. They're describing the scene as active. We know that gunshots have been heard inside. We are watching the situation closely. We will bring you the breaking details as they happen.

ROMANS: All right. Four people arrested overnight in Charlotte, North Carolina. They were protesting the D.A.'s decision not to charge Officer Brentley Vinson in the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott back in September. Now, the victim's family vowing to keep fighting for justice.

We get more this morning from CNN's Brian Todd.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Will and Christine, some pretty energetic protests on the streets of Charlotte, gathering to protest the D.A.'s decision not to file charges against Officer Brentley Vinson for the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in September. The crowds rate Wednesday night were not nearly as numerous as the

ones in September, that numbered into thousands. They weren't nearly as many of those protesters out on Wednesday night. But they did walk a few blocks and the police were fairly aggressive toward them. The police really being strict in their rule to keep the protesters on the sidewalks and we did witness four arrests and some tussles with police as they really were aggressive and trying to keep the protesters on the sidewalks.

One police commander telling me they wanted to approach this strategically. Let them have their say, let them protest, but keep them from blocking traffic. The protesters, of course, out tonight to voice their displeasure with the D.A.'s decision not to file charges against Officer Vinson.

The D.A. Andrew Murray saying that all of the evidence that they had gathered in their investigation which lasted two months, led them to believe Officer Vinson, his shooting of Keith Lamont Scott was justified. That Officer Vinson felt threatened, that his life was in imminent danger, that Keith Lamont Scott ignored ten commands to drop his gun.

The Scott family claimed he did not have a gun. The D.A. says he did. There were claims and counterclaims all through this investigation. But the decision not to file charges against Officer Vinson made by the D.A. today. That is what led to the protests on Wednesday night.

The officer in question is on administrative duty. The police do tell us there is some internal investigation to make sure that policies were not violated in this case. The family of Keith Lamont Scott, it's unclear whether they're going to file a civil lawsuit or not, but they say they're still going to pursue justice for Mr. Scott -- Will and Christine.


RIPLEY: Jury deliberations resume later this morning in a trial of former South Carolina police officer Michael Slager. He is facing a voluntary manslaughter charge in a shooting of Walter Scott during a 2015 traffic stop. Scott was not armed. Witness video shows Slager shooting and killing the father of four as he tried to run away. Slager has pleaded not guilty and his attorneys argue context is important here. And they say this video does not show the entire struggle between the men.

ROMANS: A moving tribute to the members of a Brazilian soccer club killed in a plane crash in Colombia. Thousands of people gathering at a stadium in Medellin, Colombia, Wednesday night. A marching band took the field, fans chanted at the stadium celebrating the victims' lives.

Investigators say the pilot of a chartered plane told air traffic controllers he ran out of fuel. They say he desperately pleaded for permission to land right before crashing.

RIPLEY: Dakota Access Pipeline protesters about to get a boost from thousands of veterans. Leaders of the group Veterans Stand for Standing Rock say they are ready to head to North Dakota even if it means frigid, blizzard-like conditions in order to serve as human shields for the demonstrators. The book's Facebook page is urging members to bring gas masks, body armor, and ear plugs, anticipating a confrontation with police who have ordered the protesters to leave by Monday or face arrests.

ROMANS: It is cold. These protesters are determined. They say water is at stake. They say the environment is at stake. They also say that, you know, like sacred burial grounds are at stake and they feel as though corporations and the government don't care.

RIPLEY: But they don't have with them everything they need for sub zero conditions.

ROMANS: That's true.

RIPLEY: That's the concern, is for their safety, although there's no doubt how passionate, how many people are passionate about this issue.

ROMANS: All right. To Tennessee now, more lives lost in Tennessee. Wildfires posing a big threat as thousands of evacuees wait to find out if their homes are even there. The latest, ahead on EARLY START.


[04:21:41] ROMANS: All right. To Tennessee now. The death toll in the devastation worsening here. Wildfires now blamed for seven deaths and more than 50 injuries. Rain in the area is dampening the flames. But they're not entirely out, and now, they are growing concerns about mudslides.

We get more from CNN meteorologist Jennifer Gray in Gatlinburg.


JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Will and Christine, people are waking up in the evacuation center not knowing if they can return to their homes, and once they get there, not knowing if there will be a home. There is a lot of despair and a lot of devastation around the shelter because people have so many questions and they have been in this waiting game not knowing what is left of their belongings.

Most people left with the clothes on their backs. Of course, they are getting plenty of food here. They're getting items that they need. There is actually a medical clinic as well. But it has been a hard couple days for the people in this area.

Of course, there's no word on when they will return home, and a lot of that I due to the fact there are still wildfires burning if you can believe it, because we have had a lot of rain. So, you would not imagine the wildfires still burning. But they are, with the storms come very, very strong winds. We had cloud-to-ground lightning and that has counteracted a little bit of the benefit the rain has brought. But the rain is helping contain the fires and it is helping the

firefighters in the big picture. We talked to a crew that went in the areas that were burned they said the structures are not on fire, but you can feel the heat underneath your feet. The ground is smoldering. It gives you a sense of how dry and parched this area is.

Of course, the crews will be out. FEMA is expected to come to offer assistance. First responders and firefighters from all around coming to the Gatlinburg area to lend a hand.

So, hopefully, folks here will have answers in the coming hours and days -- guys.


RIPLEY: There is never a good time for this to happen during the holidays as well. It's just heartbreaking.

Country music legend Dolly Parton is launching a new effort to help people who are affected by those wildfires. Parton grew up in the area. She is establishing my people fund and using resources from her Dollywood Company and the Dollywood Foundation. The plan is to provide $1,000 a month to families left homeless. Parton says she believes charity does begin at home.


DOLLY PARTON, COUNTRY MUSIC STAR: We want to provide a hand up to all those families that have lost everything in the fires. And to recover, we want to make sure the Dollywood Foundation provides $1,000 a month to all those families that have lost their homes in the fires until they get back up on their feet.


RIPLEY: And to help Parton's efforts, you can go to the

And I know you met her and --

ROMANS: Yes, I did an exclusive interview with her on her tour this summer. You know, she is an amazing woman. She is one of 12 kids. And her family works at Dollywood. Her family, her nieces, her nephews, they all live and work in the area. So, she -- I mean, it's close to home for her literally and figuratively.

RIPLEY: Yes, and for her to do that for people in her hometown.

ROMANS: Good for her.

All right. At least five people are dead. Dozens hurt after severe storms tore through the South. More than a dozen tornadoes confirmed in the region, including this one in Alabama, where three people were killed, houses leveled. People rummaging through what's left to their belongings. The same scene playing out in Tennessee. Officials confirming a couple was killed in extreme weather there in Polk County.

[04:25:02] You can see trees down and neighborhoods flattened.

RIPLEY: The rain is intense in the south. In Memphis, some of the heaviest rain I've seen in the last few days. I just flew from Atlanta. There was a tornado warning a couple hours after my flight took off. Thankfully, I made it here, though.

ROMANS: That's good.

RIPLEY: The North Carolina governor's race is still not decided. The state's board of elections ordering a partial recount of 94,000 votes in Durham County. Republicans are alleging voting irregularities. Democrats insist there's no evidence of that.

Republican Governor Pat McCrory lost the election to State Attorney General Roy Cooper by 10,000 votes but is still refusing to concede.

ROMANS: The House has approved legislation boosting federal funding to combat cancer and other diseases. It includes a so-called cancer moon shot initiative championed by Vice President Joe Biden. Also provides new funding to combat the nation's opioid epidemic, to speed up drug approvals and strength in the nation's mental health system.

RIPLEY: Donald Trump about to embark on a victory lap. He is heading to the Carrier plant where he just helped save about 1,000 jobs. He is expecting a hero's welcome. But this morning, there are plenty of questions about the deal and those incentives. That's next on EARLY START.