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STATE OF THE UNION

New Travel Ban Halted in Courts; Interview With Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price; Interview With Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton; Trump To GOP: Health Care Bill Up For Negotiation; Trump Stands By Unproven Wiretapping Claim. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired March 19, 2017 - 09:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[09:00:10]

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Presidential persuasion. Trump tries to make a deal on health care with reluctant Republicans.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These folks were nos, and now every single one is a yes.

TAPPER: Can the president get his own party on board? The man behind the plan, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Tom Price, will be here live.

And no joke.

TRUMP: As far as wiretapping, I guess, you know, by this past administration, at least we have something in common.

TAPPER: The FBI director heads to Congress to testify tomorrow. Will he tell them that the president's evidence-free wiretapping allegation is a lie?

Plus, travel ban battle. A judge overturns the president's do-over and uses his own words against him.

TRUMP: An unprecedented judicial overreach.

TAPPER: Will the president push his case all the way to the Supreme Court?

And the best political minds will be here with insights on what happens next.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is currently on lockdown -- well, not literally.

But Secret Service alarms at the White House have gone off twice in fewer than 24 hours. Late last night, police arrested a man who drove his car up to the White House checkpoint and claimed to have a bomb inside. Bomb technicians have so far not found a device, this just hours after another man jumped a barricade outside the White House grounds. He was apprehended by the Secret Service before he made it to the fence.

President Trump thankfully was not in any physical danger. He's currently at Mar-a-Lago this weekend, where he was spotted playing some golf and presumably gearing up for a very busy week in Washington.

He might be in some political danger, however, tomorrow, when FBI Director Comey testifies before the first public hearings on the congressional investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. election.

It's clear that the FBI director believes the president's claims of wiretapping to be false. And it is anticipated that he will state that before the whole world tomorrow.

It will be a busy week. On Tuesday, senators begin their questioning of Trump's Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch. And on Thursday, Republican leaders plan a vote on President Trump's plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

What is in this health care bill? And can it pass?

Let's talk about it with Dr. Tom Price. He's the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Dr. Price, thanks so much for joining us this morning.

TOM PRICE, U.S. HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: Thanks, Jake. Wonderful to be with you this morning.

TAPPER: So, let's talk about this promise about what President Trump said this bill would be. He seemed to have been very clear.

To "The Washington Post" in January, he said -- quote -- "We're going to have insurance for everybody."

And he told CBS the following during the campaign. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: Universal health care?

TRUMP: I am going to take care of everybody. I don't care if it costs me votes or not.

QUESTION: Who pays for it?

TRUMP: The government is going to pay for it, but we're going to save so much money on the other side.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Now, Dr. Price, I know I don't need to tell you there's no study of this bill that suggests it will provide insurance for every American.

In fact, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office -- and I know some have issues with it, but they say 24 million fewer Americans will have health insurance under the plan.

Given the fact that the president promised insurance for everyone, how do you justify to the millions of voters who believed President Trump that there would be insurance for everyone, when there clearly is not going to be?

PRICE: Well, the president is committed to that, as am I and those of us at the Department of Health and Human Services.

The fact of the matter is, this bill that is moving through Congress right now is simply the first step in this process. The three steps include not just this bill, but the administrative changes that we're able to put in place at the Department of Health and Human Services.

All those regulations and rules that were put forward by the previous administration, many harmed patients and drove up costs. We're going to look at every one of them and make certain that we have those in place that actually help patients and drive down costs, or -- and if they hurt patients and drive up costs, we're going to do away with them.

And then the third bucket, the third part of all of this are the other pieces of legislation that are moving through Congress literally as we speak. So, the plan in its entirety is the one that the president has assured the American people. Every single American will have access to affordable coverage that works for them, not for government. And that's what we have in mind.

TAPPER: Well, with all due respect, sir, there is a difference between access to insurance and insurance. And there will be, according to the CBO projection and others, millions of Americans who will not be able to afford insurance who will not have it anymore.

So, when you talk about the goal being everyone having insurance -- and President Trump was very clear that, if they couldn't afford it, the government would pay for it -- are you talking about after the three steps, or are you talking about even longer down the road?

PRICE: Well, again, remember, what the Congressional Budget Office looked at was simply this first piece of legislation, which is not the plan in its entirety.

Imagine, if you will, a system that actually drives down costs of health coverage for individuals. That's the one that we envision. Imagine, if you will, a system that actually provides patients with an array of options, something that works for them, not that the government dictates to them that they must purchase, but something that works for them, so they can see the doctor that they want to see, they can see the health care provider that they want to see, they can go to the hospital that they want to go to.

[09:05:20]

Those are the kinds of new things in a plan that we envision. And parts one, two and three will accomplish all of that. That's what the president is talking about.

TAPPER: So, just to put a button on this, you're saying that, after the third part of this has passed and the president has signed it into law and time has gone on, so that it's been implemented, every American will have insurance, there will be universal coverage?

PRICE: Every American will have access to the kind of coverage that they want.

Remember what the president talked about in his joint session? He said that we have got to make certain that those with preexisting illness and injury are covered.

We need to make certain that we provide the states the kind of flexibility that they need to fashion their Medicaid program for their vulnerable population in a way that actually works for patients, to make certain that we have tax credits for folks, so that every single American has the financial feasibility to purchase coverage, to address the purchase across state lines, to make certain that we're driving down drug costs, and to make certain that we address the lawsuit abuse that exists in our country in the area of health care that drives up the costs for so many individuals.

So, the plan in its entirety is one that we believe will be strong, will be efficient, will make it so that every single American has access to the kind of coverage that they want, not that the government forces them to buy.

TAPPER: Right, and I get the idea of access, but the president didn't say everyone would have access to insurance. He said everyone would have insurance.

One of the reasons that the CBO projects there will be so many uninsured is because this bill would end the Obamacare Medicaid expansion that provided insurance to 11 million Americans.

During his speech to the joint session of Congress, President Trump had this to say about Medicaid.

Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We should give our state governors the resources and flexibility they need with Medicaid to make sure no one is left out.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: "No one is left out."

But there are four Republican governors, as I'm sure you know, Kasich, Snyder, Sandoval, and Hutchinson, that say that this bill does not live up to the principles enumerated by President Trump.

They wrote to the Republican congressional leaders, saying -- quote -- "The current version of the House bill does not meet this test. It provides almost new flexibility -- no new flexibility for states, does not ensure the resources necessary to make sure no one is left out, and shifts significant new costs to states."

So, Mr. Secretary, these are Republican governors that are objecting to your plan, saying that you're going to be leaving people out. It's not just a question of access. A lot of Americans are going to be left behind because the Medicaid expansion will be ended, and there are fewer resources that will go their way.

What is your message to these Republican governors?

PRICE: Well, I hate to sound like a broken record, but what they are looking at is not the plan. What they are looking at is this first piece of legislation.

And, as you and they know, you can't put the kind of flexibility that's necessary for them to be able to fashion their program for their vulnerable population in the way that they see fit in the first piece of legislation, which is why it's this three-phase or three-part or three-legs-of-a-stool plan.

And we have talked to -- I have talked to countless governors, including the four that signed that letter, and -- and talked about the kind of flexibility that they want and they desire to make certain that they are able to put in place a plan that cares for their vulnerable population.

They are incredibly supportive of the kinds of things that we're talking about in that administrative phase and in the third phase, where we actually are able to get to some of the insurance reforms that you can't get to because of the rules of the Senate in the first.

At the end of the day, this isn't about just the process that we go through here in Washington. This is about whether or not the American people are going to get the health care that they need. Right now, many of them have health coverage. They have got an insurance card, but they aren't getting the care that they need because of the premiums that are increased, because the deductibles are up that they can't afford.

We've got a third of the counties in this nation that have only one -- one insurance provider on the exchange. Five states only have one insurance provider. That's not a program that's working for the American people. May work for government, may work for insurance, but it doesn't work for people.

And that's what our goal is, is to put in a place a system that actually works for the American people.

TAPPER: But one of the things that critics are saying, including Republican critics, is that, first of all, premiums are going to go down for younger Americans, yes, under your plan, but they are going to go up significantly for Americans between the ages of 50 and 64.

And that might price some of them out of the market. And they are not going to get the same kind of compensation from the government in terms of the refundable tax credits that they were getting from the Obamacare stipends that they were being given.

And then, in terms of the Medicaid expansion, these governors are saying you're going to be taking away the money that we need for this Medicaid expansion.

So, when you say that more Americans are going to have access to health insurance, that's not going to mean much to these people who can't afford it.

[09:10:02]

PRICE: This is really an important point, because we -- we need to stop in Washington measuring the success of programs by how much money we're putting into it.

Imagine a Medicaid system that actually works better for patients, provides higher services for patients, is more tailored to the patients that are actually using it, and costs less.

That's the kind of system that we envision, because it's actually possible if you put in place the kind of flexibilities and improvements in a program, again, that allows states to determine how best to care for that vulnerable population.

This is really an important point, because this isn't -- this isn't just this first piece of legislation. If you look at the plan in its entirety, it's one that will work better for states, better for patients, better for the doctors trying to provide the care.

There are a lot of physicians out there and a lot of other providers that have looked at the current system and said, I can't care for my patients in the way that we believe to be most appropriate because of the rules and regulations and because of the stipulations and because of the cost that has been injected into the program.

So imagine, if you will, a system that actually puts patients at the center of it, as opposed to insurance companies or the government. That's a system that we believe we can put in place, one that will work, a transition over a period of time to make sure that nobody falls through the cracks.

That's the kind of plan that we believe will work for the American people.

TAPPER: Well, it sounds utopian, but I have to say, you criticized the Medicaid program because one in three doctors don't take Medicaid patients.

And then you talk about -- but the reason that they don't, according to experts, is because the reimbursement rate is so low. I don't know how you're going to improve Medicaid if you're taking money away from Medicaid.

The problem is that doctors are not getting paid enough, and you're saying, OK, but we're going to do better with less money. And I don't know an economist who thinks that's going to work.

PRICE: Every time you peel back that onion a little bit, you drill down, and you look at it specifically, you can see where there are wonderful opportunities for improvement in the system.

The Medicaid program actually covers four different groups in our population, seniors, disabled, healthy moms and kids. And yet what the federal government says to the states is, you must treat those healthy moms and kids, you must have a plan for those healthy moms and kids that's exactly the same as the seniors and the disabled.

That doesn't make sense to anybody who is looking at this, not just to health care economists or individuals who are experts on financing and delivery of health care, but the common American ordinary people say, well, that doesn't make any sense, if you're caring for moms and kids in the same way you're caring for disabled and the aged.

So, think about, imagine a system, if you will, that actually responds to the needs of those healthy moms and kids in a much more flexible and responsive manner. You can save huge amounts of money, so that you have got greater resources to care for those who are aged and disabled.

TAPPER: Dr. Tom Price, we appreciate your time today. Thank you so much.

PRICE: Thanks, Jake.

TAPPER: Coming up: The White House doubling down on President Trump's claim that President Obama had him wiretapped. Will the FBI director tell Congress tomorrow that's just not true?

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:16:52]

TAPPER: Welcome back.

Tomorrow marks the first day of public hearings into whether President Trump or any of his associates had any inappropriate contacts with Russians, especially those known to U.S. intelligence during the campaign.

The House Intelligence Committee, at President Trump's request, is also looking into his evidence-free and apparently just plain false claim that President Obama wiretapped him at Trump Tower during the campaign.

FBI Director Comey will have to respond to that allegation when he testifies tomorrow. Let's talk about all this and more with Senator Tom Cotton. He's a

Republican of Arkansas who joins me now live from Jerusalem, where he's on a fact-finding mission with other members of Congress.

Senator Cotton, I'm sure you must be -- you must be very jet-lagged. Thanks so much for joining us.

SEN. TOM COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: Good morning, Jake. Greetings from the Holy Land.

TAPPER: I appreciate it.

So, FBI Director Comey scheduled to testify tomorrow before the House Intelligence Committee. Lawmakers have asked him to clear up this wild allegation by President Trump that former President Obama wiretapped him at Trump Tower before the election.

You're on the Senate Intelligence Committee. If Comey testifies that there's no evidence wiretapping, do you think President Trump needs to apologize to the public and to President Obama, so that this whole episode can be put behind him?

COTTON: Jake, we will see what Director Comey testifies about tomorrow.

I have been on this trip since Thursday night, but I do understand that documents were also delivered to the committee on Friday by the Department of Justice and the FBI.

Like the House committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee will review the specific claim. But I do think it's important that we look at the broader context here. As you said, the House committee hearing tomorrow is going to be in part about the unsubstantiated allegations in the media and by some Democrats of collusion between Trump associates and Russian intelligence.

And we have two very high-ranking Obama administration intelligence officers who have disputed that claim. First, Jim Clapper, the director of national intelligence under Barack Obama, a couple weeks ago said that he had seen no evidence of such collusion.

And then, just this past week, Michael Morell, who was the acting director of the CIA and who endorsed Hillary Clinton, said that there's no fire here at all, not a campfire, not a candle, not even a little spark of any kind of collusion.

I think, ultimately, that matters more to most Americans, given the nature of the allegations that have been made in the past several months about Donald Trump and his campaign and some of his associates.

TAPPER: Well, I don't know exactly to whom you're referring in terms of accusations of collusion, but, certainly, if anybody who got that wrong should correct the record if there's no evidence at end of the investigation to suggest it.

But what I was asking you about was the evidence-free allegation made by President Trump specifically that President Obama had him wiretapped at Trump Tower.

Just as a matter of record, you're on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Do you know of any evidence to support that allegation?

COTTON: Jake, not that I have seen and not that I'm aware of.

But, as with all the other claims related to this matter, the Senate Intelligence Committee will be taking them seriously and approaching it in a deliberative fashion to review not only documents from the past year, but also taking testimony of several witnesses.

The House Intelligence Committee is holding an open hearing tomorrow. They're -- the Senate Intelligence Committee will be following in that path a little bit later this month. We have been looking into Russia's activities now for quite some time.

[09:20:03]

We have also had hearings on some of the allegations that have been made publicly. We will continue to do so. And I hope that we can make as many of our findings public as possible.

TAPPER: Let's turn to Obamacare.

You have been very critical of the bill supported by our previous guest, Dr. Price, President Trump, House Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare. You have warned that this bill could put the House Republican majority at risk.

One major concern about the plan is the way it might impact lower- income Americans. You come from Arkansas, which is one of the poorest states in the country. If you were designing the plan on your own, would you get rid of the Medicaid expansion that brought coverage to 250,000 people in your state?

COTTON: Jake, first, let me say I served with Tom Price in the House of Representatives and consider him a good friend.

He had legislation as a congressman that I think is a lot better than the House bill currently under consideration. The Medicaid expansion, I think, needs to be part of Medicaid transformation. And that's what the House bill moves toward.

It can be improved to some degree, but it's about a 70 percent or 80 percent solution, Jake. The bigger problem with this legislation is on the private insurance market. I simply think that it's not going to work to bring down premiums for working Arkansans and working Americans all across the country.

It's fixable, but it's going to take a lot of work. And we need to roll up our sleeves and focus on fixing those problems, rather than trying to rush to some arbitrary deadline.

TAPPER: So, I understand that you think Medicaid transformation needs to take place, but your governor just wrote a letter to the Senate majority leader and the House speaker, Governor Hutchinson, saying that this House bill, the Obamacare replacement that Trump -- President Trump and Dr. Price are pushing, doesn't provide enough flexibility to governors and also doesn't provide enough resources.

In short, they are saying this -- by removing the Medicaid expansion that happened during Obamacare, that helped provide health insurance to 250,000 Arkansans, this replacement is going to take it away.

Does that concern you?

COTTON: Well, Jake, first -- first, I agree that the legislation could provide more flexibility, more discretion to governors and legislatures. It also ought to include tougher provisions on accountability.

But, second, there is an interaction between the Medicaid parts of this bill and the private market parts of this bill. Medicaid is a welfare program. It's primarily designed for the indigent elderly, the disabled, the blind and children. It's not designed for able- bodied adults.

We want to get those people off of Medicaid into a job and into market-based insurance. That's one reason why I worry that the private market provisions of this bill aren't adequate to bring down premiums, because, ultimately, in Arkansas, for instance, tens of thousand of people leave Medicaid every year.

I want to make sure that the market insurance system is working for them, so they can afford health insurance and get off of Medicaid.

TAPPER: "The Washington Post" reported this week that the U.S. military is likely to send up to 1,000 more U.S. troops into Northern Syria in the coming weeks as part of the fight against ISIS.

You are a veteran and have served on the Armed Services Committee. Do you support sending these additional troops?

COTTON: Jake, I will review what Secretary Mattis and General Votel of Central Command recommend, as I'm sure President Trump is doing so.

I don't think we ought to set arbitrary troop caps. That's what Barack Obama did for eight years in Iraq and in Afghanistan. We ought to look at our mission and the strategy necessary and the types of troops necessary to accomplish that mission.

I will say that, on this trip to Lebanon and Jordan and now in Israel, one consistent thing I have heard is the threat that Iran poses. As I have often said, the answer to most questions in the Middle East is Iran. And without Iran and Hezbollah and their activities in Syria, it's a big question whether or not the Islamic State would have risen to the power that they have now.

So, we have -- we have to ultimately destroy the Islamic State. But, if we don't roll back Iran's gains throughout the region, we're not going to have stability, and we're not going to defend U.S. interests to the degree that we should.

TAPPER: I want to the ask you about the scandal involving the sharing of sexually explicit images of Marines by Marines.

Some of the people whose photos have been shared are complaining that the Pentagon is not moving quickly enough to investigate this matter, that they don't take the basic charge of sexual harassment, sexual assault against women soldiers, women Marines seriously enough.

As a veteran, as a member of the Armed Services Committee, do you agree with that concern?

COTTON: Well, this behavior by Marines and, likely, when the investigation expands, by troops from the other services is extremely disappointing.

You don't need to have the law read to you, you don't need a regulation or a policy stated to you as a young man or woman in our armed services to know that this kind of behavior is unacceptable. We

had testimony earlier this week from the commandant of the Marine Corps and the sergeant major of the Marine Corps. I can tell you, they take it with extreme seriousness, and they are moving forward as quickly as they can with the investigation.

[09:25:01]

These allegations -- or this information just recently came to light, so the investigation is still in its early stages. I'm confident they are going to hold every Marine accountable and that the service chiefs of the other three services, if such behavior occurred in their services as well, will do the exact same thing, because we have a zero tolerance policy for this kind of behavior in our armed forces.

And every soldier, sailor, Marine and airman knows better, whether or not they had a lawyer reading the law to them or not.

TAPPER: Just to clarify, do you know that there are other instances of not just Marines, but sailors, soldiers, et cetera, doing this, or you're just supposing that it probably is true?

COTTON: I do not, Jake, but, based on the testimony we heard earlier this week, and the briefings we have received, we think that it's at least a possibility.

Again, they're still very -- in the very early stages. It's unclear, for instance, how many of these -- the members of this message board were still on active duty of the Reserves vs. has retired and were claiming to still be in the Marine Corps.

That's why I say it's in the early stages. We will follow the facts where they take us. But even one person participating in this kind of activity is too much. And any young man or woman in our armed forces knows better than this. I can tell you that from firsthand experience.

TAPPER: Senator Cotton, thank you so much. Good luck over there. Safe travels.

COTTON: Thanks, Jake.

TAPPER: Coming up: President Trump hits the road to sell his Obamacare -- Obamacare alternative, but can the deal-maker get this one done?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The bill that I will ultimately sign, and that will be a bill where everybody is going to get into the room and we're going to get it done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:30:56]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Counties that voting for you -- middle-class and working-class counties would do far less well under this bill?

TRUMP: A lot of things aren't consistent but these are going to be negotiated. We will take care of our people or I'm not signing it, OK, just so you understand.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Possibly mixed messages from President Trump he says he's 100 percent behind the bill but also it's up for negotiation and maybe he won't sign it.

Could it be that his heart is not in the fight? Let's talk to our panel about all this. We have with us CNN political commentator Bakari Sellers, Republican Congressman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, former White House Communications Director Jen Psaki, and Jim DeMint President of the Heritage Foundation.

Thanks so much everyone for being here. And welcome, this is your first appearance here and yours as well.

JEN PSAKI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Thank you.

TAPPER: How to interpret what President Trump just said in that clip with Tucker Carlson with what Tom Price said earlier in this show? He's saying -- President Trump granting the point that his voters will do worse under this bill and Tom Price obviously selling rainbows and sunshine.

JIM DEMINT, PRESIDENT, THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION: The president is definitely in this. I know Marsha has been at the White House and I have, too. He's very engaged, very open to improve the bill but he is very supportive of the idea of getting this repeal through.

The first part of every conversation you have with him is how destructive Obamacare has been to our health care system, so he's ready to listen to improvements. Everything we've talked about. I think Marsha and Chairman Walker got some improvements last week, but he's very supportive of getting this bill through.

TAPPER: What do you think, Jen, when you watch the president talked compared to what Dr. Price just said?

PSAKI: Well, he didn't really have a choice when he came in. you know, he had to satisfy the ask of the Republican base to try to push for this.

TAPPER: The repeal?

PSAKI: The repeal.

TAPPER: Yes.

PSAKI: Now the question becomes as he looks in the detail, as many in the public are looking at of what the alternatives are and what it would mean in terms of taking health care away from people, poor people, people who really need help. Is this something he's really going to stand behind and we haven't really seen -- I wouldn't say confidently that he's going to do that, because Obamacare has become more popular. It's something that people -- it's health care in America today. It shouldn't be a partisan issue and it that's how you're seeing it play out in a lot of states across the country.

TAPPER: So, Congressman, let me ask you because one of the things that you have always told us about -- that you like about President Trump and clearly enough Americans agree is that you know where he stands on issues. You know how he feels about issues. He says what he says.

Listen to President Trump talking about whether or not health care should have been his first priority. This is just from the other day in your home state of Tennessee.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Finally I want to get to taxes. I want to cut the hell out of taxes, but -- but before I can do that, I would have loved to have put it first, I'll be honest.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: He would have loved to have put it first.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: He would love to be debating tax reform right now and not health care reform.

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R), TENNESSEE: Yes, but, you know, you take the thing that was promised and it was to repeal Obamacare and clean this situation up. The market is imploding. It is not sustainable. We have one-third of the counties in this country with one provider, another third with only two providers and so, Jake, you have to do it. It's a have lift? Yes. Do you need to sometimes hit the bad news and the heavy lift first? Think so, and --

TAPPER: (INAUDIBLE) question.

BLACKBURN: Sure.

TAPPER: Why is this (INAUDIBLE) Republicans say this, that the market is imploding and it's not sustainable? But according to the CBO and according to Standard & Poor's it's not true.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I can tell you why they say that.

TAPPER: We'll do you after her.

BLACKBURN: Yes. And you can look at the escalation and the rates. You can look at the mandated benefits, what it is causing and you can look at who is going in and providing health care.

I've met with my insurance companies. What do they say? This insurance marketplace in the individual market when you have a third of the counties in the country with only one provider willing to offer the product that is there, that is a problem.

[09:35:05]

Now the goal is to have everyone with access to affordable health care. The president understands that. You can go back to the Blaire House health care summit, February 25th, 2010. We laid out a private sector approach. The Democrats laid out a government approach. We tried theirs. It didn't work. Let's do something differently.

SELLER: To answer your question directly, the reason that Republican leadership and the reason that the president of the United States are parroting this talking point that Obamacare is in a death spiral is simply because an insurance CEO, the CEO of Aetna, said this -- by the way he made $17 million and the sweetener that Congressman Blackburn and the Republicans and GOP leadership have put in for health care CEOs where they can deduct income over $500,000 means that they're going to be able to parrot more of these talking points.

The fact is that the Obamacare premium --

BLACKBURN: That's not right, Bakari.

SELLERS: The Obamacare premium increases -- the Obamacare premium increases that we see, we know they need to be fixed. Any Democrat will tell you that, but it affects three percent of the population.

The fact is Congressman Blackburn, her Republican colleagues led by Paul Ryan have put out a bill which is going to hurt the low income, the disabled, women who are bearing children -- 24 million people are going to be kicked off of health insurance. If you go --

BLACKBURN: That is incorrect.

SELLERS: Well, I'm just quoting the CBO.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Twenty-four million -- some of the 24 million will choose to not have health insurance (INAUDIBLE).

(CROSSTALK)

BLACKBURN: Allowing some people to have some freedom and some choice and what we know is Obamacare with the mandates has not worked. It has driven the price of health care insurance up.

SELLERS: So explain -- explain to me this.

You say the mandate, but explain to me this because you eliminate -- you eliminate the tax. However, individuals who choose not to get insurance, they then have to pay a 30 percent deductible for the next increase in their deductible for the next two years so although it's not a tax to the government, the people that win in this are insurance companies.

BLACKBURN: What you have to look at is what is happening right now in this marketplace --

SELLERS: People have insurance right now.

BLACKBURN: Bakari, they cannot afford to use it and that's as false hope. That's the biggest complaint we get in our office.

The insurance is so expensive they can't afford it without a subsidy. Out of the 9 million people that are in the marketplace, only 2 million buy it without a subsidy, and then it is -- it just breaks my heart to hear from people they cannot afford it because their deductibles are $6,000, $10,000, $12,000.

TAPPER: We'll take a quick commercial but I want to ask you prediction for Thursday. Is this going to pass?

DEMINT: Not without improvements.

TAPPER: Not without improvements.

All right. We're going to take a very quick break. We're going to come back. Don't go anywhere.

Coming up, the movement truth, the FBI director will testify before Congress tomorrow. Will he dispute the president's wiretapping claim? That story next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:41:53] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: As far as wiretapping, I guess by, you know, this past administration, at least we have something in common perhaps.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: President Trump saying he might have some common ground with German Chancellor Angela Merkel because he, too, was wiretapped by President Obama. That, of course, is an accusation contradicted now by every major intelligence leader in the government.

Merkel apparently seemed unamused by President Trump's remarks although it's tough to tell. She generally has a poker face but she was actually surveilled by the NSA during the Obama administration. Maybe that's what her expression was about. The panel is back with me.

Jen, you were the former communications director for President Obama. I don't know if you've spoken with him recently, but I know that there is no credible source that says that this allegation is true. How is President Obama taking this?

PSAKI: You know, I worked for him for 10 years, and he has dealt with a lot worse than some unhinged tweets on a Saturday morning, so I think he's like many people where he's looking at this situation thinking, what is this about?

Now we're starting to reach a phase where the credibility of the president of the United States regardless of your political background is starting to be questioned and he's put that the in place himself. So I expect tomorrow when Comey testifies this will be put to rest.

I don't think President Obama is waiting for an apology. We can stop talking about that, but there are some questions here about what President Trump is doing to his own credibility around the world, and that's a real problem for our national security and for our position around the world.

TAPPER: Congressman, let me ask you because I think you and I agree that it would be great if we didn't have the tweets and we didn't have these conspiracy theories and we could just talk about policy, Obamacare replacements, et cetera, more and more.

BLACKBURN: Right.

TAPPER: Do you ever get up and say, please stop? Do you ever say that to yourself?

(LAUGHTER)

BLACKBURN: There are times that I think this is not something I would have done.

TAPPER: I'll take that as a yes.

(LAUGHTER)

BLACKBURN: And, you know, sometimes I -- I'm one of those and maybe it's the southern in me, Bakari, I just say sometimes the less said the better.

SELLERS: Bless his heart.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: And you're somebody who -- you left the Senate to go in -- to focus even more on policy.

DEMINT: Right.

TAPPER: At the Heritage Foundation and I'm sure you would love to be only talking about policy this morning, but now I'm asking you about this apparently false conspiracy theory that President Trump put out there.

Does this bother you as a conservative voice in Washington, D.C. that wants to talk about the issues, the things that President Trump can theoretically actually do for the American people?

DEMINT: Well, obviously we don't like distractions because there's a lot of things we can do to get Americans back to work and get our economy going, deal with our debt and that is going to involve a lot of activity in Congress.

I just see this as something that Congress is going to look into. I don't have access to the classified data. I don't know what President Trump has seen, so hopefully we can just keep this on the side, keep Congress working on it, get Obamacare repealed, get some tax reform and tax cuts going and get some of the regulations off the back of business. That's what the president is here for. That's what we work on.

[09:45:01]

SELLERS: The biggest problem with this is that the president of the United States lied, and -- and, you know, we can beat around the bush and call whatever we want to call it but the president of the United States lied to the American public, and even more troubling than that, we found out that not only does he just get his news from FOX but he actually gets his foreign intelligence from FOX. And that's even more troublesome.

BLACKBURN: Well, I think you're pushing a little too far there.

SELLERS: This is what he stated though. I mean, I'm not making this up. I mean, we can go back and as they say, roll the tape.

This is not the first time -- this is not --

BLACKBURN: Let's let the intel committee -- we don't know. We -- let's let the intel committee do their work and find out what the entire process is with Russia, with all of this, with the tapping of other people --

SELLERS: Was -- but the question is simply was Barack -- did the president -- did the 44th president of the United States wiretap Donald Trump, yes or no?

BLACKBURN: Let's -- let's let had the intel committee do their job and then let them opine on it and then be able to --

SELLERS: The fact --

DEMINT: I will say this, Bakari.

BLACKBURN: People want to have --

(CROSSTALK)

DEMINT: This president -- President Obama politicized every agency. Nothing would surprise me so I'm going to withhold judgment. Let the Congress --

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: You think the president --

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: It wouldn't surprise you if President Obama committed an impeachable offense?

DEMINT: If I -- once I've seen what he's done around the world through our state department, what he's done with his agencies to push a political agenda, Jake, there's not much that would surprise me.

PSAKI: I mean, I have to say, with all due respect that politicizing agencies is exactly what President Trump is doing which is questioning what the Department of Justice has done, which is exactly what he's doing in this case. He questioned the intelligence community. And the root of what they have found over --

DEMINT: Jen, no one has politicized justice more than President Obama.

PSAKI: Let me finish -- over the course of time I realize that's a Republican talking point, but I don't think that's what we're seeing happening --

BLACKBURN: It's not a talking point.

PSAKI: What we've seen happen over the course of the last few years.

BLACKBURN: It is not a talking point.

SELLERS: The problem, Jen, what we're seeing is we have Republican leaders here -- we have Republican leaders at this table that refuse to call Donald Trump's lie had a lie. This isn't the first time. Donald Trump came out said three --

BLACKBURN: Let's let the intel committee do their work.

SELLERS: He 3 to 5 million of people voted illegally. They did not.

BLACKBURN: And then something was said improperly. Then he apologized for that...

SELLERS: Director Comey comes --

BLACKBURN: ... and you move on.

(CROSSTALK)

PSAKI: It's more than an apology though. It's about our position in the world.

(CROSSTALK)

DEMINT: Jake, this is a huge distraction. We need to get on with the business of the country here.

BLACKBURN: Yes, that's exactly right. People want to see delivery. The deliverables are getting Obamacare off the book, reforming the tax code, securing this nation, looking at retirement.

TAPPER: I get that, but who -- but it's President Trump that is...

SELLERS: Doing this.

TAPPER: ... doing this. I mean, he talked about it on Friday in front of Angela Merkel.

BLACKBURN: And the American people would like to see Congress and the White House, the administration, working together to address the issues that focus on them. And --

SELLERS: They would also like a president to tell the truth. He and the White House.

TAPPER: All right. Guys, we'll continue this in the green room.

BLACKBURN: They would like for everyone --

(CROSSTLAK)

TAPPER: It sounds like it's going to -- it sounds like --

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Thanks one and all for being here. Really, really appreciate it.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: Coming up after the break, is president Trump embroiled in a rap beef? It's this week's "State of the Cartoonion" -- next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:52:40]

TAPPER: Welcome back.

President Trump has hip hop roots that trace all the way back to the 1980s when the Beastie Boys gave him shout outs. Since then he has gotten dozens of mentions but artists such as Ice Cube, P. Diddy. But the rapper whom President Trump once called a great guy and a really good friend has recently started a beef with President Trump -- Snoop Dogg -- busting like a bubble. Trump and Long Beach together now you know you're in trouble for this week's "State of Cartoonion."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER (voice-over): This week President Trump was attacked by a dog but not an actual dog. It was rapper Snoop Dogg.

The hip hop star released a controversial video in which he fires a fake gun at a clown named Ronald Klump who resembles President Donald Trump. The president fired back at Snoop via Twitter saying that the rapper's career is failing and saying there's a double standard. Of course in terms of that double standards rocker Ted Nugent said plenty of violent and racist things about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and he did appear at a campaign rally with Mr. Trump.

TED NUGENT, MUSICIAN: A Chicago communist raised subhuman mongrel gangster Barack Hussein Obama.

TAPPER: But that said Snoop Dogg is known for hard core rap lyrics. And some saying his new video went too far. That includes Senator Marco Rubio whom President Trump once mocked mercilessly.

TRUMP: Little Marco, little Marco.

TAPPER: And Senator Ted Cruz whom Trump nicknamed --

TRUMP: "Lyin' Ted."

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Snoop shouldn't have done that. I'm not sure what Snoop was thinking.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: I think it really is in poor taste to be making fun of murdering someone and in particular assassinating the president.

TAPPER: The falling out is odd. Not long ago the real estate mogul and the rapper appeared to be friends. Trump on "Larry King Show" praised Snoop.

LARRY KING, HOST, LARRY KING LIVE: I regard him as a caring, compassionate loving guy.

TRUMP: Yes. He's a cool guy. I agree with you 100 percent. TAPPER: And in 2011 Snoop dropped zingers at Comedy Central's Celebrity Roasts of the president.

SNOOP DOGG, RAPPER: Donald's saying he wants to run for president and move into the White House. Why not? It wouldn't be the first time you've pushed a black family out of their home. On the real though, Donald, you know I've got love for you man.

[09:55:02]

TAPPER: But now Snoop is this Trump's dog house. So we don't think the president will be inviting him to the White House to sip on gin and juice any time soon -- fo-shizzle.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER: Thanks for spending your Sunday morning with us. You can catch us here every Sunday and weekdays on "THE LEAD" at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. You can go to CNN.com/SOTU -- STATE OF THE UNION for extras from the show.

I'm Jake Tapper in Washington.

"FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" is next.

Have a great day.