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Obama Stumps for Hillary Clinton; Fragile Ceasefire in Syria Holding; Hackers Target World Anti-Doping Agency. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired September 14, 2016 - 04:30   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: 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.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Much needed humanitarian aid still not reaching hundreds of thousands of civilians in Syria, nearly two days into the tenuous cease-fire.

[04:30:05] Officials confirming there has been a significant drop in violence. Still, security is not guaranteed.

ROMANS: Russian hackers breaking into the World Anti-Doping Agency's database, leaking medical records from U.S. Olympic stars. Simone Biles and Venus and Serena Williams, and now threatening to release even more records.

HOWELL: This hack is continuing (ph).

ROMANS: Yes, they do.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell. Thirty minutes past the hour.

And new developments this morning on Hillary Clinton's recovery from pneumonia, her campaign announcing that she does plan to return to the stump tomorrow. Clinton spent Tuesday resting at home, receiving "get well" flowers and catching up on reading, reading books that is, making phone calls and watching President Obama campaigned 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.


HOWELL: Three reallys there.

The president hitting the campaign trail with an intensity reminiscent of his energy in 2008 and 2012. Defending Hillary Clinton, saying she's being held to an unfair standard, while hammering away at Trump. The president also slammed the media for creating false equivalents between the two candidates saying, you can't grade the presidency on a curve.

CNN's Michelle Kosinski was in Philadelphia and has more.



Right. So, 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.


ROMANS: The president is just itching, George, to get out on the campaign trail, right? I mean, he seemed like he was really in his element yesterday.

HOWELL: Really fired up.

ROMANS: His poll numbers are going up, right?

HOWELL: Yes, 58 percent I believe.

ROMANS: Fifty-eight percent. And economic numbers are starting to look better, too. So, he's got kind of, you know, the wind at his back here. Let's talk about those economic numbers that are getting better.


ROMANS: Because we've got this number. The middle class finally getting a raise. Median household income in the U.S. jumping 5.2 percent last year.

This according to an annual report from the Census Department. The average now above $56,000. Stagnant wages have been a major criticism of the Obama economy until now.

Here's other numbers. The percentage of Americans in poverty is shrinking, 13.5 percent in 2015. That's a drop from the previous year. You can see there are 3.5 million fewer people in poverty.

Some of them pulled out due to a program of food stamps. But 33 million are living in frankly, you still have a too high of a number of people who are single parent head of household, still in poverty, a lot of work to be done there. More people have health insurance, just 9.1 percent of Americans are uninsured.

Campaigning for Hillary Clinton yesterday, President Obama used the solid report to reflect on his economic achievements.


OBAMA: More Americans are working. More have health insurance, incomes are rising. Poverty is falling. And gas is $2 a gallon. I didn't even -- thank you for reminding me. Thanks, Obama.


ROMANS: He even threw up his own card. It was not on the tip of his tongue.

One big negative in that report from Census. Women still make 80 cent to every dollar a man makes.

[04:35:00] It's so interesting on the campaign trail, George, you heard Donald Trump one of his big statistics and talking points has been this idea that $4,000, the average family has lost $4,000 in income since Obama took office since the recession. Well, that's not true anymore. You can see the numbers are now telling a different story. After several years of improving job growth, wages -- family income is rising.

HOWELL: But it's the perception that Trump has that some people hope he's able to capitalize on.

ROMANS: Absolutely. These are people who are working, right?

If you're still left behind, if you're not working, these numbers are sort of, quote, "cold comfort". But I think poverty too high but going in the right direction. Family incomes going up and now, you got a discussion in the campaign trail of how to support working families, which is a discussion that, look, everyone welcomes.

HOWELL: A popular president taking these numbers right out to the voters and using it to defend Hillary Clinton.

Donald Trump's health also in the spotlight and the issue of transparency, as he sits down for an interview with Dr. Oz. That show is set to air tomorrow. Oz told FOX that he will ask Trump what he called pointed questions, but also won't delve into areas where Trump wants privacy. Listen.


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.


HOWELL: Oz also said that he won't talk about anyone else on the show, especially not Hillary Clinton. Her health has drawn the spotlight after she was seen here stumbling at the Ground Zero memorial service and the fact that she was diagnosed with pneumonia two days before that.

After the taping with Dr. Oz, Trump flies to the battleground states of Michigan and Ohio.

Last night, Trump was in Pennsylvania, another swing state unveiling his child care plan, this time introduced by his daughter Ivanka who helped craft that 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.

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: Thanks, Sara.

You know, the discussion about more support for working families is something that is really needed in this country. The six weeks paid maternal leave out of unemployment benefits. Some are saying that doesn't go far enough. That's tapping a different kind of safety net program for something you want to really encourage companies to offer this. Will that discourage companies from offering maternity leave if it becomes a government issue?

Also, you know, in industrialized nations, the average maternity leave is 17 weeks' paid. We're still, even when we're talking about progress with this country on paid maternity leave and help for families, the bar is way down here compared to other countries.

HOWELL: This is not typically a Republican issue.

ROMANS: You're right.

HOWELL: The burning question, and Sara got to the heart of it, how are you going to pay for it?

ROMANS: Yes, how will you pay for? Well, we're going to hear more from him on Thursday about other economic proposals.

Also new this morning, former Secretary Colin Powell is calling Donald Trump a national disgrace and an international pariah. Powell's explosive condemnation revealed in leaked private emails obtained by the website DC Leaks, 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 that these e-mails are authentic. Publicly, Secretary Powell has mostly avoided talking about Donald Trump.

HOWELL: New York's attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, tells CNN that he's looking into Trump's charitable foundation. Letters CNN obtained from the source show Schneiderman's office asking about $25,000 donation Trump's foundation made to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's campaign in 2013. Days later, Pam Bondi's office decided against joining Eric Schneiderman in a case against Trump University.

Both Trump and Bondi said it was not tied to any favors. The IRS fines Trump $2,500 for using a nonprofit foundation to make a political gift.

ROMANS: Guccifer 2.0, the hacker who breached the Democratic National Committee and forced the resignation of Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has just released more documents that reveal about donor, detailing about the 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 any damaging emails or memos in this latest document dump.

HOWELL: Five years of a terrible bloody and calm seems to be settling over Syria, nearly two country's cease-fire. But major obstacles are still standing in the way of providing aid to the people who need it. CNN, live in Syria, next.


[04:45:26] ROMANS: We are well into the second day of a fragile cease-fire in Syria. So far, that truce appears to be holding but desperately needed has not reached hundreds of thousands of civilians caught in the cross fire of a bloody civil is war. Agencies are ready to deliver food, water, medicine, but first guarantees of security from all party involved in the conflicts.

CNN international correspondent Fred Pleitgen tracking developments live in Syria.

Certainly, you want that aid to get to the people who need it so desperately, Fred.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely, Christine. At the same time, we know it's a really tedious process, before on some of these aid convoys that were trying to go into besieged areas in the past, it's always been very, very difficult. On the one hand, the U.N. has to negotiate with a lot of remember groups and pro-government groups to try to get security guarantees for those convoys to actually make to their destination.

Just getting, for instance, into Aleppo, you have to secure there are secure corridors into that town that is, of course, completely surround by Syrian government forces. At the same time, the Syrian government has said that no convoys are allowed to go into besieged areas without the express consent of the Syrian government and the United States nations, especially convoys originating from Turkey.

If we look at Aleppo, that's very close to the Turkish border, so that's where the U.S. wants to bring in aid from. So, that is a major concern. One of the things that we've seen in the past, the government wanting to inspect these convoys that have issues with some of items, especially medical equipment and medicine and other items. That caused massive holdup.

On the other hand, you are correct. So far, the truce seems to be effective. They're very cautiously optimistic. They hope that the cease-fire will last. They hope that the U.S. and Russia can work together to make it last to cooperate against ISIS. But at the same time, of course, in the past six years they've been disappointed so many times by the international community, by their own politicians. So, no one is getting overly optimistic at this point in time, even though it's a lot more calm than I've ever seen since coming here to report in the past three years, Christine.

ROMANS: Yes. I know. All right. Thanks so much for that report, Fred. We'll continue to check in with you as developments warrant.

All right. To business news right now, the CEO of Wells Fargo said he's sorry to customers, apologizing, but he's not going to step down from that fake account scandal that is still rocking the bank. We're in the early innings of the Wells Fargo, folks. We'll get an early start on your money, next.


[04:52:09] ROMANS: Welcome back to EARLY START this morning.

Russian hackers are believed to be behind a cyber attack on the World Anti-Doping Agency, exposing medical records of well-known American athletes including tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams and Olympic gymnast Simone Biles. The hackers allege that the U.S. athletes tested positive for doping but the agency dismisses those claims.

The attack could be retaliation for Russian Olympians being banned from the Rio Games for doping.

CNN's Matthew Chance is following these developments for us. He's live in Moscow.

Good morning, Matthew.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christine, hi. That's right. There's been quite a scandal as a result of these hacking disclosures. The latest coming from alleged Russian anonymous hacking groups. WADA, which is the World Anti-Doping Agency said that it's been informed by local agencies that the attack originated from Russia. And they issued a very strong statement letting it be known that the criminal acts are greatly compromising the effort of the global anti-doping community to establish trust again in Russia.

And, of course, that comes from the fact as you mentioned that Russian Paralympians and Russian track and field athletes Olympian athletes were all banned from the games in Rio this year, because of allegations of state-sponsored doping. Now, there's been a response already by several of the athletes who have been named in the United States, by this hacking disclosure. Simone Biles, of course, a four- time medal winner, gold inner in the Rio Games just a few weeks ago saying she has ADHD and has taken medicine since a kid. This is a tweet she put out earlier. Fair play, she continues, is critical to sport and very important to you.

So, the crucial issue here on the part of the American athletes involved including the Williams sisters is that they did take these substances but they did so within the framework that was allowed. They got exceptions because of medical conditions. And that essentially is a distinction between what they did and what the Russian athletes were accused of doing and ban from the Olympic Games because of. And so, yes, still a very controversial situation has emerged here.

ROMANS: Matthew, what is the reaction from the Russian side to this? What are the Russians saying?

CHANCE: Well, the Russians have obviously denied these. But the spokesman of the Kremlin saying there's absolutely no question of the Russian state or Russian security forces being involved in this. They do have a degree of deniability, Christine, because there isn't any concrete evidence that these hacking groups, this one known as Fancy Bear. There's another that's termed Cozy Bear, as well by the researchers of the incident, alleged to be linked with the Russian security services, there's no real concrete evidence, no smoking gun that it was them.

But there is substantial evidence, not the least of which is the fact that the targets they pursue are political economics. Nobody is trying to empty your bank account. And the targets seem to be aligned with the Russian political agenda. So, they're not targeting the friends of Russia. They're targeting the perceived enemies of Russia. And circumstantially, researchers say that points to a Russian origin.

ROMANS: Interesting.

All right. Matthew Chance for us in Moscow, thank you so much for that, Matthew.

HOWELL: The strongest super typhoon of the year is now barreling towards China and Taiwan, forcing evacuations there. Super typhoon Meranti is packing 200-mile-an-hour gusts and torrential rains along with it. Chinese media report schools and offices in southern Taiwan are closed. And hundreds of flights cancelled. Authorities in Taiwan reporting several people injured and 260 people without power. Meranti is expected to hit the mainland China later this morning.

ROMANS: You can see the person on the moped just getting knocked right over, trying to get on his or her way.

Tropical storm set to bring heavy rains to Northeast Florida. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has the latest on that.


PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: George and Christine, you look at the storm system, this is the next tropical storm system formed very quickly within 24 hours to what is now tropical storm Julia, 50-mile- an-hour sustained winds and 35-mile-per-hour gusts. So, it's certainly going to be a rough day around parts of the Southeast, from Jacksonville, out towards Savannah, certainly to places even like Charleston going to get heavy rainfall out of this over the next several hours.

Notice the concentration across the low country of South Carolina. Inches, some areas 6 inches possible and really going to be a dangerous go on the coast there in the next several hours. But the storm system will eventually rain itself out. So, it's going to be a shot-lived pattern.

To the Northeast, you want this to be short-lived as well, right? Washington, a 94 degree day. Boston going from the 80s to the 60s in just 24 hours. Even in Bangor, Maine, go from 80, down to 70 degrees. We do have a cold front want to push across this region and it will make for a spectacular weekend across parts of the Northeast -- guys.


ROMANS: All right. Pedram, thanks for that.

Let's get an early start on your money now. That eerily calm summer is officially gone. The Dow has lost in three sessions. Futures mixed. You can see oil is up.

Just take a look. Stocks plunged Friday on worries the fed might raise rates soon. The market then bounced back Monday. Investors butting comments from the fed needing to raise rates. Then, stocks tumbled Tuesday as oil prices sunk. The Dow dropping 258 points. Energy stocks taking a big hit.

The CEO of Wells Fargo says he's sorry. He's sorry for the fake account scandal but he's not stepping down.

John Stumpf in his first public appearance as the controversy broke says this, "We deeply regret a situation where a customer got a product they didn't request. The buck stops with all of us, including me. I'm the leader. The best thing I can do is lead the company, lead the company forward", end quote.

There is one executive leaving, but that's only escalating criticism of the bank. The executive charged with the scandal is retiring with a $124 million pay package. Meantime, 53 managers and supervisors of those managers have been fired. The bank is ending that structure of sales goals that fueled the scandal as employees could boost their own pay by hitting the sales target.

The next stop for the CEO is Congress, where he will testify in front of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and the Senate Banking Committee. She told CNN last week, quote, "This was a staggering fraud."

Investors are dumping the stock. Shares fell 3 percent yesterday, down more than 6 percent since the scandal broke, down 13 percent this year. By market cap, it's now the second largest bank. The rival JPMorgan Chase is now number one.

The CEO also declined to say if he's talked to billionaire investor Warren Buffett, his company Berkshire Hathaway is the Wells Fargo's largest shareholder.

And I think, George, this is the very beginning.

HOWELL: This is a big story.

ROMANS: There's going to be a lot of pressure and the reason why the stock is down, a big part of the company's business model is, you know, you come on board with a banking account, you get a mortgage and there are all of these other products to sell. That's what's been driving sort of a business model. And in this case, critics say created this culture of cheating.

So, now, what is the business model of the company going to be if it's going to end those sales targets?

HOWELL: Well, is an apology, sorry, enough?

ROMANS: For shareholders, they need more than sorry, because they're losing money.


EARLY START continues right.


ROMANS: President Obama calling Donald Trump unfit for the presidency, hitting Trump with attack after attack. As Trump unveils his child care plan that he and his daughter Ivanka put together.

HOWELL: Nearly two days into Syria's cease-fire, peace there seems to be holding but desperately needed humanitarian aid, it's still not reaching the hundreds of thousands of civilians who need it.

ROMANS: Simone Biles, Venus and Serena Williams all hacked.