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Explicit Photos of Female Marines Found Online; GOP Obamacare Replacement Bill's Winners and Losers; Presidential Election Inspires More Women to Run for Office; A Day Without Women, A Day of Protest; Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired March 8, 2017 - 07:30   ET


[07:31:13] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: This report could be called a bombshell, uncovering active duty Marines and veterans sharing thousands of potentially explicit photos of current and past Marine Corps women without their knowledge or consent. The pictures posted in a secret Facebook group of more than 30,000 Marines.

I guess you would call that an open secret.

Joining us is Marine veteran in infantry and intelligence, James LaPorta. He's also a freelance journalist who helped expose this Marine scandal.

A little bit of background, James. You were invited into this group. You say you didn't really look at its offerings until you heard about the Brennan story -- Tom Brennan, and then what?

JAMES LAPORTA, MARINE VETERAN IN INFANTRY AND INTELLIGENCE: That's correct. I was new to Facebook. Joined in July of last year and I was sent a link by a fellow Marine of mine that I served with in Afghanistan and, you know, the title said "Marines United" and so I joined but I didn't really look at the group.

I made one comment in my entire time within the group which -- and it was a comment about a Marine who had saved taxpayers about $15 million and he received one of the lowest personal rewards that you could have received and I made the comment that she should have gotten a medal that was a little bit higher.

So that was my only interaction but then when Brennan broke the story I was surprised. I was shocked.

CUOMO: Right.

LAPORTA: And so I contacted him on Twitter and asked how can I help and he asked me to keep reporting on it because he had gotten kicked out of the group and if he started receiving death threats against him and his family to let him know and that's what I did.

CUOMO: All right, and what did you learn as you went in there about -- first of all, where are these pictures coming from? Do they seem legitimate? That these are former and current female Marine members? What did you learn about those? LAPORTA: So, yes, so that's kind of hard to hammer down. So some of

the photos would be posted within the chat room itself and just a little bit of information on the chat room, this isn't -- you would actually have to go into the Marines United chat room because it's a secret group so this wasn't information that was showing up on a regular Facebook feed but some of the individuals would post the pictures within the chat room itself but while I was in there one individual posted a link to a drop box and once you click on that drop box it took you to a place that contained hundreds, maybe thousands of photos.

CUOMO: Where do you think they were getting the photos?

LAPORTA: I think it's a combination of either -- most of the -- so in Brennan's story he reports that a lot of the photos were kind of taken without the subject's knowledge. I didn't see any of that within this drop box and I also don't know if this is a secondary drop box from the one that NCIS had seen. But the photos that I saw were posed photos, so if you had a girlfriend or a wife, something that she would, you know, send you. And then those were shared with other Marines.

CUOMO: You ever heard of anything like this before? This kind of group. I mean -- it's hard to call it a secret group when you have 30,000 members in it. You have to assume people knew that the group existed.

LAPORTA: Well, I think the group is broke down into three sectors. So I think you have one -- you have -- one group is people who are actively engaging in this. So they're actively sending photos, they're actively posting racist comments which was kind of shocking to me once I got into the group.

You have a secondary group that it's seeing all this happen. They're not participating but they're seeing it and just going back and not saying anything. Then you have a third group who are just members of, you know, Marines United but -- you know, they don't know much about the group. You know, they clicked on it one day and they never went into it again. So that's how the 30,000 is made up so the number of how many Marines or sailors are -- mostly Marines who are actively engaged in this is hard to tell.

[07:35:07] CUOMO: And so this -- all right, so this scale is a little bit debatable but there seem to be big numbers involved and these pictures, and they seem to be a big part of the currency of it, so when you started poking around you eventually got out and how so?

LAPORTA: So I was in the room for about 48 hours after Mr. Brennan had gotten kicked out and he was receiving everything from death threats. One person hoped that the cartels would kill his entire family. One individual literally started posting his name, address, phone number, and where he lived, along with his co-workers, friends, any associates that he had and their addresses and phone numbers and where they live.

I mean, they were really going after them with death threats and a lot of racial and homosexual slurs were thrown his way and a lot of -- another thing that was surprising to me is it was known to them that they were still under investigation. But they were actually taunting FBI agents or NCIS agents that would be looking into them so they would post nude saying this is for you, NCIS, or this is for you FBI, and they would post a nude of one of these girls.

So -- and they were actually at one point celebrating every time another news outlet had picked up the story. Just from memory I know one individual said CBS thinks we're shutdown. And that's really what it was is the administrators of the page, all they would do is just change the domain name or create back up pages to that so in terms of, you know, prosecuting this from a law enforcement perspective it's going to be really hard to do that because they've created so many backup pages.

It's still a point where Marines United even have chapters around the United States. So there is a Marines United Ohio or a Marines United Florida. I don't know if those groups are engaging in the same activities as the main group but it's going to be hard to prosecute this or even investigate it from a law enforcement perspective.

CUOMO: Well, first, we're going to have to learn how big a surprise this is to the Marines and what you say in there about how they were taunting the NCIS is going to be instructive of exactly how vulnerable the members think they are and then what happens next.

Mr. LaPorta, thank you very much for bringing the reporting our way.

LAPORTA: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right -- Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Chris. Who are the biggest winners and losers in the new GOP health care bill? Chief business correspondent Christine Romans is here to break down the numbers for us.


[07:41:11] CAMEROTA: Time for CNN Money now. Chief business correspondent Christine Romans here with a closer look at what the new GOP health care plan means for average Americans.


CAMEROTA: Great to have you here. Thanks for crunching all of the numbers because there's a lot out there. So can you just boil it down to who are the winners, who are the losers?

ROMANS: So we're digging into this. The Congressional Budget Office has not scored this yet, of course. But you've got, you know, world class health care economists who have been carefully looking at what this is going to mean for typical Americans so here at this early stage is who we think the winners of this will be. Young people who could get cheaper plan. You know, under Obamacare it's the young people who subsidize the

older, sticker people. Under the American Health Care Act, as it's called right now, young people who get cheaper plan. Health people may be able to buy less expensive policies. That's the potential winner there. Higher income people are huge winners. I cannot say this strongly enough. Huge tax breaks for the rich. People who makes $200,000 or $250,000 or more a year.

Remember, the subsidies in Obamacare were partially funded by higher taxes on investments for the very rich people, people who made more than $200,000 and higher. Social Security taxes. And insurance company CEOs could get big breaks, those executives, because under Obamacare there provisions to make sure they did not profit personally from changing the health care reform. That would go away.

The losers, lower-income people could be left uninsured. We just don't know how many people just give up and say -- without a mandate, will say I'm not going to get insurance. Elderly people who could have to pay more depending on how much you make. And sick people could get coverage but we don't know how limited that coverage would be and then what you have to get out of pocket -- pay out of pocket for that.

CAMEROTA: So other critics are calling it Obamacare-lite. So what are the things that are parallel with Obamacare?

ROMANS: For a variety of reasons. I mean, some of them would just like to wipe it out completely and start all over. And they don't like the fact that there are certain things that remain that are Obamacare, essentially, that remain here. Dependent coverage until 26, that stays. This plan keeps that. Preexisting condition, you do not -- you cannot discriminate against somebody because they have cancer or childhood diabetes, and there are no annual or lifetime limits.

There are others who say the tax credits in this essentially -- are like guaranteeing a new entitlement. They didn't like the entitlement of Obamacare and they don't know like entitlement of this one. That's just some of the complaints the Obamacare-lite complained from some conservatives.

CAMEROTA: OK. And so I've read some analysts say that as many as 10 million people could lose their coverage. 20 million, I guess, additionally got it.

ROMANS: Right. Right.

CAMEROTA: Half of that will lose their coverage. Who are they?

ROMANS: Well, we don't know. We think those are lower income people and we think they're people who might be -- might be hurt by the Medicaid roll back or the Medicaid expansion.

Let me show you somebody making $20,000 a year and the difference for somebody there. A 27-year-old, there was a subsidy paid for in part by taxes on the rich. Under Obamacare, they gave them $3200 back. That tax credit now would be about $2,000 so they wouldn't get as much back. A 40-year-old, you can see the difference there. Really starts to make a difference for older Americans who got bigger Obamacare subsidies at $20,000 a year than they would under this new plan if it happens.

Let's look at $40,000 a year. Somebody making $42,000 and you could see how this one stacks up here. A 27-year-old got Obamacare subsidy $103. They would have a $2,000 tax credit. So it's a big difference for younger people in the middle of the income spectrum. You can see how 40-year-olds and 60-year-olds would fair there.

CAMEROTA: We appreciate you doing the math so we don't have to.

ROMANS: Well, can't wait for the Congressional Budget Office to do its math, too. That would be interesting to see.

CAMEROTA: This is what excites you. Christine Romans, wow, thank you. What can I say? Great to have you.

CUOMO: So a question I ask every day is especially relevant today, why is Alisyn and Christine even here? Why? Because today is International Women's Day. It's supposed to be where women take a day off. So what it's about? What about this movement?

There's a debate to be had and we will have it coming up. You want to hear a little listen first?

CAMEROTA: Yes, sure.

[07:45:02] CUOMO: There's some sound about the women empowerment event to take a stand.

CAMEROTA: Go ahead. Just keep going, Chris.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let us hope there is a wave of young women running for office in America. Let's be sure we support them in every way we can. Let's help them shatter stereotypes and lift each other up.


CUOMO: All right. There's Hillary Clinton.

CNN's Kyung Lah introduces us to some women who say they are inspired to run for office because of Clinton's defeat. Here's the story.


CHARISSE DANIELS, MOTHER OF FOUR: This is Watertown, Wisconsin. It's super small, rural, but really quaint and cute.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In this district that helped swing Wisconsin red lives Charisse Daniels.

DANIELS: Here you go. Ready?

LAH: Married mom of four, juggling children and a career, no longer content as citizen, now moving to candidate.

(On camera): What office do you aspire to?

DANIELS: For me I think mayor would be my highest diatribe dream.

LAH: Did election night make you want to run for office?

DANIELS: Absolutely. Yes. I felt devastated.

LAH: How many of you are here today because of the election? Everybody -- almost everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hearing from everybody else makes me think that you're really on the fence.

LAH (voice-over): Channeling the energy of the nationwide women's marches these women are training to run for the first time for office from fundraising.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How we're getting the money and where it's coming from.

LAH: To drills.

DANIELS: My name is Charisse. I'm running for mayor of Watertown.

LAH: Learn how to campaign in a red state.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But what party are you really with?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a member of the Democratic Party.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's my party. OK.


ERIN FORREST, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, EMERGE WISCONSIN: After election day, immediately the application started spiking.

LAH: Exponentially says a political non-profit emerged operating in 18 states from deep blue California to red Wisconsin. Their class size here doubled. Democratic women hoping to put the state back to blue.

(On camera): Was it personal?

FORREST: Deeply personal. We live in a representative democracy. Right? And women are more than a half of the population and a quarter of elected officials. That's a problem.

MELISSA SARGENT, WISCONSIN STATE REPRESENTATIVE: I never imagined that I would be a state legislator. LAH (voice-over): Wisconsin state representative Melissa Sargent, an

Emerge graduate, dove into public life after Republican Governor Scott Walker's election. Now she's watching women nationally react to President Trump.

(On camera): Did you need that push?

SARGENT: I would say I did. I think that oftentimes women will second-guess themselves. And women will question whether they can balance running for office with being a parent.

LAH (voice-over): Janet Jacobson marched the day after Trump's inauguration.

(On camera): Was that march enough?


LAH (voice-over): Taking her next step, Jacobson is now running for local office in the town of Oregon, Wisconsin.

(On camera): If you're in office, will you have President Trump to thank in some part?

JACOBSON: Sure. I mean, I don't know that I would have gotten involved if he hadn't been elected. Maybe I'll write him a thank you note. Probably not. I'm really bad at those.

LAH (voice-over): Kyung Lah, CNN, Madison, Wisconsin.


CAMEROTA: All right. So you are lucky that I'm here today.

CUOMO: Every day.

CAMEROTA: That's a good point. You're very lucky. Or you would have to experience what - would you like a day without a woman?

CUOMO: Right. So you have these parallel things going on. You have the International Women's Day and you have a protest movement, "A Day Without Women."

CAMEROTA: That's right.

CUOMO: Which is supposed to be today.

CAMEROTA: It is today. In fact --

CUOMO: And yet you're here.

CAMEROTA: Well I'm here to just help you as I am every day but as you heard there some women were motivated to run for office after Hillary Clinton. Some -- other women today are inspired to skip work all together. This is the Day Without Women. This is a protest.

What's behind the movement, Chris asks? And lots of people ask? We'll tell you and debate it ahead.


[07:52:40] CAMEROTA: President Trump is tweeting about International Women's Day this morning, saying, "I have tremendous respect for women and the many roles they serve that are vital to the fabric of our society and our economy. On International Women's Day join me in honoring the critical role of women here in America and around the world."

Now this comes as some women plan to protest today in what's being called a Day Without a Woman. This is an economic and labor strike intended to draw attention to equality for women in the economic sphere.

Here to discuss this and more are our CNN political commentators, we have Symone Sanders, who was the national press secretary for Senator Bernie Sanders' 2016 campaign, and Kayleigh McEnany, she is also a contributor to "The Hill."

Ladies, great to have you here.



CAMEROTA: Symone, let me start with you because I know that you think that this is the start of something. This is the beginning of a movement. What's the underpinning of this? What's the message for a Day Without Women?

SANDERS: Yes, you know, I think the women's march was the beginning of a movement for a lot of people, a new movement. And I think the message here is that women, we have the power to literally move mountains, change policy, change society when we stand together. So a Day Without a Woman is designed to highlight the immense impact women have on our everyday lives from the boardroom to the classroom, everywhere and in between.

So you've seen schools closed across the country because women are not going to show up for work today. Some folks are showing up wearing red in solidarity to highlight the important impacts women make in our society here in America and around the globe.

CAMEROTA: Kayleigh, I know that some conservative women feel as though this day doesn't speak for them. Do you have any issues with it or how do you see it?

MCENANY: Look, I don't have an issue with International Women's Day. And I agree with the president, women are obviously extremely important to our fabric of society. That being said, this Day Without Women, it is basically very narrow. If you read the op-ed written by these eight women who are, you know, purportedly leading it, they call for militant feminist struggle. Yes, militant struggle. And skipping work, forcing moms to arrange child care, perhaps sailing for work, perhaps have to choose whether to make money today or stay home and watch their kids, putting those women in compromising scenarios is not the way to do this.

CAMEROTA: But, I mean, it's their choice. Right? I mean, nobody is forcing somebody to skip work. It's their choice.


CAMEROTA: If they want to sit it out for solidarity.

MCENANY: I'm referring to if you -- the women who are not showing up for work, the teachers who are not showing up for work, the school districts that have to close. Many parents are having to stay home with their children today, arrange childcare, perhaps skip work. That is not fair to women generally speaking and these women don't speak for me, they don't speak for many conservative women.

CAMEROTA: Symone, what do you think?

SANDERS: You know what, Alisyn?


SANDERS: I say to that that power concedes nothing without a struggle and without protest. And so protests are demonstrations are designed to make people feel uncomfortable. So I hope a Day Without a Woman today makes people feel uncomfortable. I hope people really look into the meaning for International Women's Day, which was originally called International Working Women's Day, to highlight the global impact women have politically, economically, socially and culturally.

There are some real things we have to get right here in America and across the globe when it comes to gender parity, gender equity. And today is just one day but it's an important day so I'm glad to stand in solidarity with so many women across the America and across the globe.

MCENANY: But we shouldn't call it a Day Without Women. If we want to be honest here, let's call it a day without liberal women because these women who have organized this march have specifically excluded pro-life women. They say you don't have a place in our movement. That's millions and millions of American women who believe that it's essentially genocide against unborn women when you engage in abortion. Those women are excluded.

CAMEROTA: But just to be clear. So because the women who are marching or sitting out the protest, they want pay equity, they want to talk about the economic impact of women, and they don't want Planned Parenthood defunded. So are those the tenets that you see it and the Planned Parenthood one is where you draw the line?

MCENANY: Absolutely. And these are women today who are marching, it's the same women or the same organizers who organized the initial march after President Trump's inauguration. They specifically excluded pro-choice women. They said today is not your day to march. So don't purport to represent all women when you in fact exclude millions and millions of women.


CAMEROTA: I mean, look, there --

SANDERS: Look --

CAMEROTA: Hold on one second, Symone. Their issue is that if you take away Planned Parenthood's funding, you also take away health care access for the hundreds of thousands of women who use it.

MCENANY: And I don't want to take away any funding. I want to redirect that funding to other institutions that don't perform abortions. When you look at what Planned Parenthood does, their preventative care numbers have gone down since 2004 by 50 percent, but they killed 327,000 babies in 2014. And a lot of women don't stand for that. And it's not fair for federal dollars to go to support the killing of 300,000 babies each year.

SANDERS: This is -- with all due respect, this is incorrect. No federal dollars go towards funding abortions. I've never had an abortion, but guess what, I go to Planned Parenthood. I have an appointment there next week because they provide excellent care.

Women in communities across the country, sometimes Planned Parenthood -- men, too -- is their only option. So a Day Without Women, the women's rights movement, I believe is about the expansion of women's rights, codifying equity and parity. It's not about limiting women's rights.

CAMEROTA: But, Symone --

SANDERS: So again --


CAMEROTA: What about Kayleigh's point that conservative women don't feel that this movement speaks for them?

SANDERS: Well, you know what, I think that there are levels to the movement. It's OK to have a diversity of sentiments. All women are not monolithic. Me as an African-American woman, I have very specific concerns that Kayleigh might not have as a non-amalgamated woman as I might say. But that doesn't mean we can't all get together and fight for equity and fight for parity in America. So I say the women's rights movement is about expanding our rights, not limiting. So yes, there is a place for pro-choice women in this movement.

No one is saying you cannot be pro-choice. But what we are saying is that we should not be empowering the government and anybody else other than women to limit what we can do with our bodies, to tell us what to do. No one is telling a man what to do with his penis, I don't understand why my uterus and vagina is so much a topic of conversation.

CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone.

(LAUGHTER) CAMEROTA: Kayleigh, she's saying that conservative women are welcome.

MCENANY: They are not. They're absolutely not when they were told they're -- they weren't allowed to march after Trump's inauguration and if you want to be expansive and inclusive --

CAMEROTA: Symone, were pro-life women not allowed to march?

SANDERS: Pro-life women were definitely at the march. They were not included on the list of sponsors, and that is because -- and that is because, again, the organizers said this movement was about an expansion of rights, not a limitation of rights.

MCENANY: But you are limiting rights. And this is where we fundamentally disagree. I believe that by being pro-choice you are limiting the right to life for hundreds of thousands of women, young women, babies, each year. So, you know, you say that you're expanding rights. I view that as limiting rights. And why not welcome my viewpoint? Why not allow -- why not take a stance at all on pro-life or pro-choice and just say we're here to stand for women?

CAMEROTA: OK. We'll leave it there. We welcome your viewpoint here on NEW DAY and yours, Symone. Thank you. Kayleigh, thank you as well.

SANDERS: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: We're following a lot of news this morning so let's gets get right to it.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a complicated process, but actually it's very simple. It's called good health care.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: We are united on repeal but we are divided on replacement.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: The nightmare of Obamacare is about to end.

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: Trumpcare is here, and you are going to hate it.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Where is the proof that President Obama bugged President Trump?


REP. DEVIN NUNES (R), CALIFORNIA: I think a lot of the things that he says, you guys sometimes take literally.