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White House Defends List of Terror Attacks It Says Under- Reported; Spicer: Yemen Raid Was a Success; Ninth Circuit to Hear Appeals on Trump's Travel Ban; Gen. John Kelly Says Bad Travel Ban Rollout "All on Me". Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired February 7, 2017 - 14:30   ET


[14:30:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: So, Brian, that was a pretty precise statement from Secretary Kelly to the press. He's referring to the mainstream new media.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, RELIABLE SOURCES: Yes, he is. Quite different from what the president has said. His boss has said. A couple of hours ago, Trump said the murder raise is higher than it's been 45 to 47 years. He says the press doesn't tell you that, doesn't like to report that, the press doesn't like to tell it like it is. In fact, the murder rate is not at a 45-year high. It has ticked up slightly in the past couple of years, but it's much lower than it's been in the '70s or '80s or the '90s, so an example of miss information where some of his officials, like Kelly, do have the facts straight and are trying to accurately relay information.

BLITZER: Gloria, you want to weigh in.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANLAYST: Here is the problem as I see it. You watch Sean Spicer every day. You just saw General Kelly, they have got a tough job here because, on the one hand, they're trying to channel the president of the United States. Particularly Sean. He knows the president is watching, which normally doesn't happen with briefings, but he knows he's got an audience he wants, so he's trying to channel Donald Trump. At the same time, he's trying to be the shovel brigade here. He's got a lot of stuff he has to clean up. For example, on the tweet, the tweet is pretty clear. If it's pretty clear, does it mean that the judge is to blame if there is, god forbid, terrorist attack in this country. Or if there is tremendous dishonesty in the media, is the media to blame for not covering terror attacks, therefore, if there's a terror attack in the country, the media is to blame? This is a president who is trying to deflect, rather than shoulder the responsibility.

The one say we say about presidents is the buck stops here, I am responsible. I think what we're a watching is a president who is saying the buck doesn't stop here. It goes to everybody else, except for me, I'm the new sheriff in town, which was a phrase that Sean Spicer kept using. It's a tough line for them to walk. But in the end, it's up to the president to say, I'm the leader here, this is my job, and I'm responsible for what happens in the country, this is the job you have elected me to. And we haven't heard that yet. BLITZER: What also jumped out at me, Nia, and I assume it jumped out

at you, this Yemen raid, when Sean Spicer, once again, call it highly successful, even though a U.S. Navy SEAL was killed, four other U.S. military personnel were injured. An Osprey aircraft had to be destroyed. It has a hard landing and the U.S. had to destroy the aircraft so the al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula would not gather its technology or be able to use it. He says it was highly successful because of the intelligence that was collected and he denied the raid was designed to go after al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: They had to talk about this before. They seemed to walk it back a bit. So, it was surprising to hear him return to that language again, saying it was highly successful, given the fact of everything that you laid out there, including the death of one of our servicemembers and the injuries and the death of civilians as well. So really strange. And you wonder if they're going to have to come back again and clean this language up.

BLITZER: And, Nia, that's a good point.

Susan, there were apparently a lot of civilians killed in the course of this operation.

SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, USA TODAY: Including an eight- year-old girl. Also, the administration tried to make the case they gathered intelligence but, it turned out, that it was posted last year in terms of how valuable the intelligence was that was gathered.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Wolf, the other thing that Sean said they were going to talk about was Obamacare. He was asked three different questions about Obamacare and this issue of, if it's going to be a promise delivered to repeal and replace. Talk about deflecting responsibility again, Gloria, to the point of the buck stops here, he very clearly wants to push it off on Congress. Where is his plan, is what the press secretary was asked. And Sean's answer is he's going to work with Congress. This was a major promise he made all throughout the campaign, and you're starting to see Republicans dealing with the reality of how complicated it is. Sean kept pointing out big of a responsibility it is, and I think they're in an earnest campaign to reset Americans' expectation about just how quickly they're going to --


BLITZER: The president has said it might not happen until 2018. It might move into next year. The president himself said that.

Jeffrey Toobin, let me get back to this critically important hearing before the ninth circuit court of appeals.


JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm sorry, Wolf, someone is talking to me. I'm sorry, can you --


BLITZER: Are you OK now.


BLITZER: I want to talk about this 6:00 p.m. eastern, 3:00 p.m. on the west coast, hearing before the ninth circuit court of appeals. Both sides, the Trump Justice Department and the attorneys general, are those arguing against this travel ban. They'll each have 30 minutes to make oral arguments between three federal judges. I carefully read the 15-page document that the Justice Department released yesterday and I have it right here. I'm sure you carefully read it as well. And what jumped out at me, Jeffrey, and tell me if it jumped out at you, was at the very end, the Trump Justice Department seemed to put forward a possible compromise that there would be one category of individuals from the seven majority Muslim countries not be allowed to come into the United States. That would be those who have never been to the United States. But there would be another category of individuals from the seven countries who would be allowed in, those who at least have some connection to the United States, either have been here earlier or family members. The way it was written from the seven identified countries previously admitted to the United States and are either temporarily abroad or here and are here now and wish to travel outside this country, not aliens, who are attempting to enter the country for the first time. That sort of jumped out at me as these judges that, maybe they have an out now, maybe they can go ahead with this compromise proposed by the Trump Justice Department.

TOOBIN: That's certainly a possibility. It was very clearly raised by the Justice Department in its brief. One of the many complexities of this case is that the order itself and what it means has been something of a moving target because the order is not particularly clear. At first, the Trump administration was treating people with green cards as if they were not allowed into the country. The Department of Homeland Security then clarified and said, no, no, no, if you have a green card you can come back into the country.

But one of the questions I'm sure the judges are going to raise in the course of today's argument is just what is covered and who is covered by this order? And so, that raises the possibility of the compromised raise by the administration.

If I can just raise one other point, which I think Sean Spicer was somewhat wrong about legally, which is he said, well, this has nothing to do with the merits of the executive order. It's just about the stay. It's just a procedural case. That's not really true. The reason why the court -- the district court in Washington granted the stay, he said the plaintiff's, the state of Minnesota, they have a good chance of winning on the merits. So, the issue of the procedure is very much tied up with the merits of the case.

So, we're going to hear at 6:00 a lot of arguments very clearly about whether this order is constitutional or otherwise permitted by the laws of the country. It's not just some procedural case. This is about whether this executive order is legal or not. BLITZER: And I want to alert our viewers, we will have live coverage

of the arguments, pro and con, the travel ban, 6:00 p.m. eastern, in "The Situation Room." You will hear it all. That's coming up later today.

Let's continue our special coverage right after a quick break.


[13:43:12] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

A huge legal showdown tonight over one of President Trump's most controversial executive orders. In a couple of hours, a three-judge panel will decide whether the travel ban against seven Muslim-majority countries will remain suspended for now. A federal judge temporarily halted the ban last Friday. Not it's up to a federal appeals court to decide what's next.

The president, once again, defending his decision.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, we'll see what happens. We have a big court case. We're well represented an we're going to see what happens.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is it's going to the Supreme Court do you think?

TRUMP: We'll see.


TRUMP: Hopefully, it doesn't have to. It's common sense. You know some things are law, and I'm all in favor of that. But some things are common sense. This is common sense.


BALDWIN: The big story out of California.

That's where we have Dan Simon, live outside the ninth circuit court of appeals in San Francisco.

You have bother sides, who will give their cases this evening. You have these three judges, oddly all happening over the phone. And then what, Dan?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's possible that you could see a ruling as early as this evening. It's going to be an hour-long hearing, and other the phone. And there are only three options for the judges to consider, the suspension remains in place, which means you could have these people with visas in these predominantly Muslim countries continue to able to travel into the U.S. The second option, the suspension is reversed, meaning the ban could be back on. Or, Brooke, the third option, where parts of the executive action would remain intact and other parts could be forced out.

But, Brooke, if I could pivot to one other point. We all remember the chaos that ensued when the ban was rolled out. We saw the hectic scenes at the airport as people tried to come into the country. And you had the president say things transpired in a smooth way. Well, today, on Capitol Hill, you had Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly admit there were problems with the rollout. Take a look at what he said.


[14:45:26] GEN. JOHN KELLY, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: In retrospect, I should have -- this is all on me, by the way -- I should have delayed it just a bit so that I could talk to Congress, particularly with leaderships of committees like this, to prepare them for what was coming.


SIMON: So that is a new position from this administration, saying this was not entirely the smoothest roll out, so a bit of an admission from Mr. Kelly -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: And then, could this go on to the United States Supreme Court. Sean Spicer was asked and didn't give a definitive yes or no.

Dan, thank you.

That's happening at 6:00 p.m. eastern time.

Coming up next, more breaking news. A historic moment on Capitol Hill today. The vice president, for the first time in history, actually had to break a tie in the Senate over a cabinet confirmation. The drama all around Betsy DeVos and whether the Democrats might put up a fight for those still in confirmation limbo.

You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. We'll be right back.


[14:50:23] BALDWIN: We're back with breaking news from Capitol Hill. We now know officially Betsy DeVos, the next education secretary, will be confirmed 5:00 this evening.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The yeas are 50, the nays are 50. The Senate being equally divided, the vice president votes in the affirmative and the nomination is confirmed.


BALDWIN: So what's so entirely significant here, as you saw, Vice President Mike Pence actually having to step in, and in doing so making history because he had to cast that tie-breaking vote in the U.S. Senate to give Betsy DeVos officially the stamp of approval to confirm her as President Trump's education secretary.

With me now, Manu Raju, who has been reporting all this, who first reported the two Republicans who said they would vote no.

Manu, yes, it's significant in history that the vice president had to step in. To me, the overarching issue is if the Senate Democrats did this for Betsy DeVos, what happens with Jeff Sessions?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENOR CONGRESSONAL CORRESPONDENT: They will try their best to try to stop Jeff Sessions, but they don't have the votes. Right after the Betsy DeVos confirmation, Sessions cleared a filibuster, actually, getting one Democratic vote to break it. That's Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, so Sessions likely to be confirmed in a day or so, once the Democrats drag out with debate for the next 30 hours or so. Then, after that, Brooke, watch for Donald Trump's nominees for Health and Human Services, Tom Price, and Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, to get confirmed as well. Betsy DeVos was been the first nominee that has seen Republican defections, just two of them, but enough to prompt that tie-breaking vote, given how divided the Senate is. But watch for the other big nominee coming down the pipe, Andy Puzder, the Labor secretary nominee, Brooke, who had revealed yesterday that he hired an illegal immigrant and didn't pay taxes on the employee, having to pay back taxes. Republicans today weren't sure what to make of this. Don't know if they'll vote against him yet. The Republican leadership is supportive of him. But that could be one in which there may be some Republican defections if he doesn't answer their questions to their satisfaction -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: We'll be watching Puzder.

In the meantime, Betsy DeVos, that confirmation happening at 5:30 p.m. eastern.

Manu, thank you so much, in Washington for us

Still to come on CNN, as Republicans are working to repeal and replace Obamacare, millions of Americans are still left in limbo. And for one family that could make a difference between life and death. Their story, next.


[14:56:37] BALDWIN: Tonight, CNN will be airing a live town hall debate over the future of Obamacare with two former presidential candidates. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Texas Senator Ted Cruz will face off at 9:00 eastern to debate the merits of the program and whether it's time to repeal. It is too costly for premium holders or is it providing much-needed affordable health care to Americans?

The White House today suggesting the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare might actually take longer than thought.

Despite the backlash against the Affordable Care Act, there are families who rely heavily on it, as CNN's national correspondent, Miguel Marquez is about to show us.


HOWARD CLAJOR, FATHER OF CEDRIC: This is a breathing treatment.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the fight for Obamacare, the most powerful voices, those like Cedric Clajor. The 29-year-old, paralyzed from the neck down, can't utter a word.


MARQUEZ: 10 years ago, Cedric was a healthy gymnast, healthy, handsome. A rare blood disease required a liver transplant and then he contracted a neurological disorder. Over four years, he was left paralyzed.

(on camera): How much work is it every day to keep going.

MARY ANN CLAJOR, MOTHER OF CEDRIC: We're pretty much - 6:00 to midnight, pretty much.


MARQUEZ: The Clajors have insurance through Howard's job but Obamacare did one thing for them, and everyone else, removed the million dollars limit on lifetime limit on care. Anyone who's ever dealt with serious health illness knows how rapidly the bills can mount.

MARY ANN CLAJOR: You can get to a million dollars believe me. We went through $600,000 in a month.

MARQUEZ: Before Obamacare, most insurance policies had lifetime and sometimes annual limits on care. The Affordable Care Act got rid of all of it, effecting everyone with insurance, regardless whether they got it privately, through their employer or from Medicare or Medicaid.

(on camera): If Obamacare goes away, do you know what will happen?

MARY ANN CLAJOR: No, you don't really know what's going to happen, because nobody has really said what's going to happen.

HOWARD CLAJOR: If we can't afford his medicine, we don't know what's going to happen.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Cedric's medications alone, administered by the hand, served intravenously, morning and night, cost in the thousands.

HOWARD CLAJOR: We both work, we got insurance. I make good money and it's still hard to get by. If it weren't for Obamacare, he would have been dead a long time ago.

MARQUEZ: The Clajors have essentially transformed themselves into nurses, a ful-0time effort. Their son's health now as uncertain as his health care. Their message to those rushing for repeal?

HOWARD CLAJOR: Come sit with us one day and see what we go through. That's all they have to do. MARY ANN CLAJOR: I think what they need to be able to do is put faces to what they're talking about.

MARQUEZ: Cedric Clajor, his body devastated by disease, and love and a cause worth fighting for.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, Charleston, West Virginia.


BALDWIN: Miguel, thank you so much.

Again, a reminder, tonight, 9:00, Senators Sanders and Crus will debate the future of Obamacare. CNN debate moderated by Jake Tapper and Dana Bash. Please join us tonight.

All right, here we go. Top of the hour. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me.

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