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Trump Calls Opioid Epidemic a "Human Tragedy"; Trump Opens Up About Late Brother's Addiction Struggle; Some JFK Assassination Records Released; Intelligence Community Requested Redactions; Trump Teased a Full Release of JFK Files; Trump Calls Steyer "Wacky & Totally Unhinged"; Steyer Ad Pushes for Trump's Impeachment. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired October 27, 2017 - 12:30   ET




[12:30:24] GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Is it possible for you to stop shooting the heroin while we talk?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I had gotten in me it would be, but --

TUCHMAN: But that's what I'm wondering, like you feel such a strong urge that you can't stop while we talk?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes. There's nothing that would stop me. And that's how bad it gets.

TUCHMAN: Are you afraid you're going to die from this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know I'm going to die from this.


JOHN KING, CNN HOST: That's our Gary Tuchman interviewing Billy. Billy is 31 years old. Has a 5-year-old son. Last night, he slept on the streets of Boston, iron heroin.

Billy is just one piece, one voice of an American epidemic. Its stories like his are critical. As we here in Washington track President Trump's new effort to do more. His declaration yesterday that opioid abuse is a public emergency.

Governor Chris Christie leads the president's commission on drug addiction. Listen here as he talks on CNN this morning trying to put this epidemic into context.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, CHAIRMAN, COMMISSION ON DRUG ADDICTION & OPIOID CRISIS: We have 175 people a day dying. We have a 911 every two and a half weeks. Think about this, if that was happening for terrorist organization was killing 175 Americans a day on our soil, what would we spend just to make it stop? (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: That's a fair question. What would we spend? What should we spend?

The president's declaration doesn't call for any additional federal funding. It punts that debate up to Congress. And it's an important debate.

The question is all these lawmakers here this when they go home, they all say it's an urgent priority. And now they're going to have to decide a funding level at least initially out of the box and a lot of people are saying why it take 10 months, Mr. President, which is a fair question after the campaign, for all the members of Congress too not just the president. But when they're trying to do tax cuts, do year-end spending plan, deal with hurricane and disaster relief. Will this get the attention it deserves?

SEUNG MIN KIM, POLITICO: It's starting to get the attention particularly after the declaration yesterday, but obviously, the big question is money. You need resources and funding to put really some teeth behind the declaration. And you have a Democrats put -- throwing some numbers out there.

Ed Markey of Massachusetts said he wants about $45 billion as part of this declaration. But if you look at the congressional legislation on funding bills, the both the House and the -- House and Senate appropriations bills for the next fiscal year have the opioid funding flat. The HHS fund that deals with the public health emergency, my colleague reported yesterday, it's down with just $57,000, that's basically nothing at this point.

So there does seem to be a need for funding, but if you have -- if you're going to spend money, you have to save money somewhere else, especially with the Republican Congress. You already having -- starting to see the outlines of an offset fight with the disaster aid funding. You're seeing more conservatives saying we have to, you know, cut spending elsewhere to pay for a recovery in the hurricanes and taxes in Florida and Puerto Rico.

So if this gets added to Congress to the top -- on top of everything else, this just creates another battle and a tough one for Congress.

ELIANA JOHNSON, POLITICO: The thing that this president has shown, he did it on the campaign trail, but that he's really shown an ability to do is to highlight issues that lawmakers -- that Republicans weren't talking about, the Democrats weren't talking about. He did it on immigration, he did it on trade, and he could do it on the opioid epidemic if he chose to do it. But he would need to have a sustained public messaging campaign and really put pressure on parties -- both parties in Congress. And he has talked about opioids, but there any sort of one off, you know, statements or declarations.

We haven't seen a sustained public pressure campaign from him. And I don't necessarily think he would need to set a level of funding or do anything like that, but he really does need to put the pressure on Congress to act. And I haven't seen that really from the administration.

KING: It's a great point. And as he does so and the first lady says she's going to take this on now and amen to her and I hope she does it and travels to the country because the funding is one question. The conversation is another question because the governor of this state to the police chief in this city will tell you they need something different than the governor, the police chief somewhere else in the country. The needs are different depending where you are. Attention is what everybody needs.

And it was yesterday, the president was interesting. This is a president who doesn't talk about himself, his life, he talks about himself a lot. But he doesn't talk introspectively a lot. And one of the ways that deal with this crisis, I don't know any family who doesn't know somebody who's dealing with this even in their own family or family close by. One of the things the president did yesterday was quite powerful, was talk about his own brother's addiction to alcohol.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I had a brother, Fred. Great guy, best looking guy, best personality, much better than mine, but he had a problem. He had a problem with alcohol. And he would tell me, don't drink. Don't drink.

[12:35:08] He was substantially older and I listened to him and I respected. But he would constantly tell me, don't drink. He'd also add don't smoke. But he would say it over and over and over again.


KING: We pinata the president quite a bit for some of the things he says and some of things he tweets. On this issue, we should give him credit. I think one of the ways you connect to people is to make these things personal. And when you see Billy and Gary Tuchman's piece or the other heroin addicts, that's another way we and our business have to do it. This just show the faces of the people out there who are your brothers and your sisters and your neighbors.

And if it weren't for their addiction, they would be sitting around this table doing productive the jobs we try to do. Some people they won't find them productive.

But I want -- you know, the president deserves credit for making the personal connection. Now we need to grade him and everybody else in this town this to whether they deliver. And I do think again it's a fair criticism that 10 months was a long time to wait that's kicked everybody in the teeth during last year's campaign, but now that we're here, what next? Will he do this? Will he travel?

SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I mean, I think he will bring it up along the way. But in sort of the haphazard way the president has brought it up in the past. And remember, this is not something that he's been thinking about his entire life, separate and apart from the story about his brother. I mean this is the lesson the president learned when he was campaigning in New Hampshire and when he got pulled aside time and time again and said this is the real problem here. Let us tell you about the opioid crisis. This is a lesson he learned on the campaign trail and he learned when like there were families that were struggling, there were local officials that need a help and that was a potent message for him to carry into other states.

And so there are a lot of people who put their trust in him and put their face in him and voted for him along the way because they thought he was going to do something immediately. And I think that what they were voting for was something more than a declaration. They were voting for money, they were voting for health, and they were voting for a sustained campaign.

So in that sense, the onus really is on the president in a much more personal way than someone who votes, you know, let's say for tax reform. For instance, there are a lot of people who met the president and heard that promise and that's a real --

KING: And as you jump in, I just want to also say that a lot of the advocates here say its fine. And they're little worried that the administration's tone will be more on the law enforcement side and less on the treatment compassion side from what they've heard from the attorney general and a little bit from the president. It's a combination of things.

KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, THE WASHINGTON POST: I think that's also built in the question, right? Part of the open question is the funding, but part of the open question is also who do they want to be pointing the finger at and where do they want to be regulating this? Is it the companies because there's some pushback to that from people who represent states for this a lot of, you know, elderly people or people in terminal situations where they don't have to worry about the addiction side of it and that's always the pushback to this. Is it going to be the corporate side?

I mean we just ran a massive piece about a week or two ago that showed House Congress kind of dropped the ball on that front. Is it going to be on getting naloxone to, you know, various municipalities and police forces. There's even some resistance there in certain parts of the country.

The president has the pulpit now. He's established that he deserves the pulpit base on his personal experience. It's a question of how he uses it now to call for very specific things that are probably going to be a little uncomfortable for members of both parties to actually get behind. But he kind of has to because there's not really a single figure of this -- stature of the president that can emerge out of Congress that commands a similar sort of limelight. It has that personal connection that could actually do something, but it has to get specific.

KING: I will see where it goes from here starting with the funding debate and then the president's attention, the -- not just the president, the administration's attention as we go into the months and weeks ahead.

Up next, President Trump push for full transparency, remember, in releasing over 3000 secret JFK files. Well, in the end, he had to compromise.


[12:43:02] KING: Welcome back. Those secrets JFK documents are out. Well, most of them are anyway. Last night, the National Archives posted 2,800 records related to the assassination of America's 35th president. But about 300 more remain classified while they reviewed over the next six months. No bombshells, but a few entering nuggets.

J. Edgar Hoover, for example, the FBI director, writing two days after the assassination, "There's nothing further on the Oswald case except that he is dead." J. Edgar Hoover known a truth teller.

And there's this from a 1975 deposition with the deputy CIA director, Richard Helms. He's asked, "Is there any information involved with the assassination of President Kennedy, which in any way shows that Lee Harvey Oswald was in some way a CIA agent or an agent, dot, dot, dot." The answer? We don't know. The document suddenly ends right there.

The intelligence of law enforcement agencies requested the redactions and asked that some document be withheld at the last minute. President Trump took their recommendation but a White House official says he's unhappy about it.

Surrounding the table here with known veteran JFK conspiracy theorists --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's why you had of me (ph).

KING: That's why -- it is. But let's -- the president's decision, the president had tweeted last week, you know, "Subject to the receipt of further information, I'll be allowing, as president, the long blocked and classified JFK files to be opened." He said it would be interesting, that's how interesting with his tweet. You know, he's -- and then he had to pullback some.

One, it shows the president is listening, I guess, to the intelligence agencies with their hypercautious about this. But two, they've had 25 years to prepare for this. Why couldn't they have figured this out? Why couldn't the -- whether it's the CIA or the FBI, there -- soon the argument is protecting sources and methods. Twenty-five years, why can't they figure this out?

JOHNSON: It's government. I'm convinced that we're going to find out in six months. So the documents will be released in six months, in April, I guess. But I'm pretty convinced that we're going to find out Ted Cruz's dad was involved. That was with the argue as well. But that's what redacted, but it's going to -- it's all going to come out then.

[12:45:02] KING: Having a little fun here with the Raphael Cruz from the campaign. For those of --

JOHNSON: And that was a joke, everybody.

KING: Yes, yes. For those of you who have through therapy or other means forgotten the 2016 campaign, the president of the United States -- the current president of the United States did at one point start talking about a National Enquirer story that Ted Cruz's father was -- yes. OK.

DEMIRJIAN: (INAUDIBLE) cutting on the floor. No, it's -- this is another like -- I don't know it's just a great bipartisan thing again where everybody wants to see this, right? So, I mean, it's just like one of these things where, you know, the president could have quite pleased everybody by not signing that 180-day order. But, you know, whatever the restrictions are in the intelligence community asking him to slow walk it, I don't know what 180 days buys, it won't just going to be continued and continued and continued and continued.

This may end up just being like one of those national security waivers that ends up being absolutely indefinite, which is going to be really, really frustrating. And, you know, in a way, everybody is on the president's side in this one which is a rare sort of an occasion.

MURRAY: A little bit like a college get on deadline. They're like wait, we're actually doing this, like we've been 25 years.


MURRAY: We've got the whole semester to prepare (ph). I mean this is really -- it is really the deadline?



DEMIRJIAN: If you're only to fuel further conspiracy theories.



MURRAY: -- the CIA agent in and of itself.

DEMIRJIAN: Right. But if Trump need to win, it sounds like the next six months is really down --


DEMIRJIAN: But there's one thing they've going to be, universal win.

KING: (INAUDIBLE) in Boston, Massachusetts unlike anybody at the table. I was actually born in 1963. And this was always a conversation at the table. But the documents, I don't think it's anything great.

One of the things that comes up with this to your point, the government, do people trust their government. And this was an opportunity for the government to be, and again, we talked early in the program, the selective transparency, the Trump White House. But any transparency is good.

Just look at the faith in government in the executive branch in this new Gallup poll. The reason -- this all way back to September 2014. Do you have a great deal of credit? Forty-three percent say great deal fair amount of credit, 56% said not much. Fast forward three years, great deal down to 35%. Not very much and stayed pretty constant. The majority of the American people, this is -- one of the reasons Donald Trump is president. Actually, they're looking outside of the political system.

JOHNSON: I was going to say, you know, ironically this release to Trump, but it's a trend since the Watergate era. But I do think that Trump really was able to capitalize in the campaign on people's distrust in government. But in institutions more broadly, clearly exacerbated by the 2008 financial crisis, so in financial institutions, in the police and really in institutions throughout --in the media which Trump also capitalizes on for anybody who's been paying any kind of attention.

And now I think the holding back of these documents, it's a small incident, but it does feed, you know, some of the further distrust and it's ironic that Trump now as president is playing into it.

KING: So when you're on the outside when you're elected, how do you somehow keep the badges of the title, the title from affecting you because people don't trust the titles and his --

JOHNSON: He's done a pretty good job.

KIM: Those numbers are probably higher than that of Congress. So if --

KING: Yes.

DEMIRJIAN: There's always --

KING: Congress comes out worse in any test.


KING: Up next, billionaire Democratic donor versus billionaire Republican president. It's say quite ambitious battle anyway playing out on TV and of course on Twitter.


[12:52:31] KING: Welcome back. Trailer (ph) of this drama billionaire versus billionaire. President Trump's first tweet of this day had a very specific target in mind, the Democratic mega-donor Tom Steyer. "Wacky and totally unhinged Tom Steyer who has been fighting me and my Make America Great Again agenda from the beginning, never wins elections." It's a lap through the table here. That tweet came just the week after Steyer put more than $10 million, $10 million. We could spend that money otherwise. But he put it behind a national campaign calling for the president's impeachment. The TV ad airing on broadcast channels in California and New York and across the country on cable, including CNN, even a bit earlier in this program.


TOM STEYER, BILLIONAIRE DEMOCRATIC DONOR: He's brought us to the brink of nuclear war, obstructed justice at the FBI, and in direct violation of the Constitution, has taken money from foreign governments and threatened to shut down news organizations that report the truth. If that isn't a case for impeaching and removing a dangerous president, then what has our government become?


KING: This is America. If you have money, you can spend it. And Tom Steyer is spending this. He's a big Democratic donor. I think he will be happy today because he was attacked by the president on Twitter.

In terms of actually advancing an impeachment debate, if zero is the beginning and 10 is the finish line, we are where? At zero or negative 1 or 2 or?


KING: .0003? OK.

DEMIRJIAN: Maybe. Because of the president's tweet, you know -- I mean, that -- yes. This is -- impeachment is definitely a rallying cry for a certain section of the Democratic Party, but that does not trickle all the way up to the leadership of the Democratic Party. They don't want to create in --

JOHNSON: Let alone middle America.

KING: Right.

JOHNSON: I mean --

DEMIRJIAN: He's still have to win by getting the votes of the people who are not this absolutely die-hard Democrats. And think the word impeachment is a really good way to get people to run away.

KING: It's a great point because if we get all the e-mails from the groups raising money and you get liberal groups saying send us money we're going to eventually impeach President Trump, we have to win the House back, we'll impeach President Trump. You have conservative groups saying send us money because the Democrats are trying to impeach President Trump. You have to send us money. These are the articles and impeachment filed by one Democratic member of the House. Al Green, he's a co-sponsor and Brad Sherman. Here's Tom Steyer replied to the president's tweet which gets it what everybody is talking about. Again, he's liking the attention from the president. He replied, "You're right about one thing, Mr. Trump. I have been fighting your racism and corporate groveling from the beginning and always will. Americans deserved much better. Americans across the board know you're a danger to the people of this country. Here's where it matters @NancyPelosi @ SenSchumer it's time to take a stand."

Well the leadership of the party does not want to touch this right now because of -- in part, because of your point. That if you're going to back the House majority and take back the Senate majority, you've got to win in some places where there are a lot of Trump Republicans.

[12:55:11] JOHNSON: I don't really know where to start with this at first of all. There many persuadable voters in New York and California. Or -- yes, I mean, he might as well just light his $10 million on fire here. But, yes, they -- Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer actually want to defeat the president on the arguments, not merely argue that he should be removed from office, which isn't really -- it's not a winning argument. I think they want to debate the issues and do that on the congressional battlefield in 2018.

KIM: And remember that when Al Green tried to force a vote on the articles of impeachment, its Democratic leadership will basically at talking now.

MURRAY: It's a lot easier to win in election than to impeach a president. No president has ever been removed from office from an impeachment proceeding. So maybe go back to the --

KING: Right.

MURRAY: -- than your 10 million elsewhere.

KING: But he did put the ad on that show the president tends to watch in the morning against to the tension (ph) today.

Thanks for joining us on INSIDE POLITICS. See you back here Monday and I hope Sunday morning too 8:00 a.m. Eastern. Wolf Blitzer is up after a quick break.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Wolf Blitzer. It's 1:00 p.m. here in Washington, 6:00 p.m. in --