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McCain Announces "No" Vote Health Care; Trump Speaking at Alabama Campaign Rally; From Beneath the Rubble; Trump Calls Out "Rocket Man" Again At Alabama Rally; Secretary Price under Fire for Private Plane Flights; Another Costly Mnuchin Flight under Investigation; Survival Story after Mexico Earthquake; Authorities Fear Dam Failure in Puerto Rico: Evacuations Underway; Mexicans Officials Rescue Efforts; Could Go On For Weeks People Trapped In Collapsed Building Rescued After 17 Hours. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired September 22, 2017 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:11] JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: The latest Republican attempt to replace Obamacare develops a pre-existing condition, serious case of John McCain.

Good evening. John Berman here, in for Anderson Cooper.

The bill co-sponsored by Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham, Senator McCain's best friend in Washington, had already come down with an attack or two or three of Jimmy Kimmel, he has been hammering on it all week. Powerful organizations have weighed in against the bill, the American Medical Association, and AARP just to name a couple.

Republican Senator Susan Collins is leaning no. Lisa Murkowski has yet to commit. Rand Paul flat out opposes the bill, which makes Senator McCain's announcement today that he cannot support the legislation, leaving the bill just one no vote away from defeat, so numerically important and perhaps politically influential.

There's been no reaction from the White House on the McCain bombshell, but President Trump speaks any minute at this rally in Alabama, and let's just say he has never been one to hold back at his rallies. So, we're keeping a close eye on this and we'll bring it to you live when he takes the stage.

So, as we watch that, I want to bring in CNN's Phil Mattingly at the capitol.

Phil, what more are you learning about Senator McCain's decision today?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, John, interesting enough, this is one of those scenarios where all you had to do was listen to what the senator has been saying. We've been trying to read into where perhaps McCain could go, his relationship with Lindsey Graham, obviously great friends, the idea that this was the last chance to repeal Obamacare that everybody was talking about, that they campaigned on for seven years.

But every time I have spoken with Senator McCain over the course of the last four or five days, he has never wavered in his opinion that the process was wrong. It wasn't going through regular order.

John, just go back to July. Senate floor speech just after he had been diagnosed with cancer, where he decried the direction that the Senate had gone, the lack of bipartisanship. And then take a listen to his statement today, announcing his opposition, just a piece of it here, quote, I cannot in good consciousness vote for the Graham/Cassidy proposal. I believe we do better working together, Republicans and Democrats and have not yet really tried. Nor could I support it without knowing how much it costs, how it will affect insurance premiums, and how many people will be hurt by it.

John, essentially, what he's saying here is everything he had been telegraphing over the course of the last couple of years. I'm told that there wasn't much wavering despite how we were trying to read into things. I'm also told that he did tell Senator Graham, his close friend, this was coming. But very few others knew.

This was John McCain doing what John McCain does on his own, setting the tone, and really kind of setting the stage for quite possibly putting an end to this issue, that Republicans have talked about for years, have campaigned on and made very clear, was their top policy priority throughout the first year of President Trump's time in office.

BERMAN: So, Phil, Rand Paul says he's a no, but what about the other two possible no votes, Senator Collins and Murkowski? Any better sense on what they're thinking is tonight?

MATTINGLY: Yes. It's important to note, and this is probably a pretty good reason why you haven't heard from Senate leaders weighing in yet in the wake of Senator McCain's statement, that they still don't have that third solid no yet.

However, Senator Susan Collins who leadership aides have been telling me for a days now, they just assume she was in the no column, told "The Portland Press Herald", the local newspaper today that she is leaning no and then went on to attack several pieces of the bill. The big question is when she would announce that, becoming that third solid no to effectively kill this bill, and she is on a Sunday show this week. There's some speculation up here that that might be where it is. But she's made clear she wants to wait for the CBO score, however curtailed it is. That's expected early next week.

Now, Lisa Murkowski has also made very clear, she wanted time to study these proposals. She wanted to know what it really meant for her state, the decision from her is not expected soon, not even over the weekend, but we will have to wait and see as I noted. That third no is the death knell for this bill.

BERMAN: So, in terms of a vote, Phil, is there any sense that Mitch McConnell might bring it to the floor even if they don't have the numbers?

MATTINGLY: Look, we have been doing this for too long, covering this for too long to put a stake in its heart at this point in time. It's risen from the dead too many times. But just to kind of walk through the calculation here, there is a recognition that this came from out of nowhere, that show that they put a lot of effort in at the deadline and they feel good that at least gave it a shot.

But the idea of putting the bill on the floor, and on the Senate floor, having another spectacular failure for everybody to watch, wait and see. And not only that, but put the members who have yet to come out in support of this bill have been holding their fire deliberately, not to have to weigh in on something that's being attacked pretty much across the country at the moment, there's no real sense in having to put through that.

That said, it's still a possibility, no final decisions have been. The big question now is, when does the third no come, and what comes after that? John?

BERMAN: All right. Phil Mattingly, great reporting. Appreciate it, Phil.

As we said, the president is in Alabama tonight, ahead of the Senate runoff there next week. He is supporting one candidate. Interestingly, his HUD Secretary Ben Carson is all but endorsing someone else, which is frankly odd. This is not something you see generally in any administration.

CNN's Kaitlan Collins is traveling with the president.

[20:05:02] She joins us live from Huntsville.

Kaitlan, back to the health care issue, anyone in the administration said anything about Senator McCain's announcement yet?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, there have been no official statements yet, John, but we have seen the White House say they will continue that effort. They're not ready to give up yet, but they say it is no doubt that what McCain said today undeniably hurts the administration's effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

It is surely going to be brought up tonight. The president is taking the stage right now here in Alabama, and he does not forget when somebody scorns him. So, let's go to the president right now, John, and see what he has to say.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you. Thank you very much. Wow. Thank you. Thank you.


Thank you, everybody. I love this place. And you know we set every record in Alabama. I love Alabama. It is special. Thank you very much.

(CROWD CHANTING "USA") Well, I am. I am thrilled to be here with the really great person

that I have gotten to know, Luther Strange, and with the hard working patriotic citizens of this great state. You have some football games tomorrow, but we are going the have a lot of fun, and then you're going to win at football tomorrow.

I love this state, and I love the people of this state. They have been so good to me. And we are producing. We are really producing.

Thank you. Thank you.


And on Tuesday, we are going to send a real fighter and a real good guy from Alabama to the United States Senate on a permanent basis.

And we have another great person in our audience tonight. Richard Shelby. Where is Richard? Where is he? Richard? Where is Richard?

Thank you, Richard. Stand up so they can see you, Richard.

Fantastic. Thank you, Richard. Respected man, I will tell you. He is respected and loved in the Senate. He's only been there for, what, 34 years or something like that, right? But he loves the people of Alabama, too.

And like all of you, Luther Strange knows the true source of America's strength. It's God, it's family and it's country.


And Luther is going to be taking over for a man that you all love -- what's his name, huh? Senator Jeff Sessions. You loved Jeff Sessions. He is doing a good job.


He is doing a good job. We have him very busy watching the borders and lot of things are happening.

But Luther is taking over for Jeff hopefully, and you are going to be so impressed with what we are going to do in Washington.

But before we begin, I want to send our thoughts and prayers to the people of Texas and Louisiana and Florida and Georgia and Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and all of the other communities that have recently been ravaged by storms and by floods.

And I called the other day, I spoke to your governor. I said, how are you doing? She said, well, we have 17 million people who just entered Alabama for shelter, and you took such great care of those people.

[20:10:09] You really did.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) I said, you know, Governor, you are the fastest growing state of anywhere in the world this week, but it was -- you really did, you did a great job. And your governor is doing a great job, too, by the way.

When one part of America hurts, we all hurt. We grieve over all that's been lost, but we're also inspired by the incredible strength and spirit and resilience of our people. Together, we will recover, rebuild and return bigger, better, stronger than ever before. It's going to happen. It's going to happen quickly, quickly. Better. Right?


We also send our prayers to the people of Mexico. They got hit hard by a devastating earthquake, taken a lot of lives and lot more than they even thought. And I have spoken with the president of Mexico and we have pledged our total support. We have crews in there right now lifting up that heavy concrete, and it's a rough sight. It's a rough sight.


We have a lot of people that we sent down with a lot of big equipment, but it is a tough go. It is a really tough thing to look at and to see and to see the sadness, but that was bad.

I have just come from a very productive week at the United Nations General Assembly.



Well, we have been working with the friends and allies to pursue a future of prosperity and security and peace, and we've got some really good people that I know and have tremendous relationships and some really, really bad people, and we are going to take care of the bad people. It's about time. We're going to be taking care of the bad people.


It's one of the greatest honors of my life to represent the American people on that world stage, and I will tell you, the world is starting to respect the United States of America again.


As I said during my address to the United Nations, I will always defend America's interests above all else. I am here for you, and I'm not here for global interests, we are not here for the rest of the globe, and we want to treat the rest of the globe right.

And, you know, when I say "America first", everybody say, gee, and I never liked it from the standpoint that if you're in another country, you want your country to be first by the leader, right? So, nobody really understood, for years, I've said, America first, although I'm the one that really means it. There's a big difference.


And I said, I said, look, it's going to be America first, we're going to renegotiate these trade deals, we're bringing a lot of people back. We're bringing companies back. You see it in Alabama. You see it in Alabama.

But I'm not going to worry so much about other countries. I want to treat them with respect. I want to treat them good, and I want their people to fight for them, and just like I'm going to fight, but we are going to be like the football teams. We are going to win all of time. We're going to win, believe me.


I believe the best path to a more peaceful world are proud, independent and sovereign nations that serve and respect their own people. When you are looking at what is going on in the world, there are so many who don't respect their people. But we want nations that cooperate together to create better for all people. That's what we are all about, all people, and we can't have madmen out there shooting rockets all over the place.


[20:15:03] And by the way, rocket man should have been handled a long time ago.


He should have been handled a long time ago by Clinton -- I won't mention the Republicans, right, but by Obama, why did this -- you know, this is a different, this is a different time. This should have been handled eight years ago, and four years ago, and honestly, 15 years ago and 20 years ago and 25 years ago.

This shouldn't be handled now. But I'm going to handle it, because we have to handle it.


Little rocket man -- we're going to do it because we really have no choice. We really have no choice.

Now, he is talking about a massive weapon exploding over to the ocean, Pacific Ocean, which causes tremendous, tremendous calamity. Where that plume goes, so goes cancer, so goes tremendous problems.

And I want to tell you something, and I'm sure that he's listening, because he watches every word, and I guarantee you one thing, he's watching us like he never watched anybody before, that I can tell you. That I can tell you.


And maybe something gets worked out, and maybe it doesn't. Personally, I'm not sure that it will.

Other people like to say, oh, we want peace. You know, they have been saying now for 25 years, oh, we want peace, we want peace, and he then he just keeps going, and going, and going. Well, maybe something gets work out and maybe it doesn't.

But I can tell you one thing: you are protected. OK. You are protected.

Nobody is going to mess with our people. Nobody is going to play games. Nobody is going to put our people in that kind of danger. Nobody.


And Japan and South Korea are right up there with us, and, by the way, many other countries, many, many other countries. They are right up there with us.

And I have to tell you that I made a friend in China, President Xi, and yesterday, he basically took the banking industry away from North Korea. Never been done before. Never been done.


That's based on relationship. Relationship is very good.

But we are dealing with somebody that we'll figure out. He may be smart, he may be strategic, and he may be totally crazy.

But you know what? No matter what he is, we are going to handle it, folks. Believe me. We're going to handle it.


The foundation for progress begins at home with the government that protects and defends our citizens. That is what we have to do. That is why I'm here tonight to ask the good people of Alabama to send Luther Strange to the United States Senate so he can defend your interest, fight for your values and always put America first. Go out and get out the vote.


But I'm going to tell you, I just tell you this quick crazy story. So, why do I like Luther because, you know, I have a lot of friends, and some of them called, do you mind if I go for the other candidate? I said, really, you can. I mean, some of them are working for me and they feel, and that's fine. Of course, they may not have a job on Monday but this my -- right, Richard?

BERMAN: All right. President Trump is speaking in Huntsville, Alabama. This is a speech designed to prop up the Senate candidate Luther Strange, who's on a tough runoff against Roy Moore, perhaps more conservative candidate, someone known to buck the system, someone who, by the way, has the support of Sarah Palin, Steve Bannon, "Breitbart".

Let's listen a little bit.

TRUMP: So, I'm very much involved. You know, they like to say, well, Mr. Trump, President Trump sat in the Oval Office and didn't -- I'm on the phone screaming at people all day long, for weeks.

They gave me a list of 10 people that were absolutely nos. These are 10 Republican senators. Now, John McCain's list --


[20:20:02] John McCain was not on the list, so that was a totally unexpected thing. Terrible. Honestly, terrible, and repeal and replace, because John McCain, if you look at his campaign, his last campaign was all about repeal and replace, repeal and replace.

So, he decided to do something different, and that's s fine, and I say, we still have a chance to -- oh, we're going to do it eventually. We're going to do it eventually. With Luther and -- we are going to do it. But I have to tell you this story, because we are here tonight for Luther Strange, and I am here sort of for two. I'm here for Luther, and I'm actually here, it's a Friday night, I really do love the people of Alabama, because you have treated me so nice.


In fact, in fact, I said, I don't want to speak negatively, I said though that if I lose this election, maybe I will end up moving to Alabama or Kentucky or like some states. I mean, nice to the go where people love you and where you love them, because it's special.

So, here's what happened. Here is what happened, but we never want to lose, right? Despite that, we don't want to lose, because we have a great agenda, and by the way, we are doing a lot of work, we're getting a lot of things done. They hate to admit it, including we have a Supreme Court justice, Judge Gorsuch, who will save how about a thing called your Second Amendment, right? OK? And remember that?


If crooked Hillary got elected, you would not have a Second Amendment, believe me. You'd be handing in your rifles. You'd be saying, here, here, here they are. You go like. You'd be turning over your rifles.


You have got to speak to Jeff Sessions about that.


So, here's what happened with Luther. So, Luther and get this list of ten names of people who are absolute total noes, and they were good people, a lot of them. By the way, in all fairness, Rand Paul was on that list and they said don't even waste your time calling him, he voted twice yes, OK? He was very good, and I have not given up on him, because I think he may come around, OK?

Wouldn't it be ironic if he took John McCain's place, and they definitely do not like each other, wouldn't that be ironic? That would be very ironic for those of you that know the inner workings of the Senate.

So with Luther, so, I have a list and one of the names is Luther Strange and I know he is the senator from Alabama, but I don't know him, I met him once. I said, that is the tallest human being I have ever seen. I'm tall. I never saw, he's like -- he should be on the New York Knicks, I could use him.

So, Luther, that's why I call him Big Luther, and everybody is now calling him Big Luther. But I have to tell you, so I call up to different people, well, Mr. President, could you have dinner with my wife, myself, my family, my kids, my cousins, my uncles, and I'd like to talk to you about it. OK.

So they come over with the family, and pictures all night, everything. OK. And I'll get a vote or I won't, whatever, but brutal, brutal. You know -- and you know what that is, folks? It is called brutality.

I call another one, I say, Senator, we need your vote, I know you are opposed to it, but -- well, you know, I think that I can get there, but you have to do me a favor. You have to see my brother and his wife, they love you and they want to have dinner with you, and they want to have breakfast with you and lunch. And then after you finish with them, how about we'll go out for a picnic someplace on the White House lawn and after that, then maybe we'll start talking about it. And oh, my -- it was brutal. You have no idea.

OK. Now, I call Luther Strange. I said, oh, I got to call this guy, and he is a no, right? And I say, Senator, I need your help. I said, I got to get your vote on health care, and he says, you got it.


I said, what do you mean I have it? Because I have just been hammered by all of these people, right? What do you mean I have it?

He said, sir, I was with for you right from the beginning, I knew you were going to the win, I know you're going to win the whole thing.

[20:25:00] I've always been for you, my family has been for you, and honestly, Mr. President, if you want my vote, you have it.

I said, do I have to meet you someplace? Do I have to have dinner with your family? I think his wife, by the way, is fantastic, but I said, do I have to have dinner with you and your wife? No, sir, you don't have to have anything, I've supported you from the beginning, and you shouldn't even waste anymore time talking to me. Mr. President, you have my total support.

I went home and told my wife, that's the coolest thing that's happened to me in six months, OK? It's true. It's true story.


And then, time goes by. And he voted, and then, of course, you know, John McCain came in and he went thumb's down at 3:00 in the morning. Everybody --


And oh, I know so much, folks, I could tell you. It was sad. And we had a couple of other senators, but at least we knew where we stood, that was like really a horrible thing, honestly. It was a horrible, horrible thing that happened to the Republican Party. That was a horrible thing.

So, anyway, so time goes by. And I see Luther's in a race. And he -- people are saying that he is friendly, whether you like Mitch McConnell or not doesn't matter, but they are saying that he is friendly with Mitch, he doesn't even know Mitch McConnell. He was there for a few months and they put the mantle around his neck. I told Mitch I'd like to say this, you know, I don't like to, but I'm telling, he doesn't know Mitch McConnell at all.

Luther is a tough, tough cookie. He doesn't deal with and kowtow to anybody. So, they put it around. So, all of the sudden, I see that he is down in the race by a lot. And I said, man, that's really unfair, they were giving him a bum rap, because he happened to be in the Senate, they were giving him a bum rap.

And I remember the call, and by the way, the other people that I called, and they are all fine, but you don't remember. The dinners and that this and that, and you don't remember any of it, you remember one sentence, sir, don't even waste your time talking anymore and you have a lot of business to do, you have my vote. This is a definite no. And I said, that's the coolest thing, and I remembered it.

And I called him and I checked and he was down because of being saddled with stuff, he was down by quite a bit. And I said, I'm going to endorse you, and he didn't believe it. He said, you would do that? I said, yes, I'm going to do that. I shouldn't be doing it, the last thing I want to do is be involved in a primary, OK?

I could be sitting home right now getting to watch some of the games tomorrow, getting ready, right?

But, seriously, the last thing I wanted to do was to get -- but I'll never forget the way he did that. It was really cool. So, what happened, I call him and I said, you know, I want to find -- first of all, how are you doing? How are you doing? And he said, honestly, I'm down a little bit, but I think we're going to -- I said, I think that you are going to come back, Luther. I think you are going to come back, and you're going to kick everyone's ass, and you are going to do great, you're going to do great.


Because he got saddled with things that he should not have gotten saddled with. So, he started off here, he was in third or fourth, he went to third,

second, and now, it's like almost pretty even, right? And I called him up a week ago, and I said, you know, I think that you are down by a few points, but I'm going to come to Alabama and I'm going to make a speech for you on Friday night.


And such a true story. And as soon as we announced, you know, you are looking at arena, and you know, the media, the fake news I call it, the worst.


Fake news. They won't show this. You know, they will say, Donald Trump spoke before a small crowd in Alabama last night. It was a small crowd, very unenthusiastic crowd, and it was a terrible evening.

Now, these are the most, among the most dishonest people. I really mean it. These are among the most dishonest people.

For instance -- look at the crowd, I'd love to have them show the crowd, but they don't show the crowd, they show me. The whole night, I go home, I say, Melania -- by the way, she's become very popular, hasn't she?


She's become very popular. Yes. I mean, she respects the White House, we love the White House. They actually said about me that I called the White House a dump. I think that the White House is one of the most beautiful buildings I've ever seen and I speak of it with reverence and they said that and they wouldn't retract it and I hated it, because I speak so well. I love the White House, but my wife respects the White House greatly.

So when she leaves the plane and we are going to Texas --

BERMAN: All right, there you have it, the rally for President Trump that he said you would not see the crowd he said, we would not show. President made some news right there. He said he was surprised frankly that John McCain came out as a no vote on the Graham/Cassidy Bill to repeal Obamacare. He also called Kim Jong-un, "Little Rocket Man". And he effected the southern accident times.

So a lot of news there, let's discussed with our panel, Jen Psaki joins right now, Jack Kingston, Ryan Lizza.

Ryan, first to you, on the substance of what the president is saying, he is down there to endorse Luther Strange in the Senate runoff, he talks some about the health care status right now, and says he was surprised that John McCain came out as a no vote today as our Phil Mattingly knows. John McCain has basically been telling us for days, that he was going to vote no on this.

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, and I was little confuse was the call list and the 10 senators that he was describing, and first of all, just -- it was quite hilarious this description of being a president lobbying the senators asking Trump for all of these favors, picnic on the White House lawn, dinner, you know, breakfast.

You can tell he was little frustrated by that process. But it was also rifting and quite a humorous way about it. I was actually a little unclear whether he was talking about the original votes during the summer or he was talking about the current Graham/Cassidy Bill. It wasn't quite clear.

In either case, he had this list of the 10 Republican senators who he was told to lobby, and it sort of an indictment of his political staff that John McCain was not on that list. They obviously did not do the prep work to understand that McCain was wavering whether it was on the first bill or the more recent one that that McCain came out against today. But certainly, at lot of frustration in his voice with John McCain, Trump being trump, I felt that he was a little bit more restrained than he usually is.

BERMAN: No question.

LIZZA: Usually he's a lot a harsher to people who cross him.

BERMAN: He was restrained with Senator John McCain, he called his terrible, terrible horrible, horrible, thing to the Republican Party. We have a little bit of the sound. Let's play that right now.


TRUMP: Trump -- President Trump sat in the Oval Office didn't do -- I'm on the phone screaming at people all day long for weeks. They gave me a list of 10 people that were absolute nos, these are 10 Republican senators.

Now John McCain's list -- John McCain was not on the list, so that is a totally unexpected thing, terrible. Honestly, terrible. Repeal and replace, because John McCain if you're looking his campaign, his last campaign, was all about repeal and replace, repeal and replace. So, he decided to do something different, and that is fine. And I say we still have a chance to -- oh, we are going to do it eventually, we're going to do it eventually.


BERMAN: He also said that John McCain basically did a horrible thing to the Republican Party, and Jack Kingston a former Congressman. The president also say he still think he might be able to change Rand Paul's vote, who right now was a no on this. He thinks he might be able to get Senator Paul to yes. You think that's possible or do you think at this point, this thing is essentially dead?

JACK KINGSTON, (R) FORMER CONGRESSMAN, GEORGIA: I think its possible. I would not give up on it yet I think that Rand Paul realizes that if this thing goes down, his legacy and a guy who may be a future presidential candidate again, but his legacy could be the Republican who killed the repeal and replace opportunity. And so, I mean, this would be a horrible 30-second sound bite for any Republican.

And I got to say the president is right. What Mr. McCain did to the Republican Party today is a guy who was the standard bearer in '08, somebody I worked for, somebody that all of us have worked for at one time or another. You know, he let us down, he let us down as a party, and his philosophy that he ran on -- in 2016 was repeal and replace. His ads were all over the state of Arizona about repeal and replace. So I think that it was a surprise and I do agree with Chris that the president --

LIZZA: Ryan.

KINGSTON: -- blended the lobbying if you will, because you don't really know the time sequence on that, but I will say that somebody who was a member of the whip team in the House, it's not unusual for the members to say, I want to get my brother-in-law for the Oval Office for a photo-op in the exchange for a vote. And so he was absolutely telling the truth on that.

[20:34:59] BERMAN: Ans apparently all the people he was imitating were people from the south, because this is the accent that he used the describe every single phone call he had. Jen Psaki, I want the ask you a question, because so many of your colleagues who were involved with the Obama campaign in 2008 and 2012 have sent out messages today praising John McCain for his action today not the types of things that they were saying back in 2008 when he was the Republican nominee, and frankly, not the types of things that they would have said when he was opposing Obamacare when it was up for a vote or even in 2016 when he ran against Obamacare.

JEN PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's true, but I think what we've seen from John McCain over the past couple of months is really going back to the root of who he was in 2000 and a period of time where he was thought of as the maverick where he did have a fair amount of support for Democrats. He was an interesting candidate for president. And now, in the state of the world that we're in with Donald Trump as president, I think it's actually caused many Democrats including many Obama team members to look back and think, wow, John McCain wasn't so bad. Neither was Mitt Romney. We would take either of those guys over the current president.

BERMAN: And Ryan Lizza, I think people were surprised, some people were surprised that John McCain would vote against or announce that he was going to vote against the bill put out by his best friend in Washington and maybe one of his best friend in the world right now, Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina.


BERMAN: Were you surprised? I mean John McCain made it pretty clear how he felt about this. I guess if I was surprised that was surprised that Lindsey Graham didn't take this into account over the last few weeks.

LIZZA: Yes, absolutely. I think two big factors that are surprising, one, just this close personal relationship they have. I mean you can make a buddy movie out of the two their relationship between those guys. And then the other thing is that the governor of Arizona which was -- who was advising McCain on this was for Graham/Cassidy.

So I think that could have given McCain some cover if he wanted to come out for this bill. But on the other hand after his diagnosis for brain surgery and his first reappearance in the Senate, he gave a very impassioned speech about process, and said that the bottom line for him was that the health care bill had to go through a bipartisan or what they call in the Senate regular order. And his argument was, if you don't do that, then when the Democrats are in power, well they're going to flip the health care system back to something more like Obamacare or single payer.

And unless you have a bipartisan large majority coming together instituting some system, were going to be -- its going to be flipped back and forth. Anyway, that was his argument.


LIZZA: The process of Graham/Cassidy, I don't think anyone can defend it, the process. Maybe you can defend the bill, but the process was frankly atrocious. And they're trying to do it by September 30th with this artificial deadline instituted by the Senate parliamentarian, it has not gone through regular order, they wouldn't even be a Congressional budget office score which is just routine for something that affects this larger chunk of the economy.

So I think it would have been really hard for McCain to come out to say, well, you know, I love Lindsey Graham so I'm backing this bill, the speech I gave about process be damned.

BERMAN: Right Ryna Lizza, Jack Kingston, Jen Psaki --


BERMAN: Very quickly Congressman?

KINGSTON: I just say when anybody starts arguing the process in the U.S. Senate, it is a cop-out, I think he just wanted to vote no, and he found that's a convenient excuse. I mean this bill was not a new bill.

LIZZA: And maybe his dislike for Donald Trump overcame his love for Lindsey Graham.

BERMAN: All right, we're going to end it there guys. I do appreciate it. We are keeping an eye on the President Trump. And in just a moment, we're going to speak to Fareed Zakaria get his take on the president's confrontation with Kim Jong-un, just called him "Little Rocket Man" in the speech.

And later Mexico in the story behind these images taken from beneath the rubble by a trapped survivor. We never seen anything like this. And you do not want to miss it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [20:41:41] BERMAN: The president speaking tonight at Huntsville, Alabama, campaigning for Luther Strange slamming John McCain's health care decision, but reserving a special moment as well for Kim Jong-un, amping up the name calling.


TRUMP: The best guys. I want to tell you something and I'm sure he's listening, because he watches every word, and I guarantee you one thing he's watching us like he never watched anybody before. That I can tell you. That I can tell you.

And maybe something gets worked out and maybe it doesn't. Personally, I'm not sure that it will. Other people like to say, oh, we want peace. You know, they've been saying for now 25 years, we want peace. We want peace.

And then he goes and just keeps going, going, going. Well, maybe something gets worked out and maybe it doesn't. But I can tell you one thing, you are protected. OK. You are protected.

Nobody is going to mess with our people. Nobody is going to play games. Nobody is going to put our people in that kind of danger. Nobody.


BERMAN: He called Kim Jong-un, "Little Rocket Man". And earlier he wrote that Kim Jong-un of North Korea who's obviously a mad man who doesn't mind starving or killing his people will be tested like never before. And Kim has called the president mentally derange or rouge a gangster frightened dog, and basically an old lunatic.

Meanwhile, North Korea's foreign administer says Pyongyang may test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean in response to the president's comments to the U.N. Earlier I had a chance to talk about this world war in Fareed Zakaria hosted Fareed Zakaria GPS.


BERMAN: So Fareed what exactly is going on here? Do you believe that there are people inside the State Department or the Pentagon who think it's a good idea for the president of the United States to be going sort of tip per tap would be playground insults for the leader of North Korea?

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, FAREED ZAKARIA GPS: It's highly unlikely. Look we've been through this before, you know, that we've seen the development that China went through when it went nuclear. The United States has always been very sober, very restrained. You know, we've always let them be the crazy guys, and we would be the grown-ups and be restrained and then sober.

In this case it does feel as though Trump personally can't stand the idea that Kim Jong-un gets the last word. He seems as though he always needs to counter punch remember. A couple of times I think that it's Kellyanne Conway who picks and always said he is always said he will counter punch.

Well what applies in domestic policy but it's also applies in foreign policy. He clearly feels if they punch he has to counter punch. It's not a good idea because it just causes a needless escalation. And in the case of the United States all would stand to be watch very carefully for kind of credibility, nobody thinks Kim Jong-un is credible. But the president of the United States is meant to say things that have a kind of credibility behind them, and then we backup. You know, and the fire and fury and all the stuff. We're not going to destroy North Korea. So we should stop pretending we are.

BERMAN: So you hear from Trump's supporters they say, nothing else has worked in dealing with North Korea. Clinton's diplomacy didn't work with North Korea with George W. Bush's prior with North Korea didn't work. With Obama didn't do with North Korean. And some cases didn't work. So who was to say that tough talk will get a different outcome?

[20:45:07] ZAKARIA: Yes. You can -- it's an argument that says, why don't we be reckless and gamble, because other things haven't worked. What I would say is you could still end up in a bad situation. Look when a country decides that it is -- it feels existentially threatened and that it wants to buy insurance, and that insurance in the world of international affairs is nuclear weapons, it's been very hard to stop countries.

India went nuclear, Israel went nuclear, Pakistan went nuclear, they all suffered sanctions, China went nuclear. You know, that these things are not as easy to stop, because the nation doing it, feels that is their only way to guarantee survival. And imagine of your in North Korea. You are, you know, you isolated in the world used to have a Soviet Union as your great benefactor, gone. Use to have China as your great benefactor. They don't support it much anymore.

And the United States has been saying we want to destroy the regime. Guess what? I'd be nervous.

BERMAN: The president says that Kim Jong-un will be tested like he's never been tested before. How do you interpret that? Is that before more sanctions, is that something else?

ZAKARIA: The sensible smart policy that the Trump administration is actually in part -- in large part following would be in terms of the actions tightens the sanctions. People think that North Korea is the most sanctioned country in the world. It actually isn't.

The sanctions that were put in place against Iran under the Obama Administration will much more significant. So tighten the sanctions, get the Chinese to put real pressure on them, and this is possible the Chinese have no great love for the North Koreans. They just worried about instability,

And then try to create maybe an international group that comes together and puts more pressure. But also I think you got to put a carrot out there saying, here if you come to the table, here's what might be possible. That's the intelligence strategy. If by tested he means that we're going to try some kind of limited military strike. It just strikes me as very, very dangerous. You know, in all of these things, could it work? Yes. But there's a real chance that you are putting it the lives of 20 million South Koreans who live within artillery fire of North Korea in great jeopardy.

BERMAN: Fareed Zakaria thanks so much.

ZAKARIA: Pleasure.


BERMAN: Well all know the president has an itchy Twitter thing when it comes to North Korea means that flatter him or insult Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama of any ratings. Well in fact they pretty much everything. But half an hour Bill Weir examines the Twitter Presidents. See in CNN Special Report Twitter and Trump, that's tonight at 9:00 eastern here on CNN.

Meantime, there's breaking news on the federal investigation as Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin's travel. He is accused of using cost the government jet and we have learned that investigators are looking at a third flight he took at a small government plane to Trump Tower in New York in August. That trip cost you as a taxpayer about $25,000.

The treasury secretary is not the only cabinet member under review for his travel. The Department of Health and Human Services is looking at Secretary Tom Price his use of private jets. According to Politico, Price is taking at least 24 flights on private charter plane since early May. CNN's Randi Kaye has more.


REP. TOM PRICE (R), GEORGIA: This is just another example of a fiscal irresponsibly -- irresponsibility run a mock in Congress right now.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): That was 2009. Republican Congressman Tom Price of Georgia railing against spending hundreds of millions of dollars on private jets to ferry members of Congress.

PRICE: Now we need -- they cut up from four jets to zero jets.

KAYE (voice-over): But that was then. In 2017, with Price now Health and Human Services secretary, it seems he's fully on board with what he was once strongly against. Private jets? Yes, please.

And we're not talking just one flight on board a private plane, but perhaps as many as 24 private jet flights since May. That's a hefty price tag for the taxpayers as much as 300,000, as reported by Politico. Five of those private flights appear to have taken place just last week. Two in from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Philadelphia. All commercially serviced routes.

The treatment center where Price spoke outside of Philadelphia just a mere 125 miles or 2 and a half-hour drive depending on traffic from HHS headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C. The same trip by car would have cost an estimated $18 in gasoline each way for an SUV and about $18 in tolls. Instead, Price's trip on board the private plane could have cost you, the taxpayer, as much as $25,000.

And the comparisons hardly end there. Our flight search showed there was a commercial flight departing just minutes earlier than Price's pricey private jet bound for Philadelphia for a fraction of the price.

[20:0:05] That commercial flight would have cost between $500 and $700. And of course, there was also the option of Amtrak a train from Washington to Philadelphia even in first class would have cost taxpayers no more than a few hundred dollars round trip.

(on-camera): The Health and Human Services inspector general is conducting a review of Secretary Price's potentially inappropriate travel. In a statement the IG's office says the review focuses on whether Price's travel complied with federal travel regulations.

(voice-over): Meanwhile an HHS spokes woman tried to justify Price's jet setting ways in saying "The president has made it clear his Administration will move power out of Washington and return it to the American people. Secretary Price will continue meeting with the American people outside of the Beltway to hear their concerns and ensure HHS makes decisions that best provide for their needs."

In response the top Democrat on the House Energy and commerce panel reminded Tom Price in a statement, "That taxpayer funds are not meant to be used as a jet setting flush fund."


BERMAN: And Randi Kaye joins me right now. And Randi before your piece we mentioned the breaking news about the Steve Mnuchin trip. Not even the first time that Mnuchin, the treasury secretary has had his trips come under question.

KAYE: Absolutely. He's come under fire recently for this government trip on board a government plane that he took to Kentucky where he happened to get this great view of the solar eclipse from Fort Knox. His office has said that was strictly government business. His office also secured a government plain for Steve Mnuchin's honeymoon, his European honeymoon last summer. They said it was so he would have more secure communications available to him the request for that plane was later withdrawn.

Steve Mnuchin has come out and said the government has not paid for a penny of my travel. Tom Price has yet to personally come out and say the same.

BERMAN: All right. Flying in style. Randi Kaye thanks so much.

Coming up, a story of survival in Mexico with the incredible pictures from survivors trapped inside a collapsed building after 17 hours they are rescued. Ed Lavandera speaks with them. Next.


[20:55:07] BERMAN: An already devastating situation in Puerto Rico is getting even worse in the northwest part of the island. Hurricane Maria is now dumped so much rain on the island. The dam holding back a reservoir is failing. 70,000 people have been sold to evacuate immediately and that's on top of the fact that most Puerto Ricans are without utilities, running water or access in medical care.

Then there's Mexico. Officials say the top priority is finding anyone who still may be trapped in the quake rubble. Ed Lavandera is in Mexico and has an incredible survivor story with the pictures to match.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESNPONDENT (voice-over): At 1:14 Tuesday afternoon Martin Mendez a locksmith was replacing broken locks in an accounting office on the fourth floor of this building at (INAUDIBLE) 286. When the world around him started to rumble.

When the earthquake struck what did you hear?


LAVANDERA (on-camera): So the building moved back and forth two or three times.


LAVANDERA (on-camera): He said, I started jumping up and down like a horse.

(voice-over): When the shaking stopped, Martin found himself trapped with three women he'd never met before who worked in the office he was visiting. Could you move?


LAVANDERA (on-camera): Could you move.


(on-camera): He said he could only move like a worm.


LAVANDERA (on-camera): He said they started getting very nervous because they were running out of air. He thought they were going to suffocate.

(voice-over): What came next would test every shred of perseverance they could muster. Diana Pacheco says they had no time to react and could hear the floors above crashing down.

(on-camera): What was it like when the earthquake struck?


LAVANDERA (voice-over): It all happened so fast, she says. We didn't have time to get out. In five or six seconds the building collapsed. Diana she says she reached for her phone and started sending these text messages to her husband. "Love, The roof has fallen. We're trapped. I love you. I love you so much. We're on the fourth floor near the emergency exit. There are four of us."

And then you can see a series of phone calls that wouldn't connect. That was enough to alert rescue workers that there were indeed people still alive inside this building, but the rescuers couldn't hear them.


LAVANDERA (voice-over): Diana says the sounds were horrible. She recorded this incredible video of the space where she was trapped, massive sheets of concrete around them. They used cellphone lights to see the dust billowing around them. There was no escape, no way out.

Martin and Diana and the two others talked to each other, soothing each other's fears, waiting for rescue workers to reach them. Martin's leg was broken. He sat there in excruciating pain.

(on-camera): What was going through your mind?


LAVANDERA (on-camera): He say I was talking to God and hoping that the rescuers.

(voice-over): As we talk Martin opens his phone and shares with us a picture he took of himself while he was trapped. He hadn't seen it. The emotions overwhelming.


LAVANDERA (on-camera): Imagine that you believe there was no way you were getting out?


LAVANDERA (voice-over): Yes, I did. I always believed I was going to get out alive, he says. Finally, after 17 hours, rescue workers pulled all four of them out alive.

(on-camera)All these scratches came when he was pulled out.

(voice-over): Diana Pacheco and Martin Mendez are now recovering in the same hospital on the same floor and haven't been able to see each other since they were rescued. They were brought together in an unexpected moment of horror and survived. And I teach him a phrase in English that he and his friends can share. We made it. We made it.


LAVANDERA (on-camera): We made it. MARTIN MENDEZ, EARTHQUAKE SURVIVOR: We made it.

LAVANDERA (on-camera): We made it.


BERMAN: And Ed Lavandera joins us now from Mexico City. I have never seen a pictures like that. Ed did the people you spoke with. Did they say how they survived?

LAVANDERA: You know, they've been asking themselves that question. That's the building you see behind me where workers are still working, looking for survivors tonight. They say there were a couple of pieces of furniture that got lodged between the chunks of cement that they were able to kind of hide underneath. But they also relied on each other. They soothed each other.

They actually told me they made themselves laugh a couple of the times. But mostly it was the thought and the power of idea of reuniting with their children and that really got them through this 17-hour ordeal. John.

BERMAN: Hear him say we made it, Ed. So moving. Ed Lavandera in Mexico City. Thank you so much, Ed.

And thank you all for watching 360. The CNN Special Report Twitter and Trump starts right now.