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Ways And Means Passes Health Bill; Opposing The GOP Replacement Plan; Feds Investigating WikiLeak's CIA Document Dump; Study: Immigrants Key To U.S. Workforce. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired March 9, 2017 - 05:30   ET


[05:30:00] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Well into the night, House committees working through the night to try to move along the Republican health plan.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Now with opposition growing, two scenarios are emerging for President Trump, who is ready to hit the road to sell his plan and ready to shift the blame if he cannot.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It's 30 minutes past the hour this morning. Breaking news -- just a short time ago the House Ways and Means Committee voting on party lines to approve their portion of the Republican Obamacare repeal bill. Oh, it's a mouthful.

BRIGGS: And you've had an all-nighter, just like Ways and Means.

ROMANS: I know.

BRIGGS: We understand.

ROMANS: This, after 16 grueling hours of debate. Republicans repeatedly voting down Democratic amendments on a host of issues from out-of-pocket costs to tax increases to the president's tax returns snuck in there.

BRIGGS: Yes, you would imagine they'd try that. The Ways and Means Twitter account controlled by the Republican majority saying, "We are delivering on our promise to bring relief from Obamacare and empowering Americans to make their own health care decisions."

At this hour, the House Energy and Commerce Committee still debating the measure.

ROMANS: Live pictures.


ROMANS: The sun will soon rise.

BRIGGS: Still in ties, mind you. Once this committee presumably passes its portion of the bill, both still need to go through House Budget Committee, then House Rules Committee before going to a full House vote. You've got to roll up the sleeves, take off the jacket -- ROMANS: I know.

BRIGGS: -- loosen up the tie.

ROMANS: They have been there all night. So this is the first step, but on a broader level opposition to the new plan growing among conservatives on the hill. President Trump laying out two strategies. So, 'Plan A' for getting the bill passed and a 'Plan B' in the event it does not. Sources tell CNN the president advised conservative leaders in an hour-long Oval Office meeting he will allow Obamacare to fail and let Democrats take the blame. The sources say Mr. Trump scolded those conservative groups for calling the House bill Obamacare-light.

White House officials admitting the volume of blowback from conservatives came as a bit of a surprise, acknowledging they could have done more outreach, Dave, ahead of the bill's rollout. That's a point you've been making.

BRIGGS: Sure could have. For now, the White House sticking with 'Plan A' shifting into full campaign mode to sell the Republican repeal and replace. The president will start stumping for the plan, including upcoming visits to Kentucky and Tennessee. Even so, there is a feeling in the West Wing that Republican leaders have saddled Mr. Trump with all the heavy lifting. House Speaker Paul Ryan, for his part, confident this bill will pass.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), HOUSE SPEAKER: I think what you're seeing is we're going through the inevitable growing pains of being an opposition party to becoming a governing party. And in being an opposition party we have divided government. Sixty-four percent of our members? Sixty-four percent of our members have never known what it's like to work with a Republican president to have unified government, so it's a new feel. It's a new system for people but it's all the more reason why we have to do what we said we would do.


ROMANS: All right. So the conservative blowback getting a lot of attention. What about blowback from the people who will deliver the health care to America's patients? You've got the biggest, most powerful groups in health care lining up against the GOP plan. We're talking doctors and nurses associations, the American Medical Association. That's the nation's largest group of doctors. It's got big lobby dollars, folks.

Also, liberal-leaning groups like the National Nurses United. That's a union. Conservative players -- the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. It told "Breitbart" that the plan was too similar to Obamacare. That's the pushback there. Also, seniors. AARP represents the interests of millions of older Americans. A powerful lobby already really pushing social media outreach here. I mean, if you've been on Facebook you have seen an AARP video. Also, the hospital associations -- the three biggest that cover huge swaths of the country. Families USA -- that was a supporter of the Affordable Care Act -- it represents consumers -- says this deal is a bad deal for you. A new report from S&P Global finds as many as 10 million Americans could lose coverage if the bill goes through. We honestly don't know how many it could be.


ROMANS: There's another one that says 15 million.

BRIGGS: Left-leaning group Brookings, yes.

ROMANS: Let's bring in CNN politics reporter Tal Kopan, live this morning in our Washington Bureau. Good morning, Tal. You know, the president says he would let Obamacare fail. We've been working sort of with health care economists. If nothing changes -- if this Republican effort dies, would Obamacare fail or it would move forward? It would still be the law of the land. It would still be the way we're delivering health care.

TAL KOPAN, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Yes, this is a matter for interpretation, right? It's certainly a Republican talking point you hear all the time -- Obamacare is collapsing. And, you know, one of the things I've noticed is that there's a lot of conflation of Obamacare which refers to the bill -- the Affordable Care Act -- and the exchanges that it created, so those are networks on which people can purchase health insurance if they don't have employer-sponsored plans and if they don't have Medicare or Medicaid.

Now, there are some issues with the exchanges. Some markets have seen health insurers pulling out --

[05:35:00] ROMANS: Right.

KOPAN: -- and that's probably what you're hearing mostly being referred to. Certainly, premiums are going up in some places although Democrats argue they would be going up by much more without the bill. But, you know, the Affordable Care Act -- Obamacare writ large -- it touches every part of the health care ecosystem with many of its mandates and regulations, so it's unclear what would actually happen if you left it alone and whether there's any way it could fully collapse.

BRIGGS: Well, one would expect when the president hits the road -- he's not a policy guy, by all indications -- expect him to sell how Obamacare is failing. Maybe even more so than how the American Health Care Act is working. But the CBO score we expect to come out Monday, which will tell us not only the cost but how many people could lose their insurance under this plan. Here's how Sean Spicer, at least, laid out their initial arguments for that CBO score.


SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Of course, cost matters, but look at how off they were last time. If you're looking at the CBO for accuracy you're looking in the wrong place. I mean, they were way, way off last time in every aspect of how they scored and projected Obamacare. It will be scored but the idea that that's any kind of authority based on the track record that occurred last time is a little farfetched.


BRIGGS: Now, the CBO, as you know, is a non-partisan group so how important is that score when it comes down Monday?

KOPAN: Well, it's sort of a Washington rule. If you don't think the score is going to play to your advantage then undermine the score, you know. You don't really have much of another choice. So, you know, certainly, the messaging from Republicans telegraphs that they don't expect it to be good, you know. And we've already heard from them sort of messaging that, you know, the changes they're going make, it's hard for the Congressional Budget Office to model. You know, it's stuff we hear, right?

Anytime a lawmaker of either party expects that the CBO evaluation of their bill isn't going to be super great they need to come up with another justification for Americans to vote for it. So, you know, I think there's a lot of anticipation for the score. And, certainly, if it's not very favorable it will absolutely make its way into Democratic and opponents' talking points --


KOPAN: -- and Republicans need to be ready for that.

BRIGGS: Well, to Sean Spicer's credit, the CBO was wrong on both coverage and cost under Obamacare, so he certainly has a point there.

This all, of course, comes amidst continued calls for the president to show some evidence about this wiretapping allegation as to -- he made about President Obama over the weekend on Twitter. Michael Hayden, who ran the CIA and the NSA, has an op-ed out this morning in "The New York Times" when he talks about how apolitical the Intelligence Community is, also said this in the op-ed.

"I don't envy Mr. Pompeo" -- who Donald Trump has appointed -- "and Mr. Coats. They have to run complex enterprises and produce quality intelligence even as they push back against an administration that has questioned their officers' integrity, has been casual in its use of intelligence and is not above calling on intelligence professionals to provider political cover."

Where do we go next, though, with the wiretapping allegations? If you are the Trump White House how do you put this fire out?

KOPAN: If you're the Trump White House or if you're Trump? I mean, I think that's an important distinction here, right? By all accounts, the president made this move entirely on his own. He had no evidence for it and now his staff and surrogates and, you know, cabinet members are trying to clean this up. And, you know, keep in mind -- I mean, what he has accused President Obama of doing -- it's not even really possible for the president to order a wiretap. You know, this may be something that could be done in the Secret Surveillance Court but there -- you know, that's also something he could declassify if he wants.

So, you know, Congress is also struggling with this and the White House has now kicked the can over to them and said, you know, our Intelligence Committee should investigate, you know. That's a bit of calling their bluff, right? If the Intelligence Community and the Intelligence Committee are frustrated enough with this they could actually come out and say this absolutely didn't happen. So the White House now has to wait and see how those lawmakers choose to handle this allegation.

ROMANS: Tal, on another subject entirely, immigration reform and what the president's been trying to do on immigration reform. I know you've covered that so you've been really into this. I used to cover immigration during 2008-2013 when they were trying to do some reform there. The Southwest Border Apprehension's new numbers that I think are pretty interesting -- January to February 2017, family units at the border down 66 percent. This has been a big concern for the Department of Homeland Security -- Immigration and Customs Enforcement border patrol -- whole families coming. Unaccompanied children down 55 percent.

Do we know if this is tied to Trump's rhetoric and what people perceive will be his policies coming forward? Is this tied to the economy? Often, the border is very reflective to what's happening in the economy. If there aren't jobs here people don't come. What is it?

[05:40:05] KOPAN: You know, absolutely, there's a constellation of factors, you know. It's sort of referred to as a push-pull dynamic that either sends or invites undocumented immigrants from trying to make it into this country, but these numbers are remarkable. I went back with CBP numbers to 2000 and not a single year has the border apprehensions decreased from January to February, and they decreased by a large margin opposite the small margin by which they normally increase.

So there's absolutely a reversal in trend here and there's a reason that unlike -- normally, these statistics are quietly posted online. Secretary Kelly, himself, sent out a press release highlighting these statistics.

ROMANS: Right.

KOPAN: The Trump administration feels it's very good for them. We're going to need time to see whether, you know, his sort of tough talk and tough policies are the direct cause. But it's hard to argue that there isn't a deterrent effect when, you know, his stance on immigration has been so widely covered and this is a remarkable change in what we normally see this time of year.

ROMANS: Absolutely right. You're absolutely right -- fascinating. All right, thank you so much, Tal Kopan. Nice to see you this morning. Let's stay on the subject of immigration. Without immigrants, the U.S. workforce would shrink dramatically over the next 20 years. That's according to new research this morning from Pew. At the same time, President Trump is saying he can create 25 million jobs over the next 10 years. He wants to grow the labor market at the very time when demographers say it's going to shrink.

In 2015, the total U.S. workforce was 173 million people. Those are people, you know, 25 to 64. Without new immigrants coming into the country that number will drop by 2025, according to Pew. If the flow of both legal and unauthorized immigrants continues at current rates the workforce will jump to 183 million. The reason for the gap is a big drop in the largest slice of the labor market.

BRIGGS: People born in the U.S. to parents who are also born here -- in 2015, that group accounted for 74 percent of the workforce. By 2025, it will drop to just 66 percent. Now that's due to both baby boomers retiring and a lower U.S. birth rate, according to Pew.

ROMANS: The big question now, how will this play out with the Trump administration's moves to deport undocumented immigrants with criminal records and restrict legal immigration, the latter more important there.

The Justice Department also reviewing a rule which lets spouses of H1B visa workers work in the U.S. That is going to be interesting, too. That was something that came up during the Obama administration. So these high school workers come in and they're often married, right? For a long time, their spouses could not work. The Obama administration allowed them to. The Trump administration, we think, is going to revoke that.

BRIGGS: We think. A lot still to come on immigration under the Trump administration. But another deployment of U.S. military personnel to Syria coming up. Where they're headed, what's the plan when they arrive? We'll have a live report, next.


[05:47:05] BRIGGS: U.S. officials say hundreds of Marines are being deployed to Northern Syria. That's in advance of a planned assault by U.S.-backed fighters on the city of Raqqa, ISIS' self-declared capital, in the coming weeks. CNN national security reporter Ryan Browne joining us live from Washington. Good morning to you, Ryan. What is the capacity? Are they fighting or are they in support?

RYAN BROWNE, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Good morning. They are in support. In fact, this is -- they are going to be equipped with artillery howitzers that will enable America's local Kurdish and Arab allies on -- in their push on Raqqa. Now these allies, they don't have heavy weapons like artillery so this is a critical capability that the U.S. military will be providing. Now, this is no surprise. U.S. military planners have been thinking about this for some time. It's very similar to what the U.S. provided Iraqi troops in their assault on Mosul, U.S. Marines also providing artillery.

Now, ISIS has what U.S. Defense officials say is up to 4,000 fighters in Raqqa. They are well-dug-in. They've had years to prepare defenses -- tunnels, booby-trapped houses, things of that nature. So they're gearing up for a very big fight in the coming weeks and ISIS is expected to put up some stiff resistance, so this is a critical capability.

And this new deployment comes as an additional 100 U.S. Army Rangers have gone to Manbij in Northern Syria amid what is turning out to be a very complicated battlefield with multiple actors. Now, Manbij was captured from ISIS in August by America's local allies, but you're also seeing regime and Russian troops in the area, Turkish troops and their allies in the area. Some of these groups don't get along very well so the U.S. is putting troops in there to act as a deterrent -- to prevent any clashes that could undermine this very critical and important upcoming offensive on Raqqa.

So this is something that, you know, amidst all this kind of tension, the U.S. is kind of stepping in a reassurance and a deterrence role to really ensure that its long multi-year campaign against ISIS is allowed to proceed ahead.

BRIGGS: Ryan Browne, thank you.

BROWNE: You bet.

ROMANS: All right, today's a special day. It's not my birthday, it's not your birthday. There's a little bull on Wall Street that turns eight years old today and it's made a lot of people --

BRIGGS: What are you getting him?

ROMANS: -- very rich. I don't know. We're hoping for a long life for this bull because look, if it wants to become the longest of all time -- the longest bull market of all time, it's got to run four more years. Think of that. There could be more money ahead or --

BRIGGS: That's a long run.

ROMANS: -- it could be over. I'll show you the numbers, next.


[05:54:00] BRIGGS: In the face of questions about ties between the president and his businesses at home and abroad, the Chinese government has granted preliminary approval for more than 30 Trump- related trademarks. This, according to documents reviewed by CNN. Lawyers for the Trump Organization claim they're just trying to protect the trademark, but could there be a conflict? CNN international correspondent Matt Rivers joins us from Beijing with more. What's the potential conflict here?

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, lawyers for Donald Trump filed 39 different trademark applications in 2016 seeking to trademark Donald Trump's name both in English and in Chinese here in China. Thirty-five of those applications were accepted in a wide range of industries, including some you might expect, like construction, and some you might not expect, like bodyguard services. Now, this is the kind of thing that happens in China all the time. Businesses, famous people apply for these protective trademarks and the Trump Organization say they're not different. That they have the right to do what they've been doing. But that's where things get a little bit tricky because Donald Trump is the President of the United States and ethics lawyers say that if these approval of these trademark applications are seen as a gift from the Chinese, that is obviously a conflict of interest and perhaps unconstitutional.

[05:55:15] BRIGGS: Certainly. Well, Matt, we also understand lawmakers in the U.S. are taking issue with a certain visa program that's benefitted wealthy business execs and countries, including China. What can you tell us about that?

RIVERS: Yes, this is called an EB-5 visa program. It's intended to get wealthy foreigners to invest money into projects that create jobs into the United States. In exchange, the United States then provides a visa to that foreigner which could someday lead to a citizenship for that person down the road. We know that the Trump Organization has used funding from the EB-5 visa program to get funding for some of its projects in the past.

But it does appear that there is rare bipartisan support during this upcoming budget process that we're about to move into on Capitol Hill, to either reform or scrap this visa program because what lawmakers say is that it really amounts to nothing more than selling U.S. citizenship to wealthy foreigners. And there are people here in China who will be upset by that because the Chinese have used it as a way, in the past, to move wealth out of China and also get a visa in the process.

BRIGGS: All right, Matt, thank you very much.

ROMANS: All right, it's that time of the morning. Fifty-six minutes past the hour. Let's get a check on your money. Today is a very important little day. It is the bull market's eighth birthday. It has been a profitable ride from the recession lows of March 9th, 2009. That was a really horrible day. The S&P 500, since then, up an incredible 250 percent. The Dow is up nearly 220 percent.

Eight years ago the S&P closed at 676. I can remember that closing bell. I can remember not believing that number was coming out of my mouth. It is now above 2,300. The labor market, back then, shed 823,000 jobs in March, the worst month of the recession. Tomorrow, the official forecast is for a rise of 185,000. There are some private sector forecasts of up to 300,000. Back then, home prices dropped almost 19 percent over the year that ended March 2009. Remember that housing crisis -- horrible. Today, home prices have risen almost six percent over the past year.

Now, this trend in stocks reflects a rebounding economy. The more recent gains in stocks are all about corporate profits. That's the Trump part of the rally. It's just a small portion of the overall gains, but this president's policies are key to keeping the bull rally going. And some Wall Street insiders, frankly, are telling me they expect

more muted gains over the next months and years, but gains nonetheless because here's some good news for the bulls out there, yes. The bull market, right now, is 2,922 days young, right? The longest bull market days lasted almost 4,500 days -- that's in green -- from the crash of 1987 to the dot-com bubble in 2000. At that time, the S&P shot up 582 percent. So what does all this mean? It means if you think conditions now could rival 1987 to 2000, this bull market could keep going for a long time.

All right, I want to tell you quickly about that new bronze statue on Wall Street. A little girl defiantly staring down that bull swarmed with bullish visitors on International Women's Day. Look at this little girl. She brought her superpowers. Five-year-old Ariana -- Abriana Al Monte (ph) visited the statue. She had a day off from school. Her mother, some other visitors, and a bunch of news photographers snapped pictures of her. It went viral on social media. Her mom says she dresses up like a superhero frequently, mainly to play with her little brother who has autism.

BRIGGS: You have superheroes at home, do you?

ROMANS: You know, everyone's got --

BRIGGS: We all have superheroes at home.

ROMANS: I've got a superhero -- a new co-anchor.

BRIGGS: Oh, yes, and you have to figure out my superpowers.

ROMANS: Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now.


RYAN: I have no doubt we'll pass this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you look through it, it's Obamacare in a different form.

ROMANS: Some powerful groups in the health care industry are lining up to oppose the GOP replacement plan.

SPICER: Make no mistake, the president is very proud of the product that we have produced.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trumpcare is a mess.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let it be a disaster. We can blame that on the Dems.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: The president asked Congress to look into whether or not his campaign was wiretapped. I will take up that challenge.

SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA: What we have right now is an accusal with absolutely no basis in fact.

SPICER: There is no reason that we have to think that the president is the target of any investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Be careful what you wish for.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is your NEW DAY. It's Thursday, March 9th, 6:00 here in New York.

And we begin with breaking news. A small victory for Republicans in the health care battle. The House Ways and Means Committee approving its portion of the bill to repeal Obamacare. Eighteen hours of debate going on. A long night, obviously, on Capitol Hill, not over. Look how beautiful it is when the sun comes up. Inside, though --

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Outside, it's beautiful.

CUOMO: Outside, beautiful, inside, ugly. The Energy Committee still debating right now. These are live pictures. It was an all-night marathon session.