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Trump Doubles Down on Wiretap Claim; Trump Budget Blueprint; Foods that Fight Hangovers; Trump Suffers Travel Ban Defeat. Aired 8:30-9a ET
Aired March 16, 2017 - 08:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:33:47] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, for the most part, I'm not going to discuss it because we have it before the committee and we will be submitting things before the committee very soon that hasn't been submitted as of yet. But it's potentially a very serious situation. So wiretap covers a lot of different things. I think you're going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Now, we've heard this kind of mystery promise before. What will it mean this time coming from President Trump on his unsubstantiated claim of being wiretapped? Lawmakers from both parties saying they have seen no proof.
What's going on here? Let's discuss with CNN political commentator, host of "The Messy Truth," Van Jones, and CNN political commentator and contributor to "The Hill," Kayleigh McEnany.
Why, Kayleigh? Why?
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, you know, I thing something's been overlooked. I know Van's saying why. Something was overlooked in Devin Nunes' comments. He said, look, I don't have proof that, you know, Trump himself was wiretapped by President Obama. But there may be incidental collection. And by that we mean in the course of surveying a foreign diplomat or a foreign person overseas, we come across an American citizen. And we know, according to DNI procedures, you minimize the way -- what you do in those instances. You stop surveilling unless you have proof of a crime. So we might have incident surveillance, which would be included in the definition of wiretap.
[08:35:07] CUOMO: That's not what he said.
MCENANY: That's -- Nunes said that that might be a possibility.
CUOMO: No, no, no, no, that's not what the president said.
MCENANY: But that is wiretapping. That is exactly what the president said. If you are wiretapping a foreign agent and you stumble upon --
CUOMO: He said that President Obama wiretapped him and called him a bad or sick person. There is no proof of any warrants out on him according to Republican lawmakers. This seems to be now a desperate catch as catch can. How is it more than that?
MCENANY: There's no proof that we know of. What we do know, however, is that Mike Flynn was surveilled. He was wiretapped. They did intend to --
CUOMO: No, he wasn't. No, he wasn't.
MCENANY: There was a trans --
CUOMO: The Russian ambassador was.
CUOMO: And they picked up Flynn on a conversation, and we don't know that that happened in Trump Tower.
MCENANY: Right. At -- at which point --
CUOMO: Very different.
MCENANY: At which point they should have minimized their surveillance of Mike Flynn, unless they had evidence of a crime.
CUOMO: We don't know that they didn't.
MCENANY: So I think the burden is on the intelligence community to show us, what was the crime? Why did you transcribe the conversation of an American citizen that was perhaps in Trump Tower at the time that this conversation happened?
CUOMO: We do not know that either.
MCENANY: Which would completely verify the president's --
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: You know what -- who -- you know, who could clear this up right now in five minutes? The president, right? He could call the intelligence agencies. He's the boss. He could say, turn over the evidence. Give it to me. Let me make it clear to the American public. Tucker Carlson pressed him on that just last night. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCKER CARLSON: You're in charge of the agencies. Every intelligence agency reports to you. Why not immediately go to them and gather evidence to support that?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Because I don't want to do anything that's going to violate any strength of an agency. You know, we have enough problems.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: That argument.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.
HARLOW: Van, Jones, I don't want to hurt the agencies that I have spent the better part of my, you know, almost two months in office delegitimize. Does that pass muster with you?
JONES: No, and I just think sometimes we just have to try to look at this a little bit more realistically. What actually happened? The president came out, gave a speech that a lot of people felt pretty good about. People said, maybe he's going to pivot. The next day the media ignores that, starts going after Sessions. Trump gets anxious, it seems to me, when the media doesn't go his way. He wakes up in the morning, he looks at some right wing media and he starts tweeting. That's all we know for sure has happened.
And I think that when the president does stuff like this, it creates a lot of anxiety in the American public. Because either the president of the United States committed an awful crime, Obama, and we have a constitutional crisis and a major deal in which case you've got to handle it very, very well. You don't just tweet that out in the morning. That's a major accusation. Or this guy just can't control his anxiety and does weird stuff. Either way, I don't think he serves the country very well doing this stuff. I don't think his advisers serve him very well defending this stuff. There just is no evidence that the president of the United States, Obama, committed a crime. If there were, you shouldn't handle it in this way.
And so I just -- you know, it -- my heart break for people around the world who look at the United States, seen us as a beacon of stability, an example of how democracy is supposed to work, have, you know, even in prisons and in jails have -- we want -- I want to be in prison to have a country like America, to see this kind of nonsense.
CUOMO: Well, look, I'd still like to know where else would be better. For all our problems --
JONES: That's right (INAUDIBLE).
CUOMO: For all our problems, I don't know why this country wouldn't be the first choice for that same population.
Let me ask you something, though. I just don't know why -- I look at it differently than Van because I'm not a romantic. For me it's just very cold and practical. I don't know how this helps. If it comes down to Mike Flynn and what was done with him, they fired Mike Flynn and they didn't even need to. The FBI said they weren't going to charge the man with a crime. They said that they heard the story that Flynn says he told Pence. They found him not to be misleading. The White House had all the cover they wanted to save Mike Flynn and they didn't. So for now to come back to Flynn as the rationale for something that was done to the White House that was so wrong, I don't know -- not only is it strained fact and credibility, but I don't get the strategy, Kayleigh. MCENANY: No, you're right, that it -- that it is confusing to have
fired Flynn but then go back to this Flynn conversation. But I think we have to separate two things. Look, Flynn did mislead the vice president, absolutely unacceptable.
CUOMO: Do we know that? How do we know he did that?
MCENANY: Because the vice president, who's a very honest, good man, came on national television and said, I know for a fact Mike Flynn didn't discuss this. He told me he did not discuss sanctions. I trust Mike Pence. We -- we can debate that, but I trust Mike Pence.
CUOMO: And Mike Flynn, according to sources close to him, says he never did discuss sanctions. That it never came up. And we've seen the vice president, with all due respect, either underplay or go quiet on things that you would expect him to stand up and be against. So I don't know that we can use him as a barometer of what's right and wrong in this situation.
MCENANY: Look, and that's a personal preference. I trust the vice president. He's a very honest man. He's never misled the nation. I trust his opinion.
But, look, Mike Flynn, his conversation was transcribed. And as American citizens, we should be very concerned any time an American citizen is transcribed -- their conversation is disseminated around government. That is very troubling and we should ask some real questions (ph).
[08:40:01] CUOMO: Except he wasn't the focus.
CUOMO: The Russian ambassador was and that's a huge difference.
HARLOW: But he would know, given his prior roles, he would know that those conversations with the Russian -- Russian ambassador would be surveilled.
JONES: But here's -- look, Kayleigh's not wrong when she says that we have a big, powerful intelligence gathering capability in this country with more tools than ever and we want them to be very, very careful. The president could have a conversation about that. He has the biggest bully pulpit -- he could say, listen, I run these agencies now. I'm going to promise you that they're going to act right and I'm concerned about how they've been acting. That's not what he tweeted. That's not what he said. He said Obama wiretapped me. That's -- and now we're in this hell hole of a discussion that helps nobody.
MCENANY: Which is why Twitter probably wasn't the best medium to bring it up. I agree with you there, Van.
HARLOW: Or any medium if you don't have the facts to back it up.
MCENANY: Well, I think he does have the facts.
HARLOW: I mean the medium (INAUDIBLE).
MCENANY: He says it will be out in two weeks. So we have to --
CUOMO: He's said it before.
HARLOW: So you're going to come back on in two weeks.
MCENANY: I will.
HARLOW: All right, thank you, guys, Van and Kayleigh, very much.
CUOMO: The unavailable cleanup task that Kayleigh McEnany takes on with a smile.
Both of you, thank you.
Van Jones, a nod to tonight's show, "The Messy Truth." He'll be joined by NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Congressman Chris Collins.
HARLOW: Can't wait for that.
All right, the White House taking the wraps off the president's budget. This is a blueprint. This is what he wants. We'll see what he can get through. Where does the money get cut from the most, where does it go, what does it all means? Christine Romans breaks it down, next.
[08:45:31] CUOMO: The White House release of President Trump's budget blueprint will come later this morning. Where are the cuts? What does it mean for you? Chief business correspondent Christine Romans breaks it down.
What are the answers, my friend?
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, the hard power budget is what the budget director calls us. This blueprint is Donald Trump's campaign promises put into numbers, Chris. It promises to shrink the role of government in American's lives by ending long- running programs, slashing the Environmental Protection Agency by 31 percent, a 28 percent cut to the State Department. That includes a huge reduction in foreign aid. Health and Human Services will see nearly 18 percent of its budget cut. And something that's caused a lot of backlash already, a $6 billion decrease from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Now that's an agency that supports housing and home ownership for the most vulnerable citizens. The plan would end community development block grants. Advocates are alarmed to say the least. The White House say these programs, though, don't work or they're duplicative.
Much of the savings will be transferred over to the military. One of the president's main campaign promises, $52 billion boost to Department of Defense. Also additions to Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs and a $3 billion down payment on the border wall and stricter enforcement to pay for immediate hiring of hundreds and hundreds of Immigration and Border Patrol agents.
HARLOW: All right, you're going to give $54 billion to defense, you've got to make cuts elsewhere.
Christine Romans, thank you very much.
Coming up next for us, two travel ban defeats in court and a health care plan in serious jeopardy. What is the Trump White House going to do next? We're going to have "The Bottom Line" next.
CUOMO: But first, tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day. For some that also means hangovers.
HARLOW: Not you.
CUOMO: That doesn't happen. No, no, not me.
CUOMO: CNN's Jacqueline Howard has some key recipes in today's "Food as Fuel."
JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH WRITER: The best way to ward off a hangover is not to drink at all or drink in moderation. But if you're going to drink, here's something to consider. It turns out dark liquors, like whiskey, darker beer and red wine have more of the chemicals that make your head hurt and stomach ache when you overdue it. Lighter colored or clear drinks, like white wine and vodka, have less of these compounds.
If you're going to knock back a few, make sure your next meal is high in potassium, Vitamin A and B vitamins. Heavy drinking is linked to a drop in those nutrients. Try whipping up a banana cantaloupe smoothie for avocado toast for a quick potassium powered breakfast. For lunch or dinner, try grilled chicken with asparagus for B vitamins. Complete the meal with sweet potato wedges for a good source of Vitamin A.
[08:51:18] HARLOW: Well, the Trump administration suffering a second defeat on this revised travel ban, 0-2 so far in the eyes of federal judges as the GOP's health care plan also in trouble this morning. CNN's whip count has the Republican plan just two votes shy of failing in the House. How is the White House going to turn all of this around?
Let's get "The Bottom Line" with political director David Chalian.
So really big picture, my friend. I almost want to call you the boss. The boss of all of this for us. How, you know, necessary is one for the other, right? So if they -- if they don't get the travel ban done, if they don't get this health care bill done, how does that impact all the rest that's on their agenda, especially tax reform?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, I don't know, Poppy, that those two are connected, although I do think that if they can't get the Obamacare repeal and replace through, I do think that has a significant impact on their legislative agenda going forward from there. But here --
CHALIAN: But here's the thing. Donald Trump needs a win. There's just no doubt about that. And remember on the campaign trail, he promised America he was a winner, we were going to get so tired of winning, we were going to see so much winning you weren't' going to believe. He is desperate for a win right now because as you noted, 0-2 in the travel ban and Obamacare on a very rocky road right now. He's looking forward to the Gorsuch confirmation hearings next week, which has been a big win for him in terms of conservative appeal and looking like he's going to get this guy on the Supreme Court with relative ease. That would be a big win for him. But right now he's mired in a bunch of very tricky, political terrain.
CUOMO: Well, the clear connection is between health care and tax, right, because they're in the reconciliation process. They have a limited window for that. That's insider talk. But it's not insider walk to say taxes probably matters the most to people in terms of direct effect on the wallet and a clear, political connection to his own fate. So what -- how big does that loom with everything else?
CHALIAN: And if you follow his economic theory, right, he thinks it is one of the biggest pieces to creating that huge economic growth that he's promised as well. So there is this big debate, as you guys know now in Washington, of wondering, should health care have gone first? Should it not have? As you said, Chris, a little bit of insider language there about how -- the way to do health care, did that force tax reform to come behind it? I don't think -- I think everyone's fooling themselves in Washington if they think tax reform is going to be any easier than Obamacare right now. Even though, you're right, it could be more politically popular at the end of the day, I'm not sure there's a real easy path that the Trump administration has right now for their tax reform plans either.
HARLOW: No. There's a reason it's been three decades since there's been any sort of comprehensive tax reform in this country.
Hey, part of the president's interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox last night had me scratching my head. Here's that part.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX: A Bloomberg analysis showed that counties that voted for you, middle class and working class counties, would do far less well under this bill than the counties that went for Hillary. The more affluent counties.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes. Oh, I know. I know.
CARLSON: It seems like maybe --
TRUMP: It's very preliminary, Tucker.
CARLSON: This isn't consistent with the message of the last election.
TRUMP: No. A lot of things aren't consistent. But these are going to be negotiating.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: So, David, he is -- he is conceding that the folks that this plan would hurt the most are the folks that helped him the most, is he not?
CHALIAN: He is, Poppy. But then rater after that clip, in the next chunk of the interview, he did say, but we're going to take care of our people. We'll see how that goes.
What is really interesting to me there is, he talks about, things are going to be negotiated. He talked about himself as sort of an arbiter, an arbitrator who can come in and be above the fray of the warring factions. That's now how Paul Ryan's describing Donald Trump's role. He's describing Donald Trump's role as all in on this.
[08:55:02] HARLOW: Right.
CHALIAN: The way the White House describes Donald Trump and Paul Ryan describes Donald Trump in terms of how he's handling the health care battle are two totally different things right now.
CUOMO: A quick word, how damaged is the Ryan/Trump relationship after the Breitbart salvo and the refusal of the White House to own this plan, as Ryan expected?
CHALIAN: If repeal and replace gets across the finish line on the president's desk for his signature, that relationship is going to be just fine.
HARLOW: All right, the big if. Thank you, David.
CUOMO: How about some "Good Stuff," my friend?
CUOMO: Always. Next.
CUOMO: All right, let's get some "Good Stuff."
For almost a year, two young North Carolina girls have been without a father. This is a common story in this country, where somebody decides to put country before their own needs. Corporal Javier Boston, OK, was deployed in Kabul, Afghanistan. Lunchtime, the sisters were in for a surprise. Their daddy showed up at the school cafeteria.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I felt so happy. Very happy. I don't even know how to explain it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Until we saw him coming into the door, I almost started crying but I was too shy to cry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: It meant so much to them, but it meant everything to him. Corporal Boston says the tear-filled reunion was a long time coming.
HARLOW: I want to run home and hug my daughter this morning.
CUOMO: Right. And you know what the luxury is? You can.
[09:00:00] CUOMO: So many in this country are putting us before themselves and their own family's needs and we thank them for their service.
HARLOW: Indeed. All right, it is time for "NEWSROOM" with John Berman.
Good morning, John.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Poppy, Chris, thank you for that.
CUOMO: Thank you for your service, such as it is.
BERMAN: Thank you for that smile. I'm going to be nice. I love that