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Poll: 65 Percent Say Trump's Use Of Twitter Is "Insulting"; Sen. McCain Recovering From Blood Clot Surgery; Pulse Of The People. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired July 17, 2017 - 07:30   ET



[07:33:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump's approval rating at a record low for a leader six months into his administration.The Russia investigation making new twists and turns.

And we just heard from someone who worked inside the Trump campaign. They just testified before the House Intelligence Committee. Let's talk about it all.

Joining us now, CNN political commentator Michael Smerconish. Michael, thanks so much for being with us.

You know, Alisyn here, my colleague, just had a fascinating discussion with Michael Caputo, who was working inside the Trump campaign when that meeting between Don, Jr. and the number of Russians took place.

And he said, you know what -- you know, Don, Jr. -- you know, he didn't know any better. You know, he admits now he made a mistake but he didn't know that there was anything sketchy going on there and he appreciates his transparency now.

Is that a fair assessment of that meeting from more than a year ago?

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN HOST, "SMERCONISH", HOST,"THE MICHAEL SMERCONISH PROGRAM": No. What I found significant about that line of questioning and I'm so glad you're giving me the chance to say this is that the response that he offered relative to Paul Manafort's participation was to say well, Paul was then receiving 500 e-mails a day.

And I was sitting here watching it and I was saying to myself, all the more reason why if it were really about adoption it didn't warrant his attention. It didn't warrant his time.

It always struck me as not passing the smell test. That you would have the triumvirate of Trump, Jr., Manafort, and Kushner all there if it really were to talk about adoption because they've got bigger fish to fry.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: No. But, Michael, let's remember they -- what they were offered was dirt, OK, so they thought they were going to get dirt on Hillary Clinton.

The adoption thing only came up when Don, Jr. tried to, in public, justify what that meeting was about. That was a --

SMERCONISH: Oh, Alisyn, Alisyn, I have the e-mails. I have -- I have the e-mails right here. I know exactly of what you're speaking.

They were offered high-level and sensitive information that would incriminate Hillary and that came with the support of the Russian government. I'm just trying to say that there was -- there was no credibility to the defense that was initially offered.

[07:35:10] BERMAN: Right.

SMERCONISH: Paul Manafort was there because they were promised dirt, not because they were there to talk about adoption.

BERMAN: Yes. If he's getting 500 e-mails a day why does he show up to this meeting unless he thinks it's a --


CAMEROTA: It's because he thinks it's juicy.

BERMAN: Exactly.

CAMEROTA: He does -- he does think it's juicy.

BERMAN: Exactly, which, you know --

CAMEROTA: But, Michael, one more thing because this keeps coming up in the voter panels that I do.

I keep hearing just what Michael Caputo just said, which is you know what, the U.S. meddles all the time in other country's elections, too. There's no difference between what Russia tried to do and what the U.S. does.

What's your thinking on that?

SMERCONISH: I happen to have had a guest on my program on Saturday, an academic named Dov Levin. He's from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh who has documented that on 61 occasions in 80 different nations. From the -- from the post-World War II era through 2000 we have been involved, not in computer hacking but in trying to determine the outcome of elections.

Now, is there a moral equivalence between us supportive of a pro- democracy force when the opposition was Communism? I mean, that's subject to debate.

BERMAN: Right.

SMERCONISH: But I think it's a fair point that we don't entirely have clean hands.

BERMAN: Yes, but it also doesn't mean you want to invite other countries into your election, you know. This is not a one-sided thing. SMERCONISH: Of course not.

BERMAN: So Michael, a new poll out --

SMERCONISH: Of course not.

BERMAN: A new poll out just moments ago from "ABC NEWS." It's got the numbers that I think you will find particularly interesting.

Sixty-seven percent of those polled in the "ABC NEWS" poll -- that's not what number we're showing there. There we go.

Sixty-seven percent say they disapprove of the president's use of Twitter. Sixty-five percent of those polled when asked to associate it with a certain word believed -- well, 68 percent say inappropriate. Sixty-five percent say it's insulting. Fifty-two percent say it's dangerous.

So the people in this "ABC NEWS" poll, they don't like what the president is doing with social media, Michael.

SMERCONISH: OK. So, John, I might be in the majority of each of those three statistics, but the fact is if you look at that Washington Post/ABC survey it's effective.

He's successful.If you want to know why, the base is hanging with him. The base is not budging. Independents are but the base is hardcore. It's because they are being fed on those Twitter lines.

So a majority of Americans might find them offensive, might find them unpresidential, might wish that he should stop. But so long as he continues to reach the now-36 percent who are supporting him, that's his lifeline to them.

And, by the way, every time he bashes fake news, the mainstream media, CNN, et cetera, et cetera, that's what those folks want to hear, as distressing as that might be.

CAMEROTA: Well, Michael, stick around because coming up I have another one of the Trump voter panels and they say exactly -- they echo exactly what you just said. They love his Twitter feed and they will explain why they have such a passion for it.

Michael, thank you very much. Great to get your take on this.

SMERCONISH: See you, guys.

CAMEROTA: OK. So the fate of health care in Washington now rests on the health of veteran Sen. John McCain. He's recovering from surgery this morning.

What is his condition? What can we expect for his recovery? Dr. Sanjay Gupta tells us, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [07:41:47] CAMEROTA: So, the Republican push to repeal and replace Obamacare is on hold as Sen. John McCain, who had expressed reservations about the bill -- well, he's recovering from surgery to remove a blood clot above his eye.

BERMAN: The senator's office says doctors ordered him to stay home for a week, but could his condition be more serious than we know?

CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us now.

And, you know -- and, Sanjay, you know, how serious is this? It's an eyebrow incision. It sounds small but is that the case?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think it really was sounding small the way that it was described initially -- an eyebrow incision to take out a blood clot.

What the hospital released on Friday, to give a little bit more definition to what happened here, it was an eyebrow incision which typically is done to try and hide the scar.

But after that, it was the -- the skin was opened and actually the bone underneath there -- you could feel the bone right underneath your eyebrow -- was also opened. That's called a craniotomy and that's to, basically, gain access to the brain.

Let me just show you quickly. I have a model.

This is a model of a skull. It was over the left there, so it was in this area. And again, this bone was removed to basically get access to the brain.

And you can see this is the frontal lobe of the brain. It would be in this area right around here that they would actually be able to gain access.

It's a significant operation. Any time you're basically opening the bone to gain access to the brain it's a significant operation. It requires general anesthesia.

There's obviously an abnormality there that was concerning enough for him to go through this -- for the doctors to recommend that. So we don't know for sure -- I'm not sure the final results have come back yet but not an insignificant operation by any means.

CAMEROTA: Sanjay, how do you think they figured out that he had a blood clot behind his eye?

And I just want to remind people. Remember, there was that moment during the Comey hearing where Sen. McCain seemed to be sort of way off message and confused. Let's just remind people of this moment.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: That investigation was going on, this investigation was going on. You reached separate conclusions. JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: No, that one was done.

MCCAIN: You're going to have to help me out here. In other words, we're complete? The investigation of anything that former Sec. Clinton had to do with the campaign is over and we don't have to worry about it anymore?

COMEY: With respect to Secretary -- I'm a little confused, Senator.


CAMEROTA: OK. So do you -- is there some sort of connection that you, as a doctor, would draw between his condition and that moment?

GUPTA: It's tough to draw a cause and effect there.

When someone has a pressure on the frontal lobe of the brain there could be all sorts of things. Typically, people may have headache, sometimes they can develop some weakness on the other side. It can affect your judgments but that's just -- it's hard to say.

I will tell you that they say that the abnormality -- I'm going to call it an abnormality versus a blood clot because we still don't know for sure what this is. It was about five centimeters in size which, again, is pretty sizable if you sort of -- if you sort of think about the brain. And this is not, obviously, an exact replica but, you know, it's a -- it's a pretty significant size there of compression, if you will, on that part of the brain.

[07:45:00] What is concerning, I think a little bit, is that, you know, he has a pretty significant history of melanoma, including melanoma in his left temple -- this area right here -- that was invasive. That was back in 2000.

As a result of that you usually have frequent screenings to make sure -- look, is there any evidence of spread, is there any concern here. What the hospital said is that was found on a routine scan, so it didn't make it sound like he went in for a particular reason, but it was a planned routine scan for follow-up and most likely because of the melanoma.

BERMAN: But, Sanjay, they say one week. Does that sound like enough time to recover, to you?

GUPTA: It sounds a little short. I'll be honest, it's -- again, I would not minimize this operation. People can recover quickly. He's 80 years old. This is pretty big operation.

If it were one of my patients you'd say at least a couple of weeks typically before you'd have the person sort of, you know, back to their regular activities of daily living.

CAMEROTA: OK, Sanjay, thank you very much for explaining all of this.

Obviously, we're thinking of Sen. McCain and wishing him the best right now. So, President Trump's approval rating hits a record low in this new

poll. Are his supporters standing by his side?

We'll speak to one of our panel of Trump voters. They're from all over the country. They have a lot to say about him, next.


CAMEROTA: So we have some new polling to show you this morning. More than half of Americans in a Washington Post/ABC News poll say that Democrats only stand for being against President Trump.

[07:50:10] Thepresident, meanwhile, continues to spend his time slamming the Russia investigationand taking on his critics.

So we sat down with a group of Trump voters -- they are from Florida, Ohio, Iowa, and South Carolina -- to find out how they feel six months in.

They had a lot to tell us, particularly about the treatment they've gotten on social media and from friends since admitting they voted for Donald Trump. Listen to this.


CAMEROTA: How many of you were strong Donald Trump supporters on Election Day and still are? (Three hands raised). Three of you.

How many of you who voted for Donald Trump were supporters of his on Election Day and are now having second thoughts? (Two hands raised).

What's going on with you?

JACKIE, VOTED FOR DONALD TRUMP: Well, I voted for him and am now having second thoughts.

CAMEROTA: You are having second thoughts?

JACKIE: Yes, but I would never say I was a supporter of Donald Trump. I voted against Hillary, basically.

CAMEROTA: Has your feeling about Donald Trump changed since Election Day?

JACKIE: Yes, yes. I thought -- I had problems with his talk -- his rough talk. His, you know, grab them by the pussy, all this stuff. But I decided that's just talk and talk isn't actions.

But now I feel like his words actually have a lot of power and a lot of -- causes a lot of ripple effect with our relations with the rest of the world. And his words are actually kind of -- they become actions.

CAMEROTA: Gene, it's interesting that she's next to you. I can't help but see your t-shirt that you're wearing.


CAMEROTA: That's you hugging --

HUBER: Yes, yes.

CAMEROTA: -- Donald Trump. What's the story behind it?

HUBER: This was on February 18th at the Melbourne rally.

He literally called me up on the stage. I had to jump over the fence, break through Secret Service, and I ran up and I gave our president a man hug, and this is what it turned into. And I was able to speak in front of the millions of people and it was a wonderful day.

President Trump has changed my life and the promises that he's made, he's doing them.

CAMEROTA: Such as?

HUBER: Oh, you just think about -- let's think about as in with --

CAMEROTA: But what promises has he made to you that he's kept?

HUBER: Well, let's think about it. You know, I know right now --


HUBER: Exact, thank you for that. You know -- you know, the Paris agreement. You know, he got out of that.

He wants to repeal and replace Obamacare. That's in the works.

JOHN MONTGOMERY, VOTED FOR DONALD TRUMP: I had hoped that you would grow into the position. That, you know, he would surround himself with people that understood how politics work.

But he's own worst enemy and you know, sometimes just -- you know, you've got to have that 30-second filter. Just because you think it doesn't mean you have to say it or Tweet it.

HUBER: Now, in talking about the tweeting, I mean, our president told us he's the modern day president. There you go.

I mean, to me, I love his tweets. I think he can tweet every morning. I actually can't wait to wake up in the morning to see them.

CAMEROTA: What do you love about them?

HUBER: I mean, because he talks to us. He's talking to we the people.

CAMEROTA: Do you think he ever crosses the line?

HUBER: No, not at all. I don't think he does.

CAMEROTA: Kim, you are still a strong supporter of Donald Trump. What is it, specifically, that you like?

KIM EVANS, VOTED FOR DONALD TRUMP: Well, I'm a veteran. I was in the United States Navy for four years. And I feel that I do like that he's a businessman and not a politician.

CAMEROTA: But what has he done for the military that you --

EVANS: I am a part of the V.A. I now -- I can go in and just get whatever I need and walk right back out.

CAMEROTA: How has President Trump affected the wait times?

EVANS: Well, he's just cared about our military and our veterans, and he's went right in and said that he was going to make a change and it already shows to me, as a veteran.

CAMEROTA: Colleen, what do you think when you hear the die-hard Trump supporters who still believe in him?

COLLEEN ENGLAND BYRD, VOTED FOR DONALD TRUMP, STARTED TRUMP REVOTE FACEBOOK PAGE: I don't mean to be offensive or to disrespect anyone. I just think they're wearing rose-colored glasses.

CAMEROTA: What was it that flipped the switch for you?

BYRD: When he put the travel ban on the countries that he finds to be unsavory.

CAMEROTA: What didn't you like about his travel ban?

BYRD: Well, I saw it in person. I saw it on the T.V. -- all of the immigrants that were trying to get into the U.S. just standing there. And the look in their eyes was just like what's going on, where's my family, am I going to get in. And I just thought that's really cruel.

CAMEROTA: And you came to regret your vote?

BYRD: Yes, I did. In fact, I started a group on Facebook called "I Regret Voting for Trump."

CAMEROTA: What's been the response to that group?

BYRD: It's funny. I expected other people that were of my like mind who regretted voting for Trump to sign up and come along with me but I got Hillary voters, instead, who came on to congratulate me for changing my mind.


JACKIE: I received a lot of hatred from people that I loved and respected that are -- were Hillary supporters or -- Ididn't realize how much our relationship hinged on politics until admitting that I voted for Trump. I mean, I'm kind of callous to it now but it was --

[07:55:00] CAMEROTA: And what did they say to you?

JACKIE: Jackie, what's wrong with you? Are you OK? Are you -- are you crazy?

Are you, you know -- have you thought about this at all? Why would you do this? How could you do this to us?

DAVIS: Can we get back to hate about on the Internet?

CAMEROTA: Yes, quickly. Tell me what your experience was.

DAVIS: Well, I come from a community that touts that we are so inclusive, we are so embracive of what's different. All we ask for is tolerance and equality.


DAVIS: I make a living as a female impersonator in the state of Florida and I have hosted at all the major events from White Party for 20 years -- 19 years.

When I came out as a supporter of Trump I was blackballed instantly. They got online campaigns to have me thrown off the committee. I couldn't be the emcee anymore.

I got death threats. I have lawsuits pending against people now. Oh, it's horrible.

CAMEROTA: John, tell us your experience.

MONTGOMERY: Well, I'm on the fence because, you know, I think the presidency is an office of stature around the world.

When President Trump sent out the infamous wrestling GIF, I sent a tweet to him. I just said at some point, I'm starting to believe that I made a poor decision --


MONTGOMERY: -- or something along that line. And my phone starts blowing up with these just horrible responses and the responses were from liberal voters.

CAMEROTA: Why were liberals mad at you with the question --

MONTGOMERY: And that's -- but they say something like you're figuring this out now, blanketly blank. And we told you Hillary, blah, blah blah. And I understand their frustration because, quite frankly, they never thought they were going to lose.

My response back to them was I'm the voter that elected him, all right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're the swing voter.

MONTGOMERY: I'm the swing voter in a swing state that elected him.

If I'm having second thoughts you should be saying hey, great, could you tell other people? Here's why. No, it was like your parents should have aborted you at birth and just horrible things.

JACKIE: When we get into a discussion with anybody, if they're family or some stranger on social media, we need to remember first, we are all Americans first and this is a great country.

DAVIS: Absolutely.

JACKIE: I think we're all proud to be Americans. And so, just put that first in your mind and then try to see the other person's side and just see what you have in common more than --

EVANS: And agree to disagree.

JACKIE: Plus, not just a platitude. We see it happening. United we stand, divided we fall. If we treat each other so nasty we're going to fall.


CAMEROTA: I mean, just more examples of how overheated every -- the climate is right now and how people are punished, certainly on social media, for their political choices.

BERMAN: Look, it's not a useful discussion for either side. No one's going to get what they want if that's the tenor of the discussion and the pushback there.

It's interesting how this panel splits in a way that we're seeing in the new polling --


BERMAN: -- right now, right?

CAMEROTA: It reflects exactly the new polling out this morning.

BERMAN: The firm Trump supporters are sticking with him but some of those swing voters in swing counties now have started to have doubts. That could be hugely significant going forward.

CAMEROTA: All right. We're following a lot of news this morning, including that new polling, so let's get right to it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are very difficult poll numbers for the president, putting his approval rating at 36 percent.

JAY SEKULOW, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: Everybody looking backwards and saying would've, should've, could've, I don't think that's fair to Donald Trump, Jr.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If someone did something wrong hold them accountable. REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: This is about as clear evidence you could find of an intent to collude with the Russians.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator John McCain's health scare delaying the health care vote.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Trump and I believe the Senate health care bill strengthens and secures Medicaid.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: This bill would impose fundamental sweeping changes in the Medicaid program.

TOM PRICE, SECRETARY, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: I never underestimate Sen. McConnell's expertise in getting the votes.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Monday, July 17th, 8:00 in the East.

Chris is off this morning; John Berman joins me.

We have a busy hour ahead.

BERMAN: This is a great day for everything but the president's poll numbers.

CAMEROTA: There you go.

The president is lashing out after a new poll shows his approval rating hitting a record low. The ABC News/Washington Post poll finds just 36 percent of Americans approve of the job that he's doing, and that's the lowest six-month approval rating of any president in seven decades.

Mr. Trump unleashing a flurry of tweets defending his son's connection to the Russian meeting and, once again, attacking the media and Hillary Clinton.

BERMAN: This, as one of the president's biggest campaign promises to repeal and replace Obamacare has suffered a new setback. The Senate is delaying a vote on their latest version of the plan as Sen. John McCain recovers from blood clot surgery.

It's a big week ahead. We have it all covered for you.

Let's begin with CNN's Joe Johns live at the White House. Good morning, Joe.


President Trump trying to get a restart after those revelations regarding his son, Donald Trump, Jr., and his meeting with a Russian lawyer.

Also very clear, the president's poll numbers continue to be in the tank, apparently due to the Russia investigation as well as the stalled agenda on Capitol Hill.