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Trump to Campaign in Alabama for Luther Strange; London Bans Uber; How Trump's Tweets Shape the Presidency; Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired September 22, 2017 - 10:30   ET



BILL BRITT, ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, no, it doesn't. Thank you for having me on. I don't find it surprising at all. He might as well have said, if you love Trump you're going to like me. That should be the new slogan for Strange.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The race is really fascinating. It's shaping up to be a contest between two wings, really, of the Republican Party. And if you look at the president himself, it sort of splits the president against some of his own people, including, you know, Steve Bannon, Breitbart in general, who are actually backing Roy Moore.

BRITT: Well, and that's absolutely true here on the ground. I mean, Roy Moore is a proven fire brand. He's got great character and he is a character here in Alabama, whereas Luther Strange has spent 20 plus years as a lobbyist. He is part of the establishment and people here don't trust Luther Strange the way they trust Roy Moore.

There are people who have a lot of problems with Roy Moore, but trusting, to be honest, is not one of them.

HARLOW: Help us understand, and the president sort of shift in thinking in such a strong backing of Luther Strange, because Moore seems like his guy in so many ways, sort of anti-establishment, anti- the man, anti, you know, big government, all that he went through. Moore, for example, what he said about same-sex marriage, you know, losing his position because of refusal to take down the "Ten Commandments."

That's sort of seems to be more in line with the thinking of the president in terms of sort of sticking it to big establishment than Luther Strange does.

BRITT: Sure. And it's very typical of Alabama, as I often say, you know, New York is the Empire State, Missouri the show me state, Alabama is the make me state. You know, our history is replete with our politicians standing up to the federal government going, make me. And Roy Moore is a classic example in that same mode, and Luther Strange is really a country club Republican, a throwback. He'd be much more comfortable in the northeast than he would in the deep south.

BERMAN: Oh. Nothing meaner you can say about an Alabama politician than that.

Bill, before we let you go, I just want to get you on the record, who is going to win on Tuesday?

BRITT: It's all going to be turnout. The secretary of state John Merrill says it will be 12 percent to 15 percent turnout. Roy Moore's base is motivated. Let's see what Luther Strange can do.

BERMAN: Bill Brit, from Montgomery, thanks so much for being with us. Really appreciate it.

Joining us now to discuss, Republican strategist, former official Rudy Giuliani's administration, Susan Del Percio, great to have you here with us. And CNN political commentator Paris Dennard. Paris, great to see you as well.

You know, Susan, what does the president have at stake right now? He's going down to this race tonight. You don't usually see a president jumping into a primary like this.

SUSAN DEL PERCIO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You don't. And what's interesting with this president in particular, it's probably his ego more than anything else that is at stake right now because I think he will take this very personally. Plus, they have the setup of, is it a Bannon/Trump showdown and they have that, you know, all going. And I really don't think it is.

I think Alabama is tough to go with an establishment person. I don't think it's necessarily a big Trump loss politically, and yet, in the House, it could -- I mean in the Senate it could be devastating.

HARLOW: Paris, let's switch gears and talk a little bit about health care. There's a big health care debate on Monday night here on CNN. You've got Graham and Cassidy, the authors, the sponsors of their own -- this legislation, right? Pitted against Bernie Sanders, the, you know, single-payer, Medicaid-for-all guy, and Amy Klobuchar, another Democrat.

There are some Democrats that are really worried that this is going to look like single-payer versus Graham-Cassidy, not Graham-Cassidy versus Obamacare because of Bernie Sanders. What do you make of it?

PARIS DENNARD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think that analysis is very true. Look, at the end of the day, when you have Bernie Sanders, who lost the election, coming out for his plan for single-payer, which the Democrats weren't able to get in with the original Obamacare plan, it shows that he seems to be out of touch and out of touch with where the Senate is trying to go and where the country needs to go because it didn't pass the smell test on the beginning.

Look, these elections have consequences and the consequences that we see now are the Republicans are in charge and they're going to do something. Graham-Cassidy is the best bet to repeal and replace Obamacare because we know Obamacare is not going to work. But at the end of the day, we have to remember, Graham-Cassidy is going to be something that is different, that the Republicans can get behind, and Bernie Sanders and this single-payer option, it seems to be outside of Democrats coming together and saying, let's fix the problems that are there in Obamacare.

We all know that they're there but when you stand on the outside and try to push single-payer seems like you are not in touch with what the American people actually need.

BERMAN: But, Susan, for the most part right now the discussion is between Graham-Cassidy and Obamacare.

[10:35:03] We had Tom Reed, Republican congressman from New York on with us earlier, and he's caught in the middle of this right now. And New York could lose 35 percent of its federal funding for health care if Graham-Cassidy passes.

What pressure does that put on the Tom Reeds, the Peter Kings of the world, Republican congressmen from blue states? And there are a lot of them.

DEL PERCIO: There are a lot of them. And it does add a great deal of pressure on them because they're going to see what it's going to lead to, taxes going up in New York even further. So that is a big pressure for these members of the House to deal with. That being said, the problem with Cassidy-Graham, Graham-Cassidy is that it is only out there to -- as a PR stunt. It is not about solving the health care problem.

And I agree with Paris in that you are looking at setting this debate up with Bernie Sanders as, do you want to overhaul all of our health care system because we're moving it to something that will affect every single American, or do you want to look at this idea of what's the uninsured Americans who are individual payers who have to buy it themselves which is only about 10 or 20 million Americans that it would really be affecting?

So this debate is very tricky and I think it's one that is not going -- if Graham-Cassidy passes it will not end up being good for the Republicans.

HARLOW: That's interesting.

Paris, let me get you on this, Facebook, is all over the headlines this morning. They're going to turn over these 3,000 ads bought by the Russian troll farms to Congress. First they were just giving it to Bob Mueller, special counsel, now they're giving it to Congress. You've got two Democrats authoring this legislation to call on a lot more disclosure for ads that run digitally, right, just like you see on TV, paid for by X campaign, you know where it comes from, et cetera.

So on the heels of that, the president tweets this morning this is all a big hoax, you know, goes back to blaming the media for Hillary Clinton, you see it right there. I just wonder what his thinking is? I mean Bob Mueller doesn't think it's a hoax. The bipartisan congressional committees don't think it's a hoax. Facebook doesn't think it's a hoax because they're changing some of their strategy. Why is the president doing this when his approval numbers are going


DENNARD: Well, I think that what the president is trying to do is reinforce to the American people that the part that is a hoax in his mind and the minds of many that support him in this administration is that pitting everything that's related to Russia on Donald J. Trump and on the trump campaign.

What we know from this Facebook revelation is that we don't know the depths of what Russia was doing as it relates to trying to meddle in this election, but we do know if -- that if there is going to be an investigation, it needs to be fair and it needs not focus singularly on one particular campaign.

Let's look at the totality of what Russia could have been trying to do that might include Facebook, which they're saying that it does, it might include Hillary Clinton's campaign and it might include other opportune things but to say that it is only Donald Trump and the Donald Trump campaign is unfair and I think that's why --


HARLOW: It's not --

DENNARD: -- he's called it a hoax.

BERMAN: Susan?

HARLOW: It's not what Facebook is doing.

DEL PERCIO: That's not what's happening. Everyone knows that Russia was involved with Hillary Clinton's hacking into some e-mails there. Everyone knows that the Russians were trying to hack into voter rolls and systems. And yes, they may have played a role in the Donald Trump campaign.

No one is questioning, it seems like, was there Russian involvement in the U.S. elections? What Donald Trump should say is, I am proud to have been elected president of the United States and I will look into any foreign government who's tried to influence our elections. He just would look so much better if he did that.

BERMAN: And again, let's just remind people it's a special counsel and these bipartisan committees led by Republicans asking for these Facebook ads right now.

Susan Del Percio, Paris Dennard, great to have you with us. Thanks so much.

HARLOW: Thank you, both.

DEL PERCIO: Thank you. My pleasure.

HARLOW: So this morning a big announcement from one of the biggest pharmacy giants in the country. CVS says it's fighting America's opioid crisis by capping how many of the prescription painkillers you can actually get at a time.

This is the first national retail chain to do this. It starts in February. People who are prescribed opioids can only get seven pills at a time. Pharmacists have to talk to those people about the risk of addiction when they buy them. CVS is also going to limit the number and the daily dosages based on the strength of the drug that will require its pharmacies to use the less addictive immediate release drugs instead of those time lapsed versions.

BERMAN: All right. London puts the brakes on Uber. Pulling the license. Why the city wants Uber out.


[10:43:31] HARLOW: All right. Think about catching an Uber in London? You better think again.

HARLOW: I was going to do that this weekend -- no. The city is pulling the license of the popular ride sharing app saying it's not, quote, "fit or proper to operate in all of London." Uber says it will take this one to court.

Our CNN correspondent Erin McLaughlin is in London with more.

Why? I mean, what's the reasoning here?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Poppy, I'm told that this is the result of a meticulous review by the main regulatory body here in London for the transport networks called TSL, Transport for London, Their reasons primarily having to do with safety and security. Among the specific points they made, they have concerns about Uber's approach to enhanced background checks of its drivers. Also concerns about the way they report serious criminal offenses to authorities.

Now the London Mayor Sadiq Khan supports this decision. I spoke to him a while ago and asked him what his message will be to the some 40,000 registered Uber drivers in the city and the millions of customers who use the service. Take a listen to what he had to say.


MAYOR SADIQ KHAN, LONDON: If you're an Uber driver, if you're an Uber user you're right to be angry at Uber for failing to play by the rules. The question you should be asking is why is Uber not playing by the rules, and Uber have said they're going to appeal this decision. Uber employs an army of lawyers and public relations teams and they've already set out their plans to appeal this decision.


MCLAUGHLIN: Now Uber is pushing back in a big way on these allegations releasing a statement of its own.

[10:45:05] Let me just read you part of it saying, quote, "Transport for London and the mayor have caved into a small number of people who want to restrict consumers choice. If this decision stands it will put more than 40,000 licensed drivers out of work and deprive Londoners of a convenient and affordable form of transport."

We know the people who must be celebrating this decision today, of course, the London cabbies. They have long been protesting Uber's presence in this city. At some point even jamming the street with traffic jams in protests of the fact that Uber is able to operate in the city.

But this is not a done deal. Uber says it plans to appeal, to take this to the court system. They can operate while that appeal process is under way.

HARLOW: All right. Erin McLaughlin in London for us, we'll see how this all plays out in court. Thank you. Have a good weekend.

What is in the mind of the president? Look online. Next.


[10:50:22] BERMAN: So you want to know what President Trump is thinking about? All you have to do is check his Twitter feed.

HARLOW: You know that by now. So far this morning he says any Republican who doesn't support the new GOP health care bill will be known as the Republican who saved Obamacare. He has called the North Korean leader a madman and he has referred to the Russia investigation as a hoax.

This list goes on and on and on, on top of it all is our Bill Weir, and he takes a look at the rise of the president's favorite means of communication in a special report tonight, "TWITTER AND TRUMP." Watch.


BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In 2006 just as season five of "The Apprentice" was falling out of the top 50, a Web designer named Jack Dorsey sat down on his computer in San Francisco and typed, "Just setting up my Twitter."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have 90 followers at the moment. So 90 people --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are watching what you're doing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are watching what I'm doing.

WEIR: What started as an idea to send short messages to a network of friends grew into the newest strand of social media, and then exploded the day Michael Jackson died.

PETER SINGER, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: And for the first time we see more than 100,000 tweets in an hour and that's the sign that hold it, this has become a space that people are going to both break and talk about news.

WEIR: This new tool captured the imagination of online marketers. PETER COSTANZO, PUBLISHING MANAGER: Back in 2009, I was working for a

publishing company.

WEIR: Including the man tasked with finding new ways to promote Donald Trump's new book.

COSTANZO: They were saying, we don't really understand this, so you're the expert. Why don't you explain it?

WEIR: They set up a meeting with the boss where Peter explained the basics to the billionaire and then mentioned one hitch, an imposter that already claimed the handle @DonaldTrump.

COSTANZO: So that's when I suggested to him that we call him @realDonaldTrump because he's the authentic, real deal, and I remember he just kind of nodded because he really liked the sound of that.


BERMAN: Bill Weir joins us now. Real Bill Weir, I might add. To talk about what is really I think most highly anticipated hour of television.

WEIR: By popular demand, postponed by storms, natural and manmade.

BERMAN: We've never discussed this hour. So let me ask you this. Look, I think one of the most fascinating aspects about what you discussed is the security concerns, having to do with the president's Twitter account.

WEIR: Yes.

BERMAN: And he started using it way back then. We saw that in the documentary right now. But now he uses it and other countries, other intelligence services can watch and they can learn so much.

WEIR: There are intelligence agents who are both friends and foes around the world whose sole job is to just watch Twitter and wait for the next tweet. He tells us his moods, he tells us his rhythms, his sleeping patterns, the sort of things that, say, Vladimir Putin takes great pains to hide.

That's one reason that the intelligence community thinks Twitter will be his undoing. Then there's the legal side of it, all of these words will have been used against him in court cases from the travel ban and others. He could be laying something out, a lot of historians think if anything that undoes this presidency it will be his Twitter habit.

And we get used to it. You know, it's become normalized. He's tweeted 1,581 times since he was inaugurated now, about 6 1/2 a day, and this morning textbook case, where he uses his favorite word fake, as in fake news, in talking about the Russian investigation, calls Kim Jong-un a madman, and re-tweets people who may or may not have the best Twitter feeds, but it's not for his critics or for the media, it's for his base. And they love it. HARLOW: They love it. They love it, they love it, they love it.

They feel like this is the first president in their lifetime that talks to them.

WEIR: Exactly. And that you can be sitting in your doctor's office or waiting for your oil change and you get a message from the leader of the free world at the same time the other leaders of the world do. Right? That idea, that intimacy, that feel like you and I are simpatico is hugely powerful. It's unprecedented in presidential communications and I think it will be studied for centuries.

BERMAN: He loves it, too. I think that's clear. One of the things that's interesting is he uses it like an off-Broadway tryout. It's new haven.

WEIR: Exactly.

BERMAN: He tried out Rocket Man. He tried out Rocket Man on Twitter before he, you know, rolled it out at the United Nations.


WEIR: Absolutely. And sometimes he tries out policy. He surprised the entire Pentagon with the transgender ban.


WEIR: They were completely caught off guard. And then if the outrage, if the blowback is so much, it sort of dies away.

HARLOW: I wonder how it changes things for whomever the next president is, because I doubt -- I don't know, but you would think they might not tweet exactly like President Trump.


HARLOW: But if they don't communicate like a real person to the American people, do they risk looking out of touch?

[10:55:06] WEIR: Exactly. I mean, we went back and talked to some of the Obama administration, asking how many times is a Barack Obama tweet vetted, and they would go through fact checks, it would take hours because he wanted to be very careful.

This president doesn't -- that's get in the way of a good story, you know? He -- it's emotional. He's pushing your buttons. We break down the kinds of words he uses, the rhythm and all of that and what the cost is ultimately.

HARLOW: Tonight. Can't wait to see it.

WEIR: Thanks.

BERMAN: Tonight.

WEIR: Tonight. BERMAN: I feel good about it, Bill Weir.

"TWITTER AND TRUMP," it airs tonight at 9:00 Eastern right here on CNN.

HARLOW: We are also following the latest on the threats being traded -- the threats being traded between President Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Twitter. We have much more of that straight ahead.