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Sally Yates Ready To Testify; President Obama Defends ObamaCare; New Era In France with Macron Victory; Republicans Defend House Health Bill; SNL Asks "Where In The World Is Kellyanne Conway?"; Maggie Siff On Being A Working Mom. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired May 8, 2017 - 04:30   ET



DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Did the White House mislead the public on warnings about Michael Flynn's talks with the Russians? The former acting attorney general ready to say they did in high-stakes testimony today.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: President Obama with an open plea to congress over his namesake law. What he said as the senate gets ready to work on its bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

BRIGGS: And in France, a political outsider set to take the presidency in a full-throated rejection of far-right nationalism. We'll tell you what Emmanuel Macron said as he tried to heal his nation's divisions.

And what a fascinating election that has been...

ROMANS: Yes, hasn't it?

BRIGGS: ...that is basing the personal stories to the impact across...


BRIGGS: ...Europe and in France. Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. Thanks for joining us this Monday morning, a lot to get to today. To bring up to speed the investigation into Russian meddling in the election is back in the spotlight today with long-awaited testimony from a key witness. A senate judiciary subcommittee hears this afternoon from Former Acting Attorney General, Sally Yates and Former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper.

BRIGGS: Yates is set to contradict the White House story about the firing of then National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn. Sources say she'll tell the panel she warned the White House forcefully about then National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn three weeks before Flynn was fired. CNN's Ryan Nobles, have a preview from Washington.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine and Dave. Sources tell CNN that she is prepared to set the record straight about her role in the events that eventually led to National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn being asked to leave his post. At the core of her testimony, will be a meeting that she had with White House Counsel, Don McGahn 18 days before Flynn was removed as national security adviser.

In that meeting, Yates is prepared to testify that she gave a forceful warning to the White House about Flynn's contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. At that point, Flynn had denied that he had talked to Kislyak about U.S. sanctions on Russia.

After Flynn left office, the White House admitted that Yates had warned them about Flynn's interactions with the Russian official but described the interaction as more of a heads-up, essentially bringing to their attention that Flynn may not have been honest with the vice- president.

Yates, however, remembers the conversation differently and is expected to testify that she expressed serious concerns and made it clear that Flynn should be fired. The former acting attorney general was also forced out of her post by the Trump Administration after she refused to defend the White House's controversial travel ban.

Her testimony, while potentially explosive, could be tempered a bit because she will probably not be able to recount specifics of certain events because of concerns over revealing classified information in an open setting, Christine and Dave?

[04:35:00] ROMANS: All right, Ryan Nobles, thanks so much.

New pushback this morning on efforts to repeal ObamaCare from President Obama, in Boston to receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, the former president urged members of congress to have courage as well.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There was a reason why healthcare reform had not been accomplished before. It was hard. And it is my fervent hope and the hope of millions that regardless of party, such courage is still possible. That today's members of congress, regardless of party, are willing to look at the facts and speak the truth, even when it contradicts party positions.


BRIGGS: All right, this morning, it's hard to find much excitement in the senate about the healthcare bill sent over by the house last week. One key Republican vote, Maine moderate Susan Collins, says the senate will start over.


SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: The house bill is not going to come before us. The senate is starting from scratch. We're going to draft our own bill. I think we will do so and that we will come up with a whole new, fresh approach that solves the legitimate flaws that do exist with the ACA. I would like to see us put together a bipartisan group to solve this problem.


ROMANS: Health And Human Services Secretary, Tom Price defending the house bill on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION". Price rejected the congressional budget office estimate of huge cuts to Medicaid, claiming spending will actually increase, and he says states will have more flexibility to care for Medicaid patients "in a better way."

BRIGGS: House members, after voting for repeal, are now back home in their districts, some are already facing angry Town Halls like Idaho Congressman, Raul Labrador, riling up constituents with this surprising comment.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are band-aiding people on Medicaid, except dying. You are making a mandate...

REP. RAUL LABRADOR (R), IDAHO: No, no. We don't want anybody to die. You know, that line is so indefensible. Nobody dies because they don't have access to healthcare.



ROMANS: Nobody -- if you couldn't hear that, nobody dies because they don't have access to healthcare.

BRIGGS: And you will hear that again. You will likely hear that on a campaign ad...


BRIGGS: ...across the United States.

ROMANS: I'm sure.

BRIGGS: As we head to 2018 midterms.

ROMANS: The healthcare -- the Health Act Repeal threatens one of the best sources of jobs growth in the U.S. healthcare. Look no further than the latest jobs report, 37,000 jobs added in April alone. In fact, the healthcare sector has grown by more than 1.1 million jobs since the ObamaCare exchange opened in 2014.

That's as many jobs as factories and construction sites combined during that same period. The healthcare hiring trend started years before ObamaCare, but the 2010 law sped up spending. In fact, the sector is adding jobs at three times the rate of the rest of the economy.

Let me say that again, Dave. Healthcare is adding jobs at three times the rate of the rest of the economy. Hospitals are the largest private-sector employers in many cities, and unlike retail and other growing industry, these are good-paying jobs. The average employee earns about 28 bucks an hour or $56,000 a year.

The jobs are almost -- also mostly unionized and difficult to outsource, that's why experts worried that the Republicans' plans to replace ObamaCare will put a brake on this very important sector of job growth and may lead to employment cut.

And one of the world's richest men thinks rising healthcare cost will just hurt workers, the businesses as well. Speaking to investors, Saturday Warren Buffett said healthcare not taxes is the biggest threat to business growth.


WARREN BUFFETT, CEO, BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY: Medical costs are the tapeworm of economic -- American economic competitiveness.


ROMANS: The tapeworm of American economic competitiveness -- that really sort of crystallize it, right?

BRIGGS: That's...

ROMANS: He added that the new bill would be a boon to the super rich like him, not every day Americans. He said the new bill gives guys like him a big tax cut.

BRIGGS: And as part of that conference where thousands of people ventured...

ROMANS: Yes, yes.

BRIGGS: ...from across the country to listen to him speak...

ROMANS: His investor conference...

BRIGGS: front of a packed stadium.

ROMANS: Yes, his investor conference is always -- it's almost coastlike (ph), actually.

BRIGGS: Absolutely is.


BRIGGS: What a journey.

All right, meanwhile, Emmanuel Macron vowing to unite France after a decisive victory in the presidential election. The 39-year-old Macron crushing his right-wing rival, Marine Le Pen, with 66 percent of the vote, let's go live to Paris and bring in CNN's Melissa Bell. Melissa, great to have you. The French President-elect has no experience governing and is about to take over a deeply divided country in one of the largest economies in the world. What is the reaction there in France?

[04:40:00] MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A great deal of excitement on one hand but worry as well. He knows the weight that is on his shoulders, part of which, are simply the expectations that now exist, at least amongst the 66 percent of the French electorate who voted for him.

Now, the president-elect is going to carry out his first official engagement this morning. In the next few minutes, he'll be arriving here with the Current President, Francois Hollande, to lay a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, today marks the 72nd Anniversary of the victory over Europe Day in 1945, the end of World War II.

And the two men, it will be an impressive image watching them come here in just a moment to lay this wreath, not only because it will be Emmanuel Macron's first real official engagement after last night's celebration, but also because it isn't simply that he saw off the far right last night, Dave, he also along the way of this very improbable political adventure of his saw off both the mainstream right and mainstream left here in France, amongst which the socialist party of Francois Hollande.

And he was very much considered when he launched his improbable candidacy here a few months ago that no one imagined whatever led him to the Elysees Palace who has betrayed Francois Hollande. He swore of course his economy administer for a couple of years before announcing his intention to run for the presidency, lots of anger within the socialist party at that time.

Today, in the next few minutes, we'll see the two men come here ahead of what will be an important transition next week when President-Elect Macron becomes the youngest ever President of France next week, Dave.

BRIGGS: Thirty nine years old, Melissa Bell, a remarkable election there in France. Thank you. We could talk about this one for hours, I mean the youngest head of state since Napoleon...


BRIGGS: 39 years old. And like Trump, a political novice.

ROMANS: A political novice.

BRIGGS: Fascinating.

ROMANS: But unlike Trump, he is a globalist, right? And he wants to reform...


ROMANS: ...stay in these international institutions but reform them. All right, 41 minutes past the hour. So, how do those results in France affect the country, the EU, the U.S. and more? We'll hear from our Chief International Correspondent, Christiane Amanpour in just a moment.


[04:45:00] ROMANS: French voters are rejecting the far-right by delivering decisive victory to Centrist Independent, Emmanuel Macron. France's newly minted (ph) president-elect now seen by many as the best hope to keep the EU from unravelling.

For more on what the future holds for France, we turn to CNN Chief International Correspondent, Christiane Amanpour. She joins us live from Paris. She has been there through the weekend for this -- for this runoff election. And this is -- this is a fascinating victory and it's decisive, isn't it, you could call this a landslide?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is, honestly, by any numbers, it is a landslide. He gets about 66 percent compared to about 33 percent for his opponent, but don't forget, there were significant number of abstentions and spoiled ballots, so he's not out of the woods yet. He's promised reform. There's a lot of pain here in France and around Europe.

But of course, this was not just one of the most, if not the most important election in the last 60 years here in France, but also in the EU and for the EU since the whole EU project began, because this could have turned the EU into a massive failure. Had Marine Le Pen won, she was promising a frexit, she was promising to ditch the euro itself, and the whole entire bloc could have come tumbling down.

That's why there have been so much congratulations from Europe. The NATO has congratulated him. Foreign ministers and leaders from all over Europe have congratulated him, but here's what his spokeswoman said to me last night, that yes, we have turned the tide, but yes, we also have massive challenges ahead.


LAURENCE HAIM, EMNANUEL MACRON SPOKESWOMAN: We're feeling happy. We're feeling relieved. But we feel that we're showing to the world that we won against populist wave (ph) and it was really important for us to do that. So, we're happy but we're conscious also about the huge responsibility that we have. It's just the beginning of something big. We have now to win the next step, which is going to be a legislative election in one month. We want all people in France to be united.


AMANPOUR: So, you can imagine, the election is over. It was very bitter. It was very hard fought. It was full of surprises. The established parties fell off the cliff. Two outsiders -- well, Marine Le Pen has been around for a long time, but Emmanuel Macron never elected before, although he had had ministerial portfolio under President Hollande, but nonetheless, this was a surprise grouping that went into the second round.

And now, in a month, just over a month, they're going to have legislative elections. So, he now has to get the parliamentarians to be able to shore up his policies and be able to give him the ability to have some legislative power in parliament where it absolutely counts. That's the next hurdle, Christine?

BRIGGS: And Christiane, back here, this is front page, above-the-fold news...

AMANPOUR: Oh, yes.

BRIGGS: ...on every single national paper, the "Washington Post," "The New York Times," the "Wall Street Journal" certainly, important globally in terms of that populist wave, but why is it so resonating do you think here in the United States and you had President Obama, you had Hillary Clinton, you had Donald Trump weighing in ahead of the election.

[04:50:00] AMANPOUR: Well, for several reasons, because it really was a test of the entire western alliance, and it was a test of whether this nationalist-populist wave was going to continue, you know that Brexit and Nigel Farage had thrown up a huge sort of gauntlet, if you like saying, this is the whole wave of what we're going to see across the west.

And then it happened across the Atlantic where you are, the Trump win was a surprise, and it seemed to shore up this idea that nationalism, populist policies were going to win the day that the whole, you know, western democratic world was going anti-establishment. And it's true, there's been a lot of, you know, politics has changed. There's no doubt about it.

But in the west here in Europe, France was going to be the big test. And even though The Netherlands sort of put down the anti-immigrant policies of the far-right there, even though Austria did that as well, France was the big, big test, because it's the second biggest economy in Europe, the sixth biggest economy in the world, and what France did was going to be considered incredibly, incredibly important.

So, it's a marker, it's a test, it's a turning point, and that's why it's been so phenomenally under the microscope. And of course, President Trump had thrown his support, as it was, via tweets and the other such, towards Marine Le Pen, without so far as saying it. Basically, people believed that that's where he was headed, and there were tweets just before the first round when there was a shooting here on the Champs Elysees that people believed Trump was behind Le Pen.

He has now come out with an immediate congratulation to Macron right after the election result and looking forward to working with Macron. And Macron's spokeswoman said to me last night, "Look, whatever Donald Trump thought before this election, now Macron is democratically elected, Trump is democratically elected, and everybody has to work together for the big issues at hand, not just terrorism, for instance, not just stabilizing people's work, life, and the employment picture around the world, but also for France, for instance, the climate accords are very, very important".

And she says, "Macron will make a big, big push for the United States to remain inside the Paris climate accords". There's a lot on the agenda going ahead, but this is a big marker that's been laid down. And for people, you know, watching politics, watching the economy, this is a big deal what just happened here.

ROMANS: Oh, yes, absolutely, absolutely. We're seeing the markets respond already, six-month high for the euro against the U.S. Dollar and global markets responding. All right, Christiane Amanpour, so nice to see you this morning. Thank you.

BRIGGS: Thank you.

ROMANS: From Paris.

America's most powerful economist has a solution for slow growth. Tell you what it is next.


[04:55:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What could have happened?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She is not a brand new channel.

CHORUS: Tell me where in the world is...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kellyanne Conway?



BRIGGS: Well, she may be out of sight, but Kellyanne Conway very much on the mind of writers at "SNL" in a sketch they called back to the Classic '90s PBS Game Show "Where in the World Is Carmen San Diego?", recruiting young sleuths to help find Kellyanne.



UNIDENTIFED FEMALE: She hasn't been seen in weeks. No one knows where she is or what she's up to, gum shoes, your mission today is to answer this question.

CHORUS: Where in the world is...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kellyanne Conway?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, are you guys ready to help us find Kellyanne Conway?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't want to find her. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay. I guess that's our show. Seven weeks in a

row and no one wants to find that woman.

CHORUS: Where in the world is...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kellyanne Conway?


BRIGGS: I used to love that computer game, Carmen San Diego, but it is interesting. She was arguably the biggest force in him getting elected.

ROMANS: That is true.

BRIGGS: And the chief spokesman and now...

ROMANS: Now, she's NSA.

BRIGGS: Now, she's there.

ROMANS: Let's get a check on "CNN Money Stream" this morning. Global markets mixed following the French elections. U.S. Futures are down after hitting a record high overnight. We'll see if, maybe they pop back up here. Even though investors like the results, the reaction -- U.S. markets pretty much is muted that's because markets froze last week during the lead-up.

The S&P 500 and NASDAQ even at records, the euro also hit a six-month high against the dollar overnight. More earnings on deck for Wall Street this week with investors keeping an eye on those retail brands we just showed you like JCPenney, Kohl's and Macy's. Despite a strong season overall, retailer have been turning in weak results and we've seen actually layoffs in a lot of these different companies, so we'll watch those earnings here.

The U.S. economy will be 5 percent bigger if women worked at the same rate as men, and I don't mean how much you work at work. I mean it's the same share of more women working is what I mean here. That's according to Federal Reserve Chair, Janet Yellen. Women's participation in the labor market is almost 15 percent lower than men.

Janet Yellen said in the speech Friday, better policies can break down those barriers that women face to take on full-time careers or to stay in them. Two examples she gave expanded parental leave and more affordable child care. And I will tell you, it's very rare to hear a fed chief speak so frankly about what's holding women back in the workplace, and, frankly, how that holds back the American economy.

All right, speaking of working women, actress Maggie Siff, she stars in Showtime "Billions". Have you seen it with the season finale last night...


ROMANS: ...her character, a powerful woman in a fictional hedge fund world, where for her character, at least, it's remarkable, there is no glass ceiling. And like many women, in real life, she tells me the arc of work and the arc of motherhood overlap.

MAGGIE SIFF, ACTRESS, "BILLIONS": I talk about like privilege. I had just come off of a TV show that I had been on for six years, "Sons of Anarchy" and so I was able to grant myself time. You know, I was like, I put in a lot of time, I earned some money, I saved money, I have some time. I don't have to go back to work right away and that just felt like, you know, the gift.

And then I was like -- and then once I had my child, I was like I don't want to go back to work and I was just waiting for something that made me feel like, oh, right, you know, it made me feel that part of myself again.

ROMANS: She's on this month's cover of "New York Moves Magazine" and she told me that it is a privilege and a gift, but it shouldn't be for every woman.


ROMANS: You know, every woman should be able to make those decisions, but you know, she's in the rare fight of acting (ph), you know, and she was able to take some time off and bank her dollars...

BRIGGS: Right.

ROMANS: ...and choose the next thing, a lot of woman don't have that choice.

BRIGGS: She's fabulous and...


BRIGGS: Don't tell me what happened in the last minute and last hour.

ROMANS: I know. I couldn't watch last night so, yes.

BRIGGS: Good. All right, you must.

[05:00:00] BRIGGS: OK, EARLY START continues right now.