Return to Transcripts main page


Insurers, Patient Groups United in Opposition to GOP Bill; Protests Interrupt Speech by Fired FBI Director Comey; Trump Tweet: Facebook Ads Part of "Russia Hoax"; CNN's "Legion of Brothers" Premiers Sunday Night. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired September 22, 2017 - 11:30   ET


[11:32:04] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Time is running out on the Republican's most recent attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare, if they're going to do it with a simple majority. The hard deadline is September 30th.

President Trump has stepped up his threats on Twitter for those in his own party who won't get in line, "Rand Paul or whoever votes against the health care bill will forever future campaigns known to be as the Republican who saved Obamacare."

It's no surprise, of course, Democrats and Republicans don't see eye to eye on this bill. But here is what's remarkable. There is a growing list of insurance companies, doctors, patient advocacy groups, that all appear united in opposition to the bill.

Let's discuss with Matt Eyles, the chief operating officer and head of public policy at America's Health Insurance Plans, a lobbying group for the nation's largest health insurance companies.

Matt, thank you for being with us.

You represent the nation's health insurance companies. Your groups what come your group has come out against the Graham/Cassidy legislation and lobbied against Obamacare. Do you believe the new proposal is worse than the status quo what we have under Obamacare?

MATT EYLES, THE CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER AND HEAD OF PUBLIC POLICY AT AMERICA'S HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS: Thanks for having me here, Ana. There are some problems with the existing structure of the market, but what is being proposed to Graham/Cassidy bill, really would take things to a fundamentally different level that would be much more destabilizing, individuals with preexisting conditions would not be able to get coverage in some cases or it would be unaffordable, Medicaid would be cut significantly and states strapped. We see big problems with the proposal as it's throughout.

CABRERA: Under the proposal as you mentioned states would have the option to let insurance companies charge more for people with preexisting conditions and also has brought back the possibility of lifetime caps on coverage. Isn't that something that would benefit insurance companies? EYLES: Ana, that's really something that the insurance industry is

not interested in seeing returned. You know, that was the way that market might have worked before the Affordable Care Act, but health insurers want to make sure coverage works for the consumers they're serving and that includes maintaining the limits or the lifetime caps, getting rid of those, making sure that people with preexisting conditions get coverage. Really want to make sure that consumers have access to the health care they need.

CABRERA: So President Trump has, of course, been pushing this bill. Have you yourself or anybody on your team spoken to this president or the administration about your concerns?

EYLES: We've shared information with the administration about our concerns. I think we've been pretty consistent all along about wanting to make sure that the market is stable, that Medicaid has adequate funding, that taxes and fees that decrease affordability should be eliminated, and making sure that if there is a change, that it needs to happen in a very stable way, transition cannot be forced in a very short period of time or we're going to create more disruption and more challenges than we've seen in the existing market.

[11:35:12] CABRERA: On the other side of the aisle a growing push for a single-payer system. Does that sound more appealing to you?

EYLES: Absolutely not. So we think there are equally difficult problems with trying to think about a single-payer. We think a market that works based on choice and competition, where consumers are looking for plans that work for them rather than having a one size fits all approach we think that the single-payer approach won't work either. So we really want to focus on fixing the market today and we have some really clear ideas about how that could happen.

CABRERA: What are those ideas?

EYLES: Sure. So we need to fund the so-called cost sharing payments for low-income consumers to help them afford their care. We think adding a component to reduce premiums through a so-called reinsurance program well, could reduce premium business 15 to 20 percent -- by 15 to 20 percent if we put some of these ideas so even more people can be covered.

CABRERA: Matt Eyles, I'm sure it's not the last of this discussion.

Thank you for being with us and hope to talk to you down the road.

EYLES: Thanks, Ana.

CABRERA: A programming note, a big one. Monday on CNN, Republican Senators lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy will debate their health care bill live against Senators Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar. Our Jake Tapper and Dana Bash will moderate the fight over Obamacare. That's at 9:00 eastern, only on CNN.

Coming up for us, President Trump now blasting the investigation into pro-Trump Facebook ads bought by Russians during the election. He is reupping his false claim that it's all one big hoax. Details ahead.


[11:41:03] CABRERA: We have breaking news. I want to take you to Howard University. We're learning about protesters interrupting an event there's supposed to be a speech by the former FBI Director James Comey at Howard University as they celebrate their 150th anniversary. We're working to get more information on what's unfolding. But I'm learning there's about 30 protesters or so shouting and preventing James Comey from speaking at Howard University. Here are those images. Let's listen for a moment.


CABRERA: We're going to keep an eye on the protests. This is James Comey speaking live right now. Let's listen.

JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: I've made a strong argument that college was part of the real world. And I mocked people who said otherwise.


CABRERA: We will keep an eye on this and monitor this and bring you any noteworthy, newsworthy things he says, as this event unfolds.

New this morning, also President Trump blasting the scrutiny of how ads on Facebook sold to Russian-linked buyers during the 2016 election. And he tweeted this, "The Russia hoax continues. Now it's ads on Facebook. What about the totally biased and dishonest media coverage in favor of Crooked Hillary."

This, as Facebook says it will turn over the content of more than 3,000 Russian-linked ads to Congress. They've already shared them with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is in charge, of course, of the Russia investigation.

Joining us to discuss this, Dylan Byers, CNN senior reporter for media and politics, and also with us, Chris Cillizza, politics reporter and editor-at-large.

Dylan, what is Facebook handing over to Congress?

DYLAN BYERS, CNN SENIOR POLITICS & MEDIA REPORTER: Finally, two weeks after first briefing Congress on these ads, they're handing over the full scope of what they know so that includes the ads themselves which are important to have, as well as the detailed records about who bought those ads which accounts bought those ads and how those ads were targeted. This is something that Facebook initially did not want to hand over to Congress. It handed it over to Special Counsel Mueller under a search warrant. It did not want to hand it over to Congress on account of what it cited as privacy concerns and once it felt it handed the ads to Congress Facebook was going to face a backlash in the court of public opinion. Congress will use these ads to grandstand against the company. Many of the ads will probably leak within a matter of days. And so look, Facebook's heading into sort of uncomfortable territory here, but I think it came to the conclusion over the last two weeks, given the level of public scrutiny, it really didn't have a choice. If it wanted to be seen as being on the right side of history it need to cooperate with Congress.

CABRERA: Chris, I saw you shaking your head about the pressure Facebook was probably feeling?

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER & CNN EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Yes. And two things. One, Dylan is right, the second, these ads arrive in Congress the next second some of them will be forwarded to reporters. So that reporters can see them. Yes, I mean I think Facebook thought they could simply say well, we're just a conduit here. We didn't -- these are automated ads. We didn't have anything to do with it. The problem is we're talking about a foreign entity meddling actively in American presidential election using their technology and so they don't really get to get a pass. Donald Trump in his Twitter feed tries to give them a pass. Now they're talking about Facebook. This is not a hoax. You can believe if you like Donald Trump colluded or didn't collude, people in his campaign colluded or didn't collude, we don't have evidence of collusion, but no one can deny that Russians sought to interfere in this election using Facebook and lots of other means. The FBI, the CIA, the NSA, the former director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, they all said this. So to believe that's wrong you have to believe they're all involved in an elaborate conspiracy to get Donald Trump which seems a little farfetched to me.

[11:45:40] CABRERA: Goes back to undermining the intelligence agency which has been a consistent theme.


CABRERA: Dylan, now that Congress is going get them how soon might the American people actually see these ads?

BYERS: Well, I think it will be a matter of days and the reason is, as we know from our own reporting, Facebook is going to hand over those ads in a matter of days. Not like we're talking about weeks or months down the line. As Chris and said, right, we know how Congress works, right. We know how washington works. The place leaks like a sieve. Obviously, it's almost impossible to imagine the ads don't get out there. Why does the public need to see the ads or want to see these ads? If you, you know, we're concerned voter at any time between 2015 and November 8th, 2016, when many of these ads were placed you want to know if you saw something that might have influenced your feelings about this election ta was coming from, you know, a foreign actor who has links to the Kremlin. And so look, I think there will be a lot of concern about this. I think it's going to keep Facebook sort of in the headlines for longer than it would like to be in the headlines. I think Facebook is girding for a long winter in washington. Right now, conversations about regulation --


BYERS: -- public hearings and then, of course, public scrutiny.

CABRERA: Given the president has tweeted the Russia hoax continues now with ads on Facebook, Chris, does that signal that the White House might not support regulations on Facebook and other social media sites?

CILLIZZA: I mean, I think it signals that Donald Trump had that thought at 6:44 a.m., on -- you know, on a Friday in September. Could it, sure. But I don't know that we -- I think we should be careful to assume that there's a huge amount of strategy behind what Donald Trump tweets at any given moment. I think there's a broad strategy which is to sort of reaffirm his outsider brand, but a fair amount of his tweeting, particularly in the early morning, is watching cable television, and reacting in one way, shape, or form to it. I'm not sure he has a detailed policy set to go in the wake of Facebook handing over these ads and the acknowledgment that these 3,000 ads were paid for by a Russian troll farm. I think he just saw something, reacted to it, and then as we've seen on a million other policies, the people underneath him will try to put some policy potentially in place around this but they also might not. They might say that's just him talking. We'll see if he keeps it up in meetings or Twitter and then we'll act.

CABRERA: Maybe he's watching this segment and be moved to respond and clarify where his head is at or thinking.

Chris Cillizza and Dylan Byers, thank you both.

A reminder, a special report tonight "The Deep Dive" into the president's use of his social media platform, Twitter. Watch it tonight at 9:00 eastern only on CNN.

Stay with us.


[11:51:07] CABRERA: The new CNN film "Legion of Brothers" told the story about the U.S. Special Forces that went into Afghanistan immediately after 9/11. They fought with the Afghan Northern alliance to drive the Taliban and al Qaeda out of power with minimal coalition casualties. Despite their success, the U.S. became mired in a lengthy war that carries on today. Watch this clip from the film.


UNIDENTIIFED U.S. SOLDIER: We've heard, you walk into the country, you had the weight of the nation on your shoulders. We were America's response to the most catastrophic terrorist attack on U.S. Soil. For a lot of us, we felt that we had a responsibility to the people that died to set the stage that you just don't do that to America. And not pay the price. It was about not retribution, but justice.

UNIDENTIFIED U.S. SOLDIER: What's that saying? About who will go send me?


UNIDENTIFIED U.S. SOLDIER: Sir? UNIDENTIFIED U.S. SOLDIER: Yes. Who shall go and who shall I send?

Send me. Send me. I'm the duty that wants to make somebody pay for killing my brothers and sisters.


CABRERA: Joining us now is the Greg Barker, the director of "Legion of Brothers."

Greg, it takes a special person to face the danger to embrace the mission these men went on. What strikes you?

GREG BARKER, CNN DIRECTOR: That's a great question. What strikes me sometimes is how ordinary they are. There is a lot of glib talk about war sometimes. The romanization of it. These people understand war the way few of us do. They are incredibly smart and dedicated and we explore the human cost of war, both the heroism and the horror of it from the perspective of their families which I think is quite unique in the way they talk in this film.

CABRERA: You give us a look at the first casualties, the result of a friendly fire incident. Tell us about that.

BARKER: That's right. Everyone expected the war, these are small groups of Green Berets inserted in the dead of night after 9/11. They expected to be on the ground for months and incur heavy casualties. It happened quicker than everyone imagined. They unpack the drama around a Special Forces team around Hamid Karzai as he was about to be named the leader of the new Afghanistan and there was a tragic friendly fire incident ha is complicated and controversial where a senior command unit came in and took over from the team that had been on the ground for weeks. They started calling in air strikes on the day the Taliban were about to surrender. They had the authority to do that, but the guys on the team were very upset about it. We unpacked that in the film and it's traumatic.

CABRERA: It's hard to believe it has been so many years and yet the war wages on. What do the men think or what's your sense of the thoughts about what's happening in Afghanistan today?

BARKER: I first met these guys in 2002. I was lucky enough to be invited into Fort Campbell where they are based after they come back from Afghanistan. Their story struck me as iconic about the nature of war and all of the complexity. They have been through multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere. When we think about now the longest war in American history, that war is and the population. You wanted to humanize that. They wanted to believe in that in addition. Where we are today. There is a different impact when you have small teams of Special Forces on the ground versus what they might call the big army. Nobody imagined back then we would be involved so many years later. They believe in the mission and it's different than they used to be. The way they are fighting is different. This is the reason I made this film. For us to get me on the hype around war and really look at what the cost is to these individuals and their families. [11:56:07] CABRERA: Greg Barker, thank you for sharing that. And we

look forward to seeing the film and getting a greater sense of the mission.

It's "Legion of Brothers." It premieres Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. eastern, right here on CNN.

Breaking news on the president's travel ban. The White House will unveil a replacement with new restrictions that vary by country. We will have the details straight ahead.