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President Obama: Trump Unfit for Presidency; Fragile Ceasefire in Syria Holding; Hackers Target World Anti-Doping Agency. Aired 4- 4:30a ET

Aired September 14, 2016 - 04:00   ET


[04:00:13] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: President Obama calling Donald Trump unfit for the presidency, hitting him with attack after attack. Meantime, Donald Trump unveils the child care plan that he and his daughter put together.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Nearly two days into Syria's ceasefire, and peace seems to be holding, but desperate needed humanitarian aid is still not reaching hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians.

HOWELL: Simone Biles, Venus and Serena Williams all have been hacked. Russian hackers breaking into the World Anti-Doping Agency's database, stealing and releasing medical date from these huge Olympic stars.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm George Howell.

ROMANS: Nice to see you this morning, again, George.

I'm Christine Romans. It is Wednesday, September 14th. It is 4:00 a.m. in the East.

New developments this morning on Hillary Clinton's recovery from pneumonia. Her campaign announcing she will return to the stump tomorrow. She spent Tuesday resting at home, receiving "get well" flowers, catching up on her reading, reading books, that is. Making phone calls and watching President Obama campaign for her in Philadelphia.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is not me going through the motions here. I really, really, really want to elect Hillary Clinton.


ROMANS: That's four -- five reallys.

President Obama hitting the trail with an energy familiar from 2008 to 2012, vigorously defending Clinton, saying she's being held to an unfair standard. And he hammered Donald Trump. The president also slammed the media for creating false equivalence between the two candidates, saying you can't grave the presidency on a curve. CNN's Michelle Kosinski was in Philadelphia. She's got more for us

this morning.



Right, President Obama stood at the Philadelphia Art Museum, steps here, yes, the ones from "Rocky", and he quickly showed he was here not just to support Hillary Clinton, but to punch back against Donald Trump repeatedly and directly, calling her by name, which he doesn't always do.

And he got specific, too, including Trump's praising of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Listen.

OBAMA: Think about what's happened it to the Republican Party, right? They used to be opposed to Russia and authoritarianism, and fighting for democracy. And now, their nominee is out there praising a guy, saying he's a strong leader because he invades smaller countries, jails his opponents, controls the press and drives his economy into a long recession.

And when they interview or ask him, why do you support this guy? He's a strong guy. Look, he's got an 82 percent poll rating. Well, yes, Saddam Hussein had a 90 percent poll rating.

KOSINKI: The president didn't hold back. I mean, he called out the Republican Party, saying that they're fanning resentment and blame. He also called out Trump for his knowledge, his business dealings, even his charity work and said he was hiding his tax return.

I mean, this is more of what we can expect from President Obama who is expected to spend much more time on the campaign trail when his schedule allows next month -- George and Christine.


HOWELL: Michelle Kosinski, thank you.

The health of the Republican nominee and his transparency are on the topic -- also on the spotlight. Donald Trump sits down for an interview with Dr. Oz. That show will air tomorrow.

Dr. Oz told FOX News that he will ask Trump what he called pointed questions but also won't delve into areas where Trumps wants privacy.


DR. MEHMET OZ, THE DOCTOR OZ SHOW: It's his decision. You know, look, the metaphor for me is it's a doctor's office, the studio. So, I'm not going to ask questions he doesn't want to have answered. If he puts limitation, I'll acknowledge them.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HOWELL: Oz also said that he won't talk about anyone else on that show except Donald Trump, not Hillary Clinton. Her health has been on the spotlight after she was seen stumbling at Ground Zero here, at that memorial service, and the announcement that she have been diagnosed with pneumonia two days earlier. After the taping with Dr. Oz, Trump flies to the battleground states of Michigan and Ohio.

Last night, he was in another swing state, Pennsylvania, to unveil his child care program. Trump was introduced by his daughter Ivanka who helped draft that child care proposal.

CNN's Sara Murray is with the Trump campaign and has the very latest for us.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Good morning, George and Christine.

Donald Trump traveled here to the suburbs of Philadelphia, to make his case to women and to suburban voters, the kind of people he's going to need to win if he hopes to win Pennsylvania come November. And he made a pitch for a few more public policy proposals. He said he's going to push for six more weeks of paid maternity leave for women who don't already receive that benefit through their employers.

[04:05:06] And he also announced a new set of child care subsides. This is, of course, designed to offset the cost of child care not just for families who both parents are working, but also for families who have a stay at home parent. Now, his daughter Ivanka Trump joined him on the campaign trail to help make this pitch and Trump insisted that all of these plans will be paid for.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: This maternal leave will be paid straight out of the unemployment insurance plan. And again, the safety net will be completely paid for through savings within the program. There are more reforms and solutions in our child care plan, and you can review them all on the website.

On Thursday, I will outline my full economic plan, which is completely paid for through economic growth and proposed federal budget savings. It's going to be something special like this country hasn't seen in many, many decades.


MURRAY: But you see there, he's not offering a whole lot of detail yet on how he's going to pay for it. That should come Thursday in an economic speech we're expecting in New York.

Back to you, guys.


ROMANS: That will be certainly interesting. Let's dig a little bit deeper -- thanks, Sara, for that. Let's dig

deeper into Trump's child care plan. Trump now has three main proposals for working families.

First, women whose employers do not offer paid maternal leave. They could claim six weeks of unemployment benefits. So, jobless benefits on that, for those six weeks, while they're out of work. Critics say this leaves out fathers.

Second, Trump will create a dependent care savings account program, getting a tax break for anyone who set aside up to $2,000 a year to cover costs associated with child care and elder care.

Finally, parents could deduct the average cost of child care in their state, based on their child's age.

Some economists worry that these kinds of proposals invite employers to drop their paid maternity leave policies, and as one puts it, stick it to the taxpayer instead.

The big question, how does Trump plan to pay for all of this? The campaign estimates the program would cost about $2.5 billion a year. It would fund that by ridding the unemployment insurance system of fraud, that's what the campaign says, which it values at $3.4 billion a year in fraud.

HOWELL: New this morning, the former Secretary Colin Powell is calling Donald Trump a national disgrace and an international pariah. Powell's explosive condemnation revealed in leak private emails obtained by the website DC Leaks and then first reported on BuzzFeed. In that same email from mid-June, Powell says Trump, quote, "is in the process of destroying himself, no need for the Dems, the Democrats, to attack him."

A Powell spokesperson has confirmed the authenticity of the e-mails. Publicly, Secretary Powell has mostly avoided talking about Donald Trump.

ROMANS: All right. New York's attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, tells CNN he's looking into Trump's charitable foundation. Letters CNN obtained from the source shows Schneiderman's office asking about $25,000 donation Trump's foundation made to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's campaign in 2013.

Just two days later, Bondi decided against joining Schneiderman in a fraud case against Trump University. Both Trump and Bondi have said the money was not tied to any favors. The IRS fines Trump $2,500 for using a nonprofit foundation to make a political gift.

HOWELL: The hacker who breached the Democratic National Committee and forced the resignation of Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has just released more DNC documents. This time, Guccifer 2.0 has made public the financial records, the personal info of donors, details about the DNC's I.T. infrastructure and memos from Hillary Clinton's running mate, Tim Kaine, from his days as governor of Virginia. There do not appear to be damaging e-mails or memos in the latest data breach. ROMANS: All right. Eight minutes after the hour.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians still waiting for humanitarian aid in Syria, nearly two days into that country's fragile cease-fire. We are live on the ground in Syria, next.


[04:13:09] HOWELL: Welcome back to EARLY START.

We are well into the second day of a fragile cease-fire in Syria, so far, the truce appears to be holding there. But desperately needed humanitarian aid has yet to reach hundreds of thousands of civilians there caught in the crossfire of that bloody civil war. Several different agencies are ready to start delivering food, water and medicine. But, first, they need guarantees of security from all of the parties involved in the conflict.

Our senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen is live in Damascus Syria, following developments there.

Fred, good morning to you.

What more do we know about what's holding up that process?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's an extremely complicated process that's going on here. There's several things. On the one hand, there's those security guarantees you've been talking about, of course not just from the civilian government but various factions as well. The U.N., for wants to have some of these convoys originate from Turkey, because that's actually as close as they can get to Aleppo to get the convoys in there.

However, the Syrian government says that no convoy will enter Syrian territory and certainly not those besieged areas without the express consent of the Syrian government and the United Nations, especially convoys originating from Turkey. So, you have a lot of bureaucratic holdup, on the one hand. And then you have a lot of security holdup on the other hand.

The U.N. negotiating with various factions to make sure they guest past them and also from the Syrian government, to make sure they get a corridor that actually leads into Aleppo. And, you know, these holdups can be very long and very tedious. You have, for instance, the Syrian authorities who want to inspect all these convoys. They want to know exactly what's on them. They'll have issues with the items that will be on them. And that alone can hold these things up for hours, if not for days.

So, the U.N. is working very hard. Meanwhile, as you said, the cease- fire, at least for a time being seems to be holding.

[04:15:02] We are getting some reports of breaches especially in the Aleppo area which is, of course, one of the most contested and one of the most violent areas before that ceasefire took hold. But by and large, the U.N. says there has been a significant decrease in violence, George.

HOWELL: The Syrian government wanting some control on what goes into those different areas.

Our senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen live in Damascus -- Fred, thank you for the reporting.

ROMANS: The White House is thinking about increasing the number of refugees allowed into the United States in 2017 to at least 110,000. That represents a 57 percent increase since 2015. The administration's refugee policy has been a divisive issue on the campaign trail, of course. Donald Trump calling for a temporary ban. Hillary Clinton calling for the opposite, a 600 percent increase in Syrian refugees accepted.

HOWELL: The former president and prime minister of Israel, Shimon Peres, is sedated and on a respirator this morning. This after suffering a stroke, presently listed in critical but stable condition. The 93-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner suffered significant bleeding and will undergo several more evaluations in the coming hours. Perez retired from public office back in 2014 after serving seven terms as president. He's been involved in Israeli politics for more than half a century.

ROMANS: All right. Russian hackers breaking into the World Anti- Doping Agency's database, stealing and revealing major medical records from major U.S. Olympic stars. We will hear Simone Biles' response, next.


[04:21:00] HOWELL: A cyber attack on the World Anti-Doping Agency and Russian hackers are suspected, in this case, exposing the medical records of well-known American athletes from tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams to Olympic gymnast Simone Biles and many more. The hackers alleged the U.S. athletes tested positive for doping. The agency though dismisses those claims.

CNN's Matthew Chance is following developments live in Moscow this hour.

Matthew, good morning to you. Some feel that this could be retaliation for Russian Olympians who were banned for doping from the Rio Games.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, the allegation, George, is, of course, this anonymous hacking group which has called itself, which has been termed rather "Fancy Bears" is backed by the Russian security services, the secret services and has a military, kind of security origin here in Russia.

In fact, the World Anti-Doping Agency issued a statement after they confirmed that this hack had taken place, saying that they've been informed by law enforcement authorities that the attacks originated out of Russia. "Let it be known," they say, "that these criminal acts are greatly compromising the efforts of the global anti-doping agency to establish trust in Russia." Of course, that's a reference to the fact that Russian athletes, that track and field athletes were banned from Olympic Games, all of them, and all the Paralympic athletes were banned from the Paralympic Games as well.

So, there's an ax to grind in Russia and when it comes to anti-doping authorities. Having said that, the Kremlin have distanced themselves from these allegations and from this hack. A spokesman for the Kremlin has said without hesitation, any involvement on such actions on the part of the Russian state is absolutely out of the question.

And so, as they've done in the past, the Russian government has distanced themselves from this hack. Saying it has nothing to do with their security services.

HOWELL: Specifically pointing out that the state now involved.

Matthew Chance live for us in Moscow -- Matthew, thank you for the reporting.

ROMANS: Amnesty International and the ACLU set to launch a campaign urging President Obama to pardon Edward Snowden. The fugitive NSA leaker is expected to appear at a news conference on a video link from Russia. He's living in exile in Russia.

The president has said as Snowden's leak of government surveillance data damaged the U.S., and he should face charges if he returns to this country. The pardon campaign coincides with the release of the Oliver Stone film "Snowden" that hits authorities Friday.

HOWELL: Former Army intelligence officer Chelsea Manning could become the first to receive gender transition surgery while in prison. You'll remember that Manning is serving a 35-year sentence for giving classified information on U.S. military operations to WikiLeaks. Her attorneys say the government's refusal to treat her for gender dysphoria led to a suicide attempt in July. They say Manning just ended a hunger strike after the military has okayed her treatment.

ROMANS: All right. Twenty-three, twenty-four minutes past the hour.

Tropical storms set to bring heavy rains in northeast Florida. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has the latest for us.


PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: George and Christine, look at this pop-up storm system, really a surprise September storm, right, because this time yesterday, really just a disturbed area of tropical weather. And within this point, within just 16 hours, we now have a tropical storm Julia, sitting there with sustained winds at 40 miles per hour, certainly a gusty day around Jacksonville on to Savannah, eventually Charleston as well. And we do have tropical storm warnings have been issued across his coastal region of northern Florida and southern Georgia.

But there's the spin, clearly can take it out and just look at how much water is expected to push right through Charleston by this afternoon and to even tomorrow morning as well before the storm system dissipates. You could see easily two to four inches, in some areas, north of six inches of rainfall before this storm is done with.

Your Wednesday forecast, though, look at this, east coast, still pushing up into the 90s, 94 degrees out of Washington, D.C.

[04:25:03] Notice how the cooling trend has already been kind of restored across places like Chicago. That's coming our way. You can obviously see it around Chicago, around New York as well the next couple of days. And here it comes, the cold front that helps push Julia offshore as well. We get a nice dry couple of days across the Northeast -- guys.


ROMANS: All right. Thanks for that.

HOWELL: Pedram, thank you.

President Obama stumping for Hillary Clinton saying that he really, really, really -- really -- wants her win. Four reallys, Christine. And slamming Donald Trump for being unfit for president.

More as EARLY START continues.


ROMANS: President Obama outright dismissing the thought of Donald Trump becoming commander-in-chief, hitting him on everything from foreign policy, to domestic economics, as Donald Trump pitches his plan to make child care more affordable.

HOWELL: Much needed humanitarian aid still not reaching hundreds of thousands of civilians in Syria, nearly two days into the tenuous cease-fire. Officials confirming there has been a significant drop in violence.