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Trump Gets Deal Done with Carrier; Tacoma Police Officer Shot and Killed; Tennessee Wildfires: 7 Dead; U.N. Warns Aleppo is "Descending into Hell". Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired December 1, 2016 - 04:30   ET



[04:30:21] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump saves 1,000 jobs. How did he get that deal done? The president-elect hitting the road today to take a victory lap.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN ANCHOR: A neighborhood on lockdown. A gunman who killed a police officer is now barricaded inside a home. The standoff stretching deep into the night.

ROMANS: More lives and homes lost in Tennessee. Those wildfires still ranging. Thousands of evacuees now wondering when they will be allowed to return home to see if they still have a home.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

RIPLEY: And I'm Will Ripley, in for John Berman. Thirty minutes past 4:00 a.m.

ROMANS: Good to see you.

RIPLEY: Good to see you.

ROMANS: Welcome to New York.

RIPLEY: In the same country for once.

ROMANS: I love it.

RIPLEY: Up first this morning, Donald Trump preparing to take a victory lap. The president-elect heading to the Carrier plant in Indianapolis today along with Vice President-elect Mike Pence, the outgoing governor of Indiana. Pence and unknown incentives were key here to convincing the company to keep about 1,000 jobs in the state instead of exporting 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.


ROMANS: All right. Jim, thanks for that.

When it comes to the deal like the one Trump brokered with Carrier, the devil is in the details. The president-elect's transition team and Carrier keeping a lid on the financial considerations to save all those jobs.

As CNN's Martin Savidge reports, Trump awaits a hero's welcome in Indianapolis and a lot 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: Martin Savidge made some very good points there. You heard Steve Mnuchin, the presumptive incoming treasury secretary says that the president called the CEO of United Technologies. That is the parent company of Carrier. That is a company that gets a lot of its revenue from government contracts. If you get government contracts and you are looking at the administration and one company you get contracts and other you are shipping jobs overseas, it seems to me like it's just almost silent leverage that this administration --

RIPLEY: Sure, a $5 billion defense contract $65 million or so to keep these jobs in the U.S. Clearly, a few cents for shareholders, but potentially a much larger impact.

ROMANS: A bigger investment with the future with this administration.

RIPLEY: Right.

ROMANS: I would suspect, I don't know for sure, but I would suspect that this administration is talking to other companies, too, because, you know, one -- this is a symbolic, but very important win for the narrative of Donald Trump as a businessman. How many other companies is he putting pressure on right now?

RIPLEY: And the strategy is that we're going to sit down across the table and have these face-to-face meetings and company by company fight to keep these jobs.

[04:35:01] It would be such a different approach.

ROMANS: This is in Indiana, too, where Mike Pence may have very well been working on this for a very long time too. So, we'll see. We'll learn more today, I'm sure.

RIPLEY: Lots of questions still.

One of the first 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 even posted a video on her Facebook account offering her ideas for fixing the V.A. ABC News reports team Trump is considering Palin for this post. A source close to the 2008 vice presidential nomine tells CNN that Palin has made the transition team aware of her desire to serve the president-elect. He does value, of course, loyalty, when people stand behind him and endorsed him, as she did. 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 supporter of Trump during the campaign. She 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 the CIA director. The former military leader in Iraq and Afghanistan does remain highly respected despite his criminal record.

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, the head of the U.S. Cyber Command.

ROMANS: All right. Shortly after his official nomination as Donald Trump's treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin unveiled his most important goal.


WILBUR ROSS, NOMINEE FOR COMMERCE SECRETARY: Well, I mean, our first priority is going to be the tax plan. And the tax plan has both the corporate aspects to it, lowering corporate taxes to make U.S. companies most competitive in the world, making sure we repatriate trillions of dollars back to the United States, and the personal income taxes where we're going to have the most significant middle income tax cut since Reagan.


ROMANS: The biggest tax overhaul since Reagan.

He also said wealthy Americans, the rich, will not be getting across the board tax cuts. That is a departure from what Donald Trump proposed on the campaign trail. So, expect some negotiations there. Mnuchin is one of three Trump connections to Goldman Sachs. He worked there for 17 years, was a partner before leaving for Hollywood to be a financier in Hollywood.

Trump also met with current Goldman COO Gary Cohn. He's reportedly under consideration to lead the Office of Management and Budget. Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon also worked at Goldman Sachs back in the 1980s.

And this is something that, you know, during the campaign, he'd even use imagery of Goldman Sachs and Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO, in some of his closing arguments against Hillary Clinton, saying she would be the candidate for Wall Street and Goldman Sachs are -- when you're talking about the Treasury Department especially, I mean, people who work with Goldman Sachs very closely with the treasury and bonds and bond market. So --

RIPLEY: As we're quickly learning, things said on the trail don't necessarily translate during the transition and the new administration apparently.

We are closely watching a story in Tacoma, Washington. A sad story there. A police officer shot and killed. The gunman keeping police at bay overnight. We are monitoring the very the latest on this standoff as EARLY START continues.


[04:43:14] ROMANS: Breaking news out Tacoma, Washington. A police officer shot and killed. The barricaded suspect surrounded. The unidentified officer gunned down Wednesday afternoon after responding to a domestic violence dispute. He did not survive surgery.

Authorities have the home surrounded and active gunshots have heard inside. We will bring you the breaking details as this continues to unfold.

RIPLEY: Tensions overnight in North Carolina. Four people have been arrested. They were protesting the D.A.'s decision not to charge Officer Brentley Vinson in a shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott back in September. The victim's family vowing to keep fighting for justice.

We get more now 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.

[04:45:04] 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: Brian Todd in Charlotte, North Carolina.

And in South Carolina, 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 death of Walter Scott during a 2015 traffic stop. Scott was unarmed.

You might remember this witness video showing 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: The survivors who are still fighting this morning with horrific injuries.

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.

Protesters have been ordered by police to leave by Monday or face arrests.

ROMANS: All right. What if I said a lifestyle change could make you more successful? Amazon chief Jeff Bezos, Uber CEO and media mogul Arianna Huffington are all doing one simple thing. And the say it's a vital part of their prosperity. We will tell you what it is next.

You're curious, aren't you?

RIPLEY: I am curious. I want to know.


[04:51:50] ROMANS: Five suspects who tried to detonate a bomb outside the U.S. embassy in Manila earlier this week wanted to be accepted by ISIS. The police in the Philippines say if the device had exploded, damage and casualties would have been very heavy damage. Two of the suspects are in custody, three others remain at large. The terror alert level in the Philippines has been raised following the attempted attack, meaning more security check points and random searches of vehicles across the country.

RIPLEY: The United Nations is putting the world on notice this morning, that Syria and especially eastern Aleppo is on the way of becoming a giant graveyard. There's a desperate need to get food and water and medicine to nearly 200,000 civilians trapped in the war zone. The challenge is finding safe passage for the humanitarian efforts as the bombs continue to rain down.

CNN's Muhammad Lila has the latest, live from neighboring Istanbul, Turkey.

And, Muhammad, we know that Russia and Syria claimed they reopened Costolo Road, the only road in east Aleppo. Could supplies go in through there?

MUHAMMAD LILA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's certainly the hot topic of today. The U.N. says that road won't take them to the eastern part of Aleppo. So, there is a bit of a back and forth with Russia saying the humanitarian corridor is open and the U.N. saying, not so fast. But just moments ago, Will, Russia's foreign minister held a joint press conference here in Turkey with the Turkish foreign minister.

A couple of very important takeaways from that discussion. The first, is that they learn, and there was an acknowledgment that Vladimir Putin and Turkish leader Erdogan have spoken in at least three separate occasions just in the last couple of days. So, clearly, there's a very high level of engagement going on.

Secondly, and also this is very important, one of the questions asked in the Turkish foreign minister was, is Turkey playing a role of a middle man between Russia and the moderate opposition?

What's interesting about the question is that Turkish foreign minister didn't deny that, simply saying that he believes all the parties need to be at the table, including all of the parties at the ground because peace talks are important. So, while all this is going on, of course, the U.N. is warning of dire circumstances. The head of the U.N. humanitarian mission came out and basically said that eastern Aleppo is turning into a descent into hell.

And France's foreign minster came out late yesterday saying that this could be the worst civilian massacre in eastern Aleppo specifically since the end of World War II. You can't find stronger words than that, and it happens as the Syrian regime continues to advance into the rebel held parts of eastern Aleppo -- Will.

RIPLEY: Just a heartbreaking situation for the families there, especially the children who continue to suffer.

Muhammad Lila in Istanbul -- thank you.

ROMANS: All right. The death toll, the damage estimates rising in Tennessee. Wildfires now blamed for seven deaths, more than 50 injuries. Now, there is rain in the area dampening the flames. They are not out entirely. Now there are concerns of mudslides.

We get more this morning from CNN meteorologist Jennifer Gray, she is 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.

[04:55:09] Most people left with just 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: All right. Jennifer Gray in Gatlinburg.

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 refusing to concede.

ROMANS: All right. Arianna Huffington is a name synonymous with digital media. Earlier this year, though, she left the web site that bears her name and launching a new company focused on wellness, corporate wellness. It's called Thrive Global. It is a goal to help people unplug and recharge and work smarter. She draws a direct line between more sleep and shareholder value.

I sat down with Huffington yesterday to ask her how this can benefit all professionals from entry level employees to anchors to CEOs.


ROMANS: Do you have a message to those type A's who are watching my show tomorrow at 5:00 a.m.? You want to tell them to go back to sleep?

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, MEDIA MOGUL: Yes. No, I say my message is first of all to follow Christine's advice. Christine goes to sleep at 8:00 p.m. If you have to get up early, go to sleep as early as you can. Create a ritual, a transition to sleep to make it easy. Charge your phone outside your bedroom. Have a hot shower or bath to disconnect from your day so you are able to really go to sleep early.

And then as soon as you can, have a nap. Winston Churchill won the Second World War and power napped. So, power napping is absolutely an amazing productivity tool if you had to get up really early and you did not get enough sleep.

ROMANS: He also had cigars and an awful lot of booze. I don't recommend that part of his ritual.

HUFFINGTON: No, I don't either.


RIPLEY: I'm impressed you can go to bed at 8:00. I couldn't fall sleep until 9:30.

ROMANS: She said that's not enough, you know? She said that just five or six hours of sleep is not enough. People like Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg and a lot of others stress how much sleep they need is how they are successful.

Sheryl Sandberg actually says she spent this all time worrying how much sleep your kids get, but you don't worry about yourself. Arianna says, you know exactly how much battery life you have in your phone, but not in your body.


ROMANS: And so, to be really successful, you need more sleep. This new company she founded, Thrive, she's got partnerships with Uber, JP Morgan Chase, a bunch of big companies, they're going to try to do wellness at work, drawing a straight line from being well, having -- being well-rested and having good sleep and being unplugged at the right times and shareholder values. Better for the company.

RIPLEY: I'm a big fan of the power nap, by the way. I'll chug coffee and take a 20-minute nap, and then your receptors open up, and you can do all this and then it's called the coffee nap. And then you wake up and you are good to go for the rest of the day.

ROMANS: Look at this. You should have been interviewing Arianna.

RIPLEY: Your interview was great.

EARLY START continues right now.


ROMANS: A victory lap for Donald Trump. He is heading to the plant where he just saved 1,000 jobs. Now critics want to know how he pulled off the deal, and will he do it elsewhere?

RIPLEY: A police officer killed in Washington state. The gunman barricaded in a house deep into the night. We are following the latest on the standoff which is still happening this morning.

ROMANS: The death toll and the damage rising in Tennessee. Thousands of evacuees waiting anxiously to find out if their homes are still standing.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START, this very first day of December. I'm Christine Romans.

RIPLEY: Good to be with you, in the same time zone for a change.

ROMANS: Nice to see you.

RIPLEY: I'm Will Ripley, in for John Berman. It's Thursday, December 1st, 5:00 a.m. in the East.

And we begin this morning with Donald Trump.