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Senator John McCain Receiving Treatment for Cancer Therapy Side Effects; Interview with Representative Kevin Brady; Thousands of Children Starving in Yemen; Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired December 14, 2017 - 10:30   ET


[10:30:00] DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So what often happens is that someone like Senator McCain is admitted to the hospital to try and receive some treatment to bring down that swell.

They wrote in that statement that you just referenced that this is a sort of normal course for someone who is getting this type of treatment, and it is. This does happen, and it is not unusual to have people hospitalized to try and decrease that swelling in and around the tumor.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Sanjay, you were the only reporter that Senator McCain's doctors spoke with a few months ago at the time of his initial diagnosis.


HARLOW: Just walk us through what they told you and remind everyone what, indeed, he was diagnosed with and how severe it is.

GUPTA: Yes. Good point. You know, it's interesting, you may remember this was found on a routine exam. Senator McCain said he'd been feeling a little tired, this is back in July. He went in for an exam. He ended up getting a brain scan which showed a blood collection that was just right in this area above his left eyebrow. He subsequently had an operation and he was diagnosed with a tumor at that time.

The tumor was what had caused the blood collection. And this type of tumor, people may know this term, it's glioblastoma. It's a type of brain tumor and it is an aggressive one. The surgeons told me at that time that they had removed the entire tumor, but you always have to work under the idea that there's some even microscopic cells left and that's why he's getting his current treatment. That is pretty -- again pretty routine, that is how most of these types of tumors are treated.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Sanjay, you know, I hate to bring politics into this right now, but people are wondering, will John McCain be available to vote next week? He's been very active politically over the last few months.


GUPTA: Yes. BERMAN: I mean, how much longer is it reasonable to expect that he

will be able to be an active member of the Senate?

GUPTA: It's a -- it's a tough question, John, and, you know, I mean, I give you some statistics and statistics apply to broad populations of people and never to a single individual, but, you know, this is the type of tumor, for example, that Senator Ted Kennedy had several years ago, average survival with this type of tumor is about 14 months. I mean, that's tough to say. It's tough to hear. But that is the prognosis with this type of tumor.

It is tough to say during that time period, you know, whether he will have some decline making it difficult or prohibitive for him to continue to do his job and do his work. Just don't know. He's been looking pretty good lately and cognitively. As you point out he's been able to be very engaging. But it's just hard to say. We're talking about months, though here, not years.

BERMAN: Right. And we are talking about John McCain, though, which means he is a fighter.

HARLOW: I was just going to say that.

GUPTA: A fighter. Yes.

BERMAN: You know, I wouldn't bet against him, certainly not in the next few days or weeks.

HARLOW: He made it through, so, so much as a prisoner of war.

Sanjay, thank you for the reporting. Let us know what else you might hear.

BERMAN: All right. The final votes on tax reform are expected for next week. What is in the bill and will it pass? One of the key architects joins us.


[10:37:28] BERMAN: All right. Welcome back. You're looking at live pictures of the House minority leader Nancy Pelosi. She is slamming the tax bill that could come up for a vote in the next few days, which is a good reason to go to CNN's Phil Mattingly live on Capitol Hill with one of the architects of this bills, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Kevin Brady -- Phil.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Thanks, John. That's right. One of the co-authors of the bill, shepherding its passage or at least hopeful passage over the course of the next couple of days.

Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for your time. You've always been generous in that regard.

REP. KEVIN BRADY (R), WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Thanks. MATTINGLY: I want to start with -- we've seen a lot of the detail

come out particularly on the top line. How close are you to actually finalizing the legislative package right now?

BRADY: You know, the answer is very close. And so as you know in these major bills, nothing is final until everything is final and so we're just working through those final details. We will be ready. We've already notified the public that we'll be having a time and place tomorrow morning to sign the conference report, the process then goes to the House and Senate for a vote.

MATTINGLY: I know you're loathed to go into too many specifics right now but one of the things we've heard from some of your counterparts in the Senate is related to the child tax credit. Senator Macro Rubio, Senator Mike Lee both saying that on the refundability piece they want and think they may be able to get more. Is that possible at this stage?

BRADY: Well, I'll tell you, we're at 11:59 on the clock and really the pens ought to be down. And here, I really want to congratulate both of those senators because they've doubled the size of the child credit. It used to start to phase out $110,000 which isn't much. That doesn't help a lot of families. Now it goes up to $500,000.

And so I will tell you, they've really done one of the biggest impacts for families in this code already, and so, look, I think we're just about ready to finish this off.

MATTINGLY: So you don't think there will be any more --

BRADY: No, I don't know -- I don't know exactly where the Senate's working on that, but, you know, we're -- we're at the clock.

MATTINGLY: I want to ask you, you guys left -- first had the option and then decided to leave the top rate at 39.6 percent on the individual side, where it currently stands, which in reports we know that that has been lowered to 37. We've talked to some of your colleagues who have said that. That's an easy thing to attack particularly given how weighted this plan is to the corporate side. What's the rationale for dropping the top rate?

BRADY: So there's a lot of middle class tax relief in here, but this was where the state and local SALT states talked to us about. Look, those incomes are high in California and New York, New Jersey, Illinois. They need relief because we are -- we're going to allow state and local deductions, property and income and sales up to $10,000, and so lowering that rate was important for those high tax states, and -- which Democrats have complained about as well.

[10:40:11] And so this really is a solution they've been asking for. I think just because the rate is going down, they're complaining, but in truth this helps families. Remember our principle? Help everyone regardless where they live? This is a big part of that.

MATTINGLY: This final agreement, I know you're still hammering down the last details here, compared to the past iterations in the House and the Senate, do you believe it will be weighted more towards the individual side than the -- than it was at least originally?

BRADY: Well --

MATTINGLY: To move in that direction at least?

BRADY: So we continue to put more money in the family and individual side. It is still a major tax relief for families. So middle class, blue-collar family in Columbus, Ohio, near where you grew up.

MATTINGLY: It's a good city.

BRADY: Blue collar, $70,000 a year. They get a $1600 tax cut. In Washington, everyone pooh-poohs that but for a family, that's real money. And so -- and we're making that even better in this conference report. So I think -- I think working families are going to be pleased.

MATTINGLY: On the process, look, I know you guys worked on tax reform for years.


MATTINGLY: But there's no question the actual legislative process in the course of the last four to eight weeks, probably moving a lot faster than a lot of us assumed at least. If the shoe were on the other foot and you were sitting on the conference committee in the minority yesterday, would you have been happy that there was no kind of full markup process, no amendments, no changes offered by Democrats?

BRADY: That was a lot of theater in my view. The Democrats, when they ran this place, Obamacare, they didn't even have conference committees. They just sat in a room and did things. Republicans didn't have that avenue. And so, look, they're going to have a chance to review this. They're going to -- they've had a chance to make amendments in the Ways and Means Committee four days, full daylight.

We took every amendment and debate that they had. So they've been invited and engaged. At the end of the day I hope they'll find a way to fix this broken code with us because the status quo as the Democrats are doing, with our economy, with paychecks, with us falling behind other countries, I think they ought to weigh in and -- to change things.

MATTINGLY: Last one real quick before I toss it back, do you feel like you have the votes to pass this early next week?

BRADY: I think there's going to be strong support in the House and Senate on this. So we wouldn't be moving forward, and we are. So yes.

MATTINGLY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, as always, for your time. We appreciate it. You got a lot of work to do left over the course of the next couple of days.

John and Poppy, guys, back to you. HARLOW: That's almost a yes. Not yes, we have the votes, but we have

the support. All right. We appreciate it. Such an important interview.

Phil Mattingly on the Hill, thank you.

Minutes from now the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is expected to reveal what she is calling evidence that Iran has indeed violated the nuclear deal. You'll hear that ahead. Stay with us.


[10:47:11] BERMAN: All right. Happening now, we are waiting to hear from the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley. She is expected to reveal what she considers evidence that Iran provided missiles to Houthi rebels in Yemen where some of these missiles recently fired into Saudi Arabia. Now Iran denies these claims. The ambassador says that this violates Iran's international obligations.

HARLOW: Meantime, there is a critical humanitarian crisis in Yemen that has been going on for a long time and not getting its due coverage. It is escalating by the day.

BERMAN: According to the United Nations, more than 8 million are on the verge of famine there. Thousands of children could die by the end of the year.

CNN's Clarissa Ward with us now after traveling to Yemen and bringing us more of the details -- Clarissa.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, Poppy, that's right. Well, it's incredibly rare to get a glimpse into the war in Yemen. It is primarily at this stage a proxy war with Saudi Arabia and Iran vying for influence, but it is manifesting itself in deaths by the thousands of children, many of them being killed by this hunger crisis. This is a manmade crisis as we saw for ourselves on the ground, and I want to warn our viewers, that some of these images are hard to look at.


WARD (voice-over): This is how Ahmed Helmiz (ph) spends his days. Lying on the concrete floor, trying to swat away the flies with what little energy he has. Looking at his tiny body, ravaged by hunger, you would never guess that Ahmed is 5 years old. His brother died of malnutrition two months ago.

"We're in a war, there's no food, no water," his mother Surmaya (ph) says. "Only God knows our pain."

It's a pain shared by too many here. In the same small village, we meet Abdul Rahman (ph), an overwhelmed father of five. He's worried about his son Abdul Rahab (ph). There's no doctor nearby and no scale. But he can't weigh more than five pounds. "The problem is that my wife doesn't have a lot of breast milk," he

says. "She's sick, too." And it's not hard to see why. There's almost no food in it.

(On camera): So they have some bread. Some onions. No meat.

(Voice-over): Hunger has always been a problem in Yemen, but two and a half years of war has starved the country. Three million people are displaced. Many live in filthy camps where disease and infection are rife and malnutrition difficult to combat.

[10:50:10] (On camera): There is food in the markets. It's just that few people can actually afford it. And that's what's so tough to get your head around about this crisis. It's not caused by a bad harvest or a drought. It's caused by man.

(Voice-over): A Saudi Arabia-led blockade has cut the amount of food and medicine getting into Yemen by more than half. What does come through, is heavily taxed along the way. Rural clinics struggle to meet the scale of the need. Ten-month-old Ali has gained seven ounces since his last visit, a welcome improvement, but he is still suffering from severe malnutrition.

"You haven't done anything wrong," the nurse tells his mother. "But he's still weak. So I really want you to focus on this problem."

For Ahmed (ph), it may be too late. He's been sick for years now. He only speaks when the pain is too much.

"He tells me, my tummy hurts, my head hurts," Surmaya (ph) she says. "He cries."

Hardship and hunger. This is Yemen's story.

"My whole life, agony and I are like lovers," this Yemeni song goes. "Why, world, do you only show us the terrible things?"

But the world doesn't hear his lament. While the silence of starvation tightens its grip on a forgotten people.


WARD: The U.S. has come under fire for continuing to support and supply weapons to Saudi Arabia during this blockade. Many people arguing that it is fueling this war, but we have heard from the White House in the past weeks that they are going to be donating aid, over $130 million, to the conflict in Yemen and they have also recently come out and publicly asked for Saudi Arabia to lift that blockade. No word yet, though, as to whether that will actually happen -- Poppy and John.

HARLOW: I'm so glad you went and brought us that story. I know you have a lot more of your reporting ahead on CNN today, on

Clarissa, it is critical reporting, thank you.

Quick break. We'll be right back with much more.


[10:57:08] BERMAN: All right. One NFL fan is suing a team because of a player who protested racial injustice.

HARLOW: Coy Wire has more on that and more in this morning's "Bleacher Report."

Good morning, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Poppy and John. A New Orleans Saints fan season ticket holder suing the team, saying he wants a refund for his tickets and the cost of attorney fees.

This "Bleacher Report" presented by the new 2018 Ford F-150.

Now according to reports the fan says he would have never purchased the tickets had he known Saints players would have used the games as a platform for protests. The lawsuit says the fan has not attended a game since week two because after President Trump said that NFL players should be fired for protesting the fan saw players kneel.

One of those players star running back Mark Ingram responded to the lawsuit by tweeting, quote, "The one time we protest at an anthem was an away game. After a team meeting we decided to kneel as one before the anthem was played and stand united as one during the anthem. Good luck, dude," unquote. Now the Saints say they turned the matter over to their legal department.

Other NFL news, Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones told me about a month ago he had concerns about extending NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's contract. Some wondered how a perceived feud between the two of the league's most influential men would end. Well, at yesterday's owners meeting with Goodell's new deal complete he seemed happy and Jerry Jones said well, he better be.


ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: My relationship with Jerry has been great. I -- we don't always agree and I'm not paid to agree, and he's not paid to agree with me. I think that's, again, what the strength of our league is.

JERRY JONES, COWBOYS TEAM OWNER: I know how much Roger Goodell loves the National Football League and he should love it even more after right now.


WIRE: According to reports the commissioner ended up signing a deal that could earn him up to $40 million per year. To put that into perspective the league's highest paid quarterback Matt Stafford at the Lions, $27 million a year.

One hundred under privileged kids in Atlanta thought they were just taking a tour of the Falcons' new Mercedes-Benz Stadium yesterday but when they walked into the locker room it had been transformed into a Winter Wonderland, Many of them brought to tears not just because they received gifts they wouldn't have normally received but because they also didn't know they were actually going to meet some real-life Falcons players. The team's second Annual Bows and Pros event meant a lot to the players, too.


CJ GOODWIN, ATLANTA FALCONS CORNERBACK: This is a wonderful thing, man. Very rewarding. It's a blessing to be here. It's a blessing to have people in the community like that. To want to donate things like this.

REGGIE DAVIS, ATLANTA FALCONS WIDE RECEIVER It means the world. They have one little kid saying, oh, my life is complete, like he's only in like fourth grade. So just to hear them happy, that means a lot.


WIRE: It's that time of year to give back. And we're going to continue sharing some of the stories from the sports world.

HARLOW: Good. We need it. We needed the good news.

Coy Wire, thank you very much. We appreciate it.

And thank you all for being with us today. I'm Poppy Harlow.

BERMAN: But don't go anywhere. I'm John Berman. "AT THIS HOUR WITH KATE BOLDUAN" starts right now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone.