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Trump and Clinton Fight for Florida. Clinton to Campaign with Michelle Obama. AT&T buying Time Warner for $85 Billion; Deadly California Collision Leaves 13 Dead, 31 Hospitalized; ISIS Slaughtering Dozens of Civilians in Battle for Mosul. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired October 24, 2016 - 04:00   ET


[04:30:00] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: He delivers his closing arguments to voters. The campaign stopped in Tampa and St. Augustine today after holding three rallies in the state on Sunday. Two more this morning from CNN's Jason Carroll.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, Christine, despite national polls showing Donald Trump trailing behind Hillary Clinton, despite his own campaign manager coming out and acknowledging that the campaign has some ground to make up, Donald Trump coming out here in Naples, Florida, telling a crowd here that the polls are wrong, that the media is wrong.

He also continues to double down on this whole idea that the system is rigged against him.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: So, 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.


CARROLL: There has been concern that because Donald Trump is trailing in national polls that he could be a drag on down ballot races.

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 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?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Jason Carroll in Naples. Hillary Clinton has something of a new target in her speech. She's campaigning with a new special guest, Elizabeth Warren in New Hampshire today and what might be the biggest democratic weapon of all, later this week. 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 the stop at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, talking to a large crowd here with polls showing her in a tight race in this 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.


HILLARY CLINTON (D, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm going to do everything I can and 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 stop, Durham, North Carolina, visiting a large African-American Baptist Church there; also going to Raleigh, North Carolina and visiting St. Augustine's University.

As vote (ph) stops she was accompanied by the "Mothers of the Movement," a group of women whose sons were killed in open confrontations with police.

Hillary Clinton reaching out to minority millennials and others. People, the campaign team 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?

ROMANS: All right, Joe Johns, thanks for that too.

President Obama campaigns for Hillary Clinton in California today and he is broadening (ph) his attack, not only targeting Trump but the entire Republican Party.

He made a stop in Las Vegas last night telling voters they have an ace in hand with Hillary. He lashed out at GOP for creating Trump. Listen.


BARACK OBAMA, US PRESISENT: Donald Trump didn't start it, he just did what he always did, which is slap his name on it, take credit for it and promote it. That's what he does. When suddenly, it's not working and people are saying wow, this guy's got out of line. All of a sudden, these republican politicians who were OK with all this crazy stuff up to a point, suddenly they're all walking away. Oh, this is too much.

So, when you finally get him on tape bragging about actions that qualify as sexual assault and his poll numbers go down, suddenly that's a deal breaker. What took you so long? What the heck? What took you so long?



[04:35:00] BERMAN: Again, it's to clarify the "what the heck" joke. He was in Nevada campaigning against Joe Heck who is running for senate, he is a republican running for senate against a democratic candidate.

So, President Obama there with the "what the heck" risk was sort of going to wreck me after the republican candidate there.

In addition to that, a really interesting tidbit from CNN's Jeff Zeleny. Hillary Clinton is secretly reaching out to the republicans in the house and senate, reassuring them that she is willing to work with them if she wins on November 8th, and that will be a different kind of president with an open-door policy, different by implication than President Obama.

If there is one story that really came back over the last few days as dominating the election right now is that Hillary Clinton, President Obama, a lot of democrats now starting to look beyond November 8th.

She likes where she is in the polls right now. They are now putting their foot on the gas trying to win the senate and trying to think about possibly governing now, you know, Clinton aides are saying she is not measuring the drapes in the Oval Office, but she is starting to think about the future.

ROMANS: All right, also thinking about the future, AT&T buying Time Warner. How will that affect networks like HBO and CNN if the feds okay this mega deal? We are going to go inside the numbers with "CNN Money", next.


[04:40:00] ROMANS: This is literally a big deal. AT&T will buy Time Warner for $85 billion, one of the biggest media deals ever.

It will face tough regulatory scrutiny over it. Time Warner is the parent of CNN and half of the biggest merger of contents and distributions since Comcast bought NBC Universal in 2011.

Both presidential candidates commented on the deal over the weekend. Trump planned a proposal, promising in a statement to break up the new media conglomerate oligopolies, while a Clinton spokesman said they believe regulators should closely scrutinized this, which they probably will, isn't that they will.

Both companies defend the deal adding this is not a horizontal merger, they call it vertical merger. This isn't two similar companies that overlap.

This is Time Warner Entertainment Company to provide content AT&T, a 140-yuear-old telecommunications company.

Take a closer look at AT&T Time Warner deal with CNN Senior Media Correspondent Brian Stelter who has been covering it all weekend long.

There is not a lot of overlap here. This is about the people who have the pipes, right, buying the content to go through them.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: That's right. There are people here in CNN or HBO worried about job cuts. This is not that kind of deal. This is a deal about trying to bring two different types of companies together, a a content company and a distribution company.

AT&T says what it can do at Time Warner allows it to move faster. In other words, AT&T wants to bring you more content via your mobile phone, wants to bring more entertainment and news on your phone. They can do that if they're negotiating with Disney and Time Warner. They say they can do it a lot faster if they own Time Warner.

BERMAN: The consumer will notice what?

STELTER: In the short-term, nothing. You will not see anything different on your AT&T phone bill.

In the immediate or long-term though, assuming the regulators approve the deal about a year from now, you can imagine new ways to subscribe to media.

Right now, most who are watching via cable or satellite, there could be a new proper (ph) way to pay for a bundle channels.

AT&T has already been working on that called DirecTV Now some time in the couple of months - couple of weeks actually.

There could be a lot of those kinds of new ways to pay for T.V. channels and cable and movies, and what AT&T is trying to do is come up with a lot of options. By buying Time Warner gives them more options to influence the future of media.

So the truth is we don't know. We don't know exactly what the implications are a year or two or three years down the road, but companies like At&T and Comcast and Verizon, these are big power players, they want to have a lot of options to influence the future of media.

ROMANS: What will they be scrutinizing at the FCC in Washington in terms of what could hurt consumers here?

STELTER: We've heard both Trump and Clinton speak out about this issue of are these companies are getting too big? That's always the argument against the merger that there is just too much power in the hands of too few, and that's the rhetoric Trump was using over the weekend.

He sounded to the left, not just of President Obama, but all the way over with Bernie Sanders. It was fascinating this weekend to see Donald Trump stake out this position. I think we all know why. He is doing it because he hates the media right how, he hates the way he is being covered so he is using this merger as an excuse to complain about media coverage.

BERMAN: There are people who are genuinely concerned about the size of businesses ...



BERMAN: We have to keep in mind here though, is that usually when you deal with regulatory issues from monopolistic reasons. They worry that one company ...


ROMANS: Right.

BERMAN: ... too much of one (inaudible). This doesn't give AT&T any more wireless customers. it doesn't give AT&T any more cable customers. It is not adding to their current business structure at expanding what they do.

STELTER: Or to flip it around on the content side, it is not adding a news division to a company that already has a news ...


BERMAN: Correct.

STELTER: The concern here at CNN would be what about the CNN journalist independence? What happens when a giant phone company owns CNN?

And we've heard from the AT&T CEO, Randall Stephenson, about this. He issued a statement overnight so we can put on screen addressing this issue about CNN specifically.

He says "Our intent is to operate Time Warner as it operates today with autonomy in its division including the world-class creative talented journalists that make Time Warner a leader in entertainment and news."

He went on to say, "CNN is an American symbol of independent journalism and First Amendment free speech. My board and I are clear, CNN will remain completely independent from an editorial perspective."

So Stephenson is saying the right things are setting the right tone early on. Because up until now, AT&T has not owned a news division nor has it owned these big entertainment channels like HBO.

It's really gaining some valuable assets.

ROMANS: Do you operate this as two separate companies that are linked? is that how they do it? Time Warner remains Time Warner with its own CEO and three big divisions?

STELTER: That's right. That is what the company is indicating that it will treat Time Warner autonomously, but take advantage of the fact that Time Warner by trying to come up with new ways of bundle news and entertainment.

BERMAN: Speech (ph) specially for EARLY START? Is that - can you ...


STELTER: I think they're going to be starting at 2:30 ...


ROMANS: Stop, stop, stop. The stock has been up late last week on talk this was going to happen ...



ROMANS: The stock up again today. You tend to see that happen when somebody is acquired. When do you think this is going to be done? A year maybe?

STELTER: Not until -- toward the end of 2017. I think Hillary Clinton's words were crucial. The ones who were sharing from her form yesterday, the campaign saying they want to look very closely at this.

The difference with Trump and Clinton was illuminated by just over the weekend. Trump immediately saying he will block the deal if he was president. That is not something candidates for president ever say about mergers.

[04:45:00] Normally, they let the regulators decide first, take a look at it first (inaudible) hand taking the normal political position.

We need to look closely at is. We need to scrutinize this and let the regulators have at it (ph). So that's what will happen now. But the president is the Comcast NBC Deal?

Five years ago, Comcast and NBC took a long time to get through Washington but it eventually was approved by regulators, and that's a very similar model is what we're seeing here.

ROMANS: Did Comcast manager stay out of the news entertainment division?

STELTER: I would say they have stayed out of the news division. Certainly, with the entertainment side, the have a lot of ideas about how they want to run the entertainment channels, run the movie studio. But I would say that Comcast NBC merger was a model for what was going through ...


ROMANS: Underneath the (ph) dealing with meddling in "Today" show stuff though every once in a while.

STELTER: And the "Today" show is a separate matter. There is a lot of concerns with morning shows. "Good Morning, America" gets played with by Disney all the time. But when you think about the investment Comcast made in news, there were some positive signs after the merger (ph).

BERMAN: Brian Stelter, thank you so much for reporting on us.

ROMANS: Yeah. And coming up on "New Day". I'll talk to the CEO of Time Warner and Randall Stephenson chairman of and CEO of AT&T. We are going to dig deeper into that $85 billion deal in the 6 o'clock hour.

We will ask them. What changes for you, the viewer, the consumer and for the employees.


The NTSB is now investigating a deadly collision with a tour bus and a tractor-trailer on a California interstate has left 13 people dead, 31 hospitalized. The bus returned from a casino when it rear-ended a truck on I-10 near Palm Springs. This happened just after 5:00 a.m. Sunday morning.

Authorities describe the force of the collision.


CHIEF JIM ABELE, CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL: 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.


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

ROMANS: Police in Oklahoma trying to track down a gunman who shot and wounded two police officers and kil1ed two other people. Michael Vance has been on the run since Sunday night after opening fire on two officers with an AK-47.

Authorities say he stole the patrol car, ditched the vehicle, car tracked the woman, shot and wounded her sped off. Police later found two bodies while perching for Vance. They believe he is wounded and still armed with that assault rifle.

BERMAN: A highway in North Dakota that was shut down by demonstrators trying to block Dakota access oil pipeline this weekend is back open this morning.

The sheriff's office arrested 127 people trying to cement their hands to police cars. Officers had to shoot down a drone that appeared poised. Well, they say, that drone appeared poised to attack them over the weekend.

ROMANS: All right, 47 minutes past the hour.

Up next, the battle for Mosul. Kurdish forces, now within five miles of the occupied city, the operation taking a tragic toll. ISIS slaughtering dozens of civilians, a live report from the "Frontline", next.


BERMAN: New developments this morning in the battle for Mosul. Kurdish forces there moving ever closer now, said to be within five miles of Mosul.

They've already liberated several villages from ISIS control with U.S. coalition planes providing air cover, but the progress has come at a price. ISIS militants have reported they executed civilians who apparently celebrated their freedom too early.

I want to bring in CNN's Michael Holmes, live on the ground near Mosul for sort of a progress update. Michael, what can you tell us?

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL COORESPONDENT: That was a terrible incident, and it is really the peril of rapid advance. Instead of taking clearing and holding, a lot of these Iraqi units, Peshmerga units as well, basically barreling through towns, some of which have very few civilians in them or are empty.

In this case, Iraqi forces came through and some villages came out to celebrate their arrival. The Iraqi forces kept going. ISIS fighters who have taken cover and been hiding then came out, rounded up those doing the celebrating and executed them. We're talking about 40 people or so.

That's the progression to Mosul as you point out has been ahead of schedule. The Iraqi operations command putting out information a couple of hours ago saying that 78 towns and villages have now been liberated although the term "liberated" we will use loosely because a lot of the, are empty.

The 78 towns and villages, there have been 770 ISIS fighters, according to the Iraqis, have been killed, 130 car bombs have been taken out.

And one thing that we just got information on, too, tribal leaders outside of Mosul have been reporting that hundreds of ISIS members and families including, they say, leaders, have been fleeing Mosul and heading for Syria.

Again, Mosul is not completely surrounded and there is that outlet to Syria and that's when the tribal leaders in the area saying that some have been fleeing to Mosul in numbers. John?

BERMAN: All right, rapid developments on the ground there. Michael Holmes, thanks so much.

ROMANS: Lawmakers 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 "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 this debt. He calls their demand for repayment, disgraceful, and threatening to launch an investigation.

[04:55:00] BERMAN: One of the strongest voices in the peace movement has died. Tom Hayden, a life-long activist of liberal causes, he passed away after a long illness in Los Angeles.

Hayden was among the Chicago 7 prosecuted after the riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. He was married to Jane Fonda for a time in the 1970s.

He toured the country for various causes in the 70's and 80's. He was a member of the California State Legislature for 18 years but always, always an activist, fighting for the causes that he believed in, liberal causes. Tom Hayden has passed away. He was 76 years old.

The New Jersey Bridgegate trial begins its 6th week with defendant Bridget Kelly, 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 and the effect of lane closing detours (ph) for Washington Bridge would have on the Ft. Lee. She said Christie signed off on the study. The governor has long denied any knowledge of the closures beforehand.

In Venezuela now, political chaos there. Violent protesters stormed the national assembly Sunday, evangelizing the building, interrupting the session and even punching some lawmakers. The melee coming in the opposition-led assembly pushed to put Venezuela president, Nicolas Maduro, on trial for "violating democracy."

Last week, a proposed recall referendum against the unpopular leftist president was nixed. A move the opposition called a coup. It's really dire straight there for people. The economy is just a wreck, inflation is sky high. In fact, there's bread shortages and food shortages in some place.

BERMAN: Can I make one public service announcement?

ROMANS: Yes, go ahead.

BERMAN: Next time they talk about the friction of the chaos in the U.S. political system, look at video like that, all right?

Things here are just fine in terms of level this (inaudible) relatively speaking for the rest of the world.

The World Series begins on Tuesday. If you want to see it, you better be really, really rich. The Cubs and Indians, they face-off. The tickets listed on the secondary market for game one in Cleveland is 700 bucks, and that's for standing room.

Tickets for the games, the three scheduled games at Wrigley Field, that is the average more than $3,500 for a single seat.

Something historic will happen in this series, because last on the World Series in 1908, but you mama was just a small kid at that point (ph). Would you say that's after the model T Ford rolled off the assembly line.

For the Indians, it has been 67 years since they won an award ...


ROMANS: I said to a Brexit. I said Carol Costello is an Indians fan and I have been told she is not.

BERMAN: You were saying she would never talk to you again because of the World Series? Now, she just never going to talk to you again because you are wrong.

ROMANS: I know, because I got her team wrong.


ROMANS: All right. Let's get EARLY START Monday this morning. Global markets, stock markets around the world are higher after U.S. stocks closed mostly flat on Friday.

But we are in the think of (ph) earning season. Wall Street keeping an eye on some major players reporting this morning. Visa, Ford, Amazon, Coke blowing later this week, so very big week for some big names.

Focus on Twitter when it reports Thursday. It could provide a much needed insight into the future. That company, especially now the takeover prospects look bleak.

AT&T report earnings tomorrow after that weekend plan to buy Time Warner in $85 billion mega deal and Warner stocks gone 8 percent after news broke on Friday. it's up about 3 percent this morning. Right now, stock Futures are higher.

It is a big week for Apple. Not only that the company reports earnings tomorrow, which will give out early sales number from the brad new iPhone 7. But the tech giant is expected to unveil a fresh line of Macs, and a media event on Thursday. Apple's laptop's the long overdue for a refresh. The Mac book pro hasn't had an update in four years. Or the air has been the same since 2010.

BERMAN: EARLY START continues right now.

Just over two weeks to go until Election Day. Hillary Clinton, now, targeting republican members of the house and senate. Donald Trump trying to hang on in Florida. A state he must win.

ROMANS: Kurdish forces advancing on Mosul, now just five miles from the occupied city. The operation though taking a horrifying turn. ISIS extremists slaughtering dozens of civilians in the streets.

And AT&T acquires Time Warner for $85 billion deal. What does this mean for yo at home? What does this mean if your favorite network plays a (inaudible).

ROMANS: It is a big deal.

BERMAN: It is. Good morning everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is Monday, October 24th. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East. Let's begin in the fight for Florida.

Early voting in the state gets under way in just hours. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are running neck and neck in the critical battleground state.

it's a different story nationally, a new ABC News tracking poll putting Clinton ahead by 12 points. Even Trump's campaign manager concedes there is an uphill battle.


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

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: We are behind. She has tremendous advantages. She has -- the former president happened to be her husband, campaigning for her, the current president and First Lady, vice president are much more popular than she can hope to be.


ROMANS: Without Florida and the electoral votes, Trump has virtually no chance to win. He delivered his closing argument to voters at campaign staff in Tampa and Sr. Augustine today. let's get more from CNN's Jason Carroll.