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Republican Leadership Discusses Health Care; Sen. Schumer Responds to Republicans; Feds Wiretapped Trump Campaign Chair, Could Be Indicted. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired September 19, 2017 - 14:30   ET


[14:30:00] SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: You can go to the state House respective who most likely goes to the same hospital you do. You can go to your governor who will listen to you because they care about your vote if nothing else. I'm trying to take the money and power in Washington and send it back closer to the people. It's the best government, why not health care and finally we know how this ends if we don't change. We're going to have a single parent health care system in this country that's going to bust the budget and Obamacare is failing for a reason. It's a bad idea. Stay control of health care will work because the people in charge will be accountable to you unlike Obamacare where the person in charge could give a damn of what you think.

SEN. BILL CASSIDY, (R), LOUISIANA: For 25 years, I've treated patients. It's been my life's work to try and bring health care and coverage to those who do not have it. So when a fellow back home with a special needs child tells me he's paying $40,000 a year in premiums and more money on top of that, we know the system is failing. Those who had -- would have their needs address. His family it's almost beyond their reach. He has a job and doesn't get a subsidy and cannot afford his insurance coverage. That's not the way it should be. Bu what we attempt to do is take all the dollars here in Washington, D.C. And dull it out at the state and return it to the states for the states to do that which is best for that state. If you're in a state which is not expanded Medicaid, you're going to do great. In all those lower-income Texans, Floridians will have dollars in their state to help them get health insurance they currently do not have. We do you best to hold you harmless. We're running through the CHIP program. I hear no one complain about the CHIP program. The CHIP program has been recognized to be an effective way to provide access to quality care to those in need. We take it through the CHIP program. Whatever waiver a state wishes to have they must ensure the secretary they continue to provide adequate and affordable coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. That is our back stop. We preserve mental health parody. But ultimately, we give the dollars to the state. We could look at the things states have done over the last ten years, some of which were squashed by Obamacare. Invisible high- risk pools, which Obama lowers premiums by 20 percent. In Indiana, where they prefunded health savings account so lower-income Hoosiers could be empowered we give it to states.

I'm a doctor. For 25 years, caring for those who didn't have coverage. It is my goal to continue to bring them coverage. I think Graham-Cassidy does a far better job than the status quo. Thank you.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I would like for Senator Cassidy and Senator Graham to handle questions.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you know that almost any appeal -- (INAUDIBLE) it might be a little higher now but that's not that much better. (INAUDIBLE)

GRAHAM: Well, at the end of the day, we need 50 votes and if you're a Republican, chances are you believe in federalism because if you don't you probably are not a Republican. So the last effort to repeal and replace Obamacare was better than Obamacare but did not e embrace the concept bill was talking about. I believe most Republicans like the idea of state controlled health care versus Washington, D.C., controlled health care. Employer assessments are going out next month by the end of 2017. Over 90,000 businesses will get a notice from the federal government under Obamacare that's $4.8 million. A lot of Republicans would like to stop that from happening and the best way to do that is to repeal the individual mandate nationally, states can reimpose it. We have come upon an idea that is uniquely Republican but over time has proved to work in other areas like welfare reform. I would hate to be the Democrat that voted against more money for my state and more power and keep the status quo. So if you're a Democrat let's say in Missouri. You're going to get far more money under this proposal than Obamacare and your state would have more control over the money. To reject that money and that control means you believe that somebody in Washington cares more about people in Missouri than people in Missouri. You believe it's OK to help California and New York, Maryland and Massachusetts more than Missouri. That's just what a Democrat would have to face. If they voted no. If you're a Republican and vote against federalism you got to explain to people back home why Washington knows better and almost every state except the four I described do very well under this new approach to taking the money out of Washington. So I think the idea is more powerful. I think the substance is much more fair and at the end of the day I really believe we're going to get 50 Republican votes and I make a prediction. There's going to be a lot of Democrats struggling with the no vote because at least eight of them, eight of them their states do far better than Obamacare in terms of funding and they have more control over the money and that's going to be a hard no.


CASSIDY: The CBO told us they'll have a score for us. The coverage that will be on the cash aspect of it, so we'll have a chance to look at that.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Senator Graham, could you -- (INAUDIBLE)

MCCONNELL: You all understand that we would have to deal with this of course September 30th. So that's the answer. We'll have to deal with it because the vehicle expires at the end of the month.

MCCONNELL: If we were going to go forward, we would have to act before September 30th. UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)

MCCONNELL: We're in the process of discussing all of this. Everybody knows that the opportunity expires at the end of the month.


GRAHAM: Here's the test to Republicans. We worked as hard to repeal Obamacare as they did to pass it. Mitch McConnell and the leadership has done everything we asked and then some. I spoke to Paul Ryan and said I like you sent it to the pass, it's going to pass. Every Republican out there believes this is a fundamental reason we're in charge. That Democrats have lost a lot of seats backing a bad idea and we've been the biggest political beneficiary of Obamacare and we want to try to make patients the beneficiary of our idea. So at the end of the day, will we try again? I would argue that, yes, we should because I do not want to go back to South Carolina and say that I did everything I could to repeal Obamacare and not believe it in my heart. So Senator McConnell is doing everything he can. Paul Ryan told me to my face, if you pass it, we pass it.



UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: This plan that's been out there for a couple of months. Why is it that you truly think this would lead to better health care and not just -- (INAUDIBLE)

MCCONNELL: Well, I think you heard the argument here from Senator Graham and Senator Cassidy. It is better than the status quo by far.



UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: For the time left on the calendar year, how concerned are you about time in terms of getting everything you want done this year?

MCCONNELL: I think we'll be fine, yes.


MCCONNELL: As you know, the next big priority is tax reform. I think we will be fine.



UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Senator Graham, earlier in the process about how this -- (INAUDIBLE) given the compressed timetable -- (INAUDIBLE)

[14:40:38] GRAHAM: We have a hearing scheduled Monday in finance. We had one vote on NDAA, the defense bill. Why? Because Democrats objected to tom cotton's amendment. My friends on the other side love process when it advantages them. So there will be a public hearing what John has been asking for. You can have different opinions about the quality of this bill. At the end of the day, this is the only process left available to stop a march towards Socialism. We have between now and the end of the month to have a debate about whether this is better than the status quo. My friends on the other side are never going to agree to a bipartisan proposal that does anything other than prop up Obamacare. I've talked to the president five times in the last two days. He is focused like a laser and told me he's not going to throw good money after bad. He's very excited about this state health care system and all I can tell you is that the process left to us is that the Democratic Party is never going to give us anything that fundamentally changes Obamacare. We have had weeks of talking and the only time they have gotten serious is when they're afraid that my bill may pass. And now they're coming to me what about this and what about that. Here's what the speaker of the House told me. I will not bring up a bill for a vote in the House that props up Obamacare because that is not why I came here and that is not what our majority wants to do. And the president of the United States is committed to repealing and replacing this bill, not propping it up.


MCCONNELL: Thanks, everybody.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. So there you have it. The Republican leadership on the Senate side. This is all about health care. They're still trying, right? It's been a promise for years and years to get rid of Obamacare and so this is call it again this Hail Mary option, this Graham-Cassidy bill. You saw the cosponsors of the bill, one of whom has been an M.D. for 25 years. They're hoping to give the power to states with these separate proposals and they're running against the clock to get this thing through.

I have CNN Money writer, Tami Luhby, who knows about the substance of this bill.

It's also noteworthy to hear Senator Graham that Paul Ryan said, if you pass it, we pass it. It sounded to me with regard to CBO in terms of pennies, nickels and dimes, I don't think they know what it would cost. What's the biggest difference?

TAMI LUHBY, CNN MONEY WRITER: One of the big issues is they also aren't going to know from CBO how many people might lose insurance coverage under this. CBO, one of the numbers that has scared people in previous scores is the number -- the fewer people who would have insurance under these House and Senate bills. It's been 23 million or more in some cases. We don't know what this bill is going to do. But a lot of consumer activists, the AMA, AARP are saying this is going to hurt a lot of people and come out strongly opposing this. This bill contains a lot of the issues as we have seen that the Republicans put forth.

BALDWIN: What about pre-existing conditions, would that be protected?

LUHBY: Not in the way it's protected under Obamacare. There's iron clad protections, insurers must provide coverage to everyone. They can't charge people based on their medical history and provide comprehensive policies. Under the Graham-Cassidy bill they would be required to cover everybody, they can't just turn people away but they'll be able to charge people based on their medical history. So that means people who have cancer, diabetes, heart disease they may end up to pay a lot more and they may not be able to afford it. Comprehensive coverage, the benefits, those require insurers cover substance abuse, hospitalization, doctors, a whole suite of services. It's possible that even if the they -- those who are sick could afford their coverage their coverage might be skimpier. They might not have all the benefits they have access to now.

BALDWIN: Let's listen to the Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, now.

[14:45:15] SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: OK. I'm proud to be joined by my colleagues. Hey, folks, take it somewhere else.




I'm proud to be joined by my colleagues, Senator Durbin, Senator Wyden, Senator Stabenow, to talk about what's going on with health care.

First, we heard a lot of talk about the states and governors. Just released was a letter, 10 governors, five Democrat, five Republican opposed to Trumpcare to the so-called Graham-Cassidy bill and more in favor of a bipartisan negotiation such as that that Senator Alexander and Senator Murray are going forward with.

I just heard our Republican colleagues speak. There is a word missing. People, patients, care. All this stuff. Democrat, Republican, governors, Washington. How about how this affects people? Millions will lose coverage. No guarantee of pre-existing condition and an end to Medicaid as we know it. Tens of millions of people could well lose coverage. People who desperately need essential services would lose it. Our Republican colleagues don't seem to care about how this affects the average American. That's why Trumpcare, the previous bills were so unpopular. That's why this bill is so unpopular and that's why despite all their efforts they're struggling because their own Senators know that the public dislikes this bill.

The latest version of Trumpcare may live under a new name Graham- Cassidy but no matter how many ways they try to hide it, dress it up, it's even more dangerous, more reckless than the previous bill that was defeated. Simply put, Trumpcare is a sham. They're crafting it in the dark of night. To say one hearing on one day without a CBO score and only two witnesses against the bill, that's a hearing, that's a full airing of the bill? C'mon. They're ashamed of this bill. They're afraid to find out what it actually does. And so we get another bill in the dark of night. So the process is awful. Our Republican colleagues, we have heard

justice being blind. Our Republican colleagues should be walking around with blindfolds because they don't want to see what's in the bill they're being forced to vote for. With all the cuts to people. With all its unpopularity. With all the basic meanness in this bill. They don't want to go home and tell a mom who learns her daughter or son has cancer that an insurance company can make insurance unaffordable for them. No, they don't want that. They don't want to tell middle class family in the suburbs that mom or dad in the nursing home may no longer get coverage. They don't want to tell a 23-year- old young man who desperately needs opioid treatment that it may go away.

This isn't simply making the decisions at the states. They make the cuts here in Washington that hurt average people. And then tell the states to figure out who to cut. This is not a neutral bill that simply devolves power to the states. That is why ten governors from the states of Colorado, Ohio, Alaska, Montana, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Louisiana, Nevada, Massachusetts and Vermont, five Democrats, five Republicans have said don't do Trumpcare 2, don't do Graham-Cassidy.

Just on the substance, according to the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities it will result in about $700 billion in cuts to health care by 2027. It will cause millions to lose coverage. Millions. It would radically restructure and deeply cut Medicaid, bring us back to the days when insurance companies could discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, get rid of the consumer protections that gives Americans access to maternity care, substance abuse, prescription drugs and throw the individual markets into chaos, resulting in 15 million people losing coverage.

If they let the CBO do its work, if CBO weren't pressured to put out something that's just a few lines, this would all be told by CBO and how do we know? Because similar bills in the past have been scored by CBO with similar provisions. They're afraid. They are afraid that the public will hate this bill. So they're trying to rush it through in the dark of night.

We want, above all, a bill that protects average Americans. Not slashes the health care they need whether the governor or Washington should try to do that, it's wrong. We want to work in a bipartisan process to make things better. We want the House, the president, Republican leadership to stop pressuring those who want to come up with a bipartisan solution to refrain from doing it. We can make this work in a bipartisan way.

And the final thing I would say is this. We have seen some very, very hopeful sprouts of bipartisanship in the last month. Going back to this Trumpcare 2, Graham-Cassidy would shut down that bipartisanship that America yearns for.

I'm going to call on -- yes.


[14:50:53] BALDWIN: Response from Democrats, thanks, but no thanks to the Graham-Cassidy bill, saying the words I kept hearing, cuts, cuts, and they want a bipartisan solution.

Tami, we heard Republican Senator Graham saying don't you want your home state representatives who go to the same hospitals as you to figure out what you should be doing with your health care. But to the Democrats point, well that's great but there will be cuts to your money as far as health care is concerned before you can spend it in your state.

LUHBY: This bill would give states more flexibility and that's a good thing. The governors and legislators know their residents and what they need. That's great but the tradeoff is it comes with less federal support. They're going to eliminate funding for Medicaid expansion, for the subsidies and lump it into this block grant and as we have seen with the other Republican bills they're going to cap federal support for traditional Medicaid which covers 70 million people in America.

BALDWIN: Let me read you what the governor of Alaska told Senator Murkowski from Alaska yesterday. It said, "I understand that a block grant gives me increased flexibility but if I don't have the dollars to implement that flexibility that doesn't help us much."

Again, that's why he's on the letter that Chuck Schumer referenced. The r Republicans want to give state control that may be beneficial in a lot of ways but if there's not enough money people are going to get hurt in those states.

LUHBY: Republicans up against the deadline. September 30th the deadline. The vice president to break the tie.

Tami, we'll talk again. Thank you so much.

LUHBY: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Let's move on and talk about these major new developments in the Russia investigation, a CNN exclusive. President Trump's former campaign chief, Paul Manafort, under wiretap surveillance not once but twice. And Manafort hearing he might be indicted, according to the "New York Times."

With me now two former federal prosecutors, CNN legal senior -- forgive me -- senior legal analyst.


BALDWIN: Very super-duper senior. Does that work? Thank you very much.

And Michael Moore, a former U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.

Jeff Toobin, we're having a conversation with "The New York Times." We're learning how aggressive Mueller is being with this whole thing then threatening Manafort maybe with an indictment, maybe that sets the tone for witnesses to not lie. What do you make of how this is going down so far? TOOBIN: It's a very aggressive investigation. It's an attempt by the

Mueller team not to spend five years on this but to try to move aggressively, get guilty pleas if you can, get cooperation or get indictments but move this thing along. They obviously thing Paul Manafort is a key figure. They have tried every possible way to intimidate him. In a white-collar investigation which usually operating by grand jury subpoena and requests for evidence under penalties but to search someone's House at 6:00 in the morning as they did with Manafort, that's a very aggressive tact. We'll see. Will it pay off with a guilty plea and let's be fair to Paul Manafort? Let's see whether he did anything wrong. Nothing has been proven or even charged at this point.

BALDWIN: That's on the going to his House in the wee hours of the morning. The no-knock warrant.

Michael, what about our reporting on the Manafort wiretaps. Quickly, what would the feds have to show a judge just to get the green light to do a wiretap?

MICHAEL MOORE, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: They would have to give some indication that there was some evidence that a crime was likely being committed. It's not a simple thing to get a wiretap. My guess is they have had that for some time. Whether that be through financial documents or other people talking or wires they picked up.


MOORE: I agree with Jeff. This is aggressive on Mueller's part. My guess is he's heard the concern that the investigation could take a long time and he's going to stop that. We're not talking about an ordinary investigation. It's a guy who has been dealing if the allegations and the belief is right, he's been dealing with Russia. We're not talking about a check forgery ring. We're talking about one of the most significant investigations we have seen in a long time. I'm not surprised by the tactics. I think it's more of an indication that Bob Mueller means business. He's going to move the case forward. He's sending that as a sign maybe to the public as much as to the potential target that being Mr. Manafort. He would have had to convince a judge he needed permission for the no knock for fear Manafort destroyed evidence or harmed himself or somebody else, destroyed evidence, hit the button on the computer, torn up the hard drive, whatever it was. They must have had some indication they picked up on the wiretap.

[14:56:02] BALDWIN: On the wiretap, Jeffrey Toobin, here's the key question, in the time he was wiretapped he was talking to Donald Trump. We don't know yet, it's not clear whether or not Donald Trump was picked up on the wiretap. If he had, can Bob Mueller use that?

TROOBIN: Probably, but it's not certain. I mean this is where the law gets somewhat complicated. There's a rule called minimization where if you have a wiretap on person X you are only allowed to listen to conversations about the subject that is mentioned in the warrant.

BALDWIN: Like Ukraine. TOOBIN: Like Ukraine or Russia. But if they are talking about other

topics, the FBI agents monitoring the phone calls are supposed to not listen and not record. That's called minimization. Now the question would be if the FBI agents were listening and Manafort and Trump if he's speaking to Trump were talking, the question would be, were they discussing something that was within the ambit of the investigation where it would be proper to record it or were they talking about unrelated political matters, do you think Hillary Clinton did well in the debate, something not germane to the investigation.


BALDWIN: But if it's something questionable?

TOOBIN: My experience is FBI agents tend to air on the side of listen and record it. If the you minimize and don't hear it it's gone forever. A lot of defense lawyers are skeptical about the whole process of it and they think it's bogus it doesn't remove anything. But that means you can't have a simple answer to whether Trump's statements would have been recorded. Probably they would have been recorded but not definitely.

BALDWIN: Jeff Toobin, thank you.

Michael Moore, thank you as well.

MOORE: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Coming up on CNN, the Senate Intelligence Committee abruptly calling off President Trump's personal attorney's testimony after he releases this copy of his opening statement to the media. But the committee not finished just yet.

We're also following breaking news out of central Mexico where there's been a magnitude 7.1 earthquake. More when we come back.


[14:59:59] BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN.

We have breaking news out of Mexico where a massive 7.1 earthquake just hit. The quake struck little more than three miles north- northeast of Raboso, Mexico, about 75 --