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Trump Sows New Confusion on Immigration; Clinton Takes Flight with Reporters; President Obama in Laos; Putin on Syria Ceasefire; President Obama in Laos. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired September 6, 2016 - 04:30   ET



[04:30:39] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yet another shift in immigration policy for Donald Trump. Trump now says he might consider a path to legal status for some of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country. What did he say on his private plane? That's ahead.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Hillary Clinton also taking to the skies and bringing the traveling press along for the flight. How did she respond to a barrage of questions? Find out ahead.

BERMAN: And President Obama getting an apology from a world leader hurling vulgar insults. The new twist in the president's crucial overseas trip.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

PAUL: Good morning. I'm Alison Kosik. It's 30 minutes past the hour.

And this morning, Donald Trump has taken yet another sharp turn on immigration, flying between campaign stops in Ohio. The Republican nominee allowed a small media pool on his plane for the first time. They asked Trump whether he may support a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants and turning his back on the hard line policy he laid down only a week ago. Trump said he would not rule that out.

More now from CNN's Sara Murray.


SARA MURRAY, 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?


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.


BERMAN: Thanks, Sara.

All right. Donald Trump is defending a controversial political donation his foundation made to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi in 2013. Now, Trump insists he made the $25,000 contribution because of his respect for Bondi. The donation came from the Trump Foundation which is a violation in and of itself. Charities can't 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.


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.


BERMAN: All right. One more twist according to "The Washington Post". Trump accountants actually misreported the donation, which led to even more confusion. Trump ended paying an IRS fine, a $2,500 fine last week because of the ban on charities making political donations.

KOSIK: 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 told reporters Monday that he now plans to participate in all the debates.


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.


KOSIK: Trump says he likes and respects the chosen moderators. And they're going to be NBC's Lester Holt, CNN's Anderson Cooper, ABC's Martha Raddatz, and Chris Wallace from FOX.

[04:35:04] Hillary Clinton has been committed to the debate schedule since early August.

BERMAN: Today, Hillary Clinton heads to Tampa for a campaign event focused on national security. The secretary will be flying to Florida on the campaign plane, it's a 737.

It is also the first time she has been carrying a traveling press corps. That began yesterday. Secretary Clinton had been under fire for not holding a news conference, a full news conference in nearly 9 months. But she did take questions from reporters in flight.

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



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.


KOSIK: OK, Suzanne. Thank you.

And Suzanne mentioned the coughing spells that seemed to really annoy Hillary Clinton through the day on Monday, one of them that came as she began a speech in Ohio. She actually laughed it off by kind of pulling a Donald Trump. Listen to this.



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


KOSIK: Actually one of the funnier jokes we've heard from around the campaign trail. Trump's campaign manager Kellyanne Conway was ready to fire back with something of her own, pointing to the long stretch since Clinton's last news conference. Conway tweeted this, "Must be allergic to the media. Finally spent a minute with them."

BERMAN: All right. Fresh off their summer break, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are revisiting the president's request for an almost $2 billion aid package to battle Zika. The Senate is expected to vote on funding as soon as tonight. The illness linked to birth defects and being transmitted by mosquitoes already now in Florida and prompted a health emergency in Puerto Rico as well. Congress has less than a month to fund the federal government now to avoid a shutdown.

KOSIK: All right. Time for an early start on your money. Seeing a lot of green arrows around the world right now. Asian shares closed mostly higher. European markets are mostly higher. And the U.S. stock market back in action again after being closed for the Labor Day holiday.

Right now, we are seeing futures pointing to a slightly higher open this morning. Oil prices jumping on hopes that Saudi Arabia and Russia have agreed, at least rich to an agreement to work together. Prices jumped 3 percent on Monday and are now just sitting above $45 a barrel.

The two major oil producers say they may limit output in the future. That raises hopes that other big OPEC nations may freeze production as well. The world is awash in oil and any hope of tackling the global supply glut will send prices higher.

Now, oil prices have risen from the $26 per barrel low it hit back in February, but are still down more than 50 percent since 2014. Interesting how you watch the manipulation of oil prices. It is all about the adage of supply and demand.

BERMAN: All right. An apology overnight for President Obama from a world leader who called a son of a whore. What is going on? Will these two leaders meet?

The controversial spell now on the president's crucial overseas trip. That's next.


KOSIK: Breaking overnight: 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. has condemned the attacks.

BERMAN: Problem with British airways computer check-in stem is causing big delays at U.S. airports like San Francisco and Boston. There are also reports of problems in Bahamas and Mexico as well. Airlines officials say I.T. teams are working to fix the problem as quickly as possible. They are apologizing to customers for the long lines.

[04:45:01] It is not clear just how many flights at this point have been affected.

KOSIK: 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 the two sides agreed to keep on negotiating.

CNN senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen following all the developments. He's live for us in Moscow.

So, this is a little confusing. We heard coming out of the G20 that there wasn't any kind of a deal and now there seems to be something on the table. What were the differences then and what has been resolved?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it doesn't seem as though everything has been resolved. It certainly seems there are differences there. It is interesting. You have a different read on things coming out of Washington and then coming out of here in Moscow.

U.S. President Obama was saying he thinks there are issues of mutual trust prevents agreement from happening at this point in time. But Russian Leader Vladimir Putin then did come forward in a press conference yesterday after that 90-minute meeting with President Obama and said, he thinks both leaders talked about the problems they still have with the negotiations still going on. But he also said that he believes a deal could happen very quickly.

And then he said he believe it could happen within the next couple of days. Now, both the U.S. and Russia acknowledge they say that the negotiations are so important that they want them to be pressed forward as fast as possible and the Russians are saying there could be a meeting between Secretary of State Kerry and the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov within the next couple of days. The big thing pulling the both sides apart at this point is first of all, the terms of the cease-fire.

But then also, a cease-fire would also entail the Russians and the U.S. coordinating their efforts to fight terrorist organizations like ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra on the ground in Syria. And it really at this point, it is unclear which targets to hit. So, both sides still quite far apart on a lot of points. But again, it seems as though the Russians believe a deal could happen quite quickly.

Of course, all of this happening during G20, you had this "Washington Post" report that came out about fears in the U.S. about possible large scale plan to mess with the U.S. elections by the Russians. Russians themselves are not commenting on that. But apparently, there was talk between Vladimir Putin and President Obama about cyber hacking in general, where President Obama made clear to the Russians that the last thing that he wants right now is some sort of escalation in cyber hacking efforts from all sides.

So, he really told the Russians to tone it down, making that very clear. It is unclear, however, whether they talked about the DNC case in general.

KOSIK: What about because there are negotiations under way, what about the likelihood of getting a pause in the violence to get humanitarian aid in Syria?

PLEITGEN: Well, that's one of the things that would be terms of the cease-fire as well. Say technicalities need to be worked out. First of all, what are the terms of the cease-fire? How long would a cease- fire hold?

You recall that in the past, there have been localized cease-fires, and they held together for a couple of days in some cases, it did take a couple of weeks. So, the big question is, how long would a cease- fire hold and which regions would it cover? And when the cease-fire is in place, how do you get humanitarian access to places like Aleppo for instance which since Sunday once again has been circled by Bashar al Assad's forces? Now, the Russians are saying they think they could provide security for humanitarian corridors, for humanitarian goods to go into Aleppo. The U.S. is not confident about that at this point, still wants to know more about the terms.

So, there are still a lot of things, a lot -- what both sides call technicalities, but they seem to be pretty major technicalities that still seem to be worked out. The other thing the U.S. said, they said, look, in the past, things were agreed upon and they say, some of those things, the Russians sort of walked back from that. It's unclear what exactly those things are, but it seems as though the negotiations still influx and sort of moving as the negotiations going on.

But again, both sides saying with the suffering in Syria the way it is, many people saying worse than it has been since the civil war started six years ago, it is imperative for both sides to move forward to really try and reach an agreement. That's one of the things that President Obama made clear at his press conference after meeting Vladimir Putin there in China.

KOSIK: And that is something that all sides, I think, can agree on.

All right. Fred Pleitgen, thanks so much.

So, what would it mean if you could update your own car software just like your iPhone? We'll get an early start on your money, next.

BERMAN: I didn't know my car had software.

KOSIK: I know. You know what --


[04:53:49]BERMAN: President Obama is in Laos this morning for a summit of Southeast Asian leaders. He is he first sitting U.S. president to visit Laos. Today, the president announced $90 million in aid to erase one of the last tragic legacies of the Vietnam War.

And he's also making headlines for abruptly cancelling a scheduled meeting with the president of the Philippines who says he now regrets that his recent obscenity-laced comments came across as an attack against the U.S. president.

CNN's Michelle Kosinski live from Laos this morning.

Good morning, Michelle.


Yes, you know, you don't see this happen very often, especially in the cases, this is when every leader is on their best behavior to try to, you know, find common ground with whoever they are meeting with. And Duterte, the president of the Philippines, has made controversial statements before, plenty of the. But what he said yesterday to reporters surprised even the White House. He was asked, well, what if President Obama brings up the vigilante style killings of the thousands of people involved in drug cases in Philippines over the last few months. And Duterte starting using profanity and said, you know, who is President Obama to bring it up in this kind of forum and said he would curse him if he brought it up.

[04:55:06] Well, those comments put the White House over the edge. They canceled the meeting saying that those words were a clear indication this was not the right time to try to have a constructive meeting, going a step further saying it would be a disservice to the Filipino people to meet with their leader at this time. That prompted Duterte today to apologize. He says he regrets that those words were taken as a personal attack on President Obama. But he says he wants that meeting to happen in the future.

Today, though, President Obama is focused on speaking to the Laotian people about trying to remove unexploded bombs. We're talking some 80 million of them dating back to the Vietnam War.

Here is some of what he said today.


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.


KOSINSKI: President Obama is going to meet with some of those victims, in fact, tomorrow and you think about during nine years during the Vietnam War, the U.S. dropped about 200 million bombs on Laos. And casualties continue to this day. Now, President Obama will spend $90 million over the next three years to try to find those remaining bombs and remove them -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Michelle Kosinski for us in Laos this morning, this is an historic trip there. So, thanks for that report.

Conservative political activist Phyllis Schlafly has died. She was the founder of the Eagle Forum. She spent decades as a leading critic of feminism and gay rights.

Schlafly is well-known for her fierce opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment of the 1970s. She was politically active right up until recently. She endorsed Donald Trump for president.

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

KOSIK: All right. Let's get an early start or your money.

We are seeing a lot of green arrows around the world right now. Asian shares closed mostly higher. European markets are mixed. The U.S. stock market will be back in action again after being close for the Labor Day holiday. Right now, we are seeing futures pointing to a slightly higher opening.

The company's whose satellite was destroyed in the rocket explosion last week will get $50 million or a free flight as compensation. The Spacecom satellite was blown to pieces when the SpaceX rocket exploded at a launch site in Florid last week. Spacecom has been hit hard in the aftermath of the explosion. Its shares dropping 9 percent on Thursday. Trading was then suspended and the stock plunged another 34 percent when trading resumed.

OK, like your smartphone, your car may get regular software updates to fix problems, and add new features. Tesla already does this. But more carmakers are likely to follow in its footsteps. A company studies technology trends and it says one-third of the defects that lead to recalls can be fixed with an over the air software update. Savings drivers time because right now when you need an update, guess what, you have to drive in to the dealer.

BERMAN: It's so hard. There is nothing you can do on your own to fix it when it goes wrong. Not like you can open the hood.

All right. EARLY START continues right now.


BERMAN: Big campaign developments in the air. Donald Trump in what seems like a new position on legal status for undocumented immigrants. We will tell you what he says now versus what he said five days ago.

KOSIK: And not to be outdone. Hillary Clinton taking flight with reporters for the first time during her campaign. Under barrage of criticism for not talking to the press, Clinton actually did take questions. Her answers coming up.

BERMAN: President Obama speaking overnight in Laos. This is part of his crucial overseas Asian trip. In the meantime, what a diplomatic spat with another leader, a leader who seemed to call the president a son of a whore. We'll have updates on that, too.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

KOSIK: Good morning. I'm Alison Kosik. It is Tuesday, September 6th. It's 5:00 a.m. in the East.

And this morning, Donald Trump has taken another sharp turn on immigration, flying between campaign stops in Ohio, the Republican nominee allowed a small media pool on his plane for the first time. They asked Trump whether he might support a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants and turning his back on the hard line policy he laid down only a week ago. Trump said he would not rule that out.