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A Day Of Meetings, An Evening Of Cheers; Trump Taps Ben Carson For HUD Secretary; Oakland Warehouse Fire; Judge Declares Mistrial In Slager Murder Case. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired December 6, 2016 - 05:30   ET


[05:30:00] ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Alison Kosik.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Berman. About 30 minutes after the hour right now. It is 5:30 a.m. on the East Coast. Do you know where your next secretary of state is? That seems to be the big question for President-elect Trump as he heads into a day of big meetings.

Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson comes to Trump Tower. He is said to be on a now growing list of those under consideration for secretary of state. Also paying a visit today, conservative radio host Laura Ingraham. Then this evening Trump heads to the next stop on his 'thank you' tour. He's going to Fayetteville, North Carolina.

And this all follows some big announcements in meetings on Monday. Let's get the latest from CNN's Sunlen Serfaty.


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John and Alison. Well, President-elect Donald Trump making some big decisions in terms of his cabinet, formally nominating Dr. Ben Carson, his former rival, as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

But as he moves to make some key decisions on these big cabinet posts others seem to be taking almost a step back. Late last week we knew, according to sources, that Donald Trump had really settled on the potential for four finalists for this big secretary of state job. But now we know, according to sources, that Donald Trump is looking for more candidates, really expanding his search for secretary of state.

Now looking at people like former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson who will be here today at Trump Tower meeting one- on-one with Donald Trump. Also, Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democratic senator from West Virginia who has told our sources on Capitol Hill that he is, indeed, looking to potentially schedule a meeting with Donald Trump at some point this week.

Now, Donald Trump also holding a very intriguing meeting on Monday here at Trump Tower with former vice president Al Gore. We know, according to Gore, that he was just supposed to sit down with Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump, to talk about climate change but that meeting afterwards got expanded to include President-elect Donald Trump. Here's Al Gore after that meeting. AL GORE (D), FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The bulk of the time was with President-elect Donald Trump. I found it an extremely interesting conversation and to be continued, and I'm just going to leave it at that.

SERFATY: So that certainly an intriguing'stay tuned' coming there from Al Gore, but Gore later on saying that the meeting was truly a shared attempt to find common ground. Of course, the two have not always seen eye-to-eye over climate change -- John and Alison.


BERMAN: All right. Sunlen Serfaty, thanks so much. Donald Trump's meetings with Senate Democrats have some Democratic leaders concerned. Senior members in the Senate are leaning on Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. They are worried that if Trump picks one or both of them for his cabinet it could make their situation in the Senate much more precarious. They drop two seats in the Senate that way.

Now, Manchin is not ruling out taking a job with the Trump administration. He tells CNN that he has to make sure he is doing the best he can for his state but he says no specifics have been discussed so far with the Trump team.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: It was a very encouraging talk. We talked about my state of West Virginia and the country as a whole, and it was just a very productive talk and I was very appreciative of that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you take Department of Energy if offered?

MANCHIN: Well, basically, we haven't talked about anything on those, you know. There will be -- I'm sure at a later date there's going to be -- later this week or sometime, a time when we might meet but right now that's not done.


KOSIK: All right. The search for secretary of state, it continues today and Donald Trump is going to be meeting with Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson today. So who is the man behind one of the most valuable companies in the world? Well, Tillerson joined Exxon in 1975 after graduating from the University of Texas with a degree in engineering. He became chairman and CEO in 2006. His total compensation last year, more than $27 million. That was actually down 18 percent from the year before and mostly --

BERMAN: Rough year.

KOSIK: -- mostly because of falling oil prices. But perhaps his biggest accomplishment as CEO has been expanding Exxon Mobil's footprint around the globe. He also has deep ties to the Mideast and Russia. In fact, in 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded Tillerson the Order of Friendship.

BERMAN: The Order of Friendship. Let's talk about this. We want to bring in political analyst and best-selling author Ellis Henican. And from Washington, political economist Greg Valliere. He's the chief strategist for Horizon Investments. Greg, Rex Tillerson, secretary of state. Is he up to that job?

GREG VALLIERE, POLITICAL ECONOMIST, CHIEF STRATEGIST, HORIZON INVESTMENTS: Well, he could be. I think that this is a sign that the candidates they've already talked to are not satisfactory. I think Romney's too controversial. I think Giuliani has a real problem with the vetting. On and on and on. I think that Petraeus, of course, still has to regularly see his parole officer -- seriously. So I think they've got to widen the search and Tillerson is certainly in the mix now.

KOSIK: Does it matter that Tillerson doesn't have any kind of political diplomacy experience, but he does have experience with his company having that global footprint around the world?

[05:35:08] VALLIERE: Yes, he has a global footprint. I would argue he's better qualified for the job than, say, Ben Carson is for HUD so experience apparently is not necessarily the most important qualification.

BERMAN: All right. Let's talk about the future, like 2020, Ellis, if we can.


BERMAN: Joe Biden -- he was at the Senate yesterday and he raised a lot of eyebrows by his answer/non-answer to what seemed like a joking question from reporters about a possible run in 2020. Let's listen.


REPORTER: Are you going to run again?

JOSEPH BIDEN (D), VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yeah, I'm going to run in 2020 and so --

REPORTER: For what?

BIDEN: For president. You know, so what the hell? Anyway --

REPORTER: We're going to run with that, sir, you know. You dropped that.

BIDEN: That's OK, that's OK. No, but I've enjoyed every minute of my time here in the Senate.

REPORTER: Just to be clear, were you kidding about running for president in 2020?

BIDEN: I'm just -- I'm not committing not to run. I'm not committing to anything. I learned a long time ago. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Right, and he was just having a conversation there clearly, but he didn't really let anything out, but --

HENICAN: The question might have been meant as a joke, I guess, but the answer was clearly not a joke. I mean, imagine if you are Joe Biden, right? I mean, you thought about running and because of personal reasons you decided not to make the race, and then Hillary blows it. Don't you have to wake up every morning and think my God, if that were me couldn't I have gotten a couple of extra points in some of those Midwestern Rust Belt states? And I think the answer is probably yes.

KOSIK: Ellis, I want to go back to Ben Carson just for a second here because he was tapped for HUD and --

HENICAN: Right. He's part of the no experience, no problem tour, I guess.

KOSIK: But think about it. Donald Trump doesn't have presidential experience either so --


KOSIK: -- not such a huge shocker there but here's what kind of is. In 2000 -- earlier this year in November, actually, Armstrong Williams, who is a Carson adviser, saying "Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience. He's never run for a federal agency. The last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency." Did Armstrong speak too soon here because we're trying to fit a square peg in a round hole with Dr. Carson?

HENICAN: Well, in hindsight, I'm sure Ben Carson did not appreciate those comments. Alison, I've been looking for an analogy and here's the best one I can come up with. When Ben Carson was the chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins and it came to him to hire young surgeons, I wonder if he took the approach of well, you know, he's a nice guy. He's done pretty well driving a truck --

KOSIK: Let's hope not.

HENICAN: -- or some other field. You know what? I've always thought that running huge federal agencies was a -- was a job where a certain amount of experience or at least a certain amount of interest in the issue demonstrated over the years was a qualification, but I guess I was wrong about that.

BERMAN: Greg, I'm hearing a lot of affirmative sounds coming from Washington right now. Do you agree with what Ellis is saying?

VALLIERE: Well, if I tore my knee up this afternoon and needed to have ACL surgery I'd probably want an orthopedic surgeon who's done a couple before.

BERMAN: Well, you know -- but let me read you this statement that Mike Huckabee was saying about this. He goes, look, Nancy Pelosi said that Ben Carson is unqualified, much like what you were saying. Mike Huckabee said "Ben Carson is first HUD secretary to have actually lived in government housing. Fancy Nancy Pelosi" -- it's a rhyme there -- "says he's not qualified. Is she racist or just dumb?"We'll leave the racist thing out of it but does the fact that Ben Carson grew up and did, in fact, come from public housing -- does that give him an understanding maybe others wouldn't have?

VALLIERE: Yes, and, obviously, he's an exceptionally bright man with quite a distinguished career and I suspect he'll be a pretty quick study.

KOSIK: Greg, one more question for you here. Al Gore stopping into Trump Tower --


KOSIK: -- to have a couple of meetings. Pretty much of a shock here. Is it showing that Trump is a little more pragmatic on climate change than we first thought?

VALLIERE: Well, it shows he listens to his kids and I think that's important. And I think on a lot of issues, the torture of dissidents, prosecuting Hillary, Trump apparently has moderated a bit. I think that's a good sign.

BERMAN: All right. Greg Valliere, Ellis Henican, thanks so much for being with us.

KOSIK: Thanks very much.

BERMAN: We appreciate it.

VALLIERE: You bet, yes.

HENICAN: Thanks.

BERMAN: All right. Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts making a run for the playoffs after grounding the Jets -- not like that that's very hard to do -- on "MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL". Hines Ward with this morning's Bleacher Report, that's next.


[05:43:43] KOSIK: Investigators are sifting through the wreckage of the Oakland building fire that killed at least 36 people and officials are still trying to determine what caused the warehouse turned art space to go up in flames. While prosecutors say it is still too early to speculate on any criminal charges they do promise to leave no stone unturned. We get more now from CNN's Dan Simon in Oakland.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Alison, it is a mind-boggling number of victims. Many have been identified but some will require scientific methods for identification. I want to show you what things look like a block away. You can see this makeshift memorial where many people have come by to pay their respects to those who died. As you can imagine, though, there are still so many questions, how this fire started, and why people wanted to live in the warehouse. This is what the mayor had to say about the investigation.

LIBBY SCHAAF, MAYOR OF OAKLAND: The permitted use of that building was as a warehouse. It was not legally permitted as either a living space, a residence, or an event space.

SIMON: Still no theories yet about a cause but investigators think they know where the fire started so, hopefully, that will lead to some clues. As for the residents, one person told me that she viewed this community almost like a church. A way for people to come together to draw inspiration from one another for their art projects. Of course, that's going to be a big part of the investigation -- why people were living in that warehouse. But, of course, the main focus is on the victims and the possible recovery of additional bodies -- John and Alison.


[05:45:17] BERMAN: All right, Dan Simon. A month after Election Day the race for governor in North Carolina is finally over. Incumbent Republican Pat McCrory conceded the race to his Democratic challenger, Attorney General Roy Cooper. McCrory had claimed that there was voter fraud and he had demanded a recount, but now says it is time to celebrate the democratic process and is pledging to help make it a smooth transition. The Cooper campaign will hold a long-delayed victory rally tonight in Raleigh.

KOSIK: More severe storms coming to the Southeast today. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has the latest. Good morning.


PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: John and Alison, good morning, guys. I've got some severe weather threats certainly in the forecast across the Southeast, but the general theme going to be for a wide scattered area across the Southeast which certainly will be beneficial.

Now notice around Jacksonville, just south of Savannah, east of Tallahassee there is an area of concern right there for some damaging winds. We had several reports of damaging winds across the areas around New Orleans yesterday and that now is displaced off to the east. And a tornado threat, generally isolated though, that's going to be in place there for the late morning hours.

And notice the storm's ride right on to the Northeast around portions of the Mid-Atlantic. Interior New England gets some snow showers later this afternoon and this evening. Beyond that, the door opens up out of Canada. We get a significant shift of wintry weather that comes in, in the way of a polar air mass that really settles in place here.

So the temps -- in fact, the wind chills will be at times 10 to 20 below zero across portions of the upper Midwest and the Northern Plains. But notice this -- afternoon highs today in Bismarck, 13 degrees. Some of that air will want to make it into the Midwest again as we go in towards this weekend.

And if you take a look at the forecast for New York City how about this? Highs only in the lower thirties there when we should be in the mid and upper forties -- guys.


BERMAN: All right, Pedram. The Colts back in the playoff picture after crushing the jets on "Monday Night Football".

KOSIK: Hines Ward has more in this morning's Bleacher Report.

HINES WARD, CNN SPORTS CONTRIBUTOR: Good morning, guys. Yes, it was a dominant performance by the Indianapolis Colts from start to finish. But before the game there was a moment of silence for former Jets player Joe McKnight who was shot and killed last week down in New Orleans.

Now, then it was time for Colts quarterback Andrew Luck -- it was time for him to go to work and he looked fantastic coming off his first concussion of his career. Andrew Luck threw for four touchdowns, three of them to his tight end Dwayne Allen. The Colts crushed the Jets 41-10. Indy is now six for six but in a three-way tie on top of their division. The loss eliminates the Jets from the playoffs so sorry there, Chris, wherever you are.

The Golden State's Klay Thompson, he was in a zone last night. He couldn't miss. Dropped 60 points on the Pacers in just 29 minutes. That's the most in the -- that's the most in the NBA season this season. Now, he had 40 points -- this is crazy -- 40 points before halftime. The bench was going nuts. Steph Curry was going crazy for him. Check him out running around screaming he did it, he did it, he did it. But the major part about it, he didn't even play in the fourth quarter because the game was over by then. The Warriors win big 142-106.

Three quarterbacks are among the finalists for the Heisman Trophy. Louisville's Lamar Jackson, last year's third place finisher Deshaun Watson from Clemson, and Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield. Now, Baker teammate wide receiver Dede Westbrook and Michigan's Jabrill Peppers rounds out the list. The Heisman will be awarded Saturday night in New York City.

And finally, Army will honor the World War II paratroopers with a special uniform in Saturday's game against Navy. Check out the sweet unis. The jerseys are an inspiration by the 82nd Airborne Division. The 82nd was nicknamed to all Americans because they had members from each state. They'll have special patches that have the American flag. And then the helmets -- well, they look like they have netting on them. And our very own Coy Wire, he will have the best seat in the house. He'll be in Baltimore with live coverage of the Army-Navy game starting on Friday. Back to you guys.

KOSIK: Those uniforms hand-sewn.

BERMAN: Really?

KOSIK: Every detail. Well, it looks that way.

BERMAN: That's great and they look great. All right, Hines, thanks so much.

KOSIK: All right, Hines, thank you.

WARD: Thank you, guys.

KOSIK: So, in his quest for world domination, Amazon, yes, has mastered online shopping. Now it's making a move into the grocery aisle. We're going to tell you the one feature that sets it apart from other stores when we get a check on CNN Money Stream next.


[05:53:47] BERMAN: Prosecutors in South Carolina are promising to retry former police officer Michael Slager for the murder of Walter Scott after the judge there declared a mistrial. The jury was unable to come to a unanimous decision after deliberating for 22 hours over four days. We want to get the latest now from CNN's Nick Valencia in Charleston.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Alison, after more than five weeks of trial, days of deliberation, it was on Monday afternoon that the jurors handed a note to the judge saying that they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict on whether or not to convict officer Michael Slager of first-degree murder. For those in the support of the Scott family this was a little bit of a surprise. However, some expected a mistrial.

On Friday, we got indication that there was one lone juror who said under good conscience he could not convict Slager of first-degree murder. Today -- Monday, I should say -- we learned that a majority of the jurors were still undecided. There was enough reasonable doubt cast by Slager's defense in the case of the state for the jury pool to be deadlocked.

And it was the makeup of the jury pool that was considered some by -- by some to be -- they took exception with this. Eleven of those jurors were white. Six of them white men, five of them white women. One of them African-American, actually, the foreman in this jury pool.

[05:55:00] It was on Monday afternoon, however, at a press conference that the Scott family did not focus on that, choosing instead to take a religious tone. To focus, instead, on being optimistic that in a re-trial sometime later next year that they could get a conviction against Slager.

ANTHONY SCOTT, BROTHER OF WALTER SCOTT: Absolutely. Justice hasn't been served yet but we have more chances. We're coming back. VALENCIA: We should also mention Michael Slager is scheduled to face federal civil rights charges sometime in early 2017 -- John, Alison.


BERMAN: All right, Nick Valencia. Thanks so much. President Obama headed to Tampa later today to deliver his final speech on the administration's counterterrorism strategy. He is expected to address and give thanks to active duty members at MacDill Air Force Base this afternoon. This includes members of special operation teams who have played key roles in counterterrorism efforts during his presidency.

KOSIK: All right, let's get a check on CNN Money Stream this morning. Investors looking a little cautious this morning on Wall Street. We are seeing Dow futures flat at the moment. Stock markets in Europe are trading mixed and shares in Asia gained overnight. We are seeing oil prices slump just a little bit, but still sitting above their $51 a barrel.

It looks like investors are going to be keeping their eye on some economic data today here in the U.S. and continuing the economic and political impact of the Italian referendum vote in Europe that happened on Sunday.

Now, banks and tech stocks helped push the Dow to a record high on Monday. This is, if you're counting, the nineteenth time this year the average closed at an all-time high. Oh, not too shabby for the S&P 500, not far behind here. One solid rally, it's going to get it there. And the Nasdaq sitting about 1.5 percent away from its closing high.

We're looking at the biggest gainer on the Dow this year, it's Caterpillar. That's the heavy machine maker. It's up 38 percent. Much of that happening since the election, driven by hopes that Donald Trump will spend big on infrastructure projects. United Healthcare also up more than 30 percent but shares have fallen recently. Shares of Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase are also having a great year, up 26 percent each.

All right. In its quest for world domination, Amazon has gone after bookstores, it's gone after retail chains and electronic shops. Well now, it's taking on grocery stores with a twist. AmazonGo is a new app that's tied to a physical grocery store. What happens here is customers check in at the entrance with the app and then they grab whatever items they want.

Amazon claims it can track the items automatically through computer programs and deep learning technologies -- which John and I are still trying to figure out what a deep learning technology is -- so when shoppers are done they just walk out of the store with their stuff and they pay their bill through the app. Now, the stores won't have many employees, which keeps costs lower than traditional grocery stores.

If you're wondering, the first store is in Seattle where Amazon has its headquarters and for now it's only open to Amazon employees. If you want to get a shot at it, the public is going to get to shop there early next year. I will give you a hundred bucks if you can tell me what a deep learning technology is.

BERMAN: The Internet told me -- Twitter told me that it's like consumer research on you. They learn about you by your shopping habits.

KOSIK: And they also make sure you're not stealing anything there.

BERMAN: I think it's a probe but that's my own thing.

KOSIK: All right, that's it for us. I'm Alison Kosik.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. President-elect Trump formally announces another cabinet pick tonight. "NEW DAY" starts right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're excited to have Dr. Carson for Housing and Urban Development.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's had no experience whatsoever and his background is in health care.

GORE: The meeting was a good one. We covered a lot of ground.

MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT: We're looking forward to another very productive week.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are very real world consequences for fake stories.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Did you hear President Obama say that illegal people could vote?


CAMEROTA: Where? Tell me where.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Google it. You can find it on Facebook.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was total fear that Mr. Scott didn't stop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are unable to come to a unanimous decision.

SCOTT: Until my family can see justice, no, there's no forgiveness.


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

CAMEROTA: And I will be showing part three of my voter panel visit with those voters.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: I cannot wait. It is tough for the third version of a movie to live up to the original but I have faith.

CAMEROTA: They actually take on CNN, so stick around for that. CUOMO: Oh, I love that.

CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, December 6th, 6:00 in the East. Up first, President-elect Donald Trump hitting the road again. Mr. Trump's 'thank you' tour heads to three states this week. First, to North Carolina tonight. This, as we await his final cabinet picks.

CUOMO: And, really, "Rocky III" was a good movie. I shouldn't say all third versions.

CAMEROTA: Fair enough.

CUOMO: Critics are blasting Trump's choice for Housing Secretary, saying that Dr. Ben Carson, while he may have lived in public housing once does not have any of the expertise necessary to do this massive job. And Trump's national security adviser Gen. Michael Flynn and his son are still under fire for peddling conspiracy theories.

We're just 45 days away from Inauguration Day. Let's begin our coverage with CNN's Jessica Schneider, live outside Trump Tower in New York, the White House annex. Good morning.