tv CNN Newsroom With Ana Cabrera CNN March 19, 2017 2:00pm-3:01pm PDT
5:00 eastern, 2:00 in the afternoon out west. i'm mana cabrera in new york. in less than 20 hours, we'll finally hear from the director of the fbi on russia's election meddling, president trump's wiretapping claim and any significant conversations between moscow and then candidate trump's associates. is fbi director james comey investigating the white house or not? is there any evidence to back up president trump's allegations that president obama tapped his phone during the campaign? the republican lawmaker leading tomorrow's hearing says no, watch. >> was there a physical wiretap of trump tower? well, no, but there never was. and the evidence continues to lead us in that direction. >> tomorrow fbi director james
comey will raise his right hand and tell us what we knows. coverage starts at 10:00 a.m. eastern, right here on cnn. and the political dogfight over supreme court vacancy goes public tomorrow as well. with the first confirmation hearing of judge neil gorsuch. let's get started. we have teams of reporters and analysts ready to examine every moment of tomorrow's hearing, and joining me now, ryan nobles, cnn's washington correspondent, and cnn's crime and justice producer. ryan, to you, walk us through what tomorrow's hearing will entail? >> the biggest day in the trump presidency up to point, with so much happening, but all eyes will be on this house intelligence committee hearing tomorrow morning. mainly because you'll have two
men testifying who perhaps know more about this alleged russian hacking than anybody, and that's fbi director james comey and mike rogers. these men have been intimately involved in the comings and goings of this controversy. i think the big question is just how much will we learn from these men because this investigation is currently ongoing and they may not be that prepared to where that forthcoming. >> james comey, may say this investigation is ongoing or because this is not a classified hearing, is it limited what we may hear? >> that's right, ana, it's extremely limited, this is still an ongoing allegation, and we don't expect a lot of detail, or to get into some of the questions and some of the information that the house members want and certainly the public wants because this is still an ongoing investigation. i will say one thing, though,
that we do believe he will come out and say, is that there was no wiretapping at the white house. it's backed up by people over at the department of justice and some other folks on the hill sand in the senate, so if he is asked about that, he's expected do come out and say, there was no wiretapping. but specifics of this investigation are still ongoing, and i just don't think he's in a place where he can answer a lot of these questions that the house members will have for him. >> we're hearing pieces of information leading up to this hearing about what was turned over in those doj documents on friday night in which we apparently have understood to know that there's no evidence, was something that was among those documents said that there was no evidence of the wiretapping claim that trump has made, accusing president obama of. so ryan, i know today, the most powerful republican on the house intelligence committee, sherman devon nunes also spoke, what is
he saying about tomorrow's hearing? >> he's been saying for the past week that he's not seeing any evidence to back up donald trump's claim that president obama ordered a wiretap on him and trump tower. that's one area where both republicans and democrats in this committee are united, it's only the trump white house that's holding on to this belief that this actually took place and even they are walking back the most bold claims that the president made in that series of tweets from a couple saturdays ago. but i think as important as as big as the questions that have been raised by trump's accusations by the wiretap, what i think is really going to be the thing that this house committee is most interested in is that direct connection between the trump campaign and the russian government. were they colluding? was trump and his team involved in that? nunes has pushed back saying he hasn't seen evidence of that, but ranking democrat craig schiff has said different. i think this could be the start
of a crack between republicans and democrats on this committee, and cowl it be the situation where the critics just toss this entire investigation away and call it political. >> presidential meddling does go beyond hacking, so remind us what we have learned about russia's influence on the campaign? >> that's right, it goes way beyond that, we can talk about fake news and some of the propaganda that they use to try and influence the election and the voters, tons of fake news stories coming out and a sophisticated operation on how they -- ways they did it, sometime r times they did it. disseminating fake news is not a crime. and really not something for the fbi to take on. certainly they have looked at it, they know how it was done they have listened to probably
conversations or received information on conversations that russians were having about disseminating the fake news. but for them, that does not sort of approach the level of any criminal activity. so it was a huge part of what the russians did here. and it is something that we in the united states and really people all across the world in other countries want to know about, want to know how they did it and what they can do to prevent something like this from happening again. >> all right, shimon and ryan, thank you to both of you. joining me now robert jones ceo and founder of public religion research understand duty and lynne sweet, washington bureau chief for the "chicago sun times," in your view, what do you want to learn from tomorrow's hearing? >> i want to learn facts, not pontificating, were there any requests to the fisa court, the
intelligence court, there should be a paper trail, if there was actually any spying by the white house which everyone says there was not, or even if it was a tributary or subsidiary of this inquiry. i want to see paper trails, places and times and time stamps, i don't want opinions and i don't want speeches which is why i hope the democratic and the republican members ask good, sha sharp questions on what will be the main areas of inquiry. whether or not it's election collusion, wiretaps or is there more to learn about nsa director michael flynn. >> the questions are important, but the answers are really what we're curious to learn. robert, i know you spent your studying, white working class base, trump's voters, what if director comey says no wiretapping evidence? >> i've been looking into the polls going into this, and the
basic pattern that we see among trump's base, among republicans overall, they're basically standing behind trump, whether they believe the wiretapping claims, some republicans say they believe that, only three in ten americans believe that, when you ask about improper actions with russian agents, most republicans say they don't sort of believe that that's happening, but in both cases, i think because republicans believe him, they're overwhelmingly in support of saying that trump should provide some evidence of these claims to back it up and to kind of clear himself on these accusations and about half of them, nearly half say that they support actually a special prosecutor, rather than congress itself, or republican-led congress to investigate these claims to come to clarity. so donald trump may be a little bit caught here, in a way that republicans and white working class voters place a great deal
of confidence in the fbi. so he may be pitting himself against an institutions that his base actually has quite a bit of confidence in. >> what about those evangelical voters because i think there's a moral question when it comes to the president's honesty and trust worthiness. how could there be fallout based on what director comey says? >> we talked about a moral character in this election, and it turns out that evangelic evangelicals -- even if he had to break some rules and maybe even lie a little bit to get there. so we're actually seeing something quite different from evangelicals as a whole in this election, they have kind of made their bed with trump on different terms than they have with any other president. so it's a little bit unclear,
but they're older, they're white, and these are people that place great confidence in the fbi and the cia and this is a cold war generation, so these are not things they take lightly. >> lynne, everyone wants answers but democrat and republicans are heading into tomorrow's hearing with different agendas. what's the impact of that? >> well the impact is that the democrats have their challenges to find any facts that might lead to a fact-based finding that there was russia collusion in the election of donald trump. now the republicans, of course, i am guessing, will want to deflect and since so far there has not been -- they will want to deflekt, maybe change the subject. but the stakes are high for everybody. this is the first public hearing that we have had on this. this is the first time in public
under oath we're going to be able to have a discussion of what evidence there is. i want to stress this so much. evidence, facts, names, faces, paper trail. because unless some of that is produced in this. and it's not enough to i think just have comey or snsa director mike rogers say i can't talk about this because it's classified is not going to get us anywhere. it's going to be interesting to see what body of facts we have. there may never be agreement on what they mean. but this is one type of hearing, plus what the senate intelligence committee may holding, just what is there so far on the wiretap front. there is no evidence to back up those four tweets that now two weeks ago president trump sent out. there are many questions on russia meddling with the campaign, that's most sensitive for republicans, because you
know that president trump is going to be on the defensive on this and they may want to protect him. it is most important to democrats. so i would look for them most aggressive questioning on the central question to the committee to be on that front on the russia meddling of the campaign rather than some of the other related topics. >> all right, lynne sweet, robert jones, thank you both for being here. you can catch a preview of what you can expect from tomorrow's hearing on a cnn special with john berman at 11:00 p.m. eastern here on cnn. coming up, the fight over health care, the fight to dump president obama's signature legislation, to repeal and replace obamacare. and rocket tests of north korea, making rex tillerson's first trip to asia a little more important and a bit more
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so save 10% on ancestrydna right now - and find out just how much fun you'll have. save on ancestrydna through sunday. . this week will mark exactly seven years since president obama signed the affordable care act into law and republicans hope to make history of their own by repealing obamacare on the anniversary of its signing, paul ryan says he believes he has the votes. >> yeah, i feel very good about it actually, i feel like it's exactly where we want to be. the reason i feel so good about it is because the president has become a great closer. he is the one that has helped negotiate changes to this bill from all over our caucus. i call it getting to the sweet spot. you have 218 republicans from
all walks of life to come together and agree on the way to repeal and replace obamacare. and we all, all republicans in the house and the senate made a promise to the american people that we would repeal and replace this faulty collapsing law and we're going to make good on that promise. >> athena jones is traveling with the president and joins me from palm beach, florida. speaker ryan sure seems confident that president trump's health care bill is going to pass next week. white house officials met just minutes ago at mara l-a-lagomar were they and what can you tell us about that meeting? >> reporter: this bill faces a tough road ahead despite the speaker's confidence, some republicans say it doesn't go far enough to do away with the
affordable care act. three of the most vocal republicans, senators ted cruz and mike lee and also congressman mike meadows came down to mar-a-lago for a three-hour meeting with white house staffers including chief strategist steve bannon and chief of staff reince priebus. they talked about wanting to see a sooner end to medicaid expansion. they also talk about wanting to repeal that provision that allows children to stay on their parents plans until the age of 26. that is one of the movies popular provisions of obama care and one the president sup forts and as of right now, the medicare provision ends in 2020, not sooner, so it's unclear if that's going to be part of this package of amendments that eeg going to be aimed at winning
more votes. if you make changes to win over conservatives you risk alienating moderates. there are 26 house republicans who are either leaning towards voting no or have already said flat out that they're going to vote no on the bill. we'll have to see if that whip coun count changes as these amendments are finalized. >> is that number over what republicans can lose to get passed? 21 is the line, so 26 does not sound good for republicans, but there is still time to sway some of those nos into the yes column. the congressional budget office has predicted that 14 million fewer americans would be covered by medicaid under this republican health care act.
tom price was asked about that this morning on "state of the union." let's listen to the secretary's answer. >> what the congressional budget office looked at is simply this first piece of legislation, which is not the plan in hirtsz entirety. imagine a plan that actually drives down health care costs for individuals, that's the one that we envision, imagine one that actually provides patients with an array of options, something that works for them. not something that the government requires them to purchase. they can have the doctor they want, they can go to the hospital they want. those are the kinds of things we envision. >> secretary price went on to say that this cbo estimate didn't account for the whole plan. does that answer for the count of the house and senate republicans who aren't on board yet? >> reporter: several republicans have been concerned that you can't be asked to imagine some
future plan, this has been part of the white house's argument, that you just heard from the health and human services secretary. and the budget director, the cbo, the congressional budget office in scoring this plan didn't take into consideration steps two and three. but if you talk to some republicans who have expressed concerns for the bill, they said those steps, we have no idea if those future plans would ever be passed, there's a step that involves regulatory changes that s secretary price could make, and there's no clue what those will be and they're not buying that argument of imagine what we're envisioning later, they want to be able to see exactly what's being proposed. >> the additional steps down the road are no guarantees at this point. and we have this just in to cnn, president trump gave a few brief comments to the press on air force one moments ago as
he's heading back to washington, let's listen. >> meetings over at the clubs and the southern white house over at the weekend. >> how is it going on the health care bill? >> it's going well. we had a lot of meetings on that. we had meetings on north, he's acting very, very badly. >> what about the meetings on the hill tomorrow? >> so as we just heard, he walked away when he was questioned about tomorrow's hearing before the house intelligence committee with director comey from the fbi going before them to talk about those wiretapping claims trump has made as well as discuss the broader investigation into russia's meddling in the u.s. election. still to come here in the cnn newsroom tonight. mere coincidence or timed intentionally, the secretary of state tillerson in asia as north korea carries out it's rocket engine test.
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secretary of state rex tillerson is now on his way back to the u.s. after a key meeting with the chinese president this morning. and on their talking agenda, the threat of north korea, who may more provocative moves while tillerson was in china. will ripley has more from beijing. >> reporter: u.s. secretary of state rex tillerson ending his trip to asia with chinese
president xi jinping, very cordial, public statements but behind closed doors, we have been told that the conversations were very frank and very candid, as the two leaders try to feel each other out. and just how far trump is being to go when it comes to the north korean nuclear threat. president trump said that all options are on the table, the days of strategic patience are over and even a military response is on the table if -- they do not want to see a military conflict, so they are urging for all sides to have cooler heads. but north korean leader kim jong-un is making that difficult, state media in pyongyang, stated a new test of a new kind of rocket engine that
takes the north korean government one step closer to their ultimate goal of developing an icbm, capable of reaching the main land of the united states. it's why secretary tillerson said that the danger from north korea is more urgent than every. the united states thinks they need to do more to reign in north korea, and they feel that china has leverage because they're the only meaning testimony trading partner. they want the u.s. to stop ongoing military exercises with south korea. you can see both sides pretty far apart. plans being finalized for a meeting between president trump and president xi later in the month. we also just heard president trump aboard air force one saying koreans are acting very, very badly. we also talked to his national
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wiretapping, election tampering, how he answers the question will determine if the white house and russia should get a deeper investigation. i welcome james jeffrey, he's the former u.s. ambassador from turkey to iraq. jeffrey lord, if director comey says that the wiretapping allegations are completely baseless, how much damage will that do to the president ee's credibility on the world stage? >> the question is wrong. i think the "new york times" as we have said has said flat out that the fbi was leading an investigation into president trump's associates, that's the "new york times," i want to know yes or no. if not, then the u.s. times will have to retract their story. but i suspect the "new york times" is correct. so i want to know did the fisher under any circumstances surveil any of trump's associates.
>> jeffrey, we do have an answer from that "new york times" reporter, in fact he was asked about what he wrote in that report you are referencing. listen to what he told our anderson cooper when asked about whether in his reporting was indicating that there was any kind of surveillance of trump tower. >> if we do that, that would be a fantastic story. i would not be here with you, i would be at home writing it or reporting it. we have said that these communications were russians talking to each other about trump associates. we know there were intercepts with the russian ambassador who was on the phone with michael flynn the former national security advisor. flynn was picked up as he was talking to the russian ambassador who is under surveillance. but this is all routine work by intelligence agencies and the fbi. this isn't that they especially put the trump campaign under
surveillance. we have no evidence that that happened. >> can we just put that "new york times" report to rest, jeffrey? >> i'm listening to the reporter, he confirmed exactly what his story said and what i'm saying, that the fbi was leading this investigation, and they came across trump associates and they were investigating them. i didn't say trump tower, i said trump associates that just confirmed exactly what i said, and confirmed his story, that is true apparently. >> but we're talking about what the president said. the president said that president obama wiretapped trump tower. >> the president clearly believes that he and his associates or some combination thereof were surveilled, he believes that to be true. that's all i want to know. >> that does not appear to be true. i'm sorry, i have to point out the facts here, and i will get to you ambassador, but the facts are, the facts are, there is no
evidence that president trump's associates were surveilled. at this point, we can tell you, categorically there was no fisa warrant to investigate his associates. there has been no fisa warrant according to our sources in the intelligence. and in fact, paul ryan came out and camera and said we have not seen any evidence that there was a wiretap or a fisa court warrant for anyone on trump tower. no one that was part of the trump campaign, trump tower, there was no evidence that there was surveillance specifically of anybody attached to trump. but we will learn more categorically tomorrow, we hope, when there's this hearing. >> yes, that's right. >> and ambassador, let's talk about that, what are you looking for what, do you want to have answered when that hearing happens tomorrow? >> absolutely, let me support
jeff lrey a bit before i then challenge him. >> let me have it. >> we know that there was surveillance, we know have various ways, we can assume it's factual, that there was surveillance of russians that at one point picked up this conversation of general flynn's evolving discussions of sanctions and possibly other surveillance that may have mixed up other people. that is a fact. >> yes. >> what we need to know tomorrow is, on what basis was the surveillance done? this is probably, but i'm not certain, we'll have to wait, incidental collection, as general hadden said on cnn yesterday, incidental collection on u.s. individuals, i worked with the white house in 2008 when we put that change, that amendment to the fisa law together. secondly, however, there could have been a warrant to go after american targets, perhaps flynn,
perhaps other s but there's no evidence of that. so we want to find out on what basis did that information come into the u.s. intelligence and was it leaked and trump in a somewhat obfuscating way, today this was implorely motivated, mccarthyism or something that he said. and the third thing is that president obama had some role in this. that's the other thing we have to find out tomorrow. in this investigation, was president obama briefed, did president obama know about this in any way and did he make any suggestion? it would be almost unprecedented if he did, but we need to know that. >> unfortunately, gentlemen, we're out of time for this segment. but we'll have you back to discuss this further. still to come, they helped hand trump the president siz pr
now voters in the rust belt are looking for president trump to deliver on his promises. according to the united nations, about 400,000 people have died so far in syria's civil war. >> it's reallilike waking up from death, you can't see a lot, because there's dust everywhere, there's brood on your clothing and use don't know if it's yours or somebody else eat. >> our goal is to heal syria and relieve the suffering of the people. >> the organization has a network of 110 medical facilities with a team of 1,700 doctors. the charity says hospitals are prime targets during air strikes. >> to respond to that, we created more world clinics where people have been treated outside the hospitals. >> reporter: the medical team
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the rust belt gave trump his victory and now these voters want jobs. donald trump made big promises to michigan, bring back jobs and restructure trade deals. will he deliver? poppy harlow talked to rust belt voters about which issues matter most to them. >> bringing jobs back home. >> create new jobs. >> focus on the country. >> we don't want to fall back anymore. >> make this nation strong. >> we want to go forward. >> i want to see american made. >> reporter: american made, something these michigan voters wants to see a whole lot more of. it's a promise that helped tip michigan in donald trump's favor. >> my economic plan can be summed up with three very beautiful words, jobs, jobs, jobs, we're bringing our jobs back. >> reporter: it wasn't just
trump's promise for more jobs, it's his promise for what he calls fair trade. >> this is a manufacturing state and all of these states in the rust belt, these people are hurting. >> reporter: the unemployment just hit 5%, the lowest in 15 years, but that's a rosier picture than most i spoke to tell me. michigan has lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs since 2004. many here blame free trade deals, since nafta was signed in the early '90s, michigan has lost 35% of its manufacturing jobs. but it's interesting to note, that many good jobs haven't been lost to trade, they're being lost to robots, not humans. >> it's one of the worst
contracts ever negotiated for the american worker. >> frank and salvatore have been union auto workers for decades. both say they voted for president obama twice, but despite having pretty good paying jobs, when they >> it was very difficult for me because i have been a long democrat. people needed a change. the uaw brought us into the middle class. when i hear trump talk about solidarity and it sounds like he's a union guy right there. i was happy to have somebody stick up for us. >> their fellow auto worker dennis washington didn't vote for president trump, but he's encouraged. >> just the fact that he's bringing or chie trying to stop jobs going out of the country, i feel that's a a big opportunity for americans. i'm very curious to see what else might happen. >> manufacturing output in the u.s. is near ab all-time high. but workers say the jobs that
have come back since the depths of the recession aren't what they used to be. >> with the auto company, i was making about $40 an hour. >> rick quinn worked at one of the big three auto makers for more than two deck katades unti was laid off. >> i put out resumes every day for all kinds of jobs. i'm not just looking for a an engineering job. i'm looking for anything i can find. >> donald trump wasn't quinn's first choice but he voted for him in november and he's got a lot on the line facing $60,000 in debt. >> i'd like to be able to get a job and work another ten years and then build up some retirement money so my wife can enjoy a decent retirement. >> i wanted a change, but i wanted somebody with a spine. >> reporter: at 62 peggy stewart is no stranger to hard work. after struggling to find work,
she's a security guard earning $9 an hour. barely above the minimum wage. the hours are tough making it hard to find time with her husband jim. but she feels lucky just to have a job. >> i wouldn't trade my job for nothing right now. i don't care what they pay or don't pay. i'm working and i feel like somebody again. >> she voted for president obama twice. this year trump got her vote. >> i'm not warg a wearing a a banner. i'm in a holding mode. i'm in a wait and see mode. but i don't even know if he would have any inkling to be a little pesh like us. >> but president trump did not get her husband's vote. >> he's going to follow big business. that's what scares me. >> reporter: he's worried the president will push to dismantle unions. >> i say go ahead president trump. show us what we need to e see from you. but be careful.
>> there's not too many jobs out here that are paying very good. and i'd like to get my diploma so i can go to college and get a better job for my family. >> reporter: at 28 anjelica has a lot to juggle. she's a a single l pom of three boys. she's in school and wants to become a nurse. . the jobs she could find in manufacturing she says didn't pay nearly enough to support her family. >> i ran oil machines and i was a line leader and assigned people jobs where they were supposed to go. i was making $8.15 at the time. i knew i wasn't going to make a life with those kind of jobs. >> she's not very political and it's the president's lack of political experience that has her hopeful. >> he's not a career politician. he thinks of people like me that are struggling just trying to
get by and i think he's going to be very good. >> about an hour outside of detroit is adrian, michigan, home of what used to be one of the country's largest cabinet manufacturers. when this factory shut down in 2008, it took near itly 900 jobs with it. >> what the factory shut down, it's the largest employer. >> now they have reopened the once thriving plant as the cabinets. he employed some 30 people and the daughter is the manager there. business has been booming over the past year. but despite strong growth for his company under president obama, dekker has what he calls a love/hate relationship with president trump. >> all the cabinets that we have here are imported tr china. the tariff he puts on the chinese import would increase the cost dramatically and a 40% increase in cost due to the regulations and the cost of operating in the states.
>> so why did he vote for president trump if it could cost him? he says three reasons. obamacare, taxes and the supreme court. >> it's best for the country. if we are the sacrifice we're willing to take that. >> i would ask he would focus not on his tweet or his comments and just on the country itself. >> so will shuttered factories open again and jobs abound. these are the promises michigan's trump supporters are clinging to. >> a lot of doors shut behind me over the years. those opportunities were no l g longer there. i hope that they will come back. >> these people who are trying to live the american dream they want to have a house, a car, an education and i want that
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top of the hour, you're live in the cnn newsroom. thank you for joining me. the stage is set for a dramatic day on capitol hill. one that should bring some extraordinary testimony on russia's meddling in the 2016 election and president trump's claim he was wiretapped by his predecessor during the campaign. we will finally hear from the director of the