Return to Transcripts main page
Senate Scrambling to Revise Bill by Tomorrow; Paul: Health Care Bill Could Pass if Split in Two Pieces; Trump Announces Visit to France Next Month; Putin, Trump Face-To-Face Next Week in Germany; Pelosi Reacts to Trump Tweet Against Female Anchor; Trump Attacks Female Anchor in Tweets. Aired 12:30-1p ET
Aired June 29, 2017 - 12:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[12:30:00] MJ LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: So you see there, John, Heller not really shedding an insight into that big surprise that President Trump was talking about. Maybe we'll know more tomorrow.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: MJ, let's get to the gym tonight. Get your cardio in there. That's a good thing. All right, so thank you, MJ Lee on Capitol Hill.
It does tell you something, though, when senators normally like to press their issue. You're going to negotiation if you're Dean Heller. We know his issue from his news conference in Nevada the other day as Medicaid -- he's worried that this bill cuts Medicaid in a way that will hurt some 200,000 people in Nevada but he doesn't want to talk about it. Does it tell you normally that there's some trading going on, it's sensitive and therefore, if I'm going to come out of this a winner I better keep quiet right now, right?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And look, I think -- first and foremost there is Manu Raju (inaudible) by MJ Lee on Capitol Hill which I appreciate quite a bit. And look, Senator Heller is not always this easiest guy to get to talk to you in the hallways as- is. The negotiations are real and they're happening. There's no question about that.
The one-on-one meetings -- in fact the vice president is currently in Senator McConnell's office made clear that that's actually ongoing. But the kind of divides here haven't changed at all, right?
Like, the opioid money is good. That's not going to be enough for Shelley Mooer Capito even though that's very important to her. The HSA flexibility is good, that's going to make Ted Cruz unlikely a lot happy, a lot happier. Ted Cruz unlikely want a lot more than just the HSA flexibility and it remains the point of, how do you thread the needle? How do you get into cutting back on regulations for conservatives and not touch pre-existing which is been a red line for Majority Leader McConnell up to this point.
How do you add more money to Medicaid but not upset people who want the birth right (inaudible). Until you find that balance, there is no deal to be made despite what everybody says. The biggest issue now is how do you get each side to kind of come out of their respective cabbies. And up to this point, basically haven't done it.
ABBY PHILIP, THE WASHINGTON POST: It doesn't help it. The bill -- a lot of these changes are relatively small and many of them are not going to bring down this 22 million uninsured number which is really, really exceptionally bad for Republicans. They cannot go home and sell that.
And that remains I think one of the big, underlying problems with this bill. It's that, yes, you can put more money here and more money there, but are you going get those coverage numbers up? And it's not clear that these changes are going to do that.
JACKIE KUCINICH, THE DAILY BEAST: One of the things you're starting to hear from some conservative senators like Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is that, they're saying the CBO score is going back too far. That they're using old numbers. That it's probably, you know, more like 15 million that won't be covered.
Still, not really a good argument.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you're arguing, you're losing.
KING: And you're from a purple area, that's a tough argument. Philosophically, you know, House conservatives especially because they're in safe district make the case, yes, we're dropping the employer mandate, we're dropping the individual mandate, therefore, individuals will exercise their right not to buy insurance so the number of uninsured is going to go up. You can make that argument conservative philosophy. The government shouldn't be involved with this if you're from a safe conservative district.
If you're Senator Heller and you have to win in a purple state, then it's a lot tougher. What about this from Rand Paul as everyone goes through, you're saying how hard it is to get to the sweet spot in this one big bill. So Rand Paul, this is a good idea or this is actually an attempt to undermine things when he said, split the bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I think if we take this bill and split it into two pieces. We pass one that is more, looks like repeal that conservatives like. And then the other one you load up with all kinds of Christmas ornaments, and gifts, and money, and just pile money on it that the Democrats will vote for and some Republicans will vote for. Then I think both end up passing.
It may not be completely good for the country but at least you get to repeal that way.
KING: A, do both end up passing and b, the solution here, as complicated as this has been, is not to try to send one bill back to the House and pray but to send two bills back to the House?
MATTINGLY: So the good back story here, you can probably tell which one the senator would prefer as he describes it. He actually brought this up in a closed door conference meeting yesterday and pitched it to the members. After the meeting went ahead and described the reception as it landed like a lead balloon. So to tell you where the idea is here but --
JACKIE CALMES, LOS ANGELES TIMES: Do you think that the rest us are stupid enough to think it's a smart --
PHILIP: Rand Paul is not the leader of Republicans in the Senate.
MATTINGLY: The crazy thing though and I think everybody up here has seen this happen. Crazy ideas sometimes end up being the answer to things like this. We saw it a couple of times within the debt limit debate where someone is like, here's this wild thing and then they throw out and that ends up being the thing.
What Rand Paul is pitching is not the thing. But in moments like this where they don't seem to have the clearest path forward yet, people get really creative. And creativity is what's going to pass the bill that right now is kind of run into a pretty big wall. And we'll see kind of what the magician of the Senate as Senator McConnell has been called --
KING: And I also think for the conservatives even if this all collapses, they want to say they voted on full repeal. And the Senate vote now as it stands is not for repeal, it's not even close, and the House bill is not for repeal. So the question is, if this collapses, we'll see what happens. The magicians are still trying to work this in the Senate.
[12:35:06] If this collapses, the idea that has been broached in at that point, since the Republicans are in charge of the entire government, they would carry some of the baggage, even though it's ObamaCare and they voted against it, for the problems, the many problems, the existing law has out in states. Would there be a big bipartisan summit on health care? The president and the Democratic leader of the Senate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), MINORITY LEADER: President Trump, I challenge you to invite us. All 100 of us, Republican and Democrat, to (inaudible) House to discuss a new bipartisan way forward on health care in front of all of the American people. It was -- it would focus about what you, Mr. President, have talked about in your campaign. Lower costs, better health care, covering everybody.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have to find out if he's serious. He hasn't been serious. ObamaCare is such a disaster, such a wreck. And he wants to try and save something that's really hurting a lot of people.
It's hurting a lot of people. He'd have to be very, very serious. And he's done a lot of talking, bad talking, and -- he just doesn't seem like a serious person.
(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: Is it -- Phil has mentioned that moments like this, sometimes the bizarre thought becomes the reality in today's Washington. Is it possible that we will be seeing a bipartisan health care summit at the end of this or is that crazy talk?
KUCINICH: Here's why I'm skeptical. Usually when these things are coming together, they both have each other's numbers. They don't have to communicate through the cameras. They're doing this, a bit of grandstanding on both sides. Well, I mean -- and right now, the GOP is so warning against a bipartisan solution. But --
KING: You don't get anywhere close to repeal. If you agree with Democrats and you're conceding, we're fixing ObamaCare.
KUCINICH: Yes, exactly. So that's automatically a loss for some Republicans.
MATTINGLY: And that's actually a threat that's been made by Leader McConnell to his members. It is one that Speaker Ryan made a couple times too which is if we don't get this done, the only option will be working with Democrats and then every conservative thing you want flies out the window.
Look, here's the kind of dynamics of this debate. As long as Republicans are pursuing anything that appears to be repeal, Democrats won't come over and help them. As long as Democrats want them to scuttle repeal, Republicans will not come over and help them.
Win this or if this -- and again, I don't want to say this is over. They're still very much negotiating. If it crashes and burns, there are senators on both sides of the aisle that recognize that something needs to be done for the insurance market particularly when it comes to sharing (inaudible) subsidies. A lot of different issues that could be packed into a short-term bill that they could probably get 70 votes for.
That's when something like that would open up. We're not there yet.
PHILIP: I also think that it's important for people watching at home to recognize that, what is being debated right now is not repeal. So this is just debate about semantics. Republicans want to call it repeal and they can't call it repeal and work with Democrats. Democrats don't want to call it repeal and, you know, if they call it repeal and make all the same changes, they can't work with Republicans.
It's just about semantics right now. We're not talking about an actual repeal effort at all.
KING: It's Washington being Washington.
Everybody, sit tight. Up next, President Trump is going to France for a big parade, some fireworks. But there's a lot more to the trip than that.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [12:42:10] KING: President Trump is spending Bastille Day, that's July 14th in France. And the politics behind this visit are fascinating. The invitation came from the new French president Emmanuel Macron who up to now has been sharply critical of President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. EMMANUEL MACRON, FRANCE: Where is that we live? Who is it that we are? We all share the same responsibility. Make our planet great again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Climate change hasn't been his only beef. Watch this. Macron also shared this video on social media from the NATO summit, where he turned away from President Trump to embrace the German chancellor, Angela Merkel. But Macron's new party just scored big in parliamentary election and he's clearly looking to assert himself as a big player in Europe.
The video is awesome isn't it where President Trump is highly unpopular. What's in for Mr. Trump? A big parade, fireworks, and a second chance to make a first impression as he prepares for the big meetings at the coming G20 summit including President Trump's first face-to-face with the Russian President, Vladimir Putin.
So this was a surprise and it's a late add to the president's schedule. Macron calls just come for Bastille Day and they have a conversation at the White House, should we do this. Why?
Number one, what's -- no. I don't mean sarcastically. You know, the president knows his numbers in Europe are pretty bad. There's a few poll that just came out, you know, in Germany, confidence to the president is 11 percent. In France, it's 14 percent, for the president to do the right thing.
He lectured them publicly at the NATO summit that didn't go well over in Europe, although in the president's defense, a lot of NATO allies are now increasing their defense spending. So he's getting, from a policy perspective what he wanted. The lecture was, you know, not considered the best matters I guess. But why did the president say, you know, this is a good idea?
PHILIP: It seems like he can't back away from this challenge. He knows this is sort of like a mano a mano fight between him and Macron and this is Trump. He is not going to back away from that and he gets an invitation so he's going to take it.
Next week when he's at G20 it is going to be tense and it's going to be tough. Angela Merkel has already signaled that the European leaders who are pretty much allied with her and Macron is probably, you know, number one on that list are going to confront Trump over a number of issues including the Paris climate agreement. So Trump is facing a challenge to his leadership and to his presidency right now from European leaders, and it's not like him to back down from that challenge. So he's going to go and it's going to be interesting and maybe there will be some really tough handshakes.
CALMES: These two separate trips, he will come from the G20 meeting and then a couple days later flies over to Paris. That's just -- that's very unusual.
CALMES: Because when you think of all the logistical preparation and planning and security planning that needs to go into this, and he was worried about protests in London for the state visit there that's still not on the calendar. But -- I don't know why he would -- there would be any thought the French are going to be anymore receptive.
[12:45:05] KING: So why does their president, then, just elected, then he has a big parliamentary win, he's taking a bit of a risk in his own country. He knows President Trump is unpopular but clearly he wants to assert himself as a player. Because he's inviting the president of the United States, say, hey, maybe we don't get along on a lot of things but we have to protect the Transatlantic Alliance. Come on over, Mr. President, let's at least get to know each other better.
KUCINICH: Well, yes, and I think -- we seen it in the past where wining and dining the president, I mean, is a little -- is effective diplomacy. So maybe we'll see a little of that and during this trip to France.
MATTINGLY: I just want to add that obviously, people -- there's always lots of questions about what the foreign policy strategy is when they think that. They recognize what just happened in France. They recognize that there's a largely a reshuffle in Europe right now and that somebody who had a large presidential win, a large parliamentary win is now a power player and clearly somebody who's making moves in Europe.
And so the idea that he had a good call, I'm told, with Macron after the elections. The idea would you want to ingratiate yourself with that person or at least try and establish a firm relationship considering the possibility that maybe he's the new rising star in Europe or the real power player there. That actually makes a lot of sense.
KING: And plus President Trump, he's going to run for re-election on point. This guy, like Trump, came from out of nowhere. He's not a politician, he had a new party. He ran against the establishment but with establishment views. So he is a very interesting mix of what he did.
You came up with the conversation earlier. One of the things the president will do though while in Europe at the G20 part is his first face-to-face meeting with Putin. We know from accounts and our Sara Murray and Dana Bash had some great reporting yesterday inside saying the president is very reluctant to talk about the Russia election meddling. He hasn't like to talk about it because he thinks if you're talking about that, just the cyber attacks, never mind collusion, never mind obstruction, even if you're just talking about that, you're somehow undermining his legitimacy.
He's going to meet with Putin for the first time. The question is, what will he say about this? Macron sat next to Putin in their first meeting and said, stop meddling. Because the Russians were caught meddling in the French elections. What do we expect from the Putin\Trump meeting?
PHILIP: I think that's a big mystery. I mean, really is the big mystery. I mean, when you talk to people who are -- you know, a lot of people in Europe are looking very closely at this meeting because they want Trump to side with Europe and not side with Putin. And it's really not entirely clear that that's what Trump wants to do.
He has spoken out more undermining Europe than challenging Putin in a number of ways. And then the election meddling thing is a huge problem. Putting aside everything about whether he won because of the meddling or not, the president still has not acknowledged that it even happened.
PHILIP: So it's hard to believe that when he's in a one-on-one scenario with Putin that he's going to suddenly divert from his own script and say something that he clearly does not believe. So, you know, I don't think -- I think it would be hard to expect that to happen, but we'll see.
CALMES: Well, we always worry about election meddling which sort of diminishes what happens. This was an attack by our chief adversary on us and one that all 17 intelligence agencies agree about and have test, and leaders of which have testified only recently in Congress is going to continue, is going to get worse.
CALMES: For the president of the United States not to address that in a face-to-face with the leader of Russia would be very odd.
KING: Very odd is a very -- you're being kind.
CALMES: Yes like meddling.
KING: So, we'll watch as that plays out.
Up next, if you want to be a straight-talking new generation political star? Be careful what you write.
[12:52:38] KING: This moments going on Capitol Hill, the House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi responding to the president's tweet this morning, sexist, mean tweet this morning attacking an MSNBC news anchor. Let's listen to this Democratic leader.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. NANCY PELOSI: That really saddens me because it is so beneath the dignity of the president of the United States to engage in such behavior. I just don't know why the Republicans, they can tolerate almost anything. A candidate beating up a reporter and then cheering him on as he arrives in Congress. The tweets of the president of the United States, they set a low standard for public officials in terms of their demeanor.
It's really sad, though. The president of the United States. Something's wrong there. Yes, ma'am?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Something's wrong there, Nancy Pelosi saying at the end. If you haven't seen it already or weren't with us at the top of the hour, this is an attack on Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC this morning. The president attacked the ratings of the program and he said, "How come low I.Q. crazy Mika along with psycho Joe came to Mar-a-Lago three nights around New Year's eve and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said, no to them -- hanging out with them." Although apparently they did hang out with him.
Again, the criticism of the media, it's childish, low I.Q., crazy, that's all childish and third grade. But criticizing women's appearance that goes over into a lot of sexism. Outright, sexism from the president. "She was bleeding badly from a face-lift, I said, no."
This is all over social media, all over Twitter, all over the political debate here in Washington. You just heard Leader Pelosi, a number of Republicans condemns this. Stuart Stevens is a veteran Republican strategist, long critic of President Trump, make it clear.
He tweets, :Is there any serious company in America that wouldn't fire a CEO for publicly attacking a woman for her appearance?" it's an interesting question.
CALMES: Right. It's a very good question. And, you know, the emphasis on misogyny and about Trump's obsession with women and blood, that's all well and good. But I thought Nancy Pelosi was right, and this is a woman who's a historic woman, first female speaker. She's seen as, you know, the voice of women especially, from the left. But she emphasized that this -- about the -- what this is -- the indecency of this for the office of the president. And I think that was probably the right tone for her to set.
[12:55:08] KUCINICH: You know, we talked about this a little bit earlier, but when you saw Republican women, lawmakers, responding to this, a lot of them, the first thing they said was, you know, as a lawmaker, as a female lawmaker, I know what's it's like to have my appearance criticized. I mean, we all know what it's like to have your appearance criticized. So this hits home in a way because a lot of people know what it feels like to be Mika Brzezinski on the receiving end of an attack like this.
PHILIP: And to be fair, there have been presidents of both parties with volatile personalities, but to have it sort of on display and have that person sort of representing the presidency in that way publicly is different. It's different -- I mean, it's really -- it really is unprecedented.
KING: It would be sexist and boorish and awful if he said it in a private conversation but he (inaudible) defensively some a private conversation that he did this. This is a tweet. This is not something that -- it's not something he said privately in a weak moment or tired moment. It's just something he did on purpose.
So that going to end it for us today. Thanks for joining us in the Inside Politics. Wolf Blitzer in the chair after a quick break. Have a good day.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Wolf Blitzer. It's 1 p.m. here in Washington, 7 p.m. in Mosul, Iraq, it's 1:30 a.m. Friday morning already in Pyongyang, North Korea. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us.
We start with President Trump and his latest tweets sending shock waves through Washington and around the country --