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Bomb Threats Target Jewish Centers Across the Nation; Interview with Congressman Michael Burgess; Serena Williams Surprises Random Fans. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired February 28, 2017 - 06:30   ET



[06:32:24] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Billionaire Wilbur Ross easily confirmed in a 72-27 vote in the Senate as President Trump's commerce secretary. Ross is expected to be a driving force in revamping NAFTA and other trade deals. With Secretary Ross's confirmation, more than two-thirds of President Trump's cabinet now in place.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Jewish community centers, day school, they're still dealing with bomb threats and in fact they just keep coming in larger numbers. You had a dozen in just one day, a disturbing rise in anti-Semitic acts. It includes vandals targeting Jewish cemeteries.

CNN's Brynn Gingras is here with the story.

It's not going away.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's really not going away. And I heard you talked about it before the break. We're talking about community centers. We're talking about schools, Anti-Defamation league offices, cemeteries, these are all being targeted, not once but in some cases multiple times in the last two months.

Just yesterday -- get this -- 20 incidents reported in one day. The latest one we heard about was last night in San Francisco, an ADL office had to be evacuated after a threat was called in and that was after a day of threats phoned into JCCs in 12 states.

Overall, I want you to take a look at what these groups are dealing with. Since January, there have been 90 incidents at 73 Jewish affiliated locations in 30 states. All of this have turned out to be false alarms, but even still, Governor Cuomo here in New York ordered state police to help federal authorities. The FBI is also now involved in the probe into what happened at the Pennsylvania cemetery where at least 100 grave stones were toppled.

Now, the ADL has also sent out an alert to Jewish institutions all across the country to take a look at bomb threat security protocols. Certainly, they have to, guys, with all these coming in daily.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely. Thank you for the update, Brynn.

All right. President Trump now conceding that repealing and replacing Obamacare may be tougher than he originally thought. So, what is the plan? We ask a congressman who is crafting that replacement plan, next.



[06:38:12] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, I have to tell you, it's an unbelievably complex subject. Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.


CAMEROTA: Well, President Donald Trump is expected to lay out specifics on his plan to repeal and replace Obamacare during his address to Congress tonight.

So, joining us now is Texas Republican Congressman Michael Burgess. He's the longest serving medical doctor in Congress and he heads the subcommittee on health that is helping draft the new bill.

Good morning, Congressman.

REP. MICHAEL BURGESS (R), TEXAS: Good morning. Thanks for having me on.

CAMEROTA: Great to have you, because you are the perfect person for us to talk to because you're right at the center of trying to craft what will be the replacement.

So, let me -- let me ask you where you are with all this. As we understand it, there are four competing GOP bills making their rounds through the Capitol. Which one is going to win?

BURGESS: Well, if you look at what the house and Senate did in December of 2015, there was a bill passed under reconciliation instructions in 2015 that did repeal major portions of the Affordable Care Act, took taxes and mandates out, and it was sent to President Obama and was vetoed by President Trump. The Senate could not override the veto and that's where it ended.

But that was the basis, that was the starting point and many of us made that point during the fall election that the House and Senate have already acted under reconciliation rules. We have shown you what we can do, what is within our power to do. And if we have a President Trump who would sign the bill, now this becomes a different equation.

So, that day exists right now. The reconciliation bill that came through in December of last year again is the starting point. There is now an attempt to add some additional pieces, some insurance America reform, which I support, I think that's a good thing, expanding health savings account, providing tax credits for people who need them to help purchase insurance. [06:40:08] But the basis is the reconciliation bill that already

passed in the House and the Senate in December of 2015.

CAMEROTA: And, Congressman, just help us understand, if you do away with the individual mandate, how do you pay for it?

BURGESS: Well, actually doing away with the individual mandate frees up a significant amount of cash under Congressional Budget Office rules. But that basically misses the point. Are people going to have coverage? And that is -- that is a significant issue that we all deal with.

We don't want any reduction in coverage. We want people to have coverage. But, you know, the problem that we're into now and the reason that we're even having this discussion, the Affordable Care Act in many ways is not working, or maybe it is working as intended because people were looking to collapse the system and get a single payer system as a result.


BURGESS: But the individual market is under significant strain right now. And when people talk about being worried about losing their insurance, if an insurance company actually goes away, that is the risk for losing insurance. And that is the risk people face right now.

CAMEROTA: But, Congressman, what about that coverage? What are you guaranteeing Americans who are listening? Will people and do you know how many lose their coverage?

BURGESS: I don't know that I have a figure for you on that. But I think coverage will be available and accessible and affordable. And remember, one of the big problems with the Affordable Care Act is stuff is not affordable. That doesn't mean it will be cheap, but it could be more affordable than it is today.


CAMEROTA: But some people will lose -- let me clarify your language, because you say it will be available and accessible, but it sounds like under whatever plan you present, some of those 20 million people will lose their a current coverage that they have.

BURGESS: Look, I have never thought the individual mandate was a good idea. I've been against the individual mandate since day one. And in my book, repealing the individual mandate is on an equal par with repealing the Affordable Care Act.

I recognize that without the individual mandate, there are some people who will say no, not me, I'm not going to do that. It is part of our job to make people understand, help people understand how important, how responsible it is to have insurance. The problem has become things have gotten so expensive that people look at it and just shrug their shoulders and walk away. And, you know, Bill Clinton said it best in October, you have a crazy system where people are paying twice as much for half the care. That's a recipe for disaster. That's what needs to be fixed.

CAMEROTA: President Trump said last month we're going to have insurance for everybody. There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can't pay for it, you can't get did. That's not going to happen with us.

BURGESS: And I support the president. I want everyone to have insurance.

CAMEROTA: Yes, but not everybody is going to have insurance.

BURGESS: I think everyone should have a policy that is being affordable. It doesn't mean cheap, but it means affordable within disposable income a family has to spend this much. I do think that's possible.

CAMEROTA: So, why don't you say that nobody is going to lose coverage? I mean, if you support the president that everybody should have coverage and you think that it's possible that it should be affordable for everybody, why won't you say, yes, under my plan, everybody will have coverage?

BURGESS: Everyone will have coverage available to them. I recognize that not everyone will prevail upon the coverage that's available. And as a -- we learned that during the part B of Medicaid or remember back in 2003, we were criticized for not making it mandatory that seniors have to buy prescription drug benefits.

We didn't want to make it mandatory because we thought people, there should be an element of free choice. What did we end up with? We ended up with 96 percent of seniors obtaining some type of drug coverage and 96 percent were satisfied with the coverage that they had.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Congressman, very quickly, what's the date that we'll see your plan?

BURGESS: You're going to see movement within really within the next couple of weeks as far as my subcommittee is concerned.


BURGESS: As far as getting something through the Senate, that's a bigger guess and I don't have an answer for you there.


BURGESS: But we're very, very close to having something moved through the -- actually, through the whole committee within the next couple weeks.

CAMEROTA: Congressman Michael Burgess, thank you very much for previewing this with us. BURGESS: Thank you.


CUOMO: All right. So, you got policy and you have politics. President Trump is accused of going bad on his press staff by supporting his press secretary's decision to spot check staffer's cellphones. The president answers the accusation ahead.


[06:48:29] CUOMO: This is a good one for you. Two recreational tennis players got the surprise of a lifetime from the one and only Serena Williams.

Coy Wire has the story in this morning's "Bleacher Report".

This is good one.

COY WIRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is real good, Chris. It'd be like chocolate rolled up on you while you're practicing your MMA. Two go guys just out at a park in San Fran playing tennis, up walks a girl say, can I get next? That girl Serena Williams and it was all captured on Snapchat. Check it out.


SERENA WILLIAMS, PRO-TENNIS PLAYER: I'm just having a stroll at night. I'm thinking about these guys if I can hit with just to see their reaction.

I think they are in the middle of playing out a point. I'm going to ask if I can have the winner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my goodness.


WILLIAMS: Number one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I won two out of three. Wow!




WIRE: These guys couldn't believe it. Serena doesn't even have tennis shoes on. That was okay. She just went ahead and played in her boots. What an experience. Top women's tennis player in the world rolling up on two fellows that she said later, hey, you never know when I'm going to roll up to a tennis court near you.

Let's get you some quick NBA news. A tale of two Curries Monday night. Steph Curry had his worst three-point shooting night of his career, 0 for 11 from behind the line, tying the NBA record for most three pointers taken without making one. Warriors still get the win over the 76ers though, 119-108.

Steph's little brother Seth Curry on the other hand was money for the Mavs.

[06:50:02] This long shot at time was running sealed the deal for Dallas. The Mavericks get the win over the Heat, 96-89.

Last time Steph Curry had his worst three-point shooting night, he went on to set a new NBA record for most made, Alisyn. So, we'll keep an eye on that.

CAMEROTA: Right, right, I knew that. Thanks so much, Coy. Great to see you.

WIRE: You're welcome. You too.

CAMEROTA: All right. So, how can the chairman of the House Intel Committee tell reporters that he sees no evidence of ties between the Trump campaign and Russia before he's done an investigation? Our media experts here next.


CUOMO: Multiple sources tell CNN President Donald Trump signed off on Press Secretary Sean Spicer's decision to check the cell phones of press aides to be certain they weren't communicating with reporters. The White House denies the account.

President Trump addressing the issue moments ago go in a new interview. Here's what he said


TRUMP: I would have done it differently. I have gone one-on-one with different people and we don't have a major leak process here. We have a major leak process in government. But I would have handled it differently than Sean, but Sean handles it his way and I'm OK with it.


CUOMO: They have a leak issue in the White House, there's plenty of information coming up, and that's not unusual.

Joining us, CNN senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES", Brian Stelter, and CNN media analyst, Bill Carter.

[06:55:04] Again, just to confirm what I was just saying, this White House is leaking. We are getting information out of them on a regular basis that is obviously what is perturbing the president and instigated the spot check of cellphones which is really unusual and could create some loyalty problems within that staff.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and I'm shock by the fact that the president is confirming that this leak investigation happened inside the White House with this review of staffer cellphones. He's not acknowledging it in the interview out this morning.

This is not a drip, drip, drip of leak situation. This is clearly a gusher of leaks both from aides inside the White House, inside the West Wing, and from people in other government agencies concerned about the administration.

CAMEROTA: Bill, and our reporting from Jeff Zeleny is that President Trump condoned the checking of these cellphones of staffers, and, you know, look, that creates an atmosphere of obviously paranoia and then you never know if that creates more leaks because people aren't loyal to somebody who has checked -- who's demanded their cellphone or if it quashes it.

BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Well, isn't the demonstrative evidence that the leak of the event happened right after they did check the cellphones. It was immediately leaked what happened.

So the evidence is clear that there are people who are giving out the information and feel safe enough to do it even after this, you know, Caine mutiny style strip search. You know, whether, it seems like they're just going over the top over this thing. And I think it just shows that whoever is doing this has real motivation to do it and they're not afraid of it.

STELTER: And for our viewers, we have to rely on these anonymous sources sometimes. We don't have any other choice. People feel they can't put their names on certain information because they feel they would lose their jobs or even get prosecuted for it in certain cases. So, we're in this tricky spot, right, Alisyn and Chris, where we have to increasingly rely on these anonymous sources inside government to understand what's been happening with these tension and turmoil inside the Trump administration.

CUOMO: But it's not new, also.

STELTER: That's right.

CUOMO: They're creating a hostility because of their attacking of leaks that may make people more reluctant to come out and not even give us the source and they usually do when they'll say, a senior official at HUD, you know, or -- usually they will give that you on background. Maybe they won't do that now because they have the Caine mutiny thing going that Bill Carter just talked.

I guess Sean Spicer be Captain Queeg with the balls in his hand.


CAMEROTA: There's no cavity search yet.

CARTER: But they made them turn over their electronic devices.

(CROSSTALK) STELTER: And there's this effort not to use encrypted or secure texting apps. Signal, for the record, I just had to download Signal, because of this. I was -- I feel like everybody else must be on it. There's new ways to communicate with sources. But I believe trust in media is low right now, we have to do a clear job telling our audience, hey, we have to rely on anonymity sometimes.


CUOMO: So does the White House. When Priebus came out talking about intelligence officials high ranking ones but he wouldn't say who, he was doing the same thing. He was protecting the source that wanted information to get out, but didn't want to be revealed.

CAMEROTA: Hey, Bill, the president has just addressed his decision not to go to the White House correspondents' dinner. As you know, there is a decades' long tradition of the press and president coming together on this sort of night with lots of revelries.

So, here is President Trump on his decision.


TRUMP: I believe a lot of the stories appear fiction, they just pull it out of air. I just thought in light of the fact of fake news and all of the other things that we're talking about now, I thought it would be inappropriate.


TRUMP: No, not too cozy. I think that -- look, I have great respect for the press. I have great respect for reporters and the whole profession. Now, with all of that being said, I just thought it would be better if I didn't do the dinner.


CAMEROTA: Bill, what are your thoughts on that?

CARTER: Well, a couple things. First of all, he comes out and says the fact of fake news. Well, it's not a fact. It's something that he just puts out there. It's not a fact. He's extremely selective in terms of who he describes as fake news.

But it also seems that he's set up a hostile situation that he doesn't want to go into. That would not be a very favorable crowd. He likes to perform in front of crowds that love him. That isn't a crowd that loves. I think he doesn't want to do it for his own comfort factor.

I don't think he wants to, you know, give the press the satisfaction of having a comedian get up and make jokes with about him, and would be laughed at. I think he's uncomfortable with that.

CUOMO: And it does stand to be repeated. Once again, he says that things are fake. He says things are outright lies. He never gives proof of any of them. And that is something to remember. STELTER: And then he said maybe I'll go to the dinner next year.

This is classic art of the deal.

CAMEROTA: Well, you know, about that dinner, Brian, I just want to get your take very quickly on this. I always found to be a sort of strange setup, because 300 -- even when it was President Obama, even when it was President Bush before him, and I would go to this dinner, 364 days a year, we have this adversarial relationship and then is this one night, we're all yakking it up and all sort of being cozy.

And it always did strike me as a little strange given everything that was happening in the world that we forgot about it. Lot of people liked that we could forget about it for a night. But I don't know the president, Trump, is wrong to sit this one out.