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Trump Meets Pope; GOP Awaits CBO Score; Mulvaney Testifies on Budget; Manchester Terror Attack; Manchester Police Update. Aired 9:30-10a ET
Aired May 24, 2017 - 09:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:30:00] BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And he went on to tweet just about an hour ago that it was the honor of a lifetime to meet his holiness Pope Francis. "I leave the Vatican more determined than ever to pursue peace," all caps in this case, "in our world." Now, during the -- at the end of the meeting, the president presented Pope Francis with the collected works of Martin Luther King and the pope, for his part, gave President Trump an olive tree statue. He said that the olive tree is a symbol of peace and he wants President Trump to construct peace. President Trump went on to say, we can use peace, and then said that he -- those words, the words of the pope, will stick with him. He will remember them forever.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Ben Wedeman for us. You can see him there in Rome.
Ben, thank you very much.
Just a reminder of some of the history that Ben was talking about just there. Before the U.S. election, Pope Francis warned against walls that divide. In February of 2016 he said, "a person who thinks only about building walls wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian." Then candidate Donald Trump responded, "if and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, I can promise you that the pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been president."
Now it is notable, Ben just noted there, there were some tweets after this. These two men together have more than 40 million follows between them. Very, very popular.
Joining us now from Rome, John Allen, CNN's senior Vatican analyst.
John, thanks so much for being with us.
Look, take us inside these meetings with the pope. What goes on when a world leader, particularly one who may have had some, you know, prickly history with the pope, what happens when they're alone in a room together?
JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: Well, first of all, John and Poppy, the situation this morning was to some extent unprecedented, which is a hard word to use when you're covering an institution that has more than 2,000 years of history behind it. But in this case, it really was the first time a pope called out an American presidential candidate on the campaign trail, calling them not a Christian. So there was a certain fence mending exercise that had to go on here this morning.
But on the other hand, there is kind of a formula to this. I mean this is the 30th time an American president has met a pope. You know, what happens is when the head of state, in this case the American president, comes over, there are actually two meetings that they are sort of required to have. One is the meeting with the pope. The other is a meeting with the Vatican's cardinal secretary of state. That's basically their prime minister. And also the arch bishop, who is the secretary for relations with stats, who is basically their foreign minister. That is often the more substantive meeting.
But clearly what you saw here today, I think, were two men who were well aware that they come from wildly different backgrounds and to some extent at least represent very different agendas who nevertheless were determined to find common ground. On the Vatican side, they want to be a player on the global stage. They know there's no road to that destination that doesn't lead to the White House. On Trump's side, beyond the fact that he's just desperate for some good news, he knows he got elected on the back of religious voters, including Catholics. He knows he needs that constituency if he wants to govern or eventually get re-elected. So they both had a vested interest in making it look friendly. And at the end of the day, John and Poppy, that's exactly what they did.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: They did indeed as we look at these sort of great look inside, these live pictures, as you're talking. But still there are and remain big issues that divide these leaders, right? The leader of the Catholic Church, the leader of the free world. President Trump, those issues are refugees, immigration, climate change. I mean, this is the pope who wrote the encyclical all about climate change and this is the president who called it a hoax. How do they massage those differences going forward?
ALLEN: Well, John and Poppy, this morning they chose to massage them by not addressing them directly. Now that, of course, won't be an option forever. We did get a reminder, a sort of subtle one, but there, nevertheless, was a reminder of the difference there in that Pope Francis presented President Trump with a collection of documents that he has published, including (INAUDIBLE), that first ever papal encyclical devoted entirely to environmental protection, which was, we'll remember, was part of the moral inspiration for the Paris climate change agreement that President Trump is at least reported to be considering abandoning. So, I mean, it's not as if they are going to be -- be able to pretend going forward that these differences don't exist. But I think this morning was about establishing a kind of personal rapport that perhaps will make some of those differences more manageable.
We just had Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York on our radio show on the Catholic channel in the states. Cardinal Dolan is predicting that since Pope Francis and President Trump are both phone jockeys, that is they are both guys who love the work the phone, that perhaps what is going to happen going forward is the two of them now are in a space where they'll be able to talk these things out personally, rather than doing it through the media. And the hope would be that will be more -- a more effective way of finding common ground.
[09:35:20] BERMAN: Maybe at least Snapchat or Whatsapp, you know, if they can't talk, you know, in person, at least maybe they can text each other.
ALLEN: That is exactly what I said. I told Cardinal Dolan that phone calls are so 20th century. What they need is Whatsapp.
HARLOW: Well, I mean, they have Twitter with 41 million follows between the two of them. I think we shall see more tweets.
John Allen, thank you very much, in Rome for us.
All right, coming up, it is a number that certainly has the potential to sink the Republicans hopes of passing health care reform in the Senate. It sounds wonky, but this number from the Congressional Budget Office, it matters a lot.
[09:40:02] HARLOW: A critical day for Republicans and their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. We will get the all-telling CBO score.
BERMAN: Yes, the CBO measures everything from the total cost savings to the number left uninsured. It could determine whether the House plan will run into even more trouble than it's already in, in the Senate. And it comes at the same time that the budget director, Mick Mulvaney, is testifying on Capitol Hill.
MJ Lee joins us now.
The CBO score, MJ, it's a coming.
MJ LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, a very important day for the future of the House Republican health care bill. Sometime this afternoon we expect to hear from the Congressional Budget Office to get an updated score on the bill that House Republicans passed a couple of weeks ago. Now, keep in mind, at the time when House Republicans took this vote, they decided to essentially take a political gamble. And why did they do this? Because they were in a hurry. Keep in mind that back in March, the House Republican bill had to be pulled from the House floor because they simply didn't have the vote and then they tried again to have a vote before Trump's 100 day mark in office and they couldn't do that then either. So House Republicans were facing a lot of pressure from the White House to get something done on the health care front and so they took a vote before there was even a CBO updated score on the last minute changes that were made.
Now, I do want to walk through some of the findings that we will see in the CBO score later today. The first big one is total savings. Essentially how much money will this bill save? That's a big number to watch out for.
And the second one, and this is probably the most important one, is the coverage numbers. Essentially this will answer the questions of how many people will this bill cover or how many fewer people will be covered compared to under Obamacare.
And the third one is premium costs. Now this is an important one to watch because Republicans have been saying, as they have been selling this bill, that one pro -- o ne positive of this bill is that premiums will go down. Now, I can tell you that Senate Republicans, in particular, will be watching the numbers come out very closely because they are now currently trying to figure out what parts of the House bill they might keep as they figure out their own version of the bill to move forward on.
HARLOW: Indeed. MJ Lee, thank you for the reporting.
Let's debate it with Stephen Moore. He's our senior economic analyst and a former senior economic adviser to the Trump campaign. Rana Foroohar is here. She's our senior global economic analyst and a columnist for "The Financial Times."
Stephen Moore, that number from the CBO last time around was not pretty for the Republicans supporting this bill, 24 million fewer people covered by health insurance in a decade, 14 million off -- off the Medicaid roles. Any reason to believe it's going to be significantly better this time and how much better does it have to be to get this thing some momentum in the Senate?
STEPHEN MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMIC ANALYST: Well, great questions, Poppy. Let me start by saying that, one of the things that -- that was a little misleading about the CBO report is that if we don't do anything, if we stick with Obamacare, millions and millions of people are going to lose their health care insurance because the costs are escalating so much. We've seen reports in some states, 30, 40, 50 percent increases in costs this year, on top of, you know, 30 percent increases last year of people. And I've talked to families that are now paying $15,000 to $20,000 a year for health insurance premiums under Obamacare. So if we don't do anything, we're -- you're going to have a lot of people losing their insurance as well just because of affordability.
But you're exactly right, that report that came out with -- what was that, about two months ago, by the CBO saying that more than ten million people were going to lose their health insurance, Republicans need a better number. There's no question about that. And, look, I'd like to see that number get down to as close to zero as possible.
But MJ made an important point, that there's two other big factors here. What does this do to the overall cost to taxpayers of this system? That number is certainly going to be down. In other words, you're going to see a very large potential savings here. And the other one is premiums. You know, what happens to the average premium the average family is paying? Is this going to make health care more affordable? And I'm going to -- I'm going to bet to you that that number is going to be down from what Obamacare is costing. BERMAN: Just one point on what Steve was saying. The CBO score last
night said that maybe there would be people who lose insurance under Obamacare, but 24 million more for fewer would have it, you know, under the -- under the Republican plan at the time.
BERMAN: Rana, what are you expecting this time? Do you care to venture a guess?
RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: Yes, I think that we're going to see a few less people losing their health insurance, but still into the many millions. I'm guessing it's going to be around 20 million, something like that. The question is, is there still going to be deficit reduction savings here. And that's one of the big parts of this bill. In some ways you should think about this bill, not so much as a health care bill, but as a tax reduction and deficit reduction bill. That's one of the reasons that the Republicans were so keen to do health care reform first because they could put that savings against the budget. There's a lot of questions now about whether, a, this is actually going to produce any savings, and, at the same time, you are most likely going to see millions of people losing health care. To me, that's a big concern at a time when, a, we're talking about a budget that's also going to cut Medicaid benefits, you know, health and education benefits to some of the most venerable people. We're at the end of a recovery cycle, an economic recovery cycle. A lot of these people are going to be in trouble anyway. I think that this is overall not a great thing for the growth picture in the U.S.
[09:45:12] HARLOW: All right, let's move on to the budget, because at the same time as they're waiting for the CBO score, Mick Mulvaney is up on The Hill defending their budget.
Stephen Moore, you wrote an op-ed about this in "The Hill" this morning and you -- you acknowledge what you say is a big gamble, your words, for this president, and that is the assumption that we're going to have sustained three to four percent economic growth. We have not seen that since the early '90s, since the Clinton years.
MOORE: Yes. Yes.
HARLOW: Is that a miscalculation by this White House to vet so heavily on that?
MOORE: No, it isn't. And the only thing I disagree with what Rana said, that we're coming to the end of a business cycle, I totally disagree with that. We haven't had any growth virtually at all. You know, we've got less than 2 percent growth. It's almost been a recession for half of the country. So I think there's tremendous potential for a higher economic growth. I think if they get this tax cut done, which I helped Donald Trump write during the campaign, I think it has -- you know, could raise growth.
By the way, that budget calls for 3 percent growth over the next four or five years. The long term economic growth rate of this country, you know, going back to 1900 is 3.4 percent. So, I don't understand economists say we can't even do as well as below average? I mean we could certainly get the three.
HARLOW: Because you know -- you know what a number of economists have said, what the Fed have said in terms of expecting growth more around 1.5, 1.6 percent.
MOORE: Yes, that's not acceptable.
HARLOW: That's different now than during the dot com boom.
MOORE: Yes, but that's --
HARLOW: I'm just saying, you're in different circumstances.
MOORE: Yes. Yes, but, look, we're -- we're going into a productivity boom with automation, with -- and -- I mean productively should rise. It shouldn't fall. And the tax cut will increase the amount of investment and that leads to more productively.
FOROOHAR: Well, you know, Stephen's making a good point that the economy is basically demographics plus productivity. The problem is, productivity has actually been stagnant for several years.
FOROOHAR: You know, I think that there is a big debate about whether we're going into any kind of a productivity boom and whether or not that's actually going to create jobs. I mean, you know, the largest tech companies right now, their market caps' going up, the number of jobs they're creating is going down. At the same time, our demographics are not great. You know, the anti-immigrant sentiments of the administration is also not helping that. You know, at the end of the day, growth is two things, it's the number of people working and how productive they are. Neither of those things are going up right now. Nobody outside the Trump administration thinks that growth is going to be above 2 percent any time soon based on where we are.
HARLOW: Except for Stephen Moore.
MOORE: But we have -- we have record low numbers of people in the workforce. I mean the mystery right now is, we actually have a pretty good labor force. Businesses need workers. Everywhere I go they say, we need workers. The problem, as you know, Rana, is we've had a record low number of people who are working age that are working. That's why I love the Trump budget where Mulvaney said, look, if you're collecting food stamps, Medicaid, we're going to need you to work for those benefits. Get them in the workforce.
BERMAN: That's a whole separate issue. We don't have time to even begin there.
MOORE: All right, next time.
BERMAN: Stephen Moore, Rana Foroohar --
FOROOHAR: Love to talk to you about that another time.
BERMAN: Thanks so much, guys. Get your popcorn for the CBO score coming out later today.
Some sad, breaking news. We now know the name of another of the victims in the Manchester terror attack. We have a picture of Nell Jones. She was a student from Cheshire. Her school's head teacher released a statement saying that Nell was bright and popular. She says her classmates feel like they've lost a sister, not a classmate. Nell is one of 22 people killed in Monday night's attack. We're going to have much more on the victims just ahead.
[09:52:49] BERMAN: This morning we're learning new information about the victims of the terror attack in Manchester that left 22 dead, dozens injured. Nell Jones, a student from Cheshire, is the latest victim to be identified. She's described as popular, very popular, was always smiling and positive.
HARLOW: Another victim, 15-year-old Olivia Campbell. Campbell's mother spoke with CNN before she found out that her daughter was among the 22 who had been murdered. Meantime, Manchester Police have confirmed they have identified all of those kill in the attack. Our Erin McLaughlin has more on the victims.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Poppy, we're hearing the tragic story of 15-year-old Olivia Campbell, one of 22 killed in Monday night's attack. She's described as bubbly with a great sense of humor, much loved by her family.
MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Like many others at the concert, 15-year-old Olivia Campbell was excited to be there.
CHARLOTTE CAMPBELL, MOTHER OF OLIVIA CAMPBELL: It was half past 8:00. She said (INAUDIBLE). She said they were amazing. She was waiting for Ariana to come on, and she was so happy. And she thanked me and said she loved me. And that was the last I heard from her.
MCLAUGHLIN: When Olivia's mother Charlotte last spoke to CNN, she'd hoped her daughter was alive, simply missing. Now the news the family feared, Olivia is among the dead, killed by a terrorist bomb at the Manchester Arena. Her mother confirmed the news on FaceBook, writing, "r.i.p. my darling, precious, gorgeous girl Olivia, taken far, far too soon. Mummy loves you so much."
CAMPBELL: Olivia's just a bubbly child, cheeky as cheeky as anything. If you're feeling down, she'll make you laugh. If she can't make you laugh, she'll hug you until you're smiling again.
PAUL HODGSON, STEPFATHER OF OLIVIA CAMPBELL: It's not until it happens to you, you deep down and go, now I know how them people felt.
(END VIDEOTAPE) MCLAUGHLIN: Manchester police say they have identified all of those who lost their lives in this tragic attack. Four of them have been named by their families, including John Atkinson, who was in his late 20s, 18-year-old Georgina Callander and eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos.
John and Poppy, so many of these victims are children. A truly heartbreaking story.
[09:55:18] BERMAN: It is, indeed. And as we reported before, all the victims have been identified. We will wait for the families to release their names as they deem it appropriate. Our hearts do go out to all of them.
A few minutes before the hour right now. And just a moment ago, a sign of the times here in the United States, drawing a line between himself and the White House. Which senior Republican just said that he does think the former FBI director is a nut job?
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
HARLOW: All right, top of the hour. A lot of breaking news this morning to get to.
We are waiting to hear in just a moment from the Greater Manchester Police chief, Constable Ian Hopkins. Here he is.
CHIEF CONSTABLE IAN HOPKINS, GREATER MANCHESTER POLICE: I'd like to give you an update on the investigation so far.
I would like to confirm that we are confident that we have now spoken to the immediate family of all those that sadly died in Monday's attack and that they are being supported by specially trained family liaison officers.
I'm also aware of speculation on social media and the wider media around the occupation of one of the victims. Very sadly, I can confirm that one of the victims is a serving police officer. But in respecting their family's wishes, I will make no further comment at this stage.
Due to the number of victims, the home office (INAUDIBLE) are likely to take four to five days. After this, we will be in a position to formally name the victims in line with guidance from the coroner.