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Suspect in Berlin Attack: "Armed and Dangerous"; Trump's Billionaires; Republicans & Democrats Point Fingers. Aired 4:30-5a ET
Aired December 22, 2016 - 04:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN ANCHOR: He just might be the most wanted man in Europe. The suspect in the deadly Berlin truck attack.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: President-elect Trump's three-prong plan to save jobs: taxes, regulation and energy.
MARQUEZ: Finger-pointing in North Carolina. Both parties blame the other as a deal to repeal the bathroom bill falls apart.
Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Miguel Marquez.
ROMANS: Nice to see you this week again.
MARQUEZ: Nice to see you.
ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It is Thursday. Twenty-nine minutes past the hour.
This morning, an intense manhunt is under way for this man, a suspect in Monday's semi truck attack in Berlin that left 12 dead and 48 injured. His name is Anis Amri. He's 24-year-old native of Tunisia.
Now, he immigrated illegally to Europe and was denied asylum. He was arrested carrying forged documents but released because authorities couldn't establish his identity beyond doubt. German authorities are offering a 100,000 euro reward and they're warning he may be armed and dangerous.
Joining us live from Berlin with the latest details on the investigation, journalist Chris Burns.
[04:30:04] Good morning. You know, and some of these reports, this is the guy who spent sometime in prison.
CHRIS BURNS, JOURNALIST: Good morning, Christine.
ROMANS: He is somebody known to terror investigators, but they let him go.
BURNS: Yes, Christine. And, in fact, the newspaper asking, why did they send him back? The headline here is saying, the return or sending him back failed. Why did it failed? Because they did not have the right papers. They have a long explanation in this huge headline talking about how
the government here finally got a passport for him yesterday, which would have let them send him back yesterday. A bit too late. And that's where there's a lot of explaining to do among not only German officials, but Tunisia, what about Italy where he spent four years before he came here.
He was in prison there for other offenses. He was also tried in absentia in Tunisia for violent robbery. This guy is a hardened criminal. He is not a refugee.
And that's what the officials are up against. He is also very well as far as we know very well-implanted inside the Salafist organization that recruits people to do what he did, driving the truck into the Christmas market three days ago. That is why there's a huge manhunt going across Germany, hundreds of police, searches going on in -- across Germany and Berlin, as far as we know also in western Germany.
We are still trying to find out more details about what is going on. It is a massive effort. He is believed to be armed and dangerous. There could be others -- Christine.
ROMANS: All right. Chris Burns, certainly, keep us up to date, if you get any new information as the manhunt is still under way; 10:31 in Berlin. Thank you.
MARQUEZ: Donald Trump speaking out for the first time on the Berlin rampage condemning it as an act on humanity. The president-elect pivoting away from an earlier description in a new release that characterized it as a slaughter of Christians, in particular.
For the latest on that, let's bring in CNN's Jeff Zeleny at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Miguel, Donald Trump making the first comments about that rampage at a Christmas market in Berlin. As he met in Mar-a-Lago with his senior national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and an array of generals, trying to show a sign of strength, signaled that he is on top of this heightened alert during the holiday season. This is what he said about that attack.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: That's an attack on humanity. That's what it is. It's an attack on humanity and it's got to be stopped.
ZELENY: An attack on humanity. Donald Trump making the case that his team is going to go aggressively after the fight against terrorism, but giving no specifics after meeting with generals and other top advisers here in Mar-a-Lago.
Donald Trump also met on Wednesday with two key CEOs, from the Boeing Company, first and foremost. Of course, you will remember earlier this month, Trump going after the Boeing Company saying they are charging the American taxpayer too much to refurbish Air Force One. So, he invited the Boeing CEO down here to Mar-a-Lago for a one-on-one face to face meeting. And he faced the cameras and said he indeed would try and bring the costs down.
Trump advisors say this is something that the president-elect wants to do once he takes office, to bring business leaders in part public relations, part negotiations, but clearly wanting to make the case that he is trying to fight for the American taxpayer, part of that populist appeal there. Now, advisors to Trump say he's going to take most of the next several days off, but he still has two key cabinet positions left to fill. Veterans Administration, and the Department of Agriculture and then his cabinet will be full. He takes office 29 days from today -- Miguel and Christine.
BERMAN: All right. But who is counting? Jeff Zeleny at Mar-a-Lago, thanks, Jeff.
Another job that the Trump transition is working to fill in is the second in command at the State Department. It is turning out to be a struggle. The leading candidate is former ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton. But it is unclear if the blunt and opinionated Bolton could muster enough votes for confirmation in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Sources say that even Bolton's would-be boss, Secretary of State nomine Rex Tillerson, has reservations about him. Sources tell CNN the search for deputy secretary of state has expanded to a handful of other lesser well-known names from the foreign policy establishment.
MARQUEZ: Getting it together. The transition team is said to be talking about quickly imposing tariffs on foreign imports, using executive action soon after taking office. That's according to multiple sources, it is a prospect that is alarming business groups and the Republican establishment. They fear it would ignite a trade war and hurt U.S. exports. Sources differ on whether talk of tariffs is serious or just a trial balloon to gauge reaction.
ROMANS: Just a part of the negotiation. We don't know yet.
But we do know that Donald Trump's plan to save American jobs will start with his new White House National Trade Council.
[04:35:06] The goal? Stop the exodus of U.S. jobs to places like China and Mexico. Donald Trump has picked Peter Navarro to head that group. He is a long-time China hawk, a critic of China. His book is called "Death by China."
MARQUEZ: With a Chinese knife.
ROMANS: That's right. A professor at UC-Irvine, who along with commerce secretary nominee, Wilbur Ross, was an architect to Trump's campaign trade policies. Like Trump, Navarro believes the Chinese don't play fair on trade. He's going to run the new buy America, hire America program. Along with tax reform, the group will focus on three things, cut government regulations by 10 percent, eliminate America's $500 billion trade deficit by renegotiating trade deals, and finally expand energy production by allowing more drilling and more coal burning.
One interesting development, the clashes of Trump's message that jobs are leaving however, there is a nine-year high of manufacturing job openings. The reading has tripled since hitting a low during the recession in 2009. Earlier this year, openings rose to one of the highest mark since the Labor Department first started counting the figure in 2000.
The main problem is skills. Many of these jobs require specific training and the knowledge of certain kinds of high-tech equipment. So, you have a situation where you have several million open manufacturing jobs, but at the same time, you have several million workers who would like to have those jobs, but there's no match here.
So, my question to the National Trade Council, Peter Navarro to the president-elect is, what part of the policies are going to try to put the workers we have with the jobs we have?
MARQUEZ: It's a pretty good question.
ROMANS: Is that the government problem? Is that more investment from companies?
MARQUEZ: And other happening coming from his own advisers is that either robots or artificial intelligence will take away those jobs in the not too distant future.
ROMANS: Yes. And we're talking about $3 an hour in Mexico versus $25 an hour in Ohio or Indiana. You know that's -- do consumers bear the brunt of that then, do you put tariffs on everything so then consumers, or middle class, working poor pay --
ROMANS: It will be interesting.
MARQUEZ: Donald Trump's adult sons have been removed from the charity that critics said was poised to offer presidential access for big money donations. Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump had been listed as directors of the Opening Day Foundation, a conservation non-profit. TMZ obtained a draft invitation to a foundation event on January 21st.
The invite offered a private reception with the president-elect and a hunting trip with Trump's sons for donations of a half a million or a million bucks. Since then, the group has put out a new invitation with no reference to the hunting trip or reception. A spokesman for the fund-raiser declined to answer questions from CNN about any involvement by Trump's sons.
ROMANS: All right. Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is set to start up a political consulting firm with Ben Carson's campaign manager, Barry Bennett. Now, Lewandowski said in a statement that he considered multiple opportunities within the Trump administration. He decided he can, quote, "best help him outside the formal structure of government." Lewandowski managed Trump's campaign until he was fired after the primary, then became a paid political commentator for CNN through the election.
MARQUEZ: The final tally on the presidential race is in now. And the winner of the popular vote remains Hillary Clinton. The latest number crunching gives the Democrat 48.2 percent, compared to Trump's 46.1 percent of the pie, reflecting a difference of nearly 2.9 million votes. The president-elect venting on Twitter Wednesday, saying he would have done better in the election if the winner was based on the popular vote, though he would have campaigned differently.
ROMANS: All right. North Carolina's statehouse, wow, the scene of tension and frustration. Look at this. A deal to repeal the bathroom bill just collapses. We have that story.
[04:42:47] MARQUEZ: North Carolina lawmakers meet, but can't agree to repeal the state's so-called bathroom bill. People in the gallery chanted "shame" as a gavel came down and lawmakers headed home following a special session. Republicans and Democrats blame each other for breaking a bargain and failing to repeal the controversial bill.
We get more now from CNN's Nick Valencia.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Miguel and Christine, after nine hours of caucuses and lawmakers going in and out of recess, the North Carolina legislature was unable to reach consensus on about whether or not to repeal House Bill 2. The legislature adjourned without coming to a conclusion on what to do. So, for now, House Bill 2 stands as law in the state of North Carolina.
In their closing statements, Republican leadership pointed at state Democrats for playing politics. Democrats for their part pointed right back at the Republicans. It was reported earlier this week that both parties leadership agreed to broker a deal in Charlotte if that city council was able to rescind their nondiscrimination ordinance, then Republicans would clear the way for repealing House Bill 2. That's anything but what happened here today in Raleigh.
There has been no shortage of drama between the Republicans and Democrats here in the state. That promises to continue. There still is no clear date set when they take up the special session to discuss House Bill 2 next -- Miguel, Christine.
ROMANS: All right. Nick Valencia, thank you for that, Nick.
South Korea's constitutional court opening hearings this morning on the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye. Lawmakers impeached Park for her role in a corruption and an influence-peddling scandal. Prosecutors alleged she shared classified information with a close friend who also used relationship to embezzle millions of dollars intended for charity. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has signaled that he will run to replace Park if she is forced out.
MARQUEZ : And the death toll now rising to 33 in the explosion at the fireworks park north of Mexico City. Families of loved ones in a state of shock as the search continues for victims who may be trapped under that rubble. This as investigators try to figure out what caused the deadly blast.
CNN's Leyla Santiago has more from the disaster in Tultepec.
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine, Miguel, it is the unknown that is sort of feeding the anxiety and desperation for families still searching for their loved ones.
[04:45:09] And it is also the unknown that is fueling the investigation for a lot of people here that are sorting through the debris trying to figure out exactly what caused.
But the state government officials are not commenting on that right now. They have told me that they are focusing on the dozens of victims that they are now trying to support as a result. We should mention this is a massive market. About ten football fields and 300 vendors, all of which the government tells me had permits at the time of the explosion. And this is where children and families came for Christmas and New Year's Eve to get ready for the holiday season.
But now, this is now an area where there's a search for answers -- Miguel, Christine.
ROMANS: All right. Leyla Santiago, thank you for that.
Here at home, parishioner has been charged with connection in a torching of a black church in Mississippi.
Police say Andrew McClinton, a member of Hopewell Baptist Church in Greenville, set the fire on purpose. They are trying to figure out if he's also the one who wrote "vote Trump" on the side of the 111-year- old church. The pastor says last month's blaze mostly destroyed the sanctuary. So far, a motive has not been released.
MARQUEZ: Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip postponing their Christmas travel plans. Buckingham Palace announcing both have heavy colds and won't be able to travel to the royal estate in Norfolk.
CNN's Max Foster is live for us in London.
This breaks tradition. How concerned are people there, Max?
MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the palace doesn't seem too concerned at this point. But what we have to do is sort of read what we can into the traditions which obviously go back such a long way. For the queen not to go Sandringham would be an extraordinary departure really from what they normally do this time of year.
The plan is always go to Christmas. Her family then go to stay with her, Prince Harry for example has made his plans to go there at a big family Christmas. And she was due to go yesterday and photographers were waiting on the platform and police on the train platform with them, also the royal protection officers.
It wasn't until a few minutes before she would go, that everyone stood down. That caused all sorts of concern. She always makes the train.
And then for a few yours, you didn't hear anything from the palace until they came out with a very short statement. It said essentially both she and Prince Philip both had these bad colds and that's why they hadn't traveled. The question is will they travel today or tomorrow and get there for Christmas? And that will indicate how bad things are. They are both in their 90s now. So, a severe cold has a big impact on older people, bigger than you or I.
All eyes on the flag in palace, Miguel, because that indicates the queen is in Buckingham palace, not in up in Sandringham where she is expected to go.
MARQUEZ: She is, what? Ninety. He is 95. You do have to read a lot of tea leaves with the palace.
What is your sense that she wanted to go and put everything in position so she could and decided at the last minute that it just wasn't possible?
FOSTER: Well, it's interesting. I mean, it is the vacuum of information perhaps that's quite concerning because we're not getting running commentary. But at the same time, to be fair to the palace, they don't do that on private events. This is a private trip up to Sandringham.
So, they are trying to balance that. Prince Philip did joke recently he hasn't had a cold in 40 years. He is 95. He's now has a cold. He has been ill before.
But having said, they are both very fit for their age. They spend most of the time at Windsor Castle. And both go out riding regular, or he goes carriage riding. She goes riding every day.
So, they are fit for their age. We have to keep that in mind. We are waiting for an update really from the palace.
MARQUEZ: Very, very interesting. Thank you very much, Max Foster, for us in London.
ROMANS: I wish them well. It is hard to have a cold. It's hard to be 90 and have a cold.
MARQUEZ: It's said, and at Christmas.
ROMANS: And it's a big tradition to go to Sandringham. I just watched "The Crown" on Netflix.
MARQUEZ: And we are all focused on "The Crown" these days, yes.
MARQUEZ: And a great history.
ROMANS: And here, where we don't have crowns, but we do have an ascending --
MARQUEZ: What's the play here? What's the segue?
ROMANS: I don't know. We don't have a crown here.
Donald Trump's vow to repeal and replace Obamacare is not stopping people from enrolling. That's right. We're going to show you the record high Obama enrollment numbers when we get a check on CNN Money Stream next.
[04:52:45] ROMANS: The Russian ambassador gunned down in an assassination in Turkey, will be laid to rest today in a funeral to be attended by President Vladimir Putin. Ambassador Andrey Karlov was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer earlier this week, as the cameras rolled. Karlov was speaking at a photo exhibit in Ankara, Turkey. His murder prompting a stern warning from Russian and Turkish officials who said they will not bow in the face of terror.
CNN's Matthew Chance is live in Moscow with the very latest -- Matthew.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. The funeral is now under way for the past hour or so. It is taking place initially in the Russian foreign ministry, which is a short distance from here when officials have been parading past the coffin of the assassinated ambassador, paying the last respects.
The Russian foreign minister made a short speech that's saying that he was -- portrayed the highest of human qualities. He made great contributions to the relations with Russia and other countries. Vladimir Putin was in attendance at that ceremony.
The coffin, he didn't speak though, the coffin will be moved shortly in a procession to the main cathedral in the middle of Moscow. It's called Christ the Savior, where the funeral ceremony will be overseen by the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church. The state occasions all live on Russian state television as well.
The assassination, though, sent shock waves through the Russian public and the Russian establishments. The Russian officials vowing, it's not going to derail the efforts of Russia and Turkey to move closer together in a relationship. They'd been at odds, of course, with various issues relates to the Syrian war.
But it has sent the shocking message to the Russian people that Russia's intervention in Syria does have consequences outside of that country. This is a brutal tragic reminder of the consequences.
ROMANS: You know, and also you talk about Russian and Turkey relations. But Russia and U.S. relations, so interesting the word from Russia that economic and diplomatic relationship between U.S. and Russia is frozen.
CHANCE: Yes. They basically said all contact, except minimum contacts are frozen at the moment between Russia and the United States. This is in the last few weeks of the Obama administration. It's a searing characterization, isn't it, of the estate of affairs between Moscow and Washington.
[04:55:02] But they've been divided over various issues, like Syria, like NATO expansion, like the complex in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea. This is what the Kremlin said today when the United States pushed back. The Pentagon is in contact with Russian forces on the ground in Syria. You know, the State Department, John Kerry, the secretary of state, spoke to his counterpart on Tuesday in Russia. There are contacts.
Russia said, look, this is just minimal contacts. We don't have business to business contacts. We don't have cultural contacts. No one is in contact with our parliament.
And, you know, that is something we are concerned about. It is not our fault. This could change, the Russians say, they hope it will change under a Trump administration.
ROMANS: All right. Matthew Chance for us in Moscow -- thank you so much for that, Matthew.
MARQUEZ: Evacuations from eastern Aleppo resumed Wednesday after a brief delay. No reason was given for the temporary halt, but the International Red Cross said snow had been falling and many people were struggling to stay warm. Syrian state TV confirms buses departed the region. The Red Cross confirming all hospital patients have been evacuated from eastern Aleppo.
ROMANS: All right. Let's get a check on CNN Money Stream.
The Dow, it just can't crack that 20,000 mark. I don't know -- Miguel, I don't think it's going to make it today.
MARQUEZ: I don't know.
ROMANS: Futures pointing lower. You know, 20,000 is a psychological level.
MARQUEZ: But you want it.
ROMANS: The Trump rally has been impressive. Many thought it would power through. It must need a bit more fuel before climbing into that mark. Global markets aren't helping either. Stock markets in Europe are falling. Shares in Asia closing with losses.
One thing could be a pop is stock prices. The government releases the final revision of the third quarter GDP.
ROMANS: You know, the most broadest read of economic -- I know you love this stuff.
ROMANS: You can't stand the wait for it.
Estimates call for a slight rise from the 3.2 percent rate announced last month. That marks the fastest growth in two years.
I'll say one year about the 20,000 mark. I think as Donald Trump's whole kind of trade team is rolling out, you know, the markets had enough juice from the Trump rally that it can until it knows what policies and whether there will be a trade war.
OK, let's talk about Uber. Slamming the brakes on the self driving cars in California. The California DMV revoked the test vehicles registration because they were not properly marked as test vehicles.
But DMV says it will work with Uber to get the right permits. Uber says it remains committed to California and will redeveloping its efforts to develop workable statewide rules. There were also complaints from bike riders that the cars made unsafe turns. And one was caught on camera running a red light, but Uber says that was a human error.
ROMANS: President-elect Donald Trump says he will repeal and replace Obamacare and rising premium in many states. Obamacare enrollment for next year, though, just hit a record high, 6.4 million people signed up through the federal exchange. That's 400,000 more than last year. The number of new enrollees dropped slightly from 2015. Current participants will be automatically reenrolled.
States run their own exchanges are seeing a boost in interest. Experts say even if Donald Trump gets rid of Obamacare, coverage likely will be effective until 2018 at the very earliest.
So, rush to get covered. Check out the CNN Money Stream app. It is business news personalized, the stories, videos, tweets and topics you want all in one feed, Miguel.
MARQUEZ: I want them.
ROMANS: Download it now on the App Store or Google Play.
MARQUEZ: I want them bad, badly.
ROMANS: I was going to --
(LAUGHTER) MARQUEZ: EARLY START continues right now.
MARQUEZ: Armed and dangerous. We're learning more about a suspect on the run in the deadly Berlin truck attack.
ROMANS: The billionaire's club. Trump adds another wealthy name to his team and cause some controversy.
MARQUEZ: Repeal rejected. Lawmakers let a deal fall apart. And North Carolina's bathroom bill remains law.
Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Miguel Marquez.
ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is so nice to see you this week.
MARQUEZ: Good to be here.
ROMANS: This week as we wait for Christmas. It is Thursday, December 22nd. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East.
And this morning, an intense manhunt underway for this man, a suspect in Monday's semi truck attack in Berlin. An attack that left 12 people dead, 48 injured. His name is Anis Amri. He is a 24-year-old native of Tunisia. He immigrated illegally to Europe. He was denied asylum. He was arrested carrying forged documents but then released because authorities couldn't establish his identity beyond doubt.
German authorities are offering 100,000 euro reward and they are warning he may be armed and dangerous.
Joining us live from Berlin with the very latest details on this investigation, journalist Chris Burns.
Good morning, Chris.
And what is ironic and sad and aggravating and frightening is that you say this man's papers finally came through yesterday.
CHRIS BURNS, JOURNALIST: Yes, absolutely. In fact, here is a picture of him here in one of the tabloids here in Berlin, saying they knew him. They did nothing. That's not exactly right.