6.2 Earthquake In Central Italy, At Least 37 Dead; Is Trump 'Softening' On Immigration?; Rockstar Economist Joseph Stiglitz Says



'Softening' On Immigration?; Rockstar Economist Joseph Stiglitz Says

TPP Is Wrong; Turkey Launches Anti-Terror Offensive Along Syrian

Border; NASA Re-Establishes Contact With "STEREO-B" After 2 Years Of

Silence; Senators Fight EpiPen Price Hike. Aired 5:30-6a ET>

[05:30:30] BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, a deadly quake hit central Italy. Initial reports of damage and a rising death toll are coming in as rescue workers still try desperately to save victims. We have the very latest.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump with a two-pronged assault on Hillary Clinton on the Clinton Foundation and immigration, but could another pivot on immigration end up hurting Trump with the Republican base?

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

SANCHEZ: I'm happy to be here with you, Christine. I'm Boris Sanchez. We are 30 minutes past the hour and we're following breaking news this morning. A deadly earthquake in the mountains of central Italy. The magnitude 6.2 quake hit six miles south of the village of Norcia and rattled the windows in Rome, about 100 miles away.

In the hardest hit town of Amatrice, the mayor says that buildings have been destroyed. There are people still under the rubble and access is cut off in many areas. He's now pleading for outside help.

For the very latest let's bring in CNN contributor and Italy bureau chief of "The Daily Beast" Barbie Nadeau, live from Italy. Barbie, we've been talking to you all morning. What is the latest?

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, ROME BUREAU CHIEF, "THE DAILY BEAST": Well, you see right behind me on ongoing rescue operation.

People, though, as you notice, as using their bare hands to try to move the rubble aside to try to find people they know are believed to be in that building in the ground floor apartment, in a bedroom in that building. There's been frantic efforts to try to move this rubble, then silence as they call the names of the people they believe are inside that building.

We see even beyond that, though, just the devastation. This is just a little enclave with about 20 residents. Everybody knows each other's name. Everybody's got each other's back here. Everybody's looking out for each other. That's why they know exactly where that bedroom is. They're describing a wood floor. We've had people -- the neighbors of this little area just waiting with bated breath for some good news out of this. This scene, though, repeats itself over and over again up this narrow country road on the way to the epicenter, a few kilometers up the road from here where a town of 2,000 was completely devastated. As the mayor is saying, about half the town is gone, reduce to piles of rubble like you see here right now.

But it's just incredible to see some of these buildings standing completely upright, others just nothing but rocks. And you really get a sense of an urgency and community here. People are sort of sitting in the nearby soccer field across the road from here trying to wait for news and trying to get some shade. You know, it's quite warm here.

You've got -- one of the things you notice is missing, though, in this particular instance is heavy equipment. These people are using their hands, pickaxes. I've seen garden tools and all those sorts of things to try to find the people in this area.

There's just so much devastation that some of the civil protection heavy equipment is being used in others areas -- people in buildings with greater numbers of people. They're trying desperately to get as much equipment as they can here to try to move some of this rubble out of the way and rescue as many people as possible.

You know, one of the things they know are how many people live here permanently, but they don't know how many people were here on vacation. This is a very popular tourist area for people who live in Rome trying to escape that heat of the city. For international tourists -- people who come and rent summer villas. They don't know if those people are here or not. That's part of the complications.

SANCHEZ: One of the main challenges, as Barbie reported, is getting the heavy equipment where it needs to go. Neighbors, apparently, using hands -- anything they could get their hands on at their disposal to try to rescue those still under the rubble. Barbie Nadeau reporting from Italy, thank you.

ROMANS: The Italian Red Cross immediately mobilizing all its emergency centers and resources. A spokesman telling CNN that medical personnel, ambulances, search and rescue crews are all on their way or already on site in the disaster area.


TOMMASO DELLA LONGA, ITALIAN RED CROSS, ROME: The first priority now is to find people under the building that collapsed and to find the survival. You have to understand that this area is very rural. It's the middle of mountains and valleys so there is not only the problem of the small cities like Amatrice, for instance, but also really there's more villages. And then also we are completely alone in the middle of a valley so they need to have help as soon as possible. So this is their main challenge.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SANCHEZ: This is really a recipe for disaster -- an area that's prone to earthquakes. You had one with 6.2 magnitude happening at 3:00 a.m. The question now, will those emergency crews be fighting against the weather? Let's bring in meteorologist Pedram Javaheri -- Pedram.

[05:35:00] (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Boris and Christine, you know, the only piece of good news coming out of this is the weather pattern over the next week. A pretty expansive area of high pressure. Hard- pressed to find much in the way cloud cover over this region in the next coming couple of days.

In fact, the forecast moving forward over the next three days shows you a warming trend that takes us eventually up into the mid-80's. The overnight temperature is close to 60 degrees. All of these fantastic when it comes to any sort of search and rescue operations for folks across this region.

But, of course, the bad news is just the amount of people that felt this intense shaking associated with this quake. Upwards of 20 million people feeling the shaking associated with this quake. And the USGS does a wonderful job of looking at previous quakes and learning from them as far as damage potential left in place from this quake. And the highest likelihood of fatalities their estimating, based on previous data, would be between 100 to 1,000 people.

Now, you take a look at previous quakes again. We know in 2009 the L'Aquila quake in this region took with it almost 300 lives. It was a 6.3, .1 stronger than the one we just saw in the past several hours, also sitting at around six miles in depth and also happening in the 3:30 in the morning hour period. So very similar quakes to what we saw there from a couple of years ago -- guys.


ROMANS: All right, Pedram, thank you for that. To politics now. Donald Trump and Republicans with new criticism of what they call a pay-to-play culture at the State Department. It's a new report from the Associated Press saying that more than half the private individuals meeting with Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, had donated to the Clinton Family Foundation.

Trump calling the foundation "the most corrupt enterprise in political history". It's a line of attack he kept up on the campaign trail in Texas.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is impossible to figure out where the Clinton Foundation ends and the State Department begins. It is now abundantly clear that the Clintons set up a business to profit from public office. They sold access and specific actions by, and really for, I guess, the making of large amounts of money.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: A spokesman for the Clinton campaign says the report relies on flawed data and "cherry-picked a limited subset of Secretary Clinton's schedule to give a distorted portrayal" of the situation. Joining us to talk about all of this and more on the 2016 race, CNN political analyst Josh Rogin. He's a columnist for "The Washington Post". Good morning.


ROMANS: What do you make of the campaign's dismissal of that AP story finding that half of the events on her calendar were people who donated to the Clinton Foundation?

ROGIN: Right. So this is going to be a huge story and the Clinton campaign is going to be working hard today to push back, and their basic pushback is this. Eighty-five meetings with donors out of 154 total meetings with private individuals. Now if you are the Secretary of State you have thousands of meetings so 85 is really not half, it's a small fraction and that's going to be the Clinton campaign's message -- that the AP story sort of distorts what the Secretary of State was doing all that time.

At the same time, 85 is still a big number and that's a lot of donors. And even though it's not illegal and as the AP story notes it doesn't even technically break the rules that Clinton and the Clinton Foundation agreed to, it looks bad, OK? And it seems that all of the relationships that Hillary Clinton had when she was Secretary of State and the Clinton Foundation's donors -- it's all intermingled.

So there's no smoking gun and it's not really a straight up conflict of interest or an evidence of corruption, but it will be enough for the Trump campaign to run with for the rest of the week, at least.

SANCHEZ: Trump not holding back when it came to that AP report. He's also going after Hillary Clinton on immigration, even as he softens what has been, seemingly, a hardline stance of his own on immigration. I want to play for you some sound. Donald Trump during a town hall with Sean Hannity on "FOX NEWS". Listen to what he says.

ROGIN: Sure.


TRUMP: And you have years and years of people waiting online and they've gone through a process and they file legally. They filed and they're great people, in some cases. I guess in some cases maybe not. But you have really great people wanting and so proudly wanting to come into our country.

SEAN HANNITY, "FOX NEWS": Is there any part of the law that you might be able to change that would accommodate those people that contribute to society, have been law-abiding, have kids here?

TRUMP: There certainly can be a softening because we're not looking to hurt people. We want people -- we have some great people in this country. We have some great, great people in this country so we're going to follow the laws of this country.


SANCHEZ: There's certainly a marked difference between that and Mexicans are rapists and criminals.

ROGIN: Right.

SANCHEZ: So this kind of plays in the softening not just on immigration, but the softening of Trump himself -- his outreach to minority groups. Do you see this change in the candidate as something that could potentially help him or is this just his last resort as he watches the polls slide more and more toward Hillary's direction?

[05:40:00] ROGIN: Sure, I think you're exactly right. We're seeing a softening. It's not surprising considering that Trump's original plan, which was to create a deportation force to expel 11 million people, is basically unworkable, right? Nobody really thought that was going to happen. So now we're seeing him adjust, right?

The question is, is it too little, too late? And if you talk to Muslim community -- I'm sorry, Hispanic community leaders the vast majority of them, or I would say all of them that weren't actually in the meeting with Trump, will say it is too little, too late. The numbers are clear. Trump is trailing pretty starkly with all minorities, but especially Hispanics and African-Americans.

This adjustment is not going to convince those people that Trump is better for them than Hillary Clinton. So it shows an evolution of the campaign but in terms of getting actual support from these communities it's unlikely to succeed.

ROMANS: I still don't know what the policy is.

ROGIN: Me neither.

ROMANS: We're going to follow the laws. I mean, the issue here is that the laws are outdated and they don't work, and that the laws have led us to this position here.


ROMANS: That's not immigration, you know. So I still don't what the policy is on that and to be determined, I guess.

ROGIN: Exactly, right.

ROMANS: That's what Kellyanne Conway said, literally.

SANCHEZ: Kellyanne Conway, yes.

ROMANS: Literally, to be determined. All right, nice to see you. Thanks, Josh.

ROGIN: Thank you. SANCHEZ: Vice President Joe Biden making a critical stop in Turkey today. With the country fighting a wave of terror in the wake of a failed military coup, can Joe Biden help restore some calm? More on that, next.


[05:45:30] SANCHEZ: We're following some breaking news overnight. Italy's president is calling it a moment of pain. A major earthquake in the mountains of central Italy. The death toll now at least 21 according to CNN partner, "RAI NEWS".

The mayor of Amatrice, near the epicenter, says the town is no more. Search and rescue crews are desperately scrambling to find survivors under the rubble. Keep in mind, this happened at 3:30 a.m. Many people were asleep in bed as this earthquake struck. We're going to continue following the story and bring you new details throughout the morning.

ROMANS: Trade deals facing harsh criticism this election cycle. Now a rockstar economist and Noble Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz says pushing through the TPP, the Transpacific Partnership, is absolutely wrong. He would also change NAFTA, he says. Here's what he told CNN's Richard Quest.


JOSEPH STIGLITZ, NOBEL PRIZE-WINNING ECONOMIST: The advocates of trade said it was going to benefit everybody. The evidence is it's benefitted a few and left a lot behind. It could have been different. We could have managed trade in a way that would have had shared benefits. But that's not the trade agreements that we had and now people are realizing that that rhetoric that everybody was going to better off was a lie.


ROMANS: Stiglitz is a Hillary Clinton supporter. He was part of the Bill Clinton administration that passed NAFTA. He says both deals should be reworked because politics and the corporate interests have been put ahead of American workers. This week, a survey of more than 400 economists found a different opinion. It showed just six percent think the U.S. should reject the current TPP deal.

SANCHEZ: Breaking overnight, Turkish forces are launching a military operation along the border with Syria to clear out ISIS operatives. A U.S.-led coalition is also joining the effort. Later today, Vice President Joe Biden is set to meet with Turkey's leaders. He's expected to express concern about that country's crackdown on free speech and political opponents in the wake of that failed military coup last month.

Biden is also telling NATO allies in the Baltic States not to take Donald Trump seriously. In a meeting in Latvia, on Tuesday, Biden pledged the U.S. will continue to honor its commitments to NATO.

ROMANS: All right, let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY". Our friend and colleague Alisyn Camerota joins us now.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Hi, everybody. Just here in the green room preparing for our show this morning. Of course, we're going to be following the breaking news out of Italy. There's been a 6.2 magnitude earthquake there. We'll be speaking with some of the eyewitnesses about what they just lived through.

Also, we have the authors of this new book. These are the three American heroes, you'll remember. They were on that train bound for Paris when they spotted a terrorist and took him down, saving countless lives. So we'll see what their lives are like one year later.

And then we're going to be dispelling some of our favorite conspiracy theories from this campaign. We'll be debunking those myths when we see you at the top of the hour.

ROMANS: There are myths to debunk this election cycle?

SANCHEZ: No way.

ROMANS: I had no idea.

SANCHEZ: No way.

ROMANS: I can't wait for that.

SANCHEZ: Fact-checking still matters?

ROMANS: Alisyn, thank you. All right, outrage grows over the spiking price of EpiPens. Three senators now pressuring the company who makes the drug. We'll tell you how high the prices have climbed when we get an EARLY START on your money, next.


[05:52:55] ROMANS: All right, breaking news this morning. We are following a major earthquake overnight in the mountains of central Italy. And sadly, there is a new death toll from Italy's Civil Protection Agency. It says now at least 37 people were killed in that quake. Many buildings near the epicenter collapsed. The town of Amatrice said to be almost destroyed completely. We'll keep you up to date as we get more information.

SANCHEZ: Back to the U.S. now. Mourners in North Carolina paying their respects at a memorial service for 29-year-old Daniel Harris. He was a deaf man fatally shot by a state trooper after an attempted traffic stop and chase. Authorities have launched a criminal investigation into the shooting. Harris' brother, who is also deaf, believes his sibling's disabilities may have inadvertently led to the shooting. We get more now from CNN's Ed Lavandera.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Boris, the family of Daniel Harris says his shooting death could have been prevented and they are demanding answers. It's been nearly a week since Daniel Harris was shot and killed by North Carolina state trooper Jermaine Saunders.

This altercation took place last Thursday just after 6:00 at night. Investigators say that Harris led the trooper on a pursuit that lasted a little more than seven miles. Harris' family believes that he was trying to get back toward his neighborhood and his home where he felt more safe.

SAM HARRIS (DEAF), BROTHER OF DANIEL HARRIS (through two interpreters): He was unarmed and he is a deaf individual and I think that he was just afraid.

He was a few feet away from his home. He was trying to get to the safe place he knew.

He could not hear their warnings, he couldn't hear their commands to stop or stay away from them.

The police need to become aware of how to communicate with deaf people, what that might look like and how to avoid situations like this from ever happening again.

LAVANDERA: All of this over a suspicion that Harris was speeding while driving. What happened next isn't exactly clear. Investigators in North Carolina will only say that there was a "encounter between Harris and the trooper that resulted in one shot being fired." That shot killed Daniel Harris there, near his home in Charlotte, North Carolina.

[05:55:00] But investigators are not releasing any details about what exactly took place during that encounter. Investigators say that they are in the process of collecting and analyzing dashcam and body cam footage from all of the troopers that responded to that scene. From our understanding, it's some 20 different officers that responded to that shooting call and so they're in the process of analyzing all of that -- Christine and Boris.


SANCHEZ: A tragic story. Ed, thank you. On a lighter note, NASA scientists are getting an 'out of this world' surprise today. They re-established contact with its STEREO-B spacecraft after nearly two years of radio silence. Officials say communication was lost during its mission to study the sun. It had been working in tandem with a second craft and now that it's been found the STEREO team is going to monitor the spacecraft to see what kind of shape it's in.

ROMANS: All right, to business now. Let's get an EARLY START on your money. Dow futures are higher. All three major averages finishing just shy of all-time highs. Yesterday was records, folks. The Nasdaq hit an intraday record. Investors awaiting Fed chief Janet Yellen's speech Friday in Wyoming. The expectations are shifting now to a strong American economy and when the Fed will raise interest rates again. As you can see, stock markets in Europe and Asia are trading mixed here. Oil is down. On this day last year, the Dow fell 1,100 points shortly after the opening bell. That was not a great day in stock market history. Investors were spooked by the health of the global economy and by the stability of the world's financial markets. And look what a difference it is today. The Dow is up some 20 percent since that low point that day, a rise of nearly 3,000 points. It's hitting record highs nearly every week and is now the second longest bull market of all time.

Pressure mounting on EpiPen maker Mylan Pharmaceutical. A trio of senators now calling for an explanation of the 400 percent price hike on this popular device. It's used to treat allergic reactions.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar calling for a hearing and an investigation into Mylan. That's the company that bought the EpiPen, the device, in 2007 and has since raised the price several times. Klobuchar's own daughter is an EpiPen user.Earlier this week, Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal demanded lower prices for the EpiPen. Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley sent a letter to Mylan's CEO.

In 2009, a two-pack of EpiPens cost about $100. Today, it's around $600 depending on where you buy it, what state you live in. Mylan tells CNN the changing health insurance landscape is partly to blame for the rising consumer cost, especially for people who have high deductible plans. Consumers are just bearing more of the costs of drugs and devices, in general, and that is why those senators, though, would like results quickly.

SANCHEZ: Well, we're still following that breaking news out of Italy. The death toll continuing to rise, now at 37, following a powerful earthquake in central Italy. The race is on to pull survivors out of the rubble. "NEW DAY" continues our coverage right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone, welcome to your NEW DAY. It's Wednesday, August 24th, 6:00 in the East. And we do begin with breaking news for you because a powerful earthquake rocked central Italy. At least 37 people are dead at this hour. The town of Amatrice is in ruins and the mayor simply saying that his town is "no more".

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: So this 6.2 magnitude quake was also followed by very strong aftershocks, including one measuring 5.5. That's unusual, especially for that area. The tremors felt as far away as Rome. That's 100 miles from the quake zone.

We have Barbie Nadeau near the scene -- CNN contributor, Rome bureau chief for "The Daily Beast". She's in Saletta, a small town about a mile and one-half from the epicenter of the quake. Barbie, what can you tell us?

NADEAU: Well, right now we're still watching this rescue operation going on behind us. It's not looking so good. A couple of minutes ago there were tons of people up there, dozens of people from the local community calling the names of the people that they expect to be trapped down inside that rubble. But since then, they've called away some of these rescuers and they've dropped a few of the emergency workers inside. They were not expecting good news out of that.

What you see, though, in this little tiny community outside of the town of the epicenter along the road that heads up -- a narrow country lane that heads up to the real epicenter of this -- are just neighbors. You know, this is what makes Italy so wonderful. The sense of community where you've got people who know who's living in that building. They were describing the bedroom. They knew exactly where it was.

There were people -- farmers here with their tractors pulling off the rubble. People with pickaxes, garden tools trying to save their neighbors, calling them out by name. That's what makes this just so tragic. These communities are so tight-knit and when something like this affects one of them, it affects all of them.

CUOMO: Barbie, what do you know about -- in terms of the ability of this community -- this area -- to deal with a magnitude problem like this?

NADEAU: Well, this is a seismic area so they are used to small tremors.

(Byline: Christine Romans, Boris Sanchez, Barbie Nadeau, Pedram Javaheri, Josh Rogin, Alisyn Camerota, Ed Lavandera, Chris Cuomo)

(High: 6.2 Earthquake In Central Italy, Rai: At Least 37 Dead, "Half The Town" Of Amatrice is "Gone"; Medical Personnel & Search And Rescue Teams Digging Through Rubble; Trump Hits Clinton Over Foundation Revelations, AP: More Than Half Of Sec. Clinton's Meetings Were With Donors; Is Trump 'Softening' On Immigration? Compromising Tone In Interview Gives Way To Hardline Rally; Rockstar Economist: TPP Is Wrong, Joseph Stiglitz Is A Clinton Supporter And Nobel Prize Winner; Turkey Launches Anti-Terror Offensive, U.S.-Led Coalition Joining Mission Along Syrian Border; Biden Meeting With Leaders Of Turkey, VP Expected To Express Concern About Free Speech Crackdown; Biden To Baltics: Don't Take Trump Seriously, VP Reassures NATO Allies U.S. Will Honor Commitments; Deaf Man Fatally Shot By NC State Trooper, Memorial Service Held For Daniel Harris, Criminal Probe Underway; Spacecraft Lost...And Found, NASA Re-Establishes Contact With "STEREO- B" After 2 Years Of Silence; Senators Fight EpiPen Price Hike, Mylan Bought The Drug In 2007 And Has Raised Prices 400%)

(Spec: Elections; Politics; Earthquake; Italy; Amatrice; Donald Trump; Hillary Clinton; State Department; Clinton Foundation; Associated Press; Immigration; TPP; Joseph Stiglitz; ISIS; Turkey; Syria; Joe Biden; Free Speech; NATO; Daniel Harris; North Carolina; State Trooper; Deaf; Jermaine Saunders; NASA; STEREO-B; EpiPen; Mylan; Amy Klobuchar; Chuck Grassley; Richard Blumenthal)