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President Trump using the power of the oval office to push the Obamacare replacement bill; Heidi Cruz had dinner tonight with the first lady and with the President at the White House; Still no evidence from the White House of wiretapping by former President Obama; Aired 11:00-12:00mn ET
Aired March 8, 2017 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:21] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: President Trump using the power of the oval office to push the Obamacare replacement bill.
This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
But will it work?
Opposition is fierce especially from conservative Republicans on Capitol Hill. And tonight, we will also hear from a woman who has relied on Medicaid and feels on GOP plan is an attack on low income Americans. Does the President's plan hurt the President's base? We will discuss that.
Also, vice President Mike Pence dodging a question tonight about President Trump's accusations that former President Obama wire attempted phones of candidate Trump at Trump tower.
I want to begin this hour with CNN senior political analyst Mr. David Gergen, political commentator Alice Stewart, a Republican strategist, political commentator Ryan Lizza, Washington correspondent for "the New Yorker" and political commentator, David Swerdlick, assistant editor at the "Washington Post."
Good evening. So glad to have you all on. You get the honors to be first tonight, Ryan. So thank you again for joining us.
CNN's Jim Acosta reporting tonight that at the President's meeting with tea party groups, that he told Republicans skeptical of his plan, that if it fails, he is going to let Obamacare fail and then put the blame on the Democrats. So what kind of strategy is that just 24 hours after this plan rolled out?
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It is pretty ominous sign for the legislation if he is already thinking through the strategy he is going to pursue if it is defeated, right?
Also, by the time it is defeated and in the event that there is some kind of collapse in Obamacare, a very risky strategy and Barack Obama is not around anymore. Trump is President. Trump runs the federal government. Obamacare is the federal government responsibility so on two fronts, it seems like not the wisest strategy in the world. You would think in a meeting like that, he is focused on one thing, trying convince those conservative skeptics of why they should support this plan when most of the right leaning groups have come out strongly against this. So I would chalk that reporting up as another indicator that this legislation has had a terrible rollout this week and is already on life support.
LEMON: So it is not just the Republican that's are against it, David Gergen. The new Republican bill is causing an uproar in Washington as well with the American medical association, with 235,000 members of the AARP. Every major hospital group has come out against this plan. Republicans had nearly eight years to come out with a plan. So why roll out with a disaster like this?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't know. We asked the same question on the executive order on travel. Didn't we?
GERGEN: I can't emphasize enough, Don, seven Presidents have tried to reform health care system. I worked for two of them when they were trying to do it, one a Republican, Richard Nixon, the second a Democrat, Bill Clinton. It is very hard work and the only way you can get it done is carefully, deliberately, understanding this is over 15 percent of our economy we are talking about reshaping. And - but you have to do to go out and work all these groups, you have to work with the hospitals, you have to work for the doctors, as well as the insurance companies and they haven't done their homework. And now they are trying to push through a bill in the house without telling the American people. Without themselves even knowing how much it is going to cost and how many people are going to lose their insurance.
LEMON: Were they overconfident? Do you think they thought that just Republicans who just fall in line?
GERGEN: No. I think they are playing politics. I think that they felt if we come up with the bill, we have the President, we have the White House. For the first time in a lifetime, we have the opportunity to do this. Let's just ram it on through the house then we will take our chances in the Senate. It is just a terrible way to run the government.
LEMON: That's a good question for Alice.
Alice, do you think that they are overplaying their hand or they were too confident? Because, you know, he said it is a lot of our budget, where a lot of our economy that we are talking about here. Maybe he was thinking that he could do it because he has the house, he has got the Senate and he has got the White House.
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, he also has to have the bottom line covered. And until we have this plan scored by the congressional budget office, it is really premature to even understand how this will affect the budget.
And look. I'm going to be optimistic here and like to think that this will be Donald Trump's greatest display of executing the art deal that he has ever had. Because it will take some great deal making in order for this to work out with the skeptical conservatives and those that support this bill. There's a lot of distance between these two sides. And there is going to have to be some give and take. And so, in order for this to be successful, there has to be some tough negotiating, there has going to be some arm twisting, but it is critical. Because all of these Republican that's ran on repealing and replacing Obamacare, they are going to be up for reelection, the members of Congress. And if this is not successful, there are going to pay a serious consequences when they are up for reelection.
[23:05:09] LEMON: But it is also, David, with what I find interesting now is because they are going home and they are facing these town halls. And a lot of people on those town halls don't want, if it is repealed. And some of them don't want repeal and replace. But if it is, they want to keep many of the same things that are in the current affordable care act or the current Obamacare. And I have to say both because some people think that they are two different things.
I spoke with Representative Mark Sanford just a short time ago. He said they are worried about caps. That's what is in Obamacare. They are worried about 26 - staying on the 26 years old. That's on the Obamacare. And they are worried about preexisting conditions. That's already in Obamacare. The expansion of Medicaid, already in Obamacare. So what are they are damned if they do, damned if they don't. David, what happened?
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, Don. Who knew that health care could be this complicated?
LEMON: He said that. The president that.
SWERDLICK: Yes, right. Listen. Yes, Republicans are in this sort of jam right now because as you just laid out there, there are parts of Obamacare that are popular with most segments of the population and they want to figure out how to keep those without getting rid of the parts like the individual mandate and some of the other less popular features over Obamacare that people don't like. But all those things were put together in this very admittedly complicated bill from September 2009 when the bill was introduced, to February or excuse me March of 2010 when the bill was signed. There was this long pitched battle. And it seems in a way like the Trump team has sort of forgotten how much went into that.
In your last hour, I heard Bill Kristol talking about how, you know, President Trump would do well to sort of roll this out more methodically. Not try and get it done in a week. Not try to jam it through the house. And I think that is right. So much went into this before. Whether people like the bill or not, you can't say that the Obama administration didn't, you know, give a full force effort to getting it passed. And it is not clear that Trump is prepared to do that.
LEMON: It is interesting that no one wants their name on this, right. And it is surprising that Donald Trump, President Trump doesn't want his name on it? He wants his name on everything. And we have he to keep in mind, it was initially called the affordable care act or the ACA. And Republicans dubbed it Obamacare sort of, you know, make it, to slander the bill, right? To make it an insult.
So Kellyanne Conway was asked in an interview on Fox this morning, if the new bill would be called Trumpcare. This is her response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: Call it Trumpcare if you want to. But I didn't hear President Trump say to any of us, hey, I want my name on it. We are happy it is American health care. This is serious stuff. This isn't about branding according to someone's name. This is serious business.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: David, he doesn't want to own this. And he said if this phase, he is going to let it play itself out so that Democrats can own it.
GERGEN: That's one of the most surprising things I have heard from an American President in a long, long time. He cannot let this current system collapse without replacing with it with something. You have 20 million people who are joined up in the system. And it would be, you know, cast into uncertainty.
Your responsibility is to the people. It is not to the politics. And what they have to do is they are trying to get this passed in a political way without having a deliberative conversation with the American people about, here is what we're proposing. Here is how much it will cost. Here's how it will affect you personally. So the current people have some reinsurance. You don't have people living in uncertainty and fearful.
LEMON: Yes. And we been having them on. We are going to continue to have them on until this is hashed out.
Ryan, let's - can we turn the page? I want to talk about Russia now.
At the same time this is happening, the White House is fighting another war, the investigations into the Russian ties. Today, four senators went to CIA headquarters to pour over raw intelligence and now the pro-goal (ph) include the wiretap allegations. What happens if they find President made a false claim with no proof?
LIZZA: I think you have some senators up there, especially Lindsay Graham who has taken President's offer very seriously. His offer that the Congress should investigate his claim that there has been no substantiation of yet. And I think it will be reported by some of the responsible senators up there who are serious about looking into this stuff. And they want to get to the bottom of it. They want to know if the President lied to the American people or not with one of the most - one of the gravest accusations you could possibly level at another President that he illegally conducted surveillance against a major Presidential candidate. There's nothing more serious than that. And I don't think we in the media and I don't think Congress should
give up until we have a definitive answer about whether the President of the United States lied about that or not. This can't be something that just gets swept under the rug and goes away. That would be bad for our democracy.
LEMON: Alice, I have to ask you, and I know you will be honest with me. Do you think the President will come to regret that accusation?
[23:10:06] STEWART: I think you have to be careful what you wish for because you might get it. And he is going to have an investigation into this.
And look, I would like to think that there are no connections between the campaign and Russia. I would like to think that there is a lot of what we are hearing just doesn't play out. But it looks as though there might be some there, there. And when we are hearing from some of these members of Congress that have seen some classified information, there seems to be some indication that there might be something there.
So it remains to be seen. I want to -- like the Trump administration wants, let's get a full investigation. Let's get all the facts and then let's see how things plays out. I do think it is extremely concerning to level such a claim against President Obama without having the exact information and all the data that you need to back that up. So I would like to think that is not true. But if he is going to say something like that, it needs to hold water.
LEMON: I think that thing that we should all keep in mind here is that there is a very easy way to figure all this out without a long drawn investigation, without costing taxpayers a whole lot of money.
LIZZA: Make phone call.
LEMON: Just make a phone call.
LEMON: It is so simple. And I think that says everything. So anyway.
One more (INAUDIBLE) to get and I want to talk about the border crossings because another of the President's major promises was to build a wall. Tonight, the department of homeland security says there is an unprecedented, unprecedented, that's their word, decline in illegal border crossings, down 40 percent so far in 2017.
So David, is there any justification left to spend a massive amount of money on that? We could be spending it on health care. David?
SWERDLICK: Well, from the point of view of Trump supporters, there is. This was one of the core promises of President Trump when he was campaigning. Trump supporters still like the idea of a wall or cracking down on border enforcement. But from the point of view, let's say protecting American jobs or interdicting drugs or, you know, national security, I think the Trump administration has a ways to go before they can say to the American people, look. If we put $20 billion or more into the wall, this is what you are going to get out of it.
You know, there are people that disagree with that. But the administration has sort of gotten this far on this idea that the wall is going to be the difference between safety and security and not. And they really haven't quite gone out there and made that case.
LEMON: The other David.
GERGEN: I think you have to give some credit for the Trump administration. It is a number of illegals coming in across the border, gone down 40 percent.
LEMON: Right. Exactly.
GERGEN: Yes. We may not need a wall. But the other things, get credit for it.
LEMON: Yes. And I have to start naming my Davids when I have two of them. So (INAUDIBLE). I don't want to call you the other David.
LIZZA: But, look. You know, Don, there are some campaign promises you can kind of fudge. But there is going to be a wall in 2020 when he runs or not, right? And he is going to be able to point to it or he is not. So he has got to build it.
LEMON: Thank you, all. Up next, guess who came to dinner at the White House tonight. And on International women's day, President Trump tweets that he has tremendous respect for women but he is getting some flak for that. We will talk about it next.
[23:17:25] LEMON: They were bitter rivals on the campaign trail but it looks likes President Trump and Senator Ted Cruz have buried the hatchet.
And I want to talk about this with research psychologist Peggy Drexler, Sally Kohn, economist from "the Daily Beast," Tara Setmayer, former communications director for Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher, and Betsy McCaughey, the former Republican lieutenant governor of New York. Good to have you all here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. Nice to see you.
LEMON: Happy women's day for all of you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Happy international women's day.
LEMON: So I have a panel full of ladies. So we can talk about these issues. So Tara, let's talk about Heidi Cruz had dinner tonight with the first
lady and with the President at the White House. Do you remember when President Trump tweeted this out? There is unflattering picture of Heidi Cruz during the campaign, the words, no need to spill the beans. The images are worth a thousand words.
Now, he said he was upset because he thought Ted Cruz was running a campaign of, you know, the nude photo shoot of Melania and then he lashed out. Of course, you know, Ted Cruz (INAUDIBLE) and he responded. He called the president a coward. There are dinner tonight at the White House. What do you think they are all thinking? What do you think it went down?
TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I hope there were some apologies at that point. Because I remember, it was about a year ago when that all happened and people were aghast that the President of someone that was running for the presidency would be so vicious and immature and tweet something like that out about a rival's wife. I mean, it was just really very, very sixth grade. And yet, Ted Cruz seemed to put all that aside for political reasons. And I like Ted Cruz and I agree with him on a lot of policy issues on most of them. But I just couldn't believe how he was willing to cast aside all these things that Donald Trump said about, not only his wife, which was terribly sexist. But his father in the Kennedy assassination and those implications, just flat out lying. And he lied at that point about accusing Ted Cruz' campaign of putting that information out. There was no evidence of that whatsoever.
But let me just say one thing. It was a tactic. It was something that we should have known was coming again because he lost by a significant number -- that's OK. He lost --.
LEMON: No, that's OK.
SETMAYER: Donald Trump lost by a significant number in Utah the night before when that tweet came out. So he did not like that the fact that got by him in Utah like 68 percent. So then he did this to distract. And then what happened, we didn't talk about that. We talked about what his actions are. And that's what matters.
BETSY MCCAUGHEY, FORMER REPUBLICAN LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK: What I see happening with all due respect, that once the campaign is over, it is really the job of everyone in America to help the President succeed. When you see the President having a meeting today with Elijah Cummings who has been very critical of him.
We were having lunch yesterday with Lindsey Graham who has raked hill over the calls again and again. Dinner with Ted Cruz. The fact is now his job is to govern and the job. And it is the job of everyone around him, but particularly people in politics, to reach across the aisle, or forget the grudges and do their best to make it work.
[23:20:31] LEMON: So, it is -- OK. I understand what you are saying.
LEMON: But does that mean going to the White House and being in the company of the person who insulted your wife, that mean helping --- he never said anything disparaging as far as I know about Elijah Cummings' wife. He never said anything disparaging about anybody else.
MCCAUGHEY: He is unqualified to be President.
SALLY KOHN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's not disparaging. That's true.
Listen. There is two things going on here. First of all, I did once upon a time before 2016 think that the Republicans were the supposed party of consistent high moral standards. At least, that's how they sold themselves. So that seems to be out the window.
And the other thing is I think we should go back to the pattern that my friend Tara so rightly pointed out which is distraction, distraction, distraction. This is the Trump playbook. He doesn't want us talking about his ludicrous, insulting, ridiculous allegations that Obama wiretapped him. He doesn't want us talking about the Russia connections, the ongoing revolutions of Russia connections between his campaign and --
LEMON: And Senator Ted Cruz.
KOHN: Yes. Senator Ted and Heidi. Let's destruct and all. It works because you were all doing it. I mean, come on!
MCCAUGHEY: He has legislation to sell. And Ted Cruz is one of the major conservatives in the Senate. And it is very important that he brings as many of those people to his side as possible.
LEMON: So Peggy, help me understand this. Eventually in the "New York Times," the President sort of apologized. He said yes, it was a mistake. If I had to do it over, I wouldn't have sent it. So, I mean, is this only in politics that this works? How does this works?
PEGGY DREXLER, RESEARCH PSYCHOLOGIST: I think it only works with Donald Trump. I think he is the most outrageous person we have seen. Certainly the most outrageous President. And I think people get a kick out of him. He is good entertainment. And so I think whatever -- and I think people are critical of other people. And so, he might say what other people are thinking.
LEMON: How can one be that forgiving? There is, you know, compared his wife and did unflattering and then you are sitting there in the White House. How does one, as his psychologist, how does one become that forgiving?
DREXLER: Who knows if he is forgiving? He could be just tolerating it because it is in his own self-interests.
SETMAYER: That's exactly what is going on here. Ted Cruz is a politician like everyone else which is why he gave that press conference where I was cheering him on toward the end of the campaign where he just unleashed on Donald Trump and called it as he saw it. And then a couple, you know, days later, weeks later, you know.
LEMON: Baby, look at him now.
SETMAYER: Well, we have to work together because, you know, it was about self-reservation and Ted Cruz is going to get primary so he needs to get on board.
LEMON: And we'll be right back.
[23:27:30] LEMON: All right. So we are back now with my panel of ladies on international day of the women. Women's day.
KOHN: You know what? You can call it whatever you want.
MCCAUGHEY: It is actually international women's day for you. That was the original title in 1917.
LEMON: And you are all here working.
DREXLER: We are having fun.
LEMON: I was going to say something.
SETMAYER: You're working women.
LEMON: I know.
KOHN: It's going downhill fast.
LEMON: The President tweeted this, Sally, said, I have tremendous respect for weapon and the many roles they serve that are vital to the fabric of our society and our economy on international women's day. Join me in honoring the critical role of women here in America and around the world.
KOHN: Yes! I feel critical. I feel extra critical. In fact, thanks to Donald Trump, I feel more critical than ever. I mean, he is right. We play a critical role in this country and more and more of us are standing up to criticize him and the ways in which he is rolling back and representing a roll back. And not only women's rights but in fairness, equality, tolerance, inclusion, the ideas that have helped women in our society advance and everyone in our society advance. He is exactly right. We are more critical than ever.
DREXLER: The problem is though he has pitted women against women. And I think that's a real problem at this point. I think that women's day, many women have felt left out. They feel, I can't leave my job. They feel this is elitist. And those are the women that identify with Trump. And I think women have to, you know, be outraged but also, outreach. We have to bring all women into this. Otherwise, I don't think it is going to work.
LEMON: Hold on. Hold on, Betsy. His comments, you know, because it was on twitter. The twitter verse blew up and the internet blew up because a lot of people were quick to remember all of these comments.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will go backstage before a show and everyone is getting dressed and ready and everything else. And you know, no men are anywhere. And I'm allowed to go in and I'm the owner of the pageant and therefore I'm inspecting it. You know, I'm inspecting it. I want ti make sure that everything is good.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have called women you don't like fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals. Your twitter account --
TRUMP: Only Rosie O'Donnell.
She gets out and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions. And you know, you can and see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever.
If Hillary Clinton were a man, I don't think she would get five percent of the vote. The only thing she has got going is the women vote.
I'm standing at my podium and she walks in front of me. Right? She walks in front of me, you know. And when she walked in front of me, believe me, I wasn't impressed.
[23:30:16] HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Contribution will go you, as will Donald's, assuming he can't figure out how to get out of it. But what we want to do is to replenish --.
TRUMP: Such a nasty woman.
CLINTON: -- trust fund.
TRUMP: Wait a minute. I did try (bleep). She was married.
Nancy? And I moved on her very heavily. I took her out furniture shopping. She wanted get some furniture. I said I'll show you where they have nice furniture. I moved on her like a (bleep). I couldn't get there and she was married. And all of the sudden I see her. She has now got the big phony tits and everything. She's totally changed her looks. I better use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her. You know, I'm automatically attracted to beautiful. I just start kissing them. It is like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the (bleep). You can do anything.
LEMON: Tara? SETMAYER: You know, listening to that reminds me of how dismayed I
became throughout this campaign watching fellow conservative women, evangelicals, Christian women, people in my party who claim to be as Sally mentioned before, the moral majority. We were supposed to be the standard bearers of decency, right. And they excused this away. And I -- it makes my stomach turn to know that the, that person was rewarded with the presidency of the United States. And we really need to take a look at ourselves, women of every single one of women like you who supported Donald Trump. They need to really think about what standards are they setting moving forward? Who our leaders are supposed to be? Who are supposed to be the role models for our daughters and how do you square that? Because I don't know how we put the genie back in the bottle. But that is just so --.
MCCAUGHEY: I have three daughters is that two granddaughters. And let's face it, I have been a woman all my life. But I still support Donald Trump because I wasn't going to make the decision just based on political correctness.
SETMAYER: (INAUDIBLE) doesn't matter.
MCCAUGHEY: Policies matter. I was not going on vote for that criminal, Hillary Clinton. It was a choice between two people.
KOHN: Because he engaged in criminal sexual activities.
MCCAUGHEY: About Russia, about sexism. You are missing the big story.
SETMAYER: So if it was a Democrat --
MCCAUGHEY: There was a deregulation revolution going on in Washington. No, no. Let me explain. As a woman, the economy is the most important issue for me. I have three children --
LEMON: OK, fine. I understand that.
KOHN: We can walk and chew gum at the same time.
LEMON: But you said something that was very important.
MCCAUGHEY: I'm sorry. The other candidate was going to destroy our country.
LEMON: You said you weren't going to vote for that criminal. What was the evidence? Hillary Clinton has never been convicted of anything. There is also evidence that Donald Trump may have --
MCCAUGHEY: I drew the conclusion based on what the evidence we had on how she exploited her role in the Senate, bringing in money, selling influence, I was not going to allow that woman as far as I could --
LEMON: Women who have broad cases against Donald Trump.
SETMAYER: I'm sorry.
MCCAUGHEY: I did not think that was as important as what Hillary Clinton --. And furthermore I believe Donald Trump is going to bring this country, restore economic growth in this country. And that will mean real opportunity for my children.
KOHN: Good luck with that. But listen. I sat --
MCCAUGHEY: Take a look at the markets. Over 21,000.
KOHN: Betsy, I sat on this network time and time again along with you and criticized Hillary Clinton when she deserved criticism. It was wrong of her to have the private email server. It is wrong and I say it and I can say it and still support her. And if you here today with three daughters can tell me --
MCCAUGHEY: I have two granddaughter.
KOHN: Tell me and my daughter that I don't care, how you support his policies, good for you. That is your right. But that is not acceptable. And you know what? The one thing I will say is I suppose in some perverse twisted sense of the word, we have Donald Trump to thank for reminding women why we need feminism, why we still needed it today, why we still need to be fighting for being equally respected (INAUDIBLE) when the President can't even do it.
DREXLER: No. I think that it is very sad that Hillary was blamed for Bill's fault. She was blamed for these emails, when in fact she was convicted of nothing. I think that women don't like other women and if they are above them. I think that in fact women feel very threatened by successful women. And I think, you know, there's a piece called the queen bee that I wrote about women who are in business. Who suddenly put other women down. There's no finger prints. They can't get -- there's nothing to prove. They can't to go HR. And yet, there's a constant way of making a woman feel that she is not good enough.
MCCAUGHEY: I would be delighted to vote for a woman for President. I hope I get to do that in my life.
DREXLER: For the sake of the country --
SETMAYER: Maybe vote for someone who has no respect for women.
MCCAUGHEY: Because I believe in his policies, not Hillary Clinton. He is going to be a great President.
LEMON: Who me?
[23:39:34] LEMON: Still no evidence from the White House of wiretapping by former President Obama.
I want to bring in former CIA analyst, Nada Bakos, a senior fellow at the national security foreign policy research institute. She joins us via Skype. And also Liz Wiehl is here, freelance journalist and Russian media expert.
So good to have both of you back on this evening.
Nada, I'm going to start with you. I want to you listen to vice President Pence talking about whether he believes President Trump's wiretapping claims.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[23:40:01] MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, what I can say is that the President, our administration, are very confident that the congressional committee in the house and Senate that are examining issues surrounding the last election, the run up to the last election, will do that in a thorough and equitable way. They will look at those issues. They will look at other issues that have been raised. But rest assured, our focus is right where the American people are focused. And that's on bringing more jobs here to Ohio. Creating a better health care system built on consumer choice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So Nada, I mean, that was a total and complete dodge if anyone has ever seen one. But the vice President can't exactly come out and say, I have no idea what this guy is talking about. He is really out in left field. He can't do that, can he?
NADA BAKOS, FORMER CIA ANALYST: Well, I think it would not be good for our country if the vice President also continued that tact. I think at this point the vice President is going to have to remain much more Presidential. He doesn't really have a choice at this point.
Liz, there's obviously so many unanswered questions about this. About many aspects of this investigation into Russia. You say that President Trump's approach to the truth could not be better, that it could be a better situation for Russia because they have been attempting to disrupt American values for years. Explain that to us.
LIZ WIEHL, FREELANCE JOURNALIST, RUSSIAN MEDIA EXPERT: Sure, yes. I mean, there's something that Russia watchers call the divide and rule principle. So basically, is to exploit existing divisions and make it so the population just attacks each other. And so that kind of makes it so the spotlight is off you and what you are doing.
The way that I see it, the lens that I see it through, which I think it is very troubling is that I do see the parallels in the way that Trump -- the way that he views reality. And the way that he dismisses reality and tries to shape reality. And the total dismissal of facts. I mean, this is something that happens in authoritarian regimes. To have lack - to try to, you know, engender this lack of trust in the media. And here where it gets more troubling is not only encouraging the lack of trust in the media and U.S. institution but also in our own intelligence agencies.
DREXLER: So the question is, though, it seems like from what you're saying is that, I mean, they have already won. I mean, what is it that did turn up? This investigation would turn up, further bad actions on the part of Russia? Would there be any consequences besides sanctions that we have been placing on them? Or have they already won?
WIEHL: Well, I think that if their goal has been to create chaos and to sow division and to undermine our institution and Democratic values, in that indication case, they have won. I mean, you know, I have seen the way that Russia has tried to manipulate, you know, existing grievances and existing problems in our society. And I don't think that there could be honestly a better mouthpiece or a better propaganda piece than the President himself.
For years, it has been the Russians trying to create this lack of trust in our system. And they are not only doing it here now. They have moved on to France and to the Netherlands and popping up extremists, you know, the alt right parties there. So it is a strategy. And we see, this is what - and I think that we need to focus on it. We can't lose sight of what the story is. And the story is that according to our intelligence community, Russia hacked our election and, you know, interfered in our electoral democratic process and also to investigate these ties to Russia. So these completely bogus baseless claims are just completely meant to deflect and what I describe the way that Russian disinformation works. I say deny, deflect and distort.
LEMON: Yes. I want to get Nada back in here. Because Senator Mark Warner says that he has even more questions after pouring over classified intelligence at the CIA. He told that to our Manu Raju today. But he would not say if evidence shows Trump's camp colluded with the Russians. What do you make of it?
BAKOS: I think that there is probably in this point enough collection that they, at least, need to do an investigation. It sounds like there's enough for Congress to dig through. It sounds like an independent investigation would be warranted at this point.
Listen. For the last 16 years, the U.S. administration's both under President Bush and President Obama, made an attempt to become an ally with Russia and get to know Putin and they both regretted it. And Putin is Putin. He is a spy, first and foremost. He will take advantage of the relationship. He will steal your wallet as soon as you turn your back. He is not somebody that is going to be somebody they will trust and aligned with. So Trump isn't the first President to try this. It is just that he is different in the fact that we aren't seeing (INAUDIBLE). We aren't seeing seasoned professionals understand how Russia plays the espionage case.
[23:45:05] LEMON: So Lindsey Graham, Nada, has says that he is ready to subpoena the intelligence agencies for evidence. Do you think that's a smart move?
BAKOS: I think at this point it needs to be in the hands of DOJ and an independent investigator. I'm not sure if subpoenaing at this point, it really is the right move, but I think we do need some kind of forth right investigation. And I'm hoping if they do the subpoena, we can at least have some kind of unclassified executive summary that will tell us what the findings are.
LEMON: Thank you Liz. Thank you, Nada. Appreciate it.
Coming up, the real life impact of Obamacare and its potential repeal. Voters are concerned and letting their voices be heard.
[23:49:53] LEMON: Many American who is rely on Obamacare are expressing concern about the GOP plan to repeal and replace it. Joining me via Skype is Jessi Bohon who participated in a recent Tennessee town hall about Obamacare.
Jessi, thank you for joining us.
[23:50:08] JESSI BOHON, TOWN HALL ATTENDEE: Thank you for having me.
LEMON: You confronted Representative Diane Black at a town hall a few weeks ago. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOHON: My whole philosophy in life is pull up the unfortunate, OK. So the individual mandate, that's what it does. The healthy people pull up this. If we take those people and we put them in high risk insurance polls, they are costlier and there is less coverage for me. That's the way it has been in the past and that's the way it will be again. So we are effectively punishing our sickest people. And I want to know why not instead of fix what's wrong with Obamacare make companies like Aetna (INAUDIBLE) who lied to consumers and lied about why they pulled out and said they pulled out because Obamacare was too expensive but they really pulled out because of a merger. Why don't we expand Medicaid and have everybody have the insurance?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So Jessi, what do you think about this new bill? By the way, it's being scorned by many medical groups along with liberals and many conservatives. What do you think?
BOHON: Well, I mean, I'm shocked. I think that this bill takes away the right to health and dignity for poor people, for older people, for people with disability and for children. It takes away their right to health and dignity in order to (INAUDIBLE) of health insurance executive who already make millions of dollars.
LEMON: What do you think of the role that government is providing and government should provide people health care?
BOHON: Well, I think the government is charged with ensuring justice. And I think that when people have to live in abject conditions in the richest country in the world, then that is an injustice that has to be correct and I think it's the government's responsibility to do that.
LEMON: You know, I thought about your remarks at the town hall last night while I was interviewing two people who both say Obamacare saved their lives. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF JEANS, CANCER SURVIVOR: I'm really disappointed that the new takes more about profits and tax cuts more than it does about patient protections and expanding health care coverage for every American.
KATI MCFARLAND, TOWN HALL ATTENDEE: My biggest concern is that it just -- it's so hard to put into words and it seems like punishment for the marginalized among us. You know, when we are already reduced to extremely high premiums, we are reduced to crowd funding, the surcharge, the penalty. It tells Americans that our lawmakers don't care about the marginalized among us. It tells us that they want - they don't care if we live or die because it is going to make that much more of a financial and a psychological burden and being poor and anxious. It is bad enough when you are healthy. But when you are interactively ill, it's worse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Jessi, what's your reaction?
BOHON: Yes, I mean, I totally agree with that. This feels like an attack on poor people. And you know, so many people have reached out to me since that video of mine went viral. And they all say the same thing. They are all so worried. And you know, people be diabetes were worried about their influence, prices going up, older people worry that they are just going to have to give up on having care. Small business owners are worried that they are going to have to shut down shock so they can buy health insurance. Mothers are worried about their children if the state slices medicate. You know, I had a lady write me today who has a genetic disorder and she is worried that she is going to be denied surgeries that are going to keep her alive and she has passed on this genetic disorder unwillingly or unknowingly to her children. And she is worried that they are going to be denied services when the state slashed medicate. And that's a real thing that is happening right now. Children with long-term disabilities are not getting the care. They are not getting the surgeries and we are not getting the medicine that they need.
LEMON: You live in Tennessee where a lot of insurers pulled out of the Obamacare market place. The argument that the President and Paul Ryan, the house speaker, of making is that Obamacare is in collapse. Is that what you see in your state?
BOHON: Well, you know, there are places in Tennessee where as it stands right now there will be zero insurers on the exchange. And that's a good part and because my state actively sabotaged the ACA here. You know, people had -- there were advocates who had to sue for the right to even talk to people about Obamacare and a big part of the ACA was attracting young and healthy people to the exchanges. In my state they had to sue to even talk to people about it and then they didn't -- people bought transitional health plans and they refused to move those people who bought transitional health plans before the ACA was implemented into the ACA market place and also they refused to expand medicate. And I think states like mine, in Tennessee, on average have their insurance market places are made up of 40 percent of people who would have been covered under the Medicaid expansion.
LEMON: You have called and you said that you feel like this plan is a personal attack. And we thank you so much for joining us, Jessi Bohon. Best of luck to you. We will check back with you, OK.
LEMON: That is it for us tonight. Thank you so much for watching us. I will see you back here tomorrow.
Our coverage continue with John Vause and Aisha Sesay in Los Angeles.