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Conservative Group Blamed by Trump For Health Care Bill Failure; Chairman Nunes Should Step Down, Dems Demand Independent Investigation; Hundred of Civilians in Mosul Feared Dead From Airstrike; Democrats to Block Neil Gorsuch's Nomination; Deadly Nightclub Shooting in Cincinnati. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired March 26, 2017 - 17:00   ET



ANA CABRERA, CNN NEWSROOM SHOW HOST, CNN NEWS: In Mosul, Iraq, the Pentagon calls the death of dozens of civilians a terrible tragedy, but stopped short of accepting responsibility, this as more U.S. troops are being sent to help push ISIS out of that city.

We begin tonight in Washington. If you're elected and sent to the nation's capital, chances are you'll have enemies and friends. President Trump may be a little short on the latter right now and his early morning tweet might be sowing deeper divisions within his own party. The president ripped into conservative Republican groups blaming them for dooming his health care bill. He writes, " Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus with the help of Club for Growth and Heritage, and saved Planned Parenthood and Ocare or Obamacare."

Now this comes as a Freedom Caucus member abruptly resigned this afternoon. I want to read you part of a statement from Congressman Ted Poe of Texas and I quote, "Saying no is easy, leading the hard, but that is what we were elected to do. Leaving this caucus will allow me to be a more effective member of Congress and advocate for the people of Texas."

And what about President Trump's relationship with the most powerful Republican in the House, Speaker Paul Ryan? Let's talk it over with Athena Jones outside the White House. Athena, we know that the president and Speaker Ryan talked at least twice this weekend. What are you hearing?

ATHENA JONES, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Hi Ana, that's right. They have been talking quite a bit in the last couple of days. We know that they spoke for an hour yesterday, a GOP source telling my colleague Dana Bash that their relationship is stronger than ever. They also spoke again this morning and there is some interesting background to that conversation this morning. Yesterday, the president tweeted out a promo for a Fox show that was airing that night saying, "Watch Judge Jeanine tonight."

Well, all day Fox was promoting new wiretapping details. Those new details didn't emerge in Judge Jeanine's show last night in terms of any truly new news. What did emerge that the judge in her opening statement called on House Speaker Ryan to step down as house speaker because he had failed to get enough votes to pass this repeal effort.

So that of course raised questions. People wondering was this a coincidence? Was the president talking about that statement? And so my colleague out in the lawn (ph) spoke with Paul Ryan's spokesperson who confirmed that the two did speak again today and that the president was clear, his tweet had nothing to do with the speaker. They are both eager to get back to work on the agenda.

And that is the larger message we've been hearing from folks at the White House. They are not placing the blame for this failure on House Speaker Paul Ryan's shoulders. We've heard nothing but positive talk about Paul Ryan. The president asked if he's a doing a good job a couple of days ago and he said, yes. We heard more of that this morning from chief of staff Reince Priebus on Fox News Sunday, watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So does he want Paul Ryan to step down?

REINCE PREIBUS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: No, he doesn't. And he has talked to Paul Ryan yesterday for about an hour. He believes what he said in the Oval Office on Friday. He doesn't blame Paul Ryan. Id fact, he thought Paul Ryan worked really hard. He enjoys his relationship with Paul Ryan. He thinks that Paul Ryan is the great speaker of the house.


JONES: So, yet another endorsement for the House Speaker. And that relationship is going to be important going forward and one to watch. The White House is going to have to figure out how to deal with just with Paul Ryan and the rest of House leadership but also with House conservatives that the president is blasting, and with moderate Republicans in the House, and also potentially with Democrats.

We heard the chief of staff talking about working across the aisle. The question is does this bomb throwing and harsh words from the president -- words and tweets from the president towards both the House Freedom Caucus and Democrats -- is that conducive to working together. House Speaker Ryan said doing big things is hard and they're all going to have to get together to get any of the president's legislative priorities accomplished. Ana.

CABRERA: All right, Athena Jones reporting. Thank you. Now. to those committee and congress hearings trying to find out if there's an improper connection between people close to President Trump in Russia, and we were supposed to hear testimony from more top national security officials this Tuesday, but this man shut that hearing down.

The House Chairman, California Republican Devin Nunes says that hearing is postponed. Democrats say he cancelled it and they're furious about it. At least one Democrat calling for Nunes now to step down. And here's a tweet from a member of that intelligence committee, Illinois Democrat, Mike Quigley saying, "We are very disappointed Nunes cancelled hearing -- suppressing answers, stirring confusion, keeping people in the dark won't allow us to fulfill our mission," he writes.

Congressman Mike Quigley is joining me now live from Chicago. Congressman, thanks for coming on with us. Those are some pretty strong words alleging your colleague, trying to keep people in the dark, suppressing answers, you really believe that?

REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D), ILLINOS: Well, let's look at the last nine days. Director Comey said that there is an investigation into the Russia-Trump probe. He said that the Russians attempted to help President Trump's campaign and hurt Hillary Clinton's campaign.

[17:05:04] Then shortly just before that, the president of the United States said his Trump Tower was wiretapped and no evidence has come forth on that.

Just a few days later, Chairman Nunes goes on some sort of late night excursion where he says he witnessed evidence of such and then just a few days later, he announces that the open hearing that was scheduled for this Tuesday is cancelled. That's hardly a good week for a credible investigation.

CABRERA: But do you believe he's trying to suppress answers and keep information from the American public?

QUIGLEY: I think this is a two-fold campaign by the leadership on the Republican side of the house and the White House. It is distraction and obstruction. There's no way you can account for all the actions that have taken place in the last seven to nine days, they have done nothing to help the investigation. There is zero reason to cancel Tuesday's meeting, other than last week's public hearing went so horribly for them.

CABRERA: What was the reason Devin Nunes gave you for canceling the hearing this week, the public hearing?

QUIGLEY: He gave no reason directly to the Democrats. We spoke to the chairman and then without telling us, he gave the staff 15 minutes notice that he was going to have this press conference where he announced the cancellation. There was absolutely no discussion beforehand as to why. There was no reason to cancel it. He said that there's going to be some other testimony.

The two aren't mutually exclusive. He still could have had Mr. Clapper or Mr. Brennan and Ms. Yates testify in front of the pubic so they could see additional evidence to what they saw in last Monday's testimony. Instead, because the public hearing didn't go well and the public mood is starting to focus against them, they decided to cancel. There is no other logical explanation for the extraordinary journey we've taken this last ten days.

CABRERA: Congressman, it seems that this committee needs desperately to work together to get answers for the American people. Can this intelligence committee handle the investigation without becoming too partisan?

QUIGLEY: I don't know how the Democrats have been partisan. We are in the minority. We can't a cancel a hearing. We can't go on a midnight excursion and say that we saw evidence that the president was somehow wiretapped. All I can do --

CABRERA: So do you believe that -- do you believe that this needs to be handed off to an independent commission?

QUIGLEY: Well I think the two should work together. They have different abilities and indeed, we should have an independent commission, and clearly we need an independent prosecutor. But the House and Senate Select Committees on Intelligence means have abilities that the others may not.

CABRERA: In what way?

QUIGLEY: We meet in top secret fashion -- well we meet in top secret fashion. We are privy to top secret information on an ongoing basis. We're going to have access to materials the others probably won't have. So after 9/11, there are a whole series of investigations, each one had their own merits. We need to do the same.

CABRERA: Have you seen more than circumstantial evidence of possible collusion between the Russians and Trump campaign associates?

QUIGLEY: I think the best way for me to describe it as former criminal defense attorney is this, there is probable cause to believe that there was coordination.

CABRERA: Can you tell us? I know you can't get into specifics in terms of the information itself, but does that evidence come in the form of papers, documents? Is it communications? Is it financial type of information?

QUIGLEY: I guess the best way to describe it is the totality of circumstances and remember this, we are only at the beginning of this investigation. There are so many more documents to find, so many more people to interview. And to be honest, an investigation of this nature probably needs to take place on several continents.

CABRERA: Of course because we're talking about potential ties with people in Russia and in that part of the world.

QUIGLEY: Eastern Europe.

CABRERA: I'm curious when you were listening to the hearing earlier this week that was public with Mike Rogers, the director of the NSA as well as the FBI director James Comey, what was the most significant thing you learned this week that we might have missed because you're on the inside?

QUIGLEY: I think the most significant pronouncement was that there was an investigation. That's virtually unheard of that the FBI would make a public announcement of that. And that's the first thing Director Comey said. He also made a public pronouncement that the Russians attempted to help the Trump campaign and hurt Hillary Clinton's campaign. [17:10:04] And finally, as it goes to the credibility that we talked

about, he said there is no evidence that President Obama ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower. In fact he said, no president has such power.

CABRERA: That's right. That's true. Did you find that it would be helpful to have a closed hearing to ask additional questions and probe in a way that might not be able to get the kinds of answers, the substantive answers because of it being an open hearing? We understand that Nunes would like to have this closed hearing with the directors of the FBI and NSA later this week to ask more questions that might be classified of nature?

QUIGLEY: I think you need to do both. I think that while this is going on, and I said this is going to be a long investigation. There's absolutely no barrier to having both. You need a public pronouncement as we go forward of what exactly is taking place. Just imagine if Director Comey didn't have the opportunity to share what he did publicly? The American public simply wouldn't know. He has said things that I could not have said publicly. I think we need to have a parallel track, a public and private investigation.

CABRERA: What are your expectations, speaking of public and private, Paul Manafort, Carter Page, Roger Stone, they agreed they would go before your committee. In fact, I know Carter Page have said please make mine an open hearing. I'd love to talk to testify publicly. What are your expectations to hear from them?

QUIGLEY: YesThere's a lot of details that still have to be worked out. Are they going to be compelled to testify? Are they going to seek immunity? Are they going to testify under oath? These are -- No problem, bring it on.

CABRERA: They're saying sure, no problem, bring it on.

QUIGLEY: They haven't all agreed to all of those details. I don't think you begin that process by canceling the next public hearing. There are so many more people that need to testify. I'd be glad, if they are willing to do so, fantastic.

CABRERA: Does Devin Nunes need to step down from his position as the chairman of the intelligence committee?

QUIGLEY: He has to decide if he's going to have a credible investigation. And I suppose that's between him and Speaker Ryan. The Speaker is the sole person that puts him in that spot. He has to decide that he is not serving two masters here. The fact that he went to the White House with what he said was critical information, as the chairman of the investigation involving Trump involvement with Russian cooperation is just unheard of. It's extraordinary. And the fact they didn't show it with any of us before he did that it just goes beyond the pale.

CABRERA: But you're not calling for him to step down?

QUIGLEY: You know, I'm going to leave that to Speaker Ryan and to Mr. Nunes himself.

CABRERA: And finally, has there been any dates thrown out for rescheduling that public hearing that was supposed to be on Tuesday?

QUIGLEY: Not at all. And the hearing that was supposed to take its place has not been formalized in terms of date, times and detail. I don't know what to expect next. We're heading to D.C. tomorrow morning. We're going to take it from there. The one thing we can't do is to let them off the hook. The fact that they're trying to slow and to discredit this investigation, if we shut off the lights, no one's going to see what happened.

CABRERA: Congressman Mike Quigley, we hope you'll come back on, please do keep us posted.

QUIGLEY: Thank you.

CABRERA: Thank you. Ahead in the Newsroom tonight, tragedy in Mosul. The U.S. military launching a formal investigation into the deaths of possibly hundreds of civilians. Was it ISIS? Was it a U.S. airstrike or somehow both?

Plus, blame game, a fallout over the health care bill continues. Everyone looking for a fall guy, what this could say about the president's agenda going forward. And later, silver lining a bad week for the president. Could his Supreme Court pick see a much needed item in the win column? We're live in the CNN Newsroom.


CABRERA: Big news in the battle against ISIS. We're just learning that more American troops are headed to Iraq. The Pentagon confirming this to CNN just this afternoon -- now the exact number of soldiers set to deploy not known right now. The term used by the defense official is in below hundreds. They will likely be sent to an Iraqi air base in East Mosul. No word on exactly how long they will be there.

Also today, the Pentagon is now addressing the very serious allegation that one or more U.S. air strikes may have led to the deaths of hundreds of civilians just this month. In fact, this statement from the CENTCOM commanding general just today, "We are investigating the incident to determine exactly what he and are going to extraordinary measures to avoid harming civilians." Our Pentagon reporter Ryan Browne is joining us now from Washington. Ryan, more about this new deployment to Iraq in a moment, but what else is the military now saying about what happened in Mosul?

RYAN BROWNW, PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT, CNN NEWS: Well, that's right, the military is now saying that they believe there was a strike that took place in the neighborhood in this vicinity where some of these civilian casualties are being reported. Now, they are still looking into it. They're still investigating and doing what they call a credibility assessment, which is a review to see what exactly happened. Now, they don't have any people on the ground, U.S. or coalition

advisors right there so they're relying on second-hand reports, but they can confirm that there was a strike in that vicinity on the 17th of March but the military believed was targeted against ISIS fighters and ISIS equipment. So now they're doing this -- their investigative due diligence to determine what exactly took place, and this is coming from varying reports from the ground, from Iraqi military officials, from local civilian officials about varying levels of what exactly happened.

There was one local report saying that VBIED was -- a vehicle-borne IED was struck there in a battle and that's what caused this secondary damage.

[17:20:03] There's a lot of conflicting reports out there so the military is really trying to determine what exactly took place.

CABRERA: And of course, let's also talk about the new deployment to Iraq that we're learning confirmed to CNN. What will be the mission of these additional troops and is the timing of this deployment related to the incident in Western Mosul in any way?

BROWNE: The deployment had been -- being developed for some time, they're just making the official announcement today. But you know, as this battle rages from Mosul between ISIS and the Iraqi troops, they're moving into the older parts of the city, the more densely populated parts of the city where very narrow streets. In fact armored vehicles can't even move through some of these areas so there require a more concerted push by the Iraqi troops as ISIS kind of co-mingles in with the civilian population, firing from rooftops.

So this is a very complicated battle space. So these advisers are going to be performing kind of an advice and assist function for the local Iraqi troops as they move into the kind of what many analysts see as the toughest part of the battle.

You know CABRERA: So they'll be on the ground. Will they be on their frontline?

BROWNE: Well, they'll be in advice and assist role so they typically are not, you know, performing the actual combat functions themselves. They're a little bit behind at advising the Iraqi leadership. Now that being said, it's a very fluid battle space. There have a been times in the past where military advisors have come under fire even if they weren't immediately at the front line, it's because it's a very different urban terrain and so you can have snipers, you can have suicide attacks behind the lines. So it's still very much a combat environment but they won't necessarily be doing the active fighting themselves.

CABRERA: Got you. Ryan Browne reporting. Thank you. Straight ahead, what does this investigation in Mosul look like on the ground? Retired General Mark Hertling will join me next. You're live in the CNN Newsroom.

[17:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) CABRERA: We're back now with news of conflicting accounts about a deadly explosion in Mosul, Iraq. A week ago, a blast that reportedly collapsed buildings bearing civilians. We're now being told from a senior Iraqi officer that it was a coalition air strike that hit an ISIS truck laden with explosives that led to dozens and possibly hundreds of deaths.

The U.S. led coalition has so far acknowledged hitting a vehicle carrying explosives in a strike on March 17th. But U.S. officials stopped short of confirming the Iraqi military's account of what exactly happened. I want to bring in CNN military analyst, retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling. General, it seems there are still some question about dates and exactly where some of these strikes have and what do you make of these conflicting accounts?

MARK HERTLING, MILITARY ANALYST, CNN NEWS: Well, it's typical for a combat situation, An. All of these things have to be researched, analyzed and you have to come to some conclusion in terms of what's happening. But given the situation on the ground and having been there before, I can tell you there are a couple of things that might influence this situation.

Number one, the aircraft that dropped the ordinance will have had gun camera videos for the most part. If it didn't, it would be amazing to me that it didn't. Because they watch all the weapons leave the aircraft and actually hit the target, that's what you see on TV sometimes when it's trying to impress so they will now what they aim for or what they hit.

They have to go through the air tasking orders to determine what airplanes were in the area at the time and what airplanes dropped ordinance. Now what I'll also tell you is if the target was a suicide car, a VBEID as it's called, a vehicle-borne explosive device, depending on how much ammunition or explosives were in that car, certainly it could knock down buildings in the area. One time when I was in Mosul, there was a truck bomb that came across that blew a hole 100 yards around and knocked down a bunch of buildings so that could have done it.

Secondarily, it could have been this car being hit with lesser explosives on it, but some of the houses in the area may have had what's called HBEID, house-borne explosive devices. It's been a mode of operation of ISIS and Al Qaeda before them to booby trap houses so when the offensive operations comes through the area, soldiers will go into the house, trip the booby trap and the cement roof will fall in on the soldiers. I was actually in a scene in 2007, I saw six American soldiers unfortunately killed that way.

So, could it have been a bunch of civilians in a house, where either a secondary effect from a car bomb or a house-borne explosive dropping on them, those are things that have to be considered at the same time, the coalition forces are certainly looking did our aircraft drop a bomb in the wrong place because of a variety of reasons? And certainly the coalition force doesn't want to say anything just yet until it has more information. CABRERA: And that's important because we don't want to jump to

conclusions. In terms of going about this investigation, you talked about looking at video, but on the ground, given how dicey the situation is, for lack of a better word, how does the U.S. work with those Iraqi security forces on the ground to try to piece this together. Do they treat this as a crime scene?

HERTLING: Well, not quite a crime scene, but certainly an investigative scene, and the Iraqi forces will certainly be able to tell even just looking at the building and what happened. Is there a hole in the top of it from the bomb or have the pillars that held it up suddenly exploded and the roof collapsed? So they, you know, the Iraqi forces can tell what an HBIED was just as well as U.S. forces were.

But remember, we also have advise and assist elements with these Iraqi forces. We could very easily put in some investigators to determine what caused this. That's not a problem. Even though this is an active combat scene, you can certainly put some people in that will analyze.

[17:30:04] But here's the problem, we have been talking about this all day today, and if ISIS wants to get a propaganda victory, they already have. There have been some newspapers that have printed front page stories that have said this is -- they immediately assumed that it's coalition strikes that did that. I'm not so certain, I give it a fifty, fifty chance and that's where the investigation will prove one way or another.

CABRERA: What happens if that investigation does find the U.S. is ultimately responsible?

HERTLING: Well if they're responsible, they will look at what happened, why it happened and they will fix the procedures. I'll tell you, there's no pilot in the world that purposely drops a set of ammunition that's going to kill a bunch of civilians. So I will tell you, there are going to be a lot commanders and a lot of Air Force folks right now depending on what kind of airplane was assigned in that area who are looking at their procedures saying, what could we have done wrong? What might have happened? Even before the proof is there, they're looking through their processes to see if there's anything they did wrong because they don't want to send another mission out thinking that this might happen again.

CABRERA: Well, great information -- Retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling. Thanks for your insight as always.

HERTLING: Always a pleasure, Ana. Thank you.

CABRERA: One of President Kennedy's favorite sayings was this, "Victory has 100 fathers, defeat is an orphan." Now that Republican health care bill has been defeated, everyone from the president on down is deciding who is to blame, and who will pay the price for that failure. We're live in the CNN Newsroom.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People who are to blame are the people who would not vote yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This bill didn't pass because it didn't deal with the most fundamental flaw in Obamacare.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I can tell you, no one has been more self- critiquing than me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From this conversation should be more about the people whose lives are going to be impacted by our decisions on their health care. We did not have enough of a substantive discussion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never once have I seen him blame Paul Ryan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But ultimately I don't think you can lay the defeat of this bill last week on any single faction in the House of Representatives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I think there's probably plenty of blame to go around.


CABRERA: And the blame game is on. Lots of finger pointing, following the breakdown of the Republican health care bill. President Trump first pointed the finger at democrats, now he's pointing the finger at conservative groups. This is what he tweeted this morning, "Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus with the help of Club for Growth and Heritage have saved Planned Parenthood and Obamacare."

Let's discuss. Joining me now is Robert Zimmerman, the Democratic strategist and Democratic National Committee man and Harlan Hill, a political consultant who supported Senator Bernie Sanders and then Donald Trump in the election. So, Harlan, who needs to own this?

HARLAN HILL, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Well, I think Ryan owns it, and that's why yesterday I came here and I said that Ryan should be repealed and replaced. That Donald Trump should ask for his resignation. Now, he can't force him to do that because there is a separation between these two branches.

CABRERA: But that's one guy, right? Just one person.

HILL: Well, he owned this. This was Ryan's bill. This was Ryancare, and he couldn't get his caucus in line. He couldn't come up with a bill that could reasonably pass and it failed and it blew up in his face.

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: You know, Ana, the problem in the House of Representative is that their right hand doesn't know what the alt-right hand is doing so you have this divisions and you have everyone trying to run for cover. But at the end of the day, this issue belongs with President Trump. Just to put it into perspective, he spent 17 days working on his

Trumpcare legislation which he now calls Ryancare, by the way. Yet in fact if you look at history, I think it was 166 days were spent by President Obama pushing his program through. When President Bush did Medicare expansion, it was like 150 days.

The point is, even according to Republican members of Congress, the president didn't show a mastery of the details, didn't really lead the country, to try to educate them on the issue, and quite frankly, I think just as substantially, when you have Republican members of Congress saying his legislation was a giveaway to the super rich in our country. When you got Republican members of Congress like Charlie Dent saying that, you know there's a problem.

CABRERA: IN terms of execution -- in terms of execution, I hear what you're saying that this was really a policy that was developed by Ryan and he had more time to work on this as he's been in the House of Representatives but this was also a big huge promise that the president made on the campaign trail over and over and over again. I mean should he have been more involved in the policy piece.

HILL: Well, I think this is his first real legislative attempt coming out of the gate. He learned a lot from this. And this doesn't preclude him from passing health care reform in the coming months or years. So, this is our first shot at it. He learned a lot. You know, he doesn't have any experience actually working on the Hill to pass bills. That was actually a plus, I believe --


ZIMMERMAN: A president does not -- cannot make excuses. When a president says I'm going to give you --


ZIMMERMAN: When he says I'm going to give you on day one better health insurance at a lower price --

HARLAN: He didn't say that. He said on day one I'm going to go to congress and I'm going to ask them to send me a bill that will improve the health care system.

ZIMMERMAN: -- and he said superior -- and he said better health insurance at cheaper price.

CABRERA: So when we talk about winners and losers in all of this, some have said that the Freedom Caucus has been emboldened because now they have some power. They were able to stop this bill from moving forward because they didn't get exactly what they wanted. But this is kind of an interesting development that happened today. Ted Poe, he is a representative who was on the Freedom Caucus.

He resigned from that caucus. Let me read you part of his statement when he did this. He says, "Saying no is easy, leading is hard, but that is what we were elected to do. Leaving this caucus will allow me to be a more effective member of Congress and advocate for the people of Texas. It is time to lead." So Robert, my question to you is do Democrats welcome this and should Democrats perhaps be doing the same and putting out an olive branch?

ZIMMERMAN: Well you know, what's interesting, I think Senator Schumer and Senator Sanders actually did this today in their comments. Senator Sanders when he was on "State Of The Union." We talked about there are issues that in fact they can work with the Republicans and the president. The president talked about making drug care more affordable. That's an opportunity to work together.

[17:40:00] There's a need to stabilize the market. There's a need to create more opportunities for small businesses to buy in. But if the president's strategy is just to repeal Obamacare, if his goal is to remove 24 million people from health insurance, that's a deal breaker. That's not going to work.

CABRERA: Do you see areas to compromise?

HILL: Let's be honest, there's not political will on either side of the aisle to repeal or replace or to modify Obamacare. There are real systemic problems with Obamacare that have lead to higher premiums that the American people cannot afford and it's a burden on small business.

CABRERA: What about the prescription drugs --

HILL: I don't believe there's political will to actually get this done.


ZIMMERMAN: That's because of the --

HILL: -- because I believe that the Democratic Party is hell hell- bent on defeating Donald Trump, and so that means that there will not be compromise. So you do have fringe leaders, somebody like Bernie Sanders standing up and he's saying that we can find commonality, that's pure political posturing.

CABRERA: Wait a minute. You're a fan of Bernie Sanders.

HILL: But it is pure political posturing. I mean, we saw the same thing with other leading Senate Democrats as soon as President Donald Trump was inaugurated saying that they're willing to come across the aisle and work --

ZIMMERMAN: And what a president should do is call the Democrats' bluff. Invite them into the Oval Office. Talk to them about how we're going to make drug care more affordable. Take off from the table the idea of just repealing Obamacare and throwing people off the Medicaid expansion. That's what a president should do. Try to find ways to bring people together. You've seen that bipartisanly done before in our history, it's not unique, an by the way --

CABRERA: He's going to have a chance on tax reform. He says that's his next spot. But wait a minute, just a second, let me finish my thought here because on tax reform, that is a big issue that affects a lot of people. He has another chance, Harlan, how is he going to reach out to the different sides and effectively get this fixed?

HILL: I mean, look, the burden is also on Democrats, they could write legislation and propose it and that could be part of the process here.

CABRERA: Right. That could happen.

HILL: And he's haven't seen that.

ZIMMERMAN: It has happened.

HILL: We have not seen that. We saw that actually, you know, in the previous administration where you have Republicans proposing legislation when President Obama was in the White House, and I would like to see Democrats do the same thing.

CABRERA: What kind of legislation do you see Democrats proposing that the president would agree to go along with --

HILL: Let take something like infrastructure spending. There's actually a lot of commonality between the two parties, in terms of what we both recognize the problem. There are too many potholes, our infrastructure is crumbling. We both want to spend about a $1 trillion on this. The only question ins how do we fund it? We should be able to come to the table, both parties should be writing bills and they're not doing it.

ZIMMERMAN: Excuse me, actually in fact President Trump does have a piece of legislation he's been advocating. The Senate under Senator Schumer's leadership does have a piece of legislation, the Infrastructure Bank proposal they've been advocating for years. It's up to the president to then bring the parties together. This is what Bill Clinton did. This is what was done by George Herbert Walker Bush, by Ronald Reagan. This is part of our country's history, where we lose that opportunity is when the president overpromises and then creates false assumptions. And if you think this was easy, wait until he tries to get Mexico pay for the wall.

CABRERA: So do you think he should be attacking infrastructure before tax reforms?

ZIMMERMAN: I realistic and the president has to make infrastructure where there's a chance to build a common ground. I think there's an opportunity there and he should be taking advantage of it.

CABRERA: Do you agree?

HILL: I do. I mean look, we're just 65 days into this administration, it's still very much early days. So give him a little bit of time. He's just getting his sea legs here and he's already accomplished so much through executive action and so give him a little bit of time and I believe it would be --

ZIMMERMAN: You know something, I agree with Douglas Brinkley, this is the worst first 100 days of any presidency in history, with the exception --

HILL: Oh no. He killed TPP which saved the American middle class.

ZIMMERMAN: -- with the exception of William Harrison who died 23 days into office. It was from pneumonia.

HILL: Please, it's outrageous.

ZIMMERMAN: I think he's better than that. But the reality here is, it's the first 100 days and if the president doesn't understand that you're not going to lead by attacks, by hateful tweets, by lies, by misinformation, if he's going to bring people together, then he's got an opportunity to build because the country wants infrastructure reform. The country wants tax reform. He's got the goodwill of the country in those issues.

CABRERA: I'll give you the last word. We got to go.

HILL: -- he killed TPP which would have gutted the American middle class sent more jobs abroad. He's building these pipelines, between Keystone and the Dakota access pipeline. No, I mean he's bringing 45,000 jobs just for (INAUDIBLE) in over a $20 billion investment. The average pay for those permanent jobs is over $100,000 a year. This was the problem with the Obama administration -- yes, you created a lot of jobs, but they pay almost nothing. He's creating high quality jobs --

CABRERA: His budget would -- his budget that he's proposed Harlan though would decrease jobs in areas like the EPA where he has proposed slashing thousands of positions.

ZIMMERMAN: Not only that. It also slashes funds for job training programs, for education across the board. Let's understand, the problem with the president's budget is that it shows who -- it shows his administration versus his rhetoric. The dangers of this White House is the overpromising that he creates and that's why we're not going to see Mexico pay for the wall. And so what he's proposing is slashing funds for border security, for airport and railroad security to pay for that wall.

CABRERA: I hope he accomplishes a lot, because what's good for America is to accomplish a number of things, especially jobs as you point out. Harlan Hill, Robert Zimmerman, thanks to both of you. Great to have you on.

Still to come, health care down, next up, the vote for the president's pick for the Supreme Court. And the Dems are in no mood to go along with that.

[17:45:02] But first, in Mexico's Baja region, many working poor families can't afford to live in structurally safe homes, and one charity is making an impact by building sturdy houses for them.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When people get a house, they actually think differently about their own future and that's the power of Homes of Hope. We build a structure for those that own their own land but need a little bit of help with their house.

Our primary focus has been in the Americas. In the northern Baja area, which includes Ensenada and Tijuana, we do 16 by 20 and 20 by 20 houses.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, two, three.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they have three windows and a door, electrical, drywall, very livable house. Every family has to have income, they have to own their own land and they have to have children.

Luis and Susan got four beautiful children. They're living in a 6 foot by 10 foot tarp over some dirt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It was difficult to sleep at night, all of us on the same mattress. Now we are more comfortable. Everyone has their own space, and now we can sleep with our arms stretched out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To see the joy in their face and the excitement, that's my biggest thing. I'm going to see that image probably for the rest of my life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): There's a lot of love coming from people that do not know you, yet they give you a lot of love and so much security.


CABRERA: Almost lost in the rubble of what was a very bad week for the GOP is the declaration of war against the president's Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. After last week's hearings, Judge Gorsuch now faces the tough part --bringing his confirmation to a vote on the Hill. We'll be watching as this drama begins unfolding tomorrow with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer leading the charge to just say no.


SEN. CHUCK SCHIMER (D), MINORITY LEADER: His nomination will have a closure vote. He will have to earn 60 votes for confirmation. My vote will be no and I urge my colleagues to do the same.


CABRERA: CNN's Ariane de Vogue is joining me now. Ariane, the Democrats are threatening to Gorsuch. They don't have that, but Republicans could change the rules here. So what are you hearing about how this could play out?

ARIANE DE VOGUE, SUPREME COURT CORRESPONDENT, CNN NEWS: After his marathon three days of testimony, Neil Gorsuch was satisfied and he was upbeat, sources told me. But the next day, as you said, Schumer came out strongly against him. And as you said, Gorsuch needs 60 votes to be confirmed. And if the Democrats do filibuster, they're going to trigger the Republicans to do something they've never done before and that's changed the rules for the Supreme Court.

That's a big deal in a traditional place like the Senate. And there is some tension. Some are saying, look, do we really want to trigger this now. But Ana, as you said, Schumer's answer to that was a resounding yes. And take a listen to Senator Sanders this morning on CNN. See what he had to say.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: It's not the question of filibustering. I am for the Republicans obeying the rules that currently exist and not changing those rules. And the rules right now for good reasons are 60 votes.


DE VOGUE: Well, you know, and some Democrats may say, look, don't do this now. After all, look at the court. We're going from a conservative to the conservative and really the court's going to retain its status quo. Save your ammunition in case there's another one down the line. Like if Trump were to get another -- Justice Kennedy or Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Of course that's going to be the big fight, but Schumer he says he wants to fight and he wants his colleagues to fight with him.

CABRERA: Is this fighting just to fight then or they're thinking that this is some kind of a precedent? What is the reasoning for fighting this if it is just, you know, to preserve the status quo so to speak because he would be already replacing another conservative justice?

DE VOGUE: Well, Anan, they are furious on two things. First of all, they are still mad that Merrick Garland didn't get the vote, right. They think that this seat was stolen from them and he should have gotten the vote. And also they think that Gorsuch really evaded questions during his testimony. So that's why they think that they should fight and fight hard right now.

CABRERA: All right, Ariane De Vogue, we'll be watching. Thank you.

DE VOGUE: Thank you.

CABRERA: It's being called the worst mass shooting in America so far this year. Coming up, we'll take you to the chaotic scene of a deadly nightclub shooting that happened overnight in Ohio. Stay with us. You're live in the CNN Newsroom.


CABRERA: Police in Ohio are now investigating a deadly mass shooting early this morning at a Cincinnati nightclub. One man is now dead, 15 other people were injured after shots rang out at the Cameo nightclub. This is happening just after 1:00 a.m. this morning. Police say several people were able to sneak guns into the nightclub even though they were searched by an electronic wand. Our Dana Bash asked Ohio governor John Kasich about the shooting on "State of the Union." This is what he told us. (BEGINVIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KASICH, GOVERNOER OF OHIO: I spoke to the mayor of Cincinnati today, John Cranley. He will be on the scene most of the day. I've spoken to our head of public safety, Dana, and the fact is you don't want to be speculating, but you know, it appears as though there was one shooter not terrorism related. But as the father of two 17-year- old girls going to be headed to college next year, you know, you see things like this and you begin to wonder where is it safe to go?

Obviously, a terrible loss of one life and a number of people wounded. We're just going to keep our eyes on this and I've offered all of course, all the state assistance that is needed in this, you know, another terrible tragedy in our country.


CABRERA: Now, in a more recent press briefing, police officials saying there were multiple shooters that's why there are multiple injuries that was involving a group of men who got into some kind of a disturbance, but now this is the country's worst mass shooting so far this year in terms of total numbers of victims including those injured according to the website Gun Violence

[18:00:03] Top of the hour. You are live in the CNN Newsroom. Thanks for staying with me on a Sunday. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Two big stories we are following tonight inside the beltway. The fallout from the failed GOP health care bill. The president --