tv Early Start With John Berman and Christine Romans CNN February 25, 2016 1:00am-2:01am PST
wit. thanks to abc's "black-ish." stay with cnn for our republican presidential debate in houston tomorrow night at 8:30 eastern. in just hours, republicans running for president take the cnn debate stage. only five competitors remaining. frontrunner donald trump with a big target on his back. welcome to "early start." i'm christine romans in new york. >> i'm john berman in houston, texas. this is the site of cnn's republican debate. tonight, thursday, february 25th. 3:00 a.m. here at the university of houston. the candidates face-off in the cnn debate. a pivotal moment.
all four candidates not named donald trump know this could be last chance to notch donald trump off his perch. ted cruz and marco rubio are second and third place with john kasich and ben carson in single digits. it is not the polls that matter at all. trump has won three contests in a row. he is pulling ahead due to vote next tuesday, super tuesday. all the other candidates swear they could beat trump if only they could get him one-on-one. >> donald is formidable. they are furious with washington and politicians in both parties that have been lying to them. i think donald's support is manifestation of that. what the polling shows is head-to-head, donald against me, we would beat him handily. 56 to 40.
>> the biggest change in the campaign is going to be when the people not named donald trump, the choices begin to narrow and we start to give the republican voters a clearer choice. >> with fewer candidates, i think maybe there's a possibility, i'm not sure it will happen, but a possibility people may actually start getting interested in the real solutions to the problems. >> by the way, for those that wonder about donald trump, if i go head-to-head with him in ohio, i beat him by 18 points. >> so now donald trump isn't just dealing though with the current competition. he is always battling mitt romney. more on that in a moment. right now, he is also looking ahead a bit to the general election. cnn's phil mattingly was with donald trump in virginia. >> reporter: good morning. donald trump taking a bit of a victory lap after the nevada caucuses and maybe looking forward a bit with attacks on
hillary clinton. >> boy, oh, boy, she has become like a marshmallow. her life could not be so easy. what she's done is so wrong and unfair. it looks like she'll be the nominee and it looks like nothing will happen. it will be something discussed. it will be discussed often, often. >> reporter: donald trump will be traveling across the deep south in the days ahead in the nod to super tuesday where 25% of available delegates are up for grabs. if you talk to gop operatives, there is a real concern that donald trump has momentum that can't be halted. still, it's early. the s.e.c. primary is coming up and winner take all on march 15th. ohio where governor kasich of ohio still thinks he has a shot
to strike. guys there is an urgency about the campaign. one thing to keep an eye on is the cnn debate in houston occurs tonight. full frontal attacks against trump. marco rubio and ted cruz. trying to make a statement tonight very wary donors and wanting that move to happen quickly. tonight may be the night. john and christine. >> all right. thanks, phil. this morning, all the talk is about donald trump versus mitt romney after the last republican nominee called on the current frontrunner to be the republican nominee to release his taxes. this morning, donald trump in a new stance on the issue. the billionaire businessman leaving open the possibility he will not release his taxes. he told anderson cooper he will make a determination over the next couple months. this came in response after the speculation by mitt romney that trump may have something to hide. >> we have good reason to
believe, frankly, there is a bombshell in trump's taxes. either he is not as wealthy as he says he is or hasn't been paying the taxes we expect him to pay for perhaps he hasn't been giving money to the vets or to the disabled like he's been telling us he's been doing. i think that's the reason that i think there's a bombshell in there because every time he is asked about his taxes, he dodges and delays and says we're working on it. >> my returns on complex. nobody is bringing it up except mitt romney and he has lost in the last election and lost badly. i have many companies. i have tremendously -- very complex system of taxes. frankly, i get audited every year. mine, unlike everybody else, i
get audited every year, which i think is unfair. i go through large audits. we'll make a determination over the next couple months. it is very complicated. >> duelling phone calls over the trump taxes and hearing from mitt romney from afar. a big day in the race. a big night coming up with the republican debate at the university of houston. let's turn to political reporter tom lobianco in washington. tom, a lot of people have all of a sudden started to talk about this. this is almost as if there is a coordinated discussion coming up from the establishment world talking about donald trump and his taxes. it is not just the establishment. ted cruz was only too happy to speculate that donald trump should release his taxes soon and why he might not be. >> a lot of people speculate that he hasn't made as much money as he said. who knows? he doesn't release his tax returns. i do think mitt has a good point
that the voters are entitled to know before they vote. because you better believe the democrats will go to town on this. >> on so this plagued mitt romney four years ago. do you think this is an issue that will cause donald trump over time or even now before super tuesday. >> it is interesting they are doing this now. for the establishment, the republican establishment, it's almost a rare guaranteed win for them bringing this up. if he doesn't release them, that looks good. the speculation hangs out there. you have mitt romney making the call on it. you can defer away from your candidates there. it does look like it could build up. one of the things we already know is it does not appear he has $10 billion based on the financial disclosures last year.
that was verified up to $3 billion in wealth. you can see ted cruz hitting on that point already. it is an effective attack. a rare effective attack on donald trump. >> curious to see if we will see that on the debate stage here in houston tonight. also curious on the flip side about the dynamic of donald trump and marco rubio. we have seen donald trump against many of the candidates in the field. we never have seen a back and forth with marco rubio and donald trump. mostly because they laid off each other. last night, anderson asked donald trump if it's time to start engaging for donald trump the man who has been running in second place lately. watch. >> you are gearing up, obviously for the cnn debate tomorrow night in houston. what do you see as senator rubio's biggest vulnerability? >> i think i'll save that for co tomorrow night. we will be prepared.
people have not done well against me. so far everybody that's attacked me has gone down. >> i suppose the question isn't just donald trump will go after marco rubio, but if you think marco rubio will finally try to address donald trump. >> well, rubio and cruz are in the same place where they have to punch up to trump now. the chances they get as you pointed out earlier, the chances are driwindling. there are not a lot of debates left. the stage is shrinking. it looks like ben carson is sticking around in perpitutiy. trump can punch down. for trump, there is an easy one on rubio which they all have been going after him for a
while. the immigration. the gang of eight work. you don't need something as ham-handed as a photo shopped picture where it appears he is shaking hands with president barack obama. i would look for him to punch down on immigration, possibly. >> quickly, one question on the democrats here. obviously we're in houston for the republican debate. hillary clinton picked up an endorsement harry reid. he says he is backing hillary clinton. this comes days after the nevada caucus. his endorsement may have helped before the nevada caucuses. it is a significant boost. >> sure thing. absolutely. harry reid coming out. kind of the informal on her candidacy. his comments were very interesting to manu raju.
he says we need to put this thing to bed. he wants to stop the campaign of bernie sanders before this does too much damage to the democrats. for him looking forward it's not too hard to see republican nominee donald trump. you need someone strong as the democratic nominee if you are going to take him on in november. having a drawn out battle to the convention in july does not help the democrats. >> all right. tom lobianco, we will talk to you again later today. most of the issues here in houston where the five remaining republican candidates meet head-to-head on the stage. this is before next tuesday. it all begins at 8:30 p.m. tonight only on cnn. christine, i just cannot emphasize enough how much these other candidates, the non trump candidates, need to do tonight.
they need to do something to change the trajectory of the campaign. trump keeps getting win and win. >> the question about taxes doesn't dent his support. john, for many years, reporters following donald trump and his business wondered if the "e" in ceo stands for exaggerator. the question is will you finally be able to see the tax returns? it doesn't seem like a fire is burning under him to release him. >> we will see what he does. we will see if he continues to get questions. i imagine every time he does an interview, he faces those questions. the real issue is will the other candidates bring it up on stage tonight? will they make it an issue? sometimes they backed off. >> we will find out. thanks, john. talk to you soon. in houston. we have new information that president obama's pick to fill the supreme court vacancy could be someone republicans will have a tough time refusing. that's next.
but i know if he were picked, i would support the man. he's a good person. he has a great record. he has been a tremendously good governor. >> gop leaders in the senate said they will not consider any election year nominee to replace justice antonin scalia on the supreme court. apple's ceo tim cook speaking out. cook telling abc news apple helped investigators, but stopped start of creating a so-called back door with the potential to unlike any iphone. not just one that belonged to the san bernardino shooters. cook calls it a matter of public safety. >> this case is not about one phone. this case is about the future. what is at stake here is can the government compel apple to write software we believe would make hundreds of millions of customers vulnerable around the u.s. >> you have to write that system
to unlock that phone? >> yes. the only way we know is to write a piece of software that we view as the software equivalent of cancer. we think it is bad news to write. we have never written it. that is what is at stake here. >> apple is working to make future models of iphones impossible to break into. according to new reports. this would force the government to find a work around from the phones even when it has court orders. the reports say it helps protect customers from hackers. this is not helping apple's stock. it is down 10% this year. down a stunning 30% from last april. iphone sales are slowing and may decline this quarter. that is unprecedented. the apple watch was not the hot stocking stuffer. apple shipped 4.1 million devices in the last three months
of 2015. forecasts were for 5 million. still good enough for 15% of the global wearable market. apple does not publicly disclose watch sales. that report getting a lot of attention. the deadly storm system that slammed the south is battering the east coast killing at least four people in virginia, including a 2-year-old boy. just look at the destruction about 50 miles south of richmond. a tornado tossing a mobile home in the air into a church and killing a family of three inside. lives and possessions ripped apart for thousands in the area. >> i saw my garage was gone. my camper was gone. my mother's garage was gone. i caught it in the corner of my eye when i ran to her house to make sure she was okay. >> her roof is gone. >> her roof is gone. i said mom, are you okay? she said oh, my god, son.
i'm okay. >> major damage in lancaster, pennsylvania. there are reports of a collapsed barn with animals trapped inside. if you are flying today, check with the carrier. the storm system caused thousands of cancellations with 300 already preemptively canceled today. in hours, a cease-fire backed by the u.s. and russia begins in syria. will it work and will refugees struggling to survive get the help they need? we are live.
a limited cease-fire in syria is set to start saturday and it is still not clear how it will be implemented or what happens next if it does not take hold. u.s. and russia trying to hammer out the details by friday. a complicated agreement. inside the pentagon, there is mistrust with motives. cnn's jomana karadsheh is tracking this live from amman, jordan. good morning, jomana. >> reporter: good morning, christine. the timeline set for the groups
on the ground excluding al nusra and isis. confirming russia and u.s. will take part in the cessation of hostilit hostilities. there is still question about the cessation of hostilities who will oversee it with no force on the ground. at the same time, we heard president obama speaking in a joint press conference with jordanian king abdallah. they don't want to raise expectation about the situation on the ground. it is a difficult situation and complicate complicated. some progress is made, but still a complicated situation. as you mentioned, some u.s. officials at the pentagon are suspicious of russia's motives. you talk about the cessation of
hostilities, it would require some trust here and good faith. that is really lacking in the conflict. a lot of concern what the russians are doing and what they are saying and doing working with the united states to reach the agreement, but what we have been seeing on the ground according to u.s. officials in the past few weeks, they have been really solidifying their presence. the groups they are backing on the ground there in syria. so lots of concern about that and what will happen. we will have to see. this is critical for the many civilians, millions who are caught in the crossfire of this conflict who are hoping for a pause in this violence come midnight saturday local time. they want to see a temporary truce, christine. the united nations has trucks loaded and ready to go for a second round of aid delivery for sunday. >> so important to bring it back to the people. civil war for five years. people need help.
the cnn debate stage. donald trump on top, but will any of his competitors be able to take him down? welcome back to "early start." i'm christine romans in new york. >> i'm john berman in houston. about 31 minutes past the hour. this is the university of houston where just hours from now the five remaining presidential candidates face-off in the cnn debate. this is such a pivotal moment in the campaign. what a beautiful college campus. no students around and about at 3:31 a.m. local time. however, all four candidates not named donald trump will be more than out and about tonight. they know this could be the last best chance to knock donald trump off his perch. ted cruz and marco rubio are running in second place and third place and john kasich and
ben carson in single digits. it is not the national polls that matter. donald trump has won three state contests in a row. he is pulling ahead and most due to vote on tuesday. super tuesday. all other candidates swear they could beat donald trump if only they could get him one-on-one. >> donald is formidable. they are furious with washington and politicians lying to them in both parties. donald's support is manifestation of that. the polling data shows donald against me, we beat him handily. we beat him 56 to 40. >> our tactics will not change. the biggest change is when the people not named donald trump, the choices narrow and we start to give the republican voters a clearer choice of who they want to get behind. >> with fewer candidates, i think maybe there is a possibility. i'm not sure it will happen.
there is a possibility people may actually get interested in the solutions to the problems. >> by the way, for those that wonder about donald trump, if i go head-to-head with him in ohio, i beat him by 18 points. >> they all want trump alone. but not likely to happen anytime soon. as of right now, donald trump is not just dealing with the current competition. he is battling mitt romney. more on that in just a moment. because right now donald trump is looking ahead to the general election. cnn's phil mattingly was with trump in virginia. >> reporter: good morning, john and christine. donald trump taking a bit of a victory lap after his sweeping victory in nevada and looking forward a bit with attacks on hillary clinton. >> boy, oh, boy, she has become like a marshmallow.
what she's done is wrong and unfair. it looks like she will be the nominee and it looks like nothing will happen. it will be discussed. i promise you. it will be discussed often. >> reporter: donald trump will be traveling across the deep south in the days ahead. in the nod to the s.e.c. primary and super tuesday where 25% of available delegates are up for grabs. if you talk to gop operatives, there is a concern that donald trump has momentum that can't be halted. it is still early. you are talking about states ohio and florida where governor kasich and senator rubio thinks they have time to strike. one thing to keep an eye on is the cnn debate in houston occurs tonight. full frontal attacks on donald
trump. look to ted cruz and marco rubio. the two battling it out for second place. wary donors and supporters wanting the move to happen quickly. tonight may be the night. john. >> phil, thank you. this morning, a lot of talk about donald trump versus mitt romney after the last republican nominee called on the current frontrunner to be the next republican nominee. romney called on trump to release his taxes. this morning, donald trump seems to have a new stance on the issue. the billionaire businessman leaving open the possibility he will not release his taxes. he told anderson cooper overnight, he will make the determination over the next couple months. this comes after speculation from romney that trump could have something to hide. >> we have good reason to believe, frankly, there there's a bombshell in donald trump's taxes. >> what do you mean? >> i think there is something there.
either he is not as wealthy as he says he is or he doesn't pay the taxes we expect him to pay or he is not giving money to the disabled vets like he says he is doing. that is the reason i think there is a bombshell in there. every time he is asked about the taxes, he dodges and delays and says we're working on it. >> my taxes are complicated. nobody's been bringing it up except mitt romney. he brings it up because he lost and lost badly in the last election. i have many companies. i have tremendously -- i have a very complex system of taxes. frankly, i get audited every year. so, you know, unlike everybody else who never gets audited every year which i think is unfair. i go through large audits and that's the way it is. we make a determination over the next couple of months.
it is complicated. >> he'll make a determination over the next month couple of m. what about the debate here at the university of houston? let's talk about this with political reporter tom lobianco. tom, do you expect this to be a subject that the candidates seize on in tonight's debate? >> it's a good one. it is hanging out there. we heard ted cruz talk about it a bit. an easy one for them to seize on. it sure sounds like the republican establishment found something that may be an effective tact against trump. >> let's talk about what every other candidate in this race wants. they want trump one an one. not going to happen today. not going to happen tomorrow. not going to happen at least for a little while. donald trump says, you know what? bring it. listen to donald trump. >> i think i would do very well
with one-on-one. i'd almost like that. it would be a simplification. when you get up to 46%, that's in a five-person field. that's a very, high position. you know, i laugh at the pundits when they say if you add up all of the rest, it's 53. well, when people leave, i pick up a lot of votes. >> so every candidate has been waiting for this magical holy grail of the election season. i think one of the reasons the results of the nevada caucus is because donald trump got close to 50. does trump have reason to believe he could pick up votes from the candidates as they drop out? >> it's interesting about trump and we saw this before the contests and polling. we have seen it proven in the entrance and exit polling.
his support is across demographic groups. he made a point of winning the latino vote in nevada. he wins among younger and older voters and women and men. as he put it on tuesday night, poorly educated. he wins, not one single group, it is concerning for ted cruz. he is winning with evangelicals. that was supposed to be cruz's area. if someone drops out, there is a good portion of that that would accrue to trump. >> that's why it's so complicated for each and every one of them to go after him when they take the debate stage here at the university of houston. one of the biggest questions in the campaign is the dynamic of donald trump and marco rubio. there is no dynamic because they
all but ignored each other the last several months. now trump is winning primary after caucus after primary. marco rubio seems to be running in second place. the question is when will they take on each other. listen to what donald told anderson overnight. >> you are gearing up for the debate in houston. what do you see as senator rubio's biggest vulnerability? >> we will save that for tomorrow night. we will be totally prepared. people have not done very well against me. so far, everybody that has attacked me has gone down. >> donald trump promising good action tonight here on the debate stage. what about marco rubio? why has he been hesitant to talk about trump during the debates? will he take a more aggressive tone tonight against trump? >> as we talked about earlier, it is cruz and rubio fighting
for the mono y mono. if he takes him on directly, he loses out to cruz. if he starts to slip, he becomes a target and cruz becomes that person potentially. you know, there's some danger. they all have seen it at this point. you know, trump has, they all have, but trump could easily hit him on the gang of eight, the immigration. that is the trump go-to. when you hear him in trouble, you hear him talk about that. >> tom, we are running out of time. i want to ask about an endorsement on the democratic side. harry reid endorsed hillary clinton. we're just two days before the south carolina democratic primary. you think that endorsement makes
a difference? >> it does. you know, i think it shows to a lot of folks we need to start rallying around hillary clinton. that's a big thing. he doesn't want a drawn out process. the democrats want this tied up before the convention. >> tom lobianco, thank you for being with us. tonight, the five remaining republican candidates meet head-to-head on the debate stage here. wolf blitzer moderated the cnn presidential debate. this might be the last chance for any of the candidates to shake donald trump's momentum. 8:30 tonight here on cnn. christine romans. >> john, you cannot overstate how important that is for the other four candidates. every day, no matter what he
does, his position gets stronger. at this point, at this point, how many scenarios are there for one of the other four to be the nominee? >> almost all of those scenarios include some kind of shakeup at the debate tonight. the starting point for any chance to shake donald trump is tonight at this debate. after that, if they have a strong debate, maybe ted cruz wins texas, his home state. he picks up a heap of delegates. john kasich and marco rubio have to win their own home states and then and only then can they claw back into the race. that's not guarantee. it's hard. tuesday, super tuesday, a lot of states look good for donald trump. it will be interesting to see. >> it is fascinating. we are glad you are there for us. john berman, talk to you soon. >> you are glad to get rid of me. >> actually, yeah. new information that president obama's pick to fill
republican. nevada governor brian sandoval. harry reid knows him well. >> i don't pick the justices, but i know if he were picked, i would support him. he is a good person and great record and tremendously good record. >> gop leaders in the senate said they would not consider any election year nominee for the replacement of antonin scalia on the supreme court. new information on the uber driver charged with killing six people in kalamazoo, michigan. 15 fire arms were removed from jason dalton's home. a friend says he was concerned recent mass shootings could lead to gun control. not guilty pleas from 25 men and women charged with the occupation of the wildlife refuge in oregon face up to six years in prison. defense lawyers have not received any evidence against
the clients. at the hearing wednesday, the judge ordered to turnover all material next week. three pregnant women in florida tested positive for zika virus. officials confirm all recently traveled outside the country. their names and locations are being kept private. zika is now in 46 countries. the outbreak will get worse before it gets better. they are calling the mosquito-borne virus a bigger menace than any epidemic. stock futures are down. it is all about oil. crude prices have stabilized after two wild swings earlier in the week. stock markets in europe are higher. a drop in the shanghai stock market overnight. 6% there. this is the cause of the craziness in the stock market this week. oil prices have been volatile. major rally early in the week as a production freeze was a done deal, but iran oil minister
called that agreement a quote joke, which sent prices plunging back near $30. and more optimism yesterday. it is all within a $4 swing for crude. it seems the prices may have found a bottom. the deadly storm system that slammed the south is battering the east coast killing four people in virginia, including a 2-year-old boy. judgment look at the destruction. 50 miles south of richmond. a tornado tossing a mobile home into a church killing three inside. lives ripped apart for instant for thousands in the area. >> i was seeing my garage was gone. my mother's garage was gone. i was catching this in the corner of my eye when i was running to her house to make sure she was okay. >> her roof's gone? >> her roof's gone. i stepped up in her house and i said mom, are you okay. she said oh, my gosh, son, i'm
okay. >> major damage in lancaster county, pennsylvania. there are reports of a collapsed barn with animals trapped inside. if you are flying today, check with your carrier. the storm system caused thousands of cancellations. 300 flights already canceled today. the stormy weather continues in the northeast today. let's bring in meteorologist pedram javaheri. >> john and christine, good morning. we are watching the line of severe weather. the inclement weather pushing across the northeast. this will exit by late morning and early afternoon hours. you notice behind it the center of circulation with the main low pressure system. it is bringing snowshowers across the great lakes. detroit and cleveland and chicago. light to moderate snowshowers. when you look at how much accumulated across the lower 48. 22% of the country has snow on the ground. that is the least percentage in the past ten years.
you imagine el niño has a lot to do with that. el niño having a lot to do with what occurred in the past 24 hours. wild weather we have seen with 52 reports of tornadoes for a february. incredible. you look and that number coming in with 52 reports of tornadoes and seven fatalities would put it in a more prolific february outbreak. that is seven too many. that is what occurred across the southeast and mid-atlantic. >> pedram javaheri, thank you. i showed you the crazy swings in the oil market, but what has it done in the stock market over the past week? why it pays not to panic.
clear what happens next if it doesn't take hold. the u.s. and russia trying to hammer out the details by friday. inside the pentagon, there is mistrust when it comes to moscow's motives. cnn's jomana karadsheh is joining us live from amman, jordan. good morning. >> reporter: good morning, christine. in about 24 hours time from now, that is the deadline set for the various groups fighting on the ground in syria with the exception of isis and al nusra to confirm participation in the cessation of hostilities that is set to go into effect at midnight saturday local time. as you mentioned, there is still more questions than answers at this point. about how it will be implemented and enforced and who is overseeing it. lots of details still missing. one component is trust. that is something that is extremely lacking in the
conflict. also, we are hearing this, christine, from u.s. officials. the pentagon voicing real suspicion and skepticism with russia and intentions here. what russia is doing is working with the united states to get the cessation of hostilities in place versus what russia is doing behind the scenes and on the ground with u.s. officials saying they have been seeing evidence over the past few weeks of russia backing the regime and backing various groups on the ground and making advances on the ground. lots of skepticism when it comes to the russian role, which is a major role, with the cessation of hostilities agreement. what happens if this agreement fails? if the cessation of hostilities does not work out? we heard secretary of state john kerry speaking to the senate hearing on tuesday saying that there would be a plan b in this case. u.s. officials say the plan b is
not real options right now. it is more ideas being discussed. things like putting more pressure on russia like more sanctions. christine, we heard president obama yesterday saying we need to be cautious here. no expectations will be higher than the civilians waiting for the truce. >> the wheels of diplomacy grind slowly. jomana, thank you for that this morning. let's get an early start on your money. a mixed picture. dow futures falling slightly with the slipping price of oil. you can see oil back below $32. stabilization, but not much. nice gains in london, paris. european forces are up. shanghai closed down 6%. oil prices driving the market. it pays never to panic.
here's why. the last five trading days for the dow. two slim losses to end last week and big rally. look at that. more gains yesterday. after all that, the net change for the dow is plus 32 points. that's it. stocks recovering right now. the market is very closely tied to volatile oil prices. if you sell and get out, you miss the run up on the other side and possibly cheap deals. you can't time the market. america's most hated retailer is? abercrombie & fitch. it has struggled after the ceo stepped down in 2014. walmart finished second worst. on the flip side, customers love costco, nordstrom and amazon and
wegman's. 59 minutes past the hour. "early start" continues right now. in hours, republicans running for president take the debate stage. five competitors remaining. frontrunner donald trump has a big target on his back. good morning. welcome to "early start." i'm christine romans in new york. >> and i'm john berman live in houston, texas. this is the site of the cnn republican debate. it is thursday, february 25th. 5:00 a.m. in the east. i'm standing at the university of houston. a beautiful campus. a quiet campus at 4:00 a.m. local time. hours from now, it will be noisy. the five remaining candidates face-off in the debate. all