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Judge Jeanine Shapiro Called On House Speaker Paul Ryan To Step Down As House Speaker; Formal Investigation That Iraqi Civilians In West Mosul On Allegedly Were Killed By Airstrikes; Congressman Ted Poe Has Resigned From The House Freedom Caucus; Tax Reform Bill Next On The Agenda After Failed Health Care Bill; Inmates Escape Mexican Jail; Victims Of Domestic Violent Silent On Fears Of Deportation. Anti- Corruption Protests In Russia. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired March 26, 2017 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not the end of the debate. It's like saying that Tom Brady lost at halftime.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: CNN NEWSROOM starts now.
Hello again. Thanks so much for joining me in Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
All right. The finger pointing in our nation's capital is in overdrive in the wake of the disastrous failure of the Republican health care bill. And there's plenty blame being passed around. This morning, President Trump saying the Democrats, the conservative freedom caucus and other GOP groups were at fault and tweeting those lawmakers and groups had saved Planned Parenthood and Obamacare.
CNN White House correspondent Athena Jones is covering this for us.
Athena, Republican source told CNN that President and Speaker Ryan spoke yesterday for an hour and that the relationship is stronger than ever. And I understand they spoke again today. What are you hearing?
ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi Fred. That's' right. They have been speaking quite a lot lately. But the conversation today has some interesting background. That's because the President yesterday morning tweeted out a promo for a FOX News show what was coming on yesterday night, Judge Jeanine Pirro show.
All day, FOX was airing promos saying that there would be some sort of new wiretapping details in the show last night. Those details didn't emerged in terms on anything truly new. What did emerge is that judge Jeanine Shapiro, in her opening statement, called on House speaker Paul Ryan to step down as House speaker because of his failure to deliver the votes in that Obamacare repeal effort. And so, the fact that she made that big statement in her opening statement raised a lot of question, folks asking and wondering what the President meant, did he know that was coming?
And so, my colleague, Ally Malloy (ph), spoke with Paul Ryan's spokesperson who said that the house speaker and the President spoke again today, and the President was clear his tweet had nothing to do with the speaker. They are both eager to get back to work on the agenda.
And, Fred, that is essentially, the message we have been hearing from the White House for the last several days. They are not blaming House speaker Paul Ryan. If anything behind the scenes they are blaming the House freedom caucus, that conservative group of house Republicans for blocking the repeal effort.
The chief of staff Reince Priebus talked about the way forward legislatively and how the President, the White House's legislative strategy my change going forward. This was on FOX News this morning. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REINCE PRIEBUS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I think it's more or less a warning shot that we are willing to talk to anyone. We always have been. And I think more so now than ever, it's time for both parties to come together and get to real reforms in this country, whether it be taxes, whether it be health care, whether it be immigration, whether it be infrastructure, this President is ready to lead. And sort of, you know, over with the games in the legislature.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: So there you heard him say the President is ready to lead. They are willing to talk to anyone, work with both parties. The problem is, when it comes to the games in the legislature, part of governing is dealing with the legislature, whether you call it games or not, the White House and the President have to find a way to work with House Republicans. That means the House Republican leadership, House conservatives, moderate Republicans in the House and also Democrats. The chief of staff mentioned working with Democrats several times in that interview on FOX this morning. But the problem is that while you have the President in tweets and in comments bashing Democrats that doesn't necessarily make Democrats eager to come to the table. So I think the White House is still figuring out what the path forward is going to look like when it comes to working with all sorts of parts of Capitol Hill -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: Yes. The President said Friday, lots of lessons learned, presumably that might be one of them.
Athena Jones at the White House, thank you so much.
All right. Let's discuss all of this with my panel now. Joining me again, Julian Zelizer, a historian and professor at Princeton University. Brian Morgenstern, a Republican strategist. Ellis Henican, a political analyst and a Dylan Byers, a CNN senior reporter for media and politics. Welcome back to all of you on a lovely Sunday.
All right. So I want to begin with this tweet that the President sent yesterday urging his followers to watch a show on FOX News and when they did tune in, they watched the host called for Speaker Ryan to step down. The President had apparently since told speaker Ryan, that that's not what he was - that's the sentiment that he was trying to convey. This is what was said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE JEANINE PIRRO, FOX NEWS HOST: Paul Ryan needs to step down as speaker of the house. The reason? He failed to deliver the votes on his health care bill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: OK. So, conservative websites are really running away with this, even though we have heard through Athena's reporting and otherwise that the President says this is not my sentiment.
So Dylan, what are you learning about the back story of this tweet, the fallout, the whole sequence of events?
[16:05:00] DYLAN BYERS, CNN SENIOR REPORTER FOR MEDIA AND POLITICS: Well, the kind at least coming from sources in the White House that I have spoken with is that this is not at all trying to impugn Ryan. The President wasn't trying to draw people's attention to this notion that Ryan somehow needed to step down. If you remember from yesterday that countdown clock on FOX News was actually advertising new details, new developments on this notion that Donald Trump had been under surveillance while he was President-elect. So I think that may very likely have been what he was referring to when he sent out his tweet.
Now, I will say it's highly possible, you know, it ultimately looks good for Trump if more of the responsibility for the failure of the health care legislation is offloaded off to Ryan. That said, he needs Ryan. And I think ultimately, this White House has decided that while they don't want to bear any of that blame, they would like to continue working with Ryan because they have alienated the freedom caucus. They have certainly alienated Democrats. They are going to need one of those two groups if they want to be successful in passing any legislation going forward. So I think Athena's reporting is spot on and I think at least in that regard, we have to take the President at his words.
WHITFIELD: Yes. So Julian, kind of lay out the landscape here. You know, the President, while he has, you know, been quoted as saying before, you know, that he I don't need anybody, I'll go it alone, he really does need to be able to work with the conservative, you know, freedom caucus or the more moderate, you know, Tuesday group and even Democrats. So what kind of homework, you know, would you assign for the President at this point in terms of how to negotiate, how the make deals as it pertains to working with Capitol Hill?
JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, the problems that he faces with the freedom caucus, he could just study what happened in the Republicans under Obama. The freedom caucus has enough numbers to cause problems on almost any bill in the House, yet their proposals don't draw support certainly from Democrats and even from the handful of moderate Republicans that exist.
So the best bet for President Trump which is going to be difficult is a coalition of moderate Republicans, few freedom caucus members and if he could get any Democrats who are vulnerable, that's the only coalition that will work.
This is a Republican problem that he is facing. They have moved far to the right, this caucus since 2010 and it's very hard to form a coalition or a compromise with there being a big presence in the caucus.
WHITFIELD: The President has, you know, placed a lot of blame. He talked about blaming the Democrats and then in his tweet, he did, you know, blame conservative groups like the freedom caucus. Well this is the chairman of that caucus this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MARK MEADOWS (R), FREEDOM CAUCUS CHAIRMAN: Well, I mean, at this particular point, I can tell you no one has been more self-critiquing than me. I can tell you as I have looked at all of this, I said, you know, could I have spent a little bit more time? Should I have spent more time with the Tuesday group, more time with Democrats to find some consensus?
And so, as we look at this today, this is not the end of the debate. You know, this is like I had one of my friends call me the other day. He said it's like saying that Tom Brady lost at halftime. You know, we may be in overtime, but I can tell you at the very end of the day, the most valuable player will be President Trump on this because he will delivered. He is committed to the American people, and we are committed to helping him get there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So, Brian, is it "Kumbaya"?
BRIAN MORGENSTERN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, it has to get closer to "Kumbaya." Because there are so many problems with the existing health care system that it seems to be unsustainable and going without a fix seems to be an impossible option or just not even an option at all.
I think the question, if you're not going to have Ryan as speaker, and I think you will continue to have Ryan as speaker, is who else is going to do that job? I mean, the job of speaker, a lot of people compare it to sausage making. I compare it to herding cats. As soon as you have one's attention, another one darts under the bed chasing a mouse.
It's really hard to keep everybody on the same page, long enough to pass a bill. And the question you have to ask is there someone better at uniting the caucus? Is there someone better at working with the White House? And it's just hard to find a better - a more sort of unifying figure than Ryan at in point. But you know, they need to get on the same page and fix this thing. It is just a matter of - I mean, is there anybody better to do it? Probably not.
WHITFIELD: And there bat a lot of division that perhaps this whole battle for health care, help reveal the schisms, the divides are very great. So our Dana Bash and Jim Acosta have been doing some great reporting
getting to real details of what it's been like, you know, in the room with the President leading up to, you know, pulling that vote. And in one meeting held with moderate Republicans, reportedly lawmakers went around the room and answered, you know, where they stood on the bill, and when Congressman Charlie Dent said he was a no, Trump reportedly replied quote "why am I even talking to you?"
So that kind of blunt talk may have worked, you know, in real estate deals but it doesn't appear to be that effective as it pertains to politics, does it, Julian?
[16:10:18] ZELIZER: Well, it can be. But I don't think the threat itself is very effective. I think the threat at legislative response to is back in their district. And if they are feeling that either from the right or the center that they are going to lose in the primary going into 2018, that will get them to move.
But just an empty rhetorical threat doesn't move members of Congress, it never has, it won't right now and I think he has to learn that. He has to really think about how to change their consensus and how to keep their job.
ELLIS HENICAN, POLITICAL COLUMNIST: Well, listen. Donald Trump, it all comes back to him, doesn't it? He shows up in Washington and then he expresses surprise that there's a Congress there, right. I mean, I understand he was a businessman. But you would expect some level of interest and engagement of the political system as it is. It turns out, I guess, that being a real estate developer maybe isn't really such a good training for this job. And maybe the apprentice idea really is more his view of the presidency, not a television show.
WHITFIELD: So in that same reporting of, you know, Dana and Jim Acosta, who talked to people who had some familiarity of what happened in that room. And one, you know, caucus member described Trump's approach to this health care bill by saying quote "he wanted to talk about the big picture." But what was absent, Dylan, according to some in the room, at least this one person in the room saying, he didn't seem to know the specifics of the deal. And so, it was difficult for him to persuade anybody if he is not able to sell it by knowing the product.
BYERS: Well, right. That's absolutely right. And that's when we are seeing the, you know, inexperience starts to have sort of real world ramifications. You know, Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary went out and said time and time again, that the President had left it all on the field. That he had done everything in his power to try and whip the votes and get this bill to pass.
Mohammad Ali left it all on the field in 1974. The New England Patriot left it all in the field in the last Super Bowl. Trump did not leave it all on the field. This was not the sort of fight that you have seen from past Presidents when they really want to push legislation through. And I think it's, you know, I think it is waking up to a harsh reality for the President to understand that getting deals done politically is much different from getting deals done in the world of business.
WHITFIELD: Brian, he does not usually exhibit being the personality who wants to change his style very much. But is this an occasion in which he has got to be self-reflective and say, you know what, maybe the way I do things doesn't necessarily work. This is a whole new ball game and maybe a new strategy is afoot?
MORGENSTERN: Well, I think his tendency to use public pressure on members I think is a powerful tool. I think maybe just directing it a little differently and finding the members who are gettable and then finding a part of that policy that's going to have a big effect on their district, and then going to the district, you know, landing in air force one and giving a speech about that. I think, you know, maybe getting a little bit more granular in his applying of pressure, I think might be the way forward. Maybe that is the lesson he takes out of this.
WHITFIELD: So it's been real contentious, you know, trying to get this bill through. But we are also seeing in some pro-Trump rallies that it's gotten pretty contentious in certain parts across the country too, one in California. This rally turned violent. At least Trump supporter was beaten with a make America great again sign. And the two sides has several scuffles there. So how much does this, you know, division and lack of unity fall on the President, Julian, or if it didn't fall on him, how important is it to address what's happening or unfolding in certain pockets of the country?
ZELIZER: Look. Some of his problems, whether it is the tension and violence at a protest or whether it is the chaos and failure on Capitol Hill, he has to take some of the blame. And part of it is him not addressing these kinds of issues when they emerged. Part of it is him distracting himself and distracting the Republican Party with tweets in issues that the GOP doesn't really want to focus on right now and eroding the good will of his party.
So I think while he likes to blame many people for the problems he faces, it is time to look in the mirror and to see how some of these is being caused by his own rhetoric and his own strategies.
HENICAN: You know, I would add one other piece to Julian's list there, is he really needs to learn this in some detail. If you listen to the congressmen who felt frustrated by. One of the things they kept saying over and over again, was that he just didn't seem to know the details of the bill. He couldn't actually make an argument for it other than to say hey. We got to win something here. You got to be with me on this. You can't convince somebody to love something that they hate unless you can make a specific argument. And next time around, if it is tax reform or whatever it is, he just got to know the issue better.
[16:15:12] WHITFIELD: Dylan, Wouldn't most people think that he would know that? BYERS: He would. You would hope that he would know that.
Unfortunately, it is not the case.
I mean, look. If I can just say something about some of those images you were showing in term of the violence that has been going on. You know, the President has a job beyond sort of presiding over trying to pass legislation through, you know, executive orders, things of that nature. It's also about the tone of the country. It's about how Americans feel about themselves and feel about the society they live in.
What leads me to believe that none of that is going to change, is that so much of Trump's rhetoric throughout the 18-month slog that was the 2016 Presidential campaign sort of, you know, lent itself to some of this anger and frustration we are seeing. And that's really, that started boiling over during the course of the campaign. And if we're seeing it boiling over now, there's nothing about the way that the President behave before he become president that leaves me to believe that he is going to somehow become more Presidential and sort of try and tone down that rhetoric. Just in the same way that, you know, he is antagonizing both the freedom caucus and the Democrats at the same time, which like I said earlier, he is going to need one of those groups to pass any legislation through. I just don't see that happening.
WHITFIELD: All right Dylan Byers, Ellis Henican, Brian Morgenstern, Julian Zelizer, thank you, gentlemen.
ZELIZER: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right. Straight ahead, new details on the formal investigation that Iraqi civilians in west Mosul allegedly were killed by airstrikes, that's next.
[16:00:48] WHITFIELD: The U.S. says it will be deploying additional troops to Iraq to help recapture the city Mosul from ISIS fighters. The additional forces are described as being in the low hundreds. U.S. central command also releasing a statement today on an investigation into civilian deaths in Iraq saying they are investigating exactly what happened and quote "will continue to take extraordinary measures to avoid harming civilians."
There are allegations that airstrikes between March 17th and 23rd killed potentially hundreds of civilian in west Mosul.
CNN senior international correspondent Arwa Damon is in Erbil, Iraq, not far from Mosul. Pentagon reporter Ryan Browne joining me also from Washington.
So Ryan, let's begin with you. Where does this investigation stand?
RYAN BROWNE, CNN PENTAGON REPORTER: Well, Fredricka, yes. As you said, this investigation, general Votel, the commander of U.S. central command released a statement confirming the existence of the investigation. Now, we know that investigators have looked at the airstrikes in the area and they found one strike on the 17th of March that corresponds to the neighborhood where some of these reports of civilian casualties are coming from. So they are taking a closer look at that. They believed they were attacking ISIS fighters and equipment in that strike. But they are further assessing the credibility of these allegations. They called this a tragedy. But because they lack forces on the ground and were relying on secondary reports, local reports, they expected to take some time.
WHITFIELD: And Arwa, what's the reaction to the airstrikes and the ongoing battle for Mosul?
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, according to the local Iraqi commander, the counter terrorism forces commander in the area where one of these strikes took place, he said they did call it in, but that the target was an ISIS suicide truck bomber and the force of the explosion that was then generated is what caused these houses to collapse and then an eyewitness who lives a few homes down said that we spoke to, described how he and his family were flame (ph). They could hear people screaming from underneath the rubble, please safe us. We are alive. Of course, it did then take civil defense units a few days to actually get in because of the intensity of the fighting.
Look. There's a lot of anger, understandable. And there's also a lot of sorrow. The losses that people have suffered in these strikes and in the ongoing violence is insurmountable, it's indescribable and it's something that is the sad, tragic, disgusting reality that is a byproduct of this kind of warfare.
WHITFIELD: And Ryan, what do we know about these additional troops? What role they would play?
BROWNE: Well, these are troops from the 82nd airborne division. And they will be coming in as advisers. They are performing on what's call an advice and assist mission with the local Iraqi troops, as they push into this older city, this old part of Mosul, which is much more dense, much more densely populated, very narrow streets. So a much more complicated battlefield. So they are kind of give a little extra push to the Iraqi troop as they kind of face these real fighting get well dug in ISIS defenders in the days ahead.
WHITFIELD: And Arwa, ISIS, you know, facing defeat in Mosul, potentially, and then under siege in Raqqa as well, is there a feeling that they're almost done as a force to be reckoned with in that region?
DAMON: I think we need to look to history to begin to answer that question, Fredricka. And if one takes into account the fact that ISIS has had numerous, previous incarnations. That with al-Qaeda in Iraq, that was in the Islamic state of Iraq, it has been declared as previous incarnations have been declared defeated in the past. And they have only then managed to put themselves back together, re-emerge stronger, more sophisticated and more powerful than before and the concern amongst a lot of people when you speak to them is not necessarily the defeat of ISIS in terms of physical territory that it controls, but it is actually what is going to be coming next. If there's one thing that is to be learned from all of this and that is that an entity like ISIS should never be underestimated.
WHITFIELD: Arwa Damon, Ryan Browne, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.
All right, back in this country. With health care reform dead in the water, what does that signal for one of the President's other major promises? We are talking about tax reform and whether or not Republicans can deliver. Stay with us.
[16:29:34] WHITFIELD: All right. This just in to CNN, Congressman Ted Poe has resigned from the House freedom caucus after the conservative groups opposition to the GOP health care bill. In a statement, Congressman Poe said quote "in order to deliver on the conservative agenda, we have promised the American people for eight years, we must come together to find solutions to move this country forward. Saying no is easy, leading is hard, but that is what we were elected to do. Leaving this caucus will allow me to be a more effective member of Congress and advocate for the people of Texas. It is time to lead," end quote. That from Congressman Ted Poe.
[16:30:08] All right, in an effort to move past their failure to repeal and replace Obamacare, President Trump, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence have their eye set on another major campaign promise, tax reform.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Probably be going right now for tax reform, which we could have done earlier but this would have worked out better if we could have had some Democrat support. Remember this, we had no Democrat support, so now we're going to go for tax reform which I have always liked.
PAUL RYAN (R), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This does make tax reform more difficult, but it does not in any way make it impossible. We will proceed with tax reform, we will continue with tax reform. That's an issue I know quite a bit about. I used to run that committee. And we're going to go fix the rest of the tax code.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to roll our sleeves up and we're going to cut taxes across the board, for working families, small businesses and family farms.
Working with this congress, President Trump is going to pass the largest tax cut since the days of Ronald Reagan and we're going to get this American economy moving again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right, joining me now is Grover Norquist. He is the president for Americans for Tax Reform. Good to see you.
GROVER NORQUIST, PRESIDENT, AMERICANS FOR TAX REFORM: Good to be with you.
WHITFIELD: All right, so do you think it's possible for tax reform, the biggest one since Ronald Reagan according to the vice president, to be passed?
NORQUIST: The answer is yes. By undermining the president's health care reforms, it takes a trillion dollars of taxes that should have been gone. The Freedom Caucus owes the American people a trillion dollars by undermining the president's effort on health care. Now we go to tax reform, you're looking at a substantial tax reform commitment both by the president and the Republican caucus. They're taking the corporate from 35, highest in the world, that's why we're not as competitive as we need to be, down to 20 percent.
Going to full business expensing so all new business investment goes immediately expense rather than over a longer period of time. It takes the individual rates down to three rates instead of seven. It dramatically increases the personal and family exemptions. It gets rid of the debt tax, it gets rid of the AMT. It is a very pro-growth set of policies, strong -- stronger than Reagan's in 198i which brought us 4 percent growth. We're down below 2 percent now.
WHITFIELD: So all of that will require alliances on the Hill. This morning, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer had this to say about Trump's path forward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), MINORITY LEADER: They ought to get rid of repeal, drop it, it's been a flop for them because of the substance of repeal and work with us to improve it.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, ABC NEWS: One of the things that unites Republicans is tax cuts and I think we just heard some pretty big news there from Chairman Meadows saying tax reform doesn't mean you have to pay for all of your tax cuts.
SCHUMER: If you analyze George what went wrong with ACA, the president exhibited two traits that are not very helpful, and if he repeats them in tax reform, they'll get nowhere. The first is basic lack of confidence. You cannot run the presidency like you run a real estate deal. You can't tweet your way through it. You can't threaten and intimidate and say I'll walk away, it's more complicated.
But even more to the point, the president campaigned as a populist against the Democratic and Republican establishments but has been captured by the hard right, wealthy, special interest, that's who loved his proposal on the Trumpcare because it gave huge tax cuts to the rich.
If they do the same thing on tax reform and the overwhelming majority of the cuts go to the very wealthy, the special interest, corporate America and the middle class and the poor people are left out, they'll lose again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So what are your thoughts on that, because those were a couple of, you know, points he made on lack of, you know, competence, you can't intimidate people and that he accused the president of, you know, really appealing to the hard right wealthy.
NORQUIST: Here's the challenge that Chuck Schumer has and the modern Democratic Party, it's moved so far to the left over the last decade, it shrunk into a series of cities instead of being a national party as it once was. There isn't a single Democrat who is willing to vote for any reform of Obamacare.
They spent eight years defending all of the mistakes. Bill Clinton who didn't have too run for office said it was crazy. He was able to speak the truth about Obamacare, which the insurance companies lobbed and all the big businesses that wrote that table when they wrote it.
Those are the guys who are not happy at all at getting rid of all the special subsidies that Obamacare had for various corporations. Those all go away when we finally get rid of Obamacare. On tax reform, there isn't a single vote on the Democrat side
[16:35:00] for fundamental tax reform that solves the problems that we have in being noncompetitive. We had six, seven years where Obama kept saying he was willing to do something on tax reform and the only thing he ever did was demand $1.4 trillion in higher taxes as part of any deal, meaning no reform was passable.
So tax reform will pass. I think it's better to make it permanent, which means you put it in a situation inside the reconciliation package so that its deficit neutral in the out years. You can do it the way Bush did it, which is a tax cut, but it only lasts ten years. The reason it was important to do health care first is that was a trillion dollars in tax cuts, a trillion dollars in spending restraint.
It makes fundamental tax reform much more possible. The people who stabbed the president in the back and undermined health care reform did tremendous damage to the effort to get tax reform. It may not be dead, but they damaged it and that's where we need to get it fixed.
WHITFIELD: But won't it take a building, some kind of common ground with some of the very people that the president criticized for not being on board with health care? Democrats, Conservatives?
NORQUIST: Yes, you have 90 -- no, but there are no Democrat votes for cutting taxes. There are Democrat votes for raising taxes, that's what Obama wanted.
WHITFIELD: But there were no votes from Democrats on the GOP for that either.
NORQUIST: Well, 90 percent of the Republicans are on board both on where the president was on health care. Some people thought they could have negotiated a different deal, it turns out they couldn't.
WHITFIELD: And you don't see that as a blueprint for what's ahead as it pertains to tax reform or even an infrastructure bill.
NORQUIST: No, because -- first of all, tax reform will have to unfortunately because the Democrats have moved so far left, be a Republican only bill, but the votes are there for it. You also have every small businessman in every congressional district knows exactly how important tax reform is to the grocer and the butcher and every self-employed person and every small business in those districts.
No congressman is going to be able to do to his constituents right in front of them what they did to Trump on health care reform. I believe they'll come back and fix health care reform, but we will certainly get a very strong tax reform package, that will happen.
WHITFIELD: We'll leave it right there, Grover Norquist, good to see you. Thank you so much.
NORQUIST: You got it.
WHITFIELD: All right, dozens of prisoners on the loose after escaping from a massive tunnel in a prison. An update on the hunt to find them, next.
[16:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WHITFIELD: A major man hunt in Mexico after dozens of inmates broke out of a prison in an El Chapo-like escape. On Thursday, 29 inmates used this huge tunnel dug underneath the prison wall to escape. It happened about 200 miles south of the U.S-Mexico border in the town of Ciudad Victoria.
CNN correspondent Leyla Santiago joining me live now from Mexico City. So Leyla, police haven't been able to catch up to about what, half of the inmates, but then they're still searching for the others?
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wait, and actually since the last time we spoke, Fredricka, authorities have announced yet another capture. So 15 captured, 14 remain on the run. And you know, let's talk about what has happened since that escape on Thursday. On Thursday, 29 escaped through a tunnel. After that escape, one of the inmate actually during a carjacking ended up shooting someone in the city, but it's not just the dangers outside of the prison, also inside.
When authorities went in to search some of those cells to try to regain control, re-establish order, a prison riot broke out. And some of those inmates actually set debris on fire. Three of those inmates were stabbed to death and one still remains in the hospital with injuries.
WHITFIELD: And so how long is it expected those inmates or someone must have taken in order to dig that tunnel?
SANTIAGO: Yes, you better believe that will be a key question of the investigation. When I called the prison this morning, they actually were not answering our questions citing security, but what we know about that tunnel, it was about 15 feet deep, about 130 feet long, and what it really speaks to, Fredericka, is sort of the power of the Mexican drug cartels, not only inside, but then outside of the prisons.
And let's take it back a little bit. Just this month, the son of a well-known cartel leader escaped from a prison. And let's go back a little further, if we go back to 2015, El Chapo, as you made that reference right before we begin our conversation, El Chapo escaped through a tunnel as well.
So I think often times when we think about a U.S. prison versus a Mexican prison, what the difference is, is that power and that influence of the cartels that allow them to do such a thing, to build a tunnel that allows 29 inmates to escape.
WHITFIELD: All right, Leyla Santiago, Mexico city. Thanks so much.
Back in this country, as President Trump follows through on his campaign promise to crack down in illegal immigration, human rights group say victims of domestic violence are becoming afraid to report abuse fearing deportation. Raphael Romo speaks to a survivor facing such a dilemma.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SPOKEN IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This undocumented Mexican immigrant and mother of four says she was a victim of domestic violence for 12 years. She says that in addition to fearing her husband, she was afraid of being deported and separated from her children.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): My husband would always tell me that he was going to call immigration authorities and that they would take my children away.
[16:45:00] ROMO: Cracking down on illegal immigration was one of President Trump's main campaign promises.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We've put in place the first steps in our immigration plan ordering the immediate construction of the border wall, putting an end to catch and release.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMO: But human rights activist say the president's immigration policies are having an unintended effect. Domestic violence victims they say are now afraid to go to police.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Domestic violence victims are calling us to let us know what's happening to them and what they're going through at home but they say that they're afraid and they don't want to call the police or go to court.
ROMO: In the first weeks of the Trump presidency, immigration authorities carried out what they called routine raids throughout the country, detaining hundreds of undocumented immigrants.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADER: The disgraceful new ICE raids targeting immigrant families are deeply upsetting, cruel and designed to spread fear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMO: Organizations that protect victims of domestic violence say many immigrants who were abused don't know they can receive legal help and support regardless of their immigration status under the Violence Against Women Act of 1994. The U.S. government also offers the U visa for victims of mental or physical abuse who are willing to cooperate with police. For this undocumented mother, the U visa was the answer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (Through translator): It gave me hope that I will not be separated from my children she says.
ROMO: But activist say in this polarized environment where anti- immigrant rhetoric is common place, the message is not getting through to victims. The perpetrators of domestic violence they fear are now more likely to go unpunished. Rafael Romo, CNN.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: And hundreds of Russians arrested today for speaking out against their government. Next, what sparked these protests?
[16:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WHITFIELD: All right, big rallies in cities across Russia today protesting government corruption. As the Moscow demonstration, about 500 people were detained as according to state-run media. But a Russian human rights group put that number at more than 700.
The Russian police called the protests illegal. CNN's senior international correspondent Matthew Chance joining us live now from Moscow. So Matthew, these protests were focusing on allegations surrounding the Russian prime minister. What is he accused of doing?
MATTHEW CHANCE, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Dmitry Medvedev is his name, and he's accused of being corrupt. He's accused by the main opposition (INAUDIBLE) of controlling a sort of vast property empire, of having vineyards, of having yachts. One of the properties he's said to own has a special house that's been built for his pet duck. And so it's sort of classic, sort of corruption Eastern Europe type of allegations against him.
His spokesman for the record categorically denies all of these allegations. But it actually touched the nerve of the Russian public because thousands of people came out all across the country to voice their demand for him to resign or for him to be thrown out of office.
WHITFIELD: And so Matthew, I understand that one of those detained is a prominent Russian who also has announced he has intention to run for president next year?
CHANCE: Yes, this is Alexei Navalny. He's the main opposition figure in Russia. He's the person who called these protests. He was detained basically as soon as he reached central Moscow and has been kept in police custody overnight. He's a controversial figure in the sense that he's been accused of affinities with ultranationalists.
And so he's somebody who doesn't necessarily unite the anti-Putin opposition in this country, but nonetheless, he's got a brilliant way of cutting through social media, of getting people out onto the streets and to again, you're really tapping into this sense of injustice in this country about the level of corruption in Russia.
WHITFIELD: So does this at all reflect the popularity of President Vladimir Putin?
CHANCE: Well, I think from Putin's point of view, it's pretty worrying to see thousands of people out on the streets, although at the same time, this is a country of 140 million people. Putin's personal popularity ratings are about 84 percent, according to the last opinion polls that I've seen. And so he's in a pretty much unassailable position, it seems. But you know, these protests, these public protests, the Kremlin is very sensitive about it. It doesn't like the idea that any proportion of its population is out on the streets protesting against that is both sensitive about corruption. And so we'll be watching whether these protests develop very closely indeed.
WHITFIELD: Matthew Chance, thank you so much, reporting from Moscow. Appreciate it.
WHITFIELD: All right, here now is a look at this week's CNN Hero. She spent more than 30 years helping people struggling on a Native American reservation, meet Linda Myers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINDA MYERS, CNN HERO: You find elders without food. Many don't have running water or plumbing. One of our main goals is to keep the elders warm through the winter. It can get down to zero here at night.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
MYERS: You're welcome.
They need fires going all the time. And if they don't, then there's a greater chance that they could freeze to death.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: See how Linda is helping the Navajo nation. Go to cnnheroes.com and [16:55:00] while you're there, nominate someone you think should be a
2017 CNN hero.
All right, thanks so much for being with me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. So much more straight ahead in the "Newsroom" with Ana Cabrera.
ANA CABRERA, CNN NEWSROOM SHOW HOST: It's top of the hour, it's 5:00 here in New York, 2:00 in the afternoon out west. I'm Ana Cabrera. Thanks for being with me. You are live in the "CNN Newsroom."
Two big stories we're following tonight. Inside the beltway, the fallout from the failure of the GOP health care bill. The president blaming his own party while applauding his next move. And pundits wondering will the in-fighting doom his ambitious agenda even before his first 100 days in office are over?
[17:00:00] And in Mosul, Iraq, the Pentagon calls the death of dozens of civilians a terrible tragedy that stopped short of accepting responsibility. This, as more U.S. troops are being sent to help push ISIS out of that city.