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Trump Blames Congress for Russia-U.S. Relationship; Senate Rebuffs Trump's Health Care Demands; Senate War Authorization; After Workout Food Choices; Bipartisanship on Obamacare; Backlash over Immigration Plan. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired August 3, 2017 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] SEN. TIM KAINE (D), VIRGINIA: Is ridiculous. The relationship is at a low because Vladimir Putin is invading sovereign nations, is attacking American Montenegrin French elections, is violating missile treaties and is doing all kinds of negative things. For the president to not call out Russia on that and say that the relationship is low because of Congress, why does he keep thinking that he needs to be Vladimir Putin's defense lawyer and take pressure off of him and not call him out for bad behavior and pretend that it's Congress's fault. It's just -- it's a head scratcher.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: What -- why do you think he does that?

KAINE: Well, look, he's clearly deeply, deeply insecure about the ongoing Russia investigation that's being conducted by the special prosecutor, Mueller, and the investigation that the Intelligence Committee, especially here in the Senate, is conducting. These investigations clearly he finds them very threatening and so he is always pushing back against them in one way or the other.

It's kind of a -- some -- you know, I got something to hide attitude. If you've ever, you know, dealt with your kids and you ask them who took the cookies out of the cookie jar and they come up with a million explanations, you know, usually they've got something to hide.

So the investigation will get to the bottom of it. But the president, you can just count on him to try to deflect attention away from Russian misdeeds at every opportunity. And for him to say that it's Congress' fault that the relationship is at a low point is just flat wrong.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about health care. There's a lot of talk right now ever since, you know, the repeal and replace failed that people --

KAINE: Last week.

CAMEROTA: That people on Capitol Hill are open to some sort of compromise, bipartisan compromise.


CAMEROTA: We hear a lot of talk about that. But I want to test you on what really you would be willing to give up to help work with Republicans. KAINE: Sure.

CAMEROTA: As you know -- OK, so you're on the committee that is trying to tackle all of this.

KAINE: Right.

CAMEROTA: Your chairman, Lamar Alexander, he has some ideas. So let me just see which ones you're comfortable with. OK, we have a full screen.

Funding he would like for the cost sharing subsidies. Well, I bet you agree with that. This is the one the president doesn't want.

KAINE: Yes, need to do it.

CAMEROTA: So this -- I mean this is where it sounds like Senator Alexander's crossing the divide to agree with Democrats.

OK, next.

KAINE: Yes. And --

CAMEROTA: Go ahead.

KAINE: And it was what the law was required. I mean there's an argument, is it required or is it voluntarily. But clearly doing that is what was intended when the Affordable Care Act was passed. We need to do that.

CAMEROTA: It is. But as you know, Republicans say that a court decided that that was actually not constitutional or legal.

KAINE: Right.

CAMEROTA: So there's a debate.

OK, reinsurance. The one I want to get to here, expanded state waivers. OK, this is interesting. Which might include relaxing the essential health benefits. Would you go along with this?

KAINE: I do think flexibility for states is a good thing. I was a governor and so we all think it's a good thing.

What I would be inclined to look at is, there are areas where the statute itself says states should have flexibility, but it's turned out that when states have applied to HHS to get the flexibility, they've been turned away or it's so onerous that they just give up. So let's start with taking the flexibility that stats were granted and making sure that they actually have it. I would start there.

If you get into talking about relaxing the essential health benefits, you've got to get into, we'll put a proposal on the table and let's look and see what the benefit is that you want to relax and how would it affect people. But I do think many states have a really good argument that they were supposed to have flexibility under the act but in practice it hasn't worked that way. We should -- we should respond to their concerns on that.

CAMEROTA: I keep hearing people, not on Capitol Hill, outside of the beltway, saying maybe now's the time for single payer, for a single payer system. Is -- are -- is there any talk of that on Capitol Hill?

KAINE: Sure. Alisyn, I think you're going to see a single payer bill introduced by Senator Sanders. He's indicated I think publicly that he wants to.

I have a different view about what we ought to do. I want people to have more options, not fewer. So I would like to -- now this is a longer-term discussion, not the immediate discussion we need to have. I would like to explore a circumstance under which there could be a public option, like a Medicare Part E for everybody that you'd have to buy into, you'd have to pay a premium that would completely cover the cost of a policy, but you could buy into it. If you didn't want to buy into Medicare, you could buy from Aetna or Anthem or anybody else. We wouldn't force you to.

But I think if you provide an additional option, it would bring prices down. And since Medicare operates in every zip code in the country, you wouldn't have, you know, counties or cities where there wasn't competition. So that's something that I would like to explore with my colleagues.

But I think what Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray said two days ago is, in September we're going to have aggressive hearings, doctors, patients, governors, insurance commissioners and then we will try to take the immediate steps necessary to stabilize the individual marketplace. Let's do something significant but not compresence. And then we can build and explore bigger options in a deliberate way.

[08:35:18] CAMEROTA: Yes, look, I mean it sounds like you all are going back to the drawing board, that there might be an opportunity for real work to be done. But, obviously, Republicans will want something to show their constituents as well that they have been able to change in some significant way, the Affordable Care Act.

KAINE: Absolutely.

CAMEROTA: Next topic.

KAINE: Right.

CAMEROTA: We're really getting our money's worth out of you this morning.

The AUMF. OK, so I know that you have proposed a bipartisan proposal. What do you want to see happen with war authorization?

KAINE: So Jeff Flake and I have an authorization pending. We had a really wonderful hearing yesterday with secretaries Tillerson and Mattis about it. Hear the administration's perspective. Here's what we would do.

We would authorize action against the non-state actors, the Taliban, al Qaeda and ISIS, for five years. We would have a fairly tight definition of who could be considered an associated group with those three entities. That the president would have to list the group before Congress and saying, they're connected to the three and they're engaged in hostilities against the United States. If the president does that, we can take action against those groups too unless Congress disapproves.

We set a specific geography, which is not contained in the current authorization. If it needs to be expanded, the president can ask for expansion and act unless Congress disapproves. And, finally, this expires at the end of five years. And for it to be extended, there would have to be an affirmative vote of Congress.

So those are the three guardrails. None of which exist in the current authorization. There's no time limit, there's no geographic limit and the definition of associated groups is completely open ended.

We've got -- we had a really good dialogue, Democrat and Republicans. Jeff Flake and I, we have this proposal. But the nice thing was that secretaries Tillerson and Mattis, while they maintain, as did the Obama administration, the current authorization covers what we're doing, they both said to send a message to our troops, to send a message to allies and adversaries, it would be good for this Congress to get back into this 16 years after the 2001 authorization was done.

CAMEROTA: OK. Senator Tim Kaine, thank you for all of the information.

KAINE: Thanks, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: I think we've talked more about bipartisanship in these seven minutes than we have in a while. Thank you.

KAINE: I hope it rubs off on the place. Thanks.

CAMEROTA: Thanks so much.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Look, it's good. We are hearing it. We just heard it from the Republican senator.


CUOMO: Now, Tim Kaine. I mean --

CAMEROTA: I know. The same sorts of things.

CUOMO: This is a good thing. No matter what you want, you should want them to work together.

All right, so, speaking of working together, ousted White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci wants to come to you to work together for an understanding of why he left. What Scaramucci's plan is, next.


[08:42:21] CAMEROTA: Time now for the "five Things to Know for Your New Day."

Number one, President Trump facing backlash for supporting legislation that would cut legal immigration by half and shift to a merit-based system favoring English speakers.

CUOMO: The president reluctantly signing a sanctions bill slamming it and Congress. In a tweet President Trump says Congress is to blame for an all-time and dangerous low in America's relationship with Russia.

CAMEROTA: The U.S. travel ban to North Korea will kick in September 1st. The State Department says exceptions will be made for a select few, including journalists and humanitarian workers. All other U.S. passport holders there should get out.

CUOMO: President Trump's credibility takes another hit. Mexico's president and the Boy Scouts deny they never called Mr. Trump to praise him. The White House admits those calls never happened now. They say they were direct communications.

CAMEROTA: Ousted White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci plans to tell his story about his quick departure in an online event tomorrow.

CUOMO: For more on the "Five Things to Know," you can go to for the latest.

CAMEROTA: All right, so from calls to repeal and replace to a bipartisan fix for Obamacare, can Democrats and Republicans really come together? One Democratic senator gives us her take next.

CUOMO: But first, what are the best foods to eat after a workout? CNN health writer Jacqueline Howard rounds up the best options in "Food as Fuel."


JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH WRITER: Your first post workout meal should be packed with protein. Nutritionists like milk, but other high-quality sources include cheese, almonds, eggs or poultry. Consuming some carbohydrates can also help replenish the energy you burned off. You can add whole wheat toast to your choice of protein or go for a fruit smoothie or a cup of yogurt. And if you're worried about muscle soreness, try sprinkling some ginger powder or cinnamon on your food, or drinking fresh watermelon or tart cherry juice. Some studies suggest that they can help reduce pain and inflammation after exercise.



[08:48:14] CUOMO: A growing call for bipartisanship after the Senate's defeat to dismantle Obamacare. Can Republicans and Democrats come together to stabilize some of the insurance markets and fix what's broken in the Affordable Care Act? And if they can do that, what else is possible?

Joining us now is Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.

Senator, good to have you.

SEN. HEIDI HEITKAMP (D), NORTH DAKOTA: Thank you, Chris, for having me on.

CUOMO: So I don't believe you about the bipartisanship. Make the case to a skeptic about where there is actual proof that the left and right may come together.

HEITKAMP: Well, let's start out, you had a great segment earlier about what has the president gotten done and you list all these things and a lot of people forgot it -- forgot about all those things when they happened, right after they happened, because the drama interceded.

But let's take a look at what the Senate has gotten done. We've repealed No Child Left Behind in the huge bipartisan vote. We were able to amend the Toxic Substance Control Act, which hadn't been amended since 1970. And so there are things that actually happen in a bipartisan way. Because they usually happen in a bipartisan way, they don't generate a lot of drama. They don't generate a lot of controversy. And they go along unnoticed.

And I've got a great example. One of the most contentious issues we face is carbon constraints and CO2 regulation, right? So I have a bill that literally has Sheldon Whitehouse in support and Mitch McConnell in support.

CUOMO: It's a clean coal bill.

HEITKAMP: Yes. Well, it's a bill that would provide tax credits for carbon capture utilization and sequestration. And what it does -- the reason why people who were concerned about climate are interested is, we know we can't reach climate goals, CO2 emission control goals, without carbon capture sequestration and utilization. And we know, in the cool industry, to survive into the future, we have to be technologically able to do this.

[08:50:12] And so coming together with different motivations, but all towards the same goal, we've been able to put together a bill. We've almost had that bill pass three times. And I'm looking forward to getting it done this Congress.

CUOMO: What about the --

HEITKAMP: So here's an example.

CUOMO: What about health care? A big ticket item.

HEITKAMP: Well, I think --

CUOMO: It needs help. HEITKAMP: I think health care -- we got off on the wrong foot on health care because the process that was selected was too limiting in terms of what you could do. And we didn't start at the basic question. And this is what drives me crazy here is I always say, what's the problem we're trying to fix? What do we know is the problem? And we obviously know that the insurance markets have trouble and that we have a skewed system where younger people, healthier people, pay a great deal for health insurance because they're in the same risk pool with older people with more chronic conditions. That's a problem I think we all can recognize and fix together if we start from the starting point of what's the problem.

And the health care bill got off on the wrong foot because the problem that they were trying to fix was a political problem, an historic political problem. I -- I have seen nothing but broad reach across the aisle on, what are we going to do to stabilize the markets? And then, let's have a conversation about health care and what we're going to do to deliver a high quality health care product at a lower cost.

CUOMO: But what about all the Republicans who campaigned for years on getting rid of Obamacare? That that was a non-starter. The president keeps beating them over the head with that promise.

HEITKAMP: Yes, I think -- I think that there was a big attempt, obviously three bills, different structures. They all failed. I think that right now there is an interest and a concern given the reaction of Americans to what happened in all of this wildly unpopular bill that they kept trying to promote. That didn't work.

Let's work at fixing the problems. It's not -- I mean it's not about rhetoric anymore. It's about health care. So let's fix the health care system. And I think there is broad bipartisan support to do that.

CUOMO: How about the immigration bill that the White House just got behind? Do you think it has a chance of passing and makes the words from Emma Lazarus on the foot of the Statue of Liberty something that was just an add-on, that should be waived away?

HEITKAMP: I think the fact there were only two Republican senators announcing with the president when he announced his support for that bill is a pretty telling kind of clue that this probably doesn't have a lot of support. I mean they're laying down a marker, and I get that. But we passed a very highly regarded and bipartisan bill a couple years ago. Weren't able to get the House to take it up.

Hopefully now when we acknowledge on our side that we need to do more on border security. I've spent a lot of time down on the southwest border. I know what happens down there and I know we can do better. So let's acknowledge that.

But let's also acknowledge that we have a situation in this country where we need to address people who are here who aren't documented, but we also need to address our legal immigration system.

You know, one thing I was thinking about is that when you watch the Olympics and people watch it -- walk in, in the parade of nations, there is no nation who is represented by more diversity than the United States of America. I'm always proud when I see that because I believe it strengthens our country, not weakens it.

CUOMO: Diversity as strength, interconnected and interdependent. That's what America has always been and that's why it has been great. Let's hope that stays the same. Senator, thank you for being with us.

HEITKAMP: Thanks so much for having me on.

CUOMO: All right, how about some "Good Stuff" on this Friday eve. We have it for you next.


[08:57:50] CUOMO: "Good Stuff." And we can all learn something from this teenager in Indiana.

I want you to meet Mariah Thompson (ph). She's given up her last week of summer vacation to do what? Spend time with kids in a local hospital.


MARIAH THOMPSON: Whenever I'd sing with them and dance with them, it just -- they were a whole nother person.


CUOMO: What a great kid. The 16-year-old dresses up like Elsa, you know, from "Frozen."

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh. Yes.

CUOMO: Takes time to help lift the children's spirits, telling jokes, even reading them books.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have powers too.

THOMPSON: You know what they're going through. It's really nice to get them to smile and just have a good day.


CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, that's beautiful. They seem to love her.

CUOMO: Right? I mean we get caught up in the negative all the time. There are good people out there. It's a whole new generation. Hopefully they make us better.

CAMEROTA: Even 16-year-olds. I was not volunteering at 16. I was not. CUOMO: Not for that anyway.

CAMEROTA: I was a bus girl.

Meanwhile, late night comics takes aim at President Trump for backing a plan to reduce legal immigration. Your late night laughs.


JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": President Trump today signed a round of sanctions against Russia to punish Russia for making him win the election. He's still very angry about that. The sanctions, you know, they passed with an overwhelming majority in the House and the Senate, so Trump had to sign it. Vladimir Putin is not happy. In fact he changed their relationship status on FaceBook today to "it's complicated." But --

JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON": Sources that he talked to Vladimir Putin on the phone right before. Yes, he was -- that was inappropriate. Trump said, I agree, I wanted to FaceTime. I just wanted to see his face. (INAUDIBLE).

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": Basically, Donald Trump wants to create what he calls a merit-based system that awards points to green card applicants based on such factors as English ability. Yes, immigrants have to learn proper English, like bigly, covfefe, and bing bing bing bing bing bing bing.


CAMEROTA: That's funny.

CUOMO: It is funny. But, I'll tell you, it also a little scary. We would not be here if this merit-based system was in place. And that doesn't mean that we don't speak English. Our ancestors wouldn't have made the cut.

[09:00:02] CAMEROTA: Absolutely.