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EARLY START

Senate Republicans to Unveil Health Care Plan; Trump Back on the Road; Georgia on Their Minds; U.S.: China has "Shared Goal" of Disarming North Korea; Russia Cancels Talks with Trump Administration; Dueling Claims on Who Destroyed Mosul Mosque. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired June 22, 2017 - 04:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:30:23] ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Senate Republicans, can you believe it, hours away from revealing their health care plan negotiated in secret. How does it affect you, and can it win over enough support to pass a vote next week?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look, I'll tell you about the Democrats. I am making it a little bit hard to get their support, but who cares?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump doesn't seem to mind the Democrats' opposing him at every turn. The president taking a victory lap in Iowa after Republicans win in a Georgia special election.

KOSIK: And that Georgia election has some Democrats revolting. Nancy Pelosi is hearing growing calls for a change of leadership in the House.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Alison Kosik.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. It is 31 minutes past the hour.

Up first, Senate Republicans coming out of the shadows to unveil their plan for overhauling Obamacare. Until now, details of the GOP health care bill have been a closely guarded secret, to say the least, with a handful of senators working behind closed doors.

KOSIK: OK. So, here's what we know about the plan. We're going to see it later this morning, around 9:30 or so. It slows down the time frame in the house measure for rolling back the Medicaid expansion. It also improves tax credits for low-income and older Americans from the House version. And it offers states more flexibility on waivers to opt out of Obamacare regulations including essential health benefits.

BRIGGS: It also defunds Planned Parenthood for a year. That could violate Senate budget rules the GOP is using to pass the bill with only 51 votes. But several critical issues remain up in the air. Those include a fund to fight opioid abuse, efforts to stabilize the market during the transition away from Obamacare, and the timing of the repeal of Obamacare taxes, also still unclear here, the fate of coverage for pre-existing conditions.

KOSIK: OK. Then there's the politics of all this. Senate GOP leaders face a possible repeat of the fight in the House, trying to find a balance that's going to satisfy both conservatives and moderates, earning enough votes to pass.

Let's get more now from CNN's Ryan Nobles on Capitol Hill.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Alison and Dave, good morning. And, finally, we're going to get a chance to see exactly what the Senate has planned in terms of reforming health care in the United States. The senators will meet first thing in the morning today to get a briefing on exactly what is in this bill.

And then later in the day, it will be posted online for everyone to see. For many senators, this will be the first time that they're seeing any of the text of this bill. This despite the fact that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hopes to vote and pass this bill by the Fourth of July recess.

Now, we do expect there to be some of those key Obamacare provisions that were taken out of the House bill reinserted into the Senate bill. And there will be a change to Medicaid expansion. It will be rolled back but in a much more gradual way than is expected in the House bill. They cut it off in 2020. The Senate won't even begin the process until 2021.

Now, White House staffers were briefed on the bill last night here on Capitol Hill, and I spoke to Marc Short, the White House legislative director, as he was leaving that meeting. He stopped short of saying that the president is ready to endorse this bill, but he did say in his mind, we are all one step closer to ending the nightmare that is Obamacare. It will certainly be a busy day up here on Capitol Hill -- Alison and Dave.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KOSIK: OK. Ryan, thanks very much.

And as we mentioned, the Senate GOP health care bill will delay the rollback of Medicaid expansion to at least 2023. But millions of Americans may lose their coverage even sooner than that. And that's because many states won't have the money to keep the program running.

It has to do with the federal match rate. The expansion covers 11 million low-income adults in 31 states. The government covers 90 percent of the cost. So, that's a higher rate than for traditional participants. But here's the thing, Medicaid has a huge churn rate. And if adults

drop out, they have to re-enroll at the lower traditional rate. That's where states run into problems.

At least eight have rules that end the expansion early if the match rate drops below 90 percent. Many other states will have to freeze the program if federal support decreases. Medicaid is the biggest source of federal funding for many states, and cutting the expansion helps reduce Medicaid spending by at least $800 billion over the next ten years.

BRIGGS: President Trump touting the Republican health care plan as he got back on the road at a big campaign-style rally in Iowa. The president exulting after Republican victory in the Georgia election. The president also said publicly for the first time, he wants a solar panel wall on the southern border, and yes, Mexico will still pay for it.

[04:35:03] Senior White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny traveling with the president has more from Cedar Rapids.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Alison, President Trump taking somewhat of a victory lap Wednesday night at a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa -- his first visit west of the Mississippi since taking office. And, Iowa, of course, one of those blue states he turned red last November, winning by 10 percentage points.

But he was not talking about that victory. He was talking about the victory in the Georgia special congressional race. That's what he started out talking about. But he also ran the gamut, speaking more than an hour, about twice as long as the White House initially said he would, clearly reveling in the support from Iowa Republicans here.

But he started talking about health care and the bill moving through the Senate.

TRUMP: So, we have a slim 52-48. That means we basically can't lose anybody. And I think and I hope, OK, can't guarantee anything, but I hope we're going to surprise you with a really good plan.

You know, I've been talking about a plan with heart. I said, add some money to it. A plan with heart. But Obamacare is dead.

ZELENY: Now, of course, much of his speech here in Cedar Rapids need a bit of fact-checking and a bit of a reality check as well. He's not been the most successful president of record, he's not passed the most bills. That's what he left supporters believing here.

But in reality, the president almost wistfully at the end of his remarks talked about how he wished Democrats would come onboard, how Democrats would help with tax reform, health care reform bill, even with infrastructure. It will be fascinating to see in the coming months if he actually reaches out to some Democrats to get some support, because Democrats know they also need to have more of a record, and they also need to not obstruct if they hope to win in 2018.

But the president flying back to Washington after a visit here. Of course, much on his plate remains in Washington today -- Dave and Alison.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRIGGS: Jeff Zeleny, thank you, sir.

A growing number of Democrats are looking for a leadership shakeup after that devastating loss in Georgia's sixth district. Several House members are directing frustration at Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Among them, Tim Ryan, mounted an unsuccessful bid to unseat Pelosi as Democratic House leader.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

REP. TIM RYAN (D), OHIO: You know what, the honest answer is, in some areas of the country, yes, she is. As unfair as it is, there have been a lot of people that have spent a lot of money running negative ads against her. And I think that in certain areas like in some of these special election districts, it doesn't benefit our candidates to be tied to her. And it's not fair, but it is true. And there's a reason why the Republicans are still using it.

REP. SETH MOULTON (D), MASSACHUSETTS: It's clear that I think across the board in the Democratic Party we need new leadership. It's time for a new generation of leadership in the party.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSIK: And Democrats have certainly had a tough time of it. They've lost all four special elections since President Trump took office, including Georgia where Jon Ossoff was defeated despite a campaign that raised over $23 million.

The president has blasted Dodd-Frank, blaming the regulations for preventing banks from lending money to businesses. But U.S. banks actually have more cash than ever. Banks raked in record profits last year and paid out $102 billion in dividends. That's just shy of an all-time high.

Dividends are the money companies pay their shareholders. They're not evil. It's how you kind of make your money as a shareholder. And bank dividends actually crumbled during the financial crisis. But they've grown since then even after Congress passed Dodd-Frank in 2010.

Once again, dividends aren't the evildoer here. In fact, these payments are a good sign of good financial health. But high dividends boost stock prices, and the stock market is closed to all-time highs and that's why you're seeing critics accused the banks of withholding money for lending so they can return it to shareholders. And despite the rhetoric on both sides, the truth is banks are

lending. Commercial loans hit an all-time high last November.

BRIGGS: The FBI is investigating the stabbing of a Michigan airport police officer as terrorism. A 50-year-old Canadian man, Amor Ftouhi, is in custody charged with violence at an national airport. More charges could be added. The FBI says he attacked Lieutenant Jeff Neville with a foot-long knife after lingering at Flint's Bishop International Airport for about 40 minutes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID GELIOS, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, DETROIT FBI: He was carrying baggage. He went into a restroom. He spent a little time in the restroom, dropped both bags and came out, pulled out a knife, yelled "Allahu Akbar," and stabbed Lieutenant Neville in the neck.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSIK: Police say Neville fought back as another officer subdued the attacker. Neville is expected to be OK. According to the FBI, the attacker entered the U.S. legally last week.

[04:40:01] Officials say it appears he was a lone wolf and that no one else was involved. The suspect does remain in custody until a detention hearing that happens next Wednesday.

BRIGGS: All right.

So much for the reset with Russia. Ahead, Moscow channeling -- canceling planned talks with the U.S. over a series of recent conflicts. We're live in Moscow when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BRIGGS: The Trump administration says the U.S. and China share a common concern about the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear missile program. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hosting their Chinese counterparts to discuss the growing crisis. For months, the White House has been lobbying China to exert more influence over the Kim Jong-un regime.

ROMANS: At his rally last night in Iowa, President Trump praised China's president but also sent a message that he expects more from Beijing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[04:45:04] TRUMP: We've had a very good relationship with China in all fairness. And I do like President Xi. I wish we would have a little more help with respect to North Korea from China. But that doesn't seem to be working out, but I do like the president a lot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSIK: The meeting with top Chinese officials comes just days after the death of Otto Warmbier. The American college student who spent 17 months in hard labor in Korea before he was sent home in a coma. Warmbier's funeral is today.

CNN's Matt Rivers is live for us from Shanghai with more on the high- level meetings and where the two countries go from here.

Good morning.

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the first series of high level dialogue scheduled that were actually agreed upon when Presidents Trump and Xi met back at Mar-a-Lago earlier this year. And at this meeting, the Trump administration officials that were there, the secretaries of state and defense doubled down on the Trump administration's position that China should be doing more, using its economic leverage over North Korea to get the Kim Jong-un regime to stop going forward with its nuclear weapons program.

That said, the Chinese always respond in the exact same way when people use that line of argument against them. In fact, here's what the ministry of foreign affairs spokesman had to say on Wednesday --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GENG SHUANG, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN (through translator): China has made unremitting efforts to resolve the Korean peninsula issue and has been playing an important and constructive role. In a word, China's contributions are there for all to see, and China's role is indispensable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIVERS: China, though -- critics of China consistently say that they use loopholes in existing sanctions against the North Korean regime to continue to trade and prop up the Kim Jong-un regime with an economic life. The big question, though, here, guys, is -- if the administration decides that the Chinese aren't doing enough, how does it affect the broader relationship between the U.S. and China in matters like trade and security.

KOSIK: That is the question.

All right. Matt Rivers, thanks so much.

BRIGGS: All right. Moscow apparently having second thoughts, frustrated with the White House. The Kremlin scrapping plans for talks with the Trump administration aimed at improving U.S./Russian relations.

CNN's Diana Magnay live in Moscow with more on the fallout.

Good morning to you, Diana.

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Dave. I think any chance for that hope of reset of relations between the U.S. and Russia is pretty much dead in the water. The meeting between the deputy undersecretary of state for political affairs and his Russian counterpart in St. Petersburg canceled because of this extension of sanctions, and Russia has come out with some pretty fiery rhetoric. They've taken aim at what they call inveterate Russophobes in the U.S. Congress who they say are trying to nullify any attempt at restoring relations between the two countries.

The deputy -- sorry, the foreign ministry spokeswoman this morning saying, OK, we may talk at some point, but there is no point in trying to isolate us and wanting to talk to us at the same time. Stop this spiral of sanctions, don't try and force us to obey.

And this, of course, at a time when there's this new sanctions bill going through the House, clearly a message from the Kremlin to think very carefully before that sanctions bill is passed.

I think the period when the Kremlin was prepared to give the new Trump administration the benefit of the doubt is well and truly over. I don't think there's any point in holding out much hope that much will come out of the meeting between Presidents Trump and Putin in Hamburg in two weeks time if they do meet at all -- Dave.

BRIGGS: Right. Still no announcement from the White House on if that will happen.

Diana, thank you.

KOSIK: Going on any road trips this summer?

BRIGGS: Yes. Doing a few road trips.

KOSIK: All right. It's going to be --

BRIGGS: Going to Boston this weekend. That counts.

KOSIK: Driving, OK. Gas is getting cheaper. In fact, the cheapest in more than a decade.

BRIGGS: That's good news.

KOSIK: And they're still falling. We're going to tell you why on CNN "Money Stream" next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:53:15] BRIGGS: Dueling claims about who's responsible for blowing up Mosul's historic al-Nuri mosque. ISIS blames the U.S. coalition, a claim U.S. officials say is 1,000 percent false. Iraq's military putting the blame back on ISIS.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh live in Amman, Jordan, with the latest.

Good morning to you, Jomana.

This is the ISIS playbook, is it not?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And you're looking at a couple of theories here as ISIS is trying to rally supporters around the world by blaming the U.S.-led coalition, or are they trying to take away the moment that Iraqis have been waiting for?

You know, throughout this long and bloody battle, if there was a moment where Iraqis were hoping to declare a victory, at least a symbolic victory in their battle to recapture Mosul, it would have been reclaiming al-Nuri mosque where the leader of that group, Abu Bakr Baghdadi, made his one and only appearance in 2014 where he declared this caliphate.

Since then, the flag of ISIS has been fluttering over this historic mosque and its iconic leaning minaret. And so, Iraqi forces for months have been pushing in, closing in on the old city trying to recapture the mosque. In recent days, they did start a new push to al-Nuri mosque. And yesterday, there were even reports that they were planning on storming the mosque on Thursday.

But on Wednesday evening, the Iraqi military announced that as their forces were about 160 feet away from the mosque, ISIS detonated these explosives, blowing up the mosque and that iconic minaret. We heard from ISIS claims that it was an U.S. coalition air strike that destroyed the mosque.

[04:55:04] That is something that is being denied by the U.S. military, as you mentioned, saying 1,000 percent false according to one U.S. official.

We heard from the Iraqi prime minister saying that this is a sign of ISIS' defeat. And you can definitely now tragically add al-Nuri mosque to that long list of archaeological, historic, and religious sites that have been destroyed by the terror group in Iraq and Syria.

BRIGGS: Certainly has become one of their methods.

All right. Jomana Karadsheh, live for us in Jordan -- thank you.

A touching moment at a congressional women's softball game.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)

BRIGGS: That's Capitol Police Special Agent Crystal Griner throwing out the first pitch or first two pitches. She was not happy with the first throw. She's entitled to another.

Griner was shot in the ankle last week after a gunman opened fire at the Republican baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia. The attack left Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise critically injured. He's now been upgraded to fair condition.

KOSIK: All right. Tropical Storm Cindy has made landfall is threatening serious flooding as it moves inland this morning. Oh, yes, the rain's coming in.

With more now, let's go to meteorologist Derek Van Dam with the latest.

Good morning.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good Thursday morning, Dave and Alison.

We continue to track the progress of Tropical Storm Cindy making landfall between Texas and Louisiana. This storm system is drawing in a significant amount of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. And depending on this exact track over the next few days, we have the potential for localized flooding across this region, anywhere from Louisiana to eastern Texas. The Florida panhandle, into Alabama, parts of Mississippi, even Georgia, as well.

In fact, here's a look at the latest flood watches and warnings from the National Weather Service. New Orleans and Baton Rouge included.

So, what is the fate of Tropical Storm Cindy as it moves inland? Well, it will start to dissipate, but still a considerable amount of moisture associated with the system as a cold front sweeps it to the East. And that is what's going to bring our flood threat along with it.

Here's our chance of severe weather today. The Upper Midwest across the plains, and, of course, with our landfall and tropical storm near the Gulf Coast states. Temperatures for this afternoon, 80 for the Big Apple, 93 for Washington, 92 for Chicago. Atlanta, a warm and muggy 81. Back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KOSIK: OK. Derek, thank you very much.

Let's get a check on CNN's "Money Stream" this morning. Global markets are down this morning after Wall Street closed mostly lower. The S&P 500 fell after energy stocks dropped 1.6 percent. And that's because oil continues to decline. Crude prices fell another 2 percent to their lowest level in ten months. That's still bear market territory or a 20 percent drop for oil. Investors are worried over a supply glut.

But that drop in oil prices good news for drivers. Gas is the cheapest in 12 years. Prices have fallen every day since June 2nd. And the average is now down ten cents to $2.28 a gallon. Gas prices usually winding up spiking during the summer. But low demand is driving prices down.

And experts think they'll just keep falling. They predict this weekend we'll have the cheapest prices so far this year. So, time to drive.

BRIGGS: All right.

KOSIK: Home sales increased in May. That's a rebound from April. But sales have seesawed from month to month this year. The problem is high demand and low inventory, low supply.

The number of houses for sale is close to a 20-year low. But that winds up boosting prices. So, the median sales price hitting a new record in May. It's up almost 6 percent from last year.

Did you know that George Clooney doesn't just look good? He sells tequila, too? Well, he doesn't anymore. The actor is selling his tequila company for a cool $1 billion. Whoo! The buyer is the owner of brands that you heard of -- Johnny Walker and Smirnoff.

Clooney launched his tequila company with two partners in 2013. And he's saying Dave that he plans to remain involved in the promotion of the company even after the sale. He said after this was announced, he said, I plan to stay involved beginning with a shot.

BRIGGS: Did he do anything wrong? I mean, everything goes right for George Clooney. I guess $700 million cash, $300 million more if they hit sales targets. He does have partners. Randy Gerber included. He doesn't get the whole billion dollars, but --

KOSIK: I think he'll have extra money for his two new babies.

BRIGGS: Yes, first twins. It's fantastic, tequila, if you're wondering.

All right, 4:59 Eastern Time. EARLY START continues right now.

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KOSIK: Senate Republicans hours away from revealing their health care plan negotiated in secret. So, how does it affect you, and can you win over enough support -- can they win over enough support to pass a vote next week?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Look, I'll tell you about the Democrats. I am making it a little bit hard to get their support, but who cares?

(END VIDEO CLIP)