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Republicans Divided on Obamacare Replacement?; No Timetable for Trump Travel Ban; Schwarzenegger Quits 'Celebrity Apprentice'. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired March 3, 2017 - 3:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Just in, Arnold Schwarzenegger moments ago making an announcement about the future of the "Celebrity Apprentice." I quit, firing himself. He says he will not return to host another season of the show. And he's blaming the president for giving the show too much baggage.
I want to bring in CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter, back now with more on this.
Tell but more about what he is saying, Brian.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Baggage, a very interesting word in the statement from Arnold Schwarzenegger.
This breaking just the past few minutes. Not a total surprise, though, Brianna, because this program "The Apprentice," it became pretty political this season, maybe a victim of political polarization.
When Trump was the host many years ago, actually up until 2015, the most recent season, the show was known for that famous saying you're fired. It seems to me Arnold is saying I quit before NBC can fire him.
But here's his statement. He says: "I loved every second working with NBC 'and the producer Mark Burnett. He went to say, "I would absolutely work with all of them again on a show that doesn't have this baggage."
What is he talking about? Well, for one thing, President Trump criticizing him while hosting the show. Another thing, there was an advertiser boycott in the works from anti-Trump groups. And the ratings weren't as strong as they were back when Trump was the host.
There were a number of factors. I think when Arnold refers to baggage, that might be what he is talking about.
The first season of the show recently wrapped up. There were questions about whether it would be renewed at all. And this would indicate maybe it's not going to be. Maybe NBC is ready to go ahead and retire "The Apprentice."
KEILAR: All right, Brian Stelter, thank you so much for that update. We do appreciate it.
We have breaking developments on several major stories as well. Right now, President Trump is visiting a Catholic school in Orlando to push school choice. And it happening as his administration is getting a schooling itself with a new Homeland Security report that casts doubt on the need for a travel ban.
But first moments ago, we just heard from the president and the vice president on two major topics, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Obamacare.
Up first, Vice President Pence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But we expect in a matter of days you're going to begin to see a very brisk pace of legislative activity.
We're going to repeal and replace Obamacare. We're going to do it at the same time. And, as I said today here in Janesville, we're going to replace Obamacare with the kind of solutions that will lower the cost of health insurance for every American, that will be an orderly transition to a new and better health care program, and we're going to insure that we don't leave anyone behind.
I was not aware of Jeff Sessions' meeting, nor would I expected to been. The president and I have full confidence in the attorney general. He's a man of integrity. As the president said, he could have answered the question more clearly, but it was clearly unintentional.
I think he's corrected the record appropriately. And we're just very confident in his ability to lead this agency and respect his decision to recuse himself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: I'm going to turn now to senior White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny.
Jeff, we just heard from the president on Twitter about Jeff Sessions, what did he say?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: He was talking about of course this whole issue involving Russia, but, Brianna, as the president was leaving the White House earlier today, he's clearly not leaving behind all the issues of Russia that are hanging over him.
But as he was flying to Florida, he did send out this, and it was a jab at the Democratic leader of the Senate, the minority leader, Chuck Schumer.
Let's take a look at these series of back and forth exchanges here.
He says, "We should start an immediate investigation into Senator Schumer and his ties to Russia and Putin, a total hypocrite."
That of course is coming from the president trying to make the suggestion, make the argument here that this is all a partisan witch- hunt in his words.
Senator Schumer, of course, as politicians now are doing, firing back immediately on Twitter. He says: "I will happily talk about my contact with Mr. Putin and his associates. Took place in 2003 in full view of press public under oath. Would you and your team?"
That volleys it back into the president's court. But the problem here and the challenge for this White House, Brianna, as you know, it is not Democrats who are raising questions about this. It's Republicans who are raising questions and really called on the attorney general to recuse himself.
That's why that happened yesterday, not because of Democratic criticism, because of Republican concern about all these meetings with the Russian operatives.
And the one question that is still remaining here, Brianna, what were they meeting about? What were they talking about during the campaign last year? That's something the White House and the president has not yet answered.
KEILAR: Jeff, Homeland Security found after examining 88 cases of terrorism that most foreign-born violent extremists don't actually arrive in the U.S. radicalized.
And this report concluded that they become radicalized after living in the United States for several years. We should note that this report is based on open source and unsealed information. It's not based on classified data. This is the second Homeland Security document though to undermine the ban, because there was another one that reportedly concluded citizenship is -- quote -- "an unreliable threat indicator."
Is the White House responding to this?
The White House is being very quiet about really what was a signature campaign issue that the president ran for this office on and talked about certainly throughout the course of the campaign.
Remember back to the first week in office, when he said it was so urgent that he sign that travel ban? Well, Brianna, they have been virtually silent this week. And again now the week is drawing to an end here without signing the second ban.
It is in part because of reports like this from Homeland Security and legal challenges as well, but, Brianna, a silent administration here on that DHS report. Of course, they do still, the president still plans to sign what they believe is a new and improved travel ban affecting majority Muslim countries, six of them at least, but that will not happen this week and we do not have a timetable now on when it will, Brianna.
KEILAR: Jeff Zeleny, thank you so much.
I want to bring now Robert Pape. He is political science professor at the University of Chicago and he recently released a study that revealed very similar results to this new Homeland Security finding. He was part of a team of researchers and they analyzed 112 people who were arrested for ISIS-related offenses in the U.S.
First, tell us, professor, what kind of cases did you study, what percentage of these crimes were carried out by refugees or citizens from these seven Muslim majority countries that were included in the travel ban?
ROBERT PAPE, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO: Absolutely.
Myself and a research team spent six months studying every ISIS terrorist in the United States since they began March 2014. That's every individual indicted in U.S. courts or carried out an attack in the United States, and this based on court documents, detailed records provided by the FBI and others.
And so this is not just kind of a random collection of facts. This is extremely systematic, based on thousands of pages of court documents.
What we see is a picture that should really disturb us if we're talking about the travel ban. You see, two-thirds of the ISIS terrorists are born in the United States. That is, they're not just American citizens. Even more are American citizens. But two-thirds are born here.
One-third are converts to Islam, that is, they're not coming from long-established Muslim communities. The travel ban focusing on the seven countries, that deals with only 17 of these individuals. That's about 10 percent of the problem here.
This is not the world of 9/11 -- 9/11, all 19 hijackers on 9/11 were foreign nationals who crept their way through our leaky immigration system. We have greatly tightened our immigration system over the last 15 years. And so what is happening is, the terrorist groups are responding and they're radicalizing people here, not trying to sneak them in.
KEILAR: So those are the 90 percent of the problem, so then what do you need to do to deal with 90 percent of the problem?
PAPE: We need to recognize that nearly all of these terrorists are watching propaganda videos and either online media or another way, and that's what is radicalizing them.
So we need the blunt the videos, we need to divert from the videos, we need to respond to the videos, and we need to better understand what it is about those ISIS propaganda videos that's inspiring so many Americans to join ISIS' cause. And that's the kind of research we're doing at the Chicago Project on Security and Threats here at the University of Chicago. KEILAR: It is great research. It's needed. These are not simple
solutions, from the way you just described that. Robert Pape, thank you so much. We do appreciate you taking the time to be with us.
PAPE: Thank you.
KEILAR: During a week when Russia has been the dark cloud hanging over the Trump White House, former CIA Director David Petraeus is giving the president a silver lining.
Petraeus is backing Trump's call for strategic cooperation between the U.S. and Russia in the fight against ISIS and al Qaeda and he sat down for an exclusive interview with CNN senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen in Berlin.
Fred, you're joining me now to talk about this.
What kind of case did the general make for cooperating with Russia in the war on terror?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he said exactly that, that there could be limited areas where the U.S. and Russia could cooperate on.
And he believed that the war on terror and specifically the war against ISIS in Syria could be one of those place where the U.S. and Russia could find some sort of accommodation.
At the same time, however, Brianna, he also warned the U.S. should be very, very careful when dealing with Vladimir Putin and his government.
Here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID PETRAEUS, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: It's very clear what Vladimir Putin's objectives are. In many cases, they are unacceptable to us and NATO and our allies and partners around the world.
Having said that, there could be some convergence of interests when it comes to the defeat of the Islamic State and al Qaeda and perhaps stopping the bloodshed in Syria as an overall objective as well.
PLEITGEN: And could that be a springboard toward better relations, you think?
PETRAEUS: I again would go into this with my eyes very wide open, with a very, very realistic appraisal of what Russia has done and what Putin would like to do.
I think that strategic dialogue with one's adversary is not something that should be avoided. I think you should actually pursue it.
PLEITGEN: I wanted to get your take on General McMaster becoming the head of the national -- becoming the national security adviser.
How well do you think he's going to do in a National Security Council that obviously is a lot different than it was the past with, for instance, the presence of Steve Bannon at a lot of these meetings?
PETRAEUS: Well, first, I think that General H.R. McMaster is an extraordinarily talented individual.
I think he's brilliant in mind and also brilliant as team builder and as a leader. I think he will ensure that the Cabinet secretaries are brought into this and that the options and the recommendations provided to the president will be whole of government and thoroughly thought through.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: It was a very wide-ranging interview, Brianna, where he also touched on his criticism of the fact that the State Department might see a cut in funding, some of the things we have heard obviously from the president over the past couple of days.
By and large, however, he seemed to have quite a constructive tone towards the Trump administration. He said, look, a lot of things that we have heard from President Trump in the early days, a lot of that has already been toned down as the administration moves forward and gets also obviously some of the appointees in place as well, Brianna.
KEILAR: This week at least.
Fred Pleitgen, thank you so much. Great interview there in Berlin with General Petraeus.
A bizarre scene on Capitol Hill, to say the least, one senator literally going hunting for his own party's plan to replace Obamacare, while another lawmaker talks to a statue. We have details ahead.
Plus, new today, Vice President Mike Pence used a private e-mail account when he was governor, despite ripping Hillary Clinton over her e-mails. Her former campaign manager will join me live.
And an arrest in threats against Jewish centers in one area, why it apparently involves a romantic relationship.
KEILAR: Kentucky Senator Rand Paul wants to see the GOP Obamacare replacement bill. And he's accused fellow party members of keeping Republican lawmakers in the dark.
He took his demand public, today tweeting: "The Obamacare replacement bill remains hidden from the public. What secret location will they meet in this weekend to work on it?"
Well, he decided to find out with scavenger hunt and he had some unexpected company.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: We're going to find out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not allowed to be in this area.
PAUL: I would like to read the Obamacare bill.
This is being presented as if this were a national secret. I think there's a bill in there. It's the secret office for the secret bill.
No, we brought our own copy machine too, but we didn't get to use it.
REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD), MINORITY WHIP: I'm told that the Republicans have their ACA, Affordable Care Act, bill repeal somewhere in the Capitol. We're going to look for it.
It's not here.
Well, Mr. Lincoln, I can't find the bill. I know, Mr. Lincoln, you are as upset with your party as I am.
Thank you all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: And just in, Vice President Mike Pence promises a plan in the coming days. That is important to take note of.
CNN's "AT THIS HOUR" Kate Bolduan spoke with Senator Rand Paul.
She's joining me now.
And the senator, Kate, says his staff is still searching Capitol Hill.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, still searching Capitol Hill, actually even beyond Capitol Hill, Brianna.
He says he has his staff searching all of Washington to still find the bill. Yes, I spoke with him. Here's little bit more of it. Spoiler alert, though, it was not set to that perfect music, though, but here is what the senator had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Senator, what makes you concerned that the fix is in on this, if you will?
PAUL: Well, when we heard it was secret, we wanted to see it even more, because if something is secret, you do worry that people are hiding things.
What we think is being hidden from conservatives is that there's a lot of Obamacare-lite in their bill. There's a new entitlement program that will increase about at 5 percent a year forever. There's also a Cadillac tax or something similar to the Cadillac tax that was in Obamacare.
And there's also an individual mandate, believe it or not. Instead of may paying the mandate to the government, they're going to tell you have to pay the mandate by law to an insurance company.
So, a lot of conservatives will be upset to know that we're keeping those things from Obamacare. And there needs to be an open debate about it, so, as we speak, my staff is still going around Washington looking for the bill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: And the fact as the matter, as you well know, Brianna, is he and his staff, they don't have to look very far.
It's still being written by the relevant committees that have the jurisdiction over this bill. That's not sexy, but that's called regular order in Washington.
And I asked the senator if he had specifically spoken to House Speaker Paul Ryan to ask to see the bill. He demurred. He did not answer the question directly.
BOLDUAN: Maybe, maybe, perhaps.
But, behind the political theater, there is real concern. And he's not alone. Conservatives are concerned, from some of the leaks that they have seen and the details they have seen about it, stuff that they don't like.
And the fact of the matter, it just comes down to math. When you -- Republicans, if they're not going to get any Democrats to vote for a big replace bill like this, they're going to need conservatives, maybe not Rand Paul. Maybe he can not vote for it in the Senate. But they need them in the House. They need that House Freedom Caucus. They need the Republican Study Committee. They need those Republicans on board.
And right now, they don't seem to have it locked up. And I don't think they have won over Rand Paul yet.
KEILAR: Oh, certainly not. And maybe they never will. That's possible too.
Kate Bolduan, thank you so much. Have a wonderful weekend.
BOLDUAN: Thanks, Brianna. Thanks.
KEILAR: And, next, newly released documents show Vice President Pence discussed official state business on a personal e-mail account while he was governor of Indiana. That account was actually hacked. And moments ago, he said there's no comparison between that and Hillary Clinton's private server. i will be joined live by Clinton's former campaign manager, who says the hypocrisy is stunning.
KEILAR: Vice President Mike Pence has rejected the accusation that his use of private e-mail is comparable to Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail address and server.
He just responded to the revelation that he was using an AOL account to discuss a range of topics, some of them sensitive, while he was governor of Indiana. This was an e-mail, we should mention, that was actually hacked.
Here he was moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PENCE: There's no comparison whatever between Hillary Clinton's practice of having a private server, mishandling classified communication, destroying e-mails when they were requested by the Congress and by officials.
We have fully complied with all Indiana's laws.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Critics were quick to draw parallels to the criticism that he leveled against Hillary Clinton. Here's some of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PENCE: She had a private server that, once it was found out by the media that she had a private server, presumably to keep communications out of the reach of public accountability, she used high technology and hammers to try and keep it out of the public reach.
The FBI has reopened the investigation into Hillary Clinton's handling of classified documents on a server.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
AUDIENCE: Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up!
PENCE: It's a serious matter.
And the American people have especially had enough of the fast and loose ethics of the Clintons, haven't they? And it sounds like the Department of Justice is getting there too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Joining me now is Robby Mook. He's the former campaign manager for Hillary Clinton and someone who weathered the storm of outrage over Clinton's use of a private e-mail server.
So, Robby, I know that this must really rankle you, but when you hear the vice president say there's no comparison, what is your reaction to that?
ROBBY MOOK, FORMER HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN MANAGER: It's just not true, Brianna.
We hear those crowds that he was so eager to whip up around this issue. He was doing the same thing himself. Honestly, I think this is symbolic of what is going on with this administration at large, which is big promises to drain the swamp, bring jobs back to America.
They have only -- the swamp is getting bigger. The lies that are heaping up, certainly with the attorney general lying, committing perjury during his confirmation hearing. We now find out that Mike Pence was doing the same thing he was criticizing Hillary for.
KEILAR: Why do you think it was the same thing?
MOOK: Well, they were both using private e-mail. But...
KEILAR: But she used a private server. She deleted e-mails or her aides did or the lawyers did while she was under subpoena.
MOOK: And Mike Pence has refused to turn over some of his e-mails that he had, saying that they're too sensitive.
KEILAR: His office says they're in the process of processing that. I mean, he was hacked. I will give you that.
MOOK: And Hillary never was. And Hillary never was.
KEILAR: She had more sensitive information that she was transmitting. I mean, do you really think it was the same thing?
MOOK: It absolutely was the same thing.
But, Brianna, what is important here is not the comparison of the e- mails. They're going to do that just to try to confuse everybody. What's deeply distressing to me is that, in contrast to the fake controversy around Hillary's e-mails -- and I think Mike Pence's own behavior proved it was a fake controversy.
They will never investigate Mike Pence. What is a true controversy is that the Russian government hacked into the DNC, stole information, and strategically leaked it.
Every day almost, we're hearing about more and more meetings. We were told there were no meetings. Then there were some meetings.