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White House Seeks A Reboot; House Freedom Caucus In The Crosshairs; Pressure Grows On Intel Chair Rep. Nunes; Who's Going to the Final Four? Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired March 27, 2017 - 05:30   ET


[05:30:00] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: There's growing friction between aides loyal to Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and those aligned with Chief Strategist Steve Bannon. A senior aide says some are using the health bill's failure to build their own power and even if Republicans manage to make peace among themselves, will they build a bridge to Democrats to get bills passed?

These are the same Democrats who President Trump blamed shortly after the failure to repeal Obamacare, while he absolved House Speaker Paul Ryan. Then, over the weekend, the president seemed to back away from that tone with a tweet that called on people to watch Judge Jeanine Pirro on "FOX NEWS" where she, then, went on a rant calling for Paul Ryan's resignation. Priebus was asked about that on Sunday.


CHRIS WALLACE, HOST, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY": Does the president want Paul Ryan to resign as speaker?

REINCE PRIEBUS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: You know, I think it was more coincidental, Chris.

WALLACE: Oh, come on.

PRIEBUS: I did not talk to the president about the tweet. I'm just telling you the truth. There was no preplanning here. The president --


WALLACE: Why we say watch her and then that's the first thing out of her mouth?

PRIEBUS: Because he loves Judge Jeanine and he wanted to do Judge Jeanine a favor.

WALLACE: So does he want Paul Ryan to step down or not?

PRIEBUS: No, he doesn't.


BRIGGS: The president and Ryan spoke on Sunday and a Ryan spokesman says Mr. Trump was clear his tweet was not meant to be a shot at the speaker. Cracks emerging this morning within the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus, as well, over its role in scuttling the Obamacare repeal bill.

First casualty, Texas Congressman Ted Poe quitting the Freedom Caucus on Sunday, saying conservatives must come together to find solutions. Poe said this statement that "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." One Republican leadership aide telling us that Poe's resignation could be just the first defection from the Freedom Caucus.

The president, at any rate, seems ready to move on without them, tweeting "Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of the Club for Growth and the Heritage Foundation have saved Planned Parenthood and Obamacare." But the chairman of the Caucus, Mark Meadows, insists the fight to pass the health care bill is not yet over.


REP. MARK MEADOWS (R), NORTH CAROLINA, CHAIRMAN, HOUSE FREEDOM CAUCUS: It's like saying that Tom Brady lost at halftime. You know, we're not -- we may be in overtime but I can tell you, at the very end of the day the most valuable player will be President Trump on this because he will deliver. He's committed to the American people and we're committed to helping him get there.


BRIGGS: I've got say, love me some sports analogies but that one, my friends, is a stretch. Joining us to discuss the latest developments in Washington, political economist Greg Valliere, chief strategist for Horizon Investments. And right here in New York, "CNN POLITICS" reporter Eugene Scott in his Carolina blue and his Tar Heel cuff links and all. Good morning to both of you.


BRIGGS: Greg, let's start with you.


BRIGGS: Donald Trump is a big Tom Brady fan.


BRIGGS: Is he Tom Brady in this situation?

VALLIERE: Well, first of all, congratulations to Eugene. G.W. nearly made it to the NIT this year so that's all I can talk about. I don't think the Brady analogy is quite correct. I think the health care debate is pretty much finished for now because the bill that could maybe appeal to the Freedom Caucus would never possibly make it past moderates in the Senate. So I think they're going to have to go -- move on to other issues. BRIGGS: Eugene, your thoughts?

SCOTT: Yes, I mean, I just don't understand how one could move forward soon. I mean, the reality is like the idea that this is just halftime after seven years --


SCOTT: -- just doesn't seem to be a strong analogy. And I think the reality is that many people who voted for Donald Trump with the goal of seeing him move forward with repealing this on day one are greatly disappointed and feel a bit betrayed. But we'll see what the administration tries to do --



SCOTT: -- to move forward with this in the future.

BRIGGS: All right, I'm going to move forward with the sports analogies and I get the piece on Tom Brady. That makes Kyle Shanahan Paul Ryan I think because it's perhaps his fault that Atlanta lost. Here's what Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said about defending Paul Ryan, Sunday.


MICK MULVANEY, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET: I've been in the room with the -- in the Oval Office with the president, with the speaker more in the last couple of days than I ever thought. I've never seen the president, for a second, try and blame Paul Ryan.


BRIGGS: Publicly, he has stood by Paul Ryan. What is the speaker's future, Greg?

VALLIERE: Well, I think he'll stay as speaker. I think people in the White House are a little more suspicious about taking advice for him but to be fair, I think the White House gets a couple of victories here. I think Gorsuch, one way or another, will be on the Supreme Court. They're going to move on with more regulatory reform. They may move on to trade. So there will be other issues and I think it's premature to write the obituary for Paul Ryan.

[05:35:00] BRIGGS: But if -- if Gorsuch doesn't get those 60 votes, boy, it will tell us an awful lot about Democrats' willingness to work with Republicans on anything on the Trump agenda. This is a great pick by President Trump. But let's move on to the speed of this legislation -- the effort to get this through, and that was at the heart of the criticism from two senators on Sunday -- listen.


SEN. TOM COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: I'm not saying that we needed 14 months to do this but I think a more careful and deliberate approach, which we now have time to do because we're going to have to revisit health care anyway, would have gotten us further down the path toward a solution. Health care is a very complicated issue. To release a bill that was written in secret and then expect to pass it in 18 days, I just don't think was feasible.

REP. MIKE LEE (R), UTAH: There were a few things that could have added to the bill that could have brought enough people into the bill to vote for it so that it would have passed. Devoting 17 legislative days to a bill and then walking away from it because it hasn't passed within 17 legislative days makes no sense.


BRIGGS: Now, the speed in stark contrast to how long it took some other major pieces of legislation, of course, including Obamacare, 187 days. But this is not a good look, Eugene. Is that the lesson that should be learned from Republicans as they move forward?

SCOTT: Certainly. I mean, we saw Paul Ryan say, Friday, doing big things is hard. I mean -- and the reality, I think, a lot of people have come to face that -- and over these past seven years -- these seven years, what people were hoping and expecting Republicans to be working on finding a solution, finding an alternative that maybe they had not. And there are questions that people have, wondering why they weren't about to push back with something more significant and more meaningful --


SCOTT: -- if Obamacare was bad as they said it was.

BRIGGS: So whether or not they return to health care at some point or go straight for tax reform, perhaps even infrastructure, any change in your opinion, Greg that any Democrats are willing to work with the Trump administration?

VALLIERE: I just don't see it. Maybe on infrastructure, but I don't see it on a lot of issues. They're not inclined to throw him a life preserver. And, by the way, all this talk over the weekend that oh, we're going to move on to tax reform now. If you thought there were differences on health care, the differences on tax reform -- should it be revenue neutral? What about curbing deductions? What about the border tax? Men, there are huge, huge differences on tax reform that could bog that bill down as well.

BRIGGS: That's why it hasn't been done since the Mets won the World Series in 1986.


BRIGGS: Any senators you think, Eugene, that would help -- would work with the Obama administration -- with the Trump administration?

SCOTT: On tax reform?

BRIGGS: On anything.

SCOTT: Yes. I mean, I think the reality is that we have senators -- I mean, we have Manchin in West Virginia, right?

BRIGGS: Right, yes.

SCOTT: I mean, we have people who really want to work with Republicans on making America great again. And, I mean --

BRIGGS: But that's the reality. Manchin might be it.

SCOTT: Yes, I --

BRIGGS: Heitkamp from North Dakota.

SCOTT: Yes, I went for the name I could remember, I guess. I do know, though, that we did see Bob Corker and Lindsey Graham, both Republicans, speaking on Saturday talking about the importance for Republicans to work more with Democrats and not to accept this whole idea that just because they won the House, and the Senate, and the White House, that they can just ram through whatever they want --


SCOTT: -- because clearly, they can't.

BRIGGS: Greg, last word.

VALLIERE: Dave, I would argue the issue is not the Republicans dealing with the Democrats. The issue is the Republicans dealing with the Republicans.

SCOTT: Right.

BRIGGS: Absolutely.

VALLIERE: They can't agree on -- they cannot agree on most of the key issues.

SCOTT: Yes, that's very true.

BRIGGS: There are 10 Democrats -- Senators up for reelection in Trump districts so those will be the 10 you'd focus on. Eugene, Greg, thank you both. Have a great Monday.

VALLIERE: Thank you, guys.


BRIGGS: This morning we expected to tell you about the second House Intel hearing on Russia that was scheduled for tomorrow but, instead, questions are growing over whether the investigation itself is compromised.

Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes facing calls to recuse himself after canceling a hearing with three former Obama administration officials who happen to be critical of President Trump. The hearing was set to include former CIA director John Brennan, former director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and former acting attorney general Sally Yates. The committee's ranking Democratic, Adam Schiff, voicing concerns.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA, RANKING MEMBER, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I think the chairman has to make a decision whether to act as a surrogate of the White House, as he did during the campaign and the transition, or to lead an independent and credible investigation. I hope he chooses the latter. I implore our chairman and the speaker to rededicate themselves to a serious and bipartisan investigation.


BRIGGS: The House Intel Committee is expected to bring FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers back for another hearing. This one will be behind closed doors so they can offer classified information.

Ahead, hundreds of peaceful protesters arrested in Russia, including a noted critic of Vladimir Putin. We're live in Moscow when we return.


[05:44:00] BRIGGS: The State Department is condemning the Kremlin for the arrest of hundreds of Russian protesters, including a key opposition figure to President Vladimir Putin. Thousands hit the streets in Moscow and nearly 100 other Russian cities and towns for anti-corruption demonstrations. Among those detained, a key opposition leader against Russian President Vladimir Putin. Let's go live to Moscow and bring in CNN's Frederik Pleitgen with the latest developments. Fred, you, yourself, were caught up in these protests over the weekend. Good morning.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN REPORTER: Yes, absolutely, Dave. And, you know, the authorities here in Russia, they declared these protests illegal before they even started and they certainly tried to prevent people from coming out on the streets. The railway station where the protests started was surrounded by police officers for a long period of time and, yet, more people than expected turned up here in Moscow. It was around 8,000 people who were on the streets chanting and many of them were, indeed, taken into custody. And we got into one of those scuffles, as well. Here's what happened to us.

[05:45:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PLEITGEN: There's a massive police presence on hand here at these protests and time and again we're seeing scenes like this with the police pushing the protesters back and even making arrests.




PLEITGEN: Now, you mentioned Alexei Navalny, the man who called for these protests, one of the key opposition figures here in Russia who actually wants to run against Vladimir Putin in the election in 2018. Unclear yet whether he's going to be able to do that.

Well, as of this morning, he is still in detention and he is in court. He says that the charges against him are bogus. He's actually tweeting from the court as we speak. And it's going to be interesting to see throughout the course of the day whether or not he's going to be released or whether he might be sentenced to some sort of jail sentence that could see him in prison for at least several days, so we are going to keep an eye on that as well, Dave.

BRIGGS: Fred, any conviction rules him out for running against Putin?

PLEITGEN: Not for running against Putin. But, I mean, this man, Alexei Navalny, he certainly has some other things running against him as well. There was an embezzlement trial against him.


PLEITGEN: He was actually convicted of embezzlement buthe says those charges are bogus as well. And now, you have this coming up so it certainly doesn't make things any easier for him.

BRIGGS: Frederik Pleitgen live in Moscow. Thank you, sir.

The military campaign to defeat ISIS triggering carnage in Mosul. Dozens of civilians in the Iraqi city killed in a U.S.-led attack against the terrorists. A senior Iraqi military officer confirming a coalition airstrike hit a truck filled with explosives, setting off a deadly blast. The Pentagon is still investigating. CNN senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman has the very latest for us. Good morning, Ben.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Dave. That attack occurred on the 17th of March. Now, the U.S.-led coalition does say that they did conduct an airstrike on the day in that area. Now, Iraqi officials say that they'd call for an airstrike and that the target -- the intended target was an ISIS truck bomb. But nearby, they say there was a building that contained about 130 civilians. Now, yesterday, they managed to pull 61 bodies out of one of the buildings in that area and it's expected that the number will increase.

Now, ISIS has been using civilians as human shields since the beginning of the offensive to retake Mosul in the middle of October of last year and it appears that whether they -- these people -- these 130 civilians in a nearby building were being kept there against their will or not is not altogether clear. Now, the Iraqi government had advised civilians to stay in their homes in Mosul if they felt safe. At this point, close to 200,000 civilians -- 200,000 civilians have fled Mosul. The International Organization for Migration, however, fears that there may be 600,000 civilians still stuck inside the city -- Dave. BRIGGS: Such a complicated offensive there, Ben. Thank you. All right, time for a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Alisyn Camerota joining me this morning. I assume the blame game over health care taking center stage, my friend.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Yes, it is, but first of all, what have you done with Christine?

BRIGGS: Well, I tried to eliminate her from this. I wanted the stage all to myself.

CAMEROTA: That's what I was thinking.

BRIGGS: She has a cold. We hope she's feeling better. We want her back here tomorrow.

CAMEROTA: Absolute power corrupt, OK, Dave? So that's all I'm saying is that I knew that you had something up your sleeve. But, yes, you are absolutely right. Of course, we'll be talking about what happened on Friday with the health care but we have two people on who were instrumental in what went down on Friday.

We have Congressman Charlie Dent, who is one of the moderates of the Republicans. He was always a no vote. We'll talk to him. Also, we have Congressman Ted Poe, who yesterday resigned from the House Freedom Caucus as a result of this. He says that he will be able to be a better lawmaker -- a better congressman by being apart from that caucus. So strong words. We'll see what he has to say about all of this, this morning.

BRIGGS: All right. How are your brackets? Did you do alright?

CAMEROTA: I don't know. Jan, how are my brackets? You know, I outsource this, Dave.

BRIGGS: Yes, I do know this.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I don't know. I'll find out and get back to you.

BRIGGS: You did OK --

CAMEROTA: Oh, good.

BRIGGS: -- but you're out of this. I hate to tell you.


BRIGGS: All right, thanks. We'll see you just a bit. Folks, raise your hand if you had two teams in your final four who have never been there before. Andy Scholes did not, but he does have a special encore performance of this morning's Bleacher Report, next.


[05:54:10] BRIGGS: President Trump plans to sign an executive order tomorrow to undo the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan. That signature measure forced power plants to reduce carbon pollution up to 32 percent by the year 2030. According to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, the president's order will replace the Obama plan with a pro- growth approach to regulation. Pruitt says he is not concerned about legal challenges to President Trump's order.

Democrats want to know exactly who is visiting the president when he's visiting Mar-a-Lago. They just introduced a measure called the "Mar- a-Lago Act." Very clever -- an acronym for making access records available to lead American government openness. Under President Obama, the White House maintained a visitor page on its website and released about six million records. The White House' visitor page currently says it's being updated and the administration has not published visitor records from the White House or Mar-a-Lago.

[05:55:10] Trump has spent nearly one-third of his days in office at Trump-branded properties. This is the eighth consecutive weekend he's spent time at a property bearing his name.

Final Four, folks, all set. Some new faces joining a perennial power. Andy Scholes has more in this morning's Bleacher Report. What a weekend it was, my friend.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: It certainly was, Dave, and not many picked this Final Four. If you did, hats off to you because we've got Gonzaga and South Carolina -- never been this far before. And then you have Oregon who's only been to the Final Four once and that was like 78 years ago.

But on the other hand, nothing new for North Carolina. This is going to be their twentieth trip to the Final Four and the Tar Heels and Wildcats playing an epic game yesterday. Under 20 seconds left, Malik Monk is going to hit the three for Kentucky to tie the game, and Roy Williams does not call a time out. It turns out to be a great decision. UNC comes down -- Luke Maye hits this shot with .03 seconds left on the clock. Tar Heels win an absolute thriller 75-73. They're heading to the Final Four for the second straight year.

And you've got to check out the locker room celebration. The players showering Coach Williams with water. Everyone having a blast in there. Meanwhile, in the Kentucky locker room the players were understandably devastated with the loss.


DE'AARON FOX, KENTUCKY POINT GUARD: This isn't the locker room that looks like the guys don't care. I love my brothers, man. I've shot this play back and forth in my head. It's going to be difficult to get over.


SCHOLES: Now, South Carolina will be playing the Final Four for the first time their history next weekend after beating Florida 77-70 and before this year the Gamecocks had not even won a tournament game since 1973. Their coach, Frank Martin, one of the most intense coaches in the

game. He used to be a bouncer in a Miami nightclub back in the early nineties. It makes sense considering how intimidating he can look on the sidelines, but his playersaren't intimidated by him. Check out the coordinated water attack in the locker room after the game. No one expected South Carolina to get this far and Coach Martin, he called this a dream come true.


FRANK MARTIN, SOUTH CAROLINA HEAD COACH: Anyone that's in sports dreams of moments like this. It's not something that you start dreaming at the year you win 25 games. You dream it every single night.


SCHOLES: All right, to next Saturday. It's going to be South Carolina taking on Gonzaga. Fun fact, Oregon won the very first NCAA tournament way back in 1939. They haven't been back to the Final Four until now. They're going to take on North Carolina. And in case you're wondering Dave, the oddsmakers do have the Tar Heels as the favorite but, I mean, I could --

BRIGGS: I agree.

SCHOLES: -- see any one of these four teams winning it all.

BRIGGS: Again, kudos to several CNN viewers -- picked North Carolina, South Carolina in the final. Good stuff. Andy, thank you.

SCHOLES: All right.

BRIGGS: All right, a quick check now of the markets. It's looking like a rough start of the week for the stock market. Wall Street coming to terms with the failure of the Republican health bill. Dow futures down right now. S&P futures sinking as well. Insurance stocks are set to drop again this morning following a big pullback Friday. Cigna losing more than two percent. Humana and Anthem also falling.

Well, thanks for joining us. That will do it for us. I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now. We'll see you tomorrow.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And we were very close. It's a very, very tight margin.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: You can't threaten and intimidate and say I'll walk away. It's more complicated.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: There's no reason to gloat here. This program needs reformed.

MULVANEY: This place was a lot more rotten than we thought. COTTON: The failure of this bill doesn't solve the problems of Obamacare.

PRIEBUS: I don't think the president's closing the door on anything.

BRIGGS: Chairman Devin Nunes facing calls to recuse himself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is zero reason to cancel Tuesday's meeting.

SCHIFF: The events of this week call out the need for an independent commission.

PRIEBUS: They're not going to come up with anything. President Trump is going to be proven correct.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CAMEROTA: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Monday, March 27th, 6:00 here in New York.

Up first, President Trump defeated on health care and trying to turn the corner this week. The president now blaming those hardline conservatives after initially pointing a finger a Democrats.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Reporters' phones were burning up all weekend with all the spin and the blame. It's playing out in public but is that going to get the White House the win that it so desperately wants? What are they going to focus on next and are they willing to work with Democrats? Those are the two big questions. We have them covered for you. Here we are on day 67 of the Trump presidency. Let's begin with Sara Murray live at the White House. Sara, what do you know?

SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. Well, the White House certainly needed a win last week. That is not what they got. Today, they're going to try to regroup, refocus, and this time they're saying on tax reform but there's little indication that will be any easier.