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Trump Upset Over Democratic Victories on Budget; Putin Talks With Trump; Hillary Clinton Speaks Out. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired May 2, 2017 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: But he points out that Congress actually voted to increase funding for the National Institute of Health in this budget.
So, contrary to this narrative that these things are all being gutted and that Republicans have it out for all of these institutions, in fact, in this budget, there was bipartisan consensus around doing something good on health.
GUY CECIL, PRIORITIES USA ACTION: A Republican member of the House went on the air and said that preexisting conditions should be eliminated because those that have preexisting conditions haven't lived life the right way.
Now, as far as I know, Jimmy Kimmel's child, children around America are not dealing with preexisting condition because of moral turpitude. They're dealing with them because they have health care problems. There's no Democrat saying that. The Republican Party is voting to eliminate coverage for preexisting conditions.
CECIL: There's not one Democrat doing that.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: And then you heard President Trump say over the weekend that this bill will guarantee coverage for those with preexisting conditions. So, we will have to wait and see what happens.
Our latest CNN reporting is that Republicans are one no vote away from another health care failure potentially. So, we will have to see what happens there.
All right, top of the hour now. I'm Pamela Brown.
More on our breaking news, a very blunt and candid Hillary Clinton sitting down with CNN and taking jabs at President Trump in the process. Clinton joined our Christiane Amanpour on stage at a Women for Women international event in New York.
And she says she knows who is to blame for her election loss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR: He had one message, your opponent, and it was a successful message. Make America great again. And where was your message? Do you take any personal responsibility?
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Oh, of course. I take absolute personal responsibility.
I was the candidate. I was the person who was on the ballot. And I am very aware of the challenges, the problems, the shortfalls that we had.
Again, I will write all this out for you. But I will say this. I have been in a lot of campaigns. And I'm very proud of the campaign we ran and I'm very proud of the staff and the volunteers and the people who were out there day after day.
CLINTON: And it wasn't a perfect campaign. There's no such thing.
But I was on the way to winning until a combination of Jim Comey's letter on October 28 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 so we overcame a lot in the campaign. We overcame an enormous barrage of negativity, of false equivalency, and so much else.
But, as Nate Silver, who I -- doesn't work for me, he's an independent analyst, but one considered to be very reliable -- has concluded, if the election had been on October 27, I would be your president.
And it wasn't. It was on October 28. And there was just 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, 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 will read my confession and my request for absolution.
CLINTON: 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, you know, the necessary both votes and electoral votes.
And, remember, I did win more than three million votes than my opponent. So, it's like...
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Well, this is just one of two events the former secretary of state has planned in New York today.
Clinton will also headline Planned Parenthood's 100-year anniversary gala.
And here with me to discuss, Brianna Keilar, CNN senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, senior CNN White House correspondent.
Both of you all covered Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail.
BROWN: I know, reunited again.
I can't wait to hear your thoughts on what we heard from her today.
Brianna, this seemed to be a more raw Hillary Clinton.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It was.
So, Jeff and I were discussing this, because, at first, I thought this is the Hillary Clinton who's pretty calculate, you could even say it's very stoic, as she talks about foreign policy.
And then all of a sudden, things started to get interesting. And at times, she was almost trolling Donald Trump...
KEILAR: ... saying, I won by three million votes, and then sort of saying that she would rather he tweet at her than tweet about foreign policy. She said she was happy to be the diversion.
And she also did some introspection when it came to her role in the loss of the election, but also she seemed to really point fingers at the FBI director, Jim Comey, and at Russia.
BROWN: Yes, she did. She said, look, I take personal responsibility.
But it's clear she put most of the blame on Russia and James Comey, saying, I would have won October 27.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Sure.
BROWN: And, of course, the next day was when James Comey released that letter.
Well, one problem with that, the election isn't on October 27. And she knows that better than anyone. But I do think, as Brianna and I were talking, it is the most reflective we have heard her. And it's a road map for where she's going.
She is like, I'm now back to being an activist, not a candidate. I'm now back to being an activist. I'm part of the resistance. So I think this is part of her sort of coming out process.
But if you want to know what is going on here, I talked to a very close confidant of the Clinton family who said this. She's not running for anything, but she's just not hiding.
And that I think at this point of her life, she wants to have a voice in what is a very important time, a critical time here. I think she said a couple things. Let's sort of say what she didn't say, though, as well. She missed the mood of the country. Her campaign missed the mood of the country.
She did not campaign in rural areas. She talked briefly about how there were no cell phones there. You were on that trip, I believe.
KEILAR: In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
ZELENY: That's the only time she went there. And she barely -- we talk about a Wisconsin a lot, but other places, she largely campaigned in urban areas.
She didn't talk about her private e-mail server or paid speeches. Those were three big things. But what she did talk about was directly at this president, accusing him of making backdoor deals with Russians or suggesting that could be a possibility in the strikes on Syria.
I think this shows a new engagement from her in the policies of our day, as the Democratic Party finds a leader, finds a voice, a candidate, which they don't have.
KEILAR: She did clearly miss the mood of the country and she didn't address that.
She talked about -- and that seemed so characteristically Hillary Clinton to me. I wonder if you think so as well, Jeff, that she was talking about seeing this problem of not great cell phone coverage in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, but on that trip, I remember there just was a different feeling from people in the area.
And that was something that was missed. There was really, especially in areas where there wasn't something organized and we were traveling through, you just got a sense that there wasn't that support.
The other thing was the e-mails. She mentioned it in the context of Jim Comey. There is no Jim Comey pertaining to e-mails without the e- mails, without her setting up or at least going along with her e-mails being set up the way they were, the private server, the private e-mail address, when she was secretary of state.
ZELENY: It's a false equivalency.
KEILAR: That's right.
ZELENY: She said too much attention was paid to that at the time. Not enough attention was paid to Donald Trump.
I think the reality is, let's boil all this down. It was always going to be difficult for a Democrat to win, as she pointed out. The history will have -- does not have many Democrats who followed a two- term Democrat in office, looking for change. She was not presented as change.
That candidate today, that person who was speaking sort of in a raw way, as we said, and sort of unfiltered, we didn't see someone like that very often. At least I don't think. And we both logged thousands of miles.
ZELENY: She was different today, but...
KEILAR: That's right.
BROWN: Well, I have that feeling we're going to see a lot more of this side of Hillary Clinton.
As you point out, she doesn't want to run again, as you said, with your reporting, but clearly she wants to be back in the conversation, part of the conversation, part of the resistance, as she said.
So, all right, Jeff, Brianna, thank you, guys. Stand by.
ZELENY: Thanks, Pamela.
BROWN: We have a lot more to discuss.
We're just getting some new details about today's phone conversation between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. This call comes at a moment when the relationship between Washington and Moscow is strained over Syria's long-running war.
The two leaders have been in steady contact since Trump's win. Prior to today's call, Trump and Putin have spoken on the phone three times since Trump's November election victory.
But today was the first time they have talked since Russia denounced a U.S. military strike in Syria.
Let's get right to CNN senior diplomatic correspondence Michelle Kosinski.
So, Michelle, what can you tell us that was discussed between Trump and Putin today?
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you mentioned, tensions were high since the U.S. strikes on the Syrian regime airfield.
And when the secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, went to Moscow and he met with Putin, some of the statements were very strong, taking a harder line on Russia. There was tension back and forth between Tillerson and his counterparts.
So, now we have this phone call, a lengthy one. We think it lasted a the least an hour. We're not sure of those details just yet, because the readouts have just come out.
But each side wants to get its points across. The U.S., White House readout is much shorter than the one coming from the Kremlin. But the White House has described the conversation as very good. It sounds from the details that they've given that it was productive in talking about Syria, trying to establish a better framework for a cease-fire and to create safe zones for humanitarian aid to be able to get to the people there.
So that is positive. That's one of the areas where the U.S. and Russia have both stated that there needs to be more dialogue. It's clear from this phone call that that dialogue is going to continue. We've learned that the U.S. is going to send a representative to talks that are upcoming in Kazakstan, but also the Kremlin wanted to mention North Korea.
The Kremlin, by the way, described the conversation as businesslike and constructive. But they wanted to again call for a reduction in tension. This is a message to the United States in its readout saying that the Russian state called for restraint and a reduction in the level of tension. It agreed to establish joint work focused on trying to find solutions to that as well, Pam.
BROWN: All right, Michelle Kosinski, thank you so much for bringing us up to speed with that conversation today, a lot of interest in that. Do appreciate it.
And up next on this Tuesday, the emotional moment that has Clinton and former President Obama speaking out, Jimmy Kimmel's tearful plea about health care after his newborn's surgery. We will discuss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE")
JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": I saw a lot of families there. And no parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child's life. It just shouldn't happen, not here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Moments ago, the White House was on the defense about the spending bill that will avoid a government shutdown and about the president's tweet that actually encourages a government shutdown in order to change the rules.
The White House budget director up in arms over how Democrats are claiming victory because of the fact that Planned Parenthood is not cut and there was no funding for a new border wall.
But Director Mick Mulvaney pushed back. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: The president, as you know, tweeted out this morning, that looking ahead to fiscal year '18, a shutdown may be just the thing that is needed to clean up this budget mess.
Do you agree with him on that? Can you expand on that?
MICK MULVANEY, WHITE HOUSE BUDGET DIRECTOR: I have been through a couple shutdowns.
It's -- let me answer the question this way. That's a good discussion to have in September. I think the president is frustrated with the fact that he negotiated in good faith with the Democrats and they went out to try and spike a football and make him look bad.
And I get that frustration, because I think it's a terrible posture for the Democrats to take. If we're sitting here trying to prove to people that Washington is going to be different, that we're going to change things, we're going to actually figure out a way to work with them, and they do that to this president, listen, I would have taken offense at that.
So, it doesn't surprise me at all that his frustrations were manifested in that way. We've got to do with -- We've got to do between now and September. I don't anticipate a shutdown in September.
But if negotiations -- if the Democrats aren't going to behave any better than they have in the last couple of days, it may be inevitable.
They were facing possibly shutting the government down. And some of them wanted to do that. My guess is their base is not going to be very happy to know that we are building this. OK? We're taking their taxpayer money to build this. All right, that's the deal that we cut. And my guess is, that's not going to sell very well with some folks on the left, but they are going to have to deal with that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: All right, let's go to CNN White House reporter Jeremy Diamond.
Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly also made a forceful case today. What can you tell us, Jeremy, about what is prompting this?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right.
Let me give you a little bit of the backstory here first, though, as far as why we saw these two Cabinet-level officials come out in such a public manner in the Briefing Room to make this case.
And what happened here today is, we saw President Donald Trump's frustrations in some ways spilling out into the Briefing Room, two senior administration officials telling me just moments ago that the president was unhappy and frankly baffled at the way the Democrats were taking a victory lap here, trying to claim that the budget deal was better for them than it was the White House.
And that's why you saw Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly making the case here that the administration is going to be improving border security, touting the fact that they got the biggest increase here in border security spending, bringing it to totals higher than in the past decade, and that they are going to be able to start fixing parts of the existing border wall and fencing on the border there.
And OMB Director Mick Mulvaney making the case here that Democrats really should not be claiming victory, given the fact that they did not get -- they were not able to prevent some of these funding priorities like an increase in defense spending.
So, clearly, President Trump and his top aides very upset at the way the Democrats have been handling this, trying to claim victory, and pushing back in a very public manner at the White House today.
BROWN: All right, Jeremy Diamond, thank you so much for the latest there at the White House.
I want to bring back in Jeff Zeleny. Also with me now, Sally Quinn, who is a contributor for "The Washington Post."
Great to have you both with us.
Sally, first to you.
Let's just talk about the president's mind-set right now, because this of course on the heels of the string of really surreal interviews the president has done. Now he sends out his budget chief to be the attack dog. He's clearly frustrated.
SALLY QUINN, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, first of all, I think we should both hold hands and have a moment of silence for those people in the administration who have to speak for the president, because, as you noticed just now, they are stammering, they are stuttering.
They're out -- but they don't know how to even explain it, because it's one crazy thing after the other. And we have heard the word unhinged before, but I don't think I have ever seen, even in the last year-and-a-half since the campaign, and certainly not in the last 100- and-some days, I don't think I have ever seen sort of 24-, 48-hour period where there's been so much sort of chaos and disinformation and incompetence and craziness as I have seen in the last few days. And...
BROWN: And what do you mean specifically, just...
QUINN: Well, you know, well, let's talk about the embrace of the strongman, Duterte and Kim Jong-un. He's honored, honored to talk to him on the phone, and inviting Duterte to the White House, who has been murdering, assassinating 7,000 people, and El-Sisi, and calling Erdogan to congratulate him when he got reelected.
All of this reaching out to these people is -- I just find, where are we on human rights? And the John Dickerson interview was extraordinary, the whole part about the health care: Well, you know, we have preexisting conditions. Well, it's in there.
Well, I -- and John was saying, but, excuse me, sir, do you understand? And what do you do? And it was -- didn't make any sense at all. And then when he started asking him about President Obama and the fact that he had said that he was spying on him in the Trump Tower, where there's -- everyone has said there's no evidence, and he continues to insist that it happened, and then refused and sort of walked out on John Dickerson.
I just think that nothing is making sense anymore. The budget doesn't make any sense. I can't think of one thing that he said -- oh, and never mind Andrew Jackson, who would have been against the Civil War. And Andrew Jackson had already died before the Civil War. And that should have been -- that should never have happened. And, in fact, he didn't even know why we had a Civil War in the first place.
I mean, it just -- I don't even know where to begin, Pamela, is all I can say. I don't even know where to begin. It is just "Alice in Wonderland." And that's not the first time anybody has said that.
BROWN: Set, you just sort of the stage for what happened then today, Jeff Zeleny, where clearly the headlines got under his skin. He put out his budget chief.
And he really, Mick Mulvaney, to his credit, really tried to put a positive spin on the budget bill and the notion that the priorities were funded.
ZELENY: Well, look, this afternoon, we're getting sort of a back-to- back view. It almost feels like a year ago, with Hillary Clinton in the news, of course. President Trump is in the news, but he's the president.
So, the news this afternoon is that the White House was frustrated that Democrats actually seized a little -- a bit of a rhetorical win on this budget, because, first and foremost, the president's border wall was not funded in this short-term funding deal.
And, yesterday, actually, the president seemed OK with that. He said it's only a three-month deal. In an interview with Bloomberg, he was not as upset at all.
But Republicans -- House Republicans, some Senate Republicans, are sort of furious that Democrats are getting the better upper hand here messaging-wise. That's why we're seeing the full-court press from the White House, saying, look, we have got everything in this.
There were pictures of that border fence in there.
BROWN: But then tweeting the border fence, but then the president tweeting this morning that he wants a government shutdown, that it would be a good thing.
ZELENY: He's probably the only Republican candidate -- or the only Republican in town who wants it.
If you're running for the House, you're running for the Senate in 2018, I promise you, you don't want a shutdown, because it never works out well for the party in power. So, the president saying that and Republicans actually wanting it two different things.
QUINN: I don't think he even actually understands what it means, a government shutdown. Honestly, I don't think he knows what it is, because he doesn't seem to know what the health care bill is about.
He doesn't seem to know the details of anything. I mean, when we dropped the Mother of All Bombs, it was kind of like, well, the military is going to do what the military is going to do. I don't -- it was clear that he hadn't even been consulted.
I just -- do you think he knows what the shutdown means?
ZELENY: Well, sure. I think that...
QUINN: I mean, on a personal level?
ZELENY: ... one of the reasons he was elected is because people wanted change in Washington. Now they are getting that change.
So, the reality is, how does this all work out? But he's a delegator, at the very least. But this afternoon, one of the reasons on this health care vote, which is probably the biggest, most important thing happening in town, he's not answering questions directly because there was some confusion.
They are sort of having members call his health and human services secretary. The administration is putting out its vast array of people here to talk about these issues, so he doesn't have to.
BROWN: Yes. And it does make you wonder, on that note, because Sean Spicer didn't answer any questions today. And you bet he would have been peppered with questions about health care. It was all about Mick Mulvaney and trying to put the positive spin here.
Thank you both for that interesting discussion. And up next, the late-night host Jimmy Kimmel makes an emotional plea
that has people on both sides of the health care debate applauding.
BROWN: Well, President Trump says the time is now for Republicans to pass a bill to change Obamacare and even encourage a shutdown to change Senate rules.
But, right now, we're hearing that the GOP is just one no vote away from the bill crashing and burning. Again, it seems the central issue is a disconnect between President Trump's promise for people with preexisting conditions and what the bill actually guarantees.
And it's this very sticking point that elicited a surprising and emotional revelation from late-night host Jimmy Kimmel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE")
KIMMEL: A little over a week ago, on Friday, April 21, my wife, Molly, gave birth to a boy, a baby boy. His name is William John Kimmel.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
KIMMEL: Thank you very much.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
KIMMEL: We call him Billy. It was an easy delivery. Six pushes, he was out.
KIMMEL: And he appeared to be a normal, healthy baby, until about three hours after he was born. We were out of the delivery room. We moved to the recovery room. Our whole family was there.
And we introduced him to his --