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ObamaCare Rollback Bill Dies without Vote; London Terror Attack; U.S. Military Investigating Civilian Deaths; New Airline Restrictions for Onboard Electronics; Ex-Trump Aides to Testify before House Committee; Putin Greets Le Pen at Kremlin; London Terror Attack. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired March 25, 2017 - 05:00   ET





REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), HOUSE SPEAKER: ObamaCare is the law of the land. It will remain the law of the land until it's replaced. We did not have quite the votes to replace this law.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A vote on health care legislation, aimed at replacing the Affordable Care Act, ObamaCare, quickly called off. What it might mean for the Trump presidency.

Far right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen meets with the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin. What she had to say about that meeting.

And the London attacker, police hunt for answers to what led him to become radicalized.

From CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm George Howell. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.


HOWELL: It is 5:00 am on the U.S. East Coast.

This was one of the President Donald Trump's top priorities, to overturn ObamaCare, but after weeks of negotiations, after last-minute revisions, that effort ended in humbling failure. Republican leaders pulled the replacement bill Friday without a vote. CNN's Sunlen Serfaty has our report.


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump and House Republican leaders tonight are grappling with a staggering health care defeat. The GOP's long promised plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act pulled from the House floor, after leaders determined the proposal lacked enough support to pass. RYAN: We came really close today but we came up short. I will not sugar coat this. This is a disappointing day for us. Doing big things is hard.

SERFATY (voice-over): It was a stunning turn of events, coming less than 24 hours after the president issued an ultimatum to House Republicans, to move forward with the vote or he was ready to move on to other items on his agenda.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think we have to let ObamaCare go its way for a little while. And we'll see how things go. I'd love to see do it well but it can't. It's imploding and soon will explode. And it's not going to be pretty.

SERFATY (voice-over): The decision to call off the vote came after House Speaker Paul Ryan left the Capitol to visit the White House and deliver a message in person to the president that the Republicans did not have the vote to pass the plan.

Sources tell CNN a key part of that closed door conversation dealt with whether the president will take any responsibility for the decision to scrap the vote.

As that meeting played out behind the scenes, the White House press secretary was publicly making the case to reporters that the president did all he could to deliver a legislative victory.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESPERSON: There is no question in my mind, at least, that the president and the team of here have left everything on the field.

SERFATY (voice-over): Part of the administration's last-minute push included dispatching Vice President Pence to meet with conservatives, who were not entirely sold on the GOP measures.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's one of the worst bills I've ever seen.

SERFATY (voice-over): Yet even though the mood from the White House sounded less optimistic than recent days, Spicer still refused to turn in the towel.

SPICER: You have a president that will sign the bill if you pass it. And now is that time.

SERFATY (voice-over): While the president refused to hint at what his next step will be if the vote didn't succeed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you watch it?

TRUMP: We'll see what happens.

SERFATY (voice-over): What ultimately happened is rank and file members of the president's own party never fully got on board, with leaders losing votes from (INAUDIBLE) changes to the proposal aimed at swaying conservatives.

That included a late revision to eliminate the 10 essential health benefits required to be a part of insurance plans under ObamaCare.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Suppose that was added to move in the direction of the Freedom Caucus. I'm in what is known as the Tuesday group and I do not think that is a good amendment.


HOWELL: President Trump seemed to shrug off the defeat but the winds of blame are surely blowing his way and toward the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan. The question now, how will this affect the president's agenda moving forward?

CNN's Phil Mattingly looks into that.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Speaker Ryan made very clear and the president has said this multiple times over the last couple of weeks, the next item on the agenda is tax reform. That's what they're looking forward to moving onto but that's not easy either.

That is very complicated, very complex, splits a lot of members in their own conference as well.

I think the biggest question right now is, whether it's on the agenda of tax reform or infrastructure or trade deals is, will this Congress and this White House figure out a way to work together and actually get things done?

There was a lot of optimism when they started on January 20th. I can tell you right now, the optimism is certainly at a presidential career low at the moment.

Will it recover?

I think that's an open question right now.


HOWELL: Phil Mattingly there with analysis and reporting, thank you.

Important to point this out. No Democrats backed the Republican bill to roll back the Affordable Care Act. When the president blamed them for its failures, Democrats gladly agreed. Here's what House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had to say after the bill died.




PELOSI: -- great day for our country. It's a victory, what happened on the floor is a victory for the American people, for our seniors, for people with disabilities, for our children, for our veterans. Also, it's not just about the 24 million people who now won't have -- be off of health insurance, it's about the 155 million people who receive their health benefits in the workplace, who will not be assaulted by some of the provisions that the Republicans put in the bill.


HOWELL: Plus, there was this from the former Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.

She tweeted, "Today was a victory for all Americans," and added this, "this victory happened because people in their every corner of our country committed their time and energy to calling their representatives, showing up at town hall meetings and making their voices heard."

The back and forth over health care, it has called Senator Bernie Sanders to say that Washington is missing the big picture of all of this. It's the need for guaranteed health care for all Americans, regardless of income. Sanders spoke to my colleague, Anderson Cooper, about why the Republican bill would not have accomplished that goal.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VT.: This was a $300 billion tax break for the top 2 percent, massive tax breaks for the drug companies and for the insurance companies and threw 24 million people off of health insurance, de-funded Planned Parenthood, significantly raised premiums for older workers and cut Medicaid by $880 billion.

Poll after poll showed that is exactly what the American people did not want and Democrats should take credit for killing a really, really bad piece of legislation.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: So what happens over the next year?

The president is saying this is going to fail on its own, Democrats will come back to him a year from now, trying to make a deal?

SANDERS: Well, you know, Anderson, I look at life a little bit differently, needless to say, than the president does. I think one of the reasons that this legislation went down today is that, all over this country, we had hundreds of thousands of people coming out to rallies. CNN covered town meetings, where, instead of having 20 or 30 people agreeing with the Republican member of -- oh, let's cut Social Security and Medicare and -- you had a thousand people showing up, saying, you know what, you are not going to triple the rates that I pay for health insurance.

You are not going to throw me off Medicaid. People began the process of fighting back. We have got to continue that. The Republican agenda, tax breaks for billionaires, massive cuts to health care, great increase in expenditures for the military budget, not acknowledging the reality of climate change, all of those ideas are way out of touch with where the American people are. Our job now is to rally the American people to demand that the U.S.

Congress represent the middle class in this country, not just the 1 percent.

COOPER: What is your opinion on this Republican notion that ObamaCare is going to explode, that it's in a death spiral, that it's going to explode?

SANDERS: Well, I think the evidence suggests that that is not the case. But on the other hand, what is fair to acknowledge is deductibles in many cases are too high, premiums are too high and while ObamaCare has slowed down the rate of health care increased, it is going up much too fast.

So what a sensible approach is to say, OK, here are the problems. Give you one example, one example, Anderson, I could give you a million.

A couple of years ago the last statistics that we had, the five major drug companies in this country made $50 billion in profit. Five companies, while they charged the American people the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. If we had Medicare negotiating prescription drug prices with the drug companies, if we allowed pharmacists and distributors to buy lower cost medicine from Canada and other countries, we could lower the costs of prescription drugs, lower the cost of health care,

Now Trump has talked a lot about the high cost of prescription drugs, I suggest it's just another lie. I don't think he was serious about it. But if Republicans are serious, let's work together. That's one way to save billions of dollars for Americans in terms of health care costs.


HOWELL: All right, let's get some analysis now on what this means for the Trump administration and Republicans with James Davis, the dean of the School of Economics and Political Science at the University of St. Galen in Switzerland.

It's a pleasure to have you with us, James.

No doubt about it, this was a big loss for Republicans here in the United States, including the president, who had promised to repeal and replace ObamaCare. After the bill died, the Speaker of the House set the tone -- I want you to listen to this and we can talk about it here on the other side.


RYAN: Yes, I don't know what else to say other than ObamaCare is the law of the land. It will remain the law of the land until it's replaced. We did not have quite the votes --

[05:10:00] RYAN: -- to replace this law. So we will be living with ObamaCare for the foreseeable future. I don't know how long it will take to us replace this law. My worry is, ObamaCare is going to be getting even worse.


HOWELL: Republicans, who had nearly eight years to focus on something new with their plan to repeal and replace. Now you hear the Speaker of the House saying that, that this is the law of the land.

So what does that mean for the Republican agenda moving forward?

And what does it mean for this president?

JAMES DAVIS, UNIVERSITY OF ST. GALEN: I think what we see from the chaos of this rollout is that the Republicans are lacking the coherent governing philosophy, which would allow them to move an agenda forward in a positive way.

They're really split on what they're looking for. And that makes it difficult to have a team that's coherent and playing in search of the same goal.

When you hear Senator Sanders speak, you understand that he has a clear governing philosophy that would lead to a health care reform that would be coherent. The Republicans need to come up with a philosophy and a plan that is coherent but different.

And they haven't been able to do that although they've had seven years to try.

HOWELL: So I want no play two sound bites back-to-back. I want you to listen to and compare the different tone that the President of the United States is taking, again, to repeal and replace ObamaCare. This was the big promise during the campaign; listen to the difference in these two sound bites, we will play them right now.


TRUMP: And I never said, I guess I'm here, what, 64 days?

I never said repeal and replace ObamaCare. You've all heard my speeches. I never said repeal it and replace it within 64 days. I have a long time.

On my first day, I am going to ask Congress to send me a bill to immediately repeal and replace disastrous ObamaCare.

Somebody said the other day, what's the first thing you are going to do?

Well, we're going to work immediately on repealing ObamaCare.

From day one, I have been talking about we're going to repeal and replace ObamaCare, from day one. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: So you heard it there, the comparison between what President Trump had to say on the campaign trail. This was a top agenda item for him. And now you are hearing the latest response.

Given what you are hearing there, two questions here to you, does the president skirt blame here?

Is he able to walk away from this, given that it's typically so important, so crucial for any president to have a win on their first big legislative effort?

DAVIS: Look, the president's brand as the dealmaker is certainly tarnished here. This president made a lot of promises and suggested that he was going to be able to get a lot of things done very quickly. And it's clear he hasn't been able to do that.

The question I'm asking is, who is going to run from this?

Who is going to run from whom?

Are the Republicans and the Congress going to run away from the president?

Or is the president going to run away from them?

I suspect that the president is going to start to run away from the Republicans in Congress or actually run against them. I think he is probably going to turn to his base and blame the Congress for this failure and try to mobilize some support for his agenda.

But that's going to be difficult. He's going to have to get the Congress on board if he wants to help tax reform. He is going to have to get the Congress on board if he wants major infrastructure investments. And it's been clear through this episode that he does not have his own party behind him.

HOWELL: And given that point, that you say that the president doesn't have his own party behind him, moving forward, what do you think the takeaways are for this new administration in dealing with the divisions within the Republican Party and also in dealing with Democrats?

Again, no Democrat offered a single vote; had this gone to a vote, no Democrat would have supported it.

DAVIS: Well, I mean, why should the Democrats support a bill that's really trying to drive a stake through the heart of the major legislative achievement of their last president?

I mean, that would be unreasonable to expect. I think, though, if the president steps back for a minute and thinks about how to move forward, he should find some areas where he can reach some common ground with the Democrats. There are some needs for reasonable reforms to ObamaCare. Senator

Sanders pointed that out in Anderson Cooper's interview with him. The president, the past president has pointed that out himself. President Obama suggested that there are ways to improve ObamaCare.

And I think if President Trump were to come to the Congress and say, let's work on those issues that need to be addressed in a sensible way --


DAVIS: -- he would find some Democrats willing to work with him. I think if he approaches the question of infrastructure investments in a reasonable way, he will find a majority that's in favor of that because we know the roads, the bridges of the United States are collapsing; we know our airports need major investments.

We know our train system is antiquated. So I think he would find common ground, reasonable Republicans and Democrats would come together. And he could make some legislative achievements here.

But he's got to get away from the very chaotic style of governance that has characterized these first weeks and months of his administration.

HOWELL: You talk about infrastructure investment, tax reform, these are other big items on the Trump agenda.

And the question will be, how does he move forward to heal those divisions within the Republican Party but, again, also to create some new connections with Democrats, who would want to take part in seeing those things play out and move forward?

James, thank you so much for being with us.

DAVIS: Thank you.

HOWELL: This is CNN NEWSROOM. Still ahead this hour, British police are trying to figure out what caused this man to carry out Wednesday's deadly terror attack in London and if he really acted alone as originally thought.

Plus the United States military is investigating whether it's responsible for the deaths of hundreds of civilians in airstrikes across Syria and Iraq.

CNN is live, following all these stories. Stay with us.




HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell. Two members of Britain's Parliament have been honored by the queen for

their actions in the aftermath of Wednesday's terror attack in London. Tobias Elwood was an impromptu first responder for one of the victims there, trying to save the life of a policeman, who later died.

Also, Ben Wallace helped to coordinate the government response to that disaster. In the meantime, two of the 11 people arrested so far, they are in custody. Authorities are working how the attack came to be and how the perpetrator himself was radicalized.

Let's cross over live to London. CNN's Nina Dos Santos is following the investigation.

Good to have you with us, Nina, there, finding out if Masood had help or any interaction with other extremists, that will be an important part of this investigation.

Do we know anything more about the two people who are still in custody?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNNMONEY EUROPE EDITOR: Yes, we do. They're both male. They're both from Birmingham, George. One --


DOS SANTOS: -- of them is a 58-year-old man and the other one is a 27-year-old man. At the moment we don't have the identities of these individuals. We also don't know whether they were immediately in contact with Khalid Masood.

We just know where they came from and that they are both male. But I should point out that over the course of this fast moving investigation, which is now well into its third day, we've had 11 arrests made, many of those people have been now released overnight without charge.

But there are still two people who've been released on bail pending further investigations throughout the course of the month as more information comes to light.

That brings me to the issue of witness statements, people who might have known Khalid Masood. In his previous lives, before he converted to Islam, before he changed his name and perhaps also more recently, remember that he was born Adrian Russell Elms and Adrian Russell Ajao in Kent in the southeast of England.

It's believed at some point he became radicalized after having spent time in jail. Remember that this is an individual who had a string of conviction going all the way back to 1983. And he was well known by MI-5, the domestic surveillance network although he had been investigated for extremist activity in the past, violent extremist activity. He was not a part of the current security picture.

So from here, they will try to figure out who he was in contact with. There's a lot of reports circulating that he might have been in contact with somebody just before the attack on what's (INAUDIBLE) at present is one of the lines of investigation that they will be looking at here at New Scotland Yard -- George.

HOWELL: Nina Dos Santos, live for us in London. Nina, thank you so much.

The Pentagon is investigating reports that up to 300 civilians were killed in U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria and Iraq this month. The military coalition has been conducting strikes in an effort to drive out terror groups like ISIS. CNN's Barbara Starr has more for us.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: One of the most widespread allegations that U.S. airstrikes this month in Mosul, Iraq, may have caused up to 200 or more civilian deaths.

What the U.S. military is saying is they are aware of these allegations from social media, from activist groups, from Iraqis and they are looking into it.

This was an area in West Mosul, heavily populated. There were a number of airstrikes over recent days. There have been social media reports and videos emerging of civilians killed in the area. The U.S. military says it was bombing in that area but it is trying to really get fidelity.

Did it bomb these buildings?

Were civilian casualties caused?

They are also looking into a recent strike near a mosque near Idlib, Syria. Civilians said to be killed there. They are looking into yet another case of a school building bombed north of Raqqah, Syria; more than 30 civilians were seeking shelter in that building. It is said they are looking into those allegations as well.

No final answer on any of these but a number of investigations now underway and the U.S. military insists if it is said to be found to be responsible, it will take that responsibility -- Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


HOWELL: That investigation continues. Barbara Starr, thank you.

People with plans of flying to the United States and the United Kingdom, from some airports in the Middle East and North Africa are about to find things are going to become more complicated. A handful of airlines are now required to stop passengers from brings laptops and other large devices, electronic devices into the plane's cabin, all due to new safety restrictions taking effect this weekend.

Our Ian Lee is following these developments live for us in Cairo, Egypt.

Ian, it's good to have you with us this hour.

Explain to us, what all is being banned and why?

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, George, it's pretty simple. Anything that is larger than a smartphone is going to be banned on these flights. So that includes laptops, that includes tablets and cameras, any sort of large electronic.

And this is because U.S. officials are concerned that an explosive might be planted in one of these devices and then smuggled onboard an airplane.

And when you check your luggage, when you are at the airport, you put your back on the conveyor belt. It goes into a back room and there are more sophisticated scanning devices that can detect explosive materials, far more sophisticated than what you do when you are a passenger walking on the plane.

This ban of these large electronics in the cabin is now in effect. And we've seen different airlines treating it indifferently. For instance, Emirates as well as Turkish Airlines are letting their passengers bring their large electronics up to the point of the gate. Then they will hand their laptop over to a --


LEE: -- airline official. They'll put it, as we saw on Turkish Airlines, in bubble wrap and then in a shatter-proof case. And then it will be stowed underneath the aircraft.

Airline officials are trying to comply but also and at the same time, try to make it as least of a headache as possible for passengers. A lot of these people are business passengers and they do want to do their work on their large devices. So this is making people reshuffle a bit -- George.

HOWELL: Ian Lee, with some important developments to be aware of this weekend. Ian, thank you so much for the report.

Still ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM, the White House posts a big defeat in Congress over one of its top priorities, health care. And now the blame game begins.

Plus, we explain a key ObamaCare provision that proved untouchable.

CNN is live from Atlanta, Georgia. On both our networks in the United States and around the world this hour, you are watching CNN NEWSROOM.




HOWELL: Welcome back, to our viewers here in the United States and around the world, you are watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell with the headlines this hour.


HOWELL: The aftermath and the failure of the Republican health care replacement and now the winds of blame are blowing in Washington. President Trump spoke out after the health care measure was pulled from the U.S. House floor and he wasted no time calling out who he thinks really failed with this bill.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We were very close and it was a very, very tight margin. We had no Democrat support. We had no votes from the Democrats. They weren't going to give us a single vote, so it's a very difficult thing to do.

I've been saying for the last year and a half that the best thing we can do, politically speaking, is let ObamaCare explode. It is exploding right now.

It's -- many states have big problems, almost all states have big problems. I was in Tennessee the other day and they've lost half of their state in terms of an insurer had have no insurer. And that's happening, too, many other places.

I was in Kentucky the other day and similar things are happening. So ObamaCare's exploding. With no Democrat support we couldn't quite get there. We were just a very small number of votes short in terms of getting our bill passed.

And I think the losers are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, because now they own ObamaCare. They own it -- 100 percent own it.

And this is not a Republican health care, this is not anything but a Democrat health care. And they have ObamaCare for a little while longer, until it ceases to exist, which it will, at some point in the near future. And just remember this is not our bill, this is their bill.

Everybody worked hard. I worked as a team player and would have loved to have seen it passed. But, again, I think you know I was very clear, because I think there wasn't a speech I'd made, or very few where I didn't mention that perhaps the best thing that can happen is exactly what happened today, because we'll end up with a truly great health care bill in the future after this mess known as ObamaCare explodes.

I like Speaker Ryan. He worked very, very hard. It's a lot of different groups. He's got a lot of factions and there's been a long history of liking and disliking, even within the Republican Party, long before I got here.

But I've had a great relationship with the Republican Party. It seems that both sides like Trump and that's good and you see that, I guess, more clearly than anybody. We've had -- I'm not going to speak badly about anybody within the party.

But certainly there's a big history. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: So from the president's explanation of things there, ObamaCare is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

Earlier, my colleague Anderson Cooper spoke with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta about one of the biggest problems that sank its potential replacement.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: This essential health benefit thing that came up over the last couple of days, something that people didn't pay a lot of attention to, I think was probably -- certainly the most important provision that they were thinking about removing this new plan.

Remember, Anderson, it's called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. People forget that; the patient protections part of it was a big deal. And this idea that you could buy insurance plans before the Affordable Care Act went into place, they just weren't very good insurance plans.

If you actually got sick or you got in an accident, they may not cover your emergency room visit. They may not cover your ambulance ride. They may not cover an operation you need in the hospital. That's what you have insurance for. That's the sort of nature of insurance.

And keep in mind also, in 2009, 62 percent of bankruptcies in the United States were because of medical expenses and many of those people had insurance. They had health care insurance. It just wasn't adequate insurance.

So the idea that you once again make these, what are called skinny plans or junk plans, put them out there, I think was really concerning, I think for the medical community and also patients. You thought you were insured but when you actually needed it, it wasn't there for you.


HOWELL: Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Anderson Cooper there.



HOWELL: Still ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM a chat at the Kremlin, Russia's president Vladimir Putin warmly greets the far right leader, Marine Le Pen, who wants to run for president in France.

And why unity appears to be in short supply as leaders mark 60 years since the beginning of the European Union.

That story ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM.




HOWELL: A former top aide to the U.S. president, Donald Trump, is set to testify to lawmakers as they investigate alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. The head of the House Intelligence Committee says it will hear from Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman.

At least two other Trump aides may also testify. CNN's Jessica Schneider has more for us.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Roger Stone are already under FBI investigation for their contacts with Russians known to U.S. intelligence. Now they say they'll go before lawmakers.

Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's campaign chairman, resigned amid questions about his previous lobbying for pro-Russian interests in Ukraine. Today a spokesman said Manafort looks forward to meeting with those conducting serious investigations of these issues to discuss the facts.

Campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page denied allegations that he secretly met with Putin associates. He told the committee, "I would look forward to engaging with you in the interest of finally ending this ruse."

And the attorney for Roger Stone, a former adviser to Donald Trump, says Stone is anxious to talk.

Stone told CNN, "I acknowledge, I am a hardball player, I have sharp elbows but one thing isn't in my bag of tricks, treason."


SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Former national security adviser Michael Flynn is also under FBI investigation but his spokesman had no comment on whether Flynn might make a similar offer.

Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes suddenly cancelling next week's open hearing with former Director of National Intelligence retired General James Clapper and the former acting attorney general Sally Yates and former CIA director John Brennan. The ranking Democrat on the committee accusing the White House of meddling in the process.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIF.: There must have been a very strong pushback from the White House about the nature of Monday's hearing. It's hard for me to come to any other conclusion about why an agreed- upon hearing would be suddenly cancelled. SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Nunes wants the FBI director and National Security Agency director, Mike Rogers, to come back next week in a closed session. Nunes refuses to disclose what new information he has and where he got it. But he says it revealed incidental collection of communications by President Trump and his associates.

REP. DEVIN NUNES (R), CALIF.: You can ask me every single name that exists on the planet and I'm still not going to tell you who our sources are.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Schiff calling for an independent investigation, saying he is concerned that Nunes may have shared investigative information with the White House.

SCHIFF: To take evidence that may or may not be related to the investigation to the White House was wholly inappropriate and, of course, casts grave doubts into the ability to run a credible investigation.

SCHNEIDER: That intel committee is expecting information from the NSA over the next few days on the issue of unmasking. It's that process of revealing the names of Americans in reports when they're supposed to be hidden.

Well, Chairman Nunes says they want to know why these names were unmasked and if any additional names were revealed.


HOWELL: Jessica Schneider, thank you.

And speaking of Russia, that nation's president, Vladimir Putin, appears to be embracing the far right surge that's taking place in France. The Russian president warmly welcomed National Front leader and French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen to the Kremlin.

CNN's Brian Todd looks at why Friday's meeting could turn America's alliance with France on its head.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Vladimir Putin's latest attempt to manipulate another country's levers of power, he meets in Moscow with France's far right presidential candidate, Marine Le Pen, a woman who --


TODD: -- if she wins, could turn a key U.S. ally upside down. Le Pen says she'd like to lift sanctions on Russia, to recognize Putin's annexation of Crimea. And she makes another bold declaration.

MARINE LE PEN, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL FRONT (through translator): It's a world of Vladimir Putin. It's a world of Donald Trump and the United States. TODD (voice-over): Analysts say it's a stunning image for a top candidate in a western democracy to unabashedly embrace Moscow at a time when, in America, President Trump's campaign is being investigated over whether aides coordinated with Russian operatives.

HEATHER CONLEY, DIRECTOR OF THE EUROPE PROGRAM, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: I think what's unusual is how much Russia is now playing into our news cycle, our daily consciousness. Russia is very much at the center of our attention and that's exactly where President Putin would like it to be.

TODD (voice-over): Why is Marine Le Pen a favorite French candidate of Putin?

BEN JUDAH, AUTHOR, "FRAGILE EMPIRE": Because Le Pen wants to break Euro-Atlantic institutions. Le Pen wants to bring France out of NATO. She wants to bring France out of the Euro. She wants to break a block which Putin sees, correctly, as preventing Russia achieving the dominant position in Europe as a great power.

TODD (voice-over): And tonight, there's serious concern that Putin will meddle in France's elections, like he allegedly did in America. CNN has learned French officials are worried that Putin's hackers will fish for damaging information, using similar tactics to how U.S. intelligence says they targeted Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Russian hackers are believed to have targeted France before with a devastating cyber attack in 2015 of a top French T.V. network. Putin denies trying to tilt the French elections.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION (through translator): We do not want to influence events in any way.

TODD (voice-over): But Marine Le Pen has already gotten a boost from Russia, a loan, three years ago, of about $10 million to her party from a bank owned by a close friend of Putin's.

DAVID KRAMER, SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY, THE MCCAIN INSTITUTE: The very fact that Marine Le Pen is in Moscow this week and is there to drum up support from Putin, has received a $10 million loan from the Russians in 2014, that Putin is trying to boost the far right forces in France, all this does suggest that Le Pen is rather beholden to Putin and the Kremlin in Russia.


HOWELL: That was CNN's Brian Todd reporting there for us.

Right now, Europe's leaders are gathering in Italy's capital. These live pictures in Rome you see, leaders there speaking, marking the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome.

That treaty came 10 years after the Second World War and led to the formation of the European Union. CNN's Barbie Nadeau is following this story live in Rome with us. Barbie, it's good to have you with us, let's talk about the context

here. You have Britain headed towards the exit with Brexit. We just we heard this story a moment ago about Marine Le Pen meeting with the Russian president, all of this playing into difficult times for the E.U.

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. The whole purpose of these celebrations today is for European leaders to go to get together and show a brave face going forward.

They're signing a document today. They're taking beautiful pictures in a beautiful city, all of these things to celebrate the 60-year anniversary of the Treaty of Rome and to sort of embark on a brave new world without the U.K. after Brexit.

But what you saw, there was a very tense situation in Rome today. There are six different protests going on outside that protected area, where those leaders are meeting. They're anti-Europe protests. There are people from the far right protesting. There are people from the far left protesting, people who want to see the European Union stay together, people who would like to see it break apart.

So the city is really under a great deal of stress, there are about 5,000 police officers, new CCTV cameras watching to see that everything stays safe.

And they are very concerned about clashes and very concerned about what might happen later on. So you've got two different things going on. You've got that beautiful ceremony inside the protected perimeter. And you've got what is going to probably end up to be a very chaotic situation outside, where you've got people really being able to say what they really think about the future of the European Union -- George.

HOWELL: Barbie Nadeau, following the story live for us in Rome, Barbie, thank you.

Still ahead here on NEWSROOM, how London is trying to move on after the deadly attack that hit that city. Stay with us.





HOWELL: Welcome back to NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell.

Prime minister Theresa May says that Britain will not be intimidated by this week's deadly attack in London. She is encouraging her country to never give in to terror.

CNN's Nick Glass has more now on a nation trying to stay strong in the midst of heartache. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)


NICK GLASS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Westminster Bridge reopened after the attack, the tourist site again but also in place is a shrine and a place of contemplation.

"The oldest of parliaments in the greatest city on Earth," the words of Theresa May, her response of the attack was resolute and defiant.

THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We are not afraid. And our resolve will never waver in the face of terrorism.

GLASS (voice-over): The last terrorist attack on Westminster was also in the month of March but a long time ago in 1979. Then it was the IRA. This time, it was apparently inspired by ISIS. The suddenness of this attack, the randomness of it, the indiscriminate barbarity of it came as a shock.

MAY: The location of this attack was no accident. The terrorists chose to strike at the heart of our capital city, where people of all nationalities, religions and cultures, come together to celebrate the values of liberty, democracy and freedom of speech.

These streets of Westminster are engrained with a spirit of freedom that echoes in some of the furthest corners of the globe.

GLASS (voice-over): This was also a reminder that Westminster isn't just a citadel of the political classes, sometimes despised --


GLASS (voice-over): -- political classes. It's also a place of work, of policemen, tourists, school children and flesh and blood and peace. And on the day, a place of bravery and simple humanity. The Conservative MP James Cleverly paid tribute to his friend, the murdered policeman, Keith Palmer.

JAMES CLEVERLY, CONSERVATIVE MP: He was a strong, professional public servant. And it was a delight to meet him here again only a few months after being elected.

GLASS (voice-over): The truth is the victims, dead and injured, came from 11 different countries, many of them European. This was a week in which Britain's European partners expressed empathy and natural solidarity with London in the face of terrorism.

At Westminster, the aim was to get things back to normal as quickly as possible. This seems to have been achieved. "Let's move on" was the message, quietly, insistently, like the great River Thames -- Nick Glass, CNN, London.


HOWELL: It is a resilient city, determined to move forward with strength.

Thank you for being with us for this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell at the CNN Center in Atlanta. For our viewers in the United States "NEW DAY" is next. For other viewers around the world, Erin Burnett "OUTFRONT" starts in just a moment.

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