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Manhunt For Suspect In Berlin Attack; Trump's Big Plans For U.S. Jobs; NC Legislature Fails To Repeal "Bathroom Bill"; Death Toll Rises In Mexico Fireworks Blast. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired December 22, 2016 - 05:30   ET


[05:30:00] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: He just might be the most wanted man in Europe right now, the suspect in the deadly Berlin truck attack.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN ANCHOR: President-elect Trump's three-pronged plan to save American jobs. Taxes, regulation -- or deregulation, and energy.

ROMANS: And look at this. A collapse of a deal in North Carolina. Both parties blame the other as the deal to repeal the bathroom bill just falls apart. Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

MARQUEZ: And I'm Miguel Marquez. Good to see you -- be with you this week.

ROMANS: Great to have you here.

MARQUEZ: So nice to be in your shadow. It is 30 minutes past the hour. This morning, an intense manhunt underway for this man, a suspect in Monday's semi-truck attack in Berlin that left 12 people dead and 48 injured. His name, Anis Amri. He's a 24-year-old native of Tunisia who 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 are warning he may be armed and dangerous.

Joining us live from Berlin with the latest on the details of the investigation is Chris Burns. Good morning, Chris.

CHRIS BURNS, JOURNALIST: Good morning, Miguel. In fact, as to what you're talking about there, we're seeing tabloid headlines like this one -- "Why was he not kept in prison longer?" Anis Amri was held for some time. Was supposed to be sent back to Tunisia -- his native Tunisia -- but they did not have the right papers for him until yesterday so they had to let him go, and that is what some of the outrage is today as we see the headlines today.

Anis Amri had been a criminal in Tunisia, as well as Italy. He spent four years in an Italian prison. He was charged with assault here in Germany -- on the run. At the moment, there's a manhunt going on for him across Germany, across Europe, and we've seen searches. There's one we know about in Emmerich in western Germany at a refugee house where Anis Amri took -- was residing for a while and that's where it stands right now. The German authorities are keeping their cards very close to their chests at the moment -- Miguel.

MARQUEZ: Far-right politicians across Europe already blaming Angela Merkel for this, saying that she has blood on her hands because of what happened. What is your sense of the politics here because he came to Germany illegally, because he was on their radar? Does this -- you know, she was being blamed because he may have been one that she allowed in but it doesn't seem to be the case but is she still going to bear the brunt of the blame here?

BURNS: Well, that's the thing. I mean, one aspect of this to keep in mind is yes, this man was not a refugee per se. He was to be sent back. He had been here in Europe for years. He did not come with that wave of refugees last year and so that is one argument that you can have on Merkel's side.

On the other side, though, she's facing criticism not only from the far-right, which demonstrated outside her chancellery last night saying that those dead are -- from here are Merkel's dead -- but also within her coalition -- her governing coalition -- there are some who are asking for a tougher policy against refugees and that is what we're going to have to see play out. And we see elections coming up. In spring, there will be local elections. In the fall, there will be national elections.

At the same time, though, I might mention that life is trying to come back to normal here. We're seeing it at the market here. It is reopening today very slowly. There is more media than anything else but they are opening. There are concrete blocks being laid around it. There are a lot of armed police inside the market so they're trying to bring it back. I'm seeing a bit of festivity. Three guys with Santa hats just walked by, Miguel, so maybe we'll try to get a little bit more festivity between now and tomorrow, Christmas Eve.

MARQUEZ: Those Christmas markets such a way of life in Germany during this time of the year. Chris Burns for us in Berlin. Thank you very much.

ROMANS: All right. Donald Trump speaking out for the first time on the Berlin rampage calling it an attack on humanity. The president- elect pivoting from an early description in the news release, at least, that characterized it as a slaughter of Christians, in particular. Let's bring in for the very latest on all of this CNN's Jeff Zeleny. He is 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 the Christmas market in Berlin as he met in Mar-a-Lago with the senior national adviser Michael Flynn and an array of generals trying to show a sign of strength. A signal 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.

[05:35:03] Donald Trump also met on Wednesday with two key CEO's, from the Boeing company, first and foremost. Of course, you'll remember earlier this month Donald Trump going after the Boeing company, saying they are simply 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 then he faced the cameras and said he, indeed, would try and bring the costs down.

Trump advisers 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, advisers to Donald Trump say he is 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.


MARQUEZ: Thanks to Jeff Zeleny. The transition team is said to be taking up -- he's talking about imposing tariffs on foreign imports using executive action soon after Mr. Trump takes office. That's according to multiple sources with knowledge of the discussions. It's a prospect that is alarming business groups in the Republican establishment. They fear it would ignite a trade war and hurt U.S. exports. Sources differ on whether talk on tariffs is just talk or a trial balloon to gauge reaction.

ROMANS: Part of the Donald Trump negotiation plan, right? And his plan to save American jobs will start with the new White House National Trade Council. One goal here, stop the exodus of U.S. jobs to places like China and Mexico. Mexico, for example, it's $3 an hour for labor that is maybe $20 an hour in the Midwest.

Trump has picked Peter Navarro to head that group. He is a longtime China hawk -- critic of China. How critical? His book is called "Death by China". A professor at U.C. Irvine who along with the Commerce secretary nominee, Wilbur Ross, was an architect of Trump's campaign trade policies. And like Trump, Navarro believes the Chinese don't play fair on trade. He's going to run the news "Buy America, Hire America" program.

Now, 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.

And one interesting development that clashes with Trump's message that jobs are leaving. I want you to look at this. Look at this chart here. There are -- these are manufacturing jobs that are open and waiting. A nine-year high of open manufacturing jobs. Government data shows openings at sustained levels we haven't seen since 2007 and earlier this year openings rose to one of the highest marks since the Labor Department started keeping track. The reading has tripled after hitting a low during the recession in 2009.

Translation here -- there are a lot of manufacturing jobs that are available today, right, but the main problem is skills. Many of these jobs require specific training and the knowledge of high-tech equipment. One very important, Miguel, subject for this incoming administration and for Peter Navarro and for all the people -- Wilbur Ross and all those who are trying to bring jobs back, will be how to make sure we have the workers already here to do the jobs that are available.

MARQUEZ: This was one of the biggest concerns --

ROMANS: Is that business or is that government or is it both?

MARQUEZ: One of the biggest concerns out of this long -- you know, coming out this recession and the economy seems to be in a pretty darn good place, could they do more damage by tinkering too much or doing wholesales changes?

ROMANS: And that is one of the questions, but I would like to hear more about workers' skills. You know, Ginni Rometty, who runs IBM, met with Donald Trump and his team and said, frankly, we need to talk about bringing traditional jobs back but, more importantly, we need to talk about new-collar jobs.


ROMANS: New jobs, and making sure we have an education system and companies and governments that all work together to make sure American citizens can do those jobs.

MARQUEZ: And with robotics and artificial intelligence --

ROMANS: Technology, right.

MARQUEZ: -- I mean, we won't be here in just a few years.

ROMANS: The world's changing quickly.

MARQUEZ: Now, to help us break down the latest on the Trump transition we are joined this morning by CNN's reporter -- politics report Tal Kopan in Washington.

ROMANS: Hi, Tal.

MARQUEZ: Good morning, Tal. How are you?


MARQUEZ: So how are things -- he seems to be filling out his -- he's almost done filling out his entire team to take command on the 20th of January. Where are we in the transition and how does it seem to be going at this point?

KOPAN: Yes. Well, certainly, he's a bit ahead of the game in terms of actually naming all of his cabinet positions. We've had a surprisingly quick rollout of many of these secretaries and agency heads. We're waiting for the flushing out of his White House staff which some government think tanks who study this stuff say actually it's very helpful to go first. But he has been able to fill his cabinet without fully flushing out, you know, who -- we know his very top advisers but not the rest of the sort of down the level kind of staff of the White House.

[05:40:09] And then there's a lot happening behind the scenes that we don't have, you know, a camera on every day watching who comes in and who comes out. There are these staffs that the transition has been rolling out who are going into each agency and really trying to get their arms around the bureaucracy there, asking some questions. Sometimes those questions have been made public and raised some eyebrows, but these teams are really trying to figure out what government looks like so they can report back to the agency heads and we can actually see some policy plans be put into place.

ROMANS: Meanwhile, you have the president-elect already using his bully pulpit there to try to tell companies what he expects from them in terms of cost on government contracts, in terms of jobs. We've seen this in several different cases. And we know that the CEO, yesterday, of Boeing, was summoned to Mar-a-Lago to meet with the president-elect. Let's listen to what he said after that meeting.


DENNIS MUILENBURG, BOEING CEO: We did talk about Air Force One and, again, the same focus here on making sure we get the best capability to make sure the president is secure and that we protect national security and that we do it affordably.


ROMANS: Boeing, of course, has the Air Force One contract -- a big billion dollar Air Force One contract. And Donald Trump was sort of out of the blue talked --

MARQUEZ: Said $4 billion, which --

ROMANS: Was tweeting about how I'm not going to let them -- I'm not going to -- I'm going to cancel that order. I'm not going to let them take taxpayer money. Donald Trump really trying to show to the American taxpayers I got your back with these big companies.

KOPAN: Yes, and keep in mind we're really not sure where that $4 billion number came from, you know. There were -- there were no published reports that put the estimate at that. And, in fact, Boeing said a lot of the cost is yet to be determined because you have to specify exactly what type of capabilities you want this aircraft to have. Do you want it to be able to withstand nuclear radiation? If so, that's going to up the cost.

And so, you know, in some ways these companies are sort of playing it smart. It's in every business leader's interest to play along a bit with Donald Trump, saying I'm not going to let it cost this much. Even if it was never going to cost that much, why would a CEO not say of course we're not going to let it cost that much? So we're watching these negotiations that are, I'm sure, happening behind the scenes.

We're also watching them play out in the court of public opinion where Donald Trump wants these wins. He wants to look like a good negotiator, as President Obama did coming in with the Marine One contract -- the helicopters. You know, if he can declare a victory it's good for him and there's no reason these companies are going to fight him on that. So we're seeing these negotiations play out and it's very interesting how public that Donald Trump is making them.

ROMANS: Absolutely. All right. Tal, nice to see you this morning.

MARQUEZ: Tal, thank you very much.

KOPAN: Good morning.

MARQUEZ: The North Carolina Statehouse, a scene of tension and frustration. How a planned repeal of the "bathroom bill" failed.


[05:46:40] ROMANS: North Carolina lawmakers meet but can't agree to repeal the state's so-called "bathroom bill". The measure requires people to use public bathrooms associated with the gender on their birth certificate. Wednesday, people in the Legislature's gallery chanted "shame" as the gavel came down and lawmakers headed home following a special session. The deal just falling apart. Republicans and Democrats going at each other for breaking a bargain and failing to repeal this controversial bill. Let's get more now from CNN's Nick Valencia.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Miguel and Christine, after more than nine hours of caucuses and lawmakers going in and out of recess, the North Carolina Legislature was unable to reach a consensus on 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. The Democrats, for their part, pointed right back at the Republicans. It was reported earlier this week that both party leadership had 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 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 on when they will take up this special session to discuss House Bill 2 next -- Miguel, Christine.


MARQUEZ: Thanks to Nick Valencia. The death toll is now rising to at least 33 in that massive explosion at a fireworks market north of Mexico City. Families of loved ones in a state of shock as the search continues for victims who may be trapped under the rubble. This, as investigators try to figure out what caused the deadly blast. CNN's Leyla Santiago has more from the disaster zone in Tultepec.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine, Miguel, it is the unknown that is sort of feeding the anxiety and the desperation for families still searching for their loved ones. And it also the unknown that is really fueling the investigation for a lot of people here that are sorting through the debris trying to figure out exactly what caused it. 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 -- that they are now trying to support as a result.

We should mention that this is a massive market, about 10 football fields, 300 vendors, all of which the government tells me had permits at the time of the explosion. And this is somewhere 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.


MARQUEZ: Leyla Santiago for us in Mexico City. South Korea's constitutional court opening hearings this morning on the impeachment of President Park Guen-hye. Lawmakers impeached Park for her role in a corruption and influence peddling scandal. Prosecutors allege she shared classified information with a close friend who also used their 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.

[05:50:09] ROMANS: All right. A rising number of young adults are living with their parents. Do you have one of these people in your house? I'm going to show you some stunning new data and tell you why I don't think it's bad if your kid is living at home.

MARQUEZ: I'm going to move in with you, I think.

ROMANS: You're not my kid.


ROMANS: Will you pay rent?

MARQUEZ: Will you -- will you adopt me?


MARQUEZ: The Russian ambassador gunned down in an assassination in Turkey is being laid to rest today in a funeral to be attended by President Putin. Ambassador Andrei 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 live for us in Moscow with the latest. Matthew, how is the funeral arrangements progressing?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, what we're seeing so far this morning is a very solemn service that's been held at the Russian Foreign Ministry for the ambassador. Seeing many dignitaries from Russia -- officials filing past his coffin paying their last respects. Putin, the Russian president, was amongst them. The Russian foreign minister gave a short eulogy saying that the ambassador had the highest human qualities and he had made a great contribution to the relations between Russia and other countries.

One of the things that has come out of this killing, though, is a commitment from the Russians and the Turks that they won't let their improving relationship be derailed by this. It was intended to drive a wedge between the two countries. They say that attempt has failed.

[05:55:00] And, in fact, to add some flesh to those bones, the Turkish foreign minister was in Russia yesterday along with his Iranian counterpart, and the three foreign ministers from Russia, Turkey, and Iran sat down and said they were going to hammer out a roadmap to bring to an end the Syrian conflicts. Russia and Turkey, of course, famously on opposite sides of that conflict. They're the two regional powers with most invested in that.

Now they're going to work together now and try and bring an agreement to bring to an end that conflict, they say. All that, with the exclusion of the United States. The U.S. wasn't at that meeting. And so it seems this new alliance is really gaining traction now between Russia and Turkey, and Iran as well, to move ahead in Syria without the assistance of the United States.

MARQUEZ: Matthew Chance for us this morning in Moscow. Thank you very much.

Now, 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 in the region and many people were struggling to stay warm. Syrian state T.V. confirms 20 buses departed the region. The Red Cross confirming all hospital patients have been evacuated from Eastern Aleppo.

ROMANS: Fifty-six minutes past the hour this Thursday morning. Time for a check on CNN Money Stream. The Dow has just not cracked 20,000 yet. Tantalizingly close but just can't do it. And this morning futures are lower. So what is holding it back? Well, the Trump rally has been impressive. Investors euphoric for lower taxes/regulations and generally pro-business and pro-profit world. Now investors wait for the proof. Right now stock markets in Europe are down. Shares in Asia closed with losses.

Critical new evidence on the U.S. economy comes in about two and one- half hours. The government releases third quarter GDP. Look at that. Economists expect even stronger growth than that 3.2 percent reported last month that you see there. That's the fastest growth in more than two years.

OK, more people are moving in with mom and dad. New data out this morning shows 34.3 percent of Americans age 18 to 34 live with mom and dad. This is data from Trulia. This is the largest percentage since the 1940's. I think it was World War II. People were coming from war. There weren't a lot of economic opportunities. Not as many households, in fact. It was down near 20 percent in the 1960's and climbed about 30 percent during the recession. Look at this. The highest since the 1940's.

So what's happening here? Rising rent and rising home prices are hitting cities. Job prospects in some rural areas have been slow to recover. But there's also the potential that when these people move out -- out of their homes -- their parent's basement -- the housing market could explode with growth once they're out from under their parents. Plus, living at home, by the way, you can pay off your student loans and not have to pay rent, so that's why I like it.

Despite President-elect Donald Trump's promises that he will repeal and replace Obamacare, despite those rising premiums in many states, Obamacare enrollment for next year hit a record high. Six million four hundred people signed up through the federal exchange, 400,000 more than last year. The number of new enrollees dropped slightly. Current participants will be automatically reenrolled. States that run their own exchanges also seeing a boost in interest. Experts say even if Trump gets rid of Obamacare coverage it likely won't be affected until 2018 at the very earliest.

MARQUEZ: A very complicated puzzle.

ROMANS: It is. That's EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

MARQUEZ: And I'm Miguel Marquez. New revelations about the suspect wanted for the Berlin terror attacks. "NEW DAY" starts now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The manhunt is on for 24-year-old Tunisian Anis Amri.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The moment he came into Germany they were suspicious of him. They wanted to deport him. They arrested him, let him go.

TRUMP: It's an attack on humanity and it's got to be stopped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a race against time. This man is armed and dangerous and is likely to strike again.


ROMANS: North Carolina lawmakers failing to repeal the state's so- called "bathroom bill".

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The state is representing pragmatic middle-America which has been using common sense bathroom rules for decades.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every day we let HB2 remain on the books is a scar on North Carolina.


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

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Thursday, December 22nd, 6:00 in the East. This morning, police still searching for that suspect in Monday's terror attack on a Christmas market in Berlin. They have named him as Anis Amri and they say he is violent and armed.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: And known. German authorities admitting he had been arrested over the summer with forged documents and was linked at that time to extremism, so why was he still on the streets? And, is President-elect Trump's renewed calls for some kind of Muslim ban here in the United States the right response?

CNN has all the updates covered this morning beginning with Chris Burns live in Berlin -- Chris.

BURNS: Hello, Chris. Good morning. Well, you know, this is what we're seeing this morning. We're seeing an intense manhunt going on. Hundreds of German police across Germany waging different searches. One in Emmerich, by the way, in western Germany in a refugee house where Mr. Anis Amri had been staying. We don't know the results of that.