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EARLY START

Team Trump: "Infighting" Reports Overblown; Giuliani Legal Work Raises Concerns; Romo: Dallas QB Job Belongs To Prescott; President Obama Plays "First Tourist"; Experts Say New Hotel Near White House Could President Problems; Trump: "Very Organized Process Taking Place". Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired November 16, 2016 - 05:30   ET

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


[05:30:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: President-elect Donald Trump -- he denies any troubles with his transition team, but a one-time insider tells CNN about confusion in the chain of command.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The son-in-law at the center of it all. Jared Kushner said to be rubbing some team members the wrong way.

BERMAN: The President-elect breaks protocol. He heads out without reporters. The reporters were there just to cover him. Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS: And I am Christine Romans. Nice to see you this morning -- this Wednesday morning. It's 30 minutes past the hour.

A new -- brand new this morning -- the Trump transition team pushing back -- pushing back hard against these reports it is sharply divided and that Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is right in the middle of this infighting -- these reports of infighting.

Now, sources close to that transition telling CNN there is a battle between establishment Republicans and non-traditional conservatives. But a high-ranking Trump insider says the reports of infighting are overblown and that some lobbyists were fired, but there's no purge underway.

Trump, himself, tweeted last night this. "Very organized process taking place as I decide on cabinet and many other positions." He added, "I'm the only one who knows who the finalists are."

One transition official who was axed, former chairman -- congressman, rather -- and CNN commentator, Mike Rogers. He was let go after months advising the transition on national security. CNN's Joe Johns has the latest on that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Mike Rogers, a former House Intelligence Committee chairman, is now out. He was seen as a reassuring figure to many Republicans, especially on the issues of national security, and was thought as on the short list for CIA director. He's gone. Of course, he was hired by Chris Christie who, as well, was demoted. So the question is why? What's going on with the transition? The

story they certainly want to put out is this is all about a blending of the campaign staff that traveled around the country with Donald Trump and the transition staff that was put in place to figure out what was going to happen in the event he won.

But there is also a question as to whether all of this is part of a purge in the continuing fight -- the back fighting between the establishment figures who work with Donald Trump and the non- traditional figures. The insiders and the outsiders. Of course, they say no, it is not a purge.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: All right. Mike Rogers says there is some confusion about the chain of command, though, at Trump Tower in New York, where Vice President-elect Mike Pence is now the chairman of the transition team. Rogers -- you were just hearing about Mike Rogers, the former chair of the House Intelligence Committee, and his presence on the transition was seen as reassuring to some establishment Republicans. But, Rogers, in an interview with CNN last night, said it was "absolutely the campaign's prerogative to let him go."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE ROGERS, FORMER MEMBER OF TRUMP TRANSITION TEAM: They wanted to go in a different direction. It was easy for me to hand it off to Mike Pence and his capable hands coming in, so I think that was kind of a combination. I think there is some confusion going on about a chain of command coming out of New York.

Hopefully, they'll get that settled pretty soon. I think they're going to need to do it because as this clock ticks all of these decisions become more important and you have to make them sooner with a little more authority and a little more forward thinking to make sure that they don't bump into anything in the future. I think they're going to get there. I'm an optimist about that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: All right. New signs this morning of Donald Trump's learning curve. The President-elect violating protocol last night when after an aide told reporters Trump was in for the night, he showed up at a New York City steakhouse two hours later without notifying the pool, a team of reporters on standby.

It is longstanding procedure for the president-elect to travel with a pool of reporters. A Trump spokesperson says she was not aware of the restaurant plans. She says efforts are underway to set up the pool. This is the second time, I think, that there's been an event where suddenly, you know, pool reporters found Donald Trump was not there -- was out in public and there weren't reporters there to witness it.

BERMAN: No, you called it a learning curve. It seems like it may be a willful disregard for the free press and the pool that is there to travel and have access to the candidate in case anything happens to him or her. I said the candidate -- the president-elect. That's what makes it so important. You want to have access to them in case something happens to him or her, and in case something happens to the country and you need to ask some questions. This is important, folks.

All right, there is new word this morning about the effort to get at least some members of President-elect Trump's family top security clearance. CNN has learned that Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, could end up with that clearance. Kushner is expected to play a key role in the White House as an adviser to his father-in-law. A source tells CNN the clearance is likely but it has not happened yet.

ROMANS: All right. Critics are taking aim this morning at Rudy Giuliani, claiming extensive worldwide legal work by a frontrunner for Secretary of State -- by the frontrunner for Secretary of State poses some potentially serious conflicts of interest. His former law firm, Bracewell & Giuliani, and another company, Giuliani Security -- they have done work for governments across Latin America and the Middle East. Senator Rand Paul calls the former New York mayor's ties to foreign government worrisome.

[05:35:10] Let's talk Trump transition with CNN political analyst Josh Rogin, a columnist for "The Washington Post". Good morning, Josh, nice to see you.

JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Good morning.

ROMANS: Let's play a little bit of that sound of Rand Paul talking about why the Giuliani situation is a problem in his mind.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Well, I think it is worrisome, some of the ties to foreign governments, because that was a big complaint about many of us with Hillary Clinton and her ties and the money she received from foreign governments. So whether or not you have divided loyalty, obviously, is very important.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: But not insurmountable if there were to be a Senate confirmation, right?

ROGIN: Well, that's right. I mean, all of these guys, after leaving government, make money. The question is where do they draw the line, and Rudy Giuliani doesn't seem to have drawn any line at all. I mean, he consulted for the government of Venezuela, for the governments of Qatar, and for a shady Iranian dissident group called the MEK. Those are just three that we know about, and I'm sure if he were to go through a confirmation process there would be more.

Now, the Trump transition team may decide that that -- they don't care that his qualifications and his loyalty warrant him being pushed for this job despite those conflicts. It's just a matter of how much do they want to create friction with their incoming picks with the Senate, that's going to need to confirm them, amidst all of these other things they have to do. A safer choice -- a more mainstream choice would be investor John

Bolton, who again, has enemies on Capitol Hill, but not as many direct conflicts involving getting paid by notorious regimes.

BERMAN: Rand Paul, by the way, who just was criticizing Rudy Giuliani, has very harsh criticism for John Bolton, as well. In that case, Rand Paul's --

ROGIN: Right.

BERMAN: -- issues are the Iraq War and Bolton supports that.

ROGIN: Right. It's more of a policy than a personal -- right.

BERMAN: Let's talk about the transition right now --

ROGIN: Sure.

BERMAN: -- because the reports have been that there is turmoil within Trump world within the transition and the president-elect Mike Rogers, who does some work here at CNN, axed from the transition team maybe because he had ties to Chris Christie. Is there real turmoil that will keep this transition from getting its job done or are these just growing pains, Josh?

ROGIN: Well, I'm sure in the end they'll come up with a team. The question is what tone do they set and what message do they send as they go through this process, which has been tumultuous, more than usual, although it's always somewhat tumultuous.

What we see here with the purging -- and it is a purging of people like Mike Rogers -- is two things. One is they're rewarding the loyalists, OK? Mike Rogers was on the team but he wasn't in the inner circle. They want to show people that if you were not on the inner circle and not very, very loyal from the very beginning, then you're not going to get a top job.

The other thing is they're punishing people who were somewhat bipartisan in their careers. One of the main criticisms with Mike Rogers was that when he was House Intelligence chairman he put out this report of the Benghazi attacks that, according to many inside Trump world, wasn't sufficiently critical of the State Department and Hillary Clinton. It was seen as too conciliatory to the Democrats and that was one of the things that his enemies inside the Trump transition team used to get rid of him.

So this is a message sent to all national security officials who might want to be in the Trump administration. Not only do you have to be loyal, you have to be partisan, OK?

ROMANS: Right.

ROGIN: And then that's going to strike -- rub a lot of people the wrong way.

ROMANS: All right, Josh, quickly, on this idea of -- we've had rich people run for president before and they've always said they would quit or they have put their business interests in a blind trust.

ROGIN: Right.

ROMANS: What is going on here? If you had Donald Trump's kids taking care of his business it wouldn't be blind. I mean, the business is right there and you could see when foreign leaders come, you know, and stay in his hotel and the like, maybe trying to curry favor. What do you make -- where do you see that storyline going here?

ROGIN: Right. I mean, we have more potential for conflict of interest than any previous president just because of the sheer scope and scale of the Trump organization's business interests in foreign countries. And then when you add the fact that Trump may be requesting security clearances for his adult children, for his son-in- law, who are supposed to be running the business without any knowledge of what's going on in the government, it raises huge concerns and a real risk that the business interests and the national security interests could become conflated.

Now, what's most troubling is that the Trump transition team doesn't seem to be sensitive to those concerns, right, and they don't seem to be saying that there's going to be a clear firewall. Whether it's a blind trust or just we promise not to talk to each other or, at least, we're not going to give national security clearances to people who are running Trump businesses. They don't seem to be sympathetic to any of that and that's sending a lot of bad signals to people who are concerned about transparency, accountability, and the vision between the Trump organization and the Trump administration.

BERMAN: We will see if the Republican Congress chooses to weigh in on this matter. Josh Rogin, great to have you with us. Thanks.

ROGIN: Always.

[05:40:00] ROMANS: All right, call it Trumponomics. Lower taxes, faster growth, infrastructure spending, increased spending overall, a lot of debt and more risk. He's still two months away from taking the oath of office and enacting some of his plans. The financial markets are already prepping for a Trump economy.

While stock markets investors are enjoying a post-election bounce, the bond market is making things more expensive for millions of Americans. My Romans' Numeral today, 4.02 percent. That's the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage, jumping above four percent overnight. That's according to Mortgage Daily News.

BERMAN: I think that's three numerals, by the way, technically.

ROMANS: It's one numeral with a decimal point and -- yes.

BERMAN: It's -- I'm just saying.

ROMANS: OK. That's the highest average since early January. And look at the jump from the lows of the summer, John Berman -- 3.34 percent. So why the big jump? Bond yields are rising in anticipation of Trump's policies. Mortgages, car loans, credit cards are tied to those bonds so borrowing will get more expensive. Plus, the Fed is expected to raise interest rates in December.

But a lot of people -- like overnight -- boom -- four percent on those mortgage rates. If you're going to refi, do it. If you were waiting to lock in, you missed.

BERMAN: All right. LeBron James calling out Phil Jackson. Did the Knicks boss make a remark that upset the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar? Hines Ward with this morning's Bleacher Report -- that's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:45:30] BERMAN: There is no controversy -- no quarterback controversy in Dallas, at least not for now. At least not according to Tony Romo.

ROMANS: Hines Ward has more this morning in the Bleacher Report. Hey, there.

HINES WARD, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, guys. Yes, Tony Romo says that the Cowboys now belong to rookie Dak Prescott. Now, Romo broke a bone in his back in the pre-season when Dak took over as starting quarterback. Now, since then, the Cowboys have gone eight and one. Now, Romo is healthy and ready to play, but in a prepared statement yesterday he said that Dak is the man in Dallas right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TONY ROMO, DALLAS COWBOYS: He's earned the right to be our quarterback. As hard as that is for me to say, he's earned that right. He's guided our team to an eight and one record and that's hard to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WARD: And LeBron James was not happy with legendary coach Phil Jackson. In an interview with ESPN, Jackson referred to LeBron's group of friends that he hangs with as LeBron's posse. Now, LeBron didn't like that type of labeling to the friends that he hangs out with in his inner circle but he says he doesn't respect Phil Jackson anymore.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEBRON JAMES, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: If you're going to read the definition of what the word "posse" is, it's not what I've built over my career. It's not what I stand for. It's not what my family stands for. And I believe the only reason he used that word is because we see young African-Americans trying to make a difference."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WARD: After a weekend full of college football upsets, Ohio State found themselves the biggest winners when the college football playoff rankings were announced last night. Now, Ohio State -- they moved all the way from fifth to second. Meanwhile, Michigan -- they stay at number three after they lost to unranked Iowa. Clemson, they dropped from second to fourth while undefeated Alabama still remains on top.

Now, the number-one ranked Duke, they take on number seven Kansas at Madison Square Garden. The score tied at 75, 8.2 seconds left in the game. Jayhawks Frank Mason III drains the jumper to take the lead. The little man coming up big for Kansas. Duke inbounds the ball and he's up a half-court shot, but no good. Kansas pulls off the upset, 77 to 75. Now, guys, this is their eighth win over a number one team in school history.

ROMANS: Whoa.

BERMAN: If I'm number one, I'm never playing Kansas.

(LAUGHTER)

Let's hope I have that energy.

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

WARD: All right.

BERMAN: Let's check in with number one Chris Cuomo on "NEW DAY" right now to find out what's going on.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": I was going to say, J.B., you never have to worry about being in that position.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: Oh, I serve it up to you. All right.

CUOMO: All right, come on. In the spirit of comity, C-O-M-I-T-Y, let's talk about what's going on with inside the transition team. And I use that word not just to follow up on my jab of John Berman, but because you've got to be careful about this kind of reporting. Transitions are messy. Politics is, very often, messy. And the Trump transition is no different. But we have new reporting about what this dynamic is that will help you parse the headlines of chaos in-house.

And we're also going to take on some of the first moves by the president-elect. His ditching of the press pool. Why should you care about that? That's an interesting question. We're going to give you a couple of different takes on it about why it might not just be media whining.

We're also going to talk to Donald Trump's newly-appointed congressional liaison. That's an interesting position. It's not always used. The man's name is Chris Collins. He's a New York congressman. He's from upstate -- western New York, and he's going to come on and say what that job means and what the priorities are for the president-elect once he gets into office. And there's some intrigue there, as well.

We're also going to talk about the Democrats. They're in trouble. You could say they're in transition but it's actually worse than that because they don't know where they're going. Transition shows that you're going from one place to another. They don't know what that second place is.

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi's role as minority leader in the House -- that may be in danger. Who's taking her on and why? We're going to talk to a Democratic congressman who thinks there may truly be a new day coming from the Democrats.

BERMAN: I would only say when you said the press pool issue -- whether it might or might not be media whining, it's not media whining. This is an issue of transparency and access. The president- elect, like the president, works for the American people and the American people need to know where this person is, within like a block radius. Just tell us if you're going out to dinner for God's sake.

[05:50:00] CUOMO: Trump's people have a different take and we'll lay it out on the show and then people like John, Christine, can judge.

ROMANS: All right. John, the judge and jury, Berman.

BERMAN: That's right.

ROMANS: Thank you so much. Nice to see you, Chris.

CUOMO: Always.

ROMANS: The Dow approaching a major milestone thanks, in part, to the recent Trump rally. We're going to show you one incredible chart. I know that's such a nerdy tease. I'm going to show you a really cool chart when we come back.

BERMAN: Awesome, charts.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: All right. President Obama in Greece right now getting ready for a very important trip to Germany. While in Greece he had a chance to visit the Acropolis. And in this visit, and in all the visits he's going to have in the coming days, he is facing a number of questions about President-elect Donald Trump.

CNN senior international correspondent Nic Robertson live in Athens right now -- Nic.

[05:55:00] NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, John. Well, the next up on President Obama's agenda is a speech. We have very few details about it but expect it, we're told, to focus on democracy. His talk about Athens and the Acropolis as being the cradle of democracy.

And what better place if you want to give a parting message of what you believe the world should understand as America's style of democracy. A democracy of uniting people, building bridges, not walls. Of one that seeks to bring people together rather than divide them. I think we can expect tones of that in this message.

And, of course, a message to the Europeans, as well, to work together, to be united. And that's what we're going to hear, very likely, when he gets to Germany later this week. He'll meet with leaders from Britain, France, Italy, Spain, as well as the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. And again, it will be unity of Europe, important to the United States -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Nic Robertson for us in Greece. Thanks so much, Nic.

ROMANS: All right, let's get a check on CNN Money Stream. Dow futures slightly lower right now. Caution signs flashing after that string of records. Stock markets in Europe and Asia are mixed. The Dow close to crossing 19,000 for the first time in history.

Thirty years ago the Dow was at 1,900. It surged during the dot-com boom, then crashed during the recession in 2009. Since then, it has roared back, gaining 12,000 points or 189 percent. The recent rise after the election coming as investors expect lower taxes and big cuts to regulation ahead.

IBM's CEO Ginni Rometty wants to help President-elect Donald Trump create new jobs in America, but she isn't in favor of getting tough on Mexico and China or ending trade deals. Instead, she's urging Donald Trump, in a letter, to focus his job creation efforts on vocational training for young workers. "Let's work together to scale up this approach of vocational training, creating a national core of skilled workers trained to take the new-collar I.T. jobs that are in demand here in America."

Donald Trump does support job training programs. President Obama, by the way, spent a record $265 million on apprenticeship programs in the last two fiscal years, so some overlap in philosophy there.

Donald Trump says he's handing over his business to his grown children but new questions this morning about potential conflicts of interest. At the center of it is this, an email sent by Ivanka Trump's clothing and jewelry company. It says style alert, Ivanka Trump wearing her favorite bangle on "60 Minutes". Remember that interview? It was Donald Trump's first sit-down since being elected. The price tag on that bracelet, by the way, is $10,000.Some calling this creative marketing, others saying this is a raw conflict of interest.

Also a concern, the hotel Trump just opened right down the street from the White House. Will he or other government officials stay there while in Washington? If so, he'd essentially be a tenant and a landlord. Even if his children are running the business, experts in government ethics say the hotel still presents a number of issues, as does the entire business.

It's really hard to put things with your name on it in a blind trust, right? Really interesting if you can still see your businesses. And, you know, he's very close to his children so we'll have to see how that ticks out.

BERMAN: Well, what Trump says is a blind trust and what is an actual blind trust --

ROMANS: Right. BERMAN: -- are two different things. We don't know what they're going to do just yet. That's something they need to work out over the coming weeks.

ROMANS: It's true, and the international -- I think about international banks giving loans and government banks giving loans. All right, that's EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. President-elect Donald Trump -- he says all is well within the transition but some sources say otherwise. "NEW DAY" picks up right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROGERS: There is some confusion going on about a chain of command.

BERMAN: Power struggle at Trump Tower.

RAND: You want to have a diplomat in charge of diplomacy. You don't want a bomb thrower.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would be an honor to serve the country again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there anybody better?

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER MAYOR, NEW YORK CITY: Maybe me, I don't know.

ROMANS: Is Jared Kushner behind the transition trouble?

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), HOUSE SPEAKER: The president's going to be judged on the results of this administration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump needs to banish the Bannons of this world from his administration.

SEN. HARRY REID (D), NEVADA: Talk is cheap and tweets are cheaper.

GLENN BECK, NATIONALLY-SYNDICATED RADIO HOST: The alt-right is real. It is truly terrifying.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

CUOMO: Good morning, welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, November 16th, 6:00 in the East. Alisyn is off. Poppy Harlow is back with me. Thanks for pulling in again.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, my friend.

CUOMO: Always a pleasure. Up first -- all right, so, not a single new hire by Donald Trump, but the pink slips are piling up. At least four members of the President-elect's transition team have already been shown the door. Questions -- is this transition troubled? Is Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, rubbing some allies the wrong way? We have new insight into the real deal and what this transition means for how Trump may govern.

HARLOW: Meanwhile, the President-elect went to dinner last night at a pretty nice New York restaurant, but guess who didn't go? The press. This is the second time since the election that he has broken precedent with the press, leading to pointed criticism from journalists. Why should you care?

We have it all covered this morning, especially Trump's transition, starting with Sunlen Serfaty, outside of Trump Tower in Manhattan. Good morning.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Poppy. This continues to be a rocky transition for President-elect Donald Trump. Among those who are out of the transition, former congressman and CNN contributor Mike Rogers, who was a leading national security voice on the transition team.