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Donald Trump Lashing Out at Media; New Poll Puts Clinton on Top by Double Digits; GOP HQ Firebombed in North Carolina; Iraqi Forces Begin Offensive to Recapture Mosul; Manhunt in Fairbanks, Alaska. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired October 17, 2016 - 04:00   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump lashing out claiming the media is rigging this election as a brand new poll puts Hillary Clinton on top by double digits. Will team Trump accept the results on November if their candidate comes up short?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The breaking news. Iraqi ground forces with U.S. support launches an offensive to retake Mosul. We are live on the ground for what could be a defining moment in the battle against ISIS.

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

ROMANS: Good morning. I'm Christine Romans. It is Monday, October 17th. It is 4 a.m. in the east.

Up first, Donald Trump declaring the fix is in. Three weeks before America votes with his hopes apparently fading in the list of his female accusers growing. Trump is waging war on the media. Insisting the press is rigging the race for Hillary Clinton.

And here is a possible explanation for the new Trump battle cry. A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal showing Clinton has opened a commanding 11--point lead in the match up of all four candidates. A Washington/ABC News poll also release this weekend has put and leading by four points.

We get more from CNN's Chris Frates in Washington.

CHRIS FRATES, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, John and Christine. Donald Trump continues to push this idea that the election is somehow rigged despite not providing evidence to support his charges.

In fact, on Sunday, he tweeted, "The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media, but also at many polling places. But the facts just don't bear that out.

For instance, a 2012 investigative reporting project news 21 looked at a decade of data and found just 10 cases, 10, of voter impersonation at the polls on Election Day.

Now, meanwhile, politically, Democrats are really trying to use Trump's claim about a rigged election to paint him as a panicked candidate. A guy who is trying to delegitimize the results before he loses the election in November.


SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Especially in the last couple of days as Donald Trump has kind of started to go wilder and wilder, I think after by all accounts, losing the first two debates, he is starting to make wild claims kind of scorched earth claims about the election being rigged, et cetera.

So, we have to keep putting out a message and we need to call on everybody to speak out about the fact that we run elections and we run them well here. He shouldn't be engaging in those scare tactics. And so, we're needing to push that message. And we ask the GOP leaders also to stand up for the integrity of the American electoral process.


FRATES: And indeed, Republican leaders have spoken out on the subject. Including Trump's own running mate, Mike Pence.


GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will absolutely accept the results of the election. The American people will speak in an election that will culminate on November 8th. One the great, great traditions of America is the peaceful transfer of power.


FRATES: And Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan's office also weighed on this putting out in a statement saying, quote, "Our democracy relies on confidence in election results and the speaker is confident the states will carry out this election with integrity."

So, in a bitterly divided election year, many Democrats and Republicans they seem to be able to agree on at least one thing, and that's despite what Trump says, the polls are not rigged.

John, Christine, back to you.

BERMAN: Yes, Trump even said that Saturday Night Live is rigged against him.

All right. This morning, federal investigators are trying to determine who fire bombed Republican headquarters in Hillsborough, North Carolina. No one was hurt but the building was badly burned.

Police say someone tossed flammable liquid in a bottle through the front window. It spray paint to the words "Nazi Republicans leave towns or else," along with a Swastika on an adjacent building.

Now, Hillary Clinton condemned the act. She tweeted the attack on the Orange County headquarters at North Carolina GOP office is horrific and unacceptable. Very grateful that everyone is safe. Donald Trump take a look at different approach. He tweeted said

"Animals representing Hillary Clinton and dems in North Carolina just fire bombed our office in Orange County because we are winning."

ROMANS: All right. A conservative Arizona newspaper that endorsed Hillary Clinton is now dealing with the ugly backlash. After the Arizona Republic backed the Democrat for the first time for president, for the first time in its 126-year history.

Last month, the newspapers top executive says "disturbing threats have been made against her employees." One of them warnings the newspaper's reporters will be blown up.

BERMAN: New information coming to light in the latest release of hacked e-mails by WikiLeaks. The latest document then confirms to contain transcripts from three-paid speeches that Clinton gave to Goldman Sachs. It's the type of speeches that Bernie Sanders want to release when he was still in race back in the primaries.

[04:05:01] Let's get more from CNN's Joe Johns.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: John and Christine, over the weekend, WikiLeaks releasing thousands more of the hacked e- mails from the account of Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta.

These more recent batches of e-mails have included discussion about what type of campaign donations to accept the inner workings of the campaign, discussion over allegations concerning Bill Clinton and the controversy that erupted over Hillary Clinton's private e-mail server.

A particular interest WikiLeaks apparently releasing what appear to be transcripts of three paid speeches by Hillary Clinton to Goldman Sachs. Some of the same speeches sanders pressed her to release during the primaries.

One speech from October 2013 suggested in part that action was needed for political reasons to curb Wall Street abuses. Because, quote, "If you were an elected member of Congress and people in your constituency were losing jobs and shutting businesses and everybody in the press is saying it's all the fault of Wall Street, you can't sit idly by and do nothing."

The Clinton campaign has been put on the defensive in light of the hacking and has tried to deflect attention by blaming Russia.

Here is what Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine said Sunday.


KAINE: There needs to be a consequence. When a foreign nation tries to destabilize an American election, which is what Donald Trump encouraged back in, you know, late July. He said hey, Russia, go see if you can cyber hack and find things that will help me win. But when a foreign government tries to do this, there has to be a

consequence. There will be a time for figuring that consequence is. But you can't let it go unchallenged. Because if you do, you just could encourage more of it.


JOHNS: Russia has not officially been blamed for this attack but has been fingered by the U.S. for other WikiLeaks releases. For their part, Republicans are trying to put more attention on the hacked e- mails.

For example, once again, bringing attention to the cozy relationship some Clinton Foundation donors had with the State Department.


PENCE: Well, I think what Donald Trump is talking about is frankly what appears to be the monolithic support of the national media for Hillary Clinton's campaign. Their willful ignorance avalanche of hard evidence, not allegations, John, but hard evidence now coming out in these e-mails of collusion and pay for play politics. And the American people are just tired of it.


JOHNS: The State Department and the campaign have denied any pay for play allegations.

CNN cannot independently verify the authenticity of the e-mails and the Clinton campaign has neither confirmed nor denied.

John and Christine, back to you.

ROMANS: All right. Joe Johns, thank for that. Big question here. Is the election hurting Donald Trump's businesses? One Trump biographer says he has seen business data that shows a recent drop.


MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, AUTHOR, "NEVER ENOUGH DONALD TRUMP AND THE PURSUIT OF SUCCESS": I'm hearing in the last two weeks that his brand Equity is plummeting. He is actually now perceived as boring. Not by the elites, but by the middle class and actually when you poll Republican households without a college education, they are turning off to his brand.

Now they may still vote for him, but this is really doing long-term damage to his businesses.


ROMANS: OK. So, what's the evidence? That biographer would not elaborate on where he got this brand Equity data. A Trump property is of course are not part of any public company, so there aren't publicly disclosed metrics here. There are only a few other ways to track business there.

The Trump campaign has said in the past his businesses are still doing well. Hotel expert tells CNN money that Trump properties are not likely suffering because they are part of the luxury market, John Berman, which is apparently very strong.

BERMAN: All right. Breaking news this morning. This is a big deal. Iraqi forces backed up by U.S. air support is beginning the offensive to recapture Mosul, the critical crossroads in the war against ISIS.

We will go live to Iraq when EARLY START continues.


BERMAN: All right. The breaking news this morning. A ground assault against ISIS what U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter calls a decisive moment.

The Iraqi government finally launching an operation to recapture Mosul. This is the second largest city in Iraq, which has been under ISIS control now for more than two years.

Carter says the hope is to deliver the terrorist a lasting defeat. This of course is a ground assault with U.S.-led coalition forces providing cover from the air. This is an international exercise right now. Complicated to say the least.

Let's go live to Erbil in northern Iraq and bring in CNN's senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman. Ben, what can you tell us?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we know is this operation has now been going on almost for nine hours. It really is just the beginning but already we're seeing a calm of about 4,000 Peshmerga Kurdish fighters approaching the city from the eastern side now.

They've already apparently, we've been told by people at the frontline, encountered one truck bomb that was approaching their position, However, that was taken out by a U.S.-led coalition aircraft.

[04:15:01] This is an operation that's going to take a long time. At this point, it appears that the Iraqi and Kurdish forces are going to try to encircle the city before they actually go inside.

We're hearing from people inside Mosul how are secretly phoning us on their mobile phones that ISIS fighters in the city seemed to be in a rather agitated state. The mosques are calling upon their residents of Mosul to resist the infidels in the words coming out of the mosques.

But we know that people inside Mosul are fed up with ISIL and its misrule and are hoping to quickly be delivered from them.

Now the Iraqi government did the night before last drop leaflets over the city instructing people on what to do when the offensive begins. They told them to tape up their windows and put white flags outside to indicate they are non-combatants, to stay away from ISIS positions and if possible, they put a number in this leaflet to call that number with the information they might be able to pass on to the Iraqi security forces in a battle that could take weeks if not months. John?

BERMAN: And, Ben, we know as the Kurdish Peshmerga and it's moving in from the east right now. They might be seeing some of the greatest action. But we've been told by the Iraqi government it will only be the Iraqi army and the Iraqi national police that goes into the city of Mosul.

And that again, there is the U.S. role. There are thousands of U.S. troops whether it be Special Forces or advisers on the ground. What exactly are U.S. forces doing?

WEDEMAN: Well, there are just over 5,000 U.S. military personnel in the country and they are doing a variety of things. One thing they're doing is upgrading the runways at the two bases, Ayn al-Asad and al- Qayyarah, which is just south of Mosul so that they can play a role in this opposition.

There are Special Forces as well, advising the Iraqi and Kurdish forces on what to do when there are also people providing coordinates to coalition aircraft on where to strike.

There's also an American artillery battery that is taking part in the battle as well. But American officials and coalition officials as well are stressing that this is an Iraqi-led operation planned by Iraqis and that the coalition is merely playing a supporting role.

However, those coalition air strikes are absolutely vital to provide Iraqi forces with that need advantage as they press forward with this operation. John?

BERMAN: And obviously the message that is being led by Iraqi troops, that important in and of itself. However, complicated the reality may be.

Ben Wedeman for us in Irbil, thanks so much.

ROMANS: All right. Eighteen minutes past the hour now. A police officer in Alaska shot on the job. The suspect caught on video moments after the attack. The officer's condition and the search now for that gunman. We've got that next.


BERMAN: A manhunt is on in Fairbanks, Alaska for a suspect who shot a police officer multiple times and then stole the patrol car. The alleged shooter is seen on dash cam video after abandoning the cruiser a few blocks away. This happened early Sunday.

He is said to be an Alaskan Native in his 20's. The Officer Allen Brandt was flown to a hospital in Anchorage and he's in stable condition.

ROMANS: A lawsuit by a former Penn State coach whose testimony helped convict fellow coach Jerry Sandusky is schedule to go to trial today. Mike McQueary is seeking $4 million in damages from the university. He claims the school defamed him and wrongly refused to renew his contract although he told head coach Joe Paterno he saw Sandusky molest a boy in the team shower.

McQueary was suspended from the program in 2011 and terminated a year later when Sandusky was convicted.

BERMAN: Week five for the New Jersey bridge gate trial is set to begin with one of the defendants Bill Baroni is expected to take the stand. The former Port Authority executive is charged along with former Chris Christie aid Bridget Kelly with orchestrating lane closures on the George Washington bridge and create huge traffic tie ups in Fort Lee for political purposes.

ROMANS: All right. China has just embarked on its most ambitious space mission to date. Two astronauts blasting off from -- from Monday the Gobi Desert. On board are Shenzhou 11 spacecraft the astronauts are on the way to dock with an orbiting space lab.

They are expected to remain there for 30 days before returning to earth. This is China's sixth manned space launch. The 30 days in space will more than double the Chinese record for the time spent in space.

BERMAN: All right. An epic performance by one of the best in the game overnight, Clayton Kershaw. He has had some post-season trouble but he was masterful. In game two of the National League Championship series he shut down the Cubs two hits over 7. I think like 85 pitches. He was on fire.

The Dodgers eve the series with a 1-nothing win. The only run of the game came with a home run by former Red Sox star Adrian Gonzalez. The series now goes back to the Dodgers stadium for game three on Tuesday.

And by the way, because I know you are wondering, the last time the Cubs shutout at home in the postseason the 1918 World Series with the pitcher Babe Ruth then with the Boston Red Sox.

We head to Brian for finding that out.

ROMANS: Yes. All right. Donald Trump declaring the election is rigged. So, will his campaign ever accept the outcome if he loses?

[04:25:04] Plus, who Trump blame for the firebombing of the GOP headquarters in North Carolina? We've got that all ahead on EARLY START.


BERMAN: Donald Trump blasting the media for fixing the election. He claims some polling places are rigged. Saturday Night Live is rigged. Will the Trump team accept the election in November?

ROMANS: Braking news this morning. Iraqi troops marching on Mosul trying to recapture the city from ISIS and drive out the terrorists.

We are live on the ground in Iraq ahead.

All right. Welcome back this Monday morning to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. About 30 minutes past the hour right now.

This morning, Donald Trump declares the fix is in. The media has it in. And Paul Ryan has it in for him. And even that well-known political powerhouse Saturday Night Live has it in for him.

[04:30:02] With his poll numbers fading and the list of female accusers growing Trump insists that the press is rigging the race for Hillary Clinton.