Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
WH Reveals Second, Undisclosed Trump-Putin Talk; Trump Invites GOP Senators To Talk Health Care Amid Plan Failure; New Book Reveals Details On Trump, Bannon. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired July 18, 2017 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:05] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: We're talking this hour of conversation consequence on disclosed until now. Vladimir Putin and the president of the United States had a second meeting at the G20 Summit. We're learning jus the two of them. And the Russian president's interpreter no official record of the meeting, no American interpreter who was there to make sure the president wasn't being somehow misled. David Gergen witnessed such meetings close going back decades. But this one was simply was not normal.
The president, by the way, just tweeted about this, minutes ago, "Fake news story of secret dinner with Putin is sick. All G20 leaders and spouses were invited by the chancellor of Germany. Press knew!"
CNN Justice Correspondent Pamela Brown has all the late details joins us now. That's not the story, right Pamela?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right, so I think it seems the president may have a misunderstanding about what is now being reported today. So what the press has just recently learned is that President Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin spoke for a second time on July 7th in a previously undisclosed discussion at the end of that dinner during the G20 summit.
As we knew the actual dinner was going on, but apparently this is a conversation after the dinner, and a senior White House official told CNN that this discussion was nearly an hour and only included President Trump, Putin and a Russian translator. So President Trump was alone.
Now, the White House is confirming this meeting today only after being pressed by reporters and it said in the statement that this conversation took place in full view of other world leaders and their spouses at this dinner hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
And, Anderson, this discussion came actually after that scheduled two- hour-long bilateral meeting earlier that day that was widely covered. The White House today seeking to downplay the significance of the discussion, calling it perfectly normal, a U.S. president at summit often hold private and impromptu discussions with other world leaders.
However, when you look at the context, the lack of a media disclosure from the administration as well as questions about Trump's own posture in regard to Russia way significant questions. And also several foreign policy experts we've heard from, including David Gergen as you mentioned, say, meeting with a foreign adversary like this for this amount of time without anyone else from the U.S side when it's just the president alone, they see that as not a typical, normal practice.
COOPER: You've also got new information about Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting from June 2016 at Trump Tower.
BROWN: Yes, that's right, we've learned the identity of the eighth person in Trump Tower in that meeting as Ike Kaveladze. He goes all the way back to 1989 with Aras Agalarov, that Russian oligarch and business associate of Donald Trump. He was employee of the Agalarov family. He was born in the Soviet Union, studied in Moscow. He's now a U.S. citizen. He actually appeared -- take a look at this video. This is exclusively obtained by CNN. He's standing there in the background highlighted, standing right behind Donald Trump to the left there. This is in Vegas in 2013. And then, of course, a few years later he was at that meeting along with the other Agalarov family with publicist Rob Goldstone who, as you know, had promised Don Jr. incriminating information on Hillary Clinton before the meeting in that e-mail exchange.
Now, his attorney, Scott Balber, says his client attended that meeting thinking he would be needed as a translator. He says he has never had any involvement with the Russian government. He also said special counsel prosecutors have already reached out to his client seeking information, and he says his client is fully cooperating, Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Pam Brown, a lot of details. Thanks. So, let's bring in the panel, Kristin Powers, Charles Blow, Jeffrey Toobin, David Gregory, and Mike Shields and Bianna Golodryga.
Jeffrey Toobin, does this seem normal to you that -- I mean the White House goes into detail about -- and goes into detail that there was a two-hour meeting between Vladimir Putin and makes a big deal to that fact to not disclose this one out?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Look, it's a one-hour meeting, it is a big deal. I mean, that's a long time to talk. And remember, right after that meeting, the president tweeted he had agreed with Putin to do a joint cyber --
TOOBIN: -- security operation, which was, I think, everyone agreed, one of the most ridiculous ideas anyone could come up with, and the president immediately backed off it after Marco Rubio and others denounced it. But, perhaps that goofy idea is something that came up in this dinner, but we'll probably never know because the only American there was the president.
COOPER: Mike, I mean, if this reporting -- why not disclose this meeting if it's an hour-long meeting?
MIKE SHIELDS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, why not disclose it, but also it's not as other White House believes that when you meet with Vladimir Putin in front of the a bunch of other people, the people are going to find out about it. So sound like it was a secret meeting where they went off to a --
COOPER: There have been a lot of world leaders knew that but not the American people.
SHIELD: Well, they spoke at the end of a dinner where there are other world leaders around them. "New York Times" reported that someone said it looked like they were off on their own and not engaging with the other leaders. So, it wasn't off somewhere secretly, it was a casual meeting, he was sitting next to Melania. The president went over to talk to Vladimir Putin according to the reports, engaged in a conversation with him that went on for an hour. They probably should have said, by the way, this also happen this conversation, but I think we're getting -- it's a little extreme for us to somehow make this into a conspiracy that the president of the United States talked to the leader of Russia at a dinner where other world leaders were at where he was seated next to his wife. I mean that is serious --
[21:05:17] SHIELD: That is something sort of happens when you're president of the United States.
DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No, actually, it doesn't. Actually, when you're president of the United States, you protect the presidency and you don't meet with somebody who is responsible for an attack on America without laying some kind of ground rules for how you're going to respond to that and say, well, I asked him about it and he denied it, and so what are you going to do, get in a fist fight? And now, this White House which has a policy of basically not briefing the American people and keeping them informed and having briefings ridiculously off camera to cut out the entire way the people get their news and information which is on video and on -- via television. Now you're going to have a separate meeting. We should know the United States has been compromised by Vladimir Putin, this president appears to be compromised by Vladimir Putin, and nothing else, thought that he was not vulnerable and now he's having secret meetings. I would like to know what was said and what extent this president pushed Putin on the fact that he tried to hack our election.
COOPER: Also no U.S. interpreter.
CHARLES BLOW, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: How many secret meetings do we have to learn about before we understand that it's not just the meeting is not normal, the presidency is not normal. And -- no facet of this presidency is normal.
And the idea that we should have to have drips and drabs of finding out about do we know four people at a meeting, and neither six, and neither eight people at a meeting. We have to pull teeth to get the truth out of these people. Something is wrong. If he was, you know, it was a positive interaction where he was furthering the U.S. interests, and as much as he talked about his two-hour meeting with the American public, he would have, I believe, brought up -- the fact that he continued to press Putin on whatever issues they were talking about in the one-hour meeting. But he didn't do that. He didn't say anything about it. He kept talking about, you know, when he was tweeting in the next day and the two days that followed the meeting, that he had the two-hour meeting that he had, he kept talking about what he had talked about, how he had furthered the U.S. interest. He said nothing about this other meeting. There's a problem here. There's a perception problem, and there may be an actual problem, but we don't know -- you know, 25 years of journalism experience for me, my antenna are on fire. I don't know what it is, I don't know what the extent of it, but something is not right, when people try to hide something it genuinely means that they had something to hide.
SHIELD: How is he trying to hide it if he had the meeting where other people are seeing it --
BLOW: We do not know, we do not know, not one thing that was said during that meeting and we'll never know. We'll never know.
GREGORY: -- the White House, you brief reporters who cover the White House on what the president does. He doesn't go off and do things in the people's names without you. I don't know how you did things at the RNC, but when you cover the president of the United States, that's what you do. So, Charles is exactly right. This is not normal, it's not appropriate and it's bad U.S. policy. You can't defend this.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, YAHOO NEWS AND FINANCE ANCHOR: And the other world leaders that were there were reportedly surprised and shocked when they saw the two of them together. All the photos in the past that we have seen with President Obama and Vladimir Putin, with President Bush and Vladimir Putin, you always saw somebody from the U.S. delegation in all of the photos, whether they were formal or informal.
And don't forget, this meeting took place when there was already controversy brewing over what Lavrov said and what Tillerson said. Lavrov said, that President Trump have accepted Vladimir Putin's denial of interfering with our elections, whereas Tillerson said, no, we just brought it up and we chose to move on to other subjects.
COOPER: Mike, I mean, do you think there should have been, you know, someone there from -- I mean, a U.S. interpreter or, you know, someone who is well briefed on all the issues to at least kind of help the president out?
SHIELD: Sure. I think if you're going to have a casual meeting and it's going to turn into something an hour long, you probably should grab somebody. But I think there are so many other things, I mean, David's response started to cover White House briefings, the investigation, and this is what happens. We have a conversation that Donald Trump had with Vladimir Putin and now the pile-on begins. And so the coverage --
GREGORY: -- it's not a pile-on.
SHIELD: Sure it is.
GREGORY: Those things are all related. If you don't share with the American people what you do in the people's names -- no, no, you have to brief the American people when you're the president of the United States. If you are -- this president doesn't know foreign policy. He's uninformed. He's demonstrated that in other areas.
SHIELD: Now we're getting into what he knows on foreign policy. See what -- you can see how people who are watching the president watch the kind of coverage --
GREGORY: -- disingenuous is what you're saying.
GREGORY: It's all related which is disclosure and transparency.
SHIELD: You're making my case for me, David. You're actually making my case.
GREGORY: No, no, actually --
SHIELD: People that are watching this and they're trying to learn about what actually happened at the meeting, and then they see people sort of jumping to conclusions --
GREGORY: Right about being transparent.
SHIELD: -- and going so far as pilling all the --
SHIELD: -- of president, so you lose credibility with people when you want to talk about what actually happened at the meeting when you get that far down the road.
[21:10:4] KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think the problem is depending on who you are, and how you see Donald Trump to see the situation very differently. I think if the people -- if this was President Obama doing this, they will feel more comfortable with it because they, you know, for more people who like President Obama, they trusted his judgment, they trusted the fact that he was looking out for American interests, and I think there a lot of people that are concerned that President Trump has a very unusual relationship with Vladimir Putin, to put it nicely. And so, I think that that's why some people might be suspicious about this and he hasn't been completely transparent.
But on the other side, I think you're right, there are people who look at this and they trust President Trump, and they say, he's allowed to go and have this conversation --
TOOBIN: Of course he's allowed. I don't think it's just, you know, people like Obama or don't like Trump, it's that there are certain rules and customs that American presidents have operated by for many years in many respects. And some of them I do think are related. I mean, you know, a televised White House briefing, you know, describing when a president meets with a foreign head of state, meeting with a foreign head of state with an American interpreter as well as a Russian interpreter.
COOPER: I just don't understand. I totally get your point, Mike, but the White House made a big deal of the fact that the president spent two hours with Vladimir Putin. If that was important to them to show that, like, they had a, you know, substantive meeting, you would make the argument that an extra hour would actually further that idea.
You know, it wasn't just a two-hour meeting, we had another hour-long meeting. It seems like by not at least reporting this publicly that they're whether or not they're trying to hide or whether just, you know, they made a mistake or incompetence or whatever it is, seems odd.
SHIELDS: Yes. I mean, I don't disagree with you. They probably should have added this to the initiative talks about this is what happened. And they should have valued something that sounds like it started off as a personal conversation that turned into a larger conversation.
But my point is, you know, I believe in a strong press. I believe that we have that credibility in the media to cover the things that matter. If every single time is something like this happens, the dial gets turned to 11, a litany of things get rolled in, and now it's part of the Russian investigation, people just don't buy it, they --
GREGORY: -- this was Vladimir Putin. He's under investigation for collusion.
SHIELDS: David, I'm trying to be in favor. I'm trying to tell you how to talk to a huge group of Americans and say to them, hey, pay attention to the things that matter. The other things we're going to talk about it, but let's not blow it up beyond what it actually --
GREGORY: I do. I appreciate your advice, and how you to talk to an audience. But I would tell you, this is not some just any leader. We do know, I think you would understand that the president and people, including his son and senior advisors are under investigation for welcoming -- cooperation with the Russians during the campaign.
So the very least, you should be smart enough to disclose. I think you agree with that.
(CROSSTALK) COOPER: Mike, I actually agree with you. If everything is a crisis, if everything is, oh, my god, look what he did this time, after a certain point, --
COOPER: -- it's like the boy who cried wolf.
SHIELDS: I think its beneficiary the night of that meeting is O.J. Simpson, because he is getting potentially get out of jail in 48 hours.
TOOBIN: I'm always but the synergy.
TOOBIN: By the way, I wrote a book about this.
COOPER: And I saw the T.V. series.
TOOBIN: Yes. Yes. Yes.
COOPER: In which a very young Jeffrey Toobin was portrayed.
TOOBIN: Yes. Sure.
COOPER: And a big deeper ness (ph) in to that Trump Tower meeting, the newly identified eight percent in the room, all of that ahead.
[21:16:53] COOPER: Talking about the latest Russia revelation of previously undisclosed second meeting between the president and Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit, follow the identification, the eight person in the room for that meeting between Russians, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort.
Earlier tonight, I spoke with Connecticut Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is investigating aspect to the Russia story, and just got the green light to hear from Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, (D) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: This eight individual, who represented their family with potential, financial or other ties to Russian, is part of this pattern of concealment beginning in June, but going through even the period before and after the election and the inauguration.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Back now with the panel. Mike, one of the things that Trey Gowdy, I think who has said last week, which was, you know, certainly supporter of the president said, anybody in the White House who has had, you know, meeting should just held the special prosecutor just get it, you know, Special Counsel Mueller just get it out of the way. It does seem like this, such a cliche to talk about the drip, drip, drip, but it doesn't help the White House, does it?
SHIELDS: Now, I agree with that, and I think they're going through the process of trying to figure this out. But, you know, people forget about things that they did. Clara McCaskill forgot she had met with the Russian ambassador, so with Nancy Pelosi, sort of trying to -- from what I can see gather this information.
But look, I mean, I think the bigger context of what was going on under the Trump campaign collude in all that sort of thing. I wasn't on the Trump campaign, but at front row see to it. And there was time when the Trump campaign had difficult time colluding with the RNC, had a difficult time.
This was a campaign that doesn't look like other campaigns, because the candidate was the communications director, the campaign manager. The campaign won because Donald Trump had a message and a vision and he got it to the American people, and he didn't have an additional campaign structure underneath him. I don't think that campaign could have colluded if they wanted to.
GREGORY: But it's your point, I actually agree with that, but that's the point that I find so dangerous. I have no idea whether anybody committed a crime and I'm not asserting such. What concerns me is the arrogance, the naivete, and how uninformed they were to think that they could be compromised. You had choose previous administrations that were somehow bullocks up by Vladimir Putin. And then Donald Trump thinks he can just waltz right in and he has going to have this great relationship?
SHIELDS: But who is responsible at that time? If he's a candidate and there's something going on, the Obama administration is responsible for actually watching, who is coming into the country, who is trying to take meetings with people. Yes the campaign should --
GREGORY: Even now, even having -- whatever the substance of this meeting, I would love to believe that they had a separate meeting, where he talked about, you know, all right in the riot act (ph) in all these things United States was going to do if they continue meddling. I just can't believe that that's actually the case.
My points -- he keeps putting himself and they put themselves in a position to be compromised in a way that I think was dangerous, and he's so concerned, the president is, with the sense that he will be seen as illegitimate that he doesn't do the hard work of answering all the questions about this.
COOPER: About this, you know, with this Trump Tower. I mean, every former intelligence person we've had on the broadcast has said, this raises all sorts of questions. I mean, it sort of -- it is looks like a classic espionage operation.
[21:20:01] Again, we don't know the principals all deny any contact with the government. But even the fact that, if a meeting -- questionable meeting isn't reported, that should raise red flags, because then the Russians know something that the U.S. side doesn't know.
TOOBIN: Can I just raise just one thing that I hasn't got and talked a lot about this Russian meeting, that there was a document that was turned over by one of the Russian people there. You know, Donald Trump Jr. said, all of the meeting was useless, but there was a document that was turned over.
Where is it? Who saw it? What became of it? What does it say? I mean, that certainly --
GOLODRYGA: It was implicating --
COOPER: That was one of the Russians or the Russian-American lobbyist --
GOLODRYGA: Yes --
COOPER: -- said there was a document.
GOLODRYGA: -- implicating Bill Browder and his ties to the DNC. But you go back to the credibility problem that this administration has, I mean, you have a president who called his son transparent, the few words that he used to describe him in first statement following this news about this meeting was that my son is very transparent, drip, drip, drip.
Every single day, we hear about another person who met -- undisclosed person who was in this meeting. None of these people were adoption agency officials. It's a ruse to say this was a meeting about adoption just like it's a ruse for President Trump to be tweeting about this dinner saying that, you know, this is dinner everyone knew about it, no, it's isn't about the dinner.
COOPER: Up next, we're going to shift gear health care and how President Trump is shifting blame to the Democrats for the failure of the Republican Senate plan, and what his plan is now.
[21:25:01] COOPER: Other breaking news tonight, Senator Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell says the procedural vote to repeal Obamacare without a replacement will be early next week already. It is expected to fail.
Now, the president is blaming anyone and everyone other than himself for the failure of one of his biggest campaign promises. CNN's, Sara Murray is live at the White House with the latest. The president was very vocal about his disappointment on health care earlier today. What are you hearing from the White House tonight?
SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's find it. It was a defeat that took the White House by surprise. There was certainly staffers in the White House who are feeling dejected by it and President Trump was pretty forthcoming about the fact that this is not the outcome that he was looking for. Here's what he said today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't like to say no, but it's -- I'm certainly disappointed. For seven years, I've been hearing repeal and replace from Congress, and I've been hearing it loud and strong. And then, when we finally get a chance to repeal and replace they don't take advantage of it. So that's disappointing. So I'm very -- I would say, I'm disappointed in with what took place. It will go on and we'll win.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MURRAY: Now, on top of thing, he is disappointed, (INAUDIBLE) President Trump also said, this is not on me, in terms of the failure of his health care bill, and we're just going to stand by and let Obamacare collapse, that was his message today, Anderson.
COOPER: So the White House invited all Republican Senators to lunch tomorrow. Is this the agenda or do we know?
MURRAY: Well, it will be interesting to see what comes out of this meeting. It's also (INAUDIBLE) Anderson, like you said, it's Republican senators.
Earlier today, we saw Sarah Huckabee Sanders go to the podium and say, you know, hey, we're willing to move forward on this on a bipartisan basis. We want Democrats to come to the table. The reality is the White House has not necessarily tried to engage Democrats on this. They still tried to move forward on a repeal plan, which is something they know Democrats are not ever going to show up and work with them on.
So, I think everyone is sort of wondering what the next step is on this as the Senate realizes there out the vote there to move with a straight repeal. There were not the votes to move with their repeal and replace plan. I think everyone is kind of going back to the drawing board and saying, what can we do on this thing that we have been campaigning on for seven years?
COOPER: Sara Murray. Sara, thanks very much. Republican Governor Ohio John Kasich has long been outspoken voice on health care reform, a strong critic of efforts to cut Medicaid benefits. I spoke to him earlier today before I get on my glasses.
COOPER: Governor Kasich, when you hear the president say as he did today that his plan has now, "Let Obamacare fail", is that an option?
GOV. JOHN KASICH, (R) OHIO: No. I really don't think it is, and I'm not sure that's what he really means. I've always believed that he is not hung up on some ideological fix on this. That's my view. That if they were able to give him something that stabilized the insurance markets, began to deal with the problem of rising health care costs, I think he'd sign it.
Anderson, I mean, what the focus has to be, and it's something I suggest, that I don't know, four, five, six months ago, the focus ought to be on stabilizing those insurance markets on the exchange, so the people can get health insurance.
And then we need to move beyond that and think about what insurance is all about. What is the risk we're trying to cover? What are the responsibilities of people aside from those risks that we cover on insurance?
And then, I also think Anderson that we need to look at all these entitlement programs, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and we ought to put them on a road map to stability. They ought to be reformed. And that would include everything that we talk about on Medicaid, but it should -- it has to be done with both parties or you'll never get it done.
COOPER: But, you know, the president also said today, I'm not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it.
I mean, to you does it sound -- I mean, it seems like a lot of folks are still trying to blame one another's side, whether it's Democrats blaming Republicans or Republicans blaming Democrats.
KASICH: Well, I heard Schumer today say, well, do you know that condition for us to be able to do something. Hey, we have a lot of people who are in need of continuing health care. We need people to be treated. We need them to get primary care. We don't need to put them in the emergency room. We don't want them to live paycheck to paycheck worrying about the fact that if they don't have health care, they could be bankrupted. And these are people who play by the rules.
So I think it is possible. I don't think it's -- I know it's possible to get a bipartisan group of senators to say, let's first stabilize the insurance markets, let's make sure that people can get the kind of coverage they need to have a healthier America.
COOPER: But there's been so much talk of just letting -- I mean, the Republicans have been saying, look, that Obamacare is collapsing and to just let it collapse. Mitch McConnell the Majority Leader, said today, he wants to hold a repeal only vote in the near future, and as you know, Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito said, that she didn't come to Washington to hurt people.
Would a repeal without replacement hurt people?
KASICH: No. Repeal is not acceptable. Of course, you would have a lot of people that would lose health insurance. I don't think it would be good for the country. I don't think it would be good for the party. I don't think it would be good for any body who is down there in Congress.
COOPER: And I mean, you talked to a lot of folks in Capitol Hill. And obviously, a lot of Governor, do you think there are enough Democrats, enough Republicans willing to work with each other in a bipartisan way?
[21:30:06] KASICH: I do. I do. You know, sometimes though, they want to ask permission from their leadership. Like, I need to ask. Like, you know, I need to have a hall pass. Do I have to ask the teacher? I mean that's a frustrating thing for me.
You know, when I was in the Congress, I was offering budgets against a Republican president of the United States because I didn't think he was saving enough money. I became the Chairman of the Budget Committee. We balanced the budget. We did on a Bipartisan basis. This is not easy but, you know, lead when you're there, because at the end, every politician has a million plaques on the wall. OK, do you know what you do with those plaques? No one cares.
Do something that's going to improve America, not worry about the party and all this other stuff. Health care is so important to every American and that's why they need to have it.
COOPER: Governor John Kasich, thanks for being with us.
KASICH: OK. Thanks Anderson.
COOPER: Back now with our panel adding CNN Political Commentator and Republican Strategist Doug Heye, the notion of repealing without replacing, is it -- and even possible, is it going to hurt the Republican Party if they do that?
GREGORY: I think it will. I mean, you know, there's no Republican that wants to be in a position where they're going to be blamed for people being thrown off coverage. I mean, the problem is this is an ideological approach that many conservatives would never have signed off on for in the first place.
And it was unfortunate that Obama rammed this in on a party line vote, but here we are and now you have Governor Kasich, you have others who -- it's very difficult to take an entitlement away once it's been given and that's the reality. And so, the real challenge now for the president, and I agree what the governor said, the president was in a very good position as not being ideological on this question to have really broke some compromise early on.
But Republicans, as Doug and I were saying before, it's Republicans who can't agree on health care when it comes to government being involved. So, the challenge for the administration is how do they now work and use their power to try to revive the uncertainty that's in the exchanges in the market? POWERS: Obama didn't ram anything through on a party limbo (ph). OK, so let just go back to some historical facts. President Obama actually tried to get Republicans in the next he did the basis of Obamacare are exchanges, this was a Heritage Foundation idea. So he really did try to get Republicans on board. The Republicans refused to participate in any way they decided, as we all know, that they were going to oppose anything that he did.
So, here we are now and we have President Trump complaining about the Democrats being obstructionists when, in fact, the Democrats were more than willing to work with Republicans. And now there's no reason that when the core of Obamacare are exchanges, which again, were developed by the Heritage Foundation. There is no reason that Republicans cannot come and work with this and find something that would work --
SHIELDS: You can't say a party that is base -- is slogan right now was resist. Once they work with President Trump and I think actually one of the worst nightmares for the Democrats would be if we just went to regular order, put this through the committees and started having amendments put on the floor and started looking at the Democrats and say will you work with us? They're going to get a huge problem from their Bernie single payer wing at their party that doesn't want --
POWERS: No, no. I've already said that the Democrats aren't interested in repealing Obamacare. What I don't understand is how can with that straight face sit there and complain obstructionism after what the Republicans did. I mean it's incredible to listen to people sit and Republicans complain about obstructionism after what we watched what Republicans in Congress who made it literally got together and had a meeting and said, we will oppose every single thing that President Obama does.
POWERS: I'm not even making a partisan point. I'm just really trying to stick to historical facts here and now you're saying they're complaining about obstruction.
SHIELDS: Historical facts, I mean Democrats to this day still brag about the Medicare act. They still brag about the social security act, yet they want to say that President Trump is somehow going to be to blame if Obamacare fails. This is their bill, they passed it, they own it.
And I think the president is negotiating just like if you had a neighborhood and it was going down, the buildings were going. Think about real estate in President Trump's mind. And the value of the buildings is going down.
And I say I want to buy one, you say no. He goes, OK, well, I'm going to wait until they crater. So his -- the pressure on Congress for how bad Obamacare is clearly isn't enough for them to get their act together?
(CROSSTALK) SHIELDS: The president is sitting back and saying, let's wait until -- wait until the premium increases come out in October. We may revisit this entire thing again.
BLOW: Donald Trump is the president now. He cannot say, I won't own it, you owned it the moment that you were inaugurated. You are the president now. And we have to just take a moment and realize how incredible like staggering it is for him to say I'm just going to let it collapse. I mean --
BLOW: I'm going to finish this point. And I want to stop talking about it in positive terms and talking about it in people terms. Collapse, lose coverage, those are not euphemisms but they are antiseptic terms. What is going to happen when people lose coverage, people who are healthy get sick, people who are sicker, die and who sick get sicker and die. That is what happens when people do not have access to care, cannot afford the care, cannot get in to see a doctor, use up their lifetime limits. This is what happens, this is what happens, people die.
[21:35:15] And for the president of the United States to simply say, this is a political argument for me. I do not like Obamacare partly because I don't like Obama, if that's what he's saying, and a lot of people voted for him who don't. And I will allow this thing to collapse and allow it to take down the life of the people who are depending on it, --
SHIELDS: But Charles, --
BLOW: -- to death, to death.
SHIELDS: Protesters that showed up in March and April at Congressional Office that was covered all the time. Those people think Obamacare is great, so how is it collapsing? Democrat after Democrat has defended Obamacare, the House voted it something like 41 times to repeal it. Democrats voted to keep it.
COOPER: Most Democrats --
POWERS: Democrats want to change --
COOPER: -- I mean most Democrats will say --
COOPER: -- that those things need to be corrected.
SHIELDS: Let's see them come to the White House and say, hey, let's sit down.
GREGORY: Look, Democrats do have a lot of tension from the Bernie Sanders wing about now moving to single payer. There are things that need to be fixed, Charles, to your point if we're really talking about people, let's talk about how Obamacare is being implemented. Let's talk about what works, let's talk about what doesn't work. Unfortunately, I actually think that President Trump would have been much more pragmatic about it if there wasn't such disagreement among conservatives.
The problem now is part of what is hurting implementation of the Obamacare plan of Affordable Care Act, is Trump and other Republicans have said, look, this is going to crater, we're going to let it collapse. That's not a way to shore up the market. You have the head of CMS. You have Tom Price saying it's failing every day. Now they're under --
BLOW: Let' talk about it in honest terms, though. The tension here is between rising costs for some people and the saving of other people's lives. That is the entire tension.
And what -- on the campaign trail people said, I understand that your premiums have gone up and I will do something about that. Basically, I will cut off access to other people so that I can bring your premiums down. That meant that I will literally let people die in order for you to be more comfortable and be able to make this payment.
What we have to say is that if that is the tension, we cannot allow either of those two things to happen. We cannot keep having this conversation as if those two things are disconnected, those things are absolutely connected. And we have to talk in those terms that we can't -- we can fix, but we cannot fix to the extent that we allow people to lose coverage and therefore expose people to the possibility that they will get incredibly sick and someone will die.
COOPER: All right, I want you guys get your respond. We're going to take a quick break. We'll talk more about health care when we come back, including how the White House is trying to sway Republicans on this repeal vote before it's too late.
[21:41:03] COOPER: We're now on breaking news on the health care front tonight, President Trump has invited all GOP senators for lunch at the White House tomorrow to discuss the issue, presumably lobby for votes. We'll talk more about where the White House goes next on this and the president's remarks today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We're not going to own it. I'm not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it. We'll let Obamacare fail and then the Democrats are going to come to us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Doug, I mean, if repeal without a replace doesn't go anywhere, what is the next step?
DOUG HEYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: We don't know if there are next steps. That's the reality here, but it's also why I think its incumbent on the president in some fashion to own this. We're hearing part because --
COOPER: You want --
HEYE: Yes. We haven't seen him own this yet. If you look at what's happened, we struggled with Obamacare replacement for years. They have covered the past Republicans in death in 2014 when we couldn't even put a white paper together. Now, we're struggling to pass vote, but we didn't have the president and the White House fully to engage on this, engaging the business community, engaging conservative groups and that left a vacuum which meant that we had CBO stories that were bad, we had process stories that were bad, and without the president leading that charge and really owning this, we're going to see anything change. He is the only dynamic that's new on this, GREGORY: And I'm with Charles on which is that he has a responsibility now, as the federal government does, to make the system works. The federal government plays a huge role in this and not only shoring up the markets but delivering federal subsidies, making sure that it works. I mean, you can't, as the president of the United States, say, look, I don't own this.
First of all, you are the president of the United States. You're the leader of the Republican Party. You tried to get involved then you pulled back, and then you pull back you were trying to get -- and guess what, it didn't work. So you do own it and --
SHIELDS: Well, look, Sarah Huckabee Sanders said this isn't over yet, he's negotiating, OK? And what he's trying to say is I'm prepared to go into 2018 and have a fight on health care, right? I'm prepared to say the Democrats are going to own this.
They wrote this law, they defended -- they said it was great and now they're getting mad at me that it's collapsing and the people could die from the bill that they wrote. OK, let's go to the people and have a conversation about this. The single payer bill which is Bernie Sanders' government-run health care all the way has the most co- sponsors it's ever had, I guess drop every Congress, has the most co- sponsors has ever had.
There was a single payer, a lot that was introduce in California that literally would have doubled the entire California budget. Even the liberals in California legislators said that's too much money to spend.
So there is a health care fight where the Republicans are looking what the Democrats are in disarray on this and they think we've got --
SHIELDS: -- negotiating to get back to the table.
BLOW: I can't let this pass. You just said that Democrats are now saying that they're upset because the bill that they wrote is going to make people die. There is not --
SHIELDS: I said people are going to die.
BLOW: Let me tell you what I said because that's not in any way what I said. There are 30 million more people who have health insurance now than had it before the ACA.
That means that fewer people have had to make the incredible choice about whether or not they were going to buy groceries or buy medicine. That means fewer people were running into lifetime limits with a child that was born.
BLOW: I let you talk, now I'm going to talk, now.
BLOW: They are not -- not having to run up against lifetime (INAUDIBLE) with a child. The child did nothing wrong, made no bad choices, they were born with a problem. And they're running into a lifetime limit in the first year.
Those people have to make incredible choices that some people, the choices they make, still did not save their lives. And there were more people caught in that before the ACA, 30 million more people caught up in that before the ACA than there are now.
So, I am not in any way saying what you are accusing me of saying that the Democrats wrote a bill that made people die, it actually prevented more people from dying.
COOPER: Let me just jump, Governor Kasich were saying that he actually believes there is a possibility of bipartisanship here. I mean is that just a fantasy?
GOLODRYGA: Well, not when the president is threatening in the sub- funding, cost-sharing subsidies, which by the way expire this Thursday for next month, that would be about $10 billion and could see premiums go up some 20 percent and throw a lot of people off insurance.
[21:45:05] So that's not -- when you talk about negotiating that's the -- the guy who is behind the art of the deal. That's not how you go into a negotiation --
COOPER: But the counter argument that is -- you have Chuck Schumer who says, look, the door is open but it's got to be this, this and this. I mean to -- GOLODRYGA: Once the president can settle within his own party, then
he can talk to Chuck Schumer. His biggest headache right now is what's going on internal within his own party.
GREGORY: That exactly the point which is left to his own device, President Trump could get with Chuck Schumer. Because president -- one of the problems that Trump had all along is that he wanted to keep primary aspects of Obamacare, including keeping younger people on their parents' plan, et cetera. He is more of a big government guy on health care, conservatives are not.
And so -- but I don't -- look, I mean to Kristen's earlier point, you may not have liked me saying that they rammed it through. Obamacare was passed on a party line vote. That's always dangerous.
POWERS: Whose fault is that?
GREGORY: Well, it doesn't matter, that's the reality.
POWERS: It does matter.
GREGORY: Well --
PWOERS: I think it matters a lot.
GREGORY: -- time was negotiating said it was a huge mistake to pass it with Democrats only. It does and it has, I think, seeded part of the public lack of support for Obama which is now grown over time. So, the real problem is now it's in place and I think Democrats are going to treat it like the Alamo. They are going to protect it.
HEYE: Republicans are in a very dangerous place here. We've had four elections in a row where we said we are going to do this. Now, we won everything, if we don't do it, go into red states, go into purple states. Our base is already demoralized because they haven't seen a whole lot happening which they're proud of.
If we can't get rid of Obamacare which we've been promising forever, a lot of voters will just going to stay home.
COOPER: Up next, we can take a fresh look of the President Chief Strategist Steve Bannon with the author of the new book "Devil's bargain." We'll be right back.
[21:50:35] COOPER: New book reveals never before told details about the political partnership the president and his Chief White House Strategist and Former Campaign Manager Steve Bannon, it's called "Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of The Presidency." It's written by Joshua Green of Bloomberg Businessweek. It's really fascinates, it's got a lot of stories from the campaign trail that had never been shared until now including how the talk of a border wall actually began. Here's what Joshua Green told me earlier tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSHUA GREEN, AUTHOR, "DEVIL'S BARGAIN": The idea for the wall didn't come from Donald Trump. It came from Sam Nunberg and Roger Stone two long time advisers to Trump who back in 2013, 2014, wanted to keep Trump focused on the issue of immigration because they thought it was a powerful one, but they knew that Trump's attention always wandered. And so they came up with this idea of the wall, just a device to keep Trump focused on the issue of immigration.
COOPER: To remind him to speak of that.
GREEN: To remind him to speak, because if you can plant that seed in his mind you can kind of riff on it. So at first Trump didn't seem very excited but he wound up going out to Iowa given a speech and he tried it out, got a great response from the crowd and did what Trump does best he started riffing on it. Said, you know, I'm going to build a wall and nobody builds like Trump. I'm going to build the wall and Mexico is going to pay for it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Back now with the panel. Does the -- I mean base on his reporting if that's how this started does it anyway it undercut the idea of the wall?
POWERS: I mean, I think Steve Bannon was sort of looking for a vessel for his ideas. You know if you look back, Sarah Palin actually was somebody that he stumbled upon and discovered.
COOPER: -- I think produced a film about her.
POWERS: Yes. He did a film about Sarah Palin. So she was the first person that he thought may be, you know, he could get behind --
POWERS: -- and put her in power and maybe in be president, right, and Michele Bachmann. And then he, you know, stumbles upon Donald Trump and it seems like they maybe agreed on trade which seems to be the thing he's been consistent about Donald Trump. And then, I know a lot of people pushed back on the idea of him being the puppet master, but I think he's very much a puppet master with Donald Trump. I think he's the ideological sort of godfather behind a lot of things that Donald Trump believes.
POWERS: He's running the white house.
BLOW: So you think that every ideologue needs to tie to their demigod. SHIELDS: There's no puppet mastering with Donald Trump. This goes back -- I'll start with the campaign, OK. He makes the decisions and some people criticize him for having too much of essential he's doing everything but he does everything. The president is in charge but he found someone in Steve Bannon that he agreed with and someone who that they're heading down the same path. So they were able to work together. Steve Bannon is one of the few people that actually doesn't really need a whole lot from the president, alot of people around the president, around billionaires in general that need something from them. He had a whole --
POWERS: Yes, because his life was exactly the same when he was running Breitbart and now that he's basically running White House.
SHIELDS: But he has Breitbart. He's been successful. He has a whole group of people that listen to him that sort of his group of conservatives, right? He brings that to the table and that's sort of a relationship that they have. And it's no different in that regard to any president that has someone in his coalition or someone.
POWERS: No, you're right. Many presidents --
HEYE: -- Breitbart townhouse and so forth. It is a mini army and Bannon was able to grow this either especially after Andrew Breitbart's death. He was able to grow this into a mini army that kind overtook part of CPAC and its part of why we saw Trump so successful with red hats and walls and all of those things that everybody is scoff (ph) at, that a movement really got behind.
BLOW: We also not going to talk about the fact that, that -- what that Breitbart crowd is and that it is basically Neo-Nazism and the like. I mean we're not going to bring that part up, anyway.
Am I the also -- only person who looked at that interview and thought like this is hilarious. That the only way they can get this man to focus, it's kind of shady, right? He saying, the only way they can get him to focus is give him a four-letter word. Like he give-- say wall and (INAUDIBLE) immigration. This is a problem that he's having with every part of his agenda which is he doesn't understand it. He didn't have a health care plan. He kept talking about it for two years on the campaign trail. He didn't have one and he didn't even understand what was in the one that was being voted on. That's why he couldn't make the case. That's why he refused even to try. He actually does not understand policy. And therefore, Bannon is the only person who understands some sort of policy and that's why he is a --
POWERS: Yes. The idea that they agree on things, I mean, Donald Trump for good or ill doesn't have policy ideas. That's not who he is. I've interviewed him before. I think anybody who interviewed him and pressed him on policy issues during the campaign knows this is not a person who has thought about a lot of things. And I think, yes, of course, he's making decisions. He's the president. But Steve Bannon is very much -- [21:55:03] COOPER: And Steven Bannon definitely has more of the --
COOPER: -- an overarching vision and certainly in terms of, you know, literacy on ideas and, you know, philosophy.
SHIELDS: I mean he's written movie scripts, you know, he's involved in entertainment. He knows how to tell a narrative and how to tell a story. The idea that the president doesn't have ideas, I mean, this is what --
POWERS: I didn't say he didn't have ideas I said he doesn't understand.
SHIELDS: Let met tell you what Steve Bannon and Donald Trump are able to do so that you guys understand it, there's a whole group of Americans that they spoke to, people like us, and I was in Washington, D.C. So people -- I'm saying people like us, though we don't communicate to them. When they watch panels like this, they don't relate to us, they don't understand what we're talking about. We're making turning the dial to 11 and a whole bunch of different issues with the president that they don't think matters when they're looking for a job and they're picking up their kids and they are worried about health care.
Bannon and Trump were able to come together talked way past to us to those Americans and say I care about you and it was brilliant. And so, now we're talking to the author of this book and was turned, is he a puppet master and starting to get back into the Washington, D.C. part of it.
COOPER: But I think the author actually -- I mean we didn't play the full interview makes that point very well about how Steve Bannon sort of figured out and heard the voices and figured out that Donald Trump was somebody who also ironically was able to, despite his, you know, enormous wealth, able to kind of connect with those voices.
POWERS: Nothing you just said is any way contradicts what I said.
COOPER: We've got to take a quick break. We'll be right back.
COOPER: That's it for us. Thanks for watching. Time to hand things over to Don Lemon for "CNN Tonight." I'll see you tomorrow.
DON LEMON: A previously undisclosed Trump-Putin meeting revealed. How could that happen? This is "CNN Tonight." I'm Don Lemon.