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EARLY START

Trump Calls for Ban on Muslims Entering the U.S.; California Terror Attack: Investigating the Shooters; Oscar Pistorius Granted Bail. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired December 8, 2015 - 04:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:30:28] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: New controversy in the race for president. Donald Trump proposing a ban on all Muslims entering the U.S. New reaction from his presidential rivals and from around the world.

New information about the shooters in the California terror attack. When they were radicalized and how they got their guns.

Welcome back to EARLY START. Very business morning, folks. I'm Christine Romans. John Berman has the morning off. It's 30 minutes past the hour.

An earthquake shakes the world of presidential politics after Donald Trump calls for a religious test banning all Muslims from entering the United States.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.

(CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: You can hear those cheers. Trump's new position drawing huge support and cheers from his supporters and also drawing fire from nearly every other corner of the political world.

We get the latest now from senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny -- Jeff.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Christine, Donald Trump's plan to ban all Muslims from coming to the U.S. was met with wide condemnation from across the Republican establishment. Every single one of his rivals criticized his plan. Even former Vice President Dick Cheney weighed in. He said it's simply un-American.

But the supporters who were here in South Carolina listening to Donald Trump make his case, they cheered in response. Some of them said they thought it went too far, but others said it was given the shooting in San Bernardino.

Now, this has actually changed the conversation in this presidential debate. Donald Trump talked about that as he made his case for why he believes this plan is necessary. Let's take a listen.

TRUMP: We have to be tough. We have to be smart. We have to be vigilant.

Yes, we have to look at mosques and we have to respect mosques, but yes, we have to look at mosques. We have no choice. We have to see what's out there, because something is happening in there.

Man, there's anger. There's anger. And we have to know about it.

ZELENY: Now, it was that type of language we heard through and through more than an hour long campaign event. He said something is happening out there. Something is going on out there. He even went as far as there could be another World Trade Center bombing.

It is the fear and frustration that he is playing into by choice. Politically, it may be a wise move for him, but it's an open question of how this plays in the longer term. With this Republican debate now one week away, you can bet this will be front and center in the conversation -- Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: Oh, you can bet for sure. All right. Thanks so much for that, Jeff Zeleny. Talk to you soon.

You know, announcing his new policy, Trump pointed to a poll from a conservative think tank, the Center for Security Policy. A poll that claims a quarter of U.S. Muslims believe violence against Americans is justified as part of global jihad. Within hours, Trump was using that poll to defend his new policy, his Muslim exclusion policy on FOX News.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS: There are Americans serving in our military who are Muslims who are overseas on bases. Do you apply this rule to them?

TRUMP: No, they would come home. They would be able -- anybody here stays, but we have to be very vigilant. There's a lot of bad things going on.

When you look at the polling numbers that came out, there is tremendous hatred. There is tremendous animosity. These are people living in our country for Muslims living in the country, which is amazing, because I have Muslim friends, Greta, and they are wonderful people. There is a tremendous section and cross section of Muslims living in our country who have tremendous animosity.

We can't let this happen. We have a country to protect.

VAN SUSTEREN: Does this apply to your friends? Does this apply to your Muslim friends? This complete shutdown?

TRUMP: No, this applies -- this does not apply to people living in the country, except that we have to be vigilant.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: So, as Jeff Zeleny mentioned, Donald Trump's rivals were quick to respond, slamming this plan. Many of them using pretty vivid language.

Let's start with Jeb Bush, he tweeted, "Donald Trump is unhinged. His, quote, 'policy' proposals are not serious."

This from Marco Rubio, "Donald Trump's, quote, habit of making offensive and outlandish statements will not bringing America together."

Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina also blasting this idea of Muslim exclusion as unnecessary and Fiorina's case, she calls it unconstitutional.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[04:35:03] CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He is mobilizing anti-Muslim sentiment. He is preying on the fears of the American people. It is called rabble-rousing.

CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is the kind of thing that people say when they have no experience and don't know what they are talking about. You do not need to be banning Muslims from the country. That's -- in my view, that's a ridiculous position and one that won't even be productive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: John Kasich tweeted, "We need a leader that will unite us. Not divide us."

Ben Carson released a statement saying, quote, "Everyone visiting our country should registered and be monitored during their stay as is done in many countries. I do not and would not advocate being selective on one's religion."

Ted Cruz highlighted his own approach, focused on excluding Syrian refugees.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That is not my policy. I've introduced legislation in the Senate that would put in place a three-year moratorium on refugees coming from countries where ISIS or al Qaeda controls a substantial amount of territory. And the reason is that's where the threat is coming from.

And the Obama administration, the FBI has told us they don't have the resources to properly vet those refugees, to determine whether or not they are ISIS terrorists. I think that's the approach we should take.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Those are the Republicans. He is also taking fire from Democrats. In a personally signed tweet, Hillary Clinton calling Trump's proposal, quote, "reprehensible, prejudiced and divisive. Donald Trump, you don't get it. This makes us less safe."

And Bernie Sanders tweeting that "the U.S. is a strong nation when we stand together. When we are weak, we are weak when we allow racism and xenophobia to divide us."

Trump, of course, is no stranger to controversy, but he's stirring the pot now like never before. CNN's Sara Sidner has the international reaction to Trump's call for all Muslims to be barred from entering the U.S. She is live in Istanbul, Turkey.

What is the international reaction, Sara?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is everything from people looking at it as ironic, considering some of his business ties, all the way to disgusting. It depends on who you asked.

We talked to some business owners here. What is ironic to them in Istanbul is that if you look just over my shoulder, you'll notice the name Trump, and yes, that this is the Donald Trump, named after him, this is Trump Tower. They licensed the name. He does not own the building. But they pay to use his name.

And people here are going, hold on a second. You are OK with taking money from Muslims, but you're not OK with Muslims themselves. So, they see that as very ironic.

There are folks here who also see it as quite disgusting, that mentality that somehow you are going to bar an entire group of people just for what they believe in, coming into America, of all places, which a lot of people see as a melting pot, where refugees, where people from all over the world have come, a place of immigrants, and then to hear this from a presidential candidate, not only worries them, but it puts a little bit of fear in some people's minds.

Women especially who wear the hijab who show their Muslimness front and center worry that they may become targets because of this kind of speech. So, there is a great deal of concern here.

We're also hearing from -- officially from Indonesia, from the foreign ministry there, who have basically said, look, we see Islam as a religion of peace, and that there are just a few people who have taken this religion and made it something else. But you cannot color everyone with the same brush. It is just simply wrong.

Also, the Islamic Council in Thailand has spoken out, saying that, look, we do realize this is not someone who is an official from the United States, but he is vying for the presidency. And it just cannot be that America luckily can have free speech and they are perfectly happy with that, but it also has freedom to treat humanity anyway, which way it pleases. And they have seen America as a place where anyone can practice any religion they please. They can't understand this idea of barring an entire group of people -- Christine.

ROMANS: Sara, the final point that is sort of the irony in this, it is that this is a country, the United States, founded on religious freedom, on a lack of religious test if you will. It's what Dick Cheney, the former vice president, was saying. His own ancestors, as he pointed out, were Puritans who came to the United States because there was no religious test to enter the United States.

Donald Trump totally turning that upside down, great cheers on the campaign trail. He is not an elected official. He is a celebrity running for president, but certainly, his words reverberating around the globe.

Sara, thank you for that. We'll talk to you again very, very soon.

Donald Trump is going to get another chance to explain this Muslim exclusion policy in the 7:00 hour of "NEW DAY" this morning.

The Department of Homeland Security plans to tweak its terrorism alert system. Under the current system, there are two threat levels, imminent and elevated. Now, the department plans to add a third level to cover less serious threats in order to provide general advisories to the public when necessary. No word when that level takes effect or what it will be called.

[04:40:02] Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid filling in the president's pledge to destroy ISIS with new plans to introduce the legislation that would create an ISIS czar. Reid says the plan will help unify the federal government's efforts in fighting ISIS. Democrats will also push for sanctions aimed at cutting off the terror group's ability to receive funding.

Time for an early start of your money this morning. Stocks lower around the world, folks. Asian stocks closed much lower. European stocks, U.S. stocks futures are down right now. Dow futures down half a percent. Tanking oil prices are the reason. They plunged nearly 6 percent yesterday to a seven-year low. Big, big moves in oil here.

Donald Trump's latest target, Amazon. Trump accused CEO Jeff Bezos of using his ownership of "The Washington Post" as a big tax shelter for Amazon. Donald Trump tweeting about Amazon yesterday. Quote, "If Amazon ever had to pay fair taxes, its stock would crash and it would crumble like a paper bag. The Washington Post scam is saving it."

But tax experts have been puzzled by these claims. They say it doesn't hold up. Amazon does not own "The Washington Post". Jeff Bezos does. So, it's unclear how Amazon could use the paper to lower its tax bill.

Jeff Bezos fired back with his fourth tweet. He's only tweeted four times. So, Jeff Bezos making his fourth tweet in regard to this, referencing another company he owns Blue Origin. He wrote, "Finally trashed by Donald Trump. Will still reserve him a seat on the Blue Origin rocket. #sendDonaldtospace."

New information this morning, 41 minutes after the hour, new information this morning on the shooters in the California terror attack. What those who knew them are now saying this morning, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:45:58] ROMANS: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

I want to bring you new information this morning on the couple behind the San Bernardino massacre. The FBI making step by step progress as it investigates these team of killers, husband and wife, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik.

Now, officials say it is still unclear who radicalized whom. But officials are saying these two had been following a radical strain of Islam for some time. The radicalization was not a recent development. There are also new questions about the original buyer of some of the weapons they used, a former neighbor of the Farook family.

CNN's Ana Cabrera investigated all this. She has latest from San Bernardino.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine, we are learning a lot more about the shooters in this massacre. We've learned that both had been radicalized and they had been for quite some time according to the FBI. They also tell us that both had been practicing target shooting at a local gun range and they had done so just days before the shooting.

Now, authorities have confiscated five guns, including two pistols and three rifles. Three of those guns we're told were purchased directly by Syed Rizwan Farook, but two of the assault rifles were purchased by another man now identified as Enrique Marquez. Investigators have interviewed him. He's not facing any charges at this time, but authorities say they still don't know how those guns ended up in the hands of the killers.

The FBI is calling this a massive investigation and they are trying to be extremely methodical as they work to get answers. We know they've collected 320 pieces of evidence, many of those sent to the FBI crime lab. They've also interviewed some 400 people, contacts of the killers, including Farook's parents who we know were interviewed individually for several hours.

Authorities here say they're also working with intelligence and their counterparts overseas, trying to track the couple's movements that any contacts they may have had there.

What's really slowed them, though, is trying to track the digital foot print. Of course, that could be crucial in this investigation. We know the couple destroyed their cell phones. The hard drive was missing from the computer. And the FBI insisting they're not going to leave any stone unturned -- Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right. Ana Cabrera, thank you for that.

Some more details on the shooters. You may remember the couple left behind a 6-month-old daughter. We now know the older sister of the husband is seeking to adopt this baby, this now orphaned baby. No long-term decisions at the custody hearing held on Monday.

We're also learning the Pakistani security forces have raided a home once occupied by the father of the female attacker, Tashfeen Malik. You can see her there in the photo taken at customs in the airport. A security source tells troops broke the padlock off the door of an unoccupied home and remove some items.

Also, a school in Pakistan says Malik studied the Koran, its branch in the city of Multan, but she left before completing her degree, she left. She moved to the United States to marry her husband.

The president demanding more gun control after the tragedy in San Bernardino. Why another mass shooting is sending gun stocks, though, soaring. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:53:43] ROMANS: Breaking news this morning: just a short while ago -- South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius granted bail as he awaits sentencing next year for murdering his girlfriend.

Last week, South Africa's Supreme Court of appeals overturned his conviction for culpable homicide. That's roughly equal here to manslaughter. It's found him guilty of murdering model Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius lawyers say they will appeal this murder conviction to South Africa's constitutional court. He is on bail.

Testimony resumes this morning in the trial of Baltimore Police Officer William Porter charged in the death of Freddie Gray. On Monday, the state medical examiner who performed Gray's autopsy testified his death was a homicide, resulting from police action. It was not an accident. Gray suffered a fatal spinal injury while being transported in a police van. Also, Monday, one of the jurors had to be replaced due to a medical emergency.

We've got new details for you this morning about the man accused of killing three people at Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood. "The Associated Press" citing a law enforcement official who said Robert Dear asked one person for directions to the facility before launching the deadly attack. It may be the clearest indication that Dear was targeting Planned Parenthood.

[04:55:01] Prosecutors expect to formally charge him about murder and other crimes this week. A victory for gun control advocates. Supreme Court refusing to hear a

challenge to a Chicago suburb's ban on semiautomatic assault weapons. That keeps similar bans in place in several states. California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Connecticut and Hawaii. Majority of justices agreeing with two lower courts which ruled those bans were constitutional.

People in Portland, Oregon, have never seen anything like this. The flooding that has turned streets into rivers stranding people in waterlogged homes, people in desperate need of rescue. Nearly 3 inches of rain fell on Monday tying a one day record. Will the rain in the Pacific Northwest let up?

Let's get to meteorologist Pedram Javaheri for that.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hey, Christine. Good morning.

The storm door is open in the northwest of the United States. You take a look carefully. In fact, the moisture source will be called the Pineapple Express, as it surges from near the Hawaiian islands, so you know there is tropical moisture to go around. And the indication over the next seven days puts at least four to six inches of rainfall across western Washington. The areas indicated in pink, that would be in excess of a foot of rainfall that come down over this region.

And we know, in Portland, already, a calendar day record set on Monday with 2.67 inches. That, by the way, is 1,400 percent of what is considered normal. That's why the flooding is significant.

You go up the I-5 corridor into Seattle, it was the gloomiest day, the second gloomiest days on the 21st century over this region. In fact, the solar observations, the instruments they're measured, typically range from one to 35. The solar radiation reaching the surface was so low because of the cloud cover, it actually dropped below half. It was sitting at around 0.44 coming in on Monday afternoon. That shows you how gloomy it was outside with little daylight reaching the surface there.

But here we go. I'll leave you with the high temperatures across the eastern side of the country. The 40s around New York City. It warms up very rapidly in the next couple of days, about three degrees for each of the next four days, and gets up to about 63 or so by later this weekend -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Pedram, thanks for that.

Let's get an early start on your money this morning. An ugly morning for stocks around the world. Asian stocks close much lower, European stocks and U.S. stock futures are down.

Oil is the culprit. Oil prices plunged 6 percent yesterday. That's a seven-year low. OPEC has its pumps pumping despite a huge supply glut. Gas could soon fall below $2 a gallon nationally for the first time since 2009. The average currently $2.03. Look at that, a lot lower than $2.67 a year ago. The president's call to action on guns sending gun stocks soaring. Shares of Smith & Wesson and Strum, Ruger jumped more than 5 percent yesterday. Gun sales tend to be boosted after mass shootings or whenever the president talks about gun violence and how to control it.

The reason people feel motivated to buy guns before they could be banned or restricted. On Sunday, Obama asked Congress for tougher gun control laws following the attacks in San Bernardino. Gun sales also skyrocketed back in 2003 after the mass shooting of Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Lottery winners in owners getting a pay day. The state has been issuing IOUs for lottery winners over $600 since July. It's because the lawmakers in the state have not passed a budget. Now, the governor has signed the bill, giving the lottery authority to resume its payouts. Lottery officials expect to work through the backlog of payments in a week.

EARLY START continues right now.

(MUSIC)

Donald Trump wants to ban all Muslims from entering the United States. The controversial new proposal getting backlash this morning.

New information this morning about the San Bernardino shooters. When they were radicalized and how they got their weapons.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans. It is Tuesday, December 8th, 5:00 a.m. in the East. John Berman has the morning off.

An earthquake shakes the world of presidential politics after Donald Trump callings for a religious test banning all Muslims from entering the United States.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.

(CHEERS)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: Trump's new position drawing cheers from his supporters and drawing fire from over other corner of the political world.

Let's get the latest from senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny -- Jeff.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZELENY: Christine, Donald Trump's plan to ban all Muslims from coming to the U.S. was met with wide condemnation from across the Republican establishment. Every single one of his rivals criticized his plan. Even former Vice President Dick Cheney weighed in. He said it's simply un-American.

But the supporters who were here in South Carolina listening to Donald Trump make his case, they cheered in response. Some of them said they thought it went too far, but others said it was given the shooting in San Bernardino.

Now, this has actually changed the conversation in this presidential debate. Donald Trump talked about that as he made his case for why he believes this plan is necessary.