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Vote On GOP Bill, Critical CBO Score Delayed; New Poll Reveals Trump's Dwindling Approval Rating; Former Football Star Faces Parole Board Thursday. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired July 16, 2017 - 15:00   ET


[15:00:00] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, HOST, CNN NEWSROOM: -- had pushed back a vote on unexpected delays. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had pushed back a vote on the bill scheduled for this week so that Senator John McCain will have a chance to recover from eye surgery. The delays will also give McConnell extra time to find the needed votes to pass it.

CNN has also just wondering the Congressional Budget Office will not release a much anticipated score on the bill tomorrow. It's now unclear when that CBO score will be released. The GOP's plan to repeal ad replace Obamacare could be in trouble.

This morning on CNN's "State of the Union" Senator Susan Collins said as many as 8 to 10 Republican senators have serious concerns about the bill.


JAKE TAPPER, HOST, "STATE OF THE UNION": Vice President Pence spoke with the nation's governors on Friday. He tried to allay any concerns about what this bill will do with Medicaid, the health care program for low-income Americans and others. Take a listen.

MIKE PENCE, UNITED STATES VICE PRESIDENT: Let me be clear. President Trump and I believe the Senate health care bill strengthens and secures Medicaid for the neediest in our society, and this bill puts this vital American program on a path to long-term sustainability.

TAPPER: Do you agree with vice president there? Is he telling the truth? With this bill strengthen the Medicaid for the neediest?

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I respectfully disagree with the vice president's analysis. This bill would impose fundamental sweeping changes in the Medicaid Program and those include very deep cuts. That would affect some of the most vulnerable people in our society including disabled children, poor seniors. It would affect our rural hospitals and nursing homes, and they would have a very difficult time even staying in existence and serving vulnerable populations.

So, no, I see it very differently. You can't take more than $700 billion out of the Medicaid Program and not think that it's going to have some kind of affect. (END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Let's discuss this now with our panel Ron Brownstein as CNN Senior Political Analyst, Jonathan Gruber is an Economic Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was also an architect of Obamacare, and Stephen Moore as CNN Senior Economic Analyst and former Adviser to the Trump campaign. Good to see all of you this Sunday.

All right, so, Ron, let me begin with you. You know, we heard Senator Collins say she can't support the current health care bill. Rand Paul says, you know, pretty much the same thing. The GOP can't lose another senator and pass this bill. So, how in trouble is it?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, so right on the ice edge. Particularly because yesterday even after the presentations from the vice president and HHS secretary, you saw unified opposition through the Medicaid changes not only from Democratic governors but from the Republican governors of Arizona, Arkansas, Nevada and Ohio, and between those in states have six senators.

The core problem, Fredricka, Republicans have been talking block granting Medicaid going all the way back top Ronald Reagan, to George W. Bush. Newt Gingrich passed in the 1990s, and Bill Clinton vetoed it. But what has changed is that the ACA expanded Medicaid eligibility to low-income working people and in essence it reached Medicaid up the income ladder. At the same time the Republican coalition was reaching down the income ladder.

And so when you look at these interior states, West Virginia, Ohio, Arkansas, other Kentucky, other states like that, the voters who would be hurt the most by these changes, these severe cuts in Medicaid, are Republican voters. And it's just no way to get around that when you look at the role of Medicaid in responding to the opioid crisis, when you look at the role of Medicaid in supporting the economies of rural hospital. These are Republican voters who are hurt the most and that is in the end I think a very big hill to ask some of these senators to kind of lay down their political lives on.

WHITFIELD: So Jonathan, you're nodding your head to that. You helped craft Obamacare. If the GOP can't find a way to repeal and replace, you know, can the Democrats along with perhaps some Republicans actually come up with a way to fix the problems facing the Affordable Care Act?

JONATHAN GRUBER, ECONOMIC PROFESSOR, MASSACHUSSETS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY: Well, I mean, listening to the previous speaker, I mean, Diane Roland was very kind. But the previous speaker for Diane was just lying. This is a huge cut to Medicaid. It doesn't made Medicaid safer or promote it, it dramatically reduces it. And I think that's one of the reasons there is such opposition to the law. There are fixes they had on this law. It's not working perfectly. No law that works perfectly.

For example, there's a good idea in this -- in both the House and the Senate Legislation, which is stabilization funds, to help stabilize the existing insurance markets. That's a good idea. But the end of the day, we know what's going to happen if the Senate bill passes. We might not know whether 21 million people lose insurance or 10 million people lose insurance. What we know is millions will lose insurance and most importantly with an unbelievably mean Cruz amendment . You will return to that days where insurers can discriminate against the (INAUDIBLE). It's absolutely inexcusable that we as a nation return to that time period.

[15:05:08] WHITFIELD: Well I think most people have been taking note of the various versions. You know, Rand Paul has said his bit on it. Ted Cruz is also among those who said he made some offering. This is what he had to say.


COLLINS: I do want to see more flexibility in the insurance market, but Senator Cruz's approach is not the answer. It's rare for insurers and consumer groups to agree that they agree on this. The Cruz plan is unworkable, it would result in undermining the protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and would create two separate groups of individuals, and some of them would have very skimpy insurance coverage at a low price, but it might not help them when they get sick and then there would be the group of people who have serious medical problems, and they're premiums and deductibles would go sky high. Such that it would -- insurance would be unaffordable for many of them.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: So you still have the death spiral even with their amendment. Their amendment as gives more freedom. So I'm for their amendment, but in the context of keeping most of the Obamacare regulations, you will still have a death spiral. That's why even the Cruz amendment people saying, Oh, we need more money in the insurance bailout fund because the Cruz amendment is going to cost us a lot of money, taxpayer money to try to stabilize insurance markets.


WHITFIELD: All right, so a summarization of Ted Cruz's, you know, amendment there. So Stephen, what is the matter with, you know, some are calling a bailout fund? Others are calling a stabilizing fund, as we just heard from you know Jonathan?

STEPHEN MOORE, CNN, SENIOR ECONOMIC ANALYST: Well, let's start with the realization that the Cruz amendment, which I actually think is the best feature of the Senate bill, because what nobody's mentioned is 90 percent of Americans are going to face lower costs, not higher costs.

Remember, the reason Obamacare is such a fiasco, and it's not minor problems. Minor problems would be like saying the "Titanic" took a real bad turn and ran into the iceberg. I mean the Obamacare numbers are just showing families right now. The average family is paying $3,000 more a year for insurance. They can't afford it.

So, what the Cruz amendment will do for 90 percent of people with insurance is dramatically reduce their costs. That's something that we now -- there will be people with pre-existing conditions they're going to need support and there is money for that in the bill, and people with health problems will be put in a separate insurance pool. But for everyone else, you're talking about $3,000, to $4,000, $5,000 of savings per year and for the middle class. That's a big deal.

WHITFIELD: Yes, and reducing a cost might sound enticing, but then if you're reducing the cost you're giving people a policy and then come to find out it's not really very useful. I mean looked at "Washington Post," today and they have a section talking about, you know, junk insurance.

And so, you know, Ron, what's the uphill battle that many of these Republicans have by trying to sell this, that people, if they are to get these reduced costs will actually have something that will help them? Get care?

MOORE: No, no, no. What the Cruz plan does is allows every American to choose the insurance they want. If you want Obamacare under the plan, under the Cruz plan, can you have Obamacare. If you want the high costs, can you have that. What its saying is for people do want a slimmed down insurance, or have higher premium. I mean you know, higher deductible, but pay lower premiums they can do that. I mean a lot of people don't want contraceptive coverage. That's the problem, right?

WHITFIELD: What I ask, is it idyllic versus reality, Ron?

BROWNSTEIN: No, no, right. As Jonathan, I'm sure is waiting to jump in, once you basically say that younger, healthier people can opt out of comprehensive coverage and buy stripped down low-cost plans, the only who buy the more comprehensive coverage are those who have health care needs, big health care needs, and so the costs quickly rise and you have what the insurance industry in a rare joint letter as Fredricka pointed out along patients has said would produce a death spiral. And here is the paradox. Steve, hold on let me finish.

Here's the core paradox, Steve has been a very consistent voice. I've known him since he was running the club for Grows. But the paradox is now the losers in that transaction.

WHITFIELD: Stephen we can't hear you when you're both talking. One at a time.


MOORE: Spiral right now for the insurance market that's why everybody's dropping their coverage. If we stay on the current system were in right now, nobody's going to have health insurance because they can't afford it.

BROWNSTEIN: Can I finish?


BROWNSTEIN: I mean the problem is, if you disaggregate the insurance markets the biggest losers are older working adults, in the 20 years before -- roughly before they're eligible for Medicare. Two-thirds of all Americans 45 to 64 are white and three-fifths of those white Americans in that age will vote Republican.

[15:10:07] If you look at the work the Kaiser Family Foundation has done. Fifty-year-old, 60 years old, at 30, to 40, 50,000 this has become the core of the Republican collation, all of them would face significantly higher premiums even before the Cruz amendment and even after the Cruz amendment, it might be unaffordable at any price.

WHITFIELD: So Jonathan weigh in on that. I've seen a lot of head nodding. Go ahead, Jonathan.

GRUBER: I feel like it's a classroom and I can raise my hand or something. Look, Stephen has sensible points and he just buries them in a barrage of lies. Ninety percent of Americans, give me a break, Stephen, 80 percent of Americans on affected by Obamacare.

OK. We are talking about a small slice of Americans. But within that small slice of Americans, a meaningful slice, it's millions. OK, within that small slice, everyone, everyone, every objective expert, consumer, insurer, policy expert, every single one has said the Cruz amendment will have the affect of fracturing insurance markets creating low costs, skimpy insurance plans for young healthy people and unaffordable were generous plans for sick people. It's not --

WHITFIELD: Wait, Stephen. Let Jonathan finish. And then Stephen. Go ahead, Jonathan.

MOORE: And it seems like to the point you're making is the government got force you to buy an insurance plan you don't want and can't afford. That's the reason we have an election for people voted, it was like -- it was a mandate to get rid of Obamacare because the people can't afford it. So the idea of giving people more affordable plans. I don't understand why you and Ron are against that.

GRUBER: We are not against giving people -- I don't want to speak for Ron. I'm not against people getting more affordable plans. I agree Obamacare is not deliver the affordability many us hopes. But the answer is not to move backwards and return to a world where insurance was unavailable.

OK, base of the question is, do you want to be in a world where young healthy people maybe get 10 percent or 20 percent off the price of their insurance. Because remember it's only gone up 22 percent over three years. So want to go back to our (INAUDIBLE) when we get 20 percent off the health care insurance and sick people die because they don't have health insurance. Or do you want to go to a world where young people have to pay more, which they did under Obamacare but you're pooling resources so that everyone is covered? That's the question before us. If the answer is, you are fine letting sick people be uncovered, to give young people a 20 percent break, that's a fine answer. Give that answer. But don't pretend the false choice that you can somehow have your cake and eat it, too.

WHITFIELD: All right, we'll go. Leave it there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. WHITFIELF: All right, gentlemen, thank you so much. We're going to have you all back because we know there were so much more ground to cover. But we appreciate it for now, Ron, Jonathan, Stephen, thank you so much, appreciate it.

All right, as the GOP tries to push its health care bill across the finish line, the president is facing a six-month approval rating that is at an all-time low for any president in the last 70 years. More on those new numbers, after this.


[15:17:13] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. A brand new poll out today shows President Trump's popularity with voters is clearly taking a hit.

His job approval rating has dropped to just 36 percent according to a new ABC/Washington Post poll. That's the lowest sixth-month mark rating of any president in 70 years.

The president responding today on Twitter saying the poll numbers aren't that bad and questioning the poll's reliability. Also offering a fresh defense of his son's meeting with the Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign saying, "Hillary Clinton can illegally get the questions to the debate and delete 33,000 e-mails, but my son, Don, is being scorned by the fake news media."

CNN's Boris Sanchez is in New Jersey where the president continues to spend the weekend. So Boris, there has been more reaction to that 2016 meeting, hasn't there?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fred. We've heard the president say that anyone would've taken a meeting with Russians to gather intelligence negative to Hillary Clinton's campaign. Despite that, this new polling shows that may not necessarily be the case.

Again, the poll from ABC News, Washington Post revealing that 63 percent of those polled believe that meeting between Donald Trump, Jr. and that Russian attorney and Russian lobbyist was inappropriate. Only 23 percent believe that it was appropriate.

This is a story, the Russia story, that is obviously damaging to the White House's popularity. It is hampering their ability to keep the focus on their agenda and it is one that is likely not going away anytime soon. Specifically, because we've heard now lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say that they want Donald Trump, Jr. and others in that meeting, Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner to testify.

Just earlier today on "State of the Union" with Jake Tapper, we heard Republican senator, Susan Collins, and Democrat Mark Warner, both on the Senate Intelligence Committee say that they are going to be requesting documents from Donald Trump, Jr. And they are going to be expecting him to testify before their committee in the near future.

As for the president, he is enjoying the rest of his weekend here in New Jersey before heading back to Washington, D.C. later tonight. This week, he's going to be taking part in some events dedicated to make -- Made in America week trying to keep the focus on companies that invest in the American worker and products that are made here in the United States.

But you can bet, Fred, that this is going to be another themed week that will likely be overshadowed by the continuing leak, trickling out of information, about this Russia investigation, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. You bet. Boris Sanchez, thank you so much in New Jersey.

All right, up next, the view from Trump's legal team.

The president's lawyer making rounds today and insisting that there was nothing illegal going on in that mysterious Russia meeting. Details after the break.


[15:24:06] WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

The President Trump's attorney is insisting today there was nothing illegal going on in that June 2016 meeting between a Russian lawyer, the president's son, son-in-law and the campaign chairman at the time.


TAPPER: What other details about this meeting have not been disclosed?

JAY SEKULOW, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: Well, I want to say again that I represent the president. And Donald Trump, Jr. said he disclosed everything about the meeting, but I represent -- I'm one of the counsels for the president of the United States who was not involved in the meeting and not aware of the meeting.

So from our perspective, my answer stands. And that is the president was not engaged in this. He was not aware of it.

Donald Trump, Jr. made statements about that this was everything. He said that on the air on Sean Hannity's broadcast.


SEKULOW: And I think it speaks -- again, it speaks for itself.

JONATHAN KARL, ABC HOST: So you're saying that when the president says witch hunt he is talking about Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation that is part of this so-called witch hunt?

[15:25:10] SEKULOW: Yes, when he calls it a witch hunt, when he talks about the scope and nature of the investigation, he's concerned about the nature of what's going on here. I mean we -- there are a whole host of issues that as lawyers we deal with in cases of like that. Potential conflicts of interest. How would, for instance, James Comey be a witness in a situation when he has this relationship -- not just with the special council, but the way in which he testified.

But let's also not forget, that it was James Comey that said three times and acknowledges under oath to the President that he was not under investigation.


WHITFIELD: All right. Let's discuss this now with CNN Senior Political Analyst, Ron Brownstein and CNN Presidential Historian, Tim Neftali. Good to see you both.


WHITFIELD: All right, so, Ron, welcome back. The President and his team, you know, still insisting this is a witch-hunt. You heard him and explain kind of why, you know, the relationship between Comey and Mueller, et cetera. And that there was nothing wrong with this meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and the others at the table, and that Donald Trump Jr. revealed everything. But we know now he didn't reveal everything. There were eight in all at the meeting. So how much damage is this doing to the President of the United States right now?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, I think there are several things. I think first, your point there is important. Donald Trump Jr. went before what has been the single most indefatigable in, you know, immovable defender of the Trump administration in the media and lied to him directly, which ought to be a sobering moment, I think, for all of those who are kind of defending the administration regardless of which way it this story turns.

Second, I think, again, the President using the word "witch hunt" through Jay Sekulow about this special counsel investigation is a clear shot across the bow for congressional Republicans, because it shows that he -- using that kind of language showed that he's clearly keeping open the possibility, I think, of firing the special counsel at some point. And if congressional Republicans believe that is unacceptable to them they have to make that unequivocally clear to the White House, I think, beforehand.

WHITFIELD: Like preemptively?

BROWNSTEIN: Preemptively. And then the third quick point, the fact that he's talking about witch hunt, goes to his tweet that you had in the previous segment about 40 percent in polls is actually pretty good. This is not a White House that at this point is trying to speak to even 50-plus 1 percent of the country. They are not trying to rebut the concerns of those who may be anxious about the Russia investigation or his broader conduct in the presidency but not totally turned against him.

They are about stoking and mobilizing their base on the idea that this presidency is under siege from outside forces who were trying to undermine not only Donald Trump but you, you, my base. And that is the path they are heading down. And almost everything they are doing from attacks on the judiciary, to media to special counsel to the policy on healthcare and things like that, reinforce that kind of narrow vision.

WHITFIELD: So Tim, putting this in context in terms of when a President's approval rival -- rating is this low as this one is, a historically low in, you know, six months into a presidency. Thirty- six percent the lowest in 70 years, give us an idea how this President is able to continue to move forward, try to push his agenda, no giant legislative victories, you know, at this juncture before the August recess, but how does he kind of put a positive spin on this and get something done?

TIM NEFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, the only other President who had approval ratings this low at this point in his administration was Gerald Ford and that was because he pardoned Richard Nixon.

I wonder if -- if we looked at the percentage of Republicans who supported the President, I think we'd still see a high level of support among Republicans, and what I'm looking to see is the extent to which the Republicans in the House and the Senate make the calculation that this President is toxic.

Now, at the moment, it looks like they haven't made that calculation and what's the evidence?

WHITFIELD: Absolutely.

NEFTALI: Well but what's the evidence of that? What's happening in the Senate on healthcare? The President has made clear in his reaction to the House bill and in his reaction thus far to what's going on in the Senate that all he wants is a bill. He doesn't really care about what the bill look, not at all. He's not telling us what he thinks of the Cruz amendment, he's not suggesting anything, all he's saying is, "you better get something out."

That means that Republicans are signing up for the -- the possibility that this President turns on them. And that's what's interesting to me. This is a President who's not popular with the American people. And yet Republicans seem to be still afraid of him. We haven't reached the tipping point, if we -- if his ratings go down and Republicans start to leave him, maybe we'll reach a tipping point where Republicans in Congress are afraid of him. We're not there yet, and for that reason, Trump -- President Trump still has sway.

[15:30:11] BROWNSTEIN: You know a kind --

WHITFIELD: This powerful run. Go ahead.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. Tim, I just interesting because I -- in my -- and you can find it on my column on Tuesday, looking back, Trump approval rating now is about 82 percent, 85 percent -- 82 percent to the ABC/Washington Post among Republicans. That is not an unusually strong grip on your own party at this point, whether it's Obama or Reagan or W. Bush or H.W. Bush. They were all in comparable positions.

And in fact, if you go back through history, at key moments when people -- when legislators in their own party confronted presidents from their own side, whether Iran/contra, whether it's a Fulbright hearings, whether its Watergate, it starts off with a president who is somewhere around here in their own party.

To some extent Republicans on the Hill are kind of holding themselves behind a kind of false flag here. If they're waiting for a widespread defection from their own -- for their own party's voters their president, they're going to wait a long time. There's only one Republican president ever in the history of Gallup polling fell below 50 percent his own party and that is Nixon, at very, very end of Watergate. So, even at the beginning of Watergate, he was still in the 70s.


BROWNSTEIN: So that they have to decide whether this hold on their own voters. Yes, for people in the deep red districts, sure. There are a lot of Republicans, though, on Capitol Hill who cannot win solely by mobilizing Republicans and they have to look at the way independents are reacting to this President and to what is likely to be the strongest democratic argument in 2018, will be "do you feel the Republicans have provided enough of a check on a President that at best you are ambivalent about?"

WHITFIELD: Wow. At solely very powerful stuff you both have schooled us on so many levels here, because it is very profound part of histories in which we're in. All right, Ron Brownstein, Tim 1naftali, thank you so much.

NEFTALI: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, so this Thursday, O.J. Simpson could be granted parole. Up next, we'll discuss his chances of getting out of prison.


[15:36:15] WHITFIELD: Hello again, everyone. Thanks so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Syrians officials are trying to figure out what to do with the mothers, wives, and girlfriends of ISIS fighters. Were they willing supporters of the horrors, the terrorists inflicted, or innocent victims drawn in by false promises? It been rounded up as ISIS sympathizers but haven't been charged with anything in what is essentially a lawless area. Here's CNN's Nick Paton Walsh.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Don't kid yourself. They saw the videos, girls, mothers, some who married into ISIS, who knew what they were about, but still came. Now jailed in a refugee camp, stuck in limbo was ISIS collapses trying to go home. They want your pity and that you believe them when they say, it was all, all of it, a huge mistake.

They use women for sex?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. It's very disgusting.

WALSH: Three Indonesian sisters say they paid thousands of dollars to get here lured by the false promise of free health care and schools, but ended up living off selling their jewelry and paying thousands to get smuggled out. It just wasn't as pure caliphate as they expected.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They say they want to Jihad for sake of Allah, but what they think is, what they want is only what women, they want sex. Oh, it's -- disgusting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard that if they marry, a daughter we will get thousands of dollars.

WALSH: Single women arrivals like them kept in a commune while they look for husbands.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The men of the women inside the dorm it's very different, it's very far from Islam. Harsh men are gossiping, shout each other, backbiting and fighting between the women. And oh, I was very surprised when I see that.

WALSH: (Zida) explains the dorm is a bit like tinder.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): When the woman arrives in a dormitory she makes a sort of C.V. Puts down her age, her name, how her personality of like, what she looks for in a man and men also post their C.V.s.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Yes, it's dating. So you meet, you talk for 15, 20 minutes and then at the yes or no. If they both agree, then they get married. It's very quick.

WALSH: She says she came for charity work but her husband was killed the second time they tried to flee. She's as appalled by the Paris terror attacks as she was by the coalition bombing of Raqqa and just wants to go back to France.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I love life. I love to work. I love my jeans, I love my makeup. I love my parents. The only thing I want is to go back. I'm not far from the beach. I used to go to the beach every weekend, in a bikini.

WALSH (on camera): In a bikini?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Yes, in a bikini.

WALSH (voice-over): Mae (ph) is a Syrian English teacher, whose first husband was killed by a sniper in Holmes who says she was traveling to Turkey when she was waylaid in Raqqa where she met and married a Moroccan.

(on camera): Were you looking for a man when you went to -- at Raqqa? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

WALSH: So how come you found one? Just like you moved into a house, and, oh, my god, who's this guy next door?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think god sent him to me.

WALSH (voice-over): She says, ISIS Spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani (INAUDIBLE) and allowed him not to fight. He's now in jail. She is disapproving of less pure love stories.

(on camera): Did you hear other stories of women who came looking for a husband?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They look to the European men that they are here and ISIS they are strong men. You know, with guns and they can protect them. It's an idea, that's just like movies. And many of them want -- was very shocked, because when they got married from a man, you know, three, four days, one month, and they've divorced.

[15:40:05] I know a woman, she was married six times and after three days, she go to court and ask the judge to divorce her from him. And when the judge ask it "Why you want to divorce?" And that man say that she prevents him from making any, you know -- sexual, you know.

WALSH: I see.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And she says, I can't accept him, all the time thinking of my husband. And judge ask, so why you get married from him if you won't want him? And he says I will send you to the prison as well, you know, touch and she was crying, oh, no, no. It's the last time, I promise.

WALSH (voice over): The husband was once arrested for smoking by the religious police and because they won't talk to women, she had to literally enter a man's world to get him out of jail.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you know what? It was crazy idea. I just put my husband to call this, his shoes, and his, you know, that views and covered my eyes, put that black glasses, and both I lend a gown from my neighbor. I take it from him and I take my boy and let's go to the police part.

WALSH (on camera): Do you need a man voice now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, does it for.

WALSH: That's how men sound.

(voice-over): The stories decide their fate. Whether they stay in limbo or go home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that you don't believe me, you know? I speak a language more than a month.

WALSH: Yes. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't you see there's a trust in my eyes?

WALSH: Yes. Your husband, what if you never see him again?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want someone to kill me because I can't kill myself. Its suicide. And I can't commit suicide. Just kill me.

WALSH: Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Aynalisa (ph), Northern Syria.


WHITFIELD: And we'll be right back.


[15:46:23] WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

O.J. Simpson could soon be a free man. The former football start faces a Nevada Parole Board this Thursday. He was sentenced back in 2008 for trying to steal pieces of his own memorabilia at gunpoint as well as assault and kidnapping. If the board decides to release him Simpson could be out as early as October.

With me now to discuss CNN's Legal Analyst and Criminal Defense Attorney Joey Jackson. Joey, good to see you. So Simpson has now served nine years. He was sentenced to nine to 33 years. By all accounts, he's been a model prisoner according to many there. So, will there be a pretty good chance that he might be paroled out?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANAYLYST: Good afternoon Fredricka. I say, yes. I think if the parole board really acts in good faith and they consider what they need to consider which are few things, of course, the offense and what happened in the offense. They're look at that.

There will be a report that's prepared for them. A parole report concerning how he behaved and acted in prison, as you mentioned. He's been a model prisoner.

You know, and look at a risk assessment. Look at his age, and how he has comported himself, what he plans to do upon his release. Is he a risk for -- what we call recidivism, to go back to jail? So, I think if they act in good faith they'll spring him and he'll go free. There's no reason not to.

And I'll add this, Fredricka. You know, what he did was horrifically, you could say, stupid and arrogant, but to, you know, think that it warrants nine to 33 years in jail, there's a lot of people who feel, and I would not disagree with that, that this is somehow pay back for what he really did but was acquitted of and not the actual offense for which he's in jail.

So, I would have every expectation that come Thursday, the 20th of July, he will be a free man.

WHITFIELD: So his attorneys had made that same argument that you kind of articulated. So, if that were to come up in this parole hearing how would he or his representation likely handle that kind of question?

JACKSON: Well, you know, I don't anticipate that it will, because what happens is, that they will not, and they have said as much. Remember, there's a parole board that consists of seven members, and four of which will be preceding to the hearing. They need a majority vote of those four are granted parole he'll be granted parole. He is eligible, you mentioned in October, even they would, you know, say you're released as of July, meaning OK to go in October.

But I don't anticipate that issues concerning his acquittal as we're looking at the footage yesteryear, you remember the dream team and Johnny Kocochran. So that shouldn't come, this is about what he did, the offense here whether or not he's rehabilitated, the community would be safe and I should hasten to add, that he's a victim in this case. They were two, one is dead, has said he'll testify on his behalf.

In fact, initially, Fredricka, he said it only warrants one to three years, but the judge gave him nine to 33. And an interesting fact, do you know he was convicted 13 years to the day that he was actually acquitted of the supposedly killing of Mr. Goldman and Ms. Simpson.

WHITFIELD: Wow, that's interesting, yes kind of, you know, full circle on that. So, that one that you're talking about he was in support of him getting parole, he said he would be willing to testify. Would there are others called to testify, too?

JACKSON: Well, you know, the way the proceeding runs is, he is entitled, that is, Mr. Simpson, to make a statement on his behalf, not pursue but he has the right too. I would expect and anticipate that he would, the rules also would permit a family member to give a statement on his behalf.

[15:50:00] And the rules would permit a victim or the victim that we had just been discussing to give such statement. So that's what it's limited too and of course the Parole Board would have questions for him. And so that's how to be and after the testimony concludes and they've done their job, I would expect they would deliberate in private, it's off camera. And then they'll come back and release to the decision.

But if they do what they need to do, and again they act in good faith and I do have faith in the judicial system. Politics sometime get into the mix but I think that, you know, he served his time, and I think conventional wisdom is, that he'll be released come October 1st, based upon the parole hearing we'll hear Thursday of this week at 10:00 a.m.

WHITFIELD: All right, Joey Jackson, thank you so much. And of course CNN will have coverage of the Simpson hearing starting at 1:00 p.m. this Thursday.

All right, still ahead, as the President pushes a hard line agenda on issues like trade and climate change, a leadership at the state level is taking on a more global approach, how some Governors are breaking with tradition under this administration? Stay with us.


[15:55:15] WHITFIELD: Tonight CNN's Original Series history of comedy returns with one nation under comedy. It explores how racial humor has evolved over the decades.


ROBERT WEIDE, FILM MAKER: Up until the early '60s, comedy, especially stand up comedy was a very a segregated proposition and Dick Gregory changed all of that, simple out of neck.

DICK GREGORY, ACTIVIST COMEDIAN: I see any baseball player's troubles and that's great sport from our people. That is the only sport in the world where a Negro can shake a stick at a white man and not start a riot.

GREGORY: I realized that if I made people laugh, they would stop talking about me. So, that's what I set out to do.

W. KAMAU BELL, COMEDIAN: Dick Gregory is one of the first black comedians who really crossed over to the mainstream and did so in a way where he kept his integrity. There was not a sense that he became less culturally black or less committed to his race because he played white rooms.

GREGORY: And hearing what Bobby Kennedy said about eight weeks ago, he said, 30 years from this year Negro will become president. So, treat me right, I'll get and then raise taxes on him.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I wouldn't mind paying my income tax, if I knew it was going to a friendly country.

WEIDE: There's something about giving somebody a factor, a piece of information that may be a little confrontational that people maybe object to it. But if you can turn it into a punch line, they're much more open to it. And Gregory understood the power of comedy.


WHITFIELD: All right. Let's discuss all of this with Kliph Nesteroff, a comedy historian and author of the comedian, Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels and the History of American Comedy. Good to see you Kliph.


WHITFIELD: All right. So we watched that clip about Dick Gregory. How influential do you think he was in changing standup comedy and opening up or changing the way America discusses race?

NESTEROFF: Dick Gregory was and is one of the most influential comedians of all time. Not just in terms what have did on the standup stage, he did break the color barrier, a white comedian canceled at the last minute in Chicago at the Playboy Club. And Dick Gregory filled in, destroyed became the media sensation of 1960, '61, he was profiled in The Magazine, New York Times, Washington Post.

And because he did so well and kind of resonated with the serve rights era, it opened the door for not just younger black comedians, but older black comedians who never had a chance to play white rooms. People like Moms Mabley, (INAUBDIBLE), Timmie Rogers and later younger comedians like Godfrey Cambridge, Steve Jilliam (ph), Bill Cosby and people like that. So he was very, very influential on the nightclub stage, but he was also very, very influential in the streets during the civil rights movement.

He marched with the CORE, with SNCC, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. He was shot, he was spat at. He was arrested several times fighting for his cause.

Once he became a celebrity, he used the power of celebrity, to raise the profile of his activism and the civil struggle as a whole.

WHITFIELD: Yes, he made an impression in so many levels. So, the difference between, you know, a racial joke and racist joke, you know, can be a real challenge, you know, for any comedian. But Dick Gregory was able to guide post wasn't he, for people who would follow like Redd Foxx or Richard Pryor, who certainly would use race in their jokes, but in a way, comedy about race became healing too.

NESTEROFF: Yes. Well, it's all about intent. So what is the intent behind the joke, is the intent to make people understand, to raise awareness of the cause, to fight for what's right or is the intent to hurt people, put people down and be a racist. So, it's really about what the intent is with people like Richard Pryor, with people like Redd Foxx, with people like Dick Gregory, the jokes were about respect, they are bout integrity. The people they put down were people who were hostile and violent like the Ku Klux Klan.

So, it wasn't about ridiculing people because of their skin color or even amplifying your skin color, it was about fighting for equality and what was correct. So, in that context, that kind of material, those jokes are very effective, and they got the correct angle.

WHITFIELD: Right. And sometimes make that statement of I count.


WHITFIELD: Yes. Kliph Nestoroff, thank you so much for being with us. And again, the history of comedy airs tonight 10:00 Eastern and Pacific only on CNN.

Happening now, in the Newsroom, a new poll out today shows President Trump's approval rating takes a noticeable hit.


TAPPER: The Trump campaign, we learned this week paid $50,000 to Donald Trump Jr.'s lawyer. Is that an acknowledgment that the meeting with the Russian lawyer was official campaign business?

SEKULOW: So I'm not involved in the discussions with the lawyers on who paid what entity and I certainly don't represent Donald Trump Jr.