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GOP Scrambles For Every Last Vote On Health Care; Jimmy Kimmel Takes On Health Care; Hurricane Maria Dumps Harvey-Like Rains on Puerto Rico. Aired 11-Midnight ET

Aired September 21, 2017 - 23:00   ET


[23:00:00] IVAN WATSON, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: My journey was rather unusual. I came all the way from Myanmar. But that is its own thing. But I did fly from Tokyo to here, and on my flight on an aero Mexico flight that landed on Thursday afternoon I was with a team of Japanese natural disaster relief workers, and they were met at Mexico City airport by crowds that cheered and some were even crying they were so grateful that people had come all the way from Japan flying more than 12 hours to come and help in this time of need. The drive from Mexico City is only about 50 miles as the crow flies, but it took us more than three hours. And on that road we saw convoy after convoy of volunteers driving their own personal vehicles with hand-made signs announcing that they were bringing aid here to smaller towns like Jojutla and to the countryside. And it really is an incredible kind of mobilization again from the grassroots of ordinary Mexicans who feel it's their patriotic duty to help out their fellow countrymen. It's really a beautiful thing to see, Don.

DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: Ivan Watson in Mexico. Thank you. Appreciate your reporting.

This is CNN tonight. I'm Don Lemon. It's 11:00 p.m. on the east coast. We've got a lot of breaking news for you tonight. The clock ticking as the GOP scrambles for every last vote tonight on the effort to repeal Obamacare. But the battle is turning into a face-off between Jimmy Kimmel and Senator Bill Cassidy. And Kimmel is winning right now. Plus, Puerto Rico drowning in catastrophic Harvey-like flooding from hurricane Maria. We'll show you some of the first images from this battle island -- battered island. Let's get right to the latest on the senate's healthcare Hail Mary. CNN Phil Mattingly has that for us. Phil?


PHIL MATTINGLY, NEW YORK BASED CNN CORRESPONDENT: As the senate plows toward a vote to repeal Obamacare, President Trump is unequivocal tweeting, I would not sign Graham/Cassidy. It did not include coverage of pre-existing conditions. It does. Senator Bill Cassidy the bill's co-sponsor also throwing a line.


SEN BILL CASSIDY, (R) LOUISIANA: The Graham/Cassidy, more people would have coverage and we protect those with pre-existing conditions.


MATTINGLY: Trump's defensiveness over the issue is understandable. The issue of whether the GOP proposal maintains protections for all has been a central and toxic piece of the repeal debate for months. And one that has been magnified exponentially by, of all people, a late-night talk show host on a two-night attack.


JIMMY KIMMEL, JIMMY KIMMEL SHOW: So last night on our show, I -- a Senator from Louisiana, Bill Cassidy. I took him to task for promising to my face that he would oppose any healthcare plan that allowed insurance companies to turn people with pre-existing conditions away. And he said anything he supported would have to pass what he named the Jimmy Kimmel test. Which was fine. It was good. You about unfortunately and puzzlingly he proposed a bill that would allow states to do all the things he said he would not let them do.


MATTINGLY: Jimmy Kimmel is joined by insurers outside advocacy groups and even Republican Senator Susan Collins in racing those concerns with good reason. At the core of Obamacare regulatory structure was mandate that insurers could not turn away anyone with pre-existing conditions. Under the new bill, that protection does remain, but here's where things diverge. The GOP plan allows states to opt out of certain Obamacare regulations, including one that insures insurers won't raise prices on those with health issues. The rationale, states need flexibility to innovate and the regulation has led to younger, healthier people paying more in place of that scrapped regulation, a state would simply have to ensure that they would provide, quote, adequate and affordable coverage. But those terms aren't defined. And that ambiguity has led analysts and insurers to conclude that in some states protections would almost certainly be cut back. So while Cassidy fires back at Kimmel --


CASSIDY: Yeah, so Jimmy doesn't understand. Not because he is a talk show host, because we've never spoken. He is only heard from those on the left who are doing their best to preserve Obamacare.


MATTINGLY: The bill itself does open the door to change at the state level. And in doing so, puts an end to Obamacare's guarantee.


MATTINGLY: Don, as this currently stands we're at this weird intersection of policy and politics. People raising concerns about the policy especially given the speed with which all this is moving. We have Republicans Chuck Grassley come out and say we campaigned on this for seven years. Yeah, I don't like a lot of things in this bill. He said specifically there were ten that were problematic that he can name all of the top of his head, yet it was still a bill he needed to vote for, because Republicans campaigned on repealing and replacing Obamacare.

[23:05:00] That dynamic as we move forward is very, very interesting and noteworthy. As you look at Senators who are right now bearing down trying to figure out if they're going to support this, it's not just if they have problems with how the pre-existing conditions protections are treated in this bill or if they don't believe their state gets enough funding, because of the way the block grant is formulated. It's also the politics here. They're keenly aware that there's a very good reason that they control the House, and the Senate and the White House right now. Obamacare is very high at that list. What will win out in the end, whether its politics or policy or some iteration of both, that will decide whether or not repeal and replace moves on through the senate.

LEMON: Phil Mattingly, thank you very much. I want to bring in Dean Obeidallah Dino opinion contributor. Tara Setmayer, the former communications Director for Congressman Dana Rohrabacher. CNN Political Commentator Matt Lewis and CNN media analyst Bill Carter, author of "The war for late night." it's so good that we have you on considering what's happening in late night, Bill. So I'll start with you. This battle over the future of Obamacare is no longer just a topic for cable news shows like this one. Jimmy Kimmel has brought it into the domain of late night network talk show. Really brought it into the center of talk for most people maybe more so than politicians. Take a look at what he said on his show last night responding to Senator Cassidy.


CASSIDY: I'm sorry he does not understand.

KIMMEL: Oh, I get it. I don't understand because I'm a talk show host, right? Then help me out. Which part don't I understand? Is it the part where you cut $243 billion from federal healthcare assistance? Am I not understanding the part where states would be allowed to let insurance companies price you out of coverage for having pre-existing conditions? Maybe I don't understand part of the bill in which federal funding disappears completely after 2026 or maybe it was the part where the plans are no longer required to pay for essential health benefits like maternity care or pediatric visits? Which part of that am I not understanding or could it be Senator Cassidy that the problem is that I do understand and you got caught with your GOPenis out?



LEMON: Listen the facts check are on Kimmel side, Bill. How influential you think will be in whether this bill passes?

BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: I think it's very significant not just because he is a talk show host and he has an audience, but because he is a dad and he is talked about his personal situation. I think he connects with people. This is a real honest appraisal by the guy who has been in a situation. Yes, he has money and he could pay for this himself, but he understands what families are going to go through. When he talks about his own kid, I think he scores big. People are really underestimating this. It's really ironic. Some that the Republicans are trying to take him down by saying he is not an expert when then every expert imaginable, the doctors, the nurses, the hospitals, tonight the Medicaid administrators are all on his side. So the experts are with him, too. I think he is really making a very strong case.

LEMON: I think if you take the politics out of it, Americans are on his side. Because Americans want healthcare. Tera I have to bring you in. You have worked on The Hill, you've worked in D.C., and you're knowledgeable about it. We've got a list scrolling on the screen right now. This is every medical organization or patient advocacy group that has come out in opposition to the bill. We would show you a list of medical organizations that are supportive of the bill but we haven't been able to find any. If anyone out there knows of any, seriously, please let us know. How can any Senator feel good about voting for this bill?

TARA SETMAYER FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR CONGRESSMAN DANA ROHRABACHER: You have to understand that there are -- there's going to be special interest groups that are going to come out and advocate on one side or the other. Everybody has a certain stake in this, but the problem is that the Republicans are losing the battle, the P.R. battle. There are aspects of this bill that are good and there are aspects of this bill that people are not going to like. But this is what happens when you go through rushing a bill through instead of putting it through regular order which would be to have hearings on this. You would hash out the details. Not everything that Jimmy Kimmel has said is actually accurate. There are some things that are up for debate and we should have that debate. But the Republicans, much to my chagrin, have blown the opportunity to explain to the American people in a relatable way, the way Jimmy Kimmel has. He is appealing to the heartstrings of people just like Bill said, he is a dad. People connect to that. The average voter connects to that. The Republicans get in trouble, because they start getting into nuts and bolts and talking about federalism and block grants. All of that is wonderful for those of us inside the beltway who like to have those policy discussions but for the average person who is worried about whether I can pay for my health insurance or because of Obamacare, the individual market is collapsing in my state, because the exchanges are collapsing and insurers are pulling out. What am I going to do next year? This is not helpful for them. The Republicans will lose this P.R. battle, but I think this bill is going to pass because it's the only way to fulfill a campaign promise and move the needle forward towards something.

[23:10:17] LEMON: Should that be the goal, to fulfill a campaign promise? Come on, Tara.

SETMAYER: No, no, no. The goal should be for better healthcare and access to healthcare for the American people.

LEMON: Right.

SETMAYER: Which I think this bill has some aspects of that. This is not the dooms day scenario.

LEMON: With the fact checks we've done, maybe everything Jimmy Kimmel said is not 100 percent, but the fact checks are on his side more than it is on Graham Cassidy side. Cassidy keeps saying Jimmy Kimmel doesn't know what he is talking about. As a matter of fact, he does, he pretty much know what he is talking about. He has done his homework.


LEMON: Let's talk about the fact checks.

LEWIS: Well, no.

LEMON: What does he have wrong?

LEWIS: First of all, he is entirely wrong, 100 percent wrong, couldn't be more wrong.

LEMON: It's not 100 percent wrong.

LEWIS: It is.

LEMON: Show me the fact check.

LEWIS: Did you see Phil Mattingly's report?

LEMON: I did.

LEWIS: Pre-existing conditions, you can't discriminate against pre- existing conditions.

LEMON: That is not true. It does not provide -- hold on, hold on, hold on, Matt. Matt, if you say something I got to fact check you. Because the President said that a pre-existing condition, is it true, no, it does not provide the same sweeping protections of those with pre-existing condition as Obamacare. Here's why. Prior to Obamacare many people with pre-existing conditions found themselves branded uninsurable for life on the individual market. Even a bad case of acne or a teen may have gone without coverage. So it doesn't provide the same level of pre-existing conditions as Obamacare. It is just not true, what you're saying isn't true.

LEWIS: No, I am true. But the question actually --

DEAN OBEIDALLAH, SIRIUS XM, THE DEAN OBEIDALLAH SHOW HOST: They can change the law to make it mirror the aca and you wouldn't have this debate at all. Why not say insurers can't refuse to insure pre- existing conditions.

LEWIS: But this bill specifically says that it has to be affordable and adequate coverage.

OBEIDALLAH: That is not the --

LEWIS: That is what this bill specifically says. Now we could argue the states, your state, California, by the way, could do single payer if they wanted, but Mississippi could, I guess it's possible, that they could interpret --

LEMON: That is the problem.

LEWIS: Okay. But that is not what Jimmy Kimmel said. That entire soliloquy that Jimmy Kimmel gave is, first of all, PolitiFact and his information comes from a left wing think tank. Jimmy Kimmel doesn't have his facts straight.

LEMON: Is it better if they waited for the CBO score and that way everyone can have the facts?

LEWIS: I agree with that.

OBEIDALLAH: One quick thing. You know why it has to be different? Because now the only way pre-existing conditions are covered is because of a mandate. Healthy people have to buy insurance to offset people who are sick. They got rid of the mandate, so of course it can't be the same because no insurance company can underwrite only sick people. I was an attorney. I did a healthcare law. That can't happen. Common sense says it can't happen. This bill ends Planned Parenthood funding for one year and results in millions of millions of Americans losing insurance. We don't know the number because they want to score a political victory with the healthcare of fellow Americans. That is wrong. It's immoral, it's wrong. People are going to get sick and die without coverage.

LEWIS: It's a perfectly fine public policy debate, right? One person could say, look, I think the states should have the right to tailor we'll block grant it and if California and New York want to do single payer, great, if Mississippi and Alabama want to have different reforms, we have laboratories of democracy --

LEMON: Then you can't guarantee it then.

LEWIS: We should have a no, one size fits all top down universal -- that is fine. But what Jimmy Kimmel is not engaging in this public policy debate that we're having, he is essentially because he has this huge platform and he is a comedian and I think he has a very emotional story to tell, but that is demagoguery.

OBEIDALLAH: That is demagoguery?

LEWIS: He should not be making our public policy decisions based on anecdotal story from one rich comedian in California.

LEMON: Wait, wait, whoa, whoa. What's wrong with being a rich comedian in California? You have a rich reality show person as the President of the United States.

LEWIS: I said that, too, Don.

LEMON: He has a big platform, too. What's wrong with him achieving his dream? LEWIS: All I'm saying is we should not be designing -- I would agree,

Jimmy Kimmel is having a huge impact on this debate. My point is I don't think we should be essentially, you know, designing one-sixth of our economy and making public policy decisions based on an albeit emotional and tragic example of someone who happens to have a TV show.

[23:15:19] OBEIDALLAH: We're not just doing it on that --

SETMAYER: Hold on, he is advocating for a system that is not working for millions of people in this country as well.


LEWIS: They don't have shown, though.

SETMAYER: I know that. That is where the demagoguery comes in. The main mechanisms of Obamacare in place.

LEMON: I have to take a break and we'll pick this up. We will be right back. Bill, you'll be the first.


LEMON: So we're back now with my panel. Just so we have the PolitiFact. Graham Cassidy kicks 30 million Americans off of insurance, not able to verify it. Insurance companies can charge more for pre-existing condition, it can happen. It will result in higher premiums. Likely. Because there's no lifetime caps in many state, possible but not certain, because there is no CBO score there's nothing there that says Jimmy Kimmel is wrong.

CARTER: Right, but there's nothing that says he is right.

SETMAYER: -- he is right either.

LEMON: Likely, possible but not certain because there's no CBO score. But you're saying he is absolutely wrong.

CARTER: All the fact checks prove him wrong.

[23:20:00] LEMON: I said the fact checks were on Jimmy Kimmel's side. I didn't say it prove him right, I said most of --

CARTER: You said unverifiable is on his side?

LEMON: It doesn't say no. It doesn't say no.

CARTER: Why do we assume he is right? Why don't we trust Matt Lewis' judgment?

LEMON: If you had a child with an illness and you had a compelling reason, I might say you're right. Jimmy Kimmel is studying about this. He probably knows more about it than the lawmakers in Washington.

LEWIS: This is a guy who needs to go have juggies jump up and down on trampolines.

LEMON: That is irrelevant. I'm sure you've probably smoked or drank in college. What does that have to do?

LEWIS: Jimmy Kimmel with Adam corolla.

LEMON: Go ahead, Bill.

CARTER: The fact is, Don, that Jimmy Kimmel did not invite himself into this. Bill Cassidy invited him into it. He said that the bill would have to pass the Jimmy Kimmel test. Jimmy Kimmel says I now have to know what's in this bill, because you're putting my name on it. That is what got him thrust into it. He is not doing this for ratings, and he is not doing this for attention. He is doing this for the heart that was in his son that he had to get repaired and he is feeling the same way about other people's hearts. That is what he is involved with. He is not doing it for attention. He is a really honest, decent guy trying to do this. And his past as a comedian is garbage that is being thrown at him by people that are trying to undermine the legitimate point he is making. They know he is being effective and they're trying to throw anything at him that I think is completely illegitimate.

SETMAYER: The fact that he is being effective is again my point from earlier. See, I think it was -- even though I agree with my friend Matt on the substance of this, I don't agree with the attack on Jimmy Kimmel because people tune that out. Bill Cassidy should not have come out and tried to attack Jimmy Kimmel on this. Instead he should have been prepared for what the pushback would be. Bill Cassidy's a doctor. How many people know that? He is an M.D. He specializes in things. And he should be -- wait hold on.

LEMON: Almost every doctor's organization in the country is against this. Why is he? Because he is a politician and needs a win?


LEMON: This is a terrible bill.


LEMON: Doctors organizations don't support this bill.

SETMAYER: To be fair Don, some are politically motivated also. They hire special interest groups and there's other nuances within this why they are or are not against it. Some get paid more with the hospitals and Medicaid.

LEMON: Every single doctor's group?

SETMAYER: They're political animals.

LEWIS: They finally figured out how to make money and now you want to change it again?

SETMAYER: But my point is he should come at this as a doctor. OBEIDALLAH: We can have an answer from the congressional budget

office but they won't wait until after September 30th because they need a win. Why play games with America's healthcare if you don't know that pre-existing conditions are covered. How it will impact Planned Parenthood. Wait for the score. But they won't because they're playing politics with Americans' lives.

LEMON: Honest answers, please be honest. Dean, if this was being proposed by a Democrat, would you support it?

OBEIDALLAH: No, this is horrible. This is an absolute horrible bill for Americans.

LEMON: Tara, if this was being brought by Democrat, would you support it?

SETMAYER: As a fix to the current system now, as something to get away from Obamacare now?

LEMON: If this was a Democratic bill.


LEMON: You would support it.

SETMAYER: If it had bipartisan support.

LEMON: This bill does not have bipartisan support.

SETMAYER: No, I'm saying --

OBEIDALLAH: You have to get the Republicans on board.

SETMAYER: Because no Democrat would bring a bill without a Republican because of the reforms of it. So it's a little bit of a loaded question.

LEMON: Matt, would you support this if it was a Democratic bill?

LEWIS: Of course.

LEMON: You would support it.

LEWIS: Yeah.

SETMAYER: But no Democrat would ever bring this because they don't view healthcare this way.

OBEIDALLAH: They're working in a bipartisan fashion.

SETMAYER: They brought Obamacare which imploded.

CARTER: They want single payer, which by the way.

OBEIDALLAH: Over 65 percent of Americans.

SETMAYER: I don't understand what that means.

LEWIS: New York and California, I think they should do single payer. I'd support that.

SETMAYER: They'd be able to do that under this bill if they wanted to.

LEWIS: And if it works great, it's a model.

OBEIDALLAH: Single payer is the future. Americans want that.

SETMAYER: Until they understand what single payer really means.

LEMON: I'll give you the last one. You're on skype. I couldn't hear you.

CARTER: I watched Jimmy Kimmel again tonight. The guy makes the points. He is the guy you should listen to because he has a dog in this fight. He has a kid. He knows what it's like. All the rest of the people are deciding it because caucus is paying the money. He is a human being.

[23:25:00] LEMON: OK so, all right. Let's calm it down a little bit. Do you know what today is? It's the 21st night of September.


LEMON: Do you know what this is? This is 1978. This is earth, wind and fire. There it is. Check it out. Do you remember the 21st night of September?

So this is trending online. And I actually spoke to Bernie before and he said he is never been stopped so much in his life by people saying it's their favorite day of the year and it made people feel good on a day with so much disaster around.

OBEIDALLAH: He renounced Graham-Cassidy.

LEMON: You had to do that. Thank you all, I hope you're smiling.

SETMAYER: One of the best bands ever.

LEMON: Tara, I was in L.A. earlier in the week going to my hotel, who did I run into in the lobby, Bearding White and I was like, Oh it was almost like 21st night of September and here I am running into you.

SETMAYER: They're the best.

LEMON: they are the best. Earth, Wind and Fire. Thank you all. Have a good one. We will be right back.


[23:30:11] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: Sean Spicer, President Trump's controversial first press secretary says he doesn't believe he ever lied to the American people. Let's discuss. CNN political comment art Scott Jennings, CNN political analyst Rebecca Berg National political reporter for Real Clear Politics and political commentator David Swerdlick assistant editor at "The Washington Post." OK. So the former White House press secretary has been on something of a rehab tour, press tour. And today on ABC's "Good Morning America" he was asked if he ever lied to the American people. Here's what he said.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you ever lied to the American people?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't think so.

SPICER: No. I don't cheat on my taxes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Unequivocally you can say no?

SPICER: You want to find something, I have not knowingly done anything to do that, no.


LEMON: Ok. I'm going to try not to be cynical here. Rebecca, I guess what can he really say? But he didn't leave his office with much credibility.

REBECCA BERG, POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN: He didn't leave his office with any credibility, Don, not a shred. I mean no one will be able to forget -- and Sean Spicer has reminded us -- of that moment where he stood in front of the White House press corps with photo evidence to the contrary and tried to tell them and tell America that this was the biggest inauguration crowd of all time when clearly it was not. And now he is trying to rehab his image. He is trying to show us that he is at least laughing with us and not being laughed at. But he hasn't shown any sort of regret for what he said and no self-awareness that maybe he crossed an ethical line when he said what he said from that podium.

LEMON: OK. So Scott, I just want to take a moment to refresh everyone's memory. Just a few of Sean Spicer's more perplexing statements as press secretary.


SPICER: This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe. He won overwhelmingly with 360 electoral votes.

I think there's been studies, one that came out of pew that showed 14 percent of people who voted were noncitizens.


LEMON: So there are different kinds of lies. There's outright lies, there's lies of omission. You know that, obfuscations, deliberately misleading. What were those?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think my advice for Sean moving forward would be that rebuilding credibility is often built on the foundation of humility. Look, in all of our jobs, I'm sure we can all look back and say, I wish I hadn't done that. I wish I would have handled that differently. In retrospect, with more information, I realize I was wrong. There's a lot of things you can do to show humility and to -- you know, I don't know if regret is the right word or admit mistakes but humility I think builds credibility. My advice would be humility for some of this moments would be absolutely in line.

LEMON: I'm picking up what you're putting down. I see you. And you're trying not to be hypercritical, but the fact that he is saying he didn't deliberately lie is a lie because he lied to the American people. Rebecca just stated there's so many things that you can show --

JENNINGS: Like on the videos you showed, like on the pew example. He was actually citing a real study. I think it was from 2012. It wasn't 14 percent of Americans or ballots were illegal, it was a smaller number, but there was an underpinning of fact there. He just misstated it. There are moments when you can look back on those things and say, I misstated that. I wish I hadn't done that.

LEMON: But David, if you misstate and people call you on it and you don't clarify it.


LEMON: That is more than a misstatement. That is a lie. You're lying, you're misleading the American people.


LEMON: And as he said, moving forward -- go on, David, I'm sorry.

SWERDLICK: A couple points, Don. First of all, just to go back to the last segment, for the record, can't hide love, best Earth, Wind and Fire song. Second point, I like what Scott said about humility building credibility. I'm going to use that Scott.

LEMON: That is good.

SWERDLICK: For Sean Spicer on that previous clip from the morning show, he said I never knowingly lied, but here's the thing. That statement he made either the night of the inauguration of the day after, I think I was on set with you Don when we were watching that. He was reading a prepared statement. That is the definition of knowingly. It wasn't an off-handed remark oh, yeah, I was standing out there on the mall today and it looked like a really big crowd to me. That is a long prepared statement. That is knowingly misleading.

[23:35:02] I hate to say lie. I don't know Sean Spicer well. I know him a little bit. He is a nice guy. But you played all those little segments where time after time he really did kind of put people in a different direction than what was really going on in the White House. And he was not effective. He was not effective.

JENNINGS: One issue I think we should acknowledge Sean Spicer is not the first spokesperson for a politician that has misled the press. He is not the first White House press secretary of either Party that has --

LEMON: Most people spin not flat-out lie.

JENNINGS: What you call spin, there were many things said in the Obama administration when they were trying to pass out Obamacare that turned out to be flat lies.

LEMON: Did the press secretary go in front of -- politicians may have done it, surrogates might have done it. But did the press secretary get out in front of the American people and actually lie?

JENNINGS: I think if you look at some of the statements that the spokespeople said about Obamacare, they were on the same side as the President was. You can keep your doctor if you want it. Your premiums are going down by $2500.

LEMON: OK. Beyond Obamacare, what else?

JENNINGS: I don't know. That is what comes to mind. My point is this -- he is not the first person to ever mislead the press as a press person for a politician. I think you have valid points and the videos are valid. But we should acknowledge --

LEMON: He is not the first one. It's a matter of degrees. And his first press conference was a flat-out --

JENNINGS: That was a disaster.


JENNINGS: It was a disaster.

LEMON: Rebecca, you wanted to get in.

BERG: I have to disagree with you here, Scott, because there's a difference between spin which you might call misleading reporters, misleading the public and outright lying, just laughing in the face of the public who you are supposed to be working for, laughing in the face of reporters who you are supposed to be working with. There's an ethical line and all you have as a spokesperson is really your credibility. That is what works in your favor when you are trying to persuade the American public, persuade the press to work with you, to hear your side of the story. Sean Spicer blames the media for not listening to his side of the story. But the fundamental problem with his misunderstanding of what a spokesperson is supposed to be and do, when he was speaking with Jimmy Kimmel recently in his interview with him, Sean said that this is what he signed up for in defending his statement specifically about the inauguration crowd. But that is not what a spokesperson signs up for. They represent their boss. They don't lie on behalf of their boss. LEMON: Listen, I've got to pivot and I'm going to get you guys to do

it and hopefully you can respond to it. This is Jimmy Kimmel responding tonight again about healthcare.


JIMMY KIMMEL, JIMMY KIMMEL SHOW: We haven't seen this many people come forward to speak out against the Bill since Cosby. Ok?




And as the President did, it protects people with pre-existing conditions, but it doesn't guarantee them protection. All you need to know is this. This is how the Vice President himself dodged that question this morning on "Fox & Friends."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People like Jimmy Kimmel are worried about the pre-existing condition thing because this will be up to the governors who decides every state will determine what's best for their folks. But with that can you guarantee that these governors will make sure pre-existing conditions are covered?

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thomas Jefferson said the government that governs least governs best. Who do you think will be more responsive to the healthcare needs in your community, a governor or a President in a far off capital?

KIMMEL: Is neither an option? I would pick that.



LEMON: So, that was a pivot. That was a spin. What do you make of, quickly from all of you, what do you make of the response?

JENNINGS: As a conservative I like the arguments about federalism. I do think that local --

LEMON: You didn't answer the question.

JENNINGS: But I think in this particular case Thomas Jefferson actually didn't say that. It was one issue. But there's a strong -- there's a strong argument to be made about federalism here, which is, you might run into your state legislator in the grocery store and getting to them is much easier than getting to the federal government.

LEMON: I have to go, but I want to stick to topic.

SWERDLICK: But Scott, under this bill, as I understand it, you're talking about federalism. The states that pay in the most in taxes, which are also the states that have accepted the current Medicare expansion are the states that will lose under 2020 under Cassidy- Graham. That seems like a weird version of federalism.

LEMON: I have to go. Sorry, Rebecca, next time. We'll be right back.


[23:42:42] LEMON: We're getting new images of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of hurricane Maria. I want you to take a look at this. This is a CNN drone video showing flooded streets and homes with their roofs ripped off. It will take the people of Puerto Rico months if not longer to pick up the pieces.

Joining me now is Angela Magana a mixed martial arts fighter with UFC ultimate fighting championship who lives in Puerto Rico. We thank you for joining us. You've been living in La Perla Puerto Rico for some time now. Have you ever seen anything like this, Angela?

ANGELA MAGANA, UFC FIGHTER, LA PERLA PUERTO RICO: We had a hurricane here last week, but no, I have never seen the devastation we have, but I have never seen a community come together like they're doing in La Perla.

LEMON: That is good to hear. Our team is down there. They sent us video of your neighborhood. How would you describe the damage around you and your neighbors? Tell us what it looks like.

MAGANA: We have the most beautiful location you can find in the Caribbean, but it's a complete disaster. It's probably the most beautiful disaster you've ever seen in your life. It's very saddening, actually, very disheartening to see all of these -- excuse me, to see all of the people who lost their houses. That is the worst part. A lot of us are flooded. They have kicked us out of the refugee camp. So people are being forced back into the houses that are flooded. It's the people who need the help. It's a terrible mess, it's very heartbreaking.

LEMON: I'm looking at some of the pictures now that they're showing. It's just like roofs flattened, people's mattresses are everywhere. Some of the homes, the wood looks likes twigs. It looks like rubble, like a war zone.

MAGANA: It actually, yeah, that is actually a very good way of describing it. It's a war zone. We've actually taken in a couple of neighbors whose house's roofs from fallen off. Nobody is helping these people. They kicked them out of the shelters. A couple of the neighbors' roofs have gone. I'm taking in people and I have three kids myself. It's really bad. Nobody's helping us.

[23:45:06] LEMON: Yes. Can I talk to you a little bit about the storm and then we'll talk about what's happening now, but what was it like to ride out the storm? Where were you, Angela?

MAGANA: I was actually in my house the entire time. But I live in a very -- I live pretty much in the bunker, its cement. I knew nothing would happen. I boarded up the window that was facing where the storm was coming in because I was afraid. And I have flooding in my house, but other than that, I don't have any broken windows or any of the stuff. But it was scary. I actually really like scary storms, so this was fun. I got to watch palm trees fly, stuff fly everywhere. I'm a professional athlete and we're the adrenaline junkie types. For me it was a bit thrilling and exciting, but it's almost like if you're going down in an airplane and they tell you to put your heads between your legs but I'm the one that will want to look out the window and watch the sparks fly. I'm that kind of person. I want to see what was happening.

LEMON: Were you ever afraid of your life and your children? Because you have children, right?

MAGANA: Yeah, I have my three kids. I have adopted two kids here in Puerto Rico and I have my daughter, she is 15. No, we were -- I knew we were safe, actually, and their bedroom is like inside of this huge cement complex so their bedroom was safe. Guess what? They slept until about 11:00 a.m. They slept through the whole thing.

LEMON: Amazing. Let's talk about now. As of yesterday morning, I understand you didn't have power or water. Is that still the case?

MAGANA: Yes. I will be uploading pictures to my Facebook whenever I can, but we had to take the family down to bathe in the ocean today. And we're having to ration food. We're having to ration water. We were all staying at the mayor's house and they kicked us out without feeding us today. I have to tell these kids, you guys, this is all the food we're going to have right now. We don't know when we're going to eat again. There's no water and electricity. People are saying it will be months. I'm trying to be more hopeful about that, about the time it will take to restore stuff. But yeah, it's terrible. We're in a bad state.

LEMON: Yeah. It is -- the pictures, I can only imagine. And we appreciate you. We thank you for joining us and we're glad that you're safe. Angela Magana, thank you so much.

MAGANA: Thank you. I just wanted to say, you know, we really need some help, FEMA's out here but they can't even do anything because they're waiting on D.C. to give the go ahead for air support. We need air support. We have people that are wasting away without water. We really need the support. Go to my fan page, there's places that you guys can donate on Facebook, if you can. And anything you guys, prayers, anything you can do to help us, we really -- Puerto Rico is the second poorest country -- we're twice as poor as the poorest state in the United States. And we're part of the U.S. So please, you guys, we're part of the states. Help us. Especially us in La Perla. The government doesn't even have us in an escape plan, have an exit route. There was no official helping us. Just us, the community helping each other. We don't have anything. So please, please help.

LEMON: Let's hope you get some help by doing this interview. Thank you, Angela. We'll be right back.


[23:50:25] LEMON: The United States has been fighting the war in Afghanistan for nearly 16 years and plans are in the works to send even more American troops to the battlefield. But even before war was declared in the day's right after 9/11 a small group of U.S. Special Forces deployed to Afghanistan in a secret war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda. The new CNN film legion of brothers tells their story.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we first walked into the country, I mean, you had the weight of the nation on your shoulders. You know, we were America's response to the most catastrophic terrorist attack on U.S. soil ever.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And for a lot of us, you know, we felt that we had a responsibility to the people that died to set the stage that you just don't do that to America and not pay the price. It was about not retribution, but it was about justice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's that saying? About who will go send me, you know.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whom will go and whom shall I send?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Send me, because I'm the dude that wants to make somebody pay for killing my brothers and sisters.


LEMON: Wow. Joining me now the Director of the film, Greg Barker. Greg, welcome. What a scene. I mean, you can tell from that the great responsibility these men felt. Explain the important role they played in the overall response to September 11th.

GREG BARKER, DIRECTOR, LEGION OF BROTHERS: Well, if you remember, you know, there's a massive demand for something to happen after 9/11, and these were the first guys who went in to the ground -- to Afghanistan within weeks after the attacks, and they were small teams of U.S. Army green beret, Special Forces who were infiltrated, inserted in the dead of night into Afghanistan not really knowing what they would find. They were told they would suffer heavy casualties over a long campaign and they should expect to be on their own for up to six months and that it was going to be a long hard fight. The objective was to overthrow the Taliban and disrupt the operations of Al Qaeda so they couldn't launch any more attacks.

LEMON: If you could explain, describe to us how these Special Forces were able to overthrow the Taliban in just a few months. BARKER: Yeah. I mean, it all happened much more quickly than anybody

ever imagined. Well, they linked up, these small teams of green berets, linked up with in general news forces in the north it was the north alliance. We focused on those guys in the film. They ended up riding on horseback with these soldiers and were the first soldiers basically running Calvary charges since like the First World War or something like that. And also in the south and other parts of the country linked up with war lords. One south linked up with Hamid Karzai who was a little known diplomat, later became the President of Afghanistan in large part because of the operations and the successful battlefield operations that he was part of as part of this team. And so that combined with U.S. Air power led to the rapid disintegration of the Taliban and the key to it all was you had this small group of guys, a hundred guys who worked with U.S. Allies on the ground sort of indigenous local forces and figured out what would work best in those circumstance. They were nimble, flexible, and creative militarily and they moved fast. And I mean, it was considered -- it is considered one of the greatest unconventional war plans in modern history.

LEMON: So why wasn't the military able to capitalize on that momentum?

BARKER: Well, we did captained lies on the momentum. There was the Taliban was over thrown. Friendly government was -- that was negotiated with a wide range of countries, including Iran and Russia was installed in Cabal. The question then is what happened half that. And in the following year there were 20,000 troops that came in to kind of stabilize the situation and then, you know, years to come we had up to 100,000 troops there. And I think, you know, there's just something very different when you have that number, sort of so-called big army come in where it can be perceived by the locals that maybe these people are here as occupiers, even those who might support the objective as opposed to small groups of guys who inevitably have to work with the local forces on the ground because they just don't have the manpower to be overwhelming. So I think there's that question of perception.

[23:55:13] LEMON: Yeah. You know, you can tell, again, that it's very personal for these men. How did these missions change them and their families? What toll did it take on them?

BARKER: You know, I first met these guys in 2002 on another assignment, so right after they had come back from Afghanistan. And even then their stories hit me as really iconic stories of the nature of war itself, with all of its heroism and its horror. And I thought, you know, 15 years on let's go back to that story if we want to understand where we are now in the longest war in American history, let's look at the origin of that, the first foot soldiers of the war on terror. And what's striking is how, I think, today it's easy to have kind of a glib attitude about war. We hear lots of talk about, you know, war is -- you know, war takes a heavy toll on those who fight it and their families. And that is really what I wanted to get into in this film, and the emotional impact of it.

Not to say that wars aren't necessary because sometimes they are and nobody -- these guys did what they did willingly and they're very proud of it. Now, I mean, nobody is more anti-war in the broadest sense than a soldier who has lived through it and their families, even though they're very proud of what they achieved. But the war itself, the cost of war is very deep and long lasting and I think it's something that is quite, for those of us who are part of it, it's easy to forget. And yet it's not easy to forget for those who lived through it. So in the film we feature not only the men who fought on the ground but their families and look at the long-term impact of all this. And as proud as they are of what they did, we also -- they also tell stories of what went wrong on the ground and the cost of all of that that still continues today.

LEMON: Greg barker is the Director of Legion of brothers. Thank you very much, sir. I appreciate it. Legion of brothers airs this Sunday 9:00 p.m. on CNN. That is it for us tonight, thank you so much for watching. I'll see you right back here tomorrow.