Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Digs Deeper; Trump Versus Khan; Hillary Teaming Up with Michelle Obama; ISIS Fighters Streaming Into Mosul. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired October 27, 2016 - 04:00   ET


[04:00:09] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So, Donald Trump claims he's going to dig deeper. Reaching into his pocket for campaign cash, but can he buy a big comeback with just 12 days to go?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Trump goes there again. The nominee just renewed his feud with the Gold Star father who lost his son in the Iraq war.

BERMAN: Hillary Clinton brings out the biggest of big guns. Michelle Obama, the first lady of the United States, set to appear side by side for the first time with Hillary Clinton today.

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

ROMANS: And I am Christine Romans. It is Thursday, October 27th. It is 4:00 a.m. in the East.

This morning, is Donald Trump going to open up his wallet in the final weeks of the campaign? He claims yes, but he'll need to shell out about 40 million bucks in 12 days to meet his pledge. More on that in a moment. Because this morning, Donald Trump finds himself in a new back and forth with the father of the slain Muslim American Army Captain Humayun Khan, who died in the Iraq War in 2004.

Overnight, Donald Trump repeated his claim that Captain Khan would still be alive if Trump had been president at the time. Khan's father is lashing back. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Had I been president, Captain Khan would be alive today. We would not be in this horrible, horrible mistake.

KHZIR KHAN, FATHER OF SLAIN MUSLIM-AMERICAN SOLDIER: This is the most cruel thing you can say to grieving parents, that if I was there, this would not have happened. There is no sincerity in those remarks.


ROMANS: Clinton's lead over Trump tightening slightly to six points in the latest CNN poll of polls, just a dozen days now to go until the election. CNN's Jason Carroll has the very latest for us from the Trump campaign in North Carolina.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): John and Christine, at Trump's rally here in Kingston, he went over familiar points that we've heard before. First, about those polls, he says those national polls and battleground polls showing him running behind Hillary Clinton are wrong. But he did say that a recent poll out of the state of Florida showing him up by two points, he says that one is right, saying that those long lines of early voters, he says many of those people standing in lines are in fact Donald Trump supporters. Also going after Hillary Clinton on the issue of Obamacare and those rising insurance premiums.

He also took a moment to defend going trail for a brief time to promote his new hotel in Washington, D.C.

TRUMP: So, I thought I would take an hour or two and run in and cut the ribbon with them at the building. To show you how low she is, she comes out and says, Donald Trump took time off from campaign to open a hotel. OK.

Now, she'll do one stop -- I'm telling you, she wants to sleep all the time. This is not what we need. This is not what we need as a president.

CARROLL: At an earlier rally in Charlotte, Trump once again made an effort to reach out to African-Americans, offering what he calls his version of a new lead, laying out a plan to improve jobs, safety and education in that community, once making an effort to broaden his base and reach African-Americans. He also took aim at Hillary Clinton, saying that she has low energy.

Trump for his part will be making three stops in Ohio later today -- John and Christine.


BERMAN: All right. Jason Carroll, thanks so much.

As we mentioned, Donald Trump is claiming that he will open his wallet and put a lot more money into his presidential campaign in the next two weeks minus two days.

Dana Bash caught up with him outside his new hotel in Washington, D.C.


TRUMP: I'll have over $100 million in the campaign. Hillary Clinton has nothing in the campaign. She has all special interest and donors and they give her the money and she will do whatever they tell her to do. But I will have over $100 million in the campaign. And I'm prepared to go much more than that.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: Trump still has a lot of spending to do if he wants to reach that $100 million mark. The latest campaign finance numbers show Trump has loaned his campaign $47.5 million through the end of September. He says he won't take paybacks from the campaign on that money. Trump has also contributed $8.5 million over the course of the election. In total, that's $56 million. His campaign started October with nearly $35 million in cash. He has spent $189 million so far this election cycle.

His timing on these comments is also interesting. His contributions from October 1st to 19th will be released later today. We'll see those. But donations after that date will not become public until December. So, we won't know how big a check he has written to his own campaign until after the election.

BERMAN: No, look, and the key here is, again, in the language he uses, at one point, I spend $100 million. Then he says I will spend over $100 million. We'll just know more today. We'll know a little bit more today as you said.

[04:05:01] He's thrown a lot of money. There's no question about that. But Reince Priebus earlier this year was trying to get him to put a lot more in. And if he has it, now is the time to spend it.

All right. New this morning, the Clinton campaign is asking its biggest donors to put their money behind Senate candidates. Clinton has no more big fund-raisers scheduled the final 12 days of the race. Instead, she is asking supporters to send cash to Senator Harry Reid's super PAC. Now, if Hillary Clinton wins the White House, Democrat would need to pick up four seats to take back control of the Senate.

ROMANS: A huge moment on the campaign trail for Hillary Clinton today. She is bringing up the biggest of big guns. First Lady Michelle Obama will join her in North Carolina. Secretary Clinton just wrapped up two days in battleground Florida.

CNN's Phil Mattingly is there.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, John and Christine, there's no question over the course of the last couple of weeks, the Clinton campaign has gotten a lot more comfortable with where they stand. It's not just where they look at the polling where even the CNN poll of polls shows she's got a six, seven-point lead consistently. But it's also state by state, including right here in Florida, where the Clinton campaign has consistently pointed to two and three and four- point leads.

Maybe not anymore. The latest Bloomberg politics poll coming out showing Donald Trump has a two-point lead. Now, the Clinton campaign has a lot of questions about that poll itself. But it does under score this point that the Clinton campaign has been trying to make to their supporters. Now is not the time to pull off.

Take a listen to what Hillary Clinton had to say. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are 13 days left

in this important election and I have to tell you -- it is so clear how high the stakes are and I am going to work as hard as I can over these next 13 days reaching out to as many people as possible. We can't take our foot off the gas even for a short time. Every vote counts.

MATTINGLY: And, guys, the reality here is this -- Trump has very real support in the northern part of the state, particularly in the panhandle and north central Florida. That support if he can get out the vote certainly will make this race close no matter what.

But Democrats in the state are pointing to those early vote numbers, those incredibly important early vote numbers where they feel like they are doing much better than they did in 2012. And that's before in-person early voting starts this weekend. That's where Democrats make up ground.

Still, there's no question about it. Florida is crucial for both campaigns. Think about it like this -- this state has 29 electoral votes. Without this state, Trump has no chance of winning the White House barring some other type of crazy thing happening.

The Clinton campaign knows that. That's why Hillary Clinton has spent the last few days in Florida and will be back again this weekend. They know Florida is where they shut the door on the Trump campaign -- John and Christine.


BERMAN: Phil Mattingly, thanks so much.

A newly released e-mail from the WikiLeaks hack lays out what some see as a connection between the Clinton Foundation doing good with doing well for Bill Clinton. The memo written by one time close Clinton aide Doug Band outlines the dual role they played and turning relationships with corporate donors into big speaking fees for the former president. The memo comes from 2011. It notes that one Clinton Foundation donor, banking giant UBS, hired Bill Clinton to give several paid speeches where it paid him $1.5 million.

Just interesting. A lot of the speeches were alongside George W. Bush.

ROMANS: Oh, interesting.

BERMAN: That was a lot of where they appeared together and talked about --

ROMANS: Oh, that's right. That's right.

All right. The Democratic National Committee is accusing the Trump campaign of illegal voter suppression in a new lawsuit filed against the Republican Party. The DNC claims Trump says Trump's claim the election is rigged, rests on what it calls fabricated claims of voter fraud in the Nordic communities. The Democrats say the Republican National Committee is giving direct and tacit support to Trump's claims in violation of a longstanding legal settlement aimed at banning voter suppression activity. The RNC is calling the suit completely meritless.

BERMAN: All right. Overnight, a flip flop from the important member of Congress on the issue of Donald Trump, or a flip-flip-flop in this case. Would that make it just a flip?

After the primaries, Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz said he would support Donald Trump. Then, earlier this month, after the "Access Hollywood" video came out, Chaffetz says he could not defend or endorse his party's nomine because he claimed he would not be able to look his 15-year-old daughter in the eye.

But overnight, this tweet, "I will not defend or endorse Donald Trump, but I am voting for him. Hillary Rodham Clinton is that bad. Hillary Rodham Clinton is bad for the USA."

ROMANS: I have never seen an election season where the needle has to be thread so carefully, so carefully, between "I will not endorse, but I will vote for".

BERMAN: A lot of these people who after the "Access Hollywood" said, no, no, Donald Trump, I'm writing in Mike Pence, for instance, have now come back and use language like that. It's very, very interesting to see.

ROMANS: All right. Is Donald Trump gaining ground in the closing days of the campaign? New polling shows races are tightening in some of the key battleground states. We're going to go inside the numbers for a closer look.

That's next on EARLY START.


[04:14:08] BERMAN: This morning, Hillary Clinton sits on the six- point lead nationwide in the CNN poll of polls. If you dig down, though, the numbers suggest some of the key battleground states could be experiencing some tightening.

CNN's John King goes inside the numbers.


JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A brand new FOX News national poll puts Hillary Clinton's lead at three points. And when you average that out with all the other recent national polls, our CNN poll of polls shows a shrinking but still significant Clinton lead, 47 to 41 nationally over Donald Trump as we head into the final 12 days of campaigning.

When you go the states, though, it gets more interesting when you start thinking about, can Donald Trump poll up an epic comeback?

Let's start in Florida. You look at the numbers here in the state of Florida, a new Bloomberg Politics poll out today shows Donald Trump actually leading in Florida, 45 percent to 43 percent. That's a statistical tie. Over polls have shown Secretary Clinton with a narrow lead.

But clear Trump momentum in Florida. That's good for Donald Trump because he needs to win Florida.

[04:15:01] The reasons why are quite interesting. If you look at why candidates get their support, if this election is about creating jobs and about changing Washington, Donald Trump wins by a big margin. If it's about who has the right temperament to be president, who will be a role model for our children, Hillary Clinton wins on that.

So, watch the candidates in these final 13, 12 days to try to frame to voters what this election is most about. Some other polling out at the state level, battleground New Hampshire. It's a smaller state, a mixed verdict here.

If you look at this poll from Monmouth University, it shows a closer race, a four-point Clinton lead in that state, where she has had a big lead. But NBC/"Wall Street Journal" also out with some new numbers that still show a nine-point Clinton lead. So, we'll keep an eye on New Hampshire, clearly a volatile electorate, some changes as we head into the final weeks. But we leave that one advantage Clinton at the moment.

And now, let's head out west. This one here is more encouraging news for the Trump campaign, Nevada, key to both of Barack Obama's big victories. Well, NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll tonight has it 43-43, a dead heat in the state of Nevada, a critical state for Trump as he tries to get to 270 and critical for Hillary Clinton as she hopes to block him.

So, let's go to the map that matters most, the race to 270. We at the moment still have Secretary Clinton winning overwhelmingly so. But what this new data do? It makes us think about Nevada. Maybe Donald Trump can take Nevada. If he does that, he changes the map.

What about Florida? If he can hold that momentum, Donald Trump needs to win Florida. If he can do that, she is still above 270, but now, Trump is back in play. Back in play, but still a very steep hill for the final dozen days.

Donald Trump must win North Carolina, must win Ohio. And Mike Pence out in Utah today. Mike Pence campaigning in the west. These are ruby red Republican west states, Donald Trump doesn't have them yet. He must get them back heading into the final week.

If he gets them back, then he is in play. But even, he needs to change another one of those blue states to get there.

So, is Donald Trump in play? Are these new poll more encouraging? But is the hill still very, very steep? Absolutely.


ROMANS: All right. John King, thanks, John.

Fireworks at the Maryland Senate debate. Green Party candidate Margaret Flowers crushing the stage as the Democratic nominee and Republican nominee were squaring off on live TV. Take a look.


MARGARET FLOWERS, GREEN PARTY SENATE CANDIDATE: I think it is important for voters to understand the differences between myself and Congressman Van Hollen and Delegate Szeliga. Otherwise they don't really know. I mean, you say you are a public university and you want to educate the public, but without having full name public discussion, that doesn't happen. So, how does this serve the public if I am on the ballot?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She will have to leave now.

FLOWERS: It's Dr. Flowers. I'm a candidate for U.S. Senate in Maryland and this is how you are treating a candidate?


ROMANS: She's a physician. She's been battling for months to be included on the debate stage. But with only 5 percent support in the polls, she failed to reach the 15 percent threshold required. But certainly a dramatic moment in that campaign.

BERMAN: But look at the other two candidates there. They don't look very comfortable with that situation.

ROMANS: I know, but they kind of just, chilling --

BERMAN: Security came in.

ROMANS: All right.

BERMAN: All right. Ahead on EARLY START, the fight for Mosul. Coalition forces on the move. ISIS suicide squad pouring in from Syria reportedly. The Pentagon is preparing for a bloody struggle.

We are live from the frontlines, next.


[04:22:41] ROMANS: The latest now on the battle for Mosul. Tens of thousands of coalition troops moving closer than ever to the city. The Pentagon expects the fight to drive out ISIS to be bloody. The extremist group reportedly sending in hundreds of suicide squad fighters from Syria, ahead of the upcoming battle.

I want to bring in CNN's Michael Holmes. He's live on the ground near Mosul for us this morning.

Bring us up to speed, Michael.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Yes, Christine, a very active battlefield. As you said, those suicide squads if you like coming in in the hundreds, according to the locals in Mosul, wearing distinctive uniforms, wearing suicide belts, coming in from Syria, obviously determined to fight to the death. Now, 15 kilometers to the south of Mosul, there is a town called Hammam al Alil.

Now, this is the last major population center from that direction before Mosul. Iraqi troops have it surrounded, but we're told that inside, they have moved, ISIS moved in some of the better fighters. Their more capable fighters, Chechens, Tunisians, Moroccans, Afghans, foreign fighters, who obviously are there to try to delay the advance, cause as much problems as I can, damage as much of the Iraqi military equipment as they can, but also possibly damage morale as forces get ever closer to Mosul.

Intelligence obviously coming out of Mosul, too, because we heard from locals there today that three houses that are being occupied by a squad of ISIS experts and anti-tank and anti-aircraft weaponry was struck at about 6:30 a.m. local time today. Those three houses destroyed and 20 ISIS fighters, we're told, were killed.

On another point, we also heard that several ISIS police officers patrolling the streets of the city all this time have been shaving their beards likely, of course, to try to blend in with the local population, a tactic that has been expected and feared -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks so much for that. Michael Holmes in Mosul for us.

Two strong earthquakes hitting central Italy, some 50 miles from the site of the quake back in August that killed about 300 people. Just hours after 5.5 magnitude near the town of Visso Wednesday, a 6.1 quake struck in the same region. No reported injuries, but there were reports of historic buildings being damaged or destroyed.

[04:25:04] BERMAN: All right. The World Series now all even. The Cubs, they beat the Indians 5-1 in game two. Just like Cleveland in game one, the Cubs kind of jumped out early. They won control from the start behind pitcher Jake Arrieta. He didn't allow a hit until the sixth inning, although I have to say, he was kind of all over the plate. It was a weird game.

The series now goes back to Wrigley Field in Chicago, game three Friday night. The first World Series game played at Wrigley in 71 years.

ROMANS: So, you know why they won? They won because I put these on. I said I will wear these all day if we win this game. We are superstitious, Chicago people.

BERMAN: So, you'd have to wear that every game now. You'd have to wear it. And maybe every morning from now on.

If they lose, it will be because they did not wear those glasses for very EARLY START of the World Series.

ROMANS: I'm very torn. I'm torn between keeping my job and I'm torn between supporting my Cubbies.

BERMAN: You know that our bosses are up watching right now. They are that committed to the news.

Donald Trump pledging to dig deeper into his own pocket in the 12 days of his campaign. He claims he's spending more than a hundred million dollars. Is that true? A closer look ahead on EARLY START.