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First Arrest(s) Could Happen As Soon As Tomorrow; Trump Blasts "Russia Talk" As Probe Enters New Stage; Trump Lawyers Scramble As Mueller's Probe Enters New Stage; Puerto Rico Governor Wants Whitefish Contract Canceled; Obamacare Premiums Rise As Open Enrollment Begins; Northeast Braces For Fierce Storm On Sandy Anniversary; USB Stick With Sensitive Airport Info Found On London Street. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired October 29, 2017 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANTHONY BOURDAIN, "ANTHONY BOURDAN PARTS UNKNOWN" HOST: The war is over. What is Sri Lanka like now?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tune in to "Parts Unknown" tonight, 9:00 p.m. Eastern time on CNN. We've got so much more straight ahead in the Newsroom and it all starts right now.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, again, everyone and thank you so very much for being with me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
We begin this hour in Washington where grand jury indictments are overshadowing the week ahead for President Trump. An arrest, or plural arrests, could come as early as tomorrow following the first charges in the investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
This morning, the President is blasting this new development by tweeting this, "All of this Russia' talk right when the Republicans are making their big push for historic tax cuts and reform. Is this coincidental? Not."
This morning on CNN "State of the Union," former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara warned what to watch for as this all unfolds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PREET BHARARA, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: One, whether or not Donald Trump has some reaction and talks in a way that could be used against him in the future. Is he sending a message of intimidation in some way through himself or his cohorts suggesting that people should not be talking and people should keep their mouths shut?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: This comes as the clock is ticking for Republicans to meet Wednesday's self-imposed deadline to unveil a bill on tax reform.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: We got a short window of time to deliver on tax reform, something that I want to see happen on behalf of the American people and to pass those bills, that's where our focus needs to stay.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. Now that the first charges have been filed in Mueller's investigation an arrest or arrests could be made as soon as tomorrow, some are saying that's too quick. It's important to note, Mueller inherited intelligence from previous investigations. The FBI and IRS have been investigating Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.
CNN Shimon Prokupecz has been following the story for us. So Shimon, is this quick action by Mueller?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: You know, Fred, it's really hard to tell and probably unfair to characterize it that it's too quick or it's taking too long, right? You have kind of both things out there and some people have said that he is taking too long, some people are now saying that, well, this seems pretty quick.
The problem is that we just don't know exactly what the charges are and what the indictments that we hope to learn about tomorrow are focused on, what they are base on, what the information is -- that is contained in those indictments. So without really knowing what those charges are, it's hard to criticize or say whether something is too soon. I think some folks are surprised that there has been action already so quickly.
But, look, you know, we've had producers at the grand jury, where the grand jury has been meeting, and though we don't know what's been going on in there, there has been a flurry of activity. As recently as Friday, we saw the lead prosecutor coming in and out of the grand jury which sort of unleashed this chain of events and that's trying to figure out exactly what was going on.
So there is -- while there may be some criticism that it's too soon, it's really too early to tell. And also like you said, Fred, the FBI has been investigating Paul Manafort and other people close to the President and those around him during the campaign since last July. So they have been in this case for well over a year. So they've been going through all of this. They have all this information and it could just be that perhaps they were ready to move forward with charges.
WHITFIELD: So with these charges with potential arrests, how important is this moment in the investigation?
PROKUPECZ: Well, it will be probably the first time that we get some inkling, some indications of what the special counsel has been looking at. We have reported that the investigators, the FBI, and the special counsel team has been looking at financial dealings of people like Paul Manafort, of Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser. So it will be interesting to see what is contained in the indictment when it's unsealed because I really do think it will give us some eyes into the investigation. And look, we have no indication that just because indictments are revealed tomorrow that this investigation is now over. This could just be the first step. So we will see. You know, it all depends on what happens tomorrow.
WHITFIELD: Right. All right, Shimon Prokupecz, thanks so much in Washington.
CNN's Boris Sanchez is at the White House with more on what we heard from the President since the first charges were filed in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. So Boris, the President has now been on a tweet storm after yesterday's no comment.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fred. No public events scheduled for the White House today, but the President as he often is was very active on Twitter earlier today, fired up over what he calls a lack of investigations into Hillary Clinton.
[15:05:06] In a series of tweets he alludes to the now infamous dossier that was produced by Fusion GPS, which was hired at one point by the Clinton campaign to dig up opposition research on then candidate Trump. He also mentions the uranium deal in which he accuses Hillary Clinton of taking bribes in exchange for favorable treatment of Russians as they try to purchase a uranium mining company.
No attack against Hillary Clinton by Donald Trump would be complete without mention of her e-mails. He also talks about the Comey fix, this perception that James Comey didn't press charges against Hillary Clinton after investigating her use of a private e-mail server as kind of a way to carry (ph) favor with her.
Then in one portion you really get a sense of what the President is feeling. He writes, "Instead of these investigations, they look at Trump-Russia collusion which does not exist."
CNN asked White House Attorney Ty Cobb about these tweets and specifically whether or not the President was alluding to the special counsel probe into alleged collusion between his campaign and Russia. Here is the response we got from Ty Cobb.
He writes, "Contrary to what many have suggested, the President's comments today are unrelated to the activities of the special counsel with whom he continues to cooperate." Cobb declined to comment further on the tweets.
Despite that denial, the President himself is expressing displeasure with the fact that there are several investigations into these allegations of collusion between the Trump camp and Russia. And he is launching these vicious attacks against Hillary Clinton that we haven't seen since perhaps the ends of the campaign at a time when headlines are swirling that charges are imminent in the Russia probe.
Beyond that, Fred, one part of the tweets that I did want to mention, he closes telling Republicans to do something about Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. Earlier this week, House Republicans launched two separate investigations relating to Clinton, one into the circumstances surrounding that uranium deal and another into the way that the Department of Justice carried out the investigation into her use of a private e-mail server. So it's really unclear what more President Trump expects Republicans to do in that regard, Fred.
WHITFIELD: And all of this comes ahead of what was to be a big week for the Republicans and the President. Remember the President's tweet kind of, you know, inferred that, is there a feeling from the White House that those high hopes are being deferred because of what potentially could happen tomorrow with the indictments?
SANCHEZ: Again, there is no comment from the White House whatsoever to the news relating to the Mueller probe. However, they are very focused on tax reform as they have been for several weeks now. We are expecting to get a look at the House version of that bill on Wednesday.
Beyond that, the President is expected to announce his decision on the Fed chairmanship, whether or not he is going to stick with Janet Yellen or perhaps go to someone like Jerome Powell as it has been rumor that the President has been leaning.
Beyond that, he has this big Asia trip at the end of the week. It's a 12-day-trip to five different countries and he's going to there at a time when the attitudes between the United States and North Korea have soured badly. So there is a lot on the President's plate right now, certainly no shortage of drama, Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Boris Sanchez at the White House, thanks so much.
All right, I want to bring in our CNN Political Commentators to discuss all of this, Sally Kohn with "The Daily Beast," Jack Kingston, a former senior adviser for the Trump campaign, and Steve Hall, a CNN National Security Analyst and retired CIA chief who was in charge of Russia operations. Good to see you all.
All right, so I want you to listen to a former U.S. attorney, Preet Bharara, on CNN "State of the Union" this morning for starters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BHARARA: Prosecutors like those in my former office and those that work in Bob Mueller's office now try to see who they can bring charges against first and see if they have information about someone else. And typically you want to be pursuing people and pressuring people who have information of an incriminating nature above you in the food chain. And if that's so, you know, that's typically how it works.
It's also possible that they are charging a number of people at once and they want to see who is the first one through the door. It's also, you know, a possibility that they made an attempt to try and get cooperation from the person that they charged on Friday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right, so Steve, you first. You know, what signal do you believe will be sent depending on who is charged?
STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: You know, Fred, from a legal perspective, you know, I would defer to those, you know, who are lawyers and law enforcement have those backgrounds. But I think one thing that is going to be important is the dust, you know, goes up in the air starting on Monday when all of this happens is remembering that, again, this is, you know, much less of a -- although it's emotionally satisfying to think of it this way, it's less of a Democrat/Republican type of thing.
[15:10:02] We need to really focus on what the Russians were up to. We know that they attacked the elections. We know that they're going to try again. We do need to get to the bottom of this as to how that was done, which is what Mueller's investigation in the process of doing.
It's going to be really temping for both Democrats and Republicans to go to their own dark corners of the room and start making allegations. But we really need to focus on Russia and what they were up to.
They're going to be watching very carefully for more divisive stuff that's going to come out next week that they can, again, take advantage of in terms of operations in the future. So we got to remember, it's all about Russia.
WHITFIELD: And although more -- why it's so important to see how the White House response with all of them, Sally, right? You know, this morning the President has already, you know, been -- you know, unleashing a series of tweets blasting, you know, all of the Russia talk.
And then his attorney Ty Cobb actually told CNN's Jeff Zeleny, I'm quoting now, "You know, contrary to what many have suggested the President's comments today are unrelated to the situation and the activities of the special counsel with whom he continues to cooperate." Why do you suppose it was important for Ty Cobb to put it that way, Sally?
SALLY KOHN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, again, you know, look, I am technically a retired lawyer so I'm not going to speculate or give any legal advice. But he is obviously walking back what looked like plainly obvious comments that Trump made motivated by the reports about the status of the investigation and could be construed as attempts to influence that investigation or other congressional investigations which would be inappropriate.
You know, first of all, I mean, like, no one really believes that. I don't think Ty Cobb believes that, so let's start there. The other part of this, though, is the arguments that he put forth are fascinating.
In so far as, look, if you think there is something to the e-mails, to the dossier, even the uranium thing, I mean, you can make -- Republicans can make an argument we should be investigating them now and they are and they want to do so completely and thoroughly as it's their right. Hillary Clinton didn't win the election. I have no doubt that if she had won the election, they would definitely be investigating her on all those fronts and probably a dozen others and feel completely justified in doing so. By the way, I'd like to think that I'm principled enough on some of those where I think there were issues, there were concerns. I agree that that's appropriate to do so.
The same is true now. You can't actually say, hey, we should investigate Hillary Clinton for possibly doing this wheeling and dealing with Russia -- with Russian interests who isn't president and ignore the mountains of suspicious evidence connecting Donald Trump and his electoral campaign and his close inner circle and his family to Russian attempts to influence the election.
So, I don't see how he thinks pointing to her example distracts from the argument that we should be investigating him.
WHITFIELD: So Jack, you know, according to a new NBC "Wall Street Journal" poll, the President's approval rating in all of this has been hit pretty hard. It's an all time low of 38 percent.
Is it your view that the investigations, you know, plural, are impacting his approval rating, his tweeting, how he is handling the investigations? Why do you suppose -- it is so low and how might this stand in the way of him being able to get things done, namely tax reform which will be unveiled or detailed of it later on this week as soon as Wednesday.
JACK KINGSTON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, you know, I think there is a lot of criticism of this President and I think a lot of the coverage of this administration has been focused on the negative side. For example, when the Dow Jones went to 23, 000 --
WHITFIELD: So that is why their approval ratings were dipped, you're saying?
KINGSTON: Well, I think it's a contributor effects. When the Dow Jones hit 23,000, a historic high, and showed that 5 trillion in new money has come into the economy since his swearing in, there wasn't that much coverage about it. There wasn't that much coverage about at unemployment rate being at the lowest --.
WHITFIELD: We are reporting on that. But the matter --
KINGSTON: No, no. I'm saying that you did --
WHITFIELD: -- I'm saying is as it relates to his approval rating and trying to get things done, I mean, they are congruent. I mean, you know --
KINGSTON: Well, absolutely. But, I mean -- but, Fred --
WHITFIELD: -- those on Capitol Hill are going to measure, are they not or use it as a measuring stick as to whether to be on board with some of his agenda items? KINGSTON: You know it all ties in, so there is no question about it. But I think that as Bill Clinton did, and by the way, there were 47 indictments under Bill Clinton's administration, and yet he did steer the economy in a very positive way.
And I think that White Houses have found out over the years that you can be accused of all kinds of things and yet still be very confident what you are doing. I had talk to a number of Republicans --
WHITFIELD: But so far there have been no giant legislative wins, though, so let's talk about this big one that the President really does want under his belt by (INAUDIBLE) and with those kinds of approval rating would now potentially learning who will be indicted. That seems like it might make for an uphill battle for this President now.
[15:15:07] KINGSTON: Well, you know, what I think Republicans know individual members that they make certain promises about repeal and replace Obamacare and cut the size of government and reform taxes, this is something that I know every one of them. And I have been all over the Hill past month talking to members and my former colleagues and they know that tax reform is do-or-die.
But it's not just a Bill Clinton idea. Paul Ryan for example has been talking about it for a decade so as Kevin Brady. They're very, very committed to this. And approval rating of the White House isn't going to hold them back on it. They're worried about their own approval rating, which as you know has been a lot lower than the White House no matter who is sitting in there.
WHITFIELD: OK. Go ahead, Sally.
KOHN: No. I was just going to say, I mean, you know, the interesting thing here is you think if it was such a priority for Donald Trump to move tax reform forward he would talk about tax reform. I mean, let's be clear. It's Sunday afternoon. The reason we're having this conversation is largely because of Donald Trump's tweets, right? It's his back and forth that supposedly wasn't about the investigation that is part of the motive.
KINGSTON: Sally, they have been talking about the indictment all weekend and he just stated today, so don't say that.
KOHN: But he didn't go out.
KOHN: No, no -- but come on, Jack. He didn't go out and -- hey, I let you talk. He didn't go out and tweet about, you know, the 10 points and the tax plan (INAUDIBLE). And the fact of the matter is, look, you're exactly right, Republicans and Trump in particular campaign promised his base, the people who still like him, that he would deliver on Obamacare and he would deliver on tax reform.
He couldn't do it on Obamacare. Has control of Congress and the White House, couldn't do it. And now, if we actually start talking about that tax plan, the people who voted for him are going to realize that that tax plan gives millions of dollars in hand outs to big business and the rich and hurts working class people.
KINGSTON: OK. Well, that's the standard --
KOHN: So this is a great thing. Let's just bash Hillary Clinton. Bashing Hillary Clinton is good for Donald Trump.
KINGSTON: Well, let's talk about Hillary. Let's talk about uranium.
KOHN: I know. Jack, you get my point. That's right. Let's talk about Hillary instead of the crappy tax reform plan. Good call.
KINGSTON: But you just said a minute -- you said a minute ago that you would be interested in that. I think that it's naive to think that Russia suddenly in 2016 decided to infiltrate and influence the United States election.
KOHN: Jack, your guy won. Your guy won. Your guy won.
WHITFIELD: So Jack and Sally, let's just talk about that in a moment. But as it pertains through, let's talk about this week and that, you know, tax reform plan. We know that we are expecting to hear more details coming from the White House on Wednesday.
But then tomorrow if indeed, Steve, there might be arrests as a result of these indictments that we understand have been approved, in your view, who is arrested or who is indicted might? In what way kind of indicate where the investigation is going? What do you think?
HALL: Well, the investigation is always, I think, Fred, try to focus on an important thing. I mean, I'm not saying it's in a less important, perhaps, than tax reform or any of the other issues that Jack was raising, but it does sort of get at the heart of, you know, our country when we're being attacked, you know, by a foreign adversarial nation, in this case, Russia.
The question is, you know, is there -- was there any cooperation, contact, or collusion internally in this country with the Russians? I mean, we all know the standard names, you know, Manafort, Flynn. All of these people I think are, you know, were good candidates, again, from a counter intelligence perspective.
KINGSTON: Don't forget Podesta. Don't forget Tony Podesta.
HALL: No. There is -- Jack, there is a whole number of different people. And really, I think all of these -- you know, I'm not against anything being investigated, fine. You know, Republicans currently, you know, control the White House. They control both Houses of Congress. If they want to try to, you know, investigate John Podesta, if they want to try to investigate uranium one, go for it.
In any case that I can think of where Russia might have somehow tried to get inside of our democracy as we know they did in 2016, that's important stuff. What's really critical though in my opinion is, were there American citizen who is helped them out and who is most likely to do that?
I think based on what we know about the elections in 2016, i.e., that Vladimir Putin would have favored Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton that we need to look at people who might have been attempting to help that. And, you know, whoever that is, that's where the investigation needs to go.
It's not a Republican thing. It's not a Democrat thing. It's an American thing. We need to focus on Russia attacking America. It's going to be hard. It's going to be easy to do the emotionally satisfying thing. It's like, what about that guy, the Republican? What about that guy, the Democrat? Well, we need to focus on as what were Russian is up to.
WHITFIELD: OK. We'll leave it right there for now. Steve Hall, thank you so much, Sally Kohn, Jack Kingston, thanks. We'll see you again right a short break.
Also still ahead, 70 percent of Puerto Rico still without power, the governor now going after the company tasked with getting the lights back on. Why he wants regulators to immediately cancel the contract?
[15:24:10] WHITFIELD: The governor of hurricane that ravage Puerto Rico is now calling for the immediate cancellation of the controversial contract to repair the island's power grid, Whitefish Energy, a small firm with just two full time employees received a no bid $300 million contract to get the electricity back on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICARDO ROSSELLO, PUERTO RICO: In light of the information that has come about with regards to the contracting of Whitefish Energy and in the interests of protecting our public interests I have asked the board of the power authority to invoke the cancellation clause in the contract immediately.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: The governor's announcement comes two days after FEMA expressed "significant concerns" about how Whitefish was awarded the contract.
[15:25:03] Still, it has been nearly six weeks since Hurricane Maria plowed into Puerto Rico and 70 percent of the island still has no electricity.
CNN's Martin Savidge is in San Juan. So Martin, how does this controversy impact the ability to get the lights back on? MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What everybody wants to know would appear that it is definitely not going to speed things up, Fredricka. I mean, let's face it. Whitefish was already on the island. They were beginning to do the work. They had the contract. They brought in the contractors and they already started bringing in the gear.
I asked the governor, it was just last Thursday that he was having second thoughts about the deal. He said, well, it was still being investigated. Today we get the governor's answer. He clearly had second thoughts about the deal and that is why he is cancelling the whole thing. But in doing so, it creates a huge void.
Of course, there was controversy about how is it that the smallest company anybody had never heard of had the largest job when it came to fixing the electricity grid here in Puerto Rico. That controversy continued to build and it's clearly reached a breaking point.
So the governor now has to figure out what he is going to do? Can he cancel the contract and sew (ph) it properly? You can bet the lawyers are going to be involved on this one. And then on top of that, how does he bring in more contractors and more people to do the job that needs to be done.
Meanwhile, Andrew Techmanski, he is the man that is the CEO of Whitefish who came up with this whole deal, it hasn't help his cost that he has been going on television saying that he essentially found this contract the way a lot of people know about looking for dates online through social media.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW TECHMANSKI, CEO, WHITEFISH ENERGY: I found them on LinkedIn.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You used LinkedIn to get a $300 million contract?
TECHMANSKI: LinkedIn is going to love this, but, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: There is always been a sense on this island that the only way somebody got that kind of a big job was through political influence. There's been no indication of that, but that's just one of those things on the street that people won't let go, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right. Martin Savidge, thanks so much in San Juan.
All right, still ahead, Obamacare enrollment begins Wednesday and customers will see a huge spike in premiums. What's behind the increase and what to look for when enrolling, that's next.
[15:31:50] WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act begins Wednesday. You can go to healthcare.gov right now and compare plans and check out the cost, but brace yourself. There is a huge spike in premiums for 2018. Take a look at what the latest analysis shows.
Premiums on the silver plans which are the most popular will rise in average of 34 percent in the more than three dozen states that use the exchange. Many insurers say they hiked their premiums to offset the move President Trump made when he ended funding for the cost-sharing subsidies under Obamacare.
The President challenging that assessment tweeting this morning saying, "As usual, the Obamacare premiums will be up, the Dems own it, but we will repeal and replace and have great health care soon after tax cuts."
All right, Tami Luhby covers the Affordable Care Act and health care policy as a senior writer for CNNMoney. Good to see you. She's joining us now from New York.
TAMI LUHBY, CNN MONEY SENIOR WRITER: Hi, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right, so Tami, insurers are blaming Trump. President Trump says he's blaming the Democrats. So can you clear up what is causing this huge spike in cost?
LUHBY: All right. Well, certainly Obamacare premiums have risen a lot in recent years, but there were many signs that they were stabilizing for this year, or for next year. But then President Trump ended the funding for the cost-sharing subsidies.
The problem is that the insurers still have to provide these subsidies to lower income enrollees and they need the money to do that, so they decided to raise their premiums to make up the funding loss.
WHITFIELD: So let's use Pennsylvania as an example. Regulators there expected 7.6 percent increase. Instead, they recently announced a jump of 30.6 percent.
Pennsylvania's acting insurance commissioner says and I'm quoting now, "This is not the situation I hoped we would be in, but due to President Trump's refusal to make cost sharing reduction payments for 2018 and Congress's inaction to appropriate funds, it is the reality that state regulators must face and the reason rate increases will be higher than they should be across the country."
All right, so really directly pointing the finger at the President.
LUBHY: Right. That is true. And a lot of states had hoped that this wouldn't happen, but they anticipated that it might because President Trump had been threatening this for months. So as you noted, they put a lot of the increase into their silver plans. There is not much states can do about it at this point.
As you said, the rates are up on healthcare.gov. You can go and take a look. You're going to see that the silver plans are a lot more expensive. But for those who get premium subsidies, they're not going to feel it because the federal assistance that they receive through the premium subsidies are going to cover all of that increase.
WHITFIELD: So how does this affect the middle class? The President made it very clear that he is most mindful of the middle class.
LUHBY: Well, in this case, it's going to really hurt them in a lot of states because the middle class don't receive the premiums subsidies. They aren't eligible. They make too much. So they're going to go on to healthcare.gov and start to try to enroll and they're going to be hit with a lot of these big increases.
[15:35:04] So what they can do is it's really important that they shop, they look around, and they should also potentially look off the exchange. There is an individual market still outside of Obamacare. And in some states, they decided to only increase the rates on the exchange. So people in the middle class may find cheaper plans off the exchange, however in general, these increases are going to hit the middle class the hardest.
WHITFIELD: And there have been some real changes in terms of the approach of getting the message out. This White House says cut back in advertising, so there are a lot of people out there who don't even think after hearing so much debate about Obamacare, don't even know that open enrollment is available coming this Wednesday that there are plans in which to choose from.
LUHBY: Right. I mean, President Trump has repeatedly said that Obamacare is dead. It's gone. There are people who don't think it's still around. But, yes, open enrollment will be starting on Wednesday, a lot of changes for this year. It's only going to run until December 15th until the end of January. And a lot of people procrastinate and sign up at the last minute.
So President Trump, his administration cut advertising by 90 percent. So there are going to be a lot of people who may not know that open enrollment is on now and they may not realize that it opens December 15th, so they may miss their windows.
President Trump also cut funding for navigators who are the people -- they're the nonprofits that assist people with signing up. Their funding got cut by 40 percent, so there are going to be fewer people to help you sign up.
But the important thing to know is that if you do need to get insurance on the individual market, Obamacare is still around and still the law of the land. The premium subsidies are still there. The lower income can still get the cost sharing subsidies, which help reduce deductibles and co-pays. But the important thing is you need to go to healthcare.gov and shop around and see what's out there and what you can afford.
WHITFIELD: So enrollment period from November 1, this Wednesday, until?
LUHBY: December 15th.
WHITFIELD: December 15th. All right, thank you so much. Tami Luhby, appreciate it.
LUHBY: Thank you. WHITFIELD: All right. So from one critical policy item to the next, from Obamacare, this open enrollment starting Wednesday, and the GOP staring down the self-imposed deadline for their much anticipated tax reform plan.2 on Wednesday. All of this as the President faces his lowest job approval rating yet standing at 38 percent in a new NBC News "Wall Street Journal" poll.
Back with me now to discuss, Sally Kohn and Jack Kingston. Good to see both of you. All right, it's a big ticket item this week, tax reform.
But, you know, before we can go there when we talk about open enrollment, you know, Jack, the appearances are just listening to what Tami Luhby was explaining, the appearances are Obamacare is being crippled not by itself, but by the doing of the President or the unraveling by the President. This really hurts a lot of people.
How does the President, you know, defend the lack of advertisement and sending the message to insurers of instability?
KINGSTON: Well, the quick answer is it was illegal for them to subsidize the insurance companies of $7 billion and that was pending court decision. So the President really had no decision but to stop that and then let Congress take it from there if they want to.
By the way, I'm a CPCU, Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter in insurance. I used to do this for a living and I would say that the state insurance commissioner as you know, insurance is actually regulated by the McCarran-Ferguson Act, which means the state insurance commissioners actually have a big role in this. And so for them to suddenly say, well, we did not know this was coming, is somewhat of a surprise. I don't think that it's actually genuine.
WHITFIELD: But if you're a policy holder or you want to be a policy holder, you're the one who get hurts directly from this.
WHITFIELD: And, you know, if they have an opportunity directly to ask the President, wouldn't they'd be asking the President? This really is difficult for me. This makes it much harder for me to have coverage. How do you defend this?
KINGSTON: Fred, well, one of the things that the President just did along with -- allowing Association Health Plans and across state selling for consumers is he allowed short-term policies to be sold again.
Those were actually outlawed under Obamacare, but the idea that a young person, particularly could buy a two or three-month policy which competes against the exchange policies, that puts up more choice back into the system and I think in the long run that's going to be very effective.
But again, this points back to Congress. Congress if they want that $7 billion insurance subsidy to the insurance companies, then they need to be the ones to restore it and that's what the courts are saying.
KOHN: So last I checked, first of all, all the respect, Jack, it's the courts to decide what is legal and constitutional and not you and certainly not even necessarily the President. His job is to --
KINGSTON: That's what I said.
KOHN: But let me just also say --
WHITFIELD: But it's still hung up in appeals right now.
[15:40:06] KOHN: Right. No, you said he is justified in doing what he did because there has been rule, so number one. Number two, I'm an Obamacare policy holder and my family's health care, my 9-year-old daughter's health care is provided by Obamacare. I -- my premium is going up because of what this President did.
And, you know, this goes back to what he has said all along, which is he does one thing -- he says one thing. I'm going to help the middle class. Listen to me, I don't care what party you're from. If you're going to help the middle class and working class people in this country, that is an important and good thing. But then with his policies, with these policies, he helped big business and helped the super rich over and over again with Obamacare and with his tax plan.
KINGSTON: Sally, you're a highly paid lawyer. Why should Trump drivers subsidize your insurance? I mean, I thought there's a big --
KOHN: Well, Jack -- wait a second, Jack. Excuse me. Jack, I know you know. Jack, Jack, don't go spreading this information. I know you know how Obamacare works. I did not say my Obamacare is subsidized. It is not --
KINGSTON: No. You said if you were --
KOHN: No, no, Jack. I purchase my insurance through the Obamacare market place. I am not subsidized.
KINGSTON: -- because the subsidy billion disappears then it is subsidized.
KOHN: No, no, no.
WHITFIELD: All right, to Sally's point -- to Sally's point, if these increased premiums will hurt the middle class and the middle class is looking for some assurances, the tax reform is going to help them. Jack, what is going to be the argument? What's the plan in place from the White House to say if Obamacare, you know, is not there or Affordable Health Care is not there for the middle class, this is the tax plan that is there for the middle class? What is the plan (INAUDIBLE)?
KINGSTON: The average middle class family is going to get about $4,000 to $9,000 increase in there wages because the federal government won't be taking it from them. We doubled the standard deductions so the first $24,000 that a couple makes is not taxed at all. We increased the child tax credit and the daycare credit for children. So that is something that hits the middle class very strong.
And let me say this, right now the tax plan that is out there does not give a tax break to the wealthy, to the highest brackets. Unless you own a business, you will not getting a tax break. It's the middle class that will be doing the best. And again, it's $4,000 to $9,000 per family.
KOHN: All right, first of all, that's just not true. First of all, by the way --
KINGSTON: Just because that's what the bill --
KOHN: Wait, wait, wait, Jack. Jack, I let you talk. Second, we only knew some of the details. The details law hasn't been review. What we've seen -- first all, the claims you're making as far as I know, the claims you're making are based on the theory that giving tax breaks to the rich and to big business, giving huge tactics include by the way to massive tax breaks to foreign investors, to foreign money, will trickle down to the middle class.
Now, let me just point out. That has not worked before. It will not work this time. But if you want to keep peddling trickle down economics and tell the American people that's going to help them, fine. But let me tell you this, if Donald Trump wanted to actually defend his tax plan and get out in front of the news cycle and stop us talking about Russia and start talking about how this tax plan is good for the working class, he only has to do one thing, release his taxes.
If he would release his taxes, he could show in one fell swoop -- no, no, Jack, Jack --
KINGSTON: That's really on the mind of the taxpayers.
KOHN: -- I let you talk. Jack, in one fell swoop he could show us he has no Russian entanglements, that would be nice, and he could say finally say how much --
KOHN: Jack, we need to know --
WHITFIELD: OK. All right, Jack, last word.
KOHN: No. Jack, I'm sorry, the point is this tax plan is going to help him. This tax plan is helping him and people like him.
KINGSTON: Here's my point, Fred, that really important.
KOHN: OK. All right, go Jack.
KINGSTON: In the last eight years corporate profits have gone up 11 percent, wages have been flat. It is time for the working families in America to get a pay raise. That's what this tax --
KOHN: Through corporate tax cuts.
KINGSTON: That is -- corporate tax cuts create jobs and when our corporations are paying 35 percent competing against, corporation is making 24 percent.
WHITFIELD: All right, we will see.
KOHN: So you want to raise wages to keep the minimum wage --
WHITFIELD: Sally Kohn and Jack Kingston, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
KINGSTON: Thanks, Fred. Thanks Sally.
WHITFIELD: We'll be right back. OK.
[15:48:33] WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. 45 million people across the northeast bracing right now for a near hurricane force winds and heavy rain. Meteorologist Tom Sater is in the weather center. Tom?
TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Fredricka, this is really about power outages and travel chaos. Already an hour and a half delays from around JFK to Logan or La Guardia. That is JFK has got over four hour delays, New York about three. So, pack your patients just (INAUDIBLE) gets low, but it's that turn from the south up to seaboard that is grabbing moisture from Philippe.
Only 8 percent of hurricane season make it to the letter P, but this moisture even though the track is going to carry away from the coastline and not make landfall, its moisture is already playing a role. Heavy rainfall now from Eastern North Carolina all the way up the eastern seaboard, but it's about this cold front kind of the track and this is going to become almost a classic nor'easter.
We're going to have crashing seas, a lot of coastal flooding every -- up every inlet, every bay, up in the south and, again, heavy amounts of rain, 4 inches to 6 inches, maybe isolated 78, but it's about the winds. With all the leaves on the trees we could have massive power outages as winds approach 50 mile per hour, maybe 60 mile per hour gusts along with those flood watches. But it's the power outages and the travels are big concern, Fredricka. This will go through tonight and through tomorrow morning.
WHITFIELD: Oh, it sounds like a potential nightmare.
WHITFIELD: All right, Tom Sater, thanks so much. We'll be right back.
[15:54:22] WHITFIELD: All right, in London, an investigation now under way after a computer memory stick containing sensitive Heathrow Airport security data was reportedly found on a London street.
I want to bring in CNN Technology and Business Correspondent Samuel Burke in London. So Samuel, how will investigators go about figuring out how this happened?
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN TECHNOLOGY AND BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, it's absolutely stunning to think about Heathrow, one of the busiest, most important airports in the world. They have some of the most sensitive information turn up 13 miles from the airport in a normal London neighborhood. The information on there not encrypted, not even password protected.
Now, Heathrow says they are launching an internal investigation to try and figure out how this happen, who might have been behind it, though they believe Heathrow Airport is secure.
[15:55:09] Now, you mention the Queen. Some of her information about the routes that she takes inside the airport was on that USB drive. She doesn't use the same gates that the rest of us take.
So the royal suite, we had intimate details revealed on this USB drive as well as the routes that foreign dignitaries take when the President is visiting the U.K. for instance, maps of the security camera position. Certainly you wouldn't want anybody who is trying to evade those figures out where the positions are. And the locations of secret tunnels and escape shafts that actually under Heathrow Airport.
Now, I was speaking to cyber security experts earlier who told me what Heathrow will be trying to do right now is figure out how somebody could have gotten this off the computer, but they're also looking to see if this information, God forbid, is somewhere else like on the dark web where terrorists might be able to get it.
WHITFIELD: All right, frightening. Thanks so much, Samuel Burke. Appreciate it from London.
All right, more straight ahead in the Newsroom right after this.