Return to Transcripts main page


Examining Trump's Economic Policies; Trump Expected to Make Two Additional Staff Announcements; Missing California Mother Found After Three Weeks. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired November 25, 2016 - 12:30   ET


[12:30:00] RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: So he is very much a trickle down guy. He believes that if you cut corporate tax rates, give corporations incentives to brick bang cash overseas at very low rates, that that's going to boost investments. He thinks that that's going to jump-start growth in America. I would take issue that, you know, we did some tax holidays, again back in the mid 1990s, most of that went into buy box and dividend payments which enrich the top 20 percent of populations, not more broadly.

So I think the jury is out on the tax issue.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And on the issue of trade, it's interesting ...


BERMAN: ... you would oftentimes you think big businessmen, big billionaire, business man would think often their big free traders, is not so much.

FOROOHAR: Not so much. And it's interesting. No and I sympathize with his views on this. He feels many investors that the U.S. is getting a raw deal in the global marketplace around trade that countries like China, Brazil, Russia, don't play by the rules, that we should get tougher.

He wants to have a cost analysis of every new trade deal, he wants to have a five-year opt-out clause if it's not working, he want to really get tough on other countries about enforcement, of course that's tricky in a global environment.

BERMAN: You know, it's hard to define -- you know, I'm not being glue (ph), but it's hard to define ...


BERMAN: ... where Donald Trump is on a lot of issues. And that includes and a lot of economic issues. But in so far as we know what Donald Trump's positions are exactly, it seems really in-line ...


BERMAN: ... with Wilbur Ross?

FOROOHAR: Oh for sure. And, you know, what's fascinating, it's been fascinating and the whole presidential debate is it the far right and the far left, a lot of people are getting tougher on trade. They feel that trade deals have not been good for the average American and people really want to see a change in a global trading system. It's not even playing field but enforcing that that's going to be very tough.

BERMAN: So the commerce department.


BERMAN: You know, maybe not the sexiest of cabinet positions.

FOROOHAR: Oh, come on, John.

BERMAN: But, you know, maybe not the best known. Why is it important?

FOROOHAR: Well for starters, commerce enforces trade deals, and protects American intellectual property. I mean intellectual property, our software, our ideas, is a major reason that the U.S. is competitive in the global marketplace. And China, in particular, has been accused by a lot of business people of IP theft, of stealing software. You know, I think that's going to be a much bigger issues in the next few years.

BERMAN: So little a political appointment in the past, I mean they're all political, there will be Don Evans, see George W. Bush's campaign chair, was his first commerce secretary.


BERMAN: (Inaudible) big fundraiser, and a billionaire ...

FOROOHAR: Yes, sure.

BERMAN: ... not unlike Wilbur Ross ...


BERMAN: ... you know, the commerce secretary for President Obama. It really just depends on how close the person is, what kind of influence they have. And it does seem that Wilbur Ross is going to play a big role?

FOROOHAR: Oh I think so. You know, and it's interesting, because he's a friend of Carl Icahn. Icahn is clearly been somebody advising Trump. So there's a little group here developing.

BERMAN: And named before the treasury secretary if your keeping score at home. I don't know if that means a priority, you know, is -- you know, commerce before treasury? But we shall see. Rana Foroohar great to have you with us.

FOROOHAR: Thank you.

BERMAN: Thanks so much.

Right, coming up, we are expecting two announcements today about the president-elect's administration and we are learning more about just who he's meeting with in the next few days. That's coming up.

Plus, a mother was missing for weeks found alive at the side of the road at 4:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. We'll tell what you she's telling police about what happened.


[12:37:20] BERMAN: All right, break, news from the Trump transition team. President-elect Donald Trump is expected to make two staff- level announcements today and then hit the ground running on Monday with a full day of meetings. Eight of them with perspective cabinet appointments and perhaps White House staffers as well.

Joining me now is Steve Cortes, he's a former Trump campaign adviser, Bakari Sellers, CNN commentator, former South Carolina House member and a Hillary Clinton supporter, Ben Ferguson, CNN political commentator and host of the "Ben Ferguson Show", and Krystal Ball, journalist, activist and former Democratic congressional candidate, which actually I didn't know that was part of your resume.


BERMAN: So thanks so much for being with us.

Steve, I want to start with you, because you're a Trump insider and a lot of Trump insiders are saying a lot of things about Mitt Romney right now. So I want to give you a chance. What do you think about the possibility of Mitt Romney being nominated as secretary of state?

STEVE CORTES, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Well, I think it's highly unlikely and largely for the reasons that so many Trump supporters are voicing. But I guess I would also say this, I would caution my fellow Trump supporters that we have to believe in our man. We have to believe in our candidate, and if he does determine that Mitt Romney is going to serve America best at Secretary of State, then I'll give him all of my confidence and I would ask him very humbly to do the same.

Now again I don't think that's going to happen but, you know, what I'm proud of both of them. Both Mr. Romney and the president-elect, that they were able to show that patriotism in America is much bigger and more important than their political disagreements and their personal animosity. So I'm proud of the fact that they met and discussed substantive matters that confront our country, that alone I think it's a great sign, but my guess is Romney is going to be an adviser from the outside.

BERMAN: But what you're telling -- but you're basically telling in so many words Kellyanne Conway, former campaign manager of Donald Trump, now senior adviser to stop, stop with the public shaming of the process. And, you know, with saying that, you know, Mitt Romney really does have the loyalty to be named. Is that what you're saying?

CORTES: No, I'm not saying that. I'm just saying that I would encourage Trump partisans to make sure that we have confidence and faith in the president-elect that he's going make the correct decision here. I suspect the decision will be somebody other than Romney, but he happens to pick Romney, we have to gave -- look we gave him our support, we gave him our votes, we have to also give him our confidence that he's going establish the right team, and the balance of loyalist mostly, but yes some outsiders, like Nikki Haley, somebody who is caustic in her criticism of Donald Trump during the campaign. But I think that shows leadership that you have to reach out ...

BERMAN: I have said ...

CORTES: ... to people who were your adversaries.

BERMAN: I have to say, Steve your answers are so diplomatic, perhaps you should be in the running to be Secretary of State right now.

Ben Ferguson, the "Washington Post" is reporting that ...


BERMAN: ... that the president-elect Donald Trump has only had two of the classified daily intelligence briefings that he's privy to. That is basically said, no, to others. Mike Pence has got with everyday but not the president-elect.

[12:40:05] You think that's a good idea?

FERGUSON: I think it's OK at this point, because there's been so many people that were criticizing him for the last week, 10 days, for not having his government set up, cabinet positions named, even though he's still far ahead right now of where Barack Obama was when he was elected. And I think what Donald Trump understands is, look, I've got to interview and find the best people I can even if that means someone like Mitt Romney to set up the government. And once that is done I will have plenty of time to be brought up to speed before being I'm sworn in on January the 20th.

We still have a lot of time before he is actually sworn in and I think setting up the government is important, because he needs those players in place. So that there is an issue that comes up with national security, that they're -- well -- they're well ready to prepare a fight back and to defend this country come January the 20th. So I think it's a smart decision by Donald Trump.

BERMAN: You hope that when it does have more time, then he does decide to partake in these?

FERGUSON: Well of course. But I also think right now you're getting dates on information that you wouldn't actually be making decisions on tomorrow, the next day ...

BERMAN: Well ...

FERGUSON: ... so you prioritize.

BERMAN: ... but then, but then ...

FERGUSON: And but then I write people.

BERMAN: But let me say this, I let up this to Bakari, you know, Donald Trump doesn't have a lot of national security experience. He just doesn't. He has a lot of ideas that he ran ...

FERGUSON: But it's been 2 weeks.

BERMAN: I understand, I understand.


FERGUSON: But it's been less than 2 weeks since he was elected. And American have a both ways. So many people criticized him, for being, you know, they were saying, oh, it's a debacle, hasn't found a cabinet, he hasn't name -- by yeah, he's so behind the ball game here. He's not behind the ball game.

So, I don't think -- well but a lot of people do, let's be clear. There's a lot of coverage of Donald Trump in the negative light. I think he's doing the smart thing.

BERMAN:: Bakari, you want to jump in?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So I mean -- I think the fact Donald Trump can't get security briefings and choose a cabinet is patently absurd. I mean that there's no reason for the president- elect not to be getting security briefings in the morning and choosing a cabinet members throughout the rest of the day. And to say that he can only do one of the other, it means that he's fundamentally incompetent and I give him more credit than that.

I think that Donald Trump ...

FERGUSON: Is what I'm saying at all.

SELLERS: ... as far has been on pace -- I think that Donald Trump has been on pace in fact he's rolled out more cabinet members than Barack Obama at this time. Nobody's questioning that. We are questioning the qualifications there, of and we are questioning whether or not some of these people actually will contribute to the swamp instead of drain the swamp. I think those are fair criticisms. But I think is a complete their election of duty and to say that simply he can catch up on it, we're talking about someone who actually had less foreign policy experience than Barack Obama, less foreign policy experience or national security experience that in president ...

FERGUSON: That's debatable.

SELLERS: ... in recent history. And so I think that, you know ...


SELLERS: ... I mean not to do this, to does he want to be president or not.

BERMAN: Ben, quick comment that.

FERGUSON: Bakari, let's be clear, that so extreme to say, does he want to be president or not? Of course he wants to and he is the president. Let's also remember, had you no problem with Barack Obama missing a massive amount of votes, having the worst voting record in the Senate ...

BERMAN: All right.

SELLERS: ... We're not talking about votes.

FERGUSON: ... when he was running for president.


SELLERS: We're not talking about votes.

FERGUSON: No, but my point is, sometimes you ...

SELLERS: We're not talking about votes.

FERGUSON: ... you focus on one thing.

BERMAN: Here's what we're going to do. We're going to move from the very this in past which is Senator Barack Obama's voting record when he represented Illinois in the Senate ...

SELLERS: I know.

FERGUSON: I think it's a hypocrisy.

BERMAN: To the recent past. Hang on. The recent past which was the presidential election which happened two weeks ago or if you're Jill Stein, may not actually be over. Krystal Ball, Jill Stein raising money, I think like 7 million buck at this point right now? Because she wants a recount, in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania? You're a Democrat. You're an activist. I'm sure you didn't like the results of the election, but do you think is a valuable use of time right now?

BALL: I think the sooner that Democrats start figuring out how to do two things which is how to oppose Donald Trump, work with him when appropriate, but also to be able to oppose him appropriately when he's in office, and also do a lot of soul searching as a party to figure out how we start winning again. And I'm not just talking about presidential election, I'm talking about down ballot, I'm talking about winning back the House, winning back the Senate.

I think the sooner that we focus on those things the better off we'll be. You know, is this harmful? No. Look, there's a process in place. You can go and do the audit and then everybody can have full confidence in the results. But the reality is Donald Trump won, he won by the rules as they exist. Wishful thinking isn't helping anything at this point. BERMAN: I think it's just painful for a lot of Democrats who were watching this to see it. You know, they see Jill Stein doing this, like don't make this what.

BALL: A little bit of hope there. Yeah, when, you know, ultimately the result is what the result and we need to start wrapping our heads around that.

BERMAN: Steve? Trying to jump in?

CORTES: Yes. You know, regarding this effort for a recount. I'm saying look of course we want every vote counted accurately, I'm sure it was, and I'm sure would be we go there again. But this is the height of hypocrisy of a lot of people on the left, by the way, because Donald Trump, my candidate, was just assailed that he would not pre-promise to automatically accept election results and now you see the left doing exactly what they suspected ...

BALL: Oh wait, wait, wait ...

CORTES: ... that Donald Trump would do.

BALL: You're talking about your candidate.

CORTES: Notice, I didn't say Clinton, I said the left..

[12:45:01] BALL: I know, but you are comparing apples and oranges. Because you're talking about Donald Trump saying he'll accept the results, if he wins. Meanwhile, yes, you have people on the left who want to make sure every vote is counted. Fair enough, but have you heard a word from Hillary Clinton? No, you have not. Have you heard a word from Barack Obama on this?

CORTES: That's why I didn't say ...

BALL: No, you have not.

CORTES: I did not say Clinton. I said the left.


BERMAN: All right guys, one at a time. One at a time.

BALL: Make the appropriate comparison.


BERMAN: Bakari, go ahead.

SELLERS: John, if I may, I think that Democrats would be better served instead of giving money to Jill Stein who I'm amazed she's worried what 1,000 votes here or there may matter now after the election. She wasn't that concerned before the election. But I think Democrats would be better suited more focus they're efforts and their money at the United States Senate race we have that in Louisiana. And just to hit on this hypocrisy notion, just one moment I know that there are a lot of people, and you haven't heard a word from Hillary Clinton or her camp, but there a lot of people who were attacking Hillary or the left to her supporters for pushing this and not given credence to the election. Many of us have already swallowed that bitter pill including myself, but I don't see Republicans actually chastising their own governor here in North Carolina, Pat McCrory, who is literally trying to steal an election after he lost it. I mean Pat McCrory who just go out to pasture like every one else who lose in the election and have a smooth transition of power, but he's sitting here not doing that. I think that is the hypocrisy.

We have a new -- they have a new governor in North Carolina Roy Cooper. Pat McCrory needs to let go of old dreams.

BERMAN: All right guys, thanks for being with us. I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving, I wish you all happy leftovers in the coming hours.

BALL: Same to you John.

SELLERS: Thanks.

CORTES: Thanks John.

BERMAN: All right, coming up, a mother vanishing while out jogging. Three weeks later on Thanksgiving Day she's found alive bound on the side of the road. This is a really strange story, and there are a lot of questions about it. That's next.


[12:50:45] BERMAN: A California mother missing for three weeks after she went out for a jog has been found. Sherri Papini flagged down a car alongside a road early yesterday morning in Yolo County, California, 140 miles from where she been last seen. A police surge that turned up an iPhone, a pair of earbuds and some strands of hair after she disappeared.

Covering the story for us from Los Angeles, CNN's Paul Vercammen, also joining us CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Danny Cevallos.

Paul, police say Papini was in restraints when she was found. What more can you tell about this?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPODENT: Well they're not giving us tremendous details about the restraints John, what we can say is she is the one who flagged down these motorists who eventually got her in touch with the authorities and at one point she got on the cell phone with her husband and communicated with him. Let's listen what the sheriff had to say about her reunion.


TOM BOSENKO, SHERIFF YOLO COUNTY: We learned that she was released by her captor on a rural road on near I-5 in Yolo County. She was bound with restraints. But was able to summon from a passing -- help from a passing motorist. We're looking for a dark colored SUV with two Hispanic females armed with a handgun.


VERCAMMEN: And just a little bit more about her disappearance, her husband alarmed when she had gone out jogging and she didn't return and go ahead and pick up her children at the day care. Then he went looking for her. It was actually the husband who used that app, find my iPhone, who found her iPhone, and those ear buds and the hair tangled in there. John?

BERMAN: All right, Paul Vercammen for us in Los Angeles. Quite a story. Thanks so much for being with us.

Danny, let me bring you into this. You know, this is not how these stories generally end. Correct? And the great news is, she's alive. And now it shifts from a missing person's case to a potential kidnapping. What do you think police are doing right now?

DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's not just any kidnapping case, John. Statistically, this is like a white antelope, it's very rare. As it is, ransom kidnappings or abductions like this are very rare in the United States these days. Most of the time kidnappings involve parents taking children away from other parents. There was a spike in Arizona in the last few years of ransom kidnappings but almost all those have been related to Sinaloa drug trade.

So this kind of pure just snatched off the side road adult case is comparatively rare and you add to it that the perpetrators may have been females. Now remember females constitute about 4 percent of violent crimes in America with weapon. So number wise, you have to imagine the facts as they're being relate to us now, this is a very, very rare case.

BERMAN: And of course the key witness right now, you know, is Papini herself. How do police handle questioning her?

CEVALLOS: Like anybody else. I mean they ask her to tell her story at -- as in as much detail as she possibly can, at this point. If she's available to.

Now, from what we understand, they already alibied the husband. He took a lie detector. Now, a lie detector can go either way, but more important is the alibi. Can they corroborate where he was as the time and it appears they've been able to do so. But there going to have a lot of questions for this victim, and if she spent 21 days with her abductors, I think we can expect that she must have more information about them, that we just don't know yet.

BERMAN: Else I, I going to believe they'll just a huge amount of forensics, and if she's bound, you know, the materials that are there, anything that was at the scene where she was left. That's going to be a big part and making sure it all matches with what s says. CEVALLOS: Yeah, definitely again, if she spent that much time with her abductors, assuming she wasn't blindfolded, any kind of line up, if they can pull in any kind of suspects, she should be able to identify them. And again, I mean this kind of "Thelma & Louise," two females with a weapon pulling -- pulling someone off the street, numbers wise, I mean you can even begin to look at, it's so rare, it may be without precedent in that area.

BERMAN: Anything about the way that police were handling this investigation up until this morning, or yesterday? Anything stick out or was it pretty much by the book?

[12:54:59] CEVALLOS: It seems like it was by the book. I mean they went directly, looked at the husband. They checked out his alibi. He willingly took a lie detector test, which most attorneys will advise their clients do not do, because it -- only bad things can happen. So you can reasonably infer that he felt so confident about it that he said, I'll take a lie detector test.

BERMAN: They say that he was not or was never was a person of interest.

CEVALLOS: Right, right.

BERMAN: They have any reason to think that will change ...

CEVALLOS: No, definitely not. At this point -- I mean once alibied them at work. I mean there's very little information that would suggest that anything other than you was cleared early and right away, and pretty -- with a lot of confidence.

BERMAN: All right, Danny Cevallos great to have you here with us, have a happy Thanksgiving leftover afternoon.

CEVALLOS: You too, John.

BERMAN: All right thank you so much for joining us at this hour or at these hours. As the case may be today. Brianna Keilar is in for Wolf right after a quick break.


[01:00:05] BRIANNA KEILAR: Hello. I'm Brianna Keilar. And it's 1:00 p.m. here in Washington, 8:00 p.m. in Damascus, Syria, and 9:00 p.m. in Mosul, Iraq. Wherever you are watching from around the world, thank you so much for joining us.