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Senate Russia Hearings; Ryan and Democrats on Health Care; Food as Fuel; Panel Grades Trump; Bromance Rekindling With Trump and Christie. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired March 30, 2017 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Basically said he's still not convinced that there wasn't collusion between Trump associates and Russia. Listen to this.


SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R), OKLAHOMA: We have to determine, was there any collusion between the campaign and any Russian individuals. I have no doubt the Russians were trying to interfere. What we don't know yet is were any individuals trying to reach back out. We've got to be able to determine that with certainty and we've got to be able to determine, how do we block this in the days ahead because this will not stop.


BERMAN: I put words in his mouth. I said he wasn't yet convinced. But he says he still wants to find out to prove if there was collusion, which is very different --

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: He's not convinced there wasn't.

BERMAN: Right, which is something you hear from Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer. That's a different line, David, than we've heard from the administration.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, administration officials from the president on down say that there's nothing here, that there is simply no story. The president has even talked about it as a hoax and yet they fired two people within their orbit, the national security advisor, a top campaign advisor, Paul Manafort, the aforementioned General Kelly as national security advisor --

BERMAN: Flynn.

GREGORY: General Flynn, I should say. I mean that's a big deal. That suggested that they know that there is something here that's being investigated that is problematic, is at least a distraction to their administration and they have to be more to investigate when you have the contacts between Jared Kushner and the ambassador or the president of a Russian bank. So we don't know exactly what the alliance is like, what the entanglements are like and I don't think anybody can presume that there wasn't collusion when that's being investigated. CAMEROTA: So, David, should we have faith that the Senate Intel

Commune is going to be able to do this in a less partisan way than the House Intel Committee?

GREGORY: Thus far there's every indication that they are. I mean there are going to be Democrats and others who want an outside body to look at this, a select committee to look at this. There is nothing that is free of politics. You know the mere fact that you have an independent entity that can exist in its independence in perpetuity creates its own political tension. But right now the Senate is going out of its way with Senators Warner and Burr to make the House look ridiculous. And the House Committee and led by the chairman is doing that all on its own by looking like they are on the Republican side covering for the administration, coordinating with the administration instead of digging in and doing their job. The Senate committee looks better as a result and I think there will be a lot of people who will allow that to play out.

BERMAN: On health care, Paul Ryan, this morning, a warning to Republicans, he says we better get our act together or President Trump will work with Democrats to come up with a health care plan. It sort of sounded like some kind of triangulation between the House speaker and the Democratic Party and the president, David.

GREGORY: Yes. You know, as you well know, I mean, this would be loathed for Republican leaders to enter into this kind of arrangement and break the historical tradition of only relying upon Republicans to get something passed, major legislation passed. But I think it's high time for the administration to try to deal with the rifts with its own party by reaching out to Democrats. And, by the way, you want to confuse Democrats, too, as a -- as a tactical matter. Get them -- force them to cooperate because they can't say no. That could be helpful on all the things that Trump is trying to get done.

CAMEROTA: A proud tradition of only working with one's party. That could be broken, you're right.

David Gregory, thank you very much. Great to see you.

It's day 70 for Donald Trump. How is he doing? Well, we asked some die hard Trump voters to rate his presidency.


[08:37:41] CAMEROTA: Time now for the "Five Things to Know for Your New Day."

The Senate Intel Committee is about to begin its first public hearing into Russian's meddling in the U.S. election and possible ties to the Trump campaign. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin denies those allegation, calling them lies.

BERMAN: FBI Director James Comey speaking publically about the partisanship that is poisoning investigations of Russia. He is defending the integrity of the bureau. He insists the FBI is not on anybody's side ever. CAMEROTA: North Carolina lawmakers set to vote today to a deal to

repeal the state's controversial bathroom bill, ordering transgender people to use the bathroom listed on their birth certificate instead of the gender they identify with. Gay rights activists say this does not go far enough.

BERMAN: A federal judge in Hawaii extended the halt on President Trump's revised travel ban indefinitely. The Justice Department says it strongly disagrees with this ruling.

CAMEROTA: And the times, they are a changing.

BERMAN: Something's blowing in the wind.

CAMEROTA: For legendary singer, song writer and Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan. The media shy music icon finally agreeing to pick up his Nobel Prize for literature during a concert swing this weekend in Sweden.

BERMAN: Good for him.

All right, for more on the "Five Things to Know," go to for the very latest.

CAMEROTA: So, up next, we're going to talk to some of President Trump's most ardent supporters about how they think he is doing 70 days into his presidency.

BERMAN: But first, the common cold can leave you feeling uncommonly bad, but certain foods might help you recover. Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has more in today's "Food as Fuel."


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Contrary to popular belief, upping your intake of Vitamin C supplements won't prevent you from catching a cold, but it might help you after you get sick. A wide variety of foods have high levels of Vitamin C. We all know about oranges, of course, but other types of citrus also have a lot of Vitamin C, like grapefruits, limes and lemons.

But citrus isn't the only place to find it. For example, there's papaya and kiwi and mango. And some vegetables, like brussel sprouts or cauliflower are also good sources of Vitamin C. Research suggests that for some people taking Vitamin C may shorten the duration of the cold or make it less severe. Overall, your best bet for recovering from a cold, eat a diet that's high in vitamins, antioxidants and fiber.



[08:43:42] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We are now more than two months into President Trump's win, and we wanted to circle back with some of his voters to see how they're feeling today. So we went to the Hartford, Connecticut, old state house to revisit some of Mr. Trump's die hard supporters.


CAMEROTA: So here we are, 60 plus days into his presidency. We want to get your grades and your impressions of how President Trump is doing.

So, Toni Ann, let me start with you. What grade -- you give President Trump an A already based on what?

TONI DIBARTOLO, VOTED FOR DONALD TRUMP: I do. I feel that he's trying very hard and so he's already getting stuff accomplished.

CAMEROTA: Such as?

T. DIBARTOLO: Well, I feel that he is trying to like loosen up the restraints on business. And I know he's trying with the health care, but he -- I -- I know that didn't work out as well as we had hoped.

CAMEROTA: It didn't work out at all.

T. DIBARTOLO: Yes, well, it's true, but that will -- that will go up again and you have to adjust a little bit.


Pax, what grade to you give the president?


CAMEROTA: Based on what?

HART: The TPP, the Keystone Pipeline, the Dakota Access Pipeline, the travel restriction, fantastic. And I know it's --

CAMEROTA: Wait a minute. Wait, wait, wait. Hold on.

HART: Yes.

CAMEROTA: The travel ban hasn't gone into effect. The travel ban has been shut down by two courts.

HART: It's in play. He took the initiative. He did it. Which is exactly what he said he was going to do. Every single thing that he's done, it's exactly what he said he was going to do.

[08:45:05] CAMEROTA: But, health care, some people put in the loss column. The travel ban is not yet in effect. The budget has not gotten a hearty agreement from lots of people. He said he'd get rid of DACA right away. He's not done that, for the dreamers. He said that he would get rid of the Iran nuclear deal on day one. That has not yet happened. The wall hasn't been built. Yet he hasn't defeated ISIS in 30 days.

SARA MARIE BRENNER, FMR. DELAWARE COUNTY CHAIRMAN FOR TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Normally we give presidents 100 days and I don't think this president even got a weekend. CAMEROTA: How long, realistically, do you-will you give him to

accomplish some of those things?

BRENNER: I think we need to see where we are in two years. You know, see -- see where we are mid -- midterm.

CAMEROTA: OK, Josh, what grade do you give the president?


CAMEROTA: Based on what? What accomplishments do you think he can hang his hat on thus far?

YOUSSEF: Well, you know, I think it's -- it's premature to ask that question. I mean 60 some odd days into his presidency, he has a four- year term. If we read "The Art of the Deal," you see the similar in the business world you see similar pressures and opposition and defeat and he just keeps coming back and coming back.

CAMEROTA: Sara Marie, what grade do you give the president?

BRENNER: I give him an A.


PAULIE DIBARTOLO, VOTED FOR DONALD TRUMP: I give Donald Trump, President Donald Trump, an A. And, to be honest with you, if I had a marker, I would put a plus next to the A.

CAMEROTA: What do you base that grade on?

P. DIBARTOLO: Well, we see that he's working with Ford Motor Company to build three plants in the United States and -- and a major league investment in the United States, as opposed to moving those jobs or keeping those jobs in Mexico. All right, that's huge.




BAER: I don't give anybody an A. I'm really looking to him, which is why I voted for him, to point out in this country what needs to be pointed out, that I think politicians in general, no offense, the media in particular, has kind of covered up.

CAMEROTA: Such as?

BAER: I mean the way he's changed the debate on things, like illegal immigration. He obviously raised up (ph) to the forefront of discussion.

BRENNER: I think the last, what, 70 days or whatever it's been now has been positive because we've started to learn a lot more things. We've started to see --

CAMEROTA: Such as?

BRENNER: Just how -- how the process works in Washington. The fact that health care failed I think shows business and politics are not always the same thing because if they were I think that deal would have gotten done and would have gotten done a lot more quickly. So maybe what that tells us is politics needs to change.

YOUSSEF: Business people are -- are -- and negotiators are by nature people that bring opposing parties and different people, different factions together. And that's what he's attempting to do.

CAMEROTA: But why wasn't he able to close the deal for health care?

YOUSSEF: Because politicians are dividers.

CAMEROTA: But isn't Donald Trump the master deal maker that was going to be able to bridge that divide?

YOUSSEF: But if you're talking to an empty chair, I mean, what -- what divider? There's -- there's nothing that you can -- there's no bridge across this gulf there.

T. DIBARTOLO: I'm just really surprised at how much opposition he's getting from the right as well. I'm very disappointed, because I'm very conservative.

CAMEROTA: You mean, again, the House Freedom Caucus, the most -- the most conservative?

T. DIBARTOLO: Yes. Yes. Absolutely.

CAMEROTA: They should get on board?

T. DIBARTOLO: It's definitely, without a doubt.

CAMEROTA: How has your life changed, or has it changed, in these passed 60 plus days since President Trump was elected?

HART: It's this very intangible kind of sense of, you know, forget about all the noise, forget about the Russia, forget about, you know, all of -- you know, Maxine Waters and -- and Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, all the nice that they're making. If you kind of tune all that out, there is just this -- this very quiet restoration of -- of law and order and security. We're addressing illegal immigration. We're starting to do deportations. We're not playing this kind of shell game with Islam -- with radical Islamic terrorism. We -- we -- there's somebody in the Oval Office that -- that is on it.

CAMEROTA: But what has he done specifically, tangibly? What has he done in the past 60 plus days to fight ISIS?

HART: Well, I mean, we had -- you know, there was -- there was an attack that was done in Mosul.

CAMEROTA: That went terribly awry.

HART: That one was considered bad, but I -- I know that we have somebody who is going to be very aggressive and -- and -- and not let up on this.

BAER: It's amazing to watch this in retrospect and see, even on election night, how people were scoffing at him. It was like people were laughing -- literally laughing in his face about the prospect of him being elected. And he got elected. And we don't know how -- as far as the votes and fraud and everything else. I mean my -- my assumption is that he probably would have gotten elected by -- by a higher number than what the results actually showed.

CAMEROTA: But are you saying that you believe that there were three to five million illegals who voted?

BAER: Oh, I -- I -- well, I know that in New Hampshire I've seen it. I've seen bus loads of people --

CAMEROTA: Again, I mean this is -- there is what we keep coming back to.

BAER: Yes.

CAMEROTA: When you say you've seen it, do you mean a dozen or do you mean three million? There's a difference.

BAER: Well -- well, obviously, I didn't -- there's only a million and a half people in New Hampshire, so I didn't see three million people there.

CAMEROTA: Well, the number that President Trump said was three to five million illegals out in California.

BAER: No, I -- well I -- well I don't doubt that extrapolated --


CAMEROTA: No, he said in California.

BAER: Extrapolating based on what I've seen with my own eyes, bus loads of people coming in, whether they're illegal, meaning they came into the country illegally, or they're illegal voters --


[08:50:01] BAER: They came over from Massachusetts into New Hampshire maybe --

CAMEROTA: So, just to be clear --

YOUSSEF: There's nobody who cares about --

CAMEROTA: I care because, just to be clear, you saw, with your own eyes, bus loads and bus loads of people coming from somewhere other than New Hampshire to vote? You saw that? BAER: Well, I know Josh has seen it, yes, and I've seen it too.

CAMEROTA: Josh, did you seen bus loads and bus loads of people coming in from somewhere else?

YOUSSEF: I wouldn't characterize it as bus loads and bus loads.

CAMEROTA: What have you seen?

YOUSSEF: But I've seen cars coming in from out of state that are full from out -- with out of state plates. I live right across the street from the polling place in my -- in my ward. It's no (INAUDIBLE) consider when eight or ten people get out of two or three cars.

CAMEROTA: You think that people from Massachusetts are driving across the border to vote in your ward?

YOUSSEF: I believe that's the case, yes. And whether it's Massachusetts or Maine or some other state, there are people coming across. And it's not fair to -- to wholesale characterize it as voter fraud because maybe they -- they're borrowing their -- I mean you --

CAMEROTA: Maybe they are. OK, Billy, are you sticking with your -- that you've seen bus loads or no?

BAER: I -- I have seen bus loads. I -- I -- yes, I guess I can't cite the bus load that I've seen and when I've seen them, but on television I've seen it.

P. DIBARTOLO: Basically, as far as I'm concerned, if the -- I'll say the alt-left, the loons on the left, and the ultra right conservatives would stay out of his way, everything would be perfect. He needs -- he needs --

CAMEROTA: So you blame the House Freedom Caucus --

P. DIBARTOLO: Absolutely.

CAMEROTA: As well for not having progress on health care?

P. DIBARTOLO: Yes. Let's face it, he's been taking attacks from both sides from the beginning, OK? I don't know if you read his book "The Art of the Deal," but I've read it before. He -- he goes into things long-term. He's not a short-term guy. He's willing to stick in the game for ten years to get things done. Donald Trump, first of all, they are not going to wear him down. He is the master of wearing everybody else down.


CAMEROTA: There you go.

BERMAN: Interesting to see. No, I mean, you know, there's the aspect of it where you still have people clinging to these things where there's no evidence that millions of people voted illegally. CAMEROTA: I've heard about those bus loads things for years. But when

you really press them on it, it turns out, as you heard Josh there, that maybe it was a couple of cars with different license plates.

BERMAN: But I think the more important stuff they had to say was that they give the president an A for trying. He is trying to do the things for which they voted for him. And for a lot of voters that might be enough.

CAMEROTA: That's exactly right, it is enough for them. He took the initiative. He's talking about things that were important to them. And whether or not he has an accomplishment on every single one is not of the biggest import to them. They consider what h's experienced so far setbacks, and they told me minor setbacks, but he's talking about it.

We have more from this panel tomorrow about their thoughts on Russia and whether Russia meddled. It is fascinating to hear them talk about how concerned or not they are about Russia.

BERMAN: I'm betting on one side of the concerned or not, but I'll wait till tomorrow to find out.

"The Good Stuff" is next.


[08:56:34] BERMAN: It's time now for "The Good Stuff." A military veteran giving back to his community. Manny Guardo (ph) opened up this thrift shop with his retirement money. This is in San Antonio, Texas. But he's not doing it to get cash, he's doing it to help people in need.


MANY GUARDO: That's all I need for any community. Our parents were always very giving, even when we didn't have much growing up.


BERMAN: He even helped a family forced out of their home because of a fire. Manny gave them all kinds of stuff for free to help furnish their temporary mobile home. It's awfully nice of him.

CAMEROTA: That is so nice. Generosity breads generosity. His parents taught him that.

All right, is there a bromance rekindling between President Trump and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

BERMAN: Love is in the air.

CAMEROTA: Jeanne Moos has more on the foes turned friends history of handholding.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a back-slapping, arm-slapping, arm-patting buddy routine featuring the president and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Friend, former opponent.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: We are not electing an entertainer in chief.

MOOS: Once passed over by Trump, now back in his good graces.

The president noticed that Christie was an immediate Trump endorser once Christie himself got out of the presidential race.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He liked himself more than he liked me. But other than that --

CHRISTIE: Still do, sir, but that's all right.

MOOS: Their lingering three seconds of handholding couldn't compare with the time President George W. Bush --

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: This is our state flower.

MOOS: Held hands with a Saudi prince and paid the price on late night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Love lift us up where we belong.

ON SCREEN TEXT: What happens in Crawford, stays in Crawford.

MOOS: President Trump and Governor Christie have a rich history of body language. Remember the so-called hostage video when Christie had to give up his dreams of being president --

TRUMP: It's abysmal --

MOOS: To stand behind Trump. On line critics showed a mean streak, adding music.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Hello darkness, my old friend.

MOOS: Even Christie's wife, Mary Pat, got mad, rolling her eyes when Trump slammed Hillary.

TRUMP: The only thing she's got going is the woman's guard.

MOOS: Much has been made of the president's grab and yank handshake. It's even been immortalized in animation. But when Christie came calling during the transition, he didn't get yanked, just pumped like a piston. He didn't get a job either. And now they're holding hands. Ain't politics a hoot. Take it away Hootie & the Blowfish.

HOOTIE & THE BLOWFISH (singing): Hold my hand.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


CAMEROTA: You are viscerally uncomfortable.

BERMAN: I -- you see -- I think it's safe to say things haven't gone as planned for Chris Christie. When he plotted out his political future, I'm not sure Jeanne Moos' piece on handholding with the president of the United States would not be him. That's not how he saw things going.

CAMEROTA: But, you know, you also don't often see President Trump smiling really very, very broadly, but he was while he was holding Chris Christie's hand. He likes handholding.

BERMAN: Well, it's sort of like a Joe Pesci thing in, you know, in "Goodfellas." I make you laugh. Like, Chris Christie makes him laugh, but I'm not sure it's in a way that Chris Christie is comfortable with. Just saying.

CAMEROTA: On that note.

BERMAN: All right. Time now for a great show. CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow this morning.

Hey, Poppy.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: I'll hold your hand any day. You are cheating on me with another blonde this morning. That is OK, John Berman.

[09:00:00] BERMAN: It's a rough life. It's a rough job. Someone's got to.

HARLOW: Indeed. All right, guys, have a great day.

Welcome to all of you. Let's get right to it.

All right, it's 9:00 a.m. Eastern. I'm Poppy Harlow. As you just saw, John Berman is filling in for Chris Cuomo