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States Push Back on Voter Info; Trump Travels to G-20; NYPD Officer Assassinated; Senators Demand more Opioid Treatment Funding. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired July 5, 2017 - 09:30   ET


[09:30:00] RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Popular vote in the 2016 election. There simply is no evidence of large-scale in- person voter fraud of anything like that magnitude. In fact, I remember a couple years ago when Pennsylvania passed one of the restricted voting laws, when they went into court, they stipulated they could not identify a single case of in-person voter fraud, you know, as part of their justification.

And, look, access to the ballot box is becoming one of the many issues dividing red and blue states. While we've seen these tougher voter I.D. laws in a number of the red states, you've seen blue states, like Oregon, go in the other direction with automatic voter registration or vote by mail in Colorado and Washington. So this is just another one of the fault lines that are separating the blue and red states and this commission seems, like many things in the Trump administration, determined to jump precisely up and down on that fault line.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: The Missouri secretary of state was just on "New Day" speaking with Chris Cuomo, defending it, saying, look, if there's no problem, we'll find out there's no problem. If there is a problem, we'll get to the bottom of it. The issue that doesn't address is the amount of resources and taxpayer money that it takes to do this and just the investment of time. I find it, Shelby, fascinating and I would think many Americans would find it confounding that there's a commission set up on this but not a commission set up by the president on the Russia hacking of the U.S. election, which all 17 intelligence agencies say happened and is incredibly problematic and will happen again.

SHELBY HOLLIDAY, POLITICS AND BUSINESS REPORTER, "WALL STREET JOURNAL": Yes, that's a huge concern here and we also see that this letter that went out to states asking for information does not really include any mention of Russia or the fact that Russia tried to hack roughly two dozen voting systems - two dozen states' voting systems, which is extremely troubling to Americans. It does not explain what the motives are, what it wants to do with this voter information.

And one other thing that's causing a lot of alarm is, Chris Kobach, the vice chair for the commission, is asking for the information to be sent through an e-mail address creating what is essentially a digital hub for all of this information from all 50 states. That is a clear target for hacking. There are also the privacy concerns. But that's raised a lot of concerns and that's why you hear some secretaries of state say, hey, if you want the publicly available data, you come to us and do it through our channels. We're not going through the federal government. And that - you know, that - the hacking against the backdrop of Russian hacking, that is probably the most troubling thing far lot of people.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And, you know, and, Shannon, some people might find it ironic that the president, in two days, will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. And as of now, the Russian hacking not on the agenda. You know, when you're meeting with the leader of Russia, why bring up Russian hacking? That aside, what do you think the White House wants to get out of this meeting? Because we've heard what the Russians want out of it.

SHANNON PETTYPIECE, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, "BLOOMBERG NEWS": This will be one of, if not the, most significant and important meetings for President Trump of his presidency so far on Syria, on now North Korea, and what efforts Russia could do to help pressure North Korea potentially on this election interference if they do decide to bring that up. And also on Russia's expansionary tendencies that we saw in Crimea, and which continue to be a threat.

There is an enormous amount at stake here for the U.S. Putin is trained in manipulation. He has years of diplomatic experience. He's been through a number of U.S. presidents now. President Trump is new to the international stage. This will be unlike a foe he has seen before.

And the, you know, diplomatic community says if he doesn't come out strong, it will be a sign of weakness and it will open the door for Russia to feel they can continue to meddle, not just in the U.S. elections but in creating disruption in other areas of the U.S., the electric grid, the financial markets. There is a big threat from Russia to the U.S. that, you know, is the opportunity to sort of nip it in the bud right off the start of this administration.

HARLOW: Ron Brownstein, help us understand why it is beneficial to the Trump administration not to focus on Russia hacking. Of course he should and has to focus on Ukraine and Syria, but this is a full bilat. This is not just a pull-aside. They can talk about more than just those two key issues. Namely, won't it hurt him here at home, won't he be lambasted if he doesn't focus also on Russia's hacking of the U.S. election? And Putin, from all we know, respects strength, so why would it even benefit him in the eyes of Vladimir Putin?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, and, look - look, from the beginning, you know, candidate and then President Trump has conflated the question of whether his victory is tainted with the underlying issue of Russian meddling and threat not only to our democracy but to our other systems as we've been talking about. And the administration has seemingly felt from the beginning that any action designed to deal with the underlying national security threat in some way validates the criticism that Russia tilted the needle in his direction.

[09:35:07] You know, we saw the incredible testimony from the attorney general that he has never had a briefing on the Russian hacking. And so they, I think, have kind of downplayed this clear and - you know, this clear and present danger that Russia felt that coming out of this election there's no reason for Russia not to have felt that what they did was successful and at least inducing chaos into the American political system. And as James Comey said in his testimony, we know they will be back. So I - you know, there really is no rational justification for failing to raise this issue, except that they seem to feel that validating it in any way also validates the criticism of Russia's role in their victory.

BERMAN: So, Shelby, did the White House raise the stakes by agreeing to make this a full bilateral meeting instead of just a pull-aside here? It seems to me that the expectations here just got a whole lot higher.

HOLLIDAY: Yes. And I think the big question is, what does President Trump have to gain, what does Putin have to gain? And when you look at what both countries want, Putin has a lot more to gain. The economy is not in great shape. The Russian ruble has struggled amid low oil prices. He wants sanctions lifted. He wants his wealthy Russian buddies to be able to move money around the world again. So Putin - and Putin also, you know, is a political showman. He has a lot to gain just from showing up and exercising his strength, as he did with the Megyn Kelly interview. What does Trump have to gain? Well, diplomatically, we have a lot we could work on with Russia but we need to get to the bottom of the election hacking and if that is ignored, Trump will look weak.

HARLOW: Shannon, when you look sort of big picture at all of this, it is also about how the White House is going to spin this meeting and how much we are actually going to learn. We learned more now because it's not just a pull-aside, but how straight of a story do you think voters will actually get?

PETTYPIECE: I think that's - I'm very fascinated to see what they say comes out of this meeting and what the Russians say. It's not unusual for the foreign country to come out with their read-out and rundown of a meeting before the U.S., sort of giving other country an upper hand saying, this is what happened, this is what we discussed about before the White House is even able to get their side of the meeting and their side of the story out.

I know the White House is going to want to portray image of strength, to portray an image of a president going in as a deal maker, building relationships, doing negotiations, you know, putting America first. But the Russians are going to have an opportunity to get their side of the story out too and they will probably have a very different version of events than the one the White House is going to want to portray.

BERMAN: And check out the handshake, check out the body language. Remember, President Obama's body language with Vladimir Putin before?

HARLOW: I do indeed.

BERMAN: Like the two kids sitting in the back of the class, you know, ignoring the teacher, petulant. We'll see if that happens this time.

HARLOW: There you go. And check out Ron Brownstein's new weekly column, "Fault Lines." It is fantastic. The first one online right now.

Thank you all very much.

Ahead for us, a very sad story. An NYPD police officer just died this morning. She was ambushed in her patrol car. The frantic distress call, the latest on the investigation is next.


[09:42:16] HARLOW: A New York City police officer is dead this morning. She was shot and killed inside of her patrol car.

BERMAN: Yes, the police commissioner calls this an assassination. CNN's Brynn Gingras joins us now for the details.

What an awful, awful story, Brynn.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Assassination because they don't know why this happened, what provoked this. They said it was unprovoked. Now, that officer's name is Miosotis Familia. She was a 12-year veteran of the NYPD, a mother of three, and just 48 years old. That officer was sitting in a mobile command unit, one of the NYPD's large vehicles, and it was in the area of the Bronx, which has seen a number of gang-related incidents.

According to police, this again was an unprovoked attack. The 34-year- old suspect, Alexander Bonds, walked up to the truck and fired a shot through the window, striking the officer in the head. And you can just hear the panic as Familia's partner called for help.


OFFICER: 10-85! 10-85! Shots fired! 183. 183 (INAUDIBLE) 10-85! 10-85!

DISPATCHER: What's your location for shots fired?


DISPATCHER: What's the location?

OFFICER: 10-85! 10-85! (INAUDIBLE) My partner's shot!


GINGRAS: Just absolutely horrifying.

Now, we're told by police a separate NYPD unit found that suspect about a block away and killed him after he pulled out a gun. Police have given us a picture of that silver revolver that was found at the scene.

Now, what we know about Bonds is he does have a criminal history. We're still looking into it. But we do know he was on parole for a robbery that happened in Syracuse, New York. Officer Miosotis died from her injuries this morning in the Bronx hospital that she was brought to, was filled with other members of the NYPD, FDNY as well, and they're all in mourning this morning, again, for what the police commissioner called on Twitter an assassination.


JAMES P. O'NEILL, NYPD COMMISSIONER: Based on what we know right now, it is clear this was an unprovoked attack on police officers who were assigned to keep the people of this great city safe.


GINGRAS: I mean this all happening on July 4th. That, of course, is in everybody's heads, how could this possibly happen again to another NYPD officer.

HARLOW: A mother of three.

GINGRAS: A mother of three.

BERMAN: And our heart breaks for her family and goes out to all the officers who were involved in that case.

Brynn Gingras, thank you so much.

GINGRAS: Thank you.

[09:44:32] HARLOW: Republican Senator Susan Collins saying the GOP health care bill must change dramatically if she is going to get on board. A central sticking point to this all along has been more funding for the opioid epidemic. Well, next, a former surgeon general of the United States who's talked a lot about this will join us to weigh in.


BERMAN: All right, this week Republican lawmakers getting an earful on their efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. This was the current bill skeptic Susan Collins when she went home to Maine.


SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: What I've been hearing the entire recess is people telling me to be strong, that they have a lot of concerns about the health care bill in the Senate. They want me to keep working on it. But they don't want me to support it in its current form.


COLLINS: I - I - I still an a "no" unless the bill is dramatically changed.


HARLOW: Senators pushing for major increase in funding for drug treatment and recovery, specifically for the opioid epidemic. Senators in states hard hit by that crisis, like Rob Portman in Ohio, asking for more than $40 billion in funding to treat the opioid epidemic.

[09:50:09] Joining us now, former surgeon general of the United States, Dr. Vivek Murthy. He worked as the nation's first surgeon general - worked on the nation's first surgeon general report on drug addiction and treatment.

Thank you for being here.

You wrote an opinion piece recently in "USA Today" about this and you write, "America's addiction crisis is the defining public health challenge of our time." You go on to outline some of the costs. You talk about $442 billion per year in lost productivity and other expenses related to this epidemic. You are highly critical of both Republican plans, the House and the Senate plan. But is it just about money? If Rob Portman and these other senators get more funding, is it going to fix the problem, because, frankly, the opioid epidemic has gotten worse under Obamacare?

DR. VIVEK MURTHY, FORMER U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: So a couple of key things we have to keep in mind. Number one, we are, as a country, struggling with an addiction crisis. This is what I spent the bulk of my time as surgeon general working on. And I spent time with families that were struggling, with moms and dads who had lost children to drug overdoses, with pregnant mothers who were trying to find treatment to take care of themselves and their babies.

This is a real crisis that we're facing. And, to me, the fundamental question with any health reform legislation is, is it going to help or hurt families that are struggling with addiction. My concern with the current bills that have been proposed, both in the House and the Senate, is I am concerned that they will hurt families ultimately that are struggling with addiction. And the primary reason is because they dramatically reduce coverage in the United States.

Now, there are efforts afoot to try to put money into a specific fund that would support opioid treatment. While I applaud the effort to try to focus on the opioid epidemic, one thing is clear, which is that people struggling with opioid addiction need comprehensive treatment. Folks who are struggling with addiction often have challenges with anxiety, with depression, with chronic pain, and with other chronic diseases. If they can't get comprehensive care for those illnesses, we ultimately can't treat their addiction as well.

BERMAN: Well, look, there are people who will say this epidemic exploded during the era of Obamacare. You know, Obamacare didn't fix it. I know it's a simplistic analysis right there. You're saying, you know, the repeal and replace won't fix it either. But if Obamacare didn't work to address it, what will?

MURTHY: So I think we have to question the premise of that statement. Number one, Obamacare helped in a lot of ways but it didn't solve the entire problem. What it did do is it actually helped get people access - many more people access to coverage, but, still, many more people still need access to coverage. It expanded treatment options for people by requiring that health insurance plans include substance abuse treatment services. The problem that we're having with the current bills that are being

proposed in Congress is that they would actually seek to roll back that process. So while Obamacare took a few steps forward, and while we had to take more steps forward, we cannot afford to take more steps back. And if we reduce coverage, if we give states the ability to opt out including -

BERMAN: Opt out of essential benefits, right?


MURTHY: Yes, including addiction treatment in their essential health benefits, that will ultimately move us backward.

HARLOW: So - so some states attorneys general, like in Missouri, are suing the pharmaceutical companies. You've got Missouri suing three of the big phrma companies that produce these opioid pills. You've also got the Ohio attorney general suing five of them. I think the question becomes, and if they win or settle, then what, right? If they just get a lot of money, you know, that goes into this pot, does that really do anything, or is it about changing the fundamental marketing of these pills, how many pills these doctors are allowed to prescribe? I've about heard numerous accounts of people that were prescribed 50 to 100 pills for these pills for a rather simple surgery.

MURTHY: Yes, so clearly there's no simple solution to the opioid epidemic. Resources are an important part of it. But what we need to do is we need to apply those resources in the right way, number one, to find the prevention programs, and we do very little of that. Number two, we need to expand treatment, but do it in a way that it's integrated with a delivery of traditional medical care.

HARLOW: So going after big pharma is not the - not the answer - not an answer?

MURTHY: Well, no. It's important to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable so that they are not marketing these medications irresponsibly and so that they are also helping to solve an address the opioid epidemic. For far too many years pharma companies were not nearly as engaged in that effort. And, in fact, we know nearly 20 years ago that part of the problem was that pharmaceutical companies were marketing irresponsibly and they were doing so to doctors and to patients, and that has to stop.

BERMAN: So you launched a program called "Turn the Tide RX." What's your goal here? What's this about?

MURTHY: The goal of the "Turn the Tide" campaign, which we launched in the summer of 2016, was to engage the medical profession in helping to address the opioid epidemic, primarily by changing how they prescribe, but also by connecting patients to treatment, those who need it.

BERMAN: All right, Dr. Murthy, thanks so much for being with us. Look, I have to say, this is something - you know, there's a bipartisan disagreement on what to do with health care. I think everyone's in agreement here - HARLOW: Yes.

BERMAN: That they want to fight the opioid epidemic. There's a real opportunity here for people to come together to do something.

[09:55:00] MURTHY: So, there is. And the history of addiction in the last ten years has been a bipartisan history. And my concern is that with the current bill, it tends to take us in a partisan direction. And the bottom line is this, if we want people to be healthy in America, we have to make sure that everyone has coverage. That's just a fundamental reality. And every health reform proposal needs to be looked at through that lens. Is it helping to expand coverage? If it's not, ultimately it's going to hurt the American people.

HARLOW: Doctor, thank you very much for joining us. I'm glad you're focusing on this topic. A lot of America is as well.

BERMAN: All right, President Trump is in the air right now. Literally in the air right now flying to Europe for just some huge meetings at a crucial time. This with North Korea testing a new intercontinental ballistic missile to fundamentally change the diplomatic calculous.

Stay with us.


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