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President Trump Meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel; Congress to Hold Hearings on Intelligence Concerning Russian Involvement in U.S. Election; Senate to Hold Hearings Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch; Secretary of State Comments on Korean Peninsula Policy; Some Criticize GOP Health Care Bill for Medicaid Cutbacks; Some Controversial Tweets by President Trump Reviewed. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired March 18, 2017 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:36] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you and happy Saturday. So grateful for your company as always. I'm Christi Paul. And --
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Martin Savidge. Great to be with you this morning as well. I'm in for Victor Blackwell. It's 10:00 on the east coast. Of course it's 7:00 a.m. on the west coast. CNN newsroom begins right now.
PAUL: And a significant week ahead for the Trump administration starting Monday, the Russia intel hearings where top intel chiefs will be testifying, followed by Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's confirmation hearing. And also Republican leaders planning a vote Thursday to repeal and replace Obamacare. Mike Pence, by the way, is in Florida today pushing that new plan.
SAVIDGE: Plus right now Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in China where a nuclear North Korea continues to dominate the discussion. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: We also exchange views and I think we share a common view in a sense that tensions on the peninsula are quite high right now and that things have reached a rather dangerous level.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Covering this from all angles, we want to bring in our power packed political panel here, CNN national correspondent Ryan Nobles, David Fahrenthold, CNN contributor and reporter for "The Washington Post," and Rebecca Berg, CNN political analyst and national political reporter for Real Clear Politics. Thank you all so much for taking the time to be with us here.
Ryan, I'd like to start with you. I want to look at where things stand. What is the status with the president and German Chancellor Angela Merkel after their meeting yesterday?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was certainly an awkward meeting. The body language was a bit uncomfortable at times, never so more than during the press conference when Trump was pushed by a German reporter about his accusations, about his claim that President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. Take a look at how Trump responded to that question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As far as wiretapping, I guess by this past administration, at least we have something in common perhaps.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: Certainly an uncomfortable moment there as the president alluding to the fact that WikiLeaks revealed during the Obama administration the U.S. government was spying on Merkel at that time. Now, this all sets the stage for what is expected to be an explosive hearing in the House Intelligence Committee on Monday morning where FBI Director James Comey and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers will appear before that panel and discussion the alleged allegation that Russia was attempting to intervene in the United States election. You can bet that the topic of whether or not the Obama administration attempted to wiretap Trump Tower will come up. At this point still, Christi, no evidence to back up that claim.
PAUL: And we talk about anything that's coming up on Monday. Where do you think the spotlight will shine brightest on Monday?
NOBLES: Well, obviously, there's going to be so much attention given to this House Intel Committee investigation and it is hearing, but you can bet the Trump administration is going to want direct attention to the confirmation hearings of Neil Gorsuch, their pick for the Supreme Court. This is something that the Trump administration believes is a big win for them. They believe that Gorsuch is a qualified candidate and someone that will please all of the different factions that support this administration.
The Gorsuch hearings could get tough. There are some Senate Democrats in particular that are going to raise serious questions about his background, but ultimately the administration believes they've got the votes to get him on the bench. So they're going to want a lot of attention paid to Gorsuch because they believe he will perform well during these hearings.
PAUL: All right, Ryan Nobles, appreciate it so much. Thank you.
NOBLES: Thank you.
SAVIDGE: Now is a good time to go to Rebecca Berg and David Fahrenthold. Big day, Monday, as we've been talking about, the first public congressional hearing on Russian meddling in the U.S. election. FBI Director James Comey will be there, and I'm wondering -- Rebecca, let me start with you -- what do you expect to hear?
REBECCA BERG, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Certainly we have already heard consensus from intel leaders on the House and Senate panels of both parties that the president's claim that he was wiretapped either by the U.S. government, the U.S. president, or others, for example, the British intelligence, which he mentioned, is just not correct. It's just not true.
So that has been kind of resolved. But we have many more questions still to be answered. What was the extent of communications between Trump allies and the Russians during the campaign? We saw some news break this week, new documents revealing that Flynn was paid by the Russians on a number of issues. And I think we're going to see many more revelations potentially in that vein, what were the connections between not only Donald Trump, but some of his close advisers and allies and the Russians. So we might get answers some question, not all of them. We might see more questions raised.
[10:05:31] SAVIDGE: David, are you expecting some big revelation, a bombshell, something like that?
DAVID FAHRENTHOLD, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I'm not, honestly. I think that there's from the leaks that we've seen, the reports that we've seen about this investigation, certainly it seems to be in finding greater contacts between some outer members of Trump's circle and the Russians. I don't expect it to produce anything sort of silver bullet where we say, wow, this makes us see the election in a whole new light or President Trump in a whole new light. I think it would detail some incremental progress, but nothing sort of world changing.
SAVIDGE: Let's move on to the Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. He's got a hearing. And David, do you expect that it's going to be smooth sailing or, as some have suggested, there could be something that jumps out and causes controversy?
FAHRENTHOLD: I don't think, looking at Neil Gorsuch's background, reading about him, there will be anything coming out of his background that will be disruptive to his chances of the nomination. I think he certainly has the votes to be confirmed.
The thing I'm interested in is seeing the questions and what Gorsuch does to dodge them about President Trump's travel ban. That's been sort of seen in a lot of different lights but a lot of different courts. It seems pretty clear it's going to end up in the Supreme Court some day, perhaps when Gorsuch is already on the bench. So I'm going to be interested to hear some of the legal analysis that Gorsuch throws out there, and also what Republicans say in their statements and questions to defend the travel ban.
SAVIDGE: But Rebecca, isn't that one of the ways that he could get out of commenting is to say, if I'm on the Supreme Court I'm likely going to have to rule on this, so I'm not going to tell you ahead of time what I'm doing?
BERG: Absolutely. And this is what we've seen from Gorsuch in some of these one-on-one meetings with senators. He's had 72 sit-downs with these senators, Democrats and Republicans alike in advance of confirmation hearings. And we've heard him address this sort of tangentially, obliquely. I'm not taking a stand on this issue in particular, but he has emphasized the role he feels the judiciary needs to play as an independent check on the executive. And I think we will hear him emphasize that more broadly in these hearings.
And that I think is going to be something Democrats will be looking for in particular because you have a Democratic base right now that is so energized against Donald Trump, they want to hear from Gorsuch that he will be willing to stand up to Donald Trump or broadly any executive, any president or executive agency that oversteps their government powers. And I think he probably will be emphasizing that in these hearings.
SAVIDGE: They're going to be listening very closely for that. Let's move on to health care. The vote to repeal and replace Obamacare, at least in the House is going to be on Thursday. Not everybody, including many Republicans, are not necessarily on board. So Rebecca, do you see it passing?
BERG: Well, it's going to be very tight in the House I think. And they do have the votes scheduled, so that's usually a positive sign that they think they do have the votes. But it's going to come down to the wire. And then even if it does pass the House, we have this question mark over on Senate side. Are they going to make substantial changes and then pass the bill which would then move this to a conference scenario? Or does it get held up completely in the Senate? So even if this does pass the House this week, and that's still a big if, then there is very much still a question mark about where this bill goes from there.
SAVIDGE: David real quick, final say, once it gets the Senate, do you think it just could slow down?
FAHRENTHOLD: It certainly will slow down. Everything slows down in the Senate. The House sort of committed this kamikaze, superfast strategy kind of in the hopes that they could assuage any concerns or scare anybody who might vote no because they would be saying you're voting for Obamacare, this is your only chance to repeal Obamacare. The Senate doesn't really work that way. There's a lot more skepticism among senators whose states might lose Medicaid funding. So it definitely will slow down and might in fact stop.
SAVIDGE: Paul Ryan seemed to reference this was a significant moment. All right, Rebecca Berg, David Fahrenthold, thank you both.
PAUL: Following new developments this morning out of France, authorities say the man shot dead at a Paris airport after grabbing a soldier's gun overnight was wanted for a shootout just hours before at a police checkpoint. The suspect was known by intelligence services and investigators aren't ruling out terror as a motive here, but the Paris prosecutor tells CNN his father and brother are being questioned right now. SAVIDGE: Well, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in Beijing trying
to gain China's trust. His boss may be undermining him on Twitter. But the secretary is staying focused on the North Korean prep.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: The tensions on the peninsula are quite high right now and things have reached a rather dangerous level.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[10:10:07] PAUL: Also the testimony that could finally shed a light on Russia's meddling in the U.S. election. Former Russian spy Jack Barsky has a stark warning about state sponsored hacking.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACK BARSKY, FORMER SECRET AGENT OF THE KGB: Cyber warfare is the modern -- this is pretty much cold war 2.0.
[10:15:00] SAVIDGE: The Trump administration's foreign policy front and center this morning at Rex Tillerson holds a meeting in China. It's his first major trip abroad, and it comes at a very critical time in a regional, or region, that is currently filled with uncertainty.
PAUL: The top of the agenda the growing nuclear threat of North Korea. Of course our reporters and analysts working every angle of this. Retired Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona is with us with his expertise on the region. We start, though, with CNN international correspondent Matt Rivers who is live for us in Beijing. Matt, U.S. hoping China can help rein in Kim Jong-un. What are you hearing this morning?
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's the plan for the Trump administration, or at least what they're going to try to do. Secretary of State Tillerson here on the ground in Beijing for a little less than 24 hours meeting with his counterparts in the Chinese diplomatic community. Here's the thing. You're right. North Korea very much top of the agenda.
The United States and China, though, agree that they don't want a nuclear threat in North Korea. They disagree on how best to approach this moving forward. China says that it's direct negotiation between the United States and North Korea that will eventually solve this crisis. The United States hasn't totally ruled that out, but the U.S. says that China needs to be more as North Korea's only major ally to stop Pyongyang's weapons development program. You have President Trump weighing in within the last 24 hours or so in a tweet from Friday saying that China has done little to help the situation. During a press availability with the secretary of state during the day here today in China, the secretary of state did not reference that tweet at all, but he did speak generally about his meeting with China's foreign minister.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TILLERSON: Foreign Minister Wang affirmed again China's longstanding policy of a denuclearized Korean peninsula. We also exchanged views, and I think we share a common view in a sense that tensions on the peninsula are quite high right now and that things have reached a rather dangerous level. And we've committed ourselves to do everything we can to prevent any type of conflict from breaking out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIVERS: Now, the Trump administration has said that it wants to chart a new path on North Korean policy. However, they haven't laid out any specifics as to how they're going to differ in their approach from the Obama administration or the Bush administration or even the Clinton administration.
One other thing at the top of the agenda, of course, the tentatively planned meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump tentatively scheduled for next month. We know the secretary of state will be meeting with the Chinese president early tomorrow morning here in Beijing very quickly before he heads to the United States.
PAUL: Matt Rivers, thank you so much, appreciate it.
Let's go to retired Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona, CNN military analyst and former defense intelligence agency officer. Colonel, thank you for being with us. So as his secretary of state visited North Korea, the president tweeted this over the last 24 hours. He said, "North Korea is behaving very badly. They've been playing the United States for years. China has done little to help." What does a tweet like that do to the strides that Secretary Tillerson may be trying to make right now with China?
LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I just think it puts the Chinese on notice we're expecting them to take action with North Korea. We believed for a long time that the key to the denuclearized Korean peninsula that everybody wants is China. The Chinese seem to be the ones that can exert the most pressure on North Korea. Are they going to extract a price for that? I think they're looking at certain things.
Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Mattis, we've got lots of things we can give the Chinese that they want. They would like us to cut down on the number of exercises we have with South Korea. They would like more American acquiescence on the freedom of navigation issue in the South China Sea, none of which I think we're willing to give. So we're kind of at a stalemate right now what we can do. And I think we're headed towards this inevitable confrontation, diplomatic, on how we're going to handle this.
We see this every time there's a new administration. The Chinese do something to bring a crisis to the forefront and then you watch how the new president handles it. So I think they're testing the Trump administration. So we'll see how this plays out, what they're willing to give. But right now it doesn't appear the Chinese want to give anything.
PAUL: Let's talk about the THAAD missile defense system. It's purely a defense system, as I understand it, based on everything I read. Is it truly a threat to China as they seem to say, or is there something more political present here?
FRANCONA: Well, it's both political. Of course they're going to want us not to bring any qualitative improvement to our capabilities in South Korea. But if you look at the system, it is purely defensive, but it's significantly upgrades the defensive capability. If you look at not so much the missile itself, but the command and control system that goes with it, the acquisition system to go with it, it gives us a much more comprehensive picture of what's going on in not only North Korea but in parts of China as well. And the Chinese don't want to have that American capability right there in their back yard. They prefer it when it's much further away. So yes, it is defensive, but it does represent a marginalization of some of their unique capabilities.
[10:20:15] PAUL: Do think there's any way that Tillerson can sell it to China, sell the idea?
FRANCONA: You know, I think this is one of those points that we may not budge on. We've already thrown down kind of the marker by saying we're going to deploy this system. Of course, we have to be very careful. I thought Secretary Tillerson was approaching the line when he said military force, a preemptive strike may be in the offing or it may be a consideration, it may be on the table. The problem with making statements like that is if your bluff is called, you've actually got to go through with the threat. We've seen that in the past. We go back to what happened with the red line in Syria. When you draw these lines, you have to mean them.
PAUL: Right. Right. And lastly before I let you go, "the policy of strategic patience has ended." That was a line from Tillerson earlier this week regarding North Korea that had a lot of people talking. If the patience has ended, what is the next step? What is the replacement for that?
FRANCONA: That's the -- where you go from strategic patience to preemptive strike, there's a whole range of things that have to happen in there. And hopefully somewhere on that continuum we'll come eye to eye with the Chinese because I still maintain that the Chinese can put more pressure on North Korea than anything we can do.
PAUL: Colonel Rick Francona, always appreciate your perspective. Thank you for taking the time to be here.
FRANCONA: Good to be with you.
SAVIDGE: And coming up we go live --
PAUL: Sorry about that, Matt. I thought I thanked him already. Sorry, Matt. Thank you.
SAVIDGE: Coming up, we're going to go live to Moscow and Nick Paton Walsh.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In Moscow we'll be talking about the latest Russian reaction to accusations they meddled in the U.S. election that brought Donald Trump to power.
PAUL: Plus former KGB spy telling us about the dangers of Russian hacking.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACK BARSKY, FORMER SECRET AGENT OF THE KGB: The potential for damage is phenomenal, equals, possibly exceeds one or two nuclear bombs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[10:26:22] PAUL: Well, the House Intelligence Committee set to grill leaders of the nation's intelligence agencies on the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
SAVIDGE: And that is as well as President Trump's unfounded claim that his predecessor wiretapped him during Trump's campaign. It's the first public hearing. It will take place on Monday. And it's happening as lawmakers from both parties are complaining that the FBI and its director, James Comey, have not been cooperating. Multiple Congressional committees are investigating links between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Early today I spoke to Jack Barsky. He's a former KGB agent who was found to be spying on the U.S. during the cold war, that is until the FBI caught him. Now he is an American citizen. And he has written a book. That book is called "Deep Undercover, My Secret Life and Tangled Allegiances as a KGB Spy in America." Here's what he had to say on Russian hacking and what the country is really trying to do. Take a listen.
JACK BARSKY, FORMER SECRET AGENT OF THE KGB: I honestly don't buy into the intrigue. What I would buy into in a big way is the Russians trying to create chaos in this country, trying to destabilize this country, and in that matter they pretty much succeedED because what we're doing now, we're throwing bombs at each other.
SAVIDGE: Should we be worried as a nation or just aware and alert?
BARSKY: No. What we should be worried about really is cyber warfare. Cyber warfare is the modern -- this is pretty much cold war 2.0.
SAVIDGE: Russia would be willing to launch cyber warfare against the United States?
BARSKY: Not just Russia, others. And the potential for damage is phenomenal, equals, possibly exceeds one or two nuclear bombs. You could pretty much incapacitate a whole country if you hack the right systems. That is what I'm worried about. I have a background in information technology besides having been a spy, and I know a bit about that stuff. And this is much more dangerous.
You know, the political wrangling back and forth, I don't like it, it shouldn't be done, but that's a fact. But I think the danger is really for us to not focus on the real issue which is cyber warfare.
SAVIDGE: You think we're being distracted?
BARSKY: Yes, we are.
SAVIDGE: Intentionally so?
BARSKY: Yes we are.
SAVIDGE: He also said that another way Russia agents to try to unleash chaos in the U.S. would be to try feed disinformation or fake news to the media. Joining me now from Moscow is senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh. Nick, I wondering, how are Russians reacting to all of this intrigue between their country and the U.S. president?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think Most Russians on a street level mostly have what state sponsored news is willing to provide for them. Also I think to the Kremlin's official position to see how this information percolates around the country. The latest we heard from Dmitry Peskov, their spokesperson, is the sort of continued sense of distance they are trying to have from these accusations they meddled in the U.S. elections, saying how frankly come these hearings on Monday. James Comey in front of the House Intel Committee, they won't be watching. They're, quote, "too busy," saying they don't expect any new details to emerge, and using the quite colorful language saying this is a broken record with futuristic songs, suggesting they're keeping hearing the same accusation again and again but it doesn't appear to correspond to present reality.
[10:30:00] But this has been a complicated issue for Moscow here, because while potentially you might see it is helpful for their desire to be a big player on the world stage, to reestablish that old Soviet Union kind of grandeur that Vladimir Putin is so nostalgic for, it's also at the same time too showing them to potentially have a hand in interfering, so the accusation goes, in the U.S. election. At the same time, too, it's put Donald Trump in a bit of a difficult position as well because while his statements many see have been often quite reticent to criticize Vladimir Putin, he's also now facing those accusations of collusion to the point where if he came up with a policy that was relatively friendly towards Moscow, he would have enormous domestic political opposition to that potentially.
So he might say actually the net result of this is being to push Donald Trump from a potentially a distinctively a pro-Russian position to being on his guard now to be sure he's not seen as doing so much at all of the Kremlin's bidding, a very complicated place for Russia to be, certainly, and I think at times you see them using the word "hysteria" to describe what's happening in the United States in terms of their opinion towards Russia. But be in no doubt Russia at all, the Russians are meddling in all sorts of foreign spheres here, certainly the countries nearer to their own borders initially, and of course the border accusation that they had a hand in trying to interfere in getting Donald Trump into the White House. Martin?
SAVIDGE: I bet they will actually watch those hearings on Monday, but that's just my thought. Nick Paton Walsh, thank you very much.
PAUL: Still to come, harsh backlash as the Republican health care bill proposes to cut Medicaid expansion. Our next guest voted for President Trump, but says he feels he, meaning the president, is breaking a key campaign promise when it comes to health care. You're going to hear it from him himself in just a moment.
SAVIDGE: Plus the president's credibility is on the line after his words apparently start to catch with up him. We'll see how President Trump's social media postings and statements to the traditional media are affecting his agenda. That's just ahead.
PAUL: So a ride sharing service is called OpenRide. It gives a whole new meaning to ubering. Take a look.
JOEL USHER, OPENRIDE CO-FOUNDER: The commonality between OpenRide and Lyft or Uber really only extends so far as a shared transportation experience in a personal car. But beyond that is sort of where it ends. We really focus on 50 and 500 miles of travel all across North America for a price range that anyone can afford. The process is simply looking for a destination that you need to reach to be presented with all the results. You can view information about the driver, details about the trip, even message the driver.
What OpenRide offers beyond the more traditional alternatives in the buses and train companies is you're just dealing with another person, someone you're going to spend time with who's able to be flexible and accommodating. The other really big benefit and you're sharing a car ride with someone. That can be a very intimate and a very rewarding experience that you don't get when sitting next to strangers on a bus or a train.
The thing I love most about these road trips, especially sharing them with someone new, is the feeling of possibility you can get. The experience can go many ways. But reaching that common destination together is very powerful.
[10:37:42] SAVIDGE: Vice President Mike Pence going to be in Florida today promoting the Republican proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare. GOP leaders plan a vote on that bill next Thursday. Despite growing opposition within their own party, one issue of concern, the rollback of Medicaid expansion. Congressman Charlie Dent, a Republican who has his own reservations about the bill, spoke with us earlier. He was concerned about some of the financial concerns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. CHARLIE DENT, (R) PENNSYLVANIA: But I've also received a letter from the governors, Governor Kasich and Sandoval and Snyder and Hutchinson have recently sent a letter expressing their concerns with Medicaid component. There's not enough flexibility to the states right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Well, the rollback is receiving some backlash from mental health and addiction advocates as well. In fact the plan drops a treatment mandate that services millions of people suffering with addictions in this country. So there are some folks concerned about that as well one of which is the founder of Windward Way Recovery, Jeremy Broderick. He joins us now. Jeremy, thank you so much for being with us. I want to talk about your recent "Huffington Post" op- ed. You said there that the GOP replacement seems worse than Obamacare, saying, quote, I'm going to quote you here, "The needed protection for people who struggle with addiction, among them my clients, my friends, my loved ones, and myself, is not there." What element, Jeremy, is missing from this?
JEREMY BRODERICK, NATIONAL RECOVERY ADVOCATE: Well, good morning, Christi and thanks for having me. Obviously this is an extremely important issue. This is an issue that is not necessarily about the right and the left but it's more or less are you right or wrong on this issue. And I think everyone across party lines should be on the right side of this issue, and that is supporting, you know, recovery advocacy and substance use treatment and the expansion of that.
And the thing is in this, you know, obviously it's in the finer print, which I wish that being that this is the number one public health crisis right now, I wish that this was bold and drawn out where a layman such as myself wouldn't have to struggle reading through this legislation to find out what's in it. But there is a mandate that in 2019, some of this mandated substance abuse and mental health services will be lifted.
[10:40:01] And that's one of the things that obviously we want to make sure for all the constituents of both Republican and Democrats, during this segment, probably someone will die from an overdose in the United States of America. And 129 people fall victim to addiction and overdoses every year -- every day.
PAUL: And the Medicaid portion of this is part of what you're so concerned about because it's vital to people with addiction.
BRODERICK: Yes. Medicaid, as goes Medicaid goes a lot of other health care bills in this country. And so it's all kind of tied together. One of the things that we'd like to see, obviously, there's an immense amount of cost, you know, involved. The cost in society runs upwards of $442 billion a year, the addiction costs. And those are in additional health care costs, loss productivity with the work force, and also the additional criminal justice.
And so there is a way that I think that a lot of money and resources needs to be put towards this, and for every dollar spent on treatment it saves $4 in health care and $7 in criminal justice. For every dollar put toward an evidence-based intervention or early prevention education saves $58 in future health care costs. And so what I want to do is reach out to President Trump and encourage them bring us to the table, bring the industry professionals to the table, the people that are on the front lines, bring us to the table, very similar to how you brought the auto manufacturers, how you brought union leaders, how you brought the tech leaders. Bring the health care providers and the people on the front lines fighting this epidemic, bring us to the table.
PAUL: You I know are going to be meeting with some Republicans next week. If you can sit down say with President Trump, what is the one takeaway you will want him to have most?
SAVIDGE: Well, what I would want to do is one of the largest factors in this movement, and it's a cause that I'm pretty adamant about, is FacingAddiction.org. And I would encourage everyone watching and anyone that is affected with addiction to go to FacingAddition.org, to read the letter that they have drafted to President Trump and to get on board with that and sign that.
PAUL: You said in your op-ed as well that "When I voted for Trump I truly believed that he could make America great, and I give every addict a chance to get sober. I saw a bright future. Now I'm not so sure." The administration does plan to increase funding for opioid addiction by about $500 million. Is that not enough? What is the issue with you in that regard when it comes to the president?
BRODERICK: Well, it's not enough. It's not enough. This is the number one public health issue in the country. Like I stated earlier, 129 people die every day. Someone is probably dying right now in America from this. And the fact is that there's 21 million people that suffer from substance use disorder. It parallels the amount with diabetes. It's one-and-a-half times the amount that suffer with cancer. Those funds don't anywhere near match-up. Only one in 10 people is ever going to receive treatment for this.
And so for me sitting here, there are nine people that are not sitting here. For someone like Ben Affleck who you saw just came out last week and spoke that, you know, that he had just gotten treatment for alcohol addiction, there are nine celebrities there, nine people, and we see it all the time in Hollywood that they do not survive addiction.
PAUL: All right, Jeremy, appreciate you taking the time to be with us today. Thank you so much.
BRODERICK: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
SAVIDGE: And still to come, the president's credibility on the line. Now that his words are starting to catch up with him, we'll take a look at what President Trump has said in the past and how it's affecting the future of his presidency. That's next.
[10:48:28] PAUL: Today marks eight years since President Trump joined Twitter. His tweets may be coming back to haunt him, at least in a sense. You know how it is when you get that hey, congratulations, you've been on Twitter for how long. It's been his language about the travel ban on the campaign trail, his recent wiretapping claims, and the president's words are putting him in a bit of a political bind.
SAVIDGE: Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel inadvertently addressed this during her meeting at the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR: I've always said it's much, much better to talk to one another and not about one another, and I think our conversation proved this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: The president's credibility is being questioned by some after several of his statements have been proven false. And as CNN Victor Blackwell reports, Trump's been pedaling conspiracies since before the campaign.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Number eight, Election Day, 2012, then private citizen Donald Trump tweeted "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing noncompetitive." This is one that President Donald Trump has promoted for years. Despite offering no evidence to support the claim the Chinese created climate change, the science is clear. According to NOAA and NASA, nearly all of the 17 hottest years on record have occurred since 2000. And after his November, 2016, election win, Trump conceded a human impact on climate change, telling "The New York Times," quote, "I think there is some connectivity, some something. It depends on how much."
[10:50:00] Coming in at number seven, the disease that killed thousands of people, Ebola. In October, 2014, Trump tweeted "Ebola is much easier to transmit than the CDC and government representatives are admitting, spreading all over Africa and fast. Stop flights."
Well, Ebola did not spread all over Africa. All but 15 of the more than 11,000 Ebola related deaths were confined to three countries in West Africa. Trump never gave any evidence to back up his accusation that the government was hiding the truth.
In March 2014 Trump tweeted a debunked health claim offering, again, no evidence. "Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines. Doesn't feel good and changes. Autism, many such cases." Well, the CDC says there are no links between vaccines and autism. Actually here's what President Trump's pick to lead the FDA said in 2015.
DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FDA NOMINEE: I think for too long a lot of people's public statements allowed these myths to propagate because they said things like, well, we don't think there's any correlation, but we need more research. We don't need more research. At some point enough is enough. It's fine to collect data, but at some point you have to take no for an answer.
BLACKWELL: Number five from 2012, "The economy is in terrible shape. Barack Obama is manipulating the job numbers to hide the truth," another claim candidate Trump repeated without evidence during his run for president.
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hear 5.3 percent unemployment. That is the biggest joke there is in this country.
BLACKWELL: But after a strong jobs report for his first full month in office, a sudden reversal from the White House press secretary.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: They may have been phony in the past, but it's very real now.
BLACKWELL: Minutes after CNN called a 2012 election for President Obama, "He lost the popular vote by a lot and won the election. We should have a revolution in this country." Also calling the Electoral College "phony." Actually, President Obama won the Electoral College vote and the popular vote. And as the numbers came in, Trump deleted those tweets.
Four years later, Donald Trump's own actual electoral win and popular vote loss takes us to number three. "In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide" I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.
TRUMP: You're going to find, and we're going to do an investigation on it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three to five million illegal votes?
TRUMP: We're going to find out, but it could very well be that much.
BLACKWELL: Six weeks later still no White House investigation nor any evidence to support the claim.
At number two, "How low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process? This is Nixon/Watergate, bad or sick guy." Well, the House Intelligence Committee launched an investigation into that claim.
REP. DEVIN NUNES, (R) CALIFORNIA: We don't have any evidence that took place. In fact I don't believe just in the last week of time the people we talked to, I don't think there was an actual tap of Trump Tower.
TRUMP: We will be submitting certain things, and I will be perhaps thinking about this next week, but it's right now before the committee and I think I want to leave it that.
BLACKWELL: And the number one debunked or baseless claim.
TRUMP: You are not allowed to be a president if you're not born in this country. He may not have been born in this country.
BLACKWELL: The relentless questioning of President Obama's birthplace, tweeting in 2012, "An extremely credible source has called my office and told me Barack Obama's birth certificate is a fraud." That was more than a year after the president released his long-form birth certificate in response to Trump's claims.
BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know that there's going to be a segment of people for which no matter what we put out, this issue will not be put to rest.
BLACKWELL: That included Donald Trump who tweeted in 2012 "I want to see Barack Obama's college records to see how he listed his place of birth in the application." Then under intense pressure during his campaign for president in 2016, Donald Trump finally acknowledged the truth.
TRUMP: President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period.
BLACKWELL: Happy Twitter-versary to @realDonaldTrump.
PAUL: Coming up at the top of the hour, President Trump is in Palm Beach this weekend prepping for what's shaping up to be the most important week of his presidency thus far. Fredericka Whitfield has that and a whole lot more. We'll be right back.
SAVIDGE: Here we go. Meet the very first CNN hero of 2017. After losing her eight-year-old son to leukemia, Leslie Morissette transformed her heartbreak into action.
PAUL: Strong woman here. She's used 21st century technology to keep kids who are battling life-threatening illnesses connected to their everyday lives.
LESLIE MORISETTE, CNN HERO: It's really difficult for kids to spend a lot of time in the hospital. They get so disconnected from their family and friends and schools. And when we bring them this technology, they're able to dial in and be right in the classroom.
You can just see their face light right up. It brings them such joy.
(END VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: Such important work. To watch Leslie's full story, go to CNNHeroes.com. And while you're there, if you know someone who deserves to be a CNN hero, we would love that. Just nominate them right now at CNNHeroes.com. And thank you so much for watching. Go make some great memories today.
SAVIDGE: There so much more ahead the next hour. CNN newsroom begins right now. We turn it over to our colleague, our friend, our professional friend, Fredericka Whitfield.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: You had a busy morning. We got a busy afternoon. You all get out there and enjoy it. Thanks so much. Good to see you.