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EARLY START

Donald Trump Calls for Unity; Campaign Raises Enough to Recount 3 States; Chattanooga Mourns Death of Sixth Child. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired November 24, 2016 - 05:00   ET

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


[05:00:10] BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: President-elect Trump's Thanksgiving message. He's calling for unity after a bruising campaign.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A fund raising drive for an election recount. Millions of dollars raised in a matter of hours.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. Happy Thanksgiving. I'm Christine Romans.

SANCHEZ: Happy Thanksgiving to you, Christine, and everyone at home. I'm Boris Sanchez. It's Thursday, November 24th, 5:00 a.m. on East Coast.

And we start this morning with team Trump getting diverse. After a series of appointments of white men, Trump has named two women at the top positions in his administration. One of them, the daughter of Indian immigrants. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is Trump's pick for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. And he's tapped Betsy DeVos a top Republican donor and school choice activist as secretary of education.

We are not expecting any further transition announcements today. Trump is enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday with his family at his Mar- a-Lago estate in Palm Beach. Would you blame him really?

The president-elect released a Thanksgiving video message to the nation Wednesday, calling for healing and unity.

CNN's Jason Carroll is at Mar-a-Lago with the latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Boris, Christine, the president-elect trying to turn a page with his Thanksgiving video message. As both of you know, he was criticized throughout the campaign for running what many called a racist, some calling a divisive campaign. He always denied that.

But having said that, he is now calling for the country to come together, saying it's a time for unity. Also saying that this is something that he knows is not going to happen overnight. But he is calling for healing, at one point quoting Abraham Lincoln, saying "one voice, one heart". DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: We've just finished a long and

bruising political campaign. Emotions are raw and tensions just don't heal overnight. It doesn't go quickly, unfortunately. But we have before us the chance now to make history together. To bring real change to Washington, real safety to our cities, and real prosperity to our communities, including our inner cities. So important to me and so important to our country. But to succeed, we must enlist the effort of our entire nation.

CARROLL: The Trump transition team basically saying that this is going to be a down day for the president-elect and his family, so not to expect any more cabinet announcements. If any of those are to come, that will happen Friday or after the holiday -- Boris, Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right. Jason in Mar-A-Lago, thanks, Jason.

Donald Trump is reportedly been skipping most of the daily intelligence briefings that have been prepared for him since his election victory. "The Washington Post" reporting an intelligence team has been prepared to brief Trump every day since the election. He has met them just twice. A briefer for George W. Bush tells "The Post" that it's a pace less frequent than most recent president-elect but not unprecedented. Vice President-elect Mike Pence has taken the intelligence briefings almost every day since the election.

SANCHEZ: Joining us this morning to assess the transition thus far, bestselling author Ellis Henican.

Ellis, thank you so much for joining us --

ROMANS: Good morning.

ELLIS HENICAN, BESTSELLING AUTHOR: Happy Thanksgiving, guys. Nice to be here.

SANCHEZ: Pretty exciting time, isn't it?

Let's talk about the appointments yesterday of Nikki Haley and Betsy DeVos. We were shutting just before the show about these pictures somewhat interesting, especially Nikki Haley, considering she criticized Donald Trump so much during the campaign. Here is a taste of that from January.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. We must resist that temptation. No one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws, and love our traditions should ever feel unwelcome in this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SANCHEZ: She came out strongly against Donald Trump. And she supported Marco Rubio. Mitt Romney is another person that's under consideration for cabinet post that came out very strongly against Donald Trump. He is now being considered for the secretary of state.

Does this surprise you these picks?

HENICAN: Well, it's an interesting mixed message because clearly loyalty matters in the Trump campaign. Some of the picks that have been fiercely loyal to Donald Trump.

But, yes, you are right, there are few in there who really took real shots. I mean, Mitt Romney just about ran the anti-Trump campaign. So, yes, I think that does send a little bit of an inclusive message.

SANCHEZ: You were surprised by the inexperience.

HENICAN: Experience is not necessary in this group.

Listen, they are all people who achieved things in their lives. You talk about Nikki Haley, she has no diplomatic experience. Really, she's governor of South Carolina. Betsy DeVos never served in government. Mitt Romney, despite his long public career, is certainly not someone who has ever done anything in the diplomatic world, what you would expect to the secretary of state.

Listen, Trump ran on the idea that we don't need all of these Washington insiders.

ROMANS: Right.

[05:05:01] HENICAN: And we are getting some more.

ROMANS: Let's talk about Betsy DeVos. She will run the Education Department. And this is something that, you know, the focus of the Obama Education Department has been really try fix public schools, to reward schools that are doing well and to make sure that just because you have a different zip code doesn't mean you have a different kind of education, a different quality of education. That's the focus of the public school education.

This is somebody who is not a supporter of Common Core. That is a state effort to raise standards. "I'm not a support, period. It got turned in a federalized boondoggle." That's what Betsy DeVos has to say. She is an ardent supporter, an activist for school choice.

HENICAN: Yes. And, you know, it's interesting. I think most people believe in some kind of school choice. But the nervousness begins when you start taking resources away from public education --

ROMANS: Right.

HENICAN: -- and privatizing that process.

And Betsy and her family have been funders of that issue. She really has been, you're right, an absolutely ardent activist. Some of her opponents would call her anti-public education.

SANCHEZ: We have to talk about this meeting with "The New York Times".

HENICAN: Fascinating.

SANCHEZ: So fascinating.

HENICAN: Yes.

SANCHEZ: The portion where Donald Trump comes out and says here's the quote. "The law is totally on my side. The president cannot have a conflict of interest." This is, of course, pertaining to questions about his connections to so many business entities across the world.

Here is a quick glance at them. He has 16 connections in India, 16 corporate entities in India. Thirteen in the United Arab Emirates. Twelve in Canada. Nine in -- look at that map, for a second.

HENICAN: A big list and diverse, yes.

SANCHEZ: How is it possible for him to say that this is not a conflict of interest? I mean, he is literally an empire on to himself.

HENICAN: Right. In many ways, you say it is the definition of the conflict, someone pulled in two different directions.

Two quick thoughts. One, it is correct that the president is exempt from some of those specific prohibitions that apply to others in government. But, you know, there is the other thing we are focusing on from the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.

ROMANS: I knew you were going to say that.

HENICAN: Honest to God. I mean, I vaguely heard of it, but never paid much attention. All of a sudden, we are in a laser beam with this thing.

It says essentially that all officials, including the president, can't take any gifts or anything like a gift from a foreign government. Now, if Trump has a hotel in Mumbai and they get a zoning variance or if a diplomat decides to stay in the Trump Hotel in Washington instead of the Ritz Carlton, what does that mean? We don't know really what it means.

ROMANS: You know, Trump supporters essentially say -- Donald Trump did not go this far in "The Times" interview, but essentially that, look, you knew all this about me when you voted me in. This was baked in to the Trump vote. The conflicts were baked into the Trump vote. You knew it was going to be sticky. I'm just going to let my family handle the business side but I don't have to put anything in the blind trust, I'm not going to sell anything.

HENICAN: Yes, Christine, I think you are right with the ardent Trump opponents. They're not going to be offended by this. As a matter of fact, in many cases, this was one of the things that people like about Donald Trump.

But let me tell you, it may surprise you. He has opponents waiting out there and they are looking for stuff. I will tell you, if Hillary's e-mail and foundation came back to haunt her overtime. This thing is not done yet.

ROMANS: You know, there is a legal standard, there's also tradition and the public trust.

HENICAN: That's right.

ROMANS: And those are two separate, but related things. You may meet a legal standard but there is tradition of public trust that has to be upheld.

HENICAN: That's right. In every single issue, whether the blind trust for putting the kids in charge of this blind trust. How blind is it if Junior is running it, you know? It's a -- this is truly unchartered waters. And the law may not provide real clear guidance on some of this stuff.

SANCHEZ: And already, some of that gray area we are seeing mixed in. The pictures of Ivanka Trump with a meeting with Shinzo Abe in Trump Tower --

ROMANS: Ironically, a meeting that there wasn't pool coverage of. There wasn't open press coverage of that. That was still --

HENICAN: But don't worry. Jared Kushner is going to take care of that little thing in Middle East. It's all going to be fine.

SANCHEZ: All right.

ROMANS: What something going on in the Middle East? I don't know.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: Thank you so much. We'll see you again in the next half hour.

ROMANS: All right. Overnight, a campaign to change the outcome of the election. It announced it raised $2 million for a recount in three Midwestern states. Green Party candidate Jill Stein's launched this effort in a wake of a report that some computer scientists are urging the Clinton campaign to demand a recount in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. The scientists say they found evidence that suggests, it doesn't probe, but suggests the electronic voting systems in that state, those states might have been hacked.

SANCHEZ: In the meantime, Hillary Clinton's popular vote margin is reaching new heights. Look at this. Clinton's national vote count now exceeds President-elect Trump's by nearly 2 million votes. As of Wednesday afternoon, Clinton is ahead of Trump by 1,820,000 votes.

ROMANS: All right. About 10 minutes past the hour this Thanksgiving morning. Time for an early start on your money. Thanksgiving is time for taking stock and thankful.

[05:10:00] If we take stock of tailwind in the U.S. economy right now, Donald Trump has a lot to be thankful for. His victory has given the stock market a boost. It's now up more than 9 percent this year. That's helping your 401k.

The housing market is also hot. Existing home sales this week increasing 2 percent in October to the highest level in a decade. Strengthening labor market, a big reason for the bump in home sales. You got stronger jobs growth, people feel comfortable to buy a house, 1.8 million new jobs created this year. That averages about 180,000 net new jobs a month.

And, finally, Although with this picking up economic growth, you are also seeing mortgage rates rise. So, mortgage rates above 4 percent. Trump has a solid foundation to build on here. But he'll have to address the economic anxiety that pushed people to vote for him in the first place. They feel left out of those numbers that you see right there.

So, that is taking stock right now in the economy.

SANCHEZ: We've got sad news. More crushing news from the city of Chattanooga. A sixth child has died from Monday's tragic school bus crash. We will tell you what investigators are saying about man behind the wheel.

ROMANS: Plus, sparks flying in the Grand Central Station liquor store. An employee's e-cigarette exploding in his pants.

I should not -- wow, I don't mean to chuckle. But that was something. Whoa, we'll show you more on that when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:15:27] ROMANS: All right. Terrible news. A sixth child has died from Monday's devastating school bus crash in Chattanooga.

Eight-year-old Keyonte Wilson unable to survive his injuries. His older brother tells CNN, Keyonte put up a tough fight in the hospital. He was a tough little boy. His brother adding, "I know he is in a better place." This as investigators reveal the driver of the school bus was not traveling on the right route at the time of the deadly wreck.

CNN's Nick Valencia has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It goes without saying that this is going to be a devastatingly sad holiday for a number of people here in Chattanooga. The family members of those victims of Monday's crash certainly not expecting this holiday week to go that way.

We could tell you the investigation focusing on Johnthony Walker, the 24-year-old bus driver charged with five counts of vehicular homicide. What we know, at least from initial reports, is that he was driving well above the speed limit. That's according to physical evidence as well as eyewitness testimony. The speed limit posted 30 miles per hour in that school zone. And the school bus was filled full -- at capacity. Thirty-seven children were on that bus. Not one had been dropped off yet.

The driving history of Johnthony Walker will be a focus of the investigation. We know back in April is when he became a school bus driver, only to get into a crash a few months later in September, sideswiping a car. No one was injured in that accident.

We did reach out to the mother of Johnthony Walker, who tells us that he was a good person. A father of a 3-year-old who worked two jobs. He actually called his mother after the accident, she said, to say that there was a drastic accident and that children were dead.

Also, part of the investigation will be this school bus company. This private company contracted by the school district to make sure that the children get home safely. That was anything but what happened on Monday.

Nick Valencia, CNN, Chattanooga, Tennessee.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: Our hearts just go out to those families. Nick, thank you.

A Wayne State University police officer who was shot in Detroit Tuesday night has died. Twenty-nine-year-old Officer Collin Rose was patrolling a neighborhood near the university when he spotted a subject on a bike and called for back up. When the back up arrived, officers found Rose on the ground with a gunshot to the head. Police say a person of interest is in custody, but they have not been charged.

ROMANS: All right. One more reason not to smoke. Take a look at the terrifying is surveillance video from the luck or store in grand central terminal. That is 31-year-old Otis Gooding. He's working at the cash register. The e-cigarette in his pocket explodes. Check out the sparks flying. He tried unsuccessfully to pull a device out of his pocket. According to his attorney, he required surgery overnight for third degree burns to his leg, thigh and hand.

SANCHEZ: I didn't know he was injured. I feel bad for laughing.

ROMANS: I know. It's just -- it looks almost so shocking. The video is shocking. But we wish him well.

SANCHEZ: Tater and Tot will live to see another Thanksgiving. President Obama pardoned the turkeys in the Rose Garden on Wednesday. He was joined by his two nephews, Austin and Aaron Robinson. Noticeably absent, though, first daughters Sasha and Malia. The president admitting the girls could not take the corny turkey jokes anymore. You recall last year, they came under fire for kind of rolling their eyes as he was delivering his punchlines.

ROMANS: A cornucopia of dad jokes on the White House law yesterday.

Just a few hours from now in New York City, the 90th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

I know you're going to be out there covering the parade, 42 balloons will fly this year, including a new Charlie Brown. What will the weather be like?

Meteorologist Derek Van Dam has more on the rain and snow mix moving into parts of the Northeast.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Christine and Boris. And happy Thanksgiving to everyone watching this morning.

Take a look at the national perspective. If you are getting out the door to head to relative's house to celebrate Thanksgiving, expect cold punch of air across the Midwest. We do have a cold front to bring showers to the New England coastline and mountain snowfall and perhaps a wintry mix on the border of New York and Pennsylvania. That's, in fact, where we have a winter weather advisory in place through the day. So, look out, Syracuse to Birmingham.

We have a second cold front reinforcing the shot of cold air. Behind it, high pressure settles in and clears things out and then we focus on a series of storms that impacts the West Coast. If you are watching the New York City Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. It will stay dry, but cloud cover settling in.

The rest of the country looking rather cool across the North. Look at Minneapolis, 35 degrees, 72 for Atlanta. Your temperature drops off from here.

Back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right. Derek, thank you.

SANCHEZ: Chilly, but dry.

ROMANS: A wintry mix.

[05:20:01] SANCHEZ: Yes.

Turkey, potatoes and pumpkin pie and, of course, pigskin all on the Thanksgiving Day menu. Three big NFL contests, including a showdown for first place in the NFC North. Andy Scholes has the preview in this morning's "Bleacher Report".

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Besides the turkey and sides, there is going to be a healthy serving of NFL action today. Three big games on tap, all with playoff implications. ROMANS: Yes, move the TV into the kitchen.

Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report".

Hey, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, happy Thanksgiving, guys.

You know, you stuff yourself full of food, you can relax and watch football. Then, during the Lions game, you know, nod off because they usually aren't very good.

[05:25:01] But, hey, not this year. The Lions in first place in NFC North and 6-4. Their game with the Vikings is huge today. It could go the way to decide who wins the division. That one is going to get things started at 12:30 Eastern.

Now, this followed by another good one with the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins. Will Dak Prescott and Cowboys get their 10th straight win? We'll wait and see.

And then in the night cast, Colts hosting Steelers. It would have been an awesome quarterback matchup to watch, but unfortunately Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is out for tonight's game with a concussion. Three great games. The first time since 1993 that none of the teams playing on Thanksgiving have a losing record.

All right. The NBA has today off, but many teams in action last night, including the Cavs. And I'll tell you what, Kevin Love working up an appetite in this one. He came out absolutely on fire, scoring a record 34 points in the first quarter. Love made eight threes in the opening period.

However, somehow, he finished with 40 points in the game. The Cavs win big, 137-125 over the Blazers.

All right. Denver Bronco's DeMarcus Ware in the Thanksgiving mood early. Where? Partnering with USAA surprising military members from Ft. Carson, Colorado, with an early thanksgiving meal. Many look up to football players as heroes, but people who serve in the military are the real heroes.

And, guys, you know, everyone eats and watch football on Thanksgiving. What is the tradition you have with your family? I wanted to know.

ROMANS: Eat. Eat. Eat. Watch football. Do dishes for three hours.

SANCHEZ: Eat, sleep, digest for the next 16 to 20 hours.

ROMANS: We take a huge walk with the family. What about you, Andy?

SCHOLES: I usually end up watching "Home Alone", every Thanksgiving. It's a weird tradition.

SANCHEZ: It's appropriate. ROMANS: I pictured you for "Love Actually." Just kidding.

See you later, bye, bye.

SANCHEZ: Andy Scholes, thank you so much.

SCHOLES: All right.

ROMANS: President-elect Trump celebrating Thanksgiving at the Palm Beach state. He released a videotape with a holiday message for the American people. We're going to show you that straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)