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Senate GOP Meets with Trump to Discuss Obamacare Overhaul Effort; 8th Person Identified in Trump Jr & Russian Lawyer Meeting; O.J. Simpson Parole Hearing Tomorrow. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired July 19, 2017 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:32:13] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: And welcome back. Moments ago, we just heard from President Trump. It was pretty extraordinary, the comments, several minutes of them we heard, as he addressed before the cameras Senate Republicans just as the health care plan has collapsed. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm ready to act. For seven years, you promised the American people that you would repeal Obamacare. People are hurting. Inaction is not an option. And, frankly, I don't think we should leave town unless we have a health insurance plan, unless we can give our people great health care. Because we're close. We're very close.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: I want to discuss this lunch at the White House at length here. I'm joined by David Gergen, CNN political analyst and former advisors to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton. And also here with me, in studio, Dana Bash and Gloria Borger.
Dana, this was, by my count, around 13 minutes. These were comments at length and these were strident, I think you can say.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: The only thing I can think listening is where has this guy been. Where has he been? This guy, meaning the person who is the occupant of the White House, who ran on and won, in large part, just like his counterparts in Congress, on repealing and replacing Obamacare, who hasn't been this guy. This guy meaning using the bully pulpit in the way that the bully pulpit is supposed to be used by the president of the United States, both to push the substance of this legislation, why the substance is good for their constituents and Americans. And a little bit of arm twisting and some thinly veiled political threat. I think, in a case like this, isn't so bad. Now, going so far as to say I'm going to primary you, not so great.
But I think the tact that he took was, we all promised to do this, and if you vote even against proceeding to this bill, you're going to go back on your promise. That's what I spent the whole day on Capitol Hill yesterday -- that's certainly the message that you're hearing in the halls of Congress. But the other message was, where is the leadership. The leadership in the Senate, saying thing like the president just did, and the Oval Office. So today, somebody got to him.
KEILAR: So there was this tone of leadership.
But I want to know what you think, Gloria. He was talking about just repealing, and then we heard him there say you need to repeal and replace. So he's been all over the map on this.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: He has.
KEILAR: So that's -- he's not been consistent.
BORGER: No. He has. I think maybe this is final destination on the --
KEILAR: You do?
[13:35:05] BORGER: -- on the journey here. Well, because he went from repeal and replace, to repeal, to just let the thing fail. Now he's back to repeal and replace. I agree with Dana. Somebody got to him and said, look, you have to lay out how this bill helps the American people, number one. Who's been able to do that? Nobody for the Republican Party. They have not had a message.
KEILAR: It almost seems like no one has tried.
BORGER: The president hasn't tried. The president should be out there selling his health care bill. He read from a sheet of paper about what is included on this, how this will be better for Medicaid, how this will be better if you're older, or if you have preexisting conditions.
KEILAR: Or if your poor.
BORGER: Right. He went down this list. He called the Democrats obstructionists. He did what a president normally does.
BORGER: And we're like, whoa, he really -- he did this, so somebody told him you have to do this. And then he said to him don't leave town.
KEILAR: That's right.
BORGER: Don't leave town. This has to get done. So this is going to upset the apple cart a little bit. Because right now, the reality is they don't have the votes.
KEILAR: Because, David Gergen, if you leave town without getting the vote, and that has been our expectation that the Senate, the House, Congress is going to go home for its summer recess, this is dead in the water. But if Republican Senators go home, against the demands of their Republican president, what does that mean for them?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN POLITICAL ANLAYST: Well, they may go home against the wishes of a Republican president, but at the same time, 20 percent of the American people support this bill. I mean, most people don't. So they go home against the wishes of their constituents. They're caught in the middle.
Look, the notion of the president cajoling, even bullying, we have seen this before. In fact, this seemed like Lyndon Johnson than any president we have seen in a long time. But he's late to the game. And he's been standing back. The leadership he has shown on this issue so far has been palfrey. It simply has not measured up to the standards of presidents who have big things to do. And they go to the Hill and they work with it. They understand the bills. They're pushing. They go to the country, they take their message out there. They whip up the interest groups. They work with hospitals and doctors and others. They haven't done any of that from the White House. Now to put the -- they have to whip the Senators in line. It may be too late.
GERGEN: It will be very difficult for the people who have come out against repeal and replace to switch positions back.
KEILAR: OK, lots of nods here on this issue.
Is it too little too late?
BASH: It could now, because, as David said, the politics of this is the Republicans who are against the substance of what he just discussed, from Susan Collins to Dean Heller to others, are now out on a limb saying they're opposed to it, and them capitulating might not be the best thing for them politically.
The other thing is the president did go out on a limb, politically, by putting the squeeze on these guys. And the open question is whether a president with the all-time low approval rating has the juice to put the squeeze on them.
KEILAR: I'm sorry. We have some breaking news out of the Supreme Court just in here to CNN. The Supreme Court has just made two decisions on President Trump's travel ban.
CNN justice reporter, Laura Jarrett, has the details for us.
What's going on here, Laura. LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Brianna, in a partial loss for
President Trump's embattled travel ban, the Supreme Court just moments ago has decided to leave in place a lower-court decision that exempted grandparents and others, cousins, aunts, uncles, as close family members from the travel ban. The court also ruled that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals should continue to review whether refugees who are being assisted by volunteer resettlement agencies should be allowed into the country.
So the court fight is not over. But for now, grandparents, the big category that had been at issue for the last several weeks after that Supreme Court decision, can come in the country.
KEILAR: Grandparents, and the second thing, refugees who are under consideration, you said, by organizations who are in charge of, sort of, identifying and processing them, so where do they stand? Are they still being considered?
JARRETT: This is one of those issues that was rather vague coming out of the Supreme Court decision. And the Supreme Court didn't say how they were to be handled other than to say refugee resettlement organizations can't proactively reach out to refugees and try to get them on their books in order to get them exempt from the travel ban. But this lower court judge just last week said, wait a minute, if they have a close connection to a volunteer agency, that's sufficient to count as the type of close relationship the Supreme Court was envisioning. So they should be allowed to come in. Now the Supreme Court is saying we need to take a little bit more of a look at that so let's the Ninth Circuit handle that and then it can come to us.
[13:40:14] KEILAR: All right, thank you for clarifying that. Laura Jarrett with some breaking news there about the travel ban coming out of the Supreme Court.
And coming up, we're learning some new details about the eighth person in that Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort. We're going to talk about his background, tell you who he is, next.
KEILAR: We are following some new developments in the meeting between Donald Trump Jr and a Russian lawyer.
Senior congressional correspondent, Manu Raju, is joining us now from Capitol Hill with more on this.
Manu, the Russian lawyer, she says she's willing to testify. Is there a reaction to this on Capitol Hill? Is this going to happen?
[13:45:18] MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: There's willingness among Republicans and Democrats leading the key committee on the Senate side, the Senate Intelligence Committee, to hear from her as well. Yesterday, Senator Richard Burr, the Republican chairman of the committee, told me he did want to speak with all the people involved with the meeting, perhaps in a public session, he said. And today, Senator Mark Warner said he, too, would like to learn more about this meeting, and hear from this Russian lawyer. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARK WARNER, (D), VIRGINIA: If she's willing to talk, I would like to talk with her. And I also find, again, just curious is how both the size and content of this meeting seems to change on a 24-hour basis. But it bothers me a great deal that it's taken almost a week for senior members of the Trump administration to come clean with who was in the meeting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: This comes, Brianna, as some Republicans are also raising concerns about the failure of the White House to disclose in detail and up front exactly all the meetings that did occur between Trump associates, White House officials and Russians. There are a number of Republicans that are just frankly frustrated that this continues to leak out day after day with new revelation, and continuing to put them on the defensive.
Marco Rubio, a Republican who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told me earlier today that it makes sense for the White House to come clean and detail every contact that took place between Trump officials and Russian associates. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R), FLORIDA: It would be better if they just if everybody sat down over the weekend and listed every one of the sorts of meeting so they could just put it out once and for all as opposed to having to answer to it every single day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: The question will be, why isn't the White House doing this. Will they start to disclose more of these meetings? We know, Brianna, that a number of requests had been made from these key committees asking for more information from Jared Kushner, from Donald Trump Jr. We'll see if they provide it to Capitol Hill or if they result in any subpoenas going forward -- Brianna?
KEILAR: All right. We will see.
Manu Raju, thank you.
And CNN has identified the eighth person in the secret meeting last summer between top Trump campaign officials, including Donald Trump Jr, and a Russian lawyer. His name is Ike Kaveladze. You can see him highlighted here in this video, alongside President Trump, back before he was President Trump in 2013. He's a long-time U.S. citizen. And according to his LinkedIn page, he works for a Russian billionaire who has ties to both Vladimir Putin and to President Trump.
With me, CNN chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, CNN chief political correspondent, Dana Bash. And also with us, we have CNN national security analyst and former Homeland Security assistant secretary, Juliette Kayyem. And CNN legal analyst, Michael Zeldin. He's a former federal prosecutor, who has worked closely with special counsel, Robert Mueller.
OK, so, Gloria, Congress has been looking into this guy's past. What can you tell us about him?
BORGER: In 2000, Carl Lavin, a Democrat on the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, was looking into the subject of money laundering, and what he discovered was Ike Kaveladze is somebody who laundered money, set up about 2000 accounts on behalf of the Russians, and the money, about $1.4 billion, was moved to those accounts into this country. It was something Congress was looking at because they then established a policy that banks need to know the true owners of these accounts when you open them. So when his name came out, everybody started looking at this 2000 investigation
KEILAR: -- 2000 accounts.
BORGER: -- and started connecting the dots. And I'm sure they would like to hear from him.
KEILAR: How many accounts?
BORGER: Two thousand.
KEILAR: OK, just making sure we're not talking about the year 2000. We're talking about 2,000 accounts.
BORGER: Yes, 2000 accounts, U.S. corporations and bank accounts. Not the year 2000.
KEILAR: Michael Zeldin, this guy's attorney, Kaveladze's attorney, says that the special counsel investigators are seeking information from his clients. Now we know that Robert Mueller is looking for information from him.
You have worked closely with Mueller. What does this tell you about where the investigation is?
[13:49:41] MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I thought from the beginning of this investigation this was going to turn in various points into a money laundering investigation. You've got this fellow here who set up these corporations in Delaware, which were legal to be established, but who provided a conduit through correspondent banking and wire transfers to get about $1.4 billion out of the country, as Gloria said. We know that Manafort is under inquiry for the way that he purchased real estate in New York, cash purchases, in a way that FinCEN (ph) is worried about as a money laundering vehicle. We know that Treasury has sent all sorts of data from its FinCEN, Financial Intelligence Unit of Treasury, over to Mueller and to the investigative committees on the possibility of money laundering. So all of this tells me is that -- and you look at the staff of people that Mueller has hired, all of whom have money laundering and corruption inquiry experience. This is a money laundering investigation in large measure. It may not be exactly what the Donald Trump Jr meeting is about, but on a broad basis, I think this is what Robert Mueller is looking at.
KEILAR: Juliette, you think of who all is in this meeting. You've got a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin, a Russian-American lobbyist and ex-Soviet army officer, Ike Kaveladze, a translator, a British music publicist. Is it possible that this promise of damaging info on Hillary Clinton was just a ruse, but then the main objective was to lobby against U.S. sanctions against Russia?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: So, I don't buy the theory that Donald Trump Jr is unsophisticated or just a kid or that even this entire investigation can be explained away if -- you know, because the Trumps were new to politics. I mean, just look at the subject heading of the e-mail regarding, you know, Clinton. That Donald Trump Jr was a willing recipient of this, right? So that --
KEILAR: But could that have been -- I guess my point is, it does seem, yes, he was, Juliette. But is it possible that he thought he was getting something and really it was, on the end, coming from, whether it's Russians or folks in that meeting who had ties to Russians, that they were thinking, we're going to sort of worm our way in, dangling this idea of information about Hillary Clinton, but really, we're here to talk about sanctions?
KAYYEM: Well, I would buy -- I understand that argument. I guess it would seem more convincing if there wasn't a whole bunch of other evidence of these, you know, strange meetings, of Russian influence in the election, of all of our intelligence agencies saying that this was, in fact, Russia's involvement with the election. In other words, this meeting did not appear in isolation. It appeared at a certain time with certain people. And so, that's the one piece.
The other was the failure to disclose. So we've gone through months and months of failure to disclose this information. The Russians know that the Trumps are not disclosing it, Donald Trump Jr and Jared Kushner. They, therefore, can use that against Donald Trump Jr and Jared Kushner. So we have just this -- all this activity.
So while I agree with Senator Marco Rubio, that it would be great to just get all the facts out, I'm also of the mind that maybe it's too late. That actually, that what we're seeing is a conspiracy sort of unwinding because of Mueller's investigation. And you're not going to get clarity until we're in a court of law.
KEILAR: Dana, when you look at Republicans on Capitol Hill, how are they reacting to what -- it's almost like a clown car, right? It's like all these people were in this meeting and we're learning who they are. What is their reaction?
BASH: Incredibly frustrated. Incredibly frustrated that it is one day after the next after the next of the drip, drip, drip. And in fact, that's a term and a phrase that some of the Republican Senators who are even on the Intelligence Committee have used. Beyond frustrated. Not just because on the substance of it, as those who are investigating, you know, kind of feel like they can't get a handle on it, but obviously, also politically, because they have a harder time defending the president. And most importantly, they're having a harder time getting things done that they promised that they would do, that they hoped that they would do. The health care issue is case in point. You know, the president has been quite distracted, focusing a lot on his tweets and elsewhere on health care. And today was the first time we saw him do that and not focus a lot on Russia.
[13:54:05] KEILAR: He sure has.
Dana, Gloria, Juliette and Michael, thank you so much to all of you.
Just ahead, O.J. Simpson ready to make his case for parole. We're going to preview what to expect and his chances at an early release, next.
KEILAR: In less than 24 hours, O.J. Simpson is facing a Nevada parole board and trying to convince them to let him out of prison. The 70- year-old Simpson has been locked away for nearly nine years for taking part in an armed robbery and kidnapping.
And Ashleigh Banfield, the host of "PRIMETIME JUSTICE" on HLN, is live in Carson City, Nevada, where this hearing will take place.
Ashleigh, what are the chances that this parole board says, OK, you can go free?
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT & HLN HOST, PRIMETIME JUSTICE: They're great. I know a lot of people probably don't want to hear that, but the truth of the matter is O.J. Simpson has been a model inmate. He's had no write-ups, Brianna. He's gotten no trouble with those guards or those other inmates. He's had perfect behavior.
Then on top of that, he's done everything else an inmate is supposed to do. He's taken programs. He's done the education. He's got a good case.
And also he already got parole from the same four people who are going to be in this building behind me tomorrow. Five of the 12 charges he was paroled on several years ago. The seven that are left, I think it's a real lock that he's going to be able to walk. Not tomorrow, though. If they say yes tomorrow, it means October 1.
What's fascinating, though, is the reason we know a lot about his behavior is because there have been people inside talking. And one of them is a guard, Jeffrey Felix, who said he befriended O.J., guarded him for seven years, walked the track with him every day, had heart to hearts. And said he's the one that O.J. may have come closest to confessing what actually happened with Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown- Simpson. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: He said something to you about wishing he had done it all over again, and you asked him what, meaning, done what all over again, and he answered you, quote, "You know what." You know what. What was he referring to when he said, you know what?
JEFFREY FELIX, PRISON GUARD: Well, he was referring to the murders. I think the way he was saying it, he might have been copping to the murders. I think that's the closest anyone's ever been to O.J. confessing to the murder. And that's the closest he'll ever be to confessing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: I should say that O.J.'s attorney says that everything he says is rubbish. Look, it matches with a lot of other inside reports.
Real quickly, before I let you go here, I do want to tell you that, tonight, on my HLN show, at 8:00, "PRIMETIME JUSTICE," we're going to have Fred Goldman's attorney on. And what's so critical about that $33 million judgment that, you know, that financial settlement that O.J. still owes, this is going to impact -- if he walks out of Lovelock Prison and starts life all over again, the Goldmans are coming after him. He's going to have a financial prison afterwards. And there's so many things that we're going let you know about tonight that the Goldmans have and have their eyes on. We'll let you know about it tonight.
KEILAR: Yeah, it's really been their mission now for years since they lost their son. We're looking forward to hearing about that.
Ashleigh Banfield, thank you.
BANFIELD: You're welcome.
KEILAR: Do not miss this special coverage of the parole hearing. It all begins at 1:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow on CNN.
That's it for me. I'll be back with you at 5:00 p.m. Eastern on "THE SITUATION ROOM."
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