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President May Issue "Brand New" Travel Ban; Trump Hosts Japan's Prime Minister At Florida Resort; CNN Source: Flynn Talked Sanctions With Russia; U.S. Investigators Corroborate Some Aspects Of The Russia Dossier; ICE Officers Arrest Hundreds Of Undocumented Immigrants; Trump Suggests He Will Draft New Executive Order On Immigration; Jon Bon Jovi Giving Back; Women Experience Different Heart Disease Symptoms From Men; Protesters at Town Hall Meetings. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired February 11, 2017 - 08:00   ET


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Let me take you to New Zealand where there is this emotional rescue mission that's happening. Volunteers are rushing to the beaches of Golden Bay. They're hoping to save dozens of beached whales. Now, they comfort and take care of the whales until the high tide can help to take them back out to sea.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: We're talking about more than 400 whales that were found stranded yesterday morning at least 250 of them died. Rescuers were hoping to save more than 100 who were still on the beach, but those are some of the pictures coming in. Good for those people. Good for those folks.

The political arena is on fire today.

BLACKWELL: There's a lot coming out of the White House. We're going to get to that right now over the next hour of your NEW DAY.


BLACKWELL: President Trump says he may issue a new executive order and a travel ban for mostly Muslim countries.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: There are tremendous threats to our country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is about national security. It's not anti- Muslim or anti-Islam. It's anti-terrorism 100 percent.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR, "THE LEAD": Nine current and former government officials told "The Washington Post" that national security adviser, Michael Flynn, discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with Russia's ambassador before taking office.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Credibility is the biggest thing inside of this White House.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Keeping Flynn as national security adviser is not only embarrassing for this White House. I also think it is dangerous. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Immigration and customs enforcement maintain that they're simply focusing on identifying and removing people in the country illegally.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My wife isn't a threat to the United States. She's a great person. You know, she's a good citizen regardless of her status.


PAUL: Welcome to Saturday. Rise and shine. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you. We have a lot going on. We have a lot of political developments.

So let's start with the president there in Florida waking up at his luxury resort. He's hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this weekend. Security and trade and a little golf all on the agenda.

Meanwhile, the president not backing down after the court rejects his travel ban. The president says he might now sign, quote, "A brand new order" and that could come as early as Monday.

He's also not ruling out a Supreme Court challenge to the first one. In addition, President Trump now promising new security measures to keep Americans safe from terrorists.

PAUL: Also, the president denying knowledge of the Michael Flynn firestorm. He says he is not aware of reports that his national security advisor had talks with Russia about lifting sanctions and that those -- that talk happened prior to Donald Trump taking office.

Now, we do want to talk about President Trump's suspended travel ban here first. Let's bring in CNN White House reporter, Jeremy Diamond. Jeremy, so he said he's weighing all of his options. Nothing's off the table. What are you hearing this morning?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Absolutely. You'll remember when the Ninth Circuit Court rejected the Trump administration's request to reinstate the travel ban. President Trump quickly took to Twitter to say see you in court. Well, not so much, at least not quite yet.

The president and his administration officials are now saying that the White House will not immediately appeal the decision and seek to go to the Supreme Court. Listen to what the president said just last night on Air Force One.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We'll win that battle, but we also have a lot of other options including just filing a brand new order on Monday. Could very well be, but I like to keep you -- you know, I'd like to surprise you. We need speed for reasons of security. So it could very well be that we do.


DIAMOND: Now, as the president said the White House could still continue that legal battle, a legal battle likely to head all the way to the Supreme Court. But there's another option and that's writing a new executive order, one that's more narrowly tailored and less likely to face the same kinds of difficulties as this one faced in the federal courts.

So we'll just have to see exactly how they're going to tailor that executive order more narrowly and what exactly it will entail as President Trump said to try and keep the nation safe. That's what he says this order is going to do, but we'll have to see exactly what that order contains. Back to you guys.

PAUL: All righty, Jeremy Diamond, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right, let's bring in now Lynn Sweet, Washington bureau chief for "The Chicago Sun Times," and Errol Louis, CNN political commentator and political anchor as well for Spectrum News.

Lynn, good morning to you. I want to start with you. There are several, as Jeremy just discussed, legal options available to the government, to the president for that executive order, but politically do you see this as a concession of defeat?

LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "CHICAGO SUN TIMES": I don't see this as a concession because Trump is going to do -- he has two options and he could do both to a degree.

[08:05:07]And when I say political defeat, in the end I think he's going to have more restrictions one way or the other on immigration from these nations. It will just be done legally and in accordance with the Constitution.

So it's too early to say this is a defeat and if -- so the reason I do think that they will at least rewrite a portion of it is that in the 29-page decision from the appellate panel, the judges were very precise in saying that they thought the order that took in green card holders was particularly legally not valid.

And that it wasn't enough just to have your chief counsel say we didn't mean it or we don't want to include them, you have to write the order to exclude them. You just can't have a staffer say this is what we mean. So that at least for one part of the legal problems could easily be remedied by a rewrite of the order.

BLACKWELL: OK. So, Errol, let's say this new order that's coming, the president has hinted will come on Monday or Tuesday, does not apply to legal permanent residents. Those people who have a green card in the U.S. If the rest of the executive order, the one signed on the 27th, he signs that, are we not going to see the same protests and the same legal fights that we saw over the last two weeks?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, that's right. If that's the only thing they change, they would end up back in court. They'd end up having to still answer something they never answered when they went before the Ninth Circuit, which is a factual basis for all of this need for speed, the terrible danger that the president keeps alluding to.

You have to explain to the court, to the public frankly, why these seven nations who are the people you're trying to keep out, what was the near danger that made it so necessary to stop basically people in mid travel and send them back or detain them?

They never even began to do that. So they're going to have to rethink not just the wording of the executive order if that's what they choose to do, but also sort of the underlying philosophy and the facts that make it necessary.

BLACKWELL: Lynn, I saw you shaking your head there.

SWEET: Well, I just also want to point out that there are different classes of people. And I agree that this will end up back in court because anything done by an executive order is -- will be challenged. And, yes, you will have the protests again.

But I think the refugee situation is different from people who are -- have visas or who are traveling. Again, you have different legal issues for each class of people. And there is another matter that I would bet that the administration will press is that whether the states of Washington and Minnesota have standing.

The lower courts said they did. I wouldn't rule out that that would be part of a further argument. So there are still a lot of ways -- that's why when you asked me originally, what's the political fallout?

We know the protests are going to be there no matter what, but I'm not ready to predict that this will end up with Trump backing away. He still has other arrows to shoot.

BLACKWELL: OK. Lynn Sweet, Errol Louis, thank you both -- Christi.

PAUL: President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe set to play golf today at Trump's Florida resort. The pair had dinner last night with their wives and Patriots owner, Robert Kraft. The major conversations expected this weekend include trade, U.S. security interests in the East China Sea.

CNN international correspondent, Will Ripley, joining us live from Tokyo. What do you make of this relationship between the two, Will? We have not heard a lot of criticism from the prime minister about Donald Trump.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And you haven't heard any criticism from the prime minister despite repeated criticism from President Trump about things like Japan's trade deficit with the United States. He has alleged currency manipulation.

But Shinzo Abe's approach here has been very deliberate. He has tried to focus on the positive to paint for President Trump the innuendo, the details of the U.S.-Japan alliance that goes more than 70 years to say it's a win-win relationship for both countries for both countries.

He says that Japanese corporations are creating hundreds of thousands of jobs already in the U.S., more than any other foreign country certainly in the manufacturing sector.

And he wants to propose a new package that he says could create more jobs and bring tens of billions of Japanese investment dollars to the U.S. by building bullet trains in the northeast, in Texas and in California, and also renovating existing trains and developing technology like artificial intelligence and cyber security.

PAUL: Will, I know this handshake between the president and the prime minister during a photo opportunity yesterday, that is lighting up social media. What's going on?

RIPLEY: Well, the Japanese press asked the two leaders to shake hands in the White House and what followed was a 19-secondhand shake. It went viral because you saw President Trump kind of gripping Prime Minister Abe's hand. It seemed at one point the prime minister tried to pull away, President Trump pulled him closer.

[08:10:08]He patted his hand several times and then at the very end when the handshake finally ended, the prime minister made a facial expression. You can probably say is regrettable. It went viral.

Look, these kind of things happen, diplomacy can be awkward at times, but for both of these leaders they do have a vested interest in making this look good. Making it look like they have a friendship and good chemistry.

For President Trump after that combative telephone diplomacy with Mexico and Australia, he wants to present a friendship with Shinzo Abe, Shinzo Abe wants the same. Perhaps they'll have better luck on the golf course today.

PAUL: All righty. Will Ripley, always good to see you. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right, a major player in the president's foreign policy plan, U.S. national security advisor, Michael Flynn, under fire over revelations that he discussed U.S. sanctions with Russia and then possibly did not tell the truth about it. We have the president's response.

PAUL: Also, a CNN exclusive this morning, for the first time U.S. investigators have corroborated some of the details of that dossier that was compiled by a former British spy. We have details coming up for you.

Also, a protest movement erupting at Republican town halls across the country. An early indication of the opposition to the GOP agenda and to President Trump, that's ahead.


PAUL: CNN has confirmed with U.S. official that national security advisor, Michael Flynn, did in fact speak with Russia's U.S. ambassador before the inauguration and that the U.S. sanctions against Russia did indeed come up.

[08:15:09]What Flynn may have said about that matter, that's still murky, but FBI and intelligence agents say there's nothing indicating that Flynn made any promises or acted improperly during that call. The president responding to the report saying he was unaware. Take a listen.


PRESIDENT TRUMP: I don't know about it. I haven't seen it. What report is that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The "Washington Post" reporting that he talked to the ambassador of Russia before you were inaugurated about sanctions.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I haven't seen that. I'll look at that.


PAUL: The Kremlin also responding calling the report untrue. I want to bring in Lynn Sweet, Washington bureau chief for the "Chicago Sun- Times" again, and CNN political commentator, Errol Louis. Thank you both for sticking around.

Let me ask you, Lynn, how much trouble do you think this is for Michael Flynn and the White House?

SWEET: Well, it is trouble. It is also troubling that President Trump said he didn't know anything about it because this is a matter that you would have thought he would have been briefed on by the time he talked to reporters in Air Force One.

So you have, you know, two issues here. Why doesn't the president know about this? And when you ask is he in trouble, well, this isn't good and I think the story's still developing. The story's been corroborated and there will be congressional investigations into this. So more will come out.

PAUL: I want to listen here if we could to Representative Jim Hines, a Democrat on the Intel Committee. He was talking about this just last night with Wolf Blitzer. Let's listen.


REPRESENTATIVE JIM HINES (D), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: If he then went on and lied about it and put the vice president in the position knowingly of lying to CBS about it, well, then, that's beyond the pale. Look, let's face it, you know, it's not like -- this is not your Sunday night call to grandma, right?

This is a call from the next national security adviser to the Russian ambassador. My guess is, this is not a case, oh, gosh, I just forgot what came up. So look, the evidence is not all in, but if he had that conversation and if he then lied about it, of course, he needs to go.


PAUL: So, Errol, that brings up the thought about loyalty. We know loyalty is a real value to this president. If in fact there was a lie made here and it has in a sense then made the vice president look bad, who is Trump loyal to, Flynn or Pence?

LOUIS: Well, it's an interesting question, Christi. There's some reporting that suggests that if Flynn weren't so loyal and valuable to the president for the work that he did during the campaign and beyond, that he'd be gone by now. There really are a couple of important things that are -- have to be kept in mind.

One is that this is -- this issue of Russian interference in the election, this issue of the cyber-attacks, cyber hacking, it really is a very sensitive topic. We have had the president try to sort of defy the findings of the intelligence agencies to suggest that there was nothing was going on here, this really undercuts any suggestion of that.

And then, I guess, the second issue is whether or he did in fact lie not just to the president or leave the president out of the loop, but apparently he may have told a direct untruth to the vice president and when Vice President Pence says he was misled, that's a real serious problem.

PAUL: No doubt about it. So let me ask you, Lynn, if he is for whatever reason if Flynn is extracted from this position, who's on deck? What is the administration do now only three, four weeks into the term?

SWEET: Well, in general there are more people around who could replace Flynn. Vice President Pence and his credibility is what President Trump needs to protect because you only get one of those. And I don't have any names to offer up.

But there are many people with national security expertise who are in the Republican orbit and who have had these jobs. I think what the Trump administration has to consider is if they will take people that were part of the never Trump movement into the fold who have experience in these matters.

PAUL: What might the NSA and therefore really the FBI physically tangibly have on Michael Flynn, Errol, do we know? Do we have a good grasp?

LOUIS: We don't know. We've seen reporting of course from CNN and elsewhere that some of what was in a dossier, that explosive dossier floating around compiled by former British intelligence agency -- agent, has been confirmed. How that dovetails with what went on in this conversation is the question of the hour.

And the question of what was discussed, I mean, when Flynn says that he has no specific recollection but that something about sanctions may have come up, that really begs the question of really what was discussed, what is the policy of this administration when it comes to holding or lifting sanctions. That's really the main question here. [08:20:03]PAUL: And we know that there are -- you know, CNN has been reporting that there are transcripts of every one of those conversations. We'll see what they may be able to tell us publicly, of course. Errol Louis, Lynn Sweet, we appreciate it so much. Thank you both.

BLACKWELL: CNN exclusive and Errol mentioned it there just a moment ago, the first time now U.S. investigators have corroborated some details of the Russia dossier compiled by a former British spy. We have details coming up.


BLACKWELL: Well, CNN has learned new information about the ongoing investigation into allegations raised in a collection of memos created by a former British intelligence agent for political opponents of then-Candidate Donald Trump. CNN chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto has details.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Christi and Victor, for the first time U.S. investigators tell CNN they have corroborated some of the communications detailed in a 35-page dossier compiled by a former British intelligence agent. CNN was first to report last month that then President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama were briefed on the existence of the memos prior to the inauguration.

Until now, U.S. officials have said that none of the content or allegations have been verified. But now, multiple current and former U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials tell CNN that intelligence intercepts of foreign nationals confirmed that some of the conversations described in the dossier took place between the same individuals on the same days and from the same locations as detailed in the dossier.

[08:25:03]The corroboration based on intercepted communications have given U.S. intelligence and law enforcement, quote, "greater confidence in accountability of some aspects of the dossier," this as they continue to actively investigate its contents, these sources say.

We should be clear that CNN has not confirmed the content of the calls or whether any of the content relates to then Candidate Trump. And none of the newly learned information relates to the salacious allegations in the dossier.

When reached for comment White House Spokesman Sean Spicer said, quote, "We continue to be disgusted by CNN's fake news reporting," end quote. Spokesmen for the FBI, Department of Justice, the CIA, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence had no comment when reached by CNN.

The dossier details about a dozen conversations between senior Russian officials and other Russian individuals. One thing the U.S. has is a collection of foreign call intercepts and they used that information to seek to verify some of the alleged conversations as describe in the dossier. U.S. intelligence officials emphasized that the conversations now verified were solely between foreign nationals including those in or tied with the Russian government, but some of the individuals involved in the intercepted communications were known to the U.S. intelligence community as quote, "heavily involved in collecting information damaging to Hillary Clinton and helpful to Donald Trump" -- Christi and Victor.

PAUL: All righty, Jim, thanks so much. The White House meanwhile is regrouping this morning after that courtroom defeat that puts their temporary travel ban on hold.

BLACKWELL: Next, we speak with one attorney who says the federal judges who blocked it got it wrong.


[08:30:00] PAUL: Welcome to Saturday morning. So grateful for your company as always. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you.

PAUL: Let's talk about some of the outrage we're watching among Democrats and advocacy groups this morning after Immigration and Customs officers arrested hundreds of undocumented immigrants in at least a half-dozen states this week.

The move illustrates the first large-scale enforcement of President Trump's crackdown on illegal immigration. Now, immigration officials call the arrests routine and add, many of the arrested individuals had prior felony convictions including violent charges such as child sex crimes, weapons or assault charges.

BLACKWELL: Meanwhile, President Trump suggests that he and his team will be drafting a new executive order on immigration, telling reporters it could come as early as Monday.

Now, the White House says it will not immediately appeal the federal court's decision blocking the president's travel ban to the Supreme Court. Instead, sources tell CNN, the president is considering possible tweaks, such as explicitly stating that the ban does not apply to legal permanent residents.

Now, as the president's travel ban remains in limbo now, many refugees and immigrants are in a panic, let's say, over the uncertainty surrounding it.

Right now, I'm joined by Steve Vladeck, CNN contributor and Law Professor at the University of Texas, and Hans von Spakovsky, a Senior Legal Fellow with "The Heritage Foundation" and former counsel to the assistant attorney general for civil rights under President Bush. Good morning to both of you.

HANS VON SPAKOVSKY, SENIOR LEGAL FELLOW, THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Good morning. BLACKWELL: First, let me get your reaction to the reporting that the White House is not going to immediately appeal the decision from the Ninth Circuit. And, Hans, I want to start with you. Do you think that's the right thing that the president is now likely going to introduce a new executive order or should he just stay focused on the one he signed on the 27th?

VON SPAKOVSKY: Well, I'm sure there are a lot of people at the White House, lot of lawyers looking at this issue right now. It very well may be the wise thing to do, to issue some new orders to take into account things like the Ninth Circuit saying that they couldn't take the word of the White House counsel that this order does not apply to permanent resident aliens.

That's easy enough to fix in a revised order. They, I'm sure, are still considering whether - do they appeal to the Ninth Circuit, which is the most overturned appeals court in the country? That is a strategic legal decision that's going to be tough to make.

BLACKWELL: Steve, to you. Your reaction to this reporting out of the White House, they're going to hold off on the appeal.

STEVE VLADECK, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think it's no surprise. I mean, first of all, it's hard to see where there are five votes on the Supreme Court to overturn what the Ninth Circuit did. By the way, the Ninth Circuit, not the most overturned appeals court in the country. Just the biggest. The Sixth Circuit is the most overturned appeals court in the country.

But leaving that aside, I mean, I think it's worth stressing that it's not just about LPRs, you know, green card holders, there are hundreds of thousands of immigrants in the United States with long-term lawful status who are affected by this order, who are not affected by the White House's suggestion that they're going to be carved out of the amendment and who might still have very serious statutory and constitutional objections. And so, just modifying the January 27th order to exclude green card holders, I think, is really just the tip of the iceberg. There's a lot more here that's going to have to be sorted out by the courts.

BLACKWELL: Hans, let me come back to you. And you wrote a scathing opinion piece this week about the decision that came out of the Ninth Circuit. I want to read just one line of it, so people can get the flavor of it and then I want you to expound for us.

"It's just another example of arrogant federal courts grabbing power from the legislative and executive branches in violation of basic separation of powers principles."

The government argued that, in some cases, in this arena, the president's decisions are unreviewable. Do you agree with that? And tell us more about why you're so disappointed with the finding of the Ninth Circuit?

VON SPAKOVSKY: Look, the key issue in this case was the president acting within the authority granted to him by Congress in the very specific immigration statute that he cited in the executive order. That provision's very clear, gives the president the ability to suspend the entry of any aliens into the country if he believes their entry is detrimental to the interests of the United States. That's what the statute says.

Therefore, the job of the courts were to look at that statute and decide did the president act within the authority of that statute or is the statute unconstitutional. You can read through the entire, almost 30 pages of the Ninth Circuit's opinion, no discussion whatsoever of that specific provision.

Contrast that with a Massachusetts federal judge who refused to enjoin the order. His order, detailed discussion of that statute, in the end said whatever you may think about this from a public policy standpoint, the president acted within the statute and the statutory authority granted to him by Congress.

BLACKWELL: Steve, what do you say to that?

[08:35:00] VLADECK: Well, I think it's important to understand the posture of the case the Ninth Circuit was deciding. This was not an up or down decision on the legality of the executive order, which I agree with Hans, would turn very much on the statutory arguments that have been offered.

The question is simply whether the executive order should remain on hold while the federal courts take their time to walk through all of these fairly complicated questions.

In considering whether to keep the executive order on hold, the question is not what Congress has authorized. The question is what kind of harms would result from allowing the executive order to go into effect versus keeping it on hold.

In that regard, you know, I find it unanswerable the Court of Appeals discussion of the government's national security justifications for the order, which they provided zero evidence to substantiate even if they had opportunities to do so.

So, Hans might be right at the end of the day that the statute is relevant to the ultimate legality, at this stage, when the question is just whether it should be on hold, I think it's not right to criticize the Ninth Circuit for focusing on the potential for harm as opposed to the ultimate answer on the merits.

BLACKWELL: Well, Steve, let's go ahead and look at the merits of this executive order because the president says that he's on strong standing, strong footing for supporting the merits of it, and this is from the appeal to block the ban. This is from the government, from the Department of Justice.

Unlike the president, courts do not have access to classified information about the threat posed by terrorist organizations operating in particular nations. The effort of those organizations to infiltrate the United States or gaps in the vetting process, therefore saying that the judges cannot know enough because they don't have access to the classified information to make an educated decision about whether or not this ban should stand to stand. To that, you say what?

VLADECK: Well, I think I would point everyone to Footnote 8 of the Ninth Circuit's opinion, which basically says, listen, government, if you have classified information that might help us understand why you've singled out these seven countries, countries that we should say have never produced a national who has committed a terrorist attack on US soil.

VON SPAKOVSKY: That is not true.

BLACKWELL: I'll let you respond. Go ahead. Finish, Steve, and I'll let Hans respond.

VLADECK: If you have this classified information, we have procedures for you to share it with us. And there are lots of other contexts where the government does indeed share classified information with the courts where the courts responsibly evaluate and assess that information. And based on that information, they could make a determination.

In this case, the government didn't provide anything. And so, I think it's kind of difficult to say, you know, you should defer to us, you should trust us, we know things you don't. And when the court says, well, what kinds of things, you can file them under seal, the government says, we're not going to tell you.

BLACKBURN: Hans, wrap it up for us.

VON SPAKOVSKY: I'm sorry, but that is simply untrue. Last year, a Senate subcommittee reported on at least 60 individuals convicted - convicted, not just arrested - of terrorist acts, planned terrorist acts in the United States from these seven countries.

These seven countries were all recognized as countries of concern by the Obama administration because they are failed or failing countries and they supply some of the largest numbers of terrorists in the world. Anyone who says that these countries are not dangerous is just bizarre.

And that report, by the way, didn't even mention, for example, the Somali refugee last November who attacked, what, more than a dozen people with a machete at Ohio State University. The idea that these are countries we should not be concerned about is just nutty.

BLACKWELL: We've got to wrap here. Steve, Hans, thank you both for the conversation.

VLADECK: Thank you.


PAUL: Well, you know, there is a protest movement taking over GOP town halls. And, boy, are they making themselves known. Look at this. Hundreds voicing their frustrations as the Republican Party ushers in a new political era. What is the goal here? We're going to talk to some of them. Stay close.


[08:40:00] BLACKWELL: Well, certainly, an unwelcoming scene there at a town hall in Utah where Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz was shouted down by angry protesters. Hundreds of people here grilled the House Oversight Chairman on everything from Planned Parenthood to the president's alleged conflict of interest regarding his private businesses.

PAUL: And this is just one of two town halls that erupted in home districts this week. Guess what? There are more expected to come. CNN's Boris Sanchez following these developments for us. Boris, what are you learning this morning?

I think we're having an audio issue. Obviously, Boris can't hear us. We'll try to get him back here. But, listen, one of the organizers of this protest movement is joining us to discuss what their activists are doing to try to get the attention of their elected representatives and what is their end goal, what do they want to see happen, we're going to talk about that.

Also, he's currently on tour across the country, but Jon Bon Jovi is using his free time to give back to some people who could really use it. We're going to show you what he's doing.


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PAUL: According to the American Heart Association, every minute a woman dies of heart disease in the United States. Every minute. And one factor is that they experience symptoms different from those men typically experience. CNN health producer Sandee LaMotte has more on today's Heart Beat. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDEE LAMOTTE, CNN HEATLH PRODUCER: We all know the classic signs of a heart attack. A crushing pressure in the chest, followed by collapse and unconsciousness. But would you call 911 if you had indigestion, shortness of breath, overwhelming fatigue or a sudden pain in your jaw? Yet that's exactly what happens to a majority of women who have heart attacks, and even some men.

So many of us ignore these atypical symptoms that the American Heart Association turned to Hollywood. Actress Elizabeth Banks shows how easy it is for women to discount their symptoms, such as cold sweats, jaw, neck, back and shoulder pain, nausea or indigestion and extreme exhaustion or disease. Heart disease kills more women than men each year. So, learn all the signs of a heart attack. And when in doubt, call 911.


PAUL: All right. Town halls, as we were talking about here, became this flashpoint this week after a number of heated exchanges between elected officials and protesters in the crowd and there are more of this planned for this weekend. CNN's Boris Sanchez is staking out one show down with the Congressman of the 12th district of Florida. Good morning, Boris.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, Christi. Over the past several days, we've seen this kind of up-swell of Democratic activists showing up at these Affordable Care Act town halls and letting Republican lawmakers know how they feel about this plan to repeal Obamacare.

We saw it last week at events in Utah with Sen. Jason Chaffetz and in Tennessee with Rep. Diane Black and even here in Florida's 12th district with Rep. Gus Bilirakis. Last week, he faced about 200 constituents that were very angry about the Republican plan to repeal Obamacare. We're expecting more of that here today.

Keep in mind, Bilirakis has been outspoken in his opposition to Obamacare, voting to defund it even though he does agree with some aspects of the Affordable Care Act and he's hoping to maintain some of them.

I spoke to two women here today. One of them told me that she wanted the representative to hear about the human cost of repealing Obamacare. She says that her brother has epilepsy and he requires a lot of medical attention and Obamacare was really his first chance at getting insurance.

[08:50:00] Taking that away would be a heavy toll for someone in a delicate position. We are expecting a sizable crowd here today. There's already about two dozen people. The door has just opened and they're hoping to let these GOP lawmakers hear a piece of their mind. Christi?

PAUL: All right. Boris Sanchez, we appreciate it. Glad that we got that audio fixed. Thank you so much. The protest movement, thought, is called Indivisible. It includes a handful of ex Democratic aides essentially. Their goal is to force members of Congress to hear their voices or risk losing their seat.

So, let's talk to the cofounder here of Indivisible, Ezra Levin. Ezra, thank you for being with us.


PAUL: Thank you. I was looking at the manual. And I want to point out that you were an aide to Texas Democrat Lloyd Doggett, so people have an idea of your background here.

But you've drafted this 26-page protest called a Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda. And I know it concludes with a promise to fellow Trump enemies saying, good luck, we will win. What is your overall goal first and foremost? Is it to change - is it to get more Democrats elected into Congress? Is it to unify the country somehow? What is the overall goal?

EZRA LEVIN, CO-FOUNDER, INDIVISIBLE: Our overall goal is to protest and we do that by resisting the Trump agenda. Now, what we've seen in the first few weeks of this administration is an eagerness to wage an all-out assault on Muslim Americans, on refugees, on immigrants, on the old, the sick, the elderly.

We are looking to resist the Trump agenda. And theory of change here is that Trump's agenda doesn't depend on Donald Trump. It depends on whether individual members of Congress choose to rubberstamp it or choose to resist it, which gives an enormous amount of power to individual constituents to change their minds.

PAUL: I want to look at page number five in your guide where you talk about the Tea Party. I know that you've said, look, you're not the Democratic version of the Tea Party, but you did see, in your opinion, that they did some things right. How are you differentiating yourself from that? And what are you using from their strategies?

LEVIN: That's right. You know, we are progressives. So, we don't buy into the 19th century policy ideology of the Tea Party. We don't agree with the often aggressive, sometimes violent, tactics they use, but we think they got a few things really right on the strategy side.

They implemented a locally-focused defensive congressional advocacy strategy, waged by folks on the ground, and they implemented that strategy using pretty simple civics 101 tactics. It's going to your local town halls of your member of Congress or going to their district office or making calls. So, we think that defensive advocacy strategy implemented in that way is really smart.

The thing that, I would say, is different about this movement is Tea Party was trying to obstruct an enormously popular president with huge congressional majorities who was trying to get more Americans on healthcare and save the economy from the new great depression.

What the progressive community is facing now is a historically unpopular president with minuscule margins in the Congress and they're trying to remake America in their image, without any mandate to do so.

So, when this movement is playing defense, we're not playing defense to obstruct. We're playing defense in order to protect the most vulnerable members of society and it would be a moral dereliction of duty not to do so.

PAUL: This is a president, though, that a lot of people support, a lot of believe in his policies even if they're not always supportive of how they're executed necessarily. So, I'm wondering how you're funded, for one thing, and do you have a good gauge of how large this movement might become?

LEVIN: Yes. So, I would push back on that, you know, this is a president who a lot of Americans support or who has the majority support for his administration.

PAUL: Well, he got elected. So, there are enough people that support him that he got elected.

LEVIN: That's right. He did win fewer votes than Hillary Clinton, but he's president now. But - so what I would say, at this time, in 2009, under Obama's presidency, he had - was just getting ready to sign the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to pull the economy out of the next great recession.

So far, President Trump has tried and fail to ban Muslims and immigrants and refugees from the country. So, I think there's actually a lot of angry response to the coolness and pettiness of both his tactics and his policies.

Now, in answer to what we're trying to do here, we've set up a donate button on the website and receive thousands of donations from all across the country. We're going to do everything we can to support the local leadership on the ground. This is not us pulling any strings. This is really a creatively-led movement by leaders who - some of whom are just getting involved in the political process for the first time. These aren't professional activists.

[08:55:00] PAUL: Very well. Ezra Levin, we appreciate you being here and taking the time to explain the movement. Thank you so much.

LEVIN: Thank you.

PAUL: Take good care.

BLACKWELL: All right. He's a Grammy winner, a movie star and a member of one of the best-selling music acts of all time. Now, John Bon Jovi is using his superstar power to help people who need that help.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This may look like a trendy New Jersey restaurant, but it's actually a unique movement to feed those in need. JON BON JOVI, ENTERTAINER: I thought how can we bring people together in an affordable, accessible way, and we focused on the issue of homelessness and then housing and food insecurities. It was one soul at a time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Welcome to the JBJ Soul Kitchen with two locations. Here, each meal is a mission.

BON JOVI: We have created, what we now call it, pay-it-forward model.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A non-profit within rocker Jon Bon Jovi's Soul Foundation, this community kitchen welcomes everyone at the table regardless of their ability to pay. There is no prices on the menu. If you are, in fact, in need, you volunteer. That pays for the meal for you and for your family.

Should you choose to enjoy a meal, we suggest that you buy a pay-it- forward card, so that you not only effected change by paying for your meal, but the one next to you.

MOE KEANE, VOLUNTEER, JBJ SOUL KITCHEN: So, you don't know if somebody's dining here because they're in need or to pay-it-forward. Everyone's treated the same.

BON JOVI: The key to our success is empowering the individual.


PAUL: Great. Very clever way to do it.

BLACKWELL: Absolutely.

PAUL: Very good job there.

BLACKWELL: That's it for us. We'll see you back here in an hour.

PAUL: Don't go anywhere. "SMERCONISH" is with you now.