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Moving Across Europe; Kerry Calls Russia Over U.S. Concerns; Sarah Palin on Trump and 2016 Race. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired September 6, 2015 - 08:00   ET


[08:00:01] RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: You can see the full interview with Peyton Manning plus interviews with Seahawks' coach Pete Carroll and a whole host of others. Plus, Dan Marino, and which are one are you again?


NICHOLS: I'm Rachel Nichols, we together will be hosting CNN's pro- football preview today, 3:30 Eastern Time. Please join us.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: All right. I don't know about comparing that with your anniversary, though. That might not sit well with some wives out there. I'm just saying.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS: That's true.


PAUL: Thank you so much. Always good to have you here.

WIRE: You're welcome.


BLACKWELL: New this morning, by bus, many by foot, thousand of migrants continue to pour into Europe, desperate to escape their war- torn countries. Now the pope is making a play to take in refugee families.

PAUL: And the understand questioning Russia this morning. Is that country secretly building up its military in Syria?

Good morning. So grateful for your company, as always. I'm Christie Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell.

And this morning, Pope Francis is asking every religious community in Europe to take in a migrant family. And two parishes in Vatican City, they will each start by taking in a family there. Now, this is happening train after train of these cars are coming into Munich, bringing in thousands of refugees from Austria. The refugees are relieved to finally be in Germany. A warm welcome we've seen there. They're receiving in Munich.

In Austria, a sharp contrast to what they saw in Hungary, as authorities there kept them in a Budapest train station. Many were stuck on the train for hours.

PAUL: Yes. But look at all these folks, 11,000 migrants have crossed into Austrian and Germany this weekend. More are expected in the coming days as Europe gets ready for this tide of refugees that's coming in from conflict against.

I want to bring in CNN's Fred Pleitgen. He is in Vienna right now.

Fred, help us understand what the situation is there?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are still lot of refugees that are also coming in from the Vienna train station. And, you know, the train station here is really the focal point also of the effort to try and get these people further on into Western Europe, to the places that they want to go.

Basically what happens is that there's a lot of trains coming in from the border with Austria and Hungary, bringing in all more people, but also a lot of buses coming from that same area. This is where the train then departs to go to Munich.

And I have to say, the Austrian authorities have a sufficient system in place to get these folks where they want to go as fast as possible. The other thing, it's very important and actually very good. They have a lot of people who speak the language. A lot of people who speak Arabic, a lot of people who speak Farsi, Dari, to try and get these people, also to understand the process that's going on around them. It really does something to smooth things up a lot.

You know, we've seen so many emotional things happen in the past 24 hours especially in a small town called Nickelsdorf, which is right on the border between Austria and Hungary. Here's what happened there last night.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): It was Saturday in the early morning hours when the standoff between the refugees and the Hungarian government ended. Budapest provided thousands of buses to take thousands of asylum seekers to Austria. Once they crossed the border, their fatigue and frustration turned to elation.

Some, like this man who lost a leg in Syria's civil war, finding strength for the final walk into Austrian territory.

"I left about a month ago," he says. "The journey across the sea was hard, so was the border with Macedonia. Everything was hard. Nothing was easy." UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All people are very happy in Austria. Thank you,

Austria. Thank you, Germany.

PLEITGEN: As more and more busses arrived, the lines of people kept moving west towards the Austrian border guards.

(on camera): Even though these people are obviously absolutely exhausted, many of them have been on the road for months, have endured horrible things trying the to make their way over here, you can still see smiles on almost everybody's faces simply because they're so happy to finally have made it to Austria.

(voice-over): This small town of Nickelsdorf launched a massive aid drive on very short notice. Clothes, food, drinks, supplies kept arriving throughout the day, making sure the bus loads of refugees received a warm welcome.

"I had to wake my colleagues up this morning and get them out of bed," the police officer in charge says. "I think in light of the circumstances, we've done quite well."

Austria says it received thousands of asylum seekers this day and the people in Nickelsdorf made sure they were taken care of. Austria's real company launched a special train service that would bring many of the refugees to other places in Austria or to Germany and a chance to begin a new life.


[08:05:00] PLEITGEN: So, we certainly have seen a big outpouring of support. Of course we have to keep in mind that Europe is facing a major challenge at this point in time.

I want to bring in Melissa Fleming, the spokesperson for the UNHCR.

And, Melissa, tell me what you feel that Europe needs to do to come to terms with this.

MELISSA FLEMING, SPOKESPERSON, UNHCR: Well, this cannot be a solution that even a handle if of countries or even one country, Germany, can solve alone. There has to be a comprehensive European solution, because people are still going to be coming by the thousands over the next couple of months and what we see, in a way, just emergency response, ad hoc arrangements to deal with the chaos. But when you look at the big picture, these are manageable numbers for continent this big if the political will is there and if all of the countries come together.

PLEITGEN: Are you saying that they need to be put in other -- other countries need to take more, or should there be a better system to take them in initially? Because border fences don't seem to be the answer.

FLEMING: Border fences is not the answer. What we're proposing, for the people that make it to Europe, there be reception registration centers in Greece, and Italy and maybe in Hungary, where they apply for asylum and they recognize as refugees can be distributed to other countries in Europe. Not just one or two.

What we are seeing here is that everybody here coming today through this train station in Vienna, they are all going to Germany. Germany can take a huge number and they pledged 800,000. But there has to be a limit there in other countries, for the solidarity sake that Europe needs to take part.

PLEITGEN: You work for an organization that helps people all of the time. Are you amazed way civil society in these countries are stepping up?

FLEMING: I am actually -- I am so inspired. I've lived in Austria for a long time. You see people, very wealthy country, going cafe, shopping in the streets. I never expected such an outpouring from individuals.

Everybody is coming here, people with big bags of shopping -- buying clothes, buying coffees, setting up mobile Wi-Fi hot spots, buying plugs so people can charge the mobile phones. Everybody just wants to help. But what is even more welcoming and supporting is there is a big grass roots kind of uprising, saying we want Europe to be a welcoming place for refugees.

PLEITGEN: That's interesting, because there's so many people who have been saying that politicians like Angela Merkel need to explain all of this to their population but it seems it's the population telling the politicians we want to let these people in. We want to be welcoming.

FLEMING: Exactly. I mean, there have been disturbing movements of xenophobia, racism and hatred. But what we're seeing is compassion is winning out over hatred and xenophobia.

PLEITGEN: Nevertheless, though, as more and more people come in here, at some point, it while be very difficult for countries to handle this. Where does this end? How can this end?

FLEMING: Well, that's why -- I mean, we've had about 350,000 people who arrived in Europe this year. I mean, it's a content with half a billion people. So, if it was -- if the people were distributed, the asylum seekers, refugees, equitably, this would not be the crisis it is. We believe that this continent, with the wealth it has, the infrastructure, with the political will, it would be a manageable crisis.

At the same time, one has to look at the root causes, why are people fleeing, and try to address those.

PLEITGEN: Melissa Fleming, thank you very much for joining us today.

As you can see, Victor and Christi, a lot of challenges for Europe. A lot of things people need to come to terms with. But at the same time that outpouring of grassroots support as donation drives are started here in these little villages and especially, that's one of the most important things we've seen, refugees in countries like Austria and Germany are greeted with a smile. That's something that makes that transition a lot easier, guys. BLACKWELL: Yes, and Melissa brought up an important point there,

treating the migrants and refugees. It seems like a semantics issue. But the approach, the classification is quite important on which countries take on -- which numbers for displaced people were following.

Fred Pleitgen, Marissa Fleming, thank you both.

PAUL: You know, when you think about cadets at west point, you probably picture men and women dress decked out in their dress grays. Not like this. It's a pillow fight and it went horribly wrong. We'll tell you what happened.

Also, details on a phone call between Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart. Why the conflict in Syria is becoming a growing concern for the U.S.


[08:13:38] PAUL: Well, ISIS and a bloody civil war are not the only things U.S. officials are concerned about this morning in Syria now. There are reports of an imminent Russian military build-up in the embattled nation and the U.S. fears these moves could escalate the already mounting death tolls as well as the developing refugee crisis we've been reporting on all week.

CNN's Sunlen Serfaty joining us live with the latest and a phone call between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart over this new intelligence that's been discovered.

So, Sunlen, what do we know about that conversation?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, we know that this call was an essence a warming from the U.S. to Russia, coming in direct response to those reports that Russia could potentially be ramping up its military presence in Syria, potentially in support of more troops, also potentially expanding in their support of Syrian President Bashir al Assad even more than what was previously known. The state department coming out with a statement about the call, staying, quote, "The secretary made clear that if such reports were accurate, these actions could further escalate the conflict, lead to a greater loss of innocent life, increase refugees flows and risk confrontation with the anti-ISIL coalition operating in Syria."

Secretary Kerry has been working with Russia to reach a political asylum with Syria.

[08:15:00] So, certainly that statement from the administration really underscores their concern, really could complicate the coalition's efforts against ISIS. But in addition, U.S.'s goal to try to get Assad to step down or begin a power sharing agreement there.

So, what comes next? Well, Christie, the two leaders, according to the State Department. Will discuss this later in month in New York where they will meet with the U.N. General Assembly -- Christi.

PAUL: All right. Sunlen, appreciate the update -- thank you.

BLACKWELL: Fifteen minutes after the hour now.

I've got to take you to Chicago. A really heartbreaking story here. Police were investigating after finding a child's body parts last night in a park. They were found actually near Garfield Park.

First, a foot was discovered. Police started an interview and started the search, the investigation I should say. The park was closed after they found more body parts. They are back in that area again today.


BLACKWELL: Yes. This is what you think it is. It is a pillow fight at West Point Academy. It's traditional pillow fight here. It's getting a lot of attention this year, though, because 31st year students were injured. Some with broken noses, con cushions during this event. Students celebrate the end of tough basic training with a pillow fight. This is August 20th.

We are now seeing a video, because according to "The New York Times", the cadets swung pillowcases with hard objects and some of them were known to have been helmets in those pillowcases.

Sarah Palin is opening up about the 2016 race. The former Alaska governor is talking about the Donald Trump campaign and what role she might play in his cabinet. CNN's Jake Tapper talks about his interview with Palin. That's coming up.

PAUL: And three-day weekend for you here. Tomorrow, new faces and old favorites squaring off on the CNN quiz show. This time the TV edition.

Here are the match-ups.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Bogie and Bacall, it doesn't get any better.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: They are calling it the summer of Camerota and Cuomo.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota, great chemistry.

CUOMO: We deal with world events. We deal with politics. We deal with things like that.

COOPER: Mike Rowe is playing for the first time.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: I really enjoy this partner of mine. He's a little bit more --


BALDWIN: Wise, mature.

ROWE: Yes, mature.

COOPER: I'm happy to have Mike Rowe and Brooke paired together.

ROWE (singing): Come on knock on my door.

BALDWIN (singing): I'll be waiting for you.


ROWE: It's like an orgy.

BALDWIN: Oh my goodness!

COOPER: Don Lemon is yet again paired with John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: We are the returning champions --


BERMAN: -- of the CNN quiz show.

LEMON: Now that we're cockier.

BERMAN: No, but we won.

COOPER: They are the A team. They are the team to beat.

BALDWIN: I'm not intimidated by the Don-John.

John Lennon.

COOPER: That is correct. Nicely done.

BALDWIN: We can totally take them down.

COOPER: We have some good teams. We'll see.


PAUL: The quiz show TV edition airs tomorrow night at 8:00 Eastern.


[08:22:12] BLACKWELL: Got a big show coming up at the top of the hour. Later this morning on "STATE OF THE UNION", former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin. We're going to hear from her in a conversation with CNN's Jake tapper. They talk about the 2016 race and the rise of the Donald Trump.

Jake, as you see, he's with us now, with a look ahead.

I understand you two covered a lot?

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST, "STATE OF THE UNION": We did. We started out, of course, with President Obama's trip to Alaska. That's one of the main reasons we wanted to talk to the former governor of Alaska to see what she thought of the renaming of the mountain and president's push for action to combat climate change.

But, of course, we talked about all things 2016. One of the questions I asked her is, Donald Trump praised her and said she is the kind of person he would want in his administration. Did she ever think about what kind of role she would like?

Take a listen.


TAPPER: Donald Trump says that he would love to have someone of your strength in his administration. When you look at the cabinet is there an area that would line up with your strengths and the position you want to serve in?

SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: That's a great question. I think a lot about the Department of Energy, because energy is my baby. Oil, gas, and minerals, those things that God has dumped on this part of the Earth for mankind's use instead of us relying on unfriendly foreign nations to import their resources? I think a lot about the Department of Energy and if I were head of that, I would get rid of it.

And I would let the states start having more control over the lands that are within their boundaries, and the people who are affected bite developments within their states. So, you know, if I were in charge of that, it would be a short-term job but it would be a -- it would be really great to have someone who knows energy, and is pro-responsible development to be in charge.


TAPPER: So, there you go, she'd want to be secretary of energy. After which she would disband the Department of Energy, leaving it up to the states. And we talked about a lot of other things having to do with 2016, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Looking forward to that. What else do you have?

TAPPER: Well, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is one of many Democrats who finds herself in a difficult position when it comes to this Iran vote. She's a strong supporter of Israel. She's also a very strong supporter of President Obama. She's the DNC chair.

So, she just, as I understand it, she just talked to President Obama, told him her position, how she's going to vote. She's going to reveal that vote to us on state of the union and we're going to talk about how she came to the decision she did. She calls it the most difficult vote she's ever had in her, I think, 20, 23-year long career in politics.

BLACKWELL: Important exclusive there. Jake Tapper, good to have you.

TAPPER: Thanks very much.

BLACKWELL: "STATE OF THE UNION WITH JAKE TAPPER" starts at the top of the hour, 9:00 a.m., right here on CNN.


[08:28:57] BLACKWELL: Hey. Turn and look at this photo. There's a chance you've already seen it online. More than 181,000 people have shared it on social media. Because when this Harris County, Texas deputy constable in the front here, she was filling up her car, her patrol car in the gas station.

The guy behind her, a teenager asked, ma'am, do you mind if I stand behind you when you get your gas. She asked why. And the young man identified as McKinley Sooner (ph) answered, "To make sure you stay safe." Of course, this comes after the deputy Darren Goforth was shot and killed in that same area a week ago.

PAUL: And some NFL teams made some big cuts to their rosters this year. One of them, very popular, Cincinnati Bengals' Devon Still. He's been real public about his daughter, Leah's battle with cancer. Thankfully, she is cancer-free.

He gave a lot of people strength though to deal with their own challenges and still tweeted after his release, "Nothing but love for the Bengals' organization and city of Cincinnati. Both helped me through one of the darkest times of my life. I'm forever grateful and we wish you all the very best for you and your family there."

Thanks for being with us.