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Battleground Florida; Kurdish Forces Move Closer to Mosul; AT&T Acquiring Time Warner in $85 Billion Deal; Deadly Collision on California Interstate; Cubs Make the World Series. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired October 24, 2016 - 04:00   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Battleground Florida, Trump and Clinton fighting to take the state. For Trump, it is a must win. But even his campaign chief concedes, time maybe running out.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Kurdish forces now advancing on Mosul, now just five miles away from that occupied city. Some difficult, horrifying twists, though. ISIS extremists slaughtering civilians in the streets.

ROMANS: AT&T acquiring Time Warner, this is an $85 billion deal. So, what does it mean for your favorite network like HBO and CNN?

BERMAN: We are looking for ourselves.

ROSE: Exactly. Good morning, welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. It is Monday, October 24th. It is 4:00 a.m. in the East.

It is Election Day is here, in Florida at least. Early voting there begins in just a few hours. Florida sort of can be a pretty important state in presidential elections. If by important you mean, deciding the whole darn thing.

Hillary Clinton has inched ahead in most polls there. But there is no inching across the country. There, Hillary Clinton's lead can now be measured in feet. A new ABC News tracking polls show Clinton with a 12-point lead. Even Donald Trump's Campaign Manager admits they are trailing.


CHUCK TODD, NBC HOST: Where do you see this race right now? Do you acknowledge that you are behind?

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: We are behind. She has tremendous advantages. She has a former president who happens to be her husband campaigning for her, the current president or first lady, vice president, much more popular than she can hope to be.


BERMAN: Yep, but the Trump people say that this is a change election, so if those are disadvantages, how can they be advantages at the same time, interesting. All right, it is all but impossible for Donald Trump to win without Florida, which is way he kick off three days of campaigning there overnight.

Let's get the latest from CNN Jason Carroll.

JASON CAROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Christine, despite national polls showing Donald Trump trailing behind Hillary Clinton, despite his campaign manager coming out and acknowledging that the campaign has some ground to makeup. Donald Trump coming out here in Naples, Florida telling the crowd here that the polls are wrong and that the media is wrong. He also continued to double down on this whole idea that the system is rigged against him.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My message is this. If we win on November 8th, we are going to fix our rigged system. It's a rigged, broken, corrupt system. It's rigged. It's broken. It's corrupt. They want me to take that back. Let me tell you. Folks, it's a rigged system. And we are going to drain the swamp of corruption in Washington, D.C.


CAROLL: There has been concern that because Donald Trump is trailing in National polls, that he could be a drag on down ballot races. Donald Trump telling the crowd here in Naples, telling voters, that they have to get out and vote. And for the first time we heard him say that he had to -- voters have to get out and help reelect Republicans. Trump also making no mention of his accusers or any threats of, any lawsuits, but once again no acknowledgment that he is trailing nationally behind Clinton in those National polls, Christine, John.

ROMANS: All right, Jason Carroll for us in Florida. Hillary Clinton understands that a Florida victory could seal the deal on November 8. She will be campaigning in the Sunshine State for two days starting tomorrow. Today she is in New Hampshire with Elizabeth Warren by her side.

CNN's Joe Johns has the latest.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: John and Christine, Hillary Clinton wrapping up her latest trip here to the Tar Heel state with a stop at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte talking to us, large crowd here with polls showing her in a tight race in the state with Donald Trump, but running very strong nationally. She is now trying to use some of her popularity to help Democrats in down ballot races.


everything I can. I hope you will do everything you can to help elect Roy Cooper as your next governor. He has real plans. Not just rhetoric, real plans to create good jobs and protect the environment. And he will stand up for your voting rights.


JOHNS: Earlier in the day, Hillary Clinton made two other stops in North Carolina in the Research Triangle area. First up, in the Durham, North Carolina visiting a large African-American after there, also going to Raleigh, North Carolina and visiting St. Augustine University. At both stops, she was accompanied by the Mother's of the Movement, a group of women whose sons were killed in often confrontations with police. Hillary Clinton reaching out to minority Millenials and others, people the campaign deems will be very important in November. Hillary Clinton will be back in the Tar Heel state later this week campaigning for the first time together with the first lady of the United States Michelle Obama, John and Christine.

[04:05:06] BERMAN: It is a big booking for Hillary Clinton there, right? President Obama has his set sights beyond Donald Trump. He wants to trounce Republicans in the House and Senate as well. At the event in Las Vegas overnight, he essentially accused the Republicans of creating Donald Trump. Listen to this.


BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PRESIDENT: Donald Trump didn't start it. He just did what he always did which is slap his name on it. Take creditor it. And promote it. That is what he does.



When suddenly it's not working and people are saying wow, this guy is kind a, out of line. All of a sudden, these Republican politicians who were ok with all this crazy stuff, up to a point and suddenly they are all walking away. This is too much. So, you know when you finally get him on tape bragging about actions that qualify as sexual assault and his poll numbers go down. Suddenly that is a deal breaker. What took you so long? What the heck? What took you so long?




BERMAN: To be clear, the "what the heck" reference is a reference to Joe Heck, the congressman - the Republican congressman who is running for senate in Nevada right now. It's a little play on words.

ROMANS: Come on, man. BERMAN: Come on, man. There's no candidate name come on, man. So

that is why he went with what the heck.

In Nevada now, we have an interesting tidbit from CNN Jeff Zeleny. Jeff has learned that Hillary Clinton is secretly reaching out to Republicans in the House and Senate. Reassure that she is willing to work with them if she wins. That will be a different kind of president with an open door policy. The different by implication is different than President Obama. And she will be more available and perhaps conversing with the Republican as a president.

ROMANS: He likes to spend time with his daughters in the evening. That was the second deal breaker for him and his family time.

BERMAN: She has relationships with members of both parties that go back quite a long way. So that will be interesting. Now Clinton campaign aides say that you know, she is not measuring the drapes in the oval office, but she still intends to campaign even though she is starting to look a little bit beyond November.

ROMANS: Reaching at the both parties, yeah.


ROMANS: All right. Time for the EARLY START on your money, it is -- one of the biggest deals ever. AT&T will buy Time Warner for $85 billion bucks. Time Warner is the parent company of CNN. This deal announce Saturday as a union of programming in distribution of AT&T's wireless internet service combined with, household names like CNN, HBO and AT&T and Warner Bros studio.

It is the biggest merger on content distribution since Comcast, but NBC universal in 2011. This deal is worth more than double the value of that one. In fact, it is the largest of its kind, which means it will face a lengthy review by the government regulators, the department of justice, the FCC will criticize per proving the Comcast deals and the government has blocked several proposed company tie-ups in the past few years.

One major concern for regulators about this mega merger is AT&T will keep Time Warner content from consumers. For example, there ma king it exclusive to AT&T subscribers. There is also worry over how AT&T will treat competitors either charging them more, or giving then a Warner's network better placement.

Members of congress are who look at this sort of issues are already calling for meetings about the proposed deal. Both companies defend it. Both CEOs explained that this gives consumer what they want, more shows and video on their phones. Time Warner stock climbed 8 percent Friday, after news of the deal broke and it is up about 3 percent in pre-market trading tight now. So some optimism is actually in stocks market around the world by this merger mania in the U.S.

Coming up on "NEW DAY", Jeff Lucas, the Chairman of CEO Time Warner Randall Stevenson, the chairman and CEO of AT&T, will dig deeper on the $85 billion deal in the 6:00 am hour. We are going to talk to both of them.

BERMAN: I wonder how they got that booking. I remember when Disney bought Cap Cities when I was in ABC in like 1994 - 95. Peter Jennings he love videos with business news and the news is us.


BERMAN: You know it is interesting when you - when you have that big deal like this.

All right, eight minutes after the hour. Horrific incident on the California interstate, more than a dozen people killed when a tour bus ran into a - tractor-trailer. We will have the latest on this investigation next.


[04:13:32] ROMANS: Tragedy on the California Interstate. The NTSB is now investigating a deadly collision between a tour bus and a tractor- trailer, 13 people dead, 31 others hospitalized. The bus was returning from a casino when it rear-ended the truck on I-10 near Palm Springs, just after 5:00 Sunday morning. Listen to the authority describe the force of the collision.


JIM ABELE, CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL CHIEF: I will tell you the speed of the bus was so significant that when it hit the back of the big rig trailer, the trailer itself entered about 15 feet into the bus.


ROMANS: The driver of the bus was killed. It is not known whether drugs or alcohol played a role in that crash.

BERMAN: New developments just this morning in the battle for Mosul, Kurdish forces moving ever closer. They are now within five miles of the second largest city. They already have liberated several villages from ISIS control with U.S. coalition planes providing cover from the air. But the progress has come with a price. ISIS militants have been reportedly executed civilians who are apparently celebrating their freedom prematurely.

I want to bring in CNN Michael Holmes. He is live on the ground near Mosul. Michael, what is the latest?

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We are near a -- a place called Vishika which Kurdish forces down there encircled yesterday. We have been hearing small arms fire now and mortars going in with some artillery as well. They have encircled this place. They cut it off from the main road to Mosul, all part of the encircling of Mosul so that when all forces are up there and coordinated, and close then they can start to going in.

[4:15:12] HOLMES: You mentioned the pace of the advance with the Iraqi and the Kurds, the Americans for that matter. All say this is ahead of schedule, but there are perils to that. In fact we just got new numbers from the Iraqi Joint Operations Command Center saying that 78 towns and villages have been liberated during this offensive. 700 ISIS fighters, 770 actually have been killed. Incredible to 130 car and truck bombs have been destroyed during this operation as well. One of ISIS most feared weapons.

Now they are leaving booby traps and leaving IED's as they leave these villages, but as the Iraqi forces and the Kurdish forces go through some of this places, they don't do what the Americans. I remember I used to say during the war here, clear and hold. They will go through, but they don't clear and they don't always hold. And what happens, incident as you mentioned is one village where 40 or so civilians came out and celebrated as Iraqis drove through quote/unquote liberating their town. Well, they did not stay and they didn't hold. And ISIS fighters who had been in hiding then came out, rounded up those who have been doing the celebrating around 40 as we are told and executed them.

That is one of the risk they are going a little too quickly on an advance like this, John.

BERMAN: That is right, the lines are not exactly always clear in battles like this.

Michael Holmes for us near Mosul. Thanks so much, Michael.

ROMANS: All right. Lawmakers here are tangling with the Pentagon for trying to recover enlistment bonuses that were improperly paid to thousands of California National Guard soldiers a decade ago. According to "The Los Angeles Times" nearly 10,000 soldiers are being asked to return $15,000 each or more. House majority leader Kevin McCarthy is demanding the Pentagon waive the debt calls their payment, for demands for repayment disgraceful and it is threatening to launch an investigation.

BERMAN: History unfolding on the north side of Chicago. The Chicago Cubs actually made it to the World Series, ending the longest draught in sports history. Wait until you hear what it will cost you to go to the game one of the World Series. Unless you are Theo Epstein, right there. He can get you in the game.


[04:21:43] BERMAN: Police in Oklahoma trying to track down a gunman who shot and wounded two police officers and killed two other people. Michael Vance has been on the run since Sunday night after opening fire on two officers with an AK-47 allegedly. Authorities say he stole a police car, ditched the vehicle, carjack a different vehicle shot and wounded that driver and then sped off. Police later found two bodies while searching for Vance, they believe he is wounded and is still armed with the assault rifle.

ROMANS: A highway North Dakota was shut down by demonstrator trying to block the Dakota oil pipeline this weekend, back open now this morning. The Sheriff's Department arrested 127 people some are trying to cement their hands to police cars. Officers also had to shoot down a drone that appeared poised to attack them, that was yesterday.

BERMAN: New developments this morning, the New Jersey Bridge Gate trial with defendants Bridget and Kelly, a former top aide to Governor Chris Christie, back on the witness stand. Kelly testified on Friday that she told Christie nearly a month before the alleged political pay back plot about a traffic study in the effect lane closing at the George Washington bridge would have on the town of Fort Lee. She said Christie signed off on the study. The governor's all denied and acknowledge of the closures beforehand.

ROMANS: Political chaos reigning in Venezuela. Violent protesters stormed the National Assembly on Sunday, vandalizing the building, interrupting the session of parliament, even punching some lawmakers. The melee coming as the opposition led the subway a pushed to put the Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro on trial for quote violating democracy last week opposed recall referendum against the unpopular leftist president was nixed a move the opposition called a coup.

BERMAN: All right. The World Series begins Tuesday. If you want to see the Cubs and Indians play in person, you may need a second mortgage. The cheapest tickets listed on the secondary market for game one in Cleveland is $700 bucks, that actually sounds a bargain. That is for standing room. Tickets for the three scheduled games at Wrigley Field average more than $3,500 for a single seat. Now something historic has to give in the series. The Cubs last won a World Series in 1908 just after the model T rolled off the assembly line for ford for the first time. And the Indians, what was their last was 1948, a 67-year drought for them.

ROMANS: 1945, the last time the Cubs were going in to the World Series was 1945.

BERMAN: I feel like the system is rigged though against the Indians. I feel like, every, you know the nation wants the Cubs. I feel for the Cleveland fans here.

ROMANS: I know, we are going to have to Solomon speak to us in the next few weeks, are you Cubs (inaudible) I think Carol loves the Indians.

All right, 15 days and counting until America vote, both candidates targeting the critical battleground of the state of Florida, neck and neck there. But is it already too late for Trump? We will tell you what his campaign manager just said next on EARLY START.


[04:28:38] BERMAN: Let the voting begin. Early voting begins today in Florida. This crucial battleground state, Donald Trump cannot win without it. But his campaign he concedes, time maybe running out.

ROMANS: Kurdish Force is advancing on Mosul, now just 5 miles from the occupied city. The operation takes a terrifying turn. ISIS Extremist slaughtering dozens of civilians in the street.

BERMAN: And AT&T buys Time Warner. $85 billion deal. What does it mean for your favorite networks like HBO and CNN?

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

ROMANS: Happy Monday everybody I'm Christine Romans. It is 29 minutes past the hour.

Let's begin first in Florida here, Florida in play. Early voting in the state gets under way this morning with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton running neck and neck. It is a different story nationwide. New ABC News tracking poll putting Clinton ahead by 12 points, even Trump's campaign manager concedes they are trailing.


TODD: Where do you see this race right now? Do you acknowledge that you are behind?

CONWAY: We are behind. She has tremendous advantages. She has the former president. That happens to be her husband campaigning for her, the current president and the first lady, the vice president, much more popular than she can hope today.


ROMANS: Without Florida and its 29 electoral votes, Trump has virtually no chance to win. He delivers his closing argument to voters that campaign stops in Tampa as they all have seen today, after holding a free rally in the state on Sunday.

Let's hear more this morning from CNN Jason Caroll.