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Trump to Meet with Mexican President; ISIS Says Top Leader Killed in Airstrike in Syria; Vets Show Support for Kaepernick. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired August 31, 2016 - 05:00   ET


GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Heading south of the border, in a surprise meeting with Mexico's president, only hours before his highly anticipated speech on immigration.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The public face of ISIS killed in Syria. How this high profile terrorist was struck down and the significant blow his death is dealing to ISIS.

[05:00:06] Good morning, everyone. I'm Christine Romans. It's EARLY START.

HOWELL: It is indeed.

I'm George Howell. It's Wednesday, August 31st. 5:00 a.m. on the East.

And breaking overnight -- Donald Trump announcing that he will meet today with the president of Mexico. That meeting set to happen just hours before Trump delivers a hotly anticipated speech, laying out the details of his immigration policy. A sit-down between Trump and the Mexican president is surprising to say the least repeated vows to build a wall along the Mexican border and to make Mexico pay for that wall.

Last month, that nation's president, Enrique Pena Nieto, told CNN, there is no chance that Mexico will pay for it.


ENRIQUE PENA NIETO, PRESIDENT OF THE MEXICO: There is a way to have Mexico pay that wall. But any decisions inside United States is a decision of its government.

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: But under no circumstances would Mexico pay for that wall?

PENA NIETO: There is no way that Mexico can pay for a wall like that.


HOWELL: Trump has also drawn fierce attacks in Mexico in the Hispanic community for his sometimes heated rhetoric against illegal immigration.

CNN's Phil Mattingly is traveling with the Trump campaign and has the very latest for us.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, George and Christine.

We knew there was going to be an important speech, an important moment in Donald Trump's campaign on Wednesday, we just didn't know it would involve a visit to Mexico. Now, Donald Trump's immigration speech scheduled for Wednesday in Arizona is still on. What was unexpected was his visit to Mexico to meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. The president's office saying they extended invitations both with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and the meeting will be private.

Donald Trump also has that speech as well, where we have all been waiting for the specific details of that immigration policy in Everett, Washington, on Tuesday night, he mentioned the stakes for that speech.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: There is no better evidence of the fact that Hillary Clinton's immigration policy which brings in illegal immigrants and ref -- well, is that a true statement -- it brings illegal immigrants and refugees to take jobs from our hardworking African-American and Hispanic citizens, and they want those jobs.


Instead of providing free health care and jobs to millions of refugees from around the world that we have no idea even where they come from, we should rebuild our inner cities and provide jobs to struggling Americans that have been struggling for years and years.

MATTINGLY: Now, there are still a lot of logistical issues to figure out for Donald Trump's trip. No question about it. The Secret Service being pushed hard to figure this out in just a short period of time. And I'm told inside of Trump's team, there's concern about this idea. A lot of unknown variables when you're meeting with a world leader.

But that said, those supporting this idea, including Donald Trump, making very clear, this is the type of moment, a big bold moment, a big bold statement that they believe should help him show that he is ready to operate at the highest points of the world stage -- certainly an unexpected twists, though -- guys.


ROMANS: A little Puccini behind him. Very well done blasting in his ears. Phil, thank you.

Let's break down Trump's very big day, CNN politics digital managing editor Zach Wolf live in Washington for us this morning. And, Zach, here's what I just I can't really get my behind around

about this meeting. Donald Trump has insulted Mexico and Mexicans for the past year, right? He has very clearly said there will be a wall. Mexico will pay for it.

We're getting rid of everyone. There will be a deportation force. They're winning, killing us, stealing our jobs. We're going to -- I'm going to tax exports from the Mexico if there are jobs that should have been here in the U.S. in the first place.

He's said all of these things. Now, he's going to sit down this morning, talk to the Mexican president, give a big speech tonight. It just feels like there's a big risk for him here. Is he going to change his position from what we heard from the Mexican president or is he just further sort of inflame the rhetoric between the two? It seems like it's a risk for him politically?

ZACHARY WOLF, CNN POLITICS DIGITAL MANAGING EDITOR: I don't know if he'll change his position based on what happens with the Mexican president. It would be a stunning turnaround, I think.

ROMANS: Right.

WOLF: But, you know, a stunning meeting, nonetheless. This extraordinary kind of turn of events where suddenly he's flying down there.

And, you know, I think you're right, there is a risk for him. But at the same time, it will make him seem, you know, more statesman-like, regardless of I think of what happens. He's meeting with this world leader who he has a very real difference with, who has said say he will pay for Trump's wall.

I guess if you're president, you're going to have to be talking with Mexico's president about who is going to pay for the wall, assuming Donald Trump wins, which is a big assumption.

[05:05:00] You know, this is -- it's something that that kind of elevate him and make him seem more presidential, I suppose. I'm not sure exactly what the optics are going to be. That will be very interesting.

Are they going to appear together? Are there going to be pictures of them waving to people? That will be really interesting.

HOWELL: You know, so the meeting is set to be private. It will certainly put Donald Trump's immigration policy front and center. And, Zach, it is a policy that seems to shift and change day to day. You know, what will that mean? When we hear Donald Trump's speech on immigration, will it put more pressure on the details what he has to say?

WOLF: Well, this speech is supposed to give us some of those details. In recent weeks, he's been sort of back and forth on this idea of a deportation force. On whether or not he's going to soften essentially what to do with the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants who are in the country. Perhaps his meeting today could inform that.

But we're supposed to get some clarity. We don't necessarily -- I think his son Donald Trump Jr. Said yesterday, we may not get clarity on all aspects at least some of them. The only constant has been the wall. That's the one thing he's stuck with start to fish.

ROMANS: Even though there are plenty already parts of the border that have walls, you know, there are parts of the border that physically can't have a wall. People tunnel under walls. They go over the walls. Donald Trump said he would have anti-tunnel technology.

Let's listen to what Donald Trump Jr. said to Anderson last night about whether or not his said is softening on some of his positions on immigration.


DONALD TRUMP, JR., DONALD TRUMP'S SON: He wasn't softening on anything. He didn't change stance on anything. What he did was all along, he's speaking with the people. He's not lecturing like most of the politicians. He basically surveyed the room and asked, hey, what are your thoughts? I want to take that, because I want to take into account what the people say.


ROMANS: One thing that struck me about that interview, Zach, is he talked about how we have to deport criminals and felons. How the United States needs to use E-Verify better to guarantee that someone who is working in a job san American citizen or is legal to work in that job. And we need to step up deportations.

That actually is all of things about both the president and mainstream Republicans have all already endorsed.

WOLF: Yes. You know, Trump had that interview with Anderson Cooper last week. If you really drill down and listen to some of the things he says, he says everybody has to leave. But it's going to take a while. We're going to have to secure the border first.

So, if you really start to drill down. If it takes a while, that means some of the 11 million people are staying here for a while. Is it years? It's not clear. If you really drill down and discover the facts I guess of what could be possible and what he's said recently, it starts to feel a little bit more about like a lot of other Republicans have said.

HOWELL: The topic certainly today is immigration. All eyes will be on Donald Trump in Mexico but, Zach, just briefly, Hillary Clinton making news about some of the e-mails being released. Some of them have to do with Benghazi.

How significant will that, or could that be to her with this race?

WOLF: Well, it's not -- you know, Benghazi has been so trod over, I don't know if there's going to be some sort of $ smoking gun in these e-mails. It seems unlikely. It sounds like some of them could be duplicates of e-mails we've seen before. So, it's is not sure what exactly is inside of this.

But it's just drip, drip, drip, every day it's some new Hillary Clinton e-mail development. It might not be a big development but it's Hillary Clinton-mail development. And I don't think that's good for her.

HOWELL: Zach Wolf, live for us in Washington -- Zach, thank you so much.

ROMANS: Get a cup of coffee. Come back in 20 minutes. Lots to talk about. Lots to talk about.

All right. New Jersey's Governor Chris Christie vetoes the state's $15 minimum wage bill. Here's him explaining why at a supermarket in New Jersey.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: This bill would make New Jersey only the third state in the nation to adopt a minimum wage of $15. And it would trigger an escalation of wages that will make doing business in New Jersey unaffordable.


ROMANS: Doing business in New Jersey is already tough. It ranks dead last among states in the Tax Foundation's business tax climate index. New Jersey residents pay nearly $7,000 per capita when you add up state and local taxes. About half of that is due to property tax, which is the highest in the country.

Christie is right only two states have $15 minimum wage bills on the books, New York will get there by 2018. California by 2020. Washington, D.C. also passed a bill to hike pay to $15 an hour by the year 2020.

HOWELL: We are following the story of a key figure of ISIS killed in an air strike. And now, the terror group says they are vowing to take revenge. That story, next.


[04:14:03] HOWELL: Welcome back.

ISIS is vowing resentencing for the killing of its second in command, Mohammed al Adnani in Syria in that. Adnani was the terror group's official spokesman, the media face, if you will, and a chief strategist who repeatedly called for attacks on the West.

Coalition forces haven't confirmed his death, but the Pentagon says Adnani was targeted in a precision strike near the Syria/Turkey border.

CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank is following the story and joins us now live in London.

Paul, good morning to you. What will Adnani's death mean in the war against ISIS?

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: George, this is a really big breakthrough, perhaps the biggest breakthrough so far. Adnani was a critical member of ISIS, of their leadership. The key deputy of Abu Bakr, their leader. It was he that actually announced its so-called caliphate before Baghdadi in June of 2014.

[05:15:00] He's been the driving force behind ISIS' international attack plotting. The driving force behind the Paris attacks, the Brussels attacks, also those attacks over the summer at Istanbul airport. He's going to be somebody very difficult to replace for them. He's also been the public voice over the last couple of years. He's issued a series of audiotapes, issues fatwas, calling for attacks in the west from ISIS followers.

And there's been a real big response to those audiotapes over the past couple of years, with multiple ISIS-inspired plots linked back to him because of those audiotape including the Orlando shooting over the summer. So, some modicum of justice for those bereaved families in Paris, Brussels, Orlando, and many places around the world, George.

HOWELL: But with ISIS under so much pressure there with so many forces closing in, this was the person who told people around the world to carry out attacks wherever they are. And that brings me to the other question. These new reports about ISIS stepping up its efforts to attack the U.K., Paul. What more do we know about that?

CRUICKSHANK: George, a senior European counterterrorism official tells me that intelligence came in over the summer, indicating that ISIS is stepping up efforts to infiltrate operatives into the United Kingdom to launch attacks. It's been more difficult for ISIS to do this than infiltrate in Continental Europe, because the U.K. after all is separated from Europe by the English Channel. Not part of the Schengen Zone. The European zone where you don't have passport controls between borders.

But this intelligence really concerning authorities here, especially now in the wake of ISIS' calls for retaliation for the death of Adnani. After all, these operatives have been dispatched back to Europe, ultimately to Abu Mohammad al-Adnani. In the medium to long term, this makes us all safer, but in the short term, his death may see a greater threat.

HOWELL: So, authorities there in U.K. certainly on watch for this. Paul Cruickshank live for us in London -- Paul, thank you for the insight.

ROMANS: The 911 calls from the mass shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando in June have just been released by the Orange County sheriff's office. Forty-nine people were killed when a gunman opened fire inside the packed gay nightclub. It's the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, the frantic calls coming from inside the club and from people whose loved ones were trapped there. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CALLER: Yes, my son was shot in the club in the Pulse in Orlando, and he's still in the bathroom and he's bleeding. He got shot and nobody's going in for him.

OPERATOR: Do you know which bathroom he's in?

CALLER: He's in the pulse. He's in the club. He's in the bathroom. He's got shot.

OPERATOR: Yes, I understand. There's several bathrooms, though. Do you know which one he is in?

CALLER: I don't know what bathroom, no. Nobody's going in for him.

OPERATOR: No, we do have lots of help out there. They're trying to get in to --

CALLER: I know, I know.


ROMANS: It's heartbreaking.

Orlando police have yet to release their batch of 911 calls which include recordings of the gunman Omar Mateen during that massacre, pledging his allegiance to ISIS.

HOWELL: It's heartbreaking to hear those 911 calls.

The embattled 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick getting support for his national anthem protest, in a place he probably didn't expect to find it. Andy Scholes with details in this morning's "Bleacher Report", next.


[05:23:00] HOWELL: A number of veterans showing their support for Colin Kaepernick as he continues to sit during the national anthem at games. The #veteransforkaepernick even started trending overnight.

ROMANS: Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report".

Hey, Andy.


You know, no matter how you feel about the Colin Kaepernick situation, most of us have a strong opinion about his stance including members of the military. Overnight, the number one trend on social media was #veteransforkaepernick, as many veterans voicing their support for the 49ers quarterback.

Now, the theme coming for many of them they didn't fight for Kaepernick to stand for the national anthem. They fought for his right to freedom of speech. Meantime, Kaepernick is expected to start for the 49ers in the final preseason game tomorrow night. Head coach Chip Kelly has said the whole Kaepernick situation has not been a distraction.


CHIP KELLY, 49ERS HEAD COACH: We recognize his right to express his feeligns but that doesn't affect what we do here when we get here at 8:15 in the morning to when we leave at 8:00 at night.


SCHOLES: The 49ers will play in San Diego tomorrow night. Chargers will be celebrating their 28 annual salute to the military. They will honor military members on the field. And before the third quarter, a veteran will perform "God Bless America."

All right. Devastating news for Vikings fans. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffering a dislocated knee and torn ACL during a noncontact drill yesterday at practice. The injury was so bad, they called off practice after he went down.

Bridgewater is now going to be out for the season. Thirty-six-year- old veteran backup Sean Hill is in line to start for Minnesota. And the Vikings now in the market for a quarterback, less than two weeks before the season.

Hey, Tim Tebow is available, however, football, not really on his mind right now. Tebow holding a workout for 28 major league teams yesterday as he tries to start a career in baseball after 12 years away from the game. Tebow showed some power at the plate, but did struggle in the off-speed pitches.

[05:25:02] And after the workout, he was asked at 29 years old why try baseball now.


TIM TEBOW, WORKED OUT FOR MLB SCOUTS: The second hardest decision that I ever made was giving up baseball to go to the University of Florida and play football. And, you know, it wasn't a season that went by that it wasn't something that I thought about. And for me, when I -- you know, I felt like I had this opportunity, I want to take it and pursue it with everything I had.


SCHOLES: Guys, Tebow did not get great reviews from the scouts there on hand for his workout. I guarantee you someone is going to sign Tebow to a minor league deal because they know one thing, he'll get fans to go to the game.

ROMANS: Yes, that's a good PR move for maybe both of them.

All right. Thanks so much, Andy.

SCHOLES: All right.

ROMANS: Donald Trump taking a surprise trip heading south the border, a border he says will be impenetrable if he's president. He's going to meet with Mexico president. That's next.