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Trump Adviser Falsely Claims Senate Bill Won't Cut Medicaid; Pakistan Fuel Tanker Explosion Kills At Least 153; Pilot Asks Passengers To Pray On Terrifying Flight; Trump Vs. Obama: Russia Blame Game. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired June 26, 2017 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Sir, thank you for being with us. I first want to ask you about this issue of Medicaid and whether the Senate bill, which I understand you do support.
[07:30:06] You, of course, supported the House bill. I want to listen to something that Kellyanne Conway, a top adviser to President Trump, said about Medicaid cuts in this bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: These are not cuts to Medicaid, George. This slows the rate for the future and it allows governors more flexibility with Medicaid dollars because they are closest to the people in need. If you are currently in Medicaid -- if you became a Medicaid recipient through the Obamacare expansion you are grandfathered in. We're talking about in the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: So, Congressman, I know in the House bill there was a grandfather clause. It's not in the Senate bill and a lot of analyses say it's not actually working the way Kellyanne Conway was talking about it. And they say look, there are going to be Medicaid cuts. Do you acknowledge that that's a reality of both of these bills?
REP. LEE ZELDIN (R), NEW YORK: Well, Kellyanne is correct that the impact on Medicaid is -- it's not a cut, it's slowing down the rate of growth to bring costs under control. And as you point out, in the House bill, for anyone who is currently enrolled in Medicaid or enrolls in Medicaid by 2020, they will be -- the federal government continues to pay that 90 percent enhanced federal match for -- into perpetuity as long as that person continues to stay in Medicaid. Now, the Senate believes that --
KEILAR: Which a lot of people don't -- I mean, you know that Congressman. Because of churn, a lot of people would not have continuous coverage. They'd get bumped out. You have several states that have triggers where if the match goes down, which it does in this bill, they don't have to provide that. People lose their Medicaid.
ZELDIN: Well, it actually would make sense to have everyone covered under the same FMAP -- the same formula -- the normal match, which was 50 percent. So if you have a state where the normal FMAP is 50 percent for those on the lower end of Medicaid but it's 90 percent for the people on the higher end of Medicaid, when a state is looking to save money in Medicaid the best way for the state to save money for the state is to actually reduce Medicaid costs on the more vulnerable, not the less vulnerable so it would make sense for everyone to be on that same funding formula. And it doesn't go to zero, it goes from the --
KEILAR: But it seems like by your -- it seems like by your definition there the people on the higher end of Medicaid lose their coverage.
ZELDIN: No, not at all. They are covered under -- with the normal FMAP of 50 percent as opposed to 90. So they're not going for 90 -- the federal government doesn't go from 90 to zero as far as the expansion population. They go from 90 to 50, which is the normal FMAP under Medicaid. Medicaid was created to take care of those who are most in need all throughout our country and what we're seeing right now in states when they try to save money -- look at Maine, for example. Look at Wisconsin, as well. When Maine tried to save money in Medicaid they saw that the cuts -- they would save more money if they -- if they targeted the lower end of the Medicaid population because that's where they have to come up 50 percent of the costs as opposed to the higher end that's at 90. I know we're getting into the weeds because but it's actually great because --
KEILAR: But, yes -- well, it's important. It is because you're talking about how over time there's going to be -- you know, the Medicaid is reduced, but a lot of people analyzing this who know what they're talking about are saying that is going to be Medicaid cuts for many people.
I want to -- I want to look at the House bill -- the House bill and what it does. I know you support both bills and, obviously, there are some important changes, but you're looking at -- it says 23 million people losing their coverage over 10 years. The deficit is reduced by about $120 billion but then premiums are going up by 20 percent here next year, five percent in 2019, a decrease after 2020. How do you tell voters when you're looking at millions of people losing their coverage that Republicans have made this plan better?
ZELDIN: A couple of things. First off, the CBO is only scoring this one bill because in budget reconciliation there's things that you can't do as part of budget reconciliation that requires 60 votes in the Senate. So the entire plan, which includes allowing policies to be sold across state lines, allowing employers to be able to pool their policies, reducing the cost of prescription drugs, Medicaid -- malpractice reform by giving additional Medicaid flexibilities to governors. That's all part of the plan the CBO doesn't score.
Now, going into the weeds as far as what CBO is scoring with this one bill, over the course of the next few years the people who are -- they say are losing their health insurance, they are saying it's primarily because you are eliminating the individual mandate. You are no longer forcing someone to buy a policy that they don't want. That's what the CBO says that that's the prime reason over the course of the next few years. After that, it's -- KEILAR: So you're saying everyone who wants to have health insurance is going to be able to have access to it the way that they have under Obamacare?
[07:35:05] ZELDIN: Well, if -- so they look at it over the course of 10 years. Over the course of the first few years they say the primary reason -- and they're not saying it's the entire reason because you can't guarantee that it -- you know, for over 300 million people, you know, that every single person is going to be covered to the standard that they want because what happens is in states where you're -- you have -- there are one-third of the counties in our country, including several entire states, have one option left under their exchange.
A state like Iowa, in 2018, they have no insurer left in their -- in their exchange at all. In those states, they're trying to repair their individual market. That's going to include some changes where the state is going to be requesting flexibility from the federal government with regards to essential health benefits. We'll see what the final bill looks regarding community rating.
KEILAR: But you just --
ZELDIN: And with that flexibility --
KEILAR: To get out of the weeds a little bit, you just said that everyone will not necessarily be covered to the standard that they want. I mean, that is something that resonates with a lot of people and when you look at the numbers on this plan it's something that disproportionately affects blue-collar areas, the elderly, some reliable Republican voters. Are you concerned that those voters are going to say this doesn't benefit me? This isn't the coverage to the level that I wanted or I don't have coverage, and they're going to send a message to you and other Republicans.
ZELDIN: Well, actually, in those -- the people who are most impacted are in states where they have one or even zero options that are left or going to be left under the individual market. So, you know, that's not choice, that's monopoly when you only have one option left. And when you have no options -- I mean, you could have this gold standard of health insurance care that you aspire to but when you literally have no insurer left -- like Iowa won't have any left in 94 of 99 counties in 2018 and one-third of all counties only have one left right now, for those Republican voters, Democrat voters and anyone in between, as your options become even fewer and you get even more desperate, everyone's starting to understand.
I mean, Obamacare, when it was first passed and we were debating what the impacts were, it was like a philosophical debate of how it was going to impact someone in the future but nowpeople are seeing how it's impacting them right now. So when you have coverage but your deductible is so high you can't afford it, it doesn't even feel like you have health insurance coverage at all. If you cannot afford your policy, you don't have access to it. So what we need is, for those states especially, to have more flexibility so that they can repair their individual market and they can have options again. KEILAR: OK. Well, this is an ongoing debate, Congressman Zeldin, that we are going to keep having as we await these all-important numbers. I know you'll be looking for those as well. Congressman Lee Zeldin, thank you so much.
ZELDIN: Thank you.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good convo, Brianna. Thanks for that.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
All right, so one of the world's best young golfers holes an amazing shot for playoff victory. Keilar is a golfer. Could she make this shot and why she argues yes. Ooh, the bump, I like it.
KEILAR: I couldn't do that, I'll tell you that. And, a terrifying flight. You just have to see this to believe it.
CUOMO: Oh, boy.
KEILAR: Wait until you hear what the pilot asked passengers to do twice. We have that, next.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
[07:42:00] CUOMO: Authorities in Pakistan are investigating what caused a fuel tanker to explode, killing at least 153 people. Hundreds of villagers rushed to the overturned tanker Sunday to collect spilled fuel. Some were smoking cigarettes while they did it. Others were using their cell phones. You've got to worry about static electricity when you do that around something flammable. Officials speculate a spark from either or from the truck's battery could have triggered another deadly blast.
KEILAR: A North Carolina teenager missing for more than a year found alive and reunited with her family. The FBI located 17-year-old Hailey Burns on Sunday at a home in Georgia. Agents took Michael Wysolovski into custody. He's facing a slew of charges including false imprisonment and aggravated sodomy. Last year, after Burns vanished, her parents found a diary detailing a plan to run away with an older man that she'd met online.
CUOMO: Coast to coast, tens of thousands of people took part in LGBT Pride marches on Sunday. Twelve people actually got arrested during New York's march, including a group of anti-police protesters. This year's Pride celebrations also mark the two-year anniversary of the Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage.
KEILAR: Investigators are trying to figure out why an international flight shook so violently for two hours that the pilot actually asked passengers to pray, twice. "EARLY START" anchor Dave Briggs has more on this terrifying flight. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR, "EARLY START": Frightening moments aboard an AirAsia X flight. The plane violently shaking mid-flight over the Indian Ocean. The Airbus A330 carrying over 350 passengers heading to Malaysia was forced to return to Australia after engine trouble. About 90 minutes later, passengers say they heard a loud bang.
SAMAD MOHLARD, PASSENGER: The captain said that one of the blades on the left engine was missing.
BRIGGS: Passengers say the plane shuddered for nearly two hours, many saying it felt like being inside a washing machine.
MALIK MASCARENHAS, PASSENGER: The plane was really, really leaping. It was shuddering, shuddering, shuddering.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE PASSENGER: I thought the whole plan was just going to go plummeting down.
BRIGGS: The pilot telling passengers he was scared and asking them twice to pray.
PILOT, AIRASIA: Listen to everything. Our survival depends on your cooperating.
BRIGGS: Some putting on a brave face, others fearing the worst.
TIM, PASSENGER: There were lots of people crying. Lots of people pulling out the life jackets and stuff. Pretty much preparing. Like we thought there was a good chance that we were going to go down.
BRIGGS: Marine emergency services standing by for a water rescue. Passengers breathing a sigh of relief once the plane touched down safely before waiting hours for another flight. The low-cost airline is investigating what happened, calling the incident a "technical issue." Adding, "The safety of our guests is our utmost priority."
[07:45:10] KEILAR: Dave Briggs there. "Our survival depends on your cooperation." That's what the pilot said.
CUOMO: He asked them to pray twice. We are going to be listening to what that carrier says this was about and how they fixed it. Thank God they made it down OK.
CUOMO: You ready for a little sports?
KEILAR: I'm ready.
CUOMO: Jordan Spieth joining Tiger Woods as the only two golfers to win 10 tournaments before their 24th birthday. The way he did it, amazing. Andy Scholes joins us with the Bleacher Report. This is so good we had to bring you to New York.
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, guys, and you know what I say? To make this shot on any hole would have been impressive but to do it on a playoff hole to win a tournament, just incredible. And I'll tell you what, Spieth, he was in trouble. (Video playing) In the bunker on the first playoff ball with Daniel Berger at the Travelers Championship but he comes through with possibly the shot of his career, holing out to win the tournament. It's like a walk-off homerun in baseball. The crowd going nuts. Spieth chest- bumping the caddy right there and then he said afterwards the whole moment was just surreal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JORDAN SPIETH, WINS 10TH PGA TOUR TITLE: He was screaming and it just made me want to scream louder, and then he jumped and fortunately we didn't like high-five jump, we both went kind of for the -- for the little side bump, but it was cool. I mean, the ground was shaking it was so loud.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHOLES: Ice Cube's BIG3 league tipping off yesterday in Brooklyn with the season opener. I was there taking it in and I have to say it was pretty entertaining. Just some background information on BIG3 basketball. Three-on-3, it's half court, there are two, three, and four-point shots. The two teams play the first to 60 points with leaps to some pretty fantastic finishes. Now, the majority of the players out there, former NBA household names and I asked a few of them, includingAllen Iverson, how big do they think3-on-3 basketball can get.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN IVERSON, BIG3 PLAYER: It can be mega, you know what I mean? If what I saw out there is any indication, it can be -- it can be great. You know what I mean? I'm definitely looking forward -- and I'm definitely looking forward to this event right here for years to come because I think it's only going to get better.
GARY PAY, BIG3 PLAYER: This is a great game. This is showing fans that this is a sport that people are going to like and it's going to stay here and I'm glad my team was the first one to win it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHOLES: All right. You're going to see 3-on-3 basketball in the Summer Olympics in 2020. And I'll tell you what, guys, there were a lot of NBA stars in the crowd yesterday. They were actually all here in New York where the league's holding their first annual awards ceremony tonight. You can watch that on our sister station TNT at 9:00 Eastern and find out who wins the MVP.
CUOMO: What do you think about 3-on-3?
SCHOLES: I actually think it's pretty cool because I think guys like me and you can relate to it because we played 3-on-3 basketball more than we've played full court 5-on-5 basketball, so I think it was pretty entertaining. I like it.
CUOMO: How did Iverson look? Still have it?
SCHOLES: He needs some -- a little more practice, right, Iverson?
KEILAR: He's going to get some, right?
SCHOLES: He probably needs to practice a little bit.
KEILAR: He'll bet getting it with this 3-on-3. All right, Andy --
CUOMO: Could you shoot the ball, by the way, Keilar, while I have you here? I know you're a golfer. Can you shoot?
KEILAR: I'm not the worst. I'm all right. I'm not the best.
CUOMO: I like it.
KEILAR: I'm mediocre. All right, Andy Scholes, thank you so much.
Well, President Trump is turning the tables on President Obama. He's actually blaming his predecessor for failing to do anything about Russian election meddling, but how is he addressing the issue now? We're going to dive into that debate next.
[07:52:00] CUOMO: President Trump putting a little spin move on the whole Russia interference issue. He says, yes, it happened but you know whose fault it really is, the Obama administration. Is that fair? And, what has the Trump administration, now in power obviously, done about taking the issue on? Let's discuss. CNN political commentators Jen Psaki and Scott Jennings. Thanks to you both on this Monday morning.
JENNIFER PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's good to be here.
CUOMO: Jen Psaki, the president says yes, it happened but if it's so urgent -- if it's such a big deal for Democrats that they want to have all these hearings, where is the criticism for the Obama administration that did nothing? Fair point?
PSAKI: Well, it's simply not borne out by the facts, Chris. Last summer when the president was made aware of these attacks by Russia he asked his Intelligence Community -- committee -- community, sorry, to double down and put every resource toward figuring out what happened and they put out an unprecedented statement in the early October of last year. That was before President Trump was elected.
Now, we were treating it as a cyberattack at the time. We didn't factor in as much as we probably should have the impact of propaganda. We still don't know enough about that so that's an area I think there could be redoubling of efforts by Congress, by the Trump administration. But the fact is, there was a lot done at the time. President Obama asked the Intelligence Community to do a lot and there's more that should be done at this point, though.
CUOMO: Pushback -- there wasn't a lot done, Jen Psaki, during this time. I heard Jeh Johnson say hey, you know, we came out with a statement about it but that "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD" tape took all the attention. Given the urgency from Democrats now, isn't it a fair point to say the Obama administration, for whatever their reasons, they did not carry the ball the way that the Democrats seem to be suggesting it needs to be carried right now? Fair point?
PSAKI: Well, Chris, I think it was treated like a cyberattack and our focus was on what the Russians were intending to do to our electoral systems. That why we focused on working with state governments and local governments to better prepare their systems and Jeh Johnson did talk about that quite a bit last week.
PSAKI: I think the piece I was trying to touch on is the fact that the propaganda impact is still something we don't know a lot about.
CUOMO: I got you.
PSAKI: And if you at Europe, they are doing a lot to address this and that's something we should be doing here. And in hindsight, that's something that maybe we should have thought more about at the time but we followed the book. There, obviously -- the book, perhaps, should be thrown out because this was an unprecedented attack and it really changes how we should approach things moving forward.
CUOMO: Well, when you follow a book that maybe should be thrown out you're going to get criticism and that's what you're getting right now. But, Scott Jennings, a little bit of context for the criticism. The president saying yes, I just found out that the Obama administration -- what? What do you mean you just found out that the Obama administration knew? Not only was it in the news but you've been getting briefings for months. It's almost -- months -- it's almost impossible to accept that premise that the president just learned about this. Do you buy that and then, what's your response?
[07:55:07] SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the president's referring to the now-definitive reporting in "The Washington Post" that the Obama administration did know and did nothing, and you don't really have to take Donald Trump's criticism as the final word on it or as the definitive word on it. Just look at what the Obama administration officials who was quoted by "The Washington Post" had to say -- "we choked." Look at what House Democrat Intelligence co-chair Adam Schiff said. "It was a huge mistake."
You have Democrats who are saying today that the Obama administration failed and now it is incumbent, Chris, on the Trump White House to get this right because the Russians only respect, I think, displays a power and so what I think the Trump administration needs to do is to push back heavily. We may not know publicly what's going on behind the scenes in terms of a cyberwar or covert action, but we have to show a show of force her against the Russians or they'll keep trying to do this.
CUOMO: First, one comment that just needs to be out there. The irony that not just you as a surrogate, but that we're hearing from the President of the United States a reference to "The Washington Post" which he dismisses as fake news whenever it suits him and that's it's a source in there that's not named but it's OK now because it's supporting a proposition that the president likes. The irony should not be lost on the audience. Remember that the next time you hear reporting attacked.
Now, Jen Psaki, do you accept Mr. Jennings reckoning of what the White House should be doing right now and are they meeting that standard?
PSAKI: Well, this all happened -- or the statement was put out by the Intelligence Community almost nine months ago, Chris, and as you referenced, President Trump and his team had access to a number of briefings. What we don't know now is what his involvement is and what we can conclude is it's not much. So what he should be doing, at a minimum, is engaging with the NationalSecurity team -- many career officials, I'm sure, are thinking about this -- and leading a process to determine how to prevent this from happening again.
We know that this is ongoing. European capitals are doing a lot more than we are doing and there are a couple of other steps he can take, too. He can name officials to -- he can nominate officials to assistant secretary posts in the State Department to be points of contact with capitals around the world. He can support sanctions that Congress is advocating for to put on Russia. There are specific steps he should take so let's stop focusing on one unnamed official. I don't even know who that is. Obviously, no one knows. And let's start focusing on what we should be doing now to prevent this from happening again, and that's what he should be doing.
CUOMO: Safe to assume, Scott, it wasn't Jen Psaki. Do you think the president should also call out Mitch McConnell? We heard from Jeh Johnson and from others that they did go to him and tried to get some bipartisan consensus to do something. McConnell dismissed the notion of Russian interference. Said the facts weren't there. Does he deserve criticism as well?
PSAKI: Well, I was there --
JENNINGS: This is a ridiculous --
CUOMO: Hold on, Jen.
JENNINGS: -- selective attack.
CUOMO: Wait, wait. Hold on. Scott, yes?
JENNINGS: This is a -- this is a -- this is a ridiculous deflective attack. Senator McConnell, along with the rest of the Congressional leadership, signed a letter and sent a letter in October asking state officials to work with the federal government in order to make sure that no cyberattacks were going to affect the election. He signed the letter. To try to put this off on a member of Congress when the commander in chief of the United States did nothing about what could be construed as an act of war, to me, is sort of a deflection and an attempt to shift blame after the fact. I don't accept that attack as valid.
CUOMO: That criticism could also fit what the president is doing, blaming the prior administration. Jen Psaki, what's your take?
PSAKI: Well, Scott, I know you used to work for McConnell but I was there at the time and he dragged his feet on signing this letter. Sent numerous edits to the letter to the point where it came out at a time where it wasn't as helpful as it could have been several weeks before. That's the fact, that's the reality --
JENNINGS: But wait, Jen --
PSAKI: -- of what happened behind the scenes. In terms of what should happen -- in terms of --
JENNINGS: Let me ask you a question. The letter -- the letter came out in October. Would you say that that letter came out before or after President Obama actually told the American people what was happening because he didn't make a statement on this until December -- until December when the election was already over and it was too late.
PSAKI: Scott, you've been on the outside, I was on the inside. What was happening on the inside is the Intelligence Community was coming to a conclusion. That rarely happens. It happened with North Korea, it happened with Russia. As I already mentioned earlier, we treated it as a cyberattack. What your former boss did is he dragged his feet on trying to put out in a bipartisan manner a warning to state officials -- an encouragement to prepare themselves for what was happening.
We should take a look now, moving forward, at the impact of propaganda. There's not a lot we know. That is an area that concerns me and one that I think that every governor, every elected official, and the current president should really be --
CUOMO: Well --
PSAKI: -- doubling down on.
CUOMO: You both agree on that. There's a need to do more, that's clear. We keep learning about the threat, that it's real, that it's continuing, that it will even get worse. What are we going to do about it? We're all waiting to see. Jen, Scott, thank you very much.
PSAKI: Thanks, Chris.
CUOMO: Appreciate you both.
JENNINGS: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right. We're following a lot of news, including this. This battle over health care matters to you, to your kids, to the families, so let's get after it. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Health care is a very complicated subject. Honestly, nobody can be totally happy.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: There is no way in God's earth that this bill should be passed.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: They promised too much.