Return to Transcripts main page


Actor Gene Wilder dead at age 83; African-American surrogate for Donald Trump tweeted out an image of Hillary Clinton wearing blackface; Turkey ratcheting up its fight against ISIS and Syria, but its position in the war is now complicated U.S. involvement. Aired 5:00-5:30a ET

Aired August 30, 2016 - 05:00   ET


[05:00:07] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Lewd photos behind this split. We're going to talk about what it means right now in the presidential campaign.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Comedic Master Gene Wilder dead at age 83. We pay tribute to his incredible life.


GENE WILDER, COMEDIAN: Anything you want to do it want to change the world, there's nothing to it


KOSIK: One of the great films he was in. Just one of many. Good morning. Welcome to "Early Start." I'm Alison Kosik.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. It is Tuesday August 30th. It is 5:00 a.m. in the east. And this morning the Trump campaign in entangled at a new racial controversy. This is days before Donald Trump is set to address black voters in Detroit.

An African-American surrogate for Donald Trump tweeted out this image of Hillary Clinton wearing blackface saying she is pandering to black voters. At the same time former KU KLUX KLAN leader and current Louisiana Senate candidate David Duke is noting his support for Trump, which Trump is now disavowing. Hillary Clinton expressed concern over Duke trying to link himself to Trump he said "Nobody knows how well he Duke is doing and how his embrace of Trump and Trump accepting of him could put that man, that despicable man", she mean Duke "In the Senate of the United States."

CNN Jim Acosta now with the latest from Washington.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: John and Alison the nasty election battle between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is taking more ugly turns. First the Trump campaign released a statement condemning a robocall from white supremacist and Senate candidate David Duke to encourage his supporters to vote for the GOP nominee. Then late yesterday one of Trump top African-American surrogate Pastor Mark Burns apologized for a tweet he posted showing Hillary Clinton in blackface. Here's a video message from the pastor about that posting. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PASTOR MARK BURNS, THE HARVEST PRAISE & WORSHIP CENTER: I really am a shepherd to god's people. And the last thing I want to do is offend people. The tweet was not designed to anger our stir up the pot like it did. It was designed to bring how I feel a very real reality as to why the Democratic Party and how I view it and have interpreted it. Happen pandering and using black people just for their votes.


ACOSTA: All of these come as Trump is struggling to clarify his position on another hot button subject immigration. Trump is scheduled to deliver a major speech on immigration in Phoenix on Wednesday night. A top adviser for the GOP nominee says Trump is standing firm on his position for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, but added a decision on what to do about the millions of law-abiding undocumented immigrants in the country could come years later. John and Alison.

KOSIK: OK Jim, thank you. Hillary Clinton facing a brand new controversy as well this morning. Longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin announcing she and her husband former congress member Anthony Weiner are separating. Following new reporting by the New York post that Weiner was sexting with a woman who also happens to be a Trump supporter.

This is five years after Weiner blew up his political career by accidentally tweeting a snapshot crotch. Trump using the new scandal to attack Clinton calling it an example of her bad judgment. Trump said in a statement that Weiner's marriage put him in close proximity to highly classified information and that Clinton was careless and negligent in allowing that to happen.

BERMAN: All right, let us bring in CNN Political Analyst Josh Rogin who's also a columnist for the Washington post and discuss this, Josh Rogin.


KOSIK: Good morning.

BERMAN: You are Mr. Security and Donald Trump is now tieing national security to Anthony Weiner's sexts. So let me read you a little bit more about that statement. "Hillary Clinton was careless and negligent in allowing Weiner to have such close proximity to highly classified information. Who know what he learned and who he told? It's just another example of Hillary Clinton's bad judgment. It is possible that our country and it is security have been greatly compromised by this." Are your security sources telling you their concerned about Anthony Weiner's sexts?

ROGIN: There is literal no logical way to tie Hillary Clinton's e-mail scandal to Anthony Weiner's adulterous behavior. Just doesn't make any sense OK. If you're going to say that first all that people who betray their spouses, can handle classified information. You know, half of the Congress would be losing their security clearance as we speak. And by the way, you know, Anthony Weiner didn't have access to any of this and it really is just sort of a ham-handed way to tie two things together that have nothing to do with each other at all.

[05:05:04] KOSIK: OK, as if this campaign season can't get any more ugly, if that's possible, you've one of these Trump surrogates tweeting this picture of Hillary Clinton in blackface. And then you've got this robocall from KKK member David Duke. I want you to listen to this and let's talk about, you know, how the campaign is going. Listen to this.


DAVID DUKE, U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE, FORMER KKK LEADER: Unless massive immigration is stopped now, we'll be outnumbered and outvoted in our own nation. It is happening. It is time to stand up and vote for Donald Trump for president and vote for me, David Duke, for U.S. Senate.


KOSIK: OK, so the Trump campaign condemning the support from the KKK. You've got once again this tweet coming out showing Hillary Clinton in blackface. I mean if they're reporting for voters take a look at this, you know, these barbs going back and forth and just say I had enough. I'm tuning out?

ROGIN: Yeah, I think there's a big risk of that. I talked into Clinton campaign staffers last week about this a lot. They made this decision to sort of confront Donald Trump on the race issue knowing that there was a risk of just this happening. That it would just become sort of a race to the bottom. Both sides could start calling each other racists and voters wouldn't be able to do know what to do with it and how to separate it out. You know but there is not real equivalent here, right?

You have one candidate who's been repeatedly sort of making these racially charged, controversial remarks for about a year. That's Donald Trump. And then you have the Clinton campaign sort of taking those remarks, putting them together into ads and into speeches and pointing them back at Donald Trump. And what it does is it sort of gives a forum for anyone in this community and by this community, I mean this sort of outright, white nationalism, racist, community to sort of have a platform to speak.

And that's a down side risk of highlighting this issue. But that's a risk the Clinton people took knowingly.

BERMAN: We shouldn't say, Josh, that the Trump campaign this time disavowed the robocall quickly by their standard here or the statement is Mr. Trump is continuing to denounce David Duke in any group or individual associated with a message of hate. There is no place in the Republican Party or our country. We have no knowledge of the calls or any related activities, but strongly condemn and disavow.

ROGIN: Yeah, I mean ....

BERMAN: Go ahead.

ROGIN: Yeah, I know I think that's fine. And that's what they should do. But you have to short put that into context of how they've reacted to the race issue over the course of the last several months. We're talking about tweeting things that were found on racist web sites, accusing judges of not being able to adjudicate cases because of their race. You know, tweeting out after David Wade's (ph) cousin got murdered that this would benefit the Trump campaign. So you can put it, the disavowing is great. They should do that.

But when you put it into sort of context of what the Trump campaign has been doing and saying about race, it's easy to sort of understand when you look at the latest Pew Research poll. 85 to 2 black registered voters are favoring Hillary Clinton. That's pretty start. That should tell everybody everything they need to know about how Donald Trump's outreach to African-Americans is really going.

KOSIK: But both of these candidates have hugely unfavorable marks on both sides of the aisle. You know, you look at them. It is kind of like a race to the bottom in it. You know, how do voters feel when they see these candidates, you know, saying "Well, I want the black vote more. Well, I want the black vote more." I mean, voters see through what's going on here, don't they?

ROGIN: They do. It's really. It's turning off voters from all across the political spectrum. I mean, that's part partial what's going on in this entire race. You know, it's not just on the African-American or Hispanic issue. Voters are really, you know, getting fed up with the level of vitriol and sheer sort of negative nature of both campaigns. That's totally true. But at the same time, again, we can't really draw an equivalent here. Like one campaign has been making racially charge comments for year and what campaign has been calling out those racially charge comments.

And both can accuse the other or racism. But again if you just look at polls and you loot the people who are the target of these attacks. They're not saying that oh attacks on both of your houses they're saying no. Donald Trump has been doing controversial things and saying controversial things about race for a long time. And the voters will ultimately respond to that.

BERMAN: All right, Josh we will talk to you again in a few minutes. Thanks so much for being with us this morning.

ROGIN: Sure.

KOSIK: And Hillary Clinton is set to have her biggest fundraising month in august. She is headlined 31 events so far pulling in $58 million. That's according to a CNN politics analysis of ticket prices. Clinton raising a total of $90 million just in July. That's her biggest haul to date. August total just surpass that. Her running mate Tim Kaine is also sweeping across the U.S. and racing making money. The campaign is making this push now.

So then he can focus on debate prep over the next two months. All of Clinton and Kaine's events are benefitting to Hillary victory fund and that's a joint fundraising account and it allow the Democratic ticket to raise money for the Clinton campaign, Democratic National committee and Democratic state party all of the same time.

[05:10:09] Now these agreements, they do allow Clinton's donors to give more than $500,000 to various democratic funds. But the question is, is that all money working when they're pushing into those ads?

BERMAN: We don't know the impact of the ads. It will be interesting to see over the coming months.

All right, Gene Wilder has passed away at the age of 83. We're going to look back at this truly unique career. One-of-a-kind on screen. That's next.



GENE: We'll begin with a spin. Traveling in the world of my creation. What we'll will defy explanation.


[05:15:13] KOSIK: He was so good in that movie. The great Gene Wilder in one of his most memorable roles as a eccentric chocolatier and "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory." Hollywood today mourning the loss of the legendary comic actor who is also a accomplish screen writer and author. He died on Monday at the age of 83, suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Wilder frequently collaborated with comedian Richard Pryor "Stir Crazy". One of my favorites but it was, it was his work with director Mel Brooks that was one of the great comedy partnerships of the last 50 years. And it began with Brooks casting Wilder as Leo Bloom in "The Producers."


WILDER: I'm hysterical. I'm having hysterics. I'm hysterical. I can't stop when I get like this. I can't stop. I'm hysterical. I'm wet. I'm wet. I'm hysterical and I'm wet. I'm in pain. And I'm wet. And I'm still hysterical.


KOSIK: He was really so funny. And fast forward to 1974 and Wilder in the role of the Waco Kid in the called classic "Blazing Saddles." in the same year, their final collaboration with wilder co-wrote with Brooks. Now Oscar nominated Young Frankenstein."


WILDER: If you're blue and you don't know where to go to, why don't you go, where fashion sits?


KOSIK: And he was so sweet. Mel Brooks tweeted a final salute to his longtime friend calling him one of the truly great talents of our time who blessed every film they did with his magic.


WILDER: Dr. Frankenstein.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Frankenstein, you must be Egor.

WILDER: No, it is pronounced Igor.


KOSIK: I've loved that. Gene Wilder is survived by wife of 25 years caring and by comedy greatness, that we will continue to watch and enjoy.

BERMAN: A mark of his genius is that you cannot imagine anyone else playing the roles that Gene Wilder played.

KOSIK: And there were so many.

BERMAN: So many, he rose like know of it. All right, tropical weather systems growing trouble in the Atlantic and Pacific. Let's get to Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri with the latest.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI AMS METEOROLOGIST: Alison and John, good morning to you both. Still watching a lot of activity across the tropical world. Gaston, one of the storms that will eventually begin to push away from the United States. Not a threat. But it is tropical depressions 8 and 9 that'll our forecast to become Hermine and Ian over the next several hours. And we think with this initials storm it will actually skirt the Carolina coastline the outer banks of Carolina is mainly going to have some storm surge threat and coastal erosion certainly possible than heavy rainfall there.

But it is tropical depression 9 that is really going to work between of the gulf of Mexico and eventually pull it's way toward the north and up to the east there across the big bend of Florida. Thursday afternoon and Thursday night, that's the time period we're looking for this to become tropical storm Hermine or Ian. Basically the battle between the storm and the one off the Carolina's as far the naming goes. But notice the rainfall going to be the big story with that storm system.

And look at this storm set up here across parts of the pacific. We have Lester and Madeline. Category three, category four respectively aimed directly at the Hawaiian Island. The good news with both of these storms is one their going to skirt the islands one of the south, one to the north. Two they're going to drop from trees and forest at cat one when they make their landfall Thursday and Friday respectively. Guys.

KOSIK: All right Pedram, thank you.

[02:18:35] Turkey ratcheting up its fight against ISIS and Syria, but its position in the war is now complicated U.S. involvement. We'll break it all down next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KOSIK: President Obama this week set to discuss the fight against ISIS when he meets with Turkish leader Recep Erdogan on the sidelines of the G20 meetings in China. The meeting comes as the U.S. is trying to cool the battle between Turkey and another U.S. ally in the war on ISIS. Syrian Kurdish troops whom the Kurds view as terrorists.

Joining us with the latest from Turkey, Senior International correspondent Nick Paton Walsh. You know, Nick at if this situation can get more complicated. And now there seems to be an impact. You've got the U.S. telling Turkey to stop attacking the Syrian Kurds and you got Turkey saying look, you can't tell us who we can and can't fight.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, also to the Americans telling the Syrian Kurds that they have pulled back across a natural boundary in northern Syria. The Euphrates River. Now that is being Washington's redline to those Syrian Kurds who they have been fully supporting in their fight against ISIS.

Now, for well over a year. They have been very effective force on the ground. But everybody always knew eventually their support would run up against more further than Turkish opposition. Because as the Syrian Kurds have cleared ISIS out of areas, they've been creating their own sort of mini state as it were in northern Syria on the southern Turkish border. And as you said Turkey views them as terrorists. Well, use to say more allies to terrorist. Now it's quite clear they view the Syrian Kurds as a fully blown terrorist organization.

They've been in clashes since Turkey into being across the boarder about six days ago. Now to take the town of Jarablus away from ISIS. Now we are in this rather dangerous position where we have the Americans asking the Turkish not to keep pushing south. That the Turkish along with the Syrian rebels are doing much to ground fighting for them. It was Sunni Arabs and we have the Syrian Kurds being asked by the Americans to move east back across the Euphrates. That hasn't happened.

We've heard from Kurdish mission side key town of man (ph) bridge which the American supported the Kurds putting ISIS on the top, and provided the Kurds would leave later on.

[05:25:07] We've heard from Kurdish militia ambit that they're basically still there that they're fighting ISIS at this stage. Effectively telling the Turkish we haven't moved where we are from. We're fighting ISIS. What are you doing? So, now we have these two American allies facing off and all this does is distracts from the fight against ISIS. Alison?

KOSIK: All right. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh, thank very much.

BERMAN: All right, racism. Right smack in the middle of the 2016 presidential race. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump slamming each other with new attacks. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BERMAN: Hard hitting attacks on the campaign trail. Hillary Clinton going after Donald Trump. Trump going after Clinton after supporters of Trump make some pretty controversial comments.

[05:30:03] KOSIK: Anthony Weiner's newest sexting scandal, the sordid photos that ended his marriage and are now causing a really big headache for the Clinton campaign.

BERMAN: And beloved actor Gene Wilder passing away at the ...