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Sources: FBI's Comedy Briefed Trump on 2-Page Synopsis; FBI, Justice Dept. Investigated Over Clinton Email Probe; GOP Takes First Steps Toward Repealing Obamacare; President Obama Surprises Biden with Top Honor; Rubio Refuses to Say Whether He'll Vote for Tillerson. Aired 7:00-8p ET

Aired January 12, 2017 - 19:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OutFront tonight. We begin with breaking news. U.S. Officials tell CNN the FBI Director James Comey personally briefed Donald Trump on unsubstantiated claims that the Russians may have compromising information on Trump. Now, Comey had a briefed one-on-one conversation with the President-elect last Friday during an intelligence briefing. The FBI Director at that time presented Trump with a two-page synopsis of the Russian claims. The nation's top intelligence chiefs have decided that Comey would be the one who would handle this sensitive discussion. Now, this is a very significant development because it appears to contradict what Trump's senior adviser, Kellyanne Conway, has been saying over the past several days.

KELLYANNE CONWAY COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: And it says they never briefed him on it, and they appended of two pages to the bottom of his intelligence report.

SETH MEYERS, AMERICAN COMEDIAN: I believe it said they did brief him on it.

CONWAY: He has said that he is not aware of that. And a story that's just not true that the President-elect was presented with this information that it was appended in a two-page document to the briefing.

BURNETT: Evan Perez is part of the team that broke this story. He's OutFront tonight. And Evan, as we said, a significant development because you heard Kellyanne, they said this briefing didn't happen. You are reporting, it was a one-on-one conversation between James Comey and the President-elect and it did happen.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: It did, and this helps correct the record, really, of what exactly happened here. Now, we know there were four intelligence chiefs who is met with the President-elect last Friday. The purpose of this briefing overall was to bring him up to date on the findings of the Russian interference in the U.S. Presidential election, the 2016 Presidential election -- president -- presidential election.

Now, at the end of this, the four chiefs were finishing their work and Comey decided to do a one-on-one with the President-elect. The chiefs had decided that Comey should be the one to handle this. After all, it's the FBI Counter Intelligence Division that is doing the investigation to take a look at these claims, and it's also their job to take a look at what foreign intelligence services are up to in this country, in this case Russia, if the Russians are targeting or trying to target the President-elect, it was very important for the President-elect to know about this.

That was the purpose of this. We're told this this was a cordial briefing, that Trump appreciated the information that he was given, and so we're a little puzzled really by the reaction over the last couple days in various stages of denial by the Trump transition team about what really was the FBI and the intelligence chiefs doing their job to make sure he was informed before he took office.

BURNETT: Right. Because, Evan, I mean, just to underline this, they are --you've heard them repeatedly say that this briefing did not happen.

PEREZ: Right. We've heard various -- different versions. I mean, we don't really where they're at at this point, but we do know that this information was brought to the briefing and of course we also know from Vice President Joe Biden today, he met with reporters at the White House today and he mentioned that he and President Obama were both briefed on this information, that they got this information from the two-page synopsis. He even said he read the entire 35-page document that this thing was based on, Erin.

And so he said that the intelligence chiefs told him that the reason was -- they were going to make sure that Donald Trump knew about this very important information.

BURNETT: All right. Evan, thank you very much. You know, Trump continues to do battle with the Intelligence Community, his nominee to have the CIA today faced a lot of questions about all of this latest reporting. Pamela Brown is OutFront.

REP. MIKE POMPEO, CIA DIRECTOR NOMINEE: I will continue to pursue foreign intelligence collection with vigor no matter where the facts lead.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Today CIA Director Nominee Mike Pompeo addressed the reporting first on CNN that U.S. Intelligence chiefs provided a synopsis of allegations compiled by a former British intelligence Official that President-elect and President Obama. The specific allegations which CNN has not verified or included in this reporting claim that people within Trump's campaign communicated with Russia before the election. And also that the Russians have compromising personal information about the President-elect.

POMPEO: These are unsubstantiated allegations.

BROWN: Today, Vice President Joe Biden is confirming that he and President Obama were briefed last week by intelligence officials on the unsubstantiated claims. Biden's office also saying the Vice President told reporters that intelligence leaders felt obligated to tell Obama because they were planning on informing Trump. The testimony by Pompeo comes a day after President-elect Trump rejected the reports, calling them fake news, and suggesting without proof intelligence officials were responsible for the leaks.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT: Maybe the intelligence agencies. Who knows. But maybe the intelligence agencies, which would be a tremendous blot on their record if they, in fact, did that. A tremendous blot. Because a thing like that should have never been written. It should never have been had. And it should certainly never have been leased.

BROWN: U.S. Intelligence Chief James clapper called Trump last night trying to ease the tension between him and the Intelligence Community. Clapper released a statement after saying, "I do not believe the leaks came from within the I.C., Intelligence Community and in what amounts to the first public confirmation of CNN''s report that the synopsis existed and had been put together for the President-elect."

Clapper added, however, part of our obligation is to ensure that policymakers are provided with the fullest picture of any matters that might affect National Security.

POMPEO: The leaks that occurred as well, I consider to be intensely serious, too, and I think Director Clapper's statement from last night or this morning about his concern about these leaks is worthy.

BROWN: During his testimony today, Pompeo also blamed Russia for interfering in the election, coming out stronger than the President- elect has.

POMPEO: It's pretty clear about what took place here, about Russian involvement in efforts to hack information and to have an impact on American democracy. This was an aggressive action taken by the senior leadership inside of Russia and the America has an obligation and the CIA has a part of that obligation to protect that information.

BURNETT: Pam, what more are you learning, you know, when -- we talked about this report, this 35-page report, you now know more about the man, the specific person who compiled it. What do you know?

BROWN: That's right. We've learned his name is Christopher Steele, he is a former MI6 British intelligence officer, now he's the director at a private security and investigations firm that is based in London. He is someone who is seen as credible in the Intelligence Community in the United States. He's worked with the Intelligence Community. He is known as someone who has done a lot of work in Russia and has a lot of sources.

In fact, since this all came to light, since his name has been surfaced as the person who put together these memos as a result of the request from Oppo research firms in the United States, former intelligence officials have come out and written op-eds in defense of him including one that's on Again, all the allegations in that memo he compiled are unsubstantiated, but he is someone who has done a lot of work with the U.S. Intelligence Community.

BURNETT: All right. Pamela, thank you very much. And OutFront now, let's go straight to the former Defense Secretary, former CIA Director Leon Panetta. Secretary, thanks you so much for being with me. And I want to start with the breaking news at the that top of our program. A significant development that Trump was verbally briefed by Director Comey one-on-one about the two-page summary of these unsubstantiated allegations. His team obviously has denied that that briefing took place. What's your reaction?

LEON PANETTA, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY AND CA DIRECTOR: Well, my experience would be that they would, in fact, not only brief President Obama and Vice President Biden as they did but that they certainly would brief the President-elect on those issues as well. So I'm a little surprised that they're denying being briefed on that document since it was part of the briefing not only for both presidents but it was part of the briefing I believe with regards to the congressional leadership as well.

BURNETT: So, which obviously would mean several more people learned about it. One of the biggest questions though here, Secretary is, is it right for information about Trump to be leaked when no one has any idea if it's true? I mean, the Chief of the DNI, James clapper says, and I wanted to quote him, he said, "The Intelligence Community has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable and we did not rely upon it in any way for our conclusions." Given that, that they have no judgment as to whether it's reliable, would you have included it in your briefing?

PANETTA: The reason I think it was included, Erin, is because it's very sensitive information, even though it's unsubstantiated and uncorroborated. The fact is that this is extremely sensitive and I think the problem is that the intelligence agencies would have felt that they would be at fault if they didn't bring that to the attention of the principals. And this is what happens in intelligence briefings. If we have information that is unsubstantiated but very sensitive, it's important to bring it to the attention of the key people so that they know that this information is out there even though you make very clear that it is unsubstantiated and uncorroborated. It's still important information for them to have.

BURNETT: So it's the sensitivity that drives the briefing as opposed to whether it's substantiated, which is an important clarification. Would they have tried ordinarily to substantiate it? When we hear that it's unsubstantiated, do you infer they didn't even bother to look into it or they did and they found some of it to be untrue or would you say there would be no inference at all to be made from that statement?

PANETTA: I would assume that they made every effort to try to substantiate and corroborate that information. So, my sense is that they made the effort, they were unable to do it, but because it was so sensitive they felt an obligation to present it to the key players.

BURNETT: So given what you're saying here that they would have tried to substantiate and made every effort to do so, that would be your expectation. I want to ask you about the report itself. I mean, Christopher Steele, I don't know if you just heard we're reporting, he's the name of the former British MI6 Intelligence Officer who compiled all of this information. He was paid to do it, all right? It was a job, he was paid initially by republican opponent of Trump.

So, people who didn't like Trump hired him to find stuff on Trump. Given that, give than the CIA and other intelligence agencies would have tried to substantiate it and saying they -- that it is unsubstantiated would mean they were unable to do so, would you trust what's in this memo?

PANETTA: You know, that's what everybody is trying to figure out, whether or not, you know, there's any veracity here. And the fact that it's somebody from MI6 in and of itself doesn't mean that it's fact. I think -- I think this is the kind of report that really does require that you've got to look at a number of different sources to see whether or not it really is true. You know, you get this kind of stuff -- we call it over the transom kind of intelligence all the time, and you have to question the sources and you have to question the credibility of those sources. So, I think that's what's happening here is nobody's been able to in fact prove that what he's been talking about is true.

BURNETT: And you said something there I want to follow up on. You said this is the kind of thing you get over the transom all the time. You know, when you read these 35 pages and the allegations in them, is this the sort of thing you've seen many times, the sort of thing you see in opposition research that one candidate would prepare about another? Is this sort of common or not?

PANETTA: Well, I think it's -- I think it's very common. You get this kind of research -- I mean, I've seen it in politics. You get all kinds of information on an opponent and you really have to, if you're careful, you want to make sure that it, in fact, is verified and true because if you move with that information, at least in the past, I'm not sure about today's standards, but in the past if you move on that kind of information and it's not true, you could hurt -- you could hurt the particular individual involved.

BURNETT: And obviously, that is part of the reason Trump's so angry as he's saying none of it's true, it's now all -- it's now all out there in the public realm. You know, Clapper says he does not believe the leaks came from the Intelligence Community, which it's interesting you mentioned you would have thought, you know, congress would have had this exact briefing as well. Trump said if the leaks did come from the Intelligence Community, here's the disgrace and here's how he played it, Secretary.

TRUMP: I think it was disgraceful, disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake out. I think it's a disgrace. And I say that, and I say that, and that's something that Nazi Germany would have done and did do.

BURNETT: Nazi Germany?

PANETTA: Yes. You know, I think his comments were a little bit over the top to say the least with regards to this issue. I mean, there's -- you know, I believe Jim Clapper. I don't think it was the Intelligence Community that in any way was involved with this leak. But the reality is, you know, when you present these kinds of briefings and there are a number of people that you present these briefings to, there is always the chance, particularly with staff in the -- in the -- in the presence of these briefers, that somehow some of this will leak.

I mean, it's -- you know, I think the President-elect is really beginning to witness for the first time what the realities of Washington are all about. I've worked for several presidents. Those presidents were angry every time a leak came out. But the reality is that leaks happen. And you have to learn to deal with that and move on. And I think ultimately that's what this president's going to have to do.

BURNETT: You have said, Secretary, that Trump is damaging the credibility, the morale of the intelligence agencies by all of these negative comments he has said about them. In fact, you've said, you know, in your five-decade career with presidents you've served under, Secretary of Defense, CIA Director, you've never seen anything like the rift we're seeing now between the President-elect and the Intelligence Community.

But the two men that he has picked to do the jobs that you did, right? CIA, Secretary of Defense, in their hearings have sounded very different than Trump. Here they are.


GEN. JAMES MATTIS (RET.) DEFENSE SECRETARY NOMINEE: I have very, very high degree of confidence in our Intelligence Community.

POMPEO: I have great confidence in the men and women that work out there.

BURNETT: I know you Secretary that you support General Mattis for Defense Secretary. Do you also support Congressoman Pompeo for chief of the CIA?

PANETTA: Yes, I do. I think -- I think, you know, he's somebody who understands the intelligence agencies, he's smart, and I think will be a good director.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Secretary Panetta, I thank you very much for your time tonight and your insight which for so many around the country watching the story. It was -- it was very much needed. Thank you.

PANETTA: Thank you.

BURNETT: OutFront next, the Inspector General launching a probe into the FBI handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private e-mail server. Investigation into the FBI. Did James Comey do the right thing?

Plus a tearful Joe Biden reacting to President Obama's unexpected final gesture.

And Michelle Obama known for her politics, fashion sense, and the evolution of the mom dance.


BURNETT: Breaking news, FBI Director James Comey coming under new and intense scrutiny this evening. The Justice Department Inspector General announcing it has opened an investigation into the FBI handling of the probe into Hillary Clinton's private e-mail server. Comey sent a letter to congress, if you don't remember, 11 days before the election to say the bureau was looking into additional e-mails that could be relevant to the Clinton case.

Of course they ended saying that none of them were. It's a move democrats insisted to their losing the election. Evan Perez is back with this story. And Evan, obviously, this is a very significant development. What specifically is the investigation focused on?

PEREZ: Well, there -- the Justice Department Inspector General is investigating whether the FBI Director James Comey and other officials at the justice department and at the bureau followed the rules in their handling of this investigation of Hillary Clinton's private e- mail server. At the top of their concerns is the extraordinary July press conference in which Comey said he would recommend no charges against Clinton and that no reasonable prosecutor would bring a case against her and then breaking with protocol, Comey went into great detail of all the things he thought that Clinton had done wrong, calling her extremely careless in her handling of classified information.

The Inspector General is also going to look into Comey's unprecedented letter to congress as you mentioned just a few days before the election in which he announced that these new e-mails were found and the FBI was essentially reopening its investigation of Clinton and then a week later announcing it was closed again. There's also some scrutiny into whether the Deputy FBI Director should have recused himself from this investigation and whether any improper considerations played any role in this case.

BURNETT: So, Comey obviously under pressure from both parties, right? In different times in the election. Both were blaming him for their travails, right? What is he specifically saying tonight, Comey himself?

PEREZ: Well, he's welcoming this investigation. He says, "I am grateful the Department of -- Department of Justice IG, for taking on this review. He is professional and independent and the FBI will cooperate fully with him and his office. I hope very much he's able to share his conclusions and observations with the public because everyone will benefit from thoughtful evaluation and transparency regarding this matter."

Clearly, Erin, that the FBI thinks that this will help clean up some of the damage done to their reputation as a result of all this.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much.

PEREZ: Thanks. BURNETT: And Evan, with that breaking news. Let's go now to Jeffrey

Toobin. OK. So, look, democrats are incredibly angry at James Comey.


BURNETT: Right. I mean, at first, Trump was enraged, now Trump adores him but democrats enraged, right? Here's just a little clip in case anyone forgets how enraged they were of what they have said.

NANCY PELOSI, HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: I believe that the Comey letter was a foul deed. It was the wrong thing to do.

AL FRANKEN, U.S. SENATOR: I think it was troubling that he put that vague letter out 11 days before the election.

BURNETT: Foul deed. Nancy Pelosi, did not mince words. How necessary is this investigation?

TOOBIN: Well, I think it's a very good idea. When -- this is why we have Inspector General. They investigate whether departments in the -- you know, their own departments are behaving properly. And obviously this was a matter of great controversy.

BURNETT: So, this investigation is going to go on under Donald Trump when you talk about an inspector general that isn't --

TOOBIN: Well, probably. I mean --

BURNETT: Because it's not a Sessions report, right? It's not going to switch.

TOOBIN: Well, let's see, this is where things get complicated. Michael Horowitz, who is the Inspector General, is a political appointee. Political appointees usually leave on January 20th. However, Inspectors General are a exception, usually. In 1981, when Ronald Reagan took office, he fired all the inspectors General. It caused a big stir, and that led to a tradition of Inspectors General serving from one administration to the next. But it's just tradition, not a law.

BURNETT: So, Trump could come in and say not a law, you're gone.

TOOBIN: Trump could fire him. And --


TOOBIN: And Sessions, the Attorney General, if he -- if he's confirmed, could stop this investigation. Attorneys General have the right to stop investigations. They can't fire. Only the president can fire. So, you know, probably this will go forward, but it is not necessarily a done deal.

BURNETT: And what will be the effect of the outcome if it does -- I mean, if it stops at this point we can understand the anger and frustration that would be caused by that. But if the outcome is that something wrong happened, you can't change the outcome of the election at this point.

TOOBIN: Of course, and Inspectors General also, they don't have the power to fire people, they don't have the power to prosecute. All they can do is refer cases to people who can fire and prosecute. But -- I mean, so I think the real answer to your question is there will not be anything -- you know, there will not be things changed but historically and politically this could be a very big deal.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jeffrey Toobin.

Next, our Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks to doctors about how they feel about Obamacare as another step is taken in its rollback. And the president's surprising and incredibly emotional good-bye to Joe Biden.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I am pleased to award our nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.


BURNETT: Tonight, republicans taking their first steps to repeal Obamacare. The Senate approving a measure that helps pave way to repeal it. President-elect Donald Trump tweeting, "Congrats to the senate for taking the first step to repeal Obamacare. Now it's on to the house. Doctors in this country are incredibly divided on whether Obamacare should stay or go. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is OutFront.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's all yours.

DR. BRIAN HILL, UROLOGIST: I love medicine. Medicine is great. When you sit in the exam room, interact with a patient, you operate, you know, you do those things we were trained to do is awesome. All the bureaucracy and the burden that's built around the system of health care, that makes medicine difficult.

Took me two little swipes.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On a typical 14-hour day, Dr. Brian Hill is constantly immersed in the realities of health care.

His conclusion?

HILL: The Affordable Care Act has to go away.

GUPTA (on camera): A year from now, 2018, what do you think this looks like?

HILL: I think it's going to be the same political morass it is today, as it was yesterday and it was eight years ago.

GUPTA (voice-over): It's safe to say most doctors like Brian Hill are not shy when it comes to expressing their views on Obamacare.


GUPTA: And just like the rest of us, studies find doctors tend to like or dislike the law based on their existing political preference.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, any pain up here?

GUPTA: There are other factors. Your age, for example.

DR. BENJAMIN SOMMERS, HARVARD T.H. CHAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Younger physicians were generally more favorable towards the Affordable Care Act and more supportive of the idea that the government has a role to play in helping citizens afford their access to health care.

GUPTA: So, how do doctors feel about Obamacare? Well, a little stuck, because surveys show only 3.2 percent give Obamacare an A grade. And yet most of the major medical organizes are urging no repeal without replacement, worried about the loss of coverage for millions of people.

SOMMERS: I think the AMA has it right. This is the biggest drop in the number of people without health insurance since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid 50 years ago.

GUPTA (on camera): For people who are out there who have been beneficiaries, some 20 million of them, what would you say to them as a doctor?

HILL: Did we really solve the problem? Co-pays are going up. Deductibles are going up. They're giving you insurance, but are they giving you access to health care?

GUPTA (voice-over): As Dr. Hill and many other doctors see it, the same exact care now costs more than it should.

HILL: I look at my office and I've got a coder, a biller, prior authorization, precertification. All those things have raised the cost of health care to the point where physicians went, I'm out.

GUPTA: Last year, Hill got out. His practice swallowed by one of Atlanta's largest hospitals, a growing trend across the country.

That did reduce his costs, but now he worries about his patients. Why? Because big hospitals can charge more money.

(on camera): For example, we decided to join Dr. Hill in the operating room. We understand that now this that he's partner with the hospital, he could be doing the same type of operation on the same type of patient literally in the same operating room except the costs will now be 20 percent to 30 percent higher.

(voice-over): The hospital partnering with Hill refused to comment for a story. For Hill, it's about giving the market back to the consumer and letting doctors earn their trust.

HILL: Why do I need 25 or 30 people in Washington, D.C., to fix things? We're going to fix it. I have faith in that.

Got it and no catheter. I think the solutions are going to come from us.


BURNETT: Sanjay, pretty stunning what he said, 20 percent to 30 percent higher to do the exact same thing in the exact same place. I mean, when he says we can solve this, like in what way? What is the solution that a person like Dr. Hill would have?

GUPTA: Well, you know, he'd be the first to admit, it's complicated. No one wants to overly simplify it but it really comes down to cost as the primary thing to focus on in all sorts of ways.

So, for example, he and lots of other doctors talk about the fact there should be full transparency when it comes to cost. Do you know how much your drugs really cost, your procedure in the hospital, a hospitalization itself? Most people don't know how much that costs. If there's transparency, they believe that could start to drive down costs.

But also this idea, Erin, that keeps coming up. We want a more open market. You hear that term over and over again.


GUPTA: But for many doctors, that doesn't mean what you might think it means. It means patients, anybody who's a potential patient can deal directly with doctors, deal directly with hospitals, have those deals in terms of getting their care. And the insurance companies take a smaller role.

So, it's not that he wants big government to have a smaller role, he also thinks the insurance industry should have a smaller role, and the patients should be going directly to those who provide care. It's an idea that's come up before and it's had momentum, but this is, you know, certainly one doctor's point of view who represents many others.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Sanjay. It's pretty fascinating, as we talk about Obamacare, it's going to be repealed.

Joining me now political commentator, Kayleigh McEnany, former Clinton White House aide, Keith Boykin.

So, Kayleigh, look, you saw Sanjay's reporting. I'm sure when you hear something like that, it makes you feel relieved, right, that doctors agree that Obamacare is not working. He says it's got to go. The House speaker says Republicans are going to move fast because Obamacare is in a death spiral.

[19:35:03] But the big question is, Kayleigh, politically, is it worse to repeal it if there is no definitive replacement plan ready to replace it?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Look, there can't be a lag time between repealing this plan and depriving basically 16 million people of coverage. There can't be a lag time. These people need coverage. There can be a delay. The Heritage Foundation has put forth a plan where you repeal it and use next year to lessen regulation on companies, bring down some of the costs and the following year, the replacement comes into effect.

If it's something like that where people keep their coverage in the interim, that is OK. But the GOP has to be very careful on this and have to ensure that there's an adequate replacement ready to go if not on day one, at least a year out from delay.

BURNETT: Keith, a year out on a delay, do people buy that?

KEITH BOYKIN, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE AIDE: Well, I think Kayleigh's half right that you can't have a lag time. But if you have a repeal and delay, that's essentially creating a lag time and it's creating the death spiral that people are afraid of because the insurers have no incentive to stay in the market. They don't know what's going to happen.

BURNETT: Well, they have no idea what's coming out, why would they stay with the way they have it, right? I mean, definitionally, they would not.

BOYKIN: Exactly, that's the point You know, and the reality is seven years ago before this started, there were 49 million people in this country without health insurance. Now it's down to 29 million. So, 20 million people have health insurance because of this plan.

You can't just kick them off of Affordable Care Act because the Republicans decide they want to fulfill a political commitment to their supporters. There has to be a plan. They've had seven years to come up with a replacement plan and they haven't done it yet.

MCENANY: No, they have. This is one of biggest lies by Democrats, Keith, is that there's no replacement plan. Go on Paul Ryan's website. You'll see right there a replacement plan laid out. Go on Heritage. There are two replacement plans there.

There are replacement plans. The problem is, we don't have a willing negotiating partner. The Democrats won't admit that Obamacare has failed. Premiums are going to go up on average 25 percent next year. They're not going to allow us to renegotiate.

BURNETT: So, Kayleigh, let me just ask you though, because, you know, there are people, now that all of a sudden it might happen, or it's going to happen, Obamacare is going away, Donald Trump supporters and others who now say wait, I like it, it has changed my life, it has improved it.

One of them spoke to Sanjay, to Dr. Gupta and here's what he said.


BOB RUSCOE, TRUMP VOTER WHO NEEDS OBAMACARE: The health care plan gives us peace of mind. Medical screening to stop something before it gets worse. Each day, we face the possibility of losing our home, going into

bankruptcy. One thing could come in. The health care act has taken that worry away.


BURNETT: Should Republicans be careful, Kayleigh? It was one thing to put it out as a boogeyman and it's another to slay it.

MCENANY: And this is -- yes, that's right, and that's why President- elect Trump is the perfect person for this, because if you remember, Erin, during the Republican primaries, he was the one Republican candidate who stood on that stage and said, parts of Obamacare need to stay, he talked about pre-existing conditions, he said we can't have people dying on the street, he said this during a Republican primary. Those words are anathema typically in the Republican Party, but he said it. He's the person to negotiate it..

BURNETT: Kayleigh is right, but those are the things that cost the money.

BOYKIN: Exactly, you can't say we're going to keep the good parts and not have the other parts that make the system work, Kayleigh. That's exactly the problem. This is a very complex system. It took years to negotiate a way to figure this out.

And you can't just rip off and say, we're going to have this part and not that part. But the idea that Republicans have replacement going back to something that Kayleigh said earlier is not true. There are different ideas out there, but no consensus about what this replacement should look like and that's a fundamental problem.

The reality is, there are a lot of people even on the left who acknowledge the Affordable Care Act is not a panacea. It does not solve all of the problem. It has made progress but there are people like me who believe we need a single-payer system and don't have that right now.

BURNETT: I have to pause there. Thank you very much.

Next, President Obama's good-bye to Joe Biden, a man he calls his brother. An incredibly emotional moment today. Joe Biden had no idea it was coming.

And our Manu Raju corners Senator Marco Rubio because he is -- has all the power right now. He could block Trump's pick, Rex Tillerson, to lead the State Department.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: We're still working through the process.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: After a night, are you feeling any better right now?

RUBIO: Well, we're still working through it. So --



[19:43:18] BURNETT: President Obama with one last trick up his sleeve for his good friend, Vice President Joe Biden. It was a surprise ceremony and the president, it really was a surprise, he shocked the vice president, leading him speechless, in tears as he presented him with his final Presidential Medal of Freedom. It is the highest civilian honor in the U.S.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For the final time as president, I am pleased to award our nation's high es civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.


JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't deserve this, but I know it came from the president's heart.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, David Gergen, advised four presidents.

And, David, an incredibly emotional moment. You know, usually, these things are -- they're choreographed. It doesn't mean they're not genuine but they're choreographed. This one is just Joe Biden's true heartfelt emotion.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely. You know, it's emotional just watching it. Again, hours later and seeing him tear up and, you know, trying to control himself before he came back on camera.

[19:45:06] I think it really underscores, Erin, just how deep the bonds have grown between these two men. And it's so refreshing to see in Washington, given all the acrimony of the recent past. But even as you think upon recent vice presidents, there was a lot of iciness when George W. Bush and Dick Cheney parted. Cheney was angry Bush hadn't granted a pardon to Scooter Libby.

If you think back earlier to Al Gore and Bill Clinton, who started off as friends but in the end -- and when Gore campaigned he barely mentioned Clinton's economic success. I think he might have won the presidency had he run on Clinton's coattails but he didn't want to.

BURNETT: I mean, it is pretty stunning. When you look at this moment g here, when Joe Biden turns his back to the camera because he wanted to compose himself, I mean, have we ever seen a relationship this close? Obviously, you mentioned the past two examples not being so. But in American history?

GERGEN: I can't remember the personal warmth. There has been an enormous amount of respect. George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan really respected each other but their families weren't as close. They didn't have quite this emotional tie.

Joe Biden, by nature, you know, is gregarious and warm, and I think he brings that out in President Obama too. President Obama is more reserved usually, but clearly, the two struck up this relationship that transcends our politics, and I think there's a very hopeful moment as well to see that this can take place in politics still.

BURNETT: All right. Before we go, I'll leave everyone with -- I want to play just a couple of moments, not just today, but between these two men. Here it is.


OBAMA: Joe, you are my brother. I am grateful every day that you've got such a big heart and a big soul and those broad shoulders.

BIDEN: The president and I, we know each other. We talk. We have lunch every week, probably 60 percent of the time we talk about our families.

He was there for my son. He was the only one there when my son was dying. He's a genuine friend. I respect him.

OBAMA: To Joe Biden, the scrappy kid from Scranton who became Delaware's favorite son. You were the first decision I made as a nominee and it was the best.


Not just because you have been a great vice president but because in the bargain I gained a brother.


BURNETT: You can see that emotion is so incredibly real.

Thank you so much, David Gergen, for being with us to talk about those two.

And next, top Republicans wavering on Trump's choice for secretary of state. Could the Democrats be the ones who actually save Rex Tillerson's nomination?

Plus, Michelle Obama's late-night farewell. Is the first lady hinting at her next act?


MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: This is where the thank-you notes happen.

JIMMY FALLON, COMEDIAN: This is where it happens right here.

MICHELLE OBAMA: I like this.

FALLON: You do?

MICHELLE OBAMA: This side of desk.

FALLON: You do?

OBAMA: Yeah.

FALLON: Whoa. Whoa! I'm not leaving!



[19:51:25] BURNETT: Tonight, some top Republicans not sold on Donald Trump's pick for the secretary of state, Rex Tillerson. It's a stunning situation actually because two Democrats are leaving the door open to voting for the former ExxonMobil CEO and that might be what Tillerson needs if he can't get the Republicans on board, specifically one GOP skeptic, Senator Marco Rubio.

Manu Raju is OUTFRONT.


RAJU (voice-over): The fate of Rex Tillerson as secretary of state now in the hands of someone Donald Trump often derided when they were campaign rivals.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: He's a disaster. He's a nasty guy.

RAJU: Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican senator, could provide a crucial vote to block Tillerson in the Foreign Relations Committee, which would be a major embarrassment for Trump.

Rubio refuses to say what he'll do.

RUBIO: We're still working through it, so we'll have a decision here soon.

RAJU: And he won't say if he'll even meet with Tillerson.

(on camera): A lot has transpired since this morning. Have you met with him yet?

RUBIO: I don't have anything to add to what I already said to you.

RAJU (voice-over): Rubio grew visibly frustrated at Tillerson, during the nearly nine-hour confirmation hearing this week, as the nominee repeatedly dodged his questions, namely about Russia, a country Tillerson had extensive ties with during his time running ExxonMobil.

RUBIO: Is Vladimir Putin a war criminal?

REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE NOMINEE: I would not use that term. RUBIO: Based on all this information and what's publicly in the

record about what's happened in Aleppo and the Russian military, you are still not prepared to say Vladimir Putin and his military have violated the rules of war and have conducted war crimes in Aleppo?

TILLERSON: Those are very, very serious charges to make and I would want to have much more information before reaching a conclusion.

RUBIO: It should not be hard to say that Vladimir Putin's military has conducted war crimes in Aleppo, and I find it discouraging your inability to cite that.

RAJU (on camera): What concerned you the most from your line of questioning?

RUBIO: I stated that already. I think it's important if you're standing for moral clarity that you be clear.

RAJU (voice-over): Rubio and several other Republicans, including Senator John McCain, are concerned with Trump's praise of Putin and they are uncertain that Tillerson would take a harder line as secretary of state.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: If you want a better deal with Russia, you better punch Russia in the face.

RAJU: But Tillerson's nomination may be saved by Democrats on the committee who are still open to backing him.

(on camera): Could you vote for Tillerson?

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: I'm not ruling that out at all.


BURNETT: So, Manu, what is this about for Rubio?

RAJU: Well, this is about according to his aides, this is clearly to do about his own personal views on Russia, very close -- he's trying to pull Donald Trump, pull the Trump administration more in line with those more hawkish foreign policy views. Now, some critics will say, well, is he just trying to get revenge on Donald Trump, and there, you know, Rubio has had a contentious relationship with Trump during the course of the campaign, calling him a con artist when they were running against each other, saying he could not be trusted with the country's nuclear codes.

But Rubio eventually did endorse Donald Trump even saying as late as October, he didn't know if he could keep this country safe. But they're trying, Erin, really hard to pull Donald Trump in line with more traditional foreign policy views on the Republican side.

BURNETT: All right. Manu, thank you. And obviously a crucial decision.

Tonight, don't miss our live town hall with House Speaker Paul Ryan.

And next, Jeanne Moos on Michelle Obama, the new queen of late night.


[19:57:30] BURNETT: The first lady of late night, Michelle Obama, making her final talk show appearance, well, maybe. But many are hoping it's just the final appearance as a guest.

Here's Jeanne Moos.


FALLON: Michelle Obama.



JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Her days of dancing across our screens are numbered.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How cool is the first lady?

MOOS: Cool enough to run a potato sack race in the White House with Jimmy Fallon.

And now, she's reached the finish line as the first lady of late night.

OBAMA: It is nuts. I feel like crying right now and I didn't think that --

MOOS: Her last talk show appearance featured her surprising people, as they delivered farewell messages.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To continue to go high even when the challenges of life make us feel low. Thank you so much. Oh!

MOOS: She was serenaded by Stevie Wonder who adjusted his lyrics --

STEVIE WONDER, MUSICIAN (singing): My Michelle amour --

MOOS: It won't be easy to follow in her dance steps.

Without further ado, we present the greatest hits of the comedy stylings of Michelle Obama.

Of course, there was the evolution of mom dancing alongside Jimmy Fallon in drag.

Followed by the evolution of mom dancing two with classics like getting a bag from your collection of plastic bags under the sink.

She did "Car Pool Karaoke."

Went shopping at CVS with Ellen.

OBAMA: We need help on aisle two. This was hard. Oh.

MOOS: She was always promoting -- her Let's Move campaign. She even beat Ellen. Who gave up after 20 push-ups.

No wonder Stevie is singing in tribute.

STEVIE WONDER: You'll always be first lady in my mind --

MOOS: He is the first lady's favorite singer.

But not for much longer is she ours.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BURNETT: Tomorrow night, CNN explores First Lady Michelle Obama's journey from Chicago to the world stage, an incredible story, "History Made: The Legacy of Michelle Obama." It airs tomorrow night at 9:00, right here on CNN.

Thanks to all of you for joining us. Don't forget, you can watch OUTFRONT anytime, anywhere, go to CNN Go. I'll see you back here tomorrow night.

"AC360" begins right now.