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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Interview With Speaker of the House Paul Ryan; Interview With Mark Cuban. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired March 15, 2017 - 16:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[16:30:00]

MARK CUBAN, OWNER, DALLAS MAVERICKS: But let's discuss this. We will communicate, so that you don't have to communicate with the public. If you have a problem, have that problem with me, and tell me, and let's resolve it.

That's not what he's done. And when you don't communicate, and you kind of cocoon yourself, that's where you get leak issues like this.

Look, I heard a story from the technology policy organization, where they were leading people out in plastic handcuffs. Right? They thought they had leaked. And they said, you're fired. Right? We will take your stuff. They put them in handcuffs and do a perp walk last week, two weeks ago.

That's not how you send a message of inclusion. That's not how you communicate with the people that you want to get to follow you and follow your lead so you have a common goal you can accomplish.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: What about communication skills? Because, obviously, that is something that he prides himself on. He was obviously able to communicate with enough voters in enough states to become president.

CUBAN: Yes, I mean, you know, rallying the crowd and putting together a hype video and managing and leading people are two different things.

When it comes to communication skills, you know, have you seen him answer any questions? What's the one topic you look at him and say, boy, he has in-depth knowledge?

And at some point, you have -- and I said this to him directly. At some point, you have to communicate an understanding of the issues. That's where communication skills are critical.

Now we're seeing -- again, I use the word cocooning. They're cocooning him, so he doesn't have to address and actually answer any questions. And when you look at and read about the meetings he has with business leaders or other organizations, it's always the same thing. Tell me what you think, right?

It's never, let's have an in-depth conversation. Let's get to the core of a matter. You don't ever hear him saying, let's discuss the three R's of Obamacare, right? Let's discuss the issues of the new Paul Ryan proposal and here's what I disagree or what I agree with. It's always top line, it's always superficial.

And if you can't delve into the issues, how are you going to come to a resolution on anything?

TAPPER: But you give him credit for the fact that the Dow is up, unemployment is down, people are hiring?

CUBAN: Yes, I do, right? And I was wrong, right?

I really thought that because of the uncertainty, the market would not react as favorably as it has. Well, I was wrong there. But, at the same time, yes, people's spirit in the business world are lifted and he gets credit for that.

But, again, I'm not trying -- look, I hope it continues. I don't want it to go backwards. I would like to see the Dow go to 25000 and 30000. And I would like to see the economy grow at 4 percent.

And if I'm just a guy that is wrong and he picked it right, and I got it wrong, more power to the country. But the reality is it's all still based on talk right now. It's all still based on projection. He has got to follow through and get these things passed.

If the repeal and replace for Obamacare falls apart and there is not the support for Obamacare, there is going to be issues. If the tax -- the corporate tax proposals for tax cuts that he's suggested don't occur, we're going to go backwards quickly.

And, so, he needs to fulfill those issues -- those promises.

TAPPER: Before he ran for president, he talked about there being a bubble and that the market was going to go down. And I am starting to hear, as I'm sure you are, too, concerns that the government, that the Fed isn't paying enough attention to the housing market, that some of the same mistakes that were made previously are being made again. Do you have any concerns about a bubble?

CUBAN: Well, there's two different things.

TAPPER: I know those are two different things, but any sort of economic downturn?

CUBAN: Well, look, the market has gone forward very quickly. And whenever that happens, the opportunity for a decrease goes up significantly.

TAPPER: Right.

CUBAN: Right?

And the issue now is now that we're at 21000, a 10 percent decline is 2,000-plus points. Right? And that could freak people out, even though it's still only 10 percent. Is there an opportunity? Yes.

I was hedged before. I'm hedged now, meaning I haven't sold everything, I haven't protected it. But just in case, I have a little bit of downside protection. I think that's a possibility, but, you know, predicting a market, that's almost impossible.

TAPPER: What about the housing market? Are you concerned at all about that?

CUBAN: I haven't seen anything to suggest -- in 2006, you would talk to everybody and anybody that you knew, and they were discussing buying a house and flipping it. Or they had three houses they had mortgages on, when they went to Trump University and learned how to flip houses.

You just don't hear that kind of stuff anymore.

TAPPER: One thing that I think Donald Trump will have done when his effect is measured is a lot of very wealthy, successful individuals in business will probably run for office more, maybe even president.

We have seen Mark Zuckerberg maybe sending out feelers. Tom Steyer, I think, is probably interested.

What about Cuban 2020, is that a possibility at all?

CUBAN: I don't want to say no, but it's not my dream to be president of the United States. I mean, would I like to have influence? Yes, I love helping entrepreneurs. I love helping create jobs. I like helping to spur industry and I'm good at that.

If I can continue to do that, I'm happy. But if I think there is a need, because I think one other significant issue right now, he is technologically illiterate. And we're about to go into a period with machine intelligence -- artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, those things, where we literally are going to see a change in the nature of employment.

And so these companies that he's building factories with?

TAPPER: Yes.

CUBAN: Don't pay attention to the number of jobs he's saying for the factories. Pay attention to the number of jobs that are in those companies two and three years out.

[16:35:00]

I guarantee you they're going to be 30 and 40 percent lower.

TAPPER: Mark Cuban, always a pleasure. Thank you, sir. Good to see you.

CUBAN: Appreciate it.

TAPPER: And good luck against the Wizards.

CUBAN: I will take it.

TAPPER: The president is on the road talking to voters, but he's not talking about the health plan his White House supposedly helped write. Did the Trump administration just make the House speaker's job a little bit tougher?

House Speaker Paul Ryan will join us live next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

Sticking with our politics lead now, as George Washington says to Alexander Hamilton in the musical "Hamilton," winning was easy, young man. Governing is harder.

Few know that better than House Speaker Paul Ryan, who is currently trying to herd the cats of the House Republican Conference to repeal and replace Obamacare.

[16:40:01]

The House speaker joins me now.

Speaker Ryan, thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Thank you, Jake. I have been using that quote a lot lately, actually.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: I will bet.

I want to get to health care in a second, but, first, there is some news from Capitol Hill today.

Congressman Devin Nunes, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, confirmed that there is no evidence to support President Trump's claim that President Obama had him wiretapped at Trump Tower.

Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DEVIN NUNES (R), CALIFORNIA: You have to decide, as I mentioned to you last week, are you going to take the tweets literally? And, if you are, then clearly the president was wrong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Shouldn't President Trump expect that the American people are going to take him literally?

RYAN: Well, sure.

Look, I don't know what he wants to achieve in a given tweet. Some of them may or may not be intended to be interpreted that way. But, look, I think our chair and the ranking member, Devin and Adam, gave the facts.

I got the same briefing. And they are still doing their investigation on all things related to Russia and the election. And I think, during their investigation, this is information that they felt was important to shed light on. So, that's what they did.

And I support what they have done, and I support their continuing investigation of this entire episode.

TAPPER: The president addressed this in an interview with FOX this afternoon. He said the word wiretap covers a lot of different things, and that people are going to hear about some very interesting things in the next few weeks.

Do you have any idea what he's talking about?

RYAN: Well, I would just say that the Intelligence Committees are doing an ongoing investigation about all things related to Russia and their involvement in our elections, their attempt to meddle in our elections.

So, that's probably what's being discussed. We have had an investigation for quite a while actually. This isn't just something that just got started. It's continuing on.

So, perhaps what he's talking about is the continuation of the investigations by both the House and the Senate Intelligence Committee, which are bipartisan investigations.

TAPPER: But just to put on button on this, nothing that would suggest President Obama had President Trump wiretapped at Trump Tower, as far as you know?

RYAN: That's correct.

TAPPER: OK.

Let's move on to health care.

In January, President Trump told "The Washington Post" -- quote -- "We're going tomorrow insurance for everybody. There was a philosophy in some circles that, if you can't pay for it, you don't get it. That's not going to happen with us" -- unquote.

The Congressional Budget Office, of course, says that there will be 24 million more uninsured Americans under your plan by 2026.

I know that you dispute those numbers, but certainly what you're proposing, whatever it is, would clearly break President Trump's promise of insurance for everybody.

RYAN: Well, that's if you believe all these analyses.

And what I mean when I say that is, what the CBO also said is, we would reduce premiums. Our reforms, when they kick in, actually lower prices.

So, what our goal here is to give everyone access to affordable coverage if they want to have it. What the CBO's analysis tells you basically is, if the government stops forcing people to buy something they don't want to buy, then they won't buy it on a voluntary basis.

That means those people will choose not to take a benefit they could otherwise choose to take, but they have chosen not to take it. So, the point, we believe, is, instead of having a government, one-size- fits-all, mandate system, which is currently in a death spiral, which is what Obamacare is, repeal that and replace it with more competition and more choice lower costs, lowers prices and gives everybody better access to a more affordable coverage.

You combine the federal -- you combine our bill, which has tax credits, risk pools, health savings accounts, that dramatically expands people's access to affordable health care coverage for those people who do not get health care from their jobs, which is what we have been talking about here.

Remember, Obamacare is about 4 percent of Americans; 4 percent of the country are on what we think of as Obamacare.

TAPPER: Right.

RYAN: Yet Obamacare blew up the entire health care system. It made all health care more expensive for the rest of the individual market and for the employer market.

And we have Medicaid currently on an unsustainable path, such that a lot of doctors don't even take Medicaid any more. So, this thing is broken.

TAPPER: Right.

RYAN: And we have got to fix it with something better, and that's what we're trying to do.

TAPPER: Well, let me ask you, because you talked about that many of the people who will not be insured anymore will be uninsured because they voluntarily get off the system because the individual mandate will be over.

You and I are both old enough to remember that the individual mandate was originally a Republican idea.

RYAN: Yes, Heritage Foundation came up with it.

TAPPER: Yes.

RYAN: I actually didn't -- I don't agree with -- didn't it agree with it then, don't agree with it now.

TAPPER: Right. But it was by supported by people like Bob Dole and Chuck Grassley and Orrin Hatch.

And the idea of it was personal responsibility, essentially outlawing freeloaders, the people who can afford to buy insurance, but they don't buy it, which means that people like you and I who, poor schmucks who actually buy insurance for our families, we subsidize them. Why should people who are responsible subsidize those who aren't?

RYAN: It's an excellent question.

It kind of goes at the heart of the debate here and the difference between our two approaches. So, on this idea, the one you just advanced, which is, actuarially, on paper, it makes sense in your mind. Right?

If you force younger, healthy people to buy insurance, you will force more money into the pool to pay for the younger -- the older, sicker person.

The problem is, that doesn't work. It doesn't work in practice. It's not working now. It's in a death spiral. So, here's our approach. We think the smarter way to go is to open up choice and competition, let more plans be offered, people buy what they want.

And that's why have -- we are big believers in state-based risk pools. By having federal financing to help states set up risk pools where you actually cover the catastrophic costs for people who have catastrophic illnesses, people with pre-existing conditions, you directly cover those expenses so that person with a catastrophic illness doesn't go poor when they get sick, but also by covering it directly you're taking that cost out of the other pools.

You're dramatically lowering the price of health care for everyone else. So that it's affordable for everybody else. We think this is a smarter way to go. Target those pre-existing costs, make sure that those people get the care they need, and so the insurance pool that you're buying, if you're not in that category, doesn't have to cover those costs, and therefore it's much more competitive and lower in price.

We think that's just a smarter way to go and we think people will want to participate in that kind of system. And that's why if you don't get job-based insurance then you don't get any tax benefit to get a health care plan.

With what we're proposing equalize the tax treatment of health care so that if you do not have health care from your job, you also get a tax benefit to buy in a functioning market place where the catastrophic illnesses are not going to have to be borne by your insurance or your pool, the risk pools kick in and catch that.

Now here's the problem, Jake, that took me like 12 sentences to explain. That was hard to get through.

TAPPER: Right.

RYAN: But we think this is a smarter way to go and it gives you more market freedom. It gives you more flexibility. It has more competition so we can have better innovation in health care. The alternative is the status quo and the status quo is just in the middle of a collapse. TAPPER: But I don't want to spend the whole time talking about it,

the individual mandate, but your argument is basically just, correct me if I'm wrong, that the people that I just called freeloaders who can afford insurance but don't get it, they will just find the new health care system you create so compelling that they will join?

RYAN: Yes, they're not going to buy insurance that's so expensive that it doesn't make sense to have it. Right now what's happening is healthy young people are saying, this is way too expensive. The deductible is three times what it is in a job-based plan. The premiums are going up double digits every year. I'm not buying it. I'll buy it when I'm sick. That's what's happening right now. That's why this thing is in a death spiral.

But if you give everybody an advanceable (ph), refundable tax credit, if -- to go buy a basic plan of their choosing in their state which now has free market health care because we're going to let the states set up free markets in health care, and you have risk pools so that you cover that person with catastrophic illnesses, that stabilizes the market. That brings down prices.

Don't listen to me. The CBO says it as well, that that that will bring down prices. And that's before Tom Price, the secretary of HHS, brings forward a lot of reforms that let the states go back and open up market-based health care systems.

So we really believe these two combinations. This bill and what HHS can do to deregulate the market and allow more plans to be offered will be very, very successful and helpful.

TAPPER: Let's talk about the politics of this, if we can. You say that you and the White House are on the exact same page. How can you say that with all the distancing that we see, that those close to President Trump or supportive of him right now are doing about your legislation?

His friend Christopher Ruddy says the House Republicans are doing Trump a disservice. Trump strategist Stephen Bannon's website, Breitbart, attacks you day after day. You really think that you and the White House are on the same page?

RYAN: I actually do. Look, those websites have been attacking me from day one anyway. I'm used to this sort of thing. This is the kind of thing that you deal with in this kind of a job.

TAPPER: But they're trying to get the grassroots to oppose your bill.

RYAN: That is not where the Trump White House is. The president is going to be talking about this tonight in, I think, Tennessee. We're working hand-in-glove with the White House. We meet with him constantly daily.

We've worked on this bill together. We jointly drafted this legislation House, Senate, and White House. So, we are working on this together. The president is all-in on this. Mike Pence is coming to our conference tonight to talk to it. The president has been bringing members of Congress down to lobby

them, to support this, to help them support this. He has been calling people.

So, they are fully invested in this. Whether or not people on the outside do this or that, that is just really not something under our control or something frankly we're worried about.

The vice president is coming here tonight. Tom Price is coming here the next day. The president is making phone calls. He's talking about this. He's traveling on this. We are all in this as a team together.

TAPPER: He just gave a speech in Michigan. He didn't mention it once.

RYAN: That's because he was going to do CAFE standards. You're not going to go make an announcement on CAFE standards in Michigan and step all over that story with something on health care. That's what he's going to do late I think in Tennessee, if I'm not mistaken.

TAPPER: Seems like a guy that can bring up more than one subject in a speech. But let me talk about the House and Senate and where the bill is right now, because there are a lot of people who say if it was brought up right now it would not pass the House, it would not pass the Senate.

Listen to Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky talking to CNN about the bill and about President Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Paul Ryan is selling him a bill of goods that he didn't explain to the president that the grassroots doesn't want what Paul Ryan is selling.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Now I know you disagree with that, but let me ask you a more substantive question. What changes are you willing to make to this bill to help get it passed in the House and Senate?

RYAN: Frankly, I think that that is kind of an insulting remark to the president, as if he doesn't know what he's doing or something. It makes him look like -- I find that kind of puzzling, number one.

Number two, this plan, the one we're passing, it's the one we ran on all of 2016. It is based upon the Tom Price bill which was seen as the conservative gold standard. It's a bill that had about a dozen Study Committee -- or a dozen Freedom Caucus and many more Study Committee conservatives co-sponsoring.

So, this is what we ran on. This has long been conservative fiscal policy for health care. And, so where we are is we're in the legislative process, it's a four-committee process here in the House. We're working through that process. We're constantly getting feedback from our members. We're making,

fine tuning. We're making changes in the bill, keeping all of the main pieces intact. But where we can improve the bill and make fine tuning, pieces of the bill, that's exactly what we're doing because that is the legislative process that we're going through.

TAPPER: Can you give me an example? Give me an example of something that you think can be improved.

RYAN: We want a -- Medicaid flexibility is a good example. Giving states better chances at more flexibility. Those are the kinds of things that members are constantly giving us feedback and we're constantly incorporating that feedback as this legislation moves through the process.

Let me say something about senators. You know, senators aren't helpless to the House. Once the House is done with a bill, we send it to the Senate and they take it from there.

So, if a senator doesn't like a provision in this bill or this bill at all, the senator can amend the bill. They're going to have this thing, they call it "vote-a-rama," where they have all these amendment votes on this bill when it goes over there in the Senate.

So, the Senate will take this baton when we hand it to them and then they can do things to this bill. They can change this bill. They can amend this bill. That's the legislative process.

So, as far as the House is concerned, we have consensus and we're fine tuning our consensus, going to the goal line with our president to get this done. And then it goes over to the Senate and then they start over, over there.

TAPPER: You have consensus, so if it came up in the House this afternoon, it would pass?

RYAN: Well, it's not coming up this afternoon. It's going through the legislative process. That legislative process has not been finalized. So that's kind of a -- no offense, kind of a goofy question or faulty premise because this goes through four committees. We've gone through two so far.

By the way, the two committees it went through, unanimous Republican votes in each of those committees. And those committees compromise a cross-section of our House majority.

So we feel we're in a very good spot and we're making it even better by getting feedback from our members and working with the White House to make it better. But then when we're done with the House it goes over to the Senate and we'll see what they do.

TAPPER: And you know that you've heard from some of your members talking about their concerns about the effect it would have on older Americans, those who are older but not yet old enough to receive Medicare. CBO said that your health care plan would greatly increase costs for older Americans. As it stands right now, according to CBO, a 64-year- old making $26,500 a year would pay $1,700 for coverage in 2026 if Obamacare remained, because of the subsidies that senior would get.

But under your plan, CBO says, that senior would pay more than eight times that, $14,600, because the refundable tax credit that you're proposing would not offset as much of the cost. And this is why, as you know, AARP opposes your bill.

RYAN: Two problems with that analysis. You said, if Obamacare remains. Let's just say we do nothing. Obamacare will go away because Obamacare is in a death spiral. Five states, one insurer left. Over a thousand counties, one insurer left. Humana just announced they are pulling out of Obamacare because they, too, lost too much money. So those people don't get anything left.

So Obamacare, this is a faulty comparison in my mind because it's comparing us to a law that we know can't last. And more importantly we're not making people buy Obamacare plans.

So, we're going to let people buy what they want to buy. So, that's the whole point. You're saying, oh, this tax credit only goes so far if you force people to buy an Obamacare plan...

TAPPER: Well, I didn't say it, CBO said it.

RYAN: ... but we're not going to force -- no, I know, I'm not saying -- but we're not going to force people to buy an Obamacare plan. That's point I'd make.

TAPPER: Well, but do you dispute the fact that health care costs would go up to $14,000 for a senior?

RYAN: No, because you're missing the premise of my argument, which is, our goal is to lower the cost of health insurance. Our goal is to increase quality, and have more choices, and lower the cost.

Let me say it this way. President Obama promised if you like your plan you can keep it. That didn't come true. He then said it's going to lower premiums on average $2,500. It went the opposite direction. Premiums went up something like an average of $3,000. So, that didn't work.

We're not going to keep us on this escalator of higher costs in a collapsing health care system. Our whole entire plan is to lower the cost of that so that you stretch your health care dollar further. That's the entire premise of our reforms.

Repeal this law, replace it with something that works so we actually get costs down. And if you get costs down, you improve access to quality care.

TAPPER: Speaker Ryan, let me just ask you one unrelated question because the deadline to raise the U.S. debt ceiling is tomorrow. Is your party going to raise the limit by the deadline tomorrow? RYAN: They don't need to raise it by the deadline tomorrow. The

Treasury Department has quite a few things they can do which will last months to do certain moves to make sure that that doesn't happen. I forgot exactly what tool we use.

We're going from Russia to health care to debt limit. So, the treasury secretary has told us we don't have to do it tomorrow, we have got plenty of time to sort this out.

TAPPER: Will your party raise the debt ceiling?

RYAN: We will work with our colleagues in both the House, the Senate, Republicans and Democrats, and the White House, to come to a conclusion to this. I don't believe -- we're not going to have a default on our debt. And we will figure out how best to deal with this issue when that moment arrives.

And that moment statutorily, I guess, I didn't even know that lies tomorrow. Steve Mnuchin, our treasury secretary, has told us we have got plenty of time to figure this out.

TAPPER: House Speaker Paul Ryan, always a pleasure, thank you so much for coming and taking questions.

RYAN: You betcha. Take care.

TAPPER: We appreciate it.

RYAN: Thanks.

TAPPER: That's it for THE LEAD I'm Jake Tapper. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter @jaketapper or tweet the show @theleadcnn. And for more with what happens next with ObamaCare join us CNN Town Hall with Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Tom Price. It all starts this evening at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. Tonight, Wolf Blitzer and Dana Bash will moderate. And Wolf Blitzer, well he's is in "THE SITUATION ROOM" next. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN THE SITUATION ROOM HOST: Happening now, breaking news. Classified briefing. Best top republicans openly dismiss the President's claim that he was wiretapped. The FBI Director gives lawmakers a private briefing on the investigation.