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EARLY START

Trump Announces Immigration Speech; Two Arrested in Death of NBA Star's Cousin; New Gains Against ISIS in Syria Lead to Complications in the Region. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired August 29, 2016 - 04:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[04:00:14] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump saying he will finally detail his immigration policies this week, but his campaign still struggling to explain where he stands. We're breaking down the details.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Two known gang members arrested for shooting Dwyane Wade's cousin in Chicago. This as she pushed her three-week- old child in a stroller. The emotional plea for her mother.

ROMANS: Overnight passengers fleeing one of America's busiest airports. Reports of gunshots, causing evacuations and a shutdown -- a shutdown of LAX. The airport now given the all clear. We'll tell you what happened to cause that scare.

BERMAN: It is a person in a Zorro costume. Somehow connected or involved or at least there on all --

ROMANS: It really raises questions, if there really is a major event, you know, how prepared are the airports to, you know, control the crowds.

BERMAN: Indeed.

ROMANS: Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. It's Monday, August 29th. It is 4:00 a.m. in the East.

And the wait to hear Donald Trump clearly explain his immigration policy may be over or not. Overnight Trump tweeted, "I will be making a major speech on illegal immigration," all caps, "on Wednesday in the great state of Arizona."

Trump's speech, if it happens, come after a week of vacillation, raising questions about whether he was backing off a central campaign promise. His team was on the Sunday shows, but neither his running mate nor his campaign manager could or would give a definite answer on what Trump plans to do with the millions of immigrants now in the U.S. illegally.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let's be very clear. Nothing has changed about Donald Trump's position on dealing with illegal immigration. He put this issue at the center of this presidential campaign in the Republican primaries. And his position and his principles have been absolutely consistent.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: The one issue that you didn't really address is whether or not the 11 or 12 million undocumented immigrants will be removed by a deportation force as you heard Mr. Trump say in that clip from November of last year. Is that policy still operative?

PENCE: Well, what you heard him describe there in his usual plainspoken American way was a mechanism, not a policy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do they leave? Do they self deport or does -- is there a -- whether you want to call it deportation force or something that helps them leave the country immediately as he's previously said he'd like to see happen?

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: That's really the question here, John.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: In fact that is the question. It's one that Donald Trump had an answer for the last 14 months of the campaign, but now does not. And now with less than a month to go before the first presidential debate, really just a little over two months until the election. Not much time to get that clear consistent message on immigration.

Let's get the latest from CNN's Dianne Gallagher.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, Christine, that first presidential debate less than a month away and a campaign official tells us that Donald Trump did spend part of his Sunday getting ready for it. We're told the Republican candidate and his advisers did some debate prep at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. And one topic that will likely dominate the debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton, immigration. Specifically what should happen to those 11 million undocumented immigrants who are here in the U.S., and is still one that is dogging the Trump campaign.

So late Sunday, Trump announced that he's going to be giving a major speech, this Wednesday, discussing illegal immigration. It's going to be in Arizona which has been key in the debate over what to do about it. Of course, this follows last week where he gave some contradictory answers about whether he believes all of those in the country illegally have to be deported, as he's previously stated, saying at one point he wanted a softening of his policy and then later saying that some might actually see it as him hardening on the issue.

So what Trump is emphasizing now is that immediately after being elected he would deport criminals who are not in the U.S. lawfully and that there would be no path to legalization for undocumented immigrants unless they leave the country, apply to return, and then pay back taxes. But what the campaign is avoiding saying is whether or not Trump still believes there should be a force to round up and then deport all of those who are here in the country illegally. Also whether all of them must actually leave the country, saying that he wants it done in a humane way.

Well, politicians on both sides questioned exactly where he stood on some of those points and some analysts say that Trump is hurting himself by delaying his planned speech. Vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, though, defended Trump's approach on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PENCE: You see a CEO at work. You see someone who is engaging the American people, listening to the American people. He's hearing from all sides. But I promise you he is a decisive leader, he will stand on the principles that have underpinned his commitment to end illegal immigration in this country, and that's what people will learn more about in the days ahead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GALLAGHER: So, of course, all eyes are going to be on Arizona for some answers, come Wednesday -- John, Christine.

[04:05:03] ROMANS: All right, Dianne Gallagher, thank you for that.

Trump also drawing fire for the way he's recently tried to appeal to African-Americans, asking them, in his words, what the hell they have to lose by voting for him but making his pitch to largely white audiences.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONNA BRAZILE, DNC CHIEF: Donald Trump has not held an event in the black community. He has not gone to a black church as Hillary Clinton has done. He has not gone to historical black colleges as Hillary Clinton. He's not met with the mothers of children who have been slain and killed from violence in this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: But late last night, the Trump campaign announced Trump will speak to African-Americans via an appearance on a black Christian television channel, the Impact Network. The interview is set for this Saturday morning at 11:00.

Still Trump has a long way to improve his standing with black voters. A recent Pew poll shows just 2 percent support Donald Trump. An NBC- "Wall Street Journal" poll shows just 1 percent support among black voters.

Over the weekend Trump courted more controversy when he tweeted about the tragic death of NBA player Dwyane Wade's cousin. She was shot and killed while pushing a stroller down her Southside Chicago street pushing her 3-week-old baby. Trump wrote, "Dwyane Wade's cousin was just shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago. Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will vote Trump."

That drew furious condemnation from critics who accuse him of exploiting a tragedy. Trump then put up a second tweet offering his condolences to the family.

BERMAN: Chicago police have now charged two men with murder in the death of Wade's cousin Nykea Aldridge. Police say they are brothers, both gang members, on parole for gun convictions. Officials say the brothers were shooting at a man who had dropped off some women nearby. They say the brothers thought the man might be armed so they chased him started shooting, missed, hitting Aldridge instead.

CNN's Rachel Crane sat down with Nykea Aldrige's mother who spoke about her daughter's total devotion to her four children.

RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Christine, it was incredibly moving having this conversation with Dianne, Nykea's mother. She said that she wanted to celebrate her daughter's life. That she was a fashionista. She described her as simply awesome. She loved to do her hair, she was a wonderful writer, she liked to write poetry, and her whole life was about her four children.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DIANNE ALDRIDGE, MOTHER OF SHOOTING VICTIM NYKEA ALDRIDGE: She was just trying to make a better life for her and the kids, you know. That's the most important thing in her life was her kids, you know, to make sure that they got out of situations that she had been in.

They tell each other, you know, they miss their mom. They want their mom. It just hurts to hear kids saying they want their mom and their mom won't be in their lives anymore, only through spirit, only through -- only through pictures. That's the only way they know their mom for the rest of their lives. The only thing they have to go on is what they had. It's just hard for a kid. It's really -- oh God, it's heartbreaking not to have her here to raise her own children.

I truly, truly, from the bottom of my heart, I forgive them, I forgive them. I can't bring her back but I forgive them. And I just pray to God that they pray to God to ask for forgiveness for what they've done. They've taken a person's life, senselessly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CRANE: Just heartbreaking hearing the pain that that mother is going through and remarkable that through that pain she still has a message of forgiveness for the men who committed this crime. And unfortunately this is not the first time that Dianne has gone through this kind of grief. Her eldest daughter was also killed from gun violence 10 years ago.

Back to you, John and Christine.

BERMAN: Thanks to Rachel Crane. And our hearts go out to that family, to be sure.

Amid all the attention about Aldridge's death, there has been more gunfire in Chicago. The police department says four people have been killed and 24 injured just since Saturday afternoon. "Chicago Tribune' reports there have been 2,808 shooting victims so far this year. That is on pace to exceed last year's total at this point, of about 2,988.

ROMANS: All right. Nine minutes pas the hour. Fed chief Janet Yellen prepped the world for a rate increase but a wave of U.S. economic data this week may determine the timing for that rate hike.

Yellen talked about rosy data and strong labor market, a strong housing market last week. But a solid monthly jobs report this Friday -- yes, Friday, we have a big jobs number. It could determine if we see a bump in September or December of this year. Ultra low rates have propelled stocks to record highs. Even while the U.S. has had a slow growth recovery far below historic averages.

It's been seven years, though, without a recession. Seven years without a recession. And the Central Bank has done the bulk of the work so far.

[04:10:03] So economists say the next president -- whoever that is -- will have to spend more money to boost growth. Many experts think government spending is too restrictive. For example, they predict infrastructure spending could create jobs and beef up business. Both Trump and Clinton have proposed spending on bridges and roads, but the Republican controlled House seems reluctant to spend more. Whether that changes after November remains to be seen.

Global markets mixed this morning. In the U.S. futures are lower. But a lot in the stock market -- a lot of people in the stock market are thinking whoever is the next president is going to have to work with Congress to make some smart choices on spending.

BERMAN: A lot of politicians I have been speaking -- money managers are concerned that if there is a recession, you're not going to be able to cut rates to get out of it.

ROMANS: Exactly.

BERMAN: Because you can't cut rates anymore because they're so low.

ROMANS: And you know, a recession will -- a recession is inevitable.

BERMAN: Yes. Yes.

ROMANS: You know, you don't go for -- that's the whole business cycle. Expansions and contractions. We've been expanding for seven years.

ROMANS: All right. Ten minutes after the hour right now. Syrian rebels gaining territory against ISIS, but these victories could complicate U.S. involvement in that region. We are live in the Turkey-Syria border next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:15:25] ROMANS: New developments this morning in the war against ISIS in Syria. Turkish-backed Syrian rebels gaining more territory in the area along the border near the city if Jarabulus. A key border crossing they seized from ISIS on Friday. But the victories are complicating relations between Turkey and the U.S. The Syrian rebels Turkey backed appear to be advancing in a territory held by U.S.- backed Kurdish rebels.

Joining us for the latest on this complex situation, senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh.

Good morning -- good morning to you, Nick.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This really is how optimism in U.S. policy turns very fast to pessimism. Optimism initially because yes, they thought that a major NATO ally, Turkey, was going to send its army in to kick ISIS out the key border areas, taking the fight to them as many had hoped they do for a long period of time.

But President Erdogan here just yesterday making it absolutely clear they were going to fight ISIS and the Syrian Kurds with the same determination. Now it does unfortunately appear the majority of the violence is between those Turkish forces with the Syrian rebels that they are backing, advancing against Syrian Kurdish positions.

Now the U.S. has said that Syrian Kurds would leave a key town called Manbij that they've recently taken off ISIS, that they leave that and depart. That appears not to have occurred at this stage and there are now fears that yes, we will Syrian rebels with Turkish support and also American support to some degree facing off for that town of Manbij against the Syrian Kurds that the U.S. have been backing with special forces who've been very effective in the fight against ISIS.

What a nightmare frankly for U.S. policy here. It's always struggled to find the right allies to kick ISIS out the territory but now it has two key people that really needs to be working together seemingly wasting their energy in fighting each other. That's absolutely vital in this key closing stage in the fight against ISIS.

Back to you.

ROMANS: Certainly frustrating for the Americans. Thanks so much for that, Nick, for us on the border there.

BERMAN: All right. Tropical storms could be headed to Florida and the Carolinas this week. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has the latest.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hey, good morning, John and Christine.

(WEATHER REPORT)

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

All right, Beyonce showing why she is Queen Bey with an epic 15-minute performance during MTV's Video Music Awards. She won Video of the Year for "Formation." Britney Spears considered lackluster in comparison during her comeback to the VMAs. Critics calling her performance underwhelming. Supporters calling it solid. Kanye West took to the stage basically congratulated himself during a rambling.

BERMAN: That never happens.

ROMANS: He compared himself to, like, Steve Jobs, and he was there to introduce his new music video "Fade" but also talked about his clash with Taylor Swift, the Black Lives Matter movement, and gun violence in Chicago.

And Rihanna winning the night's most prestigious honor, the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, and showcasing why by performing her hits throughout the show. Rumored boyfriend, Drake, presented her with the Vanguard Award and revealed he's been in love with her since he was 22. So in case you needed that information to get on with your day, you now have it.

BERMAN: Wow. That is an important download right there.

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: That is a very quick VMA download. It started like at 11:30 or something so that's late.

BERMAN: Which was like an hour ago.

ROMANS: I know.

BERMAN: As we're waking up.

All right, overnight it was a scary scene at LAX and completely bizarre there. Terminals cleared. All flights stopped. This is an air travel mess. Police say there were reports of shots fired. That may not have happened. What did happen? We'll tell you. All we know for sure is that there was a person in a Zorro costume taken into custody. For real.

[04:20:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Overnight. Los Angeles police declared reports of gunfire at LAX unfounded. They say no shots were fired at the airport and no injuries reported. Said it was loud noises. The mistaken report caused a terminal evacuation, snarled traffic. It was a real mess.

The airport also reporting a ripple effect, delaying arriving -- excuse me, and departing flights due to a 30-minute ground stop ordered by the FAA.

The ground stop, John, because people were just rushing through security screening and on to the tarmac. All this was because of loud noises police say. The airport's official Twitter account noted.

[04:25:01] Police also detained a man in a Zorro costume. Unclear so far if the two incidents, the loud noises, the people breaching security, going to the tarmac, ground stop and Zorro, unclear if those were all related. BERMAN: You know that only one man in a Zorro costume is actually low

for LAX. Probably.

ROMANS: I was going to say, well, what about the guys in the Batman costume?

BERMAN: Yes, exactly.

ROMANS: There must have been some "Star Wars" character for sure. It is LAX.

BERMAN: All right. Investigators are trying to determine what caused one of the engines on a Southwest Airline flight to fail at 30,000 feet. That happened over the weekend. The plane was flying from New Orleans to Orlando. Passengers said there was an explosion. The pilots were able to make a safe emergency landing in Pensacola. No one on board was injured. Southwest says it was a mechanical issue. Scary pictures.

ROMANS: The Cornell University campus now the scene of a homicide investigation. Police say a student from nearby Ithaca College was stabbed to death. Another person injured when a large fight broke out following a student organized event Sunday morning. The victim identified as 19-year-old Anthony Nazair. School officials say he was part of a student organization whose goal is to empower men of color on campus. Just sad.

ROMANS: All right. Overnight Trump announced he's going to give what he calls a major speech about his immigration policy, but what is his immigration policy? That is a major question right now. We'll discuss next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)