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INSIDE POLITICS

Coverage under New Health Care Plan; GOP Bracing for CBO Score; Trump's Promise of Health Care; Trump Says Obamacare Imploding; Deadline for Wiretapping Evidence. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired March 13, 2017 - 12:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:00:25] JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King. Thanks for sharing your day with us.

We're keeping a watchful eye on that big, late winter storm bearing down on the eastern seaboard. If there's any new information about its track or its expected punch, we'll bring you that.

Plus, it's a giant day in politics. The Congressional Budget Office is due, we believe today, to give its score of the new Republican health plan. And even many conservatives think once that score is out, the Trump White House will live to regret this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM PRICE, HHS SECRETARY: I firmly believe that nobody will be worse off financially in this - in the process that we're going through, understanding that they'll have choices that they can select the kind of coverage that they want for themselves and for their family, not the government forces them to buy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We'll parse that language in a moment.

Plus, a deadline likely to be ignored. Congress asked the administration for proof by today of the president's allegations that his predecessor wiretapped Trump Tower.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I have no reason to believe that the charge is true, but I also believe that the president of the United States could clear this up in a minute. All he has to do is pick up the phone, call the director of the CIA, director of national intelligence and say, OK, what happened?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: And a Republican congressman tweets his affinity for a far right candidate in Europe and in the process embraces the racist calling card of white nationalists. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: Down the road a few generations or maybe centuries with the inner marriage, I'd like to see an America that's just so homogenous that it - we look a lot the same from that perspective. I think there's been far too much focus on race, especially in the last eight years, and I want to see that put behind us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: More of that conversation in a few moments, too.

With us to share their reporting and their insights, Margaret Talev of Bloomberg Politics, CNN's Manu Raju, CNN's Nia-Malika Henderson, and Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report.

President Trump, this hour, beginning his work week with a plug for the House Republican health care plan. He is at the White House meeting with a mix of people brought in to share Obamacare horror stories. We should get tape of that meeting a little bit later in the program. We'll bring it to you, the president's remarks, if they are relevant.

Two house committee gave the bill their blessing last week, and a third committee asked (ph) this week before the measure then heads to the full House. Big votes, yet still some key questions that can't be answered.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN DICKERSON, CBS ANCHOR: How many people are going to lose coverage under this new -

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: Ii can't answer that question. It's up to the people.

Here's the premise of your question. Are you going to stop mandating people buy health insurance? People are going to do what they want to do with their lives because we believe in individual freedom in this country. So the question is, are we providing a system where people have access to health insurance if they choose to do so? And the answer is yes. But are we going to have some nice looking spreadsheet that says, we, the government of the America - of the United States are going to make people buy something and therefore they're all going to buy it? No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Laying it out. Applaud honesty. Applaud honesty. He's saying, we're not going to guarantee health insurance for everybody. We're going to create a system where if you want it, you can buy it.

Can they sell this politically when they've gone through two votes so far and presumably, by the end of the day or early tomorrow, we get the Congressional Budget score, which for those of you who don't speak Washington, the Congressional Budget Office will say, we estimate this many million people will lose their health insurance. We estimate it will cost the government, or save the government, we'll see, this much money.

The speaker makes the case there, they can sell this because he's saying, look, Obamacare guarantees it to you. We're going to give you tax credits. In other words, if you want it, you can get it. If you don't want it, it's OK.

AMY WALTER, THE COOK POLITICAL REPORT: Well, this has been the difficulty for Republicans in trying to figure out what the - what the playing field is, right? They want to make the debate on their terms. And their terms would be on accessibility. How many people have access to this?

But the CBO report and the media focus is going to be on how many people who currently have care are no longer going to be covered because, specifically of Medicaid -

KING: Right.

WALTER: Not because they're not mandated, but because Medicaid coverage won't be expanded or in some cases they're talking about even pulling back Medicaid expansion and you're not going to see it in states that don't have it today. So if the debate is about, do more people have health care today than they did under Obamacare, and a year from now then (ph) had Obamacare, Republicans are going to lose that debate. If the debate is where Republicans want it to be about access and affordability, they may win that fight.

But the affordability question is really the other key issue -

KING: Right.

WALTER: That is going to affect people who aren't on the exchanges, who aren't on Medicaid. People who get insurance through their employers. Are they, a year from now, two years from now saying, I'm paying less today than I did? Thank you, Trumpcare.

KING: And is that the trap that Tom Price, the president's health secretary, walked into on "Meet the Press," that bite we showed you at the top of the show, where he said he's confident that people will pay less. Does that become that equivalent of, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor?

[12:05:09] NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes.

KING: If, to Amy's point, a year from now, never mind the people at this table, but working class folks out there working in a factory, or waitresses out there, even if they get it from their employer, if they're paying more, they're going to say, you lied to me.

HENDERSON: Right.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Yes, and the president himself saying at one point that insurance would be available for everybody. And that is another thing that will (ph) come back and potentially haunt them. The real danger for the CBO report is it's going to create a bad narrative for the Republicans. One reason why is that this bill that they had proposed is not a full scale repeal bill, it's not a full scale replace bill -

HENDERSON: Replace -

RAJU: Because of the limitations within the Senate budget rules. And so what they're trying to do is a three-step process, pass this bill first, then do stuff through administratively regulations and the like and then come back with other bills that - to replace the law that would need bipartisan support, which they have not drafted yet. So this bill is going to - this assessment is really going to show the limitations of this bill and it's going to create the narrative that the Republicans plan to fix health care just does not go far enough.

MARGARET TALEV, BLOOMBERG POLITICS: There - well, there's a space between Speaker Ryan and the Trump White House on two fronts. One is on the strategy for how to pass this, which is like everybody has got to get on board with it now versus let's make a deal. And in terms of what the message and the promise is. One is more likely to appeal to kind of a traditional business constituency, a Republican constituency, which is, you have more choice, more flexibility, you decide, and the other which is, our plan is going to be better than Obamacare. It's going to give you all that full coverage and be cheaper and we'll figure out how later. The - our messages that have to be reconciled. They cannot both be true at the same time.

KING: I'm not sure they can be reconciled. You made a key point about what the president said. During the campaign, the president said, if you get coverage under Obamacare, you're OK. It's going to be a new plan that's going to be better for you.

HENDERSON: Yes.

KING: But if you have coverage now, you'll have it. Listen here. Is the administration now trying to move the goal posts?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICK MULVANEY, WHITE HOUSE BUDGET DIRECTOR: You're worried about giving people coverage. And it's almost as if as long - if Obamacare says --

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST, ABC'S "THIS WEEK": The president said he wanted everyone covered, sir. The president said that.

MULVANEY: He wants - he wants everybody to get care. And that's what we are doing.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That's not what he said. The president said he wants everyone covered.

MULVANEY: What people want is to get care.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HENDERSON: Yes.

KING: So pay no attention to what candidate Trump said.

HENDERSON: Yes.

KING: Is that the message from his budget director?

HENDERSON: I think, in some ways, I mean, Trump also said that people would get coverage at a fraction of the cost and it would happen quickly. I think one of the problems that Republicans are going to have is that as soon as they make any move on this, even though they want to frame it as going in phases essentially first, the repeal, and then at some point they're going to sweeten the deal with this selling across states, they're going to own this as soon as they do anything. And every little thing that goes wrong in the health insurance and the health care industry is going to be laid at the feet of Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

The other issue here is that the cost of health care, the cost of performing open heart surgery or giving chemotherapy is not going down. So this idea that somehow people are going to have a cheaper cost to pay in terms of health insurance just doesn't make sense.

KING: And so we're about - I'm told we're about a minute away from hearing from the president. He's having another event at the White House today. House Republicans have asked for his help. They've also asked him to stop saying, let's negotiating. They want to pass this plan through the House, get it to the Senate, and then if you have to negotiate, do it then, but don't negotiate every step of the way because House Republicans say that's too messy.

Listen to Senator Tom Cotton here, conservative Republican from Arkansas, who says, my friends over in the House where I once served, you should think about your job as you move this bill forward.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TOM COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: I don't want to see the House majority put at risk on a bill that is not going to pass the Senate. That's why I think we should take a pause, try to solve as many of the problems on both Medicaid and the individual insurance market in this bill in the House and then allow the Senate to take its work up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Let's be crystal clear, the most important part of this debate here is what it does for coverage and cost for people watching out there in the country. But in the conversation here in Washington, there are a lot of Republicans thinking, we're doing this in kind of a messy way and are we going to pay a price for this?

WALTER: Well, we're old enough to remember the House Democrats who got BTU-ed.

KING: Yes. WALTER: Who - they came out, they supported Bill Clinton's budget, and

then the toughest part of that vote ended up being stripped back in the Senate version. So a bunch of House Democrats voted for something then wasn't in the final bill but they got blamed for it.

KING: Right. Right.

WALTER: But we also saw -

KING: I'm going to have to stop you on this point right here, the president of the United States at the White House, the tape of this meeting. Let's listen in.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a great honor for you to share your personal stories of struggle under the enormous strain imposed on you by the very, very failed and failing Obamacare law.

Secretary Price and I, along with my entire administration, and a lot of people in the Senate and a lot of people in the House, are committed to repealing and replacing this disastrous law with a health care plan that lowers cost, expands choice and ensures access for everyone.

[12:10:08] You represent the millions of Americans who have seen their Obamacare premiums increase by double digits and even triple digits. In Arizona, the rates are over 116 percent last year - a 116 percent increase. And the deductibles are so high, you don't even get to use it.

Many Americans lost their plans and doctors all together in one-third of the counties. Think of it, one-third only have one insurer left. I mean the - the insurance companies are fleeing. They're gone. So many gone.

The House bill to repeal and replace Obamacare will provide you and your fellow citizens with more choices, far more choices, at lower cost. Americans should pick the plan they want. Now they'll be able to pick the plan they want. They'll be able to pick the doctor they want. They'll be able to do a lot of things that the other plan was supposed to give and it never gave. You don't pick your doctor. You don't pick your plan. You remember that one? We're not going to have one size fits all. Instead, we're going to be working to unleash the power of the private marketplace to let insurers come in and compete for your business. And you'll see rates go down, down, down and you'll see plans go up, up, up. You'll have a lot of choices. You'll have plans that nobody's even thinking of today. They will have plans that, today, nobody has even thought about because the market's going to enforce that with millions and millions of people wanting health care.

More competition and less regulation will finally bring down the cost of care. And I think it will bring it down very significantly. Unfortunately, it takes a while to get there because you have to let that marketplace kick in. And it's going to take a little while to get there. Once it does, it's going to be a thing of beauty. I wish it didn't take a year and two years, but that's what's going to happen and that's the way it works. But we're willing to go through that process. Working together, we'll get the job done.

And I have to say this just in closing, and then I want to hear some of your stories, and we'll let the press stay for your stories, if you like. But the press is making Obamacare look so good all of a sudden. I'm watching the news. Looks so good. They're showing these reports about this one gets so much and this one gets so much.

First of all, it covers very few people and it's imploding. And '17 will be the worst year. And I said it once and I'll say it again, because Obama is gone. You know, the - things are going to be very bad for the people with Obamacare. You're going to have tremendous increases. And the Republicans, frankly, are putting themselves in a very bad position. I tell this to Tom Price all the time, by repealing Obamacare, because people aren't going to see the truly devastating effects of Obamacare. They're not going to see the devastation in '17, and '18 and '19. It will be gone by then. It will - whether we do it or not, it will be imploded off the map.

So the press is making it look so wonderful, so that if we end it, everyone's going to say, oh, remember how great Obamacare used to be? Remember how wonderful it used to be. It was so great. It's a little bit like President Obama. When he left, people liked him. When he was here, people didn't like him so much. That's the way life goes. It's human nature.

The fact is, Obamacare is a disaster. And by - and I say this to the Republicans all the time. By repealing it, by getting rid of it, by ending it, everyone's going to say, oh, it used to be so great. But it wasn't great. And I tell Tom Price, and I tell Paul Ryan, I tell every one of them, I say the best thing you can do politically is wait a year because it's going to blow itself off the map. But that's the wrong thing to do for the country. It's the wrong thing to do for our citizens.

So, with that, I'd like to introduce some of the folks. And you could say a few words about your experience with Obamacare and perhaps the press will even report it.

Would you like to start?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

TRUMP: Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you for this opportunity, Mr. President.

TRUMP: Thank you. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our rates are three times what they were before Obamacare started. We have one provider in our county. We have very little options for what we can and cannot do. We're a small business owner. We're actually not a brick and mortar, we are cattle ranchers. We cannot afford our equipment if we're paying these rates year after year after year. Our food source is in jeopardy because of this health care law. (INAUDIBLE).

TRUMP: I know.

KING: OK. Just lost the tape there from the White House. The president at a listening session at the - in the - in the White House. The victims of Obamacare, as he put it. People telling their stories, their difficulties with Obamacare.

But let's come back to what we just heard from the president there. Number one, he specifically said the House bill. There's been some doubt, because he originally said he was open to some negotiation and the House leadership said, Mr. President, deals later, push our bill now. That was important.

[12:15:11] But you were talking earlier about how Democrats in the House, back in the Clinton days, cast their vote. Then the Senate changed the bill and that vote was used against those Democrats in the next election because they were on the record.

WALTER: Right. They were on the record -

KING: Even though the pilot (ph) bill didn't have that.

The president just said, prices will go down, down, down. Choices will go up, up, up. For the Republican Party, he'd better be right because that is a classic campaign ad, if that turns out not to be true.

WALTER: Right, and is it going to be true. Even if it is true, is it going to be true in the fall of 2018? Not likely.

KING: He - he did try to say it's going to take a year or two.

WALTER: OK. Well, you know, but election -

KING: But elections don't work that way. Elections don't work that way, yes.

RAJU: There's the thing, you make a key point about him negotiating with members of Congress. He said right now, he does support the House vote. But what is he going to say when more conservatives continue to reach out to him. In talking to conservative members of Congress, they are saying, look, we're going to go to the White House and try to negotiate our changes. But by - and - and Trump is suggesting an openness to that in having these meetings, his bowling sessions and the like.

KING: Right.

RAJU: But this is undercutting the House Republican strategy when they're trying to say, take this bill or leave it. Either support this or you're stuck with Obamacare. But every time that Donald Trump talks privately with these members of Congress, it changes the overall strategy. We'll see if he got the message from this Congress.

KING: And the question I guess is, can enough of those conservatives hold firm? Because Paul Ryan has a margin. The speaker has a margin, but not a huge run - margin, so he can't afford to lose too many lawmakers. So if all of them hold firm, can they force him, which would be an embarrassment for the leadership, can they force him to make changes now on the House side. And even then you've got a very different beast in the Senate where you've got more moderate centrist senators, 52-48. So a lot less room to play with because, tell me if I'm wrong, is anyone here - can anyone here name a Democrat who's going to step in and help the Republicans here?

RAJU: That's not happening.

WALTER: No.

HENDERSON: No.

KING: It's not happening.

RAJU: Yes. I mean it's all about trying to force Paul Ryan to change the bill. And he may do that -

HENDERSON: Right.

RAJU: If he doesn't have the votes when push comes to shove to try to get the -

KING: If you move the - if you move this bill more back to the right - more to the right in the House -

HENDERSON: Right.

KING: I assume then you make the hill much more - even more -

HENDERSON: Yes, you're going to - yes.

KING: Even more steep. It's already steep in the Senate.

HENDERSON: And moving to the right have to do with Medicaid. Does it - does it end in 2020 or 2018. It also has to do with Planned Parenthood. I mean if you think about folks in the Senate, moderate folks in the Senate, Republicans, they don't necessarily want to see Planned Parenthood defunded, in states like New Hampshire and states Maine, Susan Collins. So it - they have a real problem here. I mean interesting to see Tom Cotton, who has in some ways been Donald Trump's wing man on any number of issues come out and say, you know, put a pause on this.

KING: Right. And well I think he's one of these guys who remembers. Look how - when he - he was in the House and then the Senate. Republicans used this effectively.

HENDERSON: Yes.

TALEV: Exactly.

KING: Look around. There are fewer Democrats here from when Obamacare was passed.

HENDERSON: Yes. Yes. Yes.

KING: They used it in 2010. They used it in 2014. But can the president restrain his zeal and his belief that he's the dealmaker?

TALEV: Well, no. But also I think the campaign is instructive on this front. Now President Trump ran a largely tactical campaign rather than a strategic campaign. And the people covering the campaign, the journalists covering the campaign, would often say, OK, this might work for this rally this week, but how's it all going to play out in November? And he ended up winning. He's actually pretty good about getting initiatives across the finish line with tactical maneuvers. So I think instinctively he's thinking, look, I just did this a few months ago and it worked.

HENDERSON: Yes.

TALEV: I'm going to keep doing this. And the -

HENDERSON: Yes, and the -

WALTER: That's exactly right.

HENDERSON: And the - yes, sort of sloganeering, right -

RAJU: Congress is a lot different.

KING: And we should say that -

WALTER: But - but - but with -

RAJU: Than campaigning.

KING: Yes, the (INAUDIBLE) congressional record of the Obamacare debate -

WALTER: Yes.

KING: This ain't clean and easy.

HENDERSON: Yes.

WALTER: Yes.

TALEV: Yes, that's true.

WALTER: Well, and conservatives were willing to have this sort of cognitive dissidence, right, that even though what he was saying on the campaign trail was against everything they believed in, whether it was on trade, whether it was on entitlements, whether it was on taxes. His populous rhetoric they said, we can stomach it now because once he gets to Washington, he's going to be a real conservative. He's going to be like one of us. There is no ideological core to this president and members of Congress are trying to get him to move in their direction, but -

RAJU: Because they actually believe in those issues.

KING: Right.

HENDERSON: Right.

TALEV: But there's three different -

KING: Prices will go down, down, down, choices are going up, up, up.

TALEV: Up, up.

KING: Democratic ad makers have already cut that and frozen that and they're going to keep it in a little bin for down the road. We'll see.

Up next, Kellyanne Conway says she's no inspector gadget, but the president's close aide also says tapping the phones isn't the only way to keep an eye on someone.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:23:28] KING: Welcome back.

Put up or shut up seems a disrespectful thing to say when the question at hand involves the president of the United States. Then again, you might also think a pre-sunrise tweet storm accusing your predecessor of a Nixonian abuse of power also doesn't quite meet the presidential respect test.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The president has one of two choices, either retract or to provide the information that the American people deserve because if his predecessor violated the law, President Obama violated the law, we've got a serious issue here, to say the least.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: To say the least. The question on the table was, would the administration, as requested by Congress, give them documentation, some evidence, today? And significant, Democrats can't ask for the Congress to ask for anything. So it was Republicans who joined in saying, please send us this information because they're sick and tired of answering for the president's tweets.

RAJU: Yes.

KING: Has the envelope been delivered?

RAJU: Not that we know of. I actually asked the Justice Department this morning if they were going to respond. I have not heard back from them on this. The House Intelligence Committee, as of an hour ago or so, still has not heard. We'll see if they actually - they're saying that they will probably - the intelligence committee will release as much as they can of this letter if it is declassified today.

But, there is not much expectation that there's going to be much evidence. There's a lot of skepticism. And even members who had this private briefing with leadership, who had private briefing with James Comey last week, came out of that briefing saying that there is no evidence that they have seen at that point after meeting with James Comey. Presumably they talked about it in that classified briefing. So I don't think there's a lot of expectation but it could be a big embarrassment for the White House after the president said these things and then the White House has defended him.

[12:25:00] KING: Right. And the ranking Democrat on House Intelligence, Adam Schiff, has said he wants a public hearing. He wants to go through, essentially if there is no evidence, he wants to humiliate the president. He wants to say the president - you know, you can't say these things. You're the president of the United States. You cannot accuse your predecessor of a Nixonian or a McCarthyism, as Donald Trump did in his tweets before the sun came up last Saturday.

One of the interesting things here is, there's two choices here, either it didn't happen, and the president was winging it, or he knows about some intelligence court finding where the government did go - a president can't order this, but the Justice Department, the intelligence can go to the court and get a finding for a wiretap. Now, the director of National Intelligence, who served back in those days, went on television and said he doesn't - doesn't recall that and he would know about it and he doesn't know about it. As you mentioned, we have reporting that the FBI director says this didn't happen and is upset about it, saying it casts aspersions on his agency, that somehow President Obama says, you know, wiretap Donald Trump and they snap to it and everything.

Listen to this. Kellyanne Conway, the president's senior counselor, was interviewed by "The Bergen Record," a profile of her at home, and listen to this exchange.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Allegation that the - that Trump Tower is wiretapped. What can - what can you say about that? Do you know whether Trump Tower was wiretapped?

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: What I can say is, there are many ways to surveil each other now, unfortunately.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe that was -

CONWAY: There was a - there was an article this week that talked about how you can surveil someone through their phones, through their - certainly though their television sets, any number of different ways, and microwaves that turn into cameras, et cetera. So we know that that is just a fact of modern life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENDERSON: Yes, I hope my microwave is not spying on me.

KING: No, speak into the mug, please.

HENDERSON: Yes, right. Yes, and this - I mean this is the situation that Donald Trump's words have forced his aides into. I mean these sort of bizarre theories, conspiracy theories about your microwave spying on you or your TV or your mug or whatever it is.

John McCain, in that statement, said that Donald Trump has two choices, either to retract or give evidence. He probably has many more choices, one of which is to say - and he might get a question about this tomorrow when he's got this press conference with Angela Merkel, he can just say, oh, you know, I don't want to talk about this anymore. I'm moving on. I mean we've seen him do that on any number of occasions when he puts forward any number of conspiracy theories that he's put forward, whether it's birtherism or the - you know, the 3 million people who voted illegally. So, you know, we've been down this road before. Democrats are going to try to scandalize him. But guess what, they tried that before and it didn't really work.

KING: You can surveil someone through their phones, certainly through their television sets, any number of different ways, microwaves can turn into cameras.

HENDERSON: Yes, cameras.

KING: Now, Kellyanne Conway, after that - after that she did some morning shows interviews. That's with "The Bergen Record, Mike Kelly, the reporter, used the word marked (ph). He's covered the law and order beat. Marked means surveillance, wiretap. He's covered the cop beat before in his life.

She said it was a general question. The question was, was - the question was specifically about Trump Tower being wiretapped. That's the question, do you know whether Trump Tower was wiretapped? A very direct, specific question. She says it was a general question about surveillance. Listen to this exchange this morning with my colleague Chris Cuomo.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONWAY: It was about surveillance generally. And the fact that - so this article -

CHRIS CUOMO, ANCHOR, CNN'S "NEW DAY": He didn't ask about it generally, though, that's just true in the transcript. You may have answered it generally, but you were asked specifically.

Chris, I'm not inspector gadget. I don't believe people are using their microwave to spy on the Trump campaign. However, I have - I'm not in the job of having evidence. That's what investigations are for.

CUOMO: You answered it to a specific question about this, and it seemed to be an effective way of putting more doubt on a situation. That's what it came across as. That's why I wanted to talk to you about it.

CONWAY: Maybe to you and maybe to other people who don't necessarily want Donald Trump to be the president. But to other people, they see it as what it was, talking about news articles and talking about surveillance generally.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: I'm going to start on this one. No, no, no, no. Donald Trump is the president. He's going to be president for the next four years. This is not about people who don't want Donald Trump to be president. This is about the president of the United States, before the sun comes up on Saturday morning saying his predecessor had this Nixonian plot to wiretap him. And then Kellyanne Conway, when asked a direct question, talking about the microwave, and the television, and the phones, and then saying, that's not what I meant. This is not about us, I'm sorry, please.

HENDERSON: Yes. Go ahead.

TALEV: Well, I was going to say, the problem in changing the subject, as she - as she did in the interview over the weekend, is that the changing of the subject opens up a new line of questioning, which is, does the White House believe that the president was surveilled using weird, new, emerging technologies, as well as kind of the old, classic way.

KING: Right.

TALEV: And -

KING: Or are they just winging it, too, because they -

HENDERSON: Yes, they are winging it. They are winging it, yes.

KING: Because they just can't say, I'm not going to answer this question because they know the boss put them in an odd spot.

TALEV: That's right.

WALTER: Yes. Yes. This is what -

[12:29:53] TALEV: I do think that - I do think that the news conference tomorrow with Angela Merkel provides not just a moment where the president may feel that he's on the spot and doesn't want to answer the question, but an opportunity for the White House to deal with this now proactively. It's been more than a week. This has hung out there far too long. It's obviously - there's no evidence that what he said exactly in that tweet is what happened.