Return to Transcripts main page

EARLY START

Trump Introduces Pick For Defense Secretary; Boeing: Trump Tweet "Out Of Left Field"; Obama's Final National Security Speech; Trump Takes Credit For $50 Billion Investment. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired December 7, 2016 - 05:30   ET

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


[05:30:30] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: Oh, if he didn't get that waiver there would be a lot of angry people. Such a popular choice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Hmm, President-elect Donald Trump warning Congress he wants the waiver that's needed for his nominee to run the Defense Department.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Or he says there will be angry people. Plans for a brand new Air Force jet one -- Air Force One, rather, up in the air. The president-elect saying the price tag just doesn't fly with him.

KOSIK: President Obama's last national security address as commander- in-chief, messages seemingly meant for Donald Trump without ever mentioned his name. Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Alison Kosik.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell. Thirty-one minutes past the hour and the president-elect, Donald Trump, on one hand promising to unify the nation, on the other warning Congress against blocking his pick for Secretary of Defense. Trump hit those themes in his 'thank you' tour, his latest rally in the battleground state of North Carolina.

Trump also introducing his nominee onstage there, Defense Secretary James Mattis. He noted that the retired general will need a special waiver in order to take that position and he almost dared Congress not to give it to him with the crowd. CNN's Sunlen Serfaty has the very latest now 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 than we've seen. He was much more restrained and much more disciplined, quite different from that first 'thank you' rally he had only last week where that rally almost evolved into an airing of the grievances.

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

TRUMP: I'm proud to formally announce today my intention to nominate Gen. 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 so long as the Congress gives me the waiver and the Senate votes to consent.

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

SERFATY: And both Gen. Mattis and Donald Trump there alluding to this legal battle that they have ahead in Congress that Mattis needs to obtain this 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 sign -- 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 holds another one of these 'thank you' rallies on Friday in Michigan -- George and Alison.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KOSIK: OK, Sunlen Serfaty, thank you. Now, Republicans are using a short-term government spending bill to speed up its nomination of Mattis. Now, they're adding language to the stopgap funding measure that imposes time limits on the debate over whether to grant that special waiver that 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 midnight Friday. The House votes on the spending bill Thursday.

HOWELL: The Boeing company responding to Donald Trump's tweets 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" -- it went on to say that more than $4 billion and demanded "cancel order".

Boeing officials say they have no idea where that $4 billion figure came from. They say the Pentagon hasn't even decided yet on what bells and whistles to add to the plane nor has there been a decision on whether to buy two planes or to buy three planes. The aircraft maker says that it can lower costs but only if the Pentagon eases these specifications that it requires.

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

[05:35:12] But here's the thing, verifying whether Trump actually sold the stocks, that's going to be difficult because he's not required to file another disclosure until May of 2018, but Trump has repeatedly warned of a stock market bubble. Now, if he did cash out he missed some big gains. The S&P 500 is up about four percent since he was elected and the S&P is up 5.5 percent since he allegedly ditched the stocks in June, so he missed out on some money.

HOWELL: The President of the United States, Barack Obama, checking off an important box on his to-do list, giving his final national security address speaking to troops at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida to do so. The White House saying that that speech was planned before Donald Trump won last month but that the address was not meant as a message for the president-elect. Still, there were times where Mr. Obama sounded like he was speaking to, well, 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 on national security over the last eight years. But it also serves 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 points and set up these contrasts between his policies and some of the things that Donald Trump has said. For example, at the president's continued attempts to close Gitmo, calling it a blot on our national honor. His opposition to enhanced interrogation techniques or torture, saying that adherence to the rule of law is not a weakness but, in fact, is our great national strength.

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

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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 that 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. We're a country that has bled and struggled and sacrificed against that kind of discrimination, an arbitrary rule, here in our own country and around the world.

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

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: Michelle Kosinski, thank you so much. A lot to talk about this morning and to do so let's bring in CNN POLITICS reporter Eugene Scott live here on set with us.

EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Yes.

HOWELL: Eugene, a pleasure to have you.

KOSIK: Good morning.

SCOTT: Thanks.

HOWELL: Let's talk about what we just heard there in Michelle Kosinski's reporting. We're talking about two people who couldn't be more different. The President of the United States -- the diplomacy that he has used to reach agreements like the Iran nuclear agreement to limit their nuclear capabilities very different than that of the man that is set to replace him. Let's listen to how the president talked about that specific deal, given the fact that come January 20th there will be change.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Terrorists would love to see us walk away from the type of work that builds international coalitions, and ends conflicts, and stops the spread of deadly weapons. It would make life easier for them, it would be a tragic mistake for us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: So, the American people will soon see a big shift. Some people like the style of Barack Obama, maybe half the nation. The other half likes the style of Donald Trump and it will be a new direction.

SCOTT: Very much so. When I looked at that speech what I saw was the president defending attacks against him that argue that he's not a strong president. His idea is that being intentional, being strategic, and being tempered is actually the most effective way to be successful in this war, opposed to being very aggressive and loud.

It's very interesting to see that he made the statement that this is a long-range war, as we've already seen, but he made it very clear it's not going to wrap up as quickly as we had thought wars should generally wrap up.

KOSIK: All right, from war to business and style. Trump's style clearly taking people by surprise in the morning. I'm talking about Boeing. I want to show you this tweet that he put out early yesterday morning. "Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!"

[05:40:09] OK, so then he comes out at Trump Tower and he says this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well, the plane is totally out of control. It's going to be over $4 billion. It's for 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: All right. Boeing later said they were caught by surprise but this is kind of that somewhat folksy style of looking out for the U.S. taxpayer. But he's kind of singling out this company, almost shaming Boeing. How -- what is this about his strategy and how effective is it?

SCOTT: Well, I think it's put Boeing on the defense in having to communicate that these planes are so expensive not because they want to trick them out, but the White House and the Pentagon have specifications in place to keep the president and his cabinet, and whoever he's traveling with as safe as possible. I think some of those details could be explained more in some of these security briefings that perhaps Trump is missing. But I think what we need to do is ask more questions regarding what would he do for future presidents if this contract gets canceled?

KOSIK: Right. I mean, one thing to keep in mind. George W. Bush flew in his plane for hours after 9/11 --

SCOTT: Right.

HOWELL: Yes.

KOSIK: -- and that plane has to be able to sustain that. All right, Eugene Scott, thanks so much.

SCOTT: Thanks for having me.

HOWELL: Eugene, thank you. President-elect Donald Trump taking credit for bringing a $50 billion investment and 50,000 new jobs into the United States, but here's the question. Was that deal already in the works before Donald Trump was elected? We'll follow the story next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:45:55] KOSIK: Welcome back. Donald Trump is taking credit for a $50 billion investment in the United States by a Japanese tech conglomerate. The president-elect making an appearance in the lobby of Trump Tower with the CEO of SoftBank. That's the Japanese internet and telecommunications giant. It plans to invest heavily in U.S. start-ups, creating 50,000 jobs. Trump insisting the deal only happening because he won the election.

Let's get the latest from CNN's Andrew Stevens who is live from Hong Kong. So is there a way to really track if Trump had a huge hand in ushering in this deal knowing that the fund was actually set up before Election Day?

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, not really, unless Masayoshi Son, the SoftBank boss, comes out, Alison, and details exactly the timeline, if you like, of what's going on.

What we do know at this stage, and details are pretty few and far between at the moment. What we do know is where the money's going to come from, that $50 billion. Masayoshi Son talking to "The Wall Street Journal" and he said it would be coming from an investment fund which was announced back in October which, obviously, was before the election.

Now, that investment fund is a joint venture, if you like, between SoftBank, even though it's called the SoftBank Vision Fund, and the Saudi Arabian government. In fact, the Saudis are a cornerstone investor. They're putting $45 billion into this $100 billion fund. SoftBank, itself, is going to be putting in about $25 billion. And other investors -- we don't know who at this stage -- will make up the rest.

Now, the money's still coming in or it's not yet got in so there has been no physical investments. But it was set up, this fund, to invest in tech operations, tech start-ups, tech ventures around the world and you would think that if they are looking around the world one of the first places they would be looking at would be in the United States, given the fact that Silicon Valley is in the United States. So, there's that.

The other thing a lot of people are saying at the moment is this is a four-year timeframe, Alison, to create 50,000 new jobs from investing tech companies. Now, if they're start-ups -- as you know, start-ups don't employ a lot of manpower so getting that $50,000 is a pretty aggressive target so we'll have to wait and see. But certainly, it's a boost for Donald Trump just to be able to stand by someone who's telling you that he's putting $50 billion into your economy at a time when he's saying we need to spend, get jobs, get things, get places moving again.

KOSIK: Right, and obviously creating jobs -- bringing jobs to the U.S. was a huge issue for Trump on the campaign trail and that photo op yesterday kind of was the icing on the cake for him. All right, Andrew Stevens, thanks very much.

HOWELL: All right. Time to take a look at what's coming up next on "NEW DAY". Alisyn Camerota is live this hour -- Alisyn.

KOSIK: Good morning.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Good morning, guys, great to see you. So if you watched Van Jones' special "THE MESSY TRUTH" last night you saw lots of memorable moments. This morning, we're going to have some updates for you because there was this exchange between a woman -- a dreamer -- she's an immigrant from Mexico brought here at seven years old and former senator Rick Santorum. It was a very emotional moment, so this morning we are live with that woman about what happened after the exchange that you saw on T.V.

And we're also going to have that couple that Van talked to who voted for Barack Obama twice and then became Trump supporters. So we're going to have all sorts of follow-up to "THE MESSY TRUTH" as well as all of the breaking news and cabinet appointments and everything else when Chris and I see you at the top of the hour.

KOSIK: OK, see you then, Alisyn.

HOWELL: Alisyn, thank you.

SET EMPLOYEE: Three, two --

CAMEROTA: (Laughing).

KOSIK: Oh --

HOWELL: They're busy on the set back there.

KOSIK: They are. All right. CEOs of some big U.S. companies are thrilled with Donald Trump but there's one important business move they likely won't see making when he takes office. I'm going to tell you what that is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)