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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Trump: Time to Restore Trust Between Citizens; Trump Nominates First Two Women to Cabinet; White House Warns Trump of North Korea Nuke Threat; Trump Backtracks on Campaign Promises; Source: Computer Experts Urge Clinton to Seek Recount; Record Road & Air Travel Expected for Thanksgiving. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired November 23, 2016 - 19:00   ET

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


[19:00:00] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: He's so funny. I love him. All right. ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT starts right now anchored by Jim Sciutto.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next. Breaking news. President- elect Trump calling for national unity tonight. This as he names the first two women for top level positions.

Plus, Trump stepping away from promises on Obamacare, climate change, and to lock her up. What are Trump loyalists saying about the flip- flops?

And charges that the election results in some big states could have been hacked. Will Clinton demand a recount?

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening and happy Thanksgiving. I'm Jim Sciutto in tonight for Erin Burnett. And OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news. A call for unity. President-elect Donald Trump in a direct address to the American people, his holiday wish that the country begin to heal its divisions and move forward as one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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 community, including our inner cities. So important to me and so important to our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: This as team Trump presses ahead on the transition today, nominating two women to Cabinet level posts, diversifying his otherwise all male picks. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley tapped for U.N. ambassador. Haley, you may remember, was a sharp critic of Trump throughout the campaign while Trump called Haley an embarrassment to the people of South Carolina. And Betsy DeVos, a billionaire GOP donor, named the Secretary of Education. DeVos spent much of the year raising money for Republicans other than Donald Trump on the ballot.

Jim Acosta is OUTFRONT tonight. Jim, some surprising picks, you have to say, from Trump tonight.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Jim. Donald Trump has done something that many of his critics thought he was incapable of doing, and that is bringing in a harsh critic into his new administration. And he's making some other moves that suggest not all of his campaign promises are making the trip to the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA (voice-over): As Donald Trump settles in for the Thanksgiving weekend, the President-elect is making room at the table for some surprising cabinet picks. For starters, his choice for ambassador to the U.N., one of his toughest GOP critics, Nikki Haley, saying in a statement the South Carolina Governor and daughter of Indian immigrants is a proven deal maker, "and we look to be making plenty of deals. She will be a great leader representing us on the world stage."

Explaining her decision to step down as Governor, Haley said, "When the President believes you have a major contribution to make to the welfare of our nation and to our nation's standing in the world, that is a calling that is important to head."

GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: When a bully hits you, you hit that bully right back.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Haley had a different calling in the primaries when she was backing Marco Rubio. She attacked Trump as a race- baiting bully.

HALEY: I will not stop until we fight a man that chooses not to disavow the KKK. That is not a part of our Party. That's not who we want as President. We will not allow that in our country.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Trump punched right back.

TRUMP: She's very, very weak on illegal immigration. You can't have that.

ACOSTA (voice-over): In addition to the selection of Haley, Trump also tapped billionaire school choice advocate Betty DeVos for Education Secretary and appears to be closing in on announcing Ben Carson to lead Housing and Urban Development. The DeVos is already angering some conservatives who are outraged over her alliance with Jeb Bush's push for common core standardized testing in schools. Though on her website, DeVos insists she opposes common core, something Trump repeatedly vowed to end.

TRUMP: We're going to provide, you're going to like this, school choice and put an end to common core which is a disaster. We'll bring our education local.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Trump's willingness to go out outside his comfort zone may well be a sign he could turn to one of his biggest Republican adversaries to become his Secretary of State, Mitt Romney.

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS: His domestic policies would lead to recession. His foreign policies would make America and the world less safe. He has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be President.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The potential move is enraging some of his core supporters.

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF ARKANSAS: There is only one way that, I think, Mitt Romney could even be considered for a post like that, and that is that he goes to a microphone at a very public place and repudiates everything he said in that famous Salt Lake City speech.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: I can think of 20 other people who would be more naturally compatible with the Trump vision of foreign policy.

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Right.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA: Now, the decision to send Nikki Haley to the United Nations comes at a critical time for the Trump transition team with so many Americans uneasy about the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency. A Trump transition source tells me they hope that Haley's selection will be sort of a pressure reliever for a lot of Americans who are uneasy about all of this, Jim.

[19:05:09] And I'm told by a Trump transition source that we should not expect any more announcements until after Thanksgiving. So we get one day to take it easy there on Thanksgiving tomorrow, Jim.

SCIUTTO: And that U.N. ambassador pick also might reassure some people around the world.

ACOSTA: Right.

SCIUTTO: Jim Acosta, thanks very much.

ACOSTA: You got it.

SCIUTTO: Jason Carroll, he's OUTFRONT in Palm Beach, Florida. Jason, Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate, that's right behind you there. We haven't seen him today, but we just heard his Thanksgiving message and clearly intending to strike a very different tone than he did repeatedly on the campaign trail.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he is, Jim. You're right. What he's trying to do is turn a page here. As you know, many of his critics accused him throughout the campaign of running a divisive campaign, some saying even running a racist campaign. And what he's trying to do now is make a call for unity, for healing. He said in his video that he knows that this is something that is not going to happen overnight. At one point, Jim, quoting Abraham Lincoln, saying, "One voice, one heart."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: This historic political campaign is now over, but now begins a great national campaign to rebuild our country and to restore the full promise of American for all of our people. I'm asking you to join me in this effort. It's time to restore the bonds of trust between citizens because when America is unified, there is nothing beyond our reach. And I mean absolutely nothing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARROLL: So, again, the message tonight from the Trump team is one of unifying the country, one of healing. Of course, his critics already looking at that and saying it's not going to be about the President- elect's words. It's going to be about his policies and his actions. Jim.

SCIUTTO: No question. Jason Carroll, thanks very much. OUTFRONT tonight now, I'd like to welcome our panel. Scotty Nell Hughes. She's a conservative commentator. Basil Smikle, executive director of the New York State Democratic Party. Phillip Bump is a "Washington Post" political reporter, and Ron Brownstein is senior editor of "The Atlantic." Thanks to all of you.

Ron, let's start with that Thanksgiving message, a call for unity. Trump sounding, I think it's an understatement to say, a very different tone than he did during the campaign.

RON BROWNSTEIN, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: Yes. Look, like Donald Trump, I am from Queens. So I think I can say with some amount expertise that is the definition of the chutzpah. Donald Trump, from the beginning, from the moment that he came down the escalator and talked about undocumented immigrants as criminals and rapists, to talking about African-American protesters at his events as thugs, to proposing, at one point, to ban an entire religion from entering the United States, I think it's fair to say he ran the most racially divisive campaigns since George Wallace.

And while there's definitely diversity in the appointments announced today, we also have Steve Bannon, Jeff Sessions, and Mike Flynn, you know, the latter of whom has basically described and said it is rational to be afraid of Islam.

So, you know, for Trump now to say he wants to unify the country, I think there are going to be a lot of people who are going to be very skeptical and are going to be looking, as Jason Carroll said, more to deeds than words because certainly his words as a candidate have done as much to divide the country as any, I think, we have seen in our time.

SCIUTTO: Scotty, fair criticism? SCOTTY NELL HUGHES, POLITICAL EDITOR, RIGHTALERTS.COM: It's a fair

criticism but he's no longer a candidate. He is President-elect Trump. And remember, this is still President Obama's stage, but for some reason Donald Trump has the entire audience. And I think what Mr. Trump is wanting to do with this administration is have everybody lead the table, or most Americans feel like they won some and they lost some. You're seeing a balance of all the ideals, the spectrum, the diversity within the Republican Party coming together within this cabinet. Not everybody loves every pick. Not everybody hates every pick.

And I think this actually speaks to very wise parts of him and how he's not going to micromanage. He's picking the best people for that position not based on their gender, not based on their sex, not based on their race, but because they are the best person for that job. And I think we really do have to give him a chance after he is sworn in to actually see what actions these folks are going to pull off.

SCIUTTO: Basil, I have to ask you because, Ron, of course, ticked off a number of the more controversial positions and statements from the campaign. Another Donald Trump led the effort, to discredit the citizenship of the President of the United States, Barack Obama, his predecessor. This diversity you see in a Nikki Haley, does that change your view fundamentally?

BASIL SMIKLE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NEW YORK STATE DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE: Not really. Just to paraphrase Chris Rock, I don't need to give you credit for things that you're supposed to do. And, you know, trying to be diverse and trying to bring more voices to the table is something that I think a President is supposed to do.

True diversity in this case, based on what he has already, is actually being able to bring in some Democrats into fold and get them at the table as well. So, you know, and during the campaign, Donald Trump talked a lot about draining the swamp, but the truth is that a lot of the picks that we've seen are highly ideological which Trump, I don't think, necessarily is. And they are familiar faces and names in the Republican Party.

[19:10:07] So I don't know if there's a particular lean that Donald Trump is going to have. I don't know if he's going to be very sort of firm in terms of governance, but I do see that a lot of the names that have been talked about already. There is substantial ideology there, and I think you'll see that sort of infused in the agencies that they are going to be heading.

So, listen, I'm happy to allow him to do the work that he needs to do to build his administration, but I think we're really in a long wait and see period.

SCIUTTO: DeVos, for instance, got less attention than Nikki Haley today, but she, for instance, is a very strong supporter of school vouchers, for instance, and she'll be now be heading the Education Department. Philip, I do want to ask you, though, beyond the statements about racists, religions, et cetera, Donald Trump made some very personal statements about some of the people he has now chosen or is considering choosing for senior posts.

Let's just run through of them. He called Romney one of the dumbest and worst candidates in the history of Republican politics. Haley was a Governor who Donald Trump said embarrassed her state. In an interview with my colleague, Erin Burnett, here, Trump compared Carson's, quote, "pathological temper" to that of a child molester. These are all now either have already been selected or may very well be selected. Are these insults just forgotten?

PHILIP BUMP, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, one would assume that they're not forgotten by the people who were the targets of them. And I think it reinforces the point that Ron Brownstein was just making, which is that Donald Trump, as he has throughout the entire campaign, is expecting people to come on board with him and is not going anything to reach out to actually make overtures to get them to do so.

His expectation is that the country will unite around him, but he has repeatedly heard from folks, he's heard from protesters, he's heard from other people that have been giving him feedback, that what he needs to do is actually demonstrate that he wants to unite the Party by changing what it is that he's doing, by moderating some of his positions. The people who he's appointed so far are strongly conservative.

I think Scotty made the point when she just said it was representing the diverse spectrum of the Republican Party. And, yes, that's true, but there are -- more than half of the country isn't Republican. And these are folks that if Donald Trump wants to unify the country, he needs to do something to demonstrate to people of color and all of the women who didn't vote for him that he is actually doing something to actually unite the country. And so far, we're not seeing it.

SCIUTTO: We're going to have to more chances to talk about this. Scotty, Basil, Philip, and Ron, thanks very much. And please do enjoy your Thanksgiving holidays.

OUTFRONT next, Donald Trump backing off on Obamacare, deportation force, and climate change. Why is that? And what do his loyal supporters think about it?

Plus, angry Democrats starting their own movement to take on the Trump presidency. And why weren't Malia and Sasha by their father's side for the annual turkey pardon?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This year, they had a scheduling conflict.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: Actually, they just couldn't take my jokes any more.

(END VIDEO CLIP) [19:16:15] SCIUTTO: Tonight, the White House is sounding the alarm about North Korea. The Obama administration cautioning that Kim Jong- un should be a top national security concern for President-elect Trump, but will Trump and his advisers need -- heed, rather, that advice? Our Brian Todd is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New information tonight that Donald Trump got a dire warning about a major national security threat he'll face when he enters the Oval Office, a threat that comes from a young, impetuous dictator who executed his own uncle. U.S. intelligence officials tell CNN the White House is conveying that North Korea is a grave near-term threat to America.

"The Wall Street Journal" says the Obama team viewed North Korea as Trump's top national security priority and warned the Trump transition team about the threat.

MICHAEL GREEN, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR ASIA AND JAPAN CHAIR, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Once the President-elect got the detailed briefings on the state of the North Korea nuclear and missile programs, I imagine it was new information and rather jarring.

TODD (voice-over): U.S. officials and weapons experts say Kim Jong- un's regime probably has the ability already to put nuclear weapons on medium range missiles which could hit Japan and South Korea. And their improving their longer range intercontinental ballistic missiles. One is called the KN-14.

RICHARD FISHER, SENIOR FELLOW ON ASIAN MILITARY AFFAIRS, INTERNATIONAL ASSESSMENT AND STRATEGY CENTER: They've tested the ICBM engine. It may have new fuels that give it far greater energy and range. And with that range, the KN-14 can possibly reach Washington, D.C.

TODD (voice-over): Those missiles haven't yet been tested to be able to reenter the atmosphere, but experts say the North Koreans could be able to fire those missiles at the U.S. during Trump's administration. There are also new concerns tonight about Kim's violent tendencies and how President Trump will deal with him personally.

TODD (on camera): What should Donald Trump know about Kim Jung-un as an adversary?

GREEN: Kim Jong-un is a dangerous man. He has grown up around violence. He seems to even enjoy violence. He has brutally killed dozens of his generals, and he is a leader without legitimacy. He needs to prove to the Korean People's Army that he is a tough guy.

TODD (voice-over): On the campaign trail, Trump alternated between saying it's possible he could meet with Kim and saying he wanted to push him out of power.

TRUMP: He's like a maniac. OK? And you got to give him credit. How many young guys -- he was like 26 or 25 when his father died -- take over these tough generals? (END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: We've pressed the Trump transition team for specifics on how they will handle Kim Jong-un. We haven't gotten a response. Jim.

SCIUTTO: Brian Todd, thanks very much. OUTFRONT now, CNN military analyst, retired Major General James "Spider" Marks, and former Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton. Thanks to both of you for joining tonight.

General Marks, President-elect Trump says that he is the best negotiator -- you heard him say that many times on the campaign trail -- and that he could use those business negotiating skills to push states likes an Iran or a North Korea. Do you see evidence of that, that he'd be able to successfully negotiate with Pyongyang in a way that previous administrations have not?

MAJ. GEN. JAMES MARKS (Ret), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, no. I think what's important is what you just said, Jim, is that no one in history has demonstrated an ability to influence actions in Pyongyang. It just doesn't happen. We have not been able to do it. The only thing that United States has been able to do, which is significant, is maintain an incredibly powerful coalition with the South Koreans and a presence in northeast Asia that's compelling militarily. But we haven't been able to effect activities there.

And also, you know, President-elect Trump, as a business, has been incredibly successful. But at the end of the each negotiation, if terms are not right, he has the ability to say, stop, I'm not going to go forward. Kim Jong-un remains in place at the end of a negotiation if he doesn't like it. That has to be dealt with.

[19:19:58] SCIUTTO: Cedric Leighton, in the past and during the campaign, Donald Trump has said that while he wouldn't host Kim Jong- un for a state dinner, he would at least be more than glad to meet him here in the United States. Have a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Who the hell cares? I'll speak to anybody. Who knows? There's a 10 percent or a 20 percent chance that I can talk him out of those damn nukes, because who the hell wants him to have nukes? I wouldn't go there. That, I can tell you. If he came here, I'd accept him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: He gives himself a 10 to 20 percent chance of talking Kim Jong-un out of his nukes. Is he being naive there?

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (Ret), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I think so, Jim. And the reason that I say that is because who you talk to matters. In this particular case, what you're dealing with is somebody who wants recognition from the United States. They fought basically for 60 years to try to be recognized by the United States as an equal power. And if President Trump, when he becomes president, actually talks to Kim Jong-un as an equal, then the North Koreans will, in essence, have won. And from there standpoint, that's a negotiating victory and won't do very much to help our position or South Korea's position.

SCIUTTO: See, this is one of those things. I mean, there is this misconception out there, isn't there, Spider Marks, that somehow North Korea is crazy. Kim Jong-un is, you know, fly by the seat of his pants. But, in reality, when you talk to intel folks, they say that, you know, as dangerous as it is, this is actually a rational policy of sort of self-protection for North Korea.

MARKS: Well, it is. It's easy for those of us who aren't in Pyongyang, aren't North Koreans, haven't been living under this regime for the last 70 years, to label him as crazy, lunatic. Let me tell you, anybody who's got 12 to 15 nuclear weapons and increasing missile capability where missiles and nuclear bombs will be able to be married up here at some point in the near future, has 1.2 million active military under arms right now -- fourth largest military in the world and it's only 20 miles from Seoul, that's is a significant issue that needs to be addressed in a very sober, very measured, and a very powerful way. That's not lunacy.

SCIUTTO: Cedric Leighton, I imagine a lot of folks at home will say, well, why not just take the nuclear weapons out? Why is that more difficult than it sounds?

LEIGHTON: Well, first of all, Jim, in this particular case, North Korea has actually a mobile capability where they can move those nukes around. And even though there may only be 10 to 15, as General Marks mentioned, that still is a significant number. And it's also a number that's going to increase over the next decade or so and increase quite substantially.

So when you look at that, it's going to be very, very difficult to get those nukes, hit them directly, or somehow disable them. It's almost an impossible job for special operations forces or any other force that you would want to put into that kind of a situation. It would be a very, very difficult thing to do because that is totally denied territory to us.

SCIUTTO: And I imagine, Spider, the other thing is that because Seoul is so close to North Korea, I mean, you have millions of civilians, not to mention tens of thousands of U.S. troops that are very much in harm's way in the event of military action.

MARKS: Oh, absolutely. You know, when we moved to Korea, I had the great pleasure of being the senior intel guy in Korea. And when we moved in to Korea, I was able to bring my family. The first thing my kids had to do was get fitted for a gas mask. It truly is a city that's under arms and the under threat of an attack at any moment from North Korea. So certainly very, very serious considerations get in place.

And you know, I would imagine, upon inauguration, there will probably be a test of some sort, a nuclear test of some sort, which would be the sixth.

LEIGHTON: Yes.

MARKS: And also, bear in mind, in 2018, we got the Winter Olympics in South Korea. That is a target for concern.

SCIUTTO: Yes. This is a regime that likes to send those public threatening signals.

MARKS: Right.

SCIUTTO: Cedric Leighton, Spider Marks, you know it well. Thanks very much.

MARKS: Thanks, Jim.

LEIGHTON: You bet. You bet, Jim.

SCIUTTO: OUTFRONT next. Trump backing down on some of his cornerstone campaign promises. What are his loyal supporters saying about the flip-flops? And what it's like living inside Trump Tower if your name isn't Trump?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[19:24:23] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like going to an airport. You are, like, protect your bags. You will have security, they check with the metal detectors all over your body.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: Welcome back. Tonight, significant changes appear to be emerging in a number of Donald Trump's signature promises. They include his approach to counterterrorism, his hard line stance on globally warming, and his vow to lock up Hillary Clinton. So what's behind the flip-flopping, and do his supporters actually care? Brynn Gingras is OUTFRONT

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Scheduling, canceling, and then rescheduling a meeting with "The New York Times" isn't the only thing President-elect Donald Trump has changed his mind about since being elected. In his first sit down interview with the newspaper since winning the election, the flip-flops added up. Take his stance on prosecuting Hillary Clinton over her e-mail controversy.

TRUMP: She deleted the e-mails. She has to go to jail.

CROWD: Lock her up. Lock her up. Lock her up.

TRUMP: If I win, I am going to instruct my Attorney General to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation because --

GINGRAS (voice-over): He's since softened, telling "The Times," quote, "I don't want to hurt the Clintons. I really don't. She went through a lot and suffered greatly." About Obamacare, Trump first said -- TRUMP: It's got to go. Obamacare has to be repealed and replaced.

GINGRAS (voice-over): He's changed his stance on that too. Some parts could stay, coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions and children staying on their parent's plan until they're 26 as he said in this "60 minutes" interview.

[19:30:01] TRUMP: Adds cost but it's very much something we're going to try and keep.

GINGRAS (voice-over): As the president-elect fills his administration, General James Mattis appears to be a front runner for secretary defense, despite the two having differences of opinions on the use of waterboarding. But this is what Trump told the times about the recent meeting with the general.

TRUMP: I said, "What do you think of waterboarding?" He said, "I was surprised." He said, "I've never found it to be useful." He said, "I've always found, give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers and I do better with that than I do with torture."

GINGRAS: So, is Trump backing away from what he continuously told his supporters about using torture on terror suspects?

TRUMP: I love it. I love it. Think it's great. And I said the only thing is we should make it much tougher than waterboarding. And if you don't think it works, folks you are wrong.

GINGRAS: And when it comes to climate change, the president-elect once tweeted global warming is an expensive hoax, now telling "The Times" he believes there's some connectivity between humans and climate change, stressing, quote, "clean air is vitally important."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GINGRAS: And really the list goes on and on as time passes. The president-elect once said President Obama was ignorant and now he says he likes him. And when it comes to the fact that the border wall, well, that may soon become a fence. And about "The New York Times," he once called them disgusting. And now he says, Jim, that they are a world Jewel.

Back to you.

SCIUTTO: Things change. Brynn, thanks very much.

I want to bring back my panel now.

And, Scottie, I want to start with you. You were a Trump supporter throughout the election. Now a lot of this criticism coming from the Breitbarts of the world. It calls flip-flopping on Hillary Clinton a broken promise. Rush Limbaugh also criticizing here.

Do these changes, really these reversals, matter to Trump supporters?

HUGHES: They matter but they are nonexistent at this point. These are just words. If you go piece by piece things like Obamacare, those two points that Mr. Trump says he's going to keep, those were part of the two Republican plans that they put forward in the House and the Senate last year. Those were --

SCIUTTO: You are saying it is not -- it is a difference to say I'm going to repeal it and now saying I may keep parts of it.

HUGHES: No, he's going keep two parts.

SCIUTTO: There's a difference to say she should go to jail and now saying he's no longer going to pursue that. I mean, that's not just a difference. It's a reversal.

HUGHES: Because he didn't say that. That's not exactly what he said. Matthew (INAUDIBLE) of "The New York Times" said, you're definitely taking that off the table, the investigation. Trump said no. But the question was asked and he's saying --

SCIUTTO: His spokesman said he's not going to pursue it.

HUGHES: But the actual transcript what he said at the "New York Times". What he's doing right now, he's not going micromanage the cabinet positions he's filling right now. He's not going to tell these folks when you take this job, I'm not going to command you to do things. I want to hear exactly your reasoning, your justification. But ultimately the buck stops a them.

But I will say this, I guarantee conservatives and Republicans hold his feet tighter to the fire than anything that anybody in the media or other side will ever do. They will forget but they will not forgive. And I promise you, the first he starts backtracking, you will hear more rumbling out of those folks who worked so hard to get him into office, to make sure that he sticks to campaign promises so that he's not like every other politician that has betrayed them in the past.

SCIUTTO: Basil, do you buy that explanation?

SMIKLE: I don't. And I take Scottie's point.

HUGHES: Eric Cantor. What about Eric Cantor? We've done it before. We've ousted our own --

SMIKLE: I get that. But, you know, I take Scottie's point about micromanaging or governance. I think that is the key point here. How much does Donald Trump actually want to govern?

And the fact of the matter is that he himself has said that he used language on the campaign trail he may not have actually meant. But he knew the impact it would have on getting his supporters riled up. And yes, it is true that conservatives and his voters broadly are going to hold his feet to the fire.

But the truth of the matter is, if he doesn't have that political, ideological or policy compass where we can get a sense of what's going to do and why or the reasoning behind it and what his core believes, if we don't get that, what's going to happen is his appointment, his cabinet appointees are the ones that are actually going to be writing the policy. And as long as they go to him and say you know what, we did us it is going to come out and say it was a win, whether it's a flip-flop orb not. And that is the concern his voters should have.

SCIUTTO: Well, Ron and Philip, I want to give you a chance to pipe in on this as well. Ron, I mean, the criticism during the campaign or the theory had been, well, this is just an act. He's just saying what works to get himself elected. Is this -- are these reversals evidence that was a true criticism?

BROWNSTEIN: I'm more with Scottie on this. I think there is less than meets the eye. I think there are some areas where potentially we're seeing an important change, and waterboarding and torture maybe one of them.

[19:35:00] But think about, look at the two that are cited the most, climate and health. What Trump is doing is signaling a different tone on the overview. But when you get into the guts of the policy, he is going in the same direction. For example, he is saying he might not withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, but he has said on the first day, he plans on repealing President Obama's clean power plan which was the instrumentation of how we achieve the goals that we agreed to in the climate plan.

And same thing with healthcare. I mean, to talk about maintaining the ability of people to get insurance with prior condition, but repealing the individual mandate, the subsidies and expansion under Medicaid that were the core of allowing 20 more million people to have health insurance undermines that promise.

I think it is full speed ahead on the agenda. Maybe the tone on how you are presenting it could be different.

SCIUTTO: Philip, you get the final word.

BUMP: I think that is exactly right and I think it is important to remember that what "The New York Times" editorial board took away from meeting with Donald Trump is they considered his perspective on the issues to be thinly throughout through, right? This is -- Donald Trump has held literally every position on climate change over the course of the past decade. This is not core to who he was worried about as a businessman. It is not something that is at a forefront of what he's worried about right now.

There were things that he said on the campaign trail that were very effective as political rhetoric. They are not things necessarily though that he's going to hold to, and I don't -- I think Scottie is right. I don't think that his supporters are going to sit there and say, well, you said you were going do this particular torture thing. They want him to be tough on terrorism. And if he can demonstrate he's being tough on terrorism in a way that doesn't necessarily include waterboarding, think he'll think he's accomplishing something. I think his supporters will think he's accomplished something.

And I think at the end of the day, he's still formulating what it is he wants to do to move forward.

(CROSSTALK)

SMIKLE: So, does that mean he's not going to be held to the same standard as President Obama -- shocking, shocking.

SCIUTTO: Folk, folks, Basil, Philip, Ron, Scottie, thanks so much. And let me take this chance to wish you a Thanksgiving.

OUTFRONT next, heightened security in New York for the Thanksgiving Day parade.

Plus, charges that the election results in three crucial swing states could have been hacked. Will Hillary Clinton call for a recount?

And anti-Trumpers are so upset that they are starting their own movement?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to build an army of progressives across this country to fight for the things that we believe in. So I'm really happy you guys are here tonight.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:41:19] SCIUTTO: New tonight, Hillary Clinton's lead in the popular vote is now nearing 2 million votes. As we're learning top aides have been briefed by a group of scientists calling for a recount. Scientists believe they may have found evidence that the votes in three key swing states could have been manipulated or even hacked.

Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT tonight. He's been looking into these charges.

So, Tom, what are the scientists alleging? And in your view, how credible are they?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what they are alleging is that in three key states, there may have been these anomalies -- Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Very, very tough, tight races in all places. In fact, we still haven't called Michigan because they don't really know. Look at the electoral votes.

They're saying in some counties there, it looks like the results from the electronic voting machines are considerably lower than what they would have expected from the polls, maybe as much as 7 percent in some cases.

Now, the assessment of it -- well, I'm not a computer scientist, but I know this -- they haven't released their numbers. They haven't shown their methodology. It is very hard for anyone outside to get beyond just their claim that maybe something happen. There's a two-pronged assault going on here. The political activists

connected to this are saying, you got to look at this because maybe Hillary Clinton really won and she wasn't allowed to win. That is what they are pushing towards the Clinton campaign people.

The chief scientist on this, he seems to be saying more, look, you have to look at any kind of irregularity, although he does not see evidence at this point that it was hacking.

So, at this point really, it is a bit of a conspiracy theory and we need a lot more evidence to go much further on -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: Now, Clinton campaign, are they responding? Are they saying that they're taking this seriously?

FOREMAN: They are not really responding. The DNC isn't really responding. There is no sign that they are ready to wrap their arms around this yet and run with it.

And arguably, it's kind of difficult for them when they made the case so much that if Donald Trump lost, he and his followers should say that is the way it is. We don't want a bunch of challenges. Politically, it is a little difficult. It doesn't mean it's not important if they feel like it is important.

Jill Stein, however, of the Green Party, seemed to be trying to get together a real challenge to follow-up on this. Again though, even if that happens, a lot of things have to fall together just the right way to make the numbers turn and make any real difference to all of this other than making people perhaps feel better -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: Before those electors meet, the college meets in December 19th, I believe.

Tom Foreman, thanks very much.

FOREMAN: You're welcome.

SCIUTTO: After Hillary Clinton's loss, many Democrats are pondering their own revolution, much like the Republicans Tea Party movement after 2008.

Our Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The time to whine is over says this room of 200 Los Angeles Democrats.

LISA TAYLOR ROSENFELD, DEMOCRATIC ACTIVIST: I want to build an army of progressives across the country.

LAH: Trying to harness the rage of Californians, a state that's seen daily often massive anti-Trump protests.

(on camera): When you look in this room, what do you see? EMILY CAMASTRA, DEMOCRATIC ACTIVIST: This is exactly the place

Republicans were in 2008.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear --

LAH (voice-over): November 2008, Republicans lost the White House, the Senate and House of Representatives.

Sound familiar? Back then, from that loss, a grassroots conservative movement was born, the Tea Party.

CAMASTRA: We need that passion, that activism, that level of engagement that, you know, that Republicans harnessed in 2008 going forward and we need to capture that for the left.

LAH: People like Emily Camastra. She's not a Democratic operative, neither are the people in this room, but they are united in their resistance to a Trump administration.

[19:45:01] California still counting its votes is overwhelmingly Democratic and anti-Trump.

You see it in the half serious Cal exit movements seceding from the United States.

California's outgoing Democratic senator Barbara Boxer submitting largely symbolic legislation to end the Electoral College which gave Trump the win despite losing the popular vote. And the Los Angeles police chief sending a message to the new president-elect that state laws won't force the LAPD to round up immigrants.

The left coast, the natural setting for an opposition to Washington.

BILL CARRICK, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: There is a shock here that how did this happen? Because they didn't see it in California. So, they are going organize and organize hard.

LAH (on camera): Is this grassroots movement going to influence the rest of the country?

CARRICK: You're going to see Democrats are going to be afraid of Trump. So, I think they are going to be all hands on deck.

LAH: Is this different than every other thing you have ever seen?

CHRISTIAN ESPERIAS, DEMOCRATIC ACTIVIST: Yes. It's absolutely different. There are action steps. They have awoken something in us that won't stop.

LAH (voice-over): Borrowing from the Republican playbook, hoping for a different ending in 2020.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAH: So, would this Tea Party of the left stay on the left coast or could this grow into a national movement?

Well, the people we spoke with say if it is going to happen, now is the time. And something else we noticed, Jim, it is not just politically. But over this last weekend, we saw religious leaders galvanizing as well. There were some 25 vigils, interfaith vigils in cities like Los Angeles and New York. And what we heard there is a very similar message, a grassroots opposition to a Trump White House -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: Kyung Lah, thanks very much in Los Angeles.

OUTFRONT next, the unprecedented security around New York's big Thanksgiving Day parade. Our live report is coming up.

And Malia and Sasha Obama, they've actually skipped out the president's final turkey pardon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What I haven't told them yet is that we are going to do this every year from now on. No way I'm cutting this habit cold turkey.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:50:42] SCIUTTO: Tonight, police on alert across New York City after ISIS called the annual Thanksgiving parade their, quote, "an excellent target". Dozens of sand-filled transplantation trucks will line the route to prevent a possible attack. It's really an unprecedented step.

It comes as 48.7 million Americans will travel at least fifty miles to celebrate Thanksgiving. That is the most since 2007.

Rene Marsh is OUTFRONT at Reagan National Airport.

So, Rene, it's a busy night tonight before the holiday. How's it been going so far?

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: I can tell you, Jim, the big issue today, it's all about volume -- volume on the roads as well as in the airports. We're talking about millions of people essentially on the move during the busiest portion of holiday travel.

But most people will be driving. I want you the take a look at this video. This is the 405 in Los Angeles. Gridlock for miles and miles.

Again, most people are expected to drive to their Thanksgiving destination. AAA saying about 43 million people.

Airports and airlines where we are here at Reagan National, they are seeing high numbers as well. Overall, some 27 million people are expected to fly throughout the Thanksgiving holiday. But, Jim, I will argue that the true test is going to be on Sunday.

Although we saw lots of travelers today, Sunday, we will see even more. And all eyes will be on the TSA to see if they are able to handle the crowds.

Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETER NEFFENGER, TSA ADMINISTRATOR: We brought on about just shy of 1400 new transport security officers this summer. We converted about 2,000 from part-time to full-time. We've added about another 50 or 60 K9s.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARSH: All right. So, they beefed up staffing, as well as they have those K9s. If you are on a line where they are using the dogs, you don't have to remove your shoes, you don't have to remove your jacket or the liquids from your bag. This is just one of the many measures TSA is using to speed up the lines here, as they expect lots and lots of fliers.

Back to you, Jim.

SCIUTTO: And let's hope the weather doesn't get in the way too. Rene Marsh, thanks very much.

Now to the White House holiday tradition that brings out the stand up comic in President Obama -- the presidential pardon of a Thanksgiving turkey or in this case two turkeys nicknamed Tater and Tot. A moment the president filled with a healthy stuffing of puns.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Malia and Sasha are thankful this is our final presidential pardon. What I haven't told them yet is we are going do this every year from now on. No cameras. Just us. Every year. No way I'm cutting this habit cold turkey.

(APPLAUSE)

A good one. That was pretty funny.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: Well, at least they laughed.

OUTFRONT next, we take you inside Trump Tower. What it's like to live right next door to the Trumps.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:57:28] SCIUTTO: Trump Tower in New York, home to the president- elect and his family, of course. But they are not the only one who call the Fifth Avenue home. Jean Casarez is OUTFRONT tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Trump Tower has always been a high profile apartment and business complex. But now with armed guards 24/7, there can be no doubt. This is the home of the President-elect Donald Trump, the country's next first lady Melania and their son Baron.

Celebrities have called Trump Tower home like Bruce Willis, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cristiano Ronaldo, also a music superstar Michael Jackson.

About 15 years ago, a couple leasing the tourist penthouse got a personal call from Trump himself.

GIAMPIERO RISPO, PRESIDENT, DOMUS ARBITER REALTY CORP: Donald calls the wife of the tenant and says, "Do you mind if I show your apartment to a dear friend of mine?" She says, "No, not a problem. It's fine."

So, Michael Jackson arrives with his limousine in a separate entrance that the building has. My client said it was the nicest man around.

CASAREZ: According to the website, Trump Tower has over sixty floors and 263 apartments.

Giampiero Rispo has represented high profile clients at Trump Tower for over 15 years. He took us inside the building, 42 stories up to see what your average multimillion dollar apartment looks like.

Heading inside, golden burgundy walls, marble floors and apartment doors without letters or numbers, so you need to know where you are going.

He says security of the building now is so intense, some of his prospective buyers are turned off.

RISPO: They said they feel that in a military camp. They're all kind of forces, from SWAT teams, police. It is not very pleasant to get to the building.

CASAREZ (on camera): People who live in Trump Tower actually have to go through this security right here and then even more security beyond to get to the residential entrance. That increased security began on election night and it is not set to end for a long, long time.

(voice-over): Residents are taking it one day at a time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The most surprising thing is just easy it's been. The security clearly is substantial. But they just are all really good at their job.

CASAREZ: A logistical nightmare or not. Trump Tower may be setting an example for what's to come.

RISPO: If President Trump will run the country the same way he runs the building, we could be quite happy.

CASAREZ: Jean Casarez, CNN New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCIUTTO: Thank you for joining us. I'm Jim Sciutto. Please have a great Thanksgiving.

"AC360" starts right now.