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President Gears Up for G-20 Summit; Trump Doubles Down on Attack Against TV Hosts; Many States Refuse to Give Voter Rolls to Trump Panel; Interview with Kathleen Sebelius; Tom Price: GOP Health Plan Would Drive Premiums Down; GOP Voters Expect Republicans To Get More Done; FBI Arrests Man In Disappearance Of Chinese Grad Student; Violent Protests Leave 83 Dead In Venezuela. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired July 1, 2017 - 11:30   ET


[11:00:03] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Trump will gather with the world's most prominent leaders to address a host of international issues, including counterterrorism, trade and climate, and of those meetings that is sure to upstage the rest, Trump's face-to-face with Vladimir Putin. The two presidents will meet for the first time while the U.S. government continues its investigation into the Kremlin's interference in the 2016 election.

And this morning, President Trump sounding off, not about this upcoming trip, but instead, tweeting more vicious attacks on two television cable news hosts. This comes after several days of backlash from his own party over his first round of disparaging tweets.

Meanwhile, the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare is hanging by a thread. The president's message to the Senate, if they can't get a bill passed, repeal now, replace later.

All these distractions have many Republicans concerned about the midterm elections.


SCOTT JENNINGS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: If he can get a couple of these bills across and string a few hits together, then it will be fine in the midterms, but we're not there yet.


WHITFIELD: All right. Right now President Trump is spending the weekend at his golf club in New Jersey. And that's where CNN's Kaitlan Collins is standing by.

So, Kaitlan, the president tweeting this morning ahead of this trip, but not about health care or the G-20 but instead about cable news hosts. KAITLAN COLLIS, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: That's exactly right. Though

the president is here at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, and he should be focusing on his upcoming trip to the G-20 Summit, he is instead tweeted for the third day in a row about a television host, saying, "Crazy Joe Scarborough and dumb as a rock Mika are not bad people. But their low-rated show is dominated by their NBC bosses. Too bad."

Now Donald Trump has drawn criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike after he personally insulted Brzezinski on Twitter Thursday. Many of them say that he should be focused on his agenda, not insulting television personalities.

Meanwhile, Scarborough and Brzezinski have both alleged that several White House staffers, including the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, called them to tell them that unless they called the president and begged him to stop it, that the "National Enquirer" was going to publish a negative story about them.

A White House official confirmed that Scarborough and Kushner did speak, but denied that that was the nature of the conversation.

WHITFIELD: And, Kaitlan, you know, the president, you know, shifted his course on health care amid all of this just yesterday, suggesting repeal now, replace later. How much of a curve ball is that for Republicans?

COLLINS: It's a huge curve ball. While they've been negotiating a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Donald Trump threw a wrench in that plan yesterday when he suggested on Twitter that maybe they should just repeal it now and replace it at a later date.

While Republicans try to figure out if there's a path forward for repeal and replace, many of them are at home this week on recess and facing tough questions from their constituents. Here's what happened to Senator Bill Cassidy when he was at home yesterday.


SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R), LOUISIANA: This is our democracy in action. Thank you all for contributing to that democracy. Thank you.




COLLINS: You can see that this problem isn't going anywhere for Republicans right now especially with no vote in sight -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, Kaitlan Collins, especially this holiday weekend as many of those lawmakers are back in their home bases, meeting with constituents.

All right. Kaitlan Collins, thank you so much there in New Jersey. All right. Let's discuss all of this now with my panel. Julian

Zelizer is a CNN political analyst and historian and professor at Princeton University. David Rohde is a CNN global affairs analyst and online news director for the "New Yorker," and David Swerdlick is a CNN political commentator and assistant editor for the "Washington Post."

Good to see all of you. OK. So President Trump is heading abroad while his administration is reeling from a very tumultuous week in Washington. I want you all to listen to the Iraqi prime minister's view of the U.S.


AYAD ALLAWI, IRAQI VICE PRESIDENT: There's a vacuum in the overall leadership in the world and America needs to, the Americans need to speed up their -- to get back to their role as an international power, important international power.


WHITFIELD: All right, so, David Rohde, it's one thing to hear from the Republicans, and it's another now to hear from Iraqi leadership. So is the U.S.' role as an international leader in jeopardy?

DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I think it's under question. There's still time for President Trump to sort of, you know, right the course here. But, you know, and early -- these early missteps that keep happening. There was -- you know, part of the initial travel ban, one of the countries included was Iraq. There were Iraqi translators and others who had risked their lives, you know, protecting and helping American troops that no longer could get in the U.S..

[11:05:05] And I think, you know, the statement by Allawi that you just broadcast shows how those mistakes resonate. His push for, you know, working with China on North Korea, that has sort of failed and the "Washington Post" had a story this morning about how Jared Kushner's efforts to sort of broker magically Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, that's not going well either. So, you know, there needs to be a change of course, I think.

WHITFIELD: So then, Julian, you've got all of this on the table. You've got the travel ban, you've got partial travel ban. You've got health care, you've got this Joe and Mika debacle. All of this chaos in Washington. How is it affecting Trump's position abroad because the world is watching. It's not, you know, this insular activity happening in the United States. But it could potentially influence how he can gain respect or lose it?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely. The leaders of many of the nations that will be at this summit are looking at the chaos in the Oval Office and they see a president who in their mind isn't in full control of the situation. They see how the health care bill fell apart here and so they fear him a little less and they have a little less trust when they're going to be in the room this week with him about what's going to be tweeted. And what kinds of stories will shape the U.S. agenda.

So I think many of the leaders don't have the same respect or fear of him that they might if he was a different kind of president.

WHITFIELD: This G-20 being hosted in Hamburg, Germany, which happens to be the birthplace of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and she has been speaking out ahead of this summit, saying, quote, "Whoever believes the problems of this world can be solved by isolationism and protectionism is making a tremendous error."

So, David Swerdlick, is Merkel letting Germany, the world, and Trump even, know that, you know, she's not afraid to send a powerful message? Does this kind of deepen a rift between U.S. and Germany even?

DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Fred, I don't know if it deepens a rift, but I do think it's another signal that European leaders, and Merkel is arguably the most important European leader, are seeing that there's a shift in the way that President Trump and the U.S. overall is approaching global affairs and maybe saying that she has to step into the breach and make the case for an international order.

President Trump hasn't backed completely away from the U.S.'s role. But he has, you know, sort of wobbled, confidence in the NATO alliance, he's shifted the way the Obama administration did things in the Middle East. He's got a very unusual approach toward Russia at least so far. And you have leaders like Merkel who lead on the European continent, who look around and say, well, someone's got to speak up for, you know, this sort of idea that there's a global international order, that NATO has a role, that EU has a role, that the Western powers have a role. And I think that's what that statement suggests, setting a tone for going into the G-20 meeting.

WHITFIELD: So there will be discussions about counterterrorism, trade, you know, David Rohde, President Trump however is set to meet face-to-face with Russia's president, Vladimir Putin. That likely to upstage a lot of the other discussions. What does Trump need to say to Putin? Who do you believe will be in the driver's seat of the discussion?

ROHDE: I mean, the approach in which you hear very loudly from the U.S. Congress, you know, the Senate just voted with over 90 votes for harsher sanctions on Russia, is that Trump should deliver a very tough message in private to Putin. That's what Europe wants, as well. They've just extended their own sanctions on Russia. But it's not clear that's going to happen.

There was a report earlier this week that Trump was talking about maybe voluntarily reducing some of the U.S. sanctions on Russia in this conversation with Putin. That's not confirmed. But it's just very strange the president is, you know, very tough on Mexico, you know, very tough on, you know, China now that it hasn't come through in North Korea. He's very tough on senators in his own party who don't enact health care reform. But there's this go-soft approach on Vladimir Putin. And that just

plays into this narrative of, you know, Russia, and to be fair to President Trump, there is no evidence of collusion yet. That's still being looked at by the special counsel. But it just -- it doesn't make sense to me politically. You know, it'd be so easy for him to just talk tough a little bit tougher on Russia. But -- and that would help him with this investigation. But he doesn't do that.

WHITFIELD: And he's not talking when he tweets, even today, you know, about the prelude to all of that. Instead, you know, it's more about the television hosts. You know, he's been receiving a lot of the backlash over his tweets about Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, and a member of his own party. And there have been many, who have been blasting the comments of President Trump. Listen.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R), ILLINOIS: That's a tweet that's not even becoming of a city council member.

REP. LEE ZELDIN (R), NEW YORK: I'm not going to defend his tweet. It was ugly. And I personally do hold the president of the United States to a higher standard.

SEN. PAT TOOMEY (R), PENNSYLVANIA: This is maddening. It's maddeningly frustrating because this is the beneath the dignity of the president of the United States, or at least it should be.


[11:10:07] WHITFIELD: All right. So none of that apparently has fazed the president because he was again tweeting this morning, saying this, "Crazy Joe Scarborough and dumb as a rock Mika are not bad people, but their low-rated show is dominated by their NBC bosses. Too bad."

So does this, you know, further, you know, a divide that now is on display between President Trump, Julian, and members of his own party?

ZELIZER: Well, look so far, it's not been a very big divide. These kinds of statements have been far and few between. And some people think all of this is sort of distraction by the president, to shift attention away from the failure of health care, the tensions at the G- 20. But I do think he is straining and testing party loyalty as much as any president could.

Right now to be tweeting more about this after the fallout from the last few days, the way it had a real cost on that health care bill is making many Republicans upset. They're going back to their states and their districts, they are hearing it from the right and from the center. And here he is tweeting about a television show. So think many Republicans are quite frustrated privately and a few more are publicly expressing their thoughts.

WHITFIELD: So, David Swerdlick, I mean, it seemed as though with his continued tweets today this is kind of like blood sport maybe. This is, you know, just fun for the president. But then when you hear, you know, in a written op-ed by Mika and Joe, they are talking about, you know, possible abuse of power. You know, the threat to, you know, going to another publication in order to kind of reveal more about this.

So who makes the determination about whether this is an example of an abuse of power by the president of the United States?

SWERDLICK: Well a couple of points, Fred. First I do think it was appropriate for Mika and Joe to respond. You know, when they are sort of called out or attacked on Twitter in that way. And even though we've talked about this a lot over the last couple of days, I think it just bears repeating like everyone else has said, the president's comments were sexist and far beneath the dignity of the presidency.

But here's the thing with this. I think that the president is doing this in a way that serves his interests in this sense. Julian hinted at it. That there is a cohort of his co-supporters that likes this combative attitude that he has.

Our CNN colleague Peter Beinart wrote an article the other day where he was saying part of Trump's agenda is nursing all of these grudges that he has. And I think there's something to that. Even though as Julian said, he's straining relations with his fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill, if you look at poll numbers, rank-and-file Republican voters have not left Trump. Although he has about a 40 percent approval rating overall, he has like an 80 percent approval rating if you look at polls from last week, even though some of them were probably taken before the Mika Brzezinski tweets.

He has about an 80 percent approval rating among Republicans, or maybe even a little higher. That's why he still continues to nurse this narrative of it's him against the media. It's him against the world. Because it does play with a certain audience.

WHITFIELD: OK. And David Rohde, you've got five seconds, 10 seconds to kind of sum it up, if you'd like?

ROHDE: I agree. Actually I think the tweets are distraction. This was a very bad week for the White House. Health care failed in the Senate and he's got a tough week ahead internationally.

WHITFIELD: All right. David Rohde, David Swerdlick, Julian Zelizer, thanks to all of you. See you again very soon.

All right. Coming up, secretaries of state alarmed at a request for personal voter information from a Trump panel. Why some states are flat-out saying they will not comply with that request.


ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES, KENTUCKY SECRETARY OF STATE: And not on my watch are we going to release sensitive voter information data that at best is a waste of taxpayer money and at worst is a national effort to suppress votes across the United States.



[11:17:58] WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. Several states and voter rights advocates are raising red flags about a letter from the White House. The Trump administration is requesting detailed voter information from all 50 states and many states are saying they will not comply.

Mississippi's Republican secretary of state says, quote, "They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi is a great state to launch from," end quote.

Trump responding to this growing resistance this morning saying, quote, "Numerous states are refusing to give information to the very distinguished voter fraud panel. What are they trying to hide?"

Here's CNN's Tom Foreman with more.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So many cities are corrupt and voter fraud is very, very common.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a quest to root out allegedly rampant voter fraud, the president's commission wants an ocean of sensitive information about every voter, including the person's full name, address, date of birth, political affiliation, voting, military, and criminal records, part of his or her Social Security number, and more.

States, particularly, some Democratic blue ones, are pushing back hard. California is flat-out refusing to hand over the info.

ALEX PADILLA, CALIFORNIA SECRETARY OF STATE: The president's allegations of massive voter fraud are simply not true.

FOREMAN: So is New York. "We will not comply." And Virginia, too. "There is no evidence of significant voter fraud." But some states that went Republican red for Trump are also balking, including Utah, Alabama, Iowa, and Wisconsin. They'll hand over only some data. And still others are dismissing the whole idea of voter fraud run amok.

MATTHEW DUNLAP, MAINE SECRETARY OF STATE: We might find some illegal activity but not to the scale that's been described.

TRUMP: People that have died 10 years ago are still voting. Illegal immigrants are voting.

FOREMAN: As a candidate, Donald Trump insisted fraud was a real problem. And even after he won the Electoral College, he lashed out at news more people voted for Hillary Clinton, tweeting, "I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally."

[11:20:07] TRUMP: So many things are going on. FOREMAN: To help steer his commission, he chose Kansas Secretary of

State Kris Kobach, who calls the states' complaints complete nonsense.

KRIS KOBACH, KANSAS SECRETARY OF STATE & DIRECTOR, COMMISSION ON ELECTION INTEGRITY: We're looking at all forms of election irregularities, voter fraud, registration fraud, voter intimidation, suppression.

FOREMAN: Kobach has zealously hunted vote cheaters back home for months, yet he's found less than a dozen provable cases out of more than a million and a half registered voters. What's more, he's a champion for voter I.D. laws, which many skeptics consider a way to suppress minority votes. And he was fined by a federal judge in Kansas just last week for his conduct in a lawsuit involving voting rights.

Connecticut state, "Given Secretary Kobach's history, we find it very difficult to have confidence in the work of this commission."

(On camera): Underlying it all is this simple fact. There is simply no credible evidence that there's ever been a widespread voter fraud problem. That's adding, clearly, to the hesitancy of many of these states.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


WHITFIELD: All right. Coming up, what's right and wrong with Obamacare and the GOP's health care bill. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will join us with her take and why she calls the GOP effort, quote, "a very cruel war on the poor."


[11:25:45] WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

Republican lawmakers in the Senate vow to continue their fight to repeal and replace Obamacare over this week-long Fourth of July recess. But as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell works to craft a bill that will gain support within his ranks, President Trump is urging the GOP to act now. Trump tweeting this Friday, "If Republican senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately repeal and then replace at a later date," end quote.

That's a reversal from earlier this year when the president said repeal and replacement would happen almost simultaneously. But Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders insists the president has not changed his strategy.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: The president hasn't changed his thinking at all. I mean, he's campaigned on, talked about since he was elected. Repealing and replacing Obamacare, we're still fully committed to pushing through with the Senate at this point. But we're, you know, looking at every possible option of repealing and replacing Obamacare.

Again we're still focused on trying to push through where we are and we're going to continue moving forward and making progress on that front and looking at repealing and replacing Obamacare. The bottom line is we're focused on the end product here and that is to repeal and replace Obamacare with health care that works for all Americans.


WHITFIELD: I'm joined now with Kathleen Sebelius. She was the Health and Human Services secretary for the Obama administration as the Affordable Care Act was being crafted.

Good to see you. All right. So you saw --


WHITFIELD: You saw the tweet from the president, calling for repeal now, replace later. So what would happen to all of those people currently on Obamacare if that were indeed to happen?

SEBELIUS: Well millions of people, 20 million, approximately individuals would lose the health care they now have for themselves and their families and rely on to make sure they can get preventive care or have birth control when they need it. Get their kids to the doctor.

I guess that what he's saying is it really doesn't matter if 20 million people would be totally without coverage once again, which is where we were, Fredricka, at the beginning of the debate on the Affordable Care Act.

WHITFIELD: So if the goal of Obamacare was to have affordable, accessible care, when you hear the sitting president say repeal now, replace later, what is your belief that his goal is at this juncture? Is it an issue of health care? Is it an issue of branding, you know, health care? What is the goal in your view?

SEBELIUS: I think that's a great question. I have no idea what the goal of the president is. I know what candidate Trump said over and over again. He said we want health insurance that works for everybody. We want lower prices, which is what the American public wants. Both in their premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

He said he would not touch Medicaid, the program that's been in place for 52 years, that provides a health safety net under the most vulnerable populations in every state in the country. Disabled, adults and children. Seniors in nursing homes, low-income pregnant moms and kids. He promised not to touch that program.

The House bill decimates Medicaid. Would cause 23 million people to lose coverage, raises prices, according to every economist. Anybody who is in the market now would pay more, not less. They'd pay more out of pocket. They'd pay more deductibles. So then the president called that bill mean and turned to the Senate.

The Senate bill in some ways is worse. At least the draft that they got close to putting on the floor. 22 million people lose coverage. It makes much deeper cuts in this very important Medicaid program, not the expansion population. Those go away altogether. The extra help to states to insure the lowest income working adults.

But the cuts made in every state in the country to the underlying Medicaid program would blow up state by just across America. .

[11:30:05] That's why you have Republican governors like Brian Sandoval in Nevada and Asa Hutchinson in Arkansas and John Kasich in Ohio saying whoa, whoa, we don't think this is a good idea. We think this needs to stop. We need to regroup.

So I have no idea what the president means. If you repeal the law, which the House I would remind you, voted to do 52 or 53 times during the Obama administration, without any replacement discussion, if you repeal the law, 20 million people lose coverage. Providers don't get paid.

More hospitals will go out of business with uncompensated care and we will continue to have people who live sicker and die younger than any of our competitive countries around the world who are investing in their populations' health and wellness, so they can be productive workers.

WHITFIELD: So Trump's HHS secretary, Tom Price, says also at the core is the bottom line, the price, and he had this to say about the proposed Republican bill.


TOM PRICE, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: The plan in its entirety will absolutely bring premiums down because you increase competition and choices for individuals. You allow folks to be able to purchase the kind of coverage that they want. Not that the government forces them to buy.


WHITFIELD: Is it that simple? Does this open up the marketplace? It means there's going to be more competition which means lower rates.

SEBELIUS: Well more competition is definitely good and the White House has intentionally sabotaged the current marketplace. They have done absolutely nothing to tell insurance companies what the rules are.

WHITFIELD: What do you mean by that?

SEBELIUS: Well, starting at the election and accelerating into the presidency, they refuse to tell insurance companies whether they'll be paid back for $7 billion worth of subsidies that help lower out of pocket costs to the lowest income Americans buying health insurance. So insurance companies don't know about the rules. They told the IRS do not enforce the individual mandate, which helps encourage younger and healthier people to come into the market.

WHITFIELD: So in a sense -- in a sense that kind of uncertainty has scared off, you know, insurance companies?

SEBELIUS: There is no question. Not in a sense, every CEO of an insurance company who has left a market or reluctant to come into a market has said the uncertainty about what the rules are for 2018, the lack of clarity about what is the game going forward, causes us to decide that we're not going to file rates because we have no idea what it is we need to charge.

So I would say competition is great. The White House has done everything to sabotage competition across the country and so has Secretary Price. And there's a lot that the bully pulpit of the White House and HHS can do to get companies in Washington State.

Just had some bear counties, the insurance commissioner and the governor in that state reached out to several insurers and said we would like you to come into the market. We want to see this be a choice for every citizen in Washington State, and indeed companies file rates in the bear counties.

That can be done. We did it every year. This is a systematic sabotage, the existing law. They don't have a law to replace the existing law and millions of people and Fredricka, I hear from them all the time say what's going to happen to me and my family?

How do I pay for my chemotherapy treatment? What happens to my child if I lose coverage? And I frankly don't know what you to tell them. I don't know what the end game is for Republicans and they seem to be looking at this as a game. This is life and death for way too many people.

WHITFIELD: So your overall argument has been, it's not that Obamacare has been a failure. But instead -- you know, as a framework, but instead, it has been undermined and that has weakened a health care plan that you have long believed in?

SEBELIUS: Well, there's some things that would be helpful to fix. Having the ability to have a balanced risk pool and helping insurance companies who have tomorrow older and sicker people signing up. That was in the original law, not funded by the Republicans.

It's in both the House and Senate bills. It's a great idea. Do that. I think we need to take a look at who gets subsidies and more people have said they really need some help. That's a good idea.

Lower the level of out of pocket costs, do something about drug prices, which every American is complaining about, and is not in the House or Senate bill. So there's some definite things that would draw bipartisan support, could be done, to really stabilize and make the market more competitive and give people more choices. WHITFIELD: All right, we'll leave it right there. Thank you so much, former Health and Human Services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius. Thanks for your time and happy 4th weekend.

SEBELIUS: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, staying with the Senate's health care bill, one poll out this week showing only 16 percent of Americans approve of Republicans' efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare, a whopping 58 percent disapprove. More than a quarter said they were unsure.

CNN spoke with five Republican voters to get their take and while most of them voted for President Trump, not a single one said that they like the Senate or House proposals, currently.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Raise your hand if you voted for President Trump. Do any of you want the House or the Senate health care bills to pass and become the law of the land?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not in its current form.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not really happy with the health care bill that they have so far. I'm not happy with the current health care bill, but I would like to see more free market so people can choose how they want.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he still has a lot to prove. I think I'm one of those Republicans that he still has a lot to prove to. You have a Republican House, a Republican Senate and a Republican White House, there's no excuse for Republicans not to put points on the board.

That's where I feel it's almost like a football game. His offense is trying to drive down the field, but keeps having these penalties and keeps bringing them back. You have to put points on the board, there's no excuse for it.

HARLOW: Scherie, is he right -- to you as well, Josh, is he right? You give the president a B-plus and Bill said he's got control, the Republican Party has control of the White House and Congress and he says they need to put points on the board. They need to get legislation done.

SCHERIE MURRAY, VOTED FOR TRUMP IN 2016, VOTED FOR OBAMA IN 2008 AND 2012: We do and I agree to his point. We hold the majority in the White House right now in Congress as well and this is a great time for our president to be an effective leader, to deliver on some of his campaign promises.

I'm looking forward to what's to come out of the health care bill. I do think personally that he should consider reforming it instead of repealing it. I think there are layers there that ought to be changed, but there are layers that can remain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, the president's promise was repeal and replace Obamacare on day one.

MURRAY: On day one.

HARLOW: You don't want to see him do that? It sounds like you want to see him work and Republicans in Congress work with Democrats to alter Obamacare, is that right?

MURRAY: Absolutely. I would love to see our elected officials work together, work across the line for the benefit of the people. We put them into office, they should do what we want.

HARLOW: You pay their salaries, too.

MURRAY: Absolutely.

JOSH AIKENS, VOTED FOR TRUMP IN 2016, VOTED FOR OBAMA IN 2008: By all means, they've had plenty of years to have this health care bill ready to go on day one. They should have done that and they didn't.

It's -- I mean, it's just -- what you would always say, your typical politicians, not doing what you want them to do. A repeal, I don't think they're actually repealing Obamacare.

I think this is a reform of Obamacare. They're going to call it a repeal, but it's really not a repeal if you actually go ahead and look through it.

HARLOW: As a Republican, does the does the House or Senate Republican health care proposals right now help enough Americans? Are you pleased with either of them?

AIKENS: No. I would like a full repeal and I would like a free market.

MURRAY: The health care is not a Republican or Democratic issue. It's a -- a human issue. It's a -- we all need health care. We needed to sustain ourselves, our family, our children, and it's an issue that shouldn't be a partisan issue.

HARLOW: So was the president, Richard, right or wrong to make that a center-point of his campaign, a full repeal and replace of Obamacare?

RICHARD ST. PAUL, VOTED FOR TRUMP IN 2016, FORMER DEMOCRAT: Whether it's right or wrong, think it was a necessary thing to do.


ST. PAUL: We all know that Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act is a disaster at this point in time. Premiums have increased, in some states you all have one, maybe sometimes two health insurance companies participating. It is on the road to disaster. It's imploding.

HARLOW: My question was he wrong to promise a full repeal and replace? Should he have said, we're going to fix this? ST. PAUL: I think the way the Affordable Care Act was set up, it was doomed to fail. So it needed to be replaced. So no, I would not say he was wrong in saying that it needs to be replaced because it does need to be repleaced.

HARLOW: Are Republicans going to get this thing done?

ST. PAUL: If they don't get it done, the president has said that he's going to move on. I think what's going to happen is perhaps we can actually have Republicans and Democrats working together because even Democrats --

HARLOW: You mean on --

ST. PAUL: On health care.

HARLOW: So it sounds like you actually want the Republican versions in the House and the Senate to fail?

ST. PAUL: I don't agree with the versions as they are right now. I don't think it does enough?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think they need to be negotiated. They put something together quickly to get it on the table. They need to sit down now with Democrats and Republicans, to me it doesn't matter whether they repeal and replace or fix because it doesn't matter what you replace the affordable health care act with.

You're going to have to have some of the provisions of Obamacare to make it work but get it done. I retired at age 62. I tried to get health insurance, after I retired because I had to wait until 65 to get Medicare.

To get the same benefits that I was getting while I was working and paying $40 a month for, was going to cost me $802 a month. I couldn't afford that I went for a year and a half as a diabetic with no health care. I just didn't go to the doctor.

HARLOW: As Republicans, raise your hand if you -- want to see Democrats and Republicans work together on this thing and come up with something different than the Senate and the House have put forth?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that's an easy one there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's a no brainer.

BILL CORTESE JR., WROTE IN GENERAL MATTIS FOR 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: This is the president that wrote "The Art of The Deal." Get in and make a deal. Pull people together just like you did when you belt buildings all over the world. Get in, bring people to the table and do something.

HARLOW: You think President Trump should be injecting himself more into?

CORTESE: Well, he owns this issue, right? He's made this a focal point. Made this a focal point in his campaign. He's using the bully pulpit to push for it. I think it's a wake-up call for him as well.

HARLOW: And if he can't get it done. If the Senate and the House can't get it done, on health care, what does that say?

CORTESE: I mean, I just think it's a big defeat.

MURRAY: I don't think that's a defeat for the president. I don't think that's a defeat for the president, I think that is a defeat for Congress.


WHITFIELD: All right, our thanks to Poppy Harlow there and the voters. And we will be right back.


WHITFIELD: The FBI has arrested a man they believe kidnapped a Chinese graduate student in Illinois and now they fear the missing woman is dead. The 26-year-old Yinyin Zhang was studying at the University of Illinois when she wept missing three weeks ago.

Surveillance video shows Zhang getting into 27-year-old Brent Christensen's car on the day she disappeared. Her disappearance has also sparked widespread concern across China.

CNN's Kaylee Hartung joins us now with more on what authorities are willing to say about this case.

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the evidence against Christensen is really striking when you go through it, Fredricka. Now as you said, Zhang is last seen getting into that black Saturn Extra. There were only 18 of those vehicles registered in Champagne County.

So authorities were able to quickly zero in on Christensen. As they interviewed, they found that car with characteristics similar to those you see in that surveillance video, a sunroof and a cracked front passenger hubcap.

When they searched the car, they found at the passenger seat and the door were cleaned more diligently than other areas of the car. And the next step for authorities is they obtain Christensen's phone. A forensic search showed he had visited websites like "Abduction 101" with threads, "perfect abduction fantasy" "planning and kidnapping."

The ultimate break in this case came on Thursday night while under surveillance by the FBI, Christensen was captured in an audio recording explaining to someone, we don't know who, but explaining how he kidnapped Yingying, how he took her to his apartment and held her against her will there.

WHITFIELD: So you were in Champagne earlier in the week. You actually spoke with some of her family embers, a majority of them are abroad, but were in town because they're worried sick over her.

HARTUNG: Her father and her boyfriend travelled from China about two weeks ago to Illinois. They told me they weren't going back home to China without her. There was a tremendous message of hope from them as we talked to them through a translator.


LINQIN YI, ZHANG'S AUNT (through translator): The family hopes that the kidnappers would not hurt her and knowing she, she is really well loved by the families and friends. Just let her go. Let her come back. That as soon as possible.


HARTUNG: Now little did the family know on the same day that I spoke with them, police coming to the conclusion, that Yingying is no longer alive.

WHITFIELD: Heartbreaking. All right, thanks so much, Kaylee. Appreciate it. All right, we'll be right back.


WHITFIELD: Welcome back. An intensifying crisis in Venezuela, the death toll from ongoing clashes between anti-government protesters and police has just risen to 83 and more protests are schedule for today.

Crowds accusing the government of a power grab have taken to the streets for the last three months now. There is also the deepening economic crisis. A drop in oil prices has put Venezuela in a cash crunch and lines for food are also very long and many times people come away with nothing because of the shortages after standing in those long lines.

We find Leyla Santiago on the border with Colombia and Venezuela with more on the state of affairs there. Leila?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, when you take that political unrest, the economic instability, add to that the highest inflation rates in the world, as well as price controls from the government and you'll get what you see behind me.

Tens of thousands of people from Venezuela crossing into Colombia just to get very basic items. We actually stopped a few people who were coming in from Venezuela and we were seeing what they were taking in suitcases to get back into Venezuela and they had such basic items.

I'm talking about cooking oil, flour, bread, garlic, bananas, very basic items for survival. So as tens of thousands of people every single day cross into Colombia, this is almost just like a sense of relief from that political unrest.

And that economic instability for them to get very basic needs to survive, basic supplies that will get them through for a week or a month at a time while things in Venezuela continue in chaos with opposition forces and the government going back and forth -- Fredricka. WHITFIELD: So, Leyla, are there any express concerns that those border crossings could close and people would not be able to cross the border in order to get those kind of basic essentials?

SANTIAGO: That's certainly a concern that people have talked about here. And it has happened in the past from the Venezuela side at times the government has shut down this part of the border where we are right now.

There are other crossings in other parts of Colombia and Venezuela, but when that happens you start to see people getting even more desperate. I spoke to a man who was crossing into Colombia, 22 years old, just to get basic medicine for his 85-year-old grandmother and he says if this is not available, he can't get it in Venezuela.

WHITFIELD: Leyla Santiago on the border there between Venezuela and Colombia, thank you so much. Keep us posted. And we'll be right back.