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Blocked Again; A Landslide Victory; FSB Officers Charged for Hacking; First Foreign Visit; Aired 3-4a ET

Aired March 16, 2017 - 03:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[03:00:00] MAX FOSTER, CNN HOST: Blocked again. President Donald Trump is complaining about judicial overreach after his second attempt at a travel ban hits a legal roadblock. He's also speaking out about the source of his wiretap claim against Barack Obama, but more lawmakers are clashing down on that allegation.

And Dutch voters decide to stick with the status quo, rejecting a far right fire brand and his party.

Hello, and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Max Foster, and this is CNN Newsroom.

U.S. President Donald Trump is lashing out after his second travel ban was struck down by a federal judge just before it was due to take effect. Mr. Trump had revised his original executive order from January, which caused havoc at U.S. airports and was ultimately struck down.

The new ban would stop people from six mostly Muslim nations from entering the U.S. The president told supporters in Tennessee, he would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The order he blocked, was a watered down version of the first order that was also blocked by another judge, and should have never been blocked to start with. This is the opinion of many, an unprecedented judicial overreach.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: Well, quite a different reaction from the attorney general of Washington. He successfully challenged the first travel ban. Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB FERGUSON, WASHINGTON STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL: Look, bottom line, that's fantastic news. That's exactly what we're seeking, exactly what the immigrants' rights project were seeking, exactly what the plaintiffs in the case in Maryland are seeking, what all of my colleagues, states like New York, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, what we are all seeking. So it's fantastic news. (END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: Well, CNN's Stephanie Elam joins us from Honolulu, Hawaii, where the federal judge issued that temporary restraining order against the new travel ban. So what did this judgment rest on, Stephanie?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was a couple of points, Max, when you take a look at this ruling here, he ruled that there would be irreparable injury if there was not relief. He said that that was likely. And he said that this could affect both the university and the tourism here, which the state had argued would be damaged by this travel ban.

Obviously, as you might imagine here, tourism is a major part of the economic machine here in Hawaii, but just to read a bit of the ruling from federal Judge Derrick Watson. Let me read to you what he said.

He said "The illogic of the government's contentions is palpable. The notion that one can demonstrate animus towards any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed. Equally flawed is the notion that the executive order cannot be found to have targeted Islam because it applies to all individuals in the six referenced countries."

Now, what was interesting about this as well, and while I was in court, I was listening to the judge question the lawyers from both sides here, but the question he had for the lawyer representing the United States was exactly about context.

He was saying, should you look at what's on the document, just for the document -- the sake of what's on those papers, or do you look at the context of what Donald Trump has said himself, and pointing to things that he has said when he was a candidate.

Now the lawyer said those should not be taken into consideration because he was a private citizen running for president. But then, the lawyers for the other side also pointing out that he said things via his surrogates.

And so they're saying, context in this case actually matters, and because of that, even if you take the original ban and then make it a watered down version, just taking out certain words, it's still, in essence, the same ban, and that was the decision made here, Max.

FOSTER: But what's he saying now though? He's saying it's still partly a Muslim ban, that it still has discrimination within it?

ELAM: It's still pointing to people's faith. It is still discriminating people based on their country of origin and for their faith, and that that would go against the grain of how things should be done in the United States and what has been ruled on previously by federal judges in the United States.

FOSTER: OK, Stephanie, thank you. With us now, is Brian Klass, he's a fellow of comparative politics at the London School of Economics. It's interesting now, isn't it? Because if you took this case on its own, perhaps it wouldn't have won, but they've taken the language around the campaign and put it into the context.

BRIAN KLASS, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS SENIOR FELLOW: They have. The judge cited the Trump's line before where he called for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entry into the United States. He also cited Stephen Miller, one of Trump's main advisers saying this was a technical tweet to the original travel ban.

[03:05:02] And he also cited Rudy Giuliani, one of the Trump surrogates in saying that Trump had called him and said, how can we do a Muslim ban legally.

So this is a ruling that shows that words matter when the President of the United States and his surrogates saying them, and that they should be taken into context when a ruling is made about the actual text of a document.

FOSTER: So this suggest that travel ban mark free if there is going to be another one. It isn't going to get through either. It's all got this background behind it.

KLASS: That's possibly true. But Trump last night on stage was doubling down on the original travel ban, saying, actually maybe we should go back to the first one and go whole hog and see if we can get it through the Supreme Court. And I think there probably will be another legal challenge and this is not the end of the story.

FOSTER: What about the Supreme Court, will they go straight there or will they hold on for one so they got their man effectively?

KLASS: They may want to wait until Justice Gorsuch is on the bench if he is confirmed, because it will be another vote, probably in favor of the administration, but I think the larger context here, is that Trump is attacking the judiciary for political reasons.

He's saying repeatedly, they did this, because they are partisan, they did this because they're biased against me. And this is a long history that Trump has with the judiciary where he said last summer, for example, that a judge ruled against him because of his Mexican ancestry.

He also said recently with the first travel ban that a judge ruled against him was a so-called judge. And all of this is poisoning the public against the independent judiciary which is effectively doing their jobs.

He said they are making us look weak but that's not what judges are supposed to think about. They're supposed to think about the law and the Constitution, not about how the United States is perceived around the world. So I think that this aspect is where Trump is crossing the line when he attacks the ruling.

FOSTER: And he's very litigious himself, isn't he, so some irony there. KLASS: Yes, he likes to be in court, he likes to boast about how he

wins in court. And I think Trump is probably going to take this as a personal affront. Because he does not back down easily. And particularly in court he does not back down easily. And I think this is not the last we've seen of this.

FOSTER: So it goes up against the judiciary, you now, it's not really a case that can be won or lost, is it, because the judiciary, I'm going to fight back. We've heard some briefing behind the scenes that they're frustrated with Donald Trump, but they're not going to fight back in the same way as for example, the media might fight back.

KLASS: That's true. But I think that's the appropriate response for the judiciary, it's something to uphold the law. I think that there's a lot of room for blocking Trump's policies through the courts simply because some of them are unlawful or unconstitutional.

Now there's still the possibility the Supreme Court could rule that the separation of powers suggests that the president has the right to set immigration policy. That is a view in the legal community. There's some people who hold that view and it may be that ends up being the ultimate decision.

But in the meantime, it means that Trump does not have the latitude to set immigration policy in this way particularly. I don't understand though why he's not simply going around the extreme vetting idea he had before. If he had simply said we're going to have stricter legal requirements for these countries, for people to come into the United States that makes these applications it would almost certainly pass.

(CROSSTALK)

FOSTER: Without complete ban.

KLASS: Exactly. Because when -- at the point where you say, you can't come in, if you were born in Yemen, that's a totally different thing than we're going to look much more closely at you if you were born in Yemen. And I think that tactic probably would succeed in the courts.

FOSTER: How concerned are you about democracy here, I know that's a big question. But you know, you go to democracy, which is, you know, the political system, the Washington system, the presidency, but you've also got the judiciary and the media as well. And these are all fundamental parts of a democracy. What do you think about the tension there right now?

KLASS: I'm extremely worried about American democracy. It's been 56 days since Trump has been in office, and he's attacked American democracy on a variety of fronts. He's insinuated that voter fraud occurs on a mass scale, which is does not. He's called the press and called them enemies of the American people, which they are not.

He's suggested that the independent judiciary is motivated bipartisan reason, which they often are not. And all these things together are undermining the checks and balances and fundamental aspects of the U.S. Constitution that make the United States a democracy. And I've said for a long time that, you know, the United States has

checks and balances, it has a Constitution. But they're not magical. They're only as strong as people who stand up for them under times of duress. And they're under duress right now.

So I hope that this is a turning point where Trump realizes he needs to work as one of the branches of government, and not some sort of authoritarian figure that gets his way whether the judges agree or not.

FOSTER: OK, Brian Klass of the London School of Economics, thank you very much for joining us this morning.

Here in Europe, the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is claiming victory over far-right candidate Geert Wilders in The Netherlands parliamentary elections. With 94 percent of the vote counted the people's party led by Mr. Rutte is projected to win 33 out of 150 seats.

Wilders Freedom Party will finish in a distance second of that right with 20 seats. The prime minister will now have to turn to other parties, as he tries to form a coalition government.

Wilders says he -- we haven't seen the last of him, though.

[03:10:01] Let's go live to The Hague with CNN's senior international correspondent Atika Shubert.

So he didn't make the head way that everyone was expecting.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, he didn't. He still managed to gain, though, about five seats. So as far as Wilders is concerned, he didn't lose. But on the other hand, it's clear that he was stopped, really, by a combination of, you know, smaller parties getting ahead and Mark Rutte of course, gaining much more than what the polls initially said he would.

Even though Rutte's party actually lost eight seats in parliament, they still sort of maintained their lead, and Rutte was very much a victorious candidate last night. Take a listen to what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK RUTTE, DUTCH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): I've had lots of European leaders on the phone already. This night is a night for The Netherlands. After Brexit, after the American elections, where we said stop it, stop it to the wrong type of populism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUBERT: Now what's clear here is that, Rutte wasn't just campaigning to Dutch voters, but he was speaking to a global audience as well. In fact, in just, you know, two days before the vote, he held a press conference in English where he specifically said, you know, we mustn't forget Brexit. Remember what happened in the U.S. election. We must not make that same mistake. So he was very heavily campaigning on this, and it appears that voters

listened to him. They went to the polling booths and they believed that he was, at least for many of his supporters, the leader they wanted him -- they wanted him to be.

FOSTER: Isn't that the interesting thing, though, because we had this very high turn-out, didn't we, and that went for the incumbent and that wasn't the case with Brexit. It was quite a low turn-out. And the same thing over the Trump election as well.

So, are we now seeing a reaction against perhaps the populism where people know that they have to go out and vote, if they want to keep the, you know, populists out?

SHUBERT: I think in part, yes. I mean, voter turn-out does tend to be high here. The last election, it was 75 percent. But here it's getting to 80 percent this election. And that is very high.

I think when I spoke to analysts, and when you speak to voters themselves, what they say is, they were very -- they were actually undecided until the last minute. But a number of events made them change their mind.

One of them was this Turkish diplomatic crisis. Rutte was able to come out very strongly on that. He had a lot of tough talk -- tough talk and he was backed by a lot of other party leaders as well. That helped him.

But also I think he point out this Trump effect. You know, initially people thought that the Trump with the inauguration of President Trump, it would mean that you would see a wave of other populist movements in Europe gaining from that.

However, because of the chaotic nature of the Trump administration, a lot of voters here in The Netherlands seemed to have looked at the United States and said, is that what we want? Let's take another look and see what our options are. We want something that's a little bit more stable, and that is something that Rutte has delivered on.

FOSTER: OK, Atika, thank you very much. Fascinating campaign.

Now, after his explosive wiretapping accusation, President Trump didn't offer proof or say another word, until now. The president may not erase the doubt to some lawmakers who are demanding answers on the wiretapping claim. That story, just ahead.

[03:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: The U.S. Justice Department has charged two Russian spies in a massive breach of Yahoo users' information. Two hackers were also indicted in the 2014 attack that affected at least half a billion e- mail accounts. The stolen data included passwords but not financial information. The FBI said some of the people targeted in the hack were government officials and journalists.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JACK BENNETT, FBI SPECIAL AGENT: This is an unprecedented indictment. It is the first time the FBI has indicted Russian FSB officers for committing criminal cyber intrusions. We take this very seriously and the FSB should take this very seriously.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: Well, these men are now facing several counts, including economic espionage.

Nearly two weeks after making an unsubstantiated claim that former President Barack Obama ordered a tap on his phones, President Trump is breaking his silence on that.

In an interview with Fox News, Mr. Trump said his accusation was based on reports in The New York Times and on Fox News. And he hinted, he has more proof.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're in charge of the agencies, the intelligence agencies reports to you. Why not immediately go to them and gather evidence to support that?

TRUMP: Because I don't want to do anything that's going to violate any strength of an agency. You know, we have enough problems. And by the way, with the CIA, I just want people to know, the CIA was hacked and a lot of things taken. That was during the Obama years. That was not during us. That was during the Obama situation.

Mike Pompeo is there now doing a fantastic job.

But we will be submitting certain things and I will be perhaps speaking about this next week. But it's right now before the committee and I think I want to leave it there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: Leading lawmakers however, say they don't see evidence of a wiretap. Manu Raju reports they're pressing for answers from the FBI.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Today, members of Trump's own party are openly challenging his claim that Trump Tower had been wiretapped under the orders of President Barack Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEVIN NUNES, (R) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: We don't have any evidence that that took place, and in fact, I don't believe just in the last week of time, the people I've talked to, I don't think there was an actual tap of Trump Tower.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: And Senator Lindsey Graham said official answers over Trump's allegation of wiretapping may soon be coming. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: There may be no there there, but it's pretty easy to answer the question was there ever a warrant issued or applied for. So...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The answer is no.

GRAHAM: Yes. I believe it to be, but the longer they take to get back to me, the more concerned I am. And it builds suspicion. You know, what's taking them so long?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: This comes as FBI Director James Comey privately briefed senators about its ongoing investigation. A move to diffuse tensions with the republican judiciary chairman who is holding up a key confirmation of a top Justice Department official, until he gets more answers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[03:20:07] CHUCK GRASSLEY, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: I expect people to respond according to what they told me. And in this particular instance, we were not given the respect that the Constitution gives us of oversight of the executive branch of government. And so that's very irritating.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: The House intelligence committee is calling on the Justice Department to immediately provide any information to support President Trump's allegations that were made during a Saturday morning tweet storm 11 days ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NUNES: President Obama wouldn't physically go over and wiretap Trump tower. So now you have to decide. Are you going to take the tweets literally? And if you are, then clearly the president was wrong.

But if you're not going to take the tweets literally, and if there's a concern that the president has about other people, other surveillance activities looking at him or his associates, either appropriately or inappropriately, we want to find -- we want to find that out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: But Nunes and the top democrat on the committee, Adam Schiff disagree on one key piece of their investigation, whether the Trump campaign had any improper contacts with Russians were meddling in the elections?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RAJU: Do you have any evidence of that?

NUNES: Not that I'm aware of.

ADAM SCHIFF, (D) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: You know, I wouldn't answer that question as categorically as my colleague.

JEFF SESSIONS, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: Look, the answer is no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: And the attorney general said today that he never gave the president any evidence or reason to believe that he had been wiretapped by the Obama administration.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SESSIONS: I have recused myself. I'm not talking to the president or the people who are investigating the case. And I'm unable to comment on any of these details.

FOSTER: We're going to CNN's Clare Sebastian, though, she joins us from Moscow. You've been getting the same line pretty much, have you, from the Kremlin on this, that there is no evidence that Russia was involved in any sort of hacking.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Max. I mean, from the very early stages of this, when these allegations first surfaced last year, the Russians have dismissed it, almost laughed it off as ridiculous.

I would say that in recent weeks, as these investigations has kind of heated up, the rest of it has become more serious, the Kremlin spokesman has told CNN that this is emotional extremism, he called it hysteria in Washington, hysteria in the U.S. media, but certainly the denials have remained very consistent.

Russia said, you know, this is a -- this is a U.S. domestic issue, that it does though threaten to potentially undermine the now fragile resolve on both sides to improve the relationship between Russia and the U.S.

And while, you know, we have since the original Trump euphoria have subsided, we've seen a certain redaction, a dramatic reduction, in fact, in the media coverage of issues surrounding the Trump administration here in Russia. It's certainly fair to say that as these investigations get underway, the first public hearing is next week, they will be very closely watched here in Russia.

FOSTER: And have you been able to get any information on these two Russian spies that have been charged by the Justice Department?

SEBASTIAN: well, certainly explosive allegations, Max. This is the first time that the Justice Department has explicitly linked the cyber-criminal underworld here in Russia with the country's intelligence apparatus.

In terms of reaction here from Moscow, the news agency, the state-run news agency TASS quoted an anonymous but high ranking official in Moscow Wednesday, saying, "Washington never appealed to the Russian federation in connection with the accusations against Russians in the alleged hacking of the Yahoo site."

That source went on to say, that this case suggests another attempt to use the topic of Russian hackers in the domestic political struggle in the United States.

So this clearly is coming at a very delicate time in that relationship. The Justice Department officials have told CNN that they did -- they have planned on reaching out to Russia after the announcement of that indictment. No more information on that as yet.

But as to these two FSB officers, Igor Sushchin and Dmitry Dokuchayev we do know that Dmitry Dokuchayev we believe is in custody in Moscow already. That is in connection with a separate case. He was among four people who were accused in December of treason on behalf of the United States and arrested.

A very murky case, Max, many questions still surrounding what exactly that was in regard to. But certainly it's fair to say that, yes, one Canadian and Kazak national, has been arrested in connection of this case. But we do believe the other three named in the Yahoo indictment are in Russia and therefore it's very unlikely they'll be brought to justice in the U.S., Max.

FOSTER: OK. Clare, in Moscow, thank you.

Donald Trump says he'll go all the way to the Supreme Court after a judge in the U.S. State of Hawaii blocked his new travel ban. Why Mr. Trump thinks the ruling was political, next.

Plus, U.S. republican Lawmakers are fighting to replace Obamacare. But for millions of Americans the health care debate isn't political, it's personal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[03:25:04] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm nervous not knowing the future, not knowing exactly what's going to be voted on, what are they going to keep, what are they going to do for people like me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: Welcome back to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Max Foster.

President Donald Trump is lashing out after a federal judge blocked a new travel ban just hours before it was due to take effect on Thursday. The ban would have stopped people from six mostly Muslim nations from entering the U.S. for 90 days. But unlike the previous order, it removed Iraq from the list of banned

countries. It also exempted people with green cards and valid visas and dropped language on religious minorities.

Mr. Trump said Judge Derrick Watson's decision to block the ban was, quote, "judicial overreach" and he pledges to appeal his decision to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

Judge Watson, meanwhile, is receiving support from across the country, including praise from the attorney general of his own state.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOUG CHIN, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF HAWAII: I don't think that Judge Watson was necessarily overreaching since there is precedent for the courts to be able to look at the context. Context matters.

In other words, that is something that the U.S. government has been arguing, which is that the only right thing to do is to look at the four corners of the document to see whether or not there's neutral language.

Unfortunately for them, the Supreme Court has disagreed with that proposition and has told judges that the right thing to do is actually to look at what is going on behind the curtain.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[03:30:04] FOSTER: Well, meanwhile, five republican appointed judges on the ninth circuit of -- circuit court of appeals are signaling their support for the president's new travel ban. This is the same court Mr. Trump has repeatedly criticized in the past.

In a statement, they said, "Whatever we as individuals may feel about the president or the executive order, the president's decision was well within the powers of the presidency."

Now the U.S. republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare faces its first big test in just a few hours. It's going to be -- it's going to go to the house budget committee where democrats and some conservative republicans could vote to derail it.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has defended the bill since it was introduced last week, but he isn't saying whether it could pass in the House without changes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: So if it came up in the House this afternoon, it would pass?

PAUL RYAN, UNITED STATES SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Well, it's not coming up this afternoon. It's going through the legislative process. That legislative process has not been finalized. That's -- so that's kind of a -- no offense -- kind of a goofy question or faulty premise. Because this goes through four committees. We've gone to two so far. By the way, the two committees that went through, unanimous republican votes in each of those committees.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: Well, many Americans are waiting to see how the American Health Care Act will affect them. The Congressional Budget Office says 24 million more Americans would lose health insurance coverage over the next 10 years.

CNN's Sanjay Gupta spoke to a woman who could be one of them.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN'S CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: The story you're about to hear is a typical one. Thirty-three-year-old Valerie Daniel does all the typical things a mom of two does. Also typical, Valerie, like 117 million Americans suffers from a chronic illness. In her case, it's Crohn's disease, an inflammation of her G.I. tract.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VALERIE DANIEL, CONCERNED CITIZEN OVER HEALTH CARE BILL: When I have flare-ups I'm really, really sick, I'm confined to the bed a lot. Either because of weakness or pain.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GUPTA: Now, like many Americans, Valerie does have employer-based insurance. She gets hers through her husband's employer. Every few weeks, Valerie makes the 40-minute drive to a hospital to get an infusion treatment. She invites me along on her next trip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANIEL: With this type of medicine, it's a lifetime commitment.

GUPTA: You couldn't not take the treatment?

DANIEL: I had no option. I mean, at this point, I have tried every drug, surgery, procedures. This was my option.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GUPTA: Without insurance, a year's dosage could cost Valerie about $20,000.

Are you worried about the Affordable Care Act being repealed and the impact it would have?

DANIEL: I'm nervous. Not knowing the future, not knowing exactly what's going to be voted on, what are they going to keep, what are they going to do for people like me?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GUPTA: First the good news. Under the republican proposed American Health Care Act, here's what they're keeping. People like Valerie can't be discriminated against for having a pre-existing condition. There will still be a ban on lifetime and annual caps. And her kids can still stay on their parents' insurance plan until they're 26.

But the downsides - employers will more than 50 employees no longer have to provide insurance. So getting covered through her husband's work may no longer be a given. And also, the new bill will incentivize all Americans to have continuous coverage.

This is to prevent people from buying insurance only after they get sick or injured. But Valerie has experienced already just how difficult it is to keep health care insurance especially if you're out of work.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANIEL: My husband lost his job years ago, so there was about a three-month period where he was not employed. And we were told that we had no choice we had to pay for COBRA because of my pre-existing condition, that if there was even a little bit of a lapse of coverage that then I would not be allowed to be covered.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GUPTA: Under the new bill, having a lapse in coverage of more than 63 days means that if you try and buy insurance on the individual market, you're going to have to pay an additional 30 percent tax on your premium, if you try and enroll again for the remainder of the year.

And it's not just the 63 days from the time you lose your job, but anytime you have a gap in coverage of 63 days in the past year, at the time of enrollment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GUPTA: When you had to go to COBRA, because your husband was not employed anymore, how much did that raise your premiums at this point?

DANIEL: The price of COBRA was over $900 a month. So we had no choice but to reach out to family to help pay for that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GUPTA: Consider the fact that most people are unemployed for 10 weeks before they find a new job. That's 70 days. And when people are unemployed, just getting by, paying bills like their mortgage can be difficult, let alone paying an insurance premium on top of all that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[03:30:05] GUPTA: When you look at our health insurance industry overall now, what grade would you give our health insurance system?

DANIEL: I would probably say about a c.

GUPTA: C?

DANIEL: Maybe a b-minus.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GUPTA: Of course she's really hoping that the final replacement plan will be an a-grade for her and the rest of America.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Atlanta.

FOSTER: The U.S. Health and Human Services secretary wants Americans to know the Republican Party's health care plan is better than Obamacare.

Meanwhile, Tom Price made his case at a CNN town hall event on Wednesday night. He also faced tough questions from people who say their lives depend on their medical care.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIAN KLINE, CANCER SURVIVOR: Medicaid expansion saved my life and saved me from medical bankruptcy. Now I earn $11.66 an hour at my retail job. And obviously I cannot afford to pay for my cancer care out of pocket. My life really depends on having access to my doctors and medical care.

TOM PRICE, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF HUMAN AND HEALTH SERVICES: It's important to appreciate that the program itself, it may have worked extremely well for you, and that's wonderful. And we need to keep those aspects of the program in place.

But the fact of the matter is that the program is having extremely difficulty providing the care that's needed for all of the individuals on it. So what we want to do is to strengthen that program, to make it so that it's more responsive for patients and allows physicians and other individuals who are providing care for patients to be able to do so in a way that makes sense, as opposed to one that may make it more difficult for individuals to receive the care that they need.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: Elsewhere voters in The Netherlands are making a strong statement. Just ahead, how anti-immigrant candidate Geert Wilders figures into their future.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: Voters in The Netherlands appear to be rejecting far-right leader Geert Wilders and his anti-immigrant message.

[03:40:00] Results are not yet final in the country's parliamentary elections, but Prime Minister Mark Rutte's ruling party looks to be heading for victory. With 94 percent of the vote counted Rutte's party is projected to win 33 out of 150 seats in parliament. Wilders' Freedom Party will take just 20.

Bert Bakker is an assistant professor of political communication and journalism at the University of Amsterdam, we're going to be joining him very soon over there in The Netherlands. But meanwhile, America's top diplomat is in Tokyo for the first stop on his visit to Asia. How the security threat from North Korea is looming large over the trip is coming up next as well.

But we're trying to get hold of our expert in The Netherlands because what's interesting about this whole election is that it's been a litmus test really for populism in Europe, and what gripped the U.K. with Brexit and American voters with Trump, take hold in this wave of elections taking place in Europe this year.

Germany, France and The Netherlands was the first one on the first test of that. What was interesting is that Geert Wilders, who represents the far right, anti-immigration view, did do slightly better in this election than -- you know, than compared with other ones, but not in a huge way. Didn't have a big dent.

So he didn't really take over. There was this high turn-out that seems to come out in support for Rutte, who is the Prime Minister, and his main opponent. So they really voted for the status quo. Although, this is a coalition government country. So we don't know quite how that government will form.

But let's hear from Prime Minister Rutte as that result started coming in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUTTE (through translator): I've had lots of European leaders on the phone already. This night is a night for The Netherlands. After Brexit, after the American elections, where we said stop it. Stop it, to the wrong type of populism.

GEERT WILDERS, PARTY FOR FREEDOM CANDIDATE (through translator): If they need me, or if they need the PVV for talks, then I'm happy to take part. If not, then they haven't gotten rid of me yet. With more people, with 19 to 20 people in parliament, we will have a strong opposition against the cabinet, and we will make their lives difficult every day.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: The question is, will he be involved in any coalition government? It seems unlikely because none of those coalition parties want to work with him. So, he doesn't seem to have that presence that he wanted in that election.

We'll be following it throughout the day and also the reaction to that hold on the travel ban as well in the U.S.

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[03:44:58] PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It is a classic tale of two seasons across the United States right now. You slice the nation in half, you look at this massive ridge that's developed around the western U.S. while you have a drought in place around the eastern U.S. And you put this together we're talking temps almost 40 Celsius or

almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit out in the west. While of course, some snow showers tapering off around the eastern corner of the U.S.

And some of that cold air so far to the south that centuries' old records across northern Florida are breaking at this hour where temps down well below zero in few spots around northern Florida.

But the brutality of that cold air well to the north, it does shift off, it does want to moderate back out. Look at the days' temps as we go in towards the latter portion of the weekends. Another shot of cold air tries to come back into the forecast, but still a dramatic warming in store.

Washington, up to 13, New York, up to around 5 degrees, of course a couple of days ago minus 1 or so was the high temperature. And notice even in Atlanta some may be getting back into the double digits and I would not be surprise if Atlanta does not fall into the single digits for a high temperature for at least another seven or eight months. So this could be the last of the very cold temperatures in the Southern U.S.

Belize City, how about some showers, Mexico City, some welcome showers in the forecast there with a high around 21 degrees, and farther towards South America Manaus coming in around 29, La Paz, 11 degrees.

FOSTER: Let's take you then to The Netherlands. We were talking before the break about how this is a very significant result really. Because it didn't actually change that much. We didn't see Geert Wilders get the big gains that we were expecting.

Let's speak to Bert Bakker, he is an assistant professor of political communication and journalism of the University of Amsterdam, he joins me now live now from The Hague.

And what some people are saying here is that the incumbent, the prime minister actually did quite well from that big spat with Turkey just before the election, where he was seen to be a statesman, and then he got a big turn-out amid this threat that the far-right was going to do well. How do you read it?

BERT BAKKER, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF AMSTERDAM: Well, yes, I think it's difficult to all place it back to one incident this weekend. But it is right that the prime minister did relatively well. Although we don't have -- we should not forget that he actually lost quite some seats.

So he lost some seats, but he is the biggest party, that means he has the initiative right now and the coalition formation that is partly explained by the fact that in the last few days he could really act as a statesman. But if it's the only explanation, I don't think that's probably too easy to say.

FOSTER: There were some gains amongst smaller parties, and indeed Geert Wilders party gained a bit, didn't he, but it wasn't the landslide that he was predicting. BAKKER: No, but it wasn't a landslide but it was within the margins

that was sort of expected in the last days in the year before -- Geert Wilders obviously did a lot better. But in the weeks leading up to the election, his party was sort of, say, well, we -- they might win a couple of seats, he won some, but it's not like the landslide that if we look back like a year or two years ago in the middle of the refugee crisis when he was polling a lot higher.

FOSTER: And he's not going to gain a big position in politics either, is he, because the smaller parties, the other parties aren't going to want to form a coalition with him in it. So he remains a small player in Dutch politics?

BAKKER: Yes. Well, that's the first -- that's a good observation that right now. The VVD will have the initiative in forming a coalition. It's at the start unlikely that the Freedom Party will be -- will be joining these talks to be part of the coalition.

But we should not underestimate that the Freedom Party has influence on the policy of Dutch politics more broadly. So the CDA and the VVD are pushing for not very liberal laws when it comes to immigration. So it means that we see that the policy is influenced by the Freedom Party.

FOSTER: What do you make of this high turn-out? Is this a particularly Dutch sort of way of going about elections? I know they have a higher turn-out than many other countries, but it was higher turn-out even for The Netherlands, wasn't it. So does that suggest that people were worried about, you know, Geert Wilders gaining power, therefore they came out and voted? Because we know that Brexit, for example, there wasn't a high turn-out.

BAKKER: No, we've seen indeed a little higher turn-out than in the elections before. One of the explanations could indeed be the worry. We've also seen that other parties have been mobilizing young voters, like the greens.

We've seen initiatives where non-partisan groups were trying to mobilize young voters to come out and vote. But we'll have to see in the coming days which groups were turning -- had turn-out higher than expected. So were it indeed the young voters or worried people from the city, we'll have to see which were the groups that might turn out a little higher than expected.

[03:50:06] FOSTER: OK. Bert Bakker, from the University of Amsterdam, thank you very much indeed.

Now the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in Tokyo as part of his first official visit to Asia. He's meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe right now after talks with the foreign minister earlier.

A busy few days for Tillerson, who heads to South Korea next, and then wraps up his trip in China. And all these meetings will there be share a major topic and that is the growing threat of North Korea. Matt Rivers in Beijing, let's begin with Will Ripley, though. He's in

Tokyo where Mr. Tillerson just held a press conference with his Japanese counterpart. And was it all about North Korea, or were there other subjects as well?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They talked about North Korea, Max, they talked about the news out of the United States, that the State Department is about to face drastic budget cuts. Questions kind of went unanswered in terms of specifics on North Korea.

Secretary Tillerson and his Japanese counterpart, the Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida reiterated the need for cooperation, for a new approach on North Korea, and one, probably the most interesting noteworthy sound bite from the press conference was when Secretary Tillerson was very critical of North Korea policy all the way going back to the Clinton years, including the Bush administration and the Obama administration as well. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REX TILLERSON, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: The diplomatic and other efforts of the past 20 years, to bring North Korea to a point of denuclearization have failed. So we have 20 years of failed approach.

And that includes a period in which the United States provided $1.35 billion in assistance to North Korea as an encouragement to take a different pathway. That encouragement has been met with further development of nuclear capabilities, more missile launches, including those of the recent February 11th and March 5th.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIPLEY: That $1.35 billion figure Secretary Tillerson referred to, from what we can add up, it seems to me he's talking about food and energy aid that the United States gave to North Korea. A significant portion of it in the late '90s and early 2000's, when that country was dealing with a deadly famine situation that stretch on for a number of years.

But as far as specifics about this new approach, no confirmation from Secretary Tillerson that he might be trying to expand beyond a regional approach to a more global approach. An Iran model, if you will. Of course that would go against President Trump's criticism of the Iran deal during the campaign.

And also no confirmation if Secretary Tillerson and if the U.S. will consider actually sanctioning Chinese companies that do business with North Korea. State Department sources have been leaking that information, but from the secretary himself, no specifics on this approach, Max.

FOSTER: OK, Will, thank you very much indeed. So, Matt, this tour will end in China, and that's obviously the big player in that region. Lots of tensions between the U.S. and china. Do you think they'll focus on North Korea, or will they focus on trade? MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, I think North Korea is going to

be at the top of the list. And we are hearing as Will just mentioned, from a couple senior officials in the administration, in the U.S. administration, that Secretary Tillerson is going to tell his Chinese counterparts that they are ready to increase financial penalties against Chinese businesses and banks that do business with North Korea, that the United States is tired of Chinese companies, in part, funding the weapons development program coming out of Pyongyang.

But it was a bit earlier today, Max, that we were actually given access to an official here in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in China. That's a very rare thing. We rarely get to talk to policy makers here in Beijing. And we asked him, this would be the Asian affairs department director-general in MOFA here. And we asked him about what could be a harder line strategy from the United States when it comes to dealing with China and North Korea.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We hope they will not. Because it's not fair. And that's not right. That's not the correct way of dealing things.

RIVERS: If it did happen, would that propose a serious obstacle in China's ability to deal with the United States diplomatically and work together on this issue?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, secretary is coming in two days' time. Let's see how we communicate with the Chinese colleagues.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIVERS: So clearly avoiding the question there about the financial penalties that Chinese companies could be facing. But you know, that's not the only thing that Tillerson is going to be discussing here. He said they'll also be discussing about ways to work with China to curb the North Korean situation.

And to that China has a message. China is proposing what they're calling a suspension for suspension plan. So what China thinks should happen the United States and South Korea should suspend their military activities, their joint training that they're going through large military exercises, and in return, the North Koreans will stop their missile testing. The Chinese say that's a win-win situation.

[03:55:05] FOSTER: In terms of the Chinese...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like to see Americans to move first. Take some actions first to show their sincerity, and vice versa. So China's proposal is, why not do it at the same time. No sequence. No first or second. There's a parallel. We do it at the same time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIVERS: Well, skeptics will tell you that maybe the United States and North Koreans are not going to sign on for that. So everyone wants to solve this problem, Max. The question is, how is it going to be done.

FOSTER: OK. Matt Rivers in Beijing, also Will Ripley over there in Tokyo, thank you very much indeed with those.

The talk continues through in Asia, a very key one of course for the U.S. State Department.

Thank you for joining us as well. I'm Max Foster. Early Start is next for viewers in the United States. For everybody else there, I'll be back after the break with more news from around the world. You are watching CNN.

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