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Secret Service Refutes Claim By Trump Lawyer; GOP Health Bill Faces Political Headwinds; White House Kicks Off "Made In America" Week; American Researcher Convicted Of Spying In Iran; Venezuelans Cast Votes In Referendum. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired July 17, 2017 - 05:00   ET



DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: -- are you fired up?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm fired up. I'm Christine Romans made in America. It's Monday, July 17th. It is 5 a.m. in the east.

Let's begin with health care, a health scare for a key Republican senator. The latest obstacle for Republicans trying to pass a new health care bill. And there are new concerns John McCain's absence could be longer than first thought.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announcing he will postpone a vote because Senator McCain is recovering in Arizona after having a blood clot removed above his left eye.

McCain's absence could jeopardize efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare with two Republican senators now Rand Paul and Susan Collins already declaring their opposition. McConnell needs every other GOP vote, all 50 to pass this measure.

BRIGGS: Doctors described the surgery of Senator McCain is, quote, "minimally invasive," but CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta notes that McCain does have a history of invasive melanoma in and around that area.

McCain's doctors now waiting for pathology tests to see if more treatment is needed. The health bill facing big political challenges as well. More on that in a moment.

ROMANS: Meantime, new poll numbers that might rattle any other president but drawing a shrug from the current White House occupant. President Trump reaching a new low in approval ratings just 36 percent in the latest "Washington Post"/ABC News poll.

That is down six points from the same poll at his 100-day mark in April. President Trump responding with a tweet that accepts the numbers and casts doubts on the poll at the very same time.

BRIGGS: He says the ABC News/"Washington Post" poll even though almost 40 percent is not bad at this time was just about the most inaccurate poll around election time. Well, that has a few issues. First, it's actually the lowest approval rating at the six-month mark of any president in the last 70 years. So not exactly what you would call not bad. The second is the final estimate from the "Washington Post" poll was 43 percent for a Trump, 47 percent for Hillary who posted 48.5 percent on election night, well within the poll's margin of error.

ROMANS: Interesting. All right, also this morning, the Secret Service rejecting a claim by President Trump's lawyer that the agency would have prevented anything questionable from happening at that meeting last June between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer.

Secret Service says it had no responsibility to check out participants in the meeting because Don Jr. was not under its protection at that time, Candidate Trump was.

BRIGGS: Sekulow was also on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION" Sunday where he reiterated that the president was not aware of the meeting and not engaged in it. That assertion got a skeptical response from the top Democrat on the Senate Intel Committee, Mark Warner.

All this came after we learned yet another person attended that meeting, Russia American lobbyist, Rinat Akhmetshin. We've now learned eight people were at the meeting, a significant jump from the four we were told were originally there when Don Trump Jr. told Sean Hannity that's it. That's everything.

ROMANS: All right, plenty to get to this morning. Joining us here, CNN politics reporter, Eugene Scott. Good morning. Let's talk about this Sekulow/Secret Service issue yesterday because that was clearly the point of the administration.

The talking point was that this is not a good deal, Secret Service let these guys into Trump Tower, so that is it, that is the end of the story. Secret Service when pressed and asked for a comment said no, he was not under Secret Service protection. Was this a misfire from the administration or what do you make of that response from Sekulow?

EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: I think what we're seeing with the Trump attorneys at this point is that, unfortunately, they are getting information bit by bit and are having to be the face of the administration and are having their words put back in front of them and making it look as if they are perhaps being completely dishonest.

That could be what is happening. But what also could be what is happening is that they just don't have all of the information just like we didn't have it Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday.

And the reality is in that it's all not out right now completely, which is why we saw people in the Senate that they would like to investigate this to find out more.

BRIGGS: You know, Sekulow for as many interviews as he did, I guess, the one question I want to hear him asked is when did the president know about the e-mail, not the meeting, the e-mail from the Russians because that is what opened the door to collusion, that's what changed the game here.

But that was not asked. So anyway, let me ask you about the notion that Trump supporters say we don't care about Russia. We don't care about any of this. Why should they? Why is this an important issue?

SCOTT: Well, because what Russia is desiring to do, the influence that they would like to have in the United States and on a global stage should matter to Americans.

I think we've seen Republican lawmakers say that Putin's vision for what the world should be and what is normal in terms of how we respond to human rights issues, to media, to political opponents, to business and investment seem to be fundamentally different from what the United States says they value.

[05:05:06]And the reality is when you partner with certain people, you are adopting or at least affirming some of their world views. And there are some concerns that Trump is annoying that.

ROMANS: The president was tweeting angrily about this issue, but let's talk about health care.

BRIGGS: Sure. Americans do care about that indeed.

ROMANS: And all the polls show that they really do in fact -- one of the most recent polls showing that they prefer Obamacare. Who likes this new bill, this new Senate health care bill? I mean, because you look at the AARP doesn't like it, a couple insurance companies this weekend came out against --

BRIGGS: The two biggest insurance (inaudible) in the country.

ROMANS: You know, doctors don't like it. Nurses don't like it. Patient advocates don't like it. Who likes it?

SCOTT: Mitch McConnell likes it.

BRIGGS: That's not clear. He wants 50. Mike Pence likes it.

SCOTT: Yes. I think what is clear, though, is that they don't like Obamacare and the challenge is that more Americans like Obamacare. So I think what has been really interesting and the optics and the timing of this vote being delayed because of a senator's health care.

And being able to have health care to deal with some of his health issues I think just highlights how many millions of people that opponents say would not be in the same situation or have the same opportunity that John McCain is finding himself having if Obamacare is gotten rid of. So I think all of that is very fascinating.

ROMANS: And we do wish Senator McCain a quick recovery. He's a workhorse in the Senate and I hope he's resting comfortably. If you're watching, good morning, sir.

BRIGGS: But as for on this bill, Republicans knew that they would get opposition from Democrats. That is not the issue right now. The prime issue is coming from within the House, from within their own party. So listen to this characterization of the Medicaid cuts or slow of the growth rate from the Vice President Mike Pence and Republican Senator Susan Collins. Very different takes.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATE: 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 about puts this vital American program on a path to long term sustainability.

SENATOR SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: This bill would make sweeping and deep cuts in the Medicaid program, which has been a safety net program on the books for more than 50 years. Ensuring that some of our most vulnerable citizens, our disabled children and our low income seniors can receive the health care that they need.


BRIGGS: OK, so the vice president says it strengthens and secures Medicaid. Susan Collins sweeping deep cuts to Medicaid. How big an issue is that for Republicans?

SCOTT: It's a massive issue when you consider some of the demographics that are going to be affected by any significant cuts to this bill. I mean, we're talking about elderly people, people in rural communities, obviously talking about children.

Pence got quite a bit of push back for saying that this would have no impact on Medicaid or at least the cuts and we've had reports ranging from 14 million to 15 million to as many as 22 million.

ROMANS: Well, then they try to deemphasize CBO and actually delegitimize CBO numbers at the same time turning around and using them when they support their own point. So that becomes a bit of a problem.

I kept hearing and I've heard so many people who are the architects of this talk about innovation, that it will spark innovation. If you put these block grants or you change the funding to the states, it will park innovation. The governors don't think it's going spark, saying, we'll get less money and then suddenly innovate?

BRIGGS: Republican governors almost standing in opposition.

ROMANS: Let's talk about this refocused agenda this week. This is made in America week, which some would call it do as I say not as I do week from the family of Donald Trump and his business empire because his ties are made overseas.

Ivanka Trump even right now her products as she has distanced herself from her company as she is working for the president, but the Ivanka Trump label is made overseas and even in China, there were some labor rights advocates who were detained in China for trying to see how those things are made. SCOTT: Yes, I think what this does is going to bring attention to just how inconsistent Trump's message has been in just one more area, right? And so now he is going to find himself fighting Russia this week and health care and his jobs approach in terms of who his companies hire and what they make, where they make it, and who is affected by it.

I think what is really interesting about all of this though is this concern with the Trump family and how they handle their products isn't a new one. We were talking about this in June 2016 and so why he hasn't made significant changes is just isn't clear.

BRIGGS: If you're a late night comedian, the material is easy. You just have a big table of Trump and Ivanka Trump goods to open your show tonight. Won't be surprised if that happens. Eugene Scott, thank you.

[05:10:09]ROMANS: Made in America. Well, many of the Trump products are not made in America. American factories right now are still humming and that is because of market forces here. Not really any specific policy, but growing economy and what is happening in the currency markets.

The U.S. dollar hit a 13-year high right after the election and then has fallen since then as excitement for Trump's economic agenda cools. The dollar down about 6 percent this year.

Meanwhile, global demands is rising so a weaker dollar makes U.S. goods more attractive too foreign buyers. Now the Trump administration has not introduced many polices that would boost U.S. exports yet, but that could change as it makes decisions on a number of important trade items including a tariff on steel, specifically Chinese steel.

American companies accuse Chinese steel companies of boxing out U.S. competition and killing jobs. Experts expect the administration to announce tariffs any day now. We know that Wilbur Ross, the Commerce secretary and his Commerce Department have been reviewing the situation for weeks now.

Chinese and U.S. officials are set to meet this week. The two will discuss monetary and economic issues, including trade.

BRIGGS: All right, an American is sentenced to prison in Iran. Why Tehran says this man being jailed and what the State Department is now saying next.



BRIGGS: American researcher convicted of spying and now sentenced to ten years in prison in Iran. Princeton University identifying the man as History grad student, Xiyue (ph) Wang. The university saying he was arrested in Iran last summer while doing research in connection with his PhD dissertation. The semi-official farce news agency saying Wang was accused of gathering information and the ruling can be appealed. Iran has a history of arresting foreign nationals and holding closed door trials. State Department says it's aware of Wang's case but would not go into specifics.

ROMANS: A big symbolic rejection of President Nicholas Maduro by voters in Venezuela, 98 percent of the more than 7 million people who casted their ballots sided with the opposition on President Nicholas Maduro's plans to form a constitutional assembly without a vote by the people.

Now the vote was organized by the opposition. It has no binding result, but was aimed at weakening Mr. Maduro's legitimacy just days before his assembly that's expected to convene. Opponents see the Maduro assembly as a power grab as Maduro grapples of growing unpopularity.

BRIGGS: South Korea making a rare proposal for military talks with North Korea. The move coming after weeks of heightened tensions amid a series of North Korean missile tests. The most recent, a successful intercontinental ballistic missile launch. South Korea's Defense Ministry proposing talks Friday on the North Korean side of the demilitarized zone. The North has yet to respond.

ROMANS: One person still missing after a family was swept away by flash flooding at a swimming hole in Central Arizona. Police say nine people died when the floodwaters swept 14 members of that family downstream. Among the dead are six children between the ages of 2 and 13. A 27-year-old man is also missing. All were near the cold springs swimming hole Saturday when heavy rains triggered those flash floods.

BRIGGS: Academy award winning actor, Martin Landau has died. His publicist confirming Landau suffered unexpected complications following a short hospitalization at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Landau probably best known for his Oscar winning role as Bell Lagosi (ph) in Ed Wood and for playing a master of disguise in the original 1960s "Mission Impossible" TV series. Landau was 89.

ROMANS: BBC has revealed the 13th Dr. Who and for the first time a woman is taking over the iconic role. Actress Jody Whitaker is best known for the British crime drama, "Broad Church" will take over the role as the time lord next season. Before that, be she's expected to appear in the Dr. Who Christmas special.

BRIGGS: There was actually a lot of pushback from that online. I think it's long overdue.

All right, another record win for Roger Federer. The ageless wonder with his eighth Wimbledon title, 19th slam. Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report" next.


[05:22:52] BRIGGS: All right, no question about it, after this latest Wimbledon, Roger Federer is the greatest of all time. Another record setting run for Roger at Wimbledon.

ROMANS: Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report." He has cute kids, too. Love the twins.

BRIGGS: The kids stole the show, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they did. We'll show those twins for you. Good morning to you, Christine and Dave. Roger Federer will be 36 in a couple weeks and that is like antique in athlete years, but he is still at the top of his game.

He beat Marin Cilic yesterday to capture his record eighth Wimbledon title. One of the most compelling aspects of Federer's historic win is that we learned that arguably the greatest men's tennis player of all-time is in fact human. He has doubts and insecurities just like all of us. He wasn't sure that he would ever win at Wimbledon again. He told CNN why that someplace so special to him.


ROGER FEDERER, 2017 WIMBLEDON CHAMPION: This club means so much to me. That is probably why I started to play the game is because of my heroes all playing and winning here. I wanted to be like them, but I didn't think it was actually possible until I actually played here for the first time. So it's good to chase a dream I guess sometimes.


WIRE: Federer says he would give up chasing his dreams. He retire if his family couldn't join him on tour. His wife and two sets of twins stole the show. It had been five years since Federer had won a grand slam title, but perhaps it was worth the wait now that his kids will now likely remember being there when dad made history at Wimbledon.

Boston's Jackie Bradley Jr. making his case for best catch of the year in the series with the Yankees included three games in two days for a total of 32 innings in over 31 hours of play, leaping and reaching over the wall to rob the league's homerun leader, Aaron Judge, helping to hand the Yankees their first shut out of the season.

The Sox won two of their three games in the series to maintain their three and a half game first place lead over New York in the American league east. But some controversy on Saturday's 16th inning marathon meaning there is a slim chance these two teams could go back for more.

[05:25:00]Boston reportedly protesting their loss as Yankee's Matt Holliday inexplicably running back to first base and interfering with the Red Sox throw when he was being forced into a double play at second. There have only been 15 successful protests in Major League Baseball, 114-year history, but not likely that they will indeed play again.

Sung Hyun Park won the premiere tournament in women's golf yesterday, the U.S. Women's Open not only was her first ever win at a major for the 23-year-old from South Korea, it was her very first LPGA tour victory.

Not only that the victory at Trump National Golf Club happened in front of the man after whom the course is named. Park respected President Trump with a bow towards his suite as she walked to the clubhouse.

There were some protesters in the area to demonstrate against the president, but Mr. Trump, the first sitting president to make an appearance at the opening even took time to send out Sung a nice congratulatory tweet after her big first win.

ROMANS: All right, now I know he's back in Washington but had a nice weekend.

BRIGGS: He did indeed. And Bryson Deshambo's big win at the (inaudible), as well, his first win. That was very exciting on Sunday as well. Hope you watched that, Coy. That was some good golf.

WIRE: I missed that one, Dave. I'll go back and check it out.

ROMANS: All right, new polling shows the president with a record low approval, now with another health care delay, and the Russia investigation providing more setbacks for this White House.