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EARLY START

Trump Surrogates Deflect Immigration Questions; Obama Wrapping Up G20 Summit; Obama Meeting With World Leaders; Hermine Heads Northeast; Texas Tops Notre Dame In Double Overtime; Megan Rapinoe's Nod To Kaepernick. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired September 5, 2016 - 05:00   ET

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


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[05:00;16] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START, everyone. I'm Christine Romans.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm Alison Kosik. It's Monday, September 5th. It's 5:00 a.m. in the east. Today is Labor Day. Traditionally marks the start of the presidential campaign in earnest, but this time around it is the start of the home stretch to November.

Both sides marking the occasion by ramping up the rhetoric on issues that have dogged them for months now. Donald Trump surrogates being mostly vague about whether he still supports mass deportations.

All except one surrogate who says Trump does not. This as Hillary Clinton's running mate, Tim Kaine, steadfastly defending the way she handled her e-mail controversy. CNN's Kristin Holmes has the latest from Washington.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN WHITE HOUSE PRODUCER: Christine and Alison, Trump campaign officials and advisors continuing to deflect direct questions on their candidate's immigration policy specifically where he stands on the issue of mass deportation.

Vice presidential candidate, Mike Pence, and Trump campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, refusing to give concrete answers on what would happen to the millions of undocumented immigrants living and working in the United States.

Saying that after certain enforcement actions had taken place, including the deportations of those with criminal records as well as the building of that wall, there would be some kind of reassessment regarding the undocumented immigrants.

However, Trump supporter, Rudy Giuliani, not dodging the question during an interview on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper saying Donald Trump was no longer in favor of mass deportation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Donald Trump as he expressed in one of his interviews recently, would find it is very, very difficult to throw out a family that's been here for, you know, 15 years and they have three children, two of whom are citizens. That is not the kind of America he wants.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: Now while the Trump campaign continues to work to explain those details, the Clinton camp is answering questions of their own about Hillary Clinton's use of that private e-mail server.

The issue again in the spotlight after the FBI released notes from its July interview with Clinton. While the documents laid out why the FBI decided not to recommend charges against Clinton, the notes showed Clinton telling investigators she did not recall or did not remember at least 39 times.

Often response to questions about the process and potential training or the content of those e-mails. Vice presidential nominee, Tim Kaine, defended Clinton on Sunday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR TIM KAINE (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have sat with her while she has answered questions. She answered questions about what she did and why. She said by using one device, I made a mistake. I apologize for it. I've learned something and I wouldn't do it again. I want all the facts to come out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: With the Labor Day kickoff, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will be crisscrossing the country this week with lots of campaigning in those battleground states. We'll see both candidates in Ohio later today -- Alison and Christine.

ROMANS: All right, Kristen, thank you.

Happening now, President Obama is in China. He's wrapping his final G20 Summit. In just about an hour from now, he is set to hold a news conference and fly to Laos for East Asia's Asian Summit.

On Sunday, the president met with Turkey's president and Britain's prime minister. Both of them facing turmoil at home. The aborted coup in Turkey. Brexit vote in the U.K.

This morning, the White House is expecting a smoother arrival in Laos than what we saw Saturday in China when no red carpeted stairs greeted Air Force One and there was this bizarre spat on the tarmac between Chinese and U.S. officials over media access.

For the latest from China, I want to bring in White House correspondent, Michelle Kosinski. Michelle, the president's language -- good afternoon to you. The president's language and I don't over prank the significance he said of that spat on the tarmac.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, the sense among U.S. officials who are traveling here is almost eye rolling saying stuff like that happens all the time. Maybe not so publicly and with cameras rolling.

But speaking of tensions, we got a lot more detail on a meeting you could say we all have been waiting for here. Even though this is about Asia and the U.S.'s relationship with China and East Asian countries.

Remember this is the G20 so there are other leaders present too including Russia's Vladimir Putin. President Obama just left a meeting with him. This is the first meeting they've had in about a year.

Before that, it was about two years. These meetings are extremely rare. This one was unusually long, 90 minutes. Not a formal bilateral meeting. No press conference or anything like that associated with this.

[05:05:08]It was considered a pull aside. An hour and a half is a long time to sit down with Vladimir Putin. Obviously there was a lot to discuss namely Syria. There is no agreement yet on trying to craft a ceasefire between the U.S. and Russia and Assad regime over that country.

They tried to work out where the gaps are and where the agreement is trying to get that done. The goal is to have Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian foreign minister meet soon in the coming days.

They have been meeting for days here trying iron out that agreement and just try to get a little bit closer. Also cyber security, I mean, cyber officials in the U.S. fully believe that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee and political e-mail systems in the U.S. possibly with the view of influencing the American election.

So that was discussed although the U.S. official who is giving us this information did not want to go into detail. They did not go into great detail on that even though that is a huge issue because it is an extremely sensitive topic.

That is something that the U.S. and Russia will continue to discuss. Also of course, the situation in Ukraine. Whether Russia will agree to the stipulations that were laid out more than a year ago to basically stop the fighting there and give up the part of Ukraine that Russia had taken over.

So obviously these issues are big. The differences are broad. The U.S. official was describing the meeting at the very least constructive -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right, thanks so much for that, Michelle Kosinski for us this morning in China. Thanks.

KOSIK: All right, maybe a holiday today, but plenty of politics going on this holiday weekend. CNN Politics reporter, Eugene Scott, is joining us live from Washington.

Good morning. Thanks for waking up with us on this Labor Day holiday we have today. One thing struck me this weekend, I mean, just massive confusion about where Donald Trump stands on his immigration policy.

We have Hillary Clinton who cannot figure out her e-mails. But at the same time, the cornerstone of Donald Trump's campaign immigration is something he can't figure out.

And what was interesting was to see his campaign manager and his running mate on the morning talk shows and just the difference and their reaction to that immigration policy. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's been completely consistent on this point.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, he has not. He had deportation -- but he has not been consistent on this issue of what to do with the 11 million or 15 million?

PENCE: Well, but there are people in different circumstances in that category.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If they aren't criminals, do they have to go?

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: He has said that you should stand in line and emigrate legally.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSIK: OK, so the clarifications are not clarifying anything. If the media is confused, what about the voters?

EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: I talked to one of our editors about it yesterday. I said the only thing that is clear is it is unclear. I was in Phoenix last week when Mr. Trump spoke about his immigration policy.

He said at that time if you are in the country illegally, you are subject to being deported. He has not said anything since then that would go back on that. So the argument that he's changed significantly from that is just not true.

I think one of the reasons that uncertainty is because a recent Pew study said that the overwhelming majority of Republicans and Republican leaning voters do not support deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants.

If Donald Trump wants to win this election, he has to get the support of the Republican establishment as well as more mainstream conservatives.

ROMANS: It is interesting to me because the risk here for Donald Trump from his original policy of deportation force and get them out. The risk here is that he starts to soften to the status quo.

The status quo is this if 250,000 people were deported last year, 59 percent of them were criminal illegal aliens according to the ICE statistics. The president has been criticized for deporting so many people.

On the same time, the president also had this executive order where the children of people who came illegally, who have been raised in this country for years. He wanted to stay their deportations.

That sounds a little bit like what you are hearing from Rudy Giuliani. I mean, the risk here is that as Donald Trump learns more about what really is the immigration system in this country, he is proposing to do exactly what the president is doing right now.

SCOTT: Yes. As you mentioned, that was a point that the former New York mayor made yesterday on our show, I believe.

[05:10:04]And he I think he wants to highlight that Donald Trump is softening on this issue and becoming more sensitive to the complexity of it and the reality of it.

And realizing that not all undocumented immigrants in the U.S. are criminals but are families and children and just simply human beings. You saw that the Clinton campaign released a statement pushing back on his use of softening the language to back hard policies.

KOSIK: If you look at the timing of when this is happening, we are 64 days before the election. Voters who are looking to vote for Donald Trump, let's say, how are they feeling? How are the undecided voters thinking who are still on the fence about who they will vote for when there is such confusion about something that is once again the cornerstone of Donald Trump's campaign?

SCOTT: We saw very recently former vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, who was one of the first high profile candidates to come out and support Donald Trump articulate that she would be highly disappointed if Mr. Donald Trump backed away from some of the key components of his immigration policy which this is one of.

But I think what the Trump campaign is trying to say now is this was not as much of a key component of the policy as building the wall. It remains to be seen what direction the campaign will take and who they are focused on maintaining it, the base or new voters.

ROMANS: All right, Eugene Scott, we are so glad you're up early for us working on this Labor Day. We are all earning our paychecks this morning. Thank you. We'll talk to you again in a few minutes.

It's 11 minutes past the hour. Hermine is weakening, but the threat remains very much alive. Flooding hitting the beaches this holiday weekend. We are live in one of the area under a tropical storm warning. We have that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:16:14]

ROMANS: This morning, a new storm track for Hermine. A big shift taking it further out to sea, but do not be lulled. Seven million people still under tropical storm warnings. Holiday beach goers still face life threatening surf and rip currents.

For the very latest on the storm's effects, I want to bring in CNN's Brynn Gingras all the way out on the tip of Long Island in Montauk, New York. Good morning, Brynn.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine. Yes, it's actually quite beautiful right now. The good news with this storm at this point for people out here on Montauk, there's no rain. There is wind. That is an issue that officials are keeping an eye on.

Another issue is the fact that there is riptide concerns. As we pan over to the shore, I want to show these waves to give you a little bit of perspective. We are about an hour past the low tide point.

And the waves are coming up crashing pretty close probably a few 50 yards or so from houses and hotels that are here on this part of the island. So you can imagine when this turns to a high tide point, that we might have some issues.

So that is what the concern is, coastal flooding and riptides for this storm as 7 million people still remain under this tropical storm warning. This area obviously part of that.

But people here, we are talking to them, not quite concerned. We are seeing some people who say, you know what, we are just going to head back home at this point and not really enjoy the last day of the Labor Day weekend here for vacation.

And other people are actually finding it quite beautiful coming out here taking pictures of the sunset and doing what they can to see how the storm has affected this area.

So we are getting a mix bag of that. It has been a nuance out to sea. I want to show you some video of a passenger on the Anthem of the Seas cruise ship.

Now that was sailing from New Jersey to Bermuda. They actually went through Hermine. You can imagine what that was like with those waves. A lot of sea sick passengers.

If you recall, Anthem of the Seas had an issue in February going through a storm. So not a good cruise ship to be on especially during Hermine, but as far as this area is concerned -- the major concerns again are those rip tides and coastal flooding. So we are going to keep an eye on that for you.

ROMANS: Enjoy the sun. Enjoy the sand. Stay out of the surf. That is the bottom line. Brynn, thank you.

KOSIK: I was getting sea sick watching that video.

College football kicking off with some spectacular games including double overtime thriller last night. Coy Wire has details in this morning's "Bleacher Report" next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [08:23:15]

ROMANS: All right, Notre Dame and Texas, two of college football's most popular teams went down to the wire last night.

KOSIK: Coy Wire has all the drama in this morning's "Bleacher Report." Good morning.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Good morning, Alison and Christine. What a wild first weekend of college football, seven ranked teams go down. The most ever on opening weekend. One of them is tenth ranked Notre Dame upset by the unranked Texas Longhorns.

A school record 102,315 fans in Austin, a sea of burnt orange and hook them horns. Texas with a two-point lead in the fourth, trying for the extra point. It's blocked.

Notre Dame's John Crawford with the scoop and score. Ties up the game. Then all the way to double overtime. It was time for swoops. Tyrone Swoopes on the keeper. Superman style across the goal line for the win. Texas upset the mighty fighting Irish, 50-47.

NASCAR drive, Dale Earnhardt Jr. facing the media yesterday, announced Friday that he is done racing for the remainder of the season so he can recover from a concussion he suffered back in June. He fought vision and balance issues ever since that wreck.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DALE EARNHARDT JR., NASCAR DRIVER: We decided to make this decision to not race anymore. I think it is the right decision considering how I feel personally and physically. I definitely don't belong in a race car today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WIRE: Finally, another pro athlete following in the footsteps of 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick in protesting racial injustice and police brutality in America. This time, winner soccer star, Megan Rapinoe.

Rapinoe took a knee during the national anthem yesterday before her Seattle Rain took on the Chicago Red Stars.

[05:25:04]After the match, Rapinoe told American Soccer Now that kneeling was quote, "A little nod to Kaepernick and everything that he's standing for right now," unqoute.

She later tweeted after being thanked on social media, "It's the least I can do. Keep the conversation going." Now we have seen Kaepernick's NFL teammates join him in his message, players from other teams, and now athletes from other sports.

Alison, Christine, Kaepernick's jersey sales have skyrocketed. His is now the third highest selling of all players on nfl.com.

ROMANS: Interesting.

KOSIK: Interesting to see the fan reaction on all that. I'm sure it will continue. Coy Wire, thanks so much.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump ready for the final push. The first debate is three weeks away. Both candidates are trying to clean up issues weighing them down. Trump on immigration. Clinton on her e- mails. The latest from the campaign trail coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump entering the final stages of the 2016 race. Both campaigns turning to top advisers to address lingering questions for the candidates. We have the very latest.