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EARLY START

Donald Trump Calls CIA Report Ridiculous, Dismisses Daily Intelligence Briefings; Two Deadly Bombings in Istanbul Kills Dozens; China Reacts to Trump; Boeing Finalizes $16.6 Billion Deal To Sell 80 Airplanes to Iran; Syrian Government Forces Waging Battles On Two Fronts. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired December 12, 2016 - 04:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[04:30:00] DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: I don't believe it. They have no idea if it's Russia or China or somebody. It could be somebody sitting in a bed some place. I mean, they have no idea.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: So why would the CIA put out the story that the Russians wanted you to win?

TRUMP: Well, I'm not sure they put it out. I think the Democrats are putting it out because they suffered one of the greatest defeats in the history politics in this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: In the interview, the president-elect also discounting the importance of briefings by intelligence officers saying that daily briefings are repetitive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: If something should change from this point, immediately call me. I'm available on one minute's notice. I don't have to be told. You know, I'm like a smart person. I don't have to be told the same thing and the same words every single day for the next eight years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BERMAN, ANCHOR: He said to be receiving about an average of one briefing a week instead of every day, but back now with the Russian involvement of the U.S. election, this morning, a bipartisan group of senators is demanding an investigation into the Kremlin's activities. CNN's Ryan Nobles has the latest.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Alison, this has the potential to be a major showdown in the early days of the Trump administration. A bipartisan group of senators is calling for a full investigation into Russia's role in interfering with the United States election. Among them, powerful senators like Republican John McCain and Democrat Chuck Schumer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: They did hack into this campaign. Were they hacking the Republicans the same way? The Republican National Committee, and if so, why didn't they -- there are a lot of issues out there. It requires investigation.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: The fact that the CIA and FBI disagree shows the need for a bipartisan investigation that gets to the bottom of this. The investigation should be tough, strong and bipartisan and should have access to all materials classified and not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: Both Schumer and McCain making the argument that this shouldn't be a partisan issue. McCain in fact saying that even though it was Democrats this time around, it could easily be Republicans that are the victims of a hack the next time around.

One person who doesn't think that this is something that should be investigated that thoroughly, the current president-elect, Donald Trump, who said outright that he doesn't believe the assessment that the Russians are behind the hack and he strongly believes that it had nothing to do with the outcome of the election. John and Alison.

KOSIK: OK, Brian Nobles, thank you. The calls for an investigation of possible Russian interference in the election, they rest partly on a disagreement between the CIA and the FBI. The CIA's conclusion that Russian meddling was intended to help Donald Trump win is reportedly based in part on the agency's belief the Russians hacked both Democratic and Republican groups but only leaked documents from Democrats.

The FBI on the other hand concluded the Republican National Committee itself was not hacked, only third party, conservative groups, and pundits. And a law enforcement source tells CNN the FBI did not find clear evidence the hacking was done to help Trump. But while there's disagreement about Russia's motives, all of the agencies are on the same page on one point, that Russia was trying to undermine the election.

BERMAN: Now in to all this, add this extra element. The president- elect is expected to announce his choice for secretary of state as soon as tomorrow an the candidate that tops his list is thought to be Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson. Now this is a man, an executive with long ties to Vladimir Putin.

Three key members of Trump's own party are expressing reservations about Tillerson -- Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Marco Rubio. Rubio tweeted, "Being a friend of Vladimir is not an attribute I am hoping for from a secretary of state." President-elect Trump, he staunchly defended the likely pick on Fox News.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: He's much more than a business executive. I mean he's a world class player. He's in charge of I guess the largest company in the world. And to me, a great advantage is he knows many of the players and he knows them well. He does massive deals in Russia. He does massive deals for the company, not for himself, for the company.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: He has a relationship with Vladimir Putin as does the man who will be Trump's national security adviser Michael Flynn. Now, Donald Trump, the president-elect, says Mitt Romney is still in the running for secretary of state. Reportedly so too are former CIA director David Petraeus, Senate foreign relations chair Bob Corker and former ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton. Bolton it is reported could end up as deputy secretary of state if Tillerson gets the tough job.

KOSIK: OK. All right. Donald Trump meantime not letting up on China. Beijing officials already upset with the president-elect for becoming the first U.S. leader in decades to speak directly to Taiwan's president. Well now Trump is publicly questioning whether the U.S. even needs to adhere to the long standing one China policy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I fully understand the one China policy, but I don't know why we have to be bound by one China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things including trade.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[04:35:08] KOSIK: CNN's Matt Rivers joining us live now from Beijing. So, China not taking these words lightly, Matt. We understand Chinese officials reacting angrily to Trump's comments this morning?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well there was a state run newspaper editorial that said that Trump had the ignorance of a child when it comes to foreign policy and officially, we just heard from a foreign ministry spokesperson who said the bilateral relationship progress in major fields would be out of the question if the Trump administration ignored the one China policy.

Now, the one China policy holds that Beijing views Taiwan as a breakaway province. Under that same policy, the United States only has formal diplomatic relations with Beijing and not with Taiwan. So why does all this matter? Why are we talking about this? Well, if the Trump administration comes in and ignores the one China policy or go so far as to establish diplomatic ties with Taiwan, it could signal to Beijing that the U.S. is in favor of Taiwan independence.

And Beijing has said that that is a line it is not willing to cross. And what could it do after that? Well perhaps China could freeze out the United States economically. Perhaps it could even initiate military action in Taiwan and that could be a conflict that the United States could get drawn into at some point down the road. Now, we should urge -- we should really emphasize here that this is all hypothetical at this point.

The Trump administration could just be doing this as a negotiating tactic in what could be future talks with China down the road in terms of the economics between both countries. But when the incoming president of the United States talks about Taiwan and one China policy in this way, Beijing is going to take it seriously and react strongly every time.

KOSIK: All right. This could be hypothetical as you said it, but we're learning very quickly how words matter on the world stage. Matt Rivers, thanks so much.

BERMAN: All right, a busy day of meetings for the president-elect today including with some former rivals -- Carly Fiorina and Rick Santorum -- both of them ran against Donald Trump in the primaries. They will be at Trump Tower today. So too West Virginia Democratic senator Joe Manchin. This is his second meeting with the president- elect and it's possible that he could be a Democrat tapped for this administration.

KOSIK: All right. Top executives from Apple, from Google, Facebook and Microsoft are all scheduled to meet with Donald Trump on Wednesday here in New York City. It is a notable meeting because many leaders in Silicone Valley spoke out against Trump during the campaign and the two sides could clash over important issues like neutrality and immigration.

Sources with knowledge of he meeting say these high powered execs are expected to attend, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Larry Page, the CEO of Google parent company Alphabet. Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella. They're going to be joined by the heads of Intel, Cisco, Oracle, and IBM.

Noticeably absent from the list, Amazon CEO and "Washington Post" owner Jeff Bezos who Trump targeted after the newspaper's coverage of his campaign. It's been interesting to watch the transition. He's been sort of extending the olive branch to some. Some are taking it and maybe some are not.

BERMAN: Many are taking it. Many though although we don't -- many or most going to meet with him. He is the president-elect now, you know, if Al Gore can go and meet with Trump.

KOSIK: It's hard to say go to an invite from the president-elect.

BERMAN: Smooth sailing for Disney's "Moana" at the box office. The animated film number one for the third consecutive weekend and have brought in $145 million -- it has brought $145 million today. The Jennifer Aniston comedy "Office Christmas Party" debut at number two and brought in $17.5 million.

There is some buzz for the film "La La Land" starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. It opened in only five theaters, but it brought in $855,000. That is an all-time record. But the only movie really that matters this year. The only movie that anyone cares about, I mean at all.

KOSIK: What have you cared about.

BERMAN: Not Disney's "Moana." No, it is "Rogue One" which opens this coming weekend.

KOSIK: And I'm sure you're going to be first in line.

BERMAN: I don't -- I would wait until after Christmas to see it, but I have plans.

KOSIK: Avoid the crowds.

BERMAN: I have plans to see. Very excited.

KOSIK: All right, a chaotic scene in Istanbul. Two large bombings in the city leaving dozens dead and over 150 injured.

[04:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KOSIK: The death toll in two bombings over the weekend in Istanbul has just claimed -- has just climbed to 44, 36 of them police officers. At least 155 others were wounded in the blast. A Kurdish militant group is claiming responsibility for the Saturday night attack. The group calling itself "The Kurdish Freedom Hawks" has now sent a message on its website insisting the Turkish people were not target.

Let's bring in CNN's Becky Anderson live from Istanbul. Becky, what are you learning?

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Alison, the signature tactic of this group which experts tell me emerged around 2004 and is well-known to authorities as being to strike a blow to Turkey's economy and to its security apparatus. Now, if yesterday was a day of mourning, today seems is the day retribution.

Earlier, Turkish war planes targeting what the Army here suggest were Kurdish militant positions in neighboring northern Iraq, and reports now with more than a hundred pro-Kurdish political activist being rounded up in country-wide raids. So, all of this, Alison, comes less than 24 hours of the attack as this group is known. The attitude of this outlaw of Kurdish militant group here claims responsibility for twin bombings at a soccer stadium.

[04:45:00] The first explosion a couple of hours after the end what was a Saturday night match between two of Turkey's top teams followed by a suicide bomb attack less than a minute later. Now, that soccer stadium right next to the hotel that I'm coming to you live from, is right in the heart of Istanbul, the engine of Turkey's economy and its main tourist attraction.

Imagine its acts on a sporting complex like Flushing Meadows or the Yankee Stadium. And that is the significance of what happens -- what happened here. So, it is very easy to see why Turkish leaders from the president on down (ph) are vowing revenge of the blade of the state stretches far and wide is how the interior minister respondent to the attacks, and that is as we are seeing now idle threat.

Here's the issue, Saturday's attack, Alison, in Istanbul was the 17th major terrorist attack by either Kurdish militants or ISIS in Turkey this past year alone. On top of that, you've got this political instability and the polarization that was brought about by the failed coup in the summer.

It is no understatement to say that this is being one of the most tumultuous years in modern Turkish history. It has been a very bloody year. So the mood here as we round up 2016, are very much like what you can see behind me, this gloomy weather that we are having here today. Times are very, very tough in Turkey, Alison.

KOSIK: All right, CNN's Becky Anderson live from Istanbul. Thank you for your reporting.

BERMAN: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is excited about the prospect of working with Donald Trump. The prime minister tells "60 Minutes" he plans to meet with the president-elect soon specific to discuss other options to the nuclear deal with Iran. During the campaign, Donald Trump vowed to tear up the pact which Netanyahu calls it threat to Israel's existence.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I think his attitude is support for Israel is clear. He feels very warmly about the Jewish people and about Jewish people. There's no question about that.

I had differences of opinion with President Obama and most well-known of course is Iran.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: The prime minister said despite those differences, his feelings toward President Obama were never personal.

KOSIK: Boeing has finalized the $16.6 billion deal to sell 80 airplanes to Iran. Iran Air will be getting 50 737 and 30 triple sevens. Many U.S. law makers oppose the sale but president-elect Trump has yet to weigh in on the deal. The deal was made possible by the Obama administration's lifting of economic sanctions against Iran in September. Boeing needed special approval to ensure Iran does not use the planes for military purposes.

BERMAN: The gunman who shot and killed former New Orleans Saints star, Will Smith, after a traffic incident last April has been convicted of manslaughter. Twenty-nine year old Cardell Hayes was also found guilty of attempted manslaughter for wounding Smith's wife Racquel. Hayes was facing more serious charges of second degree murder and attempted second degree murder, but the jury convicted him of a lesser charge.

KOSIK: The stock market is on fire. All three major averages sitting at record highs this morning, but moves in other markets are making some things a little more expensive if you are looking to buy. We're going to explain next.

[04:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KOSIK: Syrian government forces are waging battles on two fronts this morning. They are up against ISIS fighters in fierce clashes for the ancient city of Palmyra where the militant group blew up temples and monuments last year.

This as the regime reclaimed another neighborhood in Aleppo today forcing thousands of civilians trapped in the middle of the country's five year-old civil war to run for their lives. CNN's senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen has more as families battle fatigue and malnutrition to escape the violence.

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John and Alison, the battle for Aleppo continues to be fierce and it continues to be brutal. The latest information that we've gotten literally just a couple of hours ago is that the Syrian army has taken another key district in Aleppo and now controls about 90 percent of Syria's second city. Now this is a district in the southern part of Aleppo and I was actually on the frontline there just on Saturday and we could see literally tens of thousands of people trying to flee that area.

All this was happening while fierce fighting was going on. There were children who were too weak to even walk. There were some that were almost falling asleep while they were walking because they were so tired. There were people that we saw who are malnourished. There were others who we saw who were walking while they were wounded, all of them trying to just escape that fighting that was going on.

The Syrian military now says that it controls 90 percent of Aleppo city pushing the rebels further back. But the Syrian army is losing on other fronts here in Syria and ISIS is back on the scene. ISIS militants over the weekend managing to take back the ancient city of Palmyra with the ancient Roman ruins that of course is a grave concern because of course ISIS is known to destroy archaeological sites.

They attack while there was cloud and fog cover with a huge surprise offensive. The Syrian military was pushed back. Now the Syrian government now says that it's trying to muster a force to launch a counter attack, John and Alison.

BERMAN: All right Frederik Pleitgen, thanks so much. Two days of mourning now being observed in Nigeria after the collapse of a church there killed at least 50 parishioners. This is in the southern city of Uyo. This happened over the weekend so, during the dedication of ceremonies for the church which was still under construction.

[04:55:02] The building fell apart without warning. You can see the steel girders gave way. The governor was among the dignitaries inside the church at the time and he's ordered the immediate arrest of the contractor and setup a task force to find out what went wrong.

In Cairo, at least 25 people are dead and dozens more injured at a bomb blast at a Coptic church. No immediate claim of responsibility to this blast which tore through the small church which is attached to the much larger and historic St. Mark's Coptic Cathedral. The explosion came just two days after two other bombs killed six police officers and a civilian on the road leading to the pyramids.

KOSIK: All right, let's get a check on CNN Money stream. Will a Santa Claus rally come early for the stock market or has Donald Trump already stolen St. Nick's thunder? The Dow and Nasdaq and S&P are all sitting at fresh record highs this morning. Check out the gains for the year. With 14 trading days left. The Dow is now up more than 13 percent. That was not predicted this year by the way -- this double digit gains.

The Nasdaq is almost 9 percent higher, and the S&P 500 gaining 10.5 percent on the year. About a third of these gains coming in just the past month as investors give Donald Trump's economic plans a big time endorsement. As for today, Futures are down slightly. Stocks markets in Europe are edging lower. Shares in Asia closing with losses overnight.

The cautious tone we're seeing this morning comes as investors await the Federal Reserve. Janet Yellen and company, they're beginning their two-day policy meeting tomorrow. And at this meeting last year, the Fed hiked interest rates for the first time in almost a decade. So investors are expecting a repeat performance. There is now a 95 percent chance the Fed will raise rates when the meeting wraps up on Wednesday.

That will make things like mortgages, credit cards and car loans more expensive but Wall Street will be reading the Fed statement very carefully to see what clues it may give to when the next rate hike is coming.

Also getting more expensive this holiday season, gas prices. That's because of this. A huge run up in crude oil is now above $54 a barrel for the first time in a year and a half. That's thanks to a 5 percent jump this morning after Russia and several other big oil producers agreed to cut production. OPEC member nations vowed to do the same last week. So, what does all this mean for you? It means higher gas prices.

The national average sitting at $2.21 a gallon, this morning, it's up only 4 cents over the past month. Gas prices trail crude by about two weeks or so. So, you're likely to feel it at the pump in the New Year. I didn't notice it over the weekend when I filled up, but it will come.

BERMAN: But the markets like that, too. I mean they love to see, you know, gas prices or at least oil prices up at least a little bit.

KOSIK: Yes.

BERMAN: EARLY START continues right now.

KOSIK: Donald Trump calling a CIA report ridiculous and dismissing daily intelligence briefings. The growing contentious relationship between Trump and his intelligence officials.

BERMAN: Two deadly bombings in Istanbul killed dozens and wounded more than 150 people. We have a live report from the ground.

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

KOSK: Good morning. I'm Alison Kosik. It's Monday, December 12th. It is 5:00 a.m. in the east. And this morning, Donald Trump is rejecting the CIA conclusion that Russia sought to throw the election to him. U.S. intelligence agencies say they have high confidence that Russian hacking was intended to help Trump win. But in an interview with Fox News, Trump scoffing at that assessment calling it politically motivated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I guess ridiculous. I think it's just another excuse. I don't believe it and they have no idea if it's Russia or China or somebody. It could be somebody sitting in a bed some place. I mean, they have no idea.

WALLACE: So why would the CIA put out the this story the Russians wanted you to win?

TRUMP: Well, I'm in the sure they put it out. I think the Democrats are putting it out because they suffered one of the greatest defeats in the history of politics in this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSIK: The president-elect also discounting the importance of briefings by intelligence officers saying that daily briefings are repetitive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: If something should change from this point, immediately call me. I'm available on one minute's notice. I don't have to be told. You know, I'm like a smart person. I don't have to be told the same thing and the same words every single day for the next eight years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Back now to the situation with Russia. This morning, a bipartisan group of senators is demanding the investigation into the Kremlin's activities. CNN's Ryan Nobles has the latest.

NOBLES: John and Alison, this has the potential to be a major showdown in the early days of the Trump administration. A bipartisan group of senators is calling for a full investigation into Russia's role in interfering with the United States election. Among them, powerful senators like Republican John McCain and Democrat Chuck Schumer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[05:00:04] SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: They did hack into this campaign. Were they hacking the Republicans the same way? The Republican National Committee, and if so, why didn't they -- there are a lot of issues out there.