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EARLY START

North Korea Conducts Nuclear Test; Trump Talks Putin; Clinton Slams Trump. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired September 9, 2016 - 04:00   ET

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


[04:00:14] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Overnight, North Korea conducts its largest nuclear test yet. New concerns over the fast paced in that country's nuclear program and new questions about the timing of this test.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump going on a Russian government-sponsored television station to say he does not think Russia is meddling in the U.S. presidential election. His appearance coming after days of criticism for his praise of Russia's president.

BERMAN: Hillary Clinton says she will focus more on herself, maybe a little bit less on Donald Trump, but she got some hard hits in first. We'll tell you what she said.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. Today is Friday, September 9th. It is 4:00 a.m. in the East.

Breaking overnight: North Korea conducting its fifth nuclear test since January. This one appears to be the most powerful and troubling yet. South Korean officials record seismic activity with a magnitude of 5.3. The president of South Korea calling the latest provocation from Pyongyang "fantastically reckless".

I want to go to Seoul and bring in CNN's Paula Hancocks.

Paula, tell us more.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine, it was an announcement we heard on North Korean state run television saying they have successfully tested a nuclear warhead. That effectively now, they could put that nuclear warhead onto any ballistic missile. So, that is a statement that will concern most of the world. Certainly, we have seen very strong condemnation coming from South Korea from the United States, from Japan, from China, from Russia and certainly, everyone is concerned.

Now, there is no way of verifying whether or not this is accurate. It's important, experts say. to take North Korea at its word. But the magnitude of the explosion is key in this. We are hearing from experts --

(VIDEO GAP) ROMANS: All right. You can see we lost Paula Hancocks there.

But again, this is the fifth nuclear test from North Korea. And South Korea obviously is quite concerned. We'll get back to Paula and that live shot when we can reestablish the satellite.

BERMAN: Yes, we are starting to hear from U.S. leaders, as well as leaders around the world saying they are monitoring this. They are waiting for more information. The condemnations are already starting to come out about that test.

Now, here at home, Donald Trump with a new notable embrace of Vladimir Putin. Once declaring that the Russian leader is probably not meddling in the U.S. election. Trump's comments came in an interview with Larry King with RT Network. This is a network founded by the Kremlin. Trump is already under fire for his praise of Putin.

This is what he said on Russian television.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE (via telephone): I don't know. I have been hearing about it. I've been reading about it. I think it's probably unlikely. I think maybe the Democrats are putting that out. Who knows? But I think it's pretty unlikely. But, you know, who knows? If they are doing something, I hope that somebody's going to find out so they can end it because that would not be appropriate at all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: U.S. investigators believe hackers broke into the DNC database earlier this year.

Hillary Clinton has directly accused Putin of trying to influence the U.S. election, but Trump had nothing but praise for the Russian leader during Wednesday night's Commander-in-Chief Forum.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: If he says great things about me, I'm going to say great things about him. I've already said, he is really very much of a leader. I mean, you can say, oh, isn't that a terrible thing? The man has very strong control over a country. Now, it's a very different system and I don't happen to like the system, but certainly in that system, he's been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The Trump camp now claims it had no idea the interview would be played on a Russian television network, insisting it was conducted in a podcast format as a favor for Larry King.

House Speaker Paul Ryan was asked about the admiration for the Russian president. Ryan refused to bash his party's candidate or renounced his party's candidate, but he had plenty to say about Putin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Vladimir Putin is an aggressor that does not share our interest. Vladimir Putin is violating the sovereignty of neighboring countries. It certainly appears he is conducting in state-sponsored cyber attacks on what appears to be our political system. That is not acting in our interests. And that is an adversarial stance and he is acting like an adversary.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: All right. Donald Trump is also doubling down on his claim he opposed the Iraq war from the start, even though that claim has been debunked.

We get more from CNN's Sara Murray.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

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

Well, Donald Trump had planned to spend yesterday talking about education policy. But instead, when he arrived at a charter school in Cleveland, Ohio, he could not help but rehashed a number of the national security issues that came up at a forum the night earlier.

[04:05:07] He went after Hillary Clinton for her use of a private e- mail server, but he also launched into a lengthy defense of his view of the war in Iraq, once reiterating his claim that he opposed it before it began.

TRUMP: Before the war, much closer to the war, I gave statements that we shouldn't have gone in. And shortly thereafter, immediately thereafter, and honestly, a lot of reporters said, hey, right at the beginning, he made this statement. That statement was a very major story in "Esquire" magazine.

So, I just wanted to set the record straight. There is so much lying going on. And Hillary Clinton lied last night about numerous things, including her e-mail. But she also lied about this.

MURRAY: Now, of course, there is no public proof that Donald Trump opposed the war before it started. And in fact, his public comments leading up to the war actually suggested that he supported the invasion of Iraq, but he is obviously changing his tune now on the campaign trail.

And I will tell you, it was a little bit of an awkward setting to see Donald Trump talking about the threat of ISIS, calling Hillary Clinton essentially a liar for the way she talked about her use of a private e-mail server at a charter school in Cleveland in front of a couple of rows of children.

Now, he is back on the campaign trail today in some very different settings. He'll be delivering a speech in Washington, D.C., and campaigning later today in Florida.

Back to you, guys.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: All right. Thank you, Sara Murray.

With the race tightening, Hillary Clinton is adjusting her focus a bit. Her campaign says she will talk more about herself and her policies in the coming days and weeks. Overnight, she spoke about her faith and humility at a Baptist convention in Kansas City. Hillary Clinton standing before a largely African-American congregation conceded, quote, "I made my share of mistakes."

Let's get more from CNN senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: John and Christine, Hillary Clinton is meeting with a bipartisan group of national security leaders today in New York, trying to keep her argument alive that Donald Trump is simply not fit to be president. She made that case as she traveled from North Carolina to Missouri on Thursday. But she also said something, else, something she rarely talks about, speaking to the audience, she called out Donald Trump for all the questions he's raised about President Obama.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Our nation's values are being questioned in this election. We are facing a candidate with a long history of racial discrimination in his business, who traffics in toxic conspiracy theories like the lie that President Obama is not a true American.

If he doesn't even respect all Americans, how can he serve all Americans?

ZELENY: Of course, one central reason Secretary Clinton is raising that is to fire up African-American voters to not let Trump get a foothold in one of the key coalitions President Obama won in 2008 and 2012. He is still so popular in this community.

But national security is front and center in this debate. It will be going on all day again today. And now, that first debate is some 17 days away -- John and Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right. Jeff Zeleny, thanks for that.

Wells Fargo employees created fake bank accounts to charge customer fees, boosting their own sales numbers and profiting from it. Now, thousands of those bankers have been fired, and Wells Fargo is paying a record fine. Wells Fargo fired 5,300 employees for secretly creating unauthorized bank and credit card accounts. A consulting firm hired by Wells Fargo found more than 1.5 million deposit accounts that may not have been authorized, plus, more than 560,000 credit card applications.

The consumer financial protection bureau slapped the bank with a $185 million fine. That's the largest penalty since it was founded in 2011. $100 million to go to the CFPB's penalty fund, out of which it will pay back $5 million to customers.

These customers unknowingly were slapped with fees for overcharges and late fees for accounts that should not have existed. $50 million will go to the city and county of Los Angeles where a lawsuit was filed. $35 million will go to the U.S. treasury.

To put it all into perspective, last quarter, John, Wells Fargo made a profit $135 million every three days on average. So, they will pay three days for this essential scam on all these customers.

BERMAN: I couldn't believe this. More than 5,000 people laid off. That is ridiculous.

ROMANS: You know, seven, eight years after the financial crisis, the banking industry still suffers from very terrible perceptions among the public. It is garbage like this where people are nickeled and dimed, and then being nickeled and dimed for accounts you didn't even set up, that is just -- that is unforgivable. The CFPB says $185 million in the coffers.

[04:10:02] BERMAN: Honestly, blows the mind.

All right. An exclusive interview with Governor Mike Pence. What he says about Donald Trump's praise of Vladimir Putin. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: All right. A CNN exclusive, Donald Trump's running mate, Mike Pence is defending Trump controversial comments about Vladimir Putin being a stronger leader than Barack Obama, than President Obama. He even draws comparison between Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan.

This interview was with CNN's chief political correspondent Dana Bash.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESONDENT: John and Christine, Mike Pence was here at the Ronald Reagan Library to give a speech comparing Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan.

Now, Reagan famously faced down the Soviet Union calling them the evil empire. When it comes to today's Russia and what Donald Trump said about embracing Vladimir Putin in particular, Pence says he's just fine with that.

[04:15:04] Donald Trump said that Vladimir Putin has been a leader far more than the president of the United States. Do you share that view?

GOV. MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Well, remember, Ronald Reagan spoke boldly on the world stage, even about the Soviet Union -- (CROSSTALK)

BASH: I'm talking about Donald Trump. Can you just answer the question about that current --

PENCE: But it was Ronald Reagan also who met with Gorbachev and demonstrated that you can as Teddy Roosevelt said, you can walk softly and carry a big stick. You can speak boldly and plainly, but you can have relationships with people on the world stage.

BASH: Do you personally think that Vladimir Putin is a stronger leader than the current president?

PENCE: I think it is inarguable that Vladimir Putin has been a stronger leader in his country than Barack Obama has been in this country and that's going to change the day that Donald Trump becomes president of the United States of America. I mean, look, you've seen instances --

BASH: I don't need to tell you because you were in Congress. He has -- Barack Obama has a true democracy here with the Congress that pushes back with those checks and balances. Vladimir Putin doesn't have that.

PENCE: That's exactly right.

BASH: So, is it hard to say?

PENCE: And Donald Trump said last night he doesn't particularly like the system.

BASH: Pence told me he will release his tax returns by the end of the week. That means today.

He also revealed something that shows another example of how he is quite different from the man at the top of the ticket, Donald Trump. Pence said that he is approaching debate prep in a more traditional way. He has mock debates. He even has somebody who is acting as a stand-in for Tim Kaine, who, of course, he's going to be debating on October 4th. Very different from Donald Trump who is having more discussions with his staff and is not doing those mock debates -- John and Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, an overwhelming long shot to begin with, may have just seen his chances of winning the White House go slim to none. Johnson appeared on MSNBC Thursday morning, was asked about the civil war in Syria and more specifically the refugee crisis in Aleppo.

Listen to Johnson's response or lack of one followed by his appearance later in the morning on ABC's "The View."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would you do if you were elected about Aleppo?

GARY JOHNSON, LIBERTARIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: About?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aleppo.

JOHNSON: And what is Aleppo?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're kidding?

JOHNSON: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aleppo is in Syria. It's the epicenter of the refugee crisis.

JOHNSON: OK, got it. Got it.

No excuse. I was thinking in terms of acronym, Aleppo.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.

JOHNSON: That's no excuse whatsoever.

JOY BEHAR, THE VIEW: I think it is a disqualifying statement frankly.

JOHNSON: Yes, fair enough. I will say it is a process and I respect the process. For those that believe this is a disqualifier, so be it.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

BERMAN: That was the moment.

All right. The NFL Seattle Seahawks plan to honor the nation and American flag in a pre-game demonstration of unity when they open their season Sunday against Miami. Seahawks star Doug Baldwin says the team wants to bring people together. Last night was the first NFL game of the season with Denver and Carolina. You see Brandon Marshall right there taking a knee during the national anthem.

ROMANS: It was all about football once the opening kickoff was out of the way. Broncos prevailing once again in a Super Bowl rematch with a 21-20 victory over the Panthers last night in Denver. The game went down to the wire with Carolina kicker, Graham Gano -- is that how you say his name? -- missing 50-yard field goal in the final seconds.

BERMAN: Wide left.

ROMANS: There you go.

BERMAN: Twice in a row. Last one was a bigger loss than last night though.

All right. This morning, dozens of people rescued from dangling cable cars 12,000 feet above the ground. ROMANS: Can you say fear of heights?

BERMAN: Yes, this one is just unbelievable. Glad they are getting out of there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:23:21] BERMAN: The final 33 people trapped in cable cars in the French Alps have now been rescued. At least three of these people were children who got stuck with their families. All of them received medical checks for signs of hypothermia. Look at the pictures. The pictures give me the heebie-jeebies. The cable car got stuck in high winds 12,000 feet up. Most of the folks are rescued by Italian and French helicopters.

ROMANS: OK. That is fear of heights. That is fear of being enclosed in small. That's fear of being enclosed with a bunch of people you don't know.

BERMAN: That's my fear.

ROMANS: That is a lot of fears wrapped up in one big rescue. We're glad everybody is OK.

BERMAN: What if you don't like them.

ROMANS: That is my -- sorry. Trapped on a TV set.

A secret raid to rescue hostages in eastern Afghanistan ended in failure in last month. U.S. Navy SEALs parachuted in, stormed the compound only to find the hostages were not there. SEAL Team 6 sent to save one American and one Australian kidnapped last month at gunpoint from American University in Kabul. During the raid, seven enemy fighters were killed in a firefight. No Americans were injured.

BERMAN: A new picture perfect launch for NASA at Cape Canaveral last night. The spacecraft OSIRIS-REx embarked on a seven-year journey to chase down a potentially dangerous asteroid. It will grab a robot arm to grab the as a sample of the asteroid --

ROMANS: Whoa!

BERMAN: -- and return it back to earth. Yes, this is no easy task here.

Now, this asteroid, scientists say, there are some concern it could hit earth in 2135, which I'll be wrapping up my career here at CNN right around them.

[04:25:05] The probe arrives in about two years.

ROMANS: And still paying for your kids' college.

BERMAN: A third of the way through my kids' college tuition at that point.

ROMANS: I don't mean to make light of it, but that is crazy. Literally rocket science.

All right. Stifling heat in the east. Temperatures 20 degrees above normal. New York and Boston expected to shatter records.

Let's get the latest from meteorologist Derek Van Dam.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, John and Christine. Keep the air conditioning tuned up at least for another few more days across the Northeast. We have the potential for more record-breaking temperatures.

Take a look at this, we should be 79 degrees this time of year in the Big Apple. We'll top 92 today. More of the same for Philadelphia, Atlantic City and Washington, D.C. In fact, up to 8 major locations along the New England coast has the potential of seeing record- breaking territory today.

We have heat advisory still in effect for Philadelphia. Take care heading outside. Here is our relief. We do have a cold front and another one lining up behind it that will provide some relief at least across the New England coastline. We remain hot and humid for the Deep South. Go figure.

Here is a look at some of the thunderstorm activity we are anticipating across the Midwest today. Look out Omaha, Kansas City, to Springfield, we have a potential for damaging winds and hail.

Here's a cold front as promised. You see how that cools temperatures down and bring with it a chance of rain.

Back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

BERMAN: All right. New this morning, North Korea appears to setoff its largest nuclear test yet. Now, there is growing fear about what seems to be a quickening pace inside that nuclear program. What it could mean for the region and the U.S. We'll tell you the U.S. response as well. That's next.

(COMERCIAL BREAK)