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EARLY START

Trump Names Two Women For Cabinet; Trump Has Skipped Most Daily Intel Briefings; Trump's Thanksgiving Message; Jill Stein Raises Over $2M For Recounts; Chattanooga Mourns Death Of Sixth Child. Aired 5:30- 6a ET

Aired November 24, 2016 - 05:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:31:16] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: President-elect Donald Trump's Thanksgiving message. He's calling for unity after a bruising campaign.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, a fundraising drive for an election recount. Millions of dollars raised in just a matter of hours. Welcome back to EARLY START. Hoping you're having a happy Thanksgiving. I'm Boris Sanchez.

ROMANS: Good -- bright and early this morning. Nice to see you, Boris. I'm Christine Romans. It is 31 minutes past the hour. There's more diversity this morning within Donald Trump's administration in waiting. Critics have been -- have been slashing Trump for, until now, picking only white men for his top advisers and officials.

But now he's named two women to his team, one of them the daughter of Indian immigrants. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is Trump's pick for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. He's also tapped Betsy DeVos, a top Republican donor and a School Choice activist. She will be secretary of education.

No further transition announcements expected today. Trump is enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday with his family. He is at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach. The president-elect releasing a Thanksgiving video message to the nation Wednesday. He's calling for healing and unity. Our Jason Carroll is at Mar-a-Lago with the latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JASON CARROLL, CNN INTERNATIONAL 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)

SANCHEZ: All right, Jason, thank you. According to a new report Donald Trump has been skipping most of the daily intelligence briefings that have been prepared for him since his election victory. "The Washington Post" reporting that an intelligence team has been prepared to brief Trump every day since the election but he's only met them twice.

A briefer for George W. Bush tells the "Post" that it's a pace less frequent than most recent presidents-elect but it's not unprecedented. Vice president-elect Mike Pence has taken the intelligence briefings almost every day since the election.

ROMANS: All right. Joining us this morning to assess the transition so far, two of our favorite political analysts and best-selling author Ellis Henican, and political economist Greg Valliere. He's the chief strategist at Horizon Investments. Good morning, gentlemen.

ELLIS HENICAN, POLITICAL ANALYST, BEST-SELLING AUTHOR: Hey.

ROMANS: Greg, let's bring you into this Thanksgiving Day conversation. Good morning and happy Thanksgiving.

GREG VALLIERE, POLITICAL ECONOMIST, CHIEF STRATEGIST, HORIZON INVESTMENTS: Hi.

ROMANS: Thanks for getting up early for us before you put the turkey in the oven, I assume. Let's talk about these picks so far. We saw Nikki Haley, we saw Betsy DeVos over at the Education Department. What do you make of Trump's choices?

VALLIERE: Well, some are going to get a very tough grilling from the Senate. I think especially Betsy DeVos. Her record on School Choice is quite controversial.

ROMANS: Why do you say it's so controversial? I mean, this is what Donald Trump promised, right, that he was going to drain the swamp and do things absolutely differently, bringing in an outsider who doesn't believe in common core and who wants more choice. Something that, you know, maybe public school teachers are not very thrilled about. You know, this is what he promised.

[05:35:07] VALLIERE: Yes, it's what he promised. You're absolutely right, but I think there are an awful lot of teachers who would be opposed. So she'll get a tough grilling. I think several other of the nominees will get a tough grilling. My guess is just about everyone will make it through.

SANCHEZ: Ellis, over to you. We've talked a little bit about these appointments. Something you said earlier that kind of stuck out in my mind, this is the no experience cabinet. What's it going to take to change the perception that Trump is just kind of picking loyalists and maybe going after folks that aren't quite as versed in these positions that they're going to fill.

HENICAN: One word, results. I mean, honestly -- listen, these things have a certain rhythm to them, right? The folks -- Republicans who are now gathering around their president-elect, they're by and large going to be supportive of these nominations. And Dems are lining up, but without the power to do much --

ROMANS: Right.

HENICAN: -- about most of it. And so, honestly, he's absolutely right. We're going to get most of them. There may be one or two that are -- that cause controversy. But you know what? Go do something. Betsy, go achieve something.

ROMANS: Right. And that's the thing that Greg Valliere has said many times on this program, Greg. You've said this is a president-elect who is interested in deals, not details, and maybe that's why you're seeing Vice President-elect Mike Pence going to the daily briefs. The president-elect is busy picking his candidates -- or his candidates for these departments.

Let's talk about his conflicts of interest, though. This is not going away -- these questions about how Donald Trump's going to run the country and also be the name behind his empire. We've shown like where his business empire is around the world and he's got stakes in all of these countries, multiple stakes. He has said -- he told "The New York Times" you know what, the president can't have a conflict of interest. Almost Nixonian. Is this going to be a problem or he won. People knew who that his brand was all over the world and they accept it.

VALLIERE: I think it could be a huge deal with Democrats. I think that you've got to say that Trump has had a pretty week with his comments on Hillary, with showing that he could maybe evolve into somebody a bit more moderate. But on this issue, Christine, I think it could make the Clinton Foundation look tame by comparison. If he thinks he can skirt the ethics laws or ignore the ethics laws, that's going to come back to bite him.

SANCHEZ: It will be interesting to see how it's approached. Ellis, back to you. We've been waiting all week to see if we're going to hear about the secretary of state possible candidate.

ROMANS: Oh yes,

HENICAN: Yes. Hard fought, internally.

SANCHEZ: Very hard fought. Very surprising considering how Mitt Romney went after Donald Trump in the campaign. I want to play for you some sound from Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee, both yesterday on "Fox News" saying that they're not exactly fond of this potential pick. Here is it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I will support whoever President-elect Trump picks because he has the right, I think, as the new president to build the team he wants to build. But I would suggest there are a lot of other people who are more qualified than Romney in foreign policy, and who are also -- have not been as actively hostile as he's been.

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF ARKANSAS: It's not about that I don't care for Mitt personally, but I'm still very unhappy that Mitt did everything he could to derail Donald Trump. He didn't just go after him from a standpoint of saying I disagree with his policy onimmigration, I disagree with his policy on taxes, he attacked him on a personal level about his character, integrity, his honor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Two different points there as to why not pick Romney. Again, we've all been waiting all week. It looks like we'll probably find out maybe next week. How do you think this is all going to shape out?

HENICAN: Well, this really is the battle for the soul of the Trump administration, right? Romney versus Giuliani, right? You could not have a starker choice, Boris, right? One guys who's very well connected to the establishment. A kind of a moderate personality, credibility. And Rudy, who's just a -- who's just a puncher.

SANCHEZ: A total loyalist to Trump, too.

HENICAN: Super loyal. Not any particular experience in this realm and a whole lot of business complications.

ROMANS: Right.

HENICAN: So, really, his is the toughest choice of all. And now you see the allies lining up openly on both sides of it. Those guys better be careful, though. Sometimes that stuff can backfire.

ROMANS: Battle for the soul of the Trump campaign -- Trump team identity.

HENICAN: Is that over the top? I don't know.

ROMANS: Is that over the top, Greg?

VALLIERE: Yes. No, I'd agree and I'd add one more point and that's Russia. I think there's a big, big --

SANCHEZ: Yes.

VALLIERE: -- difference on Russia. You've got in Mitt Romney someone who would take a very hard line. If it's Giuliani or someone even closer to Trump, maybe not. That's a huge angle.

ROMANS: Quickly, Greg, stocks are up nine percent this year. They've added more than 700 points since Donald Trump won the election. Home sales, biggest gain in 10 years in October. One million eight hundred thousand new jobs in the past 10 months. GDP at 2.9 percent. Ironically, Donald Trump has inherited the Obama economy that's actually a tailwind to him.

VALLIERE: Yes, you could say that he could take an economy that looks good right now and make it very good. That's what the market is thinking. There's only possible snag in that scenario and that's that interest rates start to really --

ROMANS: Right.

VALLIERE: -- rocket higher. You could see much higher rates if this economy grows as quickly as I think it will.

[05:40:02] ROMANS: But you're assuming that he's not going to have a trade war with China. You're assuming he's going to soften on some of his immigration. You're assuming that what the market has found the scariest things of a Trump campaign won't happen.

VALLIERE: This week was really significant. You saw some real signs that Trump is flexible. That he won't maybe take the most radical position on the Federal Reserve and on China.

ROMANS: All right. Greg Valliere, so nice to see you. Ellis Henican, thanks.

SANCHEZ: Gentlemen, thank you so much.

ROMANS: Thanks for coming in so early. Bye, Greg. Thank you.

VALLIERE: Bye. So long.

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

SANCHEZ: Meantime, Hillary Clinton's popular vote margin is reaching new heights. Clinton's national vote count now exceeds President- elect Donald Trump's by nearly two million votes. As of Wednesday afternoon, Clinton is ahead of Trump by about 1,820,000 votes. ROMANS: All right. Time for an early check of your money this morning. Thanksgiving is for taking stock and being thankful. Let's take stock of those tailwinds in the U.S. economy right now. Donald Trump has plenty to be thankful for. His victory has given the stock market a boost -- you can see it there. That's helping your 401(k). The housing market is improving. Existing home sales up two percent in October. That's the highest level in nearly a decade.

The job market is strengthening. It's one reason you're seeing home sales improve. One million eight hundred thousand new jobs created this year. It's about 180,000 a month. And finally economic growth finally picking up 2.9 percent last year. Of course, all this economic growth means mortgage rates are rising. They're now about four percent, so if you're refinancing please take stock here.Trump has a solid foundation to build on 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 this recovery.

And I think Greg Valliere is absolutely right about the Fed. We're expecting the Fed to raise interest rates next month. How quickly will the Fed start raising rates? As rates go up that can pinch the housing market a little bit. It means you're paying more for your credit cards, you're paying more for auto loans. But the Fed has been saying look, you need to have Congress doing more, Washington doing more to promote growth. It looks like Donald Trump, at least, is going to try to do that.

SANCHEZ: They've been talking about raising rates for a long time now and --

ROMANS: Yes, and haven't. They haven't been comfortable but I think it's going to happen now.

SANCHEZ: We're following some tough news today for the city of Chattanooga. A sixth child has died from Monday's tragic school bus crash. We'll tell you what investigators are now saying about the man behind the wheel.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:46:47] ROMANS: Terrible news to report this morning from Tennessee. 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 quite a fight in the hospital. He was a tough little guy -- a tough little boy -- adding "I know he's in a better place."

This comes as investigators reveal the driver of the 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)

ROMANS: All right. Thanks for that, Nick.

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 suspect on a bicycle. He called for backup. When that backup arrived officers found Rose on the ground with a gunshot wound to the head. Police say a person of interest is in custody but has not been charged.

Here's one more reason not to smoke. Take a look at this terrifying surveillance video from a liquor store in New York's Grand Central terminal. That's 31-year-old employee Otis Gooding. He's working the cash register when an e-cigarette in his pocket explodes. You can see the sparks flying, the smoke. He tried unsuccessfully to pull the device out of his pocket. According to his attorney he required surgery overnight -- look at that -- for third-degree burns to his leg, thigh, and hand. Certainly, we wish him nothing but the best.

All right. Mortgage rates are at their highest this year. We're going to tell you why. And, are you going to go shopping tonight? I'm going to tell you which stores are open and which are closed for Thanksgiving. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:53:48] ROMANS: All right, welcome back. Happy Thanksgiving. Tater and Tot certainly having a happy Thanksgiving. They will live to see another one. President Obama pardoning these two turkeys in the Rose Garden on Wednesday. He was joined in the annual ceremony by his two nephews, Austin and Aaron Robinson. Noticeably absent, first daughters Sasha and Malia. The president admitting the girls just couldn't take his corny dad jokes anymore.

All right. Football, the weather, even shopping strategies stand a better chance of being topics of conversation around the Thanksgiving table than one big topic many say is off limits, the "P" word. The latest CNN/ORC poll finds 53 percent of Americans say they dread the thought of talking politics this Thanksgiving. Forty-three percent say they can't wait to dive in. The findings shift slightly when broken down by party affiliation. Fifty-eight percent of Republicans say they are ready to talk politics. Sixty-three percent of Democrats say thanks, but no thanks.

And speaking of thanks, 64 percent of Americans say they are grateful for those close to them and put family at the top of the list. Health clocks in second with 27 percent, and last -- dead last but not least, just five percent say they are thankful for politics.

[05:55:00] Just a few hours from now in New York, the 90th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. Forty-two balloons will fly this year, including the new Charlie Brown. What will the weather be like? Meteorologist Derek Van Dam has more on the rain and snow mix -- the wintry mix moving into parts of the northeast.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Boris and Christine. We've got a chilly start to your Thanksgiving morning across parts of New York. Look at this. Below freezing for Syracuse and Albany. We have temperatures flirting with the freezing mark near Boston, as well. Forty degrees for Detroit. You can see some snow falling. There has been a mixture of rain and snow moving through the region. That's prompted the National Weather Service to issue a winter weather advisory for parts of New York and the border of Pennsylvania. That lasts through the day.

It's all thanks to a storm system moving through and that will bring in chances of rain showers, especially in the warmer sector of the storm. If, perhaps, you are traveling to relatives today do take care. Use caution on the roadways. It could be on the slick side. Otherwise, we have dry conditions anticipated across the Great Lakes. Another cold front will bring a reinforcing shot of cold air behind it, but high pressure settles in, clears out the skies.

And guess what? If you're going to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade we do expect a dry forecast. The temperatures right where they should be this time of year. They start to cool off, though, by the weekend. Back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right. Thanks for that, Derek. We just sent -- we just sent Boris out on the streets so we'll talk to him soon.

Let's get a check -- an early check on your money this morning. For anyone looking to buy a house it's going to cost you more to borrow money. Mortgage rates have popped above four percent for the first time this year -- 30-year fixed rate mortgages. Rates moving higher since Donald Trump was elected -- was elected president. And, of course, higher interest rates make borrowing money more expensive, reducing a buyer's budget. The good news here, rates are still relatively low compared with historic levels.

Ivanka Trump trying to put some space between her company and her father, the president-elect. In a blog post yesterday her company said this. "Our company's mission is not political. It never was and it never will be." It said Ivanka, herself, now "has an increased opportunity to advocate for women and be a positive force for change." There were moments in Donald Trump's presidential campaign where Trump was polling poorly with women. Ivanka Trump's company faced a backlash from some of the women who make up its consumer base.

For those shoppers who can't wait until Black Friday to hunt for deals, fear not. Several retailers open before you even sit down for Thanksgiving dinner tonight. Who are they? JC Penney opens at 3:00 p.m. Best Buy, Toys "R" Us, and Macy's open at 5:00. Walmart, Target, Sears, Kohl's, Dick's Sporting Goods start -- they start welcoming customers about 6:00 p.m.

But not all stores will be opening on Thanksgiving. Office Depot, Radio Shack, they were both open last year on Thanksgiving, you know, but they decided this year they will close for the holiday. Staples will remain dark for the second year in a row. Costco, REI, Barnes & Noble, Bed Bath & Beyond -- they round out some of the other major retailers closed today.

And, you know, there have been worker groups who have complained about being open on Thanksgiving. And then, of course, there are other workers who say hey, we love the time and one-half. So, there you go.

That's EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans. President-elect Trump with a holiday message for America. "NEW DAY" picks that up right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We have before us the chance to bring real change to Washington.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Hailey is a good pick here.

BEN CARSON (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIALCANDIDATE: There are a lot of things that were put on the table.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Betsy DeVos will represent dramatic change.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's looking for the top talent. He's not out to settle scores.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Mitt Romney -- will he be offered the secretary of state job?

GINGRICH: There are lot of other people who are more qualified than Romney.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thanksgiving is a chance to finally turn our attention from polls to poultry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Millions of people across the country are on the move.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New York police taking extra security measures along the route of the parade.

ROMANS: The 90th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade kicks off in just a few hours.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to a special Thanksgiving edition of your NEW DAY. It's Thursday, November 24th, 6:00 in the East. Chris is off and I'm here with Brooke Baldwin.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: When Chris Cuomo is away, the girls will play.

CAMEROTA: Anything could happen this morning. Stay tuned. We're just hours away from the Thanksgiving Day parade kicking off here in New York City, so we will have live reports for you from the parade route, as well as your holiday forecast throughout the morning.

BALDWIN: So we've got that for you this morning. We also, though, want to begin with President-elect Donald Trump selecting the first women to serve in his administration. This, as we wait for word on other key cabinet nominees. President-elect Trump, meantime, releasing a holiday video message calling for national healing on this Thanksgiving.

So we have it all for you on this holiday morning starting with Jason Carroll, who is live down in Palm Beach at Trump's Mar-a-Lago -- the sort of potentially winter White House -- with more. Jason, good morning.

CARROLL: And good morning to you, Brooke. You know, no announcements expected today. This is a time for the president-elect and his family to have time together, so this will be a down day for the president- elect. Meanwhile, the president-elect now calling for the country to come together.