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Warning for Assad; Healthcare Bill now in Senate; Travel Ban Lifted; Back Home; Failing the Test; Terrifying Flight. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired June 27, 2017 - 03:00   ET


[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: The White House puts Syrian President Bashar al Assad on notice over the use of chemical weapons.

A U.S. Supreme Court decision unblocks parts of the president's controversial travel ban. We will tell you who will be affected.

And an exclusive look inside ISIS controlled Raqqa.

Hello welcome to our viewer all around the globe. I'm Rosemary Church from CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. And this is CNN NEWSROOM.

The White House has grave concerns about Syria and a possible repeat of the devastating chemical attack the world witnessed in April. It says the United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children.

So let's go to CNN's Nic Robertson in Abu Dhabi now. So Nic, what are these potential preparations that the United States has identified as a possible indication Syria's Assad regime is planning a chemical weapons attack.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, we know that the White House was able to use its assets back in April, April the 4th is when the previous attack took place. And they were able to use those intelligence assets to determine which airfield had been used to deploy the chemical weapons.

And what they are saying now is that they're seeing actions similar to that being prepared now. What they're also warning very clearly -- and this is very, very strong language coming from the White House -- they're warning President Bashar al Assad of paying a heavy price if these weapons were to be used.

Now we know that President Trump at the time seemed to be very affected. He spoke quite emotionally actually in the Rose Garden next to the King Abdullah of Jordan at the time about the effect of these chemical weapons on children. At the time the world sort of chemical weapons body was able to analyze the substance used. And they say that it was sarin or something like sarin.

Nikki Hailey, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations has gone further than the White House. The White House is saying that President Assad could pay a heavy price. But she's saying it is not only the President Assad who would be taking the blame and responsibility for this but its backers Russia and Iran as well.

So this is a very strong diplomatic position to take. No evidence has been put forward. And there are early indications - early indications we have yet to hear details from the Pentagon who would likely have the bulk of the intelligence leading to this analysis. There are early indications that perhaps the White House statement has caught the Pentagon a little bit unawares, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes. And you mentioned that statement, the White House saying that President Assad and his military will pay a heavy price for another attack like the one in April. Is this President Trump's line in the sand? And how is this warning be interpreted in Syria and indeed the wider region?

ROBERTSON: You know, I think back in April the international community sort of saw President Trump take this action, 59 cruise missiles fired at the -- at the military air base where these weapons had been prepared and put on aircraft destroying hangers, destroying aircraft, partially some of the airfield. Although it was back up and running quickly.

So I think the world read at that moment as President Trump had previously said he wouldn't give warnings he would act. Although this does seem to be a warning -- that a red line had been crossed and he was willing to take action.

However, the United States position in Syria compared to the previous administration has been -- has been much more you know on the back foot. There's been no real political engagement, substantial political engagement in trying to find peace in Syria.

So I think the world reads President Trump as having a line in the sand for children being killed by chemical weapons. And this is precisely what the White House is saying. So I think in those terms it appears to be a red line.

But then this would be contrary to what President Trump and his administration has said to now that there wouldn't be warnings that they would just act. So, you know you have to look at this and say well why are they saying this right now? What is it that is causing this issue? Is it this evidence building up or is there something behind this, a deeper greater frustration?

[00:05:00] Certainly we know that the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke briefly, briefly yesterday with his are counterpart in Moscow, Sergey Lavrov, that the relationship there has been somewhat strained recently clear what conclusions they've come to.

But we know that Russia takes a strong position right now when it sees the United States engaging militarily in Syria as happened a few weeks ago where the United States took down a Syrian air force jet that was targeting coalition or troops that were allied with U.S. forces on the ground in Syria. So you can expect if the United States was to push ahead with this

action that it -- that it's indicating it might be ready to take that it would certainly push up tensions with Moscow.

CHURCH: Yes, most definitely a very delicate situation and of course causing great deal of concern. Our Nic Robertson reporting there from Abu Dhabi where it's just after 11 o'clock in the morning. Many thanks.

Well, the U.S. Senate healthcare bill to repeal Obamacare could be in jeopardy. A new report is making the chances of passing the plan slim. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says the bill leaves 22 million fewer people insured by 2026. The plan is also forecast to count $772 billion from Medicaid over 10 years.

On the plus side, the measure would reduce the U.S. deficit by $321 billion over the next decade. The Senate republican leadership wants a vote this week. But right now it appears there are not enough votes to even beginning Senate debate.

And even if the Senate holds a vote republicans can only have two defections and still pass the bill. Now so far at least six republican senators they say oppose the plan in its current form. One of them is Senator Rand Paul.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: We keep 10 of 12 of the Obamacare regulations. We still keep the idea that you can buy it after you get sick. So I'm concerned that the death spiral of Obamacare may well even get worse with the republican version.

I'm also concerned that the republican version keeps most of the subsidies and actually creates a brand new subsidy, a $120 billion subsidy for insurance companies called a stabilization fund. All of those things together make me very concerned that we're not fixing the problem here.


CHURCH: Well, parts of President Donald Trump's controversial travel ban could take effect within the next three days. The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to allow the ban for foreign nationals lacking any bonafide relationship with any person or entity in the United States. But enforcement that could be tricky.

CNN's Sara Murray reports.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you feel about the Supreme Court ruling Mr. President.


SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump is cheering the Supreme Court's decision to temporarily reinstate part of his travel ban calling it a clear victory for our national security. The nine justices unanimously agreed to review lower court ruling that said the ban likely violated the Constitution by blocking refugees and nationals from six majority Muslim countries.

In a formal statement President Trump said, "Today's ruling allows me to use an important tool for protecting our nation's homeland." And he dispatched his press secretary to handle questions off camera.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Again, I think it's a positive step forward as I mentioned at the outset the Department of Justice in particular is reviewing these terms of both implementation and its impact, so I don't want to get too far ahead of these brilliant legal minds.

MURRAY: After years of questioning the Russian interference in the election. Trump is now appearing to admit Russia may have played a role in the election meddling last year. But he is blaming former President Barack Obama for not taking more action to deter it.

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

MURRAY: Today Trump tweeting, "The reason that President Obama did nothing about Russia after being notified by the CIA of meddling is that he expected Clinton would win and did not want to quote 'rock the boat.' He didn't, quote, 'choke.' He colluded or obstructed. And its the dems and crooked Hillary no good."

And Sean Spicer piled on.

SPICER: They've been very clear they've been playing this card about blaming Trump and Russia. And yet at the same time they were the ones who according it to this report knew about it and didn't take any action.

MURRAY: A former Obama White House official said the previous administration issued a robust response including shutting down two Russian compounds and added the administration's attacks on President Obama's response to Russia's cybermeddling is a transparent effort to distract from the terrible impact of their ACA repeal.

TRUMP: Total disgrace what happens.

MURRAY: Back on his domestic agenda Trump is admitting that reaching consensus on the health care bill is sure to be a challenge as the Senate struggles to tally the votes to repeal and replace Obamacare.

[03:09:56] TRUMP: Healthcare is a very, very tough thing to get. But I think we're going to get it. We don't have too much of a choice because the alternative is the dead carcass of Obamacare.

MURRAY: Trump even admitting he described the GOP healthcare bill that passed the House as mean. Saying he hopes to see a more generous version pass the Senate.

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.

Healthcare is a 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.


CHURCH: Sara Murray reporting there and for more on the Supreme Court decision on President Trump's travel ban I spoke with CNN legal analyst Page Pate.


PAGE PATE, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: The Supreme Court has finally agreed to accept the case. They're going to review the travel ban and determine if its constitutional or not constitutional.

But in the meantime before the court hears argument in the fall, they're letting part of the ban go into effect. They're going to let the administration prohibit anyone from these six countries who have no connection with the United States from coming into the United States.

But they did leave open a very large door. They said if someone has a bonafide relationship with the U.S. individual or U.S. entity they can come in. But the question of determining who has a bonafide relationship and what that relationship is we don't know who is going to make that determination yet.

CHURCH: Is this a win for President Trump? And what could it perhaps mean for the rest of his travel ban do you think.

PAGE: Most people think it's a win for the administration. I mean obviously there have been nothing but losses for the administration up to this point. The travel ban was completely halted by two circuits courts of appeals not just one but every appellate court that heard about this ban did not like it and they put a stop to it.

So to that extent you can call it a win because for the first time at least part of the ban will go into effect. But ultimately I don't think it makes that big of a difference. Because what the Supreme Court is doing here is, number one, it's not letting the full ban go into effect. It is effectively striking down the ban as written by the Trump administration. So that's a loss.

The other thing is I don't think the Supreme Court is giving as much deference to the administration's claims of national security interest here or they would have let the entire ban go into effect. If they really believe what the administration is saying. So while it's a win it's certainly not a big win.

CHURCH: Why do you think they didn't look at the tweets from Twitter coming from the president? How significant is that?

PATE: That's a great question because both of the appellate courts that looks at this ban they put a lot of emphasized on those tweets. Because they found that the president's comments, his campaign statements, the tweets he's been sending out, not just as a candidate but after being inaugurated and taking office, showed that the ban was really an attempt to discriminate against Muslims.

They found that the content of his statements showed the intent, the discriminatory intent of the actual ban. The Supreme Court didn't go there. I think the Supreme Court is more interested in determining whether or not there is this real national security threat.

They're going to put aside what Trump may have said before the election. They're going to put aside the tweets and they're going to give the administration the opportunity to come in and show this national security threat. If they can show it then they may get their ban.

CHURCH: Now we know at this point that three of the nine Supreme Court justices would allow the whole travel ban to go forward. And so now of course, six are in the position where they are allowing this part -- this part section of the travel ban to go forward.

What are they looking for to be in a situation where they would allow the whole thing to go forward? Would there be that point, would they get to that point do you think?

PATE: I think so. I mean, it's always dangerous to try to predict what the Supreme Court is going to do. But I think we can see from this order there are three votes for the travel ban as written. They like the travel ban they're OK with it no constitutional problem.

There are probably three other justices who feel just as strongly on the other side. That they have a problem with the ban as written at least as it applies to everyone. So I think the real swing justices with here, the votes that are going to important will be Justice Roberts, the chief justice, and Justice Kennedy.

And will there be enough votes to allow part of this ban to go into effect or will ultimately the dissenters in this particular order win the day? Will they be able to convince the other justices that there is enough of a national security threat here that we really need this ban? That remains to be seen.

CHURCH: So what happens next legally?

PATE: Well, the court has scheduled the case for the next term which is in October of this year. So the court will issue a briefing order requiring both sides to submit legal arguments to the court, written arguments and then schedule an oral argument where the lawyers come in and give a presentation.

[03:14:56] Then it's up to the court how much time that they take to consider it. I do not expect a decision in the fall but one may come after the first of the year.

CHURCH: We'll wait and see what happens. Page Pate, always a pleasure to chat with you. Thanks so much. PATE: Thanks.


CHURCH: The battle to reclaim Mosul could be nearing its end with only a couple of hundred ISIS fighters said to be left in the Iraqi city and that's according to the U.S.-led coalition there. The focus is on the Mosul old city where the Iraqi forces are leading the counterterrorism operation but in the middle of unimaginable violence.

Cameras capture this touching moment as a young girl stopped to hug a commander. About 100,000 civilians are still caught up in the battle but military officials are optimistic.


ABDUL GHANI AL-ASSADI, COMMANDER, IRAQI SPECIAL FORCES (through translator): Only a small part remains in the city and specifically the old city. All the Iraqi forces have linked up along al-Farouq street and God willing the operation is ongoing and the final stage will be launch to reach the river.


CHURCH: And in neighboring Syria there is another critical battle in the city ISIS calls its capital. CNN has exclusively obtained undercover video from Raqqa where U.S.-led forces are making new gains against the terror group.

Nick Paton Walsh has the extraordinary footage and explains what it means.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is what a reign of terror looks like when it's in collapse. The traffic is normal so as the market but you can tell ISIS are losing here on the streets of Raqqa the capital of their fast shrinking caliphate from one thing.

It's actually pretty easy to film them in secret. Using hidden body camera could be a death sentence for this activist but in these besieged streets lined with sand bags encircled by American-backed Syrian fighters they just don't fear ISIS anymore.

So, even this foreign fighter Abu Aisha (Ph) from Belgium is a target as he makes a front line fashion choice. And elsewhere, two Russian speaking fighters appear to discuss airstrikes.


Here, Abu Lukman (Ph), the Egyptian looks for his military police for a Tunisian man Abu Meriam (Ph) finds him.

Streets are covered with canopies meant to shelter ISIS fighters from prying coalition drones above. But despite the market is brimming process, even the wounded hobbling around under siege why is that so much food? Well, it shipped him from nearby regime held areas we're told commerce alive and well in the caliphate.

This shop even seems to offer to change dollars. Sand bags give shelter from airstrikes but also defensive positions when street to street fighting reaches here. For some locals have already made this hostile terrain. One activist from the group Ahmad al-Fourak (Ph) telling us how he pinned night letters, death threats to the doors of ISIS informants.

"We can only get to them," he says, "by leaving messages on the door like we know who you are. This soon stopped them. And some of our friends started writing the word free on the walls of ISIS buildings. Then locals started. The elderly write its own walls and children on chalk boards. Making ISIS wonder, who are these people?"

It's getting ugly for ISIS here. They've moved prisoners out. Top commanders have fled. The lieutenants only drive around in low profile normal cars. Their enemy is literally at the gates. ISIS' world vanishing fast. And this may be among the last times we glimpse into their warped way of life.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Irbil, northern Iraq.

CHURCH: And the Philippines is using harsh tactics in its war against ISIS militants.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your baby's name?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You name your child martial law?


CHURCH: More from the people caught up in the conflict in just a moment. Plus, more apartment buildings that's in the United Kingdom are failing fire safety checks since the Grenfell tower fire. Why some residents say evacuating unsafe apartments is not the answer.

Passengers on this flight were told to pray for a safe landing. Investigators now know what caused all that shaking. We'll explain when we come back.


CHURCH: More apartments in the United Kingdom are failing fire safety checks since the Grenfell tower fire in London. Seventy five apartment buildings have been tested for potentially dangerous siding. All 75 have failed. Thousands of people have been evacuated from tower blocks deemed unsafe.

Meanwhile, 18 Grenfell victims formally identified. At least 79 people were killed in the fire less than two weeks ago. Our Ian Lee has more now from London.


IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm in Camden where five of these buildings are -- four of which have been evacuated. On that fifth one they say it's safe for residents as long there is a fire marshal 24 hours a day.

I want to give you a look at one of the buildings evacuated looks like. If you can see there is the cladding that goes all the way to the top. And that's the accelerant that caused the Grenfell fire to be so horrific and caused the building to torch. And they say that's what's unsafe for residents.

In talking to them you have a wide range of opinions some say that they're glad the government is evacuating them. They want to see this remedy as quickly as possible and also have the government take care of them in the meantime. But then you have other residents who are angry saying just a few steps could be taken to make these buildings safe.

BELINDA BROWN, CHALCOTS ESTATE RESIDENT: What I would like to see now is rather than boot out everybody OK, you have to re-clad the flats. But what you could do is you could give every flat a fire blanket. We all have fire alarms any way and it's very cheap to put a fire alarm in takes five minutes to screw up, you know, and get it going.

LEE: And it's not just these residential complexes. You have hospitals. You have schools, you have hotels. You have shopping centers that have this sort of cladding. Now the government has issued a directive to the different agencies to see how extensive this problem is.

We know the National Health Service is looking into it as well as the Department of Education. This is just the really seems like the tip of the iceberg. Now that will eventually cost millions of pounds.

Ian Lee, CNN in Camden, London.


CHURCH: We are learning new details about the terrifying air flight from Australia to Malaysia this weekend. Passengers say the pilot asked for prayers after the plane suddenly started to shake. The flight was forced to turn back.

CNN aviation correspondent Rene Marsh has the very latest.


RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Heart stopping vibrations onboard an airbus 330 for nearly two hours after it flew over the Indian Ocean.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our survival depends on your cooperating. MARSH: Two times passengers say the pilot asked them to pray.

Terrifying passengers who thought they were going to die.

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

[03:25:01] MARSH: There were 359 passengers on board. They heard a loud bang and the plane began to shake continuously. The pilot announced engine trouble then turned the Air Asia X flight around.

SAMAD MONFARD, AIR ASIA PASSENGER: The captain said that one of the plates on the left engine was missing.

MARSH: This image from aviation Harold reportedly shows one of the plane's engines one blade is broken off.

PETER GOELZ, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: They'll be able to tell through mythological study whether it was fatigue, whether it was some other problem. They will look at the other blades in that engine and see whether there are any other signs of a problem.

MARSH: The aircraft maintenance history is also expected to be a focus for investigators.

GOELZ: They will go back over the history of this engine from the moment it was put on the wing of this plane. And they will investigate all of the components that could have failed.

MARSH: The flight that took off from Perth Australia early Sunday morning local time bound for Kuala Lumpur returned safely to Australia. The airline has now launched an investigation into cause.

In a statement the airline said quote, "We would like to stress that Air Asia group has always strictly followed the maintenance program prescribed by our manufacturers." The airbus 330 is one of the most commonly used aircraft for long haul air travel. Investigators are now trying to determine if this was an isolated incident or part of a larger problem with these Rolls Royce engines.


CHURCH: And that was CNN aviation correspondent Rene Marsh reporting there.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave into pressure from ultra-Orthodox party in his coalition and the reaction has been swift. He backed out of plans to allow men and women to pray together at the southern end of the Western Wall. It's one of the Judaism's holiest sites.

After five years of negotiations an agreement on the space was reached last year. But Mr. Netanyahu never implemented it.


ANAT HOFFMAN, DIRECTOR, NESHOT HAKOTEL WOMEN OF THE WALL: Netanyahu chose to compromise with them, to sell us down the river, to throw us under a bus. And I think it's an act of cowardice. And I think he has to feel now what a rift this will cause between Jews all over the world in Israel. Because most Jews of the world they're not ultraorthodox. They are liberal.

MOSHE GAFNI, ISRAELI KNESSET MEMBER (through translator): The reformists and the conservatives are sitting in the United States and in Europe they tell us what to do through the Supreme Court. They will not tell us what to do and nor will the court. Whether we are part of the coalition or not the status quo could not be breached.


CHURCH: In a move that underscores the risk of a deepening division, the Jewish agency which helps with the Jewish immigration to Israel has cancelled a gala dinner with Mr. Netanyahu.

We'll take a short break here. Still to come, healthcare in the United States based solely on where you live. We'll look at how drastically the level of care can change from state to state.

The ambassador of many in Washington can't recall meeting is being recalled to Moscow. Still to come, the reason the Russian diplomat is going home.


CHURCH: A warm welcome back to our viewers all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main stories we're following this hour.

The White House says the Assad regime may be prepping for another chemical attack on civilian sin Syria similar to the one we saw in April which killed dozens of people. The U.S. warns President Bashar al-Assad and his military would pay a heavy price for another attack.

And the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. says Russia and Iran will be blamed as well.

Brazilian President Michel Temer has been formally charged with corruption. It's the first time a sitting president has faced criminal charges in Brazil. The case has to pass Congress with a two thirds majority before a trial can be held. Mr. Tamer is accused of accepting bribes. He denies the allegations.

The U.S. Supreme Court will allow parts of President Trump's travel ban. The justices will hear the full case this fall but for now the ban will take effect for foreign nationals who lack any bonafide relationship with any personal entity in the United States.

Well, the U.S. Senate healthcare bill could be in trouble. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says the plan would leave 22 million more people uninsured by 2026 than under Obamacare.

The White House is contesting that report saying this. "The CBO has consistently proven it cannot accurately predict how healthcare legislation would impact insurance coverage. This history of inaccuracy as demonstrated by its flawed report on coverage premiums and predicted deficits arising out of Obamacare reminds us that its analysis must not be trusted blindly."

Republican leadership wants to hold a vote on the Senate healthcare bill this week. But right now it appears there are not enough votes to even begin debate. And some republican senators are asking for more time.


SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R), ALASKA: I don't think it's asking too much to say, give us the time to fairly and critically analyze these numbers. And if you have -- if you are saying well, CBO numbers don't matter then let's look at the numbers that you think do matter. But it really does -- it does make a difference.


CHURCH: Some republican senators are worried about the gradual cuts the bill will make to Medicaid which is public health insurance for those with low incomes. The Congressional Budget Office says the plan will reduce federal spending on Medicaid by $772 billion over the next 10 years. That's forecast to be the bill's largest saving.

However, the plan may leave 15 million fewer Americans covered by Medicaid in about a decade. Earlier, CNN spoke with a republican senator about the proposed changes to Medicaid.


SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R), LOUISIANA: There are three aspects to spending less on Medicaid. One is that people would move off of Medicaid on to private insurance. That's actually a good thing. If you can preserve the private insurance market, that's a good thing.

Secondly, there is a cut in the rate of inflation. That does not actually occur until 2025. And so, the spin age, if you will, is postponed giving an opportunity to see how this plays. And the third way is that the Medicaid expansion begins to -- you know, the amount of money the federal government puts towards that begins to decrease.

But my point all along is that states cannot afford the money they are already obligated to put up. In California it would be $2.2 billion a year by 2020 for the Medicaid expansion. My state much smaller, 310 million. Both numbers very hard to cover. Now by the way, I'm not committed to voting for the bill but I do think it needs to be addressed fairly.


CHURCH: Well, the Senate bill would transform Medicaid into a block grant program. Each state would get a fixed amount of money from the federal government each year. How they spend it would be up to them. And while some see that as flexibility it can result in vastly different care across state lines. [03:35:04] CNN's Dan Lieberman went to Texarkana, Texas and Texarkana,

Arkansas to see for himself.


JOSEPH PACK, REGIONAL COORDINATOR, TEXARKANA CARE CLINIC: This is the line that divides our community health. The State of Texas decided not to go with the Medicaid expansion in the State of Arkansas did. Even though they're right next door to each other. Now we're seeing vast differences in health.

HATTIE MCLEMORE, TEXAS RESIDENT: And I have kidney decease. I have congestive heart failure. I have Crohn's disease. I have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, fibromyalgia, vertigo, and probably some I'm missing but right now that's what I can think of.

DAN LIEBERMAN, CNN DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: Fifty-year-old Texas resident Hattie McLemore is a mother of two and even though she worked for years filling other people's prescriptions as a pharmacy technician she doesn't qualify for Medicaid under the Texas eligibility requirements. But if she lived on the other side of Texarkana in Arkansas she would.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You would benefit from seeing a nephrologist because you do have chronic kidney decease.

MCLEMORE: I don't have insurance of any kind.

LIEBERMAN: What do you say to your neighbors who say we don't want to pay for your health care?

MCLEMORE: It's not as though I've never worked a day in my life. Because I've worked. So you work and you can't get it. And you sick and you can't get it. What is it?

LIEBERMAN: Well, Hattie lives on the Texas side of the state line another woman a few miles away on the Arkansas side says she is having a completely different healthcare experience because she is on Medicaid.

LIEBERMAN: How long after you got got diagnosed with cancer did get treatment.

LASHONDA ROSS, ARKANSAS RESIDENT: Immediately once I finished my surgery and I healed my treatment started.

LIEBERMAN: Lashonda Ross is a 37-year-old mother of three with stage 2 breast cancer.

ROSS: You would think us being as close as we are and the only thing that separate in these two places is a state line because Texarkana, Arkansas and Texarkana, Texas you would think that both sides would get the equal benefits because it's still Texarkana.

LIEBERMAN: Dr. Hesham Hazin sees cancer patients from both sides of the state line. He says he is witnessing dramatic health care disparities.

HESHAM HAZIN, ONCOLOGIST, ST. MICHAEL ONCOLOGY CLINIC: As far as stage wise we're seeing more advanced stages from the Texas side than from the Arkansas saw. We're seeing incurable patients from the Texas side more than in Arkansas where they could be treated with surgery as well as chemotherapy.

No fever chills sweats anything like in it's unfair the fact I have to see a 45-year-old breast cancer patients who didn't get a mammogram because she didn't have funds as oppose to somebody who is the same age by across the border got a mammogram and she secured with surgery and might not even need chemo.

LIEBERMAN: And you see that.

HAZIN: And I see that front line in the office or in the hospital.

LIEBERMAN: Under Obamacare more than 30 states chose to grow insurance for the poor through Medicaid expansion bringing an estimated 11 million more people into the program. But Texas and 18 other states chose not to.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is an argument that people make that the system is overburdened and in fact there was some concern about adding so many people to Medicaid that that wasn't the capacity to treat them and that there would be long waits for people to get appointments. The evidence really just doesn't bear that out. It is pretty comparable to what people with private insurance have.

LIEBERMAN: The truth is even without Medicaid expansion Texas residents still end up paying anyway for some of the healthcare of the uninsured.

Hattie goes to a clinic funded by federal taxpayer dollars. And since 2015, county residents have paid more than $30,000 for her medical bills.

LIEBERMAN: Is there a stereotype around here that if you're on a Medicaid.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you're on Medicaid.

LIEBERMAN: Then there's you don't have a job.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're either lazy or on drugs -- I mean there's a stereotype.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I miss working. I miss getting up in the morning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: None of us want to live off as government assistance.

MCLEMORE: If people would listen to what's being said at this table and what the doctors have to say, how can you turn your back on those people? Why do you want to turn your back on the ones just trying to help us get to where we need to be?


CHURCH: Two very different experiences there and CNN's Dan Liebermann reporting.

Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak is leaving his post but Moscow says the move was planned long ago and has nothing to do with his links to President Trump or any of his staff.

Here is CNN's Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: He trained as an engineer but has long been thought to have a different skill set, that of a Russian spy.

[03:40:03] Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak o web of intrigue dates back to last year when then-Senator Jeff Sessions met with him during the Republican National Convention.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Raise your hand, please.

KAYE: A meeting Sessions failed to recall during his confirmation hearing for attorney general.

JEFF SESSIONS, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: I didn't have, not have communications with the Russians.

KAYE: Then later after explaining he did meet with Kislyak, Sessions promised to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

SESSIONS: I should not be involved in investigating a campaign I had a role of.

KAYE: Months later, Sessions was also asked about another possible undisclosed meeting with Kislyak at Washington's Mayflower hotel. Sessions and Kislyak were both there in April 2016 for Donald Trump's foreign policy speech.

Sessions said he did not recall talking to Kislyak there. Despite the ousted FBI director saying they'd intercepted Russian communications suggesting the two men had talked. Kislyak who has been ambassador for nine years also met with Trump transition team member General Michael Flynn.

Flynn met with Kislyak in Trump Tower last December. Later, Flynn misrepresented the nature of his conversations with Kislyak to the White House including the vice president.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I talked to General Flynn yesterday. And the conversations that took place at that time were not in any way related to new U.S. sanctions. KAYE: That wasn't true. Transcripts show Flynn did discuss sanctions with Kislyak. He was fired for misleading the vice president. Joining Flynn and Ambassador Kislyak at their Trump Tower meeting was the president's son-in-law. Jared Kushner met with Kislyak just a month after his father-in-law was elected president.

That meeting has put Kushner under intense scrutiny. A source telling CNN that Kushner was asking the Russian ambassador for back channel communications with the Kremlin.

The Washington Post had reported that in December Kislyak told his superiors that Kushner wanted to use Russian diplomatic facilities for off the record communications to evade U.S. intelligence monitoring.

Even after all of this, not to mention unanimous agreement from intelligence agencies that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, in May, President Trump welcomed Ambassador Kislyak not only to the White House but actually into the Oval Office. It was there the president confided in Kislyak that firing FBI Director James Comey who had been heading up the Russia investigation had relieved great pressure.

Kislyak once said in response to claims that Russia meddled the in the U.S. election quote, "we have become collateral damage in the fight between the two parties."

As he heads out he now may be part of it.

Randi Kaye CNN, New York.


CHURCH: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has an interesting defense for then-candidate Donald Trump's comments about Hillary Clinton e-mails. He says Mr. Trump was joking when he said this on the campaign trail.


TRUMP: Russia if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.


CHURCH: Spicer says the president stands by his belief that Russia was involved in the 2016 election. Spicer was responding to a reporter asking whether it was hypocritical for Mr. Trump to accuse former President Obama of collusion.

Well, the White House is also facing pressure from reporters for holding its press briefings off camera.

CNN's Jim Acosta and other correspondents repeatedly asked Press Secretary Sean Spicer why the cameras were not turned on. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You are a taxpayer and (Inaudible) the United States government, can you at least give us explanation as to why the cameras are off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we get this (Inaudible) can we address the camera issue? Do you think this...


SPICER: Yes, some days we'll have them, some days we won't. The president is going to speak today in the Rose Garden I want the president's voice to carry the day. You know and I think -- so -- look this is nothing inconsistent with what we said since day one.

ACOSTA: Sean, can you answer whether the president still believes the question.

SPICER: There is no camera on, Jim.

ACOSTA: Maybe we should turn the camera on, Sean, why don't we turn the cameras on?

SPICER: I'm sorry that you have to do -- Jen.

ACOSTA: Why not turn the cameras on, Sean, they're in the room, the lights are on.


CHURCH: All right, we'll take a short break. Just ahead a look at the high cost of the Philippines new war with ISIS militants on the country's own ground?

Back in a moment.


CHURCH: Philippine troops are battling with ISIS linked militants to recapture a city partly taken by the militants more than a month ago. The deadly siege has come at a high cost with at least 70 soldiers killed and scores more wounded. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced.

And CNN's Ivan Watson is in Hong Kong with all the details on this. So Ivan, what's it going to take to contain and eventually eliminate ISIS from the Philippines? Does the government think it can do this?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think the last month of fighting, the absolute difficulty that the military has had in trying to clear these ISIS in the Philippines militants from the city of Marawi shows what a daunting challenge this will be and what the tenacious enemy the government is fighting.


WATSON: An enemy that emerged on the scene a bit more than a month ago in Marawi totally taking the government and the security forces by surprise. This has ultimately been the deadliest and longest urban battle that the Philippines armed forces have fought in decades.

The ambulances arrived in a torrential downpour. Unloading the most recent casualties from the Philippines month-long fight against ISIS militants hold up in the besieged city of Marawi.

In almost four weeks of fighting this hospital has treated some 340 casualties and more wounded soldiers keep coming every day. Among those treating the wounded, Lieutenant Colonel Joanna Dalaguit who runs the military hospital. She's been an army doctor for 20 years.

Have you ever seen casualties on a scale like this before?

JOANNA DALAGUIT, HEAD DOCTOR, CAMP EVANGELISTA HOSPITAL: No it's the first time. It's the first time that I've seen this huge number of casualties.

WATSON: Among the wounded, this sergeant who we've been asked not to identify sprayed with shrapnel from the mortar wound he gets help from his 65-year-old mother, Teresita.

What do you think about ISIS right now?


WATSON: You hate them.


WATSON: The sergeant is a 17-year veteran of many other counterinsurgency operations. But he tells me the ISIS militants entrenched in Marawi includes skilled foreign fighters ready to die in battle.

The military says they've rescued hundreds of civilians from the war zone. But in their struggle to save the city they've also been bombing the city.

In a recent visit to the region, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte apologized for the extreme measures.

RODRIGO DUTERTE, PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES: You will find in your heart to forgive my soldiers and the government, including me for declaring martial law.

(through translator) I have no choice. Marawi is being destroyed.

I have to drive them out. But I am very sorry.

[03:50:00] WATSON: The government is struggling to cope with the many people now suddenly made homeless. This is what happens when the conflict comes to this corner of the Philippines. More than 200 families, more than 1,000 civilians packed into this school gymnasium and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

In fact, more than 340,000 people have fled their homes in the last month. Among them, Tarhata Musarif (Ph) and her infant son.

What's your baby's name?


WATSON: You name your child martial law?

She gave birth in Marawi on May 23rd the day ISIS invaded the city amid explosions and gunfire. Just one hour later they fled on foot. The baby maybe safe but Musarif (Ph) lost her father in the panic. She says she has not seen him since.


WATSON: Rosemary, the Philippines have struggled with insurgent Islamist guerilla groups on this southern Island of Mindanao for decades. But counterterrorism experts say this is the first time that such a large group of these disparate groups have united under the black banner of ISIS ignoring kind of regional and ideological differences and that's part of why they have proven to be so effective.

And one of the big concerns is that the relative military success that they've had in Marawi against the national military can serve as a magnet to other Jihadi extremist across Southeast Asia, people who might want to go to Iraq and Syria to join ISIS but now see an alternative here in Southeast Asia. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes, it is certainly an alarming shift in the fight against ISIS. Our Ivan Watson joining us there from Hong Kong where it is 3.51, it's nearly 4 o'clock actually in the afternoon. Many thanks.

Let's take a break here, but still to come some fighting words from tennis legend John McEnroe what he had to say about Serena Williams and her epic response. That's just a moment. Stay with us.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. In Eastern China millions of people are dealing with massive floods right now. And our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us from the international weather center with the details. So what's the outlook for those people affected by these floods?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, we're moving into the heart of the wet season. It was a two days ago we were talking about the landslide that occurred across parts of Sichuan province. And you take a look off to the east here a couple hundred millimeters of rainfall have come down in a matter of few days.

And the concern here is this is the time of year where you know a lot of folks look forward to this is the time millions of people begin harvests and cultivating rice. But the impacts on here is pretty tremendous. When you look at Huizhou, Huan, Jiangxi and also Zhejiang province. These areas are very much lined up in particular around this region.

Three and a half million have impacted in this region. Some 350 million in direct economic losses from all the floods in recent days around this region. And a 1,000 hectares of the land also destroyed.

And I just want to show your perspective of where the recent landslide was here in the corner of your screen, you see Sichuan province. Here's where we are 1,500 kilometers away around Zhejiang province and we you go in for closer perspective you can actually see this particular city.

[03:55:00] And I'll highlight the bridges that go over the river zone here. And this is where the confluence of the rivers come together. And that's precisely where you have all the water flow in.

Look at this video coming out of this area. It kind of shows you this particular river that is ballooned, you see the bridge coming up on the drone spot and of course the buildings here that a lot of them have been jeopardized with the amount of rainfall and we've seen some flooding has left some destruction of the structures and of course thousands displaced as a result of this.

So this is a pattern you typically see play out this time of year. Unfortunately, this is an area that's impacting millions and millions of people and it's the monsoonal rains in full effect.

And I want to talk about this, because as we go into the month of May, June, and eventually into July a 3-D graphic here will do a great job of showing what we're talking about when it comes to just the incredible nature of this.

Because we have the warm moist coming from the south they're cooler dry air to the north where they meet right in that zone where we broke down the provinces that are being impacted. So that's the area where a semi-permanent front sets up. That's where we see a couple of hundred millimeters of rainfall every single day.

And the name plum rains, Rosemary, or Meiyu-Baiu is actually something the ancient Chinese gave us name because they knew that about 40 to 50 days of persistent rainfall would be expected this time of year and there would be time to harvest the plumbs, but of course this time around with a lot of people living in this region this is an issue for this area.

CHURCH: All right. Pedram, thanks so much for keeping a close eye on that. We do appreciate it.

JAVAHERI: Thank you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Tennis superstar Serena Williams is a serving a testy response to a claim she doesn't measure up. It all started with this comment from tennis legend John McEnroe.


JOHN MCENROE, TENNIS PLAYER: If she played the men's circuit she's be like 700 in the row. That doesn't mean I don't think Serena is like an incredible player, I do. But there's, you know, the reality of what would happen on a given day Serena could beat some players I believe because she is so incredibly strong mentally, but if she just had to play the circuit, the men's circuit that would be an entirely different story.


CHURCH: Did we just hear him right? Serena Williams fired back tweeting this. "Dear John, I adore and respect you but, please, please keep me out of your statements that are not factually based. I've never played anyone rank there nor do I have time. Respect me and my privacy as I'm trying to have a baby. Good day, sir."

Williams has 23 Grand Slam titles. She was pregnant when she won the Australian Open earlier this year and I think she is successful but Mr. McEnroe back in his place.

Thanks so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. The news continues next with my colleague Cyril Vanier in London.

Have a great day.