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First Family & Titans Of Tech; Ivanka Trump May Fill Some First Lady Duties; Escape From Aleppo. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired December 15, 2016 - 05:30   ET



[05:31:15] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The first family and the titans of technology. Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric Trump, they joined the president-elect as the hosts as he hosts Amazon, Apple, Facebook and others at Trump Tower.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Escape from Aleppo. A new ceasefire declared to let citizens and some rebels get out of the city alive. Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Alison Kosik.

BERMAN: Nice to see you this morning. I'm John Berman. About 31 minutes past the hour right now and this morning there are questions about just who is at the table when it comes to president-elect Donald Trump, both literally and figuratively. The president-elect called together the nation's tech leaders, many of whom opposed him during the election.

Sources tell CNN the meeting focused on jobs, it focused on China, where many American tech products are actually made, and the meeting focused on immigration. These are all very important angles but just as big of a story may be who else was at the table.

Donald Trump's three adult children and his son-in-law, some of whom may run the family business, some of whom may work in the White House. So where are the lines? It's unclear. And the president-elect postponed a news conference that had been scheduled for today to explain those very decisions. CNN's Phil Mattingly has the latest.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, John and Alison. Well look, there's no secret President-elect Donald Trump and Silicon Valley didn't exactly get along over the course of the campaign -- the primary, the general election. A lot of the individuals who showed up at Trump Tower for his big tech summit weren't just opposed to certain policy issues, they were opposed to him altogether and they didn't hide it. Some of them raised or donated money for his opponent.

The president-elect welcoming them to Trump Tower in what is kind of the latest of a series of individuals coming to pay homage, if you will, but also recognized that if they want to move forward businesswise they need the president-elect and this team. But, the president-elect was willing to let them know their business was doing well and he thinks he's the reason why. Take a listen. DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: I'm here to help you folks do well, and you're doing well right now and I'm very honored by the bounce. They're all talking about the bounce so right now everybody in this room has to like me at least a little bit, but we're going to try and have that bounce continue. And perhaps even more importantly we want you to keep going with the incredible innovation. There's nobody like you in the world.

MATTINGLY: Now, guys, one of the most interesting things of that meeting wasn't what was discussed or even the policies that both sides agree or disagree on, it's actually who was in the room, and not just on the tech titan side but also from the Trump side of things. If you took a look when the camera sprayed around the room you saw Ivanka Trump, her husband, Jared Kushner. You saw Eric Trump and you saw Don Jr.

Now look, it's no secret that the Trump children are very close to their father -- are very close advisers to their father, but here's what's changed over the course of the last couple of days. The president-elect, himself, announced on Twitter that he would be handing the reins of the Trump Organization to Don Jr. and Ericand, yet, they are still in these meetings.

And it's not just this tech summit. They are also helping to vet candidates for Secretary of State and Secretary of Interior. This is the issue that is raising a lot of concerns, both from ethics lawyers on both sides of the aisle but also from people inside the Trump operation. They are very wary of what this could mean going forward and recognize that there needs to be some kind of separation.

Now we know that separation is being worked on. The details, obviously, delayed until at least the new year as to what that might actually be. But every time you see something like this you recognize that this is an issue that the Trump team isn't exactly running away from. The president-elect seems to be welcoming it, whether it's meetings over the last couple of weeks with foreign leaders, whether it's meeting with cabinet officials, or whether it's this tech summit on Wednesday night.

But one thing is clear, they don't believe this is as big an issue as everybody does and that could only spell problems in the future -- John and Alison.


[05:35:07] KOSIK: OK, Phil Mattingly, thank you. The Republican Party spokesman says worries over Trump's family conflicts of interest are not a problem. RNC communications director Sean Spicer saying that conflicts of interest only arise "when you're sneaky or shady about it." Spicer says Trump has been clear from the start about his children's roles in his campaign and in his business. Spicer suggests the voters knew exactly what they were getting.


SEAN SPICER, CHIEF STRATEGIST & COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, RNC: Every one of those people was listed on the transition team website. They all have been named a senior part of it so this is a totally transparent process. The people that he has trusted -- he has made it very clear how much he values the input of his family. He put their names on the transition committee.

He has been unbelievable transparent in the role that his family will play in this, I think, from day one, not just recently. Since going back to the debate in August of last year he was very clear of the role that the family was going to play in the campaign, and the government, and in his business.


KOSIK: And the Trump transition source says that Spicer is now leading -- is now a leading candidate for White House press secretary.

BERMAN: More new details on the incoming first family. Ivanka Trump is likely to handle some of the duties that have been assumed by the first lady in most administrations. The source tells CNN that with Melania Trump spending much of her time in New York with her 10-year- old son Barron that Ivanka Trump will likely assume the role of Washington or White House hostess.

Now this has happened historically with presidents who have been widowed or presidents who were bachelors, in the case of James Buchanan. Ivanka Trump will also likely advise her father on a range of issues from family leave to climate change. An office of the first family is already in the works for the East Wing. That is where the current office of the first lady is located.

KOSIK: Hershey, Pennsylvania is the next stop on the long-running Donald Trump "thank you" tour. The president-elect holds a rally there at 7:00 tonight. He's going to be joined at the Giant arena by Vice President-elect Mike Pence. This is the same venue Trump visited just days before the election. His win in Pennsylvania helped him break through Hillary Clinton's so-called blue wall.

BERMAN: All right. Let us discuss the Trump transition right now. We're joined by CNN POLITICS reporter Eugene Scott live in Washington. Eugene, great to have you with us.

KOSIK: Good morning.

BERMAN: I want to play a little more of Sean Spicer sort of conflating the issues of transparency with conflicts of interest in trying to explain why we have yet to receive answers about what division there will be between the Trump family and the Trump White House.


SPICER: Conflicts of interest arise when you're not -- when you're sneaky about it, when you're shady about it, when you're not transparent about it and --


SPICER: No, no. If you tell everyone here's what's going on, here's the process, here are the people that are playing a role, that's not -- that's being transparent.


BERMAN: You can have, to get chronological (ph), Eugene, transparent conflicts of interest. I mean, the two things are not necessarily mutually exclusive here and there are questions about what the divisions will be between the Trump family and the Trump White House, questions that up until now have not been answered. In fact, they were supposed to be answered today. There was supposed to be a news conference today on how Trump was going to distance his business from the White House and he canceled or, at least, postponed that news conference.

EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: He certainly did. An interesting point in that interview was when Mr. Spicer argued that Trump had been transparent because there are cameras in Trump Tower -- in the Trump Tower that's a part of a business portfolio that voters know so very little about. I think what voters really want, especially those who didn't vote for him, is just more details about what it is that Donald Trump is doing professionally and how that could affect his presidency.

KOSIK: Yes. I mean, this could be an administration that is literally all in the family. Legally, can he get away with it?

SCOTT: Well, that remains to be seen. I was reading about an interesting loophole. We know that there's a law in place -- a federal law that prevents him from hiring and appointing his children but that may be possible if they don't collect a salary, so details remain to be seen. We can certainly expect Democratic lawmakers to stay on that, and to press it, and to make it an issue that many in his camp don't think it is.

BERMAN: Yes, and again, there are two things going on here. One, there's Ivanka Trump, who will likely work in the East Wing in some kind of hostess role. I mean, that's the word there. I'm not trying to make light of it at all, it's a very important job. But that's happened historically in the past where a daughter or a niece has been in the White House when the first lady was not so active.

But then there's the issue of, again, how Don Jr. and Eric are going to separate the business from the White House. They were part of this meeting with tech leaders yesterday. They've been interviewing or meeting with prospective cabinet members. So how are they going to separate the business from whatever influence they have on the administration? These are real questions.

SCOTT: Well, that press conference that we were hoping to see today, which has been delayed, and the Trump transition team says that more details regarding that will be revealed during that time. I think people want to know what will be done up until then because this is a concern as of now. [05:40:10] We have seen not only Eric and Donald, but even before the

announcement about Ivanka Trump's role in the administration -- or potential role -- we saw complaints about her involvement in some of these meetings, not just with business leaders but with foreign leaders. And so I think people really want to know what the role of the family will be in the future and how that will not present itself to be a problem with conflicts of interest.

KOSIK: Talk about revelations, we kind of got a little piece of something from Donald Trump during this meeting with top tech CEO's and leaders. Listen to what he said and then we'll talk about it.


TRUMP: -- do to help this go along and we're going to be there for you. And you'll call my people, you'll call me, it doesn't make any difference. We have no formal chain of command around here.


KOSIK: "We have no formal chain of command around here." What? Did I hear that right?

SCOTT: Yes. I wasn't really completely sure what that meant. I mean, it seems like it came off as incredibly informal and you would expect there to be very much a formal chain of command with the president and vice president and other advisers. I find that whole meeting very fascinating given that so many of those CEO's did not support Donald Trump and campaigned, specifically, for Hillary Clinton.

And, obviously, the most glaring absence of that meeting was the CEO or founder of -- should I say, founder of Twitter, Jack. It's very interesting. We've got some mixed reporting on why he was not there. But what we will see between the Trump administration and Silicon Valley in the future certainly remains to be seen.

BERMAN: On the subject of chain of command there, one thing is it hasn't slowed down the transition. I mean, they've got these positions filled as quickly or more quickly than past transitions have, so they are moving quite along. All right, Eugene Scott, thanks so much.

KOSIK: Thanks, Eugene.

SCOTT: Thank you.

KOSIK: Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen hiking interest rates yesterday and offering this message to her soon-to-be boss, Donald Trump.


JANET YELLEN, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRWOMAN: I'm not going to offer the incoming president advice about how to conduct himself in policy. I'm a strong believer in the independence of the Fed. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSIK: Yellen says that the Fed has been in touch with the Trump transition team and that she intends to serve out her entire four-year term which ends in February of 2018. She says I'm not going anywhere. However, Donald Trump was harshly critical of her during the campaign -- listen.


TRUMP: This Janet Yellen, of the Fed -- the Fed is doing political. The Fed is being more political than Sec. Clinton. Janet Yellen should have raised the rates. She's not doing it because the Obama administration and the president doesn't want her to. I think she's very political and to a certain extent, I think she should be ashamed of herself.


KOSIK: Congress gives the Fed the power to act independently. It does need approval from anyone in government, including the president, to make policy moves. What's interesting with that is that there's this talk on Wall Street that maybe there is a little bit of a political influence in how the Fed -- the policymakers make those policy decisions that raising rates somewhat had to do with Trump's expected policies -- these program policies that are expected.

BERMAN: That's not so much political. That's making a bet against what the economic situation will be and taking into account the fact that he is going to provide a stimulus -- a bunch of money into the economy -- going to cut taxes and they think that that will heat up the economy.

KOSIK: Right.

BERMAN: It could lead to inflation which is why, then, you would raise rates. Just some of the, you know, money interests involved here.

All right. A new truce declared in Aleppo. Will it last long enough to let civilians escape that war-torn city? We have a live report ahead.


[05:47:40] KOSIK: The rebel forces in Eastern Aleppo announcing a ceasefire agreement has been reached and civilian evacuations can begin. Earlier this week, a ceasefire brokered by Turkey with Russia collapsed in a wave of deadly air strikes. Syria's second-biggest city now in ruins and an estimated 50,000 residents still trapped without food, without water or medicine.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh is tracking the latest developments. She's joining us live now. You know, this is a situation that seems to be changing every hour. Are these civilians able to evacuate at this moment to get to a safer place? JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is changing so fast, Alison. When we last spoke we were reporting on that violent incident that took place that delayed the evacuation where, according to activists on the ground and other sources, at least one person was killed and four others were wounded when that convoy tried to approach the regime areas as they were evacuating.

And now we are hearing in the last few minutes from the international committee of the Red Cross, tweeting out saying that the operation to evacuate around 200 wounded, some critically, from East Aleppo is underway. Now, the Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent are on the ground. They have about 100 volunteers, 10 ambulances. They are ready to deal with these wounded as they are coming out.

Now, according to one of the last doctors in Eastern Aleppo, there are about 2,000 wounded people there who need medical attention and they will be the priority when it comes to these evacuations. We're also going to be seeing the evacuation of civilians and rebel fighters. This is going to take place in phases. It's going to be over several days.

But I have to say that people we have spoken to on the ground, the residents of Eastern Aleppo, really mixed emotions there. So much relief that they're going to be leaving. A couple of days ago they were terrified that they were going to be -- there was going to be a blood bath and that they might be killed. And right now, they are looking at this getting so close to leaving Eastern Aleppo, but they say that they were only forced to do this. They never wanted to leave their homes but faced with death, they have to do that, Alison.

KOSIK: Never wanted to leave their homes, even with all that violence, and that destruction, and that death. All right, Jomana Karadsheh, thanks so much.

BERMAN: All right, let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY". Alisyn Camerota joins us now. Good morning, Alisyn.

[05:50:03] KOSIK: Good morning, Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Hey, guys, great to see you. So we will have some new reporting on exactly what role Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband, Jared, will have in the White House. Where their offices will be and what they'll be doing and, perhaps most importantly, how they will get around nepotism laws. So we'll be exploring that.

Plus, the trial continues in that horrible case in South Carolina where the white supremacist killed nine people at the Mother Emanuel Church. The sole survivor has given very intense, emotional testimony about what when on that horrible day, so we will bring you that and an update on what's happening in that trial when Chris and I see you at the top of the hour.

KOSIK: OK, see you then. The Dow falling short of hitting a major milestone yesterday, so the question is, will the average make history today? We're going to show you the chances of the Dow hitting 20,000 next.


KOSIK: Very slim.


[05:54:40] KOSIK: OK, it's not quite winter but we want to prove to you that it's cold outside in Cleveland. (Video playing) You're looking live from behind the wheel in Cleveland, Ohio. This camera that you're seeing here coming from our affiliate WJW, showing the lake-effect snow coming down and covering the roads there. Some areas near Lake Erie are looking at over a foot of snow before the weekend.

[05:55:00] BERMAN: Nice.

KOSIK: Be careful driving.

BERMAN: All right. A new security breach at Yahoo. This one is just huge. Yahoo confirms that more than one billion user accounts have been hacked and this breach is believed to be one of the largest ever on top of the one that happened just a year ago. "CNN MONEY"s Samuel Burke live from London with the very latest. What a mess, Samuel.

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. The only thing more mind-boggling than that one billion number is the fact that this had happened in 2013 and no one at Yahoo seemed to realize until just now.

So let me just put up a list on the screen of the information we believe was hacked as part of this breach. Names, passwords, emails, phone numbers, and dates of birth, though not credit card data or bank account information. Of course, we'd rather have those things stolen because you can change your credit card number, you can't your name or your date of birth very easily.

To get around all this to keep yourself safe, don't just change your passwords. Turn on two-factor authentication so you receive a code to your phone every time you log in. Annoying, but it means if someone has your password they can't get in unless they have your phone, and maybe that's a lot better than changing your password every other day.

BERMAN: It is, indeed. All right, Samuel Burke, thanks so much.

KOSIK: All right, let's a check on CNN Money Stream this morning. We're looking at Dow futures pointing to a higher open as investors get used to the higher interest rates following the Fed decision yesterday. Stock markets in Europe are up slightly and shares in Asia finished mostly lower overnight. Oil is steady now, sitting at around $51 a barrel.

We're also watching shares of Yahoo. The stock is down almost three percent in pre-market trading. This, of course, following its disclosure of that huge hack back in 2013 that Samuel just spoke of. Wall Street will be watching to see what this latest incident means for Verizon's purchase of Yahoo. Yahoo stock is up 23 percent this year because of an anticipation of that deal actually going through.

The Dow is still in spitting distance of the 20,000 mark. The average fell yesterday after the Federal Reserve's decision to hike interest rates, but the loss wasn't huge. The Dow will need to gain at 208 points, though, to get to that 20,000 milestone, so that's about a one percent rise. Regardless, it's been a great year for the Dow, jumping 13.5 percent so far this year.

People are rushing to sign up for Obamacare. That's despite President-elect Donald Trump's vow to repeal it as soon as he gets into office next month. Four million people have signed up on the federal exchange, plus hundreds of thousands more on state exchanges, and that's how they account for more than one million new enrollees. And 2.9 million who are renewing their coverage.

So if you need health insurance beginning January first, today is the deadline to sign up. If you had coverage through one of the exchanges last year, the advice is shop around if you can. Some premiums are going up and coverage options are changing. And I say shop around if you can because not everywhere -- not all counties have a choice of insurers. Some counties have just one insurer and you just have to choose what plan you'd like.

BERMAN: All right. That is all for EARLY START this morning. I'm John Berman.

KOSIK: And I'm Alison Kosik. Concerns about conflict of interest and the first family. "NEW DAY" starts now.


SPICER: He's made it very clear how much he values the input of his family.

TRUMP: We have no formal chain of command around here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jared Kushner will have a place in the West Wing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President-elect Trump should divest himself of any and all conflicts of interest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As of January 20th, he doesn't represent Trump, Inc. He represents the United States of America.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't forgive him for this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prosecutors say Roof hoped to start a race war that day in Charleston.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was asking that he wouldn't kill all of us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An unmitigated humanitarian disaster.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are here exposed to a genocide in the city of Aleppo.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The ceasefire has failed to produce any results.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn't want anything else but freedom.


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

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Thursday, December 15th, 6:00 in the East and we begin with Donald Trump sitting down with technology CEO's to talk about jobs and China. What were the concerns and the promises? At that tech talk three of Trump's adult children and his son-in-law once again blurring the lines between business and family.