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Details of Trump's 2005 Tax Return Revealed; Moderate Republicans Bailing on Health Care Plan. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired March 15, 2017 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Leaked documents reveal President Trump's tax returns.

[05:58:38] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This really is just the tip of the iceberg.

BRIAN FALLON, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY, HILLARY CLINTON: This report would be a mistake for Democrats to get distracted by.

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Donald has a long history of leaking information about himself. Donald may well have been the source.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The Americans need to know. If, indeed, the former president of the United States wiretapped the Trump Towers...

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He feels very confident this will vindicate him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: James Comey expected to confirm if the FBI is investigating Trump's ties to Russia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fourteen million people losing insurance, that's not what President Trump promised.

SPICER: This is the American Health Care Act. The president is proud of it.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: If it's so good why aren't they rushing to have their names on it?


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

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Wednesday, March 15, 6 a.m. here in New York. Alisyn is off. Poppy Harlow joining me. We've got a big day.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: A lot of news. Good morning.

CUOMO: Yes, we do.

Up first, someone who had a client copy leaked the president's 2005 tax returns. In them, we see how much he paid in taxes and how big his business losses were and how that helped reduce his tax burdens.

HARLOW: Right. Why did this come out now? After he refused to release any of his returns as a candidate? And even when he became president. Is this an intentional distraction from the growing number of Republicans turning against their own party's healthcare plan. And, of course, the wiretapping allegations and the investigations into alleged ties between the president's team and Russia.

So much at stake on day 55 of the Trump presidency. We have it all covered for you this morning. Let's begin with Suzanne Malveaux, live in Washington.

Good morning.


Well, the release of Trump's 2005 1040 form raises more questions than answers, like President Trump's business ties to Russia or other foreign entities and whether he skipped out on paying his fair share of taxes more recently. But interestingly, the disclosure it being treated more like a distraction from those who have been calling for his tax returns throughout the campaign.


MALVEAUX: The American public finally getting a glimpse at President Trump's federal tax returns. Investigative journalist David Cay Johnston obtaining the first two pages of Mr. Trump's 2005 taxes.

The document shows he paid $38 million in taxes on more than $150 million in income, giving him an effective tax rate of roughly 25 percent. The White House confirming the figures in a statement on Tuesday night. The move comes as the White House is battling negative headlines on the GOP health care bill and the president's wiretapping claims, prompting Johnston to speculate whether the president himself or one of his staffers sent him the document anonymously.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Do you think it's possible that he could have sent them to you?

JOHNSTON: Oh, absolutely. I think it's entirely possible. As we remember, Donald has a long history of leaking information about himself.

MALVEAUX: Democrats largely dismissing the tax disclosure.

FALLON: I don't think we learned anything at all interesting tonight. This report tonight, I think, would be a mistake for Democrats to get distracted by.

MALVEAUX: President Trump's son suggesting the release was actually a positive development for his father. "Breaking news: 12 years ago Donald Trump made a lot of money and paid a lot in taxes. #scandal."

This after President Trump insisted for months that he could not release his tax returns because they are still under audit by the IRS.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I'm not releasing the tax returns, because as you know, they're under audit.

Almost every lawyer says you don't release your returns until the audit is complete. When the audit is complete, I'll do it.

I don't know. Depends on the audit. Depends on the audit. Not a big deal.

MALVEAUX: The DNC suggesting that the president may have other reasons for keeping his taxes to himself.


MALVEAUX: Interestingly enough, Trump's return shows he paid about $31 million of the 36.5 million in income tax in the form of an alternative minimum tax. It is designed to cut down on those who file excessive deductions. It's also something that Trump has vowed to eliminate, so it gives you some window into his thinking regarding some tax policies -- Chris, Poppy.

CUOMO: All right, Suzanne.

We've got the man this morning, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative Journalist David Cay Johnston. Now, he got the president's tax return in the mail anonymously sent to him, published it on Promptly crashed the server there, because there was so much interest. He's also the author of "The Making of Donald Trump."

All right. So we have the reporting. We have the tax, and then we have the mysteries.


CUOMO: All right? So let's start with the reporting. How did you get this?

JOHNSTON: It just came in the mail to my home. I was down in Palm Beach, looking at Mar-a-Lago when I got a phone call from one of my grown children that this had come in the mail to my House in Rochester, New York, and I hightailed it up to New York City.

CUOMO: You don't know who sent it to you.


CUOMO: You didn't solicit it.


CUOMO: You didn't ask anybody for it.

JOHNSTON: Correct.

HARLOW: But it had two very important words on it, "Client copy." What does that tell you?

JOHNSTON: Well, it tells me that, first of all, it didn't come from the Internal Revenue Service, which probably got it electronically. It came, probably, from someone who was given that copy, either because they worked in the accounting firm that worked on this. The accounting firm has no comment. Or it was produced in litigation or it was produced for some regulatory proceeding, and somebody had access to it. And I think the reason they probably sent it to me is because I've written so much about negative incomes and how they're used by wealthy people not to pay taxes and the alternative minimum tax.

HARLOW: Do you think it's possible that it was sent to you by the president?

JOHNSTON: Yes, Donald has a long history of leaking things about himself and doing it directly and indirectly. So it's a possibility.

The anger with which the White House responded suggests to me not likely, however. It's when something gets leaked he's happy about, he doesn't complain.

CUOMO: Although they did have their game together, in uncharacteristic fashion here. When they found out that this was coming out, they put out a response that nailed exactly how to play this; and they don't always do that.

JOHNSTON: Actually, they behaved pretty unethically for people in the White House press office, because I sent them the document; and they proceeded, then, to give out the information to competing news organizations. Professional P.R. people don't do things like that. I've never had a White House -- and my experience goes back 50 years -- do something like that.

CUOMO: Join the club.


CUOMO: So client copy takes the IRS out of it.


CUOMO: And that's important right now, because what we've seen is institutions keep getting attacked as part of a political tactic to deal with criticism of the president.


[06:05:04] CUOMO: So "client copy" puts this into the realm, again, of unethical litigant. Right? Somebody who got this through discovery and wasn't supposed to release it. Or someone connected to Trump, who would have had this. All right. So that's how you got it. Now what's in it? As you said,

you do a lot of writing about the alternative minimum tax and what's going on. What do we sees as a taxpayer?

JOHNSTON: Here's what it shows. The Trumps that year had $153 million if income, about $3 million a week. They also, though, took $103 million of negative income; and I believe that's from a tax shelter that the president bought.

CUOMO: What is negative income?

JOHNSTON: It's reverse numbers. You know? You're in the hole.

CUOMO: So you've lost money?

JOHNSTON: That's right. And in Trump's case, he shouldn't have the negative income. He didn't pay back banks about $918 million. The banks took that loss, but the president bought a tax shelter that allowed him to take it, as well. Double taking the loss.

CUOMO: Illegal?

JOHNSTON: Congress, the Republicans in Congress shut that off the minute they learned about it. But you know what they do? They let the people who already bought the tax shelter keep their ill-got tax savings.

CUOMO: So legal, but they changed the law subsequently?

JOHNSTON: That's correct. So this -- you know, the president, we only have the regular tax system. We have two tax systems for wealthy people. Regular and AMT. All of us in this room are on AMT. Under the regular system, he would have paid $5 million on 153 million. That's less than 3.5 percent. That is less than the tax rate paid by the poorest half of Americans.

HARLOW: So let's talk about why that matters. That matters because he wants to overhaul the tax code. A lot of folks want to overhaul it. He wants to abolish the AMT. He wants to get rid of something so, instead of paying, you know, 36 and a half million dollars, he would have paid about 3.

JOHNSTON: He would have paid about 5. And that's exactly right. He wants a tax policy that will benefit him. He wants to live like a king and pay taxes like he's a pauper. And, you know, we can't run our military and the FBI and all the other things that are needed to make America a free and independent country without tax revenue.

CUOMO: There's a big debate about that. Poppy and I were talking about it before the show. You can't blame Trump for the existing system. He was just working the system, as everybody else does who doesn't want to pay a penny more than they have to.

HARLOW: Liberals and conservatives.

CUOMO: Was there anything in there, David, that went to charitable giving, that went to schedules that shows, you know, foreign asset structure or debt service?

JOHNSTON: No, we do know this was the one year out of the last 15 or so the president did male a gift to his own charity. He gave $660,000. But beyond that we don't know. And that's not on the tax return. That's from the tax return of his charity, which I also examined.

CUOMO: So this was the right year to get, in terms of Trump's own interests, right?


CUOMO: That's part of the backlash here is that for a leak this seemed to be pretty good for the president.

JOHNSTON: Yes, it makes him look quite good. And also, the numbers, if I'm right about the tax shelter, imply that his average income for the previous ten years was $81.5 million a year. Half, roughly.

CUOMO: So it was the best number to show how much money he makes.


CUOMO: It doesn't show anything nefarious.

JOHNSTON: Correct.

CUOMO: And he winds up coming out looking like, "See? What's the big deal?"

JOHNSTON: If we don't see, though, his entire return, which is probably about a thousand pages, for many years.

CUOMO: But who would have client copy of just a few pages and not the whole thing?

JOHNSTON: It could be a function of who had time to go to a photocopier. I mean, I don't know. But, you know, we -- Donald Trump is unique in that he is not showing his tax returns, as everybody else has done. We had Hillary Clinton's tax returns back to the 1970s.

HARLOW: Let's remember, so this is the lead this morning, because it is news. But is this an intentional distraction. That's a very important question.

Stay with us, David. We want to bring in our panel to talk about exactly that and more. Associate editor and columnist at Real Clear Politics, A.B. Stoddard is with us; CNN political analyst and author of "How's Your Faith?" David Gregory joins us; and political commentator and senior columnist at "The Daily Beast," Matt Lewis is here.

So David Gregory, let me begin with you. Chris made some very important points there in terms of how rosy this is of an outlook for the president, when you look at sort of his income over a number of years and big losses in other years. Do you see this as an intentional distraction, regardless of who it came from?

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It may have the effect of being a distraction, and it may be self-serving. So I think there's lots of things to read into this. It's an incomplete picture.


GREGORY: And the picture that is presented is revealing of things that are consistent with what President Trump has said about his financial standing, about his wealth, about his taxes he's paid. I thought what David said was interesting. We don't know the extent of his financial entanglements and involvement around the globe. And it only invites more questions. We'd want to see more tax returns to get a fuller picture here.

But in the immediate term, right. We get information, and the information is not startling in terms of what it shows that points to anything wrong.

CUOMO: A.B. let's bring you in on this. The timing is curious. You know, this doesn't pop up during a time where we are doing intense examination of the president's transparency or why he won't show his taxes.

It is yet in the midst of all these other things that the president wants to get away from. You know, the hollow wiretapping claims. The Comey coming and finally giving word about the nature of the investigation of Trump by that agency, if there is one. The timing is pretty curious, no?

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR/COLUMNIST, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: Yes. I think that if he intentionally did this, the timing is pretty shrewd. Not because of the huge divisions within the Republican Party and the battle over how to replace and repair Obamacare, but really on this Russia stuff that, if the person who sort of went to bed early on a snow night maybe on the East Coast last night and can only pay attention to this in passing on the way to work, not at the granular level that we all do, didn't see David's interview last night, that person might see this, just as you said, Chris, and say, "Well, it looks like he paid his taxes."

And maybe he doesn't even know that it was only the two front pages, that we don't know who, you know, he's getting his money from. If it's from, as the other David said, nefarious sources.

I mean, at this point, they look at this, and they say, "Well, maybe there's really nothing to all this stuff about him maybe being beholden and indebted to oligarchs in Russia." And I think that is what serves this purpose, if it was an intentional link from anyone in Trump world.

HARLOW: Yes, two pages out of what David said would be more like -- more like a thousand.

Matt Lewis, to you. What this does show us is that this White House can and is willing to put out the president's tax information. I mean, it does show us that. This is a president who said he would show his tax returns when the audit is over. Never has. He could do it anyway. An audit doesn't prevent you from doing that. The White House now proves by putting out this statement ahead of -- ahead of this morning...

CUOMO: He hasn't even given us proof he is under audit, by the way.

HARLOW: Well, exactly. That they can put out his tax returns when they want to, because they put the numbers out there.

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I just question the news value of this, right? Possibly the speculation this morning is maybe even Donald -- may even it came from Donald Trump. This story was hyped so much by the media on social media specifically last night, like it was Al Capone's vault. It comes out. It's this two pages. It actually makes Donald Trump look really good.

And I just wonder, does it feed the appetite for more or does it pacify people? Do people say, "Well, we've seen the taxes. There's no 'there' there"?

CUOMO: That's what A.B.'s saying. That comes to the nature of how you report it.

LEWIS: But I think it speaks to the media. The media -- Donald Trump, let's just assume for a second that he is playing us. Well, it wouldn't be the first time. I mean, he has played us like a violin, and it could be. Now that, you know, he is putting this story behind him...

CUOMO: Although let's go slow on saying that the president did this.

LEWIS; I mean, who knows?

CUOMO: Somebody with client copy did it. There's no reason to say it was the president. This just happens to be a good -- a good look for the president on this. But let's take it to you. Hold on a second, David.


CUOMO: Let me go deal with this from the perspective of the tax, because to A.B.'s point, you're a tax expert.


CUOMO: You know what you're talking about with this stuff, better than any of us ever will. There are more questions for you to answer. What do you want to say to people who say, "Well, have the big tax guy there from D.C. Report, crashed the server. This is the whole story, and now we know he doesn't pay more taxes than he has to. Can't blame him for that."

What do you want people to know about what remains to be known?

JOHNSTON: Well, we -- here's what we don't know. We don't know how much money Donald Trump is getting through the Russian oligarchs. He is a more than 30-year connections to the Russian oligarchs.

And notice Trump always says "I have nothing to do with Russia." He never says "Russians." And the oligarchs are a state-sponsored network of international criminals that Donald has repeatedly done business with.

Secondly, we want to know who he's indebted to and who he's paying fees to? Donald -- one of Donald's biggest lenders is this huge money laundering bank, Deutsche Bank. He also has borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars from a communist Chinese bank. That's just astonishing, to have a president of the United States who is beholden to a government-owned bank in Beijing, which is also, by the way, the largest tenant in Trump Tower.

We need to see Donald Trump's complete tax returns, going back to 1977, which until now was the last year we knew he paid income taxes, so that we know who he's doing business with, who his partners are, who he's getting money from, who he is obligated to. And the -- the Russian aspect, which we've been reporting a lot on at D.C. Report, I think is very important to this. Donald Trump's relationships, particularly one -- the land sale he did in Florida, which if it were a city councilman, everybody would have said that's a payoff.

CUOMO: So this is just the beginning?

JOHNSTON: Absolutely. This is the beginning, and it's a window that I've told you a lot about from the window; but it's just -- just a narrow view.

HARLOW: It's a two-page, tiny sliver of -- it's an airplane window.


HARLOW: We want to see all the windows on Trump Tower. And we don't know the charitable giving, either.

Thank you for the reporting. We appreciate it, David.

To our panel, A.B. Stoddard, Matt Lewis, David Gregory, stick around.

[06:15:07] Coming up, FBI Director James Comey will reveal in just a few hours whether or not the bureau is investigating these ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. That's an answer that a Democratic congressman said the FBI director said he will give today. This amid growing concerns about the GOP health care bill. After the CBO scored it, more Republicans now backing away.

Joe Johns live at the White House with the latest.


The White House right now is facing potential developments on multiple fronts, including the president's attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare, as well as his claims of wiretapping involving President Obama. It is easy to see right now how it's very difficult for this White House to change the subject once again in the midst of a challenging news cycle.


JOHNS (voice-over): President Donald Trump facing mounting pressure from members of his own party, confronting internal revolt over the House health care bill and ongoing scrutiny of his unsubstantiated claim that President Obama wiretapped phones at Trump Tower.

MCCAIN: A lot of the Americans need to know.

JOHNS: Amid this turmoil, FBI Director James Comey could confirm today whether the bureau is investigating ties between Trump's campaign and Russia. Leaders of a Senate judiciary subcommittee also hopeful that Comey will also respond to their request to provide evidence regarding the wiretapping accusation.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: They're about to screw up big time if they keep running to the intel committee and not answer that letter.

JOHNS: Earlier this week, Sean Spicer qualified Trump's accusation, but now he's sounding defiant.

SPICER: He feels very confident that we'll ultimately come at this -- we'll vindicate him.

JOHNS: Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle showing growing frustration about the White House's failure to provide any evidence to support Trump's extraordinary claim.

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.

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D), CALIFORNIA: You do not make those kind of allegations, criminal allegations, against a former president, as he did so recklessly.

JOHNS: This as the White House battles criticism from both GOP conservatives and moderates over the Trump-endorsed health care plan, following the release of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office report estimating 24 million more Americans will be uninsured by 2026 under the GOP's replacement plan.

REP. TOM GARRETT JR. (R), VIRGINIA: Right now, I'm a no. I'm a firm no. I candidly don't see how we get to 216.

SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R), LOUISIANA: I'm concerned. That's not what President Trump promised. OK? That's not what Republicans ran on.

JOHNS: One top GOP source admitting, quote, "Headlines are terrible," fraying nerves within the GOP.

SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R), ALASKA: Can you give me a minute.

JOHNS: Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski under pressure to support the replacement bill, refusing to answer CNN's Manu Raju.

MANU RAJU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes or no, do you support that bill?

MURKOWSKI: Would you please be respectful?

JOHNS: President Trump silent over the report.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: CBO score, Mr. President, your reaction?

JOHNS (voice-over): As the administration continues to discredit the CBO's findings.


SPICER: CBO coverage estimates are consistently wrong. This is the American Health Care Act. The president is proud of it.


JOHNS; The president is going on the road today, first to Detroit for a job creation event there, and then he'll end up in Nashville, Tennessee, for a rally -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Joe. There's a lot of spin going on, some of it misleading, some of it false. And all of it trying to deal with these problems surrounding the Republican health care plan. There is mounting opposition. GOP lawmakers want changes to be made. Many say, "I can't vote for a plan where millions may wind up uninsured."

So will it be changed or will it not make it? Our panel debates, next.



[06:22:57] SPICER: This is the only vehicle that seeks to achieve what people on our side of the aisle have been talking about sine 2010. This is it. If we don't get this through, the goal of repealing Obamacare and instituting a system that would be patient centered is going to be unbelievably difficult. This is the vehicle to do that.


HARLOW: "This is our only shot." That's the message from the White House. A warning from White House press secretary Sean Spicer. This as more and more Republicans are defecting after the CBO report estimated that the GOP health care plan would leave tens of millions of Americans uninsured over the next decade.

Let's bring back in our panel: A.B. Stoddard, Matt Lewis, David Gregory.

Look, A.B., to begin with you, this isn't just, you know, Republicans in the House and the Senate saying, "You know, it's a good start. We want to make some changes." Some are saying that. This is more and more Republicans saying things like Senator Tom Cotton said yesterday, calling it "mythical legislation." Listen.


SEN. TOM COTTON (R), ARKANSAS (via phone): There is no three-step plan. That is just political talk, some mythical legislation in the future that is going to garner Democratic support and help us get over 60 votes in the Senate. If we had those Democratic votes, we wouldn't need three steps.


HARLOW: Yes. And then you have some senators that are more swing votes, like Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, running away from reporters yesterday, not wanting to answer what she's going to do, A.B.

STODDARD: Well, no one wants to be the sort of poster child for torpedoing this effort. And that's the message from the leadership, is "We're going to have to bring some bill, and it won't be perfect. And you don't want to be the standout holdout Republican in the House or Senate or the one or two that brings it down."

There's a lot of conflicting reporting going on. I've spoken to members who are very frustrated, who believe this is being jammed through, because it's all about tax reform. The deadline for this, finding a baseline out of the health care reform legislation process, is key to tax reform. And they're under pressure from the treasury secretary to sign tax reform by August. So that's the reason for the jam-up.

Then you have reporting in Politico saying that Steve Bannon, chief strategist, is meeting with Mark Meadows, head of the Freedom Caucus, and promising goodies to the conservatives, saying maybe we'll stop that Medicaid expansion early next year instead of 2020. That's a deal breaker.

[06:25:12] Then you have these people who support the president, like Laura Ingraham and Chris Ruddy and others in a "Post" story yesterday saying, "He's really going to end up hurting his base, who is dependent." Many of his voters in the Rust Belt who helped him win, they're dependent on a strong safety net. They need more. They can't have their health care ripped away.

We don't know what direction the president is going in. Is he going to sue the moderates or the conservatives? And members of Congress on the Republican side have no idea if he's in this fight or not.

CUOMO: A.B., that was a strong round-up of the entire field of reporting going on, on this right now. Thank you.

David, what you are hearing as almost consensus is pushback on Spicer. Pushback on Ryan. That this is misleading. This is false. This isn't our only shot. This is just the beginning. And there's equal pushback on this phase 2 and phase 3. Yesterday,

you heard it from reporters, but you hear it even more from the GOP, saying, "Why are they saying, "Phase 2 and Phase 3 will make phase 1 OK, when they don't exist yet?" How does that criticism play in the ultimate analysis?

GREGORY: The real problem here is this health care effort is being defined by its earliest steps, and that happened on Obamacare, as well. It made it very difficult for the Obama White House to get this out. There was all this talk of communications problems, when there was really a problem with the legislation that was moving forward. But ultimately, they were able to bring Democrats into the fold and get this passed on a party line vote.

There were a lot of problems with that, as we've seen the implementation over the years.

But here you've got these factions, as A.B. lays out, among Republicans. And I see this as this fundamental split between conservatives who, as A.B. said, want to get onto tax reform and pursue conservative goals and a more pragmatic president who's got a different base and who has -- who's going to have to live with the idea that you're going to leave so many people out and vulnerable if you take this away.

There's nothing comparable, when you reach in and take a benefit away. And that's what they're dealing with here. And I just think this -- the stunning lack of discipline among Republicans right now is really going to continue to hurt.

HARLOW: So Matt Lewis to A.B.'s point about, you know -- and it's a really good one and an important one, do we really know where the president stands on this one? Because a lesson from Obamacare, that President Obama has admitted was he needed to be a better salesman of it. Do we know where this president stands on what he cares most about keeping and what he will live with losing?

LEWIS: No, because Donald Trump has never had a really well- developed, coherent world view in terms of -- certainly in terms of policy specificity. He outsourced this to Paul Ryan, who has a diametrically opposed political world view. I mean, Donald Trump is a nationalist, populist within the Republican umbrella. And Paul Ryan is, like, a Jack Kemp, cosmopolitan conservative. And they really disagree fundamentally on a lot of things.

And so I think there's a real question. If this bill goes down, as it now looks to be very tenuous, it's teetering, does Donald Trump want to kind of stake his reputation along with a bill that's off brand anyway, that doesn't match his world view? Or does he -- so I think it's unclear now. He could go down fighting for this and say, "Look, this is my legacy. This is a landmark bill. It's the first thing; we have to fight for it." Or I think he could walk away from this and call it Ryancare.

CUOMO: Well, we've seen no indication that he is willing...

HARLOW: He's going to walk away.

CUOMO: ... to take this, though, and make it his own. And we've shown no indication that he has the mastery sell it.

HARLOW: Yes, but if he walks away, then he doesn't win, and this is "The Art Of The Deal guy" who always wins. Guys, thank...

LEWIS: Unless he declares -- just declares victory; everything's great.

HARLOW: There you go. Guys, thank you very much.

A quick programming note. Join Wolf Blitzer and Dana Bash tonight for a town hall with HHS Secretary Tom Price on the GOP's health care plan. What does he have to say about how the CBO scored it, how they're going to get this through? It's 9 p.m. Eastern on CNN.

CUOMO: All right. How is it looking where you are? The big dig-out is playing out in so many places in the northeast. They had as much as 2 feet of snow. The storm thankfully gone. The danger still very real. Why? Next.