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Interview With Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price; Interview With Ohio Governor John Kasich; Interview With California Congressman Adam Schiff; Five Senators Have Announced Opposition To Health Bill; President Trump Attends Steve Mnuchin's Wedding. Aired 9- 10a ET

Aired June 25, 2017 - 09:00   ET




DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: High-stakes health care. Senate Republicans reveal their once-secret plan to overhaul Obamacare.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A phenomenal bill for the people of our country, generous, kind, with heart.

BASH: But members of his own party say they won't back it.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: This current draft doesn't get the job done.

BASH: Will Senate Republicans really pass it this week?

TRUMP: I think that they will probably get there. We will have to see.

BASH: The very latest on the vote count.

Plus: Putin's plan -- new details about what President Obama knew about Russian meddling in the election and new questions about whether he did enough to stop it.

TRUMP: If he had the information, why didn't he do something about it? He should have done something about it.

BASH: A top Democrat investigating the Russians will be here live.

And Democrats in disarray.

TRUMP: All we do is win, win, win.

BASH: With some turning on Leader Nancy Pelosi after another congressional loss.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: I think I'm worth the trouble, quite frankly.

BASH: Do Democrats need to revamp? The best political minds will be here with insights on what happens next.


BASH: Hello. I'm Dana Bash, in for Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is mean?

That's the word that Democrats have seized on to describe the Republican health care plan, after President Trump reportedly used it himself in a closed-door session.

This morning, he owned it.


TRUMP: Mean, that was my term, because I want to see -- I want to see -- and I speak from the heart. That's what I want to see.

I want to see a bill with heart. Health care is a very complicated subject, from the standpoint that you move it this way, and this group doesn't like it. You move it a little bit over here -- you have a very narrow path.

And, honestly, nobody can be totally happy, even without the votes. Forget about votes. This has nothing to do with votes. This has to do with picking a plan that everybody is going to like.

I would like to say love, but like. But we have a very good plan. We have a few people that are -- I think you could say modestly, they're not standing on the rooftops and screaming. They want to get some points. I think they will get some points.


BASH: The president can only afford to lose two Republican senators for the Obama repeal -- Obamacare repeal bill to pass. And so far, five GOP senators have come out against the bill.

Four think it doesn't go far enough to repeal Obamacare, while one says too many Americans will lose their coverage under their new plan. Still, it's negotiable, and President Trump says he's cautiously optimistic.


TRUMP: I don't think they're that far off. I don't think they're that far off, you know, famous last words, right? But I think we're going to get there.


BASH: I'm joined by Dr. Tom Price, the secretary of health and human services, who joins us this morning from Aspen, Colorado.

Mr. Secretary, you for joining me.

One of the most scathing... TOM PRICE, U.S. HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: Oh, thanks, Dana. Good to be with you this morning.

BASH: Thank you.

One of the most scathing criticisms of the new Senate Republican bill to repeal Obamacare didn't come from Democrats. It came from Republican Senator Dean Heller of Nevada.

Listen to what he said.


SEN. DEAN HELLER (R), NEVADA: The biggest lie in health care in the last 10 years was, if you like your doctor, you can keep it. The second biggest lie is your premiums are going to down.

And there isn't anything in this piece of legislation that will lower your premiums.


BASH: Mr. Secretary, that is a Republican senator saying that you and your fellow Republicans who are pushing this bill are lying to voters when you claim that premiums are going to go down under your plan.

What's your response?


Well, I don't know that that's what he's saying. I think there's a -- there's a misunderstanding about what the entire plan is. And the fact of the matter is that it's -- the bill is part of the plan, and then the kinds of things that we're doing through the Department of Health and Human Services add onto that, so that our goal is to decrease premiums, is to make it so that health coverage is actually affordable again.

Right now, we have got premiums that are going through the roof. We've got deductibles that are skyrocketing. You have got folks with a health coverage card, but no care because they can't afford the deductible.

So, the status quo is unsustainable completely. And so we have got to act. Action is absolutely vital. And we look forward to continuing to work with Senator Heller. I have had wonderful conversations with him. And we have had conversations with the governor in Nevada and look forward to working through this...

BASH: But the...

PRICE: .. so that we have a health care system that actually works for the American people.

BASH: But, Secretary Price, you said you have goals and aspirations, but he is saying, point blank, that the bill that is before the Senate does not bring premiums down. In fact, it will do the opposite.

Can you promise that, at the end of the day, what the president will sign will bring premiums down for a majority of Americans?



The plan in its entirety will absolutely bring premiums down, because you increase competition, you increase choices for individuals. You allow folks to be able to purchase the kind of coverage that they want, not that the government forces them to buy.

Those are all of the secret keys to a market that actually works for health care and works for patients. That's the key. We have got a health care system right now that may work for government, may work for insurance companies in certain instances. But that's ending as well.

But it certainly doesn't work for patients. And that's the key that we're trying to get to, and a health care system that works for patients all across this land.

BASH: Nevada's Republican governor, Brian Sandoval, is worried that people who make as little as $16,000 per year are going to lose their Medicaid coverage and not be eligible and be able to afford private insurance. Take a listen.


GOV. BRIAN SANDOVAL (R), NEVADA: These are our friends. These are our families. These are our neighbors. They're living healthier and happier lives because of that decision. I don't think that can be overstated enough.


BASH: This is a Republican governor who is concerned that your plan would erode the lives of the most vulnerable. What's your response?

PRICE: It just wouldn't happen.

And we are continuing to work with the governor to make certainly that they understand and appreciate the plan in its entirety, the kind of waivers and options that we're offering states, the kind of extra resources that are going to be available for states to cover the most vulnerable.

Look, I'm a physician. I took care of patients for over 20 years. The health care system that I would -- that I'm supporting and will continue to support is one that actually responds to patients' needs, not just in Nevada, but in Pennsylvania, in Florida, in Washington state, and in Maine and New Mexico, all across this country.

We have got a health care system, again, that's working for government right now, but it's not working for patients. And there's a better way to do this.

BASH: But -- Secretary Price, but let's just stay specifically on this question of Medicaid, because he's not the only Republican. So both of them in Nevada are not the only Republicans who are concerned about Medicaid cuts.

Just looking at the House bill, the CBO said that it reduces Medicaid by $834 billion.

PRICE: Yes, this is really interesting, because...

BASH: Is that not a deep cut?

PRICE: It...


PRICE: Well, it all depends what the -- what you're comparing it to.

The fact of the matter is, the Medicaid proposal in the Senate bill goes up every single year that the plan is in place, because it's based on the consumer price index, initially based on the consumer price index that is related to medical care across the country, and it goes up every single year.

So, that -- it's important the people appreciate that what our goal is, is to make it so folks on Medicaid, the most vulnerable in our society, those moms and kids and the seniors and the disabled, that program works for them in a way that allows them to get the kind of care and the coverage that they need, in addition to those who are also in the low -- in the vulnerable category, that they're able to get the kind of coverage that they want and need for their families.


BASH: Just to underline this, your position is that Republican Governor Sandoval in Nevada is wrong when he says his constituents, those who are the neediest are going to lose coverage? He's not right about that?

PRICE: Well, Dana, I know that that's what -- that the division is what news wants to do.


BASH: No, I'm asking. I'm just asking for the facts. Is he wrong?

PRICE: What -- and what I'm telling you is that the system, the plan that we have, would put in place would not allow individuals to fall through the cracks, would not -- we would not pull the rug out from under anybody. We would not have individuals lose coverage that they want for themselves and for their family.

We want to make certain that health care is available to all Americans. Right now, we have got 28 million Americans who are uninsured, who don't have insurance right now in the current plan. Is that a plan that works for patients? Absolutely not. That's the kind of thing we're trying to fix.

BASH: I want to look at a different part of the plan before the Senate and certainly what we saw in the House as well.

And that is that it would slash taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Looking at the bill that came out of the House, billionaire investor Warren Buffett said that your plan would reduce his tax bill by $680,000.

And he has a question for public officials that I wanted to pose to you. Let's listen.


WARREN BUFFETT, CHAIRMAN & CEO, BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY: I think it would be very interesting for the constituency of every congressman that voted for that bill to ask a question, just one question. Are you above $250,000 on your adjusted gross income? And, if you were, how much would you have saved from what you paid last year from this bill you just passed?


BASH: So, what's the answer? How much would you save under the House and Senate bills?

PRICE: Well, remember that Obamacare taxes were put in place to build a whole new government program, government-run health care.

What -- when -- when you back out of that, when you make it so that you have got a patient-centered system, where patients and families and doctors are running health care, and not the federal government, then that of -- of necessity allows you to do so with not as much money.

And so we believe it's absolutely vital that we decrease taxes for the American people, allow them to keep more of their hard-earned money.


Dana, did you -- did you appreciate -- and I don't know if your listeners do. There's 6.5 million Americans right now who are paying $3 billion in penalties, in taxes...

BASH: Yes.

PRICE: ... just for the privilege of not purchasing health care coverage?

BASH: And I under...

PRICE: Could you imagine that? That is a system that isn't working for those 6.5 million. How about lowering the taxes for those 6.5 million?

BASH: And I understand that. But the question now is, when it comes to the bill that is before the United States Senate, the fact of the matter is, people like you are going to get a tax cut.

PRICE: Well, the fact of the matter is, is that those 6.5 million will no longer have to pay $3 billion in a penalty or a tax to the federal government because they're not interested in purchasing what the government wants to force them to buy.

Look, this is a system right now that is run by the government, for the government, dictated by the government, and it's not responding to patients' needs. And that's what we want to get to.

Twenty-eight million individuals right uninsured, 6.5 million folks spending $3 billion in a tax penalty, premiums up, deductibles up, coverage going away. We haven't even begun to talk about the states where they're going to have counties that have no insurance insurer next year. That is not a system that work for patients. That's what we're trying to fix.

BASH: I'm not sure Warren Buffett is going to be satisfied that he got an answer to his question, but I appreciate it. Thanks.

PRICE: Well, I'm not sure Warren Buffett is interested -- I'm not sure Warren Buffett is interested in covering those individuals in those counties that won't have insurance.

What are we going to do about that? That's the key. We have got to make certain that we're looking at every single American citizen and every single individual across this land who needs coverage that they want for themselves and for their family, not that the government forces them to buy.

BASH: Well, we will see what happens this week with the Senate and this very, very important bill that is before them.

Thanks so much for your time this morning, Mr. Secretary.

PRICE: Thanks, Dana.

BASH: Coming up: inside job. The president's super PAC attacking a fellow Republican, a senator who says he won't support the bill because it doesn't do enough for poor people.

Will the million-dollar ad campaign work? That's next.



BASH: Welcome back.

Ohio's Montgomery County claims an unhappy title as the deadly heart of the opioid crisis, with more overdose -- overdoses, rather, per capita than anywhere in the country.

And the sheriff's office says deaths could quadruple this year.

The Buckeye State's Republican Senator Rob Portman says he's concerned the bill doesn't do enough to help opioid addicts who are getting treatment under Obamacare, which makes him a critical vote in the Senate.

And the state's Republican governor, John Kasich, who shares those concerns, joins me now live from Columbus, Ohio.

Governor, thank you so much for joining me.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: You're welcome.

BASH: I will just start right off the bat. Is this a good bill for the people of Ohio?

KASICH: Well, there's a few aspects of it that have improved.

For example, the phase-out of Medicare expansion over six or seven years is an improvement. But the total number of dollars that are going to be dedicated to Medicaid are not enough. It's not enough resources there.

And I have been very concerned here in my state about treating the mentally ill, the drug-addicted, the chronically ill, particularly under Medicaid expansion. If you look at the entire Medicaid pie, there is huge challenges to it because the resources are just not there.

And I think we will find that, over a 10-year period, Medicaid funding will be significantly curtailed, and not accompanied at this point with the kind of flexibility we need, particularly as it relates to the pharmaceutical companies, where we need to have greater flexibility.

So, we would be looking not just at affecting those who are drug- addicted, but also children, seniors, the disabled.

Now, on the other side, the exchange side, where I just heard the secretary talking, he said there are counties that aren't going to be served by insurance companies.

Well, the problem with the bill in the Senate is, it eliminates the subsidies to the insurance companies, I think, after two years, which creates more instability and more confusion.

Nobody is saying, nobody, not my colleagues on the Democratic side, no one is saying that this doesn't need to be fixed. Of course it needs to be fixed. But you cannot do it in a way where you deprive people of the resources they need to have a stable program.

BASH: So, given that...

KASICH: And if, on the other side -- and on the exchange side, Dana, if you don't have enough resources in there, then the kind of health insurance that people can buy is -- well, it's completely inadequate. It's not enough money. Nobody would want to live under that.

BASH: OK. So, given the problems that you just laid out, do you think that Senator Portman of Ohio should vote no?

KASICH: Well, I -- I don't think the bill's adequate now.

And unless it gets fixed, I would -- look, I'm against it. And I'm not against it just because I want to be against it. There's some things in these bill -- in these bills, in these -- in these provisions that are an improvement.

My job, as I see my job as a governor of the state, not as a Republican governor, but the governor of this state, my job is to look not just today, but in the out years, at the impact it's going to have on people who have -- who need help.

Dana, I was at a restaurant on Friday. And I was at a Wendy's, actually. And I was -- there was a partition. And I looked over at the people that had gathered there. And there were about, I don't know, 25 kids. All of them were here in Columbus for Special Olympics.

And I looked at them and I thought, are these people being served? Are they going to be served by this bill in the future?

My conclusion right now is no.


KASICH: Can they improve this bill? Yes, I think they could improve it. I hope they do.

BASH: So, if there is no improvement, just to be clear, you are encouraging your senator and perhaps other -- others -- others...

KASICH: Look, Dana, look...


BASH: I mean, you -- you are asking...

KASICH: He knows how I feel.

BASH: You're asking -- you're -- you're encouraging Republicans to -- to vote against this, unless it's improved in the ways that you just laid out?

KASICH: No, what I'm encouraging them to do -- what I'm encouraging them to do is to fix it.


Now, look, I'm going to be -- I just wrote a letter with a bunch of Democrat governors and Republican governors, OK?

And what we're saying is, let's work together on this. Let's not rush something through. Let's have transparency. Let's have some cooperation between the parties, because, if you don't, this bill is not sustainable.

So, I'm not saying, just kill the bill. Let's get something that is going to work, that's going to create a -- stabilizing all these issues around insurance and coverage, and then get to the heart of the matter, which is the rising costs of health care, frankly, which this bill doesn't begin to even do.

BASH: Governor, the Trump/Pence super PAC announced that it is going to run ads against Senator Dean Heller, who is one of the most vulnerable Republicans up for reelection next year, because he spoke out against the bill, not unlike you are right now.

Let's listen to that ad.


NARRATOR: Senator Heller has made his option clear. That is unacceptable to us and millions of Americans suffering under Obamacare. Heller is now standing with Pelosi. Unacceptable. If you're opposed to this bill, we are opposed to you.


BASH: Is it smart for a Republican group to target a fellow Republican like that?


KASICH: Dana, this is the 21st century, and this is the craziest time I have ever seen in politics. And maybe this is a signal that, instead of people just confessing their loyalty to one party or the other, maybe they ought to be confessing their loyalty to the country.

And, look, I have been attacked all of my career. And the fact is, is that you have got to stand up on your own two feet, explain how you feel about things and be a leader.

I don't think we have enough leadership. I think there are too many people that cower in the wings because of partisanship, not just Republicans, Democrats as well.

If you try to get a great number of governors, Republican or Democrat, to speak out on this, where are they? All you hear are crickets and chirping, because they're worried about upsetting their base.

Dana, the problem we have in the country today is...

BASH: Or getting -- or getting ads run against them like that.

KASICH: Pardon?

BASH: Or having ads...

KASICH: Well, I mean, so what? Then get -- if you can't take a fastball on the inside, get out of

politics. If you can't take a pitch thrown at you, and you can't get out of the batter's box, quit. Don't -- don't -- don't whine.

And I don't think Senator Heller is whining. But I also want to say that not only Heller, but Sandoval, Brian Sandoval, is a great governor. His popularity is sky-high in Nevada. And you know what he's saying? I'm worried about poor people.

You know what? Both parties, both parties ought to be worried about poor people, because I don't think either party particularly cares about helping poor people.

You look at the rates of poverty, you look at the problems in this country, we have not designed a system to get people work. Everything we're talking about now, getting people healthy, giving them health care, is designed to get them to work. It's designed to give them an opportunity to have a better life.

This is not some kind of a welfare system. This is a -- look, if you're sick and you're hungry, you don't work. If you're healthy and you're fed, you can get a job.

BASH: Governor...

KASICH: And we expect people to have one then.

BASH: Governor, before we go, I have to ask. You did run for president against now President Trump. You're proud of the fact that you never endorsed him.

He took a victory lap this week after winning a fourth special election contest. At least Republicans did. Listen to what he said.


TRUMP: They have phony witch-hunts going against me. They have everything going, and you know what? All we do is win, win, win. We won last night.


BASH: Does he have a point that never-Trumpers -- and you probably are still one of them -- can't beat him?

KASICH: Well, first of all, I'm not a never-Trumper. I'm for the president of the United States.

It's just, when he's right, I'm going to praise him, like I did when he -- when he said he wasn't going to kick the dreamers out of the country. But I'm also criticize him when he does things that I don't happen to agree with, including on the House health bill, which he then turned and called mean, which I give him credit for.

You know, at the end of it all, 2018 is going to be a race about, do the Democrats have a message, which they seem not to have one, and can Republicans hold on?

I don't know where this is going to go. I know the races that have been held so far have been held in predominantly in Republican districts. Republicans have won. Good for Republicans.

At the end of the day, though, '18 is a long way away, and we will just have to wait and see what happens.

BASH: Governor John Kasich...

KASICH: Going to be interesting.

You guys are going to get great ratings because of all the coverage you're going to give to these races.


KASICH: It's going to be exciting.

BASH: Well, it is going to be exciting, but -- but, more importantly, it is going to be consequential for Americans.

Thank you so much, Governor.

KASICH: It will be.

BASH: Appreciate it. Appreciate it.

KASICH: Thank you.

BASH: And new revelations about what President Obama knew and when he knew it. Could he have spoken out more strongly about Russian meddling in the election?

That's next.




TRUMP: Obama knew about Russia a long time before the election, and he did nothing about it. But nobody wants to talk about that.

If he had the information, why didn't he do something about it? He should have done something about it.


BASH: That was President Trump reacting to an explosive story in "The Washington Post" this week revealing that President Obama knew months before the 2016 election that Putin was trying to influence the results.

But Obama took action against Russia only after Trump won. Now, President Trump has not yet taken any measures to punish Russia

for their actions, and it's unclear what exactly is being done to stop Russia from meddling in the next election.

A lot of new questions for the man investigating this issue, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, Democrat Adam Schiff, who is here with me now.

Thank you so much for being here. Appreciate it.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Great to be with you.

BASH: Congressman, I will just start with the fact that the Democrats -- you are investigating, but a lot of the Democrats have been using Russia as a political tool to go after President Trump and the Republicans as well.

This week, as you just heard, "The Washington Post" reported that President Obama knew as far back as August of 2016 that Vladimir Putin was working to elect President Trump.

[09:30:00] Did Obama fail in his duty to this nation?

SCHIFF: I think the Obama administration should have done more when it became clear that not only was Russia intervening but it was being directed at the highest levels of the Kremlin. And indeed Senator Feinstein and I were repeatedly trying to make that case administration (ph) initially when they didn't want to make attribution, they didn't want to publically talk about Russia's role.

And later after we issued our own statement and they did attribute the conduct to Russia, I was urging that they begin then the process of sanctioning Russia. The administration talking more forcefully about what the Russians had done. I think that was a mistake but I have to contest with President Trump is also saying because for Donald Trump who openly egged on the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton's e-mails and celebrated every release these stolen documents to criticize Obama now is a bit like someone knowingly receiving stolen property blaming the police for not stopping the theft. So Donald Trump is in no position to complain here.

BASH: That may be true. But let's focus on President Obama for a minute.

You say it was a mistake. How much were politics at play? Meaning fear that people would say that he's getting too involved in a way that would help Hillary Clinton and should that have been a factor at all given the gravity of what you were seeing in the intelligence?

SCHIFF: It was a factor and it should not have been the most weighty factor.

I think they were concerned about being perceived as interfering in the election, trying to tip the scales for Hillary Clinton. I think they were also concerned about not wanting to play into the narrative that Donald Trump was telling, that the election was going to be rigged. Even though Donald Trump was talking about a completely different kind of rigging than foreign intervention.

But both of those factors did not outweigh, in my view -- and I argued this at the time, did not outweigh the public's need to know. The American people needed to know. And I didn't think it was enough to tell them after the election, but rather given the seriousness of this, I think the administration needed to call out Russia earlier, and needed to act to deter and punish Russia earlier and I think that was a very serious mistake.

BASH: You mentioned what you argued at time behind closed doors. September of 2016, according to "The Washington Post" is when you and other lawmakers were briefed on Capitol Hill about this. What -- now that it's passed and it's in public, what happened in that meeting? How aggressively did you and other Democrats argue and what was the pushback?

SCHIFF: Well, I can't talk about some of the closed meetings, but I can tell that you Senator Feinstein and I were concerned enough about what we were learning to do something that I had never done before and have never done since and that is to issue a public statement of our own, attributing a foreign hack to a foreign party, based on our intelligence.

Now we had to vet that with the intelligence community but we took that step because we weren't succeeding in getting the administration to do it itself. But a statement coming from lawmakers doesn't have the power and influence of the American people as a statement coming through the president of the United States and I think that is what the situation really called for.

BASH: If you were president, what would you have done? What should President Obama have done?

SCHIFF: Well, I think what he should have done and what I urged at the time was he should have spoken out to the American people and said, this is what Russia is doing. Russia has better stop it and more than that we are going to enter into conversations with our European allies who have similarly been the victim of Russian hacking and interference in their elections to embark on a new round of sanctions. And I think those sanctions should have been not only imposed earlier but far stronger than the sanctions the Obama administration would ultimately imposed after the election.

BASH: I want to turn to something that the Obama Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said before your committee this week. He said that, "In the wake of the hack at the DNC, the DNC didn't want the assistance of the Department of Homeland Security. And after he said this the president, the current President Trump tweeted this, "Why did the DNC refuse to turnover its server to the FBI and still hasn't? It's all a big Dem scam and excuse for losing the election."

OK. Put that second part aside for one second just focus on the substance here. Based on your investigation what is the answer to why the DNC didn't ask or even allow help from the Homeland Security Department? SCHIFF: Well, this is an issue that we're looking into what was the Democratic Party response? What was the Department of Homeland Security response and the FBI?

The only thing I can say that's public thus far is James Comey was asked about this during his open testimony recently. What he testified is that the DNC gave the FBI the forensic report done by a very reputable cyber security firm and that was all they needed in terms of their own analysis.

BASH: Do you think they did enough?


SCHIFF: I don't know. But that is the public testimony we have thus far. We are going to want to talk to people from the DNC. We're going to want to talk with people from the FBI more about this. Find out, was there request for the server? If there was, did the party have a concern about giving up its server in the middle of a presidential campaign and what can we learn from this so that if in the next presidential election again the Russian hack into the DNC or the RNC how can we make sure that information gets to the top of the party, which apparently didn't at the time so that action can be taken promptly?

BASH: You mentioned James Comey, the former FBI director. He also testified that the Obama Attorney general, Loretta Lynch, improperly injected politics into the investigation of Hillary Clinton's e-mails. I want you to listen to what he told the Senate intelligence committee.


JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: The attorney general had directed me not to call it an investigation but instead to call it a matter. Which confused me and concerned me but that was one of the bricks in the load that led me to conclude I have to step away from the department if we're to close this case credibly.


BASH: Senator Dianne Feinstein was on this program recently and she said that gave her a queasy feeling. The Senate judiciary committee is investigating this. Do you think that Loretta Lynch should come to Capitol Hill and testify about this?

SCHIFF: You know, I think Senator Feinstein's comment, I would agree with. It does give me a queasy feeling as well.

There may be a perfectly accurate explanation by Loretta Lynch about why she thought matter was the appropriate term rather than investigation. So I wouldn't assume James Comey's characterization is the last word on it even although though I'm sure it's accurate. But I'd like to hear what Loretta Lynch's explanation for that is, either by having her come to the Hill or by having her speak publicly about what was -- BASH: Would you have her come to the House intelligence committee?

SCHIFF: You know, I don't know that this is really part of the Russia investigation. This was more part of the Clinton e-mail investigation. So I'm not sure it's within our purview. But I would like to hear what her explanation for that was. But I certainly wouldn't want that to distract us from what we need to do to get to the bottom of the Russia allegations.

BASH: Thank you so much for your time, Congressman Adam Schiff. Appreciate it.

SCHIFF: Thank you.

BASH: Thank you.

And despite President Trump's record on popularity, Republicans keep winning elections. Can the Democrats find a strategy that actually works before 2018? Top members of Congress will be here to share their plan. Stay with us.




SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: There might be some political theater that's going to play out between now and next week. So, I wouldn't give my Republican colleagues too much credit if they raise concerns today. That might all be pre-scripted.


BASH: Democratic Senator Chris Murphy saying his four conservative colleagues who opposed the current draft will likely come around but its passage is still not assured. So which side has the votes?

With me now former Republican presidential candidate and senator, Rick Santorum; Indiana Democratic Congressman Andre Carson; Ruben Gallego, Democratic Congressman from Arizona; and Amanda Carpenter, former Communications Director for Ted Cruz.

And I will start with you because I covered you in many legislative battle. What do you think? Is Chris Murphy right? Is this a --

RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I hope he's right. You know, there's -- there really isn't any reason for those four conservative Republicans not to figure out a way to get to yes. I mean, there's certainly enough in this bill, just the changes in Medicare, getting rid of these taxes.

I mean, the block grant in Medicare is this Medicaid -- excuse me -- is the same huge change that we saw in 1996 with the block grant of welfare. And by the way, the block grant of welfare has worked tremendously well. And its core Republican doctrine -- yes, did we get everything we wanted? No, but we certainly have and there's enough reforms in there, there's enough tax reductions, there's enough transferring control of the health care system out of Washington for conservatives (INAUDIBLE).

BASH: Will McConnell going to get the votes?

SANTORUM: I don't think he would have brought this forward if he didn't think he can get the votes. I think -- I think they're pretty -- I would -- look, they're going to lose Heller. They'll probably lose another moderate that they feel they have to lose just for their own election purposes, but I think they'll hold 50.

BASH: And that seems to be the way this is heading, Amanda. And you did work for Senator Cruz so I'm going to ask you to take us inside his brain right now and where you think he might be. They are headed, it looks like towards trying to get the conservatives on board because it looks like the moderates in the caucus are probably not gettable. The question is whether or not they can avoid losing three. But on Ted Cruz, do you think the signs are there for him to come on board for him?

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I think he can get there but I think everyone has a sticker-price problem when it comes to Obamacare.

Listen, let's say this passes, President Trump signs it in the Oval Office in August, all these rates are going to increase in October. There's not enough time for this legislation to take effect to lower premiums and deductibles unless they get a really clear win out of this (INAUDIBLE) for people on the individual market who have been hammered with these really, really high increases.

If Ted Cruz can get something like that out of it so he can go home to constituents and say because of this, your premiums are going down, sure he can get there but right now that does not exists in this is not a repeal though which is not a repeal because it does keep all the Medicaid expansions and all the subsidies.

BASH: Congressman, from the Democratic side, you know, she has a point that there are some problems with Obamacare. I know you all say you want to fix it and not repeal it. But when you look at the Senate bill --

REP. ANDRE CARSON (D), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: It's not leaner. It's meaner. Millions of Americans will lose coverage. Deductibles will go up. Co-pays will go up. If my Republican buddies were smart they would take this off the table and do the work that needs to be done and invest in the economy, talk about education, talk about infrastructure, things that the American people are concerned about. They're putting their caucus in jeopardy for 2018.

BASH: And the president actually used the word "mean" on camera today.


Did he hand you a political gift by saying so?

REP. RUBEN GALLEGO (D), ARIZONA: Absolutely. And I've worked on Medicaid expansion at the state legislature in Arizona and that helped us get many people off the streets and into treatment (ph) programs are really important especially we believe in opioid treatment.

Number two, there's a lot of people that depend on Medicaid expansion for nursing care. A population that also votes and their family members that votes. This type of cap that will happen overtime they will stop Medicaid expansion over time and then also cut the amount that is contributed to and sticking it only to consumer price index will end up kicking off thousands and thousands of people every year off Medicaid and that is going to be mean spirited by any definition.

BASH: I want to go back to, Senator, to what Amanda said. She made a point just on the raw politics of this. That let's just say that this passes the Senate. There's a compromise with the House and the president actually signs a form of this bill. Is there a political danger, as Amanda was saying, that in the short term people are not going to see a difference? In fact, it could get worse and Republicans are going to now --


SANTORUM: They do fund the stabilization fund which is going to be a big deal.

I mean, you've seen all of the insurance companies come forward and say, look, our rates are going up much higher because we don't know whether this money is going to be there or not. And the Senate bill does provide that money.

So there will be contrary to what Amanda said, there will be a short- term help in premiums. Now it comes from the federal government giving the insurance companies more money. It's not a structural reform. In fact there's a lot of things that are left off the table that conservatives would like to see. I think the American public would like to see to actually do something to reduce rates. But we can't get that passed in this bill.

But in the short term there will be some help here. And I think it will be enough to -- for political cover purpose.

BASH: All right. So let's talk about the Democratic Party and what happened this week.

The fourth special election congressional loss. But, obviously, it's not just that. It's that Republicans have had control of the House and Senate for several years. Republicans have controlled the White House. I want you to listen to what Congressman Tim Ryan told Don Lemon earlier this week.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Do you think Nancy Pelosi is more toxic than Donald Trump? REP. TIM RYAN (R), OHIO: You know what? The honest answer is in some areas of the country, yes, she is. That's the honest answer.


CARSON: Tim Ryan is my good friend. He's my real friend not a political friend. He's a fellow mid westerner.

Listen, Nancy Pelosi is a phenomenal leader. Has everything been perfect? No. She's created vice chair positions for folks like Hakeem Jeffries, David Cicilline, Cheri Bustos. You know, she is formidable. Since she's been in leadership she has raised over half a million dollars for the party. She's been more inclusive. Who would have thought that she would have listened to me and put a Muslim on the intelligence committee? She's a visionary. I don't want to see Pelosi leave and we bring in a more refined, more polished and younger good old boys club.

BASH: Well, that may be. But the other reality is that, fair or not, she continues to be -- even in a brand new ad that's going to be run in Nevada now against Republican Dean Heller, this is Republicans running this against him. Nancy Pelosi -- they're accusing him of standing with Nancy Pelosi.

Do you think that as Congressman Carson said, that this is beyond Nancy Pelosi, or do you think it should start with her and then you should worry about the rest of the issues of the party?

GALLEGO: Well, I think the most important thing, and especially some (ph) of (ph) them (ph) having (ph) involved (ph) in these discussions is that we're first looking out for our constituents. This is not about Nancy. This is about us making sure that we have a 2018 that's successful. And whether leader Pelosi is that person or somebody else or it's all together change within the Democratic Party we have to look at that. We owe that to our constituents.

You know, and she has done great things. She has been a great legislature. She has passed the Affordable Health Care Act. In terms of funding, what we've seen so far actually there's been a massive change in terms of fund raising. We've seen the money that's come in and even in Georgia 6 was not because of leadership it's because of individual Democrats want to see victory.

BASH: So what do you want to see? Do you want a new leader?

GALLEGO: I want an open discussion to see what our options are.

What we saw last time because of our push is the reason we have vice chair positions, the reason we have the reforms that have occurred at the DCCC was because we challenge leadership. And until we see leadership actually stepping up and telling us what the plan is for 2018, we're going to continue to pushing forward because right now we don't see that plan. And again this is not about leader Pelosi. This is about our constituents making sure that we have a winning chance.

BASH: Thank you. Thank you all. Appreciate you coming in this morning.

And coming up, Donald Trump, president, real estate mogul. Wedding crasher? The huge nuptials he was actually invited to this weekend. That's next.



BASH: President Trump stayed in D.C. this weekend to celebrate Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin's wedding. But you don't have to be a cabinet official to get the president to make an appearance at your nuptials. You just have to be in the right Trump place at the right time.


BASH (voice-over): If there's one thing we know about President Trump, it's that he loves a wedding.

TRUMP: You really are special, beautiful couple. I hope everybody (INAUDIBLE) --

BASH: He's the chief wedding crasher at his properties, a perk that was once advertised in a Trump club brochure, although the club says it's since been removed.

This time he's an invited guest at the wedding of his Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who is a former Hollywood movie producer who invested in hits like "Avatar" and ironically "How To Be Single." His bride, Louise Linton, is an actress.



LINTON: (INAUDIBLE) not looking so good.

BASH: She also briefly took over as CEO of Mnuchin's film financing company until Democrats raised ethical objections. The president will surely approve of the bridal bling, which Linton modeled for "Town and Country" magazine. But none of it is likely to trump Melania's giant diamond engagement ring, all 15 carats of it.

LARRY KING, TELEVISION AND RADIO HOST: Let show the ring. Did you pick it?


BASH: The Trumps of course splashed out every aspect of their wedding. Melania posed in her designer gown for the cover of "Vogue" and the guest list was a who's who of the power elite, including Bill and Hillary Clinton.

But when it comes to making a marriage last, President Trump says it's less glitz and more grit. TRUMP: What Melania is so good at, we just have this natural relationship. It's like my mother and father were married 63 years. I've always heard you have to work at a good relationship. My father didn't work at a good relationship. He went home. He had dinner. He went to bed. He took it easy, watch television.

My mother did the same thing. She cooked him dinner.

BASH: This weekend though it was all about the newly married Mnuchins and their presidential guest who loves his weddings like his walls, big and beautiful.


BASH: Thanks for watching.