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Senate GOP Has No Votes to Spare on Health Bill; Trump's Never- Ending Handshake with Macron. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired July 14, 2017 - 06:30   ET



[06:30:52] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Breaking overnight: a federal judge in Hawaii has loosened restrictions on President Trump's travel ban. Grandparents and relatives, including in-laws, aunts and uncles will now be allowed to travel to the United States from six mostly Muslim nations. District Court Judge Derrick Watson ruled the White House misinterpreted last month's Supreme Court decision when it excluded those relatives. No word whether the White House plans to appeal this now.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK. The Senate GOP's revised health care bill has no votes to spare. Two Republican senators are saying they will already vote against it. So can Republicans turn the tide? How are they trying to do that today?

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is live on Capitol Hill.

Give us the latest there.


Well, President Trump already engaged in a Twitter storm, if you will, four tweets this morning about this issue, trying to salvage he's going to be back at his desk with pen in hand, if Republicans have to deliver on this promise. And also, we've heard President Trump aboard Air Force One expressing appreciation for the difficult testify of getting this passed.

He said, and I'm quoting, he said it's the only thing more difficult than peace between Palestinians and the health care. It's like this narrow road about a quarter of an inch wide, you get a couple here, you say great, then you find out you just lost four over here. Health care is tough.

And, of course, health care is stuff, trying to bridge conservatives and moderates of his own party.

Here are some of the highlights to try to make both sides happy. An option for cheaper plans, but fewer benefits, the Ted Cruz Amendment, a nod to conservatives. A provision to allow people to use their health savings accounts for their premiums, that is not allowed in the law. A $45 billion boost for opioid addiction treatment. No significant changes to Medicaid, that is a huge blow to moderates. And finally, no tax repeal for the wealthiest Americans. So far, two definite noes, and they cannot afford to lose an

additional Republican. Otherwise this dies -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Suzanne Malveaux for us on Capitol Hill. So, the big question is, will they lose that one additional vote? Will the Senate be able to get this bill to President Trump's desk? We're going to speak to our panel coming up next.


[06:37:06] CAMEROTA: The Senate Republicans are still haggling over their health care plan. And President Trump tweeting this morning, Republican senators are working hard to get their failed Obamacare replacement improved. I will be at my desk pen in hand.

And, after all these years of suffering through Obamacare, Republican senators must come through as they have promised!

Let's discuss with our panel. We have David Gregory, Ron Brownstein and Karoun Demirjian.

David Gregory, what's to become of this? I mean, we already know Rand Paul doesn't like it, nor does Senator Susan Collins. Shelly Capito of West Virginia has some reservations.

So, where is this?

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think they're still in a very difficult place. I mean, they're close enough to perhaps pull it across the line because with the president, you know, jeering and making demands from the White House, it's a reminder of how much political peril Republicans face if they don't come through on this. But I think what a lot of more centrist conservatives even are feeling is that this is just an incredibly unpopular step to be taking with how they refashion a repeal of Obamacare, that it puts them in a very precarious position and they're not sure about the kind of political backup they'll have if they take this vote and ultimately pass it.

They would have reconciling to do with the House version as well. I think that is the state of play at the moment.

BERMAN: You know, Ron Brownstein, you noted that Mitch McConnell here has taken a somewhat traditional tact to get this through. He's made concessions to the conservative members of his party hoping and/or assuming that the moderates will fall into place, so-called moderates.

But there's a huge amount of pressure on some of these senators right now. Susan Collins has already said she's a no vote, even on the motion to proceed with bringing the measure to the floor. There's Dean Heller of Nevada, you know, one Republican who faces a tough race. What will happen with him? Rob Portman, Lisa Murkowski in Alaska. That's where the pressure is.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, people -- look, Senator McConnell has made a clear calculation here. He has moved this bill substantially to the right of the original bill to mollify the conservatives, particularly Ted Cruz, and he's banking on the moderate and even mainstream Republicans who have raised objections, Shelly Moore Capito of West Virginia, Rob Portman of Ohio, Jerry Moran, John Hoeven, people you wouldn't expect, Lisa Murkowski to buckle in the end.

The Ted Cruz Amendment really is a cruise missile aimed directly at the Republican coalition because what it does is essentially allow insurers to segment the insurance market so younger, healthier people can buy cheaper plans. The inexorable result of that will be to drive up the cost and limit ability of insurance for older people with more health needs. And as we talk about many times, two-thirds of everybody in the country 45 to 64, the big losers under the Cruz Amendment are white.

[06:40:02] And most of them are Republican voters, 60 percent of them vote for Republicans. And you still have in this second version of the bill -- and, I think, John, this is the real crux of it. It maintains all the severe cuts in Medicaid which have become absolutely crucial, as I pointed out on my column this week, in responding to the opioid crisis in states like West Virginia and Ohio. Also, Nevada and Colorado would be huge losers in the Medicaid population. Dean Heller and, for that matter, Cory Gardner would be voting to reduce the Medicaid population by almost half. So, there's a clear calculation here that Mitch McConnell is saying if I satisfy Cruz, Lee, et cetera, these guys will buckle in the end.

We'll see with virtually every interest, doctor group, hospitals, patients opposing this legislation.

CAMEROTA: But, Karoun, they say they have a solution to that opioid issue that so many people have raised. So, let's put up what we know to be true about the changes to the bill, the latest incarnation of it, OK?

So, option for cheaper plan with fewer benefits. That's what so many people have called for. Why does John Berman have to pay for maternity benefits when he isn't going to need it?

Then there's the HSA payment on premiums, your own spending accounts.

Here we go: $45 billion allotted for substance abuse, opioid treatment, they think that somehow that will fill the gap of what people need.

No changes to Medicaid from the previous bill. I believe that this is what Ron is talking about, because the previous bill had $772 billion cuts to Medicaid over the next ten years.

And then no repeal on the Obamacare taxes on the wealthy. I think this is what Rand Paul objects to.

Karoun, what do you see?

KAROUN DEMERJIAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think about two weeks ago, Ohio Governor John Kasich said the $45 billion is a nice number, but it's basically a drop in the bucket and it's a way of trying to put a band-aid on a gushing wound of the opioid crisis. I think the problem for a lot of these Republicans is that they have governors at home who won't be convinced by all this at all. That's the case in Ohio. That is the case in Nevada. Those are two moderate Republicans looking at this.

We haven't heard all that much from the Arizona Republicans, but they're also from Medicaid expansion states that has issues with opioids and other drug crises, and also a population that's not all that young.

So, you're looking at basically who it is that has to make the decision to vote for this based on the changes. Yes, it will make them unpopular in the national GOP, but will it make them more unpopular at home to vote yes? And that's a very critical decision for anybody who is up in 2018 or frankly even in 2020.

And so, I think, you know, sometimes what you end up seeing in matters like this that are very, very politically controversial when there's a lot of stake, would you vote yes or no, and there's no good way to do it, is that you'll see a new people come out, like Susan Collins, like Rand Paul. But it's not exactly profiles in courage with everybody else until the last minute. You'll either see droves of people saying, OK, I'm going to make this decision except for maybe the people that have already come out and said no, or you'll see at the last minute a whole bunch of people won't vote for it.

So, it won't be 49 or 48 votes, but more like 45, depending on the these people feel like they can make a safe decision to go with the local interests and the governors that have taken stances on this versus what the national party and the president want.

CAMEROTA: It's complicated and thank you for laying it out for us. Yes, go ahead quickly, David.

GREGORY: No, quickly. I just think there's also that we have had Obamacare being implemented in good ways and ways that have negative results. But a lot of these lawmakers are talking to experts in the field and finding out where those gaps are. Some of this tinkering doesn't solve the problems in terms of utilization, young people versus older, sicker people, and what effect it has on the insurance market.

So, I think there's tinkering going on that makes a lot of lawmakers worried about what the ultimate impact will be, especially when they've seen a positive result of, say, expanding Medicaid in terms of populations.

BERMAN: Those advantages and disadvantages come up in things like hearings which they're not having to reform this which is interesting.

CAMEROTA: All right. Panel, thank you very much for all of that.

How many ways can you shake someone's hand?

BERMAN: We're going to find out.

CAMEROTA: We're going to count the ways, because we didn't know that there were there many different types of handshakes --

BERMAN: At least two right there.

CAMEROTA: Wait a second. I'm not done. That's the arm wrestle handshake. Here comes the double hug handshake.

BERMAN: It's really, really impressive.

CAMEROTA: Oh, oh, double handshake -- hold handshake.

BERMAN: There are seven hands involved with this handshake right now. We'll be right back.


[06:48:28] CAMEROTA: Severe thunderstorms making a beeline through the Midwestern states and working their way to the East Coast. Flash flooding forcing evacuations in central Ohio.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers has our forecast.

Tell us what you're seeing, Chad.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: A lot of rain even in western Pennsylvania, as well this morning.

This weather brought to you by Tempur Pedic. Tempur Pedic sleep is power.

And people on the western sections now of Pennsylvania, south of Pittsburgh, flooding this morning, basements are flooded in many towns out there, including Indiana and Pennsylvania.

Heavy rain moving into New York City right now. That will last until noon today, but then the rest of the weekend isn't pretty good. The rain all the way down into Washington, D.C. today could be severe, could have wind damage in D.C., Baltimore, La Plata, all the way down even toward Richmond, Virginia, later this afternoon as the rain moves through.

A couple more showers in the city later on this afternoon, 6:00, 7:00, 8:00 tonight. Other than that, the bigger weather is farther south.

A great weekend for a lot of people especially north of the front which is New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Rochester over to even parts of Maine is going to be in the 50s and 60s for morning lows, 70s and 80s for highs. But deep south remains stuck in the muggies, John.

BERMAN: Stuck in the muggies. All right. Chad Myers, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

MYERS: All right.

BERMAN: All right. President Trump's comments about the French president's wife making major noise on social media. This is the moment you have to see and hear coming up next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:53:27] BERMAN: All right. It is already being called, by us mostly, the mother of all handshakes.

CAMEROTA: Only by us.

BERMAN: Only by us, as far as we know. The mother of all handshakes.

President Trump and President Macron saying good-bye to each other with this handshake that never stopped and morphed into several different handshakes and things at once.

Joining us to discuss, political writer for "The Atlantic", Molly Ball, CNN White House reporter Kate Bennett.

Really, Kate -- Molly, I should say. We were looking at this and sort of joking about how the relationship between President Trump and Emmanuel Macron changed.

CAMEROTA: It never ends. It's still going on, this handshake. Look at that.

BERMAN: And this is a handshake with affection as opposed to the first time they met when they had sort of the fierce handshake face- off. I think we have pictures of that to give you a contrast of what that was like, when they first met.

Here it is right now. It's going back and forth. We'll find that and show what we're talking here.

But, Molly, you know, the politics of physical interaction, explain.

MOLLY BALL, POLITICAL WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Well, I would say, first of all, we know Macron approaches these handshakes somewhat strategically. He said after the first aggressive handshake that he did it on purpose, he was trying to make a statement, he was trying to sort of speak what he sees as Trump's language which is the language of dominance and gain the upper hand literally in this interaction.

We don't need body language to tell us that the relationship between Trump and Macron is going to be awkward. Trump all but campaigned for Macron's opponent in his election, and they embody very different points of view about Europe and about globalism.

But -- so, this seems to be another interaction where Macron, who seems to be the one who is not letting go, is sending some kind of message.

[06:55:06] And the message he sent with this whole trip has been that he wants to have a relationship of openness with the United States, but he's willing to be aggressive in projecting his point of view.

CAMEROTA: Kate, not only is he shaking macron's hand there, also simultaneously hugging and kissing his wife. Not easy to do. And as John said, he thought there were seven hands involved in that handshake, but there really only can be six. In any event, what do you see in all this body language?

KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: It was handsy. I mean, I think at the end of the day, Macron had a goal, and that goal was to sort of woo President Trump and build this friendship and establish it. He did so with lots of pomp and circumstance, an arrival ceremony and today's parade, and dinner last night in the Eiffel Tower, and sort of all the bells and whistles that maybe resonate with President Trump.

In that sense, this very friendly good-bye where President Trump doesn't want to let go and they're doing the sort of bro shake. That very much says it went beyond sort of a professional relationship, where this weekend did more to solidify a friendship. And, you know, they're buddies now. I think that's what this closeness and all those hands maybe demonstrated as well.

BERMAN: They're buddies that talk about each other's wives apparently, because there was that interaction which has blown up on social media where President Trump greets president macron's wife and says the following. Let's play it.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You're in such good shape. Beautiful.


CAMEROTA: Kate, I just want to speak with you for one second. I know you often focus on sort of the elegant and the fashion of all of this and the first ladies. What do you think about how the first ladies presented themselves and President Trump's response to France's first lady?

BENNETT: Well, this sort of effusive compliment is not something we -- that is new to us with President Trump. We just saw it with him two weeks in the Oval Office with that Irish reporter, you know, commenting on her nice smile and saying the beautiful Irish press.

So, obviously, him noticing that he feels it's a very strong compliment. Now, the two women in the beginning, Melania Trump sort of puts her hand on Mrs. Macron's back. And towards the end there, after the whole comment about her physical appearance, Macron's wife sort of clings to Melania and off they go.

So, there was a moment of awkwardness. But I think at that point the two couples know each other, know each other well enough to understand that the observation made by the president about Mrs. Macron was perhaps maybe a gaffe to some people, but also in his mind a compliment, a high compliment.

BERMAN: So, Molly, President macron, just one of the 39-year-olds President Trump focused on in the last 24 hours. The other being his son, Donald Trump Jr., he defended saying anyone would have taken the meeting with the Russian lawyer that Donald Trump Jr. did and he called his son a wonderful young man. You've just written a fascinating profile of Donald Trump Jr. in "The

Atlantic." You know, what do you make of the way his father has talked about him and his role really for the White House and the family?

BALL: Well, that was, first of all, a very artful segue, the 39-year- old thing. I want to commend you on that. But, yes, I've spent quite a bit of time with Don Jr., wrote a profile about him last year and again this week.

And you know, he is clearly an adult in his own right. He's co- hosted "The Apprentice," he's been an executive vice president of the Trump Organization. He's done a lot of hotel deals for the company.

This is I think true in the way that Donald Trump sees his children. He still sees them as kids, if not just offshoots of his own personality. But, you know, his company has always been a family affair. His campaign was a family affair.

His inner circle, his brain trust has always been his oldest three children. Don is the oldest, and while he had sort of a wild period as a kid, he's very much come back into the fold and become sort of a mini me of Trump. And so, you know, it's very clear he was given adult responsibility and had adult level input particularly in the campaign which is what this controversy is about.

CAMEROTA: Right. And so, Molly, given that now he accepted this meeting and he was enthusiastic about this meeting with this Russian lawyer, is your angle that for a long time he was the family troublemaker and has kind of tried to reinvent himself?

BALL: Yes. Well, as a kid he was the troublemaker, right? And after college, he sort of went off and found himself and bartended in Colorado.

He's not exactly like his dad. He's known for being an outdoorsman, loves to hunt and fish and camp whereas Donald Trump I don't think has any interest in really setting foot outside if he doesn't have to. But -- he gets that from his mother's side of the family. His mother, Ivana Trump, is from the former Czechoslovakia and Don Jr. is actually fluent in the Czech language.