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GOP Health Care Bill Dead; Minneapolis Family Wants Answers After Fatal Police Shooting; Lonzo Ball Named Summer League MVP. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired July 18, 2017 - 05:00   ET



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We do have to repeal Obamacare, and we will end up replacing it with something that is going to be outstanding, far, far better.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: A Republican health care bill that was on life support died overnight. Repeal and replace, now repeal and delay. The Senate majority leader forced to change course after two more senators refused to back the Senate bill and a big blow to the president's agenda. Major developments on health care and Russia as well.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START, everyone. I'm Dave Briggs.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A lot to get to this morning. I'm Christine Romans. It is Tuesday, July 18th. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East.

[05:00:02] And, first, a devastating blow to President Trump's top legislative priority as Mitch McConnell concedes defeat on the Senate health care bill in its current form. The Senate majority leader had essentially no choice after two more Republicans defected, leaving that bill without enough support even to begin debate.

BRIGGS: Late last night, McConnell explained in a statement: Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful.

McConnell now making a major pivot, announcing he will push for a new version that will repeal Obamacare outright with a two-year phase-out, so there's time to come up with a replacement system. McConnell notes that a majority of senators already backed a House repeal bill when it came up in 2015.

ROMANS: McConnell's statement came just moments after the president posted a tweet along the same lines: Republicans should just repeal failing Obamacare now and work on a new health care plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in.

Not sure about that.

Fallout from the defection of the two senators came quickly. Ryan Nobles has more from Capitol Hill.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPODENT: Dave and Christine, good morning. This is essentially the worst-case scenario for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Two more Republican senators, Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas, have announced they will not support the latest version of health care reform. It effectively means this bill is dead.

This is what Senator Lee said in his statement last night. Quote, After conferring with trusted experts regarding the latest version of the Consumer Freedom Amendment, I've decided I cannot support the current version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act. In addition to not repealing all of the Obamacare taxes, it doesn't go far enough in lowering premiums for middle-class families, nor does it create enough free space from the most costly Obamacare regulations.

And Jerry Moran went further. He said that the Senate needs to start fresh and open up the legislative process. He also said that he would not put his stamp of approval on bad policy.

Now, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was already in a difficult position. He needed to hold on to all 50 votes. They had hoped that as early as today they'd be voting on the motion to proceed to bring the bill to the floor, and it looks as though, at least for now, the Senate version of health care reform has been put on indefinite hold -- Dave and Christine.


BRIGGS: Thank you, Ryan.

ROMANS: Indefinite hold.

BRIGG: Yes, it is a long way to go.

Here joining us to break this all down, David Drucker, senior congressional correspondent for "The Washington Examiner".

Good morning to you, sir.

ROMANS: Good morning.


BRIGGS: Much to discuss about the politics of this, but what does this mean for the American people for health care in the United States in the short term?

DRUCKER: Well, in the short term, they are stuck with Obamacare or maybe they are happy that they still have Obamacare. And it still has a lot of problems that need to be fixed and nobody has a viable political solution for fixing them as of yet.

BRIGGS: So, now, the next thing they have to decide, whether they were going to just repeal this thing outright, which seems unlikely.

DRUCKER: They don't have the votes.

ROMANS: They don't have the votes. Or they have to decide whether to let Obamacare wither on the vine, or they have to fix it. And there is not a plan for any of those things.

DRUCKER: Right. Well, there are plans, there's nothing that they have agreed upon that can get the vote in the Senate. The House obviously passed its version of a partial repeal of Obamacare, which I think what is fascinating is that Republicans cannot agree on how to partially, not fully, but partially repeal Obamacare mainly because disagreements over the Medicaid program and particularly the expansion of Medicaid that was created under the affordable care act.

And so, I think what Mitch McConnell is trying to do by bringing up full repeal and then, hey, let's go fix this thing is to show that there aren't the votes for that, but to also tell his members look, health care has a lot of problems, so if you don't want to do the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which is the name of the Senate bill, what do you want to do? Because they still have to fix health care one way or the other. They're on the hook for it.

BRIGGS: Right.

DRUCKER: And I think that's -- you know, there is that pressure there that I don't think people are fully aware of. The bill may be unpopular, but they don't have the luxury like Democrats may have had eight years to just say, hey, look, let's leave it alone, let's tinker, let's go think about it, let's go spend some time, you know, writing a bill and we'll debate it over the next three, four years. They have to fix it.

ROMANS: I've been watching global markets move. The dollar declining on this because there is this idea in global markets that maybe this president is not going to be able get his entire legislative agenda through. Should we read too much into what happened here about what it means for tax reform?


ROMANS: What it means for infrastructure? It matters, doesn't it?

DRUCKER: Yes, it matters a lot. I mean, if they can't get health care reform done, I think it puts tax reform in serious jeopardy. There are parts of the health care repeal bill that played into the whole local tax structure. But there's also just this idea about whether or not they can do things that require heavy lifting.

Tax reform is going to be very, very difficult. There are a lot of tough votes to take with tax reform about which loopholes or carve- outs or break or whatever that you get rid of.

[05:05:01] There is also, Christine, I think this is a really interesting part of the Senate health care debate, there were some are Republican senators that were uncomfortable with repealing the Obamacare taxes, right, taxes that had never existed before except until Obamacare was created, in order to fund Obamacare.

ROMANS: Taxing on the wealthy basically.

BRIGGS: A 3.8 percent on the investment income primarily.


DRUCKER: Yes, not just, yes, but also people that are like upper middle class that if they stopped working, all their money would go around because they are not independently rich. And so, Republicans felt uncomfortable though because of that sort of charge that the Democrats level that may, you want to repeal taxes for the rich, so they said fine, let's get rid of taxes for the rich and we'll leave it in Obamacare.

Well, the Republican tax reform plan is about a broad scale lowering of the tax rates. Now, it's also about getting rid of a bunch of different carve-outs and special breaks or whatever. But I mean, if they can't agree and feel confident in repealing, in cutting taxes in Obamacare, I don't see how they're going to be able to do it in tax reform.

BRIGGS: Well, and you had four noes on this bill. You could have eight by the end of the day for those who want to come out now and just say, well, I wasn't for it either when you talk about Murkowski, Heller, Capito, Portman, some who haven't even weighed in.

But the president did weigh in, of course, on his favorite form, 140 characters on Twitter and his tweet was simple. Republicans should repeal failing Obamacare now and work on health care plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in. You say that's not going to happen.

So, here is John McCain from the hospital while recovering from surgery, he still is sparky.

DRUCKER: He's back at it.

BRIGGS: Yes, he is. The maverick is back.

He says, we must not repeat the original mistakes that led to Obamacare's failure. The Congress must now return to regular old, hold hearings, receive input from members of both parties. He goes on.

Yes, this is probably the way it should have been done in the very beginning, but what is the likelihood of getting a bipartisan agreement on how we move forward on health care?

DRUCKER: Slim and none, because in part Democrats want repeal taken off the table or they're not going to participate. Now, that's their prerogative. They believe in Obamacare. They cost them about 1,000 seats over the Obama term to pass health care reform and defend it and implement it.

And so, and they believe in the policy. But if they're not willing to participate in repealing the Affordable Care Act in some fashion, I don't know how on the other hand you get Republicans to, you know, politically on their end of it say, wait a minute, we've been promising some form of repeal for seven years and now, oh, well, never mind, thanks for giving us full control of government, we're just going to strengthen Obamacare.

I mean, if there is one way to ensure that the base and the broader Republican electorate doesn't show up in 2018 and says, I don't know what the point is of giving you control of government so sure, we're going to show up and make sure that you keep it, this is how you do it by abandoning Obamacare repeal. And that's the other part of this that the people don't appreciate I think.

There is a lot of political pressure from the right. They want a good bill, but they want a bill. They want that promise fulfilled. And if you say, look, we didn't have the votes, people don't like this bill. They're going to say, well, fix it, find another bill. This is what we hired you for.

BRIGGS: Go back to work.

ROMANS: Yesterday at the Made in America event, I want to play what the president has said, because the president, this is before the collapse of this Obamacare repeal, but the president has a very different view about how successful he has been in his agenda. Listen.


TRUMP: We've signed more bills and I'm talking about through the legislature than any president ever. For a while Harry Truman had us. And now I think we have everybody. I better say think otherwise they will give you Pinocchio. I don't like Pinocchios.


ROMANS: He knows he's being fact checked and even as he's saying this, he knows he might be wrong and he's wrong. The bills signed in the first six months, Jimmy Carter signed 70, George H.W. Bush, 55, Bill Clinton, 50, Donald Trump 42, and that is more than Barack Obama 39.

But you hear him -- he has a much bigger idea of what he's accomplished than is reality.

DRUCKER: As Mike Pence might say, it's broad shoulder embellishment. And it's unnecessary. You know, the president could just simply the case for what he's done so far, granted some of the big ticket items aren't done.

But he's repealed a lot of the Obama era regulations through the Congressional Review Act. That is actually something that has been on the books to be able to be used for about 20 years or so. No president has ever used it.

ROMANS: But he doesn't say -- DRUCKER: Right, but he doesn't do it.

There are things he could talk about that are accomplishments. And if he did that rather than try and blow himself up into the most grand president that we've ever elected, then we'd all be talking about the things that he said as opposed to picking apart the things that he said that don't add up.

BRIGGS: All right. Speaking of things that don't add up, in about 20 minutes, we'll ask you about Sean Spicer's latest explanation of the Donald Trump Jr. Russia meeting.

[05:10:01] ROMANS: And that "Wall Street Journal" editorial, that scathing "Journal" editorial, the Trumps and the truth.

All right. Thanks, David Drucker.

The president has long criticized America's trade deal. Now, the White House has finally released its roadmap for remaking NAFTA. The administration published a list of goals for the upcoming renegotiation. The main points, well, reducing the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico and Canada, reinforcing rules that favor American made products, and preserving the ability of the U.S. to enforce its trade laws that include certain type of tariffs. Right now, products from Mexico, Canada and the U.S. cross borders tax free.

And in a surprising twist, some parts of this document echo the TPP. That's the free trade deal the president dumped in January. It includes better environmental laws, higher labor standards. The administration hopes that will make Mexican workers more expensive and less attractive to U.S. firms. The plan drew criticism from both sides of the aisle, and no date has been announced for NAFTA talks.

Some Democrats calling it too vague.


ROMANS: All right. A man left searching for answers after police shot and kill his fiancee in Minnesota.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our hearts are broken, and we are utterly devastated by the loss of Justine.


ROMANS: Authorities, so far, slow to provide information. We're going to have a report for you from Minneapolis next.


[05:15:26] BRIGGS: A Minneapolis police officer involved in the shooting death of a woman who called 911 for help is now coming forward and offering his condolences to her family. That officer identified through his attorney as Mohamed Noor. Meantime, stunned family and friends of Justine Ruszczyk making desperate pleas for information about the last moments of her life.

CNN's Ryan Young has the latest from Minneapolis.


RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Dave, a lot of people asking questions about exactly what happened. Of course, this shooting has really terrified a lot of people. You see signs like this one, why did you shoot and kill our neighbor and friend?

We do know that phone call was made by Justine. She called 911 because she believed back in this alleyway that she thought she saw a sexual assault going on. When she called 911, two officers arrived. They did not activate their body camera. They did not have their car dashcam rolling. We do know at some point a shot was fired, she was hit and died and it's really tearing apart her family.

DON DAMON, VICTIM'S FIANCE: Piecing together Justine's last moments before the homicide would be a small comfort as we grieve this tragedy. The death of Justine is a loss to everyone who knew her. She touched so many people with her loving and generous heart.

YOUNG: There was a statement released by the officer's attorney, says that the Officer Mohamed Noor extends his condolences to the family and anyone else who has been touched by this event. He takes their loss seriously and keeps them in their daily thoughts and prayers.

We've also learned from the medical examiner's office that she was shot once in the abdomen, and that was a fatal shot where she died just out here. Again, most of the community members out here want to know exactly what happened. They're waiting to hear from police to get those extra details -- Dave and Christine.


ROMANS: All right, Ryan, thank you for that.

Police in suburban Cincinnati have uncovered a strange mystery in their investigation of a deadly shooting this month at a gender reveal party. Authorities say the host of the party, Cheyanne Willis, was not pregnant. Investigators cannot explain why the party was organized under false pretenses, but they say the lie is hampering their investigation of the shooting. One woman was killed. Eight people were hurt, were shot at this party. The police chief says the false leads they have been provided are, quote, uncommon from victims of crime wanting a solution.

BRIGGS: All right. We'll talk some sports ahead. Lonzo Ball giving the Lakers and his father no doubt something to brag about in the summer league. Boy, he's been fantastic.

Coy Wire with more in this morning's "Bleacher Report", next.


[05:22:30] BRIGGS: Let's talk some sports. Lonzo Ball's NBA career off to an MVP start.

ROMANS: Coy Wire has more on this morning's "Bleacher Report".

Hey, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine and Dave.

Could the Lakers who have not had a record better than fourth worst in the NBA in each of the last four years make to the playoffs all because of a 19-year-old kid named Lonzo Ball? The number two overall pick in this year's draft has had a lot of hype to live up to, even before his outspoken and brazen father LaVar Ball told the world that his son would take the Lakers to the playoffs in his first year.

So far, he's living up to the hype, averaging over 16 points per game and nearly 10 assists per game. He earned summer league MVP and led the Lakers to become summer league champs despite he didn't play in the final due to tightness in his calf, and missed another game and a half as well. Now, the Lakers beat the Trailblazers in Vegas 110-98.

Fans of one of the most storied franchises in the sports may finally have something to get excited about.

The House Rockets could draw the highest price ever paid for an American sports franchise. The Rockets CEO announced yesterday the team is up for sale. And Leslie Alexander bought the franchise, listen to this, 24 years ago for $85 million. "Forbes" recently valued the franchise at $1.6 billion. But some estimates put the estimated sale at more than $2 billion.

The Astros laid a teammate's glove to rest at a mock funeral. Three times Golden Glove winner Carlos Beltran hasn't needed a glove in more than two months, being used only (INAUDIBLE), so before the game, the players made the glove rest in peace. And then the 40-year-old Beltran said peace to the baseball as in bye-bye. He hit a two run home run once the game got started. Astros still own the best record in the American League, but lost to the Mariners in this one, 9-7.

Finally, we take you to England for the excitement of this year's world snail racing championship.

More than 150 snails took part in the tradition that has been happening since the '60s including team you slime bolt. In the end, it was Larry covering the 13 inch course in a blistering 2:47. Taking home the prize silver tank, that's Tara Beasley, the 41-year-old, it's stuffed with lettuce leaves.

And, guys, moral of this story, slow and steady wins the race.

[05:25:02] ROMANS: Sure does.

BRIGGS: And slimy. Slow and steady and slimy.

ROMANS: Love it, Coy. Thank you.

BRIGGS: Good stuff, Coy. Thank you. WIRE: You're welcome.

ROMANS: All right. There is a new plan on health care this morning -- repeal now, replace later. Major shift from Mitch McConnell after learning the current Senate bill would not have enough Republican support to pass.





TRUMP: Mitch has to pull it off. He's working very hard. He's got to pull it off.


BRIGGS: Mitch did not pull it off. He's being forced to abandon repeal and replace of Obamacare after he could not get enough Republican support to repeal and delay might be the new plan. But can that pass chamber? Many questions ahead.

ROMANS: Oh, boy. Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. It is 29 minutes after the hour, and as the devastating blow to President Trump's top legislative priority this morning is Mitch McConnell. The Senate Majority Leader concedes defeat on a Senate health care bill in its current form.