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Trump Slams Obama on Russia Hack; Five GOP Senators Oppose Own Party's Health Care Bill; Soon: Bill Clinton To Address Conference Of Mayors; Several Dems Blast Pelosi, Call For Leadership Change; Facebook Unveils New Mission: Bring The World Closer; Media Relations With White House Deteriorating. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired June 24, 2017 - 12:00   ET

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


[12:00:03] BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, she's held the most powerful political office of any American woman, but is Nancy Pelosi's leadership a liability? The desperation to rebrand the Democratic Party before 2018.

CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

Hey, there. I'm Boris Sanchez in for Fredricka Whitfield. She has the day off. But we thank you so much for joining us on NEWSROOM.

We're going to show you some live pictures out of Miami Beach where President Bill Clinton is scheduled to address mayors from across the country who have gathered there for their annual conference. We're going to bring you those remarks amid a strenuous debate over health care and several investigations into the White House's links to Russia during the election. As soon as he gets to the podium, we will take you there.

President Trump is now responding to stunning details from a "Washington Post" report about President Obama's efforts to stop Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Last night, he tweeted out, quote, "Just out, the Obama administration knew far in advance of November 8th about election meddling by Russia. Did nothing about it. Why?"

The "Washington Post" reveals that Obama knew Russian President Vladimir Putin was directly involved. It also chronicles the super secretive and strained play-by-play of what the Obama administration did do in response to the meddling, mostly through sanctions that even Obama administration officials admit were mostly symbolic.

So let's get more on this from CNN Washington correspondent Ryan Nobles. He's joining us live from the White House.

Ryan, let's backtrack for a second because just this week, the president called claims of Russian meddling a Democratic hoax. But it seems like he just acknowledged that it actually did happen. What do you think?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Boris, when given the opportunity to pin Russia's intervention in the U.S. election on the previous administration, it seems as though the president has no problem saying that Russia was involved, but of course his past statements, he's been back and forth about just how important Russia's intervention was during the U.S. election, he's even blamed it on other countries, perhaps China, even going as far to say it could have been done by one man, a 400-pound man sitting at his bed.

But, yes, you're right. He is specifically pointing to parts of this report where even past administration officials describe what happened with the Obama administration as the administration sort of choking, and he said that in a tweet as you mentioned, but he also talked about it in an interview with FOX News that's scheduled to air tomorrow. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I just heard today for the first time that Obama knew about Russia a long time before the election. And he did nothing about it. But nobody wants to talk about that. The CIA gave him information on Russia a long time before they even -- you know, before the election. And I hardly see it. It's an amazing thing. To me, you know, in other words the question is if he had the information, why didn't he do something about it? He should have done something about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: And as you pointed out, Boris, the Obama administration did do something about it. But they didn't do everything that was at their disposal at the time. And there's reasons for that. They argue that it happened too late, they didn't find out about it until August, but President Obama did personally confront Vladimir Putin during a meeting of the G-20 back in September and he was also very concerned about the political ramifications at the time. He thought that if he intervened too heavily that would make it look as though he was attempting to help Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Boris, a lot of this 20/20 hindsight but to your original point, certainly much different view from the White House as to exactly the role Russia played than we've heard previously.

SANCHEZ: Absolutely. Ryan Nobles, reporting from the White House. Thank you.

Let's get political with our panel. CNN political commentator Mike Shields, he's the former chief of staff to Reince Priebus, Jose Aristimuno, he's the former deputy press secretary for the Democratic National Committee, and joining us again today from Moscow, Jill Dougherty, the former CNN Moscow bureau chief.

Mike, let's start with you. We have to ask. Which is it? Does the president believe the hack was a hoax or did it actually happen? Your thoughts.

MIKE SHIELDS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, I think what has happened in American politics is the Russians clearly were trying to interfere in our elections. We have congressional investigations going into that. But because of partisan politics, the left, the Democrats, and a lot of people in the media have become obsessed with how do we hang this on the president, try and find some collusion with his campaign and take our eye off of the ball of what we really should be talking about, which is what the Russians did.

And so it's turned into this huge political football, which by the way there's been scores of investigators looking for it and absolutely zero evidence of anything has turned up that there was any collusion, but that is the sort of way that Democrats want to use this to explain how Hillary Clinton lost as opposed to focusing on a foreign state trying to meddle on our elections and focus on the real investigation of what was done by the government, who knew in the government about it, why wasn't something addressed.

[12:05:02] And so perhaps now we can get back to that and stop focusing so much on this being a partisan attack on the president to try and tie his campaign to something when there's literally been zero evidence of any wrongdoing there.

SANCHEZ: Sure. Mike, but even outside of the question of collusion, there's still a question of whether or not the president actually believes that Russia meddled in the election. Up until last night, it was murky. There was no clear indication. He himself called it a hoax and partly created that political football, don't you think?

SHIELDS: Well, I think -- yes, well, I think he's responding to the partisan attacks and so some of his language is going to bend towards this whole thing is baloney, meaning his campaign colluding or somehow this affecting his administration is baloney.

I think the Republicans on Capitol Hill and Democrats working together to actually investigate the Russians' meddling in the election itself, and I think that that's where the focus needs to be. The president's talking more about the idea that somehow this can be blamed on him or blamed on his campaign operatives when there's been no evidence of that, and we need to get back to focusing on this being a foreign state trying to meddle in our elections and what the U.S. government at the time knew about it.

SANCHEZ: Jose, to you, it appears that the president is blaming the Obama administration for not having done more. One administration official is quoted in that article as saying, we choked, essentially saying they dropped the ball and didn't do enough to get back at Vladimir Putin for orchestrating this meddling. Do you think the Obama administration choked?

JOSE ARISTIMUNO, FORMER DEPUTY NATIONAL PRESS SECRETARY, DNC: Look, I think we have to be fair here and to the former administration. They didn't have all the answers, they didn't have all the information, and like you said, you just reported, it was too late. And you know, and I think part of this whole thing, we have to be very careful because it can potentially undermine our democracy.

Look, we have to be to get to the bottom of this investigation. OK. This is taking over Washington, this is taking over the country, scandal after scandal. The president of the United States, Donald Trump, is obsessed with this investigation, which is why you see him tweeting day after day, talking about it. So my question to the president is very simple.

Did the Russians interfere? Yes or no. First he said that he blamed it on the Democrats, that it was a witch hunt. Now he's blaming it on the former president. So which one is it? I have the utmost respect for the special counsel. They have an outstanding team. We need to get to the bottom of this so we can continue -- so we can continue looking for solutions that the American people are demanding, which is creating jobs, driving our economy upwards and so forth.

SANCHEZ: To be fair, Mike, there -- rather, Jose, there are administration officials that have said we didn't know the full scope of this thing, but they had reviewed several options to get back at Russia going back to the fall of last year, sanctions that could have, quote, "cratered the Russian economy." So why didn't they carry those things out?

ARISTIMUNO: Look, I mean, again, I don't think -- I think that President Obama did, and his administration, they did everything that they could at the time. It's a very sensitive topic. They can't just act without having all the information, which is why this investigation is ongoing. We don't have all the answers, which is why -- we know that so many people have testified and there are so many people that are going to continue to testify so we look for these answers.

This isn't going to go anywhere, Boris. I think we've got a long way before we get to a solution.

SANCHEZ: To be clear, there was a report put out October 7th from several intelligence agencies essentially outlining Russian meddling in the election.

Jill, I do want to turn to you, though. A really unsettling aspect of this reporting is just how expansive, how orchestrated the Russians were. How long do you think they were planning this? Have you gotten any indication?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think for a very long time. I mean, if you look at the way the administration at the time was looking at this, they thought that in the beginning that this was just kind of the usual intelligence that Russia collects about everything. And there was a big election coming up. And so you began -- in the beginning they were thinking it's just information collecting, spying activity, et cetera, kind of the normal thing. Then you see more and more.

Hacking into e-mails, then you see those e-mails being spread by WikiLeaks. Then you see a greater pattern. Then you see, as was pointed out in the "Washington Post" story, more and more Russian officials trying to get visas to the United States and those officials have technical background, which was also a bit suspicious. Then you have more information that begins to point directly to Vladimir Putin as the person who instigated this. So I think it was incremental in the beginning. But the significance

of how big it is I think is really great that they were using everything, they were using hacking, they were using fake news, they were using bots, they were using social media, they were using a lot of different things to influence what was going on in the United States. And I think this debate, you know, about there is no proof.

[12:10:02] There is no proof yet. That's what these investigations are for. So to say that collusion is not proven, yes. At this point, it is not proven. But these investigations are going on and that's why they have to continue. Ultimately, what would be very important would be the next steps. What will the president now -- President Trump -- do to avert this happening in the future? Because you can bet that it is going to.

Russia learned a lot of lessons from what happened. And part of them, part of that lesson is that they can influence in various ways. They can influence with, again, fake news and tweets and all sorts of things that can affect the mentality of Americans not only very concrete factors.

SANCHEZ: Yes, Mike, I do want to ask you about something that Kellyanne Conway said yesterday on "NEW DAY." She said that she was confident that no votes were changed because of Russian meddling. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: This didn't have an impact on the electoral result. Not a single vote was changed and we're going to stand by that. We know that Donald Trump won fairly and squarely, 306 electoral votes. It had nothing to do with interference.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: So you agree with that assessment that no votes were changed, that more voters didn't lean toward Donald Trump with the constant stream of e-mails we were seeing released by WikiLeaks and the havoc that it wreaked on the Democratic Party?

SHIELDS: First of all, I just want to go back to something Jill said. And with all due respect, I just think it's irresponsible to say nothing is proven yet. When the media uses words like that, it sort of layers over a big cast of sort of guilty doubt on these stories and that's what the administration gets so frustrated with.

There's been nothing proven because there's nothing there and tons of people have been looking for it, and the investigations into this so- called collusion go on and on and on and apparently are clouding out what we should be focused on.

DOUGHERTY: You don't know that.

SHIELDS: Which is what the administration did last fall, what did they know and when did they sort of switch reporting this out to people and start focusing on what the Trump campaign may or may not have done. So I just think we have to be very careful when we talk about the so-called collusion investigation.

In terms of what Kellyanne is talking about, she's sort of saying the same thing. There have been reports that have come out that the Russians tried to hack into sort of machines or different voting things and they weren't successful, and that's the key point about this. So it looks like they attempted to do some things where they would have actually affected votes and they couldn't even get to the first layer. There were sort of the technical people have said they weren't even past the first firewall that they could get through.

And so I think what she's talking about is the fact that there's been zero proof that this actually, you know, benefited anyone, affected anything when it came to actual counting of votes and elections. I think that's different from the fact that we need to focus on what the Russian state did to try and interfere in our elections. There are bipartisan investigations into that and we should focus as a nation on what the Russians did and not make this sort of some partisan political football to tie and try the Trump campaign to what's going on and focus on what the government knew, when they knew it, what they reported out back last fall.

SANCHEZ: Jill, I want to give you a chance to respond.

DOUGHERTY: Well, I will just say that a lot of this is very difficult to prove. I'll give you an example. And I'm not saying that any -- either side is right, but I'll give you an example. There was video that was released, I saw it on Russian media and certainly these pictures were in the United States on social media, showing Hillary Clinton as very, very ill to the point of maybe even dying or mentally ill, and these pictures were played over and over again.

Now, in classic propaganda, you could use a picture like that about any leader and say -- and show it to people over and over again, and people might begin to believe that why should I vote for somebody who is crazy? Why should I vote for somebody who's going to die? And that can have an effect on an election, which is very hard to quantify because we all tend to believe, and I do, too, that when you get to the voting booths and votes, you know, concrete objects, that probably didn't happen.

But how the mentality, the psychology of people was affected I think is important to understand because if we don't understand that, we will miss what Russia -- the techniques that Russia is using to influence United States democracy.

SANCHEZ: And of course it's very difficult to quantify.

Jill Dougherty reporting from Moscow, thank you. Mike and Jose, please stick around. We still have a lot more to discuss with you.

Jose, I'm also going to give you a chance to respond to the comments from Kellyanne.

Still ahead, though, Senate Republicans are unveiling their health care plan and now the focus is turning to getting the votes to actually pass it. The growing resistance within the Republican Party and what it'll take to get those critical yes votes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:19:17] SANCHEZ: With less than a week to go, Senate GOP leaders had an uphill climb to get the votes they need to pass their version of the bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. The math is not on their side right now.

Majority leader Mitch McConnell can only afford to lose two votes and as it stands now five Republican senators oppose the bill outright in its current, though some say they are open to negotiations. Three of them plan to review it more over the weekend. Some of those three on the side have already expressed concerns.

There's a lot at stake for this next big test for President Trump. He tweeted this out this morning, quote, "Democrats slammed GOP health care proposal as Obamacare premiums and deductibles increase by over 100 percent. Remember keep your doctor, keep your plan?"

[12:20:02] Mike Shields, Jose Aristimuno are back with us.

Mike, to you first. Democrats are painting the Senate health care bill as meaner than the House version, which the president himself reportedly called mean. How can President Trump help Mitch McConnell get to 50 votes if he's handing the opposition these free attacks?

SHIELDS: Well, look, this is what always happens in legislation. And we're finally seeing legislating happen again in Washington, D.C., so it's a little bit of a shock to the system to some people to see what happens. You get close to the vote and all of a sudden you're going to highlight who are the three or four senators that want to go negotiate with the leadership and get something changed in the bill. The same thing happened in the House. The House bill failed at first, and then it was dead, it couldn't pass, and suddenly, what do you know, it passed.

And so I think all of these are posturing. You're going to see tweets and comments and people are going to make maneuvers and really what this is all about is negotiating behind the scenes. And look, what we know is that Obamacare is failing. We have Aetna now pulling out of more states. You have millions of people who are now losing their health care coverage. You have people because of Obamacare, because they can't afford it. Prices have skyrocketed. They've more than doubled in premiums in over a majority of the state.

So the pressure of the system collapsing eventually is going to weigh on the United States Senate and they're going to get something passed. And what we're going to watch in the meantime is sort of posturing as people try to negotiate for their best position.

SANCHEZ: Jose, the balance is obviously tricky for Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. He can only lose two votes. So pleasing any one faction of the Republicans could ultimately tank the bill, pushing it in a different direction. Who do the Democrats focus on trying to keep away from voting yes?

ARISTIMUNO: Look, I think the important thing here is that the American people have a voice. The American people have been demanding, they've been calling their senators, and they've been saying, look, this bill doesn't work. This bill, it's un-American. We're talking about pushing back on women's health care. We're talking about benefits that we are no longer going to have. So the big mistake is the Republicans from the very beginning should have looked for ways and solutions to work with the Democrats to improve Obamacare.

Yes, we admit it, it's not perfect. It needs work. But the fact that you just want to repeal it and start with something new, it doesn't make sense. With this, you want to talk about mean, what this bill does is not good for poor people. People who don't have as much sort of opportunities as the rest of Americans. This bill doesn't work. And it is why these five senators that you're talking about, Boris, are facing a lot of pressure back home.

SANCHEZ: Now, Mike, back to you. Republicans vowed to repeal and replace Obamacare. Some funding cuts notwithstanding. Isn't this just ultimately a tweak to Obamacare? That's the case that Ted Cruz is making.

SHIELDS: Not at all. And first of all, I have to laugh at the idea that Republicans should have come to Democrats to work with this. I mean, Democrats from the very beginning created a movement called resist for President Trump where they don't even want to acknowledge that he's the rightful president of the United States. And so they've taken every single step they can to take themselves out of the process saying they're going to fight everything, they're sending people to town halls --

ARISTIMUNO: That's not true.

SHIELDS: -- to say that Republicans are trying to kill people with their health care bill. But by the way why shouldn't we work with the Democrats on this? Look, here's -- the fact of the matter is --

ARISTIMUNO: That's not true.

SHIELDS: Let's go back to 1996, OK. 1996 is when welfare reform was passed by a Republican House and signed by a Democratic president six weeks before the election. He actually vetoed it twice, then looked at the polls and signed it into law. At that time, Democrats are saying the same thing. John Lewis went down to the House floor and said there will be a million new children in the street, they're coming after the women, they're coming after the children.

And in the end what happened was some welfare to work requirements were put in and the majority of people on welfare actually liked the welfare reform. What happened in the last administration was President Obama boosted Medicare -- excuse me, Medicaid beyond poor people and this bill brings it back and says we're going to have Medicaid for poor people and other people have to have work requirements. That's not a mean thing to do. That actually is -- ARISTIMUNO: It's un-American.

SHIELDS: It's a huge benefit just like welfare reform was. You know welfare reform succeeded in the '90s because the Democrats never talk about it anymore because it was a huge success, and this bill will be the exact same thing when it's passes this time into law.

SANCHEZ: Mike, I have to cut you off because we are just about out of time, but, Jose, I do want to give you a very quick response.

ARISTIMUNO: One quick thing. We've got to remember that when Obamacare became the law of the land, we had over 100 town halls, we were on C-SPAN for hours talking about this. You guys don't even invite us to debate this bill. No one saw the Senate bill until a few days ago. How are we supposed to know what's in this bill? How are we supposed to support something that we haven't seen? The whole thing was done in secrecy.

SANCHEZ: All right. Mike Shields, Jose Aristimuno, thank you so much, gentlemen, for joining us.

SHIELDS: Thank you.

ARISTIMUNO: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Coming up, Democrats are reeling after four straight special election losses. So could leadership changes be in the works as the party tries to find its footing heading into 2018?

But first, if you're looking to create the technology -- future of technology, I should say, Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller says learn how to code.

Here's CNN's Laurie Segall.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN SENIOR TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: How do you guys at Apple try to get people invested in developing apps, developing this kind of technology at an early age?

[12:25:06] PHILIP W. SCHILLER, APPLE SENIOR VP WORLDWIDE MARKETING: The growth of the app developer economy is, I think, a potential driving force for our whole economy in America and in other countries around the world.

One of the cool things that I'm really proud that we're working on is an education program. We call it "Everyone Can Code." That actually is a little play off of the anyone can cook from "Ratatouille," that movie. And it's kind of the same thing. You know, anyone can cook, not everyone will be a chef. Anybody can learn to code, not everybody will be the world's greatest app developer.

We all grew up where you have to learn a foreign language. I think increasingly it's really important that people learn to code because as kids growing up, maybe they have the propensity to be a great developer. But by the time you get older and you haven't tried, then you might not be willing to start.

And even if you don't become a developer later in life, chances are, you're job is going to interact with a software programmer. And you're going to be able to have a dialogue at an intelligent level because you understand where they're coming from. So one of the programs we've been launching is K-12 in United States, "Everyone Can Code," Swift Playgrounds to help kids learn and control robots and make drones fly.

And I think that can have a huge change in our economy and just in the education of students around the world. That people approach it as just like a foreign language, everyone needs to code.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: For more on Everyone Needs to Code, check out our Web site, CNN.com/tech. We'll be right back. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:30:50] SANCHEZ: It is half past noon. And we are watching and waiting because any minute now Former President Bill Clinton will address more than 250 of the nation's mayors at a conference in Miami Beach.

CNN's Rosa Flores joins us from that conference. Rosa?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Boris. Good afternoon.

You can see behind me that there are a lot of people already in this conference room. This is where Former President Bill Clinton is expected to speak between 12:45 and 12:15.

Now, this will be a city livability luncheon. Now, what that means is we're expecting the president to speak about how some cities around the country during a very challenging time have actually become more equitable.

Now, some of those challenges that we're expecting to talk about and touch on, immigration, sanctuary cities, health care, jobs, economy, a lot of those very, very tough issues that we're facing during this current climate.

And Boris, as you know, we're expecting President Clinton to talk here in this room and a lot of anticipation of course because we don't know exactly what he's going to say. We're going to wait and see. And we'll bring it to you as soon as that happens.

SANCHEZ: You have to think he might mention something about health care, the investigations into the White House connections to Russia and all of that. Rosa, we thank you for keeping an eye on that. And we'll get back to you as soon as he takes the stage. Thank you.

Meantime, Democrats are trying to recover from crushing losses in special elections in typically red districts of Georgia and South Carolina, which had a real shot at flipping. So, how exactly does the party move forward and gain ground? Some Democratic lawmakers say it starts with a much-needed change in leadership. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. KATHLEEN RICO (D), NEW YORK: We need a winning strategy. And I think the first step to getting to a winning strategy is a change in leadership.

REP. TIM RYAN (D), OHIO: I don't think people in the beltway are realizing just how toxic the Democratic Party brand is.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Do you think Nancy Pelosi is more toxic than Donald Trump?

RYAN: You know what, the honest answer is in some areas of the country, yes, she is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: And joining us now to discuss possible rebranding of the Democratic Party, CNN political commentator and former Ohio state senator Nina Turner and Maria Cardona, she's a CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist.

Nina, let's start with you. You heard Tim Ryan there making the case that the Democrats, their brand in some ways is worse than Donald Trump's. The president's approval rating has hovered in the mid-30s for some time now. What does that say about where the Democrats stand?

NINA TURNER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And the Democrats polling among people in this country not better. I mean, it really says that the Democrats cannot just run an anti-Trump campaign. That didn't work in 2016. And it certainly did not work in the special elections that we just saw, four consecutive losses, not to mention some special elections last year.

The fact of the matter is that we need a new deal remix and the Democratic Party should be the party standing up for the folks. The Democratic Party needs to go back to the FDR when he talked about an economic bill of rights in the 1944, that talked about good jobs, decent wages, good living conditions or decent living conditions, which I would say good living conditions, education and protections for people who need it like elderly people, disabled people, people who are unemployed. That is a solid message. But just running against Mr. Trump is not going to win over or motivate voters in this country.

SANCHEZ: Maria, to you, there was some talk this week about Nancy Pelosi's place within the Democratic Party. Her defenders cite the fact she is a prolific fund-raiser. She herself says that she's worth the trouble. But one Texas Democrat, Filemon Vela made this counter argument. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. FILEMON VELA (D), TEXAS: There's no question. She is a prolific fund raiser. She raised millions of millions of dollars. But what has that money gotten us in the last four election cycles?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Maria, has that fund-raising advantage ultimately benefited Democrats if they have continuously suffered losses?

[12:35:01] MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, let's be very clear. Everybody likes to talk about these last four special elections and the fact that Democrats lost and try to equate that to the death of the Democratic Party. That is absolutely ridiculous, Boris. Because let's understand these districts were ruby red districts.

The fact that Democrats were even in contention means that we were in a very good position and will be in a very good position to continue to make gains going into 2018. Look, Jon Ossoff, sure, he might have made some mistakes. But from everything that I understand, he ran a very good campaign. He came within less than four points of Karen Handel when Tom Price, who ran just last November, won that seat by 23 points. Those are huge gains, Boris.

I agree with Nina. We can't just have an agenda that is anti-Trump. And guess what, we don't. We talk about and need to continue to aggressively talk about what we are doing for middle class families, for low-income families, for all those families who were not born with silver spoons in their mouths or trust funds in the bank.

We need to talk about how Republicans want to take away health care from 24 million people, the same health care that, guess who passed it in the Congress, Nancy Pelosi. The reason why Republicans hate Nancy Pelosi and use her as a lightning rod is because she has been such an effective legislator.

And for those people who believe that even if she steps down that Republicans will stop using her as a lightning rod, I think are being naive. So, we have a lot of promising things that we can run on. We are making gains. You said it, Boris. Donald trump is at 36 percent approval rating, which is a record low.

The American people chose the Democratic agenda over the Republican agenda in this past election cycle by almost 3 million votes. Those are things we need to continue to remember and continue to run on aggressively.

TURNER: But Boris, the Democrats have lost over 1,100 seats over the last decade. So, I agree with Maria, this is not just about those four special elections. This is about the fact that Democrats have lost state legislatures, governor's mansions, and seats in the House of Congress over the last ten years. That is what this is about.

And we need to wake up and get a clue. That is not just about the person who can raise the most money. It is about the person who can touch the hearts of the people and get folks to get out there and vote. And my god, if Democrats are not going to do it, who else will do it? CARDONA: I completely agree with that, Nina. And we need to work towards getting the right candidates to run in the right places and to talk about our agenda, which the majority of the American people agree with us on.

TURNER: But not just talking about it, Maria. We got to be about it. We have to do it. It has to make a difference. Just in California, the state -- the house -- the leader of -- the house leader in California, the majority leader in California, just killed Medicare for all. What kind of Democratic value is that? And we can't blame that on the Republicans or the Russians. Those were Democrats that did that.

SANCHEZ: A very passionate argument. Unfortunately, ladies, we have to leave it there. Nina Turner, Maria Cardona, thank you very much.

CARDONA: Thank you Boris.

SANCHEZ: Stay with us. We'll be right back.

TURNER: Thank you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: One of the forefathers of social media, Facebook, is taking on a new role in not just the community, but also the world.

CNN senior tech correspondent, Laurie Segall, sat down for an exclusive rare conversation with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Hey, Laurie.

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN TECH SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Boris. Well, Facebook is changing its mission from, you know, initially being all about being open and connecting the world to be a little more specific, to building communities, making the world closer together. It's a big deal because it's a change for Mark Zuckerberg.

Anytime a tech company changes their core mission statement, people pay attention. And this is the first time in history that Mark Zuckerberg has decided to. And I think it's a bit of a moment in time. And he talked to me about actually rethinking the company, rethinking the company's role in a time where there's some really challenging questions. I sat down with him here in Chicago. Take a listen.

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MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO & CHAIRMAN, FACEBOOK: I used to think that, if we just work to give people a voice and help connect, that that would going to make the world all better by itself. And I still think those are really important things to do. And we're still going to do them.

SEGALL: Yes.

ZUCKERBERG: But now, I feel like we have a responsibility to do even more, right. Because I mean today, a lot of society is divided, right. And so, it's pretty clear that just giving people a voice and connecting people isn't enough. We also have to do work to help bring people closer together. So, that's what the new mission is all about. It's bringing the world closer together so not just simply connecting but also helping to close some of the gaps.

[12:45:09] SEGALL: So, Let me ask you, how you do that, because technology to a degree has always promised to help us discover and to help us learn. There's also the question of does it make us more insular and, you know, is information being hijacked and spread. So, as you make the future of Facebook, these communities, how do you make sure they remain a place for authenticity and for real discourse?

ZUCKERBERG: People are connecting over something that they have in common. If you want to engage on issues that you disagree on, right, to things that society is divided on, the first thing that you need to do is connect over your common humanity, right. So that can be something as simple as, you know, we both have families or we both like T.V. show together.

So, bringing people together and creating these communities is I think a lot of what we can do to help create more civil and productive debate on some of the bigger issues as well. (END VIDEOTAPE)

SEGALL: You know, I had to ask him like, is this politically motivated, because you got to look at his track record. He, you know, writes this whole manifesto about technology and democracy in February. And his New Year's resolution was to spend more time outside the Silicon Valley bubble at dinner tables around the country.

And he kind of sidestepped that, but he did say he believed that we were politically divided. And he said, you know, that's why he feels a responsibility to build out these organic communities online.

Now, of course, that comes with some of the negative stuff. You have to make sure, you know, you're not spreading hate speech. We have to make sure trolling isn't rampant. And these are the tough questions Facebook is looking at as it looks to the future. Boris?

SANCHEZ: All right. Laurie Segall, thank you.

Still ahead, a White House staple goes dark as the president's communications team cuts back on on-camera press briefings. The reasons behind the move and the outcry from the reporters who have cover them, next.

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[12:51:06] SANCHEZ: The already delicate relationship between the White House and the press is growing even more tense with both sides critical of how the other operates. The White House has held just two on-camera press briefings in the past two weeks. And as frustrated reporters who accused the White House of a lack of access and transparency. But the White House says that on-camera briefings are just one way to get their message out.

I'm joined now by CNN senior media correspondent and host of "Reliable Sources" Brian Stelter, along with CNN media analyst, Bill Carter. Thank you both for joining us. I want you to listen to Sean Spicer defending these off-camera briefings. Listen.

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SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: At some days we'll do it. I think it's great for us to come out here and have a substantive discussion about policies. I don't think the "be all and end all" is whether it's on television or not.

We've made ourselves available a lot of times and we'll continue to do. But I'd rather sit here and have a very enjoyable conversation with you on issues on a Friday afternoon. And let the president's comments stand on the great things that he's standing on behalf of our nation's veterans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Bill, do you think we're having more substantive conversations now because the cameras aren't around? BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: No. Hardly. Of course not. I mean it's another way to block substance. Really, what actually it's about. You know, if you think about it, an awful lot of American now gets their information from television. And if you cut the cameras off, you're really not giving the information.

I'm not saying it has to be live necessarily, but how can they do it and then not have cameras, you know, available when so much of what is being, you know, transported to people -- transferred to people is coming through a television? I think it's really denying the access to the people who control the government, which is the actual people, not the administration.

SANCHEZ: Brian, while Sean Spicer is talking to the press corps off camera, he did talk to "Fox News" twice yesterday on camera. So, is the administration only going to do interviews with people they find friendly?

BRIAN STELSTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Right now that's what we are seeing. President Trump gave an interview to "Fox" on Thursday and, again, on Friday. There were two Sean Spicer interviews yesterday. There was also an interview with his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, on "Hannity" last night.

This is in some ways a "Fox News" presidency. This White House prefers to be speaking on "Fox" and mostly to friendly interviewers on "Fox." And its part of I think a broader thing we've seen the past five months. Which is this president speaking to his base and not so much trying to persuade the rest of the country to listen to him, to support him, to approve of him.

We've seen the approval ratings. He's between 35 percent and 40 percent in the approval ratings, and that's really the audience he's speaking with and through his rallies, through Twitter, through these interviews on "Fox." He doesn't seem to be trying hard to persuade the rest of the country. He seems desiring to speak mostly to his fans.

And we should point out here, all governments try to withhold and try to avoid tough questions. It's just that the Trump administration is doing it much more egregiously than Bush or Clinton or Obama or past presidents did.

Normally we'd have an on-camera briefing almost every day of the week. Now, we've seen them once a week in this new strategy this month. It may hurt the White House. It definitely hurts the public's access to information.

SANCHEZ: Bill, do you think that it might hurt the White House cutting off his opportunity, one of the biggest opportunities they have to get their message out?

CARTER: Well, I think it's hurting them with an awful lot of people. It's not hurting with their base as Brian points out. And, you know, he has a propaganda arm he can go to reset base in "Fox News." So, he's using that effectively, but it's not expanding his base. And it also is just denying the rest of the country access to their president. He's not just president of those people. He's president of all the people. So, if he cuts off these people, it's not just that he can't expand his message. It's that he's literally not doing his job. He's our president too.

SANCHEZ: And, Brian, I would believe that this is straight out of "SNL" though they're not on the air in the summer. I do want your thoughts on having a sketch artist in the press briefing room. We sent one there Friday because our cameras were banned. Here's what the sketch artist came up with. What do you make of this?

[12:55:12] CARTER: This is by Bill Hennessy. He's one of the best known courtroom artists out there. He usually works with the Supreme Court. But on Friday, that's why CNN sent him to the briefing in order to show what we weren't seeing on camera.

I think it was notable CNN did not send a cartoonist. We weren't trying to make fun of the briefing. He sent a very legitimate courtroom artist in order to paint a picture of what we weren't seeing on camera.

I think what makes this so strange, guys, this idea that the briefing are off camera that we've never lived in a world with more technological ability to show everything to anyone at any time.

I mean, if I pick up my phone here and click the Instagram button, it only takes me two clicks to go live. So all of a sudden I'm broadcasting live to anybody I want to. You can see it on Instagram right now. It's so easy nowadays to show everything live. And that's what makes this White House's restriction so odd.

Viewers might wonder why don't news outlets just hold their cameras up during the briefing? The answer is it would make a even tense situation even more tense. It would make a bad thing even worse. There would be concerns about the White House revoking credentials and things like that.

And right now it's worth it for reporters to be in the room even when there are restrictions to be able to demand the answers to questions the White House doesn't want to answer.

SANCHEZ: Gentlemen, we have to leave it there because we are out of time, Bill Carter and Brian Stelter, thank you. Don't forget, you can catch Brian tomorrow at 11:00 on "Reliable Sources.

Still ahead, we are waiting to hear from former President Bill Clinton at a conference in Miami Beach. We're going to bring you his comments once he takes the stage.

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