Return to Transcripts main page
CNN Poll: Growing Number Say GOP Should Abandon Repeal Plan; Trump's Constantly Changing Health Care Position; O.J. Simpson to Go Before Parole Board Today. Aired 6:30-7a ET
Aired July 20, 2017 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[06:32:26] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Senate Republicans showing guarded optimism on health care as they meet late into the night, but as time wore on still no deal, no clear strategy. As for what Americans want, there's a new CNN poll, and it suggests a growing number want Republicans to move on from repeal and replace.
CNN political director David Chalian is live in Washington to break down the numbers.
That's fascinating, because are we sure that the base -- are we sure that Republicans also want them to move on from repeal and replace?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Certainly no, and -- we still have a majority of Americans that want to see some form of repeal if but combine repeal only or repeal and replace, but, Alisyn, this is significant. The president is not just in a race with Senate Republicans to get it done. He's in a race against public opinion.
Look at this: 35 percent of Americans in this survey now say to just completely abandon the repeal plans. That's up from 23 percent back in March. So, that segment of the population is going against the president.
Repeal only with replacement as part of the deal, 34 percent, so basically tied there with abandoning all together. And repeal and no replacement only, just repeal only is 18 percent. So, when you see that 34 and 18, you see the Republican Party divide there.
We also asked folks about whether or not this should be a bipartisan effort. And, you know, Americans do always say in polls they would like to see more bipartisanship. Take a look at this: 77 percent of Americans in this survey would like Republicans to work with Democrats on this, 12 percent say Republican only. By the way, among Republicans, only 25 percent of Republicans want to do this with Republicans only. So, even Republicans would like to see some bipartisanship.
And then just the optimism about whether or not it will get done. Take a look at this: 18 percent, only 18 percent say it is very likely that President Trump and the Republicans will repeal and replace. Look how that has climbed down since January. Overall, still 50 percent of Americans think likely or very likely, somewhat likely or very likely that this will get done. More Americans think it will get done than won't get done.
CAMEROTA: That's a very good snapshot of where we are and how the country is feeling right now.
David, thank you very much for that.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Especially since how little is known by lawmakers, let alone people in general, about what exactly happens next. The president is clear about one thing. He wants action. He says inaction is not a choice, and he's pressuring senators to move on this.
Take a little listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look, he wants to remain a senator, doesn't he, OK?
[06:35:03] And I think the people of your state which I know very well, I think they are going to appreciate what you hopefully will do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: He's talking about Senator Heller there who has been a tight race and has been very cagey about what to do about health care, and it raises a question: is the president, he's certainly separating himself from lawmakers. He keeps talking about they, they, they, their promise. What about his promise? What is the president going to do to make good on his pledge to Americans? Next.
CUOMO: Health care has proven to be a struggle for this president. The proof is in the lack of progress and the changes in his own position. Let's start with his tweet late Monday night after Senate Republicans failed to pass their bill.
Quote: Republicans should just repeal failing Obamacare now and work on a new health care plan that will start from a clean state. Dems will join in.
And then on Tuesday, he backed away from a repeal saying this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We'll just let Obamacare fail. We're not going to own it. I'm not going to own it. I can tell you, the Republicans are not going to own it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: OK. Then, listen to what he told senators at a lunch yesterday afternoon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have no choice. We have to repeal and replace Obamacare. We can repeal it, but the best is repeal and replace and let's get going.
[06:40:00] I intend to keep my promise, and I know you will, too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: All right. All of these different moving positions, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moves forward to repeal Obamacare without a replacement. What's happening here?
Let's bring back our panel. We have Maggie Haberman, David Chalian and John Avlon.
John, before we get to the president's ever-changing positions, at this luncheon, it was very interesting, the optics, as well as what was said because Dean Heller of Nevada was seated directly next to the president. Dean Heller was not a fan of the recent GOP bills, I think it's safe to say, and the president took the opportunity to issue a warning, somewhat coded, to Dean Heller.
Let's listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You didn't go out there. This was the one you were worried about, but you're going to be. You're going to be.
Look, he wants to remain a senator, doesn't he, OK? And I think the people of your state which I know very well, I think they are going to appreciate what you hopefully will do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, let's just be real clear about what happened there. That's a nice Senate seat you've got there. It would be a shame if anything happened to it. I mean, that's an outright threat under the guise of joking. It's a classic bulling technique
CAMEROTA: But what does that mean? When you say it's a threat, you mean that the president could do something or a PAC that supports the president?
AVLON: A PAC that supports the president has already gone after him and, of course, that's what it refers to.
CUOMO: There's no reason to be naive about it, though. That's, of course, what he means and this is not new.
David Chalian, this happens all the time.
AVLON: This president.
CUOMO: No, in general. If you do not do what the executive wants you to do, you've got trouble in politics.
I don't think the president can be blamed for strong-arming his own people. What is more noticeable at this stage is that he's separating himself from his own people. He's starting to talk about the Republicans like they were a separate group from him.
CHALIAN: Yes. Well, that's why the sound bite you played for him of I'm going to keep your promise and you better keep yours, earlier in the day, he tweeted about the Republicans that they better keep their promise, not we collectively as a party.
And you're right. Presidents have always tried to strong arm their own party members to their will, to their legislative will and using political carrots and sticks to do so.
Here's the problem: President Trump lost Nevada last time I checked in the race against Hillary Clinton. He's at 36 percent nationally. So, this gets back -- he wants to be feared here, but it's unclear that Dean Heller really will feel such fear.
The last time we heard from Dean Heller on this as to where he really stood, he was standing with his governor and siding with his governor which was in opposition to the bill at that stage of the game.
We'll see as Mitch McConnell develops for the plan of what will be voted on if anything next week and where Heller stands, but it is not at all clear to me yet that Dean Heller really feels the full fear that it seems like Donald Trump would like him to feel.
CAMEROTA: Maggie, the CBO score is not good news, certainly for Mitch McConnell who was planning to have this vote this upcoming week on just repeal. They determined that 32 million -- there would be 32 million more uninsured people if there was just to be a repeal.
Did you talk to the president about all of this in your interview?
MAGGIE HABERMAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: We did, and, you know, he as you correctly said, he's taken a few different positions certainly the last few days and I think overall about whether he favored just a repeal or repeal and replace.
What he said to us was that he had initially been in favor of a repeal but that, you know, he basically then decided that they ought to go together. My read on that, my interpretation of it was that at another point I asked him, am I correct you fundamentally believe that people should have access to insurance, and he said yes.
Remember, you're not talking about somebody who was raised in a conservative area. He was raised in New York City, and I think he has a pretty specific view of the government's role in people's lives on issues like health care. And he was pretty -- I think, again, I'm interpreting here, but I think that he was saying he didn't want there to be a period where people lost their insurance. That's a really important difference between him and some people in the Republican GOP caucus.
On another point, I want to go back to something you were saying before about him threatening Dean Heller. I agree, I don't think that the threat to Heller is specifically going to workers especially since it's been made several times and kind of pulled back in the form of the TV ads from the super PAC or outside group that supports the White House, but I do think that they believe they need to send a message to people in states where Trump's base is pretty strong, where the voters who voted for Trump are going to have a real impact in these Senate contests, and I think that they are thinking beyond just Dean Heller.
CUOMO: If you got where his head was in that interview with Maggie, he spent most of his time on what was released, talking about health care in terms of how long it had taken Obama to get it done and how long Hillary tried. I mean, he's thinking about it in terms of the optics.
[06:45:02] AVLON: And now he knows that everybody knew that health care was so complicated if they'd paid attention to it in the past. That's great in terms of a learning curve, but also, let's focus on the fact that he took four positions on health care reform in 48 hours.
And to what Maggie just said, that he's really focused that people aren't without coverage, that maybe where his heart and his instincts are, but that's not necessarily where the policies he's proposing are. That level chaos and presidential messaging at a crucial moment about a fundamental policy is also not remotely normal.
CHALIAN: It shows no real strategy, right?
HABERMAN: Right, that's the issue right there.
CHALIAN: It shows not a clear strategy from the White House about how to get the bill over the finish line. If you're all over the map with that publicly within over 48 hours, you're not -- you haven't been the North Star and have the party follow you and here's where we're going that. That to me seems the biggest problem with all the differences coming out of his mouth.
CAMEROTA: All right. Panel --
CUOMO: Appreciate it, guys.
CAMEROTA: Thanks so much.
All right. Another big store this week, O.J. Simpson is hoping that a Nevada parole board will grant him an early release from prison. What will the NFL hall of famer say in court tomorrow? We have a preview of all that.
CUOMO: Court today.
CAMEROTA: Oh. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CAMEROTA: O.J. Simpson appears before a parole board in Nevada today. Simpson serving eight and a half years of what could be a 33-year sentence for kidnapping and armed robbery conviction in 2007.
CNN's Jean Casarez has more for us from Nevada.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): O.J. Simpson at his first parole hearing four years ago.
O.J. SIMPSON, IMPRISONED FORMER NFL STAR: I arrived here at Lovelock nearly five years ago.
CASAREZ: Simpson is behind bars for a dozen crimes, including kidnapping and armed robbery stemming from a showdown in a Las Vegas hotel with two sports collectors in September of 2007.
SIMPSON: Don't let nobody out of this room. You mother (EXPLETIVE DELETED)
CASAREZ: Simpson claims he was taking back personal memorabilia that had been stolen from him, and he brought a small entourage.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nothing but the truth, so help you God?
BRUCE FROMONG, MEMORABILIA DEALER: I do.
CASAREZ: Bruce Fromong, one of the victims, testified that O.J. wasn't armed but says at least two other men were.
FROMONG: With a semiautomatic basically pointed at my face.
CASAREZ: Simpson was stoic when the guilty verdicts were read but became emotional later at sentencing.
SIMPSON: I wasn't there to hurt anybody had. I just wanted my personal things and I realize now I was stupid and I'm sorry.
JUDGE: It was much more than stupidity.
CASAREZ: His sentence, nine to 33 years.
[06:50:03] JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It was dubiously a crime and to see the very long sentence that he got seemed to me that he was being punished for the murder even though the judge said he wasn't.
CASAREZ: Simpson's lawyers believe it was payback for the not guilty verdicts in his 1994 double murder trial. Simpson was charged with killing his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ron Goldman. Back then, Simpson was revered for his hall of fame football career that he converted into media stardom. Televised for eight months, the murder trial was a national obsession. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gloves didn't fit. If it doesn't fit, you must
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We the jury in the above entitled action find the defendant Orenthal James Simpson not guilty of the crime of murder.
CASAREZ: Nielsen reports over 52 million people watched the verdict.
Later, Simpson lost a wrongful death suit and was ordered to pay the families of Nicole and Ron Goldman more than $33 million, forcing him to sell off precious possessions.
But in 2007 made that fateful trip to Vegas.
If Simpson is granted parole, freedom could come to him on or about the 22nd anniversary of the day he was cleared of murder.
Jean Casarez, CNN, Carson City, Nevada.
CUOMO: Boy, every time you see Shapiro and you see Cochran and all the questions and the moments just come back and now it culminates in this parole hearing today.
Let's bring in CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, the definitive reporter of the O.J. Simpson's legal issues we're talking about.
TOOBIN: The glove. You can't stop, right? Everybody has such vivid memories.
CUOMO: And it was something where everything could break one way or the other and introduce so many topics to the American people about the justice system and what lawyering can mean and what juries can mean. And now, here we are today. This isn't about the homicide case. This is about the burglary case.
He was paroled with respect to certain charges already. But today will be his big day to clear the rest charges and maybe become a free man at age of what, 70?
CUOMO: So, what do you make of the chances?
TOOBIN: Everything I've had learned about the Nevada system suggests he will get parole. There are not a lot of 70-year-olds in prison, you know, unless you're serving life without parole, older people are almost -- are almost always paroled.
And, you know, I have made -- I have said many, many times, I think O.J. Simpson is guilty of the murders. He should be serving life without parole for those murders. This Nevada case is bogus. If he had not been O.J. Simpson, he never would have been prosecuted.
CUOMO: You don't think the burglary charges were strong enough.
TOOBIN: I thought it was a ridiculous case. I thought it was basically a bunch of jerks yelling at each other in a hotel room. If he hadn't O.J. -- and remember, the reason he was sentenced to so long to 33 years saying that you knew that the other people in the hotel room had guns. The people with guns got far less sentences than he did, so what does that tell you?
TOOBIN: It was a payback, yes.
CUOMO: All right. So, what do we know about how this can go and what the factors are when he faces the parole board today?
TOOBIN: Well, you know, parole hearings are much more informal than court proceedings. You don't have to have due process. You don't have to the same kind of strict requirements so the parole officers, the board has a lot of discretion and they can, you know, consider factors or not consider factors as they wish.
If this were a normal case, and, of course, nothing with O.J. is normal, it seems quite clear he will get parole. The real question that's always hovered around this Nevada case is how much is it really about the murders in Los Angeles, and that requires going into the heads of the people who are the decision-makers here and I can't do that. If it's a normal process, he'll get out.
CUOMO: But again, they have full discretion. There are different layers of voting and things they can do. It could come down to a simple majority vote. But it's up to these commissioners, whether or not it happens.
They have a point system. Now, is it the relevant at all in figuring out today that O.J. has gone through this once before and he was found to be very low risk on the charges he was offered parole on and they have a points scale and the fewer points you have, the better, and he had three which winds up being a very relatively small number. Does that give you a window how he may be judged today?
TOOBIN: Yes, and the fact he has a good disciplinary record in prison, that fact that he is older, and the fact that he was recommended for parole on some of the charges four years ago.
[06:55:00] It all suggests the conclusion that he will get parole today. Again, it's O.J., all bets are off, but in normal circumstances all the signs point towards his release.
Now, he wouldn't be released today. The way the system works, as I understand it, he would be released on October 1st.
CUOMO: So, he would get the word today and then they have that final stint. And then the big question becomes: what is life for O.J. outside of prison?
TOOBIN: I think the answer is it would be a lot like his life after the acquittal in the criminal case in which -- which means he became a pariah in his old life. You know, his glamorous life in Brentwood and being on television and doing endorsements would be over.
I'm sure he'd go back to Florida where he established a new life with a seedier group of friends, including the people who he got in trouble with in Nevada and I think he'll start selling interviews, he'll start selling memorabilia. That really is how he was making a living then. Florida also allows him under its laws to avoid virtually any payments that he'd have to make for the $33 million he owes to the Goldman and Brown families as a result of the civil case. So, certainly, Florida is his most likely destination.
CUOMO: And if it doesn't go his way today, he's got six months and then he can go up before the parole board again.
CUOMO: All right. Jeffrey Toobin, it never ends.
TOOBIN: Back in the '90s.
CUOMO: Never ends.
All right. So, CNN is going to bring you live coverage of O.J. Simpson's parole hearing. That will begin at 1:00 p.m. Eastern today. This Sunday, CNN's original series "THE NINETIES" looks back at guess who, the infamous O.J. Simpson and his 1995 murder trial.
And tomorrow at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, be sure to watch CNN's special report "AFTER O.J.: THE FUHRMAN TAPES REVEALED." Correspondent Kyra Phillips plays never before heard excerpts from the tapes that rocked that trial.
CAMEROTA: It should be fascinating.
Meanwhile, President Trump lashes out at Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The explosive statements he made about his staunchest supporter when NEW DAY returns.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does the president have confidence in his Attorney General Jeff Sessions?
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: Of course he does.
TRUMP: It's extremely unfair. How do you take a job and then recuse yourself?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's one thing for us to hear about private conversations. It's another thing for him to throw Jeff Sessions under the bus in the "New York Times." UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He wants Mueller to know that he retains the
right to get rid of him, too, if he crosses a red line.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's worried about this investigation and he's worried about what they can find.