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Winter Storm Hits the South to the Northeast; Fournette to Playing in AFC Championship Game; Eagles to Allow Dog Masks; New Book on Trump Administration; Trump's Health. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired January 17, 2018 - 06:30   ET



[06:30:23] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: The Justice Department says it will appeal a federal judge's ruling last week blocking the administration from ending the DACA program. The department is asking that the Supreme Court intervene. Last week, a federal district judge issued a nationwide injunction ordering the Trump administration to resume receiving DACA renewal applications.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: A former CIA officer arrested at JFK Airport in New York accused of possessing top secret information. The Justice Department charging Jerry Chun Lee, a 13-year agency veteran, with unlawful retention of national defense information. Court documents saying FBI searches of Lee's hotel rooms in 2012 turned up notebooks with the real names of covert CIA employees. Lee faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of espionage.

CUOMO: The former commanding officers of the USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain are both facing criminal charges, including negligent homicide. As you'll remember, both ships were involved in two deadly collisions last year. It took the lives of 17 sailors. The Navy making it clear there will be additional administrative actions for members of both crews. An investigation concluded the collisions were avoidable.

CAMEROTA: Nearly 600 flights cancellations nationwide today due to severe winter weather across much of the country, including Atlanta. Take a look at this. I think you see snow on the ground there. Snow is covering the roads for the commute this morning.

CNN meteorologist Jennifer Gray has all of our forecast.

What are you seeing, Jennifer?

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, and it's true, we have about an inch here in Atlanta and wind chills are going to be very, very cold, even below zero for parts of Atlanta and much of the south. So very cold air behind this.

But this stretches all the way up to the northeast. And so looking at the south, Florida, once again, getting snow and ice. And it stretches all the way through Georgia, the Carolinas, and even up into the northeast. New York getting a little bit but not too much. Boston, you are definitely in it. And so here's the high rise radar. You can see a lot of snowfall for places like Charlotte, Raleigh, through the northeast, Boston. So a lot of flight delays today is what you can expect.

But, wait for it, the cold air is moving out and we are going to warm up. Finally, by the time we get to the end of the weekend, we will have much more comfortable temperatures for all of the east, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. Thank you very much, Jennifer.

The results are in. The White House doctor describing the president's mental and physical health as excellent. But there is one areas where he needs work. We have details, next.


[06:36:52] CUOMO: Jaguars' rookie sensation Leonard Fournette will play in this weekend's AFC Championship game despite being in a car accident yesterday. Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report."


ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Chris, not something you want to hear if you're a Jaguars fan before your team's biggest game ever.

This "Bleacher Report" brought to you by the new 2018 Ford F-150.

So Jaguars' rookie running back Leonard Fournette was involved in a minor three-car accident yesterday and luckily no one was injured. Someone rear-ended Fournette, causing him to hit the car in front of him. The bumper from Fournette's Maboc (ph) fell off and was damaged. But, get this, in a really cool move, Fournette, he signed it and gave it to one of the highway patrol troopers. I tell you what, that's a really cool piece of memorabilia. Jacksonville's Highway Patrol tweeted out a pick of Fournette also with the trooper saying he was a true professional. Jaguars play at the Patriots on Sunday.

All right, for the second straight week, the Eagles, despite being the top seed in the NFC and playing at home, will be underdogs against the Vikings. And the city of Philly is really embracing that role. After beating the Falcons, Lane Johnson here put on a dog mask and walked around on the field. Well, the Eagles tweeted out that all fans are welcome to wear dog masks to Sunday's game. You've just got to take them off to go through security.

But, Alisyn, I'll tell you what, that's going to be one creepy looking stadium if all the fans are wearing that dog mask because that's a scary looking mask.

CAMEROTA: I agree. What happened to just painting the dog look on your face?

SCHOLES: I don't know.

CAMEROTA: The old days.

SCHOLES: Yes, you do it once and you win. You've got to stick with it.

CAMEROTA: All right, Andy, if you say so.

Thank you very much.

SCHOLES: All right.

CAMEROTA: So, how did the president's medical exam turn out? Dr. Sanjay Gupta is next with his own findings.


[06:42:43] CUOMO: David Cay Johnston is a name you should remember. He made headlines last year when he revealed then candidate Donald Trump's 2005 tax return. Johnston's new book on the Trump presidency reveals what he says are political termites that the administration has set loose to eat away at the structure of our government. His new book is titled "It's Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration is Doing to America."

Author David Cay Johnston joins us now.

It's good to see you, as always.


CUOMO: Happy New Year to you.

So, let's test the premise a little bit.


CUOMO: It's worse than you think. The stock market is up. The economy is growing in a way that wasn't even fathomable just a quarter ago. The unemployment rate is down. Regulations are getting cut. That's the sales pitch from the Trump administration.


CUOMO: How's it worse than I think?

JOHNSTON: Well, first of all, the economy has been doing well since the end of the last recession. It's been growing. The stock market's been rising. We actually had less job growth in Trump's first year than the average of the Obama years.

But the economy's doing well. Don't dispute that. Just, who gets credit for it now? I don't think either president particularly gets credit for it.

What the Trump administration has done is put in place people who are putting your life in danger, your income in danger, your public health. For example, the Obama administration was putting in place a rule to deal with sleep apnea. Now, you've report, Chris, on train and bus accidents. Horrific accidents because the conductor went to sleep. All those people are going to be tested like airline pilots are for sleep apnea. Easily treatable malady. I have it. They killed the rule. Why? Too much regulation. People are going to die because of this.

They are trying to, in their budget, they've proposed cutting benefits to disabled veterans once they reach normal retirement age by more than -- by about two-thirds.

In trade --

CUOMO: Wait. Hold on one second.


CUOMO: He says he's going to be better to the veterans than anyone before.


CUOMO: They've been underserved. That you have to get the Veterans Affairs Administration in order, you have to get the hospitals in order. You're saying that they -- he's going to cut benefits for retirement?

JOHNSTON: That's what the -- that's what they proposed in their budget. And no administration has taken proper care of our veterans. Trust me, I'm the son of a 100 percent disabled World War II veteran. I know that from experience.

[06:45:03] But Trump's proposal was to trim what people would get who were disabled when they reach normal retirement age. If you're making $35,000 in benefits, you drop to around $13,000. Now, I don't think that's going to get through Congress, but that's the kind of thing that they're trying to do in that area.

And how about -- how about trade? Trump killed the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I was one of the prominent critics of it. But he didn't replace it with anything else. So what's happened? China is pushing the RCEP, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Program. Sixteen countries, not the U.S., and saying, why are you paying attention to Washington? Pivot towards us in Beijing. It's been a huge boon to their economy and their future to our detriment. We have a majority -- a big majority of ambassadorships that are empty. That means that when discussions are being held either that effect national security or big business deals, we don't have someone at the table often.

CUOMO: All right, so here's the pushback. On the ambassadors they'll say, give us time and Congress messes with our appointments more than they would otherwise because it's political payback.

On trade, give me time, I'm going to cut my own deals with those Asian countries that will be better for the United States. TPP was not to our advantage. It was to their advantage. And then regulations, that's the big magillah. They say if you cut regulations and they have their two to one ratio where for every new one you're going to get rid of two and maybe it's even a better ratio than that. The less regulations, the more business is happy, the more it grows. And look, look, David, they're already giving people bonuses just because word of the tax plan.

JOHNSTON: Well, many of the companies that gave bonuses, first of all, did it last year when they got a 35 percent tax deduction for it rather than this year when it's worth 21 percent. A number of those companies immediately announced that they were laying off lots of people. And when an economy is in good shape and unemployment's low, you're going to raise wages. I don't attribute that to the Trump administration.

CUOMO: So what you're saying, the bonuses that we heard about that were trumpeted by -- no pun intended -- by the administration --


CUOMO: Were done for tax savings reasons, not because of optimism about the new tax cut?

JOHNSTON: They were done primarily because of business reasons. You need to pay the amount of wages necessary to keep people so that you have -- you want to keep so they don't leave.

CUOMO: You don't think it was the tax deal?

JOHNSTON: No, not at all.

And this tax deal is a discount of as much as about 80 percent for companies that siphoned profits out of the U.S., invested them for years untaxed and they're now bringing them back at a discount. I mean you -- imagine how rich the average reader (ph) of this show would be if they could delay paying their taxes for 20 years and then Congress says, oh, you know what, we're going to consult your rate 80 percent. Pay your taxes now that you didn't pay back then and you can keep the earnings off of that money.

CUOMO: So what is the philosophical flaw, in your opinion, because obviously if you subscribe to the benign intent theory of social -- you know, of government, they're doing these things because they think it will make the government better. Less regulation, you'll free up business. Redoing your trade, make it more advantageous and this president says he is the master of the deal. So what's the philosophical road?

JOHNSTON: There's no policy here. Donald Trump is appallingly ignorant about things. He works a very short work day. He does -- he's -- it's people he appointed. The people I call the political termites who are doing these things. And what they're doing is what Steve Bannon said they would do. They are going to destroy the administrative state.

Now, why do we have regulations? Because experience has shown us we need various regulations. Business is often behind regulations that are there. And this idea of, we're going to remove two to put in a new one is mindless. I don't know how else to describe it. It's simply mindless.

I used to teach regulation. And one of the principles I taught law students about regulation is the best regulations are self-reinforcing of virtuous behavior. But that's not what they're doing. They're doing favors for polluters. They're not -- they cut the number of inspectors for wage and hour violations. They've stopped posting deaths from job sites. They have reduced all sorts of other areas where public safety and health is affected. And that's what I go into in the book to show you.

And this is stuff that doesn't make the news because it's going on inside the government. And we tend -- the business is to cover the White House or the controversies more than the issues and the operations of (INAUDIBLE).

CUOMO: Fair criticism. A statement against interest.

In reading through the book, there was very little that I had 100 percent grasp of before I saw your reporting on it. So that is my pitch for the book.

David Cay Johnston, thank you very much.

JOHNSTON: Thank you.

CUOMO: We literally just scratched the surface here, Alisyn, in terms of what David has taken the time to look at, assess, and scrutinize.

CAMEROTA: It will be a fascinating read. Thank you both so much.

SO, the doctor says President Trump is in excellent health. But, of course, there are a few places he can make improvements. So our doctor is in. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is going to take us through the president's medical exam and what we learned, next.


[06:54:00] CAMEROTA: The presidential physician, the White House doctor, Ronny Jackson, briefing reporters on the results of President Trump's physical.

So, what did we learn yesterday? Let's discuss with CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who was at yesterday's briefing.

And, Sanjay, I want to get to your findings because I know that you see something different in the lab results than the White House doctor does.

But first I want to just play a moment from that briefing when a reporter asked sort of the burning question of how the president can be in such peak health when we know a lot about his diet. So watch this moment.


QUESTION: Can you explain to me how a guy who eats McDonald's and (INAUDIBLE) and all those Diet Cokes and never exercises is in as good a shape as you say he's in.

DR. RONNY JACKSON, PRESIDENTIAL PHYSICIAN: It's called genetics. I don't know. It's -- some people have, you know, just great genes. You know, I told the president that if he had a healthier diet over the last 20 years, he might live to be 200 years old. I don't know. I mean he -- he has incredible -- he has incredible genes, I just assume.


CAMEROTA: If he cleans up his diet, Sanjay, he could live to be 200 years old. What did you see and hear yesterday?

[06:55:06] DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, it's interesting because you -- when you talk about excellent health, you're also talking about someone who has known heart disease, who has high cholesterol and needs medication for that cholesterol and is borderline obese and trying to reconcile that with excellent health, you know, is, I think, the question John was sort of driving at, I think a lot of us were driving at.

What the doctor said was, we've also done an echo cardiogram of his heart, we've done a stress test of his heart and we feel that his heart is functioning well. So despite the fact that there are these concerns about all the -- all the risk factors, if you will, the cholesterol and the other things --


GUPTA: At this time, his heart seems to be functioning well. That's what the doctor said.

CAMEROTA: But when you say -- but when you fit, when you look at the test results that you conclude heart disease, and you just said known heart disease, what do you mean?

GUPTA: A few years ago, dating back to 2009, he started to have -- President Trump had these tests that are actually looking for the presence of calcium in the blood vessels that lead to the heart. Those are called the coronary blood vessels. And steadily, up until just this past week when he had it performed again, those numbers have gone up. When they get to a certain range, and his number's in the 130s, that means he has heart disease.

And it was interesting, when I spoke to Dr. Jackson, at first he said, you know, he passed all the tests with flying colors. When I asked him specifically about that test did he then concede that, in fact, the president does have heart disease. They're going to be increasing the medications, including the cholesterol lowering medication, to try and, you know, combat that.

But there's no question that, you know, by all standards, by all metrics, any way a doctor or cardiologist will look at it, the president does have heart disease. It's controllable with medications. He needs to have his diet under control significantly. Something the doctor talked about. But he does have heart disease.

CAMEROTA: The doctor also addressed a moment that caused concern for people who were watching. You'll remember that there was a moment where President Trump slurred his speech a lot and people were wondering if that was cognitive or what was happening.

So let me just remind people of what moment and then we'll talk about what the doctor said.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, I asked the leaders of the region, political and religious, Israeli and Palestinian, Jewish and Christian and Muslim, to join us in the noble quest for lasting peace.

Thank you. God bless you. God bless Israel. God bless the Palestinians. And God bless the United States.


CAMEROTA: OK, so now we have an answer to that. How did the doctor explain it?

GUPTA: It was quite simple from the doctor's perspective. He said that he had been prescribing the president Sudafed, an antihistamine. And that makes your mouth quite dry. And he said it was just the dry mouth that caused that.

Dr. Jackson was subsequently asked, could there be any other reason, even a denture, a partial denture or something dental at all. And Dr. Jackson really waived that off and said this was simply a dry mouth and sort of said it was his doing, prescribing the Sudafed that caused the problem.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I mean, he was almost saying like I think I overprescribed the Sudafed.


CAMEROTA: Like he took the fall for that one.

But Sudafed does dry you up. I mean finally an explanation. You know, it would have been helpful if the White House had said that, you know, a couple of months ago when people were worried.

About the cognitive test. The doctor reported that the president asked specifically for a cognitive test. What do you know about what that test looks like and what the findings were?

GUPTA: You know, people should look at this test. A lot of it's available online. It's called the Montreal Assessment Test. It's about a 10-minute test. And, Alisyn, it's a screening tool. It's not a diagnostic tool. Meaning, it's not going to diagnosis someone as having dementia or not having dementia. It just gives people sort of an indication if there's a -- an obvious, significant problem here.

They ask -- they show pictures of animals and ask to identify animals. They say to see how many words starting with "f" for example you can name in a minute. Things like that. Draw a cube. Draw a clock. If you pass that, which, you know, most people do, then it gives

people a little bit of a sense of comfort regarding dementia. But it's by no means a diagnostic test. The president, as Dr. Jackson said, scored a perfect score, 30 out of 30 on that. Dr. Jackson again said, look, he wasn't even going to order the test. The president asked for this test specifically and passed it. And so from his perspective, Dr. Jackson's perspective, this is a -- this is a done deal. He's not -- he doesn't plan on ordering any more tests regarding cognitive testing.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I mean, and not only that, not only the test, which sounds, as you point out, fairly rudimentary, but the fact that in his own assessment. I mean he says he's been around President Trump and there's nothing that has caused him any sort of --

GUPTA: That's right.

CAMEROTA: He hasn't seen any warning signs or cause for alarm.

GUPTA: That's right. He says he's Velcroed himself was the terminally they use. He's around the president all the time. He says he doesn't see repetition of words. He doesn't see anything as a medical professional that caused him concern. So, you know, take -- that's what Dr. Jackson said. You've got to take him at his word.

[07:00:03] CAMEROTA: OK, Sanjay, we know that we're coming back to you. We'll have you back in the program later on with a few more findings. Thanks so much for all of that.

GUPTA: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you, CNN "NEWSROOM" is next. For our U.S. viewers,