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Report: Trump Hasn't Asked FBI About Wiretap Claim; Trump Meets with House Republicans on Health Bill; GOP Critics of Health Bill Speak Out. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired March 7, 2017 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:30:00] NED PRICE, QUIT CIA BECAUSE OF TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: Absolutely no truth nor could be any truth to what Donald Trump has alleged. As a post-Watergate reform the President of the United States does not have the authority to direct surveillance against any person be that an American citizen or foreign national.
DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: That is true, that is the way the law works. Do you think it is possible that the Obama administration, during the Obama administration there was a wiretap at Trump tower separate and apart from the President himself actually ordering it as Donald Trump alleged?
PRICE: We have heard from Director Clapper and Director Comey is that it is not true. But again let us just suspend belief for a moment and pretend for a moment it is. That means one of two things, the Department of Justice using information provided by the law enforcement and intelligence communities went either to a judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and made the case that President Trump or someone in his orbit is an agent of foreign power or alternatively the Department of Justice using the same information from professionals, from law enforcement or intelligence make the case that President Trump or someone in his network was engaged in criminal activity, so if President Trump believes that's the case that's essentially what he is saying and that should be concerning.
BASH: I want to switch topics to the travel ban, he revised the travel ban, from your experience as a senior director at the National Security Council are you more comfortable with what you see now?
PRICE: I have never been comfortable with this travel ban in any form or iteration. What was announced yesterday was a travel ban with cosmetic tweeks to a fundamentally bad policy. This policy does not only not make us safer it makes us less safe because it alienates the people we need to combat terrorism around the world. There's absolutely no merit to this. Refugees are already subject to the most rigorous screening, of any class of immigrants coming to the United States. On average it takes 18-24 months for a refugee, many of whom are women, children, religious minorities, and this travel ban is maybe good politics for President Trump, but not good national security policy.
BASH: I know the answer to this, but want bring it up but surprised to hear that the Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly tell Wolf Blitzer right here the department is considering separating children from their parents at the border. Do you think there's any way that's going to fly?
PRICE: It's certainly not humane and I was certainly taken back hearing that from the Department of Homeland Security but that seems to be the direction their headed.
BASH: I want to go to Republicans on Capitol Hill not happy with their own party and President's replacement of Obamacare. Take a listen.
REP. MARK MEADOWS, R-NORTH CAROLINA: It meant we need today cover the preexisting conditions making sure people didn't get kicked off their health care plan, making sure there was an adequate safety net. I can tell you those two things are still the focus of not only the House Freedom Caucus but Senator Lee, Rand Paul and Senator Ted Cruz, we're going to be talking about a number of scores in the upcoming days, CBO scores and what score that this means and what does it mean for the American people, I can tell you there's one score that the American people will pay attention to and that is does it really lower their health care costs and their premiums? That's the only score that really matters and if this doesn't do it then we need to make sure we find something that does do it and with that I'm going turn it over to the gentleman from Ohio who plans to introduce a piece of legislation that really repeals the affordable care act the gentleman From Ohio Jim Jordan.
REP. JIM JORDAN, R-OHIO: Thank you, Mark. Mark is exactly right. Our goal is to bring down the cost of insurance for middle-income families and working families across the country, we think you have to get rid of Obamacare completely. Tomorrow I will introduce the bill that every single Republican voted on 15 months ago the bill that actually repeals Obamacare.
[15:35:00] Our goal has been to repeal in one piece of legislation, replace with another, that replacement we talked about a few weeks ago is sponsored by Dr. Paul in the Senate, there are three plans, Cassidy plan, like Obamacare you can keep Obamacare, the plan brought forward which I believe when you look through it is Obamacare in a different form. Then our plan the one I think is consistent with what we told the voters what we were going to do, repeal Obamacare, replace it with market centered, doctor centered plan, and provides affordable insurance for all Americans.
Think about this we put on President Obama's desk a bill that repealed Obamacare got rid of every single tax, mandate and now the Republicans are bring forward a piece of legislation that we're going to put on a Republican President's desk that says we'll repeal it but keeps Medicaid expansion and actually expands it, keeps some of the tax increases, that's not what we promised the American people we would do. Repeal it, separate legislation to replace what we currently have with a model we think will bring down the cost of premiums for the hardworking people of this country who sent us here to do just that. Now I'll turn it over to the sponsor of the replacement plan in the Senate Dr. Rand Paul.
SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KENTUCKY: Today I will introduce a companion bill to have complete repeal. A clean repeal. We'll be doing this in if the Senate as well. In 2010 and 2016, this brings us together, complete repeal, clean repeal. As Congressman Jordan said, we voted for it and every Republican voted for it. That's what we should do again, but we are divide. We have to admit we are divided on replacement. We are united on repeal, but divided on replacement. Let's vote on what we voted on before, a clean repeal. Separate out the replacement plans, conservatives have a replacement plan, house leadership has replacement plans I'm sure Democrats would like to go and revote on aca, but the only way I think this gets done is separate the issues separate out clean repeal from replacement let's get it done, repeal items us and I think can get that done, I would like to introduce my colleague and friend senator from Utah.
SEN. MIKE LEE, R-UTAH: What's been introduced in the house in the last 24 hours is not the Obamacare replacement plan, not the Obamacare repeal plan we've been hoping for, this is instead a step in the wrong direction and as much as anything a missed opportunity. Look, we've seen what happens when Congress decide to put for forward a plan negotiated behind closed doors, it's not usually a good product and I'm not speaking about anything that's inherently Democratic or Republican, or conservative, this is a common-sense value, we need an iterative process where we start with basic grounding principals.
The two parties are in wide-spread disagreement when it comes to Obamacare, but there's one plan and only one that has passed in Republican Congress and it's this plan being introduced today. That plan passed with the support of every Republican in the house of representative and every Republican in the Senate and it did so just in the last 14 months, so I think we ought to put this forward. Ought to get it passed and let's move the ball forward in around interim process, to propose ideas that will benefit the American people. That's what we want to do and what this process, this bill, 20 15 repeal bill would do. Now my pleasure to introduce Congressman from South Carolina. Thank you.
[15:40:00] REP. MARK SANFORD, R-SOUTH CAROLINA: About a half an hour ago, maybe less than that, the white house wrapped up its daily press briefing with the press and it was instructive that Sean Spicer said repeatedly the health care bill introduced is a work in progress. It's interesting that former colleague Congressman Price, now Secretary Price, said the same thing at the beginning at the conference, It's a work in progress, we have now an opening bid and I think conservatives are saying OK, we have an opening bid, but might not we constructively look for ways of refining what's been introduced and that's ultimately what the press conference is all about. Are saying OK, we have an opening bid, but might not we constructively look for ways of refining what's been introduced and that's ultimately what the press conference is all about. Very simply asking this question, which is do we need to lower the bar in what we believe is conservative simply because a Republican is in the white house?
So the bill the senator is going to introduce, a bill that is saying wait a minute, to their point something there was unanimous accord on the house and Senate side, let's stick with that plan and not just respectively but perspectively, as well in looking forward, let's not lower what we believe or lower the bar on what we believe simply because the Republicans in the white house on new ideas, so you look at the idea of a Cadillac plan that's based in current bill being talked about I don't know is that a lowering of the bar? You look at something like the refundable tax credit, is that a lowering of the bar? It was Ronald Reagan who said that the closest thing to eternal life is a government program. Will guarantee the eternal life in government is an entitlement, and what we are talking about here is a new entitlement. So for a whole variety of different reasons this is simply about going back to things and principles that have long worked on the conservative side and things that Republicans have espoused and grabbed hold of in the last 14 months.
REP. LOUIS GOHMERT, R-TEXAS: The newest member of the Freedom Caucus. We're told we're known by our enemies and known by our friends. I'm glad to be known by this group of friends. Glad we got finally got a bill out. It's not 2500 pages, it is a starting point and some people ask what I told President Trump when he came down the aisle for the state of the union, and I said you're being told we can't do some of the things we did two years ago with Obamacare and it was true and still true. So as long as we're able the get amendments to the floor that will fix some huge problems with the bill now filed then we'll be OK, but there better not be a rule that prevents amendments that are badly needed to fix this flawed bill. That would be a major problem.
We don't need as Mark said don't need to start new entitlement programs and we certainly don't need to have the bottom line effect what Mark Meadows was talking about that prices of insurance don't go down, so there are things that have to be done, have to be included but we got a starting point and I think amidst the horse excrement we can find a pony around here somewhere and that is what we are going to be looking to have. I think we will have a racehorse, as we get good amendments when we're done.
REP. DAVE BRAT, R-VIRGINIA: It is hopeful to reflect about eight years back in how we started to do health care reform about eight years ago, the heads of insurance companies walk into the white house looking at their shoes and something was wrong there. And eight years later the head of Aetna says we're in the death spiral and so the healthcare system they arranged eight years ago obviously didn't work, central, top-down government control especially at the federal level does not work. We've seen that.
[15:45:00] And so now interestingly the press comes and says hey, the cars in the ditch, how are you guys going to fix it in two weeks? And the answer always would be we should have done free-market economics and free-market health care in the past 20, 30 years, we focused on 18 million coverage, not on the prices and now health care costs going up 25 percent. The speaker, health insurance premiums price cost going up 25 percent. The goal is to shift the cost curve down, all of you in the press can hold us accountable to that, that means not a reduction in the rate of increase, not down to 15 percent, it means costs go down by negative 1 percent and that's what the American people are dying to see.
It happens with cars, CDs, we have people sending us examples, $150,000 heart procedure here costs $15,000 in India. It would make that much easier to solve with the cost issue. Just so we have the numbers there straight, we currently have $100 trillion unfunded mandatory spending problem in this country, we promised $100 trillion to the next generation, the federal government created that problem. Now we're going to create another entitlement on top of 100 trillion, in your reporting that context is very important to lay out. One of the goals we have or at least I have is I want to push as much of this down to the state level as we can. The federal government being in charge. We have a unique capacity to print money, the states have to run a balanced budget I trust them more to be fiscally responsible. Those are some of the major ideas not tinkering around the edges, what it means to do free markets and put in the mechanisms to make sure that becomes reality. Thank you.
REP. TOM GARRETT, R-VIRGINIA: Tom Garrett. I want to thank Congressman Jordan, Senators Lee and Paul, my cohorts in the freedom caucus for having me here today. This is simply too important to rush through. The proposals that came out yesterday were shrouded in a cloak of secrecy, that denied well over half of the house, and well over half of the
senate the ability to essentially participate in the process. The debate must be had to work within the framework and vision of our founders. We know historically freer markets and I understand it's not a commodity like sneakers but freer markets lead to lower costs and we can do this without creating entitlement. About a month and a half ago I believe OxFam who research came out that indicated the eight wealthiest individuals on the planet earth controlled as much wealth as combined as the bottom 50th percentile, that is eight people plus 3.6 billion people, had as much wealth as 3.6 billion people.
Now to put the United States current debt, not unfunded liability, in perspective imagine that we can extract every dime from the entire 50th percentile and down of wealth and the eight wealthiest people on the planet, and then apply that to the United States current standing debt, not unfunded liability. What percentage of our debt do you think that would pay off? Pay off under 10 percent. We hear the use of the word unsustainable again and again and again in this town and some things really are and new entitlement programs and spending truly is and we can curve the cost curve downward and do so without further encumbering future generations and it is as simple as that. So, I have heard people characterize this as a lot people play in a lot of games of chicken. We're resolute and will stand here and do what's right not just for today but for posterity. Thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. John Parkinson -- ABC, go ahead.
JOHN PARKINSON, REPORTER, ABC: I heard you guys using the optimism that the President would negotiate with you, but today he had a tweet he termed this as a wonderful bill. Do any of you want to use that term, wonderful, and if so what parts of the bill do you think are wonderful?
JORDAN: No, but there are improvements in the legislation from the leaked draft but there was a wonderful bill that ever single Republican voted on just a few months back and tomorrow Senator Paul and myself will be introducing that same piece of legislation and that is exactly as I said earlier consistent with what we told the American people we were going to do, repeal Obamacare, how about using the bill we all supported then replace it with something we actually believe is going to lower health care cost?
[15:50:00] UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. Jordan, can you talk to Mr. Jordan and Mr. Meadows here about -- you said Mr. Meadows you met with the Vice President, he said he is open to negotiation here, the Vice President was over in the senate, he said this is the bill when I hear all of you talk it sounds like you were
trying to get somewhere where you can support a legislative product here at the end of the day. But as you just alluded to Mr. Jordan and Mr. Garrett said this, wrote this in the dead of night so on, so forth so why would you trust them?
JORDAN: Chad, of course we're trying to get somewhere to repeal Obamacare, we know what a disaster this has been for the American people, they spoke loud and clear on November 8th, but Mr. Garrett's comments were right on target, doing it right. That's why we're going to introduce our legislation tomorrow. That's why we think the two pieces of legislation that mode of getting it done is the proper way to proceed. And that is why we are introducing the bill tomorrow and why we had our bill that we introduced three weeks before.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The Vice President said this is the bill.
MEADOWS: The Vice President is an honorable man and we trust him, I think what -- there is some difference in the context of what is being said. I think the President and the Vice President is saying that the foundation there is a good foundation. We might disagree on that, however, we are committed to looking at that foundation and seeing how can modify it, how we can make sure that we look at really repealing fully and replacing the Affordable Care Act in a meaningful way that drives down premiums.
DONALD TRUMP. U.S. PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. And Mike Pence is going to be here in a few minutes. We miss Mike when he's not around.
So, I want to thank the members of the house deputy whip team. They'll be very important over the next number of months. We have a great team and we're going to have a lot of victories, a lot of wins, but we have a great team. Together we're going to do incredible things for the great citizens of our country. As I said during my joint address to Congress, I think you mostly liked that, right?
We're witnessing a renewal of the American spirit, a surge of optimism and a new national pride which is sweeping across the land. I see it. There is such spirit whether it's for the business things we're doing or whatever. It's such spirit that we haven't seen in the country in a long time. Jobs are pouring back. You saw what happened with Exxon where they just announced a massive jobs program. We're going to have some fun. Now, we have to remember Obamacare is collapsing and it's in bad shape, and we're going to take action. There is going to be no slowing down.
There is going to be no waiting and no more excuses by anybody. We're all now -- I can proudly say I'm a politician, I'm a politician, but we're going to get it done. And you're the leaders that really will get it done for all of us and for the American people. Obamacare is in very bad shape. I believe that if we wait two years it will totally implode. It's really pretty much imploding now, Steve, when you think. But it will implode and people will be like, please help us, please help us, and that will be the Democrats asking for help. They already are asking for help in the true sense of the word because it's a disaster. The insurance companies are fleeing. Some states are up over 100 percent in costs. The deductibles are through the roof. You don't even get to use it.
So, we're going to do something that's great and I'm proud to support the replacement plan released by the House of Representatives and encouraged by members of both parties. I think really that we're going to have something that's going to be much more understood and much more popular than people can even imagine. It follows the guidelines I laid out in my Congressional address, a plan that will lower costs, expand choices, increase competition, and ensure health care access for all Americans. This will be a plan where you can choose your doctor. This will be a plan where you can choose your plan. And you know what the plan is. This is the plan. And we're going to have a tremendous -- I think we're going to have a tremendous success. It's a complicated process, but actually it's very simple. It's called good health care.
[15:55:00] So, I want to thank you folks for being with us today, ladies and gentlemen, and we will do something really, really important and really good for the American people. I think it's going to go very quickly. I hope it's going to go very quickly. As you know, after that we work on the tax cut. We're going to be planning a major tax cut. I know exactly what we're looking at. Most of us know exactly the plan. It's going to put our country in great shape and we're going to reduce taxes for companies and for people, and I can use the word again, massively. It's going to be a big tax cut. The biggest since Reagan, maybe bigger than Reagan. So, I look forward -- I really look forward to working on that but we can't really get to that unfortunately because of the way your system works. We can't get to that until we take care of health care. So, we'll take care of the health care. I appreciate your great support and let's get it done. Thank you. Thank you all. Fantastic. Thank you.
REP. STEVE SCALISE, R-LA, MAJORITY WHIP: Mr. President, thank you for having our deputy whip team to the white house. And thank you for your commitment on following through on what to most Americans is probably one of the most important promises that was made not only by you, but by all of us in getting this majority both in the house and Senate and the white house, and that is rescuing the American people from the failures of Obamacare. We've heard the message for years. We've seen the dramatically skyrocketing costs. You're seeing double digit increases every year in most parts of the country in health premiums for families. Many families are seeing deductibles that rise above the $10,000 range which means people don't have access to health care. People don't have the ability to choose their own doctor. You talked about this the other night and one of the best speeches I've heard from a President standing at that well in the house chamber when you addressed the joint session and gave an inspirational speech to the country and laying out the things you're going to do to get the country back on track and create jobs and to secure America.
One of the things you talked about is how it's wrong that unelected bureaucrats in Washington tell you what you can and can't buy for your family in health care, one of the most personal decisions families make. This bill finally starts the process of not only repealing Obamacare, but also replacing with reforms that put patients back in charge of their health care decisions. That lower costs for families. Let them actually choose the decisions between them and their doctor which is so personal. And so, as we start this process, the people in this room, the chief deputy whips are the ones that are going to be working directly with members to ultimately pass this bill to your desk so that we can quickly provide that relief from Obamacare to the people of the United States. And I know we are honored to have our former house colleague and now our Vice President of the United States who has been involved in this fight from the beginning as well, Vice President Mike Pence joining us, too. Thank you, Vice-President.
TRUMP: Thank you very much, Steve. And again, we're going to work quickly. It's a great bill. We're going to have tremendous -- I really believe we're going to have tremendous support. I'm already seeing the support not only in this room, I'm seeing it from everybody. And I'm seeing it from the public. I got elected to a certain extent, I would say pretty good little chunk based on the fact repeal and replace Obamacare. And many of you people are in the same boat. Very important, so, let's get it done. Thank you all very much for being here. Thank you. Okay, thank you. Thank you.
BASH: And there you have on display the Republican divide. The President and Republican leadership trying to get through the Republican plan and before that conservatives who do not like it and we want to continue that discussion right now. With me is Peter Morici, professor of international business at the University of Maryland, David Hoppe former chief of staff to House Speaker Paul Ryan and speaker consultant at One National Health Coalition. Let me start with you, Peter. You stand on this divide where the sort of I guess fair to say more conservatives and the caucus stand. You don't like this plan.
PETER MORICI, PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: No, this is not a conservative solution. It's really not a solution at all. It's a repackaging of Obamacare. It won't lower costs. If this goes through, six months from now, 18 months from now, ordinary people making $50,000 a year will pay more out of their pockets for health care. Prices will be higher and the Republicans will be terribly embarrassed by the outcome.
BASH: Your reaction?
DAVID HOPPE FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO HOUSE SPEAKER PAUL RYAN: Well, this is a part of a process and the first step in a process. Obviously if you're using reconciliation, there are things you can do and things you can't do. But this is a start. What everybody wanted on the Republican side is to change the direction from more and more government control to a patient-doctor centered market oriented system and that's what this bill starts to do. Now, we will, as we work through it, there's going to be a process of marking up the bills in committees and then going to the budget committee. Marking it up and going to the floor and to the Senate. We have that.
BASH: It is more market oriented.
HOPPE: Yes, it is, but it doesn't do enough. And it doesn't recognize also markets aren't going to solve every problem. The President talks about interstate competition. If that would solve the problem health care prices would be lower in California and New York which are as big in some countries and near not. If they won't come to bear our health care costs are higher than in Germany where there is an insurance solution like ours, but they regulate some prices, then they cannot succeed.
BASH: And I just want to say hopefully our viewers can still hear us. We had some lighting issues here. It's not personal, peter. Go ahead and respond.
HOPPE: The One Nation Health Care Coalition is trying to work with the people and sigh here is the direction we can go. One of the things you have to look at in the market oriented side is health savings accounts. That is an issue they're starting to build up. More options, transparency, more ways to get money into a health savings account. I think it will help in the market, it may not be perfect but this is the first step in the process.
BASH: Appreciate it. That's it for us. "The Lead" with Jake Tapper --