Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Takes Aim at FBI; Midterm Elections for Republicans; GOP Looks for More Wins; Top Health Stories of 2017; Apple Slowed iPhones. Aired 9:30-10a

Aired December 26, 2017 - 09:30   ET


[09:31:03] PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, 27 House Republicans not running for re-election in 2018, either retiring, resigning or running for other office. That's compared to just 15 Democrats who plan to leave their posts after this cycle. Sure to make the upcoming battle for control of power nothing short of a nail-biter.

Joining me now, Republican congressman from Illinois, Rodney Davis. He is running for re-election next year.

Congressman, thanks for joining us.

REP. RODNEY DAVIS (R), ILLINOIS: Thanks for having me, Pamela.

BROWN: I want to start first with just a little bit of news this morning coming from the president's Twitter account. No surprise there. You know, he's got a big year coming up and we were just having a discussion in the last block. The economy is doing well. Of course this is on the heels of his legislative victory with tax reform. Midterms are coming up in 2018. But yet this morning he's tweeting about Russia, the dossier and the FBI. Do you believe tweets like that hurt him and overshadow these accomplishments that I just mentioned? And would you like to see tweets like this stop?

DAVIS: Well, I, and I think many others, would like to see the president offer a few different Twitter habits. However, he's going to be the president that the people elected. This is the first preside3nt we've had in our lifetime that's not had military or government experience. That's what the American people wanted. And that's exactly what they got.

Now, I do believe his accomplishments gets understated. There's been historic regulatory rollback, historic economic growth. And with the tax bill that we just worked together with the White House on, I think you're going to see a 2018 that's going to be good for Republicans like me.

BROWN: You say that, but according to the FEC, Democrat candidates have filed in all but 20 House districts held by Republicans. By comparison, Democrats in 80 districts do not have a Republican opponent for their seat. Five Democrats are already vying for your seat in 2018. How are you preparing to face this potential wave of Democratic support? DAVIS: Well, there's always been Democrats that have filed in my

district. My district is one of the few competitive districts. This is actually the first time since I've run that I also haven't had a primary challenge.

That's what running for Congress is about. When you look at the districts throughout this nation, many of those districts where there are no Republicans filing, those are overwhelmingly 80 to 90 percent Democratic districts in places like the city of Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco. It's areas like mine that will be the battleground for the control that Nancy Pelosi wants to gain back.

BROWN: But you're hearing prominent Republicans on Capitol Hill, Senator Jeff Flake, Congressman Dent, sounding the alarm for Republicans in the midterms. Are you concerned at all that Democrats are going to be able to take control?

DAVIS: Well, historically, Democrats are supposed to do well in an election like this. But since I got to Washington, I won the closest Republican victory in the nation in 2012. I've been told that I'm not going to come back to Washington since even before I got sworn in. And what I've seen were historic victories for Republicans in 2014 and 2016. And I can remember the government shutdown of 2013 and all the terrible polling that came out for Republicans nationwide.

Let me tell you and remind all your viewers and everybody in Washington, there's a long time until November of 2018 and I think the policies that we've worked with the administration on to implement are going to be good for Republicans come Election Day.

BROWN: Would you welcome the president to campaign with you given his approval rating of 35 percent? And he has said -- he has told his advisers he wants to spend a lot of time on the campaign trail for Republican candidates in 2018. Are you going to welcome him?

DAVIS: I love when polling numbers come put, 35 percent approval rating nationwide is much higher than the approval rating that you as part of the media and I as part of Congress get. So of course if the president wanted to come --

BROWN: OK, but it's historically low for a person in his first term. But, go ahead.

DAVIS: If the -- if the president wanted to come and campaign in central Illinois, I don't think I'd be the only member of Congress to welcome him to do that.

[09:35:04] BROWN: So you're not concerned that it might hurt you?

DAVIS: You know, we're always going to be -- we're always going to be paired up with the president from our party. And the issues that we've worked together on, President Trump and his administration and I and many others in Congress I think are going to be good for the American people. They're going to see more money in their paycheck come February when employers will be required to withhold less money in taxes because families in my district are going to owe less taxes to Uncle Sam. These are things that I think the president and I would love to tout together.

BROWN: So you're not concerned of aligning yourself with President Trump to help you win re-election? You're not concerned at all?

DAVIS: One thing that I will tell you that is going to be a certainty, whether or not I align myself with President Trump or not does not mean that the Democrats are not going to make that -- the campaign message against me and many others. And I would say that it's going to be better for President Trump and me and many Republicans to talk about the areas of success that we worked together on, rather than trying to create this partisan divide that the Democrats will only use to their advantage.

BROWN: So you voted for the GOP tax bill, as we know. You said the -- you plan to introduce a bill to make individual cuts permanent. We are already in $20 trillion in debt. This current bill adds another $1.5 trillion over the next ten years. Are you concerned about that? How do you propose paying for it?

DAVIS: Always concerned about debt and always concerned about deficits. But when you look at the debt to GDP ratio that economic growth can help create in this country, we are going to be able to get more tax revenue coming in because of this economic growth and thus reduce the deficit.

You know, these scoring agencies in Washington, Pamela, are not infallible. I helped write a farm bill in 2014 that they said was only going to save taxpayers $23 billion in mandatory spending. As a matter of fact, in less than three years they came back and said they were wrong. We actually saved $104 billion.

We believe the economic growth will be able to reduce the deficit. And, yes, I want to make the individual tax rates permanent. And I hope, from what I read from Bernie Sanders this weekend, that he joins me when we pass that bill over to the Senate because, frankly, Bernie could have gotten seven more Democrats just a week ago and made these individual tax cuts permanent now.

BROWN: So, you know, you guys left for the holiday break with some issues on the table that need to be resolved. Earlier this month you and 33 other House Republicans sent a letter to Speaker Ryan writing -- reaching across the aisle to protect DACA recipients before the holidays I the right thing to do. Clearly that didn't happen. How confident are you that a deal on DACA will get done? And when will that happen?

DAVIS: You know, it didn't happen. I wish it would have. I agree with President Trump, that we need to put a permanent fix in place for these DACA kids. These kids were brought here to this country years ago, through no fault of their own. This is the only country they've ever known. And I've worked with the administration and we're working together with many of us, Republicans and Democrats, who agree in this fix, who agree with the president. And I'm optimistic that we'll be able to see a solution come next month. BROWN: All right, we'll see. You were optimistic something could

happen before the holidays. That didn't happen. We'll see.

Congressman Rodney Davis, thank you so much.

DAVIS: Thank you, Pamela.

BROWN: Well, it's one of the biggest medical stories of the year.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: She's a diabetic. She doesn't have insulin. She has an infection that could threaten her life. No ambulance will take her to the hospital. That's what's happening here.


BROWN: An American health crisis in Puerto Rico following a deadly hurricane. The top seven health stories of 2017 up next.


[09:42:38] BROWN: From heartbreaking illnesses to a Capitol Hill insurance showdown, they are the medical headlines that defined our year. CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta recaps the top seven health stories of 2017.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: This year tens of millions of Americans got a big wake up call. In November, the American Heart Association issued new guidelines that say blood pressure of 130 over 80 is now considered stage one hypertension. Now, luckily, this can usually be fixed by taking better care of yourself, eating a well-balanced diet, low salt, working out, reducing stress, cutting back on alcohol and quitting smoking. First things first, though, make 2018 the year you got your numbers checked.

Sometimes during the worst of times, we really do see the best in people. Sunday, October 1st, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history was carried out on the Las Vegas Strip. The gunfire lasted for an unimaginable ten minutes. But even before it stopped, heroes stepped up to risk their lives to save total strangers.

BEN KOLE, OFF-DUTY FIREFIGHTER: People were helping out. They weren't just running from the area.

RACHEL KOLE, VOLUNTEER EMS: There were some who sustained injuries to their arms and legs. And we would come up and they said, I'm shot in the arm or I'm shot in the leg, you can move on, there are other people that -- that need you more.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, right now, we need your truck. We just need to get people over to the hospital, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Go ahead. Put them all in the back.

GUPTA: The official death toll of the senseless massacre, 58. But without these selfless heroes, it would have, no doubt, been much higher.

The right to die debate was reignited this summer over a baby boy named Charlie Gard. Charlie suffered from mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. That's a rare, inherited condition that causes muscle weakness. Doctors in London, where Charlie was receiving care, wanted to remove him from life support, saying that his condition was irreversible and that he should be allowed to die with dignity. Charlie's parents wanted the courts to allow their son to stay on life support so he could undergo an experimental treatment for the disorder, but it was just too late.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As Charlie's devoted, loving parents, we have decided that it's no longer in Charlie's best interest to pursue treatment, and we will let our son go and be with the angels.

[09:45:00] GUPTA: In mid-July we learned Senator John McCain had undergone a procedure to remove a blood clot above his left eye following a routine physical. With Senator McCain's permission, I spoke with his doctors about what had caused the bleeding.

A pathology report revealed a primary brain tumor, known as glioblastoma. It's the most aggressive type of brain cancer. It is the same type of tumor that Beau Biden and Ted Kennedy had. With treatment, which usually includes radiation and chemotherapy, the median survival is fourteen months.

Five months out, Senator McCain recently spent some time in the hospital for side effects of his ongoing cancer therapy. But he's a fighter and a lawmaker. We're going to keep a close eye on in 2018.

On September 20th, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico as a category four storm. The damage was swift and severe, killing at least 58 people and leaving millions of American citizens without electricity and water.

When I arrived on the island, I saw destruction and sensed despair.

You can't even believe what's happening here. I mean she's -- there's no power. There's no water. She's a diabetic. She doesn't have insulin. She has an infection that could threaten her life. No ambulance will take her to the hospital. That's what's happening here.

This season's storms wreaked havoc on the U.S. mainland as well. Hurricane Irma knocked out the power at a nursing home in Hollywood Hills, Florida, just north of Miami. Left for days in sweltering temperatures without air conditioning, 12 residents died.

On the campaign trail last year, President Trump repeatedly promised to --


GUPTA: Once in office, though, Trump found easier said than done. Both House and Senate versions of health care reform bills failed to make it through the Republican controlled Congress, the final blow delivered by maverick John McCain with a dramatic thumbs down.

In December, a win for the Trump administration, the elimination of the individual mandate as part of successful tax reform legislation.

2017 was the year we finally started paying attention to America's opioid epidemic. Last year, 64,000 Americans died of a drug overdose and many of those deaths involved opioids. On October 26th, President Trump declared the problem a public health emergency.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No part of our society, not young or old, rich or poor, urban or rural has been spared this plague of drug addiction.

GUPTA: Less than a week later, the president's commission issued its 131 page report on combating drug addiction in the opioid crisis. Among the 56 recommendations, more access to treatment, better electronic prescription tracking, and better strategies to keep drugs from entering the country in the first place. So important because drug overdoses are the number one cause of unintentional death in America today and it's absolutely within our power to stop these needless deaths from occurring.


BROWN: And our thanks to Sanjay Gupta.

Coming up, some iPhone users say Apple's rotten and now they're suing the tech giant for slowing down older iPhones. We'll be back.


[09:52:22] BROWN: Well, some iPhone owners say they want Apple to pay for slowing down older phones. The tech giant is facing multiple lawsuits after it admitted that it slows down older models. Well, this comes as analysts say fewer people than expected asked for a new iPhone 10 under the tree this Christmas. CNN's Samuel Burke joins us live for more.

So, let's just start here with what's going on with these older iPhones? Why is Apple slowing them down?


CNN "Money Now" counts five different class-action lawsuits. Basically iPhone -- Apple, rather, finally came forward and said what many people had suspected for a long time, that when you update to the newest versions of IOS on the following phones -- let me just list them for you so you can see if your phone is one of the ones that's affected -- the iPhone 6, 6S, SE, and iPhone 7, that they slow your usage down. But Apple says it's not for the reason that many are accusing them of. They say it's because there's actually an issue with the battery in these phones. After a lot of usage, the battery can surge and that causes the phone to shut down. A problem that many of us have had. So what they say they're trying to do is slow the phone down so those surges don't happen and your phone doesn't shut down all of a sudden.

BROWN: But a lot of customers are not buying that. They believe that Apple is doing this so that they'll be forced into buying the new iPhone. Is that essentially what these lawsuits are alleging?

BURKE: Well, these lawsuits point to that, but they also say that there's been a real lack of transparency here. Let me just put up what one of these lawsuits, the class-action suit from Chicago, the attorney told us. He said, quote, "Apple's failure to inform consumers these updates would wreak havoc on the phones' performance is being deemed purposeful and, if proven, constitutes the unlawful and decisive withholding of material information."

Now, I spoke to one attorney who told me, look, these lawsuits are very easy to file.


BURKE: We've seen four in the United States, even one from Israel at this point. But they can be very difficult to win.

BROWN: So if you have an older iPhone, what can you do to avoid the slowdown? Is there anything?

BURKE: Well, this is what's so difficult, Pamela, because, on the one hand, people say, well, I can just not update to the latest version of IOS. But as CNN's technology correspondent, I would not advise that because there are a lot of security patches that come with these updates. So you're stuck between a slow phone and a phone that turns off. Some experts say that maybe a new battery could help, but that's $80 at the Apple store. And even Apple's not saying clearly whether that will help or not. And I think that's why so many people feel that this lack of transparency from Apple has put a lot of people between a rock and a hard place. An iPhone and another iPhone.

[09:55:02] BROWN: All right, Samuel Burke, thanks for breaking it down for us.

Well, President Trump says he's getting back to work today, and he's back to attacking the FBI. We'll be back.


BROWN: Well, good morning to you. I'm Pamela Brown, in for John and Poppy.

And the president this morning setting his sights on the new year, but not letting up on old attacks. This morning he's taking aim once again at the FBI, repeating a message that the agency is tainted and that there was no Trump/Russia collusion. He also called the dossier garbage. To be clear, investigators have corroborated part of the dossier. [10:00:06] Let's go right to CNN's Sara Murray.



Well, the president insisted that he was getting back