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Trump Escalates Battle with Intelligence Community; Obamacare Fight Heats Up; Can Democrats Save Obamacare? Aired 7-7:30a ET
Aired January 5, 2017 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CARROLL (voice-over): President-elect Donald Trump is looking to make major changes to the U.S. intelligence community. Sources close to the transition say Trump is working on a plan to limit the power of the director of national intelligence, the source claiming Trump's team believes the director gets in the way of the 16 intelligence agencies it represents, including the CIA.
[07:00:24] Trump also wants to expand the CIA's human spying capabilities by getting more people out of headquarters and into the field. The source citing criticism that the spy agency has been too reliant on electronic spying and the NSA signals intelligence under President Obama.
All of this coming hours after Trump publicly sided with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the president-elect tweeting, "Assange said a 14-year-old could have hacked Podesta. Why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him the info."
ASSANGE: Our source was not the Russian government.
CARROLL: But 17 U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded Russia was behind the electronic cyberattacks. Trump's tweet about Assange creating upheaval in Trump's own party.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE (via phone): I think the guy is a sycophant for Russia. He leaks, he steals data, and compromises national security.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: For heaven's sakes, don't listen to him. Listen to the American intelligence community, who are patriots.
REP. SEAN DUFFY (R-WI), VICE-CHAIR, TRUMP TRANSITION TEAM: Assange is not a good guy. He's not an ally and a friend to the United States of America.
CARROLL: But Trump did not feel the same way about Assange back in 2010, when his website released millions of classified military and diplomatic documents.
BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS: WikiLeaks, you had nothing to do with it, the leaking of those documents.
TRUMP: No, it's disgraceful.
KILMEADE: You do think it's disgraceful?
TRUMP: There should be, like, a death penalty or something.
CARROLL: The president-elect's Twitter criticism has many on edge, one official saying, "We're heading into this different era where it's hostile," but Trump's team defends his continued conspiratorial tone.
GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IL), VICE-PRESIDENT-ELECT: I think, given some of the intelligence failures of the recent years, the president-elect made it clear to the American people that he's skeptical about conclusions.
CARROLL: And when it comes to those findings on those cyberattacks, Alisyn, President Obama expected to receive his briefing today. Trump will get his turn tomorrow -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: OK, Jason. Going to be very interesting 48 hours. Thank you for that. The battle lines drawn over the future of Obamacare. Republicans making their first move to repeal President Obama's law, though they do not have a concrete plan yet to replace it.
CNN's Phil Mattingly is live on Capitol Hill with more. So how's this going to work, Phil?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's a really great question, I think. We know a couple things. First and foremost, repeal is happening. And the political fault lines, while they've always existed, have never been more clear when it comes to the country's healthcare policy, but the question of the policy is actually put aside for a day. Now it's about the message.
PENCE: The American people voted for change in November.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Just two days into the new Congress, the battle lines are drawn.
PENCE: The first order of business is to repeal and replace Obamacare.
MATTINGLY: Vice-President-elect Mike Pence rallying emboldened Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, while President Obama huddles with Democrats looking to save his signature domestic achievement. His advice to those lawmakers...
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look out for the American people.
MATTINGLY: Sources say Obama is encouraging Democrats not to rescue Republicans, calling on his party to deploy Tea Party-like tactics to obstruct their efforts. The president labeling the GOP's half-baked plan, "Trumpcare."
While Republicans aren't united on how to replace Obamacare, Pence and President-elect Donald Trump want to make sure the GOP is united on messaging, Trump tweeting, "The Dems own the failed Obamacare disaster."
PENCE: All the promises of Obamacare have been shown to be false and broken promises.
MATTINGLY: And Senate Republicans already scoring a procedural win in the fight, clearing 51 votes in favor of a budget resolution that would clear the way towards repealing large swaths of the law.
RYAN: We want to make sure that, as we give relief to people through Obamacare, we do it in a transition that doesn't pull the rug out from anybody. We have a plan to replace it.
MATTINGLY: But Democrats are digging in.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (R-CA), MINORITY LEADER: The Republicans say repeal and replace. The only thing that has going for it is alliteration. They have no replacement plan. So to repeal and then delay is an act of cowardice.
MATTINGLY: And unveiling a new slogan at the core of their defense.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MAJORITY LEADER: The Republican plan to cut healthcare wouldn't make America great again. It would make America sick again and lead to chaos instead of affordable care.
MATTINGLY: So what happens next? When you talk to veteran aides on Capitol Hill, they're pretty honest. For all the exuberance of these opening days, they know it's going to be long slog legislatively.
[07:05:04] But on the messaging issue, it appears Charles Schumer, the Senate minority leader's message yesterday, including that catch phrase, has caught the attention of the president-elect. Donald Trump just taking to Twitter right now, calling Schumer a clown and criticizing Democrats for not being willing to come to the table to try and fix the Affordable Care Act -- Chris.
CUOMO: Just yesterday Chuck Schumer was laughing about how Trump had said that he likes him better than the GOP leadership. It shows the president-elect has a pension for saying what he needs to in the moment.
Let's discuss all this, with the Wisconsin congressman, Sean Duffy, vice chair of the Trump transition team. You've got two looming situations that you're going to have to make some choices on.
Congressman, let's talk about the first one. Tomorrow Senator McCain, Senator Graham with the Senate Armed Services Committee today. The Senate Armed Services Committee is going to have the intel chiefs come up and talk to them. And you know what they're going to say. They're going to say that, motives aside, they believe Russia was all over, motivating the hacks during the election. Will you accept that conclusion?
REP. SEAN DUFFY (R), WISCONSIN: Well, I think that's interesting. Happy new year to you first.
CUOMO: Happy new year.
DUFFY: Listen, I want to see the information and the data. I think our intelligence community usually gets it right.
One of my concerns, on the way this whole thing was handled, Chris, was there's usually a partnership between the House and the Senate Intelligence Committees in conjunction with our intelligence community as these investigators would take place, especially when there's a political overtone of Russians hacking into our election system. My concern is, in the House, our Intelligence Committee and our committee chairman hasn't had that kind of an insight from the intelligence community, which is a head scratcher for me because usually they work hand in glove.
I'm interested in hearing today and seeing what is said. I want to see what Donald Trump says tomorrow. But again, I think all of us should have faith in our intelligence community and what they say, unless they give us reason to believe otherwise. So we're all going to watch intently with how this unfolds today and tomorrow, with the hearing and with Mr. Trump.
CUOMO: So then how do you feel about the president-elect's decidedly different disposition? He is -- you know, and this is not an exaggeration. Openly hostile to the intelligence services. He hasn't been briefed. We don't know about any information he has that is different than what the intel community has. And on top of that he's taking the word of Julian Assange.
I don't have to talk to you about why people in your position are not a fan of Julian Assange. He put people's lives at risk who were working to do the right thing by national security interests. U.S. security interests in Afghanistan and elsewhere. How do you feel about his posturing on this?
DUFFY: Well, I think we have to look at where Mr. Trump comes at this from. And I'm speculating here, looking at the outside in, from you know, how he's positioned this.
I think Mr. Trump has been offended by how this story has broke and what the narrative has been in the press. That there might have been some -- some initiative to undermine his electoral victory, that -- that the Russians were involved, and that's the only reason why Donald Trump won. And I would push back with Mr. Trump on that and say they had no impact on the election result. You and I have talked about this before. Though if they're trying to hack in and have an influence on our election or undermine our election, we should all, as Americans, Republicans and Democrats, push back on them.
So I think that's one affront that Mr. Trump has. And I don't know what additional information he has that he's going to bring into this meeting with the intelligence community and the briefing tomorrow.
CUOMO: Do you believe Julian Assange over your own intel community?
DUFFY: Well, listen, if you're making me pick without looking at data, I'm going to pick my intelligence community every day of the week. You've heard me say Assange is no friend of America. He has -- he has exposed top-secret information. He's exposed American lives and again, just because he was exposing Democrats doesn't mean he's a friend to Republicans or Americans. So I'll take our intelligence community every day.
But I think what would be great here, Chris. I've seen interviews now in the last couple days with Assange. I guess it wasn't the Russians. Julian, tell us who it was. Give us your information. Give our intelligence community the evidence that you have that will show the Russians weren't involved in this hacking.
CUOMO: And don't forget: I like Sean Hannity. He's a friend of mine. But that was an interview that was to give Assange a platform. Assange didn't even say the Russians weren't involved. He just said that they didn't get the e-mails from the Russians.
But what about intermediaries? That's how this stuff works most of the time, so he may have been playing cute with it. But to put him on a standard of comparison with U.S. intel community, as the president- elect did, that's a very dangerous proposition. Can we agree on that?
DUFFY: I would agree with you, Chris. But I do think you have to take a step back and say why is this becoming political? And our intelligence community, s savvy as they are, should have handled the leak differently. They have made some statements publicly, but they've also leaked information out to the press.
[07:10:04] If you're -- if you're handling a political investigation where an outside entity could have been hacking, you know, one side of an American election, you should handle that with kid gloves and make sure that it's strictly based on data and analysis and both sides are being brought into the conversation. If you don't do that, and you leak information, it reeks of politics. And so I think the intelligence community, though they do great work, have played this incorrectly on the political side.
CUOMO: Well, then you've got one thing -- you've got a situation where each side is playing the same game because of the president- elect's moves don't smack of politics, I don't know what does.
Let me ask you about another issue while I have you. The fight to change Obamacare, you just had the Vice-President-elect say all of the promises of Obamacare failed. It all wound up not being true. You know that's not true. You know that a lot of people now have care. That wouldn't have had it otherwise. You know that people are signing up at different rates.
Are they all lies? Obamacare that has done nothing good for anybody.
DUFFY: No, no, no, you covered this story really, really well. And you know that Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats said, and the promise was, if you pass Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act, a premium for a family of four will go down a year by an average of $2,400.
If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan.
Health care is going to get cheaper. That was the promise, Chris, and you know that was the promise they made.
DUFFY: And we know today that that actually hasn't come to pass. So now what they're saying is...
CUOMO: Hasn't come to pass for who? Hasn't come to pass for who? How many people?
DUFFY: For vets. For vets. So you'll say that you have 20 million people who now have coverage.
CUOMO: Right, and how many have coverage?
DUFFY: Hold on a second. There's 350 million people who live in America.
DUFFY: This is a small percentage that you're talking about.
CUOMO: And also you don't have all those people on Obamacare either, right? Because most of us get insurance from private employers.
DUFFY: Me in the House, I get it through Obamacare. The administration, they carved themselves out this great plan that they love. They're not in it. I, in the House, am in Obamacare.
But in my district, I'll tell you what. There's a lot of people who have been priced out of healthcare. They don't get subsidies. Their premiums have gone up. Their deductibles have increased. They can't afford healthcare, So I think if this plan, of the Affordable Care Act is not affordable isn't working. Why aren't Democrats going to partner and say, "Hey, Republicans, we understand that we've lost a lot of elections over the last six years and seven years because of Obamacare."
The House has been gutted of Democrats. We've lost the Senate. All across America, in assemblies and Senates and governorships, they've lost because of this law.
Let's partner with Republicans, and I'm going to push them to keep the key components of health care that I like. Whether it's having healthcare coverage until you're 26 years old or, you know, we're going to have high-risk pools for people with pre-existing conditions. We're going to make sure that the poor people in our community have access to care. Let's work on that stuff, but let's make sure that markets work and
make sure that you, the American family, is in control of your healthcare, as opposed to the bureaucrats in Washington. They should partner with us on this.
CUOMO: There's no question.
DUFFY: Because the Affordable Care Act isn't working and the obstruction that you're seeing before we even, you know, start this debate, I think, is outrageous.
CUOMO: There's no question that America wants both sides to work together to make life better for everyone. We've just got to stay straight on the facts as we go. You've got 1.7 million people affected by rate hikes. It's .5 percent of the population. This is a long conversation to have.
Congressman Duffy, you're welcome back anytime to have it. Be well and happy new year.
DUFFY: You too, Chris.
CAMEROTA: As you guys have been discussing, President Obama was also on Capitol Hill yesterday with a clear message: do not help Republicans with their replacement of Obamacare.
Former Democratic VP nominee Senator Tim Kaine was at that meeting. He's going to join us live, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[07:17:54] PENCE: Make no mistake about it: we're going to keep our promise to the American people and we're going to repeal Obamacare and replace it with solutions that lower the cost of health solution without ruining the size of government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: That was Vice President-elect Mike Pence, vowing to repeal Obamacare. This as President Obama at the same time met with top Democrats on Capitol Hill in an effort to save his signature legislation. One person at that meeting was Virginia Senator Tim Kaine. He, of course, was the 2016 Democratic vice-presidential nominee, and we should say, this is his first national interview since the election. Senator, thanks so much for being here with us.
SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA), FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Hey, Alisyn, glad to be with you today.
CAMEROTA: Nice to see you. Let's talk about that meeting yesterday, the meeting you were in on Capitol Hill. We understand that President Obama told all of you, don't help the Republicans fix this. Don't rescue them. How did you interpret that message?
KAINE: That's not quite what he said, but it's close, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: What did he say?
KAINE: He said, look, can this law be improved? Can the healthcare system be improved? Sure, it can. And we ought to be working together to do that.
But if they force through a partisan repeal vote and rush into a repeal that strips health insurance away from 30 million Americans and then say, oh now that we've repealed, please help us fix the mess that we've made, he said, "Don't bail them out of their own problem." The time to work to make improvements is right now before a repeal vote.
And a number of colleagues and I, for example, 13 of us, Democrats in the Senate, have written to the Republican leadership saying, let's sit down at the table right now and talk about reforms and improvements. If you want to call it a replacement, you can call it whatever you want.
But as soon as you repeal it, you start a process where you're creating both healthcare and economic malpractice, and you're demonstrating that you don't want to negotiate in good faith about helping Americans.
CAMEROTA: So in other words, if they repeal it, because it sounds like they are already taking these steps, in terms of budget resolution, to repeal it first, and in fact that might even happen by mid-February, you're saying, if they repeal it, all bets are off. Democrats don't help from that point on?
[07:20:05] KAINE: They will have shown us by the repeal that they're uninterested in our input, and they will have also shown a heartlessness about 30 million people who are going to lose insurance. That's the estimate. Thirty million people, Alisyn. That's the combined population of 19 states are going to lose health insurance. And then people who have health insurance will lose critical protections like women not being able to be discriminated against in premiums that they're charged.
The time to talk about solutions is right now. I noticed a tweet from Donald Trump that said, look, Democrats and Republicans should work together to try to find health care fixes. That's what we should be doing, not rushing headlong over a cliff. What the Republicans are doing is saying, we're going to jump off a cliff and we'll figure out how to land later. We're playing with people's lives right here, the lives of tens of millions of people, and that's just not acceptable.
CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, not exactly. They're not phrasing it as dramatically as you are. What they're saying is, "Let's repeal it. Let's go back to the drawing board," and by the time those 20 to 30 million people lose their coverage, we will have a replacement plan.
KAINE: Alisyn, that's not -- that's not really what they're saying. Because the organizations like the Urban Institute that have looked at, what would repeal mean? If they do a repeal and say, we're going to repeal, and the effective date is three or four years out on the future -- remember, they did the same thing about the budget.
We're going to impose a punishing sequester on the budget in two years, but don't worry, that will motivate us to find a budget deal, and then they never did. So there's no guarantee they would find any replacement.
But what the Urban Institute has said is, even in that interim period, people start to lose insurance. Millions of people lose insurance. Premiums go up. Insurers start to leave the market. That's what's going to happen, and healthcare is 1/6 of the economy. As soon as you inject uncertainty into the biggest sector of the American economy, you're not only going to have effects on the healthcare system, you're going to start to affect the economy, too. What we're saying is, don't make America sick again.
If there are things about the Affordable Care Act you don't like, whether you're a member of Congress, a hospital, a patient, a doctor, we should be sitting down at the table and identifying what those are and then coming up as Vice-President-elect Pence said or President Trump said, we're not going to have a gap between a repeal and something that will be better for people. Don't subject people to three years of punishing uncertainty in the most important area of their life, their health.
CAMEROTA: Senator, let me just put up for you what some of the most touted suggestions from the Republicans are for how to fix it. OK. This is also for our viewers. Let me put it up here.
They want federally funded high-risk pools for the sickest among us. They want to end, of course, the mandate, because that's what their biggest qualm is with it to begin with. They want tax credits for those without any employer coverage. They want to roll back the Medicaid expansion, or the block grant, to fund it at the state level. They want an expanded roll where people can put more money into health savings accounts, and they want to sell insurance across state lines. What of those can you work with?
KAINE: Well, Alisyn, you're springing a list on me that I didn't see, but just listening...
CAMEROTA: But you know these...
KAINE: ... to you talk -- so for example, more tax credits, I think that could be something that could be possible. Greater subsidies, something that would be possible. We should be allowing the U.S. government to negotiate for prescription drug pricing under Medicare Part D to bring drug prices down. That's an idea that many of us have put on the table.
Here will be the three Democratic positions. We will consider reforms or improvements as long as they don't reduce coverage, the number of people covered; as long as they don't raise costs to families; and as long as they don't diminish the quality of care. Those are our three pillars. And we will look at any suggestion. If the Republicans are interested in a discussion about reforms and
KAINE: ... we will look at any suggestion that doesn't reduce coverage, that doesn't increase cost, and that doesn't diminish the quality of care.
CAMEROTA: Senator, let's talk about what's going on today. It's part of your committee.
KAINE: Right. Armed Services.
CAMEROTA: That's where the intel chiefs -- right, Armed Services, John McCain, I believe, is leading it, and the intel chiefs are coming to talk about why they believe Russia hacked, during the election, the DNC computers. What do you think of Donald Trump's public disparagement of the intelligence community, where he has tweeted using the word "intelligence" in quotations...
KAINE: IN quotes, right.
Camerota: ... and basically saying that he doesn't really trust their findings yet?
KAINE: Well, I'm shocked. When he is quoting Julian Assange, who is wanted for sexual assault crimes in Sweden, as some kind of authority on this, that makes me really scratch my head.
So here are three things. I'm on two committees, Armed Services and Foreign Relations, where we receive significant classified information about this. I can't go into that information, but I can say this. Those intelligence professionals, who I respect, have reached a unanimous conclusion that Russia engaged in cyberattacks on the presidential election with the goal of influencing it for, in favor of the election of Donald Trump. They have reached that conclusion, and they are people that I respect.
[07:25:23] And so when I see the tweets that President-elect Trump sends out, one, he is demeaning the professionalism and careers of some very, very sharp people. And second, I note that he doesn't go to his intelligence briefings most days. I do go to my intelligence briefings, and I know what the evidence is. If he went to his intelligence briefings, maybe he'd have a different conclusion about this.
But the thing, Alisyn, that makes me very, very concerned, and I talked about this during the campaign, why does President-elect Trump again and again and again take it upon himself to be Vladimir Putin's defense lawyer, rather than listening to and respecting the intelligence professionals in the United States?
CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, Senator, he would say that he wants to reset. He wants a new relationship with Vladimir Putin. He thinks that somehow our two countries can be allies in the fight against ISIS. KAINE: Well, I think we could be allies in the fight against ISIS. But does that mean you trash American intelligence professionals? They are playing an important role in the fight against ISIS.
There is something very unusual, indeed even sort of suspicious about the degree to which he casually kicks aside the intelligence community when he won't even go to the briefings, and again and again takes the Assange/Vladimir Putin line on this important question.
Any president of the United States should want to protect American electoral systems...
KAINE: ... from invasion or attack by a foreign government. And President-elect Trump should want to do that, too.
CAMEROTA: So when you say suspicious, what do you mean?
KAINE: I don't know. We're going to get to the bottom of it. Look, we're having hearings in Armed Services. We have noticed, I think, a closed briefing, and then a public hearing in the Foreign Relations Committee. The Intelligence Committee is having hearings, as well, mostly closed. And President Obama has indicated that before he leaves office, he will put out as much information as he can about what happened.
But what I do know is there was a day in this campaign -- I think it was the 23rd of July -- where the front page headline on "The New York Times" says, "Donald Trump encourages Russians to use cyber espionage against Hillary Clinton to help him win the election." That was on page A1 of "The New York Times." That's exactly what happened. We've got to get to the bottom of this, because we've got to make sure that it doesn't happen again.
CAMEROTA: Senator, it's been announced, speaking of Hillary Clinton, that she and Bill Clinton will be going to the swearing in and the inauguration of Donald Trump, and of course, we all understand the peaceful transition of power and the effort for statesmanship. But what will that day be like for her?
KAINE: You know, look, I'm sure it's going to be a day of huge mixed emotions. It is the case that the peaceful transfer of power is one of the great hallmarks of our society. I lived as a young man in a military dictatorship, Honduras, where people didn't get to pick their leaders, and there wasn't a peaceful transfer of power for a period of time. And I learned how wonderful it is that we have this tradition. It's not something we can take for granted.
So while she'll have a lot of feelings, a lot of what-ifs, I'm sure, Hillary Clinton is a great lover of this country and a lover of our traditions, and that's why she and her husband are going to be here.
CAMEROTA: Senator Tim Kaine, we really appreciate you taking time for NEW DAY. Thanks so much for talking to us.
KAINE: You bet. Alisyn, glad to talk.
CAMEROTA: See you again.
We have a programming note. Next Monday night, Chris will host a special primetime town hall with the former Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and they will focus on the major issues facing the country, as well as how Democrats plan to take on the president-elect and or work with him. So join us next Monday night, 9 Eastern right here on CNN. Looking forward to that.
CUOMO: Even more important now with what President Obama just said to the Democratic conference about not working with them. Is that what Bernie Sanders is going to suggest, as well? We'll see.
President-elect Trump, he says he wants to change/overhaul the CIA and limit the powers of the intelligence chief. Is that going to put our safety at risk? We discuss, next.