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Trump Addresses Congress Tonight; GOP Divisions Hamper Obamacare Repeal; Trump's Options For ISIS. Aired 5:30-6a ET
Aired February 28, 2017 - 05:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[05:30:00] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: -- for the forgotten men and women, apparently a reference to poor and minority communities. He'll also lay out a plan to work with Congress on a sweeping agenda that includes better workplaces for parents and better education for kids.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: You know, this speech comes at a critical time for the young administration. The country's still waiting on the president's health plan. His budget outline has just been made public and he's been given new options for winning the fight against ISIS.
CNN's Jim Acosta joins us this morning with a preview of Trump's address.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, the president appears to be ready to strike a more positive tone in that speech to a joint session of Congress later on tonight. Renewal of the American spirit, an "Optimistic Vision for All Americans" -- that will be the theme of the president's speech.
Meanwhile, the White House is signaling that President Trump is sharpening his budget axe to make major cuts to non-defense spending here in Washington. Only the Pentagon appears to be spared in the Trump administration's budget plans.
White House officials say the president is expected to propose a big $54 billion increase in defense spending. Just to put that in perspective, that increase is larger than what the government spends at the State Department and the EPA. But the president said yesterday here at the White House, federal agencies should brace themselves for leaner times. Here's what he had to say.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to do more with less and make the government lean and accountable to the people. We can do so much more with the money we spend. With a $20 trillion in debt -- can you imagine that -- the government must learn to tighten its belt, something families all across the country have had to learn to do, unfortunately, but they've had to learn to do it.
ACOSTA: The White House cautions the full budget proposal from the president won't be out until May -- Dave and Christine.
(END VIDEOTAPE) ROMANS: All right, Jim Acosta, thanks for that. You know, the president says he wants to craft a budget that puts America first. Here are the things he wants to spend more on. Jim mentioned that $54 billion boost to defense spending. He also pledged to beef up law enforcement, though he didn't provide any details yet. And he renewed his call for a big infrastructure build and said the states would have to help pay for that.
The defense spending boost to be paid for by cutting government programs and reducing funds to government agencies. The president will target foreign aid. That total is $35 billion. Sources say the Environmental Protection Agency is preparing for very deep cuts. That agency runs on an $8.2 billion budget. Funding to the State Department could also be cut from the $50 billion it operates right now.
There is pushback, though. More than 120 retired generals signing a letter Monday urging the White House not to cut State Department funding. They say the operations of the State Department are critical to keeping America safe and work in tandem. They complement military spending.
BRIGGS: Yes, and three-star generals, more than 100, have sent the letter to the president --
ROMANS: That's right.
BRIGGS: -- saying that undermines our security. Well, Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare running into new stumbling blocks this morning.
Two top House conservatives, one of them the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, Mark Meadows, saying they would vote against the draft of the Obamacare repeal bill that leaked last week. Meadows pointing to the draft's call for refundable tax credits which Meadows calls a new entitlement program. Now ahead of his speech, even the president admitting that replacing Obamacare will be tougher than it looked from the campaign trail. CNN's Phil Mattingly has the latest from Capitol Hill.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, it's been a seven-year war for Republicans against the cornerstone achievement of President Obama's domestic policy, Obamacare -- the repeal and replace of it. It's no secret what they want to do. The process of actually doing it, that's slightly more difficult, something President Trump made very clear yesterday. Take a listen.
TRUMP: We have come up with a solution that's really, really, I think, very good. Now, I have to tell you, it's an unbelievably complex subject. Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.
MATTINGLY: And guys, that complexity on the policy side, on the politics, and on the procedural side here on Capitol Hill really kind of underscoring the urgency right now for House GOP leaders. They want to move fast and with good reason. As they see the town halls, as they see approval numbers for Obamacare start to rise, they want to move quickly because if they don't -- if people start feeling the election pressure -- if people start feeling that town hall pressure, who knows what could happen?
And that's exactly why they want President Trump not just to get behind, in general, their proposals, but specifically, explicitly get behind the pathway being laid out right now by House Speaker Paul Ryan. That's what they want to see tonight in his speech. The big question is will he go that far? Is he even with them, so far, in this process -- Dave and Christine.
ROMANS: Another busy day here. Phil Mattingly on the Hill. Thanks, Phil.
Bernie Sanders not widely known for his sense of humor, busted out laughing when asked about Trump's comment that nobody knew that health care could be so complicated. Sanders telling Anderson Cooper that he learned serving on a Senate health committee that providing care in a nation of 320 million people is very, very complicated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Stunned, really am. Every day -- I mean, you just mentioned to me he said -- I mean, this is the President of the United States. We have been debating healthcare in this country for 30 years and he says gee, who knew how complicated it was. He is maybe the only person in this country who doesn't know how complicated it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[05:35:05] ROMANS: The former presidential candidate says he does not believe Democrats should help Republicans repeal and replace, but would work with them to improve Obamacare. So with all that in mind, what will President Trump say tonight and how will it affect you? We've got a big discussion, next.
BRIGGS: President Trump putting the finishing touches on his first address to a joint session of Congress. Previewing with us tonight, "CNN POLITICS" reporter Eugene Scott and political analyst Ellis Henican, the author of the "Trump's America" column for the metro papers. Good morning, guys.
EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Good morning, guys.
ELLIS HENICAN, POLITICAL ANALYST: Hello.
BRIGGS: All right, so we know it's the renewal of the American spirit. Has the president reached out to those that did not vote for him, Ellis? If he does tonight, how does he do it? HENICAN: Well, he hasn't yet. Let's be clear on that. This has been focused entirely at the base up until now. Well, listen, you could start by expressing just some words of welcome, right? That this is a country that encourages immigrants, that wants to give everyone a chance. I mean, honestly, I even don't even think we need a policy on it but it sure would be nice to have some warm words along those lines.
[05:40:11] ROMANS: I think, though, he is -- in the last 24 hours has shown that he wants to be tough. America first and he wants to be tough.
ROMANS: Yesterday, the president was talking about how -- when he was talking about more money for the American military and the biggest American military buildup in American history, he said -- he also -- I don't know -- inadvertently or advertently, insulted the military and said that we don't win. We don't even try to win -- listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have to win. We have to start winning wars again. But to say when I was young in high school and college everybody used to say we never lost a war. We never lost a war -- you remember. Some of you are right there with me and you remember we never lost a war. America never lost. And now, we never win a war. We never win. And we don't fight to win. We don't fight to win. So we either win or don't fight it at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Inside the halls of the Pentagon, I can't even imagine what kind of discussions are going on. He was born in 1946. We had just won, you know, World War II. But certainly, if you're talking about the big, you know, tank battles in Europe, those weren't happening in the seventies, in the eighties, in the nineties. What do you make of the worldview here? He promised that he would -- he would make us bigger and stronger but he's sort of rewriting history.
SCOTT: He certainly is. I don't know if we're losing, I'm not sure who we're losing to. And the whole idea of we don't fight to win, I don't what the motivation behind that was. But I do think that the argument was presented to provide reasons for why he wants to give more military spending, right? And so if he thinks that we are losing, if we have more military spending then maybe we will win more.
But I think one of the main criticisms to that is it looks like -- and these are just elementary proposed budgets -- that if we do provide more military spending there's some other areas that will be harmed and as a result, such as arts and such as AmeriCorps and programs like that. And these are some of the programs that the community -- the voters that you mentioned who aren't on his team really care a lot about and he could do a better job of showing support for those.
BRIGGS: Ellis -- HENICAN: The State Department, right? I mean, one of the ways we're going to get this extra money for the military is to slash the budget in the State Department. And we've just seen dozens of former generals and admirals coming from both parties saying hold on a second. Listen, we need the State Department.
HENICAN: We want to avoid wars. If the State Department, through its diplomatic efforts, could get us out of these things, boy, there's no better way to keep America safe than that.
ROMANS: Diplomacy and the military are supposed to be a handshake, you know.
SCOTT: Right, and that's actually been, you know, one of the areas in which the president's been criticized on since taking office, that he hasn't been the most diplomatic if you look at some of his interactions with foreign leaders.
BRIGGS: He's also been criticized about this relationship with Russia and now he has turned that on the leaks and that is the real problem here. And here's what he told "FOX AND FRIENDS" on an interview set to air this morning regarding the source of those leaks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN KILMEADE, CO-HOST, "FOX AND FRIENDS": Can we talk about President Obama? It turns out his organization seems to be doing a lot of the organizing to some of the protests that a lot of these Republicans are seeing around the country --
KILMEADE: -- and against you.
KILMEADE: Do you believe President Obama's behind it and if he is, is that a violation of the so-called unsaid president's code?
TRUMP: No, I think he is behind it. I also think it's politics. That's the way it is. His people are certainly behind it. And some of the leaks possibly come from that group, you know, some of the leaks, which are really very serious leaks because they're very bad in terms --
TRUMP: -- of national security.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRIGGS: Ellis, aside from the fact that he was clearly prodded there more than he was asked a question, what's your reaction to the accusations that the leaks --
HENICAN: Well, you know what the best way to get people to leak is, is to treat them badly. Like, for instance, call your entire staff in and say put your cellphones on the table right now. Is there any better way to guarantee that tomorrow or the next day those people aren't whispering in the ears of the people in the press?
BRIGGS: But that's not coming from the Obama administration.
BRIGGS: Is there any credence to that?
SCOTT: Well, we haven't seen any evidence of it which was why it's so interesting to hear the question say it seems as if the Obama team is organizing that. There's no evidence for that.
SCOTT: What is -- what we do have evidence of is that many people attending these town halls who are really upset are Republicans who voted for Donald Trump.
ROMANS: And some of them were first-timers. First-timers in the political -- you know, in the political activism. You showed me a picture earlier today that everyone's talking about. Can we put this up? What is this?
BRIGGS: This is Kellyanne Conway in the Oval office.
ROMANS: You've got to drop the banner to see it -- there you go.
BRIGGS: The president meeting with the presidents of black colleges. And it is just exploding on Twitter right now. The Oval Office, the third trending topic on Twitter. And it's -- look, it's just an unusual shot, is it not, Ellis, for the casual nature of Kellyanne Conway?
HENICAN: I would say yes although, you know, we've all known Kellyanne for a long time and we've seen her in a lot of casual situations over the years.
SCOTT: Yes, it's been criticized for appearing to be irreverent, but what I think would be much more interesting looking at that shot is to see what the Trump administration, in fact, does to help historically black colleges and universities.
[05:45:03] ROMANS: It's clear, Ellis, you were saying oh, come on, give her a break.
BRIGGS: She's comfortable, she's comfortable.
ROMANS: Give Kellyanne a break. OK, thanks, guys. Nice to see you. Options for expanding the fight against ISIS are now on the president's desk. We're live in the Middle East with reaction in the Arab world. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BRIGGS: A preliminary framework for wrapping up the war on ISIS is now in the hands of President Trump. The Pentagon delivering a series of options covering military, diplomatic, and financial strategies. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh is live in Amman, Jordan. Jomana, how is all this being received in the Middle East?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think overall people in the region and the governments in the region are really waiting to see. They understand that there are different options that have been presented to the White House. They want to see what this new administration's strategy is going to be when it comes to the fight against ISIS. You will have some in the region who will welcome a greater U.S. role in the fight against ISIS -- an increased, more aggressive approach as some have wanted to see for some time.
[05:50:15] On the other hand, you have others who will be very wary, who are suspicious of U.S. motives, especially when it comes to deploying more forces into Iraq or deploying combat troops into northern Syria. And then there is the concern, of course, of adding an additional large force when it comes to U.S. boots on the ground if you have another fighting force that will be added into that very complex battlefield in northern Syria. With so many competing regional international interests there is that concern about that.
So there's no easy option here. There's not one that most in the region will agree to or accept this. After all, it is a very complex region as we know, and a very divided one right now, Dave.
BRIGGS: Indeed it is. Thank you, Jomana.
ROMANS: All right, it's 51 minutes past the hour. Let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Alisyn Camerota joins us this morning. Hi, there.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Hi, guys. Good morning.
CAMEROTA: I see -- here's a clue for what's coming up on "NEW DAY." We are going to be giving you a sneak peak of President Trump's address in front of Congress, so we'll find out exactly what he's going to say and the different tone that we understand he's going to take.
We're also going to have one of the top Republicans on who, this week, is busy with coming up with a replacement for Obamacare. So he'll tell us exactly what will be in this plan and how many people, if any, will lose coverage.
And then we're also going to have on the son of boxing great Muhammad Ali. Muhammad Ali, Jr. said that he was stopped at the airport, he says, as a result of the travel ban, and he was questioned about his religion. So we'll get the real story behind what happened there when we see you at the top of the hour. ROMANS: All right.
BRIGGS: Thank you, Aly. Another man who was detained at JFK will be at the speech tonight, as well.
ROMANS: That's right, that's right. All right, the final frontier used to be reserved for highly trained astronauts but one space company is taking two tourists -- we presume they have very deep pockets -- for a trump -- for a trip around the moon. Details when we get a check on CNN Money Stream. Not every story is about Donald Trump.
[05:56:40] BRIGGS: A team of NTSB investigators heading to the scene as authorities try to determine what caused a deadly small plane crash in Southern California. At least three people were killed when the plane went down on Monday, destroying two homes. Two people on board survived. As many as five people on the ground are still unaccounted for.
ROMANS: All right, let's get a check on CNN Money Stream right now. I feel like a broken record because I am. I've been saying the same thing for 12 days in a row. The Dow hitting 12 record highs in a row. That ties the record string set back in 1987. It's an incredible rally. Some are saying it's done. Goldman Sachs sent a note to investors warning that the market has reached maximum optimism.
But check this out. The current bull market is 2,913 days old. Over that time, the S&P 500 is up 250 percent. But this is only the second-longest bull market ever. The first one was 4,400 days long from 1987 to 2000. If you were going to match the longest bull, you have an awful lot more to go.
SpaceX is flying to the moon and it's taking two lucky tourists. The CEO, Elon Musk, says two people will take a trip around the moon next year. The spaceship will take off from NASA's launch pad near Cape Canaveral. The unnamed amateur astronauts are likely paying a lot of money for this trip. They'll undergo fitness tests and begin training later this year. Would you do it? Would you go to the moon?
BRIGGS: What's the price tag? No, for no price tag would I go. How about you?
ROMANS: I think it's really interesting that we haven't been out of, you know, like near space orbit since 1972, since the Apollo mission. You know, I think that's kind of -- I think it's -- I think it's cool to try to do it.
BRIGGS: I don't like much more than about a 10-hour plane ride, so I -- and that's a comfortable seat. I can't imagine in that capacity.
ROMANS: All right. Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.
BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This is a landmark event. A message to the world.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president will address the Americans to let them know that help is finally on the way.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Repealing and replacing Obamacare is fundamental in cabinet (ph) reform.
TRUMP: Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.
SANDERS: Ha, ha, ha, yes. He got it clear. It is very, very complicated.
TRUMP: I think that President Obama's behind it. His people are certainly behind some of the leaks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The investigation is just beginning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We still don't have any evidence of them talking to Russia.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: What are the Republicans in Congress afraid of?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CAMEROTA: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, February 28th, 6:00 here in New York City.
Up first, President Trump preparing for his first address before a joint session of Congress tonight. The White House says the president's speech will offer solutions for problems facing the American people.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump now blaming President Obama for the damaging leaks plaguing his administration as lawmakers on both sides spar over investigating the Trump campaign's potential ties to Russia. We are 40 days into the Trump presidency. Let's begin our coverage with senior Washington correspondent Joe Johns, live at the White House -- Joe.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. In his first address to Congress, it's an opportunity for this president to rise above the internal swirl and the daily drama of the White House and take his message directly to the American public. His allies are hoping he'll be able to do enough to sell his plans on Capitol Hill.