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White House Budget Director Defends Trump's Call for Shutdown; Clinton Blunt, Candid Talking about Election Loss; White House Goes Off on Dems on Spending Bill. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired May 2, 2017 - 14:30   ET


[14:30:00] DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I make a large point, which is his dealings with Congress have been really suspect so far. For a guy who prides himself on winning in negotiation, he seems to not be winning too much. And that's just with Republicans. And so that's the bottom line on that.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Do you think he's not winning because his job approval numbers are not very good right now?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICS DIRCTOR: If he was at 60 percent approval instead of 44, I'm sure more members of Congress would come around to his point of view. He doesn't have the political capital right now to be able to just will his way with Congress. He's got to work that. And I agree with David. He's not yet shown an ability to sway Congress in a substantial way to where he wants them on given issues. And I think that really raises questions as to where we are in the Trump/Ryan relationship. That story is still going to be written.


BLITZER: Nia, we're going to know in the next day or two whether there's even going to be a vote on the House floor to repeal and replace Obamacare.

HENDERSON: That's right. You've had from the White House saying there's going to be a vote. Gary Cohn came out earlier this week saying he expected this to be a good vote for the White House. And maybe there's a vote that is held. They have to get to 216. They can't afford to lose 23 people. They've already lost 22. How Republicans vote on this before there's any CBO scoring or any sense of what it will do to premiums, that's a tough argument to be made.

GREGORY: Mike Pence, Reince Priebus, great relationships on the Hill. Great relationships with Paul Ryan.


GREGORY: They're still struggling. This was supposed to be better.


HENDERSON: Now he says, oh, we can change the rules to 51.

BLITZER: Looks like legislation -- (CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: -- to repeal and replace in deep, deep trouble.

We're going to continue our analysis. A lot going on, on this very important day.

Up next, a very candid Hillary Clinton on her campaign loss and who is to blame and who is being part of the resistance.

Let's take a quick break. Much more right after this.


[14:35:35] PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, hello. I'm Pamela Brown.

More on our breaking news. Hillary Clinton getting very blunt, very candid about her election loss, and took jabs at President Trump. Clinton joined CNN's Christiane Amanpour on state in Women for Women, an international event in New York, and she gave her take on a host of issues, including who's to blame for her election loss.


HILLARY CLINTON, (D), FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE & FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, what we have to do is to raise up organizations like Women for Women International that are really on the front lines and do everything we can to institutionalize that. And I'm going to you be publicly request that this administration not end our efforts making women's rights and opportunities central to American foreign policy and --


CLINTON: The 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 and maybe we can, you know, come up with some sort of a deal. That doesn't work.



CLINTON: I think it's too soon to really tell.

AMANPOUR: Did you support it?

CLINTON: Yes. I did support it. I didn't publicly support it because that wasn't my role, but I did support it. But I'm not convinced that it made a difference. And I don't know what kind of potentially backroom deals were made with the Russians. Every day that goes by, we learn more about some of the unprecedented interference, including from a foreign power, whose leader is not a member of my fan club. And so I think it is real and part of the landscape politically and socially and economically. And remember, I did win three million more votes than my opponent.


CLINTON: So it's like, really?


AMANPOUR: I see a tweet coming.

CLINTON: Well, fine. Better than that interfering in foreign affairs if he wants to tweet about me. I'm happy to be the diversion because we've got lots of other things to worry about.

AMANPOUR: He had one message and it was a successful message, make America great again. And where was your message? Do you take any personal responsibility?

CLINTON: Oh, of course. I take absolute personal responsibility. I was the candidate. I was the person who was on the ballot. And I'm very aware of the challenges and the problems and shortfalls that we had.

Again, I'll write all of this out for you. But I will say this. I've been in a lot of campaigns, and I'm very proud of the campaign we ran, and I'm proud of the staff and the volunteers and the people who were out there --


CLINTON: -- day after day. And --


CLINTON: -- it wasn't a perfect campaign. There is no such thing. But I was on the way to winning until a combination of Jim Comey's letter on October 28th and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off. And the evidence for that intervening event is, I think, compelling, persuasive. And we overcame a lot in the campaign. We overcame an enormous barrage of negativity, false equivalency, and so much else. But as Nate Silver -- who doesn't work for me. He's an independent analyst but one considered to be very reliable -- has concluded, if the election had been October 27th, I'd be your president. And it wasn't. It was October 28th. And there was a lot of funny business going on around that.

And ask yourself this. Within an hour or two of the "Hollywood Access" tape being made public, the Russian theft of John Podesta's e- mails hit WikiLeaks. What a coincidence.

So, I mean, you just can't make this stuff up.

So did we make mistakes? Of course, we did. Did I make mistakes? Oh, my gosh, yes. You'll read my confession and my --

(LAUGHTER) -- and my request for absolution.


But the reason why I believe we lost were the intervening events in the last 10 days. And I think you can see I was leading in the early vote, I had a very strong, and not just our polling and data analysis, but a very strong assessment going on across the country about where I was in terms of the necessary votes and electoral votes. And remember, I did win more than three million votes than my opponent. So it's like --




[14:41:04] BROWN: So this is just one of two events that Clinton has planned in New York today. She will also headline Planned Parenthood's 100th anniversary gala in New York.

With me now to discuss all of the headlines that came out of that discussion, David Chalian, CNN political director; Kristen Soltis Anderson, Republican strategist and columnist for the "Washington Examiner"; Guy Cecil, former co-chair and chief strategist of the pro- Clinton super PAC, Priorities USA; and S.E. Cupp, CNN political commentator; and Mark Preston, CNN senior political analysts.

Thank you all for being here. So much to discuss.

Mark, I want to start with you.

What did you make of this extraordinary interview in what seemed to me like one of Hillary Clinton's most revealing appearances she's really ever made?

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I agree. I think those long walks in the woods have helped her overcome. Although, she did acknowledge that it's still very painful to think back to the election. And she thinks she should be the president of the United States right now. That came through. But it appears also that she's resigned that she's not.

What was really interesting, too, in that interview was it was really full of news. She broke news on many different fronts. She described herself as part of the resistance now, which I thought was really interesting to hear, and probably is a good sign, Pam, in the coming weeks, coming months, coming years, that she's going to be very vocal against President Trump and his policies.

BROWN: S.E. Cupp, she did say a couple of times that she took personal responsibility, that she made mistakes. But it was also clear she put the blame squarely on the FBI Director James Comey and the letter that he sent shortly before the election, and Russia's interference, for why she's not president of the United States. S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah. She does what she does,

which is pay lip service to the things she thinks she is supposed to say, but you can tell very quickly that she didn't really mean it. She did a lot of that in this interview with our Christiane Amanpour. She said, Of course, I made mistakes," but then she sort of mockingly says that she'll reveal her confessions and request for atonement, which didn't make you think that she was aware of some of the mistakes she made.

Look if she's going to be part of the resistance, as Mark says, I know many who believe the Democratic Party deserves some introspection from its misreading the electorate and that their candidate was a little flawed. She seems to be squarely blaming this on events around her, and if that's how she's going to proceed going forward as a member of the resistance, I think it's going to be a lot of finger plugging and not a lot of listening, which is what Democrats need to do.

BROWN: Guy Cecil, you ran her super PAC. What do you have to say to S.E. Cupp's point there, that she didn't acknowledge other things, what her critics would say cost her the election. You know, the original sin of her private e-mail server that the FBI was investigating, the fact that she didn't go to Wisconsin and Michigan right before the election, perhaps the fact that she didn't know the mood of the country at the time. What do you have to say to that?

GUY CECIL, FORMER CO-CHAIR & CHIEF STRATEGIST, PRIORITIES USA SUPER PAC: I don't think it is -- that you would have done things differently, that your campaign would make different decisions. I've been part of winning campaigns and losing campaigns. Neither have actually been perfect before. So it's possible to say you take responsibility while also acknowledging what is very clear and what independent analysts have confirmed over and over again, which our own polling confirmed in the last week of the election, which was that the Russian WikiLeaks and Comey had an impact on the election and was probably determinative. I think we should take her at face value and I think she does takes responsibility. Anyone who has spoken with Hillary Clinton since the election, anyone that knows her, knows that she took this campaign seriously and she took her role seriously in the campaign seriously. And holding both of these points makes sense, and it's what happened.

[14:45:06] BROWN: David Chalian, it was clear that she was trying to sort of poke President Trump in a few different ways, especially when she talked about a couple times, look, I won three million more votes than President Trump. She liked to sort of emphasize that point.

CHALIAN: Of course. She seems as interested in the popular vote as President Trump is.

BROWN: Exactly.

CHALIAN: We talked about it a lot, too, from the different perspectives.

This was one of the most authentic Hillary Clinton appearances that I've ever seen, in the sense that here's somebody, for so much of her career, one of the biggest criticisms, so scripted, so constantly -- you could see the thought bubble above her head in public appearances, how this will be perceived. This was just a raw response to something she's still working through. She clearly believes that this election was hers to win, except for Comey and the Russian WikiLeaks. And she's clearly eager to have her voice still very much in the current political dialogue, critiquing the Trump administration, not shying away at all. I mean, I think back to Al Gore growing a beard and going to Columbia University and -- that is not what Hillary Clinton is doing. She is doing a lot of political events. And I thought with Chris Christiane today was the most apparent desire of her to stay front and center to stay engaged in the current dialogue.

BROWN: Kristen, what do you make of that, then? Do you think she's being more raw, more authentic, and wanting to be part of the dialogue because, she said, look, I put my political career behind me and I have nothing to lose, or her political career is very much front and center for her?

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST & COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: I think it could be a little bit of both. If that makes sense. I think this interview, in some ways, is an ink-blot test. If you're a Democrat and you love Hillary Clinton, you probably love Hillary Clinton unplugged, as we saw on the stage today, giving a sort of unvarnished, not well-crafted necessarily, raw take on, hey, I won by three million more votes. If you love Hillary Clinton, you probably loved this. But if you're Republican, who is looking at this, you think, I'm looking at the Democratic Party sort of not getting it, not getting what they missed. If Hillary Clinton remains out front, the foremost speaker who is the face of the Democratic Party, a lot of Republicans would feel happy about that, feeling like, if Hillary Clinton is the leader of the resistance, we beat her last time. So I think this raises the question, how much do Democrats want Hillary Clinton and this Hillary Clinton to be the leader of their resistance movement?

BROWN: And, S.E. Cupp, she said she thought misogyny played a role in her defeat. What was your reaction to that?

CUPP: I'd ask her what she thought was the reason she lost in 2008. She was a Democrat in her own party when members of her own party, who knew her far more than Barack Obama, the junior Senator, still chose him. It's possible, of course, that misogyny was part of this. To really take accountability, she'd have to understand that when it came down to it, A, people didn't like her and, B, Democrats as a party did not read the electorate accurately. While Kristen is right, the Republicans would see that reflected in this, I think Democrats will look at this and say, oh, I'm not sure this is the tone we want to take going forward, rubbing it in Donald Trump's face that we won the popular vote, pretending that this was all about Russia or Comey. There has to be -- and I'm hearing it a lot from Democrats not named Hillary Clinton -- there has to be some reflection as to the changing nature of the electorate and voters who felt the party left them behind. Look, Republicans, who didn't vote for Donald Trump, are reconciling with that same problem. We're just doing it very sort of openly. Hillary Clinton seems to be very much more a woman scorned and not a candidate in reflection. BROWN: What do you about that, Guy?

CECIL: Anybody that says Democrats have not been talking about what happened in the election and how to move forward have not been paying attention to what Democrats have been saying. There has been a robust conversation in the party, not just about 2016, but about how we build a broad, diverse, and inclusive Democratic Party.


CUPP: That's exactly what I'm saying. Democrats are talking about it. What I didn't hear was Hillary Clinton talking about it.

CECIL: Actually, she has talked about it on a number of occasions. She's talked about not just being the leader of the Democratic Party but being a part of the resistance. The idea that Hillary Clinton would simply step away and disappear, unlike, say, John Kerry, who went back to the Senate and ultimately became secretary of state, places something different on Hillary than previous nominees. The fact of the matter is, there are new voices in our party stepping up, people like Kamala Harris and Kristen Gillibrand and Cory Booker. If you look today, the Democratic Party is stronger than we were immediately prior to the election. It's why you see enthusiasm levels significantly increasing. In fact, a poll that Priorities USA did just last week shows eight in 10 drop-off Democratic voters are now expressing significant enthusiasm for the 2018 election.

I don't expect Hillary Clinton is going to lay out an entire case for the election in a three-minute answer in an interview on stage, but certainly she recognizes both the role of the campaign and something that Republicans refused to actually admit out loud, the role of James Comey and the role of Russian WikiLeaks in determining the election. Both of those things can be true, but there's only one party actually acknowledging that that is the case.

[14:50:59] BROWN: Mark, what do you think those younger Democrats watching Hillary Clinton today were thinking?

PRESTON: You know, it depends what generation you're from. It depends if you're a woman who wanted to see the glass ceiling shattered. And it depends, as Guy Cecil was talking of the future of the party right now. The fact is, the Democratic Party has a lot of rebuilding to do heading into 2018. But more importantly, when you get to 2020, there are people who could rise up. There's Kamala Harris, as Guy said, and Cory Booker. There's also Peter Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who could come out of nowhere.


CUPP: Tim Ryan, I would argue


PRESTON: Right. Tim Ryan, of Ohio.

But here's something on Hillary Clinton and whether she runs again or doesn't run again. And this is what Jeb Bush ran into. He had a younger son. He decided to run for president. It didn't work out. But the next generation has got to take over. And we'll probably see that in the George P. Bushes of the world. The same goes for Hillary Clinton. There's been a lot of talk about Chelsea Clinton and her political career. As some point, Hillary Clinton can be part of the resistance but then she's got to take herself out of the mix to allow her daughter to grow into that, if that's what she plans on doing.

BROWN: All right, guys, stand by. Interesting discussion there.

More breaking news to discuss, as conservatives say President Trump caved on the spending bill. He sends out his budget director to go off on Democrats. Hear what he just said, and why he says the wall is being built right now.

We'll be right back. Stay with us.


[14:55:31] MICK MULVANEY, WHITE HOUSE BUDGET DIRECTOR: They were facing the government shutting down and some of them wanted to do that. My guess is that their base will not be happy to know that we are building this. We're taking their taxpayer money to build this. That's the deal we cut. My guess is that's not going to sit well with folks on the left but they are going to have to deal with it.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: When do you think you're going to go out there and put up a wall?

MULVANEY: This construction that you see here -- well, I don't know if this is the exactly construction because I don't know where the photograph is. This wall is being installed on the southern border today.


BROWN: Moments ago, the White House going off on Democrats and President Trump is facing conservative criticism for caving on the bill to keep the government running.

Mark Preston, it's interesting that the president put out his budget chief to sort of be the attack down in the midst of the criticism that he caved too much when it came to the bill.

PRESTON: Right, and putting out a budget chief of just, a month of two ago, was a member of the body that he's criticizing, as well, and trying to apply pressure on Republicans. But also, putting a lot into the Democratic corner, saying that it was Democrats' fault about where they are in the state.

The bottom line is, in order to get a budget passed, you're going to need some help from the other side when you're the ruling party, and this isn't what we call not necessarily bipartisanship but deal making. And if Trump talks about being such a good deal maker, he's got to understand this. But from what we've heard from Mulvaney today, is that Donald Trump didn't like the idea that Democrats were gloating over the fact that Donald Trump lost this fight, which I think is very telling.

BROWN: And, David Chalian, wasn't it this morning that the president was tweeting that it would be a good thing for Washington for the government to shut down?

CHALIAN: Which Mulvaney, at the briefing, was saying that was the opening bid in negotiations for the 2018 budget. They wanted to make sure to keep the government open and they did. They kept it open right now. But they wanted to immediately pivot off with all these headlines of Democrats getting more than the White House in this deal that they wanted to look ahead and say, we'll have the fight over our priorities come September, he's willing to play shut-down politics for that.

BROWN: And it's clear, Kristen, he's saying, next time, if we don't get the funding for the border wall, then the government will shut down. Is there an appetite among Republicans and Democrats to make that happen by September?

SOLIS ANDERSON: I don't think anyone wants to have a shutdown. But I think for Donald Trump, the wall is a big priority of his, and being able to stay in the first year of presidency that he made action happen on these priorities, it's going to be really important for him. But I think he knows, at the end of his first 100 days, there's a lot that Congress is dealing with, whether dealing with the new health care bill, talking about what they'll do on tax reform. There's a lot of stuff going on, on Capitol Hill, trying to add into that fights over Planned Parenthood, et cetera, the things some conservatives are still agitated about, might have been too much. Better to take it to a time when the fight might be more favorable.

BROWN: Guy, what's your take?

CECIL: I think there's a lot of activity going on, on the Hill, but there's no action. The face of the matter is Republicans control the White House, the House of Representatives, and they are getting ready to fail again when it comes to repealing Obamacare because governing the country is a lot different than sitting in the rafters and throwing spitballs at people. The Republican Party is now reconciling with that. Almost every major issue facing the country, they are out of step with most Americans. When the health care coverage moves from coverage on C-Span to Jimmy Kimmel talking about the surgery of his son, and the fact that a child that can prevented -- whose death can be prevented, should not be determinant on how much money you make. We've moved past the tipping point with this administration.

The other thing that is important is the context of Donald Trump's career. He describes himself as a negotiator. But at every turn, whenever it falls flat, what happens? He declares bankruptcy. In other words, tries to shut down the government. Or he shafted the people who worked for him. He paid pennies on the dollar to contractors that built his hotels and created his fortune. What is he doing? He's shafting the very Trump voters that voted for him, to do what? To make sure that they were taken care of, that their wages were raised, that they had health care that was affordable. And in both of those cases, he's proven to be nothing but a fraud.

SOLTIS ANDERSON: What really stuck out to me from the Kimmel monologue was, towards the end, when he makes a plea to Congress that it's not a Republican or Democratic issue. He points out that Congress actually voted to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health budget. So contrary to this narrative that the --