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House Intelligence Committee Announces Investigation into President Trump's Claims that Trump Tower Wiretapped by President Obama; House Releases Health Care Bill; Interview with Congressman Mark Meadows; Interview with Democratic Congresswoman Linda Sanchez of California. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired March 8, 2017 - 08:00   ET


[08:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trumpcare is here, and you are going to hate it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where is the proof that President Obama bugged President Trump?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have no further comment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think a lot of things that he says you guys sometimes take literally.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I very much support the appointment of a special prosecutor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know anything but what I've read in the newspaper.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He perjured himself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Sessions should come back. He owes it to this committee to explain himself.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, March 8th, 8:00 in the east. Up first, President Trump turning up the heat on House Republicans, demanding that they pass their bill to repeal and replace Obamacare or risk what he calls an electoral bloodbath in 2018. The president's warning comes as two House committees begin preparing the health care overhaul for a full vote later this month.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: There could be winners and losers in this bill, and we're going to show you both. But we still have nothing to show you on the other big story, President Trump's suggestion without proof that President Obama wiretapped him. The House Intelligence Committee leaders now say they will investigate this claim as they officially set a date to begin hearings on Russia's meddling in the presidential election. We are 48 days into the Trump administration. We have every angle

covered. Let's begin with Sunlen Serfaty live on Capitol Hill. Sunlen?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Chris. Today is such a critical day on Capitol Hill for the fate of this health care bill. Two House committees will start working on the markup of the Bill. They are preparing to work potentially well into the night trying to get to a final product that can potentially pass on the House floor. But this bill certainly still faces an avalanche of criticism coming from many Republicans, and even the power of the bully pulpit hasn't done enough to twist arms just yet.



SERFATY: President Trump convening with top House Republicans, warning them they could face a bloodbath in midterms if they don't repeal and replace Obamacare.

TRUMP: There's going to be no waiting and no more excuses by anybody.

SERFATY: But divisions in the GOP over their replacement bill could derail the proposal only one day after its release.

SEN. MIKE LEE, (R) UTAH: This is not the repeal bill that we've been waiting for for all these years. This is a huge opportunity that's been missed.

SERFATY: Conservative lawmakers dubbing the American Health Care Act Obamacare-lite, some calling for a complete gutting of the plans refundable tax credits and Obamacare's Medicaid expansion.

REP. JIM JORDAN, (R) OHIO: The first thing Republicans are bringing forward is a piece of legislation that says we repeal it but keeps Medicaid expansion and actually expands it, that keeps some of the tax increases. That is not what we promised the American people we were going to do.

SERFATY: Senate Republicans finding fault elsewhere. Four GOP senators will oppose any bill that doesn't protect Medicaid enrollees in their states. The president promising to put his weight behind the replacement, unsurprising since he campaigned on a full repeal.

SEN. RAND PAUL, (R) KENTUCKY: I think the repeal bill probably won't pass unless we take replacement off of it.

SERFATY: The president tweeting that one of the bill's most vocal conservative opponents, Senator Rand Paul. Mr. Trump writing "I feel sure that my friend Rand Paul will come along with the new and great health care program." And Republican leadership is rallying around the Bill. House Speaker Paul Ryan confident they'll get the votes.

REP. PAUL RYAN, (R-WI) SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We've got a few weeks. We'll have 218 when this thing comes to the floor, I can guarantee you that.


SERFATY: And the number of votes needed to have a House majority is actually 216 because of that 218 because of a few vacancies right now. And while Speaker Ryan certainly sounds very confident there, many others just do not agree. This bill frankly faces a very steep climb in the house and even a steeper one in the Senate. Chris?

CUOMO: You've got people coming at it two ways, Sunlen. Some say it goes too far, some say it doesn't go far enough.

The other big story this morning, the continuing fallout from President Trump's accusation that President Obama had Trump Tower headquarters wiretapped during the campaign. Remember, President Trump could get the answer to this accusation himself easily, and yet he wants an investigation. And Republican lawmakers say they will oblige. CNN's Joe Johns live at the White House with more. The big question, Joe, is this a distraction play by the president in light of the fact he could answer it himself?

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Certainly a big question there, Chris. And the preliminaries on Capitol Hill are just about over now. It's pretty clear that members of Congress are about to get down to the evidence and the testimony in their big Russia investigation, and as part of that, now extremely likely members of Congress will also be spending at least some of their time and attention on the president's unsubstantiated wiretapping claim.


JOHNS: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer making clear the president doesn't plan on back heading his unsubstantiated claim that former President Obama wiretapped his phones during the election.

[08:05:07] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will the president withdraw the accusation? Does he have any --

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Why would he withdraw it until it's adjudicated? That's what we're asking. Absolutely not.

JOHNS: Still offering no evidence.

SPICER: It's not a question of new proof or less proof or whatever. The answer is the same.

JOHNS: Despite denials of wiretapping from former top intelligence officials.


JOHNS: Spicer continuing to insist on an investigation.

SPICER: There is a concern about what happened in the 2016 election. The House and Senate Intelligence Committees have the staff and the capabilities and the processes in place to look at this in a way that's objective. And that's where it should be done.

JOHNS: Now the House Intelligence Committee moving forward with public hearings on Russia's interference in last year's election.

REP. DEVIN NUNES, (R-CA) HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I want to conduct as many of these hearings in open, in the public. And as you know that's rare for the intelligence committees to do.

JOHNS: The committee's chair, Representative Devin Nunes, inviting officials from the nation's top intelligence agencies to testify beginning March 20th. The top Democrat on the committee, Representative Adam Schiff, confirming the alleged wiretapping will be part of the investigation.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) CALIFORNIA: Mr. President, we accept. We accept. We will investigate this.

JOHNS: Despite three top Republicans saying they haven't seen any evidence of it.

NUNES: As you know, I think a lot of that was maybe a little bit -- the multiple tweets were perhaps a little bit strung together.

JOHNS: Nunes even implying that the president's allegation-filled tweets were maybe questions instead of outright declarations.

NUNES: The president is a neophyte to politics. He's been doing this for a little over a year. And I think a lot of things that he says you guys sometimes take literally.

JOHNS: Meanwhile President Trump's pick for deputy attorney general refusing to say whether a special prosecutor should investigate Russia's election meddling.

ROD ROSENSTEIN, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL NOMINEE: I'm simply not in a position to answer the question because I don't know the information that they know, the folks who are in the position to make that decision.

JOHNS: If confirmed, Rod Rosenstein would head any Russia probe after embattled Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself for failing to disclose two meetings he had with the Russian ambassador during his confirmation hearing, something Senator Al Franken took issue with.

SEN. AL FRANKEN, (D) MINNESOTA: It's hard to come to any other conclusion that he just perjured himself. I think he should come before the committee and explain this.


JOHNS: And on another controversial topic, the state of Hawaii has now filed suit against the administration's newly revised travel ban. The attorney general there says it was filed with discriminatory intent. Chris and Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: OK, Joe, thank you very much for all of that. We want to bring in now the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus which is leading the charge against the American Health Care Act, as it's called, North Carolina Republican Representative Mark Meadows. Good morning, congressman.

REP. MARK MEADOWS (R), NORTH CAROLINA: Good morning, Alisyn. Great to be with you and Chris.

CAMEROTA: Great to have you. Why don't you like the bill as is?

MEADOWS: Really, it keeps much of what people have complained. When the president campaigned across America about repeal and replacement, the American people heard two things. Those that heard the repeal is that we would get rid of all the entitlements. We would get rid of the laws, the mandates, the taxes that go along with it. And then the ones who heard the replacement side of it, Alisyn, really were looking at, well, I want to make sure if I have a preexisting condition, then that that's covered. I don't get kicked off my insurance plan.

The president and we agree with him on both of those points that we have to deliver. This bill just doesn't do it. It's just one program that is going to replace a failed program that has a greater potential for failure.

CAMEROTA: But I mean, specifically, what do you think is making it have failure? It does keep those things you just talked about, the entitlements that people like, that voters say they really appreciate, the preexisting conditions, the keeping your kids on the plan until they're 26. So what specifically don't you like?

MEADOWS: Well, and Alisyn, I'll give you some specifics. One is that it creates a new entitlement, perhaps the first major entitlement, the largest major entitlement under a Republican president if Donald Trump signed this in.

The other thing is, and the fundamental question, we're going to have all kinds of different scores, CBO scores, joint tax scores. The only score that really matters is will it bring down health insurance premiums. This bill doesn't do it. It doesn't really create competition. It allows the government to come in and really prop up the insurance companies, and it won't drive down costs.

[08:10:01] So that's what we have to do. That's my major objection. If it lowers costs and provides those essential services and a safety net for those who need it, I'm all on board. I can tell you Secretary Price yesterday and the vice president agreed that we need to go ahead and make some modifications to this bill. We put together a committee last night at the House Freedom Caucus late in the night to actually work on constructive changes. So hopefully we'll see very good amendments, not only in the committees but offered by rank and file members very soon.

CAMEROTA: But are you trying to repeal it wholesale first?

MEADOWS: Yesterday we introduced a clean repeal bill. That was one thing that all of us had voted on, in the House and Senate. Actually we sent it to Obama's desk. Why send anything less to a Republican president than we sent to President Obama just a few months ago?

And yet at the same time we agree that we have to have a replacement plan voted on in the same timeframe, whether it's the same day or the same week, have real replacement and make sure that we get that done, hopefully getting some Democrats to come along and help us there.

CAMEROTA: What about coverage, congressman? Can you guarantee that -- one of the criticisms of the current bill is that possibly 10 million people could lose coverage under what the GOP presented this week. What about with your plan? Will many people lose their coverage?

MEADOWS: With the plan that the Freedom Caucus has supported s Dr. Rand Paul's. When we look at it, we believe that it actually will insure more people. There's two fundamental questions, Alisyn. In North Carolina and in almost every single state people are losing their coverage. We're down to one health care provider. They're having to make a choice between their mortgage and their insurance payment, and that's not sustainable. So we have to make sure that we do that.

So any plan that we're going to support must look at making sure that those who are in harm's way have a protection. We're committed to do that.

CAMEROTA: Speaking of choices, yesterday we had Congressman Jason Chaffetz on our program, and he said that, yes, some low income people will have to make some choices about health care. Listen to this.


REP. JASON CHAFFETZ, (R) UTAH: We're getting rid of the individual mandate. We're getting rid of those things that people said that they don't want. You know what, Americans have choices, and they've got to make a choice. And so maybe rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to go spend hundreds of dollars, maybe they should invest it in their own health care. They have got to make those decisions themselves.


CAMEROTA: What do you think congressman? Will people have choose between things like their cell phone and their health care?

MEADOWS: Well, they're already making choices for those kind of things. They're having to make choices. I mentioned, I've talked to a number of people having to make choices between, do they put food on the table or pay for their health care? So we've got to drive the cost of health care down.

I think that any GOP plan that gets 218 votes will not make them -- force them to make those kinds of choices. It will provide a safety net. I know the president wants to do that. We're all in to help him to make sure that we get more people covered at less cost. And so that's a choice that I don't want any American to make, certainly don't want my family to make. And as we look at that health care coverage and certainly health care in general is something that we need to make sure everybody has access to.

CAMEROTA: Everybody has access to, but you can't guarantee everybody will have coverage?

MEADOWS: We've got 318 million people. We're certainly wanting -- the goal is to ensure or allow access to all. There's a federal law right now that if you show up at a hospital, you get coverage, Alisyn. And so it's a false narrative to suggest that we have people who can't go in and get coverage. It's a federal law. And so what we're talking about is really making that health care affordable. And I'm committed to do that.

CAMEROTA: House Speaker Paul Ryan was quite bullish yesterday. He said, oh, this will get 218 votes. Are you as confident?

MEADOWS: I think his quote was is when it's brought to the floor it will get 218 votes. There is not 218 votes today. We had a meeting last night, and I can tell you I don't know there's 218 votes of consensus around any bill today. But certainly when anything is brought to the floor, he'll do his whip count and make sure that he has 218. But today is not that day.

CAMEROTA: President Trump used colorful language. He said that it would be a bloodbath in 2018 if this repeal and replace does not happen.

MEADOWS: Well, I think he's right it will be a bloodbath if we do not repeal it. I heard from people all across the country. My phone has lit up with text messages and e-mails and phone calls saying I can't believe that this is the best we can do. So there will be a bloodbath if we do not repeal it. That was the promise we made.

CAMEROTA: He said repeal and replace. The president said repeal and replace. So you're focused on repeal. But there has to be replacement, yes?

MEADOWS: I want to be clear -- I want to be clear, Alisyn, from day one, we have been very clear on repeal and replacement, but looking at them in two separate vehicles. We agree that you have to have a replacement plan. I signed on to a replacement plan last year.

But as we look at that, yes, it's critically important we have a replacement plan. We're going to do that, and yet at the same time, the tactic, the strategy on how you get there, there's not 218 votes for the bill that was rolled out yesterday without major modifications.

But we're hearing from the administration that this is a work in progress. That they're ready to and willing to amend and make it better for the American people, and we're a willing participant in that and looking forward to getting to a yes.

CAMEROTA: Congressman Mark Meadows, thank you for coming on with your perspective. Nice to talk to you.

MEADOWS: Thank you. CAMEROTA: Chris?

CUOMO: All right. So, what about the Democrats? What are they going to do with there new health care plan? Democratic Congresswoman Linda Sanchez joins us to give us her take, next.



TRUMP: It's a great bill. I really believe we're going to have tremendous support.


CUOMO: Hasn't happened yet. There are certainly some challenges to this early phase coming from Republicans. They have problems in the House. Who knows what happens in the Senate?

But it is a starting point to change the current the American Health Act. So, the Affordable Health Act.

[08:20:01] So, let's get the view of the other side of the aisle, the Democrats. We have Democratic Congresswoman Linda Sanchez. She's a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Now, when you look at this plan, I do see what you guys are complaining about in terms of overall coverage, that's being ducked by the right so far. But there are a couple of counter allegations. One is, a lot of people can't get coverage right now with the ACA, and with their current plan, young people, middle income people, about $40,000, $50,000, they're going to do better potentially under this new plan.

What do you say to those pluses?

REP. LINDA SANCHEZ (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, for younger people or middle income people, once you get sick, your out-of-pocket costs are going to be much higher than they are now. Those are things like the co-pays that you pay to visit your doctor. And pretty much what you see with this plan is, less people will be covered, at least 10 million people less, possibly more.

You're going to say a bigger hit for seniors. That's why AARP has come out against the bill. You're going to see uncompensated care rise again at alarming rates. That's why the American Hospital Association is opposed to this bill.

There are just so many nasty little provisions embedded in the bill that are going to make people pay more, and it's going to give them much less.

So overall, it's a prescription for disaster for working families, for working families that are struggling, for seniors, for women. There are no guarantees against gender discrimination. So, it's really not a viable replacement plan. I say let's go back to ACA and let's fix some of the provisions that

are problematic, instead of scrapping the whole thing and replacing it with a far inferior plan.

CUOMO: But I want to get into some of the things you said. But as one political question, right now, the word is unanimously that you guys aren't working with Republicans on this. No matter which faction I talk to, when I ask if they're getting any buy-in from you guy, they say no, the Democrats have been told not to work with us at this point.

Is that a realistic solution for you guys? You don't have the numbers. The ACA does have its problems. Shouldn't you be working with the other side right now to fix some of these things rather than stay back and just criticizing it?

SANCHEZ: You know, it's funny that they say we're not working with them. We've never been allowed to be in any of the discussions. We weren't allowed to see the bill until yesterday when they presented it publicly. Nobody has ever asked the Democrats, anybody in the Democratic Party to sit down and work on this bill.

So, it's kind of a false claim that, you know, we don't want to work with them. We've never been allowed. We've never had a seat at the table. They control everything and they act as if, you know, we're immaterial to proceeding with this.

We have amendments. We're marking it up in my committee today, Ways and Means. Democrats have amendments to try to improve the bill. We are going to try to do what we can, but over all, the bill is fundamentally flawed.

Not even Republicans agree on the bill that's been presented. I think it's just a disaster.

CUOMO: Well, a lot of Republicans don't agree because they don't think it goes far enough. They want Medicaid expansion out altogether and they want to replace it with what they see as more choice and freedom for states and individuals.

One of the things we just heard from Congressman Mark Meadows I want your take on. He was asked about, you know, how the poor are going to do here. Are they going to have the same level of coverage and the same numbers will be covered as of right now?

And he said, you know, there's a federal law that says everybody gets coverage, and all you have to do is go to a hospital and you must get care. Now, is that what qualifies as care going to an emergency room in your opinion?

SANCHEZ: No. What the Affordable Care Act did was reduced uncompensated care, because by expanding coverage to 20 million people that never had health insurance, they didn't have to wait until they were so sick that they walked into the emergency room and got their care there which, by the way, is the most expensive point of entry in the health care system. Instead, what ACA did was it increased coverage so people could go for

routine office visits and preventive care visits at no cost. And this bill doesn't do that. It increases costs, again, on middle class families, working families, working families that are struggling.

You know what it does? It's a huge tax giveaway to some of the wealthiest Americans in this country. It makes people pay more for their health care so insurance companies CEOs can get a tax break, so that the wealthiest 400 families in this country can get a tax break, so that pharmaceutical companies can get a tax break.

You know, President Trump ran on helping the working class families in this country. And this is a huge tax giveaway.

And, by the way, the Republicans presented this bill and were marking it up without getting a score from CBO about what it would cost or how many people would lose coverage. How insane is that to present a bill and already start moving on marking it up before you have the basic fundamental questions of answered of what is it going to cost and how many people would be covered?

[08:25:09] Because President Trump promised on the campaign trail that coverage would be great, it wouldn't diminish under this plan from ACA, and that it was going to cost less and be better health coverage.

And quite frankly, it's just not. There's no way they can get around the fact that this bill does not cover as many people as the ACA covered, does not provide the quality health care and the consumer protections, they can't make those allegations. That will come out in the markups today because we're going to be going through these bills with a very fine-tooth comb.

CUOMO: All right. Linda Sanchez, thank you very much. This is just a starting point. Let's see what your side comes out with, what the other side comes out with and whether or not you're all willing to work together to get something for the American people. Thanks for being on NEW DAY.

SANCHEZ: My pleasure. Thank you.

CUOMO: Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: OK. Another campaign promise, President Trump's border wall. What do people who live on the border say about that wall? Our Van Jones went there to get "THE MESSY TRUTH," and he joins us next.