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Report: GOP Unveils New Bill to Replace Former Health Care Bill; Senate GOP Cannot Lose More Than One Vote on Revised Bill; Mueller Adds Official That Oversaw Clinton E-Mail Probe. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired July 13, 2017 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Senate Republicans are unveiling their newly revised health care bill today. Vice President Mike Pence just issued his stamp of approval. Earlier this hour, we brought his comments to you live and he said he discussed this revision with President Trump, but the bill is already getting criticism within the senate. Senator Rand Paul says it still fails to repeal Obamacare, so he can't support it. Senator Susan Collins says she won't vote for the deep cuts to Medicaid. This leaves just one vote from the bill being dead on arrival. Joining us to talk more about all this is CNN national politics reporter MJ Lee. She's on Capitol Hill and Maeve Reston is joining us From Los Angeles. MJ, I will start with you. Lay out this version of what's different from the senate's first try.
MJ LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Let me just walk through some of the big headlines from this bill that was unveiled a couple of hours ago. The one thing I would mention off the top of the list is the Cruz amendment. This is the amendment that we have been talking about all week, an amendment that the conservative senate Republicans wanted that would essentially allow insurance companies to offer a cheaper and skimpier plan that would not be regulated under Obamacare. Now, what does this mean?
This means that now, Senator Ted Cruz is behind the bill. He told us earlier that he would vote on the motion to proceed and on the final bill as well. We're still waiting to hear whether someone like Mike Lee is going to get behind the bill. His aide tells me he is still undecided. Other additions that were made to this bill, $45 billion in extra funding that would go toward opioid treatment. This is something that was very important to members like Rob Portman, Shelley Moore Capito, and we also have some $70 billion in additional funding that would go towards stabilization funds.
This was also important to some of the moderates who felt like there wasn't enough money to help people pay for their premiums and health care costs. What does all this mean politically? It means that we are again watching the moderate wing of the party. This is similar to what happened over on the house side, you remember, Ana, that house Republicans, house leadership ended up making some pretty big concessions to the conservatives and then it was a matter of wooing the moderates who were holdouts until the very end and we saw what happened there, that in the very end, it was close, but they were able to win over enough moderates to get that bill through the house.
CABRERA: So, Maeve, this version of the bill, one thing we did not hear, MJ just mention, were any cuts to Medicaid and funding being added back in. We know this bill did not touch the initial cuts that were made to Medicaid. And they can't afford to lose even one more vote. It's not looking too good.
MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Right. There's a lot of -- you have senators this morning who are still saying that they want to run the numbers in their states to see, you know, how the Medicaid cuts would affect the constituents in their states and there's a really good reason for that. I've been out in some of the competitive districts over the last couple of weeks, and so many voters out there are talking about how everything that they hear about this bill is negative. They are terrified about the cuts to Medicaid. They have, you know, friends and family members who rely on that, and they're unclear as to what's in the bill. So, there's a lot of confusion out there, and clearly these senators are hearing from their constituents about that, and deciding which way to go. So, it still seems very much up in the air, even if McConnell is saying he's feeling more optimistic at this point.
CABRERA: MJ does this bill fundamentally address some of the concerns that constituents were telling their representatives and their senators when they went home for the July fourth recess?
LEE: It certainly, you know, did enough to win over, as I mentioned earlier, some members, someone like Ted Cruz. It is a big deal that he has gotten behind this bill. I was sort of struck when I was speaking with him earlier that I asked him, will you be able to tell the people of Texas that this bill repealed and replaces Obamacare, and he acknowledged, look, this doesn't get us all the way there. This is certainly not perfect. But that at this point, he is willing to accept something that is not perfect to at least, you know, deliver partly on the promise to make changes to Obamacare. I would also point out on the Medicaid front, just to give you a sense of how important that debate is going to be in the coming days, just behind me on the other side of the Capitol, there's a meeting going on right now in Mitch McConnell's office with members like Dean Heller, Shelley Moore Capito, and she just came out and I asked her, tried to get details on what they were discussing and she really wouldn't go into the details.
[15:35:00] She said it was a fine meeting but she said she has serious concerns, especially when it comes to the Medicaid portion of this so how that debate unfolds is going to be critical in finding out whether senate Republicans can get the number of votes that they need because keep in mind, you mentioned this already, they're basically one vote away from this bill going down. Rand Paul has said he is no. Susan Collins said she's no. One more senator coming out and saying they are no, this bill could not even get through the motion to proceed next week.
CABRERA: Keep us posted. MJ Lee, Maeve Reston. Thank you.
Moments from now, President Trump and Macron will have dinner together in Paris at the Eiffel Tower. We will bring it to you live.
Plus, Melania Trump getting a very warm reception until tin the city. Hear what she's been up to.
[15:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: Donald Trump Jr. e-mails in black and white, set up a meeting with a Kremlin-friendly lawyer to discuss ways the Russians can help the Trump campaign hurt Hillary Clinton. Republican donors are now facing a new reality. This really happened. Let's discuss with CNN political commentator and the former lieutenant governor of South Carolina, Andre Bauer and the former communications director for the Jeb Bush presidential campaign, Tim Miller, both Republicans here with us. Thanks for being here. First to you, Andre, CNN reporting that this latest development, the e-mails here and the meeting, in the Russia story are starting to make Republican donors and activists nervous. Does this make you feel a little uneasy?
ANDRE BAUER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't know that it makes me feel uneasy but no question, this was naive and not the best thing for him. This is a non-traditional first family. I don't think it hurts donors, but the continual drip takes away from the president's message and definitely doesn't help things as he's accomplishing so much right now.
CABRERA: And Tim, does Trump's defiance in all of this play into Republicans' nerves?
TIM MILLER, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, JEB BUSH PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Of course, it does. Andre doesn't feel uneasy. What is there to not feel uneasy about? It was plain as day. Donald Trump Jr. got an e-mail said, I'm from Russia and I'm here to help, and he said, I love it, let me bring the campaign manager and the president's closest adviser, his brother in law. This is beyond imagination. If you had told me a week ago that there would be evidence that was this clear, I would have said you were a conspiracy theorist. This is unbelievably damning, and I think that people are right to be nervous. If they weren't nervous before, which I question. But I don't know what planet Andre's on.
CABRERA: Real quick, I want to draw your attention, our viewers, to the right side of the screen there. We're looking at live images, the president and his wife along with Macron and his wife having dinner in the Eiffel Tower way up above Paris, taking pictures before they are seated at this fancy Michelin Star Restaurant. We'll continue to monitor these live images and the headlines that they come from this, potential menu items they may be enjoying but in the meantime, let's turn our attention back to the Russia investigation, the news about Don Junior, his e-mails, his meeting and now we are just learning, in fact, we're just learning, this just crossing as we're speaking, that Special Counsel Mueller is going to bring in an FBI official who oversaw the Clinton e-mail investigation. Andre, a little irony here?
BAUER: Well, I hope it's not just irony. I hope when we investigate Russia, we don't just investigate one side. Whether it's Uranium One or whether it is donations to the Clinton Foundation or whether it is calls directly from Putin to Bill Clinton, or speaking fees, I think the American people want to know what Russia did in any way had their finger --
CABRERA: What does that have to do with Mueller adding somebody who just happened to be involved in the Clinton e-mail investigation to his team investigating Russia's meddling of the 2016 election?
BAUER: Because that was part of Russia dealing with American politics, was dealing with the Clintons as well. Russia didn't just say, oh, we want to befriend Donald Trump. They've had a long history of the Clintons as well and that was one of the candidates in this race, and so I think the American people want to know all the facts, not just part of the facts and not just one side of the political equation.
CABRERA: Tim, what's your reaction?
MILLER: Donald Trump is the president right now. What the American people need to know is if -- and I think we already know, but the question is, the extent to which the president and his closest advisers knew that they received help from a country that is our enemy on the world stage.
BAUER: They didn't receive help.
MILLER: That's trying to undermine us, that's trying to create chaos and Donald Trump cheered them on and his defenders like you, Andre, during the campaign, cheered them on when they were trying to undermine our democracy, and were there trying to undermine us and hurt our allies and help our enemies all across the world in Ukraine and Syria and elsewhere.
[15:45:00] And we need an investigation into how closely the campaign was connected to this. You know, the Clintons are gone. They've been --
BAUER: Just because you rob a bank and don't get caught --
MILLER: What do you mean don't get caught?
BAUER: If you rob a bank and don't get cash -- she wasn't investigated. They let it go.
MILLER: Andre, this isn't just about the law, OK? You want to make this just about the law. Just because -- if you try to rob a bank and you failed, that is still a crime.
BAUER: You still get prosecuted.
CABRERA: Let me interrupt for just a minute, guys. Just a minute. Hold on. Hold your thought. Tim.
CABRERA: Hold your thought because I just want to point out, Andre, what you just said about they tried to investigate and let the investigation into Hillary Clinton's e-mails go, that is not true. But back to the conversation about this ongoing investigation. Let me ask it this way to you, Andre. Does it help, in your mind, give more credence to the investigator of the Russia investigation when he has members on his team like this individual?
BAUER: Absolutely. No question.
CABRERA: Who also investigated the Hillary Clinton campaign.
CABRERA: The e-mails involved, not the campaign, but the e-mails that were on her server.
BAUER: Yes, ma'am.
CABRERA: All right. We have a positive yes there.
MILLER: I'm happy to hear that.
CABRERA: I do want to also bring up another thing that we are learning today. Republican Congressman Bill Flores of Texas, when it comes to Republicans starting to feel an impact of the Russia investigation, and this new development involving a member of President Trump's family, this Republican is now calling on family members to be removed from the White House. Tim, does that make sense to you?
MILLER: Well, look, this is why we have nepotism laws and why some people were concerned about, you know, Ivanka and Jared going into the White House and being so close. This goes back a long ways. This is why people were concerned about Bobby Kennedy being A.G. because it's hard to fire your brother. It's hard to fire your son-in-law. And Jared Kushner is now, we know attended a meeting. The premise of the meeting was Russia helping Donald Trump's campaign. We know he went to a meeting where it was reported he tried to set up a back channel with Russia. I think if this was not a son-in-law, I think that, you know, the appropriate course would be for him to take a leave of absence and not have a security clearance until this investigation is over. Because he's a son-in-law, that creates these uncomfortable issues so I don't know if I agree exactly what Representative Flores is proposing but I think the nepotism laws need to be looked at for sure.
CABRERA: I'll give you the last word, Andre.
BAUER: I know we in the media continue to talk about this but I haven't seen one person on the street show this concern. I know we talked earlier whether this hurts in the mid-terms, I think the American people, it really isn't fazing them. This Russia thing, it's not what people are talking about. They're talking about job
creation, taxes, they're talking about Obamacare and what's going to happen to it, whether it gets phased out or whether it gets repealed.
CABRERA: We're talking about that here too today. Gentlemen, thank you both so much for your time. I really appreciate it. MILLER: Thanks.
BAUER: Thank you.
CABRERA: Happening now, President Macron and his wife hosting the Trumps for a meal at the Eiffel Tower. What's on the menu for this decadent dinner? Stay with us.
[15:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: Today, President Trump and the first lady continue their two-day tour of Paris before Bastille Day festivities. This hour the Trumps are having dinner with French President Macron, his wife, Brigitte at one the most decadent restaurants in Paris. On the second floor of the Eiffel Tower, the Trumps toured Napoleon's Tomb ahead of the Bastille Day celebrations and while in Paris, Melania scheduled her own itinerary of events. Earlier he visited a children's hospital, she greeted patients that were there. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Nice to meet you. How are you? What's your name?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So, there she spoke in English. We also know she's been speaking in French during some of her visit. One of the five languages she knows. Of course, she started her modelling career in Paris, or in France. She and Mrs. Macron then took a boat ride down the Seine River there and I'm sure I butchered that name. I don't know, I don't know French, the French language, but forgive me for that.
Joining me now to talk about more about Melania's day in Paris is CNN White House reporter Kate Bennett and Mary Alice Stevenson, friend of Melania Trump and fashion expert. Kate, what's going on right now as the first couple meets with the president of France and his wife for this decadent dinner at the Eiffel Tower. Tell us about how this restaurant was selected and what's on the menu.
MARY ALICE STEVENSON, FRIEND OF MELANIA TRUMP: So, apparently in a number of restaurants were presented, and this was the one that was selected. I think mostly because of the sort of iconic view of Paris that you're getting from the Eiffel Tower about 400 feet up. There's a private elevator that takes you up as we see the chef who's very famous there was to greet both couples. On the menu's reportedly blue lobster which is basically lobster that's found in Europe and different parts of the water which makes it blue and caviar, and very traditional French food. So that's probably sort of again, the pomp and circumstance of this visit is reflected in this restaurant choice.
[15:55:00] CABRERA: Mary Alice, speaking of choices, a lot of people are paying attention to what the first lady wears, how she presents herself on the world stage. What do you know about her selection of outfits for this trip? STEVENSON: Well, Melania Trump, our first lady, works with a designer
and well-known stylist named Herve Pierre. And he and Melania, they work together as a team and create, you know, it's more than just pretty clothes that Melania's wearing. It's specific picks that are elegant and respectful to the religion or the protocol of that country. It is the 70th anniversary of Christian Dior, and Melania and Herve wanted to celebrate that. So, stepping out in that key moment off the plane in Dior which is basically part of the French vocabulary, Christian Dior, it was a choice that I thought was smart. And I think that the French people really responded well to it.
CABRERA: And tonight her selection?
STEVENSON: Tonight, her selection is a custom designed dress by Herve Pierre. And it was very elegant. It's red, white, and blue, it's bias cut. And, you know, very simple, square neckline, little bit lower neckline because it's the evening. Showing some skin. And again, work together -- how they work together is Herve Pierre sketches the dress and, of course, Melania then takes a look at it and then will do a fitting. It is a custom dress with her. She wore a Scada on the way to Paris which I thought was a Gap t-shirt. She's making choices that are elegant and respectful of the French community. And so is -- I think it's interesting too, the dichotomy between her and France's first lady, Brigitte Macron.
CABRERA: Of course, they both look beautiful. Kate, how is Melania being received in Paris today?
KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Very well. I mean, I think we've seen in these many trips abroad knew she's had more than a handful, she's probably seemingly more comfortable on a global stage abroad than she's been here. We've seen her more outside of the U.S. giving more speeches, visiting more hospitals, she hasn't visited a children's hospital in the United States since late April, however, she continues to make that part of her signature protocol while she's been abroad for the trips in May and again this week or just today. So, she's certainly being well-received. She's showing a side of her compassionate personality and again tomorrow at the parade, we'll see her once again.
CABRERA: Kate Bennett and Mary Alice Stevenson, thank you both.
Up next, a quiet Pennsylvania community now at the center of a gruesome discovery. What investigators found 12 feet underground just days after four men mysteriously disappeared.