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CONNECT THE WORLD
Report: President Consumed By Dark Moods; Trump Warns Puerto Rico: Aid Won't Last Forever; Long-Standing Palestinian Rivals Agree On Accord; Trump Expected To Decertify Multilateral Pact; Rising Tension Between U.S. And North Korea; Trump Set To Sign Executive Order; Trump Escalates Attacks On America's Press. Aired at 11-12p ET
Aired October 12, 2017 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The press should more honestly. I mean I seem tremendously dishonest.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: Shocking words in the White House. The president is frustrated and the U.S. seemingly in the retreat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Analysis are heading including what happens if President Donald Trump follow through and decertifies the Iran nuclear deal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Also this hour, after decade of failed attempts of the Palestinian finally on the same political page, what that means for the
prospects for peace with our reporter live Ramallah. More women excuse film mogul Harvey Weinstein. We look at whether the allege culture of
silence went beyond Hollywood.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: A very good evening from Abu Dhabi, hello and welcome. It is just after 7 o'clock. I'm Becky Anderson and this is Connect the World.
Well, frustrated stored legislative general and fierce criticism from his own ranks, the U.S. President Donald Trump doing it alone today.
Just minutes from now, he will use the power of the pen to take unilateral action on healthcare, signing an Executive Order that he says will improve
insurance options and increase competition in the United States.
So this is a tactic he often criticized then President Barack Obama for. Once calling it a sign he wasn't even trying and just wanted to quote, go
play and golf.
Joe Johns report, this comes reports that the White House is in crisis as Mr. Trump himself appears to be trying to shut down negative coverage with
new threats against the free press.
TRUMP: It's frankly disgusting way that the press is able to write whatever they want to write.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Trump sounding more like an autocratic than a leader of the free world tweeting that network news
licenses must be challenged and if appropriate, revoked, after saying he does not favor limitations on the media earlier in the day.
TRUMP: No. The press should speak more honestly.
JOHNS: Republican Senator Ben Sasse, a frequent Trump critic, firing back, asking, Mr. President, are you recanting the oath you took on January 20th
to preserve, protect and defend the First Amendment?
TRUMP: The one thing with the Democrats, they stay together like glue. We have great policies, but the Republicans tend not to be as unified.
JOHNS: Sources tell CNN the president is growing increasingly frustrated with a stalled legislative agenda, and a new article in Vanity Fair
describes a White House in crisis, with advisers struggling to contain a president who is increasingly unfocused and consumed by dark moods.
The reports cites two senior Republican officials who say Chief of Staff John Kelly is miserable but remaining in his post to keep Mr. Trump from
making a disastrous decision.
Speculation about Kelly's future growing Wednesday, after his deputy chief of staff was nominated to replace the post he vacated as Homeland Security
One White House source telling CNN, they don't see Kelly remaining on the job for long without her and that he may have been giving her somewhere to
land before he ultimately leaves.
According to one of Vanity Fair's sources, the president's former Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon, has said he thinks the president only has a 30
percent chance of making it through his full term.
Bannon reportedly telling the president that the main risk to his tenure is the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, which allows the cabinet to vote to
remove him, the White House is disputing these accounts, as the president denies any rift with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
TRUMP: We have a very good relationship.
JOHNS: But making it clear that his own strategic opinion matters most when it comes to North Korea.
TRUMP: I think I have a little bit different attitude on North Korea than other people might have. And I listen to everybody. But ultimately, my
attitude is the one that matters, isn't it?
JOHNS: This as CNN learns that a tense and difficult meeting at the Pentagon prompted Tillerson to call the president a moron back in July. An
official telling CNN, defense employees were ashen at Mr. Trump's direct questioning of his commanders and his lack of a nuanced world view.
ANDERSON: Well, Joe Johns joining us now live from the White House with the latest.
[11:05:00] Look, Joe, he is losing patience with Puerto Rico, we would come to in a moment, hugely frustrated at not being able to get healthcare bill
And now in the past hour or so, lashing out once again at what he calls the fake news, that the mainstream media to you and me, accusing the press of
demeaning and denigrating him. I think that is what his last tweet suggest that not entirely clear. Is the president in meltdown?
JOHNS: Well, there are some who have suggested that quite frankly, Becky, that things have gotten very tough here in ;the White House and what we do
know from our reporting is there's been a bit of unease special over the Pentagon about the president's grasp of particular issues especially
relating to the nuclear arsenal and other issues.
So a lot under a lot of pressure and president's tweets tend to send, you know, the people scurrying either to try to walk back things that he says
or to justify them.
However, you see behind me, people gathering to go into the Roosevelt Room of the White House to witness the signing of the president's Executive
Order on healthcare would essentially create cheaper, more comprehensive -- I mean cheaper and less comprehensive insurance for individuals.
It is being called a move that would essentially allow healthier people to buy insurance -- health insurance at lower rates while sicker people would
have to buy at higher rates.
And it's also being referred to as the kind of regime that occurred here in the United States in the late 1980s and 1990s where something derisively
referred to as junk health insurance was sold with low premiums but enormous deductibles sometimes lasting only a year or so.
But it's part of the president's pledge that he made repeatedly during the campaign to get rid of Obamacare that he hadn't be able to do on Capitol
Hill, so he is going to try to do it with the stroke of a pen. So this administration would say, this is the kind of thing that gets back on
ANDERSON: Joe Johns is at the white House ahead of what is the signing of this executive order. That is in around 10 minutes time, we'll to get that
and as and when happens. Joe, appreciate it. Well, president warning Puerto Rico that disaster assistance after hurricane Maria will not last
In a series of tweets this morning, he said the U.S. territory now faces a financial crisis largely of their own making, in quote saying, it's
electrical system and infrastructure was a disaster before the storm.
Mr. Trump says the U.S. can't keep federal emergency officials, military troops and first responders in Puerto Rico forever. Much of the island
still has no power and drinking water is still in short supply.
In fact, Mr. Trump's own government issued a warning yesterday when some people that are so desperate at taking water from wells at toxic waste
sites. CNN's Leyla Santiago is in San Juan in Puerto Rico with more for you.
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As President Trump talks about FEMA aid in Puerto Rico and as he calls it a success but sort of indicates that
perhaps they won't be here forever helping the people of Puerto Rico.
What we have found outside of San Juan, outside of the area that President Trump himself visited is a different picture, people very vulnerable,
people in need of medications, in need of bottled water not getting the FEMA that is now on the ground and is moving.
We have talked to people in hospitals, doctors themselves who tell less that they need more help. They cannot continue to operate under these
conditions and meet the needs of patients.
And as we went back to a place where we visited just four days after hurricane Maria stuck, we we're told only the mayor has visited Culebra
It is in the northwestern part of the island, delivered a box of food and now that food is gone. The community shared and they're waiting for more
help to arrive. Listen to what in the neighbors told me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because nobody has come around. It's only been us. That's it and to see somebody say that they care, that is the important
thing, that someone came by and said they care. They look -- they stopped, there guys came down in the middle of the road, that was awesome.
SANTIAGO: So still, at this hour, about 80 percent without power. Third of this island without water, communication still a major issue. FEMA is
actually distributing this flyer that says register for disaster assistance and it has a phone number.
[11:10:00] And a website, a big problem for many of those who still don't have communications, still don't have internets, still don't have cellphone
service, a big issue on an island of 3.5 million U.S. citizens still waiting for help as President Trump tweets he could pull out soon. Leyla
Santiago, CNN, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
ANDERSON: Well, stay with us. I want to get you the first pictures from Mr. Trump's signing of what we've just been discussing, the Executive Order
on healthcare just as soon as we got that.
And then, another example of President Trump doing it alone, he is expected to step back from what is an international agreement on Iran's nuclear
program. We'll explain what the decertification process really means.
And President Trump's America first policy as some saying the U.S. is definitely stepping back from the world stage. During release for the U.S.
is held sway for decades has been a major development factor on Hamas, long-standing Palestinian rivals have agreed to a reconciliation deal.
Now this has come after decade of failed attempts for the division and face-to-face talks in Cairo with Egypt now as the mediator. CNN's Oren
Liebermann is in Ramallah in the West bank. And Oren, why does this happen now and just how significant is this in terms of what is this stalled
Middle East peace process?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's take those two parts separately -- first, why now. At the political level, Hamas has gone
through a major change with a new policy document that has moderated their stands and particularly when comes to Israel as well as a number of topics.
But they also have a new leader's in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar who was considered a hardliner but he shown himself at times to be practical. In fact he has
threatened anyone who opposes this reconciliation. That's at the political level.
At a humanitarian level, this may be just as significant, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is as bad as it's ever been in, only getting worse. This is
after a decade of an Israeli blockade in Egypt often shutting down its border with Gaza.
There are also the Palestinian authority taking a number of punitive measures against Gaza in recent months that have only deepen the
humanitarian crisis in terms of cutting electricity, cutting of salaries, so less money going in to Gaza, all of that put pressure on Hamas to make
concessions here in terms of this reconciliation.
What does that mean for the peace process, that is a much more difficult question especially since Egypt and America both pushed for reconciliation
will be critical players in the peace process. Well for that, let's look at the Israeli response and that has been one very much of caution.
Not dismissive as they have been when it was previous reconciliation in times that it felt but simply saying if this is true reconciliation, Hamas
means to disarm its military wing essentially give up its military wing and recognize the state of Israel.
So it seems Israel recognizes that this is much more significant, much more serious than it has been in previous years in terms that it's awarding
essentially to the international community to hold Hamas accountable to international agreements.
But if this is truly the reconciliation that it appears to be as it progresses and is a reconciliation bringing together not only the West Bank
But all Palestinians under one governance, it could be a very significant process or a very significant step in the peace process because now there
is an Israeli government that would be able to negotiate with one Palestinian government. Becky.
ANDERSON: Oren Liebermann is in Ramallah for you this evening. Out of Ramallah not so rosy elsewhere in the region, a new low relations between
United States and Turkey to NATO allies have some.
Yet again, the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched a new tirade against the U.S. could decide for its support for Kurdish fighters
in Syria and series of other phony bilateral issues. And all comes after Turkish member of the U.S. consulate staff in Ankara was arrested last
And just a few hours ago, the U.S. State Department announced that the U.S., America is pulling out of UNESCO because it says has a number of
concerns including anti-Israel buyers at the organization.
Now the cultural and education agency of the United Nations which is what it is expressed regret over the decision and said the American decision
marked a loss for multilateralism and for the U.N. family.
And get this, President Trump set to anger more world powers in the coming 24 hours. Tomorrow, Mr. Trump, we are told is poised to decertify the Iran
nuclear deal. Now two senior American officials tell CNN, the president plans to initiate a tougher.
[11:15:00] And more wide ranging strategy to count to what they say or he says is Iran's regional aggression and its threats world wide. Mr. Trump
address the accord in an interview with the conservative Fox News Sean Hannity on Wednesday.
Here is what the president had to say about the agreement the U.S., China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and Germany struck with the Islamic
Republic in 2015.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think it was one of the most incompetently drawn deal I've ever seen. It's a horrible, horrible embarrassment to our country. We did it
out of weakness when actually, we have great strategy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Joining me now to look at the future of the Iran nuclear deal then is Amir Handjani. He's a fellow -- senior fellow at the Atlantic
Thank you for joining us. The sort of conceit of his part of the show, he is really taking a look at whether the U.S. is in retreat on so many levels
and this will be a crucial one. I just want to walk our viewers through some of the details.
So they get what we are about to talk about. Decertification doesn't necessarily mean doesn't killing the Iran deal currently the U.S. president
has to certify to Congress every three months that he wanted to keep us and defense of the patch of Mr. Trump's not to, there is after all a few ways
that it could play out.
So let's bring those us. Congress will have 60 days to decide a possible what they can continue with the current tenants or move to break the deal
by re-imposing sanctions against Iran. The U.S. Congress to build and to pass new conditions for U.S. participation in the nuclear pack.
For example they could broaden scope of the deal to include restrictions on the country's ballistic missile program or support for terrorism.
Now depending on what Congress decides, other country's party to the agreement may or may not follow suit and that's critical here, isn't it.
So the ball is in Congress' court, Amir, at this point which is concerning for some. There are warnings, the decision decertify could back forth --
backfire. What does the road ahead look like to you?
AMIR HANDJANI, SENIOR FELLOW, ATLANTIC COUNCIL: It's murky as you suggested of -- decertification is an internal U.S. issue, part of the 2015
Iran Nukes Review Act Congress wanted to say and how the executive branch of government was going to implement the JCPOA.
It has nothing to do with the JCPOA, so that being the case, the ball has drop and pointing to Congress and how that works out in Congress is going
to determine what type of reaction the Iran and the global community from negotiate still are going to have.
ANDERSON: So let's just stop there for on moment. What is your understanding as to how Congress would act, should this be what he does,
HANDJANI: Well, initially if you ask me this question nine months ago before we had nine months of what I call the chaos presidency, there was
many congressional Republicans that were on board with the United States pulling out of the JCPOA.
Now I'm not so sure I think especially since head of the Senate Foreign Relation Committee Bob Corker who was Trump ally has called him unstable.
He is compared people in his White House to, you know, managed adult care.
Many people now in the Republican Party in Congress realized that the world is coming on heinous by a lot of president's policies. You just said they
are pulling out at UNESCO. They want to pull out of NAFTA.
He's tweeting his nuclear annihilation to North Korea. So this will be another destabilizing act going on in the world, that's full of centers of
destabilization right now.
ANDERSON: And we are certainly seeing voices not at least from Europe saying wait on a minute, this -- we've got a stick with the deal that was
A reminder of what is in that deal then, again, for our viewers to say, because this is important, the basic premise, Iran want some relief from
sanctions in exchange for curving it's nuclear program, not a country agreed to numbers of set limiting the nuclear activities, including
transferring the ultimate enriched uranium stockpile to Russia.
Reducing number of it's some diffusions, those machines of course used to enrich uranium and replacing the reactor core, at its Arab nuclear sites,
essentially rendering its commerce, to make sure the country fulfills all of its obligations in the International Atomic Energy Agency.
IAEA carries out inspections, that organization have report eight times since the packed broke that Iran is in compliance. So it is working, I
mean according to the IAEA.
[11:20:00] Let's be absolutely clear. It puts spirit of the deal that Donald Trump says is a problem to him and he along with, it had to be said,
some European leaders and certainly some plans from here in the gulf including the Saudis saying it is the hegemonic activities.
It is the destabilizing activities of Iran in this region which players have an issue with. It's not the details of the deal, it's the spirit of
HANDJANI: That's correct but it's important for your views to understand that on those issues, they were not included in the negotiation because
Iran in the world powers were very far apart.
ANDERSON: Which is why Donald Trump says this was a terrible, terrible agreement?
HANDJANI: But the agreement itself only addresses one part of Iran's activity, the nuclear program. Imagine all of those issues that you just
mention support for militant groups in the region, its ballistic missile program and at on top of that, a nuclear capable Iraq.
So they wanted to remove the United States, the Obama administration and the global community, it's a multilateral agreement.
This is Donald Trump doesn't like it, because it's a multilateral bit with six world powers, five world powers and Iran, it remove that piece of the
equation off of the table.
He could deal with those things with Congress, with the international community, if he left the nuclear program -- the nuclear deal alone because
as you said, the IEA, the body that has been trying to document to referee the agreement says Iran is complying.
ANDERSON: Let me play devils advocate with you just for one moment. We listen to Hassan Rouhani at the UNGA, the U.N. General Assembly. I'm just
waiting for Donald Trump to come up and when he does, we're going to -- we're going start.
We're going to pause for one moment. When the president of Iran spoke at the general assembly back in New York back in September, he talked about it
was important to retain this deal.
Why it was -- and he pointed out that many of the parties have signatory to the deal agree with him. What he didn't reference was any of destabilize
or acknowledge with any of the destabilizing behavior that many people agreed, Tehran is involved with in this region. So how do we get pass
HANDJANI: Well, for Iran's point of view, what the U.S. and others see as destabilizing, they view as stabilizing. It's sort of very strange.
It's sort of mere -- they are exact opposites of each other that Iran and the United States. Iran views there are action in the region as trying to
stabilize coming to aid of the Iraqi government.
HANDJANI: Well, there is that, too. So they take a different view. Now, I think what would be more effective for the United States to address the
issue of Hezbollah, to address the issue of the support of Russia, to address its ballistic missile program outside of the JCPOA.
I think the global community would be -- specially Europe and Europe becomes critical now as part of the deal. Europe would be have a much
better ear for that. We have this agreement as long as Iran is playing by the rules and the IAEA certifies its point by the rules, verified its point
by the rules.
Let's address these issues outside the nuclear because what you could have happen is the U.S. exit, the deal fall apart and then Iran falls apart,
Iran decides to restart its nuclear program.
ANDERSON: Is that likely to happen very, very quickly.
HANDJANI: I don't see it happening initially but as long as the Europeans, the Russians, the Chinese still play ball, sign to the agreement, I think
Iran will, too.
ANDERSON: I mean it matter wind to up that you will come back, I know, good to have you on the show, important to have you on the show with the
analysis of what is an incredibly important story. We are going to take a very short break. Thank you for that.
Let me bring up some picture of what is the White House today. Donald Trump set an Executive Order in the next few minutes, and we will get you
news to that when it happens. I'm going to take a shorty break before that happens. Stay with us.
[11:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON: Twenty-six minutes past 7:00 in Abu Dhabi, you're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. As you just joining us,
you are very welcome.
While we await the appearance of the U.S. president, at the White House, I want to update you on another moving story. No end to the rising tension
between Washington and Pyongyang.
North Korea's foreign ministry told the Russian news agency TASS and I quote, that Donald Trump lit the weak of war with what he calls the U.S.
president in the same speech at the United Nations.
North Korea's foreign minister also want that the final score needs to be settle and not with words but with quote, a hale of fire. CNN's Alexandra
Field has more for you now with this report from Seoul in South Korea.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, we have heard the U.S. president Donald Trump saying he has a different attitude perhaps from
others when it comes to North Korea.
Also suggesting that he is tougher than others, talking again about how previous attempts to deal with the regime, to deal with the mounting crises
on the Peninsula had failed for years now from previous administrations.
Well, North Korean officials also have some tough words. We have seen how this goes, the reaction -- there is reaction for every barge there, another
barge, this time the North Korean Foreign minister is speaking to a Russian state news agency.
And we know North Koreans have a way of words when it comes to the rhetoric here, this time saying that President Donald Trump lit the weak of war when
he spoke to the United Nations last month in that address.
He talked about the United States capability, capacity to destroy North Korea if necessary. Also went on to talked to the leader of the regime Kim
Jong-un calling him rocket man in his interview to perceive Russian state news agency, TASS.
The have the North Korean foreign minister going to place the blame squarely on the United States for the escalation of tension here on the
Peninsula. He also said that the sanctions have been leveled against North Korea are act of aggression.
And he insisted that this is not the time for talks, not the time for negotiation, he stood firm that North Korea would not be negotiating on its
missile or its nuclear program. That the stand the regime has taken very publicly over and over again.
He says that's the stand that will continue as long as the United States continues with what he called their policy to crush North Korea.
Of course North Korean officials aren't the only ones casting doubt about the feasibility of dialogue when it comes to resolving this crisis.
You have had the president himself seemingly undercutting some of the diplomatic efforts made by his own Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, who
traveled to the region just about a week ago.
As he was talking about opening up channels of dialogue with Pyongyang, the president was tweeting save your energy, he's gone on to say that only one
thing will work when it comes North Korea.
He hasn't clarified what that is but we do know that just this week, he met with top national security officials to discuss with the White House has
called, a range of options for dealing with North Korea. Becky.
ANDERSON: Alexandra Field reporting for you. Still ahead, Donald Trump set an Executive Order in the next few minutes. We'll bring you that when
it happens. We're talking a short break, back after this.
[11:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON: All right, the U.S. President Donald Trump set to sign an Executive Order on healthcare as Congress (Inaudible) to overhaul
Obamacare, calling for a plan that could let employees bang together of coverage across state lines. He will speak momentarily let's listen in at
the White House.
ALEXANDER ACOSTA, SECRETARY OF LABOR, UNITED STATES: Mr. President, your Executive Order signed today is an important step in achieving that goal.
I want to thank you and your administration for continuing to focus on finding affordable healthcare solutions.
In addition to instructions given to the treasury and Health and Human Services Department, the president will task the Department of Labor with
considering ways to deliver quality affordable health care to the American workforce. I would now like to call upon Senator Rand Paul to say a few
brief words. Thank you.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Thank you, Secretary Acosta. Today is a big day. President Trump is doing what I believe is the biggest free market
reform of healthcare in a generation.
This reform, if it works and goes as planned will allow millions of people to get insurance across state lines at an inexpensive price, 28 million
people were left behind by Obamacare.
Do not have insurance today. This specifically targets and will help people who don't have insurance or people -- or for whom insurance is too
I'm very glad to be part of this and I really want to commend the president for having the boldness and the leadership and the foresight to get this
done. And I'd like to introduce the vice president of the United States.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, good morning, Secretary Acosta and Senator Paul, Secretary Mnuchin, Director Mulvaney,
Administrator McMahon, and Senator Paul, thank you for those thoughtful remarks.
And to Congressman Greg Walden and Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, all the distinguish members of Congress, and job creators, it's an honor to share
this moment with you today. I'm all aware President Trump will take a critical step to lower the cost of health insurance for working Americans.
To say one of our administration, President Trump has made it a top priority to rescue the American people from the disastrous failure of
Everyday Obamacare survives is another day the American people struggle and all the job creators gathered here today at the White House and witness the
failures of Obamacare first hand. Premiums are more than doubled since Obamacare went into effect.
And next year premiums are set to increase even more, while cost have been skyrocketing, choices are plummeting. Next year, nearly half of America's
counties will have only one choice of health insurance provider which means they essentially have no choice at all.
As the president and I have traveled the country, we've heard stories from small business owners like those gathered here today from working families
who are struggling under the weight of Obamacare.
Today, President Trump will take decisive action to provide the American people with flexibility and freedom from the birds of Obamacare and
expandable the number of affordable healthcare options for working Americans.
And Mr. Present, I can say I speak for everyone here and for millions of Americans, when I say how grateful we are for your determination to repeal
and replace Obamacare.
And your commitment demonstrated today by this action to provide the American people with more choices for more affordable healthcare in the
21st century. And with the latest gentleman, it's my privilege to introduce the president of the United States of America.
TRUMP: OK. Thank you very much to Vice President Pence for that wonderful introduction and for the great job you do, and I want to thank Secretary
Acosta, Secretary Mnuchin, acting Secretary Hargan and Administrator McMahon for joining us today.
We're all gathered together for something I believe that is going to be very, very powerful for our nation and very good for a lot of people but
before I begin I have an important update.
[11:35:00] Yesterday the United States government working with the government of Pakistan secured the release of Caitlan Coleman, Joshua Boyle
and their three children from captivity from the Haqqani network a terrorist organization with ties to the Taliban.
The Pakistani government's cooperation is a sign that it is honoring America's wish that I do more to provide security in the region and I want
to thank the Pakistani government. We want to thank Pakistan.
They -- they work very hard on this and I believe they're starting to respect the United States again. It's very important. I think a lot have
-- right now a lot of countries are starting to respect the United States of America once again.
We hope to see this type of cooperation and teamwork in helping secure the release of remaining hostages in our future joint counterterrorism
So with that I want to begin by saying it's my pleasure to welcome so many great small business and association leaders to the White House as we
prepared to make this truly historic announcement and that's exactly what it is.
We have been hearing about the disaster of Obamacare for so long, in my case many years, most of it outside in civilian life and for a long period
of time since I started running and since I became president of the United States, I just keep hearing repeal and replace, repeal and replace.
Well, we're starting that process and were starting in a very positive manner and consider when you get Rand Paul and site, it has to be positive,
that I can tell you.
TRUMP: Oh, boy.
TRUMP: I hear you say because he is getting up and saying all these wonderful things about what we're going to be announcing. I said boy,
that's pretty unusual. I'm very impressed.
TRUMP: But seven years ago, Congressional Democrats broke the American healthcare system by forcing the Obamacare nightmare on to the American
It has been a nightmare. You look at what's happening with the premiums and the increases of 100 percent, 120 percent and even in one case, Alaska
over 200 percent.
And now every Congressional Democrat has blocked the effort to save Americans from Obamacare, along with a very small frankly handful of
Republicans, three and we're going to take care of that also because I believe we have the votes to do block grants at a little bit later time and
will be able to do that.
Premiums have done skyrocketing but today one third of all the counties in America have only a single insurer selling coverage on an exchange and next
year, it looks like nearly half of all counties in our country think of that.
All of the counties, one half will have only one insurer and many will have none, many will have absolutely created roadblocks for people to have any
form of the insurance we're talking about.
This is why in a few moments I will sign an Executive Order taking the first steps to providing millions of Americans with Obamacare relief.
It directs the Department of Health and Human Services, the Treasury and the Department of Labor to take action to increase competition, increased
choice and increase access to lower-priced high quality healthcare options and they will have so many options.
This will cost the United States government virtually nothing and people will have great, great healthcare and when I say people, I mean by the
millions and millions.
First we aim to allow more small businesses to form associations to buy affordable and competitive health insurance. This would open up additional
options for employers to purchase the health plans their workers want.
I'm also directing Secretary Acosta to consider ways to expand these associations and these healthcare plans all across state lines. This will
create tremendous competition and transformative in so many ways change, aimed at creating more.
[11:40:00] And lower prices for millions of Americans but the competition will be staggering. Insurance companies will be fighting to get every
single person signed up and you will be hopefully negotiating, negotiating, negotiating, and you sill get such low prices for such great care.
It should have been done a long time ago and it could have been done a long time ago. This will allow thousands of small business employers to have
the same purchasing power as large employers to get more affordable and generous insurance options for their workers.
Rich and Leslie Bordry (ph), where are they? Where are they? How are you, nice to see you. How are you? Come on, get up here. Come on. How are
you? Nice to see you, Leslie.
They're here today from Louisiana, great state, just left a little hurricane damage, suddenly they got hit, like Charles but we took good care
of it, right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely.
TRUMP: We took good care of it. They are great people. They're small business owners and they know personally the benefits of association health
plans, one of which is used to provide health insurance for their employees.
But after Obamacare, they were unable to afford their association plan. So they had a great thing, their employees were happy and then it ended like
so many more. I mean this is something I hear, Greg, you know what exactly what I'm talking about.
Greg has been so incredible on this subject and people had plans that worked and then all of a sudden they were just totally cut off, it happened
to your company also.
Rich and Leslie have said that they would love once again to use an association health plan and there are millions of Americans who want more
affordable options just like them, and now, with this Executive Order, Americans will likely soon have those options.
We will be very happy to provide them to you and you will be very happy. Rich, I think you're gong to be extremely pleased. If you're not, you can
tell them right now.
TRUMP: Thank you, Leslie, appreciate it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
TRUMP: Great to see you, thank you very much. In addition, my administration will explore how we can expand something called short-term
limited duration insurance. These health insurance policies are not subject to any very expansive and expensive Obamacare coverage mandates and
The cost of the Obamacare has been so outrageous. It is absolutely destroying everything in its wake. They were so attractive that just last
year, the previous administration crippled the market in an effort to keep people from fleeing the failing Obamacare plans.
In fact, they have prevented these plans from lasting more than three months. They will take action to fix that and to make these affordable
flexible plans much more widely available.
So we're going to have a very widely available plan that's going to cost much less. And from the standpoint of the United States government, we
will be very happy, won't we, Virginia?
CONG. VIRGINIA FOXX (R), NORTH CAROLINA: We will.
TRUMP: So they will get better and it will cost us nothing. That's not too bad, right? We need some more answers like that. Finally, today's
Executive Order instructs Secretaries Acosta, Mnuchin and Hargan to explore how they can allow more businesses to use tax-free health reimbursement
arrangements or HRA's to compensate their employees for their health care expenses.
Currently only about one third of small business employees receive coverage at work forcing millions of workers to enroll in the exchanges or remain
uninsured and to pay the individual mandate penalty.
Not good, not good that is one of the most unpopular things I've ever seen in government. I can tell you. This order takes first steps to make it
easier for businesses to help their workers afford high quality and more flexible healthcare through reimbursement accounts.
With these actions, we are moving toward lower costs and more options in the healthcare market and taking crucial steps towards saving the American
people from the nightmare of Obamacare. Today is only the beginning.
In the coming months, we plan to take new measures to provide our people with even more relief and more freedom. And by the way, one another
subject that will include massive tax cuts. We are going to get massive tax cuts and I believe even Senator Rand Paul.
[11:45:00] And I know Virginia, Greg, I think you're with us. But the whole country is looking for these massive tax cuts and we will get them,
and we're going to also pressure Congress, very strongly to finish the repeal and the replace of Obamacare.
Once and for all, we will have great healthcare in our country. Thank you all very much, appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much.
TRUMP: Thank you, everybody.
TRUMP: One important thing, I'm only trying to get you to cost nothing.
TRUMP: Well, this is promoting healthcare, choice and competition all across the United States. This is going to be something that millions and
millions of people will be signing up for and they will be very happy. I hope this will very helpful and congratulation to everybody.
TRUMP: Thank you. Thank you, everybody.
ANDERSON: All right, Donald Trump at the White House. Let's get there for you, our reporter Stephen Collinson joining us from Washington. What do
make of what we just seen and heard, Stephen?
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think what you're seeing is president that after a very rough patch is desperate for something he can
brand as a win to his supporters. If you remember the he failed to get the healthcare industry, changed by law.
Congress was unable to do that, so he's using the powers he has as president executive power to change the way the current law is implemented.
So that's what you're seeing there. That's why the president is presenting this as a huge victory for his supporters after running for office saying
he was going to repeal Obamacare.
The principle of this, what he's doing is to introduce more competition into the healthcare industry on the idea that the more competition you
have, prices will go down. Now I don't want to get to the widths here for your viewers.
But if that something what this means is, if you are a healthy person, there is good chance that you're actually going to be able to get cheaper
health care plan but it's going to be a limited healthcare plan because Trump is removing a lot of the rules from Obamacare.
For instance, the one that says you have to be treated, if you already sick. Effective a lot of industry people mean though is that if you're
healthy person, you need a good healthcare, if you're unhealthy already, you're going to get a lot worse and it's going to be a lot more expensive.
ANDERSON: All right, well, explained. I want to move away from specifically what we just seen in the past -- what, 20 minutes or so
because it is Donald Trump's words and actions and what is going on outside of the U.S.
And quite frankly, has many people alarmed, not at least as like the action on Friday in decertifying the internationally broke that Iran deal, as one
commentator put it today, Trump's confrontation with Iran is a war of choice not a war of necessity.
And they're saying I guess, could be said in what is his massive ratcheting up with his rhetoric on North Korea. What is the sense in Washington on
what many people around the world are saying, is a U.S. and U.S. administration, run by Donald Trump in retreat at this point?
COLLINSON: Yes, I think a lot of people in Washington would share some of the alarm that there is around the world. What's going to happen is that
we believe that Donald Trump is going to decertify the Iran deal.
That means he is kicking it to Congress to decide whether to put sanctions on Iran that were taken off under the nuclear deal. What's very
interesting about this is that he is one of the only people in his ministration who believe this is a good idea.
Defense Secretary Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the intelligence agency have said that Iran is actually complying with this
deal. So there is no reason to do it and so this is a very political act by the president.
He simply does not want to satisfy that Iran is complying with this is creating his own personal reality for his own reasons, for political
reasons. He said this was bad deal and he would get rid of it. And as with the healthcare issue that we're just been watching.
[11:50:00] There is a sense in which Trump has this obsession, a fixation with wiping out the legacy of Barack Obama. The healthcare law was the
major first-time legacy item of the Obama administration, the Iran deal was the major second term legacy item.
So there's a lot of people here who believe that Donald Trump is taking these steps not because he's -- he believes it's the right thing to do or
that it's actually a smart move but for political reasons.
ANDERSON: Stephen Collinson in Washington for you. Always a pleasure, sir, thank you. Donald Trump is also be making some pretty breathtaking
suggestions about Americans free press.
He has raised the option of shutting down news network whose coverage he disagrees with. He has tweeted that all of the fake news coming our out of
NBC and the network, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their license? Bad for the country!
World news has becomes so partisan, (Inaudible), fake the licenses must be challenged and if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to the public. Let's get
more. Brian Stelter is in New York for you today.
You know, you have to wonder whether this is all just a bit of a joke as Donald Trump might often have us believe that he said lashing but doesn't
really mean because if he does, this is pretty, pretty terrible stuff, isn't it?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is not in keeping with First Amendment values or the U.S. Constitution. Just for our audience around
the world, in the United States, local TV stations are licensed by the U.S. government.
Really a rubberstamp every eight years, the licenses automatically get renewed, these are licenses given to NBC and ABC, and CBS, and Fox station,
and they broadcast on local markets all across the country.
Politics does not interfere in the licensing process. The only parallel I can think of to what Trump is saying, is actually during the next
administration when the Washington Post of course covering the Watergate crisis, actually owned TV stations back then.
So a friend of Richard Nixon try to take those licenses away. Other than, that politics does not interfere in station licensing but here's President
Trump musing about the idea of using his political power to try to take away licenses.
It's not going to happen, that's my sense of this. This is not a threat that is actually going to materialize but it shows his disregard for First
ANDERSON: I want to bring up just another tweet. I mean it's the only way we can, you know, get to really understand what is...
STELTER: What's in his mind, that's right.
ANDERSON: Absolutely, so let's do it. I mean, it's normal, is it? But then, nothing is normal in this administration, aside for policy in which,
you know, needs to be gotten on with that, I guess. Let's bring you this other tweet.
This was from just earlier on today, still banging on about fake news. Still, you know, obviously seizing about, you know, various things. I
thought this was really interesting.
The fake news -- the fake news is going all out in order to demean and denigrate such hatred. Do you understand what he means by that because I'm
STELTER: We're in this real-time feedback loop where he's -- he's turning on the television. He doesn't like what he hears about his administration.
He doesn't like the news coverage of the dysfunction and the chaos inside his own government.
So he lashes out on Twitter trying to find new ways to top himself and be more insulting than the day before. As I was thinking, he's a little bit
like a radio shock jock.
You know, somebody who has to work everyday and outdo what they did the prior day, be even more shocking, be even more upsetting or insulting in
order to keep the audience engaged.
In this case though, President Trump is trying everyday to tell his fans -- his most loyal supporters not to believe the real news reporting that is
happening about his administration and it's really kind of like, when the going gets tough, the news gets fake in President Trump's mind. He cannot
fully -- he refuses to believe the real reporting that is going on.
ANDERSON: Can I just ask you one thing which we have never discussed before but it has been buried in my mind a little bit. You know, Twitter
is a real echo chamber. You and I have talked about that is the past. How it sort of -- you know, a lot of journalists use Twitter, a lot of NGOs use
STELTER: Right, right.
ANDERSON: Did Donald Trump's base use Twitter? Is it effective when he is speaking his base or it a side that we are reporting his tweets that matter
to him and his base.
STELTER: It's both the reporting, the application especially on Fox News but it's also the repetition, the idea that he says things like this on
almost daily basis. Yesterday, he said as disgusting that journalists were able to report whatever they want and whenever they want.
Obviously, most Americans and many people around the world feel that's actually one of the most valuable things about the American way is that
journalists were able to freely report.
[11:50:00] So by saying these things are on almost daily basis, it does reach his base, it does reaches audience. You are right though about
Twitter. You know, president's tweets, they get 10,000 or 20,000 shares on an average basis.
Tweets from former President Obama, tweets from celebrity like Kim Kardashian actually tend to be a lot more popular. It is notable that the
president doesn't necessarily reach millions of people solely through Twitter.
But he does get amplified through conservative media and most importantly, it because he said that every day, that those words are like a slow acting
Then again, if I can be optimistic on the press for one second that the press in this country is flourishing right now, new important reporting
every single day from the CNNs of the world about the White House in crisis. It is no better time to be a journalist in the United States.
ANDERSON: Good point to be, thank you for that.
STELTER: Just optimistic for you.
ANDERSON: Brian Stelter in the house for you. We really need that. I'm Becky Anderson, that was Connect the World. Thank you for watching, with
the team here, it's a very good evening.