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Trump "Thank You" Victory Tour Comes to Iowa; Remembering John Glenn; Flood of War-Weary Civilians Flee Aleppo. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired December 9, 2016 - 04:30   ET



[04:30:48] ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: New overnight: Donald Trump showcasing his commitment to jobs on his "Thank You" tour. But six weeks to inauguration and questions about why he won't give up his job producing the "Celebrity Apprentice."

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Remembering an American legend. A space pioneer, John Glenn. The first American to orbit the earth who lived such a life, such an inspiration to so many. We look back on his life and legacy.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

KOSIK: Good morning. I'm Alison Kosik. It's 30 minutes past the hour.

It's a very busy Friday day ahead for President-elect Trump. He's going to be traveling to Louisiana, campaigning for the Republican Senate candidate there ahead of a run-off. Then, he's going to be heading to his next stop on his "Thank You" tour, his "Thank You" victory of Michigan, which was one of his most surprising election night wins.

Also, there's new word that Trump will keep his position as executive producer of NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice" even as he begins his new job as president of the United States. We're going to give you more on that in a moment.

But there are names filling up the president-elect's growing cabinet. We now know his pick for labor secretary. It is expected to name secretary of state next week. Overnight, Trump was in Iowa. He certainly fired up the crowd there at his latest "Thank You" rally, with promises to bring jobs back to the United States.

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.


BERMAN: All right. Jeff Zeleny, thanks so much.

Meanwhile, this NBC reality show brought to you by the commander-in- chief. New word this morning that President-elect Trump will remain executive producer of "Celebrity Apprentice" in the White House. Trump hosted "The Apprentice" for 14 seasons, also "Celebrity Apprentice", Arnold Schwarzenegger takes over 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 not just for the president-elect, but also for NBC, which will be airing a Trump produced show while its news division reports on him.

Yes, I know. It's a weird set-up. Look, some people say that presidents have published books while in the White House.

[04:35:03] KOSIK: And this is not illegal for him to keep that role. It's just -- some would say it is a conflict of interest.

But then, again, this is an unconventional president. He's doing his thing in a way that hasn't been done before. We haven't had such a wealthy president who had his hands in such a variety of different businesses before.

BERMAN: It's just very unusual. When the credits run on the show, it will say, executive producer, Donald Trump.

KOSIK: I wonder if it will say, President Donald Trump.

BERMAN: It's a great question, but at that point, he will be president. I'll be watching those credits.

All right. Meantime, Donald Trump is going to be nominating Andrew Puzder for labor secretary. That's according to a source close to the decision. 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. But 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 commercials. Some feature women in bikinis eating burgers.

Puzder told CNN Money last year, he thinks the ads are American and there's nothing wrong with them. Puzder's appointment requires Senate confirmation. And as labor secretary, he would oversee America's job market, which means regulating workplaces and producing stats like the unemployment rate that under pinned economic policy.

BERMAN: All right. Federal government will shutdown tonight for at least a few hours, possibly longer, could shut down tonight. This is all over a fight between Senate Republicans and Democrats. This is sparked by a health insurance program for miners.

Democrats warn they may block a funding bill if they don't expire the program for more than 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, he is set to meet with President-elect Donald Trump in just a few hours. People think Manchin could end up in the cabinet and what is going on here is some of the people like Manchin may be closer to Donald Trump on the spectrum. They think Trump agrees with them and not necessarily the Senate leadership.

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" is reporting at least three Senate committees, Armed Services, Intelligence and Foreign Relations, are getting ready to coordinate 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, at an event honoring retired Democratic leader Harry Reid. The former Democratic nominee spoke out against his blatantly false stories masquerading as news. She backed new laws to fight foreign propaganda, apparently referring to alleged Russian meddling to election.

Now, Secretary Clinton did not mention 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 did seem to address the fact that a man walked into the restaurant by 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.


KOSIK: The race to become the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee is heating up. Allies of Labor Secretary of Tom Perez are urging him to jump into the competition dominated so far by Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison. Sources close to Perez tell the political web site that President Obama and Vice President Biden have privately encouraged Perez to run for the job. The door for Perez, though, may be closing. On Thursday, the country's biggest labor organization, AFL-CIO endorsed Ellison for party chair.

BERMAN: Bernie Sanders endorsed Ellison, Chuck Schumer. A lot of support. But the White House does not seem set on him. So, it would be interesting to see.

All right. Millions around the world recalling the contributions of John Glenn this morning. You know, what a life. You know, really what a legend, an American pioneer in space -- someone that many people are calling the last American hero. That's next.


[04:44:12] BERMAN: The world has lost a legend, hero and American icon. All of those words apply to astronaut and Ohio senator, John Glenn.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Godspeed, John Glenn.


BERMAN: The launch of Friendship 7. Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth changing the course of the space race in 1962. By that time, he was already a world renowned pilot. The marine aviator flew nearly 150 missions in World War II and Korea, and broke the continental speed record flying from Los Angeles to New York in 1957.

After orbiting the earth three times, you know, Glenn wanted to get back to space, but then President John F. Kennedy would not let it happen, fearing for the safety of the sort of sudden American hero. In 1974, he was elected to the first of his four terms in the Senate from his home state of Ohio.

[04:45:02] KOSIK: Now, Glenn eventually did get back to space in 1998 at the very bright young age of 77. He was awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978 and also the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.

In a statement on Thursday, the man who awarded him that medal, President Obama, said this: "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."

Before heading back into space the final time, Glenn did speak about his emotions before that historic first flight that sent him into orbit. Listen.


JOHN GLENN, SPACE PIONEER: We used to joke about it in the past when people say, what do you think about it on the launch pad? The standard answer is, how do you think you would feel if you were on top of 2 billion parts built by the lowest bidder on the government contract?


BERMAN: 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.

You know, he ran for president in 1984. A lot of people thought he would be the logical nominee to take on Ronald Reagan. He ended up being, he's not a great presidential candidate. He lost in the primaries to Walter Mondale.

Still, he had an impact in the Senate over 24 years. You can just see with these pictures, how magnetic his personality was.

KOSIK: One who said he went back in space at 77, he said he was in his element. He always wanted to get back into space. And this fellow astronaut described John Glenn as a consummate professional, a leader of the highest caliber and he says a genuinely nice man. There are some strong ways to describe somebody. How anybody would want to be remembered.

BERMAN: And he says flying. Up until a few years ago, he used to fly around the country. It was until his knees sort of gave out and he couldn't climb in and out, that's what finally made him give that up. But what a life.

KOSIK: All right. Moving on to other news. 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 tells CNN she does not know the last time or even if the building was ever inspected by her department.

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 announcing just this week a task force to assess fire safety in Oakland to make sure lessons are learned from this tragedy.

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

CNN's Deborah Feyerick has the details.


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.


KOSIK: All right. Thank you, Deb Feyerick.

The Dow is one big rally away from a milestone. That seemed untouchable a few months ago. We're going to tell you what that is and we're going to show you the big winners that could be part of your 401(k) when we get a check on your CNN Money Stream, next.


[04:54:04] BERMAN: The wave of war-weary civilians fleeing Aleppo is turning into a flood. Thousands desperate to leave. This as Russian officials claim the pro government forces stop fighting to left civilians leave. That is a claim disputed by many residents.

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

Muhammad, what are you learning?


We have new information this morning. Our team on the ground in Aleppo says they are hearing heavy fighting right now in the eastern part of the city. So, however long that temporary pause may have lasted, it certainly doesn't seem to be the case anymore.

Now, earlier, Russia said Syrian troops paused fighting to allow civilians to evacuate from the rebel held part of the city. Our team on the ground has reports that some gripping efforts of civilians who were trying to leave who claimed they were shot at by rebel forces because they were trying to escape to government-held parts of the city.

[04:55:04] Now, of course, we are on top of the developments. We expect more throughout the day. But even as we're monitoring all this, the diplomatic picture appears to be shifting as well. We know the United States and Russia have been talking about a peaceful evacuation of all the remaining rebels from rebel-held territory into the Syrian countryside. Russia has come out very publicly and said those rebels that don't take that offer will be, quote, "eliminated".

Now, we know that Secretary of State John Kerry will meet are Russian counterpart in genera tomorrow. Secretary Kerry has said that he is hopeful and confident that they'll be able to strike a deal. If they do, it could mean the official end to this battle of Aleppo.

BERMAN: It would be nice for the thousands of people caught in the crossfire right now, the crossfire that our reporters on the ground are seeing despite what the Syrian government says. Muhammad Lila, thanks so much.

A senior U.S. military official says that Special Operations Forces came extremely close to capturing ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, but the official says the operation failed due a leak of classified information to the media. The official told reporters that intel from captured ISIS operatives Abu Sayyaf and his wife revealed Baghdadi's whereabouts in Raqqah in Syria, but news reports about intelligence caused the communications to monitor Baghdadi to dry up.

Meantime, sources tell CNN that a French ISIS operative implicated in a deadly terror attack at the beach resort in Tunisia was targeted by a U.S. drone strike late last month. The source brief by French intelligence says spy agencies are now working to verify whether this man was killed.

KOSIK: All right. Let's get a check on CNN Money Stream this morning.

The explosive post-election rally continues to push stocks into unchartered territory. The Dow, S&P and NASDAQ all hitting record highs on Thursday, and just about every part of the market is getting a Trump bump. Almost three quarters of the stocks in the S&P are up since November 8, Election Day. About half of those winners have gained at least 10 percent.

So, the big winners are the big banks. Check out gains. Bank of America up 35 percent since the election. Goldman Sachs rising 32 percent. Morgan Stanley gaining 27 percent. Despite the fake account scandal, Wells Fargo is up 26 percent over the past month.

Fueling the gains there, the prospects of fewer regulation, lower taxes and higher interest rates during a Trump presidency. So, the Dow is getting close to a major milestone. Just 385 points away from 20,000. It is really an incredible ending of a strong year for stocks.

The week before the election, listen to this, the Dow was below 18,000. Looking back to earlier this year, the average was below 16,000. As oil prices crashed.

So, we could see more gains today. Futures are ticking just slightly higher. S&P futures are lower. Stocks in Europe and Asia mixed.

Donald Trump says he sold all of the stocks in June. He missed the recent rally. Not entirely, because in May, he filed a financial disclosure form showing his financial holdings. It was a diversified mix, showing that 50 percent or $85 million was held by hedge funds.

So, if he hasn't sold these positions, this could present many conflicts of interest. Not only with the stocks hedge funds invest in, but the people who invest in the funds. Some have close ties to treasury secretary nominee and former Goldman Sachs partner Steve Mnuchin. It is not clear if Trump will divest all of his holdings before he actually takes office.

BERMAN: But we know he's not separating from "Celebrity Apprentice".

KOSIK: We definitely know that and we'd be looking into credits for his name.

BERMAN: All right. EARLY START continues right now.


KOSIK: New overnight. Donald Trump taking his "Thank You" tour to Iowa, six weeks to inauguration. He is defending his cabinet picks and promising more American jobs while keeping one of his own on "Celebrity Apprentice."

BERMAN: All right. The nation and world mourns the loss of the American hero. John Glenn remembered is the man who knew no limits. We will reflect on his life and legacy. Look at that smile.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

KOSIK: Good morning. I'm Alison Kosik. It is Friday, December 9th. 5:00 a.m. in the east. Busy Friday for President-elect Trump. He's going to be in Louisiana campaigning for the Republican Senate candidate there.

Then on to the next stop of the "Thank You" victory tour, Michigan. One of his surprising election night wins.

Also, new word that Donald Trump will keep his position as executive producer of NBC "Celebrity Apprentice" even as he begins his new job as president of the United States. We're going to get more on that in a moment.

There are new names on the list for the president-elect's growing cabinet. We now know his pick for labor secretary and is expected to name a secretary of state next week.