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Scientists, Supporters Rally On Earth Day; Carter Page Denies Giving Russians Access To Trump Campaign; Pence: U.S. Will Honor Refugee Deal With Australia; Trump Teases Big Tax Reform Announcement On Wednesday; Teacher Found With Student In A Cabin To Be Arraigned Monday; DOJ To Sanctuary Cities: Comply By June Or Lose Billions; GOP Leaders Attempting A New Obamacare Overhaul; Source: Fox Payout To O'Reilly Totals $25 Million. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired April 22, 2017 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Take a look at live pictures right now from Washington, D.C., where marchers are advocating for more funding in support for science and climate change solutions.
Today's march comes just one week before President Trump's 100-day mark and while the White House says it will make a big announcement on tax reform before that landmark, new CNN reporting is shedding more light into the investigation between Russia and the 2016 election.
A source tells CNN Russia might have used Trump advisors to infiltrate his campaign or at least attempt to. This as the administration is making a major turn on immigration.
Vice President Mike Pence now saying that the U.S. will honor a controversial refugee deal with Australia allowing thousands of asylum seekers to come to the U.S.
All right, let's begin our team coverage, because there's a lot there, on this science day marches and rallies. We've got Miguel Marquez who is in the nation's capital. We'll try to check back with him.
And CNN's Rachel Crane is New York where a march is under way. Very noisy, so Rachel, what can you tell us about what's happening there?
RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, we just followed the crowd from Central Park now here in the middle of Times Square as you can see, the crowd is very spirited. Lots of homemade signs here.
The rally kicked off with a group of young public school students about 10 years old talking about their love of science, how fun they thought that it was, but as you can see, this is a very spirited crowd with very positive -- hi.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi.
CRANE: Very nice to meet you. Tell me what brought you down here. I love your sign.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
CRANE: Scientific facts not alternative facts.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We grew up during the '60s when science mattered and made this country great. It ended with the landing on the moon and that all happened because an American president inspired the nation, right. John F. Kennedy promised the nation by the end of the '60s we would land on the moon. Now almost 50 years later we have an American president disparaging the facts, denigrating science and we're here to tell him that science matters.
CRANE: Everyone is saying today, science not -- science not silence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly. And we're here not to be silent and to make him hears us.
CRANE: Thank you so much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
CRANE: And Fred, as you know, this is just one of hundreds of marches happening across the world, international day of action -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Rachel Crane in New York, thank you so much. Appreciate that. We'll continue to watch all of the rallies taking place across this nation and really across the globe.
All right, now to a new exclusive CNN reporting that adds to the emerging picture of how Russia may have tried to influence the 2016 U.S. election.
The FBI gathered intelligence last summer that suggests Russian operatives tried to use Trump advisors, including Carter Page right there, to infiltrate the Trump campaign according to U.S. officials.
Page spoke with CNN's Michael Smerconish just this morning and once again denied any wrongdoing in his contact with Russian officials.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARTER PAGE, FORMER TRUMP ADVISOR: No information I was ever asked for was anything beyond what you could see on CNN. There is great depth of reporting, great information, nothing I ever talked about with any Russian official, extends beyond that publicly available material information.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: It has since been revealed that the FBI obtained a FISA warrant to surveil Carter Page. Page and other Trump campaign associates have volunteered to testify in front of the House Intelligence Committee that is investigating any meddling into the 2016 election. Let's talk more about this with CNN national security analyst, Steve Hall. He is a retired CIA chief of Russia operations. All right. Good to see you, Steve. So do you buy that Carter Page could have been some sort of linchpin in whatever may have happened with Russia and that he, perhaps, was an unwitting, you know, participant?
STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, linchpin, Fred, might be a bit of a strong term for somebody like Carter Page. I can tell you that the Russians would certainly have been interested and certainly be very consistent from what I've seen of Russia intelligence operations to try to identify whoever they can to cast a wide net into the Trump team and, you know, other targets of interest.
But, you know, getting to the -- to whether or not Carter Page is witting is the really key question. There are sort of three options here. The first is he's completely clueless despite living in Russia and his comments understanding the stuff that he talked about would get back to the Russian government, he's somehow clueless or blanked out or doesn't understand what's going on.
The second one, he's trying to be a little clever about it saying, well, meeting with Russians, but I didn't know they were Russian intel officers. It's not my fault.
The third option he was somehow approached formally by the Russian intelligence services and they agreed to some sort of clandestine relationship. That's how usually the Russians do those things.
[12:05:08]So the first -- none of those three are good for him. The first one is OK. The second two are basically, you know, illegal and I think that's probably what FBI is looking into right now is trying to find out which of those three is it.
WHITFIELD: And then is it to his advantage that he would talk whether it be to CNN or any publication, his point of view to help, you know, clarify whether he was just naive, since, you know, initially he has said that, you know, he just wasn't aware which would lean toward your first premise he was very naive? Does this help him substantiate that by talking?
HALL: I can't see how it does. You know, if I was his lawyer, and I'm not a lawyer, I would not be advising him to talk as much as he apparently is. I mean, I think the FBI is following every word he's saying and comparing it with the materials they've got from the FISA surveillance of him.
And I have to say, getting back to the first premise, it doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense to me a guy like Carter Page who's lived and worked in Russia and understands how Russia works, would simply, you know, say no, I have no idea how this could possibly happen.
I just don't find that compelling, but we'll see as the FBI continues its investigation which I think is going to take a while.
WHITFIELD: That he lived in Moscow would help substantiate that he would be all that more suspicious about why someone would reach out to him, given he -- it was his understanding that he was an adviser to the Trump campaign, so given his experience one would believe that he would be more savvy?
HALL: Yes. I mean, it's difficult, again, difficult for me to believe that he, you know, is not savvy enough. This is a guy who's lived and worked in Russia, knows how it works over there. He himself has said look, things I said probably did make it back to the government indicating that he does somehow understand how the system works. So you know, it's not very compelling for him to say look I had no idea.
WHITFIELD: So, given your experience and, you know, outside looking in to this case, how would a Russian operative, whether it was obvious that person was working, you know, in the interests of Russia or not, approach somebody like a Carter Page, you know, a professor, someone who is known globally to be at the center of many conferences and, you know, conversations that would invite, you know, people from the public to come and hear him, how would an operative approach him?
HALL: You know, it's fascinating because a lot of this information is now out there because the FBI's investigation in what they had to present to the judges and in the course of the investigation has outlined a lot of this. It is very standard Russian trade craft.
You know, especially if you're in Russia as Carter Page has been on a number of occasions, it's easy to engineer some sort of innocent contact with them, a call from, you know, a business -- somebody who appears to be a Russian businessman, can we have coffee, can we talk.
You begin the relationship and then you kind of see how far this individual, in this case Carter Page, is willing to go, what motivates him. Is he interested in money? Does he have ideological motivations?
Is he unhappy with how the United States government is working? Is he pro-Russian? All of the things which the SBR we now know assessed him as being --
WHITFIELD: You wonder what would have been said to say yes, let's meet.
HALL: Well, again, you know, in the general context of sort of networking and so forth, the Russians know how (inaudible) the west with business ties and contacts. The trick for human intelligence from the Russian side is to move that to a different kind of relationship, either a street relationship or fully clandestine.
That's what I think the FBI is probably looking at because, of course, if Carter Page explicitly agreed, yes, I will -- I will be involved in a clandestine relationship with you and get something back interest you, money or whatever, in exchange for passing you sensitive information that's espionage and I'm sure that's what the FBI is looking at right now.
WHITFIELD: All right. Steve Hall, always good to talk to you. Thank you so much. All right. The White House is now saying it will honor a refugee resettlement agreement forged with Australia despite previously describing that plan, the president using words as a dumb deal.
In February Trump tweeted after learning of the agreement with Australia, quote, "Do you believe it, the Obama administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal," end quote.
Well, now, today Vice President Mike Pence appearing at a joint press conference with the Australian prime minister saying the U.S. will obey that previous deal even though the administration may not like it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me make it clear the United States intends to honor the agreement. Subject to the results of the vetting processes that now apply to all refugees considered for admission to the United States of America.
[12:10:05]President Trump has made it clear that we'll honor the agreement. It doesn't mean we admire the agreement. Frankly looking back on the last administration the president has never been shy about expressing frustration with other international agreements.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: CNN's global affairs correspondent, Elise Labott, joining us now with more on Pence's diplomatic Asia-Pacific tour. So even with that being a backdrop, you know, along with the refugee agreement, Pence is also working to get help with this tense North Korean situation as well, to what degree?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fred. Well, really this whole swing through Asia is an effort to kind of solidify support and, you know, U.S. commitment to Asia at a time where the U.S. is really seeing North Korea as the biggest threat to U.S. national security.
So it's also about kind of shoring up support for U.S. role in the region, but really, all, you know, roads for the U.S. policy towards North Korea really go through China. Take a listen to Vice President Pence a little earlier today talking about the importance of China's role.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PENCE: The United States of America is determined to work with our allies and especially with China to achieve the objective of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. We believe that that can occur peaceably, largely owing to the new engagement of China.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LABOTT: Now one of the things that really I understand has struck President Trump when he was -- the White House was reviewing North Korea policy was that China holds 85 percent of trade with North Korea. So that combined with, you know, the oil that they send to North Korea and economic leverage that they have.
President Trump really looking on Chinese President Xi Jinping to use that economic leverage against North Korea and so he's willing to offer President Xi a lot of inducements such as a better trade deal but if he doesn't, he says the U.S. will go it alone.
What does that mean? The U.S. could start sanctioning Chinese companies that do business and banks that do business with North Korea. So really, the U.S. sees China as the linchpin in this strategy and he wants to get cooperation, you know, any way he can -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Elise Labott, thanks so much in D.C.
All right, straight ahead, President Trump promising a surprise before his 100th day in office next Saturday. What we know about a promised tax reform.
Plus, we go inside the cabin where a teacher accused of kidnapping one of his former students was captured. That's straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.
WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. We're just a week away now from a major milestone for President Trump 100 days in office and he's looking for a huge victory this week. Congress will face a renewed push from the White House to repeal and replace Obamacare when they return from recess on Monday.
They'll also have to find a way to keep the government from running out of money on April 28th, which is Friday. Just a day before that 100-day marker. And if that's not enough, the president promises to unveil a massive tax reform in the next few days.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: And we'll be having a big announcement on Wednesday having to do with tax reform. The process has begun long ago, but it will formally begin on Wednesday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. CNN White House correspondent, Athena Jones, is covering this for us from the White House this weekend. That's odd lately, hasn't it been. Back at the White House on a weekend. It's setting up for a very big week for the president. How much pressure is this self-imposed or the president feeling to really get a victory this week legislatively perhaps? ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fred. I think the White House certainly wants to put some big wins on the board and they want to do it soon. If you talk to White House officials they'll say they're not rushing it try to get anything done just because of this arbitrary 100-day mark.
They're going to keep doing what they've been doing getting the president's top priorities through. I want to mention tweets from the president this morning, he right now is heading to Walter Reed.
Tweeted this a short while ago saying, "Getting ready to visit Walter Reed Medical Center with Melania. Looking forward to seeing our bravest and greatest Americans."
Of course, Walter Reed Medical Center is where wounded warriors are treated and I should mention that the vice president made the trip up to Walter Reed a couple of weekends ago, just earlier this month on April 8th.
This is going to be President Trump's first trip to Walter Reed, and, of course, he's bringing with him the first lady. One other item the president tweeted about just in the last ten minutes, we now know what he's going to be doing next weekend when a lot of Washington -- the press corps in Washington, certainly the White House press corps will be at the White House Correspondents Dinner.
President Trump tweeting, "Next Saturday night I will be holding a big rally in Pennsylvania, look forward to it." So that is what we're hearing from the president. We understand that rally will be potentially in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a week from today.
As you mentioned a lot of attention will be on the 100-day mark a week from today and looking at how the president's record stacks up with the promises he made on the campaign trail -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Athena Jones, thanks so much from the White House. Appreciate it.
[12:20:07]All right, straight ahead, the cabin where police found a teacher accused of kidnapping a student, the tip that ended with the girl's rescue and the teacher's arrest.
WHITFIELD: I'm glad it's over, those words from Tad Cummins, the former teacher accused of kidnapping his 15-year-old student and taking her from Tennessee to California. Cummins is expected to be arraigned Monday in Sacramento. He was arrested Thursday at a remote cabin ending that 39-day manhunt.
CNN's Sara Sidner shows us that cabin and introduces us to the man who tipped off police.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thirty nine days, that's how long law enforcement, family and friends, have been looking for Tadd Cummins and his kidnapped victim.
[12:25:05]It all started when Cummins, a 50-year-old teacher in Tennessee was seen by another student kissing the 15-year-old girl. The student reported that and Cummins was later suspended and soon, disappeared with his victim.
There were sightings in Oklahoma and leads, but after more than a month no arrest. That is until Cummins and the girl met this man in remote Cecil Ville, California.
GRIFFIN BARRY, PROPERTY CARETAKER: Came looking for work. If you help me out for a little bit you can crash here for a little bit.
SIDNER: So Cummins bunked down with the girl in this cabin for a night, Barry said. The area is so remote that the loudest sound is the rushing water from a mountain stream outside. There is no cell service, no Wi-Fi, no electricity in the cabin, which was still being built.
(on camera): What did he say to you? What were the conversations that you had?
BARRY: The first time he was like we're from Colorado. We had a house fire and lost everything.
SIDNER: Did he ever tell you what the relationship was between himself --
BARRY: The first time he said it was his wife, but she was in the car always looking away.
SIDNER (voice-over): Barry and two other residents thought something didn't seem right when they noticed the vehicle they were driving didn't have license plates. Barry said Cummins and the girl initially found a commune in the mountains that allowed them to stay for five days, but Cummins made himself unwelcomed and left ending up here in this cabin.
SHERIFF JON LOPEY, SISKIYOU COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: He did suspect that he would be safer here. You know, it's just about as far as you can get from Memphis, Tennessee.
BARRY: Had a picture of this amber alert out of Tennessee or what not and I was like, that's the guy.
SIDNER (on camera): Hair color difference?
BARRY: Yes. You know, it's all vague, just the way he was going about it, you know. Keeping her in the shadows.
WHITFIELD: That was Sarah Sidner reporting.
All right, the attorney general is telling sanctuary cities to fall in line or else. Straight ahead, why this fight could cost cities billions of dollars.
[12:31:17] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. Take a look at Chicago. This is Chicago's march for science on this earth day. A very sizable gathering there, as 500 cities across the globe in six continents are encouraging people to come out on earth day in this march for science. The main event taking place in the nation's capital of Washington, D.C., and that's where we find our Miguel Marquez and a very rainy Washington, but it hasn't deterred folks from coming out in a very big way. Miguel, what's happening?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Thousands and thousands of people out here, you can hear how excited the crowd still is, despite the rain. April showers will bring May flowers.
We're going to show you the stage right now. There are scientists who are coming out one after the other, who are giving sort of a presentation on their particular discipline. There is music here. It's part conference, science conference, its part rock concert. It is part protest. We had Bill Nye, this is science guy who is very famous and got the crowd going just a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL NYE, MARCH PARTNER: Without scientific literate citizens, the United States, any country, in fact, cannot compete on the world stage. Yet, today, we have a great many lawmakers, not just here, but around the world, deliberately ignoring an actively suppressing science. Their inclination is misguided and in no one's best interest.
Our lives are in every way improved by having clean water, reliable electricity, and access to electronic global information. Each is a product of scientific discoveries, diligent research, and thoughtful engineering. These vital services are connected to policy issues, which can only be addressed competently by understanding the natural laws in play.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUEZ: Tens of thousands of people gathered here, most of them scientists or related to the science fields.
What they are concerned with are the cuts to the budgets, the federal budget for science programs, the general tenor out of the Trump White House. We are in the backyard of the White House, and they want him to hear that message in about an hour and a half they will step off and march to Capitol Hill. Fredricka?
WHITFIELD: All right. Thank you so much, Miguel Marquez. We will continue to watch as folks there leave the national mall, make their way down on Constitution Avenue up to Capitol Hill as Miguel paints out for us.
So, meantime, the U.S. Justice Department saying it's about to crack down on sanctuary cities across the U.S. The department has sent letters to several cities telling them they have until June 30th to prove that they're in compliance with federal immigration law or potentially lose billions in federal funding. The Trump administration is accusing these cities of not cooperating with immigration authorities when undocumented immigrants are detained.
(BEGIN VIUDEO CLIP)
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Enough is enough. When city politicians force local law enforcement to release criminals from Rikers Island, violent gangs and criminals benefit, sanctuary jurisdictions put criminals back on the streets.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Mayors and police chiefs from several of the cities say they are complying with the law and have asked for a clarification of what exactly constitutes a sanctuary city.
I want to talk now over with our panel, Jason Kander is a CNN contributor. He's also a former Missouri secretary of state, and was a Democratic senate candidate. Good to see you. And Jack Kingston is a CNN political commentator and a former senior adviser to the Trump campaign. All right. Good to see both of you.
[12:35:14] JACK KINGSTON, CNN POLTICAL COMMENTATOR: Good to be here.
WHITFIELD: So, Jack, let me begin with you. So, the Trump administration says releasing undocumented immigrants without informing immigration authorities is feeding the problem. And the administration has not offered any statistics or any other proof to back that up, so how much of this is about fulfilling a campaign promise?
KINGSTON: Well, I think our immigration problem has not -- was not just created in the last several years. It's been festering for many years. And so to fix it, there's not really a good starting point. We're divided as a nation, divided as cities and law enforcement even. So, I think what the administration is doing is they're taking a number of steps, some of them are going to be more effective than others, some of them are going to work, some of them will are going to bring down crime rates.
But what we do know is since the administration has been trying this, that illegal crossings of the border has -- is at the lowest level in 17 years. It's down about 60 percent in March. So, while some of this might be awkward and there might be some, missteps it is showing some good results.
WHITFIELD: So, Jason, you know, there are billions of dollars at stake here when we talk about the federal government saying that they're not going to provide federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities. The cities say they don't have the responsibility or the money to enforce federal immigration law.
So, is this a situation where many of these cities say we are strapped to do more as opposed to it being an issue of noncompliance?
JASON KANDER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: This reminds me a lot of when the president just blamed the generals for the problem of ISIS. Or when he said that the generals lost Ryan Owens, the navy S.E.A.L., so that's what this situation reminds me of because you have Jeff Sessions essentially blaming police departments that are saying, "Hey, we're doing everything we can to comply with federal law, and at the same time, actually police our city. And so the Trump administration has a tendency to criticize people who are on the ground trying to do the actual work.
WHITFIELD: So, go ahead, Jack.
KINGSTON: Well, actually, I think that they want to get behind the people who are on the ground doing the work. I believe that most law enforcement is supportive of this. I think it's the city halls and the county commissions, the political decision makers, who are telling them otherwise. They know that if they have somebody who is an illegal alien released into their city three or four times who in many cases is already been found guilty of violent offences or drug abuses or drug peddling or something like that, they don't want them on the streets. But it's the mayor who's worried about the vote that's making the -- calling the shots. And I think that's where the rub is.
WHITFIELD: So, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, you know, got some criticism this week for comments that he made on the federal judge in Hawaii who blocked President Trump's travel ban. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SESSIONS: I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the president of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and constitutional power.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: He later said that he was to the trying to criticize the judge. You know, he came on CNN yesterday and tried to clarify.
So, you know, Jason, does this kind of deepen the problem for this administration to try to defend its travel ban and also move forward on its efforts of building a wall with U.S. Government and hopefully Congress in the Trump administration's view, funding it? I mean, how does this set the week ahead as this administration says legislatively it wants some wins?
KANDER: Well, the whole idea that they're going to put "Political wins" ahead of what makes sense is sort of the problem here, right. I mean we were promised all sorts of things. Like during the campaign the American people were promised by Candidate Trump that they wouldn't have to pay for the wall. I mean like the one thing that we all seemed to remember more than anything else was supposedly Mexico was going to pay for the wall.
Well, now in order to get this stuff done within 100 days, he's willing to potentially shutdown the government. And because this is so expensive and then make the American people pay for this wall. And then when it comes to the Muslim ban, the idea that the attorney general of the United States is surprised that a federal judge in a state, you know, which who cares if it's an island in the pacific. It's one of the 50 states that they can step forward and say this is not constitutional, just like the last ban was not constitutional.
So, look, their whole M.O. is just blame everybody else for the fact that they're not getting the job done on a national security, and the president's not keeping his promises.
WHITFIELD: All right. We'll leave it there. Jason Kander, Jack Kingston, thanks so much. Talk to you again gentlemen, appreciate it.
[12:40:06] So, almost 100 days into the Trump presidency. He has yet to deliver on the big promise to replace Obamacare with "Something terrific." Why the man tasked with fixing the nation's health care law says, he's not giving up that fight.
CHRIS RUDER, CEO SPIKEBALL INC.: Hi, I'm Chris Ruder. I am CEO of Spike Ball Incorporated.
Spike Ball got started back when I was a kid. One of my friends bought it and we all fell in love with it. The rules of spike ball are almost identical to two-on-two volleyball.
Fast forward to 2003, me and the same friends went on a trip to Hawaii and they brought one up one of the beat up old sets. A lot would has often and ask us the same three questions. What's that game and how do you play it and where can I get it? And that's sort of where the light bulb went off.
[12:45:13] But we'd understood the original company that made it either went out of business or just stopped making it or we didn't know, but knew you couldn't buy it anymore.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It hopefully guides us through next year.
RUDER: So, me and those same friends chipped in some money. And in 2008 we relaunched Spike Ball. I ran it on my own, sort of for about five years as like a side job. Until September of 2013, we hit a million dollars in annual revenue with zero full time employees. And at that time my wife and I agreed that it was safe for me to quit the day job and go full time.
Bigger picture for spike ball is to become the next great American sport. Yes, baseball, basketball and football the big ones, they got a -- they should worry. We're getting a lot of their players during their down time, they're playing spike ball. So, we're coming after you.
(END VIDEOTAPE) WHITFIELD: All right. The president and some Republican lawmakers say that they're seeing progress in their second attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare. But other GOP house members are skeptical of what's in the new health care plan, and how it will get enough votes to pass.
Our Sanjay Gupta spoke with the man whose job it is to implement whatever plan is put together and passed, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You've done so many things in your life. You're obviously a doctor orthopedic surgeon, but also a legislator and now a cabinet secretary and only the third doctor to hold that position.
TOM PRICE, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICE SECRETARY: Yes. I'm a third doctor generation position. So, my dad and my grand dad were docs.
I learned about the physician/patient relationship that we've talked about before. I think from my grandfather I'll never forget that every house that he went to, it wasn't who are you, what are you doing here, why are you here? It was the door flung open and said Dr. Price, and gave him a big hug. And to me that's what the doctor/patient relationship was all about.
GUPTA (voice-over): Dr. Dan Barrow is the chairman of neurosurgery at Emory University, my boss. He's been in the operating room with Tom Price and known him almost 40 years.
DR. DAN BARROW, CHAIRMAN OF NEUORSURGERY, EMORY UNIVERSITY: I think there are a couple circumstances in life where you see what people are like. One is when they don't think anybody is watching them, and the other is when you're under some kind of stress or duress.
GUPTA: And where did Tom Price sort of fit in all of that for you?
BARROW: I think it was one of the best that I dealt with.
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Now I have to tell you --
GUPTA: But it does not get much more stressful than this.
TRUMP: Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.
GUPTA: Trump administration having failed on its first attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare seems determined.
TRUMP: The plan gets better --
GUPTA: -- to move a new a health care bill forward in the next week. And Price is the man responsible for implementing it.
You're the health secretary now, so what responsibility did you feel as health secretary? PRICE: The responsibility I have is to ensure that the piece of legislation moving through Congress is as responsive to the patients of this land as possible. And that I do as much as I can do to educate the individuals who are -- who have the responsibility for voting on these plans.
GUPTA: Price went to med school at the University of Michigan, met his wife Betty during his orthopedics' residency at Emory, and has one son, Robert. And decades ago, it was health care that inspired Price to make the jump from medicine to politics.
PRICE: If you allow the kinds of changes to occur that are beginning to occur right now, then there are many, many physicians that won't be practicing medicine at all.
GUPTA: At some point you transitioned from grady to being a legislature. What prompted you to do that?
PRICE: There are a lot of things but not the least at which was I was recognized at some point that there were more people in this building and in Washington that were making decisions about what I could do for my patients in that building. And none of them had any medical experience. And there was a significant source of frustration.
GUPTA: Sam Zamarripa served as a state senator with Tom Price.
SAM ZAMARRIPA, FORMER GEORGIA STATE SENATOR: You know, I think Tom is a -- lives and breathes public policy. I think when he goes to sleep at night he's thinking about it. I think when he gets up in the morning he's reading about it. This guy is a born legislature with a lot of skill.
GUPTA: When you look at the last few weeks with regard to this health care bill, AHCA, what went wrong?
PRICE: Well, I think that what happened is the compressed timeline for the sale of the bill, if you will. And the fact that there are a lot of competing parts in the area of health care.
And so what I believe is if you talk about, as the president has, we talk about the principles of health care, we want a system that's affordable for everybody. We want a system that's accessible for everybody of the highest quality and provides choices for the American people and empowers patients, if you will.
[12:49:54] GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.
WHITFIELD: As Bill O'Reilly heads out the door at Fox, sources tell CNN he will be getting a $25 million payout from the network which for O'Reilly is a year's worth of salary, based on his new contract.
O'Reilly was ousted from Fox amid a flurry of sexual harassment allegations, and after a mass exodus of advertisers from his hit show "The O'Reilly Factor". Joining me to discuss, CNN Legal Analyst Ariva Martin and Joey Jackson. Good to see both of you.
So, Joey, let me begin with you. Because we've learned that Fox Incorporated specific language into O'Reilly's contract to give them an out if fallout from the sexual harassment claims got any worse. So, was this kind of a safeguard, you know, for the network? Did the network feel like it was likely in a position soon to let him go?
[12:55:04] JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Great questions. Good afternoon to you, Fredricka. Good morning to you in L.A., Ariva.
Look, the reality is, is that it was interesting that they would, which is a great question, negotiate and proceed with a multimillion- dollar contract with full knowledge of shenanigans and accusations concerning his shenanigans. But employers always have an out, Fredricka. That out is a morals clause. And in a morals clause in a contract, you can't do anything that brings your company that you're working for into ill repute or otherwise impairs their brand. And so employers based upon language like that could always ease out of a contract.
But, you know, it begs the question, when you look at this, of how someone can leave with millions of dollars having a 13-year history of engaging in this, and in the, you know, the hail of Roger Ailes leaving also under similar allegations. And so, it makes you question you engage in behavior like this and I get he says they're unfounded, but you walk away with a major payday. The big question is why all the money and what took so long to get rid of him.
WHITFIELD: And so, Ariva, you know, our sources also say that O'Reilly's, you know, salary got even bigger with his new contract, which he signed just before being let go with, you know, reportedly $25 million a year. But that given, you know, that "New York Times" report that revealed just a couple weeks prior is that so many settlements had been paid out already because of other, you know, sexual harassment allegations and that case presumably Fox paid it out.
But now with the separation, if this opens the door to perhaps other sexual harassment cases that are on the horizon, is now O'Reilly on his own to potentially, you know, handle those cases legally?
ARIVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: That's going to be heavily disputed and litigated in all likelihood, Fredricka, because you ask a really good question.
We know that slaying one dragon isn't enough, and getting rid of Bill O'Reilly is not going to substantially change the culture. And the question that I have that's not really being asked is, how deep is this pathology at Fox? How many other people are involved for Bill O'Reilly to have had five settlements totaling $13 million? It raises the question to me about other executives that were aware of this conduct, that perhaps, condoned this conduct and may themselves had been involved in similar conduct. Having represented many individuals in sexual harassment cases I know firsthand that getting rid of one bad actor doesn't mean that there's going to be as pundits have said a seismic shift in the culture.
So, I think we need to be asking how deep and how entrenched is the pathology of sexual harassment in this climate that is so disrespectful to women at Fox. And will we see more lawsuits and who will be implicated in potential lawsuits of similar sorts as we've seen with Bill O'Reilly and Roger Ailes?
WHITFIELD: And so, Joey, how will those discoveries be made? I mean we know we've heard it from many people since O'Reilly's, you know, departure and, of course, you know Roger Ailes, a former Fox CEO. And, you know, his departure that there is a cultural problem within the company?
JACKSON: Well, let's make no mistake about this. This is a significant development, right. The fact that he would be released is significant.
Now, the question then becomes, well, has Fox finally have they decided to grapple with this issue or was there something more? And I think you could look to and really credit a lot of the women rights organizations and people who were out there saying enough is enough. And I think that was played big into it as were the advertisers, of course, because when it comes down to money and losing that money, then, of course, there are actions that follow that. But in terms of whether there will be more lawsuits moving forward or other allegations moving forward, we don't know.
If the culture is, as it has been described, then it certainly would be likely that that would be the case. It would also be likely that Fox would have an interest in moving them off the pages quickly by engaging in additional settlements. But at the end of the day, what you want to do is to get to the root cause. Because we know about discrimination, quid pro quo, you do this for me I'll do that for you, has no place in the work place and shouldn't be the issue in a work place, but it was and is. And nor should it be a hostile work environment.
And so until those two issues are grappled with and, you know, women and men can go to work and do their jobs and not have to worry about this type of harassment. I think we'll continue to talk about it.
WHITFIELD: All right. We'll leave it there. Ariva Martin, Joey Jackson, thanks to both of you, appreciate it.
JACKSON: Thank you Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right. The next hour of the NEWSROOM starts right now.
All right. Hello again everyone and thank you for joining me this Saturday. I'm Fredericka Whitfield.
[13:00:02] We begin this hour with a global event underway right now on earth day.