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Driver Hits Crowd Outside London Mosque in Deadly Attack; Senate GOP Wants Health Care Vote on Mystery Bill as Democrats Plan to Shutdown Chamber; Georgia House Race Ads Turn Ugly; Trump Welcomes Panamanian President to White House; Interview with Rep. Lee Zeldin. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired June 19, 2017 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:33:34] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Another frightening day in London. Authorities investigating what they believe is another terror attack, this one targets Muslims. A van mowed down worshipers near a mosque as evening Ramadan prayers ended. Several people were hurt. One man was found dead at the scene. Police aren't sure if the man was killed in the actual attack. The driver of the van, the van's driver, a 48-year-old man, is now in custody. And right now, authorities believe he acted alone.
London's mayor acknowledged it's been a terrible few weeks in his city but also vowed the terrorists will ultimately fail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SADIQ KHAN, LONDON MAYOR: This attack behind me, the attack on the attack in Manchester, the attack on London Bridge, the attack on Westminster Bridge, are all an attack on our shared values. Our shared values are tolerance, freedom and respect. We will not allow these terrorists to succeed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: All right. I want to take us quickly to the White House. What we are looking at the President Trump and the first lady welcoming the president and first lady of Panama to the White House for a visit. The world leaders will be visiting, meeting in the Oval Office. That leaves an opportunity for the president to speak to the press when they go in with cameras.
Let's wait a moment. Let's listen in as the arrival happens.
[11:35:30] BOLDUAN: All right, the official word from the White House is leaders will discuss ways to reinforce the strong bilateral ties between the two nations, and the shared priorities in the fight against transnational organized crime, illegal migration and illicit substances. They will meet in the Oval Office, then have a working lunch. We'll see if the president makes any comments to cameras when we have an opportunity to get in there. We'll get back to that. Also, I want to get back overseas and the terrorist attack that played
out in London, and we're also watching it play out this morning, an attack that appears to be terror-related in Paris.
CNN's Clarissa Ward is in London. She's covered all the -- unfortunately, Clarissa, your assignment recently has been covering all the attacks in London and beyond.
The mayor of London today called his city resilient and said this has been a terrible few weeks for London. How are Londoners handling all of this? Obviously, it's difficult to say, a blanket statement. What's the sense there? Are folks afraid or are folks changing their routines?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean, so far, Kate, we don't see so much indication that people are afraid or changing their routines. Although, of course, I have spoken to some who say they don't feel comfortable riding on the subway because they have fears about that. I know when I told my mother I was going to a concert on Saturday night, she was concerned about that. Even though the British people are stoic and are intent on remaining united and positive and sticking to their daily lives as usual throughout this terrible period, there's no question, underlying that, there is a sense of unease and anxiety. It's hard to overstate how brutal the past few weeks have been for the British people. The hits keep coming. You have the terrible attack in Manchester, the terrible attack in London Bridge, then last week, an awful fire in an apartment building that killed at least 79 people. That death toll is supposed to go up or expected to go up as they identify more and more of the people who are missing. Now you have this attack on a mosque, or next to a mosque, people coming out after Ramadan prayers. This is the holiest month of the year in Islam. They were essentially mowed down by a van. The driver was detained at the scene.
Kate, I think it's testimony to the restraint of the people outside the mosque that they were able to hold him and keep him unharmed. No one laid a finger on him until police arrived on the scene. As you heard from the mayor, they are investigating this as a terrorist incident.
I think it's a growing concern you have extremes on both sides here, Kate, who feel emboldened, like they are getting closer to being able to tear away at the fabric of British society. Obviously, most people in this country are saying, hold on, we don't want any of that. There's no question that after attack after attack after attack, it starts to wear on the local people here -- Kate?
BOLDUAN: That investigation very much under way as it happened early this morning.
Clarissa, great to see you. Thanks.
The top Republican in the Senate, he says he wants a health care vote before the Fourth of July recess. Can he make that happen? He's very powerful. He's very good. He knows the Senate floor rules very well. Can he get it done when many Senators don't even know what is in the bill at this moment? Now, Democrats are gearing up for a fight. Let's see what happens. Details on that ahead.
Plus, it's the most expensive House race in history and it's has gotten ugly. New ads that have folks on both sides of the aisle shaking their heads.
We'll be right back.
[11:43:39] BOLDUAN: All eyes right now are on the GOP as the window is closing for the Senate Republicans to come up with a health care bill. Kind of a deadline they have set for themselves. The goal is for the Senate to vote on something, vote on some legislation before the July 4th recess. Republican leaders are in the spotlight and under fire for the tightly guarded process in pulling together their version of a health care bill. Most Republicans they don't know what's in it. What is it at the moment? We just learned tonight, Senate Democrats will be moving to bring the Senate chamber to a halt to try to protest the Republicans closed-door process and slow things down, if they can.
CNN political director, David Chalian, is joining me now for more on this.
So, David, what started earlier in the hour as a discussion about the Russian investigation ended up becoming an interesting and lively debate about exactly this. What is going on behind closed doors between Senator Santorum and Ron Brownstein?
From everyone's view at this point, no one knows what's in it exactly, except the folks behind closed doors. How is this health care situation in the Senate going to shake out?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Kate, this is a deliberate strategy on the part of McConnell. It isn't by magic that it's happening behind closed doors. This is how he believes he can get to the 50-51 votes he needs to pass this bill. He thinks the best way to do it is not having to expose to sunlight a death by 1,000 cuts, every outside interest group and interested party can get in there and make complaints about it.
Now, of course, at some point, when this is legislative text and it gets scored by the Congressional Budget Office to learn what is in it, what it costs, and how many people lose coverage over this repeal, then the American people are going to have a chance to look at it. Mitch McConnell is hoping to limit that window in an effort to get votes. That's the political strategy behind it. Which left the Democrats with a big question of what can they do to push back on that and shine a light on the fact that that's how McConnell is doing it behind closed doors. And you just reported this one way they are going to start pushing back, which is trying to grind Senate business to a halt. That's something Democratic-based voters have been pressing Democratic leaders in the Senate in Washington to do.
[11:45:54] BOLDUAN: So, if I can, because let us see what happens there. Let me turn to something that is going to happen more immediately.
The most expensive House race in history, Georgia's special election between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel. This race is all kind of been watching it happen. It was always going to come down to the wire, it appeared. It just got really, really ugly. Ads from outside political action groups, especially this is one. Here's one example that just hit the airwaves. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Now the unhinged left is endorsing and applauding shooting Republicans. When will it stop?
ANNOUCER: It won't if Jon Ossoff wins on Tuesday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Both campaigns condemned that ad. What is going on here? Do they need to go there?
CHALIAN: Let me add my voice to those campaigns condemning the campaigns. It crosses the line to try to put together Jon Ossoff, the Democrat, running in this House race, with last week's shooting.
CHALIAN: The two don't belong that much together, which is why you see both candidates trying to distance themselves from it.
But to point, you don't get the most expensive House race in history without it getting ugly at the end, when it's this close and the stakes are high, Kate. This is the 2017 ballgame, if you will, this race, now, in terms of setting up the battle for the House of Representatives in the midterm elections. It is impossible for this race not to be viewed as some sort of referendum on Donald Trump's first five months in office.
BOLDUAN: But, I mean the way folks are playing is like, whatever happens tomorrow, that decides exactly the fate of the House majority in 2018.
CHALIAN: Oh, no.
BOLDUAN: Exactly. A lot happens between here and then. But everyone sees it as an indicator no matter how it ends up.
CHALIAN: It represents -- we'll sort of see, in a district -- this is why it's so key. In a district that is exactly the profile of what Donald Trump has been having trouble with wherever he has trouble among Republicans, this is it. It's the better educated, more affluent, suburban voters that are elusive to him. There are a lot of districts around the country that Democrats see as an opportunity in their quest for 24 pickups, which is no easy feat, if they win tomorrow. If they don't win tomorrow, I think Democrats are going to have a huge blow, and try to figure out what is the party doing wrong in the era of Trump? They went all in on this to try to prove their point.
BOLDUAN: Stand by to stand by. Everyone heads to the polls tomorrow.
David, great to see you. Thank you.
CHALIAN: You, too, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Coming up next, more on the breaking news. Just hours after a terror attack in London, moments ago, an armed man targeted police in Paris. We look at live pictures at the scene. That's the car involved right there. We just got new information about the driver, next.
[11:52:48] BOLDUAN: Tonight, Senate Democrats will try to begin blocking Senate business. This is a direct response to the secrecy of the GOP's revised health care plan to take down Obamacare, of course. But what is in that Senate bill is anyone's guess at this point.
Let me bring in Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin.
Congressman, thanks so much for coming in.
REP. LEE ZELDIN, (R), NEW YORK: Happy to be with you.
BOLDUAN: So you supported the House version of the health care bill. Then it was kicked to the Senate. The Senate said it will work on its own. It has been behind closed doors. Do you have any insight of what's in this thing?
ZELDIN: I don't think if they have a final bill yet. I haven't gotten updates to indicate they are done with their process of developing that draft introduce. Maybe it's something we see in the next few days. If they want to pass something the next few weeks, they better finalize and release the bill as early as this week.
BOLDUAN: Your opinion on the secrecy. Republicans in the House were criticized for carrying out a secret process. I remember Rand Paul making quite a show of his treasure hunt, taking a copier along to try to find the bill that was in some committee room he never found, taking reporters with him. What's your view on how the Senate is doing it?
ZELDIN: I don't know if they have a bill yet to release publicly.
BOLDUAN: Even the process.
ZELDIN: As far as the process goes, you have -- so you have 100 Senators, you need 51 votes to pass it. 52 Republicans. You have a very limited margin. It's not like you have 100 Senators looking to get to yes here. BOLDUAN: Are you OK with the secrecy?
ZELDIN: Well, as soon as they have a bill to introduce they should introduce it and it should be discussed and debated.
BOLDUAN: You think there will be time for hearings?
ZELDIN: I don't know exactly what the timeline is. If they want to pass a bill by July 4, it would be great, or if they introduce the bill, say, next day or so. I just don't know where they're at in that process. I do believe there should be time for the public to be able to read it, weigh in on it and if there's any ideas to improve it, to offer up those ideas and improve it.
BOLDUAN: So last week - oh, let me pause for one second.
We will go really quick, the president meeting with the president of Panama. The first ladies are there as well. Let's listen in.
[11:55:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's our great honor to have President and Mrs. Varela from Panama. We have many things to discuss. We will spend quite a bit of time today. The Panama Canal is doing quite well. I think we did a good job building it, right?
A very good job.
But things are going well in Panama. The relationship has been very strong. We are developing new things to do and only getting stronger. And our, also, friendship with the president is very, very good.
I just want to thank you very much. It's an honor to have you at the White House.
JUAN CARLOS VARELA, PRESIDENT OF PANAMA: I would like to thank President Trump, and his wife, for receiving us today at the White House. It's great to be hear. It's a long friendship between Panama and the United States. We face the same challenges in the region. So the idea of this visit is to work closely together to face the same challenge we have in the region of Central America, Latin America and our continent. So I'm really happy to be here today in Washington. I'm looking forward to this meeting and meeting with the other directors of the agencies to establish the work together very closely with the president and the administration for the future of the region.
TRUMP: Again, thank you.
BOLDUAN: There have you it from the White House.
Let me get back to the important discussion of health care with the limited time we have left.
Last week, the president told Republican Senators at the White House, when it comes to the House bill, he described it as mean, cold-hearted and a son of a something. You supported that bill. Did you support something that's "mean?"
ZELDIN: The president supported it as well and he was encouraging many of my colleagues as well to support the bill. No, I don't believe that at all. When I talk to people about, why do you not support this bill, they are say, well, it changes the definition of pre-existing conditions, even though it doesn't.
BOLDUAN: Were you blindsided by that remark from the president?
ZELDIN: I wish I was there to participate in that particular conversation. I was at dinner at the White House with the president a week and a half ago when the health care bill came up then.
ZELDIN: It was nothing anywhere near that kind of analysis of the bill, and the president was very focused on getting health care passed, as he is now.
BOLDUAN: Congressman, what does that say? Who is he telling the truth to, Senators or you guys?
ZELDIN: I'm saying, as far as my conversations with him directly, he has been pushing forward with getting passage in Congress and he wants to sign it. And there is a time sensitivity to it from the standpoint of, you know, if you live in Iowa and are losing your last insurer on the exchange in 2018. You have no choice in the individual market.
BOLDUAN: Does he make your job harder or easier with comments like that?
ZELDIN: I actually think the president's advocacy in the House was key to getting the bill passed in the House.
BOLDUAN: Now he's un-advocating it.
ZELDIN: I don't know exactly, you know, what happened behind closed doors that I have been reading about and you are asking me about. All I can say is, from my conversations with him as recently as a week and a half ago in the White House, there was no signs that he was anything other than full speed ahead, trying to get something passed.
BOLDUAN: All right. Congressman, great to see you.
ZELDIN: Good to see you, too.
BOLDUAN: Good luck this week. Back to our breaking news. Two terror investigations under way right
now in London -- one in London, one in Paris. We are following the latest developments.
We'll be right back.
[12:00:04] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
JOHN KING, CNN HOT: Welcome to "Inside Politics." I'm John King.
A very busy hour ahead, including some big breaking news. Two terror investigations --