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Judges in Hawaii and Maryland Rule Against President's Second Travel Ban; Trump Says House Health Care Bill May Need to Change to Pass; Interview with Senator Bill Cassidy; Police: Letter Bomb Explodes at IMF HQ in Paris; Interview with Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired March 16, 2017 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:00:00] SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R), OKLAHOMA: And let's keep in mind, the guy who is running that now is no different than the attorneys general of all the other states because all of them were feeling the same aggressive abuse that was coming out of the EPA that was not designed to do that.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Senator, we're out of time. I wanted to get your take on health care. We'll have you back. Thank you for joining us on NEW DAY.
INHOFE: Thank you, Poppy.
HARLOW: We're following a lot of news this morning. Let's get right to it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to fight this terrible ruling. We're going to win.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A second federal judge has blocked the president's new travel ban.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The revised executive order is unconstitutional and unlawful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president's own words are coming back to haunt him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see no evidence that his predecessor had wiretapped Trump Tower.
TRUMP: Wiretap covers a lot of different things.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to take the tweets literally, then clearly the president was wrong.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obamacare is in a death spiral.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The leadership is weak-kneed.
TRUMP: We're going to have negotiation. The end result is going to be great.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no question it's a hard power budget.
TRUMP: Our budget will shrink the bloated federal bureaucracy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. Alisyn is off. Poppy Harlow is joining me now.
HARLOW: Good morning.
CUOMO: And we have breaking news for everybody this morning. A federal judge in Maryland becoming the second to now block President Trump's revised travel ban in just hours. The new ruling comes after another federal judge in Hawaii put the travel ban on hold nationwide overnight. Here is the interesting legal point. Both judges cited the president's inflammatory words on the campaign trail as a basis of legislative intent, unusual.
HARLOW: Unusual, and will it stand up in the higher courts. The president, meantime, is slamming this ruling from this federal judge in Hawaii, calling it, quote, "Unprecedented judicial over reach," vowing to repeal it up to the Supreme Court. All of this as the White House this morning is unveiling its first budget, cutting billions of dollars from federal departments and boosting defense spending a lot.
Of course a lot going on on day 56 of the Trump presidency. Let's begin this hour with our justice reporter Laura Jarrett live in Washington with the details. What are we learning from these two subsequent rulings?
LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Poppy, the federal judge in Maryland was laser focused much like that judge in Hawaii on arguments about the executive order disfavoring Muslims over non-Muslims. And the judge in Maryland says, look, I simply can't ignore the un- rebutted evidence of the president's own statements from the campaign. He writes in part her in the opinion, "Significantly the record also includes specific statements directly establishing Trump intended to effectuate a partial Muslim ban by banning entry by citizens of specific predominately Muslim countries deemed to be dangerous as a means to avoid for political reasons an action explicitly directed at Muslims."
The practical import of this decision is limited given Hawaii's nationwide ruling just yesterday banning the ban as well. But it's another blow from a federal court on the legality of this new order. Now, we haven't heard anything from the White House or the Justice Department, I should mention, about this latest ruling out of Maryland. But my guess is we're going to see both of these cases destined for a swift appeal.
CUOMO: Effective but early. These are district courts. You're going to have layers of appeal. We're certainly far away from any Supreme Court ruling in all likelihood. Did you see any differences between the two judges and their findings, or did both equally rely on what the president had said about this ban as much as he did the language of the actual order?
JARRETT: Chris, both of the judges in Maryland and Hawaii are really doubling down on the president's statements. But the thing about Maryland that I noticed that makes it a little different is this judge is giving them a preliminary injunction. And that's as opposed to a temporary restraining order. And the real difference being that a preliminary injunction will last through a trial on the merits of this new executive order whereas the temporary restraining order that Hawaii gave is much more limited in time. The judge in Hawaii granted that order, saying he intends to set an expedited hearing to determine whether it should be extended. Poppy?
HARLOW: Laura Jarrett, great reporting. Thank you so much.
The president is breaking a nearly two-week-long silence, doing this interview talking about wiretapping claims that he made against President Obama. He is not backing down. The president and the speaker in the meantime are conceding that their health care plan to replace Obamacare is probably going to have to change if they want enough votes. Our Suzanne Malveaux has that live on Capitol Hill. Good morning.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Poppy. The legislation in its current form has very few backers, not likely to get through the full house unless it has some major reforms. There are several steps, first two House committees it has to go through. Today it is the budget committee, next week it is the rules committee. And one of the sticking points, how many federal dollars go to the states for Medicaid.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[08:05:05] TRUMP: We're doing it a different way, a complex way. It's fine. The end result is when you have phase one, phase two, phase three, it's going to be great.
MALVEAUX: President Trump attempting to reassure his supporters amid growing opposition to the GOP's health care plan.
TRUMP: We're going to arbitrate. We're going to all get together. We're going to get something done.
MALVEAUX: Calling the House bill preliminary and acknowledging work needs to be done.
TRUMP: I think we're going to have negotiation.
MALVEAUX: House Speaker Paul Ryan also conceding his plan must change to pass the House.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Now that we have our score from the CBO, that's something we were waiting for. Now that we've got it, we've got room to make refinements.
MALVEAUX: A significant retreat from his earlier position that the bill would fail if big changes were made. Ryan bristling at the question of whether it would pass as is.
RYAN: It's not coming up this afternoon. It's going through the legislative process. That legislative process has not been finalized. No offense, that's kind of a goofy question or a faulty premise.
MALVEAUX: House leadership facing an uphill climb. They can only afford to lose 21 Republican votes. CNN's whip count already has 19 lawmakers on the record saying they will vote no or are leaning against it. The chairman of the House Freedom Caucus says he believes he has enough votes to block the bill as Trump's health secretary made the pitch directly to the American people at a CNN town hall last night.
TOM PRICE, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: Those of us who are privileged to implement that policy, what we'll do is try to listen to the principles that the American people have told us are dear to them in health care.
MALVEAUX: All this comes as the president remains defiant over his unsubstantiated wiretapping claims. He now says he got it from mainstream media.
TRUMP: "The New York Times" wrote about it, not that I respect the "The New York Times." I call it the failing "New York Times."
MALVEAUX: The president attempting to redefine the meaning of "wiretap."
TRUMP: That really covers surveillance and many other things. And nobody ever talks about the fact that it was in quotes. But that's a very important thing. You're going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront.
MALVEAUX: A growing course of Republicans rejecting the claim.
REP. DEVIN NUNES, (R) CALIFORNIA: We don't have any evidence that that took place. In fact, I don't believe in the last week of time, the people we've talked to, I don't think there was an actual tap of Trump Tower.
MALVEAUX: And this coming Monday FBI Director James Comey will testify in a rare public hearing before the House Intelligence Committee as to whether or not he has any evidence that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. Chris?
CUOMO: All right, it will be interesting to see if the FBI director considers this broader implication of what wiretapping could mean to mean any kind of surveillance. Suzanne, thank you very much.
Joining us now, Republican Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. Lots to discuss. Let's begin with what hit the headlines here, two different district courts saying this executive order can't go into effect largely because of what the judges believe the intent is from comments made by mostly then candidate, now President Trump. How do you feel about that?
SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R), LOUISIANA: I'm not an attorney, but I'm not sure the important thing is what the judge judges as the intent, but what is the actual practice. Clearly the president wishes to keep that from happening here which has happened in Europe where there have been people posing as refugees who have come into Europe committing horrific crimes. I suspect they'll appeal, and if they have to, they'll refine. But I think the president ultimately wants to protect us from those sort of false refugees, and frankly, we should all wish he can do so.
CUOMO: Senator, we have you on because you're in the convince-me mode right now on the health care bill. You're also in that mood at all on this executive order? Yes, you're right that's the president's mandate to keep us safe on issues of national security, immigration, enemies abroad, no question about that. But are you convinced that that threat exists from these countries in light of recent reports from the intelligence community that there is no imminent threat from the countries that have been articulated here and that refugees don't pose an imminent threat?
CASSIDY: So, again, what we've seen in Europe is people came in posing as refugees, if you will.
CUOMO: But we haven't seen it here.
CASSIDY: We haven't seen it here. We've never seen twin towers being toppled before 9/11.
CUOMO: The country involved there isn't on the list.
CASSIDY: But Chris, we shouldn't have a failure of imagination. And by the way, I'm quite willing to concede -- I'm not sure it's related -- it was not from these countries those terrorists came.
CUOMO: They didn't.
CASSIDY: But my point being we shouldn't have a failure of imagination. We should imagine what is a plausible risk.
CUOMO: But do you want to imagine a threat or do you want to act on an actual threat?
CASSIDY: I want to act on an actual threat but also on the potential of a threat. By the way, I've come out saying that the president's first ban was overbroad. So it's not as if I'm defending a blanket ban. But also I'm not going to say until it happens I don't believe that it can. We know that things can happen because they've happened in Europe. And so we should all wish the president is successful in keeping us safer.
[08:10:07] CUOMO: Do you believe the president doesn't have any interest in targeting Muslims?
CASSIDY: I've learned not to guess what's in another person's heart. I would rather say what is the actual effect of this? By the way, there's lots of Christians and other religious groups coming out of Syria. And so I gather it applies to them as well. So if you just look at the practical effect, it would in practice affect all. So, again, I don't try and guess what's in another person's mind.
CUOMO: All right, let's talk about health care, because now you're putting that exact same position, you have to do exactly that. And it seems you've decided to do it when it comes to health care, not with the executive order, because you're saying, hey, I know what I was told, I know what I was promised. And now I feel this plan doesn't reflect those thoughts of what was being discussed before now. What were you expecting that you didn't get?
CASSIDY: Well, the president on the campaign trail gave, if you will, four promises or pillars of what he wished to do, that all would be covered, caring for those with preexisting conditions, without mandates, at a lower cost. And I think that should be where we aim in Congress. I think we can do that. I put together a plan with Susan Collins and four other senators which I think achieves that. And that would be my goal for what Congress passes.
CUOMO: Do you think that your plan or any plan can reduce so dramatically the amount of money that goes into health care and still keep everybody covered?
CASSIDY: Yes, absolutely.
CUOMO: How so?
CASSIDY: The Obamacare plan, if you will, artificially increased costs. For example, the mandated benefits, that would increase costs. A woman on the campaign trail in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, came up to me, she said I'm 56 years old, I have no children. I'm paying $500 more a month for pediatric dentistry and obstetrical benefits. I'm angry. She didn't say I'm angry. She said something stronger than that. The point being that when Americans look at their premiums, they see themselves paying for services they could not plausibly ever use.
CUOMO: Right, but you're kind of cherry-picking data. Wasn't a bigger concern that fueled that aspect of the ACA to begin with, that people aren't getting the coverage, that in order to get an affordable plan, it was stripped bare, what now is called catastrophic coverage. So pre-existing conditions, that was real and that goes to cost, but also people weren't getting the care they needed.
In the new plan you cut mental health out of there, you make that not a must which is really upsetting to a lot of people when it's such a rising cost center for people. It's like everybody is affected either in their family or somebody they know by mental illness, and you want it not to be covered as a mandate.
CASSIDY: In the patient freedom act, the only mandated services we keep are mental health and addiction services.
CUOMO: But not in the current one that's on the table.
CASSIDY: That's on the House side. You're saying you, a little accusatory. That is on the House side. It's not on the Senate side. So I will speak only on what I have control over.
CUOMO: Fair point.
CASSIDY: What I have control over is the Patient Freedom Act. The Patient Freedom Act actually covers those benefits. By the way, the Patient Freedom Act also lowers cost multiple ways. But one, it invites competition from insurance companies. We have higher costs because Obamacare drove out competition.
Secondly, we lower the price of health care in and of itself. We do that by, among other things, mandating price transparency so that consumers can shop, if you will, where to get the cheapest blood test. That will lower the cost of care. We also pre-fund health savings accounts so that somebody will actually be able to have first dollar coverage, not a $6,000 deductible like a bronze level Obamacare policy, first dollar coverage to pay for needed for health care services.
CUOMO: But a couple of questions as we go through this process, because it does seem now that this bill is not going to stay the way it is in the House. Of course you're not voting on it. You're in the Senate. But just as a guideline, a health savings account is good as long as you have money to add to it, right? Because you're not going to give me enough money to pay for my care completely. You're going to help me. But when you do means testing on a lot of people who need the help that you're going to cut in the House plan, it doesn't matter what you're planning to give them. It's not going to be enough. So it seems like you're catering to people who have money, which is fine, but it's not going to address the greatest need.
CASSIDY: You keep saying "you," you must be speaking to the person behind me.
CUOMO: You can't run away from your party completely. What I'm saying is this is the House plan. You can address what is on the table. I just said it's not your plan.
CASSIDY: No, Chris. You're saying you, you, you, the House plan which is not even passed the House yet. If you speak to senators, senators are concerned that if you look at lower income Americans, particularly those that are older, that the amount of service they get will be less than what they need. That is going to be addressed.
As much as you want to say that this plan on the House side is absolutely what Republicans are doing, that's not true. I've got to tell you it's not true. And I share your concerns and the concerns of others. I'm a physician. I've been practicing in a hospital for the uninsured for 25 years.
[08:15:00] I know better than almost anybody the challenges such folks address. It's my commitment to help address those.
CUOMO: I appreciate your point. I was pushing you to make it, to show that there is a division between these two things. Let's end on an emphasis of that point.
Secretary Price made the case last night. Were you satisfied?
CASSIDY: Well, I actually didn't watch it. I was on CNN last night and then I helped my daughter do homework. And so --
CUOMO: That's a strong answer. Going to help the kids do homework is always going to take precedence.
From what you learned about what Secretary Price was saying last night, you know what he was saying to make the case here. You're not satisfied why?
CASSIDY: Well, you can see it's still working its way through the House. I still look at those lower-income older Americans, and we have to do something a little bit more.
By the way, I would like things like price transparency back into the plan, because that allows an organic lowering of the cost of care. It's very powerful. Lasik surgery has decreased in cost over the years because there's price transparency.
We need to give patients the power of knowledge, one of those, if you will, knowledge factors is the price of the good they're consuming.
CUOMO: And for the audience, Lasik surgery is laser eye surgery to help people to become much more popular.
Senator, thank you very much for making these important points. We are still on the process here. That seems more true than ever. Please come back on the show as we learn more about what changes are going to be made and to compare it to what the senators want.
CASSIDY: Thank you, Chris.
CUOMO: Thank you, sir.
HARLOW: All right. We do have breaking news this morning, an explosion at the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund in Paris.
Our Melissa Bell is live at the scene with the breaking details.
MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Poppy, we're near the 16th district of Paris, just behind me the headquarters of the IMF here in the French capital. Perhaps you can see, the road has been entirely closed off. There's a huge police operation under way, trying to find out exactly what went on.
We just heard from the chief of police who has confirmed that one person was injured after a device exploded after being sent in the post. Now, he was clear you can't call this a bomb. It was apparently a pyrotechnic device, that's how he referred to it. A smaller device perhaps, but exploded when the employee opened the mail. She's been lightly injured, no life threatening injuries.
That was all he would tell us for the time being, Poppy. We really know no more than that for now. Of course, the question in the minds of all the journalists gathered here is whether there's any link between what happened here at the Monetary Fund headquarters in Paris and the letter bomb sent to Germany's foreign ministry yesterday -- finance ministry, I'm sorry.
That's been claimed by a far left Greek group. Of course, Greece was bailed out over the course of the last few years. Greek, Germany was heavily involved in that, as was the IMF. Is there any link? That is something we have yet to find out, that we have yet to make.
But now, this police operation goes on to ensure there was nothing else involved in this explosion that happened just before midday local time.
CUOMO: All right. Melissa Bell, thank you very much. If you hear of any other developments of activity, let us know and we'll come back to you.
So, the House Budget Committee is set to mark up the GOP health care bill today. Remember, that's part of what's called the reconciliation process. But you're seeing growing operation. We just had a GOP senator on that shows a division between House and Senate. But within the House itself there's great division on the Republican side, let alone the Democrats, and we have one of them on to make the case for why this bill won't fly, next.
[08:22:01] HARLOW: Two federal judges this morning blocking President Trump's revised travel ban, both citing words the president used while on the campaign trail in their decision that involves the six Muslim majority countries. They say those words amounted to religious discrimination, therefore, blocking this ban.
The president blasting this ruling by the Hawaii federal judge overnight, calling it unprecedented judicial overreach, vowing to fight it up to the Supreme Court.
Here to discuss that and more, congresswoman from Florida, former DNC chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Congresswoman, it is nice to have you.
Let me just get you react --
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA: Thank you, Poppy.
HARLOW: Let me just get your reaction, because, you know, a number of legal analyst, including Alan Dershowitz, our Jeffrey Toobin say, that's a tough argument in court, that what the president said before he was president would have weight on this decision legally.
How do you see it?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, I think you apply the adage if it looks like a Muslim ban, walks like a Muslim ban, talks like a Muslim ban, then it's probably a Muslim ban.
I mean, it would be one thing if the president and his administration had actually targeted countries that had a propensity to be sending us immigrants or refugees that were committing acts of terrorism on our soil. Only those acts of terrorism that we've experienced have actually been homegrown, unfortunately have been either American citizens or naturalized American citizens. And, you know, there is, (a), no basis for specifically targeting these countries. These are countries that have 90 to 99.8 percent Muslim population.
And the president also repeatedly said and also asked his advisers like Rudy Giuliani to help him craft a ban on Muslims that would pass constitutional muster. This one most likely doesn't.
HARLOW: So, I hear your point that say that countries where the 9/11 hijackers are from, those four countries, UAE, Lebanon, Saudi and Egypt not included here. But here's the push, right, in 2015, not that long ago, DNI Clapper in testimony said, "I don't put it past the likes of ISIL to infiltrate other operatives among refugees. That's a huge concern of ours." And then you had FBI Director Comey that same year come out and say, "I can't sit here and I can't state with absolute assurance there is no risk associated."
This is a temporary pause, a 90-day pause the administration is asking for. Do you see any need for improvement to the current system?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: We have a two-year vetting process that is extremely rigorous for reviewing refugees that ask to come into our country to seek refuge. So, we already have a very significant vetting process, extreme as the president likes to use. You know, I'm OK with a temporary halt in immigration or even admission of some refugees from countries that we actually have real concern about.
[08:25:03] The only concern that the president seems to have about these countries is that they are overwhelmingly majority Muslim. And that's a religious test and that's unconstitutional.
HARLOW: So, you would be comfortable with, Congresswoman, Saudi Arabia, for example? You'd be comfortable with that pause from Saudi Arabia, a key ally of this country in the region?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: What I'd be comfortable with is that if there's a true analysis of the risk from countries that we are concerned about, that have had immigrants come to this country that committed acts of terrorism. The recent acts of terrorism we've had have all been -- virtually all been from people who were either naturalized here or natural born American citizens.
And so, we -- you know, we're going to see this go up through the courts, maybe, because if you remember, the president pulled his last punch and didn't send it through the courts because I think his analysts surmised that it wouldn't pass constitutional muster. I think this is likely going to suffer the same fate.
HARLOW: We'll see. I mean, this one -- even though the president called it watered down last night, this one is significantly different than the original one. Let me get your take on health care before I lose you.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: A different costume, but the same thing.
HARLOW: Well, they've taken out a lot of things like legal permanent residents, green cardholders. Iraq is not included.
But I want to get your take. You're on the budget committee. You guys are going to sit down. You're going to mark up this bill today on health care. I know you don't like it, right, and I know you're probably reveling in the fact that 19 Republicans in the House don't want to sign this thing. And if you get 21, they're going to lose it.
But where will you work with Republicans on this one? Where will you give or is the Democrats' play here just to be obstructionist?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: We're happy, as we've said, for many years, to work with Republicans on the fixes that are necessary for the Affordable Care Act. But, what they're doing --
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, I want to make sure there are -- we address the issue of the counties and states that only have very limited choice when it comes to policies. We don't need to tear out the entire Affordable Care Act to do that. We need to sit down and address the problems with that.
But what this bill does is it takes away health care from 14 million people in the next year, 24 million over ten years. What it does is that it not only leaves people uninsured, it leaves them underinsured, Poppy. What's not been talked about as much is that it eliminates the significant coverage benefits that are required in Affordable Care Act policies that would no longer be required under this bill.
And so, many, many people would have, even if they had insurance, not have enough coverage to actually make sure that they could get their health care needs addressed.
HARLOW: I would say that's been covered a lot in detail at least on this network. Chris went through it point by point with the senator.
Before you go, in your home state of Florida, premiums this year on the silver plan going up 19 percent. Last year, they went up 9.5 percent. You know these families, they write to you, they call you, they say, we can't afford this.
Where was the urgency when you thought --
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No, actually, that's not what they're saying in my --
HARLOW: You've had not constituent -- you've had no constituents say this is too expensive?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Look, people vote with their feet. And what that means is that when something is too expensive, they walk away. We have the most sign-ups for the Affordable Care Act in the entire country in the state of Florida. And you also would have the most people lose coverage under the Republican pay more for less plan, Trumpcare would be a disaster for my state and disproportionately hurt the elderly, because there are -- the elderly would have astronomical increases in their health care cost. It's outrageous and unacceptable.
HARLOW: It's an important point on Florida. You have had some of the big providers and insurance companies pulling out. But you just really, you haven't heard from one --
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: We still have choice.
HARLOW: -- you haven't heard from any constituents who say this is getting too expensive?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: There are people who always complain that health care is too expensive. We've had the lowest rate of growth in health care costs in 50 years, Poppy. We've had much higher rates of increase before the Affordable Care Act. There's no denying that.
And, of course, we always want to get a handle on health care costs. What we don't need to do in order to achieve that is take health care away from millions and millions of people and pile increases in costs on the elderly, the sick and the disabled to give a massive tax break to the wealthiest 400 Americans in this country. That's what this bill does.
This is a massive tax break for the wealthy disguised as a health care bill.
HARLOW: Congresswoman, we appreciate you joining us. You have a busy day ahead in the budget committee. Thank you for being on NEW DAY.
WASSSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thank you.
CUOMO: Better ideas, better ideas, that's what we need.
President Trump now saying more to come in two weeks on his wiretapping claim. But lawmakers continue to insist there is no proof. So why would the president continue beating this drum? We debate. You decide, next.