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Health Care Bill on the Brink; Trump Jr. Emailed on Clinton Information; Iraq Declares Mosul Liberated. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired July 11, 2017 - 09:30   ET



[09:32:52] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, big day for the Senate health care bill. Revisions expected sometime this week. Today, in just a few hours, in fact, Republican senators will get their first sneak peek at the revisions.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: But are they going to be enough to sway those ten Republicans in the "no" column, at least enough of them into the "yes" column? It's all about the math.

Our national reporter, MJ Lee, is with us. And our CNN national correspondent Suzanne Malveaux joins us from Capitol Hill.

MJ, as someone who tracks these numbers very closely, a senior GOP aide closely involved in the process last night told our colleague, Manu Raju, the chance this bill passes, better than 1 percent, not yet in the 2 percent column. Ouch.

MJ LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Yes, that's pretty specific, too.

You know, Poppy, the theme of this week really is part two, let's try this again. Mitch McConnell tried to bring this bill up for a vote before the July 4th recess. He wasn't able to do so. The votes were simply not there. So he is now going to try this again, actually in very much the same way that he tried to do this two weeks ago.

I'm going to walk you through sort of the timeline that we expect to see in the next couple of days offering first this big caveat that, obviously, a lot of things are still fluid. Nothing is really set in stone. But this is according to sources who have been in touch with leadership, what they expect to see. Obviously the lunches today, very, very important. We expect leadership to perhaps shed some light into some of the revisions that they expect to make to this bill. That will allow leadership, obviously, to get a sense of whether, as you said, some of the folks who are currently in the "no" column can move over to the "yes." And then by Thursday is when leadership hopes, an emphasis on hopes, to have a new draft available to circulate to the entire conference. Again, that day is Thursday. And then by next Monday, they are hoping that the CBO will release a newly updated score from, again, the Congressional Budget Office.

Now, in terms of what kind of revisions we expect to see from the bill, we have been reporting on this throughout the last two weeks or so. One is the Ted Cruz amendment. This is an amendment that would allow insurance companies to offer plans that are unregulated under Obamacare. This is one that has been talked about a lot among the conservatives. Unclear if it will be included for sure. Some other things, more money for opioid funding, some more money for the stability fund. So these are all changes that are being talked about. Unclear yet if these changes will definitely make it into the final bill.

[09:35:16] BERMAN: All right, Suzanne Malveaux, with such a crucial moment for the health care bill on the Republican side, you would think the Republican administration would, you know, be all in on trying to get the votes necessary. What's the White House doing?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're seeing the president kind of take a little bit of a back stand here. He is still making calls, but not necessarily playing things out on The Hill as we had seen previously. We are seeing the vice president, however, who will be here later today for a really critical lunch. This is the weekly lunch that Senate Republicans have. But he is going to be in attendance. And, as you know, he has been very active in pushing forward, trying to get the moderates and conservatives together. So we're going to be taking a look at what that looks like.

We saw over the weekend that Pence was actually - went horseback riding with a couple of people who are key to the debate. Senator Roy Blunt, as well as Seema Verma, who's really talking about Medicaid and Medicare and what this means in this debate. And then just yesterday he was on a conservative talk show and what was notable is how he departed from the repeal and replace Obamacare in its entirety, but rather suggesting that an option would be to do it in two parts or piece meal.

I had a chance to talk to Senator Bill Cassidy, a Republican from Louisiana, who does not think that that is the way to go just yet.


MALVEAUX: Do you agree, first of all, with the vice president's approach, that now he is looking at the possibility of this two-stage process here, repeal and then replace? Is that where you are?

SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R), LOUISIANA: No, because I think that if you wait to replace, you never replace. And there's going to take the pressure of linking them. Remember, President Trump ran saying he wanted to repeal and replace. And he had very specific things he wanted to replace with. And so I think that if we separate the two, the replace never occurs and that will break President Trump's campaign promise.


MALVEAUX: And Senator Cassidy is pushing his own plan forward, one that he has with moderate Senator Susan Collins. We'll have to see how that goes, how far that goes. And Vice President Pence continuing his push as well, a trip to Kentucky, and then later to the National Governors Association on Friday. A key constituent, a key group in trying to convince them that the Republican plan is the way to go.

BERMAN: All right, Suzanne Malveaux, MJ Lee, thank you very, very much.

Big news today, the president's son reportedly told of a Russian government effort to help his father's campaign before accepting a meeting on the subject. Is this the missing link in the Russia investigation?


[09:41:50] HARLOW: New this morning, it wasn't just anyone trying to give dirt on Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump Jr. last year. "The New York Times" this morning reporting that Trump Jr. was told in an e- mail it was, quote, "part of a Russian government effort." So what did he do after he got that e-mail? He took the meeting.

BERMAN: All right, joining us now to discuss, Matt Lewis, CNN political commentator, senior columnist at "The Daily Beast, David Swerdlick, a CNN political commentator, assistant editor at "The Washington Post," and Juliette Kayyem, CNN national security analyst and former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security.

Matt Lewis, to you. Am I crazy or is it fairly remarkable that there's no one inside the White House or within Donald Trump Sr. or Jr.'s orbit right now denying that he got this e-mail saying, no, I wasn't told this is part of a Russian government effort. There's no denial out there.

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Nobody's denying it, and that leaves one to conclude probably that the e-mail exists and, therefore, by denying it, you'd be denying something that might later be proven to be true. But, look, I think that you can never know for sure because of the way that the unorthodox manner that the Trump administration runs. But that would be my conclusion, I would think, as an observer.

HARLOW: Juliette, to you. You made a fascinating point last night that I'd love - I'd love for you to expand on, and that is that the only source through which we have been told that nothing came of this meeting - let's put the intent aside for a moment despite the critical importance of the intent - the only person we know that from is from Donald Trump Jr.'s statement. Nothing else tells us nothing came from this meeting.

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Right. That's exactly right. So I think we have a tendency to say, oh, he took the meeting but nothing came of the meeting because it ended up talking about adoptions. We only know that narrative from Donald Trump Jr. No one else. The meeting lasted more than two minutes. We know that. It lasted a half hour. And even discussions about adoptions, as all of us now know with an understanding of that debate between Russia and the United States is really a political discussion about sanctions and what rules we're going to have against the Russians.

HARLOW: Yes. KAYYEM: The only thing that matters to me is not so much the line of, you know, not disclosing the meeting. It's that Donald Trump Jr. took the meeting. And that's all the Russians need to know. They didn't need to be told by him to go ahead and disrupt. He took the meeting after being told it was about going after Hillary Clinton. That was the tell for them. That's the tell for the Russians. They don't - they know now that the Trump campaign, at least at that moment, was willing to play. The content of the meeting becomes secondary to that key moment.

BERMAN: And, David Swerdlick, even before we learned of the fact that there was this e-mail saying this was part of a Russian government effort, Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the only thing I see inappropriate about the meeting was the people who leaked the information out of the meeting that was voluntarily disclosed. Well, now that we know there was this e-mail telling him that it was part of a Russian government effort, does that change the calculus, maybe the means by which we measure that? Was it, in fact, the fact of the meeting then inappropriate if it was a Russian government effort?

DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I don't think it's that hard to come to the conclusion that this meeting was inappropriate. Inappropriate doesn't mean that there was criminality or collusion. We don't know that yet. But the idea that Trump Jr., as part of a pattern of meetings with people in the Trump inner circle taking these meetings with Russians at various stages in the campaign and transition, it's just these series of puffs of smoke coming out that, you know, have now created this cloud of smoke around the administration. You had Sessions and Flynn meeting with Kislyak, you had Kushner meeting with Gorkov, you had - and now you have Trump Jr. meeting with Veselnitskaya. I hope that's the right way to pronounce her name. And, you know, it's - it just adds to this discussion about what was the, you know, the whole view of the Trump circle about the Russian government and about involvement with Russians during the campaign?

[09:45:49] HARLOW: So let's look at the Trump circle. These are seven people - seven people around the president, some of them very close to the president, who took meetings with Russians during the campaign or during the transition and did not disclose them on the appropriate forms or publicly until they were reported in the meeting. Seven people. Matt Lewis, the White House, at this point, can't possibly use the narrative this is fake news. I mean how does this color statements coming out from the White House on this?

LEWIS: Well, I mean, they're trying to spin right now and say, well, there's no collusion. Maybe we didn't tell you we met with them. We met with them, but there's no collusion. That's where they are now.

But, look, I - the interesting thing to me is why this happened in the first place. You know, why did they meet with these people? Why do you take a meeting when you were told that a Russian wants to give you oppo (ph) research on Hillary Clinton? And the only thing I can come up with is sort of the thing that made Donald Trump's campaign successful, where he rejected agreed upon assumptions, premises, whether those are sort of moral consensus or campaign consensus, they rejected the paradigm. And I think that sometimes you get the bad with the good, you know? And the part of Trump that, you know, all the Sherpas and the smart political people said, you can't run a campaign this way and he said, of course I can. But the same type of people would have said, you can't meet - you can't take this meeting. He said, of course I can. I think it's baked in the cake.


BERMAN: Go ahead, Juliette.

KAYYEM: Can I - can I just - yes, I think it's important. I understand Matt's sort of political - the sort of explanation of why campaigns do and don't do this. From the national security perspective, there is a reason why there is this norm. It is because in future campaigns you don't want the Chinese and the Iranians and the Russians basically playing campaigns off of each other so that there is actually no consensus of what is American interest. So there actually is a national security reason, not just the ethics about why this has been a norm in the past because most rational candidates, who may win, know that if I take this stuff, the Iranians are next, the North Koreans are after that, and then maybe even our allies are after that. That's why there is that norm. It's - and so I just want to make clear how sort of, from a national security perspective, this is a very, very scary door that the Trump campaign opened. Whether it's collusion or not, let the lawyers decide. But it certainly enabled future enemies to play this game with future candidates.

BERMAN: David - David Swerdlick, just to be clear right now, the president's lawyer says the president was not aware and did not attend the meeting. That's the official response right now on the president himself. You think that's all we're going to hear from the president on this, and do you think that that will be pressed and people question that notion?

SWERDLICK: People will question it, and we'll hear more on this, I'm certain, whether it's from his lawyers or whether it's from the president on Twitter. But that is sort of, going back to what you asked Matt a minute ago, the administration's theory of the case, right? The president didn't know about it. This meeting was no big deal. Nothing came of it. Nothing to see here. Not inappropriate. Move on.

But I think the bigger problem that's illustrated here is the administration's view on Russia and whose interests are at stake, not whether we know yet if there's collusion or criminality.

HARLOW: David Swerdlick, Matt Lewis, Juliette Kayyem, thank you all very much.

The White House cheering this morning a big win in the fight against ISIS. This latest victory in Mosul, though, does not mean ISIS is finished. So, what is next?


[09:53:33] BERMAN: All right, hundreds celebrate in the streets in Iraq after the prime minister announced victory in the ISIS stronghold of Mosul.

HARLOW: And now the question becomes what is next for the people of Mosul, Iraq's second largest city? How does it rebuild?

Our senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh was just in Mosul. He joins us from Iraq.

That is the key question. This does not do away with ISIS by any means, but for the people of Mosul rebuilding, the question becomes, what happens?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. And bear in mind too, you can't rally rebuild until you have peace. And we still have a small pocket of ISIS as far as we understand down near the river holding out. So while victory has been declared, there is still a tiny amount of fighting and that just really makes the old city itself almost like the surface of the moon, frankly. I mean to the massive destruction that has hit it, even more inaccessible for those who might seek to demolish the remains, to get rid of the booby-traps, to clear up the bodies, rotting bodies of ISIS fighters that are strewn almost the wreckage there.

That's the small, old city. Then go further afield. Curiously, two miles away from where there is still fighting, there is now signs of normal life returning. People we saw grilling chicken in their kabab (ph) shop on the street or selling paint, traffic jams, normal signs of life in a city that is far from normal, where every street has a building that's been pancaked or torn apart by the fighting here.

Tens of billions of dollars will be required to put all of Iraq back together, if not more. Remember, Mosul is one of a dozen cities that have been heavily damaged by the fight against ISIS. And the key question here is, how does the predominantly Shia government and military - remember that Iraq has two ethnicities, the Sunni and the Shia to some degree, how do they begin to regain the trust of the Sunni population of a place like Mosul where ISIS found (ph) (INAUDIBLE) in their extremists (ph)? A big, big social challenge ahead.

[09:55:15] Back to you.

BERMAN: All right, Nick Paton Walsh for us in Irbil. Terrific reporting. Thanks so much, Nick.

This morning we have new details about what Donald Trump Jr. knew before meeting with a Russian lawyer. What he was told about Russian government efforts to help his father's campaign. We're following all the latest developments. Stay with us.


[10:00:01] BERMAN: Good morning, everyone. I'm John Berman.

HARLOW: And I'm Poppy Harlow.