Return to Transcripts main page

EARLY START

Trump Reversing Position Only A Week Old; Clinton Takes Flight with Reporters; President Obama in Laos; Florida State Rallies, Beats Ole Miss. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired September 6, 2016 - 05:00   ET

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


ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: They asked Trump whether he might support a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants and turning his back on the hard line policy he laid down only a week ago.

[05:00:08] Trump said he would not rule that out.

More from CNN's Sara Murray.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Good morning, John and Alison.

Well, Donald Trump added yet another layer of confusion to where he stands on the immigration debate, particularly what to do with the millions of undocumented immigrants who are living in the United States. He told reporters on his plane yesterday that that is something he would deal with later down the line after he puts in place the security measures he's proposed.

REPORTER: Can you rule out that one possibility in that determination?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I'm not ruling out anything. No, no, I'm not --

REPORTER: Including the pathway to legal status?

TRUMP: No.

MURRAY: Now, that is a far cry from what he said in his immigration speech less than a week ago.

TRUMP: For those here illegally today, who are seeking legal status, they will have one route and one route only. To return home and apply for reentry like everybody else.

MURRAY: Now, Trump's muddled position threatened to overshadow the message he was trying to drive home, yesterday talking about jobs as he campaigned across the pivotal battleground state of Ohio. And it is certainly clear that we are in the final stretch of this presidential campaign. Donald Trump will be hitting not one, but two important swing states today, North Carolina and Virginia. Back to you, guys.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Sara Murray, thanks so much.

Today, Hillary Clinton heads to Tampa for an event on national security. Today, Hillary Clinton heads to Tampa for a campaign event focused on national security. The secretary will be flying to Florida on the campaign plane, it's a 737. She is now traveling with the press corps.

Secretary Clinton had been under fire for not holding a news conference for nearly nine months. But she did take questions from reporters in flight. They asked among other things about her recently released State Department e-mails demonstrate a casual attitude toward classified material.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: You know, I went into the State Department understanding classification. I had been on the Senate Armed Services Committee for years before I was secretary of state. I take classification seriously. The fact I couldn't remember certain meetings, whether or not they had occurred, doesn't in any way affect the commitment that I had and still have to the treatment of classified material.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSIK: All right. Helping us survey the political landscape this morning, CNN politics reporter Eric Bradner, joining us live from our Washington bureau.

Good morning.

ERIC BRADNER, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Good morning.

KOSIK: It probably was a few minutes into the moments she had with the press on her plane yesterday. It was all about e-mails to start. Was Hillary Clinton taking a moment to try to defend herself with this possible Russian hacking of the DNC? Listen to what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: This is like Watergate, only now in cyber time, you know, breaking in to the Democratic National Committee physically or into electronic files to withdraw information to be used for political purposes. It is stunning that we are facing this and especially from a foreign power.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSIK: So, Eric, Hillary Clinton seems to be using the press on the plane to her advantage. She's able to actually, you know, defend herself with numerous points of what's going on in the campaign. BRADNER: That's right. She has gone so many months without engaging

with the press in the sort of an open forum like this. She has done interviews. She has met with local reporters, with magazines that are taking sort of a friendly bend. She hasn't done a gaggle like that, right? A meeting with a broad group of reporters to throw anything at her.

And now that she is, she is having an opportunity to push back against some of the story lines that festered through the month of August when she was really she raised in fundraising. Of course, she raised $140 million during the month. So, yes, the Watergate thing got a lot of headlines.

What's missing is the involvement of the president, of course. There's not Richard Nixon ordering Russia to infiltrate the DNC. But she is able to push a story line that had sort of not been picked up on when it was her campaign surrogates.

BERMAN: Well, there might be a president involved. It might just not be a U.S. president. It could be Vladimir Putin over in charge in Russia over there.

BRADNER: Right.

BERMAN: Eric, there's been a lot of focus on Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, donations there. But now, there's a lot of focus on Donald Trump for a political donation, $25,000. The Trump Foundation, which is interesting in and of itself, because charities can't give to politicians, $25,000 the foundation gave to Pam Bondi, the attorney general of Florida at the time they were considering the lawsuit against Trump University.

[05:05:06] This is what Donald Trump had to say about it yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I never spoke to her. First of all, she is beyond reproach. She's a fine person. Never spoke to her about it at all. Many of the attorney generals turned that case down, because I'll win that case in court. But many attorney generals throughout the country turned that down. I never spoke to her about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: This is a case where money was given while an attorney general was deciding something directly related to Donald Trump there. Does this smell like the appearance of conflict?

BRADNER: Well, it sure looks like pay to play. But the reason this is damaging for Trump isn't so much what it says about him, right, the fact that he threw a charitable foundation gave $25,000 to Florida's attorney general who then didn't prosecute the Trump University case. It's that this is exactly what he is accusing the Clinton Foundation of, right? He is trying to argue Hillary Clinton is too accessible to moneyed interests, to people and corporations that can pay for access through the Clinton Foundation. And yet, here's a pretty clear example of the same sort of thing on Trump side.

It raises the rebuttal to any Clinton Foundation criticism. Well, what about that donation to Pam Bondi? What about Trump University? Right? So, that's why this is damaging to Trump.

It's because he's been making the same point about Hillary Clinton and this is a rather easy one to understand. Trump was fined. He paid $2,500 to the IRS. So, that's why this is a problem.

KOSIK: And speaking of rebuttals. We saw Joe Biden on the campaign trail yesterday laboring on Labor Day defending Hillary Clinton on her trust issues that she has with voters. Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hillary knows it's a problem. She's trying to figure out how to remedy it. And my advice is to talk about what you care about. Talk about it with passion. And people will see through it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSIK: So, this is an ongoing theme with Hillary Clinton. That trust issues that voters have with her. Is this just the way to really handle it? Just open it up and just be honest about the issues she has? Is the campaign making head way on this?

BRADNER: Well, I think Clinton herself is quite a bit more skeptical than that, right? She thinks that there's not a ton to gain by being just open and honest with the press and with everybody else. She feels like she's tried that over three decades in public life. It just hasn't worked out for her.

But that's Joe Biden offering a glimpse of what he would have been like as a presidential candidate. Clinton is going to have to sort of play a more public role than we have seen in the past few weeks, as the campaign goes on. We've got the first debate coming up September 26th where she's going to be challenged by a moderator and by Donald Trump on a lot of this stuff.

So, tough questions are coming, but it really remains to be seen over the coming days whether Hillary Clinton getting on the press plane and taking questions, that sort of thing, is going to be a regular occurrence or just like a one or two times to keep Trump from being able to say it has been 300 days since she held a conference at the first debate.

BERMAN: What she is trying to do is whatever question trusting Hillary Clinton come up, she's trying to say, well, what about Trump? Can you trust him to be commander in chief?

Today, she's going to focus on national security. Clinton has a brand new ad out. I think this is the first time anyone in America has seen it or us. Let's play a little clip of this ad, which talks about Donald Trump and the suitability to be president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I know more about ISIS than the generals do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John McCain. A war hero.

TRUMP: He's not a war hero. He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump compared his sacrifices to the sacrifices of two parents who lost their son in a war?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How would you answer that father? What sacrifice have you made for your country?

TRUMP: I made a lot of sacrifices. Great structures. I've had tremendous success.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those are sacrifices?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: That was former Georgia Senator Max Cleland who, of course, was very, very badly injured in the Vietnam War. There was shot of him watching that in the end there. Pretty interesting ad, Eric.

BRADNER: It's a really interesting ad. Donald Trump's advantage in this election is largely with white men. And Hillary Clinton isn't just making a play for veterans there. She is making a play for what we call security moms. People who are suburban and often college educated and often white women who are perhaps socially concerned about national security and problematic for Democrats for that reason in some elections.

[05:10:06] This is going all the way back to the John McCain incident that is a year old, but the veterans found quite offensive. This is something that Hillary Clinton is definitely going to make a recurring theme. It remains to be seen what state she puts this ad in and how much money she puts behind it. We can expect this attack to come up over and over, especially from Clinton herself in debates because this is something she is really comfortable with having served as secretary of state.

BERMAN: She has a speech today in Tampa where I expect she hits the same themes. All right. Eric, thank you.

KOSIK: Thanks very much, Eric.

BRADNER: Thank you.

BERMAN: Talk to you again in a little a bit.

All right. President Obama getting an apology overnight from a world leader -- a world leader who hurled some vulgar insults at him. Will these two men meet? This is just part of the drama on the president's crucial overseas trip. We're live, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:15:11] BERMAN: President Obama is in Laos this morning for a summit with Southeast Asian leaders. He's the first sitting U.S. president to visit Laos. And today, the president announced $90 million in aid to erase one of the last legacies of the Vietnam War.

He is making headlines for abruptly cancelling a scheduled meeting with the president o the Philippines who says he now regrets the obscenity-laced comments came across as an attack against the U.S. president.

CNN's Michelle Kosinski live from Laos.

Good morning, Michelle.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, this has to be a first. Can you imagine this happening at any other time? And at a time like this, international summit, this is when leaders try to even pretend to get along with each other even if they don't want to.

But these comments that Duterte made and his controversial comments in the past haven't surprised many people, but this yesterday surprised even the White House. I mean, when he was asked by reporters, well, what if President Obama brings up the extrajudicial killings, vigilante style killings of possibly thousands of people just over the last few months in drug cases in the Philippines, what would you say to him?

And Duterte used profanity. He said he would curse Obama further if they sat down and he brought it up in that forum. Well, that was enough for the White House to say, this is a no-go. They said that those comments indicated that this was no time to be having a serious discussion with this new leader.

They went a step further, too, and said it would be a disservice to the people of the Philippines to do this at this time. That prompted then an apology from Duterte today. He said he regrets what he said, even though he called Obama a profane name, was taken as a personal attack on him. He looks forward to at some point having this meeting and trying to work constructively with the United States.

So, that under the bridge, now President Obama here in Laos wants to focus on building the relationship here. He started off with the big announcement of $90 million over the next three years to remove unexploded ordinance. This is 40 years past the Vietnam War. Nine years during the war, the U.S. dropped some 200 million bombs on Laos.

Here is some of what President Obama said earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I also know that the remnants of war continue to shatter lives here in Laos. Many of the bombs that were dropped were never exploded. Over the years, thousands of Laotians have been killed or injured -- farmers tending their fields, children playing. The wounds, a missing leg or arm last a lifetime.

And that's why as president, I dramatically increased our funding to help remove these unexploded bombs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSINSKI: Some 80 million of the bombs have not exploded. They lead to casualties to this day. And tomorrow, President Obama is going to meet with some of the victims -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Michelle Kosinski for us during the historic overseas trip. Thanks so much, Michelle.

KOSIK: OK. Time for an early start on your money. Asian shares closing higher. European markets are mixed. The U.S. stock market will be back in action after closed for the Labor Day holiday. We are seeing futures here pointing to a higher opening.

Breaking overnight: German pharmaceutical company Bayer is raising its bid to buy Monsanto. Bayer is now willing to offer more than $65 million to acquire the world's biggest seed company. The deal would still require regulatory approval. Monsanto has struggled financially. It's laid off 16 percent of its global research and cut back on research projects because of a struggle farm economy.

BERMAN: All right. A comeback for the ages in college football. Florida State faced with a 22--point deficit against Ole Miss. What happened? Coy Wire has this morning's "Bleacher Report" next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:23:45] BERMAN: So for the second night in a row, a wild ending in college football. Fourth-ranked Florida State rallying against Ole Miss, the biggest comeback in school history.

KOSIK: Coy Wire, he has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report". Good morning.

COY WIRE, BLEACHER REPORT: Good morning, Alison and John.

We had over 50 games over the last five days. And the college football gods saved the best for last. Monday night football, college style, on Labor Day, and Florida State had their work cut out. Ole Miss came out on fire. Seminoles going for the score, but he is stripped by Casper the friendly ghost. He just drops the rock. They go down by 22 points after this.

But freshman quarterback Deondre Francois led the Seminoles back with 419 yards, two touchdowns in the first ever collegiate start. Florida State scores 33 straight points, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, 45-34 win over Ole Miss. Oh, yeah.

All right. Seattle Seahawks' Jeremy Lane says Colin Kaepernick reached out to him to thank him for standing behind him. Lane sat during the national anthem before the team's pre-season game against the Raiders last Thursday, in support of Kaepernick's protest against racial injustice and police brutality.

[05:25:05] Lane says he plans to continue to sit going forward.

Also yesterday, President Obama speaking at the G20 summit in China defending Kaepernick's protest. He says the 49ers quarterback is, quote, "exercising his constitutional right", unquote.

Serena Williams, my oh my, advancing to the quarterfinals with a win over Yaroslava Shvedova. Look at that serve, 126 mile per hour ace in the second set. Fastest serve in the tournament. That injured shoulder looks to be pretty good. It's a 308th career grand slam match victory surpassing Roger Federer for the all-time.

All right. Johnny football now Johnny textbook? According to multiple reports, the first ever freshman Heisman winner Johnny Manziel has enrolled at Texas AM again where he will star, where he was a star in 2013 and 2012 as well. Drafted by the Browns, but released by Cleveland in March after two seasons.

Guys, he is currently in Texas A&M's student director listed as senior, majoring in recreation, parks and tourism sciences.

KOSIK: Back to the serve, Serena served 126 miles an hour. If I was on the receiving of that, I think I would run off the tennis court.

BERMAN: They would carry you 200 yards off the tennis court.

You know, as for Johnny Manziel, I think he majored in too much recreation, which is part of the problem over the last few years.

WIRE: I think you're right, John.

BERMAN: All right. Coy, thanks so much.

WIRE: You're welcome.

KOSIK: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both bringing reporters on board their planes. Trump taking another twist on immigration as well and Clinton actually taking questions from the press. The latest from both campaigns, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)