Return to Transcripts main page


Big GOP Health Care Push; Trump's Strongmen; Trump Considers Breaking Up Big Banks. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired May 2, 2017 - 05:30   ET


[05:30:00] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Another big push on health care from House Republicans as questions swirl over coverage for people with preexisting conditions. Is the president hurting his agenda with his comments on the bill?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And, President Trump defends his move to praise the world's authoritarian leaders, but does that send the right message as he gets ready to speak with the Russian president Vladimir Putin later today by phone, his third call as president?

Welcome back to EARLY START, I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: And, I'm Dave Briggs, a very lucky man this morning, surrounded by beautiful, brilliant women, yourself, Shannon Pettypiece, Jackie Kucinich. We're going to get to the latest on this health care bill. Does it have a future? And, that strongmen that the president continues to embrace. They'll join us shortly.

But first, the administration going all out this morning, straining for every last vote to get a health care bill through the House. Vice President Mike Pence, the hammer, a former House leader himself, walking Capitol hallways, a sure sign there's work to be done here before the Obamacare repeal and replace bill is ready for a vote. Moderates remain the focus. Republican leaders hope they can sell those unhappy with the bill on the fact that if it passes it could be significantly reworked by the Senate.

ROMANS: Although the White House keeps touting progress and suggesting a vote is near, the whip count is painfully tight with many members on the fence, including some on the whip team itself. The White House has its work cut out here. CNN's Sunlen Serfaty has more from Capitol Hill.


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine and Dave. Well, there certainly was some hopeful and optimistic rhetoric coming out of the White House early on Monday that they could get this bill through this week, but that has given way to a harsh and stark reality up here on Capitol Hill. Put simply, they simply don't have the votes for this bill yet.

We had Vice President Mike Pence up here on Capitol Hill last night trying to save this bill, meeting with members. And as he left Capitol Hill he was asked by reporters, do you have the votes and he answered with just two words, "stay tuned," which really speaks to the fluidity of this at this moment.

On Monday, we saw a slew of House Republicans stand up against this bill, say they anticipate voting no against this bill, and that's really put it in some serious jeopardy. According to CNN's latest whip count, 21 House Republicans say they'll vote against the bill, meaning that Republicans can only afford to lose two -- just two more Republican votes or this bill will ultimately fail. And, of course, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has not scheduled a vote on the bill, which speaks to where it is at this moment. And later this morning, the full Republican conference will meet, which will give us the truest indication of where this is all headed -- Dave and Christine.


BRIGGS: Sunlen, thanks.

As GOP leaders struggle to round up votes, President Trump once again addresses the issue of preexisting conditions but, again, seeming to miss a key component of the bill. The president told "Bloomberg News" the bill is "Not in its final form right now. We are protecting preexisting conditions and it will be every bit as good on preexisting conditions as Obamacare. I want it to be a great deal for the people."

ROMANS: Experts and advocates disagree with that claim, at least as the measure stands in its current form. It does still require insurers to provide policies to people with preexisting conditions but it would also allow states to opt out of several key Obamacare insurance reforms, including regulations that prevent insurers from pricing patients right out of the market.

BRIGGS: Outrage in the U.S. and around the world over President Trump's latest comments about North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. No sitting U.S. president has ever met face-to-face with a North Korean leader, but listen to Mr. Trump's response when he was asked by "Bloomberg News" whether he is willing to be the first.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him I would be absolutely -- I would be honored to do it if it's under the -- again, under the right circumstances.


ROMANS: All right, let's go to South Korea and bring in CNN's Alexandra Field. We understand, Alex, there's new reaction from Seoul to this.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There is, Christine. Nobody seems to be publicly trying to make sense of why President Trump would use the word "honor" when it comes to the possibility of meeting Kim Jong Un, but officials are reacting there, saying that it has long been the policy of both the U.S. and South Korea to keep the door open for talks with North Korea should North Korea set itself on the path toward denuclearization.

We had heard mixed messages from the Trump administration about whether or not talks would ever be possible with North Korea. At first, the administration had taken a much stronger tone, saying that the time wasn't right, the conditions aren't right. Now, you have heard Sean Spicer now laying out that there could be specific benchmarks for North Korea to meet that could, frankly, pave the way for some kind of dialogue with North Korea.

[05:35:00] That said, while the president himself has raised that possibility, he has continued to refuse to take the possibility of military action off the table, even over the weekend, answering questions about how the U.S. would respond to a nuclear test from North Korea. He said, "we'll see" but, again, wouldn't eliminate the possibility of military action. Those strong words balanced out by really this bizarre turn of phrases as many people here are receiving that he would be honored to meet Kim Jong Un. But again, saying that the conditions would have to be right. That seems the caveat, Christine.

ROMANS: Alexandra Field, thank you so much for that. You know, it's so interesting. The United States has sat down with North Korean leaders before. I think Madeleine Albright --

BRIGGS: Madeleine Albright, yes.

ROMANS: -- way back in the day --

BRIGGS: In 2000.

ROMANS: -- with his father, Kim Jong Un (sic). Dennis Rodman, not representing the American government, but --

BRIGGS: Dennis Rodman, yes.

ROMANS: Dennis Rodman went to visit Kim Jong-il.

BRIGGS: And is that setting the precedent, hey, jump right in? So let's discuss that and the future of health care in the House with our esteemed panel this morning. CNN political analyst Jackie Kucinich, Washington bureau chief for the "Daily Beast," and "Bloomberg News" White House reporter Shannon Pettypiece.

Great to have you on this morning, and let's start with you, Jackie. A big phone call today with Vladimir Putin, a third for President Trump. They interpret everything that comes out of this White House -- the tweets, the statements, the interviews. If you are Vladimir Putin -- if you are other world leaders like him, what is the message? What are you interpreting from what he's saying about Kim Jong Un?

JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: This is just so erratic and one of the things that strikes me about the most recent comments about Kim Jong Un -- President Trump said he would be angry if the North Koreans launched any missiles. Well, they did that and then he said he would meet with them. So if you're that good of a negotiator -- someone does something that you don't like and then you say that if the circumstances were right you'd meet with them, I just -- I'm not a master negotiator but that just doesn't seem how things go.

ROMANS: Well, it begs the question, Shannon, is there a strategy here or is the president winging it on foreign policy? I mean, you look back over just the last week, some of the random comments that make people wonder what he's thinking.

He questioned why the Civil War took place. Said he would be honored to meet Kim Jong Un. He praised Duterte's high approval rating. That was in an interview with you guys. He doubled down on false wiretapping claims in his odd CBS moment. And, he told "Reuters" way back in April -- way back in April -- only a week ago -- that he thought being president would be easier.

What do we draw from this spate of interviews about whether the president has a strategy on foreign policy or anything, or whether he's sort of learning as he goes?

SHANNON PETTYPIECE, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, BLOOMBERG: I mean, I think he's definitely learning as he goes, as every president does. I think his strategy is definitely evolving, as most president's strategies do. But, of course, he had no foreign policy experience, no government experience, no political experience before being in this job so, of course, he is learning on the fly. And I think he's going to test things out, see how they go. You know, he's going to say he's open to talks. Those talks might not go the way he wants to. He's going to, you know, try and play one leader off of another. It might work out, it might not work out.

But, you know, whatever the Trump doctrine is on foreign policy it's not there right now, and it's going to be, you know, changing. Some people say it's going to be flip-flopping, it's going to be evolving -- whatever you want to call it, but a year from now or two years from now I feel pretty confident saying we will see a much different stance on foreign policy on a lot of issues than we are now as this new administration gets its feet under it.

BRIGGS: Shannon, maybe by the end of the day because he meets with H.R. McMaster later today and that's usually the moderating influence when it comes to foreign policy, but we will see. Let's shift back to domestic and the president's top item on his agenda remains health care, so why not order up a few more Cokes?

Let's talk about this, and here is the senators' argument to those, Jackie, that are on the fence. Here are two prominent senators that are speaking to those undecideds. Let's start with Roy Blunt, who says "I think they should be focused on getting the process moving and, frankly, passing the obligation over to the Senate." Charles Grassley -- "If they don't move pretty quickly, we ought to see what we can do in the United States Senate." If you are on the fence and you have constituents who are worried about preexisting conditions, what is that argument by these senators mean for you voting for this bill?

KUCINICH: Well, the first thing I thought is both of those senators just won reelection so they've got six-year terms ahead of them.

BRIGGS: That's a great point.

KUCINICH: Well, in 2018, the closer they get to this election cycle -- to the 2018 elections -- the harder it is for anything to get done, let alone health care. I think that's a little bit of a cold comfort, frankly, to these House Republican moderates who are going to bear the brunt of this politically because what they did with this new amendment -- this amendment that came out last week that they've been debating -- the Freedom Caucus all signed on, thus shifting the blame to those moderate members for, you know, holding up this process and they're in a real spot now as a result.

[05:40:03] ROMANS: Shannon, what are you thinking --

BRIGGS: They are.

ROMANS: -- the likelihood of something getting done here or they punt it to the -- to the -- they pass something and then it gets fixed in the Senate? It's kind of an ugly way of doing business, honestly. If you're those outsiders who voted for Donald Trump to drain the swamp it looks really swampy.

PETTYPIECE: Yes, this is everything people hate about Washington. This is jamming through a bill because you can get this person and that person on, not because it's a great bill. Not because it's really going to fix the health care system. Not because it's really going to help people, but it's because well, that's what we need to do to jam something through the House so we can check this box and, you know, get a point for passing something through the House. Then, send it to the Senate, then the House and the Senate have to mash something together and maybe at the end of the day everyone in Washington feels good about this bill, but people out there in America who wanted to actually see their premiums go down are not going to see that, at least in the current form -- at least with everything they're talking about right now.

BRIGGS: So what its chance, Jackie? Is it going to get through?

KUCINICH: Oh, man, I don't know.

BRIGGS: If you know, it's all on you -- KUCINICH: Right.

BRIGGS: -- House Republicans and you want to -- you want to please your president. You want -- you campaigned on repealing and replacing Obamacare. That's what you promised the American people. Do you not have to do it?

KUCINICH: They feel like they have to do it, I just don't know if it's in this current form, frankly. And we'll know -- if they bring it to the floor --I don't think Paul Ryan is going to bring this bill to the House floor to fail.

ROMANS: Shannon, you don't think that this is necessarily even the bill the president wants here. I mean, it's unclear, this preexisting condition thing. It doesn't seem like it's where he wants it to be. PETTYPIECE: No, he said as much in the interview with "Bloomberg News" that, you know, kind of threw out this phrase oh, it's not in its final form. It's going to be even better. You know, even more protections for preexisting conditions than Obamacare, which this bill does not have. So if you don't have the President of the United States going to the mat for this bill, how are you going to get a House moderate member on board or even the House Freedom Caucus to say I'm going to stick my neck out, I'm going to stand behind this, if even the president isn't out there selling it enthusiastically to the American people?

ROMANS: All right. Shannon Pettypiece, Jackie Kucinich, nice to see both of you this morning.

BRIGGS: Thank you very much, both of you.

ROMANS: Thanks for getting up early for us.

BRIGGS: Please come back.

ROMANS: Only the best people watch T.V. from 5:00 to 6:00 a.m.

BRIGGS: That's what I hear.

ROMANS: It's true.

BRIGGS: All right. Jimmy Kimmel emotional and grateful as he describes the events that helped save the life of his newborn son. This late-night moment you don't want to miss, ahead.


[05:46:25] ROMANS: Well then, this happened yesterday. It stopped Wall Street for a minute. Could President Trump break up the big Wall Street banks? Break them up? The president said yesterday he's considering it.


TRUMP: We are looking at that. There are some people that want to go back to the old system, right? So we're going to look at that. We're going to -- we're looking at it right now as we speak, and Dodd-Frank is going to be very, very seriously changed so the banks can go back to loaning money."


ROMANS: Oh, that old system is a Depression-era law that separates consumer lending from investment banks. The original, called Glass- Steagall, was repealed in 1999 and some say it contributed to the financial crisis. Trump often talks about reviving the law on the campaign trail and the announcement yesterday stopped hearts across the banking sector and banks fell sharply, but then they recovered.

While candidate Trump may have been tough on Wall Street, President Trump is pro-business. Bank stocks have been some of the best performers during the so-called 'Trump Bump.' Wall Street likes Trump's talk of tax reform and deregulation. In fact, investors are so confident that his policies are good for business fear is at the lowest in a decade. This is what -- that chart there is the VIX index. It's a fear gauge. It plunged to a 10-year low. And initially, you saw these bankers just freak out about this but there's a big banking conference in California --


ROMANS: -- and basically everyone started talking and said no, it won't happen.

BRIGGS: But if you're a Trump supporter --

ROMANS: He won't do anything that's bad for the banks.

BRIGGS: If he does it and you're a Trump supporter, it's what? Good news, bad news, no news?

ROMANS: If he does it and you're a Trump supporter -- look, he's got to convince the regular Joe and Jane that he's not going to let the banks just run amuck and have all of the -- all of the money.

BRIGGS: Right.

ROMANS: If you look at the beneficiaries of the Trump presidency so far, it is the investor class, it is bankers, it is banking. It is not yet the working-class voter. Jobs are coming back to the working- class voter but, you know, right now it is really --

BRIGGS: Not just yet.

ROMANS: It's a Wall Street game -- it really is.

BRIGGS: All right, time now for a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Chris Cuomo joining us and I'm certain those undecideds on this health care bill the center of the conversation. Good morning to you, Chris.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": There's no question that the whip count is a big deal. We're keeping a current count. They say it's close. They're saying they could get a vote today, tomorrow, Thursday. There's a big push, there's arm-twisting going on. There's a lot of reporting about it and we're going to tell you about that on the political side, but also on the policy side.

Why are GOP lawmakers reluctant to do this? There are good reasons. They're going to have to go home to their constituencies. A lot of these changes, while they may be good from a tax perspective and allowing the administration to have money to play with for tax reform, the people in those, you know, constituencies in these different districts all over the country, they could have a voice in what their Representatives actually vote on down there, so we're going to talk to that. We have different players on. We have a Republican congressman who's still undecided. He's going to tell us what his own thinking is.

Now, we also have a story about, you know, the president's quotes from his wide-ranging interviews. It is an interesting dynamic we have here, my friends. Why does the president say some of the things that he does that he has to know don't only resist solid fact but will create a new and negative news cycle of reality check? Why does he do it? We're going to go through some of the most recent comments.

And to your question, Dave, the voters for Trump, right, they're a multivariate, you know. People try to put everybody on boxes but when you tell them --

BRIGGS: Right.

CUOMO: -- if Wall Street speculates and they lose it's OK. They get protected. That doesn't happen in your life.

[05:50:00] ROMANS: Yes.

CUOMO: That doesn't happen with you --


CUOMO: -- with what you do with your money. And when they made their mistakes they got bailed out. People still feel burned by that and Trumps speaks for those people. We'll see what he does.

ROMANS: Yes, and Wall Street thinks he speaks for them, so that's --

BRIGGS: Will he govern for those people?


BRIGGS: Speaking is one thing, governing is another --

ROMANS: Thanks, Chris.

BRIGGS: -- as you well know. Thank you, Chris.

ROMANS: Talk to you soon.

BRIGGS: We'll see you in a bit.

ROMANS: All right. College is expensive -- news flash -- and it's only getting more expensive. We're going to tell you exactly how much and what to do about it. CNN Money Stream is next.


BRIGGS: Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel tearing up during his monologue last night, revealing his newborn son's health scare and thanking nurses who figured out something was wrong when little William was born -- listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE!": They did an x-ray and his lungs were fine, which meant his heart wasn't. So now, more doctors and nurses and equipment come in and it's a terrifying thing. I'm -- you know, my wife is back in the recovery room. She has no idea what's going on. And I'm standing in the middle of a lot of very worried looking people, kind of like right now, who are trying to figure out what the problem is.

[05:55:16] They did an echocardiogram, which is a sonogram of the heart, and found that Billy was born with a heart disease. It's hard to explain, basically. The pulmonary valve was completely blocked and he has a hole in the wall between the left and right sides of his heart. On Monday morning, Dr. Starns (ph) opened his chest and fixed one of the two defects of his heart. He went in there with a scalpel and did some kind of magic that I couldn't even begin to explain. He opened the valve and the operation was a success. It was the longest three hours of my life. (Applause)


BRIGGS: Kimmel says his son needs another surgery in three to six months and more treatment as a teen. He made a plea to both sides in the health care debate that all Americans should be cared for, especially those with preexisting conditions. And, you know, a heartfelt plea -- oftentimes these comedians are known for jokes but when they turn and you see that serious side it's a compelling --

ROMANS: He said he is also glad --

BRIGGS: -- argument.

ROMANS: Absolutely. He was glad to see -- and age funding went up, you know.

BRIGGS: Could have helped, yes, because that was believed to be cut --

ROMANS: Right.

BRIGGS: -- in this budget, but survived.

ROMANS: All right, 56 minutes past the hour. Let's get a check on CNN Money Stream this Tuesday morning. Global markets higher. U.S. futures a little mixed -- I mean, barely moving. Nasdaq -- wow -- sitting at the highest price in history, boosted by Apple, Netflix, Amazon shares. Also, those are record highs there.

The Federal Reserve begins a two-day meeting on interest rates today. No hike is expected. That leaves tech stocks on an amazing winning streak. It has also been the best earnings season in six years. Companies are making a lot of money and Wall Street is not worried. Wall Street's fear gauge, the VIX index, plunged to a decade low. Investors are ignoring everything except the Trump policies they like -- tax reform, deregulation, and now infrastructure.

The president is happy to take credit for the mood. Something else he likes to take credit for, the jobs number and job creation. Something he doesn't take credit for, Friday's weak report on economic growth. The president said that number, 0.7 percent, is a holdover from President Obama.

Apple reports earnings today and among the nerdy nuggets, we'll get a look at Apple's growing pile of cash. Investors expect more than $250 billion. That's more than the entire value of Walmart, Coca-Cola, Disney, or Bank of America. Most of that quarter of a trillion dollars is stored overseas and experts argue that if Apple and other tech giants bring it back it could stimulate the entire economy. That is one of the arguments of tax reform.

All right, sending a kid to college you will probably pay at least $57,000 to do so. A new CNN Money analysis found that for the 2016- 2017 school year, a full degree could cost as much as $104,000 for a private university. If you don't have multimillionaire grandparents or a trust fund you need to start saving now as much as you can in a 529 college saving fund. I always say as soon as they're out of diapers take the diaper money and put it away, and more.

And a final quick note. A Hollywood writers' strike has been averted. The Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers have a tentative three-year deal now. Late-night shows could have been interrupted as soon as today if no deal is reached but they've got a deal. Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now. Have a great day.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to get health care down to the floor of the House. We're convinced we've got the votes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I suspect there are probably are a few more no votes than 21 at the moment.

TRUMP: We're either going to have a great plan or I'm not signing it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's clearly a disconnect between what the president believes is in the bill and what's actually in the bill.

TRUMP: If it will be appropriate for me to meet with him I would be honored to do it.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: What you do is you legitimize the person who is one of the really bad actors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't see any harm in trying to improve America's relationship with the dictator in North Korea.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a president who shows a disturbing penchant for authoritarian figures.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, May 2nd, 6:00 here in New York.

The Trump administration ratcheting up the pressure on House Republicans to vote this week on their health care bill. CNN's current whip count, and this changes every hour, has 21 Republicans against the plan, and they can only afford one more no vote, so are they on the verge of another health care defeat?

CUOMO: And look, there's still a lot of soft attitudes on this. One reason is that polls suggest more than half the country approves of the current health system and there are real questions about the best way forward and questions about whether President Trump really understands what this bill would do, as evidenced by his bungling of the treatment of preexisting conditions.