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Trump Calls on Congress to Consider Repealing Obamacare First and Replacing it Later; Lawmakers Criticize President Trump's Tweets About MSNBC Host; Trump Voters Discuss President's Performance in Office So Far; Rural Hospitals Shuttering Across U.S.; Man Arrested in Connection to Possible Kidnapping of Chinese Student. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired July 1, 2017 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:05] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Happening right now in the NEWSROOM, while President Trump prepares for his first meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin amid Russia's meddling in the U.S. election, he must also deal with other controversies at home, questions about White House tactics to investigate alleged voter fraud. And Trump calling on senators to repeal Obamacare now and replace it later.
Plus, Trump voters weighing in, what they are saying about his leadership.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Me, I do not support a country or the president isolating ourselves from the rest of the world. The world needs American leadership right now.
He's a businessman, he surrounds himself with people who are smart and intelligent and know what they're doing, and he's going to let them do things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: That's all ahead in CNN NEWSROOM.
Hello, again everyone, and thanks so much for being with me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
All right, President Trump heads to Europe in just four days from now where, among other things, he will attend the G-20 summit in Germany. We'll have to wait and see if he keeps up his feud with two television hosts via Twitter, and if there's any movement on the Republican push to replace and repeal Obamacare. The president telling senators to repeal now, replace later.
CNN's Ryan Nobles joins us now from the White House with more details on all of this. So, Ryan, the health care fight seems to be looming over senators even though they're on a week-long recess.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There's no doubt about that, Fredricka. This is going to be the dominating conversation for these senators back in their home states as they wrestle with how to move forward on health care reform. And President Trump really, in fact, once described it as throwing a grenade in the middle of the negotiations when he suggested on Friday that they just pass a repeal bill first and then worry about a replacement later.
Now, he does have a small group of Republican senators who agree with that, but the most powerful senator, the one who matters the most, Mitch McConnell, was back at his home state of Kentucky yesterday, and he actually addressed the president's proposal. And this is what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITCH MCCONNELL, (R-KY) SENATE MINORITY LEADER: I'm sitting there with a Rubik's cube trying to figure out how to twist the dials to get to 50 to replace this with something better than this. Stabilizing these markets is important. Middle class families are getting hammered. The American people said we elected a Republican president, a Republican House and a Republican Senate. We want to see some results. And I can't say anything other than I agree with you. But it's not easy. And we're going to continue to wrestle with this and try to get it done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: So McConnell there essentially saying that the path that they are on right now is the best path forward and that his best shot of doing something to reform health care would be to do the repeal and replacement all at once. As he said there, Fredricka, it's not going to get any easier. And his members are getting anxious, a number of them sending him a letter suggesting that they cancel their August recess until they can get health care reform done.
WHITFIELD: And in all that, Ryan, with the backdrop of the president's tweets earlier today about the two cable TV hosts and how this seems never ending. What's been the reaction?
NOBLES: Well, Fredricka, you would be hard pressed to find someone in Washington with a position of power in government who thought it was a good idea for the president of the United States to engage in this back and forth with two cable news hosts. And the fact he tweeted again this morning, many of these folks here in Washington would prefer he just moved onto bigger issues like health care and this meeting he has coming up at the G-20 this week.
WHITFIELD: All right, Ryan nobles, thanks so much, from the White House.
Earlier this week a chorus of Republican lawmakers slammed the president over his tweets about the TV hosts. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM KINZINGER, (R) ILLINOIS: That's a tweet that's not even becoming of a city councilman. 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 beneath the dignity of the president of the United States, or at least it should be. And it's a distraction. And it really ultimately starts to undermine the president's ability to get his agenda done.
REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL, (R) TEXAS: And we're dealing with some very serious policy issues in the Congress, whether it be health care reform, tax reform, border security, and national security issues that we would prefer him to tweet about those issues.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right, Let's talk about all of this. Joining me right now, Jay Newton-Small is a contributor for "TIME" magazine and the author of "Broad Influence, How Women are Changing the Way America Works," congrats on your book, and CNN politics reporter Eugene Scott.
So given the president's tweet this morning, he's clearly not following the advice of members of his party. And according to a recent poll the majority of American voters think that Trump should stop tweeting.
[14:05:07] So, Eugene, we heard from one of the lawmakers there who said he believes that the tweeting is undermining the agenda. So what louder message does there need to be to the president?
EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: I don't think the president is unaware that people think he should not be tweeting. I think at the end of the day, though, that's what he wants to do and that's what he's going to do.
There are some people in the base who are very much encouraged by the president's attacks on the media because when you talk to voters who back Trump in some of these places where he's really unpopular, they feel constantly attacked. And so I think that they are looking to him to provide an example of how they should respond. And it looks like hitting back is what he and even Melania are backing.
But the question I think that he's going to have to ask himself, is this going to get people on the Trump train who already aren't? And that's something he has to be concerned about considering he has historically low approval ratings.
WHITFIELD: So, Jay, listen to what long-time journalist and CNN political analyst Carl Bernstein had to say about President Trump's presidency overall yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARL BERNSTEIN, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: I think something much greater is happening, and that is that we are in the midst of a malignant presidency. And that malignancy is known to the military leaders of the country, it's known to the leadership in Congress who recognize it, and it's known to the intelligence community.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So, Jay, how do you further analyze things?
JAY NEWTON-SMALL, CONTRIBUTOR, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Well, it's clearly distracting when he tweets these kinds of things. And in his campaign historically whenever he tweeted about women, whenever he went after and attacked women, that's when he really lost popularity. And that's where he really has to be careful and to not lose his base, because these are absolutely, Eugene is right, incredibly distracting to the Republicans trying to get any kind of policy done.
People forget that last week was supposed to be energy week. And who actually talked about energy last week? Everyone was talking about Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough and these crazy tweets that Trump comes up with. And it's like he's almost schizophrenic. This morning he woke up and said hey, Canada, happy birthday. I love your leader and we have great relations. And then it was four tweets that were just ranting and raving about the fake news press and Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, and it just makes no sense because you can't have an agenda if all you do is pick wars and fight battles with TV personalities. It's not a reality TV show. To govern, you actually have to have policy and govern.
WHITFIELD: So Eugene, all of this happening on the eve of the president getting ready to go to Hamburg, Germany, for the G-20 summit. Is there a feeling that this behavior or pattern tweeting, whichever way you want to put it, might impact his trip abroad?
SCOTT: Certainly. There are quite a few international issues that leaders at the G-20 are looking to the United States to comment on -- national security, trade, and environmental issues, especially considering that we just came out of the Paris agreement and there's some interest supposedly in renegotiating it.
If Donald Trump continues to focus on his battle with these MSNBC hosts, and we're three days into it right now, this is time that I think many people on the international stage are going to think could have been better spent focused on the global issues that you would expect an American president to pay attention to.
WHITFIELD: So, Jay, do you agree with that? Because might the interpretation also be from leaders abroad who will say, well, wait a minute, the office of the presidency is actually bigger than Donald Trump, so even if we have to deal with the volatility of a Donald Trump, it's really still the United States, the leader of the world, essentially, that they're still wanting to embark on a deal with?
NEWTON-SMALL: Certainly that's been the tone that you see in world leaders' take in recent, you know, days leading up to this summit. Whether it's Australian foreign minister, Germany's Angela Merkel who will be hosting the summit, they've sort of avoided all the controversy and said we're really going to focus on things like the Paris agreement. We're going to focus on things like, you know, other of Donald Trump's statements that they found worrying. For example, Angela Merkel called him out saying isolationism and protectionism were delusional and that those are subjects that she wanted to talk about.
WHITFIELD: Which does kind of set a tone, doesn't it?
NEWTON-SMALL: It does.
WHITFIELD: She gets the upper hand in saying, wait, before we even get started, let me just lay down the groundwork, which is pretty bold.
NEWTON-SMALL: It is. But I think the number one thing that we will see or I think the news media is looking for out of this summit is less about policy, it's less about the Paris agreement and climate change, and it's more about what is Donald Trump going to say to Vladimir Putin whom he's going to meet on the sidelines of this meeting.
And that brings us all the way back to the other sort of simmering scandal here, the investigation into Trump's collusion with Russia, potential Trump campaign's potential collusion with Russia during the campaign, and then also the investigation into his obstruction of justice potentially. And so that's the other kind of headline that can come out of this is, is he actually going to confront Putin and say did you meddle in our elections? And is he going to impose sanctions on Russia for that?
[14:10:06] WHITFIELD: And Eugene, quickly, the likelihood of how the president might interact with Vladimir Putin?
SCOTT: Well, I certainly am not expecting him to directly ask Putin about his alleged involvement in the election because it's not something that he has done so far. But we will be paying attention to see how he responds to issues like sanctions and trade in terms of how our future relationship will be with this country that many people in his own party are concerned about.
WHITFIELD: All right, Eugene Scott, Jay Newton-Small, always good to see you all. Thanks so much. Happy Fourth weekend too.
NEWTON-SMALL: You too.
WHITFIELD: Still ahead, I will talk more about the president and Vladimir Putin and their meeting upcoming, and this as new allegations surface against members of the Trump campaign. Our legal analyst weighing in after the break.
[14:15:03] WHITFIELD: All right, it is the meeting that will be watched around the world, if anyone gets to actually see it. President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin set to have a face-to-face meeting at the G-20 summit next week. It comes at a time when the investigations into Russia's meddling in the U.S. elections are ramping up.
And just this week we learned former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo will testify later this month before the House Intelligence Committee. Caputo once worked for an energy company with close ties to Putin. Caputo has denied any contact with Russian officials while he was a member of the Trump campaign. Caputo is a longtime ally of Trump adviser Roger Stone, who has also volunteered to answer questions before the House panel. Lawmakers want to know more about Stone's communication with WikiLeaks.
And the panel also plans to interview Susan Rice, who served as national security adviser under former president Barack Obama. Rice has come under scrutiny from Republicans on the panel who accuse her of improperly unmasking names of Trump associates in classified intelligence reports. She denies the accusations.
All right, let's bring in CNN legal analyst Michael Zeldin. He is a former federal prosecutor and former special assistant to Robert Mueller at the Department of Justice. Mueller is head of this special counsel leading the investigation into the alleged Russian interference in the U.S. elections. All right, good to see you. Let's begin with the two former Trump advisors being called to testify, Michael Caputo and Roger Stone. How potentially detrimental could their testimony, either one of them, be to the Trump presidency?
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: They're sort of a package deal in a sense. I think Caputo is there in some respects because of his alliance with, allegiance to Stone. And Stone is more interesting because of his prediction, and some say forewarned of this, prediction that Podesta's e-mails had been leaked, had been hacked and were going to be leaked, and that Hillary Clinton's speeches, her paid speeches that she was keeping confidential, were also hacked and were going to be leaked. So they wanted to know from Stone were you in touch with Julian Assange, were you in touch with the Russian military e-mail server that they had set up for communications? And if so, why were you doing that? And what role did you play in getting this information out into the domain? So I think Caputo is sort of ancillary to that principally.
WHITFIELD: So those potential answers could speak to intent, wittingly, unwittingly?
ZELDIN: Well, yes. I mean, it could be that Stone -- and we should say as you said at the setup, he has denied this, that Stone was in fact in communications with the Russians about what they were doing with the hacked information, and they were strategizing about the best way to get that information out into the public domain in a way that would cause the most injury to the Clinton campaign.
So if that were the facts, if it rolled out that way, that would be detrimental to Stone and detrimental to the president if he had knowledge of Stone's doing this. If Stone was an independent actor doing this on his own, then it's all on Stone. If they were all communicating in the campaign about this, then there's, if you will, a conspiracy, or collusion as the media likes to call it. WHITFIELD: OK, Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House
Intelligence Committee, said that if President Donald Trump does not act on the threat Russia poses that he could be derelict in his duty to protect the United States. Is that a feasible argument?
ZELDIN: Well, it's not a legal argument, it's a political argument. If Schiff is saying, come on, Mr. President, please focus on that which is most important to us, that's a political plea.
WHITFIELD: Because people even in the circle of President Trump and the White House have said that he hasn't initiated conversations, hasn't necessarily expressed concern about, you know, what many in the intelligence community say is meddling of Russia into the U.S. election.
ZELDIN: That's right. And as I say, this is a political point, saying please, Mr. President, focus on that which matters to the country more than what you're focusing on, Joe Scarborough and the likes. And if you don't, we can say that you're derelict in your responsibilities.
The response to that, of course, is you have an election in 2020, and if he's viewed to be derelict in his duties, then you vote him out of office. But it's not necessarily a legal problem. He's not -- there's no crime of dereliction of duties in an indictable sense. There's potentially an abuse of office, article of impeachment, but it seems a long way from that. So we're talking politics there, not so much law.
WHITFIELD: All right, Michael Zeldin, thank you so much. Good to see you.
ZELDIN: Thank you. Good to see you.
[14:20:00] WHITFIELD: A crisis is brewing for America's rural hospitals. Just ahead, why their situation could suddenly get worse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rural Georgia is dying. There used to be hospitals littering the whole state.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is Medicaid cuts that are going to hurt really bad.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How bad?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really bad.
TRAVIS ROY, FOUNDER, TRAVIS ROY FOUNDATION: Many of my earliest memories are of playing hockey. I had so many goals from early age.
When I first got a scholarship to Boston University, they were the powerhouse in the country in the mid '90s. That first game was the best day of my life. And by the time it was over it turned into the worst. From the time they dropped the puck until they blew the whistle it was 11 seconds.
[14:25:01] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a BU player down in the corner. Oh, it's Travis Roy.
ROY: My body, it wasn't responding. I said can you find my dad? He knelt down and I said, dad, I'm in big trouble. I exploded my fourth and fifth cervical vertebrae. The rehab and the recovery was tedious, it was slow. I just have a little bit of my right bicep. Figured I have got to move on and salvage this new life and new identity.
I graduated in 2000. When I was on the rehab floor and I'd see other families going through this. It turned out I had great insurance. There were families that didn't have any of that. So that's when I thought maybe we can raise some money to help cover some of these expenses for other spinal cord injury survivors. We started the Travis Roy Foundation.
Having a passion is fun. But I realize now I have a purpose. There's times in our lives when we choose our challenges and there are other times when the challenges simply choose us. And it's what we do in the face of those challenges that defines who we are.
WHITFIELD: President Trump's foreign policy vision will be front and center next week at the G-20 summit in Germany. Immigration could be a point of contention between the president and other world leaders. This as a tweaked version of Trump's controversial travel ban went into effect this week. CNN's Poppy Harlow sat down with a group of registered Republicans, most of whom voted for Trump, to hear their opinions of his foreign policy strategy.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Let's talk about America first, Bill. What is more important for you that this country be, a world leader, or America first? And can America be both at the same time?
BILL CORTESE, JR., WROTE IN GEN. MATTIS FOR 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: Well, we have been both for a long time. And so I don't think they're mutually exclusive. I think a strong America makes us a strong leader on the world stage. And I think, you know, the world is looking for that type of American leadership right now and has been. And these are issues all across the globe that they need I think American leadership on it. And with Secretary Mattis, Secretary Tillerson, I think they've done a great job. And I think probably one of the best things Trump has done is he's allowed them to just do their jobs.
HARLOW: How do you think the world views President Trump's leadership?
CORTESE: Well, I mean, you don't have to look far to see what people think of President Trump. I think there was a poll that was out today talking about his, you know, America's image or his image.
HARLOW: Yes, Reuters numbers.
CORTESE: Being gathered right now. But ultimately I think you -- you know, those numbers are snapshots in time, right? I think if you're able to come to an agreement in Syria, that number goes up. If you're able to work out a way to stop the humanitarian disaster that we've seen over there, if you're able to solve an issue with North Korea, I think that number changes. So you can get tied up in those types of numbers, but I do think ultimately all that goes away when you step out and you lead.
HARLOW: Josh, what is the most important foreign policy issue for you that you would like to see the president focused on?
JOSH AIKENS, VOTED FOR TRUMP IN 2016, VOTED FOR OBAMA IN 2008: For me, I like the fact that he does let Mattis, General Mattis take the reins and do what he knows best. I think that that's where Trump was coming up, he's a businessman. He surrounds himself with people who are smart and intelligent and know what they're doing. And he's going to let them do things and he's going to keep them in check, but he's going to let them do things. For me it's renegotiation of NAFTA. It's getting out of the Paris climate accords. It's maybe even pulling back out of U.N. I just don't think --
HARLOW: You think the United States should not have a seat at the United Nations? Is that what you're saying?
AIKENS: I think we should renegotiate our positions there. We're funding all of these things ourselves.
HARLOW: You're shaking your head.
CORTESE: When you remove yourself from something like the Paris climate accords or the United Nations, you cede power and authority to countries like China and Russia.
AIKENS: But China wasn't even paying into the climate --
CORTESE: We've tried isolationism before. And where did that get us?
AIKENS: But I'm not saying full isolationism. I'm saying a renegotiation.
CORTESE: Well, I mean, you talked about pulling out of the U.N. I don't know what a renegotiation is, whether it's payments or what it is --
AIKENS: Well, if he threatens to pull out of it.
CORTESE: I'm really not understanding what you mean specifically by that, but I do not support a country or the president isolating ourselves from the rest of the world. The world needs American leadership right now.
HARLOW: All right, let's talk about the travel ban. The Trump administration's travel ban, as they have put it, is now headed to the Supreme Court. The justices will hear the arguments in October. Has it, Richard, been worth the fight?
RICHARD ST. PAUL, VOTED FOR TRUMP IN 2016, FORMER DEMOCRAT: Absolutely. First of all, we're talking about a presidential power. Does the president have the right to effect executive orders that deal with immigration? And the Congress has given him that power.
HARLOW: The Supreme Court decided they would hear the case, and they lifted part of the stay. Deborah, you have an interesting question that you would like to pose to President Trump on this.
[14:30:00] DEBORAH REINHARD, VOTED FOR TRUMP IN 2016, VOTED FOR OBAMA IN 2008 AND 2012: My question is, they wanted it for 90 days so that they can figure out how to better vet people from those countries. It has been more than 90 days. Where are the people who are supposed to be working on that vetting process? And why isn't that in place? If the travel restriction, ban, whatever, had gone into effect the way it was supposed to 90 days ago, would those same people still be spinning their wheels and we still wouldn't have a vetting process?
HARLOW: So you're saying, look --
REINHARD: Get it done. Get it done.
CORTESE: Let's talk about execution on that. The execution on that was that the president did not talk to General Kelly before implementing this travel ban. How can you not talk to the secretary of homeland security when implementing something like this? So this is another thing where I think Trump gets in his own way where, whether you disagree or agree with the travel ban, on the execution it's an F.
ST. PAUL: That was the first time. He's since resolved and re-geared the travel restriction to one I think is constitutional.
HARLOW: One that he calls watered down.
ST. PAUL: Well, he calls it watered down, but I think it was necessary to pass constitutional --
HARLOW: Not included in this travel ban are the four nations where the 9/11 hijackers came from. Does that concern you?
AIKENS: I don't think it goes far enough. I think those four nations that were identified as being part of the 9/11 attack should be included, especially Saudi Arabia. But they're not. And we're getting, you know, a watered down version or some sort of version. But to her point, yes, it's been over 90 days. Why haven't we been doing this? Why haven't we been coming up with a strategy for vetting? I mean, you don't need this hold in place right now to start vetting or to start your vetting process.
HARLOW: So your message to the president on this issue is?
AIKENS: I'd like to see this get done. So I'm happy that the Supreme Court's at least hearing this. I think that while this is in place, much like tax reform and health care, I think while this is in place you could be working on your processes and procedures to have vetting in place.
ST. PAUL: When we talk about the four countries where the 9/11 terrorists came from, we have to separate that from this current travel restriction. And the reason why is we're talking about countries like Syria, Yemen, who don't have stable governments, who don't have an ability to vet. At least Saudi Arabia has the ability to vet people coming into this country, so the intelligence is there, the technology's there, the government is intact. So there is a separation between the countries with travel restrictions with basically no government versus countries that the 9/11 terrorists came from that actually have systems in place to do vetting.
HARLOW: And sitting here as we are now for the four of you who voted for President Trump, does he have your vote in 2020 as of now, raise your hand.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to hear more about criminal justice reform at some point.
ST. PAUL: I agree with that, but he has my vote right now, yes.
HARLOW: Would you write in General Mattis again?
CORTESE: I don't want to, but, you know, we'll have to see. Again, I think the president still has a lot to prove for some of us that have been skeptical.
WHITFIELD: All right, candid conversation with CNN's Poppy Harlow. And of course you can watch more of the interview on CNN.com. We'll be right back.
[14:37:25] WHITFIELD: All right, efforts by Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare could be endangering the health of many Americans in a way that you might not realize. Many small towns have lost hospitals due to shrinking budgets, and cuts to Medicaid could make the problem even worse. All this according to the reporting of our CNN Nick Valencia.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here in Richland, Georgia, just two hours south of Atlanta, it's a different world from the big city. Access to basic services including a hospital is not a guarantee.
DR. ALLURI RAJU, ONLY DOCTOR IN RICHLAND, GEORGIA: I'm the only physician in a 30-mile radius.
VALENCIA: Dr. Alluri Raju has been the only doctor in town since the nearest hospital, Stewart Webster Hospital, shut down in 2013. Nearly 100 rural hospitals have closed since 2010, and now hundreds more are at risk. To add insult to injury, the facility was shuttered with little warning.
RAJU: There was a notice on Monday and we close the hospital up by Friday.
VALENCIA: What was that like?
RAJU: It was very devastating and very sad.
VALENCIA: Dr. Raju, who was the chief of staff at the hospital, is now in high demand.
RAJU: I see about 20 to 25 patients a day.
VALENCIA: And you're the only doctor here?
RAJU: I work full time Monday to Friday.
VALENCIA: Raju says most of his patients are elderly and that 95 percent of his patients are now on Medicare or Medicaid. Under the new health care Senate bill, these subsidies would shrivel, putting the only doctor in town at risk of closing, too.
RAJU: If there's Medicaid cuts it's going to really impact us.
VALENCIA: How bad?
RAJU: Really bad.
VALENCIA: With the nearest hospital now at least a 45 minute drive away, residents of Richland live in a medical desert. It makes the jobs of Ed Lynch and his small crew of EMTs even harder. His two ambulances service an area larger than Los Angeles. They receive an average of 1,200 calls per year.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They can be hung up at a hospital three, four hours before they get a bed. And then if the other gets a call, we can go hours without coverage.
VALENCIA: Since the hospital have shut down they've become mobile emergency rooms.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rural Georgia is dying. There used to be hospitals littering the whole state.
VALENCIA: It's more than just an inconvenience for this Richland resident Anna Laura Barrett. With no hospital close by and Dr. Raju unavailable, she had to call an ambulance when she caught the flu.
ANNA LAURA BARRETT, RICHLAND, GEORGIA, RESIDENT: It would have been just so much simpler just to get fluids right here and come home, which is what I needed. But it took all night long.
VALENCIA: But without a hospital, others who have suffered from something more serious haven't been so lucky. [14:40:01] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can remember having to ventilate
somebody. I've seen people I know all my life die. And we can't save everybody, but it's nice to save the ones that we can.
VALENCIA: Rural residents are in a public health crisis. Small town hospitals like this one are closing all across America, but especially in the southeast. Here in Georgia the state has identified up to 50 other small town hospitals in danger of closing their doors.
Nick Valencia, CNN, Richland, Georgia.
WHITFIELD: I want to bring in now Dr. John Waits, CEO of Cahaba Medical Care. He joins me now via Skype from Centreville, Alabama. Good to see you, doctor. So how concerned are you about rural hospitals or medical care facilities like the one profiled by our Nick Valencia?
DR. JOHN WAITS, CEO CAHABA MEDICAL CARE: Well, like many I'm very concerned. Medicaid is really an investment in infrastructure for rural hospitals, and it's a lifeline for our patients. So many of our patients as industry has left the rural areas, this is really a health care lifeline for them.
WHITFIELD: So what are your concerns about whether or if there are deep or deeper cuts into Medicare and Medicaid?
WAITS: Well, the Medicaid covers women, children. It covers the poor, and additionally it covers the elderly who are nursing homes. That's a supplemental coverage for the most ill and the elderly that are in nursing homes or have cancer diagnosis. So if there are cuts, there's a perception that there's a lot of waste in Medicare. And numerous studies show that it's actually quite effective and efficient. And with these cuts we simply won't be able to take care of our neighbors.
WHITFIELD: And what about from your patients, what are you hearing are their biggest concerns right now, particularly as this nation grapples over repealing, replacing, you know, Obamacare, coming up with a new plan, a different plan? What are your patients saying?
WAITS: Well, I think a lot of our patients like a lot of us, the debates really goes over a lot of our heads for all of us. I think our patients, you know, in our context about 15 percent of our patients are uninsured and about 40 percent are on Medicaid. And it's just a night and day difference on, you're ill. Is your ER visit going to be covered? Is your preventive care, your vaccines, is you monthly medications going to be covered? And that's the biggest concern. Medicaid is a public service similar to our police departments and our fire departments, and it's an investment in our communities and the way we care for each other as a society.
WHITFIELD: You mentioned those who were uninsured. Do they want to be among those that you are talking about? Do they want to be insured? Or do they want a policy where they can kind of pick and choose the kind of coverage that we're hearing some lawmakers have discussions about?
WAITS: Right. In the context of rural Alabama, Alabama is one of the numerous states that did not expand Medicaid several years ago in the Affordable Care Act, and so we remain with millions that are uninsured because Medicaid was not expanded. So cuts to the existing barebones Medicaid would just be devastating.
WHITFIELD: What do you want lawmakers to keep in mind as they embark on or intensify their discussions about what to do about Obamacare or whether to impose a new kind of health care?
WAITS: I think it would be to keep the patient in mind, keep the constituent in mind. I mean, reasonable people can disagree with how to solve our problems as a society, should it be a voucher to private insurance for all Americans, or should it be a renewal of Medicaid or Medicare for all Americans? But I would just ask that they keep each of our patients in mind. There's a perception that patients on Medicare are in that situation because they wanted to be or they're too lazy. And this is just not the experience that physicians and nurses on the front lines have. These are patients who are ill or are between jobs. And this is just a lifeline, similar to our fire departments or police departments. It's a public service.
WHITFIELD: Dr. Waits, John waits, CEO of the Cahaba Medical Care. Thanks so much for your time. Appreciate it.
WAITS: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: Coming up, we're expecting more new details about an overnight shooting at a nightclub in Little Rock, Arkansas. At least 25 people shot. Stay with us.
[14:49:14] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. We're learning more information about last summer's deadly attack on police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. You may remember Gavin Long, a discharged marine targeted and killed three police officers. The results of an 11-month investigation have now been released along with a surveillance video that shows more of what happened. You can see Long running and then firing a weapon. Police say he fired 43 rounds in a 14-minute timeframe. He also left a three-page suicide note mentioning previous police shootings. Authorities say Long wrote that he needed to bring destruction upon all cops for, quote, "the justice system's failure to prosecute bad police officers," end quote.
[14:50:00] And the New Jersey state government is still shut down today after failing to reach an agreement on a budget plan. This means nonessential state services are shutting down, including parks and beaches this Fourth of July weekend. Images right now, Governor Chris Christie is set to address the state legislature at any moment as he approaches what could be potentially the podium, after holding a special session today with lawmakers.
Meantime, Illinois is also dealing with a state budget crisis and heading towards the possibility of a junk credit rating. Lawmakers are meeting today to try to reach a deal to avoid that down credit rating.
We're also expecting to get new details on an overnight shooting at a nightclub in Little Rock, Arkansas. We're told that someone started shooting during a dispute. Take a look.
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WHITFIELD: Twenty-five people were shot and three others were injured as they tried to escape. Police say the shooting was not terror related. This shooting is just the latest in a recent string of crime in the city leaving officials very worried.
KATV's Kimberly Rusley has the story from Little Rock now. Kimberly?
KIMBERLY RUSLEY, KATV TV REPORTER: Good afternoon to you, Fredricka. We've been covering this Little Rock mass shooting all night. And here's what we can tell you right now from Little Rock police. As you can see, very active crime scene still here. This is still taped off in the heart of downtown Little Rock where that shooting happened at 2:30 a.m. today here at Howard Lounge.
Now, what we can tell you from police is that they are telling us that 25 people have been shot inside the club, and that three others have been injured in injuries that are unrelated to the gunshots. Now, we have talked to witnesses and people who have come to the scene to try and find some of their loved ones, and the people, their friends who were inside. And those witnesses tell me that the shooting actually started in the crowd. And when those gunshots were fired, there were gunshots returned from people on stage.
Now, Little Rock police have yet to verify that information, but that is coming from witnesses. We also spoke to a man who said that he was not hit by gunshots but he was injured by glass that was on the ground. And both witnesses just describe a very chaotic scene, people screaming, running, trying to save their own lives. And they say about 200 to 250 people were inside during this concert for this artist out of Memphis.
Now, Little Rock police are supposed to have a news conference at 3:00 where we'll learn some more of those details. What the big question is right now, how many shooters? Is there one shooter, are there multiple shooters? That's what we're waiting on Little Rock police to confirm to us right now. But we'll stay on top of this investigation for you and bring you any developments.
WHITFIELD: All right, Kimberly Rusley, thanks so much.
The FBI has arrested a man they believe now kidnapped a Chinese graduate student in Illinois. And now they fear the missing woman is dead. Twenty-six-year-old Yingying Zhang was studying at the University of Illinois when she went missing three weeks ago. Surveillance video shows her getting into 27-year-old Brendt Christensen's car on the day that she disappeared. Court documents alleged that Christensen used his phone in April to visit online forums with titles such as "Abduction 101," "Perfect Abduction Fantasy," and "Planning a Kidnapping." Christensen's first court appearance is set to take place on Monday.
The community is rallying around a young family after a husband experienced two extremes in just a few hours. His wife, Megan, who survived a heart transplant seven years ago, died after giving birth to their daughter. Support came pouring in. More than $350,000 has been raised for the Johnson family so far. Megan did leave behind the gift of life in more ways than one. All of her organs are being donated, which will save over 50 lives.
[14:58:48] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: San Francisco has the first Chinatown. It seems like the identity of the city --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly. But years ago it's a boundary like it's another country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People began to have these fears of Chinese Americans.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chinese people from Chinatown had to stay in Chinatown?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the San Francisco history we don't talk about. People like to promote San Francisco as an all accepting and welcoming place, but that's not always true.
How important was it to you growing up owning your Chinese American history?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it important that Chinese Americans retain this culture?
I've seen hyper sexualization of the Asian female.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's something that we've had to deal with all of our lives.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With Asian male masculinity, it's perceived inferiority at a genetic level.
WHITFIELD: And tonight at 8:00 p.m. you can tune in for the CNN original film "OUR NIXON," an intimate portrait of the 37th president's time in office told only through archival footage and tapes of the former president himself. Be sure to watch.
Thanks so much for being with me today. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Stay with us. NEWSROOM continues with Boris Sanchez next.