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GOP Senators No Votes; Health Care Bill Failure; Rand Paul Takes Questions; Trump Jr. Meeting Attendant Revealed; Mueller Says Trump Jr. and Manafort Can Testify. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired July 18, 2017 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:11] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everyone. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Good to be back. You're watching CNN.
We have some breaking news for you this afternoon. Just hours of their health care bill collapsed, the new idea by Republicans is also effectively DOA, dead on arrival, already. And now a pretty stunning statement by the president of the United States encouraging Republicans to let Obamacare completely fail. As you know, the bill to repeal and replace Obamacare did not receive enough votes, and now you have these three Republican senators who say they will vote against a repeal only bill, effectively killing the whole thing.
Here first was the president just moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've had a lot of victories but we haven't had a victory on health care. We're disappointed. I am very disappointed because, again, even as a civilian, for seven years I've been hearing about health care. And I've been hearing about repeal and replace.
And Obamacare is a total disaster. Some states had over a 200 percent increase - a 200 percent increase in their premiums and their deductibles are through the roof. It's an absolute disaster.
And I think you'll also agree that I've been saying for a long time, let Obamacare fail and then everybody's going to have to come together and fix it. And come up with a new plan and a plan that's really good for the people with much lower premiums, much lower costs, and much better protection.
I've been saying that. Mike, I think you'll agree, for a long time. Let Obamacare fail. It will be a lot easier. And I think we're probably in that position where we'll just let Obamacare fail.
We're not going to own it. I'm not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it. We'll let Obamacare fail and then the Democrats are going to come to us and they're going to say, how do we fix it, how do we fix it, or how do we come up with a new plan. So we'll see what happens. There's some other things going on right
now as we speak. But I am disappointed because for so many years I've been hearing repeal and replace. I'm sitting in the Oval Office right next door, pen in hand, waiting to sign something, and I'll be waiting, and eventually we're going get something done, and it's going to be very good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Obviously, really significant what he just said, Ryan Nobles, we're not going to own it. Republicans are not going to own it. Democrats are eventually going come to us.
We're going to come through - come back to that in just a moment. But, first, just on the, you know, the micro-developments here, the whole repeal it now, replace it later. If that's DOA, tell me who these three senators are who are already saying no?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, essentially, Brooke, you've got three moderate senators here, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, they essentially came out right away and said that if this bill was going to be a repeal-only situation, that they were not going to be a part of it. And they are telling reporters that they're not even going to vote for the measure that would put the bill on the floor, the motion to proceed, so that they could start the debate.
And once you had three senators, that was enough to, as you said before, make this bill dead on arrival because the margins are so tight in the Senate with only 52 Republican senators.
NOBLES: They had to have at least 50 to push this bill forward. And right now that's just not happening.
BALDWIN: All right, Ryan, thank you.
We begin there. Placing politics in the ramifications of all of this aside for just a hot minute, you know, what happens if Obamacare really is allowed to fail?
Let's bring in CNN Money senior writer Tami Luhby, who covers all things health care and the economy here for us.
So that's the question, if it were to fail, what would that look like? Who's affected?
TAMI LUHBY, CNN MONEY SENIOR WRITER: Sure.
Well, first of all, it's not going to be, it's going to fail or it's not going to fail. It's going to fail in certain places. We already have 38 counties around this country that for 2018 the people there have no insurance options on the exchanges. It's about 25,000 people. You know it's possible that an insurer will come in and will cover them. That's what's been happening so far. But right now we have 38 places where it's failed. But in many places it's doing well and it may continue to do well and a lot of insurers have said that it's stabilizing. So we don't know that it's just going to blow up and fail.
But there are people who are going to be in trouble with this if it doesn't fail.
BALDWIN: Who specifically?
LUHBY: It's going to be for those people in those 38 counties. They don't have any choices of subsidized insurance. So they don't have a choice of insurance. And if it does, as the president says, there are things that the Republicans, and particularly Trump, can do to hasten the failure in more places.
And, you know, for Congress and for Trump, this is about politics. For those people in those 38 counties and other people around the world, it's their health insurance. For some of them, it's a matter of life and death. So Congress is playing politics.
But for people, this is really important. And the question is, are they just going to allow this, as he says, to just fail and not have any kind of replacement option in place for them right away? And then what happens to those people? The Republicans are in charge of Congress and the administration.
[14:05:08] BALDWIN: Because you can't imagine - or one couldn't imagine, left, right, or center, the notion of the government hastening, to use your word, a failure so that people would become more ill, more sick, because they wouldn't have this coverage, because, essentially, Republicans, the president himself, saying Republicans aren't going to own it, we'll let it fail and therefore that's when the Democrats come a calling.
LUHBY: Yes. I mean we don't know whether the Democrats are going to come. We don't know whether the Republicans are going to have a fix on their own. I mean McConnell has already spoken about having a market stabilization plan. He realizes that if they can't get it through, and it looks like they're not going to get it through, that something still has to be done in order to keep people who have health insurance now to keep them insured.
Wow, Tami Luhby, thank you so much.
LUHBY: Thank you.
BALDWIN: So on the political fallout, let's go there. I have David Chalian, our CNN political director joining me, and CNN national political reporter Maeve Reston.
Good to see both of you.
And, David Chalian, first to you. Just going back to the president's words there, you know, he's essentially saying, let Obamacare fail, Republicans won't be owning it. He's not going to own it. You know, let the Democrats come to us. How significant was that sound bite, do you think?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I have been racking my brain to think of a statement I have ever heard from the president of the United States of either party as cynical as that statement. Now, this is not the first time, of course, that President Trump has said this, but it's in a new context. He has said it in the past and people would see it as sort of a threat or an incentive kind of thing to make sure that Republicans stay on and get this through.
Well, in this context of the bill falling apart, it is hard to imagine how these words are not going to hang around him and the Republican Party throughout this next election cycle because he could say until he's blue in the face that he's not going to own this, but he's the president of the United States of America. He is going to own it. I mean they may be successful politically in convincing Americans around election time to muddy the waters and make everybody responsible and clearly there's enough blame to go around in Washington, no doubt the voters will buy that. But to think that as president of the United States that he's not going to have ownership over people not receiving health care, not knowing what's coming next, losing health care, that just defies logic. He is going to own this.
BALDWIN: Yes. And you take that - I'm already thinking ahead to, you know, the next rounds of elections. You take that sound bite. You then juxtapose it with his vow and really the Republicans' vow, Maeve, you know where I'm going, with the vow for, what, seven plus years -
MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: You're writing the ad, Brooke.
BALDWIN: I mean I am. But we know politics, so we know how this works. You know, that for seven years it's been, we're going to repeal and replace Obamacare -
BALDWIN: And President Trump promised to do it at the same time. Let's remember. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So we're going to do it simultaneously. It will be just fine. We're not going to have like a two-day period and we're not going to have a two-year period where there's nothing. It will be repealed and replaced.
Because Obamacare has to be replaced. And we will do it and we will do it very, very quickly.
My first day in office, I'm going to ask Congress to put a bill on my desk getting rid of this disastrous law and replacing it with reforms that expand choice, freedom, affordability. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Then we add to this our dear colleague, Dana Bash, who's also reporting that the White House is taking part, you know, some of the blame for not selling the bill. But now Republican sources are slamming the president's lack of engagement in the whole process. What do you make of that, Maeve?
RESTON: Well, there certainly was a lack of engagement in this process, certainly in the policy details. And to your point, I mean, I've been out there talking to voters in these competitive districts and all of them, even the people who supported Trump, said that they were uncomfortable with the bill as it was before it collapsed. You know, the idea that people would lose their Medicaid coverage. They saw that as unkind. There were people, independent voters, talking about how this wasn't what Trump said on the campaign trail last year, as you just demonstrated.
So I think the politics of this are so dangerous for Republicans going into 2018 because what are you promising people then, you know? I mean you're just going to do the repeal, which satisfies the base -
BALDWIN: If you don't follow through.
RESTON: But you're not - if you don't have a plan in mind, what are people going to go to the plans and vote for you for.
BALDWIN: I mean, on the politics and the promises, David Chalian, I mean it's notable that there are now several of his biggest campaign promises. In fact, when you think of what's happening, the Iran deal and this collapsing on the same day.
CHALIAN: Yes. I mean the idea of keeping the Iran deal in place, when he promised to get rid of it, and obviously this big promise of Obamacare, no doubt the convergence of those as you're approaching the six-month mark at the lowest historic approval ratings in the modern era of anybody that held - has held the job, it's not a great week for the Trump administration. It clearly - the president is going to have to retool in some way if he wants to change the outcome here.
[14:10:13] But that's not to say he hasn't accomplished anything in these first six months. Obviously you got Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. He did deliver pulling out of TPP, pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement. He had followed through on some promises. But these were two big ones coming at this mark - sort of this marking point of six months and you begin to see, as you look at the poll results, there are real-world consequences of being a president who is only at 36 percent to 40 percent.
CHALIAN: By choosing in the last six months not to make a broad appeal and try to expand beyond his most core base of supporters, or not being able to do so successfully, he now faces senators in his own party who do not fear him in any way and feel that they can buck him, even if it is, you know, on a core promise. BALDWIN: But what about, you know, I'm just trying to think of
solutions in terms of health care. I mean am I crazy to think that there could be some sort of bipartisan approach to this? We think back to covering the campaign and even Hillary Clinton herself said, you know, that there were parts of Obamacare that she would want to jigger with.
So, Maeve, what - are there options here?
RESTON: Well, certainly. I mean and certainly the Democrats would like to fix certain things about Obamacare. You heard Chuck Schumer talking about that this morning. But what is the incentive for them to work with President Trump at this point?
BALDWIN: I don't know.
RESTON: I mean what they would like to do is regain control of the House in 2018. I just - it's very hard to see a scenario where the Democrats would come in and, you know, come to Trump's rescue on the health care bill.
At the same time, David is right, you know, there's a lot of time. They could come up with a really thoughtful policy solution. But this puts so much pressure on them to do that. And also to come through on tax reform and tax cuts, because that's going to be incredibly important to voters next year.
BALDWIN: That's a whole other - that's a whole other conversation that we're going to be having in some time.
Thank you both so much. Maeve and David, it's so good to see both of you. Thank you.
CHALIAN: Thanks, Brooke.
BALDWIN: We do have more breaking news because we're now hearing that the special counsel, Robert Mueller, is giving the OK for Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort to testify publicly about the campaign and the whole infamous meeting over at Trump Tower. This is happening as CNN is learning the identity of the mysterious eighth person who was inside that room for that meeting. We have those details next.
And the family of that bride-to-be who was shot and killed by police is now demanding answers, as we are learning more and more about her tragic moments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The death of Justine is a loss to everyone who knew her. She touched so many people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[14:16:43] SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I think that's what we should do, and that's what the discussion's been about.
PAUL: There's an indication that that's the way we're leaning. There was some spirited discussion over whether we should move forward or not on the vote.
QUESTION: What is your message to those who have skepticism? I mean we've talked to Senator Portman, we've talked to Senator Murkowski and Lee. They may have voted last time, but now you're firing with live ammo and that does change the contexts (ph).
PAUL: Right. Well, the message to the American public is, Obamacare has failed. If you look at the individual market, if you're a plumber and your wife trying to buy insurance, Obamacare has failed you. The prices are rising, double digits. In fact, 100 percent is the average that prices have risen for those in the individual market.
So Obamacare has failed. The death spiral of Obamacare continues. Even with partial repeal, Obamacare will still be in place and Obamacare will still be a drag on the insurance markets and making it difficult for people to buy insurance.
QUESTION: But isn't - but isn't that why they're a little bit reluctant because there is no firm commitment that they get something else. We saw what happened around here six years ago with the super committee.
QUESTION: And that never worked out so well (ph).
PAUL: There have been many ideas for how we get more people in our country insurance. For example, 27 million people don't have insurance rights now under Obamacare. The estimates are that 50 percent of those 27 million don't get it because it's too expensive. It's too expensive because of the Obamacare regulations.
The death spiral of Obamacare is, regulations make insurance expensive, and then you say, oh, but you can get it after you're sick. That is the real problem. That's the whole problem we have. It's the adverse selection and the death spiral.
That's what we need to fix. We don't have enough votes to repeal all of that, so we're going to have to move forward. And I'm in favor of moving forward with partial repeal and continuing to work on trying to get rid of the rest of the bad elements of Obamacare that have driven prices up.
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) do you think that there could be a vote (INAUDIBLE)?
PAUL: No, I'm for a vote that succeeds. And I think those Republicans who promised to repeal Obamacare ought to vote the same way they voted in 2015. If you're not willing to vote the same way you voted in 2015, then you need to go back home and you need to explain to Republicans why you're no longer for repealing Obamacare.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks, Rand.
BALDWIN: OK, so that's interesting. So we just had this whole conversation at the top of the show over health care and, you know, obviously, since we know repeal and replace isn't happening thanks to those two Republican senators last night, and now there are these three Republican senators who are saying, thanks but no thanks to this whole notion of repeal now, replace later.
That was Senator Rand Paul saying, hang on a second, let's wait. I would actually like to hold a vote where we maybe do a partial repeal and replace later. And he's hoping, obviously, those Republicans then jump on board. The notion of maybe still holding a vote, even though at the moment it seems DOA.
We're waiting to hear from the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell. That's significant because he, too, is obviously coming out of this Republican luncheon there on The Hill. And when we see him, we'll take it live.
But let's move on and talk about more breaking news. This on the firestorm hovering over the White House. CNN is now learning that the special counsel here in this whole investigation, Bob Mueller, has given the Senate Judiciary Committee the OK to question Donald Trump Jr. and former campaign manager Paul Manafort in a public hearing. The top Democrat on that committee, Dianne Feinstein, tells us that Bob Mueller, quote, "doesn't have a problem" with them testifying.
[14:20:06] This comes on the heels of a secret meeting that Trump Jr. had last June during the campaign with all those Russian associates where he did, or at least he was promised dirt on Hillary Clinton. Trump Jr. released damning e-mails confirming the meeting at Trump Tower and revealed the fact that Manafort and President Trump's son- in-law turned top aide, Jared Kushner, were also in the room.
And now CNN has learned the identity of the eighth person in that meeting. Pamela Brown was the first to report his identity. She joins me now.
Who is person number eight, Pamela?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so much mystery surrounding this, Brooke. We have learned the eighth person who attended this June 2016 meeting with Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower is Ike Kaveladze. His identity was confirmed by his attorney, Scott Balber. And Kaveladze is a senior vice president at Crocus Group, which is the real estate development company run by Russian Azerbaijani oligarch Aras Agalarov, according to his LinkedIn. And as you'll recall, Brooke, the Agalarov family were mentioned in that e- mail exchange that Don Jr. released as being sort of orchestrating this meeting. His personal web site says that he holds responsibility for multiple
elements of the company's Russian development projects. So he has several projects in Russia. He studied at the Moscow Academy of Finance. He also got an MBA from the University of New Haven in Connecticut.
And Kaveladze is a U.S. citizen, according to his attorney, and has worked for the Agalarov's business since 2004. Which means, Brooke, he was with the company when it partnered with the Trump organization to pull off the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow. In fact, it appears he's seen this video from 2013 that CNN exclusively obtained and that you'll see him in the video, he is with the Agalarov family and he is with Donald Trump there. And so he's clearly - he goes way back with the Agalarov family and he is seen there in the same room with Donald Trump in Las Vegas and in this video. The special counsel's investigators, they are seeking information from Kaveladze as part of the Russia probe and his attorney says that he is fully cooperating, Brooke.
BALDWIN: OK, Pamela, thank you.
Let's broaden out the conversation. Asha Rangappa is with me, CNN legal and national security analyst and former FBI special agent.
So, Asha, you know, she just laid out exactly who this eighth person, you know, was. But you tell me, what's the significant of Robert Mueller saying, OK, to Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort to testify in public?
ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: So there's an upside to Mueller here and there's a potential downside. So, the upside for Mueller for these people to testify under oath is, he gets to lock down their story. And as you know, if Don Jr. gets caught in one more lie, his pants are going to catch on fire. And from Mueller's point of view, he can then charge him with perjury. So, Don Jr.'s going to have to think very carefully about the story that he wants to tell. But Mueller will then have something on the record.
Now, the downside, Brooke, is that Don Jr. could potentially take the Fifth for a number of questions. He has that right. And that could be frustrating for Congress. And they have the power to grant him immunity. And this could actually impede Mueller's information.
So this happened in Iran Contra. Congress offered Oliver North immunity to testify so he couldn't invoke the Fifth, and then later his criminal conviction was thrown out of court because the court held that his congressional immunity precluded him from being convicted in criminal court.
So, you know, Mueller has to be careful about that. But I think that if he has given the green light, my sense is that he probably would have worked that out with Congress. And I would think that Congress, in this case, would not want to interfere with his investigation.
BALDWIN: So - but what do you think shy of a pants on fire moment, you know, what do you think the chances are that they actually take him up on this and do testify publicly?
RANGAPPA: That Congress will? I think they would. I mean these -
BALDWIN: That these two men - that these two men will say yes to testifying publicly.
RANGAPPA: That's a great question. I - you know, if I were their defense attorneys, I would not want them to do that, precisely because of what I just explained, and the trouble it could get them in. I mean from a PR perspective, it makes them look very forthcoming, but it can have a lot of legal implications. Congress could subpoena them, though, and they would be forced to testify and, again, they could take the Fifth and then we could go down to that road.
BALDWIN: Yes. Got it.
Before we go down that road, let me just move on. So an administration official, Asha, tells CNN the White House is worried that Jared Kushner's security clearance is actually in jeopardy because he was in the room in this meeting at Trump Tower. Kushner's - on Kushner's clearance, you know, ultimately it's the president to say whether or not he gets to keep clearance, though, correct? Even though he could face blowback because of all of what's swirling, it's up to the president.
RANGAPPA: Yes. As a purely legal matter, the president can give Kushner his clearance. I mean, also, Brooke, as a purely legal matter, the president can give President Putin security clearance. It doesn't mean that it's a good idea. And it's had potentially a -
[14:25:14] BALDWIN: But hasn't he already received sensitive information, Jared Kushner?
RANGAPPA: I think he has a temporary clearance of some kind, which would allow him to view it. But a full clearance would really give him full access to the highest levels of classified information, including the presidential daily brief. And that includes intelligence collected from all across our intelligence community and intelligence that's shared from our allies. And you have to wonder, you know, our allies are watching this unfold. And if they believe that -
BALDWIN: Very closely.
RANGAPPA: The information they give may end up in potentially being compromised, you know, we, as a nation, I think, could end up not getting things that we need to protect ourselves from the people who can help us.
BALDWIN: Which is significant. Asha Rangappa, good to see you. Thank you very much. The conversation continues.
Here we are, just about two days shy of six months into his presidency, President Trump dealing with, you know, obstacle after obstacle, many of which have been self-inflicted. So we're asking three journalists which, you know, moments have really surprised them the most during the first six months here in the Oval Office. So we'll talk about that.
Also ahead, an emotional outpouring from a grieving fiance. His bride- to-be shot and killed by police after she called 911 to report a possible assault. What happened and why are police being so quiet? We'll be right back.