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tv   CNN Newsroom With Carol Costello  CNN  January 26, 2017 6:00am-7:01am PST

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we prefer secluded. what is the desert? it's absolutely what you need right now. absolutely scottsdale. ♪ good morning, i'm carol costello. thank you so much for joining me. another whirl wind day for president trump and another executive order. today the president focuses on trade and lays the groundwork for new trade deals, this days after pulling the united states out of the transpacific partnership, the tpp. he makes his first official flight on air force one today, attending a philadelphia retreat for republican lawmakers. he'll be speaking there at noon eastern time. at the bottom of the hour we'll
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hear from republican leaders paul ryan and mitch mcconnell, likely facing tough questions over trump's first days as president. we're covering all this with cnn's sarah murray at the white house and manu raju. sara, i want to start with you. good morning. >> reporter: good morning. donald trump has a busy day ahead. it comes from moving forward with the plan to build and wall and now he says have mexico reimburse us. is heightening tensions between the u.s. and mexico. we saw mexican president pena nieto come out and address the nation saying he's not going to pay for the wall, but not scrapping the plan to meet with donald trump next week. now trump has taken to twitter apparently to up the ante. here is what he tweeted just now. the u.s. has a $60 billion trade deficit with mexico. it has been a one-sided deal from the beginning with nafta with massive numbers of jobs and
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companies lost. if mexico is unable to pay for the badly needed wall, it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting. carol, we have been expecting donald trump to pull the trigger and say he's prepared to renegotiate to modernize nafta. that's not the announcement we're expecting today. we are expecting him to take executive actions on trade. a senior administration official told me this was likely to be related to moving forward with congress and negotiating new trade deals and also moving forward in negotiating new trade deals with countries who were involved in tpp after trump pulled out of that. trump may have surprises in store for us today. certainly wouldn't be the first time, carol. >> what exactly do you think mr. trump's tweet means? does he want the mexican president to cancel the meeting, or is he trying to get out ahead of this in the event the mexican president pulls out of the meeting? >> reporter: that's a great question. i think they're both equally plausible. i think it's possible donald trump is putting this out here
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because he knows he wants to renegotiate to build nafta, knows he wants to build the wall, wants to do a lot of things that mexico is not going to be very pleased with. that already sets them up to have an awkward meeting. mexican president pena nieto is under pressure in his own country as well, people saying youal should not go and meet with president trump. not only does he want to build a wall, but strip mexico potentially of the aid it wants to get from the united states or tax remittances in order to pay for that. they seem to be on thin ice with one another. we'll see if the mexican president responds to trump at any point today. >> i can't help but think back to that meeting during the election with the mexican president and donald trump and how horribly that went because the mexican president was saying, we didn't talk about the wall, donald trump saying we really did talk about the wall and they were trading accusations about that. >> reporter: it was very bizarre. on its surface it looked like that was a very diplomatic day
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for donald trump. he went and met with the mexican president. he was showing he had multifaceted sides. that's the same night he delivered a barbed speech on immigration where he said he was going to build the wall, calling for more i.c.e. agents and more border security. afterwards the president of mexico said donald trump never asked me about the wall, never asked me to pay for it. it will be interesting to see how these two gentleman can work together, if they can, in the coming years. >> that's the question, if they can. if they will. i want to take our viewers to mexico city and check in with leyla santiago and talk about what the mexican president might do. >> reporter: i think everyone is still waiting the find out exactly what he will do today. yesterday all day oochs we heard from senators, some of the people saying, hey, you should be canceling this meeting and really stand your ground, stand firm, protect mexico's interests.
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hours after that call came out from some of the mexican senators, we saw him take to twitter, post nearly a three-minute video in which he reiterated we will not pay for that wall. we will protect mexico's interests, and he also said we will also extend friendship. we want to be friends, we want to work together. we have heard him say in the past, this can be a win-win situation when it comes to nafta, when it comes to immigration. he laid out a ten-point plan just a few days ago in which he talked about that. but we'll need to wait and see exactly what he does today given president trump's tweet. he does have a delegation in washington, d.c. right now. when i say he, i'm talking about the mexican president, the mexican foreign minister as well as the economic minister, is having meetings over the -- yesterday as well as today. so president pena nieto in that twitter post said i want to wait
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and see what they come back with, sort of have that dialogue before making any immediate decision on the future relationship. but in that video, he never actually said, i'm going to cancel this meeting or i'm considering canceling this meeting. he didn't make any sort of declaration on that. it seemed like he was waiting to find out what his delegation brought back from the u.s. and then will make a decision on how he will move forward. but the feeling in mexico city from a lot of the mexican senators and the people, there is a call to cancel this meeting with president donald trump on january 31st. >> so everything is still very much up in the air. i'm take you back live to capitol hill and check in with our congressional correspondent manu raju. oh, you're in philadelphia for the big gop retreat. i want your thoughts on how
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congressional leaders might be reacting to all this. >> reporter: well, with some corn certain. there are a number of republicans who don't want to move forward with the wall or are concerned about paying for this wall up front, billions of dollars e potentially initially and also cutting off trade with one of the u.s.'s biggest trading partners. i talked to senator john cornyn, the number two republican who also represents texas. he said this is a marriage between the u.s. and mexico that needs to work. we need to work on that marriage, we can't afford to get divorced. that's probably what you'll hear from folks going forward. the debate on the hill is going to intensify in the coming weeks when they figure out how to actually pay for the wall now that trump has made it pretty clear that congress will have to appropriate funding. at this retreat yesterday in a closed door session, i am told house speaker paul ryan discussed the possibility that
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this would be funded through a separate funding package aside from the bill that would need to be passed by april 28th to keep the government open. potentially that funding package could cost -- we don't know the price tag of that yet, but there are some estimates that could be upwards of $10 billion or so. so how do republicans react? i had a chance to ask a number of republicans yesterday whether to support such a steep price tag. a lot of them just weren't willing to say quite yet. they want to see more details. they're hoping that president trump fulfills his campaign promise to get mexico to pay for it. suffice it to say, a lot of questions right now, carol, about how to deal with this going forward and what this means for the u.s.-mexico relationship and concern, if it gets increasingly tense given how important mexico is to the united states as a trading partner. >> raju, we'll get back to you. we expect the republican gop to
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hold a press conference in philadelphia. let's talk ability mexico. bob cusack is editor and chief for "the hill". bob, what do you make of this from a mitt cal standpoint, why donald trump would tweet something out saying maybe it's better than the mexican president does cancel the meeting if he's not going to agree to pay for the wall. >> as you mentioned, there were rumors he was going to cancel. so i think donald trump is all about negotiation strength amend i think he wants to get out ahead of this, that if the mexican president who has been suffering from dismal approval ratings in his own country does cancel it, then trump can say, well, i propose that he cancel it. it's fascinating to say, with respect to what he's saying about nafta, most republicans supported the tpp which he withdrew from. this is trul saying i'm in
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charge of the agenda. the republicans have an aggressive and en da, tax reform, replacing obamacare, transportation. this is going to be difficult to do. if they're fighting, it's going to be almost impossible to do. that brin >> that brings me to my next question to you, karen. you can bet that the issue of the alleged voter fraud will come up during this retreat. so how might that go over and how might that affect unity among republican lawmakers with the president of the united states? >> i think quite frankly the wall itself is going to be a more pressing issue. i think what a lot of these republicans in congress would like to see is this eshoo go away. it's -- the issue of voter fraud, that is. it's not something they want to be talking about right now because none of them has any evidence to back it up. in the meantime, we do have this
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sort of alpha dog move going on between the leaders of the united states and its neighbor to the south. that could become really tricky going forward. a number of these members, will hurd, the texas congressman who has more on the border in his district than any other congressional district is expressing -- he's a republican and expressing real reservations about this wall, in part because it's going to be expensive, in part because he says it won't be effective. also, he's going to be dealing with a lot of people in his district who have concerns about their property rights. >> exactly. so unless donald trump, bob, outlines exactly how he plans to force mexico to pay for the wall, why would republicans jump on board and fund this project that could cost taxpayers billions of dollars? >> that's the big question. i think that's why this retreat
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in philadelphia is well-timed. they do have to get on the same page. conservatives in the house are not going to be willing to shell out $10 to $20 billion. it's interesting house republicans are not putting this on the government funding bill that must pass in april. that could threaten a showdown, and republicans, generally speaking, are blamed for shutdowns. this would be a separate measure. how are they going to get the votes? some red state democrats up in 2018 in states that trump won, they may go along with the wall, but at the same time there are going to be conservatives who will worry about, as karen mentioned, property rights and the price tag. >> i guess we'll just have to see what happens. i'll leave it there. you'll rejoin me at the bottom of the hour. up next in the "newsroom," republican senator john bar ras co-on what he makes on the rift with mexico just days into the trump presidency.
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right now there appears to be a growing rift between mexico and the united states. next wednesday the president of mexico is supposed to come here and meet with donald trump. the mexican president might back out because he says mr. trump is stripping the dignity from the mexican people. what if that meeting doesn't transpire? joining me is republican senator john barrasso of wyoming. he also serves on the foreign relations committee. welcome, sir. >> thanks, carol, thanks for having me. >> thank you for being here. the mexican president says the american president is stripping mexicans of their dignity. is that what you want to hear from an ally and a trade partner in a neighboring country? >> i think it should be no surprise after the campaign that donald trump is a man of his word and has made a number of promises that helped him get the nomination and the election. we're going to be meeting with him today at noon, joining us at
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the republican retreat in philadelphia. the house and senate are here. i expect he's going to -- president trump is going to address that. we also have theresa may, the prime minister of britain here today. she'll be meeting with president trump. you have the president of the united states newly in office committed to making sure the united states is the most powerful, respected country around the world. he's done that with an all-star cabinet, and he's doing that now, reaching out and making decisions with leaders of other countries. >> if the mexican president does cancel his trip to washington, a, what would the fallout be, if anything, and, b, would that prove to the world that the united states is the strongest, greatest country in the world? >> well, i think he ought to keep his commitment to come to the united states and to meet with president trump. i think that would be the right thing to do, and i think it's important to continue dialogue, continue discussions, and i expect that's actually what's going to happen.
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>> so you want the mexican president to come here, but president trump, it appears he's up in the air about the idea right now. i'll read you his tweet he sent out moments ago. he says the u.s. has a $60 billion trade deficit with mexico. it's been a run-sided deal since the beginning of nafta with massive numbers of jobs and companies lost. if mexico is unable to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting. what's the underlying message here from president trump? >> well, i expect he's going address that today at our lunch. right now we're so focused, as you talked about the job loss from the united states, we are focused at the republican retreat on jobs, the economy and national security. national security is not just about border security, it's about economic security, energy security, all the things we've campaigned on and the things we want to do to recenter and put america in a situation where we have a strong and healthy
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economy, and that we are a safe, strong and secure nation. that's why national security is part of our discussions. >> our allies are very important, right? so anxiety is building with mexico, but also building with other allies. other allies are uneasy with mr. trump. jordan's parliament, they condemned the u.s. plan to move the israeli embassy to jerusalem saying it fuels violence, threatens to flame the passions of -- he said it out loud and that's -- appears to be hard for even america's friends to decipher what he exactly means. >> if you're talking about the moving of the embassy from tel aviv to jerusalem, i support that. i understand that bill clinton supported it, george w. bush supported it. i think it's the right thing to do. >> isn't jordan a very important ally in the middle east and also
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in the fight against isis? if you alienate jordan by doing something like this prematurely, that that might not be such a good thing? >> donald trump was elected based on a very strong campaign where he made many statements, and the american people, i believe, are expecting him to keep to those statements, and this is one he made a promise on. the other is the wall, and i'm saying i think he surrounded himself with an incredible team, including rex tillerson as secretary of state who knows the world, knows the inner relationships. >> i'm asking you as a member of the foreign relations committee, should we be concerned? not only about what jordan did and its parliament, but here is another example for you. torture. most experts say torture does not work, including mr. trump's defense secretary, james mattis. yet, mr. trump insists we
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reinstate these black fights. listen what he told abc yesterday. >> president obama said the u.s. does not torture. will you not say that? >> i have a general who i have great respect for, general mattis who said, i was a little surprised, who said he's not a believer in torture. i have spoken to others in intelligence, and they are big believers in, as an example, waterboarding, because they say it does work. >> so senator, this kind of talk according to many experts inflames terrorists and also upsets our allies. britain's prime minister was forced to repeat her country's opposition to torture. again, is this just causing unnecessary anxiety with our allies, or does mr. trump really mean what he says? well, the law is very clear and settled in the united states. we used the army field manual.
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that passed and was signed into law. we do not torture individuals. i actually voted against the law that was signed by president obama because i think if americans are in danger, that we need to be able to use techniques that we know work that are not torture, but right now, by the law that president obama signed they're limited so that the bad guys get to say, okay, these are the only things they can do to us, let's practice so we don't tell them what they want to know. president obama essentially stopped when he was president capturing others. >> i want to talk about president trump. should mr. trump be saying thooes things about torture? does he mean what he says, should he use the justice department to change the law? >> i expect he'll address these
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things today in philadelphia. i'm looking forward to hearing from him as well as vice president pence to see what they address, but the law of the land is settled at this point. >> republican senator john barrasso of wyoming, thanks for joining me this morning. republicans plotting their future in philadelphia. any minute now we'll hear in party leaders ahead of president trump's speech this afternoon. we'll bring you their comments next. this is my retirement. retiring retired tires. and i never get tired of it. are you entirely prepared to retire? plan your never tiring retiring retired tires retirement with e*trade. i'm in vests and as a vested investor in vests i invest with e*trade, where investors can investigate and invest in vests...
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trade agreement with the british people. interesting new topic. in the senate, as you know, we're concentrating on getting the president's cabinet in place. we'll have a very busy week in that regard starting monday. we'll also be taking congressional review acts, proposals from the house and taking those up as well as we begin to change america and go in a different direction. questions? >> naud na[ inaudible ] questio >> we are on the same page of the white house. we will be hearing from the president today. we've been working with the administration on a daily basis to map out and plan a very bold and aggressive agenda to make good on our campaign promises and to repeal, replace and repair our broke en health care
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system, jobs and economic growth, clear out the regulatory underbrush so we can get economic growth going. we're on the sam page with the administration. and we've worked with the administration on basically the kind of timetable and legislative agenda we have for 2017. yes. we're on the same page. >> [ inaudible ]. >> this is going to be an unconventional presidency. i think you know this by now, casey. we're going to see unconventional activities like tweets and things like that. i think that's something we'll all have to get used to. >> let me just add for myself, i don't tend to be kind of reacting to daily comments. what the speaker has done and i'm on board with is to lay out a game plan through the august recess on what we want to try to accomplish. for myself, i intend to stick to the plan and make as much progress as we can.
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>> senator mcconnell. >> mr. speaker. >> as you know, the president has demanded mexico pay for the wall. the mexican president said they will not pay for the wall. donald trump just said the mexican president should cancel the upcoming meeting if mexico doesn't agree to pay for the wall. do you think the president should tone it down to salvage this relationship with mexico? >> i don't have any advice to give to the president on that issue. we are moving ahead, as the speaker pointed out yesterday, roughly 12 to $15 billion. we intend to address the wall issue ourselves, and the president can deal with his relations with other countries on that issue and other issues. >> are you concerned about the relationship with mexico? >> i think we'll be fine. drucker? >> [ inaudible ].
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>> i actually would not describe that that way. i don't share the opinion that he chains his opinion from day to day. with respect to the core agenda that we've laid out that we're planning and coordinating in the house and senate, we've done this in conjunction with the house and senate. we ran on these issues all of 2016. there's no surprise here. the president agrees with this agenda. we've laid out not just the issues we'll be focusing on, but the timeline. that is n co-sis accident and that has not changed. >> [ inaudible ]. >> we are in a very good place on tax reform. it can get complicated when you get into the details of tax
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reform. but once we go through how tax reform works and what it's going to take to get the kind of competitive tax system, kind of competitive tax rates, i think most people agree this is the right approach. we're going to work the legislative process through. sherman? >> [ inaudible ]. >> i think the director of the cia has made it clear he's going to follow the law. i believe virtually all of my members are comfortable with the state of the law on that issue now. >> and torture is illegal. torture is not legal. we agree with it not being legal. the lady in the glasses behind you.
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>> [ inaudible ]. >> a little louder, please. >> [ inaudible ]. >> the last part of your question is not even a document from the trump administration. that's not policy from the trump administration. so push that aside, we have a very, very special and unique relationship with great britain. we value this relationship. i think the fact that the prime minister is coming to meet with us today is testament to the fact that this is a very important relationship that we value, and we believe going forward, we can do more things like trade and the rest to help increase our bonds and our ties and help each of our two nations. >> speaker ryan has laid out a very aggressive agenda for the next 200 days. we know the senate is not always on the same timetable -- >> really? >> could you address the agenda
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as laid out and what might -- whether the senate can move at that speed? >> the two biggest issues we're moving forward with in the first half of the year obviously are repealing and replacing obamacare and tax reform. both of those we anticipate having little or no democratic cooperation. we're working with the house to make sure these measures are reconcilable and the speaker understands the challenges of getting things through the senate. that's been true for 240 years, but we're aware of those challenges, and we think we can move forward. in addition, obviously, we have all this other responsibility the house doesn't have. 1,200 presidential appointments subject to senate confirmation. we're big in the personnel business on top of the other challenges of moving forward. that's why you can anticipate two reconciliation measures in the first six months. >> let me just jump on that. we are in complete concert with one another. we in the house respect the fact
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that they have a different rule system and it takes more time, oh, and they have additional responsibilities than we have in the house as the majority leader said, not just approving cabinet secretaries, judges coming through, lower level appointments, 1,200 altogether. our agenda is designed to incorporate that as well. that's something we've walked our members through so they can after shat the differences in the house and senate. even with that, we have a good agenda and timetable in store. >> [ inaudible ]. >> we don't want to set
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arbitrary deadlines. we want to get things down the right thing. we want to move quickly but get things right. there are statutory deadlines to deal with, september 30th is an important statutory deadline. those are the things that clearly will help guide us. the reason we've moved our agenda from a 100-day agenda to a 200-day and dane is to appreciate the last question, which is that the senate has to do more things. we're anticipating a supreme court justice. they have to process that. they have all the cabinet. that's why we've moved our agenda for filling most of the calendar for 2017 which is bold and aggressive. we feel we have an obligation to make good on the commitments we made in this campaign. we are trying to fix people's problems in this country. health care is collapsing. we've got to fix it. the economy is nowhere near it's potential. that's why regulatory reform and tax reform are important for faster economic growth, a healthy economy, more jobs, higher wages. these are the things people elected us to do. now we want to follow up on
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those. that's why it's going to take more than simply 100 days. the cost of the wall we anticipate as supplemental coming from the administration -- first of all we have to get the omb director in place, we will anticipate a supplemental, and we'll process the supplemental before the end of the current fiscal year expir expires. >> [ inaudible ]. >> on the appreciations process, obviously senate democrats last year with president obama in the white house believed it was to their advantage to not have an appropriations process. as you recall, they prevented us
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from going to the defense appreciations bill on multiple times, multiple occasions. i'm hopeful that with a different president in the white house they won't conclude that it's to their advantage, to pre vent sovent some semblance of a appropriations process. we have a very heavy appropriations agenda as the speaker has laid out. we hope we can have some semblance of regular order even with all this and get at least some appreciations bills lou the senate so we'll have something closer to a regular order appreciations process. most members don't like being completely irrelevant. when you hand the administrat n administration, it was particularly absurd, of course, to hand the previous administration a blank check. we're not going to want to hand this one a blank check either. there will be a lot of interest in trying to achieve that.
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you're right, it will be challenging. >> [ inaudible ]. >> that's up to the treasury. in consultation with the treasury secretary, we'll find out when they anticipate the penetration of the debt ceiling. that's something we'll deal with in conjunction with the white house at that time. we don't do people shouting out, okay. >> [ inaudible ]. >> it's quite the opposite, chad. president obama uses pen and phone and executive orders to exceed his power in our perspective. everything president obama did by executive order this new president can undo. we would like to see these things undone and we'd like to
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see power restored to the people in the states, not the federal government, and that is what this new president is doing, he's restoring the proper balance. and in our opinion, he's undoing a lot of damage done by the last president who exceeded his power. gary. >> [ inaudible ]. >> i think if you take a look at the history of the secure fence act, the last administration us from stated the deployment of the fence. this administration is doing the opposite, they're facilitating the deployment of the fence. we agree with this. we voted for this in 2006, along with plenty of people, minority leader chuck schumer voted for
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the fence. we'll anticipate a supplemental coming from the administration shortly on how to finish construction and the funding of the ens fence. if there are any other barriers in the way, we will deal with them. a lot we think can be done by executive order through the administration just like the last administration frustrated the deployment of the fence or the wall. >> -- are you saying by august recess you will both have a tax reform bill enacted into law and obamacare replacement? >> we'll wait and see from the administration what their supplemental looks like. i'm not going to get ahead of a policy and bill that hasn't been written yet. the point is we are going to finance the secure fence act, the construction of the physical barrier on the border. we have ambitious goals and
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ambitious timelines. our goal is to get these done in 2017. we aspire to get most of the big things done by the august recess. but by and large, our goal is, by the end of 2017, we have made good on so many of the promises that we made to the people and the policies that we ran on. again, the reason we're doing this is because there are people hurting in this country. the reason we're doing this is because america is not anywhere near its potential. we want a faster economic growth, a healthier economy. we are losing businesses left and right. they're moving overseas, being bought by foreign companies, inverting and becoming foreign companies. we have to fix this so we keep american businesses in america. we also believe comprehensive fundamental tax reform can put american businesses in a better position to keep businesses here and make things in america and export them around the world. that creates a lot of good jobs. health care, you know all know the law is collapsing.
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double-digit premium increases. deductibles are so high, three times the rate or the size of those in a large group market. this law is collapsing. five states only have one health care insurance company, one health care plan. one out of three counties in america only have one health care plan. that's not a choice. that's a monopoly. we believe on behalf of the american people who are struggling under this law that's collapsing -- >> let me just add on to that. remember bill clinton said last year, it's the craziest thing you've ever seen. eight out of ten americans want it either repealed entirely or dramatically changed. if hillary clinton were president and chuck schumer were the majority leader, we'd be revisiting obamacare. the status quo is clearly unacceptable. obviously if hillary clinton was president and chuck schumer were
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majority leader, we would be moving toward a single payer system. that's not our vision on how this should be handled. status quo is competely unsustainable. >> can you speak overall about your agenda, can you say the republican party and the [ inaudible ]. at the end of the year we're in the going to have higher deficits from actions that we take, whether it be taxes, whether it be on obamacare, the infrastructure package. if ever anybody comes in and has the power, there's a lot of pressure. can you make that commitment now that at the end of the year -- >> you know as well, you've been covering budgets for a long time. we are fiscal conservatives. what that means is we believe government should not live beyond its means. we believe hard working taxpayers in this country
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deserve a break in this country. that means washington takes less money from them and we also spend less here. that means we have to get our fiscal house in order to prevent a debt crisis in the future. there are two things we can do this year that we think will move us in a great direction on fiscal policy, get health care fixed. the driving force of our coming debt crisis are out of control health care prices that are collapsing. if we can have better quality and lower costs and lower prices, that will dramatically help improve our budget situation. and then if we can get people back to work, people who are on welfare back into the workforce, it's better for them. we need them in the economy. we need these people working for the sake of them and our communities. that means we have more people working, more people paying taxes, fachter economic growth and more revenues. those are some of the best things we can do to improve our fiscal situation to wall off or prevent an on coming debt crisis
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that we know is coming. we have fiscal conservatives. if we're going to be spending on things like infrastructure, we'll find the fiscal space to pay for that in our spring budget. those are the things we're planning on doing. these are the ideas and principles we ran on. that's why we laid out for our members a bold and aggressive agenda to make good on these things. at the end of the day, if we get these things done, we believe we'll get this country back on the right track and turn things around for the people who sent us here to work for them. >> thanks, everybody. we've got to go. >> thanks. all right that was mitch mcconnell and paul ryan answering questions. you heard them talk about funding that wall. they're going to expect donald trump to give them a budget for the wall that could cost between 12 and $15 billion. they also said they are fiscal conservatives, so they're going to watch the deficit and the nation's debt and they'll be very careful with that. how do you marry the two?
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it might be challenging. joining me to talk about that cnn chief business correspondent christine romans and editor and chief for the hill bob cusack and national political correspondent for "the washington post" karen tumlty and cnn's sara murray. i found the beginning of that press conference interesting when the two were talking about donald trump's tweets and they were lighthearted abiliout it a said this is something we'll have to get used to and they laughed about it. >> it's been an adjustment period for members of the american public but also members on the hill. i think the other thing was interesting, when you saw senator mitch mcconnell responding to manu's question about donald trump's tone and the relationship with mexico and donald trump's approach to building the wall. they essentially said, look, we'll take these budget moves to help donald trump fund this wall. we're not going to weigh in on his tone and the president can handle his rips however he would
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like. i think they're trying to walk a fine line between trying to support the president's agenda and the republican agenda and trying not to get caught in a twitter war with him. >> manu raju joins us. you were the one asking that question. especially about the cost for the wall and mexico's president, they wanted no part of your question. they didn't answer your question when it came to whether mexico's president should cancel this meeting next week with donald trump. why do you suppose that was? >> reporter: they don't want to pick a fight with him, as sara was saying. that's clear. they want to be on the same page. this conference this week is all about unity. this is an issue on immigration in particular, not one that necessarily unites the republican party. people have a lot of different views about how to deal with people here illegally. and the wall is something that not every single republican has embraced. it was very significant in that line of questioning when i asked
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him about donald trump's tone and whether he should tone it down. the fact that senator mcconnell did say it would this is the first time you've heard a specifying price tag coming from the congressional leadership about how much this would cost. it's prior than some estimates, which were about $10 billion. this money that the speaker later said would come from the administration, it would be actually offered as a separate funding package from the an minu ad adm administration, offset by spending cuts in other areas. they would not say that explicitly. so this is an issue that really is a work in progress. it's something that they're trying to work through. but as donald trump continues to
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elevate it, the republican leaders need to figure out a way to respond to it. so a very interesting moment here in the press conference by revealing the price tag of the wall, something that will be a big fight on the hill once they start moving it through the process, 12 to $15 billion, and not cheap at all. it's something the president needs to figure out a way to get mexico to pay for to make good on his campaign promise. >> can lawmakers have their cake and eat it too? you heard paul ryan say, he campaigned on the wall, we're going to do it, but can you have your cake and eat it too and say you're a fiscal conservative? >> it's going to be very difficult. along with what manu was saying, republican leaders don't want to fight with the bear that's now in the white house. i think that the problem is they kind of pushed back on some areas on torture, saying that's settled law, but they want to fix other laws like obamacare
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and tax reform. that's very interesting. these price tags, whether it's transportation or the wall, it's going to be very difficult. conservative members in the house i don't think are going to go with a promise of saying, okay, yeah, eventually mexico will pay for it. it will be tough to get votes, carol. >> let's focus on obamacare for just a bit, christine. will eliminating obamacare or just replacing it with something else, will that add to the deficit? will it take away? >> i don't know, because i don't know what will happen, if you just repeal obamacare, there are so many moving parts there. it's been so many years now entrenched in the american economy as they've made this transition. for example, some of it is paid for by very wealthy people paying more on their social security taxes, right? very wealthy people right away could see a tax cut, essentially. they would pay less. that's not an optic that this white house wants, this is not an optic the president's money
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team wants, they don't want it to look like they're giving rich people a benefit. the honest answer is i just don't know and i don't think they know either, carol. >> karen, when donald trump sits down with these lawmakers, what do you suppose the conversation will be like? >> well, i think that what we heard from mitch mcconnell and paul ryan is a reassertion that yes, we will be your partners in this, but we are a separate branch of government, and that you are going to have to come to us and ask permission for some of these things. i think what they are looking, that president trump is not, is that the entire house and a third of the senate are going to be on the ballot two years from now, not four years from now. and they are politically working on a totally different clock. >> okay. so something else that may come up with donald trump speaks, sarah, and i'll post this to you, is this voter fraud investigation. do you think that lawmakers will say to mr. trump, you know what,
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we have all of these big wonderful things we want to get accomplished, please stop talking about that? >> i think there might be a gentler version of that privately. i think what you saw in that press conference, none of these lawmakers want to come out publicly necessarily who are in donald trump's own party and be calling him on these issues, because they do want to move forward with this agenda. to the extent they do say something, i think they'll pull him aside and say, hey, let's focus on tax reform or hey, let's focus on health care. we could see some executive move by donald trump today to kick off this voter fraud investigation. that means members of congress are still going to be asked about it, whether they agree with the president that there was widespread voter fraud despite having no evidence to support that. >> and manu, adam kinsinger, the republican congressman from illinois, came out and said as long as donald trump keeps talking about these distractions, unity will be hard
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to find. >> reporter: that's exactly the message that a number of republicans have made since, in the last couple of days i had a chance to talk to a number of republicans who said that, that look, there are things that unite the republican party, repealing and replacing obamacare, tax reform, killing regulations, things that will take most of this congressional session to deal with. but having an investigation into voter fraud where a lot of republicans don't necessarily agree is the right approach is not something that will unit the republican party. one interesting point, the oversight chairman, jason chaffetz, i talked to him last night, he's launched a number of investigations into the obama administration, he said are you going to investigate voter fraud, he said that's not something they're going to even touch, the justice department will look at that. clearly the republicans don't want to go near what donald trump says he wants to launch a major investigation over. it shows the challenges of uniting on some of these things.
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>> but bob, couldn't mr. trump strong arm members of congress like jason chaffetz to investigate voter fraud? after all, they're investigating the russian hacking, the senate is at least. why wouldn't they also investigate voter fraud? >> i think think, carol, republicans on capitol hill don't want to be talking about voter fraud, as paul ryan and mitch mcconnell were saying, they want to change the policies of the last eight years, that's their focus. they think voter fraud and crowd sizes and talking about torture is a distraction from talking about health care and tax reform. they want to focus on policy. but as paul ryan said, this is going to be an unconventional president. they don't know what the next thing that donald trump is going to tweet. and they're going to have to dean wi deal with it. >> i have to leave it there, thanks to all of you. the next hour of "cnn newsroom" after a break. microsoft and its partners are using smart traps to capture
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good morning, i'm carol costello. thanks so much for joining me. president donald trump escalating tensions with mexico and threatening to cancel the highly anticipating meeting with his mexican counterpart in the ongoing fight over building a wall and who exactly is going to pay for that wall. minutes ago we heard republican leaders at a congressional retreat in philadelphia. they're gathered to discuss their agenda. at least some of the focus shifted to the wall. mr. trump is due to speak to lawmakers in just a couple of hours. cnn's manu raju is live in philadelphia. leyla santiago is in mexico city. >> reporter: we're seeing tensions between the u.s. and mexico simmering in recent days. you saw president trump moving to finish this border wall that he touted during the

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