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NEW DAY SATURDAY
Man Killed At Paris Airport After Grabbing Soldier's Gun; Trump Sticks To Wiretap Claims Despite DOJ Report; Monday: First Public Hearing On Russia Election Meddling; Agents Under Fire For Intruder, Stolen Laptop And More; Tillerson: Tensions Over North Korea At "Dangerous Level" Aired 6-7a ET
Aired March 18, 2017 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: The report that was submitted to Congress does not confirm what President Trump and the White House have been saying that he was wiretapped under the orders of President Obama.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I didn't make an opinion on it. That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fox News cannot confirm Judge Napolitano's commentary.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President of the United States is a compulsive liar.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Confidence in words and in action over a new revised health care bill.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: It's going to be passed pretty quickly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: North Korea is now pursuing programs that would allow them to present a clear threat to the continental United States. All options are on the table.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He went undetected on the south side ground for more than 16 minutes before finally being caught at the entrance to the residence just below the president's bedroom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: An awful lot of news to unpack for you this morning, and we have a special guest with us. I'm Christi Paul.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: I'm Martin Savidge in for Victor Blackwell. Great to be with you. A lot going on this morning in politics as Christi said including President Trump still unapologetic as he stands by his claims that he was wiretapped. Even though a new Justice Department report says otherwise. But first, the French government says that a man has been shot
dead at the airport in Paris after he grabbed a soldier's gun. CNN's Melissa Bell joins us on the line -- Melissa.
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Martin, I'm here at Orly Airport just outside the south terminal. It was an hour and a half ago here that a man managed to take the weapon from the one of the soldiers on duty. Now you know that France remains in a state of emergency.
Places like airports are heavily guarded, regularly patrolled by heavily armed soldiers. This man managed to take the weapon after one of the soldiers before trying to then seek refuge in one of the shops. The man was shot by security services.
This airport has been evacuated and closed for the last hour and a half. Now you can see perhaps just the entrance of the airport there. This is as close as we can get. Martin, there's been a lot of activity in the last few minutes.
More policemen sort of rushing in there as an operation under way to make sure that there were no explosives anywhere in the building and also try to get to the bottom of whether this man was actually acting alone or whether anyone else was involved.
Now as you can see, the terminal remains entirely evacuated. Scenes of chaos, of course, all around as people are trying to make it to the other terminals in the hopes of getting their flights and flights from the other terminals continue.
An inquiry has already been open trying to find out whether this man was acting alone and what his motivations were -- Martin.
SAVIDGE: Melissa Bell reporting to us from Paris there. Thank you very much. We'll follow this through you.
Meanwhile, let's turn back to politics this morning. President Trump is waking up at his luxury resort in Florida, but he's still sticking to his claims that President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign, helped, he says, by a British spy agency. This as U.S. officials tell CNN a classified DOJ report to Congress did not have any evidence to support this claim.
PAUL: Evidence or no evidence that the president is not apologizing to President Obama nor to the U.K. CNN's White House correspondent, Athena Jones walked us through all of this now.
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi and Martin. In the two weeks since President Trump made those explosive and unsubstantiated allegations against his predecessor claiming that President Obama had his, quote, "wires tapped in Trump Tower," White House officials have avoided answering any questions about whether the president has evidence he can provide to back up those unsubstantiated claims.
Officials spent days ducking and dodging question about this issue. Over the last couple of days, we've heard various explanations from White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. He's argued that the president did not mean that his phones were tapped.
Literally, wiretapped in Trump Tower when he spoke about wiretapping or tweeted about wiretapping. Despite the fact that two of the tweets specifically mentioned his phones being tapped. Press Secretary Spicer says that the president believes he will ultimately be vindicated by evidence.
Most recently press secretary Spicer argued citing a Fox News commentator that British intelligence helped tap communications in Trump Tower. It's an erroneous claim the British have denied and that Spicer provided no evidence for.
Now the president was asked about those wiretapping claims during his press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. He was also asked specifically about this charge that British intelligence were involved in tapping his communications in Trump Tower. Here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[06:05:06]PRESIDENT TRUMP: As far as wiretapping, I guess, you know, this past administration, at least we have something in common perhaps -- and just to finish your question, we said nothing. All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television. I didn't make an opinion on it. That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox. So you shouldn't be talking to me. You should be talking to Fox, OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: So there you hear the president making a reference to the fact that a National Security Agency was at one point surveilling Angela Merkel's phone. This was revealed in Wikileaks a couple of years ago, much to the anger and consternation of the German.
But you also heard the president say that his administration did nothing wrong when it comes to this Fox News commentator suggesting that British intelligence played a role in tapping the communication in Trump Tower saying that they were simply citing the commentator on Fox News.
Well, Fox anchor came out soon after that and said that Fox cannot substantiate that commentator's remarks. That's not surprising given the fact that the British have vehemently denied it.
All of this comes as two government officials told CNN on Friday night that the classified report delivered from the Justice Department, the House and Senate investigators who asked for evidence regarding these wiretapping claims does not confirm President Donald Trump's allegations that President Obama wiretapped him.
So the big question now is will there be any sort of retraction or apology from the president. Back to you guys. SAVIDGE: Let's bring now in Sara Westwood, she's the White House correspondent for the "Washington Examiner," and Tom LoBianco, a CNN political reporter.
There's now evidence, of course, of wiretapping, but Trump isn't apologizing to British intelligence. Of course, they are pretty upset about all of this, calling the claim nonsense.
So I guess the question right now is, how does this perhaps damage or impact maybe is a better word, Sara, the relationship between the U.S. and the U.K.?
SARA WESTWOOD, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": Certainly, this is one of the dustups that could have been avoided if the Trump administration had been more precise with their language. But the British and the Trump administration or the incoming Trump administration have had dustups before that don't seem to have lasting implications.
If you recall, Trump made suggestions about who should serve as U.K. ambassador to the U.S. and Prime Minister Theresa May sort of shot back and said we make our own diplomatic personnel decisions.
That didn't have any kind of lasting effect on the relationship when Prime Minister May then came over to the U.S. everything was fine. And I think that there's a certain amount of expectations built in that there are going to be some unusual wrinkles to the relationship between the British and the U.S.
And a lot of our allies are probably calibrating their expectations on how interactions are going to go. That being said, obviously, this is something that could have totally been avoided had the Trump administration just been more careful with what they choose to project as fact.
SAVIDGE: Right. OK, well, Tom let me ask you this. Continuing the wiretapping theme, you've got this press conference with Angela Merkel. It seemed exceedingly awkward. On top of that, you have this statement brought up by the president when she says hey we have something in common, we were both wiretapped. That shows you the difficult relationship, I would say that President Trump is having already with world leaders.
TOM LOBIANCO, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, right. I mean, you know, you kind of brought up a sore point that it's been patched over after years of diplomatic work there, brought it up as a joke, which was a little odd. And it appears based on everything that we know, that it's also wrong.
I mean, he again repeated something that appears to be inaccurate. Our reporting is that the Justice Department has now told Congressional investigators that there was no wiretap.
So you know, it's a little odd for him, especially going into this big hearing that we're going to have on Monday where Jim Comey is going to testify before the House Intelligence Committee.
It's a little odd for the president to be standing at odds like this with his own Justice Department. So, you know, it's going to be very interesting to how this plays out.
SAVIDGE: There is a bit of, I guess, you could say intrigue in the sense that here is the president saying well, the Obama administration did wiretap a leader of state, in this case it was Germany. So I in some ways he may be trying to say, it can happen to her, it can happen to me.
[06:10:01]Let's move forward. You talk about Monday, you talk about the hearing that's going to take place, first public Congressional hearing on these alleged Russian influence in the U.S. election, and we talk about Comey, he's going to be there. So Sara, what do you expect to hear? Are we going to learn a lot out of this?
WESTWOOD: You know, Comey has been very reluctant to confirm or deny the existence of any investigation into inappropriate ties between Trump contacts and Russian officials during the campaign. With that being said, I think he's going to be under enormous pressure to give at least some indication about what law enforcement agents have been up to in regards to the Russia investigation for all these months.
This is something that obviously needs to be put to rest one way or the other. There's a lot of speculation and innuendo flying around in the absence of real information. So I think we'll get some indication of where the FBI stands.
I don't think that we're going to see a whole lot of detail because the influence, at least into Russian cyber-attacks on Democrats during the election, that is still ongoing to the best of our knowledge. So that, I don't think if it's a pending investigation, we're not going to see a whole lot of the blanks filled in.
SAVIDGE: Tom, do you agree with that, we are going to see real proof or is it just going to be a lot of talk?
LOBIANCO: Well, that is the big question. I mean, how much will the FBI director reveal in public. You know, it appears that he would like to on some of these problems, especially on the wiretap allegations. As to the rest of it, you know, Senators Lindsey Graham and Sheldon Whitehouse said that they had requested this week, earlier this week that he would tell them specifically whether or not there is an investigation into this.
Our reporting says that they have been looking into this, but they want a very strong public declaration one way or another. The FBI has not given that. As Sara pointed out, you have to think that's going to be one of the big questions from the Democrats and the Republicans.
We're hoping to find out a fair bit more. I mean, this isn't just a briefing that's going on. He's done close to a half dozen briefings on the Hill about this so far. This is a public hearing. So this is going to be very big. SAVIDGE: Yes, I agree. It's going to be a huge week for the president. There is a lot of proof that people are hoping to hear. Sara Westwood, Tom Lobianco, thank you both for joining us.
PAUL: Straight ahead, the Secret Service under fire. Not just for one but three potential oversights here. One of them involves the president's grandson. So the question, are the men and women who protect the nation's leader just being stretched too thin right now.
PAUL: It's so good to have your company. It's 16 minutes past the hour right now and we now know the man accused of jumping the White House fence was on White House grounds for at least 16 minutes before he was caught.
SAVIDGE: Yes, it's a detail that set off serious alarms for one lawmaker in charge of government oversight is Congressman Jason Chaffetz from Utah.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPRESENTATIVE JASON CHAFFETZ (R), OVERSIGHT CHAIRMAN: Secretary Kelly told me that this person was on the ground for 17 minutes, went undetected, was able to get up next to the White House, hide behind a pillar, look through a window, rattle the door handle, it's just beyond comprehension.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: The intruder is just one of several mishaps now troubling the Secret Service. CNN's Brynn Gingras lays it all out starting with the theft of information about Trump Tower.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A stolen laptop potentially compromising the security at Trump Tower in New York is the latest setback for the Secret Service. A senior law enforcement source confirms an agent's computer was stolen out of her car in New York City Thursday.
On it, floor plans and evacuation protocols for Trump Tower. Sources say the laptop was highly encrypted, but it can't be traced or erased remotely. A spokesman for the department says there is no classified information on the computer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did had a really bad week.
GINGRAS: Two agents are also the subject of an internal investigation after being accused of photographing the president's grandson. The entire Trump family and their children receive protection and sources say the agents took pictures of Donald Trump Jr.'s son as he was sleeping while being driven around New York City. This comes as we are learning new details about a security
breach at the White House where an intruder spent at least 15 minutes evading security on White House grounds while inching closer to the president.
According to a Secret Service source, 26-year-old Jonathan Tran scaled a Treasury Department fence last Friday and set off several alarms. But still managed to sneak past a Secret Service security post before being caught in the inner portion of the White House grounds.
A criminal complaint shows he was carrying two cans of mace and was walking close to the exterior walls of the White House while the president was home. Trump praised the Secret Service's response.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Secret Service today, fantastic job. It was a troubled person. Very sad.
GINGRAS: But former Secret Service Agent Jonathan Wackrow says the breach is disturbing.
JONATHAN WACKROW, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT FOR OBAMA: He was able to beat the physical security measures at the White House, the technological security measures and the human capital, the uniformed guards, and that's very alarming.
GINGRAS: Now a House Oversight Committee wants the breach investigated, writing, quote, "If true, these allegations raise questions about whether the agency's security protocols are adequate."
WACKROW: All of these things are embarrassments to the Secret Service and compounding that problem is that there's no director of the Secret Service right now. Joe Clancy has retired and there's no acting director. So really the onus is on DHS.
GINGRAS: Brynn Gingras, CNN, New York.
PAUL: So in that piece you just saw Jonathan Wackrow. He joins us live now as well. He is a former Secret Service agent under the Obama White House.
[06:20:06]Also with us, CNN senior law enforcement analyst, Tom Fuentes. Gentlemen, thank you both so much for being with us.
Jonathan, want to start with you. Everything that we're hearing this morning, these three particular mistakes being made, is there one in particular that troubles you more than the others?
WACKROW: First and foremost, the breach at the White House is really disturbing. To have an individual really defeat the multiple layers of the security at one of the most fortified locations in the country is just absolutely unacceptable. So in the amount of time that he was actually on the White House complex, 16 minutes, is just stunning.
PAUL: Tom, do you see this as being lack of execution or a lack of manpower?
TOM FUENTES, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Christi, I think there's, you know, a failure at a number of levels. I'd like to say I'm very sympathetic to the Secret Service in this case. Here's why. You know, my nearly 30 years in the FBI, my last 11 as a senior executive. Even when problems are identified and already given to Congress to be fixed, nothing happens or they delay it or talk about it and the inactivity doesn't get it done.
We've talked about extending that fence to make it almost impossible for a fence jumper to get over the top of it unless he's an Olympic athlete and yet, that's not been changed and that's going back from the last jumper two years ago.
As far as the manpower, we don't know, but I seriously doubt that there's been any significant improvement in that or the technology deployed as far as the cameras and sensors and other perimeter technological security.
So in this case, it's easy to say the Secret Service screwed up and it's all their fault and they're no good. But every solution that's been talked about and recommended, I don't know of any that have actually been followed yet.
PAUL: All right, so Jonathan, what do you say to that? Where do you go? If you are part of the Secret Service and you're saying we need this help, what do you do when you're not getting it?
WACKROW: Well, listen, you know, I agree with Tom. Back in 2014, all of the incidents that occurred last week were identified in 2014, the perimeter fencing, the technological means, the physical human capital. They were all found to be deficient back in, not only 2014 but also again in 2015.
PAUL: And '16.
WACKROW: And now here we are again having the exact same conversation after another shocking breach of the White House. You know, Congress, DHS, they have to appropriate the money now and start acting on mitigating the vulnerabilities that have been identified year after year.
PAUL: So Jonathan, what kind of conversations do you think are being had behind closed doors with Secret Service agents?
WACKROW: Right now, it's figuring out how did this happen? How did this incident occur? What were the points of failure from the physical security and technological means? How did this individual circumvent what has been widely regarded as one of the safest locations in the country?
PAUL: Can you theorize what you think it is based on the information we know right now?
WACKROW: Well, right now -- listen, I think that, you know, part of it comes down to there could have been some complacency with the way that they reacted to the alarms? Again, this is a developing situation. I think DHS is leading the charge with Secretary Kelly going down to the White House to actually hear what happened. You know, as more facts start coming to light, we'll get a much clearer picture of what those faults were.
PAUL: Tom, real quickly, the laptop that was stolen in New York, your reaction.
FUENTES: Yes, I think that's another sad tale. Those things happen. It's going to be hard to have agents operating in New York City with their vehicles, with their laptops. There's going to be times they leave the car and the laptops are going to be in them.
So we would hope that the encryption is secure enough that whoever is in possession of it will not get access to the data that's in it. But that's very difficult to prevent the loss of weapons or the loss of laptops, especially in a place like Manhattan.
PAUL: Is there no way to control that laptop in the sense of being able to shut it down remotely, though, in cases like this?
FUENTES: Well, we're hearing no. I'm not expert enough in that to really know the answer to that, but it sounds like in this case that they're unable to.
PAUL: All righty, Tom Fuentes, Jonathan Wackrow, always appreciate your perspective. Thank you for being here, Gentlemen.
SAVIDGE: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is on the last stop of his tour, that's China. He's trying to rally support for reigning in North Korea. Next, why that could be a tough sell?
PAUL: It's good to see you on a Saturday morning. I'm Christi Paul.
SAVIDGE: And I'm Martin Savidge in for Victor Blackwell.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in Beijing this morning. It's the last stop of his three-country tour of Asia. He's there to put pressure on the Chinese to help rein in North Korea and lay the groundwork for the Chinese president's meeting with President Trump next month.
Some are calling that meeting the most important bilateral sit- down in the world. Joining us from Beijing, CNN international correspondent, Matt Rivers. Matt, how is the visit by the secretary of state going so far?
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The secretary of state going to be on the ground in Beijing for a little under 24 hours meeting with some of China's top diplomats. Two of those meetings have already taken place today including one with the foreign minister here. This comes at a time at the top of the agenda will be North
Korea, because frankly, in this part of the world things are tense. North Korea has tested dozens of ballistic missiles since the start of 2016. It's conducted two different nuclear test, and China and the United States both want that to stop. But, where they disagree is how best to make the North Korea stop doing what they're doing.
The United States says that China, as the only major ally of North Korea should be doing more. And that is the message that Secretary of State Tillerson brought here. You also saw Donald Trump tweet about it within the last 24 hours.
The president twitted that China has done little to help this situation. And so, at brief press availability, the secretary of state did not specifically mention that tweet. He kept it pretty general saying only that the United States and China want to work together.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF THE STATE: Foreign Minister Wang and I had a very extensive exchange on North Korea. And Foreign Minister Wang affirmed again, China's long-standing policy of a denuclearized Korean peninsula. We also exchanged views and I think we share a common view and a sense that tensions on the peninsula are quite high right now. And that things have reached a rather dangerous level. And we've committed ourselves to do everything we can to prevent any type of conflict from breaking out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIVERS: And the Trump Administration has said it wants to take a different approach to North Korea. But, so far no specifics had been offered as to how to solve this problem that no administration over the past 20 years has really been able to do.
The other thing is you mentioned on top of this agenda here is setting up the final details on a tentatively scheduled meeting between China President Xi Jinping and the President Trump scheduled tentatively for next month in Florida. Secretary State Tillerson scheduled to meet with the Chinese president briefly tomorrow morning here local before heading back to the United States.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Matt Rivers in Beijing, thank you very much.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Now, during his previous stop on the Korean Peninsula, Secretary of State Tillerson staked out a hard line on North Korea saying that the U.S. has run out of patience. But what exactly did that mean? Here's CNN's Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr.
BARBARA STARR, PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With North Korean soldiers at his back on the DMZ, Secretary of state Rex Tillerson used his visit to South Korea to dramatically unveil Donald Trump's doctrine towards Kim Jong-un, the dangerous and unpredictable North Korean leader. Gone are the days of having sanctions and top language, make Kim stop his weapons program.
TILLERSON: Let me be clear, the policy of strategic patience has ended. We're exploring a new range of diplomatic security and economic measures. All options are on the table.
STARR: U.N Ambassador Nikki Haley leaving no room for doubt in an interview with Erin Burnett.
NIKKI HALEY, U.S AMBASSADOR FOR THE UNITED NATIONS: This is number one priority for the United States and we're going to do something.
STARR: Tillerson ruling out old negotiating strategies that would have allowed the North to freeze its current program. Critics say a clear policy is now critical.
LEUTINANT GENERAL MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: If you say strategic patience is no longer our policy, that's great. But what has replaced it?
STARR: North Korea is accelerating its nuclear and missile effort according to the latest U.S intelligence analysis.
TILLERSON: The North Korea is now pursuing programs that would allow them to present a clear threat to continental United States.
STARR: The potential for military response by the U.S is very real. Tillerson not ruling out a preemptive strike.
TILLERSON: If they elevate the threat of their weapons programs to a level that we believe that requires action that option is on the table.
STARR: Satellites overhead North Korea's underground nuclear test sites are now showing two areas on the surface that have been cleared out of rocks and dirt. A new nuclear test could happen at any time. An engine for intercontinental ballistic missiles also appears ready for testing.
The threat, how soon can North Korea put together all the pieces? A nuclear tip intercontinental ballistic missile that can reach the United States. But because so much of North Korea's nuclear and missile program either hidden underground or constantly moving targeting is tough. The U.S is continuing to send missile defense equipment to South Koreas and keep ships and radar at sea to help detect any North Korean tests that may be coming.
(on camera): But privately, U.S commanders say a preemptive strike against North Korea may be very difficult that the North is likely to retaliate with an artillery barrage on Seoul, South Korea, thousands, perhaps millions could be killed.
PAUL: Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr there. Thank you so much, Barbara.
SAVIDGE: Still to come, some business owners in Michigan have spoken with their already placing their trust in the Republican health care plan. Why they feel anything is better than Obamacare. That's coming up.
[06:04:23] PAUL: All right, there is a high tech way of healing you might not know about. Therapists are using virtual reality to help people overcome their fears. Here's CNNMoney's Samuel Burke.
SAMUEL BURKE, TECH CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Oh, yes. Do you have any fear, flying, heights, toilets? A startup here in Barcelona called Psious wants to help people get over those fears using virtual reality and part of what's known as exposure therapy. My fear? Heights. Have anything to that?
UNINDITIFIED MALE: Of course.
BURKE: Oh, holy molly. The more I see the sky and the less I see of the buildings. I'm going up. I do feel more -- a bit more nervous.
[06:40:11] Oh yes. Oh. Heights. Whoa. That was pretty close to the real deal. But would I normally be doing this in a therapist's office or at home by myself?
XAVIER PALOMER, CEO PSIOUS: This is a professional's tools. So, only therapist, only professionals can use this tool. Everything is put on the screen, in the control panel for the therapist so they can change the experience and they can customize the experience according to the patient's reaction.
BURKE: What are the different phobias or conditions that you're trying to treat for this?
PALOMER: We treat the specific phobias, like fear of flying, generalized anxiety, social anxiety, agoraphobia.
BURKE: What about fear of spiders and snakes?
PALOMER: Yes, we have that. Not the snakes, the spiders. And this time it's going to be a 360 video.
BURKE: Well, I don't have agoraphobia but I do feel like I'm right in the middle of the crowd in the subway. People coming by, heading towards the escalators. And so, when you're developing these 3D environments, are you working in conjunction with therapists as you design?
PALOMER: Yes. We have psychologist and psychiatrist on the team. And they pre-designed the treatment and the need of the scenarios. And then the developers come in and they just develop what the professionals say. BURKE: And for some people this is not work?
PALOMER: Yes. For some people it doesn't work.
BURKE: And for other people do they do this and graduate to doing it in real life?
PALOMER: That's the final role, of course. Helping patients face the real situation and be OK.
BURKE: Oh my god, the guy next to me is terrified. Dude, it will be all right. Here, hold my hand. I'll help you.
SAVIDGE: Vice President Mike Pence is going to be in Jacksonville, Florida, today. And he will be joined by Governor Rick Scott in a small business listening session. That's what the call them to advance the President's economic agenda and promote the American Healthcare Act. The fate of the GOP bill now is hanging in the balance and that increasing opposition within the Republican Party.
PAUL: But additional changes have been made in the legislation and the president is quite optimistic about it outcomes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We met with 12, pretty much nos in Congress. You saw that a little while ago and they went from all nos to all yes's. And we have a lot of yes's coming in. It's all coming together.
We're going to have great health care. It's going to be passed, I believe. I think substantially and pretty quickly. It's coming together beautifully.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: How about the leaders plan to vote next Thursday. But right now, take a look to your screen there. Twenty-five House Republicans have said they will vote no or they're leaning no. Speaker Paul Ryan putting his reputation on the line as he expresses the gravity of the situation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP PAUL RYAN, (R) HOUSE SPEAKER: This moment is a moment that may not come back around again. The moment of a Republican president, a Republican Senate and Republican House. Yes, it's a razor-thin Republican majority. I get that. But if we do not see this moment in history for what it is, shame on us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: Meanwhile some residents in Michigan are ready to put Obamacare on the chopping block. They are not going to be unhappy to see it go away, if it does. Local businesses owners have been struggling with health care affordability. So, they welcome the GOP overhaul. I sat down with these owners who are Trump supporters and talk about why they think the president's proposal is going to be a better plan.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): In this part of Michigan, breakfast is big.
(on camera): This is a city. This is a town that just about every American knows mainly because of breakfast.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, I'm Tony the tiger!
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Battle Creek, the city that Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops, and Grape Nuts built, home to cereal giants Kellogg and Post. While these international companies are holding strong, other parts of Battle Creek, like many parts of Michigan have seen better days, from cuts to production lines to jobs shifting out of state to finding affordable health care.
PAUL CONKEY, OWNER, GRIFFIN GRILL AND PUB: It's been depressed.
SAVIDGE: Paul Conkey owns the Griffin Grill. He wanted to provide health care coverage for his 30 employees but couldn't afford it. Heck, he says he could barely afford his own. Conkey who didn't enroll in Obamacare claims the health care law still took a toll on his premiums.
SAVIDGE (on camera): It's just so unclear, it wasn't you didn't have Obamacare? It was the impact Obamacare had on your private insurance.
CONKEY: Yes. Absolutely.
SAVIDGE: Did you see it right away these increases?
CONKEY: Yes, you could see it. It just doubling.
SAVIDGE: Tax Attorney Chris Micklatcher, in part owes his living to the impact Obamacare has had on his middle income customers.
[06:45:08] CHRIS MICKLATCHER, TAX ATTORNEY: The people can't afford their insurance. So, they either grow without or they buy the insurance but they don't pay their taxes. So they come into my office as a result.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): It's safe to say in this part of America, the Affordable Care Act is not very popular. After twice voting for Obama, Calhoun County swung the other way in 2016. (on camera): It was Donald Trump's talk of replacing Obamacare one of the things that drew you to him.
JAMES KERR, REPUBLICAN COUNTY CHAIR: Well, definitely.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): James Kerr (ph) is self-employed and the Republican county chair. He chose as he struggled to pay his thousand dollars a month health insurance premiums.
KERR (ph): And I ended up deciding I'm going to go without.
SAVIDGE (on camera): What do you know the Republican plan forward so far?
KERR (ph): Well, I know what's in the headlines. So, I don't know details.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): A lot of Trump supporters I talked to admit they really don't know the details of the Republican plan to replace Obamacare.
SAVIDGE (on camera): Do they know what the change is going to be?
MICKLATCHER: They don't know the changes. I don't know if they really understand what Trump is proposing and frankly, I don't either.
CONKEY: Yes. You know, it's overload because that's all they're talking about. So, I turn it on, I turn it off. But --
SAVIDGE (on camera): Do you think it will be better?
CONKEY: Well, I do.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Another recurring theme among Trump voters. In their minds, anything will be better than Obamacare, especially if Trump is behind it.
DEB BLACK, TRUMP VOTER: I really in my heart feel that Trump cares about the American people and when he says he wants to make America great again, I think he has the best intentions to get people healthy.
SAVIDGE (on camera): Donald Trump sort of had implied. And I know that he uses, you know, simplistic language. But, it's going to be the best ever as going to cost less, you'll get more those kind of things. Do you believe that?
CONKEY: I think his ability to negotiate and get people from all sides buying into it. I think that they're going to make some improvements.
SAVIDGE: If the president says it's going to be a good plan.
KERR (ph): Well, I'm not sure I'm not trusting. But better, less bad, maybe.
(END VIDEOTAPE) SAVIDGE: Yes. So that's part of the conversation there. There are couple of interesting points. Some have suggested that maybe the president is losing traction or credibility with his GOP supporters in the Midwest over health care. Absolutely not. Everybody we spoke to said they love what he's doing.
SAVIDGE: And then, on top of that, they're not too happy with the Republican people in the House who are throwing out opposition. They say, hey, it's the president's plan. Push it forward.
PAUL: Going to be interesting. All right. Thank you, Martin. Great piece.
SAVIDGE: Thank you.
PAUL: Thank you (INAUDIBLE). All righty. Want to tell you about what's coming up next. This frantic manhunt right now for a teacher accused of kidnapping and worst. One teenager's family desperate to find their daughter and the suspect's wife, she's now helping police.
[06:51:57] SAVIDGE: There is a major manhunt underway for a former teacher accused of kidnapping a student.
PAUL: Yes. We want to show some new images that police released. This is Tad Cummins here, they believe. He is now on Tennessee's most wanted list. The victim in this case, a 15-year-old student who at -- was at the school that Cummins was just fired from. As CNN's Mary Moloney reports, the suspect's own wife is begging for him to do the right thing now.
MARY MOLONEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Days after a Tennessee teenager and her former teacher went on the run, a wife pleads for him to return.
JILL CUMMINS, SUSPECT'S WIFE: Tad, this is not you. This is not who you are. Please do the right thing and turn yourself into the police and bring Beth home.
MOLONEY: 50-year-old Tad Cummins is believed to be traveling with 15- year-old Elizabeth Thomas who last seen Monday morning. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has issued a nationwide alert for the pair after investigators say they have received a shocking little low number of leads.
JOSH DEVINE, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, TENNESSEE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: We've received about 175 tips into the TBI but none at this point has produced a credible sighting.
MOLONEY: On Friday, Cummins was added to the state's top ten most wanted lists. Investigators say Cummins may have groomed the girl abusing his position as a teacher and possibly sexually exploiting her while carefully planning the disappearance.
The pair is thought to be traveling in a silver Nissan Rogue with Tennessee tags. Cummins who is wanted for aggravated kidnapping and sexual exploitation of a minor is believed to be armed with two hand guns.
DEVINE: Our Amber Alert is ongoing. And it has been several days since anyone has seen Elizabeth Thomas or Tad Cummins. Our concern is growing by the moment. We want her home. We want him in custody.
MOLONEY: I'm Mary Maloney reporting.
PAUL: And I spoke with the family attorney yesterday who said the father in this case of Thomas is physically ill. They are in so much angst over this. So thank you so much for taking a look at those pictures and hopefully something will come of it.
SAVIDGE: Turning to a lighter note. Madness, March madness, Andy Scholes has all of the insanity and the hoops action coming up this morning.
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Yes, Martin, if you can pick many upsets in your bracket, you're likely doing well. We'll tell you who's still dancing, coming up this morning's Bleacher Report.
[06:53:42] SAVIDGE: Not a whole lot of madness in this year's NCAA basketball tournament yet.
PAUL: Andy Scholes is here. Give us a yet, give us a yet.
SCHOLES: I mean I don't think Cinderella is coming to the ball this year guys.
SCHOLES: An upsets have been hard to come by. This is the first time in 10 years that every seeded team four and higher or four and higher has advanced to the second round, first time in 10 years, incredible.
South Carolina fans though they got to do something that they haven't done in 44 years last night that to celebrate a tournament win. Last time, the Gamecocks made it past the first round. 1973, Richard Nixon was president at the time.
SCHOLES: Yes. They beat Marquette 93-73. And basically what was a home game. They played in Greenville which is only about 100 miles from campus.
You got to check out the celebration in the locker room after the game. Gamecocks having some fun, they better enjoy that moment. They're going to have to take on second seeded Duke tomorrow.
All right, tomorrow, so this is keeping up with the Kardashians any more, keeping with his alma mater. Rhode Island, the former NBA star, let's give the Rams a little a good luck too. They upset Creighton 84-72. This was the first tournament win for Rhode Island in nearly two decades.
And check around of action sits off 12:10 eastern later today, it continues throughout the afternoon. Expect northwestern to have the star power in the stands once again as they take on number one seed Gonzaga. Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, she's been cheering on the Wildcats, her son Charlie is on the team.