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EARLY START

Trump's 2nd "Thank You Tour" Rally; Spokesman: Trump Sold All His Stocks; Obama's Advice to Trump; Chicago Trades Chris Sale to Boston. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired December 7, 2016 - 05:00   ET

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


ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump introducing General James Mattis as his pick for defense secretary. The president-elect almost daring his critics to try to mound a challenge.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In fact, people and nations do not make good decisions when they are driven by fear.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: A word of advice from the president of the United States Barack Obama to his successor about fighting terrorism.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm George Howell.

KOSIK: Good morning. I'm Alison Kosik. It is Wednesday, December 7th. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East.

And President-elect Donald Trump is warning Congress against blocking his pick for secretary of defense. At a "Thank You" rally in the battleground state of North Carolina, Trump introduced his nominee for defense secretary. He noted that retired General James Mattis is going to be needing a special waiver to take office and Trump almost dared Congress not to give it to him.

CNN's Sunlen Serfaty has the latest from North Carolina.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, George and Alison.

President-elect Donald Trump holding his second "Thank You" rally here in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where he brought a much different tone that we've seen. He was much more retrained, and much more disciplined, quite different from that first "Thank You" rally he had last week where that rally almost divulged into an airing of grievances.

This rally all about staying on message apparently for President-elect Donald Trump where he pushed a heavy national security message for the military community, only a few miles away from Fort Bragg where he formally rolled out his nominee for secretary of defense.

[05:00:06] DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: I'm proud to announce today my intention to nominate General James "Mad Dog" Mattis as the next secretary of defense for the United States of America.

GEN. JAMES MATTIS, DEFENSE SECRETARY NOMINEE: I look forward to being the civilian leader as long as Congress gives me the waiver and the Senate votes to consent.

TRUMP: He'll get that waiver, right? He'll get that waiver. Ooh, if he didn't get that waiver, there will be a lot of angry people.

SERFATY: And both General Mattis and Donald Trump, they're alluding to his legal battle that they have ahead in Congress that Mattis needs a special waiver from Congress in order to be considered for this job. The fact that Mattis has only retired from the military for three years and there is a statute on the books that requires officers in uniform to be out of uniform for seven years. So, Trump sending a little bit of a warning chime, a threat to Congress, you better get this passed through.

Now, meantime, Donald Trump will take to the road tomorrow to Des Moines, Iowa. And he held another one of these "Thank You" rallies on Friday in Michigan -- George and Alison.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KOSIK: All right. Sunlen Serfaty, thank you.

Republicans are using a short-term government spending bill to speed up the Mattis nomination. They're adding language to the stop gap funding make that opposes time limits on the debate over whether to grant that special waiver Mattis needs to become defense secretary. They want him cleared to take over the Pentagon when President-elect Trump is inaugurated.

Now, the federal government runs out of money Friday. The House votes on the spending bill Thursday.

HOWELL: The Boeing company responding to Donald Trump's tweet slamming the price for a new Air Force One jumbo jet saying that it came out of left field. Trump's tweet that costs are out of control, more than $4 billion, he says, and demanding cancel order there, you see on the tweet. Boeing saying they have no idea where that $4 billion figure came from. They say the Pentagon hasn't decided yet on what bells and whistles it wants, nor has there been a decision on whether to buy two or to buy three. The aircraft maker says that it can lower costs, but only if the Pentagon eases the specifications that it requires.

KOSIK: Donald Trump used to hold shares in Boeing, but he sold that position, along with the rest of his stock portfolio. Trump transition spokesman Jason Miller telling reporters yesterday that Trump dumped all of his stockholdings in June. A financial disclosure submitted in May showed holdings in about 100 other companies, once again including Boeing, Apple, Microsoft, GE and Pepsi. In total, the shares amounted to $10 million, just a tiny fraction of Trump's billion dollar net worth.

But here's the thing: verifying whether Trump actually sold the stock, that's going to be more difficult because he's not required to file another disclosure until May of 2018. However, all other presidents have voluntarily submitted their financial holdings in the first year in office, since the Ethics in Government Act was passed it in 1978. That was in the wake of the Nixon scandal.

HOWELL: President Barack Obama is checking off a very important box on his to-do list, giving his final national security address, and he spoke to troops at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida to do so. The White House says that the speech was planned before Donald Trump won last month. And that the address wasn't meant as a message for the president-elect, but there were times when Mr. Obama sounded like he was speaking to an audience of one.

White House correspondent Michelle Kosinski has more now from Tampa.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, George and Alison.

Right. This was a broad defense. An explanation of President Obama's policies against terrorism and our national security over the last eight years. But it also searches as almost a warning to the next administration that you need to be extremely careful with these intricate complexities of national security, otherwise, you could make problems worse.

And when you think about it, this is how this administration continues to communicate with the next one. The president continuing to hit the same point and set up these contrasts between his policies and some of the things that Donald Trump has said. For example, the president's continued attempts to close Gitmo, calling it a blot on our national honor. His opposition to enhance interrogation techniques or torture, saying that adherence to the rule of law is not a weakness but in fact is our greatest national strength.

Also on the Muslim issue, arguably, the most controversial part of Donald Trump's campaign platform. Listen.

OBAMA: The United States of America is not a country that imposes religious tests as a price for freedom. We're a country that was founded so people could practice their faiths as they choose. The United States of America is not a place where some citizens have to withstand greater scrutiny or carry a special I.D. card or prove that they're not an enemy from within.

[05:05:08] We're a country that has bled and struggled and sacrificed against that kind of discrimination and arbitrary rule, here in our own country and around the world.

KOSINSKI: This was not the fiery President Obama that we saw in on the campaign trail, but this was the lawyerly President Obama, making the careful case for why he believes his policies are the ones to carry forward and looking long term. It can almost be summed up in one sentence that you use, that he takes the fight to terrorists, not through invasion but through a network of partnerships -- George and Alison.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KOSIK: All right. Michelle Kosinski, thank you.

Let's go ahead and dig into politics a little more with CNN politics reporter Eugene Scott right here on the set.

Good morning.

EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Good morning.

HOWELL: Good morning.

KOSIK: Let's talk what Trump revealed last night about his defense pick. A controversial one, General James Mattis. And it's interesting because Mattis is going to need a waiver from Congress because the retired general hasn't been out of uniform long enough.

But I want you to listen to what Donald Trump said and then we'll talk about it.

SCOTT: OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: He'll get that waiver, right? He's going to get that. Oh, if he didn't get that waiver, there will be a lot of angry people. Such a popular choice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSIK: So, he's almost daring Congress, you know, hey, wait a minute, don't block this. What kind of strategy is this? It almost feels a little like -- should I say bullying?

SCOTT: Yes, I mean, I think we do know that there is support for Mattis among Trump's base. But the reality is civilian control is in place for a reason and there's some concern about the number of generals that Trump has tapped to be in his cabinet. And we should expect Congress to ask him very difficult questions about that, whether or not they will actually waive the rule and allow him to serve remains to be seen.

HOWELL: I want to get into the topic of ambiguity. The question of whether or not Donald Trump told his stock or not. There's ambiguity there. We don't know for sure.

The question about whether he truly played a hand at this major investment that has been announced there at Trump Tower, was that in the works before he won the election? So, when it comes to Donald Trump and his issue of ambiguity, it seems that, you know, to some extent, people are asked to take him at his word. The benefit of the doubt was given.

SCOTT: I was actually thinking about that quite a bit when he mentioned how he will respond, how supporters will respond if Mattis wasn't approved and how the media has been criticized for taking him very literally. Well, the reality is, sometimes, we don't know exactly what he's saying and there's more information needed to get a clear idea. I think what we have to do is continue to ask follow-up questions to see what it is that he really means, because we've seen in the past that what he has said hasn't been always been what he has meant.

HOWELL: Because these stories come up, so we just have to stay on them?

SCOTT: Right.

HOWELL: Keep following them and keep digging and asking those questions.

SCOTT: And asking for proof, asking for receipts, asking exactly, did you sell your stock when you said you did?

HOWELL: Right.

KOSIK: And speaking of the strange things he does. So think is strange, he went ahead and tweeted yesterday morning about Boeing, about canceling a supposed contract for a new Air Force One. And then he actually came out and talked to reporters at Trump Tower. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well, the plane is totally out of control. It's going to be over $4 billion for the Air Force One program. And I think it's ridiculous. I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number. We want Boeing to make a lot of money, but not that much money. OK. Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSIK: So, that was after the tweet. But what's interesting here, he came out to the cameras and he's talking about fighting for U.S. taxpayers. You know, it's hard to go against something like that.

SCOTT: Yes, but I think what people need to know is that U.S. Air Force One is like the most sophisticated aircraft in the world. There's a great piece right now on CNNpolitics.com from our reporters who have flown on the plane.

I think what we have to communicate is that Boeing isn't just throwing this number out there. The Pentagon and White House have put specifications in place that require the costs to be what they are. Now, they can be lower, but it's not something that Boeing can do without permission. Whether or not they will actually get to a number that Trump will agree with, we'll have to wait and see.

KOSIK: And we have to say, that number is question, that $4 billion.

SCOTT: Yes.

HOWELL: And, again, you know, the plane, as you see, it is a state of the art plane. So, the question, you know, if you lower the specifications --

SCOTT: Is it safe?

HOWELL: Yes, is it still safe?

Eugene Scott, thank you so much.

SCOTT: Thank you.

KOSIK: See you in a bit.

HOWELL: That story that I just mentioned there we're following. The President-elect Donald Trump taking credit for bringing a $50 billion investment and 50,000 new jobs into the United States. But again, the question is, was that deal already in the works before Donald Trump was elected? We follow that story, next, here on EARLY START.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:14:14] HOWELL: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm George Howell.

Donald Trump is taking credit for a $50 billion investment in the U.S. by the Japanese tech conglomerate that has been announced. The president-elect making an appearance in the lobby of Trump Tower with the CEO of SoftBank. You see him here.

The Japanese internet and telecommunications giant plans to invest heavily in U.S. startups, creating some 50,000 jobs. And Donald Trump is insisting the deal only happened because he won the election.

Following the story, CNN's Andrew Stevens is live in Hong Kong with us this hour.

Andrew, the question, is there any way to determine with certainty whether Donald Trump did indeed play a role, have a hand in this?

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At this stage, no, George is the short answer. We have to take Donald Trump's word that it was indeed only his election that guaranteed Masayoshi Son putting this $50 billion into taking investments to create some 50,000 jobs over a four-year time frame.

[05:15:15] What we do know, though, is where the money is coming from. Masayoshi Son told "The Wall Street Journal" that had will come from a $100 billion fund, a tech fund. $25 billion has been put in by Son's own company Softbank, $45 billion is coming from the Saudis. The Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund is putting in $45 billion, which is a big chunk of money.

So, that $50 million coming to the U.S., that's actually coming from that fund and that fund was announced before the election. That was announced back in October. So, as to whether it's all because of Donald Trump, we can't say. What we can say, though, this fund was set up to invest around the world in tech companies and tech startups.

And you would have to say if you're looking around the world for technology startups, technology investments, you have to go to the United States. You've got Silicon Valley there. You've got the home of so many incredible tech companies. So, they may well have been planned in that direction before that election result.

HOWELL: But also as you point out, Andrew, that a big portion of that money is coming from Saudi Arabia, and that is a nation that Donald Trump has been highly critical of in his many speeches.

Andrew Stevens live for us. Thank you for the reporting.

KOSIK: Here at home -- fire officials in Oakland say they still don't know what caused the fire that ripped through the Ghost Ship warehouse over the weekend, killing 36 people. Investigators are said to be looking at a malfunctioning refrigerator near where the fire began as a possible source. Authorities say one of the witnesses who escaped the flames say they saw flames coming from the refrigerator.

HOWELL: Today marks the 71st anniversary on the attack on Pearl Harbor. Thousands of veterans and a few remaining survivors will attend a ceremony that is set to happen later this morning. On Monday, the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that he will visit the site of the attack in late December with President Obama, making him the first Japanese leader to do so since the end of World War II.

Speaking to reporters, Abe implied the gesture is a way of mirroring the commitment shown by President Obama to Japan-U.S. relations when he visited Hiroshima in May.

KOSIK: So, I'm taking out my fuzzy socks, you know why, because a blast of frigid air right now is making its way across the U.S.

Let's bring in meteorologist Pedram Javaheri for the forecast.

Good morning.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Alison and George, good morning to you both. We're getting ready really for the wrath of winter in the next coming couple of days. If you think it's cold outside, wait until you see what we have in store for us over the next several days. And, in fact, you bring the map in motion here, out of northwestern Canada.

Grab the globe town. You see the season's coldest air masses in some places could be 15 to 20 degrees below normal. It's a fuller air mass. It's not an Arctic air mass. So, the distinction between that is, you get into the arctic environment and then you're talking about significantly cooler temperatures over the next several days. And I just want to show you what we're talking about here with 20 degrees today. The best you can for Minneapolis, almost 40 yesterday for a high temperature. Places like Chicago dropping down to 30 when 41 degrees was yesterday's high temperature. In fact when you take a look at the year we've had with 27,000 record high temperatures versus 4,000 record low temperatures for every seven record highs we've just got one record low. We're going to set a few record lows over the coming days.

And you take a look. We got with 36 today in Detroit. About 47 in New York City. The temps want to drop off in the upper 30s, George and Alison. Next week, though, and next week I should say, even a colder trend possible going with that point -- guys.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: Pedram Javaheri, thank you.

A blockbuster trade in Major League Baseball. One of the game's premiere pitchers is changing socks. Coy Wire is live this morning with the "Bleacher Report", next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:23:29] HOWELL: Welcome back.

A blockbuster trade in Major League Baseball, the most coveted player on baseball's trading block is heading to Boston.

KOSIK: Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report."

Good morning, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alison and George.

Mr. John Berman not here this morning likely because he's still partying with his boys from Boston. Chris Sale, easily the most sought after pitcher this off-season, changing his socks from white to red. Now, Chicago does get some big time prospects from Boston.

But now, the Red Sox starting rotation is absurd. They have this year's Cy Young winner. They have Rick Porcello. David Price is a five-time all star. And now, Sale.

They're so loaded that the Yankees GM Brian Cashman actually called them the Golden State Warriors of baseball. They're loaded. And Vegas agrees. They went from 10 to 1, to 5 to 1 favorites to win the World Series after trading for Sale.

The Raiders and Chiefs doing battle in this week's big NFL matchup. It's tomorrow night against Kansas -- in Kansas City for a pivotal AFC West matchup. Oakland has been the surprise team of the year. They're 10-2, but they haven't beaten the Chiefs in the last four attempts. They know exactly what's on the line.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DEREK CARR, RAIDERS QUARTERBACK: Everyone asked, you know, they've beaten you these many times, and you know, these things and all that. Like when I'm preparing for these guys, it never goes through my head.

LATAVIUS MURRAY, RAIDERS RUNNING BACK: We know what's at stake for one this season. And again, they just stand in the way of our goals of winning the division. And so, we need to take care of them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[05:25:03] WIRE: Here's a feel-good for you. Zach Randolph returning to his Grizzlies squad after missing seven games due to the death of his mother Mae on Thanksgiving Day. Look at the home crowd standing ovation when the came off the bench. And cool moment with time running down at the end of the game. Randolph closed down the rebound to seal the deal for his team. Memphis wins.

And after the game, he talked about his mother.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ZACH RANDOLPH, MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES: You know, my mom is all I had, you know. All we had. This is what I did it for. She was the rock of this family. She was my number one fan. She watched every game, you know. My phone be ringing now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WIRE: He said his mom used to call him right after every single game. But, you know, my mom would want me to get back. Don't sit around and be sad. Just get out there and go do your job.

Just like George Howell after celebrating his birthday, I'd like to say --

HOWELL: Oh, God.

WIRE: -- happy belated birthday. I'm sorry I didn't make it. But I hear you tore up that pool table on Sunday.

HOWELL: A good game was played on that table, Coy. We'll have to get a game together.

KOSIK: We'll have to (INAUDIBLE) after the show.

Thanks, Coy.

HOWELL: Coy, thank you.

KOSIK: President-elect Donald Trump on the second leg of his thank you tour, formally introducing his pick for defense secretary and almost daring Congress to try to block his confirmation. Details coming up on EARLY START.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)