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EARLY START

Another Immigration Shift For Trump; Clinton Takes Flight with Reporters; President Obama in Laos. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired September 6, 2016 - 04:00   ET

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


[04:00:15] ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Major campaign developments at 30,000 feet. Donald Trump with yet another pivot on immigration. Would he allow undocumented immigrants a path to legal status? We're going to show you what he said.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hillary Clinton, a flying press conference. Her first in months, facing a lot of new questions. Her answers, ahead.

KOSIK: President Obama speaking overnight in Laos in the first trip to the nation for a U.S. president. We're going to tell you which foreign president is apologizing as the U.S. announced steps to heal wounds from the Vietnam War.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Alison Kosik.

BERMAN: Nice to see you. I'm John Berman. It is Tuesday, September 6th, 4:00 a.m. in the East.

And this morning, both presidential candidates on the trail in force as we kickoff this new stretch of the campaign season and just in time, Donald Trump seems to have still another new position on illegal immigration.

Flying between campaign stops in Ohio, Trump allowed a small media pool on his plane really for the first time. They asked Trump whether he might support a legal status for undocumented immigrants, something that was distinctively not part of his major speech on immigration just one week ago. Now, Donald Trump says he would not rule that out.

Let's get the latest from CNN's Sara Murray.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SARA MURRYA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Good morning, John and Alison.

Well, Donald Trump added yet another layer of confusion to where he stands on the immigration debate, particularly what to do with the millions of undocumented immigrants who are living in the United States. He told reporters on his plane yesterday that that is something he would deal with later down the line after he puts in place the security measures he's proposed.

REPORTER: Can you rule out that one possibility in that determination?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I'm not ruling out anything. No, no, I'm not --

REPORTER: Including the pathway to legal status?

TRUMP: No.

MURRAY: Now, that is a far cry from what he said in his immigration speech less than a week ago.

TRUMP: For those here illegally today, who are seeking legal status, they will have one route and one route only. To return home and apply for reentry like everybody else.

MURRAY: Now, Trump's muddled position threatened to overshadow the message he was trying to drive home, yesterday talking about jobs as he campaigned across the pivotal battleground state of Ohio. And it is certainly clear that we are in the final stretch of this presidential campaign. Donald Trump will be hitting not one, but two important swing states today, North Carolina and Virginia.

Back to you, guys.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KOSIK: OK, Sara, thank you.

Donald Trump defending a controversial political donation he made to a Florida attorney general, Pam Bondi in 2013. Trump insists he made this $2,500 contribution because of his respect for Bondi. The donation came from the Trump Foundation which is a violation in and of itself. Charities aren't allowed to give to political campaigns. And it went to a Bondi political committee just days after her office announced it was weighing a possible investigation of Trump University. That investigation was never launched.

This is Trump's explanation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I never spoke to her. First of all, she is beyond reproach. She's a fine person. Never spoke to her about it at all. Many of the attorney generals turned that case down, because I'll win that case in court. But many attorney generals throughout the country turned that down. I never spoke to her about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSIK: All right. And there is one more twist to this. According to "The Washington Post," Trump accountants actually misrecorded the donation, which led to even more confusion. Trump paid the IRS a $2,500 fine last week because of the violation ban on charities making political donations.

BERMAN: Donald Trump now says he is on board for all three of the planned presidential debates. Over the summer, Trump objected the debate schedule, suggesting it was rigged because two of the debates coincided with NFL games. But now, he tells reporters he does plan to participate in all of them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: You will definitely do all three o4 these debates?

TRUMP: Well, as of this moment, yes. I look forward to the debates. I think it's an important element of what we're doing. I think you have an obligation to do the debates. I did them with the other cases. We had I guess 11 debates. No, I look forward to the debates.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Trump says he likes and respects the moderators, NBC's Lester Holt, CNN's Anderson Cooper, ABC's Martha Raddatz, and Chris Wallace from Fox News.

Hillary Clinton committed to the debate schedule in early August.

KOSIK: Today, Hillary Clinton travels to Florida for a campaign event in Tampa. It's another sign that the final phase of the presidential race is upon us, and that Secretary Clinton will be flying to Florida about her newly christened campaign plane.

[04:05:01] It's a 737 that's also for the first time carrying her traveling press corps.

Mrs. Clinton under fire for not holding a news conference in almost nine months, taking questions from reporters in flight yesterday.

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux has the latest from the Clinton campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John and Alison.

Hillary Clinton had a very busy labor day. She was campaigning with her running mate Tim Kaine in Ohio earlier today and then later here in Illinois in Quad City, a very important area for her here.

And true to her word, she launched her campaign plane. They are calling it Hill Force One. It has 40 reporters capable of being on that plane.

Those reporters did pummel her with some pretty questions. True to form, she answered those questions. Very significant. One of them talking about the conspiracies about her health, another one about a report of the Russians trying to hack into the Democratic community and the political groups to influence as they campaign.

And a third one that Trump has been hitting her hard on and that is the e-mail controversy, the interview that she gave to the FBI, the notes that came out of it that she was not completely truthful, and she answered that as well.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I went into the State Department understanding classification. I had been on the Senate Armed Services Committee for years before I was secretary of state. I take classification seriously. The fact I couldn't remember certain meetings, whether or not they had occurred, doesn't in any way affect the commitment that I had and still have to the treatment of classified material.

MALVEAUX: Hillary Clinton addressed a question from the reporter about the conspiracy theory regarding her health. This came on the day when she was struggling with two coughing attacks. One happened during her speech in Ohio and another during that gaggle on her press plane, to which she said she is not concern about these conspiracy theories. She says there are so many of them that she simply cannot pay any attention to them -- John, Alison.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: All right. Suzanne Malveaux, thank you.

Suzanne mentioned the coughing spells that hit Hillary Clinton on the trail. One of them came as she started a speech in Ohio. She laughed it off by really taking a swing at Donald Trump. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: Every time I think about Trump, I get allergic.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Now, Donald Trump's campaign manager Kellyanne Conway was ready to fire back. She said that the coughing fit came because it was the first time that Hillary Clinton had been with the press. She tweeted, "Must be allergic to media. Finally spent a minute with them."

KOSIK: Fresh off their summer break, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are revisiting the president's request for an almost $2 billion aid package in the fight against Zika. The Senate is expected to vote on funding as soon as tonight. The illness linked to birth defects is transmitted by mosquitoes in Florida and prompted a state of emergency in Puerto Rico. Congress also has less than a month to fund the federal government to avoid a shutdown. Here we go again.

Time for an early start on your money. Seeing a lot of green arrows this morning around the world. Asian shares closed higher. European markets are mixed. The U.S. stock market will be back in action again after being closed for the Labor Day holiday. Right now, we are seeing futures pointing to a slightly higher opening.

Breaking overnight: pharmaceutical company Bayer is raising its bid to buy Monsanto. Bayer is now willing to offer more than $65 billion to acquire the world's biggest seed company. The deal would still require regulatory approval. Monsanto has struggled financially. It's laid off about 16 percent of its global work force and cut back on research projects because of a struggling economy.

BERMAN: All right. President Obama in the middle of the remarkable diplomatic spat, cancelling a high profile meeting with a world leader who threatened to call him a son of a whore. Overnight, a new development and a new apology. We are live on the president's trip. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:13:24] KOSIK: President Obama is in Laos this morning for the ASEAN Southeast Asian Summit. He is the first sitting U.S. president to visit the Southeast nation and today, the president will announce $90 million in aid to erase one of the last tragic legacies of the Vietnam war. He is also making headlines for abruptly cancelling a scheduled meeting with the president of the Philippines who says he now regrets the recent obscenity-laced comments came across as an attack against the U.S. president.

CNN's Michelle Kosinski is live for us from Laos.

You know, interesting series of events. You've got the Philippine president insulting the U.S. president, President Obama. President Obama cancelling a meeting. And then you've got the Philippine president coming out and saying, "I regret what I said". Will this meeting still happen?

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, what the Philippine president is saying is that he looks forward to a constructive relationship. He regrets that this came across as a personal attack, but, I mean, he used profanity. He called President Obama an alternate translation either a son of a bitch or a son of a whore. I mean, it felt strange even saying those words while we're doing this.

But he said that to reporters when asked what he would do if President Obama brought up these suspected extra judicial killings of drug suspects. Thousands of people have died in the Philippines drug war just over the last couple months. So, he doesn't want it to be taken the wrong way now.

[04:15:03] He wants to meet with President Obama in the future. But what the White House is saying, every indication was that this was not the right atmosphere to have such a meeting. They need to be discussing important matters. This is a treaty ally of the United States.

And the White House took it a step further and said that, you know, this would be a disservice the Filipino people if they met with the president of their country under these circumstances. What President Obama wanted to focus on today in Laos is this new announcement, $90 million over the next three years, to remove unexploded ordinance dating back to the Vietnam War.

I mean, nine years within the Vietnam War, the U.S. dropped hundreds of millions of bombs on Laos. Some 80 million of the bombs did not explode. They still cause casualties to this day. Here is some of what President Obama said about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I also know that the remnants of war continue to shatter lives here in Laos. Many of the bombs that were dropped were never exploded. Over the years, thousands of Laotians have been killed or injured -- farmers tending their fields, children playing. The wounds, a missing leg or arm last a lifetime.

And that's why as president, I dramatically increased our funding to help remove these unexploded bombs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSINSKI: The U.S. has spent about $100 million on unexploded ordnance here in Laos over the last 20 years. So, when you look at $90 million over the next three years, you see how significant that is.

Back to you, guys.

KOSIK: All right. Michelle Kosinski, live from Laos.

BERMAN: A conservative political activist Phyllis Schlafly passed away. She was the founder of the Eagle Forum. She spent decades as a leading critic of feminism and gay rights. Schlafly very well-known for her fierce opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment of the 1970s. She remained politically active all the way to the end. She endorsed Donald Trump for president.

Trump put out a statement overnight, calling Schlafly a conservative icon who led millions to action. Phyllis Schlafly was 92.

KOSIK: Is there hope on the horizon for a deal to ease the fighting in Syria? One top leader thinks it is possible despite failure to reach a deal at the G20? We are live in Moscow next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:21:53] KOSIK: Breaking overnight. A deadly attack on a relief agency in Afghanistan. One person was killed. Six others wounded after a car bomb exploded outside the gates of the CARE compound in Kabul. Three attackers who stormed the compound were killed hours later after a long battle with Afghan security forces.

This follows three other bombings in Kabul earlier in the day. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the twin blasts outside the Afghan ministry of defense. At least two dozen people were killed and almost 100 injured. The U.S. condemned the attacks.

BERMAN: Russian President Vladimir Putin is putting a positive spin on a positive of a deal with the U.S. for a cease-fire in Syria. The Russian leader told reporters an agreement may come within a few days. Talks at the G20 Summit in China failed to produce a deal but he two sides agreed to keep on negotiating.

We're bringing CNN senior international correspondent Frederik Pleitgen following these developments for us. He is live in Moscow this morning.

Does the Russian leader seem to think something is imminent?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he seems to think so. There seems to be different perceptions as to how that meeting between Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Obama went there. The two started off with what seemed to be almost an icy stare as they shook hands, before that meeting. It went on for about 90 minutes, with both sides, John, acknowledge was a lot longer than many had anticipated.

Now, the president afterwards said that there were issues of mutual trust preventing a deal on Syria from going through. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that both sides had understood and he believes that a deal could be imminent in the next couple of days. Now, there are still major issues between these two sides.

First of all, it is not just a cease-fire agreement. It's also an agreement that would see the U.S. and Russia coordinating their campaigns against terrorist organizations in Syria. The big question they have is, who do you define as a terrorist and who is a rebel that is fighting against the Assad regime? Then, of course, there is the issue of humanitarian access where the U.S. says, look, right now with the Russian bombing campaign, there are so many civilian casualties, it is impossible to work with Russia just on that count alone.

Then, if you do have a cease-fire, how do you get humanitarian goods to people. The Russians said they would be willing to coordinate that. The U.S. is not comfortable with that just yet. But both sides are saying, and this is key I think, John, that they believe the situation in Syria is so bad right now, that it's important for them to get a deal as fast as possible.

Again, the Russians saying it could happen in the next couple days. President Obama also saying that he has told Secretary of State John Kerry to keep negotiating, trying to get a deal through to make sure that there is some ease for the folks there in Syria that are suffering so much, John.

BERMAN: And, of course, all of this happening amid reports that the U.S. investigators are looking into whether Russia is trying to influence the U.S. elections, only to complicate things more.

Frederik Pleitgen for us, thanks so much.

KOSIK: A problem with British airways computerized check-in system is causing big delays at major U.S. airports, including Atlanta, San Francisco and Boston. There are also reports of problems in the Bahamas and Mexico.

[04:25:02] Airline officials say IT teams are working to fix the problem as quickly as possible and they are apologizing to customers for the long lines. It is not clear just how many flights have been affected. Big heading.

BERMAN: All right. The sun may be shining, but tropical storm warnings still in effect for the coastal Northeast. I want to bring in meteorologist Pedram Javaheri for the latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: John and Alison, you know, the storm sat there for so many days and traveled 6,000 miles and now just put on the parking brakes across this region off the northeastern coastline. But you see 175 miles displaced from the center of the storm, still seeing tropical-storm force winds that is more than 39 miles per hour, near the center for it across portions of long island getting winds that are up to 50 miles plus per hour, as well.

But the storm will eventually fall apart over this region inside the next 36 or so hours. But it's still spinning up. Some showers throughout this afternoon, again mainly on the immediate coastline, portions of Long Island, parts of Connecticut and to Massachusetts. That's where the tropical storm warnings remain in place for several million people. But again, any sort of a major threat is slowly diminishing in the region. So, we'll bring in some scattered showers and beyond this, high pressure wants to build as it does, we get a nice southerly surge of air ahead of this.

And guess what, temperatures are July like over the next couple days, get up to some 10 to 15 above normal, almost 100 in Washington, 92 in the forecast in New York City. But some cooler weather in store we had toward this weekend, guys.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KOSIK: All right. Pedram, thank you. Few more days of summer, I'll take it.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both bringing reporters on board their planes. Trump taking another twist on immigration. Clinton actually taking questions actually from the press? The latest from both campaigns, next.

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