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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Republican Turning Against GOP Health Care Bill; GOP Sen.: "That's Not What President Trump Promised"; Spicer On Health Care Specifics: Talk To Paul Ryan; Bannon Pushes "Deconstruction Of The Administrative State"; Breitbart Releases Audio Of Paul Ryan Blasting Trump; Paul Ryan On Breitbart Tape: I Have Really Thick Skin; Is Bannon Behind Trump's Plan To Dismember Govt?; Bannon: Don't know If Trump Would've Won Without Conway; Spicer: Trump "Extremely" Wiretap Evidence Exists; Aired: 7-8p ET
Aired March 14, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN WOLF AND THE SITUATION ROOM HOST: I'm Wolf Blitzer in The Situation Room. Erin Burnett OutFront starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT HOST: Next, one by one, republicans abandoning the GOP healthcare plan that the White House says talk to the speaker. Is Paul Ryan being set up to take a big fall?
Plus, Team Trump admitting today no one was spying on the president through the microwave, but Trump is extremely confident there is evidence of wiretapping.
And Steve Bannon crediting Kellyanne Conway for Trump's claim for one extremely specific reason. Is he right? Let's go OutFront. And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OutFront tonight, republicans rattled. GOP leaders took this hour on their heels in the wake of a critical government report on the healthcare bill. This says tens of millions more Americans would be uninsured if it passed. The party bitterly split over its own bill. Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy saying simple, I quote him -- Congressman Leonard Lance saying he doesn't want to support something that's dead on arrival in the senate.
Pretty damning words from your own party. President Trump in the meantime, you see him there today holding a lengthy telephone call with Senator Cruz trying to woo his old rival. Ted Cruz's response?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) TEXAS: The most significant concern in the CBO report is its projection that the house plan will not reduce premiums. That's completely unacceptable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Pretty harsh. The White House spokesman Sean Spicer therefore spent the majority of an hour-long press conference defending the bill, he slammed the Congressional Budget Office as, "consistently wrong, labeling Obamacare as a failure." But when pressed about the lack of legislative details in the republican plan, which by the way would make it harder for the CBO to score accurately, Spicer repeatedly pointed the finger to Speaker Ryan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think that's a great question for the Speaker Ryan, that's an appropriate question for the speaker to answer, not for me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Not taking responsibility. Manu Raju is OutFront on Capitol Hill. And Manu, clearly the White House not taking responsibility for this. How worried is GOP leadership? Paul Ryan, about his healthcare plan?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, right now, Erin, opposition is building from both the conservative wing and the moderate wing of the republican conferences. The republican leadership is scrambling to put together a coalition that could narrowly pass the house and the senate. They're trying to make the case to their members that that CBO report showing that millions could lose coverage next year under their legislation is flawed. The question is do republicans believe that?
PAUL RYAN, SPEAKER OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: The American healthcare act.
RAJU: The republican promise to repeal Obamacare. Now at risk of collapsing. New alarm after the nonpartisan congressional budget office offered a brutal assessment of the republican legislation. 14 million more people uninsured by next year. And 24 million by 2026.
SEN. BILL CASSIDY, (R) LOUSIANA: 14 million people losing insurance. I'm concerned. That's not what President Trump promised. OK? That's not what republicans ran on.
RAJU: While the CBO projects the bill would reduce the deficit by $337 billion, it would do so only after cutting Medicaid by nearly $900 billion. That has unnerved some republicans from states that expanded Medicaid to provide coverage to low-income Americans.
How concerned are you about the Medicaid cuts? $880 billion over 10 years?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: I'd like to wait and see what the house comes up with their process but obviously a state like mine had Medicaid expansion, we have deep concerns.
RAJU: The tension is palpable within the GOP. Senator Lisa Murkowski, under pressure to back the house plan, bristled at questions about whether she could report it.
Can you support the house healthcare bill at this moment?
SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI, (R) ALASKA: Hey, would you give me a minute to get to my constituents, please?
RAJU: Yes or no. Do you support the house healthcare bill?
MURKOWSKI: Would you please be respectful --
RAJU: I'm being respectful.
MURKOWSKI: I'm been sitting (INAUDIBLE) for two hours. Come on.
RAJU: And GOP leaders downplayed the CBO analysis and said the bill would be a dramatic improvement from Obamacare but senators would likely change the house bill. Do you believe this bill needs significant changes in order to be salvaged in the senate?
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) MINORITY LEADER: Yes. I mean, it will be open to amendment in the senate like all reconciliation bills are. We're anxious to get past the status quo.
RAJU: In the house, Speaker Paul Ryan says the CBO report won't change his plan to push forward on votes in the chamber this month.
RYAN: I'm excited about this analysis.
RAJU: But just as he aligned himself with the president, newly released audio could reopen some old wounds. From a private October conference call where Ryan all but abandoned Trump in the aftermath of that leaked tape where Trump boasts about groping women.
RYAN: I am not going to defend Donald Trump, not now, not in the future. Look, you guys know I have real concerns about our nominee.
RAJU: Now, Erin, Ryan and White House Officials are downplaying that audio saying it's simply ancient history and they're on the same page now as he try to move forward on this healthcare legislation, holding a conference call earlier today where they talked about this issue of healthcare. But I can tell you, Erin, I'm hearing some frustration -- that the president is suggesting -- open to some changes at the same time with the house republican leadership is trying to make the case to their members this is their only chance to repeal Obamacare. Erin?
BURNETT: All right, Manu. Thank you. I want to go to the former chair of the democratic congressional campaign committee, Former Congressman Steve Israel and Former Republican Congressman Jack Kingston, also former adviser to the Trump Campaign. So, Congressman Kingston, let me just start with you. You heard Sean Spicer saying repeatedly today, I refer you to the speaker, I refer you to the speaker, that's the question for Paul Ryan. Is the White House setting Ryan up to take the fall?
JACK KINGSTON, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: No, I don't think so. I think what he's doing is saying there's some work in progress and I don't want to get ahead of the speaker. Steve knows, and we remember well as republicans watching the democrats pass Obamacare, this is part of the process. It's growing pains. You're going to have people in the right, he left the and in between say this isn't good for me, my politics or my state.
But I think frankly that the White House and the house and the senate are going to get this done but in the meantime, you have to go through this period, but I -- but I do believe they'll get there. And I think they're unified as well.
BURNETT: So Congressman Israel, what do you say?
STEVE ISRAEL, FORMER DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE CHAIR: Well, you know, Jack is right. This is a process. People think that passing legislation is like making sausage. In this case it's like molding Jell-O. They've got to shape it for moderate republicans in the house. They've to shape it for freedom caucus conservatives in the house. And they've got to shape it so that it gets passed in the senate and comes back.
But here's the bottom line, Erin, here is the number that we should be watching. There are 237 republicans in the house. They're going to need 216 votes to pass this in the house. That means they have a margin of about 22 republicans. They can't afford to lose 22 republicans. And right now, Erin, there are enough republicans from moderate districts and enough republicans from freedom caucus districts to bring this thing down if they want.
BURNETT: And Congressman Kingston, that is the issue, right? That magic number of 22, right? I don't think you disagree with that.
BURNETT: You heard Senator Cassidy, he says this bill -- not what Trump promised. I mean, it was a pretty damning comment obviously that's in the senate. But he's not the only republican balking. Here are several more because they're not just doing it publicly. They're doing it publicly. Here they are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM JORDAN, (R) OHIO: This bill doesn't repeal Obamacare. This bill doesn't unite republicans. This bill doesn't bring down the cost of premium.
SEN. TOM COTTON, (R) ARKANSAS: I don't think this bill is going to reduce premiums for working Americans. I think it's going to cost coverage for many Americans as the CBO said yesterday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now I'm a no, I'm a firm no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Congressman Kingston, are you worried? I mean, this bill will fail? Thanks to republicans? I mean, this is pretty damning that they're coming out publicly like that.
KINGSTON: You know, I was on the whip team for several years, and what part is you get one group on board and lose another one and it's a matter of math. Steve is right, you have to get to the magic number of 216 in this case and you got to find that balance in order to do it. But these members who are going out publicly, they hurt the process, but they also help the process because they identify, OK, there are problems. For example, if Ted Cruz gets on board, he gives lots of shelter to lots of conservative members because they can say, well, even though the club for growth or other groups have come out against it, the national federation of independent businesses and Ted Cruz and the chamber, they're on board and so they get the cover that they need to vote for the bill.
BURNETT: So, Congressman, speaking of math, I think there's something at least in my view has not been clear in the coverage out there thus far and that is this. The CBO clarifies something important. We keep hearing people say, especially democrats, that 14 million people are losing insurance next year and that this is -- people are having insurance taken away from them. The CBO though says that is not the case, they say most of those people will lose that coverage by choice because the GOP bill eliminates the mandate that forces people to buy insurance. Isn't that very different than denying coverage to people? Would that change the narrative here?
ISRAEL: Well, you know, simply choosing not to get insured and losing your healthcare can be devastating because you end up getting sick in life. That's the problem with this. So the fact of the matter is that 24 million of our fellow citizens will lose their coverage either because they elect not to be insured or for other reasons. That's a big problem. The other big problem in the CBO report is that premiums spike. Now, the good news republicans say is yes, we have -- premiums will spike but in 10 years --
BARTIROMO: They come down supposedly. It's on your horizon.
ISRAEL: -- they're going to stabilized. Well, if you're -- if you're 65 years old, that ain't such a good deal, Erin. And by the way, whoever believed in Washington that a temporary price increase doesn't become a permanent price increase? So the republicans have a long way to go. Good news is deficit drops, I agree, and if you're a rich insurance company or a rich person you get a tax cut, but nothing in Washington is free. This is balanced on the backs of 24 million people who lose insurance and people who will see a spike in their premiums over the next ten years.
BURNETT: Congressman Kingston.
KINGSTON: Well, remember, Erin, we can't stay where we are. There's five states where is there's only one choice. There's a one third of the counties there's only one choice of insurance carriers. Something like 28 percent of the insurance carriers have gotten out of the market and premiums absolutely have skyrocketed. So we can't stay where we are, but I think the concept of people having the freedom to buy healthcare or not in a free society, I think that's one of the parts or privileges of living in America but, you know --
BURNETT: So, except for then, when you do get sick, you do get care and people who have insurance pay for it, so you're a free rider in some cases and at some people you're being denied because you can't afford it, right?
KINGSTON: Yes. But hopefully part of personal responsibility is that when you get in a car, you have a driver's license and you know the rules of the road and that's part of freedom is responsibility. So let me say this, we can't get there -- we can't stay where we are, we've got to move. One of the things I would hope the democrats would do and I know Steve Israel would do if he was still there, is say here are some solutions, here are some amendment, here are some alternatives.
What we heard today from Bernie Sanders is that thousands of people would die. Really? Thousands of people are going to die because of healthcare reform. And then, you know, Nancy Pelosi says, well, it's immoral. You know, we need to get past the hyperbole and get into solutions.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much. And next, is the White House using Breitbart to stir the pot? Plus Steve Bannon, surprising words about Kellyanne Conway tonight. Wait till you hear what he had to say about her. And Jeanne Moos with late-night comics finding the Trump White House wherever they look.
BURNETT: Tonight, is the president trying to dismantle Washington? An idea champion by the president's chief strategist Steve Bannon is of course completely upending -- funding and in particular dramatic slashes in the funding, taking on establishments like the house speaker who today found himself under attack by the website of course once run by Steve Bannon. Tom Foreman is OutFront.
RYAN: I am not going to defend Donald Trump, not now, not in the future.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's another shot across the bow of the republican establishment.
RYAN: I have real concerns with our nomine nominee.
FOREMAN: The explosive comments by House Speaker Paul Ryan were recorded and reported last October. So why did the ultraconservative website Breitbart release the audio now? Possibly because it could help drive a wedge between President Trump and establishment republicans.
RYAN: Good morning, everybody.
FOREMAN: Who are jointly pushing a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to thank Paul Ryan and everybody.
FOREMAN: It's a plan they like, but many on the far right despise.
REP. JUSTIN AMASH, (R) MICHIGAN: I think they are basically taking the Obamacare framework and trying to call it a republican piece of legislation.
JORDAN: That is not what we promised the American people we were going to do.
FOREMAN: So, when President Trump's new head of health and human services promised under Trump care --
TOM PRICE, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: I firmly believe that nobody will be worse off financially.
FOREMAN: Breitbart hit back fast, suggesting higher premiums and taxes could make that the lie of the year and pushing the idea this is primarily Paul Ryan's plan, not President Trump's anyway. That is just one way the hard right is hammering the republican establishment for not being radical enough in its departure from politics as usual. And with some effect. The president's budget so far promises significant cuts for many government departments, steps towards what the president's own adviser Steve Bannon, who came from Breitbart, has called --
STEVE BANNON, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: Destruction of the administrative state.
FOREMAN: But that may be hard to come by as long as establishment republicans still hold sway so it appears the right is hoping to reignite the rancor of the campaign and Trump called Ryan weak and ineffective. After all, this was just one year ago.
TRUMP: How do you like Paul Ryan? How to you like him? Do you like him? Or you don't like him? All right.
FOREMAN: Simply put, those on the hard right believe they can fan those flames of discontent in a big way once again and drag the president firmly into their camp. That may finally give him the political muscle to shove aside the democrats and reluctant republicans too. Erin?
BURNETT: All right. Thank you, Tom. David Gergen is here with me, former presidential advisor to four presidents, Mark Preston, our senior political analyst and Kurt Bardella, former Breitbart Spokesman who knows Steve Bannon. So, Kurt, let me start with you. Obviously, Breitbart has been critical of the House SpeakerPaul Ryan and his healthcare plan. Is Bannon really doing this? Using Breitbart to go after Ryan?
KURT BARDELLA, FORMER BRIETBART SPOKESPERSON: I think so because I think what you're seeing is a continuation of the type of a tax that you've seen against Paul Ryan from Breitbart and Bannon for a very long time. Remember, Steve is someone who is characterized Speaker Ryan as a the enemy. It was his mission and Breitbart's mission to try to have him removed as Speaker and to have him out by the spring at one point is what they said.
I think this also means that they know that this bill is in big trouble and that they need to create some sort of a bad guy, some sort fall guy, to point the blame. And what they've done with this leak is move to the front a very familiar foe. If you read Breitbart, if you support Breitbart and Trump, that audience, they think of Speaker Ryan as part of the problem, part of the establishment that Trump ran to try to destroy, that Bannon has said, he wants to deconstruct and get rid of. Well, here you have now a familiar enemy for that platform for that audience, in case this goes down south.
BURNETT: So, now you have Paul Ryan responding to Breitbart. He just did in an interview with Martha over on Fox. They ask -- she asked about this Breitbart situation and here's what the speaker said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN: I've got really thick skin, Martha. This is ancient history. That was back then when you -- like you said when that video came out. Look, it's no secret Donald and I had our ups and downs, the president and I had our ups and downs during the campaign but we merged forces at the end of the campaign, I campaigned with Mike Pence, supported Donald Trump, we merged forces and since then we've been working hand in glove together. So, honestly, I got a really thick skin. This is such ancient history. I'm surprised it's even a story.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Surprised it's even a story.
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely. You know, what interesting too about Steve Bannon is that he brought a woman over by the name of Julia Hahn to work with him in the White House. Julia Hahn was basically detailed to criticize Paul Ryan back in 2016. In fact, one of the stories she wrote, literally quoted from her article, she described as Paul Ryan and Hillary Clinton as sharing a progressive globalist world view which is at odds with Trump's -- to what Kurt is saying -- to wonder is this continuing.
BURNETT: I mean, that is -- that is of course the big question, I mean.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Well, we have a (INAUDIBLE) titanic but it's epic battle going on for power within Washington, especially in the White House. And Steve Bannon and Steve Miller works with him and I think Kellyanne Conway, we can talk more about that later. But against them are the traditionalists. You know, person is chief of staff, Priebus, Gary Cohn who's the economic the adviser out of Goldman Sachs.
And So far the Bannon people have done better than they might but they might have expected there a big fight over trade, huge fight over trade. It appears the Bannon people, Trump said at the end, basically the Bannon people are in charge here on the trade issue. They've just gotten out this executive order asking the agencies to go through and slash things whenever they can to get rid of anything they don't need, that's an attack on the administrative state and here we have what seems to be above the surface, Donald Trump is going to embrace Paul Ryan. But below the surface, Donald Trump is letting his people knife him.
BURNETT: And his people specifically, Bannon because, Kurt, you know, we are reporting tonight that the president wants to cut the EPA budget by much more than already reported. We knew it was 25 percent. Apparently it could be a lot more than that. Trump obviously wants to cut funding too, a lot of other major agencies. And here are some Breitbart headlines about this issue just in the past few days. Over 93 percent of EPA employees considered nonessential, that's headline one.
Number two, why U.S. Education no longer needs the government. Number three, stop HUD's takeover of local zoning. These are three of the organizations that Trump wants to slash the budgets of. How much of the president's budget is Steve Bannon, Kurt?
BARDELLA: Oh, I think almost all of it. Again, you're seeing a direct correlation between when initiatives that Bannon cares about are implemented, the headlines are glowing, the stories support the president's agenda. When it's contrary to what Steve Bannon want or the approach being employed by the White House -- the way that Steve would like to have, all of a -- very negative. Things get very personal, things from the past get drawn up like it's opposition research for a campaign.
I think that tells you right there that there's a direct correlation between the agenda that Steve has for this president and for this White House and what you'll read any given day on the pages of Breitbart.
BURNETT: So very much in communication with them. Now, Steve Bannon today, Mark, came out. He doesn't talk a lot publicly, but he talks to the Atlantic and the article is called Kellyanne's Alternate Universe, which could be an S&L skit. But Steve Bannon credits Kellyanne Conway with saving Trump from -- by the way, in so doing, by the way, implicitly admitting that they thought they were going to lose, right? Which they say they didn't think but they clearly did.
Bannon says if Kellyanne had not been there when the firestorm hit, I don't know if we would have made it. And the article says Bannon says it was Kellyanne's (INAUDIBLE) presence that led both wavering women and conservative voters to think -- Trump, I can too.
PRESTON: (INAUDIBLE) if you remember back in August when she -- when she took the position, she was heralded by many of us and still is, you know, to a certain extent as somebody who kind of understood the establishment understood politics as usual and not the --
PRESTON: And not chaotic, you know, as Donald Trump was. He was also the campaign manager at a time when he was getting hit with these allegations of really having a bad relationship in -- quite frankly, let's just go back to the access Hollywood tape, I mean, need I say more.
BURNETT: To which she is referring.
PRESTON: Right. And to have a woman there leading the campaign, I do think it was important at that time.
GERGEN: You know, I disrespectfully disagree. I think Donald Trump saves himself.
PRESTON: How dare you.
GERGEN: I don't think what's significance whether she saved -- significant is that Steve Bannon is putting out the word and that's --
BURNETT: He's talking -- he's saying nice things about Kellyanne Conway.
GERGEN: Embracing her and that strengthens the alliance within the White House and within the government of the people trying to take on the, "the administrative state."
BURNETT: That's a very interesting take on it, right? Or maybe it was just to show her that they're allies, they're now on one team.
PRESTON: Talk about -- trying to go up, you know, Reince Priebus, after Breitbart did a really tough story on him a few weeks ago, he came out and criticized Breitbart, Bannon did, publicly. Well, to David's point.
BURNETT: What you do publicly versus privately is the story and then say something. All right. Thanks very much to all of you. I appreciate it.
Next, the White House admitting tonight that no one was spying on Trump through his microwave, but they're extremely confident about his wiretapping claims. So, where is the evidence this hour?
Plus, why did Secretary of State Tillerson send email under pseudonym when he ran Exxon -- (INAUDIBLE) tracker.
BURNETT: Tonight, President Trump is, "extremely confident that there is evidence to back up his claim that President Obama ordered a wiretap against him during the campaign. Now, this is according to the White House Spokesman Sean Spicer. The administration though has the not yet provided any evidence of its own. And tonight, the top democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee says he expects his committee will hold its first public hearing on this next week.
Sara Murray is OUTFRONT at the White House.
SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The White House insisting evidence will come to light proving President Trump was wiretapped during the campaign.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think he's extremely confident. I think there is significant reporting about surveillance techniques that have existed throughout the 2016 election. I'll leave it to them to issue their report, but I think he feels very confident that we'll ultimately come at this, will vindicate him.
MURRAY: The White House still refuses to offer any proof of Trump's claim that former President Barack Obama ordered a wiretap of Trump Tower prior to the election.
The administration now says Trump doesn't believe Obama personally tapped his phones. Exactly how this alleged surveillance may have occurred still an open question.
SPICER: The president used the word wiretap in quotes to mean broadly surveillance and other activities.
MURRAY: Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway offered up this explanation.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: 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, microwaves that turn into cameras, et cetera. So, we know that is just a fact of modern life.
INTERVIEWER: Sure, yes.
MURRAY: Today, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the president's top concern is not surveillance via microwaves.
SPICER: I think there's pretty sound evidence that microwave is not a sound way of surveilling someone and I think that has been cleaned up. It was made in jest, so I think we can put that to rest.
MURRAY: As Congress looks into Trump's wiretapping claims, it's instructed the Department of Justice to provide evidence backing up those allegations, but the Justice Department says it need more time. The House Intelligence Committee chairman said in a statement the Justice Department has until next Monday to pony up its proof, otherwise, the panel may subpoena the administration.
In the meantime, Republicans and Democrats alike are growing impatient, waiting on the administration to provide proof.
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R), ILLINOIS: I think frankly the administration probably should come forward with whatever proof they have, because again, leveling a charge like that is a huge deal.
MURRAY: Now, even though the Justice Department missed it first deadline to submit this evidence today, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said he's still confident some proof will come forward. Of course, all of this just begs the question yet again why the White House didn't save themselves the hassle and put forward their own evidence when the president first sent the allegation out via Twitter -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Sara, thank you. OUTFRONT tonight, the House minority whip, Democratic Congressman
And, Congressman, thank you for being with me.
You heard Sean Spicer. He says President Trump is, quote, "extremely confident" that the DOJ has it, they have the evidence that Trump was wiretapped. Do they?
REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD), MINORITY WHIP: You know -- well, you know, President Trump is so extremely confident that he has so many things that he knows that aren't true. So, I think it's very difficult to believe Sean Spicer.
If they had proof, it seems to me they would have disclosed it to the Congress, but more importantly to the American people and President Trump would have been happy to do that. The fact is I think his representation was untrue. It's an alternative fact, it's either made up in his own head and there's no evidence to corroborate that.
So, he may be extremely confident, but we've seen him day after day after day be very confident that things were as they are not. He makes it up as he goes along.
BURNETT: So when they said they need -- you know, they asked for that delay, of course, as you're well aware, right? They want a delay from yesterday for another week which they were granted --
BURNETT: -- by the House Intelligence Committee chairman. Does that make you think that they could have some type of evidence? If so, what is it? To your point, you're saying, well, you think if they had it, they would have put it out there.
HOYER: Yes, it makes me think they don't have it and they're trying to figure out how to get out of a statement that the president made that's not true and they can't corroborate. As I understand, Spicer's comments also were, well, they may not have been talking specifically about wiretapping. I just think that's -- can't be true or if it is true is a wildly irresponsible statement.
Wiretap means something specific to every American. Every American knows what a wiretap is. Every American knows that you have to get a court order with probable cause to tap some -- an American citizen's phone or communications. And so, some representation we know he meant something else like somebody stand agent the door of Trump Tower and seeing who's going in and out just is not believable.
BURNETT: So, yes. When Sean Spicer did say that, and say --
BURNETT: -- that Trump was referring broadly to surveillance against his campaign, not to wiretapping specifically.
[19:35:03] HOYER: Well, but wiretapping is very specific.
BURNETT: Is there any kind of surveillance that could be? Do you think there could have been other surveillance?
HOYER: Well, you know, we have -- I don't know what he's talking about, but as I've made an example, there's no doubt that candidates for office watch the other candidate. They go to their town meetings. They listen to what they have to say. They even put a camera in their face sometimes. I've had that done to me, and ask them a question.
But all of that is not anywhere close to alleging that the president of the United States had Trump Tower or the Trump campaign or organization wiretapped. That's a criminal offense if it was not done with probable cause, and if there was probable cause the president says he didn't do it, the direct or of national intelligence under the Obama administration says he didn't do it, they didn't do it. And we believe -- I can't say that he said that, but we believe that Mr. Comey, the director of the FBI, has given reason to believe that the FBI didn't do it.
So, I don't think it happened. And I don't think they have proof that it happened. And I think they're now trying to weaseling -- weasel out of a very, very serious and unfortunate allegation the president made off the top of his head as he said so many things.
BURNETT: So, I want to ask you briefly about health care. Democrats, of course, you're all united against the GOP leadership health care bill.
HOYER: We are.
BURNETT: Tonight, though, I don't know if you're aware, Congressman, another moderate GOP congressperson has come out against it, Congressman Ros-Lehtinen from Florida, tweeting, "I plan to vote no on the current AHCA bill. As written, the bill leaves too many from my district uninsured."
Can you say at this point that this bill definitively will fail?
HOYER: I can't say that definitively, Erin. As you know, I'm the whip and if you ask me how many Democrats are going to vote against it, I could say definitively how many Democrats are going to vote against it. But I haven't whipped on the Republican side.
Obviously, the Republican side is deeply divided which is not a new phenomenon. It's been deeply divided for four or five years from -- in the past. And that's why John Boehner is no longer the speaker and that's why Paul Ryan has so much trouble unifying his party on a proposition that he puts forward. They're deeply divided.
I think there's a real chance that it will fail on the floor. But we'll see.
BURNETT: Before you go, Congressman, Steve Bannon told "The Atlantic" magazine, give an interview there, and he said during the "Access Hollywood" videotape, of course you know the one when Trump talked about sexually assaulting women, Kellyanne Conway saved Trump's candidacy. That's Steve Bannon's point of view. His quote is, "If Kellyanne had not been there when the firestorm hit, I don't know if we would have made it. She literally became a cult figure during that time period." That again, Steve Bannon.
Is he right?
HOYER: I think there's a lot of merit in that argument because I think the women of America were extraordinarily offended and outraged by the statement and the alleged conduct or the conduct that he said he involved himself in. What Kellyanne did, a woman came forward, an articulate woman and said, "Look, he really didn't mean that, that's not the kind of person he is, I know him," and she gave her imprimatur to Donald Trump.
And we know an awful lot of women did in fact vote for Donald Trump, which I find very, very surprising given what he said and his conduct. So that -- I think there's some merit in what Bannon says on that issue, because I think Kellyanne Conway did, in fact, give him some greater credibility than he otherwise would have had as a result of that tape.
BURNETT: All right. Congressman, I appreciate your time as always. Thank you.
HOYER: You bet. Thank you.
BURNETT: OUTFRONT next, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson using the fake name "Wayne Tracker" for certain e-mails. Why?
And breaking news this hour, winter storm, deadly winter storm slamming, shutting down the Northeast, impacting 20 million people at this hour.
[19:43:08] BURNETT: Tonight, we're learning the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent mails under a fake name. That name is Wayne Tracker.
The New York attorney general is saying that his office discover the alias while investigating ExxonMobil and that Tillerson used Wayne Tracker to discuss sensitive issues including climate change. ExxonMobil is admitting the Wayne Tracker account existed.
Michelle Kosinski is OUTFRONT.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rex Tillerson is now known around the world as U.S. secretary of state. Before that, it was CEO Rex Tillerson of ExxonMobil, and to a select few he was "Wayne Tracker", a separate e-mail identity it turns out he used within ExxonMobil. Wayne is his middle name. The company says to communicate better with certain executives because his main e- mail address was generally so full.
Nothing wrong with that normally, but the New York attorney general's office has a big problem with it. In its investigation into whether ExxonMobil misled consumers and investors about climate change and its potential effects, the attorney general in a letter to a New York state Supreme Court judge says ExxonMobil has continually delayed and obstructed the production of documents from its top executives and that no one at the company ever told investigators Tillerson also used the Wayne Tracker address to communicate about climate change and other important topics, saying it appears ExxonMobil did not collect all of those e-mails, maybe not have even preserved them.
It's also raced questions among environmental groups.
MAY BOEVE, 350.ORG EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: The logical explanation is that because of this campaign of climate denial, discussion of climate change was kept off to the side and intended to be somewhat hidden.
KOSINSKI: ExxonMobil in a statement insists it did turn over relevant e-mails, including the Wayne Tracker ones and that it was clear they belonged to Tillerson, saying, "Media reports indicating that e-mails to or from this address were exclusively for climate-related topics are false.
[19:45:07] ExxonMobil believes the risk of climate change is clear and warrants action."
The State Department refers the matter back to ExxonMobil, but a spokesperson did tell us this --
MARK TONER, STATE DEPARTMENT DEPUTY SPOKESMAN: The secretary of state uses only Department of State e-mail address to conduct official businesses and he does comply with all federal recordkeeping requirements.
KOSINSKI: No word directly from the secretary formerly known to a few as Wayne Tracker.
KOSINSKI: So, you have the New York attorney general saying it wasn't made so clear from the beginning that this was a second e-mail address used by Tillerson and that in all of the documents turned over, millions of them, there were only about 60 e-mails from this Wayne Tracker account. Then you have ExxonMobil saying they've done what they've been required to do and the attorney general is just sensationalizing this.
So, the big questions continue to be were all of the relevant e-mails turned over? If not, why not, and what role did Rex Tillerson play, Erin.
BURNETT: Right. And, of course, why that full name. Thank you so much, Michelle.
And OUTFRONT next, breaking news on the deadly storm, whiteout conditions, icy roads, power outages, and it's going to get much worse tonight for millions.
And Jeanne Moos on those kids who crashed dad's interview on live TV. There has been a big development.
[19:50:20] BURNETT: Breaking news, a deadly blizzard paralyzing the Northeast, nearly 20 million people still in the path along the East Coast. It's going to be an icy nightmare. Temperatures are now plunging at least 30 inches of snow falling in some areas, more than 7,000 flights canceled today and tomorrow as this continues. Officials urging people to stay home, saying that the ice is going to become deadly.
In Boston, tractor-trailers spinning out of control already, as you can see right there on that bridge. Winds up to 70 miles an hour causing massive flooding on the coast, massive waves.
Brynn Gingras is live in Worcester, Massachusetts.
And, Brynn, right now, what is the biggest concern where you are as the snow is still falling?
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, you said it, the ice. That's going to be a major concern as we head into morning. Right now, we're getting sort of a sleet and rain (AUDIO GAP) of about a foot of snow here in Worcester. And I talked to an emergency management official and he told me he would gladly have more snow than this mix of ice and rain on top of the snow because not only is it harder to plow through, but it's a lot more treacherous for drivers, especially when those temperatures drop into the morning hours.
I've got to say, though, Erin, earlier today, whiteout conditions. I just want to show you this clock tower because it was a good reference point for us. This tower earlier today, we could not even see it. We drove here from Boston and we slipped several times and there were actually cars on the highway. It was in that bad of a condition. In fact, there was one related in Massachusetts east of us or west of us rather, a plow actually was trying to get over some train tracks, an Amtrak plow was coming and hits the plow that was in a car.
So, certainly, bad conditions earlier today and the thought here is that they're going to continue bad tomorrow, schools are closed and everyone is asked to be careful and stay at home if they can -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Brynn, thank you very much.
I want to go to our meteorologist Chad Myers. He's here in New York, which is also slammed by the storm.
And, Chad, people may say the snow may be stopping, but the ice, could it be much more dangerous?
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, that's what we had here in New York City and people are saying, wow, what a miss. We're supposed to have 20 inches of snow, we got 5 inches of snow and about 2 inches of sleet on of top of that, which could have been two feet of snow, but the sleet doesn't pile up as fast as the snow would have.
Now, let me show you here what you're going to be dealing with tomorrow morning in the city. This is still a 30-degree day. We're not even frozen yet. But by morning, we're going to be 20 degrees here.
All of this will be one sheet of black ice whether you're walking off the curb, trying to drive here, and I won't even make a YouTube moment trying to climb over this pile. But, certainly, this is between the curb and the street, so there's still more to clean for sure.
Here's where the snow is right now. Upstate New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and parts of all of New England or even Massachusetts still seeing some snow. Now, the big cities all had the mix. They had the rain, snow, sleet mix. They didn't pile up a lot of snow, about a foot, maybe a little less, even Boston mixing in with all that rain.
But if you were in Damascus, Pennsylvania, or anywhere in the southern tier of New York, you're pushing 30 inches of snow right now and that's less than 100 miles from here. The wind gust, the biggest wind gusts, winner or loser, if you want to take it, Barnstable, Mass. Barnstable had a wind gust of 74 miles per hour. That is hurricane strength-force wind gusts -- Erin.
BURNETT: Wow. All right. Thank you very much, Chad.
And next, that now famous video -- please tell me you've seen it -- has turned into comedy gold. But there's another development, the family speaking out. You don't want to miss Jeanne tonight.
[19:57:49] BURNETT: Kellyanne Conway roasted for her remark about microwave spying.
Here is Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Talk about a hot-button issue, ever since Kellyanne Conway said this about surveillance.
CONWAY: Microwaves that turn into cameras, et cetera.
MOOS: Microwaves have been turning into jokes. Pizza, popcorn, espionage?
One Twitter post featured a Polaroid microwave. Kellyanne's camera phone on the Oval Office coach was swapped for a microwave cam.
And introducing the microwave selfie.
Even when Kellyanne clarified --
CONWAY: Chris, I'm not inspector gadget. I don't believe people are using the microwave to spy on the Trump campaign.
MOOS: -- the tinfoil "Make America Great Again" hats and spoofs continue.
STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: Microwaves that turned into cameras. How do you think we film this show? Tim, show them camera three over here. Show them what we got in there.
MOOS: With all these memes and jokes, you never know who you're going to find, in the microwave.
Former President Obama, Michelle, Barack, and Hillary, Colbert ready for his close-up. Agent Kellyanne Conway's entire body got stuffed in a microwave. The spinmeister was literally spinning again on a microwave turntable.
It's pretty amazing what can be spun into political mockery. Take that viral video of a Korea expert interrupted by his kids as he did an interview with the BBC. His wife --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pardon me.
MOOS: -- skidded in to drag them out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My apologies.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, most of the time he locks the door.
MOOS: "The Daily Show" called that scene a giant metaphor for the Trump administration and look who plays the kid. There's Kellyanne.
SPICER: It's not a question of delaying. It's a question of getting it right.
MOOS: If you can't take the heat, get out of the microwave.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: Maybe they should have Bannon's head instead of Sean's on that guy.
All right. Thanks for joining us.
Anderson starts next.