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Health Care Bill Meets Resistance; Putin Directed Election Hacks; White House Reacts to Putin News; Update on Conjoined Twins. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired June 23, 2017 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R), LOUISIANA: The aisle allowing blue states to do blue things and red states to go a different direction. And that was rejected by Chuck Schumer before he read the bill. So - that said, two Democrats walk into Mitch McConnell's door right now, they bargain.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN ANCHOR: Here's what's hard, and I don't think we're going to accomplish in just a couple of minutes the full complexity of this, so I want to zeroing in on one piece of it. What should the goal be? We know that the goal of Obamacare, which was not completely fulfilled, would be to cover more people in the individual market as you said. Now that was accomplished, but there were also consequences of that, right? The individual mandate didn't really work. Premiums went up. So there are issues.

Here, there's no question that this approach would cover fewer people, right? Would offer fewer subsidies, would contract the expansion of Medicaid. So how does that jive with what your goal is as a lawmaker for how to change health care in the individual market? What should government do and what shouldn't it do?

CASSIDY: So, first, I say, my goal is not as a lawmaker first, it's as a position who for 25 years focused on the physician/patient relationship. Our goal should be to make - should be to make that patient, that family, our first focus. If we can do that, it works.

GREGORY: Right, but you are going to - you - whether you like it or not, you do have people who are covered who may no longer be covered. So that would be taking away an entitlement that already exists, which is a physician, a politician, or whatever, is not easy to do.

CASSIDY: So let's say, on Medicaid, it isn't so much that they would not be covered. They would not be covered on Medicaid expansion.


CASSIDY: So, for example, they would not be eligible for a credit. Indeed there are some folks not eligible for any subsidy under Obamacare who would now be eligible for some help in purchasing their insurance. That's probably like 4 million, 5 million people in the United States for whom that is the case. There's other folks who are on Medicaid expansion now who would then be covered on their employers' insurance as opposed to Medicaid. That's actually a good thing.

GREGORY: You think the votes there are in the end? You think it passes the Senate?

CASSIDY: Well, I don't know. My concerns still have to be addressed. Obviously there's four senators who are very open about their concerns.


CASSIDY: But I do think that there's a good faith effort. I'll repeat, if two Democrats walked into Mitch McConnell's door right now, he would bargain.

GREGORY: All right, senator, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

CASSIDY: Thank you.

GREGORY: Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we have to talk about this, David, another offensive suggestion by a Hollywood star flirting with the idea of assassinating the president. Listen to what Johnny Depp just said as a festival in the United Kingdom.


JOHNNY DEPP, ACTOR: When was the last time an actor assassinated a president? I - I want to clarify, I'm not an actor. I lie for a living.


CAMEROTA: Well, after mentioning President Trump, the eccentric actor appears to make a reference to John Wilkes Booth, the actor who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. The Secret Service says it is aware of these comments. Depp's comments come a couple weeks after the comedian, Kathy Griffin, apologized for posting a picture of her holding a bloody head that looked like President Trump.

GREGORY: It is - it is so obviously hideous that people who have a public forum do this. You know, I was in Virginia at my son's basketball game this week speaking to a Secret Service agent whose job it is to investigate threats like this that come in as an attack on our institution of the presidency every day and cannot be trivialized by actors out there spewing this (INAUDIBLE).

CAMEROTA: It's so horrible because, obviously, there are copycats. And when an actor - when somebody with a really high-profile platform says something like this, it's just horrible. It's not funny. It's just disgusting. So we'll see what the reaction and what happens with Johnny Depp, next.

GREGORY: All right, we will leave that there.

A stunning new report saying this morning Russian President Putin ordered the interference in the history to defeat Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump win. This reporting from "The Washington Post" being very clear saying this was an attempt to influence of the election. We're going to get "The Bottom Line" and the White House response, coming up next.


[08:37:03] CAMEROTA: There is exclusive new reporting in "The Washington Post" this morning that the CIA captured Russian President Vladimir Putin issuing orders to hack the U.S. election with the goal of helping Donald Trump win.

Let's get "The Bottom Line" from CNN's senior political analyst Mark Preston. We're still working out our time and chemistry.

GREGORY: I'm only permitted to speak for designated periods, Mark.

CAMEROTA: That's right. That wasn't one of them.

Mark, what do you make of this new reporting?

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, what's so significant about this report is that the information is coming out from deep inside the Russian government, which only corroborates what our intelligence agencies knew late last summer, you know, heading into the fall.

I think a couple things coming out of this report that are very, very important. A, did the Obama administration fumble the ball on this? You know, I - as much as we are looking ahead to see, how do we stop it in the future, you've got to look in the past to look for clues to see where they mishandled the situation. And, two, is that there are three lines of investigation coming out of this, right? There is Russian meddling, there is perhaps collusion and then there's obstruction of justice. And there's a line in "The Washington Post" story today I think is very relevant where it talks about how everything has been clouded basically by the fight over the obstruction of justice or perhaps collusion. And that's why I think the American people are not able to grasp on in this so much.

GREGORY: And, Mark, I think what's interesting is, where is the pressure and what is the pressure on the administration to retaliate against Russia, and at the same time prevent it happening in the future? The White House doesn't really speak to that because there is a question about what the Obama administration did or failed to do, or was unwilling to do. Where's the pressure from Republicans, you know, with regard to how the administration is going to respond because right now they just say, look, you mentioned Russia. There was no collusion. It didn't have an impact, so let's just move on.

PRESTON: Well, and you go to the point of that interview that Alisyn just had with Kellyanne Conway when she tries to talk to her about this and Kellyanne Conway tries to redirect and say, let's talk about this job apprenticeship program. Yes, it's very important that we talk about that, but let's just stay focused on one issue, give us an answer, then move on. But what we've seen, David, you know, throughout, you know, the first three, four months of this administration, is that they seem so chaotic and scattered and often his aides, the president's aides, are cleaning up after him because he seems to refuse to grasp the reality that Russia did meddle with the election.

CAMEROTA: You know, Mark, what's funny is that I was asking Kellyanne what is sometimes referred to in our business as a softball, which is, what's the president going to do about this?


CAMEROTA: Obviously, there's a - must be a plan, we would assume, and what will the White House do about this? That isn't a gotcha question, but she heard it and interpreted it differently. Here is the moment.


CAMEROTA: This goes the furthest we've seen to connecting President Putin of Russia to actually giving the directive to interfere in the U.S. election and to try to hurt Hillary Clinton. What's the White House's response to this?

[08:40:10] KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: Well, the president had said previously, and we've got confirmation now from Jeh Johnson, from Adam Schiff, from Dan Coats, from Jim Comey, from Mike Rogers that there's no evidence of collusion, number one. And, number two, that this didn't have an impact on the electoral result. And I think it's very important -


PRESTON: Right, it did - right, you weren't asking about collusion, right? You weren't asking about the outcome of the election or the results.

CAMEROTA: I didn't mention that. I really - I mean I actually really thought that she was going to make news by telling U.S., here's what President Trump is doing to stop this from ever happening again, but they don't have that answer.

PRESTON: Isn't it a very simple answer, though, to say, listen, we have a working group right now that's working on it. We haven't discussed it publicly because it's so sensitive or we're talking about perhaps creating a commission where Democrats and Republicans, former lawmakers, national security folks could come together to try to work on this.

But, no, they always go back to, listen, President Trump was legitimately elected president. No one's questioning that. He was legitimately elected, OK. But, that doesn't mean that these other things didn't happen or might - might have happened.

GREGORY: You're never going to - so far we're never going to get from the president a real condemnation of Russia. They seem to be kind of irritated with the attack of democracy in the way that you're irritated if you don't get your paper in the morning. But they still have to focus on the substance. And the substance has been kind of tough against Russia. So we'll have to see how this - how this unravels.

CAMEROTA: Mark, thank you.

GREGORY: Thanks, Mark.

PRESTON: Thanks, guys.

GREGORY: It is a story that we have followed closely, the separation and recovery of two formerly conjoined twins. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has an update on how they are doing now, coming up next.


[08:45:48] CAMEROTA: Time now for the "Five Things to Know for Your New Day.

A stunning report in "The Washington Post." The CIA capturing Russian President Vladimir Putin issuing orders to hack the U.S. election to help Donald Trump and defeat Hillary Clinton.

GREGORY: Number two, Alisyn is actually not this tall. And President Trump is now admitting that he does not have any tapes of his private conversations with former FBI Director Jim Comey.

CAMEROTA: Number three, prove it. The Senate Health care bill facing resistance from all sides. Four GOP senators publicly saying they oppose the plan, which means there are currently not enough votes to pass it.

GREGORY: Qatar now being accused of leaking a list of demands from its Arab neighbors in order to undercut negotiations with them. The demands include shutting down al Jazeera and affiliated channels. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties earlier this month over allegations that Qatar funds terrorism.

CAMEROTA: OK, David's favorite stories, hoop dreams can come true. The Philadelphia 76ers making freshman point guard Markelle Fultz the top -

GREGORY: Markelle. Yes, oh, Lord, have mercy.

CAMEROTA: Top pick. Why do I read this? You should be reading this one.

GREGORY: Markelle Fultz. You know, so he's the guy from the DMV, which is the district of Maryland and Virginia, where I live. He didn't even make his varsity basketball team down at DeMatha until a junior. It just shows you, it's not a straight line to the NBA. Good for him.

CAMEROTA: Never give up, people. Keep reaching for the stars, as I am this morning because even cheating it -


CAMEROTA: I'm not as tall as David Gregory.

GREGORY: She's on a box the size of Nebraska.

For more on the "Five Things to Know," go to for the very latest.

CAMEROTA: All right, so they capturing the world's attention after surgery to separate this pair of very rare conjoined twins. How are they doing today? Dr. Sanjay Gupta previews his special report with us, next.


[08:51:12] CAMEROTA: Their story captivated the country. A true medical miracle. And tonight we have a CNN special report "Separated: Saving the Twins," the life altering surgery to separate conjoined twins Jadon and Anais McDonald.

CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us now with a preview.

Great to see you.

How are they?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: They're doing well. And I've got to tell you, I've never seen anything like this. I mean this is - this is neurosurgery, but it's so rare what happened here and the access they gave us to actually be in a hospital, a 27-hour operation.

The entire time we were talking to the parents, I said, you know, what are your hopes? What are your dreams out of all this? And most immediately Nicole, who's the mother, said, look, I've never been able to hold my boys. They've always conjoined. There's always got to be two people. They've never been able to just hold one of them. You know, when they're crying, they need to be comforted. So that was sort of the moment.

So I want you to take a look, because just a few days after the operation now, which went well, this is what happened.


GUPTA (voice-over): Meanwhile, four days after the operation, Jadon wakes up. He is ready for something his parents had only dreamed of. He can be picked up and cuddled for the first time. It's as if Nicole sees him for the first time.

NICOLE MCDONALD, MOTHER: As a mother, you know when you hold your child, you know every bit of their face. Well, his face also encompassed Anais'. So it was my first moment of relearning his face. And he looked up at me for the first time in that way. And I got to see that he was reassured and he was comforted in my arms, which is something I was scared of. I was scared he didn't want to be held because they had never been held. And he melted in, and it was wonderful.


CAMEROTA: Wow, that's powerful.

GUPTA: I mean, you know, they didn't know what to expect. I mean they didn't talk about - you know, they knew this operation needed to happen. These boys may not have survived. Certainly wouldn't have had a normal life of any sort if they hadn't been separated. And yet it's such a risky operation. I mean it's a near impossible decision, I think, for parents to make. And this is what the - what happened. And at least a few days after, that's what things looked like.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: So, for us, you know, it's all about, will they be successfully separated? And once you know that, you're like, oh, wow, what an amazing ending. But it's just a beginning for this family, right?

GUPTA: No doubt. No doubt. I mean, you know, they were just over a year old when they had this done. After the operation, one of the surgeons, Dr. Goodrich, put it to me like this, it's kind of like they're reborn because they haven't done anything that babies would have done at that point. They haven't really learned to move the way they do. They certainly haven't walked. They've never been upright. So even their eyes have always been looking up. They've never been able to look down. So the rehabilitation as part of this is a huge process. Just the postoperative care.

But, yes, there's going to be a long process involved. But we - you know, these are still relatively new operations in terms of this technology. So how they're going to do and the things they do to try and help them is constantly changing.

CAMEROTA: And we all fell in love with the parents -


CAMEROTA: Because, I mean, these are just like remarkable people. How are they doing?

GUPTA: They're -- they're doing well, but it's been hard. I man they've had to change their whole lives. They went from a small town in Illinois. They searched all over the world to try and find the right doctor. They found this guy, Dr. Goodrich, who is the most experienced cranial pegas conjoined twins surgeon in the world and they moved their lives here. Gave up jobs, did everything in an effort to separate their twins.

And so they're doing OK. They may stay here now in New York. They may make their lives here. We don't know. But they're doing OK, all things considered. But there's no question when you have children who are ill, when you have children who need - have medical needs like this, it encompasses everything.

[08:55:15] CAMEROTA: Oh, it's all-consuming.


CAMEROTA: Right. And the fact that they were able to keep their spirit through it whenever you would check in with them was just remarkable.

GUPTA: Yes. And they never left the hospital, seemingly.

CUOMO: Right.

GUPTA: I mean they're all - I mean, Nicole, she - she was always there. Christian was pretty much always there as well. But they have another son as well who he had to help care for, three years olds. So it's - you know, it would be taxing, I think, for anybody. But somehow they've been able to do it. And it certainly helps that the boys have recovered as quickly as they did.

CUOMO: So what does that mean because, you know, for all of us being parents, it's hard when everything is perfect? What is normal for them now?

GUPTA: Well, for them, it's - they have certain milestones they want to hit. You know, so again, you know, you typically think of a child who's a year old starting to take their first steps. They were 14 months and never even been off their backs. So they're sort of re- assessing all those milestones. I don't want to give away too much of what's happening here, but they - they're able to do things I think much more quickly than doctors even anticipated.

One thing I will tell you, they were out of - the operation was in October. They were out of the hospital by December. Dr. Goodrich said this was the most complicated separation he's ever done and also the quickest recovery he's ever seen. So, you know, two differing things there, but in the end it works out well for these boys.

CAMEROTA: All right, we understand a tease. You want us to watch the special, Sanjay.

GUPTA: That's right.

CAMEROTA: So don't miss it.

GUPTA: There's a great ending.

CUOMO: How do you not watch?

CAMEROTA: Yes, right.

GUPTA: There's a great ending.

CAMEROTA: So don't miss this CNN special report, "Separated: Saving the Twins." It's tonight, 10:00 p.m. Eastern, only on CNN.

OK, and this is our great ending also.

David, thanks so much for being here today.

GREGORY: My pleasure. I'll go back to making coffee for you now. CAMEROTA: Thank you.


CAMEROTA: And I'd also like a pedicure.

CNN "Newsroom" with John Berman picks up after this very quick break. Have a great weekend.