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Iraq's PM Declares Mosul "Liberated" From ISIS; Senate GOP Health Care Bill Faces Uncertain Fate; Donald Trump's Son Changes Account of Meeting with Russian Lawyer. Aired 6:30-7a ET
Aired July 10, 2017 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[06:32:17] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: This could be a huge deal in the future of Iraq. The prime minister there proclaims Mosul finally liberated from ISIS. Crowds cheering him as he walks the streets, yet he acknowledges pockets of the terror group are still putting up a fight.
CNN's senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh, the only western journalist in the city joins us live from Mosul.
Nick, please set the scene for us of what the reality is there today and what your concerns are going forward.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well Chris, this is the edge of the city of Mosul where the most intense fighting against ISIS has been and where we saw this morning a tiny pocket of ISIS fighters are still holding out. That appears to have delayed Haider al-Abadi, the Iraqi prime minister from getting on the stage and declaring finally, finally the fight for Mosul over. He's been touring the streets we've seen. He's meeting with Christians today to make them feel more relaxed. He's appealing for them to go back to their jobs. But, the fighting is still going on.
Now, if you travel about two kilometers, about a mile and a half down that way, you will see the river that runs through the heart of Mosul that is the back end of ISIS territory. There are about a dozen houses or so we saw today where ISIS are still holding out. We saw ISIS fighters, we thought coming out of the rubble surrendering themselves. We're actually in a building where we're shaken by an air strike delivered by the United States. And you can see some of the black smoke on the horizon there, they're pounding those remaining positions that ISIS have in there because it's literally a matter of hours they think until they can declare that area fully cleared.
But booby traps are still around. And I have to say, Chris, the devastation behind me here is absolutely staggering, pretty much every can on the street you go down has got a vehicle, a car flipped, pancaked, torn to shreds. They bulldozed everything to the side. But, we've seen civilians going through the rubble here early today, even a group of people visiting the remains of the al-Nuri mosque that was once so sacred to ISIS but actually they destroyed it themselves.
But there's nothing really to sustain life in here and it will be a simple job of trying to rebuild. But not a simple job, Haider al- Abadi has a massive task ahead of bridging the devide between the Sunnis, the ethnic group of (INAUDIBLE), and the Shia, he's part of and now in charge of the army and government mostly. It's been kind of sectarian war to some degree. Fighting will still continue against ISIS in the other towns they have, but this is pretty much their symbolic death blow to some degree there. The city that they have held that was always are now the one that they literally down to a matter of houses. A momentous day for Iraq, Chris, and frankly one for the world seeing ISIS lose their key territorial hold in the country of Iraq. Back to Alisyn.
[06:35:02] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Nick, we're so grateful to have you there on scene describing it to us. And as you say, I mean, getting rid of ISIS while a Herculean task is just the beginning there for rebuilding it for the citizens. Thank you very much Nick, we'll check back with you.
So back here in the U.S., the Senate returns from a break to tackle the fate of health care reform. There's a deep divide among Republicans on how to move forward, a CBO score is expected as early as today and may doom the measure. CNN national politics reporter M.J. Lee joins us with more. What's happening today?
M.J. LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Good morning Alisyn. Well Mitch McConnell getting bad news over the July 4th recess, there is now growing opposition to the Senate Health Care Bill now. Remember Mitch McConnell wanted to have a vote as soon after the July 4th recess. But over the recess, 10 Senate Republican, Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota coming out to publicly say that he is now a no on the bill as it currently stands.
Now, Mitch McConnell's own colleagues are coming out to say this bill might be dead. Here's what John McCain had to say over the weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: If you shut out the adversary or the opposite party, you're going to end up the same way Obamacare did when they rammed it through with 60 votes. Only guess what? We don't have 60 votes. My view is it's probably going to be dead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEE: Now needless to say, this coming week it's going to be certainly critical. We are expecting some updated scores from the Congressional Budget Office including on an amendment from Senator Ted Cruz that would allow insurance companies to offer health insurance plans that are not regulated under Obamacare, and also in the big picture McConnell is going to get in the next couple of days a better sense of whether it is realistic for him to move most of the folks in the no column over to the yes column or whether this entire exercise has become increasingly hopeless.
Now having said all this, where is President Trump on all of this? Well he tweeted about it yesterday. He said for years even as a civilian as I listened as Republicans push the repeal and replace of Obamacare, now they finally have their chance. So the message is pretty clear from President Trump, he is saying it's now or never.
Chris and Alisyn.
CUOMO: All right M.J., appreciate it. So, big headline today, Donald Trump Jr. acknowledging that he told different stories about a meeting with a Russian lawyer who has close ties to the Kremlin. We're going to get reaction from two people who worked on the Trump and Clinton campaigns.
This is the first sign --
[06:41:13] CUOMO: President Trump's eldest son, Donald Jr., changing his story about a meeting with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer last June. Initially it was that this was just about non-campaign-related issues. Now he says that the woman had promised dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Let's discuss the implications of this with CNN political commentators Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton's former campaign manager, and Jason Miller, former communications adviser for the Trump campaign. Functionally you two are the case for and against this morning. Robby, when you hear this story and the change of story, what does this mean to you?
ROBBY MOOK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATORS: Well, I think this is just another part of a pattern, Chris, of revelations that are coming forward. What's disturbing is at each and every juncture, the Trump campaign gets closer and closer to Russia and the connections become more direct. You know, the person that they were meeting with was not just anybody. This was an operative of the Kremlin, someone who was advocating not just there to talk about the op (ph) on Hillary, but advocating to repeal sanctions and other measures that have been put in place against Russian business people who were implicated in killing a journalist.
So this was a very serious conversation beyond the involvement in the campaign. And what's disturbing to me right now is that we're seeing so much behavior from the White House that is cozy and friendly to Russia. This has policy implications right now, and I think that the Congress needs to step up immediately and take measures to make sure there is no one in the White House, I would highlight Jared Kushner, for example, who is acting in a friendly manner towards Russia because of undue influence from meetings like this one.
CUOMO: All right, so the pushback for you is one, this was before the e-mail dump and all of the notoriety about Russian collusion was happening in terms of how high this should have been on the radar. Two, there's nothing wrong with even meeting with people from other countries, as you well know Robby it happens all the time. And the third aspect of pushback would be that, it wound up being a non-event, that there was no information and the woman was dismissed, this female lawyer. And that's why nothing was really made of the meeting originally. Your take on those? MOOK: Well, that's what they're telling us. I mean, again, the
problem here is nobody in the Trump administration at this point is credible. The President's story is constantly changing. Don Jr.'s story on this particular meeting changed repeatedly. And as you mentioned, the timing of this meeting is very interesting because only a few days later, the first dump of e-mails came from the (INAUDIBLE) website, against the DNC.
So, look, I think there remain an enormous number of questions here. And we need to investigate, again, Congress has got to step in. Our national security is at stake right now. We cannot trust the administration to stand up for our interests anymore.
CUOMO: All right. Jason, you're shaking your head in the negative. The problem for you in defending here is Don Jr. changed his story. He said multiple times to the media, I never met with anybody, this is all fake news. I don't even know any Russians. This is silly. That can't be true and we know that from his own mouth. He now admitted to this meeting in two different ways. The first time it was about adoption, and the second time he acknowledged himself that this was about meeting with somebody with Russian connections who said she had dirt on Hillary Clinton.
JASON MILLER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATORS: Well Chris, I think there are a couple important things to point out here. I mean number one, the identity or the background of this person who sat down with Don Jr. wasn't put forward before the meeting.
[06:45:04] So they didn't know exactly who they were sitting down with. And so, I think some of the media reports and some of the way this is being presented by many people on the other side of the aisle is that this was made very clear that this is someone who had ties with foreign entities and didn't know exactly what they were doing. And so --
CUOMO: Right, but you're stating that as a fact, Jason. You're stating the fact that Don Jr. didn't know who he was meeting with as a fact. We don't know that as a fact. And he also changed his story about what the meeting was about. So credibility is an issue.
MILLER: But Chris, no one has said anything contrary to this. I think it's important to point out here, that every single campaign that anyone has ever been around since back when they campaigned and road around on horses and wore wigs --
CUOMO: Right, absolutely. But not usually if they come from a foreign state, hostile state actor like Russia. So why did he change his story?
MILLER: Chris, that was not made clear beforehand before they sat down.
CUOMO: That's the speculation. We don't know that is fact.
MOOK: Well, if it's true, it's really troubling.
MILLER: But we don't know that that is the case. And again, the information that they were given, they weren't given the person's identity. It wasn't clear who exactly they were sitting down with. When they do sit down -- let's get to the substance of this for a moment. This is very important. This person sat down and started talking nonsense about how the Russians were supposedly funding the DNC and Hillary Clinton's campaign. That's probably one of the most absurd things I've ever heard.
CUOMO: Why did Don Jr. change his story?
MILLER: Well, his first answer on this, he gave a more detailed explanation about what more of the substance of the first meeting was.
CUOMO: His first answer was, I never met with anybody. Russians? Never. Those were his first answers. Then it was, yes, I met with one, but it was about adoption. And then it was, oh, she had dirt on Hillary Clinton. Why so many different stories?
MILLER: Well, I don't think it is a whole bunch of different stories. Don Jr. has never sat with down with someone who is a representative of the Russian government, who presented themselves as I'm here from another government and trying to interfere in the elections. That's never been the case. Now I think Don Jr. is being completely forthright in that. In his first answer, when you talk about the main substance of the meeting was, yes, the lawyer in question went into the Russian adoptions.
And then we got a more full answer yesterday, and I agree they could have presented that more cleanly. But again, the fact that someone is coming forward with information about an opposing campaign, it would be insane to not at least go and send someone to sit down with them to figure out what they were talking about. Robby, I'm sure his campaign was deluged on a daily basis with people saying, I have information, want to attack President Trump. And to go and say that somehow there's, you know, some scurrilous or untoward activity because you sit down and listen to what someone might have to say about your opponent is absolutely silly. And I think it's a double standard and I think people need to cover the whole picture here.
CUOMO: Robby Mook, final word.
MOOK: Chris, if they weren't vetting who they were meeting with on a topic this sensitive, it's really scary to think what's going on at the White House right now, our national security is at stake here. Congress has got to step up and make sure there's nobody up who's up to anything like this in the White House right now.
CUOMO: All right. Appreciate both of your takes on this situation. Jason, Robby, thank you. Alisyn?
CAMEROTA: OK, Chris, on to sports. Eight of baseball's best sluggers face off in the home run derby tonight. A preview next in The Bleacher Report.
[06:51:53] CUOMO: Where is the summer going? Can you believe it's already all-star time for Major League Baseball? The festivities kick off tonight, got the Home Run Derby in Miami. And you know the favorite is, a Yankee, of course. The rookie giant Aaron Judge. Coy Wire has more in this Bleacher Report, one of the few men who may make you look small handsome.
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS: By in large 6'7", 282, that's bigger than Rob Gronkowski for the Patriots. He has taken the league by storm and he -- his batting practices, they're a spectacle in of themselves. He's leading the major leagues with 30 home runs, and to think about how he is bigger than most NFL players is mind-boggling. Judge is on his way to becoming the new face of baseball, playing on the biggest stage and under the brightest lights in New York, he looks to take down defending champion John Carlos tonight. It should be a good one.
Warning, you will likely tear up after this story. Steve Winfree is a big baseball fan, he's been fighting kidney disease for 14 years and he loves collecting baseball cards with his wife Heather. Well Heather secretly made a special baseball card with his face on it, slipped it in a pack and captured the moments he learned a kidney donor match had been found.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE WINFREE: His wife Heather thinks he's a great guy, so she's excited to go bat (ph) for him. Now he will be a rookie (ph) recipient.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Now Alisyn, it may have been difficult to hear, but Heather was the donor match for Steve. She found out earlier that day, and the transplant could happen as soon as the end of this month.
CAMEROTA: My gosh. Thank you for the tissue warning. That is so beautiful and such a great moment captured on tape there.
CUOMO: The allergies are bad.
CAMEROTA: Yes, I know. I have -- yes.
CUOMO: Talk about true partnership and being meant to be together when she is actually a match for him. Do you know how rare it is to be a match for somebody? Sometimes it's not just a coincidence.
CAMEROTA: I know you would give an internal organ for me. Thank you.
CUOMO: My heart, it would be too small and not enough to power a hamster--
CAMEROTA: So it wouldn't work but thank you.
CUOMO: But I would give it to you because obviously I don't need it.
CAMEROTA: Thank you. Wow. Thank you very much for that. All right. Back to one of our top stories, Iraq's prime minister declaring victory over ISIS in Mosul. What's next for the terror group? Our experts here next.
[06:57:20] CAMEROTA: OK. There is a huge development in the nearly year-long battle to retake Iraq's major city. Iraq's prime minister is in Mosul this morning declaring that the city's been liberated from ISIS
Let's talk about this and what's next. Here with us is CNN military analyst Major General James "Spider" Marks and Michael Wise, CNN investigator reporter for the international affairs and co-author of "ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror". Spider, let me start with you. This is a huge development. What does it mean? I mean, we've heard from Nick Paton Walsh, who's the only western journalist, our reporter on the scene that there are still maybe a handful of ISIS fighters that they're trying to eradicate, but for the most part, Mosul has been liberated. Tell us the significance.
JAMES MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well it is a big deal, but let's be frank. Surely this is probably what I would say as the first third of a larger campaign that needs to be in place. So I don't want to diminish the accomplishments in place. Look, the United States has been in Iraq for 14 years, and over that decade and a half there has been a consorted effort not only to eliminate bad guys but to build up a military and help establish and create a foundation for governance.
Now the real test begins. You've liberated Mosul. You now have the requirement to hold what has been accomplished and then build on that. If you remember the strategy for many years, has been clear, hold and build. So let's keep it in those terms and let's focus in on these next steps. That's when the real heavy lifting takes place. Clearly we can celebrate the fact there's been a great military victory, but what do you do with it next?
And that is the key thing, because ISIS is not going to disappear. It might have physically departed from Mosul, it will go underground, it will stay online, recruiting will continue, inspiration will continue, so ISIS has not gone away. But it's a good opportunity for the government of Iraq to really shore up what they've been able to accomplish, move forward from here. This is really great news, let's not diminish that.
Michael, how do you see it?
MICHAEL WISE, CNN INVESTIGATOR REPORTER: I agree. And I'm old enough to remember when Mosul under U.S. occupation was considered a relatively safe and pacified city under a little known general called David Petraeus. Then of course Mosul fell to Al-Queda in Iraq, ISIS's predecessor organization. We're looking at a very long term conflict, a conflict that has already been over a decade.
CAMEROTA: And millions of civilians have left.
CAMEROTA: Just this fighting, this battle.
WISE: It's not true that the entire city of Mosul lies in ruins, the old city lies in ruins. This is the, you know, the site of some of the most historic architecture and archeology in Iraq. The key point is this though, where do we find ourselves now as oppose to three years ago? We're back to where ISIS was a J.V. team, to quote the immortal words of Barack Obama, right?