Return to Transcripts main page


Trump, Putin to Meet on Sidelines of G-20 Summit; Trump Voters Ask for Bipartisanship on Health Care. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired June 29, 2017 - 10:30   ET


[10:30:03] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Joining us to talk about this now, former U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, former U.S. ambassador to both NATO and Greece, Nicholas Burns. Also with us, former CIA operative, Mike Baker.

Gentlemen, thanks so much for being with us.

Ambassador, I want to start with you on the subject of Russia because you caused quite a stir yesterday when you testified that the president -- his lack of response to Russia represents a dereliction of the basic duty to defend the country. Why such strong words?

NICHOLAS BURNS, FORMER U.S. UNDERSECRETARY FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS: Well, because they are warranted, because there is a systematic cyber attack by the Russian government on our elections. And it was repeated in the Dutch, French and now German elections. And there's no doubt about it. The intelligence agencies of the United States are conclusive on that.

And in response, President Trump has not investigated what happened to us back in 2016. He's not initiated any effort to build our defenses because we have midterms coming up in 2018 and another presidential election in 2020. He has not actually worked with our European allies to have a collective response to Russia and he's not supporting strong sanctions with the Senate, Republicans in the Senate, want to put forward toward Russia.

His first duty is to defend the country. We have been assaulted by the Russians and I found in my testimony at the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence yesterday I think frustration with President Trump by both parties that he hasn't taken these steps. So let's hope that he does that in the coming weeks. And I think for his meeting with President Putin in Hamburg on the margins of the G-20 summit, he has to raise this issue in the way that President Obama raised this issue with President Putin last November.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: But you could also argue, Ambassador, that it didn't work, right, when President Obama said cut it out and then instituted those sanctions, then kicked those diplomats out, that, you know -- but what was the impact? What would be more effective, Ambassador, for President Trump to say?

BURNS: Well, I think -- what I believe is that President Trump has to support these sanctions. These are stronger sanctions against the Russian government over the interference in our elections. Number one. Number two, he has an opportunity to try to repair his very difficult relationship with the European leaders, especially Angela Merkel. They will respond well if he says let's work together in NATO to work on defensive measures to try to contain this Russian threat. And finally, there has to be an offensive response by the United States, maybe asymmetric, but there has to be some kind of response.

What I was saying yesterday I think does reflect a lot of opinion within the administration, of course below President Trump, but also outside the administration.

BERMAN: All right. Mike Baker, jump in here. Dereliction of duty. Do you think the president is guilty of that? Do you think that's too far?

MIKE BAKER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Dereliction of duty is probably -- I'm not going to parse words or argue the words. Could the messaging be much stronger? Could it be much more aggressive coming out of the White House now? Yes. Could it have been the same with the previous administration? Yes.

But we played Putin badly for not just this current administration, but the Obama administration, the Bush administration. We've never really taken him at his word. And what we're seeing now is a country really with a GDP of, you know, medium sized EU nation, country well above its weight, and Putin's continued effort to try to reclaim some glory from the Soviet Union days.

I disagree, in a sense, with all due respect to Ambassador Burns, in terms of, you know, we're not taking action. Look, the government is taking action. They understand the seriousness of it. We're not getting that messaging from the White House. We're not hearing that from the White House.

HARLOW: Right.

BAKER: But the intel community and others are busy and have been for some time, trying to stay ahead of the cyber warfare game. When you talk about this -- talking about years of frustration, and we have been slow in getting into the game, there's no doubt about that. And we do need to do more. It's just I think that dereliction of duty, if we're going to use that term --

HARLOW: But Mike --

BAKER: -- we can spread that back. We could spread that back.


HARLOW: The ambassador is talking about the president himself. There is new reporting from our Dana Bash about frustration at a boiling point within high levels of the West Wing. Multiple senior administration officials telling CNN there are few signs the president is devoting his time or his attention to the ongoing election-related cyber threats from Russia. That's on the White House, is it not?

BAKER: Well, no, that is. And I think that's where I do agree in the sense of there could be and there has been a problem with messaging. There could be a much stronger, tighter disciplined message about the threat of this and there could be more of a focus on it from the president himself. There's no doubt about that.

I guess what I'm saying is that underneath that where things actually happen, where operational activities actually occur, there are a wide range of efforts being done to try to ensure that we strengthen this.

[10:35:11] We understand that the Russians were engaged in this activity during this past election. We also understand they've been doing this for a long time. So that's why I say, you know, if you're going to say -- if you're going to throw out a term like dereliction of duty, you better be willing to apply it to a lack of focus on appropriate response and cyber warfare going back for years now in the U.S.

BERMAN: You have 10 seconds to respond, Ambassador.

BURNS: Well, I also said yesterday President Obama should have done more. What matters in our system is what the president does. What matters to Putin is what the president does. That's how international politics works at the highest level.

HARLOW: Ambassador, Mike Baker, thank you both very much.

Coming up, what do Republican voters think of the GOP health care bill? The polling is bad. And as we found out yesterday sitting down with those voters, they are putting Congress on notice.


HARLOW: As Republicans, raise your hand if you want to see Democrats and Republicans work together on this and come up with something different than the Senate and the House have put forth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that's an easy -- that's an easy one there.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, this is the president that wrote the "Art of the Deal" so get in and make a deal.




[10:40:44] HARLOW: So this week we sat down with a group of voters, all of them registered Republicans, almost all of them who voted for President Trump, because we wanted their temperature on how he is doing so far on the issues that matter the most to them. We got into all of it. And you'll see that discussion on the show over the next few days. But first, health care, an issue they all care deeply about. But not a single one of them like either Republican plan on the table.


HARLOW: Raise your hand if you voted for President Trump. Do any of you want the House or the Senate health care bills to pass and become the law of the land?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not in its current form.

JOSH AIKENS, VOTED FOR TRUMP IN 2016, VOTED FOR OBAMA IN 2008: I'm not really happy with the health care bill that they have so far. I'm not happy with the current health care bill. But I'd like to see more free market so people can choose how they want.

BILL CORTESE JR, WROTE-IN GENERAL MATTIS FOR 2016: I think he still has a lot to prove. And I think I'm probably one of those Republicans that he still has a lot to prove to. You have a Republican House, a Republican Senate and a Republican White House. There's no excuse for Republicans not to put points on the board. And that's where I feel it's almost like a football game. This is offensives trying to drive down the field, but keeps having these penalties and it keeps bringing them back. You have to put points on board. And there's really no excuse now for it.

HARLOW: Scherie, is he right? And then to you, Josh, is he right? I mean, you give the president a B plus. And Bill says he's got control -- you know, the Republican Party has control of the White House and Congress, and he says they need to put points on the board. They need get legislation done.

SCHERIE MURRAY, VOTED FOR TRUMP IN 2016, VOTED FOR OBAMA IN 2008 AND 2012: We do. And I agree to his point. We hold the majority in the White House right now. And our Congress as well. This is a great time for our president to be an effective leader, to deliver on his campaign promises.

I'm looking forward to what's to come out of the health care bill. I do think, personally, he should consider reforming it instead of repealing it. I think there are layers there that ought to be changed, but there are layers that can remain.

HARLOW: Like he promised. You know, the president's promise was repeal and replace Obamacare on day one.

MURRAY: On day one.

HARLOW: You don't want to see him do that. It sounds like you want to see him work and Republicans and Congress work with Democrats to alter Obamacare, is that right?

MURRAY: Absolutely. I would love to see our elected officials work together. Work across the line for the benefit of the people. We put them into office and they should do what we want.

HARLOW: You pay their salaries, too.

MURRAY: Absolutely.

AIKENS: Well, they've had plenty of years to have this health care bill ready to go on day one. And they should have done that and they didn't. And it's -- I mean, it's just what you would always say, your typical politicians not doing what you want them to do.

A repeal, I don't think they are actually repealing Obamacare. I think this is a reform of Obamacare. They are just going to call it a repeal. But it's really not a repeal if you actually go ahead and look through it.

HARLOW: As a Republican, does the House or Republican -- or Senate Republican health care proposals right now help enough Americans? Are you pleased with either of them?



AIKENS No, I would like a full repeal and I'd like free market. I would like free market.

DEBRA REINHARD, VOTED FOR TRUMP IN 2016, VOTED FOR OBAMA IN 2008 AND 2012: Health care is not a Republican or Democratic issue. It's a -- it's a human issue. It's a -- we all need health care. We need it to sustain ourselves, our family, our children. It's an issue that shouldn't be a partisan issue.

HARLOW: So was the president then, Richard, right or wrong to make that a center point of his campaign, a full repeal and replace of Obamacare?

RICHARD ST. PAUL, VOTED FOR TRUMP IN 2016, FORMER DEMOCRAT: Well, whether it's right or wrong, I think it was a necessary thing to do. We all know that Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act was heading -- is a disaster at this point in time. Premiums have been increased. In some states we all have but one, maybe, sometimes two health insurance companies participating.

HARLOW: But that --

ST. PAUL: It is on the road to disaster.

HARLOW: My question is --

ST. PAUL: It's imploding.

HARLOW: -- was he wrong to promise a full repeal and replace? Should he have said, we are going fix this?

ST. PAUL: I think the way the Affordable Care Act was set up, it was doomed to fail so it needed to be replaced. So no, I would not say he was wrong saying that it needs to be replaced because it does need to be replaced.

HARLOW: Are Republicans going to get this thing done? ST. PAUL: If they don't get it done, the president has said that he's

going to move on. And what I think is going to happen is that perhaps we can actually have Democrats and Republicans working together because even Democrats --

HARLOW: You mean on -- you mean on --

[10:45:05] ST. PAUL: On health care. Even Democrats --

HARLOW: So tell me, you actually want the Republican version in the House and the Senate to fail?

ST. PAUL: I don't agree with the versions as they are right now.


ST. PAUL: I don't think it does enough.

REINHARD: I think they need to be negotiated. I think they -- you know, they put something together quickly just to get it on the table and they need to sit down now with Democrats and Republicans.

To me, it doesn't matter whether they repeal and replace or fix, because it doesn't matter what you replace the Affordable Health Care Act with, you're going to have to have some of the provisions of Obamacare to make it work, but get it done.

I retired at age 62. I try to get health insurance after I retired because I had to wait until 65 to get Medicare. To get the same benefits that I was getting while I was working and paying $40 a month for is going to cost me $802 a month. I couldn't afford that. I went for a year and a half as a diabetic with no health care. I just didn't go to the doctor.

HARLOW: As Republicans, raise your hand if you want to see Democrats and Republicans work together on this thing and come up with something different than the Senate and the House have put forth.

CORTESE: I think that's an easy -- that's an easy one there.


REINHARD: It's a no brainer.

CORTESE: Look, this is the president that wrote the "Art of the Deal." So get in and make a deal.

REINHARD: Make a deal. That's right.

CORTESE: They didn't -- pull people together just like you did when you built buildings all over the world, get in, bring people to the table and make -- and do something.

HARLOW: You think President Trump should be injecting himself more into? CORTESE: Well, he owns this issue. Right? I mean, he's made this a

focal point, made this a focal point in his campaign. He's using the bully pulpit to push for it. I think it's a wakeup call for him as well.

HARLOW: And if he can't get it done? If the Senate and the House can't get it done on health care, what does that say?

CORTESE: I mean, I just think it's a big defeat.


MURRAY: I don't think that's a defeat for the president. I don't think that's a defeat for the president. I think that's a defeat for Congress.


HARLOW: None of them, all Republicans, not one likes either option.

BERMAN: Interesting. Separating the president's popularity from that of Congress.

All right. A couple of minutes for the hour right now, baseball ump being hailed as a hero. How he saved a woman's life hours before a game. The story you have to hear in today's "Bleacher Report."


[10:51:17] BERMAN: All right. A short while ago, the president of the United States issued a pretty vicious, pretty objectifying attack about a female cable TV anchor. And the first lady's communications team just released this statement that seems to endorse it. It writes, "As the first lady has stated publicly in the past when her husband gets attacked, he will punch back 10 times harder."

And moments ago there was a similar reaction from the Deputy Press Secretary Sara Huckabee Sanders.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: Look, I think what's necessary is to push back against unnecessary attacks on the president, both personally. I have seen far worse things come out of that show, again, directed not just at the president but everyone around him. Personal attacks, mean, hateful attacks. And again, this president is not going to sit back and not push back. And he's going to fight fire with fire.


BERMAN: All right. Just moments ago Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska wrote, "Please just stop. It isn't normal and it's beneath the dignity of your office."

HARLOW: And Senator Lindsey Graham as well, taking the president on for it. We'll have much more on that ahead as we get these responses to the day. Meantime, over to sports before we go.

NBA's free agency does not begin until Saturday but the drama already under way. A huge trade going down.

BERMAN: The happiest man in the world, Andy Scholes, with more on this morning's "Bleacher Report."

Hello, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, guys. Yes, I couldn't stop smiling yesterday because I'm of course from Houston so I was very happy about this trade. You know what, the NBA is all about super teams right now. And the Houston Rockets, they're trying to become the next super team.

The Rockets acquiring nine-time all-star point guard Chris Paul yesterday in a huge trade with the Clippers. Paul now going to play alongside James Harden in Houston giving them one of the best one-two punches in the league. And Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni says, you know, super teams, they are now the way of the NBA.


MIKE D'ANTONI, HEAD COACH, HOUSTON ROCKETS: Players now get together. You know, it's just become a league where you scout sit back and who wants to play here and they all get together and they come en masse.

We don't want to play for second. Nobody wants to play for second. So we are trying to get up there and be a legitimate contender.


SCHOLES: And President Trump hosting the world champion Chicago Cubs at the White House yesterday. It's actually the second trip to the White House for the team. They also visited in the final days under President Obama.

The Cubs giving President Trump a jersey with the number 45 on it. And Trump said during the celebration, quote, "They were here actually," or, "They were actually here but they wanted to be here with Trump."

All right, other baseball news, Tim Tebow continues to have a flair for the dramatics. Tebow homering in his first day with the Port St. Lucie Mets. The former Heisman Trophy winner playing back in Florida after being promoted to the class high A by the Mets last week. Tebow looks like making a good first impression because he also homered in his very first bat in the minors back in April.

All right. Major League Baseball umpire John Trumpane went for an afternoon walk and ended up saving someone's life. While walking across the Roberto Clemente bridge in Pittsburgh, Trumpane saw a woman climb over the railing and prepare to jump. That's when he says his instincts took over, he grabbed her and hung on.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN TRUMPANE, MLB UMPIRE: I said hung on. I said, I'm not going to let you go. I said, let's just talk this out and we'll get you back over here. And she's like, no. Just -- you know. No one wants to help me. Just let me go. And I said we're here to help you. She's like, you'll forget me tomorrow. I said I'll never forget you. You can put my promise on that.


SCHOLES: Now Trumpane was able to hold on to the women until help arrived. He says he hopes to reconnect with her today before he leaves town.

All right. Finally, with the help of golfer Rickie Fowler, Sergeant 1st Class Bryane Greene had an awesome surprise for his family. Greene has been serving overseas for the past several years. He caddied for Fowler for the final two holes of a frame yesterday. Then check it out. He surprised his family while walking off the 18th green.


[10:55:04] BRYANE GREENE, ARMY VETERAN: I was wondering about my son running on the course because anytime he has seen me when I came home for R&R, that's what he'll do. He just bolts. No matter where he is, no matter what the situation is, he will just run and just do the air jump. I have to be stable and ready.


SCHOLES: Tell you what, guys. Military surprises never get old. I like that one. That one was pretty creative. Disguising yourself as a golf caddie.

HARLOW: There you go. Irreplaceable moment. Thank you so much, Andy.

BERMAN: And congratulations on Chris Paul.


SCHOLES: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right. In just a few minutes, we are going to hear from the House Speaker Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan will face the types of questions he hates more than any other in the world. What do you think of what the president just said? This morning, he will be asked to address deeply personal attacks from President Trump on a cable TV host. Vicious and objectifying. Stay with us.