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A Second Defeat; Left and Right Wave of Pressure; Doubling Down on Claims; A Possible Lawsuit 2.0 for Travel Ban; Battle for a Healthcare Bill. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired March 15, 2017 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[22:00:00] TOM PRICE, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF HUMAN AND HEALTH SERVICES: ... be supportive.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Dr. Price, thanks so much for joining us.
PRICE: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: I suspect this debate is only just beginning not only with your fellow republicans but democrats as well. We'll continue this conversation down the road.
BLITZER: Dr. Price, thanks very much. And be sure to watch The Messy Truth with Van Jones, and other special town hall event on this stage tomorrow night at 9 p.m. Eastern featuring Congressman Chris Collins and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
DANA BASH, CNN HOST: And we want to thank Secretary Price for joining us and thank you also to our studio audience. CNN Tonight with Don Lemon starts right now.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Wolf, Dana. Thank you very much.
The breaking news tonight on three big stories.
This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
A very bad run for President Trump. A second defeat for travel ban tonight. The federal judge in Hawaii blocking it just hours before it was supposed go into effect. His health care bill on life support. President's own party with enough votes to block the measure. And nobody but President Trump defending those infamous wiretapping claims as he insists what he calls interesting items will come out over the next two weeks.
So let's get right to CNN's Jeff Zeleny and Jessice Schneider on our breaking news tonight. Jeff, I'm going to start with you. Good evening, by the way.
The Trump administration and his priorities are under assault tonight. The president is facing a potential loss on health care, there's almost no support now for his wiretapping claims, and new tonight, a block on his second travel ban. What's the latest?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR White House CORRESPONDENT: Don, I'm here in Nashville, Tennessee, at the auditorium i downtown in Nashville. A few, an hour or so ago it's filled with people. It was campaign rally, you know, the kind of which we saw over and over again last year for Donald Trump, it swept him into the White House these soaring crowds.
Don, the only difference tonight, was that reality has hit his politics, his pledges and his rhetoric. The governing reality here. And he came out to the stage, you know, by giving a lot of the same old things he always talked about, but he was so fired up about that judge's ruling in Hawaii. He said it makes us look weak. He vowed to take it all the way to the Supreme Court. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A judge has just blocked our executive order on travel and refugees coming into our country from certain countries.
The order he blocked was a watered down version of the first order. That was also blocked by another judge. And should have never been blocked, to start with. This new order was tailored to the dictates of the ninth circuit's, in my opinion, flawed ruling. This is the opinion of many, an unprecedented judicial overreach.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: So Don, calling this a watered down version of the first ban that was also blocked, really could get him into hot water as well here. Now his legal, his Justice Department and his White House Counsel's Office still has to defend this. Now they have not yet said what they're going to do.
The president said here tonight take this all the way to the Supreme Court but we'll see what the actual strategy is.
But Don, you mentioned health care before. That was point of this rally here tonight to try and fire people up. But Don, his rhetoric was the same as it was again a year ago. Obamacare being the villain, not talking about this deep divide inside this Republican Party, that some of the most conservative house members many of whom are from red states, Trump states, if you will, that they' are not on board with this.
So, again, the realities of governing really coming headlong into his rhetoric here, Don. He'll be campaigning again on Monday in Louisville that things are starting to stack up and applause is not always turning into action.
LEMON: And the reality that his words carry weight. Stand by, Jeff. I want to bring in now Jessica. Jessica, so we just heard from President Trump, but what exactly was said in the ruling? Why did the federal judge block the president's travel ban? JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This ruling was narrowly
focused on. And it was premised on the intent of the Trump administration. Saying that there was no getting around it, the motive of this was a Muslim ban. Of course, that violates the Constitution's establishment clause.
The judge went into great details. Citing President Trump's own words on the campaign trail, quoting one of his press releases that called for, quote, "total and complete judge on Muslims entering the United States."
And even Rudy Giuliani's TV interview where he recounted how President Trump saw his counsel on the best way to legally implement a Muslim ban.
[22:05:04] Now speaking out on the ruling, the attorney general in Hawaii, he of course won this round. And he put it this way, he said, "you can't just insert a bunch of neutral language on the second go- around and pretend it didn't happen."
And you know, the judge himself was somewhat mocking in his tone. Saying that of course this was religiously motivated since all six countries on the list are 90 percent plus Muslim.
In fact, I'll read it to you directly. Judge Derrick Watson saying it in this way. he said, "The illogic of the government's contentions is palpable. The notion that one can demonstrate animus towards any group of people only by targeting all at once is fundamentally flawed."
So, of course, tonight, Judge Watson halting President Trump's travel ban. Don, the Justice Department just releasing a short statement in response saying it will continue to defend the executive order and that the executive order does fall within the president's lawful authority.
So, as we heard from the President Trump, as we're hearing from the Justice Department, they will continue to follow through and fight for this executive order. Don?
LEMON: Yes. He said I will see you in court when lost the last one. It looks like that's going to be the case. Thank you both. I appreciate it.
I want to bring in now, let's discuss this now with CNN's political -- senior political analyst Mark Preston, CNN political commentator, Jason Miller, a former Trump senior communications adviser, political commentator, Ryan Lizza, and attorney Alan Dershowitz. Alan joins us via Skype.
Good evening, Gentlemen,. Thank you so much for coming on. Boy, I mean, the news just changes every second. We're sitting in office and all of a sudden breaking news about the travel ban.
Alan, I've been seeing you discuss this. President Trump angry about this court ruling tonight. He referenced you specifically as I was watching and there's millions of other people who are watching saying that he will win in court, in the Supreme Court. Were you surprised that the second ban was blocked and will he ultimately prevail?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I'm not surprised. What the judge basically said is that nothing Trump passes will survive constitutional attack because of what he said during the campaign and what Rudy Giuliani said during the campaign.
So this raises a fundamental jurisprudential question of the Supreme Court, that it's never really decided, namely, do you look at the language of an order or do you look at the campaign rhetoric that may have led to the order being enacted.
If you take his conclusion to its logic, he's basically saying that the same order should have been enacted by President Obama would be constitutional but the very same words enacted by the Trump administration would be unconstitutional.
I don't think that will survive analysis by the United States Supreme Court. I think the judge's opinion, illogic of it was actually palpable. What he's saying is just because six of the countries have 90 percent Muslim populations, that proves that it has nothing to do with terrorism and it's Muslim ban. That's absurd.
The threat that America faces is from radical extremist Islamic terrorism.
DERSHOWITZ: And the Obama administration picked seven countries that had less than excellent vetting processes. He then decided one had appropriate vetting processes, Iraq, and so Trump took that off the list. Leaving six predominantly Muslim nations. That does not constitute and establishment of religion. That's...
LEMON: Let me -- let me put up what the judge says. Let me put up what the judge says.
LEMON: He said, the judge said, "Equally flawed is notion that the executive order cannot be found to have targeted Islam because it applies to all individuals in the six referenced countries. It is undisputed using the primary source upon which the government itself relies, that these six countries have overwhelmingly Muslim populations that range from 90.7 percent to 99.8 percent. It would therefore be paradigmatic to -- would be no paradigmatic leap to conclude that targeting these countries likewise targets Islam. Certainly it would be inappropriate to conclude as the government does that it does not."
Ryan, what's your -- Ryan, what's your reaction to that?
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it seems like Trump is being haunted by this promise he made during the campaign that he would ban all Muslims from the United States. And the federal judges that are reviewing this seem to be taking him seriously.
And as Alan pointed out, looking at and putting a great deal of weight on the -- on Trump and people around Trump's public comments about what the original intent of the order was.
Look, I'm not a legal expert. But like a lot of people who looked at the difference between the first executive order and the second executive order, it seemed like Trump cleared up the establishment clause issues by not referencing minority Christians and not giving Christians preference in any refugee or immigration programs.
[22:09:56] This court says wait a second, we see this as on the same continuum of what he tried to do or what he said he was going to do during the campaign. And that is to ban Muslims.
I -- you know, I listened very carefully to what Alan said and I take his point. That if someone who didn't have that intent or didn't make those comments had written the same order then by that logic it would be constitutional.
LIZZA: It seems like the courts are going to have to sort this out.
LEMON: OK. So let's listen to some of those comments. Because they are specifically referencing, some of the comments included in the room are made by president's senior adviser Stephen Miller after the first ban was halted. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN MILLER, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF POLICY ADVISOR: Well, one of the big differences that you're going to see in the executive order is that it's going to be responsive to the judicial ruling which didn't exist previously.
And so, these are mostly minor technical differences. Fundamentally, you're still going to have the same basic policy outcome for the country but you're going to be very responsible -- there's lot of very technical issues that were brought up by court and those will be addressed. But in terms of protecting the country, those basic policies are still going to be in effect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So that comment -- comments like that, Jason, and also comments that were made in an interview to my colleague Anderson Cooper. But I mean, these comments that were made by, Jason, were widely criticized at that time. Did the strategy backfire on the administration?
JASON MILLER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I need to go and set the record straight and stand up for Stephen a bit here. I mean, I think it's pretty clear from that interview and other interview that he has given is that he's talking about this administration standing up and keeping people safe. And when you look at the mandate that the president won by this last
year, I think this was clearly that he ran on, this was something that was discussed heavily on the campaign trail.
But what I think is interesting from this ruling that we saw, the statement that was put out by Judge Watson, you didn't her him taking issue with the legal terms of the executive order. This really sounded like he was auditioning for some sort of nanny state speech police rhetoric.
And it really sounded like someone is very bitter that democrats lost on November 8th, it really didn't seem to be speaking to what this was at all. And look, the administration feels very good that they fixed the bill -- excuse me -- fix the E.O. and tailored it so it would get by. They put it out with a 10-day notice and then for the night before, to go and have this happen, again, I think this really looks very political on its face.
LEMON: Regardless of what it is, this time I think it's the administration, the president, and his advisers being held accountable for their words, Mark.
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Right. Yes. You know, we often talk there's campaigning and then there's governing, right? And I think that anybody who is running for president has a tough transition into that role.
But I do think one of the biggest weaknesses for President Trump right now is his inability to have a governor in what he says. Now during the campaign trail he said over and over again about banning Muslims. And perhaps he meant Muslim extremists.
LEMON: The judge is saying here's how we know you mean Muslims.
PRESTON: Correct, correct.
LEMON: It's because it came out of your own.
PRESTON: And I can't get into the little part of it but I'm just saying the practicality of where words do matter. And we've seen this bleed into his administration, certainly in the first 50 or 60 days that we're into it right now.
We saw it happen this morning. When he had said just a couple of weeks ago, that President Barack Obama had tapped his phones.
LEMON: Stand by.
PRESTON: He's very explicit in saying that.
LEMON: Stand by. Let's listen to the president tonight doubling down on that tonight on Fox News. Listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I've been reading about things. I read in, I think it was January 20th, the New York Times article where they were talking about wiretapping. There was an article, I think they used that exact term. I read other things. I watched your friend Bret Baier the day previous where he was talking about certain very complex sets of things happening. And wiretapping.
I said, wait a minute. There's a lot of wiretapping being talked about. I've been seeing a lot of things. Now for the most part I'm not going to discuss it because we have it before the committee and we will be submitting things before the committee very soon that hasn't been submitted as of yet. But it's potentially a very serious situation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Again his words matter.
PRESTON: Right. And what confuses me about what he said during that interview, which he said we have some things we're going to submit before the committee. If you go back a couple of weeks when he actually said this and then the days that followed, they said we want Congress to investigate it.
When we saw today the republican chairman of the House intelligence committee, the democratic ranking member both come out, who say that they've seen no evidence. We saw Jeff Sessions today, Don, also the attorney general say that he had never briefed him on any kind of wiretapping.
Look, at this point there doesn't seem to be any evidence. We give it a little more time, we give a little more time and we will see James Comey on Monday, the FBI director testify before Congress.
LEMON: But Jay...
MILLER: I got to jump in -- I got to jump in on this one.
LEMON: It's interesting though because he's mentioned he's talking about other people's interviews. And that's not evidence of wiretapping.
MILLER: Well, I got to jump in on this one and set the record straight a bit. Because what we heard today from chairman Nunes, and I went jotted it down, he said they didn't have the evidence yet. Making it very clear that they're still waiting for more to come in from the FBI, and CIA, and NSA.
[22:15:00] He said something very interesting that I think it's important and you can't sweep under the rug. That he's very concerned about the incidental collection of Americans as it could have been unlinked. And secondly, the unmasking of American's names essentially for
political purposes. This was really serious stuff. He went on to say that he's concerned about the quote, unquote, "potential misuse of domestic surveillance."
LEMON: None of this says something...
MILLER: This is for the -- Don, the chairman...
LEMON: ... that Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. That's what his speech said.
MILLER: But the administration has already talked and they're talking about surveillance in general. But again, for the chairman of the House intelligence...
LEMON: That's not what he said. That's what it's spun into. That's what the president said. Those are the tweets he said President Obama wiretapped my, whatever he said, then he said, bad or sick guy.
MILLER: But Don, I can't let you get off the unmasking. But this unmasking is a big deal.
PRESTON: But let me just say, what he said in these tweets -- and look, we've known each other for a long time and I love you to death.
But the bottom line is, he said any good lawyer worth his salt or whatever he said could make easy case on this based upon what he has said. All I'm saying is that he's president of the United States. His words matter. And what he's finding is what he said during the campaign is now coming over into his administration and they still matter.
MILLER: Mark, here's the thing. The president he was right about the Iraq war, he was right about what was on Anthony's Wiener's laptop.
LEMON: Nothing to do with the price of tea. That's not what we're talking about. Now, Alan.
MILLER: He has called so many of these things right.
DERSHOWITZ: I think the president...
LEMON: Ryan, sorry.
PRESTON: I'm fine for the investigation to go on. Fine. And if he sees something I'm 100 percent with him. I just think that...
MILLER: I'm asking you...
PRESTON: But it's careless though. It's careless and reckless I think for the President of the United States at 6.30 on a Saturday morning just to throw out this claim about the former president. I just...
LEMON: But he did not say, he said the president was very specific in his tweet and it was very specific that it was personal. Because he said bad or sick guy. He didn't say bad or sick administration, he didn't say bad or sick FBI, he didn't say bad or sick Justice Department, bad or sick or whatever he said. He said Barack Obama, President Obama, how long is he going to tap my wires?
MILLER: I think the administration...
LEMON: That's what he said.
MILLER: I think the administration has made a...
LEMON: Well the administration has now come back, come back into try to try to fix it but that's not what the president said.
LIZZA: Jason, look, can I say...
MILLER: Yes, go ahead.
LIZZA: Jason is raising a completely legitimate, interesting, worthwhile point about whether incidental collection on American citizens when the NSA or some other agency was collecting.
LEMON: He said, he whispered it happens every now and then. But go ahead.
LIZZA: But completely and totally beside the point.
LIZZA: And has nothing to do with what the President of the United States tweeted when he said that Barack Obama tapped his wires. Then you can say he was, you know, he was being euphemistic.
LIZZA: But as Mark points out, President Trump is learning that his specific words matter.
LEMON: And my producer's specific words matter. She says I'm very much out of time. So, we're done. Thank you all. I appreciate it.
When we come right back, President Trump's health care push is on life support tonight. Will his own party bring it down?
[22:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Breaking news on the GOP bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. The chairman of the House Freedom Caucus claiming tonight that he has enough to block the group. Members of the conservative group have been vocal opponents saying the bill doesn't go far enough in getting rid of key parts of Obamacare.
Let's discuss now with CNN's chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, the co-host of tonight's town hall, and another chief here on CNN our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. We've got a lot of chiefs in here.
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN'S CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Not enough Indians.
LEMON: So, let's get, let's get the latest though on what's happening before we talk specifically about...
BASH: Sorry. I've got like a seven second delay going on, but go ahead.
LEMON: ... about the town hall here. Speaker Ryan and president -- and the president -- on President Trump's plan what's going on?
BASH: What's going on is that, I mean, you gave the headline. That the republicans -- I can't emphasize this enough, the president, the secretary for Health and Human Services, house speaker, their fellow republicans are actively working to try to get enough of their members to block this bill.
And Mark Meadows says that he thinks that they have it. So then the question is, assuming that is right, which is there's no reason to not believe him, how are they going to fix it?
BASH: How are they going to fix it to get the votes? Because it's like I'm not sure if whack-a-mole is the best analogy or goldilocks, right, but somewhere in between. Because as soon as you make changes to please the conservatives in the caucus, whether it's by, you know, changing the Medicaid expansion -- there's a delay on when that's going to be cut, make it sooner, or other means, you're going to anger and upset the moderates in the caucus.
I'm not talking about democrats right now, we're just talking about the universe of republican votes. And so, finding that balance is what the house speaker thought he had done when he put together this bill. But clearly it wasn't enough. GUPTA: Yes.
LEMON: Sanjay, let's move if we can beyond the politics because this is so politicized. And talk about doctors, medical folks, and everyday people. They have lots of concerns about this.
LEMON: I'm sure you're hearing about it. We hear about it every single night and we report it on this program.
GUPTA: Yes. Well, look, you know, it's hard to paint all the medical establishment with one brush but the American Medical Association the largest organization of doctors is not a fan of this proposed legislation.
The biggest concern obviously is that people are going to lose health care insurance. That's their biggest concern. But not just that, I think it's the people who may need that insurance the most, and that gets back to this Medicaid expansion.
If you pull that back the Medicaid expansion, you're talking about millions of people who may no longer be insured. And I think that issue alone is why, you know, these organized medical establishments are not supporting this legislation. But there's other things as well. There's a prevention fund which basically provides money to study how to prevent Alzheimer's, how to prevent pandemics, how to like make sure that you get vaccinations working. Things like that.
LEMON: Do Are you saying what do you with that?
GUPTA: Well, what I'm saying is this proposed legislation gets rid of a lot of the money that would be going towards those things. And that's another reason why, you know, the medical establishment or at least parts of it, large parts of it are not a fan of this legislation.
Just one more quick point though.
GUPTA: You know, everyone talks about the fact that look, it's 4 percent of the country who is on the exchanges. If you're not a Medicaid recipient, does this really affect you? And the answer is yes.
[22:25:05] Because no one is immune from the changes. You have protections in your health care insurance, Don, as result of this. You know, there's caps that in case you got sick would not be capped in terms of what your insurance company would provide. These types of protections are important, even if you're getting your insurance through employer. So, you know, that's a big deal.
LEMON: Before you -- I want to...
(CROSSTALK) BASH: And it affects the markets.
GUPTA: And it affects the markets.
BASH: The markets are affected even people like us who have...
LEMON: I want you to respond but I want to -- listen, I want to get to the people.
BASH: OK. Yes. Let's get to the people.
LEMON: Let's get back to the people. And some of the people you spoke to tonight. One of them specific. Let's listen and then you guys can react.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BROGAN, ADDICTION RECOVERY SPECIALIST: So Before I was recovering heroin addict on United States Marine. I'm also a person a long-term recovery, who overdosed four times before trying to take my own life. Today, I'm the chief recovery specialist for prosecutors in Ocean County and Monmouth County, Coronato and Gramiccioni.
Had it not been for these men and Governor Christie there wouldn't be -- there would be 100 more people on top of the 1600 that we lost last year to this epidemic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I spoke with Joe Manchin just yesterday to talk about the opioid addiction problem that he is facing, a lot of folks are facing that. And then just beyond that, you know, I've spoken to cancer patients who are concerned about the gap and what it means to them. These are heartbreaking stories.
GUPTA: The concern I think he was bringing up was look, there's been money for addiction centers specifically. There has been money for mental illness treatment, and his concern, this marine's concern was will that money still be there, will these types of resources still be there?
It was interesting, Dana, because you followed up and one thing that Secretary Price said was when he came to the office of secretary, his three biggest priorities were mental health, childhood obesity and drug addiction.
BASH: That's right.
GUPTA: It doesn't always jive with what we're seeing in the legislation. If those are your biggest priorities, how do you also cut the resources that provide. At least with the addiction and the mental health. BASH: Exactly. And look, his theme throughout the hour was money
doesn't fix everything.
BASH: Which is true. The right policy also helps. But it's really hard to implement the right policy without the money. Especially when you're talking about real people. Eleven million people who got health insurance through the expansion of this Medicaid program. And that's why you talked about the doctors and the medical community...
BASH: ... that are worried about that. Its republican governors and republican senators from states where they took the Medicaid money, they are extremely worried about losing this.
BASH: Now it's also because they like having federal dollars coming in but it's mostly because worried about people who have gained insurance in their states because of Obamacare, who could lose it.
LEMON: And I think the one other reasons it's getting a big pushback is because older people in rural areas, Donald Trump supporters, people who would be going to the V.A. possibly, right, vets and what have you, they would be affected by this. And that's really where the resistance is coming from on the republican side because Trump's own supporters would be affected by this most potentially.
BASH: Potentially, no question. And we heard that from an audience member who is doctor in coal country in West Virginia. And you know, the question is for those people in rural areas but specifically you mentioned that 50, age 50 to 64, we know right before Medicare kicks in, according to the CBO that scored this.
BASH: They're going to get a huge increase in costs of premiums.
LEMON: We're not to the adjustment -- I misspoke not the V.A. but this guy said he was United States Marine.
BASH: No. I get it. Yes.
GUPTA: That's right. And keep in mind though, what we heard tonight when Dana was asking Secretary Price about, doesn't exactly jive with what we heard from President Trump either.
GUPTA: Who says he will not be cutting Medicaid, he says no one will lose their insurance that this is going to be available to everybody. So that's a little bit different. Because we heard... LEMON: Yes.
GUPTA: We've seen the legislation almost a trillion dollars disappearing from Medicaid over the next several years.
LEMON: Thank you, chiefs. I appreciate it.
BASH: Thanks, Don Lemon.
LEMON: Congressional correspondent and our medical correspondent. Thank you very much.
Up next, President Trump getting pushback from members of his own party who say there's no evidence to back his wiretapping claims.
[22:30:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: President Trump's new travel ban, blocked tonight by court order. The president slamming the decision.
Here to discuss now, New York Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof. Nick, thank you so much for joining us.
NICHOLAS KRISTOF, NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST: Good to be with you.
LEMON: Deja vu, right? We're discussing this again. So, it was a federal judge it was in Hawaii blocked the president's revised travel ban tonight that was scheduled to go into effect at midnight.
Here's what the judge says in part. "Plaintiffs have met their burden of establishing a strong likelihood of success on the merits of their Establishment Clause claim, that irreparable injury is likely if the requested relief is not issued." So the travel is on hold once again.
KRISTOF: And on hold nationally. The judge kept the ban on nationally.
LEMON: Yes. A bump in the road or the end of the road?
KRISTOF: I think we really don't know. I mean, I think there's a sense among the lawyers I've spoken to that this time the travel ban is crafted more narrowly and has some chance of being upheld at end of the day but that it will be a much closer issue than the previous one was.
But it certainly not good for the White House to have this issue litigated again, have more uncertainty and to have people all over the world not knowing whether or not they can end up coming here.
LEMON: Yes, I was going to say here we are, here we are once again. Let's talk about wiretapping now, the president is changing his tack really on his unfounded wiretap claim. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The wiretapping is pretty old-fashioned stuff but that really covers surveillance and many other things and nobody ever talks about the fact that it was in quotes. But that's a very important thing. But wiretap covers a lot of different things. I think you're going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Does he know something we don't know?
KRISTOF: Well, in any day over the next two weeks he's going to provide evidence that president Obama was born abroad or that there was widespread voter fraud. I mean, you know, we've heard all of this so many times. And...
[22:34:58] LEMON: He even said no one is talking about that wiretap was in quotes. I was like, what that does mean?
KRISTOF: Yes. I mean, I think Sean Spicer earlier had a useful clarification that there was no wiretapping but might be wire wiretapping. Yes, I didn't get it either.
LEMON: All right. I mean, those are the original tweets right now. And, but clearly what they're talking about and what the president is talking about, it's not what he wrote initially. This is -- this is revisionism. They're being revisionist.
KRISTOF: yes, I mean, absolutely. I don't know how much it damages him politically in that you know from the point -- and there were some studies that during the campaign that he was uttering a falsehood by one count once a minute, other counts once every five minutes.
KRISTOF: And so, how much this matter, I don't know. I do think that, you know, if there is some foreign policy crisis, he's trying to convince the world about something happening in North Korea, then it's going to be harder to sustain the world's credibility when he has this track record.
LEMON: So, it's a rough -- I mean, you cannot dispute it is a rough patch for him. Because he's in trouble when it comes to wiretapping, he's in trouble on the ban but what about now.
KRISTOF: And health care.
LEMON: And health care as well.
KRISTOF: And health care is, well, I mean, until today, Paul Ryan was saying that it couldn't be amended. And now all of a sudden it has to be amended to pass. I think there's a lot of doubt that it is ever going to happen.
LEMON: Speaking of Paul Ryan, he spoke to my colleague Jake Tapper today. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL RYAN, UNITED STATES SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We're working hand in glove with the White House. We speak with him constantly daily. We've worked on this bill together. We jointly drafted tis legislation, House, Senate, and White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, is he saying, today he's saying I worked on this, I wrote it with the president. It's like a big all bear hug, right. Is this the only way he can get it passed? Or do you think he doesn't want to go down alone on this?
KRISTOF: I mean, I think Paul Ryan is desperately trying to hug the president on this and I think the president and the White House are trying to avoid being hugged. That Paul Ryan trying to engage in governance and the White House is trying to engage in politics.
And the politics right now don't look very good, you know, because of 24 million people losing coverage. And I think also as time goes on more and more people are focusing on the fact that at end of the day this is a huge, huge gift, $600 billion gift to the wealthiest Americans financed by cutting health care to the poorest Americans.
LEMON: So if history is teacher, right, it should be, you know, we should learn a lesson from history.
KRISTOF: Ideally it's a teacher.
LEMON: OK. So, you know, the former president went through it, former President Barack Obama. This president said who knew, you know, health care would be too hard. But then it's not so hard.
Why would they start with such a complicated issue that's really woven into the American fabric? Why wouldn't they do something else? Like infrastructure which, I mean, no one will dispute that we have a crumbling infrastructure and we need to devote more resources and money to it.
KRISTOF: I mean, there are so many occasions when I think President Trump could have productively reached out to the middle and would have benefitted him and would have gotten more accomplished. And infrastructure would have been a classic example of that. Appointing a democrat to the cabinet would have been example of that. And instead he aimed for the base in his nominations and in his...
KRISTOF: Tonight. And in his policies. And you know he had talked so much about repealing Obamacare, and so he pushed ahead with it, I think without understanding any of the policy of it. I mean, I must say I've never met a politician in my journalistic career who is as oblivious about policy details as President Trump.
LEMON: Do you think he's going to realize that preaching to the choir only get you so far in Washington and in this country?
KRISTOF: I sure hope he will.
KRISTOF: There, you know, there is mixed evidence. Sometimes he is when nominations failed, he's appointed better people the second time around. National security adviser and labor secretary come to mind. Other times he's just going right back to the base.
LEMON: Yes. Thank you, Mr. Kristof.
KRISTOF: Good to be with you.
LEMON: Always a pleasure.
KRISTOF: Thanks, Mr. Lemon.
MACDONALD: When we come right back, our question about President Trump's Russia ties creating instability around the world.
[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Here's the breaking news tonight. President Trump blasting the federal judge's ruling tonight blocking his second attempt at a travel ban.
I want to bring in CNN national security analyst, Steve Hall, retired chief of CIA Russian operations, counterterrorism analyst, Philip Mudd, a former CIA counterterrorism official, and Alexander Vershbow, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia.
Thank you so much, gentlemen. Especially Philip. I see you in the morning with Chris, and I'm like when is he going to join us, so you stayed up late you drank some coffee and we're glad you're here. So, I'm anxious to hear from all of you.
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Thank you.
LEMON: First I want to get your reaction to something the president said about the second federal court to block his travel ban. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The law and Constitution give the president the power to suspend immigration. And it was put here for the security of our country. And this goes beyond me because there will be other presidents and we need this and sometimes we need it very badly for security, security of our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So do you think, Ambassador, the travel ban makes America safer and we need it for security?
ALEXANDER VERSHBOW, FORMER UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: I've never been convinced of that. I think the way to deal with potentially dangerous immigrants or migrants is to evaluate them one by one, extreme vetting. And I hope the Trump administration will move to the end game here, which is to come up with their plans for extreme vetting and not try these sweeping approaches like the travel ban, which, as the judges seem to think is basically discriminatory.
LEMON: Steve Hall?
STEVE HALL, RETIRED CHIEF OF CIA RUSSIAN OPERATIONS: You know, the best place to fight counter -- to fight the counterterrorism fight is abroad, not in this country. And to do that from intelligence perspective, you need helpful, cooperative liaison, intelligence liaison relationships in the Muslim world.
So when your Muslim counterparts, when your CIA officer abroad trying to accomplish that mission and look across the table at you, and he's thinking I wonder if there is a Muslim ban going on in this guy's mind or from this guy's, you know, from the president, from the American president? That can have a real negative impact in making sure that cooperation is as good as it needs to be to keep these terrorists out of the United States.
LEMON: Mr. Mudd?
MUDD: Look, you accused me of having too much caffeine so let me come at you decaffeinated. This is nonsense. You cannot extreme vet hundreds of thousands of millions of people. It's not doable.
[22:44:59] I think what would be more effective is going on the back end. Once people get into this country, when I sat at the table, Don, at the FBI, the question I had was not who came in but when they got here in Los Angeles, in Chicago and New York, how quickly could we get them out once they became subjects of an investigation.
I think we have this backwards. Not who gets in but how fast can we get them out once they cause a problem.
LEMON: OK. Philip Mudd now that decaffeinated and you're ready to go I want to talk to you about the president's wiretapping accusations.
LEMON: It is been 11 days since he made this baseless accusation that President Obama wiretapped him. And still no proof. I want you to listen to what he said just a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I've been reading about things. I read in, I think it was January 20th, a New York Times article where they were talking about wiretapping. There was an article. I think they used that exact term. I read other things. I watched your friend Bret Baier the day previous where he was talking about certain very complex sets of things happening. And wiretapping.
I said wait a minute, there's a lot of wiretapping being talked about. I've been seeing a lot of things. Now for the most part I'm not going to discuss it because we have it before the committee and we will be submitting things before the committee very soon that hasn't been submitted as of yet. But it's potentially a very serious situation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Does that sound like proof to you, Philip?
MUDD: Don, is this comedy central? I'm sorry. But let me tell you what's happening here. Because I think there is a serious point that you'll see roll out in the next week or two. I'm going to speculate here.
But let's be clear. President Obama did not authorize wiretapping at Trump Tower. That's complete nonsense. I think we have a bait and switch setup here. And this is how this game is going to roll out, we're going to see people say appropriately that the American intelligence community intercepts communications of Russian officials.
We're going to see when we're listening to Russian officials, occasionally they're talking to Americans, those American might include members of the Trump team. That is standard intelligence procedure going back decades.
I think what will happen and this is the bait and switch, that what President Trump is setting up is to say, wow, in those intercepts of Russian officials my guys were on the phone that's inappropriate.
I'm here to tell you, Don, don't listen to that, That's nonsense. The president is trying to back away from this accusation that President Obama said something to set up this claim that the U.S. intelligence community is doing something wrong. It's nonsense.
LEMON: He wasn't specific about the Bret Baier interview, so I don't know what he is referring to. But this particular article is the one from the New York Times that he references here, and I have it and we'll discuss whether or not it says what he actually says it says. We'll be right back.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: So, I'm back now with my panel talking about the president infamous wiretapping claim. So, gentlemen, here it is. And so this is the article. The article is called "Intercepted Russian communications part of inquiry into Trump associates -- into Trump associates."
And if you look at this article the article is written by Michael Schmidt, Matthew Rosenberg, Adam Goldman, and Matt Apuzzo. I did a search for the word wiretaps, they were only mentioned twice. It never said anything about Trump Tower. And here's the part, they were talking about Mr. Manafort, they were talking about Carter Page, and Roger Stone, who was a longtime republican operative.
And they said in that, "The FBI is leading investigations aided by the National Security Agency, the CIA and the Treasury Department's financial crime unit -- crimes unit. The investigators have accelerated their efforts in recent weeks but have found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, the official said. One official said intelligence reports based on -- based on some of the wiretapped communications had been provided to the White House."
Meaning, the wiretap communications of Sergey Kislyak, who was the Russian ambassador. And then it only mentions wiretaps again when it talks about Jeff Sessions when it says that Carter Page was bewildered about why he might be in this.
And he said, "The lingering investigations will pose a test for Senator Sessions, republican of Alabama who has been nominated for attorney general. If Mr. Sessions is confirmed he will for a time, will be the only person in the government authorized to seek foreign intelligence wiretaps on American soil."
It never mentioned Trump Tower, it never mentioned President Obama, it didn't say that American citizens were being wiretapped, Ambassador.
VERSHBOW: Indeed. I mean, this is old news. And I think the effort to link this to the more recent allegations about wiretapping of Trump Tower just doesn't stand up. And of course we do want to get to the bottom of what kinds of contacts there were between members of the campaign and the Russians, including Russian intelligence but these are separate issues.
LEMON: Steve, how do you respond to that?
HALL: Yes, look, the stuff about wiretap -- it is about this is so complicated. The stuff about wiretapping is simply political chaff. In that article that you're just alluding to, that's the key question and the ambassador you're just referring to it as well.
What was the nature of the contact between the Trump campaign and the Russians if there was any prior to -- prior to the election. I don't have the caffeine in my system as Phil does but I'll do him one better. I agree with his -- with his theory early on in terms of -- in terms of the way this is going to go.
But you know, what really concerns me is I think Trump is actually paying for sort of a tie game here. What he's hoping is that the partisanship that we're beginning to see in some of the oversight committees when they're investigating the issue of the Russian -- the Russian part of this, you're starting to see that partisanship and he's hoping there's going to be a hung jury.
He's hoping that on the Senate oversight committee you're going to have the republicans saying one thing, yes, there's no problem. The democrats saying, well, there are questions and he is just going to say, well, look, it's a tie, so let's move on, nobody can know. And I think that's really at this point what he is playing for politically on the Russian piece. LEMON: Well, there are a number of republicans who really stopped
defending him on this and they want more of an investigation. And I also found interesting today, Philip Mudd, that the attorney general was asked about it and he had a very interesting response. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you have a chance to brief the president on investigations related to the campaigns? Or did you ever give him any reason to believe that he was wiretapped by the previous administration?
[22:55:01] JEFF SESSIONS, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: Look, answer, no. But what happened in my case was, that I was active in the campaign. I held a role in the campaign. There's a code of federal regulations rule, statute really, that says if you're involved as a Department of Justice employee in a campaign, have a role in that campaign, you cannot investigate your own campaign. Even though you may have had nothing whatsoever to do with anything improper, you should not investigate your own campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, it was quite a pause, Philip. I'm not sure if he actually answered the question. And what the kids call that is what had happened was response.
MUDD: That was what we call dancing with the stars. I mean, the man doesn't have an answer so we hide behind saying I can't talk about this.
Let me tell you what's happening inside baseball, inside government on this. Because I think for people like me this is clear. For Americans it's not. You don't wiretap buildings, Don. You don't wiretap cars. You chase people. You investigate people for wrongdoing.
I think this is why he's dancing. When you look at investigations, for example, of Russian individuals, Russian diplomats like the ambassador in Washington, the question that should be asked is as follows; are members of the Trump campaign cropping up on investigations or intercepts of Russian individuals, and are there indications those Americans did anything inappropriate.
This stuff about wiretapping buildings, wiretapping sort of Trump Tower, incorrect. Did Americans affiliated with the campaign communicated with Russian officials inappropriately? That's the question. And that's why I think the attorney general is dancing because I suspect the answer is yes.
LEMON: Thank you all. I appreciate it. We'll see back here soon.
When we come right back, President Trump's revised travel ban blocked tonight, now he's threatening to take it to the Supreme Court.