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Trump Team Warned Flynn About Russia Contact; Sally Yates Testimony Expected to Contradict White House; Macron's Presidential Campaign Hacked Before Election; NY A.G. to Sue if Trumpcare Enacted; Montel Williams Talks Fears Over Pre-Existing Conditions; NY State Proposing Law that Could Make Trump Show Taxes; Trump Preparing for First International Trip; Deadly Synthetic Drug Hits Georgia Streets. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired May 6, 2017 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:00:10] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. Great to have you with us.
We begin tonight with troubling new details about the downfall of Michael Flynn, President Trump's former national security adviser. He was fired for lying about his conversations with the Russian ambassador. And now a former U.S. officials tells CNN senior members of Trump's administration transition team warned Flynn about those conversations weeks before Flynn's December phone call with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. The "Washington Post" first broke the story and says Flynn was told in late November that his conversations with the Russian ambassador were almost certainly being recorded.
All of this coming as President Trump spends his first weekend as commander-in-chief at his home in New Jersey.
Our White House correspondent, Athena Jones, is in nearby Branchburg.
Athena, what more are you learning about this controversy?
ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: We're learning -- and these are details confirmed by my colleague, Jeff Zeleny. We're learning that there was concern that Flynn didn't appreciate or fully understand the motivation of Russia's ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. So the head of Trump's transition national security team asked Obama White House officials to provide a classified CIA profile of Kislyak to give to Lieutenant General Flynn so that he could read about Kislyak before having these conversations with him. The head of Trump's transition national security team, Marshall Billingsley, is someone who is known to have had a more skeptical view of Russia than Flynn did.
A key point is that while that was provided to Michael Flynn it's not clear whether or not he read it before having those conversations with Kislyak that later led to his downfall because he discussed the issue of sanctions that had been imposed on Russia. These are interesting details to emerge.
One more point that I should make here, a former U.S. official told CNN that the Obama White House was troubled regarding the handling -- the Trump team's handling of classified information. The official said that some highly sensitive documents were copied and removed from a secure room at the transition headquarters in Washington D.C. And so some Obama officials later decided that certain documents should only be viewed at the White House. So very interesting details emerging not just about Flynn but about the Trump transition team's handling of classified information -- Ana?
CABRERA: CNN has reached out to team Trump and Michael Flynn's camp for comment. Are we hearing anything from them often these new developments?
JONES: Nothing so far. CNN has reached out to Flynn's lawyer. We have not received a response from his lawyer or from the former national security adviser himself, and the White House also not commenting so far -- Ana?
CABRERA: Athena Jones in Branchburg, New Jersey, thank you.
All this comes two days before fired acting attorney general, Sally Yates, testifies publicly. What did she tell the White House about Michael Flynn? Her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee been highly anticipated.
Let's bring in CNN's chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, with more on why her testimony is so important -- Jim?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Ana, when Sally Yates, the former acting U.S. attorney general, testifies on Monday, she's going to, we're told, contradict the White House version of events on Michael Flynn, saying that nearly three weeks before he was fired, she delivered a forceful warning to the White House that he was in danger of being compromised by Russia.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): For 10 days in January, she was the acting U.S. attorney general, and on one of those days, she delivered a forceful warning to the White House regarding then national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
SALLY YATES, FORMER ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I want to thank you for your leadership.
SCIUTTO: Now on Monday, Sally Yates will, for the first time, tell her account of that warning to the Senate Judiciary Committee. CNN has learned that in a January 26 meeting with White House council, Don McGann, Yates said that Flynn was lying when he denied discussing U.N. sanctions with Ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.
Flynn's misleading comments, Yates told the White House, made him potentially vulnerable to blackmail by Russia.
YATES: Welcome to the Department of Justice.
SCIUTTO: Yates' account contradicts that of the White House, which has described her warning in far less serious terms.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The acting attorney general informed the White House counsel that they wanted to give, quote, "a heads up to us" on some comments that may have seemed in conflict with what he had sent the vice-president.
SCIUTTO: Just days after delivering the warning, Yates was fired for refusing to enforce President Trump's travel ban.
Yates' testimony comes as the multiple congressional committees investigating Russian interference in the U.S. election put on bipartisan appearances.
[15:05:06] REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D-CA), RANKING MEMBER, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: We're working together very well, the whole committee is, and grateful for that opportunity.
SCIUTTO: Meanwhile, questions from lawmakers in open session tell a very different story.
Republicans focused on alleged leaks of classified information.
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY, (R), IOWA: Director Comey, have you ever been an anonymous source in news reports about matters relating to the Trump investigation or the Clinton investigation?
SEN. BEN SASSE, (R), NEBRASKA: There are clearly members of the I.C. that have, at different points in the past, leaked classified information. That is an illegal act, correct?
SCIUTTO: Democrats focused on any ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, (D), CONNECTICUT: The president of the United States could be a target of your ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign's involvement with Russian interference in our election.
SEN. AL FRANKEN, (D), MINNESOTA: From an investigative standpoint, is the sheer number of connections unusual or significant?
SCIUTTO (on camera): Sally Yates will testify on Monday. So will the former director of national intelligence, James Clapper. But because this is a public hearing, much of the information is classified, there will be limits on what they can say.
CABRERA: All right, Jim Sciutto, thank you.
Election meddling is now suddenly the big story in France as voters there get set to elect a president tomorrow. Emmanuel Macron's campaign now says it's become the victim of a massive and coordinated hacking operation. Not clear who exactly is behind it, but the methods the hackers used are said to be similar to those used against the Democratic National Committee during the Hillary Clinton's campaign. France will elect either Macron or far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen, who has called for closer ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
CNN International correspondent, Melissa Bell, is in Paris right now -- Melissa?
MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ana, the parallel that's been drawn here in France, not at least by the people who surround Emmanuel Macron, is that this leak last night is very similar to what happened to the Democrats in the run-up to the American election when, of course, all of those documents, all of that internal-party correspondence was embarrassingly hacked and leaked out to the public. Now, this time it's slightly different because the leak happened just a few hours before the beginning of a media blackout period, which runs from Friday at midnight until Sunday when polling ends, and that prevents the sharing of any of the contents of those leaks. Again, we've heard from the electoral commission clearly warning that there will be criminal action if anyone seeks to share the information.
So you have the facts of this leak but not the ability to share with voters the content of the e-mails. So it is a question mark that will be in their minds as they head to the polls, rather like what we saw during the American election when, a few days before, it emerged that there were thousands of e-mails from Hillary Clinton that were to be investigated, but the contents of which were not to be known. A similar cloud is cast over this particular poll.
One of the most divisive in living memories, but also one of the most divisive. France is really choosing between two very different visions of what it might be. We'll know by about 8:00 p.m. local time on Sunday which of those two, the far-right's Marine Le Pen's vision or the Independent centrist Emmanuel Macron's vision. Perhaps, crucially, we'll have a better idea of whether or not or what part of news of these leaks have played in the choice that French voters have made -- Ana?
CABRERA: 8:00 p.m. local time there. It's 2:00 p.m. eastern here in the U.S. We will be following that election.
Thank you, Melissa Bell, in Paris.
Ahead this hour, round two. The health care bill heads to the Senate. And there are plenty of concerns over what's in and what's out. Television host, Montel Williams, joins me live to talk about fears over pre-existing conditions.
Then later, deadly drug. Officials in Georgia issuing a dire warning about a drug so potent you could overdose simply from touching it.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[15:13:15] CABRERA: Backlash is mounting against the House-approved Republican health care bill. New York's attorney general now plans to sue the Trump administration if this measure becomes law. Eric Schneiderman claims it weakens protection for those with pre-existing conditions and says it poses an undue burden on women's constitutional rights.
CNN's Sunlen Serfaty has more.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Beyond the politics of the Washington Beltway, the House-passed bill has some serious implications for the 117 million Americans living with pre-existing conditions, especially women. Critics charging the bill, in its current form, would hit women especially hard. For example, women who are pregnant, have had a previous C-section, have irregular periods, have breast cancer, and endometriosis, among others, could all be slapped with the pre-existing condition label, opening up the door for insurers to potentially deem them uninsurable, deny them coverage, or charge higher premiums by pushing them into high-risk pools where the policy may not be as affordable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This would be devastating for women. Women would be in the same situation where they're denied coverage because of situations that are unique to them, and that's discrimination.
SERFATY: The bill doesn't explicitly define what a pre-existing condition is. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says a pre-existing condition is a "health problem you had before the date that new health coverage starts."
That puts the power in the hands of insurance companies to decide with nearly any illness or medical condition on the table, able to be considered pre-existing, including potentially domestic abuse or rape if the survivor was seeking mental health help.
[15:15:03] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The most concerning part about this is that it sends the message to survivors that you're going to be punished for this and effectively establishes a premium on experiencing rape or sexual assault.
SERFATY: 45 states have previously passed laws that prohibit insurers from classifying domestic abuse and rape as pre-existing conditions, but this has raised alarm on Capitol Hill.
SEN. BOB CASEY, (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Will you commit to maintaining the protection that ensure that victims of domestic violence will not be discriminated against when purchasing health insurance?
TOM PRICE, HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: I think it's absolutely vital that victims of domestic violence and others, anybody -- we need a system in place that ensures that individuals are either not priced out of the market.
SERFATY: And set off social media, with the hashtag "I am a pre- existing condition."
The fine print of all of this comes down to what state a woman lives in. The new House-passed bill gives states the option to opt out of an Obamacare provision which bans insurers from charging enrollees more based on their medical history. In states that decide to do so, insurers could charge higher premiums to those with pre-existing conditions who let their coverage lapse.
But without knowing how many states would actually seek that path and how all of this would actually work yet, means many people with pre- existing conditions, especially women, for now, are left in limbo.
(on camera): Also included in the House-passed bill is a provision that blocks Planned Parenthood from getting Medicaid funding for one year. As this bill moves to the Senate, there will likely be significant changes ahead. This could turn into a major sticking point for a very small, a very important group of Republicans.
Sunlen Serfaty, CNN, on Capitol Hill. (END VIDEOTAPE)
CABRERA: Thanks, Sunlen.
Joining me now, Montel Williams, former host of "The Montel Williams Show," actor and Marine veteran.
Thanks so much, Montel. Thank you for coming on.
MONTEL WILLIAMS, FORMER HOST, THE MONTEL WILLIAMS SHOW & VETERAN: Thank you.
CABRERA: Let's talk about this issue because I know it's very personal to you. MS., you've been battling that condition since 1999. You have a foundation to help people who have multiple sclerosis. When you heard this bill passed, what was your initial reaction?
WILLIAMS: That report was probably one of the smartest reports that you guys have done or anybody has done on this issue to date. What people at home don't understand, when you say terms in things like pre-existing conditions, they really are basing this on what an insurance company has stated was a pre-existing condition. So they think about 22 percent of Americans have a problem right this minute. This is from the national institute of health. Over 56 percent of adult Americans, over 120 million adult Americans have one chronic illness and about 80 percent of them have at least two. So these numbers that people throw out --
CABRERA: We're putting up a list of some of these pre-existing conditions. And the bottom line is insurance companies get to decide what constitutes a pre-existing condition, which I understand is one of the reasons people like yourself are so concerned about what this bill does, even though people who have pre-existing conditions may have access to health insurance. The question is can they afford it once this Obamacare mandate were repealed.
WILLIAMS: I'm very lucky. I and maybe 2 percent of Americans can afford whatever health care we need to have, but the rest of Americans can't. When you're talking about people -- I hear from people who suffer from M.S. all over the country who can't even get medication. M.S. is one of those conditions --
CABRERA: Why can't they get medication?
WILLIAMS: Because they're not insured. Our medication costs over $1500 a month. This bill which is so ridiculous only address things like pre-existing conditions but how are we going to lower costs? You can say you might want to insure somebody and then say to the insurance company I'm going to charge you for that insurance. How can the normal American expect to pay over $20,000 a year just for a shot or medication to keep them alive.? That's only one. A lot of conditions like the ones I have can be up to $100,000 a year, $200,000 a year. That's what insurance is for.
CABRERA: And that's the fear, is that people won't be able to have access to the care that they need because they can't afford the services based on the health care bill.
Let me just listen and have you listen to New Jersey Representative Tom McArthur, who is the one who proposed some of the changes that were made to the bill in which states could waive the mandate for covering pre-existing conditions at the same level as they were previously. He's saying that, instead, they use a high-risk pool for states to be able to help those with pre-existing conditions. He, too, says this is personal to him and he believes that this bill has it covered. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[15:19:49] REP. TOM MACARTHUR, (R), NEW JERSEY: There's been a lot of misinformation about this bill. I am doing just the opposite of what they claim. I'm trying to protect people that are vulnerable. I have lived through that personally. I know what it's like to struggle with medical bills. I lost my oldest daughter, and we had tons of medical bills. I watched my father my whole life paying off medical bills for my mother, who died when I was four, because he had no insurance. That has been what's motivated me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So, we just heard him -- I know you couldn't hear, but I was translating for you while we were listening.
WILLIAMS: So the point is, this is what our society is supposed to be. I've been paying for insurance for now 40 years. On my 39th year, I get a disease, and you're going to tell me that now you're going to jack my rate up because I got one? This is absolutely absurd. We ought to talk about the truth. This bill was put in place to make sure that 1 percent of the country could feed off the illness of others. We got to start to recognize that.
CABRERA: You think that was really the purpose of this bill?
WILLIAMS: We haven't discussed anything about lowering prices for medication or anything. We're just talking about making sure we can bill you and your family as much as we want to do. What people out here don't understand, you can keep thinking it's somebody else. Last week, Jimmy Kimmel came on and everybody's heart was pouring for about a day. Then the next day, it was, let's rip down Obamacare and get rid of it. At the end of the day --
CABRERA: Who do you think is so callous, specifically?
WILLIAMS: Society is. How could you pass a bill like this knowing that you're getting ready to un-insure 24 million people and not telling the truth. We have more people sick in this country than we believe. By the year 2020 -- this isn't me talking. The National Institutes of Health will tell you, we expect over 60 percent of this country to have one chronic illness, and 80 percent have two.
CABRERA: I hear you, Montel.
Let me just bring up what the GOP, who voted for this bill, has said is part of their solution. They want to give money to the states to be able to better, I guess, create policies, better serve their population more specifically. They are going to give $138 billion to the states to help address some of these issues of pre-existing conditions. Some of the essential health benefits.
WILLIAMS: We have six major illnesses. 48 percent of Americans last year, adults, died from cancer and diabetes.
CABRERA: So you don't think that money is enough?
WILLIAMS: It's not even close to enough. Are you kidding me? The fact of the matter is people have to understand there are choices to be made. If you're happy with this and you're going to rally behind the president, next year, when your husband needs to have that second foot amputated and you've been dropped because you're a diabetic and you can't get insurance, better hope that Uncle Billy next door has a sharp knife and a fire burner because somebody's got to do that amputation for you.
CABRERA: I hear you. Let me throw this out there. I feel like I need to at least bring up some of the counter arguments --
CABRERA: -- since I know how passionate you are about expressing your side. There are states like Iowa where there are some counties that may not even have an insurer for people currently on the Obamacare exchange. They are the last insurer, they are threatening to pull out. In Virginia, we heard Aetna pulled out.
WILLIAMS: Why are they pulling out? Because they don't want to pay. Why are they pulling out? They don't want to pay. Insurance companies are making a lot of money.
CABRERA: What are those patients to do in those places? Obamacare isn't necessarily working in all of those.
WILLIAMS: Are you -- are you blaming that on Obama or on the companies who can't be benevolent enough to reach out and share a little bit of their profit with Americans.
CABRERA: It's the system, right? The system is flawed.
WILLIAMS: Blame the system, don't blame the bill. The bill was there to make the system pay and to make sure Americans had health care. It's ridiculous that we have the highest rates for health care in the world and we have the least coverage.
CABRERA: So what is the solution? The Senate has this bill now and they are going to take it up. They've already said, most of the Senators say they don't like what they have, they're using it as a skeleton and may come forward with their own version. What would you suggest to them to fix this issue, particularly those who have pre- existing conditions, to guarantee that they will be covered at an adequate rate?
WILLIAMS: You know, it's as simple as a phrase but it can never be done in this country because we don't understand what bipartisanship is. But we need to sit down at the table and come to the understanding that, just for the things put in place by executive order right now, there are rich people who are going to get real rich. And you know what? You need poor people to keep making you rich. The sicker the poor people are, you have nobody to buy your products. At some point in time, we as a nation have to recognize that we won't exist. It took all of us to get here, it's going to take all of us to get to the next place. Every now and then, you have to break up -- I've started three companies in the last two years. Every one of my companies, I'm sharing profit when it comes to my employees. Why? Not because somebody made me do it. Because you know what? I've been broken off a big enough piece. At some point in time, we're going to recognize that we are our brother's keeper. That's what America was built on. We start doing that again, all boats will rise, because when people are healthy, they can buy things. The people at home who don't recognize the number of jobs that can be completed, the ones the president talks about, from mining to drilling to people who work on our infrastructure, insurance companies can deny them health care.
[15:25:45] CABRERA: Because of pre-existing conditions --
WILLIAMS: We got to come to an understanding that rich people can live behind walls, if that's what we want to do.
CABRERA: Montel Williams, thank you for coming on, sharing your perspective --
WILLIAMS: Thank you for having me.
CABRERA: -- and bringing that information to our viewers.
WILLIAMS: Thank you.
CABRERA: Donald Trump has now been asked for his tax returns over and over again, and he has flat-out refused. But Democratic lawmakers in one state have a plan to force him to make them public now.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[15:30:30] CABRERA: Some New York State lawmakers are thinking they have a way to force President Trump to release some of his tax returns. They've introduced a bill aptly named the Trump Act.
CNN digital correspondent, Dan Lieberman, is joining us now to explain.
Dan, tell us about it.
DAN LIEBERMAN, CNN DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: Good to see you. Well, this bill focuses on Trump's New York state returns, not his federal returns. Lawmakers believe this will provide valuable information as Congress considers tax reform legislation.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not releasing tax returns because as you know they're under audit.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You don't think the American public is concerned about it?
TRUMP: I don't think so. I won. I mean, I became president. No, I don't think they care at all.
LIEBERMAN (voice-over): President Trump may not think people care about his tax returns --
LIEBERMAN: -- but protests and polls show otherwise. 74 percent of Americans believe Trump should release them.
Now, his home state of New York may give people what they're looking for. A new bill in the state legislature would make the president's state tax returns available to the public, along with other elected officials.
DAVID BUCKWALD, (D), NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLYMAN: It would have impact immediately, not in 20.
DANIEL HEMEL, LAW PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO: Donald Trump won't release his federal tax returns, and Congress won't make him. But New York can act if Congress doesn't.
LIEBERMAN: University of Chicago law professor, Daniel Hemel, is credited with coming up with the idea, encouraging lawmakers to focus in on Trump's state tax returns, since seeing his federal returns hasn't happened.
HEMEL: Presidential tax transparency is a norm that we all came to take for granted, and I think this demand comes from a genuine place. We pay taxes and we want to know that our leaders are paying taxes, too.
LIEBERMAN: Lawmakers in more than 20 states have introduced legislation that would require Trump to release his returns before he can run again in 2020. But those efforts, Hemel says, are unlikely to succeed.
HEMEL: Where President Trump has allies, who are veto players at the state level, these valid access bills are less likely to become law.
LIEBERMAN: He says using the power of the state legislature to disclose Trump's state-level tax returns would be the fastest and easiest way to get answers.
HEMEL: He'll report his income from all sources. He'll report deductions he claims for charitable contributions. He'll tell us whether he has foreign bank accounts. And he'll tell us how much he ultimately pays New York State and New York City. We won't see how much he ultimately pays the federal government but we'll learn a lot.
LIEBERMAN: By demanding transparency, Hemel, like so many Americans ---
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do we want?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When do we want them?
LIEBERMAN: -- wants to send the president a clear message.
HEMEL: We want to know when we file our tax returns that taxes aren't just for the little people, that the president is paying, too.
LIEBERMAN: The bill is now before the New York State legislature, and lawmakers hope it moves forward before the end of the session in June. As for what President Trump thinks of the legislation, we reached out
to the White House yesterday for comment but, so far, CNN has not received a response -- Ana?
CABRERA: So this is a creative idea, Dan, but how likely is it to actually happen?
LIEBERMAN: The key is it's more likely than other state measures because he would actually be able to challenge those constitutionally in court. And it also moves it down the line to the election in 2020. This law in New York, if it does pass, it's much more immediate. Within 30 days, people could see President Trump's tax returns.
CABRERA: All right, you said in June it goes before the state.
[15:35:07] CABRERA: Thank you very much, Dan Lieberman, for joining us.
President Trump is usually willing to speak his mind, but could that backfire on his first trip overseas in three places where saying the wrong thing could cause an international diplomatic incident? That's next.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
CABRERA: We now know the name of the U.S. Navy SEAL who was killed in an operation against a terrorist group in Somalia earlier this week. Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Kyle Milliken was about 40 miles west of Mogadishu. The Pentagon says he came under small-arms fire during a counterterrorism mission against an al-Shabaab leader there. He was a member of SEAL Team Six, the unit that killed Osama bin Laden. He was just 38 years old, a husband and a father. He is now the first American to die in combat in Somalia since the infamous Blackhawk Down incident back in 1993.
President Trump finally heads overseas this month. I say finally, because no president in several decades has waited this long for his first trip abroad. Since the early '70s, only Jimmy Carter was in office 100 days or more before visiting another country. President Trump, in his first trip abroad, will visit the capitols of three major world religions, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Vatican.
Our international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson, is joining me from London.
Nic, this will be strong symbolism seeing the president of America in the centers of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yeah, and there's going to be a different message in each place. You could even argue that the president's making up for lost time, as you were pointing out there, because after he gets done with those three visits, he's going to go to NATO in Brussels and Belgium and go to a G-7 summit meeting in Italy. So all in all, in all those meetings, in Saudi Arabia he's going to meet with the Arab leaders from the gulf and the GCC, he's going to be meeting 37 different leaders on this visit, so making up for lost time.
[15:40:15] But in Rome, we know that his relationship, the rhetoric between certainly the pope has directed towards President Trump has been less than positive or sounded that way. So perhaps there's some ground to be made up there.
But in Israel and in Saudi Arabia, the focus is going to be on ISIS. President Trump really wants to build that coalition to fight ISIS. Secretary of Defense James Mattis, in Saudi Arabia and Israel just less than a month ago, speaking about the importance that Saudi Arabia plays in security.
The other sort of unspoken part of what will be discussed between -- in Saudi Arabia and Israel as well will be Iran, because both those countries are opposed to Iran, and certainly, they liked President Trump's message when he was campaigning that he was very much opposed to the Iran nuclear deal. So I think we can expect some of that to flavor the discussions as well.
CABRERA: Let's talk a little bit about that trip to Israel specifically. We know President Trump and Israel's prime minister have made it clear that they're close friends.
But let's listen to what President Trump said about the issue of settlements in the West Bank when Netanyahu visited the White House a few weeks ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: As far as settlements, I'd like to see you hold back on settlements for a little bit. We'll work something out. But I would like to see a deal be made. I think a deal will be made. Bibi and I have known each other for a long time, a smart man, negotiator, and I think we're going to make a great deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: On settlements, that's probably not what Netanyahu wanted to hear. We also had the Palestinian leader visit the White House the past week.
President Trump has shown he is open to listening to both sides. So how will President Trump be received by the Israeli people?
ROBERTSON: You know, there's a sense throughout the Middle East region that President Trump can make a difference, that this is a guy who acts differently and does things differently. And certainly, President Obama and several presidents before him as well hadn't been able to make a peace deal stick. And in many ways, the assessment has been that the Palestinians and the Israelis are further apart than they have been. However, if you listen to the rhetoric that we heard from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and, indeed, Jordan's King Abdullah, who has a role in the peace process as well, they sounded optimistic that President Trump can make a difference. So going into this, Israelis are going to perhaps be a little apprehensive. They've heard that language on settlements. They've also heard President Trump talk about moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and for many people there would be a concern that that could be a disruptive thing, rather than bring the sides together.
The bottom line here is we haven't heard the White House articulate how they want to achieve this new approach on this peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. That's the detail that's missing, and when it comes out, it's going to be a substantive piece of detail. This is no easy task.
CABRERA: Nic Robertson, thank you for joining us.
Coming up, the opioid epidemic in America just got even deadlier. A newly discovered drug is so potent, you can die simply from touching it. We'll explain.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[15:47:46] CABRERA: Deadly flood waters which have devastated parts of Missouri and Arkansas are now spreading through the Midwest, putting nearly 10 million people under a flood warning today. You can see the damage that's been done. Several spots along the Mississippi River were expected to reach near record crests this weekend. Communities in Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee are still preparing for the worst. Floods have already killed six people in Missouri and seven in Arkansas.
Now listen to this. America's growing opioid crises just got even deadlier. A new crop of synthetic opioids is so dangerous you can die just from touching them.
Authorities in Georgia are warning about two new street drugs are popping up across the state. What's more? The drug's first responders that they use to counter these opioid overdoses may not be effective against the deadly new street drugs.
Correspondent Scott McClain is joining us now.
Scott, tell us about these drugs and how authorities are responding.
SCOTT MCCLAIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Ana, these drugs are incredibly dangerous just to be around, and pretty scary even for the experts. In fact, in Georgia, lab workers are now having to use the buddy system when they're testing drugs seized by police because of the potentially fatal risk of accidentally touching or inhaling them. The potency of these drugs has reached a new level and that's adding a new level of danger for first responders.
BUD BENEFIELD, DEPUTY CHIEF, ATLANTA FIRE DEPARTMENT: Eventually, we want to be able to have it readily available.
SCOTT MCCLAIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Carol County, just outside of Atlanta, Deputy Chief Bud Benefield is on a mission. They want every first responder to carry Narcan, a nasal spray that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.
BENEFIELD: Sometimes revived in as little as two to three minutes.
MCCLAIN (on camera): Sounds like a miracle drug.
BENEFIELD (voice-over): It does, it sounds like a miracle drug.
MCCLAIN: But it may not be so miraculous when it comes to the street drugs Fentanyl and U-47700, both on the rise in Georgia and both so strong investigators say a single dose of Narcan may not be enough.
NELLY MILES, SPOKESPERSON, GEORGIA BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: That's very, very scary.
MCCLAIN: Nelly Miles speaks for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which she says has seen some combination of the drugs 50 times this year, causing 17 deaths, the same number as in all of 2016.
[15:50:02] MILES: This crop of synthetic opioids for us, it's unheard of, unprecedented to see these types of concoctions coming into the crime lab here in Georgia.
MCCLAIN: The drugs have all the trappings of fentanyl, an opioid that's often linked to overdoses and deaths. But these next generation drugs are so potent, Miles says even touching them can be deadly.
MILES: They are transdermals, that means they can be absorbed through the skin. If you're not wearing personal protective gear, you can be exposed and at risk.
MCCLAIN: What makes it scarier, they're sometimes pressed into pills meant to look like more common street drugs. Even for drug users, every high is Russian roulette.
MILES: These days you have no idea what you're getting. The moral to the story is just stay away from it all. It's just really out of control.
MCCLAIN: Miles says the drugs are made in China and often come through Mexico before reaching the United States. These drugs are so new that it was just last month that Georgia officially outlawed them. Other states are still catching up.
BENEFIELD: It's becoming a nationwide epidemic.
MCCLAIN: In the meantime, Benefield's mission to expand the use of Narcan is becoming more urgent. He says the opioid problem is only getting worse, not better.
(END VIDEOTAPE) MCCLAIN: And, Ana, the president has long promised to fight back against the opioid epidemic, but that has to do with less funding. A leaked draft budget memo show the Trump administration planning to cut 94 percent of the budget for White House meant to help states fight drug trafficking. Yesterday, the White House did not comment on this directly but they say, generally, they're trying to do more with less. Democrats, meanwhile, call this a cruel betrayal of Trump's campaign promise to help communities affected by the opioid epidemic -- Ana?
CABRERA: Scott McClain, thank you for that report.
Straight head, state showdown. The Republican House bill is set to pose some tough challenges for House candidates going forward. And the governor of Washington State joins us live. Stay with us.
But first, he is just out of college, but this week's "CNN Hero" is already making a difference in the lives of Cambodian children. The problem, lack of access for something most of us take for granted, a simple bar of soap.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED CNN HERO: When children do not wash their hands, they are vulnerable to illnesses which, unfortunately, can take their life. No child should suffer because there simply wasn't any soap available.
My hope for Cambodia is youth, is for them to understand that they can take their own health into their very own hands.
Very good. Very good. Yes.
Just by a simple act such as hand washing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: To make a big difference, those little things. To see how Samir (ph) is using soap to not only save lives, go to CNN.com, and while you're there, nominate someone you think should be a 2017 "CNN Hero."
[15:57:37] CABRERA: It has been more than five weeks since the city of than watched in awe and horror as a 40-foot wall of flames and thick black smoke collapsed a bridge on Interstate 85. Amazingly, no one was hurt in this collapse. It happened during rush hour in one of America's most traffic-challenged cities.
Here's CNN's Dianna Gallagher.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The flames were so huge and the smoke was so black.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't know what's burning. It's up under 85 bridge.
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thousands of people just trying to get home suddenly a massive fire in their path, stuck on a crumbling interstate bridge. A city seemingly paralyzed, except for a few first responders, who answered the call that two officers spotted a fire under a bridge. They had no clue just how dangerous the situation was about to get.
OFC. TYLER THOMAS, ATLANTA POLICE DEPARTMENT: Came over the radio and said we've got a fire under 85.
JAMES MCLEMORE, ATLANTA FIRE BATTLION CHIEF: Got a second alarm. We immediately headed out here. There was so much black smoke, it wasn't until I really got close to the city, I could see the flames.
GALLAGHER: The flames did not stop the Officer Tyler Thomas from jumping out of his patrol car while his supervisor, Sgt. Ryan Heel, drove to the highway to cut off traffic, Thomas ran up an embankment to get people out of harm's way.
(on camera): You were so focused on making sure basically nobody crosses this line.
THOMAS: We focus on the task at hand. My task at hand was to get people away.
GALLAGHER (voice-over): And then.
UNIDENTIFIED ATLANTA POLICE OFFICER: We kept hearing many explosions.
UNIDENTIFIED ATLANTA POLICE OFFICER: It was very hot. Fire does not do well with concrete.
UNIDENTIFIED ATLANTA POLICE DEPARTMENT: We are not structural engineers. We are cops. We don't know anything about bridge supports.
GALLAGHER: But Atlanta fire battalion chief, James McLemore, does.
MCELMORE: Boom, boom, boom. You could hear it. That's the sound.
GALLAGHER: He increased the collapse zone moving everyone out from underneath the interstate bridge. Minutes later --
MCELMORE: Boom! We could easily have buried people in there.
GALLAGHER: While the damage was extreme, not one person was injured that day. Many, including the president, credit the responders' quick thinking and willingness to run into danger as the reason why.
TRUMP: Your skill and courage saved many lives and represented true strength.
MCLEMORE: When you get the call from the president's office, that's like a whole other -- that's a game changer.
GALLAGHER: Still, these guys say --
UNIDENIFIED ATLANTA POLICE OFFICER: We greatly appreciate it, but it's not warranted.
GALLAGHER (on camera): Do you feel heroic?
MCLEMORE: I just feel like it's part of my job. I've done my job.
GALLAGHER: Dianne Gallagher, CNN, Atlanta, Georgia.