Return to Transcripts main page


Obama Speaks at Shimon Peres Funeral; New Revelations About Trump Foundation; NJ Transit Train Crash in Hoboken. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired September 30, 2016 - 04:30   ET


[04:30:04] BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As Americans and Israelis, we often talk about the unbreakable bonds between our nations. And, yes, these bonds encompass common interests -- vital cooperation that makes both our nations more secure.

But today, we are reminded that the bonds which matter most run deeper. Anchored in a Judeo-Christian tradition, we believe in the irreducible value of every human being. Our nations were built on that idea. They were built in large part by stubborn idealists and striving immigrants, including those who had fled war and fled oppression.

Both our nations have flaws that we have not always fixed, corners of our history which date back to our founding that we do not always squarely address. But because our founders planted not just flags in the eternal soil, but also planted the seeds of democracy, we have the ability to always pursue a better world. We have the capacity to do what is right.

As an American, as a Christian, a person partly of African descent, born in Hawaii -- a place that could not be further than where Shimon spent his youth -- I took great pleasure in my friendship with this older, wiser man. We shared a love of words and books and history. And perhaps, like most politicians, we shared too great a joy in hearing ourselves talk.

But beyond that, I think our friendship was rooted in the fact that I could somehow see myself in his story, and maybe he could see himself in mine. Because for all of our differences, both of us had lived such unlikely lives. It was so surprising to see the two of us where we had started, talking together in the White House, meeting here in Israel. And I think both of us understood that we were here only because in some way we reflected the magnificent story of our nations.

Shimon's story, the story of Israel, the experience of the Jewish people, I believe it is universal. It's the story of a people who, over so many centuries in the wilderness, never gave up on that basic human longing to return home. It's the story of a people who suffered the boot of oppression and the shutting of the gas chamber's door, and yet never gave up on a belief in goodness. And it's the story of a man who was counted on, and then often counted out, again and again, and who never lost hope.

Shimon Peres reminds us that the state of Israel, like the United States of America, was not built by cynics. We exist because people before us refused to be constrained by the past or the difficulties of the present. And Shimon Peres was never cynical. It is that faith, that optimism, that belief -- even when all the evidence is to the contrary -- that tomorrow can be better, that makes us not just honor Shimon Peres, but love him.

[04:35:02] The last of the founding generation is now gone. Shimon accomplished enough things in his life for a thousand men. But he understood that it is better to live to the very end of his time on Earth with a longing not for the past but for the dreams that have not yet come true -- an Israel that is secure in a just and lasting peace with its neighbors. And so now, this work is in the hand of Israel's next generation, in the hands of Israel's next generation and its friends.

Like Joshua, we feel the weight of responsibility that Shimon seemed to wear so lightly. But we draw strength from his example and the fact that he believed in us -- even when we doubted ourselves.

Scripture tells us that before his death, Moses said, "I call upon heaven and earth to bear witness this day that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live."

Uvacharta Bachayim. Choose life. For Shimon, let us choose life, as he always did. Let us make his work our own. May God bless his memory. And may God bless this country, and this world, that he loved so dearly.

Shimon: Todah Rabah Chaver Yakar.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: A thoughtful, prayerful, soulful, personal address from President Obama on the passing of his friend, former Israeli president and prime minister, Shimon Peres. He said that Peres was the minister of justice and hope at the heart of the Zionist idea who saw the world as what it is and what it should be.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: You know, really, moving eulogy, a beautiful eulogy for Shimon Peres.

You know, interestingly enough, these two, President Obama and Shimon Peres. They shared a deep and genuine friendship. In fact, throughout the years of President Obama's presidency, the two men met almost every year in fact. 2012, President Obama giving Shimon Peres the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The friendship that President Obama talked about, their love of books together, their talks -- that's real.

BERMAN: And President Obama noted he is the tenth U.S. president to sit down with Shimon Peres. The last of the founding generation of Israel. The president also took the opportunity to try to goose Israel again in the peace process. He noted that Israel is not a nation built by cynics. He talked about the hope that Shimon never lost, that some kind of peace deal will be reached in that region. KOSIK: And he pointed out that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas

sitting at the funeral today, talking about unfinished business. Of course, speaking about the lasting peace.

BERMAN: Big moment in Israel. A big moment for President Obama. We're going to keep our eye on the service.

A lot more news today. We'll be right back.


[04:42:53] KOSIK: New revelations this morning about Donald Trump's charitable foundation. "The Washington Post" reporting that Trump Foundation never obtained a required certificate from the state of New York to solicit money from the public. This despite the foundation claiming to raise almost $1.7 million in donation, just for veterans groups this year alone.

The key word in determining whether the Trump Foundation broke the law is "solicit", whether the foundation asked for money.

For many years, Trump was the foundation's only donor, but since 2008, Trump hasn't given the foundation that bears his name a dime. While, according to "The Post", other donors have given more $4.3 million.

David Fahrenthold who broke the story in "The Post" told CNN's Anderson Cooper that by not registering, Trump may be avoiding a damaging audit.


DAVID FAHRENTHOLD, REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST (via telephone): If he had to register every year, he would have an independent auditor come through the books of the foundation, look at all the (INAUDIBLE). And specifically ask a question, did Donald Trump's foundation spend money that benefited Donald Trump in a way that it wasn't supposed to? We found a few allegations that it seems to have happened over the years. If it's required to go through these regular audits, it might have found it earlier.


KOSIK: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman declined to comment on whether he is investigating the foundation's lack of registration, but he's already launched a probe in the wake of the earlier "Washington Post" reports that the foundation made expenditures that benefitted Trump and his businesses. No comment yet from the Trump campaign.

BERMAN: Donald Trump is rejecting the notion that Hillary Clinton succeeded at the debate in luring Trump into attacking former Miss Universe Alicia Machado and other women.


REPORTER: Back in Monday's debate, going into that debate, a lot of people said that Hillary Clinton was going to try to bait you. And some people say maybe you took the bait. Would you be more disciplined maybe in the second debate?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't think I took the bait. You know, every online poll have me winning the debate. So, every single one of them, many of them. So, look, I found it to be an amazing experience actually.

[04:45:00] We had 88 million people or something around that number and I just found it to be an amazing experience.

No, I think we did well. I think I did -- you know, I'm very happy with the way it turned out.


BERMAN: You heard Donald Trump talking about online polls. They are not, in fact, polls. The online contests he's talking about are just that, they're contests. You can vote multiple times. You can have robots vote for you.

Polls are polls. That's when you call people and survey people to get their response. That's what CNN and other news organizations have done. And those polls found by and large people think that Hillary Clinton won the debate.

ROMANS: In that same interview with New Hampshire 1, Donald Trump thinks if he brings up bill Clinton's infidelity if the next debate, his marital history is on the table.


REPORTER: Do you think, maybe, your past marital history is also fair game?

TRUMP: I guess. I mean, they can do. But it's a lot different than his, that I can tell you. I mean, we have a situation where we have a president who was a disaster and he was ultimately impeached over it in a sense for lying. So, we'll see whether or not we discuss it.

REPORTER: You're not worried about your past history at all?

TRUMP: No, not at all. I have a very good history.


BERMAN: Turns out, Florida, a pretty important state in this presidential election. Hillary Clinton on her way there today. Very, very close right now, according to most polls.

Donald Trump may not be the only person standing in Hillary Clinton's way. In Florida, and in fact, in other states as well.

Let's get more from now CNN's senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: John and Alison, Hillary Clinton campaigning in make or break Florida. The final battleground stop for a week-long campaign efforts. She is trying to seize on that momentum from her first presidential debate on Monday.

One of the reasons is early voting is under way right now. It started Thursday in Iowa. She traveled there to make the case to voters to get behind her candidacy right now.

But one man in the way of her is not Donald Trump, it is Gary Johnson. She was asked about the threat of these third-party candidates aboard her campaign plane.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think either Donald Trump or I will be the president of the United States. So people have to look carefully in making their decision about who to vote for because it will be either him or me, and I am going to do everything I can to make sure it's me.

ZELENY: But inside the Clinton campaign, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, are no laughing matter, particularly among millennial voters. She needs to win more of them to close the gap with Donald Trump in the final month of this campaign.

Her aides are watching them carefully. They believe that their numbers will continue to fall as more tension is shined on Clinton and Trump in the next debates. If it doesn't, they may have to act more aggressively to push these third candidates or try to out of the way -- John and Alison.


ROMANS: All right. Jeff Zeleny, thank you.

And it turns out Donald Trump Clinton actually agree on one thing. The world leader they most admire is Angela Merkel. Sort of. Both candidates, they were asked the question that stumped libertarian Gary Johnson this week. Clinton got a jab in on Johnson before picking the German chancellor. Trump's endorsements of Merkel, not so full throated.

Listen to this.


REPORTER: Who is your favorite world leader?

CLINTON: Let me think. No.


I like a lot of the world leaders. One of my favorites is Angela Merkel because I think she has been an extraordinary strong leader during difficult times in Europe. TRUMP: Well, I think Merkel is really great world leader, but I was

very disappointed when she moved with the whole thing on immigration. I think it's a big problem.


KOSIK: He gave a compliment and backhanded compliment.

In the meantime, in the middle of this, Gary Johnson going on Twitter, sending it out this tweet, "It's been almost 24 hours and I still can't come up with a foreign leader I look up to." Kind of trying to save face and make a joke, kind of laugh of himself after we laugh at him.

BERMAN: Good luck with that.

KOSIK: It's looking like more losses for stocks today after the market took a beating yesterday. We're going to tell you why investors are focusing on Europe's biggest bank when we get an early start on your money, next.


[04:53:25] BERMAN: All right. This morning, New Jersey transit in and out of the Hoboken terminal is shutdown, this after the crash yesterday. Officials say a train entered the terminal going too fast, slammed through a bumper block and launched into the air. One person was killed and more than 100 injured.

NTSB investigators are looking into what led to the crash. They have other questions as well, whether the so-called Positive Train Control might have prevented this accident, that safety system with GPS and wireless radio and computers to prevent crashes and derailments.


BELLA DINH-ZARR, VICE CHAIR, NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD: That is an area we look into for every rail accident. As you know, the NTSB has been recommending Positive Train Control or PTC for 40 years.


BERMAN: New Jersey Transit does not use Positive Train Control. It uses older, less sophisticated systems called Automatic Train Control. A former conductor who worked at the Hoboken station told CNN that system and the actions of the engineer need to be examined.


ALBERT GIL, FORMER NJ TRAIN CONDUCTOR: It's on the engineer. The engineer gets signals. If he blows through the signal, there is a cap system inside the actual cap of that common that he is operating that will shut him down. By the time the system took over, it was too late.


BERMAN: Let's get the latest on the crash and investigation from CNN's Jean Casarez.


JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Alison, the National Transportation Safety Board says their investigators will go in the train when it is deemed to do so. That is because they tell us that when the train plowed through the train station, the canopy or ceiling of the train station actually plummeted down and it is on top of the train at this point.

[04:55:08] There has been water leakage. They're concern because of the age of the train station itself. There could be asbestos. So, they have to deal with that, and they will get construction workers to take that canopy off the train. And that is when the investigation will actually begin.

But it started just about 24 hours ago. It was 8:42 a.m., a normal day here in Hoboken. It was train number 1214 that was coming from Spring Valley, New York. And that train, we are told by Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, was coming at an accelerated high rate of speed. It ran into the terminal and the supporting structures broke as the train went into the terminal and it kept going.

The canopy or the ceiling fell down. The train was stopped right at the wall.

Now, the one female fatality that we know of happened. She was not on the train. She was standing on the platform. She has been identified as 34-year-old Fabiola Bittar de Kroon. She recently worked in Brazil and was back over here in the United States.

Now, we do know that the engineer has been released from the hospital. He is cooperating with authorities. We know it was a high rate of speed the train was going, but the end all question of why did this happen, and how this happened, that will be left in the days to come. NTSB says they will be here on the scene for probably the next seven to ten days -- John, Alison.


KOSIK: All right. Thank you, Jean Casarez.

This morning, a 6-year-old boys, one of the three victims shot at the South Carolina elementary school this week is fighting for his life. The family of Jacob Hall, he's a first grader at the school in Townville, South Carolina. The family says he is on life support. They are trying to remain optimistic.


JOHNNY BRIDGES, BOY'S UNCLE: He is fighting every day every moment to survive. And he will survive. He is a strong willed son.


KOSIK: A detention hearing is scheduled today in family court for the 14-year-old accused of shooting Jacob along with another student and a teacher. The teen is also suspected of killing his father before the elementary school shooting. His family released a statement saying they are in mourning both for their loss and the injuries to others in the community.

All right. Let's get an early start on your money. New worries on Wall Street this morning surrounding Europe biggest bank. Germany's Deutsche Bank in the center of those concerns, as its stock is plunging after reports that some hedge funds are pulling money out of the bank.

Dow futures are down again this morning. Steep losses in Europe and shares in Asia, they are tumbling as well. We are watching oil prices move lower.

A surprise move by the world's biggest oil producers to cut production made oil prices jump. But experts say drivers likely will not see a significant rise in gas prices. And that's because there's already a glut of oil in the market, and countries not involved in the deal will keep on pumping.

Plus, oil prices remain historically low. Experts also say the deal isn't widely respected with some feeling certain countries will not hold up their end of the bargain. The national average, if you're keeping score, for a gallon regular, today, $2.25. It's been holding right around that level for the past couple of months.

U.S. companies hitting a milestone, the most female CEOs ever. But don't get too excited here, it is still a small fraction of the chief executive total. A new report shows there are now 27 women leading S&P 500 companies. That's actually a 22 percent jump from last year, but accounts for 5.4 percent of America's largest publicly traded companies.

Now, there are women at the top of companies in nearly every sector. This year, female CEOs taking helm at utility and energy companies that are typically dominated by men.

So, a little, small, incremental improvements, but at the same time this study came out, another came out showed women are not being promoted as much as men. They're being ignored in the board room. Their decision, they're not part of it, and they're going in more for negotiations, negotiating their salaries, negotiations promotions, but they get more push back from the men they're talking to.

BERMAN: I have not seen that 5 percent number. That is 1 out of 20. That is not a big number, and that's the most ever.

KOSIK: I hear you. I hear you.

BERMAN: All right. EARLY START continues right now.

(MUSIC) BERMAN: All right. New questions this morning about the Trump Foundation. Has it been soliciting money illegally for a decade? A new report raises questions. Hear why millions in donations may have been against the law.

ROMANS: Big questions over what led to a deadly train crash in New Jersey. Now, federal officials want to know why key safety improvements are taking decades to put in place.

BERMAN: Dignitaries are gathering around the world to say good-bye to Shimon Peres, the former Israeli prime minister and president. President Obama among the speakers. He just delivered his eulogy. We will have the latest from Jerusalem.

KOSIK: Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Alison Kosik.