Return to Transcripts main page


Shooting in France Reported; North Korea Tensions; Dreamer Battle; GOP Nearing Health Care Deal?. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired April 20, 2017 - 15:00   ET



SHERYL CROW, MUSICIAN: That there was a moment in our history where people didn't believe that this land was their land.

And songs like "What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye, "For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield, these were not just protest songs. They were actually songs that got played on the radio.

They were part of our collective consciousness. And they lifted us up and they resonated with us and they galvanized us. "Blowing in the Wind," where you saw for the first time whites and blacks holding hands and singing, "We Shall Be Released."

These were moments that were legacy-making moments that we look back on and we see the best of who we were, and music was there.


Don't sound miss "Soundtracks: Songs That Defined History," tonight at 10:00 Eastern and Pacific.

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Ana Cabrera. Thanks for rolling with me into the next hour of CNN NEWSROOM.

With President Trump's 100th day approaching very quickly now, there is news the White House is nearing a breakthrough on health care. Two sources tell CNN a vote is possible as Congress returns to Washington next week, adding that the White House wants to get this done before Trump's 100th day. And that is next Saturday.

We're also learning top House Republicans may be nearing some type of an agreement. Discord within the party was what put the brakes on this bill a month ago.

Here we me, CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger and CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Gloria, you first. Congress has plenty on their plates already next week. You got the government shutdown is possible. Why push this now?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, because there's something called the first 100 days deadline coming up, and every single Republican in Congress and the president of the United States campaigned on repeal and replace Obamacare.

And that hasn't occurred. And they went back to their districts and they heard about it. And I think that the conservatives, particularly who let the president down and whom he criticized very vocally, would like to try and strike a deal.

The problem is, they have got to walk and chew gum at the same time. As you point out, they have a government shutdown that they are confronting and they still have the same differences between moderates and conservatives, and nobody speaks for either group totally.

So I think it's a very, very difficult job. And even if it passes in the House, there's no saying what would happen to it in the Senate, and we don't know what it's going to look like yet. I think it's still in the kind of dream phase right now.

CABRERA: It seems, though, if they were going to vote on this next week, now by saying that even, isn't it just backing them into a corner?

BORGER: It might be. But I think they have to show that they are trying to do something, that they haven't given up.

CABRERA: Sanjay, I know you sat down with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. Where does Price think the administration went wrong the first time around?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a big question mark, and everyone has an opinion on this, obviously, but, Ana, I asked him basically that exact question. Take a listen.

CABRERA: Sanjay, stand by. We will get to that sound in just a moment. We actually have some live pictures. We do want to just let our viewers know what we are looking at.

This is President Trump as he's greeting the Italian prime minister who is here visiting the administration, visiting the United States. You see them shaking hands. You see the Italian flag on front of the car and they are getting ready for a photo-op.

We understand that they will meet and they are expected to address news cameras and crews here after their meeting some time in the neighborhood of 3:45, 3:50-ish. We expect that they will be talking about economic issues. We expect that they will be talking about security globally. And, again, this is the Italian prime minister just arriving to meet with President Trump.

We're continuing to watch that situation.

Sanjay, forgive me for that interruption. I want to get back to what you were sharing with us in terms of your interview with Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price.


One of the big questions is obviously, in the spirit of trying to move it forward, which Secretary Price very much says that he's committed to still, what did go wrong, what could be corrected, I asked him about that.

Take a listen.


GUPTA: When you look at the last few weeks with regard to this health care bill, AHCA, what went wrong?

TOM PRICE, U.S. HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: Well, I think that what happened is the compressed timeline for the sale of the bill, if you will, and the fact that there are a lot of competing parts in the area of health care.

And so what I believe is if you talk about, as the president has, we talk want about the principles of health care, we want a system that is affordable for everybody, we want a system that is accessible for everybody of the highest quality and provides choices for the American people, empowers patients, if you will, if we concentrate and keep true to those principles, we will get to the right answer.



GUPTA: Sort of talking about they sort of rushed the pass a little bit, I think is what Secretary Price is saying.

But he wants time to educate people. He's been at this for quite some time, because he's been releasing his own version of a bill for the last several years. And what he told me is, he wants to spend more time sort of on the retail politics side of things, actually sitting down with the vote, people who will be casting a vote on this and really explaining it to him. -- explaining it to them, rather, and having more time to do so.

CABRERA: All right, well, we will see as this plays out over the next week or so. Sanjay Gupta and Gloria Borger, thanks to both of you.

A controversial -- controversy from the campaign trail now coming back to haunt President Trump. Remember, last year, then candidate Trump panned a judge who was presiding over lawsuits against Trump University?


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He is Hispanic, I believe, and he's a very hostile judge to me, and I have said it loud and clear.

I have a judge who is a hater of Donald Trump, a hater. He's a hater. His name is Gonzalo Curiel.

This judge is of Mexican heritage. I'm building a wall.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: So, no Mexican judge could ever be involved in a case that involves you?

TRUMP: I think he should recuse himself.


CABRERA: Well, it turns out that same judge, Gonzalo Curiel, who was actually born in Indiana, by the way, is now hearing this case of what many believe is the first deportation of a dreamer under the Trump administration.

A 23-year-old man from California says he was kicked out despite the fact he was protected under DACA, a program that gives some legal protections to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.

Homeland Security officials say the man left the U.S. voluntarily. And now the attorney for this man, Juan Manuel Montes Bojorquez, is asking Judge Curiel to force DHS to release some deportation paperwork.

She spoke to reporters by phone. Let's listen.


KAREN TUMLIN, ATTORNEY FOR JUAN MANUEL MONTES BOJORQUEZ: What we're seeing here is a part of disturbing pattern and practice of a failure to tell the whole truth on the part of DHS.


CABRERA: Joining me now, immigration attorney Cesar Vargas, who was also the first undocumented lawyer here in New York.

Cesar, thanks for being with us on this issue.

First of all, just your take, your reaction to this case happening to land on the desk of this judge.


Well, frankly, it's alarming and scary to know that no one is safe anymore. Secretary Kelly and President Trump has said that they are going to focus all of their efforts on violent criminal records.

And yet we have this case where a dreamer not only was deported, but he was just -- had no -- wanted to get his wallet to show that, and all of a sudden, three hours later, this student, this young person was detained and deported. It's very scary.

And I think what we're seeing now is an aggressive, aggressive attack on immigrant communities and on American families to know that this president is willing to go after anyone. And I think that's alarming to not just undocumented immigrants, but to anyone. Who is next?

CABRERA: You see this as a precedent-setting case? VARGAS: Well, we have that, and we have not only that, but we have

seen from January to March President Trump has amped up his enforcement on immigration, on immigrants, specifically has doubled the deportations of people with no criminal record, as opposed to last year under President Obama.

So, this is a pattern, as Karen mentioned, of an aggressive deportation machine that we're now seeing realized and attacking immigrant families.

CABRERA: And in terms of the fact checks, we did go back and look at the history under President Obama. What we're seeing this year under President Trump is similar in terms of percentages and numbers that we saw under President Obama back in 2014.

But, to your point, there has been an increase over the past couple of years when you're looking at the same time frame, January through March or so.

Getting back to the judge, Judge Curiel, now taking on this case, important for us to notify the viewers that this is not that -- the judge is not initially going to rule on this specific deportation and the fate of this dreamer, but rather is being asked to rule on getting access to the deportation processing documents.

So how do you see this playing out?

VARGAS: Well, right now, we're seeing that a judge is obviously going to listen to the case, but it's what we have to focus in, that President Trump is misleading the American people on every issue, whether it's on him saying that he's not going to detain law-abiding immigrants, productive people, to also the fact that he's saying that we are going to buy American, and yet President Trump's businesses are buying from China.

So, the concern is that he's misleading the American people. And right now, we're seeing a climate of fear from immigrant families who are afraid to go to school, who are afraid to go to the hospital, are afraid to -- and that's why it's so important for cities, New York, and states to ensure that they are pushing Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, and specifically because they are interfering with processes that the state has to see, whether it's an immigrant who is afraid to just go pay a traffic ticket.

And I think that's the concern that we're seeing, that we need to make sure that states step up to ensure that we resist Donald Trump's aggressive attack on immigrant and American families.

CABRERA: All right, Cesar Vargas, thank you for joining us.

VARGAS: Thank you so much for having me.


CABRERA: More breaking news at this hour, new evidence that China has put its forces on high alert preparing for an event involving North Korea. Details ahead.

Plus, a state senator apologizing for a racist and sexist rant against two of his colleagues. Well, those colleagues who heard the rant join me live.

And we are moments away from President Trump's news conference with the Italian prime minister. He will face reporters coming up. Stay with us.


CABRERA: CNN is now learning that China has put some of its military forces on high alert as a reaction to rising tensions with North Korea.

This comes as North Korea has increased threats over the possibility of a preemptive strike and amid confusion over the U.S.' response. We're told that the aircraft carrier the USS Carl Vinson is extending its deployment by 30 days now, as it has toured the Korean Peninsula, a surprise to many South Koreans, who believed that carrier was already there.

Now, the confusion about the ship's movements leading to accusations from some South Korean news outlets that the U.S. is bluffing.

Joining me now, retired Commander Kirk Lippold. He is a former commander of the USS Cole. And you might remember the USS Cole came under attack 17 years ago, ending with 17 American sailors dead.


First, Commander, thanks for joining us.

I want to get your reaction to these reports that China has now put its bombers on high alert.

KIRK LIPPOLD, FORMER COMMANDER, USS COLE: Well, Ana, thank you for having me on the show today.

And when you look at China, I think that they are just taking a prudent move as a precaution. Clearly, North Korea was making preparations to set off a nuclear weapon. That's been held in abeyance. You have still got the rhetoric up there.

I'm not so much worried about the issue of, where is the Carl Vinson? There's a degree of operational security there that also needs to be taken into account.

CABRERA: Now, as far as the USS Carl Vinson, though, as a reminder, here's what the president said was happening nine days ago.


TRUMP: We are sending an armada, very powerful. We have submarines, very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier. That, I can tell you. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: The USS Carl Vinson is still not there, Commander. South Korean media now calling this an empty promise. Was the messaging on the whereabouts of the USS Carl Vinson misleading?

LIPPOLD: Well, I don't think so at all.

I think, first, let's take a step back. The United States needs to realize that just like us back in October, the North Koreans are right now in the midst of a very...

CABRERA: Commander, I'm so sorry to interrupt you. Let me just pause for just a moment, so we can listen in to the president with the prime minister of Italy.


TRUMP: And we had a long discussion. And it's a very great honor to have you. Thank you.


TRUMP: Thank you very much.

GENTILONI: I'm really pleased to be here. I will say, for the president, I'm waiting for his visit in Sicily.

TRUMP: Yes, I look forward to that very much. I imagine many of these people will be going, but we look forward to it.

Thank you very much. Thank you.


CABRERA: That was just moments ago, the president shaking hands, smiling in front of the cameras with the prime minister from Italy, Paolo Gentiloni.

We heard Prime Minister Gentiloni say a few remarks about being here -- good to be here, smiling at the president. Now they will go have their discussion, and we anticipate additional remarks from both of them following their meeting.

Back to our current conversation. Again, this is the commander, former commander of the USS Cole.

Thank you so much again, Commander, for being with us.

So, we were talking about the Trump administration and what it had put out as a message of what was happening with the USS Carl Vinson, only to come to find out that the ship was nowhere near at the time where the administration led many people to believe.

And you said don't read too much into it.

LIPPOLD: Well, you're right, Ana.

There's two things to consider. One, South Korea is in the middle of a very heated, very contentious presidential election coming up on May 6, where the country needs to decide a new leader. It's very, very, very difficult for them right now, because the president that they just ousted and arrested, they're -- the charges there are somewhat shaky at best, according to some folks.

But, also, when you look at it, the other thing that people need to realize is that military forces need the operational flexibility to be able to go places without the American public knowing about that. I think most Americans realize that.

And when it came to the Carl Vinson, while what the president was accurate in a general sense, if you take him at every word literally, which many people want to do for more political purpose than the reality, then guess what, they're going to find it very difficult, because these days we have to go by the motto, as we used to say, loose lips sink ships.

Now it's random tweets sink fleets. We don't need to know every place that an American ship is operating. We don't need to know if the carrier is going to be there.


CABRERA: So would you like the administration to scale back some of that rhetoric and some of those tweets we're seeing from the president?

LIPPOLD: I think that, at this point, it would be prudent for everybody to take a step back.

I think, when you tend to tone down the rhetoric, it tends to be more -- carry as big stick, but walk silently or walk very, very, very close. And I think that would be helpful regarding what is going on in the peninsula right now.

CABRERA: All right, Commander Kirk Lippold, I wish we had more time. But we will have you back. Thank you so much for spending some of your day with us. We appreciate it.

LIPPOLD: Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: We have more breaking news we want to get to.

We're getting word of an ongoing police operation right now in Paris. We will have more details coming up next.



CABRERA: We have breaking news, ongoing police happening -- presence in Paris right now, the Champs Elysees.

And CNN international correspondent Melissa Bell is joining us now live.

Tell us more about what is happening there, Melissa.

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're just about the Champs Elysees, Ana, which has been closed off for the last 20 minutes or so, entirely closed off, pedestrians violently pushed aside by riot police, as dozens of police cars have made their way up this normally very busy street at this time of day.

I just want to show you what is going on down there. Perhaps you can see further up the Champs Elysees a vast police presence. There are now no one apart from the police on this avenue.

But you can see the trucks up there. The armed riot police are also making their way up and down the avenue, ensuring that it is entirely blocked off to anyone who might want to have a closer look.

Now, for the time being, very sketchy details about what has actually gone on. It was about 25 minutes ago, half-an-hour ago, we heard what sounded to us like fireworks. Obviously, it might have been something more serious than that. There are a number of reports coming through about what might actually have gone on down there.

What we have seen for sure are these dozens of police trucks heading towards the center, the middle there of the avenue of the Champs Elysees, toward the (INAUDIBLE). We have also seen in the last few minutes emergency vehicles with doctors, bringing doctors to the scene, leading us to believe that someone may have been injured.


No confirmation from police about what has happened, though, although they have put out an official warning to Parisians, urging them to stay away from the Champs Elysees until this police operation can be brought to an end.

CABRERA: So, Melissa, you tell us you hear what sound like fireworks. We know our French media affiliates are reporting gunshots were fired and perhaps two policemen were serious -- injured. According, that is according to French media reports. You're working to get details confirmed.

But tell us a little bit more about this area.

BELL: This is an avenue, the most famous avenue, one of the most famous in the world, of course, that at this time of night is packed.

And until about 20 minutes ago, it was just that. There are hundreds of cars on it at any point in the day or night and hundreds of people walking up and down.

I'm just going to show you once again how empty it is. And this clear-up operation, the police have really come in and gotten everyone off this street within a matter of minutes. Perhaps you can see the pavements themselves are completely empty, apart from the heavily armed riot police. And on the avenue itself, which is entirely blocked off, all you have are those dozen or so police trucks that came in here full of armed riot police, as I say, about 20 minutes ago.

We heard what may have been the gunshots, what we had assumed were the fireworks, about half-an-hour ago. So, this clear-up operation, this closure of this avenue has really happened incredibly quickly.

Of course, France remains on high alert. We are still living in a state of emergency and will be until July as a result of the terrorist attacks that have all too sadly become a regular feature of French life.

And this, of course, is a particularly tense moment. We're only a few days away from a general election. We have been warned by authorities that extra police, extra soldiers would be on the streets to ensure that France remained safe during this presidential race.

What seems to have happened here within the last half-hour, and I have to say, we're waiting to get confirmation ourselves of those reports from French media that a police officer may have been shot down there tonight.

What appears to have happened is that that uneasy truce, the calm of the last few weeks may have come to an end here in Paris this evening.

CABRERA: Melissa Bell, stand by.

With us, I want to bring in CNN international anchor Hala Gorani.

And as we're continuing to look at these pictures, just want to update our viewers that we're following this breaking news situation happening in Paris right now, a major police presence around the area of the Champs Elysees.

Tell us a little bit about what you know of this area in terms of security presence and past incidents, that type of thing.

HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is obviously, if there was one target in Paris, a recognizable name and location, you have the Eiffel Tower, you have the Arc of Triumph, and then you have the big avenue of the Champs Elysees.

It's a major tourist and visitor artery. You obviously have movie theaters, shops, restaurants all along this avenue. What we're hearing now, according to French reports, is that two police officers have been injured in a shooting.

Now, we don't know if they were injured as a result of being shot, if someone came at them with a knife or for whatever reason shots were fired after an attacker sort of tried to assault police officers.

We have seen that happen in the Louvre in Paris as well. In Marseille just a few days ago, police said they foiled what they called a -- quote -- "imminent attack" before the presidential election. Tonight is an important night, Ana, because there's a huge 11-person

television event featuring all the presidential candidates. Sunday is the presidential election. The front-runner is a Emmanuel Macron. He's a centrist politician, but very, very close in the polls after him is Marine Le Pen, who is a far-right candidate, who has spoken a lot about the terrorist threat.

She's anti-immigration. She wants to close the borders. These type of events are frightening Parisians and French people across the country. There were these terrible attacks at the Bataclan and "Charlie Hebdo" and then the Nice truck attack not even a year ago.

So, obviously, something like this is going to cause a lot of nervousness and a lot of tension across the country. But we don't know much else really, Ana, two police officers injured. There was a shooting. There's a massive police presence, all these police vans with their lights flashing, and pedestrians and sort of ordinary visitors and tourists have been told to leave the area.

And it's now completely sealed off.

CABRERA: You talked about the proximity to the elections that are coming up in just a few days, and some of the different candidates who are part of this election, 11 different candidates.

Now, in terms of the lead-up to this big presidential election, have we seen there an increase in any kind of confrontations between different groups that are campaigning for their candidate?

GORANI: Confrontations between the supporters of the candidates, no, but we're seeing obviously these major security and terrorism themes brought up by the candidates, because they are important to French people right now.