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EARLY START

The Wisconsin Election Commission Set to Establish Timeline for Recoun; Fidel Castro's Funeral Set for Sunday; Syrian Regime Forces Claiming Two More Neighborhoods in Eastern Aleppo. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired November 28, 2016 - 04:00   ET

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


[04:00:01] ANNOUNCER: CNN, the World's News Network.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN ANCHOR: President-elect Trump launching into epic Twitter rants slamming the recount in Wisconsin while claiming he won the popular vote in the presidential election. And he has some words for Hillary Clinton, too.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A tale of two cities in the wake of Fidel Castro's death. The people of Havana grieving, while in little Havana, they are dancing in the streets. So what's next for U.S.-Cuba relations?

MARQUEZ: And welcome to Cyber Monday. Millions of Americans hunting for the best deals online. Where should you be searching?

Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Miguel Marquez in for John Berman.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans in for Christine Romans. It is Monday, November 28, it's 4:00 a.m. in the East.

MARQUEZ: Good to see you.

ROMANS: Nice to see you, Miguel, this morning.

Let the recount begin. The Wisconsin Election Commission set to meet in just over six hours to establish a timeline recounting their votes from November 8th. And that is setting off a Donald Trump Twitter storm. The longest Twitter storm we have seen since he has been president-elect. He is calling the recount a scam and Hillary Clinton a hypocrite for getting behind it. And that's not all, Trump twitting in addition to winning the Electoral College in a landside, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally. And he is also alleging quote serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire, and California, asking so why isn't the media not reporting this, serious bias, big problem. Now, Trump offers zero evidence to support either of these claims.

We get more this morning from From CNN's Ryan Nobles in Palm Beach, Florida.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Miguel, Donald Trump has wrapped up his holiday weekend at Mar-A-Lago Resort in Florida. And while we didn't hear or see or hear from the president-elect all that much, we did learn quite a bit about how he feels about that recount effort underway in Wisconsin, that was started by Green party candidate Jill Stein. Trump tweeted about the topic 12 different times, more than he has tweeted about any topic since being elected president. He even suggested at one point that he may have won the popular vote, if votes cast illegally were not included. Now, the Clinton campaign has joined in on this effort, they say they don't find any evidence that anything wrong happened with the vote, but they just want to rule in or rule out that possibility. Now, Trump has a very busy Monday planned at Trump Tower. Eight people will come to meet with him and the vice president-elect Mike Pence, among them Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. He is being considered as a secretary of Homeland Security. Also on tap, Kathleen Harnett-White. She could be the next EPA secretary. She was once a Texas commissioner on environmental quality. And of course, Trump still has a number of decisions to make, including who will be his next Secretary of State. Christine and Miguel.

MARQUEZ: Thank you, Ryan Nobles.

One of Donald Trump's top advisers claims that many of the president- elect's most loyal supporters would feel betrayed if Mitt Romney is picked for Secretary of State. Kellyanne Conway making it clear she is not a fan of the former Massachusetts governor and she describes the anti-Romney sentiment among Trump backers as breathtaking in scope and intensity.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISOR: I know there are other candidates being considered apart from the ones that are just being covered more commonly in the media. But apart from that, Governor Romney in the last four years, I mean, has he been around the globe doing something on behalf of the United States, which we are unaware? I'm all for party unity. But I'm not sure that we have to pay with that for the Secretary of State position. But again, let me repeat. What Donald Trump decides, Kellyanne Conway and everybody else will respect. It's just the backlash from the grassroots -- I am hearing from people who say hey, my parents died penniless, but I gave $216 to Donald Trump's campaign. And I would feel betrayed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUEZ: Now, Romney and Rudy Giuliani are widely considered the frontrunners for the top job at the State Department.

ROMANS: A warning to president-elect Trump and the rest of the Republican Party from Ted Cruz. The Texas senator predicting there will be a popular revolt if the party does not deliver on its biggest campaign promises. Listen to Cruz describe what Trump should expect if he flip-flaps on key issues like the repeal of Obamacare.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: If we're given the White House and both houses of Congress and we don't deliver, I think there will be pitchforks and torches in the streets. And I think quite rightly, people are so fed up with Washington, this election was a mandate with change of the most catastrophic thing Republicans could do is go back to business as usual.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Cruz was asked if he stands by his previous claim that Trump is a quote pathological liar. He declined to answer saying he wants to focus on the future.

[04:05:04] MARQUEZ: Donald Trump and President Obama are speaking regularly by telephone according to Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway. Their most recent chat took place on Saturday, lasted about 45 minutes. Conway says her boss very much enjoys speaking to the president about global issues. And although they may disagree on many of them, she claims the two men get along nicely.

ROMANS: All right, to business now. Cyber Monday is here. And online retailers expect a lot of traffic, 122 million people are expected to shop for digital deals today. That's according to the National Retail Federation, that's up from last year. About a quarter of those will shop on their phones. Most shoppers will be getting up early, 39 percent will shop first thing in the morning. The Retail Federation says despite the flood of online deals on Black Fridays, consumers have put money aside for Cyber Monday deals. But the results from Black Fridays show consumers are being smart about what they buy, Miguel. Online sales jumped 3.3 billion. Look at that, that's according to them. Black Friday, the first day in history to break the record, to record $1 billion in sales on mobile devices per person, the average amount spent is $290 per person, that is down about $10 from last year. So more people shopping, but spending a little bit less. It shows consumers are looking for big discounts. So where are the best deals? We will give you a preview later this hour.

MARQUEZ: Oh.

(CROSSTALK)

MARQUEZ: I can hardly wait. Ahead more on the death of Fidel Castro, the streets of Havana somber, in Miami joyful celebrations. Sow where is U.S.-Cuba relationship headed? That is next on EARLY START.

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[04:10:55] MARQUEZ: Fidel Castro's funeral is set for Sunday. Over the next six days, Cubans will celebrate the life of their former leader in a series of public events. On Wednesday, the late dictator's ashes will begin a ceremonial journey, 700 miles across the island nation.

More now from CNN's Patrick Oppmann in Havana.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Miguel, Christine, a still very somber Cuba continues to absorb the news of Fidel Castro's passing. Officials have decreed that clubs cannot play music. There would be no sales of alcohol. They very want to give the picture to the world of a country in deep mourning. And we have seen candlelight vigils, people who are very much grief-stricken by the former president's loss. Others people seem somewhat indifferent. And I don't remember seeing less people on the streets. People seem to be staying in their homes while this period, nine-day period of mourning goes on. On Monday, there will be a 21-gun salute to honor Castro's life. And people who want to pay their respects, Castro's ashes, he was cremated, expected to be on display in Revolution Square. Later in the week, there will be a large ceremony in that square. We expect Raul Castro and other top officials to attend, to really speak to the nation about Fidel Castro.

And then from there, his ashes will be transported across the island, about 700 miles in total from where I'm standing. On that route, they are recreating the journey of the Cuban revolution, took power. We expect people to go out and pay their respects, and salute this head of state who was of course so controversial. From there, he will get to the second largest city in Cuba, Santiago de Cuba, where he will eventually be laid to rest. But of course, the debate over Fidel Castro, who the man was and his legacy will go on for years. Miguel, Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Patrick Oppman for us, thank you for that.

The scene is anything but somber in South Florida, Cuban exiles dancing in the streets in Miami's little Havana, waving Cuban flags, banging pots and pans, overjoyed by the news of Castro's death. CNN's Boris Sanchez tells us many of them have waited decades for this celebration.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Miguel, it is hard to believe that the response from people in Cuba and the response from people here in Miami is to the death of the same person. As you can see behind me, there is a celebration here. There is a DJ with a speaker set-up playing music, people waving flags. Some people holding mementos of loved ones on the island that couldn't be here to celebrate a moment that many people are saying they have been looking forward for a long time. And perhaps no better story captures the divide, the polarity between the two responses to the passing of Fidel better than Elian Gonzalez. And the saga that played out here in Miami back about 15 or 16 years ago. Elian, for his response, has called Fidel a father figure. And he basically said that he is someone who he admires and looks up to. Here is some of what Elian said to the death of Fidel Castro.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELIAN GONZALEZ, STRONG SUPPORTER OF CUBAN REVOLUTION: He is a father, who like my father, I wanted to show him everything I achieved. That he would be proud of me. That's how it was with Fidel. If I learned something and wanted to show him and there are still many things I want to show him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: And of course, Elian Gonzalez is not nearly well liked here in Miami as much as when he was a child. Several people I have spoken to, say that they see him as a prop for the regime, as a propaganda to elevate Fidel Castro into the status of an idol. They don't see him as an objective voice when it comes to Fidel's legacy. The party here is going to continue seemingly for the next few days. But in Havana, as you know, there are nine days of mourning. A very stark contrast between the two places. Miguel and Christine.

MARQUEZ: Boris Sanchez in Miami. Thank you very much.

As Cubans prepare to say a final goodbye to their former leader, more Americans than ever are preparing to visit the island nation. That's because several domestic carriers are ramping up routes to Cuba this morning. American Airlines runs its first, regularly scheduled flights to Havana, and United, JetBlue, Delta, Spirit, Frontier, Alaska and Southwest Airlines, you think they're excited, start offering Havana flights from U.S. airports in the coming weeks. But those flights could be in jeopardy, because Donald Trump is threatening to reverse the progress that has been made between diplomatic relations between the two countries. Listen to his chief of staff Reince Priebus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REINCE PRIEBUS, INCOMING WHITEH OUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: We have to have a better deal. We are not going to have a unilateral deal from coming from Cuba to the United States, without some changes in their government, repression, open markets, freedom of religion, political prisoners, these things need to change in order to have open and free relationships. And that's what president-elect Trump believes. And that's where he is going to head. Talking is fine, but action is something that will be required under President Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUEZ: Trump vows his administration will do all it can to have Cuban people begin a journey of prosperity and liberty.

ROMANS: All right. In Aleppo, a bloodbath is unfolding, hundreds of civilians killed in recent weeks. Now, the Syrian regime may be preparing for an onslaught. We have the very latest details next.

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[04:20:40] ROMANS: Syrian regime forces claiming two more neighborhoods in Eastern Aleppo. Government airstrikes over the weekend pushing the civilian death toll to over 500, 500 in just the past two weeks. That's raising concerns a long threatened ground assault against the rebels is about to hit high gear. CNN's Frederik Pleitgen tracking the latest developments for us here. He is live from London. Good morning, Fred.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. Good morning, Christine. It really looks as though that government offensive has already hit high gear. And it also looks as though this could really be a pivotal moment in the civil war in Syria. Of course, it has been going on for more than five years. It is really interesting and quite surprising, quite frankly, to see the pace at which the rebels are losing ground there in Eastern Aleppo. There are some reports that we are getting that the Syrian government has taken over eight neighborhoods over the course of the past 24 hours. There are other reports indicating that they may have lost the entire northeastern part of the city over the past 24 hours as well. So it seems as though the government forces are moving very quickly.

At the same time, as you mentioned, of course, a lot of civilians being killed and wounded, a lot of civilians at risk. Apparently, there are still up to 250,000 people trapped inside Eastern Aleppo. And you know, we got information from UNICEF yesterday and they say they believe that it could be up to 100,000 children trapped in there as well. So certainly, a dire situation. Many people are fleeing to the government-held areas, some also to Kurdish held areas, and next door as well. But it is certainly a very, very devastating situation for the civilians on the ground. Ad it really looks as though that it is a collapse by the rebel forces that have held out in Aleppo since 2012. Christine.

ROMANS: You know, Fred, since 2012, I mean, look, we have been talking about this now for years.

PLEITGEN: Yeah.

ROMANS: We have been watching pictures of these people fleeing or trapped in this devastation for years. On the diplomatic front, is there any kind of feeling as though anybody is doing anything to stop this history from unfolding, to change the course of history here?

PLEITGEN: Well, you know, the U.S. administration certainly is still trying to get some sort diplomatic -- I won't say solution, but at least some sort of diplomatic pause in violence in Aleppo going. But it really seems as though at this point in time, the chances are very, very slim. What you had over the past couple of weeks is that the Russians have said they would stop bombing the eastern districts of Aleppo. They set up what they say humanitarian corridors for people, civilians to get out of the area. Not many civilians did that because of course, they don't trust the Syrian regime.

ROMANS: Right.

PLEITGEN: They believe they could be captured and possibly even killed. So a lot of diplomacy had been tried, a lot of it has failed. And it really looks as though, at this point in time, the Syrian government, the Russians, and o course their backers, the Iranians and Hezbollah as well are looking for a military solution, if you will, to the crisis there in Eastern Aleppo. This is certainly something that is causing a lot of agony for the people who are trapped inside. Christine.

ROMANS: Military solutions, sometimes that feels like an oxymoron when you're watching the people in there suffer so badly. All right. Fred Pleitgen, thank you for calling it for us.

MARQUEZ: Breaking overnight in the Philippines. An improvised explosive device found a few hundred feet away from the Embassy in Manila. Authorities quickly diffuse the bomb that witnesses say was placed by a person riding in a taxi. Police consider it an attempt of an act of terrorism. The IED had the same design as the one used in the deadly marketplace bombing in September that killed 14 people.

ROMANS: All right. The army corps of engineers is urging thousands of Dakota access pipeline protestors to move to the free speech zone by December 5th. But officials say there are no plans to forcibly remove those protestors who remain. Native tribes and environmental activists have clashed violently with authorities in recent days. Many of them fear the pipeline could contaminate the Missouri river and disrupt tribal burial grounds. I got to tell you, it is cold out there. There are all these people who were camped out. These are inside pictures here. But these encampments outside where they are you know trying to prevent officials from proceeding with the pipeline -- this is in Washington, not in North Dakota. But it has been remarkable.

(CROSSTALK)

MARQUEZ: Longstanding and tough.

[04:25:01] ROMANS: Yeah. Just remarkable.

MARQUEZ: Now, someone in Lafayette, Tennessee, is a multimillionaire this morning. This is all thanks to a Powerball ticket worth $420.9 million. I had to say it that way. The winning ticket matched all six Powerball numbers drawn Saturday night. The jackpot is the 12th largest in U.S. history. And in case you miss them, here are the winning numbers, 17, 19, 21, 37...

ROMANS: Forty four.

MARQUEZ: And the Powerball...

ROMANS: Sixteen.

MARQUEZ: Well done.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: You have just about the same chance of finding that winning ticket on the ground, as you do actually buying that winning ticket. But somebody in Tennessee did buy that one ticket. Sign it on the back and put it in a safe.

MARQUEZ: Exactly.

ROMANS: And you have I think maybe 90 days to claim it, maybe 30 days. I don't know.

President-elect Donald Trump unleashing a Twitter tirade claiming he -- he actually won the popular vote, while a recount is about to begin in Wisconsin. Where is this all heading?

MARQUEZ: You know?

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