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President Trump Was Pressed Again On What Happens to People With Preexisting Conditions in The Current Draft Of The Bill; President Trump and the Republicans Are Still Trying To Work Out Some Kind Of Health Care Bill That Can Clear Congress; Growing Tensions Between The U.S. and North Korea; President Of The Philippines Has Been Invited to Washington; Annual White House Correspondent's Dinner Took Place in the Nation's Capital Last; Former Vice President Joe Biden is Making Another Appearance On The National Stage Speaking. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired April 30, 2017 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Top of the hour. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Anan Cabrera in New York. Thanks for being with me.

We begin tonight with a campaign promise that continues to elude the President and Republican lawmakers, repeal and replace Obamacare. President Trump was pressed again on what happens to people with preexisting conditions in the current draft of the bill. And here is what he said during a weekend interview with CBS.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This bill is much different than it was a little while ago. OK? This bill has evolved. And we didn't have a failure on the bill. You know, it was reported like a failure. Now, the one thing I wouldn't done again is put a time line. That's why on the second iteration, I didn't put a time line. But we have now preexisting conditions in the bill. We have -- we set up a pool for the preexisting conditions so that the premium can be allowed to fall. We are taking across all of the borders or the lines so that insurance companies can compete nationwide.


TRUMP: It's in the second phase. It is called phase one, phase two. And that's in fact, second phase which will get approved -- which will quickly get approved.


CABRERA: White House correspondent Athena Jones is with us now.

Athena, the President is talking about a deal cut between moderate and conservative Republicans in the House. And I understand vice President Pence also spoke about this this weekend. He gave some details on how these high risk pools that are supposed to cover people with preexisting conditions, but still give states a lot of leeway might actually work. ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. That's right.

And this is why this is important. That this whole issue of covering people with preexisting conditions has been a key sticking point in these ongoing negotiations among House Republicans. You have a lot of moderate Republicans who are very concerned about making sure that folks who have preexisting conditions can continue to get coverage and coverage that is affordable.

In this latest GOP proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare, insurers are required to cover people with preexisting conditions. But they can charge them more than other folks on the plan if they let their coverage lapse at any point. So there is some still details to be worked out about this. But as you mentioned, vice President Mike Pence speaking on "Meet the Press," gave a little more detail about how this could work this proposal to cover people with preexisting conditions. Watch.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are basically borrowing an idea from the state of Maine that has seen a significant drop in premiums for people on their health insurance because you take people that have preexisting and costly conditions and put them into a high risk pool and you subsidize that so that it is affordable to those individuals. And so, you are guaranteeing coverage for preexisting conditions and the flexibility that you are referring to in this latest McArthur amendment states can only apply for that waiver and flexibility if they have a federal or state high risk pool that guarantees that people will be able to have coverage and it will be affordable.


JONES: So there you heard the vice President saying these pools will guarantee people have affordable coverage. But some of the questions that folks who are still on the fence and also outside groups that are trying to influence members of Congress when it comes to this legislation, one of the questions is whether they will be enough subsidies to truly make sure that coverage is affordable for the folks in these high risk pools. So that's a sticking point. And it's not clear at this point or it certainly wasn't clear in the end of last week if they were going to be enough Republican votes to get this through even with this new proposal -- Ana.

CABRERA: And Athena, in that clip we just played earlier with the President, he seemed much more interested in pushing for a vote than speaker Ryan. He says we are going do this quickly. Are they on the same page? Is there a time line in place for the White House or the House?

JONES: Well, the White House would like to see a vote happen soon. But as we heard from House speaker Paul Ryan, they are not going to bring this bill to the floor until they are certain that the bill has the support to pass. And so that is the big question mark this week.

Can they get more support from their fellow Republicans? How soon can they get it? Will there be a vote this week? You hear the President say different things. He wants to see a vote soon. And then he said there is no rush. They do want a win on this. But Ana, it's still very much a question mark whether they are going to be able to get that win soon or at all. And of course, if it does pass the House, you still have the Senate for the bill to get through. And that is a much tougher road -- Ana.

CABRERA: All right, Athena Jones at the White House. Thank you.

Let's bring in two of our political commentators now former communications director for Senator Ted Cruz Alice Stewart and former spokesman for California congressman Darrell Isa, Kurt Bardella.

Guys, President Trump and the Republicans are still trying to work out some kind of health care bill that can clear Congress. But I want you to listen to the President and that "Face the Nation" interview. He talks about leaving some of the details to the state.


TRUMP: Because if you hurt your knee, honestly, I would rather have the federal government focused on North Korea, focused on other things than your knee. OK? Or than your back as important as your back is. I would much rather see the federal government focused on other things. Bigger things. Now, the state is going to be in a much better position to take care because it's smaller.


[19:05:12] CABRERA: Alice, is Congress trying to have it both ways or the President trying to have it both ways? Get credit for repealing Obamacare while leaving the tough decisions to the states?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think that the key is they are working hard to follow-through on their campaign promises which is to repeal and replace Obamacare. And what they learned as part of that is putting some of the decision making power in the hands of state giving them the opportunity to opt out a certain aspects of any bill that is on the table and that is key.

The fact that we have had the more moderate members of the house come together along with members of the more conservative members of the house freedom caucus and come forth with some kind of agreement is a good sign. And what they are doing is they are taking their time. What we heard from President Trump earlier today was that I can put a time line on it. They are going to take their time and make sure that they get it right because they vow to lower premiums and increase access to health care. That's what they are aiming for here.

CABRERA: But you just said that you feel more confident about where they are going. But the issue of preexisting conditions still is a big question mark for a lot of people including Republicans in the House, Alice. Are you confident based on what we heard from the President and the vice President today that preexisting conditions are indeed going to be covered adequately? Because a lot of outside groups aren't so confident about that like the AARP, like the American medical association. How can you be so confident?

STEWART: Well, that's a great question, Ana. Because that is something that has always been part of the conversations, is making sure that that is part of any repeal and replace bill. That along with children up to age 26 being covered by their parents' plan. And these are part of the promise that's have been made from day one from many of the members of Congress and that's something that they know they are not so concerned about how the President will respond to them.

What they are concerned with is how their constituents back home are going to respond. And they intend with everything to keep those promises. The key is as Athena said, once it gets to the Senate, it's a whole new ball game.

CABRERA: And how are those constituents back home going to respond? We know the original GOP plan had just 17 percent approval.

So Kurt, does Congress have the political will to push through a bill that may not be popular with most Americans?

KURT BARDELLA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think the challenge here, is you know, they always say the devil is in the details. And this is going to be happening so quick that we are not going to have a lot of the facts until this bill is potentially passed and potentially signed into law. What the real impacts will be to the American people.

We saw during the first it rags of repeal and replace the CBO, Congressional Budget Office, put out some very politically damaging figures about what their plan would do for health care in America and who would be left behind, what the cost would be to the deficit. These are figures that we are not going to have this time around. Because they really -- I think this has to happen this week. Congress is set to go in recess Thursday for another week. And one of the key points here is under the authority they're using to do this right now it is called reconciliation. That authority could elapse if they put a new budget in place which they are trying to do to avoid a shutdown. And then they would need 60 votes in the Senate instead of 50 plus one. So they are there really running out of time to get this done both in the House and ultimately for the Senate. You know, I think that ultimately, you know, in the long run this could really be suicide for a lot of political people who vote for this.

CABRERA: Well, let's switch gears just a little bit and let's listen to the President talking about how tough or easy his job is. Let's play it.


TRUMP: Well, it's a -- it's a tough job. But I have had a lot of tough jobs. I have had things that were tougher. Well, I will let you know that better at the end of eight years, perhaps eight years. Hopefully eight years. But I will let you know later on.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CABRERA: Alice, your reaction to hearing the President say he has had tougher jobs than running the country?

STEWART: I would like to hear what that is. Look, I look at that and I applaud his honesty. And it is a difficult job. And he is learning with many different issues that come in front of him that governing is much more difficult than campaigning. And what we are seeing is his course corrections on some of the issues which I think is a good thing rather than standing firm on some of the issues. But, sure, the presidency is a hard job. And it is also the greatest job you could possibly have. And I applaud his honesty on that.

CABRERA: Kurt, your thoughts?

BARDELLA: I think it's disturbing that this is the hardest job in the world, running this country. And for someone to try to run for that ultimately win it and not have a full grasp or understanding about the complexities involved of making this country run, someone who thinks that it's OK to go on vacation to Mar-a-Lago every other week and, you know, doesn't want to ever leave the White House, doesn't want to leave the United States to visit foreign dignitaries and build diplomatic relations. This is a guys who one of the people close to Roger Stone said he would rather sit on his couch eats all at McDonald's. He is lazy. He is intellectually lazy. And that is very dangerous for someone in this job not to have a full gravity of what the position really entails.

[19:10:21] CABRERA: And in all fairness, as you point out, he has not made any overseas trips. He has had visits from a number of other foreign leaders who have come to the White House. And he has been on the phone with them regularly including a handful just this week.

And Kurt Bardella and Alice Stewart, thank you both for being on tonight.

STEWART: Thank you, Ana.

BARDELLA: Thanks, Ana.

CABRERA: During the President's interview with CBS this weekend, the President also discussed the growing tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. And the interview came just hours after Pyongyang launched a new nuclear -- excuse me, a missile test, ballistic missile that President Trump down played as a small launch. And he described North Korea's leader as quote "a pretty smart cookie."


TRUMP: People are saying he is sane? I have no idea. I can tell you this. A lot of people don't like when I say it, but he was a young man of 26 or 27 when he took over from his father. When his father died. He is dealing with obviously very tough people in particular the generals and others. And at a very young age, he was able to assume power. A lot of people I'm sure tried to take that power away whether it was his uncle or anybody else. And he was able to do it. So obviously he is a pretty smart cookie. But we have a situation that we just cannot let -- we cannot let what's been going on for a long period of years continue.


JONES: CNN's Will Ripley joins us now from Pyongyang, North Korea.

Will, during that interview, the President let the door open for military action against North Korea. Any reaction there?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He did. Yes. He certainly has been ambiguous has, Ana, about the possibility of what the U.S. response could be. We know though based on the statements of secretary of state Rex Tillerson that the military option is really the option of last resort for the United States. And even President Trump in those interviews acknowledged just how tremendously damaging it could be in the stabilizing on the Korean Peninsula and potentially putting a lot of people in U.S. allied South Korea in harm's way if a conflict were to break out.

So it seems like the U.S. strategy right now despite this rhetoric from the president is to try to push the international community and the secretary Tillerson talks about this at the U.N. security council on Friday to push the international community to put both diplomatic pressure by isolating North Korea further and also economic pressure by further sanctions and, of course, meaning very heavily on China to do cutting off, further cutting off trade with this country. Perhaps restricting the flow of oil through major pipeline if North Korea as his Supreme leader Kim-Jong-Un were to go forward with that sixth nuclear test which even though it was thought for many weeks to be imminent has not yet happened.

We don't know if there were back channel discussions, negotiations happening. We know that officials on the ground here do express a desire to engage with the United States and the outside world. But what they are not willing to do they say is to even consider giving up the nuclear program which in the past is really been a nonstarter for any kind of discussions.

CABRERA: Exactly. Will Ripley reporting in North Korea. Thank you.

Straight ahead tonight, he is one of the world's most infamous leaders. And now, the President of the Philippines has been invited to Washington. Next, why the White House is defending the controversial leaders' visit. That is coming up live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[19:17:39] CABRERA: Before the break, we were discussing the Trump administration's foreign policy with regards to the Korean Peninsula. I want to continue that discussion now with CNN global affairs analyst David Rohde.

David, President Trump called the North Korean leader Kim-Jong-Un a smart cookie this morning with one of the sound bite that we played. And he was noting that Kim assumed the throne, so to speak, at a very young age and has had to deal with some very tough people. What do you make of the comments?

DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: He tends to sort of, you know, praise tough leaders, I mean. And Kim-Jong-Un is a brutal leader. He has killed his relatives. He is, you know, actually some people best (INAUDIBLE) at them. There is unreported attempts of some people being killed by a pack of dogs. So it's unusual. But I wouldn't say it's new for President Trump. He has praised authoritarian leaders before.

CABRERA: Is there any impact of that though?

ROHDE: It could be slowly confusing. But to be fair to the Trump administration, they have been very consistent on North Korea. That they are going to be very tough. They, you know, made a lot of signals militarily that they might use force there. So, you know, it is one remark. The administration as a whole has been very consistent about North Korea needs to stop its missile tests and its nuclear tests.

CABRERA: And another White House is also getting some criticism for a phone call the President had with the President of the Philippines, Duterte, in which he invited him to the White House. Now is coming under fire or at least a little bit of criticism coming because of Duterte's record on human rights. And the fact that a lot of people in his country have died as he has been attacking this war on drugs as he calls it. But he essentially killed extra judicial killings of people who are just suspected of drug crimes in his country. Why do you think the President is being warm with this leader?

ROHDE: It's again this sort of pattern, you know, people he sees as strong leaders. Vladimir Putin praised him during the campaign. He sort of backed off on that. He praised President Xi of China who will hopefully help in North Korea but is also, you know, a very strong leader, strong man at home.

The danger here is this core question. I mean, Duterte is accuse his police forces have killed up to 2,000 people. Some suspected drug dealers. Some just people using drugs. And these are just executions being carried out by police. That's extraordinary.

CABRERA: Some are saying the numbers are closer to 7,000 since he took office back in June of 2016.


CABRERA: Now, if he is coming to the White House, we know the White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said today that this visit is necessary because really it's about North Korea. North Korea should take precedence over human rights issues.

[19:20:07] ROHDE: So the key player in Southeast Asia is actually the country of Myanmar. That's where North Korea is getting its nuclear technology and a lot of aid. So that is sort of a stretch there. It's this broader problem, is this President going to defend American values? And that's democracy. That's the rule of law. That's a trial for people. Instead of being executed on the street because they have been using drugs.

But President Trump has signaled he is going to back strong men. He invited president Sisi of Egypt to the White House. And that's, you know the idea is that will help in the war on terror, you know. Past Presidents feel it should be a mix. You have to use some military force, some lethal force maybe. But you also have to back these ideals so average people in the Philippines feel they have a, you know, government that works for them, that doesn't just, you know, execute people. And the same thing in Egypt. That you need a government that, you know, has courts and has the rule of law. It's not just about pure raw power, you know, crushing an opposition and Egypt or the Philippines.

CABRERA: Yes. And past administrations have also had interactions. Have worked on diplomacy with countries and with leaders who are dictators. So, is this different? Is he being unfairly criticized do you think?

ROHDE: His tone is different. I mean George W. Bush sort of had the -- I'm talking about, you know, past Republican Presidents. There is long history in the U.S. definitely working with dictators particularly during the cold war. It's just that President sort of the terms he uses, we quietly support dictators when we felt it helped us strategically. He didn't openly praise him. So the difference is this is sort of more open praise.

CABRERA: When we talk about North Korea that, is one in which there is an exception here. The President has not necessarily said he would reach out and negotiate. He's not invited Kim Jong-un to the White House, for example. Should he? And is there any risk in that diplomacy?

ROHDE: I don't think there is. I mean, there is a difference between inviting him to the White House --

CABRERA: And I don't mean should he invite him to the White House. I mean, should he have a dialogue?

ROHDE: Yes. There was, you know, different official, secretary of state Tillerson has talked about the possible of any direct talks. North Korea is an incredibly important issue. It is extremely dangerous. You know, I agree with the estimate that they could have a missile possibly with a nuclear warhead that can reach the United States. At the very least they could kill thousands, tens of thousands of civilians in Seoul just with the traditional artillery. Something has to be done to address American policy in North Korea. It is not worked. George W. Bush failed. Barack Obama failed. So, there should be a new approach in North Korea.

CABRERA: David Rohde, thank you.

ROHDE: Thank you.

CABRERA: And still ahead, it was a Presidential roasting at last night's White House correspondents' dinner. Here's a clip.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is tweeting at 3:00 a.m. sober? Donald Trump because it's 10:00 a.m. in Russia. Those are business hours.


CABRERA: Comedian Ben Stein is here with his take on last night's dinner next.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[19:27:11] CABRERA: The annual White House correspondent's dinner took place in the nation's capital last night without the usual guest of honor. President Donald Trump decided to skip this event and instead attend a rally in Pennsylvania. Comedian Hasan Minhaj pulled no punches in Trump's absence.


HASAN MINHAJ, COMEDIAN CORRESPONDENT, THE DAILY SHOW: We got to address the elephant that's not in the room. The leader of our country is not here. And that's because he lives in Moscow. It is a very long flight. It would be hard for him to make it. Vlad can't just make it on a Saturday. It's a Saturday.

As for the other guy, I think he's in Pennsylvania because can't take a joke.

We are here to talk about the truth. It is 2017 and we are living in the golden age of lying. Now is the time to be a liar and Donald Trump is liar in chief. And remember, you guys are public enemy number one. You are his biggest enemy. Journalists, ISIS, normal length ties and somehow you are the bad guys.


CABRERA: Comedian, actor and economist Ben Stein joins us now from Los Angeles.

Ben, you are previously defended Trump's decision to skip this dinner saying he is a punching bag day after day in the media. Do you feel that that is the case? Is this justified taking that position after watching this show?

BEN STEIN, COMEDIAN/ACTOR/ECONOMIST: I thought what Mr. Minhaj said was sickening. Frankly, I felt like vomiting. I couldn't watch it very long.


STEIN: I think it's stunning to belittle and attack and mock the President at such a base and villainous level and describe him as a soviet agent and liar in chief. Liar in chief especially to the media. The media is a joke in this situation. First of all, they are the ones who built him up. Without the media, he would still be back running casino somewhere. He has played the media fantastically unbelievably well. The media is not his enemy. He has cleverly made the media his main ally and the media is laughing as if they think they're somebody great and holy and neutral and above it all.

They are not holy and above it all. They are a sharp instrument of the left in this country. But Trump has managed to turn his head and make them the bad guys out there in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and places he was never expected to win. So I mean, they are laughing. They should be laughing at themselves, not laughing at him.

CABRERA: Well, I think the media did laugh at ourselves and he, of course, the comedian also took a lot of jabs at the media through all of this. But as you point out, I mean the President has had a contentious relationship with the media. But other Presidents in the past too have had similar challenges in dealing with the media.

You know, our job as journalists is to hold their feet to the fire, to hold government elected officials accountable. And, of course, Presidents and people in power don't always like that.

[19:30:07] STEIN: Well, you know, if I may say this. I was a speechwriter for President Nixon. I have always been a fan of President Nixon. Even Nixon was not held up to the same level of ridicule and mockery and vicious attack that Trump is.

And I want to tell you something. I'm not a big fan of Trump. I was writing in barons I suspect, well at least 30 years ago that this guy possibly should be held up for criminal charges of fraud and securities fraud. So I am not a huge fan of his. But the level after attack upon him by the media has been so vicious. I have never seen anything like it. And every day these newspaper has got more stories attacking him and attacking him. They just don't give the guy a break. By the way, I think he is totally right about the fake news. So much of what is attacked about him is fake news.

CABRERA: In what way?

STEIN: Well, I give you an example. The so-called anti-Muslim ban in his first immigration proposal that, wasn't anti-Muslim ban. That was a ban on people -- I see there are 60 or 90-day ban, maybe a few more than that, from people from seven countries out of 100 and some countries that are predominantly Muslim in the world. That is not anti-Muslim. That is the press made it out as if he is a leader of the Ku Klux Klan. He is no such thing. He is trying to defend America and his ban was a very short brief pause to expedite vetting.

CABRERA: It was the President who suggested a Muslim ban. Those words on the campaign trail. Now, I know at CNN we have been calling this a travel ban. And there have been political commentators who at times have referred to it as a Muslim ban. But I don't think can you group mainstream media with political commentators in the same bunch. I don't think that's fair.

Now Ben Stein, I do want to ask you -- STEIN: I think it is very fair with all due respect. The media made

itself into a permanent attack machine against Mr. Trump. Now look, don't get me wrong, I am endlessly complaining about Trump's mistakes. I think the tax plan is a disaster. But the level of invective against him is something I have never seen before. And as I say, I worked for Nixon. So I know political attacks.

CABRERA: Let's talk about the tax plan because you came on right before we got proposal as the president put out this past week. And you told me you wanted to see him raise taxes on the wealthy. The details of the plan that were unveiled earlier this week show the wealthy stand to benefit under this proposal. So what's your take?

STEIN: I think it's a mistake. I think the tax plan a mistake on almost every level. The only good thing about is it eliminates some corporate tax. There should be no tax on corporate earnings. They should be taxed directly to the owners of corporation, not in any middle tax. That was quite fact that Word War II and to raise money. We don't really need it anymore with artificial intelligence we can quickly track the incomes of people on the stock and tax them on it.

And this latest deal of eliminating the deduction for state and local taxes is just crazy because I think it was Mr. Cohen from the White House said well this going to eliminate bloating at the local government. Really? Policemen salaries are bloated? School teacher salaries are bloated? Firefighter salaries are bloated? I mean, that just out of touch with reality.

CABRERA: All right. Ben Stein, we will leave it. There thanks for coming on.

STEIN: Thank you so much.

CABRERA: Coming up, it's just day 101 for President Trump. But has the race for 2020 already started? One possible contender who knows his way around the White House is in a key state in Presidential politics. Next, what Joe Biden told a crowd in New Hampshire.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[19:37:50] CABRERA: More buzz tonight surrounding one of most popular figures in the Democratic Party. Former vice President Joe Biden is making another appearance on the national stage speaking tonight at the famous McIntyre (ph) dinner in New Hampshire. Now as Democrats are buzzing now about whether Biden might just have one more race left in him.

CNN national politics reporter M.J. Lee is joining me now from Manchester, New Hampshire.

M.J., everyone wants to know if former vice President Joe Biden is now laying the groundwork for possible White House run. What did he say?

M. J. LEE, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, I know we all feel like 2016 just came to an end. But there is a lot of talk about 2020 here in New Hampshire tonight because former vice President Joe Biden just wrapped up a speech just behind me. And he did just address head on what everyone in the room is talking about. Does he have another Presidential race left in him? Let's listen to what he said first.


JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So when I got asked by Ray to come up here, there wasn't a doubt in my mind, even though I know what caused a lot of speculation, guys, I'm not running, OK?

I know it caused a lot of speculation. No, look. Thank you for the support you have given me over the years. And I especially want to thank you for the support you gave me and Barack over the last eight years and thank you for supporting Hillary. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

She had made a great president.


LEE: I don't know if can you hear Ana, but when Biden said, guys, I'm not running with a smile on his face, the audience around me, you could tell that they were booing and trying to show him that they wanted him to at least take this seriously, you know, and let him know that there are at least supporters here in New Hampshire who would like to see him run again.

Of course, Ana, you know that vice president Joe Biden decided not to run ultimately in 2016 because of his son's death, Beau Biden. But that was a personal tragedy. And he wanted to focus on being with this family.

I can also tell that, you know, speaking to Biden's advisors the last couple of days, they say that no matter what he says publicly about that he is certainly not anywhere near making a firm decision on 2020. And I can tell you the people in this room probably won't take him at his word when he says he's not going to run until he makes a definitive statement that he is not going to run for President in three years.

[19:40:24] CABRERA: All right. M.J. Lee, we will be watching. Thank you.

We are back in a moment.


[19:44:42] CABRERA: Breaking news into CNN. Sebastian Gorka, a controversial national security aide in the White House expected to leave his job. Several administration officials confirm this to CNN. And another senior administration official says it's possible he might take another job in the administration. And Gorka was simply generating too much controversy for the White House.

CNN executive editor Mark Preston is joining us now.

Mark, why was this one aide trouble for the White House?

[19:45:10] MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR (on the phone): Well, Ana, at this point, in the administration when we saw the turnover in the national security advisor when we saw Michael Flynn leave that post and we saw general H.R. McMaster take it over, we saw a move more towards a traditional advancement in global view on how the United States was going to prosecute its national security.

Sebastian Gorka is somebody who comes from Breitbart. He is an ally of Steve Bannon. He is somebody who talked a lot about radical Islamic terrorism. He was also seen oftentimes on TV on the radio defending policies such as the Muslim ban and what have you. However, he really was just generating too much controversy. There had been a lot of heat on him for some past issues or some work that he had done in the past. So it looks like he is moving out as you said he really was quote-unquote "generating too much controversy." At least that's what an administration official is telling our Jim Acosta, you know.

This comes at a time when we have seen as I said General Flynn leave as a national security advisor. Very likely to see KT McFarland as well who is a deputy national security adviser, she going to leave and now Sebastian Gorka is leaving as well. So seeing a settling, so to speak, of the Trump administration when it comes to national security.

CABRERA: Gorka was a foreman member of Breitbart. So Mark, what does this mean for the White House and for all those palace intrigue, questions we had in the recent days especially, you know, when Steve Bannon?

PRESTON: Yes. Well, no doubt. I mean, there has been a lot of talk now about nationalism versus globalism in the White House nationalism being kind of what President Trump ran on as a candidate where you talk about making America great again, America first. And in many ways, you know, closing down lines of communication to other countries and working with them and what have you. Very much a Steve Bannon world view.

However, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, Kushner being president have a very much different view about that. And they seem to be winning the battle right now about how the United States should be viewing its foreign policy as viewers were calling and know Jared Kushner, for example, is being tasked with trying to bring peace to the Middle East. Now he's only in his 30s and what you have. But he certainly has a different view about how to go about doing that than the Steve Bannon approach.

CABRERA: All right. Mark Preston, thank you. We are back in just a moment.

Stay with us.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: When you think about reading, just the idea of being able to focus on something in particular that's not a big screen, not a device can really be a benefit. There have been studies that have shown that it can help reduce your stress levels, help improve your attention levels and possibly going to be overall good for your mental functions.

You can reduce your rates of cogitative (ph) decline but up to 32 percent. This is significant. It's fascinating to see how the brain respond even if the body is sitting still looking at those pages. So for example, if there's a scene that you are reading that's a very active scene, there is in the brain that are called the motor cortex that are responsible for movement they may start to light up. If it's particularly stimulating part of this book that you are reading, your sensory cortex which actually allows you to see, that may start to light up.

There have been so much and study showing that you don't have to read book, I recommend this one by the way, you can actually hear books. You can listen to an audio book, for example, and that can have some of the same beneficial effects that we are talking about.

So just keep in mind, the more you read, the more you know, the more you learn, the further you will go. That was a different doctor, Doctor Seuss. But regardless, it will help you live to 100.



[19:53:35] CABRERA: President Trump's determination to get his travel ban passed and a take on sanctuary cities that he says harbor undocumented immigrants has ignited passions on both sides of the aisle that have led to frank and sometimes uncomfortable conversations about race in America.

On tonight's season premiere of "UNITED STATES SHADES OF AMERICA," comedian W. Kamau Bell tackle this very subject with white nationalist Richard Spencer.


W. KAMAU BELL, CNN HOST, UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA: So I think white people do need to talk about their whiteness more. And we're here doing it.

RICHARD SPENCER, WHITE NATIONALIST: Yes. We are here to talk about white privilege. We want to bring it back. Make white privilege great again.

BELL: So you're a fan of white privilege?


BELL: I mean, what do you love about white privilege?

SPENCER: It looks great. Like, you know, I mean, the people are good-looking and, you know, nice suits, great literature. Like, yes, I just want to bathe in white privilege. It is the greatest most awesome thing.

BELL: It is working out for you.

SPENCER: Yes. I want to expand white privilege. We live in a world where every spring Google and Facebook and Apple release these diversity numbers. And it will be like, it is amazing guys. We hired less white men this year. We think that it's inherently wonderful for white people to have less power. That's great. I'm glad. I hope the new James Bond is going to be a black guy. That would be great for the world.

BELL: Is that a real big deal, though, if James Bond is a black guy? Is that really like do you care?

SPENCER: For me, yes, that might be a -- yes. That's too much.

BELL: Really?


[19:55:07] CABRERA: I'm joined now by w. Kamau Bell, host of CNN's "UNITED SHADES of AMERICA."

Kamau, a lot of people ask why give Richard Spencer a platform?

BELL: You just heard a story about Sebastian Gorka who is being - he was leaving the White House who vote for Breitbart website. But these people don't talk to the media. Richard Spencer is credited with inventing the term, all right. He actually said that when I talked to him. (INAUDIBLE) with some of the other people.

CABRERA: So did you want to hear what he had to say? Were you trying to understand where he was coming from?

BELL: I wanted to hear the whole platform, you know. If he talked about turning America into a white ethno-state as a person with values (INAUDIBLE) as a black man who is in Berkley, California. I want to hear the whole platform because to me more knowledge is better than less knowledge. God did give me the platform implies and I said Richard, here. You did a show for an hour. I'm going to leave and let you run how you can't too. It's ridiculous. I understand people's fear, but that fear means you should probably look into this.

CABRERA: But you are pushing back at him. But I also heard you laugh at some of what he said. Were you laughing because you were just uncomfortable?

BELL: No. People think laughter is agreement which I think s weird. In the comedian, there is many different types of laughter.

CABRERA: I laugh when I'm nervous sometimes.

BELL: Yes. I laughed about the idea of bathing in white privilege is shocking image to put in your head. So I laugh when I'm shock. Yes, I though Richard have bathing been bathing the Likely (INAUDIBLE). I mean, my wife also dislike real Africans that are shocking. But to me, it is like laugher is not green. Laugh is just green. Laugh just I understand the point you are making. I hear you, and it is tickling me inside. It doesn't mean I agree with it.

CABRERA: Did you learn anything from him that was eye opening?

BELL: Really, the gender politics was way more surprising to me than the race politics. I was expecting the race politics but he says things like women belong in the home. And to me, you're losing 51 percent of the population approximately when you say women should in the home at all time. Some men want to be on a hole, but you are saying they belong though. To me, the race I was expecting. The gender stuff I wasn't expecting.

CABRERA: Interesting. I want to switch gear and talk a little bit about the White House Correspondents dinner. As a fellow comedian, how do you think Minhaj did?

BELL: He was great. He is a friend of mine. I have known him since start in college.

CABRERA: Everybody in the comedian world are friend. I mean, we talked to three different people tonight who say he is a friend of mine.

BELL: Yes. It is different in the news world. Well, I mean, also I have known him since he started doing comedy. So he was a guy that I sort of saw began. I saw where he came from and I think he is up there in the all-time greats of that dinner. That's one of the hardest gig in show business. I would rather perform at the all-white convention than the press correspondents dinner.

CABRERA: You wouldn't want that gig?

BELL: No. Can I say that right now? Don't offer me that gig. Thank you.

CABRERA: Well, it seems as though those who are Trump supporters really did not like what they saw last night at the White House Correspondents dinner on the flipside.

BELL: Which is weird. They didn't watch it. He attacked the media. He made fun of the media.

CABRERA: He critiques both sides, that's true. But I wonder, you bring out -- your show is meant to highlight some of the divisions that we have in America, perhaps allow people to understand different sides. Do you worry or are you concerned that last night could have created more division?

BELL: I think you have to put that responsibility -- he's a comedian. He is not a journalist. His job is to - as a reporter, he is reporting what he sees through jokes. His jobs is not to lay out the facts of the case. And I think if we make it the job of comedians to hold to the facts and let reporters do whatever they want to, ala fake news, then we have really gone to a bad place in this country.

CABRERA: So you don't see the job of comedians to bring people together. How would you define the role?

BELL: The job of comedians on a very basic level is to get laughs. I mean, without laughs you are not a comedian. So if he's getting laughs then he is doing his job as a comedian. We have seen people do the White House Correspondents dinner and not getting any laughs. He got laughs.

CABRERA: Should the President use humor to bring this country together?

BELL: Ironically much of his base thinks he is hilarious. When you see Donald Trump perform, he may have gotten more laughs than Hasan did. But he could -- if you wanted to unite the country, Obama often united the country through being charming and through laughter. Trump is aiming his jokes at his audience and really targeting people who aren't in his audience.

CABRERA: Do you think he is funny?

BELL: I have laughed at things Donald Trump has said. Again, laughter does not mean agreement.

CABRERA: But do you think he's funny?

BELL: I'm not even agreeing with the question. Do I think Trump is funny? Everybody can be funny. That doesn't mean you are a saint, you know. And if you are not funny, it doesn't mean you are not a saint. It doesn't mean that - and I am not going to sit here and go that I think that I want to -- I would follow him in a comedy club, the thing I could follow him. So he is not that funny.

CABRERA: All right. Well, thank you so much W. Kamau Bell. We look forward to seeing your first episode and the season premier "The UNITED SHADES of AMERICA." It is tonight at 10:00 p.m. right here on CNN.

You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Anan Cabrera in New York. Glad to have you with me.

We began with the Republican health care fight. President Trump is talking up his revised bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. It's currently making its way through the House. Here he is this morning talking about a deal between conservatives and moderate Republicans that could help the legislation's chances of hearing Congress.


TRUMP: There will be such completion. Right now there is no completion. There will be such competition by insurance companies so that they can --.