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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Interview With Ohio Governor John Kasich; Another Person Identified at Trump Tower Meeting; Republican Health Care Plan Collapsing. Aired 4-4:30p ET
Aired July 18, 2017 - 4:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Trumpcare appears dead, and the fingerprints on the murder weapon, a Republican.
THE LEAD starts right now.
The GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare collapsing, and the blame game beginning. So what is the future of your health insurance now?
And then there were eight. A Russian real estate executive identified as yet another person in that mysterious meeting with the Russian lawyer, the president's son, son-in-law and campaign chairman. And there's new information on what so-called dirt from the Russian government might have been discussed.
Plus, outrage. Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, called a serious child molester by a judge, is out of prison ahead of schedule. We will talk exclusively to the brave Illinois lawyer who testified about how Hastert victimized him as a child and is now leading the charge to change laws around the country so other such child abuse criminals don't get away with it like Hastert did.
Hello. And welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
We're going to start with the politics lead today. The Senate's plan B for Trumpcare seems dead. And plan C had barely been introduced before it was slain as well.
GOP senators balking at Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's proposal to ditch a replacement for Obamacare and instead just going to outright repeal without a replacement. At least three Republican senators say they will not support that option.
That leaves McConnell without a majority to move forward, so what now?
Well, President Trump offered this idea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let Obamacare fail and then everybody is going to have to come together and fix it.
(END VIDEO CLIP) TAPPER: Of course, those who might pay the price for Obamacare failing are the American people.
CNN's Ryan Nobles gets us started today on Capitol Hill.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, Senate Republicans are running out of options. Yet another attempt to address health care reform has run into a major roadblock.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: I regret that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failures of Obamacare will not be successful. That doesn't mean we should give up.
NOBLES: Soon after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave his pitch to repeal Obamacare without a replacement, three senators, Susan Collins of Maine, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, said they would not support a vote to bring a new version of the bill to the floor, essentially killing the measure.
Despite losing those three senators, Mitch McConnell said he plow ahead with a vote, even if it will fail.
MCCONNELL: Well, I think we will have to see what happens. We will have demonstrated that Republicans by themselves are not prepared at this particular point to do a replacement. And that doesn't mean the problems all go away.
NOBLES: The failure by Senate leadership and the way McConnell has handled the situation has made one prominent Republican upset. Wisconsin's Ron Johnson was angry over reports that McConnell was telling moderate senators not to worry about long-term Medicaid cuts.
McConnell said his remarks were misinterpreted. But when asked if he still has faith in McConnell as a leader, Johnson responded -- quote -- "I found those remarks very troubling."
When a reporter followed asking, so you're not going to say yes to that, he repeated, "I was troubled with those comments."
But despite the crack in McConnell's grip on control of the caucus, most Republicans remain behind him.
QUESTION: Do you still have faith in Leader McConnell?
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Yes. This isn't about Mitch. This is about the politics of health care.
NOBLES: The path forward for Republicans right now is unclear. The problems that existed between the conservative and moderate wings of the party remain, leaving senators in search of an alternative that doesn't currently exist, as Democrats open the door to a bipartisan conversation.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: It's time to move on. It's time to start over. Rather than repeating the same failed partisan process yet again, Republicans should work with Democrats.
NOBLES: Now, there is a chance that a vote that would move some form of a repeal to the Senate floor, which would likely fail, could happen as soon as this week. But just what form that bill would come in remains to be seen.
Senator John Cornyn of Texas, who is the majority whip, said that senators are still negotiating -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Ryan Nobles for us on Capitol Hill, thanks so much.
Today, President Trump declared he would not own this defeat which he blamed primarily on Democrats being obstructionists, even though, of course, Republicans have full control of the House and Senate and White House.
And this prompted us to play a game we like to play around the office called, is there a tweet for that, meaning has President Trump ever before criticized President Obama for doing the exact same thing he's now doing?
So, oh, here's one right now from September 12, 2012 -- quote -- "Obama's complaints about Republicans stopping his agenda are B.S. since he had full control for two years. He can never take responsibility" -- unquote.
So, yes, there is indeed a tweet for it.
CNN's Jason Carroll has more on the pressure coming from the White House today.
TRUMP: I don't think it's dead, no, but I'm certainly disappointed.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One of President Trump's signature campaign promises to repeal and replace Obamacare sidelined. But the president defiant, saying, let Obamacare collapse and not to blame him or his party.
TRUMP: We will just let Obamacare fail. 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 will let Obamacare fail, and then the Democrats are going to come to us and they're going to say, how do we fix it, how do we fix it, or how do we come up with a new plan?
CARROLL: The administration defending the president's position to essentially allow the health care system to fail, which could leave countless number of people struggling to find insurance. SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Democrats
have refused to join in fixing the health care problems that have plagued our health care systems. And hopefully with the collapse of the program that they put in place, they will be more willing to come to the table and help clean up the mess.
CARROLL: The vice president, who took the leading role to work with GOP leaders on Capitol Hill, said lawmakers need to do more.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Congress needs to step up. Congress needs to do their job, and Congress needs to do their job now.
CARROLL: The president is blasting Democrats for the collapse of this Senate bill which they had no part in crafting.
TRUMP: It would be nice to have Democrat support, but, really, they're obstructionists. They have no ideas. They have no thought process. All they want to do is obstruct. So the way I look at it is, in '18, we're going to have to get some more people elected. We have to go out and we have to get more people elected that are Republican.
CARROLL: Even with Republican majorities in both the House and Senate, Republican efforts to replace Obamacare have stalled. The health care failure is a stunning blow to the president's agenda, who just two months ago celebrated the passage of the House bill in what could only be described as a victory lap.
TRUMP: We're going to get this passed through the Senate. I feel so confident.
CARROLL: With controversy swirling on the Russia situation, President Trump is facing historically low approval ratings just days away from the six-month mark into his presidency.
That investigation is applying constant pressure. The president is facing bipartisan calls to reexamine the security clearance of his senior adviser son-in-law Jared Kushner over meetings Kushner failed to initially disclose.
CARROLL: And, Jake, Kushner's legal team pushing back on any suggestion that his security clearance could be in jeopardy. His attorney releasing a statement that says in part, "We have heard no expression of concern from the FBI, and I think we would know if there were such concerns at this time."
The White House deputy press secretary was also asked a little earlier today if there was any trust that was broken between the president and his son-in-law. She says the president still has confidence in him -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Jason Carroll at the White House for us, thank you. And he has called the Senate health care bill unacceptable and now his
office is feuding with the vice president over claims that the vice president made that were false. So, what is Governor John Kasich's plan to move forward on health care?
We will talk to him next.
TAPPER: And we're back with our politics lead.
Senate Republicans' health care plan was very unpopular nationwide, including, significantly, with many Republican governors whose pressure helped seal its fate.
Ohio Governor John Kasich was a vocal opponent of the bill. He joins me now.
Governor, thanks so much for joining us.
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: You're welcome, Jake.
TAPPER: So, here is how President Trump reacted to Senate Republicans' failure.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Let Obamacare fail. It will be a lot easier, and I think we're probably in that position where we will just let Obamacare fail. 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: There are, of course, measures that could be passed today to help stabilize Obamacare, instead of letting it fail, but the president seems to want it to fail. That's the strategy.
What do you think?
KASICH: Well, I don't quite know.
I think if he was able to be delivered a bill, Jake, in my opinion, that could begin to solve this situation, in my opinion, he would sign it quickly. That's my view. I don't know that. He hasn't told me that.
But, look, we know that the insurance exchanges need to be fixed. I mean, Democrats will tell you that. Republicans will tell you that. I suggested a long time ago that that ought to be the focus, and that's where I think it ought to be now, to do some things to stabilize that exchange, and then, once that's done, to begin to think about the broader aspects of health care. And when it relates to Medicaid, Jake, in my opinion, we ought to have
a way in which we can look at all entitlements. Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security are beginning to swamp our country, dramatically increasing the national debt.
So all these things can be reformed, but they really should be done on a bipartisan basis.
TAPPER: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to hold a vote in the very near future, he says, to repeal Obamacare only, figuring out a replacement later. Right now, he doesn't seem to have the votes for that. What do you think of that plan, just repeal Obamacare now, without a replacement?
KASICH: Well, that's not a good one, Jake.
If you just got rid of that, then a lot of people would lose their health insurance. Look, I think there are people who are breathing a sigh of relief. I get letters. All the governors get letters. Senators, look, they had their town hall meetings.
This program needs reform. I have been saying it all along. It's not like we can just look the other way and things are going to get better. The insurance markets are turbulent. We do have to worry about what we're going to do long term on entitlements, as they affect our economy.
[16:15:10] But they just repeal something like that, and where do people go then who have drug addictions and chronic illness and mental health and -- you just can't walk away from that. So, I don't agree with that. I understand he doesn't have the votes.
I was just looking at the screen. I think it was -- I can't remember who, but it said Collins, it said Murkowski, and it said Capito -- Capito from West Virginia. A state that is, you know, obviously, one that has people who are poor, people who are needy. There are people like that all over the country.
TAPPER: You said that this needs to be solved in a bipartisan way. Listen to the Democratic leader of the Senate, Chuck Schumer, what he told his fellow senators today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: If Republicans abandon cuts to Medicaid, abandon tax breaks for the wealthy and agree to go through the regular order, the door to bipartisanship is open right now. Republicans only need to walk through it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Do you think those compromises are acceptable?
KASICH: I think Chuck's too political there, to be honest with you. What -- you know, I had a conversation with him, but let me react to what he just said publicly. I mean, you know, you don't ask a political party that just -- you know, here are my conditions, you know, say that you failed, say you're wrong. I mean, I think that's nonsense.
That's not -- you know, if I were the Democratic leader, what I would say is, hey, look, it's not working. There's a lot of people in this country who are at risk. Let's get together. Let's have some conversations.
I don't agree with that tone. It's that kind of a tone from both parties. You know, when you got one party saying, oh, well, we'd have to work with the Democrats, that's the wrong tone.
When you have somebody who says, those Republicans, you know, they failed. All they have to do is what I say and then we can meet. That's nonsense. That is not the direction we need to go in this country.
You know, I talked to one Democrat senator who told me, some of our people think, you know, politically, this is good for us. He said, let me tell you what I worry about. I worry about those people who will be affected.
I salute that senator. I'm not going to say who it was, but that's the direction. You know, look, we're in this together. There's a lot of people in need and let's stop just demanding certain things in order to get things done.
TAPPER: You've been reaching out to senators, as you note. Have you heard from Democrats and Republicans a willingness to work in a bipartisan way on this issue?
KASICH: Oh, yes. Look, Tom Carper and I have talked -- I can't even tell you how many times. Tom has been a hero in this. He's always worried -- his wife tells us he spends so much time on this. I said, Tom, you're doing the Lord's work.
I mean, I know he's had conversations with Republicans. You know, Lisa Murkowski came out and said the time has come to work with Democrats. So has Susan Collins.
You know, I had a very nice conversation -- well, let me not get into who I talked to because then they'll be afraid to call me. But a number of them have called me, and, of course, there's been a willingness to work across the aisle. John McCain apparently today tweeted out, time to do this together.
Look, Jake, this is a big chunk of our economy. And we can have all the debates we want about taxes and about infrastructure and all these things, but when it comes to health care, it involves our spouses, it involves our children, it involves our neighbors, it involves the people we love. And everybody wants to feel a little bit of security as it revolves around that issue.
TAPPER: Governor Kasich, stick around. We've got much more to talk about. We'll take this quick break.
KASICH: Thank you.
[16:22:46] TAPPER: And we're back with Ohio Governor John Kasich.
Governor, Vice President Pence said on Friday that disabled people in your state of Ohio were struggling because of Obamacare. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know Governor Kasich isn't with us, but I suspect he is very troubled to know that in Ohio alone, nearly 60,000 disabled citizens are stuck on waiting lists, leaving them without the care they need for months or even years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: What's your response to that, Governor?
KASICH: Well, we know he's wrong about that. Everybody has said it and the fact is there is no connection between our developmental disabilities. By the way, we have put historic amounts into that. There is no connection between that and Medicaid.
And, frankly, these waiting lists are things that people -- we had a three-month-old baby, the parents of a three-month-old baby, put him a waiting list that will come, who knows, 10, 15 years down the road. There is just no connection. I think they've tried to back off.
But this is not the time for me to be in a back and forth with Mike Pence. I think it's all been clarified, and look, we just move on. I don't -- I don't like to get in those kind of squabbles, but that information was false.
TAPPER: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was asked this afternoon about Republicans keeping their frequent promise to repeal Obamacare. Take a listen to this exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: How would explain this to voters next year who (INAUDIBLE) campaigning?
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: Well, we have a new Supreme Court justice. We have 14 repeals of regulations and we're only six months into it. The last time I looked, the Congress goes on for two years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So, there is Mitch McConnell being asked, what are you going to say to voters failing to deliver this? He talked about Gorsuch and regulations being defeated. But the big question is, why did Republicans not have a plan? They've been making this promise for years.
KASICH: Well, Jake, I think when you get in the middle -- look, all these folks that run for office, many of them, and I said this during the presidential campaign. I said, did you ever notice how many people make promises and then when they get elected they don't deliver on them? It's because once you get there and you understand the gravity of the situation, it's difficult.
[16:25:01] And again, I don't want to have somebody saying, oh, well, the Republicans failed, no? I think what they're doing now is saying that we don't have the best solution. And when we looked at everything here, we didn't have anything that really made sense.
But I think it's very clear, two points. One is the insurance markets need to be stabilized. And there are efforts that can be made to do that. It should be done on a bipartisan basis. I think there are senators willing to do it.
Number two, on the issue of entitlements. We can't continue to have entitlements grow and eat up greater and greater portions of the budget, and Jake, here's the thing. I think our debt is about 80 percent of our gross domestic product, GDP. When it gets up higher and higher, it means we have slower economic growth.
But in order to reform, you have to reform entitlements, you don't have to go and cut them. You need to get them on a glide path, just like we did when we balanced the budget in the late '90s.
So, this whole business -- look, if Republicans go home and they say, we did our darn best, but here's the thing. We don't want to cut people off who really need health care, we will fix this, we will slow the growth of health care, I think it's a winner. I don't think they need to go around apologizing for it, just say what they found.
It's OK. Life is short.
TAPPER: Governor John Kasich of Ohio, thanks so much for your time, sir. As always, good to see you.
KASICH: Jake, always good. Thank you.
TAPPER: New details about Donald Trump's meeting with that Russian lawyer. We now know who the eighth person in the room is. Stick around.