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CNN TONIGHT

Bill on Rush; White House Precaution for Chemical Attack; Cameras off at the White House. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired June 26, 2017 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

[22:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN: We previously stated, the United States is in Syria to eliminate the Islamic state of Iraq in Syria. If, however, Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price.

Time to hand things over to Don Lemon and CNN tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

DON LEMON, HOST, CNN: We have some breaking news on the GOP health care bill.

This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.

A fourth GOP senator says he will vote no on the motion to let his own party's health care bill go forward. So, can Mitch McConnell get Trumpcare across the finish line? With the clock ticking to a vote in the next few days the president said he wants a bill with heart, but with 22 million more Americans with no health insurance, is this that bill?

Plus, Ivanka Trump says she tries to stay out of politics which seems like a really odd thing. One of the president's top advisers is saying maybe you don't have an office in the West Wing, that may make you stay out of politics.

Let's get right to CNN's senior political analyst, Mr. Mark Preston with our breaking news now. Mark, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, CBO, they scored it, it's now out in the Senate GOP health care bill, so break it down for us. What does it say?

MARK PRESTON, POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR, CNN: Well, what it says right now is that it is actually better off when you look at the numbers compared to the House bill, we saw 23 million would be uninsured. And there would only be a savings of about I guess $119 billion.

But if you look at the democratic, or rather, the Senate republican bill, they would save $321 billion and would be $1 million -- excuse me, 1 million people less that would be insured.

So the Senate bill looks better than the House bill, but to your point about it being a mean bill, it is causing a lot of headache right now and a lot of heartache for the Senate republican leadership as they do try to schedule the vote this week, Don.

LEMON: So the first one came out, the CBO score, which was the House bill, 23 million more uninsured by 2026, it reduces the federal deficit by $119 billion. And the second one that just came out, the Senate bill that they're looking out now, the CBO score, 22 million more uninsured by 2026 and reduces the federal deficit by $321 billion. That's a big.

So my question is, that deficit reduction of $321 billion, that's a silver lining for the GOP leadership, right, that potentially gives them some room to negotiate.

PRESTON: Well, it is because the Senate bill would be required to have a savings of about $133 billion over 10 years. If you look at it, the CBO is now saying it's $321 billion. So, you know, you do a little bit of subtraction right there and you see that there's about $188 billion potentially on the table that the Senate republican leadership could use to try to entice some of those no votes to come back into the fold and vote yes on the motion to proceed and then eventually onto the bill.

What they would use that money for to fund, we don't know yet, but we do know that the Medicaid funding, the idea that they would sunset it after three years, perhaps that could go towards that to try to ease a little bit of that pain. But again, right now, you know, it goes without saying this bill is on life support here in Washington.

LEMON: OK. Well, I was going to say, Jeffrey, you said life support, you know more than I. The leadership Mark, they're hunting for votes to get their bill passed, but they have republican senators who won't vote to move the bill forward with more senators expressing concern. Concern about it. Senators Lindsey Graham, Senator Lindsey Graham was asked about that score. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: At the end of the day, I think if you're on the fence about the bill, the CBO score did not help. It didn't make Mitch's situation much easier, I don't think.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And if it looks like it's not going to pass, do you think Leader McConnell should pull the bill?

GRAHAM: You know, I'll let him consider the politics. It's one thing to talk about reforming health care, it's another thing to talk about the politics of health care. One thing I've learned about the politics of health care, the best judge of politics of health care is you as a senator.

I'm not going to let Senator McConnell or anybody else tell me what's the best politics at home. And I hope every senator will take that view. If Dean Heller needs to vote, vote no, vote no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So this is where Mitch McConnell has to step it up, right, and try to figure out what to do. Because as I understand, he wants a vote before the July 4th recess. Does he have the votes? What is he going to do?

PRESTON: Well, let's just talk about the simple math and how this would vote. Republicans in the Senate all they need is 50 votes. The reason being, is that if they get 50 votes, then the Vice President Mike Pence could come up, break the tie, have 51 and then you can move forward.

The problem is as you've just shown, they have four republican senators right now who said they won't even vote on the motion to proceed. They have 52 votes in the United States Senate. They're now at 48. They are in deficit of 2 votes at this point.

And quite frankly, there's a lot of other senators out there, Don, that haven't been come up and publicly said that were against the bill as much as we've seen from these four. But they still have grave, grave concerns.

[22:04:56] I'm not sure what Mitch McConnell can do at this point. Because the fact is he really has been backed into the wall. They push artificial deadlines on overhauling something so major to our economy, and quite frankly, they had seven years to try to get this done, Don, and they really have to put themselves in a bad situation because there is no good answer for them now.

LEMON: Yes, it's a good question, why the rush on this? Mark Preston, I appreciate that. Thank you, sir.

Now I want to turn to Dr. Nan Hayworth, a former congresswoman from New York, and a member of the Trump campaign advisory board. Also Neera Tanden, former policy director for Hillary Clinton who helped to write Obamacare. So, thank you both for joining us.

And we were, to be honest, we were having this conversation before the show started. Just how complicated this issue is. Doctor, I want to speak to you in a moment. But I want to bring in Neera first. Neera, what's your reaction to this new CBO score? Twenty two million uninsured by 2016 with 15 million just next year because of the individual mandate, it goes away.

NEERA TANDEN, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: I have to say, quite honestly, I was shocked. I mean, for weeks the Senate has been telling everyone they're going to have a very different bill from the House and the president, himself, said the House bill was mean and Senate needed to be more generous.

And in some ways this bill, the CBO bill is harsher, next year, just next year, 15 million people lose health care. There's 14 million in the house. Premiums increase. You know, the president had a bunch of promises. Premiums would go down, out of pocket costs would go down. CBO said that's false. Everyone would keep their coverage, that's false.

He wouldn't touch Medicaid, that's false. So I have to say, I was genuinely surprised that the Senate move sort of right instead of going towards a more generous plan.

LEMON: Nan, you're disagreeing, why?

NAN HAYWORTH, BOARD MEMBER, INDEPENDENT WOMEN'S FORUM: Well, Don, look, we know that eight years into the Affordable Care Act, or seven years at this point, that Americans are losing their insurance, they're losing their access to care, including in Medicaid, which is a deeply flawed program.

States have lost their ability to accommodate the folks who need care the most in the Medicaid programs and we need to put -- and the president has promised this, he is right, we need to put Americans back to work so that they can actually afford the kind of healthcare that they want, we need to make sure that we take care of Americans who are suffering under the burdens of mandates that are unreasonable and the bureaucracy that actually is going to cost Americans upwards of $300 billion according to the CBO, between 2014 and 2026, that's an enormous number. And we need to protect those most in need.

LEMON: OK, standby, Neera. Because I have this from Mark Preston but I'm going to read this to you. This is the latest polling since you mentioned Obamacare. This is from the Kaiser Family Foundation. It shows 51 percent of Americans now approve of Obamacare, and for an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. Only 34 percent of republicans view the GOP House plan positively.

So it seems like the Obamacare has a much more positive, at least Americans, more Americans see it as much more positive than they do this health care bill. Sp how do you square that? How do you fix that?

HAYWORTH: Well, we fix it by bringing forward a plan and the plan isn't -- it isn't complete yet. That's obvious. There is work still to do. We do it by bringing forward a plan and the president is exceedingly good at communicating with the American people. We bring forward a plan that makes sense in their lives. There are real arguments to me made.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: To your point, Nan, you said that -- hold on...

HAYWORTH For a better approach too.

LEMON: The president is saying this needs to be mixed, it needs more heart.

HAYWORTH: Yes.

LEMON: Mitch McConnell wants it voted by July -- I mean, can you fix that by July 4th? Why the rush, then if the president is saying we need to work on this.

HAYWORTH: Sure. Well, one of the biggest problems and challenges, quite honestly, Don, is the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Schumer, has vowed that Senate democrats will not be part of this effort. So, that severely constrains the terms of the bill the Senate can vote on right now to something called reconciliation.

Americans have heard of it. It's a process term from the Senate. Something they shouldn't have to worry about. If democratic members, democratic senators would come into this process, we could have a broader bill that would probably be a lot easier to accept in certain ways.

LEMON: If I don't let Neera in, she's going to jump there the camera and grab me. Go ahead, Neera. What do you want to say?

TANDEN: I just need to -- I just need to clarify a few things. First of all, the reasons why we're in reconciliation in this process, and republicans only need 50 votes is because they made a decision in January to ignore democrats.

Eight years ago, used a normal process, 60 votes ended up being necessary. That's why what's happening now is republicans have chosen to do a 50-vote process where they only need republicans. You know, it's fascinating you say that this is the beginning or in the middle.

Mitch McConnell is trying to finish this vote in three days. OK? Americans need to know that. He wants to move to a motion to proceed and then just amend the bill and be done by Friday.

[22:10:05] He introduced the bill to the public Thursday, four days ago and wants a vote on Friday. So that's a week of public deliberation and so this is it. The Senate is going to vote on a bill that will lose coverage for 22 million people, raise people's premiums.

People in the, four million Americans in employer-sponsored coverage, that means you're not in the exchange, you're not in Medicaid, you just get it from your employer, four million Americans will lose coverage.

HAYWORTH: Neera...

(CROSSTALK)

TANDEN: No, I just need to say, sorry, I'll just finish with this, which is there is no longer negotiation. Republicans have to make a decision. Do you care about the insured and the people in Medicaid and in the exchanges in your state?

LEMON: OK, let her get in.

TANDEN: Or are you deciding about your party and what your party wants for politics? This is a political decision they're making.

LEMON: Go ahead, Nan.

HAYWORTH: The political decision is very much on the part of the members of the Senate who will not participate in this process. Don, it's eminently clear and painfully clear that American have lost their access to care and coverage that they can afford. By the millions under the Affordable Care Act. It hasn't worked. It is broken. It needs to be fixed.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: So then why not...

TANDEN: That is just false.

HAYWORTH: By the way, the CBO said premiums are going to go down under this bill.

TENDEN: They said out of pocket costs for every one under this plan will go up.

HAYWORTH: Out of pocket cost is skyrocketing.

TANDEN: Just to be crystal clear, the CBO did discuss the Affordable Care Act. It said the Affordable Care Act is stable. It's stable now. It is just false that people -- that there isn't insurance for people.

HAYWORTH: But it said...

(CROSSTALK)

TANDEN: That insurers are going into Missouri, they're going into states. If President Trump would allow this system to be -- if he wasn't trying to sabotage the Affordable Care Act, people would have healthcare, which is, you know, let's listen to Senator Collins.

LEMON: OK.

TANDEN: Senator Collins today said let's have democrats and republicans come together. If you didn't destroy the ACA, many democrats will come together with republicans to figure out this.

LEMON: I want Nan to be able to respond. Nan, listen, you're a doctor. You say that this is political now. The American Medical Association says the GOP's plan goes against the oath doctors take which says do not harm.

HAYWORTH: Well, I know the oath wellbeing a doctor.

LEMON: This is their tweet. And they go on to talk about. Listen, and then also if you look at those ProPublica, the reporters who are also on the scene, they said the increase in the number of uninsured is the population of Kansas, New Mexico, Nebraska, West Virginia, Idaho, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, Vermont, Wyoming, and D.C. combined. You can understand why people are concerned when you put it in those terms.

HAYWORTH: Well, we have about 40 percent of the country at this point, Don, that only has one insurance plan to choose from. I think it's 40 percent of the counties in this country. Insurers have progress -- some have come back in, yes, some are coming in, but net/net, we've lost insurers, we've lost options. We've increased the cost of insurance and it's in an unsustainable form. People have lost their livelihoods. They've lost their insurance.

They've lost their access. Yes, the Senate and the president and the Congress have to address this and they have made good faith work to do that.

LEMON: I got to go. I got to ask you this, again, and just a simple answer.

HAYWORTH: Yes.

LEMON: Why the rush? Couldn't they -- can't we, meaning we, the people, take our time and figure out what's best for the American people instead of an artificial deadline?

HAYWORTH: There's been -- but the deadline -- you're right, Don, that, you know, there's not a fixed deadline but it is true that they do have to proceed with all speed. Especially for those who believe that this is an important component of getting to tax reform because of budget reasons. Now, again...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Because they need to pass the...

HAYWORTH: Right. Senator McConnell does have other options and the president has talked about it and I think he's -- he's wise to mention that there are other ways to pass a more comprehensive bill by breaking the block, the filibuster on bringing legislature to the floor.

LEMON: That's got...

HAYWORTH: That the Senate democrats...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: That's going to be the last word. Thank you, Neera. Thank you, doctor, I appreciate it.

When we come back, how the White House is responding to the report on the health care bill.

And we have breaking news out of Syria to tell you about, possible preparations for another chemical attack by the Assad regime. We'll be right back.

[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: we have some breaking news to tell you about, and it is ominous. The White House says it is identified what it calls potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime.

So I want to bring in now our senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta, and senior political analyst, April Ryan. Both of them are at the White House every day covering this. Jim, I'm going to start with you. JIM ACOSTA, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes.

LEMON: The White House just issued a stern warning tonight the Assad regime in s Syria. What can you tell us?

ACOSTA: Yes, Don, a very ominous warning but not a whole lot of information behind it. There's a statement from the Press Secretary Sean Spicer. We can put it up on screen at least show it to our viewers. It says "The activities are similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4th, 2017, chemical weapons attack as we previously stated, the United States is in Syria to eliminate the Islamic state of Iraq and Syria."

"If however, Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price."

It's a very ominous statement coming from this White House, Don, but very much a red line that this White House is drawing here. Keep in mind, the president during the campaign criticized President Obama time and again for not enforcing a red line when it comes to chemical weapons in Syria. He appears to be drawing one tonight, Don.

LEMON: All right. The breaking news from Jim. Jim, now I want to turn to something else.

ACOSTA: Yes.

LEMON: This is a key day for the White House between healthcare, the president's partial travel ban win. It would be nice to play the tape from the White House briefing right now to show the American public exactly what happened. How this administration answered questions, but once again, cameras weren't allowed to record anything.

ACOSTA: Right.

LEMON: You asked about that. And we have this audio. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Sean, Sean, can you answer whether the president still believes the ...

SEAN SPICER, UNITED STATES WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There's no camera on, Jim.

ACOSTA: Maybe we should turn the cameras on, Sean. Why don't we turn the cameras on? Why don't we turn the cameras on?

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: I'm sorry that you have to do. Jen? Go ahead.

ACOSTA: Why not turn the cameras on, Sean? They're in the room. The lights are on.

Why do you want them off? Can you just answer that and tell us why you turned the cameras off. Why are they off, Sean? It's a legitimate question.

SPICER: Let's try.

ACOSTA: You are a taxpayer -- spokesman for the United States government, can you at least give us an explanation as to why the cameras are off.

[22:20:03] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we get this out of the way, can we address the cameras issues?

SPICER: Yes. Some days, we'll have them, some days we won't. The president is going to speak today in the Rose Garden. I want the president's voice to carry the day. You know, and I think -- you know, so, look, this is nothing inconsistent with what we said since day one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: OK. Well, that was -- OK, Jim. So, my question is, all right, I'm an outsider here. I'm speaking as an American citizen who pays taxes. Why aren't the cameras on? Why don't you just turn the cameras on?

ACOSTA: That was a question that I asked during the briefing today, Don. And we did just not get an answer to that question. I think that the only logical answer to the question is that what we're asking is something they just don't want to answer and have those sound bites played on national television.

LEMON: So what would happen if you turned the cameras on? Would they kick you out? What would happen? Would they kick you out? You would...

(CROSSTALK)

ACOSTA: Well, yes, I think that's a very good question, Don. And let's keep in mind the White House correspondents association our leadership of the board, they've been working behind the scenes with the press secretary trying to get these cameras back on.

They are our cameras, and so what is basically happening, we have agreed with the White House not to have the cameras on at this briefing. And so the question is there, Don, would they take our press credentials away? I don't know.

LEMON: Yes.

ACOSTA: Would they kick me out of the White House if I were to start rolling with my phone? I don't know. That is...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Well, there's only one way to figure it out, Jim. And here's what I have to say. I am surprised, quite honestly, that more people aren't outraged and I'm surprised that the White House press -- the White House correspondents' press association has not taken a harder stance on this. And I'm surprised that everyone sitting in that room that you're the only one standing out there on a limb saying this is not right.

ACOSTA: Well, my friend, April Ryan, did chime in today and say that was a legitimate question.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: April is going to come in. And I'm going to bring her in but let me say this, Jim. Let me say this.

(CROSSTALK)

ACOSTA: But Don, I think it's a great question. Yes.

LEMON: Here's what I want to say, if I'm a member of the White House press corps and Fox News asks a question and Sean Spicer doesn't answer, then I'm going to ask the same question. And if they don't answer that question at CNN, then I would expect NBC and CBS, ABC, and the A.P, and everybody else to ask the question, especially the one why aren't the cameras rolling over and over and over again until you get an answer or until they're fed-up of not answering.

ACOSTA: Yes.

LEMON: But I think the camera should -- I think that someone has to take a stand and turn the cameras on and see what the ramifications are because they can't kick everybody out, and it is the American people's cameras and not the White House cameras. I'm sorry to cut you off.

ACOSTA: Yes. I know.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: I can't believe that people aren't standing up for this.

ACOSTA: I agree with you wholeheartedly and let me ask you at this way. Let's put it another way. Let's say during the Obama administration during the height of the Obamacare debate, the Obamacare White House said we're turning the cameras off in the briefing room. What would -- I mean, people would lose their minds in this town. What if the cameras were turned off during the Benghazi investigation? What would friends over at Fox News say about that? And so, you know, this is not a partisan issue.

LEMON: It's not.

ACOSTA: This is about access. And when you turn the cameras off, you were taking away a layer of accountability. It's as simple as that. I don't know why this is being caught up in some sort of partisan debate, and why we're being cast in a certain way by raising this issue. This is just about openness and transparency in government. What are the politicians hiding?

LEMON: Yes.

ACOSTA: Why would anybody be afraid to try to get to the bottom of that?

LEMON: Yes. April, go on. I'm sorry to not give you time now, but go on. April, why is this happening? Why are people allowing this to happen?

APRIL RYAN, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN: Well, you know, Don, I pulled a couple of people after the briefing. I watched Jim. He was alone for a little bit. But there are some people on the side and Trey even said, you know, while Jim kept talking, he said, look, you know, let's deal with this issue.

But I asked someone who was sitting on the front row who has a front- row seat from one of the networks on the front row. And they said, look, you know, I was concerned, too, and I was concerned why people didn't chime in with Jim and this person has not been called on since April. And from a major network.

I also asked someone from the board and they said, you know, they just concluded a meeting with Sean Spicer and they talked about things about the -- about the briefing room, the layout and talked about gaggles and briefings and it was posed by the association.

Let's have a morning gaggle to take the steam out of the televised briefings because when you only get one briefing, there's more of a -- more of an intense give or take, because you've haven't gotten issues answered or questions answered early in the day.

And I remember when I came to the White House 20 years ago, Mike McCurry used to have a gaggle with reporters, about 70, 80 reporters in his office, and then we would have the on-camera briefing later in the day. And that would take down a lot of the temperature except for when there were controversies like Monica Lewinsky.

But the stakes are very high right now and Jim is absolutely right, why are the cameras turned off?

[22:25:00] But you also have to remember this, if we do turn the cameras on, there's a chance that we could lose out of having that prime seat to ask questions for the American public. We of course have a line of questions...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: They can't pull everybody's cameras. They can't throw everybody out of the briefing room. At some point...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: You know, Don...

LEMON: I know, listen, I know you take that, it's a tough one for you guys, I know.

RYAN: Yes.

LEMON: And I'm sitting here looking back as a spectator here saying, but at some point, you have to have some, you know what, and you've got to stand up.

RYAN: Being in that room is different.

LEMON: And you've got to take a stance. And I think if everybody turns the cameras on, and if everybody has each other's backs, then they cannot do it, there's no way that they can do it. That's how I feel. Jim, if you have to leave, I know you're still out at the lawn, you can go. April and I will continue. Go ahead, April.

RYAN: I give Jim many props for this. But you have to remember as well, you know, I was watching Twitter and people are talking about you should boycott. You know what, boycotting is not the answer. You won't get questions if we boycott. And if we boycott, we walk out, they shut the doors from us.

LEMON: No, don't walk out. Don't walk out.

RYAN: That's what they want. They want us out.

LEMON: Don't walk out.

RYAN: That's what I'm saying. So I am not an advocate of boycotting, but I'm an advocate of a conversation of opening this up of transparency.

(CROSSTALK)

ACOSTA: Don.

LEMON: Yes. Go ahead, Jim.

ACOSTA: I do think, Don, I don't have to get off the president's lawn just yet.

LEMON: OK, good.

ACOSTA: I still have until 10.30. But I will say I do think at some point some collection -- some collective action, excuse me, some collective action will have to be taken.

LEMON: Yes.

ACOSTA: And I do think we're going to have to ask this hard question inside the White House correspondents' association whether we're going to allow this to become the new normal.

Are we going to allow it to become the new normal that the president has only had one full news conference since coming into office? That was back in February. Are we going to allow it to be the new normal that we're not going to have the cameras on at the press briefings?

Something a governor wouldn't do in a state. I talked to the Australian news media today outside the briefing room. They said the prime minister of Australia would never do something like this. And this is the United States and this is the White House.

LEMON: Yes. The people's house.

ACOSTA: So, you know, I'm fired up about this. That's right.

LEMON: Yes.

ACOSTA: The president talk about that during the campaign.

RYAN: Yes, but Kim and Don...

LEMON: We got to go. Quick, April.

RYAN: Yes. Jim and Don, I will say this really fast. In one of my conversations, Sean Spicer is very much concerned with what he considers grandstanding by the media and it's one of the reasons why he says the camera are turned off.

I don't believe it's grandstanding. I believe it's asking questions and sometimes he's not prepared when he comes to the podium and he does not want to show that he's not prepared.

LEMON: Yes.

ACOSTA: And sometimes we ask the question more than once. Sometimes we follow up and ask the same question as you said earlier, Don.

LEMON: Yes.

ACOSTA: Because it's not answered the first time.

LEMON: there are many people who have stood up to presidents, both democrat and republican. My colleague, Jake Tapper has. We remember Helen Thomas. You told me a story earlier, April, how Helen Thomas used to knock on the door and say why is this door closed? We have to demand this.

RYAN: Why is it locked? Yes.

LEMON: Why is it locked? The American people deserve to know and transparency, we have to be transparent. They have to know what their government officials are doing and they have to be held accountable.

Thank you, both. We'll continue our conversation. I appreciate it. Get off the lawn, Jim.

ACOSTA: Right.

LEMON: When we come back, the president finally admitting what intelligence officials have been saying for months. Russia probably did interfere in the election. Why he's now blaming Obama and even accusing him of collusion.

[22:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[22:30:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: President Trump's top aide, son-in- law Jared Kushner, hiring a big-time criminal defense lawyer, he is bringing in Abbe Lowell on his legal team as the Russia investigation starts to heat up now.

The president meanwhile upping his attacks on his predecessor tweeting that "President Obama did nothing about Russia's meddling in the election," accusing him of collusion and obstruction.

I want to bring in now Nada Bakos, she's a former CIA analyst, and Philip Mudd, a former CIA counterintelligence official.

Good evening to both of you.

Nada, you first, Russia's Ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak heading home after nine years in the post. He's the man at the center of the Trump/Russia investigation. Why would Russia recall him now?

NADA BAKOS, FORMER CIA ANALYST: It's a smart part on Putin's part, of course, to remove the person in the center of this. He's not available to talk to. Not that he can be compelled to have a discussion with anyone, but he's not going to make a mistake of talking to the media or talking to anybody in the Trump administration who may then talk about what he said.

LEMON: Yes. So, Phil, Russia says this was planned in advance. But with all these questions that surround, surrounding Kislyak, himself, and his meetings with top members of the Trump campaign, do you find the timing suspicious at all?

PHILIP MUDD, COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST, CNN: I wouldn't say suspicious. It's a rare moment where I have to agree with my former colleague, Nada Bakos. This makes a lot of sense to me. Let's say you're sitting in Moscow and you want to move the chessboard forward with Washington. You might have thought six months ago if Donald Trump wins, you win, you can move that board forward.

What are you thinking now? Trump is cornered. He's cornered because of all the allegations obviously about his administration, his campaign's collusion with the Russians. If you pull Kislyak now who's at the center of the investigation, maybe you offer a glimmer of hope that with the substitution here in Washington, you eliminate one of the squeaky wheels. That's the ambassador.

And offer the potential that what you thought was an opportunity with President Trump can actually happen because right now, Don, the Russians got to be saying, boy, this isn't working as smoothly as we expected.

LEMON: Nada, the White House post -- the Washington Post, I should say, published a revealing report, it's about the Obama administration's struggle to respond to this Russia affair, this Russia efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.

A senior Obama administration official admits that they choked in their response and the Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, had this to say about it today. Here it is.

(BEGIN VOICE CLIP) SEAN SPICER, UNITED STATES WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: They've been

very clear, they've been playing this card about blaming Trump and Russia. And yet at the same time they were the ones who according to this report knew about it and didn't take any action.

So the question is, were they -- if they didn't take any action, does that make them complicit? I don't have all the understanding of what they knew, when they knew it, but there does seem to be a bit of hypocrisy in terms of what they didn't clearly do if they truly believe all of this was happening.

(END VOICE CLIP)

LEMON: Is the Obama administration to blame?

BAKOS: I think hindsight is 20/20. It's so easy to young these things, you know, after the fact because it happens all the time with counterterrorism operations.

[22:35:05] I'm sure Phil would agree with this point, too. So after 9/11 there was lots of, you know, second guessing what the agency could and should have done. I'm sure we can parse this going forward and identify a ton of areas that the Obama administration probably should have backed it and leaned forward. I do think they should have leaned forward a bit more than they did. But to say that they didn't do anything I think is just disingenuous at best.

LEMON: The president took to Twitter today, Phil, to criticize President Obama for his response, Russia meddling or interfering in the election. Here's what he said. He said, "the reason that President Obama did nothing about Russia after being notified by the CIA of the meddling is he expected Clinton would win. He didn't want to rock the boat. He didn't choked. He colluded or obstructed and it did the dems and crooked Hillary no good." What's your reaction to that?

MUDD: There's a rare moment, Don, where we have some humor in the national security business and this qualifies. Going back to the summer of last year, as we've discussed earlier, Obama officials discussed this in public forums.

In early October they talked about it publicly again. On December 29th, the president, the former president, President Obama, announced sanctions and expelled Russian diplomats. If I were in the White House press room, I'd have a couple questions for Sean Spicer.

Number one, the President of the United States, President Trump, took office recently. How long after he took office, and I want that measured in the space of maybe seven to ten days, how long after did he convene secretary of state, secretary of defense, national security adviser, CIA director, FBI director, to discuss how they stop Russia from meddling in American elections?

And if he didn't have that conversation, I have a second question. If the former president on December 29th announced sanctions, what sanctions has or has not the Trump administration announced? I don't understand how we can't have a conversation about facts. President Obama, whether you like it or not, I think some of those

actions were pretty limited, announced sanctions. President Trump has not. How can the current president then say the previous guy said, did nothing? I don't get it, Don.

LEMON: I want to ask you, Nada, I want to ask you about a piece -- your piece in the Washington Post about how the president's Twitter feed is a gold mine for foreign intelligence agencies. And I'll put your quote up about what you write.

But basically you talk about his 32.7 million Twitter followers immediately and without much obvious meditation by diplomat strategists or handlers, you say that the president's unfiltered thoughts are available night and day, broadcast to his 32.7 million followers without much obvious mediation by diplomats and strategists. So how our -- how do you think our adversaries are using the president's Twitter feed?

BAKOS: I think it's very easy for them to gauge what the president sees as priorities, what's bothering him, what's keeping him up at night in addition to how it's best -- and how can vastly manipulated.

I think when they're planning events, when they are hosting the president they can easily use the media as a platform that they know that he watches to flatter him. There's a variety of ways that they can go about using that Twitter feed to their advantage.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you, Nada. Thank you, Phil. I appreciate it.

When we come back, the Supreme Court green lights parts of the president's travel ban. How his nominee, Justice Gorsuch, helped make it happen.

In our next hour, Americans who are speaking out against the American healthcare plan. Their real-life stories.

[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The Supreme Court green lighting parts of the President Trump's travel ban. The White House declaring victory, but this is not the end of it.

Let's discuss now, Michael Reagan, the son of President Reagan. Ronald Reagan. The author of "Lessons My Father Taught Me." Good evening, sir. Good to be with you. Thanks for coming on.

MICHAEL REAGAN, AUTHOR, LESSONS MY FATHER TAUGHT ME: Good to be with you.

LEMON: So let's talk about, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments on the administration's travel ban affecting six Muslim majority countries. In the meantime, the justices will allow some parts of that ban to go into effect. President called this a clear victory for national security. Is that how you see it?

REAGAN: Well, that's how he sees it. He's the president. I think the whole court, what we found out today, is that the president of the United States had the right to put forth that executive order. It was a 9, zero vote. There was nobody walking away.

I mean, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was on the side of conservatives at that point in time. That's what we really found out today. I just worry that we're going to end up being complacent thinking this is going to do, this is going to make us safe, we're all going to feel better, kumbaya, and what have you. This is a step in order to try and make America more safe. Hopefully it works out.

LEMON: Let's talk about Justice Neil Gorsuch because we saw again, today, Michael, how Justice Gorsuch is delivering as a strong conservative as President Trump promised. How important is Gorsuch to the Trump administration?

REAGAN:: I think he's very important. Remember, most of us who voted for Donald Trump who couldn't stand many of the ways of Donald Trump, if you will, voted for him for the Neil Gorsuch. So he would put a conservative on the court and that's exactly what we got. So, conservatives are very happy with their choice for president based on his choice for the Supreme Court.

LEMON: So you said we're unhappy with the ways of Donald Trump meaning some of the way he handled his business, but you were in it for what you thought -- or you think you were going to get out of it, someone like a Gorsuch. Like Neil Gorsuch.

REAGAN: Absolutely right. You know, many of us sat back and said why am I going to vote for Trump? And it came down to, I'm going to vote for Trump over Hillary because we'll know -- we would know who she would put on the court based on who Donald Trump would fit on the court.

You might remember, he put out a list of those who, in fact, were on the top of his list to go to the Supreme Court. And so we were able to see that list and make a choice for Donald Trump, for the presidency of the United States of America. So if he does nothing else... LEMON: Yes.

REAGAN: ... many of us are very happy.

LEMON: It's in spite of -- or despite, whatever it is may you feel about him. OK.

[22:44:59] So, I want to switch gears now. Let's talk about health care because that appears to be imminent. I don't know if it's going to. Some people are saying they don't even want this to go to the board -- to the floor or even be voted on.

The Congressional Budget Office, CBO says 22 million more people will be left uninsured if this Senate republican bill passes. Henry Olson, who wrote a book on your father, says republicans need to listen to President Reagan on health care.

And he writes in part, he said "Reagan did not oppose national health care plans out of a belief they violated the Constitution, or improper roles for government to play or cost too much. Rather he opposed them because they weren't necessary to solve the legitimate humanitarian concerns that evoked Americans' compassion. Reagan's principle was simple. As he told the conservative league of Minneapolis in 1961, as one conservative, let me say any person in the United States who requires medical attention and cannot provide it for himself should have it provided for him."

So President Trump says this bill is mean, it needs more heart, it sounds like your father would agree with him. Do you agree with that assessment?

REAGAN: Well, listen, my father gave a speech a year later about socialized medicine, Medicare, and what have you, and it was Foursquare against socialized medicine and worried deeply about that intrusion into our lives of socializing our medicine.

He was never for Medicare but once you have a government program, you cannot get rid of a government program. So you have to deal with it within the confines. And I think the republicans are finding that out now.

Obamacare has been in place now for quite a few years and they're finding how tough it is to, in fact, change a program that's already in place or, in fact, to get rid of a program that's in place. This is what happens when government intrudes into our lives.

You know, I can go out and get fire insurance, car insurance, homeowners insurance, all kinds of insurances are available to me without government intrusion into my life. And as soon as government decided to get into the health care system, it really blew it up.

And now the republicans are trying to fix something and I'll tell you, they're finding out they're going to be knee deep in trouble if they don't get it right the first time.

LEMON: Yes. I wish we had more time because it's the last thing that he said, he said that, "Let me say any person in the United States who requires medical attention and cannot provide it for himself should have it provided for him." You know...

REAGAN: But it is provided because the Supreme Court said. Anybody can walk into a hospital, any time, day or night, 24 hours a day, and receive medical care.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you, Michael. Always a pleasure.

REAGAN: Good to see you.

LEMON: When we come back, the president's daughter and senior adviser announcing this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

IVANKA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S DAUGHTER: I don't profess to be a political savant so I leave the politics to other people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And coming up in our next hour, how the Russia investigation is mirroring Watergate.

[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The first daughter Ivanka Trump has a West Wing office and a seat next to her father, the president during meetings with various world leaders. So why does she say this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you advise him in regards to his tweeting?

TRUMP: You know, I try to stay out of politics, you know, his political instincts are phenomenal. He did something that no one could have imagined he would be able to accomplish. There are very few who saw it early on. I feel blessed to have been part of the ride from day one and before. But he did something pretty remarkable. But I don't profess to be a political savant. So I leave the politics to other people and really lean into the issues that I care deeply about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So here to discuss now our CNN political commentators Ana Navarro and Kayleigh McEnany. It's good to see both of you. I haven't seen you both in a while. But Kayleigh, you've been on vacation so everyone is like, where is Kayleigh?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Yes.

LEMON: There she is. She's been climbing rocks and water falls and all that stuffs.

MCENANY: That's right. Water falls.

LEMON: Yes, so Ana, listen.

ANA NAVARRO, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: I've been internet -- I've been internet shopping, you know that qualified both for me.

LEMON: Let's talk about Ivanka Trump. Senior advisor to the President of the United States with an office in the West Wing, how is she trying to stay out of politics?

NAVARRO: Well, it's naive, OK, right? But look, I kind of get what she's saying. She's not playing the role her brothers are playing. We see them constantly on the attack mode and be part of the political ring calling democrats -- you know, wondering whether democrats are people, calling democrats in those cases.

Ivanka Trump does not do that. She is the classy kind of above the fray. And she hasn't been political. I mean, let's remember she wasn't even registered to be able to vote in the New York primary. This is not a political person. But it is naive to think that she is not political now or to not see

herself as political. She works in the White House not at white castle. She is a senior advise or to the president not just be signing and purchasing shoes now. And everything she does, even saying she's not political is viewed as political because of the role she plays.

LEMON: You say, Kayleigh, you understand what she's saying as well?

MCENANY: Yes, that's right. You know, one of the few times I think Ana and I will agree on this. I think there's a difference between politics and governing. And you know, believe or not, amid this highly partisan environment there are still some people in this country who just want country before party. Ivanka is one of those people.

As you'll recall she was the one who brought paid family leave into the Republican Party. This was traditionally a democratic concept but she have said, look, this should be a common sense idea not a political idea. And that's what she was getting at. But you know, people went ballistic over it.

LEMON: So, listen, again this is not politics because she was on Capitol Hill last week and she met with Marco Rubio, Senator Marco Rubio and then tweeted "just left a productive meeting on the Hill to discuss issues affecting American working families including child care and paid family leave."

I mean, does that change anything, Ana? I mean, does it make her comments more perplexing? You still understand what she's saying?

NAVARRO: Well, first of all, I think I got to give her some lessons on Hispanic hugging 101. But after we get through with that of course it's political. It's policy. It's political. It's Capitol Hill. It's the State Department. Its foreign trips. Of course it's political.

I think what she's not is she's not a, you know, strident partisan at least not in speech. I mean, look, these people were until two minutes ago they were New York liberals. So when you see, for example, Ivanka Trump tweeting about pride month, and yet the White House has yet to tweet a commemoration of pride month or issue a commemoration of pride month on day what, 26th of the month of course what she's doing is political.

[22:55:05] Now is she out there throwing partisan grenades and throwing partisan bombs at partisan opponents? She's not doing that. I think she sees herself more and she, to me, she comes across more of kind of like a goodwill ambassador for the Trump administration.

That being said, she's the senior advisor to the President of the United States and his daughter who works at the White House. She is political.

LEMON: OK. So, here's what Chris Cillizza says, Kayleigh, he's a CNN politics reporter and editor at large. He wrote this, he said, "If Ivanka Trump wanted to stay out of politics she had a simple way to do so. Don't take on an official role in her father's White House. But doing so wouldn't have allowed her to influence the policies coming out of the White House."

"So here she is -- and to paraphrase Marco Rubio's description of Obama let's dispel once and for all with fiction that Ivanka Trump doesn't know what she is doing. She knows exactly what she's doing."

Why is he wrong, Kayleigh, or is he wrong?

MCENANY: Look, he's entirely wrong. I mean, look, Ivanka Trump wants to cares meaningful solutions for the American people. She cares about the mother at home. She cares about the person who just lost her job at a factory.

She's tired of these political games. She's tired of the fact that we have this ongoing Russia investigation which by the way, 56 percent of the country thinks we should just drop according to the Harvard Harris poll. Those are political games.

It's a political game when you have Diane Feinstein coming on and telling Wolf Blitzer that her evidence is rumors and newspapers. Those are politics, those are games and that's what Ivanka was saying. Yes, politics is a means to an end. Yes, she needs to meet Marco Rubio to build coalition and build a support for her bill.

But that's not the politics she's talking about.

LEMON: OK.

MCENANY: She's talking about the political games that democrats want to play.

LEMON: Thank you, both. When we come back, at least four republican senators threatening to vote no on the motion to let their healthcare bill go forward. A White House official conceding their right on the threshold of losing. Is the GOP healthcare bill doomed?

[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)