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Dow Riding Losing Streak; House Intel Committee in Turmoil; Military Investigates Deadly Airstrike; Trump's Border Wall. Aired 9:30-10a

Aired March 28, 2017 - 09:30   ET


[09:30:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Christine Romans, CNN chief money correspondent, also star of "Early Start."

Romans, what are we seeing?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN MONEY CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're seeing a little softness at the opening bell here, down just a little bit. It's been eight days lower. That's the longest losing streak for the Dow, you guys, since 2011. Remember what was happening in 2011? There was all that debit ceiling drama. And again, like in 2011, the only story - the only story on Wall Street right now is Washington and what's going to come out of Washington. And there's a lot of chatter. I can tell you, the volume of chatter from market professionals about when there will be tax reform, what it will look like, how easy or hard it will be to get through, whether they'll do the middle class tax reform at the same time they do companies, infrastructure, does it happen this year, does it happen next year? All of these things are basically priced into the record highs we've seen in stocks, this huge rally since the election. Pretty much the best case scenario is - is factored into stocks. So as the health care deal started to unravel, you really saw the market start to unravel.

But let's give some perspective. As you guys know, I mean, you have to have perspective when you look at - at stock prices. So these eight days of losses have been the longest since 2011. But look at how far the market has come since the election. You've seen about 2,300 points on the Dow Jones Industrial average since Election Day. The Nasdaq has done very, very well. The S&P 500 up about 9 percent. So all of this, again, the only story in the markets is Washington, Trump's legislative agenda, a pro-growth legislative agenda many on Wall Street are hoping for. And if that doesn't look like it's going to start rolling out quickly, then I think you have a stall here in the market. That's what we've seen over the last week or so.

BERMAN: All right, Christine Romans for us. You know, one thing the markets don't like is uncertainty and chaos. You know where there's also of uncertainty and chaos right now? Capitol Hill. We are seeing pure disarray right now surrounding the House Intelligence Committee. Democrats are calling on the chair to step down. Republican senators now openly questioning his judgment. And just moments ago our Manu Raju caught up with the House Intelligence chair, Devin Nunes, on Capitol Hill to ask if he might step aside. Listen.


MANU RAJU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Does this investigation move forward now that Democrats are calling your recusal?

REP. DEVIN NUNES (R), CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: It will move forward just like it was before.

RAJU: And you're not going to recuse yourself?

NUNES: The investigation continues. We've had an investigation into Russia for more - many, many years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to recuse yourself from this investigation?

NUNES: Excuse me.



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: He did not answer that question if he'll recuse himself, but he does say that everything is moving forward. Though it's not really moving forward. The hearing scheduled for today not happening. The meetings of the Intel Committee indefinitely on hold until they can get along.

Let's talk about all of this to CNN's senior political analyst Mark Preston.

So, on a scale of one to ten of Kumbaya-ness, where are we at? I mean - I mean have you seen -

BERMAN: What's - what's - what's - is 10 high Kumbaya or is -

HARLOW: Ten is the - ten is the worst.



HARLOW: Ten is the worst. The worst amount of disarray because the Senate -

PRESTON: Wow. We grew up different, I think.

HARLOW: The Senate - the Senate Intel Committee seems to completely have it together.

PRESTON: Yes, and you know what's interesting today is, just in the last couple of hours we've seen three senators come out and question the actions of Devin Nunes. And then we've seen Susan Collins, you know, who's a very well respected centrist over in the Senate, you know, question, you know, how he has handled the investigation.

BERMAN: Yes. PRESTON: John McCain has done the same. Lindsey Graham says his credibly has come into question. He really has put himself into a pickle.

BERMAN: And they gave him a road map for how he can dig out of it. They said he needs to tell the Democrats where he got this information.


BERMAN: He needs to produce this information. He has done neither of those things so far, Mark. And again, how much more of this can he sustain? He just had Manu Raju and other reporters chasing him down on Capitol Hill. He's going to a House Republican meeting right now. Speaker Ryan's going to be asked about it in just a few minutes.


BERMAN: I mean this is going to continue.

PRESTON: You know, John, 12 hours ago, I thought it was - it was telling that Jackie Speier, who's a Democrat on the committee, came out and really questioned his credibility. And I said, wow, you know, I thought to myself, that's really personal. You don't necessarily hear that unless things are really, you know, in the grip of things. This morning when we have three Republicans come out and basically say the same thing, I think that he is in - he's in a bad spot right now and it's a spot that he has created himself.

HARLOW: Not just him, I mean, our panelist earlier this hour made an interesting argument that, you know, he has basically led the way, opened the door for an independent investigation. How much worse do you think Devin Nunes may have made it for the White House?

PRESTON: Or how much easier for the Democrat argument, right, to say, listen, we need to have a commission. We saw John McCain come out and say it, that he thinks it. But, yes, you know, I think that his actions, when he went to the White House, when he went to look at that information, we don't know how he got in, you know, this could have all been avoided very easily. All he had to do when he received that telephone call was to pick up the phone, call Adam Schiff, meet me in a parking garage like Watergate - kidding - but like follow me, we're going to go in and we're going to look at this information all together. Can you imagine that? Right now we'd be singing his places and saying, you know, Devin Nunes, who initially did not want to do an investigation, right, if you go back, you know, a couple of months, he didn't really want to do an investigation, he would be in a much better position than he is now.

[09:35:18] BERMAN: Everyone was talking about how much the Senate committee is getting along right now with Richard Burr and Mark Warner, as opposed to the disarray in the House.

What about the White House? You know, the white House has got to be looking at this saying, you know, gosh, I'm not sure that we're happy with this chaos. The president's approval rating is at, what, 36 percent?

PRESTON: Thirty-six percent right now, yes.

BERMAN: Which is an all-time low for him.


BERMAN: And a pretty historic low compared to some other presidents in the past. And now they have three former campaign associates between Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Roger Stone - that was the campaign workers - and now the president's son-in-law who have to go and answer questions to various Senate committees.

PRESTON: We are two months into a presidency right now. Republicans own Washington. I mean just so everyone is clear about this, they own the executive and legislative branches, potentially could own the judicial branch, right, if they're able to get a couple more picks on the Supreme Court, which seems like it's going that way, and they're in absolute disarray right now. Health care, you know, crashes and crumbles. The Russian cloud is hanging over them right now. The president's approval ratings at 36 percent right now. Gallop has a new number out right now, as we're seeing the markets are going down, saying that economic confidence, as we would expect, is starting to slip at this point. You've got to wonder, you know, where do they go now? They may say, look, we've had successes in the first couple months, and they have. And, Poppy, you know, you and I have talked a lot about this, executive orders. So he has been governing by executive order. Yes, you are going to be -

HARLOW: But for how long can you sustain that and be truly effective?

PRESTON: You can't - you can't sustain that because at some points those executive orders stop, meaning there's nothing else you can executive order. You need to legislate. And when -

HARLOW: By the way, it's not lasting. It can be overturned by, you know, the next administration.

PRESTON: Absolutely. Absolutely. And, quite frankly, we saw Donald Trump last night, we heard his administration a couple of days ago say, look, we'll work with Democrats if Democrats want to work with us. He tweets last night about Hillary Clinton and falsehoods about a uranium deal.

HARLOW: And uranium.

PRESTON: And then he tweets and criticizes members of his own party, the Freedom Caucus. So he's now fighting wars on all different fronts at this point. I just don't know where they go and there's talk now that they're going to try to do infrastructure reform - an infrastructure bill and tax reform. Can you imagine that?

BERMAN: That's a big - that's a bargain. That would take people coming together on all sides.

PRESTON: Now on everything. BERMAN: He can't even get people to come together on one side right now.

PRESTON: Correct.

BERMAN: Mark Preston, thanks for coming together with us this morning.

PRESTON: Thanks.

BERMAN: Appreciate you being here.

PRESTON: Kumbaya.

HARLOW: On a scale of one to 10, that was a ten. Thank you so much.

BERMAN: But is that good or bad? That's a problem.

PRESTON: Oh, apparently that's bad.

HARLOW: Oh, sorry, that was a one.

PRESTON: Thanks, Poppy.

BERMAN: All right.

Serious questions about fighting overseas right now. Amnesty International says that U.S. lead air strikes in Mosul did not protect civilians. We're going to have a report from Iraq coming up.


[09:42:01] HARLOW: In Iraq this morning, Amnesty International says that entire civilian families are being killed in Mosul. This as deadly U.S. air strikes lead to 100 deaths and destroy their homes.

BERMAN: Now, Amnesty calls it an alarming pattern. The U.N. human rights chief is suggesting U.S. and Iraq troops should review their procedure to protect civilians. As Poppy just said, more than 100 bodies have been pulled from the rubble of what an Iraqi official says was a U.S.-led air strike in Mosul. An investigation into the strike has been launched by the U.S. and Iraqi governments.

Our senior international correspondent Arwa Damon has been in Mosul. She reports on what happened.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're a couple of neighborhoods away from where the majority of the incidents that are being investigated by both the U.S.-led coalition and the Iraqis took place. But just being here you get a little bit of an idea of the intensity of the battle, but also of the widespread destruction. That crater right there presumably caused by an air strike. It could possibly have been caused by a suicide car or truck bomb. The fighting here much more intense in this densely packed part of the city. The destruction in western Mosul, a lot more widespread than in was in the east. You also have a lot of narrow alleyways that the vehicles cannot go down, which means that ISIS fighters were able to deeply entrench themselves in these areas.

Now, a lot of the civilians here - and this is especially chilling to think about, when you look at the destruction, they weren't able to leave, even though the Iraqi government did, on the one hand, encourage them to stay. Had they chosen to leave, they wouldn't have been able to because ISIS has been using the civilian population as human shields. And in an effort to protect themselves, a lot of families would cram into homes that they believed would be the sturdiest.

But as the fighting pushed forward, as airstrikes were called in, there have been significant civilian casualties. The U.N. human rights chief just putting out a statement saying that more than 300 people were killed from the 17th of March to the 22nd of March. One woman who we spoke to in this particular neighborhood - and that sound, if you can hear it, mortars being fired by the Iraqis going overhead, fired towards the front line that's deeper inside Mosul at this stage. But as I was saying, the civilians aren't able to leave. One woman - and we haven't seen many of them around here - but one woman who we did see was telling us that she stayed behind because the day before this neighborhood was liberated, she said that ISIS came and took her husband away. And now she's just waiting, hoping he somehow is going to come back home. The tragedy of all of this is not just in the destruction, the physical destruction that has been caused to this city. It is also even more so in the unspeakable tragedies being suffered by the civilian population.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Mosul, Iraq.


HARLOW: An unspeakable tragedy barred by these civilians, as Arwa said.

[09:45:01] Let's get more on the response to all of this from the Pentagon. That's where we find Barbara Starr.

I mean, look, you've got over 100 civilians, you've got Amnesty International pointing the finger at the U.S. military and the coalition strategy here. What are the challenges that the U.S. military is face as they go forward in this fight?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, you - you're definitely seeing the challenge, the pressure being brought by the international community to make sure procedures and what the U.S. and the Iraqi military is doing is very accurate and very precise, and that's as it should be. But at this starting point, let's remember, it's exactly what Arwa said, these people were trapped in this neighborhood with nowhere to go. They were told to stay in their homes. If they went out in the street, they would be killed by gunfire or bombs. They can't just go stand in the street. And ISIS is not letting them out of these neighborhoods.

So this is - is, in fact, an unspeakable tragedy. Right now the U.S. is saying it has no plans to change how it conducts business. That it is precise. That it's taking every precaution it can against civilian casualties. But in these neighborhoods, one of the key challenges is, when fighting breaks out and the Iraqis come under fire, and they call for air strikes, they call for help, they call for backup, strikes may be called in, in fact, very quickly. They do what they can to ensure no civilian casualties. The bombs are precise, but it's a potential explanation for how all of this happens. Where they go from here, it is very difficult to see because there will be U.S. troops on the ground in some of these areas and U.S. troops don't go there unless there is the assurance of the backup of U.S. air power.

BERMAN: So, Barbara, the Pentagon is investigating what went on in Mosul, trying to figure out how to protect civilians, try to do a better job going forward. What are the complications in these investigations?

STARR: Well, it is in fact very complicated and one has to wonder, I think, legitimately, if they ever will get that final answer on what happened here. They are reviewing some 700 videos from aircraft flying overhead over a period of days. They are trying to get some people on the ground to look at the forensics, if you will, the actual damage, try and determine, did it come from the air? Did it come from ISIS weapons potentially? These are the pieces that they're trying to put together. But without actually having U.S. eyes on the ground and these very highly trained U.S. military specialists who look at this kind of wreckage and can begin to determine what happened, a final answer may be very difficult.

John. Poppy.

BERMAN: All right, Barbara Starr for us at the Pentagon.

Barbara, thank you so very much.

That big, beautiful wall that Mexico was supposed to pay for, new information on what just 62 miles will cost.


[09:52:23] HARLOW: So, the White House asking for $1 billion to start building the president's border wall. So what does a billion bucks get you these days? Apparently, 48 miles, 48 miles of new wall and some replacement fencing.

BERMAN: Yes, 14 miles of that. So that makes 62 miles down, more than 1,900 miles to go. Candidate Trump promised he could build a wall on the cheap and that Mexico would pay for it.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would build a great wall. And nobody builds walls better than me, believe me. And I'll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.


BERMAN: All right, Drew Griffin joins us now.

And, Drew, you've been looking into these numbers. What are you learning? What goes where?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's basically a wall in chunks and it's not a lot of wall, as you said, John and Poppy. It's just 62 miles. Part of it is in San Diego, where you have 14 miles of replacement fence and another 14 miles of new constructed border wall that's mostly along land that the federal government already owns. So, you have 28 miles altogether in San Diego.

And then over in the Rio Grande Valley, you're talking about 28 miles of a new levee wall system. Now, that has dual efforts right there, right? So we have flood control along the Rio Grande River and also to construct this wall, and then you have six miles of new border wall. It all adds up to just $1 million shy of $1 billion.

And keep in mind, Poppy and John, this is for right now. This is what they want to jump start this right now, kind of start fulfilling some of that campaign promise. And they'll ask for much, much more in next year's budget.

HARLOW: Because of the great reporting that our Eddie Lavandera did, and you're seeing some of those aerial photos along where this wall would go, Drew, I mean, it seems pretty impossible to build a 2,000- mile-long, solid, cement wall.

GRIFFIN: And from all of the reporting we have done, talking with security officials -


GRIFFIN: And, quite frankly, border officials and homeland security officials, it's stupid. I mean, you're talking about building a huge wall over arid mountain, desert land where nobody really is crossing, where we have predator drones flying overhead in case we see large movements of people, but that would cost somewhere about $21 billion, largely deemed ineffective, if the president wants to go through with that. So I think what we're seeing right now from customs and border patrol is these strategic locations where they want to start the wall, want to try to fulfill some of this campaign promise, get the ball moving, more or less, while they also seek, you know, proposals for different ideas, different fences, different security procedures that would cost a lot less, and according to many, many of the security officials we talked to, would be much safer and more secure and more target-oriented.

[09:55:20] BERMAN: Drew, you're our best investigative reporter. In your investigations, have you been able to uncover any proof that Mexico is going to pay for this wall?

GRIFFIN: I have not seen any proof whatsoever in this proposal that sends the bill to Mexico. HARLOW: Yes.

GRIFFIN: I don't know where the concrete's going to come from. I don't know who's going to build the wall. I can just tell you that in all of the documents that we've seen, some of them we obtained just yesterday, there is no call for anybody from Mexico paying one dime for this wall.

HARLOW: Right. Right. The $1 billion request is from, you know, U.S. taxpayers.

BERMAN: Just saying. Just saying.

HARLOW: Just saying.

Drew Griffin, thank you.

Republican lawmakers behind closed doors right now. How do they regroup after this stinging health care loss? Our Phil Mattingly getting some color from inside that meeting, hearing there's a lot of frustration and airing of grievances. We will hear directly from House Speaker Paul Ryan in just moments. Stay with us.