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Senator Mitch McConnell postpones the voting until after the July Fourth recess; President Trump says a bill to replace Obamacare is getting very close; Congressman Jason Chaffetz wants lawmakers to get an extra $2500 a month for housing; Tennis star James Blake being tackled by a NYPD police officer leading to a contentious lawsuit; Aired 11:00-12:00mn ET
Aired June 27, 2017 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: The Senate GOP bill in danger with Mitch McConnell painted it into a corner and forced to delay a vote until after the Fourth of July recess, something he really did not want to do.
And meanwhile President Trump meeting with Republican senators at the White House in an effort to salvage one of his biggest campaign promises.
So we are going to get to all of that in just a moment. But let's get to CNN's Jim Sciutto first with the latest tonight on the Russia investigation.
Jim, great reporting this evening in a documentary. I want to know, what is the White House doing to make sure that the Russians don't hack and meddle with our democracy again?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the simplest answer is we don't know exactly. The question has been asked, not answered in full. One thing I will tell you. I asked the same question on Capitol Hill of both Democrats and Republicans, what is Congress doing? And this issue is so partisan, such a partisan divide.
But on that question Republicans and Democrats tell me almost unanimously that not enough is being done. As you know, the Senate passed a bill a short time ago imposing new sanctions on Russia. But now require the House on certain where it goes then, would require them to signature the President. That is on punitive actions against Russia.
And the real next question, though, is protective actions. What is the country going to do to prevent the next attack? And on that point, I hear really bipartisan sense of urgency that not enough is being done now. And the real fear, Don, going forward, in this election there is no evidence that Russia interfered in the voting. But they have done a lot of probing attacks. There is nothing to stop them from doing that in 2018 and 2020. That is the real concern going forward.
LEMON: Absolutely, Jim. And the former FBI director James Comey testified that the President asked about the Flynn investigation and quote the cloud over him. Has the White House showed a lack of interest in the investigation into Russia medaling into our election?
SCIUTTO: Well, that answer stood out I think to a lot of us that James Comey there saying that he got multiple calls about the Flynn investigation, but was not asked about where the FBI was on the investigation into Russian hacking in the U.S. election. And again that's something that I hear and my colleagues hear from Democrats and Republicans. It's just a question mark.
The President more recently has been more public to say yes, he believes it is likely that Russia did carry out the hacking because you remember during the campaign and even after the election he has raised doubts about the intelligence community's high confidence assessment.
So at least on who did it, the President seems to have become more forceful in his public statements. And we do hear that in private, in his intelligence briefings, that the President is engaged when he is being briefed on the intelligence to back up this assessment. What's going to be done, though? That remains an open question.
LEMON: Yes. Of course, you spoke to John Podesta in this documentary. I found it fascinating. But today, we learn that long- time Trump associate, Roger Stone, will testify before the House intelligence committee next month. He released a statement to CNN and here is what he said. He says I have agreed to testify July 24th. I am confident that Podesta most likely repeated his lie that I knew in advance about the hacking of the email. And I'm anxious to report this falsehood. I'm still unhappy that my testimony will not be in public, but believe it is more important to resolve the question of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign which I believe was nonexistent.
So your reaction based on what John Podesta told you.
SCIUTTO: Well, listen. Just look at the public record. I mean, Roger Stone's public statements on this were in the documentary. They aired on television and this is, you know, the un-teenth time that they there where he, in his public statements said that he was in contact with (INAUDIBLE), in his tweets and other statements. He more than hinted that he had advanced knowledge. I mean, one of his tweets saying Hillary Clinton is finish came just before one of those massive wick leaks dumps.
So the public record contradicts Roger Stone's own statement there denying that he had any knowledge and frankly accusing John Podesta of lying about it, when in fact Roger Stone's statements are out there for the world to see.
LEMON: Jim Sciutto, thank you sir. Appreciate it.
SCIUTTO: Thank you.
LEMON: Now, I want to turn to the battle of the healthcare. GOP hopes hanging by a thread tonight as leader Mitch McConnell postpones the voting until after the July Fourth recess. President Trump inviting senators on the field trip to the White House to try to hammer out of deal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So we are going to talk and we are going to see what we can do. We are getting very close but for the country we have to have health care. And it can't be Obamacare, which is melting down. The other side is saying all sorts of things before they even knew what the bill was. This will be great if get it done. And if we don't, it's just going to be something that we are not going to like and that's OK. And I understand that very well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Joining me now is Senator Mike Rounds, a Republican from South Dakota.
Senator, thank you so much for joining us. You were in the meeting with the President today. What can you tell us? What concerns did senators raise?
[23:05:04] MIKE ROUNDS (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: I think most of them were pretty upbeat. They expressed a lot of different issues. Concern about making sure we do a good job providing coverages. Taking care of people that really can't take care of themselves.
Looking out also to make sure that the plan that we lay out lasts long term. We want to make sure that individual and group health markets are healthy. And at the same time, I tell people we are really kind of suffering from what I call an Obamacare hang over. It is one in which we have a lot of people who have been committed to trying to buy insurance in a very expensive market. And they have had help with tax subsidies and so forth. And we can't simply let them go. We have got to be able to transition them through this time period until such time as the, markets start to be more competitive again.
When we do that, it means we have got to help those markets become more competitive. And that means giving options, means getting states actively involved in managing Medicaid which as a lot of people know is only partially paid for by the federal and state governments. A lot of them is offset by private payers who pay a higher premiums to subsidies.
LEMON: So let me ask you then because you have some sticking points. What are your biggest sticking points? And I guess maybe a better question is, did this meeting get you any closer to a yes vote? Did it talk about any of the things you just said?
ROUNDS: I think there were lot of issues that were discussed. A couple of whom that I care about is you have to be able to provide some sort of incentive for people to keep their insurance coverages enforced. But you have also got to give them an incentive for wanting to be able to buy insurance and they got to feel comfortable if they can actually afford that. In addition to that, the group insurance market which is the most
effective way to deliver health insurance in American today, we have to make sure we allow people to get into that market. Right now under the current plan, under Obamacare, if you have an employee who is covered by group plan by his employer, in many cases that employer will pay part of the employee's plan. But a lot of people don't pay for the dependents. Well, those dependents, since they don't get anything from the employer, when they get to taking a more expensive group rate, they feel like they can't afford it.
LEMON: Senator, can I just ask you? Can we move forward? Because I want people to know if there was anything that was said in the meeting or accomplished in the meeting that gets you any closer to a yes vote on this particular bill.
ROUNDS: I think the fact that everything is negotiable right now. In fact that we can actually negotiate where the dollars are that we have been able to free up. I think when Mitch was able to -- when the leader McConnell was able to actually score this, find out where the dollars are going to be recognized that, those are tools now that he can use to go back and he can craft this in such a fashion they can start to address the concerns of both rural states and urban states. So in that regard, I think he made the right move.
LEMON: OK, good. And that helped you?
ROUNDS: It does help us because now we know which tools we have available to us. There were tax reductions that were made. Some of those tax reduction might very well be on the table because you can keep some of them in place, you can then go back and supplement some of the coverages for the people that most need it. And that is the working core.
LEMON: We just played the President, his public remarks to you all. What do you think he meant by that last line, it's not going to be something you like and that's OK? What do you think he meant by that?
ROUNDS: I think the concern we got is that if we don't get something done and if we lose elections and the Dems are coming back in, a lot of those folks really want to go to a single payer system. And we just don't think that is the right thing to do. I think we have seen that when the VA tried to do, what we are seeing that within your Indian health in South Dakota.
Private payer systems are not competitive and they do not provide the services that Americans expect or deserve.
LEMON: It has been reported and you can tell me if it this is correct that some senators express concerns about the pro-Trump group America First digital and their TV ads which have been pulled targeting Nevada senator Dean Heller. A lot has been made about that. Dean Heller, as you know, opposed this bill. Are you among the senators who think that that was a bad idea?
ROUNDS: Dean is a very valued member of our conference. And none of us appreciated the attacks that were made against him. We want an open and free dialogue. We want people to freely express what they believe. We will make a better bill. We will make a better program if everybody can express those concerns.
He was very honest in his concerns and that will add value to this discussion. And I think that came out during the visit with the President. And the President was in very supportive.
LEMON: Are you happy that it is going to be delayed until at least after this holiday so that you can think about it more?
ROUNDS: I had recommended earlier that we consider kind of taking a break so that we could, first of all, get our proposal scored. I have some amendments that I would like to see try. But it was going to take several weeks to get CBO to score it.
If you really want to find out what is the best things are, you got to know how much they cost. I said earlier, group insurances have got to be competitive. Those individuals who right now can't get a tax subsidy in a group plan, I think we have to explore that. That makes the group insurance stronger. That it makes for a lot better product for people that right now may be going without insurance.
[23:10:17] LEMON: Senator Mike Rounds, thank you very much. I appreciate it.
ROUNDS: Thank you, sir.
LEMON: Now I want to bring in Senator Jon Tester, Democrat from Montana.
Senator, thank you. Good to have you on.
At one point you and your colleague, Senator Joe Manchin, both expressed willingness to work with Republicans on fixing Obamacare or even repeal and replace, but you can't support this bill. What changed for you?
SEN. JON TESTER (D), MONTANA: This is a bad bill. I mean this is a horrible bill. Strips health care away from 22 million Americans, 77,000 Montanans. It doesn't address preexisting conditions. It doesn't address lifetime caps. It's a bad bill that needs to be put in the garbage and quite frankly start over.
And this is what happens, Don, when you craft the bill in secrecy without public input. And it's just - it is what happens. And so the process should be that we go through the regular committee process and draft a bill that needs not to lose the American people and makes health care more accessible and more affordable for everyone.
LEMON: We saw all the Republicans at the White House. What would you tell the President about the Senate's version of the bill if you had the opportunity to tell him something?
TESTER: Well, I would tell him it doesn't live up to any of his campaign promises. He talked about not messing around with Medicaid or Medicare or any of that stuff and that's exactly correct. And if he lived up to his campaign promises, we would be looking at a different bill right now.
LEMON: Yes. Senator Mitch McConnell said this earlier tonight. I want you to listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER: It will be dealt with in one of two ways. Either Republicans will agree and change the status quo or the markets will continue to collapse and we will have to sit down with Senator Schumer. And my suspicion is that any negotiation with the Democrats would include none of the reforms that we would like to make.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Senator Tester, do you agree with that? What do you think Democrats and Republicans can agree on if anything?
TESTER: Well, look. Don, it's no secret that Washington is broken. People aren't communicating like they should. And I think there's a real opportunity after we get past this bill because I think this bill's going to come up again sometime in July. But put this bill to bed because it's a bad bill. And then let's start working on a bill that really make sure that we are not throwing people off of health care like the working poor. We are addressing the preexisting conditions. We are address lifetime caps. We are addressing the children on the policy which can everybody likes about the current system. And then let's also work to make sure that premiums are affordable for those folks who don't get any subsidies and to have too high at premiums and too high of deductibles.
And I will tell you that if senator McConnell would come into the negotiations and say this is what we are going to do, I think he would have a bunch of Democrats willing to work with them.
LEMON: Interesting. You have been on a state wide health care tour in your state of Montana. You also held a Facebook live event as I recall. What are people telling you? What are your constituents telling you? And what do you telling them?
TESTER: Well, I think people are very, very worried, you know. I had meetings with patients and doctors and hospital administrators. And you know, I live in a rural state, Don, and a lot of these small hospitals told me flat out if charity cares, people have an accident they go to the emergency room and if that's not paid for, that becomes charity care. And it will -- they don't have the margins to be able to absorb that. And they told me point blank it will either change the way they offer health care or they would have to close their doors.
That is a big problem in rural America. And I will tell you that it's not something I'm going to accept. It is not something anybody should accept. And I offer to the President some time ago the opportunity to give my opinion on rural perspective health care as it applies to a health care bill. I did not get a response. But nonetheless, we are still in this process. And I think that if we are able to work together in a bipartisan way and really go against all odds that Washington has produced over the last many years, I think that we can get something that will work for America. And I think that's critically important.
I think Senator Rounds told you that everything is negotiable. And I think that's a great first step.
LEMON: Senator Jon Tester, thank you.
TESTER: Thank you, Don. Pleasure visiting with you.
LEMON: When we come back, much more on the Senate delaying their vote on the Republican health care plan. Can this bill be saved?
[23:18:25] LEMON: President Trump says a bill to replace Obamacare is getting very close. But Senate Republicans put off a vote until after the July Fourth recess.
Let's discuss now. Scott Jennings is here a former special assistant to President George W. Bush. CNN political commentators Nina Turner, Doug Heye and Peter Beinart.
Good to see all of you.
Scott, I'm going to start with you. President Trump blaming Democrats for today's stall healthcare vote. Here is what he tweeted. He said with zero Democrats to help and a failed expensive and dangerous Obamacare as the Dems legacy, the Republican senators are working hard.
Scott, is he forgetting it is Republicans who are saying no to this bill?
SCOTT JENNINGS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, it is true and Democrats aren't interested in helping the Republicans pass any legislation that changes, repeal or otherwise fixes Obamacare. They are content with the status quo. And right now, the status quo it's not working for the United States because premiums are going up. The healthcare - health insurance market is collapsing. It is just not working. And they are clinging to this old system because they want to see the Republicans fail. The Republicans are trying to tackle a complex issue. And they are not across the line yet either.
And so, it is a complicated. It would be great if the Democrats would try to help fix this mess that the Obama administration left behind. But I just don't think they are interested to do that.
LEMON: Just for the sake of accuracy, because Democrats have said that they would like to fix Obamacare. They don't want to repeal and replace it.
JENNINGS: Chuck Schumer today said that he would work with the Republicans on these conditions. That they stop trying to repeal Obamacare and if they relinquish their principles that they ran for the last seven years.
Well, I don't think the Republican Party which got elected to govern this country is prepared to or should relinquish the principals on which they ran and got elected. That's a crazy demand to say, hey, everything you ran on, give up on that and we will work on you. I don't think that is politically (INAUDIBLE). And frankly, it is a little ridiculous.
[23:20:14] LEMON: I keep coming back to this question. Was it a mistake to rush this bill behind closed doors, Scott?
JENNINGS: Well, I think that senator McConnell was hoping to get to this place where the bill was on the floor. And if everybody would have a chance to offer amendments and hopefully improve it and get it across the line this week.
It obviously didn't happen. But I wouldn't call it a mistake to try to have an ambitious goal. It didn't work out. But obviously, they come back after the July 4th recess and try again. I think the senators, you played the clip earlier, had it just right. We are either going to pass a bill here and change what's happening right now which is not acceptable to the American people or we are going to leave the status quo in place. That health insurance markers are going to continue to collapse. Premiums are going to keep going up. Deductibles are going up. And folks aren't going to be happy with that either.
So my suspicion is eventually circumstances are going to overtake us. And the Congress is going to have to act because right now what people have is not working. And you find broad agreement on that across every state in this country.
LEMON: Do you want to respond to that, Nina?
NINA TURNER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely. I think Scott is being a little mellow dramatic there. I mean, the Republicans had seven years to get a plan that would work for the American people. So whether we are calling it Obamacare or Trump care, the bottom line is that the American people are trying to figure out who cares about them.
So whether it's the House version of the bill which President Trump called mean or the current Senate version of the bill which is not much better or even I can point the fingers at legislators in California where Democrats control everything and refused to push Medicare for all. So the bottom line comes down to this who cares about the American people.
You know, there was a "Washington Post" article today, Don, where the author of the article pointed out that if President Ronald Reagan were alive, he would fix this. That it wouldn't be about the money. That it would be about the people. It had to be about saving lives. And as my governor, John Kasich pointed out, President Ronald Reagan expanded Medicaid five times. So we need to get a grip and be on the side of the American people.
LEMON: We had Ronald Regan's son last night. We had a similar conversation with him.
Nina, Doug, I want to ask you this. You work for the former House majority leader Eric Cantor so you are all too familiar with wrangling votes, bills being pulled and so on. Moderate senators like Susan Collins want to proceed slowly while conservatives like Ted Cruz want a full repeal. Will more time help or will it hurt?
DOUG HEYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think the smart thing to do is what Mitch McConnell which was supposed to pull the bill. You mentioned talking about votes losing on the floor. I can tell you from my experiences, there is nothing more disastrous, there is nothing more embarrassing to the majority to lose the vote on the floor. If you have to pull the bill, pull the bill, take that immediate loss and try to come up with something better while you are working with your members to come up to that solution.
Embarrassing yourself today slightly is a whole lot better than a total failure which is what losing a bill on the floor would be. And as Republicans continue to be divided whether they are talking about Collins or Cruz on side or in the House of Representatives where they continue to have serious divides, stepping back and trying to find the better process forward is what is going to be best for Mitch McConnell and Republicans moving forward if they can come to any agreement.
LEMON: Before to Peter, I want you to take a look at this because it's the image of Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, flanking President Trump in the health care meeting. Does that give you indication, Doug, as to which direction the President wants this bill to go?
HEYE: No, not really. Look. You also had Dean Heller right there, next to one of the senators. I think what is important here is there is only one dynamic that is new from last year and previous Republican failures to whether it was on the Bush tax cuts expiring or Obamacare, whatever it might have been, that's why we have a Republican White House now.
And so Donald Trump needs to work with these members. And if Donald Trump has not the relationships or the credibility with some of these senators, Mike Pence certainly has those relationships and credibility. It's important for them to really dig in and work to move this forward if it's going to have a chance at all.
LEMON: I'm not sure if either of you saw the White House press briefing today. He was on camera as it should be every day, every time they have one. And the deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about the President's feelings about the Senate bill. If you didn't see it we will play it and we will talk about it. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You said the House bill was too mean. Does he believe that the Senate bill is less mean, as mean, more mean? What does he think? SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: I
honestly haven't asked him whether or not he thinks the Senate bill -- the mood of it. But I'll check on that and get back to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So Sarah Huckabee Sanders didn't have that answer. What do you think senators are going to hear from their constituents when they head back for their break, their Fourth of July break?
PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think what Americans SEEMS to understand about the Republican bill is it's built on two massive lies. The first is the lie that exchanges are collapsing. In fact, the congressional budget office support on the House bill said that they are not collapsing. Yes, they are in better shape in some states than others but they are not collapsing.
The second lie is that the Republican bill would improve the exchanges. Remember, the most important thing this Republican bill does is it massively cuts Medicaid funding which would push millions people off Medicaid. That has nothing to do with the exchanges whatsoever. It's a massive bait and switch. You have a Republican leadership which is always been hostile to the notion of Medicaid and is using the Trumped up claim that the exchanges are collapsing as a way to do something they have been wanting to do for decades, which is reduce spending on Medicaid because they don't like the idea that people get their healthcare through the government.
I think what's good is that the American people in a visceral sense have recognized this and put a lot of pressure on their senators which is why Mitch McConnell has failed.
[23:26:03] LEMON: Hey, Scott, I want to ask you about, you know, this whole Senator Dean Heller think, this ad that was put out by this pro Trump group. And it was a super Trump super Pac. He -- Nevada -- President Trump lost Nevada. He is in this tough reelection race. I'm wondering if that was the right thing to do or if it just ticked off a whole lot of senators and they should have never done it.
JENNINGS: It's a lot different dynamic in the Senate than it is in the House. I actually thought during some of the House negotiation, some package might have been useful against people on the freedom caucus. Of course, over there, Paul Ryan has a little bit more cushion to work with than McConnell does in the Senate.
The other thing about Heller is, he is not really all that big of a moderate. He is a pretty conservative guy. Most of the time, in fact, he once voted for full repeal of Obamacare when he was in the house.
LEMON: But do you think putting out an ad that is pressing him because he opposes the bill. Do you think that's the right thing to do especially considering a long-term strategy that Republicans would like to keep that seat?
JENNINGS: Yes, I was getting there. I think -- no. It probably wasn't the right thing to do this week, absolutely. And I think McConnell's operation expressed today that they hope that doesn't happen again. And I think I read right before we went on the air that the super Pac has pulled the ad. So I don't think that tactic is going to be in play moving forward.
I think in order to get this done, McConnell, Trump, Pence, the leadership, they are going to have to find a way to pull in the Dean Hellers of the world. Because right now it appears to me Susan Collins is signaling she may not be gettable. So that means only one other person you can lose. And it is probably not going to be Dean Heller. So they are going to have to find a way to bring him on board. And if running ads against him is not a tactic that is working, they need to stop doing it and find some way to make this bill palatable for him and apparently his governor who is overlaying on a whole lot of Nevada.
LEMON: Stick with me, everyone. When we come back the congressman who says the rent is too dam high for politicians. Why he wants lawmakers to get an extra $2500 a month for housing. And we will continue this conversation of bill. We will be right back.
[23:31:059] LEMON: Back now with my panel.
Peter Beinart, I so rudely interrupted. Do you want to respond to something Scott were saying?
BEINART: Yes. I was going to say that I think that one of the really key things to notice with Senator Heller and also with Senator Portman in Ohio has been the role of Republican governors who have taken this Medicaid money. I think they are actually some of the heroes of this story.
They are - they have put ideology aside and recognize that the Medicaid money is proving really vital to their people, especially states like Ohio that are being racked by the opioid crisis. And one of the reasons I think Heller, who have a hard time knuckling under to Mitch McConnell. He has got (INAUDIBLE) Republican governor in his state who is saying that it will have devastating effect on people in Nevada and those Republican governors are a big part of the reason that so far McConnell have failed.
LEMON: I want to move on now and talk about Congressman Jason Chaffetz, soon to be not congressman. He is suggesting that members of Congress receive a $2500 housing stipend because it is expensive in Washington and many congressmen like Chaffetz live out of their offices. Do you think that should be priority, Nina?
TURNER: Good God, Don. I mean, how privileged are you to be able to ask the taxpayers for a stipend. I say instead of stipend for Congress, let's put some subsidies. Let's keep the Medicaid subsidies so that elders in nursing homes can stay in those nursing homes.
I mean it's just - it is ridiculous in every way and it really proves that the elites in Washington D.C. are very out of touch with every day Americans. I mean, since 1980 most Americans or the bottom 90 percent of American have not really seen an increase in their wages, a lot of folks don't even have houses. How about let's put some of that money into helping the residents of Flint one again get some clean water. That's an idea.
LEMON: So -- by the way he is retiring at the ends of the week so this wouldn't -- he wouldn't benefit from this.
But I got to ask you, Doug, in an interview with "the Hill," Chaffetz said in part quote. He is what he says, "you shouldn't have to be among the wealthiest of Americans to serve properly in Congress. Members of Congress, by the way are receiving official salary $174000 a year. Leadership position receive slightly more than that. Most Americans though live on far, far less. Do you think Chaffetz is tone deaf or do you agree with him?
HEYE: Well, I think his larger part about wanting a broader community to run for office is a good one but not sympathetic. And we saw the same thing just a couple of years ago when Jim Moran, a Democrat from Virginia who was also retiring asked for more money.
I can tell you having walked around at around and the long work in Cannon Buildings in the House at around 7:00 in the morning for so many times, it can get pretty rank with all the members kind of coming out of bed who are staying in their offices but this probably isn't the way to do it.
LEMON: I'm sure, Doug, they don't appreciate that. But any way --.
HEYE: I'm not saying who.
LEMON: And they do go to gym in the morning, I hear this. So listen.
LEMON: According to "the Hill," Chaffetz says that this is going to cost taxpayers less because, you know, if have proper home in D.C., he wouldn't fly to home to Utah as often. Does he have a point, you think Peter?
[23:35:11] BEINART: You know, if the government's priorities were not so out of whack in so many other ways. If we didn't have a trump administration and public Congress that was basic, it was trying to hurt the weakest of Americans in order to create, you know, huge tax breaks for the very rich, then I think you could have a conversation about this.
I mean, I do think that it is the -- Chaffetz' point about wanting to make Congress not be composed of millionaires I think is an important point. The problem is in this context, when this administration in this Congress is doing things that would hurt ordinary Americans, poor Americans so badly, you just can't expect Americans to have any time for this kind of conversation. LEMON: Yes, Scott, real quick, because here's the thing. I'm going
to do some quick math. You got to respond quickly. $2500 a month equals $30,000 a year, 435 Representatives, 100 senators, five delegates, and one resident commissioner which amounts to about $16 million. That's lot of dough.
JENNINGS: Yes. This is not the right political environment to be bringing this up. It's an argument that only a retiring member of Congress could love. I would say too as a small government conservative, I don't want to give these people any money to live in Washington because I don't want them to go home. I don't want them to be there as much as they are right now. So I think we got to get the Congressman out of Washington more Washington and back in their districts to hear from their people. I am sympathetic to the idea that we need to make Congress more accessible to non-wealthy people though. And I do think that is the points that deserve to be debated.
LEMON: I said quick.
JENNINGS: Hey, I'm trying.
LEMON: I said quit but I do give you points for wearing the lemon tie tonight, Scott. And there he is. Scott Jennings is wearing a tie that has lemons on it. So Scott, I appreciate that. Everybody else is in trouble. Next time take a cue from Scott Jennings.
Thank you all. I appreciate it.
When we come back what the Republican healthcare bill could mean for the fight against opioids a fight. The President and his party has sworn to win, but are they living Americans alone on a battle hill? Former marine who is a recovering addict and recovery specialist speaks out next.
[23:41:12] LEMON: GOP leader Mitch McConnell has postponed a vote on a new health care bill until after the Fourth of July recess. Many Republicans deeply concerned about its impacts on folks at battling opioids. More funding for that epidemic is one thing that a majority leader could offer his conference to try to win back some votes.
To discuss now, John Brogan here is a chief recovery specialist with lifeline recovery support services and former member of the Marine Corps.
Thank you for your service. I appreciate you joining us here.
Let me ask you about this health care bill. You are a recovering addict. You work with addicts every single day. You try to help them recover. What will the impact of this Senate bill have on addiction treatment?
JOHN BROGAN, CHIEF RECOVERY SPECIALIST WITH LIFELINE RECOVERY SUPPORT SERVICES: Well, it's going to compound the problem. Medicare already doesn't treat what's wrong with this issue. So you're going to take that away. The very little that it may treat or may reimburse in certain states, you are just going to wipe it out when you have an epidemic like this wiping out an entire generation. Kids turning themselves into the police station looking for help that are over Medicaid on things like methadone, and looking to take their own lives to get away it. Couldn't to be dangerous. It's scary.
LEMON: I wonder if it's hard for you to sit and watch all the rhetoric coming from Washington and for people on television, the pundits and all of that about this bill. What do you say to them?
BROGAN: One of your former colleagues that you had on before was speaking. And he was saying there is no input from what's going on in the ground. They are having this conversations amongst themselves and not listening to the people. There is a whole generation of kids there dying right in front of their eyes. What are you leaving behind? You know, look and listen. You don't have to go very far.
LEMON: What is need?
BROGAN: There is a lot need. You know, we have - there is some partnerships out there that we have and those Monmouth County through the prosecutors' office with places like, you know, a sunrise detox. And a bench mark down in Texas, we have northeast addictions in Boston.
These are facilities that are working together that are giving scholarships to what Medicaid should pay for to let them come into their facilities for free to show how these kids can get treated the right way. And they are. There are success stories. There's just not enough of them.
LEMON: I mean, this is what Nick Kristoff writes in "the New York Times." He said this over dose problem is staggering, he says. About as many American are expected to die this year of drug over doses as died in the Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined. How do you describe to people not in the trenches that this is a national emergency, a national crisis?
BROGAN: That's putting it lightly. When you look at the fact that last year at this time just in Ocean and Monmouth County, we were probably around 150 to 180 over dose narc and reversal calls that we had serviced in the emergency room. That's people that were reverse opioid overdose, brought to the emergency room and recover and we went in and saw them.
This year, about the same time with people suffering and turning themselves into a police station were up around 200 people. That's people looking for help, people that usually have law enforcement issues turning themselves in to the police station, you think about this idea. And that's just what you're seeing on the surface. The further and further the numbers - the getting numbers are prosecutor always says they get deeper and deeper and deeper and it's destroying families and kids everywhere.
LEMON: I want to play something. This is president's senior advisor Kellyanne Conway on what it takes to beat addiction. Listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: Pouring money into the problem is not the only answer. We have to get serious about in- facility treatment and recovery.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That takes money, Kellyanne.
CONWAY: And it takes money and it also takes a four letter word called, will. It takes a focus that it includes money but it also includes understanding the difference between just interdiction and prevention but also recovery and treatment. We have a lot more success stories now. Even though no state is spare in the demographic roof has been on touched.
George, money alone hasn't solved this problem. Obamacare spend a gazillion (ph) dollars and where are we?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[23:45:00] LEMON: LEMON: Does it seems, she is suggesting that addiction is more personal strength than disease there?
BROGAN: It's exactly the opposite. We don't have the will power to stop. Otherwise, we don't want to be feeling like this and doing these things. That is a fact. That is an ignorant statement that she is making. And it is about money, but you have to give it to the right people that can utilize that money to help them. There has got to be accountability. There has never been accountability for any of these treatment centers.
Go to the ones that work. Put a panel together and treat them just like we are already doing. Just got to be done on a national level.
LEMON: Yes. I was watching Gary Tuchman tonight. He was on my colleague, Anderson Cooper's show. I mean, they talked about this guy who was in opioid addict. He had been in a treatment. And I think had over dosed a couple times. His name is Joe. Let's listen to Joey real quick and I want to talk about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOEY, DETOX CENTER PATIENT: As soon as I walked in, I pulled the IV out of my arm and walked out of the hospital, went home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: High with what?
JOEY: Heroin. I don't want to do this anymore. I don't want to die. I have a kid. I have a woman that loves me, and a family that loves me unconditionally, but will not sit by and watch me kill myself because that's all I'm doing is I'm killing myself slowly without putting a gun to myself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So to speak to what you are saying that it's not just you want to but you can't. What happens to people like Joey who cut off?
BROGAN: Well, this is the genius what governor Christie and prosecutor Coronado (INAUDIBLE). And these guys are visionaries in going out and they put a recovery coach in the emergency room. They are the first ever to do it to reach someone like I have to stop them from pulling the IV out. But that's one -- the first phase in saving that person. Then when you retain them, what are you going to do with them? That's where the Medicaid can come in with some reimbursement. But if they don't reimburse to pay for that treatment, how are they going to do it?
LEMON: Thank you.
BROGAN: Don, thank you so much.
LEMON: Thank you for your service.
BROGAN: Always. Thank you.
LEMON: A pleasure seeing you so well.
BROGAN: BROGAN: Good to see you.
LEMON: I'm going to put up a toll free number. This is for your organization. For anyone who wants more information. Lifeline Recovery support services, lifeline recovery support services. 1888- 520-0040.
When we come back the shocking video of tennis star James Blake being tackled by a NYPD police officer leading to a contentious lawsuit. But Blake has settled what could have been a lucrative claim in order to hold police accountable in a very different way. Her is here, next.
[23:51:10] LEMON: It is a caught on camera incident that shocked America. Retired tennis star James Blake waiting outside his New York City hotel for a ride to the U.S. open when he was mistaken as a suspect by an NYPD officer. Then this happened.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
LEMON: The incident had all the markings of a lucrative lawsuit but the tennis star took a different route. James Blake joins me now. He is the author of "Ways of Grace."
And I can't wait to read it. You have been determined to make a difference. When it first happened you spoke to me. You said you wanted to make a difference. You didn't want to make money off this. What you wanted to do is make a difference. And what you did, you settled your claim with the New York City police department in exchange for a fellowship in your name that will investigate police misconduct. Why did you do this? What went into the decision?
JAMES BLAKE, FORMER PROFESSIONAL TENNIS PLAYER: Well, it sort of took shape immediately after the incident when I spoke to my wife. I wanted to brush this under the rug. I was still in shock and I just didn't want to talk about it or I think about it. Growing up as an athlete, a guy, you want to be tough and anything happens that you can handle it.
As soon as she said, what if this had happened to me it made me realize, I need to say something because I don't want this to happen to anyone that I love, someone I care about or really anyone that doesn't have a voice or the platform that I have to speak up to say this is wrong. It shouldn't have happened to anyone. So I want to make a difference in that way. And I'm fortunate enough to not need to lean my pockets with taxpayer money so I want to do something that's going to make a difference.
LEMON: Yes. And you also spoke to the former New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton immediately right away about you and commended you as well and then apologized for what happened.
But I just want to go through this. In the past week we have seen several cases of police officers being acquitted. The Minnesota officer who shot and killed Philando Castile, let me put that video. That was a during a traffic stop. And then there was a Milwaukee police officer who fatally shot Cybill Smith. That was last August, acquitted of all charges. Ohio jury deadlocked in the trial of a police officer who fatally shot Samuel Dibos. On and on and on.
What do you think? Do you think justice is being done in these cases when you see what I read here?
BLAKE: It's shocking. It's tragic. It's something that is really sad. I can't speak to the exact specifics of all of those. But what I can speak to is the numbers of over 10,000 deaths at the hands of police officers and only 11 convictions. There is something that could be amiss there, you know. There's clearly times when people act in the wrong manner, and police officers are human, too. There are times when they need to use lethal force. There are times when they are in danger, they are in harm's way.
But it seems a little -- the numbers just don't seem to match up. They do make mistakes and they need to be held accountable for those mistakes. And I don't know if officers are often held accountable. But there can be some sort of change and there could be discussion and you know, this fellowship that I started can hopefully help with police misconduct cases and at least getting them to full term. Over 50 percent last year weren't seen until the end, so, want to get to that conclusion.
LEMON: And it goes without saying because you said this worth -- you aren't indicting every officer. There are good officers like any other profession, people make mistake.
LEMON: And some officers do make mistake.
And just - to your last point because you write about it in your book, "Ways of Grace" and I want to read this and then get your respond.
You said think about all the people who are minding their own business and then found themselves unfairly and unjustly detained, harassed, mistreated, embarrassed, victimize or worse. I can't imagine how many times something like a case of mistaken identity, of being in the wrong place at the wrong time or worse, a case of racial profiling or discrimination could and has happened. Explain that because that's what happen to you. The video shows that.
BLAKE: Yes. And what was shocking to me was there was no report filed. If I didn't go to the press and I feel like I'm pretty calm and cool and collected and I didn't have the wherewithal to get the badge numbers, their names or anything like that.
LEMON: And there is no report file?
BLAKE: There is no report file. If I didn't go to the press, their superior officers would have no idea what's going on. And their superior officers made a statement before there was knowledge of the video that they weren't sure if I was -- if there was excessive force used. And that I wasn't in handcuffs and that the whole encounter took less than two minutes.
So that's, my guess, what they told their superior officers so there's no incident really to report. And as superior, I don't blame them. They should believe their sergeants or lieutenants, whoever they, you know, they are dealing with, the arresting officers, but when they are not telling the truth, they need to be held accountable for lying to their superior officers.
[23:55:25] LEMON: I have got to ask you about another subject. It has to do with tennis. This one is John Mcenroe claiming Serena Williams would struggle on the men's tennis circle. He told the PR that Serena would be 700 in the world if she played on the men's tour. And Serena fired back and said -- I loved her response, too.
Dear, John. I adore and respect you but please keep me out of your statements that are not factually based. I have never played anyone ranked there, nor do I have time. Respect me and my privacy as I'm trying to have a baby. Good day, sir.
BLAKE: I think that's the most polite way to say, keep your name out of my mouth. And that's so fantastic on Serena. And I don't know why we have these discussions anymore. There is now reason to compare. It is different gender, different sports. She's the greatest of all time. And I think it's -- she's bordering on greatest all of-time athlete. Her name should be in the conversation with Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali and Babe Ruth and talking about the greatest of all time.
So I don't know why we need to start making qualifiers of where she would do and in the men's sport. This is, to me, it is similar as comparing, you know, Lebron James (INAUDIBLE) but he can't beat Lydia Ko in golf. Like why do we need to compare. It is not the same thing. It is not what they are design for.
LEMON: And her response?
BLAKE: Her response was perfect.
LEMON: She said something else, but I can't say it on television.
"Ways of Grace." Thank you.
BLAKE: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
LEMON: You are amazing. Thank you. And we appreciate what you're doing.
That's it for us tonight. Thanks for watching. I will see you right back here tomorrow.