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Trump Administration Waging A War On Leaks Inside the White House; President's First Big Speech Before Congress Tomorrow; Oscar Blunder That Nobody Saw Coming. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired February 27, 2017 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:48] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Is the White House drowning in leaks?
This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
Sources say the President furious about more and more leaks coming from inside his administration. Personally signed off on Press Secretary Sean Spicer's demand that staffers hand over their phones to be checked. The detail which was promptly leaked. Sean Spicer, though, is denying that the President had any involvement in this.
Plus, the cringe worthy moments seen around the world. Is this any way to win the best picture?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry, no, there's a mistake. Moonlight, you guys won best picture. This is not a joke. This is not a joke, I'm afraid they read the wrong thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Wow. Let's get right to the Trump administration's war on leaks.
So CNN senior White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny has more - Jeff.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Don.
Even as the White House prepares for the President's speech tomorrow night to a joint session of Congress. There is still intent on trying to find who is leaking other information across the government and here at the White House. Sean Spicer is suddenly called the enforcer. He is trying to crack down on those leaks.
ZELENY (voice-over): The job of White House press secretary Sean Spicer increasingly includes being President Trump's enforcer.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We did our job.
ZELENY: He is leading a crackdown on leaks inside the White House. Going as far as lunging a random check of staffers' phones during an emergency meeting last week, to see if they were sharing information by text or email or using encrypted apps to do so.
The White House councils' office authorized these checks. And CNN has learned President Trump directly signed off on the move. Eager to send the signal across the administration that he is furious at leaks during his first five weeks in office.
Spicer also had the president's blessing last week, CNN has learned, from blocking reporters from several news organizations from a White House news briefing.
SPICER: I'm not going to discuss what we discussed internally.
ZELENY: At his briefing today, Spicer would not directly say whether he has the director of the CIA to help pushed back on news reports about alleged contact between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence operatives.
SPICER: Respectfully, I think it's interesting that I'm being asked what is appropriate when what we are doing is actually urging reporters to engage with subject matter experts who can corroborate whether or not something is accurate or not.
ZELENY: But the White House did enlist the Republican chairman of the house and senate intelligence committees to talk to reports, urging them to speak out against news accounts of reported Russia links.
SPICER: I think we did our job very effectively. It was about the accuracy of the reporting and the claims that were made in there.
ZELENY: The extraordinary moves have had attention to an already combustible environment in the west wing.
From the moment he stepped in to the briefing room on the second day of Trump's presidency, Spicer has been a lightning rod.
SPICER: This was the largest audience to witness an inauguration, period.
ZELENY: He soon became an easy caricature on "Saturday Night Live" with comedian Melissa McCarthy amplifying Spicer's anger.
MELISSA MCCARTHY, COMEDIAN: You know what that was? That was me blowing away their dishonesty.
ZELENY: He has become one of the leading faces of the Trump White House which can be tricky terrain. Serving under our president who has long managed his own press.
Republicans close to the White House say Spicer is trying to prove his loyalty to the President. The last Republican in the White House, former president George W. Bush disagreed with that assessment during an interview today with NBC News.
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We need an independent media to hold people like me to account. I mean, power can be very addictive and it can be corrosive.
Now, White house press secretary Sean Spicer tells us tonight the President did not sign off on that meeting to look into the text messages and the encrypted apps. But we are told by multiple sources that he did indeed know about this. And this is a coordinated effort to crackdown on those leaks.
Regardless, some leaks are sanctioned? Leaks are not, the President has a long experience, of course, dealing with the media. He has leaked over the years many times. But the White House insisted on stopping those leaks, particularly in the area of national security. And Sean Spicer is the man who is supposed to stop it -- Don.
LEMON: Jeff Zeleny, thank you very much.
Now, I want to bring in CNN senior political analyst David Gergen and Richard Painter, chief White House ethics lawyer under President George W, Bush.
Good evening, gentlemen.
David Gergen, press secretary Sean Spicer says he is just doing his job trying to connect people who told him that the Trump campaign with ties to Russia were BS and reporter who were asking questions. Does that explanation stand up for you?
[23:05:23] DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't recall any other White House press secretary calling out the head of the intelligence committee or calling out the head of the CNN and then being on the phone while asking the person to call for reporter and then being on the phone while that conversation is underway. I think there is sort of a protocol here that's, you know, it is not written down in regulation but that's just sort of something you don't do.
And you know, one of the reasons you don't do is because it begins a compromise the person you called. You know, when you are Senate -- the chairman, you call the chairman, the Republican chairman, intelligence committee and say call the press, and then he does it. And then you say, no, but you can conduct investigation with integrity. It is going to be independent. He is not being directed by the White House when he obviously is. That doesn't help - that doesn't help with the credibility of the investigation. So, there are all sorts of level. I'm just really surprised that they did it.
LEMON: We have spoken, Richard, about conflicts of interest when it comes to this administration. But this one, Spicer reaching out to the very people leading the investigation into Russia, the head of the Senate intelligence committee to knockdown or delegitimize a story. Is it legal or is it unethical or there is not an issue with it?
RICHARD PAINTER, FORMER CHIEF WHITE HOUSE ETHICS LAWYER UNDER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I don't think there's a particular statute that it violates, but it's completely inappropriate. The CIA, the FBI, they certainly aren't there for the purpose of communicating with the press. We had that prior of the week before the election when the FBI got suckered into saying that letter of the house about Hillary Clinton. That's not the role the FBI and the CIA.
The same thing with respect to the House of Representatives in the Senate, they're going to be investigating what the Russians did. There's a lot of evidence that the Russians have been trying to interfere with our electoral system, particularly in 2016. They are going to investigate that, and get to the bottom of it. And it is not for the White House to be trying to manipulate the story here and use the house and Senate as a way to get propaganda out there. That's not the objective.
We need to find out what happened. The American people are entitled to answers with respect to the Russians and who the United States has been dealing with the Russians. And that's what we need to know.
LEMON: David, the President was interviewed tonight on FOX. And he spoke about who he thinks is behind the recent town hall protest and possibly the leaks. Listen to this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we talk about President Obama?
You said you personally get along with him. You guys were going at each other for three or four, maybe eight years. It turns out the organization seems to be doing a lot of the organizing, still some of the protests that a lot of these Republicans are seeing around the country ad against you.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe President Obama is behind it, and if he is, is that a violation of the so called President's code?
TRUMP: No, I think he is behind it. I also think its politics, that's the way it is. And look.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But Bush wasn't going after Clinton. Clinton wasn't going after Bush.
TRUMP: Well, you never know what's exactly happening behind the scenes. You know, you are probably right or possibly right, but you never know. No, I think that President Obama is behind it because his people are certainly behind it. And some of the leaks possibly come from that group, you know, some of the leaks which are really very serious leaks because they are very bad in terms of national security. But I also understand that's politics. And in terms of him being behind things, that's politics. And it will probably continue.
LEMON: The former President is behind it, David?
GERGEN: Well, it's easy to understand why President Trump is so frustrated. And I have no doubt that some of the holdovers from the previous administration have been leaking things just as some (INAUDIBLE). But clearly, some Trump people have as well or Sean Spicer wouldn't be having these, you know, these rather unbelievable, you know, incidents with his own staff.
But Don, you know, the saddest thing about all this is when the President goes out, President Trump, makes this kind of allegation about his predecessor, he presents absolutely no evidence. We just don't know what to believe, you know. We are into never never land here.
LEMON: But David, he does that a lot. He makes these, you know, grand statements about things. And then he never gives any specifics or any evidence for it. But many people still believe it.
GERGEN: But it is - but it is really a tiresome quality because we are into a situation, we don't know what to believe any more. You know, CNN is a crack reporter at the White House, who has talked to several sources who said President Trump knew about, and basically signed off on Spicer invading people's cell phones on his own staff. And Spicer calls tonight and says no, that didn't happen. The President didn't know.
Who knows what is the truth in that situation? It happened so often that we are -- we just don't know. And I think that that is a terrible way to run the government. And terrible way to maintain the credibility of institutions that are precious to the democracy.
[23:10:25] LEMON: Richard, you want to respond to that?
PAINTER: Well, with respect to the cell phones, I could say that in the Bush White House if they had even suggested searching our cell phones, many of us would have quit. You cannot have a President who doesn't trust his own people. That's the sign of a dictatorship, when somebody doesn't even trust the people that work with him. I mean, that paranoid.
And furthermore, we shouldn't be worrying about the leaks that "the New York Times" as much as the leaks to the Russians. I mean, there has been a lot of that going on over the past year. There were communications between people in the United States and the Russians. I don't know if those people work for the Trump campaign or not. But we need to find out what happen happened with respect to Russia. And Congress needs to investigate that. And those of the leaks, those of the communications, we need to get to the bottom of, not who is talking to "the New York Times."
PAINTER: And I had to say that President Bush is absolutely right. An independent press is critical for a democracy to hold the President accountable. And a President who lashes out at the media is not fit for office. And I think President Trump needs to think seriously about whether he wants this job, and he wants to be President in the United States. This is a country where the free press. And he is going to have to deal with it or he shouldn't stay in office.
Listen, the Obama administration pretty hard on leakers as well. But, you know, Jen Psaki who work for the Obama White House said that they -- he would never bring anyone in and demand to see their cell phones. That's a slippery slope, David Gergen.
GERGEN: Absolutely. Listen, I have in a White House where I was charged with finding the leakers. President Reagan used to say, he was up to his keyster (ph) and leaks. And it's a losing battle. You can't really find them. And eventually you just have to learn, hey, the best that we have to learn to live with it is governing is tough. And the more transparent you are as administration, the more honest and trustworthy you are as administration both externally and very importantly internally, the fewer leaks you have.
LEMON: Yes. And if you are doing the right thing, then it doesn't matter because the leaks are it is all good news that is being leaked out.
LEMON: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
I have an update now I want to tell you about. This is shocking story. It's out of Georgia, which you heard right here on CNN. A couple authorities described as white supremacists, was sentenced today for their role in terrorizing an 8-year-old African-American boy's birthday party. This was in 2015.
Jose Joe Torres and Kayla Norton were part of a convoy of trucks driving through the neighborhood flying confederate flags. Remember the story? Well, witnesses described them yelling racial slur. The DA's office says Torres pointed a shotgun at the black party goers and threaten to kill them. Norton was accuses to similar threats. But Torres was sentenced to 20 years, 13 of those in prison. Norton was sentenced to 15 years, six of those in prison. Both will banished from the county after they are released. And there they are crying upon sentencing. Too late now.
When we come right back, President Trump heating up his rhetoric, calling the press the enemy of the people. But at least one top Republican definitely agrees. You will hear from him next.
[23:17:42] LEMON: The Trump administration waging a war on leaks inside the White House.
Let's discuss now, Lanhee Chen is here. He is a former public policy director for Mitt Romney. Karine Jean-Pierre, senior advisor to moveon.org who worked in the Obama White House and CNN political commentators Matt Lewis and Bakari Sellers.
Great to have all of you on.
Lanhee, I'm going to start with you. What do you make of Sean Spicer's reports that he is checking the cell phones of his colleagues? I guess it is, because he called back and said, the President knew nothing about it. So he is confirming the story. So what do you make of this?
LANHEE CHEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I actually think that the White House press secretary has every right to take a look at what his staff is doing. I think the challenge is, what kind of environment is that creating at the White House.
Now, it's not unusual for administrations to leak. They say Washington leaks like a sieve and there is a reason for that. So this is now an unusual sort of thing. What is unusual is the public nature of trying to out who it is that the leaker is in this situation.
LEMON: I mean, well, there are leakers in every White House, right?
LEMON: Have you ever seen this much?
CHEN: It is not unusual to see a lot of leaking. And it's hard to say, right. But every White House has a share of leakers, absolutely.
LEMON: Bakari, the leaking is rampant, though, I mean. But is this the way to stop them from doing what they do? I mean, does this mean you just don't trust your colleagues?
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it -- I think it's a bit ironic of how the tables have turned. For a long period of time, Donald Trump was out championing leaks and encouraging more leaks especially during the 2016 Presidential campaign. And how he is sitting there feeling the agony of the leaks as they affect him.
I think what Lanhee said is probably very true. It sounds as if the White House is a very, very difficult place to work. And it's probably going to be very difficult to get quality talent and then keep quality talent. Not only do they have a problem with the truth, but apparently they also have a problem maintaining secrets among themselves. I do know that they have been using this unsecure app to destroy text messages between go back and forth. They have been having trouble complying with records demands and the records law. And so, I think this is just further example of this government being a little bit to shovel. But more so, more importantly, the more you try to stop these leaks, as everybody on this panel know, the more leaks occur. LEMON: Yes.
But everybody knows when we are talking about this. The one is called confide, right. And I know there are people who are connected with the campaign that use confide because I have used it, right. They actually turned me on to do the app.
So I know they use it. But simply, you put in a message, and then once that you get a message that says, such and such is reading your message, and it is such and such has sent you a message. And then when you click on it, you look at it, it disappears, it goes away. [23:20:16] CHEN: Allegedly.
LEMON: Allegedly. I'm told never to be heard of or scene again, Matt. Multiple sources, though, Matt, telling CNN's Jeff Zeleny that President Trump sanctioned the inspection of staff phones. And also the banning of certain media outlets including CNN from off-camera briefing on Friday. Though, tonight, Spicer denied that. What's going on here?
MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, I think it's -- I'm confused, because Donald Trump told us the other day at CPAC, that there are these anonymous sources that the press is reporting that are fake, you know. That it is fake news. These anonymous sources don't exist. And yet we have Sean Spicer looking at people's phones to see if they are leaking. So I --
LEMON: I wanted to, after that, say, and I didn't. Tweet, the calls are coming from inside the house.
LEMON: Do you remember that in --? You need to get out of the house. The calls are coming from inside the house, but go on, Matt.
LEWIS: Either Donald Trump believes that these anonymous sources are bogus that we are making them up. We, in the press, are making them up or Donald Trump and Sean Spicer believed that, no, they are real. They are coming from inside the house. So that was one of the things that struck me.
The other thing was look. Man, if I ever had a boss who like wanted to look at my phone, to check out my phone, I don't think I would be around there much longer. I mean, that is just no trust, no trust in your loyalty, it's - giving over your phone is utterly emasculating. It's like you're a child.
LEMON: You work for a company, right, Matt? You work with company?
LEMON: Yes. And you have an email with that company?
LEMON: They can read anything they want. And they probably do already. And if they pay for your phone, they can take it and read it if they want.
LEWIS: They don't pay for -- we won't get into me. But let me just say, I think there's also a symbolic thing about the child handing over his phone and having Mr. Spicer, you know, peruse what he said. It's just -- it's not a good scene.
LEMON: Just for everyone who is watching. If you have your personal email on your company phone or vice versa, then there is some gray area there as well. We won't get into that, kids. Kist be careful. Karine, the President has been at war with the media, but I mean, he
ratcheted up the rhetoric by calling it the enemy of the people. No President likes the media, but why do you think this President is so intent on discrediting it?
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, SENIOR ADVISER, MOVEON.ORG: Because the president always - is looking for a foil. He did that during the campaign. It was Hillary Clinton. Now, you don't have Hillary Clinton around. So now it's the media. It's -- which he calls also the opposition.
And also, secondly, I also think it's a smoke screen because he doesn't want to talk about Russia, the investigation on Russia, or what's going on with Russia. Very similar to the leakers. He cares more about the leakers than he cares about finding the truth about Russia.
So I think it's all connected. It's all trying to be this shiny object, the distraction to the truth.
LEMON: Not many Republicans stood up for the media. I want you to take a look at -- this is former President Bush talking about this today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you ever consider the media to be the enemy of the American people?
BUSH: I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy. That we need an independent media to hold people like me to account. I mean, power can be very addictive. And it can be corrosive, and it's important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power whether it be here or elsewhere.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Boom, Lanhee.
CHEN: Everywhere around the country, Democrats are saying, can we have that guy?
CHEN: I mean, look, here is the thing. It is a lot easier to gain perspective on the media when you are not in the public spotlight in the same way anymore, right. But I think the President, the former President has a point, which is that, there is this give and take, we expect from the media and our public officials and that dynamic is very important to democracy.
LEMON: I think people forget that -- I remember during the Obama administration, he would say stuff about FOX News. And at one point I did this commentary saying, you know, he should stop doing that. That he was sort of punching down. And it is the same thing. I think people, they have short memories. No President likes the media. They always - they think the media is horrible. This President -- it's part of being President. And so, we will see
if it goes on. But I think you guys are right, it's part of the strategy. It's also part of, look at the shiny object. Let's talk about the media rather than talk about the bad stories coming in. Do you disagree with that, Karine?
JEAN-PIERRE: No, I totally disagree. I think first of all, the President needs to put his big boy pants on.
LEMON: You totally agree, you mean.
JEAN-PIERRE: Yes. I totally agree with the shiny object, right. He is using at the shiny object. And welcome to Washington, D.C. This is, you know, this was the big leagues. That you are the President of the United States, you know. You have to be able to deal with bad stories that you think -- that you think that are bad.
[23:25:07] LEMON: Imagine if he had to deal with WMD? I mean.
JEAN-PIERRE: Exactly. And that's the thing about. This is the thing about it, Don. It is like this President has such an allergy against the truth. What happens when he has to talk about things like war? How are we supposed to believe him, when he tells lies about simple things?
LEMON: All right. We will be right back. Don't go anywhere.
[23:29:24] LEMON: The President addressing a joint session of Congress tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. Of course, we will have it here on CNN.
Back with me now Lanhee Chen, Karine Jean-Pierre, Matt Lewis and Bakari Sellers.
Mr. Lewis, tomorrow is the president's first big speech before Congress, what do you expect?
LEWIS: Well, what I hope for and what I expect are different, I would hope that he would do what he should have done in his inaugural, which is a little more optimistic, a little more hope. I mean, obviously, the joint sessions of Congress is where the President gets up and lays out a laundry list of legislative priorities. But it doesn't mean he can't be conciliatory. It doesn't mean he can't be optimistic. I don't think he'll do that. That's what I hope he'll do.
[23:30:03] LEMON: Baraki, the White House says that the tone will be more positive. The question, because you remember the inaugural speech, right? That some saw as really dark. Is this a chance to pivot away from the missteps of the administration so far?
SELLERS: Well, I think it is a chance from the pivot away. But Don, you and I and everyone have been watching and talking about this pivot now for 24 months and we just haven't seen it yet. And so, I have a lot of hopes for his speech tomorrow night. I hope
that he actually takes the time to look in the camera, address the anti-Semitism that's running rampant in our country right now. We had kids at JCC's across the country. Many of which were four, five, six years old. Holding hands, due to bomb threats and more Jewish cemeteries is being desecrated. So I hope he spend some time talking about those issues. It would actually warm my heart if he actually had the young men who helps save those two or who tried to save those two Indian men in Kansas who are slaughtered in the hate crime show up. And just do something to be emblematic of bringing this country together. That's very hopeful, but I doubt he will do that.
LEMON: Karine, the president issued his budget priorities today. $54 billion added to military spending with planned cuts to the EPA, the interior department and foreign aid. You think the numbers add up?
JEAN-PIERRE: Well, we will see. It doesn't seem to be adding up right now, though. I mean, there's not much, you know, depth into what he talked about which is the usual. There's usually a lot of rhetoric and not much details when he talks policy. So we will see. But so far, it looks he is, you know, going to cut environment, education, and healthcare, which are very important to Americans out there.
LEMON: I think everyone are so. Don't you think people are going to be paying attention tomorrow to try to figure exactly out what he is going to say about Obamacare? But before we get to that - well, let's talk about that. Let's talk about Obamacare because he said, you know, the entitlement that is where - those are the big ticket items. Paul Ryan has said he looks at Obamacare as part of an entitlement, right, program. Correct me if I'm wrong, he said that.
So then, where does - if he is not going to touch then where is he going to get all this money from?
CHEN: Well, that will be the big question because he specifically during the campaign said, we are going to touch Medicare. We are going to touch Social Security.
LEMON: Then $20 billion for wall, right.
CHEN: And then infrastructure,
CHEN: Now, over the weekend, he met with John Kasich and basically said we are going to try and figure out a way to ensure that those governors who took the Medicaid expansion, Obamacare, are not going to have make really tough decisions.
So you got a lot of different promises. The question going to be where the give in all this? I think the bigger issue also is at what point congressional Republicans say this is not exactly what we signed up for. We want the entitlement reform. Republicans like Paul Ryan for years have been saying, they have got to reform Medicare. They have got to reform Social Security but that is not where this president is. At what point does that meet some resistance in the country.
LEMON: Why do you think he is not touching these items?
CHEN: Politically, I think --.
SELLERS: But Don --.
CHEN: I mean, the politics of Social Security and Medicare are very complicated.
LEMON: Go ahead, Bakari.
SELLERS: No. And some of the things are just fools' gold, for example, cutting aid to foreign countries. People, if you go on the street right now and talk about the aid that the United States gives to foreign countries, people would think this aid is 20, 25, 30 percent of our budget. But it's not. It's actually less than one percent and the majority of that are programs and missions for HIV and aids work.
And you are talking about cutting back on security for diplomats. You are talking about cutting back on U.S. mission. And there's just not a lot of money there. But you talk about the priorities, when he talks about building a wall, or he talks about infrastructure, all of this is spending. And so, where are we going to get this money from?
I'm hard pressed to believe in the first place that he is going to be able to add $54 billion to the military budget because that is as many people know, you will be increasing spending caps and it takes 60 senators to do that. And with the cuts that he is talking about making, I don't see how he does it.
There was the 7-year-old boy in Tom Cotton's town hall meeting that said why are you going to cut PBS kids simply to build a wall? And people see how screwed up the priorities are this President and his budget.
LEMON: It is interesting.
Can we focus on Obamacare? Because, again, I think that is going to be a big issue especially we see these protests happening around the country, some Republicans. A number of people in the White House have said, this is astro-turf, this isn't real, these are operative, these people are being paid. The people there are saying that. They are not being paid.
Have they -- do you think that Obamacare, the affordable care act is so interwoven now, into the healthcare system and into the fabric of this country that repealing it and replacing it is going to be much harder than they think that it was going to be - they thought it was going to be. And that if it's even possible now, first Matt, and then Karine.
LEWIS: Absolutely, Don. About a month ago, I wrote a column for "the Daily Beast." And I set out to write a piece that was this is how Republicans can fix Obamacare. And I talked to a whole bunch of conservative healthcare policy experts. And the conclusion came away with is they can't do it. They can't do it.
Because what Barack Obama accomplished was, a paradigm shift that says it is now the responsibility of the federal government to take care of healthcare, make sure you have access to health care insurance. Once you accept that premise and Donald Trump has accepted the premise that, you know, if you have a pre-existing condition, you can't be denied healthcare. Once you accept that premise, you are basically locked into a system. And it's like a Rubik's cube. It is like a (INAUDIBLE) to fix the Rubik's cube. You turn one thing to make one sideline up, and you mess something else up.
It is incredibly complicated. I think the best case scenario that Republicans will have is a couple tweaks, make it a little more competitive and call it Trump care. That's probably as good as it gets.
[23:35:55] LEMON: Yes. Karine, last word.
JEAN-PIERRE: Well, here's the thing. Republicans had six years to try and help the Democrats fix Obamacare, and they decided to obstruct. Donald Trump had 18 months during the campaign to offer something new, but all he did was offer rhetoric after rhetoric after rhetoric. And what both Republicans and Donald Trump is learning, is that you can't govern with rhetoric. It's just not going to work. So today when Donald Trump talked about how complicated the healthcare system was or how Obamacare was, I mean, the first thing is, if he knew anything about governing and policy, he would know healthcare is just complicated. And it has been for decades upon decades.
LEMON: He said who knew that healthcare was so complicated. He said that today.
JEAN-PIERRE: Right. Yes, who knew? He is really ridiculous. And the second thing is he is the one who is making healthcare complicated. He is the one that is going to cross a healthcare crisis because he wants to take away healthcare from tens of millions of people. So it's all his doing.
LEMON: I'm not sure how much time we have left, but how many people believe that Obamacare will be repealed and replaced on this panel?
CHEN: I actually think that they're --
LEMON: You think it will?
LEMON: Karine, you think it will?
CHEN: In name.
JEAN-PIERRE: Yes. I don't think it will be replaced but I think they will repeal it.
LEMON: And Bakari?
SELLERS: I think they'll change the name to Trumptastic, beautiful healthcare.
LEMON: Big beautiful adore golden wall or whatever it is.
Yes. But in its current form it won't be the same. But the premise, many of the things that are there, number of the things that preexisting conditions and so forth, they are going to have to keep those. Correct?
CHEN: I think they're going to roll back a lot of the federal role, which is what upsets a lot of Republicans. But some of the more popular elements --.
SELLERS: But you can't role back. You can't eliminate the mandate, but keep people with preexisting conditions on healthcare.
CHEN: They'll have to cover them a different way.
SELLERS: So now, we are figuring out this Rubik's cube.
LEMON: Quick, Matt.
LEWIS: That's part of the whole trickery here, right? So the Republican model was, ok, if we can't have a mandate, let's have a tax incentive, where -- a tax rebate, where we basically give people money to force them to sign up. If that's what you want to do, is that a great free market solution. Like that is as good as it gets and that's kind of is.
LEMON: And Matt, listen. Let me tell you the Rubik's cube thing, I have one on my desk. It's been there for a couple years. Two different times. Someone came in and read the interns. They can do it like any second. Just hand it to them and they can fix it. I don't know if they go and take it loose like I do.
LEWIS: Can they deal with healthcare?
LEMON: Maybe they can, because it doesn't seem like lawmakers in Washington can. So we will get a couple of interns on it.
Thank you all, all. I appreciate it.
When we come right back, the Oscar blunder that nobody saw coming. New details tonight on who is to blame and exactly what happened.
[23:42:38] LEMON: Hollywood loves a surprise ending, but maybe not the one we saw at last night's academy awards. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The academy award for best picture --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're awful. Go on. La La land. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. There's a mistake. Moonlight, you guys won
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Moonlight won.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not a joke. This is not a joke. I'm afraid they read the wrong thing. This is not a joke, Moonlight has won best picture. Moonlight, best picture.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Awkward. That was awkward, right?
Let's talk about it. April Reign is the creator of the #Oscarssowhite. Matt Belloni, the executive editor of the "Hollywood Reporter," and CNN political commentator Marc Lamont Hill.
Oh, My God. So as I fell asleep, and then I had to re-rack the DVR, I couldn't believe it.
So Matt, so much discussed here. What was your reaction when you saw this all go down?
MATT BELLONI, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: Well, I was in the auditorium with everyone. And at first there was a lot of confusion. People didn't quite know what was going on. We thought it was a prank. We thought maybe the producer there was just kind of being magnanimous and pulling an Adele and just saying, you guys really deserved to win. But then it became clear that it wasn't a joke. And it was just kind of chaos and a little bit of pandemonium. People are looking at each other. They didn't quite know what was going on. Confusion. It was very odd.
LEMON: OK. So here is Price Waterhouse Coopers, the accounting firm, in-charge of the Oscars, in-charge of the envelopes, they have issued an updated statement on the Oscars best picture debacle and it reads in part. PWC which means Price Waterhouse Coopers Partner Brian Cullinan mistakenly handed the backup envelope for actress in a leading role instead of the envelope for best pictures to presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. Once the error occurred, protocols were correcting it were not followed through quickly enough by Mr. Cullinan or his partner.
Is this perfectly plausible or are they are throwing this guy under the bus? What is happening here?
[23:45:08] BELLONI: I mean, I think that is absolutely plausible. The protocol is they have two sets of envelopes, and one is a backup, in case somebody reads it incorrectly. And what happened was, they put the backup envelope for best actress, somehow got into the hands of Warren Beatty, and they have now identified this guy, Brian Cullinan who is are the person who did it. So they are -- yes, they are throwing him under the bus. But it's his job, it falls under the category of, you had one job, this was his one job.
LEMON: You had one job, Brian. All right, we don't know. Hopefully, Brian, you know, it was an honest mistake.
Marc, Warren Beatty appears to -- when you look at it, he knows something is wrong, it was like what's happening. What is happening? He takes the card. He hands it to Faye Dunaway. And Faye Dunaway just OK, La La land. How do you think this was handled?
MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Exactly. Well, Warren Beatty handed it like a G. He said I don't think this is right. I don't know exactly. So I'm not going to read nothing. You read it.
But I tell you something. They lucked out because imagine if the opposite had happened. I imagine if they had told black people they would be the Oscar, and then when they got on stage and they were celebrating and people is cheering and do phrases, and then all of a sudden they said wait, wait, no, no. My bad. It went to "La La land." It would be pandemonium right now. The conspiracy theories will be going up. And it's not because black people are irrational. It's because there has been so much inequality in the Oscars. Because of Oscars so white. Because of all the problems, it would have raised questions. So they actually lucked out that it happened this way. And most importantly, I'm glad Moonlight won. It was an amazing movie.
LEMON: It was an amazing movie. I never thought about the other scenario, April. I'm not sure if you did too. But Jordan Horowitz who is the producer of "La La land," you saw it. He was announcing that a mistake was made. A bunch of them had gotten up there. They had given acceptance speeches and on and on and on. People are calling him the hero of the night. He received praise for handling. Do you see it that way?
APRIL REIGN, CREATOR, #OSCARSSOWHITE: I wouldn't call him a hero. I do think that he handled it with a quite a bit of grace and class especially under pressure. But you know, I don't want to take away from the win of "Moonlight." This was an historic win for the LGBTQIA community. It's the first time a movie that focuses on that community has won best picture. This was a tremendous win for the black community, you know. And Barry Jenkins should have his full moment in the sun. And unfortunately, he didn't because of this snafu.
LEMON: You don't think, though, that this may -- listen. I understand with that. This full moment does have meaning the whole thing.
And the winner is -- Moonlight, and then, you know, the guy gets up, the people get up and start screaming and yelling.
But don't you think in odd way maybe it draws more attention to this movie, and more people may be interested in it because of the snafu? No? Is that a weird way to look at it?
REIGN: No, I -- you know, I would hope that people would go see "Moonlight" because it's a fantastic film. You know, I fully understand that there are people who say, well, I'm not going to go see a movie, until after it wins an award, because for some reason, having academy members say that it's a good film means something to them. But people should have been seeing this movie months ago. You know, Barry Jenkins was sort of rubbed the opportunity to get a full speech, you know. This was the end of the end. They were already running long, you know.
And so, I think that is unfortunate. Of course, the statue is still going to be on his mantle, you know, in a week from now. But it just didn't work the way it should have.
LEMON: I wonder how much money Steve Harvey --
HILL: I wanted the speech.
LEMON: Steve Harvey did it. I know. Blame Steve. Kidding. We will be right back.
REIGN: Well, there is an issue of there too because why do we need to blame the black person, right?
LEMON: That was a joke. Even Steve Harvey tweeted about the joke. Come on, lighten up, April. We will be right back, though.
[23:52:41] LEMON: Believe it or not they are actually other moments from last night's Oscars that people are talking about like this accepting speech from best supporting actress, Viola Davis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VIOLA DAVIS, ACTRESS: People ask me all the time, what kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola? And I say, exhume those bodies, exhume those stories, the stories of the people who dreamed big and never saw those dreams to fruition, people who fell in love and lost.
I became an artist and thank God I did because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I mean, she won everything. She should get an award from that speech.
Back with me now, my panel.
April, I mean, in Viola Davis's nomination, she's lost out to Meryl Strip. Does Viola Davis has the most powerful speech of the evening, you think?
REIGN: I think it was, you know. And I think it really speaks to something that I'm trying to push forward with respect to Oscars so white. Which is that we want quality stories told about real people throughout the country. It doesn't have to be special. It doesn't have to be monumental. It just has to be real. And so that's why it's important that everyone get the opportunity to
hear their stories and see their stories on the big screen, whether they are of a different sexual orientation or disability or able bodies or gender. All of those stories should be told. And so, that's why I'll continue pushing with respect to "Oscars so White" for more diversion and inclusion in the entertainment industry.
LEMON: You see those are small niche films, usually documentaries, but now, this is a big screen, you know, Oscar-winning film now. Go ahead.
REIGN: It is a big -- I'm sorry.
LEMON: No, sorry. Marc. Go ahead, Marc.
HILL: No. I was going to say, I think the challenge that whiteness is understood is universal and blackness is understood as particular. So you can have a movie big fat Greek wedding and it's seen as a story for everybody. But if I tell a story like best man holiday, it was marked as an ethnic film. If you watch "Fences," is it about love. It is about forgiveness. It is about grace. It is about mercy. It is about justice. It is about family. Everybody can watch that. But too often those thing get mark as black.
The story of "Moonlight" is starting about what it means to be young and black in queer in a world were black love and by queer love is seen as an (INAUDIBLE) act. I mean, it's a very particular thing. But it is also universal thing. What we hope now after watching this film be celebrated is that ultimate people understand that while it is about black people, those stories can translate to other people. And with black people I think should understand is that we don't need the foundation in order to matter. Even if we don't get the Oscars, these stories still matter because black matters.
[23:55:36] LEMON: Matt, I just have 15 seconds left. But do, people, you think they want to hear more protest speeches last night. We heard a couple but not as many as people thought.
BELLONI: No. And they were mostly from the foreign nominees and winners. They weren't from the American winners. But I think that, you know, what Trump said that today it was about him, there was a current of politics throughout the evening from the opening monologue through the end. And I think there was a message of the night and it wasn't pro-Trump.
LEMON: Yes. It was very subtle for those, as you said some of the foreign winners spoke out very clearly, but there were subtle messages even in some of the ads which we didn't get to.
Thank you all. I appreciate it. See you next time. That's it for us tonight. Thanks for watching.
I will see you right back here tomorrow.