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House Passed A Resolution Condemning The President's Racist Tweets; Bernie Sanders Talks About His Healthcare Plans. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired July 17, 2019 - 14:00   ET


ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Rounding off one day after the House passed a resolution condemning the President's racist tweets. The President is no closer to apologizing while Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this just moments ago.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): We were offended that he spoke in such a way about Members of Congress, but we're offended that he says that about people across the country all the time, "Go back where you came from."

And that by its definition, those words are racism. But we weren't saying that he was racist. We were saying that the words that he used were racist. So that was as gentle as it could be considering the inappropriateness and the disgusting nature of what the President said.


CABRERA: The President's come back will likely come from the campaign trail just hours from now. He is headlining a rally in North Carolina, an event that will mark a remarkable contrast, the President of the United States seeking his reelection as the House of Representatives has put on official record that he made racist statements, when he told these four Democrats to quote, "Go back to the crime infested places from which they came."

All House Democrats backed the resolution, but just these four Republicans and a recent Republican turned independent Congressman Justin Amash voted to condemn the President's racist attacks, Speaker Pelosi said she had hoped more would cross the aisle.


PELOSI: When you say were you surprised? Were you disappointed? My expectations are not great. But you always hope that they might do the right thing and say that that language that the President used was beneath the dignity of the President and beneath the dignity of the people he was criticizing.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CABRERA: CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins is in

Greenville, North Carolina, now ahead of the President's campaign event, Kaitlan, are aides expecting the President to continue his attacks on these Congresswoman tonight?

KAITLAN COLLINS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they are. Essentially, what they're picturing is the President trying to test drive this new message that he's been going with. The same similar message to what you used in the midterm elections, talking about Democrats are socialists framing them as this left-wing radical party, but now he's got a new foil which comes to the face of these four Democratic Congresswoman that the President has spent the last four days attacking, and they expect him to continue to try that here in North Carolina tonight.

The President himself alluded to it on Twitter saying he's going to talk about employment, the stock market, but also he's going to say essentially how he is framing this; people who hate this country versus people who love this country.

Now, the President's tweet on Sunday, when he told them to go back to the places from which they came is something that very few if any of the President's advisers are privately defending, they think he went a to step too far with that tweet. But they think, Ana, that this overall strategy is framing these four women as the face of the Democratic Party, instead of someone who is potentially more moderate is going to be a successful one for the President in 2020.

Now, he's going to try that tonight. Eric Trump, his son, in an interview earlier today said essentially the Democratic Party is helping them work this message by feeding into their hands by making the comments that they've made, but the question is going to be, is that a tactic that just allows the President to solidify his base supporters like the ones that are out here today who have been in line since last night? Or is it going to be able to help him win over some of those more moderate voters? Something that the President's critics are skeptical about.

CABRERA: All right, Kaitlan Collins in North Carolina, thank you. Speaker Pelosi was asked if Democrats were falling into the President's plan of casting the full Democratic Party, behind the four progressive members, he often labels as radical and Jeff Zeleny is CNN's senior Washington correspondent here with us to dive a little bit deeper.


QUESTION: Is there a need or planned date for that?

PELOSI: You know what, with all due respect, let's not waste our time on that. We're talking about what we're going to do to help the American people. You have to give him credit, he's a great distractor and that's what this is about. So it is -- let's just take it to a better place. Let's take it to a better place, America.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CABRERA: Now, let me bring in Jeff Zeleny, our senior Washington

correspondent. Nancy Pelosi, Jeff, really didn't answer the question.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: She didn't. And I think the answer to the question, are Democrats essentially being, you know, drawn into this or goaded, if you will? I think that's an unknown right now.

I mean, there is a reason to believe that the President, as Kaitlan was just saying, he wants to make the Democratic Party branded as a socialist. He's perfectly happy with having those four members of Congress being the face of the party.

So he believes that it's a good way to excite his base. He's going to North Carolina in just a couple of hours. Why North Carolina? That was a swing state back in 2008. And then Barack Obama lost it in his reelection, and President Trump carried it by four percentage points, only four percentage points four years ago.

So the question is, is it going to work in a state like that? The Democrats are certainly unified around this idea that the President is speaking with hateful language. But they are not entirely sure how this is going to work.

[14:05:05] ZELENY: Of course, they don't know who's going to be running up against him, but Speaker Pelosi, she's done a couple things as like, one, she has managed to unify Democrats. The President helped her with that. But they do not know how this plays in the long term.

CABRERA: And so, on the flip side of the Democratic unity is now this Articles of Impeachment that have been introduced by Congressman Al Green. How does that fit into where we are right now? Does that threaten the unification of the Democratic Party that rallied around these four Congresswoman after the President's tweets?

ZELENY: I think it sure could. One thing Speaker Pelosi has been trying to do, really for months, is to put the brakes or at least slow down this rush to impeachment. She believes that it's bad for the party long term. She believes that the President should be defeated at the ballot box.

She's saying it is patriotic to go forward with this. But she said let the facts do it, they may -- she does not want there to be a vote like this right now. But this has forced her hand in that respect.

So this is maybe what some people close to the President or the President want is to force this issue. Of course, he doesn't want to be impeached. But he doesn't mind having this conversation and discussion of sort of in the air.

So Speaker Pelosi still has a tough job corralling all of her Democrats, and more and more want the President to be impeached and comments like this, just accelerate that.

CABRERA: All right, Jeff Zeleny, standby because you're back with me in just a moment.


CABRERA: While the Senate as a whole has not yet moved to formally rebuke President Trump's comments, that isn't stopping lawmakers from speaking out, and among them Bernie Sanders.

Moments ago, I spoke with the Senator from Vermont who reacted to only four Republicans voting with Democrats to condemn the President's racist tweets.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It gives me no pleasure to have to say what I think most Americans now know. And this is something I honestly never believed that I would see in my lifetime, that we have an overt racist, and bigot as President of the United States.

This is not -- he's not subtle about it. These aren't dog whistles, he's right out there. He is a racist, trying to divide the American people up based on the color of our skin, based on where we were born, based on our sexual orientation, based on our religion.

And our campaign, by the way, Ana, is doing exactly the opposite. We are bringing people together around the progressive agenda, and we will fight Trump's effort to divide us up.

And the other point you make, which is a very serious point. And it's a sad state of affairs. Look, I know all of the Republicans in the Senate. I know many Republicans in the House. And it is just incomprehensible to me that they do not have the courage to say what they know in their hearts is right and that this President is a racist. And that is a really sad state of affairs with regard to where the Republican Party is today.


CABRERA: Much more of my interview with Senator Bernie sanders in just a moment as he prepares to give a speech on Medicare-for-All today. How he is answering critics who say the transition away from private insurance will take too long and put too many lives at risk.

Plus, as we see racism used as a political strategy, we'll talk about the real life impact of hateful words. I'll be joined by two Americans who have felt the pain of being told to go back home.

And, El Chapo sentenced to life in prison, but first, he had a few things to get off his chest about his trial and his time in prison.


[14:13:20] CABRERA: Welcome back, we want to bring you more now of our interview with Senator Bernie Sanders who will give a major speech today on Medicare-for-All and that's later this afternoon. Sanders' speech comes as he tangles with his 2020 rivals over this

very issue, an issue that is one of the most important for Democratic voters -- healthcare.

And today, in addition to laying out his personal vision, Sanders will also challenge his opponents to reject donations from private insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies saying you can't change a corrupt system by taking its money.

When it comes to those like Joe Biden who say the Vermont senator's plan to abolish private insurance is too extreme, too expensive, or takes too long. Sanders responds this way.


CABRERA: When you talk about these other countries that have universal healthcare, a lot of those other countries don't necessarily have only Medicare-for-All. For example, they also offer an insurance option. And one of the arguments I've heard from those in the Democratic Party who are also running to be President is, why not have both as options?

Because Biden, for example, argues throwing out private insurance to transition to a Medicare-for-All would just simply take too long, and he agrees that you people need help now.

SANDERS: Well, let me answer your latter question. It doesn't take too long. Think back to 1965, before we had all of the incredible technology that we have today.

In 1965, out of nothing, Lyndon Johnson and the Congress created Medicare and Medicare is now the most popular health insurance program in the country. Far, far more popular than private health insurance.

[14:15:04] SANDERS: If they could do that in 1965, I just cannot accept the argument that over a four-year period, we cannot do it now. So what we are proposing is first year, lower the eligibility age from 65 to 55. And also in the first year, by the way, expand benefits for seniors to include dental care, hearing aids, and eyeglasses, which Medicare does not cover right now. That's very important.

First year, go down to 55, then 45, next year, then 35 the following year, and then cover everybody. This is clearly something that is doable. If every other country on Earth can do it, we can do it as well.

CABRERA: So when does private insurance just go away?

SANDERS: Because if you want to save money, you have got to get rid of the profiteering of the insurance company, top five --

CABRERA: Right, I hear you there. But if it's a four-year transition period, is it four years that private insurance will still be around before all goes away or how do you get rid of the private insurance?

SANDERS: Right, there will be a transition period? That is right, but the bottom -- I'm sorry, go ahead -- Ana.

CABRERA: I'm sorry, too. I think there's just a slight delay. I want to push you on the timeline, though, because Kamala Harris, who also says she believes in Medicare-for-All. She says it will take longer than you're suggesting. She says it's not realistic. Here's what she told our Kyung Lah.


KYUNG LAH, SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: How long would this transition take?

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think the transition is going to have to take -- I mean, the bill is four years, I think it's going to have to take more than that to be honest with you.

LAH: And all this done without a middle class tax hike?

HARRIS: Without a middle class tax, yes.


CABRERA: She says under her Medicare-for-All plan, the middle class won't pay more taxes. I know under your plan, they will right?

SANDERS: Well, let's be clear. Okay, let's be clear, this is going to be the Republican talking point. And let me respond to it. Right now people are paying taxes for healthcare. It is called premiums, it is called co-payments, it is out-of-pocket expenses.

If you are a family of four today, self-employed, you are spending $28,000.00 a year in premiums and out-of-pocket expenses for healthcare. Now, how would you define that?

So under a public healthcare system, Medicare-for-All, of course, taxes would go. Under on our view, they will go up in a progressive way. When we have massive income and wealth inequality in America, it is going to be the wealthy and the top one percent will be paying significantly more in taxes.

But I'm not going to sit here and in a straight face tell you that -- yes, people are going to be paying much less in their premiums and out-of-pocket expenses, they will in many cases be paying somewhat more in taxes.

But at the end of the day, they're going to be paying less for healthcare. For example, if right now, just as a hypothetical, Ana, your family was spending $15,000.00 a year on healthcare. And I said to you, you don't have to pay any of that. No deductibles, no co- payments, no premiums, you're going to pay $7,500.00 more in taxes.

You'll be $7,500.00 to the good. So that is the debate that we're having. It is going to be publicly funded. It's going to be funded out of the tax fix. But we are going to eliminate completely out-of- pocket expenses and premiums and co-payments. CABRERA: Okay, I'm following. Is Senator Harris then being

forthcoming or realistic when she says middle class taxes won't have to go up to pay for Medicare-for-All?

SANDERS: We're going to have to look at what a tax plan will look. And we have not -- we have given options in our proposal. This is a large program. So my guess is that people in the middle class will be paying somewhat more in taxes, but they're going to be paying significantly less overall healthcare.

But that will depend upon the type of tax plan to fund Medicare-for- All that we come up with. But let us be clear right now. If you consider premiums as I do, a tax to the working class of this country is very heavily taxed and we will lower that burden.

CABRERA: Would you be willing to moderate at all on your healthcare position? Will you support Bidencare if Biden wins the nomination?

SANDERS: Will I support Bidencare? No, I think our proposal -- and I have said, you're asking me two questions, really. Number one, will I support? If it is not me, somebody else who becomes the Democratic nominee to defeat the most dangerous President in American history? You bet I will. I will do everything I can to defeat Donald Trump. I hope that I am the candidate, and I am confident others will do the same.

Do I believe that what Joe is talking about is a good idea? I don't. At the end of the day, by the way, when we talk about cost, what leading Medicare -- healthcare economists have told us, if we leave the current system unchanged, you're going to be talking about extraordinary increases, something like $50 trillion 10 years from now, over a 10-year period.

[14:20:08] SANDERS: That is too much money. We need a cost effective system, which gets rid of the incredible complexity, and administration, and bureaucracy that currently exists.

So if you want to talk about a cost-effective system that guarantees healthcare to all people that expands benefits for seniors, Medicare- for-All is the way to go.


CABRERA: Okay, Jeff Zeleny is back with us now. Let's discuss what we just heard. And let's start on that last Q&A when I asked him about whether he would support Bidencare should Biden win the nomination? He sort of played both sides there, but ultimately said he would back whoever the eventual nominee is, did he get rid of any concerns, do you think among those in the party who worry about unifying behind the eventual nominee?

ZELENY: It's so interesting, Ana. Every time he's asked something like that, he answers with, he starts with, "Yes, I would support the ultimate Democratic nominee." Because there is this suspicion out there. He's an independent senator from Vermont. He's never been part of the Democratic Party establishment, except for running for President.

So that is something that there's some voters out there wonder if he's essentially going to play along. So he said, look --

CABRERA: Especially after 2016.

ZELENY: Right, who stayed in essentially until the very end, until the convention. So, he's saying, look, he would support the former Vice President if he becomes the nominee. But then he is, you know, not been shy at all in pointing out his differences on this idea. And this is now a defining issue in the Democratic primary debate, on the size and scope of the next chapter of the healthcare debate.

And Bernie Sanders has been very consistent, and very clear. Some other candidates have not been quite as consistent. I was interested, he decided to take a pass on your question to Senator Harris.

She said there would not be a middle class tax increase. Most experts we've spoken to say the math simply would not work out.

CABRERA: And he seemed to agree with those experts, but he didn't attack her in answering that question.

ZELENY: So we'll see if he does, coming up. She's been on about every side of this healthcare debate that you can be on. And she is for the idea of Medicare-for-All. But she's saying that there would be a longer transition period.

He has only a couple times, and the left has only a couple times taken a swipe at her saying, "You're not being quite progressive enough on this," but that's what I'm going to be watching for at our debate at the end of this month in Detroit, about the differences still playing out there.

But for now, Bernie Sanders wants to have this discussion with Joe Biden, because he is saying just expanding Obamacare into a public option simply is not enough.

CABRERA: The idea though, of raising taxes on the middle class, which, you know, Sanders was very straightforward on that, yes, that's going to happen. Does that hurt him with these voters who are listening to his other message, which is all about, you know, going after the one percent?

ZELENY: He is right about the fact that Republicans and critics are going to seize on any tax increase. That is always -- I mean, it's an easy add, it's an easy discussion. But he makes the argument that you're already paying taxes on insurance through premiums, through other matters. So he says, you know, in the long term, middle class families will be better off. That this is absolutely one of the things that voters will be deciding on and who they believe.

The Biden plan having this public option was seen as too liberal, too extreme back a decade ago, during the Affordable Care Act debate. It was the House debate, the Senate would never do it. But one thing Bernie Sanders does not say -- how could he get 59 other senators around his bill? And is this even realistic, should he become President? That's a very open question.

CABRERA: Well, we know that the American people, the majority of American people do not necessarily go along with Medicare-for-All if it means raising taxes and if it means private insurance goes away. Jeff Zeleny, thank you for the discussion.

Healthcare, sure to be part of the next debate, find out which Democratic candidates will face off on each night of the next debates. And a special live event here on CNN, you can watch "The Draw" for the CNN Democratic debates tomorrow night at eight Eastern.

Up next, why should you fear America's massive $70 trillion debt pile? We'll talk to the President of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget who's warning of a fiscal free fall, plus, its impact on you personally. And, are the President's comments inciting new hate or just revealing something that's always been there? I'll ask three people who know what it feels like to be the targets of racism in America.


[14:28:43] CABRERA: The clock is ticking for Congress to come up with a deal and the U.S. record national debt of more than $22 trillion before the government runs out of money. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin spoke again today as they try to reach an agreement on both the budget and the debt ceiling. And we just heard from Nancy Pelosi potential stumbling blocks between the two sides. Listen.


PELOSI: It's all about money. Right? And so we don't want the veterans' resources to be competing with each other or competing with other very valuable domestic priorities.


CABRERA: President Trump and Congress need to reach a deal in seven days before the House leaves for its August recess. Otherwise, the U.S. Government could run out of money before Congress returns in September.

Maya MacGuineas is the President of the nonpartisan Committee for Responsible Federal Budget and author of the opinion piece titled "National debt is about to roar back to life as a pressing issue." Maya, good to have you with us. In your piece, you warned of a coming fiscal freefall, explain.

MAYA MACGUINEAS, PRESIDENT OF THE COMMITTEE FOR A RESPONSIBLE FEDERAL BUDGET: Yes, well, I think if you look at our fiscal situation right now, we're clearly in bad shape. Our national debt is the highest it's ever been relative to the economy other than right after World War II, and it's on track to keep on growing. And a big reason, a big cause of this growing debt right now is that our ...