Return to Transcripts main page
NEW DAY SUNDAY
Security Breaches Raising Alarm at White House; FBI Chief Comey to Testify at Russia Hacking Hearing; Neil Gorsuch Confirmation Hearings Start Tomorrow; North Korea Tests New High-Thrust Rocket Engine; Public Broadcasting Budget Battle Brewing; The Price of Protecting the First Family; Rock 'N' Roll Legend Dead at 90 Years Old. Aired 7-8a ET
Aired March 19, 2017 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:00:02] ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Eight more games on the schedule today, and the action tips off 12:30 Eastern with Louisville and Michigan. Hopefully, we got some more exciting finishes like we did yesterday. It was a great day of action.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: No doubt. Andy, thank you so much.
SCHOLES: All right.
PAUL: Appreciate it.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Speaking of exciting finishes. We are done for this hour, but we will pick it up right after and continue with NEW DAY.
PAUL: Yes. Hour two starting now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The White House seems to be preparing for this big moment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we are going to hear on Monday from Director Comey is a denial that there's any evidence about this.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And who knew health care would be so complicated?
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me be blunt. We need your help to get this plan passed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A man in a car told the person at that guard shack that he had a bomb in his vehicle.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chuck Berry was one of the pioneers of rock 'n' roll.
(END VIDEOTAPE) PAUL: I want to wish you a good morning on this Sunday. It's always good to have your company here. I'm Christi Paul.
SAVIDGE: And I'm Martin Savidge, in for Victor Blackwell.
And let's get going. It's going to be a critical week ahead, that is for President Trump and his credibility is going to be put to the test.
PAUL: Tomorrow, Congress will finally have a chance to ask the FBI director publicly about two key issues -- the Trump administration connections to Russia and his claim that President Obama had Trump Tower wiretapped during the campaign.
SAVIDGE: Also tomorrow, a potential Senate showdown as Judge Neil Gorsuch finally takes the hot seat in a hearing to confirm him as the next Supreme Court justice.
PAUL: And can the GOP sell its health care plan to its own party in time for that key vote in Congress on Thursday. House Speaker Paul Ryan says it's now or never.
And add to an already intense week, another intruder tried to make it into the White House overnight.
SAVIDGE: And security is back to normal after a car drove up to a White House check point late last night, the driver claiming he had a bomb. That check point is still block, authorities searched the vehicle for more than four hours, but ultimately, they found nothing.
Our Ryan Nobles is on the ground last night and filed this report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: They removed the man from the car and placed him under arrest, and we have watched as they have gone in and very methodically taken everything out of this vehicle very cautiously, and in fact they had a robot at one point go up to the vehicle in its trunk, pulling material out of the vehicle, and then we saw a bomb squad technician dressed in the full gear come out and also take materials from outside of that vehicle and sift through those materials.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: This, of course, is the latest in a string of recent White House intrusions.
Earlier yesterday, another person was arrested after jumping over a bike rack outside the White House. He had a document he said he wanted to deliver. And then last week, a man was on the White House grounds for more than 15 minutes. He was found just steps from a main door to mansion carrying mace.
One of the most consequential weeks for the Trump administration begins with a hearing on Russia. Eugene Scott, CNN politics reporter, David Swerdlick, CNN political commentator and editor for "The Washington Post", and Phil Mudd, former CIA counterterrorism analyst and former CIA terrorism official, all joining us this morning to talk more about the big week ahead.
PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Good morning.
SAVIDGE: Eugene, let me start with you. The FBI's testimony on the Russian investigation and President Trump's claim, let's get it clear, on wiretapping are going to be watched carefully. I'm wondering, is Director Comey feeling the pressure about all of this? He's had a rough year.
EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: It seems like he certainly maybe. He's definitely -- has the desire to prove the integrity and the credibility of his agency and that they have operated legally and did not compromise ethics. And as President Donald Trump's tweet suggested, he very much is expected to make it very clear that there is no evidence to support the claim that President Barack Obama had intelligence agencies wiretap Trump Tower during the election. But one thing a lot of people will be looking to hear is just what the FBI has been working on and what they've been focused on since the election.
SAVIDGE: Phil, the former national security adviser to Vice President Biden made some pretty strong claims. He said that there are only two conclusions that could come from these hearings, what's your reaction to -- well, first, let me play it and then I'll let give your reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE SULLIVAN, FORMER BIDEN NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: One of two things is true, and either he knows it's wrong and he is lying about a national security issue, in which case, it's going to be hard to trust him going forward, or he can't tell the difference between truth and fiction.
[07:05:10] And in a crisis, that's really going to matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: A lot of people had that kind of a thought when it comes to President Trump. What's your feeling?
MUDD: I think we ought to look at it more carefully, and I am not sure it's that black and white. I would agree, obviously, it's a question about the president's credibility, but let's step through this for a moment. The first question for Dr. Comey's going to be, did you see the president's allegations? Obviously, yes, and what do you think? And the answer is going to be, we don't have information to support them.
It will get interesting after that. The questions I think that will emerge during the day will be is there anything to suggest that Americans affiliated with the Trump campaign or in the White House now were in communication with Russians and did you pick them up in intelligence traffic? I think that's going to be tough for the director to answer in open testimony, and I think some of the questioning will start to fuzz up this real issue about whether Trump people are part of an intelligence investigations.
The answer is going to be yes, because if they are talking to Russians, they're going to be in the collections of the FBI, that doesn't mean though that anybody, including President Obama, wiretapped Trump Tower. That's where this will get fuzzy.
SAVIDGE: David, timing of this next sort of change it seems of the president here, the way he has described Putin in the past, he seems to give the Russian president a lot of regard. But here is Trump on FOX News last night, and he was describing Putin as a leader and characterizing their relationship. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Don't know him, but certainly he is a tough cookie and I don't know how he's doing for Russia, we're going to find out one day, I guess.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: So, it seems to be a dramatic turn around from the ways he has referred to the president before, David, and it's coming right before this hearing?
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's right, Martin. I mean, tough cookie seems like an intermediate step in what might be a new way of messaging about what President Trump wants to do with President Putin. All through the campaign, throughout the transition, President Trump sounded a lot more like very complimentary towards President Putin and then also saying he wanted to talk to him, wanted to have better relations. That was a little more neutral of a comment and probably is not a consequence that the timing comes when we are in the middle of the discussions about what contact have been happening between his inner circle and Russia. And as Phil said, who, if anybody, was surveilled in any way by our intelligence agencies.
That still doesn't, though, help him square the circle of directly accusing President Obama of spying on him in those tweets from two weekends ago, and what we may or may not find out in these hearings coming up this week. And as Phil said, it's probably more complicated than simply no, nothing was going on. But unless Judge Andrew Napolitano from FOX knows something that almost no one else knows, it's going to be hard for what we hear on Monday to match up with those tweets.
SAVIDGE: Well, we're going to will all be paying attention.
Eugene Scott, David Swerdlick and Phil Mudd, thank you very much.
MUDD: Thank you. PAUL: Also tomorrow, President Trump's pick for Supreme Court Justice
Neil Gorsuch will be on the Capitol Hill for what is believed to be an intense week of confirmation hearings. The Colorado appellate judge was tapped to replace the late conservative judge, Antonin Scalia, of course. His confirmation would be a big win for the White House after this catalogue of frustrations and setbacks since President Trump has taken office.
CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Laura Coates joining us now.
Laura, good morning to you.
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Good morning.
PAUL: Let's talk about the state of the court right now currently sitting 4-4 in terms of the political breakdown between Democrats and Republicans. When we look at the seat for Scalia and the dynamics that Gorsuch would bring, when would he be a true replacement for the Scalia seat?
COATES: Well, he is expected to be, he is somebody who has valued and has honored Scalia's, not only his holdings in the past, but believes in the ideology that Scalia has espoused in the past. But remember, not to split partisan lines, not just Democrats or Republicans, but they have an allege split, and frankly, replacing a conservative with another conservative is not going to shift the balance of power a great deal. A lot has been made about replacing Scalia for the purposes of Roe v. Wade. But remember, Roe v. Wade existed and maintained even with Scalia on the bench.
PAUL: So, let's talk about some of the things that hard line conservatives take issue with when it comes to Gorsuch, and a lot of that, it's around his religious views. He was raised Catholic and attends an Episcopal church that is openly pro-gay, that's pro-Muslim. How significant do you think that's going to be?
COATES: Well, I think everybody thought it would be very significant given the fact that we were talking about one of the campaign promises Donald Trump made was to reverse Roe v. Wade. But now, we're trending toward executive order legacy and what is presumed to be among some communities a Muslim ban.
[07:10:06] The focus is tipped away from Roe v. Wade, and overturning that, and more towards whether or not the president will have enough deference from the courts to be able to implement policies that may infringe with the spirit of liberty. Now, Gorsuch is somebody who from the beginning of his presence on the bench has been somebody who's been a staunch advocate of religious believers and not having the courts impose their view points.
There was a controversial case just a few yeas ago, Hobby Lobby, Little Sisters, all these cases involved whether or not the government could impose and force these small businesses or businesses that had certain beliefs to actually force them to have contraceptives as part of their plan. So, the issue now is, he was somebody who said, absolutely not, and the courts cannot be in a position, let alone the government to impose those requirements. I think everybody is going to look at this and say, I wonder how much his religious believes, not the Catholicism or the Episcopalian views, but his views in the past about how the courts and Congress should do with religion will guide his logic on executive orders.
PAUL: OK, lastly, of course, Democrats never voted on Merrick Garland, President Obama's pick. Dems probably are still feeling the sting from that. Could not sting drive what they do this week?
COATES: I think it will. I think you're going to have a lot of abstinence from Democrats precisely because this was never a matter or battle of legal qualifications. Merrick Garland, Neil Gorsuch both stand in their own with respect to their qualifications and both should be steadfastly supported in terms of their qualifications.
However, this is a battle of power. And the Democrats are going to have to decide at this point whether or not this is the battle to fight. Remember, there's an aging judiciary among the United States of America, and President Trump will probably have more than one opportunity to fill a Supreme Court seat. And because this seat will likely not shift the ideology of the court, Democrats may be better served waiting if -- for the next seat.
PAUL: Laura Coates, so appreciate you being here. Thank you.
COATES: Thank you.
PAUL: Well, Health and Human Secretary Tom Price and Senator Tom Cotton both guests on "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper this morning. That's at 9:00 a.m. right here on CNN.
SAVIDGE: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is on his way back to the United States from which China. Next, the important meeting he had before taking off.
PAUL: And China says the U.S. needs to have a, quote, "cooler head", when dealing with North Korea. That word of advice came as North Korea, though, announced another rocket engine test.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[07:16:52] PENCE: Be clear on this, though, folks, this is going to be a battle in Washington, D.C., all right? Obamacare's defenders are working hard, so we have to work harder. And we're counting on Florida. We need every Republican in Florida to support this bill and support the president's plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: That, of course, is Vice President Mike Pence making a last push to get Republicans onboard with the new health care bill. The House is set to vote on that on Thursday. But GOP leaders maybe lacking the votes that they need to pass the plan. Right now, more than two dozen House Republicans say they are either voting no or they're leaning in that direction. The vice president says Republican leaders are listening to concerns about the bill and making changes to things like Medicaid funding.
PAUL: Well, this hour, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, headed back to the U.S. after meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The two pledged continued cooperation as they look ahead to a meeting between President Trump and the Chinese president next month. China was the last country on Tillerson's tour of Asia after earlier stops to South Korea and Japan.
Now, during this trip, Tillerson said the U.S. had lost patience in dealing with North Korea. But China's foreign minister says the U.S. should take a cool-headed approach her.
PAUL: That comes, the advice I should say, on the same day that North Korean state media was reporting a new high thrust rocket had been tested. The order to start that test reportedly given from an observation post by North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, himself.
Will Ripley is in Beijing and has more on all the implications here.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Martin.
Yes, this is certainly a concerning development for people who continue to observe North Korea's weapons capability get more advanced, because analysts say that this particularly type of engine that was tested brings Kim Jong-un one step closer to his ultimately goal, which is an intercontinental ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead capable of reaching the mainland United States, a weapon that some are saying now if North Korea continues its progress unchecked, they could actually have that type of weapon in their possession within two years.
If you look at what North Korea currently has in its arsenal, its missiles, they have a wide range, some as little as 300 miles, some more than 6,000 miles. But we are seeing them developed are more accurate missiles and missiles that used solid fuel which allows them to be rolled out and fire very quickly, with little notice from spy satellites. So, that's what's really concerning here because it puts not just the region, Japan, South Korea, in range, but really have much of the world, including the United States.
That's why the U.S. is bringing in the components for the THAAD missile defense system. They are coming into South Korea as we speak, it started a few weeks ago. This is basically a launcher on the ground that would shoot a missile out of the sky using very sophisticated equipment, including some of the most high tech radar available.
But here in Beijing, the Chinese government not happy at all about the THAAD missile defense system, because they feel that it would render their missiles ineffective if this technology goes into South Korea. [07:20:02] So, that is one major sticking point that Secretary
Tillerson and Chinese President Xi Jinping and China's two top diplomats addressed this weekend. But, of course, the real big conversation that needs to happen will be between President Trump and President Xi. We are expecting that meeting to happen early next month, although there's no official date announced yet, and likely there won't be until shortly that trip.
But Secretary Tillerson did say, Martin, that right now, the situation with North Korea is reaching a very dangerous level, perhaps the most dangerous it has ever been as their weapons capabilities continue to advance.
SAVIDGE: He also seemed to clearly indicate a military option was on the table.
Will Ripley in Beijing, thank you very much.
PAUL: A French prosecutor says the man behind yesterday's attack at Paris airport shouted, quote, "I'm here to die in the name of Allah, and there will be deaths", unquote. Now, French troops shot and killed the attacker after he tried to grab a soldier's rifle and put a gun to her head. That shooter has been identified. It's believed the 39-year-old also shot a police officer north of Paris earlier in the day, and that the attacker was reportedly known to the authorities and in fact, three of his relatives were taken into custody after the shooting.
SAVIDGE: Still to come, television networks and radio networks like NPR and PBS are gearing up with a budget fight after President Trump proposed ending all federal funding for public broadcasting.
What does that mean for parents and children moving forward? We'll talk about it, next.
PAUL: Also, he was one of the first to write rock 'n' roll songs about cars, girls, parties. Now rock pioneer, Chuck Berry, has died, but we are taking a look at his far-reaching influence on the music world.
[07:26:11] PAUL: Up and raring to go on a Sunday morning at 7:26, I'm Christi Paul.
SAVIDGE: And I'm Martin Savidge, in for Victor Blackwell.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act, and the creation of eh CPB. But network that brings you "Sesame Street" isn't exactly celebrating as President Trump is proposing to end-all federal funding for public broadcasting.
But get this, the cost of public broadcasting to the taxpayers just $1.35 per citizen per year, which does not sound like a lot, but brands like PBS and NPR are gearing up for a fight. Public broadcasting officials have been through this, though, before. Joining us to discuss all of it, the CNN's host of "RELIABLE SOURCES",
Brian Stelter, president and CEO of America's Public Television Stations, Patrick Butler, and vice president of business and culture for the media research center, Dan Gainor.
So, good morning to everybody.
All right. Patrick, let me start with you. It's not the first time that we have heard talk about cutting back here. In fact, Mitt Romney was saying something similar to that on the campaign trail back in 2012. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm sorry, Jim, I'm going to stop this subsidy to PBS. I'm going to stop all the things -- I like PBS, I love Big Bird, actually like you, too, but I'm not going to -- I'm not going to keep spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: Now, of course, I'm not going to speak for the president, but I'm just wondering, Patrick, how confident are you that we are going to see this kind of a fight with these significant cuts?
PATRICK BUTLER, PRESIDENT, CEO OF AMERICA'S PUBLIC TELEVISION STATIONS: Well, we will have a fight, and we are gearing up to do as much battle as we need to do, and with respect to Governor Romney's proposal of five years ago, for example, people came out of the woodwork to support public television and broadcasting, and we suspect they will do the same thing this year, and for that reason, I think we are confident that we're going to be able to prevail in terms of the funding fight.
What we are trying to impress on people is that what the federal investment pays for is education and public safety and civic leadership, overwhelmingly at the local level, which the American people overwhelmingly support, including 66 percent of Trump voters who say they would like to maintain or increase federal funding for public broadcasting.
SAVIDGE: So, Dan, what do you say to that? I mean, obviously, NPR, PBS, is cherished by many, many families as a source of information and entertainment. Why the cuts?
DAN GAINOR, VICE PRESIDENT OF BUSINESS & CULTURE FOR THE MEDIA RESEARCH CENTER: Why the cuts? We have been pushing for this for years. I've spent 20 years in journalism. I can tell you, what you get is you don't get independence, you get propaganda.
Just look at the PBS Twitter feed, since Friday, about half of all of their tweets have been pushing, we have government funded PBS using it's resource to push for government funding. That's the B.S. We're just debating the letter of the day and that's P. SAVIDGE: Well, you know, it's a good thing you mention that Twitter feed, because I wanted to take a look at some of your own posts, including one that says, "There's no legitimate reason for government to fund left-wing media," and then the next one, there are a ton of liberal billionaires would find -- apparently change in their couches enough to fund this.
My point here is, is this budgetary decision-making based upon just conservative revenge or is there a real financial logic here?
GAINOR: Well, of course, there's a financial logic to it, but it goes back to, should we be funding something that is openly left wing? This is a network -- actually both networks are networks that have an agenda. Was NPR neutral? Back in 2011, when one of the executives was found on video to be calling Republicans anti-intellectual and Tea Party racists.
[07:30:10] That caused the head of NPR her job. Was it neutral when they fired Juan Williams simply for expressing that he was concerned --
SAVIDGE: I get it. You don't like the content. My question was, though, can you tell me what is the budgetary reasoning? In other words, why do you want to take the money away and where will you put the money?
GAINOR: Well, I'm not putting the money anywhere. To me, I would cut a lot more out of government.
But this is $145 million of taxpayer money that is going -- instead of going to things that, you know, basically everybody cares about, it is going to things to compete against ordinary businesses. You have talk radio and news channels around the country that are using their own tax dollars that go to fund these outlets that turn around and compete with them with the imprimatur of the federal government.
SAVIDGE: All right, Dan, let me stop you, just so I can bring in Brian Stelter. He is our media expert. Brian, what do you think of Dan's comments here? I did point out one thing, he doesn't like to fund liberal media. If it was conservative, that would be OK?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think this is a philosophical issue that goes all the way back to the 1970s. We saw former President Bush in the mid-2000s trying to zero fund public media. Now, we see Trump proposing. It never has succeeded, never gotten through Congress, because of people like Patrick Butler's lobby.
So, this is a really interesting year because Trump is an interesting guy, a different kind of president. Will he be able to persuade Congress to go along with the idea to defund public media? The argument you get is that seed money, the $450 million from the government is the foundation for the House for PBS and NPR, and then they get lots of donations from individuals and foundations and things like that. And then it's really local stations, the smaller stations across the
country with those big antenna's up in the night sky that need this government money to stay on the airwaves. But listen, as we consume more and more media via the internet, I do think we need to evaluate the role of public media. I myself would rather have an argument about whether we should give $5 million, $1 billion, $500 million or zero. Right now, we're only talking about whether they should have the same amount of money, or no money at all.
There's actually an argument to be made for more and for less money. I'm sure Patrick would like to see a lot more money for public media, but, you know, it's a philosophical fight, as Dan would say. Conservatives would like to see absolutely no involvement whatsoever in public media.
SAVIDGE: All right. Let me bring Patrick back into this conversation.
And, Patrick, you know, it is true you had a lot of shots financial shot across your bow, and you knew the day of reckoning with less money was coming. Haven't you really got to face that kind of future, maybe not as dramatic a cut, but you're not to be getting a lot of government funding?
BUTLER: Well, we haven't gotten any increases in our federal funding for several years, and we understand the budget imperatives of trying to bring spending under control and we haven't tried to be greedy about this. And so, our funding has held steady for quite a number of years now.
The fact, though, is that again, the American people, greatly value what we do. They understand the economics of public broadcasting, and the relatively small investment that the federal government makes, that produces such benefits, not only in news, but in education and in public safety and in civic leadership.
NPR and PBS are the third and fourth most trusted media in the country after "The Economist" and the BBC according to the latest Pew Research Center polling that I've seen. And so, while my friend Mr. Gainor may not appreciate what we do, the overwhelming majority of the American people do and they would like to continue to see us perform the services that we perform.
SAVIDGE: Dan, let me ask you this, and I made that kind of aside and said, you know, hey, if it was a conservative broadcasting you would keep it on the air, and I will let you respond to that? I mean, is that a fair thing to say that you're just cutting it because of the liberal attitude you feel or if it was more conservative, you wouldn't necessarily be in favor of cutting it so much?
GAINOR: Government shouldn't be involved in media, 100 percent, flat out no. It doesn't care of it. But the difference is, if government was funding conservative media, you on this network and all the media people that are upset about it wouldn't be on the same side. And then you would be all for cutting it. That's the difference.
I don't think -- what you get is propaganda. And if PBS and NPR are doing so well --
SAVIDGE: Dan, I got that, you went through that. I just wanted to make clear that you are saying it doesn't matter the conservative or left leaning, you're just in favor of funding by the government of the media?
GAINOR: Absolutely. Basically, if PBS and NPR are doing so well and NPR has got record ratings right now, then they can survive in the marketplace. They don't need our tax dollars.
SAVIDGE: All right. Good point.
Brian, you get the final word here. That does seem to make sense.
[07:35:01] STELTER: This is what it comes down to, that if these stations are doing well, why do they need public funding? The reaction you get from public media advocates is, they need these initial dollars in order to keep these stations on the air, especially in smaller markets.
Again, though, as we move towards digital and digital age, where people are streaming media and watching Netflix -- I mean, the PBS shows that I watch, I watch via Netflix. That means Netflix is helping to pay for those PBS news. We are in a media world that PBS folks did not imagine the 1970s when public broadcasting started. So, it is time to re-evaluate how this system works.
SAVIDGE: All right. We've got to leave there. Brian Stelter, Patrick Butler and Dan Gainor, thank you very much for a very spirited but honest debate.
BUTLER: Thanks very much.
GAINOR: Thank you.
PAUL: That was a good one. Thank you.
So, just how much does it cost to keep the president and the first family safe? Coming up, we're going to take a look at why the New York Police Department and some Florida officials want their money back, they say.
But, first, we want to introduce the first CNN hero of 2017. After losing her 8-year-old son to leukemia, Leslie Morissette transformed her heartbreak into action. She is using 21st century technology to keep kids who are battling life-threatening illnesses connected to their every day lives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LESLIE MORISSETTE, CNN HERO: It's really difficult for kids to spend a lot of time in the hospital, and they get disconnected from their family and friends and schools, and when we bring them this technology, we are able to dial in and be right in the classroom.
You can just see their face light up. It brings them such joy. (END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: To see the Philbot in action, that's the name of the robot, by the way, you can watch Leslie's full story at CNNHeroes.com. And while you are there, if you know someone who deserves to be a CNN hero, please nominate them. We'd love to meet them, too. Right now, you can do so at CNNHeroes.com.
[07:41:14] PAUL: So good to have you with us this morning.
You know, President Trump is spending the weekend at his Florida resort. This is the fifth time he's been there since becoming president. And while he is more comfortable at what he calls his winter White House, everyone is not onboard with the current arrangement as it is.
SAVIDGE: Take a look at this. Mr. Trump is seen driving his golf cart in Palm Beach yesterday. He's also driving up quite a tab when it comes to security costs. And with his wife and son leaving in New York, some are starting to wonder how much it is costing to protect the first family?
Here's CNN's Sara Ganim.
SARA GANIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We want our money back. That's what the New York City Police Department and Palm Beach County officials are saying, asking to be reimbursed for the millions of dollars, the cost of protecting the president, his family, and their homes.
In a letter to New York congressional members last month, NYPD commissioner James O'Neill wrote, "Funding will be critical to insure New York City can allocate the personnel and resources that are necessary to keep the city and all of its residents safe."
Mayor Bill de Blasio talked about this situation back in December.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: We have never had a situation where a president of the United States would be here on such a regular basis.
GANIM: During the transition period from Election Day to inauguration day, O'Neill says the cost of security Trump Tower and the area around it added up to $24 million. Palm Beach County officials say they spend an estimated $60,000 in over time every day Trump spends in Florida, protecting Trump while he is at Mar-a-Lago, that's a bill local taxpayers will have to pay if the federal government or Trump himself doesn't reimburse.
Supporters of the president says he's often working during his trips to Mar-al-Lago, even calling it the winter White House. But the president himself had harsh words for his predecessor' predecessor's trips.
Back in 2011, tweeting this, "The habitual vacationer Barack Obama is now in Hawaii. This vacation is costing taxpayers $4 million."
During the election, Trump also told the "The Hill," quote, "I would rarely leave the White House because there's so much work to be done." So far, Trump has spent more than one-fourth of his time in office at Mar-a-Lago. There are more moving parts for the Secret Service when it comes to the first family. Trump has multiple homes. His adult children frequently travel, and his wife, Melania, and their son, Barron, live in New York City, a decision the NYPD says a cost the department up to $146,000 a day.
Sara Ganim, CNN, New York.
PAUL: So, on top of this, there are three senators questioning how the Trump properties are being protected and whether taxpayers are footing the bill. So, they asked those questions in a letter they sent to the secretaries of defense, state and homeland security.
I spoke to one of those senators who signed that letter, Richard Blumenthal, a bit earlier. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Is your intent to decipher a conflict of interest?
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: Our focus really is on the potential conflict of interests raised by his continuing to have ownership of this vast global empire of real estate holdings, golf courses, and resorts, hotels, all bearing his name, all potentially the target of terrorists attacks, and presumably, somebody is guarding them and protecting them, we want to know, is it at taxpayer expense? Because, obviously, the federal government has to protect him and his family, but not necessarily all of his holdings and ownings across the world, and we want to know whether there's a legal obligation to protect them, what is the cost, if there is such a protection, and whether, in fact, we should be seeking reimbursement.
[07:45:03] I feel that we should be.
PAUL: Do you know if anyone within the Trump Organization has requested protection at these properties?
BLUMENTHAL: That's part of what we're asking, very, very important question because if they requested it and the federal government complied, it raises the additional spectrum of conflict of interests. But his vast global empire really is unprecedented. So, we're very much in uncharted waters, and equally unprecedented, if not more so, is his refusal to divest himself, that is sell his ownership interests.
PAUL: So, if it's identified that federal funds had been used, what would the next course of action be? BLUMENTHAL: Next course of action would be to seek reimbursement from
the Trump organization. Remember that past presidents have sold all these holdings. They had divested themselves and said, being president is really my job, the most important responsibility any human being could have in public office these days. And so, I'm going to devote myself exclusively to that task. Donald Trump said, in effect, I'll put it in a blind trust but I'm going to retain ownership, and the targeting could affect his judgments about foreign policy or other kinds of actions which is a separate and grave fear.
But the next step we would take, I think is to alert our colleagues, inform the public. Full disclosure and transparency are absolutely necessary here, and then there might be remedies to seek reimbursement. That's the purpose of this whole letter, is full disclosure, transparency, sunlight is the best disinfectant. Te public can draw its own conclusions, but we want money back for taxpayers if we are footing the bill.
PAUL: All right. Senator Richard Blumenthal, thank you so much for being here that.
BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Those senators said they set a deadline for the secretaries to respond. That is by next Wednesday, they have to answer where that money is coming from.
SAVIDGE: Next, the legacy of rock pioneer, Chuck Berry. I was there when he was one of the first to be inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame, an incredible night. And he was inducted by one of his biggest fans, Rolling Stones' guitarist Keith Richards.
PAUL: Well, this week's "Staying Well" focuses on a growing trend of health professionals taking their clients from the office to the outdoors for walk and talk therapy. Take a look.
EDWARD ADAMS, THERAPY CLIENT: I can't tell you how I feel about something in 140 characters. I can, kind of.
DENICE CLARK, MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPIST: Walk and talk therapy is what it sounds like. Rather than being enclosed, in an office space, the therapy session takes place outside while we walk. I mean, you know this is how I should be approaching it, and yet I am shutting that out right now.
For some clients, coming to therapy in an office setting is intimidating, and walking side by side, clients are more free to express themselves.
ADAMS: It makes me open up a little differently and makes the conversation seem more natural.
CLARK: I maintain their confidentiality. If we are too close to others, we will stop for a minute and let people pass.
ADAMS: I'm an outdoors guy by nature. I like to garden and I like being active. And so, this is just a natural fit for me. The park itself is really part of the therapy process. When I had therapy in the past, and you go into an office, it just feels sterile.
CLARK: When we are out walking, we are moving forward and it's the exact same thing we are doing in the therapeutic process, we are moving forward.
[07:53:12] SAVIDGE: This is a great quote. If you try to give rock 'n' roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry. That's what fellow rock legend John Lennon said of one of his idols.
PAUL: Berry died yesterday at 90 years old.
Here's Nischelle Turner talking about his musical legacy
NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Chuck Berry was one of the pioneers of rock 'n' roll. His powerful guitar licks fueled hit songs such as "Johnny B. Goode" "Maybellene" and "Roll Over Beethoven."
During the '50s and '60s, Berry's music signaled a new era in rock 'n' roll. The singer's owes ability to seamlessly blend R&B and rock music made a strong impact on the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, to name a few.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very difficult for me to talk about Chuck Berry because I lifted every lick he ever played.
TURNER: Berry experienced a career resurgence in the mid-'80s and '90s. His music re-entered pop culture in films such as "Back to the Future" and "Pulp Fiction." In 1984, Berry received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and a year later, he became the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame's first inductee.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Berry.
CHUCK BERRY, ROCK LEGEND: God Almighty. God Almighty, thank you.
TURNER: On the heels of his induction, the Stones' Keith Richards invited a roster of great musicians to celebrate the rock icon's 60th birthday, and then in 1987, Berry was humbled to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
BERRY: I cannot describe, I don't have the voice, I don't have the wind, I don't have the spirit, but believe me, I'll remember it the rest of my life.
[07:55:00] TURNER: The married father of four repeatedly had trouble with the law. He was behind bars three times for charges ranging from attempted robbery to tax evasion and convicted of transporting an underage girl across state lines. However, Berry's career was not derailed.
BERRY: That margin of glory is not too high. That margin of defeat then is also not too low. So I lived right through it without any pain.
TURNER: Berry received the Kennedy Center Honor Award in 2000 and continued to perform well into his 80s. His remarkable contributions to music will forever remain a part of rock 'n' roll history.
SAVIDGE: That is so true. That was Nischelle Turner reporting there, and I was at that rock 'n' roll hall of fame induction ceremony, as I said, and, you know, Chuck Berry at the end, the master jam session they had, it was just -- I'll never forget it. It's just great.
PAUL: What an experience to have. Very nice. Very nice.
Hope you can make some great memories today.
SAVIDGE: "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King is up right after a quick break. Thanks for being with us.