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Trump Marks 100 Days Amid Protests; Must Trump Become a Washington Insider to Change Washington; CNN Takes Pulse of Voters in Red States; CNN Takes Pulse of Voters in Red States; Are Forgotten Men & Women Still a Trump Priority; Twists, Turns in Trump Campaign/Russia Ties Investigation. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired April 29, 2017 - 15:00   ET



[15:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Ana Cabrera, in Washington. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world.

It's great to have you with us on this 100th day in office for President Trump. And while he is busy touting his achievements, thousands who oppose his agenda literally surrounded the White House this afternoon. Let's show you the live pictures from Washington where people who are marching in the climate march are taking place right now. Thousands of protesters bused in from cities across the country, making their voices heard on climate science. Similar protests also happening right now in downtown Chicago where protesters are braving the rain there. Demonstrators protesting on the sidewalk outside Trump Tower in New York as well.

Now all these protests come on Trump's 100th day and follow several nationwide science marches we saw just last weekend.

We have live team coverage for you this afternoon. Correspondents Athena Jones, Rene Marsh and Brian Todd are joining us.

From Washington, Brian, you have been with these protesters all day. What is the mood right now on the president's 100th day in office?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, the mood is really kind of jubilant. They're very happy with what they've been able to accomplish here today. They got a lot of energy. Check out the scene behind me, this is a massive puppet that these people constructed in North Carolina around the Chapel Hill area and brought it all the way up here. They just had to squeeze it through kind of a chain link fence on Constitution Avenue to get it through here. This is supposed to symbolize Mother Earth.

This was the gentleman who was instrumental in making it, Jan Berger.

Jan, can you talk us to for a second, Jan? What made you want to bring this all way from North Carolina up here?

JAN BERGER, PROTESTER: Well, we thought it was different, important that one of the biggest issues that everybody faces is trying to save the world that we live in for ourselves and for everything else. We wanted to make a beautiful big impact to try and highlight the fact that this is something that we all have to do together so we built this massive monstrosity of a Mother Earth that's beautiful but falling apart.

TODD: It's falling apart. You had a real challenge to bring it from the White House in here. What is it supposed to symbolize?

BERGER: This is Mother Earth and all things on it including ourselves. We have people power and we have the wind and the sun. We need to shift to those resources instead of the once destroying the planet.

TODD: Thanks very much for talking to us, Jan. Good luck with the float. Thank you.

Ana, you see the logistical challenges. They've been able to make it through here. We're right now at the foot of the Washington Monument where there's a rally. You have a lot of people wanting to call attention to what they believe is an assault on the environmental movement from President Trump -- Ana?

CABRERA: Thanks to Brian Todd.

Rene, let's head out to you now.

Last hour, you talked about how protesters are concerned about the removal of most of the references to climate change from the Environmental Protection Agency website. That's the newest thing we've seen. You've also done some reporting on the president's hiring freeze that's left 350 vacant positions within the EPA. Are protesters you're talking with concerned about these issues?

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION & GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I can tell you, Ana, and they are concerned. They're concerned that the EPA, which is the main agency in charge of regulating all issues relating to the environment, in their view, is essentially being gutted and just made a shell of itself. We do know that the hiring freeze remains in place at the EPA. And you mentioned climate change references taken down from the EPA website. Well, that happened on the eve of this very big march.

Here is where all of those marchers are coming from. Where Brian is at the White House. They're all filling into this open area here at the Washington Monument. They are still coming. And I just spoke with head of the Sierra Club, which is essentially one of the main groups organizing this march here, and they tell me, according to their estimates, Ana, some 150,000 people showed up. Again, that is the Sierra Club's crowd count at this hour. And we're starting to see those protesters fill in here for a rally that will happen here in just a matter of moments -- Ana?

CABRERA: Rene, thank you.

Now to Athena.

We know President Trump tweeted about his 100th day in office. What did he say?

ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. That's right. He's not happy with the coverage he's getting. This is the tweet in the last couple hours. He said, "Mainstream fake media refuses to state our long list of achievements, including 28 legislative signings, strong borders and great optimism!"

So it seems like the president may be watching the news and not so happy with the grade he's getting.

The White House has put out a highlight reel of what they view as the president's greatest achievements. A lot of positive commentary from the news media, very heavy on FOX News clips, but there are also clips across the media. They've also put on their website,, a long list of what they view as the president's biggest achievements in the last 100 days.

And in the president's weekly address, the first line of that address touts what he feels he's accomplished. He says, "I truly believe the first 100 days of my administration has been just about the most successful in our country's history."

That's very similar to what we've heard from him in the past. He went on to tick through accomplishments, like removing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and confirming Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court -- Ana?

[15:05:14] CABRERA: All right. Athena Jones, thanks to you.

Let's bring in our panel of political experts now.

I'll start with you, Salena Zito.

You interviewed President Trump - as we're finishing getting everybody mic'ed up here.


Exit by our floor staffer.

But when you talked to President Trump this week, this past Thursday, you had an interesting conversation. You've been traveling the country following back up with other folks you interviewed previously. The president's approval rating right now is hovering in the low to mid 40s depending on which poll you look at. Does that seem to bother the president?

SALENA ZITO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, we didn't talk about that but he looks at -- as I did -- he looked at the people who voted for him. So if you look at the polling numbers, look at the urban areas, the urban suburbs, he's doing poorly, 29 percent, you know, average around there for approval. But then if you add in the suburbs and then, you know, the third ring out and the fourth ring out, the rural areas, his approval rating is at about 58 percent to 60 percent. So that's how you get to the 40 percent. So the people who didn't like him still don't like him. The people who did like him -- I mean, I went, you know, back to all these voters that I talked to when I drove across the country. If you voted for him, they're very optimistic, very happy. It's as if the country is still at midnight November 8th. And the people who voted for him are incredibly optimistic. They're happy. The people who didn't vote for him, they're like, wait, he won? It's still that kind of thing.

CABRERA: Doug, shouldn't he be working to expand his base?

DOUG HYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure, absolutely. But he needs to focus on anything he can do to get legislative victories. And that comes not through working with Democrats, but working in a better fashion with Republican offices, appealing to Republican voters who can influence the Republican members. We had a vote on Friday to keep the government open, we didn't have enough Republican votes. It would have failed if it had just been Republican. The administration needs to double down and work with these members to expand not just on health care, not just on keeping the government open, but all the legislative priorities Trump emphasized so far.

CABRERA: Let's talk about one of his legislative priorities, dealing with climate change. He's talked a lot about the regulations he wants to roll back, and he has, in effect, been successful in rolling back a lot of regular laces and that's, in part, why we're seeing all these big protests that are taking place around the country the last two weekends.

He tweeted this last week on Earth Day, saying, "Today, on Earth Day, we celebrate our beautiful forests, lakes and land. We stand committed to preserving the natural beauty of our nation. I'm committed to keeping our air and water clean, but always remember that economic growth enhances environmental protection. Jobs matter."

He said he's the jobs president. He appointed one of the biggest EPA opponents to lead the agency. He repealed a string of protection rules so far. He signed an executive order that aims to roll back the clean water rule. We just learned the EPA removed climate change references from its website.

So, Mike, how can he say the environment is important to him when he's taking these types of actions?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, first of all, he is focused on jobs and I would think he would tell you straight-up that is his number-one priority. He's been pretty successful in the first 100 days of focusing his administration on jobs.

Look, one way to look at the protests in Washington right now, to a lot of voters, this is an anti-jobs protest. The voters who delivered him the White House in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, we're being harmed by these types of regulations. Republicans are for all of the above energy policy. The protesters out there on the left, they're not for that. They're for draconian regulations that hurt industries and really have an ideological view of how climate should be approached. And the president doesn't agree with that. I think he's sticking to his word. And the voters that Salena talked about, that he cares about, the manufacturing-base voters that's he's been focused on like a laser in the first 100 days, they're the people he's thinking about with -- he's getting rid of these regulations because they need jobs. He prioritizes that more than what these protests are talking.

CABRERA: Symone, can you have one and not the other?

SYYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Climate change is real, everybody. Our planet is warming. Climate change affects everyone, rural, white working class people, and urban folks in Chicago, Illinois. It is a crisis and a crisis we should all be focused on. These folks out here marching today on climate on Capitol Hill, they are marching for environmental justice protections. They're marching for clean water. They're also marching for all the kids in classrooms across the country that asthma because that's a result of all the things that happened in our climate. I think we can definitely focus on jobs. There's nothing about addressing climate change, making sure our planet is around for our children's children's children, but takes away from focusing on jobs and we created a false narrative here and the think the president has succeed in that narrative in saying that he's, you know, this jobs president and that climate change is harmful to manufacturing jobs and that's just not true.

[15:10:03] CABRERA: When you look at clean energy, for example, 200,000-plus people work in solar energy right now. Compare that to 53,000 people who work in the coal industry. So, to Symone's point, there are opportunities, you could say, in clean energy.

But, Kirsten, let me bring up another tweet we heard from the president today: "Mainstream media refuses to state our long list of accomplishments, including 28 legislative signings, strong borders and great optimism."

Has the president accomplished more than we've been giving him credit for?

KIRSTEN POWER, CNN POLTIICAL ANALYST: Look, I think from any objective standard, it hasn't been the best 100 days, and a lot of that is because he kind of came out of the gate and wasted a lot of political capital on this travel ban, which wasn't handled very well. So I think -- then we moved on to repealing Obamacare, which didn't happen. I mean, those are two pretty major things. The legislation he's referring to is minor legislation. It's not major legislation. Major legislation would have been getting Obamacare repealed and replaced. I think he would have gotten a lot of credit for that, even from people who don't agree with it. They would recognize that that's a big accomplishment. He signed a lot of executive orders that un-do a lot of things but they don't really do anything new.

All that said, it doesn't mean he can't have a successful presidency. I mean, we do focus on the first 100 days a lot. Maybe more than we should. And to be fair, he has also focused on it. But I think that he can go on from here and probably recover. He came into the White House with not a lot of experience with Washington, didn't really even expect to win, it's not that surprising that things didn't go smoothly. So I think it's better just for him to acknowledge that and move on. CABRERA: When you look at his 10 big legislative items that he has on

this contract to the American people that he put together, he hasn't been able to accomplish the ten items or even introduce nine of the 10. He has introduced health care. We know where that fell short.

But, Mark, he has a Republican-controlled Congress and so who's to blame for not getting this stuff at least going in Congress?

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: A couple things. He has a Republican-controlled Congress that isn't necessarily united because you have fiscal conservatives at odds right now with centrist Republicans about how to move forward and how to pay for things. But if you look, you know, we talk a lot about President Trump's approval rating at 44 percent in the new CNN/ORC poll. If you look at the Congressional approval rating, which we have right in front of me, it's at 24 percent. So, when there is blame to be cast, I would think that, in some ways, if you are a Trump supporter, you are casting all the blame on Congress, whether that be Republicans or Democrats. Although I don't think Democrats really have played any role at all in the first 100 days --


CABRERA: And in fact, polls say that more than 60 percent of Democrats are out of touch, according to those voters polled in the "Washington Post."

PRESTON: If I can say one thing about the protests out here. Symone is right, the fact of the matter is climate change is real. And to have these people come down here and to march shows that there's enthusiasm for it. I don't think what helps their cause, though, is to be marching down with big puppets and, kind of, you know, flashing them around, because to Mike's point, we're talking about people who have lost jobs, can't pay for their families, and they're watching TV right now, see people flash around big puppets and talk about climate change. It doesn't seem to jive very well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of the signs have language you can't show on CNN right now, too.

CABRERA: To that point, we have to leave it there.

But, Maeve, as well as Kevin, we haven't forgotten about you.

We do have breaking news we need to get to right now. This just into CNN. We've learned the anti-ISIS coalition has confirmed a U.S. servicemember have died in Iraq from an explosive device that just went off outside Mosul. This is early information, so we do not yet know the servicemember's name or more details about what happened. But we can tell you there are about 1,000 members of the U.S. military right now on the ground in Iraq. This operation is called Inherent Resolve. Again, one American servicemember now dead after an explosion near Mosul. We'll update you as soon as we learn more information.

Back to our coverage of the president's 100 days in office. He is the ultimate outsider. What would President Trump have learned in the past 100 days to give him the advantage to pass things other presidents couldn't? Things like tax or entitlement reform? Does President Trump need to become a Washington insider to change Washington?

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[15:18:31] CABRERA: A live view here from Washington, D.C., right now. Large crowd gathered on the National Mall, furious at the president's environmental policies, demanding action aimed at the effects of climate change. Similar marches taking place in Chicago, Denver, Seattle.

The timing of these protests, no accident. Today is President Trump's 100th day in office.

Let's bring back our panel.

I'll start with you, Maeve Reston.

This is a new type of president. He campaigned on being the outsider. He's going to come in, shake up Washington. Could he become the president who has more of a populist agenda, reaching out to different sides? Could he get to things that other presidents in the past haven't, like tackling tax reform, like creating a path to citizenship and immigration, although he's obviously been a little bit more tougher on immigration, but some of those types of issues?

MAEVE RESTON, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: I think that he absolutely could because what we've seen from Donald Trump is that he really is kind of adaptable in the sense that he's not ideological. We've seen a lot of issues just over the last 100 days where he said one thing on the campaign trail and then talked about hearing, you know, the perspective of, you know, of others and changing his mind, you know, everything from China to most recently when he last had Sonny Perdue in his ear -- what am I thinking of?

PRESTON: Agriculture, NAFTA --


CABRERA: Pop quiz right there. Mark Preston, you passed.


PRESTON: I'm done.


[15:20:07] RESTON: NAFTA, you know, and backing away from a number of things that he said on the campaign trail, certainly about engagement abroad, Syria, for example, was a big surprise.

CABRERA: NATO being obsolete -- (CROSSTALK)

RESTON: I think that he's calling Democrats, that he's actively reaching out to them. A lot of those Democrats are saying at this point they're not ready to work with Donald Trump and that he has a lot to prove to them. But I do think that we could see, after the failure of health care, him going in a different direction where he is more pragmatic and picks things that he can get done.

CABRERA: Let's listen to what the president said about the job of being president and how it's been more challenging than he anticipated.


TRUMP: I'm an outsider. I want to be an outsider.

I ran as an outsider.

I'm an outsider. Used to be an insider, to be honest with you, OK? I know the inside and I know the outside, and that's why I'm the only one that can fix this mess.

I loved my previous life. I loved my previous life. I had so many things going. I -- this is actually more work than my previous life. I thought it would be easier. I thought it was more of a -- I'm a details-oriented person, I think you would say that. But I do miss my old life.


CABRERA: Kevin, this is sort of a rare admission maybe from President Trump talking about maybe not being superman after all and coming in and discovering that it's not quite what he thought it was going to be. Is the gravity of being president starting to sink in?

KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, look, you're right, it's a human answer. It's a very honest answer, and it's also just a reflection of just how tough this job is. Look, when you are president of the United States, anything that gets to your desk, it got there because nobody else wanted to make that decision or couldn't make that decision. So the weight of that, I think, has had an impact on him. I think it's also had an impact on many of those staffers who also -- who are so close to this president, do so much of the work inside the White House, and also came to Washington without much of an inside-Washington experience. I think they're clearly recognizing, particularly given the first 100 days, how much there is to learn on the job.

CABRERA: Does he need to have more of an insider perspective in order to get things done, Mike?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I think he's learning that but, look, a lot of us work in Washington. This city's different. I mean, he really has made a lot of changes culturally already. The House is different, the Senate is different, the lobbying world is different, the press approach to things are different.

Look, we're measuring him in the first 100 days. Go back to the '30s, we've had two presidents who have had -- going to use air quotes - "signature legislation" that has been passed in their first 100 days. Barack Obama after the crisis there and FDR. Otherwise, every other president, even successful presidents haven't really had that happen until much further into their presidency. Ronald Reagan, tax cuts. He's learning on the job. He is changing things. He started with a bunch of outsiders on purpose and, by definition, there are going to be growing pains. They are figuring it out.

MADDEN: Just real quick. More of this might be very helpful in the next 100 days, because what happened was he set such unrealistic expectations on the campaign trail about how this is all easy, I'm going to get this all done, everything's going to be beautiful, and he suffered as a result, perception-wise, by those who, you know, judged him against his accomplishments, legislative accomplishments inside the first 100 days. But taking this approach going forward might be -- might serve him very well.

PRESTON: I have to say this, though, I'm pretty sure the Republicans, on this side over here, are not sick of winning yet, though.


And he did say we're going to win so much --


RESTON: To that point, I remember, you know, in the course of talking to friends of Trump during the first 100 days and one of them said, you know, actually it was the day that the health care bill was going down, the Thursday before, said if this does go down, that's really going to be a good kick in the rear for him, that's going to kind of wake him up to the realities of Washington. And you've seen since then, you know, an elevation of Mike Pence, with him really delegating more to Mike Pence on the Hill in the second attempt to fix -- to change the health care bill. So, I think that he is adapting and adjusting to the reality --


MADDEN: Every White House has these moments. The question they have to ask themselves is, what did we learn from it, what are we going to change.

[15:24:34] CABRERA: Well, often you learn more from your failures than your successes. We can all speak to that.

Guys, stay with me.

We'll be back with our panel.

Be sure check out "The State," a new digital magazine for CNN Politics. Maeve Reston wrote the cover story. Visit that at Coming up, they helped the president win some of the reddest states in

the country, but are they happy with him on the job? We travel to three states in three regions to find out.


CABRERA: President Trump may be seeing the lowest approval ratings in modern history, but there's at least one encouraging number he can point to in the latest polls. It shows he's doing extremely well with his base. 96 percent of those who voted for him say they don't regret it. But as we learned back in November, polls don't always reflect realities.

So ahead of Trump's 100-day milestone, CNN's Martin Savidge spoke with voters in deep red states, as part of our new series, "Red, Purple and Blue: First 100 Days."


[15:30:00] MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Asheville, Alabama, the sun's been up for three hours, and Greg Weston's (ph) been up for six. He's a farmer. What he grows, he and his wife, Brandy, sell at an old gas station on the edge of town.

GREG WESTON, TRUMP VOTER: This is a western farmer tomato show.

SAVIDGE: Around here, the only thing redder than the 'maters is the politics. The country where Greg and Brady live voted 89 percent for Trump.

(on camera): How is Trump doing?

WESTON: I think he's doing good.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): They like Trump, even though his first actions haven't really helped them. Trump's tough immigration talk has made it harder for Greg to find migrant workers to harvest his crops.

WESTON: If you can't get it picked, you're in trouble.

SAVIDGE: Then there's Trump's efforts to replace Obamacare, which Greg and Brandy are on.

(on camera): What do you like about it? Why do you like it?

WESTON: Pay $88 a month for me and my wife. Before Obamacare come in, I was paying, like, $660.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Obamacare is working so well, Brandy feels guilty. She says she knows people who can't afford their private insurance or who can't get insurance at all. She's OK with Trump's efforts to replace it.

BRANDY WESTON, TRUMP VOTER: It still doesn't make sense to pay so little and still the poor people get nothing.

SAVIDGE (on camera): You think you should pay more?

BRANDY WESTON: Yeah. In other words, yes.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): In Birmingham, also another long day for Quinton Posey, a cab driver. In the past, he's voted Democratic but, in 2016, voted Trump.

QUINTON POSEY, TRUMP VOTER: The thing about a businessman is that it's action and it's not policy.

SAVIDGE: Black Trump voters are rare in the south, only about 9 percent. Quinton is even more rare since he's black and gay.

(on camera): 100 days in, how do you feel he's done?

POSEY: 100 days in, I'm not pleased.

SAVIDGE: Really?

POSEY: Not pleased.

SAVIDGE: What don't you like.

POSEY: He's a little too brash -- is that the word?

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Quinton hasn't seen as much change as he expected and he worries about what a Trump budget might cut.

(on camera): Do you wish you hadn't voted for him?

POSEY: I don't wish I hadn't, because, I mean, according to alternatives, I don't have any regret.

SAVIDGE: Right. You were not going to vote for Clinton?

POSEY: No, I'm not going to vote for Clinton.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): In Des Moines, Iowa, I find another surprise, named Alberto Alejandro, the 32-year-old public schoolteacher, who teaches Spanish to inner city kids.

(on camera): Who did you vote for this go around?


SAVIDGE (voice-over): Born in Mexico, he became an American through an amnesty program in the '80s, yet voted for a president who has called Mexicans criminals and threatened mass deportations.

ALEJANDRO: Here we are 100 days after he was sworn in and he has not acted against innocent undocumented workers.

SAVIDGE: Some would disagree, but what's certain is that Alberto feels good about the administration so far, including on immigration.

ALJANDRO: Being in America to begin with isn't a right. It's a great privilege.

SAVIDGE: Madison County, Iowa, famous for its bridges, and home to a man many feel personifies America, John Wayne. Brian Downes knew the Duke and found similar qualities in the Donald when he met Trump at a campaign event.

BRIAN DOWNES, TRUMP VOTER: Meeting him made a huge difference, made a huge difference. It's somebody who -- we really felt like one of us. I had that feeling.

SAVIDGE: The big campaign issue for Brian was the same as Alberto.

DOWNES: Borders, immigration, and I think that national security is all part of that.

SAVIDGE: And like Alberto, Brian is pleased by Trump so far.

DOWNES): I think he's doing great.

SAVIDGE: And he also admits that Trump's had to deal with a bit of a learning curve.

DOWNES: And he has as much as admitted I didn't know it was going to be this complicated.

SAVIDGE: From the birthplace of John Wayne, to a scene right out of the Old West. John Florteen's (ph) family has been raising buffalo since the '60s. Today, the Durham Ranch has more than 3,000.

JOHN FLORTEEN (ph), TRUMP VOTER: They're a great story. I mean, they have great comeback story, you know?

SAVIDGE: Wyoming may be the cowboy state, but here, coal is king, on a King-Kong scale. Wyoming produces 41 percent of America's coal, more than West Virginia and Kentucky. There's also oil, natural gas and wind.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are the energy capital of the nation.

SAVIDGE: Here, if you're not mining or drilling, you're selling to those who do.

This past election, only one issue really mattered, jobs and energy. And, yes, that's two, but in Wyoming, they're one in the same.

Jeff Dale (ph) runs a business running industrial generators. He voted for Trump saying Democrats were anti-energy.

JEFF DALE (ph), TRUMP VOTER: The path we were on was definitely crippling this industry, too many regulations and too many hurdles.

SAVIDGE: That could explain why Wyoming was the reddest state of all.

MICHAEL WONDLER (ph), TRUMP VOTER: 24,000 pounds.

SAVIDGE: Michael Wondler's (ph) family-own business has been repairing monster-sized mining machinery for decades. He voted for Trump and says things have been improving ever since.

[15:35:04] WONDLER (ph): Business is better now. We had our worst year since 2008 last year. It's better now. We feel like it's going to be 10 percent better, maybe 20 percent better this year.

STACEY MODER (ph), TRUMP VOTER: We want our spot at the table?

SAVIDGE: Stacey Moder (ph) is a single mother, a grandparent and coal miner. She operates a PNH 4100 electric shovel that's larger than her house.

(on camera): One mistake and you could really do a lot of damage.

MODER (ph): Yeah, yeah. We don't make mistakes.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): She also voted for Trump though she was reviled by his words and actions toward women.

MODER (ph): I was offended but it was not about me. It was about the people I work with and the people I love, and I had to make a choice that was bigger than me. So I did.

SAVIDGE: For Stacey, and all the voters I talked with, Trump was not a perfect candidate and is not a perfect president. They voted for him believing he would make their lives better. 100 days later, they still do.

Martin Savidge, CNN, Wyoming.


ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Our thanks to Martin.

Now President Trump promised to be a voice for the forgotten, the men and women not helped by the career politicians or by Wall Street. So after 100 days, has the president lived up to that promise? We'll discuss live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[15:40:33] CABRERA: The forgotten man and woman were a major part of Trump's campaign and featured prominently in his inauguration speech.


TRUMP: The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.

What about the 100 million people? A lot of those people came out and voted for me. I call them the forgotten man, the forgotten woman. But a lot of those people, a good percentage of them, would like to have jobs.


CABRERA: Now, are those Americans still a priority for the president? I want to bring back our panel.

Salena, to you first.

The health care plan we've been hearing has been reworked could threaten people with pre-existing conditions. Is that living up to this promise to watch out and take care of the forgotten man and woman?

SALENA ZITO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That was one of the essential things that he promised he would keep in the health care, whatever reform that he would take. That, and having the kids on until they were 26 years old. I think that would be a problem for him if that ends up being something that is easily -- that states easily do, which I think it's a voucher for the states. If they want to take that out, that they would, and so I think that would be a problem for him. You know, I talked to voters across the country for his 100-day mark and they were not unsatisfied that health care wasn't taken care of yet. You know, they have probably a little more patience and a little more understanding than possibly we give them credit for. Yeah, that was an essential part. I think that needs to remain part of his health care reform.

CABRERA: Kirsten, what have you seen in the president's first 100 days that speaks to the forgotten man and woman?

KIRSTEN POWER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I've been thinking about that and I don't see a lot. I guess, he his point was to rolling back the environmental regulations, which are supposed to help people in coal country, but that's not really -- we're sort of talking about this earlier, it's not really an either/or situation. There are ways to help people in coal country, especially acknowledging the fact that coal really is not the future of energy in this country or in the world, and so something President Obama was trying to do was bringing in people from Silicon Valley, for example, and going to coal country and helping people retrain for new, clean energy jobs. Interestingly, that's something that Donald Trump is not funding. So, you know, you have to sort of ask, is it about really helping the people there or about sort of pursuing this agenda? I mean, it's interesting hearing it called an agenda, and ideological agenda, when the left is trying to protect the environment. Well, there is also an ideological agenda happening on the right where they're saying, let's protect these jobs at all costs, even though, it's not the future of the country, the world in terms of energy. And they're some of the worst jobs in the world. So why don't we help people get trained for new jobs and protect the environment?

CABRERA: Symone, the Democrats, would saying for a long time they're the party of the forgotten man or woman. Yet, we saw Trump win states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, where he's going to be rallying at tonight. Where have Democrats gone wrong and how do you get back on track?

SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I've been at a lot of focus groups and seen a lot of tracking polls and there are voters that are Democratic Party voters who think that the Democratic Party is for the wealthy people. Say the Democratic Party is not fighting for them, so I think where Democrats can get back on track is to speak directly to the issues and the reality of millions of people in America. Under President Obama, yes, we had 75 straight months of private sector job growth but also under President Obama and even before that, there were people in this country working 40, 50, 60 hours a week that can't make enough money to put food on the table to feed their families. That is an issue we have to address in its totality. The last thing I want to make sure we talk about is the forgotten man and woman in this country, not just white men, they're black women, Latino women, they're Latino men, they're Asian- Americans, native Americans. When we talk about the working clause class in this country, we have to remember there are working class people of all shapes and sizes all over America that need our attention.

CABRERA: Doug, critics like to point the fact the president has surrounded himself with a lot of millionaires and billionaires, part of his cabinet. In fact, "Politico" says it's in the range of $4.5 billion to $6 billion net worth of these people. Are they in touch with the forgotten men and women?

[15:44:49] DOUG HYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think you're going to have a hard time from getting from a treasury secretary to a coal miner in coal country in Virginia. Presidents nominate people whether for Treasury, Agriculture, whatever, people who have been successful in that field. It shouldn't be any surprise that Donald Trump is going to pull people that he knows and has experience in those issues.

SANDERS: What about Rick Perry?

HYE: I think Rick Perry has been a very successful governor of Texas. You may disagree with that.

What's troubling for me about what the administration has done so far with fill-in positions, they have not filled enough of them. There are so many key positions there, where people like me, who didn't support Trump as a Republican, will see him nominate people we're enthusiastic for, not just cabinet secretaries, ambassadors to France, the U.K. and Germany, where there are elections right now, diplomatic security jobs at the State Department. I'm all for cutting the size of government and reducing the State Department's staff size, but he's got to --


CABRERA: Too many holes?

HYE: -- and do the things he made the promises he wants to keep.

CABRERA: All right, guys, stay with us. Thank you to our panel.

Few stories hanging over President Trump's in his first 100 days like the Russian meddling into the election, the White House's relation with the Kremlin. All the twists and turns coming up next here in the CNN NEWSROOM. But first, Comedian W. Kamau Bell, believes uncomfortable

conversations like ours create change. It's the subject of tomorrow night's season premiere of "United Shades of America."


W. KAMAU BELL, COMEDIAN & CNN HOST, UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA: I'm in Washington, D.C., and I can't think of a better place to explore our country's conflicting views on immigration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no diverse America. There's only white America.

BELL: America is a country of immigrants.


Ultimately, America is a white country. It's a man's game. The fact is men and women are different. Women are more suited to maintaining the household, bring a level of civilization. We're more interested in power, we're more interested in exploration and nomination. I just want to bathe in white privilege.

BELL: I'm not going to say anything. There are a lot of jokes in here. Not going to say any of them because I'm a nice-hearted person.



[15:51:23] CABRERA: Russia and the investigations into possible connections into the Trump campaign, the story hangs over the presidency of Donald Trump like a wet blanket. Critics point to how, as a presidential candidate, Donald Trump seemed to go out of his way to praise Russian President Vladimir Putin. Not so much anymore.

We begin the coverage of all the twists and turns of this story with our Matthew Chance and a view from Russia -- Matthew?


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Matthew Chance, in Moscow, where the view of President Trump has undergone a dramatic transformation. The White House promising to improve relations with Russia, even speaking of cooperating on international terrorism, joining forces with Syria. But 100 days on, none of that has come to past. Trump officials criticizing Russia for fueling conflict in Ukraine, even ordering U.S. missile strikes on Russia's Syrian allies. Part of the problem, lingering suspicions of Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election. There's also a sense that Russia and the U.S., even President Trump, have very different priorities.


CABRERA: Matthew Chance, thank you. Let's bring CNN crime and justice producer, Shimon Prokupecz.

So this investigation in the campaign between U.S. and Russia seem to be heating up in the past week. The big name that's been in the spotlight is his former national security advisor, Michael Flynn. First, what's next in terms of Flynn and then the investigation?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE PRODUCER: The first thing there's a desire to hear from Flynn, certainly from us, in the media, and the public, sort of what his role was with the Russians and what his relationship was.

One of the things that we may start to see is more people come out and defend him, as we've seen the last few days. There is this feeling among investigators right now that there may not necessarily be a crime.

Obviously, the White House is continuing to defend him. Trump spoke yesterday. Here's the sound where Trump is defending him.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I do feel badly for him. He served the country, he was a general. But just remember, he was approved by the Obama administration at the highest level. And when they say we didn't vet, well, I guess, Obama didn't vet.

VALARIE JARRETT, OBAMA FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF: I'm smiling because that's rich. That's a very separate thing, the renewal of a clearance from the vetting that goes into an appointment of any senior White House officials or any senior administration official.


CABRERA: How big of a concern is Michael Flynn for the administration?

PROKUPECZ: It's a big concern because he's the name that doesn't goes away. There are other people close to Trump who were part of the campaign that they're doing a bit of scrutinizing. But, Flynn, his names never goes away. We keep hearing more and we keep finding out more information because he was in the public eye for a long time, he was in the military, so there's a lot of records concerning him. So, it is a big issue for the administration.

The other problem is, what we keep finding is that Trump and the White House do not -- have not released everything they know and everything they did, and what was the vetting process. It seems like there really wasn't any vetting process concerning Flynn. His communications with the Russians have been scrutinized. The FBI is aware of it and it is now part of their investigation. And now there's other investigations on the Hill where they're moving forward. And the other thing is interesting if he is granted immunity.

CABRERA: Well, the inspector general's investigation, we just learned about this week, into the speaking engagement payments that he got from the Russian media mouthpieces.

PROKUPECZ: That's right.

[15:55:04] CABRERA: Thank you so much, Shimon Prokupecz.

And of course, we'll be watching, because next in the investigation, of course, May 8th is when we're hear from the former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, as well as the director of National Security, James Clapper.

Thanks so much.


CABRERA: From Washington to New York and all across the country, we're watching these protests, and people gathering for Trump's 100th day in office. We're following that.

Also ahead, hear from two people who literally wrote the book on the president, his biographers.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[16:00:01] CABRERA: A nominee for this year's "CNN Heroes" have dedicated her life to helping vulnerable youth in Israel.


UNIDENTIFIED CNN HERO: To be homeless at a young age, it's very lonely. When you don't have your family, you're always --