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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Soon: Trump Takes Off For Indy Carrier Plant; Carrier: Trump Gave Us State "Incentives" To Save Jobs; Trump Victory Tour: Will He Play His "Greatest Hits"?; Dems May Make Cabinet Confirmations Unpleasant. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired December 1, 2016 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Berman. So call it a thank you tour, call it a victory lap. It is probably a little of both. Donald Trump now moments away from leaving on a two-city trip that doubles as a celebration of his election win and the completion of at least part of a campaign promise.
We are now looking at live pictures from LaGuardia Airport here in New York City. You can see Donald Trump's personal plane right there. It will take off shortly heading to Indianapolis.
Of course, that campaign promise that he made to get the air conditioner manufacturer, Carrier, to keep jobs in Indiana instead of sending them to Mexico. There's a deal to save 1,000 of those jobs.
We don't know the details, but we could learn some when he visits the facility in Indianapolis shortly.
BOLDUAN: And then later today, Donald Trump takes the show back on the road for the first time since the election, heading to Cincinnati, Ohio. For the first of what's described as several rallies planned in states that helped Donald Trump secure the White House.
Let's go right now to CNN's Jessica Schneider. She's standing by at Trump Tower here in New York. So Jessica, what is on tap? What more are you learning from the Trump transition?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, we certainly know that it will not be business as usual today. Donald Trump leaving behind those back-to-back meetings here at Trump Tower and hitting the road at least for one day. He will be off shortly here from Trump Tower headed off to LaGuardia.
Then he will be in Indianapolis and of course, that big rally in Cincinnati, Ohio later today. Donald Trump doing what he does best, playing to those crowds.
But despite the fact that he's leaving behind a bit of business here at Trump Tower, the suggestions and the speculations still swirling over some top posts including, of course, secretary of state.
We know that four key names are in the running, former new York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Senator Bob Corker, General David Petraeus, but the name drawing the biggest focus, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
Still considered the lead contender here, especially after that very high profile dinner meeting that happened on Tuesday night at the very posh restaurant a few blocks from Trump Tower.
It was the second such sit-down face-to-face meeting that Donald Trump and Mitt Romney have had just in the past few weeks. And a lot of that drawing some criticism, most notably from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who just last night had some very stern and harsh words for Mitt Romney, essentially saying that Mitt Romney is sucking up to Donald Trump.
So not a lot of love lost there and still those names are swirling in contention. Another thing that we have learned although we are not expecting any more announcements this week, the transition team has told us not to expect any announcements as it pertains to personnel or cabinet.
However, we are learning that many of the contenders are on the short list, a few names on the short list for director of national intelligence. Those include the senior senator from Indiana, Dan Coates as well as former Homeland Security adviser, Fran Townsend.
Also in the running, Admiral Mike Rogers. So those names up for director of National Intelligence. One other thing that we are learning is that Sarah Palin's name is now in the mix.
Sources saying that Sarah Palin has expressed her interest to become the secretary for Veterans Affairs, telling the Trump administration that she is interested in working with them as well. So a lot happening today.
Some key posts likely won't be announced this week but Donald Trump, we are waiting for him to head out here from Trump Tower over to LaGuardia, then, of course, playing to those cheering crowds that actually fueled his improbable win, his improbable run -- Kate and John.
BOLDUAN: All right, Jessica, thank you so much. She's got her eye on Trump Tower. We are also keeping our eye on LaGuardia and Donald Trump's plane as Donald Trump will be leaving for Indiana very, very shortly. As we mentioned, all eyes are on Indianapolis.
BERMAN: A lot of eyes today.
BOLDUAN: We have got a lot of eyes. I have eyes in the back of my head. You better watch out. All eyes are on the heating and air conditioning company, Carrier. A lot of questions surrounding what deal exactly did Donald Trump strike with that company, Carrier. But there's no question that there's a sense of relief amongst the workers whose jobs are now staying put.
BERMAN: About 1,000 people will be able to keep their jobs. Our Suzanne Malveaux live in Indianapolis outside that Carrier plant. What kind of reaction are you hearing, Suzanne?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, Kate, it is really extraordinary. People are very excited to see Trump and Pence. They are very grateful about this as well. It's kind of ironic when your think about it, ten months ago that the United Technologies, the parent company and the bosses that basically gathered them in the plant on that floor and said look, your jobs are going to Mexico.
That is where one of the workers captured the moment on cell phone, posted, it went viral, Donald Trump saw that and made it part of his signature campaign to bring jobs back, keep jobs in America. That is where Trump and Pence are going to be today.
They are going to be taking tour of the plant and many people say look, they have been there. They have worked there for many, many years. It is very important to them, this is a sense of community, a sense of providing a better life for their children, and they give 100 percent credit to the Trump/Pence team. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:05:13]ROBIN MAYNARD, 24-YEAR EMPLOYEE WITH CARRIER: Joy, excited and looking to the future. It means I don't have to go out hitting the streets looking for a job. It means that I can put my last daughter through college and not have to worry for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: I also talked to John (inaudible), he is with a company, Rexnord. It is right up the street. Their jobs have not been spared. They are going to Mexico and he told me look, I'm a new grandfather, I'm trying to put two of my three grown children through college. He makes about $25 an hour.
It is critical that he keeps his job. Ten years ago, he lost it because of offshore moving his job to another country. He says now he's got to go through the same thing again. He wants to talk to Donald Trump today. So you can see where this is going. Everybody simply wants a little bit of a handoff.
BERMAN: All right, Suzanne Malveaux for us in Indianapolis, where Donald Trump will head shortly. Since the early stages of the Trump campaign, he has made Carrier's plan to move jobs out of the United States a key talking point.
At one point, he even threatened to hit the company with a 35 percent tariff if it moved jobs to Mexico, which it is still doing, by the way. Some jobs are still moving to Mexico. This is what he told supporters in Indianapolis back in July.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT-ELECT: We're not going to let them just take our companies out, fire everybody, these are people with Carrier for many, many years. We're not going to let it happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: "Indianapolis Star" has been following the back and forth between Donald Trump and Carrier from the very beginning. Reporter Tony Cook has been following this and is joining us now. Tony, thank you very much for joining us. What are you hearing is really behind this deal between the Trump transition and Carrier?
TONY COOK, REPORTER, "INDIANAPOLIS STAR": Well, certainly there' going to be some state incentives and that does appear to be part of the deal, but those were on the table even before this deal was announced. So I think what you really have to look at here is the fact that you have a presidential administration that the company wants to maintain a good relationship with.
Whether that means for the federal contracts that the parent company has or for simply having a voice at the table when decisions are being made about federal regulatory policy or tax policy.
BERMAN: It is interesting, because as you point out, there were some things on the table from Indiana. Mike Pence has been governor of Indiana and Carrier chose to remove these jobs while Mike Pence was governor. Does he bear any of the responsibility for their initial decision to go?
COOK: Well, you know, this is an industry-wide trend for the manufacturing sector in general so I don't think you can blame Pence for their initial decision to leave. I do think that in terms of state incentives, Carrier already had those prior to the layoff decision.
And I'm sure that the Pence administration continued to offer those as an incentive for the company to keep the jobs here. But ultimately a state administration is much more limited in what they can offer and the leverage they can bring than a national administration.
BOLDUAN: That is absolutely right, Tony. The union president for Carrier has said that they have been left in the dark in these discussions of late, and even telling CNN, using some very choice words, it's like walking in the lion's den with a -- I think pork chop suit on. That's what the Carrier union president said. Is it surprising to you that the unions were not part of this conversation?
COOK: Yes. It is surprising. In terms of the company saving money by staying here, you would think that concessions from the union might be part of that formula, but I think what that points to is, you know, Carrier has said that they are going to save $65 million by moving jobs to Mexico.
And ultimately, what the union can offer in concessions or what the state can offer in incentives just can't compete with that. Now, if there's an opportunity with the Trump administration for federal contracts or for having a voice at the table on some of these regulatory or tax policy issues.
You know, there are situations that could benefit the company in much greater ways. So I think that's the difference. We had an election. BERMAN: The other thing that Carrier is getting right now is an enormous amount of free publicity, pretty decent publicity. It's not often you see an air conditioner maker get this kind of, you know, advertising bang for its buck, as it were.
COOK: Right. Certainly throughout the campaign, the brand had to have taken a publicity hit, right. Trump was railing about this on the campaign trail almost nonstop.
[11:10:06]And so I do think putting some of that to rest is certainly of benefit to the company and you have to also remember that the company is still sending some of these jobs to Mexico so I'm not sure that this equates to necessarily positive publicity for the company, but it at least negates some of the negative publicity they were receiving.
Yes, a lot more to discuss as you say, there's a lot more to the story. Great to see you, Tony. Thank you very much. We've been following your reporting on this. Thanks so much.
Let's talk more about this right now, Julian Zelizer is with us, a historian, author and Princeton professor, CNN's chief business correspondent, Christine Romans is here as well, and executive editor of CNN politics, Mark Preston, and national political reporter with "Politico," Eliana Johnson is here as well.
Guys, great to have you. Christine, as Tony was saying, there's more to the story. You have jobs saved, you still have jobs going. Bernie Sanders had a lot to say about that in an opinion piece with "The Washington Post" just today.
He said "Yes, the families of the 1,000 workers who are keeping their jobs in Indianapolis, they should rejoice. But there's more to it. Trump threatened to tax companies who move jobs overseas and then try to bring their products back in."
Here's part of the opinion piece. "Instead of a damn tax, the company will be rewarded with a damn tax cut. Wow. How's that for standing up to corporate greed? How's that for punishing corporations that shut down in the United States and move abroad?
In essence United Technologies, which is the parent company, took Trump hostage and won." Is that what happened here?
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN MONEY BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: He's saying that they won -- look, let's be clear. United Technologies also has almost $6 billion of government contracts with the federal government. If you are the CEO of United Technologies and Donald Trump, the president-elect, has already said he's going to tax -- put tariffs on your company and calls you up and says why not leave some of your jobs there?
What do you say? You say yes because you're about to go into a position where a lot of their revenue, the parent company's revenue comes from the federal government. This is a sign of how these companies want to play ball with this administration because of how tough he was on the campaign trail because of trade.
The question is, do you have a few companies like this, and I have no doubt Donald Trump and his team were talking to other companies right now who are moving jobs overseas, but if you have a few of these really good optical plays for the Donald Trump narrative, does that take the heat off of some of these companies so they can play by the normal globalization rules otherwise?
I will say that United Technologies, Carrier, in its press release made a note that it still believes in the forces of globalization and free trade.
BERMAN: You know, this may not be a strategy, Mark Preston. You may not be able to save manufacturing by picking up the phone and calling one plant but he did pick up the phone. They called Carrier and these are 1,000 jobs. When he goes there today, he has reason to claim victory.
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Yes, no doubt. It's really difficult, too, when we sit around this table and talk about the politics of it all even though that is the underpinning thing and quite frankly, in the end, the most important thing, but we are talking about families, about other institutions that thrive off of these people having jobs that might be around the plant.
BOLDUAN: Right, it's not just the one job.
PRESTON: Right. There's ripple effect, like when you close a military business in some ways. There's ripple effect that goes down. But the fact of the matter is, it is a victory, optically it is a victory for Donald Trump today. The question is long-term can Donald Trump be on the phone all day with companies that are starting to threaten that they will move jobs overseas?
ROMANS: You are picking winners and losers of the economy. Something free market folks have never liked. The idea of the executive branch picking winners and losers.
BERMAN: Except today.
JULIAN ZELIZER, HISTORIAN AND PROFESSOR, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: It's deeper than that. We don't know the deal. Unions were not included in the deal. We have to see how will this actually affect workers at the plant? We don't know this thousand is obviously very important, but how many jobs will continue to go overseas?
BOLDUAN: I think we should be clear on this. This is often lost in cable news. Can't we have these two thoughts at once? It is good to save a single job and keep it in the United States. But there might be -- there are also still moving jobs overseas, it might not be an entirely -- might not be a home run, it might be a base hit.
ROMANS: No one has questioned this trend that's what the change here. Now you have the executive branch who is going to be the executive branch doing something bit. Until now, both parties have just accepted globalization was going to have losers. Now there's a new narrative.
BERMAN: The administration is Republican and Democrat which stepped in and said the auto industry was going to be a loser. There was a bailout and that took a tremendous amount of political heat from one party and not the other that you're not hearing as much right now.
Let's move on to the other event that Donald Trump is doing today. He is giving this speech, some people are calling it a victory lap. Others are calling it a "thank you" moment. He's going to Ohio, Eliana.
What do you think he will say? Because for the last year and a half, the type of thing we've heard is "lock her up," you know, "build the wall, drain the swamp, and today we are learning he's hiring Goldman people and other billionaires. So what tone do you think he will hit tonight?
ELIANA JOHNSON, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, "POLITICO": I actually think you will see him tout some of his cabinet picks and accomplishments thus far and take on probably a more positive tone. He's got an accomplishment to tout which is sort remarkable. The Carrier deal, I would be shocked if he doesn't talk about that.
It's obviously a political win for Trump even if it's not necessarily a basis for policy making. I question how scalable it is. The guy has fulfilled a campaign promise before he's been inaugurated and I think you will hear quite a bit of boasting about that.
The question to me is, obviously John Kasich, governor of Ohio, was one of his biggest foes on the campaign trail so one of the questions in my mind is how is he received by Republican political officials in Ohio.
You have seen quite a bit of peace-making by Donald Trump in terms of his cabinet selections, reaching out to Mitt Romney. Does that happen in Ohio today or does Trump use his speech to continue to hammer home some of the divisions in the Republican Party?
BERMAN: Hadn't thought of that.
BOLDUAN: John Berman thinks of everything so is John Kasich mentioned while he's in Ohio. That's an interesting thought.
PRESTON: No doubt about that. It depends whoever gets into Donald Trump's ear before he takes the podium and says either keep it in check or let it rip. I think that literally, roll the dice on this one because who knows which way he's going to go, I mean --
BOLDUAN: We say that every time Mark Preston comes on TV.
BERMAN: Can we talk about the cabinet for a second? Because "The Washington Post" says it's the richest cabinet in modern history. It's ten times the cabinet, initial cabinet of George W. Bush. Actually, read this. This is good.
BOLDUAN: George W. Bush's first cabinet in 2001 is estimated to be the entire cabinet, estimated to have a worth of $250 million. Adjusted for inflation, Christine Romans. I know you are wondering. That's roughly one-tenth the wealth of Trump's commerce secretary nominee.
BERMAN: So Romans, there are people who say look, this is just the swamp, more of the same, lot of Goldman people. You make the point these are folks who had a little bit of different world view.
ROMANS: Yes, they do. These are contrarians, people who see value in the wreckage, people who question the conventional wisdom. Wilbur Ross is somebody who for years has automatically questioned the conventional wisdom. You could argue that Washington has been about conventional wisdom for a very long time. The conventional wisdom that globalization will help more than it's going to hurts. That's something that in this election we found the people who don't believe.
ZELIZER: These are Wall Street outliers, not people who are populists. There is a real disconnect if you watch the cabinet picks and compare it to what he's arguing on the campaign trail or what he's arguing with Carrier. I think that's something that should be paid attention to.
BERMAN: It opens up the door for a middle class pick like Mitt Romney.
JOHNSON: I do think the cabinet picks fit with the sort of things you saw Trump saying. He did rail against Wall Street, but he's choosing I think in his cabinet picks, people whose thinking is outside the conventional Wall Street wisdom.
PRESTON: He's going to bring in business people and what is he doing, he's bringing in business people.
BOLDUAN: Is there also an argument if you just stack it with nothing against college professors, but if you just stack it with a whole bunch of college professors that didn't have --
BERMAN: Sitting right here.
BOLDUAN: I know. That's why I was looking at you. Ready to run commerce, Julian? That he would get hammered from Democrats that he's loading it up with people who don't know how to run anything.
PRESTON: Yes, and you know what else is interesting too about his cabinet is that he's putting a lot of military folks in his cabinet or potentially three generals in very high-ranking administration posts and perhaps an admiral. I mean, that's --
ROMANS: It's billionaires, generals and power brokers.
ZELIZER: He will have to defend the record and the confirmations of Wilbur Ross, who has done things that will not please many of his supporters, and Mnuchin. There again, have taken decisions with investments and layoffs that won't look good to the public.
ROMANS: Outsourcing. Outsourcing jobs, buying companies and industries and outsourcing jobs.
BERMAN: Eliana, we're going to leave you with the last word here. The Mitt Romney watch, up or down arrow as we sit here?
JOHNSON: I think Trump himself is genuinely undecided on his secretary of state pick. That being said, it's Trump who has been -- who has liked Mitt Romney and pushed that against the advice of his closest advisers. So I think right now Romney is the leading contender for that job.
BERMAN: Arrow pointing up decidedly.
BOLDUAN: Great to see you all. Thanks so much.
BERMAN: All right, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, they are now taking aim at Donald Trump's cabinet, calling the treasury nominee a Wall Street insider, who could hurt working families. But honestly, can the Democrats actually do anything to stop this? Details ahead.
BOLDUAN: Also, right now, jurors are deciding the fate and future of a former South Carolina police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man during a traffic stop. You will remember this case for sure when you see the video that was released in the aftermath. Was it murder? Was it manslaughter or was it self-defense? A verdict could come any moment. We are live at the courthouse.
BOLDUAN: Looking right now at live pictures of LaGuardia Airport. We are seeing Donald Trump's plane right there. He's going to be taking off any moment now. We will be waiting for that. He will be heading to Indiana to start to go to Carrier as we were discussing in the last block and then starting a "thank you" tour in Ohio. We'll bring you an update as he get those.
So also this -- Democrats might not like some of Donald Trump's cabinet picks but they -- are they completely powerless to stop them from being confirmed? That doesn't mean they will give in without a fight?
BERMAN: I want to bring in CNN senior political reporter, Manu Raju, who has some intel on this. Manu, what are you hearing?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: You know, Donald Trump is bound to get all of his nominees confirmed by the Senate no matter how much Democrats object unless something goes drastically wrong in the confirmation process and forces Republicans to vote against those nominees.
The reason why is because Democrats in 2013 changed the filibuster rules in the Senate, essentially reducing the number of votes to break a filibuster from 60 to 51. How many seats are Republicans going to hold next Congress? Fifty two, most likely, once the Louisiana Senate race is called? So as a result, no matter what happens, you are probably going to see these nominees confirmed. You are starting to hear a little buyer's remorse from Democrats from pushing through that change which was designed to help President Barack Obama.
[11:25:12]Earlier this week, I questioned the incoming Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, about whether or not he thinks it was a mistake to change those filibuster rules.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: You criticized Donald Trump's nomination but the fact Democrats changed filibuster rules will make it much harder to block Trump's picks next year. Was it a mistake in 2013 to make that change?
SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER (D), INCOMING MINORITY LEADER: Look, the bottom line is very, very simple. On this kind of issue, privatizing Medicare, we expect Republicans will join with us. There are a whole number of Republicans who are not going to be for privatizing Medicare and there ought to be bipartisan support against a secretary who is going to privatize Medicare and not fund Planned Parenthood.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: So I followed up and asked him don't you think it was a mistake to change the filibuster rules. He said that's all I'm going to say. He would not weigh in which is very telling just by not even weighing in on that.
But Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, planned an aggressive schedule at the beginning of a new year to confirm a number of these nominees early on, including one controversial nominee, Jeff Sessions, as attorney general.
Another one, Tom Price, as Health and Human Services secretary so Donald Trump will have his team as soon as he gets sworn into office -- Kate and John.
BERMAN: You know, Manu, Chris Coons, the senator from Delaware, a Democrat, told us flatly, yes, it was a mistake to change the filibuster rules, yes, he does regret it now to be sure. Manu, great report. Thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.
We will go back to LaGuardia Airport. You are looking at live pictures. Donald Trump getting ready to leave. He heads to the Carrier Plant in Indianola's shortly. After that, he goes to Ohio. This is the first stop, that will be the first stop on his so-called "Thank you" tour. Details ahead.
BOLDUAN: Also ahead, any moment now, jurors could hand down their verdict in the murder trial of a South Carolina police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man. This was an incident that gained nationwide attention when it happened in 2015. It all could be coming to a conclusion right now. We are live at the courthouse.