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Senator: Comey to Go Public on Trump-Russia Probe; White House Rejects/Embraces CBO Health Care Report; White House, GOP Leaders Making Changes to Health Care Bill. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired March 14, 2017 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:11] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening. Thanks for joining us.

Tonight, we have breaking news on the question of ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. It is a question we know both the House Intelligence and Senate Intelligence Committees are investigating, along with at least three other committees and one subcommittee, and so is the FBI, even though the bureau for months now has refused to publicly confirm it.

Well, tonight, CNN has learned that Director James Comey is about to go on the record.

Manu Raju joins us now with the very latest.

So, what is the headline, what are you learning?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, Anderson, I am told by Senator Sheldon White House of Rhode island that he was told in a private meeting that FBI Director James Comey would assure him and his fellow senator, Senator Lindsey Graham, whether or not there actually is an investigation ongoing into the Donald Trump campaign and those contacts that allegedly occurred with Russian officials during the presidential election.

Now, since they have not confirmed the existence of an investigation. They have actually not even confirmed that with senators. And so, in a private meeting between Graham and White House on March 2nd, James Comey actually would not tell these two senators whether or not there is an investigation ongoing, even though they sit on a Judiciary Subcommittee which is investigating the issue of Russia.

Now, Comey, according to Sheldon Whitehouse, said that he would actually confirm one way or another whether or not that investigation is occurring by this hearing that they are having tomorrow in this Senate Judiciary Subcommittee where they are actually going to be exploring Russia's meddling in the elections and in Eastern European elections as well.

Now, this also comes, Anderson, as both Sheldon Whitehouse and Lindsey Graham have asked for evidence into wiretapping, those claims by President Trump that President Obama ordered wiretaps and surveilled him during the presidential election. And Lindsey Graham says if he does not get a response by tomorrow before that hearing, he told me that he's going to give -- make it a very tough hearing on the Justice Department at that hearing tomorrow on Russia. So, a lot of news could happen tomorrow, especially if James Comey goes public or says this investigation is ongoing. But right now, the FBI has not yet responded to my request for comment, Anderson.

COOPER: And, so, at this stage, lawmakers have not gotten any evidence, which is something Lindsey Graham has asked for. They have not gotten any evidence that President Trump was wiretapped in the order of President Obama.

RAJU: That's absolutely right. And there was a Senate Intelligence Committee briefing, closed door briefing that happened earlier today in which they discussed this issue of Russia. They actually -- members who left that meeting and said, no, they actually have not seen any evidence yet, including Senator Joe Manchin who sits on the committee, Mark Warner told me as he went into the briefing, there is no evidence whatsoever, even though he met with James Comey last week.

Now, one other senator who is demanding some more information is Senator John McCain said it is time for the administration to explain if there is any evidence there.


RAJU: Senator, what's your reaction to the DOJ saying they need time to respond to the president's wiretapping claims?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Well, if they can ascertain it as soon as possible the answer to that because a lot of the Americans need to know if indeed the former president of the United States wiretapped the Trump Towers, that is a violation of law and seriousness. We need to know the answer.

RAJU: If there is no evidence, what is your reaction?

MCCAIN: Well, let's wait and see.

RAJU: Should he apologize to the president?

MCCAIN: Let's wait and see what the results are. I've made very clear that the American people demand an answer, deserve an answer.


RAJU: Now, Anderson, the question is whether or not the FBI or the Justice Department will respond either in a private setting or a public setting. And if they don't respond privately, there are going to be questions that James Comey is going to get at a March 20th House hearing where they are going to be discussing this issue of Russia interference in the election, but also the Senate Intelligence Committee announcing today that they plan to have their own public hearings later this month and Senator Mark Warner, that top Democrat in the committee, also wants to hear from some Trump associates about their contacts with Russian officials including Roger Stone, the former Trump advisor who admitted to some contacts with Russians during the campaign season, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Manu Raju, appreciate that.

Somehow in a blizzard, we've managed to find a panel.

Van Jones has got a "MESSY TRUTH" town hall coming up Thursday night. Former Trump senior communications adviser, Jason Miller, is here, he's now a CNN political commentator. Our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, is here. So is Ryan Lizza, Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker". Democratic strategist Paul Begala joins us. Interestingly, the Congressional Budget Office estimates he might get a flight out of here sometime next week. Also joining us is Matt Lewis, senior columnist at "The Daily Beast".

Ryan, I mean, this is -- is this significant, the fact that tomorrow, we may learn whether or not the FBI is investigating?

[20:05:01] RYAN LIZZA, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORKER: I think it is. And the FBI, Comey has gone from being extremely sort of stingy with any information to Congress to being a lot more forthcoming. Adam Schiff this week has been saying the same thing, that Comey has been more forthcoming. He's not as worried about the FBI cooperation with this investigation.

And look, it's been reported for months now that this investigation exists. It was a serious -- of serious concern to the Clinton campaign, right, during the campaign that director Comey talked publicly about her investigation into her e-mails but would never confirm or talk publicly about the reported investigation into Trump and his connections to Russia.

So, yes, I think this is a big deal. And once he goes public with this, it's going to force the White House to respond as well.

COOPER: And, Gloria, of course, it's still a question about what kind of an investigation it is if in fact there is one.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, if it's limited to the question of Russian hacking or if it goes beyond to some kind of collusion with people in the Trump orbit and the Russians. But also my question is, tomorrow, does Comey answer the question of do you think that Donald Trump has no evidence whatsoever to say that Barack Obama was wiretapping him?

I mean, we got word when this story first surfaced that the FBI wanted the Department of Justice to clear it up, and nothing was forthcoming from the Department of Justice. We heard that Comey was upset about it and that that hadn't occurred. But maybe he'll clear that part of the investigation up tomorrow.

COOPER: Jason, how significant would this be? Obviously, if there is an investigation, it would undercut the White House line that all these stories are based on anonymous sources and it's going to be on the record in this case.

JASON MILLER, FORMER SENIOR COMMUNICATIONS ADVISER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: I look forward to the FBI finally clearing this up. I mean, I think what we're going to find what w, all know, there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and foreign governments or foreign entities.

I mean, this is absolutely ludicrous. It makes no sense. The fact -- I mean, look, the election is over. Donald Trump won. He's now president of the United States.

And it's very clear that there is this effort of folks, whether it's the career bureaucrats or insiders, or maybe people who are upset that their apple cart is getting tipped over. They're still trying to delegitimize this presidency. I think that is a dangerous thing for the country.

But, tomorrow, hopefully, they'll come out and make clear that this is just a whole bunch of nonsense.

COOPER: Van, is that what it is, an attempt to delegitimize his victory?

VAN JONES, CNN HOST, THE MESSY TRUTH: No, it's such a weird thing because I think if the shoe were on the other foot, obviously, people would want to know, did Barack Obama conspire with the Chinese? You guys made up like, you know, Kenyans and Muslims and all kind of stuff.

There's actually real evidence here. And also, it would be a big deal either way, if the FBI comes out said they are not investigating this, I think it would be a huge deal because there is so much evidence and so much concern. If they confirm, then I think you have a very hard time saying that Comey who you guys loved, loved months ago is now somehow up to no good.

COOPER: It's -- there is a danger for Democrats, Paul, that they have kind of gone too far out on a limb on this and there really isn't anything there. There's smoke but there's no fire.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, the smoke is we know that the Russians illegally hacked into the Democratic Party to try to tip the election to Trump. We know that. What we don't know is did Trump or his associates help Putin help Trump. We don't know that yet. That's worthy of an investigation.

I will say, don't bet against Jim Comey. Who else has had major powerful positions from George W. Bush and Barack Obama and now Donald Trump? Now, he's never been willing to confirm any investigation about Trump because Justice Department guidelines for decades said the FBI can't confirm or deny an investigation unless they have to to undermine Hillary's election. That was a big exception Comey created.

So, I'm a person who is deeply distrustful of Mr. Comey. We'll see what he has to say. He needs to know this, I'm sure he does. He's a smart guy.

He's walking into that hearing tomorrow. Sheldon Whitehouse is a senator now, but before that, he was U.S. attorney. He was attorney general of his state. He knows the Justice Department very well. He knows the questions to ask.

And, by the way, Lindsey Graham is a pretty good attorney as well.

COOPER: I mean, Matt, Lindsey Graham said on the record he's going to be tough if they don't come and respond to the questions he's already asked about any alleged allegations, wiretapping by Obama.

MATT LEWIS, SENIOR COLUMNIST, THE DAILY BEAST: Yes, I think in a way this is a return to normalcy. We've had so much happening with -- in the media and leaks and whatnot, and now, you actually have some adults who are serious, know how to be prosecutors coming into a room and maybe actually having some closure. And it would be awesome if that closure were to clear the president.

But, look, I think it's entirely possible there is a scenario where Donald Trump didn't know anything, his campaign didn't know anything, but one of his associates might have been communicating with somebody, and that is going to be very muddy.

[20:10:01] COOPER: But even a confirmation of an investigation, that doesn't mean that might mean nothing more than a confirmation of an investigation. There's no actual end result to it.

LIZZA: Absolutely. He says yes, there is not ongoing investigation. I can't talk any more about it. It would confirm what's been publicly reported, what hopefully give us a lot of information.

If on the other hand he says, no, there's no investigation, there never has been, a lot of us in the media going to --

BEGALA: How could there not be? I mean, how could you not investigate this?


LIZZA: Well it has been reported there is an investigation. If he all of a sudden says, no, none of that is true, we all got this wrong somehow that's a bombshell as well.


BORGER: The question is, would he be able to say what the scope of the investigation is? Is it an investigation purely and narrowly into hacking, and that could then lead to the question of did somebody in Donald Trump's orbit -- were they eavesdropped upon because they were talking to Russians upon whom we were listening, right? Or is he just going to say, there is an investigation and no more?

LIZZA: One other point where this really matters for Democrats is a lot of Democrats want an independent counsel to look into this, right? But they sort of been -- and some Republicans. They sort of hobbled because they don't really know what they want that independent counsel to investigate and they don't know if there is an investigation.

If Comey does confirm that there is an investigation, it gives some parameters about what it's about, that will allow a lot of Democrats to say, OK, that now needs to be put in the hands of an independent counsel.

COOPER: Jason, what if -- I mean, if Comey tomorrow says, look, there is absolutely no evidence that, you know, that the Obama White House was wiretapping President Trump or that the campaign, there was no FISA request, there was -- there's no there-there?

MILLER: Well, I think you have to look at it another way also. What if they come back and say that there was something? I think that's a real concern. I think too many folks in the media and especially the Democratic Party, have been so quick to jump on this, and so quick to attack the president.

The president has been right on a lot of his predictions, whether it'd be sensitive materials on Anthony Weiner's computer, whether it'd be the rise of trade --


BORGER: He could come out there and say, this is what I know, he could call the FBI and say, release the information. I know it.

MILLER: They're going to go through the process and I think --

LIZZA: But, Jason, you just said a second ago there was no investigation. Now you're saying you think he might confirm that Trump was right about the surveillance, which would mean there is an investigation.

MILLER: Well, I'm saying there are a lot of things we don't know and we'll find out tomorrow.

BORGER: But the president knows. That's my point. The president can declassify anything he wants. So, he can call up James Comey or anybody else and say, you know, what, declassify this, why not? Let the American public know that I was -- somebody was listening in on my phone conversations. Why wouldn't he do that?

MILLER: I think ultimately --



JONES: I think part of the thing I think Trump's defenders need to take responsibility for is that if this happened, this is a huge crime committed by Obama against not just Trump, but against our democratic process. You don't handle it with a tweet. You don't throw it out there in this way and create all this hoopla because, guess what? If Trump is right, you've got a whole country to hold together. This is a massive constitutional crisis.

COOPER: He did devote three tweets to it.


JONES: My point is, even if you guys are right, I think that what you're seeing is if this is a precursor to how Donald Trump is going to handle major issues and constitutional crises, you've got real problems. Doesn't it bother you, don't you worry about this? This -- you wouldn't advise him to handle something serious in this way, would you?

MILLER: The president clearly has his own style and I think it's worked for him. He got 306 electoral votes, and Secretary Clinton had a different approach and we see where it got her.


COOPER: In terms of actually being president of the United States, the most important position in the world is, to Van's point, is a tweet, you know, in advance of an Arnold Schwarzenegger tweet, the best way to accuse the former president of the United States one of the greatest crimes any president would have committed?

MILLER: Anderson, the media has attacked the president over and over for his communication style. It is clear that what works for him is going to keep going back to him.

BEGALA: What else worked for him was the Russian hacking.

MILLER: Ooh --

BEGALA: He won in part because he's an extraordinary salesman. I don't take that away from him. He is a terrific salesman and he won, he's legitimately my president.

He was also illegitimately helped by this Russian hack.



BEGALA: Trying to divert -- excuse me, he's trying to divert attention from that by attacking the president, former President Obama, for doing something monstrous, which I don't believe at all. To believe his theory, you have to believe that Barack Obama subverted the Constitution, committed a really outrageous crime to spy on Donald Trump and then took that spy material and hid it, allowed Trump to become president and went off water skiing with Richard Branson. Ooh, very smart.

COOPER: All right. A lot more to talk about.

Next, is the White House trying to have it both ways on the GOP replacement for Obamacare, claiming credit for the benefits but running away from estimates that it could leave 24 million more Americans without insurance? Keeping them honest ahead.

And later, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos on new racially charged remarks from Congressman Steve King, directed to him.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [20:18:47] COOPER: Tonight, keeping them honest -- the White House trying to have it both ways, embracing the Obamacare replacement bill, liking part of the assessment of it from the Congressional Budget Office, but downplaying or outright dismissing another part. The other part is the estimate 24 million people would be uninsured under the House GOP legislation.

The reaction has been intense all day, with moderate House Republicans shying away from the bill, a number of Senate Republicans calling it dead on arrival, Democrats certainly savaging it.

As to the president, he's facing pressure to explain how he squares the CBO projections with his promise of health insurance for everyone.

More on all of it tonight, starting with our Jim Acosta.


REPORTER: President, CBO score, Mr. President, reaction?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a rare moment when President Trump passes up on a chance to speak his mind, but that's what he did when asked about the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analysis of the Republican proposal to replace Obamacare.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This is the American health care act. The president is proud of it.

ACOSTA: The White House is pushing back on the CBO score of the House GOP plan that found 14 million more Americans would be uninsured by next year, 24 million by the year 2026.

As one top GOP source put it, the headlines are terrible.

SPICER: CBO coverage estimates are consistently wrong.

ACOSTA: But the White House did concede scores of Americans, perhaps millions, will be without health insurance if they are no longer mandated to buy it under Obamacare.

[20:20:04] (on camera): Would you concede that there will be some coverage losses, perhaps in the millions, that there will be millions of people who will not have health insurance as a result of what you're doing?

SPICER: Well, again, sure, except you have to look at the current situation.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Press Secretary Sean Spicer tried to explain how the Republican plan satisfies the president's promise to cover every American.

(on camera): The president is OK with --

SPICER: No, he's not. No, no -- right now, they're not getting that. And by giving them more choices at a lower cost, more Americans can either buy health care for their family or themselves, or in a lot of cases for their business without paying the penalty. The system now is not working.

ACOSTA: And even though the White House is rejecting the CBO's predictions on coverage, it seems they do like other parts, like a reduced deficit and reduction in premiums.

SPICER: The CBO is saying just with what we're doing on first prong alone, 10 percent decline in the individual market. That's a significant reduction. That's what we're talking about, bringing costs down and increases choices. That's a big deal right now.

ACOSTA: That cherry-picking of data is low hanging fruit for Democrats.

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: I hear all this hocus-pocus language that they talk about. Well, you're not going to be able to -- we're worried about costs, but then they don't seem like they're that much worried about coverage. And, so, what I'm saying so them is that the American people need coverage.


COOPER: And Jim joins us now.

I understand the White House is working on some changes to the bill. What are you hearing?

ACOSTA: That's right. They are working on changes with Republican leaders on this current bill. If you need to add to your Washington jargon, it's a so-called "manager's amendment". But I talked to a Republican source involved in the process earlier this evening, Anderson, who said the manager's amendments are typical with any bill of this size and that at this point, it's not envisioned that they are going to have major changes made to this piece of legislation.

But if you're listening to the hand wringing up on Capitol Hill among Republicans, they are talking about coverage right now, not covering Americans, but covering their rear ends in case all this blows up in their faces.

But no question about it, Anderson, if they want to get it out of the House at this point, a lot of Republicans are saying privately they're going to need changes to this bill -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Jim Acosta, thanks.

Now, we'll look at more on the political side effects as it were, which some in the Republican Party where it could be fatal.

Our Phil Mattingly joins us now with the latest from Capitol Hill.

So, Jim Acosta was just saying that the White House working with Republican leaders trying to make some changes. What are your sources telling you about that effort? PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the process

hasn't been helpful. Look, if you track back, Anderson, when I talked to senior GOP leadership officials, they say the White House was on board with the bill as-is. The White House was on board with the strategy that included not making major changes going forward.

Every time the president tells conservatives, this is up for negotiation, every time the press secretary stands in front of reporters and says there could be major changes, that undercuts this effort entirely.

I think there is a lot of concern inside GOP leadership circles now what the White House is doing is not actually helping the process at all. In fact, it's making their job difficult. I think Jim kind of hit on the crucial point here. As it currently stands, House Republican leaders even as much as their conference remains unsettled, are not planning major changes to the bill.

And every single time the White House says the opposite, that creates more problems as they try and wrangle votes, Anderson.

COOPER: So, what would Republican leaders like to see from the White House to get this bill passed?

MATTINGLY: Sell, that's what they want. They don't just want individuals coming up to Capitol Hill and meeting with leaders. They want the president himself really starting to bring the hammer down.

Now, he's traveling tomorrow. He's going to have a rally in Nashville on health care. Those types of events are helpful, but the reality remains when I talk to GOP sources, that the president is going to have to come down hard, particularly on conservatives, conservatives where he's very popular in his district.

At some point, he's going to have to layout an ultimatum, these sources say. It can't be glad-handing. It can't pizza parties and bowling. He has to tell the members that it's time to get in line. Short of that, there's no question they'll be short of the votes, Anderson.

COOPER: We've been listening to conservative concerns about the bill. What are your sources telling you what it might actually look like in the right place?

MATTINGLY: Well, I think what I'm hearing a lot of right now is the focus obviously has been a lot on conservatives and for good reason. They've been the most boisterous about their concerns. But the real concern up here, especially amongst House leaders, is the moderates.

And I think if you look at the coverage number, if you look at some of the issues that the conservatives are picking on right now, if those issues start to move, if some of those changes that White House officials say they are open to actually come to be, those moderates start to leave in mass, and the reason is pretty simple, Anderson -- politics. These are the individuals that actually serve to lose their races in these swing districts if these major changes are made. If this coverage -- concerns about the coverage numbers are not

assuaged at any point, and I think that's more than anything else why you see Republican leaders telling the White House, look, you need to stay unified with us. You can't go off and freelance here because those are the members that in the end, they believe will be the hardest to bring around, Anderson.

[20:25:06] COOPER: Yes, Phil Mattingly, thanks very much for that.

Now back with the panel.

I mean, you have the White House obviously pushing back on the CBO report, but really, only kind of part of it. They sort of embrace other aspects of it.

BORGER: Well, sure. They like the deficit reduction part of it because it reduces the deficit $337 billion over ten years. But much of that comes from the cutbacks in Medicaid to the states. And that's what the moderates are upset about.

And I just have to ask a question after listening to Phil. What -- if you're a Republican House moderate, why would you go out on a limb and vote for this bill if you know it's going to get changed in the Senate, and then you'll be on the record voting for something that is unpopular in your district? And Mitch McConnell in the Senate has already said, you know, we're going to -- this isn't going to be the final bill.

So, unless they can get together on what they're going to do, the House members who have to go first on this are going to say, wait a minute, why am I going to walk the plank for you guys in the Senate to change things?

LEWIS: Conservatives are -- today was actually a big day, sort of under the radar, conservatives starting to really move against this bill. You saw -- we've seen Breitbart for a couple days, Rush Limbaugh now speaking out. Eric Bolling on FOX News saying this is not good. Chris Ruddy, the Newsmax guy, says, we should need a more populist plan.

Conservatives are really walking way from this.

COOPER: You have Tom Cotton saying, essentially, there is no sort of three-stage plan. It's just spin.

LEWIS: Right. And actually, Tom Cotton, bona fide conservative, U.S. senator from Arkansas, doesn't like this at all.

I think Donald Trump has to make a decision. It's either needs to be cut and run, abandon this, sell out Paul Ryan, or stay and fight. But he has to decide because --

COOPER: When you say fight, back the current --

LEWIS: Push those Republicans. Here's what you have to say. Go to those conservative members of Congress and say, you ran on this for the last six years. You said you wanted to repeal Obamacare. You promised you were going to repeal Obamacare. This is your chance.

If you don't do it, I'm going to campaign in your district and I'm going to tell all of your constituents that you lied to them.

COOPER: Jason, what should the president do?

MILLER: Well, I'm continually bewildered how the Republican Party didn't have a bill. This is -- as someone who has helped elect a lot of these conservatives and a lot of these Republicans, I look at them like, what have you guys been doing?

I think there are a couple things. Number one, I was really glad to hear some of these -- an openness to potentially making some changes, that there might be a manager's amendment, which is little inside baseball, way to go to clean this up.

There are several things we need to do if we're going to see success with this bill. Number one, have to do a much better job of making it clear to the American people or reminding the American people, this bill is heading off -- Obamacare itself is heading off a cliff. Look at the way the rates are going up. You look at the --

COOPER: The White House has been hammering that message, Sean Spicer.

MILLER: But still, I think what people don't realize is the urgency that we need to act here. I think the second part that we need to do is make sure it is clear how people are going to benefit and how they're going to be helped by passing this particular piece of legislation.

And the third and final piece is this is the time, now we've seen what the Hill has been able to come up with, with Ryancare or whatever you want to call the bill so far. This is the time when the president needs to engage and say he's the negotiator-in-chief. If we're going to save this thing, it's going to --


COOPER: I think Van prepares the term "Trumpcare", I'm not sure.


JONES: A couple things here. This is the most important part of the overall drama because up until now, Trump has been able to say, I am the deal maker. I know how to make deals. Nobody makes better deals than me.

And so far, he's made every mistake you can possibly make in trying to put this thing together. He's negotiating against himself. He says -- he moves in one direction, instead goes another. He's actually undermining his own position and his partners.

And so, if you watch this closely, it may turn out that he hasn't read his own book. He doesn't actually know how to negotiate. He knows how to blow gate but not negotiate.

COOPER: We're going to take a quick break. We're going to have more with the panel on the subject. Much more to talk about.

Have Republicans promised too much on health care and which voters stand to lose the most under the GOP bill or gain the most?

We'll be right back.


[20:33:11] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Well, again, our breaking news, the Republican healthcare bill the White House is already working with GOP leaders to try to make some changes to the bill before it comes up for vote in the House. President Trump as you know has made a lot of promises on healthcare, first in the campaign trail and also since taking office. Take a look.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) U.S. PRESIDENT: We're going to absolutely terminate and replace Obamacare. It's going to be replaced with something that's going to be terrific and a lot less expensive and much better coverage, OK?

I'm not going to leave the lower 20 percent that can't afford insurance. Everybody's got to be covered. This is an un-Republican thing for me to say.

I want to take care of everybody. You know, you have a group of people that aren't able to take care of themselves.

We have to take care of people that can't take care of themselves and I will do that through a different system.

I don't care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody is going to be taken care of much better than they taking care of now.


COOPER: Everybody is going to be taken care of. Back with the panel. Can he live, though, I mean have they overpromised on this?

RYAN LIZZA, THE NEW YORKER WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: I think he would happen is he let Paul Ryan write the bill and the people that voted for Trump are the losers in the Paul Ryan bill, right? If you are poor, white, rural, older American, you're getting less assistance from the government to buy health insurance on the individual market in this bill and --

COOPER: Because there's not the subsidies that --

LIZZA: -- not as generous as in Obamacare. Or if you're just over the poverty line and in one of the states where they expanded Medicaid, you could lose that.

And so, just I logically -- you listen to those clips. Trump on sort of the welfare state has a very different view than sort of the neo- libertarians in the Republican Party and what's so interesting is he has a faction in the White House who are nationalist populist and have a different view of the Paul Ryan and the party. This health care bill does not represent that view. This is the Ryan wing of the party, not the Trump wing.



LEWIS: It's not just that they don't like each other at all. But they actually have completely different world views. I mean Paul Ryan believes in like a Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp philosophy, and, you know, you could argue that - what the Bannon/Trump wing is kind of, I mean it's liberal. It's --

[20:35:14] LIZZA: But they have not walkthrough what an alternative healthcare bill would be. That's the problem.


PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Show me what the Breitbart --



BEGALA: It would be is --


BEGALA: -- populist and what this bill is not is populist. But what -- I think Trump understand that he's doing it. Certainly Bannon understand.

Trump got elected by the white working class, an older white working class as you point out. Those guys get hammered by this bill. Bloomberg looked at which counties get more and which get less. By three to one counties that voted for Hillary get more. Why? Because there's a $600 billion tax cut in there that only applies to the richest Americans.


LEWIS: Which raises the question if this thing starts to go south, why would Donald Trump go down with it? This is not -- this is off brand for him.


COOPER: One of the things that Donald Trump has been so brilliant about during the campaign is understanding his message, understanding who his voters are and speaking to them when other people weren't. Hillary Clinton certainly wasn't the same way the Donald Trump was to the point that Paul was making that and Ryan that this is Paul Ryan's plan and he's not speaking to chose voters. JASON MILLER, FORMER SR. COMMUNICATIONS ADVISER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Well, I think one of things go back to some I said a month ago where we need to be focusing on the choice and the competition aspect of this to create more health care opportunities for people.

The president, when he was running in the campaign, talked about being able to buy insurance across state lines, talked about small businesses being able to pull together, talked about expanded HSAs. Now I know that the folks on Capitol Hill are saying that because of the reconciliation process, the current mechanism, they can't do it.

Look, if I were at the White House, if I would advising the president, I would say load it up on the same day, you ran on this, you have a mandate, put it to the Democrats, especially Democrats up in 2018, make them take this vote because this is something the president won on and let's go and watch the Democrats sweat a little bit.

COOPER: I mean Democrats right now are just kind of standing by watching this whole thing.

JONES: Well, yeah. It's kind of, you know -- strategically -- here's what I noticed during the campaign was that Trump would do these things where he would stick up for poor people, he would stick up for the needs of people, even stuck up for Planned Parenthood, people forget that, and while he was doing that, those of us who are, you know, very attentive to what was going on in the based of society the heart land (ph) said, this particular mix is working.

I don't think the people in Washington, D.C., who are in the Republican Party, hooray, hooray, we now have all these majorities, understand how they got those majorities.


JONES: They didn't get those majorities based on a Paul Ryan world view, whatever his positive points are. That wasn't what won. And so, what you now have is a guy who has a philosophy when he remembers it that actually is for the little folks with a bill that's not for little folks. And that's not going to work.

BORGER: And so the question is, maybe Jason you can answer this is, if the president for universal health care and Ryan's bill is for universal access in some way, shape, or form to health care, the president wants to guarantee health care to everybody, he says it's not going to be popular but that's what I'm going to do. What does he do then? You know, doesn't he go -- if -- he doesn't love Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan doesn't love Donald Trump. We know that. So now he's stuck. It's an arranged marriage here and they're stuck with each. And does Trump pull away from Ryan and say, OK, we're starting all over again or does he go down with the ship or does he betray the people who voted for him?

MILLER: No, I think this is where the president steps in and saves this bill and approves it, makes it something that we can go ahead and get through.

BORGER: -- do you think he can do that?

MILLER: I think so. He's the negotiator-in-chief.


MILLER: Of course he can go and get this thing through. But I think -- but again, going back to the point that leaving Obamacare in place as it is isn't an acceptable option. And they're -- see the premiums going up, you see people's access to care -- and this is -- we have to do something about it.


JONES: Opposition is easy.

MILLER: Bill Clinton --

JONES: Proposition is hard. Opposition is easy where Bill Clinton -- everybody else. Proposition is hard. And what you guys are failing to do as a governing party is put forth something you can agree on.

MILLER: Where you're fans.


JONES: -- and you would help us one with to make it work and your party let people, wither on the vine, refused to expand Medicaid, did horrible things to poor people in your own state. So, now you get a chance to governing and governing is hard.

COOPER: All right, we're going to take a break.

Just ahead, I'm talk to Univision Anchor Jorge Ramos about what Iowa Congressman Steve King accused him of while doubling down on his controversial tweets about immigrants.


REP. STEVE KING, (R) IOWA: Jorge Ramos' stock in trade is identify and trying to drive wedges between race.



[20:43:42] COOPER: Iowa Congressman Steve King started his week in a familiar spot at the center of a firestorm that he ignited with controversial remarks started with his tweet saying, "We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies." He then doubled down when the backlash began. He also attacked one of his critics Univision Anchor Jorge Ramos and in doing so managed to make another inflammatory remark. Here's what he told on Iowa radio host.


KING: Jorge Ramos' stock in trade is identifying and trying to drive wedges between race. Race and ethnicity, I should say to be more correct. When you start accentuating the differences, then you end up with people that are at each other's throats. And he's adding up Hispanics and blacks into what he predicts will be in greater number than whites in America. I will predict the Hispanics and blacks will be fighting each other before that happens.


COOPER: What exactly Congressman King meant by Hispanic and black will be fighting each other, well, leave him to explain. But the remarks is only from new (inaudible) on the fire. Jorge Ramos, the target of his latest comment joins me tonight.

Jorge, first of all, I want to get your reaction to Congressman King's comments about you. What's your response essentially saying you're trying to drive a wedge between race and ethnicity?

JORGE RAMOS, UNIVISION ANCHOR: The fact is that this country is changing. This demographic revolution, I call it the Latino way. It is not what I think. It is what is actually happening. The census bureau projected that in 2044 non-Hispanic whites will become a minority. It's not something that I want. It's not something that I decided. That's the way it is.

[20:45:11] COOPER: Congressman says you're celebrating that white people are demographically becoming a majority minority in this country.

RAMOS: Actually what I'm celebrating is the diversity of this country, which I find incredibly beautiful. The essence of the United States is its diversity. The essence is that it's a multicultural, multiethnic, multiracial country created by immigrants. That declaration of independence which we know that all men and women are created equal, it's just fantastic, that's what I'm celebrating, but it's the diversity.

What I'm concerned about is what he's saying and that he might with the support of the White House or some in the White House, he might want to make America white again. That's not the United States that I know, that's not the United States that I celebrate and love.

COOPER: You know, it's interesting because when it comes to the congressman's original tweet that the U.S. can't restore it civilization with someone else's babies, somebody else's babies he said, he's standing by that but amended it as well saying if you can go anywhere in the world and adopt these little babies and put them into households that were already assimilated to America, those babies will grow up as American as any other baby.

Essentially, it's -- I mean, his whole notion it's such a rejection of the belief that immigrants to this country actually add to the culture, that it's not just about, you know, kind of adopting -- that culture is a changing thing and that's actually a positive thing that we learn new things from new people who arrive.

RAMOS: So what can you expect from a member of Congress that once compared immigrants to dogs or who once proposed to electrify the walls between Mexico and the United States? That's exactly what he's saying. And whose babies is he talking about? The United States is already changing.

Before doing this interview I was checking the latest numbers. Right now, Anderson, all the babies being born in the United States right now more than half are minorities.

COOPER: Do you feel he is using sort of code words, code language? I mean because he --

RAMOS: Yeah.

COOPER: -- his original tweet was in support of Geert Wilders in Netherlands is obviously talking very much against Muslim immigration, wants to shut down mosques in the Netherlands.

RAMOS: Those are code word. When he's using culture or civilization, he really means that he wants again America to be white again. He wants to take us back to 1965 when white non-Hispanics were about 85 percent of the population. That's not going to happen anymore. Everything changed after the immigration act of 1965.

COOPER: One of the things he have said last night actually a tweet before his interview was that, he tweeted make western civilization great again, again is that idea of western civilization versus the rest of the world basically.

RAMOS: And also let's just remember. This was never a white country from the beginning. There were Native Americans before the pilgrims came here. Africans came to this country in the 17th century. Spanish was being spoken here before English in 1513. So this has always been a diverse country. And I think that's exactly what we have to celebrate and to protect.

COOPER: Also, I mean the notion of who is American now when you look back when Irish immigrants were coming here in large numbers. I mean there were -- there was a huge movement against Irish immigrants. And now they are, you know, part of -- I mean they are just as American as everybody else who's an American citizen here. So, I mean that -- it's very much how you view what an American is -- I mean that changes over the decades.

RAMOS: Exactly. And, you know, lately, some people don't like the fact that I've been saying that this is our country. It is yours and mine and ours. And when I mean our country, I mean it's Latino, white, African-Americans, natives, Asian.

COOPER: There is a push at least on left to try to attach Congressman King's comments to the president. I mean is that really fair? Because Sean Spicer today at his press conference said, "I think the president believes that this not a point of view that he shares. He believes he is president for all Americans. I'll leave it at that."

RAMOS: I want to hear him tomorrow. I think he's going to giving an interview to Fox News tomorrow. I would like to hear Pres. Trump saying, no I do not agree with Congressman King. I think that would be fantastic. So that's a question for the interviewer.

And on the other hand, we also have to remember that Trump during the campaign made many racist remarks. He criticized Mexican immigrants for being rapists and criminals and drug traffickers and that's absolutely false.

So, if many are making the comparison between Congressman King and Pres. Trump it's precisely for a reason. Something that Trump said actually on June 16th 2015.

[20:50:00] COOPER: Jorge Ramos, always good to talk to you. Thank you.

RAMOS: Thank you.

COOPER: Well, for breaking news coming up next on Pres. Trump's taxes, (inaudible) Pres. Trump's taxes. We'll be right back with that.


COOPER: And the breaking news right now, the White House putting out information on the subject that candidate Trump and Pres. Trump flat out refused to disclose anything about, namely Donald Trump's taxes. Tonight the White House is addressing that subject. Here's Jim Acosta joins us with the very latest. Jim.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, Anderson, that's right. The White House is trying to get ahead of a story that is floating out there right now, it's about to be reported that Pres. Trump back in 2005 paid $38 million in taxes on $150 million in income. There's a report out there that his 2005 tax return was obtained and that's where that information is coming from.

And so, the White House is trying to get ahead of this story, because obviously, the president has refused time and again to release any of his tax returns, but of course it looks like this 2005 return is getting out there. We have obtained over here at CNN but we have obtained a pretty scathing statement from the White House. They are none too pleased about this. Let me read this and put it up on the screen for you. It says, "You know you are desperate for ratings when you are willing to violate the law to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a decade ago. Before being elected president, Mr. Trump was one of the most successful business men in the world with a responsibility to his company, his family and his employees to pay no more tax than legally required. That being said, Mr. Trump paid $38 million dollars even after taking into account large scale depreciation for construction, on an income of more than $150 million dollars, as well as paying tens of millions of dollars in other taxes such as sales and excise taxes and employment taxes and this illegally published return proves just that. Despite this substantial income figure and tax paid, it is totally illegal to steal and publish tax returns. The dishonest media can continue to make this part of their agenda, while the President will focus on his, which includes tax reform that will benefit all Americans." [20:55:54] So Anderson, it does appear that even though the White House did not want this information out there, they didn't obviously want this tax return made public, they're not disputing what's in that 2005 tax return. As a matter of fact, they're trying to get ahead of the story by essentially giving the rest of us some of the pertinent information there.

But this just goes to show you, you and I think this almost escalates the desire of many out there to obtain these tax returns. To sort of makes it the holy grail of all holy grails, when it comes to covering Pres. Trump when it's this closely-held secret, when he doesn't want to release his tax returns to this extent. I think it's just going to make people to want to see those tax returns even more.

COOPER: Yeah, and Jim Acosta we should point out during the campaign, then candidate's Trump's his reasoning while he's under audit. His own attorneys put out a letter explaining that tax returns if memory serves me, up to 2004 or something were no longer under audit. I might be wrong about the year --

ACOSTA: That's right.

COOPER: -- by one or two years. And so, theoretically, those returns could have been released because they weren't under audit, but still, Donald Trump refused to release any tax return.

ACOSTA: That's right. And remember during the campaign, Anderson, there was that story that came out in "The New York Times," when the "The New York Times" I think was a metro desk reporter obtained one of the tax returns for then candidate Trump and it showed something in the magnitude of $1 billion in losses in his casino businesses. And that essentially allowed the rest of the world to extrapolate out that he was able for many, many years, perhaps 18 or so years to not pay any federal income taxes. Hillary Clinton tried to make that an issue during the campaign and Donald Trump still won the presidency. And that is why you hear him say time and again, we've asked him about this time again and he refused to answer time gain. If Americans care that much about my tax returns, they would not have made me president of the United States, and he does have something of a point, although you do have a lot of Democrats here in Washington, even some Republicans who would like to see the law changed to require candidates in the future to release that sort information to the public. Because -- even though -- it has been tradition going back to Richard Nixon for presidential candidates to do this on their own, Donald Trump bucked that tradition, and said, no I'm not going to do this, blaming it on this excuse that -- well he's under a routine audit.

But, Anderson, that seems to be an excuse that they're just going to use time again. I think Donald Trump deep down inside just feels like the public doesn't care enough about this, and so he's just not going to do it. But it does raise the possibility and specter (ph) that every once in a while, one of these tax returns is going to leak out and it's going to cause a mess for this White House.

COOPER: Yeah, Jim Acosta, thanks very much. Back now with the panel, also Joining us, from Washington Post Philip Bump.

Philip, what do you make of this? I mean we're understanding this is now supposed to be just one return from 2005 and the 1040 form.

PHILIP BUMP, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yeah. I mean I think -- what's really important about this. We don't really have that many tax returns. If you go back to 1975, there's only been a handful of times we've actually learned how much Donald Trump has paid in taxes.

But I think well see since the campaign has ended is that how much he paid in taxes is probably the least interesting part of what could be contained in that tax return. We'd love to know, for example, how much money he gave to clarity, how much he reported haven given to charity on his tax returns. Of course, we'd love to see where he actually earned his income. That's the big question. It will be interesting to see how much we learned about that.

What Donald Trump just got ahead of this $38 million, that's interesting. We didn't know that before. But it really is just the tip of the iceberg.

COOPER: Right. And the charitable contributions, because during the campaign he had said he'd given tens of millions of dollars to internal (ph) contributions over the years, something else are echoed by his Vice President Pence during the campaign as well.

And also, in terms of business dealings there's a lot -- certainly a lot of questions about overseas business dealings and whether tax returns would give us some indication of dealings in other countries and where.

BUMP: Yeah, that's exactly right. And he does this -- it appears as, though, what we may end up seeing is just the first couple pages of his tax return. But, he won't give us any of that detail which -- unfortunate for those who -- actually to see it. But, you know, this is still an interesting year, this is for example the year after "The Apprentice" debut on NBC. So there are, you know, this is -- that something that by itself should have actually help boost his income.