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Showdown Over GOP's Obamacare Repeal Plan; Flynn was Foreign Agent for Turkey; Deadly Protests in South Korea After President Impeached; Love, Sex and Robots. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired March 10, 2017 - 10:30   ET



[10:32:32] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Good morning, everyone, I'm John Berman.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Poppy Harlow. So glad you're with us. The president wants to make a deal, the grand deal, the first big deal of his presidency. Republicans have their plan in place, some of them, to try to repeal and replace Obamacare. Now they need to get more members of their own party on the same page.

So can this president be the compromiser-in-chief?

BERMAN: All right. Joining us now, CNN senior political analyst Mark Preston and CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley.

Mark Preston, first to you. You know, I guess you have both Donald Trump and Paul Ryan here, the president and the speaker of the House. Can either afford to lose this one? Do they both need this plan to get through, Mark?

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, I think Donald Trump has more to lose in this because he has always talked about winning and he ran on this as one of his main -- basically held up the stool, it's one of the three things that he said that he would get through.

For Paul Ryan, it's important, but I do think he could lose it. You know what I think is going to happen, though, John, is that this is going to be -- and we're starting to see it right now -- really a lot of infighting within the Republican Party, which could be detrimental to the party in the long run.

Remember, Donald Trump's not necessarily an ideologue. He's somebody who likes to win. And that's why we're seeing him talk about doing these big rallies, these football-style rallies to try to push this bill through. And those rallies, John, are not necessarily directed at Democrats. They're directed at Republicans.

HARLOW: So, Douglas, as a presidential historian, I mean, this president who is the "Art of the Deal" guy. This is also a White House who's indicated in the last 24 hours they're really willing to budge and willing to give on some pretty big things including sunsetting the Medicaid expansion quite a bit sooner than is included in this bill.

What is the page from history for the president to take on this one, from other leaders who have given and it has behooved them and others who have given too much?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, health care policy in general is the tar baby of American politics. You're going to enter the field like Donald Trump's doing, you're going to get stuck and it's going to be hard to get out of. There's a reason that presidents from Theodore Roosevelt all the way up to Barack Obama tried to do something like the Affordable Care Act, it couldn't get anywhere.

Hillary and Bill Clinton starting in 1993 pushed it and it destroyed the first year of Bill Clinton's presidency. And Barack Obama paid a very high cost for the Affordable Care Act. It led to the birth of the Tea Party movement and the great resistance to his presidency.

[10:35:03] What that means for Donald Trump is I would get in and out of this as quickly now as possible. He's got to go one way or the other. I think he has to back Paul Ryan's plan and say that's where we're at and move on to Neil Gorsuch and the Supreme Court in a few weeks, and just say we did repeal and replace Obamacare, or if he goes to the freedom group, he's going to be in a war going on in America, or you're going to see town hall meetings with angry people, and a year from now there are going to be people saying, my family member lost their lives because they suddenly have no medical coverage.

So he's in a tough situation. And he's got to put his shoulder to the wheel here, pick one side or the other, and go hard.

BERMAN: Turns out health care is complicated, both policy-wise and politically.

HARLOW: It is.

BERMAN: Mark Preston, I want to bring up something else that's sort of popped up over the last 20 hours or so, and it involves Mike Flynn, the former National Security adviser, retired general, and the fact that he lobbied -- got paid to lobby for Turkey while he was working for -- while he was working as an adviser, I guess, to the Trump campaign and before he was hired as National Security adviser.

A lot of people looked at this and say, wait a second, I thought President Trump was going to drain the swamp. I thought he wasn't going to hire people who lobbied for foreign countries. Let me just play you what the vice president of the United States said when pressed about this.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's the first I heard of it, and I think it is an affirmation of the president's decision to ask General Flynn to resign.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: So I think the White House message is, you know, what Flynn did before he came and worked for us officially is his own business, but Mike Pence there was very willing to just, you know, stab him again there on the way out.

PRESTON: Yes, no doubt. And, you know, I think Mike Pence was very upset, the fact that he wasn't read in or told what was going on with General Flynn all throughout this process. And I think those comments that we just saw from the vice president as well just goes to show that he is more of an establishment type of politician. He likes to see regular order. At the same time, Donald Trump is a disrupter. He brought in Flynn who is a disrupter in many ways.

And for Mike Pence, I think that he's probably breathing a sigh of relief that Flynn is no longer a part of the administration, let alone one of the most important positions in the administration.

HARLOW: Douglas Brinkley, on the topic of the fight of the day or the hour, the week or the month, however long this is going to take, and that is the fight again over what they do or to hold their promise and repeal and replace Obamacare, you have met the president. You were down in Mar-a-Lago not that long ago.

What did you glean from him about what he cares about most in this fight? Because what we can't seem to get to the core to -- core of is what the president really won't let go of in this and what he will let go of, or do you get a sense that this is just about getting a deal done and being able to call this a win?

BRINKLEY: I think it's about calling it a win and make sure American veterans get full medical coverage. When I was down there, he had the head of Cleveland Clinic and Mayo, Johns Hopkins and other medical leaders there. And their big issue was how do we make sure vets can get full care, not just at VA hospitals but anywhere. If he could take a piece like that that becomes part of -- he fulfills his secondary mission, not just repeal and replace but taking care of the veterans.

But health care is a lot of dreaming. Everybody dreams of what they can do and when you get down to the nitty-gritty, you get stuck. And Donald Trump is in a precarious situation now. He hasn't really gotten a trophy since he's become president, except for the fact that the jobs report was so Sterling today. And he's really riding on the fact that the American economy is good. But otherwise it's been a chaotic first weeks in office.


BERMAN: All right. Douglas Brinkley, Mark Preston, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it, guys. Both of you get trophies for this appearance.


BERMAN: All right. Dramatic developments overseas for a key U.S. ally. South Korea's leader ousted. Now protesters on the streets. What does this mean for the United States? What does this mean for the posturing with North Korea? We've a live report ahead.


[10:43:46]HARLOW: This was a scene out of the middle of Seoul, South Korea. Chaos on the streets of Seoul after its highly -- after a highly -- after its high court unanimously voted to impeach the country's president. Hundreds of her supporters swarmed the streets in protest. Two people were killed in these clashes with police.

BERMAN: Now the acting South Korean president is worried that North Korea will try to capitalize on this political disorder.

All of this is ahead of a visit from U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. He goes to South Korea next week.

CNN's Alexandra Field joins us. You know, we have political upheaval, Alexandra. You can see it all around you, right, you know this in key U.S. ally.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, deep political ideological, emotional divides here separating the people in this country as they saw this historic moment, the first female president of South Korea impeached.

The decision -- the unanimous decision by the constitutional court to oust her from office was met with fury by her supporters. Suporters of the Conservative Party. You saw pockets of violence erupting, they were quickly quelled, but two protesters did die during the course of the protests, several others were injured.

On the flipside, though, you saw thousands of people coming out saying that democracy worked, holding a candlelight vigil, celebrating the impeachment and the ousting of former president Park Geun-hye.

[10:45:10] The world is reacting to this impeachment because there are consequences in terms of what happens here next. The acting president of South Korea will have to call an election that will happen within 60 days. He is also calling for unity and solidarity, expressing the importance of remaining strong and united in order to not let the North Koreans seize on any perceived sort of weakness or division here.

The U.S. State Department has commented on this thing that they won't comment further on the election itself, but it is an internal matter, but they are saying that they will work with the acting president and that the commitment to the alliance between South Korea and the U.S. remains strong.

But it does beg the question, who will the next president be and could there be a shift in policy when it comes to how this country wants to deal with North Korea? That's the important question for the U.S.

The Conservative Party has been ruling here for the last 10 years. It was under Conservative Party rule that the decision was made to implement and deploy the THAAD system here. That is a U.S.-designed missile defense system. It is highly controversial in the region. China has objected to it because of its radar which they perceive as having the capability of providing surveillance into China. But U.S. and South Korean officials have committed to THAAD. The first pieces of it arrived this week. It is meant to deter a North Korean nuclear threat.

The question is now, if you have change of ruling party here in South Korea, if you have perhaps a democratic president taking over, will that policy shift? The frontrunner in this race, and it is early days here, the race just kicking off now, has come out publicly and spoken out against THAAD. He opposes THAAD. He has also argued for a different kind of tone towards South Korea, more negotiation, more conversation.

These are all issues that will be addressed when the U.S. secretary of state comes to South Korea next week to talk more about the growing nuclear and missile threat from North Korea -- Poppy, John.

HARLOW: Alexandra Field for us, a very important point, what is the next leadership signal there for these relations as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is ahead of making his trip there next week.

Thank you very much.

I know there's a lot of talk now about whether he can take the press with him.

BERMAN: We'll get answers to that question at some point today. Yes.

HARLOW: So far they haven't decided, and that's very important.

OK. Coming up, relationship status. Engaged to a robot? Seriously? Our Laurie Segall was at the engagement party. She joins us next with a preview of her brand-new series "mostly human." You won't believe this, folks, until you see it.

BERMAN: Where are they registered? Where does a robot register?

HARLOW: Bloomingdale's. Macy's.


[10:52:16] BERMAN: So are you addicted to your smartphone? Well, that is nothing compared to this. How about sex robots with artificial intelligence? One woman engaged to a robot?

HARLOW: For real, folks. We've been waiting to tell about you this all morning. CNN's new series, "MOSTLY HUMAN," with Laurie Segall explores love, sex, and the growing powers of modern technology in our daily lives. Laurie Segall, the one and only, joins us now.

Laurie, you have been spending months and months and months working on this, traveling all over the world. Sex robots just a little part of this. What's the premise of this series?

BERMAN: An important part, though.

HARLOW: An important part.

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN MONEY TECH CORRESPONDENT: You know, look, I did. I -- my whole idea was, like, taking a step back and looking at technology and its power over us, and also asking some really uncomfortable questions, and looking at these strange stories that none of us might take seriously, but one day maybe we will.

I think we actually have a clip of the trailer. I want to show you, guys, take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just insane to me that something that somebody does online would result in execution.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is where bits and bytes meet flesh and blood.

SEGALL: Do you think that people will fall in love with robots?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like it's inevitable.

SEGALL: Technology is now love. War. It's life, death. Ultimately tech is mostly human.


SEGALL: And you, guys, this did take me to a sex doll-slash-robot factory in California where they're actually building artificial intelligence to go in these robots that look increasingly human. And it sounds so crazy, but there's going to be an app for your phone that almost has like a girlfriend that you talk to, they call it intimate AI, I think different than Siri. And the idea is that you can plug it into a robotic head.

It's unbelievable stuff. And I think what's more interesting, even in this kind of strange stories, these larger questions. You know, the guy that build these robots, he said to me, you know, I don't think we need human connections to be happy. This engagement party for a robot which is just mind blowing when I interviewed Lilly, the woman who is engaged to the robot, she said to me, you know, robots are never going to cheat. It's going to be safe and you can program all of this stuff.

So there's this really human weird vulnerable moments that come with these larger questions and the series explores even kind of some of the larger issues of technology and the ethics now that we're kind of taking a step back.

BERMAN: Yes. You see a robot is not what he wants.

SEGALL: Now that we're kind of taking a step back -- yes. No, it's not.

BERMAN: Laurie, quickly --

SEGALL: But go ahead. BERMAN: In addition to the sex stuff, you also talked to a woman who

was able to sort of communicate with a friend of hers that had died? We've got 30 seconds left. What went on there?

[10:55:04] SEGALL: Unbelievable. She took all his Facebook posts, tweets, text messages, used artificial intelligence and created a chat bot, a digital copy of him, so she could literally talk with a chat bot that sounded like him, had the same taste in music, the same deep, dark fears. And she said to me, you know, Laurie, humans decode easily. All of the stuff you've left online could create a very accurate digital portrayal of you. And that's something to think about because there's a lot of ethical questions there of, you know, when you die, would you want a digital version of you created. So we asked those questions in the series.

HARLOW: You know, I've seen -- I've gotten a sneak peek, it's an incredible series. I love the fact that the robots, not only can you get engaged to them, but people may not be lonely anymore. They're going to have these companions.

Laurie Segall, you've done an incredible, beautiful jobs, hats off to you and your entire team.

Guys, this is a CNNgo exclusive series, "MOSTLY HUMAN" with Laurie Segall. You can start watching it this Sunday.

HARLOW: All right, and coming up, President Trump, he is expected to speak to speak in public. Will he take questions on the evidence-free wiretap claims he made? He's got a big White House meeting. Stay with us.