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Interview with Sen. Chris Van Hollen; Legislation after United Fiasco; Trump's Renewed Health Care Fight; Food as Fuel; Trump Reverses on campaign Promises; Trump Distances from Bannon; Battle of the Apologies. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired April 13, 2017 - 08:30   ET



[08:30:28] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: The outcry against United Airlines continues to grow. You saw the video, that passenger screaming like they were trying to kill him as he was dragged off a full flight. Lawmakers now taking action to try and keep this from happening again. One of them joins us. Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland.

Culpability, blame, wrongdoing, all pretty clear here. What would make it better?

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND: Well, Chris, the underlying issue here is something many people don't realize, and I didn't realize it either, which is that airlines, even after you've boarded and got on your seat and you're ready to go have the legal right to forcibly take you off the airplane if they've overbooked or something else. I mean, obviously, they can do it for public safety reasons if you pose a threat, but I don't think many people realized that they can do it if they've overbooked or they just want the seats for someone else.

And, you know, my view is, once you're on the airplane, they don't have a -- any kind of legal right to forcibly take you off. What they've got to do is what they try to do before you board, which is offer passengers an inducement to deplane.

CUOMO: Right.

VAN HOLLEN: And there is a price at which you're going to get the volunteers to get off that airplane. And that's what they should do rather than have this kind of situation.

CUOMO: Agreed, but they didn't. So what is the Customers Not Cargo Act and how will it fix this?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, the Customers Not Cargo Act is a pretty straightforward approach, which says exactly what I just talked about, which is, if you have a situation like this in the future, the airline does not have the right to come up to a passenger and say to you, hey, you're going to have to get off this airplane. What they've got to do is say to the passengers on board, we're going to offer you $1,000, or if that's not enough, $1,500 or whatever price is necessary in order to get someone to volunteer to deplane. And there will be a point where, you know, passengers do that on a

voluntary basis. If you look at this, under the regulations right now, if they actually eject you and force you off the airplane, the maximum that they can compensate you for is $1,350. $1,350. So at some point it's actually in their financial interest to throw you off the airplane rather than offer you an incentive. That makes no sense.

CUOMO: Well, it will be interesting to see how that tracks and how the airline industry pushes back on that.

Let me ask you about a couple other news items of the day while I have you. The president says he's going to slow down payments to providers of health care to force Democrats to deal. He says he doesn't want to hurt people, but that will be on you guys, not him. Will that get you to the table?

VAN HOLLEN: You know what, this is so reckless and irresponsible. I mean the president tries to say with a straight face, it's not going to hurt people, but it will simply throw a monkey wrench into the system instead of trying to mess up the system. We should be looking for ways to improve it.

Chris, we've always said that we're willing to work with anybody to improve the Affordable Care Act. What we will not do is be complicit in trying to blow it up and destroy it, which is what President Trump and the Republicans tried to do, and there was a huge public outcry that helped stop it. So, fix it, yes, but not be party to an effort to undermine the whole process and whole system.

CUOMO: Do you think he has the ability to not pay? These are existing contrast that he'd have that he would therefore be violating. And, also, do you think you could get enough Democrats to work with him to obviate the need for the Freedom Caucus, because that's what you'd have to do. They want repeal. They don't care about the Medicaid replacement part. You have the opposite set of interests. Do you think you could get enough Democrats on board to work with the president on fixing the ACA to remove the need for those Freedom Caucus votes?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, Chris, we've put a lot of ideas on the table. And if President Trump will join with us on those ideas, we can move forward. So, for example, one of the big issues in the exchanges is making sure we have enough carriers that can offer health insurance plans and that can create enough competition to keep down the price of premiums and other costs. One obvious way to do that is to create a public option within the Affordable Care Act.

[08:35:10] CUOMO: Right.

VAN HOLLEN: That would both create more competition and also guarantee that in every place in the country, you've got a provider.

CUOMO: Right.

VAN HOLLEN: I certainly welcome the chance to work with President Trump on that kind of fix.

CUOMO: So you think you can get enough votes --

VAN HOLLEN: But this idea that --

CUOMO: Go ahead, please, senator.

VAN HOLLEN: I mean if he were to come out today -- if he were to come out today and say, look, I want to work with Democrats and propose the public option, which is a common sense solution, I think we could move forward. But I'm not hearing anything like that.

CUOMO: Right.

VAN HOLLEN: Chris, he seems to be trying to get the Freedom Caucus on board. And to do that, he has to blow it up more and more and more, which is going to be unacceptable.

So, I'll give you another example. Very early on in this presidency, Democrats in the Senate put forward a plan to modernize our national infrastructure. Something that candidate Trump talked about a lot on the campaign trail. We've not heard anything about how they want to move forward on modernizing our infrastructure. We've put forward a plan. Join us, rather than engage in these kind of threats to not pay providers and blow up the system and hurt millions of people.

CUOMO: All right, senator, thank you very much. The good news is that they say they have to get health care done first before they can get to their other priorities. You have leverage there. The bad news is, you guys are nowhere close to coming to a deal. But thank you for being on NEW DAY. We'll be following this very closely.

VAN HOLLEN: Good to be with you. Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Chris, there were two high-profile apologies this week. The CEO of United Airlines and Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Which one was more effective? Jeanne Moos will let you rate it for yourself.


[08:40:57] CAMEROTA: Time now for the "Five Things to Know for Your New Day."

President Trump reversing his stance on several key campaign issues, pulling a 180 on NATO, Syria, Russia, China and economic policy.

CUOMO: CNN has learn the U.S. intercepted the Syrian military and chemical experts discussing preparations for last week's deadly sarin gas attack. U.S. officials say there is, quote, "no doubt" Assad is responsible.

CAMEROTA: Satellite images picking up a high-level of actively at a North Korean nuclear site suggesting a nuclear test may be imminent. The U.S. aircraft carrier strike group is headed to the region right now. CUOMO: The family and lawyers for that United passenger who was

dragged off a plane expected to announce legal action today. The passenger says he's still recovering from injuries.

CAMEROTA: The sculptor of Wall Street's charging bull statue seeing red over New York City's decision to keep the fearless girl sculpture in place until February. He says it's distorting the message of his art but New York City's mayor says fearless girl is staying put.

CUOMO: Camerota says --

CAMEROTA: Fearless girl stands.

CUOMO: Strong.

For more on the "Five Things to Know," go to for the latest.

CAMEROTA: So what's behind President Trump's many 180s? We're going to get "The Bottom Line" on how the presidency changes a person. That's with David Axelrod, next.

CUOMO: Did you think that fresh food only comes directly from a farm? Well, think again. Nutritionist Lisa Drayer has today's "Food as Fuel."

CAMEROTA: Sell it (ph).


LISA DRAYER, CNN NUTRITIONIST: Seafood is one area where going wild does make a difference. I typically recommend wild salmon, especially for children and pregnant and breastfeeding women. That's because it has lower levels of saturated fat, pollutants and contaminants. And unlike many farm-raised fish, wild salmon are not given antibiotics, nor usually dyed pink.

When it comes to blueberries, both kinds of this super fruit are great for you. Wild blueberries do have more anti-oxidants, but cultivated berries are also packed with healthful benefits. You may be able to find wild blueberries, dried, frozen or in jam, but farm-raised barriers are more widely available.

As for rice, that's kind of a trick. Wild rice isn't really wild anymore, but it's still rich in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, still making wild rice a healthy option, especially compared to white rice.



[08:47:12] CAMEROTA: President Trump's big campaign promises worked for him, obviously, on the trail, but now in the Oval Office he's reversing many of those. Is the presidency changing Mr. Trump or vice versa? Let's get "The Bottom Line" with CNN's senior political commentator and former senior adviser to President Obama, David Axelrod.

David, great to have you.


CAMEROTA: Has the presidency changed Donald Trump?

AXELROD: Well, clearly, his positions have changed. And, you know, in some ways this isn't unusual. Every president changes some positions when he takes office because the reality of governing is different than the reality of campaigning. George W. Bush campaigned against nation building and once the nation was attacked he ended up sending troops into Iraq. President Obama campaigned against the health care mandate. Once he became president, he discovered that without a mandate it would be very hard to cover people with pre-existing conditions. So he went forward with it. So this isn't that unusual.

What is unusual is how flagrant these changes are in the case of Donald Trump as a candidate. We all remember his chants about China that were the -- kind of a centerpiece of every one of his appearances and his pledge to name them as currency manipulators and take very strong steps against them and so on. And, obviously, that has changed. He said NATO was obsolete. Yesterday he said that's no longer operative. NATO is now relevant again. And, you know, there are a series of these positions. They've come very quickly.

And I think, you know, in Donald Trump's world, inconsistency is not a sin, but losing is. And the last 80 days have not been replete with victories. He's been turned back on his travel ban. He lost on the Affordable Care Act. Although he's trying to revive that fight, I see. So, you know, I think that, as he said last week, I don't mind being flexible. He's being flexible because the political realities and the governing realities are now crowding in on him and he wants to -- he wants to win.

CUOMO: There's more to plum on this, but I want to get your quick take on some news. Carter Page was on "GMA" this morning. He said he could not say that sanctions weren't discussed in his calls with the Russians. How big a deal is that? Drip, drip, drip, or could be material?

AXELROD: That's a -- I think it's a pretty big deal. The next question that will come is, who authorized him to have those discussions? How high up did it go? I mean it's kind of extraordinary because we have two things going to at once. And maybe they're somewhat related, but, you know, you hear this harsher rhetoric on the part of the administration toward Russia even as more pieces begin to fill in on the picture of what happened before the election between members of the Trump organization and the Russians. And, you know, so we have a -- you know, all throughout the campaign, you talk about these changes of position all through the campaign, Trump touted his desire to have closer relations with Putin, said he thought he could get along with Putin. Now we have this very harsh rhetoric from the administration toward Putin, even as the picture is filling in on what happened during the campaign. [08:50:40] CAMEROTA: That leads us to Steve Bannon. If President Obama

had ever called you, one of his top strategists, some guy who works for me, how would you -- I think I'm quoting the president accurately. He said, Steve Bannon is a guy who works for me.


CAMEROTA: What do you think that mean about Steve Bannon's stature now?

AXELROD: I'm sure there are occasionally days when he referred to me as a guy I wish wasn't working for me. But, look, I think that the Bannon situation is part and parcel of the first topic we covered. The fact is that Bannon was useful to the president during the campaign, clearly was more than just a guy who worked for him. You don't name just a guy who worked for me as your chief strategist and seat him next to your chief of staff and make him essentially co-administrators of your White House. But, as I said, the first 80 days have not gone well for Donald Trump. And Steve Bannon was the engineer behind the travel ban that the courts twice stopped. He was very much involved in the fight over the Affordable Care Act.

CUOMO: Right.

AXELROD: And that's something that Donald Trump can't tolerate.

CUOMO: Well, this idea of him being on the outs, don't you have to factor in what that would mean and how dangerous Bannon would be on the outs unless he leaves on his own terms and happy?


CAMEROTA: But he might want to leave on his own terms --


CUOMO: But --

CAMEROTA: Given that the president doesn't seem to have his back now.

CUOMO: But if it's -- what I'm saying is, if you're managing the situation, you have to make sure that this guy, Bannon, is OK with it because he's so connected to the base. He is a known user of the dark arts in coming after people he doesn't like. He could be really dangerous. With everything he's heard and seen in the White House, do you really want him on the outside?

AXELROD: That's the calculation the president has to make. Very, very tricky. You don't want to follow down his path, but you don't want him outside leading the opposition. And I think he's in a real strange netherworld right now.

CAMEROTA: David Axelrod, thank you very much for "The Bottom Line."

AXELROD: OK. Good to see you guys.

CAMEROTA: You too.

CUOMO: Up for "Good Stuff"?

CAMEROTA: Let's do it.

CUOMO: Well, that's all I needed to hear.



[08:56:29] CUOMO: "Good Stuff." Prom season is approaching. Prom is expensive, but not for these teenagers in Connecticut thanks to a pop- up boutique hosted by a group called Prom Angels. They provide all kinds of donated dresses and accessories. It won't cost the teens or their parents a dime. One of the Prom Angel's co-founders says he does it not only for the teens, but like I said, for the families.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just allows them to take that money and put it towards college education, put it towards maybe a car that their -- that their -- that their kid might want for college and whatnot. So this is just a huge stress reliever.


CUOMO: Nice. Prom Angels, you're good.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, that's fanatic. I have some hideous dresses I can donate there.

CUOMO: I don't believe that.


CUOMO: You are eternally stylish.


From the United Airlines CEO, to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who said "sorry" best? CNN's Jeanne Moos shows us.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For a while it seemed tuff dragging an apology out of United.


MOOS: But finally the CEO said sorry.

OSCAR MUNOZ, UNITED CEO: Probably the word ashamed comes to mind.

MOOS: You didn't need a poll to engage public opinion. JIMMY KIMMEL, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": What a week for United Airlines.

They -- the company lost $255 million in market value in one day. They -- which means they could have given each of those four passengers they kicked off the plane their own jet planes. They could have --

MOOS: It's been a banner week for apologies. First, Pepsi had to pull their new commercial, the one spoofed by "SNL."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": I stopped the police from shooting black people by handing them a Pepsi. I know, it's cute, right?

MOOS: And then Sean Spicer had to admit --


MOOS: For his Hitler comments lampooned on Kimmel.

SPICER: Someone as despicable as Hitler, who didn't even sink to the -- to the -- to using chemical weapons. So you have to, if you're Russia --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Oh, no. No. Did I just defend Hitler?

MOOS: Sean Spicer versus Oscar Munoz.

MOOS (on camera): We present the battle of the abject apologies. Who groveled most?

MUNOZ: You saw us at a bad moment.

SPICER: Not a very good day in my -- my history.

MOOS (voice-over): Take it from Brenda Lee.

BRENDA LEE, MUSICIAN, (singing): I'm sorry.

SPICER: This was my mistake, my bad.

MUNOZ: That's on me.

SPICER: It was my blunder.

LEE: Please accept my apology.

MUNOZ: This can never -- will never happen again on a United Airlines flight.

SPICER: It was a mistake. I shouldn't have done it. I won't do it again.

LEE: I'm sorry.

SPICER: I sought people's forgiveness because I --I screwed up.

MUNOZ: No one should be treated that way, period. LEE: So sorry.

MOOS: So who was the sorriest?

SPICER: Painful to myself to know that I did something like that.

MOOS: Sean Spicer seemed most contrite. One Internet poster put him in full apologetic regalia, wearing a United uniform, holding a Pepsi.

SPICER: It was insensitive and inappropriate.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos --

SPICER: Inexcusable and reprehensible.

MOOS: CNN, New York.


CUOMO: Brenda Lee. Brenda Lee. Haven't heard that in a while.

CAMEROTA: Me neither.

CUOMO: You only know who is most sorry by what happens next. Who doesn't do it? Who is better after this?

CAMEROTA: Who doesn't do it again?

CUOMO: Who doesn't do that same thing and who is better as a result?

CAMEROTA: I mean it would be a challenge for either of them to do that again, but Sean Spicer did it more quickly. I think he should also get some points for that.

CUOMO: Agreed.


We have some breaking news. So let's get right to CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and John Berman.

Take it away, guys.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

[09:00:00] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right, good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm John Berman. We have breaking news this morning. Just moments ago, we got our first look at an interview from the Syrian leader, Bashar al Assad. He sat down with AFP, Agence France-Presse.