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Ten Protesters Killed, Raising Death Toll In Venezuela To 125; Trump Threatens To End Insurance Payments If No Health Bill; Trump: "Please Don't Be Too Nice" To Suspects; Police Push Back Against Trump's Law And Order Speech. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired July 31, 2017 - 06:30   ET



LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: -- saw the violence unfold, in some cases, these were young children protesting. I talked to a 12- year-old as he was putting together a Molotov cocktail speak out against the government and its current state of being.

Talking about food shortage, medical shortages and a generation of Venezuelans that hasn't experienced the Venezuela that once was. A country once considered one of the wealthiest countries in Latin America.

You're seeing a mounting frustration and really desperation as we've seen people digging through trash to find anything they can just to eat.

In the meantime, the government is calling this a victory and saying it will not bow down to pressure, but today we expect the opposition to take to the streets yet again. They're really hoping this international pressure including possible sanctions from the United States helps them bring this government down -- Alisyn and John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Leyla Santiago for us in Venezuela. Remarkable pictures coming from there. Leyla, thanks so much for that report.

All right, President Trump threatened to slash health care benefits for lawmakers and insurance companies if Congress does not dismantle Obamacare. Will Republicans try one more time to repeal the Affordable Care Act? That's next.



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Health care still very much on President Trump's mind. He tweeted about it a lot this weekend, threatening to cut subsidies to Congress and insurance companies saying, quote, "If a new health care bill is not approved quickly, bail outs for insurance companies and bailouts for members of Congress will end very soon."

Joining us now is Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee. Thanks for being here in studio. Are you getting a bailout from the federal government?

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R), TENNESSEE: No. All members of Congress are on the Affordable Care Act, on the D.C. small business exchange. As the federal government has done, they provide a portion of insurance as a benefit to employees.

CAMEROTA: The president doesn't like those for members of Congress.

BLACKBURN: That's right. So many of our employees, even those that are in our districts, Alisyn, are on the D.C. exchange. And one of the things we tell people all the time, we know firsthand the problems with health care, and we think the Senate needs to get to worked and send the House the bill so that we can get this fixed.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about that, but just one last thing, because the president seems fixated on this, what if those subsidies went away. He's threatening to cut the subsidies, the cost sharing with insurance companies that go to low-income Americans. That's one of the threats. The other threat is the subsidies that Congress get.

BLACKBURN: The subsidies that go to the insurance companies, they're called the risk corridors. This is one of the reasons that we have to fix this. I hear from people all the time about the cost of insurance.

When you look at the $9 million in the Affordable Care Act market place, only 1.6 million Americans buy this insurance product without a subsidy. All the rest of those and that is why the president keeps saying, you know, we need to look at those subsidies.

It's why we keep saying this has to be fixed, the insurance is too expensive to afford. When you're talking about only 1.6 million Americans buying a product without a subsidy, you just see how expensive --

CAMEROTA: My question is what if he takes it away?

BLACKBURN: If he takes it away then Congress will be forced to take an action and --

CAMEROTA: Meaning to restore this?

BLACKBURN: -- to clean this up. I don't know what it would be. There would be an action necessary to clean it up. You cannot afford this insurance, 19 million Americans opted themselves out of the system, 6.5 million chose to pay the penalty, and then you had another 12 that went in there and said, look, I'm going to seek an exemption for this. So, you've already got that, 19 million that opted out.

CAMEROTA: But do you get the impression that President Trump is looking to speed the demise of the Affordable Care Act as he sees it by withdrawing those cost-sharing subsidies?

BLACKBURN: President Trump I believe is looking to solve the problem. The problem is we've got the Senate who cannot seem to -- they like to work in gangs. They've been the gang of seven and eight. I want the gang of 51. I want the Senate to show some spine and fix this problem.

CAMEROTA: That seems to be impossible. What you're calling for -- they are not all of one mind. Obviously, they've tried for seven years --

BLACKBURN: Fifty one of them need to make a decision that they're going to fulfill a promise to the American people and send the House a bill so we can get this issue resolved. It's not fair to anybody, Alisyn.

I had a telephone town hall last week, 80 percent of the people on that town hall regardless of what side of the issue they were on with the Affordable Care Act, 80 percent said the Senate needed to pass a bill and send it to the House so we can fix this.

CAMEROTA: I understand, but I mean, their seven-year effort of trying to repeal and replace came to an end last week. There was no consensus. You can't get all 51 that you're calling for to all agree on what the way forward is. So now what?

BLACKBURN: You know, they're going to have to just do a process of sitting down, working through where they can get this gang of 51 to agree on something, send it to the House.

[06:40:00] So that we can fulfill a promise and be fair to the American people. that are stuck in the Affordable Care Act system or who have insurance that is too expensive to use and deductibles too high to even seek access to care.

CAMEROTA: Very quickly I want to ask you about Russia. How would you like President Trump respond to Vladimir Putin now that Putin is cutting U.S. diplomatic staff by 755 people?

BLACKBURN: I want him to continue to be firm with Russia. Sending in the 59 Tomahawk missiles in that Syrian attack was the appropriate thing to do. Doing the sanctions bill was an appropriate move for Congress and President Trump needs to basically have Congress's back, if you will, on the sanctions and be very firm with Russia.

CAMEROTA: Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, thanks so much for being here. Great to have you in studio.

BLACKBURN: So good to be here. Good to see you.

CAMEROTA: Let's go over to John.

BERMAN: All right, Alisyn, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie getting into a Cub's fan's face at a baseball game. What he said and what started the whole thing next in "Bleacher Report."


BERMAN: All right, a new commotion at the ball park for New Jersey's outgoing governor, Chris Christie. It happened again. Coy Wire has the video on "The Bleacher Report." Hey, Coy. COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, John. Last month Christie was booed at catching a foul ball at the Mets game in the wake of the 4th of July weekend incident, when he was spotted at a beach with his family even though it was closed to the public.

[06:45:09] On Sunday, Christie was caught on camera going nose to nose with a Cubs fan at a game in Milwaukee. Here it is.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Appreciate that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did he say to you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to act like a big shot.


WIRE: So Christie with nachos in hand, called the heckler a big shot, then walked away, the fan named Brad Joseph says he yelled at Christie calling him a hypocrite. The governor was there to see the Brewers play the Cubs. His son works for the Brewers. He was cheering them on.

In this clip, as Christie is having words, the Cubs actually hit the go-ahead home run as they were having this conversation. They end up beating the Brewers 4-2 did the Cubs -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Coy, I like the color of with nachos in hand.

WIRE: Talk about spot shadowing it, but that was a bit much. It was part of the deal there.

CAMEROTA: That is awesome. Thank you very much for that. You can't get into a big fight when you have nachos waiting for you. I think that that's a deterrence.

BERMAN: It's a buffer which is why I always carry nachos with me. Look, I'm not sure there are any heroes in this incident. I mean, Chris Christie should be able to go to a baseball game somewhere in the country without being heckled. Also, at this point in his career he should be know how to take it when someone says something.

CAMEROTA: All right, that's fine, but I mean, again, I think nachos solve a lot of problems.

BERMAN: You seem fixated on the nachos.

CAMEROTA: I love the nachos.

BERMAN: I applaud you for that.

CAMEROTA: The president getting heat after telling police officers not to be, quote, "too nice" to suspected criminals. Was he endorsing police brutality? Was that a joke? We debate the fallout next.



BERMAN: All right, police departments across the country are blasting President Trump's comments to police officers. Hear what is raising eyebrows.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: When you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a patty wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough. I said please don't be too nice, like when you guys put somebody in the car and you're protecting their head, the way you put your hand -- don't hit their head and they just killed somebody, don't hit their head. I said, you can take the hand away, OK?


BERMAN: All right, so, was the president encouraging police to be rough with suspects? Joining us now, CNN law enforcement analysts, retired NYPD Detective Harry Houck, and former Philadelphia police commissioner, Charles Ramsey.

Commissioner, I want to read you a statement from the current New York City police commissioner, James O'Neill, who said, "To suggest any police apply any standard of the use of force other than what is reasonable and necessary is irresponsible, unprofessional and sends the wrong message to law enforcement as well as the public." Your response, Commissioner?

CHARLES RAMSEY, FORMER PHILADELPHIA POLICE COMMISSIONER: Well, I would agree with Commissioner O'Neill. I was very concerned when I first heard those remarks because I believe it re-enforces a very negative stereotype of police that we've been trying to overcome, and that is that police use excessive force on a regular basis, we violate people's constitutional rights and nothing can be further from the truth.

Police are out there every single day operating in a very professional manner, taking some very dangerous people off the streets and doing so without using excessive force or violating people's rights. I think that gave an impression that we just do not need.

BERMAN: Harry Houck, did it send the wrong message?

HARRY HOUCK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, you know, what's really key here is, when he made that comment, you heard everybody laugh in the audience. They took it all as a joke, and so did I. I didn't think he was serious. I don't think any police officer out there in the right frame of mind would take that as a way of condoning that kind of activity.

All right, so I don't think it's really that big a deal. I think it was just playing to the police officers, trying to get a laugh there. He's very pro-police officer. We're very happy to have a president like that.

BERMAN: There's actually three things you said there and I want to talk to each one of those. I'll talk about the laughing in a moment and we'll talk about the attitude toward the police in general in a second. From your point of view, is it OK to condone rough treatment from police officers.


BERMAN: So, it's not OK.

HOUCK: Listen, a police officer knows the rules, knows how to act out there. There isn't any police officer listening to that statement saying, OK, I'm going to rough somebody up out there because the president told me I could.

BERMAN: What if there's one?

HOUCK: What can you do if there's one? I mean, there are people out there who are crazy and they hear some kinds of comments that somebody made somewhere. Look when Obama said --

BERMAN: But you're saying those statements, if it's not a joke, is inappropriate, correct?

HOUCK: Right, exactly.

BERMAN: OK. So, if he wasn't joking -- how do you know he's joking?

HOUCK: How do you know he's not?

BERMAN: I don't. But I will say this, if the hundreds of thousands of law enforcement officers out there who didn't take it as a joke, took it as a green light to behave differently.

HOUCK: Well, then I guess you shouldn't be a police officer. I'm sure the commissioner will agree with me here. If you're a police officer and you take that comment as an OK to commit any kind of physical force against somebody that's not justified, that's a bad thing.

BERMAN: All right, Commissioner, what if he's just joking. Was it just a joke?

RAMSEY: Well, first of all, I agree with the last statement that he just made. This is the president of the United States. He's commander-in-chief, not a stand-up comic. Words matter. There's responsibility that goes along with leadership. Your words can actually influence behavior.

It can shape public opinion. You have to be very, very careful and measure your words very carefully whenever you're in a setting like that. Whether it was a joke or not, it was inappropriate.

I think those officers -- I don't know if they were star struck because they're standing behind a president which doesn't happen every day, and he made a comment and they thought they need to laugh or applaud, I don't know. If they truly believe that, they ought to be ashamed. That's not what policing is all about.

[06:55:13] BERMAN: So, they should not have been laughing or applauding you're saying?

RAMSEY: No -- these things happen spontaneously. It doesn't mean that everyone who applauded or laughed actually believes what it is he said, but it gave the wrong impression. That's what I'm trying to get at. We've got a lot to overcome. It's been a rough three years.

In fact, the only reason the police have not been front and center on news stories around the country is because of President Trump. He took us off the front page. That doesn't mean the issues and problems have gone away.

BERMAN: Commissioner, something Harry said is something I've heard from officers since Friday here, both of you suggested maybe they laughed because they were uncomfortable, not necessarily laughing because they're supporting him in that statement.

However, Commissioner, most officers I have heard from say that they do feel this president has their back, and those are the exact words they use, has their back in a way they did not feel from the last administration, Commissioner.

RAMSEY: Well, listen, I don't even know what that means because policing is local, at least on our level. We're not under the direct command of the president. We operate based on local state laws, consistent with the Constitution and so forth.

So, if you engage in misconduct, if you think the president of the United States is going to come and save you, then you're mistaken. It's just not how it operates. As far as the previous president goes, yes -- as far as the previous president goes, I know there was some criticism around President Obama.

But he saw a legitimate problem, and that was the trust had been eroded in many of our communities or didn't even exist in many of our communities, and that's why he formed the task force on 21st Century policing which I had the honor of co-chairing. The very first issue we dealt with was billing trust and legitimacy in our communities that we serve, which is important.

BERMAN: Harry?

HOUCK: That is very important. There's a false narrative about police. We've seen many instances in the last three years where police get the finger pointed out them that were totally justified by police officers.

We've had a couple incidents, and just a couple, where the officers didn't act correctly and they might be prosecuted. For the millions of times police officers deal with people every day out there, 99.999 percent, the police are exactly right in what they do. So, this narrative out there feeds into this and that's why we have this issue. BERMAN: Should police ever take their hand away when putting a suspect into a car like that?

HOUCK: No, I always do it. You have to act properly. When you put a suspect in the car and put your hand on top of their head and help them inside the vehicle.

BERMAN: All right, Harry Houck, Commissioner, thanks so much for being with us. I do appreciate it. Good discussion this morning.

Thank you to all our international viewers. For you CNN "NEWSROOM" is next. For U.S. viewers, President Trump hoping for a reboot after this big shakeup on his team. NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Smart for him to pick General Kelly. I think things are going to be run very well.

BERMAN: The White House hoping for a fresh start after the Senate health care collapse.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president will not accept those who said it's, quote, "time to move on."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've seen the limits of what one party could do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senate, do your job, Congress, do your job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop asking the leaders for permission. You're not in the fifth grade. Have some guts!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Continue to believe that if Russia will change its behavior, our relationship can change for the good.

CAMEROTA: Russian President Vladimir Putin retaliating over new looming U.S. sanctions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the U.S. side decides to move towards further deterioration, we will answer, we will retaliate.


CAMEROTA: Good morning everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. Chris is off this morning. John Berman joins me in studio.

BERMAN: Big day, big week.

CAMEROTA: Great to have you here.

So, President Trump hitting the reset button after one of the most chaotic weeks in his presidency. In just hours, the new White House chief of staff, General John Kelly, will be sworn in.

The standoff between President Trump and his embattled attorney general will be on display today. The president is set to meet face- to-face with Jeff Sessions at a cabinet meeting this morning.

BERMAN: As far as we know, the first time they spoke since the president started saying out loud that he wished he was gone. All this as President Trump faces several foreign policy threats.

Russia's Vladimir Putin has ordered the U.S. to cut its diplomatic staff by more than half in retaliation for new sanctions, and North Korea's latest missile test has President Trump intensifying pressure on China to do more to stop that country's nuclear ambitions.

We have all this covered. Want to begin with CNN's Sara Murray live at the White House. Good morning, Sara.

SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. It is John Kelly's first day in a very big job. He'll be sworn in later this morning followed by a cabinet meeting. The question on top of everyone's minds, can Kelly actually bring order to this very wild west wing?


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Reince is a good man. John Kelly will do a fantastic job.

MURRAY (voice-over): President Trump turning to retired four-star --