Return to Transcripts main page


Did Trump Flip-Flop on Deportations?; Clinton Hits Trump Hard over Alt Right; Ryan Lochte to be Charged in Brazil. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired August 26, 2016 - 05:00   ET


[05:00:00] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, can you identify Donald Trump's immigration plan? Can he? An exclusive interview with CNN that turns everything he has been saying for the last week upside down again.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hillary Clinton hitting Donald Trump hard. This is after or during the fact that Donald Trump is calling her a bigot. Explosive charges on race being hurled back and forth.

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

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is Friday -- I'll say it one more time, it's Friday, August 26. It is 5:00 a.m. in the east.

And overnight everything changed when it comes to Donald Trump's immigration plan -- or changed back or didn't. At this point, frankly, it's difficult to tell. But it all played out in an exclusive interview with CNN.

The question is this morning, does Donald Trump still believe that all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, all of them need to go, by force if necessary? Until last week he said yes. Then he seemed to say no. Some could stay.

Remember, he said we will work with them. A softening, they called it. But now in an exclusive interview with Anderson Cooper, Trump is back to saying undocumented immigrants will have no path to legal status unless they leave first.

CNN's Jason Carroll breaking it all down for us this morning.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine, John, the Trump campaign trying to sort their way through a muddled message on immigration. The Trump campaign has been very specific saying that Trump has been very consistent when it comes to his point of view. Saying that he has always said no path to citizenship. No amnesty.

But what is clear is that the message is unclear. And the only one who can clear it up is Donald Trump. Listen to how he tried to clear up the message last night with Anderson Cooper.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: So if they haven't committed a crime, is there going to be a path to legalization? I'm talking about citizenship.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The first thing we're going to do -- no, there is not a path -- there is no path to legalization. Unless people leave the country. Well, when they come back in, if they come back in, then they can start paying taxes. But there is no path to legalization unless they leave the country and come back.


CARROLL: So that is what he told CNN's Anderson Cooper. But he has also made other conflicting statements in other interviews on the subject of immigration.


TRUMP: They will pay back taxes. They have to pay taxes. There is no amnesty as such. There is no amnesty. But we work with them. Now, OK, but when I look at the rooms and I have this all over, now everybody agrees we get the bad ones out.

But when I go through and I meet thousands and thousands of people on this subject, and I have very strong people come up to me. Really great, great people come up to me and they've said, Mr. Trump, I love you, but to take a person that has been here for 15 or 20 years and throw them and the family out, it is so tough, Mr. Trump.

I mean, I have it all the time. It's a very, very hard thing.

You are going to have to send people out.

I would get people out and I would have an expedited way of getting them back into the country so they can be legal.

They have to go out.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: But how do you do it in a practical way? You really think you can...


TRUMP: They have got to leave.

You are going to have a deportation force.


CARROLL: I have spoken to a number of Trump supporters who tell me that if Donald Trump in any way "softens" his position on immigration, Trump will is going to end up losing their votes.

One supporter in particular told me that one of the reasons why he likes Donald Trump so much is because he is plain spoken. And clearly this is a subject where he has not been as clear as he needs to be.

Once again, the only one who can ultimately clear this up is Donald Trump. The campaign hoping that he will finally be able to do that when he delivers his policy speech on immigration next Wednesday in Phoenix -- Christine, John.

BERMAN: All right. That's the immigration discussion. We will get back to that in a second. While that is going on, there is also this battle over bigotry. Hillary Clinton launched scorching attack at Donald Trump, this is a rally in Nevada.

She accused Donald Trump essentially of racism, argued that he has handed the Republican Party over to hate groups and the alt-right political movement.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now, of course, there has always been a paranoid fringe in our politics. A lot of it arising from racial resentment. But it has never had the nominee of a major party stoking it, encouraging it, and giving it a national megaphone until now.


BERMAN: So trump is responding basically by saying, I know you are, but what am I. He told Anderson Cooper it is Hillary Clinton who is the bigot. Listen.


COOPER: You called last night Hillary Clinton a bigot. Previously you called her policies bigoted. You've directly her a bigot.

TRUMP: Well, she is a bigot, because you look at what is happening to the inner cities, you look at what is happening to African-Americans and Hispanics in this country where she talks all the time. She is talking. Look at the vets where she said the vets are being treated essentially just fine, that it's over-exaggerated, what's happening to the vets not so long ago.

COOPER: But how is she bigoted? Bigoted is having hate towards a particular group.

TRUMP: Because she is selling them down the tubes. Because she is not doing anything for those communities. She talks a good game, but she doesn't do anything.

COOPER: So she has hatred or...

TRUMP: Her policies are bigoted. Her policies are bigot because she knows they are not going to work.

COOPER: You are saying she is personally bigoted.

TRUMP: Well, she is, of course she is. Her policies, they're her policies. She comes out with the policies and others that believe like she does also. But she came out with policies over the years. This is over the years. Long time. She is totally bigoted. There's no question about that.

Look at what...

COOPER: It does imply that she doesn't -- she has antipathy, she has hatred toward, in this case, I guess we're talking about African- Americans.


TRUMP: I think she has been extremely, extremely bad for African- Americans. I think she has been extremely bad for Hispanics. You look at what has happened with her policies and policies of President Obama and others. Look at the poverty. Look at the rise in poverty. Look at the rise in violence.

COOPER: But hatred is at the core of that or dislike of African- Americans?

TRUMP: Or maybe she is lazy.


ROMANS: All right. There is so much to break down this morning. Combat on the campaign trail, quite frankly. CNN politics reporter Tal Kopan live for us this morning in Washington.

And I want to get back to sort of this race fight in a minute, this bigotry fight in a minute. But I want to start with immigration here. Because Anderson's interview I think with Donald Trump was so interesting last night on this immigration issue.

Trying to figure out what does Donald Trump really believes about deporting 11 million people. What is his immigration -- is it softening or hardening here? Let's just listen to what he said about legal status for a moment.


TRUMP: There is no path to legalization unless they leave the country and come back. There's no legalization. There's no amnesty. And if somebody wants to go the legalization route, what they'll do is they'll go, leave the country, hopefully come back in, and then we can talk.


ROMANS: You know, Tal, all of us who have covered immigration, there is a lot of nuance and there's a lot of policy that can -- around it. But there are pillars of it. You know, there are just major pillars of the discussion of immigration reform in the immigration debate. And Donald Trump is shifting on those almost daily now.

TAL KOPAN, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Yes, absolutely. You know, Jason said it really well. The only thing that is clear is that it is unclear. And, you know, I don't think anyone can answer at this point what Donald Trump's immigration policy is except for the wall. And that is what he keeps going back to as well is, you know, the wall he is going to build. And, you know, I almost want to start with Ted Cruz, because I'm not

sure there's anyone in America who is angrier about this. Remember that Donald Trump largely won the primary by going to the right of Ted Cruz on immigration.

Ted Cruz had already staked out that ground and Donald Trump was harder line than that. He was asked many times during the primary whether he would soften. And he was -- you know, expressed by Jeb Bush, expressed by Marco Rubio this concern that when you get to a general election, that hard line policy will not fly with the electorate.

And lo and behold, here we are in a general election, and Donald Trump is trying to have it both ways. He wants to keep that very hard line immigration stance that attracted a base of supporters who follow him very strongly, but he also has realized that this is not a general election position that is tenable.

And so that is why you see him sort of going back and forth. He can't figure out where he wants to stand on this issue.

BERMAN: Let's just be clear, though, where he is right now, because where he is right now with the latest interview he gave, and it was with us, with Anderson last night. And now he says that they all have to go, 11 million undocumented immigrants, they have to go. They have to leave the country before there is any legal status.

That is a big bright line. That is where he was a week ago that he wasn't. Now he is again. And I just can't say this enough. The back and forth on a big bright line issue to me is staggering.

KOPAN: Yes. Absolutely. And you know, he is still trying to wiggle even within that. You're right. He has said that if they want to be legalized, they would have to leave and come back. Implying they would all have to leave.

But he was also saying things to Anderson like, we'll see. You know, get the bad ones out is what he says is going to be his first action a president. We don't really know what that means.

But he is still sort of waffling on what comes next. OK, if you get the bad ones out, as you say, what happens next? And it seems to be, you know, he stopped mentioning back taxes in this interview with Anderson, which he had been talking about in the past few days.

But it is still not clear exactly what the mechanism is. And he isn't answering directly these questions anymore about a deportation force which he very explicitly supported much earlier in the primary.

ROMANS: Well, and we will see. Maybe next week we're going to get -- they're going to shape this. And we're going to get some -- but I mean, is he talking about a touch-back, is he talking about people not leaving and if they don't leave, they stay with some sort of non- immigrant visa?

You know, what is the policy? We just don't know what it is. Let's talk about Hillary Clinton here though. Yesterday really giving this hard speech about Donald Trump, tying him -- tying his policies to racism and a racist fringe. Listen to her talk about the alt-right movement.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: These are racist ideas, race-baiting ideas, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, anti-women, all key tenets making up the emerging racist ideology known as the alt-right.

So the de facto merge between Breitbart and the Trump campaign represents a landmark achievement for this group. A fringe element that has effectively taken over the Republican Party. And this is part of a broader story, the rising tide of hard line right-wing nationalism around the world.


ROMANS: And then, John Berman who sort of jokingly said, I know you are, but what am I, is what Donald Trump said, or you're rubber and I'm glue.


BERMAN: I know you are but what am I? Let's be clear.


ROMANS: But Donald Trump, he said, no, no, no. Her policies make her the bigot. In fact, she is a bigot. And that was the conversation.

The other big story line yesterday, remarkable.

KOPAN: Yes, and keep in mind, as much as we are talking about the sort of external edges of an ideological movement or, you know, as Donald Trump addresses African-Americans and Hispanics directly, that's not who we're talking about here. This is a game, a play for the sort of moderate Republican, maybe a conservative liberal that sort of occupies the middle ground maybe slightly undecided.

And what Hillary Clinton is trying to do is paint Donald Trump as so extreme and so out of step with that middle ground and so scary that those sort of moderate conservatives maybe just stay home, maybe vote for her, but just can't sort of stomach the idea of Donald Trump. That's her game.

And Donald Trump, by trying to make the pitch to minority voters, may not actually expect any minority voters to go for him, his numbers are abysmal with them. And that bridge may sort of be burned.

But he is trying to convince that moderate group in the middle that he is not this racist that he has been portrayed by the left. And so this is really a game about those undecided voters, those people who might be squeamish in the middle as much as the rhetoric is about these other groups. BERMAN: And we say undecided voters, it seems that it is a play for,

perhaps as you put it, moderate Republicans. It is not so much in the middle as it is perhaps to the right or center right. People who may not be comfortable with Donald Trump. And that's what fascinates me so much about it.

We have a lot more time to talk about this coming up in the next half hour. Thanks so much, Tal.

ROMANS: Nice to see you this morning. Thanks for getting up early for us.

Wall Street and global markets waiting today on the words of one woman, Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen, speaking this morning at the economic symposium in Wyoming. It's a confab of central bankers.

Investors will parse every single word for clues of when to expect the next rate hike. In recent weeks other Fed members have talked about interest rate hikes sooner rather than later. They are citing a strong job market, rosy economic signals, specifically the housing market.

And while experts say Yellen is unlikely to indicate a rate hike next month, it probably will happen this year. A recent survey of financial experts from Citigroup found 85 percent expect higher interest rates this year.

The Fed has left rates steady this year after boosting them last December for the first time in nearly a decade. And U.S. stocks fell in anticipation of Yellen's remarks. Global markets are mostly lower this morning. Right now futures are flat.

I mean, I can't say enough, I mean trillions of dollars this morning are hanging on what she says about the American economy.

BERMAN: But it's mostly priced in at this point, they think that they will go up at some point?

ROMANS: I think they are pricing it in. And that is what's so interesting. I mean, maybe if she talks about a very robust U.S. economy and indicates more than one small Fed increase, that would be bad.

BERMAN: That's right. If she says things are great, that's awful.

ROMANS: Good news is bad news, and sometimes bad news is good news.

BERMAN: Got to love the economy.

All right, 12 minutes after the hour. The death toll rising more in Italy right now, 267 people dead. Look at these remarkable pictures of the devastation. And now overnight, aftershocks getting in the way of the rescue efforts. We'll have the latest in a live report next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROMANS: Welcome back. This morning, aftershocks are hampering search

efforts in following that devastating earthquake in the mountains of central Italy this week. At least 267 people have died now. Emergency crews racing against the clock. They're trying to find survivors in the rubble. A state of emergency is now in effect in all of the areas affected by the quake. And the first funerals for victims are being held today.

We bring in CNN contributor Barbie Nadeau, she's live in Saletta, Italy.

And, Barbie, you know, last hour you were telling us you were stilling these aftershocks, and it's frightening, of course, for survivors, but also it stops the search and rescue when you've got the ground shaking.

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That is absolutely right. And you know tomorrow is a national day of mourning held in conjunction with the first funerals. Forty-nine people will be buried that died under rubble like this in an area where there will aftershocks.

And that's just something that all of the people of this community who will attend each of these groupings of funerals are going to have to deal with. It is just a tragedy upon tragedy.

The rescue teams are still hoping they can find someone alive at this late hour. They say they have reason to believe someone could be -- could still be if they are in a pocket of some sort of air, a protected pocket, that they would be able to be alive at this point. And they are working meticulously to try to save anyone who just might be.

But the area is just vast around here where you see pile after pile of rubble just like this. Houses that have been just completely reduced to nothing. And you see, you know, the dogs walking around looking for owners who, you know, probably are not around anymore.

You have got just every bit of normal life that goes on in nature being compromised. But what has happened here, you know, manmade elements that have just turned to rubble like this.

ROMANS: All right. Barbie, thank you so much for that. Just a sad situation. We wish them well as they try to find more survivors in these last hours.

BERMAN: And again, these aftershocks, just can't over -- you know, it is so terrifying in the days after an earthquake like this. Particularly during the recovery efforts when you feel that shaking once again.

All right. Ryan Lochte charged in brazil. The Olympic medalist now being summoned back to Rio. Will he actually go? Coy Wire with this morning's Bleacher Report, that's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BERMAN: Ryan Lochte now faces charges in Brazil over his claim that

he was robbed during the Rio Olympics. But the Olympic gold medalist, he may never see the inside of the courtroom.

ROMANS: Coy Wire has more in this morning's Bleacher Report.

Hey, Coy.

COY WIRE, BLEACHER REPORT: Hi, Christine and John.

Ryan Lochte charged by police in Brazil with falsely reporting a crime. He now will be summoned to Brazil, according to officials in Rio, to answer questions about that gas station incident.

But Lochte does not have to be present. A lawyer can represent him. And instead, and if convicted, he could face between one to six months in jail or the judge could order him to pay a fine, instead.

You think that would be the case. Remember, Lochte's teammate Jimmy Feigen was ordered to pay almost 11 grand to a charity there in Rio just to get his passport back and returned to the States.

Lochte's attorney told CNN Sports that he has not heard from anyone in Brazil. But listen to this, Lochte, a 12-time Olympic medalist, just picked up a new endorsement deal. Pine Brothers throat drops will have Lochte appear in commercial and print ads for their company.

Football is in the air. Oh, I'm excited. Former NFL star Marshawn Lynch is living the life too. Right now he's in Sydney, Australia, to watch his alma mater Cal kickoff the college football season against Hawaii there.

He had some time on his hands before tonight's kickoff. So he brought Beast Mode to the South Sydney Rabbitohs in Australian's National Rugby League.

And since he's all about that action, boss, he couldn't help but tackle a local reporter. So this just in, I will never be at an event for which Marshawn Lynch will be present to report upon.

And here's your knowledge bomb of the day, Christine and John, the South Sydney Rabbitohs are co-owned by Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe. Are you not entertained?

ROMANS: I'm entertained, I'm entertained.

BERMAN: I get that. I got that. I got that, Coy. Coy is a big "Gladiator" fan, that was awesome, many points to you.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks, Coy.

Donald Trump telling CNN he is not softening his position on immigration after telling FOX that he is just yesterday.

Oh, boy. We will break it all down next.