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Trump, Clinton Trade Shots Over 2016 Election; Republicans Scramble for Votes on Health Care Bill. Aired 7-7:30a ET
Aired May 3, 2017 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FINNEY: Look at how President Trump seems to be backing away from all of his promises on trade. He can't even get a health care deal. He can't even get a budget deal.
[07:00:10] MILLER: Karen, you can't have it both ways. You can't have it both ways.
FINNEY: He is not accomplishing anything.
MILLER: When you criticize the president...
FINNEY: Where are the jobs he promised?
MILLER: The jobs are coming, and you can't have them both ways.
FINNEY: Where are they coming in? Where are the jobs coming from?
MILLER: The Democrats can criticize the president for doing too much when it comes to trade issues and taking that right to adversaries.
FINNEY: I'm criticizing him for doing too much. I'm criticizing him for not doing anything.
MILLER: No, he's going a fantastic job of bringing the issue up. I mean, look, you look at his strong comments on NAFTA and saying that we need to renegotiate.
FINNEY: Comments on NAFTA. I see.
MILLER: Yes, and they're going to start negotiating them. But look, when you take candidates.
FINNEY: Which had already been started. That's OK.
MILLER: Those three combined is -- it's $100 billion trade deficit that he's trying to close. But again, Karen, it's a masterful pivot to get away from the fact that Secretary Clinton had no message and ran a terrible campaign. But President Trump really tapped into something special here.
MILLER: When he's out there talking about -- yes.
CUOMO: And that's that. Good. That was a very, very good conversation. That's why I left it alone. We're out of time right now. Karen, Jason, thank you for providing both sides of this discussion. Very good.
FINNEY: Thanks, Chris.
CUOMO: All right. Thanks to you, our international viewers for watching. For you, "CNN NEWSROOM" is next. For our U.S. viewers, we have big developments in at least three police-involved shootings. We're going to look at each of those cases with experts and try to explain the outcome. NEW DAY gets after it right now.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I was on the way to winning until Jim Comey's letter.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump firing back at Hillary Clinton, even slamming his own FBI director.
CLINTON: I'm now back to being an activist citizen and part of the resistance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the White House knew that Michael Flynn was potentially blackmailable, why didn't they do something an awful lot faster?
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The acting attorney general wanted to give, quote, a heads up to us.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: How is health care coming?
I think it's time now. Right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think it's as good as it needs to be.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We're making very good progress. The president has been instrumental in that.
MICK MULVANEY, WHITE HOUSE BUDGET DIRECTOR: The Dems have been trying to claim victory. It's very unusual for one group to walk out and start spiking the football.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: We're not ready to draw any red lines in the sand. I don't think threatening a shutdown is good for America.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY.
President Trump and Hillary Clinton trading barbs over the 2016 election, hours after Hillary Clinton blamed some of her loss on sexism, Russia and the FBI, these comments come as FBI Director James Comey is expected to face tough questions from Senate Democrats about his role in the final days of that race.
CUOMO: And on the heels of tweets by President Trump calling out Comey for doing Hillary Clinton a favor.
We're also learning here at CNN that a former Obama official is going to contradict the Trump White House about the details surrounding Michael Flynn. She's going to testify, Sally Yates, before the Senate next week. All of this is happening as the president is personally pushing House members to vote on a new health care plan this week. We've got it all covered for you. Let's begin with Joe Johns, live at the White House -- Joe.
JOHNS: Good morning, Chris. They are back at it. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, six months after the election now going after each other again as another key player once again takes center stage on Capitol Hill.
JOHNS (voice-over): President Trump firing back at Hillary Clinton after her scathing indictment of the 2016 race, insisting that FBI Director James Comey influenced voters.
CLINTON: I was on the way to winning until the 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. If the election had been on October 27, I'd be your president.
JOHNS: The president responding in a series of late-night tweets, even slamming his own FBI director: "FBI director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds. The phony Trump-Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election. Perhaps Trump just ran a great campaign."
This response coming hours after Clinton took a jab at one of the president's sore spots.
CLINTON: I did win more than 3 million votes than my opponent.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I feel a tweet coming.
CLINTON: Well, fine. You know, better that than interfering in foreign affairs. If he wants to tweet about me, I'm happy to be the -- you know, the diversion.
JOHNS: Comey expected to face a grilling from Democrats at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing over his potential influence on the campaign. Hillary Clinton blaming Comey's letter to Congress about her use of a private e-mail server and WikiLeaks and Russia for hacking her campaign chairman's e-mails.
Clinton refusing to even say Vladimir Putin's name.
[07:05:14] CLINTON: He certainly interfered in our election, and it was clear he interfered to hurt me and to help my opponent.
JOHNS: But acknowledging some ownership for her defeat.
CLINTON: I take absolute personal responsibility. I was the candidate. I was the person who was on the ballot.
JOHNS: And now vowing to speak out against her former rival.
CLINTON: I'm now back to being an activist citizen and part of the resistance.
JOHNS: All this as sources tell CNN that former acting attorney general Sally Yates will testify next week that she forcefully warned the Trump White House in January that then national security adviser Michael Flynn lied about discussing sanctions with the Russian ambassador, directly contradicting the White House's version of events.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: They wanted to give, quote, "a head's up" to us on some comments that may have seemed in conflict with what the -- he had sent the vice president out, in particular.
JOHNS: Yates's testimony likely to raise further questions about why it took the administration nearly three weeks to fire Flynn, a decision that was ultimately made on the same day the story was reported in "The Washington Post."
JOHNS: The other big headline this morning is that telephone call, mostly about Syria and North Korea between Vladimir Putin and President Trump. Both sides now looking ahead, of course, to the G-20 summit in Germany. That will be their first face-to-face meeting. Today, though, the president will host Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, here at the White House -- Chris and Alisyn.
CUOMO: Putin and Trump in Hamburg. That will be the headline.
All right. Let's bring in our political panel: CNN political analyst Mark Preston; CNN political analyst and Washington bureau chief for "The Daily Beast," Jackie Kucinich; and CNN senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny. He covered the Clinton campaign.
Jeff, what was your reaction to the degree of candor and the designation of responsibilities by Clinton?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: She accepted responsibility probably more than she ever has in a public setting, at least, for the last six months or so. But it still does not necessarily sound like she actually believes it. And still does not necessarily sound like, you know, she believes that that is why she actually, you know, was not successful.
She didn't talk about the e-mail server. She didn't talk about her paid speeches. She didn't talk about missing the mood of the country.
Beyond all that, though, she did say, "Look, since I was at the center of this, I accept responsibility." But she promises to write more about that.
But I think the whole point is why is she doing this now? So I talked to a top confidant of hers. I said, look, she's not running for anything. She's just not hiding anymore.
So I think with that frame in mind here, we go forward, she wants to be back in the conversation. The question is, for Democrats and others, is are they sort of ready for her or interested in her coming back? And that's a very, very mixed answer.
CAMEROTA: So Jackie, I mean, she's literally out of the woods now. I mean, I think she even said that. And is it -- the frustrating thing about this conversation and about the conversation she had with Christiane yesterday is that the Comey factor is unknowable. It's unknowable what the -- certainly, that letter did something. It was a bombshell when he sent that letter to Congress. But it's hard to know in the -- in your private voting booth which one swayed you most.
JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Exactly. And when you get down to it, the reason Comey was sending letters at all had to do with the private server. So this does go back to her decisions at the end of the day.
And you'll talk to people that say she should have been more ahead. This should have been built in anyway. There should have been -- they should have had more distance between herself and Trump to begin with. Not to mention, what was her message on the economy? What was she telling people she was going to do on a regular basis?
That wasn't as Jeff said -- the mood of the country. There were other factors here. That she just didn't address.
CUOMO: You have relevance and then you have its percentage of things. Of course, the Comey letter mattered. Of course, everything she delineates mattered. How much, to the point there, you can't find a Democrat who was involved in any way who doesn't say it should not have never been that close. And they're trying to figure out why that was.
So you have that. Then you have the equal and opposite reaction from the president. Was it right for him to take this bait? And what did you make of his response to the bait?
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: As of last night.
PRESTON: His decision to tweet.
PRESTON: In the White House. Reliving an election that he already won, that he has no filter on him. And he continues to show that -- he continues to play in the sand box when he basically runs the elementary school. Right?
I mean, he has -- he won the election. I don't understand why President Trump continues to engage in this. He won the election and in other things. And I think it's troubling, quite frankly, that he decides and continues to decide after his first 100 days. We talked about all the lessons he might have learned.
[07:10:16] One lesson he hasn't learned is that his words really do matter, and his actions do matter. And when he does something like he did last night when he said that Comey was the -- was the best thing that ever happened to her, it's ridiculous. It's a waste of time.
CUOMO: And he disrespected his sitting FBI head.
PRESTON: Right. I didn't even go that far. But right.
But look, he talked to Vladimir Putin yesterday. He has a very big meeting today. And he's worried about the election.
CAMEROTA: Let's just read that again for everybody, just in case people missed it and are just waking up: "FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds. The phony Trump-Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election. Perhaps Trump just ran a great campaign."
Part of why this is relevant today is because James Comey is going to Congress to -- they're going to ask him more questions about all this and about the alleged Russia meddling. I should say Russian meddling and the alleged ties to the Trump team. So what do we think's going to happen with James Comey on the Hill?
ZELENY: I mean, the president can say it's a fake investigation and, you know, all he wants. The reality here is there are multiple investigations still going on about the election. So you know, he is free to talk about that.
But what's going to happen on Capitol Hill today, James Comey once again is going to be front and center, talking about how this administration and people, you know, from this orbit were potentially in conversation or cahoots, whatever you want to say, with some Russian operatives here. James Comey remains at the center of this.
I think the idea that he helped the Clinton campaign is pretty absurd. There's not much evidence of that at all here. But this is going to be an ongoing thing. Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are now saying that this is likely to go all year long here. So this is going to be sort of a dual soundtrack to the -- at least the first year of the Trump presidency here. He cannot say it's a fake situation, because his own FBI director will be on the Capitol Hill in just a couple of hours, talking about how real this actually is.
KUCINICH: You know, in some ways, you can't blame these two former candidates for not being able to let go of the election. Because we're still litigating parts of it in every day on the Hill talking about Russia. I mean, we're not passing out, you know, the overlays of the -- of the electoral map like Trump is to some reporters.
CAMEROTA: Well, it's only 1,281 days from the next one.
KUCINICH: That is a fair point. But in some ways -- in some ways...
CUOMO: Apparently, we don't run enough.
KUCINICH: In some ways, it is forgivable that neither of these people are done litigating this. Because it's still very much...
CUOMO: Accept that remember now, though, things have changed. Clinton can talk about it all she wants. All right? That is the end for her.
CUOMO: He is the president of the United States, and when he takes the bait and does it in a way where he compromises congressional elections -- investigations and bashes his own FBI head. That matters more than what Hillary Clinton thinks about the election.
KUCINICH: I don't disagree with you. But when you look at how he's been viewing this Russia investigation the whole time as a question of his legitimacy as president. He hasn't been able to let that go.
CUOMO: Do you think that's why he still says it could have been China and not Russia.
KUCINICH: Still, it seems like that. It's about him. It's not about -- it has nothing to do with the -- it does, but it doesn't seem to have to do with the system. The system by which we elect presidential leaders and how the fact that they got into that. He doesn't talk about that as much as he talks about, you know, the Russia thing is fake, and Democrats are just trying to attack him.
PRESTON: You know, guys, I mean, it's to the broader scope of -- of what's going on here and the criticism that we take in the media for being critical of President Trump.
We all want him to succeed, right? Because if he succeeds, the country succeeds. Everybody succeeds. But when you see him act this way, he has to be called out on it. You know, the fact of the matter is, is that he is the president of the United States, as you say. He has bigger things on his plate. Hillary Clinton can walk in the woods and opine about why she should have won or why she didn't win.
But the fact of the matter is, President Trump needs to focus. He needs to focus on what's in front of him and not what's behind him. I think that's the most frustrating thing.
CUOMO: At least the situation, Jeff Zeleny, is giving some cover to this stunt with Mulvaney yesterday, where he came out with these pictures and pointing at the wall and saying what's this? We're actually building the wall. I mean, what is that about? How is that seen as being productive? You know, barely accurate.
CUOMO: The White House was furious yesterday by the fact that Democrats seemed to actually have won at least the messaging argument here in Washington over spending. This temporary spending bill that is going to avoid a shutdown, at least this week, does not have a lot of the president's priorities in it. The White House, you know, was not necessarily thrilled by that.
[07:15:05] The president was getting an earful because of reports, accurate ones, that said his border wall, his new border wall, was not being funded. Yes, there is some new money for border security in there, but not to actually build that new wall.
CUOMO: Not what Mulvaney said.
CAMEROTA: Well, they're bolstering the old wall.
ZELENY: Came out and showed that picture.
CUOMO: He was pointing to that. He was like, "Why do you think this is? It's going on right now. Re-building."
CAMEROTA: Well, they're building -- we just heard April Ryan say they're hammering things on there to bolster that old wall.
PRESTON: That wall, the pictures there come from New Mexico in January. They're old photographs. The White House later conceded that. So he was just showing an example of, you know, yes, there are some enhancements being made to current border security. That it is not accurate to say that the new wall is being built yet, because the money is simply not there for it.
CUOMO: I'm just saying the idea that the OMB head went out there, started pointing at pictures and made this, you know, bogus point is somewhat of a reflection of the state of play.
CAMEROTA: But it is good to know that it is New Mexico. David Gregory thought it may have been Ohio. So thank you. Very good. Thank you for that reporting.
CUOMO: Not yet.
CAMEROTA: Thank you for everything.
All right. Republicans are scrambling for votes needed to pass their health care reform plan this week. At the moment, it looks like an uphill battle. CNN's latest whip count, which changes every hour, shows 22 House Republicans plan to vote no. The White House hoping for -- that a last-minute push by the president will change the minds of many lawmakers. CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is live on Capitol Hill. How is that count going, Suzanne?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That count is certainly in flux. It could go either way. And facing a potential defeat again on health care, President Trump very much personally involved now in the negotiations. He is hosting and hoping to convince lawmakers to take this political risk, and for some of them it is a big one to push this through the House and pass it on to the Senate.
TRUMP: How's health care coming, folks?
I think it's time now, right?
MALVEAUX (voice-over): President Trump personally calling Congressman Billy Long, who is currently against the bill, twice in the past two days to try to gain his support. The two men will meet at the White House today, along with Congressman Fred Upton, another high-profile Republican who is also against the bill over the issue of pre-existing conditions.
REP. FRED UPTON (R), MICHIGAN (via phone): I've supported the -- the practice of not allowing pre-existing illnesses to be discriminated against from the very get-go. This amendment torpedoes that. And I told the leadership I cannot support this bill with this provision in it.
MALVEAUX: Republican leaders have yet to schedule a vote on the bill. CNN's current whip count has 22 Republicans voting "no." If this number holds, Republicans cannot afford to lose another vote.
Another defeat on health care could damage President Trump's legislative power and Paul Ryan's standing as speaker of the House.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We're making very good progress with our members, and our president has been instrumental in that.
MALVEAUX: This battle playing out as the House is set to vote on the bipartisan spending bill that had more wins for Democrats than the president's priorities.
GRAHAM: I think the Democrats cleaned our clock. This was not winning from the Republican point of view.
MALVEAUX: President Trump lashing out and threatening to shut the government down in September when lawmakers negotiate the 2018 budget. A tactic at odds with the recent criticism of Democrats issuing their own government shutdown threat, something he called terrible.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: I'm not going to lecture. I hope he'll be a constructive force in the 2018 budget.
MALVEAUX: President Trump and White House budget director Mick Mulvaney insisting that Republicans came out on top in the budget negotiations.
TRUMP: This is what winning looks like.
MICK MULVANEY, WHITE HOUSE BUDGET DIRECTOR: When you heard the last 48 hours about the deal, did you think we could build this?
MALVEAUX: Mulvaney attempting to portray funding towards fixing and replacing existing fencing as a win for the administration, despite the fact that there is specific language in the spending bill that prohibits any money from going toward construction of the president's controversial border wall.
MALVEAUX: For the third day in a row, we're going to see the vice president, Mike Pence, here on Capitol Hill doing some private arm- twisting on the Republicans, trying to shore up that support for the health care legislation. The goal here in the next 24 to 48 hours: to get that support before the House leaves for recess.
In the meantime, House Speaker Paul Ryan saying, look, he is not going to put this on the schedule for a vote until they actually have those votes -- Chris.
CUOMO: All right, Suzanne, and we're going to have one of the men caught up in the mix of what's going to happen on health care. He was a "yes" vote on the original GOP health care. But now Congressman Steve King is undecided. What changed and what will it take for Steve King to be a "yes," and how many are like Steve King? Next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: How's health care coming, folks? How's it going? All right? We're moving along? I think it's time now, right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: There's a lot of doubt going around about what's going on with the health care fight. It has come down to these last few moments. Will there be a vote this week?
President Trump is meeting this morning with two Republican Congressmen who planned to vote against the bill. He's trying to sway them, maybe cut a deal. The latest CNN whip count shows approximately 22 Republicans in 10 to vote no. All of this is very soft. Things can change very quickly. There are a lot of undecideds still.
Joining us now is Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa. You were a "yes," but I hear that right now you are still undecided. Is that true, Congressman?
REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: Well, yes, I moved by my whip announcement last -- the end of last week to "undecided." And the result of that is a result of his negotiations and have to do with the essential health benefits that throws them back into the lap of the 50 states for them to fight over what they want to do. They have the full authority to pass any legislation to put any mandates into health insurance that they liked.
[07:25:13] So there's no reason for the federal government to stay in the health insurance business. The president and I agree. We want the federal government out of the health insurance business. And so we had agreement that there -- my language will be offered in the Senate, supported by the vice president and the president, to strike out 1302-B of Obamacare, which are the essential health benefits.
KING: So once they negotiated these with the Freedom Caucus and the Tuesday Group, it's hard for me to imagine they're going to bring that language in the Senate or it would be effective because they've diluted this thing substantially. But we're talking.
CUOMO: Do you think there will be a vote this week?
KING: I'd say that's a complete toss of the coin. I think they're holding four to six votes short of what they need to go to the floor. And I don't know how soft some of those -- some of those votes that are sitting on the balance are. But that's my prediction. It's just simply a toss of the coin and whether they will or whether they won't.
CUOMO: All right. So that's the politics. Let's get to the policy. You are a little different, certainly, from this group of moderates, who are worried about the lack of protections and guarantees of coverage for people in their districts and that there will be vulnerabilities. At the top of the list are pre-existing conditions.
Now what you're saying is you don't want the federal government to guarantee anything. You want it to all be on the states. But do you understand why so many of your brothers and sisters are worried about that and that, if you don't guarantee pre-existing conditions, you're not going to have the same guarantee of coverage of them across the country?
KING: Well, I come from a state that took care of pre-existing conditions. And I chaired the Iowa Senate state government committee, where we oversaw that operation. And there are a good number of states that have done so.
I think we should have started from this. We should have brought the full 100 percent repeal of Obamacare to the floor first week in January, sent that over to the Senate.
Then a lot of this negotiation that's taking place about people arguing they'll vote "no" on any partial repeal of Obamacare and any kind of reform, if they don't get to keep the parts of Obamacare that they want, that argument would have been over. And we would have been talking about what could we jam through reconciliation, rather than what can somebody keep for their regional interests?
CUOMO: Right. Right. But there's a reason that you have two out of three Americans in recent polling saying don't mess with the guarantees of coverage, because we know what the insurance companies were doing before the ACA. Right? They played to their pocket. You know, they're not in the goodwill business.
And if you give them an opportunity to cut people out who aren't God blessed with great health, they will, if it makes sense. And even with the MacArthur Amendment, you're going to not have a guarantee that everyone with pre-existing conditions gets coverage.
Do you acknowledge that?
KING: Well, I will say this. The approach that here -- I've reconciled myself on the pre-existing conditions of this in this way. If we need to subsidize pre-existing condition policies in the states from the federal government, that's part of the price of getting rid of Obamacare.
I really recognized that's likely to be the case from the very beginning seven and a half years ago. So I've been in the business of helping people where they have pre-existing conditions. I think that's a better way to do it. I'm a federalist. I believe that the best decisions were made as close to the people as possible.
And we've demonstrated that over and over again here in this United States Congress. So why we wouldn't serve this back to the states, wash our hands from it and do the smart things, like selling insurance across state lines, do our tort reform.
KING: And that's my bill. That's $54 billion in savings. We can give people choices.
CUOMO: Well, you can do tort reform. You can do tort reform. This is really apples and oranges there, right? I mean, that is a very different set of statutes. And across state lines, you have that in places right now. Very hard to find somebody who will tell you that that is some magic elixir to bring down costs, because they price policies where you are, not where the company is.
But on this last point, you do have to remember, Congressman, the reason the pre-existing conditions were guaranteed was because of what was happening before. They weren't guaranteed. People got closed out all the time.
And if you reduce the guarantee coverage that you have now, you will once again make people susceptible.
Do you own that reality?
KING: But I would say instead, we had that functioning well in many states across this country. It was the Obama administration, the people had voted for Obamacare that wanted to change it. And their focus wasn't so much on pre-existing conditions as it was create the foundation for a socialized medicine program.
CUOMO: No, they were trying to get people coverage that insurance companies were cutting out, people born with kids that were sick when they didn't have the coverage for it, people who would try to get policies...
CUOMO: ... and they'd go through your records and say no. You know, you've had asthma in the past. That's what they were trying to do.
KING: Chris, I recognize that's an element of that. I do. But I also have been through these battles for 20 years, and I've been watching the motives of the people on the other side.
I've read through Hillarycare back in the early '90s. And that's actually more scary to me than Obamacare itself was. And there's not a way to, I think, look at this objectively and think that the people that refuse to do anything to fix Obamacare -- and that's all the Democrats in this Congress -- their objective is a complete socialized medicine program.