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Trump Admits He Has No Tapes of Comey Talks; Interview with Congressman Adam Schiff of California; Secret's Out: Senate GOP Unveils Health Care Bill. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired June 22, 2017 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:08] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.

A number of breaking stories tonight. The secret Senate health care bill is a secret no more. What's in it could mean drastic changes in the lives of tens of millions people, whether they're on Medicaid, buy insurance themselves, even if they get coverage from work. It does hit home. We're going to talk to a GOP lawmaker who's supportive of the plan.

We'll also talk with former Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders, who is definitely not. He calls this the most harmful legislation he has seen in his lifetime. He joins me later tonight.

We'll also look at what the Senate plan means for you if you're counting on having coverage and being able to afford it.

But, first, the tale of the tapes. Today, 41 days after first hinting he had tapes of his conversations with fired FBI Director James Comey, and after 41 days of mostly playing coy and refusing to actually say, the president fired off a pair of tweets. Quote: With all the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and legal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are tapes or recordings of my conversations with James Comey. But I did not make and do not have any such recordings.

Back on the 11th of May, he tweeted that Director Comey had better hope he didn't have any. When asked about them during his Senate testimony, Comey said, Lordy, I hope there are. (INAUDIBLE) reaction from him tonight.

More and all now from CNN's Sara Murray who joins us now from the White House.

So, some questions were answered by the president today. But the fact of the matter is, a lot was left unanswered.

SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I mean, we got the answer that the president wasn't recording James Comey, despite raising that potential on Twitter some 41 days ago. What we didn't get an answer about why he brought this up in the first place or why the White House decided to let this story linger for weeks and why the president refused to answer whether the tapes exist. It was interesting talking to Republicans who are close to this White House, because they see it as a severe misstep on the part of this president.

Remember, Trump's initial tweet is what inspired James Comey to leak some of the details of his memos from meeting with Trump. That's what inevitably what led to the special counsel named to the Russia investigation, which is exactly what the president wanted to avoid. But what he ended up causing by these tweets about the tapes that don't exist.

COOPER: And, I mean, the White House was asked about a number of things, why the president sent the original tweet, if he regrets sending it. What he meant when he referenced surveillance and unmasking?

Did they have any answers to any of those questions?

MURRAY: The answers were few and far between. They did say that they don't believe the president regretted his tweet. But here's a little bit more of what Sarah Huckabee Sanders had to say today about the tweet situation.


REPORTER: I'm curious about the president's revelations by way of Twitter that he has no knowledge of any tapes, didn't have any tapes, didn't have possession of any tapes. What can you tell the American people about why he decided to sort of make the inference, at least at some point that maybe there would be tapes?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Look, I think the president's statement via Twitter today is extremely clear.


MURRAY: Now, obviously it was not extremely clear, otherwise there wouldn't have been so many follow-up questions about that. You did not see Sarah Huckabee Sanders answering those questions in front of the camera, because they refused to allow cameras or any live coverage of that briefing today.

Another thing that wasn't entirely clear is what the president was talking about when he said he was not the one taping, but maybe someone else was. Sarah Huckabee said she does not think the president believes that he's being surveilled by other government agencies. It was not a clear answer on that either, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Sara Murray, thanks very much.

President Trump tweeted his denial this afternoon. The House Intelligence Committee had set a deadline for tomorrow to produce any tapes.

Earlier today, I spoke with Committee vice chairman, Adam Schiff.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Congressman, the fact that the president after 41 days now says he did not record any conversations with Jim Comey, I'm wondering what your reaction is?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, my reaction is, if he didn't record these conversations, if they don't exist, why did he suggest that they did? What was to be gained by that? Was this an effort to intimidate James Comey? Was it an effort to discourage other people from speaking out?

Apparently, the president does have a history in his private business and in litigation of threatening people with recordings as a way of intimidating them. Is that what was going on here? And if it was, why wait so long to be straight with the American people?

So, obviously, a lot of questions raised by what he has just tweeted out today. We can't, I think, in our investigation take this as the last word. We still need the White House to get back to us, because even in as far as he tweeted that he doesn't have tapes, didn't record them himself, he still left open the possibility that tapes exist.

So, we need the White House to go on record. Are they aware collectively, is anyone in the White House aware of tape recordings of the president's meetings with James Comey. If so, they need to be preserved. And they need to be provided to Congress.

COOPER: So, you're saying, despite what the president tweeted, it's very possible that -- or it may be possible that the White House itself has some sort of recordings?

[20:05:02] SCHIFF: Well, it's certainly possible that there are recordings that were made without the president's participation. We also have to admit the possibility that this is a president who has tweeted things in the past that simply were not true. And we may not be able to accept at face value his statement that he did not make recordings.

I would certainly hope that he has been candid about that. But I further expect that we'll continue to ask those who were in a position to know, whether they are aware of any recordings.

COOPER: A Republican who spoke with the president this week said the president has been, quote, amused by all the obsessing over this. I mean, is this amusing at all to you?

SCHIFF: It's not amusing at all. I think somebody -- I hope one of the president's friends or advisers needs to underscore with the president, this is not designed to be entertainment for the country. He can't be a reality talk show host anymore.

How does it serve the public interest for the president to suggest that he's making recordings of people in the Oval Office? Why is that in the public interest in any way, shape or form? And if it isn't, he needs to knock it off.

COOPER: I mean, if it's true that he finds it amusing, it's odd, because it was that tweet about the tapes that motivated Director Comey to give information about the notes he had taken to ultimately to reporters, which then ultimately led to a special counsel.

SCHIFF: Well, it certainly would be the backfire of all backfires, if that's the chain of events, that this tweet ultimately led to the appointment of the special counsel. Now, of course, there were a lot of intermediate steps. The most significant of which was firing James Comey.

But this is a president who demonstrates time and time again the capacity to do self-destructive things. And that is a very worrying quality in a president of the United States. We have yet to have an external crisis. But there is no way this president will go through his term without one. Every president has them on their watch.

And if he does such a poor job handling crisis of his own making, what can we expect when there is some external threat to the country.

COOPER: I'm wondering what you think about the timing of this tweet by the president about the tapes, because -- it obviously came just as the Senate details on the Senate version of the health care was released. Do you find that coincidental?

SCHIFF: I wouldn't be surprised if that was a deliberate way of downplaying the significance of his recanting, I guess you would call it about his tweet about tapes. We expect there might be a Friday dump of this information, but they decided that perhaps a Thursday dump would better suit their interests.

COOPER: I mean, this sounds like you're saying the president's tweets today actually raised more questions than they answer.

SCHIFF: Absolutely they raise more questions than what they answer. If the tapes don't exist, why did he raise the prospect, why was he so long in denying their existence, what was intended by this, how is this in the national interest, or is this simply an effort to intimidate a potential witness?

And, of course, if the tapes don't exist, why the partial denial? Why only saying he didn't make them. That he's personally not aware. Why not a statement from the White House saying there is no such thing.

COOPER: Congressman Schiff, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

SCHIFF: Thank you, Anderson.


COOPER: Let's bring in our panel. Jeffrey Toobin, Bryan Lanza, Paul Begala, Ken Cuccinelli, and Gloria Borger.

Gloria, does any of this make sense to you? I mean, the fact that this has been dragged on for 41 days?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: No, it doesn't -- it doesn't make any sense at all. And I think that the president was trying to pull everyone's leg here and have fun with it.

But as Adam Schiff points out, it's not really fun at all. And you have to wonder why Donald Trump tweeted this in the first place. The spin from his allies is that he wanted to make sure that James Comey told the truth, that he wasn't under investigation.

But the irony, of course, is what occurred, that the truth that ended up coming out, is James Comey's testimony that he had tried to get him to drop the Flynn investigation. Because as a result of this leak, Comey got nervous, as a result of Trump's tweet, Comey got nervous, and then he -- you know, he ended up calling his friend, leaking a document, which told us that Trump had tried to get him to stop the investigation. So, it completely boomeranged.

COOPER: Jeff, is this a distraction to distract from the Senate health care?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: You know, this whole story raises questions to me about our jobs as journalists, because this whole story was like sort of like "Seinfeld." It was about nothing.

There was never -- there were never any tapes. There's a tweet saying there were tapes. Now, there are no tapes.

But, you know, we -- this is a day when the most important social policy of, you know, certainly of the Trump presidency, and perhaps the Obama presidency as well, affecting a sixth of the economy, millions of people's health insurance, and we're talking about these tweets that never amounted to anything.

[20:10:09] And I don't know if that's what Trump intended, but that's the effect. And I think it's really troubling for us.

COOPER: Doesn't it say something, though, Jeff, that you can't believe what the president of the United States is saying?

TOOBIN: Yes, I guess it does say that.

COOPER: That seems the larger issue, can one believe what the president -- I mean, Brian, why should anyone believe what the president tweets or says?


I think because the president speaks from his heart, and he actually does speak the truth. We say there's no tapes exist. You know, he tweeted that today, but what we know is from seven months --

COOPER: But he raised --

LANZA: Hold on. What we know from a seven-month investigation from the FBI, CIA and Obama administration leaks and unmasking, that some type of monitoring did take place. I think we can't deny that took place.

COOPER: Monitoring of the White House?

LANZA: Well, the administration, the campaign, the transition. We know these calls were monitored. That's why they've been leaked. That's why they've been unmasked.

So, we can't deny some type of monitoring took place. And so, when he makes those comments that Comey better be careful, you don't know what monitor is taking place, we don't know what monitoring is taking place, because we know monitoring did take place during the transition.

COOPER: But what Comey was talking about is conversations with the president of the United States. So, it wasn't like he was tweeting about overall surveillance or anything, he was coyly suggesting that there were recordings inside the White House.

LANZA: He was -- what he was suggesting is what we all know, that the CIA, the FBI, are monitoring the conversations that are taking place in the Trump administration, because they have this investigation going on and that is their job to monitor.

COOPER: Paul, is that how you heard that?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, Bryan loves the president. He's a loyal soldier for him. He says the president speaks from the heart, I would pick another body part, but we won't get into that tonight.

It's lunacy, and I keep looking for a strategy. Maybe the strategy is as Congressman Schiff says was to intimidate the witness and intimidate Jim Comey. Maybe it was to throw us off the scent of a very unpopular domestic policy that he's rolling out today, as Jeffrey suggests. I just have no idea.

One thing Congressman Schiff said that hit me is he's not had an external crisis yet. We're in hurricane season. I grew up in the Gulf Coast, you covered Katrina better than anybody. Something may happen like that, and when the president of the United States says, you have to evacuate, we have to believe him. We have to. His credibility is a national asset. And he has squandered it.

God forbid something happens with North Korea, we need to be able to believe him. That to me is the worst thing is here, the president so cavalierly has squandered his credibility.

COOPER: Ken, is this much to do about nothing? As Paul says, this is about credibility.

KEN CUCINNELLI, FORMER VIRGINIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, certainly, when you look at the president's tweeting during the campaign, I would say as a strategic whole, it helped him. Whether we like it or not, or you like it or not, it helped him in the presidential election.

COOPER: Yes, no doubt about it.

CUCCINELLI: I think since then, he has done himself more harm than good with the tweeting. And this is an example.

But look, like Gloria said, this is a tactic. This is a lawyer tactic. I'll tell you as a lawyer. Jeffrey would say the same thing.

You put some potential exhibit on your desk, and you kind of inferentially wave it around like, hey, I know the answer to this question I'm asking you, so you better tell the truth. And that's how I read that original tweet. I do think that it really -- it has its place in a courtroom. I'm not sure it has its place in a presidency because of the credibility issues, because that's important for President Trump as it is for any president to be believed when he speaks.

And at least on Twitter, I don't think that's the case anymore.

COOPER: We've got to take a quick break. We're going to continue the conversation.

Also later, who benefits and who suffers in the newly unveiled Senate Obamacare replacement bill. And reaction just a short time ago from the president. Senator Bernie Sanders also joins us, as well as the congressman who supports the plan.

Stay with us.


[20:17:41] COOPER: For more than a month now, the White House has been asked to admit whether there is a taping system in the Oval Office. Up until today, no definitive answer. Today, the president tweeted he has no tapes or recordings of former FBI Director James Comey, at least none that he knows of.

It's not just the White House who has refused to answer the question about any tapes, the president himself has been pretty coy as well.


TRUMP: I can't talk about it. I won't talk about that. All I want is for Comey to be honest, and I hope he will be. I'm sure he will be, I hope.

REPORTER: Do tapes exist of your conversations with him?

TRUMP: Well, I'll tell you about that maybe sometime in the very near future. Oh, you're going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer, don't worry.


COOPER: Back now with the panel.

Paul, I mean, do you think this was designed to divert attention from the Senate health care bill?

BEGALA: I think it could be. I also think he didn't write this himself. You can tell Donald Trump's tweets. He's a man who misspelled tap, he put two Ps in it.

This is carefully lawyered. It actually comes with a recently reported electronic surveillance, it has a dependent clause set off by commas. This is not Donald Trump. This is some lawyer who sat him down.

The problem is, if you read it like a lawyer, he still says, I did not make, and do not have any such recordings. So, what's going to have to happen, maybe Mr. Mueller, maybe the Congress is going to have to swear everybody out. And I mean, obscure bureaucrats in the White House office of administration. Maybe even Secret Service agents, which I hate bothering - them and taking them away from their job, getting into a privilege.

You're going to have to swear out all these people under oath to figure out, is there a taping system, or have you seen the president use his phone?

TOOBIN: But it was a very obscure person named Alexander Butterfield in -- who was the Nixon aide, who was one of the very people who knew about the White House taping system there. Most of the people in the White House did not know about the taping system. And it was the Senate Watergate Committee that discovered the tapes, when many people in the White House didn't know.

Presumably the President Trump f there is a taping system. But as Paul said, the tweet is phrased so lawyerly, it does leave the possibility that some sort of tapes exist.

BORGER: Well, it raises the possibility of some kind of conspiracy against the president, and some kind of surveillance inside the White House. Because, you know, he raises it. He said with all of this surveillance, intercepts, unmasking, et cetera.

[20:20:03] So, I think there's a whole new conspiracy theory that he's talking about. And if I were a member of the intelligence community, the FBI, I'd be pretty mad about this. Because I think he's essentially saying, you know, I don't know if these guys are wiretapping me, the president of the United States.

COOPER: Bryan, you were shaking your head. Isn't that what he sort of said, though, in the last block?

LANZA: I read the tweet. And I came out, there's no tapes. Now, that's great people want to continue that narrative because it gives somebody something to talk about, it fills in a lot of cable time. But millions of Americans read that same tweet and said there's no tapes.

But what we do know is that the fear of tapes cause Comey to be honest during his testimony. We know that --

TOOBIN: He's honest.

LANZA: Let's make a point. Maybe he wasn't. Let's make the point --


COOPER: How do you know that the fear of tapes caused him to do anything?

LANZA: Well, let's look at this, he acknowledged that there was a "New York Times" story and a CNN reported that there was evidence of collusion between the Russians and a Trump campaign. He now, before testimony he said that never took place. We would have never known that if the fear of the tape didn't exist.

Additionally, what we know is that when he's -- when the president put these things out, he knew that he was sort of playing into Comey's head. And that Comey at some point would have to testify. We know that in May, in the Judiciary Committee, he testified that he did not leak anything regarding Russia.

And then a month later, in June, before the Intelligence Committee, he actually said he leaked something. So, if we're looking at credibility, I know you respect Comey, and I do, I respect the FBI, they're hard working people. But that to me doesn't jive. There's a problem there. Was he dishonest in May or was he dishonest in June? That goes straight to the credibility of Comey.

COOPER: But it does sort of raise the idea that the president's some sort of master strategist on this, when in fact this actually led to Comey, you know -- didn't it lead to Comey whether it was right or not leaking out information through a friend that led to the special counsel?

CUCCINELLI: Well, to your master strategist point, you keep bringing up the question of whether this was timed with the Senate health care -- so-called health care bill. But that doesn't make any sense at all. I know Paul has -- leaves open the possibility.

But when you look back 41 days, that was not envisioned at the time. It does make sense that he was trying to keep Comey honest, if you want to take that perspective. I think that makes a little more sense, than the notion that now it comes out on the day of the Senate health care bill which, frankly, is a big fat hairy dud.

BORGER: Anderson --

COOPER: Ken, I want you to be able to finish your thought.

BORGER: Go ahead, finish. I'm sorry.

CUCCINELLI: No, no, no.


CUCCINELLI: I mean, that -- I don't think there's any correlation between today's tweet by the president and the Senate health care bill. None at all.

COOPER: I had the visual of the big fat hairy dud.


COOPER: I like that description. It's interesting.

Gloria and then Bryan.

BORGER: No, I was just going to follow up to your point, Anderson, which is, that this boomerang on the president, because after his tweet, Comey leaked the memo that you were talking about, that led to a story about the fact that the president had asked him to drop the Flynn investigation. And that set into motion this special counsel.

And so, you know, it seems to me that this was the sort of a self- inflicted wound to a great degree.

COOPER: Yes, I want to give Bryan, though, the final thought.

LANZA: Let's also point out to what it did. It forced Comey when he testified to say there was no collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign.

TOOBIN: He didn't say that.

LANZA: He absolutely did. Go back to the --

TOOBIN: That's what the investigation is about.

LANZA: Exactly.

TOOBIN: That's what they're trying to determine.

LANZA: Comey himself was asked, did you see any evidence of collusion? He said no. He said there was contact, but no evidence of collusion. The same thing with Senator Feinstein who is a respected member of the intelligence community, Mark Warner three weeks ago said that. Even Adam Schiff is a little bit squirrelly what he says. He doesn't answer the question whether there's evidence of collusion. He says there was contact.

So, what we know through the tapes that may or may not have existed at that time, forced Comey to acknowledge there was no contact between the Russian officials and the Trump campaign. That's a win in our book because it ended the discussion of collusion.

COOPER: I want to thank everybody in panel.

Up next, the GOP Senate health care bill is no longer secret. The details unveiled today, could already be short on votes. We'll show you what is in the bill, what it means for Americans. We'll talk to Bernie Sanders.


[20:27:45] COOPER: Back to our breaking news on the Senate health care bill. We finally know the plan. The legislation had mostly been under lock and key until today, away from even most rank and file Republicans just a week before GOP leaders want to vote on it. A short time ago, President Trump wrote on Twitter, quote: I'm very

supportive of the Senate health care bill. Look forward to making it really special. Remember, Obamacare is dead.

But the question remains, does it have support of enough senators at this point?

CNN's Phil Mattingly has the latest from Capitol Hill.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After weeks behind closed doors, the Senate Republican health care draft was revealed. But not embraced.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: We debated many policy proposals. We considered many different viewpoints.

In the end, we found that we share many ideas about what needs to be achieved, and how we can achieve it.

MATTINGLY: As Democrats lambasted the bill.

SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D), OREGON: You heard of the movie "Dumb & Dumber", but the Republican health care movie is mean and meaner.

MATTINGLY: And protesters were dragged away by Capitol police. Opposition to the initial draft and its secretive process boiled inside the Republican Party. Almost immediately after the release of the GOP Senate plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, frustration for conservative senators about how little the bill repeals and replaces.

Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Ron Johnson and Mike Lee say the plan doesn't go far enough to change the current law.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I think we can do better than this. And my hope is that not to defeat the bill, but to make the bill better.

MATTINGLY: On the other side of the party's ideological spectrum, concerns moderate Republicans Dean Heller and Susan Collins the bill goes too far. A Collins spokesperson saying she, quote, will be particularly interested in examining the forthcoming CBO analysis on the impact on insurance coverage, the effect on insurance premiums and the changes in the Medicaid program.

Tonight, the party is scrambling for votes.

(on camera): So, you feel like in a week, enough people can get together for 50 votes to actually get this through?

SEN. PAT ROBERTS (R), KANSAS: I hope so. People have different opinions. And they have a lot of ideological opinions as well. But it's time to put that aside and move. MATTINGLY (voice-over): But moving fast may be difficult. Senators

tried to digest exactly what the draft does. Among the key provisions, draft repeals Obamacare's taxes and individual mandates. Provides more generous subsidies to purchase insurance than the House passed bill and takes a different path to cutting back Obamacare regulation. Key priority for conservative aims to drive down premiums, dropping the House effort to grant state waivers for rules that provided price protections for those with preexisting conditions as well as the ten essential health benefits required by Obamacare.

And while it institutes a slower phase out of Obamacare's Medicaid expansion than its House counterpart, a key ask for moderate senators, like the House bill, the Senate version fundamentally reshapes the Medicaid program, and it goes further. Institute what amounts to dramatically deeper cuts than the House version, by significantly slowing Federal spending growth over time. Republicans defending the proposal as necessary to sustain the program. Tonight, Democrats are infuriated.

SEN. CHUCK SCHEMER, (D) MINORITY LEADER: The Senate Republican health care bill is oh wolf in sheep's clothing. Only this wolf has even sharper teeth than the House bill.


COOPER: And Phil joins us now. I understand you had a chance to speak to Senator Cruz. What did he have to say?

MATTINGLY: Significant changes. That's the two words he said a couple of times that are his expectations and the expectations of some of his colleagues in the days ahead. That's what they want to see in this bill. And in fact, Anderson, behind closed doors, when senators were briefed about this proposal this morning, Ted Cruz had a list of four items. The list was entitled, "Path to Yes." Laying out the ways that he thinks he can get there.

The big issue right now, there were the things that could get Ted Cruz to "yes" are the things that could cause other moderate senators to move from unsure or having concerns to no. So that's the needle right now that Senator McConnell has to thread. I will say, talking to Senate aides right now, they believe Ted Cruz has been involved with this process all along. They believe that he is playing on fair ground here and he is somebody they could get to yes. The big question remains, though, how do you get those conservatives or at least one conservative like Ted Cruz to come aboard and now shade some of those moderates in Medicaid expansion states? Their ability to find that answer and find that answer fast, Anderson, will determine whether or not this bill can ever get to 50 votes.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: All right, Phil Mattingly, thanks very much for the update.

Joining me now is Kate Zernike, Bianna Golodryga, Dylan Ratigan and Phillip Stutts.

Kate, a lot of the early reporting on this coming out of the was that they were going to basically just go at this from a different kind of -- from the beginning, from the get-go, kind of not paying attention to what the House had done. But it seems like they kept the House framework.

KATE ZERNIKE, REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES: Yeah. It's almost exactly like the House bill. And I think what we're going to hear a lot about as we did with the -- and what helped sort of -- helped first the effort to pass House bill was the issues about Medicaid. And we always knew that the Senate was more concerned than even members of the House about what the effect of Medicaid. So remember that Medicaid, you know, people think of this program for poor people. It actually covers one in five Americans, 4 in 10 kids, two-thirds of people in nursing homes. In some states like West Virginia and Ohio where the opioid epidemic is huge, it covers over half of all addiction treatment. This is a huge -- Medicaid is a huge program in this significantly slashes as the House bill did.

COOPER: Bianna, the other thing, I guess, a number of people in the Senate are going to be looking for the CBO score. A lot of Republicans obviously say you can't trust the CBO. They don't believe the point to figures the CBO gave of Obamacare that didn't pan out.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, YAHOO NEWS AND FINANCE ANCHOR: Yeah. And still so many are saying we've going to see the CBO score. I think problem going into this was the process itself. I think it left a lot of ill will amongst Republicans, not to mention Democrats, and to how secret this was and the closed-door negotiations. Senator McCain even said I bet Russia has seen this bill. We haven't seen this bill. There are reports, there could be a CBO score as early as next week but it's going to be crucial for a lot of these senators. Specifically when they go home to their constituents and say the CBO has scored it. Remember the CBO for the House bill scored it from 23 million Americans losing insurance coverage over ten years.

COOPER: Yeah. Phil, but I want to play something that candidate Trump said on the campaign trail.



PRES. DONALD TRUMP, (R) UNITED STATE: Every Republican wants to do a big number on social security. They want to do it on Medicare. They want to do it on Medicaid. We can't do that. And it's not fair to the people that have been paying in for years and now all of a sudden they want to be cut. Save Medicare, Medicaid and social security without cuts.

I'm not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid.


COOPER: Phillip, it does seem like there are going to be big changes to Medicaid Senate version of the bill so far.

STUTTS: Yeah. Listen, they're putting Medicaid and they're giving it back -- the power back to the states. If you look at this, and yes, there are cuts in both plans. The Senate is a little less. It's spread out over a longer period of time. But the bottom line is, the Republicans in the Senate have said let's give the power to the states. And frankly, it's going to take these governors and force them to figure out where the bloated bureaucracy is in their states, where in the Medicaid programs, and where they need to cut in order to save the people that desperately need those.

[20:35:10] COOPER: But is it that simple? I mean, you know, people who have been talking about cutting bloated bureaucracy --


REGAN: -- every election cycle. And it ends up with people getting hurt.

STUTTS: Well, I mean -- OK. Well, I mean, listen, I've worked in the federal government before. And it's shocking how much bureaucracy there is. But the problem with it -- or the good thing about this is it's putting the power back in the states' hands, not in the federal government -- it's taking it out of the federal government's hands and it's giving these governors the opportunities to figure out where they need to cut and where they need to save. And it's putting -- again, it's putting the power in the governors' hands, not in the federal bureaucracy.

COOPER: Dylan, is that where you see it?

DYLAN RATIGAN, AUTHOR, "GREEDY BASTARDS": You know, listen, Anderson, we're dealing with an incredibly expensive, an incredibly inefficient but very good health care system that is sort of the spawn of Dwight Eisenhower's vision of health care with private insurance in the employer. The ACA was a bad policy that instead of addressing the issue, it's too expensive, it's inefficient, people can't get involved with it, simply mandated and everybody participate in an unreformed monopoly for employer based health insurance. And now the Republicans are simply trying to reject that. Neither party with either policy is actually resolving for more health care, more efficient, more cheaply for everybody. And that's really the tragedy in this.

COOPER: So, Kate, I mean, you know, Phillip talks about it goes back to the state and it's up to governors to decide what to do with the bureaucracy?

ZERNIKE: Well, so the tradeoff here is the states -- yes the states will get more flexibility, which many of them have been asking for, but they'll also going to get less money. And so they'll going to have to decide, remember that Medicaid has been an open-ended entitlement, right? What they spend the federal government reimburses them. So they'll going to be getting now per capita -- they'll going to get a per capita limit on this. And that's going to force them to decide, are we going to spend more on -- are we going to cover our health care costs and cut education and cut all these other services that we provide? Because in this bill, as in the House bill, and actually, the Senate bill is even -- the House bill provided -- it increased the Medicaid spending to the states according to the certain percentage of the inflation. This actually increases at a slower speed. So there are deeper cuts to Medicaid in the Senate bill than there where in the House bill.

COOPER: Bianna, does this bill have a chance of passing?

GOLODRYGA: It could very well pass. I'm not sure it's going to pass next week. I know Mitch McConnell wanted to get this out there as soon as possible. We also know that Mitch McConnell had already met with Paul Ryan today to talk about tax reform. So clearly, he wants to vote on this as soon as possible or to move on to something else. So one thing to quickly note also is the people most affected by this bill are the elderly, the middle to low close elderly people who are getting sweep because they're getting fewer premiums, lower premiums and lower subsidies and they're also getting fewer benefits and paying higher deductibles. So they are the ones who are suffering.

COOPER: Sorry, go ahead.

RATIGAN: The silver lining, Anderson, might be with the states getting more power. You're seeing California experiment with single payer. You may actually get some interesting experiments to try to compensate for the shortcomings in these federal bills that could ultimately generate health care 3.0.

COOPER: Phillip, do you think this is going to pass the Senate?

STUTTS: Listen, you've got the lion in the Senate (ph) and Mitch McConnell and you've got -- listen, everything Donald Trump ran on and everything President Trump talks about is the art of the deal, this is -- he's got this handed to them. They both had this handed to them. They had the plans in place, House has passed it. Now they have to pass to Senate. But so, Anderson, like this is everything they've ever worked for, at this moment.

COOPER: Right.

STUTTS: This is a very critical moment. And this is where the President is at his best. I say it passes. It may take more time than Mitch McConnell wants to right now. But you have a very good leadership in Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and the President. They all want to do this deal. I think it gets done.

COOPER: All right. Thanks, everybody. Appreciate it.

Up next, the CNN exclusive, what President Trump did that reportedly made two of his intelligence chiefs use the words "odd" and "uncomfortable," and what it's got to do with the Russia probe when we continue.


[20:42:37] COOPER: Tonight, we have exclusive new reporting on the White House-Russia probe. Multiple sources have told CNN that two intelligence chiefs revealed to special Robert Mueller's team that President Trump suggested they publicly refute claims of collusion between his campaign and Russia. And both Intel chiefs described the interactions with the President as odd and uncomfortable.

Our Jessica Schneider has more reporting on this. So what do we know about the conversation between the President and the chiefs?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, we know that DNI Dan Coats and NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers, they disclosed these conversations to both the special counsel and congressional investigators. They did say they were asked by the President to publicly deny that there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Both Coats and Rogers, they did say they were surprised by these requests. But they did not perceive them as orders, and didn't feel any pressure. But it's important to note that their understanding, it really doesn't apply to any obstruction of justice inquiry, as that all depends on what the President's intent was in making that request, something that likely right now, Anderson, is being probed by Special Counsel Mueller.

COOPER: And obviously the stands in contrast to what former Director Comey alleged the President said to him or the impression he got though with what the President said?

SCHNEIDER: Right, different request but really similar implications. So James Comey testified that the President asked him for loyalty and also asked him to drop the FBI investigation into Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Neither of which, of course, Comey promised or did. And James Comey, he also pointed out that the President said he hoped that Comey would let it go. But of course, that brings up similar questions as to whether or not this may have amounted to an order by the President. Of course, that goes to the President's intent, which, of course, Anderson, might be hard for investigators to actually decipher in this case.

COOPER: This was just days after former FBI Director Comey's testimony publicly confirming the existence of an investigation and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, this request to the intelligence chiefs.

SCHNEIDER: Yeah. The interactions between the intelligence chiefs and the President, where President Trump did allegedly asked them to publicly deny collusion. It did come just a few days after that March 20th hearing where Comey publicly confirmed the existence of the FBI investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, which, of course, now, Anderson, is being spearheaded by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

COOPER: All right, Jessica Schneider thanks.

Obviously, this raises a lot of questions. A short time ago before we went on air, I spoke with Former CIA Director Leon Panetta. He's also a Former Defense Secretary and served as White House Chief Staff of President Bill Clinton.

[20:45:03] Secretary Panetta, what do you make of this news that both DNI Coats and NSA Director Rogers told Congress in close session that the President Trump did ask them to publicly said there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia but did not order them to interfere with any investigation?

LEON PANETTA, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: I think it's something that the Special Counsel has to investigate to determine exactly what that conversation was like. Because it obviously raises some serious implications, and there's no question that the Special Counsel will look at that conversation.

COOPER: From your experience in government, how unusual is it for a president to be having this kind of a conversation with director of National Intelligence, with the head of the NSA, asking them to make, you know, a statement about there was no collusion?

PANETTA: It's unheard of. In terms of my experience in government, particularly with presidents, both Republican and Democrat, I think would have been extremely careful about any conversation of that kind, particularly with the director of National Intelligence, and also the head of the NSA. I mean, these are part of your intelligence agencies that are responsible for providing the best intelligence possible to the president of the United States. To make a comment that somehow they ought to be making a statement with regards to an ongoing investigation, and to color that comment in some way, you know, it violates every standard that I've ever experienced in terms of the relationship between the president and the heads of his intelligence agency.

COOPER: And now, on the question of tapes, I mean, you have the statement by the President, 41 days after he was the one who first raised this issue in a tweet, that he didn't record his conversations, now said he didn't record his conversations with Jim Comey and that he has no such recordings. I mean, A, do you take him at his word, and B, the idea that the president of the United States would make that, I don't know if it was a bluff, or I don't know what the idea behind it -- I mean, does the whole thing make sense to you at all?

PANETTA: I wonder if this President realizes how much damage he's doing to the office of the presidency. When you're president of the United States, the most important thing you have as president of the United States is the trust of the American people. That's the coin of the realm, really, that is most important to a president. And when he says what he says, which was simply a lie, and then, you know, for several weeks continues to deny, or indicate that, you know, this is still a possibility, and then says no, no, there aren't any tapes, what that does is, you pay a price with the American people.

Now, you know, in the private sector, you can bluff, you can lie and do all kinds of things and the only price you pay is probably with regards to your reputation as a businessman. But when you're president of the United States, and you lie to the American people about something like this, there is a huge price to be paid, which is that you undermine the trust of the American people in the office of the presidency.

And at some point this President's going to face a major crisis. In which he has to speak to the American people. And be very honest with them about what is happening in that crisis, and what he intends to do. And if people do not believe him, or do not trust him, that could be very damaging to our country and to the office of the presidency.

COOPER: Ahead, we'll have Leon Panetta's take on why the President seems reluctant to say flat out with the intelligence community concludes a months ago that Vladimir Putin meddled in the election.


[20:52:52] COOPER: My conversation with former CIA Director and White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta covered a lot of ground. However, all of it seem to evolve on the single theme, namely, why the President does what he does, what motivates him to say what he says on tapes for instance, and why he's so reticent for example to talk on Russia. I asked Director Panetta about it in the part two of the conversation.


COOPER: The White House attempted to answer the lingering questions whether the President agrees with the unanimous assessment of the entire intelligence community that Russia did in fact interfere with the election. The best Sarah Huckabee Sanders could do was say he probably agrees with it. To you, is that enough? Is that acceptable and then there still not a declared statement from the President himself on this?

PANETTA: You know, when you have all of our intelligence agencies pretty much concurring in the conclusion that Russia did conduct this cyberattack against the United States and try to interfere with our election process, this is the President of the United States. And his first responsibility is to defend the United States of America. And the fact is, that what the Russians did constitutes a cyberattack on this country. It's an attack by an adversary on our country. And the President of the United States, as someone who ought to defend this country, ought to make very clear that, yes, this did happen and that it will not happen again. And I am not getting that kind of clarity from this President.

COOPER: Right. I mean, what we've heard from Jeff Sessions under sworn testimony and also Former Director Comey was that neither of them have really ever had a conversation with the President or the President has never inquired with either of them about Russia's interference and what can be done to prevent it from happening again. I mean, there was an initial briefing that Comey did. But other than, that he said that the President never inquired more about it.

PANETTA: I've always been concerned about whether or not the President really has any kind of intellectual curiosity about the difficult problems that he's facing in the office of the presidency and the difficult challenges that he's facing across this world.

[20:55:03] And, you know, it just -- it's important for the President to sit down and learn about what exactly happened here and what the Russians did to try to interfere with our election process. I think this President somehow thinks that in some ways this is all, you know, collusion by the Democrats, collusion by others to try to show that he really didn't win the election. You know what? That's over. He is President of the United States. He's been elected president of the United States. The responsibility now is to do everything possible to protect our country from that happening again and he can't even begin to do that without appreciating the fact that an adversary tried to interfere with the election process in our country. He's got to acknowledge that. He's got to be straightforward about what happened to this country and then he's got to take action to make sure it doesn't happen again.

COOPER: Secretary Panetta, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

PANETTA: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: Up next, more on the busy day in Washington. President Trump's revelation, if that's the right word for it, that he has no recordings of conversations with fired FBI Director James Comey.

Plus, the new battle lines on Capital Hill over health care, Senate Republicans and their plan. We'll bring you the details, talk about the impact and talk to a Republican Congressman who supports it and we'll talk to Senator Bernie Sanders ahead.