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NEW DAY SATURDAY

MSNBC Hosts: White House Used Tabloid as Threat; Trump Reversal on Health Care Throws Talks into Turmoil; Doctor Fatally Shoots One, Wounds Six at NYC Hospital; Trump to Meet Putin Face-to-Face Next Week; McConnell Unable to Get Enough Votes on Health Bill; Bitter Fight to End in Mosul; Venus Williams Apologizes for Wrongful Death; Handshakes and Hugs Between World Leaders. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired July 1, 2017 - 07:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[07:00:00] VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Allison Chinchar, thanks so much.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Thanks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed. And, frankly, that patience is over.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. military remains on alert, watching for any hint of a missile launch.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Will you apologize to Mika Brzezinski, Mr. President?

MIKA BRZEZINSKI, MSNBC HOST: It's been fascinating and frightening and really sad for our country.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: And I think he has been very clear that when he gets attacked, he's going to hit back.

BRZEZINSKI: But I am very concerned as to what this, once again, reveals about the President of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was chaos and confusion in New York City after a man with an assault rifle walked into one of the city's busiest hospitals and started shooting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of a sudden, the hospital was on lockdown. It was just a scary situation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mayday! Mayday! I lost my right engine.

LARRY KURTZ, FIRE CAPTAIN, ORANGE COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY: The plane collided, spun across the freeway, and burst into flame.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's OK, it's OK, it's OK. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold them up, hold them up.

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The pilot and his passenger are injured but alive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to Saturday on your first day of July. Yes, we're here. All right.

BLACKWELL: So good to be with you.

PAUL: Whoo!

BLACKWELL: Let's start with what President Trump is doing this morning. He's kicking off through holiday weekend in New Jersey, but he will be back in Washington later today to honor veterans. He is scheduled to deliver remarks this evening at a concert at the Kennedy Center.

PAUL: The President also preparing for the G20 Summit next week where he'll come face-to-face with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time. Will the President bring up Russia's interference in the election? A lot of people are waiting to see that. Will there be any chance to improve relations as both leaders hoped for back in November?

BLACKWELL: Meantime, fallout from the President's disparaging tweets about a T.V. news host now leading to claims of a tabloid hit story and questions about whether the President threatened the anchors over negative coverage.

PAUL: So it's a serious charge, obviously. Did the White House use the "National Enquirer" to threaten journalists? President Trump says no, but the host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" say they have proof.

BLACKWELL: Here is CNN's Jessica Schneider.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A new allegation from the MSNBC hosts engaged in a war with the White House. Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough claim they were threatened by the White House this spring.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST: We got a call that, hey, the "National Enquirer" is going to run a negative story against you guys. They said if you call the President up and you apologize for your coverage, then he will pick up the phone and basically spike the story. Three people at the very top of the administration calling me.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Brzezinski and Scarborough first lobbed the accusation in a "Washington Post" column Friday morning.

BRZEZINSKI: He appears to have a fragile, impetuous childlike ego that we've seen over and over again, especially with women. It's like he can't take it.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): This was a story the "National Enquirer" ultimately ran in June, accusing the couple of cheating on their spouses. Brzezinski said the tabloid hounded her family to get the story.

BRZEZINSKI: They were calling my children. They were calling close friends.

SCARBOROUGH: You're talking about the "National Enquirer"?

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): The President has close ties to the "Enquirer," which endorsed him during the 2016 campaign and has relentlessly attacked his political adversaries.

President Trump and the "National Enquirer" publisher, David Pecker, are close friends and allies. The "National Enquirer's" editor-in- charge, Dylan Howard, issued this statement.

"At the beginning of June, we accurately reported a story that recounted the relationship between Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, the truth of which is not in dispute. At no time did we threaten either Joe or Mika or their children in connection with our reporting on the story. We have no knowledge of any discussions between the White House and Joe and Mika about our story and absolutely no involvement in those discussions."

After the explosive accusation from the couple on air, the President responded, tweeting -- watched low-rated @MorningJoe for the first time in long time. Fake news. He called me to stop a "National Enquirer" article. I said, no. Bad show.

Scarborough quoted the President's tweets and called him out -- Yet another lie. I have texts from your top aides and phone records. Also, those records show I haven't spoken with you in many months.

NBC confirmed to CNN that Scarborough told NBC News executives about the threats and calls from the White House as they were happening. But the White House is putting out a different spin.

An official says it was Joe Scarborough who called Jared Kushner about the upcoming "National Enquirer" story. Kushner then told Scarborough to call the President. But the official denies there was any indication that the President would help kill the "Enquirer" story in exchange.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: So you heard the White House's denial there, but the White House has not released any official statement on those accusations. And Joe Scarborough has not responded to CNN's request for additional details on his version of those events.

[07:05:02] PAUL: All right. So we have Politics Reporter Eugene Scott and politics reporter for "The Wall Street Journal," Shelby Holliday, both with us. Thank you both for stepping in here. Sixty-one percent of people polled in a recent Quinnipiac Poll say the

President needs to quit tweeting. Eugene, how much would it affect his agenda if he did stop tweeting? What is the correlation here?

EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: It would significantly better inform the American people of what the legislative priorities are for the President and this administration. Our own Jake Tapper did a report earlier this week showing that a significant majority of the tweets from the President since entering the White House have absolutely nothing to do with the agenda that he's trying to push forward.

One of the things that the President and his team regularly say that he finds value in Twitter for is communicating with people, particularly those who he believes distrust the American media, to better understand what it is that he's trying to do.

When you're getting into Twitter spats, that doesn't help inform this people, and it certainly doesn't bring more people who aren't already on the Trump train to the table, which is significant, considering that he has historically low approval ratings.

PAUL: All right. Listen, Shelby, I want to listen here to Senator Ben Sasse, who has been talking to the White House about only repealing ObamaCare. Here is what he said yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BENJAMIN SASSE (R), NEBRASKA: If we don't get this resolved by the Monday of next week, July 10th, if there isn't a combined repeal and replace plan, I'm writing a letter to the President this morning, urging him to call on to us to separate them.

If we can't do them together, let's do as much repeal as we can. And then let's have the President ask us to cancel our August state work break, and stay here and then work on replace separate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: OK. So here's the question, Shelby. How much trust is there that if they waited to replace, that that would actually happen eventually?

SHELBY HOLLIDAY, BUSINESS AND POLITICS REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Yes. This idea is not seen as politically feasible idea. It does excite the Republican base, those voters who really want to see ObamaCare gone.

But if you punt the ball down to August, you're still going to have some of the same problems you're having now, which is conservatives are not agreeing with moderates on how much money states should receive to shore up their markets or on how soon Medicaid should be rolled back, Medicaid expansion.

So it doesn't mean that we would see a consensus in Congress if it's repealed first. It would add to the urgency, which would stress a lot of Americans out.

And "The Wall Street Journal" this morning has a big story about how Americans are getting notices from their insurance companies right now. And it's a 100 -- or it's a six-month notice that they will lose their health insurance. These insurers are pulling out of markets, and it's an urgent warning for Americans who do have ObamaCare individual insurance that they won't have it at the end of the year. So, politically, it's a big hot potato, and it's better to be dealt with sooner than later.

There is also tax reform down the road. And if Ben Sasse says he wants to spend all of August working on health care, that means they're definitely punting tax reform. And tax reform is what the markets like. That's what everyone who has money in a retirement account likes. And that's why President Trump sees himself as a success, because he came with the promise of cutting taxes.

PAUL: Right. And so, Eugene, this is my question. When it comes to tax reform, in order to make tax reform work, they are counting, are they not, on some of the savings from health care that they would get if they had a deal to work into the tax reform plan that they have? How can you reconcile tax reform if you can't reconcile the health care bill?

SCOTT: Well, that's what the Republican Party is trying to figure out. Initially, that was the plan, but the plan also from President Trump was to have this whole ObamaCare repealed and replaced on Day One. I think what we saw yesterday -- and we have a story on CNNPolitics.com about it -- is that this is suggesting that, perhaps, the President actually does not have a clear vision, himself, for what he would like to replace the Affordable Care Act with.

That's why we're seeing this pivot so soon into his administration despite campaigning on something much different and, quite frankly, telling the House, even in January, that he was not open to immediate repeal and a delayed replacement. And so how this will affect tax reform and other legislation coming forward is up for question for many people, but it is clear, at least, that it will have some type of impact.

PAUL: All right. Eugene Scott, Shelby Holliday, I appreciate both of you being here. Thank you.

SCOTT: Thank you.

HOLLIDAY: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: We've got more now on that breaking news out of Little Rock, Arkansas. Police say at least 17 people were shot inside a nightclub there. The gunfire erupted early this morning at the Power Ultra Lounge.

Many more were injured while rushing to the doors, trying to get away from the shooting. There are no fatalities, good news there, but at least one person is in serious condition at a hospital. [07:09:58] Authorities are not calling this terror related. They also

do not believe there is an active shooter in the area. Investigators, though, do not know the exact cause of the shooting, what led to it, but the suspect may have started it after a dispute there inside the club.

And we know that one person is dead, and a half dozen others wounded after a doctor started shooting inside a New York City hospital. We're told the shooter, who's now deceased, was a disgruntled employee.

CNN Correspondent Polo Sandoval joins us live from New York now. And I understand you're learning more about what happened.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Victor. We do know that at least five doctors are currently fighting for their lives right now. They were shot by this individual who went on a shooting rampage in a hospital in the Bronx here in New York.

At this point, we do understand that officials say the death toll could have been much higher at this point. One female doctor was shot and killed during that rampage. But, again, officials are saying that it could've been so much worse had it not been for heroic acts of staff that was essentially performing staff -- or at least triage on some of these members that had been shot while the shooting continued.

And now, as you're about to hear from one of the hospital officials there, the chief physician, the main concern is saving the lives of these five doctors that are still injured this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. SRIDHAR CHILIMURI, PHYSICIAN-IN-CHIEF, BRONX-LEBANON HOSPITAL: We have to do what we have to do. And, you know, my team is working hard to see how to manage with all the patients that we have now, stabilize everyone, including the ones who are injured. So I think there will be some other time where we will reflect on it. Right now, we have a job to do and we are still at it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANDOVAL: And, you know, many of those five medical professionals were young medical school students that were in the middle of their residency there when the shots were fired yesterday. There is a sixth person that is recovering this morning, too, guys. We were told that that was the only patient that was injured during this rampage.

As far as the gunman, himself, as you mentioned a short while ago, he did turn the gun on himself there on the 17th floor. The rest of the hospital, though, already fully functional. It is open again as officials continue to investigate and, exactly, try to find out, Victor, what could have led this doctor, what prompted him, to put on that white lab coat, that white physician coat, and then head to that hospital to go on a shooting rampage.

BLACKWELL: All right. Still some questions there. Polo Sandoval, thanks so much.

SANDOVAL: You bet.

PAUL: You know, authorities in Illinois really fear a missing Chinese grad student is dead, and they have arrested a man that they believe kidnapped her. FBI investigators say Yingying Zhang disappeared June 9th from the campus of the University of Illinois. Surveillance video even caught her getting into a car -- look at this -- driven by the suspect.

This is the suspect who has now been charged in her disappearance. Investigators say the suspect visited websites about kidnapping and allegedly confessed to the crime. Despite what officials believe, though, Zhang's family is holding on to hope that she is alive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIQIN YE, AUNT OF YINGYING ZHANG (through translator): To the person who did this, and we wanted to tell this person, please be kind to her and let her come back. Grandma and mother are waiting for you at home. And you have to be persistent and insist on fighting because we are all waiting for you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Zhang's disappearance has triggered widespread concern in China. The suspect is expected in court on Monday.

BLACKWELL: We've got the audio recordings at California of the moments right before a plane crashed on one of the busiest highways in the country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 297 Mayday! Mayday! I lost my right engine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: You can hear the panic there on the pilot's voice. This is the distress call after his plane's engine gave out mid-air. And we're told the pilot was trying to get back to the Orange County Airport, but he didn't make it. This was the Cessna 310 that crashed and exploded there in the middle of the 405 freeway.

Now, others on the freeway obviously ran to help the pilot. It only clipped just a single vehicle on the way down. That driver suffered just a few minor injuries. The pilot, the passenger of the plane, survived the crash. They were taken to a hospital.

PAUL: Well, the President has a strong warning for North Korea. We are out of patience, he says. So where does the U.S. go from here when it comes to North Korea and the growing nuclear threat?

[07:14:16] BLACKWELL: Plus, what European officials fear could happen when President Trump meets face-to-face with Vladimir Putin next week.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed. Many years, and it's failed. And, frankly, that patience is over.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: A warning from President Trump to Kim Jong-U.N. -- we are out of patience. These comments come as President Trump hosts the President of South Korea, looks at ways of increasing pressure on the communist regime to stop missile tests.

Now, U.S. officials are watching North Korea very closely and say the country could be preparing for another missile launch or a nuclear test.

BLACKWELL: In just a few days, President Trump will meet Russian President, Vladimir Putin. That's at the G20 Summit in Germany.

Now, this will be the first time the two will be face-to-face since Trump took office, but is this the first time they've met? That depends on who you ask and when you ask them.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TRUMP: I never met Putin. I don't know who Putin is. He said --

BLACKWELL (voice-over): It's a claim President Donald Trump made many times during the campaign.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm asking you --

TRUMP: I never met Putin. I don't think I've ever met him. I never met him. I don't think I've ever met him.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: You would know it if you did, wouldn't you?

TRUMP: I think so.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): The White House says next week's G20 Summit in Germany will offer the first opportunity for President Trump to meet Russian President, Vladimir Putin, face-to-face. However, all the denials contradict what candidate Trump said in an October 2015 radio interview.

MICHAEL SAVAGE, AMERICAN RADIO HOST: Have you met Vladimir Putin?

TRUMP: Yes.

SAVAGE: You have?

TRUMP: One time, yes, a long time ago. BLACKWELL (voice-over): Mr. Trump did not say during that interview

when or under what circumstances the two men met. And days before their meeting in Hamburg, there are several unsettled opposing claims about their history.

[07:20:06] The White House says Trump and Putin have spoken by phone at least three times since the 2016 election. But on conversations before the election, more contradictions. In July 2016, candidate Trump said this.

TRUMP: I have nothing to do with Putin. I've never spoken to him. I don't know anything about him, other than he will respect me.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): Well, that contradicts what he said two years earlier.

TRUMP: I was in Moscow recently and I spoke indirectly and directly with President Trump, who could not have been nicer.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): During the campaign, candidate Trump denied any relationship with Putin.

TRUMP: I have no relationship with him, other than he called me a genius.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): But when asked about their relationship during a 2013 MSNBC interview, another contradiction.

THOMAS ROBERTS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Do you have a relationship with Vladimir Putin, a conversational relationship or anything that you feel you have sway or influence over his government?

TRUMP: I do have a relationship.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): The G20 Summit begins on Friday.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: All right. So let's bring in now Kimberly Dozier, CNN global affairs analyst and senior national security correspondent at "The Daily Beast."

Kim, good morning to you.

KIMBERLY DOZIER, SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, THE DAILY BEAST: Good morning, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. So we're going to set aside, for the moment, if this is the first time they're actually seeing each other in person. But you've got a piece out that I want to get to in "The Daily Beast," in which you have some information from European officials who are concerned because they believe that President Putin is going to try to play President Trump in the room and get something out of it.

DOZIER: Well, according to their intelligence, that's what Moscow thinks it will be able to achieve when they put Putin and Trump in the same room. Putin is the ex-head of Russian intelligence. He is good at charming world leaders.

He has charmed previous U.S. presidents. He had both George W. Bush and President Barack Obama thinking that Russia and the United States could reach some sort of cooperative arrangement on things like counterterrorism.

But every time, according to the officials that I have spoken to who dealt with Russia in the past, that they were near to what they thought was a good give-and-take, Russia would sort of use that relationship to get one over on them. Like, if Russia invaded Ukraine and the U.S. said, well, you've got to stop doing that, Russia will say, well, in that case, we're not going to share XYZ counterterrorism information with you.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

DOZIER: So they worry that this is what Trump is going to get convinced to do, enter into some sort of partnership where it's one- sided, with the U.S. giving everything and Moscow not giving very much.

BLACKWELL: That President Trump, essentially, is going to be rolled right there in the room. Let me go to this next element because we know that this meeting comes in context, right?

The Russian potential collusion with Trump associates through the campaign. That investigation continues, although President Trump has called it a hoax. There is the investigation into Russian meddling in the election that goes on that President Trump has never 100 percent bought into. What role do you think those two will play in this meeting?

DOZIER: Well, the fear is that Trump will emerge from a Putin meeting saying, we had a great meeting and our relationship is going to be able to go forward now against the back drop of possibly continuing revelations that there was some sort of conversation during the campaign between Trump administration officials and Russian officials. So that that would put the Trump administration in sort of a compromising public position.

So you have to think about going into this. You have the national security officials who want to start getting on a better footing with Russia, but you've got the political side of the house saying, we've got to handle this delicately and not give the farm away to Moscow.

BLACKWELL: So, you know, this meeting between Trump and Putin, those aren't the only meetings we need to watch, of course. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said this week, Thursday, it was, the German Parliament, that these discussions at the G20 will be difficult.

She talked about trade. She talked about the climate deal. Did not name the President outright, but she said this: anyone who believes they can solve the problems of this world with isolationism and protectionism is making a big mistake. And she also went to talk about the climate change agreement, their

first meeting since President Trump pulled the U.S. out: we cannot wait and will not wait until the last person in the world can be convinced by the scientific findings.

Beyond the rhetoric here, what is the significance of what we are hearing from Angela Merkel?

DOZIER: Well, we're seeing Merkel emerge as one of the key European leaders who is willing to stand up to Trump, and there are polls that show that her people want her to do that. So she is going to be the counter point in the room, and if the U.S. wants a good relationship with Europe, with the European Union, they are going to have to deal with Merkel.

[07:25:11] So I think you're going to see her as one of the people when Trump stands up and does what he did in NATO, for instance, when he balled out NATO leaders right in front of them for not investing enough in their own defense, count on her to be the person to speak out on that. So we could be in for a little bit of fireworks at this meeting in Hamburg.

BLACKWELL: All right. Kimberly Dozier, thanks so much.

DOZIER: Thank you.

PAUL: Well, the Pentagon is delaying a decision now on allowing transgender people to enlist in the military. Today was the original deadline for Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to make that decision. According to a memo obtained by CNN, the Pentagon will not make the announcement for at least another six months. Remember, former Defense Secretary Ash Carter originally said, last year, transgender recruits would be able to openly serve in the armed forces.

And President Trump waking up at his New Jersey golf course this morning. Back in Washington, however, you know the GOP health care bill is stuck still in the Senate. What does this mean moving forward? We'll take you live to New Jersey in a moment.

BLACKWELL: Plus, an official says the liberation of Mosul from ISIS is now imminent, but the battle continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:30:36] PAUL: Half past the hour on a Saturday morning. Good morning to you. We're grateful to have you. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you.

PAUL: Yes. So ahead of Independence Day, President Trump is spending the weekend at his New Jersey Golf Club. He's left behind some unfinished business though in Washington, specifically the GOP health care bill. It's floundering in the Senate right now, and some GOP lawmakers just still are not convinced to vote yes.

Also, the President is at the center of this firestorm with outrage from several lawmakers, bipartisan here, both Democrats and Republicans, over his attack on a female T.V. news anchor on Twitter.

So CNN White House Reporter Kaitlin Collins is live out from New Jersey with us. Kaitlin, talk to us about, first of all, what the President has on his agenda today. And good morning!

KAITLIN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes. He is spending the weekend at his golf course here in Bedminster.

He'll head back to Washington tonight for a brief trip to the Kennedy Center for an event with veterans, and then he'll return back here tonight and stay throughout the weekend. And he is likely preparing for his first -- or his second foreign trip this upcoming week for the G20 Summit.

PAUL: So the President is telling GOP lawmakers, as we were talking about, to repeal ObamaCare now and then replace it later. We would be remiss to not point out that that is not what he promised during the campaign. That has some people nervous. What are you hearing?

COLLINS: Yes. As you know, Republicans in the Senate have been trying to figure out a health care plan that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but Donald Trump threw a wrench on that yesterday morning when he suggested on Twitter that they should just repeal it now and replace it later.

Now, Senator Ben Sasse had gone on T.V. yesterday morning and suggested this plan, and then the President essentially gave it his blessing on Twitter. But like you said, this is a big difference compared to what he said in January.

The reason that people like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have been doing this dance on Capitol Hill is because the President was the one who said we are going to repeal it and replace it immediately, that there wouldn't even be a two-day break in between those. So the reason that they have been doing that is because of his suggestion.

But now, when it's looking like they're not going to garner enough support for the Senate plan to replace and repeal it, he is deciding that maybe they should just repeal it and replace it later on.

Now, Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders maintained yesterday that the President has not changed his thinking. Listen to what she said during an off-camera gaggle.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE 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.

(END AUDIO CLIP) COLLINS: Right. And this is very different -- the President, you know, we've seen him be very inconsistent on health care. In May, he cheered the House's plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare and then later denounced the bill as mean. So with his tweet, there is no vote in sight and he's surely given Mitch McConnell another headache to deal with.

PAUL: All right. Kaitlin Collins, we appreciate it. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. Every week, Chris Cillizza, CNN Politics Reporter and Editor-at-Large, will pick the person he thinks had the worst week in Washington.

This week's pick, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Earlier, I asked him why.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Why I went with Mitch McConnell? You're right. It's always a busy week. Donald Trump could have won, certainly, but I went with Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Senate. And I'll tell you why, Victor.

Mitch McConnell set this past week as the hard and fast deadline to pass health care reform through the Senate. Then, he decided there weren't the votes, and he had to postpone it, which he very much did not want to do.

Now, this is a guy who people say is a legislative mastermind, but he didn't really show it this week.

BLACKWELL: So the President tweeted out on Friday that, possibly, the plan should be to repeal and then replace.

CILLIZZA: Yes.

BLACKWELL: I mean, how does that hem up Mitch McConnell?

CILLIZZA: Well, first of all, I compare it to going out to dinner with nine picky friends, OK? So you've already got a big group of people going out to dinner. You settle down to two restaurants. You're trying to pick in between two.

You're on the verge of picking one. And then all of a sudden, a guy you only sort of know comes in and says, hey, wait a minute, what about this other place? Well, now, you're back to square one.

[07:34:58] So I think what the President did with that tweet on Friday is essentially give a lot of Senate Republicans -- and there are a lot of Senate Republicans who are weary of coming down either for or against this bill because the politics are so complicated. He gave them an out.

He gave them a way to say, well, wait a minute. Why don't we maybe think about repeal and then replace? It has to drive McConnell crazy by the way, Victor, because that's

what he initially, back in January, advocated. Let's repeal ObamaCare. We will keep sort of in place while we figure out a solution. That will buy us some time.

Well, now, Trump is back to that, even as McConnell is trying to figure out some sort of bill that gets centrists, who are worried about it -- the Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowskis of the world -- on board, as well as conservatives -- Ryan Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee -- who think the bill doesn't go far enough.

BLACKWELL: Yes, the President said back in January that the repeal and replace have to essentially happen simultaneously.

CILLIZZA: Yes.

BLACKWELL: That put it on this path. But let me ask you, what happened here to the master legislator. Was it a miscalculation? Did he not expect the pushback that he got?

CILLIZZA: Yes, I think a little bit of a miscalculation. Let me first say, passing health care through either the House or the Senate is very complicated. There is a reason six presidents failed before Barack Obama to do it, and Barack Obama did it only at the cost of massive losses in the House and the Senate in subsequent elections.

But, look, McConnell has had a relatively narrow margin for error. He has 52 seats. He could lose two senators.

They wrote this bill largely in private. They didn't include the whole Republican caucus. There were some complaints about that. Then they unveiled it.

The problem he had this week, I think, more than anything, Victor, was the Congressional Budget Office scored it, basically rated it and said, this would be 22 million fewer people would have insurance under the Senate health care bill than under ObamaCare. That's a hard pill for lots of Senate Republicans, especially people who represent rural states.

It really impacts rural states more, places like Maine where Susan Collins is, a place like Alaska where Lisa Murkowski is. So I think he was hoping the CBO score would look a little bit better and that would give him momentum heading into the rest of the week. Instead, it was not good and, I think, killed that momentum.

BLACKWELL: We will see what happens when they come back from break and what the residual impact would be of not hitting this deadline and potentially not passing the bill. Chris Cillizza, thanks so much.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: And Chris cuts through the political spinning, gets to the point of all that's happening in Washington. He can help you get there, too, so subscribe to "THE POINT" with Chris Cillizza on CNN.com. PAUL: Well, as coalition forces advance on ISIS troops in Mosul, the

race is on to keep up with the words of their own political leaders who are declaring victory. Here is the thing. There's still fighting going on in the city.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:40:00] PAUL: Well, mortgage rates were mixed this week. Here's a look.

TEXT: Mortgage Update. National Numbers. July 1, 2017. 30 yr, Fixed, 3.85%. 15yr, Fixed 3.01%. 5 yr, ARM 3.30%.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: A spokesman for the U.S. led coalition fighting ISIS says that while the fight is continuing for the Iraqi city of Mosul, the city's liberation is, quote, imminent, just days rather than weeks away now.

PAUL: Yes. CNN Senior International Correspondent Nick Paton Walsh was with Iraqi security forces during the battle to free Iraq's second largest City.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Winning here comes only with dusk and ruin.

This was a day Iraqi Special Forces were meant to take back the symbolic al-Nuri Mosque of Mosul's old city, but it ended up the day their leaders declared victory while they were still bitterly fighting.

PATON WALSH (on camera): Just literally to the side of the mosque is where ISIS have been.

PATON WALSH (voice-over): The aim was to encircle the sacred minaret ISIS themselves destroyed.

Yet they've lost so many to ISIS, they move carefully against an enemy, even with high tech help, they rarely see.

When an ISIS fighter is spotted, the artillery rains down, throughout the day. There is political impatience for this fight to be over.

In the afternoon, news reports cited Iraqi officials elsewhere are saying the mosque had been retaken. A bizarre scene, given how lethally, painstakingly, they were advancing.

Huge political stakes here for Iraq, yet this fight is spearheaded by a few dozen men and two bulldozers. They borrow a drone. Theirs had been shot down.

PATON WALSH (on camera): ISIS have been relatively quiet during the day, but it seems the drone put up in the sky to work out more about their defensive position sent some incoming rounds towards us here.

PATON WALSH (voice-over): More gun fire exchanges. And as they grind slowly towards the edge of the mosque, more Iraqi officials announce they have retaken it.

But that's just politics and here is the ghastly reality. Civilians held as human shield by ISIS risking death to flee from its certainty.

They're held back, feared as possible suicide bombers. But the agony becomes too much. There is nothing really to say when hell is behind you and just dust before you.

[07:45:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We've been shelled in rubble.

PATON WALSH (voice-over): The injured piggybacked out. Fear, so strong it let this woman walk out with pins in her leg to get her family out. A mortar landed on their home, is the only word little Touka (ph) can say.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): They've been no liquids for days. My little ones were dying of hunger. We didn't see anybody, no ISIS, only the military.

PATON WALSH (voice-over): This day, perhaps prematurely, Iraq declared ISIS vanquished, yet their three years have likely consumed all of hers. And the ruins from which she fled and in which ISIS lay will take more than declarations of victory to rebuild.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Mosul, Iraq.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: We've got new developments in that deadly traffic accident involving tennis star, Venus Williams. Coy Wire is here with more. Coy?

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor. Just days before she plays her first match at Wimbledon, Venus Williams publicly offered condolences on Facebook to the family of the 78-year-old man who lost his life. We'll show you that and give more details after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:50:16] PAUL: So tennis star Venus Williams is facing a wrongful death lawsuit for her involvement in a car crash that killed a 78- year-old man.

BLACKWELL: And now, we're hearing from her. Coy Wire joins us now with more. What's she saying?

WIRE: Well, we'll get to that in a moment. She posted on Facebook her condolences, but she is being sued by the woman who lost her husband in the traffic accident that involved Williams last month. Police say Williams is at fault for the accident. Williams told police in South Florida she was stopped in an

intersection due to traffic. That's when her SUV was t-boned by Linda and Jerome Barson. Now, Mrs. Barson told police her light was green, Williams cut in front of her, and she was unable to avoid the collision.

According to the lawsuit, Mr. Barson suffered massive internal bleeding, a fractured spine, and more. Two weeks after the accident, he died in the hospital on Mrs. Barson's 68th birthday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL STEINGER, ATTORNEY FOR JEROME BARSON'S FAMILY: The family is under an enormous amount of stress and their loss is overwhelming. This was the love of Linda's life.

As you said, they have been married for more than 35 years, three children, 13 grandchildren. They were planning a family cruise the following week, a Disney cruise with all the grandchildren.

They are absolutely devastated. This has really impacted their lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WIRE: Last night, Venus posted on Facebook, quote, I am devastated and heartbroken by his accident. My heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of Jerome Barson, and I continue to keep them in my thoughts and prayers, unquote.

Williams is scheduled to play in the first round at Wimbledon on Monday.

All right. Let's change gears and get you caught up to some big news in the sports world.

NBA, pre-agency, and over the last three years, Steph Curry has captured two NBA titles for his team, two league MVP awards for himself, and that reportedly brought him big time history making dollars. $201 million over five years. Don't forget that extra $1 million there, right?

Life's pretty good now if you're Curry and you've made about $44 million over the last four years. So how good is life when you're getting a raise to average $40 million every year for the next five years? Oh! That's big time.

All right. Check this out. One of the top soccer players in the world, Lionel Messi, just got hitched! And one news outlet called this the wedding of the century.

The Barcelona star married his childhood sweetheart, Antonella Roccuzzo. And get this! They've known each other since they were 5 years old.

The ceremony was in their hometown in Argentina, a star-studded event. They even had Shakira "Hips Don't Lie" singing at the ceremony. (LAUGHTER)

WIRE: There was tight security around the hotel-casino where the wedding took place because he's such a big star, but they had jumbo screens outside the hotel so fans could watch the ceremony. Wow!

PAUL: You know, here is the thing, they've known each for five years, she's not marrying him for his soccer skills.

WIRE: That's true.

BLACKWELL: Huh?

WIRE: Well, he was probably a really good --

PAUL: She's marrying him because he was -- since they were 5 years old!

BLACKWELL: Oh!

PAUL: She clearly, really loves him!

BLACKWELL: I thought you were going a different direction. OK.

PAUL: I don't know.

BLACKWELL: All right.

(LAUGHTER)

BLACKWELL: OK.

WIRE: Happy Saturday!

BLACKWELL: OK.

PAUL: Happy Saturday to you. Hey, thank you, Coy.

WIRE: Really my pleasure.

PAUL: We want to keep the -- I didn't mean to cut you off because I know what you're going to say.

BLACKWELL: Family show!

PAUL: Yes!

BLACKWELL: All right.

PAUL: Speaking of that, however, you know the President's handshake.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

PAUL: And how it ruffled some feathers. Some white knuckle handshake, the hug. How leaders deal with the President's alpha male handshake, only Jeanne Moos could take this on. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:57:46] BLACKWELL: This month, President Trump will visit Paris to celebrate Bastille Day with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron. The last time these two powerhouses met, it was, you know, I'd say, awkward.

PAUL: Some people were wandering, is he going to hug it? Is there a lingering handshake going on there? CNN's Jeanne Moos looks to the past, perhaps, for some answers.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Guess who's coming to Paris? President Trump accepted an invitation to celebrate the French national holiday, Bastille Day. I guess the White House wasn't put off by what the new French President said after the U.S. pulled out of the Paris climate accord.

EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE: Make our planet great again.

MOOS (voice-over): Maybe the two leaders will opt --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Congratulations, great show.

MOOS (voice-over): -- to make their handshake great again. The first one was described as white knuckled.

MACRON: Thank you very much.

MOOS (on camera): Yes, thanks a lot. That handshake left President Trump's fingers flexing for freedom. President Macron later called it a moment of truth, saying you have to show you won't make small, even symbolic concessions. Though, later that day, Macron on was the receiving end of President Trump's alpha male grab and yank shake.

Another world leader, India's Prime Minister Modi --

TRUMP: A true friend.

MOOS (voice-over): -- found another way to foil the aggressive handshake. Visiting the White House this week, he hugged President Trump. Not once, not twice, but three times. His technique was to offer a hand, pull the President into a hug, then employ a lingering double handhold.

MOOS (on camera): Now, less you think that this was an exclusive bromance, you should know that India's Prime Minister is famous for his hugs. He's hugged everyone from President Obama to Mark Zuckerberg, to less than cuddly Vladimir Putin. He used a full body press when he hugged France's former President.

The gesture prompted one fan to tweet, find you someone who will hug you like Indian P.M. Modi just hug President Trump. Upon saying goodbye, he rested his head on President's left shoulder,

then on right shoulder. He also has an odd habit of tugging on children's ears, but he better not try that on President Trump.

[08:00:05] Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)