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Republican Health Care Bill Facing a Critical Week; President Trump Has New Strategy Regarding Russian Interference in 2016 Election; A Crucial Day for the Supreme Court; Jihadi Group Has Suddenly Gained Territory in Southeast Asia; Wildfire in Utah. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired June 26, 2017 - 04:00   ET



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

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R), WISCONSIN: I don't have the feedback from constituencies who will not have had enough time to review the Senate bill. We should not be voting on this next week.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: They say they're going to fix health care, premiums are going to go down. There's no way the Republican bill brings down premiums.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: There's no way in God's Earth that this bill should be passed this week.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We don't have too much of a choice because the alternative is the dead caucus of Obamacare.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The Republican health care bill facing a critical week as Senate Republican leadership is pushing for a vote by Friday. And as early as today, we could find out the true costs and effects of the Senate health plan.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump, now acknowledging that Russia meddled in the U.S. election, but who is he blaming? He's pointing his finger at former President Barack Obama. What's behind's Trump's new strategy?


KOSIK: Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Alison Kosik.

BRIGGS: Good morning to you, I'm Dave Briggs. Monday, June 26th. It is 4:00 A.M. in the East.

And as soon as today, the Congressional Budget Office assessment of the Senate health care bill, that's the same CBO score that nearly scuttled the House version of Obamacare, repeal and replace.

And the Senate's fifty-two Republicans have an even narrower path to victory than their House colleagues. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can only lose two votes. Right now at least five Republicans have already said they cannot support the bill in its current form and that's before the CBO score comes out.

KOSIK: Meantime, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is making sweeping promises to help get the bill across the finish line. I'll give you an example here, he says that a deep cut to Medicaid is not really a cut.


TOM PRICE, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: What I'm telling you is that the system, the plan that we have, would put in place, would not allow individuals to fall through the cracks. Would not -- we would not pull the rug out from under anybody. We would not have individuals lose coverage that they -- that they want for themselves and for their family. We want to make certain that health care is available to all Americans.


KOSIK: Let's turn to White House Correspondent Athena Jones for the latest.

ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alison and Dave. This could prove to be another monumental week in the Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell determined to hold a vote on the Senate's version of this bill this week.

The problem is that at least right now there are enough Republican senators who have expressed opposition to the bill to effectively kill it. Several other Republican senators have also expressed concerns. Conservatives are worried that it doesn't go far enough to undo Obamacare.

Meanwhile, more moderate senators are worried that it may go too far, that it could leave the most needy and the most vulnerable behind, particularly because of the changes to Medicaid, though the cuts to the Medicaid program that are included in this bill. Now we could see the score from the Nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office as soon as today. That will let senators know the impact of this bill.

How much will it cost? How will it impact the deficit? How many -- how many people could lose coverage under the Senate's proposal? Those numbers are going to be very important for senators trying to make a decision about the bill. I should also mention that President Trump has been working the phones himself.

He's spoken with Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul to try to get them on board. So a lot to watch this week as they try to get this bill, this promise that Republicans have been running on for the last seven years. They are going to try to get this bill across the finish line. We'll be watching closely to see what happens. Alison, Dave.

KOSIK: OK, Athena, thank you very much. And the president confirming Sunday, he called the House health care bill mean.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Mean, that was my term, because I want to see -- I want to see and I speak from the heart, that's what I want to see. I want to see a bill with heart.


KOSIK: However, some critics say the Senate bill also lacks heart. That's because it -- it makes the deepest cut to Medicaid in fifty years. Medicaid is the nation's biggest health insurer. It covers more than seventy million low-income Americans. And the current proposal slashes funding by at least $800 billion over the next ten years.

How does it do this? Well, there are a few ways here. By expand -- by ending, actually, the expansion program, reducing the growth rate of funding, and sending states a fixed amount of money instead of leaving it open-ended. Now, each state's funding at the moment will be based on its historical spending for each group. And that includes children, disabled adults, and the elderly.

Republican lawmakers claimed the current system encourages states to overspend on Medicaid. However, most Americans view the program favorably. And President Trump promises that no one who has Medicaid is going to lose their coverage. However, the CBO estimate of the House bill found that fourteen million Americans will.

[04:05:00] So how will the Senate version fair? We're going to find out when the CBO releases its analysis expected to come out today, its analysis on costs.


KOSIK: Its analysis on what the effects are going to be on actual people. Will they lose...


BRIGGS: This is everything. There is crucial for Senate Republicans. Well, it looks like President Trump has a new strategy regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election. He's now blaming former President Barack Obama.

President Trump escalating his attacks on Mr. Obama over the weekend, seizing on a stunning Washington Post report that quotes a former senior Obama administration official, that unnamed official telling the Post, quote, we short of choked on blocking Russia's efforts to influence the U.S. election.

KOSIK: President Trump tweeting over the weekend, saying this, "since the Obama administration was told way before the 2016 election that the Russians were meddling, why no action? Focus on them, not T." T for Trump.

CNN's Ryan Nobles has more on the president's new tactic for dealing with claims of Russian meddling. RYAN NOBLES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alison and

Dave. President Trump spent a lot of time during the campaign and after his election attempting to downplay Russia's role intervening in the 2016 election.

But now after this report in the Washington Post that details the Obama administration's response that the Intelligence Community's assessment, he seems willing to admit Russia's efforts as long as he can blame President Obama for not doing enough.

But one former administration official concedes in the report that they could have and perhaps should have done more. On "STATE OF THE UNION", Adam Schiff, a Democrat and Ranking Member on the Intelligence Committee, agreed.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: The American people needed to know and I didn't think it was enough to tell them after the election, but rather, given the seriousness of this, I think the administration need to call out Russia earlier, they needed to act to deter and punish Russia earlier, and I think that was a very serious mistake.


NOBLES: Schiff went on to say that even though President Obama could have been -- may should have done more, that doesn't change the fact that candidate Trump was part of the problem, egging WikiLeaks and even Russia on, telling them in speeches to reveal more hacked DNC emails and emails from Hillary Clinton's private server.

And it now appears that President Trump is using Obama's inaction to deflect from the investigation into his campaign's possible collusion with Russia which he has of course denied. Yesterday morning, Trump tweeting, "Hillary Clinton concluded with the Democratic Party in order to beat crazy Bernie Sanders. Is she allowed to so collude? Unfair to Bernie."

This, of course, all comes at a time where Special Counsel Robert Mueller continues his investigation. And at least three different Congressional committees continue their probe into Russia's role in the 2016 election. Alison and Dave.

BRIGGS: Ryan, thank you.

A busy day ahead at the White House as President Trump welcomes India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Modi represents one of fastest growing economies in the world and a market U.S. Companies are eager to break in, too. But certainly, it has backed dropped to today's meeting.

India's nervous about Trump's plans to revamp the H-1B visa program. Indian workers get a seventy percent of H-1B's awarded each year. India now says it wants to join China, leading the world to a more sustainable future, after the U.S. pulled out of the Paris climate deal. KOSIK: Well, it may have looked like a black tie cabinet meeting, but

this little get together was pairing president -- the president and first lady Melania Trump, the vice president and others, it was actually the wedding of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to Scottish actress Louise Linton.

Vice President Pence officiated as the couple exchanged I Dos before three hundred guests in Washington Saturday night. The newly weds have experienced concerning conflicts of interest here. Mnuchin apologized in March for appearing to promote a movie he had produced. Linton resigned as the interim CEO of a film company in May that Mnuchin once -- once headed and invested after taking office.

Up next, a crucial day for the Supreme Court, in just a few hours, we're going to hear whether the court is taking up President Trump's travel ban case and whether Justice Anthony Kennedy is retiring.

BRIGGS: And some terrifying moments for hundreds of passengers on an international flight, shaking violently for nearly two hours. The cause is still a mystery. We'll show you more of this video next.


KOSIK: Oh, there's lots of intrigue building this morning at the Supreme Court as the high court has its last day of its current term. That is today. Two big questions looming, will the high court take up President Trump's travel ban case, and will 80-year-old Justice Anthony Kennedy retire.

CNN's Ariane de Vogue has more.

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: All eyes are on Justice Anthony Kennedy. Sources say he's seriously considering retirement, but no one knows if it will come as early as this term. It would be a big change for the court and the country. He's played such a central role on the court.

He's vote with liberals on abortion access, affirmative action. He's voted with conservatives on gun rights, campaign finance Bush before, if President Trump gets this vacancy, he would really solidify the conservative majority for years to come. He would replace a centrist with a conservative. That could really change the court.

Today we could also hear about the travel ban. Lower courts have blocked it. The administration is asking for two things, allow it to go into effect immediately and hear arguments next term. We could here about both these issues as early as this morning. Alison, Dave.

BRIGGS: Ariane de Vogue, thank you.

Take a look now at this terrifying video. More than three hundred and fifty passengers on this AirAsia X Flight from Perth, Australia, to Malaysia and during this violent shaking, for two hours.

[04:15:00] One passenger said there was a loud bang about an hour into the flight, and the plane shuddered during the entire trip back to Perth. He also said the pilot asked them to pray twice. They were told to hold the brace position during landing. Not clearly what caused the issues with the jet's Rolls-Royce engines.

KOSIK: Oh, gosh, scary.

BRIGGS: Scary if you imagine.

KOSIK: No, I can't imagine.


KOSIK: All right. Investigators now looking into what are cell phones, cigarettes or something else sparks a leaking fuel tanker in eastern Pakistan.

The death toll from the violent explosion and fire, now up to at least, a hundred and fifty-three people, dozens more were injured in the inferno which happened after the tanker veered off the road when the driver lost control. Pakistani media reporting people were caught in the explosion after they rushed to collect the leaking fuel in pots. So devastating.

BRIGGS: All right. Next, while the fight against ISIS has been focused on Iraq and Syria, the Jihadi group has suddenly gained territory in Southeast Asia, capturing a city in the Philippines, and government forces now struggling to handle the humanitarian crisis. We go live to Hong Kong next on EARLY START.


BRIGGS: Security forces in the Philippines struggling to reclaim a city recapture by ISIS as the U.S.-led coalition steadily whittles away at ISIS territory in Iraq and Syria. The Jihadi movement has established a foothold in Southeast Asia, ISIS capturing the city of Marawi (ph) in lightning assault over the past month, civilians fleeing by the hundreds of thousands.

CNN's Ivan Watson following developments for us live from Hong Kong. Ivan, you travelled actually close to this conflict zone. Can you give us a sense of what is happening there?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this has been an incredible military and in some respects political accomplishment for ISIS in the Philippines. Not a group that a lot of people were particularly worried about until they suddenly on May 23rd launched this lightning operation and took over an entire city in the Philippines which is a close ally of the U.S.

And what's been even more striking is that the National Military has essentially been fought to a standstill. It's been bombing from the sky daily. It has suffered at least sixty-nine kills in action and hundreds of soldiers wounded and has not succeeded in dislodging these militants from this city. This has forced more than 300,000 civilians to flee their homes.

The government has imposed Martial law over the entire Philippines Island of Mindanao. And perhaps more ominously, the counterterrorism experts I've been speaking with say that this was served as a magnet, a rallying cry for Jihadists all across the region.

Hey, it may be too hard to go fight in Syria and Iraq with ISIS, instead you can come to the Philippines, smuggled in on boats across networks of islands, and join ISIS in the jungles there. So a real wake-up call to the region, the U.S. sis providing Special Forces assistance and weapons to the Philippines' military.

BRIGGS: They have 300,000 citizens fleeing. Ivan Watson is live for us, thank you.

KOSIK: All right, a teenage girl on the mend after an incredibly frightening fall at a six fly amusement park in Upstate New York. Look at the cellphone footage, showing the 14-year-old girl dropping off the ride here at the park. This happened Saturday night.

Lucky for her, some keen-eyed good Samaritans below spotted her dangling. They sprung into action, breaking her fall after she went plunging twenty-five feet down. Thankfully the young lady not seriously injured, though it still is unclear exactly how she found herself in that precarious position. It's just incredible. Can you imagine your daughter to that?



BRIGGS: This is a day of terrifying video, is it not?

KOSIK: Local authorities are saying everything on the ride did appear to be in working order though.

BRIGGS: Nice save by the folks around there.

OK. Coast to coast, tens of thousands of people lined American streets for LGBT pride marches Sunday. Some of the parades returning to their protest routes with people in major cities waving resist signs in opposition to Trump administration policies they consider discriminatory.

And twelve anti-police protesters were arrested during New York's march. This year's pride also marking two years since the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage across the country.

KOSIK: OK, turning to weather, high heat in the west contributing to a wildfire in Utah. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now with more on that and hey, cooler temperatures ahead for the northeast. Good morning.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Alison and Dave, good morning to you both. The western U.S. here, the big story when it comes to extreme heat, and of course, some of the large fire concerns out of eastern Arizona, almost forty percent containment there but notice the Brian Head Fire in southern Utah -- I actually spent some time there at the Brian Head area. And only ten percent containment on a fire that has exceeded in the

amount of land it's consumed, over forty thousand acres, so we're looking for any sort of changes in the weather department. And the cooler temperature is really the best we can do. This is the time of year at best you would get some isolated summer storms. And those are not happening just yet.

So you notice the critical fire concern in southern portions of the State of Utah on into northern Nevada and eventually some critical and elevated concerns into eastern areas of Oregon. But the trend generally is going to be cooler trend for temperatures. It's even at the Phoenix dropping down into level 107 after being up in 117 over the past several days.

[04:25:00] But around the northeast, how about a front pushing in out of Canada that will bring the temps back down into the upper 70s, just a gorgeous couple of days for New York City, about seventy-eight to seventy-seven degrees there in Washington, we get a little bit of a break before summer spikes back by later this week, guys.

BRIGGS: All right, I'm ready for some heat, you?

KOSIK: I love the heat. Although he says it's a cooling trend, but I'll take it all. All right, it's a big week. A critical week for the GOP health care bill as several Republicans are expressing a lot of concern about the bill and the Trump administration making big promises.


PRICE: We want to make certain that health care is available to all Americans.




JOHNSON: I don't have the feedback from constituencies who will not have had enough time to review the Senate bill. We should not be voting on this next week.

PAUL: They say they're going to fix health care, premiums are going to go down. There's no way the Republican bill brings down premiums.

SANDERS: There's no way in God's Earth that this bill should be passed this week.

TRUMP: We don't have too much of a choice because the alternative is the dead caucus of Obamacare.