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Trump Jr.'s Atty. Speaks About 8th Person At Meeting; Calls For Kushner To Lose Security Clearance; GOP Health Care Bill Lacks Support To Proceed; Trump Approval Lowest In Modern Polling History. Aired 9- 10p ET

Aired July 17, 2017 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER: It caps off a day when we see administrations answers clash with each other as well as the facts.


SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president's made it clear through his tweet. And there was nothing that, -- as far as we know, that would lead anyone to believe that there was anything except for a discussion about adoption and the Magnitsky Act.


COOPER: That was Sean Spicer. Today, contradicting the president who tweeted earlier today as if the meeting involving his son and son-in- law and campaign chairman was in fact about opposition research. The president tweeted, "Most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don jr attended in order to get information on an opponent. That's politics!" So the president contradicting his own press secretary. Most politician we've asked including a whole host Republican say, that's simply not so, that most politicians wouldn't have done this. Well, more on that shortly.

But first, our Justice Correspondent Pamela Brown with breaking news on who was at that now fateful Trump Tower meeting. So, you've learned about the eighth person who was at the meeting.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. This new story eight person Don Jr.'s attorney, Alan Futerfas, tells me tonight that he has spoken him over the phone just in the last couple of weeks. And while he declined to provide his name he said this person claimed to be a U.S. citizen over the phone and said that he was not employed by the Russian government or working on behalf of the Russian government at the time of this meeting.

Now, of course, because we don't know his name, it's unclear what his history as Alan Futerfas told us as much. Also Kushner he doesn't know much more about -- than what he has claimed. But there are questions, Anderson, about why he was there. The Agalarov family nor their attorney has publicly said, why as you pointed out in our last discussion, the attorney last week claimed that the Agalarovs really had nothing really to do with this meeting even though they were mentioned in that e-mail exchange that Don Jr. released. But Futerfas says that his impression from speaking with this eighth person, if we want to call him that over the phone, was that he was initially there to make sure the attorney that the female Russian attorney got to the meeting. But there's still many questions and mystery continues to shroud who this person is. Really the only person we know of who hasn't been publicly identified, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, you talk about, you know, the Agalarov, I guess I just don't understand the attorney for him, you know, came for the Agalarov -- both the father and son came forward last week. I spoke to him and he basically said, look, the Agalarov had nothing to do with this, the pop star son knew this was an acquaintance with this Russian attorney and as a favor made the introduction through Goldstone to Donald Trump -- I mean to Donald Trump Jr. But if they have a representative of the family --

BROWN: Right.

COOPER: -- at that meeting, that seems to undercut what their own attorney said last week.

BROWN: Right. And to be fair, I spoke to that attorney this past Friday when we were reporting that there was a representative of the Agalarov family at that meeting and he was trying to figure out who that person is, or so he claimed to me that he was trying to just sort of piece it all together and he was learning about it as well.

And in the conversation I had with Don Jr.'s attorney, Alan Futerfas, he says that during his conversation with this person that he corroborated what had already been reported about this meeting, that the first couple of minutes there were pleasantries exchanges and then the Russian lawyer discussed the information she allegedly had about Russia and dealing with the DNC and Hillary Clinton before moving on to the topic of adoptions. And he also says no one he has spoken to including his client Don Jr. has any recollection of the document that the Russian lawyer claimed to leave behind in that meeting, Anderson.

COOPER: What did Trump Jr.'s attorney say about the initial conflicting statement?

BROWN: So I asked him about that. He defended his client as being willing to tell the whole story even before that initial "New York Times" article. He said Don Jr. and his counsel were fully prepared and absolutely prepared to publish or make a statement that was a fulsome statement about the nature of the meeting, what led to the meeting, what the conversation was in the meeting.

Now, clearly that didn't happen, Anderson, and when I asked --

COOPER: Right, because he knew the initial statement was basically --


COOPER: -- just saying, this was about adoptions.

BROWN: Right. So, if you look through the timeline, the initial statement is about -- this was only about adoptions. And then the next day another statement came out and said, actually, I took this meeting because, you know, it was about incriminating information with the Russians donating to the DNC. We weren't sure what it was about but I took this meeting. And then, of course, I think a couple days later Don Jr. released the e-mail exchange.

So I asked, why did it play out the way it did few were fully prepared to be up front and transparent from the get-go? He wouldn't comment. But if you read between the lines, what was implied was that neither he the attorney nor his client, Don Jr., were fully part of the process or consulted with on that initial misleading statement about adoption, only saying that the focus of the meeting was about adoption. My colleagues, Evan Perez and Sarah Murray, recently reported that the first statement was crafted aboard Air Force One and included the president and his White House aide and there was a big concern initially about protecting Jared Kushner. So, it certainly raises a fair amount of questions, Anderson.

COOPER: And we should point out the president's own attorney, Sekulow, last week at the end of the week was saying the president did not sign off and I believe it was his --

[21:05:03] BROWN: Right.

COOPER: -- he was saying in "The New York Times" and the reporting was inaccurate. Pam brown, appreciate that.


COOPER: I want to bring in the panel. Asha Rangappa is with us, Jeffrey Lord, Ana Navarro, Kirsten Powers, and Matt Lewis.

Kirsten, does it make sense to you that the president tweets out in the morning, anybody would have done this to get opposition research, Sean Spicer then in -- on, you know, in the briefing room in front of the, you know -- not in front much cameras.


COOPER: But says this was -- there's no evidence that this was about anything other than adoption and, you know, the sanctions?

POWERS: No, it doesn't make sense also because Donald Jr. -- I don't remember the exact tweet but he tweeted something along those lines.

COOPER: Right.

POWERS: But I'm sure I'm the first person who ever got --


COOPER: -- he said this for me --


COOPER: -- it was about opposition research. POWERS: Right, and he put out a tweet, also. So, I don't know why Sean Spicer would now try to change the story back to something both Don Jr. and his father have said weren't the case, and if anything were saying, what's the big deal, anybody would do this? I mean that's kind of been the argument of most of the surrogates as well, to say that everybody does this even though everybody doesn't do this.

COOPER: Right, Matt, I mean, it is one thing to lie. It is one thing to lie in a way that's a reliant on that y'all are stupid and all of the facts you have been hearing about over the last week, we're just going to pretend they didn't happen.

MATT LEWIS, SENIOR COLUMNIST, THE DAILY BEAST: To me, I just think this reinforces the notion that the White House press briefing is now a waste of time, if it ever -- if it ever really was worth anything it's now completely pointless.

COOPER: You don't think there's a value in hearing people in the White House saying things which are demonstrably false?

LEWIS: I don't think there's a value in Sean Spicer who is not inside, who doesn't know what he's talking about. He's either lying to us and spinning us, which doesn't advance, -- doesn't inform the public, or he just simply doesn't know.


COOPER: I mean it was in every newspaper. It's not possible he didn't know.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I totally disagree with Matt. There's great value on Sean Spicer. He has given us great "SNL," "Saturday Night Live" skits.


NAVARRO: So please do not, you know, go against Sean. Look, so Sean Spicer says there's no evidence it was about anything other than this adoption act. Well, there's no evidence it was not about opposition research. And what we do have are players in the room who we know have no credibility because they have lied publicly, indignantly, emphatically and constantly for months and months and months. We all know but for the fact that he got caught that these e-mails were going to be released, he would have kept on, Don Jr., with his story that this -- that he had never had any contact with Russia.

So my question is why should we believe anything any of these people are saying when they've got such a track record of lying?

COOPER: Jeff, you know, it is such a cliche now to talk about the drip, drip of information and, you know, Trey Gowdy last week said, look, anybody who has ever met, you know, somebody who may be connected, you know, should just talk to the special counsel, but now, you know, Pam Brown talked to Donald Trump Jr.'s attorney who seems himself to be trying to figure out exactly who was in the room and the purpose of everything, and now you have the eighth person was this representative from this Russian family who last week the Russian family's lawyer was saying, no, no, they had nothing to do with it, it was just an acquaintance, and now they're sending a representative.

JEFFREY LORD, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Get it all out there. Get it all out there. I mean, to me Donald Trump Jr. has -- is saying, I'll come and talk. I'll come and testify. I'm happy to do it. I mean that's the attitude that you should have and get this all out there. That said, Anderson, for all of the talk that we're doing at this, there's no there there here. I mean colluded to do what, carry Pennsylvania? Pennsylvania was carried because Pennsylvanians were upset about jobs, trade, health care, et cetera. I would go to these rallies. Not a single person mentioned Russia to me, not one.

COOPER: No, no, but isn't the there there -- I mean it's -- no one is saying that ballot boxes were missed with.

LORD: Well, the implication is --

COOPER: No, but to me this is more about the future and figuring out what happened this past time in terms of what did the Russians actually do and what's going to happen the next time and what's going to happen in Europe and understanding the MO of Russian intelligence seems like there's value in that.

POWERS: There's also another implication though. There's an implication -- and we don't know what happened, but there's an implication that someone was helping the Russians figure out how to target certain districts with certain fake news.

COOPER: Right. We had a former intelligence guy --


COOPER: -- on last night -- or tonight.

POWERS: The idea that, you know, nobody mentioned Russia --

LEWIS: And Jared Kushner was in charge of the data.

POWERS: -- digital operations. So it's pretty far fetched to think that the Russians would know that in this district African-American voters are thinking this and if you tell them this fake news that this is what's going to get through to them. So the assumption is someone in the United States was helping. And so, the question is was it somebody on the Trump campaign or someone associated with the Trump campaign.

So, but nobody is going to say Russia because they're not going to know where it's coming from. All they know is they read a news story they think is true.

[21:10:04] COOPER: Asha, it just doesn't -- to me, it just doesn't look good if the people involved aren't coming forward and just saying, yes, this happened, there was this meeting, eight people were there. It's like every day, later in the day, it's like, oh, my gosh, and here's another piece of information that seems to contradict what everyone else has been saying.

ASHA RANGAPPA, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Right. And frankly, Anderson, this is why all of these new people who keep emerging like Russian nesting dolls in this meeting are going to become important, because what happened in that meeting is going to be critical to giving context for everything that came after.

And I think it's important to not make this as a mutually exclusive thing between dirt on Hillary and adoptions. Remember that adoption is a euphemism --

COOPER: Right, it's not adoptions. It's sanction.

RANGAPPA: Exactly. This is sanction. This was a foreign policy discussion.

COOPER: Right. It's a quid pro quo.


COOPER: You're like I --

RANGAPPA: Thank you.

COOPER: -- give you this stuff, we'll -- is there going to be movement on sanctions.

RANGAPPA: It's a foreign policy discussion by people associated with the campaign that's also mixed in with information that might be helpful to that campaign, and how did those two things come together in that meeting? And now, there are, you know, several people who can be questioned about that and who can give an account of that meeting even if Don, Jr. doesn't come clean.

LORD: Could be under oath.

COOPER: Yes, much more to talk about ahead including calls for Jared Kushner's security clearance to be revoked in light of all of this.

Also shortly, despite efforts by the White House and Senate leadership, we're learning that the GOP Senate Obamacare Replacement bill may now be all but dead. We have late details on that. There's a meeting at the White House senators with the president tonight on 360 ahead.


[21:15:13] COOPER: We're back talking about the Trump campaign and the Trump administration, questions over ties to Russia in the wake of all of the revelations about that meeting last year, legislative calls to revoke Jared Kushner's security clearance are growing louder. Earlier tonight, I spoke with Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden.


SEN. RON WHITE, (D) INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: As you get more and more information about this, you really are just stunned at how reckless, almost cavalier this White House is with respect to security clearances. And as more information rolls in from Jared Kushner's activities, you just cannot make a logical case that he should keep his security clearance.


COOPER: Back now with the panel. Kirsten, I mean, you know, easy for Democrats to complain about it. Unless the president decides -- first of all, he doesn't have a final security clearance, yet, and we understand there's some staffers in the White House who are concerned he may not get the final security clearance, but if he does just up to the president to take it away.

POWERS: Yes, it is up to the president. And I don't think -- I can't imagine that the president would ever not, you know, ever pull his security clearance once he gets it. I think it is true that if he was just any other staffer and any other administration, he would probably have that security clearance put on hold. That would just be the responsible thing to do and but I don't expect that that's what is going to happen here.

COOPER: Do -- I mean, used to work as FBI special agent, what do you -- what's your take on security clearance? It would be possible that he wouldn't be granted a final security clearance? He's high level?

RANGAPPA: Well, if he were a normal Intel agency employee or someone who works in one of these agencies, his clearance would be put on hold as they examined all of these update, made sure that all of these contacts were vetted to not raise any concern.

I mean, you know, when I was an FBI agent, I had to report every single contact I had on an ongoing basis. My clearance wasn't approved because I did that reporting, but had I not. I probably would have been pulled out -- been pulled out, been polygraphed, being asked about why I didn't report it.

And so, you know, he probably will get it as Kirsten said, but he would not be being treated like every other employee who gets one of these clearances.

COOPER: There's a Republican congressman from Texas who said it would be better in be in the president's best interest if he removed all of these kids from the White House. He said, I'm going out on a limb but I would say it, I think it would be in the president's best interest if he removed all of his children from the White House, not only Donald Jr., but Ivanka, and Jared Kushner. What do you think of that?

LORD: All right. You know, Congressman Flores, I guess from Texas, I just mean, Presidents have been employing their children and other relatives since his business icon determine, John Adams made use of his son, John Quincy, I mean, all the way through to the Kennedy's and the Clintons, et cetera.

You know, you can say good, bad or indifferent, but the fact to the matter is presidents are human. And they grab -- (CROSSTALK)

LORD: Wife, Hillary (ph) in charge of health care.


POWERS: She was the first lady and that was her agenda.

LORD: Yes.

COOPER: But also they haven't I mean children --

NAVARRO: What children did the Bush's employ?

LORD: No, and what?

NAVARRO: What children did the Bush is employ? What did the Obama is employ? What children --

LORD: Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, Robert --

NAVARRO: OK. Can we make it go --


COOPER: You're telling that Kennedy --


COOPER: -- all their children?

LORD: Ah, yes.


LORD: You guys, you guys, look, I mean this has been done. And all I'm saying is that presidents --

COOPER: You're telling me if Chelsea Clinton sat in on the G20 --

LORD: Sure, Republicans would object --


LORD: -- Hillary Clinton would do it anyway.

NAVARRO: -- on fire.

LORD: That's my point, is the president trust whom they trust. And the rest of us can agree or disagree. But you're -- I mean, if they've got in this case with Jared Kushner, you know, a real trust in somebody, there's lots of precedent for this and they're going to keep --

LEWIS: That's part of the problem. Part of the problem is that he trusts, that it skews your judgment that you would trust -- and you're not going to fire them right? That was one of the big problems of it. And by the way, I think you're totally right about the historical precedent, but I don't think it's a good thing, this nepotism.

And if, you know, Bill Clinton couldn't fire Hillary Clinton, and if you were a staffer in the White House and you had an issue with her or disagreed with something --

LORD: Woe betide.

LEWIS: Exactly. And how do you have a fight with Jared Kushner?

NAVARRO: Listen. Nobody who is a CEO, nobody who is running anything should hire any body they can not fire. And Donald Trump will have a very hard time firing his favorite daughter's husband, and his favorite daughter's husband has had to amend his security clearance forms three times. Unless, you prove to me that he has got early onset dementia, I don't understand how he was able to forget 100 contacts with, you know, with foreigners. I mean, you know, this kid is --


[21:20:02] RANGAPPA: I'm guessing that his attorney by round three just made him put down everything. So I mean not to say that that excuses it, but it's possible that the 100 people are over inclusive, but that really should have been there the first time around.

NAVARRO: And you realize you're not talking about 10? I mean, a 100 is a lot.

RANGAPPA: Exactly. No my point is it should have been --

LEWIS: It's not like 30,000 missing e-mail though.

NAVARRO: Oh, for the love of god. Can we stop talking what it's not -- listen, she is in the woods in Chappaquam, picking up mushrooms. This man is in the White House, in the Oval Office as a Commander in Chief. So can we please focus on the ball? Can we focus on what, you know, --

LORD: I just want the same standard for everybody, that's all.

NAVARRO: Sure, let's have the same standard. If Chelsea Clinton had sat at the G20, you would have been screaming bloody --

COOPER: Jeff, you have no problem with Ivanka Trump sitting with the president of China at the G20 representing her father at with the president?

LORD: No, if the president wants anybody, his daughter, anybody else to do it, that's the president's choice. And we hold the president responsible for -- for his decisions.

NAVARRO: OK. Hand on your heart, would you have had a problem with Chelsea Clinton sitting there?


NAVARRO: Nobody watching believes you.

LORD: Wait. If Hillary Clinton wanted her daughter there and was making her daughter like Ivanka is, then that's Hillary Clinton's choice, would I disagree with it probably, but her wife is --


LEWIS: I used to think that this -- I used to think that they were a good influence on him. And we can go back and pull tape from --

COOPER: Right.

LEWIS: -- six months ago or so.

COOPER: A lot of people said that, in fact, that it was great then they were --


COOPER: -- a moderate influence or --

LEWIS: It was like, look, I mean, you know, they're more liberal than I care for and they don't have any experience, but they're scene (ph) and compared to some of the Trump whispers that are going to keep him in line. And I've actually changed my mind about that. I actually think now it's pretty clear that they should go.

COOPER: What made you change your mind?

LEWIS: Part of this three -- you know, not being honest about disclosure forms, the fact that they're now embroiled in the Don Jr. e-mail. I mean, again, you know, if these were normal staffers you could dispatch them. They may not even make these mistakes because they would probably be -- if you were at that level of a White House, you would have the experience presumably, the wisdom to not make some of these mistakes.

NAVARRO: And also with Jared Kushner, there's so many blurry lines when it comes to the private sector, to his businesses, to his real estate business and how, you know, he's been able to use the government platform to in some way influence loans and other different activities in his private sector. I mean they're like piggish, they keep eating at the trough.

COOPER: Sorry, that's a visual I'm not going to be able to get out of my head. We're going to come up -- we have breaking news coming up on the GOP Senate health care bill. The president has been lobbying for just tonight with Senators, late word coming on which senators have just turned against it.


[21:26:18] COOPER: More breaking news tonight in a potential big setback for the president who spent the evening lobbying Republican senators on their Healthcare Bill, a bill which late tonight looks to be a legislatively all but dead. Ryan Nobles has the latest. So, how did things come unraveled tonight?

RYAN NOBLES, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, Anderson, essentially what you had here were two Republican senators that right out of the gate, Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky, who said that they were opposed to this bill. Now one more senate vote was enough to topple the bill.

And there has been a sense around here for the last several weeks that there were basically a whole bunch of senators that were unhappy with the progress of this bill. But no one wanted to be that next vote essentially the 49th vote to prevent this bill from moving forward.

So that's where you saw tonight, Jerry Moran of Kansas and Mike Lee of Utah together released a statement at exactly the same time announcing that they could not support the bill, meaning that there were two senators pulling back and essentially killing the bill at this point.

So, and even though for a long time it seemed as though Mitch McConnell was kind of upholding the ship together and put them into position where they were going to at least be able to get the bill to the floor.

There's been some sense that there was, actually, a much greater number of senators that were uncomfortable with it. That was revealed here tonight as two more senators have said that they cannot support the bill. And it essentially makes the situation for Mitch McConnell untenable, there's no path forward if he wants to see at least this version of health care reform passed.

COOPER: The two senators who came forward tonight, what was their oppositions? Because obviously we have Susan Collins in one side in terms of Republicans and Rand Paul --


COOPER: Rand Paul, you know, kind of ideologically very different than Susan Collins?

NOBLES: Yes. In many ways Jerry Moran and Mike Lee are in different ends spectrum. Mike Lee is in the Rand Paul camp, maybe not quite as far as Rand Paul but he is certainly a conservative. He did not like the language in the new Cruz amendment which he initially was a co- author of.

At one point Senator Cruz stepped away from Mike Lee and direct -- and was directly negotiating with Mitch McConnell. And at the latest version of that amendment was something that Senator Lee was not happy with. And he said that specifically in his statement here tonight. And I can actually read a portion of that for you. He said, "After conferring with trusted experts regarding the latest version of the Consumer Freedom Amendment," and that was the amendment he was coauthoring with Ted Cruz, "I have decided that I cannot support the current version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act. In addition to not repealing all of the Obamacare taxes, it doesn't go far enough in lowering premiums for middle class families, nor does it create enough free space for the most costly Obamacare regulations."

But Jerry Moran has a little bit of a different story, Anderson, you know, he's somebody that we've been watching very closely and his displeasure with the bill has not been necessarily that vocal. But he was against the bill when it was the first version of the Health Care Reform Bill. But he said that he was open to working and negotiating on the second bill but he never fully embraced it.

He was very concerned with the way that Medicaid would play out in this version of health care reform. So, he was somebody that was never really comfortable with it and today he made it official that he can't support it.

COOPER: So, is there a plan B or plan C?

NOBLES: That's a good question. We are -- we have, you know, contacts in to Senator McConnell's office tonight to see what their next plan is.

At this point there is -- McConnell's office has been very reluctant to say let's just go back to the drawing board and start from scratch. And keep in mind, Anderson, it will be a much more difficult process if they decide to do that because they are attempting to pass this bill through reconciliation which would only allow them to do it with the 50 votes.

If they create a whole new bill, then that reconciliation option isn't back on the table and then you vote, of course, have to get the House back involved. So at this point, no, there isn't a plan B or a plan C.

[21:30:05] COOPER: Wow.

NOBLES: But, you know, there were seven Republican leadership members over at the White House tonight. Perhaps this is something that they were talking about. But there's certainly a long road ahead --


NOBLES: -- if they hope to pass any form of health care reform.

COOPER: Ryan Nobles. Ryan, thanks very much. Back now with the panel. I mean, amazing after so long, Republicans running on this, the idea of not --

LORD: Yes.

COOPER: -- not actually, I mean, if the damage have not having something versus --

LORD: Correct.

COOPER: -- doing something that people don't like.

LORD: Correct. They should have been ready the day after the inauguration with this, and they weren't. And -- COOPER: I mean they passed how many, you know, bills --

LORD: Right, yes, countless.

COOPER: -- President Obama.

LORD: And my point is, if they don't get this done, when we get to 2018 off year elections are hard for presidents, anyway. But what you could have here is the curious phenomenon of the base of the Republican Party turning on their own members of Congress for not doing what they said. And saying, look, why vote for you if you're not going to do what you told us you were going to do?

LEWIS: They did not. I wrote a column in January for "The Daily Beast" saying Republicans should just punt on this. I started off trying to write a column that was going to be, this is how Republicans are going to fix health care.

And every conservative center right, you know, leaning health care expert I talked to and I talked to them over and over. There was no solution. The fundamental problem of this is that Americans after Obamacare basically came to the conclusion that it is the government's responsibility to take care of your health insurance.

COOPER: That set the precedent.

LEWIS: Once that becomes a political reality, now there's really no free market solution, right? So if you're a conservative who wants competition, who wants the free market solution, you're not going to have it.

So then if you actually want -- if you can't -- if you are a conservative, you can't out spend liberals. So, the more generous plan, you can't compete with Obamacare, but you're not going to have the conservative plan. It is a debacle. I think this is Donald Trump's Vietnam. It is basically a boondoggle. They thought they could do it quickly. They though could go and surgically. (INAUDIBLE) Trump's war. He didn't want this.

COOPER: This is not -- you said this is Donald Trump's Vietnam?

LEWIS: I think it is.


COOPER: Easy to get in, too hard to get out of?

LEWIS: Here in -- Exactly. And we are now in June. How do you do tax reform? How do you do infrastructure? There is no --

COOPER: What does happen now? I mean, what, you know, if you believe Republicans will say Obamacare is dying --


COOPER: -- and certainly they're not doing anything to help it not die. And yet if there's not something passed what --

POWERS: Well, I never thought it was going to pass. So, I will be surprised if it does pass. It sort of for the reasons that you were saying, that's why I have a slightly, I mean, the idea that they want a free market solution. I mean the free market solution is what we had before.

LEWIS: No. That's not true.

POWERS: That was the free market.

LEWIS: We did not -- No, no, we did not have a free market solution.

POWERS: So, you would have, you would have even more -- you would have even more just not providing anything that's what you mean --

LEWIS: No, no, look, the problem is that America's healthcare starting after World War II because of wage and price controls made it so that you were tied to your employer. So, it was a third party. I never negotiated --

POWERS: I know. I understand how it works.

LEWIS: But that wasn't a free market solution.

POWERS: But that's not the solution. So, my point is that they never -- Republicans have never had a solution to this problem because it is not a problem they want to solve.

NAVARRO: Well, look, I think this shows you the enormous spectrum right now within the Republican Party. You've got moderates like Susan Collins. You've got libertarians like Rand Paul. You've got conservatives ideologues like Mike Lee.

So, the spectrum is so big right now in the Republican Party that it's very hard to come up with a product that passes muster for everybody that can get the votes, particularly when all you have is a two-vote margin in the Senate.

COOPER: So, did they try to work with the Democrats to do something in Obamacare?

NAVARRO: The big threat from Mitch McConnell was, if you -- if we can get this pass low and behold get yourselves ready, please, buckle up, we may have to go work with Democrats. So, you know, God forbid, we may see a bipartisan compromise if Republicans cannot get something done unilaterally.

COOPER: We're going to take a quick break. And a lot more on the collapse, the GOP Senate Healthcare Bill in a moment. We will be right back.


[21:37:50] COOPER: Before the break Matt Lewis called it Donald Trump's Vietnam which could make this 1975 complete with choppers on the embassy roof to collapse, the Republican Health care are seeming to collapse, and what it all means something the president before that candidate Trump said would be easy.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Real change begins immediately with the repealing and replacing of the disaster known as Obamacare.

To get rid of Obamacare. It's going to be gone. It's going to be terminated.

Obamacare is a disaster.

Repeal it and replace it.

Repeal and replace.

Repeal and replace. Obamacare, we're going to repeal it, we're going to replace it, we're going to get something done. Repeal it, replace it, get something great!

We're going to repeal and replace the horror that's known as Obamacare. It is a horror.

I will repeal and replace Obamacare, which is a catastrophe.

We're going to kill it, let it die. Let it die. And we're going to come up with something much, much better.

You're going to have such great health care at a tiny fraction of the cost, and it's going to be so easy.


COOPER: Back now with the panel, obviously, not so easy. And I mean you were talking about it during the break, Kirsten, just the, you know, the different sides. You have Susan Collins, you have Rand Paul.

POWERS: Yes. So if you have Susan Collins opposing it, pretty dug in. You have Rand Paul, pretty dug in. And so you're not looking at a problem if you're the president of going, OK, I've got Susan Collins, say it was two moderate and you could say, OK, I know I have a problem with moderates. But you've got a problem with a moderate. You've got a problem with somebody --

COOPER: Right --


POWERS: Exactly, there's no way to fix it, so it's going to please both of those people.

COOPER: But if markets, you know, we know there are states were, you know, there are few choices for people. So what happens? LORD: Well, it will keep collapsing on its own. There's no question about it.

COOPER: But at some point isn't there an obligation to try and do something to keep it from collapsing?

LORD: Yes, there is. Yes, there is. And I just that think they're going to have -- the figure six opens in my head here in terms of the possible gains for Republicans next year in the Senate that's been mentioned. If they do not get this done, I really do think the base of the Republican Party, they're not going to blame the president. They're going to blame member also of the House and Senate who didn't get this done, who had seven years to --

[21:40:08] LEWIS: They might blame them if they do get it done, too. I mean they're been, you know, this is damn if you do, damn if you don't.

COOPER: But you also now have a president who six months into the administration there's massive, you know, number of investigations going on. And the signature piece of legislation which he campaigned on as being easy and something you can do in the first week or first day, if it fails I mean that's -- he's not in a good spot.


COOPER: You don't think it hurts the president, the people won't blame the president?

LORD: I think some people will, but I think his base, you know, remember his famous comment about he could go out on 5th Avenue and shoot somebody? I mean, I talked to a lot of these folks. I mean, they're sticking. They really think that he is up against the denizens of the swamp. And they're more inclined to go after their own members of Republican Members of Congress.


POWERS: The truth is -- I think is the interesting thing is I think if it was just Donald Trump negotiating the way he wanted to negotiate, I think he could probably get a deal and he deal with Democrats and probably would do something that's a lot more liberal than what the Republicans are willing to do. And so, I think to a certain extent it kind of is the fault of the Republican Congress --

LORD: Yes.

POWERS: -- because they're the ones who aren't -- they're not willing to --

COOPER: Do you think the president, well, then just tries to reach out to, you know, Chuck Schumer.

POWERS: Frankly, he should.

NAVARRO: Look, he has got a unique opportunity. He's let the Congressional leadership lead on this policy issue, and they're not getting anywhere. They're not making any progress.

He is the art of the deal guy.

LORD: Right.

NAVARRO: This is time for him to show it. Go out and reach out to Democrats and try to do some bipartisanship.

It might mean some of his base don't like it, but it might also mean that he expands his base. Right now, one of his biggest problems is that not only has he not expanded his base, he's cut in two, anybody other than a base that might have at some point thought of supporting him because of the failures, because of the investigations, because of the tweets, because of the -- you know, because of being such an infantile human being. I mean, you know, --

LEWIS: Friday is six months for this administration.

NAVARRO: You're kidding me. It's only been six months?

LEWIS: It feels like only five years. The amazing thing is that Republicans have a president, Senate, House, State Houses, governorships, more attorneys general. You could on the list --

LORD: Right.

LEWIS: And they have everything and they haven't been able to pass a single big piece of legislation, anything that would, you know, be significant. And I don't know if there's any, like light at the end of the tunnel. When would that happen?

COOPER: Well, also, I mean -- and it was interesting because I think it was today or yesterday the president was saying, yet again, he signed more bills --


COOPER: -- into law than any president -- I mean if you look at the actual bills, I think some of them are like renaming things.

LORD: The countervailing pressure for Democrats which I don't think we should lose sight is, is if this continues to implode then there's going to be pressure on Democrats to do something.

POWERS: Democrats can't do anything. They're not in control of anything.

LORD: What?

POWERS: Democrats aren't in control of anything. And the thing is if he wants --

NAVARRO: Jeffrey, right now we own this thing.

(CROSSTALK) NAVARRO: Here is the thing, they are not, you know, we're pregnant with this baby, we own this baby. They owned us for eight years, right now it is ours to figure out.

LORD: I understand. But if it goes down the tubes and they are seen as not negotiating with Republicans --

NAVARRO: Nobody has reach out to them to negation.

POWERS: But they're not going to repeal Obamacare--

LEWIS: The reconciliation thing is part of the -- I mean it's a problem in terms of making that argument. You know, the Republicans tried -- they wanted to do health care and tax reform through reconciliation, and maybe that now looks like the --

COOPER: Kirsten, do you think the president could reach out to Democrats?

POWERS: Well, so the Democrats will not repeal Obamacare. That's not going to happen. What they would do is they would take Obamacare and improve it and make it better so, in areas, and there are problems with Obamacare. There are absolutely are very legitimate problems with it and work on that. But problem with the president is that he just played, he promised to repeal Obamacare.


POWERS: And so I don't know how he --

NAVARRO: He also promised to build a wall, he promised to re negotiate NAFTA, he promised a bunch of things. So, you know --

COOPER: A moment ago, Jeffrey talked about the base and their undying support for the president.

Coming up next, what new polling has to say about that and the president's surprising take on as John King has the number and the fact check.


[21:48:07] COOPER: President Trump is defiant. As his job approval rating seems to new low in a new poll really just based before he marks six months in office. The new polls suggest just 36 percent of Americans approve the job he's doing so far.

That is the worst rating since modern polling began seven years ago. The president doesn't see it that way, responding with tweet, "The ABC/Washington Post Poll even though almost 40% is not bad at this time, was just about the most inaccurate poll around election time!" CNN, Chief National Correspondent John King joins us tonight, keeping them honest, John is that true?

JOHN KING, CNN NATIONAL CHIEF ORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, if you fact check the two important points in that presidential tweet, number one that 40 percent isn't all that bad six months in. Number two that the ABC/Washington Post Poll was way off in its tracking in the 2016 election, you would come to the conclusion wrong and wrong. Let's take a look at the numbers.

This is the poll the President was referencing when he made that tweet on top here. The New Washington Post, ABC news poll, 36 percent of the American people approve of his job handling as we approach the six months mark 58 percent, nearly six disapprove.

Just by point of reference, a Bloomberg poll out at the same numbers has essentially the same numbers roughly four in 10 Americans approve how the president is doing right now, in only six months in, 55, 56, nearly six in 10 Americans disapprove how he's doing. Now the president might think that's OK or that's not bad to use his words. But let's take a look at history.

History suggests that is a historically low and historically unpopular president. Donald Trump at 36 percent approval, this is the ABC/Washington Post numbers. Gerald Ford was at 39 percent six months and remember he took office after Richard Nixon resigned, the Watergate scandal, tough times for this president, young president.

Bill Clinton was a 45 percent, 10 points, 11 points away from Donald Trump. He won in 1992 with 43 percent of the vote. Remember the Ross Perot factor in that year.

Look at this other presidents, Richard Nixon 58, George W. Bush 59, Barack Obama, 59, Ronald Reagan 62. These other presidents at the six month market considerably higher in their approval rating, up around 60 percent than Donald Trump at 36 percent.

[21:50:06] So it's just plain fact historically at six months Donald Trump is among the most unpopular president in the history of polling. What about that other point the President made that the ABC/Washington Post Poll is terrible. That it wasn't good in predicting the 2016 election results now?

Now, here is the final tracking by the ABC/Washington Post Poll 47 to 43. That was the final tracking poll just before the election. Let's shrink this down a little bit. Here's what happen on Election Day, 48.5 for Hillary Clinton, 46.4 for Donald Trump. So about a two point gap there, four point gap there.

So, yes, the post poll was off a little bit. But if take the margin a very into effect they certainly had the popular vote total about right. So the president is wrong. Yes, he won the Electoral College, yes, he won the presidency, but if you look at this poll. If you understand polling, look at the margin of error, the president's point in that tweet, Anderson, again wrong.

COOPER: John, thanks very much. That same poll is not exactly great news when it comes to how people they see the Democrats to the question of, do you think the Democratic Party currently stands for something, or just stands against the president? Thirty seven percent say it stands for something, 52 percent say it only stands against the president. Back now with the panel, just first on that Democratic thing, I mean, you know, for all the excitement of Democrats at, you know, low poll numbers for the president, if 52 percent of the people say you don't stand for anything except oppose the president, that's not good.

LORD: Just -- just, no matter if you're Republican or Democrat you have to stand for something. If you don't do that, if you make it all about Barack Obama or Donald Trump or whatever, in the end you are going to hurt yourself.

LEWIS: Nancy Pelosi became speaker by running against George W. Bush. So you don't --


LEWIS: -- when we get around to a president.

LORD: -- with ideas, right?

LEWIS: I don't think so. I think she ran against George W. Bush and it worked in 2006. But when you run for president you do have to be for something. And I'll tell you what I felt when I saw that, Donald Trump needs to find a third party candidate. They need a Ross Perot, if Donald Trump is going to be re-elected.

LORD: What was the sample, I mean where Democrats, where Russia involve was reading this today, and said that the sampling was overdone for Democrat, right, right. But, you know, the fact of the matter is --

COOPER: So you don't buy the president was at historic lows?

LORD: I don't think, and he may be, he maybe.

COOPER: Does that concern you if he is.

LORD: In six months in, no, no. If this we're six weeks from November of 2020, yes, but not now.

COOPER: So, but if -- if he doesn't get health care, what happens to those numbers? You don't think they're going to go down.

LORD: They could, sure.

COOPER: Do you think they're going to blame --

LORD: They could. But they could also go up. In 1982, Ronald Reagan had a terrible year. I can't remember his numbers, but it wasn't good. And, you know, by 1983 when his economic package finally kicked in, which had been passed in August of '91, then things turned around.

COOPER: It is interesting, though. I mean the president has had -- you know, you look at illegal immigration into this country. It's down hugely just from the president sort of threatening and using the bully pulpit.

LORD: The stock market is doing well.

COOPER: Whether he can claim later for that. I mean, the victory in Mosul, again, it started, you know, the fight started in the Obama administration.


NAVARRO: It's more than the -- the economic indicators are good. You know, he has achieved some things. But it's more than that. I think a lot of Americans still care about the office of the presidency of the United States and feel that he is cheapening it, feels that he is tarnishing it. Maybe not his base of supporters who do not budget, but most Americans, even Republicans, do not like his tweeting. Find it offensive and infantile, but he continues doing it. So, I think it's, you know, I think it's less about the specific policy issues and the specific accomplishments or not and I think it's more about the fact that we've got this president who's kind of embarrassing a lot of times.

LORD: I don't think those people liked him anyway.


LORD: I don't think those people liked him anyway.

NAVARRO: Yes, but then you like him less, right?

RANGAPPA: I mean, and it's hard to focus on anything that he's done because he himself keeps the Russia issue going and going.

COOPER: -- stepping on --

RANGAPPA: You know, it's like having a stair master for president. It's just exhausting that you just, you know, have to go along with it. So it is hard for the Democrats, I think, to actually find space in all of this noise that he himself creates, quite frankly to actually --

COOPER: But if the Democrats, all they focus on is Russia stuff and thinking that the president is somehow going to pay the price for that and it ends up that there is no --

LORD: There there.

COOPER: -- there at all. Do they pay a bigger price?

POWERS: Well, look, I mean -- I just -- you should always stand for something and not just against something, I think as a general rule. But at the same time, your point about Nancy Pelosi, I kind of agree with that. Elections do tend to be a referendum on the incumbent. And so you actually can run against people. But it is better if you have something to offer them that's an alternative that they want.

COOPER: Right. I mean Van Jones keeps talking about this --

POWERS: Yes, the Democrats need to -- and, you know, Democrats are having their own little situation over here.

RANGAPPA: But it could be --

POWERS: -- they're like the liberals and the moderates --


POWERS: -- are kind of trying to figure things out and trying to figure out which direction the party is going in. So I think that they're in the process of doing that.

[21:55:05] But I do think, you know, I think Ana is right. Because at this point, I don't know how many Americans actually expect Donald Trump to have done anything. He hasn't been there that long. So, what they're judging him more on is probably the tone, what he's, you know, the fact that he did sort of -- let's remember like he did kind of promise to be the guy who gets along with everybody and he likes everybody and he's going to get them in the room and he's going to get --


POWERS: -- it's going to be different, right?


POWERS: And, instead, he's kind become this person who's, you know, just pounding on the Democrats in the media and he's not really doing the things that he said he's --


LORD: How many times --

NAVARRO: Have you seen this movie before about, you know, just standing against Donald Trump. The bulk of Hillary Clinton's campaign was standing against Donald Trump and the fact that he was such a, you know, objectionable offensive human being for so many of us. It wasn't enough.

LEWIS: I think the midterms are different. And he is president now. He wasn't -- he was this -- he could be whatever you wanted him to be in the campaign. But now he is president, I agree. I think if you want to win the White House you have to an agenda, you have to stand for something. If you want to win the midterms, if you want take back the House, I think beating up Donald Trump is a good way.

LORD: How many time have we had this kind of conversation in the course of the campaign and he comes back.

COOPER: That's true.

Everyone thanks. We'll be right back.


COOPER: That's it for us. Time to hand things over to Dom Lemon in CNN Tonight.