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White House Gives States Option to Defund Planned Parenthood. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired April 13, 2017 - 16:30   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: So, what might this law mean for, say, a woman who uses Medicaid, which is a federal program, and wants to go to Planned Parenthood to get contraception or a pap smear?

[16:30:05] SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, depending on the state, she could start to see a lot of changes into what's offered. Undoing this gives states basically the freedom to allocate and potentially withhold the money that go to a variety of family planning and preventative services, things like birth control, pregnancy tests, maternity care, cervical cancer screenings. Undoing this law gives the states the freedom to allocate that money now.

And as you noted, because of the Hyde Amendment, which has been on the books for many, many years, no federal money can be used to pay for an abortion. But many Republicans were still opposed for giving money for other services to organizations like Planned Parenthood that also do abortions, even though it should be noted that not every Planned Parenthood offers abortion.

TAPPER: And the administration more broadly talking about healthcare. They're not letting go of the chance to repeal and replace Obamacare. The president telling "The Wall Street Journal" as way to force negotiations with Democrats, he might consider stopping payments to insurance companies under Obamacare to cover low income people. Might that gambit work? Might it draw in Democrats and bring them to the bargaining table?

SERFATY: No, I don't think it will bring in Democrats. And what we're really seeing some swift reaction already from them. Democrats saying this is exposing something of a political strategy meant to draw them in. Pelosi calling it cruel, Schumer called it a cynical strategy that would hold people hostage to achieve the political goal of repeal. And Democrats are indicating that they do intend to wrap this up and tie this into the fight over government spending that will, of course, happen later this month.

A Democratic leadership aide tells me tonight that this was something that was being discussed before, but the president threatened to throw more gas on the fire.

TAPPER: It's too bad. There are fixes that need to happen to Obamacare. It doesn't look like anybody is going to bring them to the table.

Sunlen Serfaty, thank you so much. Now, I want to bring in our political panel to digest all of the day's


Mary Katharine, you're closest to me. So, I'm going to start with you.

The president says the federal government refuses to pay these Obamacare subsidies that will force Democrats to the table. The Democrat Sunlen was talking to don't seem to be convinced. But might it work as a gambit?

MARY KATHARINE HAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's quite a gambit. I mean, I think you've got a situation where he could plausibly make the argument that, look, this is the Obamacare plan that was created by Obama and therefore, we're just sort of like letting it take its path. If he takes the extra step of cutting off subsidies, I think it's harder to make that argument and it falls in his lap.

That being said, as the -- particularly the individual market continues to be on the rocks, Democrats may want to engage with him at some point because I'm not sure exactly what the Republican plan looks like. This is not a president who is particularly ideological. I think you can get him to do a lot of different things on healthcare, many of which I would disagree with.

KAREN TUMULTY, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: But if this is hostage taking, somebody taking a hostage by holding a gun to his own head, if you understand how the Affordable Care Act works, the people who get these subsidies are by and large middle and lower middle income people, people with jobs who buy their insurance policies on the exchanges. In other words, we're talking about the profile of the Trump voter.

HAM: It's the problem they had going through the plan they had in the House.


KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Democrats have been clear this is a non-starter for them. The basic position is if you want to fix Obamacare, we're happy to sit down with you and talk about it. But any time you talk about repeal, this is a non-starter. They have no interest in it.

And it's just interesting he seems to be reaching out to the Democrats and also claiming he is close to a deal with the Freedom Caucus. Those two things cannot both be true, right?

TAPPER: Speaking of contradictions -- I don't know if you noticed but there's a lot of contradiction within the president, President Trump's work. In today's White House briefing, for example, Press Secretary Sean Spicer couldn't or wouldn't explain the president's stance on the Import/Export Bank, his role in ordering the bombing of Afghanistan, Chinese currency manipulation, how he was going to say he was going to declare China to be a currency manipulator, he's no longer going to do that, and whether or not debate will cause a government shutdown, his position on this.

Why? Why do you think that they won't explain the president's position?

POWERS: What he kept saying, it seems, was these are complex issues and he would sort of move on as though it's not his job to explain complex issues to people. It's very strange. It's very strange in particular to be talking about a major strike where we drop a bomb we've never dropped before and he won't even address the fact -- anything, anything really relating to the president and sort of punting it off to the Defense Department, and the reporters pointing out, but we're asking about the president and that's his job.

TAPPER: Yes, did he actually order it?

POWERS: Yes, right.

TAPPER: It seems to me the president -- I mean, the president's response was, you know, I've given the military the authority to do this and we were told by the Pentagon, Barbara Starr reporting, that the Pentagon briefed the president? It just seems odd.

There's a reason this nation has civilian control of the military, not just by the secretary of defense but by the president to have a role in these decisions.

[16:35:05] HAM: Well, on Spicer's part I think it might be an act of self-preservation, less is more.

TAPPER: Right. It was a quick briefing today.

HAM: With Trump, I think he also said everyone knows exactly what happened. It's like no, that's why we're asking the question, because we don't know exactly what happened. I think it is likely that he has given more latitude to military leaders, but that when something large like this happens, that they certainly come to him. That would be my guess, but we were not given that exact answer.

TUMULTY: It is inconceivable the military would have used a weapon never used before without consulting the commander-in-chief.

Now, it sounded like what Trump was trying to suggest here is that, you know, perhaps it was the military's judgment that this was the right set of circumstances for this particular weapon and that they made the case to him. But what I don't understand is why he didn't just say that. What he said was, well, everyone knows what happened.

TAPPER: And what about -- Karen, what about more broadly the major shifts in position we've seen from this White House in terms of the Export/Import Bank, the use of force abroad and military entanglements. I mean, I could go on and on, but you've seen the list. The Chinese currency manipulation, he was going to declare on day one that China was a currency manipulator, and on and on.

What do you make about what the president would call flexibility, some people might call it an evolution, others might call it a flip-flop? TUMULTY: Well, I think one of the most revealing comments he made was

his comment about the Affordable Care Act. Well, it turns out that this healthcare stuff is really complicated. As a candidate, he suggested that all of these issues were very straightforward, he alone could do it. As a president, he's finding that things are much more complicated than candidate Trump seemed to -- if not understand, then imply.

TAPPER: And he said something like that in an interview with "The Wall Street Journal." He was talking about the North Korean issue and talking about it with President Xi of China, and he said, you know, something like it turns out it's really complicated. It's like what he said about healthcare. Who knew it was so complicated?

HAM: Well, some of this can be attributed to learning in office, and I think that's good. We should encourage him when it happens.

But some of it is attributable to the fact that he is a changeable man. His personality is not going to change but his policies will. And what concerns me is that I will say, hey, good job on this particular policy, but then three days from now, he might have a change of heart, depending on who he is talking to.

TAPPER: So, I want to -- I want to turn to President Trump's opponent in the election, Hillary Clinton, is not going soft into that good night. She is no longer just seen in the woods on occasion like big foot. She is actually popping up.

She did an interview the other day, and there were throughout this interview a whole list of individuals whom she clearly holds responsible for the fact that she is not in the White House. Take a listen.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The combination of the Comey letter on October 28th, WikiLeaks which played a much bigger role than I think many people understand yet, had the determinative effect. I think what Putin wanted to do is to sow distrust and confusion as well as influence our election. Certainly, misogyny played a role. I mean, that just has to be admitted.

NICHOLAS KRISTOF, MODERATOR: To what extent do you assign blame to Bernie Sanders, to the media for focusing on e-mails?

CLINTON: How much time do we have?



TAPPER: Kirsten?

POWERS: Yes, it is just interesting. Never in this equation has Hillary Clinton to blame for anything, and she was after all the candidate. There were outside forces that were affecting the campaign, no question. But there were a lot of things I think related to her candidacy that were problematic.

And I don't think this helps Democrats to look back at this. I think people want to move on and not seem like sour grapes. It makes the audience she was talking to happy. This is Woman in the World, very liberally -- Women -- and I think it makes the base happy, but I don't think it's helpful overall.

And I'm now getting tweeted right now, like, why do you hate Hillary Clinton so much? I don't hate Hillary Clinton. I'm just saying that I don't think this is helpful.

TAPPER: I mean, Karen, you know, obviously Putin, Comey, et cetera, there's a whole list of reasons why she didn't win. But she doesn't seem to have done enough introspection.

I just want to point out right there is President Trump boarding Air Force One, about to go to Mar-a-Lago.

There doesn't seem to be a lot of introspection when it comes to knowing -- you know, Putin didn't tell you, don't go to Wisconsin.


TAPPER: James Comey didn't tell you, call one quarter of the country deplorable.

TUMULTY: It was a close election. You know, one candidate won the popular vote, the other won the electoral vote. But it's kind of not in human nature to get over something like this that quickly. In 1984, when Walter Mondale lost in a landslide, he went to George McGovern who had done the same thing years before and said, how long does it take to get over something like this? And McGovern said, you know, I'll tell you when it happens.


TAPPER: Mary Katharine, Kirsten, Karen, thank you so much.

North Korea's nuclear site reportedly primed and ready.

[16:40:00] What is Kim Jong-un planning for one of the nation's biggest celebrations. We'll go live to North Korea inside North Korea, where few outsiders ever go, next.

Then, a broken nose, broken teeth, a concussion -- new information about just how severe the United passenger's injuries are. Is there anything United can do to redeem itself and avoid court?

Stay with us.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

More on world lead now. Some military experts are speculating that the massive bomb the Pentagon dropped on Afghanistan to destroy ISIS tunnels was also intended as a message to North Korea about President Trump's willingness to use force, a suggestion that the president did not deny today. If so, the message comes as satellite imagery suggests Kim Jong-un's regime may be in final preparations for its sixth nuclear test, another terrifying possibility. Japan today, claiming that North Korea may be capable of delivering missiles equipped with sarin nerve gas. CNN's Will Ripley joins me now live from Pyongyang. And Will, analysts have been warning for months that North Korea is getting ready for another nuclear test, but it could really happen any day now, right?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's according to these analysts at the Think-Tank 38 North talking about Punggye-ri nuclear site. They looked at images from just yesterday and they say there were personnel, vehicles, equipment at this North Korean nuclear test site. You have the Japanese Prime Minister warning about the possibility of sarin gas-tipped ballistic missiles being fired in the event of a military confrontation. Japan has been taking measures in event they have to evacuate their citizens from the Korean peninsula. And there's a radiation sniffer plane, an American plane on stand-by in Okinawa right now, just in case there is a test. The U.S., South Korea, and China often will send up aircraft and put the sensing devices after nuclear test to make sure the radiation hasn't set to the atmosphere. So it certainly is feeling much more real as we approach this major holiday tomorrow here in North Korea.

TAPPER: And Will, ahead of this day of the sun holiday, Kim Jong-un made a public appearance. Now, you've been to North Korea, this is your 11th visit, but this time for the first time, you were just a few feet away from Kim Jong-un. Tell us what that was like.

RIPLEY: It's remarkable. We got a phone call around 4:00 in the morning telling us we had 30 minutes to get ready, to get on buses, we had to leave our cellphones behind, wear suits, and before we know, we were taken through multiple layers of security. It was that North Korean equivalent of the Secret Service. Soldiers were, you know, basically combing this area. We were driven through empty streets into the heart of Pyongyang. They cleared out an entire central neighborhood, and then, within a matter of minutes, tens of thousands of North Koreans appeared. It's like they suddenly mobilized, civilian, soldiers. We waited another few hours, and after a total of five hours, multiple security checks, there comes Kim Jong-un in a black Mercedes limousine. It was incredible to see that the build up around the Kim family here. They really stay on brand, Jake, from the portraits of two late leaders hanging on every major building to the song that played before Kim Jong-un arrived. Everybody in the crowd, tens of thousands of people, they were completely silent for several minutes before Kim Jon-un arrived. And then after he left, they were completely silent as well, almost waiting important the cue that it was China to start talking again. I've never seen that large a group of people so quietly and attentively wait for someone, and it really does indicate the mindset around here when it comes to their leader.

TAPPER: Sounds terrifying really. Will Ripley reporting live for us from Pyongyang. Thank you so much. Appreciate it. Also in our "WORLD LEAD" today, an internal memo obtained by CNN shows, the Department of Homeland Security is looking to strengthen its ability to detain and deport undocumented immigrants. It's part of an effort to implement President Trump's crack down on illegal immigration. The measures being explored, include detaining virtually all undocumented immigrants who were apprehended and facing deportation proceedings. Also a possibility in this memo, about 30,000 more beds for detention facilities. The Department of Homeland Security is also considering ways to hire more border patrol officers more quickly and they might drop the Polygraph test, Spanish proficiency, and Physical requirements in order to meet that number.

The Department said that senior leadership has not yet reviewed the memo and no decisions have been made. The document was first reported by the Washington Post. In other world news, the suspected shooter in the 2010 murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry has been arrested according to Department of Homeland Security. 38-year-old Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes was taken into custody in Mexico Wednesday, it was part of a joint operation between the two countries. The murder of Terry along the Arizona-Mexico border exposed the fail gun- tracking operation known as "fast and furious" which was put in place under the Obama administration.

The operation had allowed known drug traffickers to purchase firearms in hopes of the U.S. government being able to document the illegal transit of weapons, but the ATF lost track of more than 1,000 guns, two of which were recovered at the scene of terry's killing. Terry's family subsequently sued the Obama administration, claiming the government acting irresponsibly. That suit was eventually dismissed. Former Obama Attorney General Eric Holder, you might recall was held in contempt of Congress after failing to turn over documents in their investigation into the "fast and furious" operation. CNN has learned that the U.S. government is currently working with Mexico to extradite the suspect in Terry's death as soon as possible.

[16:49:47] Coming up, a concussion, broken nose and broken teeth, those are the injuries the United passenger suffered for refusing to give up his seat. What he wants to he see happen, next.


TAPPER: Welcome back. We're back with the "BURIED LEAD". That's what we call stories we feel are not getting their due attention. Today we're putting spotlight on what might be happening to gay men in Chechnya. A Russian newspaper says many of these gay men have been beaten, some even electrocuted in the ultra-conservative Islamic- Chechen society. When asked about the torture camp reports, a government spokesman said, gays don't exist in the Chechen Republic. He said if they did, their families would send them quote "to a place of no return." Let's bring in CNN's Matthew Chance in Moscow. And Matthew, activists in Russia say that they're talking - I'm sorry, their taking in gays who were trying to escape their region. Do to they have any proof that these detention camps for gays in Chechnya actually exist?

[16:54:53] MATTHEW CHANCE, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a good question. And in fact, this story is only really developing over the past week or two. And so - and we're talking about a region who is very difficult to get access to, and an issue, this extremely sensitive one in Russia in general, but particularly in this mainly Muslim corner of Southern Russia. What we have got is we've got through to aid workers, gay rights campaigners that have been in contact with the victims of this apparent crackdown on gay men in Chechnya. They're helping, as you say, to evacuate them to safety, and they have absolutely appalling accounts of what has happened to them, talking about being crammed in cells with up to 30 other people, denied sufficient food and water and, of course, subjected to brutal violence. Svetlana Zakharova is of the Russia LBGT Network, which is a gay rights campaigning organization in this country. Take a listen to what she - to what she told me earlier.


SVETLANA ZAKHAROVA, RUSSIA LGBT NETWORK: People who contacted us, they basically reported that they were tortured with electric current, and some people were heavily beaten and there were some people who were beaten to death.


CHANCE: Right. Beaten to death for being gay, is even by Russian standards an appalling development, of course. Chechnya is run essentially by a Kremlin-installed strongman figure. His name is Ramzan Kadyrov and he has been accused repeatedly over many years of widespread human rights abuses, using his security forces to carry out abductions and rapes and beatings and even killings. As you mentioned, when his spokesperson was asked about this story, which was broke by a leading independent investigative newspaper here in Russia, Novaya Gazeta. He said it was an absolute lie. And he said that even if there were gay men in Chechnya which he denied, he said there were none, he said that it wouldn't be a problem for the security forces, for law enforcement because their own families would send them to a place from which they could not return. So he was suggesting there that there would be honor killings, killings of people who were found to be gay or suspected of being gay by their own families because of the shame in that conservative Chechen society. So the dangers here for all of those involved are very real indeed, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Matthew Chance. Thank you so much. Appreciate it. Our "MONEY LEAD:" now. Today the attorneys of the passenger who was so violently dragged off that United Airline flight over the weekend said that their client will be filing a lawsuit. Dr. David Dao suffered a concussion, a broken nose, lost teeth and injuries to his sinuses, his attorney said. Three Chicago Department of Aviation officers are currently on leave following the incident. CNN's Ryan Young joins me now. And Ryan, you were at the press conference held today where we heard the point of view of the passenger for the first time.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake. I can tell you that the doctor will have to have reconstructive surgery. That's something that we learned today. And his daughter said that no human should be treated like her father was. He's a father of five. They could not believe the video, watching their father be dragged down the aisle. So many people feel this way. But listen to how the attorney described, how Dr. Dao himself described being pulled down that aisle. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS DEMETRIO, DAVID DAO'S ATTORNEY: Here's what he told me. He said that he left Vietnam in 1975 when Saigon fell, and he was on a boat, and he said he was terrified. He said that being dragged down the aisle was more horrifying and harrowing than what he experienced in leaving Vietnam.


YOUNG: Jake, at one quick point to make, they said the doctor, who never wants to travel on an airplane again.

TAPPER: And Ryan, United Airlines offered reimbursement to all passengers on the plane, but apparently it comes with a catch.

YOUNG: There is a catch. We've learned about this as well. The passengers accept that payment, they cannot sue the airline, and we've already heard from the attorney for Dr. Dao that several passengers have already reached out to them. So, you know this might not be over just yet.

Tapper: And Ryan, is there any indication when they might file suit? When this might go to court? And are they - were they specific about whether they were suing United Airlines or in addition perhaps the aviation police?

YOUNG: Well, that's a great question there because they said they might sue the City of Chicago as well, which is the Aviation Police, as well as United but they have two years to do this. They've already made a move in Circuit Court to preserve some of this evidence, but they believe they will have a strong case. They believe the doctor will be a member of someone who will stand up and stop some of the things happening to customers across the country.

TAPPER: All right. Ryan Young, thank you so much. Appreciate it. You can follow me on Facebook and Twitter @jaketapper. You can tweet the show @theleadcnn, we actually read them. That's it for THE LEAD, I'm Jake Tapper. Turning you over now to one Mr. Wolf Blitzer, he's right next door in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Thanks for joining us.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN THE SITUATION ROOM HOST: Happening now, breaking news, massive ordinance. The U.S. drops its biggest non-nuclear weapon on an ISIS tunnel complex in Afghanistan.