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Repealing Obamacare Debate; Trump Nears Six-Month Mark; Baby Dis of Meningitis; More on Trump Jr. Meeting Attendant. Aired 9:30- 10:00a ET

Aired July 19, 2017 - 09:30   ET



[09:31:43] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Big lunch at the White House today. Every Republican senator heading over for a meeting about what to do next, or as the president put it in a statement this morning, I'll be having lunch at the White House today with Republican senators concerning health care. They must keep their promise to America.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing forward with his latest plan to vote on a straight repeal of Obamacare. It does not look like that one's going to make it at this point. This as the president stands firm on his call to let Obamacare fail on its own, though he did tweet this morning that something might change at lunch. So we'll see.

Joining us now, Republican Congressman Buddy Carter of Georgia.

It's nice to have you here, congressman.

And you have been one member of the House who has been supportive of this blanket repeal of Obamacare. Now, as you know, the Congressional Budget Office, the non-partisan entity, says if you do that, and you don't replace it with anything within the first year you get 18 million Americans without insurance and premiums that are skyrocketing. Explain why that is best for the American people.

REP. BUDDY CARTER (R), GEORGIA: Well, it's best for the American people right now for us to repeal this failed experiment known as Obamacare. This is imploding. Day by day it gets worse. By 2018 we know that we're going to have either one or zero insurance providers in 44 percent of all the counties in America.

This has been a failed experiment. We need to do is we need to repeal it, we need to have a glide path, if you will, a two-year glide path by which we wind it down. And during that time, we need to come up with better ideas. We need to work together in a bipartisan fashion and make sure that we have something by then.

Listen, we never said we were going to turn the light switch off. We always said that we were going to have a transition period. Well, we've got a two-year transition period to work in. But we've got to start from a clean slate. That's what needs to happen.

BERMAN: Again, just to be clear, the CBO has scored this and said that 18 million people would lose their health care in year one.

CARTER: Totally.

BERMAN: Under that plan and, you know, and tens of millions more over ten years. But, again, I understand what you're saying and your argument about the slow transition. You just said that Obamacare is a failed experiment and failing. Again, Democrats would argue against that. But you say it's failing. The president's policy right now seems to be, let it fail. Let it fail completely. Is that responsible public policy to just let people lose their insurance without a solution?

CARTER: Well, that's why we have this transition period that I spoke of earlier. That's why we -

BERMAN: No, I'm not talking about transition. I'm talking -

HARLOW: No, this is different.

BERMAN: I'm talking about the president saying, if repeal doesn't work, just let Obamacare fail completely. Let the system fail. Are you for letting the system fail?

CARTER: Look, we need to do the responsible thing and repeal it right now. Have a two-year window there by which we can come up with a plan. This is a sixth of our economy. More importantly, health care is personal. It's personal for everyone. We understand that. We get it. And we will do the responsible thing and come up with another plan. You know, I take exception -

HARLOW: So, congressman -

CARTER: I take exception to the CBO report saying that 18 million people are going to be unemployed. Eighteen million people are not going to have the opportunity - are not going to be forced to buy something they don't want. What we need do is create a robust, vibrant insurance market where they're competing for your business, not where we're begging them to stay in the exchange, not where we're having subsidize them to stay in the exchange.

[09:35:12] HARLOW: So, congressman, but that's not an answer to John's question, which was, is it responsible public policy to let a program millions of Americans rely on completely to fail? And you're talking about a full repeal. That's a very different thing. We are asking you, is it an abdication of duty to allow Obamacare to fail and perhaps help it along the way by not, you know, funding the subsidies, for example, which the president has threatened, or not enforcing the individual mandate? Are you comfortable with that?

CARTER: I'm comfortable with repealing it now. Listen, we'll cross that bridge when we -

HARLOW: All right, again, that's just not an answer - that's not an answer to what the president -

CARTER: Well, no, it is an answer. HARLOW: It's not an answer. The president is saying, let it fail. That

is different than a repeal. Are you comfortable with sitting by and letting Obamacare fail?

CARTER: If - listen, if we let it fail, then what's the worst thing that happens? We go back do what we had before it was even imagined, before it was even implemented. We go back to that stage. And at that stage then we, again, work on something to make it better for everyone, to give everyone accessible, affordable, patient-centered health care. That's what we've said all along that we want to do. We want to have acceptable, affordability, patient-centered health care. We can do that. working together we can do it.

Now, if we repeal it, we get a two-year period there in which we can work. If it fails on its own, then we have to get on the ball and get it done immediately.

BERMAN: Congressman, I just want to ask you one question about the Russian investigation. Your colleague, Seth Mullen (ph) of Massachusetts, says he's going to put forward and amendment to the budget resolution that would put House members on the record, forcing you to vote on whether or not you support the Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Do you think such a vote is a good idea and would you vote yes?

CARTER: I don't think such a vote is necessary. Listen, we've always said, let the facts lead us where they may. Facts are stubborn things. Let the special counsel do their work. We don't need to be interfering with it in Congress right now. We've got intelligence committees. We've got oversight committees. If they deem it necessary to look into this, let them do their work. But we don't need a vote on the floor to verify this or to justify this. Let the facts lead us where they will.

BERMAN: Congressman Buddy Carter, one thing is sure from this conversation, I need to up my summer suit game because that is one fantastic outfit you're wearing today. Thanks so much for being with us, sir.

CARTER: Thank you.

HARLOW: You're going to be here in a light blue suit tomorrow.

BERMAN: I'll do whatever I can to match that. And it's not going to be easy.

President Trump's first six months in office almost in the history books with one of the signature campaign pledges to repeal and replace Obamacare, you know, really not even on the ropes, off the ropes completely, out of the ring. How does the president want to get back in the ring for the next six months.


[09:41:58] BERMAN: So tomorrow marks the six-month point for President Trump in office. There's a big lunch today at the White House. Not a celebration, however. This is a meeting with Republican senators to try to figure out how to fix the political mess they have created over health care.

HARLOW: Looming over it all, the ongoing speculation surrounding the Trump family and the administration's ties to Russia. At the same time, the president faces really historically low poll numbers at this point in his presidency. So what do the next six months look like?

David Gergen, CNN's special - senior - special and senior political analyst and former presidential adviser to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton joins us.

So you have some unique perspective because you came into the Clinton White House right around this time when his poll numbers were not so rosy either. They had risen a little bit from the 37 percent they were at up to 45 percent, but they were not great. And you helped turn the ship around. What are the lessons from that that could help the Trump White House now?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, two lessons, Poppy, and good questions.

Listen, first, typically a president gets big things done in the first year of his presidency and indeed before the August recess. Those are the critical months to get big things done. And for many Republicans, it's been a time of disappointment, sharp disappointment, because they haven't gotten anything significant done through the legislative process, you know, fulfilling promises. And time is running out in this first year to get the big things done.

That said, can a president turn his administration around? Can Donald Trump turn his administration around? It is possible, yes, absolutely. That's what Bill Clinton did.

But there's an old - you know, there's an old joke about - that I think applies here, and that is, how many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb? Answer. Only one. The light bulb must want to change.

And the big difference between Clinton and Trump is that Bill Clinton realized and understood that he needed help and he wanted to change. He wanted to get it right. He was - when he talked to me, he was, look, I'm out of position. This is not what I want. This is not the White House I wanted. Help me get things right. And so he worked very hard and he did that.

Donald Trump shows no signs of wanting to change. If anything, he seems more set in his patterns. It's very difficult to change the - to turn the ship around when the president himself, you know, wants to keep going in the same direction.

BERMAN: David Gergen, an adviser to four presidents, but not a single comedian, which I - you should be shocked to learn after delivery on that joke.

HARLOW: No. Yes.

BERMAN: David, you know, you're talking about the president passing big things, but you could also achieve some success small things. It was after your time in the Clinton White House, but, you know, during impeachment he was doing school uniforms. People laughed about that, just as they're making fun of President Trump right now (INAUDIBLE) for infrastructure week. But if you execute on things like that, on themes like that, what can you get out of it?

GERGEN: Well, I do think that there's a - their - you know, you can do small things, John. It does - they sort of add up over time. They don't have the kind of big impact that the president needs now to revive his administration.

[09:45:06] I think going small bore right now is not the answer. He has to go for one or two big wins. I don't think he can walk away from health care, you know, to - and to, you know, say let it fail. The questions you were just asking in the last segment, you know, that seems to me to be - to let Americans suffer for your political gains so you've got a better chance of passing a health care bill, it just seems to me not only immoral, but it's a dereliction of duty. You have to, as president, be president of all the people and protect their security and their health. And I think this president needs to step up to that.

But, beyond that, of course, he needs a couple of other victories. I think he's got a better chance at infrastructure reform in terms of bipartisan progress than he does on tax reform. But I know, you know, it's obvious they'll going to go for tax reform first.

HARLOW: We have 30 seconds left. But just your take on the now disclosed not previously disclosed second meeting between Vladimir Putin and President Trump?

GERGEN: Would have been fine. In fact, we would cheer if he had a meeting with an American president, an interpreter who could speak English and Russian so that things didn't get garbled and things didn't get misrepresented to each other and if he had there been full disclosure by the White House. The failure to have an American at his side for what appears to have been an hour-long meeting and the failures then to report it and to be open and transparent about it, to embrace the radical transparency that "The Wall Street Journal" is now urging upon him, I think it was a serious mistake.

BERMAN: David (INAUDIBLE) Gergen, thanks so much for being with us. Great to have you with us (INAUDIBLE).

GERGEN: Thank you so much. Take care, John.

BERMAN: A really troubling story now. Could have been a deadly kiss. A newborn girl dies just weeks after catching a common virus.


[09:51:22] HARLOW: An Iowa mother warning other parents after it's believed that her baby girl contracted viral meningitis less than a week after she was born from a kiss.

BERMAN: Yes, (INAUDIBLE) died Tuesday at just 18 days old. Joining us now to discuss, Dr. William Schaffner, professor of

preventative medicine at Vanderbilt University.

You know, doctor, how can this happen, really, just from a kiss?

DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR OF PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY: Well, John, fortunately this is extremely, extremely rare. And this baby infected was infected with a virus called herpes simplex type one, fancy name. This is a virus that can live in people's mouths without symptoms, occasionally causing sold sores, but not very often, often without symptoms. So it's likely that someone kissed this baby or touched the baby after touching their mouth and transferred the virus to the baby and then the virus got inside the baby and caused this overwhelming illness.

HARLOW: So for new parents or people about to have a child watching, I mean I remember when we had our daughter people said, don't have too many people, too many kids in the room, but they never warned against adults being around the newborn or kissing, it was just about kids and all of the, you know, diseases and sicknesses that they get, et cetera. So what should parents do knowing this now? Do they have to keep their baby isolated?

SCHAFFNER: I don't think so, Poppy. As you know, grandparents and aunts and uncles and others want to come see that new baby. And I think the important thing is, what we do know, there are illnesses we can prevent. This one, not so much. But make sure that everyone who touches the baby is immunized against whooping cough. They should all get their booster so they don't give that to the baby.

HARLOW: Right.

SCHAFFNER: And, of course, if anyone has a sore in their mouth, they should not go near the baby.

BERMAN: Yes, you know, but short of that, though, I mean, you always want to kiss the baby. You know, not kissing a baby -

HARLOW: Of course.

BERMAN: You know, seems like an awfully high bar there, right, doctor?

SCHAFFNER: So let's hold on to the notion that this is very, very, very rare. So let's all take a deep breath and love the baby.

BERMAN: And as for what you look for as the parents of a child that might, you know, if not catch this, catch something else that can be very, very harmful, what do you look for as a new parents because Marianna's (ph) daughter, as you note - parents, they noticed she would not wake up, she want's eating, you know, she quit breathing. What signs do you look for?

SCHAFFNER: Well, not breathing comes lass, but certainly fever, fussiness, not feeding, just looking distressed, call your pediatrician or health care provider, your family doctor right away, of course. HARLOW: Our hearts with her just reading her mother's FaceBook page -


HARLOW: About their little angel now being with God after 18 days. We wish them all the best.

Thank you very much, doctor, we appreciate the advice.

SCHAFFNER: Thank you, Poppy.

HARLOW: So a last-ditch effort. We are hours away from Republican senators heading to the White House. This after the president just signaled that this health care fight, it ain't over yet, next.


[09:59:01] BERMAN: All right, good morning, everyone. I'm John Berman.

HARLOW: And I'm Poppy Harlow.

This morning, two meetings, so many questions and a White House struggling to find traction. President Trump summons Republican senators to an all hands on deck special lunch to discuss the Republicans' failure to repeal and replace Obamacare. After seven years of those promises, now the president is signaling the fight is not over. He wrote a short time ago, "the Republicans never discussed how good their health care bill is and it will get even better at lunchtime. The Dems scream death as Obamacare dies."

So this as new questions loom over the meeting that involved Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer and a whole lot of other people. One former senator says the eighth participant has a murky history that the Russian American Ike Kaveladze was once linked to a money laundering investigation but was not charged.

CNN's Kaitlan Collins at the White House with that new development.

Kaitlan, what are you learning?

[09:59:59] KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, so CNN has learned that Ike Kaveladze was the eighth person in that meeting at Trump Tower last summer with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort. At first we were only told that it was those three and the Russian lawyer. But now this man's attorney