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INSIDE POLITICS

Trump Faces October Deadline To Recertify Iran Deal; First Lady Melania Trump Speaks At U.N. Event; Graham Says New Health Care Bill Gets Vote Next Week; Deadline For Passing Bill With 50 Votes Is Sept. 30. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired September 20, 2017 - 12:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[12:30:03] MICHAEL SHEAR, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I mean, the Obama administration without thinking about, well, what, are the other things we could do? Are military options possible? What they work? What are the ramifications of those?

And so, the Trump administration has to be, you know, weighing not only, you know, is there a decision we can make because we don't like the deal. But if we do that, what are both the ramifications can regionally that don't involve nuclear weapons. And then, you know, how do we stop the regime from pursuing again a nuclear weapons program which everybody agrees would be a problem for the region and for the world.

JOHN KING, INSIDE POLITICS HOST: Even if you think it's a bad deal --

SHEAR: Right.

KING: -- and a lot of people do, a lot of people agree with the President, it's not a perfect deal. But even if you agree that it's a bad deal, the question is can you get a better one. And given the environment at the moment, what the President's words toward Iran, Iran's words back, how hard it was for the Obama administration to get this deal whether you like or not, took a long time to get there. There is no environment conceivable at least before us at the moment of another deal or a tougher deal. Iran says no thank you.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well Iran says no thank you. But then there's also the question of all of the parties who signed this deal. Allies that the United States really needs right now for other hot spots like North Korea.

So look, there is a reason why although President Trump and pretty much all of the Republican candidates for the Republican nomination said we're going to tear up the Iran deal on day one of our administration if we're elected didn't do that. And the reason is because even those like Nikki Haley and other opponents of the deal said OK, we have to take a breath, we have to take a step back because we like it or not, it is something that the U.S. has signed on to, and it will disrupt so many -- we'll have so many ripple effects beyond just the threat of Iran and Iran having nuclear power.

The question is whether or not something has changed to or someone has changed the President's mind to make him think, you know what? No, this time, in October, we won't certify that they're complying with the deal and we're out of here.

KING: And you know very well from covering the White House that the outside forces, the more conservative or hawkish voices say the President has become hostage to the globalists. That's how they would put it. That he's listening to Rex Tillerson, he's listening to General McMaster, maybe Secretary Mattis, former General Mattis as well, General Kelly, the chief of staff who say, not perfect, sir.

But many of them served in the Obama administration, in the military, not Secretary Tillerson, when this came through. How much will the President -- who does he listen to I guess? And before we get to the answer, does he listen to the allies Dana mentioned like the French President, Emmanuel Macron?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. EMMANUEL MACRON, FRANCE: I think that's the outcome of this deal is now we have the monitoring process with the international urgency following the situation. And I think that it's better than nothing. OK? Why? Because if we stop with this deal, if we just stop with the nuclear agreement, so we will enter into a situation very similar to the North Korean situation before what happened this summer. So I think it would be a big mistake.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Fierce tug of war for the President. The question I guess is who gets the last word.

TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, BLOOMBERG: Well, the so- called globalists are dominant right now in the White House and they're listening to people like the French President Macron, they're listening trying to understand what the rest of the world is thinking. If President Trump were to pull out, he would be sort of isolated when you're looking at the other parts of this deal. Everyone else is saying hat Iran is mostly staying in agreement with the deal. They're complying with their responsibilities. President trump doesn't believe that. But he doesn't have a lot of partners in that.

Other countries including France who are part of this deal want this deal to continue and they expect that Iran is going to continue to comply and if President Trump were to pull out, he would be isolated in the same way that he was with the climate agreement that he pull out.

KING: And you see that debate on Capitol Hill, too. Chuck Schumer who voted no, didn't like the Iran deal, says but we're in it now. And maybe they, you know, maybe there was some misdemeanor violations but until you get a grand violation -- let's be careful, we have a structure in place that's not blow it up.

SEUNG MIN KIM, REPORTER, POLITICO: I've been wondering if that sentiment, the one that (INAUDIBLE) have been in place among Republican senators, too. I've been asking for the last couple days. So far you do see support for President Trump if he does decides to withdraw from the Iran deal. Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Cory Gardner both members of the Foreign Relations Committee told me this week that they would be fine with the President withdrawing from the Iran deal. But folks like Senator Schumer, Ben Cardin of Maryland, another Democrat who opposed the Iran deal, still think that we should stay in place for the time being considering the destruction that could take place if the President does withdraw.

KING: That's the debate here in Washington while he's at the U.N. Emmanuel Macron, the French President says stay. The Prime Minister of Israel says get out. So we'll see who wins the tug of war of the President's debate on this one.

We'll going to take a quick break here. We should let you know we're watching the dramatic rescues under way in Mexico City number one at the United Nations. When we come back, a different Trump. The First Lady has a big speech this hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:39:02] KING: Live now in New York and the United Nations. The First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump, delivering a rare speech at a luncheon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Good afternoon. Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, colleagues and friends, I would like to welcome and thank all of you for joining me here today. I'm honored to serve as First Lady of the United States. And I look forward to sharing with each of you my sincere hopes for all that we will be able to do together. To promote peace, human rights, and human dignity. Leaving no one behind especially not our children.

The most important and joyous role I ever had is to be a mother to my young son. And what could possibly be more essential focus in everyone's life than that of loving, educating, and bringing up our next generation to be happy, productive, and morally responsible adults.

[12:40:15] Together, we must acknowledge that all too often is the weakest most innocent and vulnerable among us, our children, who ultimately suffer the most from the challenges that plague our societies. Whether it is drug addiction, bullying, poverty, disease, trafficking, illiteracy, or hunger, it is the children who are hit first and hardest in any country.

And as we all know, the future of every nation rests with the promise of their young people. If you look at the present state of children in any society, we will see the future that our world can expect tomorrow. Show me your civic lessons of today and I will show you your civic leaders of tomorrow. Show me your history lessons of today, and I will show you your political leaders of tomorrow. Show me the loving bonds between your families today, and I will show you the patriotism and moral clarity of your nation tomorrow. Our choices on how we raise and educate our children will, in fact, provide the blueprint for the next generation. If we do not advocate a love of country to our children and the generations to come, then why would our children grow up to fight for their countries? Founding principles and moral truths.

If we do not teach our children the importance of helping those less fortunate, wherever they may be, then why would they become caring adults who dedicate themselves to charity? If we do not insure that our youth are defined a nation of community to reach beyond their own back yards, their own schools, and their own town halls, then why would we accept to see a new generation of leaders with a moral conscience that includes all of humanity? When we join together as parents, caring for children wherever they live in our own families across the street, across the nation, or across the globe, we claim our responsibility to the next generation to insure they are prepared to accept the torch of leadership for the world of tomorrow. And make no mistake, this always begin with us, coming together to embrace parenthood's noble calling.

Nothing would be more urgent nor worthy a cause than preparing future generations for the adulthood with true moral clarity and responsibility. To achieve this, we must come together for the good of our children because through them, our future will be defined. Therefore, we must teach each child the values of empathy and communication that are at the core of the kindness, mindfulness, integrity and leadership which can only be taught by example. But our own example, we must teach children to be good stewards of the world they will inherit. We must remember that they are watching and listening so we must never miss an opportunity to teach life's many ethical lessons along way.

As adults, we are not merely responsible. We are accountable. I hope you will join me in recommitting ourselves to teaching the next generation to lead by and honor the golden rule, do unto others as you would have do unto you. Which is my paramount in today's society, and my focus as First Lady. It reminds our generation's moral imperative to take responsibility for what our children learn.

We must turn our focus right now to the message and content they are exposed to on a daily basis through social media, the bullying, the experience online, and in person. And the growing global epidemic of drug addiction and drug overdose.

[12:45:12] No children should ever feel hungry, stocked, frightened, terrorized, bullied, isolated or afraid, with nowhere to turn. We need to step up, come together and insure that our children's future is bright.

In the coming months, I hope to reach out to each one of you here today. To call upon you for your support and guidance and look forward to joining you in collaboration to support and educate our next generation. I'm asking leaders on social media who started market for their products and platforms as children as well community and educational leaders to join me in this fight for the hopes and dreams of our children. With all my heart, I want to thank you each one of you for being here today. And tell you how much I'm looking forward to working with you on behalf of our children. God bless our children, God bless our nations. And God bless the United States of America. Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Melania Trump, a little more than seven minutes speaking at the beginning of a luncheon at the United Nations. Global leaders gathered there, representatives of countries from the around the world gathered there. Melania Trump taking time to say, yes, they may be global leaders but they also have to remember their parents and that they set an example for their children, raise them with good ethical standards, raise the future leaders of tomorrow.

Let's have the conversation that I know is going to play out, is probably already playing out on the internet, I'm not looking, as we speak here. She's talking about being kind to your children. You know, parents need to reach out to children, help the less fortunate. She also says a reminder that children are always watching and listening.

One of the criticisms of this, and she did this during the campaign, she gave a speech that she wanted to protect children in this age of social media from bad voices on social media. Critics immediately say, what about your husband, the President.

BASH: Yes. That's exactly right. Look, everybody who either has a tween or a teen or knows one understands that for them growing up now with these, it is very, very difficult on so many levels that we -- well maybe not you and you -- but we didn't have to deal with. You're with us. But -- and that's true. And she should be commended for that.

But listening to her talk about remember our kids are watching and listening, remember that they need to follow our own examples, those of us who have kids and can't show them some of the retweets by the President of the United States because we don't think it's appropriate to condone hitting a golf ball at a former competitor and knocking them over see that there's more than a little bit of irony here. She should be commended but come on.

KING: That, I guess, that's a hard part. Because, you know, I want to go bend the arc, be overly fair to her in the sense that she didn't draw that impossible box her husband did.

BASH: Exactly.

KING: And yet, she chooses to think that her mission which I guess means what?

BASH: Or can I just actually add one thing. Let's also just live in the Trump word for a second. Maybe the message wasn't just to everybody in that room. Maybe the message was to her husband to say, remember, our children, our child, is watching. So maybe she's trying to communicate with her husband the same way a lot of his aides do could by television.

SHEAR: I think one of the things that might make this whole effort by her, which is commendable, right, it would make it more effective if she embraced the irony a little bit, right? And, you know, if you said look, I understand, you know, the things that have been said about my husband and some of the things that people say, but that's precisely the point that I'm trying to make and then just go on and make your point.

I think part of the problem for her is that regardless of the topic, she's not very comfortable as a speaker. You know what I mean? This is a difficult thing to stand up in front of these cameras and talk to these world leaders. And she's, you know -- I mean, from the beginning, from the time that she's been on the public stage, it's been clear that that's not a comfortable thing for her always.

I was on a trip to Europe with her a few months ago. And she was doing things that were not speeches, being at hospitals and talking with kids. And she sort of comes alive a little bit in those settings in a way that's different when you're standing up at a podium and speaking. And so I think all of that together makes it, you know, kind of not as successful a message.

KING: To your point -- I mean, the issue is could you sell this inside the White House who I assume the President's staff looks at her speeches. But, you know, this is a challenge for all of us that begins at home and trust me I know how hard that can be.

OLORUNNIPA: Right.

KING: You can work a joke into the speech if you wanted to.

[12:50:02] It's interesting because, you know, the people, the critics will say and fairly so, how dare you say this when your husband does this. And yet, it's an admirable mission if you box off the mission of protecting children especially in this crazy age.

KIM: And Dana's point about whether this is a subtle message to her husband might be, that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said repeatedly through a press conferences and interviews that maybe I like his policies but I wish the President wouldn't tweet so much. It's a not so subtle message from the Senate Majority Leader that he doesn't really appreciate it either.

KING: Art of the segue. Thank you very much for that.

You mentioned the Senate Majority Leader. Lindsey Graham is now saying the health care bill, his health care bill is called Graham- Cassidy will get a vote on the Senate floor next week. He says, well, we need to hear that directly from the Majority Leader Mitch McConnell because that has been the big question.

Mitch McConnell doesn't want to embarrass himself. And embarrass Senate Republicans again by bringing another Obamacare repeal or replace bill, call it what you want, it would replace, a lot of people say it's not repeal, to the floor if they're going to lose again and be embarrass again. If Lindsey Graham is saying they are prepared to bring the bill to the floor, does that mean they have 50?

BASH: No. They don't have 50. They don't.

KING: Is that a bluff?

BASH: No. I think they're trying to get momentum. I mean, I think it's the same movie that we saw several times over the past several months as they've been trying to get momentum on other kinds of bills. They don't have the 50 Republican votes needed right now. But they're trying and they're hoping that that happens by next week.

If they don't have the votes, I would be surprised if Mitch McConnell brought it up again except to prove a point that at least he tried again to the base. At least we're trying again and can't get it done.

KING: If you've been with us (INAUDIBLE) the past seven months, at least you know, Republicans can afford to lose two. They have 52 in the Senate. No Democrats are expected to vote for this. If they can lose two, Mike Pence would then break the tie and go forward. Rand Paul already is a no. And listen here, it sounds like he has absolutely no indication he's going to change his mind.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: That's just not repeal. I didn't promise people to keep a trillion dollar spending program and reshuffle the money among the states. This is not repeal. It's not even -- it's barely Obamacare-lite. It keeps Obamacare. It's not what we promised.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Now we could list a dozen or so, quote unquote, undecided senators. But you walk the halls of the hill all the time. Most people think this comes down to what does Susan Collins of Maine say. Today again, she said a lot of concerns about this because of Medicaid provisions. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, her governor is part of a letter -- for bipartisan group of governor who's say bad deal. We don't want this.

And John McCain of Arizona whose governor came out and said I do like this bill. But even after that, a lot of people thought that would be the gateway for McCain to say yes. Even after that, he says I'm still not there. Largely (ph) amazing process questions but clearly as he did last time, I think saving his space to be the Republican elder at the last minute.

KIM: And remember that the Arizona governor also supported the so- called skinny repeal plan that McCain dramatically voted against that late night vote in June. So it's not completely up to what Governor Ducey wants. But you can see how Republicans have kind of tried to deal with the process concerns that Senator McCain officially has laid out.

They are having a couple of hearings next week, a critical one in the Senate Finance Committee over the Graham-Cassidy legislation. They will have a partial CBO score on the cost of the bill. But it's not going to include, you know, how many people gain or lose coverage from this legislation. What's the impact on premiums, and is that a fair process. I'm not quite sure.

KING: And it's a dramatic shift back to the states under this bill. A lot of things have decided in Washington, the money of Washington decides how to spend, go back to states. States get some block grants. States get the Medicaid money than every governor. So we've got 50 essentially.

If you have it like the Obamacare debate we've had the last seven or eight years, under this bill, if it became law, we would have it in 50 states for who knows how long as it place out. To the point about getting to 52, Rand Paul, quite a sound for -- he's a no.

I sort of sense the same quick sand coming up that we've seen in past repeal efforts. The President tweeting this morning, Rand Paul is a friend of mine but he's such a negative force when it comes to fixing health care. Graham-Cassidy bill is great. Ends O-care, but Rand Paul just last hour tweeting back, keeps all the President his friend, tweeting back, this new gang bill is another Graham necessity, this time for Obamacare.

Conservatives have seen this before. Lindsey Graham was part of comprehensive immigration reform which Rand Paul says gives amnesty. So now we're giving amnesty to Obamacare. If you accept Rand Paul's language, doesn't sound to be like Republicans are settling their family feud here.

KIM: And I can tell you about a lot of Senate Republicans aren't quite too happy with Senator Paul right now who -- it makes it hard for the vote counters and leadership if you're already down one vote with Senator Paul being so adamantly against it. My colleague Burgess Everett and I did a store this morning where senators publicly and privately and a little bit more colorful language venting their frustrations about Senator Paul's stance on the Graham-Cassidy legislation. But Senator Paul is undeterred as we just saw on his interview there.

[12:55:02] OLORUNNIPA: And not only as he undeterred, he is happy to say his piece on various news programs because he wants Conservatives to know that he does not believe this is a Conservative bill even though Republicans, that several of them as he said, are holding their nose and saying they're going to vote for it. He believes that this is Obamacare-lite and it keeps the taxes and keeps the regulations.

KING: And he says it publicly. A lot of other Republicans say that privately but say they have to vote for this because they have to do something. There's sort of the political, you know, priority that we promise this and have to do it versus the policy which they look at this and kind of go eh.

SHEAR: But it's pretty clear as you said that especially President Trump's presence in the White House is if anything, exacerbating the splits that we've been talking about in the Republican Party for all these years and whether it's this, whether it's the DACA fight that's coming up, whether it's the tax fight that's coming up. It's not clear that the Republicans are all in the same place.

KING: Appreciate everybody dealing with the breaking news up and down hour. That's it for us on INSIDE POLITICS. See you back here this time tomorrow. Wolf Blitzer takes over our special breaking news coverage after a quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks for joining us.

Former President Barack Obama is about to speak, getting ready to speak right now at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation goalkeepers events, makes a major remarks on health care and other very sensitive issues. Let's listen in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- it's girls' education, or global health, or climate change, you're setting a standard for the sorts of innovation and persistence and activism that the world desperately needs right now. So I could not be prouder.

And that's really what I'm going to talk about very briefly before I have a chance for a discussion with Bill and Melinda. I want to talk about changing the world. I remember sitting down with Bill in Paris a couple of years ago where the world was coming together to hammer out an agreement, small agreement to save the planet, by taking meaningful action to tackle climate change. It's a threat that may define the contours of this century more than just about anything else.

Here was the interesting thing, Bill saw this not simply as a challenge, but --