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Obamacare Repeal Fails; Next Step for Health Care; Infighting and Chaos in White House; Scaramucci Played by Cantone. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired July 28, 2017 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Turning to Democrat to offer their own ideas after the Republican's last ditch effort to repeal Obamacare failed.

Let's discuss the way forward with Democratic Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland. He's a member of the Senate Finance Health Sub -- Finance Health Care Subcommittee.

So, good to have you, senator. Thanks for being on the show. You're the one who stayed up last. I'm the one who can't speak.

SEN. BEN CARDIN (D), MARYLAND: Chris, it's good to be with you.

Last night was pretty -- a dramatic moment. We were able to stop this train going in the wrong direction. Now it's time for us to work together to improve the Affordable Care Act.

CUOMO: All right, so, state of play. You know, I test Democrats on a regular basis, what are your ideas, why aren't you trying to get in there, and I understand the counters, that you're not in the majority, you don't have the numbers and you don't believe in repealing the ACA, so why would anybody vote for that. OK.

But now you know where we are. And you did have Mitch McConnell do something that in this environment that's unusual, which is to say, let's look to the other side. John McCain exhorting all senators to remember that that's the spirit of the Senate is working together. So, what are the opportunities to do that, to create better health care for Americans, because, as we know, the ACA is far from perfect?

CARDIN: Well, neither party can do this on its own. We need everybody working together. So I'm encouraging the -- Senator Alexander, the chairman of the Health Committee, to convene hearings. We have proposals, Republicans have proposals that could bring down the overall cost of health care, stabilize the insurance marketplace, bring down the health insurance premiums.

I could give you specific examples. I filed legislation dealing with some of the cost issues, dealing with prescription medicines to make it more affordable, dealing with more coordinated, integrated care models, so you're dealing with the patient rather than specific (INAUDIBLE). CUOMO: Right. That's where we need to go, senator, because I think it

is time for specifics because one of the political dynamics here that needs to be satisfied is a quick win. All right, that's where the president's head is. Right or wrong, that's what you're dealing with. That's the leadership.

So, what do you think could get done in short order? Because when you say the word "hearings," you know, that means that I'm going to lose hairline between when they start and when anything actually gets done. So, what do you think can get done soon?

CARDIN: Well, the Senate's in session. We could have a hearing next week. Believe me, we could put hearings together quickly. But there is a reason for hearings. We believe public input is important. We also believe when you come up with a proposal, you should let it be aired. You should let people have an opportunity to understand it. Recognize that the last bill we voted on was shown to us two hours before we voted on it.

CUOMO: Right.

CARDIN: So let's have a more transparent process.

There are proposals out there. I have filed legislation four or five weeks ago that include five or six specific proposals that could help stabilize the insurance marketplace. These are not novel ideas. They've been around. Republicans are supporting these. We want to make sure that insurance companies know the stability of the marketplace so more have confidence to enter the marketplace. We could also make it more stable by having a public option available if there's not competition in a community.

So there are things we could do working with Republicans quickly. I agree with you, I would like to get it done this year. I would like to get things moving.

CUOMO: What do you make of the president's challenge to allow the ACA to implode? First, do you believe that that's a fair reckoning of the disposition of the health care system, that it is in a death spiral? And, two, the notion that the president would, although he raised his hand and said I'll faithfully execute the laws of the United States, he would allow this law to fail?

CARDIN: Chris, you're saying it exactly correct. The Affordable Care Act, no, it's not imploding. The Affordable Care Act has provided incredible health to millions of Americans who didn't have access to affordable health care before. It has improved dramatically in quality insurance available, reined in the abusive practices of insurance companies.

What the president is doing is unconscionable. He should be carrying out the laws of this country in a way to make them most effectively work. Instead what he is doing, he is trying to say, look, I'm not sure whether I'm going to do what the law tells me to do on these payments to the insurance companies to stabilize the co-pays and deductibles, which causes insurance companies to say, maybe I shouldn't stay in the marketplace.

I'm not going to enforce the mandate, the president says, so therefore healthy, younger people don't feel like they have to buy insurance because they don't know if there will be a penalty if they don't. That means the risk pools are greater. The insurance premiums are higher. The president is doing things that is making the market much more difficult, and that's just wrong.

CUOMO: So, what about the fundamental issue of the individual marketplaces largely in states that didn't expand Medicaid that are under water. They're too small. They have one choice. You know, sometimes that's it in a lot of these markets. Huge deductibles and premiums rising at ridiculous rates. What's the first thing that can be done to stop that bleeding?

[08:35:04] CARDIN: Well, two things. First, have a public option. Have a government plan that's available if there's not competition in that marketplace. So you know you have guaranteed coverage.

Secondly, enforce the mandates so that the younger, healthier people come into the market place so you have more people in the insured market place, that premiums go down, so that everybody is in the system.

There are two things you could do. And then, lastly, make sure the insurance companies know that they're going to get the payments that were included in the Affordable Care Act so they can have lower copays and deductibles. That's what you could do immediately that would help stabilize the marketplace.

CUOMO: Well, up until this point it has been the Republican show. They are in the majority. They were working to satisfy a campaign promise. That phase seems to be over. Maybe there will be some dickering on block grants that the Republicans will try to move along the reconciliation process themselves. But now is the time to see who wants to step up on the bipartisan side. We will be watching. Thank you for being on the show to make the case.

CARDIN: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, senator.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Chris, infighting appears to be consuming the West Wing. Anthony Scaramucci taking on Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon. Is President Trump's White House out of control? We have a debate you don't want to miss, next.


[08:40:17] CUOMO: The turmoil inside the White House is real and on full display. Did you see Ryan Lizza's latest piece in "The New Yorker"? You should read it. Have you been watching NEW DAY? Well, if you haven't, you've missed the new coms director, Anthony Scaramucci, making his case to the American people that he was brought in by the president to do some things and most of them start and end within the White House.

So, what happens there? And what does it mean to the president's agenda?

Let's discuss with CNN political commentator and former senior communications adviser for the Trump campaign, Jason Miller. And, former senior advisor to President Clinton, Richard Socarides.

Now, fellas, unless you have the ability to curl up with a great book, like "Amanda Wakes Up" by Alisyn Camerota, out now, you can buy your copy -- I have ten -- unless you have the ability to do that, you must deal with reality. And the reality is, Jason Miller, it is "Thunderdome" in the White House. Two men enter, one man leaves. How did it get to this point?

JASON MILLER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Chris, I think one thing to keep in mind here is that President Trump likes to surround himself with folks who are passionate and who love to mix it up and have these differing opinions and ideas and he likes to see them hash it out and see which idea comes to the top or which opinion comes forward up to a point. And I think this is really the critical distinction here is, at a certain point the president will look and say, this is becoming a distinction or this is something that's getting in the way of our agenda and then folks will find themselves on the outs, and that's not where you want to be.

I think that things have gotten a little bit too heated over the last couple days. I think we saw from Anthony's comments last night that he probably went a little bit too far. But, look, I think Anthony is a breath of fresh air that's coming into the White House. I love his focus on the leaks. I think he's going to be a great teammate. And I think all these guys just need to get on the same page here because especially after these Republican turncoats shot down Obamacare last night, we've got to get going on tax reform and we can't dork around any longer.

CUOMO: Well, let's just talk about one of the operating assumptions here, which is the last few days it's heated up. My suggestion would be, you've had a problem there for a long time. Socarides you worked in close quarters like this. Have you ever seen anything like this where it's now Scaramucci vs. Reince. That's oversimplifies it. Muc just got there, Scaramucci.


CUOMO: This has been going on. You have who the family members attack, who attacks the family members, you know, who went after Jared, who is Jared trying to kill, Bannon versus Reince. Now they're together because Cohn is against them. We hear about it all the time. Have you ever heard anything like it?

SOCARIDES: Well, I don't think any of us have ever seen anything like this in the history of modern American politics or the history of politics any time in our lifetime anywhere in the world.

I mean I think Jason has done a pretty good job of putting forth the White House talking points in terms of, like, well, the president likes to have a lot of people with differing views around him. And, of course, you hear that about a lot of presidents, right?

But this is way beyond anything. I mean the crazy thing is that we try to even talk about this in the context of regular business. But this is --

CUOMO: Look at the cover of the "The New York Post."

SOCARIDES: This is -- I mean the cover of "The New York Post," right?

CUOMO: This is a friendly -- this is a friendly forum for the president, right? It's run by (INAUDIBLE).

SOCARIDES: "Survivor White House."

CUOMO: And, Jason, they have the cover as the "Survivor White House" with these little, you know, character -- caricatures of everybody.

SOCARIDES: I mean, Chris, what I -- what I -- what seem to me is, though, like, where are the adults in this. And the real losers -- I mean we talk about who's going to win. Is it going to be Reince? Is it going to be Scaramucci? Who's going to come out ahead?

I think nobody wins this. I think actually -- and the American people are the biggest losers. And when you look at what happened last night on the Senate floor with John McCain and Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, I mean those were real profiles in courage. And I think that if we look to John McCain today, we can see a way forward. That we have to start to work together.

And somebody in Washington -- it won't -- it won't be President Trump, it won't be anybody in his immediate circle, but somebody in Washington has to step forward and say, this craziness cannot continue.

CUOMO: Well, courage to you, cowardice to Jason Miller. But it all -- all roads lead us back to the same place. You say the president likes different ideas. Is that too fair an assessment, Jason, because is there a fair criticism that the president has been too OK with the blood sport? That he hasn't been a heavy enough hand or a good enough example of how to treat each other with decency, how to focus on the right things, how not to get distracted, how not to make it personal?

MILLER: Chris, I disagree a little bit with the setup there. I mean I think what the president wants to see is folks in his administration advocating for what he wants to get done and pushing his viewpoint forward.

[08:45:04] And let's got to Anthony Scaramucci for a moment here. I think the fact that he's been able to draw some attention to these issues of leaks that have really hamstrung this White House in a way that I haven't seen at any point in my professional life I think has been a very good thing. And I think if he's able to do something and clamping down on those, whether that's some people have to get kicked out, whether that's just getting those to stop, I think that's a good thing.

But going back to the earlier point, I mean, this is all about the American people and President Trump's agenda and how we're going to move the country forward. And --

SOCARIDES: But, Chris -- Chris, can I just -- Jason can I just interrupt you?

CUOMO: Fine, give a quick but -- a quick but.

SOCARIDES: This is not about the American people. This is about who got invited to dinner on Wednesday night. And that's what makes this so crazy.

MILLER: Well, and I think -- Richard, I think you're missing -- I think you're missing my broader point here, is that President Trump likes this competition of ideas, but he wants to see his agenda being implemented, he wants to see strong people stepping forward to go and do that.

CUOMO: All right.

MILLER: This is not a White House that I think is a good place for wall flowers. He definitely wants people who are aggressive, who can get out there and push that message. Now we need to make sure that that message is going to tax cuts, that's going to infrastructure. Look, this president ran on and had a historic victory on some really big, important things.

CUOMO: Right.

MILLER: Now we need all of these people pointing in the same direction. And they can do it. Look, I've worked with Bannon. I've worked with Priebus. I've worked with Scaramucci and there's no reason that these three shouldn't be able to get along and all work on behalf of the president.

CUOMO: The question is, given that they should be able to, will it happen and will they get the chance? Is someone going to be out because of what's been happening in that White House and as early as today. We'll see.

Jason, thank you. Richard, appreciate it.


CAMEROTA: Oh, Chris, is this your copy of "Amanda Wakes Up" right here?

CUOMO: Oh, I'm sorry, did I leave that an your chair?

CAMEROTA: You did. But I know that you are engrossed in it.


CAMEROTA: You are the best PR agent. CUOMO: I hope that you were not distracted by all the dog-eared pages

I have from the absolutely delicious language.

CAMEROTA: You are so wonderful. I will funnel my -- 10 percent of my salary to you.

Now to the rain forests of South Asia and a CNN Hero who has earned the nickname "papa bear." His mission is to save the sun bear after realizing the key role it plays in keeping the forest healthy. Meet Siew Te Wong.


SIEW TE WONG, CNN HERO: When I first started 20 years ago, no one has ever studied sun bears.

The more I learn about them, the more I care. The more I care, the more I worry. I have to help them.

And this is why I want to be the voice for the sun bear, to fight for the sun bear, to ensure the survival of the sun bear.


CAMEROTA: OK, to see more of those cute bears and learn how Wong is helping them, go to And while you're there, nominate someone you think should be a 2017 CNN Hero.

CUOMO: All right. So there's this huge push on line, who's going to play Scaramucci. Well, it seems like it's been answered. Performer of stage and screen, Mario Cantone beat "SNL" to the punch. Take a little listen.


MARIO CANTONE, COMEDIAN: I freaking love you.


CAMEROTA: Oh, and here he coms.

CUOMO: There he is.

CAMEROTA: Look who's live here.

CUOMO: Here on --


[08:52:03] CAMEROTA: When Sean Spicer resigned last week as White House press secretary, we lost Melissa McCarthy's uncanny parody on "Saturday Night Live." And we will miss her.

But thank God there is a new impersonation to fill the void. Watch this sendup of Anthony Scaramucci.


MARIO CANTONE, COMEDIAN: I love the president. Thank you. I love the president. I love him.


CANTONE: I love you.

ATAMANUIK: I love you.

CANTONE: I love you.

ATAMANUIK: I love you.

CANTONE: I freaking love you.


CANTONE: Thank you.

I'm going to fire so many people. I don't know who it's going to be, Reince, but I'm going to get to the bottom of the leakage of the White House, you hear me, Reince?


CAMEROTA: That's actor and comedian Mario Cantone. He's playing Scaramucci on "Comedy Central's" "The President's Show."

And Mario joins us now.

Great to see you.

MARIO CANTONE, ACTOR/COMEDIAN: What time is it? What time do you kids get up in the morning?

CAMEROTA: This is late for us.

CANTONE: I don't know how you do this. This is brutal. I only got up for you. For him.

CAMEROTA: I know you did.

CANTONE: Because he promised me sex. That's why I got up.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my God.

CUOMO: With you.


CUOMO: By the way --

CANTONE: Thank you for the flowers, Chris. I appreciate it.

CUOMO: Well -- CANTONE: Are you proud of me? He was tweeting -- he was call me at all hours of the night.

CAMEROTA: Because he loves your impersonation of -- of Muc.

CANTONE: Oh, he was -- no, he was giving me like advice. Like, I was like, thank you, Stella Addler (ph). OK, Uda Hagandas (ph).

CUOMO: But here's why. Because this is different than what you normally do. You are a brilliant performer. Everybody knows that. But the relevance to our political culture now --

CANTONE: Yes, it's --

CUOMO: McCarthy wasn't just funny. It was about the window. Baldwin's not just funny. It's about the window that the satire doesn't have to be exaggerated to become comedy.

CANTONE: See, you -- yes, I know. You look at it (INAUDIBLE). You look at it very deeply because you're a political commentator. I just -- look, let me tell you something, I -- day this happened, like when someone tweeted the comparison, I was lying in bed depressed. You know, I couldn't get out of bed. You know me, I sleep late.

So, all of a sudden that happened. And then another person did. And I don't have a ton of Twitter followers because I leave it there like an abandoned amusement park. And so I just like, you know, I tweeted -- I retweeted it and then it went crazy. And then, four days later, Anthony called me and said, will you do this.

CUOMO: Anthony Atamanuik --


CUOMO: Who is Trump in "The President Show" on Comedy Central.

CANTONE: Right. Right.

CAMEROTA: That makes sense.


CAMEROTA: But you, so quickly, channeled him.


CAMEROTA: You figured out Anthony Scaramucci so quickly.


CAMEROTA: We have another clip.

CANTONE: You do?

CAMEROTA: Let's play people and then you'll -- I mean let's play it for people and you'll explain how you did it. Watch this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CANTONE: There's an old Italian expression my mother used to use when somebody hurt her. She'd say, stick the umbrella up my ass but don't open it.

ATAMANUIK: Wow, I love ethnics.

CANTONE: And I love President Chump.


CANTONE: Well, (INAUDIBLE) chump. Well, you know, you know, I'm Italian and I know this guy. I just know what --

CAMEROTA: You recognize that (INAUDIBLE) type.

CANTONE: Oh, I recognize him -- you know, I -- I got to tell you, when I listened to the phone -- I mean I saw the interview you did with him, Chris, and then -- because he forced me to, and he was like, I said, what time's your show on. He goes, you don't know what time my show's on? I said, I'm not up at 6:00 in the morning to look at your pretty face.

[08:55:08] So I -- then he -- then he said -- then Chris, he tweeted me again and look -- listen, the phone interview is really interesting. So I listened to the phone interview and half way through it I -- I texted you and I was like, this is exhausting. It's draining. I said, I know Italians repeat themselves, but this guy's taking it to a whole other level. Oh, my God. And, you know --

CAMEROTA: But, I mean, he did say things like that, there's an old Italian expression. I mean --

CANTONE: Yes, well, he loves the Italian expressions.

CAMEROTA: He really does.

CANTONE: Yes. One of my -- he does -- yes, he did that a lot. He did. I just -- I just think he's -- he had some -- there's an old --

CAMEROTA: What do you think is so funny?

CANTONE: I just think -- well, there was one moment in it that you didn't show, but I --

CAMEROTA: Is it too dirty?

CANTONE: No, it's not.

CUOMO: What is it?

CANTONE: It's my favorite thing and no one really laughed at it. But when -- when he said -- they were talking about the theme of the show, because there's always a theme of "The President Show" every week. And he says to tell them -- is, Muc, tell them the theme. And I went, Joe Paterno (ph). And -- and so -- and there was that happened with you. And --

CUOMO: Well, it's just (INAUDIBLE) laugh, yes. He did quote Coach Paterno.

CANTONE: Yes, and then -- and my favorite thing is he's (ph) going -- well (INAUDIBLE) me. It's reality. I mean (INAUDIBLE) me is so like Italian. It's just -- it's hilarious.

CUOMO: Do we have time for another clip or do people have to watch on line? All right. I want -- you guys have to watch online with Mario -- where Scaramucci slaps the president and says, snap out of it. That was funny.

CANTONE: It's nice to be part of the political climate in part of this. I really is. I know --

CUOMO: And I know you take it seriously, as well as serious art.

CANTONE: Oh, I absolutely do. I do. Well, because, you know, if I didn't, he'd come around and just --

CAMEROTA: That's right.

CUOMO: No, no, you've got a great talent. There's a void and who could fill it better than you. That was funny.

CANTONE: Well, look, I'm just happy that Anthony and Comedy Central and "The President Show" called me because I love the show and I love doing it. And you've got to strike while the iron's hot.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely.

CANTONE: Who knows if he'll be here in October.

CAMEROTA: Next week. You're so right.

CANTONE: You know, we don't know. I've got to do it now.

CAMEROTA: Well, we're going to enjoy it while you do it. You are so (INAUDIBLE).

CANTONE: I've got to take it for all its worth.

CAMEROTA: Thank you so much for being on NEW DAY.

CANTONE: Thank you. Good luck on your book.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

CANTONE: What's it called, "Amanda Wakes Up" --

CAMEROTA: "Amada Wakes Up."

CANTONE: With an erection? What's it called? Something like that?

CUOMO: No. CAMEROTA: Oh, my God.

CUOMO: "Amanda Wakes Up." It is a touching and poignant novel that gives insight into journalism.

CAMEROTA: It's your new beach read, dirty, dirty mind (ph).

CUOMO: Toss to the next show.

CANTONE: I'm terrible. See what Italians do? We --

CAMEROTA: Read that.

CUOMO: Forget it. I'm taking it from you.

CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and John Berman is going to pick up right after this break.

CAMEROTA: You're so great. Thank you for being here.