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Trump Invites Philippines President to White House; Congress Strikes Budget Deal; Trump Pushes Health Care Vote; Preexisting Conditions in Bill; 2020 Campaign Ad. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired May 1, 2017 - 08:30   ET



[08:30:20] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: The White House on the defensive after an invitation by President Trump to the Philippines' authoritarian President Rodrigo Duterte, despite Duterte's atrocious human rights record. Joining us now is John Sifton. He's the Asia advocacy director for Human Rights Watch.

Good morning, John.


CAMEROTA: What did you think when you heard that President Trump had had, quote, "a very friendly conversation" with President Duterte and had extended this invitation to the White House?

SIFTON: Well, in some cases it's not surprising. President Trump has already invited the authoritarian leader of Egypt to the White House. But it was extremely disappointing. But let's talk about who Duterte is. He's not just an abusive authoritarian leader. He actually boasts of his crimes, which is more than a lot of abusive regimes do. He boasts of killing people himself, and he has set off a wave of extra judicial killings in the names of counter narcotics that have killed thousands and thousands of people. Not just drug users, not just drug dealers, but suspected drug users who turn out to be innocent people.

The other thing that we've noticed over the years is that when death squads are created in any country, Philippines, Brazil, whatever, they tend to morph into political death squads as well. You're starting to see a political side to this violence too with Duterte's political opponents being targeted for threats and even violence.

CAMEROTA: Well, as you know, the chief of staff, Reince Priebus, said this weekend that the motivation is that the U.S. needs Duterte's help to try to rein in North Korea.

SIFTON: That's preposterous. China could be helpful in North Korea and you could talk to certain regimes which have flaunted nonproliferation sanctions against North Korea, countries like Malaysia, or Nigeria or Uganda. But the Philippines is not that important. They are the chair of an important Asian bloc of countries this year, but that doesn't mean they're important and it also doesn't mean they have the weight to do anything on North Korea. What this is really about I think is President Trump embracing strong

men, and that's what's really scary. It doesn't matter whether you're a Trump supporter or not. This is not a partisan issue. This is a question of whether you believe in governments that are run by law or governments that are run by violence. And Duterte's is a government which is basically operating by the rule of force.

CAMEROTA: Look, you're right, President Trump is doing something different than we've seen before. He is, if not reaching out, he is certainly sending signals and speaking in a complimentary tone to some of the strong men such as Vladimir Putin. Even Kim Jong-un this weekend President Trump seemed to be speaking in very soft tones, not harsh tones, about. I think that the White House would say, he's trying to do something different. You know, marginalizing and ostracizing these guys and having no relationship with them hasn't worked. And in terms of Duterte, by not talking with him it certainly hasn't cut down on the human rights abuses and the killings there.

SIFTON: Yes. There's nothing wrong with talking. I think the (INAUDIBLE) or celebratory language is what's disturbing. And when coupled with the fact that President Trump seems to look down on Democratically elected leaders who follow the rule of law and don't use violence and don't use cunning manipulations to secure their power, it suggests that he admires people who abuse the law as opposed to follow it. And that's a disturbing thing for all Americans whether you support him or not.

Inviting a man into the White House who has admitted to killing people himself and who set off a wave of thousands of killings, it suggests that you believe that laws are unimportant and that violence is the way you get things done. That's a terrible message to be sending to the world and to the people of the Philippines.

CAMEROTA: I heard you say that President Trump is now morally complicit in future killings in the Philippines. But, look, how is he morally complicit by talking to the leader or inviting the leader somewhere?

SIFTON: Well, it's not by talking. Everybody can talk. Talking is diplomacy. That's fine. But celebrating him and endorsing his counter narcotics strategy, which is what we heard he did on this call on Saturday, is an endorsement of the methodology of the so-called war on drugs. And that methodology is one of extra judicially murdering supposed drug users, as if you could exterminate the hundreds of thousands of addicted people that there are in the Philippines, exterminate them. It's a terrible message to be sending.

But, you're right, it's different. What I would say is that if you coupled that with a constructive dialogue on how to change direction, OK, that's fine. but President Trump isn't doing that. He's celebrating this methodology. In that sense, he's endorsing it. And in that sense, it's creating less pressure on Duterte to change his way.

[08:35:12] What the world needs to be doing right now, what everybody needs to be doing and the most powerful leader of the world, Donald Trump, needs to be doing is making Duterte feel like he's doing something wrong and that he needs to stop, and yet President Trump did the exact opposite this weekend.

CAMEROTA: John Sifton from Human Rights Watch. Thank you very much for your perspective on all of this.

SIFTON: Thank you.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. So the Republican-controlled Congress has come to an agreement on a spending bill. So why are some in the GOP upset about what is and is not in there? That's part of "The Bottom Line," next.


CAMEROTA: Time now for the "Five Things to Know for Your New Day."

Congress reaching a bipartisan spending deal to keep the government funded through September, but it does not include money for the president's border wall or the Republican's pledge to cut Planned Parenthood funding.

CUOMO: The Trump White House on the defensive after inviting Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to the White House despite his abysmal human rights record. The White House says they need Duterte's help in dealing with North Korea.

[08:40:08] CAMEROTA: Police investigating what led a gunman to open fire at a San Diego pool party. Police say he killed one woman and wounded six others. The gunman was killed by police as he tried to reload.

CUOMO: At least 13 people dead, dozens more injured, after severe storms tore through four states in the south. The storm spawning tornadoes, floods, and that same system now moving north.

CAMEROTA: Breaking news this morning, Ryan Seacrest will joint Kelly Ripa as the new co-host of "Live." Sources tell our Brian Stelter that Seacrest will make his debut during this morning's broadcast. Ripa has been searching for a new co-host since Michael Strahan left the show last year.

CUOMO: A better size ratio.

CAMEROTA: Than Strahan, right.

CUOMO: Not that that's a real issue.

CAMEROTA: Not that you think about that much.

CUOMO: Although Strahan makes me look like you, by the way. He's a big dude.

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

CAMEROTA: So there are more than 1,000 days left before the next presidential election. So, let's start the clock.

CUOMO: Yes, where is it?

CAMEROTA: Shall we? Please, put the clock up. Why is President Trump's campaign spending more than $1 million on ads this week? We'll get "The Bottom Line" from Ron Brownstein, next.


[08:45:25] CUOMO: We focus this morning on the new spending bill that is set to prevent a government shutdown. Breaking down the details, it looks like a big win for Democrats. But is it? Let's get "The Bottom Line" with CNN's senior political analyst and senior editor of "The Atlantic," Ron Brownstein.

There are less of the things we thought that Trump wanted and the Republicans wanted, but is this the price of getting a success?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, yes, I think -- you know, look, it's the reality of needing 60 votes in the Senate, but it is a win for Democrats of the kind that they -- of a very particular kind and the only kind they're likely to have in the coming months where they essentially the win is slowing down the advance of the -- of the Trump agenda, not so much advancing their own. I think of it very similar to the clean power plan where, you know, President Trump is begin the process of repealing President Obama's plan for dealing with climate and the best Democrats can do is stop him from legally repealing it. They can't make him advance the underlying agenda, trying to reduce carbon emissions, and I think this is similar on the -- on the spending side.

CAMEROTA: But some of these are big deals, Ron. I mean some of these are big deals for Republicans.


CAMEROTA: I mean, sorry, big for Democrats.

BROWNSTEIN: Democrats, yes.

CAMEROTA: And big victories. For instance, the no funding for the border wall. That was obviously a staple of the president's campaign. The no cuts to Planned Parenthood.


CAMEROTA: I mean this is the perennial fight that they have all the time and it felt as though this year with a Republican in the White House and Republicans controlling both houses of Congress, that Republicans might win that one.

BROWNSTEIN: Right. Right.

CAMEROTA: And then no cuts to sanctuary cities. We've talked about that a lot on the program. That seems like a psychic victory at least for Democrats. BROWNSTEIN: No, they are. They're real. Like I said, they're real

victories. They're victories in stopping things that Trump wanted to do. If you think about what Democrats want to do, move toward universal pre-k or move toward universal public college tuition free, they -- they have no capacity to advance their own agenda, at least through the 2018 election. But, yes, the tactical victory is slowing down and stopping things that Trump wanted to do. And we're going to see this play out, by the way, on many fronts. In many ways the courts are going to be more important than Congress because where President Trump probably has had the most success in his first 100 days is undoing -- beginning the legal process of undoing things that President Obama has done and that -- that's going to be fought out largely in the courts. As I -- as I like to say, the eraser is working better for President Trump than the other side of the pencil so far.

CUOMO: And also you have to remember, these are temporary. You know, this gets you through September. They can fight all these fights again.


CUOMO: I'm sure that Paul Ryan is very acutely aware of that.

CAMEROTA: I'm just happy it's longer than a week. That was the -- the first prediction.


CUOMO: And that's -- look, that's part of the win here also, is that it could have been just a week.


CUOMO: So that takes us to what happens this week. They say they're going to get a health care vote. I got two different answers on that this morning. Jim Jordan was like, yes, I think we're going to get a vote. And then we had Meehan say, well, if we have the votes then we'll have a vote. And we think we're getting there, but we're not 100 percent there. What do you think?

BROWNSTEIN: This is like Lucy with the football, isn't it? We're like doing this every week.

Look, I think they're right on the tipping point in the House and so it is always possible that they can muscle it through. But they have defined the bill, repositioned the bill in a way that is almost unimaginable than anything quite like this, with the state opt-outs of essential health benefits and guaranteed protections for people with preexisting conditions could pass the Senate. So you will be asking House moderates in competitive districts to vote for something that is 70 percent of the public opposes and has virtually no chance of passing the Senate. Man, that is asking a lot to get a kind of symbolic victory through the House. Very similar, as we said before, to the famous BTU tax, the energy tax that Bill Clinton and Al Gore made House Democrats vote on in '93, didn't pass the Senate, and they were still hammered on it in the 1994 election. CAMEROTA: And it was hard to know -- you know, look, preexisting

conditions is one of the things that people are really looking at closely, Americans, to see if it's in or out. That's one that really matters to Americans. It was very hard to tell from President Trump's interview on CBS. John Dickerson, God bless him, he tried to get an answer. Here is a portion of this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Preexisting conditions are in the bill. And I mandated it. I said, it has to be.

JOHN DICKERSON, CBS NEWS: In one of the fixes that was discussed, preexisting was optional for the states.

TRUMP: Sure, in one of the fixes, and they're changing it and changing --

DICKERSON: OK, so it would be permanent?

TRUMP: Of course. This has to be --

DICKERSON: OK. Well, that's a development, sir. A crucial question, it's not going to be left up to the states? Everybody gets preexisting no matter where they live, guaranteed?

TRUMP: No, but the states are also going to have a lot to do with it --


TRUMP: Because we ultimately want to get it back down to the states.

DICKERSON: It's a guarantee (ph).

TRUMP: The state is going to be in a much better position to take care because it's smaller.

DICKERSON: So I'm not hearing you, Mr. President, say there's a guarantee of preexisting conditions.

TRUMP: We actually have a -- we actually have a clause that guarantees.


[08:50:02] CAMEROTA: OK, so is there a guarantee or is it up to the states?

BROWNSTEIN: It's up to the states, right? I -- and, first of all, it is hard to think of another interview where a president has been either as ill informed, misinformed or deliberately misrepresenting a major piece of domestic legislation because there were so many things he said in that few minutes that either were detached from the reality of the bill, the specific proposal that changed from the first version of the health care bill to the second was specifically to allow states to opt out of the national nationwide rules in Obamacare that require insurers to cover people with preexisting conditions at comparable rates to those without and also to provide a menu of essential health benefits in every policy they sell, even if you maintain the requirement that says, yes, you have to cover someone with preexisting conditions but you don't require them to do it at comparable rates, it is a meaningless requirement because at that point, of course, you can just price people out.

CUOMO: Right. That's the key --


CUOMO: Is it an absolute the way it is right now under the ACA? The answer is no.

BROWNSTEIN: No, right.

CUOMO: So, the trump campaign just spent somewhere between $1.3 and $1.5 in its first apparent 2020 ad. I guess we got over 1,000 days, right, over 1,000 days.


CAMEROTA: But, wait, wait, wait, wait. Hold on a second. There's 1,281 days until Election Day.

CUOMO: All right.

BROWNSTEIN: Shopping days, yes.

CAMEROTA: And I want you just to set your alarm, Ron --


CAMEROTA: Because I know you like to get ready well beforehand.


CUOMO: Here's the ad.

BROWNSTEIN: I'm getting -- I'm getting my exit polls lined up. Yes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Donald Trump, sworn in as president 100 days ago, America has rarely seen such success. A respected Supreme Court justice confirmed. Companies investing in American jobs again. America becoming more energy independent. Regulations that kill American jobs, eliminated. The biggest tax cut plan in history. You wouldn't know it from watching the news. America is winning, and President Trump is making America great again.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm Donald Trump, and I approve this message.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: Did I see you in there?

CAMEROTA: I don't --

CUOMO: Were you one of the faces of fake news?


CAMEROTA: I don't know, but I like the part that said, the biggest tax cut plan in history.

BROWNSTEIN: Plan. There you go. Hey, look, I mean, presidential approval is a form of tangible power or not on Capitol Hill, so it makes sense for them to try to boost someone who has, at this point, the lowest approval of anybody in 100 days. The other even larger point, we have a midterm election, 2018, before 2020. And who shows up is absolutely critical given the polarization over President Trump. He's trying to motivate his base to come out and protect that congressional majority.

CAMEROTA: Ron Brownstein, thank you very much for "The Bottom Line." Luckily we have another more than 1,200 days to talk about all of this.

CUOMO: So, it's Monday. How about a little "Good Stuff" for you, get the week going the right way?

CAMEROTA: Let's do it.

CUOMO: Done.


[08:56:32] CUOMO: All right, time for "The Good Stuff."

Mikayla Raji and her mother met a police officer at a New Jersey pizza place. That's when Mikayla came up with a great idea.


MIKAYLA RAJI, PAID FOR POLICE OFFICER'S LUNCH: Then I went straight to my mom like that I was (INAUDIBLE), can we pay for his dinner?


CUOMO: Mikayla's mom was a police officer, and so was her dad, Thomas. He died in the line of duty. The officer and his department were so touched by the gesture, they tracked down Mikayla, invited her to lead their Memorial Day Parade and they set up a Go Fund Me page to help cover her education.

CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh, that's so beautiful. She just had no idea when she offered to do something so generous.

OK, President Trump and the media, of course, trading barbs in these dueling events this past weekend. The president throwing red meat at his base with a campaign style rally while the media held its annual White House Correspondents Dinner. Watch both.


HASAN MINHAJ, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, "THE DAILY SHOW": Welcome to the series finale of the White House Correspondents Dinner.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As you may know, there's another big gathering taking place tonight in Washington, D.C. Did you hear about it?

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

TRUMP: A large group of Hollywood actors and Washington media are consoling each other in a hotel ballroom in our nation's capital right now. They are gathered together for the White House Correspondents Dinner without the president.

MINHAJ: A lot of people told me, Hasan, if you go after the administration, it would be petty, unfair and childish. In other words, presidential.

TRUMP: And I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from Washington swamp, spending my evening with all of you, and with a much, much larger crowd and much better people.

MINHAJ: You know Donald Trump doesn't drink, right? Does not touch alcohol, which is oddly respectable. But think about that. That means every statement, every interview, every tweet, completely sober.

TRUMP: Now, before we talk about my first 100 days, let's rate the media's 100 days. Should we do that? Because, as you know, they are a disgrace.

MINHAJ: Remember, you guys are public enemy number one. You are his biggest enemy. Journalists, ISIS, normal length ties.

TRUMP: If the media's job is to be honest and tell the truth, then I think we would all agree the media deserves a very, very big fat failing grade. Very dishonest people.

MINHAJ: I want to thank Woodward and Bernstein for inspiring a generation of journalists. And I would like to thank Donald Trump for inspiring the next.


CAMEROTA: Thoughts?

CUOMO: I thought it was interesting to have the duality of it. I'm not sure what the president thinks the war with the media will get him. I don't know how it grows his base. We'll have to see.

[09:00:05] CAMEROTA: All right, there you go. Time for CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and John Berman, two great journalists.

Good morning, guys.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Meanwhile, Cuomo was fishing during this whole thing.