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Lawmakers Demand Evidence of Trump's Wiretap Claim; Trump Adviser Suggests Wider Surveillance of His Campaign; GOP Battles Over Healthcare; Winter Storm Expected to be Heavy. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired March 13, 2017 - 07:00   ET


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Congressman.


[07:00:05] HARLOW: All right. Thank you to our international viewers for watching this morning. For you, "CNN NEWSROOM" is next. For our viewers here in the United States, NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump has to provide the American people with evidence.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: We're going to have an open hearing. We're going to be able to ask, is there any truth to this?

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO DONALD TRUMP: The president has asked for the investigation into surveillance to be included.

JOE JOHNS, CNN ANCHOR: Former campaign adviser Roger Stone admits to a private Twitter exchange between him and Guccifer 2.0.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is undercutting the Trump agenda.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Five to 10 million people are going to have no health insurance.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I can't answer that question.

REP. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Do you want I hear from Paul Ryan? His way or the highway.

RYAN: We're not going to make an American do what they don't want to do. You get it if you want it. That's freedom.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Legal challenges to President Trump's revised travel ban mounting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our biggest objections to the new executive order is that it's still like the first.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. Alisyn is off. Poppy Harlow joining us. Thanks, as always.

HARLOW: Good to be here.

CUOMO: Appreciate it.

All right. Up first, lawmakers demanding evidence of President Trump's claim that he was wiretapped by his predecessor. Republican Senator John McCain calling on the president to prove his claim. Remember, he's a phone call away from the answer, President Trump. McCain says prove it or retract it.

HARLOW: All right. So the House Intelligence Committee is giving the Justice Department a deadline of today -- today -- to provide any evidence of this wiretapping claim by the president.

Now an adviser to President Trump suggests -- and really says outright -- there is more than just wiretapping of Trump Tower, the Trump campaign. What was Kellyanne Conway talking about there? This as we're 50 days into the Trump presidency.

Let's begin this hour with Joe Johns at the White House with the latest.

Good morning.

JOHNS: Good morning, Poppy. It's coming to a head this morning, all the doubt and skepticism that the Department of Justice is going to be able to come up with anything responsive to this request, especially when you have people like a former director of national intelligence on the record, denying the president's assertion.

Still this moment is important because of how it could affect President Trump's credibility going down the road.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The president has one of two choices. Either retract or to provide the information that the American people deserve.

JOHNS (voice-over): Pressure mounting for President Trump to provide proof of his unsubstantiated claim that former President Obama wiretapped phones at Trump Tower during last year's election.

MCCAIN: I have no reason to believe that the charge is true, but I also believe that the president of the United States could clear this up in a minute.

JOHNS: And now one of the president's top advisers alluding to alleged monitoring that she says may have involved more than wiretapping. CONWAY: There was an article this week that talked about how you can

surveil someone through their phones, through their -- certainly through their television sets, any number of different ways. And microwaves that turn into cameras, et cetera.

What the president has asked is for the investigation into surveillance to be included.

JOHNS: All of this as the House Intelligence Committee is calling on the Justice Department to present evidence today to substantiate the president's wiretapping claim.

SCHIFF: I don't expect we're going to see any evidence. Either the president quite deliberately, for some reason, made up this charge, or perhaps more disturbing, the president really believes this.

JOHNS: The committee has also been looking into possible ties between Trump's campaign and Russia, as former campaign advisor and longtime confidant Roger Stone admits to a private Twitter exchange between him and Guccifer 2.0, the hacker who claimed responsibility for breaching the Democratic National Committee's computer network last summer and whom U.S. officials believe is actually a front for Russian military intelligence, a tool used to meddle in last year's election.

Stone telling "The Washington Times" his conversations with the hacker were "innocuous and perfunctory," noting they happened after the DNC was hacked.

It comes as the White House says it was unaware that now-fired national security adviser Michael Flynn was lobbying to help the Turkish government during the U.S. presidential campaign.


JOHNS: Meanwhile, the work goes on here at the White House, we're going to have more of a mile marker in this new administration. The president holds his first cabinet meeting. All but two of his nominees have been confirmed -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Joe.

And every time we want to say that, we'll double down. It's getting a little cliche. We keep saying it. There's no reason to say it. You just saw White House counselor Kellyanne Conway alleging, without evidence, that surveillance of the Trump campaign may be broader than even wiretapping. Take a listen.


[07:05:02] CONWAY: What the president has asked is for the investigation into surveillance to be included in the ongoing investigation the House and Senate Intelligence Committees are already doing. And that's actually good they've agreed to do that. And I think that's smart, and here's why.

What is the existing investigation about? It's about the campaign's connection to Russia.

And by the way, Director Clapper, Jim Clapper, who worked for President Obama, was on television a week ago Sunday. And he was being asked about the wiretapping.


CONWAY: And he said no one under his purview. But that leaves a lot of people in a big administration, the Obama administration, but he also clearly said that he had not seen a connection between Russia and the campaign.


CUOMO: All right. Now, the reporter conducting that interview is Mike Kelly, a columnist for "The Bergen Record," and he joins us now.

Good for you with this interview. You got everybody talking this morning. Did you take it in the moment as Kellyanne Conway suggesting that there may be more there? Or do you think that she was just throwing things up into the air of the realm of the possible?

KELLY: I think the latter, Chris. I think she was throwing things up into the realm of the possible.

But here's the problem. This isn't just anybody speaking here. This isn't like you and me at the bar, suggesting that -- you know, that something may be going on here. This is the special counsel to the president, suggesting that something may be going on, so for that reason, I think it's significant.

CUOMO: And what did she make of the idea of the president being the one who can most quickly answer his own question? That he could just pick up the phone and find out about what warrants were in place regarding him or his campaign?

KELLY: That's a very interesting question. What I think is going on here, Chris, is something even deeper.

Obviously, there's the investigation over whether the Russians tried to hack into the -- into the Democratic and Republican national committees. We know about that. In fact, our intelligence services say that that's fairly -- they're fairly certain that that actually happened.

What the White House is suggesting is that there's something more. And what that something more is, we heard from Donald Trump nine days ago, was wiretapping at Trump Tower.

Now we're hearing from Kellyanne Conway that it might be even a greater type of surveillance of some sort. She was not specific. She did not say what she was -- where she came up with this idea. But I think it's significant that the Trump administration is employing the strategy to try to broaden this investigation.

CUOMO: And by broaden, is that a nice way of saying really distraction? Because if they don't have any proof of these allegations, and they are in one way, the best suited to bring proof. Right? Again, the president's just a call away. It seems like it's just a distraction, unless they can't put any meat on the bones.

KELLY: Well, that's the real debate here, Chris. I mean, what we've been talking about is, is this real or is it just smoke and mirrors? And here we are, you know. We're in the second week of this debate, and we still don't really have a firm picture of that.

So yesterday when I sat down with Kellyanne Conway, really talking about a wide variety of issues when she started to talk about this, I was -- you know, I don't think this was just a kind of flighty comment. I think that this is a -- is a serious strategy on the part of the Trump administration, and you know what I think is also at work here, Chris, something also deeper here. There is an enormous disdain within the Trump administration. You probably picked this up yourself, that they don't feel accepted by the Democrats. That there's still a lot of pushback over the fact that Hillary Clinton lost this election.

And so what the Trump administration, I think, is throwing up here is these variety of allegations, where they're somehow trying to tarnish the Democrats in any way possible. The issue here, though, however, is do they have any evidence for that? And I think -- and I think that's still a major question.

CUOMO: Well, you know, it's interesting. You used the word earlier, you know, "strategy, tactics." I mean, what's your take on that tactic of saying every time the Democrats criticize them to have Kellyanne or someone from the administration saying, "This is sour grapes, essentially." And they seem to say that about everything that comes up that's negative for the administration as a whole.

KELLY: That's right. That's right. Well, Chris, there is sour grapes. Let's be honest. I spent a fair amount of time talking to Democrats, as well. They're -- they're sour over the fact that Hillary Clinton lost this election.

How that will work out, I think, and whether these two sides can come together and basically accept each other is going to really, I think, play into how this government -- how effective this government is. But for now, I think the strategy is fairly obvious. Both sides are trying to diminish the other and try to delegitimize the other.

And so what I think you have here reflected in Kellyanne Conway's comments is a pushback against what they believe to be the Democrats' strategy to delegitimize the Trump administration.

[07:10:10] CUOMO: You have the material difference between, let's say, what we saw when Obama became president, right? There was obviously sour grapes there, as well. You saw the birther movement come as a result.

This is different this time. And no small irony, Trump was such a big part of the birther movement. You have Republicans asking a lot of these same questions. You have an FBI and two different, three different congressional inquiries of a lot of these same things as Democrats are talking about. It seems to play as a little bit more than sour grapes, no?

KELLY: Right. I think -- I think you're right, Chris. This is -- this is the big hurt (Ph).

But significant here is that we're not talking about somebody's birth certificate. We're talking about an attempt by a foreign government to hack into the basic process of the American democracy, which is the election.

And then beyond that, we have a president saying that a former president wiretapped him. This isn't -- this isn't just some sort of "Mission: Impossible" movie that we can go watch, you know, to get away from it all. This is -- this is playing out in real time. And this is the -- as I detected yesterday, in my lengthy interview with Kellyanne Conway, a real strategy, I think, on the part of the Trump administration as a way of pushing back on what they believe to be the Democrats' attempt to delegitimize them.

CUOMO: It's definitely got us talking. No question about that, in large part thanks to you, Mr. Mike Kelly. Thank you for letting us use the interview and for coming on this morning. Appreciate it.

KELLY: Sure Chris, any time. Take care.

CUOMO: Be well.

So what are Republicans on the Hill think of this as they wait for evidence on the president's wiretap claim? Joining us now is one of them, Congressman Chris Stewart of Utah, a member of the House Intel Committee. It's more than wiretapping. It could involve microwaves. That's what Kellyanne Conway says. Do you put some faith in that suggestion?

REP. CHRIS STEWART (R), UTAH: Well, I think this whole conversation is a good example of why we need to have a serious investigation that deals with the serious issues, but there's other speculations and comments here and there that, you know, I can't comment on those, guys. I can't even keep up with them all the time.

But there are serious questions, fundamental questions that deals not only with potential wiretapping. I mean, the original conversation was, "Did the Russians interfere with our election? How did they interfere? How did the United States government respond to that?"

Remember, a couple of weeks ago, we were talking about what is clearly illegal wiretapping -- I'm sorry, illegal leaking of some of these very classified and very sensitive pieces of information. That's an important question, as well. There's a lot of things for us on the committee that we want to get to the bottom of and really understand better than we do now.

CUOMO: One quick point of clarification. You said in there whether or not Russia tried to interfere in the election. The intelligence community put out a consensus report, saying they know that Russia did hack during the election in order to disrupt the election. Are you questioning whether or not that happened?

STEWART: No, no. Not at all. Not at all.


STEWART: In fact, I was in Moscow last summer in August, and I came home and I said on multiple occasions that time, they're going to try to interfere with our election.

CUOMO: Right.

STEWART: We started holding hearings on this in September. This is something we've been aware of and very concerned about for really several months now.

CUOMO: And when we talk about, well, you know, it's hard to keep track of it, do you agree that the president of the United States is a phone call away from substantiating his own claims if he wanted to and, in light of the fact that he apparently has not, why don't you question these wiretapping claims as whether or not they're just a tactical distraction?

STEWART: For the same reason that I don't question every -- every presumption made or every accusation made. We've had for several months now people saying that there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, Russian intelligence agencies. We don't know that yet. I think that's something that we should understand, as well.

STEWART: You're right though the president could release this information. In fact, a committee has asked for this, as well as other evidence to be released. And we're hoping that that evidence would be released before our first public hearing next -- next week.

It's important for the American people to know. And whether it's true or not -- I mean, if we come back and say, yes, this is true. They deserve to know that. If, on the other hand, we come back and say, "No, there's no evidence to support that," then they deserve to know that, as well. Either way, we want to get to the bottom of this. We want to answer these questions and tell the American people.

CUOMO: One point of curiosity is whether or not you see the wiretapping claim as equal to others that are under your basis of analysis right now.

STEWART: Well, we don't know, because we don't know whether this or any of the other claims are true.

CUOMO: Do you really -- do you really see it on even par, when you have the president come out of this with a tweet and says he just learned, and there's speculation as to where he got it, from some fringe media groups? And he has the ability to make a phone call and get you answer, after accusing a former president of a felony and calling him bad or sick? Do you see that as the same as these known contacts between his staffers and Russia? [07:15:08] STEWART: Well, there's other things. Here's the thing

that I would think I would put in priority, and that is what we know happened; and that is there were illegal leaks of very, very sensitive information. Information that reveals some of our methods. Information that reveals some of the tactics. I think if I were to put it as a priority, which I think is most important.

I would say that's one of them now, because we know that illegal activity took place. After that, you had various accusations. And we should look into those once again. It's hard for me to say this one is more important than that one. I think they're all equally important, and American people deserve answers to all of them.

CUOMO: I hear you that people deserve answers, but I don't think that all speculation is created equally. Right? I mean, if you want to talk about the leaks, of course, you do. Leaking has nothing to do with wiretaps. The wiretaps have only come from one place, the president in a series of tweets. There's been no other allegation made in that regard that I know of.

Can you put any more meat on the bones? Has any investigative agency raised it? Has any credible lawmaker brought it up, independent of what the president said?

STEWART: I think you and I really agree on this, and that is that we have the president of the United States making a very serious accusation against the former president of the United States. I think that's a very, very important issue. And it's something that we, again, have asked for the president to release any information regarding that and to do it and to declassify that as quickly as he can.

Once again, hopefully, by our public hearing next week, just as we have asked for other evidence to be declassified so that we can bring it before the American people and actually explain it to them and tell them what we know at this point.

CUOMO: Well, as you know, the president could declassify it immediately. He has that authority. In fact, nobody has more authority to declassify than he does. So if he wanted to do that, he could have, and if it was so important for him to accuse it, why wouldn't he prove it himself? And yet, it's getting equal weight by you guys in the committee. That's going to be a continuing question.

Let me ask you about something else. Do you believe that you will get a vote to the Senate on the Obamacare replacement bill next week. Do you think you can get through the House that quickly?

STEWART: Yes, I actually do. And I know that may be contrary to a lot of the public sentiment or public thinking right now. But as a Republican, we campaigned on several very key issues. And one of them, of course, was replacing and improving the American healthcare, replacing the ACA and giving people access and giving them greater -- greater access and hopefully drive down the cost now.

Gosh, I don't know how you can be the Republican who goes back home and votes against that. Now, the bills that currently exist think they can be improved on. I understand why some people have some concerns, but at the end of the day I really believe we're going to get this done.

CUOMO: Do you believe -- this is the $64,000 question that we have a hard time getting members of your party to answer. Do you believe that people are going to lose coverage under this plan when the CBO score comes out?

STEWART: Well, we don't know yet, because once again, the CBO score hasn't come out. And I would also add that oftentimes, a CBO score has run. Look how they scored Obamacare.

CUOMO: They were right about certain parts, and they were wrong about certain parts.

STEWART: Exactly. And see, so it's hard for me to speculate on a score that we don't have, and then I think we want to look at the analysis and say do we think they're accurate? Generally speaking there's this. The former president and administration compelled people to buy healthcare coverage that they couldn't afford.

We hope to drive down the costs so that more and more people choose and can afford healthcare. Now how the numbers play out with the CBO, we'll see and maybe comment on that at that time, but until we see this, it's hard to comment on it.

CUOMO: Congressman Stewart, appreciate you being on NEW DAY, as always. Be well.

STEWART: Good day to you.

HARLOW: All right. Weather, more than 100 million people right now all up and down the East Coast under a winter storm watch and warnings ahead of this potentially historic March blizzard. The winter weather already leaving its mark. Take a look. Some pictures of upstate New York on Sunday. This is a home near Rochester, frozen, frozen, frozen from the moisture of that lake effect snow off Lake Ontario.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers with us with the latest forecast with his boots ready to put them out. Ready to head out there?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Ready for tomorrow. It gets here at 2 a.m. in the morning, Poppy, and then it snows until about 8 a.m. in the morning. We'll get about three or four on the ground. That's going to be outside. And it's going to continue to snow.

Blizzard warnings across parts of the northeast and blizzard watches even on up toward Boston. We're not going not get as much snow on the cape. We're going to get -- just significant mixing, with rain and snow mixing in. The snow starts in New York City. It's already snowing in D.C. by this time tomorrow morning, snowing heavily in New York right now, 8 a.m.

There could be some thunder snow with this. This is a volatile system. Could put one to two inches of snow on the ground every hour for many hours and then by Wednesday it's completely gone. The winds are still going to be involved, where it will be completely gone.

[07:20:06] People saying, "Is this going to be a miss?" The National Weather Service says the least we're going to get here in New York City is 11. The least Bridgeport, 10. The most New York City could get is 23. That is not a miss to me, Chris.

The most you could get here in Boston, about 25, 23. The least around 9. That's not a miss either.

Look at Bedford at 24 inches potential, if it's all snow. Now there's some potential, Chris, that it mixes in with a little bit of either wet snow or rain that keeps your numbers down. Still as much potential but not as much total piling up.

CUOMO: All right. I like a little sliver of hope there, but I'll be seeing you in those furry boots...


CUOMO: ... soon enough.

New accusations from Kellyanne Conway about surveillance at Trump Tower. What do Democrats have to say about it? Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut joins us next.


HARLOW: So White House counselor Kellyanne Conway is making a new accusation without any evidence, about surveillance of now-President Trump during the campaign. Listen to what she said.


CONWAY: There are many ways to surveil each other now, unfortunately.

KELLY: Do you believe that was...

CONWAY: There was an article this week that talked about how you can surveil someone through their phones, through their -- certainly through their television sets. Any number of different ways and microwaves that turn into cameras, et cetera. So we know that that is just a fact of modern life.

KELLY: Sure.


HARLOW: All right. How do Democrats feel about that accusation, again, made without any evidence? Let's talk to Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

Nice to have you on. Your reaction to that this morning? She said it's a fact of modern life. It is indeed. The Internet of things allows us to hack into things. But making the connection to surveilling the Trump campaign? You say? [07:25:16] SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: I say that this is all

an intentional strategy, right? When the news starts to get bad for the Trump administration they, you know, very intentionally and consistently try to say something outrages, put it out there on the transom so that everybody picks it up and stops covering the bad news for the administration. Right?

HARLOW: What bad news are you talking about? Are you talking about the new polling, Rasmussen, out that shows that his numbers are going way down?

MURPHY: His numbers are going down. The healthcare bill is imploding in the House and the Senate. A new poll, a new study suggests that 50 million people are people going to lose coverage. Last week you were getting closer every day to the truth on the connection is between the Trump campaign and Russia. There's a lot of bad news swirling around this administration, so they want to blow that.

HARLOW: Just to be clear you say the truth -- again, there has been no collusion proved at all between the campaign and the Russian hack. We're going to learn more with the Intelligence Committee hearings starting next Monday.

But, you know, his poll numbers have started going down in these daily tracking polls since he made the wiretapping claims. So it seems counterintuitive to double down on something like that.

MURPHY: I think his poll numbers are going to go up and down, and I don't know that you can attribute one to the other. But, you know, what we do know is that when I say truth, I say that we are learning new things every week. Right?

The Trump campaign said for a long time that they had nothing to do with the change of the Republican convention. The insertion of pro- Russian language into the platform. We now know that they, in fact, directed it, that it might have come from Trump himself.

So I don't know...

HARLOW: There is no evidence to show that. Yes, the platform changed at the RNC, but you're making a connection that isn't proven to be there.

MURPHY: The person that -- the person that did it came out and said that he did it on behalf of Trump, the candidate, right? So listen, I don't know where the truth is. It just seems as if it's shifting every day.

HARLOW: I want to get your take and dive into Obamacare and whatever will replace it, because, you know, clearly Obamacare, as we know it right now, will not be. The question is what's the role of Democrats?

When I look at your state, when I look at Connecticut, the fact is that this year in 2017, the silver plan premium is expected to go up 25 percent. It's going up 116 percent in Arizona. There are parts of this that are not affordable for a number of Americans. Something needs to change. You would give that.

The question is, what should Democrats' role be in changing it? Is this your moment to sit back and criticize? Or do you want to play and should Democrats play a more active role in molding this replacement so that it helps the most Americans?

MURPHY: Well, listen, I've been, you know, very clear all along that we should be working to perfect this law. We passed Medicare, and we passed major changes to it 18 times. Nobody's going to get a rewrite of one-sixth of the economy, right, the first time. And we have plenty of ways in which we think you can do that. Supporting risk corridor supports. So that insurers are more willing to enter these marketplaces, putting the public option as a choice for consumers.

But let's be real about the moment that we're in right now. Republicans have a plan that they are going to rush through in the next few weeks. And so we need to spend our time right now explaining to the American people what a disaster it is and trying to stop it.

HARLOW: Well, that answers my question, because OMB director Mike Mulvaney just said yesterday to Jake Tapper, we encourage the House and the Senate to try and make this bill better. You said on MSNBC on Friday, "Our job right now is to work to show the American public how disastrous it is.

Why is that your job when your senator pays -- your salaries, paid for by the American people? Why is it ever your job to just communicate how disastrous it will be, rather than saying, "Hey, we know this is going to change. Here is the things that I am working with those on the other side of the aisle to make better"?

MURPHY: Because no Republican in leadership has shown any willingness to work with Democrats.

HARLOW: There are actually a number of Republicans, and senators who you know don't love it at all and won't vote for it in this form.

MURPHY: Right.

HARLOW: Isn't there an opening there for you?

MURPHY: No, there's -- right now there is not an opening, because Republicans have crafted this bill in secret. Now, if they want to work with us, they know where we are.

HARLOW: It's all online. People can read it. Less than 100 pages.

MURPHY: Right now, they're trying to rush this bill through, and the American public doesn't understand it, right? So it's my job to explain to the American public that this will kick millions of people off their insurance.

HARLOW: Why is it that the American public doesn't understand it? I mean, it truly is all up online, and people can read it. And it's not nearly as long as the Obamacare bill was. MURPHY: Because -- well, remember the Obamacare bill was debated over

the course of a year, right? The American public are busy, right? They don't have the ability on a week's notice to understand a complicated healthcare bill.

This is being rushed through so that the American people won't understand what's happening here. And I do think it's my responsibility to try to explain to my constituents and to people throughout the country what will happen to their insurance rates, that they will spike if this bill goes into effect, so that we build pressure on Republicans to come and work with Democrats.

Right now, there is not enough pressure on Republicans to truly reach across the aisle, because they think --