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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Facing Revolt, GOP Senate Leaders Delay Health Care Vote; Trump Associates Roger Stone To Testify Before House Intel Cmte; Senate Bill Includes Cut To Planned Parenthood Funding. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired June 27, 2017 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:23] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The breaking news tonight in the Russia probe and replacing Obamacare. First, the fallout tonight after senator Republicans punted on their health care bill then met with the president to plan their next move. Dana Bash has been hearing from lawmakers and sources ever since. She joins us now.
So, you were on Capitol Hill all day. What are you hearing from people about whether or not this delay will actually bear fruit?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's to be determined. I was actually just talking to a source who's very involved in this process who said, you know, it really is still unclear whether or not this time that they are now giving themselves, or forced to give themselves, is going to make a difference.
The goal among Senate republican leaders and those involved at the White House is to get a deal by week's end. Still, by the end of this week. To have it in place before leaving for Congressional recess because next week is July 4th, they're all going to be home in their home states all week. That is the goal.
But, you know, Anderson, the alternative was definite failure. You know, we started talking about this last night as we started getting the Senate Republicans one after another telling us that they were not even going to vote for the measure necessary to start debate on this bill. And the numbers got so high, it was incredibly clear to the Republican leadership and the White House this morning that they didn't really have a choice but to heed the warnings and the calls from a lot of their members that they need more time, and, of course, the leadership needed more time in order to try to -- and they're still going to try to craft some form of deal, but, look, I think at the end of the day, it is still going to be very hard, Anderson, to get the moderate Republicans who come from states where the governors are begging them, some Republican governors, too, and Democrats, but begging them not to do this bill, or anything close to this bill, which would slash Medicaid benefits and Medicaid funding that really do give a lot of people in their states care. That isn't necessarily going to change.
It's unclear how much it is going to change with regard to the regulations that those on the conservative side of the spectrum say are still in place that make this not really an Obamacare repeal. It is so, so difficult which is part of the reason why just doing it in a week was not the greatest idea looking back in hindsight.
COOPER: Just to play devil's advocate, isn't that the same thing that was said about the House version? I mean there's a lot of reporting that --
BASH: It is.
COOPER: You know, you get more Republicans -- you get more conservatives on your side, the moderates are going to drop out, yet they were able to hammer out something.
BASH: They were. They were. This is dejavu, you're exactly right, Anderson which -- actually, I have to admit somebody who's covered Sen. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, for so long, is -- it surprises me that he made the same mistake that he watched Paul Ryan make in the House, which is effectively assume because all of the Republican members have promised over and over to their constituents that they were going to repeal Obamacare, that at the end of the day, they would figure it out. That's why you even heard Mitch McConnell come out and sound like Pres. Trump when he came out of the White House saying it's complicated, yes, it is complicated. Very complicated. And there are a lot of factors here that are at play, which really do affect people's lives, these senators back home.
COOPER: And, I mean, it's unclear how going on -- I mean this was supposed to get done before recess. Not everybody's going to be having a town hall meeting but they are going to be hearing from constituents over the breaks, how that may impact things.
BASH: Yes, I mean, it could have a very big negative impact. It could have a positive impact vis-a-vis the push to get something done. It just depends on who the senator is, and where they go and what they hear because, you know, for every Senate Republican from Alaska, like Lisa Murkowski, or from Maine like Susan Collins or Dean Heller from Nevada who are hearing from their constituents, don't vote for these Medicaid cuts because we're going to lose our care, you also have those from conservative states saying, excuse me, you promised me you were going to go repeal Obamacare, go get to it. So it's definitely a mixed bag.
COOPER: Yes. Dana, thanks for that. Appreciate it.
More now on what was billed as a presidential listening session at the White House today apparently turned into at some point a gripe session for some senators. CNN Jeff Zeleny joins us with more on what happened this afternoon. So what do we know about what happened behind closed doors?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, first of all, it was extraordinary that this meeting was really even happening. The president has taken a pretty much a hands-off approach to this bill in the Senate. So different from the House version as Dana and you were just talking about. But that is largely by design. Senator McConnell and others have asked in which the president to not to be deeply involved. He hasn't been until today.
[21:05:12] But Anderson, I am told by talking with aides in the room as well as senators in the room, it was largely, you know, a free- flowing listening session, if you will, you know, specific complaints about Medicaid first and foremost, about what it would do to their states.
Now, something like health care, there is no one who knows the specifics of this better than these state senators from their individual states here. So the president was not or refuting any of these arguments. I'm told he was listening to some of these complaints and he's the one who said he wants the Senate bill to have more heart. So there were several senators who were sort of taking him up on that and saying, look, we cannot have these big slashes to Medicaid, we cannot sort of sustain these types of numbers here of uninsured.
So it was -- it went like that for about an hour and 15 minutes or so, and John McCain I'm also told, he raised some deep concerns about the secretive nature of this whole process here, so it was a venting session. It e was designed to unite Republicans. That's a work in progress to see if that will ultimately happen.
COOPER: Do you know -- I mean, did senators in feel like progress was made? After speaking with the president?
ZELENY: I mean, they don't know at this point quite frankly because they really have different viewpoints and this is just the Republicans we're talking about.
ZELENY: Something, you know, important to point out here. But they are looking to the president for some leadership here, particularly the more moderates. You know, who, again, you know, he wants this bill to be more popular, have more heart, spend more money on it. Of course, that causes problems on the other side.
What they're also, you know, sort of holding out hope here is that they know they have to get something. We talked to Sen. McConnell, leader McConnell, after he walked out of the west wing. This is not what he wanted. He wanted this to be done by the end of the week. That, of course, wasn't going to happen. But he said the option is, they have to get something done or they will work with Sen. Schumer, work with Democrats and Republicans, of course, don't want that.
But Anderson, as Dana was just saying earlier, we don't know if this will get done or not here. So they don't feel progress was made this afternoon necessarily. But they do believe the president is more engaged on this. We'll see if he is -- if he's traveling more, you know, exerting more of his influence --
ZELENY: -- on those outside groups in particular. So far, he has not, Anderson. COOPER: All right, Jeff zeleny. Jeff thanks.
Joining us now, two former White House insiders, David Gergen who worked with four presidents, Democrats and Republicans and David Axelrod who had an upclose view for the passage of the Affordable Care Act during the Obama administration.
David Axelrod, I mean you said that Obamacare passed, "Because of the sustained personal commitment of the president to the cause, the details and the process." Do you see that from Pres. Trump sharing that commitment to getting a Republican version of health care bill passed? Because he certainly ran on it, he has been making calls about it. Is that enough?
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. Look, I don't think that Pres. Trump has the personal investment in this issue or the knowledge of the issue that Barack Obama did. He -- Pres. Obama listened to all the details of this law. When he spoke to lawmakers about it, he understood it in intimate detail.
For Pres. Trump, this is important to get a win and what isn't clear is whether he understands what a win is or what it would look like. And that makes his involvement difficult because he doesn't quite know where to go with this.
I thought it was interesting to hear Jeff talk about the fact that some of these moderates are hoping that he can impose on other Republicans this bill with more heart. This is sort of what happened in the House. They had to roll one side or the other and they actually rolled the moderates in the House and they chose an approach that he later called mean but celebrated at that time.
Now the moderates in the Senate who have much more influence because of the smaller number there, smaller margins there, they want him to roll the conservatives. I just don't know how they get where they're going. I never want to underestimate Mitch McConnell who's a wiley coyote, but it's very hard to see how this additional time when they go home and hear from their constituents is going to make this work.
COOPER: But David Gergen, I mean, the same thing, again, I come back to this, was said about the House version. People were saying, look, you get one side, you lose the other side. In the end, the idea of not passing something was too onerous. They have all these senators have run on this.
DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER TO NIXON, FORD, REAGAN & CLINTON: I agree with that, Anderson. But they were under enormous pressure just to get something to the Senate. Get it out of the House. And it was easier to persuade people, look, we'll fix things in the next round. But now that it's over in the Senate, this is really where the bill is shaped up or it's not or it fails.
[21:10:06] And I agree with David -- what David Axelrod just said, you can never underestimate Mitch McConnell. He may well pull this off. But if you think about it, he's got about a week a Trump team and Republicans have about a week to turn around public opinion. I think that's extraordinarily difficult to do under any circumstances.
You know, public opinion has largely hardened against the House version of this bill. How do you then persuade people, well, you know, the close country cousin is a lot better than the original bill? I think that's extremely a difficult to do in any circumstances.
But just as importantly, there is no offensive message coming out from the Republicans about why this is a good bill. This has all been about process, and whose votes you can get as opposed to why the country should buy this bill. Absent that argument, I don't see how you sway public opinion in the president's direction.
COOPER: David, the -- did "The New York Times," David, is reporting the Senate leaders prefer to negotiate with the vice president on this saying that some of the White House efforts have been counterproductive.
AXELROD: Well, look, one thing they did that was absolutely ludicrous was the super PAC that's associated with the president started running ads against Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada who had said that he wasn't comfortable with the bill but had indicated that he was still in the process and to go after a member of your own party who's negotiating with the leader at the time was just incredibly destructive as apparently Senator McConnell told the White House. So --
COOPER: I talked to Katrina Pierson in the last hour who's from the super PAC spokesperson for it, who said, well that brought -- it brought Sen. Heller back to the table.
AXELROD: Yes. Well, I think you cannot -- the president has sent two horrible messages in the recent weeks. One is when he asked the Republicans in the House to walk the plank on the bill that they passed and then cut them off at the knees by calling it mean. And now Sen. Heller who is trying to figure out how he navigates this in a state that Trump did not win and where he is imperiled for re- election, where his governor who is Republican has come out for this -- against this bill, says I need more and the answer is that he gets a negative ad campaign from the White House affiliated PAC.
That's just -- that's just plain stupid and so they want to deal with Mike Pence who's a more sophisticated politician and understands these basic elements of politics apparently better than this president or the White House does.
COOPER: More to talk to both of you about. Just ahead, that the town hall anger that senators could be facing whether they pass an Obamacare replacement or not.
And next, one of the president's oldest and most controversial associates is now set to testify in the Russia probe. Not only is Roger Stone ready to go, he also appears to be pretty fired up about it. We'll show you that ahead.
[21:16:37] COOPER: The breaking news tonight follows former Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta closed-door testimony in the House Intelligence Committee. His emails obviously were hacked by Russia during the campaign. Late this evening Trump associate Roger Stone said he will also be speaking with the committee he says to rebut Podesta. Stone tells CNN, "I have agreed to testify July 24. I'm confident that Podesta most likely repeated his lie that I knew in advance about the hacking of his email and am anxious to rebut this falsehood." He went on to say "I am still unhappy that my testimony will not be in the public but it is more important to resolve the question of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign which I believe was nonexistent." He went on further with politico saying, "The claim that I had knowledge of the hacking of his email by WikiLeaks in advance is a demonstrable lie."
Back now with the two Davids, Gergen and Axelrod. Joining us as well is former Hillary Clinton Campaign Manager Robby Mook.
Robby, in the last months of the campaign, Roger Stone repeatedly discussed back-channel communications with the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, (INAUDIBLE) report coming leaks. How big a problem is Roger Stone for the Trump administration when it comes to this investigation? Because he says, look, he can explain it all, there was nothing there.
ROBBY MOOK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think he could be in very deep trouble if any of the statements as you said, multiple times he claimed to have had contact with Julian Assange, the conduit to which the Russians leaked to these emails, pushed them out to the press. He state, you know, he predicted that John Podesta would, "In the barrel" way back in August.
You know, If those statements are true, if what he was saying at that time is true, he's in very big trouble and the Trump campaign is in very big trouble.
So I'm frankly surprised that he's willing to testify if his story at the hearings is different than the story he was repeatedly telling before the election when maybe he didn't take this very seriously or wouldn't have taken any sort of conversations with WikiLeaks very seriously. You know, his credibility is really going to be up in the air and I think that's going to urge investigators to look even more closely at this.
COOPER: David Gergen, how do you see his testimony?
GERGEN: I think his testimony is going to be extremely important. I can't emphasize enough, you know, yes, it is true that Roger Stone certainly gave every hint that he knew in advance of things that were coming and that can be territory for the investigators to explore. But it's also really interesting, Anderson. He's one of a group of politicians on the right, you know, who almost take pleasure in walking through fire and surviving.
There's something about it, you know, I dare you, you can't hit me, I can hit you harder, I'm smarter and I'll get away with this. And you can't -- you can't write that off in this situation. You know, I think -- I'm not sure he's in as much legal trouble as Robby suggests. I think he's in political trouble but let's wait and see about the legal trouble.
COOPER: David Axelrod, I mean it's very possible, isn't it, that if Roger Stone was communicating with WikiLeaks and these mysterious hacker Guccifer 2.0, that doesn't mean coordinating. I mean there's a difference between communicating with and coordinating. There is something --
AXELROD: Look, all we know is that he has been closely associated with Donald Trump over the years and was in and out of that campaign. We know that he, you know, publicly boasted of his relationship with Assange and Guccifer and we know that he correctly predicted that Podesta would, as was mentioned, be in the barrel, which meant presumably that there would be some leaks. None of that is proof of anything, but it certainly raises a lot of suspicion and one of the benefits of having him under oath in front of committee would be to ask him questions about that.
[21:20:16] I will say David is absolutely right. Anybody who's been around politics over the years knows that Roger Stone, who, after all, cut his teeth as a young operative for Richard Nixon in 1972, not only loves walking through fire, but loves setting himself on fire because he gets a lot of attention by doing it. And so it's hard to assess his motivations here but there may be some utility if he's under oath in terms of answering some of the questions you're asking, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. I mean Robby, I mean Stone is also going after members of the committee claiming that some members have, "maligned him". Do statements like that affect the way the committee approaches him?
MOOK: Well, I think as the other participants here have mentioned, Roger Stone accusing others of maligning him is a pretty rich irony. This is someone who's basically spent his professional life maligning people on the other side of the partisan spectrum.
So, you know, look, I think as the others were hinting at, maybe I'll be a little bolder here, I think he wants to put on a show. But I do want to touch back on the seriousness of what we're talking about here. If you had someone who was an adviser to the Trump campaign talking to Julian Assange who is held up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, dumping out emails that the Russians stole from the DNC.
I'm not a lawyer. I don't know the law on that. That's really scary and I don't think any of us want our politics to become something like that. I don't think we want this to become some international espionage operation where, you know, one country is trying to trick the voters here into thinking one thing and the campaigns are retaliating, you know, through intermediaries locked up in embassies. I just think that's nuts and, you know, I think it's easy to, you know, either go into the legal weeds here or get interested in the intrigue or the drama and that's certainly where Roger Stone wants us to go.
You know, our democracy was attacked and I certainly hope that the members who take his testimony at the hearing really hold him to account to find out what happened and don't get caught up in the drama here. AXELROD: Robby, you may be bolder but I'm older and let me tell you that I think it would be good for the country if we actually found out what happened. You know, obviously, there are a lot of disturbing elements to this story relative to Roger Stone but we don't know what the bottom line is. How all the connections were made or if the connections are actually there. This is an opportunity to find that out and I hope the Congress takes advantage of that.
GERGEN: But let me just say it for a long, long time, there's a long arc from the dirty tricks of the Nixon administration all the way to the dirty tricks here that people think have been happening on these emails. And Roger Stone has had a lot of association with that over the years. And he hasn't been caught and punished legally.
So, you know, there's going to be an effort here. He's sort like -- he's a fox being chased here in this committee hearing. I don't -- they may come close but to catch him is hard to do and they're going to have to be very smart about it. They shouldn't assume they're going to walk in and find a treasure-trove that's going to say he's guilty of anything.
COOPER: All right, David Gergen, David Axelrod, Robby Mook, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
Coming up next, more on the health care drama and a look at the kind of town hall anger that could be behind Mitch McConnell's push to get a bill passed this week.
[21:27:36] COOPER: Well, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke with reporters outside the White House today after punting on the health care bill. He was asked whether his members would give voters the opportunity to confront them on the subject. Take a look.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should Republicans hold town halls over recess?
MITCH MCCONNELL, MAJORITY LEADER OF THE SENATE: Some members have town halls. Some don't. We'll see what happens.
COOPER: As for what those town halls might look like, we've already seen what can happen. Randi Kaye tonight has that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shame on you.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Republicans in Congress know they need to get the health care bill right. They haven't forgotten the stinging reaction to the House bill.
BILL CASSIDY, (R) LOUISIANA: Now --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 2020, you're gone. You're going.
KAYE (voice-over): The man yelling at Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're done.
KAYE (voice-over): -- had to be escorted out by security. With the dismantling of Obamacare under way, the atmosphere is ripe for anger. And members of Congress across the country are feeling the wrath of voters. Republican Sen. Tom Cotton's town hall in Arkansas.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm an angry constituent. Do work for us.
KAYE (voice-over): Representative Tom MacArthur's town hall in New Jersey.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My wife was diagnosed with cancer when she was 40 years old. She beat it, but every day, every day, she lives with it. She thinks about it. Every pain, every new something going on somewhere. Is it coming back? Is this cancer? Do I have it again? Is it going to kill me this time? Is it going to take me away from my children? You have been the single greatest threat to my family in the entire world. You are the reason I stay up at night. Sit on down. You're done.
KAYE (voice-over): Republican Sen. Joni Ernst's town hall in Iowa.
At Republican Congressman Raul Labrador's town hall in Idaho, the more he said, the more fired up the crowd became.
[21:30:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are mandating people on Medicaid except dying. You are making --
RAUL LABRADOR, (R) IDAHO: That line is so indefensible. Nobody dies because they don't have access to health care.
KAYE (voice-over): In some cases, members of Congress lose complete control, unable to even make their presentation.
TOM REED, (R) NEW YORK: If I'm allowed to complete the nine slides --
KAYE (voice-over): Representative Tom Reed in New York was drowned out by angry naysayers.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How can you say you're representing your constituency when only 70 percent of the U.S. population is supporting you?
KAYE (voice-over): It was all just too much for this man in the crowd to take.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't shout each other down. If you're Americans, then act like Americans.
KAYE (voice-over): Perhaps, the general feeling of hostility among voters angry about changes to Obamacare can be summed up in a single tweet. Like this one. "Rep. Tom Reed, you're done. I don't usually vote in the midterms but I will now. Start packing your bags, you muppet." A warning shot or a sign of things to come? Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Joining us now is Kirsten Powers, Matt Lewis and Jeffrey Lord. I mean as we just saw, Kirsten, the anger from some constituents who face losing health care is obviously very real. When the senators go back to their districts, they could get an earful. Do you think they're concerned about that or do you think some will just choose not have town halls?
KIRSTEN POWERS, USA TODAY COLUMNIST: Well, I think, yeah, we've already seen some members of Congress avoiding having town halls precisely because they don't want have to deal with this. But they're still going to hear from their constituents and the problem from the Republicans is they get it from both sides. They're going to hear people who are complaining about not wanting to lose their health care. And they're also going to hear from people who have said, you promised that you were going to repeal Obamacare.
And so they are very much caught in the middle of this campaign promise they've been making over and over, over the last many years and the fact that they're in a position to take away health care from a certain number of people.
And as you can see in what we just watched, how personal it is. You know, it's hard to think of many things that our government does that affect people so personally and feel -- they feel so intensely that, you know, you could be harming their family.
COOPER: Jeff, it is easier for senators who are not, you know, all facing re-election in the next round, unlike the Congress people.
JEFFREY LORD, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Right. You know, and listening to all this, Anderson, I have to say, I vividly remember when the late Arlen Specter brought the Obama secretary of HHS to Philadelphia for a town hall meeting on this very subject. This was Philadelphia, Democratic Philadelphia. They were shouted down. People were so enraged about the notion of Obamacare. Then he came here to central Pennsylvania made the same case at a town hall meeting. He had a terrible, terrible town hall meeting. It was bad. And eventually, of course, when he ran for re-election, it was so bad within the Republican Party that he switched to the Democrats and then he lost the Democratic primary and wound, you know, wound up losing his Senate career.
So, I remember when the shoe was on the other foot. There is a reason here for all of this and that is because there are a lot of Americans out here. I interviewed personally somebody whose father died which she attributes to Obamacare. People are very angry about this, so there is another side to this story. COOPER: Matt?
MATT LEWIS, SENIOR COLUMNIST, THE DAILY BEAST: Yes, look, I think that any time, there's nothing more thankless than trying to fix or reform health care in America. I equate it to, you know, the idea of, like, choosing a land invasion in Russia in the winter. That's basically when a political party decides that they're going to tackle fixing health care, it's completely thankless.
And Republicans are going to have to ask themselves, is it worth it? You're going to have -- you're going to take all this abuse from people who are understandably emotional. Some of it's going to be activists, right, who are sort of ginned up by the parties and by leftist groups to go. And some of it is going to be very organic. People who are really upset about any change to health care whether it's coming from the right or the left. And do Republicans want to go through that pain and abuse for what? For Obamacare life, for something that is it really going to fix the problem, is it really going be a free market solution? That's part of the reason I think why this thing got kicked after the 4th of July.
COOPER: It's also, Kirsten, at this point, taking something, you know, some people who oppose it are going to see it as taking something away from people, you know, people who have health insurance losing health insurance. That's a lot harder than, you know, awarding somebody something or giving somebody something which they consider, you know, were right.
[21:35:00] POWERS: Yes, that's absolutely right. I mean I think that's probably Pres. Obama's biggest accomplishment was changing the way Americans look at health care, and that they now, you know, believe that it's more of a right than a privilege even though the Republican party still sees it primarily as a privilege. And so it's become an entitlement. And so when you're in a position of taking that away, it's not a good place to be politically.
And, look, it wasn't a great place to be politically, even when you were giving them something through Obamacare. Because in giving people things through Obamacare, there were people whose health care was affected and that made them very angry. So I think Matt's right, once you start tinkering with health care, you're going into a very dicey political terrain.
COOPER: Matt, and when Sen. Susan Collins says it's difficult to see how any tinkering is going to satisfy her fundamental concerns about the bill. Does the bill need a drastic overhaul and not just some tinkering as Sen. Collins suggested? I guess the alternative then is, as, again McConnell has intimated, if this doesn't pass, you know, working with Democrats try to figure out something.
LEWIS: Yes. Look, I mean I think that there are a couple of things that you could have done. One idea is, to actually instead of trying to do this through reconciliation, try to pass a bill that can get broad consensus, that can get Democrats onboard and actually fixed Obamacare. There were parts of it that are maybe good, that the public likes and even Donald Trump likes, there are parts of it that are not working. You could have tried to go that way. Or you could have actually tried to do a more conservative bill and the thing that conservatives want is actually to get rid of the third party payer idea, you know.
So right now, the reason that health care costs so much is I never talked to my doctor, I don't negotiate with him about what it's going to cost if I get sick next year, right? There's a third party. My company that I work for has an insurance company. I have no relationship with them. That would have been a free market sort of approach. Instead, what we have is neither fish nor fowl. It's going to make nobody happy and it's not going to solve the problem.
COOPER: Yes. I want to thank everybody an area for concern. Not only among voters but also among even some republican senators is a funding cut for Planned Parenthood. We'll have more on that in a moment.
[21:41:05] COOPER: Senate Republican leaders delaying the vote on their health care bill because they don't have enough support from their own party to pass it. One of the senators welcoming the delay is moderate Republican Susan Collins. She told CNN'S Dana Bash today that the bill would have to be, "Fundamentally changed" and not just in her words, "tinkering around the edges" for her to support it. Senator Collins is concerned about the cut of federal funding to Planned Parenthood for one year that's included in the bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, (R) MAINE: It makes absolutely no sense to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood. There already are long standing restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortions, so that's not what this debate is about. And Planned Parenthood is an important provider of health care services including family planning and cancer screenings for millions of Americans, particularly women.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I recently spoke with two women who sharply disagree on the issue. CNN Political Commentator and former Communications Director for Senator Ted Cruz, Amanda Carpenter and CNN Senior Political Commentator and former Democratic Governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm.
COOPER: Amanda, you heard Sen. Collins talking how the defunding of Planned Parenthood in her opinion makes no sense because there are already restrictions on the use of federal funding for abortions. Do you agree with her?
AMANDA CARPENTER, POLITICAL ADVISER: No, I don't. Listen, Republicans have promised for a long time they would defund Planned Parenthood. The fact that the Senate bill scales it back for one year is really a test run to see how well Planned Parenthood makes it on their own. This is an organization that according to its own annual report has a billion dollars in revenue. It provides 300,000 abortions every year, a procedure that is morally objectionable to a number of Republicans. I think this is an organization that can make it on their own without getting to these problems with the budget.
COOPER: Governor Granholm, what about that? Do they need the money?
GOV. JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Of course, they do, because they provide -- first of all, let's just be super clear about this and do not mesh it. Federal funds are not used by Planned Parenthood to conduct abortions, period. It is against the law. But what they do provide is for 2.4 million women to have access to cancer screenings like breast cancer, like cervical cancer and in the areas where -- where there are no federally funded clinics Planned Parenthood is the primary provider.
So -- really as part of this health care bill, this is utterly cynical. There are 13 guys in a back room talking about how they're going to find every way possible to hurt women's health. And this is one of the primary ways they are doing it, in addition to slashing Medicaid which covers half of the births in this country.
CARPENTER: I just have to interject here a little bit. There's no question that Planned Parenthood is America's largest abortion provider. Most of its services are providing abortion --
GRANHOLM: But none of the federal money goes there.
CARPENTER: And these people keep going on with this myth that they somehow provide cancer screenings. You can look at "The Washington Post," that did a fact check. What they do is very simple, breast exams anyone can do in their shower. If they find something, they can provide a referral, 3 percent of the breast exams result into a referral that Planned Parenthood does not provide. They're an abortion provider. They predominantly provide sexual disease screenings and services. That is what the organization does.
Now, do they need to get $500 million in Medicaid funding? We have a Medicaid problem. I'm so glad that we have attention on this now because we need to define who this program should serve. Should we be spending $500 million on an organization that provides abortions and STD screenings or does that money need to go to needy children?
GRANHOLM: That's such a misleading --
CARPENTER: And disabled people who cannot provide for themselves.
COOPER: One at a time. OK.
GRANHOLM: It is illegal, I mean it's so frustrating, Anderson, because these talking points --
CARPENTER: It's not a talking point. Read their annual report which I did.
(CROSSTALK) COOPER: One at a time. Hold on a second. Amanda, you -- Amanda, do you agree that federal funds are not used for abortions?
[21:45:02] CARPENTER: There's a law that federal funds can't go directly to it, but there's no questions that Planned Parenthood predominantly serves the excess to provide abortion in America. So I don't know why we would support that organization which has so much celebrity funding, it can spend $700,000 that John Ossoff field race in Georgia. It has money for that?
GRANHOLM: Oh my gosh.
CARPENTER: It can get by on its own.
GRANHOLM: They provide necessary reproductive health care for women, access to birth control. In fact, in this Medicaid disastrous cut, the CBO has said that if you cut Planned Parenthood you will actually increase the federal deficit.
CARPENTER: Yes, because there will be more children. Because Planned Parenthood kills children, that's why.
GRANHOLM: Oh, my gosh.
COOPER: Just to clarify, Amanda, you believe if that funding is cut, the women who currently use the services for birth control, for STD screening, that there are plenty of other places for them to go?
CARPENTER: I think Planned Parenthood will continue to exist because they have a billion dollar operating budget and they have all kinds of fund raisers, they have money for lobbying. I think we should see if Planned Parenthood could get by on their own without federal funding and we can direct those dollars to the programs that desperately need it. There's a lot of programs that need money. We need to have a debate about where the money is going to go. There's lots of private organizations that would love that money. I don't see why Planned Parenthood gets elevated in status in this debate.
COOPER: Governor Granholm?
GRANHOLM: Planned Parenthood gets funding because they provide --
CARPENTER: They lobby for it.
GRANHOLM: -- absolutely necessary care to women all across this country. It is a hugely popular program with Republicans and Democrats and if you cut this amount of funding, this amount of service to women who absolutely need it, you will ultimately see terrible results across the country because you'll have children who are born -- who are not going to be cared for, who are not going to be -- Medicaid cuts will not be able to serve them.
GRANHOLM: You need to make sure women have access to this care including referrals for cancer screening.
CARPENTER: Which --
COOPER: Governor Granholm, Amanda Carpenter, I appreciate it. Thanks very much.
COOPER: Well, up next, another concern with the health care bill. The estimated $772 billion in cuts to Medicaid, money that currently helps people battling opioid addiction get treatment. CNN'S Gary Tuchman has some of their stories when we come back.
[21:51:14] COOPER: More on our breaking news. Senate Republican leaders have delayed a vote on their health care bill due to a lack of support. One of the major stumbling blocks are proposed cuts to Medicaid which for some covers opioid addiction treatment. Two senators from states impacted by opioids explained their positions in a joint press release.
It was Senator Rob Portman from Ohio said, "I continue to have real concerns about the Medicaid policies in this bill especially those that impact drug treatment at a time when Ohio is facing an opioid epidemic." And West Virginia's Senator Shelley Moore Capito said, "As drafted, this bill will not ensure access to affordable health care in West Virginia, does not do enough to combat the opioid epidemic that is devastating my state, cuts traditional Medicaid too deeply, and harms rural health care providers."
Our Gary Tuchman is in Maine tonight, and other state suffering from the opioid crisis. As we've mentioned earlier, there Republican senator from that state, Susan Collins, also announced her intention to vote no partially because of cuts to Medicaid. Here's Gary's report.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPODENT (voice-over): Thirty-three year old James is desperate. The father of three small daughters is an opioid addict, heroin, pills. He wants to stop but he can't.
(on camera) What has it done to you physically?
JAMES, DETOX CENTER PATIENT: Lost like 70 pounds.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): James is an inpatient at the Milestone detox program in Portland, Maine. A facility where addicts stay for three to seven days as a first step to rehabilitation. It's paid for at least in part through Medicaid. But under the current Senate Republican health care plan, Medicaid would be dramatically cut.
(on camera) How addictive are opiates to you?
JAMES: Bad. Crave them. TUCHMAN (on camera): Do you crave it as we're sitting here right now?
TUCHMAN (voice-over): What that means for addicts is dire, says this facility's executive director.
BOB FOWLER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MILESTONE FOUNDATION: I think they'll encounter more and more closed doors than they do already and I think that for some of them, that's a death sentence.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): A death sentence. Bob Fowler just wrote a letter to his Republican U.S. senator, Susan Collins.
FOWLER: Every day we see the effect that lack of health insurance has on the people milestone serves. The prospects for people without insurance to receive treatment after they leave detox is grim.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): The letter imploring Sen. Collins to vote against the bill.
Joey is 37, also here for opioids. He says he has overdosed twice in the past few weeks, on the verge of death the most recent time.
JOEY, DETOX CENTER PATIENT: As soon as I walked in, I pulled the I.V. out of my arm, and walked out of the hospital, went home, and got high.
TUCHMAN (on camera): High with what?
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Joey says he's already encountered closed doors, being turned down for Medicaid. And if the Senate will were to pass in its current form, he doesn't think there's any way he'd get the treatment he needs. But Milestone will take patients like Joey who don't have the means to pay, but one week is the maximum stay for all patients.
JOEY: I lose hope. And when you hope as a drug addict, you die.
FOWLER: Well, last year in Maine we had 376 people overdose and die and that's a 40 percent increase over the year before.
TUCHMAN (on camera): James believes his Medicaid coverage is helping him stay alive.
(on camera) Will the Medicaid allow you to go to another more permanent facility after you're here?
JAMES: Yes. Yes.
TUCHMAN (on camera): If your Medicaid was taken away from you, what'd it do to you?
JAMES: Leave me hopeless. TUCHMAN (voice-over): And as for Joey, he has little idea of how he will pay in the future for what he knows he needs.
JOEY: I don't want to do this no more. I don't want to die. I don't want to die. I have a kid. I have a woman that loves me. I have a family that loves me unconditionally. But will not sit by and watch me kill myself. Because that's all I'm doing is I'm just killing myself slowly without putting the gun to my head.
COOPER: Gary joins us now. Has the executive director you talked to, has he heard back from Sen. Collins?
[21:55:00] TUCHMAN: Well, Bob Fowler, Anderson, tells us he likes Sen. Collins very much, and has high regards for her and he says he heard from one of her aides that she is aware of his letter and, I quote, his letter will be, according to them, "instrumental."
He says that he believes he knows Sen. Collins that she will never vote for a bill that's in this form or anywhere close to this form. Anderson?
COOPER: All right. Gary, thanks very much. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Lot of news tonight in the Russia investigation. Former Clinton campaign Chair John Podesta answered questions from the House Intelligence Committee late today behind closed doors. Trump associate Roger Stone has agreed to do the same next month. He says to rebut Podesta about whether Stone knew in advance about the hacking of his e-mail. He says he'd prefer that his testimony would be in public.
The goal of that investigation, and the others going on, getting to the bottom of Russia's interference in the election. We don't know how it's all going to end, of course, but the pieces we do have make for a fascinating CNN special report. Jim Sciutto hosts "The Russian Connection, Inside the Attack on Democracy." That's coming up next on CNN.
Thanks very much for watching "360." We'll see you again tomorrow night. That special report starts right now.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dangerous and deceptive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a reasonably realistic e-mail.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He meant to say that it was illegitimate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said it was legitimate. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For us it's history.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Their weapons insidious and unsuspected.