Return to Transcripts main page

THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Trump Visits Texas; Bernie Sanders Unveils New Health Care Plan. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired April 10, 2019 - 16:30   ET

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


[16:30:02]

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: He recounted a story he was apparently told today by someone who lives near the border.

Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We find dead people from Guatemala, Honduras, from El Salvador, from Mexico, all over, many, many dead people, many.

Also, they come in and raid their houses. And it's very dangerous. And they're told never to leave their house at night and at the day, during the day, always carry a gun.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: CNN's Kaitlan Collins at the White House for us right now.

Kaitlan, the president painting a rather stark picture there.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, sharpening his message on immigration.

And, Jake, as he was recounting those stories that he said he heard from the donors around him, the president said he wants to send more military to the southern border. Now, we're told a formal request has not been made with the Pentagon yet, but, Jake, that's coming amid another big fight in Washington, that one over the president's taxes.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TRUMP: While I'm under audit, I won't do it.

COLLINS (voice-over): President Trump holding the line.

TRUMP: There's no law whatsoever.

COLLINS: Insisting he's still under audit on the day of a deadline set by House Democrats for the IRS to hand over six years of his tax returns.

TRUMP: If I'm not under audit, I would do it. I have no problem with it. But while I'm under audit, I would not give my taxes.

COLLINS: The IRS has made it a regular practice to audit every sitting president and vice president since the 1970s.

RICHARD NIXON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook.

COLLINS: And both Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush released their returns while in office.

TRUMP: No lawyer would tell you to release your tax returns while you're under audit.

COLLINS: That fight brewing amid an upheaval at the Department of Homeland Security.

TRUMP: I think that the whole asylum rules, laws, and regulations have been taken advantage of by people that are very bad people in many cases.

COLLINS: It's Kirstjen Nielsen's last day on the job after being pushed out earlier this week. And the acting deputy secretary was forced to step down yesterday.

But some are skeptical the changes in leadership will change anything.

TRUMP: It's very important that the Democrats in Congress change these loopholes.

COLLINS: Today, Trump praised the aide he recently put in charge of all immigration and border issues.

TRUMP: Stephen is an excellent guy. He's a wonderful person.

COLLINS: The DHS purge has put Stephen Miller under a microscope.

SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D-NJ): It's really problematic. It's really concerning. And he is a big driver of the president's xenophobic views.

COLLINS: But, today, Trump made clear who's really in control.

TRUMP: Frankly, there's only one person that is running it. You know who that is? It's me.

COLLINS: Minutes after that, Miller echoed the president's exact words, telling CNN in a statement, "Only one person in this U.S. government runs immigration policy, President Donald Trump."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: Now, Jake, those big staffing changes at DHS are supposed to make way for more aggressive immigration tactics, but Miller, while he has influence, is certainly not the only one working on immigration. We're also told that the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is

working on his own legal immigration reform, something that the president said will be unveiled shortly and that he's excited about -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Kaitlan Collins, thank you so much.

Let's talk about this.

President Trump again claiming today he cannot release his taxes because he's under audit. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: And while I'm under audit, I won't do it. If I'm not under audit, I would do it. I had no problem with it. I would love to give them, but I'm not going to do it while I'm under audit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: First of all, he's -- just as a factual matter, he's provided no evidence he's under audit. He's been saying this for a long, long time.

But even if you're under audit, you're allowed to release your returns. It hasn't stopped previous presidents.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He could, and he could have released them in 2016.

But he didn't and he still won the election. So, I think if he's thinking of it politically, he's like, I didn't do it before and I won. Why would I do it again?

It strikes me that there are a number of lines of inquiry into his taxes. You have got state issues in New York, federal issues in Washington. And so they need to be prepared to lose one of those lines of inquiry sometime over the next two years and then deal with it if they don't win out on this.

I'm not really concerned about the polling, because I don't really think this is going to be material to whether he gets recollected or not. If I were running, I would release my taxes. But I get why he's not doing it.

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But he would love to do it.

(LAUGHTER)

CARDONA: He said he would love to do it, Jake.

MIA LOVE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. Yes.

TAPPER: Yes.

CARDONA: So, I think somebody just needs to convince him that, even though he's under audit, like every other president was under audit when they put out their taxes, he can do it, because he would love to do it.

JENNINGS: And I don't really care about Bernie Sanders' taxes, either. I mean, look, what are we going to find out? These are rich guys...

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

JENNINGS: ... who have some real estate. That's what we're going to find out. People already know that.

(CROSSTALK)

CARDONA: But, see, this is a really good question, Scott, because there is clearly something in there that he is dying for us not to know, or else he would have released it.

[16:35:04]

What you see in somebody's taxes can be whether he's beholden to foreign governments, whether he's beholden to Russian oligarchs. And a president who is beholden to foreigners of any type is a president who is compromised.

LOVE: You know, I'm not going to make a decision of what's in his taxes, because I haven't seen it.

TAPPER: Right.

LOVE: So I'm not going to assume that -- whatever's in there.

But I can tell you this. If you're thinking strictly politically, his supporters that voted him in do not care about it. And those who actually voted for him aren't going to look at this. And I don't think it's going to take any of his supporters away or bring people to come along.

(CROSSTALK)

TIFFANY CROSS, THE BEAT D.C.: Thank God his supporters are not the litmus test for what matters in the country. His supporters don't care about a lot of things.

They don't care about people who look like me, I would argue, or people who look like you, I would argue. So, I don't think that's the litmus test for him to release his taxes.

I think, look, there is demonstrable evidence that this president is compromised. We learned in the Michael Cohen plea deal that he had a multimillion-dollar reason to laud all of this praise on Vladimir Putin.

LOVE: Yes. CROSS: I want to know, as a citizen, and I would hope my fellow

patriots as citizens also want to know, why is he not releasing his tax returns?

(CROSSTALK)

LOVE: I'm not making the argument about whether we think he should be -- I'm just saying that, politically, he doesn't have -- there isn't anything that is forcing him to do it right now, and so he's not going to do it.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: So, Kellyanne Conway today defended her boss, the president, on CNN about his not releasing the tax returns. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: He's under audit. If he wasn't under audit, maybe he would release them. He didn't release them during the campaign and he was elected anyway. Everybody knew that that -- that people were asking about those tax returns.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: You know who was asking about those tax returns back in 2016? Well, Kellyanne Conway.

(LAUGHTER)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONWAY: It's a completely transparent, Donald Trump's tax returns aren't. I would like to see those be transparent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: That was, of course, before she took a -- she joined the campaign.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: But there is a precedent here. And explain why it's important for people to see the returns; 67 percent of the American people, according to CNN's recent poll, think it's important. Why?

CROSS: Yes.

I think, first of all, we have seen evidence from this president of not being truthful. So, again, to the point that there is nothing stopping him from releasing his taxes, he said multiple times on the campaign trail, I will release them when Hillary releases her e-mails, I will release them when I'm not under audit.

I think it's really important for a president to be transparent about his finances and his financial obligations. I think part of the reason, quite honestly, is his ego. I think perhaps he's not as wealthy as he's presented himself to be. I think he's presented himself to be this billionaire. Perhaps we will see that that's not quite true.

TAPPER: Yes.

I want to turn to immigration. The president today complimented his top aide, Stephen Miller, who's come under a lot of fire from the left and the center, but he also said this about his immigration policies. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Frankly, there's only one person that's running it. You know who that is? It's me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: You guys, I know, both support some sort of larger immigration reform compromise. And Stephen Miller is kind of in the way of that.

LOVE: This is an issue that -- I would rather be talking about this issue. This is something that is incredibly important to me.

I am a daughter of parents who emigrated to this country. I would actually like to see the administration say something positive about good immigrants that have come to this country and have contributed to our great American democracy.

My parents came with just $10 in their pockets. And I have to tell you, the greatest pride that my father has is the fact that he said, I wasn't willing to just take on the benefits. I was willing to take on the responsibilities. And I raised a daughter to be the first black female Republican in the House of Representatives.

And there's such great people that come into this country that want to contribute, and there's really no way for them to do that.

CARDONA: So, as a Latina immigrant myself, coming from one of those S-hole countries...

TAPPER: You're an immigrant yourself?

CARDONA: I am.

TAPPER: Where are you from?

CARDONA: I born in Colombia.

TAPPER: Oh, I did not know that.

CARDONA: I came over here at 2 years old, and my had had $10 in his pocket.

So this is my story. This is, frankly, all of our stories, if we look at actually where we came from.

(CROSSTALK)

CARDONA: This is why this issue is so infuriating, not just to immigrants, but to people who understand that this is about America's values. This is about the foundation of why and how we put this country together.

I was at a gala for a Latino civil rights group the other night, and the president of the gala was lauding Ronald Reagan, because Ronald Reagan, the Republican president that everybody admires, including Donald Trump, is the one who called this country a shining city on a hill.

Donald Trump wants to abolish that shining city, wants to close it down. He has already said there is no more room. And this is, I think, going to be a big issue going into 2020.

TAPPER: Scott, very quickly, there could be a big -- in the only Nixon can go to China kind of way, Donald Trump could have a big comprehensive immigration reform and get some stuff he wants, along with some stuff he doesn't want.

Is Stephen Miller the impediment, or is it the Trump base? What's the problem?

JENNINGS: I don't think the Trump base is an impediment.

I think if the president were to bless a deal, big or small, the Trump base would go along with it. Obviously, he has competing interests in the White House. We heard Jared Kushner is working on a deal to -- right now to increase legal immigration, which would have to be part of a comprehensive plan.

[16:40:10]

I totally agree with you. If Donald Trump puts it together and blesses it, the Republicans will go with it. If he doesn't bless it, they won't be able to vote for it because they won't trust the congressional leaders as much as they trust the president.

(CROSSTALK)

LOVE: I have got a deal for him. We have got all of these good, comprehensive bills. He really doesn't have to rewrite the book.

(CROSSTALK)

CROSS: It's never going to happen.

TAPPER: Everyone, stick around.

Senator Bernie Sanders just unveiled a proposal that some of his 2020 rivals are signing on to. The White House is attacking it. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: The 2020 lead now.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders just pushed Medicare for all front and center.

[16:45:00] Four years ago Sanders proposal was basically considered fringe by many in the Democratic establishment. Today it's rather mainstream in the party embraced by several other presidential candidates.

Sanders presented his plan today but was not willing to stick around for questions from reporters afterwards. CNN's Ryan Nobles has a story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good morning, everybody!

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bernie Sanders today doubling down on Medicare for all.

SANDERS: They want a health care system which will guarantee them freedom of choice in terms of the doctor or hospital they go to.

NOBLES: The Vermont Senator today flanked by his 2020 rival Kirsten Gillibrand unveiling Medicare for all 2.0.

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The money, the greed, the corruption that surrounds our health care system today is what is in the way.

NOBLES: The revamped proposal would add new provisions to cover long- term care and eliminate premiums, deductibles, and co-pays except for a potential $200 copay for brand name drugs. The sweeping overhaul of the country's health care system would effectively eliminate the private health insurance industry.

SANDERS: The American people wants and we are going to deliver a Medicare-for-all single-payer system.

NOBLES: The ambitious new plan which does not come with an estimated price tag raises the stakes for the rest of the 2020 field. Four of Sanders rivals Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Cory Booker have signed on as co-sponsors. But each is still seeking to carve out their own path when it comes to health care policy.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Anybody who says those words Medicare for all who's running for president, the next thing out of their mouth should be talking to people about well, if we have 50 -- if we have split Congress, what are you going to actually do in your first year could make that health care more accessible and affordable.

NOBLES: But other 2020 rivals are taking a more measured approach. Minnesota's Amy Klobuchar passed on the chance to co-sponsor the Sanders bill and argues the path forward requires a balance.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'd make clear what I think I'd like to do to get us to universal health care more quickly and to move more quickly, and that is to first of all put in a public option.

NOBLES: For their part, Republicans seem eager for this fight. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders claiming in a tweet the proposal "confiscates every American's private health insurance" while adding, "stand with President Trump so America will never be a Socialist country."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NOBLES: And one thing we didn't get today is a price tag for this plan. It will likely be expensive but the Sanders team argues that the overall savings to American taxpayers will be much greater and essentially offering up and even swap here. Whatever they pay additionally in taxes will be offset by the fact that they won't have to pay anything for their health insurance. Jake?

TAPPER: All right, Ryan Nobles, thank you so much. Speaker Pelosi said just last week, she believes fixes to ObamaCare are the best options right now. On Medicare for all, she told The Washington Post "I'm agnostic. Show me how you think you can get there." This is going to be a fight, a debate in the Democratic primaries.

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I agree with you. I think that this is going to be a very robust debate within the Democratic primary, and that's what primaries are for. You're going to have now I think there are four candidates who have actually signed on to Bernie's bill so they are going to have to talk about this robustly in terms of what it is they support, how they're going to pay for it.

But I'll tell you one thing, Jake. I love that the debate and the conversation within the Democratic Party is how you actually try to give more people more access to the best health care while the debate on the Republican side starting from the President on down is we're going to take away your health care America and we have no plan to support that.

MIA LOVE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think that's fair. I mean, again -- I mean --

TAPPER: That's why I came to you.

LOVE: Come on, seriously, you know, the whole issue with the Affordable Care Act was how much it was going to cost. And remember the whole idea is you're going to be able to keep your doctor, you're going to be able to keep your health care insurance. I had story after story from people in my district, pregnant women, that were like look, I've been kicked off of my health care insurance. I think that the American people have adjusted a little bit. I think that --

CARDONA: They support it now, majority of them support ObamaCare. LOVE: I think what they do really well, the American people are very good at adjusting to what's been given to them. Can we make it better? Absolutely.

CARDONA: That's what we want.

LOVE: Do I think that Medicare for all is the answer, that's the big question.

(CROSSTALK)

TIFFANY CROSS, CO-FOUNDER AND MANAGING EDITOR, THE BEAT D.C.: The American people didn't adjust to it, the Republican Party did. Most members ran on it last election cycle. And when you say it's not fair, fact are not fair sometimes but they're still facts. The Republicans have no plan. They're simply saying --

LOVE: The whole point is --

CROSS: They're simply saying --

LOVE: -- supposed to be Medicare for all is what's going to be fair.

CROSS: They're saying -- but what's the alternative? Donald Trump is saying we're going to kick over 20 million people off their plan and trust me I have something better. Forgive me if I don't --

LOVE: Wait a minute, wait a minute. Again, you're tying me or the Republican -- you're tying me or the Republican Party to Donald Trump, and this is why --

(CROSSTALK)

[16:50:02] CROSS: How dare us!

LOVE: Hang on a second.

TAPPER: Hold on. One at a time. One at a time.

LOVE: I have got my own set of principles and I believe that everyone should be held accountable to those principles and to the Republican platform. That means holding the President accountable to those things also.

CROSS: You should probably asked for answers.

LOVE: I do this all the time. I do this all the time. But it's not okay to say I'm going to put out a plan and not tell people how you're going to sustain that plan. If it were me, I would do everything I can to bring down the cost of health care and thereby giving as many people as much access to health care their way that you can do it.

CARDONA: It's also not OK to tell the American people we are going to challenge the health care system that we have now, we're going to take you off of it if the Supreme Court abolish is it and we have no plan to put in its place. TAPPER: So Scott, I want -- I want to run this sound for you. This

is Bernie Sanders. Because obviously, his bill would end private health insurance as we know it today. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDERS: Under Medicare for all, we couple all basic health care needs so they're not going to be there to do that. I suppose if you want to make yourself look a little bit more beautiful, you want to work on that nose, your ears, they can do that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So basically BlueCross BlueShield would be reduced to nose jobs.

SANDERS: Something like that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: What you just said is interesting. You can't just tell people we're going to upend their whole health care. That's what he's doing.

CARDONA: He's not the president, Scott.

LOVE: But he's running for President.

JENNINGS: And by the way, he might be the frontrunner. What I find amazing is --

TAPPER: He's definitely the frontrunner.

LOVE: Yes.

JENNINGS: -- these Democrats are running away from ObamaCare.

CROSS: No they're not.

JENNINGS: I mean, you got Bernie Sanders trashing --

TAPPER: The -- he's saying the ones that are embracing Medicare for all.

JENNINGS: If you have embraced Medicare for all --

CROSS: I don't think there are running away from ObamaCare.

JENNINGS: You're saying that health care is broken and we have to do something different. We currently have ObamaCare. I find this amazing. You have Democrats arguing ObamaCare is great and then you have the front-runner for the nomination arguing that health care is failing and we have to throw it out and do something else. I think he is going to win the primary at this moment. If you --

TAPPER: Oh, you thought Michael Avenatti was going to be the --

JENNINGS: Well, he's coming back. LOVE: My theory is this. My theory is this. And mark my words. If

this continues to be the conversation where there aren't any real plans for anything, the President is going to win again.

CARDONA: If health care is the conversation, bring it on.

TAPPER: OK, be sure to tune in to CNN tonight for a town hall with Washington Governor and Democratic Presidential Candidate Jay Inslee. My colleague and friend Wolf Blitzer will host the live event tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

Coming up,, Senator Elizabeth Warren agreeing with Medicare for all as she runs a substance over style campaign some say. It could be paying off. New reporting on Warren's 2020 strategy next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:55:00] TAPPER: Our "MONEY LEAD" now. Moments ago Senator Elizabeth Warren released her first quarter fundraising numbers, more than $6 million which gives her a leg up over senators Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker, but falls behind other 2020ers such as Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Beto O'Rourke, Senators Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders. CNN M.J. Lee has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

M.J. LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Senator Elizabeth Warren today announcing her first quarter fundraising haul more than $6 million. In an e-mail to supporters, her campaign manager sharing these details about Warren's war chest, total number of donors over $135,000, average donation $28.00, cash on hand $11.2 million.

Warren's fundraising total lagging behind a handful of her competitors Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Beto O'Rourke, and Pete Buttigieg, but ahead of fellow Senators Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar. But the number of donors that gave to Warren this quarter rivaling some of those competitors.

All of this coming after Warren pledged she would not solicit high- dollar donations during the 2020 primary including through fundraisers. Warren insisting to CNN last week that even a disappointing fundraising number would not change her game plan.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): I'm running the campaign I want to run and that is instead of spending time with millionaire donors, I've been out of 12 states and Puerto Rico.

LEE: And today, new details about Warren's long haul 2020 strategy. Advisers telling CNN that the campaign now has more than 170 full-time paid staff. Half of them in the early States of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. CNN has also learned that the warren campaign is pursuing a 50-state strategy.

Warren is traveling extensively and mapping out opportunities to pick up delegates and what could be a long slog to the Democratic convention next summer. WARREN: So we're going to get organized, we're going to fight for

working people, we're got to build a grassroots movement, and that is how I am going to be the first woman elected president of the United States of America.

LEE: As she heads into the second quarter, Warren pulling in single digits nationally despite driving the conversation with numerous far- reaching policy ideas. She's proposed a wealth tax on the richest Americans, a plan on universal child care and called for breaking up big tech companies. And her latest proposal ending the Senate filibuster jump-starting a debate in Washington.

WARREN: When Democrats next have power, we should be bold. We are done with two sets of rules, one for the Republicans and one for the Democrats.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEE: Now the campaign says it spent $5.2 million of the $6 million that it raised in the first quarter which is a pretty high burn rate but it also said that it transferred more than $10 million from Warren Senate campaign so that's a pretty big cushion for now, Jake.