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EARLY START

CBO Score Puts Senate Health Bill In Jeopardy; White House: Syria May Be Preparing Chemical Attack; SCOTUS Greenlights Parts Of Trump Travel Ban; Only On CNN: Inside Raqqa. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired June 27, 2017 - 05:30   ET

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


[05:30:00] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: And why it says it won't just blame the Syrians alone.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: And both sides claiming a win after the Supreme Court agrees to take up the travel ban in the fall. What it means until then for travelers from six Muslim-majority nations.

Welcome back and good morning, it's EARLY START. I'm Alison Kosik in for Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: Yes, we'll have Laura Jarrett coming up in just a bit on what that decision from the Supreme Court means.

KOSIK: We've got a lot to go through there.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. It is 30 minutes past the hour. New this morning on this health care battle, though, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell still pushing for a vote on Obamacare repeal and replace this week despite developments that leave the Senate health care bill hanging by a thread. Two senior GOP aides telling CNN McConnell wants that vote but plans to assess sentiment today at a Senate Republican lunch. They say he could change his plans depending on feedback from Senate Republican leaders.

KOSIK: The reason the GOP bill is barely hanging on, an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, a so-called score that shows 22 million more Americans would be uninsured by 2026. Four Republican senators already saying they're going to vote against, even beginning debate, and that's enough to kill the measure. Others, including Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, they say they still have reservations as well.

BRIGGS: Lee is among four senators set to meet with Vice President Pence tonight to talk about health care.

KOSIK: All right, for more on the CBO score and the political fallout let's bring back Kimberly Leonard. She's a senior health policy reporter for "The Washington Examiner." So much to go through after getting this analysis from the CBO. Let's put up some of the key numbers that came out of the report. For one, they show, once again, that 22 million fewer people would be insured, $772 billion in reductions in Medicaid spending, $541 billion in tax cuts for the wealthy, and then a $321 billion deficit reduction, something that could work in Republicans' favor. BRIGGS: Sure.

KOSIK: When you look at all of this, Kimberly, what comes to mind about what's really changed the debate as we watch Republicans take their stand, you know, mostly against or just sort of on the fence about where they are with this legislation?

KIMBERLY LEONARD, SR. HEALTH POLICY REPORTER, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Well, I think that a lot of people had hopes that some of the provisions in the Senate bill would make some of the uninsurance projections change a lot from the House bill. We haven't really seen that. The Senate bill puts up a lot of funding to help the Obamacare exchanges stabilize in the early years but that didn't really seem to have an impact on whether people would be uninsured or not.

As far as Medicaid goes, the Republicans who've been concerned about cuts to Medicaid are still very concerned. We're facing an opioid epidemic, Medicaid covers a lot of children, it covers a lot of older adults for nursing home care. And so, we're seeing a lot of concern from not just Republicans whose states expanded Medicaid but those who didn't because the changes in the bill are going to affect a lot of different states.

BRIGGS: Right. So even though the president called the House version "mean" the White House blasted the CBO score in a statement. They're pushing back. "The CBO has consistently proven it cannot accurately predict how health care legislation will impact insurance coverage. In 2013, the CBO estimated 24 million people would have coverage under Obamacare. By 2016, it was off by an astounding 13 million people."

This went on and on blasting CBO estimates, but when you look at the movement that happened yesterday you had more Republican senators come out and say we're not ready to support this bill. I can look down the list and say there are at least 10 Republican senators who are not on board as supporting this current version. So, though the White House doesn't support the CBO, does it appear Republican senators took it to heart?

LEONARD: It does -- it certainly does and some of them are saying look, we might be willing to repeal Obamacare but we need more time. Let's not rush this through, let's debate it some more. And so, really today, while some of us are on the Hill trying to talk to different senators after the lunch, we'll be asking what is it going to take to get you to yes. Senator Susan Collins is really one of the only Republicans right now who's saying let's fix Obamacare, let's work together. And so, Republicans cannot afford to lose more than two votes on this and right now the list is too long to see something move forward this week, but we'll really know a little bit more after the lunch today.

KOSIK: OK, so we hear about -- you know, we see all the key numbers and, you know, all the "cuts" that we're hearing about, and then we hear HHS Sec. Tom Price saying that you wouldn't see individuals fall through the cracks. I want you to listen to what he had to say and we'll talk about it on the other side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM PRICE, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: The plan that we have -- would put in place -- would not allow individuals to fall through the cracks. Would not -- we would not pull the rug out from under anybody. We would not have individuals lose coverage that they -- that they want for themselves and for their family. We want to make certain that health care is available to all Americans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[05:35:05] KOSIK: How can he say all that now that we see the analysis from the CBO?

LEONARD: Well, I think part of it, first of all, is that Republicans are planning various stages to their health care repeal and replace, but whether they'd be able to advance another stage and actually get 60 votes that time is in question, it seems. And then, they -- you know, questioning the CBO has been something Republicans have done for a while. They are correct in that fewer people ended up enrolling through the exchanges than had been initially anticipated. As far as Medicaid goes, it's hard to imagine a scenario in which funding from the federal government gets reduced so significantly and people don't have Medicaid coverage.

Now, the qualifications for Medicaid are high. You have to have a low income and it only applies to certain people and states are also, themselves, looking at ways to cut people from their Medicaid rolls, so it's hard to imagine a scenario where that wouldn't change. Now, if they were to move more people from Medicaid onto private insurance or if people on Medicaid who are unemployed then become employed, you could see a scenario where uninsurance rates wouldn't change, but that depends on so many more factors than passing this bill.

KOSIK: Yes.

BRIGGS: This all points to the fact that many want more time, like Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Here's how she phrased it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R), ALASKA: Today, I don't have enough information. I don't have enough data in terms of the impact to my state to be able to vote in the affirmative, so I'm trying to get the information. This is big stuff and so making sure that we get it right is something that I have said is an imperative. I don't think it's asking too much to say give us the time to fairly and critically analyze these numbers. These numbers that we're talking about, these are men and women. These are our families that are being impacted so let's please get it right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: So Kimberly, where is this headed this week and what are the implications if, in fact, a vote fails on Friday?

LEONARD: Well, they're going to be deciding soon whether they're even going to proceed on debating the details of the health care bill. A lot of senators say that they're not ready. They say let's give us more time. I wouldn't be surprised to see this debated and continued to a later date but, again, we'll see what deals are reached today and over the coming days and whether some people change their minds or whether they're won over.

It's hard to see a scenario in which they can get all the pieces fitting together, in which centrist concerns are addressed in ways that more conservative members are agreeable to, and so we'll see how it all works out. It's hard to imagine a scenario of what will happen now but I remember when the House bill was being debated --

BRIGGS: Right.

LEONARD: -- there was a lot of doubt that it would move forward and then it did.

KOSIK: Surprise.

BRIGGS: Of course, this is very different, only having two votes to lose. Kimberly Leonard, you can read her thoughts in "The Washington Examiner." We'll be following. Thank you.

KOSIK: Thanks so much for coming on the show.

LEONARD: Thank you.

BRIGGS: OK. Late last night the White House issued a warning aimed at Syria. In a statement, the White House says there are potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Syrian regime. That would lead to the "mass murder of civilians." It warned President Bashar al-Assad that there will be a heavy price to pay if such an attack is carried out. So what prompted this warning, seemingly out of nowhere?

For the latest, let's bring in international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson monitoring developments from Abu Dhabi. Nic, do we have any sense of where this came from?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: At this stage, we don't. We don't have any details from the Pentagon yet. Indeed, the sort of early indications perhaps that, you know, they were surprised by the statement coming from the White House. But this is very, very early stages yet and one wouldn't expect the Pentagon to put out all the information they have because that would tip their hand to President Assad, and President Trump has been very clear he's not going to telegraph where the punches are coming from and how they're going to be landed.

But I think if you listen to the language that the White House is using here -- I mean, this even perhaps ratchets up the rhetoric over what we heard or what happened back at the beginning of April when Syria used chemical weapons back then, something like Sarin nerve agent, 89 people were killed, 59 cruise missiles fired on the air base where that strike took place from. Now, this heavy price -- this heavy price that the White House is saying will be paid will be paid by Assad and his military. Last time it was paid by his military.

Is there an indication here that this is an implicit indication that there were would be potentially a strike against Assad himself, it's not clear. The information behind it isn't clear, as well. But what we have seen, yesterday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke with his opposite member of the Kremlin, Sergey Lavrov, the foreign minister there. We don't know if the chemical weapons issue came up in the conversation but we do know that the Russian president, President Vladimir Putin -- his spokesman, today, came out and said that Russia is strongly opposed to the use of chemical weapons, indicating that they certainly wouldn't back Assad in this case.

[05:40:25] And, certainly, they did take a good degree of blame and culpability last time because, of course, Russia backs Assad, as does Iran. So right now, what is the information behind this, not clear. Russia seems to be taking it seriously, though. The Syrians, for their part, and their state media seem to be dismissing it as another fabrication, Dave.

BRIGGS: The Russians, perhaps, in a reaction to that statement from Nikki Haley. Nic Robertson, thank you.

KOSIK: OK. The president's 90-day travel ban will be heard by the Supreme Court but not until the fall. Will it just be a moot point though if the ban expires before it's even heard? We'll explain.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:45:10] BRIGGS: Welcome back. Key elements to the president's travel ban could take effect in just a few days. The U.S. Supreme Court is allowing some people from six Muslim-majority countries to be kept out of the U.S. by the ban, allowing others in. That's until the justices consider this case next term when the ban itself will actually have expired. We'll explain that in a moment.

KOSIK: President Trump hailing the ruling meantime on Twitter last night calling it "A great day for America's future security and safety, courtesy of the U.S. Supreme Court." He said, "I will keep fighting for the American people and win." The Department of Homeland Security is hoping to learn from its mistakes and promising a better rollout than the chaos that passengers witnessed in January.

BRIGGS: So for now, your bottom line is this. If you have a clear connection to the U.S., personal or business, you can come in, and if you don't, stay out.

CNN justice reporter Laura Jarrett joins us from Washington this morning. So great to have you. A bit of a confusing issue.

KOSIK: Good morning, Laura.

BRIGGS: A lot of people making a lot of that White House statement that it was a nine-nothing decision, but let's talk about what matters and that's the application here. How will it be implemented -- when and how based on that Supreme Court decision, Laura? LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: All key questions, Dave, and the

Trump administration is certainly proceeding with greater caution this time around, but the exact rollout plan here is still somewhat unclear. Earlier this month, the president actually directed officials at the State Department and Homeland Security to begin implementing this travel ban 72 hours after any court gives the green light. So after yesterday, we could see this travel ban take shape as early as Thursday. But many questions still remain here about how exactly this order is going to be interpreted on the ground and who is going to decide close calls about who comes in the country if there's a dispute.

KOSIK: All right. So the Supreme Court is saying that someone needs a bona fide connection to travel to the U.S. Does the Supreme Court define it? What happens if there's a dispute about what bona fide really means?

JARRETT: Well, the court had to give some examples, probably understanding that this is going to be an issue, and they said if you have a close family relationship -- so, a relative -- or you've been admitted a university, or you have a work permit to come into the U.S., all of those count. Those are bona fide relationships. But there are still questions about more attenuated circumstance -- maybe a fiance, for instance. Is that enough? And so, there are bound to be disputes here and you can imagine people are going to run right back into court. And so, even though the highest court in the land has now ruled on this there are going to be even more lawsuits this summer, likely.

KOSIK: Someone -- something tells me a lot of lawyers are going to get rich off the Supreme Court decision.

BRIGGS: I think you're right. Still some very muddy waters. All right. So we've heard a lot about the president's tweets, his statements. The lower court certainly factored those in. This did not apply to the Supreme Court ruling. Is that good news for President Trump?

JARRETT: Well, it's hard to know. It seems like the court sort of sidestepped some of those more challenging constitutional issues, trying to figure out whether the president's own words matter for the purposes of this executive order. That's something the lower courts really grappled with. But the Supreme Court sort of just bypassed all of that and just concentrated on this narrow piece of who can come in the country for now. But given the stakes, they're going to have to address those issues and give the lower courts guidance later on this fall because that's what the Supreme Court is there for, guys.

KOSIK: All right, Laura Jarrett. Thanks for navigating all this new territory for us. We appreciate it.

BRIGGS: We appreciate it.

JARRETT: Thanks.

KOSIK: Tech companies face increasing pressure to fight terrorism on their sites. Four of the biggest names are banding together to do just that. CNN Money Stream is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:53:12] BRIGGS: Now to a CNN exclusive. Video secretly taken inside Raqqa, ISIS's de facto capital in Syria. Its self-proclaimed caliphate looks to be on the verge of collapse with ISIS terrorists besieged by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes. This is a rare glimpse at a way of life in the Syrian city ISIS has controlled for years.

Senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh has more of this CNN exclusive. Nick, does this give us a good sense of just how ISIS is, in fact, on their heels?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: (Video playing) Interestingly, it's actually how the filming takes place that gives you the best insight as to how their grip on that city is crumbling. In the past, they've tightly controlled their own propaganda of life in there. We've got the occasional snatched single-frame of life inside the capital of what they call their caliphate, but now their grip is crumbling. Activists are much more relaxed about filming.

In our images, they show sandbags lining the streets for shelter from bombing of potentially urban street fighting ahead, canopies disguising the streets, even conversations between Russian-speaking militants talking about how they've lost some radios or how they fear airstrikes. An Egyptian walking around with the military police and, also, a Belgian fighter trying to choose what kind of pants he wants to wear to the front line.

But the broader question is how is the internal resistance to ISIS shaping up. Well, we know that around the city the siege called on, put in place by Syrian and Kurdish fighters a lot of American support is nearly complete but inside, too. One activist speaking to us outside of Syria talked about how they were able to intimidate those who inform for ISIS.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALSH (translating): We can only get to them, he says, by leaving messages on their door like we know who you are. This soon stops them. And some of their friends started writing the word "free" on the walls of ISIS buildings. Then locals started, the elderly writing it on walls and children on chalkboards, making ISIS wonder who are these people?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[05:55:15] WALSH: Now, all the signs are there that ISIS accepts their time in Raqqa may not be that long. Their prisoners have been moved elsewhere. Their top commanders have left. They also appear to have put car bombs in most of the streets you see where abandon cars have sat. But that cordon in place and the grip tightening of those U.S.-backed forces around what was really for once for a while the jewel of ISIS's caliphate. Back to you.

BRIGGS: Usually it's just drone footage we get of Raqqa. Nick Paton Walsh live for us. Good stuff, thank you.

KOSIK: All right, let's get a quick check on CNN Money Stream this morning. Global markets are mostly lower after Wall Street closed mixed. The Dow ended a five-day losing streak on a rise in bank stocks. They actually jumped after the Italian government said it would bail out two of its banks. Looking at the Nasdaq, it closed lower after some big-name tech stocks fell. I'll give you a couple of examples. Facebook and Google parent Alphabet both dropped about one percent. But, you know, you look at the year, it's been a banner year for tech. The sector's still up more than 20 percent this year.

Car rental company Avis will manage a fleet of self-driving cars but you won't be able to rent one just yet. The deal with Waymo, Google's driverless car company, is for maintenance only. It's going to handle things like oil changes and tire rotations. The arrangement is good for Waymo in two ways. Avis serves as a home base for any test runs in the future and it will allow Waymo to expand more easily when driverless tech does finally hit the road.

Tech companies facing increasing pressure to fight terrorism on their sites so four of the biggest names are banding together to do just that. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Microsoft all forming the global internet forum to counter terrorism. The plan is to share tools to combat extremist content that includes all that violent imagery and terrorist propaganda. But these tech companies still worrying about all these regulations could wind up violating customer privacy. It's all about balance.

BRIGGS: They've got to do something to help in that fight.

KOSIK: Yes. All right, thanks for joining us. I'm Alison Kosik.

BRIGGS: All right, I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" with Keilar and Cuomo, today, starts right now. We'll see you tomorrow.

KOSIK: Have a great day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Republicans have gone from total secrecy to total chaos.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I'm concerned that the death spiral of Obamacare may well even get worse with the Republican version.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These senators need to remember that they campaigned on repealing and replacing Obamacare.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twenty-two million people losing their coverage, that's unacceptable.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These heinous actions by the Assad regime cannot be tolerated.

BRIGGS: The White House says there are potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Syrian regime. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are warning the president, Bashar al-Assad,

of paying a heavy price if these weapons were to be used.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, June 27th, 6:00 here in New York. Alison is off. News machine Brianna Keilar -- I thought you'd get a kick out of that.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Who put that in prompter?

CUOMO: I don't know but we will get to the bottom of it.

KEILAR: I love it.

CUOMO: All right, here's our starting line. The Senate Republican health care bill is on the brink of defeat. A growing number of GOP senators say they oppose the plan after that CBO report came out. So, what is the Republican leadership going to do? Are they going to force a vote? We will be tracking that for you today. The White House slamming the non-partisan CBO report, citing its history of inaccuracy in predicting how health care legislation will impact insurance coverage.

KEILAR: Meantime, the Trump administration says Syria could be preparing another chemical attack, issuing an ominous warning to the Assad regime that they would pay a heavy price if they do it again. And the Supreme Court allowing parts of President Trump's revised travel ban to take effect. The president calls the decision a clear victory but is the celebration premature? We have all of this covered. Let's begin now with CNN's Suzanne Malveaux live for us on Capitol Hill -- Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Brianna. Well, the Senate health care bill is essentially on the verge of collapse now. It does not even have enough votes to start the debate. This comes amid a devastating CBO score that is making it much harder for even those on the fence to support it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: The Senate health care bill teetering on the edge of collapse after a devastating non-partisan CBO report estimates that the Senate GOP bill would result in 22 million more Americans becoming uninsured by 2026, making a vote that much harder.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: You put all this together and get to 50 is going to be very tough and the CBO score doesn't help any. If you had problems with the bill before you've probably got more problems now.

MALVEAUX: A White House official conceding to CNN that Republicans are right on the threshold of losing the health care battle. SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: The report makes clear Trumpcare would be a cancer on the American health care system.