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EARLY START

Trump Proposes Congressional Term Limits; The Final Debate: Clinton on the Attack?; Dodgers Take 2-1 NLCS Lead Over Cubs. Aired 5- 5:30a ET

Aired October 19, 2016 - 05:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Just a few hours to go before the final debate of 2016. Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump. Could this be a decisive moment in the race?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Hillary Clinton staying out of the public eye to prepare for tonight's showdown. So, what's her strategy here? Will she go on the attack? Will she be forced to explain those damaging e-mail leaks to tens of millions of voters watching tonight?

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans in the studio here in New York.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman in Las Vegas.

[05:00:01] It's Wednesday, October 19th, it's 5:00 a.m. in the East.

But as you know, out here, there is no time. It is timeless. I'm live at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. This is the site of tonight's third and final debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. You can hear the voices of the crowd as they rise up in anticipation of what could be a decisive moment here.

Donald Trump needs this debate to make a difference, to get back into this campaign. He is behind in the latest round of national polls by a lot in some of those polls. He's also trailing in some of the key battleground states. He made two stops in Colorado on his way here to Las Vegas. He urged his supporters, said don't believe the polls. And he delivered a warning about a possible Hillary Clinton victory.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: History will record that 2017 was the year that America lost, truly lost its independence, truly lost its independence. And by the way, this is our final shot, folks. In four years, it's over. You're never going to be able to win. You're never going to be able to win. It's tilting. It's going to be a one-party system. This is your final shot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Donald Trump is renewing his pledge to build a wall along the border with Mexico. He describes himself the voters in Colorado as a unifier.

Let's get more now from CNN's Jason Carroll.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John and Christine, Donald Trump had very little to say about the debate to the crowd here in Grand Junction, Colorado. He did say that the debate would be, quote, "interesting". Certainly, a number of his supporters want him to stay on message during the debate. And while he's out on the campaign trail, having said that, a number of GOP leaders pushing back on Donald Trump's unfounded claims that the electoral process is, quote, "rigged". They certainly want him to stop talking about it when he's out on the campaign trail but Donald Trump kept pushing the idea anyway.

TRUMP: The moment is going to be November 8th. It's very simple. And we will. We've just begun to fight. They even want to try and rig the election at the polling booths where so many cities are corrupt. And voter fraud is all too common.

And then they say, oh, there's no voter fraud in our country. There's no voter fraud. No, no, there's no voter fraud.

Take a look at St. Louis. Take a look at Philadelphia. Take a look at Chicago. And then I have even the Republicans saying, oh, this is a wonderful -- look. Look. If nothing else, people are going to be watching on November 8th.

CARROLL: Trump holding the media responsible for what he calls that rigged system, saying that the media has been, quote, "lying, cheating and stealing." Again, these are Donald Trump's words. He also said that the media at this point is worse than his opponent Hillary Clinton -- John, Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: All right. Our thanks to Jason Carroll for that.

Donald Trump did have a new policy proposal: term limits for members of Congress. This would take a constitutional amendment. That is what he is calling for. He proposes a limit of six years for members of the House, three terms. And for the Senate, 12 years or two terms.

On Monday, Donald Trump made a series of ethics reform proposals, including a five year ban on lobbying, when lawmakers and members of the executive branch leave office.

There's new details about Donald Trump's debate prep for this final showdown. A source tells us that you RNC chair Reince Priebus, he played the moderator in some mock sessions with Donald Trump firing questions at the candidate. And Chris Christie who did pretty well in some of the primary debates, you'll remember, he played the role of Hillary Clinton. You remember leading into the first debate, Donald Trump didn't seem want to do much mock debate prep. This time around, though, seeming to do some more traditional preparation. Hillary Clinton, she's been off the campaign trail for several days.

She was raising money at the beginning of that, and doing debate prep leading into tonight. In the first debate, you'll remember, she seemed to try to bait Donald Trump. When they square off tonight, she's got a different strategy.

Let's get the latest now from CNN's Jeff Zeleny.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Hillary Clinton is getting ready for her third and final debate with Donald Trump. She's been preparing just as much as she did for her first two, but I'm told in a different way.

Now, she's actually been familiarizing herself with all of those campaign e-mails and previous positions and statements that had been unearthed through the stolen hacked e-mails published by WikiLeaks. It is a new development in this campaign. Something she is preparing for. Something she expects Donald Trump will go after. She will also, I'm told, go after what Donald Trump has been calling a rigged election. She'll be pushing back on that hard, perhaps as a way to get under Donald Trump's skin.

She's also going to make the case for why she can be the president for all Americans.

[05:05:00] Now, of course, that message is aimed at getting some Republicans, some moderate voters who may not have been open for voting for her. But they simply cannot vote for Donald Trump. But overall, that is her objective in tonight's debate, trying to make the case that, "A," she's presidential, and "B," even if you don't love her, you still may want to vote for her because Donald Trump in the eyes of the Clinton campaign is simply not fit for president.

But, of course, Donald Trump will be getting his last licks in. This is the last time before such a big audience for him to make his case, raising some of those questions about her honesty and trustworthiness. Without question, tonight's debate will set the stage for the rest of the campaign, less than three weeks away from Election Day -- John and Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: All right. Jeff Zeleny here in Las Vegas, thanks so much.

I want to bring in CNN politics reporter Eugene Scott for a preview of tonight's event.

Eugene, we just heard from Jeff Zeleny about what Hillary Clinton might do differently leading into tonight. The big question is, what does Donald Trump do?

I've heard from a lot of Republicans who say they actually want him to stick to policy. He's been at his best in debates, they say, when he talks about trade, when he talks about issues. What do you expect to see from Trump on stage tonight?

EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Well, considering the amount of prep he's receiving compared to what has happened these last several days, we do expect him to focus on trade because this is an issue as you highlighted, hat he has a lot of success with. And this is an issue that voters are concerned with. And it's an issue that surfaced in these WikiLeaks e-mails that he's bound to focus on this debate.

ROMANS: Trade, national security, terrorism, the economy -- these were things again and again voters have said they trust Donald Trump to try to fix, right? But he's been distracted. He's had a problem staying on those core messages. And his inside kitchen cabinet has been telling him stay on these issues.

Then this week, Eugene, we hear something new. We hear about term limits for Congress. We hear him talking about closing the revolving door between, you know, government and K Street.

Listen to him talk about how he would do this control-alt-delete. He would drain the swamp of Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: When it comes to Washington, it is time to drain the damn swamp. If I'm elected president, I will push for a constitutional amendment to propose term limits on all members of Congress. Decades of political failure and special interest collusion must and will finally come to an end.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: You know, when I talk to Trump supporters, Eugene, so many of them say they want him because he's going to clean up Washington. But you haven't been hearing him talk about that much on the campaign trail. Will we hear him talk about that tonight, do you think? Is he going to try to put himself up there as the only guy with qualities and qualifications to get rid of the old way and bring in the new?

SCOTT: His advices are certainly hoping so. Interestingly enough, this is an idea that has some bipartisan interest. I think people on both sides would love to see term limits. Not everyone but certainly an idea that you've heard people on both sides float.

I think we'd like to hear ideas of what exactly that means exactly for himself, for his campaign and what that could actually look like.

ROMANS: John, three weeks ago, in policy, you know, you're hearing policy -- snippets of policies, trying to get over the personality and personal questions about Donald Trump?

BERMAN: No, it is interesting to see, and while the Clinton campaign leading into the first debate and second debate in a way tried to set expectations, lower expectations in a way said we don't want to be graded on a curve versus Donald Trump.

But, Eugene, heading into this debate, I hear a much greater calling for Hillary Clinton to not just poke and provoke Donald Trump here but to define what a Hillary Clinton presidency would be. What's the pressure on her tonight, Eugene?

SCOTT: Well, she has to define it for people still on the bubble. We're still focused on independents and bringing people over who are giving her a second look, saying "I'm not Donald Trump" is not enough for some of those voters. And they want to hear her unpack that.

And I think that's one of the reasons why she's going to target so much of her message to even some more conservative voters. And I think we see that in some of the guests that she's inviting tonight.

BERMAN: Interesting. Well, Mark Cuban for one. Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett-Packard will be here. As we said, Donald Trump is bringing among other people, the half brother of President Obama, Kenyan-born Malik Obama who apparently is supporting Donald Trump.

Eugene Scott, stick around. We'll talk to you in a little bit.

The presidential debate here at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. It is tonight. That debate is at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time. As you can see by my presence on campus, CNN will be here all day long. You don't want to miss a single second of it.

Romans?

ROMANS: No, we do not and we have a countdown, if you want to just count down with us for the rest of the day.

[05:10:01] Thanks, John.

A hacked email shows the Clinton was considering some business titans, some business heavyweights for vice president. An e-mail posted by WikiLeaks allegedly sent by Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta has an early list for V.P.

This is the business bucket on that list, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, his wife Melinda Gates, a well-known philanthropist, GM CEO Mary Barra, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, and Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent. The email dated March 17th, that's four months before Clinton announced her pick Tim Kaine. So, this was an early list.

Along with Kaine, Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren made the cut, about two dozen other lawmakers.

Much snarking on social media about how Podesta grouped the candidates. In the email, he says he organized the list by, quote, "food groups". Those groups were by gender and race, as well as professional background. Were they a senator? Were they in business? A lot of response on social media about that.

OK. Eleven minutes past the hour. Will they or won't they? A lot of speculation on whether Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will shake hands before tonight's final debate. We already know who won't be shaking hands. Details, ahead on EARLY START. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:15:50] BERMAN: All right. Let's hear it for the Running Rebels, John Berman here live on the campus of University of Nevada in Las Vegas. Look at the crowd building. I see Mason, I see Jeff. I see Anhil (ph), everyone here in anticipation of tonight's third and final debate.

You can feel the energy building, 9:00 o'clock Eastern Time here on CNN. Don't miss it for a second inside the debate hall. We'll take a brief look of what that will look like. Chris Wallace from FOX News, he will be the moderator, 90 minutes, one-on-one. A crucial moment in this campaign.

Now, we do not know if Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will shake hands tonight. They did before the first debate. They did not shake hands before the second debate.

Right now, we know there will be no handshakes between the candidates' family members. We just had video of what would happen before the first and second debate where you saw Melania Trump and Bill Clinton shaking hands there. That won't happen tonight. Why? Well, the Clinton campaign reportedly requested a new setup that the candidates' will enter the hall closer to their seats.

"The New York Times" reports that apparently the Clinton team wanted to avoid any awkward confrontations there, because the second debate, Trump campaign brought in women who had accused Bill Clinton of past indiscretions. They didn't want Bill Clinton to be a position where he had t o sake their hands necessarily or be near to them.

Romans?

ROMANS: All the stage, right? All the preparations for the preparations. All right John Berman, thank you.

Time for the five things you need to know for your EARLY START.

Number one, Donald Trump getting help with his debate prep. A source telling CNN, RNC chairman Reince Priebus assumed the role of moderators in these practice sessions. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie playing Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton off the trail for days now, preparing for tonight's debates. She's been studying all those leaked WikiLeaks e-mails, anticipating attacks from Donald Trump.

Day three to liberate Mosul from ISIS control. We'll continue to monitor.

Dramatic video of Philippines authorities breaking up protests outside the U.S. embassy in Manila. There are reports of injuries. Demonstrators there demanding a foreign policy without U.S. involvement.

And a wildfire in southern Colorado has destroyed five homes and threatened hundreds more this hour. The National Guard has been deployed. The fire has burned more than 25 square miles. It is sadly zero percent contained.

For more on the five things to know, go to CNN.com.

Cubs fans try not to panic. Try not to cry, try not to bite their fingernails after the Dodgers open a two games to one lead in the national league championship series.

Hines Ward with this morning's "Bleacher Report". Don't go away. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:23:13] ROMANS: All right. Billy goats, black cats, Bartman and now this. Is it panic time for Cubs fans now down two games to one to Los Angeles Dodgers.

Hines Ward has more in the "Bleacher Report."

Full disclosure, I am a Cubs fans, Hines.

HINES WARD, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, I don't know if it's time to hit the panic button just yet, but I'm sure Chicago fans are starting to get a little nervous because their Cubs has the best record in baseball. And they were favored to win the World Series before the season started.

And nothing went as planned for the Cubbies last night. Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal who hadn't had a hit all series had two run, home run. Cubs star pitcher Jake Arrieta, now, Cubs fans, they're saying, oh no. Now Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill who hasn't even pitched in the majors over a year ago pitched the game of his life. The Dodgers win 6-0, take a 2-1 series lead.

Remember, it's been 100 years since the Cubs won the World Series, so you know they're feeling the pressure now.

And in Toronto, the Blue Jays stay alive in the ALCS, down three games to nothing to the Indians. Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson made sure Toronto lived for another day. He jacks a home run to get things moving for the Blue Jays. You got to love this mullet. And also, he showed up big on the defensive side. Check out this play, a diving play, rose to first base, hits the runner out. What a play. Blue Jays win 5-1.

Now, game five is today, 4:00 Eastern on TBS. And Cubs and Dodgers game, game four is going to start 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Patriots head coach, Coach Belichick, is fed up. He's tired of using the Microsoft tablets on the sideline saying they're too undependable.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[05:25:03] BILL BELICHICK, PATRIOTS COACH: I'm going to stick with pictures which several of our other coaches do as well, because they're just isn't enough consistency in the performance of the tablets. And so, I just can't take it anymore.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WARD: The league is supplying tablets for all of the NFL teams. And Coach Belichick, he did announce yesterday that he's going to a new grandpa. Maybe his grandkids can show him how to use the tablet because he's old school. You know, he's all about the pictures. He's not about the new technology.

ROMANS: Whatever gets you the win, that's all I got to say.

So, 8:00 tonight, Cubs, Eastern Time, 9:00 Eastern Time. Oh, my gosh, it's going to be a very busy night. No one is going to be sleeping.

WARD: Going back and forth, back and forth.

ROMANS: Toggling between Cubs and politics.

All right. Hines, thanks for that.

WARD: No problem.

ROMANS: We're counting down to the final hours in tonight's third presidential debate. Is this Donald Trump last chance to resurrect his campaign? Will Hillary Clinton go for the kill or play it cautious?

CNN's live coverage from Las Vegas. John Berman comes back right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)