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Mo Brooks Talks Obamacare Repeal, Replace; Trump Signs EO to Roll Out New Plans for Environment. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired March 28, 2017 - 14:30   ET


[14:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Can you just tell me, give me a good nugget about a comment that was made today in that closed-door meeting.

REP. MO BROOKS, (R), ALABAMA: I appreciate you wanting to know. I hesitate to comment on what anybody else said. I do my best to respect the privacy of those people that want to discuss these issues in what they believe is a private environment. You folks in the news media do an excellent job of sometimes putting out in the news media things that have occurred before we even leave the conference. Kudos to you in that regard.

BALDWIN: I think I'll take that as a compliment. I'm not totally sure.

BROOKS: It was meant as a compliment.

BALDWIN: Thank you, sir.

Let's talk about somebody who has been pretty public with his thoughts, that being the president of the United States, who has said he wants to move on from health care, move on to tax reform. His patience has apparently run out. Very publicly, he called you all out in a tweet placing blame, quote, he tweeted, "The Republican House Freedom Caucus was able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory after so many bad years, they were ready for a win. Calling y'all out." Your response?

BROOKS: I gladly help take credit for helping to kill a very bad piece of election that would have resulted in Nancy Pelosi as House speaker in the 2018 elections. Our voters sent us here to tamp down health care costs, not pass legislation that will increase health care costs by 15 percent to 20 percent, if you believe the analysis of the Congressional Budget Office.


BROOKS: I have no reason not to able to believe them.

BALDWIN: What about the president? The House Freedom Caucus was able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

BROOKS: I don't think we were snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. I would submit instead what happened Friday was a victory for the American people that are tired of skyrocketing insurance and health care costs.

Bear in mind, if you kept track of the president's tweets over the last three or four days, he has cast a very wide net as he distributes blame everywhere except for the White House.

BALDWIN: Let me ask you about your colleagues, Congressman Ted Poe, who quit the House Freedom Caucus in the wake of this. He said this on CNN.


REP. TED POE, (R), TEXAS: Compromises were made, things were added to the bill based upon the input of the Freedom Caucus. At the end of the day, no, it was easier to vote no. I'm angry about that. I think it is time we lead and continue not to say no on everything that takes place when bills come forward in the House of Representatives.

I got the opinion that there are some members of the Freedom Caucus that would vote no against the Ten Commandments if it came up for a vote?


BALDWIN: Congressman Brooks, one of your core members, just quit the band. What's your message for him? Do you have any hard feelings?

BROOKS: None, whatsoever. In Congressman Poe's district, they like higher insurance costs and they are OK with a huge Republican welfare program.


BROOKS: My district thinks differently. We come from different parts of the country. The folks in the Tennessee Valley of Alabama, they don't want us passing legislation that increases health care costs by 15 percent to 20 percent. And they certainly don't want another huge welfare program that we can't afford to pay for, that we have to borrow money we don't have to pay for it, or raise taxes on already struggling American families. I'm quite content to run in my district on this particular vote. I infer from Congressman Poe's comments his district thinks a lot differently than mine.

BALDWIN: Congressman Mo Brooks, a pleasure. Thank you so much.

BROOKS: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

Moments from now, President Trump is expected to sign an executive order undoing a key piece of the Obama legacy, not talking about Obamacare. What it is and how it impacts you.

Also ahead, more breaking news. CNN is on the front lines of the fight in Iraq. What a top U.S. commander said about who might be responsible for a deadly air strike that killed dozens of civilians. Arwa Damon is in Mosul. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:38:52] BALDWIN: Breaking news. We have just heard the president has signed this executive order. We are going to get to the tape as soon as it feeds into us. Signing this executive order on climate change, essentially rolling back Obama-era regulations. The order will initiate a review of the Clean Power initiative, rescind the moratorium on coal mining on U.S. federal lands, and urge federal agencies to, quote, "identify all regulations or rules or policies that serve as obstacles and impediments to American energy independence.

I have Mark Preston, who just sat down, who can talk us through this until we see the president signing this executive order.

When I think of President Obama, you think of his signature piece being Obamacare. Right around there is climate, what he did with climate change, Paris Accord, and this.

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: And did it through executive order as well. We talk a lot about what Donald Trump has done in his first 60 days. A lot of this was done by President Barack Obama using his executive order.

Another thing we will now see what President Trump has done with his own executive orders, we are going to see about half a dozen of these executive orders signed by President Barack Obama that directed the federal government to prepare for climate change. That's now gone.

[14:40:10] BALDWIN: That's gone.

PRESTON: That is now out the window.

President Trump talks about that these are job killing and bad for the economy.

BALDWIN: That's what the White House' defense is. This is about jobs for him. Talk to the coal miners, they are behind it.

PRESTON: Sure, they are behind it and coal country is behind it because they want to see these jobs come back. It was interesting to see former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, himself, a successful businessman, who has come out and said, that's absolutely not true. What he says in a statement today is that technology, and people's personal preferences is what is going to prevent these coal jobs from coming back. It is not necessarily rescinding these regulations. That is interesting. And Carol Brown, the former EPA administrator, has a statement out as well. She says this will end up in the courts and be a big fight.

BALDWIN: We are still waiting.

We are going to take a quick break. Stick around, Mark Preston.

And we'll show you the president giving his autograph on this latest executive order from the White House. We'll be right back.


[14:45:29] BALDWIN: Back with breaking news. We're about to get the tape momentarily from the White House. We now know President Trump has signed this executive order rolling back Obama climate regulations. This will have a review of the Clean Power Plan initiative and he felt like they were job killers. This will benefit some miners but some businessmen saying, not so fast.

Here is the president.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I knew they were going to like this one.

Thank you very much. I very much appreciate it.

Thank you to our great vice-president, Mike Pence.

I am thrilled that everybody could be here with us today.

I want to give special thanks to Administrator Scott Pruett, Secretary Ryan Zinke and Secretary Rick Perry for your remarks. I told Rick, run it the way you ran Texas. This is going to be a great operation. He did a great job. And we're honored to have all three.

I'm really honored to have our vice-president, because Mike Pence has been outstanding. Hasn't he been outstanding.


TRUMP: Together, this group is going to do a truly great job for our country. We have a very, very impressive group here to celebrate the start of a new era in American energy and production and job creation. The action I'm taking today will eliminate federal overreach, restore economic freedom and allow our companies and workers to thrive, compete and succeed on a level playing field for the first time in a long time. I am not just talking about eight years. You people know it better than anybody. Thanks to the many distinguished members of Congress who have taken the time to be here. I want to thank all of our industry leaders who are with us and share our determination to create jobs in America for Americans. Shelly, thank you very much also. I spotted you in the audience. That is what this is all about again, bringing back our jobs, bringing back our dreams and making America wealthy again. I want to thank the dedicated public servants that are with us this afternoon. You're doing important work to protect our health and public resources, so important.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the truly amazing people behind me on this stage. Our incredible coal miners.


TRUMP: We love our coal miners. Great people. Over the past two years, I've spent time with the miners all over America. They told me about the struggles they've endured. I actually, in one case, went to a group of miners in West Virginia. You remember, shelly. I said, how about this, why don't we get together. We'll go to another place and you'll get another job. You won't mine anymore. Do you like that idea? They said, no, we don't like that idea. We love to mine. That's what we want to do. I said, if that's what you want to do, that's what you are going to do. I was very impressed. They love the job. That's what their job is. I fully understand that.

I grew up in a real estate family, and until this recent excursion into the world of politics, I could never understand why anybody would not want to be in the world of real estate. Believe me. I understand it. We are with you, 100 percent. That's what you are going to do. Ok?


[14:49:55] TRUMP: The miners told me about the attacks on their jobs and their livelihoods. They told me about the efforts to shut down their mines, their communities and their very way of life. I made them this promise. We will put our miners back to work.


TRUMP: We have already eliminated a devastating anti-coal regulation. That was just beginning. Today, I'm talking bold action to follow through on that promise. My administration is putting an end to the war on coal. We're going to have clean coal, really clean coal. With today's executive action, I am taking historic steps to lift the restrictions on American energy, to reverse government intrusion, and to cancel job-killing regulations.

By the way, regulations not only in this industry but in every industry. We are doing them by the thousands, every industry. We are going to have safety. We are going to have clean water. We are going to have clean air. So many are unnecessary and so many are job killing. We are getting rid of the bad ones.

One after another, we are keeping our promises and putting power back into the hand of the people. First, today's energy action calls for an immediate re-evaluation of the so-called Clean Power Plan.


TRUMP: Perhaps no single regulation threatens our miners, energy workers and companies more than this crushing attack on American industry. Second, we are lifting the ban on federal leasing for coal production. We are lifting job-killing on oil, natural gas, clean coal and shale energy. We are returning power to the states where the power belongs. States and local communities know what is best for them. They understand it. They get it. They have been doing it for a long time. It was taken away from them and not handled well. They are the ones that we should now and will now empower to decide. My action today is the latest in a series of steps to create American

jobs and to grow American wealth. We are ending the theft of American prosperity and rebuilding our beloved country. We approve the permit to finally build the Keystone XL Pipeline and cleared the way to completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Thousands and thousands of jobs.

We have already created half a million new jobs in the first two jobs reports of my administration. If you notice today, Ford, great company, announced massive new spending on three big plants in the state of Michigan, a state which I love very much. Do you remember what happened in Michigan? Remember, November 8th. That was an exciting Michigan evening. Ford just made that announcement, a great announcement, a very important announcement. It means jobs, jobs, jobs.

We are going to continue to expand energy production and create more jobs in infrastructure, trucking and manufacturing. This will allow the EPA to focus on its primary mission of protecting our air and protecting our water. Together, we are going to start a new energy revolution, one that celebrates American production on American soil. We want to make our goods here instead of shipping them in from other countries all over the world. They ship in, take the Americans money, take the money, go home, take our jobs, take our companies. No longer, folks, no longer. We believe in those really magnificent words, made in the USA.


[14:54:48] TRUMP: We will unlock job producing natural gas, oil, and shale energy. We will produce American coal to power American industry. We will transport American energy through American pipelines made with American steel, made with American steel. Can you believe somebody would actually say that? This came up a little bit coincidentally when I was signing the pipeline deals. I've got them done. I said, folks, where do we get the steel? They said, I think it is from foreign lands. I said, no good. Who makes the beautiful pipes for the pipelines? They are made outside of this country. I said, no more, no more. So we added a little clause, didn't take much. You want to build pipelines in this country, you are going to buy your steel and have it fabricated here? Makes sense. Doesn't it make sense, bob. I think so. He knows.


TRUMP: Together, we will create millions of good American jobs. Also, so many energy jobs and really lead to unbelievable prosperity all through our country.

You are all very special people. In particular, I want to thank the miners. My guys, they will get enough thanks. These people haven't had enough thanks. They have had a hard time for a long time.


They are tough-looking guys, too. I'm not going to mess around with this group.

Thank you, fellows.

I made my promise and I keep my promise.

I want to thank everybody in the room. God bless you and God bless America. Thank you very much. Thank you.



BALDWIN: Are we going to watch them sit there and sign it? You want me to talk over this? Sure. Let's talk over this.

Just having a conversation with the Control Room.

So, he is about to sign this executive order flanked by these coal miners. He's met with them. They are obviously thrilled that they will be able to mine on federal land. This is great for them, so says President Trump. But the issue is the fact that he is rolling back, with the flick of a pen here, rolling back these Obama-era regulations, climate regulations.

Mark Preston has been watching all this with me and there you go.




BALDWIN: Mark Preston, we talked about what this means. The broader picture, is this the president giving everything else we've talked about and this cloud hanging over the White House on all things Russia, et cetera. Is the president just trying to get the train back on the tracks?

PRESTON: No question about it. This is the president that Republicans on Capitol Hill want to see at least once a week, not tweeting nine or ten times a week on god knows what. He came in. He did promise to bring jobs back. This is controversial. We don't quite think or know if this order is going to bring jobs roaring back as he has said. Michael Bloomberg, himself, another businessman put a statement out and said it is technological advances and people's preferences for clean energy sources that has doomed the coal industry.

BALDWIN: Mark Preston, thank you very much.

Let's continue on.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BALDWIN: Top of the hour. You are watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me. Breaking news today, this investigation into Russia's election

meddling continues to snowball, with the accusation, the former acting attorney general, Sally Yates, who was fired from the Trump administration in the early days, that perhaps she may have been blocked from testifying on this Russia investigation with regard to the House Intel Committee. The White House vehemently denying this. Sally Yates played a key role in investigating Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, his conversations with the Russians.

Sean Spicer was asked about Sally Yates today. Here is how he responded in the daily briefing.


SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I know this would be a shocker but, again, part of it is that I think we have been very clear that when you actually get to the bottom of the facts, every single person who has been briefed on this, as I've said ad nauseum from this podium, that they have been very clear that there is no connection between --