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Donald Trump Vows Evidence Against Accusations; The First Lady Trump Takedown; Trump Accuser Speaks to CNN; North Carolina Reeling From Aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired October 14, 2016 - 04:00   ET



[04:00:10] DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We already have substantial evidence to dispute these lies.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump digs in. Flat-out denying any sexual assault allegations, but his accusers, they are not backing down either. And one of them spoke exclusively to CNN.


MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Is that what we want for our children?


BERMAN: The First Lady Michelle Obama in an unprecedented emotional speech. Really surprising her supporters and setting this campaign on edge.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman. Christine Romans, no show. It's Friday, October 14th. It's 4:00 a.m. in the East.

And this morning, a defining moment in the race for president. Donald Trump launching a defiant, defensive conspiracy laced diatribe against the media and the list of women who accuse him now of kissing, groping and/or sexual assault.

Overnight, one of Trump's accusers spoke out in her first television interview adding new detail to her claims. This in an exclusive interview with Anderson Cooper. She says it was Trump's claims about sexual misconduct to Anderson in the second debate that inspired her to go public to "The New York Times."


JESSICA LEEDS, ACCUSES TRUMP OF SEXUAL ASSAULT: When you specifically asked Trump had he ever groped a woman or I forget how you phrased it, and he said no, and I literally wanted to throw something at the TV or punch my hand in the TV. And that -- that was Sunday night. And Monday morning, I found myself writing an e-mail. A letter to the editor to "The Times."


BERMAN: Much more from Anderson's interview later in the show. First, though, Donald Trump's remarkable defense against these claims and what he considers the conspiracy to defeat him.

In Florida and Ohio, he blasted the accusers and the accusations that he groped and kissed women. He called it pure fiction and he promised to produce evidence that all these accusations are false, though, he did not do so yesterday.

CNN's Sara Murray now has the latest.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: With less than four weeks until Election Day, Donald Trump spend most of yesterday denying allegations from multiple women from different parts of the country who say they were sexually assaulted by Donald Trump. Trump clearly agitated and angry by these accusations insisted they were outright lies.


TRUMP: These vicious claims about me of inappropriate conduct with women are totally and absolutely false. And the Clintons know it. And they know it very well. These claims are all fabricated. They're pure fiction and they're outright lies. These events never ever happened.


MURRAY: But Donald Trump didn't just take aim at the veracity of their claims. He took aim at the women who were making them. Questioning why they had taken so long to report these and in one instance even seeming to suggest that the woman was not attractive enough to warrant Donald Trump's attention.

Now all this comes at an interesting point for the Trump campaign. Not only is he sliding in the polls but they've pinned their strategy on taking both Hillary and Bill Clinton to task for women who accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct in the 1990s. And the Trump campaign has insisted repeatedly that all those women deserved to be believed.

Now he will be back on the campaign trail today in North Carolina. And if last night is any preview, he is trying to transition away from these accusations and back to the issues. We'll see if he's successful. Back to you.

BERMAN: All right, Sara Murray, while they're breaking down the chairs there in Ohio.

Now a lot of people are talking this morning about one particular line of attack from Donald Trump. In the case of the "People" magazine writer, he seemed to question or insult her appearance. Listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Think of it. She's doing this story on Melania, who is pregnant at the time, and Donald Trump, our one-year anniversary. And she said I made inappropriate advances. And by the way, the area was a public area. People all over the place. Take a look. You take a look, look at her, look at her words, you tell me what you think. I don't think so. I don't think so.


BERMAN: Look at her. That's what people are talking about this morning.

All right. This morning, Melania Trump is calling on "People" magazine to retract one part of the story. Now not the part where the writer alleges Trump sexually assaulted her. Mrs. Trump is only calling on "People" to withdraw the writer's description of a friendly conversation she allegedly had with Trump's wife after bumping her -- bumping into her on the street. Mrs. Trump said that never happened.

[04:05:01] Now as for the "New York Times," it is telling Trump he can go ahead and sue. The newspaper is standing by its story. In a scathing rejection letter, the paper's lawyer notes that a libel claim is about protecting one's reputation and then ticks off Trump's on- the-record bragging about sexual matters. The attorney writes, "Nothing in our article has had the slightest effect on the reputation that Mr. Trump through his own words and actions has already created for himself."

This morning, President Obama campaigns for Hillary Clinton in an early voting event in Ohio. But it was his wife, the first lady, Michelle Obama, who sent shockwaves through this campaign. It was an arresting speech in New Hampshire. The likes she has really never given before. Not for her husband. Not for anyone. It was all-out- takedown of Donald Trump without once mentioning him by name.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny has the story.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: As Hillary Clinton continues her West Coast fundraising swing, the bench of Democrats is out campaigning for her. First and foremost, Michelle Obama making an impassioned plea, a personal and pointed message against Donald Trump.

She was speaking in New Hampshire yesterday in one of the most interesting political speech that she's given. She was emotional. Her words broke at times as she said people of all parties should be disturbed by what Donald Trump has said about women.


M. OBAMA: Too many are treating this as just another day's headline. As if our outrage is overblown or unwarranted. As if this is normal. Just politics as usual.

But New Hampshire, yes, be clear, this is not normal. This is not politics as usual.


M. OBAMA: This is disgraceful. It is intolerable. And it doesn't matter what party you belong to.


ZELENY: In their fight to hold the White House, Democrats believe it is Michelle Obama who speaks with the most moral authority and on the most moral high ground or what's left of it in American politics. She will be campaigning more over the next four weeks to make this case to men and women. And she said everyone who is concerned with basic decency.

Now of course the Trump campaign pushing back on all of this. And Hillary Clinton is seizing on Michelle Obama's comments as well, asking her supporters to watch them. And Hillary Clinton is going to Seattle later today to another fundraiser before flying back to New York to prepare for that third debate which is next week in Nevada.

BERMAN: All right, Jeff Zeleny, thanks so much.

President Obama was in Columbus, Ohio, and he had a little message for Republicans he says who have now only just begun to disavow Donald Trump. The president says you're too late.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know better. A lot of these folks who ran and they didn't say anything. And so they don't get credit for at the very last minute when finally the guy that they nominated and they endorsed and they supported is caught on tape saying things that no decent person would even think, much less say, much less brag about, much less laugh about or joke about, much less act on, you can't wait until that finally happens and then say that's too much, that's enough. And think that somehow you are showing any kind of leadership and deserve to be elected to the United States Senate.


BERMAN: It's really interesting what the Democrats are trying to do here. On the one hand they are trying to odorize Donald Trump saying he's out of the mainstream of Republican thinking, and then what the president did there is try to tie Donald Trump to the rest of the Republican Party. Interesting.

All right. New revelations this morning about Hillary Clinton's e- mail practices. Written answered submitted to the conservative watch dog group Judicial Watch suggest that Clinton -- well, she suggests she relied on advisers to manage her server. She claims she does not recall being contacted by the State Department about preserving her e- mails. Clinton also said that hacking concerns were never raised and that she choose to use a personal e-mail server for her convenience. She now says that is a mistake and she apologized. A surge in support for Hillary Clinton in the latest national polls.

A FOX News survey, Clinton now leads Donald Trump by seven points among likely voters. One week ago, she was just two points ahead.

Most of these polls was taken after the second debate, but before this latest round of new accusations about sexual misconduct against Donald Trump.

All right. The Donald Trump campaign wants to know why now. Why did Trump accusers wait until October to come forward? You're going to hear from one of those accusers next in her own words.




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: You say his hands were everywhere. Can you be specific?

LEEDS: Well, he was grabbing my breasts and trying to turn me towards him and kissing me and then after a bit, that's when his hands started going -- I was wearing a skirt and his hands started going toward my knee and up my skirt.


BERMAN: That was Donald Trump accuser Jessica Leeds speaking to CNN. She told Anderson Cooper that Trump groped her, quote, "wherever he could find a landing spot." Her story was first reported by the "New York Times." Now Trump has vehemently denied these accusations. This alleged incident took place in the 1970s and the question many people are asking is why she is coming forward now. Right before the election. This is what she told Anderson.


LEEDS: I didn't start telling my story until about a year and a half ago when it became apparent that he was making a serious run for the presidency.

[04:15:05] And I would have an occasion to say to a group of friends, let me tell you my Trump story. Now most of these friends were women. It was my book club. It was this club. It was -- it was neighbors and friends and everything. But a couple of men. My son-in-law, my son, friends, my nephew. The whole thing. And over the year and a half that I've been telling this, it's like it doesn't change it at all. It's still infuriates me when I think about it. But I'm -- you know, it was a long time ago.

It wasn't until Sunday night and all of them, all of my friends would say, you've got to write this story up. You've got to publish it. You've got to contact somebody and make it known. It's too long ago.

COOPER: You didn't want to do that? LEEDS: No, not particularly. I mean, it was too long ago. So -- but

when you at the debate -- well, the Friday night tapes, that whole bus scene, was really annoying. And then the debate when you specifically asked Trump had he ever groped a woman or I forget how you phrased it. And he said no.

COOPER: Yes. I asked him if he had ever -- if he was just bragging about sexual assault or if he had actually done what he said.

LEEDS: Right.

COOPER: Had he kissed a woman without consent?

LEEDS: Right.

COOPER: Has he ever groped a woman?

LEEDS: Right. And he said no. And literally wanted to throw something at the TV or punch my hand in the TV. And that was Sunday night. And Monday morning, I found myself writing an e-mail letter to the editor to the "Times."

COOPER: Something about him actually denying it on that stage.

LEEDS: Yes. Yes. As far -- yes. Yes. That's it exactly.

COOPER: What do you think it was about that moment that made you want to go public?

LEEDS: Because I really would like for the fact that he's lying and he lies about so many things, really brought out. And yes, you did. You asked a very good question. But he's very good at all of a sudden he was talking about ISIS and he was talking about defense and he was talking about this, that and the other. So he manages to change the conversation. And I -- sometimes I think I don't think he's even really aware of -- that he's lying. He's built up his defenses in his head to the extent that he doesn't know.


BERMAN: All right. While that was going on, a top Trump adviser, Chris Christie, he's heading into some possible legal trouble in New Jersey. A stunning bridgegate development. That's next.


[04:22:32] BERMAN: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie plans to appeal a court ruling that says there is probable cause to pursue a complaint of official misconduct in the bridgegate scandal. A judge issued a criminal summons against Christie. The complaint stems from the ongoing bridgegate trial and allegations that the governor knew about the politically motivated scheme of lane closures that caused traffic jams for days on the George Washington Bridge. Christie has denied any knowledge of this beforehand.

A new Zika zone has been identified in Miami. Florida Governor Rick Scott announced five confirmed cases of the Zika virus in a little river neighborhood of Miami. The Centers for Disease Control has issued a travel advisory for the affected. It's approximately one square mile. This is the third Miami neighborhood that has Zika transmission from local mosquitoes.

A week from Hurricane Matthew pounded North Carolina the state is still reeling from its aftermath. The death toll is on the rise along with the rising flood waters. Evacuations are now on the way in the eastern part of the state. Thousands of people are being forced to take refuge in shelters. And officials fear the worst may be yet to come.

CNN's Polo Sandoval has more from Lumberton.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hurricane Matthew may have come and gone but the effects of that massive storm still being felt here in North Carolina. You only have to look behind me to actually see that. Even some of the first responders here in the city of Lumberton, North Carolina. They've forced out of their firehouse and it is still partially submerged, as are so many homes.

We know at least 4,000 people woke up in area shelters this morning. In fact some of the neighbors that we ran across here gave us an opportunity to actually join them on their boat as they were going out to help some of their neighbors remove some of their belongings from some of their homes.

That closer look will give you a better idea, a better perspective of just how much damage was left behind in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. And sadly, the worst may not be over for so many more as there are evacuation orders in effect right now, in the eastern portion of the state. For example, in Kinston, North Carolina, where the Neuse River is expected to reach record flood levels tonight into tomorrow.

Also in Greenville, North Carolina, at least 9,000 residents have already evacuated their homes. That's roughly one in 10 residents now that will be spending the night in shelters as again the effects of Hurricane Matthew still being felt in the southeast.

BERMAN: All right, Polo, thanks so much.

Chicago here they come. The Dodgers will play the Cubs for the National League pennant. This after a dramatic victory over the Washington Nationals in the fifth, the deciding game of the NLDS.

[04:25:03] The Dodgers, they used pitcher Clayton Kershaw in relief to get the final two outs in the 4-3 win. He's not probably going to be able to start Game 1 of the series against the Cubs. That will be Saturday night at Wrigley Field. The Cubs, I would say, heavily, heavily favored there.

Donald Trump may have met his match on the campaign trail. First Lady Michelle Obama with a very memorable speech. That's next.



TRUMP: We already have substantial evidence to dispute these lies.


BERMAN: But he doesn't release it. Donald Trump digs in. He flat out denies any sexual assault allegations. His accusers not backing down. One of them spoke exclusively to CNN.


OBAMA: Is that what we want for our children?


BERMAN: Michelle Obama with an unprecedented emotional speech going after Donald Trump without once mentioning him by name.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. Thirty minutes after the hour now. Christine Romans -- she had airplane trouble, seriously.

This morning --