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Report: Some GOP Open to Repair Not Replace Obamacare; Vote for Education Nominee Set for Monday; New CIA Deputy Director Linked to Torture; NYPD Detective's Message of Forgiveness; Countdown to Super Bowl Game. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired February 3, 2017 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, you're watching CNN it appears Congressional Republicans are a tad more cautious when it comes to plans to repeal and replace Obamacare, in fact some are beginning to stress that wholesale over haul may not even be possible. Instead the word of the day is repair. Bringing in CNN MJ Lee, CNN's national politics reporter. So, we have been talking about repeal, you talked about replace, now we are talking repair, which is it?

MJ LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: This is a pretty stark shift in tone that we are seeing among Republicans as you know since 2010 in every election cycle we have seen Republicans really passionately go after the Affordable Care Act, and their favorite slogan is the two R's, right, repeal and replace are the but now we are seeing a third R word creep into the conversation more and that is repair, as in we can repair things wrong with the ACA. We are also hearing Republican lawmakers sort of talk about keeping what is good in the ACA which is not something that we heard in past campaigns. They would really go out and say the entire law has to be repealed and replaced. I think the reason we're seeing this difference is that now rhetoric is sort of meeting reality. Republicans now actually --

BALDWIN: All these R's, rhetoric, reality.

LEE: Yes, they actually now have the power to do the repeal and replace and they are confronting why for so many reasons that it is really challenging. And I think this something that Republican leadership is going to get asked about a lot and in fact House Speaker Paul Ryan was asked about that repair language yesterday and here is what he said.


PAUL RYAN, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I would say there's just a miscommunication or misinterpretation of what we're trying to say, our job is to repair the American health care system and rescue it from the collapse that it is in and the best way is to repair our healthcare system is to repeal and replace Obamacare.


[15:35:00] LEE: So, Speaker Paul Ryan here obviously trying to stress that nothing has changed in the GOP strategy, but I can tell you in conversations I've had with Republican lawmakers there's a lot of nervous energy that somehow this big goal they have had for years is now getting watered down.

BALDWIN: So, it is the rhetoric that is changing that you are noting, right.

LEE: Another R word.

BALDWIN: MJ, thank you so much. Let's discuss further with me here Eugene Scott, CNN politics reporter and CNN's senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson. So let's move off the R's in Obamacare. Having a slap happy Friday

situation happening right now. Nia, let me just begin you on Manu Raju's incredible reporting today speaking of some Congressional Republicans sort of not so on the same plane with the president on the wall. So his reporting is that some of are now speaking up they are objecting to the cost and the viability of this whole project. And we know they are wondering where the money would come from. And of course, if Mexico is not paying then you, me and Sally Sue taxpayer forks for this bill. What's your read on this?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: This isn't a surprise and I think we saw hints of this from border state representatives, obviously, Democrats but Republicans as well. Will Hurd a Republican Congressman from Texas wrote a pretty scathing op-ed in "The Washington Post" essentially saying this is isn't a viable option, It's too expensive it doesn't even answer the sort of problems that exists on the border and most people you talk to them about the wall, of course it's going to be very expensive if it ever happens. $15 billion, some people say even $20 billion.

The concrete alone something like $700 million. So, it seems like you've seen a shift from Republicans sort of playing nice with Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell saying oh, it will cost $15 billion they will figure out way to pay for it. Some republicans have said and now again, that reality. To use the R words the reality is meeting with that rhetoric and we're starting to see you know this set in to say this might not be such a great idea. This was such a big promise from Donald Trump, he of course insists this is something he still wants, still insists maybe there's some sort of Mexico financial arrangement that could happen. And he would like to see construction in the next months or so, but again you have a tea party and a Republican party that talked so much about the budget, so much about money and government expense and here they're talking about a massive infrastructure project that would be the biggest really since the national highway system.

BALDWIN: So, there's the wall and then, Eugene, the issue over Betsy DeVos, up for U.S. Secretary of Education, we reported a couple of days that these two prominent Republicans are saying they will vote no. One senator from Hawaii saying the last three days have been the busiest in Capitol switchboard history over some of this. What are the chances that another Republican might flip and she might have a tough time getting confirmed?

EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: As of now it is not looking very likely, DeVos's spokesperson has said that they reached out to every Republican lawmaker who will be able to vote and they have all said they will vote in her favor. It was very interesting just a few days ago, Democrats were working hard on some Republican lawmakers and some of the swing states hoping they would come over to their side and vote against DeVos. But what was very interesting was they found out that DeVos has given to their campaigns and the likelihood of them turning their backs on her after she supported them was pretty low, but that's been one of the main criticisms of her entire nomination that she mainly has bought her way into this position. And that is something she has tried to work hard to fight against. She has been very effective in keeping these Republicans on her side despite all the criticism that many Democrats have lodged at her. What will be very interesting is to see after she's confirmed, assuming she will be, how she will go about winning these Democrats over to her agenda and vision for public education.

BALDWIN: Quickly we're just getting news. Nia, let me put this to you on Iran. We've been watching the racheted up rhetoric between the two countries over that ballistic missile test from last weekend and now we are learning that Iran will implement legal measures against Americans and U.S. companies that have played a part in creating and helping extremist terrorist groups in the region, this is from the foreign minister of Iran saying in a statement. So again, the back and forth, the rhetoric is up, up, up.

HENDERSON: That's right. And you had Sean Spicer essentially saying this is a new chapter that they're not going to be weak on Iran essentially saying that the Obama administration has been weak on Iran and slapping that country with sanctions. And then the question of war coming up in that press briefing today. Is this new tough stance? Is this kind of a slow walk to military engagement? I think that's the question on everybody's minds is if this administration is going to be much tougher than the Obama administration, what exactly does that look like beyond sanctions.

[15:40:00] BALDWIN: A new sheriff in town, thank you both. The back story on the woman appointed to be number two at the CIA her long career as a spy and history with waterboarding coming up.


[15:45:00] BALDWIN: President Trump just named Gina Haspel as the CIA's deputy director putting her second in command to Mike Pompeo, but questions are already surfacing about her past and he views on torture, for the record, you won't be seeing any photos of Haspel simply because the CIA will not release any images, Pamela Brown is on this. Tell me what you're learning about her and her connection in the past to waterboarding?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Gina Haspel been an undercover CIA officer for 30 years and as you pointed out there are no public pictures of her because she had her cover rolled back yesterday when this announcement came that she would be the deputy director. There are many within the intelligence community that are applauding her appointment, they say she's very professional that she is an exceptional officer but there also those including some politicians on Capitol Hill raising concern about her past ties to the CIA's former torture program. She served As a CIA chief of a base in Thailand that known as a black site when

suspected terrorists were held there, in one case in this role she was responsible for the facility but would not have participated directly in the interrogation.

And one former official confirms she did send a cable ordering the destruction of tapes at the facility under the direction of her boss at the time then head of the CIA clandestine service, Jose Rodriguez who had said that was his decision and his alone. And the CIA released a statement today saying the destruction of videotapes was thoroughly investigated by the FBI and the Justice Department in 2010. The Justice Department announced it would not pursue any charges related to this matter and again it is worth noting at that time this all happened the enhanced interrogation techniques were of course, were not illegal and she was following orders, of course, now the law bans torture.

BALDWIN: Thank you. Moments from now a brand-new CNN poll, with job approval rating for the President.


BALDWIN: Want to just put politics aside now and take a moment on this Friday to honor New York Police Detective Steven McDonald. Last month the city came out in force to honor his lasting message of forgiveness for the gunman who shot him, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. Bren

sat down with the widow and son to talk about how he went beyond the call of duty even after leaving the force.


CONOR MCDONALD, NYPD DETECTIVE: My dad and I, we rub our heads together all the time even though we couldn't hug.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A wall filled with pictures, just a fraction of moments in the storied life of NYPD Detective Steven McDonald.

CONOR MCDONALD: Give him a kiss.

GINGRAS: Officer Conor McDonald grew up only knowing his dad to be confined to a wheelchair. In the summer of 1986, McDonald was paralyzed after being shot while on patrol in central park.

CONOR MCDONALD: They gave my dad three to five years to live. His life wasn't supposed to be that long after the shooting.

PATTI ANN MCDONALD, WIDOW OF STEVE MCDONALD: We were just so blessed we had the 30 years.

GINGRAS: Less than a year after the shooting his faith led him to this moment.

STEVEN MCDONALD, NYPD DETECTIVE: I could forgive the kid that shot me --

PATTI ANN MCDONALD: He needed to let people know, I forgive. There were some people that didn't agree with him.

CONOR MCDONALD: He didn't let anger destroy his heart. He wanted to help communities.

GINGRAS: For decades McDonald traveled the world preaching forgiveness.

CONOR MCDONALD: Go to Israel, Northern Ireland, Bosnia.

GINGRAS: The impact he made on others never more clear than in January. On the day he was laid to rest. Conor and his mother were not alone.

CONOR MCDONALD: Every single overpass, every single body of water, like there was people out there, people stopping their cars, saluting my dad.

JAMES P. O'NEILL, NYPD: He believed that tragedy that befell him was something that happened to him for a reason, to inspire him, to inspire others.

PATTI ANN MCDONALD, WIDOW OF STEVE MCDONALD: The outpouring was -- I was speechless really.

GINGRAS: What do you think he thought his greatest accomplishment was?

PATTI ANN MCDONALD: I think dad's best accomplishment was you. Seriously.

GINGRAS: The McDonald men would often be found ringside in Madison Square Garden.

CONOR MCDONALD: When the rangers won, my dad could be able to walk again. When they lost, don't talk to him for three weeks.

GINGRAS: The team would later repay that respect.

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: And rather than a moment of silence, join together for a moment of cheer in celebration of Steven's amazing spirit.

GINGRAS: A standing ovation for a man despite his appearance had no limitations, a father, husband, police officer, devoted to others until his very last breath.

PATTI ANN MCDONALD: He is in a better place and he's not suffering. He's not in any pain. And he's walking and he's free.

GINGRAS: Brynn Gingras, CNN, New York.

[15:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) BALDWIN: Before I let you go let's talk Super Bowl, my hometown. I'm an Atlanta native. My Falcons up against Tom Brady, Patriots, Super Bowl li. Fans of all ages in Houston for the biggest game ever, including Andy Scholz, tough gig, lucky you. Will the Falcons rise up, my friend, on Sunday?

ANDY SCHOLZ, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Well, Brooke, they're the underdogs. Patriots are three-point favorites as they should be, right? The patriots have all the experience. This is incredibly Tom Brady's seventh Super Bowl. He's trying to win his fifth. No other quarterback in NFL history has been able to do that. Last time the super bowl was in Houston way back in 2004, who won that one? Tom Brady. Incredible to think that you fast forward 13 years, Brooke, and Brady is still on top of the league. And if he wins on Sunday he'll join Peyton Manning as the only 39-year-old quarterback to ever win the Super Bowl. We asked Brady what is his secret to being so good for so long.


TOM BRADY, QUARTERBACK, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: I love this sport and I commit my life to playing it, and there's a lot of decisions that I make based on my life-style that help me play at this more experienced age than most.


SCHOLZ: He attacks every day like he's a rookie. I mean, it's unbelievable to see the way the guy works and prepares. Whatever he's doing, we all hope he can keep doing it for a long time.

BALDWIN: This season has been dubbed the tom brady revenge tour by patriots nation. Roger Goodell has not been to a game in Foxborough since the deflate gate saga happened two years ago, and it's been characterized as Patriots fans are at war with Roger Goodell. SCHOLZ: So, I went over to radio row and spoke to some of the Boston

media members and I asked them, what is the relationship between patriots fans and the commissioner?

BALDWIN: I've really never seen anything like t. He is the all-time target, worse than any villain on a team. It's across the board. He's become the devil.

SCHOLZ: Pure 100 percent hatred. It is not even -- there is not even much to be. Fans there is a consensus he is a bad man, he's not an honest man, and he screwed tom brady and the patriots.


SCHOLZ: Be sure to tune in to CNN 2:30 tomorrow afternoon, Brooke. We have our kickoff in Houston.