Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Says Election is Rigged; Republican Headquarters in North Carolina City Firebombed; WikiLeaks Releases Purported Transcripts of Clinton Goldman Sachs Speeches. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired October 17, 2016 - 04:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, "EARLY START" CO-ANCHOR: ...has it in for him. With the poll numbers fading and the list of female accusers growing, Trump insists that the press is rigging the race for Hillary Clinton.

Rigging polls like this one from "NBC News" and the "Wall Street Journal" that shows that Clinton has opened up an 11-point lead with just three weeks to go until election day.

Now, there is a poll that Donald Trump likes more from "ABC News" and the "Washington Post". This shows just a four-point lead for Hillary Clinton. Let's get the very latest from CNN's Chris Frates in Washington.

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

In fact, on Sunday, he tweeted the election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest ad distorted media but also at many polling places.

But the facts just don't bare that out. For instance, a 2012 investigative reporting program project, a group called "News 21" looked at over a decade of data and found just 10 cases, 10, of vulgar 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.


SENATOR TIM KAINE, U.S. VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Especially in the last couple of days, as Donald Trump has kind of started to go wilder and wilder, I think by all accounts, losing the first two debates, he started to make wild claims kind of scorched earth claims about the election being rigged, etc.

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 are needing to push that message and we ask 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.


MIKE PENCE, U.S. VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will absolutely accept the results of the election. Look, the American people will speak in an election that will culminate on November the 8th. One of the great, great traditions of America is the peaceful transfer of power.


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

So, in a bitterly divided election year, many democrats and republicans seem to be able to agree on at least one thing, and that's despite what Trump says, the polls are not rigged. John and Christine, back to you.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, "EARLY START" CO-ANCHOR: All right, Chris Frates in Washington. Thanks.

Federal investigators are trying to determine who firebombed republican headquarters in Hillsborough, North Carolina over the weekend. No one was hurt, but the building was badly burned.

Police say someone tossed flammable liquid in a bottle through the front window and spray painted the words "Nazi republicans leave town or else" along with a swastika on an adjacent building.

Hillary Clinton is condemning the act, tweeting this, "The attack on the Orange County Headquarters at North Caroline GOF office is horrific and unacceptable. Very grateful that everyone is safe."

Donald Trump, taking a different approach, tweeting, "Animals representing Hillary Clinton, and Dems in North Carolina just firebombed our office in Orange County because we are winning."

BERMAN: A conservative Arizona newspaper that endorsed Hillary Clinton is now dealing, they say, with an ugly backlash after "The Arizona Republic" backed a democrat for the first time in its 126-year history last month. The newspaper's top executive says disturbing threats have been made against her employees. One of them warns the newspaper's reporters will be blown up.

ROMANS: And some of those threats are really specific and really terrifying. New information coming to light in the latest release of hacked e- mails by WikiLeaks. The latest document dump appears to contain transcripts from three paid speeches Clinton gave to Goldman Sachs. The very same speeches Bernie Sanders wanted to see when he was still on the race. We get more this morning 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 most recent batches of e-mails have included discussions about the types of campaign donations to accept, the inner workings of the campaign, discussion over allegations concerning Bill Clinton and the controversy that erupted Hillary Clinton's private e- mail server.

Of particular interest, WikiLeaks apparently releasing what appeared to be transcripts of three paid speeches by Hillary Clinton to Goldman Sachs. Some of the same speeches Bernie Sanders pressed her to release during the primaries.

[04:35:00] One speech from October 2013 suggested in part that action was needed for political reasons to curb Wall Street abuses because "... 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.


TIM KAINE, U.S. VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There does need to be a consequence. When a foreign nation tries to destabilize an American election, which is what Donald Trump encouraged back in 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 what 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 hack, but has been fingered by the U.S. for other WikiLeaks releases. Per 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.


MIKE PENCE, U.S. VICE PRESINDETIAL CANDIDATE: 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 about the avalanche of hard evidence, not allegations, John, but hard evidence now coming out in these mails of collusion and pay-for-play politics, and the American people are just tired of it.

JOHNS: The State Department and the campaign has denied any pay-for- play allegations. CNN could not 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 you.

Fundraising efforts ramping up on both sides of the presidential election. Donald Trump's campaign says the republicans joint fundraising committee hauled in $100 million in September.

That's the largest tally of the election, but Clinton's camp says it raised $154 million, also a record high. Not all of this money will go directly to the campaign, some will be used on key races for the house and senate.

But Clinton still has a wide lead with money in the bank. The campaign and committees reported $152 million in cash on hand at the end of September. Trump campaign committees had $75 million.

Trump is receiving a $1.25 million donation from this guy, the Silicon Valley titan, Peter Thiel. You may remember his speech from the Republican National Convention.

Thiel is just about the only tech heavyweight publicly supporting Trump. But getting a lot of attention this morning that he is personally giving a million and a quarter.


BERMAN: You know what's interesting is Donald Trump always said he put in $100 million of his own money in this campaign. He hasn't. Nowhere near that. It's a lot of money in and he may have put in $50 million or $35 million to $50 million in but not $100 million. So, a lot of people are wondering if he's going to put in more in the next three weeks.

Breaking news. Iraqi forces backed up by U.S. Air Cover, beginning the ground assault to recapture Mosul from ISIS. Mosul been under occupation for more than two years right now. We have new information about this assault launched overnight when "Early Start" continues.


ROMANS: All right. Breaking news this morning. A ground assault against ISIS now under way. Defense Secretary Ash Carter calls it a decisive moment.

The Iraqi government finally launching an operation to recapture Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq after more than two years now under ISIS control. Carter says the hope is to deliver the terrorists a lasting defeat with U.S.-led coalition forces providing cover from the air.

I want to go live to Erbil, Iraq right now. Let's bring in CNN's Senior International Correspondent Ben Wedeman. We have been waiting and talking about sort of coiling for this offensive for some time. What's happening now?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the offensive seems to be going fine so far. We are really just nine and a half hours into it, but so far what we do know is that a column of 4,000 Kurdish fighters, Peshmerga, have advanced from the eastern side of the city. They are around the town of Khazir (ph) where they have encountered some resistance.

An ISIS truck bomb made its way in the direction of those Kurdish forces, but they were hit by a coalition aircraft and therefore that threat was neutralized. But this is really just the opening phases of what could be a very, very long battle.

Now, Mosul is Iraq's second largest city and the best of times. It had a population of about 2 million people. Now, there are a maximum a million civilians still left inside the city. And it is a huge city. I have been there many times.

And so actually retaking it, neighborhood by neighborhood, street by street, house by house will be a complicated effort. And we need to go back in Princeton (ph) to look at the case of Ramadi, Iraq's second largest city.

That operation to drive ISIS out began at the end of November of last year and it wasn't until this first week of February that it was finally cleared of ISIS and that city is about a third the size of Mosul.

Now, we understand from civilian sources inside the city that ISIS in a rather agitated state. They have known this was coming, but at this point, ISIS fighters are essentially disappeared off the streets of the city.

For residents, this is a very tense time. They have been instructed by a leaflet dropped by the Iraqi government the night before last to stay inside, tape up the windows of their houses, put out a white flag to let Iraqi forces know that they are non-combatants.

[04:45:00] They have been told if they can, they have been provided with a phone number to call if they have any tips, any information to pass on to Iraqi forces as they enter the city, but that may still be weeks and weeks away.

BERMAN: All right, from Erbil, Ben Wedeman. Thank you, Ben, for that.

BERMAN: Now, let's get the latest on this new offensive to try to retake Mosul. Joining us now is Retired Air Force Colonel and CNN Military Analyst Cedric Leighton. Cedric, thanks so much for being with us. This is a complicated operation because first of all, the forces involved. You are dealing with Kurdish Peshmerga, Shia militia, Iraqi government troops, not to mention U.S. backed Air Cover. What do you see as the trickiest part here?

COLONEL CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: All right, thank you for your finger on it, John. It's one of those things where you have so many different parts in a coalition like this, becomes really difficult to make all those parts run smoothly.

And what you're seeing here is the initial phases that Ben Wedeman talked about really coming to bear. So now, we are moving in from the eastern side of Mosul, and what that means is those forces are going to be Kurdish forces and they, right now, are working that particular sector very carefully and apparently so far very well from their standpoint.

But the trick is going to be to integrate those operations with air power, with coalition air power as well as with the other forces on the ground to include, of course, the Iraqi forces.

ROMANS: How key and overriding is the role of U.S. forces, U.S.-led coalition forces? We know there are 5,000 U.S. forces in Iraq in support of this operation. There have been 15 fighters, 15 F-18s, F- 22s. How key is the U.S. role, and can the Iraqi officials pick this up once Mosul hopefully is recaptured?

LEIGHTON: Well, Christine, that, of course, is going to be the big question, you know when it said (ph) the question of what happens next. So, the Iraqi forces are going to have two main jobs. One is obviously to liberate the city. The next one is to make sure that they can govern the city effectively without causing the types of disturbances, the types of issues that caused the population of Mosul to support ISIS when they first came in June of 2014, over two years ago.

So it's going to be very important to those U.S. forces that are there right now are really the key elements in terms of providing advice, intelligence and logistic support through the Iraqi and Kurdish forces. They play a key role in this. A very vital role and the fact that they are doing what they're doing is making this offensive possible.

BERMAN: Do we have a sense what ISIS has been doing inside Mosul for the last two years in terms of preparing for this? Are they dug in? Have they tunneled through? Or We have seen this before with ISIS: do you think that they will try to maintain their numbers and just flee and retreat, the most strategic retreat.

LEIGHTON: One of the real key elements of the way of war, the way people fight wars in the Middle East, is they have that option to flee. You saw that with Saddam Hussein's army when the U.S. invaded in 2003.

The fact they actually melted into the background is a very typical response to these kinds of events. We've also seen ISIS do this on occasion as well. They will stand and fight in certain areas, Kobani is an example of that.

Of course, Fallujah is a more recent example of that. We can expect a lot of that to happen when it comes to Mosul, but they are dug in. They have tunnels. So that indicates that they are going to try to resist as much as they possibly can.

The other fact is as if they also billeted a -- lodged with families, legitimate, civilian families in the Mosul area, and that's going to make it very hard to dislodge them from that particular area, those particular areas that they are living in.

So they can mount a very tough battle, but they are relatively few in number and the population of Mosul is gearing up to fight them, and that is in and of itself, a very significant factor.

So that could change their calculus. That may make them move out of the city, try to move west toward Syria and make a definitive last stand in Raqqah. That is a possibility but we have to be prepared for a very decisive and a really tough battle here in Mosul.

ROMANS: And our Ben Wedeman was saying that this morning at least, he is monitoring from inside Iraq, and he says that this is not really the nicest presence on the street. They've seem to melted away here. nine hours into this offensive.

Colonel Leighton, thank you so much. Talk to you again very soon. Thank you, sir, for your expertise on this.

[04:50:00] Fifty minutes past the hour now. Stocks looking weak this morning despite some strong rating from the nation's biggest banks including Wells Fargo. Details when we get a check on "CNN Money" stream next.

BERMAN: Strong stream.


ROMANS: A manhunt is on in Fairbanks, Alaska for a suspect who shot a police officer multiple times and stole his patrol car. The alleged shooter is seen on dash cam video after abandoning the police cruiser a few blocks away early Sunday. He is said to be someone from Alaska in his 20s. The officer, Allen Brandt, was flown to a hospital in Anchorage and is in stable condition.

[04:55:00] BERMAN: A lawsuit by a former Penn State coach whose testimony helped convict fellow coach Jerry Sandusky is scheduled to go to trial today.

Mike McQueary is seeking $4 million in damages from the university, claims the school defamed him and wrongly refused to renew his contract even though 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.

ROMANS: Week five of the New Jersey Bridgegate trial is set to begin with one of the defendants, Bill Baroni, expected to take the stand. The former port authority executive is charged along with former Chris Christie aide Bridget Kelly with orchestrating lane closure of the George Washington Bridge to deliberately create huge traffic tie ups in Fort Lee for political purposes.

BERMAN: Thousands of residents in Washington and Oregon are waking up in the dark after a powerful storm fizzles through the Pacific northwest. The remnants of the typhoon producing 40- to 50-mile per hour winds, toppling trees and power lines over the weekend.

It was not as bad as some forecasters predicted; the system lost some intensity, once it hit the Oregon coast. There are no reported injuries.

ROMANS: China has just embarked on its most ambitious space mission to date. Two astronauts blasting off Monday from the Gobi Desert aboard the Shenzhou 11 spacecraft.

The astronauts are on their 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 have more than doubled, the Chinese record for time spent in space.

BERMAN: All right. Clayton Kershaw is good at pitching. Pitching. He's good at a lot of things. He's a good pitcher which means he throws the ball well and hard sometimes. Sometimes he throw a curve ball as well.

There he is. He's got a beard. He hasn't pitched well in the post season in the past, but he was awesome. Overnight, puts seven and he gave up (ph) only two hits, that means the Dodgers tied the Cubs 1-1, the only run in the game came in a homerun by former Red Sox player Adrian Gonzalez.

He hit the ball out of the park, which means the Dodgers got to run right there. The last time the Cubs were shutout at home, the 1918 World Series. Babe Ruth, pitcher of the Red Sox ...


ROMANS: I know. It's a ...

BERMAN: True story.


BERMAN: I've never mangled a read as badly as I make a left.

ROMANS: They didn't even have the internet that time.


ROMANS: My kids were asking me like how long ago it was. The game on Saturday was pretty amazing, I got to say.


BERMAN: The one the Cubs won as opposed to the one they lost?


ROMANS: I prefer -- I prefer to keep ...


BERMAN: Right. Yeah.

ROMANS: It has been a long time since I've really focused on baseball. All those guys have beards. Was that like a millennial thing?


BERMAN: I imagine that it is the hormones. It has to do with ...


ROMANS: Your beards are back in ...

BERMAN: ... yeah, puberty. Your hair grows on your face.

ROMANS: You should grow it.


ROMANS: It was just a beard (ph). You have to get some time off to get a beard. We don't give you time off. You are going to be here forever.

Let's get an "Early Start" on CNN Money streams. Dow Futures pointing lower this morning. Investors mowing over some comment by Danny Allen (ph) but the two big factors in stocks this week, Wednesday's presidential debate and corporate earnings.

Stock markets in Europe and Asia are mostly lower. Oil is down.

Keep an eye on shares of Twitter. The stocks are down in premarket trading after plunging 5 percent Friday. The CEO of Salesforce said his company will not be offering to buy Twitter. It was the last best hope for a takeover after big names like Google and Disney declined to place bids.

Shares of big U.S. banks could on the move today despite the troubles of Wells Fargo. Bank of America reports earnings this morning. JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup beat profit estimates on Friday, so did Wells Fargo despite the first evidence that its fake account scandal is hurting business.

Openings of new checking accounts dropped -- look at it John -- 25 percent in ... (CROSSTALK)


ROMANS: ... September compared to the year before.

BERMAN: We got real accounts and fake accounts? Is that both?


ROMANS: I have to get clarifications from the company.

BERMAN: All right.

ROMANS: Mortgage referrals from bank branches slipped 24 percent. Credit card applications fell 20 percent.

The airline ban on Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Smartphones is now going global. Several airlines now prohibit the phone on flights including AirAsia, Qantas, and Virgin Atlantic among others.

The FAA issued a ban last week. The airline authority in Canada did the same. The bans are on both phones carried on by passengers and those in checked baggage.

Check out the new CNN Money stream app. It's business news, personalized, stories, video, tweets and apps that you want (ph) all in one feed. Download it now on the app store or Google Play.

BERMAN: More than a trickle of news on a Monday. "Early Start" continues right now.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump, he says the whole thing is rigged by the whole thing. I mean the election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This as a brand new poll gives Hillary Clinton a double digit lead.

ROMANS: Breaking news. Iraqi ground forces with American air support launching an offensive to retake Mosul from ISIS. We are live on the ground in Iraq.

All right, good morning. Welcome to "Early Start" everyone. I'm Christine Romans.

[05:00:00] BERMAN: I'm John Berman. It is Monday, October 17th. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East.

This morning, Donald Trump says the fix is in. The media has it in for him. Paul Ryan has it in for him. Even "Saturday Night Live" has it in for him, and when you've watched "Saturday Night Live", well you know how the saying goes. His poll numbers are fading, the list of female accusers growing, Trump insists that the press is rigging the race for Hillary Clinton.