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WSJ: Trump May Be Open To Lifting Russia Sanctions; Senator Coons: Flynn Call With Russia "Very Suspicious"; Top Democrat Questions Trump's Legitimacy; Trump Blasts Congressman Lewis On Twitter; House Vote Sets Path To Obamacare Repeal; Ryan: Deportation Force Is Not Happening; House Approves Step to Repeal ObamaCare; Concerns Expressed in GOP Over Speed of Replacement; Lifelong Republican Wants to Keep ObamaCare; Funeral Today for Fallen Orlando Officer; GOP Introduces New Gun Law Legislation; Newborn Kidnapped 18 Years Ago Found Alive. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired January 14, 2017 - 08:00   ET


ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: -- retired in football in 1991 after that serious hip injury. He told "USA Today," quote, "If I knew back then what I know now, I would have never played football. Never." He went on to say, "I wish I had known about all of those head injuries, but no one knew that." Add him to the list of former NFL greats say they wish they never played the game.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Andy, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

A lot of news for you in the political arena this morning.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Let's get to it. Next hour starts now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The FBI director has no credibility.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: FBI Director James Comey facing renewed scrutiny on both sides of the aisle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jim Comey is an honorable person who I think made a bad decision.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When the director of the FBI can't answer those questions, it does shake our confidence.

DONALD TRUMP (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT: Putin did call me a genius and he said I'm future of the Republican Party.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump again denied claims that Russia has compromising information on him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: U.S. Department of Justice releasing a scanty report of the Chicago Police Department.

LORETTA LYNCH, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: There is reasonable cause to believe that the Chicago Police Department engages in a pattern or practice of the use of excessive force. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When (inaudible) was first reported missing, the search was intense.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would be the happiest woman in the world to hold my baby.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We found an 18-year-old young woman with the same date of birth but a different name.


PAUL: Welcome and thank you for keeping us company here on a Saturday. I am Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I am Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you. Less than a week to go before President-elect Donald Trump takes the oath of office in Washington. Today, immigration activists around the country will be rallying in the nation's capital.

This happens as Donald Trump goes back on forth on Russia, telling "The Wall Street Journal" that he is open on lifting sanctions on the country despite saying Wednesday that he thinks Russia is behind the cyber-attack.

PAUL: In the meantime, the Democrats came down hard on FBI Director James Comey, confronting him behind closed doors about those Russia hacking. On the other side of that aisle, the Republicans are voting and approving the process to begin repealing the Affordable Care Act. CNN's Jessica Schneider live in front of Trump Tower now for us.

BLACKWELL: Jessica, Donald Trump's comments on Russia, what does this mean as he prepares to take the oath, as he starts to build this new relationship between the U.S. and Russia.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Victor, Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed willingness to engage with Russia, and he specifically talked about it in that hour-long interview with "The Wall Street Journal" last night saying that he is prepared to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin after he is sworn into office.

That happening in just less than a week. Donald Trump also talking about the possibility of rolling back those sanctions against Russia saying he probably would let those sanctions stand for a little time, but then they could potentially be eliminated.

Donald Trump specifically telling "The Wall Street Journal" this, saying, "If you get along and if Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody is doing something, some really great things."

Donald Trump, of course, talking about the fact that he potentially hopes to work with Russia when it comes to eliminating terrorism, fighting ISIS and perhaps working toward some other goals that the U.S. and Russia maybe share.

But of course, this could put Donald Trump once again at odds with congressional Republicans, particularly congressional leaders have expressed the fact that they want a hard line stance on Russia.

After, in particular the U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russia was in fact behind the hacks during the election season that targeted the Democratic National Committee as well as Hillary Clinton's campaign chair, John Podesta and his e-mails.

So a lot of questions still lingering, but yes, Donald Trump now implying he could roll back sanctions implemented by President Obama at the end of December -- Victor and Christie.

BLACKWELL: All right, Jessica, what are we hearing from the Trump transition team about the communications between Trump's incoming national security adviser, General Michael Flynn and the Russian ambassador to the U.S., what are we learning about that?

SCHNEIDER: Well, a lot of questions have been swirling over the past few days, the Trump transition team addressing it head on yesterday, saying that yes, in fact, Michael Flynn had been in touch with the Russian ambassador to Russia on several occasions, talking initially about when the Russian ambassador to Turkey was shot several weeks ago and continuing that communication in a text on Christmas, both of them wishing each other Merry Christmas.

But the one that is raising eyebrows happening on December 29th, a phone call between the Russian ambassador as well as Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn. The Trump transition team saying that that phone call was merely to begin arranging a meeting or phone call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.

But some are expressing concerns. On December 29th, the same exact day that President Obama did put in place those sanctions against Russia, expelling those 35 Russian diplomats.

[08:05:10]And of course, there's that centuries old act, the Logan Act, that does prohibit U.S. citizens from interfering in a dispute or controversy that the U.S. government hasn't explicitly approved. So there are some questions.

But the Trump team saying definitively that Michael Flynn only talked with the Russian ambassador to discuss this phone call that could happen sometime after Donald Trump is inaugurated -- Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: All right, Jessica Schneider outside of Trump Tower, thanks so much.

PAUL: I want to bring in CNN senior political analyst, Ron Brownstein, and Lyn Sweet, Washington bureau chief of the "Chicago Sun Times." Thank you both for being with us here. Good morning to you.

We know that Democrats are meeting in the first of four forums they're having to try to decipher what happened in this election. Right now, they're focusing on Russia cyber-attacks, where, Ron, do you think their energy needs to be focused right now?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think in terms of the Democratic Party overall, I mean, they have to figure out what their strategy is going to be to respond, what is going to be a legislative flurry right at the beginning of the Trump presidency.

I mean, if you think about the last time we transitioned from Democratic to Republican president, Bill Clinton ran and governed as a centrist Democrat. George W. Bush, at least in 2000, ran as a compassionate conservative and a pretty centrist Republican.

The distance between where they ended and where they started wasn't nearly as great as it is now, where you have an Obama administration that's probably left of Bill Clinton and Donald Trump direction in particular of congressional Republican direction well to the right of where George W. Bush was.

So you're talking about really wrenching significant change on a whole series of fronts, starting with the Affordable Care Act, extending to taxes, foreign policy, et cetera. I think Democrats without doubt, their principle concern, at this point, is figuring out what is their strategy to respond to what could be a legislative blitzkrieg.

PAUL: There's a lot on the plate of both parties right now, particularly the Democrats as they decipher that. The Justice Department is examining, we've now heard the FBI handling of the Clinton investigation. I want to ask you, Lynn, do you believe that there is a way James Comey can survive?

LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "CHICAGO SUN TIMES": Yes, because he has a ten-year term. It stretches beyond the end of the Obama administration so he could survive legally. We don't know if he could survive of calls for him to step down, but my guess is that Democratic calls, even Republican criticism wouldn't make him cut and run because that's not the reason you have these terms of office for directors, it is to give them some independence.

If he is called on the carpet repeatedly by Congress, if this internal investigation finds that he did something wrong, that might change the situation and cause him reason to think about resigning, but I think the idea that people have terms of office is something the public should think about when they say should he resign, he doesn't have to resign and he can't be fired.

PAUL: And Ron, on that note, agencies have to know the protocols of the FBI. It wouldn't be hard to determine whether he breached it.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, you know, George Bundee, who was national security adviser for Lyndon Johnson said the color of truth is gray and many of these decisions are judgment calls, but you know, Democrats are certainly outraged at the decision by Director Comey to put out the letter on the one hand about an investigation into, renewed investigation into e-mails.

That they were able to close very quickly and not to really release anything about whether they were investigating contacts with Russia and the Trump campaign. So there's a lot of fire at him, but whether they violated the FBI's internal protocol, Justice Department protocols, I mean, that's going to be in that color of gray and we will see where the IG ends up.

PAUL: Congressman John Lewis is making a statement that a lot of people are watching this morning questioning Trump's legitimacy as president. Let's listen to this.


REPRESENTATIVE JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: I don't see the president- elect as a legitimate president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You do not consider him a legitimate president. Why is that?

LEWIS: I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected.


PAUL: All right. So we have Donald Trump this morning reacting to that on Twitter. He said "Congressman John Lewis should spend more time fixing and helping his district which is in horrible shape and falling apart, not to mention crime infested, rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk, no action or results. Sad." Lynn, do you think it was a responsible comment for him to make?

[08:10:06]SWEET: I think in this case he is entitled to his view given the facts out there, but let's put this in the context that Donald Trump as everyone knows was chief advocate of the birther movement, which served to try to delegitimize Barack Obama's presidency, because of false claims Trump was a leader for, that Obama wasn't born in the United States.

You have to evaluate the incoming Trump presidency, I am not looking for consistency here. If you want to understand where Congressman Lewis is coming from, I think it is helpful to keep in mind that the Russian hack is a set of conclusions by intelligence agencies that has some foundation.

The birther movement was nonsense. So you could see. Everyone is entitled to their own view, you'll hear this discussion, Ron you know this, but you're not entitled to your own set of facts.

PAUL: All right, Lynn Sweet, Ron Brownstein, I'm so sorry we've run out of time. Appreciate your insight as always. Thank you.

SWEET: Thank you.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right, let's take you to Poland, which is welcoming nearly 4,000 American troops today. It's part of the largest American military reinforcement in Europe in decades there. This is from a few moments ago here, the official welcoming ceremony in Poland. Another 4,000 troops arriving in Germany. Now the kremlin calls it a threat to Russia's interest and security. But for the Obama administration, it is an important move to reassure those NATO allies.

PAUL: Up next, President-elect Donald Trump saying one thing, his cabinet picks say another. So what's going to happen once he gets into the White House and what happens when a lifelong Republican asks his party to leave Obamacare alone?


BLACKWELL: It's 14 minutes after the hour now. Donald Trump firing back at Democratic Congressman John Lewis on Twitter just minute ago after Lewis said Trump was not, quote, "A legitimate president" writing this. This is from Donald Trump.

[08:15:05]"Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart not to mention crime infested rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk, no action and results. Sad."

First, let's get you caught up, though, where this started. This is what Congressman Lewis said about Donald Trump in an interview with NBC news.


LEWIS: I don't see the president-elect as a legitimate president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You do not consider him a legitimate president. Why is that?

LEWIS: I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected.


BLACKWELL: All right, we're joined by Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, a Republican from Tennessee, and also vice chair of the Trump Transition Team. Congresswoman, good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: Let's start here with this exchange between Congressman Lewis and the president-elect. What do you make of what you heard from your colleague there in the House and the response from the president-elect?

BLACKBURN: Well, John Lewis is someone who is very dear to the members of the House and it was so disappointing to me to hear him say that and we all know that the Russians did not get into any of the voting machines. There was no change in the vote totals because of that.

The Russians, we have to also recognize have been in the propaganda business for years and years and years trying to influence public opinion, whether it is in the United States or other countries, Europe, of course. You can look at the Czech Republic, radio for Europe.

I was over there yesterday and they were highlighting with us the amount of money that the Russians were spending on over the air propaganda so this is not something that is new. I'm surprised that it took a lot of people this long to realize that the Russians are so heavily embedded in the propaganda business.

And I'm delighted that now people want to join us and other colleagues in the House want to join us in addressing data security and cyber security issues. And my hope is that with Rudy Giuliani leading that team and with the subcommittee I chair, communications and technology, we're going to get something done with cyber encryption and data security.

BLACKWELL: Let me ask you about this call, this exchange between the incoming national security adviser, General Michael Flynn, and with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. We know that there was a call in addition to some text messages about the holidays that have been released.

But there was a call on the very day that the Obama administration announced the sanctions against Russia. Was that an appropriate exchange for the incoming not yet NSA director to speak with the Russian ambassador?

BLACKBURN: To be working to schedule a call I think is appropriate. I think the timing is unfortunate it was that day. Of course, I fall into that camp that looks at Putin as being a thug and the Russians as very bad actors and agree they need to be held to account.

And I'm certain that as President-elect Trump takes the oath of office on this coming Friday and as he and his security team begin to address these issues, there's going to be robust debate between them and also between my colleagues and I in the House on how we think we move forward with dealing not only with Russia but looking at other bad actors, China, Iran.

It is important to realize these are nations that have cyber war units. They do not wish us well.

BLACKWELL: Let me stay on Russia here.


BLACKWELL: You say that Vladimir Putin in your words is a thug and they need to be held accountable. We learned through this interview with "The Wall Street Journal" that despite on Wednesday Donald Trump saying that he thinks that Russia is responsible for the hacking, that he is open to lifting the sanctions on Russia. Reconcile those two for me. If he believes Russia is responsible for the hacking, why would he consider lifting consequences for said hacking?

BLACKBURN: I don't know the answer to that and I think this is one of those elements of robust debate. Quite frankly, I appreciate robust debate. I think it is healthy and as we go through this process of looking at what they've done and have continued to do over many, many years, many years, that what we will do is arrive at an appropriate solution to begin addressing this. What we need to see is leadership on the issue and the Russians need to know that we're going to stand for America's interests first.

BLACKWELL: Do you think these sanctions should be lifted?

BLACKBURN: I'm not one who would be for lifting sanctions. I think we need to be holding the Russians and the other bad actors to account.

[08:20:10]BLACKWELL: All right. We have much more to talk about, Obamacare, this exchange from Paul Ryan, from earlier this week. Stay with us, Congresswoman. We'll take a quick break. We'll be right back.


BLACKWELL: We're back with Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, a Republican from Tennessee and vice chair of the Trump Transition Team. I want to start with Obamacare. This week both the House and the Senate started those first steps to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but the question is when will it be replaced and with what? Donald Trump says it will happen simultaneously. Do you agree that it will happen simultaneously? If not, what's your projected timeline?

BLACKBURN: Well, we're already working on replace. We started that last year when we passed the 21st Century Cures bill and President Obama signed it into law in December and it was tremendously popular, enormous bipartisan support.

It will put emphasis on precision medicine, money into research at NIH, allows for health care and ability for new delivery systems for health care and remote monitoring, telemedicine and will enable CMS to reform payment systems.

BLACKWELL: When will this be implemented?

BLACKBURN: It is already in the law. That's a component that we have already moved forward on. That's done, finished, it is law, and we are thrilled with that. Now going to the balance of this, as we do the reconciliation, which the reconciliation budget passed yesterday, that's the document we will work on and at some point in February you will see us with the details.

There are components, yes. Dealing with Title 1 of Obamacare, which is the insurance title, that's got to get off the books and in its place across state line, purchase of health insurance, pardon me, bipartisan support on that, and association health plans, health savings accounts, some of those.

[08:25:06]BLACKWELL: But Congresswoman, I have the same thing you have, I had it last week.

BLACKBURN: For some reason, just a tickle in my throat, I'm sorry. BLACKWELL: As we look at when this will be replaced, Republicans for six years have been saying repeal and replace. We know you are instrumental offering legislation that was included in the speaker's better way program.


BLACKWELL: But when -- why isn't it prepared to pass as its repealed?

BLACKBURN: It is prepared to pass. The bills are filed via across state line of health insurance HR314, read it, it is a great bill. It will open up that insurance market.

I would also say go back to Blair House Health Care Summit that President Obama called in February, 2010. We laid out a private sector patient centered model at that point in time, Democrats laid out a government controlled model. They went with theirs.

What we're saying now, it didn't work, too expensive to afford, too expensive to use, let's go with the private sector model so that all Americans have access to affordable patient centered health care. That's where we need to be with this. Make certain you get costs down, access up, that networks are expanded, not narrowed.

BLACKWELL: We saw at least nine Republicans that crossed over and voted against the bill yesterday as they started the repeal process. Let me move on to DACA, the president executive action on Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals. Speaker Ryan had an exchange with a woman in the town hall, who is protected under DACA. I want you to watch that.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think that I should be deported and many families in my situation should.

REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: No. First of all, I can see that you love your daughter, you're a nice person who has a great future ahead of you, and I hope your future is here. What we have to do is find a way to make sure you can get right with the law and do it in a good way where you and your family are pulled up and separated. If you're worried about some deportation force knocking on your door this year, don't worry about that.


BLACKWELL: Interestingly enough, you said two years ago to the day this about DACA in defense of your bill to freeze funding for it. Let's watch that.


BLACKBURN: We're either a nation of laws or we are lawless. President Obama is turning every state into a border state, every town into a border town, and unfortunately the lawless amnesty has taken Democrats from the party of yes we can to acting like the party of because we can.


BLACKWELL: Lawless amnesty you called it. What do you make of the speaker's rhetorical embrace of the woman who is here protected under DACA wanting her future in the U.S.?

BLACKBURN: Speaker Ryan is committed to working this out and I am hopeful that legislation that I have written and supported as have many others, the Clear Act which deals with the criminal illegal aliens will pass. On the DACA program, what we have to realize is when the president signed that executive order, what it did was to open the flood gates.

We saw the thousands of people that came across the border. Many of my colleagues, myself included, spent time down at the border with our border patrol agents, working through some of those reception centers.

And looking at the porous nature of the border and the condition that some of the children that were coming across that border, the vetting process which was not typed, who those children were being released to, if they were going to gangs or individuals involved in sex trafficking, human trafficking, labor trafficking, and indeed that's an issue that has to be dealt with.

Can I tell you what the resolution is going to be between this administration and the speaker of the House and Leader McConnell --

BLACKWELL: Quickly, if you can.

BLACKBURN: I don't know. I do know they're committed to dealing with sanctuary cities, criminal illegal aliens and those coming into the country illegally.

BLACKWELL: All right, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, vice chair of the Donald Trump Transition Team. Thanks so much for being with us on NEW DAY.

BLACKBURN: Good to be with you. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right -- Christi.

PAUL: There's a lifelong Republican who says Obamacare saved his life. The question is will he be able to support President-elect Trump's plans to repeal it. We'll talk about that.

[08:30:01] Also, a new legislation was introduced to make it easier to buy a gun suppressor. We'll have the details for you ahead.


PAUL: It is so good to have your company. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you. Repeal and replace ObamaCare, it's been a rallying cry for the Republicans since -- I mean, right after the Affordable Care Act was passed nearly seven years ago.

PAUL: You know that promise is seems has gaining some traction. Here is CNN's Political Reporter Manu Raju on the first steps that are being taken now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The current resolution has agreed to.

MANU RAJU, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: The house taking the first step to repeal ObamaCare.

REP. PAUL RYAN, (R) HOUSE SPEAKER: This law is collapsing while we speak.

RAJU: Congress approving a budget that will now give Republicans the authority to repeal much of the Affordable Care Act on a party line vote.

DONALD TRUMP, (R) U.S. PRESIDENT-ELECT: Repeal and replace is going great.

RAJU: The move intended to fulfill one of the main campaign promises of President-elect Donald Trump who wants to replace the law at the same time as repealing it.

TRUMP: It will be essentially simultaneously. It will be various segments you understand, but will most likely be on the same day or the same week, but probably the same day, could be the same hour. So we're going to do repeal and replace.

RAJU: But Trump's comments undercut the plans of GOP leaders who want to take their time developing a new healthcare law. House Speaker Paul Ryan even said last month that a replacement would not be ready by the next football season. At CNN's Town Hall, a shift. Ryan now promises to move quickly.

RYAN: So we want to advance repealing this law with its replacement at the same time along the lines of what I just described as something definitely is a plan within the first 100 days to get moving on this legislation.

RAJU: But they are already running into problems. The party is divided over how to replace the law. And some influential voices are asking party leaders to hit the brakes.

REP. CHARLIE DENT, (R) PENNSYLVANIA: Yeah, I think the repeal plan needs to be fully developed and better articulated prior to moving forward. I have some reservations about moving as quickly as we are.

RAJU: Do you have concerns at all about the timetable then?

REP. MIKE COFFMAN, (R) COLORADO: I think it's going to be a very -- well, I think this is going to be a very long process.

RAJU: You don't think it can happen right away? COFFMAN: No.

[03:35:00] RAJU: Some conservatives are demanding quick action on plans allowing individuals to buy insurance across state lines and to receive tax breaks for getting coverage.

REP. THOMAS MASSIE, (R) KENTUCKY: Why don't we do replace and repeal. You know, we can do this, the thing is we could be putting those things on the floor this week.

RAJU: Democrats are warning that the GOP will pay a political price for scrapping a law that helped insure an additional 20 million people.

REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) MINORITY LEADER: Why are they doing now, overturning the Affordable Care Act, undermining a health security and financial stability of America's working families, and de-funding Planned Parenthood. That's their, that's their manhood thing.

RAJU: Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.


PAUL: And boy, it was quite a moment, wasn't it? A lifelong Republican standing up at a CNN Town Hall with Paul Ryan, telling the speaker of the house that ObamaCare saved his life. Here it is.


RYAN: From Arizona, he was a lifelong Republican and then something happened. Jeff, comeback.

JEFF JEANS, CANCER SURVIVOR: I was a Republican and I worked for the Reagan and Bush campaigns. Just like you, I was opposed to the Affordable Care Act. When it was passed, I told my wife we would close our business before I complied with this law. Then at 49, I was given six weeks to live with a very curable type of cancer.

We offered three times the cost of my treatments which was rejected. They required an insurance card. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I'm standing here today alive. Being both a small business person and someone with pre-existing conditions, I rely on the Affordable Care Act to be able to purchase my own insurance. Why would you repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement?

RYAN: Oh, we wouldn't do that. We want to replace it with something better. First of all, I'm glad you're standing here. Really seriously. No really.

JEANS: Can I say one thing. I hate to interrupt you. Can I say one thing?

I want to thank President Obama from the bottom of my heart because I would be dead if it weren't for him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: Now, here's how Jeff Jeans there says his outlook has changed.


JEANS: I was Paul Ryan, talking about repealing it before I got sick. I was Paul Ryan. But not any more. Paul's a nice guy, Speaker Ryan is a very nice man. As a matter of fact, after I went through a break last night, I went and visited him, he called me up to the stage. He's a very personable guy.

You know, I understand why he's in the position he's in, and why he's as popular as he is. And he was interested in what I had to say and we exchanged contact information, you know. And I hope they come back and maybe ask my opinion, you know. I'd be happy to help any way I can.


PAUL: That so gracious of him to share what he's been through. I mean, certainly can't be easy but really shows how this lifelong Republican and cancer survivor seems to be caught in the middle of his political views and his personal views. And how they merge together and how important it is to find some sort of middle ground here to take care of these people.

BLACKWELL: And we heard from a lot of people in this position. Dr. Sanjay Gupta was out speaking to people who have some similar views. And we'll hear more as this fight over the future of ObamaCare continues.

Still to come, Republicans introduce new legislation to reform the law that governs gun silencers also known as suppressors. But gun rights advocates call this a public health effort. The debate, next.


[08:41:54] PAUL: Hundreds of people are expected to attend the funeral for an Orlando police officer today. Sgt. Debra Clayton was shot and killed Monday morning while approaching a suspect outside a Wal-Mart. Fellow officers say she leaves behind a legacy of hope, compassion, and always helping people who were in need.

In the meantime, the manhunt continues for the suspect accused of killing her. There's a $60,000 reward for information to help police find this man, Markeith Loyd. He's also suspected by the way of murdering a pregnant woman in December.

BLACKWELL: This week, two Republican congressmen introduced legislation under the Hearing Protection Act to make gun silencers easier to buy. Now, some people call silencer suppressors. And currently there's a tax and a lengthy background check to purchase one. The American Suppressors Association has worked for years to remove those requirements. And I met with the president of that group who thinks that the bill will become law under the Trump presidency and there is a key endorsement that he thinks will help.


Daniel Craig used one in "Casino Royale." Javier Bardem used in "No Country For Old Men." A gun silencer. Shooting enthusiasts call it a suppressor, it's an assassin's must have in movies.

KNOX WILLIAMS, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN SUPPRESSORS ASSOCIATION: For most people even gun owners in this country, the only time that they've actually seen a suppressor is in film, through Hollywood.

BLACKWELL: In real life, it's a heavily regulated gun accessory that Knox Williams says makes shooting safer.

K. WILLIAMS: These things reduce the noise of a gunshot, they bring the noise down to safer levels from a hearing conservation perspective.

BLACKWELL: Williams is president and CEO of the American Suppressor Association, an advocacy group working to make suppressors easier to buy.

K. WILLIAMS: We've got a campaign called "No Staying Late Behind" where we're going through and trying to legalize this so that the suppressors can be legal for ownership and hunting in all 50 states.

BLACKWEL: Now, his fight has reached congress. Representatives Jeff Duncan of South Carolina and John Carter of Texas had introduced what they call the Hearing Protection Act. The goal is to lift the provisions of the National Firearms Act of 1934 placed on the suppressor. A $200 tax with a background check that gun shop owners say could last a year. Gun control advocates say the bill is about militarizing weapons, not about hearing.

K. WILLIMAS: It's a complete misunderstanding of the noise levels that unsuppressed firearms have. The risk that both recreational shooters and hunters have to -- things like (inaudible) which os ringing in your ears and (inaudible) hearing loss as a result of exposure to loud noises.

BLACKWELL: (Inaudible) say suppressors will allow mass shooters to kill stealthily. To demonstrate the noise reduction, Williams fired rounds from several guns with and without a suppressor. First up, a nine millimeter without the suppressor. And now with the suppressor.

[08:45:04] The AR-15 without the suppressor. And now with it. A noticeable difference but nothing as dramatic as Leonardo DiCaprio's muted rounds in "Inception." A 2015 bill failed to change suppressors' laws but Williams and gun rights advocates are optimistic this session. Why?

TRUMP: Second amendment, a 100 percent. Remember it.

BLACKWELL: Donald Trump won the presidency.

K. WILLIAMS: If we can get the Hearing Protection Act to his desk, we believe that he will sign it. That wasn't the case under the Obama administration. BLACKWELL: Donald Trump Jr. told the suppressor manufacturer as much during the campaign.

DONALD TRUMP JR., DONALD TRUMP'S SON: We want to go through Congress, we want to do it the right way but if you lined up those votes, he's obviously (inaudible). It wouldn't make sense otherwise.

It's about safety. It's about hearing protection. It's a health issue frankly for me. Getting little, you know, little kids into the game, it's greatly reduces recoil. I mean, it's a great -- it's just a great instrument. There's nothing, you know, there's nothing bad about it at all.

BLACKWELL: The bill is just days old and members of Congress are now taking sides, gearing up for what could be the next big gun battle on Capitol Hill.


All right, that's the view from proponents. Next, we'll talk to an opponent, a gun control advocate who says this is a recipe for disaster. That conversation after the break.


BLACKWELL: Republicans have introduced a bill that will make it easier to buy a gun silencer, some call it a suppressor. They say that this is a public health effort. But my next guest says that the legislation only exacerbates the danger for more criminal activity. Joining me now, Ladd Everitt, director of communications for the Stop -- for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. Ladd, good morning to you.

LADD EVERITT, DIRECTOR OF ONE PULSE FOR AMERICA: Hey, good morning. Just to correct you there, I actually worked with "One Pulse for America" during the case of Gun Violence Prevention Group.

BLACKWELL My apologies. "One Pulse for America". So we heard from the president of the American Suppressors Association there that this is about public health. You say that's bunk. And from your perspective, what is this about?

[08:50:01] Well, this is about expanding profits for the gun industry. You know, the gun industry for quite some time has been dealing with a saturated market of customers. Gun ownership has been steadily declining in this country for decades. And the challenge for the gun industry is to figure out what products they can sell someone who already owns let's say five, six, seven guns. One way to do that is by selling them accessories.

As you pointed out in your segment earlier, silencers have been extremely well regulated since the 1930s. That law has worked beautifully. These silencers are rarely if ever used in crime. And the weakening of regulations here I fear could be very dangerous both in mass shooting situations but also in recreational shooting situations. BLACKWELL: Let me come back to that in a moment. And gun sales have been holding for some time and increasing over a certain period of years, but let's talk about the health element here. Proponents of this law point to a 2011 CDC report about the impact of the noise in gun ranges and classes and this is from that CDC report. The only potentially effective noise control method to reduce students or instructors noise exposure from gun fire is through the use of noise suppressors that can be attached to the end of the gun barrel. So, can, can both not be true here that this is in part about profits, I mean, any company that's a non-profit is in this to make money but also there is a health benefit for shooters and hunters?

EVERITT: No, absolutely not. I mean, I have no idea what report you just cited or who the authors -- actual authors were. But I have not seen --

BLACKWELL: Well, it's the CDC 2011 report. And for people who are watching, I will tweet it out after we finish the show at 9.

EVERITT: Yeah. Well, look, I have yet to see any actual evidence of a public health problem, any actual research into hearing problems with gun owners. But last I checked, you know, ear plugs are still readily available, ear muffs are still readily available at shooting ranges. There are a whole range of products to help with noise suppression for shooters.

The problem with silencers, particularly in a recreational shooting situation like let's say hunting is you want people in the vicinity of gunfire to be able to hear the report of a firearm. That in itself is a key safety element. Because if there are people around you when you're hunting let's say, you might not be aware of their presence. The report of gunfire allows them either to identify themselves to you or to move safely out of that area if necessary. That's just common sense. And this stands to be dangerous particularly for people in those types of recreational shooting situations.

BLACKWELL: We've got a minute left here. And you know the realities of the numbers in Washington, Donald Trump now in the office, Donald Trump Jr. supporting this -- the loosening of regulations here. Do you expect the law will change?

EVERITT: I don't know. It's hard to say. You know, I certainly don't think Donald Trump Jr. will be effective in promoting that law. I don't think nepotism is playing too well for the Trump team right now. I think if they do try to push this, they'll have a fight on their hands. I think the whole notion of this being about hearing protection is utterly asinine. And it will be very easy for the American public to see exactly what this is about which is pretty much a blatant corporate handout to the gun lobby.

BLACKWELL: All right, Ladd Everitt with "One Pulse for America". Did I get it right this time?

EVERITT: You did indeed. Thank you.

BLACKWE: Thank you so much for being with us this morning. EVERITT: Thanks for having me.

BLACKWELL: All right. Christi?

PAUL: There is a cold case that has finally been cracked. This is just stunning. A newborn, kidnapped from the hospital is found alive 18, 18 years later. CNN's Polo Sandoval has more.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah Christi. Kamiya Mobley, the young lady caught in the middle of this all is now starting her search for answers. Coming up, the very latest on her case and (inaudible) some of this 18 year old cold case that's now been solved.


[08:56:41] BLACKWELL: Yeah, this is -- this had been called a miracle. Eighteen years in the making. A newborn kidnapped from a hospital found safe nearly two decades later.

PAUL: I want to show the woman who's accused of posing as a nurse and abducting Kamiyah Mobley. This is back in 1998. Now, Kamiyah's biological family is learning that the baby they lost so many years ago is a teenager living under a different name in South Carolina . Polo Sandoval is here with more. And I understand the girl is still in South Carolina?

SANDOVAL: At least that's where she woke up this morning. And let me tell you guys, there is obviously a mix of emotions and plenty of questions in this case here. This young lady who is living her life in South Carolina for 18 years until recently when she received a knock at the door, there were sheriff investigators with information that would change her life forever.


VELMA AIKEN, GRANDMOTHER: I just always thought that it would happen one day, but i didn't have no idea this is going to be this day.

SANDOVAL: Velma Aiken said her prayers were finally answered. The disappearance of her granddaughter Kamiyah Mobley captured the attention of a country the summer of 1998. She was just a few hours old when a woman dressed as a nurse walked out of a Florida hospital with her, leaving behind no trace and a heartbroken young mother.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That would be the happiest thing in the world right now is to hold my baby.

SANDOVAL: The exhaustive search turned up some clues but no Baby Kamiyah. Eighteen years and nearly 2,500 tips later, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office received the tips they needed. Investigators were led to the tiny town of Walterboro, South Carolina.

SHERIFF MIKE WILLIAMS, JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA: We found an 18 year old young woman with the same date of birth but a different name. So further investigation revealed that fraudulent documents have been used to establish that young woman's identity. SANDOVAL: Sheriff Mike Williams says DNA analysis confirms that the 18 year old woman in Walterboro is Baby Kamiyah.

M. WILLIAMS: The interest of reducing any further trauma to this young woman, I am not revealing her name -- the name that she's lived under all these years.

SANDOVAL: Gloria Williams, the woman believed to have raised Baby Kamiyah was arrested Friday and charged with kidnapping. A neighbor of the 51 year old tells CNN Williams and the girl she raise seemed to have a normal mother-daughter relationship. Today, the young woman faces a new reality, being away from the only mother she ever knew.


But you may have been able to make Gloria Williams who was behind that cell window there as she spoke to this young lady just yesterday. She will soon find herself in South Carolina, she will be extradited to face these kidnapping charges Victor and Christi. But the question remains, how will attorneys even prosecute this case? How will they go about? What will the approach be as they prosecute a woman who by all accounts was a good mother, but allegedly dressed as a nurse, walked into the hospital 18 years ago and then walked out with a baby that wasn't hers, according to these reports from officers.

PAUL: And how do you navigate that reunion too, just a lot of years that they're --

BLACKWELL: You can imagine when the biological mother gets news that her child has been found after 18 years.

SANDOVAL: We've never not (inaudible) yet though Victor. But that will change the story though I think. It will take them in a different direction.

PAUL: Polo thank you so much.

SANDOVAL: All right guys.

PAUL: Thank you so much, appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: All right that's it for us. We'll see you back here at 10 o'clock Eastern for an hour of Newsroom.

[08:59:57] PAUL: Don't go anywhere. The Smerconish is starting with you right now.