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Trump Urges Senate GOP to End Obamacare; The Future for Sessions; Israel Removes Mosque Metal Detectors; Free Agent Derrick Rose Signs with Cleveland. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired July 25, 2017 - 05:00   ET



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's been enough talk and no action. Now is the time for action.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The Senate is ready to vote on health care. But what health care plan are they voting on? Well, no one seems sure. Will John McCain's return after his brain cancer diagnosis make a difference?


TRUMP: A scout is trustworthy, loyal. We could use some more loyalty, I will tell you that.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Was that the president taking a shot at his own attorney general? Growing questions, new questions this morning about whether the president wants Jeff Sessions to stay on the job.

Good morning, everybody. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs.

It was a fascinating Boy Scouts Jamboree. We'll get to it in a moment.

It's Tuesday, July 25th.

[05:00:00] It's 5:00 a.m. in the East. A lot to get to.

We start with this health care plan. Is it a plan? A make-or-break day for Senate Republicans on health care. It's a showdown vote scheduled today on whether just to begin debate on repealing Obamacare. Chief among the many, many obstacles, no clear word on what GOP leaders have in store if senator vote to move forward and that is very much in doubt.

ROMANS: President Trump raising the stakes and pressure on fellow Republicans to keep their promise to repeal and replace this health care law. The president driving the point home while speaking at the Boy Scouts jamboree in West Virginia with this direct threat to Health Secretary Tom Price.


TRUMP: By the way, you're going to get the votes?


TRUMP: He better get them. He better get them. Oh, he better -- otherwise, I'll say, Tom, you're fired. I'll get somebody.



BRIGGS: Meantime, we've learned Senator John McCain will return to the Senate for today's crucial health care vote. McCain's first time back at the Capitol since his brain cancer diagnosis.

Our coverage begins with CNN's Jeff Zeleny at the White House.



All eyes in Washington today from here at the White House over to Capitol Hill are focusing on the critical vote in the Senate on health care. The Senate is scheduled to vote this afternoon on proceeding to debate on the actual bill. It's a bit of a two-step process.

But yesterday here at the White House, we saw President Trump engaged in this issue, engaged in this matter, more so than ever before using the power of the presidency, that unique megaphone to make the case for why Republicans, he says, should vote for this bill.

TRUMP: For the last seven years, Republicans have been united in standing up for Obamacare's victims. Remember repeal and replace? Repeal and replace. They kept saying it over and over again.

Every Republican running for office promised immediate relief from this disastrous law. We as a party must fulfill that solemn promise to the voters.

ZELENY: President Trump engaged in this. Vice President Pence engaged, as well. We received late word Monday evening that Senator John McCain will be flying back to Washington, will be on hand today in the United States Senate to also cast a vote in this. Of course, he is recovering and in fact in treatment for an aggressive type of brain cancer. But his vote is needed on this.

If Republicans get enough votes to go forward on this, the White House indeed will get something of a win here, a much-needed win. But this health care bill and the outcome will say a lot about President Trump's agenda and the Republican Party's agenda going forward -- Christine and Dave.


ROMANS: All right. Jeff Zeleny, thank you for that.

Let's bring in David Drucker, CNN political analyst and senior congressional correspondent for the "Washington Examiner".

All right. So, there's going to be a vote, a vote on keeping going on health care. But we don't know what -- what is it? What are you voting to keep moving?

DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I can understand why people are a little confused here. The Senate is a very odd place. You're going to have a vote, number one on, what we call a motion to proceed. For short, we just like to call it a key procedural vote that will let us know if health care is moving forward.

What that means is they're going to vote on whether or not to debate all sorts of health care proposals. And then once they get the votes for the motion to proceed, which I think they're going to get and they need -- if McCain is back, they're going to need 51 votes for that.

ROMANS: Right.

DRUCKER: Then, they will open on all sorts of amendments because they're going to open debate officially on the House health care bill. Then, they're going to have a debate on the straight repeal bill, so they could end up voting on straight repeal from 2015. They could also end up voting on the latest version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act which is the Senate Republican version of the House health care bill that already passed. And they could debate all sorts of additional amendments or changes that people are going to want to make to these proposals that may never happen.

But because they're doing this through what we call reconciliation which just means that the Democrats or anybody cannot filibuster this with a 60-vote threshold, you have what we call a vote-a-rama, which means you could have, once they get on this bill, up to 200, 300, 350 amendments maybe that are actually brought to the floor for a vote. A lot of them might be what we call tabled, so that's not an official vote, but really it's a vote.

ROMANS: Just keep it alive --

BRIGGS: My head hurts.

DRUCKER: You see what I'm saying?

ROMANS: Just keep it alive.

DRUCKER: This is why I cover the Senate, so you don't have to.

BRIGGS: This might be the most consequential vote these senators ever take, and they have no idea what it is they're voting on. But let's talk about John McCain, returning after his brain cancer

diagnosis. We just presume he's going to come back and vote yes. But this is the maverick. And this is a guy who doesn't just go along with party lines and do the safe thing.

[05:05:00] How much does he control?

DRUCKER: Well, there are two things here. They do know what their options are. It's not like they don't know, they've never seen a bill.

BRIGGS: Right.

DRUCKER: hey just -- they don't know yet if --

BRIGGS: They don't know which path --

DRUCKER: Well, they don't know if the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which is really the only thing that's going to end up happening on final passage, they don't know if it's done yet, because there are still negotiations going on. There are not the votes for straight repeal.

The only way they're going to get done is repeal and replace. John McCain will vote, I believe, for the motion to proceed. So, you will get --

BRIGGS: Just to begin debate, OK.

DRUCKER: You will get the key vote on opening debate. There is some question as to where he is on the final version of the bill. It would be my prediction that it won't fail, if it fails because of a lack of his vote. I would just say that.

You're still looking at Susan Collins, Rand Paul --

ROMANS: Right.

DRUCKER: -- Mike Lee, Shelley Moore Capito --

BRIGGS: Jerry Moran --

DRUCKER: Lisa Murkowski. Jerry Moran had procedural problems.


DRUCKER: If faced with a -- so he said. He had -- he didn't like the way the process was running. If faced with a vote on repeal and replacing the Affordable Care Act or not, I don't think it's going to die if it does because of his vote.

ROMANS: We had a couple of public events yesterday with the president on camera. One, he stood in front of White House interns -- interns at the White House, and had a memorable eye roll when asked about the future of Jeff Sessions. Let's listen.


REPORTER: Mr. President, should Jeff Sessions resign?


REPORTER: What do you next on health care?

TRUMP: Be quiet.


ROMAN: Be quiet. He was asked about what do we do next on health care he said, be quiet. And then he went on and told the people around him, they're not supposed to be asking those questions, even though he invited the press in.

So, two questions here -- Jeff Sessions, with friends like these, who needs enemies? I mean, he's -- he -- this is his most loyal supporter early on. Is he waiting for Jeff Sessions to resign? What's happening there?

DRUCKER: Well, it sure appears like he's trying to push him out the door. And we know that the president's been unhappy with how Sessions has handled his job as it relates to the Russia investigation, because he recused himself. Even Rudy Giuliani told CNN that was the proper thing for Jeff Sessions to do. And I think the question is how badly Jeff Sessions wants to remain on the job because of all of the other things he's actually doing in relation to immigration and sanctuary cities and drug enforcement, drug policy.

So there's a very interesting sort of dichotomy going on where the president is solely focused on Jeff Sessions as it relates to Russia and possibly removing Jeff Sessions which -- Jeff Sessions removing himself --

ROMANS: Could he get somebody confirmed? He could have a confirmation fight with the new A.G.

DRUCKER: Well, you would, but imagine a new A.G. promising not to remove Mueller. I suppose that person could get confirmed.

BRIGGS: Well, a recess appointment is what some fear, I know, in Washington.

But let's move to the other public appointment at that president had yesterday at the Boy Scouts Jamboree in West Virginia. Some 40,000 were eating up this political message. Listen --


TRUMP: You want to achieve your dreams, I said, who the hell wants to speak about politics when I'm in front of the Boy Scouts?

We ought to change it from the word swamp to the word cesspool or perhaps to the word sewer, but it's not good.


Not good.

Did President Obama ever come to a jamboree?


Do you remember that incredible night with the maps and the Republicans are red and the Democrats are blue, and that map was so red it was unbelievable? And you know, we have a tremendous disadvantage in the Electoral College. Popular vote is much easier.


BRIGGS: All right. The Boy Scouts were forced to issue this statement. They are wholly nonpartisan. They do not promote any one position, product, service, political candidates, or philosophy.

David, look, this was a crowd some 30,000, 40,000 people. They loved every minute of this. What does it reveal about the president of the United States that he has taken this political message to these teenage boys, and is it appropriate?

DRUCKER: You know, I don't know if it was so much a political message as it was a personal message. And President Trump's unique personal message, which is all about him and his victories and how everybody else is rotten and needs to go away. And so, I think this is not surprising.

And I think Republicans on Capitol Hill that are struggling with health care policy and if they're lucky soon to be struggling on tax policy would prefer that the president use the bully pulpit and his unique ability to garner attention to try and create political space for them to take these tough votes and get a lot of these things done. Look, there were complaints at times that President Obama was political in settings that he shouldn't have been.


[05:10:00] DRUCKER: This president takes that to a different level. These were kids. I mean, not tiny little kids, but kids nonetheless.

BRIGGS: Middle schoolers.

ROMANS: He bashed the media several times. He bashed the former president of the United States. So, in terms of civility to 12 to 18- year-old future leaders of America, the civility message was not there.

DRUCKER: No. But then, again, this is who we like (ph) the president of the United States and these kids don't live in a vacuum. They see this every single day. And so, I don't think it was surprising is all that I am saying.

ROMANS: Right. DRUCKER: And I think that as a matter of politics and what's

happening in Washington, the president would probably be more effective for his agenda and his party as opposed to himself if he were able to talk policy a little bit more and then take slings and arrows for pushing health care policy in front of a bunch of Boy Scouts. How dare you do that, as opposed to pushing his personal policy.

BRIGGS: And we're six months in. Let's get past the election and crowd size --

DRUCKER: No, no. Let's not. This is way too much fun. Let's keep talking about how great our victories are.

BRIGGS: Boy, all right. David Drucker, we'll talk to you in about 20 minutes.

ROMANS: Nice to see you.

All right. Democrats -- Democrats are pitching a new economic agenda, a reboot, a rebranding. So, what about it is new really?

Democratic leaders gathered in Virginia yesterday to unveil this new plan, this reclaiming the populist progressive message. They're calling it "A Better Deal", populist message to appeal to the same working class voters that drove President Trump into the White House.

It's -- it's a lot of what we've heard from them before, scrutinizing big mergers, boosting wages, retraining workers, and lowering drug prices. The aim here is to create 10 million jobs over the next 10 years.

Now is that a better deal? What's better about that? I want to really drill down -- 10 million jobs over five years. That's about 2 million jobs each year. Last year, the U.S. created more than 2 million jobs.

So, some of the criticism of this rebranding of the Democrats is that they're promising if we do exactly what we're doing now in job creation, you'll get to their 10 million.


ROMANS: And also, there were some protests yesterday, a few people had like Papa John's signs, you know? Making fun of it.

BRIGGS: Explain the Papa John's sign, I saw those.

ROMANS: They're better ingredients, better pizza. And so, they're sort of saying the Democrats -- they've come up with a plan that's basically like --

BRIGGS: That's clever.

ROMANS: -- a pizza chain. So, we'll see. Of course there are always going to be trolls in those -- in those events. BRIGGS: It certainly wasn't the reception Democrats were hoping for


All right. Protests not slowing down this morning despite Israel's decision to remove metal detectors from a holy site. We're live in Jerusalem, ahead on EARLY START.


[05:16:46] ROMANS: Israel has now decided to remove recently installed metal detectors from the entrance to the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. Those metal detectors triggering protests and violence over the past two weeks in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

I want to go live to Jerusalem and bring in CNN's Ian Lee.

Ian, it appears there's still a lot of anger despite Israel's move.

IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And as you see behind me, Christine, these protesters have been here since the early morning hours. They've been chanting against those metal detectors, also video cameras that were installed over near the entrance to the Temple Mount, also known as the noble sanctuary.

But those metal detectors were removed late last night. Israel's security cabinet says that they're going to install more sophisticated equipment that can scan people. What that exactly means we do not know at this hour.

It was seen as a move to try to calm the situation here. We know that American officials have been talking with Jordanians, Israelis, as well as Palestinians to try to find some sort of resolution. But we heard from some of the religious figures here in Jerusalem a little over an hour ago saying they want to know first what Israel is going to do here. But until then they're not going to accept it. They're calling people to continue to pray in the streets like you see behind me.

So, Christine, suffice it to say, this crisis is not over.

ROMANS: All right. Indeed, Ian Lee for us this morning in Jerusalem -- thank you, Ian.

BRIGGS: All right. North Korea may be preparing for another missile test, according to the U.S. defense officials. Transporter vehicles hauling ballistic missile equipment have been detected in satellite images near the site of past launches. In the past, that typically signals a test launch within six days which in this case would coincide with an upcoming July 27th holiday celebrating the armistice which ended the Korean War. North Korea is known for missile tests on major calendar days.

All right. We're going to talk sports in a bit. LeBron James has a new point guard in Cleveland, Derrick Rose. The newest members of the Cavaliers. What does this mean to the Cavs' all-star guard Kyrie Irving? Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report", intrigue in Cleveland.


[05:23:30] BRIGGS: Cleveland Cavaliers have been dealing with some in-house drama lately. But, last night, they signed free agent Derrick Rose.


BRIGGS: Which I'm curious to see what LeBron James thinks of this whole mess.

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

Hey, Coy.

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

Reports out of Cleveland. This is important because they're suggesting that the Cavs all-star Kyrie Irving is demanding to be traded because he no longer wants to play alongside LeBron James. That he wants to play on a team where he can be a more focal point.

Well, Derrick Rose does wants to play alongside King James. The former Knicks guard signed with Cleveland for the veteran minimum, a one-year, $2.1 million deal. The former number one overall pick had 18 points a game last season. So, pretty good percentagewise, as well, best in his career since 2010.

But check out LeBron James tweeting out some Rose emojis saying, "Let's rock G!" when he got word of this.

Still no word from Kyrie Irving. But with the addition of Rose, the Cavs and the Warriors combined to have all of the NBA MVPs from 2009 to 2016. Those two teams have met in the last three straight NBA finals.

All season, MLB talk has focused on Yankees' rookie phenom Aaron Judge. Rightfully so, 32 home runs in the season. But last night, Giancarlo Stanton reminded everyone that he may be the home run king when all is said and done this season. He hit two home runs against the Rangers in the first and eighth innings, giving his team the 4-0 win.

[05:25:04] And him, 32 home runs for the season, tying Judge for the most in the majors. Stanton has rolled. And now, he has six home runs in the last seven games.

Have you seen this latest viral phenomenon? The #drivebydunkchallenge? People jumping out of their cars with a basketball, and dunking on hoops in strangers' driveways. They then speed away and post the video on their social media. Even number five overall NBA draft pick, Kings' De'Aaron Fox has done it.

Well, one of the greatest Celtics players of all time and current Celtics GM, Danny Ainge, now 58 years old, he wasn't going to let anyone dunk on his rim including his own son. It didn't go well. Still trending on Video of Ainge just getting viciously dunked upon. Saying, baptism from freshly -- my freshly returned missionary, #drivebydunkchallenge.

His son Crew is going to play basketball at Utah State this upcoming season. He even said, you know what, my dad, he doesn't care what anyone thinks. That's why he's good at his current job and also why he is trending in a body bag.

BRIGGS: Yes. It was the elbow to the 58-year-old that was a little much. But -- I know. I don't get the viral deals. But I guess it was good for Danny.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks, Coy. Nice to see you.

WIRE: You're welcome. You, too.

ROMANS: Twice on Monday, President Trump called in Republicans to get moving on health care. He did it once at the White House in front of young people. He did it again at a Boy Scouts jamboree. So, did Republicans get that message? We'll find out.