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Surprising Answers at National Security Forum; Powell's Email Goes Public; Obama Speaks Live in Laos. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired September 8, 2016 - 04:30   ET



[04:30:10] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump with some stunning remarks at the Commander-in-Chief Forum. He laid at the military generals, standing behind a controversial tweet about women in the military.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hillary Clinton at the same forum facing tough questions about critical parts of the e-mail controversy. And now, there's a new twist -- e-mails from Colin Powell about how to handle personal e-mail, actually not just personal e-mail. How to handle work email at the State Department.

ROMANS: How will President Obama respond to all this? He is set to hold a news conference as he wraps up his trip to Asia. We will go live to Laos.

Welcome back to EARLY START this morning. I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. Thirty minutes past the hour right now.

And breaking overnight, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump with some revealing and surprising answers on national security, with some frankly surprising questions and non-questions in some cases at a national security forum here in New York.

Donald Trump defended a tweet about women in the military. He offered new compliments for Vladimir Putin, and also issued new claims about information and impressions from inside his national security briefing.

Hillary Clinton faced tough questions about her e-mails and some of her foreign policy choices.


MATT LAUER, NBC NEWS: Do you know more about ISIS than they do?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I think under the leadership of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the generals have been reduced to rubble.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I think that the decision to go to war in Iraq was a mistake. We must learn what led us down that path so that it never happens again. I'm asking to be judged on the totality of my record.

LAUER: When referring to a comment about Putin made of you, I think he called you a brilliant leader.

TRUMP: When he calls me brilliant, I'll take that compliment, OK? He is really very much of a leader. I mean, you can say, oh, isn't a terrible thing? He called -- I mean, the man has very strong control of a country. Now, it's a very different system and I don't happen to like the system. But certainly in that system, he's been a leader.

LAUER: Were some of the e-mails sent or received by you referring to our drone program, a covert drone program?

CLINTON: Yes. Every part of our government had to deal with questions and the secretary of state's office was first and foremost. So, there are ways of talking about the drone program.


BERMAN: All right. CNN's Brianna Keilar is following all of this for us. She has the latest.



Much of Clinton's part of the forum centered around her email practices while she was secretary of state. And she really parsed her words that she tried to make the case that she did not endanger national security using a private server because there weren't e-mails with classified headers transmitted, the kind of e-mails that would be on the classified system versus an unclassified system, like the official State Department system or the one that she used on her private server, a very different thing though, than sending classified content, even without a header.

CLINTON: You know and I know classified material is designated. It is marked. There is a header so that there is no dispute at all that what is being communicated to or from someone who has that access is marked classified. And what we have here is the use of an unclassified system by hundreds of people in our government to send information that was not marked, there were no headers, there was no statement, top secret or secret or confidential.

I communicated about classified material on a wholly separate system. I took it very seriously.

KEILAR: It was a surprising approach considering Clinton herself said recently that when she tries to explain herself, it just sounds like she's making excuses for herself.

And then there was a moment with Donald Trump who is struggling mightily in the polls with women when he doubled down on this tweet. LAUER: In 2013 on this subject, you tweeted this, quote, "26,000

unreported sexual assaults in the military, only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men and women together?" unquote.

TRUMP: Well, it is a correct tweet. There are many people who think that is correct. And we need to have strength and we need to have --

LAUER: So, it should have been expected and the only way to fix it is to take women out of the military?

TRUMP: And, by the way, since then it's gotten worse. Not to kick them out, but something has to happen.

Right now, part of the problem is nobody gets prosecuted. You have reported and the gentlemen can tell you. You have the report of rape and nobody gets prosecuted.

[04:35:04] There are no consequences.

KEILAR: Trump also claimed that he did not support the Iraq war, which is untrue. Initially, as the nation went to war, he actually did support it and it was only later that he spoke out against the war publicly at a time when many people who had initially been in support of the war actually changed their minds -- John and Christine.


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

Now, reactions to the commander in chief forum started burning up Twitter, even when the show was still on the air. Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus tweeted, "Hillary Clinton was angry and defensive the entire time. No smile and uncomfortable. Upset that she was caught wrongly sending our secrets, the Clinton campaign lashing back. That is what taking the office of president seriously looks like.

Former moderator Matt Lauer of NBC also faced sharp criticism from journalist and pundits. Some calling his performance weak and embarrassment. Specifically, Lauer was criticized for not fact checking that Donald Trump always opposed the Iraq war.

That claimed is simply false. In a radio interview in 2002, Donald Trump said he supported the invasion.

BERMAN: All right. A pretty major world figure is going to get a chance to respond to all this in just a few minutes. President Obama will hold a news conference in Laos. He is finishing up the summit there. What did he make of the candidates looking to replace him and what they said last night?

Let's bring in White House correspondent Michelle Kosinski live for us this morning.

Good morning, Michelle. MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Now, this is the

president's last day in Asia. So, we will be looking for in his conference, what did he say about his interaction with Rodrigo Duterte, this is the new president of the Philippines who cursed President Obama, then threatened to curse some more. And in an extremely rare move, the White House canceled the meeting that they were supposed to have.

Also the relationship with China. Just this morning, the president reaffirmed an international tribunal's ruling that China has no claim over some disputed islands here. That this is the source of tension in this region and the U.S. is often in the middle of it.

But you know a big part of the press conference is going to be what's going on back home with these statements, especially since last night they touched on the military and the ISIS and national security. I feel the president will want to weigh in at least to some extent, especially since he has been able to be out on the campaign trail very much at all. His schedule just hasn't allowed it.

But we are going to be hearing from him much more in the next couple of weeks, especially in October. White House sources say he is eager to get on the trail. He's eager to comment. He's going to pick up the pace once we get back from this trip -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Michelle Kosinski for us.

Again, we are waiting to hear from the president. You are looking at live pictures there right under my face. President Obama about to take questions. We will bring it to you live.

Thanks, Michelle.

ROMANS: Right on your left cheek.

All right. Apple unveiling the new iPhone --

BERMAN: Like my tattoo, but that's different. Never mind.

ROMANS: Apple unveiling the iPhone 7 yesterday at an event in San Francisco. Pre-orders start this Friday. The phone hits stores next Friday. The biggest change here, no headphone jack.

Apple says it took courage to make this decision. We are entering a wireless world, folks. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will include an adapter to plug in to the charging port. It's also pushing people to use Bluetooth headphones.

Apple's own wireless set ear pods will be out in October. They cost 159 bucks. Basically, though, the ear buds you get with the Apple devices are ready, but no cord.

The disappearing headphone jack caused an uproar on social media where people like to do things like uproar. Some talk about charging the wireless headphones. Others are afraid they will lose them.

CNN has their hands on one of the new iPhones. Check out the site for a full preview and the rundown of the most important new features.

One thing I thought was interesting is that depending on how hard you press the home key, different things will happen.

BERMAN: When you go to rage -- if you don't like the new headphones, don't get them. If you don't them. If they bother you, don't do it. How about that?

All right. Thirty-nine minutes after the hour.

Colin Powell, his warning about the e-mail in his own words. A just release e-mail exchange from her early days as secretary of state. What does that tell us about the later e-mail controversy? That's next.


[04:43:40] BERMAN: All right. New support this morning for Hillary Clinton's story that she got detailed advice on email use from former Secretary of State Colin Powell. There's a newly released e-mail exchange shows that Colin Powell told Secretary Clinton how he used a personal computer to keep certain e-mails from going through State Department servers. This became shortly after she became secretary of state. The email show Powell warning Clinton he got nonsense of bringing device in secure areas.

Let's get more now from CNN's Elise Labott.


ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, John and Christine, two days after being sworn in as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton and her predecessor, Colin Powell, exchanged e-mails about communicating outside State Department servers. Those emails were released Wednesday night.

Clinton asked Powell in them, what were the restrictions of the use of your BlackBerry?

Did you use it in your personal office? Powell responds he didn't have a BlackBerry. He used a personal computer hooked up to a private phone line. That's an AOL account. Quote, "So I could communicate with a wide range of friends directly without it going through the State Department servers. I even used it for the foreign leaders and some of the senior folks on the department on their personal email account." He also used it on the road and hotels.

Now, Powell warned, quote, "there is a real danger that if it is public, if you have a BlackBerry and it is government and you're using it, government or not, it may become an official record and subject to the law."

[04:45:12] The Democratic Congressman Elijah Cumming released that e- mail exchange, saying was released saying Powell advised Secretary Clinton with a detailed blueprint on how to skirt security rules to preserve federal records. He said Clinton did not rely on Powell's advice, but Clinton has cited Powell's advice to justify her use of a private email server.

Now, Powell has been up front about his use of that private e-mail accounting, wrote about it in his book. He acknowledged sending Clinton a memo about it. He hasn't responded to the release of this latest exchange. But in recent weeks, he voiced a lot of frustration, the Clinton camp was trying to pin her e-mail troubles on him.

So, John and Christine, I'm not sure Congressman Cummings really did Secretary Clinton any favors by releasing those emails.


ROMANS: It's certainly interesting though. Thank you so much for that, Elise Labott.

FBI Director James Comey is defending the bureau's investigation of Hillary Clinton's e-mails and its decision to release documents on the Friday before the Labor Day holiday. Comey says the decision not to bring charges against was not a close call. In a memo to FBI employees, Comey writes this, "At the end of the day, the case itself was not a cliffhanger despite all the chest-beating by people no longer in government, there really wasn't a prosecutable case."

About the Friday release, he says, "We don't play games. We are continuing to process more material and will release batches of documents as they are ready, no matter the day of the week."

BERMAN: Yes, this guy doesn't like being questioned. You get the sense that he's sick of answering questions about this type of thing.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is addressing concerns about security related to the upcoming presidential election. In a speech, Clapper said, "Any change in administration is a volatile time" and his message to Americans is not to worry.


JAMES CLAPPER, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I know a lot of people have been feeling uncertainty about what will happen with the presidential transition. There's been a lot of catastrophizing, if I can use that term, in the 24-hour news cycle and, of course, on social media. So, I'm here with a message, it will be OK.


BERMAN: Catastrophizing, he can use whatever term he wants. Clapper says whoever becomes president will face the most diverse global intelligence threats he has ever seen.

ROMANS: All right. Two of the biggest names in tech hitting all time highs. We'll get an early start on your money next.

BERMAN: And we are awaiting President Obama's news conference. He will walk up on the stage very shortly and take questions. He is on an overseas trip to Laos. He is expected to respond to the latest round of comments and accusations and questions and answers in the U.S. presidential race. So, stick around.


[04:52:04] BERMAN: All right. We are awaiting right now on President Obama. He will hold a news conference any minute. He is traveling overseas. He is finishing up the summit in Laos.

We expect he will be asked about the U.S. presidential race. There was a national security forum last night here in New York. A lot was said by both candidates there. We expect the president will be asked about that. We will bring you this news conference as soon as it happens.

Now, the morning's other big headlines about Hillary Clinton's e-mail and controversy surrounding that. The State Department has released the exchange that essentially backs up her story that it was former Secretary of State Colin Powell who suggested she use a non state server. There was also a memo from FBI Director James Comey saying the decision was not a close call to not prosecute her.

So, where does that leave this morning? Let's discuss this issue.

We are joined here in New York on the set by CNN political reporter Eugene Scott.

Eugene, great to have you here with us.


BERMAN: I want to do a dramatic reading from the Colin Powell e-mail to Hillary Clinton. She was secretary of state for, what, I think two days in office.

It says, "DS diplomatic security would not allow them into spaces, especially up our way. When I asked, why not, they gave me nonsense how they can give out signals that can be read by spies. We even opened up one of them to try to explain to me why it was more dangerous than say, a remote control for one of the many TVs on the suite or something embedded in my shoe heel. They never satisfied me and NSA and CIA would not back off. So, we just went about our business and stopped asking."

Now, I think all those were a lot of words right there, the importance is just we went about our business and stopped asking. In Colin Powell's case meant using an AOL account to send a lot of emails apparently, including to foreign leaders and people he worked with.

SCOTT: Yes, I think this was released in part because Representative Cummings who has been a supporter of Hillary Clinton for a while just wants to preserve her integrity and share that she did not do anything wrong or unusual, but that she was following the advice of someone who has done this before.

ROMANS: What it tells me is it was the Wild West. We heard people talk about before going into the doors at the State Department and not being able to communicate. Hillary Clinton complained about that. Colin Powell is complaining about that. Where was the training and where was the protocol I guess?

I mean, what we are seeing is lack of protocol with new technology or is that dismissing the severity of what happened?

SCOTT: I think that is the case and we have to remember how early all of this was. What was happening during this time. We didn't know then what we know now in terms of security and issues about technology and people were still very much trying to navigate that.

BERMAN: Colin Powell said he did not use a BlackBerry. He used a PDA. He used a palm pilot.

ROMANS: The hand spring adviser, do you remember the hand spring adviser?

BERMAN: I can't remember. I got nostalgic reading the Colin Powell exchange. There are some differences between Colin Powell and what Hillary Clinton did. Powell used an AOL account. Hillary Clinton used a private server. She had a server in what critics like home brew server, up in Chappaqua. That is a difference right there.

Another difference is there hasn't been as much focus from Congress on trying to get a record of Colin Powell e-mails with other countries and the Democrats saying including the lead-up to the Iraq war.

SCOTT: I think that was a point that Representative Cummings made. And the release, he said, if that was a concern, we would had records from Colin Powell's email as well, but we haven't seen that yet.

ROMANS: Let's talk about the chest beating from people who are no longer in government, and how he -- you know, defending the timing and release from the FBI interviews with Hillary Clinton, defending that as transparency, they don't want to wait until after the holiday, and saying he had been going to these FBI field offices and talking to former agents and saying, look, there is no cliff hanger for prosecuting Hillary Clinton.

Is he putting this to rest, do you think?

SCOTT: Well, it doesn't seem like it. He made it clear there will be more information released soon. I think the likelihood of that being released on a Friday again is probably low given the criticism the department has received from this last dump. However, he made it very clear that there were no reasons that were questionable behind the last dump. He wanted to make the information available as soon as possible.

BERMAN: It is clear. A lot of former intelligence officials ask questions. There are some current ones, too, because the director sent this memo to people who may be asking questions when he travels to field offices. That's interesting in and of itself.

Eugene, great to have you here with us. We'll talk to you in a bit.

ROMANS: We are waiting for the president to speak very, very soon. So, in the meantime, let's get an early start on your money. Stock

futures higher. NASDAQ setting another record. Record high for NASDAQ in yesterday's close. Dow and S&P are just one rally away from a record high. Stock markets in Europe and Asia right now trading mix, big gain for oil. Up 2 percent.

Part of the NASDAQ rally thanks to huge gains by four tech titans, Facebook hitting all time high yesterday. It's up 25 percent this year. The day before, Amazon hit a record high., up 16 percent this year.

Google's parent company alphabet up 3.8 percent. Apple up nearly 3 percent so far this year but more than 13 over the past month. So, it has had a bounce in the last month. If you add Microsoft to the group, you have the five most popular U.S. companies by market cap.

Shares of Apple rose more than half a percent yesterday, a little bump, not very big, but the new iPhone 7 is hoping for a sales rebound. Those big drops earlier in the year came after two slumping sales of global iPhone sales.

But will the new features be enough to lure customers like John Berman in. CNN Money says these are four most important changes for the iPhone 7.

One, the headphone jack is gone. Apple including an adapter and pushing to Bluetooth.

Number, it is water resistant. You can drop it in up one meter of water for 30 minutes.

BERMAN: Which is deeper than most toilet, which is the issue for most people.

ROMANS: I knew you were going to say that.

BERMAN: It's true. I'm not trying to be lewd. It's true.

ROMANS: A toilet-proof iPhone from the lewd John Berman.

Three, the entry model will start at 32 gigs of memory, up from 16. Finally, there's two cameras on the back of the phone allow you to get more depth of the field and switch between zoom.

BERMAN: I think the two cameras are only on the 7 Plus. The one that is this big.

ROMANS: In the breaks, all he has been doing is reading the morning after analysis.

BERMAN: I've got a lot of decisions to make. This will not wait. Pre-order September 9th.

ROMANS: John Berman, moonlighting as a consumer reporter.

BERMAN: And waiting on President Obama who is about to deliver a news conference in Laos.

EARLY START continues right now.


ROMANS: Revealing responses from Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on the same stage for the first time. Trump with harsh words for some military generals. Kind words for Vladimir Putin. Standing by his controversial tweet about women in the military. We'll show what he said.

BERMAN: All right. Hillary Clinton at the same forum, pressed on the e-mail controversy. Now, a new wrinkle. E-mails, we were just talking about this, from Colin Powell about how to handle this at the State Department.

All of this as we wait to hear from President Obama. A live news conference in Laos. Any second from now. How will he respond to the latest back and forth in the U.S. presidential election? We will know and bring it to you live.

ROMANS: All right. It is exactly 5:00 in the East. Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.