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Government Funding Bill; Trump Vetting Problem; Trump Signs Bill; Ex-Paralympian Shares Story; Pence Feet From Kim Jong-un's Sister; U.S. Olympic Committee Bears Blame. Aired 8:30-9:00a ET

Aired February 9, 2018 - 08:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[08:30:00] REP. TIM RYAN (D), OHIO: We've got to make sure our military has what they need. There are $6 billion in here for opiates. Ohio is one of the hardest-hit states with the opiate epidemic. And, you know, there was no way I was going to be able to turn my back on the people who are -- who are suffering so much and dying weekly in places like Ohio and New Hampshire and West Virginia. And then there were a lot of community health clinic funding in there. The CHIP program, the Children's Health Insurance Program. Money for Puerto Rico and the disaster areas down in Texas. I mean there were -- there was a lot in there. You know --

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: What you didn't get --

RYAN: Yes.

BERMAN: What you didn't get, though, and what the House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wanted, was a promise from Paul Ryan that there would be an immigration vote -- you know, I don't want to use the term clean bill. You know, Paul Ryan only promises to introduce something or allow something to be introduced that the president will sign on to, which is limiting, which is very limiting. So Paul Ryan did not give Democrats what you guys have been demanding on immigration.

RYAN: Well, and I think that speaks volumes. You know, we have got to continue to keep heat on -- on the issue of the dreamers. I mean it has 80-plus percent approval in the United States. And we've got to keep the heat on.

I thought the speaker tiptoed around some kind of promise of bringing something up to the floor and having the floor debate about DACA. And we've got to hold his feet to the fire.

Mitch McConnell has done it.

BERMAN: You just gave up. You just gave up, though, critics say, a lot of your leverage to hold his feet to the fire.

RYAN: Well, here -- here's the reality of it. You know, where are we today if the government shut down? And what position would we have with the dreamers if the government shut down?

All what -- all what -- in my estimation, what would have happened is, Paul Ryan would have went back to the Freedom Caucus, who all voted against this bill last night or this morning or a few hours ago, they all voted against it. He would have went back to them. He would have gutted these programs, both on the domestic side and, I think, on the military side, to get those right wing votes. And then they would have passed a bill that wouldn't have looked anything like this. We probably wouldn't have gotten the opiate money. We wouldn't have gotten the health care money. We wouldn't have got -- we got a commission started to help with some pensions for teamsters back in Ohio and Kentucky and western PA.

So, you know, the reality is, this is a pretty good deal. But we've got to go back and hold their feet to the fire on the dreamer issue. And that's very important to me and a lot of other people. Even the 60-some or 70-some that voted for it.

BERMAN: I want to ask you one question that may make you a little uncomfortable given about where you've been on the House Democratic leadership before. But as Nancy Pelosi was speaking in her marathon address to the House, which a lot of Democrats loved, you know, we all did hear from Republicans running campaigns sending us notes saying, you know, please, have Nancy Pelosi keep talking because it helps us in our congressional races against Democrats in the fall. Which gets to the issue, as you're approaching 2018, Democrats have high hopes for take back the House. Do you think your chances are better to take back the House with Nancy Pelosi as the top Democrat in the House?

RYAN: Well, I spoke to this last year. I --

BERMAN: But things have changed now. Things have changed now. And you look at the numbers right now and the chances to take back the House are real and serious and Republicans are champing on the bit to campaign against her.

RYAN: Well, they have been since 2010. I mean this is not something new. The president said it's a secret weapon. Not so secret. I mean we all know what's going to happen. They're running ads in western PA and the special election now trying to tie our candidate to Leader Pelosi. He has said he's not voting for Leader Pelosi. He thinks both Paul Ryan and our leadership should leave. So he's distancing himself a little bit for it.

And so, look, I'm on the team here. I did what I did a year ago. I ran against the House leadership. I made my case. I lost. So we're on the team now and I think our voter intensity is very, very high right now. You just saw us win some huge state districts in Missouri that Trump won by 25 points.

BERMAN: Right.

RYAN: You saw what happened in Virginia. I mean Democrats are coming out to vote. And that's why I think if we play our cards right, if we look like we're solving problems -- and the one point I tried to make to leadership and others in the last week or two, we need a broader coalition. If we're going to help the dreamers, they need to be part of a broader coalition. We need to sharpen our economic message, talk more about increased jobs and increased wages and securing pensions for people. If we do that, we'll have that big coalition that we need to take the House back in the fall.

BERMAN: Congressman Tim Ryan, we'll let you go get some sleep. Thanks so much.

RYAN: Thanks.

BERMAN: Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, so White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter's exit is just the latest shakeup in the White House. Is anyone doing any vetting of anyone there? CNN's Van Jones, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:38:40] BERMAN: All right, does the Trump White House have a vetting problem? Actually a rhetorical question there. White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter's resignation over domestic abuse allegations, it is not the first time that a White House staffer has left under less than desirable circumstances.

CAMEROTA: You're really couching this.

BERMAN: I know. I don't know. It doesn't need to be couched, (INAUDIBLE).

Joining us now, CNN political commentator, host of "The Van Jones Show," Van Jones.

You know, we see what's happened with Rob Porter over the last few days. And, yes, there are political questions here about why the White House behaved -- and, to me, that's just basic, moral human decisions that were made that were just wrong.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, it's also very dangerous. I mean I think part of the thing is -- it's difficult, I think, for people who have not worked in the White House to understand. It is actually not uncommon for four weeks, six weeks, even nine weeks for someone to not be fully vetted, especially when a new White House comes in. You've got a bunch of people. You've got to keep the government functioning.

To go a year with somebody being able to have that level of access, that the FBI was not willing to say is a safe bet for America, I -- that may be unheard of. I mean it is just extraordinarily reckless and dangerous because what that means is, that person can be compromised. If you've got those kind of secrets, you've got those -- that kind of behavior going on, that means somebody can knock on your door and say, guess what, buddy, you're going to give me all this information, you're going to tell me what's going on, you're going to give me all the color (ph) boards (ph) or I'm going to out you. And that person is a complete threat to the country. We had no idea. If you've got one, you might have two. If you've got two, you got a big problem in the federal government. And we've got to talk about that.

[08:40:18] CAMEROTA: I don't think that Jared Kushner has full security clearance. JONES: I -- I mean, listen, I think if they -- at this point it is a

worthy point of inquiry to ask how many people in that building, a year in, still have not been signed off on by the FBI. If that -- if you've got more than one in there, you have a major, major problem.

CAMEROTA: But, listen, this isn't the first time just this week that we've talked about their vetting problem. OK, I mean John's right, so there's a character problem, OK, and there's a judgment problem about not being good judges in character at the White House.

JONES: Yes.

CAMEROTA: But the vetting problem is something technical.

JONES: Yes.

CAMEROTA: They are not vetting anybody. I mean just this week, a few days ago, we're talking about the ambassador to Barbados who was retweeting all sorts of crazy conspiracy crap. So what are they doing? How can they not be vetting people in the White House?

JONES: You know, I think -- I think part of the thing is, when you have somebody, you know, like a Donald Trump, he's used to running a certain kind of operation, whether it's a reality TV show thing where colorful characters actually help you, or, you know, the real estate industry, which is, you know, all kind of shenanigans going on.

This is not the real estate business. This is not a reality TV show. This is the federal government. It's America's government. The White House should be the best and the brightest. And, listen, it's a tough standard. I mean, you know, getting vetted by the White House is no fun. Going -- you could go to the proctologist every day and have more fun than getting vetted for the White House. But it's an important part of the process.

BERMAN: We'll take your word on that.

I do have breaking news from the White House right now.

The president did just sign the spending bill. This is what he wrote seconds ago. Just signed bill. Our military will now be stronger than ever before. We love and need our military and gave them everything and more. First time this has happened in a long time. Also means jobs, jobs, jobs.

Van, you know, it's a big increase in military spending. Also a big increase in domestic spending. Also a big increase in the deficit and debt. Your take?

JONES: Listen, I'm glad that some good stuff is getting done. This opioid crisis, the addiction crisis, needed to be taken care of. There's now more dollars on the table for that.

But I just have to say, before this kind of blows away as like another sort of snowflake in the storm, this is a president who called Barack Obama lazy every chance he could get. He implied that Barack Obama was just golfing, lazy, and there was some real nasty undertones in those kinds of allegations.

You couldn't figure out quicker than, you know, 20 minutes before people have to go to work a way to sign a bill that showed up at your door hours ago? What was he doing all morning such that he couldn't have just sign this daggum thing so people could -- you have people standing here. Do I keep my bathrobe on? Do I jump in the car right now? And now, here we are, 18 minutes before people are supposed to go to work, now you come to work. Don't give me a tweet with a bunch of capital letters. Do your job in a responsible way. This is the kind of stuff, just, again, technical stuff, that just drives me nuts about this White House.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about Meghan McCain.

JONES: Oh!

CAMEROTA: I feel the same way.

JONES: I know. Yes.

CAMEROTA: This is exciting because, as I just described, you have her as your guest on "The Van Jones Show."

JONES: Yes.

CAMEROTA: But what I like about Meghan McCain is that she is totally reasonable.

JONES: Yes.

CAMEROTA: She can see both sides. She's reasonable. And, right now, to have a reasonable broadcaster on TV is like a unicorn.

JONES: Listen, right now, if you come out and you say, I hate Donald Trump, or if you come out and say I hate these liberals, you have a built-in constituency. She comes out and looks at the facts and she's rooted in the strongest, healthiest traditions of the Republican Party, but she's willing to have the conversation, she's willing to reach across.

Who else is doing that? I mean you've got another young blonde who, you know, all she does is get on FaceBook and Twitter and attack liberals. She's going through the roof.

But Meghan McCain is in that tradition of the McCain family. This country is lucky to have the McCains. I vote against them every time, but I respect them every time because generation after generation they produce people who are good for the Republican Party and good for the country.

BERMAN: Van Jones, thanks so much for being with us. "The Van Jones Show" is tomorrow, 7:00, right here on CNN. Don't miss it.

CAMEROTA: OK, Vice President Mike Pence is taking in the Olympics opening ceremony just feet away from Kim Jong-un's sister. Look at this picture. Jack Tapper is going to be here to give us his take on this historic moment, next.

BERMAN: But first, an incredible women goes from paralyzed to Paralympian, to "Dancing with the Stars." Meet Victoria Arlen in "Turning Points."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VICTORIA ARLEN: I'm Victoria Arlen. I was on season 25 of "Dancing with the Stars." I learned early on that extraordinary challenges lead to extraordinary victories.

I was 11 when I got sick with transverse myelitis, which affected my spine, and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which affected my brain. So the lights go out August of 2006 for me as far as memory goes.

And then it was January of 2009 where all of a sudden I'm aware.

[08:45:06] I went into fight mode.

I was told that I would be in a wheelchair the rest of my life.

I grew up a swimmer. I didn't think I could swim without the use of my legs. And my brother's strapped on a life jacket and jumped in the pool with me. And then, two years later, I was in London at the London Paralympic Games. Winning that gold medal was kind of the first time that we all cried happy tears.

I started doing appearances and then eventually landing at the doors of ESPN.

I'm Victoria Arlen.

In 2013 we discovered a program called Project Walk and just kept pushing. And then by April of 2016, I was -- I was walking.

"Dancing with the Stars," it was just something that I just dreamed of. Every time we stepped in the studio, it was like we were just continuing to redefine what was possible.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAMEROTA: OK, so the Winter Olympics had just begun and history has already been made.

Look at this picture. North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un's sister is shaking hands here with South Korea's president. This is before the start of the games.

And another history making moment playing out in front of the cameras. Take a look at this. This is just moments ago. This is Vice President Mike Pence sitting just feet apart from the dictator's sister as they watch the opening ceremony.

[08:50:10] Let's bring in anchor of "The Lead," Jake Tapper.

Jake, great to see you.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR, "THE LEAD": Good to see you.

CAMEROTA: What do you make of what's happening in South Korea?

TAPPER: Well, I mean, on one level, obviously, the tensions between both the United States and North Korea are boiling over right now. So this is odd.

But, by the same token, the sister of Kim Jong-un is having lunch with President Moon of South Korea tomorrow. So there is a way that perhaps the Olympics are leading to diplomacy.

And on a more grander scale, I mean this truly is the spirit of the Olympics. People are supposed to put -- nations are supposed to put politics aside and come together in a celebration of athletics and humanity. So as odd as it may seem to see the vice president, who's taken this hard line against North Korea sitting just one row and a few seats down from Kim Jong-un's sister, that is what the Olympics are supposed to be about.

BERMAN: Yes, the literal definition of the Olympics.

Jake, hard turn here to a real extraordinary interview you did with another extraordinary Olympic athlete. I'm talking about Aly Raisman. Really interesting discussion you had.

TAPPER: Yes, I mean, Aly Raisman, obviously, was very brave and courageous when she and the other 200-so women who were abused, sexually abused and molested by Dr. Larry Nassar came forward during his sentencing and talked about what he had done to them.

But now she's taking it even a step further, criticizing the way that she thinks the U.S. Olympics -- the U.S. Olympic Committee, the executives, are handling this. She does not have confidence that the -- an independent investigation that they have called for is going to truly be independent, or even comprehensive. And she's coming forward for the first time with a detail of a possible time when somebody at the U.S. Olympics may have heard about the molestation, all the way back in 2011.

CAMEROTA: All right, let's watch a portion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER (voice over): Gold medalist Aly Raisman says she'll be enthusiastically cheering on Team USA at the opening ceremonies tomorrow, but she also says the officials at the U.S. Olympic Committee has betrayed the athletes. ALY RAISMAN OLYMPIC GYMNAST: I was abused at the Olympics. Larry

Nassar was the Olympic doctor. They are very, very much responsible for this.

TAPPER: Days ago, the Olympic committee hired a law firm to conduct what they call an independent investigation into who knew what about Nassar's abuse and when. But Raisman is skeptical that this investigation will go far enough.

RAISMAN: This should have never, ever happened. You know, if one adult listened or had the character to act, you know, we would have never met him.

TAPPER: And now Raisman is revealing for the first time that the man who coached the 2012 gold medal Olympic team, known as the Fierce Five, might have known about the abuse years before it was reported to USA Gymnastics, the Olympic Committee or the FBI.

RAISMAN: We would talk about it amongst ourselves. And one of my teammates described in graphic detail what Nassar had done to her the night before, and John Getart (ph) was in the car with us and he just didn't say anything. I don't know what he did or didn't do from there. I know he didn't ask us any questions. But that just is why we need the full, independent investigation to really get to the bottom of who knew about this.

TAPPER: That coach, John Getart, has since retired. Law enforcement in Michigan say they're investigating complaints against him, but refuse to describe the nature of the complaints to CNN. Getart's lawyer did not respond to CNN's request for comment.

So who did know about Nassar and when? New reporting from "The Wall Street Journal" reveals that the CEO of the Olympic Committee, Scott Blackman, was alerted in July 2015 to reports that an Olympic gymnast had alleged abuse by a team doctor. Nassar kept seeing patients and abusing them for more than a year after that.

The US Olympic Committee tells CNN, quote, we learned in 2015 of a doctor potentially having abused an athlete. That was reported to the FBI. That's what is supposed to happen, unquote.

Olympic CEO Scott Blackman refused to talk to us amid congressional calls for his resignation.

TAPPER (on camera): Do you have confidence in Scott Blackman?

RAISMAN: Well, I think to be a good leader, you have to have character and you have to be a good person and do the right thing. And I don't think he is any of those things.

TAPPER: How are you doing?

RAISMAN: I think every day I cope differently with it. I feel -- I would say I'm very tired a lot. I'm just really trying to listen to my body. You know, some days I feel good and I'll do a workout. Other days I wake up and I just -- I can't even get through a ten-minute walk. And I -- and I'm -- that's crazy for me to say being an Olympic athlete, but I just think people need to understand that the stress and trauma, it is so exhausting.

I would love for USA Gymnastics and USOC that -- to hear this loud and clear, that since they only care about medals, reputation and money, if we were that successful while we were being molested, wouldn't we have been more successful if we had the right doctor that actually helped heal our injuries, that didn't traumatize us, and if we had people around us that genuinely wanted to help us and we weren't doing well out of fear.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[08:55:26] TAPPER: Now, think about this. Aly Raisman told me when I interviewed her that she had still not heard from Scott Blackman, the CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee. He had not called her. He had not e-mailed her. He had not flown to Boston to talk to her. Really quite questionable behavior from the head of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Alisyn and John.

CAMEROTA: Jake, what a remarkable interview. I mean her point, what they could have done had they not been traumatized, that's just remarkable and mind-blowing to think about.

So, Jake, thank you. We'll be watching this afternoon and this weekend.

TAPPER: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: All right, so we have an inspiring story in "Good Stuff" to tell you all about, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAMEROTA: This is a very special "Good Stuff" for you today. We have an update on a survivor of the Las Vegas massacre last October. After spending four months in the hospital and undergoing nine separate surgeries, Rose Marie Melonson (ph) is going home today.

BERMAN: That's great.

CAMEROTA: We spoke with her family several times after the attack and one of her daughters was also grazed by a bullet but is luckily OK.

As for Rosemary, we're told that she will continue her recovery at home with the help of physical therapy. It's obviously not over for her, but this is a huge milestone that she's able to go home.

BERMAN: She's going to need the family for the physical therapy but also for so much more. They stood by her the whole way.

CAMEROTA: It's so true. I mean while the rest of us move on, she's been there for four months trying to recover from that tragedy.

[09:00:04] BERMAN: All right, inspiring story. That is all for us. Time now for CNN "NEWSROOM" this morning with Erica Hill.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: And, good morning. I'm Erica Hill.