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Trump's Personal Contributions: $56 Million; Trump Versus Khan; Hillary Teaming Up with Michelle Obama; Battle for Mosul; Central Italy Rattled By Pair of Quakes; Cubs Get Even in World Series. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired October 27, 2016 - 05:00   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump claims he will dig deeper reaching his pocket for more campaign cash. Can he buy a big comeback with just 12 days to go?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. A new back and forth between Donald Trump and Gold Star father who lost his son in the Iraq war.

ROMANS: Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama, they are teaming up together on the first time side by side on the campaign trail today. Powerful advocate for the secretary of state.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. Nice to see you. It is Thursday, October 27th, 5:00 a.m. in the east.

And this morning, is Donald Trump going to open his wallet in the final 12 days of this campaign? He claims yes. He will need to shell out about 40 million bucks in less than two weeks to meet that pledge. We're going to have more on this in just a moment.

Because this morning, Trump finds himself in the new back and forth with the father of the slain Army captain who died in the Iraq war, Humayun Khan. Overnight, Trump repeated his claim that Khan would still be alive if he would have been president in 2004. Khan's father is lashing back.

Listen to this.


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.


BERMAN: Also, t is worth repeating that Trump is on the record as having supported the Iraq war before the invasion.

Hillary Clinton's lead over Donald Trump has tightened slightly to 6 points in the latest CNN poll of polls.

CNN's Jason Carroll with the very latest from the trail in North Carolina.


[05:00:00] JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: 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.


ROMANS: All right. Jason Carroll -- thank you, Jason.

As we mentioned, Trump is claiming that he will open his wallet and put a lot more money in the campaign. 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.


ROMANS: All right. 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 said 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 October 19th will be released later today. Donations after that date are not public until December. We won't know how big a check Trump has written to the campaign until after the election.

BERMAN: All right. New this morning, the Clinton campaign is asking some of the biggest donors to put money behind Senate candidates. Clinton has no more big fund-raisers left in the campaign. Neither is Donald Trump, by the way.

So, the Clinton camp is asking to send cash to Senate super PACs, including Harry Reid. For the Clinton victory, Democrats would need to pick up four seats to retake control of the Senate.

Huge moment on the trail today for Hillary Clinton. She's brining out the biggest of big guns in Democratic terms. First Lady Michelle Obama joins here 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.

[05:05:05] And that's before in-person early voting starts this weekend. That's where Democrats typically 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.


ROMANS: All right. Phil, thank you for that.

A newly released e-mail from the WikiLeaks hack says lays out what some see as a connection between the Clinton Foundation doing god with doing well for Bill Clinton. The memo written by one time close Clinton aide Doug Band outlines the dual role he and an associate played, raising funds for the foundation and turning relationships of corporate donors into big speaking fees for the former president.

The 2011 memo notes that one Clinton Foundation donor, banking giant UBS, hired Bill Clinton to give several paid speeches for which it paid him $1.5 million.

You pointed out, John, those speeches were he stood side by side.

BERMAN: Yes, some of them were George W. Bush speeches that Bill Clinton did.

ROMANS: George W. Bush.

BERMAN: 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 says Trump's claim the election is rigged, rests on what it calls fabricated claims of voter fraud in minority communities. Democrats say the Republican National Committee is giving direct and tacit support to Trump's claims in violation of a longstanding legal settlement going back to the early '80s from New Jersey aimed at banning voter suppression activity.

The RNC calls the suit completely meritless. ROMANS: All right. Joining us to discuss the candidates' frantic

fight to the finish, say that five times fast, Zachary Wolf, the managing editor of CNN Politics Digital.

Good morning, Zach. Nice to see you this morning.


ROMANS: So, yesterday, you know, you saw Donald Trump at the couple of events. The first was in Washington. It was, you know, the ribbon cutting of the hotel which has been open for a year. But, right? Six months or a year?

Dana Bash caught up with him. And let's listen to that exchange.


TRUMP: I'm going to North Carolina right now. Then I'm going to Florida and New Hampshire. For you to ask me that question is very insulting because Hillary Clinton does one stop and she goes home and sleeps. And yet you ask me that question. I think it's a very rude question to be honest with you.


ROMANS: And to be clear, the question she asked was, why are you doing a corporate event essentially for your private business at a time when by all accounts, every moment, every appearance in a swing state and a battleground state is incredibly important. In that response is interesting. He got -- he both got to slam the media and Hillary Clinton in one small answer. $

WOLF: That's right. You know, for an outside observer, it is go-time in a presidential campaign. You think they would try to do as much as they possibly can to swing voters, to get people in these niche places and undecided people. Get out the vote, all these things. Go to places where they need you most.

I think, you know, a flip side for Trump is I'm in this because I'm a businessman. People respect my business. You are here covering my hotel opening. I'm talking about how it is open early and ahead of time and under budget and all those things.

I think there's an argument there that he's not completely wasting time. I'm not sure this is the best argument I've heard. But there is one there.

BERMAN: Look, he is still doing more events than Hillary Clinton. He is. He's got rallies, you know, more speaking engagements than she does, to be sure. His answer to Dana was strange, saying the question was somehow rude, which is not how he gave an answer to Mark Halperin when asked the similar question about that.

And I will say this, there is a bunch of stuff out now because of Megyn Kelly's exchange with Newt Gingrich about how Trump and his allies are treating women. And let's just look at the Megyn Kelly and Newt Gingrich exchange, and how Donald Trump talked about it at his hotel opening.


NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: You are fascinated with sex and you don't care about public policy. That's what I get out of watching you tonight.

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS HOST: You know what? Mr. Speaker, I'm not fascinated by sex, but I am fascinated by the protection of women and understanding what we are getting in the Oval Office.

TRUMP: By the way, congratulations, Newt, on last night. That was an amazing interview. We don't play games, Newt, right? We don't play games.


BERMAN: So, Trump weighing in there. And our own Amanda Carpenter of CNN, you know, analyst, she wrote an op-ed for "The Washington Post" saying the Republican Party needs to address this, needs to address Trump's treatment of women. And you can see him having issues at polls.

WOLF: Absolutely. It will be one of the great I think listen or takeaways from this campaign, is that woman voters are so key to American elections and Trump's treatment of them. You know, even after all of his problems to sort of go back and thumb in the eye of Megyn Kelly at this late date, it just kind of defies common sense that he would be doing that kind of thing.

[05:10:05] ROMANS: What about, Zach, this Clinton cash machine. We just told you about sort of this WikiLeaks hack, this email from Doug Band showing the connection between the foundation or seeming to show a connection between the foundation and the speeches for Bill Clinton. How damaging is this?

WOLF: I think the Clinton -- the foundation elements are thing that have been out there for a long time. Everybody knows that Bill Clinton made a lot of money from banks. Everybody knows that he was trying to raise a lot of money from countries and banks to do his foundation that Hillary Clinton was also involved in that stuff.

I don't think there is a big bombshell here of pay to play, at least not yet. The issue for the Clintons is more that there is kind of deep-seeded, you know, skepticisms of the things they were doing and why they did certain things. Her trustworthiness has been her main sort of Achilles heel. This kind of thing is not going to help her in the final days.

BERMAN: You know, and we are in days now where Trump has had a few days that were by comparison better than the days he was having last week. Part of it was the Obamacare premiums. Right now, the race is where? WOLF: I think certainly, she still has an edge. If you look at CNN

poll of polls, she is still up by I believe seven points. That's down from being up by eight points. It's not a huge switch. It is not tied. You look at some of the swing states where you have seen in Florida and Nevada and other places where you see a slight tightening there. Some of that is naturally at the end of a race, all the people who are undecided. Few people undecided start to make up their minds and those polls tighten.

Is this more than that? I think we'll have to wait a day or two to see.

BLITZER: Zach Wolf, we'll talk again in a little bit. Thanks so much.

WOLF: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right. There was a Senate debate that came to a sudden stop when an uninvited guest who is also running for the seat took the stage. Pretty dramatic moments, next.


[05:16:10] ROMANS: Defense Secretary Ash Carter has ordered Pentagon officials to stand down on efforts to claw back enlistment bonuses that were wrongly given to thousands of California National Guards soldiers. Carter is responding to this public outcry and pressure from Congress over attempts to collect bonus money more than ten years after it was disbursed.


ASHTON CARTER, DEFENSE SECRETARY: There will be no collections. They are suspended now. We will put in place and there won't be more collections until we put in place a process that can expeditiously and fairly deal with these issues.


ROMANS: Carter says not all soldiers given the bonuses knew that they were ineligible to receive them.

BERMAN: A SkyWest airline pilot charged with trying to fly a plane while intoxicated. Thirty-eight-year-old Russell Duszak was arrested Wednesday at the airport in Rapid City, South Dakota, just before his scheduled flight to Salt Lake. The flight was delayed for more than two hours until a replacement pilot was found. If convicted, Duszak could face a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

ROMANS: Fireworks at the Maryland Senate debate. The Green Party candidate Margaret Flowers crashing the stage as Democratic nominee Chris Van Hollen and Republican Kathy Szeliga were scoring off on live television.



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 has been battling for months to be included. She has 5 percent support in the polls. She failed to reach the 15 percent threshold required. But took matters last night into her own hands.

BERMAN: All right. Coming up for us, the battle for Mosul. Coalition forces on the move. There are reports of ISIS suicide squads pouring in from Syria. The Pentagon says it is preparing for a bloody battle.

We are live on the frontlines, next.


[05:22:56] ROMANS: The latest now on the battle for Mosul. Tens of thousands of coalition troops moving close 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 live on the ground near Mosul.

Good morning, Michael.


Yes, we got word of the squads of suicide bombers coming in from Syria into Mosul over the last couple of days, hundreds of them by reports wearing distinctive uniforms and in fact wearing their suicide belts for effect as they entered the city.

Obviously, they are there to fight to the death. They are mainly foreigners, we are told. Also hearing that ISIS fighters moving from east of the city to the west of the city across the Tigris River, rigging the bridges there. There's four main bridges with explosives as they left.

We are getting word from inside Mosul today of three houses being bombed by coalition war planes overnight. Locals say the houses were occupied by experts in anti-tank and anti-aircraft weaponry. So, obviously, some good intelligence coming out of Mosul, 20 ISIS fighters killed there.

Also, reports of more ISIS members shaving their beards, obviously trying to plan ahead to blend in with the local population. Something that was both feared and expected -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Michael Holmes for us, near Mosul this morning. Stay safe, Michael Thank you.

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

BERMAN: All right. Baseball, it's all tied up. The Cubs are right back in this World Series. All tied at 1-1. They beat the Indians 5- 1 last night.

They jumped out early and never looked back, all behind their ace, Jake Arrieta who went six innings.

[05:25:03] He did not allow a hit until the sixth inning. It was a bit wild. That was a weird game. The weather wasn't too great.

Now we go back to Chicago. Game three is Friday night at Wrigley. That's first World Series game at Wrigley for 71 years.

Are you going to wear anything special?

ROMANS: Oh, no, I'm fully embracing the Cubs superstition. I'll wear Harry Caray glasses from now until the end of the year.

BERMAN: And if they don't win and you take them off, it's on you.

ROMANS: Hard to take a shower in these things.

All right. Donald Trump pledging to dig deeper into his pocket in the final 12 days of his campaign. He claims he is spending more than $100 million. Isn't that true? We're going to take a closer look ahead on EARLY START.