Return to Transcripts main page


Surrogates Defend Trump And Clinton Over Controversies; Obama Will Soon Depart China For The ASEAN Summit In Laos; Pence To Release Taxes This Week; Hermine Heads Northeast; No Deal Reached With Russia On Syria; August Jobs Report Was Weaker Than Expected. ired 5:30-6a ET

Aired September 5, 2016 - 05:30   ET


[05:30:00] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: 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.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: President Obama taking in the final moments of his last G20 Summit meetings with top world leaders this morning, including Vladimir Putin. Can progress be made on Syria, trade, or other key issues? We're live in China.

Welcome back to EARLY START, I'm Alison Kosik.

ROMANS: So nice to have you here today, this Labor Day.

KOSIK: Good morning.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It is 30 minutes past the hour. Nice to see you all this morning. Today, Labor Day, traditionally marks the start of the presidential campaign in earnest, but this time around it's really just the start of the last phase in a campaign that's been going on for a year.

Both sides marking the occasion by ramping up the rhetoric on issues that have dogged them for much of that year. Donald Trump's 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 defends her handling of that email controversy. CNN's Kristin Holmes has the very latest for us from Washington.


KRISTIN HOLMES, CNN WHITE HOUSE PRODUCER: Christine and Alison, Trump campaign officials and advisers 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 the 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.

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

HOLMES: Now, while the Trump campaign continues to work to explain those details, the Clinton camp is having to answer questions of their own about Hillary Clinton's use of that private email server. The issue, again, in the spotlight after the FBI released notes from its July interview with Clinton.

Now, 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, potential training, or the content of those emails.

Vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine defended Clinton on Sunday.

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

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.


KOSIK: All right, Kristin Holmes, thank you. And happening now, President Obama in China wrapping up his final G20 Summit. In less than an hour he is set to hold a news conference and then fly to Laos for East Asia's ASEAN 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 and the Brexit in the U.K.

Now, this morning the White House is expecting a smoother arrival in Laos than on Saturday in China. That's when there wasn't any red carpet there greeting Air Force One and there was actually a spat on the tarmac between Chinese and U.S. officials over media access.

For the latest from China, let's bring in White House correspondent Michelle Kosinski. You know, Michelle, a lot of headlines coming out of this G20, but one of the headlines certainly getting my attention is about those sideline conversations and discussions going on between Russia and the U.S. about Syria and the breakdown of talks there.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, this kind of meeting doesn't happen often at all. When you look at the last time President Obama actually met face-to-face with Russian president Vladimir Putin it was about a year ago. Back then they met about twice in a couple of weeks, but before that period of time it had been two years. That's because of Russia's incursion into its neighbor Ukraine.

But now there's a lot more than the plate to talk about. More that irritates the United States, namely Russia's ties to the Assad regime and bombarding Syria continually and how that plays into ultimately fighting ISIS.

[05:35:00] So now that we know that these intense talks between the U.S. and Russia over the last couple of days, and even extending well before that, haven't reached an agreement. You have both presidents sitting down for longer than expected. I mean this was an hour and one-half meeting, very unusual, to try to hammer that out.

So what we know about where the gaps are -- the U.S. official who was telling us about this meeting didn't want to go into a lot of detail but remember, we're going to hear from the president on this very soon. But he did say that he thinks Russia is painting the opposition to the Assad regime a little too broadly in terms of which groups they consider to be terrorist groups.

Remember, the U.S. is funding and helping some of these groups that are both opposed to the Assad regime and fighting ISIS, so it's a complicated situation. The U.S. feels like there has been progress made towards a ceasefire in Syria but it's just not there yet. They want the meetings between Secretary of State Kerry and the Russian foreign minister to continue.

But also remember there's the cyber issue looming over this. Russia's suspected hack of the Democratic National Committee, the Clinton campaign, the possibility that Russia may be trying to meddle in the U.S. election.

We note that the cyber issue came up but as for getting into detail about the politics of this we're told that the issue is so sensitive that they didn't get into that kind of detail. That's just one more problem the U.S. has had with Russia. And Vladimir Putin, just in the last couple of days, called this relationship frozen -- Alison.

KOSIK: All right, and President Obama speaking in less than an hour and "NEW DAY" will have that. Michelle Kosinski, thanks so much.

ROMANS: So let's sort through the political fray on this holiday weekend with CNN politics reporter Eugene Scott. He's live for us from Washington. Good morning.

KOSIK: Good morning.

ROMANS: I want to start, kind of, with -- I want your perspective on the weekend and what we learned this weekend about Donald Trump and what he really believes about immigration. Let's listen to Mike Pence and Kellyanne Conway. Both of them -- but they are sort of giving the broad brushstrokes of what he thinks -- listen.


GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He's been completely consistent on this point.


PENCE: He put illegal immigration at the very center of the national debate.

TODD: But he has not been consistent on this issue of what to do with the 11 to 15 million.

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

MARTHA RADDATZ, HOST ABC's "THIS WEEK": But if they aren't criminals do they have to go?

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


ROMANS: So what does Donald Trump believe about the 11 to 15 million estimated people here in the country illegally and a deportation force? Do we know?

EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Well, in the last week, the last word we received from Donald Trump regarding people who are in this country illegally is that you are subject to being deported. That's what he said on Wednesday. That's the latest we have from him.

But yesterday, on our network, we had a Trump adviser, former New York City mayor Giuliani, say that Trump would find it "very, very difficult" to deport families that have been in the states for a while. So within the last seven days we've gotten some very different things. So, no, we don't know.

KOSIK: All right, so what's a voter to do, OK? If you are a tried and true Trump supporter or if you're on the fence this issue's important. What do you do?

SCOTT: Yes, I think what Gov. Pence wants voters to focus on is the fact that he has been consistent with his desire to build a wall, and so I think they're hoping to deflect to the other components of the immigration policy.

But if you're a voter for Donald Trump and you're Republican, and you're Republican-leaning, you actually are more likely not to support deporting undocumented immigrants. So this not, perhaps, a big make or break issue for you, especially when it comes to supporting Hillary Clinton as an alternative. ROMANS: Also over the weekend, also from Gov. Pence, we learned that maybe we're going to get a peek at those tax returns. Let's listen to what Gov. Pence said.


PENCE: Donald Trump and I are both going to release our tax returns. I'll release mine in the next week. Donald Trump will be releasing his tax returns at the completion of an audit.


ROMANS: For a hot second I thought that was news and then is said wait a minute, that is exactly what we thought, right? Donald Trump said when he was out from underneath an audit he would release his returns even though the IRS says there's nothing legally that prevents him from releasing returns under audit, and other presidential candidates have done so.

SCOTT: Absolutely, and I think it's very important to note that there are Republican lawmakers who have said, themselves, that Donald Trump should release his tax returns. I think the campaign thinks that this is a bit of a compromise or a step forward in having Pence release his this week. But Pence's taxes aren't what have concerned some voters, particularly those on the left.

ROMANS: Right.

SCOTT: They want to see where Donald Trump's investments are in terms of business dealings, international affairs, philanthropic efforts, and other things that could possibly be conflicts of interest if he is elected president.

[05:40:00] KOSIK: You know, with all the discussion about immigration -- Trump's immigration policy -- some viewers may have forgotten that Donald Trump visited a black church in Detroit. Listen to some of what he said there.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We must love each other and support each other, and we are in this all together, all together. I full understand that the African-American community has suffered from discrimination and that there are many wrongs that must still be made right.


KOSIK: He also talked about fixing the economic hardships that black communities face. How much did this message resonate?

SCOTT: I think it was received well and warmly by some people in the congregation at the time. We saw that there were significant protests outside of the church and there were many people that I was talking to on the ground and on social media who said at best, this is a start. Like, what does it look like to improve the economic situations in Detroit and the rest of urban American and, quite frankly, outside of urban America where many black voters live?

He also mentioned his desire to improve education, but the people want to see more regarding policy proposal ideas than just a one-off word here and there. And I think there's been a desire for many voters to see him apologize for some of the things he has said in this campaign that they view problematic related to race relations.

KOSIK: All right, so much going on, even on Labor Day.


KOSIK: Thanks so much for joining us.

SCOTT: Thank you.

ROMANS: I love it when he gets up early for us. Thanks, Eugene. All right, America's economy has a little problem. Workers just aren't producing as much as they once did and worker productivity is now at its lowest level in four decades. In the 1990's productivity rose 2.2 percent a year on average. In the early 2000's it was even better. But since the great recession it's been crawling along, barely more than one percent.

So how do you fix this? Well, some economists says businesses need to invest in things like new factories, tools, and research. Others say the way the government calculates worker productivity is flawed, not taking into account the benefits of the smartphone economy. It's easy to calculate how productive a factory worker is each hour, right? But it's much harder to judge the productivity of someone whose job involves, for example, social media.

KOSIK: All right.

ROMANS: Interesting, right?

KOSIK: It is interesting, and something else interesting. We thought this storm was going to be huge but Hermine is weakening, but the threat still remaining very much alive. Flooding and dangers at the beach this holiday Monday. We are live in one of the areas under a tropical storm warning. That's next.

ROMANS: And a quick programming note. Tonight, we'll have a special report -- two of them, actually -- on both presidential nominees. The personal stories from those who know them best. Join us for "UNFINISHED BUSINESS: THE ESSENTIAL HILLARY CLINTON". That's tonight at 8:00 followed by "ALL BUSINESS: THE ESSENTIAL DONALD TRUMP" at 10:00.


[05:47:05] KOSIK: This morning there's a new storm track for Hermine, a big shift taking it further out to sea, but don't be lulled. Seven million people are still under tropical storm warnings. Holiday beachgoers, they still face life-threatening surf and rip currents, as well. Let's get the latest on the storm's effect with CNN's Brynn Gingras,

all the way out at the tip of Long Island in Montauk, New York. I see the waves behind you, they are awesome.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They really are awesome, Alison. And Christine said it best last time we saw you. She said stay out of the water, and that's the warning that officials are giving everyone who even comes to the beach today, even though the beaches are closed today here on Long Island, because of these waves.

Let's give you a closer look at them. I will say we talked to a police officer maybe like 20 minutes ago and he said you know what, these waves don't look that impressive. After all, people do come here to surf. But what he did point out and what we pointed out last time was that they are crashing further up on the shore so coastal flooding is also still a concern for those areas that are still in that tropical warning area.

This is about an hour and one-half or so after the low tide this morning. High tide comes at about 11:00 this morning so that's what officials are going to keep their eyes on because those waves, as the high tide comes in, we could have a little bit of flooding and that's what officials are prepared for.

So, the wind not too bad. Gusts could be up to 45 miles per hour. We haven't seen quite that yet but that could increase as the morning goes on. But those are all the major concerns that officials are dealing with here in Montauk at this point. Back to you.

KOSIK: But the surfers beware. It may look great but dangerous out there.

GINGRAS: That's right, tempting.

ROMANS: Tempting, but dangerous. And I guess this weekend on parts of Long Island they were giving tickets to people. They were giving tickets to people, like $80 tickets to the surfers because they do it anyway.

KOSIK: They do it for the thrill.

ROMANS: They do it anyway.

KOSIK: All right, let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY". Alisyn Camerota joining us now. Good morning, Alisyn.

ROMANS: Hey, there.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Hi, ladies. Have you ever noticed that we never use these stairs in our studio? I'm changing that.

KOSIK: I should walk up them today, yes.


KOSIK: Go for it.

CAMEROTA: Not only am I changing that, I'm going to find out what's at the top of these, OK, and I'm going to get back to you on that.

Also, on the show we have a fascinating woman. She's just written this book, "Danger Close". She is one of the only combat helicopter pilots, female, to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, and her memoir is fascinating about just how dangerous it is to fly these Kiowa helicopters really low to the ground, therefore even more dangerous. So, Amber Smith will be with us this morning.

Also, we'll talk about who the winner and losers were from the campaign trail this weekend. For a holiday weekend a lot happened out there so we'll be finding out what's going on with the Trump and Clinton campaigns. All of that when I see you at the top of the hour.

ROMANS: All right, Alisyn.

KOSIK: Make sure you video walking up the stairs because I want to know what's up there, too.

CAMEROTA: Oh, I will.

ROMANS: You climb that corporate ladder sister and you tell us what it looks like up there.


ROMANS: Thank you so much. All right, are you driving this Labor Day? Then there's some good news for you. We're going to get an EARLY START on your money, next.


KOSIK: No deal. Talks between the U.S. and Russia have concluded without an agreement on military cooperation to better target ISIS, al Qaeda, and other extremist groups in Syria. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart had been meeting on the sidelines of the G20 in China to try and strike a deal.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh is following these developments. She's live for us in Amman, Jordan. So, where did these talks break down?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is what we're waiting to hear, hopefully in the coming hours, Alison, from U.S. and Russian officials -- what was going on behind closed doors. Potentially, what led to the breakdown of these talks. We're only really guessing very few details.

[05:55:00] According to senior U.S. officials, without going into details, they're saying that there were disagreements. That there were issues that still needed to be resolved. They're describing them as technical issues and issues when it comes to implementation of any deal, but at this point in time no one's going into specifics.

What we also know from senior U.S. officials is that the 19-minute meeting that took place between President Obama and Putin on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in China focused a lot on Syria, and that they also instructed Foreign Minister Lavrov and Secretary Kerry to meet in the coming days to try and work on this deal.

Now, one of the main things when it comes to this deal -- one of the main key issues that they were working on -- agreeing on -- is a military agreement to try and boost cooperation between the United States and Russia when it comes to going after extremists groups in Syria and to try and prevent civilian casualties.

Now, in the past, we know that there have been disagreements between the U.S. and Russia when it comes to defining who is an extremist group and who is not, with the Russians accused of bombing moderate Syrian rebels.

So we'll wait and see but, of course, the main issue here remains humanitarian aid. There was hope that maybe they could reach some sort of agreement. We would see some sort of a pause in the fighting that would allow desperately needed humanitarian aid into besieged areas in Syria, Alison.

KOSIK: It's so frustrating to those civilians desperately in need of that aid. All right, Jomana, thank you.

ROMANS: All right, let's get an EARLY START on your money. The U.S. stock market is closed today for the Labor Day holiday. Friday, we learned just how the labor market is doing with the release of the latest jobs report. One hundred and fifty-one thousand new jobs were added in August, a decent gain but a lot fewer of the 275,000 new jobs added in July. June was very strong, as well.

The jobless rate remains steady at 4.9 percent. We are seeing people come off the sidelines, entering the labor market, and that tends to keep the unemployment rate moving up actually. Team Trump will try to find some weaknesses in this report. They issued a scathing -- a scathing statement on this report also talking about the number of people working part-time who want to work full-time. That's still a problem in this labor market.

Good news for anyone driving this Labor Day. Prices for the holiday are at the lowest level since 2004. The national average for a gallon of regular today, $2.21 a gallon. That's 20 cents cheaper than this time last year. The summer of low gas prices means big savings for drivers. How big -- $18.9 billion extra in your pocket. Well, not you, right? You probably have an extra $320 in savings in your pocket -- the average U.S. household -- thanks to those plunging gas prices.

It is Apple week. CEO Tim Cook will take the stage Wednesday to unveil the latest version of the iPhone. What can we expect this year? Nothing too dramatic. Maybe a new shade of black, an upgraded camera. Maybe even a water-resistant phone. The most controversial update -- there are a lot of rumors that the headphone jack could be completely removed. Apple saw iPhone sales fall for the first time ever this year.

KOSIK: Water-resistant, I'll buy that. Donald Trump still struggling to answer where he stands on mass deportations while Hillary Clinton struggles to satisfy critics with questions about her emails. "NEW DAY" starts now.


KOSIK: President Obama taking in the final moments of his last G20 Summit.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The basic argument is simple. If we're not setting the rules out there, somebody else is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This moment we've all been waiting for, a meeting with Russia's president, Vladimir Putin.

ROMANS: President Obama speaking live this hour.

GIULIANI: Donald Trump would find it very, very difficult to throw out a family.

PENCE: He's been completely consistent on this point. There are people in different circumstances.

CONWAY: If they're criminals they're going immediately.

TRUMP: I think we're the only hope. Hillary Clinton has no clue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump openly encouragedcyber hacking. A president was impeached and had to resign in 1972.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All eyes on Hermine this Labor Day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're very concerned about some of the effects of this storm. A system that is not moving can be big trouble.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone, welcome to your NEW DAY, and happy Labor Day to all of you. Hope you have the day off and you're watching us from bed. It is Monday, September 5th, 6:00 in the East. Chris is off and John Berman joins me.


CAMEROTA: Great to have you here. We begin with breaking news for you because President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin continuing to negotiate to end Syria's civil war. The two leaders meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in hopes of ending that bloodshed.

BERMAN: Yes, they're continuing to negotiate but the headline might be that there's no deal yet. A lot of people thought there might be. This could be seen as a failure so far. President Obama will hold a press conference in just a few minutes. He'll no doubt talk about Syria, but also weigh in on the presidential election here. The race a bit closer than it was a few weeks ago. We will bring you the President's comments live when they happen.

There's one more twist going on.