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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
NC Governor Challenges Election Results; Early Bird Shoppers Kick Off Black Friday Frenzy; Trump: U.S. Will Exit Trans-Pacific Partnership; Trump: TPP Trade Deal "Potential Disaster" For U.S.; China The Big Winner From TPP Collapse?; Wisconsin Elections Commission Receives Stein Recount Request; U.S. U2 Spy Planes Track ISIS From Edge Of Space Using Planes From Cold War Era To Watch ISIS From 70,000 Feet Up. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired November 25, 2016 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:32:43] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to THE LEAD.
Seventeen days after Election Day, North Carolina still has not declared a winner in its governor's race. Now, the man trailing by some 7,700 votes, the incumbent Republican Governor Pat McCrory, could be laying the groundwork to have his fellow Republicans who control the state legislature decide the outcome. Could that really happen? Will it be legal?
I want to bring in someone who's been watching this race closely. He is Colin Campbell, political reporter for the News and Observer" in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Thanks very much, Colin, for helping he walk through this.
So, the Democrat Roy Cooper, he leads by 7,700 votes. Can McCrory actually have the North Carolina General Assembly, in effect, override that outcome?
COLIN CAMPBELL, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE NEWS & OBSERVER (RALEIGH): Well, that's the legal option they have here in North Carolina. And it's happened before, about ten years ago in a superintendent of public construction race where the then Democratic legislature ruled in favor of the Democratic candidate who in that situation was actually leading in the votes. So, it could happen again.
Really, all they have to have as far as a reason is that the results may somehow be murky or contested. They could jump in here. It is a Republican controlled legislature. So, if they were to jump in, it is likely they would go for Governor Pat McCrory, even if the vote tallies seem to show Roy Cooper in the lead, as we get towards the end of the vote counting process in South Carolina.
SCIUTTO: Now, murky, of course, is in the eye of the beholder. The fact is the Democrats have a lead. I understand Republicans are saying that some votes came from dead voters. I mean, we've we heard this before. Convicts who they say are ineligible to vote.
How are they building the case, if they are, to say that this result is somehow fishy?
CAMPBELL: Well, we are getting these allegations and comments filed about voter fraud throughout the state in a variety of counties, there are typically complaints filed, with help from the McCrory campaign by local Republican officials. They're saying -- challenging individual voters.
They're naming people who they say are convicted felons, who are ineligible to vote. You can be a convicted felon and still vote, but you can't be serving an active sentence.
They're also saying the dead people voted in this case, it's not necessarily appearing people who have died long ago still on the voter rolls, it's people that cast by mail back in September, October and pass away before Election Day, under state law, those votes cannot count.
[16:35:03] So, there are a fairly small votes. I think the total challenges amount to no more than a couple hundred votes. Meanwhile, as more votes get tallied from the absentee and provision ballots, the lead for Roy Cooper is now at 7,000 votes. We are near the end of the process for that.
SCIUTTO: So, let me ask you this basically the Republicans, that enjoy the general assembly, the numbers almost don't matter. They can decide, hey, it's murky, you know what, this is a fishy result. We're going to vote and put in Republican. I mean, is it as simple as that?
CAMPBELL: Yes, pretty much. And we've talked to the speaker of the House just in the last week about that possibility. He says it's premature to talk about that, but also he didn't rule out the possibility that that might happen.
I mean, granted if it does happen, you can expect lawsuits to be filed in federal court challenging the legislature's decision to do that. And that drag the process out longer.
SCIUTTO: The Democrats could challenge that in court. But I understand not in state court. They have to if to federal court to challenge.
CAMPBELL: Yes, the law says they can't do it in any sort of state court. But legal experts told us federal courts would be just fine for that. And certainly if you are able is clearly in favor of Roy Cooper, then they have a fairly strong case with federal judges. And the federal judges have overturned a number of decisions by our state legislature in North Carolina before. So, certainly not unprecedented there.
SCIUTTO: Colin Campbell, I mean, it's pretty remarkable story. Something we got to keep watching. Thanks very much.
CAMPBELL: Thanks a lot, Jim.
SCIUTTO: Black Friday, why today's shopping bonanza could be different from any other. Then, how the U.S. military is fighting ISIS on the ground with some
help from the very edge of space.
[16:40:34] SCIUTTO: Welcome back.
Our money lead now. The holiday season has begun, shoppers are on a spending spree, at least online, where shoppers spent $1.39 billion yesterday. Today, they are forecast to spend more than $3 billion. The first time that online sales have gone that high.
CNN business correspondent Alison Kosik took on the challenging assignment of visiting a targeted New Jersey City to see how many shoppers were hunting for deals, the old fashioned way in person.
So, Alison, how is it looking there today?
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Jim, Black Friday actually started at 6:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving here at this Target in Jersey City, New Jersey. Hundreds of people waiting out in line on Thanksgiving, meaning after eating their turkey to come inside. And where did most of them go?
They came here to the electronics department, because the must have gift of the year is TVs. And they went fast. Target says yesterday, on Thanksgiving, when they opened, 3,200 TVs per minute were sold in that first hour of opening.
It just goes to show Black Friday is changing a little, meaning moving to Thursday. But the spirit is still alive. Listen to this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am going to four different stores, so I'm kind of rushing between each one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not as crazy as I thought it would be.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's fun to wait outside, I see people coming in like rushing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got a good price, everything is down.
KOSIK: And, Jim, here's a hot toy catching everybody's eye, an almost life size version of Darth Vader, if we can't live without that, or how about a robotic vacuum, so you vacuum the floor sitting on the couch. And did you know that pajamas almost doubled yesterday, compared to last year, talk about here in Target, who can't live without a papa bear or mama bear pajama.
Jim, this is a thing this holiday season. Back to you.
SCIUTTO: Oh my God. I can't believe that's a thing. Alison Kosik, thanks very much.
Turning to our world lead, Donald Trump says the focus of his administration will be America first and he vows to fulfill his campaign pledge to full out of the Trans Pacific Partnership. The president-elect has called the massive agreement with Asia terrible for the American worker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: I am going to issue a notification of intent to withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership, a potential disaster for our country. Instead, we will negotiate fair bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back on to American shores.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: So, who is poised to cash in on America's collapsing trade agreement? China, it was left out of the TPP negotiations as the U.S. tried to grow its own influence in the region, but now, China, the world's second largest economy, is happy to propose its own treaty as the U.S. steps out of the picture.
Joining me now is Jamie Metzl. He's a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, who worked for the State Department and the Clinton White House. He is out now with a new book titled "Eternal Sonata."
Jamie, thanks very much for being here and very happy Thanksgiving.
JAMIE METZL, AUTHOR, "ETERNAL SONATA": Thank you. You too, Jim.
SCIUTTO: So, the TPP was really the centerpiece of President Obama's famous pivot to Asia. What could pulling out of the deal mean for U.S. standing and influence in the region?
METZL: Well, this is a historic win for China and a historic loss for the United States. The United States has been working for ten years, not just under President Obama, but under President George W. Bush to create the TPP. And many people, President-elect Trump during the campaign was saying they were getting these bad deals from China. That's why we are against TPP.
TPP excluded China and it set a much higher standard for free trade and it brought in all of our allies into a grouping of people who are going to be able to stand up to China to create new higher standards for labor, for environment and to tie our commission together. Now, the United States is out of that equation and China is very quickly picking up the slack in a much, much stronger position than it was just a few weeks ago.
SCIUTTO: So, of course, Donald Trump said during the campaign it is bad for American workers, a part of this larger message that U.S. companies are shipping manufacturing to places where labor is cheaper, et cetera. But as an immediate economic effect, is it right to assume that being outside of the TPP would mean less business for American companies, less sales in Asia, less export, et cetera? METZL: Well, immediately, it won't change much. But what this is
about is who is going to define the future? So, with TPP, we were going to en markets that we previously didn't have as much access to. The United States is a very open market, but we are going to get much more access to TPP partners like Vietnam, like Japan, and we're going to set a standard for trade particularly for things like services, intellectual property rights, where the United States has been robbed blind by China and TPP created the leverage to stand up to China.
[16:45:00] JAMIE METZL, ASIAN AFFAIRS EXPERT AND AUTHOR: is a very open market. But we are going to get much more access to TPP partners like Vietnam, like Japan, and we're going to set a standard for trade particularly, for things like services, intellectual property rights, where the United States has been robbed blind by China. And TPP created the leverage to stand up to China.
Now, that that's gone, American workers are going to be in a much worse -- in a much worse situation on top of that, excuse me, on top of that, there's going to be -- this is about access. And we have had a lot of access with our access and trade partners.
But right now, there's going to be a new supply chain that's going to develop with the United States not a part of it. And that's very, very serious and very dangerous for our economy.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: We have seen President-elect Trump back off on several of his campaign promises. Is there any signal that he might soften his position on TPP as well?
METZL: There's no certainly -- no signal. When he put out his video, the very first thing that he said, the very first policy pronouncement was that we're going to withdraw from TPP, it's going to be very, very difficult.
But on so many issues, so many smart people are saying, well, maybe he doesn't mean a thing that he said during the campaign because so much of it was so antithetical to America's interest and America's standing in the world. And insofar, he may just be a completely different person, a different leader from the way he campaigned, but that certainly would be good news for the United States.
SCIUTTO: And big picture for folks at home, you have really -- I don't want to say a battle, but more a competition between the U.S. and China in Asia on a whole host of fronts: military power, but certainly economic power as well.
Without this deal, you already said it's a win for China, but how does it play out? Does China begin to push out the U.S. a bit? Do some of these Asian allies of the U.S., do they - do they gravitate more towards sort of the new sheriff in town? METZL: Yes. We're already seeing that, countries like Philippines
and Malaysia, even before the election, were moving towards China. Now, even close U.S. allies like Australia are recognizing that the balance of power in Asia is shifting and it's shifting towards China.
And that's why at APEC last week, many leaders were moving towards China. Talking about China's regional comprehensive economic partnership as the new show in town; and China was stepping up as the leader of free trade, taking in some ways the mantle from the United States.
On top of that, because President-elect Trump has said things that denigrates U.S. strong treaty relationships with Japan, with Korea, there's a lot of uncertainty and that's certainly strengthening China very, very significantly and weakening the United States.
SCIUTTO: No question. Some of those Asian leaders were some of the first to call Donald Trump, probably looking for some reassurance in those phone calls. Jamie Metzl, thanks very much for walking us through.
METZL: My pleasure.
SCIUTTO: How a plane flying at 70,000 feet above the earth is helping to smoke ISIS out of its hiding spots down here? That's right after this.
[16:50:00] SCIUTTO: "BREAKING NEWS", just now into THE LEAD. We told you earlier this week about this theory, that the vote count in certain swing states wasn't quite right and two computer scientists had told the Clinton campaign they ask for a recount.
Now, an entirely different campaign is asking the state of Wisconsin to do just that. The Wisconsin Election Commission just tweeted that Jill Stein, of course, the Green Party candidate, has filed recount petitions in several counties there. The deadline to file such a request was 6:00 Eastern Time tonight; so the Stein campaign getting these in just under the gun. The department promises more details on the exact scope of those requests. And we're going to bring you more information as we get them.
Moving back now to our "WORLD LEAD", we don't need any more reminders that the U.S. remains a nation at war. But we got one on the Thanksgiving holiday. The first U.S. service member has been killed battling ISIS in Syria. Their identity has yet to be disclosed. But the Pentagon said that the American died in an IED attack, yesterday; roughly 35 miles northwest of the terror group's self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa. Hundreds of U.S. Special Forces are currently helping fight ISIS inside Syria. We just want to say our thoughts and prayers are with the fallen hero's family tonight.
From Syria to Iraq, where security force have now completely surrounded the ISIS strong hold of Mosul in Northern Iraq, fighting inside that city has been fierce, often waged street-to-street, even house-to-house. Guiding those soldiers on the ground are critical eyes in the sky, way up in the sky. Specifically, U.S. spy planes tracking ISIS' every move.
CNN Senior International Correspondent, Frederik Pleitgen, got a rare first-hand look at the Clandestine Program. He joins me now. So, Fred, the men you spoke with say that this is absolutely critical to this mission?
FREDERICK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jim, you know, we've been talking so much about how the campaign against ISIS is ramping up, especially to try and kick the terror group out of Mosul.
Now, of course, to try and kick ISIS out, a lot of intelligence is necessary. And we were able to film with the unit that's responsible for getting and collecting a lot of that very valuable intelligence.
PLEITGEN: Fighting ISIS in a space suit, we can only identify the pilot by his first name, Captain Steven, and by his call sign, "Meathead". He's about to embark on a high altitude reconnaissance mission in a U2 spy plane.
We were given rare access to the preparations, launch and landing, of one of these highly secretive missions that have a clear objective, one of the pilots tells me.
MATT, UNITED STATES AIR FORCE MAJOR: With the U2, we are able to get out there, find those guys, track them. Give that information back to the fighter types, the bomber type so that way when they go out there, they've got the best intel, the best information about where they are and then obviously do what needs to be done.
[16:55:06] PLEITGEN: The U2 can fly extremely high, more than 70,000 feet and get pictures and other information to forces on the ground very fast.
It's a Cold War era plane flying since the 1950s, but its cameras and sensors have been completely upgraded.
With these many technological upgrades, the U2 Dragonlady, remains one of America's main assets in the information gathering effort against ISIS. But, of course, intelligence gathering happens on many level. And much of it happens through drones, like this Global Hawk, which patrols in the skies above Iraq and Syria almost every day.
The information from these surveillance platform is key to helping jets from the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition strike their targets; support of forces combatting the group on the ground in places like Mosul, in Iraq.
But, while the U2 can soar higher than almost any other plane, it's pretty hard to land.
We're in a chase car that speeds after the jet helping to guide the pilot to the ground after almost a ten-hour mission.
Peeling himself out of the cockpit, Captain Steven says he believes the U2 is making a major impact.
STEVENS, UNITED STATES AIR FORCE CAPTAIN: Things that we can do while were up there as well as how often we're up there, I mean, thanks to the maintenance guys we are constant up in the air, providing us support for those who need the most.
PLEITGEN: And the need for the U2 services will remain in high demand, while ISIS may be losing ground, the group remains both deadly and elusive.
You know, Jim, some of those missions can take up to 12 hours. Of course, they're very taxing, very exhausting for the pilot. Nevertheless, the intelligence they collect, very important for those troops that are fighting on the ground, Jim.
SCIUTTO: Fred Pleitgen, thanks very much.
Lasers in space, kamikaze satellites, kidnapper satellites - the stuff of science fiction? No, these are tested and deployed weapons in space today with one target in mind, the United States. Ready to destroy the technology that runs everything down here on earth from the stock exchange to the internet. We received exclusive access to the U.S. MILITARY space command and learned that a war in space is a reality they're already preparing for.
SCIUTTO: In the Persian Gulf, an instantaneous burst of energy destroys targets: first on the surface, then in the air. Its deadly fire power moving literally at the speed of light, obliterating its target the navy says, like a long-distance blow torch.
This is the U.S. Military's first-operational laser weapon, and today, it is deployed to defeat incoming threats at sea. Could it someday be used for targets in space?
PAUL GRAZIANI, ANALYTICAL GRAPHICS CEO: Firing lasers in space?
SCIUTTO: It's remarkable.
GRAZIANI: When you get into this. You get into all sorts of other classification levels I'm not cleared into.
SCIUTTO: This would require a major strategic shift for the U.S., deploying weapons for use in space.
And so, many took notice when in April this year, Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work vowed that the U.S. will strike back if attacked in space. Strike back, he added, and knock them out.
BOB WORK, U.S. DEPUTY DEFENSE SECRETARY: From the very beginning, if someone starts going after our space constellation, we're going to go after the capabilities that would prevent them from doing that.
SCIUTTO: That sounds like an offensive response to an offensive weapon. If shot, you will shoot back?
WORK: Let me just say that having the capability to shoot the torpedo would be a good thing to have in our quiver.
SCIUTTO: Make sure to join me for this CNN Special Report, "WAR IN SPACE: THE NEXT BATTLEFIELD." That's next Tuesday night at 9:00, right here on CNN. And listen, trust me, you will not be disappointed. It is a real, alarming and a vision of the future playing out today.
Before we go, saying goodbye to an iconic TV mom.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let Peter introduce the finale.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's stars above.
SCIUTTO: Florence Henderson, best known, of course, for her role as Carol Brady from "The Brady Bunch." Reps say the 82-year-old's death was unexpected.
Just this week she attended a taping of "Dancing with the Stars," to cheer on Maureen McCormick, who played her daughter, Marcia Brady.
Henderson had also made TV and movie appearances this year.
Today, McCormick tweeted this photo of the two saying, "You are in my heart forever, Florence."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter, @JimSciutto or tweet the show @TheLeadCNN. And be sure to tune in to CNN this Sunday for "STATE OF THE UNION," at 9:00 a.m. Eastern. The guests are going to be Bernie Sanders and Kellyanne Conway.
That's it for THE LEAD today, I'm Jim Sciutto, in again for Jake Tapper. I turn you over to Brianna Keilar in for Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."
BRIANNA KEILAR, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Jim. Happening now, "BREAKING NEWS" Trump's two visions. Donald Trump makes two key White House picks.