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Republicans Pull the American Health Care Act Before Vote; Ukraine Blames Russia For Murder of Kremlin Critic; Conservative Media Outlets On The Failure of the AHCA. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired March 25, 2017 - 08:00   ET



ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: -- get this. Phoenix Sun guard, Devin Booker, making history last night becoming the youngest player ever to score 70 points a game. Guys, he is 20 years old. He scored 51 points in the second half against the Celtics. Just the sixth player ever to score that many points in the NBA game.

However the Suns lost to the Celtics 130-120, but they are having some fun with it. He is holding the Wilt Chamberlain sign with 70 on it. Victor, I made one for you of how many points you scored in the NBA last night.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Zero. The big egg.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: And they still lost. One man gets to 70 and they still lose.

PAUL: I was thinking the same thing. That's tough. Andy Scholes, thank you.

BLACKWELL: Thank you for that, Andy.

SCHOLES: You're welcome.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The art of no deal. President Trump in a stunning defeat abruptly cancelled the vote on the Republican health care bill, facing what would have been an embarrassing loss.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republicans could not get their act together.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president told the House speaker, I'm pulling the bill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will not sugarcoat this, this is a disappointing day for us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is an embarrassment for the White House and House Republicans.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We are going to stop it day one. I never said repeal and replace Obamacare. I never said repeal it and replace it within 64 days. That's a long time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Democrats should take credit for killing a really, really bad piece of legislation.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: The losers are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, now they own Obamacare. They own it.


PAUL: Well, good morning to you on this Saturday. We are so grateful to have you with us. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you. President Trump now says he is moving on after one of his biggest campaign promises goes nowhere, but what does the failure to repeal Obamacare really mean for the rest of his agenda?

PAUL: Yes, this morning, President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan coming to grips with this stunning setback on their first piece of business under the new administration, the GOP bill, to roll back key provisions of Obamacare abruptly abandoned yesterday before (inaudible) comes to a vote.

BLACKWELL: Republicans have full control of power in Washington, but, the president and speaker could not wrangle enough votes within their party and the blame game, we know, has already begun.

This morning, our team of political correspondents and experts are standing by to break it all down for us. Let's begin with CNN's Ryan Nobles for more on the finger pointing on Washington, which actually began, Ryan, before the decision to pull the bill was announced.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Victor. You really got the sense about mid-day yesterday that this wasn't going to happen and we heard from the White House that they were a little bit concerned about the priorities that House Speaker Paul Ryan had put into place in terms of a legislative agenda.

Really at this point, the president and his team are trying to shake it off and just move on to the next thing. But make no mistake about it, this is a pretty big setback for the Trump administration and, in particular, the president's agenda.

Repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act was one of his biggest campaign promises and this was really his first attempt to drive through an important piece of legislation and it failed. But the president not pitting the blame on any Republican, but, instead, Democrats in Congress.


PRESIDENT TRUMP: I think the losers are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer because now they own Obamacare. They own it, 100 percent own it, and this is not a Republican healthcare. This is not anything but a Democrat healthcare and they have Obamacare for a little while longer until it ceases to exist, which it will at some point in the near future. And just remember this is not our bill, this is their bill.


NOBLES: And as you alluded to, Victor, there is some angst in the White House that House Speaker Paul Ryan chose healthcare as the first item on the legislative agenda instead of something that Republicans have brought and support for like tax reform.

And at this point, you have to look at this as a reality check for President Trump. This is not how a private corporation works. Washington is much different. You need partners and you need those partners in Congress. This is something that he's going to have to get used to as he moves on and tries to enact that agenda -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: We will certainly talk about that. Ryan Nobles in Washington, thank you.

PAUL: CNN national correspondent, Suzanne Malveaux, live for us now from Capitol Hill. So Suzanne, Ryan talked about it, is tax reform next on the agenda?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's one of the things that's next on the agenda, Christi. What we're seeing now this weekend as lawmakers are at home with their constituents having to explain all of this and needless to say Democrats are elated by what happened and Republicans deeply divided in disarray over the lack of the vote, the pulling of the legislation.

The House Freedom Caucus very much emboldened by taking a stand early on and very consistent against the repeal and replace Obamacare plan. Moderate Republicans very much concerned that the party is leaning too much to the right and that that caucus has too much power.

[08:05:05]We heard from House Speaker Paul Ryan yesterday and in a stunning admission, he said that for ten years Republicans have been the opposition party. They're now the governing party and that they really aren't ready for primetime.

So, it is up to Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to try to find a way to bring these factions to the party together and also find some common ground with Democrats to push forward an agenda that can pass. Here's a little bit of the outtakes from yesterday.


REPRESENTATIVE ANDY BARR (R), KENTUCKY: What I'm going to say to all of us, members of the Freedom Caucus and member of my Study Committee and to the Tuesday Group, I think we -- and the White House, we all need to kind of reflect on this moment and recognize that in a diverse legislative body, you know, you have to come together at some point and recognize that 80 percent is not bad. It's a step in the right direction.

REPRESENTATIVE JUSTIN AMASH (R), MICHIGAN: From the beginning of the process, I think that the way it was set up did not bring the desperate parts of the conference together. So we need to start from the beginning making sure that all of the concerns are addressed.

REPRESENTATIVE STEVE WOMACK (R), ARKANSAS: This is going to be an ongoing leadership challenge for the governing majority.


MALVEAUX: As for the Democrats, they are emboldened and they are putting Republicans on notice. First that they are preparing for a filibuster of Trump Supreme Court nominee.

Second, that they are targeting vulnerable Republicans, 15 of them from competitive districts who voted yes in certain committees along the way to advance the repeal and replace Obamacare plan.

Finally they say to Republicans, look, if you're identifying all these problems with Obamacare that is so bad for the American people, it is still up to the majority party to actually fix it.

PAUL: All right, Suzanne Malveaux, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

Let's talk now with CNN political commentator, Errol Louis, and Lynn Sweet, Washington bureau chief for the "Chicago Sun Times." I want to listen to or actually read you Hillary Clinton's tweet because she is chiming in on this.

Saying "Today was a victory," meaning yesterday, "for the 24 million people at risk of losing their health insurance. For seniors, families battling the quiet epidemic of addiction, for new moms and women everywhere."

She went on to say, "The fight isn't over yet. We'll have to push back on future bad ideas." So, considering the fact that President Trump is saying, look, we're just going to move on and let this be what it is.

Do you anticipate in that last comment that she made there the fight isn't over yet, we're going to have to push back on future bad ideas? Do those bad ideas, do you think, in many opinions, include the tax code and infrastructure that President Trump wants to tackle, Errol?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, there will be fights over some of them, infrastructure, in particular, which is one of the ones that you would thought be brought bipartisan agreement, however, the Trump team wants to fund it using tax credit. So, there's going to be a big fight over that.

But, I think to your larger point, you know, this is something that conservatives feared about Obamacare right from the beginning, which was that it would become entrenched and part of a way of life and join Social Security and Medicare which Republicans had also opposed at their initiation as major entitlements that the country becomes used to. This was something that they openly voiced fears about and now it seems to be coming to pass.

PAUL: Would the tax code had been a better choice for the first battle, Lynn?

LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "CHICAGO SUN TIMES": Yes on political grounds. No on technical governing grounds because you would want to know that you had the tax cuts in place as part of a repeal of Obamacare.

But having said that, one of the things that Paul Ryan said yesterday and I'm paraphrasing is that we have to think about sacrificing the perfect for the good and what happened is when you have purists who won't compromise, you get, you sometimes get nothing, which is what happened within the Republican ranks.

So the other thing I want to point out is there are still a series of decisions that have to be made that are routinely have to be made with Obamacare still being the law. So, when President Trump talks about it exploding, he's still responsible for administrating this nation. He is the president.

You can't let something explode by neglect. He is the landlord. He has to have the roof fixed and the heat on and the basement dry. So, it's -- it will be interesting to see how he navigates because he can't neglect and just turn away from laws he doesn't like.

So, when we turn to the tax code, he now has learned as he also said yesterday, there are laws that govern how Congress works. That's just how it is. So, maybe if this has been a learning episode for President Trump when he looks at tax code issues, he may be more willing to understand that you can't blame other people for giving you advice.

[08:10:11]PAUL: Yes, there may be a lot of people --

SWEET: You have to understand how Washington works.

PAUL: I got you, Lynn. Errol, there are people watching who have Obamacare saying it works for me. What do you mean you allow it to explode? The CBO report, we should point out, says that Obamacare is not necessarily collapsing under its own weight. But Representative Chris Coons had this to say about what he suspects could take down the ACA and he believes it is Republicans. Take a listen.


REPRESENTATIVE CHRIS COONS (D), DELAWARE: There's rulings that the secretary of Health and Human Services can make that would deny some of the reimbursement standards for insurance that would remove some of the impact of the mandate. They've already been trying to make changes to the Affordable Care Act that will make it harder for it to survive.


PAUL: Is there any indication, Errol, that there are deliberate actions being taken to accelerate the failure of Obamacare and, if so, what does that mean for people who have it? LOUIS: It's troubling, of course, but we do know that at the local level and not just through administrative actions taken by the secretary of HHS, but even the states, we've seen over and over again, if they don't want to create their own exchange to sort of help people find their way to affordable health care, they don't have to do it.

We know that with the Medicaid expansion, they can either take it or leave it and many states have left it. So, yes, there's going to be a continued battle over whether or not government should be involved in helping individuals and individual families cope with the enormous complexity and cost and heart break and disaster that can attend trying to get health care for themselves and their loved ones.

You know, I'm not sure exactly how long it's going to take before people realize that the public expects the government to be on their side when it comes to dealing with all of this stuff. But, you know, there are folks who are making a political career out of trying to deny that. They tried again yesterday. It failed, but I expect them to try, again.

PAUL: Real quickly, Lynn, Gloria Borger said at one point before this that Donald Trump takes names. There may be some enemies he will pinpoint in this vote that did not happen. Is there any sense that Paul Ryan pulled the vote in some sense to protect some of his colleagues?

SWEET: No, because the White House has the whip count and so our viewers know, that's an insider term for the count of counting noses for how people are going to vote. I think the reason you pull a vote is to avoid a more embarrassing exposure of a public rift.

And that's why you didn't have the roll call so it could be used even more forcefully publicly against people who are members of the House. But now the White House knows, Trump knows and if he wants to retaliate, he can.

But when we talk about people in the future of Medicaid right now, the most important person is the little known new appointee of the director of Medicare and Medicaid named Seema Verma (ph), who has extensive authority and I'm bringing this up to underscore Errol's point to grant state wavers.

It's been routine for states to ask for some latitude in putting out their rules for Medicaid programs and it will be now even more interesting to look at what she is doing in helping make things work rather than throwing up road blocks.

PAUL: All righty. Errol Louis, Lynn Sweet, always appreciate your perspectives. Thank you for being here.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about the next big item on the president's agenda, tax reform. House Speaker Ryan telling the country that the GOP health care laws will make changing the tax code much more difficult, but not impossible.

PAUL: Also, more drama on Capitol Hill over the Trump/Russia investigation. The House Intel chair cancels next week's public hearing and the top Democrat calling for an independent commission now.




PRESIDENT TRUMP: I never said -- I guess I'm here, what, 64 days. I never said repeal and replace Obamacare. You all heard my speeches. I never said repeal it and replace it within 64 days, have a long time.


BLACKWELL: Well, we also know that during the campaign, the president said that he would start the process of repealing on day one. President Trump changing his tune after promising to repeal and replace Obamacare immediately after taking office. The failed GOP healthcare bill is yet another blow to the administration.

Let's bring in Jack Kingston, CNN political commentator and Trump supporter, was actually adviser to the campaign and transition team. Jack, good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: Reconcile those for us just off the top, the president saying yesterday in the oval office, I have a lot of time. No one said 64 days when in fact he said on day one.

KINGSTON: And you know, I think there is a reality here that so often in politics we say we're going to do it immediately and we're going to get it done on the first day because that's what our crowds want to hear and we get somewhat caught in the moment.

But the truth is you have to deal with 435 very, very strong egos in Congress and 170 members of the Senate and then there's 320 million constituencies that are out there who take healthcare very personally and I think what we've learned now is that number one healthcare is extremely difficult (inaudible) of the economy. Number two --

BLACKWELL: The president said that he -- who knew it was so complicated. He now knows.

KINGSTON: You're right on that. I think the other thing, though, it's not rigged. That's one thing that all Americans should say. You know what, we can't accuse the GOP of having some slick back room deal that they cram down because it shows that it is a very Democratic with a small d process. But number three --

BLACKWELL: Well, there were some people who would argue against that considering that there were no amendments initially offered or accepted, and this process took about 60 days or so from the start of the administration to the point that it wasn't viable. [08:20:13]KINGSTON: Well, yes, and you're right on that. You know, this was a top down approach and had it gone through, people could have said it was rigged, but it did not go through because the grassroots members said, no. I hadn't had my town -- this hasn't been processed properly.

So to me, it gets to point number three is this a great opportunity for the GOP to say lesson learned from here on out, we're going to go through regular order and have lots of field hearings and lots of amendments and try to do everything we can to bring Democrats on board and certainly get our own team, moderates, and conservatives together.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about something else that the president said yesterday in the oval office. Let's watch and then we'll talk.


PRESIDENT TRUMP: I've been saying for the last year and a half that the best thing we can do politically speaking is let Obamacare explode. It's imploding and soon will explode, and it's not going to be pretty. So, the Democrats don't want to see that. So they're going to reach out when they're ready.


BLACKWELL: You know, Jack, I read really interesting interview from 2013 where this Congressman who was running for senate offered to fix and he said this, "A lot of conservatives say let's just step back and let this thing fall to pieces on its own. I don't think that's always the responsible thing to do." That Congressman was Jack Kingston. Is the president's suggestion here the responsible thing to do?

KINGSTON: I think it's only responsible if he means the threat of it. If he means the reality of it, then you're going to have millions of people who will be without health care and that's not a good thing for America. It's certainly not a good thing for this administration to advocate, but I believe --

BLACKWELL: So are the words empty then? I mean, if he just means the threat and he doesn't really intend to go through with it?

KINGSTON: I don't think he intends to go through with it. You know, Bernie Sanders on CNN last night said the premiums and the deductibles are too high. And I believe that every Democrat and Republican will admit that.

That's one piece of common ground. The premiums are going up and premiums are too high and the deductibles for some families are as high as 10 percent of their household income.

So, if the president is saying, you know, it's not sustainable, it will collapse. So, let's all get together and do something. I think then that's a positive statement.

BLACKWELL: One more thing, Jack, you know, the president throughout the campaign and since he's been in office has described the "Washington Post" as phony and dishonest and everybody knows he says calls "New York Times," the failing "New York Times." But who did the president call as soon as the bill was pulled "The Washington Post" and "New York Times." Why?

KINGSTON: You know, I'm not exactly sure, but I think he just wanted to get the information out. I think with the president and I think many of us in politics probably all of us is that, you know, who was your enemy on Monday might not be your enemy on Tuesday and they may be your friend by Wednesday and, so, I think philosophies shift in terms of alliances.

BLACKWELL: And that applies to negotiating large pieces of legislation, as well. Jack Kingston, thanks so much.

KINGSTON: Great to be with you guys.

BLACKWELL: All right.

PAUL: Well, the White House and House Republicans say the health care battle is over for now as we were discussing. President Trump declaring let it explode as Victor talked about. There's still the question about what about the millions of Republicans who say they're suffering under Obamacare as it is. Who should be responsible for saving it in that regard?

BLACKWELL: Plus the once friendly conservative media now turning on President Trump after this failed healthcare bill. What they're saying and why it might change the president's outlook.



PAUL: Well, good morning to you. It's 28 minutes past the hour right now. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning. This is the biggest defeat of President Trump's new administration. The Republicans plan to repeal and replace Obamacare died before it even got a vote on the House floor. Shortly after what President Trump declared, let Obamacare explode.

PAUL: The president and House Speaker Paul Ryan now say that they want to move on. They want to tackle tax reform, but both concede their job of rewriting the tax code just got significantly tougher. Our Dana Bash pressed Speaker Ryan on what he and his fellow Congressmen should tell the American people now.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Mr. Speaker, you all swept the House, won the majority with the promise to repeal Obamacare. The majority in the Senate with the promise to repeal Obamacare. The White House with the promise to repeal Obamacare. How do you go home to your constituents and send all your members home to their constituents saying, you know what, it's not even 100 days into the administration. Sorry, folks, we just can't figure it out.

REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: Dana, it's a really good question. I wish I had a better answer for you. I really believe that Obamacare is a law that is collapsing and hurting families. It's not working. It was designed in a fundamentally flawed way. We believe this bill was the best way to go, but we just didn't quite get the consensus to get there.


PAUL: And the blame game has already started with the White House publicly pointing the finger at Democrats, not at Speaker Ryan.

BLACKWELL: All right, let's talk now with our panel about the implications here, Zachary Wolf, managing editor for, Errol Louis, CNN political commentator and political anchor for Spectrum News, and Lynn Sweet, Washington bureau chief for the "Chicago Sun Times."

Lynn, let me start with you. We were talking about "Oceans 11," the movie a little earlier and there is a scene in the movie where Don Cheedal and the gang, they finally get into the safe and the alarm goes off.

And Cheedal turns to the guy whose job it was to turn off that alarm and say, you had one job, right. I feel like there are people who will talk to these members of Congress, and say, we sent you there for one job and they did not get it done.

SWEET: I that movie, OK? I love that you bring it up. But in the end, they were able to pull off the heist.

BLACKWELL: Yes, that's true.

SWEET: So, if you look at getting the job done, what Trump was trying to do was change the subject to pivot saying, I've got four years, it's only 64 days, sooner or later we'll get it done. No, it doesn't work like that when you make the promises that you made for members. OK. And that's why, by the way, they just didn't have the vote. It would have been more put in concrete the members who disagree.

Now, having said that, you can't pretend that this has not been a central, central calling card of the Republicans and they couldn't get it done, they couldn't figure out not just consensus, they couldn't figure out a way, to have a path forward that even could strip off a few Democrats just in case. That's what legislators do.

The only number that counts, that counted Friday was 216 votes. Everybody knew that going in. It was a big learning curve for the president and that is going to be not ignored by people in these districts who did say we sent you to repeal Obamacare and you couldn't even do that, much less a replacement, which is why this is going to be so important as to whether or not the Trump administration is willing to mend it as it goes along.

BLACKWELL: So, Zachary, let's talk about that point. This becomes less and less likely and more difficult, the closer you get to those midterms. Is the Obamacare repeal - we could set replace off to the side for a moment. Is the repeal off the table? Do they just have to move on?

ZACHARY WOLF, CNN POLITICS MANAGING EDITOR: Well, that's what they're saying. And that was their big ultimatum, leading into this, is that they had to tell their members this is your one shot to do this.

BLACKWELL: But the president also said we've got a better plan, maybe a better bill coming. I hate to jump in, but I wanted to offer that as well.

WOLF: Sure. They could certainly come back and - in the future say this is what we're going to do. But the sting of this is not going to leave them. I think a lot of Democrats will certainly be happy, heading into the midterms with it.

But as far as repercussions, it turned out that repeal meant a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and the question is, are Republican voters going to understand that there are nuances to a full repeal versus a partial repeal and budget reconciliation and all that stuff. I'm not sure the voters are going to be that into the weeds on this.

BLACKWELL: Errol, we've talked a lot about how difficult it will be for the president and for the speaker to deal with such a diverse Republican Party when you've got the Tuesday group on one end and you've got the Freedom Caucus on another.

But Congress is also dealing with the president who does not subscribe to any traditional Republican orthodoxy. If you can bring in the conservatives and they'll get me a W, fine, we'll give you what you need. If we can bring in the moderates, we'll give them what they need. So, it may be hard for them as well to negotiate moving forward on tax reform, on the budget, on other items with this president.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, that's right. Ironically, I think, Victor, the president himself pointed out his own path to victory in the future, which is - he said we couldn't get even one Democratic vote.

Well, how hard did he try? To the extent that he wants to pin all of his hopes on the Republicans resolving these deep fissures within their own party, which they've been unable to deal with for the last four cycles themselves, he's going to be tied to a lot of frustration and possibly a lot more failures to come.

On the other hand, because much of what he has called for really involved keeping some key portions of Obamacare, if he had figured out some way, this master dealmaker, to sort of bring in some Democrats, bring in some Democratic ideas to sort of break the stranglehold that the Freedom Caucus has over the Republican Party, he really might have been on his way to actually shaking up politics and actually getting a win.

To the extent that he ties himself to the same sort of poisonous dynamics that brought down the last speaker and brought Paul Ryan to power, he's in, like I said, for a lot of frustration.

BLACKWELL: Let's start there, Zachary, with 'brought Paul Ryan to power.' There is talk on Breitbart, some of the conservative outlets of the uncertainty of Ryan's future, how far does that go?

You'll remember, he really didn't even want the job, but he's the only person that they could build the consensus around. Is he in jeopardy? Is his speakership in jeopardy? And who potentially could get the votes from this diverse caucus?

WOLF: It's hard to imagine who couldn't who could sort of step into that Paul Ryan role. He really did own it and in part because he didn't want the job. I think that's what made him an effective candidate because people were convincing him from different factions of the Republican Party.

[08:35:04] I'm not sure who exactly could step in. I think it's a little bit early to be talking about that until we start seeing actual challenges formulate. But you could see somebody challenge him and get the issue on the House floor and then somebody else step in. But, again, I think it's a little bit early.

But as far as the larger - let's take into account, this was going to be the easy thing for Republicans to do because they only needed Republican support. For everything else on their agenda, they'll need Democrats in the Senate to help them.

BLACKWELL: Yes. We heard from the speaker yesterday - Lynn, very quickly - where Paul Ryan said I'm not going to sugar coat this, this was disappointing. That seems like a sugar coat to me, just to call it disappointing and potentially not devastating for the caucus.

SWEET: Well, I think I've seen come back X many times in Congress and nothing is really dead ever because you could bring it back. But a quick note on Paul Ryan and why some people in the Trump camp might want to see him fail, let's think 2020. The two biggest Republicans in town, Vice President Mike Pence, Speaker Ryan. Speaker Ryan speaker ran for vice president. If he wildly succeeds, if he's seen as the leader, he could be a threat to President Trump.

BLACKWELL: All right. Talk about the primary. Lynn Sweet, Errol Louis, Zachary Wolf, thank you all.

WOLF: Thank you.

SWEET: Thank you.

LOUIS: Thanks.

PAUL: Ukrainian officials convinced Russia was behind a shocking murder that happened in broad daylight. So, the question this morning, was the victim targeted because he criticized the Kremlin. We have a live report from Moscow for you next.

BLACKWELL: Plus a "humiliating catastrophe." President Trump's failed healthcare bill catching heat from the right-wing media as we discussed. What that criticism means for the administration moving forward.


[08:40:53] PAUL: Well, new details on the London attacker this morning. We're learning that Khalid Masood made several visits to Saudi Arabia, went on a pilgrimage in the Saudi kingdom and even worked there as an English teacher.

BLACKWELL: But he was not on the radar of the security services and did not have a criminal record. Police are investigating the British- born attacker and how he became radicalized after he killed four people and injured several others in a deadly rampage earlier this week in the heart of London.

Ukraine's president calls it a Russian state terrorist act. Russian leaders called the accusation absurd and claimed Ukraine is turning into a lawless terrorist state.

PAUL: Either way, another critique of Russia's Vladimir Putin at the end of the day is dead, gunned down Thursday, broad daylight in Ukraine's capital city, Kiev. CNN's senior international correspondent Frederik Pleitgen joining us live from Moscow with more details.

Fred, we're going to roll some of the surveillance video here of the shooting. I do want to just give our viewers the heads up, some of it is disturbing, I don't want you to be caught off-guard here, but, Fred, please walk us through what happened.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Absolutely, Christi. And you're right, it is quite graphic video from a surveillance camera at the Premier Palace Hotel in Kiev, which is right in the center of that city. I actually stayed at that same hotel a couple of times.

And essentially, what appears to be happening is that Denis Voronenkov and his bodyguards are walking towards that hotel and then the killer comes from behind, first of all shoots the bodyguard and then shoots Denis Voronenkov several times at point blank, of course we know, killing him.

Afterwards, the bodyguard, who was only lightly wounded in this attack, he returns fire against the killer and we know now that the killer later died of his injuries in hospital.

So, you're absolutely right. It's graphic video, but it seems to show pretty clearly what happened there. And, of course, as this investigation is now going on by the Ukrainian authorities - we've already mentioned the fact that the Ukrainian president has blamed Russia for it.

The Ukrainians are saying they believe that the killer is a Ukrainian citizen, but that he was working for Russian security forces and, therefore, they blame Russia for this attack. The Russians, for their part, are saying that that is nonsense, Christi.

PAUL: What do we know about the witness though - or about the victim, I should say?

PLEITGEN: Yes. Denis Voronenkov was someone who quite a prominent politician here in Russia. He signed several bills and co-authored several bills here in Russia over the years. And then what happened is that he fled to Ukraine and became a Ukrainian citizen last year and became highly critical of Russia and of Vladimir Putin.

He said that things were going badly in Crimea. He criticized the mood here in Russia and around Crimea, and there is talk that he wanted to testify in a case against Viktor Yanukovych, who is the former president of Ukraine, of course the pro-Russian president who had to flee Ukraine in 2014.

And there are some who speculate that that may have been the motive for his killing. But, again, the Russians are saying, an investigation needs to happen first. They say any sort of allegations against them are untrue, Christi.

PAUL: All right. Fred Pleitgen, thank you so much for walking us through that. We appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: Well, it is no surprise that Democrats are criticizing the president's failed healthcare bill. But now some of the president's most ardent supporters, conservative media outlets are turning on him as well. We'll show you some of the explosive headlines.


[08:48:15] BLACKWELL: The once-friendly conservative media that championed President Trump's agenda is now criticizing the GOP's failed healthcare bill. Conservative website, The Drudge Report, called the fallout a Republican catastrophe.

PAUL: And Breitbart predicting that President Trump can bounce back, but the site blames Speaker Ryan for yesterday's big loss. That's something that even the president did not do. He pointed the finger at the Democrats. CNN's media analyst Bill Carter with us now.

So, Bill, president - he can make some adversaries in the conservative media now, it seems as well. I want to look at what conservative pundit Laura Ingraham said. She got on Twitter and she said this: "In 2016 @realdonaldtrump won the election by being bold. This healthcare bill was not that - whoever told him it was didn't serve him well."

She went on to say, "It looks like @realDonaldTrump and @HillaryClinton have something in common. Both were tripped up on #healthcare."

Did she have a point in your opinion?

BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Well, she is making the point, obviously, that it didn't work. And from her point of view, you promised this and it didn't come to fruition.

The thing is, with the conservative media, they're so ideologically pure that they don't give an inch. And in order to get legislation passed, you pretty much have to deal with compromise. They don't like compromise, and so they get back to the point where the parties know.

That was what plagued Obama and now it's going to plague Trump. They don't like things that are not exactly on their particular agenda, and he's going to be criticized.

Interestingly, he's now talking about, well, maybe he should bring in some Democrats to get the thing moved along, at least get something out of this. And they'll hate him for that because then he'll look like a RINO to them.

[08:50:01] PAUL: Well, Bill, wanted to get your opinion too on what you make of the fact that Donald Trump has spent months calling "The New York Times" fake news and whatnot, but yet it was "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post" whom he called to let them know, 'hey, we're pulling the vote on this.'

CARTER: Well, two things. First of all, the conservative media was giving him trouble and the Freedom Caucus was his biggest problem. So, turning to conservative media there to give this explanation, (INAUDIBLE) blowback for that.

He goes to the real media because he still respects them, all the rest is rhetoric. He knows where to get his message out for the entire country. At some point, a president becomes the president for the whole country, not just for his constituency.

And maybe he's thinking about, in this case, he bent way far to the right to try to satisfy the Freedom Caucus and that didn't work either. I think he went to the media that he knows is respectful and will be objective and give him some sort of fair analysis of what really happened.

PAUL: So, after this loss, you're talking about what he's learning in these first 65 days about government as opposed to, say, business, how do you - do you think, I should maybe ask, we will see a different kind of President Trump as a negotiator moving forward?

CARTER: He thinks about it. I do think he'll come to the conclusion that he has to bring in all the sides. I don't think he's an ideologue the way some of the Republicans thought he was, certainly the way the conservatives think he is.

He kept saying this bill would cover everybody. It would be a perfect bill. It was so far from that in every way that I think he has to drop back and say, maybe we need something that does bring in more people.

By the way, he doesn't understand or pay attention to all the details of this, and so I think he feels failed by the people who are pushing this agenda. And I think he will come to the conclusion that he has to reach out and bring in Democrats and bring in people with different opinions if he is going to get anything done.

PAUL: So, you're talking about the fact that he dedicated, so to speak, more than he governed himself. Do you think that's going to change? CARTER: Well, in every meeting that we saw detailed in several of the postmortems here, he was just talking about we need to win for our team, we need to win for our team. He wasn't getting down in the weeds because he didn't ever really understand the full parameters of the policy.

He's not interested in that the way Paul Ryan is. That's not his thing. And I don't think he ever could sit there and take an exam and pass on what was in the bill or not. He just was looking for a win for the team.

PAUL: I don't know if you were in front of your TV last night, Bill, when - during any of the NCAA games, but there was an ad that run - they were actually several ads that ran Virginia, California, Iowa, Texas during the basketball game. Let's take a look here.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Republicans are keeping their promise with a new plan for better healthcare. More choices and lower cost. Putting doctors and patients in charge again. No more big government penalties or job-killing mandates. New tax credits to make insurance cheaper and real protection for people with pre-existing condition.

Thank Congresswoman Barbara Comstock for keeping her promise and replacing the Affordable Care Act with a better healthcare that you deserve.


PAUL: All right. So, that was prematurely bought and run by Super PAC American Action Network. What do you make of the fact that they were so convinced this was going to pass?

CARTER: Well, so was the (INAUDIBLE). They were confident in the tournament too. It doesn't make sense to put that ad out before you know what's going to happen, especially in Congress.

By the way, Barbara Comstock voted against - was going to work against it and there they are celebrating her. It just looks so foolish. Don't stick your neck out in politics, you're going to get your head chopped off.

PAUL: Alrighty. Good point, Bill Carter. Appreciate you being here, sir. Thank you.

CARTER: Great to be with you, Christi.

PAUL: And we'll be right back.


[08:58:15] BLACKWELL: This week's Impacting Your World takes us to homes being built for poor families in Mexico by the Christian organization, Homes of Hope International.

PAUL: Listen.


SEAN LAMBERT, FOUNDER, HOMES OF HOPE INTERNATIONAL: When people get a house, they actually think differently about their own future and that's the power of Homes of Hope. We build a structure for those that own their own land, but need a little bit of help with their house.

Our primary focus has been in the Americas. In the Northern Baja area, which includes Ensenada and Tijuana, we do 16 x 20 and 20 x 20 houses. And they have three windows and a door, electrical drywall, very livable house. Every family has to have income. They have to own their own land. And they have to have children.

Luis and Susan (ph) have got four beautiful children. They're living in a 6' x 10' tarp over some dirt.

LUIS CORTES ARRIAGA, HOMEOWNER (via translator): It was difficult to sleep at night. All of us on the same mattress. Now, we're more comfortable. Everyone has their own space. And now we can sleep with our arms stretched out.

LAMBERT: To see the joy in their face and the excitement, that's my biggest takeaway. I'm going to see that image probably for the rest of my life.

SUSAN (ph) (via translator): There's a lot of love coming from people that do not know you. Yet they give you a lot of love and so much security.


PAUL: For more information on Homes of Hope International, go to

BLACKWELL: All right. That's it for us. We'll see you back here at 10 o'clock for "NEWSROOM."

PAUL: Don't go anywhere. "SMERCONISH" is waiting for you right now.