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Conway: No Medicaid Cuts & Combatting Opioid Addiction Takes "Will"; Trump Slams Obama over Russia Election Meddling; Supreme Court Allows Part of Trump Travel Ban to Take Effect; Speculation Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy Will Retire; Trump: "Let Obamacare Crash and Burn" As Senates Works to Pass Bill. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired June 26, 2017 - 11:30   ET

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


[11:30:00] SEN. ED MARKEY, (D), MASSACHUSETTS: And just on Friday, they decided to add $2 billion more. $2 billion, when Obamacare has $90 billion for families that need treatment, families that need help, and an ability to take their loved ones, who otherwise might die, might have a further relapse that leads to them just passing away. They are going to need nurses. They are going to need doctors. They are going to need treatments. That takes money. "Will" alone, will not accomplish that goal. Without the funding, we are going to see tens of thousands of additional people unnecessarily die in our country from opioid overdose. That is immoral and plain wrong. I am going to battle every day to make sure it does not happen.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's see where that battle goes. We know there are Republicans, like Rob Portman and Susan Collins, who have big concerns about opioid addiction. It's not just a Democratic issue. Let's see where this heads.

Senator Markey, thank you for your time. Appreciate it.

MARKEY: Thank you. You're welcome. Thank you.

BOLDUAN: We continue to invite Republican Senators and lawmakers on all the time. We hope they can join us as their schedule allows. Both sides, especially the Republican side matters in this health care debate.

Coming up for us, President Trump is launching a new attack against his predecessor, accusing former President Obama of "obstructing or colluding or both," in his words, to help Hillary Clinton during the election. Details on that, ahead.

Also, "Just let Obamacare crash and burn," President Trump tweeting that moments ago. Republican leaders in the Senate work around the clock to get enough votes for their version of an Obamacare overhaul. What's going on? What's the latest? Here we go.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:36:01] BOLDUAN: The White House, the president has repeatedly said Washington's focus is too much on Russia. What is the president focused on today? Russia. This morning, here is one of his several Russia-related statements on Twitter, "The real story is that President Obama did nothing after being informed in August about Russian meddling. After months of looking at them under a magnifying glass, they have zero tapes of Trump people colluding. There is no collusion and no obstruction. I should be given apology."

Democrats probably don't agree that President Trump deserves an apology. Some do agree the Obama administration was too slow to react to the Russian hacks. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D), CALIFORNIA: The American people needed to know. I didn't think it was enough to tell them after the election, but, rather, given the seriousness of this, the administration needed to call out Russia earlier, needed act to deter and punish Russia earlier. I think that was a serious mistake.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Joining me now, Michael Allen, director of the National Security Council in the Bush White House; and Jamie Metzl, who worked on the National Security Council and at the State Department in the Clinton White House. He's also a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.

Great to see you both. Thank you so much.

Jaime, first you.

Did the Obama administration move too slow?

JAMIE METZL, SENIOR FELLOW, ATLANTIC COUNCIL & FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL MEMBER: Yes. The administration did a lot of good things, but on this, it took too long to recognize the magnitude of the challenge. I think most people in the Obama administration wish they would have done more.

BOLDUAN: In defense of the Obama administration, Jeh Johnson has been out, Michael, and one of the things he said -- basically, this is his defense on the decision-making process. He said, "We were going to be seen as taking sides in the middle of an election. You have one candidate already saying that the election was rigged against them, rigged against him." That being President Trump. Was it a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation?

MICHAEL ALLEN, FORMER DIRECTOR, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: Maybe. I have great respect for Jeh Johnson. But this should have been seen strictly through national security limb. I'm afraid it was a pattern of the Obama administration of paralysis by analysis. This is and was so serious, they had to have seen it that way, and approached Russia strongly. We have a serious admission in the "Washington Post" that they really choked in the response of this great threat. So, you know, at the end of the day, I think they should have acted and should have acted a lot stronger than they did. BOLDUAN: Michael, let me ask you, if you look at the bigger picture

here, you had a candidate, Candidate Trump, then President Trump, who spent a lot of time dodging questions about who was behind the hack or downplaying how serious the meddling was or downplaying if Russia was behind it or was to blame. Now you see, especially today, him coming out against President Obama, criticizing him for not acting enough and implies this is a serious situation. Can they both be true? Don't pay attention to it, but Obama didn't do enough about it?

ALLEN: Yeah, look, I don't think it's totally consistent with where the president's been. I recall he got a briefing sometime before he was inaugurated where he went close to admitting the Russians had certainly been involved in the election. Look, it's manifestly true, I'll take it, better late than never. This is a serious issue that Russia needs to be retaliated against.

I would flag one thing for you, Kate, and that's that Russia sanctions are coming through the Congress.

BOLDUAN: Yeah.

ALLEN: It's going to be a political catastrophe, I think, if President Trump tries to threaten a veto or veto those sanctions when they come to his desk.

BOLDUAN: I think there are Republicans in the Senate who are ready to face him down on that, if it comes to that. We will see, you are right, Michael.

[11:40:01] BOLDUAN: About the question of the tapes, the president has a different take in his tweet. It's come up again. It's not been put to bed, if you will, Jamie, because of what the White House is saying about the tape. The president didn't have a tape. Then the White House is still leaving open the possibility. Kellyanne Conway did it this weekend saying he is leaving open the possibility this could have happened, someone else has tapes. The question Kellyanne Conway was asked and didn't answer is, couldn't the president find out himself if someone had been taping?

METZL: Obviously. We are asking the same questions about a very, almost insane situation. "The New York Times," on Sunday, had a long list of the lies of this administration. Nothing like this has ever been seen in the history of American presidential politics. So, there's such a fast-and-lose being played with the truth. On this issue, last week, the Russia investigation was a hoax. Now it's real and President Obama didn't do enough. The question is, President Trump is the president of the United States. If the United States was attacked, what is he doing about it?

BOLDUAN: Real quick, you came from different administrations but both worked on this issue. Is it conceivable or possible the Intelligence Committee would be taping conversations between the president and the FBI director in the Oval Office without the president knowing it?

ALLEN: Absolutely not. You already know what tapes mean most in this entire discussion, the idea there would be political spying going on in the United States. It's a myth that's been propagated by Edward Snowden types. I can't account this coming from any responsible national security person.

BOLDUAN: It's great to have you both here. I appreciate it, trying to cut through it. Thank you, gentleman.

Programming note for you. Tomorrow night, a special CNN report. Jim Sciutto will take you inside the Russian hacking investigation. It's called "The Russian Connection, Inside the Attack on the Democracy." That airs tomorrow night at 10:00 eastern.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:46:23] BOLDUAN: Breaking news. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up President Trump's travel ban in the next term, which, of course, starts in October. In the meantime, part of the president' president's travel ban will be going into effect, partially lifting the stay on the president's executive order. A huge final day for the Supreme Court.

Let me go outside the Supreme Court now where CNN's justice correspondent, Jessica Schneider, is standing by.

Jessica, at the top of the show, we talked about everything the travel ban means, but they also got some other big rulings today.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Kate, on a big day for the Supreme Court. When it came to the travel ban, we are already looking towards next term when the Supreme Court said they will take up one important opinion. This involves the Masterpiece Cake Shop out in Colorado. This case, the Supreme Court agreed to hear it two years to the day after Obertafel (ph), which granted same- sex marriage as a right throughout the country. This case involves a cake owner who declined to make a cake for a same-sex couple when they came in and asked him to bake one for their wedding reception. The cake shop owner saying it violated his own religious liberty to move forward with making this cake. The plaintiffs challenged this, saying, no, this is discrimination against same-sex couple. So the Supreme Court will, in fact, take up this case in the fall and decide whether or not individual business owners have this religious liberty to say, no, I don't want to provide services for same-sex couples because it violates my religious beliefs.

And of note, Kate, as we approach the end of the term, this is the final day the Supreme Court issued decisions, we are on retirement watch. Justice Anthony Kennedy, it's speculated he could potentially retire. We haven't heard anything to that effect, yet. It is the last day of the term. It is possible he could announce his retirement as we move forward this week. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor announced her retirement two days after the term ended back in 2005.

Just a quick note, Kate, Justice Kennedy knows there's a speculation about a potential retirement. He had former clerks together for dinner in Washington on Saturday. Justice Kennedy got up and said, "Hi, I hear there's speculation swirling, perhaps an announcement." He said, "I do have an announcement." He inserted a dramatic pause and said, "The bar will be open after dinner." So Justice Kennedy getting into the joke on this. But a lot of eyes are on him to see if he will retire as we approach the end of this week or summer --Kate?

BOLDUAN: Retirement watch continues despite the jokes on this important day in the court session.

Great to see you, Jessica. Thank you so much.

Joining me to discuss this as well as the other big fight on Capitol Hill, health care, Sahil Kapur is here, a political reporter for "Bloomberg News"; Jason Kander is here, a CNN contributor and former Democratic secretary of state of Missouri; and Alex Conant, the former communications director for Marco Rubio's presidential campaign; and Nan Hayworth is a former Republican member of Congress from the great city of New York, a member of the advisory board for President Trump's re-election campaign.

Great to see you all. Thank you so much for being here.

Congresswoman, your reaction to the travel ban. Well, your reaction to the Supreme Court, agreeing to take out the travel ban, saying, partially, it's going into effect anytime.

NAN HAYWORTH, (R), FORMER CONGRESSWOMAN & ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER, TRUMP RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN: I think they made a sensible decision. If you look at the list of countries across the world that are Muslim majority, the fraction represented by the travel ban clearly indicates the small size of that indicates this is not a Muslim ban, this is a ban, temporary, on travel from nations that are known to sponsor terrorism. I think the Supreme Court made the right choice.

BOLDUAN: Jason, I know you have spoken out very strongly against the travel ban when we've spoken in the past. Your reactions to the Supreme Court's move?

[11:50:11] JASON KANDER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: First, my question here, this was started supposedly because the president said I believe his words were, we need time to figure what the heck is going on. They put in this 90-day thing. It doesn't appear they -- they claim changes need to be made. They've had all this time, don't seem to be working on that. Second, it's un-American to begin with. You referenced this, I've been speaking out a lot about, the concept of a Muslim ban is just the president of the United States basically playing into the hands of ISISs recruiters. All this rhetoric around it, everything that needs done is just a dream come true for them, because it helps them make, you know, an argument that is wrong, but that he's helping them make about the idea that America is in some sort of war with Islam. It's very -- it's a big problem for our national security to play into their hands that way.

BOLDUAN: I'm interested to hear how the president reacts to this whenever we get reaction from him.

Again, as you see, the politics at play did not go away, and won't while the Supreme Court gets ready to take up and rule in the fall.

Let's move on to the other thing. How about health care? Look into your crystal ball. Where is this headed this week?

ALEX CONANT, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, MARCO RUBIO PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Reportedly, Mitch McConnell will release an updated version of the health care bill as soon as today. It's clear what he released last Thursday wasn't going to pass the Senate. You had multiple Republicans, moderates and conservatives, can only afford to lose two. Has a lot to do over the weekend. I still haven't heard anybody coming out making an affirmative case for why this legislation is better than what the House passed. Outside groups aren't supporting them and I think he needs to, once he puts it out, an updated version later today, hopefully the CBO report helps him build momentum and start getting endorsements and that gets you closer to passing it by the end of the week. If it doesn't pass this week, it becomes tougher to pass later this month.

BOLDUAN: Hill, maybe take that on.

One thing remained on my mind. Can't play one-dimensional chess, what he's known for. When it comes to the deadline, what is in the deadline? Say Friday comes and goes. Yes, Senators go home, members of Congress go home and get yelled at, but what's the deadline?

SAHIL KAPUR, POLITICAL REPORTER, BLOOMBERG NEWS: Kate, the main deadline is the fact that Republican Senators are well aware the left is energized on this, more than the right. Obamacare appeal and opposing the law extremely effective for Republicans when the law was passed and now it's swung in the other direction. Why Senator McConnell wants to move quickly and get this done. One reason you get to the fourth of July recess and beyond, a lot of activism against it. A big part of the reason and Republicans want to move on to other things such as tax reform. You have to get this off the plate before you do things like that. A huge fight probably the biggest week and probably the biggest roll call vote of Mitch McConnell's ten-year career at Republican leader. Squeezed on many ends. Conservatives want more flexibility, opt outs and deregulation. Two moderates, Murkowski and Collins, don't like the fact it defunds Planned Parenthood. Dead on arrival in the House and Senators like Rob Portman and others with opioid dilemma in theirs states and what that addressed in the bill. Procedural, political hurdles. A big, big fight for Mitch McConnell.

BOLDUAN: Mitch McConnell is good with track and field. Let's find out very soon.

And, Congresswoman, the president confirmed this weekend on health care that he actually did use the word "mean," that he did call the House bill "mean."

For our viewers, I want to play this for you. This is the president on FOX News.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Actually, used my term, "mean." That was my term, because I want to see -- I want to see -- and I speak from the heart. That's what I want to see. A want to see a bill with heart. Health care's is very complicated subject from the standpoint that you move it this way, and this group doesn't like it. You move it a little over here -- you have a very narrow path. And honestly, nobody can be totally happy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Right. No one can be totally happy. Maybe that's the case.

But how does this help the president politically at all to call the House bill "mean" that he held an entire pep rally about it in the Rose Garden?

HAYWORTH: Kate, what the president is emphasizing there, rightly so, that, yes, we do have to have a heart. We have to have a heart for all the people rendered more dependent by the Affordable Care Act, and they have been. All the folks now on Medicaid who need to be cared for with all the resources we can bring to bear as a great society. And also a heart for the folks who deserve to go back to work and Obamacare --

(CROSSTALK)

HAYWORTH: -- mandates have made them almost impossible.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Calmed that impossible?

[11:55:11] HAYWORTH: There's plenty in the House bill the president supports and did support and will continue to support. I think he wanted to see certain modifications made in the Senate bill. But here's what's Senator McConnell, I think, is going to do, three-level chess. If they can't get it done procedurally because it's a reconciliation bill, the American public shouldn't have to worry about, going back to parliamentary procedures in the Senate to pass a broader bill with more provisions that will make a more fiscally conservative Senators happy, because of more economic growth opportunity, more mandate relief, but also still be able to take care of the folks who need it.

BOLDUAN: And what we're getting from Mitch McConnell, more time and discussion on this is not going to help us. I think that is what we're getting.

Unfortunately, I want to get Alex in on this and we'll continue that conversation in the break.

Great to see you all. Thank you all so much for being here.

Much more on this, ahead.

(CROSSTALK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)