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Trump's Evolving Immigration Stance On Immigration; Clinton Slams AP Conflict Of Interest Story; At Least 247 Dead In Central Italy Earthquake; Planet Discovered That Could Possibly Support Life; Market Awaiting Fed Chief's Comments In Wyoming Friday. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired August 25, 2016 - 05:30   ET


[05:30:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: A big shift from Donald Trump on his immigration position, we think. He's sort of squishy on this. Does he now think that some undocumented immigrants should be able to stay in the U.S.? Seems like yes, maybe. We'll have that plus a new attack on Hillary Clinton, moments away.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Hillary Clinton, meantime, speaking out to CNN about her emails, the Clinton Foundation, and more. And how does she respond to Trump's latest attack?

Welcome back to EARLY START, I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman, nice to see you this morning. Thirty minutes past the hour. This morning, Donald Trump -- he seems to have a radically new position on immigration to go with the new line of attack against Hillary Clinton.

In just a few hours he meets with minority leaders here in his office in New York. But last night Trump suggested to Fox News that he would allow some undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S.

Now, why does this matter? Well, for more than a year, since the moment he announced his candidacy, Donald Trump has made clear that he thinks all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States -- all of them had to go, even if it took a deportation force to do it. He doesn't seem to think that anymore -- listen.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They'll pay back taxes, they have to pay taxes. There's no amnesty as such. There's no amnesty.


TRUMP: But we work with them. I've had very strong people come up to me -- really great, great people come up to me and they've said Mr. Trump, I love you, but to take a person that's been here for 15 or 20 years and throw them and the family out, it's so tough, Mr. Trump. I mean, I have -- I have it all the time. It's a very, very hard thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: This is a new position. He did not have this position for the last 14 months. However, it's an old position for the likes of Jeb Bush and John Kasich who campaigned on it and who Trump ridiculed regularly during the primaries.

Now, to be fair, Trump is sort of hard to pin down on this. He wasn't really pressed on it last night. Maybe he'll give more details when he gives what is billed as a big immigration speech next week in Arizona. It was actually postponed, it was supposed to be today. We will wait and see if we get actual details.

Now, in addition to all of this, Donald Trump held a rally in the red state of Mississippi last night and it sort of hurled a surprising new charge at Hillary Clinton. CNN's Jim Acosta has the latest.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: John and Christine, Donald Trump has come up with a new supercharged line of attack for Hillary Clinton. At a rally here in Jackson, Mississippi, Trump called Clinton a "bigot".

That goes much further than where he's been over the last several days during which he said that Clinton did not care about the concerns of African-American and Hispanic voters. Here's more of what he had to say at this rally.

TRUMP: Hillary Clinton is a bigot who sees people of color only as votes, not as human beings worthy of a better future. She's going to do nothing for African-Americans. She's going to do nothing for the Hispanics. She's only going to take care of herself, her husband, her consultants, her donors. These are the people she cares about. She doesn't care what her policies have done to your communities.

ACOSTA: Trump also previewed his upcoming shift on the issue of immigration reform, telling the crowd at this rally that his upcoming immigration policy will not adversely affect American jobs. But he did tell Fox News in an interview that he will allow the undocumented to stay in this country if they have not broken the law -- John and Christine.


ROMANS: All right, thanks for that, Jim Acosta. Helping us sort through Donald Trump's shifting stance on immigration this morning, CNN political analyst Josh Rogin. He's a columnist for "The Washington Post" and a good friend of the show. He gets up nice and early. Loves to get up early.

Let's talk, though, about this interview last night Hillary Clinton had with our colleague, Anderson Cooper. You know, he pressed her on this line of attack on the campaign trail about her ties to the Clinton Foundation, these allegations of pay-to-play. It's either messy or it's overlap or it's insidious or it's shady, or what is it? And here's what Hillary Clinton said to Anderson.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via telephone): What Trump has said is ridiculous. My work as Secretary of State was not influenced by any outside forces. I made policy decisions based on what I thought was right to keep Americans safe and to protect U.S. interests abroad. No wild political attack by Donald Trump is going to change that.


ROMANS: She goes on to say, you know, I know there's a lot of smoke but there's no fire. But politically speaking, smoke is something that can really obscure your message and obscure your progress on the campaign trail.

JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. I think the Clinton Foundation went into overdrive yesterday, pushing back against this A.P. story and they actually published a list of the names of donors who got meetings that the A.P. didn't even publish. It included names like Dikembe Mutombo, Ben Affleck, Elie Wiesel before he passed away.

[05:35:00] All right, so there's a truth here which is that State Department was probably not altering foreign policy to suit Dikembe Mutombo in exchange for donations, OK? That's not what happened. You know, at the same time, this is not an isolated incident and the Clinton Foundation has a web of relationships and financial donors that is just opaque.

We just don't know and that's the problem. There's no transparency and every time we learn something else they have to around and defend it, so this is a problem that's not going away. So the best thing that they could do is just to be as transparent as possible and to be as careful as possible. But the sort of half defense drip, drip, drip is really what's killing them.

BERMAN: And to be clear, to be fair here, you hear from Donald Trump the charges pay-to-play and it's a criminal enterprise. There is absolutely no evidence that has come out --

ROGIN: Right.

BERMAN: -- including from "Judicial Watch", which is no fan of the Clintons -- no evidence that there was a quid pro quo. That Hillary Clinton did anything at the State Department because the Clinton Foundation was given money. So that would be criminality. There's no evidence of that.

ROGIN: Yes, that's exactly right.

BERMAN: But the bar that the Clintons set for themselves in 2009 was the appearance of conflict, which is a way, way lower bar, Josh. And that's a political bar, that's not a legal bar.

ROGIN: Well, that's right and if they're now admitting that the appearance of impropriety is a problem then that's a tacit admission that they didn't prevent that appearance of impropriety up until now, right. If they're changing the rules when she becomes president it's an easy criticism. Why didn't they change the rules when she was Secretary of State? If it was a conflict of interest then, then it's going be a conflict of interest next time.

But it's too late, you can't go back in the past. They can't untangle and undo what they did. So the best thing they can do is be overly gracious and overly transparent now. They haven't made the decision to do that yet.

ROMANS: Let's talk about Donald Trump and immigration and what he thinks and feels and believes about immigration because I don't think we know what he thinks and feels and believes on immigration. And that's not a criticism, that's just a fact.

Last night he told Hannity that he was not going to make everybody leave who were here illegally. And for a year we've been hearing him on the stump say they will go. And he has said if you need a deportation force, there will be a deportation force. What do you think we're going to hear from him? What do you think is going on behind the scenes as they are more than softening what has been one of his trademark policies?

ROGIN: Right. From the best we can tell, what's going on behind the scenes is that Trump has a new campaign manager, right? She's a pollster. The first thing she told Donald Trump apparently was hey, we can't afford to keep alienating the fastest growing minority group in the country which has huge constituencies in key states that we want to -- that we want to win.

Look at Arizona. The latest CNN/ORC poll had Hillary Clinton up 30 some points -- 35, 37 points against Donald Trump with Hispanics. That's a big problem so the first step is admitting you have a problem, right? If you're in a hole, stop digging. So that's what they're doing now.

Now, the fact is that because they're doing this so late and in such a sort of haphazard, incoherent, stumbling manner, it's taking them a long time to get to where they're eventually going to end up. Hopefully, by next week TBD will figure it out and then we'll all get to know.

BERMAN: He probably hasn't been asked, straight out, yes or no. Do you think that some of the 11 million undocumented immigrants -- what you're saying is it's deliberate. Deliberate haziness, as you say there. The question with flip-flops and this is a flip-flop, right? I mean, you could say it's a flip-flop to the right position or a good political position, but it is a flip-flop.

The question is, does it hurt you with your base? With the people for whom you made this promise initially who liked it. And do we have any evidence that it won't hurt Trump with his Trump supporters?

ROGIN: Yes, well I've been watching CNN's Sara Murray interview Trump supporters for the last 48 hours on this very question and almost, to a person, they're cool with it, right. They believe that Donald Trump is just saying what he needs to say to get elected and then he'll go back to being the old Donald Trump.

At the same time, if you interview people who are sort of in middle they say, oh, well this is a welcome change. So by being -- by having this sort of ambiguity in his policy and by not really telling us what he thinks, he gives cover for anybody who wants to sort of allow themselves to think that Donald Trump is coherent or agrees with them on this issue. But that's untenable. Eventually, he's going to have to pick one policy, hopefully, and then people will actually be able to make a decision.

ROMANS: An immigration Rorschach test. What you see in it, what you want to see in it.

ROGIN: Exactly.

ROMANS: All right, thanks, Josh. Nice to see you this morning.

ROGIN: Likewise.

BERMAN: Thanks, Josh.

ROMANS: Thank you. Let's get an early start on your money this morning. Brand new data out shows parents are doing a much better job saving for college -- yay. But they're still falling short of banking the entire cost. Fidelity's annual college savings study just out, like four hours old. It reveals 72 percent of families are saving for college. That is a huge jump from 2007, which was the first year of the study.

[05:40:00] The percentage of parents using tax-advantaged 529 plans also on the rise. Forty-two percent of families who are saving for college are using the 529.

BERMAN: That's a lot.

ROMANS: And look, they're saving more. The median amount has doubled since 2007. They're now saving about $3,000 a year. Think about that for a minute. How much are you saving for you kids' college? Is it $3,000 a year? If it's more than that you're doing better than most people.

But here's where parents are falling short. The average American family will reach just 29 percent of their college funding goal. Three grand a year is not enough to get your kid even one-third of their funding saved. Fidelity says families should start saving earlier and they should treat the savings account like a bill, contributing a steady amount each month.

You should think of it as something you just have to -- you know, I hear from parents all the time. They're like I can't afford it, I can't afford it. Starting early is so important. When the kid is out of diapers you take the diaper money and roll it right into a 529. And then every raise you get you put it into a college savings. Pay for your retirement -- you know, fully fund your retirement, fully fund your kids' 529's, you'll be fine.

BERMAN: The important thing is don't avoid this. Don't put your head in the sand.

ROMANS: I know.

BERMAN: It's not going away. You have to deal with it as soon as your kids are born. All right, we have new developments in the earthquake in Italy. There were tremors felt again overnight. The death count more than doubled and we have new updates on the rescue efforts, next.


[05:45:25] ROMANS: New developments and a rising death toll from the earthquake in Italy. At least 247 people have died. Aftershocks are still being felt in central Italy where that 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck, collapsing buildings and leaving just small mountain towns in ruin. Rescuers frantically searching for signs of life in the rubble. Now, most of what they've found is grim but there are these also remarkable stories of survival.

I want to bring in CNN contributor Barbie Nadeau. She's live in Saletta, Italy and she's been -- she's been there on the ground for 24 hours now following the rescue efforts. Good morning.

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Good morning. You know, as you say, things are quite grim this morning. But you know, the search and rescue operation is underway still with people under the impression there is a possibility they can still find someone alive underneath that rubble.

You know, they've had pockets of wonderful news. Overnight, they found a young girl. They pulled her from the rubble 17 hours after the earthquake occurred. They want more stories like that. They want to give people hope. There are so many people holding vigil at the base of the rubble in this entire area, waiting and hoping that their loved one that they haven't heard from, that they know is under those rocks, will be pulled out alive.

You know, we witnessed that, just ourselves, this morning in this little enclave. Twenty-two people died in just this little area alone. We witnessed this morning, sadly, the rescuers pulling the last body out. It was that of an older woman, and her son had been holding vigil, waiting, hoping his mother would be pulled out alive by some miracle. Instead, she was not. And when they put that body into the ambulance all you could really hear in the area were his cries of agony. It's just been that over and over again.

And, of course, as time goes on between when the earthquake occurred -- now we're 32 hours in -- the chances obviously decrease of whether or not they're going to find someone alive. But we do have a lot more order today. We have so many officials here on the ground. Five thousand four hundred are now working to try to find someone that might be alive.

ROMANS: All right, Barbie, thank you so much for that reporting. Just so sad to think of that vigil he was holding and then his mother didn't make it. BERMAN: We saw a large earthmover in that building just behind her right now, digging through the rubble. So much activity still going on. All right, let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY". Mr. Chris Cuomo joins us right now. Good morning, sir.

ROMANS: Good morning.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Good morning, my friends. I was listening to your reporting there with Barbie. You know, one of the big problems they're dealing with is access. That big earthmover you saw -- it took a long time for it to get there, not through any type of negligence by the civil authority there but just the circumstances post-quake.

So who knows what they're going to find once they start to dig through. Nobody's expecting good news but they're holding out hope there for sure. So we'll follow-up on that this morning.

Also, Hillary Clinton gave an interview. It's been several weeks since she's decided to do that. Our Anderson Cooper got it. They cover the big topics of controversy here. The emails, the Clinton Foundation, and what Trump has been saying.

She gave an answer on the emails that's going to get a lot of buzz, so you'll get to hear it this morning and judge it for yourself. We'll have a great political panel on it, as well.

Donald Trump -- the words in front of my face say seems to be shifting on immigration. I don't know why anybody is couching this. He changed on immigration. It was a signature hardline issue for him in the primary. We're going to show you what he said about his opponents'positions during the primary and, now, how he seems to be adopting those exact same positions. And we have his campaign manager Kellyanne Conway on to make sense of it all for us.

BERMAN: I hope you can get some yes or no answers. It's hard to nail them down on the subject of do all of a sudden -- does the Trump campaign think that some of the undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay, yes or no?

CUOMO: The answer is that he has changed. They can finesse it and it's OK to change. The trick for them, John, as you well know, and you did a great job on your show yesterday with this, is you can change positions but when you change your principles now it becomes a little bit more complicated. So we'll try to dig into what they're doing.

ROMANS: All right, Chris.

BERMAN: We will see.

ROMANS: You know, when I heard him say that they pay back taxes and pay a fine, I was like whoa, this is a traditional Republican position on --

BERMAN: It could change. ROMANS: All right, thanks, Chris. Investors took a step back yesterday as they wait for Fed chief Janet Yellen. She's just probably about the most powerful woman in the world right now. Why are investors so obsessed with what she's going to say in Wyoming? I'll give you an early start on your money, next.


[05:54:10] BERMAN: At least 20 people have been injured after a cluster of storms tore across Indiana. (Video playing) I want to show you some pictures right now. You can see that huge twister in the back right there and listen to this. It's the eerie sounds. The sounds of the tornado sirens warning people of danger.

Houses were flattened in the city of Kokomo. Some of the homes there simply destroyed. To the east there, there was a funnel cloud that touched down. And to the west of Indianapolis another tornado smashed buildings and homes in Montgomery County. No deaths were reported in the storms and those who were injured luckily are expected to make full recoveries.

ROMANS: The Orlando hospitals that treated dozens of people injured in the Pulse nightclub shooting back in June -- they say they will not bill survivors for medical services. Officials at the Orlando Regional Medical Center, where most of the victims were taken -- they say the total unreimbursed costs could exceed $5 million. Now, they plan to seek payment from other sources including insurance and a victims' fund set up by the city.

BERMAN: Scientists have discovered an earth-sized potentially habitable planet orbiting the closest star to the sun. This is according to the European Space Observatory.

ROMANS: Far out.

BERMAN: Oh, yes. It has a temperature suitable for water to exist on its surface. They dubbed the new planet Proxima b. It's more than four lightyears away from us right here. Apparently it looks like the felt/velour pictures that were hanging in your house in the 1970's, which I think all habitable planets look like those velour pictures you had up there. I think there's one of Elvis right next to it, apparently.

ROMANS: Dogs playing poker. All right, let's get an early start on your money this morning. Record highs are on hold in stocks until this person speaks -- Janet Yellen speaks. That's the message the stock market is sending us this morning. Dow futures slightly lower, sinking to the lowest level in the past few weeks, yesterday. Stock markets in Europe are down, shares in Asia are down. Oil is up slightly.

So why is the market so obsessed with her -- with Fed chairman Janet Yellen and what she will say at a meeting in Wyoming? Various Federal Reserve members have made comments over the past few days that the economy, John, is almost ready for an interest rate hike and investors want to see what Yellen says about this. What kind of timeframe, if she gives any more parameters. The next Fed meeting is in September but expectations are growing that there will be another Fed rate hike.

The U.S. Treasury Department issuing strong words to the European Union over these tax probes that some big American companies -- think Apple, Starbucks, Amazon. Officials say if the E.U. levies hefty fines, U.S. taxpayers could indirectly pay.

A Treasury Department blog post says "These investigations have major implications for the United States. In particular, recoveries imposed by the Commission would have an outsized impact on U.S. companies."

Now, Apple is accused of avoiding E.U. taxes by doing this deal with the Irish government. That case is expected to be ruled on next month. If Apple loses it could have to pay billions in back taxes. Amazon and Starbucks are under investigation for similar tax strategies.

Now, the Treasury Department says U.S. companies can claim foreign tax credits for those big penalties and that could reduce the amount of U.S. tax the companies pay, leaving American taxpayers to make up the shortfall. The Treasury says President Obama has proposed a tax reform plan that would fix this -- that would address this issue -- but Congress has not enacted it yet -- tax reform.

BERMAN: Well, I mean, if you're expecting anything to happen between now and November, it's unlikely.

ROMANS: Tax reform.

BERMAN: You know, the lame duck session, your best chance. One thing no one's talking about, David Ortiz hit his 30th homer last night and knocked in this 100th run.

ROMANS: Does he work at the Treasury Department?

BERMAN: David Ortiz does not work at the Treasury Department but he's 40 years old and he's retiring. Talk about going out on top. So, there's that.

ROMANS: All right.

BERMAN: All right. Donald Trump shifted on immigrations. You could call it a flip-flop, you could call it a good political decision. Some people think it's a good policy decision but it is a flip-flop. Why now? Hillary Clinton responding to that. Also new charges about the Clinton Foundation. An exclusive interview with CNN. "NEW DAY" picks up the coverage right now.


TRUMP: Hillary Clinton is a bigot.

CLINTON: He bullies and threatens to throw out every immigrant in the country and certainly changes his position three times in one day.

TRUMP: There's no amnesty.


TRUMP: But we work with them. Everybody agrees we get the bad ones out.

CLINTON: Donald Trump -- he is taking a hate movement mainstream.

TRUMP: Hillary Clinton ran the State Department like a failed leader in a third world country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It felt like someone had put a bulldozer under the house to try to knock it down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A desperate search for survivors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They found two persons alive under a building.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The death toll rising and time running short.

BERMAN: Syrian rebels have captured the last major ISIS-held town between Syria and Turkey.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are losing key ground. This is not an enemy that anyone is going to be underestimating.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CUOMO: Good morning, welcome to your NEW DAY. It's Thursday, August 25th, 6:00 in the East. Alisyn is off, Poppy Harlow is here with me.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good to be here.

CUOMO: One of the only young parents who benefits from a perfect baby. That's why she looks so good.

HARLOW: She did sleep all night.

CUOMO: Amazing.

HARLOW: What can I say?

CUOMO: Good for you. We've got big political news for you this morning. Remember Donald Trump's hardline for undocumented immigrants? We're going to round them up. I'm going to put together a task force. Eleven million out. That issue propelled him to the Republican nomination.

Well,guess what? Trump is now doing what a politician does. He is softening in the general election and sounding a lot like two former GOP rivals who he just hammered for their positions during the primaries.

HARLOW: Also this morning, Hillary Clinton weighing in on Trump's immigration shift -- flip-flop. In a new CNN exclusive interview she is responding to questions also about her emails, probably the most clear response we've gotten from her in 17 months. Also responding to questions about the Clinton Foundation and Trump calling her a bigot.

We have it all covered this morning. Let's start with Sara Murray in Tampa, Florida. Good morning, Sara.