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Health Care Vote On Hold After McCain Surgery; Trump's Approval Rating Slides To 36 Percent; Secret Service Refutes Trump Lawyer Remarks; Ten Killed In Chicago Weekend Violence. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired July 17, 2017 - 05:30   ET



[05:30:30] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: New trouble for Republican health care efforts. A fresh CBO score delayed and so, too, is a vote after a health scare for John McCain.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And a brand new poll shows the president's approval dropping to a record low, yet the president defending the number, even as the Russia investigation hampers his agenda.

Welcome back this Monday morning to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. Happy "Made in America" week, everybody. Thirty minutes past the hour.

We start with this country's health care and because of that a health scare for a key Republican senator, the latest obstacle for Republicans trying to pass a new health care bill. There are new concerns.

John McCain's absence could be longer than first thought. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announcing he'll postpone a vote because Sen. McCain is recovering in Arizona after having a blood clot removed above his left eye.

McCain's absence could jeopardize efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare care with two Republican senators, Rand Paul and Susan Collins, already declaring their opposition. McConnell needs every other GOP vote, all 50, to pass the measure.

ROMANS: Doctors described the surgery on Sen. McCain as minimally invasive, but CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta notes McCain does have a history of invasive melanoma in and around that area. McCain's doctors are now waiting for a pathology test to see if more treatment is needed.

The health bill facing political obstacles, as well. More on that in a moment.

BRIGGS: Meantime, President Trump reaching a new low in approval ratings, just 36 percent. In the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, that's down six points from the same poll in his 100-day mark in April.

President Trump responding with a tweet that apparently wants to have it both ways, accepting and casting doubt of the same poll at the same time.

ROMANS: He says, "The ABC/Washington Post Poll, even though almost 40%, is not bad at this time, was just about the most inaccurate poll around election time."

Let's unpack that if we could. First, it is actually the lowest approval rating at the six-month mark of any president in 70 years, so not exactly not bad.

Second, the final estimate from "The Washington Post" poll was 43 percent for Trump and 47 percent for Hillary Clinton who posted 48.5 percent on election night. You see the numbers there. That's well within the poll's margin of error.

BRIGGS: President Trump's personal lawyer claims the Secret Service would have prevented anything questionable at that meeting last June between Donald Trump, Jr. and the Russian lawyer.

That claim now getting some big pushback from the Secret Service. It says it had no responsibility to check participants in the meeting. Why? Well, because Don, Jr. was not under Secret Service protection at the time, just the candidate was.

ROMANS: Yes, that was a talking point this weekend on the Sunday shows. Sekulow also on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION" Sunday where he reiterated that the president was not aware of the meeting and not engaged in it.

That assertion got a skeptical response from the top Democrat on the Senate Intel Committee, Mark Warner.

All this came after we learned yet another person attended that meeting. Russian-American lobbyists were not mentioned. We've now learned eight people -- eight people were in that meeting, a significant jump from what we've been told originally. Eight people in that room.

BRIGGS: Yes. It went from four to five, to six, to now eight.

Much to discuss this morning with "CNN POLITICS" reporter Eugene Scott.

ROMANS: Good morning.

BRIGGS: Good morning to you, sir.


BRIGGS: Let's work backwards. Let's start with health care, in fact, and this is a huge week for it as Mitch McConnell said it was deferred, in his words, not delayed because of John McCain's health scare. They need every vote -- SCOTT: Right.

BRIGGS: -- so you can't have one key senator not here.

But here's the key issue, it's Medicaid and how you characterize the cuts or slowing of the growth rate.

Listen to what the vice president, Mike Pence, and Republican Sen. Susan Collins said about that issue Sunday.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me be clear. President Trump and I believe the Senate health care bill strengthens and secures Medicaid for the neediest in our society, and this bill puts this vital American program on a path to long-term sustainability.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: This bill would make sweeping and deep cuts in the Medicaid program, which has been a safety net program on the books for more than 50 years, ensuring that some of our most vulnerable citizens, our disabled children, our low-income seniors receive the health care that they need.


[05:35:07] BRIGGS: A massively different characterization --

SCOTT: Right.

BRIGGS: -- of what happens to Medicaid. What does that mean for those on the fence, like Dean Heller, like Rob Portman, Shelley Moore Capito? And why did the vice president, making the case for this bill, and the President of the United States is nowhere to be seen on it with the exception of a few tweets?

SCOTT: Well, I mean, the vice president is someone who's been deeply involved in this conversation about Medicaid before the president actually got into politics, right? And so this was something he was paying attention to as governor.

What's really interesting is that we haven't heard him or people from the Trump -- not campaign, but administration now, clearly articulate how this actually will strengthen Medicaid for poorer people, for kids, for the elderly, for people in rural communities. What's been said most often from their opponents, at least, is that it could hurt millions and tens of millions of people from that -- those communities.

BRIGGS: Well, the argument being is that it's unsustainable --

SCOTT: Right.

BRIGGS: -- in its current form but it's only Mike Pence that's out there making that case for it. ROMANS: Well, they're talking about -- you keep hearing innovation, which is the buzz word that they're talking about. If we don't -- if we cut Medicaid or we slow the growth of Medicaid --

SCOTT: Sure.

ROMANS: -- and we put the onus on the states, that will spark innovation. And that's something that those governors -- Republican governors, too, this weekend --

SCOTT: Right.

ROMANS: -- they didn't buy it.


ROMANS: They really didn't buy it. What, you're going to give us less money for the most important thing we do really, as a state, and that we're going to innovate somehow in the interim?

SCOTT: Right, and their whole argument is it's going to be difficult to innovate with fewer resources.

ROMANS: Right.

SCOTT: I mean, we already are strapped and stressed in terms of trying to provide health care for some of our most vulnerable residents already.

BRIGGS: Well, you know, and it's those governors, to Christine's point. They were hoping that that would give them some cover. It did not because Brian Sandoval of Nevada, a key governor in this, said no, he's not for it.

Other Republican governors don't like it because it doesn't go far enough.


BRIGGS: So it's the same problem in the Senate as it does with the governor.

Let's talk about Russia and the Oval Office, how they thought they might attempt to defend that meeting.

Jay Sekulow, the president's lawyer, out there on Sunday talking about well, if there's anything nefarious the Secret Service would have caught it -- listen.


JAY SEKULOW, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I wondered why the Secret Service, if this was nefarious, why'd the Secret Service allow these people in? The president had Secret Service protection at that point. That raised a question with me. Donald Trump, Jr. himself said things should have been done differently. Having said that, again, none of that is violation of the law. That's more a process.


BRIGGS: OK, so that didn't go well because the Secret Service made clear the vice -- the president was the only -- or the candidate was the only one under protection. Don Trump, Jr. was not.

But even if that was your defense --

SCOTT: Right.

BRIGGS: -- is that going to help you win this argument?

SCOTT: Certainly not. I mean, the reality is that there's so little information, relatively speaking, that's made public about what actually was talked about at length in this meeting.

I mean, we have -- we have the e-mails and we know what both parties have said. That's why people in the Senate and Congress want to do an investigation just to hear the full extent of it.

And you can say -- Trump, Jr. can say that they've been forthcoming about what exactly happened. But the fact that almost daily more information has come out about it just makes people have even more questions --


SCOTT: -- and that's why we've seen these polls suggest that people really are concerned about the relationship between this administration, or at least the campaign, and Russia.

ROMANS: At the very least it's sloppy --


ROMANS: -- but it shows sort of the Russian intelligence operation. How they were -- and there's a really interesting thing that I read in "The Washington Post" -- an op-ed in "The Washington Post" from a former CIA officer that said this.

"Everything we know about the meeting from whom it involved, to how it was set up, to how it unfolded is in line with what intelligence analysts would expect an overture in a Russian influence operation to look like.

And the Trump campaign's willingness to take the meeting -- and more important, its failure to report the episode to U.S. authorities -- may have been exactly the green light Russia was looking for to launch a more aggressive phase of intervention in the U.S. election."

So really, I mean, collusion aside or the accusations of collusion aside, it shows the clear Russian intentions here. SCOTT: Right, yes. And I think what's really important -- I mean, we saw in the president's tweets he keeps harping on my son, Trump, Jr.

What's really important that people need to remember, it wasn't just Trump, Jr. in that meeting. I mean, it was, at the very least, Paul Manafort, the campaign manager, and Jared Kushner, who is now a White House adviser.

And from what we've seen it could have been more than eight people. More information is still coming out.

BRIGGS: The focus, really, on this Rinat Akhmetshin. If you want to read an interesting tale, read about this guy over the weekend in "The New York Times." A master of the dark art, some call him.


ROMANS: Made in --

BRIGGS: A very interesting --

ROMANS: Absolutely. And, "Made in America" week, we should mention.


ROMANS: This is "Made in America" week.

SCOTT: Yes. I mean, for some companies, not for some Trump companies. I mean -- because what we have seen is that many of their products are, in fact, not made in America and I'm sure we're going to see more reports on that.

[05:40:10] ROMANS: All right. "Made in America" week. That is the theme of this week in Washington.

Thank you so much, Eugene Scott.

SCOTT: Thank you.

ROMANS: Nice to see you.

Once again, the stock market is at records highs. Wall Street optimism, though, is not translating yet into economic growth. The S&P 500, the Dow, look at that. Both hitting fresh record highs on Friday even as turmoil in Washington swirls around the Trump economic agenda.

Corporate profits are keeping the bulls running and I can't say it enough. Stock markets reflect what is happening to companies and companies are making a boatload of money.

Here's who we're going to hear from this week. Netflix, Goldman Sachs, American Express, and Microsoft.

And again, last season's profit growth was the best in years -- the fastest profit growth in years. Investors are also banking on a Fed that's more cautious about future

rate hikes because of low inflation and slow consumer spending. So the Fed isn't going to be jacking up interest rates very quickly and companies are still making a lot of money. That's all good for stock prices and for investors.

Consumer spending, though, that makes up the majority of economic growth. Americans do seem to be cutting back a little bit. Retail spending dropped in June for the second month in a row and consumer confidence fell to its lowest since the election.

Weaker spending is an obstacle to the president's plan for economic growth. The administration promises its policies, like tax reform and spending cuts, will launch the economy to three percent economic growth.

A lot of number-crunchers think that's overly optimistic. They're expecting more like a slower rate of 1.8 percent growth.

BRIGGS: Trump was tweeting Sunday that the people at his golf tournament were very happy --

ROMANS: I'm sure they were.

BRIGGS: -- that the stock market's up 17 percent since the election.

ROMANS: I'm sure they are happy. If you have money and money in the stock market this has been just a phenomenal time.

BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, the vote was non-binding but the result was clear. The message Venezuelan voters sent to President Nicolas Maduro, next.


[05:46:05] ROMANS: All right. Time for a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Alisyn Camerota joins us this morning. Good morning, Alisyn.

BRIGGS: Happy "Made in America" week. Got to get that in.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All made in America, right here.


CAMEROTA: So, great to see you guys. Happy Monday.

So, we have a very interesting show this morning.

Michael Caputo was a top -- was a Trump adviser during the campaign. He testified behind closed doors for four hours on Friday to the House Intel Committee. What did he tell them about the Trump campaign's ties to Russia? We will ask him when he is here live.

Also, as I'm sure you've heard, any time you bring up any ties to Russia with the Trump team they immediately divert and say well, Hillary Clinton did it, too. Her people met with Ukrainians. They met in the Ukrainian embassy. They got opposition research.

What is the truth behind that? Our investigative team has been looking into it and today we will separate the fact from fiction of those claims about Ukraine.

So all of that when John Berman and I see you at the top of the hour.

ROMANS: Ah, the Berminator. All right.

CAMEROTA: The Berminator is here.

ROMANS: We look forward -- we look forward to that. All right. Thanks, Alisyn.

BRIGGS: Thanks. See you in a bit.

All right. An American researcher convicted of spying and now sentenced to 10 years in prison in Iran.

Princeton University identifying the man as history grad student Xiyue Wang, and the University saying he was arrested in Iran last summer while doing scholarly research in connection with his PhD dissertation.

The semi-official Fars News Agency saying Wang was accused of gathering information and that the ruling can be appealed. Iran has a history of arresting foreign nationals and holding closed-door trials. The State Department says it's aware of Wang's case but would not go into specifics.

ROMANS: A big symbolic rejection of President Nicolas Maduro by voters in Venezuela. Ninety-eight percent of the more than seven million people who cast their ballots sided with the opposition on President Nicolas Maduro's plans to form a constitutional assembly without a vote by the people.

The vote was organized by the opposition and had no binding result. It was aimed at weakening Mr. Maduro's legitimacy days before his assembly is expected to convene.

Opponents see that Maduro is simply as a power grab as Maduro grapples with growing unpopularity.

BRIGGS: South Korea making a rare proposal for military talks with North Korea. The move coming after weeks of heightened tensions amid a series of North Korean missile tests. The most recent test, a successful intercontinental ballistic missile launch.

South Korea's Defense Ministry proposing talks Friday on a North Korean side of the demilitarized zone. The North has yet to respond.

ROMANS: All right, 48 minutes past the hour this Monday morning.

Tesla founder Elon Musk says he knows the biggest threats to humanity and he has a plan. Wake up, America. There's something scary coming and he knows how to stop it. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:53:13] ROMANS: A little boy and an anti-violence activist among the dead in new bloodshed over the weekend in Chicago.

CNN affiliate WLS reports 10 people have been killed, 37 others wounded in gun violence since Friday night. Among them were nine- year-old Gustavo Garcia, who was a passenger in an SUV when he and a 31-year-old behind the wheel were shot. The driver is reported in critical condition.

Also killed, 58-year-old Willie Cooper, who ran a non-profit that provides jobs to Southside teens. Police say Cooper died in a drive- by, shot by someone with an AR-15 rifle.

BRIGGS: One person still missing after a family was swept away by flash flooding at a swimming hole in central Arizona.

Police saying nine people died when the floodwaters swept 14 members of the family downstream. Among the dead, six children between the ages of two and 13. A 27-year-old man is missing.

All were near the Cold Springs swimming hole Saturday when heavy rains triggered these flash floods.

ROMANS: All right. The BBC has revealed the 13th "Doctor Who" and for the first time, a woman is taking over that iconic role.

Actress Jodie Whittaker, probably best known for the British crime drama "Broadchurch" -- she'll take over the role as the Time Lord next season but before that she's expected to appear in the "Doctor Who" Christmas special.

BRIGGS: Academy Award-winning actor Martin Landau has died. His publicist confirming Landau suffered unexpected complications following a short hospitalization at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

Landau, probably best known for his Oscar-winning role as Bela Lugosi and Ed Wood, and for playing a master of disguise in the original 1960's "Mission Impossible" T.V. series. Landau was 89.

ROMANS: All right, 54 minutes past the hour.

Let's get a check on "CNN Money Stream" this Monday morning.

[05:55:02] Global stock markets -- you can see them there -- mixed after China's economic growth beat expectations and Wall Street hit fresh record highs. The S&P 500 and the Dow, on Friday, closing the week at records.

Corporate profits are keeping the bulls running. Companies are making a lot of money and that is driving the stock market.

We're going to hear from more companies this week, including Netflix, Goldman Sachs, American Express, Microsoft. And hopes are high here. Last season's profit growth was the best in years.

Visa is offering restaurants $10,000. The catch, they have to stop accepting cash.

It's called the "Visa Cashless Challenge." Visa wants to convince small businesses to stop accepting cash, forcing customers to pay with credit cards.

The incentive is clear here. You know, credit card companies charge processing fees and experts say those fees can cut into the margins of small businesses. And sometimes small businesses try to encourage cash. Visa wants to give you 10 grand to just use plastic.

Is artificial intelligence the biggest threat to humanity? Elon Musk thinks so. Speaking to a group of U.S. governors, the Tesla founder said A.I., artificial intelligence, could threaten all human jobs and even spark a war.

Musk has been vocal about his concerns about A.I. and he wants to make sure that tech is developed safely. He even suggests creating a regulatory body to oversee its progress. Telling that to a group of those governors this weekend.

BRIGGS: Well, it is a little frightening.

ROMANS: You know, spark a war, take over all human jobs.

I mean, a robot could do your job. No artificial intelligence could beat the intelligence of Dave Briggs.

BRIGGS: I'm silent there.

ROMANS: No way.

BRIGGS: It's only a matter of time, my friend. Give it a few years.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks for joining us on America -- "Made in America" week. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: Yes, enjoy that. I'm Dave Briggs.

President Trump has record low approval ratings but he's going full steam ahead into "Made in America" week. Will health care and Russia troubles slow him down?

"NEW DAY" starts right now. We'll see you tomorrow.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are very difficult poll numbers for the president, putting his approval rating at 36 percent.

SEKULOW: Everybody that's looking backwards and saying would've, should've, could've, I don't think that's fair to Donald Trump, Jr.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If someone did something wrong hold them accountable.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: This is about as clear evidence you could find of an intent to collude with the Russians.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator John McCain's health scare delaying the health care vote.

PENCE: President Trump and I believe the Senate health care bill strengthens and secures Medicaid.

COLLINS: This bill would impose fundamental sweeping changes in the Medicaid program.

TOM PRICE, SECRETARY,HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: I never underestimate Sen. McConnell's expertise in getting the votes.


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

CAMEROTA: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Monday, July 17th, 6:00 here in New York.

Chris is off; John Berman joins us. Happy Monday.


CAMEROTA: Great to see you.

Here's our "Starting Line."

A new poll shows the president -- the president's approval rating a record low. The ABC News/Washington Post poll finds just 36 percent of Americans approve of the president's job performance. That is the lowest six-month approval rating of any president in seven decades.

President Trump remains defiant in the face of the latest Russia revelations, unleashing a flurry of tweets defending his son and, once again, attacking the media and his former rival.

Now, the Secret Service is refuting one of the claims made by the Trump team.

BERMAN: That's pretty remarkable.

Meanwhile, the White House trying to get everyone's attention back to the president's agenda. They are announcing new theme weeks beginning this week with "Made in America" week. That's what they're calling it. Will any of this change the political situation for them, however?

One of the president's key promises to repeal and replace Obamacare facing a new setback. The Senate has delayed a vote on the latest health care plan as Sen. John McCain recovers from unexpected surgery.

It is a huge week ahead. We have it all covered for you.

Let's begin with CNN's Joe Johns live at the White House. Hey, Joe.


The president is back in Washington, D.C. this morning after days of revelations regarding Donald Trump, Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer. And now, it appears the continued drip of information about the Russia investigation combined with the difficulty of getting the president's agenda through on Capitol Hill is continuing to take its toll in the president's approval numbers.



JOHNS: After nearly six months in office, President Donald Trump now facing the lowest approval rating in recent history. Just 36 percent approve of the president's performance in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, a six percent drop since the 100-day mark in April.

The president attempting to spin these results, claiming that almost 40 percent is not bad and asserting that the poll was inaccurate during the election.