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Michigan Voters on Trump; U.S. Launches Airstrikes in Yemen; Hide and Seek with Obamacare Bill. Aired 9:30-10a

Aired March 3, 2017 - 09:30   ET



[09:31:36] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Berman. Happy Friday, everyone.

Just a few minutes ago, the vice president of the United States, Mike Pence, left the Washington area. He is headed to Janesville, Wisconsin. That name of that town means something to political watchers.


BERMAN: No doubt he will be talking about jobs and the repeal of Obamacare. And he is bringing the favorite son of Janesville, House Speaker Paul Ryan. He is from there. They're going to take a tour of some farms. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, he's going to be there also.

Remember, Wisconsin is one of those states, one of those formerly blue states that now became red. Donald Trump won it, all be it by about 30,000 votes.

HARLOW: Another one, Michigan, neighboring Wisconsin, where today we begin a year-long series taking you to the heart of what has become Trump country. His promise, better jobs, a better future, compelled enough former Obama voters in Michigan to take a chance on the president, make him the first Republican to take that state since 1988. They loved his talk about scrapping NAFTA, but now they are holding him to account.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm very hopeful.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump will -


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bring jobs back. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bringing jobs back home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Create new jobs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Focus on the country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't want to fall back anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Make this - this nation strong.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we want to go forward.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to see American made.

HARLOW (voice-over): American made, something these Michigan voters want to see a whole lot more of. It's a promise that helped tip Michigan in President Donald Trump's favor.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My economic agenda can be summed up with three very beautiful words, jobs, jobs, jobs. We're bringing our jobs back.

HARLOW: It wasn't just Trump's promise of more jobs. It's his promise for what he calls fair trade.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a manufacturing state. And all of the states in the rustbelt, these people are hurting.

HARLOW: Michigan's unemployment rate just hit 5 percent, the lowest in 15 years. But that's a rosier picture than the reality some here told us they're living. Michigan has lost nearly 300,000 manufacturing jobs since 2000.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's kind of like this quiet depression that's going on, you know, publicly, where people are - they're OK. They're getting by.

HARLOW: Many here blame free trade deals. Since NAFTA was signed in the early '90s, Michigan has lost 26 percent of its manufacturing jobs. But it's important to note many good paying jobs haven't just been lost to trade. They've been lost to automation, robots doing the work of humans.

SAL MOCERI, UNION AUTO WORKER: NAFTA was one of the worst, worst contracts ever negotiated for the American worker.

HARLOW: Frank Pitcher and Salvatore Moceri have been union auto workers for decades. Both say they voted for President Obama twice. But despite having pretty good paying jobs, when they heard Trump's talk on trade, they were sold.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was very, very difficult for me because I'm a UAW member. I've been a long Democrat. People need a change.

FRANK PITCHER, UNION AUTO WORKER: The UAW brought us into the middle class. Now, when I hear Trump talk about solidarity, it sounds like he's almost a union guy right there. And I was happy to have somebody stick up for us.

HARLOW: Their fellow auto worker, Dennis Washington, didn't vote for President Trump, but he's encouraged.

DENNIS WASHINGTON, UNION AUTO WORKER: Just the fact that he's bringing - or trying to stop jobs going out of the country, I feel that's a big opportunity for Americans. I'm very curious to see what else might happen.

[09:35:13] HARLOW: Manufacturing output in the U.S. is near an all- time high. But these workers say the jobs that have come back since the depths of the recession aren't what they used to be.

RICK QUINN: With the auto company, I was - I was making around - about $40 an hour.

HARLOW: Rick Quinn worked at one of the big three automakers for more than two decades until he was laid off at 55. He's been looking for work for the past year.

QUINN: I put out resumes every day for all kinds of jobs. I'm not just looking for an engineering job now, I'm looking for pretty much anything that I can - I can find.

HARLOW: Donald Trump wasn't Rick Quinn's first choice, but he voted for him in November, and he's got a lot on the line, facing almost $60,000 in debt.

QUINN: I would like to be able to get a job, work another ten years, you know, and get the debts paid off and then, you know, build up some retirement money so that my wife and I can enjoy a decent retirement.

PEGGY STEWART, SECURITY GUARD: I wanted a change, but I wanted somebody with a spine.

HARLOW: At 62, Peggy Stewart is no stranger to hard work. After struggling to find work, she's now a security guard earning $9.00 an hour, barely above Michigan's minimum wage. The hours are tough, she says, making it hard to find time with her husband, Jim, but she feels lucky just to have a job.

P. STEWART: I wouldn't trade my job for nothing right now. And I don't care what they pay, what they don't pay, I am working and I feel like somebody again.

HARLOW: She also voted for President Obama twice. This year Trump got her vote.

P. STEWART: I'm not wearing a banner - you know, wearing a banner saying, I voted for Trump. I'm really in a holding mode. I'm in a wait-and-see mode. But I don't even know if he would have any inkling of what it takes to be a little person like us.

HARLOW: But President Trump did not get her husband's vote.

JIM STEWART, MANUFACTURING WORKER: He's going to follow big business kind of lines, and that's what scares me.

HARLOW: He's worried the president will push to dismantle unions.

P. STEWART: You know, I just say, go ahead, President Trump, show us - show us what we need to see from you, but be careful, man.

ANGELICA WEST, STUDENT & SINGLE MOM: Ready? "The Cat in the Hat" by Dr. Seuss.

There is not too many jobs out here that are paying very good. And I'd like to get my diploma so I can go to college and get a better job for, not only me, but for my family.

HARLOW: At 28, Angelica West has a lot to juggle. She's a single mom of three boys. She's in school and wants to become a nurse. The jobs Angelica could find in manufacturing she says didn't pay nearly enough to support her family.

WEST: I ran oil machines and I was a line leader and, you know, assigned people jobs, where they were supposed to go. I was making $8.15 at the time, so I knew I wasn't going to make a life working those kind of jobs.

HARLOW: She notes she's not very political. And it's the president's lack of political experience that has her hopeful.

WEST: He is not a career politician. I think he thinks of, you know, people like me that are struggling just trying to get by. And I think he's going to be very good.

HARLOW: About an hour outside of Detroit is Adrian, Michigan, home of what used to be one of the country's largest cabinet manufacturers. When this factory shut down in 2008, it took nearly 900 jobs with it.

BILL DECKER, OWNER, LILY ANN CABINETS: When the factory shut down, it devastated Adrian. It was the largest employer.

HARLOW: Now, Bill Decker has reopened the ones thriving plant as Lily Ann Cabinets. He employs some 30 people and his daughter is a manager there. Business has been booming over the past year. But despite strong growth for his company under President Obama, Decker has what he calls a love-hate relationship with President Trump.

DECKER: All the cabinets that we have here are directly imported from China. The tariff, as he puts, on the Chinese import would increase the cost dramatically. It would be at least a 40 percent increase in cost due to the regulations and all the costs of operating in the states.

HARLOW: So why did he vote for President Trump if it could cost him? He says three reasons, Obamacare, taxes and the Supreme Court.

DECKER: I believe that Trump and the administration is going to do good things for America, not necessarily good things for Lily Ann Cabinets, but I think it's best for the country. And if we are the sacrifice, we're willing to take that. HARLOW: But he has a request for the president.

DECKER: I would ask that he would focus not on his tweet, not on his comments, and just on the country itself.

HARLOW: so will shuttered factories open again and jobs abound? These are the promises Michigan's Trump supporters are clinging to.

PITCHER: A lot of doors shut behind me over the years, and those opportunities were no longer there. I hope that they will come back home.

[09:40:08] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If these people who are trying to live the American dream, they want to have a house, a car, an education, and I want that opportunity for my kids.

QUINN: It's been very difficult for me to see myself not working. That's where I want to be again. And I'm, you know, hoping and praying that I will be there again.

P. STEWART: Mr. Trump, please take care of us. We're looking to you.


HARLOW: All right, a special thanks to Reid Shania (ph), Logan Wiside (ph), Heather Long (ph) for their tremendous work on this series.

We're going to spend the next year going back to Michigan, checking in with those voters and hearing from them, do they think the president has kept his promises.

BERMAN: You know, it's very interesting, the president, when he tries to keep the focus on jobs and manufacturing -

HARLOW: Yes, then he can.

BERMAN: It seems to be when he does well. It's when he veers away that he gets dragged into other things. And yesterday was an interesting case. You know, except for the tweets, you know, he was talking about manufacturing -


BERMAN: Talking about military spending in Virginia. We'll see what happens over the next several hours.

HARLOW: You heard that voter tell us, I wish he'd stop tweeting.

BERMAN: Be interesting to see. All right, great piece.

HARLOW: Thank you.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [09:45:33] HARLOW: The U.S. government, this morning, pursuing new leads uncovered in that deadly Yemen raid two months ago. Several U.S. officials say the information that was retrieved from computers and cell phones in there has been critically important. So important that they're searching for hundreds of people linked to al Qaeda, some of whom they believe to be in the west, not necessarily though in the United States.

BERMAN: You do know that in some parts this raid has been controversial due to the death of U.S. Navy SEAL Ryan Owens, also a number of civilian casualties.

We're joined now by CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.

Barbara, I also understand there were new air strikes overnight.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: That's right, John and Poppy. Good morning.

The Pentagon confirming there were another series of U.S. air strikes in Yemen overnight as they continue to escalate this campaign against al Qaeda in Yemen. So far no reports yet of additional civilian casualties. Always a big concern for the U.S. military.

We are also learning in that first round that occurred overnight Wednesday, they believe they killed a top al Qaeda operative that they've been looking for. No formal announcement from the Pentagon yet. They're continuing to sift through the intelligence. But they do believe there's a good possibility they got to that person.

So what about all the intelligence that they did gather back on January 29th in that initial ground raid? We are told that, in fact, they are beginning to act on it in some very interesting ways. They are sifting through laptop computers, cell phones. They're looking at contact information, numbers, data, names of people, as you mentioned, trying to figure out, are these people real? Can they find them? Can they track them? The concern, if your name is in a database of al Qaeda in Yemen, are you an al Qaeda sympathizer, are you helping them plan more attacks? That's what the U.S. intelligence community wants to know. That's the information they're trying to act on right now.

John. Poppy.

BERMAN: All right, Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, thanks so much.

Still to come for us, mission impossible, Capitol Hill style. Senator Rand Paul says he wants to see the House version of the Obamacare repeal and replace bill. The only problem is, he can't find it. He's on the hunt when we come back.


[09:52:18] BERMAN: All right, consider it a political game of hide and seek, which are the best games of hide and seek, I'm told.

HARLOW: The best. BERMAN: Republican Senator Rand Paul on the hunt to find an Obamacare replacement plan that he says is being kept secret.

HARLOW: So here's how it all played out on Thursday. He stormed through the halls of Capitol Hill where he thought House members were reviewing draft legislation. The only problem, well, it wasn't there and he apparently had the wrong room. That aside, didn't stop him, though, from railing against fellow Republicans in the House. Listen.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: This is being presented as if this were a national secret, as if this were a plot to invade another country, as if this were national security. That's wrong. This should be done openly, in the public, and conservatives who have objections, who don't want Obamacare lite, should be allowed to see the bill.


BERMAN: Remember, this is a Republican looking for the Republican plan.

HARLOW: Republican bill.

BERMAN: And the timing here matters, right, because next week the House will begin the process of trying to launch of official repeal effort.

All right, joining us to discuss this hunt, Sunlen Serfaty on Capitol Hill.

Sunlen, what are you learning?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, this certainly was a wild scene up here on Capitol Hill with certainly a heavy dose of theatrics. But behind it is some real concern from Republican, as you noted, Rand Paul about the direction that House Republicans are taking the current draft of this bill. And he's trying to make a point, that this is a process that should be much more open, much more transparent, not just allowing the committee members at this point to view it in a so-called dedicated reading room, not making copies, not making any sort of notes coming from that.

But Paul really made a big show of this yesterday. He took to Twitter ahead of time, declaring that he essentially was on the hunt, in his words, for a bill that is under a lock and key in a secure location. It led him to go room by room up here on Capitol Hill. And Democrats actually joined in on that effort, which led to this rather bizarre moment with Steny Hoyer, who was looking for the same so-called secret bill, and ended up having an imaginary conversation with a bust of President Lincoln. Here it is.


REP. STENY HOYER (D), HOUSE MINORITY WHIP: That's not democracy. That's not good for our people. I know, Mr. Lincoln, you are as upset with your party as I am.


SERFATY: Now, the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which is - which they are working on this draft bill, he really tried to downplay any perception of secrecy here. He said, look, this is just regular order. We want to make sure that our members can get in and review the draft as it is currently been - being written, to refine it going forward. But certainly letting into - leading into such a big week last week, there is an extra level of caution here. You guys recall late last week when the draft was leaked to several media outlets, including to CNN, and there was that firestorm of criticism. So certainly the leadership here wanting to make sure that they're going into next week with some momentum behind this draft bill.

[09:55:22] HARLOW: Indeed. Sunlen Serfaty, thank you very much.

You can't make that stuff up, talking to the bust of Lincoln.

BERMAN: Although, I was going to say, the real news would have been had the bust responded.

HARLOW: The real news, not the fake news.

BERMAN: That we would - we would had a special report if that had happened.

HARLOW: Not (ph) saying the bust responded, OK? All right.

Coming up for us, Attorney General Jeff Sessions facing pressure from Democrats to resign. Something former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales himself experienced.

BERMAN: Yes, what he thinks about the Russia controversy, what he thinks about the resignation, and what he thinks about the relative level of honesty right now from the White House. Stay with us.


[10:00:08] BERMAN: Good morning, everyone. I'm John Berman.

HARLOW: I'm Poppy Harlow. So glad you're with us.