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Senate Does Not Have Votes To Repeal Obama Care; White House Spokesman Contradicts President on Trump Jr.'s meeting. Aired 11p- Midnight ET
Aired July 17, 2017 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:47] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.
DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: Breaking news, the move to repeal Obamacare collapses. This is CNN tonight". I'm Don Lemon. The senate does not have the votes to pass a health care bill. Tonight President Trump reacting on Twitter, calling on Republicans to repeal Obamacare now and just start from a clean slate, can that happen? We'll discuss now. I want to begin this hour with CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins and political commentator David Swerdlick. Good evening to both of you both. This is from the senate majority leader Mitch McConnell.
He said regretfully, it is now an apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful. He said the next move will be in the coming days the senate will vote to take up the house bill with the first amendment in order being what a majority of the senate has already supported in 2015 and that was vetoed by then President Obama. A repeal of Obamacare with a two-year delay to provide for a stable transition position to a patient-centered health care system that gives Americans access to quality affordable care. What do you make of his statement?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're seeing Mitch McConnell throw in the towel on repeal and replace which is really surprising, because this is something that Republicans have promised for several years. And now with the President's tweet also calling for repeal and replace sounds a lot different than what he was saying in January when he said that the Obamacare would be repealed and replaced immediately within hours. Now we're looking at a whole new thing that didn't have a lot of support in January when it was first broached. We're not thinking it's going to have a lot of support now, but they want to at least say had he tried, because this is something they've promised hair constituents for years.
LEMON: So David, so replace it with what? It sounds like he is saying there is some interim way that it can go from one thing, they can repeal it and work with something in the interim till they come up with something better. Explain that.
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Don, can I take a step back and say the Republicans in congress and President Trump have the same problem they had going all the way back to inauguration day and before. President Obama passed a bill that was basically Mitt Romney's health care plan that at one time was a Republican health care plan. If Democrats had done something that was more liberal, if they had done Medicare for all, Republicans would probably be trying to replace it right now with what is now Obamacare. That is problem one.
Problem number two for the Republicans is Republicans didn't expect to be in the position they're in and so they've talked a lot over the last however many years about getting rid of Obamacare, repeal and replace without having that alternative plan and problem number three is that the President's natural position, Don, is to actually favor health coverage for more people. He has said going back to 2000, 17 years ago, he wrote in his book "the America we deserve," that he was a conservative on most issues but he was a liberal on this one. He wanted to cover more people. Now he is leading a party though that has a bill that essentially will shrink care according to the CBO. So it's an unnatural position for the President and he has not campaigned forcefully for it. That is where we are right now.
LEMON: Kaitlan, will they have the votes if Mitch McConnell wants to do, will they have the votes for a straight repeal.
COLLINS: It's not likely. It will give them the chance to say they tried. Tonight as these Senators, Mike Leann Jerry Moran said they were not going to support this bill, Donald Trump and Mike Pence were hosting other Senators at the White House in hopes of getting more support for the bill. They're really starting over here. These Senators said they weren't going to support any kind of changes to this bill and they wanted to start from scratch. Mitch McConnell definitely has his hands full with this.
LEMON: David, how do you repeal something? He says what he wanted to do. He wants to do -- the first amendment in order of being what a majority of the senate has already supported in 2015 that was vetoed by then President Obama. So this is something they tried in 2015. That was vetoed by President Obama. A repeal of Obamacare with a two- year delay to provide for a stable transition period, a patient centered health care system that gives Americans access to quality affordable care. You're going to replace it with something you don't know what it is. How is that going to fly among their constituents? How do they go back home and say we don't know what to replace it but we're definitely going to repeal it and that is good enough?
[23:05:15] SWERDLICK: That is what the two year delay is for to get them past the 2018 midterms to soften the blow of having to explain that to constituents out there. You have a Republican constituency that is still as Selena said in your large segment largely with the President who has been conditioned to think of Obamacare as terrible. It has a lot of problems, we know, but the problem is without having that replacement for it and potentially repealing it and upsetting insurance markets is what Republicans are trying to avoid and at the same time, keeping the promise to their base that they were going to get rid of Obamacare because Obamacare was so bad.
LEMON: The President talked about repealing Obamacare just this afternoon. I want you to take a listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, THE 45TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We do have to repeal Obamacare. And we will end up replacing it with something that is going to be outstanding, far, far better than failing Obamacare. The Republican Senators are great people. But they have a lot of different states. Some states need this. Some states need that. But we're getting it together and it's going to happen. Right, Mike?
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENTIAL-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, sir. I think.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Yeah. Right, Mike? Yes, sir. Okay, I think.
Republicans -- what did you make that have moment? They promised to repeal Obamacare for seven years now.
SWERDLICK: Yeah, Don and lets me give you one number from our ABC/"Washington Post" poll out today. That is that by 50 to 24, Americans are saying they prefer the current affordable care act to whatever the sort of unknown Republican replacement is. There are 25 percent who are saying they don't want either. I think it's fair to say over the last however many years, Obamacare is unpopular and has a lot of problems and needs fixes, even Democrats will tell you that. The problem is when you look at that clip from President Trump, you just don't see exactly what had he want to replace it with.
LEMON: Tonight the President tweeted saying I think they should just repeal it and then the Democrats will come along. Come along. Let's bring our panel in. More of our players, CNN political commentator Peter Beinart, Bakari Sellers and Scott Jennings joins us as well, Margaret Hoover. The failure of repeal and replace in the senate and what will come next. Peter?
PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think this is really a historic moment. It shows that the Republican assault on Obamacare playing out since it got passed probably will never end up succeeding in destroying it. And the question was why Republicans didn't see the writing on wall earlier. This has been incredibly unpopular from the beginning and not what Donald Trump ran on. I mean, if there was a message for Republicans in Donald Trump's primary campaign it's that what the Republican's Party's own voters were motivated by were issues like immigration and not an effort to repeal a health care bill that for all its flaws is actually benefiting a lot of them.
MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The only place I push back on that is certainly Trump voters may have different motivations for voting for Trump than traditional Republicans. Remember, 90 percent of Republicans voted ford Donald Trump. Even though this man professed everybody knew -- but just as many Republicans have in the Republican Party voted for a free market solution to health care for fixing Obamacare. I mean all the other candidates ---
BEINART: He was the primary guy who said I'm not going to touch Medicare or Medicaid.
HOOVER: The Republican Party is divided.
BEINART: That is the problem.
HOOVER: That is exactly why we're here in this moment. That is frankly, this is a deeply tragic moment from the perspective of a center right person who believes we should have as close to universal health care as possible through the free market and free market solutions. And that fixing some of the problems with Obamacare was necessary but ultimately, reorganizing the incentive structure, the transparency in the health care system, and the ability to be able to truly purchase and have freedom in had your health care rather than moving closer and closer to single payer which we have in a third of our economy when you consider veterans and veterans affairs and Medicare and Medicaid.
LEMON: Bakari it, sounds like if we can't get this, now we're going to do this. Now we're going to do this. We have to do something. Is that what's going on here?
BAKARI SELLERS, FORMER HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: I think most Democrats people part of the resistance are probably popping champagne and celebrating. I would warn them and guard them against that because this is not a moment to celebrate. I mean, I know that the Republican Party has had seven years to come up with some idea and all they have been the Party of no, the opposition Party. And they haven't been able to come up with some policy that they can pass.
[23:10:05] However, right now, if the Republican Party is successful in simply repealing Obamacare, I guarantee you our markets Obama markets are going to further be destabilized, economic markets destabilized and we're going to have a problem. I know that Corker, Alexander, and Cotton voted against this and a few of moderates voted against this repeal before. I expect that to be the same way. Just maybe something that Margaret has been looking for, something I have been looking for a very long period of time, Democrats and Republicans will come together in a bipartisan fashion and begin to work ways to fix Obamacare. Obamacare is not going anywhere. It's here to stay. It helps too many people. And unless we come together and start thinking about a transparent process which we can fix Obamacare, then Republicans will continue to fail.
SCOTT JENNINGS, POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm thinking about the grassroots conservatives who wrote checks to and voted for Republican members of congress all over this country on a simple promise to repeal and replace Obamacare and the fact that the United States senate couldn't even get to a place where they could open up the floor to debate and amend and have a free-wheeling discussion of this bill is going to disappoint a lot of them. There are now new plans in the water tonight that are unsure. We're unsure if the votes to do that. So I just, I think about seven years of elections where Republicans went to the polls thinking they were voting for people who wanted to repeal and replace Obamacare and they must be thinking tonight are they serious about this or not right now, I'm not sure they are.
SWERDLICK: I was going to say, this whole conversation is pointing out the fundamental tension for Republicans. Margaret is right. 90 percent of Republican voters voted for President Trump in your "Washington Post" poll, 82 percent of Republicans are still with the President. And but the problem is, President Trump didn't campaign on a conservative policy platform, because he is not a conservative. What Scott is saying is right. You have members of congress who did campaign on a smaller government, let's get rid of Obamacare platform and these two things are not quite meshing up to get them to the 50 votes that they need in the senate and then a bill that they can merge with the house bill which was probably more conservative.
HOOVER: I think that analysis is right, but the pain problem is that the reason this failed wasn't because of the tension between Trump and the conservatives. This failed because of conservatives and moderates. There isn't a Trump health care policy that is vying for ink at the table here. The problem is Trump was absent. There was no bully pulpit in the presidency pushing this policy through. He was hand writing tonight with three Senators at the White House but he needed to do that, two weeks ago instead of attacking MSNBC anchors. He should have been driving his agenda and trying to force Senators to feel they had to go along with the Republican health care policy.
BEINART: Why did Trump take this on to begin with? Given that he has no enthusiasm for it? And you know if --
LEMON: It was great campaign rhetoric. We'll do it on day one, repeal and replace.
BEINART: But if Donald Trump, again, it's a little bit like Bill Clinton. When Bill Clinton, if Donald Trump had pushed infrastructure, right, he could have created a different kind of coalition with his voters and maybe some Democrats as well. Instead, he had enthusiasm for this, if he understood it, if it was Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio but this isn't who Donald Trump is.
SELLERS: That is the major point. Margaret and Peter both hit the nail on the head. I always think back to 2009 when Barack Obama went to the press conference, he stood in the well and he sat there and deliberated and talked and answered questions for 50 minutes on what was in Obamacare. What was in the affordable care act? There is no Republican that is leading this charge. You have Mike Leann Ted Cruz out here on a limb, Senator McConnell doing his own thing, Paul Ryan doing his own thing. There's no force there driving the Party. Barack Obama was that force and that is why the affordable care act got passed. Donald Trump, I mean, with all due respect in his ability to speak to the common man does not have any idea about health care policy. That is an apparent and because he doesn't know or that knowledge base, it's not necessarily an indictment against him. It's not his bailiwick. But to start off with that first piece of major legislation, you have to be a drum major for something. They're a banded with no drum majors. That is the Republican Party.
LEMON: Do you want to respond to that, Scott? Because you know, they're saying that you're saying that the voter, the conservative voter who voted for Donald Trump thought they were going to repeal and replace. Might they have not understood that Donald Trump didn't have a passion for this or maybe he didn't understand exactly how health care works, would and maybe they didn't understand how Obamacare, would. If you look what's happening now according to this poll this "Washington Post" ABC poll, Obamacare is more popular than ever. It is 50 percent for Obamacare, 24 percent prefer the GOP plan.
[23:15:07] JENNINGS: If Obamacare is so popular. I don't understand how Republicans took control of the congress, won the White House. If Obamacare was as popular as people want us to believe, Democrats ought to be in charge of the entire federal government because Republicans made a staple of their campaigns for the last seven years we're going to repeal and replace Obamacare.
LEMON: You just made the point. Might they have not, that I asked you? Might they have not understood exactly what was in Obamacare and how tough it might be to repeal and replace it and they voted on a campaign slogan, of repeal and replace, not necessarily understanding how this really works.
JENNINGS: Yeah, it's a good question and a good point. I think the slogan worked. I do think maybe we oversimplified it as a Republican Party. We told people it was going to be easy to repeal and replace Obamacare. Obviously, it's not that easy. But that doesn't mean it can't or shouldn't be done. I think that is where the disappointment among the grassroots conservatives will lie. Whether it's easy or hard, they didn't vote for people to come back and say well, we tried. Sorry. They vote for people to go and solve problems and make major changes in Washington no matter how arduous it is.
I think that is the real impact on the 2018 midterm. If the Republican Party doesn't figure out how to get this done, then are the grassroots conservatives, the base conservatives who they depend on in the midterm elections will they turn out? Because there's going to be a level of disappointment here that is really high. I think people are underestimating just how high the disappointment is going to be among people who want to see this happen.
LEMON: Everyone, hold your thoughts. We have another segment with you guys. Stay with me everyone. When we come right back, the White House can't get its story straight on Donald Trump Jr., his meeting with that Russian lawyer before the election year and a blistering editorial from a conservative newspaper with a warning for the White House. Come clean or else.
[23:21:35] LEMON: So breaking news tonight, the Republican health care bill dead on arrival. They're trying to at least get a repeal in, don't know if that is going to happen, but yet, with all of that, they're having to deal with a crisis of their own making, the Russian investigation. We'll talk now about that meeting with the Russian lawyer and Donald Trump Jr. back with my panel and also joined by CNN National Security Juliette Kayyem, a former official at the department of homeland security, so good to have all of you on.
Listen, I think it's important we should bring up because this "Wall Street Journal" editorial is scathing. This has been a paper that is has been largely supportive editorially supportive of the President. It's called "The Trumps and the truth." the best defense against future revelations is radical transparency. So here's part of what they write. Mr. Trump somehow seems to believe that his outsized personality and social media following make him larger than the presidency. He is wrong. He and his family seem oblivious to the brutal realities of Washington politics. Those realities will destroy will Mr. Trump, his family and their business reputation unless they change their strategy toward the Russia probe. They don't have much more time to do it. More quotes to come. What do you think of that? Peter?
BEINART: Radical transparency is a good strategy if actually there's not that much there, right? It's not a good strategy if it turns out actually that there was serious collusion with the Russian government. Let's not forget, Donald Trump Jr., whatever you want to say about him, actually practiced radical transparency when he released his e- mails. His problem was that the e-mails said I love it, it's colluding. That is the problem. So yeah, this is a guy who didn't release his tax returns last year. Was that just because he has a philosophical objection or because actually he knew there was something that was there that was going to hurt him.
LEMON: Scott Jennings, as a conservative, as a Trump supporter, what do you make of that line, the quote that I just read you from the "Wall Street Journal"?
JENNINGS: Well, I think in this case, radical transparency means one clear thing. They have to schedule a date to go testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee. That has to happen. It should happen in public. If I were the --
LEMON: Who should testify?
JENNINGS: Donald Trump Jr. for sure needs to go testify because he said he wants to. That is the thing. He and Kushner both said they want to go testify. I think the P.R. answer right now is that we're not going to talk about this any further till we get to go tell our story in full in public under oath in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee. That would be a strong move and they need to get it on the books.
LEMON: So did you hear what I read? That Donald Trump, Mr. Trump somehow seems to believe that his outsized personal and social media following make him larger than the presidency which a lot of people have been saying. He is wrong. He and his family seem oblivious to the brutal realities of Washington politics. Those realities will destroy Mr. Trump, his family and business reputation unless they change their strategy toward the Russia probe. They don't have much more time to do it. It's saying he thinks he is larger than the presidency and the family does, as well. They're dead wrong. JENNINGS: Yeah, I don't know whether they think they're larger than
the presidency or not. I know this, the reality of the Russia issue is threatening to engulf this particular presidency. There's a way for them to get a handle on it, a, they should go testify, Donald Trump Jr. at least and Kushner. B, I think I would ask for the Russia sanctions bill immediately. C I would have the intelligence community come to the White House, give me a full updated briefing on the meddling and d, use that information to create a task force that gives the American people confidence there won't be meddling in the future.
[23:25:19] Those are bold and confident strokes. If he took those actions I think it would show he is somebody who wants to get his arms around us instead of arms around him.
LEMON: All right here is more, even if the ultimate truth of the tale is merely Don Jr. is a political dunce who took a meeting that went nowhere, the best case the Trumps made is to appear as if they have something to hide. As if they have something to hide. They have created the appearance of a conspiracy that on the evidence Don Jr. lacks the wit to concoct and they handed their opponents another of the swords that by now could arm a roman legion. Don't you get it, guys? They're speaking directly to the Trump administration. Special counsel Robert Mueller and the House and Senate Intelligence Committees are investigating the Russia story. Everything that is potentially damaging to the Trumps will come out, one way or another, everything. Denouncing leaks as fake news won't wash as a counter strategy beyond the President's base, as Mr. Trump's latest 36 percent approval ratings shows. Margaret.
HOOVER: I mean what you have here and the journal argues this, you end up, they've inadvertently in their defensiveness taken on the strategy that the Clintons had embodied, right? Which is stonewall, block, pretend there's nothing here to see and all that does make people want to see more and ask harder. You end up. Its death by a thousand cuts as they say. That is true. That is why radical transparency whether there's something there or not is what's best for the country. Forget about for his presidency. It's best for America. It's best for the Republican Party. It's best for everybody. We live in a government for the people, by the people, of the people. The people need to know. And he appears to be blocking information from the American people.
LEMON: Margaret is either channeling or both have read "The Wall Street Journal" because the first paragraph says even Donald Trump might agree that a major reason he won the 2016 election is because voters couldn't abide Hillary Clinton's legacy of scandal, deception and stonewalling. Yet Mr. Trump and his family are repeating the mistakes that doomed Mrs. Clinton.
HOOVER: That is the only way you get Trump's attention is to compare them top Hillary Clinton. They're using a little bit of Jedi mind trick to get his attention.
LEMON: Let's bring in Bakari. What do you think, Bakari?
SELLERS: I'm kind of sitting back and just pondering and kind of giggling a little bit. First the comparison between Bill Clinton or the Clintons and the Trumps is I don't think it's accurate because I think everybody on this panel agrees that the Clintons just have a superior intellect and wit about them. Here we are excusing Donald Trump Jr.'s behavior because as "The Wall Street Journal" so eloquently called him a dunce.
HOOVER: Nobody's excusing his behavior, Bakari.
SELLERS: I didn't say that. No, nobody.
SELLERS: Well, and just one further point. I think to expect radical transparency from this Trump administration that is just not going to happen. Donald Trump is a President who will not pass a Russian sanctions bill, who is on the verge of giving Russians back their compounds, who refuses to acknowledge that the Russians interfered in our elections, so why all of a sudden do we believe that he is going to do a 180 and have radical transparency the facts are that Donald Trump and his family are incapable of telling the truth. Their relationship with the truth and what's going on is a hundred miles apart.
The American public deserve better. Donald Trump's not going to give it to us. Yes, it's going to be a death by a thousand needles. And none of these matters, absolutely none of these matters. I know the "Wall Street Journal" is coming along. But until one Republican, until a John McCain or a Senator Flake or someone stands up and has some fortitude and says enough is enough, you're destroying our democracy, we're going to do something about it, all of this is nor naught. It's good TV but doesn't matter.
HOOVER: Here's why it matters with what we talked about in the last segment. There are two groups maybe more but at least two groups of Republicans at the table here. There are a lot of Republicans even though 90 percent of them voted for Donald Trump didn't like Donald Trump that swallowed their pride, they pulled the lever for him because they believed that with unified control of government, we would get policy solutions that conservatives and Republicans had wanted for decades to pass throughout the entire Obama era. This editorial is coming from those groups of Republicans. They're basically saying if you don't do these things, you are getting rid of the opportunity that we had once in a lifetime opportunity to fix these policy problems along the lines of a center right sort of world view. This is the chance to do that. They're saying it's this or it's over.
LEMON: Juliette, go ahead, please.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, FORMER DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY OFFICIALS: I think that let me just -- it's a good conversation. It just assumes that there's no conspiracy to hide. I mean this is the crazy thing about the "Wall Street Journal" editorial. What's clearly happening now at this stage is that the conspiracy is unraveling. What you're seeing is a collective action problem. None of the participants know what the other participant is planning. Even as late as tonight, Donald Trump Jr.'s lawyer seemed to suggest that he got thrown under the bus. They were prepared to say everything about the meeting, but someone in the White House sort of undermined them.
You have all sorts of speculation about who is throwing whom under the bus. This is how a conspiracy both unfolds and unravels. It's too late for radical transparency. It is far too late. Whether it began with collusion during the campaign or whether that can be proved or the cover-up that we're seeing now, it's a nice gesture and statement by the "Wall Street Journal" but the Trump people are not stupid. I don't buy into the bumbling don junior scenario. I think they know exactly what they're doing. They did something wrong or think they did something wrong or think it can be proved they did something wrong and this is what a conspiracy looks like. I think that is what's happening.
BAKARI SELLERS, FORMER HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: Right. We can...
LEMON: Go ahead.
SELLERS: We can say what, we can say what a conspiracy looks like but no one on this panel can show me what a Republican with courage in the United States congress looks like. That is the point. I'm waiting for someone because Marco Rubio will stick his thumb in the wind, John McCain will do the same thing, Senator Flake and Lindsey Graham put their finger in the wind and see which way is blowing and they will move on. But no one has taken a stand. This isn't about policy. This is an American issue. This isn't about tax reform.
LEMON: The editorial board addresses what you're saying partially. First of all, it's interesting because they're saying he should release part of his tax returns which I've never heard that and include every relevant part of Mr. Trump tax returns in which the president will resist but Mr. Mueller is sure to seek anyway. Here's the part that applies to you, Bakari. It said if Trump's approval rating stays under 40 percent, Republicans will begin to separate themselves from an unpopular President and a probably for long attempt to save their majorities in congress. If Democrats win the house, the investigations into everything in the Trump administration will multiply. Impeachment will be a constant undercurrent if not an active threat. His supporters will become demoralized.
PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm not sure that is right. What we've seen so far is although Trump is unpopular around the country as a whole, his support among Republicans is holding pretty steady. Still over 80 percent, only down a couple percentage points from where it was at the beginning of his presidency. I think what Bakari is saying is right. I don't think we'll see courage from Republicans because Republicans who come out against Donald Trump will lose part of their base. And that will be very dangerous for them. They will have talk radio folks, Trump loyalists going after them. The only hope is for Democrats to take the house and for Democrats to be able to push this forward because I think Republicans -- they're so compromised at this point. Given all the things that Donald Trump has already done that Republicans have stuck with him on, what he could possibly do that would be in a different category. LEMON: It's going to be interesting to sit back in ten years and see
how history records this and which side of history do you want to be on this at this point. I don't think a lot of Republicans are thinking about that because they're thinking ideologically at had point.
HOOVER: I know nobody likes to hear this because this isn't sort of the pure and righteous thing and it would be so heartening to have at least from my perspective somebody who has not been a fan of the President to see more Republicans elected in congress do exactly what you're talking about. But the truth is them have made a bet they can get some policies passed. And you know that they have gotten very, very close on health care. Tonight has been a demoralizing setback which may be the end of health care, but if all of these policies unravel.
LEMON: At what cost.
HOOVER: At the cost of actually repealing and fixing Obamacare, despite Donald Trump before he even had a reality chance at the presidency. I mean I understand it's easy to say they should be righteous but at the same time, the reason 80 percent of Republicans are for him is not because they approve of his behavior or think he is of moral standing.
LEMON: That is why people voted for him.
HOOVER: No, they believed a lot of Republicans believed he was a guy that was going to be in the executive branch and help get some of these positions passed.
LEMON: I'm saying what you're saying is they thought his behavior. They didn't like it but thought it was the opportunity to get what they want.
HOOVER: Yes they overlooked it.
BEINART: The irony is they would have a much better chance of getting these things through with Mike Pence as President than Donald Trump as president.
[23:35:02] HOOVER: With any one of the 16 candidates.
BEINART: Donald Trump.
LEMON: Donald Trump.
BEINART: He is not actually proving to be an effective agent for actually pursuing this consecutive Republican agenda.
HOOVER: Made a deal with the devil and get what they deserve.
LEMON: Donald Trump's presidency is not built on legislative victories or policy. Donald Trump's presidency is built on antagonism. Every single day he goes out and he antagonizes another fundamental tenet of our democracy. That wins over his base. I like the fact that we want to say his base voted for him because they thought we were going to repeal and replace Obamacare.
HOOVER: Republicans did that.
BEINART: The base?
LEMON: I've got to go. If you read this, and if you think about you know, in the ideological world we're in, Democrats would read this and they will say I told you so. How could you guys not know this? And it looks like something Hillary Clinton cook have written for the "Wall Street Journal" herself.
BEINART: Except for all the slams on Hillary Clinton.
LEMON: All right, thank you guys. Coming up, as health care were floundering and the Russia probe deepening, the President kicking off made in America week at the White House. But do the Trumps practice what they preach when it comes to their own branded products? We'll take a closer look next.
[23:40:15] LEMON: As health care was coming down to the wire today in congress, the White House unveiled their theme for this week, made in America. Promoting products that are made in this country and looking to grow American jobs, but does the first family practice what they preach? David Cay Johnson is here, the author of "The making of Donald Trump," editor-in-chief of DCreport.org, William Cohen the author of Why Wall Street matters and Stephen Moore, the former senior economic adviser to the Trump campaign. Thank you all for joining us, David, the President is pushing made in America week all week here in this country even though products made by Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump's brands are made elsewhere. He says to buy American, to hire American, but his companies haven't always followed those rules.
DAVID CAY JOHNSON, DCREPORT.ORG: Oh, they aren't following them today. They continue to use foreign manufacturers and when Donald was building his hotel towers in Las Vegas and Chicago, he went to great lengths to conceal the fact that he was buying Chinese steel and Chinese aluminum. There's no integrity on Donald Trump about this issue at all. He has no moral authority to make these points.
LEMON: Steven, shirts, shoes, handbags, neckties with the Trump family name are often manufactured in countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia and China. Here's Donald Trump before he was President talking to Jake Tapper. This is June of 2015.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, THE 45TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My tie's, many times are made in China, not all of them by the way but a lot of them are made in China because they've manipulated their currency to such a point that it's impossible for our companies to compete.
JAKE TAPPER, AMERICAN JOURNALIST CARTOONIST: When it comes to outsourcing jobs, laborers are paid a lot less and the standards are worse when it comes to the environment and health care and worker safety.
TRUMP: Many problems. I agree with it.
TAPPER: But what do you say when somebody says.
TRUMP: It's hard to get them.
TAPPER: Why don't you be a leader and make these in Philadelphia?
TRUMP: I'd be willing to pay more for this tie.
Unfortunately, you would see that it's very, very hard to have anything in apparel made in this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Today, the President argued that making products in the United States was an act of patriotism and national security. So why isn't he leading by example?
STEPHEN MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMIC ANALYST: Sorry, is that for me, Don?
MOORE: Oh, look, I think I'm a patriotic American. You caught me I believe red, white, and blue. I do people should buy American if the prices are relatively the same. I check for the American label. There's a great theme for Donald Trump. Should his companies have bought more American products? Probably yes. I don't know of the special circumstances of all these things. One of the things we always talked about whether he I was with him on the campaign was we said look, if you get our tax code fixed, if you fix some of the regulatory problems and get rid of Obamacare and reduce costs, American product will be more competitive and people will buy American. You've got to lower tams, lower regulations and get rid of Obamacare and you'll have a situation where American products can compete with Mexican and Chinese and Taiwanese products.
LEMON: William, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked about the Trump organization and Ivanka Trump brands being made outside of the United States. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: With respect to his own companies it's inappropriate to discuss how anything would affect their own companies. But I can tell you that in some cases, there already certain supply chains or scalability that may not be available in this country. I'm not going to comment on specific products but I will tell you that the overall arching goal of course, though is to grow manufacturing to grow investment here in the United States and to grow U.S. workers here. So that remains the overall objective.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: William, what do you make of that defense?
WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Well, first of all, Don, it's nice to hear from Sean Spicer again. And so you're asking me how I feel about Donald Trump being a hypocrite? Donald Trump has been a hypocrite for a very long time. This is just part of who he is. Part of his appeal I guess. Has no appeal to me. It shouldn't have any appeal to the American people. It's hard to take somebody who is hypocritical in their acts and behavior and their words seriously when they suggest that we should buy American, which we Steven Moore's right. It's a nice ideal. It's something we should aspire to. But if the President of the United States himself who should not even continue to own his own businesses and should have divested those businesses continues to pretend that somehow he is above it all, well, that is symptomatic of this presidency so far.
LEMON: He blames --
MOORE: Let me say one thing about this. To say buy America it means you want to encourage people to buy American. It doesn't mean we're just going to shut down our country from other nations and not buy any foreign products. I don't think anybody on this panel believes we should do that. You know, look, Donald Trump has the right to buy a cheaper product for his company so it can retain competitiveness.
[23:45:12] COHEN: What's the point of made and buy in America? What's the point of this special week? I don't get it to.
MOORE: It's to make America more competitive through tax reduction, regulatory reduction and things like that that will make America more competitive.
LEMON: So Stephen, why argue, why he himself said that buying and making products here in America was an act of patriotism and national security.
MOORE: It is.
CAY JOHNSON: Donald's being unpatriotic because he goes out of his way to buy from foreign countries. Donald is selling luxury priced goods. A candy bar in the Trump store at Trump tower is $18. And the idea that Donald Trump can't have his neckties made in America and make a profit is absolutely absurd. This is bill is right. This is utter hypocrisy. Steve is going off on all sorts of tangents about other issues.
MOORE: No, I'm not.
CAY JOHNSON: You have to walk or talk or you have no moral authority.
LEMON: Go ahead, Stephen.
MOORE: You talk about the big profits. When have you ever made a profit selling anything? This is what business is about. You have to provide the best product you can.
CAY JOHNSON: I'm sorry, Steve, I founded a successful company that makes a profit, Steve.
MOORE: You never bought anything that was made abroad?
CAY JOHNSON: Nope. Never did, not once.
MOORE: You never bought anything that was made abroad.
CAY JOHNSON: Never.
MOORE: You never made anything made in Mexico or China or Taiwan? I find that a little bit hard to believe actually.
COHEN: Let me just interject another point. David Cay Johnson might be able to expound on this more. Donald Trump is, of course, famous for stiffing all sorts of contractors and suppliers who have done business with him and who helped him build Americans real Americans who have helped build the towers that he so famously touts wherever he goes. He is of course, stiffed them whenever they came around to try to get paid by him. So he is buying American and then stiffing real Americans who are trying to get paid. I believe that is absolutely correct.
CAY JOHNSON: Right now, Don, right now, the Doral country club that Trump owns is under a foreclosure order because Trump refuses to pay his paint contractor and his expert testified Mr. Trump feels he paid enough. That is not how the law works, but I wonder if we can get to the larger issue here about trade agreements because of the.
LEMON: I was going to say he said that President Trump blamed the problem, I was letting you guys get your -- I've never bought outside of America get that out of your system. He blamed the problem on unfair trade deals and regulations. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: For decades, Washington has allowed other nations to wipe out millions of American jobs through unfair trade practices. Wait till you see what's up for you. You are going to be so happy. My administration is removing the burdens and regulations on your companies so that you can compete, thrive and grow. How many of you have noticed this so far, because it's a big, big difference, right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So go ahead and finish your point. But is the President making a difference by rolling back regulations?
CAY JOHNSON: Not really at all. That is the thing we focus on at dc report. Let me point out by withdrawing from TPP which I was one of the leading critics of TPP, Trump has aided China. We now have the regional economic cooperation partnership, 16 countries, not 12, China and India and Australia and Japan among others, and the U.S. is not part of this. So the leaders in Beijing are laughing all the way to the bank at how smart they have been and they are getting all these other countries to pivot towards Beijing and away from Washington. The fact is while Donald has a degree in economics he doesn't understand anything about economics.
MOORE: He is going to be tough on trade with China, too. But look, I think the important point here is we do know that regulatory relief can create jobs here. We've seen it in the coal industry and energy industry. We've created about 60,000 new jobs since the day Trump was elected. I've heard people on CNN say Donald Trump's never going to bring those coal and energy jobs back and they have come back. Deregulation can make a difference in terms of creating jobs in the United States. We're just getting started.
LEMON: Do you think coal and energy jobs are coming back?
MOORE: Yeah, well, there's no question about it.
CAY JOHNSON: Even the coal industry says they're not coming back.
MOORE: They are.
CAY JOHNSON: Even the coal industry acknowledges.
MOORE: You look at, you're just wrong. Look at coal production in this country is up 15 percent already this year.
CAY JOHNSON: Because of machinery, because of machinery, not because of coal miners.
[23:50:00] MOORE: Who makes the machines? Who makes the machines? Who sells the coal? Its steel jobs, it's trucking jobs, its coal mining jobs.
CAY JOHNSON: You should be totally in favor of wind power, Steve, because wind power creates far more jobs.
MOORE: Except there is a big difference.
CAY JOHNSON: Big job creator.
MOORE: You know this. Wait a minute. You know this. You were an expert in the field. The only reason there is a wind industry because we give massive tax breaks. We give billions of dollars to the industry.
One thousands of energy that go to them. You know that. You are supposed to be an expert on the tax policy. You know without those benefits we would not have wind industry today.
CAY JOHNSON: Wind industry is heavily subsidized but it is also becoming much more efficient --
MOORE: Negative. Yeah. But wait a minute, John. It pays a negative tax rate. You're the guy who wrote the book on tax subsidies. The wind industry pays a negative tax rate. Do you support that? CAY JOHNSON: No. And coal is also heavily subsidized. One of the
points on manufacturing, from the point where the economy turned around, Obama added just short of 11,000 morning jobs a month on average. Trump bragged about the jobs he created, he is doing 8,200 jobs a month. That is not a good record for Trump to brag about. You have to look at the historical numbers.
LEMON: All right, thank you all. We'll be right back.
[23:55:22] LEMON: Becoming a CNN hero begins with a nomination, taking a few moments to fill out a form could turn your hero into a CNN hero and change their lives. That is what happened for 2013 CNN hero Tuanda Jones to the woman also known as wa-wa and the young woman who nominated her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was attending Washington State University. I told one of my professors about the drill team and what it meant to me. She told me like -- I think that you should nominate her for CNN heroes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To know that someone in the program nominated me for CNN hero means so much more because they were a part of the struggle. They were a part of those humble beginnings, so that was a tremendous honor and I wore it with a badge of honor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: If you know someone in your community who should be a CNN hero, nominate them today at CNN heroes.com. That is it for tonight. Thanks for watching, I will see you right back here tomorrow.