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EARLY START

Trump's Fiery Explanation and Defense of Immigration Policy; Clinton Campaign Slams Trump's Position; Hurricane Warning in Florida; Historic Flight to Cuba; Massive Rescue Operation at Sea. Aired 4:30- 5a ET

Aired September 1, 2016 - 04:30   ET

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


[04:30:51] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump with a fiery explanation and defense of his immigration policy. No amnesty is part of it. A deportation task force and much more. But it's the question that remains unanswered that has him at odds with the president of Mexico.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The Clinton campaign slamming Trump's position on immigration, calling it Trump's darkest speech yet. What's Clinton saying about Trump's pit stop in Mexico?

HOWELL: Hurricane warnings now in effect for the Florida panhandle and with a powerful tropical storm gaining strength. Will that storm wreck the holiday for millions of Americans? We'll have the latest on that story, coming up.

Good morning and welcome back to EARLY START. I'm George Howell.

ROMANS: Nice to see you this morning, George. It's Thursday, the first day of September. I'm Christine Romans. It is 31 minutes past the hour.

And Donald Trump talking tough on immigration overnight, laying out a plan that certainly is not softening telegraphed over the week or so. In his highly anticipated speech in Arizona, intended to clear up the shifting positions on the issue, Donald Trump laid his strategy out point by fiery point, ten of them. No amnesty for immigrants in the U.S. illegally. No amnesty. What he called a deportation task force focused on expelling criminals. Leaving the idea of mass deportation of undocumented immigrants for sometime later. So, focusing on criminals. No federal funding for U.S. sanctuary cities like San Francisco. No visas for visitors from countries without adequate security screening.

Here are some highlights from the speech.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Zero tolerance for criminal aliens. Zero. Zero.

There are at least 2 million, 2 million think of it, criminal aliens, now inside of our country, 2 million people. We will begin moving them out day one as soon as I take office, day one.

I am going to create a new special deportation task force focused on identifying and quickly removing the most dangerous criminal illegal immigrants in America who have evaded justice. Just like Hillary Clinton has evaded justice, maybe they will be able to deport her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: OK. About that claim of 2 million criminal illegal immigrants in the U.S. CNN fact checked that. The number is closer to 1.5 million. Trump's speech is a strong contrast with his last minute trip to visit Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. That conversation by all accounts is respectful.

With a difference emerging on key points, whether Trump's vow to have Mexico pay for the border wall was even discussed, controversy and disagreement about exactly what went on behind closed doors.

CNN's Sara Murray is with the Trump campaign and has the latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Good morning, George and Christine.

Well, anyone who thought Donald Trump was softening on his immigration policies got their answer as he was campaigning last night in Phoenix, Arizona. He said he was going to add 5,000 new border patrol agents. He was going to triple the number of ICE deportation officers. And as for the 11 undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., Trump said those weren't his main priority. That's border security. But he said, if they ever hope to have legal status, they would first have to leave, return to their home countries, and apply through the appropriate channels.

TRUMP: As with any law enforcement activity, we will set priorities. But unlike this administration, no one will be immune or exempt from enforcement and ICE and border patrol officers will be allowed to do their jobs the way the jobs are supposed to be done. Anyone who has entered the United States illegally is subject to deportation. That is what it means to have laws and to have a country.

MURRAY: Now, earlier in the day, he traveled to Mexico where he held a cordial meeting with the president of Mexico. By the time he got to Arizona, he was ready to serve up red meat to his Republican base.

[04:35:04] Now, we saw many sides of Donald Trump yesterday. Today, he is campaigning in the pivotal battleground state of Ohio. We'll see if he continues to speak to his GOP base or if he aims to expand it.

Back to you, guys.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: Sara, thank you. New details now on Trump's brief trip to Mexico for a private meeting

with the president of that country, Pena Nieto. The main disagreement to come from the meeting was Trump's vow to build a border wall and to have Mexico pay for the wall. At the briefing that followed, their sit-down meeting, Trump said the two men did not discuss the subject of who pays for the wall. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We did discuss the wall. We did not discuss payment of the wall. That will be for a later date. This was a very preliminary meeting. I think it was an excellent meeting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: But to the contrary and hours after Trump left, President Pena Nieto tweeted in Spanish, "At the beginning of the conversation with Donald Trump, I made clear that Mexico will not pay for the wall."

The Mexican leader also told Trump that NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, benefits both the U.S. and Mexico. He argued that more than 6 million U.S. jobs rely on exports to Mexico. Trump has consistently slammed NAFTA on the campaign trail.

ROMANS: The Clinton campaign is scoffing at the idea that Trump campaign or evolve on immigration. Clinton dismissing Trump's hallmark address with a tweet that was short and tweet, "There is no other Donald Trump. This is it."

Earlier, Hillary Clinton jeered at Trump's trip to Mexico in a tweet that she wrote herself. "Trump just failed his first foreign test. Diplomacy", she wrote, "isn't as easy as it looks."

Clinton also slammed Trump in a speech to the American Legion's national convention in Cincinnati.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny was there. He has the latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Christine and George, Hillary Clinton is off the campaign trail today, taking a bit of long Labor Day holiday weekend. But they are still watching and analyzing Donald Trump's trip to Mexico on Wednesday.

She talked about it as she gave a speech in Cincinnati. She said simply looking presidential doesn't necessarily mean you are ready to be one.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: People have to get to know they can count on you, that you won't say one thing one day and something totally different the next. And it certainly takes more than trying to make up for a year of insults and insinuations by dropping in on our neighbors for a few hours and flying home again. That is not how it works. ZELENY: And the chairman of the Clinton campaign, John Podesta, used

even stronger language. He said simply, Trump choked. He said this, "What we saw today for a man who claims to be the ultimate deal maker is he doesn't have the courage to advocate for his campaign promises when he is not in front of a friendly crowd." Of course, he is talking about Trump's long held pledge to have Mexico pay for the wall.

Now, of course, this is not going to end, this back and forth between Trump and Clinton. Both will be taking a bit of a respite from campaigning before picking up again on Labor Day Monday, the big start for the long campaign ahead -- Christine and George.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: Jeff Zeleny on the campaign trail, thank you.

The Clinton campaign announcing that it will pause all operations on September 11th, honoring the 15th anniversary of the 2001 terror attacks. An aide says there will be no ads or no events at all that day. The decision comes after the non-profit group 9/11 Day asked all candidates to suspend activity to honor the day. The Trump campaign did not immediately return a call about its plans.

ROMANS: All right. The Supreme Court saying no to North Carolina's controversial voter I.D. law. The justices refusing to overturn an appeals court decision last month that said that law disproportionally affected African-Americans. As a result of the high court ruling, early voting in November will be extended now for 17 days and voters will not have to present photo I.D. at their precincts. Hillary Clinton called it, "great news for North Carolina."

All right. After Donald Trump's big immigration speech in his trip to Mexico, it's still unclear where he stands on trade with Mexico. He told reporters at a briefing in Mexico that he wanted to improve NAFTA. During the primaries, he called it the worst trade deal in history, saying he would renegotiate directly with countries like Mexico, which he says is killing the U.S. on trade.

Trump is likely referring to the trade deficit with Mexico. Something the U.S. has maintained since 1994. Here's that deficit since before the recession. It shows the U.S. is importing more from Mexico than exporting to Mexico.

So, what are the top exports? Well, car parts for the highest value export to Mexico in 2015. There are a lot of cars, U.S. cars assembled in Mexican factories and shipped back to the U.S. to sell. They made with parts that start in the U.S. first.

Next is electronic machines, then computer accessories, refined petroleum products and plastics.

[04:40:03] There you go.

HOWELL: Mexico is very important to the U.S. We are following the situation in the Florida panhandle. Right now,

people are under a hurricane warning. Tropical Storm Hermine gaining strength. We have a look at how much it could affect the East Coast, coming up.

ROMANS: And a quick programming note. On Monday, we'll have two special reports on both presidential nominees with personal stories from people who know them best. Join us for "Unfinished Business: The Essential Hillary Clinton". That's Monday night at 8:00. Followed by "All Business: The Essential Donald Trump" at 10:00.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOWELL: Breaking overnight. A hurricane warning issued for the Florida panhandle. Tropical Storm Hermine is gaining strength, now forecast to become a hurricane before it makes landfall either tonight or early Friday.

[04:45:01] And with its path shifting slightly westward, it could wreck the holiday weekend in the New York area.

Let's bring in our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri with the very latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: George and Christine, we have the hurricane warning in place across the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, this is the first hurricane warning since 2012 in the Gulf of Mexico.

You take a look at the severe weather threat is also very high, stretching really from Tallahassee out towards Jacksonville up towards Savannah. Primary concern is lightning and heavy rain. It could spin tornadoes as well we typical see with tropical disturbances as they approach land.

But notice, there are the warning, the watches, the tropical storm warnings could come in the overnight hours. We have a high tide in place across the region from 3:00 p.m. on Thursday to one around 3:00 a.m. on Friday. And if it coincides with that high tide, the flooding risk could be high up to seven feet across the panhandle region of Florida.

Notice, the storm system moves over the Atlantic coastline and Sunday afternoon, it could produce rainfall around parts of New York into Boston if it keeps that close track to the eastern seaboard. But again, the heavy rainfall from Panama City to Tallahassee and into Savannah, 4 to 6 inches possible this holiday weekend, guys.

ROMANS: All right. Pedram, thank you for that.

You know, for the thousand of people in the path of those powerful storms, the Social Security Administration has your back. The benefit checks, those checks, Social Security checks, are in the mail. Officials say they are being delivered as early as today ahead of the regular 3rd of the month pay date, that's to help people buy items they may need to weather the storm. 13,000 Social Security recipients in Florida, North Carolina and Hawaii are effected.

HOWELL: Now to tell you about a flight half a century in the making. First commercial flight from U.S. to Cuba. It is another sign of the relations of the former Cold War rivals are thawing.

CNN aviation correspondent Rene Marsh gives us a first hand look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Christine and George, CNN was on board that first flight between the United States and Cuba. And as wheel touched down here in Santa Clara, Cuba, not only did we hear people clapping and cheering, but there was real raw emotion on board. There was this one woman who had not been back to Cuba in 16 years to see her family. It all became very real for her when it was wheels down here in Santa Clara.

Of course, there have been charter flights in the past, but those cost hundreds of dollars. She said this makes it much easier and cheaper for people like her to travel between the two countries.

Also on board was Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. As he came down the steps of the flight, there was an American flag next to a Cuban flag. His agency made an announcement today that even more flights between the two countries will happen.

Several airlines received that final approval for direct flights between several U.S. cities and Havana, the most sought after destination on the island. But it is so important to point out, people just cannot travel to Cuba for tourism. You have to fit into one of those 12 categories, things like education or visiting family.

Back to you, George and Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right. Rene Marsh, thank you so much for that.

More people are dying on America's roads and highways. Government statistics show traffic deaths rose 7 percent between 2014 and 2015. That is the biggest jump in almost 50 years. This year is on track to be even worse.

Now, officials say increased smartphone use is a main culprit, creating more distractive drivers. They also say job growth and lower gas prices are factors. More people spending more time on the road.

HOWELL: A new medical study reveals promising results for an Alzheimer's drug. Researchers say the drug cleared toxic plaque in the brains of early stage Alzheimer's patients. Doctors believe plaque deposits play a role in blocking communications among nerve cells. The drug has not shown any cognitive benefits. Experts say that would be a game changer. Very promising.

ROMANS: Yes. It really is.

All right. Forty-nine minutes past the hour.

This very first day of September. The stock market accomplished something we have not seen since 1970. I'll tell you what it means for your investments when we get with an early start on your money.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:53:43] HOWELL: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm George Howell.

More on the rescue operation at sea that we told you about. More than 12,000 people saved from the Mediterranean plucked from the flimsy boats and rafts. They crowded into to escape violence and conflict.

Our senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman is following the story live in Rome with us this morning.

Ben, good to have you with us.

Let's talk more about these images. They show the dangerous journey and dramatic rescues.

Yes. And it's important to keep in mind, George, that it's not the human smugglers equipped these people, these desperate migrants and refugees, to make the crossing from Libya to Italy. They give them just enough fuel in these rickety dinghies, rubber dinghies, tug boats, old rusty fishing boats just to get out of the Libyan territorial waters.

Once they are in international waters, they send out a distress signal which is received by the Italian Navy and Coast Guard and other European naval forces and NGO rescue boats who come and pick them up.

Now, according to international law, they not supposed to be returned to Libya because Libya is a country at war.

[04:55:01] It's dangerous. So, they are obliged to pick them up and bring them to the closest country, which is in this case is Italy. And as you mentioned, since Sunday afternoon, 12,500 people have been rescued by the Italian Navy, the Coast Guard and others.

And so far this year, we are talking about 112,000 people so far this year being brought to Italy from the Libyan coast. It is expected that this number will increase because as you see from those pictures put out by the Italian coast guard, the sea, the Mediterranean is calm at the moment.

So, what these human traffickers do is they wait for those calm periods and then they send out huge numbers of people crammed into boats that simply are not equipped to deal with the numbers. And this will continue until probably the end of September when the seas become rough again.

And we know from the International Organization for Migration, George, there are well over 200,000 people still in Libya waiting to make the crossing -- George. HOWELL: Ben, just briefly here, politically, they make this dangerous

journey and get on the if they are lucky enough to get to the destinations that they want to reach, politically, it's still murky as to what would happen to them, next, yes?

WEDEMAN: Yes. It has become a serious political potato in Europe. There are few politicians who are really advocating on behalf of the people, in fact, quite to the contrary. There is in a sense, refugee migrant weariness in many parts of Europe. In Italy, for instance, the economy is not in good shape. It hasn't grown in over a decade. Many people feel there just isn't the capacity to absorb them.

So, at the moment, you have 150,000 migrants and refugees in reception centers in Italy waiting for their applications for asylum to be processed. This is very time consuming. The bureaucracy process doesn't work quickly. In some cases, with the applications rejected, they are sent back home.

HOWELL: It is a political quandary for nations to figure out. But again, those are the faces of the mothers, fathers, families, children that are caught up in the middle of this.

Our senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman live in Rome -- Ben, thank you.

ROMANS: Brazil's first female President Dilma Rousseff now out of a job. The country's senate overwhelming voting to remove her from office, finding her guilty of breaking budgetary laws. Lawmakers decided she can run for office in the future. The vice president Michel Temer has been serving was interim president since Rousseff's suspension in May, she was sworn in and will serve out the remainder of her term.

HOWELL: The National Veterans Foundation, the object of a CNN report in midway, is closing its doors for good. Officials say the organization has severed ties with its president, Thomas Birch. The foundation allegedly gave less than 2 percent of the revenue to our nation's heroes. It also received zero out of four stars from watchdog group Charity Navigator.

ROMANS: All right. First day of September, let's get an early start on your money for the month. Dow futures are higher right now. Up beat economic data, optimism ahead of Friday's jobs report. Stocks slipped yesterday to end August where it started. Strong gains in Europe stocks and shares in Asia are mixed. Shares in oil are rising.

It has been eerily quite in stocks. Check out the 38 days here of the S&P has not made a daily move of 1 percent. The S&P 500 has not moved 1 percent since July 8th. There is a 17-day streak in there where the S&P 500 did not move more than 0.75 percent in either direction. That hasn't happened since 1970.

Now, the calm is impressive because of there are so many market moving factors right now: unpredictable U.S. election, turbulent oil prices and bets on when the Fed will finally interest raise rates. Four pieces of new economic data may help the fed make its decision, especially if Friday's jobs report is solid. Personal income in spending both increasing in July, consumer confidence at a 12-month high, pending home sales jumped 1.3 percent. The reading on private sector jobs showed a gain of 177,000 new jobs in August in the private sector. All of that making the decision to hike interest rates maybe a little bit easier. It shows U.S. economy strong enough to handle it.

Tesla rolling out major improvements to its autopilot software following a series of crashes. New updates will be downloaded to owners of Model S and Model X electric vehicles. CEO Elon Musk said Wednesday on Twitter, they should start rolling out next month. These will involve enhanced processing of radar signals.