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Crowds Gather for Worldwide Science Day Marches; Russia Tried to Use Trump Adviser to Infiltrate Campaign; Interview with Alysia Reiner and Dee Lawrence; American Airlines Apologies After Confrontation; Funding Deadline Looms to Keep Government Running; White House Not Leaning in on Healthcare Vote Next Week; Fired FOX Host Bill O'Reilly Gets Scorched by Comedians. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired April 22, 2017 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:04] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Hundreds of thousands of people all around the globe turning out for the March for Science on this Earth Day. We'll take you into the crowds to hear what they're demanding.

Plus, new details about Russian meddling in the U.S. elections. What the FBI learned about Moscow's targeting of Trump campaign advisers including this guy, Carter Page, who spoke with CNN today.

And caught on camera another dramatic confrontation on a commercial flight. A woman crying, a stranger jumping to defend her, and the heated response from the flight attendant. That's getting a lot of criticism now.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks for being with me. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York.

We begin with the global March for Science. Huge crowds in cities around the world. Their protests partly fueled by opposition to President Trump's threats of budget cuts to agencies that fund scientific work. The president tweeting just a couple of hours ago, "I am committed to keeping our air and water clean, but always remember that economic growth enhances environmental protection. Jobs matter."

CNN's Miguel Marquez is in Washington where demonstrators marched from the mall to Capitol Hill -- Miguel.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, this is the end point for the March for Science. Thousands and thousands of scientists and their supporters clog the streets of Washington. It was cold, it was rainy, it was windy. But they stuck with it for many hours both at the Washington Monument and where they ended here at the capitol.

What they were concerned about was many things. The general tone from the Trump administration on science and matters of science, on funding in the Trump budget and how it cuts in science projects in departments very enormously. There were also concerns about scientists themselves who were engaging in science here in Washington, D.C., said they didn't want their work to be sifted through a political lens. They said this is a non-partisan event but it certainly had a very political edge to it -- Ana.

CABRERA: Thank you, Miguel.

Now to New York where the rain didn't keep away the crowds there either. Here's Rachel Crane.


RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I am in a very crowded Times Square right now. Also very rainy, I'd like to point out. Lots of umbrellas but also lots of homemade signs here. One in particular, it's my favorite thing, "There's no Planet B. Educate Washington." There's been a lot of spirited and creative posters out here today. But there's a rally held earlier at Central Park that got kicked off with, you know, a bunch of elementary school students around the age of 10 talking about how they loved science, how important science was.

We also had the chance to speak to the executive director of the Nature Conservatory. This was about -- in fact this is the first time that they have marched in their 65-year history pointing out that typically the scientific community is nonpartisan. But given the climate of this administration and what they say is an attack on the scientific community they felt the need to come out and hear their voice. Also interesting to point out, that this whole day of action started merely as -- on social media. Scientists talking amongst themselves, being inspired by the march for Washington.


CABRERA: . All right. Rachel Crane, thank you.

Let's go coast to coast. Let's go to San Francisco. CNN's Sara Sidner found people marching in support of science and against President Trump's environmental policy changes and budget cuts -- Sara.


SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The marching rally here in San Francisco. Huge numbers, thousands of people here. They are here to stand up for science, scientific fact, also to stand up against the Trump administration. Worried about some of the things like the rollback of the EPA regulations and they are reminded that in 1970 that's when this all started, Earth Day. And at that time, that very same year, is when the EPA was created. And so that is not lost on this crowd. You're seeing incredible number of people, families, coming out here and of course scientists as well wearing lab coats and bringing very clever signs. A big crowd here in San Francisco. It has been a perfect day for this.


CABRERA: Thank you, Sara Sidner.

As the heat is rising on the president's environmental policy, the Russian cloud still looms over the White House. And it's casting a wider shadow tonight. CNN has exclusively learned from U.S. officials that Russian operatives tried to use Trump advisers to infiltrate his campaign, all part of a larger effort to influence the election.

Carter Page is one of those advisers, we're told, Moscow targeted. He is the same adviser the FBI had been monitoring through a FISA warrant. Today in an interview with CNN, Page denied doing anything inappropriate.


MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST, "SMERCONISH": Are you aware of their efforts at using you to get into the Trump campaign? That's my direct question.

CARTER PAGE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: I was never -- nothing I was ever asked to do or no information I was asked for was anything beyond what you could see on CNN.

[20:05:02] There's great depth of reporting, great information. Nothing I ever talked about with any Russian official extends beyond that publicly available, immaterial information, Michael.


CABRERA: With me now CNN crime and justice producer Shimon Prokupecz to help break this exclusive reporting.

So, Shimon, the FBI we now know had a FISA warrant to monitor Page's communication. So does that mean they know what he was discussing with Russian officials?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE PRODUCER: Well, to some extent they may know. They were on his phones. They were monitoring his communication for probably well over a month. What's interesting is, when news started leaking out and sort of getting out, that there was this investigation ongoing about the whole Russian meddling and some of the Trump people within the Trump world may have been targeted, we're told by U.S. officials that they noticed the people who they were targeting in the investigation who they were looking at started to change their methods. So it became a little more difficult to monitor them.

Now we don't know if that -- one of those people is Carter Page. But certainly up until that point the FBI had a good window into what was going on into who some of these people were talking to. Who Carter Page was talking to overseas, the FBI has a good idea about. It's not clear to us if they know what those conversations were about. But it was enough to concern them to sort of get this -- to get this FISA warrant.

Also keep in mind that dossier. You know, while the FBI doesn't refer to it as the dossier, they have a different way of referring to it as a source material. That -- the information contained in those documents helped the FBI get the FISA warrant. They --

CABRERA: Because they were able to confirm some of the information in that dossier?

PROKUPECZ : That's correct. They were able to confirm some of that.

CABRERA: That's not all that led to that FISA warrant, right?

PROKUPECZ : There are additional pieces of information that they learned, that they used to support the application to the FISA court. They write this memo. And then they have to go before a judge, it's a secret proceeding where they get permission to go ahead and monitor someone like Carter Page.

So they would have a good idea, a glees of who he's talking to, what these people are up to. The FBI has a good idea of who Russian intelligence is, who's working for the Russian government. And keep in mind, nothing happens really in Russia without sort of the Kremlin backing. There's always this feeling that anyone in power in Russia or anyone of any influence is reporting back to the Kremlin. And it seems that at least in this case and what we're told by U.S. officials Carter Page was talking to some of these people.

CABRERA: And I know your sources are telling us -- telling CNN that there is some evidence of possible collusion but they stopped short of saying there's proof of a crime.

PROKUPECZ : Yes. And that's a key point. I think this is something that investigators are dealing with and grappling with because the intelligence is coming from different places. Some of it is learned by the CIA, some of it is learned by the NSA. Anything that happens on the -- within the U.S. on a domestic level usually comes from the FBI such as a FISA warrant from the FBI. So they have different streams of information. They have seen a lot of the intelligence. But can they present that to a grand jury? Can they use that information to go ahead and proceed with a criminal case and not everyone at the FBI right now is certain they can.

CABRERA: There's another threshold level there.

PROKUPECZ : Exactly. There is. There's a lot of different levels they would need to go to try and bring any charges.

CABRERA: Shimon Prokupecz, thank you for your reporting. Thanks for being with us tonight.

And coming up, you just saw the marches for science across the globe. Next, the actress who played Fig in the Netflix series "Orange is the New Black" is going to join me to talk about why she is making climate change her mission.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[20:13:06] CABRERA: We are seeing global so solidarity for science on this annual Earth Day. More than 600 marches worldwide including this march in St. Paul, Minnesota. The crowd showing support for science and evidence-based research and for environmentalist. Today is a chance to make others aware of ways each individual can

affect change. In the nation's capital a group Cool Effect gathered specifically to raise awareness for projects that reduce carbon emissions.

And joining me Cool Effect co-founder Dee Lawrence and Cool Effect spokeswoman Alysia Reiner. You probably know her as the actress who plays Fig Figueroa in the Netflix series "Orange is the New Black."

I want to start with you, Alysia. Thanks for being here and coming into the studio.


CABRERA: We really appreciate it. Why are you so passionate about this?

REINER: Well, I remember Earth Day when I was my daughter's age. I have an 8-year-old daughter, and my first Earth Day I remember learning all of these things that we're marching for today and going, oh, my god, we have to do something.

CABRERA: So you felt it even as a youngster.

REINER: Yes. And my daughter can tell you so much about the environment, and I think it's so important for our children. So that's really where it started for me. And now it's about how many changes can I do? How much action can I do on a daily basis?

CABRERA: I want to get your reaction, Dee, to what the president has said on this Earth Day. He's taking note. And he writes this in a tweet just in the last couple of hours, saying, "I'm committed to keeping our air and water clean but always remember that economic growth enhances environmental protection. Jobs matter."

What's your reaction?

DEE LAWRENCE, CO-FOUNDER, COOL EFFECT: Well, yes, jobs do matter and there's plenty of jobs that help the environment and what's being ignored here is that fact. If you think about renewable energy, for example, and the enormous growth of wind or solar or some of the other major types of renewable energies that we've had in the last several years, tons and tons of jobs are coming our way just because of it.

[20:15:03] So they don't have to be mutually exclusive, Mr. President.

REINER: And that's job creation as well. There are new jobs --


REINER: -- which you really have to pay attention to.

CABRERA: Yes. And Alysia, President Trump, you know, doesn't always listen to Hollywood. So how do you get your message to him?

REINER: You know, for me I don't need to get a message to him. I need to talk to the people who I care about which are the average American person who I think the statistics say most humans on our planet and most Americans believe in climate change. 97 percent of scientists believe in climate change. So I don't really have any desire to talk to him. I just want to talk to the people about what we can do to change and that's what I love about Cool Effect.

CABRERA: Well, let's talk about what people can do.

Dee, I know your organization is focused on reducing carbon emissions. What is the single most important thing people can do in their daily lives to impact that?

LAWRENCE: Well, one of the things I like to echo is what Alysia just said which is that there are 130 million alarmed and concerned people about climate change. We are directing our message at them. They're doing what they can. There are so many things you can do. You can eat less meat, you can take public transport, you can put solar on your house and you could turn the air conditioning off in your car when you travel.

You need to be doing all these things. And we believe that there's also something else you can do which is to support simple technologies that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

CABRERA: And what are some of the worst things we are currently doing and may not even realize?

LAWRENCE: Well, I think we don't -- every American has a 17-ton carbon footprint. And that's per year. So we have people asking us today, is that for my entire life? I'm like, no, that is for this year. And that's the average American. Americans have the biggest footprint of any group of people in the entire world.

You know we have our cars, we have our luxuries. And we have tremendous use of electricity. Sometimes we leave our lights on. So what we tell people is you can do everything you can but you can't get your footprint to zero. And we're all damaging the environment with our emissions. So what we'd like to do is provide an opportunity and a way for people to verifiably reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Help projects around the world that are actually doing the work on the ground.

REINER: And I'll just say, you know, I work in New York and L.A., and I fly back and forth a great deal. And as an environmentalist, it is the hardest thing for me. It's really hard because I know that it affects my carbon footprint. And one of the things I love about Cool Effect is as I'm doing that, I can go and it's not just like, oh, I'm just putting money to this random thing, I can go on the site and see, oh, I'm helping fund wind power in Costa Rica. I'm helping fund this super cool project that takes poop in India and turns it into fuel. And that's so cool to me and it makes me feel good and it educates me and it helps me educate others.

CABRERA: And it's rewarding as you say.

REINER: Yes. CABRERA: Because there's a sense of satisfaction in making a


REINER: It's not just like I'm sending a random check. It's like, oh, I see what I'm doing really specifically.

CABRERA: Well, thank you for coming on, Alysia Reiner as well as Dee Lawrence, to talk more about the impact that we can have on our daily lives. Really appreciate it.

LAWRENCE: Thank you so much for having us, Ana. Thank you.

CABRERA: I want to show you some video. Now this is the march of penguins. It happened today in California. How cute is this? The Monterey Bay Aquarium holding this mini March for Science featuring five fearless African penguins. And visitors you can see holding up some signs including one that read, this is kind of funny, "Honk, honk, bray, bray, African Penguins are here to stay." And you might think, I've heard much of the penguins before. If it sounds familiar it's probably because of that 2006 documentary by the same name.

Thanks for being with us. We're back in just a moment. Stay with us.


[20:23:32] CABRERA: American Airlines is in the spotlight tonight for what happened Friday on a flight from San Francisco to Dallas. Witnesses say while passengers were boarding a flight attendant had violently taken a stroller from a mother narrowly missing the baby she was holding when this male passenger gets up, things get pretty heated. Here is how it plays out.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just give me back my stroller, please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, bud. You do that to me and I'll knock you flat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You stay out of this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You try that on me, I'll knock you out, bro. I'll knock you silly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't know what the story is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't care what the story is. You almost hurt a baby.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't know what the story is. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You keep looking at me, I'm going to show this.

What you did to that lady.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I can see exactly what you did. Maybe you'll get videotaped, too, and be all over the news.


CABRERA: This comes just two weeks after United Airlines made news. Remember that video that was captured people, police dragging a passenger off a plane? With us now from Washington, D.C., to discuss this new airline debacle is Jason Maloni, he's president of JadeRoq crisis communications.

Jason, American Airlines has already issued an apology.

[20:25:03] The flight attendant is already suspended while they investigate. The airline says the family was upgraded to first class for the rest of their trip, the woman and her family. How would you rate American's handling of this incident?

JASON MALONI, CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST: I think American has done a very good job. This is an airline that takes its responsibility seriously. Not too long ago, just four years ago, it was a major partner of Disney and marketing its planes, its movies. So it cares about its family friendly mantra and brand. Of course it's going to be seen -- its actions and words are going to be seen in light of how United handled last week and I think they've done a fairly good job. They've taken action quickly.

They have suspended an employee, presumably the gentleman in the video, and they're investigating. And that's the best thing you can do. A smart company, when something bad happens to a competitor, says what would we do if we were in the situation? And they practice and prepare. And I'm sure they've had statements like this in just the very event that they're faced this week.

CABRERA: As you point out things like this don't happen in a vacuum and there was the event that is still fresh on everybody's mind involving United Airlines. What do you make of how this incident was handled as it unfolded, as you watch this video?

MALONI: Well, I'm trying to be very clear about what we're seeing, I don't want to jump to conclusions. I actually credit American not just for its statements, its actions. But I see flight attendants and some staff helping that mother, and it looks OK right up until the individual loses his temper because what's clear in the video is that an American Airlines employee crosses the line and engages in a hostile manner with another passenger and that's what's wrong.

That's clearly what's clearly bad behavior in this video. I'm disappointed no one has actually offered to take the child out of the mother's hands. You know, I think she had two children on that airline, twins, in fact, and I'm just disappointed there wasn't more done. But, you know, let's be very careful about what we're seeing. Looks like some good things for American Airlines employees and, unfortunately, some bad behavior.

CABRERA: Yes. I'm kind of laughing to myself and it's nervous laughter because if I'm in that mother's shoes I have traveled with young kids and it can be so stressful and overwhelming and then to be in that situation just to escalate it to that level, I can't imagine. But you know --

MALONI: Ana, I hear you. I've done it, too, and flying with kids is a pain in the assigned seat.

CABRERA: Oh, my, indeed. But the way the passenger reacts to kind of come to that mother's defense, I mean, we aren't trying to say that he reacted in a way that maybe he should have, though he kind of escalated the confrontation as well, it seems, by watching the video, in terms of with the flight attendant saying hit me kind of thing. Do you find it surprising he was not taken off the plane?

MALONI: Well, I'm not exactly declaring him a saint. I think pulling back a bit what we're seeing is there's a lot of tension on flights these days and, of course, everybody has a cell phone and a camera and I think there's just a moment where everybody ought to be taking a deep breath and observing that these are stressful times both for passengers and for crew.

You know, I think American Airlines, if they continue on the path that they've chosen, they're going to make another statement closing this matter, concluding the investigation and talking about perhaps what they're going to be doing with regard to training, maybe empowering staff on the planes to make more decisions for themselves.

Airports and airlines are very rigid places, but I think you might get better employee morale if, say, they were empowered to accept a stroller on the plane, make life better for the passengers themselves. I'm not certain this individual, you know, exactly was coming to the aid of this other passenger. He was more interested in shaking his finger at the flight attendant, but be that as it may, it's incumbent upon the airline staff to restore order, to restore calm, and be in charge and that's not what they did.

CABRERA: All right.

MALONI: It's just a tense time in airlines right now.

CABRERA: That's for sure. And as a traveler, too, it can be kind of intense.

Jason Maloni, thanks for joining us. Good to have you on.

MALONI: Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: And now a new CNN series, "SOUNDTRACKS: MUSIC THAT DEFINE HISTORY" airs Thursday night at 10:00 Eastern. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DWAYNE JOHNSON, HOST: The music and the artists post-9/11 are reflective of the many emotions we feel.

BILLY JOEL, MUSICIAN: We ain't going anywhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We played for an audience of police and firemen, and emergency rescue workers. And they needed a boost.

BILLY JOEL: I put a fireman's helmet on the piano just to help me concentrate because if I didn't have that I might have just lost it.

It is kind of an anthem for New York. I think about when I wrote it.

[20:30:03] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The events that transpired defined a music and made it bigger than it was intended to be.

JOHNSON: The music will always remind us that it is possible.

RANDY JACKSON, MUSICIAN/PRODUCER: Somebody has got to put these into words and emotions. That is what anthems are made of.

ANNOUNCER: SOUNDTRACKS. Songs that define History. Thursday at 10:00 on CNN.



CABRERA: President Trump today made his first visit to Walter Reed Military Hospital outside of Washington, D.C. The president pinned the Purple Heart on to this U.S. soldier, Sergeant 1st Class Alberto Barrientos who lost part of his leg fighting in Afghanistan last month.

And the White House is facing some pressure in the coming days, a funding crisis with potential to shut down the government, and the president's next attempt to get rid of Obamacare is quickly moving down on the congressional list of priorities we're learning.

Here is CNN's White House correspondent Athena Jones.


[20:35:05] ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. Yes, a big week ahead in Washington. House Republican leadership held a brief conference call with the entire caucus today and made clear that funding the government is the top priority and the primary focus of next week. Now we know that the White House wants several things included in the spending bill that keeps the government running. That includes money to hire extra immigration agents and money for a border wall.

This is something that Senate Democrats have already said they oppose. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer saying that the border wall funding is a nonstarter. They're also against including money for extra immigration agents in this spending measure. So the big question is, will the president sign a bill that doesn't

include money for a border wall? My colleague Dana Bash spoke with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly about that very question. Watch.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Let's start with the border wall with Mexico and how it relates to keeping the government open. If Congress doesn't send President Trump a government funding bill by midnight on Friday, the government will run out of money and a shutdown would begin. So will the president go to the mat and insist on funding his border wall as part of the stop-gap government funding measure?

JOHN KELLY, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Well, Dana, I think it goes without saying that the president has been pretty straightforward about his desire and the need for a border wall. So I would suspect he'll do the right thing for sure, but I will suspect he will be insistent on the funding.


JONES: So there you heard Secretary Kelly making it sound as though the president would insist on border wall funding. But the president didn't sound quite so definitive in an interview with the Associated Press. He said, I want the border wall. My base definitely wants the border wall. But when asked if he would sign legislation that does not include money for the border wall, the president said, I just don't know yet. So to use one of the president's favorite turns of phrase, we'll have to see what happens with the border wall issue next week -- Ana.


CABRERA: Athena Jones reporting. Thank you.

Back with us now former Democratic Party chairman and from Washington, D.C., A. Scott Bolden, also former South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer.

So House Speaker Paul Ryan today got some fellow Republicans on a conference call, they talked about Friday's spending deadline, they talked about the chances of a health care vote which sounds slim at this point.

But, Andre, listen to what one congressman told us here at CNN about this apparently 15-minute Paul Ryan conference call, and I'm quoting. "They were short on details, didn't take any questions because they said they had to assume the call was being recorded by somebody, and it would get leaked. It was so content free it was embarrassing."

So, Andre, what was the point of this call?

ANDRE BAUER (R), FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: I don't know. I guess it was to kind of get the bullets out at least what they want to address next week. I would say they need to address -- if they think they have leaks they need to address those because -- I guess circling back around more than anything it shows you there are so many different groups within the Republican Party now, and that's why they've got problems with health care, getting it passed.

You've got a bunch of different groups, some that are extremely conservative, some are more moderate. And so there's no real conformity right now around a, you know, unified mission. And so they've got problems within their own party. And that's part of growing and being -- you know, having success in the last election. But he as the leader has got to come around and bring those folks --


CABRERA: But how do you -- how do you govern?

BAUER: Well, right now he's not doing what he needs to be doing. I shouldn't say that. He's not having the success that he should be having given the number of people that he has. And so somehow he's got to have a prayer meeting and get these folks together and say, look, here are common things that we all believe in. Let's work on those first. Things like health care, let's hammer it out a little longer and not be in such a hurry to pass such a major piece of legislation.

I think that was flawed from the start way back from when they first did that to put a time frame that it had to be done by April I think was wrong, I think it was premature, and they should have started out of the gate with something easier.

CABRERA: So, Scott, your reaction?

A. SCOTT BOLDEN, FORMER CHAIRMAN, D.C. DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Yes. Andre, you can say that, he's not doing what he's supposed to do. Some would call that a Freudian slip. But the reality is this is -- this is a GOP party that is out of control. The Republicans, you have a businessman who is the president of the United States, got a lot of goals and objectives, doesn't know how to achieve them, and now you're doing conference calls whereby you're pitting out pronouncements by the GOP but there's no substantive discussion about it.

The problem is his 100 days is coming up. He wants to do tax reform, he wants to do health care reform because he's promised that to his supporters and voters, and yet at the same time he's got to get a funding budget through where he's going to insist on the border wall. Maybe not, maybe he does, maybe he doesn't.

But the reality is those are three big legislative packages that he would like to get done in one week and Washington just doesn't work that way.

[20:40:04] Welcome to Washington, D.C., Donald Trump. You asked for it, you got it.

CABRERA: Andre, does this seem troublingly familiar to you in terms of how the last health care bill was handled? A rushed deadline and a caucus that seems to be in the dark. It's all happening at this level of just one leader from this caucus talking to one leader from that caucus, making deals that the rest of their group may or may not like?

BAUER: You know, from the outside looking in, it seems to me they need to slow down, pump the brakes, find one piece of legislation they want to work on and get that done. Having so many irons in the fire right now when there are major pieces of legislation I think is wrong.

I served the House -- one in the House and one in the Senate and two as lieutenant governor. And when we picked pieces of legislation that we really wanted as a caucus we went after that hard and heavy. But to be so splintered when you have such major pieces that are very divisive I think they're taking on too much.

CABRERA: So, Scott, the thing is here, you've got health care. You talked about taxes as well. These are issues that affect every single American. So I mean, I don't want to let Democrats off the hook here. What point do Democrats take the reins and try to be proactive in coming up with some solutions with their Republican colleagues?

BOLDEN: Well, I think that's very important. I think the Democrats are prepared and willing and able to do that. The problem is I don't think that the Republicans who have the House, Senate and White House have done enough outreach or really any outreach on these major issues where they have major differences.

The missing component to health care and tax reform and infrastructure and a lot of these issues that the Trump White House wants to get done is that there's not been outreach to the Democrats. Now the Democrats want to fix Obamacare. The Republicans want to repair -- they want to repeal it.

Now if they move off repealing it then we could probably have a dialogue about fixing it. But they're obsessed with eliminating Obamacare. And so it gets tough to cut a deal when there's a wall between two parties, whereby they are nonstarters and no one is bending or blinking, if you will.

Now the reality is that maybe the Democrats and Republicans can get together on this funding bill, maybe we can do something with Obamacare if there's outreach to the Democrats and we try to repair it and maybe we could even get some discussions about jobs and infrastructure. But you have to do it one at a time. You need some adults in the room. And you need real leadership.

Right now this is a rudderless ship. And, quite frankly, whether it's Democrat or Republican, this is an American issue now and an American leadership crisis headed up by Donald Trump. It's got to get fixed.

CABRERA: I've heard you both talk about the importance of leadership.

Andre, how big of a problem is this for President Trump, this lack of progress on a signature campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare?

BAUER: Well, keep in mind he's taken on a lot. This is not quite the first 100 days, and he's trying to upright the ship. You know, so it's not just that he took on Democrats. He took on Republicans, too. There's a lot of folks within the body he's trying to work with now that were adamantly against him. Never Trumpers. So he's now having to try to work with these folks. But he wanted to drain the swamp. And so there's a lot of folks -- you know, I hope he pushes for term limits.

I think that's the most major piece of legislation that can change our country more than anything else is to make these folks not make it a career and a lifetime to go up a couple terms and then step out. But the moderate Democrats need to reach over the line, too, and try to work with these folks because health care is an American issue, it's not a partisan issue. We've got to get past this whether it's called Obamacare. We know folks need help, we've got to find a way to bring costs down.

And so I'm hoping at some point in time whether it's in the president, whether it's the Republicans, whether it's the Democrats in the House and Senate, they'll work together. But you didn't see that in the Senate just last week on the most fair and reasonable Supreme Court justice when they were obstructionists instead of passing a guy that should overwhelmingly have been confirmed. And so you're going to see --


CABRERA: Go back to Merrick Garland, though. Go back to Merrick Garland, Andre.

BOLDEN: Exactly.

CABRERA: So I mean --

BOLDEN: Don't rewrite history.

CABRERA: I know we can -- we could talk about this back and forth, but we've got to leave it there for now.

Andre Bauer and A. Scott Bolden, thank you both.

Up next, is Congress leaving all the tough decisions on health care to the states? We're going to dig into what we have been learning now about the Obamacare repeal and replace, what the legislation that they've been working on over the break may end up. Coming up when they do have a vote. We'll talk more about it next in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[20:49:00] CABRERA: President Trump and some Republican lawmakers are making noise about a potential new healthcare plan. Yet a short time ago we learned hopes for a potential vote next week seem to be fizzling out.

Let's talk more about this with "Washington Examiner" senior writer Philip Klein, the author of "Conservative Survival in the Romney Era." Philip, we have heard some rumblings about this potential Republican

plan that might allow states to opt out of comprehensive coverage including for those with preexisting conditions. Now part of this would be the idea of requiring states to attest that the waiver's goal is to reduce the cost of the healthcare or increase the number of insured.

But, Phil, isn't this just passing the buck to the states forcing them to make a decision that Congress doesn't want to make?

PHILIP KLEIN, SENIOR WRITER, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Well, in some -- in some sense, yes. I mean, basically the idea of it is that if you flashback to last month when everything fell apart and Speaker Ryan was forced to pull the vote, the stumbling block was that there were conservatives who wanted more regulatory relief from Obamacare because of the regulations that drive up premiums.

[20:50:07] And they felt like the legislation didn't do enough to lower premiums. However, if more regulations were taken away, Speaker Ryan would have lost more votes from moderates. So there is this sort of impasse. So what they're sort of have the outlines of is this idea where conservative -- conservatives coming home to more conservative states can say, look, I got more regulatory relief, we're going to bring down premiums by getting out of all of these Obamacare regulations whereas people from north eastern more moderate to liberal districts could come home and say, look, we kept all of these regulatory protections intact. And that's what the idea is, but there are a lot of details to be worked out about this.

CABRERA: So it's allowing the moderates to have what they want and the more conservatives who don't want the regulations to have what they want, but I'm not seeing how this is helping the average American. Especially those who need healthcare more than -- more than the average American, especially those with preexisting conditions, older people who might have more -- more illnesses or, you know, issues as they age. How are they being protected by doing this rollback in regulations?

KLEIN: Well, the idea is that basically healthcare is about a series of tradeoffs and Obamacare put a lot of -- a lot of regulations in place but they had offsetting effects. The reason why insurance has zoomed up and the premiums are unaffordable to people that don't qualify for subsidies, the reason why insurers are dropping out of markets and many people are left with one insurer in their county is because of Obamacare's regulations. And that's the problem with a lot of it, and this is why it's very difficult to get any healthcare bill through by either party.

CABRERA: Right. So why not repair instead of repeal?

KLEIN: Why not repair instead of repeal? Well, I think there's two reasons. One, is that Republicans ran, one, on this for -- since 2010 they've been saying that they're going repeal Obamacare and I think they have an obligation to their voters to follow through on it. And two is that Obamacare is not working. It hasn't worked, it's expanded coverage because if you spend trillions of dollars on something it's going to expand coverage.

However, It's driven up premiums, it's limited choices. It meant that insurers have had a narrow network so that you have fewer choices of doctors and hospitals. It's created a lot of problems and it's not working as it is. And all that Democrats wanted to talk about is to subsidize it more. And that's their only solution.

CABRERA: Well, we've got to leave it -- we've got to drop it, thank you so much, Philip Klein. Got to have you back once we know more about the plan. We appreciate your time.

Bill O'Reilly officially off the air at FOX News and the late night shows jumped on the chance to send him off.


JAMES CORDEN, HOST, "LATE, LATE SHOW WITH JAMES CORDEN": And I really look forward to his next book, "Killing Time at Home."



[20:57:40] CABRERA: Fired FOX News host Bill O'Reilly is getting no mercy from comedians and talk show hosts. Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bill O'Reilly has traded the "No Spin Zone" for the no job zone. One cartoonist hung a "Gone Groping" sign on O'Reilly's door.

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": Bill O'Reilly was fired today.

MOOS: Talk show audiences --

CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST, "CONAN": FOX News fired Bill O'Reilly.

MOOS: -- seemed delighted.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": Bill O'Reilly -- is out of FOX. God bless you. And everybody in the room, God bless us all.

MOOS: The host of "The View" then reminisced about the time they walked off the set after arguing with O'Reilly. He sure had a way with words.

BILL O'REILLY, FORMER FOX NEWS HOST: Say you're a cocaine dealer and you kind of look like one a little bit.

MARC LAMONT HILL: As do you. You look like a cocaine user.

DAVID LETTERMAN, FORMER LATE NIGHT SHOW HOST: In my mind, I think of you as a goon.

O'REILLY: I didn't hear a word she said. I was looking at the James Brown wig.

MOOS: "Hey, Bill, how you like my wig now," read one tweet.

(On camera): Like magic, poof, Bill O'Reilly disappeared.

(Voice-over): Posters outside FOX say, "Nobody moves this man," were moved. His name vanished from his show, mockingly compared to Stalin airbrushing out comrades who fell from grace.

Stephen Colbert resurrected his old conservative pundit character based on O'Reilly.

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, " THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": You failed, Bill O'Reilly. All he ever did was have your back. And if you're a woman, you know, have a go at the front, too.

MOOS: Comedians reprised O'Reilly's most macho moments.

O'REILLY: Cut his mic. Cut his mic. Cut her mic off. Because you're lying. Come on, you coward.

MOOS: And then rubbed it in.

TREVOR NOAH, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW": Unlike Bill O'Reilly, we'll be right back.

MOOS: "Funny or Die" did a mash-up of Van Diesel and O'Reilly's infamous outtake.

O'REILLY: Whatever it is, it's not right on the teleprompter. I don't know what that is. I've never seen that. We'll do it live. We'll do it live. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) it.

MOOS: In honor of a loud host, a moment of silence.

Jeanne Moos --

COLBERT: Stay strong, Papa Bear.

MOOS: CNN, New York.

COLBERT: Oh, god, is this really happening?


CABRERA: Coming up, it's a trip in the time machine at 9:00. "THE EIGHTIES: VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR," at 10:00 "THE SEVENTIES: WHAT'S GOING ON," and then at 11:00 "SOUNDTRACKS: SONGS THAT DEFINE HISTORY."

Sing it. Sing it tonight. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thanks for being with me. Good night.