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Interview with Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA). Two More Republican Senator Announce They Cannot Support Health Care Bill; Analysts Examine Future of Republican Health Care Reform Efforts. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired July 18, 2017 - 08:00   ET


[08:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The question is to why Jared Kushner is still in the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why should we believe anything when they've got such a track record of lying?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, July 18th, 8:00 in the east. And up first, the president dealt a major blow, his health care bill has gone down and he is in blame mode. He's blaming Democrats, he's blaming Republicans, for the failure to repeal and replace Obamacare. This all came to pass after two more senators announced their opposition last night as the president was actually hosting a dinner with some other senators trying to gain support.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: So the president and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell now pushing for a repeal without a replacement plan. What will Republicans do now? We have it all covered for you, so let's begin with CNN's Suzanne Malveaux live on Capitol Hill with the latest. It ought to be an interesting morning up there, Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very interesting, against. As you can imagine, it is a devastating blow President Trump. This was his number one legislative priority. Also a devastating blow to the promise many Republicans made to repeal and replace Obamacare. The president weighing in this morning with his angry tweets saying we were let down by all of the Democrats and a few Republicans. Most Republicans were loyal, terrific, and worked really hard. We will return.


MALVEAUX: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell giving up on Republicans seven year effort, now pushing to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan in place. The latest effort collapsing after two more Republican senators announced their opposition to the bill simultaneously on Monday night, ensuring that the plan would fail. McConnell still planning to hold a vote in the coming days on a 2015 measure that would repeal Obamacare but delay it taking effect if for two years while a replacement bill is crafted. President Trump responding to the setback on Twitter, tweeting Republicans should just repeal failing Obamacare now and work on a new healthcare plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in. This despite the fact that a straight repeal has little to no chance of passing, and it could leave millions uninsured an insurance markets in turmoil. The president's proposal starkly different from the promise he made on the campaign trail.

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Obamacare is a disaster. Repeal it and replace it. Repeal and replace. Repeal and replace. Obamacare, we're going to repeal it, we're going to replace it, we're going to get something good.


MALVEAUX: President Trump was trying to drum up support for health care, coaxing a handful of senators at a White House dinner Monday night as Senators Lee and Moran announced their opposition. The president expressing optimism earlier in the day.

TRUMP: The Republicans senators are great people, but there are a lot of different states. Some states need this, some states need that. But we're getting it together and it is going to happen, right, Mike?

MALVEAUX: Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer immediately celebrating the defeat, tweeting "This second failure of Trumpcare is proved positive that the core of this bill is unworkable." As Republicans continue to be split about the path forward, with conservatives pushing the clean repeal effort, and moderates like Senator John McCain calling for bipartisanship. McCain stressing that Republicans should receive input from members of both parties as they work to produce future legislation.


MALVEAUX: And McConnell's last ditch effort to repeal without replacing Obamacare fails will be a real test here for lawmakers whether or not they will shore up Obamacare or let it wither. Time and time again Republicans have said they believe that Obamacare is collapsing, to it remains to be seen whether or not they will work with the Democrats to try to fix it. Alisyn and Chris?

CUOMO: Those efforts are not being supported by the president this morning, Suzanne. He is tweeting, and here is what he said, "As I've always said, let Obamacare fail and then come together and do a great health care plan. Stay tuned." Think about what that would mean, allowing it to fail. How many people will be compromising like that? How many children would be left without healthcare? How many gaps would be left in coverage all in the name of political --

CAMEROTA: He is not saying repeal. He's saying just let it be, let people grow really dissatisfied with it.

CUOMO: No, he is saying let it fail.

CAMEROTA: Right, meaning don't do anything, don't tough anything. So let it fail, which is what you just heard from Jim Jordan.

CUOMO: But there is a price to fail. Fail isn't just like the date passing and now you have to do something. People's lives will be affected very negatively if you don't do things to support the market.

CAMEROTA: So the way I interpret what he's saying is then people will be motivated if you just leave Obamacare --

[08:05:02] CUOMO: But what, extreme pain and not having had coverage for their kids. But let's discuss. Let's bring in CNN politics reporter and editor at large Chris Cillizza, associate editor and columnist at Real Clear Politics, A.B. Stoddard, and CNN political analyst John Avlon. Avlon was giving us the gaze. While we were talking, he was saying, all right, pass it from the amateurs to the pro. So what is it that you have that was so much more important than what we were saying?

JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Let me solve this problem.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

AVLON: So in an earlier tweet, the president backed the whole strategy up, just repeal it, let the boats burn, and that will force everybody to come together.

CAMEROTA: Right, which is what I think Chris is referring to.

AVLON: Right, that is what Chris is referring to. In a later tweet, right, this is insanity of parsing the president's tweets, he seems to be saying let it continue on its current course and that will itself be a forcing factor. Now whether these actually make a clear distinction about those two options, it is a little unclear. But what has been proposed by the president in the past and which apparently Senator Tom Cotton suggested is vote for the repeal. That will force everybody to come together even though it will create chaos in the market with negative impact.

The problems in Obamacare are real, and that raises the question of can we get a bipartisan reform bill together. In a rational world that would be great. In today's America's, that's highly unlikely.

CUOMO: Right, but Cillizza, the point is that both of these options, if you want to take them separately, lead you to a very definite political reality that it seems, just judging the president by his own words, he is very happy or satisfied or sees as satisfactory allowing people to experience pain in their own lives if it gets us to a political situation where he can get the change he wants.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, EDITOR AT LARGE, CNN POLITICS: I take him at his word, Chris, he wants to sign something. He wants a win. This is how he defines things. He wants to sign something. He wants to hold the thing up where he signs and he wants to say who gets the pen. He's into that photo op. He made very clear he would basically sign whatever Republicans could pass, and I don't think he necessarily thinks of the consequences politically or in real world terms. I also think these two tweets, the one from last night at about 10:00

and the one you just read speak to the fact that this is a guy who does not have even the most basic grasp of the legislative process and how it works. I think John is right that he is conflating letting the law wither on the vine with repealing it, but those are not the same thing, right?

Last night in the wake of the announcements by Senator Moran and Senator Lee, it was that we should repeal this, which is something he said before. Let's repeal it and then replace it. Today, not even 12 hours later, it is let the bill die. He doesn't know the difference is the conclusion I'm left with. If he does know the difference, then he would know those two things are totally contradictory. That's not the same thing at all. And it's not the same solution. It makes Mitch McConnell's life that much more difficult given that he was saying the next step is we're going to take a straight repeal vote. Now you have the president of the United States saying forget that. Let's just let it wither on the vine.

CAMEROTA: OK, so A.B., let's just go with the most recent one. In that case the most recent tweet suggests let it wither on the vine, and that could be a canny strategy because then Democrats are left holding the bag of, oh, there are problems with Obamacare and now we have to fix them. It sort of tosses the ball back into the Democrat's lap of how to fix it.

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: I think that's what he hopes, Alisyn, but I think you have heard from -- I have spoken to Republicans privately that concede of course we own the outcome now. The promises for seven years. We had a presidential candidate on the trail saying it is going to be so easy it will happen on day one. But what you get in return is going to be so inexpensive, so high quality, so simple, so much better, and after that pie in the sky promise we ended up with nothing.

So Mitch McConnell all along he talked about working with Democrats if they fail, talked about backing away from this repeal and then delay for two years because he knows Republicans own the outcome and he knows they're not going to get to a better place than they are at today. And he knows it's bad politics to say things like let's let people suffer for a political win so I can blame Democrats.

So there is a real divide here over the path forward, and whether or not you punish someone like Dean Heller in Nevada for failing to come to the table, the White House political arm went against him, McConnell flipped out and they had to pull the ads. Now before even the vote on health care the White House is preoccupied, President Trump is, with going after Senator Flake in Arizona.

[08:10:00] So there's going to be a conversation, many of them, in the days to come about whether or not, because I do think the repeal and delay plan likely fails, whether or not to work with Democrats and do a little bit to shore up these markets and prevent this free fall from happening faster, this death spiral, and then move on to tax reform, or whether to make it this drawn out thing where they think it can make it a 2018 midterm campaign issue against the Democrats. I think McConnell knows that they can't. I think most Republicans know they can't. But Donald Trump is a good avenger. He wants to find an enemy here, and he is trying to make it the Democrats.

CUOMO: And that has working successfully for him. We'll see if it works in health care. It is now working so well right now in the other big situation he's, which is the Russian investigation, because the person at the center of it is his son. So blaming him will probably won't work well. There is a scathing "Wall Street Journal" editorial today. One of the excerpts, we could pick a dozen, is "Don't you get it, guys," this is the "Wall Street Journal" referring to the Trumps, "Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the House and Senate Intelligence Committees are investigating the Russia story. Everything that's potentially damaging to the Trumps will come out one way or the other, 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 rating shows." This is the "Wall Street Journal," this is Rupert Murdoch, this is a friend of the president. So what do you see on this one, John Avlon?

AVLON: I think the "Wall Street Journal" editorial page tried to find common cause with Donald Trump and been pretty tough and blunt. There are multiple voices speaking for the editorial board. But when they take this tack, it was designed to get Republicans attention as well as the president. It is serious tough love. It's a reality check, they need to recognize, because, guess what, they're right about the stakes. And the denial in the Trump camp, 36 percent is totally sufficient, as long as you have got your base we'll pull it out somehow and that you can keep attacking any unwelcome news as fake is delusion.

Chris Cillizza, there was another possibly delusional moment yesterday, and that was during the White House press briefing that is just audio only, and Sean Spicer, the press secretary, trying to explain this meeting between Don Jr. and Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, and the Russians. Let me just play for you what -- get into your time machine and listen to what Sean Spicer said yesterday.


SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There was nothing as far as we know that would lead anyone to believe there was anything except for discussion about adoption and the Magnitsky Act.


CAMEROTA: Nothing except the subject heading of the email --

CUOMO: All of the descriptions of the guy who set up the meeting saying it was about something else never mentioning the Magnitsky Act.

CAMEROTA: So that is funny, theater of the absurd. But for real, what is Sean Spicer doing?

CILLIZZA: Short answer, I have no idea. Longish answer, I think they continue to try to process a totally alternate set of facts that are not factual under the belief that they will muddy the waters, that their base will respond to whatever Sean Spicer says, and that that will be taken as the truth. Obviously I think it is destructive for a number of reasons for our democracy, knowingly establishing a set of facts that are not factual. This is not a disagreement about policy. This is not a he said, he said situation. This is Donald Trump Jr.'s emails. This is a tweet from the president of the United States yesterday regarding that meeting. That is what is difficult here for me as a journalist. They're doing something that they are knowingly misleading here. There's no debate. There's no way Sean Spicer thinks there is every reason to believe, as he said, that this was about adoption. Donald Trump Jr., the eldest son of the president of the United States said very clearly in that e-mail exchange that he was hoping this was about getting dirt on Hillary Clinton. I'm sorry, I'm at a loss for words. What do we do with that?

AVLON: That is a key question. We get the strategy. You don't have a good case to make. Come out with alternative facts and muddy the water. But the specific instance is do they believe it. And if they don't, what are they doing? What are they doing in terms of the state of their civic soul and actually trying to represent the American people. They know it is wrong. They know it is a lie. And there's unfortunately every indication that they must.

CAMEROTA: Panel, thank you very much.

Meanwhile, Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is changing gears. He's now calling for a full repeal of Obamacare.

[08:15:00] Will they ask Democrats to help with a new plan? After that, Congresswoman Jackie Speier is going to be here to weigh in next.


CAMEROTA: President Trump slamming Democrats and blaming some Republicans after the Senate health bill collapsed last night. The president tweeting just moments ago, "As I have always said, let Obamacare fail, and then come together and do a great healthcare plan. Stay tuned."

This, however, contradicts a tweet the president posted late last night. "Republicans should just repeal failing Obamacare now."

Let's discuss this and more with Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California. She is a member of the House Intelligence Committee. Good morning, Congresswoman.

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D), CALIFORNIA: Good morning, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: So those two messages are contradictory. One is repeal Obamacare, and one is just let Obamacare and its flaws be sort of known to the world and let it fail under its own weight, which is what Republicans predict will happen

What do you think the next step is?

SPEIER: Well, the Republican playbook has been all about sabotaging the Affordable Care Act. For 65 times in the House, they pushed a vote to repeal, and replace was the line they were using. Now we know that the majority of Americans support the Affordable Care Act, and every effort by the Republicans to redefine it has failed.

[08:20:01] And I think it's time for the Republicans and the Democrats to come together and fix the Affordable Care Act. There are things we can do to make it work better. Just by creating certainty in the season and guaranteeing the subsidies going forward would drop the trice of the premium by 19 percent. If you then have this reassurance that we had until the 2016, which allowed insurers to benefit when they had too many sick people in their pool, that would also reduce premiums by another 14 percent. And there's many more things we can do in terms of bringing the cost of prescription drugs down and looking at abuses where you have up-coding going on in hospitals. All those things should take place.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Well, listen, Senator John McCain agrees with you. He put out a statement, as he recovers in the hospital from his surgery, that he also thinks that Democrats should be involved. But I don't have to tell you, bipartisanship is not in abundance right now on Capitol Hill. So is the onus now on the Democrats to fix Obamacare?

SPEIER: We can't do anything unless we have the support of the majority. The majority in both houses is made up of Republicans. This is on their plate. This is something that they've wanted to do for seven years. They have now failed. They now need to do what's in the best interest of the American people. And that is to have an insurance product that everyone can embrace, that includes no up- charges for pre-existing conditions, that kids can stay on the plans until they're 26, that there is no annual limits or lifetime limits.

You know, the American people aren't expected to understand the nuances of their insurance policies, but we are. And the annual limits and the lifetime limits are killers for anyone that gets a catastrophic illness.

CAMEROTA: Congresswoman, let's switch gears. I want to talk to you about what happened on Friday when one of President Trump's, then- Candidate Trump's, advisors, Micahel Caputo, came in and testified in front of the House Intel Committee, which you sit on.

He said something to our Drew Griffin about you during all of this process. So let me play this for you and get you to respond to his criticism. Listen to this.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: You worked to improve Putin's image?

MICHAEL CAPUTO, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS ADVISOR: No, that's absolutely false. That's Jackie Speier relying on her interns for too much for information. I worked for Gazprom media, which was a subsidiary of Gazprom, which was allied with Putin. I didn't work on Putin's image. I was trying to help Gazprom Media explain why they took over NTV, a television network. If that somehow down the line helped the Kremlin, that wasn't what I was hired for.


CAMEROTA: He worked for several years in Russia, and he basically is saying that you've exaggerated his role in Russia and whatever he did with Putin.

SPEIER: Well, let's remember that Michael Caputo has made his entire professional career about being a spin doctor. And I'd like to remind him to reread the guest editorial that he provided in 2004, in which he said that he was -- he regretted the work he had done for Putin.

So he was an image consultant of Putin. He is a bit player in the whole issue that relates to Trump and his campaign organization, in collusion with the Russians, and he's trying to make himself a primary star of it. And I hope it works for him in terms of getting his radio show back, but he is all about promoting himself.

CAMEROTA: He says that he shook Putin's hand once and that you're exaggerating this role. But more importantly, what did he share with your committee? What did he tell you about the work that he did for Trump's campaign and whether or not there were Russian ties?

SPEIER: So, his transcript has yet to be developed. So we only have the benefit of those who were in the room that were questioning him. I, unfortunately, it was scheduled at the last minute on a Friday when I had to get back to give a speech and do a town hall in my district, so I wasn't there to participate.

But from what I understand, Mr. Caputo has a number of questions that he's going to have to answer, because it appears that he may have actually lied.

CAMEROTA: One of your colleagues said it was the most fascinating three hours he'd every experienced in his five years in the House of Representatives. So clearly something happened inside that closed door meeting, and we will look forward to finding out.

Very quickly, how is your work on the House Intel coming along? When will you all be able to reach some conclusions?

SPEIER: We are a long way from that. We are just now beginning the process of interviewing most of the witnesses.

[08:25:01] And that will go on for the next three or four months.

CAMEROTA: OK. Congresswoman Jackie Speier, thank you very much for being on NEW DAY.

SPEIER: Great to be with you, Alisyn.


CUOMO: All right, so this idea that's in the air right now about your heal hcare, how will repeal and replace later play out for Republicans? That is the subject of the Bottom Line, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: President Trump admitting defeat this morning on his promise to repeal and replace Obamacare.

So here we are at basically the six month mark, OK? And what do we see in this presidency? Let's use that as the topic for the Bottom Line. Joining us is CNN political director David Chalian. The president evidently aware of the six month mark and saying he has passed more bills through the Congress than any other president at this time. We did a fact check on it. Not necessarily true, but it is a true reflection of his desire to prop up the presidency.

[08:30:01] How do you see it six months in?