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Trump Touts Jobs in Iowa; Remembering John Glenn; Flood of War- Weary Civilians Flee Aleppo. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired December 9, 2016 - 04:00   ET


[04:00:10] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: New overnight, Donald Trump takes his "Thank You" tour to Iowa. He defends his cabinet picks and promises more American jobs while keeping apparently one of his own, on the "Celebrity Apprentice." We'll explain.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: The nation is mourning the loss of the American hero. John Glenn being remembered as a man who knew no limits. We'll reflect on his life and legacy.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Alison Kosik.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. It is Friday, December 9th, 4:00 a.m. in the East.

And developing overnight, how is this for job sharing? Commander-in- chief and reality show producer. New word that Donald Trump will keep his title as executive producer of NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice" even as he starts his job as president of the United States. We'll have more on that in a moment.

First, the president-elect goes to Louisiana today to campaign for the Senate candidate there in a run-off. And then on the next stop on his "Thank You" tour, that's Michigan tonight. Then there's some new cabinet announcement to vet, namely labor secretary. And the president-elect is expected to name his pick for secretary of state next week. That's the plan at least. That one has taken some time.

Overnight, the president-elect was in Iowa, promising to bring jobs back to the United States. Remember, though, the unemployment rate is at a many, many year low.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny was there and has the latest.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: John and Alison, it has been one month since Donald Trump woke up on the morning after Election Day as the president-elect. Now on a victory lap he goes to battleground states across the country. The latest of which was in Des Moines last night. He spoke to thousands of supporters.

A bit of a nostalgic walkthrough his victory, particularly the 10- point he had in Iowa over Hillary Clinton. He'll be heading to Grand Rapids, Michigan, heading to Louisiana today as well.

But Donald Trump is trying to make good on the vow to change the government. He is trying to make good on his vow to drain the swamp -- still more show boating and showmanship than specifics here. This is what he told voters last night in Des Moines.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: I actually love calling these companies. I say, give me a list of ten companies that are leaving. And I actually love calling these companies and saying hi. And I get the president of this company. And I say, "Hi, how are you doing?" "Oh, hello, Mr. President-elect. Congratulations." "Yes, congratulations. By the way, while we're on the phone, don't leave. Please, don't leave. Please?"

And we had great success. You'll be seeing a lot more success.

ZELENY: The speech widely applauded by his supporters here, also briefly interrupted by a few protesters.

Donald Trump seemed to take it all in stride, a far different tone than we saw during the campaign. He said, as they were led away, "They are with us. They just don't know it yet."

But, John and Alison, that is the challenge and burden for Donald Trump as he makes the pivot from campaigning to the governing realities. He is about finished naming his cabinet. I am told he is going to likely name the secretary of state choice early next week. The cabinet will nearly be complete. And a Supreme Court justice and then he'll break for the holidays and January is in when it all begins -- John and Alison.


KOSIK: OK, Jeff Zeleny, thank you.

New word this morning that President-elect Trump will remain as an executive producer of NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice" while in the White House. Trump hosted "The Apprentice" for 14 seasons. Arnold Schwarzenegger picks up the hosting duties next month. A Trump spokeswoman is telling CNN that, quote, "Mr. Trump has a big stake in the show" and conceived of it with Mark Burnett who created the original "Apprentice". It is not clear how much Trump will be paid as serving, but the arrangement poses obvious conflict of interest problems for NBC which will be airing a Trump produced show while its news division reports on him.

BERMAN: They do a big interview, they go easy on him in an interview, (INAUDIBLE) "Celebrity Apprentice", has a big show --

KOSIK: They don't want to upset one of their big stars, exactly.

All right. Donald Trump will nominate Andrew Puzder for labor secretary. A source close to the decision tells CNN. Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which owns Hardee's and Carl's Jr. He opposes a $15 minimum wage but is OK with the smaller increase from the current federal rate of $7.25 an hour. He's been an outspoken critic of Obamacare. He blasted new overtime

rules which would extend the pay to more workers. Puzder is credited with turning around the fast food chain Hardee's since he took over as CEO in 2000. But it was forced to pay out $9 million to settle three class action lawsuits involving overtime pay.

The company has been criticized recently for the commercials. Some of which you see here featuring women in bikinis eating burgers.

CNNMoney asked Puzder about the ads last year. Here's what he said.


ANDREW PUZDER, CEO OF CKE RESTAURANTS: I don't think there is anything wrong with a beautiful woman in a bikini eating a burger and washing a Bentley or a pickup truck or being in a hot tub.

[04:05:04] I think there is probably nothing more American. I don't have a problem with our ads.


KOSIK: Let me say, the ads are eye popping, but who is he trying to appeal to? He's trying to appeal to the millennials. It's all about advertising.

I don't know about you, but I have more of a problem seeing Viagra commercials during dinner, when my kids are watching.

BERMAN: I interviewed Padma Lakshmi once who was one in those commercials. And she said she had fun filming it. So, you know, if it makes money, if it works, I guess it works.

The bigger issue I think for a lot of people right now is his policy toward minimum wage and overtime which is going to be controversial during the confirmation hearing and Democrats going to stop him.

KOSIK: Yes, I agree.

BERMAN: All right. The federal government, it could shutdown tonight for at least a few hours and possibly longer over the fight between Senate Republicans and Democrats sparked by the miners health insurance program, that's underground miners. The Democrats are warning that they may block a funding bill if Republicans do not extend the expiring insurance program for longer than the current four months.

Federal spending authorization runs out at midnight tonight. The Senate will not vote on the bill until Saturday. Democratic opposition is spearheaded by West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin. Now, you know, he is set to meet with President-elect Donald Trump in just a few hours.

The interesting thing is this is Democrats closer to the Trump spectrum that are doing this. What they think they can convince the president-elect to put some pressure on Republicans to get what they want. It's sort of, you know, a full circle loop here on politics.

KOSIK: As it always is in politics.

BERMAN: Sometimes, yes.

KOSIK: All right. Senate Republicans are said to be gearing up to launch a series of investigations into alleged Russian election hacking and military cyber threats. "The Washington Post" reports at least three Senate committees, Armed Services, Intelligence and Foreign Relations, are getting ready for coordinated probes of possible Russian cyberattacks. The inquiries set the stage for a potential showdown between Republicans and President-elect Trump who has downplayed the idea that Russia may have interfered in U.S. elections.

BERMAN: Hillary Clinton is calling fake news a dangerous epidemic. That's a rare appearance for the one-time Democratic nominee who was at an event honoring retiring Senate leader Harry Reid. Clinton spoke out against his blatantly false stories that masquerade as news. She backed new laws to fight foreign propaganda, apparently referring to the alleged Russian meddling to election.

Now, Clinton did not mention directly pizza-gate. That's the bogus story that Clinton and her campaign, her campaign chair ran a child sex ring out of a Washington pizza shop. Her remarks, they did seem to address the fact that a man walked into the restaurant with a gun and fired it. A man bent on self investigating that story.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The epidemic of malicious fake news and false propaganda that flooded social media over the past year. It is now clear that so-called fake news can have real-world consequences. This is not about politics or partisanship. Lives are at risk -- lives of ordinary people just trying to go about their day to do their jobs, contribute to their communities. It's a danger that must be addressed and addressed quickly.


BERMAN: As I said Hillary Clinton did not mention the pizza place. I do think she called the people who work there. She has reached out, to be sure.

All right. John Glenn remembered this morning for his contributions to the country, really his contributions to the world. What a life, a true American hero. That's next.


[04:12:39] KOSIK: Tributes are pouring in across the planet for space pioneer and former Ohio Senator John Glenn. The trailblazing Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth, changing the course of space race in 1962. But Glenn had already made a name for his self in the sky. He was a Navy test pilot and flew almost 120 missions in World War II and Korea, and broke the transcontinental speed record, flying from Los Angeles to New York in 1957.

Glenn never traveled to the moon after his friend, then-President John Kennedy ordered NASA not to fly him, fearing for his safety. He later did serve four terms in the U.S. Senate representing Ohio beginning in 1974.

BERMAN: Glenn eventually did get back to space in 1998 at the age of 77, the oldest person to go to space at that time. He was awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.

A statement on Thursday, President Obama said, "John always had the right stuff, inspiring generations of scientists and engineers and astronauts to take us to Mars and beyond. The last of America's first astronauts has left us, but propelled by their example, we know that our future here on earth compels us to keep reaching for the heavens. On behalf of a grateful nation, Godspeed, John Glenn." Of course, those are the words said to John Glenn after the launch of Friendship VII in 1962.

John Glenn is survived by his wife for 73 years, Annie, two children, two grandchildren. A private burial with full military honors planned at Arlington National Cemetery. Glenn was 95 years old.

Just really, truly incredible life. You know, things that everyone knows he did, going to space twice, being a senator.

He flew with Ted Williams in Korea. I mean, this guy was one of the most accomplished pilots on earth. Ted Williams flew with him. Think about that -- two American heroes in the air at the same time.

KOSIK: You know, I was reading that one of his friends said when Glenn returned to space, when he was 77 years old, the oldest man to be in space, that he was in his element. He was right there in his element, that's where he wanted to be. And he made history. Obviously, an aviation icon.

BERMAN: Supposed to be a truly good guy.

All right. New revelations this morning, the deadly warehouse fire in Oakland which claimed the lives of 36 people. In an exclusive interview, Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloach Reed told CNN she does not know the last time or even if the building was ever inspected by her department.

[04:15:09] She says the city's fire inspection teams have been hampered by years of budget cuts and hiring freezes. The chief says her team is still combing through the wreckage but says it's possible the so-called Ghost Ship which sat vacant for years may not have been in the city's database. The mayor has now created a task force to assess fire safety in that city. They want to learn what they can from what happened at that warehouse.

KOSIK: All right. Chilling testimony in day two of the Dylann Roof trial. The jury saw a video taken by one of the victims which showed 22-year-old Roof sitting with a bible study group at Charleston Emanuel AME Church when he suddenly opens fire.

Let's get more now from the courtroom drama from CNN'S Deb Feyerick.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John and Alison, day two of the trial of Dylann Roof. And prosecutors show the jury a brief video of the accused killer can be seen sitting with the bible group. The Snapchat video was taken by one of the victims, 26-year- old Tywanza Sanders with the caption "Bible study knowledge planter".

During the shooting, Sanders stood up to the gunman, telling him, quote, "You don't need to do this. We mean you no harm." His mother who was also in the church and who testified about this exchange says that Dylann Roof shot her son five times. And she told the court, quote, "There's no place on earth for him other than the pits of hell."

Now, Roof is facing the death penalty and that statement prompted Roof's lawyers to ask for a mistrial. The judge said first of all, it was merely a religious description and the judge said that he would instruct the jury to ignore any statements from family as to what they believe the sentence should be.

The jury was shown closed circuit TV video entering and leaving the church followed by video of the nine victims carried out on stretchers. Roof's mother in the court recovering having suffered a heart attack on day one of the trial. But the day concluded with police dashcam video showing Dylann Roof's arrest in Shelby, North Carolina.

His lawyer, whose primary goal is to spare Roof from the death penalty trying to show Roof was compliant and confirmed to the arresting officer that he was the Charleston shooter -- John and Alison.


BERMAN: All right, Deb.

The second officer died after being shot while answering a domestic violence call in southern Georgia. Officer Jody Smith died Thursday at a Macon hospital where he was treated for injuries. The 26-year- old was shot alongside his grade school friend, 25-year-old Officer Nicholas Smarr. The suspect in the fatal shooting shot and killed himself Thursday as heavily armed officers surrounded his house.

KOSIK: Fire-ravaged Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is getting back on its feet. Businesses unscathed by the deadly wildfires are set to reopen in just hours. Store owners were prepping all day Thursday, cleaning, painting and doing all they could to welcome shoppers. The deadly wildfires that ripped through the Smokey Mountains killed at least 14 people and destroyed more than 1,700 buildings.

All right. Some wintry cold weather sitting across the country. Let's go to meteorologist Derek Van Dam with more.

Good morning.


DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, John and Alison.

We've got ourselves a classic winter set up across the U.S. today and throughout the course of the weekend as well. Lake-effect snow machine kicking in high gear this weekend from Michigan to Upstate New York. This jet stream blanketed across the country will allow for bits of energy to travel from the Pacific Northwest through the Rockies helping to produce snowfall and help build up some of the snow pack at the ski resorts.

Here is a look at the latest watches and warnings. Lake-effect snow threat from Ontario and Erie and Michigan and Lake Superior with winter weather advisories and warnings in effect. How much snow do you ask? Well, in some of the snow bands downwind from the lakes, we could pick upwards of a foot for the region.

And check out these temperatures. Well below freezing when you factor in the wind across the Northern Plains. Sioux Falls is 12 below. That's what it feels like as you step outside today. Real temperatures, 38 in the Big Apple, 43 for Atlanta.

Back to you.


BERMAN: All right, Derek.

A dire situation inside Aleppo. Russia claims civilians are leaving and the fighting has stopped. Those are the claims. Residents are telling a different story. We're live with a report next.


[04:23:54] BERMAN: Breaking overnight with a huge majority. South Korea parliament voted to impeach President Park Geun-hye. The country's prime minister will serve as an acting president while impeachment deliberations take place. The process can take up to six months.

President Park apologized to South Korea for, quote, "negligence" for the scandal which led to her fall. She said she takes the parliament's actions seriously and will prepare for a court review.

KOSIK: The wave of weary civilians fleeing Aleppo has turned into a flood. Thousands are desperate to leave. This as Russian officials claim Syria's pro-government stopped fighting in order to let civilians leave, a claim disputed by many residents.

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

You know, we are just beginning to see these pictures of these civilians trying to flee to safety. And I mean, it's heartbreaking. It's shocking to see the terrible physical condition they are in. They are weak, some so weak they can't even walk.


[04:25:01] We actually have new information on the so-called cease- fire in eastern Aleppo. Our own CNN team on the ground reporting that they have heard explosions and tracer fire this morning. So, cease- fire or not, it is by no means game over in the eastern part of the city.

Now, this as Russia claims that they have instituted a temporary cease-fire to allow the evacuations from the eastern part of the city to government-held areas. We know that there are still tens of thousands of people who are still trapped. And again, our teams on the ground reporting some gripping details of civilians who are trying to flee eastern Aleppo. Two government held areas who say they were shot at by the rebels as they tried to leave that part of the city.

So, as we're monitoring all of this very fluid movement and developments on the ground, the diplomatic picture could be shifting as well. We know that the United States and Russia are still talking about a plan that would allow the peaceful evacuation of the remaining rebels from eastern part of Aleppo basically to the Syrian countryside.

John Kerry and his counterpart, the Russian foreign minister, are expected to meet in Geneva tomorrow. Kerry himself said that he is, quote, "hopeful and confident" that a deal could be reached, and if that deal is reached, it could mean an end to the battle in Aleppo, but it could really drive try to a stake into the heart of the insurgency against Bashar al Assad -- Alison.

KOSIK: We could only hope that that could spell the end of this.

All right. CNN's Muhammad Lila, thanks so much.

BERMAN: All right. Donald Trump facing criticism over his business ties when he takes office. Now, we've learned that he is going to stay on as executive producer of "Celebrity Apprentice." What questions does that raise?