Return to Transcripts main page


Start of the Home Stretch to November; Richmond Paper Endorses Third Party Candidate; President Obama Wrapping Up Final G20 Summit; No Deal in U.S.-Russia Talks on Syria; New iPhone to Be Unveiled This Week. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired September 5, 2016 - 04:30   ET




ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: It's coming down to the wire for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, 64 days to go before the 2016 race for president as both turn to top advisors to address lingering questions for the candidates. We have the latest.

President Obama is taking in the final moments of his last G20 summit meetings with top world leaders, including Vladimir Putin. Can progress be made on Syria and trade and other key issues? We go live to China.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans, on this Labor Day holiday.

KOSIK: Good morning. I'm Alison Kosik. It's 30 minutes past the hour and today is Labor Day, traditionally marking the start of the presidential campaign. But this time around, it's really just the start of the home stretch to November. Both sides marking the occasion by wrapping up the rhetoric on issues that have dogged them for months now, Donald Trump surrogates being mostly vague about whether he still supports mass deportations. All except one who says Donald Trump does not. This as Hillary Clinton's running mate Tim Kaine defends her handling of the e-mail controversy.

CNN's Kristen Holmes has the latest from Washington.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Alison, Trump campaign officials and advisors continuing to deflect direct questions on their candidate's immigration policies, specifically where he stands on the issue of mass deportation. Vice presidential candidate Mike Pence and Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway refusing to give concrete answers on what would happen the to millions of undocumented immigrants living and working in the United States, saying after certain enforcement actions had taken place, including the deportations of those with criminal records as well as the building of that wall, there would be some kind of reassessment regarding the undocumented immigrants. However, Trump supporter Rudy Giuliani not dodging the question during an interview on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper, saying Donald Trump was no longer in favor of mass deportations. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, FMR. NYC MAYOR: Donald Trump, as he has expressed in one of his interviews recently, he would find it very, very difficult to throw out a family that's been here for you know 15 years and they have three children, two of whom are citizens. That's not the kind of America he wants.

HOLMES: Now, while the Trump campaign continues to work to explain those details, the Clinton camp is having to answer questions of their own about the Hillary Clinton's use of the private e-mail server. The issue again in the spotlight after the FBI released notes from its July interview with Clinton. Now, while the documents laid out why the FBI decided not to recommend charges against Clinton, the notes showed Clinton told investigators she did not recall or did not remember at least 39 times, often responding to process, potential training, or the content of the e-mails. Vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine defended Clinton on Sunday.


SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I have sat down with her while she has answered questions, answered questions about what she did and why. And then, she said look, by using one device, I made a mistake. I apologize for it. I learned something from it and I would not do it again. And I want all the facts to come out.


HOLMES: With the Labor Day kick-off, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will be crisscrossing the country this week with lots of campaigning in those battleground states. We will see both candidates in Ohio later today. Alison and Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Thank you, Kirsten Holmes.

Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence now says he and running-mate Donald Trump will release their tax returns with one big however. Pence tells NBC's Meet The Press, he will put his returns out this week, but he stuck with Trump's position that his taxes will be released after the IRS finishes auditing them.


GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump and I are both going to release our tax returns. I'll release mine in the next week. Donald Trump will be releasing his tax return at the completion of the audit.


ROMANS: As that would happen before or after the election, Pence said well, we will see. Hillary Clinton released her returns from 2007 to 2015. And the IRS said there is nothing legally that prevents Donald Trump from releasing his tax returns. KOSIK: It's a stunning departure from tradition, a major swing-state

newspaper has bypassed the Republican and Democratic nominees endorsing a third-party candidate for president. The Times Dispatch of Richmond, Virginia, lending its weight to the campaign of libertarian Gary Johnson. The paper's glowing endorsement says this, much of the country is distressed by the presidential candidate offered by the two conventional political parties and for good reason. Neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton meets the fundamental, moral or professional standards we every right to expect of an American president. We found Gary Johnson to be knowledgeable, but unscripted, reasonable, and good humored, and in all respect, optimistically and realistically presidential. The endorsement represents a blow to both major parties. The paper gave no extra credit to Democratic VP nominee Tim Kaine for serving as Virginia's junior senator. And it slammed Trump after endorsing the Republican standard bearer in every presidential race since 1980.

[04:35:45] ROMANS: Happening now, President Obama in China wrapping up the final G-7 summit. In just a couple of hours, he will hold a news conference, and then fly to Laos for East Asia's Asian Summit. On Sunday, the president met with the Turkey's president and Britain's prime minister. Both of them facing considerable turmoil at home, the aborted coup in Turkey, breakfast in the UK. This morning, the White House is expecting a smoother arrival in Laos than on Saturday in China, when no red carpet exteriors greeted Air Force One. And there was a spat between Chinese and U.S. officials over media access.

The latest from China, we will bring our White House correspondent Michelle Kosinski. Good morning. I guess, good late afternoon to you, Michelle.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I mean, there was tension from the beginning of this trip, shouting matches between Chinese security and U.S. officials. At one point, nearly coming to blow. It is something you don't see everyday, something U.S. officials were not particularly surprised by, but on the subject of tension, now comes one of those moments we all have been waiting for, a meeting between President Obama and Russia's president Vladimir Putin. Now, that is really something you don't see very often. Just to put in perspective how rare the meetings are, the last time they met was about a year ago. That is when they met twice in a span of a couple of weeks. Before that, they hadn't met in about two years. The big source of tension was Russia's takeover of part of its neighbor, Ukraine. But now, there's more. There is the hacking of the Democratic National Committee political e-mail systems in the U.S. that led some experts to believe Russia is trying to influence the outcome of the American elections. The White House hasn't officially pinned the blame on Russia, but other U.S. officials behind the scene absolutely have. There is also Syria. Russia's bombardment working with the Assad regime, the U.S. and Russia want to try to work together to fight ISIS, but so far, that hasn't been possible.

And now, today again, the breakdown of talks between Russia and the U.S., trying to establish a ceasefire in Syria. So this meeting went on longer than expected. It wasn't a formal sit down. It is what they call a pull-aside. As the bigger meeting was going on, the two leaders are able to go into a separate room and just hash things out for what is usually a short period of time. This went on for 90 minutes. We were told by U.S. officials, they did discuss hacking, although these officials did not want to go into details yet. But you know, the president is going to answer questions, he is going to take questions from the press in just a short time. He is absolutely going to be asked about the relationship with Russia. They also talked about Ukraine. They talked about Syria.

This meeting is described as useful and constructive, but ultimately business like and still with big gaps there, big differences obviously still in the way these two leaders are viewing these major issues. Back to you, guys.

ROMANS: The meeting itself is news. And we will hear more about what happen, behind closed doors when the president speaks in an hour. So we will know you will be there for us covering it. Thank you.

KOSIK: Breaking overnight, the U.S. strongly condemning North Korea after Pyongyang fires three ballistic missiles in Japan's air defense zone. This is the latest in a series of what South Korea is calling provocations by the north. Pyongyang show of force appears to be kind to its gathering of world leaders at the G20. A senior U.S. official calls this launch reckless and concerns will be raised at this week's East Asia Summit in Laos.

ROMANS: America's economy has a problem. Workers just are not producing as much as they once did. The worker productivity is at the lowest level in four decades. In the 1990s, it rose 2.2 percent, a year on average productivity. The early 2000s is even better, but since the great recession, it has been crawling along, barely more than 1 percent. How do you fix it? Some economists say businesses need to invest in things like new factories and tools and research. Others say the way the government calculate government productivity is flawed. It doesn't take into account the benefit of the, you know, Smartphone economy. It is easy to calculate how the productivity of a factory worker per hour. It's much harder to judge the productivity of someone whose job involves say social media, for example. So it might be in how they are calculating these numbers.

[04:40:10] KOSIK: It's complicated to say the least.


KOSIK: Hermine is weakening, but the threat is very alive. Flooding and dangers at the beach this holiday Monday, the latest on the storm's track is next.

ROMANS: And a quick programming note for you tonight, we will a special report on both nominees, personal stories from those who know them best. Join us for Unfinished Business: The Essential Hillary Clinton at 8:00, followed by All Business: The Essential Donald Trump at 10:00 p.m.


ROMANS: All right. Welcome back this Labor Day morning. This morning, a new storm track for Hermine, a big shift taking it further out to sea. But you know don't be lulled, 7 million people still under tropical storm warnings. Holiday beach goers still face life threatening surf and rip currents, weighs up to 5 feet on shore and up to 14 feet offshore, which the unfortunate passengers on this cruise know all too well, The Anthem of the Seas on route to Bermuda rolling and pitching.


[04:45:20] ROMANS: They are still safe according to the cruise line. The latest on the storm's path, let's bring in meteorologist Pedram Javaheri. There is pretty no place I would rather not be than rolling and pitching in the storm right now.


ROMANS: Hi, there.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Tell me about it. You know, the storm system is such a misleading storm, Christine and Alison. When you look at what has happened here when it comes to the storm weakening, somewhat over the past several hours, but no longer tropical disturbance, now we call it a post-tropical storm. And essentially, all that means it is no longer has the warm waters to feed off. It has cold course storms from its energy, coming from the upper level winds. The storm itself sitting well offshore, the winds are sitting at 70 miles per hour. But still, close enough to land here to of course have tropical storm warning issued across parts of coast of New Jersey, stretching all the way up toward the areas -- coastal areas of Massachusetts over the past several hours. But the storm system in itself will begin to push offshore.

But I want to show you what's happening. A model estimation initially had this coming in closer to land. If that was the case, we have of course would have a counter clockwise flow with this. We will have water piling up right there on the immediate beaches. We have now seen a track which shifted it 200 miles in the open waters. So now, we are getting a northerly component with this. So it's the parallel winds that are coming in, toward the coastline. So the wave height at the beaches there, are going to be limited. And of course, the heaviest rainfall remains offshore.

So, again, it is somewhat misleading it is a nice day to be on the beach, but it is certainly not the case, because you know the waters have churned up, so we are going to have a high risk for rip currents in this region. On the shore, it has 5-feet wave working its way out in the open water as much as 14-foot high wave. And again, notice that stretch is out to portions of Nantucket, eventually on the east beaches of Boston, we are going to see rough waves across this region in the afternoon hours.

So the forecast takes it closer to land later tonight and tomorrow morning, but then again pulls it offshore. And at this point, we think everything will begin to improve dramatically. But again, not a bad day when it comes to the sky conditions outside. New York City will be 81 degrees and partly cloudy skies. Boston, a different story. The storm system does meander closer to the Massachusetts area where we will get some showers out of it, the temperatures in the upper 60s. Washington also is in upper 80s. And down in the south, dramatic improvement of course over the current year and the last couple of days, the landfall and hurricane. And now, we are talking about partly cloudy skies, the temperatures in the 80s.

So, guys, this is what it looks like going in toward the next couple days. The temperatures would want to warm up. Of course, you know, these are the last couple weeks of the summer season. It will be one of the last big time warm waves or heat waves left in placed, before we see a cooling trend in the forecast. But in New York, you should be around 79. We will be close to 89 later in the week. And then, in Chicago back into the 90s. But again, I don't think this is going to last for too much longer. So hang in there.

ROMANS: Enjoy it while you can. But enjoy the sand, not the surf.


JAVAHERI: Very good point. Yes, stay out of the water.

ROMANS: All right. Thank you so much.

KOSIK: A Minnesota community is struggling to make sense of the painful end to a kidnapping case which left friends a neighbors reeling for decades. The FBI had confirmed the remains discovered over the weekend belong to Jacob Wetterling found 27 years after he first disappeared.

CNN's Polo Sandoval has the latest chapter in the story profiled on CNN's "THE HUNT" with John Walsh.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Alison, good morning. You know, for almost three decades, the Wetterling family held on to hope, and so did their neighbors, sometimes leaving their porch lights on at night, in their Central Minnesota community hoping that Jacob would find his way home safely. Now, the worst fear has become a reality. And now, they are looking back on what took place that night of October, 1989, and the way it changed parenting forever.


ANNIE SPARROW ROGERS, FORMER RESIDENT: Everyday, we take things for granted, allowing them to ride their bikes to the park, go to a park. I think it just touched America in a way that there is no such place as a safe haven anymore. We just have to be vigilant.


SANDOVAL: We know Daniel Heinrich reportedly gave the FBI information and investigators the information to lead them to Jacob's body, according to CNN affiliates, WCCO and also the Minneapolis Star Tribune. We also dug up records on our own and found that Heinrich has been in custody for more than a year as a part of a federal child pornography case. He has not been questioned in the case, but he has not been officially named a suspect in the Wetterling murder, at least not quite yet. And that could change next week when the prosecutors are expected to release more potential information in this case.

Meanwhile, the Wetterling family is simply remembering the memory and the legacy of their son, Jacob after his abduction. There was a creation of a national sex offender registry, one that is still in placed today. Christine and Alison.

[04:50:01] ROMANS: You can't overstate how that case changed -- you know, I grew up in the Midwest.

KOSIK: Yeah.


ROMANS: He was a household name.


ROMANS: It was something -- things really changed after that. Your heart goes out to that family now they have come to the end of their search for him.

All right, 50 minutes past the hour. Are you driving this Labor Day? Good news for you. We will get an EARLY START on your money next.


KOSIK: No deal. Talks between the U.S. and Russia have concluded without an agreement on military cooperation to better target ISIS, al-Qaeda and other extremist groups in Syria. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart have been meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in China to try and strike a deal. But a U.S. official says there are still issues to resolve.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh is following up this development. She is live in Amman, Jordan. Do we know what the sticking points were?

[04:55:15] JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At this point, Alison, it is not clear what the issues are, but as you mentioned, we are hearing from U.S. officials issues have yet to be resolved. We are hearing that some of these could be technical issues. The specifics are not clear yet. We heard President Obama yesterday say there are grave differences. And we know the 90-minute meeting with President Obama and Putin today mostly focused on Syria. So we expect in the coming hours to hear more detail from U.S. and Russian officials about what has been going behind closed doors, potentially about the sticking points in the potential deal.

Now, one major part of this would have been military cooperation between the U.S. and Russia in Syria when going after extremist groups like ISIS to boost their military cooperation to try to prevent civilian deaths. Now, a very critical part also of any agreement would have been humanitarian aid. Now, this is something that has not happened in a while. We have heard from the United Nations that other agencies that unless we see a pause in the fighting, that they will not be able to deliver really critical aid into areas that are besieged, for example, like Aleppo, the eastern part of Aleppo that is rebel held where it has been deteriorating. The humanitarian situation where the United Nations has warned humanitarian crisis that is unfolding.

And just overnight, we heard from the Syrian regime and other groups that the rebel held part of Aleppo is under siege yet again by regime forces and their allied troops, putting 250,000 people there at high risk of constant bombardment we are seeing and the humanitarian crisis with life-threatening shortages of food and medicine. And of course, with no end in sight now as we are seeing this deal break down.

KOSIK: It is such a slap in the face for the civilians, desperately in need of the humanitarian aid, not even coming to any kind of agreement on that. All right. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh, thanks so much.

ROMANS: In the meantime, Turkey's government is claiming victory in its efforts to drive ISIS fighters out of the town, along the Syrian- Turkish border. The media says the last strip of territory was clear to Sunday, by Turkish forces and Syrian rebels. It is now totally under control of the free Syrian army, backed by coalition forces.

KOSIK: In Germany, exit polls suggest Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling party was defeated in her home district. The local elections were seen as a referendum on Merkel's open door policy for migrants. Her party, the Christian Democratic Union was beaten by the Social Democrats and the far right alternative for Germany, an anti- immigration party.

ROMANS: All right, 58 minutes past the hour. Let's get an EARLY START on your money.

The U.S. stock market of course is closed for the holiday. Friday, we learned just how the labor market is doing, with the release of the latest jobs report, 151,000 new jobs added in August, a lot fewer than the 275,000 new jobs added in July. The unemployment is steady at 4.9 percent. When you dig within the numbers, that unemployment rate sticking there at 4.9 percent for all the right reasons, more people coming off the sidelines, entering the labor market. And that tends to push the unemployment rate up. These are numbers that will really play out on the campaign trail. Team Trump will try to find some weaknesses in this report. The number of people working part-time, who want to work full-time, is still a problem in the labor market. You can expect that you will hear the Trump campaign team to continue to talk about that, as they did Friday.

Good news for anyone driving this Labor Day, prices for the holiday at the lowest level since 2004. That's right, gas prices. The national average for a gallon of $2.21, 20 cents cheaper than the same time last year, the summer of low gas prices is big savings for drivers, almost $18.9 billion compared to last year. The average household is expected to pocket an extra $329 in savings this year. Thanks to those plunging gas prices. Don't spend it all in one place.

It is Apple week. CEO Tim Cook will take the stage Wednesday to unveil the latest version of the iPhone. What can we expect this year? Well, nothing too dramatic. A new shade of black, an upgraded camera, maybe even a water resistant phone? For the most controversial update, rumors that the head phone jack will be removed. The company needs these updates to make a splash. Apple saw iPhone sales fall for the first time ever this year.

KOSIK: And some are saying these are the throw away upgrades and Apple is really waiting for the bigger upgrades next year, when it has the 10-year anniversary. We shall see.

EARLY START continues right now.