tv CNN Newsroom With John Berman and Poppy Harlow CNN April 21, 2017 7:00am-8:01am PDT
-- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com good morning, we are following breaking news this morning. for the fourth time in four days, russian aircraft bombers are flying in alaskan air space. the bombers entered the alaskan air defense zone about 700 nautical miles southwest of anchorage. they proceeded then to fly into canadian air defense space. >> all right, it is not known at this time whether the u.s. air force dispatched any aircraft in response to this. let's go to the pentagon and bring in cnn's ryan brown with the details here. ryan, what are you learning? >> reporter: well, john, we're learning that these russian aircraft did, indeed, enter the u.s. air defense identification zone. again, this in itself is not unusual. the u.s. military performs these kinds of operations as well. but what military officials are taking note of is that this is the fourth time in as many days.
previous to this, the last time russian bombers approached the u.s. western defense zone was in 2015, so it had been some time. rare to see so many events in such a short period of days. one u.s. defense official telling me that this has to be strategic messaging. there's no other way about it, from moscow. so, again, this is something that the military takes note of. it is international air space. usually, military will send planes to intercept, to monitor the bomber activity. that's what happened in the first instance. the u.s. scrambled at 22s to intercept the russian bombers. this is something that allows the russian military to gauge how long that takes. it's kind of an intelligence-gathering. they're using this to see how quickly the u.s. air force kind of responds to this russian maneuver. so again, this happens from time to time. the u.s. does it itself, but u.s. defense officials definitely taking note that this is happening so many times in such a short period. john? >> four times in four days.
ryan browne, thank you very much. i'll take it from here. julian kay yam is a security analyst and former assistant secretary of department of homeland security. what ryan's hearing is strategic messaging, from a senior official at the pentagon, from moscow, but to what end? >> there are a couple of theories out there. i think the most plausible one that ryan picked up on was they're just testing, that they want to see how quick our defenses are, how often we react, and whether we will scramble in every instance. why are they doing this? this may just be a reaction to other events in the world. so think about what happened in syria. we now know after our bombing in syria, the russians essentially helped the syrians in terms of dispersing their aircraft throughout syria, so there's no bull's eye for us, and they may just be a reaction to something that happened in syria. i'm not worried about this in
the sense that they're not entering u.s. air space. these things do happen, as ryan said. what's concerning is that we don't seem to have a political reaction to it. in other words, if this is strategic messaging, i'd love to hear the secretary of defense or secretary of state at this stage put russia on notice. >> what's the option there in terms of strategic messaging, juliette? because one thing you could do is ignore it, to say you are so insignificant, these moves you're making are so insignificant, we're not even going to mention them? that could be a response, or what would the more muscular response be? >> well, to call it like it is. it's not like our silence is stopping russia from doing it and it's not like russia and the united states are the only two countries with an interest here. the air space there -- obviously, canada has an interest, and there is a lot going on in that air space from other countries. so i think a stern statement from us that we are aware of it and that we will continue to scramble aircraft, if necessary,
simply to put the russians on notice. but us ignoring it doesn't seem to be stopping the russians. it actually seems to be empowering them. >> also new this morning, very significant news that an american, an egyptian american aid worker is now free and back on u.s. soil after she was held in n an egyptian prison in cairo for three years. i mean, this is the doing of the trump administration just weeks after the president met with the president of egypt, al sisi, at the white house, something the obama administration refused to do because of their human rights abuses. this is very significant, juliette, because he was criticized, the president, for not condemning egypt's human rights abuses, but now this outcome. how do you see it? >> yes, i think this is good news for her and the family and certainly a sort of tactical success for the trump administration in that they wanted her out and her family out, but what it doesn't answer
is what is the policy here. in other words, you can -- this is in some ways similar to syria or the use of the m.o.a.b., that there's these actions that seem, you know, appropriate and even many people would applaud them, certainly in this case with an american hostage. but how are they part of a bigger picture? in other words, are we now going to excuse or not have any statement about egyptians, egypt's human rights policies? what's the greater middle east strategy? egypt is a huge part of that. and so, we're just waiting to see. so i don't want to undermine the success here, obviously, a young woman getting out of an egyptian prison, but i don't think we should view it as an overall strategy, one that we're certainly waiting for regarding the middle east. >> all right, juliette kayyem, nice to have you with us this morning. have a terrific weekend. all right, new this morning, a new version of the number 100, the one that the president doesn't like. he now writes, "no matter how much i accomplish during the
ridiculous standard of the first 100 days -- and it has been a lot, including supreme court -- media will kill!" >> but that is so very different from what he said in october, his speech at gettysburg. listen. >> i will work with congress to introduce the following broader legislative measures and fight for their passage within the first 100 days of my administration. middle class tax relief and sim flicti simplification act, the repeal and replace obamacare act. [ cheers and applause ] fully repeal obamacare and replace it with health savings accounts, and we can do that. illegal immigration act. fully funds of a wall our southern border.
don't worry about it. >> all right. many of those things still waiting on? joe johns is at the white house with more. he does not like 100 days anymore. >> reporter: no, he certainly doesn't, and i can tell you, though, whatever he says then versus now, the fact of the matter is, there is not a lot for this administration to point to in terms of legislative success over the first 100 days. and at least on capitol hill, if they were to pass health care, it would mean some progress, moving in the right direction. what they're telling us on capitol hill about the current health care proposal is that they may be able to pick up something like 18 to 20 conservatives that they didn't have the last time around when the bill failed in the house of representatives, but the devil's always in the details. you've heard that before. and quite frankly, they still have to send around legislative
language, which could happen today or tomorrow as well as have some type of a conference call tomorrow. now, here's the problem. at the same time, on april 28th, the end of the 100 days, the congress and the president have to worry about coming up with a spending bill to fund the government. if they don't do that, there could be a partial government shutdown. so, you have two things working at the same time. the president was asked to prioritize just yesterday. listen. >> okay, i want to get both. are you shocked to hear that? and we're doing very well on health care. we'll see what happens, but this is a great bill. this is a great plan. and this will be great health care. it's evolving. you know, there was never a give-up as far as keeping the government open, i think we want to keep the government open. don't you agree? so, yeah, i think we'll get both. >> reporter: the white house wants money for the president's border wall included in the
spending package. democrats call that a nonstarter, and nancy pelosi, the minority leader, has called the health care proposal a moral monstrosity. back to you. >> all right, joe johns for us at the white house, thanks so much. so, is there a deal now? is there a sign, some kind of republican plan to repeal and replace obamacare that will be voted on within the first 100 days? cnn's mj lee here with the answer. mj? >> well, the white house would certainly like there to be a deal, and they are pushing for a vote to take place as early as next week, but i can tell you that a lot of the members and aides on capitol hill that we have been speaking to are very skeptical about this quick turnaround, especially because we have not yet seen legislative text. and i just need to emphasize this caveat that it is virltatuy impossible to know whether or not house republicans can get to the 216 votes until we see more details. i can tell you having said all that, discussions between
members of the tuesday group and the freedom caucus have centered around essentially two big issues -- one, whether or not states can opt out of covering these requirements that are under obamacare, including the so-called essential health care benefits, and then second, whether they can prevent insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions. these are two goals that some experts would say are in tension with one another, and i can tell you that the pre-existing conditions point is going to be a huge sticking point for a lot of the members. this is what one member of the tuesday group had to say in the last hour of your show. let's listen to that. >> i'm not going to be for a plan that's going to allow for pre-existing conditions to not be covered. waivers are going to be -- can be requested, but that doesn't mean that they're going to be, and they are very limited in this discussion. and if that becomes the discussion point, the key thing -- we lose sight over the fact that we are talking about covering pre-existing conditions. >> reporte
>> now, house republicans are expected to have a conference call tomorrow to discuss the legislative agenda. health care is certainly to come up. and i can say, there will probably be a lot of mixed reactions to reviving something that was so divisive and failed in such a dramatic way just a month ago. >> it was interesting for davis. he hasn't seen the plan. >> right. >> he doesn't know what's in the plan right now. and in fact, he's been in contact with both the white house and leadership. if he hasn't seen it, it's hard to know if there is an actual agreement that really does exist right now. >> right. and it's interesting that it does seem like at this point in time, it's the members of the freedom caucus that sound the most confident when it comes to reaching a deal that could win over some of the conservative members. but poppy, as you were pointing out before, winning over conservative members probably means that you are going to lose, or at least risk losing a lot of the other members of the house conference. >> and they do not want another embarrassment. they don't want to get to the ninth hour and not be able to get the votes and have to pull this thing again. >> right, and especially on a week when the 100-day mark is coming up for president trump.
>> thank you, mj. have a good weekend. still to come for us, could the president's pricey border wall -- we're talking billion-plus here -- divide republicans in the budget battle before the government could shut down? some island in the pacific. those are the words of the attorney general of the united states. now lawmakers from the aloha state are firing back. we have some pictures right now from above the area that some have called ground zero for climate change in america. some residents there, though, not convinced by the science. some pretty remarkable words from them coming up. tech: when your windshield needs to be fixed... trust safelite autoglass. for these parents, driving around was the only way to get their baby to sleep. so when their windshield got cracked...
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supreme court justice. >> all right. joining us now, jason miller, cnn political commentator, former trump campaign senior communications adviser. jennifer psaki, cnn political commentator, former white house communications director and rod brownstein, senior analyst and editor for "the atlantic." the juniors are happy to see all of you right now. jason miller, first to you. help us understand the number 100. is it a good thing or a bad thing? because during the campaign, then candidate trump promised how much he would get done in the first 100 days, elect me because of what i'm going to do in the first 100 days. yet now, moments' he tweeted "no matter how much i accomplish during the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days -- and it has been a lot -- media will kill!" so, it is important or is it a ridiculous standard? >> john and poppy, good morning and thank you very much for having me on. before i go into the 100 days, i'd be remiss if i didn't say congratulations to the administration for helping negotiate the release of these political prisoners from egypt
last night. an egyptian american woman as well as her husband, relief workers who were kept for three years. now, with specific regard to the first 100 days, regardless of what folks say about, you know, is it arbitrary, is it not arbitrary, i think this administration has come out very strong right out of the gate. you look at the key messages, the key focus has really been back to this message of economic populism that the president has been talking about for the past 20 years. we see these efforts to go after regulations that are killing businesses, focus on creating jobs. that's really been kind of the main takeaway. we constantly see the ceos and the workers dmoog tcoming into white house. the supreme court win was big and -- >> but is it a ridiculous standard or not? because now the president says it's a ridiculous standard and you seem to be saying, no, it's not. >> i think there may be some work to lowering it, but he does have a valid point in the fact that no matter how successful the president is in this first 100 days, most of the members in the media are going to say that it doesn't stack up to previous
administrations, and that's just a fact. i don't think there's any way that you can get around that, but i think the administration made some really good progress. it will be great if we can get a vote on health care next week. ape lot of that's going to be up to the freedom caucus to get their acts together. this is really put up or shut up time, and i think we have a great chance to pull off a vote. and look, even if the vote doesn't happen next week, if we have one in the week after that, they're making good progress on it. they're going to get it done eventually. >> ron brownstein, jason miller's assertion here is that this is, you know, a lot of good messaging and efforts by the administration, but aren't those just words if there isn't action? you can do executive order after executive order, but if you want something lasting, you've got to get legislation through. >> well, that is the lesson. legislation is more lasting, that it is, for example, more difficult for president trump to overturn obamacare than for example the clean power plan from president obama, which was done through regulatory action. look, i think the basic distinction that you laid out is correct, there has been a lot of
executive activity, some of it more, perhaps, you know, smoke than action, but some of it substantive and real in terms of reversing, particularly reversing regulatory decisions of the obama administration. the legislative front has been much tougher. republicans are struggling to govern with unified control of government. you're seeing what's in essence each faction of the party is exerting a veto power because, largely because of their inability to bring in any democrats and give themselves any margin for error. and i think one thing that's true, one thing jason didn't say is yes, there has been at points populist messaging, but there have been a lot of reversals, for instance not naming china a currency manipulator and saying we are sub planting our trade focus with china on cooperation with north korea, the reconsideration of nato. there have been a number of issues where the more conventional, business-oriented republican thinking has pulled president trump away from some of the populist themes that he ran on during the campaign. >> and jen psaki -- >> what i would say --
>> one second, jason. i want to bring jen into this conversation, who's been waiting very patiently. 100 days, ridiculous standard or not? and these 91 days, successful or not? >> well, look, i think 100 days may be an arbitrary number, but whether it's 80 or 120, the reason why people look at the first period of time of any administration is that that's the best opportunity to get things through congress. there is excitement, there's newly elected members. at this point, republicans control the house, the senate and the white house. we had the same circumstance with controlling the house, the senate and the white house early on. but when people are looking at the comparison, president obama had already passed the t.a.r.p., he had already passed t.a.r.p., he had already passed the american recovery act. president bush had gotten a few things done. so, it's not a random comparison. this is really a period of time where it's the most fruitful to get things done, the most likely to get things done, and it is a challenge for the trump team that they don't have a big
legislative policy item to point to. >> so, jason miller, on that front, i mean, these things matter for a lot of reasons. i mean, these are promises that were made over and over again on the campaign trail. and yes, every politician makes promises they don't follow through with, but there were a number here, including repealing and replacing obamacare on day one. and i would just add to that this promise by the president after he asserted with no evidence that there were millions of americans that voted fraudulently, that he would set up, led by vice president pence, this commission to look into it. according to a senior white house official last night, the formation of a pence commission "has not been a topic of a lot of conversation in the white house." i know you worked on the campaign and in the transition, but does it bother you? >> i'm glad actually to hear on that final front, because what the president and the administration should be focusing on is exactly what they have been. we were talking about the economy, as we talk about the tax plan that i know that secretary mnuchin and gary cohn are working hard on, as well as
this infrastructure plan, that there's a good chance that comes later in the year or into next year, but look, i think the administration will get the wins this year with repealing and replacing obamacare as well as passing a comprehensive tax reform that really cuts taxes both for the middle class and for corporate america. >> you say you're glad they're fraud claim?into this voter - is that what you just said? >> well, i'm glad that -- i haven't seen much news on it. i'm hearing about it the exact same way that you are, but i'm glad that hasn't been a front-burner issue, because frankly, the issues that elected the president were the economy and keeping us safe and as long as they stay focused on that, they're going to do well. >> let's talk quickly about the efforts to repeal and replace obamacare, ron brownstein. only 36% of american voters say the congress should try again to repeal, 60% say no. so, what's the rush here, ron? >> look, i mean, they're kind of caught, right? because it was one of the most marquee promises during the campaign. elements of their base really want them to do it, but the bill itself, 17% of the public
supported it. in particular, it imposed some of the biggest price increases and coverage decline on communities that are now the core of the republican coalition, particularly older workers between 45 and 64 would have lost the most under it. going back at this and taking, allowing states to remove, effectively, the guarantee of pre-existing conditions being covered further hurts voters who are at the core of the republican coalition. and i still think this is the central problem they face. sure, historically, you can get a bill through the house by moving it to the right. they may be able to do that again. they've been doing it for 20 years since they took over, but are they going to leave it in a position where it has a realistic chance of getting through the senate, particularly with senators from states that expanded medicaid? that is a much tougher puzzle to solve. >> jen, final thought? >> look, i think we know very little about this bill. we'll know more in the next 24 to 48 hours, but what we've seen is it has some of the major problems that held back not just democrats but moderate republicans, people from this tuesday group. the essential benefits package allowing states to opt out of
it. it still has the medicaid cuts. these are significant problems that prevented this from passing last time, so i don't see how that changes the dynamic in the house and certainly not in the senate. >> the president sounds hopeful. we'll see, guys. thank you very much, jason, jen and ron. have a great weekend. still to come for us, officials in hawaii firing back this morning at attorney general jeff sessions after he says, well, he's shocked that a judge on a "island in the pacific" could block the president's travel ban. think again.new york ? this is the new new york. we are building new airports all across the state. new roads and bridges. new mass transit. new business friendly environment. new lower taxes. and new university partnerships to grow the businesses of tomorrow today. learn more at esd.ny.gov
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attorney general of the united states, jeff sessions, seemed to dismiss hawaii as a "island in the pacific." the context here, he was talking about president trump's travel ban held up in part by a judge in hawaii. >> i really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the pacific can issue an order that stops the president of the united states from what appears to be clearly his statutory and constitutional powers. >> all right, so, the justice department is trying to -- trying to explain this one. let's talk about it with jeffrey toobin, our senior legal analyst, former federal prosecutor -- >> friend of the hawaiian people. >> friend of the hawaiians. aloha, jeffrey. so, here's how he's trying to explain this one. hawaii is, in fact, an island in the pacific, a beautiful one! >> several. >> a string of them, where the attorney general's granddaughter was born. the point, however, is that there is a problem and a flawed opinion by a single judge can
block the president's lawful exercise of authority to keep the entire country safe." all right, as you rightly point out -- >> yes. >> first of all, it is not an island, it is a string of judges. >> yes. >> this single judge is a federal judge. all joking aside, this is the administration, is it not, thinking its branch has more power than the judiciary branch. >> this is a problem the president's faced. president barack obama, remember him? >> yes. >> he was the one before trump. >> from hawaii. >> from hawaii. he is the one who had his immigration order blocked by a single judge in brownsville, texas. >> yes! >> also part of the united states, though, not an island. and you know, this is something that article three of the constitution, it is a power that federal judges have, but it consistently frustrates presidents in both parties. >> you know, it's interesting, you are a supporter of executive criticism of the judicial branch. >> absolutely! >> you have no problem with it, which is interesting. and president trump, of course he talked about "so-called"
judges. >> right. >> now you have so-called judges on islands in the pacific. the goal for the administration is what, that these judges will continue to rule on cases affecting them? >> well, that's what happens. i mean, that's how the system works, judges rule on cases affecting the executive branch. and you know, i just think federal judges, they serve for life, they are completely unaccounted for. they weren't elected by anyone, and they are perfectly -- it's perfectly appropriate for donald trump or anyone else to criticize their decisions. these judges are big boys and girls. there's nothing that can happen to them, other than impeachment, which never happens. i just think given how controversial some of their orders are, the fact that they should be open to criticism is fine with me. >> so, here's what democratic senator hirano of hawaii tweeted in response to sessions. "hey, jeff sessions, this island in the pacific has been the 50th
state for an ongoing 58 years and we won't succumb to your dog-wooded politics and hawaii was built on the strength of diversity and immigration experiences, including my own. jeff sessions on comments are ignorant and dangerous." is it just politics at play or are they dangerous? >> i think there's a lot of politics at play, but look, i think the real issue here is the substance of the executive order, which is so controversial. senator hirano and many others are outraged at what is perceived as the broader anti-immigrant policies of the trump administration. you know, whether this particular statement about this particular judge in this particular string of islands is a dog whistle, i'm not sure, but this is very controversial stuff. >> 20 seconds or less, charges against julian assange of wikileaks. could they stick? >> absolutely. you know, it's a policy. it's not a constitutional command that the recipients of leaks have not been charged historically. the government has not charged
journalists with receiving leaks, but under the law, it is possible to bring those charges. >> yeah. >> and wikileaks, you know, is sort of a journalistic institution, and that's the question of whether there should be charges or not. >> it doesn't matter. it's just flexing muscles if ecuador doesn't -- >> correct. >> they can't do anything. >> but i mean, how many years can he stay in that embassy? >> seven. >> it's seven years in these two rooms! i guess he could stay for another seven. >> jeffrey toobin, thank you. >> the first seven are the hardest, i'm told in those two rooms. >> thank you very much. you'll hear from jeff sessions in a few minutes, appearing with secretary of homeland security john kelly. you can imagine hawaii -- pipe down, jeffrey toobin. hawaii will no doubt come up. they will face kate bolduan on "at this hour," coming up in a few minutes. all right, it is being referred to as ground zero for rising sea levels. cnn's ed lavandera about to give you a bird's-eye view of the
impact. >> reporter: we're live along the long island coastline in the bayou down here, john and poppy, on the eve of earth day, taking a closer look at that divide between climate change advocates and skeptics. join us for our journey along the long island coastline, coming up next. ♪ everything your family touches sticks with them. make sure the germs they bring home don't stick around. use clorox disinfecting products. because no one kills germs better than clorox.
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hundreds of marches planned around the world tomorrow marking earth day. one of the biggest expected to take place in the nation's capital, right on the national mall. a lot of people will gather there tomorrow. >> despite scientific evidence of changing sea levels, climate change a hard sell in parts of louisiana. louisiana, low-lying louisiana, who have seen the results of climate change firsthand. cnn's ed lavandera joins us now
from louisiana with an incredible view. ed. >> reporter: hi, guys. well, we're here in louisiana because there's a new study out that shows that this part of the louisiana coastline has some of the highest percentages of climate change skeptics in the country, but climate change advocates say that they should be much more aware about what's going on around them, that the signs of climate change is actually all around them. ♪ >> reporter: for more than 30 years, jeff poe has guided fishing trips, chasing speckled trout and other fish in these waters near lake charles, louisiana. >> do you consider yourself an environmentalist on some level? >> yeah, for sure! for sure. without a doubt. but that's just my thing with the climate change, i just don't know that there's anything we can do about it. >> reporter: we're traveling these waters, because according to a new study from yale university, this part of southern louisiana has one of
the highest concentrations of climate change deniers and skeptics in the country. >> speckled trout. i'm not a denier. [ laughter ] wouldn't put it that way, but i'm skeptical as to how much control we have over it. >> reporter: climate change experts say the skeptics are denying what's unfolding before their very eyes, and around here, climate change is a hard sell, as we quickly discovered after sitting down with cecil clark and leo dotson. >> i just don't think that climate change is real. >> reporter: is there nianythina scientist can say to change your mind or show you evidence? >> if he was 500 years old and told me it's changed, i would probably believe him. but in my lifetime i didn't see any change. >> reporter: you'd have to hear from a 500-year-old scientist? >> right. >> reporter: one scientist described the louisiana coastline to us as the ground zero of climate change in the united states, where the coastline is disappearing, in
large part according to scientific studies, because of rising sea levels. a new tulane university study calculates sea levels along the louisiana coast are rising 10 to 13 millimeters per year. it might not sound significant, but scientists say it's more than enough to cause significant damage in the next 50 years. pilot charlie hammonds has seen the gulf of mexico march north since he was a teenager. that's how long he's been flying over this vast louisiana marchland. hammonds says the gulf waters spread north like a cancer and that much of that water you see below used to be land. >> yeah, probably when i was a young pilot, i'd say we had at least three or four times what you see here. >> reporter: you literally used to land next to islands -- >> oh, yeah, well, we're way out in the bay now, we're in the
bay. and they're growing. >> reporter: those are gone? >> yeah, they're gone. >> reporter: you couldn't land there today if you wanted to? >> no, open water. open water. >> reporter: just look how the louisiana coastline has changed. nasa recorded these satellite images, and from the mid-1980s to now, you can see a subtle, yet steady change around the town of homa, capturing how a significant amount of coastline is disappearing. charlie hammond says the gulf of mexico water keeps swallowing up land. >> like a cancer. i mean, it just keeps moving. i watch it every year just keep moving -- it keeps moving farther and farther and farther every year. >> reporter: and eventually, everyone's going to have to retreat? >> yeah. >> reporter: along these desolate roads of the louisiana bayou, one of the first signs that things aren't quite right is when you come across cypress and oak trees withering away. they depend on fresh water, but so much saltwater has pushed north and risen up from the gulf of mexico, that these trees are
withering away. leaves and limbs have fallen off. eventually, these trees will simply crumble into the marsh. spots like this around here are often called a ghost forest. after all this, you'd think charlie hammonds and others will be on the climate change band wagon. >> there are a lot of people who believe that climate change and sea level risie ining contributo what you're seeing, but you don't buy that. >> well, i don't buy that. >> reporter: hammonds and many others minimize the impact of climate change and say other factors are in play, like the impact from the mississippi river. they say marshland is naturally sinkier. that's something called subsidence, and oil companies have carved canals through the marsh, allowing saltwater to keep north. >> it's depressing. >> reporter: but for environmental activists like jonathan foray, the skepticism is bewildering. >> i don't know how you can look at scientific data and see this and very, very plainly, and then say that it's not happening.
>> reporter: that climate change isn't happening. >> that climate change, yeah. >> reporter: in front of chris's house, there stands one dying tree, the clue that under ground not all is right. from weathered scrapbook photographs, he can see how the landscape and trees have disappeared. for generations, isle de jean charles was a community where 350 people once lived. now it's 70. they've fled north to escape the encroaching gulf waters. the island once covered 2,200 acres. it's now dwindled to about 350 acres. do you think this is just part of kind of the natural evolution of the planet or do you think manmade causes have created such a rapid change here in the louisiana coast? >> i believe that the gulf of mexico is such a powerful force that it wants to make its way north. you know, more than one thing that's going on there. >> reporter: skepticism around
here thrives, even as chris and others prepare to be the next to pack up and move north. so, as you hear along the louisiana coastline, so many people really trying to reconcile all the different things, things going on here along the louisiana coastline, trying to figure out how much of this is manmade, how much of this is just naturally occurring changes in the climate, and all of those things, for climate change advocates, it's kind of a wake-up call that if they want to convince these folks, they have a lot to do. poppy and john. >> even showing them islands that were there and no longer are. ed lavandera, you've set the bar highs for the rest of us. thank you for the beautiful story and reporting. still to come, he has not released his tax returns. we don't know how deep or where all of his business ties go. and now this morning, news that there could be a new conflict of interest for the president? that's straight ahead. of veggi? v8 or a fancy juice store? ready, go! hi, juice universe? one large rutabaga, with eggplant...
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totaling about $250 million. joining us now is one of the reporters who broke
this story, steve riley with "usa today" and "cnn money's" cristina alesci, on the conflicts of interest watch. thank you both for being with us. steve, first to you. these condos that the president and his family own, he's not required to report them. and in fact, he did not report them or disclose them. so, what is the possible ethics concern here? >> absolutely. on his financial disclosure form, president trump needed to disclose the companies he owns, but not the specific property units that he owns. so, what "usa today" did was look at real estate records from new york to california that catalog his properties, and we found more than 400 condo units and home lots continue to be owned by the president's companies, and they opened the door to anyone who wants to purchase them and spew millions towards trump, anyone who potentially might want to influence the white house. buyers can overpay for the units. they can use shell companies to
make these purchases. and they can essentially conceal their identities from the general public in
the process of making these purchases. >> all right. and when they make these purchases, the shell companies, what happens often, as you reported, this is how a lot of these real estate deals work, the public will never know who the people are. so cristina, why does it matter truly for the american public to know who would be buying these? and the fact is, the president, his sons run this trust, but he's the only one that can eventually take the money out of it. >> that's right. he's the financial beneficiary of that trust structure. but the bottom line, the public is concerned because they want to know who is influencing, potentially, the president's decisions, right? they want to know that nothing else is influencing the president beyond the best interests of the country. they don't want to have questions hanging over whether his bottom line will potentially influence his policy decisions, and this story that steve broke and investigated really gets to the heart of that issue, and it's exacerbated by two things,
really. one is the lack of visibility into his business, and the other is that he maintains ownership, to your point, that there's no way to really separate him from his business, even though his sons do run it on a daily basis, he can ask for payments, for example, whenever he wants from that financial trust. >> just to be clear, look, the idea is you're a bad actor, if you wanted to pay $20 million for a $500,000 condo to get in good graces with the president, in theory, and we are not saying this would happen, but could, and the american people would never know about it. so, if you wanted to prevent even the appearance of any possible impropriety, what would the options be for donald trump and his family here? would he just have to flat out sell the condos? >> well, there was discussion about this back in january, and part of the -- part of what walter shaw, the director of the department of government ethics talked about was the need to set up a blind trust, essentially, so president trump wouldn't have any information about the activities of his business or
the finances of his business, and to make it so that he has no ownership link to his companies. and some ethics experts as well as director shaw were concerned that president trump did not take adequate measures to separate the ownership of his companies from himself. >> so, in steve's reporting with this team at "usa today," i was reading you reached out to the white house, they said talk to the trump organization. the trump organization didn't really say anything. so, cristina, the bottom line is, correct me if i'm wrong, no one has to actually answer any of these questions. >> no, they don't, and he's not releasing his taxes, right? so, that would shed some light on his foreign business interests. that's what ethics watchdogs are hoping the courts will force him to do by bringing some of these lawsuits, and that's how we will, perhaps, get some visibility on it. >> cristina alesci, let me quickly ask you about the markets today. what are we seeing? where's it headed? >> we're up just slightly.
right before i came on set, i checked and we're up slightly. but this really is a story, this last week is a story of volatility. we've seen greater than 100-point swings for the last five days. investors are digesting earnings, geopolitics out there, uncertainty over that, and going forward, they're going to be watching the french elections and the outcome of that over the weekend, at least the first round, and also going into next week they're going to be paying attention to the discussion about government funding and whether or not we will have a shutdown of any sort. goldman sachs, the investment bank, is putting the probability of that at 25%. >> 25%? >> yeah. >> it could be a tumultuous, tumultuous week next week. >> we knew that before. thank you very much. two members of president trump's cabinet, they are going to speak to cnn just moments from now. attorney general jeff sessions, in the middle of a bit of a firestorm over comments he made about an island in the pacific, otherwise known as the state of hawaii. also joining homeland security secretary john kelly. they'll be with kate bolduan. that's next.
hello, everyone. i'm kate bolduan. right now, the donald trump white house is on the clock, ticking down to the 100-day milestone of his administration, and a gauge every president faces on how they capitalize, how well they have capitalized on the momentum from their election win. we're at day 92. now front and center, health care, for one, has gone from repeal and replace to reject and now revive, maybe, with signs of a possible breakthrough in the works among republicans on the hill. can the president deliver on his promise to throw out obamacare in the next eight days? meantime, another key campaign promise dealing with illegal immigration sharing the