Return to Transcripts main page


Race To Finish; Violent Protest; Tax Bill Trouble; Manafort And Gates, Back In Court; Historic Wildfire; Riots Outside U.S. Embassy In Beirut; Celebrities Rally Support For Bullied Boy; Bitcoin Jumps 21 Percent After Futures Trading Begins; Job Seekers Worry About Automation. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired December 11, 2017 - 04:30   ET



[04:00:15] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Get out and vote for Roy Moore.



Do it.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: "Go get them, Roy." President Trump going all in for Roy Moore with a new robocall. Going out to Alabama voters on the eve of the election. Can the President move the needle for Moore?

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Violent protests across the Middle East after President Trump declares Jerusalem the capital of Israel. We are live in the Middle East for the very latest.

ROMANS: New concerns about whether Republicans will be able to deliver on tax reform. Crucial Republican Senator said she is not made up her mind on the bill. A bill by the way that we don't know what is in it because the house and senate have to put it together.

BRIGGS: Speed is the essence isn't it?

ROMANS: There are a lot of unintended consequences the faster you go. Welcome back to "Early Start," I am Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I am Dave Briggs. It is 31 minutes pass the hour this morning. All ayes on Alabama with the campaigns of Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones are both in high gear at the state's special senate election tomorrow. Today, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon campaigns for Moore. Who has been fighting to the end against claims of sexual misconduct involving teenage girls?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROY MOORE, (R) ALABAMA: Did not know any of the women who have

charged me with sexual allegation, molestation. I did not date under age women. I did not molest anyone.


MOORE: And so these allegations are false.


ROMANS: Democrat Doug Jones hoping the accusations against Moore will help drive Democrats to the polls.


DOUG JONES, (D) ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: I believe those women in at a wall county. It's like he said today. Where there's smOKe, there's fire. There is fire in there. I want to make sure when my granddaughters grow up they don't have to endure those kinds of things that those girls experience and sit silent for 30 or 40 years. I want to make sure we send a message of who we are and what we are.


ROMANS: Jones also counting on appearances from Democratic political heavy weights to help this turnout.

BRIGGS: Meantime already signs of resistance Roy Moore could face from congressional Republican if he does win on Tuesday. Republican Senator Richard Shelby has represented Alabama in congress for more than 30 years. He said he already cast his ballot for a write-in candidate, but didn't say who it was. Telling CNN Moore was simply not an option for him.


RICHARD SHELBY, (R) ALABAMA: I didn't vote for Roy Moore. I wouldn't vote for Roy Moore. I think the Republican Party can do better. I think so many accusations, so many cuts, so many drip, drip, drip, when it got to the 14-year-old story that was enough for me. And I said I can't vote for Roy Moore.


BRIGGS: Alabama's Democratic senate candidate Doug Jones plans to roll out a statewide robo call today. Quoting Senator Shelby's criticism of Moore in that CNN interview. Our Alex Marquardt is on the ground in Birmingham and has the latest.


ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning Christine and Dave. These two candidates are taking very different tact's in this final weekend of campaigning before the special election to be held on Tuesday. Judge Roy Moore has not been heard from or seen all weekend. He did not hold any events and likely letting the President do his talking for him. The President has recorded a robo call for the judge in which he repeat his endorsement and says that Moore is needed in the senate to help in advance his conservative agenda. Take a listen.


TRUMP: Hi, this is President Donald Trump and I need Alabama to go vote for Roy Moore. But if Alabama elects liberal Democrat Doug Jones all of our progress will be stopped cold. We need Roy Moore to help us with the Republican senate. We will win and we will make America great again.


MARQUARDT: Now, on the other hand the Doug Jones campaign is firing on all cylinders pulling out all stops. The name of the game is get out the vote.

[04:35:00] On Sunday alone Doug Jones visited seven different churches. He also listed some Democratic heavy hitters including former Massachusetts Governor Duvall Patrick. And New Jersey senator Corey BoOKer who can help in particular with the African-American electorate, who will be absolutely crucial in this election. He needs a black turnout that is almost as high as Barack Obama's in 2012 race. We did get a bit of the glimpse and to the confidence that Doug Jones maybe feeling. He said today, that if he had been asked the odds of how he would be doing in this election when he first got in he said it would be the same odd as seeing five inches of snow in Birmingham, which we have seen over the past few days. Dave, Christine.


ROMANS: That we have. Alex Marquardt thank you for that.

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley pressed for her view on the growing concern over sexual harassment and assault. She was asked about the cultural reckoning taking place in the country and the recent resignations of three members of congress. Listen to what she said about President Trump and the women who accused him of inappropriate conduct.


NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Women who accuse anyone should be heard and dealt with. I think we heard from them prior to the election, and I think any woman who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any way, they have every right to speak up.


ROMANS: At least 13 women have come forward with accusations of sexual harassment and sexual assault against the President, two Democratic Senators, Cory BoOKer and Jeff Merkley calling on the President to resign over the weekend.

BRIGGS: Ambassador Haley also defending the President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, saying the administration is making progress on negotiating peace in the Middle East, all this as violent protests in the region entered day six triggered by the president's decision, Israeli's launching airstrike in the Gaza against what is called Hamas target. After several rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel. Palestinian official's reports two fatalities more than 300 people injured Friday alone on the west bank Gaza and Jerusalem. Let's go live to Beirut and bring in CNN's Ben Wedeman. Ben Good morning to you, we understand there have been violent protests near the U.S. embassy.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Dave. That was yesterday at a roundabout about a mile down the hill from the U.S. embassy, north of Beirut. There were moments when some protests did throw rocks, plastic water bottles and sticks in the direction of Lebanese security who were guarding the road leading to the U.S. embassy. They responded with tear gas and birdshot. But by and large in fact for most of the four or so hours of the demonstration toOK place, it was peaceful and the organizers did try to impose discipline on some of the more unruly elements. Now, the U.S. embassy staff in Beirut are restricted in their movements. At the best of times and certainly at the moment they're being told not to go out and about in this the city.

Now, what was interesting about this demonstration is that it brought together a broad spectrum of groups here in Lebanon. You had Palestinian refugees, you have Islamist organizations, and you have left-wing Lebanese parties all coming together, united in this their condemnation of President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. These are groups in recent years that have been quite split over for instance the war in Syria, Yemen, upheavals of the Arab spring, but now they seem to be all coming together on this one issue, not just in Lebanon, but really across the Middle East.

Now this afternoon, we are expecting Hezbollah to hold a large demonstration perhaps the largest we've seen yet in Lebanon over this decision by the U.S. to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. However, this demonstration, by Hezbollah is not expected to be violent. There are no U.S. installations anywhere near the area, where the demonstrations takes place and normally Hezbollah make sure their demonstrators are very well behavior.

BRIGGS: We should add Palestinian president will not meet with Vice President Pence when he travels there next week. Ben Wedeman live for us in Beirut, thanks.

ROMANS: All right. Former President Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and his aide Rick Gates expected back in court this morning. Special Counsel Robert Mueller seem say Manafort the former campaign chairman violated the judge's gag order by ghostwriting on op-ed, while on bail last month. Prosecutors say the commentary was written with a Russian who has ties to Russian intelligence and related to his political work for Ukraine. Mueller's office said it is not seeking to send Manafort back to jail, but it said it is no longer backs the deal that would have him released on house arrest.

BRIGGS: The GOP tax bill working its way through conference committee as the house and senate hammer out difference between their tax bills. Republican Senator Susan Collins says she may not vote for the final version.


[04:40:10] SEN SUSAN COLLINS, (D) MAINE: I always swayed until the final version of the bill is brought before us, before I make a final decision on whether or not to support it. Their major differences between the house and senate bills and I don't know where the bill is going to come out.


BRIGGS: Collins vote is important. Needless to say Republican leaders can only lose two GOP votes to the senate. And Republican Senator Bob Corker voted against the original bill over deficit concerns. Collins tells CNN she may vote no, if certain amendments are not included particularly those that help middle class families like deductions for property taxes and medical expenses. And assurance that Medicare payments will not be cut.

ROMANS: All right. President Trump's approval ratings an all-time poll is low yet getting high marks on one important area, the economy. Nearly half of Americans approve of Trump's handling of the economy. That is according to a recent "Wall Street Journal" NBC news poll, that members of stark contrast to his approval rating which hits the lowest point of his 11 month presidency last week. Typically a strong economy translates into approval for the current President. There is a lot to celebrate. Strong hiring, unemployment, stock market hitting record high after record high, but experts say constant political distractions undermine Trump's economic milestones and the economy has been strong for some time. LoOK at jobs. The U.S. - excuse me.

BRIGGS: The U.S. added 1.7 million jobs during Trump's first ten months in office. That is a great number, but also less than former President Obama's last ten months, U.S. added 1.86 million jobs.

ROMANS: Sorry. I had a frog in my throat. That chart is really interesting, because you have that mere image of the job numbers and mere image of jobs in the stock market and the President's approval rating. A lot of folks are saying the economy is stupid, it has for 25 years, why isn't the President --

BRIGGS: It is head scratching, isn't it?

ROMANS: It is.

BRIGGS: 32 percent and lowest on record. All right. Firefighters battling around the clock to get the upper hand on those massive wildfires burning in southern California. We'll have a report from Ventura County next.


[04:46:44] ROMANS: More than 95,000 people forced to evacuate their homes in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties where the Thomas fire, now the fifth largest wildfire in modern California history has already consumed more than 230,000 acres. 6,000 firefighters struggling to beat back these flames, this wildfire has already damaged or destroyed nearly 1,000 structures, the cost to fight this fire, just this fire, $34 million and climbing. California governor Jerry Brown blaming the huge late fall wildfire on climate change.


JERRY BROWN, (D) CALIFORNIA: This is the new normal and this could be something that happens every year or few years. Just more intense, more widespread and we're about ready to have firefighting at Christmas.


ROMANS: We have more from CNN's Kyung Lah in Ventura County.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine this is Southern California largest wildfire, the Thomas fire and you can see it burning in those hills. It is most visible when the sun sets in these overnight hours and it is marching closer and closer to Santa Barbara further northwest fueled here by wind and dry brush. It has been some 250 days here in California without any significant rain. Firefighters relying on helicopters to be the big game changer in dealing with this wildfire. Here is what one firefighter told us.


LAH: So you've been hitting if from the air as well as working it from the ground?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. Correct. The helicopters have been a huge help. They get the water drops and slow it down, cool it off enough to allow firefighters to get in there on the ground and make better attack on the fire.


LAH: It's not just in the air but also on the ground. There are some 4400 firefighters just in this one wildfire, trying to contain it. Dave, Christine.


ROMANS: All right. Kyung Lah thank you for that.

BRIGGS: It is ugly out there. California firefighters won't be getting much help from the weather as well. Meteorologist Julie Martin with the latest.

JULIE MARTIN, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, Dave and Christine another day of elevated fire danger here in southern California where six fires are continuing to burn, the Thomas fire the most concerning at this point. It's only 10 percent contained. It's a large fire. 230,000 acres. The good news is the other fires at play, those are all more than 70 percent contained at this point. So firefighters have been able to make progress, but those Santa Ana winds still persisting for at least another day. High pressure to the north is going to retreat, that is good news, because that means some of those winds will be decreasing and that should help firefighter as well. But still have no moisture in the forecast.

The other story we're following of course, the cold across the eastern half of the U.S. in fact even way down into northern Florida, some subzero temperatures as a result. And a winter storm watch in New England as well, this is tonight, expecting some snow to fall here north of Boston and big portions of Maine.

[04:50:00] Take a loOK at some temperatures, today high temperature in New York 39 degrees. 55 here in Charlotte, 50's in Atlanta, staying warm as we head back into Texas. Dave and Christine.

ROMANS: Julie thank you for that.

A majority of workers worry they will be replaced by robots in their lifetime and those fears may not be unfounded. Details on CNN "Money" stream next.


BRIGGS: Celebrities rallying overwhelming support for a young boy from Tennessee after a video of him describing how he is bullied at school went viral. The video of Keaton Jones receiving at least 21 million views on FaceboOK since his mother posted it Friday. In the video, Keaton tearfully shares his hurt feelings.


[04:55:11] KEATON JONES, BULLYING VICTIM: Just out of curiosity, why do they bully? What's the point of it? Why do you find joy in taking innocent people and finding a way to be mean to them? It's not OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did they say to you?

JONES: They make fun of my nose, they call me ugly, and they say I have no friends.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did they do to you at lunch?

JONES: Poured milk on me.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Or is it other kids too that feel that way?

JONES: It's other kids too.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How does that make you feel? JONES: Why did they do it to me? Because it's not OK. People are

different. Don't need to be criticized about it. It's not their fault. But if you are made fun of, just don't let it bother you. Stay strong, I guess. It's hard. But it probably will get better one day.



BRIGGS: That is heart breaking.

ROMANS: That video quickly prompted a huge wave of support from Keaton from Hollywood. Singer Demi Lovato tweeted, there is so many people who come out of bullying so much stronger and you will be one of them. Actress Eva lingerie shared the video and (inaudible) wrote don't ever let others defy who you are, you are brave and beautiful just as you are. Even rapper Snoop Dog sent love to him saying you've got a friend in me for life. Chis Evans, you know over and over and over again these famous people tweeted support. That is one thing. He is not going to live in Hollywood. You've got to hope that that school district, those administrators, the parents are those horrible children in that school district have sat down and tried to figure out how to change the climate.

BRIGGS: Let's hope 20 more million Americans see that video to their kids can learn.

ROMANS: Absolutely. But I want Keaton's situation to be fixed.

BRIGGS: Potentially ugly scene defuse in the closing moments of Sunday's NFL game between the Seahawks and Jaguar, check this out. Defensive line man Quentin Jefferson of Seahawks attempting to climb into the stands to go after a fan who threw a drink at him. It all happened as he was leaving the field after being ejected from the game. Security officers stepped in and cooler heads prevailed, but had they not, he would have been in the stands and injuring a fan who was out of line. These fans were clearly way out of line in Jacksonville. That was almost a much uglier scene in Jacksonville. Big win by the Jags.

ROMANS: You kind of wonder how those guys are trying to be professionals on the field and somebody throws a drink.

BRIGGS: You need to be tough, because that is part of the deal. You've got a suck it up.

ROMANS: All right. Let go check on CNN Money Stream this morning. Global market, stock market starting the week higher. The S&P500 closed the week record highs Friday after that really good job support. The U.S. added 228,000 jobs in November. The unemployment rate held steady at 4.1 percent. That is a 14-year low. One weak spot, wage growth. It's been sluggish for years, only grew 2.5 percent last month. The third rate hike this year.

All right investors, yes found a new way to invest in bit coin on Sunday the Chicago auction exchange again offering bitcoin features that allows investors to speculate and it is speculation folks on whether the digital currency's price will go up or down. Bit coin futures jumped 21 percent after trading began rising to a high of $18,700. You know, options trading means you're trading on them without having to own bitcoin. You don't actually have to own it. The COB allows investors to place bets on commodities. Bitcoin has no physical asset and the virtual coins aren't tied to a central bank. That has not stopped speculators. Bit coin prices up something like 1500 percent this year despite warnings against it by all kinds of pretty important people.

All right. A majority of workers worry they will be replaced by robots in their lifetime. That is according to a new report from Zip recruiters. They found the most jobs seekers had heard the term job automation and it worries them. In fact 70 percent say they are picking jobs they feel won't be automated in the near future. Those fears may not be unfounded. A recent study found automation could kill 370 million jobs by 2030 worldwide. The work most at risk, physical jobs like operating machinery, fast food. Already finding ways to automate a lot of fast food and data collection and processing. Every time we talk about a higher minimum wage, I hear from folks who say, yes if you race the minimum wage too much, I will go automate my entire restaurant.