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Senate Healthcare Bill Faces Growing Opposition; Trump: Obama Did 'Nothing' About Russia Election Meddling; Pilot Asks Passengers to Pray on Terrifying Flight. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired June 26, 2017 - 06:00   ET



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Health care's a very complicated subject. Honestly, nobody can be totally happy.

[05:57:18] SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: They've promised too much. There's no way the Republican bill brings down premiums.

TOM PRICE, HHS SECRETARY: The plan would not allow individuals to fall through the cracks. We would not pull the rug out from under anybody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no way we should be voting on this next week. No way.

TRUMP: He had the information, why didn't he do something about it?

SEN. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: For Donald Trump to criticize Obama was like a bit like someone knowingly receiving stolen property, blaming the police for not stopping the theft.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were lots of crying. Lots of people pulling out the life jackets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought the whole plane was going to go plummeting down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our survival depends on you cooperating.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: That pilot asked people to pray twice. Why? We'll take you through it.

Welcome, viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Monday, June 26, 6 a.m. here in New York. Alisyn is off. The one and only Brianna Keilar joining me this morning.

Good to have you.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Very good to be here.

CUOMO: Thank you.

Here's our starting line. The Senate, their healthcare bill is facing growing opposition. Party leaders are pushing for a vote this week. It comes as the Trump administration vows there won't be cuts to Medicaid. That is not true. We have the spin and the facts coming up.

Now, a big, helpful factor here will be the Congressional Budget Office release. It's going to have its analysis of the bill, which could happen as early as today. What impact will it have?

KEILAR: And in the meantime, President Trump is blasting his predecessor, President Obama, for, quote, "doing nothing" about Russia's election interference. So wat is Mr. Trump doing about the issue since taking office?

And the president also lashing out at Hillary Clinton, accusing her of colluding with the Democratic Party to beat Bernie Sanders.

We have all of this covered. Let's begin now with CNN's Suzanne Malveaux. She is live for us on Capitol Hill -- Suzanne.


Well, President Trump is throwing his support behind the Senate bill, the legislative bill up for health care, despite its uncertain future. And a key factor, of course, in all of this is the Congressional Budget Office's score, which will predict how many peoplewill lose their health care, what will happen with the premiums. And that score is expected as early as today.


TRUMP: I don't think they're that far off. You know, famous last words, right? But I think we're going to get there.

MALVEAUX (voice-over): President Trump expressing confidence as Senate GOP leaders scramble to secure the 50 votes needed to pass their healthcare bill.

TRUMP: Healthcare is a very complicated subject from the standpoint that you move it this way, and this group doesn't like it. You move it a little bit over here -- you have a very narrow path. And honestly, nobody can be totally happy.

MALVEAUX: With all Democrats opposed to the legislation, Republicans can only afford to lose two votes. But there are currently five GOP senators who say they can't support the bill as drafted.

PAUL: There's no way the Republican bill brings down premiums. Look, I've been in medicine 20 years. I'm 54 years old. Premiums have never gone down. They're not going to go down after the Republican bill.

PRICE: The plan in its entirety will absolutely bring premiums down. MALVEAUX: Trump senior advisor Kellyanne Conway says the president is

working the phones trying to drum up support, although Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn told reporters this weekend, "We're trying to hold him back a little bit."

Complicating the president's effort, his acknowledgment that he called the House healthcare bill "mean."

TRUMP: 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.

MALVEAUX: The president contradicting his own press secretary, Sean Spicer, and House speaker Paul Ryan.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think that was some kind of a misinterpretation of -- of a private meeting.

MALVEAUX: A major point of contention: the 11 million Americans insured under Obamacare's Medicaid expansion, which faces deep cuts under the Senate bill, despite the president's promise not to cut the program.

TRUMP: Save Medicare, Medicare and Social Security without cuts.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: Over a ten-year period Medicaid funding will be significantly curtailed, and not accompanied at this point with the kind of flexibility we need.

MALVEAUX: Kellyanne Conway insisting otherwise.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO DONALD TRUMP: These are not cuts to Medicaid, George. This slows the rate for the future, and it allows governors more flexibility with Medicaid dollars.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I respectfully disagree with her analysis. I'm very concerned about the cost of insurance for older people with serious chronic illnesses.

MALVEAUX: It's a race against the clock, with Congress going on recess this Friday. Will they vote before then?

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R), WISCONSIN: I would like to delay the thing. There's no way we should be voting on this next week, no way.


MALVEAUX: The healthcare effort was a big part of the conversation over the weekend at a retreat hosted by the conservative mega-donors, the Koch brothers. Their political network, the leaders of that network very critical of the legislation, saying that neither the Senate nor the House versions meet their goals -- Brianna, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Suzanne. Thank you very much.

Let's bring in the panel: CNN political analyst David Drucker; RealClearPolitics associate editor and columnist A.B. Stoddard; and CNN political commentator Errol Louis.

So we begin at the table here. A.B. Stoddard, is there a vote? Do they get it done? Do we know?

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR AND COLUMNIST, REALCLEARPOLITICS: Well, they've given themselves an out. As you've heard Senate leaders over the weekend say, like Senator Cornyn, "We might take it until August 1." But that would be the absolute latest. They wanted to get it out this week, but they gave themselves the buffer of after the July Fourth recess. It is not going to go anywhere past August. If they fail to do this before the August recess, or the first of August, which happens to be a Tuesday -- I don't know why they picked that day -- they're moving on.

They believe they -- internally, they've concluded they've wasted too much time on health care in an effort that's failed thus far, that might be impossible. And they have to move on to tax reform. They just feel like they've lost precious time.

KEILAR: What are they looking for in the math? If they do get this Congressional Budget Office score -- it could come as early as today -- how is this going to change who's on the fence, for instance, do you think, David?

DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I don't know that it's going to change anything either way. I mean, keep in mind: when Mitch McConnell and his lieutenants were writing this bill, they were actually having, quietly, parts of it scored so that they could test things and see how they came out. So if there was a piece they didn't like, they didn't like the score, they moved on, and they tweaked it and made some changes. So they're not going to be completely surprised by the CBO score the way House Republicans were.

Having said that, they're not expecting to get a score that makes it looks all rosy and all wonderful and just gets the votes. So what they're looking to do is make some changes via amendments or other written changes that will make enough of the members happy that they really want happy.

And I think we need to remember that there is a lot of pressure on Republicans to deliver this from their most reliable midterm voters. So we talk about the pressure created by the policy issues, but there's also the issue of what their voters expect, the kind of voters that show up next year versus in presidential elections, and the policy question of, there are problems with health care. So if not this, what?

CUOMO: Errol, the spin from the HHS secretary, Tom Price, from Kellyanne, saying that Medicaid is not being cut; it's just slowing the rate of growth. It's returning it to what it was. Nobody will lose coverage, says Price. How do they justify those statements?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it can, in some narrow sense, be said to be true, because the plan as drafted would allow you to stay on Medicaid and only lose it if you don't keep continuous coverage. [06:05:10] What they don't say, the fine print, is that something like

95 percent of Medicaid recipients can be expected to go off of it and lose their continuous coverage in any, say four- or five-year period. So in effect, they're throwing lots of people off of Medicaid, with no plan to bring them back on. That's one problem.

The other problem, of course, is that when they say they're going to return it to the states with flexibility, what they're doing is handing a gigantic -- by one estimate -- $43 billion check -- I should say bill -- to the governors and asking them to figure out how to pay for this.

So yes, if you're saying, "Well, we're going to shift all of the cost to the governors or much of the cost to the governors, and yes, we're going to keep everybody on unless they sneeze, in which case we're going to throw them right off," then yes, their claims could be narrowly said to be true, but that's really not where the problem is, and that's not where the debate is going to focus.

KEILAR: And a number of Republican governors are the ones who are talking about their concerns for this. John Kasich, for instance, is one of them. He has been out there as one of the Republicans who has had these concerns about Medicaid. Let's listen to what he said.


KASICH: But the total number of dollars that are going to be dedicated to Medicaid, not enough. I mean, it's not enough resources there. And I've been very concerned here in my state about treating the mentally ill, the drug addicted, the chronically ill, particularly under Medicaid expansion.

If you look at the entire Medicaid pie, there is huge challenges to it, because the resources are just not there. And I think we'll find that over a ten-year period, Medicaid funding will be significantly curtailed.


CUOMO: We also have a number of governors -- I think it's seven states that already passed laws that have trigger, you know...

KEILAR: That's right.

CUOMO: ... propositions in them, allowing them to get out of this, if the funding stops.

KEILAR: That's right. If they don't have the money...

CUOMO: Right.

KEILAR: Right? If they don't have the money to do that federal match, then they can just jump out of this altogether.

So A.B., what does that look like, in effect, to people who are using those benefits right now? STODDARD: That's what's so hard about the way that the administration

is trying to spin it, because cuts to the rate of growth is not -- to future spending is not exactly, you know, a cut in the moment.

But if you look at how eligibility requirements can change, what essential benefits will be covered, if you are mentally ill, if you are -- have an opioid addiction, if that used to be provided automatically and now you're going to have to pay more for it, is it beyond reach? So you look at all the ways it can be curbed. That's how you find $800 billion worth of savings. That, in effect, is what Governor Kasich is talking about, that that population won't be served the way it's being served now.

CUOMO: You know what it's shaping up as, and I don't know if this will work, because the group has so little political currency. But you're winding up having a kind of punitive poverty conversation. What is poverty. We hear congressmen on the show, and I'm sure you hear them even more often, saying, "Come on, Keilar, I mean, you're talking about the difference between 138 percent of the poverty level and 120 percent of the poverty level." You're still over 100 percent of the poverty level. The poverty level is $24,000 for a family in this country. They can't make it without this extra money. That's where you've got the system to be where it is right now.

How meaningful is the traction of that conversation?

DRUCKER: Well, I think that it's meaningful in that you see Republicans selling their partial repeal and replace bill the same way Democrats sold it: "No, no, no, we're not cutting too much. No, no, no, we're not taking away essential health benefits and all the pre- existing conditions, guarantees.

And in fact, this is the tension, policy-wise, within their bill, because there is a real problem with rising premiums and deductibles that people cannot afford. Republicans make that argument; it's a true argument.

So how do you drive down the cost of premiums and deductibles? By not telling insurance companies, they have to load up their plans with so many guaranteed benefits and having the government say that all of these things need to be protected and provided for.

But if you do that, then you can't bring down costs, and so it's created a very big problem for them to where they're not selling this bill like you would expect a Republican to sell a bill in terms of less government, better for the budget, giving people more freedom. You hear a lot of that. But most of the time it's, "Don't worry. We're not taking anything away from Obamacare that you already like. We're only dispensing with the things you don't like."

KEILAR: As we look, Errol, at just the math here of the House bill, because we're still awaiting it for the Senate: 23 million viewer insured over ten years. There is deficit reduction, but you're seeing premiums going up by 20 percent in 2018; 5 percent in 2019; and then a decrease after 2020. Looking at some of these, I think a lot of people looked at these

special elections recently and said, "You can't actually extrapolate a lot for the midterms." But one of the things I'm hearing people say they're concerned about, Republicans, is that when they polled in these, they feel that that health care issue has really pushed through; and they're worried increasingly about this being a liability for them.

[06:10:13] LOUIS: Absolutely. Look, Brianna, I mean, after 79 consecutive months, polling finally found that a majority of Americans like Obamacare. So it took some doing, but people are now starting to realize. And something else worth keeping in mind is that, when you're talking about Medicaid, you're talking about almost all of the elderly. You're talking about people who are dealing with dementia in their families.

And you're talking about people who were solid middle-class Americans who had to sort of what they call pulverize themselves, divest themselves of anything they ever owned and spend it down in order to get some kind of coverage to care -- to get the end-of-life care that they and their family want and deserve and have paid into a system for over their whole lifetime. When that shock starts to sort of sink in on people, I think that the politics are going to change drastically.

KEILAR: All right. Errol, David, A.B., thank you so much for the conversation.

Ahead, President Trump is playing the blame game after finally acknowledging -- he did; this was big news -- that Russia meddled in the U.S. election. Instead of going after Putin, he's going after his predecessor and former rival. Our panel is going to discuss that next.

CUOMO: Somewhere, a 400-pound man on his bed is very disappointed.


[06:15:10] CUOMO: It's never simple, right? First, you have President Trump finally saying that, yes, Russia hacked during the election; they interfered. But he's doing it in a way of attacking those he says are really responsible for it, which is the Obama administration for, quote, "doing nothing" about that interference.

CNN's Joe Johns live at the White House with more.

He's giving in, but then he's taking back.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's true, Chris. In an interview and in tweets, President Trump, essentially the very same person who raised questions about Russian meddling in the last election, now raising questions about the responses of former President Obama to Russian meddling in the last election and accusing him of doing nothing about it. This comes on the heels of a tweet late last week accusing the Democratic National Committee of a big dim hoax by not accepting hacking protection from the Department of Homeland Security. Listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I just heard today for the first time that Obama knew about Russia a long time before the election, and he did nothing about it, but nobody wants to talk about that. It's a question of, if he had the information, why didn't he do something about it?


JOHNS: The president's statements also coming after a report in "The Washington Post," saying that President Obama struggled with how to respond to the Russian hacking, because he was scared or afraid of appearing to try to tip the election in favor of Hillary Clinton.

Today we do expect to see the president of the United States here at the White House in a meeting with the Indian prime minister.

Brianna and Chris, back to you.

KEILAR: All right. Thank you so much, Joe Johns. We want to bring back our panel now. We have A.B. Stoddard, David Drucker and Errol Louis with us.

Why, David, acknowledge this now? Why is Donald Trump finally acknowledging that there was Russian meddling? Is it because he sees opportunity in making it the fault of President Obama and Democrats, or is it just because he was just looking ridiculous, that he wouldn't acknowledge something that was obviously true?

DRUCKER: All of the above and none of the above. I mean, he's very impulsive. So why now?

CUOMO: That's what you get here a lot, you know.

KEILAR: A, B, C, D and E.

CUOMO: Put some meat on this.

DRUCKER: I'm talking about President Trump, so cut me some slack here.

Look, I think that, conveniently if you read "The Washington Post" story, it lays a lot of the blame for some of these issues on inaction by the Obama administration. And in fact, as I was talking to Republicans on Capitol Hill steeped in intelligence over the past four, five, six years, they were constantly sounding the alarm -- imagine that -- about Russian espionage, Russia as our adversary and the kinds of things...

KEILAR: And we were reading it in the paper.


KEILAR: But not hearing it from the government.

DRUCKER: Right. And the only reason we've now had a complete flip on this is because, you know, a Republican is president, and so the debate changed.

I think that regardless of why the president did this, this was always the argument he should have made which is, "This all happened on my predecessor's watch. It won't happen under my watch. I'm going to do something about it."

It now comes off as a bit disingenuous and conflicts with his broader message, which is who knows if it was the Russians. I don't want to -- I don't want to jawbone them the way I jawbone our allies. But this is an approach that would have made Republicans on the Hill very happy, who always -- I think always gets back to, for Obama and on this issue, when Mitt Romney in that debate in 2012 called Russia our greatest geopolitical adversary, and Obama and the Democrats laughed at him, and Republicans always believed that was true. But it's a line that and a belief that the president never embraced.

CUOMO: Well, first, I think we can do a good diagnosis on this one, right? One of the benefits of flooding the zone is that contradiction doesn't matter as much, right? Because there's so much coming out of the president that's provocative, that when he steps on himself -- right?

So he gets a little bit of the benefit. I know a lot of you don't like that. But I'm just telling you how it is, not how it should be. That's one. It distracts from the main conversation about what's going on, that he's looking back at Obama and that he uses the word "collusion" in connection with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. That is a nice little confusion tactic.

But here's the biggest thing that he's got going for it, Errol Louis, and I want you to come on after we play it. Jeh Johnson, the Obama administration official, gave him a good basis to look back and blame. Listen to what Jeh Johnson said in his testimony before Congress.


JEH JOHNSON, FORMER SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: First, as you know well, we have to carefully consider whether declassifying the information compromises sources and methods. Second, there was an ongoing election, and many would criticize us for perhaps taking sides in the election. So that had to be carefully considered.

[06:20:06] One of the candidates, as you'll recall, was predicting that the election was going to be rigged in some way. And so we were concerned that, by making the statement, we might, in and of itself, be challenging the integrity of the -- of the election process itself.


CUOMO: Errol, could this explanation fit in the category of true, comma, but uncompelling, with Democrats saying this is such a big deal and saying that things need to be done about it; it shouldn't be ignored? That answer does not seem to help their position. Your take?

LOUIS: Well -- well, I -- look, it may not help their position, but I can take myself back to the days when we were day after day, morning after morning going through this very contentious election, and imagine what a bombshell it would have been if Jeh Johnson had stepped forward and said, "We're now declaring, you know, all 3,000 counties in this country, their local election systems, to be critical national infrastructure. We're going to impose some standards from Washington in the middle of this election."

There would have been an uproar. So I think he's probably right about that.

You know, on the other hand, you know, I don't know that Donald Trump gets all that much from this. Because if -- if he has now acknowledged that there was Russian meddling, the question now falls to him, regardless of what happened with his predecessor, what are you going to do?

And by the way, what about all those meetings your folks keep forgetting with, you know, Ambassador? And what about the money that Michael Flynn was taking from the Russians? And what about what Paul Manafort was doing, and on and on and on? So I think he buys himself a news cycle or two, but in the end, the facts are going to come out and the facts, I think, are not going to be pleasant, no matter how many times he blames it all on Obama.

KEILAR: And -- and we're also seeing Donald Trump now tweet about how Hillary Clinton, he says that she concluded with the DNC. I mean, I think covering Hillary Clinton, it did seem that there was an affinity from the DNC, for sure, for Hillary Clinton. That whole apparatus was behind her.

But again, why are we talking about this when we should be looking forward?

STODDARD: There's no question that Democratic officials colluded to -- to favor the process for Hillary Clinton off Bernie Sanders. Comparing that to sending kind of collusion with a foreign adversary is not -- it doesn't make any sense.

CUOMO: It makes sense to his base.

STODDARD: But -- but...

CUOMO: You know what they say, A.B. They say that we focus on him, but we would have never done this to Obama; we would have never done this to Hillary. That's what he's playing to. It may not work, but you know there's a method to what he says here.

STODDARD: What I would like to do is focus off what the findings of collusion might be or not be and focus on the fact that there is an urgent and unprecedented threat to our democracy that needs to be combatted right now going forward. You do it after the election is over. And guess who that burden falls on? The current executive. And so if he won't do it, it really is up to Congress to act.

This is not -- they all hope that before he meets with Putin at the G- 20 next month, he comes out with some kind of statement acknowledging -- either criticizing the interference or announcing retaliatory actions. They don't expect either. But Republicans want that, and he's not interested.

CUOMO: Good talk. Panel, thank you very much.

Up next, a loud bang mid-flight, then passengers say the plane shook. Just watch your screen. A washing machine for two hours. Wait until you hear what the pilot asked the passengers to do twice. Next.


[06:27:49] CUOMO: All right. Just about all of us have been on planes plenty these day, right? But how about this? An international flight shaking so violently for two hours. How violently? Wait until you hear what the pilots asked the passengers to do twice.

"EARLY START" anchor Dave Briggs joins us now. What did the pilot ask them to do twice?

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Have a little faith, my friend. Just stay and have a little faith.

It is the fear of every flyer: the pilot announces something has gone wrong, and the flight has turned around for an emergency landing. On this flight, many fearing for those two hours that they were doomed. This was it.


BRIGGS (voice-over): Frightening moments aboard an Air Asia X flight. The plane violently shaking midflight over the Indian Ocean. The Airbus A-330, carrying over 350 passengers heading to Malaysia, was forced to return to Australia after engine trouble. About 90 minutes later, passengers say they heard a loud bang.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The captain said that one of the legs on the left engine was missing.

BRIGGS: Passengers say the plane shuttered for nearly two hours. Many saying it felt like being inside a washing machine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The plane was really, really limping along, like. It was shuddering, shuddering, shuddering.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I felt the whole plane was just going to go plummeting down.

BRIGGS: The pilot telling passengers he was scared and asking them twice to pray.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen to everything. Our survival depends on your cooperating.

BRIGGS: Some putting on a brave face.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are having 50 million beers when we get back. BRIGGS: Others fearing the worst.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was lots of crying, lots of people pulling out the lifejackets, pretty much preparing. Like, we thought -- we thought there was a good chance we were going to go down.

BRIGGS: Marine emergency services standing by for a water rescue. Passengers breathing a sigh of relief once the plane touched down safely, before waiting hours for another flight.

The low-cost airline is investigating what happened, calling the incident a technical issue, adding, "The safety of our guests is our utmost priority."


BRIGGS: This is the second significant incident this month on a plane with these Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines and the third since May.