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Supreme Court Fight; Bill O'Reilly Facing New Sexual Harassment Allegations; Trump Son-in-Law in Iraq. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired April 3, 2017 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We've seen that in the past and I understand that. But we've now gone from --
-- the devolution of agreeing that there are certain people that a president has the right, as long as they're qualified, right -- we've seen that in the past. John Roberts I think got 78 votes.
SPICER: But when you see that go in one direction versus now that there's now literally going to be the first filibuster in modern times on a qualified judge that's going to end up going on the court. We have really come a long way.
And I think Democrats are setting a very dangerous precedent when it comes to how they want to do this, because this isn't about voting against somebody or having an issue with them. It is literally trying to stop -- using the filibuster for something that it was never intended for. Nor has it ever really been the principle that we would vote down somebody who was qualified.
QUESTION: Thanks, Sean.
What is President Trump doing behind the scenes to make sure that his pick for the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch, ultimately is confirmed by the Senate? And what message does he have for Democrats on Capitol Hill who say they're going to filibuster?
SPICER: Well, I mean, if you look at I think it's four Democrats that are now supporting -- saying that they're going to vote against the filibuster, I think we feel good about that level of support.
We -- we've, I think, done a very good job of making sure that we have the Republican majority support that we need to pass it. It is now an internal question for senators to determine how they want to do it.
But make no mistake, and I believe Leader McConnell when he says on Friday Judge Gorsuch will be voted as the next Supreme Court justice.
QUESTION: Can you take me through what Friday looks like for the president? Obviously a major meeting with the president of China. But his eyes are going to be here on Washington.
Is he going to be making phone calls Thursday night trying to...
SPICER: Well, I think he's going to be -- we look forward to heading down to Florida Thursday to engage in some bilateral and bilateral plus -- I mean, meetings with the president and his team from China. Obviously that will continue into Friday morning. But we'll see how Friday evolves. But again, I'm not -- I don't think there's any question right now, according to Leader McConnell and others, that we're going to have an associate justice of Supreme Court ready to go. It's a question of how it happens.
QUESTION: A couple questions about the check presentation earlier in the briefing.
You mentioned that he was in fact giving the money to the Park Service (inaudible) counsel. Is that -- is there an issue with him making a donation to a nonprofit?
SPICER: I think there was just -- that when given the options, he decided that there was a list of government entities that can accept donations. Ironically, it's not as easy to give money to the government as you would think. And -- aside from the IRS.
And -- and then I don't think you're giving.
SPICER: But my point is is that he looked through a variety and for this quarter he -- he chose the National Parks Service. But it was a -- a decision that he made based on -- his counsel presented him with several options. And he believed that -- as Secretary Zinke pointed out, that there was some great work being done there, especially that needed to do to restore our great battlegrounds, and wanted to do his..
QUESTION: Speaking of giving money to the federal government, the president's been -- you know, going to Mar-a-Lago again this weekend, has been facing calls from officials in New York and in Florida either to appropriate federal funds or request federal funds which were not in the budget for the additional security (inaudible), given his residence is there, travels to those places, or to reimburse those local governments out of his own pocket.
Obviously, this president is far wealthier than any president we've seen in modern times. And he has the capability to make that -- make those outlays. Is that something the president is considering? Or has he decided to make those outlays, to reimburse...
SPICER: Well, I think there's a few things.
Number one, the request to go to Mar-a-Lago was something that the Chinese -- you know, that was negotiated with the Chinese.
And so I think this is a very high-level visit that really has a huge impact on our both economic and national security.
So, secondly, the president has an opportunity, as all presidents -- President Bush traveled to Crawford. President Obama went to Hawaii often. I mean, this is -- this is not something that you control. There is a security aspect that the Secret Service determines when the president and the family travel. That's not dictated by the president of the United States.
And third is, you know, I would note, ironically this is a day that -- that the president just donated a significant amount of money of his salary back to the federal government. And so, you know, respectfully, it's like -- it's at what point does he do enough? He just gave a very sizable donation.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) though. That's a very small...
SPICER: But that's not how we judge. I mean, I don't -- I think to be able to say that -- I mean, he isn't taking a salary. I think he's stepped down from his business. He's walked away from a lot.
I think let's -- let's -- I think at some point, you know, he's done quite a lot -- quite a bit in terms of handing -- you know, making a donation to government.
QUESTION: Sean, back at Susan Rice, if I could. The fact that it's allegedly the former national security adviser who requested the unmasking when it came to the incidental collection of people who were associated with the Trump campaign and the Trump transition puts that now squarely in the White House.
When you look at that, combine it with the NSC rules that were promulgated at the end of the Obama administration to more broadly share intelligence, does this White House look at what she allegedly requested as a national security issue or a political issue?
SPICER: Well, I'm not going to -- I mean, that -- that's a nice backdoor into a line of questioning.
I think until we -- until there's a -- a finding of that, I don't want to start getting into the motives. Because we still haven't -- again, me getting to the motives, assumes certain things in fact that I don't think we're ready to go to yet. Because that, again, would be getting in the middle of an investigation.
I do think that there's been enough public discussion and reporting on this stuff that I -- I'm not going to comment on this any further until those committees have come to a conclusion of that sort.
So, we're not going to start going down guessing the motives of something that is not assumed in fact yet. But I do think that it is interesting, though, as I mentioned earlier, the level or lack thereof of interest in this subject versus what has been commented on previously in terms of alleged people involved in processes. So, I think there -- there is -- Margaret? QUESTION: Following that on (ph), you mentioned that Jared Kushner has a team working with him. Can you help us understand exactly what's in the portfolio, who -- and who's on the team?
And I have a follow-up to that.
SPICER: Yeah. I mean, he's announced the Office of American Innovation the other day. We named a bunch of those folks that have been part of that team. And as he looks at various aspects of government, he works with different people in the White House that oversee different -- different parts of that portfolio.
Whether it's part of the team that's doing the Middle East (inaudible) things. You've got Jason Greenblatt who's been traveling to the Middle East and other places to do that. There's people like Reed Cordish and Chris Liddell that are part of the team that are talking about the Office of American Innovation that he has discussed last week with respect to -- to opioid use and others.
I mean, so there is a team, depending on the subject, that is working with him. And -- and he is providing oversight and direction.
QUESTION: So, he's overseeing teams handling all these different issues. So, there is Mexico, Canada, Israel, Palestine, Iraq...
QUESTION: ... Saudis...
SPICER: Well, again, remember, on Iraq, I -- don't -- don't go too far there.
He is -- he went -- he was invited by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as was Tom Bossert, the assistant to the president for homeland security, to see the work that's being done there firsthand.
I don't think to, sort of, then translate it into he's overseeing Iraq is an accurate assessment. He is -- was invited to go see something by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and he's doing it.
QUESTION: But my follow-on on that is, you know, I -- I appreciate how he's in such a unique position and so trusted by the president. But there are people who could look at the situation and say that the White House isn't meant to be run as a family business. There are institutions with experienced diplomats who have...
QUESTION: ... years and decades (inaudible) linguistic and -- and experience on the ground. Why...
SPICER: With respect to what? QUESTION: With whatever these issues are...
SPICER: But -- but you're -- you're -- you're just -- look -- but you just said -- right, can you just be clear, though, because you just said with years of linguistic experience. So, what situation are you specifically referring to?
QUESTION: Well, partly why I was asking exactly what's in the portfolio. Because it's our understanding that Mr. Kushner's involved with Mexico, that he's involved with Saudi Arabia, that he's involved with Canada, that he's involved with a number of different issues...
QUESTION: ... China...
SPICER: Yeah, and I think -- I -- I think that there has been -- as -- as -- as he has made clear, initially during the transition, he played a very key role in helping facilitate a lot of those. But now that our State Department's up and running, he has started to push a lot of those -- but there're obviously people that are going to continue...
But there's a lot of relationships that Jared's made over time with different leaders, Mexico being one of them you mentioned, that -- that are going to continue to have conversations with him and -- and help facilitate. That doesn't mean by any means that it's being done without coordination with the State Department; quite in fact the opposite. He's continued to work with them and to facilitate an outcome.
But he brings a -- a perspective to this and -- and began doing that during the transition.
But again, it's -- it's not a -- it's not a binary choice where it's he's doing this at the expense of somebody else.
QUESTION: So, he's a direct line to the president whereas the other institutions are not.
SPICER: OK, great. That's even better, then. I think that's a win for our government.
QUESTION: On health care, has the president been reaching out, or anyone in the administration, to Democrats in Congress? Can you state specifically who? And (inaudible) does he still see the opportunity to work more closely with Democrats given the difficulties with the House Freedom Caucus...
SPICER: Yeah, I -- I think the president has made clear that he intends to work with -- with anyone who wants to help him get to the number of votes. He, obviously, was -- had a very productive discussion this weekend with Senator Paul.
I know the vice president has been actively engaged, as well as other members of the staff, with members of the House in particular. And they're going to -- need to try to find a way forward.
But there are some -- I'm not going to expose every member that's had some of these (ph). Some of them want a back channel that -- to be -- to -- to offer solutions and constructive ways forward.
But those conversations are happening at several levels within the White House to see if we can find a way forward to get the number of -- of requisite votes.
But, you know, the president continues to work hard. He's having these conversations. Members have reached out to him to make their suggestions known.
SPICER: And -- and so, that's -- but we continue to feel optimistic in the sense that there's a lot of constructive ideas that are coming to the table to get us to a way forward on health care.
I just want to make one admin announcement.
Tomorrow, the president is -- as I mentioned, he's giving a speech tomorrow with a roundtable of CEOs on -- on the American workforce and then tomorrow he'll be speaking again at the American National Building Trade Union. So we'll have some kind of background briefing before (ph) the day because he is speaking live. So we will on the guidance tomorrow have something for you in terms of what we'll do for a briefing. We're working on that now.
With that, I'm going to end for today and let you guys have a good one. Take care. Thank you, guys.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: OK, so Sean Spicer, White House daily briefing, ticking off a lot of answers to questions, including, why is Jared Kushner in Iraq, instead of, let's say, the secretary of state?
How comfortable does the president feel with Republicans sounds like potentially invoking the nuclear option when it comes to getting Judge Neil Gorsuch as the next Supreme Court justice? And all kinds of questions in between.
So, I have got a great panel with me. Maeve Reston is with me, CNN national political reporter, Brianna
Keilar, CNN senior Washington correspondent, David Andelman here with me, "USA Today" columnist and CNN.com contributor, Rick Santorum, CNN senior political commentator and former Republican senator from Pennsylvania, and Bill Press, host of "The Bill Press Show" and author of "Buyer's Remorse: How Obama Let Progressives Down."
Great to have all of you with me.
Brianna Keilar, let's begin with you. Let's start with Gorsuch.
And, guys, get in my ear and let me know if you have the sound bite where Sean Spicer is asked whether or not the White House is comfortable with the nuclear option. And we have it.
Let's listen. And then, Brianna, we will talk on the other side.
We don't have it. I'm told we're going to get there, but just roll with me, Brianna.
In terms of partisanship, as though you thought Washington was pretty bad, it seems to me, with the issue of the filibuster and totally changing Senate rules, it has never been worse.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
And the point that he was making in this briefing was, it's not unusual to vote against a nominee, but it's unusual to vote against -- for instance, you have seen, in the course of Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, you had institutionalists like Lindsey Graham, who I remember watching them during some of these confirmation hearings would say, I don't support this nominee, but she is qualified. Elections have consequences.
And so he would vote then to proceed, which is this key vote, and even vote to confirm. But you're just seeing all of this fall apart at this point. And that was the point that Sean Spicer made, which was this is someone who was qualified, which I think there certainly is a lot of agreement. We have heard from the left and the right.
BALDWIN: Brianna, hang tight.
Let me just -- precisely where you're going, I just want to make sure everyone hears this. Here's Sean Spicer on the response of, is the White House, is President Trump comfortable with the nuclear option? Roll it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Is the White House comfortable with the nuclear option potentially being invoked?
SPICER: The president said multi -- several weeks ago that this was something that he would support. We're comfortable in the sense that obviously that decision is up to Leader McConnell to make, how he wants the Senate to deal with this. I think the majority leader's comments are very clear in the direction that he's headed in.
But I think this is -- we have entered a whole new league if this goes forward in terms of Democrats really going and saying -- it's one thing to vote against the nominee. We have seen that in the past. And I understand that.
But we have now gone from the devolution of agreeing that there are certain people that a president has the right, as long as they are qualified. Right?
We have see that in the past. John Roberts I think got 78 votes. But when you see that going one direction vs. now that there's literally going to be the first filibuster in modern times on a qualified judge that's going to end up going on the court, we have really come a long way.
And I think Democrats are setting a very dangerous precedent when it comes to how they want to do this, because this isn't about voting against somebody or having an issue with them. It's literally trying to stop using the filibuster for something that it was never intended for, nor has it really ever been the principle that we would vote down someone who was qualified.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Setting a dangerous precedent, that's his whole point.
And we heard all those Republicans even before the daily briefing coming forward, Orrin Hatch, Lindsey Graham, all saying the same thing.
And the idea being that there's a little decorum. And I think you have seen a lot of this play out on many issues. There tends to be more decorum in the Senate than there is in the House. This is supposed to be the more level-headed chamber.
And the House is historically a little more raucous. And we just see the flinging around of opinions and there seems to be a more measured opinion in the Senate in general. And you, I think, heard from a lot of people concerned about this, then when you do go towards this nuclear option, that you could be taking away that very important characteristic of the Senate.
Now, you heard Sean there saying he's going to leave this to Mitch McConnell and really turning this around on Democrats. But, to that point, I think, in this polarized time, it's easy to forget that, yes, you used to have people cross the aisle to vote for someone, but, Brooke, Democrats are so mad.
One, they really have no reason to get behind anything of Donald Trump's because he's so unpopular with their base. And they are really ticked off about Merrick Garland, that when Antonin Scalia died, and that was who President Obama had a pick for, that they were not able to proceed in any way and that Republicans wouldn't go along with anything.
BALDWIN: Yes. Senator McConnell at the time said no way.
And I'm curious, Senator Santorum. Let me ask you this question, because if the roles were reversed, if we were living where it was the other way around, where you had a Democratic president, you had a Democrat majority in the Senate and you had Republicans, your party would be just as mad as Democrats are right now if the roles were reversed. Am I right?
RICK SANTORUM, CNN COMMENTATOR: They would be as mad.
But I think if you look at the most recent precedent of Kagan and Sotomayor, they gave the president the discretion. He won the election. When the president wins the election, he has a right to appoint the people in his Cabinet and on the judiciary that comes with the presidency.
I have opposed certain judges in the past. I don't recall ever voting against closure, allowing the vote to come forward. It's just you give the president the right to select his people. You don't necessarily support them always, but you give broad deference.
I have voted for a lot of judges that I didn't agree with, but I voted for them because they were qualified. I didn't think they would necessarily rule the way I would like them to rule, but they were qualified to rule that way.
And, again, in the case of this case, it was President Clinton, I voted for those judges. And this is a whole different paradigm. And what the Democrats are involved in right now is really appealing to their base, trying to stand up to Donald Trump.
But, in the end, they are throwing out a very important tool that's been in place for a long time that will no longer be in place to make sure that if there really are judges who aren't qualified and who don't have the right temperament, or things that we would want from a judge, they are now going to have a lower hurdle to cross than they've had in the past.
And I don't think that's necessarily a good thing.
BALDWIN: Bill Press, does the senator have a point?
BILL PRESS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, with all due respect.
BALDWIN: Tell me why.
PRESS: Let me just say this, first of all. I heard Senator Lindsey Graham, whom I admire a lot, earlier today say that he was going to vote to break the rules because it's not fair, he said, when the Democrats get their judges and the Republicans can't get theirs.
Give me a break. Right? Merrick Garland never even got a hearing. Now, that's not the only reason to vote against Judge Gorsuch. But I'm just saying, the rules are the rules. The Democrats are using the filibuster, which the Republicans have used hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of times. Those are the rules.
And you cannot whine and complain about one party now using the rules as a minority party, when the Republican Party did the very same thing when they were in the minority. Just live with it and move on.
SANTORUM: Well, it's simply not true. The Republicans have never used the filibuster to block a nomination.
What happened with Merrick Garland is something that was a longstanding president that in the last juror of a president's term, you don't get the chance to fill in a very important 30-year term for a candidate.
PRESS: Whoa. Senator, where did that rule come from?
SANTORUM: It's a longstanding precedent.
PRESS: No, no, no, it's not, Senator.
SANTORUM: Yes, it is.
PRESS: Let's go by the Constitution.
You said about President Trump -- and I would agree -- he was elected. He gets to nominate his person to the Supreme Court, and it comes up for a vote.
President Obama was elected. He was reelected. He gets to nominate Justice Garland.
SANTORUM: That's right.
PRESS: There's nothing in the Constitution that says he ceases becoming president of the United States after he's got one year left to go. Not fair.
SANTORUM: Maybe we need to understand, though, the difference between what's in the Constitution and the term precedent.
(CROSSTALK) SANTORUM: Precedent is not in the Constitution. It's the precedent, it's custom of the United States Senate not to approve justices at that late point. And that was Democrats and Republicans.
I understand the Democrats are upset about it.
PRESS: That's simply not true, Senator.
SANTORUM: Well, it is true.
KEILAR: Brooke, I would add when it comes to what both Democrats and Republicans believe on this, it doesn't have a lot to do with the Constitution.
It has to do with the balance of power on the court. And if, for instance, Merrick Garland has been confirmed, that would have changed the balance of power.
At this point this time, you're looking at a conservative-appointed justice who passed away being replaced by a conservative-appointed justice.
The next fight is really, I think, what some of this is all about that could change the balance of power on the court. You have Democrats -- and, look, I talk to people who are behind the March for Life, which we covered.
And they are very energized because they feel, with Donald Trump in the White House, that they are going to see very possibly a reversal of Roe vs. Wade. They're very excited about it. And Democrats are very fearful of this. So, that is what a lot of this has to do.
BALDWIN: I think you're right. I think it's the short-term. Hang on just a second, because I do want to get to Jim Acosta, who was in the very.
But I think it's the short-term vs. the long-term and precisely to Brianna's point on that position that could change the balance of the Supreme Court and how all Senate rules will be changed as a result of what's happening potentially this week.
But, Jim Acosta, we have been having this huge conversation about Judge Gorsuch here, but another major thread in the briefing today was the questions about Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, top adviser, suddenly pops up in Iraq. It wasn't the secretary of state. It's Jared Kushner, not to mention his mega-portfolio. How is he managing all of this?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Right.
And I think on the quick question of Neil Gorsuch, I will say that it was -- I think it was pretty striking during this briefing today just to say very quickly that the White House is all but saying to the Republican majority to go ahead and trigger the nuclear option. That to me was the big headline obviously coming out of that briefing.
ACOSTA: But as for Jared Kushner being in Iraq right now, the White House was sort of brushing off these questions. He has been given this job of trying to broker Middle East peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Just the other day, it was announced that he is going to be heading up the innovation initiative trying to make government bureaucracies run more like businesses. And so the question was asked of Sean Spicer during this briefing today, gee, it sounds like Jared Kushner has an awful lot on his plate. He's in Iraq too. Why is the secretary of state not there?
And Sean Spicer trying to make the case that it's not a "binary choice.": You don't have to just have Jared Kushner in Iraq or the secretary of state. But clearly what we saw during the briefing today was the White House defending the deployment of the president's son- in-law, a top adviser right now, Jared Kushner, to Iraq during a very sensitive time when the U.S. is trying to assist the Iraqis in the fight against ISIS.
And Sean Spicer trying to make the case that, well, Jared Kushner is just fine being there. He's with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Joe Dunford, General Joe Dunford, as well as the president's new counterterrorism adviser.
And so Sean Spicer trying to make the case this is a team effort over here. But no question about it, it seems almost every week that happens here at the White House, Brooke, we see Jared Kushner's portfolio getting bigger and bigger. And this trip to Iraq seems to be just another indication of that.
BALDWIN: Let's listen to Sean Spicer responding specifically to this growing portfolio of President Trump's son-in-law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: We're seeing teams handling all these different issues, so there's Mexico, Canada, Israel, Palestine, and Iraq, Saudi...
SPICER: Well, again, remember, on Iraq, don't go too far here.
He went -- was invited by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, as was Tom Bossert, the assistant to the president for homeland security, to see the work that's being done there firsthand.
I don't think to sort of that translates into he's overseeing Iraq is an accurate assessment. He was invited to go see something by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and he's doing it.
QUESTION: But my follow on that is, I appreciate how he's in such a unique position and so trusted by the president. But there are people who would look at the situation and say that the White House isn't meant to be run as a family business. There are institutions with experienced diplomats who have years of decades, linguistic, and experience on the ground.
QUESTION: Whatever these issues are...
SPICER: Right. Can you just be clear, though, because you just said with years of linguistic experience? So what situation are you specifically referring to?
QUESTION: Well, it's partly why I was asking exactly what's in the portfolio, because it's our understanding that Mr. Kushner is involved with Mexico, that he's involved with Mexico, that he's involved with Saudi Arabia, that he's involved with Canada, that he's involved with a number of different issues, China particularly.
SPICER: Yes. And I think that there's been, as he's made clear initially during the transition, he played a very key role in helping facilitating a lot of those.
But now that the State Department is up and running, he's started to push a lot of those. But there's obviously people that are going to continue -- absolutely. But there's a lot of relationships that Jared has made over time with different leaders, Mexico being one of them you mentioned, that they're going to continue to have conversations with him and help facilitate that.
It doesn't mean by any means that it's being done without coordination with the State Department. Quite, in fact, the opposite. He will continue to work with them and to facilitate an outcome. But brings a perspective to this and began doing that during the transition. But, again, it's not a binary choice, where he's doing this at the expense of somebody else.
QUESTION: But he's a direct line to the president, whereas the other institutions are not.
SPICER: OK. Great. That's even better then. I think that's a win for our government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: David Andelman and Maeve Reston, I'm coming at you two next.
Here are pictures of Jared Kushner with the Iraqi prime minister that have just come in.
On Jared Kushner first, then we will move on to the big visit with President Xi of China, but what do you make of all this line of questioning into the son-in-law?
DAVID ANDELMAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: The whole question is, who is really going to take charge of our Middle East policy? Do we even have a Middle East policy?
Look at the history of our Middle East policy, Henry Kissinger, George Mitchell, some really giants in diplomacy, who really dug in and understood what was going on and what was at stake.
And these are people who not only had themselves to put in the balance, but they had their deputies who spoke Arabic and who spoke Hebrew and who spoke the language of the Middle East. And we here we have a 36-year-old guy who is very smart, no doubt, has the trust of the president, no doubt, but going in with no real sense of what the long game is. And that's really what is critical here.
BALDWIN: So, looking ahead though to the end of the week and I see the sort of split screen already playing out between President Xi and President Trump down at Mar-a-Lago in Florida and this fight on Friday with the U.S. Senate and this ultimate presumably nuclear option and next Supreme Court justice.
With regard to President Xi and especially North Korea being a major topic of discussion, what will you be looking for?
ANDELMAN: I will be looking for some kind of a condominium between these two.
Remember, up until now, they have really been talking at cross purposes. Remember, one of the first acts by President Trump was to basically reach out -- then president-elect Trump -- was to reach out to Taiwan and to try to drive a wedge between Taiwan and China. That's not going to ever happen.
We got off on a very, very bad footing with the Chinese at all levels. And he has to start to repair some of these bridges. He also has to understand what leverage China really has over North Korea and it is going to apply to North Korea.
And it's not clear that China really wants to come in and see a dysfunctional North Korea or, for that matter, war on the Korean Peninsula. But does President Trump really understand all of the different stakes and the very different level involved?
This is level on level on level. It's like is a very complex lasagna that we have to try and -- and he doesn't have a knife to cut through that, unfortunately, I don't think.
BALDWIN: So he has these extraordinarily important conversations with President Xi later this week.
Maeve Reston, here's just what I'm wondering. Again, I'm thinking visually in the split screen, because you know what will happen with Judge Gorsuch, we presume to know, later on this week.
Does it matter that -- this is a major deal. This was one of the reasons why people voted for Donald Trump, because they knew that he would have this power over the Supreme Court. And the fact that he won't be in Washington, does that matter?
MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Potentially, I don't know that his whereabouts matter so much, but this is a week where the Trump administration really needs a reset. Right?
They were very confident last week when I was talking to White House aides that they were going to get Neil Gorsuch through, that the rollout had gone beautifully so far.
And so this is a big collision that they are now dealing with once again just after the collapse of health care. So the optics here are really important. And I think that you're looking at his legacy within the first hundred days.
They really want to put some points on the board. And so it's going to be interesting to see what kind of pressure the president puts on these members this week, saying that the nuclear option is potentially -- is really not a good idea for the Senate, given the traditions there, and when it actually gets to the floor to see whether Democrats will carry it all the way through.
I do know that those Democrats are hearing loud and clear from the folks in their districts, saying vote this guy down. And right now, the risk for the Democrats is being the party of no. So there's a lot going on here in the optics.
BALDWIN: Maeve and Brianna and all you three lovely, wonderful gentlemen, the senator, David and Bill, thank you so much. I appreciate the mega-conversation.
Coming up next, there's more to talk about, new accusations of sexual harassment against FOX News host Bill O'Reilly just days after "The New York Times" reported he's paid millions of dollars to settle similar accusations in the past -- how he's now responding and what is behind the network's decision to renew his contract anyway.
We will be right back.