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President Trump Comments on Senate Health Care Reform Bill; President Trump Criticizes President Obama for Not Stopping Russian Interference in U.S. Election; Trump Versus Obama: Russia Blame Game; Senate Health Care Bill Faces Growing Opposition; Interview with Sen. Sherrod Brown. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired June 26, 2017 - 08:00   ET

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


[08:00:02] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: 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's no way in God's earth this bill should be passed.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: They've promised too much. There's no way the Republican bill brings down premiums.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The plan would not allow individuals to fall through the cracks. We would not pull the rug out from under anybody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no way we should be voting on this next week. No way.

TRUMP: If he had the information, why didn't he do something about it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not like we had an immediate, clear snapshot of what the Russians were up to. It evolved over time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For Donald Trump to criticize Obama was a bit like someone knowing their receiving stolen property and blaming the police for not stopping the theft.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Monday, June 26th, 8:00 in the east. Alisyn is off. Brianna Keilar is here. Thank you.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Of course.

CUOMO: You brought news with you. We begin with growing opposition to the Senate health care bill. Party leaders are trying to get more support as they push for a vote this week. It comes as the Trump administration vows there won't be cuts to Medicaid. That's simply not true. So we'll take you through the spin and the facts.

KEILAR: And in the meantime, President Trump is lashing out against his predecessor, President Obama, on Russia as well as his former rival, accusing Hillary Clinton of colluding with the DNC to beat Bernie Sanders. We have all of this covered.

Let's begin now with CNN's Suzanne Malveaux. She is live for us on Capitol Hill. Suzanne?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Brianna.

Well, President Trump definitely throwing his support behind the Senate health care legislation despite its unclear future. All eyes now on the Congressional Budget Office score. What will it be? What will it tell us about how many people potentially will lose their coverage? What will be the impact to the premiums? One of the key questions, how does it compare to the House bill CBO which showed 23 million Americans would lose their coverage over the course of 10 years? That score potentially coming out as early as today.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TRUMP: I don't think they're far off. Famous last words, right, but I think we're going to get there.

MALVEAUX: President Trump expressing confidence as Senate GOP leaders scramble to get secure the 50 votes needed to pass their health care bill.

TRUMP: Health care is a very complicated from the standpoint that you move it this way, and this group doesn't like it. You move it a little bit over here, a very narrow path. And, honestly, nobody can be totally happy.

MALVEAUX: With all Democrats opposed to the legislation Republicans can only afford to lose two votes. But there are currently five GOP senators who say they can't support the bill as drafted.

PAUL: There's no way the Republican bill brings down premiums. Look, I've been in medicine 20 years. I'm 54 years old. Premiums have never gone down. They're not going to go down after the Republican bill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The plan in its entirety will absolutely bring premiums down.

MALVEAUX: Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway says the president is working the phones to try to drum up support. Although Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn told reporters this weekend "We're trying to hold him back a little bit." Complicating the president's effort, his acknowledgement that he called the house health care bill "mean."

TRUMP: That was my term because I want it see -- and I speak from the heart. That's what I want to see. I want to see a bill with heart.

MALVEAUX: The president contradicting his own press secretary, Sean Spicer, and House Speaker Paul Ryan.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think that was some kind of misinterpretation of a private meeting.

MALVEAUX: A major point of contention, the 11 million Americans insured under Obamacare's Medicaid expansion, which faces deep cuts under the Senate bill despite the president's promise not to cut the program.

TRUMP: Save Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security without cuts.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: Over a ten-year period, Medicaid funding will be significantly curtailed, and not accompanied, at this point, with the kind of flexibility we need.

MALVEAUX: Kellyanne Conway insisting otherwise.

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.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I respectfully disagree with her analysis. I'm very concerned about the cost of insurance for older people with serious, chronic illnesses.

MALVEAUX: It's a race against the clock with Congress going on recess this Friday. Will they vote before then?

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R), WISCONSIN: I would like to delay the thing. There's no way we should be voting on this next week. No way.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: And the health care effort, a big part of the conversation that happened over a critical retreat over the weekend. This was sponsored by the mega donors conservative Koch brothers and leaders of their political network, very critical of this legislation. They say both the House and Senate versions of this certainly do not meet their goals. Brianna?

[08:05:02] KEILAR: Suzanne Malveaux on the Hill, thank you so much.

President Trump is trying to shift the blame for Russia's election meddling, taking to Twitter to claim that President Obama, quote, "did nothing," and he's taking a new swipe at his former rival as well.

CNN's Joe Johns is live for us from the White House with all of this. Joe?

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, in an interview and in tweets, President Trump, who once raised doubts about Russian interference in the last election, now raising questions about President Obama's response to it, even accusing President Obama of not doing anything. What Obama did do after the election in December was to expel about 35 Russian diplomats and/or intelligence operatives as well as closing a couple of compounds in the United States being used by Russians, measures seen by many, even some Democrats, as too little, too late. President Trump now going on the offense. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I just heard today for the first time that Obama knew about Russia a long time before the election and he did nothing about it. But nobody wants to talk about that. It's a question, if he had the information, why didn't he do something about it?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNS: The latest Trump statements coming on the heels of a tweet from the president just last week suggesting, among other things, that the Democratic National Committee had essentially engaged in a big Dem hoax by not accepting assistance from the Department of Homeland Security on hacking. This also follows a report in "The Washington Post" suggesting that the Obama administration struggled with how to respond to hacking by the Russians out of fear of being perceived as trying to help Hillary Clinton in the campaign.

Chris and Brianna, back to you.

CUOMO: All right, Joe, thank you.

So one step up for the president, owning that this actually happened, and then two steps back in terms of let's blame everybody else. Let's discuss this and, of course, what's going on with health care. We've got CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein, Real Clear Politics associate editor and columnist A.B. Stoddard, and CNN political director David Chalian. Let's set the table a little differently in this health care discussion. We're waiting on the CBO score, but the Health and Human Services secretary, Tom Price, and Kellyanne Conway were out there making big claims about why this bill was the way to go. Let's play Tom Price.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM PRICE, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: The plan that we have, would put in place, would not individuals to fall through the cracks. We would not pull the rug out from under anybody. We would not have individuals lose coverage that they want for themselves and their family. We want to make certain that health care is available to all Americans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: How, Ron, do you take money out of the system and still have an equal amount or even greater covered?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, in my career I've been covering Washington since the early 1980s. I cannot remember a single statement by a cabinet officer that is more misleading than that. The CBO analysis is very clear that there will be 23 million people will be uninsured with the House bill than under current law. It is possible that the Senate bill would remove insurance from slightly fewer people in the 10-year window that the CBO analyzes than the House bill but likely more people over the long term because what they do is backload their cuts in Medicaid.

And I think it's important for people to understand that not only would this bill undo what the Obamacare did in terms of expanding Medicaid, it would eliminate that by 2024. It goes way beyond that to impose and change the fundamental structure of the program in a way that would reduce coverage significantly more beyond that, into the 2025, 2030 period.

And, you know, if you look at -- and that's just the Medicaid side. If you look at the other side, what it does to the private markets, as I said in the last hour, you can go to the Kaiser Family website and you can look at what this means for premiums for older adults in every county in America, and in virtually every county in America if you are 60 years old and of moderate income you will face premiums 75 to 100 percent higher than you do now even while some younger people will get lower premiums because they can buy less comprehensive coverage.

So this is a bill that would radically change the federal government's role in health care. It would take a large amount of money, about $1 trillion out of health care system, and fund tax cuts that affect literally only people at $250,000 or above. It is as stark a shift of resources as a bill could provide.

KEILAR: A.B., Tom Price and Kellyanne Conway know at least some of that, I would assume. Why are note being more honest in their conversation about what's really in this bill? They have a reason for wanting to do this, but it doesn't seem like an honest conversation that they're having.

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: So Republicans used to talk about how government should get out of health care and why we would have more choice and more access and lower premiums if we got government out of health care.

[08:10:05] They're not talking about it that way anymore. And this really comes from the top. It comes from President Trump talking about it has to have heart. So you see people around him talking about you're not going to lose, what you're not going to lose, which really is overpromising, even though there are things that people will lose. And when they find that out they will be twice as angry because they've been promised that they weren't going to lose it. That's the problem for overpromising politically for Republicans next year adding to the midterms. Premiums are going to rise in the short term anyway. They own this outcome now. And if there's extra overpromising on top of these changes and people feel them in a negative way next year it will be politically perilous for the Republicans.

CUOMO: The reality of what A.B. is saying is reflected in the Republican senators who are on the fence or saying that they're a step on the no side of the fence. So let's take a look at who they are. You've got Heller, Cruz, Johnson, of course, Lee, Rand Paul. There are a few others also, right? So what do you make of who is saying they're not sure and how real that opposition is?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I don't think all of those five pictures you saw are in the same boat there. I think some of those on the more conservative side are now publicly negotiating their position. They're able to express opposition at the out front so that they can be brought on board later, get something, tout that in a press release back home. And I think that McConnell and the White House knows that.

I think the Dean Heller opposition is a different kind of story because he's the most vulnerable incumbent Republican up next year in a year where Republicans are really playing all offense, this is the one big defensive race that they have in the only state with an incumbent Republican that Trump lost to Hillary Clinton. So this indicates a much more -- a much bigger political problem, I think, than do the conservatives.

And remember, you didn't have the pictures up there of Collins, Murkowski, Portman, Capito. There are other people that expressed real concerns about the bill in its current form, and they haven't come out in total opposition like those other five gentlemen you have up there. But this is going to be a battle on the conservative side and the more centrist folks inside the party.

KEILAR: A.B., let's talk about Russia because there's big news. The president now acknowledges that Russia meddled in the election. As you have been so kindly pointing out this morning, it wasn't someone on their bed.

CUOMO: That's what the president said 400 pounder.

KEILAR: A 400-pound guy on a bed. Now he's saying it's China. Or sorry, Russia.

CUOMO: China?

KEILAR: He said China before. Sorry. So he's saying it's Russia. But then in the next breath in this tweet he says that it's President Obama's fault. It seems like there's a conversation to be had about how this happened and if the Obama administration should have done something different, but isn't this the president who is supposed to be looking at a way to not have this happen again?

STODDARD: Right. Well, I think there's definitely a statute of limitations of a year, maybe, of blaming your predecessor. Obama did have a few words about George W. Bush in his first year in office, but he was also dealing with a major economic catastrophe.

President Trump needs a foil. So in stepping up and admitting there was meddling he had to say it was Obama's fault. That's fine. He, absolutely, if you read that lengthy "Washington Post" report, he definitely, he panicked. And he didn't do enough in time.

The onus is now on the current executive to take care of this threat. He's facing Putin at the G-20 next month. All eyes are on him either acknowledging this meddling, announcing plans to either retaliate for it or to at least protect us from it happening in the future. News out last night that the very retaliatory act President Obama inflicted on the Russians to make them evacuate two compounds of theirs in Maryland and New York, the Trump administration is now planning on reversing and giving them back to the Russians. It's the exact opposite of what Republicans are waiting for this president to do because there's bipartisan acknowledgment now on the Hill, it's unanimous across 17 intelligence agencies that this is what happened, that they actually penetrated potentially 39 states, stole voter registration data. And the next time they absolutely have the capability to get in the ballot box.

CUOMO: I mean, what a weird situation, Ron, that you had Putin going farther than the American president had when he was saying it could have been some Russian patriots involved. Sure. Then you have the president saying that he just heard that the Obama administration knew about this and did nothing? Really? He has been getting briefings for all these months, it was in the paper. Mitch McConnell was in no rush to do anything about it. That was out there as well. But he's only just learning, let alone from "The Washington Post" which he sometimes calls fake news, and he is leaning on a source that's unnamed now to verify his own decisions?

BROWNSTEIN: Leave aside the briefings. The intelligence community put out their conclusion in October that the Russians were meddling in the election, were interfering with the DNC e-mail and the Podesta e- mail.

[08:15:12]

So it was out there to begin with and I don't think anyone can possibly imagine that if the Obama administration did more and certainly -- you know, that "Washington Post" story is very compelling that they should have done more.

But if they had done more than what the president did, for example, talking to Vladimir Putin directly focusing on the issue of ballot security, if they had done more than that, what would Donald Trump's reaction have been in October of 2016 in all likelihood?

He would have been condemning the Obama administration for trying to rig the election, in his word. I don't think we should take these tweets as the last word from the president on whether he truly believes Russia was involved in the 2016 election because it is totally easy to imagine him going back and, again, raising questions --

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: He has already done so.

BROWNSTEIN: -- we don't really know who is responsible, yes.

CHALIAN: He's exactly right. He admitted in January, he said it's Russia and then he went back into the language of fake news and it's a hoax. I totally agree with Ron. This may not be the last word at all from the president on this.

Chris, Brianna, these two examples we were talking about this morning, health care and Russia. You have the president calling it a hoax, a Democratic hoax and fake news and the now admitting, indeed, Obama knew about this. Last week, you had Sean Spicer calling it a rumor that the president, behind closed doors, called the health care bill mean and said he wouldn't address rumors when there was actually a news report that was proved totally accurate.

Who proved it totally accurate? Donald Trump, when he fully conceded that that's his word. He used the word "mean" to describe health care. So what we're hearing from the administration when they try to push back on these news reports are not necessarily what at the end of the day they come out to actually confirm --

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Look at the proof of the "Washington Post," an unnamed former Obama administration official. Now they are leaning on that as proof of what the Obama administration did.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: Anonymous source. All right, thank you guys so much. Great conversation.

We've been following this, a desperate search at this hour in Colombia, 31 people are missing after a tourist boat capsized and then it sank in this reservoir. At least six people have died. One survivor is telling CNN that there were no life vests on board. What caused the deadly accident, still not clear at this point in time.

CUOMO: The Supreme Court may provide answers to two big questions on the last day of its term. One concerns the Trump travel ban. Two circuit courts have blocked it. If they take the appeal -- they haven't decided yet -- the justices could allow the government to enforce the ban until it hears the case.

The other is whether Justice Anthony Kennedy is going to announce his retirement. He has been a key swing vote on the court for a long time. His retirement would allow President Trump to appoint a more solidly conservative justice.

KEILAR: A frightening fall and an amazing catch here caught on video this weekend at Six Flags Theme Park in upstate New York. That was a teenage girl there. This was captured on a cell phone. She was dangling from that gondola ride and some keen-eyed guests and park staff quickly gathered underneath her. They did manage to break her fall after she plunged those 25 feet. The 14-year-old was taken to the hospital and treated just for minor injuries.

CUOMO: She was OK. One of the guys who tried to help catch her, though, hurt his back.

KEILAR: You can imagine, sure, the course of that.

CUOMO: Why did it happen? We'll have to wait and hopefully get some info on that.

All right, so Democrats are taking aim at the Senate GOP health care bill. What can they do about it and how are they going to deal with this reality that the Republicans campaigned on repealing the ACA. Where is progress or compromise? Any chance? We have Ohio senator next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:22:32]

CUOMO: A crucial week ahead for Senate Republican leaders. They're pushing for a vote. They want it before the recess for July 4th on the health care bill. You've got five GOP senators who have come out. They're on your screen right now.

But this is a broad spectrum of disapproval, you know. At least a couple of these guys, when you're on the conservative side, may well wind up voting for the bill. The key issue is the proposed rollback of state and Medicaid expansion, 32, 31 states have adopted that. What would it mean if it's gone?

Joining us now, Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio. He held a rally Sunday against the health care bill. It was Sunday, right, Senator?

SENATOR SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Yesterday, yes.

CUOMO: All right, good. I wanted to make sure I got that right.

BROWN: Yes.

CUOMO: How do you see the stakes of this bill and the potential vote that could be upcoming?

BROWN: What was interesting in the rally was a police chief, a coroner and someone who has been clean for a number of months and gone through treatment, all pretty much said the same thing, that the most important tool to combat the opioid epidemic in my state is Medicaid.

A young woman named Brittany said except for her self-motivation, other than that, and her strong desire to get clean, Medicaid was, by far, the most important tool. In Ohio, 200,000 people right now are getting Medicaid -- are getting opioid treatment, medication assistance, therapy counseling, and the entire regiment of treatment because of insurance from the Affordable Care Act.

This repeal bill in the Senate will begin to rip that away over time pretty quickly, in most cases. In addition it's another $800 billion cut to Medicaid nationally, which there will be a report on NPR this afternoon about Steubenville, Ohio, which has been hit hard by steel loss jobs and coal lost jobs and it would be devastating to the economy because of what it would do to that hospital in that county of less than 100,000 people.

So, it's a jobs issue. It's clearly most importantly an opioid issue. Most of these people, as you know, Chris, that are getting coverage from expanded Medicaid, are working. They're just in low-income jobs with no insurance.

CUOMO: The need is great. There's no question about that. Deal with some of the Republican pushback on these points. One, straight politics. They campaigned on repealing. That's the promise. That's what people wanted, they say. That's why they have to do it. That there's a lot of waste. That they're not cutting anything completely.

[08:25:10]The Health and Human Services secretary says no one is going to lose care. Premiums are going to come down overall for people. There might be less money in the system, but there's still going to be plenty there if states are smarter about how they use it.

BROWN: Well, the secretary of Health and Human Services came in front of our committee and said those things than nobody really believed him. He is the same former congressman that bought and sold health care stocks while working on legislation on those issues. He's the same Congressman, more importantly, who wants to raise the Medicare eligibility age to 67. He has never been on the side of working families that care about health insurance. He's wrong there. He wasn't really telling the truth, period.

CUOMO: But what about the spiking premiums that you have, the two high deductibles in places, the insurers dropping out all under the ACA and the need to fix those that is driving the Republican change?

BROWN: Well, look, Chris, you know this. Look what happened at the beginning of the year when President Trump did everything he could to discourage new people from signing up for Medicaid. These new people overwhelmingly would be the youngest, healthiest people. Those are the ones you want in the insurance pool because they stabilize prices and, in some cases, help to bring prices down because their health care costs are not very much.

And then he has continued to sort of dilly dally every month to making a decision to go ahead with the subsidies. Look at the insurers that pull out when Anthem pulled out of Ohio, they pretty much said it's because of the uncertainty created by the Trump administration, it's not fundamentally the Affordable Care Act.

We know what to do to stabilize these insurance pools and to bring more, young healthy people in and to go after prescription drug prices driving much of the medical inflation --

CUOMO: You had problems before Trump started messaging and sending out signals about the system.

BROWN: Well, there were problems before but unlike 50 years ago when Congress passed Medicare, Congress immediately when they saw minor problems, they began to fix them. This Congress, ever since the bill passed, the Republican leadership in the House, the majority since 2011, every few weeks they do another repeal Obamacare but refuse to work with us to come up with small fixes that would make this work better.

Nobody claims it's perfect. Every time Congress, since the new deal, anytime Congress has done anything major like Medicaid, Medicare or Social Security, we made fixes every couple of three, five years. Minor fixes to keep those programs in place.

And that's the opposite of what this crowd, in running the country, has done now. A whole lot of people are paying for, but fundamentally, again, they are taking away the most important tool to combat opioid addiction.

As you know, Chris, it's all about the tax cut. The average -- it's going to be $800 billion tax cut in this bill, goes overwhelmingly to the people who wrote the bill on Mitch McConnell's office. The drug companies or the insurance companies, medical device companies and the richest families in America, the richest 400 families in America under this bill will get a $7 million average tax cut.

They're taking insurance from moderate income people who are working full time in so many cases, but simply don't have insurance. It's a bunch of members of Congress who get private insurance themselves. Get insurance themselves, paid by taxpayers, taking it away from hardworking, low to moderate income Americans. They should be ashamed of themselves.

CUOMO: There certainly seems to be a lot more worthy of debate in this. We have a documentary coming out on the opioid addiction, we are focusing on Manchester, New Hampshire, a place uniquely hit. Let me tell you, the need is great. Senator, thank you for joining us on NEW DAY as always.

BROWN: Thanks so much.

CUOMO: Brianna.

KEILAR: President Trump has made a lot of promises on health care so how does the Senate bill size up to his pledges? We are going to debate that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)