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Sources: Yates To Testify She Warned About Flynn; Clinton Blames Loss On Russia, Comey, Sexism And Herself; Trump Raises Stakes For Next Shutdown Fight; No Money In Spending Bill To Build Trump's Wall; Trump, Putin Speak Amid Ongoing Tensions; Latest GOP Health Care Bill On Verge Of Collapse; Jimmy Kimmel Opens Up About Newborn Son's Surgery. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 2, 2017 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:03] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. We begin this hour with the Russia White House watch. The ongoing investigation into Russia's meddling in the election.

Next week, former acting Attorney General Sally Yates will testify in an open hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Tonight, we're learning what she will say is diametrically opposed to the Trump administrations version of events when it comes to her warning about then National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Jim Sciutto has details.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates is prepared to testify before a Senate panel next week that she gave a forceful warning to the White House regarding then National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. This nearly three weeks before he was fired, contradicting the administration's version of events, sources familiar with her account tell CNN.

On February 14th, the day after Flynn's firing, White House Spokesman Sean Spicer described the Yates meeting in far less serious terms.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Wanted to give, "a heads up to us" on some comments that may have seemed in conflict with what he had sent the vice-president.

SCIUTTO: But Yates will explain that in a private meeting, January 26, she told White House Counsel Don McGahn that Flynn was lying when he denied in public and private that he had discussed U.S. sanctions on Russia in conversations with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.

His misleading comments Yates explained made him potentially vulnerable to being compromised by Russia. Flynn was fired 18 days later, only after news reports that Flynn had lied to Vice-President Mike Pence about his conversations with the Russian ambassador.

Yates' testimony will book end a week's worth of appearances, starting with FBI Director James Comey before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. Committee members will press Comey for answers on how the FBI worked with Christopher Steele, the former British spy who compiled the controversial dossier that included allegations there was an ongoing exchange of information between Trump campaign surrogates and the Russian government.

Democrats will push the FBI director on what has been learned about the Trump campaign's contact with Russian officials and other Russians known to U.S. intelligence.

SEN. CHRIS COONS, (D) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: More than anything, I want to hear that the FBI isn't being blocked or impeded in their investigation. And I want to know that we're going to get to the bottom of this in a balance and bipartisan way.

SCIUTTO: Democrats will also seek answers on why Comey spoke publicly about the FBI's investigation into Hillary Clinton's e-mail server, but not its probe into Trump's ties with Russia, which was also underway during the summer of the campaign.

Meanwhile, the former British spy behind the dossier insists that his search was urgent enough to share with top U.S. and British officials, but admits that some of his work was not fully verified, this according to court documents filed last month in London.

In the new legal filing obtained by CNN, lawyers for former British spy Christopher Steele argue that his investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia funded by political opponents of Trump served a vital national security interest.

Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: So it sounds like there's a real difference of interpretation between what Sally Yates is going to say about what she presented to the White House and the urgency with which she presented it and how the White House has characterized it.

Joining us now is David Gergen, Ryan Lizza and Mike Rogers. It's interesting, David, how big a problem would that be for the White House given that Sean Spicer has said, you know, she just kind of raising a general warning, whereas, Sally Yates apparently is going to say it was a very urgent warning?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's a serious problem for the White House. I think viewers will find it obvious that there's a big difference between a forceful warning that Sally Yates -- as was described by Jim Sciutto as to what she's going to say versus a heads up.

COOPER: Heads up (inaudible).

GERGEN: Yeah, as described by the White House. That's a big, big difference. It's one of the first times, Anderson, that's been a direct contradiction that will be under oath about how the White House has characterized this. And it's going to raise additional questions, not only where you somehow softening us about Flynn, but why have you been relatively soft in trying to keep him close all the way through this?

COOPER: David, in a meeting like that at the White House, would somebody be taking notes? Do you know?

GERGEN: I would imagine she went with notes, whether the lawyer or the general counsel took notes, usually you do.


GERGEN: I've been in a situation where the attorney general came to the White House, that's about -- been past few years ago. It scared the hell out of us. I mean -- but you have the attorney general showing up in doorstep.

COOPER: Right.

GERGEN: And that's very high powered stuff and you pay attention. You pay --


GERGEN: You get a lot of notice. And what -- it's also surprising, of course, is how many days it then took before he was dismissed.

COOPER: Well, Ryan, that's the incredible thing. I mean, you have 18 days and really it seems like -- and I mean, maybe it's a coincidence, but it's -- after it seems like "The Washington Post" is going to break the story, then there's action.

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's very clear that that post story --

COOPER: Right.

LIZZA: -- triggered Trump to fire him. And I think one of the interesting things when Yates finally publicly testifies, because so much of the drama about what she told the White House has been the result of sources close to this person or that person. It's all been sort of shrouded and a bit of mystery.

[21:05:10] You know, she will have a chance to explain why would someone like sally Yates be concerned that there was a contradiction between what Flynn said publicly or had told his superiors and what the Russians knew that they said, you know? That with this issue of blackmail has been raised.

You know, hopefully she'll be able to walk the American people through why that's a serious concern. And then it will put the question back to the White House in a much more serious, direct way once she has on the record testimony. Why didn't you do anything about this?

COOPER: Although it's unclear how much she's going to be able to say in an open hearing. LIZZA: That's right.

COOPER: I mean, she may have to say, "Look, its classified information. I can't go into the details of what Flynn actually said to the Russians."

LIZZA: That's right. Because he's under -- we believe he's under -- he's part of this FBI investigation and she has to be careful of what she can say.

COOPER: Right.

GERGEN: You know, there's no hard evidence that, Anderson, that the White House did something terribly wrong like a cover up. But when cover up happen, you start talking and you get something that comes out, it's the first time you get a contradiction, next time you get a contradiction stories unravel very quickly.

COOPER: Chairman Rogers, I mean, you have the former CIA Director Michael -- General Michael Hayden said earlier that it seems like General Flynn was fired not because of what he had done, but because what he had done was going to be made public by "The Washington Post." Do you think if that story never became public that Flynn might still be national security adviser or wouldn't have been fired when he was?

MIKE ROGERS, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY COMMENTATOR You know, this is one -- this is the one craziest thing about this, Anderson, is that this is one of -- the public hearings are going to be, "Hey, what I really want is a fair hearing and a good hanging." And we have to be, I think really careful about this.

They made an accusation and we shouldn't, I think confuse conspiracy with incompetence. I think it took 18 days because they circled the wagons to try to figure out what in the heck was going on. I think he would have been dismissed because of the investigation at some point.

You can't allow that to go on and have someone in such a serious and senior position in national security with the FBI poking around going into his background, having, certainly, a lot of smoke in this investigation. So if it -- I don't know. I assume because it was becoming public it was an easier way to make that decision. But at the end of the day, you do have to let this thing play out.

And what I worry about these public hearings is I think we're going to be equally confused after the public hearings as we are when we went in. You're going to have one team saying, "He's guilty, let's hang him." The other team saying, "No, maybe not so much." This is why we should let the FBI do their investigation and then once they get that out, then let the committees go to work on their versions of what happened.

COOPER: There is something to be said though, David, about airing things in public. I mean, again, I come back to those "Washington Post" report. Had this not leaked out and you can, you know, as much as this White House criticizes leaks, it's very possible Michael Flynn would not have been fired when he was, certainly, and that somebody who, if it's true that he was susceptible to -- or compromised in some way, he would have remained in his office.

GERGEN: Yeah. Listen, Anderson. Mike Rogers has got a good point. The Senate has to be very careful not to in any way jeopardize the FBI investigation, which is actually going to be -- you know, is a much more serious comprehensive investigation.

And at the same time, there is a reason that you go transparent because it does force issues out. It gets the story out and it gets the story into the public and keeps us focused on. Listen, they were serious. Hillary Clinton was just arguing today, this is one of the two things that brought her down in the last 10 days, so it's a very serious set of questions.

And I do not understand why -- when Sally Yates went there, why alarm bells didn't go off through the White House and they tackled it right away and find out what's the hell is really going on here. That seems to me in and of itself, whether it was a heads up or forceful warning. They should have been on top of it.

COOPER: Chairman Rogers, does that -- I mean, does that make you wonder? I mean, again, whether its incompetence or something more, I mean, 18 days -- does 18 days seem like a long time to you?

ROGERS: It does. It seems like an awful long time, you know, knowing that -- even prior to that there were individuals associated with the campaign saying, "Hey, are you sure there's -- it might not be a clearance problem here? So, yes, I think 18 days was way too long for this to happen. However, they were going through all these transitions.

If you remember in those first few weeks, you know, it wasn't the prettiest thing you've ever seen in a transition. You know, it doesn't mean everything was wrong and Trump is bad and none of that. It just means that they had a really difficult time when they went in trying to get their sea legs.

So it's, you know, took a little longer than I would have liked in a case where the attorney general has a claim that somebody may be up for compromise by the way your national security adviser. Yeah, that gives you pause.

But at the same time, they also -- he also earned the right as an American citizen for them to go through and do their due diligence and say, is this just alarm or is there something more here, because you can't -- you don't want do it because "The Washington Post" says you ought to fire somebody. You ought to do it because that's the right thing to do and maybe it took them 18 day to do that.


LIZZA: And hovering, you know, overall this is, you know, that -- what was disclosed by the post is that Flynn lied to Pence.

[21:10:09] What hasn't really come out, what we don't know is did Trump know what Michael Flynn and the Russian ambassador talked about. They were coordinating pretty closely, if you remember, back in the transition during this period.

COOPER: Right. Was this just him doing this on his own? Was the president or the president-elect even involved in the idea of --


LIZZA: Exactly. Did he give the president a readout with that conversation and actually know that --

COOPER: A lot to be learned, obviously, so thanks everyone. Just ahead, Hillary Clinton also -- sorry, go ahead Chairman Rogers.

ROGERS: The timeline here is really important. So, remember, some of these activities happened after the election.

COOPER: Right.

ROGERS: So the notion that there's collusion, I think there's a lot of investigative work here to get an accurate timeline of what happened. Listen, if I were one team, I would say, "Yup, absolutely, this cost me the election." If I'm in the other team I would say, "Hey, nothing to see here, move along."

COOPER: Right.

ROGERS: That's why I think the FBI needs to have a little freedom here to do the investigation to come to its conclusion. These public hearing, although certainly are going to be entertaining, people are going to come in with preconceived notions of what that person is saying. And I just think that's a little worrisome to the outcome. It would be great for the American public to get the real and honest and unvarnished truth they could make their own decision.

COOPER: Yeah. Hopefully we will get that.

Just ahead, Hillary Clinton also had a lot to say about Russia today. She got candid about losing the election or sort of candid, maybe not, depending who you listen to. Who she blames for it? Russian President Vladimir Putin, FBI Director James Comey, by the way are at the top of her list. Details on that ahead.


[21:15:11] COOPER: Today, Hillary Clinton spoke about why she lost the election, who she blames and what she thinks of President Trump's job performance so far. She also touted her win in the popular vote. She did all of this during a public interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour at the women to women international summit in New York. Brianna Keilar has more.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hillary Clinton today taking more responsibility for her election loss than she ever has before. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I take absolute personal responsibility. I was the candidate. I was the person who was on the ballot. I can't be anything other than who I am. And I spent decades learning about what it would take to move our country forward.

KEILAR (voice-over): Clinton promised more in a book she's publishing in the fall.

CLINTON: I am writing a book and it's a painful process reliving the campaign. So, did we make mistakes? Of course we did. Did I make mistakes? Oh, my gosh, yes. You know, you will read my confession and my request for absolution. But the reasons why I believe we lost were the intervening events in the last 10 days.

KEILAR (voice-over): That would be the FBI director's decision to send a letter to Congress stating he was re-examining the investigation into Clinton's use of a private e-mail and server while Secretary of State. Director James Comey's letter went out October 28th.

CLINTON: The election, then on October 27th I'd be your president. And it wasn't.

KEILAR (voice-over): And she blamed Russia for its role in hacking into the e-mail account of her campaign chairman, refusing to speak Russian President Vladimir Putin's name.

CLINTON: He certainly interfered in our election and it was clear he interfered to hurt me and to help my opponent. And if you chart my opponent and his campaigns' statements, they quite coordinated with the goals that that leader who shall remain nameless had.

KEILAR (voice-over): Nearly six months since the end of the campaign, Clinton is emerging as a leading antagonist to President Trump.

CLINTON: I'm now back to being an activist citizen and part of the resistance.

KEILAR (voice-over): Clinton criticized the president's recent strike on a Syrian air base used by both Syrian and Russian forces

CLINTON: We later learned that the Russians and the Syrians moved jets off the runway that the Russians may have been given a heads up even before our own Congress was.

KEILAR (voice-over): And while she didn't denounce Trump for saying he would sit down with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, she did question the president's larger foreign policy goal.

CLINTON: Negotiations are critical, but they have to be part of a broader strategy, not just thrown out on a tweet some morning that, "Hey, let's get together and, you know, see if we can't get along."

KEILAR (voice-over): At times, she downright trolled Trump. CLINTON: I did win more than 3 million votes than my opponent. I feel a tweet coming. Well, fine. You know, better that than interfering in foreign affairs if he wants to tweet about me. I'm happy to be the diversion.

KEILAR (voice-over): Brianna Keilar, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, a lot to discuss. Joining me is Amie Parnes, Senior White House Correspondent for The Hill and co-author of "Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign." Also Van Jones, host of CNN's "Messy Truth" is with us as well.

Amie, I mean, given all you know about the campaign, does it seem to you that Secretary Clinton really is accepting full personal responsibility and then in the next sentence focusing on Comey and Russia?

AMIE PARNES, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT FOR THE HILL: Yeah. It was interesting to hear her actually claim responsibility, because I think until this point, she was basically blaming it all on Russia and Comey. So to hear her actually accept it was interesting.

She seemed a little more flexible and a little more -- a little looser today. A little more comfortable in her skin and it's interesting to see her kind of to do that, to actually accept full responsibility and not just blame those two, even though that's her -- still her primary objective, to actually blame those two.

COOPER: And yet, Van, I mean, she doesn't go into detail. And, again, it was, you know, -- she's got a book that she's writing. So clearly, she doesn't want to give out a lot of stuff that's going to make headlines once she has a book. But, she -- you know, while saying, "I take personal responsibility," she didn't actually go into any detail of things that she could have done differently or should have done better.

VAN JONES, CNN HOST, THE MESSY TRUTH: That's true. But I think we got to take a big step back here. At this point, if you think about what she's gone through, but everybody in the world now knows a couple of things. They know that in fact that Kremlin deliberately interfered. They know that the FBI head knew that there was something going on with the Russians and Trump and there was something going on with her. He did not -- he had a double standard.

[21:20:03] He exposed his investigation of her, let Trump slide. These are big psychological blows. This is a horrible trauma and there's no are readdress. You can't go and sue to get the presidency back. There's no remedy at all.

And so here we are just, you know, a few months after this and she's out there. She's relaxed. She's loose. She's funny. And we're still beating her up. Anderson, I don't think anybody would accuse me of being soft for the Clintons. But I was very, very proud and I think that she's doing an extraordinary -- setting an extraordinary example as she has done for women around the world.

She gets knocked down. She gets back up and she's back out there on the stage. I'm not going to criticize. I'm not going to nitpick every little that thing she did. Good on Hillary Clinton today.

COOPER: Amie, do you see her -- I mean, her public role moving forward. I mean, clearly, she's got a long career ahead of her just as President Obama does as well. I mean, he's very young to have left the office. So -- I mean, she says she's an activist citizen, part of what she called the resistance.

PARNES: Right.

COOPER: What do you see her doing moving forward?

PARNES: Well, she's stepping away from the foundation, as I reported. I think she wants to kind of blaze her own trail at this point. You heard her talking a lot about diplomacy today and women and children issues. I think she wants to go back in that direction and not be so reliant on the things that she's expected to do.

A lot of people thought that she might go back to the foundation that seemed like a normal place for her to go after. But from what I'm hearing from sources is that she wants to do her own thing. She wants to be part of this resistance and also be an advocate for the issues that she cares about the most.

COOPER: Van, does it present a challenge though for Democrats given her star power, President Obama, in terms of developing new leaders for the Democratic Party, getting them to emerge if they are both still very much on the public stage?

JONES: Look, I think people have a two track mind with regard to the future of this party. I think that we do have still some of the biggest stars in the world, whether you're talking about Michelle Obama, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton or Bill Clinton. And those are incredibly valuable assets for keeping the base engaged, for raising money.

But you do have this new crew that's trying to find its way forward. You got Cory Booker. You got Klobuchar. You got Kirsten Gillibrand. You got Kamala Harris. And this new folks are going to find their own way. I don't see them cancelling each other out. I think it's a sign of a certain amount of health.

You don't actually see as many senior Republicans still hanging around and Donald Trump wiped the floor with all of there sort of fresh faces. So, I think the Republicans have a bigger challenge than we do. We've got a good crop of young folks coming up, not to mention Bernie Sanders, not to mention Elizabeth Warren. I think the Clintons will continue to play a good role, but new folks are going to come forward.

COOPER: All right. Van Jones, Amie Parnes, thanks so much. Appreciate it and congratulations on your book.

PARNES: Thank you so much.

COOPER: The White House spins on the new spending bill. President Trump irritated that he didn't get funding for his border wall this time around. And (inaudible) Congress that he will shutdown the government to get what he wants this fall.


[21:26:59] COOPER: More mixed signals from the White House today on the spending bill that's up for vote on Capitol Hill. President Trump is praising the plan, also issuing an ultimatum to members of Congress. Jason Carroll has details.


DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: This is what winning looks like.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump facing conservative criticism on the budget bill declared victory today.

TRUMP: After years of partisan bickering and gridlock, this bill is a clear win for the American people.

CARROLL (voice-over): This despite a pair of tweets this morning where the president said, "Our country needs a good shutdown in September to fix mess."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How can a shutdown be good?

MICK MULVANEY, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET: The president wants to see Washington better. Get better. Get fixed. Change the way it does business.

CARROLL (voice-over): The White House pointing fingers claiming the Democrats were actually the ones who wanted a shutdown and the president was not happy with how they were claiming victory in budget negotiations.

MULVANEY: The president is frustrated with the fact that he negotiated in good faith with the Democrats and they would have to (inaudible) truthful and make you look bad.

CARROLL (voice-over): Congressional leaders announced late Sunday they had reached a deal to avert a government shutdown until September. The deal did include money for border security, but not specifically for a new border wall, in part because GOP leaders needed Democratic votes to pass the bill. But the White House saying today, funding will go toward enhancing an existing barrier on the border.

TRUMP: Any member of Congress who opposes our plans on border security, and I know these folks didn't, is only empowering these deadly and dangerous threats. And we will not put up with it and the public won't put up with it.

CARROLL (voice-over): Meanwhile, the president spoke with Russian president, Vladimir Putin, by phone today. The call was the leader's third since Trump took office. The first since Trump's decision for military strikes in Syria following a chemical weapons attack and Trump's comments on the U.S.-Russian relationship at a joint presser last month.

TRUMP: We may be at an all time low in terms of relationship with Russia.

CARROLL (voice-over): The White House says the two leaders agreed the suffering in Syria had gone on too long. The two also discussed working together to fight terrorism in the Middle East and the nuclear threat on North Korea.


COOPER: Jason Carroll joins us now from the White House. What else did the president and Putin discuss?

CARROLL: Well, there was also a talk about the need for a cease-fire in the region. The U.S. agreeing to send a representative to Russian cease-fire talks. In addition to that, Anderson, talk about the need to establish safe zones. This is something that President Trump brought up.

As you recall many times during the campaign, he talked about the need to have safe zones in the region. The question is, was there any talk though about Russian sanctions? Was there any talk about Russian meddling in the election?

You know, a number of lawmakers here in Washington who have been critical of this administration for not being tough enough on Russia on these points, these are the issues that they want addressed, not clear if they were addressed this time around. Anderson?

[21:30:08] COOPER: Mr. Carroll -- Jason, thanks.

It's not just the spending bill that's under scrutiny, so is the latest effort to replace Obamacare. The White House hoping for a vote on the new health care bill as well this week, but House Republicans may not get enough votes.

Phil Mattingly is on Capitol Hill for us tonight. You've been talking to lawmakers' bill and aides inside the process, where do things stand?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In limbo, Anderson. Those were the two words that were just sent my way via text message from a source who is directly involved in this process. The reality is, at this term point in time, House Republican leaders and the White House as well do not have the votes to actually pass this on the House floor.

Now, according to a CNN tally of lawmakers that have come out in opposition to this bill, there are already 22 public nos. Anderson, they can afford to lose 23. They are right up on the edge right now. Now, I'm told there is some cautious optimism that perhaps there's a way to get a number of undecided on the fence lawmakers on board over the course of the next couple of days and make it very clear. Lawmakers want to get this done this week. And at the moment, the pathway towards doing that isn't clear.

COOPER: I mean, is it actually possible that every single one of the undecided votes will end of voting yes?

MATTINGLY: It's an open question. And, look, I think one of the most interesting elements here that I've heard. And, look, the crux of this issue is on the protection for pre-existing conditions that are included in Obamacare, what exactly this bill would do to that if the states choose to opt out.

And the reality is what this is really kind of raise over the course of the last couple of days is very detailed policy questions from a lot of this rank and file members that are hearing from constituents that are very nervous about what they would do.

Because of that fact, you've seen the White House deploy Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and a lot more. Speaker Paul Ryan, his policies step on the phone trying to making sure these members understand what they're trying to do, trying to make sure these members are comfortable with what they're trying to do.

But you're also going to see over the course in the next 24 hours, Anderson, I'm told a much bigger, broader effort from both Vice- President Mike Pence and President Trump. President Trump on the phone with several members tonight also talked that some members could be heading over to the White House tomorrow as well.

This really is a major push. There's some urgency here recognizing that if they don't get this done now, they might never get there. I know we've heard that one before, but when I talk to House Republican leaders and their top staffers' right at this moment, they really believe this could be it, Anderson.

COOPER: Phil Mattingly, appreciates it. A lot to discuss with David Gergen, Kirsten Powers, Matt Lewis, and Ryan Lizza.

David, I mean, how big a defeat for President Trump, for Speaker Ryan will this be if this doesn't come up?

GERGEN: Well, if it doesn't come up and it fails third time, you know, I think for the three strikes and you're out. It's probably --

COOPER: You think it's done.

GERGEN: I think it's probably done. I think they can't get it done in this attempt. Now, this attempt could go well beyond this week. It could go through the recess and come back. You know, there's going to be a lot of pressure. Aren't you going to get this cost it out by the congressional budget officer? Are we going to see hard numbers before a vote? I think the real issue right now is the White House seems to be sort of some reports willing to put more money into the pot to help protect the people who have pre-existing conditions. Whether that's enough to bring the moderates on board I think is a major, major question. Ordinarily, unless you have something like this to offer with 10 or 15 undecided still out there, they couldn't get there.

There are people are undecided because they don't want to take a vote. They don't want to be come down one way or the other, which means they don't want to vote for it, unless they absolutely have to.

COOPER: It is extraordinary that after all the promises, after all the votes during the Obama administration that they still can't get it done, you know, they control. And it would still have to go through the Senate, which is obviously not going to like the bill of the House would pass.

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah. I mean, part of the problem is that they didn't really have a clear plan. And part of the problem is that they have a caucus that's so divided.

And so before they had a bill that was, you know, the Freedom Caucus didn't like and the moderates were kind of going along with and now they've got on the Freedom Caucus gotten on board with and the moderates can't be brought along, because a lot of them come from districts that Hillary Clinton either won or are very competitive.

And this could be a poison pill for them if they vote for something that does not guarantee pre-existing conditions are covered. This could be something that can really come back to bite them.

So I think -- and then he can't work with Democrat because Democrats aren't going to work with him on this. Because they said, if you want to improve Obamacare, we'll do that. But anything else other than that, you're left to deal with your own party.

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And I think part of the problem too is the leadership. Does anybody doubt if Jim -- you know, if DiMent -- not DiMent, if Tom delay the hammer -- sorry, I think it Jim DiMent. If Tom delay or the speaker or the web that some of these recalls (ph) it from members might fall in line. I think that's part of the story, too.

And some of it is I think the failure of leadership. And some of it is that the world has changed with outside groups who will fund conservatives or as in the old days they had to rely on the political party, the institutions. But, it's like herding cats to get members to do anything.

COOPER: Also, I mean, as unpopular among Republicans as this has been and popular for Republicans to run on, I mean, there's a lot of people who have health insurance that didn't have it before and take -- actually removing that safety net from some people.

[21:35:03] LIZZA: Yeah. I mean, they're continuing to try and put a round peg in a square hole here. And they had a bill that the CBO said would cost 24 million people -- fewer people to be ensured 10 years from now. It polled in like the low, you know, double digits. And then what do they do? They handed it over to the most conservative faction and so that you guys figured this out.

And what of those guys do? They took out the single most popular provision in the bill. The one thing that everyone agrees on in health care is that insurance companies should be forced to cover people with pre-existing conditions. Trump campaigned on it. Hillary Clinton campaigned on it.


LIZZA: The Republican leadership --

LEWIS: This doesn't remove pre-existing conditions exactly.

LIZZA: It makes it -- it allows the states to opt out of these regulations in a way that nobody really has a good handle on what the impact would be. And since the CBO is not going to score it before these guys vote, we don't even know that. So --

COOPER: But the president is saying pre-existing conditions would still be covered. But, again, there's a lot of moderate Republicans who are saying --

LIZZA: He has not proven himself to be a master of policy when it comes to the nitty-gritty of health care. This is a very technical stuff. And, you know, if you read some of the policy walks analysis of the provision that they're talking about, it would seriously weaken this coverage. That's why the AMA is not for it. That's why none of the stakeholders involved for it.

GERGEN: This comes back to (inaudible) something, Anderson. This would be so much erosion of trust in government. It's really important that the president be -- to be a trusted figure and because he has credibility that's been in question here so long.

It's really harder for him to go forward and convince a lot of Americans who have coverage and they are worried whether they're going to lose it and he said he assures. Oh, it's not going to happen. Well, I'm not so sure about that. Maybe I like to stick with what I've got.

COOPER: We're going to take a quick break. We will continue the conversation. We're going to hear the Muslim plea about health care from Jimmy Kimmel after he opened up about his newborn son's heart surgery.


[21:40:48] COOPER: The health care debate has found its way into late night T.V. in a very emotional way. Jimmy Kimmel opened up about his newborn son to recent heart surgery on his show last night ending with the plea for health care access for all in the U.S. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JIMMY KIMMEL, TELEVISION HOST: We were brought up to believe that we live in the greatest country in the world. But until about a few years ago, millions and millions of us had no access to health insurance at all. You know, before 2014, if you were born with congenital heart disease like my son was, there was a good chance you'd never be able to get health insurance because you had a pre- existing condition. You were born with a pre-existing condition.

And if your parents didn't have medical insurance, you might not live long enough to even get denied because of a pre-existing condition. If your baby is going to die, and it doesn't have to, it shouldn't matter how much money you make. I think that's something that whether you're a Republican or a Democrat or something else, we all agree on that, right? I mean, we do.


COOPER: Former President Obama, Hillary Clinton and other Democratic politicians praised Kimmel's passion on Twitter. Back now with the panel.

It is interesting just how much the kind of -- I mean, goalpost isn't right, but just sort of the very idea of this -- of universal health care has become part of the discussion. I mean, it's kind of now accept, even by Republicans this whole idea, this argument over pre- existing conditions. I mean, years ago, that wouldn't have been argued by many politicians in the U.S.

POWERS: Yeah. I mean, the United States has really uniquely separate from the rest of the industrialize world in having this out of -- having a group of people or Republicans who have this attitude about health care, which is that it should be left to the market and it should be something the government isn't responsible for.

Even if you were to speak to a conservative -- a very conservative person in Australia or in the U.K. they would say this is a moral imperative. This is something that we have to provide to people. It would be the same thing as providing, you know, paving roads or providing defense or, you know, Medicaid type thing first, health care for old people. And it gets -- for some reason in this country until Obamacare that really wasn't the conversation.

But you're right, now it really has shifted. And now, I think Republicans feel like in order to take this away, there's going to be a price to pay.

LIZZA: And, look, this is coming. I mean this -- think about. This has been all over our newsfeeds today, all over cable. This is having an impact on the very same day that House Republicans are trying to round up vote for a bill that does one really, really important thing to Obamacare. It guts the guarantee about insurance for people who have pre-existing conditions.

So, you know, we talk about this stuff all the time on panels like this. Sometimes it takes someone like that with an emotional personal appeal to sort of make a boring policy point like that really hit home.

LEWIS: I thought it was a little cheap, though. Look, as a father, I can understand. I can try to understand. What is that President Obama I think said that being a dad, having a child is like having your heart living outside your body that, you know, I completely understand where Jimmy Kimmel is coming from. The passion I think is sincere.

I don't think that this is the right move for him to do to politicize this. This is a guy who is incredibly rich, of course, you know, and he is not going to have a problem. And the truth is --


LIZZA: He is making a moral point that people should be allowed to get insurance.

LEWIS: And that's why I tune in to Jimmy Kimmel to get him making moral points. Look, people do get coverage. If you go to the emergency room, they take care of you. That was actually part of the reason that Mitt Romney came up with the Romney care was to fix that problem.

POWERS: One of the number one reasons people go bankrupt is from health care costs.

LEWIS: And I will also --

POWERS: So, it's not -- that is just not true that you just can get go in there and then get care.

LEWIS: But I will also say that's not true --


LEWIS: -- the notion that Republicans are getting rid of pre-existing conditions is actually not factually correct. You said that a couple of times.

LIZZA: That is McCarter amendment. They are gutting the guarantee.


LEWIS: No. States can apply for a waiver. If they are granted the waiver, they are then required to set up a high risk pull. Now, and they will be that -- and they will be that that prices people out.

GERGER: You can't contradict the Congressional Budget Office saying, if you pass this bill, 24 million Americans will not have health insurance 10 years from now. I mean, that's just --


GERBEN: And they still go to the -- in this. Yeah, but everybody agrees even if we're off 5 percent or 10 percent or 15 percent.


[21:45:10] LEWIS: The notion that Republicans are --

GERGEN: People are going to be protected. It's not true that they're going to be equally protected into this change system.

COOPER: And also the notion that you go to the emergency room, yeah, I mean, you can get some basic care in the emergency room, but it's not --

POWERS: You're not going to get chemotherapy.

COOPER: You're not -- it's not --

LEWIS: Do you think that Jimmy Kimmel's baby would have died if he weren't rich and if Republicans passed their health care? That's the implication.

LIZZA: That's what makes this --


POWERS: It's very possible that that would happen.

LIZZA: That's what makes this so unselfish. He's not talking about list own child. He is saying I had this experience. My kid wouldn't have survived --

LEWIS: Do you believe that? Do you believe his --

LIZZA: If he didn't have the funds that he have --


POWERS: I do. I believe it's very possible. It's very possible. Look, there was a little kid in --


POWERS: There was a little kid in Baltimore who died because she had an infection in her tooth and she couldn't go and get it treated and she ended up dying. Look it up. I mean, it's not --

LIZZA: Do you think it's a made up thing that people with pre- existing conditions previous to Obamacare couldn't got insurance and everything was fine? That the whole issue of pre-existing conditions is just the manufacturing issue?

LEWIS: Well, if that -- I think it's legitimate. Donald Trump says that he wanted to --


LIZZA: It was one of the most --

LEWIS: I just think that the -- LIZZA: It is the cruelty of the medical system.


LEWIS: Do you think people deserve to have housing? Should everybody have a house? Maybe government should provide that.

POWERS: It's not the same thing.

LEWIS: Should everybody get a job? Maybe -- the only point is Republicans are trying to fix this and bring premiums down. And I think this is sort of scare mongering and saying that --

LIZZA: Most Republicans -- no. That they're going backwards. Republicans promised to keep the pre-existing condition regulation. Donald Trump promised. It wasn't even a debate in the campaign. Trump and Hillary agreed on it. Paul Ryan agreed on it. McConnell agreed on it. You have this small faction in the House Republican --

LEWIS: This bill doesn't get rid of pre-existing conditions.

COOPER: Well, there's a lot of matter that Republicans who worry that it does. I mean, that's --

LEWIS: I think it's entirely possible that you could have a situation where people are priced out, but we don't know yet. They have to apply for waivers.

GERGEN: That's why the Republicans ought to have the courage to have this priced out before they vote.

LEWIS: But we -- they should think about what they're doing, too.

GERGEN: Well, they have to come up with a plan and let's some independent analysts tell the country what the plan will do and they'll have a vote.


COOPER: We got to take a break. Just ahead, 100 days came and went for President Trump without a major piece of legislation being passed with the Republican throughout Congress. Why is the White House having so much trouble delivering on their promises? On that ahead.


[21:51:11] COOPER: We've been talking a lot tonight about the latest speed bumps that are keeping President Trump from delivering a several key campaign promises despite a Republican controlled Congress.

At are rally, Saturday, marking its 100-day in office, President Trump supporters did not seem concerned certainly. But beyond his base, there are rumbling of discontent. Some consorts of activists reportedly aren't unhappy with the bipartisan spending bill struck over the weekend and giving prospects of passing the GOP's latest health care bill or adding to angst. Lots to talk about. Joining me is Jeffrey Lord, Tara Setmayer and Amanda Carpenter. Amanda, what do you think is the problem here? Why aren't Republicans seeing more wins from party if they control both chambers of Congress?

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, here's the thing. We won the White House. We should be having the time of our lives right now as Republicans. But, the reason why Donald Trump won the presidency is because there was a leadership vacuum in the Republican Party.

That leadership vacuum still remains within the Republican Party as evident by the lack of wins that we're seeing. Republicans aren't getting something done. You see talk radio host, you hear them saying like Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh. Why would we even vote Republican right now?

We still don't know what it means to be a Republican under President Trump, because he's not leading. You would think that we lost the way that Republicans are playing the blame game right now. Is it Donald Trump fault? Is it Congresses fault?

Well, Donald Trump does own this party and there's enough blame to go around. But I'm sick of this blame game we've been playing for year and years on end. It's time to get something done.

COOPER: Let's -- I just want to play what President Trump said on -- during the campaign about being president.


TRUMP: We're going to make America great again. It's going to be easy.

It's very easy to be presidential.

I have great people. We have top, top smart people, but it's so easy to do.

We have drugs. We have debt. We have empty factories. That's going to end. That's going to end, so easy.

So easy to solve. Believe me the jobs are coming back, folks. That's going to be so easy.

This is so easy. I want to jump start America and it can be done and it won't even be that hard.

Folks, I'm going to do so much about it. It's going to be so easy. It's going to be so easy.

You know, being presidential is easy. Much easier than what I have to do.


COOPER: So easy to fall in love, but not so easy to get out of it.

TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, no. And, you know, as we are watching that man talks, I think I rolled my eyes like five times because he said that over and over and over again. Meanwhile, he's completely taking for granted the enormity of the office of the presidency. He was ill prepared for president.

The American people thought that beforehand and voted for him anyway because they though, "Well, he's better than Hillary and at least he'll be do something new. He's going to drain the swamp."

Donald Trump was a master at rhetorical, you know, B.S. basically to the American people to tell them what they want to hear and people believe it. And then he got there and went, "Oh, my god, I have no idea what I'm doing."

And he surrounded himself with people who don't know what they're doing either. There is no excuse for this -- for the president to be this all over the place. A 100 days in, he doesn't -- there's no consistent messaging going on here because he's all over the place because he can't keep his attention on one thing.

COOPER: Jeff, with the lack of people in the White House, with experience in White House, how big of a problem do you think that is?

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Oh, I don't think that that's necessarily a big problem. Either president have going in there with people with John Kennedy and others who never stepped foot in the White House before and they did all right.

It was interesting, Anderson. I was staff at the White House Correspondents' Dinner the other night where they added to -- it was decidedly anti-President Trump. But at home in Harrisburg where I live ad where the president was, I was getting texts from our local reporter who was interviewing people and said these people are really fired up and they are really mad at Congress. They're really mad at the Republican and the Congress.

And she -- I later saw a video. She was going along talking to people one by one because they were waiting to get in there. There and why --

COOPER: So you think the problem is Congress?

[21:55:02] LORD: I think the problem is Congress, but more of the point I think he is base things steps the problem.

COOPER: But, Tara, wasn't Donald Trump the guys who is going to get people in a room together and make --

SETMAYER: Right. He is the deal maker. He brags about being a great deal maker. He wrote "Art of the Deal." He has not done what it takes to get deals in Congress, that's what you need to do.

Republican -- Democrats use to complain about Barack Obama not having a relationship with Democrats to get deals done. And President Trump thinks the thing that he can just woo people on a plane to Mar-a-Lago and that they're going to do what he wants. That's not how governing works. He have to get -- absolutely get into the details, understand what he is doing, and stay on message, which he has yet to do.


COOPER: Yeah. I mean, Amanda, it does seems like, you know, I'm referring out this president say several times he didn't realize how difficult it was, being the president, health care, things like that?

CARPENTER: Yeah. He is learning on the job. He's complaining now about the Senate rules, which it seems like he just got up to speed on and I am concerned. I mean, he's closing out the prospect of a government shutdown, which is a serious thing. I've been through it almost for fun as a negotiating tactic saying, "Oh, well, if I'll shutdown the government, if I don't the Senate to change the rules?"

Well, there's great consequences if you start passing all kinds of legislation with just 51 votes in the Senate. But he is (inaudible) with this concept, because he doesn't understand how Washington works.

And, listen, I want to be hopeful. I want to go to the celebration parties that Republicans should be having to celebrate major legislative win. He's got a lot on this play.


AMANDA: If he just did a tax reform bill, I think we could have a great summer, but he's got to get a win some time or another. Or this is all going to unravel for the rest of his presidency.

COOPER: All right. We're going to live it there. Thanks very much, everybody. We'll be right back.


[22:00:11] COOPER: Hey, that's it for us. Thanks for watching. Time to hand things over to Don Lemon. "CNN Tonight" starts right now. See you tomorrow.