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Republicans Unveil Plan To Repeal And Replace Obamacare; Will Trump's New Travel Ban Face Legal Issues?; Trump's Business Conflicts. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired March 7, 2017 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:32:15] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: House Republicans finally unveiling their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. The plan keeps the most popular features of the Affordable Care Act but it loses the mandate. Will this work?
Joining us now, CNN political analyst and "USA Today" columnist, Kirsten Powers. And, CNN political commentator and senior columnist at "The Daily Beast," Matt Lewis. Great to see both of you. Kirsten, what's the brewing political battle as you see it now?
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think the biggest issue, actually, is going to be with Republicans. I mean, you already have four senators who've come out and said that they have issues regarding Medicaid expansion, and so you have this battle shaping up between senators from states that have the Medicaid expansion versus those who didn't. You know, if four senators are -- that just, right there out of the gate means that this can't pass unless they can do something to win them over.
And then, on the House side, you have conservative Republicans saying that they don't -- they want a full repeal of Obamacare. They see this is as Justin -- as Congressman Justin Amash had said that, you know, this is Obamacare 2.0. That this is not what they think they were running on -- that they were running on a full repeal. So I think that there's going to be a lot of work that's going to have to be done to win over a lot of Republicans on this bill.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: And a compromise, Matt. Nobody's happy, right? Everybody feels like they lost something and, obviously, that's where you want to wind up. The president, in his tweet about the plan, he did suggest that this is a first draft. That this is something to be debated. But then, he also said that remember, Obamacare is imploding fast in complete disaster which is, of course, a very qualified opinion of the ongoing state of health insurance.
But do you think that the Republicans need to own one basic proposition in order to have any chance of buy-in from Democrats? Under their proposal, fewer people will be covered. People will lose their insurance under this plan.
MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. Well, and I think that's part -- that's actually part of the problem is that this is really -- look, if you're a liberal you hate this plan because it probably won't cover as many people, so it's not as generous, let's say, as Obamacare. But if you're a conservative you don't like this plan because it's basically just like Obamacare except maybe a little more free market and a little less generous.
So really, it's pleasing nobody. Nobody is going to be happy with this and I'm not sure that actually is where you want to come down on politics. It's really a conundrum that -- it was a predictable one, but it's a mess right now. Of course, it's in the beginning. It's going to go to committee and it's going to be marked up. I just don't see how you fix this.
CAMEROTA: Well, Kirsten, look, Republicans talk a lot about access.
CAMEROTA: That more people will have access to health insurance. You know, I don't know who said it -- maybe it was you -- but somebody likened access to Americans also have access to BMW's.
[07:35:10] POWERS: Yes.
CAMEROTA: If you can afford a BMW you have access to it. It doesn't mean that you can afford health care coverage. We just had Congressman Jason Chaffetz on, who all but admitted that people will lose their coverage.
CAMEROTA: Listen to this moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: We do think we can expand the coverage so that people have access to a quality health care product that they want.
CAMEROTA: More access but possibly less coverage. That might be a byproduct.
CHAFFETZ: Well, it -- yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: So, I mean, is that going to fly?
POWERS: Look, I think, ultimately, whether this is seen as being successful is whether or not people's health insurance premiums are going to go down and whether people have coverage. So I do think that, you know, it's a problem to have fewer people covered, but this is an ideological disagreement. So, when I've talked to Republicans on the Hill about this they will push back against the idea -- just like you saw with Chaffetz -- basically, the idea that there is some sort of moral responsibility to have more people insured.
They'll say no, we think that, you know, when you talk about health insurance you should also just be talking about the access, the quality of the -- of the insurance plans that people have access to. It's not just about covering more people. So there just is a -- there's just a gap in terms of what people believe in terms of what you want to accomplish with something like this. So I think Republicans would say we want to have more access and we want to bring down costs. Democrats would say the same --
POWERS: -- but we also want to make sure that poor people are covered.
CUOMO: But we don't know if it's going to be cheaper because they skipped a major step. This hasn't been --
POWERS: Yes, I don't think it is going to be cheaper.
CUOMO: This hasn't been CBO-qualified yet --
CUOMO: -- the Congressional Budget Office. And as messy as the Obamacare process was, they were getting it scored along the way so you'd be able to see what it cost and what it didn't. Of course, with Obamacare, there was nothing to compare it against, you know. Now, you have something to compare this plan to.
But I think that this is -- even our reckoning is too gentle. There is no possibly fewer people, there is no maybe. You're going to have millions of people kicked off the rolls, either by the state or by the way the subsidy structure now works, which is now called the tax credit, or because of the Medicaid dollars. That's just the reality and they're going to have to get straight with that and find a reason to sell it, no, Matt?
LEWIS: Well look, I think you -- look, here's the problem is that, you know, they're trying to have it both ways, you know. You could have a free market plan where people -- where the free market drives coverage. Where I go to my doctor and negotiate how much I'm going to pay, and if he charges me too much I go to a different doctor who --
CUOMO: Yes, but --
LEWIS: -- has a better price. And then poor people could be taken care of through Medicaid. That's a really free market idea. Or you can something that looks more like Obamacare. What Republicans are trying to do is sort of have it both ways and I just don't know how you can get rid of the mandate which forces young, healthy people to pay and, yet, keep the other things that we like, like you can't be denied, you know, if you have a preexisting condition. I just don't see how you can do those two things and not have the prices go up.
They're going to try to tinker around. They're going to try to do some things to fix it. My guess is that when the CBO does score this it's going to be more expensive and cover fewer people and that's, obviously, not where you want to be if you're a Republican. CAMEROTA: Right, those are not good selling points. Matt, Kirsten, thank you very much.
LEWIS: Thank you.
CUOMO: And if you want to check it go to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. They've taken a look at what the changing of the Medicaid expansion would mean. They've come up with a number of 11 million adults in 32 states will lose coverage. Check it for yourself.
The Trump travel ban 2.0. Will it be as controversial as the original? Legally, probably not, but does that end the debate? New information, next.
[07:42:20] CUOMO: President Trump signing a revised version of his travel ban. It covers six Muslim-majority nations. Iraq is out. Why? Oh, a couple of reasons, so we're going to discuss those. The new executive order -- is it going to have the same legal pitfalls? Probably not. Let's discuss that right now.
We've got Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform or FAIR. He favors Trump's moves on immigration. He says the first plan was fine so, certainly, the second one will be, as well. And we have Andre Segura, staff attorney for the ACLU. He opposes the ban. Do you oppose this one just as much?
ANDRE SEGURA, STAFF ATTORNEY, ACLU: We do -- we do. I mean --
SEGURA: I think we need to first stop and think what this means. The Trump administration has basically admitted that the first order was indefensible. They scrapped that -- they've moved on to a new one. But just because the first order was banned because it did A, B, and C, you can't just issue a new order that doesn't do A, but does B and C and think that everything's going to be fine. It's going to suffer from the same constitutional issues with respect to the establishment clause.
CUOMO: Why, because they took out that a minority religion might be given preference, which seemed a way to endrun Muslims in favor of Christians -- that's out. It's temporary and shouldn't that relieve some of the feelings about it? Or do you believe at the end of the day it's still Muslim, even though that word's nowhere in the ban?
SEGURA: It's nowhere in the ban. That wasn't there before but it still suffers from the same problems. The judge, for example -- the district court judge in Virginia said that -- looked at the Trump administration's campaign statements and that's been very clear from the beginning it is a Muslim ban. He called for a Muslim ban. The Trump administration would have to build a time machine, go back in time, and basically change everything that he said about a Muslim ban. CUOMO: So, Dan Stein, rebut that presumption that the second version is just a nicer version of the first with the same fundamental problem that it, ultimately, will target Muslims.
DAN STEIN, PRESIDENT, FEDERATION FOR AMERICAN IMMIGRATION REFORM (FAIR): Look, this so-called travel ban -- not a Muslim ban -- it's a temporary travel ban until they can review vetting procedures, and it was laid out by the Secretary of State, by the Department of Homeland Security, and the Attorney General. It is constitutional. It is a lawful exercise under the statutes of the president's authority. And frankly, the new draft -- there's nobody who has Article III legal standing in the United States to challenge it in federal court anyway under 150 years of legal precedent of the law of standing.
And so, now, it's moving into the realm of ideological disputes. I remember the day when the Trade Center bomb -- buildings came down and tears in my eyes, and I said maybe people will stop listening to the ACLU's politicized agenda in trying to manipulate immigration policy in a way that jeopardizes national security. The courts have no business getting involved in these kinds of issues because they are discretionary --
[07:45:05] CUOMO: Right.
STEIN: -- to the president. It is not a Muslim ban because, obviously, most of the Muslims in this world are not affected. It is something where it involves foreign policy and these are traditionally areas delegated to the president and not amenable to judicial review --
CUOMO: -- Yes.
STEIN: -- any more than military engagements are.
CUOMO: Right. Dan, one of the problems that you'll deal with in court to the extent that the policy is going to become relevant -- the underlying reasons for this as a lens for the constitutionality is that you just had to cite something from back in the early nineties to justify what has been sold as an urgent need of imminent threat protection with this ban. Doesn't that kind of prove the point of why you're going to be challenged in the first place? You can't point to a lot of attacks that are attributable to this group that you want to keep out of the country right now. Answer that, please.
STEIN: But remember, Chris, the basic argument of the ACLU is that it's a violation of a First Amendment establishment clause because it appears to disproportionately affect Muslims because they're Muslim- majority nations. Well, that simply doesn't hold up on the facial element of the law. And ultimately, discriminating on the basis of religion is a core part of the Refugee Act of 1980. You have to discriminate on the basis of religion if you are providing protection on a sectarian basis for persecuted religious minorities.
CUOMO: Well, Dan --
STEIN: This stuff -- this stuff is simply not judicially cognizable. CUOMO: All right, then -- I like that phrase, judicially cognizable.
STEIN: Thank you.
CUOMO: I'll have to explain it to myself later on. But, let me ask you this, Andre. The 1980 act does talk about these groups of people the same way the ban does but it was doing it in the context of protecting them from known risks -- that this group is being targeted, so I don't know that the legal rationale works the way Dan wants it to.
But you do have a fundamental problem when it comes to who can challenge this. They took out of the language of the ban people who got caught up wrongly the last time -- visa holders, green card holders, stuff like that. They're out now. They're all OK. So who would you be suing on behalf of?
SEGURA: Well, we still have, for example, organizational plaintiffs that are affected by this -- these organizations that are working on these issues. But the Ninth Circuit talked about American -- families who are here in America who have an interest in people coming over and applying for visas. There are family members who are seeking visas, there are students, universities who are going to be seeking -- students and professors and teachers --
CUOMO: So why would someone who's is here legally have standing to challenge in court a restriction of someone who is not a citizen?
SEGURA: Well, because that -- primarily, that restriction can't be based on religious discrimination. And when there is that religious motivation that Mr. Trump has made very clear from the beginning of his campaign, all of this is held to a higher standard.
CUOMO: Politics aside, do you have precedent of that ever being judicially cognizable before?
SEGURA: About --
CUOMO: Standing based on somebody wanting to fight for the rights of somebody who wanted to come in.
SEGURA: I think we -- well, we're taking a very close look at that. But what I will say is we have no precedent for what Mr. Trump is doing right now.
CUOMO: Dan Stein, final word.
STEIN: Look, let me -- look, these Nero-like, nutty, nattering nabobs of negativism have to realize that --
STEIN: -- we're a nation and --
CUOMO: That's a lot of n's, Dan Stein. That's a lot of n's.
STEIN: That's an iteration, you know. The president --
CUOMO: Buchanan would be very happy with you.
STEIN: Well, so is Spiro Agnew, right -- Spiro. But anyway, the president has this authority. He ultimately has, under the constitution, unquestioned authority to protect the public interest --
SEGURA: I don't know what authority Mr. Stein would give the president on immigration.
STEIN: -- and national security, and that's the bottom line. I've been studying immigration policy for 40 years. There's no standing.
CUOMO: All right. Dan Stein, thank you very much. Agnew said it, but who wrote it for him? That's the man I was quoting.
STEIN: William Safire.
CUOMO: Thank you very much to both you guys. This is going to continue. When we see what happens when it actually goes to court we'll bring you back on. Gentlemen, thank you. Alisyn --
CAMEROTA: No nattering nabobs here of negativity. His sons are running the family business but President Trump is still dogged by questions about conflicts of interest. So we're digging deeper on a couple of very specific cases that are bubbling up -- that's next.
[07:52:40] CAMEROTA: It's day 47 of the Trump presidency and there are new questions about his business conflicts. Here to discuss are our two experts, Tim O'Brien. He's executive editor of "Bloomberg View" and the author of "Trump Nation." And David Fahrenthold, CNN contributor and reporter for "The Washington Post." Great to see both of you.
So, David, let's start with your reporting. You are reporting that Mr. Trump's sons, Don Jr. and Eric, are trying to parlay their experience during the presidential election into a lucrative, advantageous business deal for themselves. What does that mean?
DAVID FAHRENTHOLD, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, the Trump company is trying to expand a new line of hotels called Scion. It's kind of a lower level but still a pretty fancy line of hotels that doesn't exist anywhere yet. They're going to build them. It's not going to be Trump branded. And what Donald Trump, Jr. told us was that he wants to expand those in the cities that sort of propelled his father's presidential career. Places -- these sort of second-tier cities where Donald Trump had a surprising amount of political success.
It's not clear if that's going to work, though, because those cities and the sort of economic distress that fueled Mr. Trump's rise there are not really compatible with a fancy, social club kind of hotel, which is what Scion is branded as. So we'll see whether the sort of political connections win out or maybe the more straightforward hotel business calculations win out.
CUOMO: All right. So, there is intrigue, Tim, surrounding some of the deals that have gone on during and after. You have one with an Iranian power family called the Mammadovs. And there's another one that involved Ivanka and a plan that's called the Baku deal. What do you makeof these situations?
TIM O'BRIEN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, BLOOMBERG VIEW: So, Baku -- the Baku deal and the Mammadovs are one in the same. That was in Azerbaijan. And the question with that deal was the Trumps got into a partnership with people of very questionable backgrounds who have been publicly identified as benefiting from corrupt business and government deals.
This is of a fit with the Trump hotel in Rio de Janeiro -- Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, where there were allegations that public pension funds were used in an untoward way to finance the construction of that property, and the partners there were questionable. We had the Trump SoHo in Manhattan, where we know that his partners in that project had ties to Russian organized crime.
CUOMO: But correlation is not causation, so --
O'BRIEN: Well, but it's --
CUOMO: Let's say he does deals with some shady money. Does that mean that there's something going on with the job he's supposed to be doing for us that's compromised because of that?
[07:55:05] O'BRIEN: Well, I think what's going on is this raises questions, at the very minimum, about his business judgment and about what kind of due diligence he's doing with the people that he does deals with. However, whatever conclusions you want to draw about the deals themselves, you can't escape the fact that he's exercised very bad judgment pursuing deals with some of the people he has.
CAMEROTA: But is he still doing these deals? I mean, I thought the whole point was that he was walking away from those deals.
O'BRIEN: That's true, that he's pulled out of -- they're out of Baku, they're out Brazil. He's still in Trump SoHo but his partners who were in there are gone. But I think that --
CUOMO: So if the deals are dead, should that be satisfying?
O'BRIEN: Well, I think the reason people are looking at these deals now is looking at a fact pattern and a history in terms of Trump, the businessman, to get a handle on his decision-making processes.
CAMEROTA: So, David, I mean, there's the overseas deals that are sort of exotic and hard to get your arms around -- Azerbaijan -- and then there's what you're talking about where the sons might open, you know, a hotel in Dallas or Nashville or something like that. Is there anything illegal or even unethical about what they're doing?
FAHRENTHOLD: Well, there's nothing unethical about the plan they have. The question is about the individual deals they're going to be doing. In each town they are probably going to be partnering with some local business who will own the land, probably own the building, and they'll just license the Trump or Scion name.
And so, the question is who are those people and are they using the deal they set up with Trump's sons as a way to influence President Trump? So there's been a lot of scrutiny already about who those partners are going to be. We don't enough now to say really anything about how those deals would look.
CUOMO: So, when you're looking at the reporting what is the concern that's driving the digging right now, David, because we always know there are questions to be asked but that doesn't really mean that you're going to get satisfying answers or that they're important enough to wind up making a big part of the scrutiny of the president. So what is driving you right now?
FAHRENTHOLD: Well, my concern here is that we don't really know what role the president is going to have in his business. We don't really know what -- how much attention he will pay.
CUOMO: Have you found any of those filings yet? Remember when he came out with the big stacks of them?
CUOMO: We weren't allowed to look at them -- that's one discussion -- but a lot of them of changes of control in some of these corporate entities would have required filing with different states of registry. Have you been able to track that down? Has the paperwork been done to put into effect what he said would be the cure for conflicts?
FAHRENTHOLD: Well, yes and no. There is paperwork in that shows he, himself, has been taken off as an officer, a director of a lot of these companies and instead it's going to be Eric or Ivanka or other ones -- other ones of his executives.
The problem is that all the ownership is still in his hands. It all reports up to a trust that he controls and benefits from. So he can choose not to exercise that control over his trust but, ultimately, the legal control is his no matter who is the officer of each individual corporation. That's what continues to make us dig because there is such a chance for him to control and such a chance for him to benefit from these deals.
CAMEROTA: Tim, we have a picture of Ivanka at one of these high-end hotels in Baku --
CAMEROTA: -- and it's a cool picture because you see the skyline and you see her wearing the hard hat. Do we know what Ivanka's role is in the company and the business deals versus the White House?
CUOMO: Painting, jackhammer operator? What does she do that she needs a hard hat? O'BRIEN: Well, she actually -- she actually did lead the hotel construction projects, both in Baku, in Brazil, in the Trump SoHo. She was front and center on these. And per what David was saying earlier about some of the paperwork surrounding the family, Ivanka has said she's taken a leave of absence from her companies but she actually hasn't filed any paperwork that I've seen yet that indicates she's formally parted ways with them. And I think that that, again, is a real issue.
There's a great, great quote in David's piece from Eric Trump saying, "We would never cross that line and mix business and government," but you get shades of this all the time in the way they operate that, in fact, they are.
CAMEROTA: Tim, David, thank you. We always appreciate you sharing your reporting with us. Thanks so much.
CAMEROTA: We're following a lot of news this morning so let's get right to it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is Obamacare gone if we repeal all those taxes, those mandates, those subsidies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've already seen some Republican opposition to it, saying it doesn't go far enough.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are going to come far short of the coverage numbers that Obamacare provides.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There's no question that something happened. Is it surveillance, is it a wiretap?
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If it's true, it's earth- shattering.
CUOMO: FBI Director Jim Comey incredulous over the president's claim.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no reason for us not to have trust and confidence in Director Comey.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This revised order will bolster the security of the United States.
GEN. JOHN KELLY, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Unregulated, unvetted travel is not a universal privilege when national security is at stake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, March 7th, 8:00 in the East.
Let the health care battle begin again. House Republicans finally turning their repeal and replace talk into something concrete, the first draft of their plan to replace Obamacare. Critics pouncing from their own party, from the Democrats, saying it doesn't go far enough, it goes too far. But the reality is millions may well lose their coverage.