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AT THIS HOUR
Senate GOP Leaders to Unveil Health Care Plan Tomorrow; Republicans Celebrate Handel Win in Georgia House Race; Police Officer Stabbed at Michigan Airport; New Video Released of Philandro Castile Shooting after Officer Acquitted; U.S. Spy Satellites Detect Activity at North Korean Nuke Site. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired June 21, 2017 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:00] SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN, (D), MARYLAND: When we passed the Affordable Care Act, whatever you think of the final result, there were over 100 hearings and public forums where people were brought in. Amendments were offered in the committee process. That's where you have an opportunity for people to dig into the details and understand how this legislation will impact our constituents. We have had zero, zero hearings on this bill. In fact, Mitch McConnell has used a procedure to entirely short-circuit the committee hearing process. Clearly, they don't want to hear from their constituents because I think their conclusions are going to be the same as with respect to the House bill. We know only 17 percent of Americans supported that House bill.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: It will come as no surprise to you Mitch McConnell has a different take on this. He says all of the conversation of seven years over this exact issue on the -- many of them the same exact issues with how to get from point A to B on health care, that you have already debated. He says you don't need more time for debate. Listen to this, Senator.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: We have been discussing all of the elements of this endlessly for seven years. Everybody pretty well understands it. Everybody will have an adequate time to take a look at it. I think this will be as about as transparent as it could be. No transparency would have been added by having hearings in which Democrats offered endless single-payer-system amendments. That is not what this Republican Senate was sent here to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Does McConnell have a point? Democrats are a "no" vote because of the politics here. How is Mitch McConnell wrong?
VAN HOLLEN: The reality is it's important for our constituents, not Democrats or Republicans, but the American people, to understand what this Senate version of the bill will do to their health care. I don't know how you do that by hiding behind closed doors. As you indicated, even Senate Republicans are worried about that process. It's interesting the other day, Senator Thune told his local
newspapers that this 13-member secret Senate group was actually open to others. I would like to know when and where we can meet.
Kate, it's important to have that kind of input from experts, from patients who are going to be impacted, from medical providers who provide the care, and by bringing this up at the last minute trying to rush it through and having only a floor debate, you prevent the American people from having that input during the hearing process. It only leads to the question, why is it they don't want to hear from the American public?
BOLDUAN: While you have you, I have to ask you, the special election race in Georgia, the results overnight, you know a little bit about House races from your time running. What does that mean for the Democratic Party?
VAN HOLLEN: Well, look, obviously, there was an effort to win this seat. Lots of resources were put into this race from both sides. It is very important, Kate, to keep this in context. These two seats, one in Georgia and one in South Carolina, are deep red seats. Tom Price who held that seat before won it with 23 percent of the vote. Last night, Jon Ossoff, the Democrat lost by 3.8 percent. In the Mick Mulvaney seat, former Congressman Mulvaney seat, he won by 21 percent, and last night, the Democrat lost by about 3 percent. So --
BOLDUAN: That was more of a surprise. If you didn't think you could win in Georgia six, you wouldn't have put tens of millions of dollars into it.
VAN HOLLEN: As you know, this was the result of excitement from around the country. The reason Jon Ossoff had those resources was you had energized Democrats from around the country. There are lots of congressional districts held by Republicans that are not nearly as ruby red as either of these two districts last night. Cutting down that margin should actually give comfort to lots of Democrats and should actually scare a lot of Republicans. That was the assessment of the Cook Political Report this morning.
BOLDUAN: Right. At some point --
BOLDUAN: At some point, moral victories still aren't victories. Right?
VAN HOLLEN: That's true. Let me remind people -- I know this from being on the wrong end of it. After the 2008 election, Democrats -- House Democrats won a slew of special elections. Of course, then when the big election came in 2010, we got swamped. I actually -- the fact that Republicans are winning these elections, but by really tight margins, in very ruby red districts, is really cold comfort, I think, for them. Getting back to our earlier conversation, I do believe that both the
un-Democratic process that Republicans are using to jam this through -- try to jam it through the Senate, as well as the fact that, at its core, what is parading as a health bill, is really a huge tax cut for wealthy Americans and special interests while cutting access to affordable care to 23 million Americans. That is a lousy deal by anyone's account. I don't think that the American people are going to forget it. I think we have a very good chance still of fighting this and defeating it in the Senate. I hope the American public will continue to call into their Senators to let them know how concerned they are.
[11:35:44] BOLDUAN: If I'm reading between the lines, I could be confident the Democrats will make this health care whatever the outcome is part of the 2018 cycle.
Senator, thank you so much for coming on. I appreciate your time.
VAN HOLLEN: It's good to be with you. Thanks.
BOLDUAN: Thank you.
The man the president has tasked with finding peace in the Middle East is in Israel right now. Who Jared Kushner is meeting with and the message he brings with him from President Trump.
Plus, as American and Chinese officials meet, new spy images at a North Korea nuclear site. What this means especially after the death of the American just freed by the regime.
[11:40:46] BOLDUAN: Republicans celebrating a win this morning. Maybe breathing a sigh of relief as well. Democrats wondering what it will take to finally rack up a win after Karen Handel's victory in Georgia. Handel defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff in the most expensive house race ever. No exaggeration. Her margin of victory, about four points in that red -- in that reliably red district. Democrats are now 0-4 in House races since President Trump's victory.
Joining me to discuss, CNN political commentator, Republican strategist, Doug Hye; and CNN political analyst and "Washington Examiner" correspondent, David Drucker.
Gentlemen, great to see you. Had a fascinating conversation with Chris Van Hollen on this just a second ago.
Let me ask you this, Doug. Karen Handel won by more than Trump did, much less than Price did over and over again. She barely mentioned Trump's name throughout the race and always dodged it when any questions about the tweet of the day he had. What is the message to Republicans from this win?
DOUG HYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The message is to stay local. Media tried to make this a national on Trump. We had so many -- so much press in the district over the past weeks, certainly yesterday and the day before. Also, tons of money, as Chris Van Hollen mentioned, coming in, trying to nationalize this race, even in an ugly sense, using the shooting of Steve Scalise in the race. Stay local. Same lesson for Democrats. Stay local. Don't overinterpret, don't overanalyze, don't overreact to the results last night.
BOLDUAN: Also, David, you had a fascinating take on this. You make the case, your assessment is that this race was, forget Trump, this was about Nancy Pelosi. What's the message for Democrats here?
DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. It really was. What Republican strategists have discovered in their internal polling and focus groups is that Republicans don't like Pelosi. That's not a shock. That's understandable.
DRUCKER: But, but the point here is -- and in the story that I posted for "The Examiner" last night -- the point here is that Pelosi is a motivating factor for Republican voters. They were able to use it to counteract some of the drag from President Trump. In that district, although they have not run away from him and they want to give him a chance to succeed, there was still a bit of a drag. When they were reminded of Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leaders, and when tied Jon Ossoff to Nancy Pelosi, effectively, they nationalized the race. They were able to motivate a big Republican turnout. Unusual for a special election that you have such a big turnout. There were more available Republican voters there. By doing that, they were able to help secure the win for Karen Handel.
BOLDUAN: I will leave you with this, as Chris Van Hollen said, we'll see if it bears fruit, is that the Republicans taking heart in winning ruby red districts by close margins, they should take that as cold comfort for Republicans going forward. We will see. It's not that far away.
Great to see you both. Thank you so much.
I need to turn to some breaking news we're getting in at this very second. Word that a police officer has been attacked at an airport in Michigan. The FBI is investigating. This is just coming to us at this moment.
Let me get over to Shimon Prokupecz, with the latest details.
Shimon, what do we know?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE PRODUCER: That's right. This, apparently, we're told this happened at the Bishop Airport in Flint, Michigan. A police officer was stabbed in the neck. Important to note, this appears to be a random, completely targeted attack against a police officer. The FBI is responding. They are there. They have joined this investigation. Obviously, a lot of concern over whether or not this was some sort of terrorist attack, given what's been going on overseas in some of those attacks. Now the FBI is on scene investigating, looking to see whether or not this was an act of terrorism. The suspect is in custody. Officials would not give us any
information concerning the suspect, his identity or where he is from or what he was doing at the airport.
What we know is that the airport was shut down and dogs were searching the airport. They don't believe -- police do not believe they are looking for anyone else. Just as a precaution, they were searching the airport.
Again, this police officer stabbed in the neck appears to be in critical condition. We're expecting an update from the police there shortly.
[11:45:08] BOLDUAN: Obviously, some heightened concern at the very least. FBI now investigating, making assessment -- they're not making any assessment of motivation, but they have someone in custody?
PROKUPECZ: That's right. They're not making an assessment. The concern here, obviously, given what's been going on and the nature of the attack, completely random, targeting a police officer. I was talking to a law enforcement official, who said, to them, this appears to be a targeted attack, an attack that was targeting a police officer.
BOLDUAN: We will stay close to this. Shimon, thank you so much. I really appreciate you bringing this breaking news to.
We're watching this. Officials in Minnesota releasing disturbing new dash-cam video that shows the moments before the shooting death of Philandro Castile, including Castile's last words. That's coming up.
BOLDUAN: Just days after a jury acquitted a police officer in the death of Philando Castile, new video has just been released and it shows the moments before the shooting. You also hear Philandro Castile's last words. The officer involved testified that he had feared for his life because he thought Castile was trying to pull a gun out of his pocket. This video is different from the video that his girlfriend live streamed on Facebook. It's one of several reasons why this story captured the nation's attention.
We're going to play you this dash-cam video. I do want to offer you a warning, of course, the video you're about to see is disturbing. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:50:41] JERONIMO YANEZ, MINNESOTA POLICE OFFICER: Your brake lights are out. So you only have one active brake light. And your third brake light, and this one back here, is out. Do you have license and insurance?
PHILANDRO CASTILE, SHOT BY POLICE OFFICER: Sir, I have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me.
YANEZ: OK. Don't reach for it. Don't pull it out.
YANEZ: Don't pull it out!
DIAMOND REYNOLDS: (INAUDIBLE)
YANEZ: Don't pull it out!
YANEZ: Drop it! (EXPLETIVE DELETED)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Just stunning to watch that play out.
Let me bring in right now CNN national correspondent, Ryan Young, who is following the story now.
Ryan, tell us what we know. What do we know and what we see in this video and maybe, more importantly, what isn't in the video.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's tough to listen to and tough to see over and over again. And of course, this community has been grappling with this since they released this video. People have been talking about it, trying to glean what happened in those moments, because, obviously, Diamond Reynold's video that was on Facebook Live, so many people have seen the aftermath of the situation. Now you can see what happened beforehand. But there's no body cam, so you don't see the officer's perspective. But what you do hear -- and I've talked to some veteran police officers about this -- the idea that he notified -- Philandro Castile notified the officer he had a weapon. Some veteran officers say, when they do, they usually say put your hand on the wheel. But that did not happen. As soon as there was some movement inside the care, you can see that shooting start. All this happened in less than a minute, around 40 seconds. A lot of questions about exactly what triggered that. And of course, he says he saw his hands moving towards his pocket. Diamond Reynolds said that she thought her boyfriend was reaching for his wallet. So something that will probably never be solved in this because we don't get to see the perspective of the officer because there's no body camera.
BOLDUAN: Exactly right. The officer involved acquitted just Friday, and this video just now released.
Ryan, thank you very much. I appreciate you coming on.
Joining me now for a perspective on this, is Eric Guster, a criminal and civil trial attorney.
Eric, from your perspective, what do you see in this case? I know you followed this case closely. What do you see?
ERIC GUSTER, CRIMINAL & CIVIL TRIAL ATTORNEY: I see a person who was murdered. Unfortunately, for Philando Castile, some of the police officers are fearful of the people they're hired and sworn to protect. In this video, Philando Castile followed all the rules of engagement. For example, he told the officer I have a weapon. The officer wanted his I.D., he was reaching for it. From the perspective of anyone in Philando's position, what else is he supposed to do?
BOLDUAN: The officer was charged with one count of secondary manslaughter. He was acquitted last week. The jury heard two weeks of testimony on this, they deliberated for 4.5 days before finding him not guilty. How did they get there?
GUSTER: I don't know. Looking at this from a trial perspective, the jury probably looked at it from the view of the officer. And that's what juries have to do. However, so many in the African-American communities and poor communities are afraid of the police officers who fear them. For example, in the Terence Crutcher shooting where Officer Betty Shelby was acquitted, that's another shooting where she said she was fearful of him for no reason that we've seen on video. Even when people have video, such as the Philando Castile shooting, even from both perspectives, they are being acquitted. That's very disheartening to so many people in our community.
BOLDUAN: The criminal case is over. The Castile family -- and I don't even know if they have brought it up. The family of Philando Castile, do they have a civil case?
GUSTER: Oh, absolutely. Any time you have a shooting of any sort, you have a potential civil case. In this situation, Philando Castile did not threaten the officer, he did not pull a firearm, and he did not shoot an officer. And it appears the officer was clearly trigger happy. When you have someone in this situation, such as Philandro Castile or even the Terence Crutcher shooting, you have a civil case, and I believe that this one will settle.
BOLDUAN: Again, the jury after two weeks of trial, the jury found the officer involved not guilty just on Friday.
Eric Guster, thanks for coming in.
GUSTER: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Let's also turn to this, new details this morning about a failed terror attack in Belgium. CNN is learning the explosive was used was TATP. That's the same explosive that was used in the Manchester bomb last month, the Brussels attack last year, and the Paris attack in 2015. Authorities say Brussels averted disaster this time, just yesterday, after a man tried to detonate a suitcase full of nails and gas canisters at the city's busiest central train station. Thankfully, something went wrong and the explosion didn't happen. You just see fire there that kind of took off. No one was hurt. Police shot and ended up killing the attacker. Police have identified him. He's a Moroccan national in his mid-30s. A senior Belgium counterterrorism official tells CNN investigators have discovered that he was an ISIS sympathizer.
Meantime, U.S. spy satellites are picking up possible new activity at an underground test facility in North Korea. U.S. officials say it is not yet clear if this means Kim Jong-Un is getting ready for another nuclear test, but the U.S. military is working now on potential responses -- updating potential responses in case there is such a test.
Joining me now is Professor Balbina Hwang. She teaches Asian politics at Georgetown University and she also was a senior advisor to Ambassador Christopher Hill at the State Department.
Balbina, it's great to see you again. Thank you for coming in.
BALBINA HWANG, PROFESSOR OF ASIAN POLITICS, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY & FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR TO AMBASSADOR CHRISTOPHER HILL: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: What would a -- this would be a sixth nuclear test on the part of North Korea. What would a sixth nuclear test mean, and what do you think, you know, this movement around this nuclear facility should be telling everyone right now.
HWANG: Strategically, I'm not sure if the sixth one makes much more difference than the fifth. Tactically, this is a very bad step in terms of solidifying and proving that North Korea is absolutely intent on expanding its nuclear weapons capability.
Now in terms of this activity, while we saw this flurry of activity back in April, and everyone predicted that this event would occur on an important anniversary. So I don't think we should place too much emphasis on the preliminary activity for now.
BOLDUAN: As the preliminary activity happens, the president seemed to catch U.S. officials off guard yesterday when he weighed in on social media on North Korea. It seemed kind of out of nowhere with a tweet, and I'll read it to you, "While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi and China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried."
What do you make of that, Balbina?
HWANG: Well, on the surface, one might find it a little bit odd, and certainly, out of nowhere. On the other hand, perhaps there is a strategic purpose behind this. Remember, this tweet comes just one day before a very important meeting tomorrow --
BOLDUAN: That's right.
HWANG: -- with high level U.S. officials, our defense secretary, our secretary of state, and Chinese counterparts. So it's not the worst thing in the world to at least maintain this attitude of, you know, positive atmosphere heading into these meetings. Now, we're not sure exactly what will happen at the meetings and we hope it will be a lot tougher. So it is not necessarily the worst thing to set up an amicable atmosphere. BOLDUAN: A lot all happening this week. Otto Warmbier being returned
from the regime, being released, and the military updating its options, if the nuclear test would happen, getting them ready to present to the president. There's a whole lot going on this front.
HWANG: And the --
HWANG: -- summit next week, so.
BOLDUAN: That's exactly right. A lot going on.
Balbina, thanks so much. I appreciate you coming on.
HWANG: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: We'll be right back after this.
[12:00:02] JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Welcome to "Inside Politics." I'm John King. Thanks for sharing your day with us.
Republicans are giddy and the left despondent after a big GOP win in a Georgia House race, which the Democrats had framed as a referendum on President Trump.