tv At This Hour With Kate Bolduan CNN April 4, 2017 8:00am-9:01am PDT
you have different interests, but i am watching over everybody, jerry. you're in good hands, okay? you're in good hands, believe me. you can tell the people of new york. even though i didn't rein new york state. i should have won new york state, but i didn't. [ applause ] >> mr. president, kathy ingle bert with deloitte. i want to return to a conversation we had with ivanka, dean and wilbur on jobs, the workforce of the future. and so, as we think about that and we think about our skill sets -- in new york city alone, our public high school graduation rate is at 70%, but the readiness of our students for college and careers is only 37% -- is assessed at 37%. so as we look at the pace of change, we look at the digital transformation we all see in business, in the marketplace, and we look at the skills that we -- this disconnect between what employers need and what our students coming into our workforces are prepared to deliver, it would be great to
get your thoughts on the priorities of the administration around education, around, again, what i like to call not the future of work, but the work of the future, because the future of work sounds a little ominous, but the work of the future actually sounds pretty visionary. so, if you could give us those priorities and how readiness -- >> okay, so, before you sit, so, you're giving me numbers from new york. you're a proud new yorker, but you're giving me numbers. why is it doing so badly, tell me? why are the numbers so horrific in terms of education, and what happens when somebody goes through school and then they can't read after -- you know, they graduate from high school and they can barely read? so, what's the answer? >> so, first i would say that as we look at new york, new york's made enormous progress in a decade. by the way, that 70% was 50%, so a 40% increase, so we're making enormous progress in making an impact -- >> see how quickly she's changing? see that? >> making enormous progress, but we're not done. we have a lot of work to do, and
i think we talked earlier about public-private partnerships, apprenticeship models, which we have a beautiful apprenticeship model that works and brings them, our next generation of leaders. so, i do think there's a lot we can do through relooking at funding programs. we talked earlier about consolidating the many programs that are out there. we're all trying to make our individual impact, and we can make a huge impact together. >> sure. and i know you work very hard on it, and you have made progress. charter schools are another thing that people are talking about a lot, and some of the charter schools in new york have been amazing. they've done incredibly well. people can't get in. i mean, you can't get in. it's been, i don't call it an experiment anymore. it's far beyond an experiment. if you look at so many elements of education -- and it's so sad to see what's coming, what's happening in the country. even the numbers, as good, you say we're doing better, but the numbers in new york, the numbers in chicago are very rough. the numbers in los angeles, the
cities. it's a very rough situation. common core. i mean, we have to bring education more local. we can't be managing education from washington. when i go out to iowa, when i go out to the different states and they talk, they want to run their school programs locally, and they'll do a much better job than somebody -- and look, these are some very good people in washington, but you also have bureaucrats that make a lot of money and don't really care that much about what they're doing or about the community that they have never seen and they'll never meet and they never will see. and i like the fact of getting rid of common core. you know, common core to me is -- we have to end it. we have to bring education local, to me. i've always said it. i've been saying it during the campaign, and we're doing it. betsy devos, she's doing a terrific job, highly respected, tremendous track record, but she's got one of the toughest jobs of any of our secretaries, to me. she's got one of the toughest
jobs. there are some pretty tough jobs out there, but she's got one of the toughest jobs. we're going to spend a lot of money and a lot of expertise. we're going to have great talent strog do with education, because there's nothing more important than education, and we've got to get those numbers in new york better. and i think they will be better. and a lot of people, a lot of the greatest people i know in new york, they're totally in love, including ivanka and jared, they're so much involved, and it's so important to them, the word education. and it's happening. and i see it happening in new york very much, but it's happening elsewhere, too. i think we're going to have a great four years. >> mr. president, i know -- >> running again. >> -- a pressing issue to deal with. steve and mike i think just wanted to thank you for attending today and maybe make a final comment on behalf of the -- >> thanks a lot for being here,
and thanks for everybody for being here. it's been a really interesting day, and you've had everybody of importance at the event. i think it's terrific in terms of the stuff you're trying to do to modernize the government, educate and so forth, and i think we have to keep a focus on that, because the outside world doesn't always get the message that that's really what's going on, because you're doing profound things, taking on enormous embedded issues, and i think with the kind of effort that can be marshalled, you can do amazing things. and that's on behalf of mike corbett and myself who chaired
the partnership. sort of the trust gets rotated from person to person every two years. i want to wish you really good luck with the chinese. that's an important thing, as we all know, and i think there's a real opportunity to make progress with them, and you should have a good time in florida. i hope the weather's good. >> yeah, the weather will be beautiful. thank you, steve. i just want to finish by saying that we are absolutely destroying these horrible regulations that have been placed on your heads over not eight years, over the last 20 and 25 years. you have regulations that are horrendous. dodd/frank is an example of what we're working on and we're working on it right now. we're going to be coming out with very strong, far beyond recommendations. we're going to be doing things that are going to be very good for the banking industry so that the banks can loan money to people that need it. i speak to people all the time. they used to borrow money from
banks to open up -- there was one in nevada -- to open up a pizza shop. he had three shops, he had a bank, and he said you know, at that time he called me mr. trump because i hadn't won yet, but he said, mr. trump, i can't open up anything. i can't do anything. the banks don't even -- i had a bank for 20 years. now they don't even take my phone call, and i was always a very good customer. so, i haven't been able to do what i do. they can't do it. the banks got so restricted. and i've always said, and some people get insulted, but you know, it's not necessarily the man that's making a lot of money that's running the bank. you look at the folks from government that are running all over the banks. they're running the banks. and the people that are really, you know, the head people, they're petrified of the regulators. they're petrified. they can't move. the regulators are running the banks. so we're going to do a very major haircut on dodd/frank. we want strong restrictions. we want strong regulation, but not regulation that makes it
impossible for the banks to loan to people that are going to create jobs. but we're doing -- that's just one example. we're doing so many cuts on regulations, and we have a book on regulations. and if you add them all up, it goes up to the ceiling three times over. it's just one after another after another. it's just like that chart. i thought that chart was so descriptive. and every industry is just like that chart. and that's to build a simple roadway or highway. that's what you have to go through. and we're going to be able to get rid of 90%-95% of that and still have the same kind of protection. and we want safety, and we want environmental. we want environmental protection. i've won awards on environmental protection. i'm a big believer, believe it or not, but we want that kind of protection. we want clean air and we want clean water, but we shouldn't have to get the approvals from 16 different agencies for almost the same thing.
so, we have a country with tremendous potential. we have the greatest people on earth, but we have to use their potential and we have to let those people do their thing. and with that, i just want to thank you all. i think you're going to see a much different environment than you've been used to over the last, again, 20, 25 years. we're going to unleash the country, and i'm willing to take the heat, and that's okay. i've been taking heat my whole life. but in the end, i know it's the right thing to do, and we're going to create a lot of jobs. we have 100 million people, if you look. the real number's not 4.6%. they told me i had 4.6% last month. i'm doing great. i said, yeah, but what about the 100 million people? a lot of those people came out and voted for me. i call them the forgotten man, the forgotan woman, but a good percentage of them would like to have jobs, and they don't. one of the statistics that to me
is just ridiculous -- so, the 4.6% sounds good, but when you look for a job, you can't find it, and you give up. you are now considered statistically employed. but i don't consider those people employed. if you look at what's happened with ford and with general motors and with fiat chrysler and so many other car companies, you see what they're doing back in michigan and ohio. they were leaving. they were going to mexico and many other places. they're now staying here. now, it did say, you've heard me say it many times to the big auto companies at meetings -- it's okay. enjoy your new plant. please send me a picture. i'm sure it's going to be lovely. but when you make your car or when you make your air conditioner and you think you're going to fire all of our workers and open up a new place in another country and you're going to come through our, what will be a very strong border, which is already, you see what's happened -- 61% down now in
terms of illegal people coming in -- way, way down in terms of drugs pouring into our country and poisoning our youth, way down. general kelly's done a great job. but when you think you're going to sell that car or that air conditioner, well, it's not going to happen. you're going to have a tax. and the tax may be 35%. and you know what, every single major company that i've had that conversation with has said, you know, we've decided to stay in the united states. it's amazing. and you would have thought they would have said this, frankly, for years, but nobody's ever said it. and we've lost close to 70,000 factories over a relatively short period of time, 70,000. you wouldn't believe it's possible to lose 70,000 factories. 70,000! you know, you look at a map of the united states, how many factories can you lose? we lost almost 70,000 factories. and i will tell you, that's not happening, because now they're all staying here and they're all
expanding here. ford announced last week a massive expansion of three of its plants. that was not going to happen, believe me, if i didn't win. so, good luck, everybody. enjoy yourselves. you're my friends. you're amazing people. and i'm going to put you to work. thank you. hello, everyone. i am kate bolduan. welcome this hour. you've been listening to president trump hosting a town hall, taking questions from a big group of ceos gathered there, also confirming in that discussion, confirmed that north korea will be a big topic of discussion when he meets with the chinese president later this week at his mar-a-lago resort. but the big focus of this town hall is about jobs, infrastructure, and getting rid, cutting red tape. let's discuss the politics and the money at play here. mark preston is with me, cnn senior political analyst and "cnn money" correspondent christiristina alesci. fascinating to hear from the
president on this right now. interesting town hall, politics first. what's this about? >> well, a couple things. one, he needs a win. and he's talked about creating jobs through this massive infrastructure legislation that he wants to see congress get through. and by and large, it probably will help bring some jobs back. i don't know how long they would last. the problem is that it is ripe with politics. you have fiscal conservatives that are probably not going to sign on to a lot of the things he wants to do. and then you have more moderate republicans and democrats who want to see it get through. so, if we thought that the health care fight, you know, was vicious, wait until we get into looking at where we are with the national debt and how much this infrastructure bill would add to it. >> and saying he's looking for a massive infrastructure bill, talking $1 trillion, he said or maybe even more, he said during this town hall. the money at play here, there's a lot of money sitting in that room. a huge list of ceos -- citigroup, blackstone, mastercard, jetblue, modell sporting goods. those are just some of them,
probably with more name recognition for many viewers. what's this about for the president? >> well, it's interesting because he's going to need the private companies to sign on to this infrastructure bill, because although the top-line number's $1 trillion, what he says will be a combination of federal government spending, but as well as companies pouring money into these infrastructure projects also. so, he needs these ceos on board. and behind closed doors, the ceos do have a lot of uneasiness as far as they don't -- they're not sure whether he can pull off a lot of these plans. >> think a lot of lawmakers would agree they're not sure he can pull off a lot of these plans. >> exactly, but they are happy to be part of the discussion. it's all about access. so, the ceos in that room will tell me privately, we don't know what this guy's going to do, we don't even know what he's about, but we are glad that at least he's listening to us. that's why you're not seeing business be critical at all of the president right now, because after four years, they say of
not having access to the president, they're at least happy to be able to air their concerns. you saw steve schwarzman, the president of blackstoernsion as you referenced, stand up. he's got a tremendous amount of business in china, and he's very worried about the president's stance on china. >> and the president also knowing some of this is audience here is he's talking to his supporters. his supporters see it's a big win he's come in with executive order, cutting back regulation, cutting back red tape. have people in that room like it as well as his supporters. keeping an eye on there. mark will be joining me again, tae thank you so much, but we need to turn to another critical moment today for the troubled house intelligence committee, with its stalled investigation into russian meddling in the u.s. election and any possible collusion on the part of the trump campaign. after breaking down over partisan infighting, the committee is meeting within the hour. what will they discuss? will they reschedule hearings? will we hear a list of witnesses? will we hear anything? our manu raju caught up with the
committee chairman, devin nunes, a short time ago. listen to this. >> reporter: can you just stop for a second and take one -- >> no, i've got to get into -- >> reporter: what do you think of michael flynn getting immunity? >> we have our hearing starting, the conference. >> reporter: do you stand by the notion that your source was a whistleblower? >> manu raju is joining me now from capitol hill. so, manu, he did not answer that question, obviously, as he walked away. what are you picking up about this important meeting, this gathering now of the house television committee today? >> reporter: well, it's a sign that this gridlocked committee is starting to be a little less gridlocked on this issue of the russia investigation. remember, all meetings were actually canceled last week and there was a meeting yesterday that was unrelated to the russia issue, and i am told that there is a meeting today within the next hour to discuss a range of issues. we do expect that russia issue, the russia investigation to come up. and i was told earlier today by members of the committee, there
appears to be an agreement on the witnesses to interview behind closed doors in the private session. peter king, the republican who sits on the committee, said this is a sign that things are moving forward. take a listen. >> going forward, there's basically agreement on the witness list, and -- >> reporter: so, there's an agreement on what, on flynn, carter page, manafort? >> well, again, you'll have to ask -- i think you have to ask the chairman and the ranking member, you'll see there is general agreement on the witness list. that's what i know. every individual has been discussed will be called as a witness. >> reporter: now, he said, king went on to say that a lot of these interviews will happen in closed-door meetings, private meetings, depositions over the next couple weeks. this is as the senate intelligence committee is having its own private interviews with members of the intelligence community, including today. and tomorrow will be the first transcribed interview of any witness so far on the senate
investigation. that is going to be with someone in the intelligence community. they are not saying who that person is yet, but this is all part of an effort to lay the groundwork before those big interviews happen, the paul manaforts of the world, the michael flynns of the world, carter pages and the like, to bring them in to talk about any context, coordination with the russians, which is a big focus of the investigation. the question is whether or not there could be any sort of bipartisan consensus. but from what we're hearing, a little less partisanship perhaps today on that house intelligence committee. we'll see if they can actually move forward after weeks of turmoil, kate. >> that definitely still remains a question. one meeting, i don't know, does a bipartisan committee make, but we will see. manu, thank you. manu's all over that. there are more developments on the russia story. for that, i want to bring in cnn's jessica schneider with more on this. jessica, these new reports about trump associates and ties to russia, lay it out. what are you hearing? >> reporter: well, kate, various new revelations today about people loosely associated with president trump having these
sort of back-channel meetings with the russians. so, let's start off first with carter page. he was a foreign policy adviser who worked briefly with the trump campaign. page now admits that he was in contact with at least one russian spy back in 2013. page, though, says he thought the spy was working for moscow's u.n. office. page says he shared research on energy policy. you can see there he's an energy executive. but that russian that he shared it with was charged by the fbi as part of a spy ring. the trump team all along has tried to distance itself from carter page, but take a listen to then candidate trump last march. >> perhaps we heard you might be announcing your foreign policy advisory team soon, if there is anything more on that. >> we are going to be -- well, i hadn't thought about in terms of doing it, but if you wanted me to give you some of the names. >> i'm be delighted. >> whalid farris, who you probably know, ph.d, adviser to the house of representatives
caucus. he's a counterterrorism expert. carter page, ph.d. >> reporter: so, president trump, then candidate trump, talk being carter page there. on top of these revelations about page's contact with a russian spy, kate, there are also reports coming out that in january, at the height of the transition, eric prince, founder of blackwater, met with an associate of president putin in the seychelles. eric prince is the brother of betsy devos, education secretary. but today, both prince and the white house deny that this meeting was arranged on behalf of the trump administration. but as this all trickles out, it's part of that information about back-channel meetings in addition to these that we're hearing about. of course, we know last week jared kushner's meeting that happened back in december it came out that he met with the chairman of a russian-run bank. this all just adds to the questions as the fbi investigates the question, did trump associates collude with the russians? kate? >> more questions rather than less. jessica, thanks for laying it out for us. it is confusing to follow the
developments. you almost need a flow chart. let's discuss this and more. where do things stand with the investigation on the house intelligence committee? let's find out. democratic congresswoman jackie speier is joining me now. she sits on the house intelligence committee. congresswoman, thank you so much for the time. i know you'll be gathering in a few minutes. i want to talk about these new developments today in regard to intel. they're important. you have carter page, as jessica just laid out, he has offered to testify before your committee. but with this news, this news out now that he passed information an alleged russian operative, this came from that fbi court filing against the alleged russian operative -- when do you think the committee is going to interview him? does this news concern you? >> well, the news, of course, concerns us. i mean, it's the plot thickening, without a doubt. and what's deeply troubling to me is that all of the inner circle of then candidate trump had connections with russia. and even now, the russia connection is so much stronger
within the white house than the connection is with our allies throughout europe, where we need to be solidifying those relationships along with nato and the eu. so, carter page is one of the individuals we will want to interview. but as we keep seeing, this trickle of new information is very important, and i have no interest in interviewing him until we have as much information as possible to query him about. >> so, it is important to note that this all happened, with regard to carter page, back in 2013. this, of course, is years before there was a trump campaign. does that change anything for you? that's an important timestamp. >> well, yes, but then you add that, you connect the dots. he was in russia giving a speech at a college, bad-mouthing the united states in 2016, in december of 2016. he was again in russia when it was announced that rosneft, the
biggest oil, gas producer in russia, was giving 19% of the company to a third party. there's been talk that carter page was one of the recipients of that 19%. again, that comes from christopher steele, who -- >> so, all of these various threads, if you will, congresswom congresswoman, do you have a date yet when you are going to interview carter page? >> we have not yet developed the schedule for all of the persons that will be interviewed. there will be a series of depositions. there will be hearings. the question we are going to have to negotiate with the chair is how many will be open and how many will be closed. >> so, this new element from the "washington post," then, about eric prince, as jessica laid out, with a meeting in the seychelles in january, he has connections, he was a big donor to the trump campaign. he's the brother of donald trump's education secretary, betsy devos. is he on the committee's witness list? >> i'm not aware of him being on
the witness list, but i don't necessarily have access to a comprehensive list at this point. >> from what you hear -- i know democrats submitted a list of witnesses that they were hoping for. was he on that list? >> i can't say. but i can say that the fact that this has come forward is something that will certainly inform our decisions as to additional people who should be interviewed. this investigation is going to go on for some period of time. >> that seems clear. susan rice, also, the other -- the third development, congresswoman. there's a lot today. reports that she, of course, is president obama's former national security adviser. there are reports that she put in a request and unmasked names of trump associates. do you see a problem there? >> first of all, it's important to appreciate, when there's a request to unmask, whether it's a national security adviser or the fbi, it has to go through a process. >> right. >> it is unmasked only for that specific individual.
it's not opened up to everybody, and it can only be unmasked if it is consistent with protecting our national security. so, as a national -- >> do you think it worthy of investigating, though? >> well, is it worthy -- i mean, i guess you'd have to go back and look at all of the national security advisers and see how many unmaskings have gone on. it's really irrelevant to what we're charged with doing, and this is yet again another example of how the president and those who are supporting his particular position want us not to do this investigation into the russia connections with his campaign and the russian infiltration in our election. that's where we need to be focused. >> john mccain said it would come down to, it would matter in his mind if there was a political motivation for her putting in these requests for unmasking. would you agree? >> well, i think the question has to be was there a national security reason for unmasking? and that's always the first and primary question that has to be
asked. and again, as national security adviser to any president, you're going to be in a position to unmask, i suppose, more so than someone else. but again, we don't even know about the length and breadth of this. this is something that came out of thin air, another deflection of what our real charge and responsibility should be, and that is investigating the russia connection to the trump campaign and their infiltration into our elections. >> well, that gets to kind of what brought this committee to a screeching halt the past couple weeks. it had to do with chairman nunes, with important surveillance information that he said he had, that he went, did not tell the committee about and went to brief the president about. the full committee is meeting together in moments. are you going to see that surveillance information that chairman nunes briefed the president on two weeks ago? >> so, we now have as a committee access to that information. we're going to have to go elsewhere to view it. i haven't had the opportunity yet to do it.
the staff has, and they will be briefing us on it. >> the staff has seen it. does it raise concerns in your mind? can you give us any window into what the staff has seen? >> well, if you recall it was ranking member schiff who did actually view the documents who said that it has nothing to do with our investigation, that, in fact, everything he saw had masked names. so, again, it is trying to change the topic, it's trying to deflect our focus on what we really need to be doing, and i'm just not going to be subject to that, and i think, frankly, the media needs to continue to focus on what's important here. what is russia doing in our country? why are they infiltrating us? why are they undermining our democracy? why are they undermining the european union and the alliance? it's for obvious reasons. they want to become the superpower of the world.
there is a reason why they are an adversary, and we need to keep that in mind. >> i know you need to go, but i want to get your gut. i mean -- this committee broke down over the last two weeks. the committee is finally getting back to full meetings. with all due respect, after it broke down, should the american people trust anything that's coming out of your committee going forward? >> you know, that's a very good question, and i'm not prepared at this anoint time to answer it. but i will be one of the first to say that this committee is irrelevant. in fact, it's going to follow a political road map, because that's not what we've been charged to do. >> congresswoman jackie speier, i know you have to go. thank you for your time. we appreciate it. >> thank you. coming up, shock, outrage, and cries for the united states to tea actiake action, to do so after a suspected chemical weapons attack happened in syria. at least ten children among the dead, hundreds hurt. now senator john mccain is speaking out, blasting the white house for its stance that it's
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are simply horrible, and i want to warn you, they are hard to look at. dozens of people killed, including at least ten children. hundreds of others injured. activists say the casualties are a result of asphyxiation. here's what we know right now. air strikes hit a rebel-held town in northwestern syria this morning, giving off something of a poisonous gas, according to activist groups. video purporting to be from the scene shows victims who appear unresponsive or struggling to breathe at the very least. activist groups are blaming syrian president bashar al assad's regime for the attack. simply impossible to tear your eyes away from the screen when you see something like this. let me bring in cnn's senior international correspondent, arwa damon. she's here with me now. arwa, you've spent a lot of time in syria. you see these images of these children unresponsive, were struggling to breathe, and you think what? >> i go back to something, you know, a number of activists said
early on -- what is it going to take? how many more chemical attacks do there need to be? how many more children need to wash onshore or be covered in dust? how many more children need to come up dead by a mysterious gas, looking like they're asleep, but they're not. their life is over. it denies logic. cnn spoke to a journalist who went to the scene shortly after it took place, and he himself was impacted by the residue of what was left behind. he was barely breathing. and he was describing how it seems like it was a series of attacks. one of the strikes, presumably is what set off the gas, but he was saying there were children there not only being treated at the scene, but also running around looking for their parents. >> gives you chills. >> it really does. i mean, the scale of what's happening in syria is mind-boggling in and of itself. the tragedy of it, beyond the cost in human life, is the complete inability or lack of desire of any nation to actually
want to do something about it. >> you and i have kind of been racking our brains. this is clearly not the first chemical attack in syria. this seems to be the first major one since president trump has taken office. i mean, this -- it looks absolutely horrible. what does it do to these communities, who as you mentioned, it is one thing after another, the scale of the atrocities and the devastation, it's unimaginable. >> well, if we go back to 2013 and the attack that happened where then president obama's red line was crossed, i think that was a turning point when it comes to the radicalization of the revolution. up until then, you had a lot of activistss, a lot of moderate, rebel groups that were trying to push the more radical extremist elements out. when they realized that america and the west was not going to come and save them and protect
them, when basically crimes against humanity are taking place in front of everybody's eyes, they will take a deal with the devil, if that's what it's going to take for them to save themselves. the more inaction there is by the west, the more it feeds into the narrative by the more extremist groups of, well, the west isn't going to help you. why do you want these principles of freedom and democracy that america and western nations try to uphold, because they might say all these things, but they're not going to come in and help you. we can help you. there are repercussions beyond the utter tragedy of the death toll. >> and saying it's complicated is not even doing justice, what is now the players on the ground and how confusing it is to get in there to help. we don't need to go back to say it was a lot less complicated in the beginning from where they are right now. the white house has not put out a statement, has not had any statement since since this has
happened this morning. you can be sure that everyone is asking and waiting to hear what the president has to say about this. but what do the syrian people caught in the middle of this, after they've had the obama red line, and we know what happened there? what are they expecting now from this administration? >> look, they're very well aware of the fact that this administration did try to pass laws that were going to keep syrians from coming to america full stop. they're very aware that this is an isolationist administration, that they view people that are perhaps not like them, people that are from over there, from the middle east, as being a potential threat. they feel as if they are being unfairly and unjustly targeted to a certain degree. and this shatters them in ways that i fail to articulate at this stage, because at the end of the day, america is supposed to at least superficially exist on this moral high ground, but now you have an administration that doesn't even seem as if it takes human rights infractions
as being among any sort of priority whatsoever, never mind large-scale slaughters that are taking place. >> i think this is a very important moment for this administration. when you see these images coming out and you see this evidence of crimes against humanity, what they say today. >> it's very important, because look, president trump talks tough when he wants to talk tough, and this might appeal to some of the authoritarian regimes that are out there. but at the end of the day, he talks tough. is he going to take this opportunity to talk tough to players that can perhaps influence the regime? in other words, russia. it is a key moment for this administration as to whether or not they want to use the current position that they have to try to push certain power points that they may be able to push, pressure points that they may be able to push at this stage to alter what's happening and demand accountability, because if this continues on this scale with impunity, we are going to have to create new words in the
english language to describe what has happened in syria. >> full stop, like, honestly. it is unacceptable what we continue to see over there. every time you go back into syria, is the message still the same? do they still believe that the u.s. -- do they still want help? is that simply the message that you hear from them? because after six years, i feel this -- there's this massive disconnect between those who have not seen it firsthand and those who see it on tv. it starts kind of to glaze over, because it's constant and it's been happening for six years. >> you know, actually, i last went into idlib province very briefly in january for a couple of hours, and i was speaking to people who had just left aleppo after being under bombardment. and one woman said to me, i don't want to be interviewed, i don't want to talk about this because we've been talking about this in the public eye for six years. and she said what was happening to us in aleppo was so
horrendous, was so terrifying, that my 5-year-old child said, mommy, i wish i was dead. and she said to me, how do i respond to that? what do we say to these parents? what do we say to these children? what do we say when we look back in history? this is not happening in a dark, remote corner away from the public eye. we know exactly what's happening in syria. >> you have been there. >> and the tragedy of syria is not just the death toll, it's the fact that we know what's going on and nothing is being done because it's part of this larger geopolitical sickening chess game. >> just to leave you with this, eyewitness accounts -- you were talking about this is one thing that this doctor said who was there on the ground trying to help folks -- "i believe this horrible memory will stay with me for the rest of my life." that's someone who has already been living through what's going on in syria right now. thank you, arwa. great to have you here. thank you so much. coming up for us, the white house makes a new push, while the house speaker says they're not there yet. so, where is the republican
party on the new effort to repeal and replace obamacare? where do things stand? why is it so confusing? that's ahead. and is president trump throwing up smoke screens to support his wiretapping claims against former president barack obama? cnn's editor at large chris cillizza explains. without getting ripped off. start at the new carfax.com show me used trucks with one owner. pretty cool. [laughs] ah... ahem... show me the carfax. start your used car search at the all-new carfax.com.
and this morning, word they're even putting pen to paper. cnn's phil mattingly is covering this from capitol hill. so, phil, you've got this reporting that the white house might actually be sending some text to the hill today, but paul ryan today described it as more like they're still spit-balling ideas. which is it? >> reporter: yeah, it's important to kind of understand the dynamic here. and i think what you're seeing right now, driven by the white house, driven by vice president mike pence, is they're really making a deliberate, solid effort to try and get those conservatives in the house freedom caucus, that group they simply couldn't bring along when this bill collapsed the first time, on the table. and as such, they have proposed based on a closed-door meeting last night with that freedom caucus, to add two provisions to this bill. one would be to give states the opportunity to get waivers to get away from the essential health care benefits that are currently in the affordable care act. those are the ten minimum requirements for any insurance plan. they would also give them kind of the ability to get away from the so-called community rating system, which is basically a mandate on insurance companies that they can't discriminate based on age or gender.
the states could apply for those waivers. this at its core is in part what those conservatives have wanted. they want the title 1 regulations, the insurance regulations in the affordable care act to come out. why? because they believe those have been driving up premiums. so, this is the effort to try and bring that group along, but the speaker made very clear, it's early effort. take a listen. >> we're at that conceptual stage. we have very productive conversations occurring among our members, but those are productive conditions. that doesn't mean we have language and text that's ready to go and the votes are lined up. >> reporter: now, kate, the white house told the house freedom caucus members last night that they would be sending text up to the hill, and the house freedom caucus members have made clear they are not committing to anything until they see that text, but if you wonder why speaker ryan is so cautious, he said that this is not just about getting one caucus or group on board. this is about getting to 216 votes. and in reality, talking to
republican aides who are trying to get eyes this proposal, if you reach out to conservatives, do you in turn lose members at the other end of the conference that were wary of this proposal from the beginning? threading the needle and the difficult hasn't changed. as long as that's there, that's why you see the caution out of leadership. >> right. what they have to avoid first and foremost is a replay of just a couple weeks ago, which if they're going fully one route, then they're likely to lose moderates or conservatives, depending on which path they decide to take. the president, though, blamed the freedom caucus, phil, called them out by name after their first effort failed. what is different now? >> reporter: i think there's a recognition -- well, here's how it was described by one gop official i spoke to who's directly involved in this process. the white house basically came to the understanding that they have a guy who currently inhabits the oval office who really doesn't like to lose. and so, while he said that he was done with health care and he was moving on, and while he kind of berated half of the house
freedom caucus over the last week, i think mike pence, a vice president, somebody whose conservative principles aren't questioned, thought that based on prior negotiations that there was a way to get to the house freedom caucus, and that's exactly what they're doing right now. i can tell you, having spoken to the house freedom caucus members over the course of the last five or six days, nobody appreciated those tweets, nobody liked the intent behind them and not many people were moved by them, but there was a lot of pressure at home. this was a campaign promise. this is something they wanted to deliver on. and i can tell you, a lot of these members are very sensitive to the idea that they were the ones who killed this. they don't believe that's the case. they believe they were sticking to their guns, negotiating a position they've made clear from the very beginning, and that's why you're seeing kind of this rejuvenated effort here. but again, if you lock up 20 or 25 freedom caucus members but lose 15 or 20 moderates from the tuesday group, the math still doesn't work, and so that's kind of where we're at right now, kate. >> yeah. just as confusing as last time. great to see you, phil. thank you so much. talk to you soon. thank you. let's talk more about this right now. i want to bring in reporter and
editor at large for cnn politics chris cillizza. phil mattingly does a masterful job of trying to figure out where they are going to thread the needle, if it is humanly possible. it is not easy. the reports here, chris, the white house is going to put something on paper, they want to set it up today. but paul ryan kept t do you see real movement here? >> look, anytime -- if words are put on paper, then sure. but the conceptual stage is very different than the passing it phase which is phil's point. the problem here is that they're going to get into a very similar dynamic that they were in before. everything that you take off to gain on the right, the house freedom caucus, you will lose in the center from the tuesday group, the moderates, republicans in congress. it's this balancing act. that's the exact thing that doomed this bill before and i would remind people sean spicer
in the lead up to that vote which wound up not happening said that donald trump had done everything he possibly could have done to make that path. so it's sort of like what now? what else is out there? i'm not sure making tweaks here and there, i think you lose as many people as you gain. >> and it sounds like some of the moves that are at least on the table, and of course this is conceptual t sounds like it makes it difficult for the pre-existing condition provision to really stick. making sure everyone -- you can't be kicked off health care and you have to be be given access to health care. are you going to be able to pay for the health care you offered . it seems they're walking into difficult territory. >> they're caught a little between a rock and a hard place. on the one hand i think they do hear from their constituents who said we elected you are the last six years to repeal and replace obamacare. but at the same time, i think
when you take away some of the things people like, including pre-existing conditions, including your kids can stay on your insurance until you're 26, they say wait a minute. i think you're facing cross pressures politically. i also remind people there's a reason that six presidents before barack obama tried and failed to overhaul the health care system. and barack obama did so only in costing him the house and eventually the senate for his party. this is not easily done. the idea that in less than three weeks they did 18 days between when they introduced the legislation and when they tried to pass it, it's just very, very complex and complicated. both from a policy perspective, but from a political perspective. there's just a lot of cross pulling and cross purposes here that don't fall along traditional party lines. >> also if you take one step further, what is actually going to happen if they go through these motions, even well-intentioned and they hit
another wall? you can't hit another -- you can't hit the wall twice at l t least politically speaking. >> the last eight years the first thing that every single republican political rally was if we control washington, we will repeal and replace obamacare. it was the biggest applause line for donald trump. it was the thing that paul ryan hung his hat on. what's hard then is to say well, we tried. it didn't work. what's even harder is well, we're going to go at it again and lucy is going to pull the football and charlie brown is going to hand on his head again. it hurts the first time but even more the second time. maybe over a long period of time where there's a lot of sort of back room conversations with the republican congress to say we're going to bring this forward, i need your absolute lock promise you can be for it, but i don't anticipate next week they're going to solve the problem that a week and a half ago they couldn't.
>> that's why paul ryan is definitely not putting a timeline on this one. again and again. >> he's smart not to. >> i agree. i would ask real quick, what you're writing about today, a term i think everyone needs to get familiar with, unmasking, susan rice requesting names of trump associates to be unmasked in intelligence reports. republicans here, they see this as a smoking gun. democrats just talked to jackie spears, this is taking your eye off the ball and missing the point completely. i feel like this has quickly become a test. >> i think everything has become a test at this point. but you're right. you tell me what party they're in and i'll tell you how they're going to react to virtual le anything. that's sort of a problem with your politics. to your point, i think these are somewhat separate and distinct issues. i think you can say i want to learn more about the unmasking
process and how did mike flynn's conversation with kislyak, how were they leaked? how did we find out they had talked about sanctions. but you can also say donald trump's allegation via twitter that trump tower was wire tapped under order from president obama, there's no evidence there. those two things can co exist. you can want to say i want to find out more about that, but that is not a justification or evidence of this allegation that donald trump has made a month plus ago that he continues to search for evidence to backup. that sent this. >> and even devin nunes said that is not this. it seem this is president is the one that has not yet said at least publicly that he accepts that. >> it's important. it doesn't invalidate. sorry. >> i agree. >> it doesn't invalidate the questions about susan and how did the media find out about it. it's just not evidence that donald trump was right with this tweet. sorry. i think it's important.
>> great to see you, chris. thank you so much. i want to show you right now live pictures of the white house. president trump is expected to leave any moment. that's actually a picture of adam schiff. he's going to be coming to speak to wolf in the 1:00 hour. a picture of the white house. the president is going to leave to make remarks across town. we'll bring you his speech live across town. be right back. rorscha
. welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king. president trump minutes away from a big speech to a labor union meeting in washington. we'll take you there live when it happens. also breaking nous oews out of white house, the white house reaction to a gas attack in syria. plus a little bit of trump style bad cop good cop on health car