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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  January 13, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm PST

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while game show host steve harvey gets facetime with donald trump, president-elect brushes aside reporters' questions about obamacare. tonight trump's party is moving towards repealing the affordable care act, but feuding over just how to replace it. and first daughters. after growing up in the white house, sasha and malia obama are getting tips on life in the real world from two sisters who understand very much what it's like. we'll look at the moving message from jenna and barbara bush just days before the obama family's big move. we want to welcome our viewers here in the united states and around the world. wolf blitzer is off today and i'm jim chusciutto and you're i "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. the breaking news this hour congress takes the first step towards repealing president obama's signature health care law. the republican-led house joining
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the senate in approving the resolution that will begin that process. stand by for more details on that vote next and what will follow obama care. also tonight, newly revealed contact between the trump camp and russia. the transition team confirming that incoming national security adviser general michael flynn spoke with moscow's adviser to the u.s. just last month. their conversation happening the very same day as the obama administration was announcing sanctions for russia's election meddle. election officials say flynn and the ambassador discussed logistics for a post-inauguration phone call between trump and vladimir putin not those sanctions. president-elect is promising that his team will conduct its own report on russian hacking and complete that report within 90 days. trump showing more hostility towards the u.s. intelligence community in a new tweet blasting the leak of unsubstantiated claims that russia has compromising information about him.
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tonight a democratic lawmaker and civil rights icon suggesting that trump's election is not valid because of that russian interference. congressman john lewis revealing in an interview that he will not see trump as a legitimate president. we'll talk about trump, russia and more with the leading republican on the house foreign affairs committee darrell issa right here standing by along with our correspondents and analysts as we bring you full coverage of today's top stories. first, though, to cnn political reporter sarah murray. another busy day for the president-elect behind the scenes and on twitter. >> you're absolutely right, jim. a week from today donald trump is going to take the oath of office and a very busy week between now and then. a jam packed schedule for the senate nominees to go through their senate hearings. donald trump's focus was else where as he took to twitter to not only take shots at the u.s. intelligence community and also his former presidential rival, hillary clinton.
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today donald trump is capping off a fiery week with an early morning twitter tirade. >> it's all fake news. it's phony stuff. it didn't happen. >> reporter: the president-elect still stewing over allegations that russian operatives claim to have compromising information on him. cnn isn't reporting the details of those allegations because it is not independently confirmed them. but trump took to twitter to call the allegations, "totally made up facts. both democrats and republicans. fake news. russia says nothing exists. probably released by intelligence even knowing there is no proof and never will be." trump's latest swipe at u.s. intelligence agencies coming after the director of national intelligence james clapper said he assured trump the intelligence community wasn't the source for the dossier. as trump publicly feuds,
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privately his top advisors have done their own russian outreach. trump's team confirming today that michael flynn, trump's pick for national security adviser recently exchanged calls and texts with the russian ambassador. their goal, according to the trump transition, was simply to arrange a chat between russian president vvladimir putin and trump once he's in the white house. he is also aiming his fire at hillary clinton. trump tweeting, what are hillary clinton's people complaining about with respect to the fbi? based on the information they had, she should never have been allowed to run. guilty as hell. that's as clinton allies applauded the decision by the justice department inspector general to launch a probe into the way the department and the fbi handled the investigation into clinton's private e-mail server. >> i think those tweets are just the latest indication that donald trump is someone who is very insecure in his victory and i understand why. every day there are new developments and new shoes
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dropping so to speak. >> reporter: as trump airs his grievances on twitter, at least some are being spared. his cabinet picks, who are starting to express disagreement between trump's views and theirs. >> we want them to be themselves and i told them, be yourselves and say what you want to say. don't worry about me. >> reporter: another potential area of disagreement may be emerging. house speaker paul ryan told an undocumented immigrant at cnn's town hall that he hoped her future was in america. she was brought to the u.s. as a child by her parents. >> do you think i should be deported? >> first of all, i can see that you love your daughter and you are a nice person who has a great future ahead of you and i hope your future's here. >> reporter: and he insisted the deportation force trump once promised won't become a reality. >> and i'm here to tell you, in congress, it's not happening. >> reporter: amid all of this trump trot his celebrity guests through the lobby. talk show and "family feud" host
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steve harvey. harvey said he was encouraged by president obama's staff tacome talk with the president-elect about the outreach he does in african-american community. >> we'll team up and see if we can bring about positive change in the inner cities, which i felt was my only agenda. >> in terms of this back channeling between general michael flynn. donald trump's pick as national security adviser and the russian ambassador even though their phone call occurred on the same day that president obama unveiled sanctions against russia, trump's team had nuthing to do with that. it was not discussed but to set up this phone call between vladim vladimir putin and donald trump some time in the future. jim? >> sarah murray in new york, thanks very much. as lawmakers learn more about russian election cyberattacks a prominent democrat says that he does not see donald trump as a legitimate
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president as a result of that russian interference. listening to congressman and civil rights icon john lewis in a new interview. >> i don't see the president-elect as a legitimate president. >> you do not consider him a legitimate president. why is that? >> i think the russians participated in helping this man get elected. and they have destroyed the candidacy for hillary clinton. i don't plan to attend the in g inauguration. it will be the first one that i miss since i've been in the congress. you cannot be at home with something that you feel that is wrong. i think there was a conspiracy on the part of the russian and others. to help him get elected. that's not right. that's not fair.
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that's not open democratic process. >> tonight some democrats in congress are fuming after a closed door briefing by the fbi director about the russian hacking. we have breaking news about a heated confrontation between the former dnc chair and fbi director james comey about the hacked e-mails that help lead to her ouster. cnn phil mattingly is digging in on that for us. what are you learning about that c confrontation? >> it was exactly how it was described by a lawmaker in the room. we are just learning right now that closed door briefing, classified briefing this morning turned into a challenging duel, if you will. now, if you think back to the summer on the eve of the democratic convention, debbie wasserman schultz was forced to resign from her chairmanship of the democratic national committee because of those leaks.
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>> sounds like we don't have that sound from the director comey. but thanks for that report from inside that meeting, phil mattingly. i want to turn now to cnn justice correspondent evan perez for more on comey's briefings on capitol hill. what is the fbi's view of this conferenrontation that we're heg from? >> one of the things that the purpose of this briefing was to fill in members in the house and then yesterday in the senate about exactly what went on in the russian hacking in the election. and, of course, what happened at the end of that was democrats wanted to also ask questions about the handling of the hillary clinton e-mails. i think that is the reason why debbie wasserman schultz and some democrats emerged so angry. what happened was in the senate briefing, which was yesterday, the fbi director was able to explain a lot more about exactly why he set that october surprise letter. the letter in which he explained that they had found these new e-mails as part of an unrelated
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investigation of anthony weiner. and that basically at the end of that the fbi decided there wasn't enough reason to bring any charges just before the election. but what he described was that the fbi did find classified e-mails, new classified e-mails. e-mails that they had not seen before. that they needed time to go through to investigate. at the end of that which is apparently a lot of work. a lot of e-mails. there were some that they had seen before and some they hadn't seen before. at the end it did not change their conclusion that hillary clinton did not knowingly mishandle classified information. again, that did not change the overall conclusion. what we're told, jim, in the senate briefing they had about almost two hours to describe this to the members of the senate. in the house they had about an hour and, apparently, they didn't have enough time to explain all of this and you saw the reaction in the house. some of these members came out extremely angry and some came out and said they thought he should resign.
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that is a political question which might be a little bit more dicy for democrats to consider you're asking for donald trump to have the choice of an fbi director. i'm not sure that -- >> the "wall street journal" also calling for him to resign. thanks very much evan perez. let's talk about all this breaking news. darrell issa a member of the foreign affairs committee. nice to have you back. always good to talk to you. >> good to be on, jim. you picked some great subjects. >> there you go. we're going to be here for hours. let's start, first, with john lewis' comments. he's been in the house for decades. he's a civil rights icon. he just said he does not see donald trump as a legitimate commander in chief. what is your reaction? >> john is a good man and i think he will, in time, feel that he used his words poorly. you know, similar conversations occurred when i first came to congress 16 years ago when some
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members shot off about an appointed, not an elected president. ultimately, we all have to make this presidency a success. it is now the law we live under. john's a good man. i think in time he will change his position to find ways to work with this president. but i can understand his grief and his pain. he fully expected hillary clinton to win. he, like many people, thinks, well, donald trump couldn't possibly win. i'm a native of ohio, but i'm a californian. in california where more than 4 million more people voted for hillary than voted for donald. it's hard to understand how he won. but when i go back to cleveland and i look at the people who voted for him so he carried ohio and michigan and wisconsin, i do understand it. i would hope in time that he does. >> so we have a situation now just turning now to both the russian hacking investigation, but also the fire that the fbi director is coming under.
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so, we're going to have parallel investigations now continuing russian hacking. what influence it had and what was the intention behind it, the extent. and also the fbi now investigating itself on director comey's handling of the investigation of hillary clinton's e-mails which, as you know, democrats have said possibly influenced the election as well. let me ask you, do you have confidence in the fbi director? >> well, you know, i had a similar reaction when he basically announced there wasn't anything there when, in fact, she had broken the law. there were statutes on the books that do not require you knowingly, only that you essentially recklessly handled information. as a matter of fact, david petraeus was onef the charges he was charged with. so, i was upset at that point. then i became less upset when he came out with more. then, of course, i was upset -- >> don't you think he is doing his job well if you agree with
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the results of the investigation? >> i didn't say i was right or wrong. i said i was upset. i understand why people are upset when it doesn't go their way and they are happier when it does. i look at this man who tried mightily to do the right thing in a highly charged political environment. if he made a mistake, he seemed to have made it on both sides. >> let me ask you this. here is the criticism and one of the focuses of this fbi investigation by its inspector general. he spoke very publicly about the investigation into hillary clinton's e-mails. you'll remember that july speech. got up there and said she was extremely careless. he did not speak publicly about other investigations that we know that are under way regarding donald trump's transition team communication prior to the election with russia. why is that fair? >> well, first of all, communications with russia wouldn't be unlawful or anything that he'd have jurisdiction on. >> they are investigating because they want to find out what the communications were about, et cetera. >> i understand.
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but the fact is there was nothing to investigate. >> but that, to be fair, that's not your judgment. that's up to the judgment of the investigators. the question i'm asking -- >> in july there was nothing. in august there was nothing. >> prior to the election we know there was enough to pursue an investigation which is pursuing -- my question to you is why is it fair for the fbi director to speak very open and very publicly about the investigation into hillary clinton's e-mails and not into the other investigations into trump campaign? >> jim, your question is good, but the answer is the same. this is somebody who is trying -- we could all fault him in retrospect but he was trying in a politically charged environment to provide the information so that the fbi and the public would be as much equally informed. >> but on one side of the investigation, not on the other. that's the thing. if you inform, you have to be consistent. >> let's just stick with hillary for a moment. there was an ongoing
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investigation of wrongdoing violations of the law. the federal records act is a law. hillary clinton willfully violated it. he investigated it. he came up and said, i'm not going to charge nobody would charge. he came before my committee and said it and i was in shock because i thought he was wrong. i still think he was wrong. but the fact is he made an judgment call. hey, we found more. when you find apnthony weiner with classified documents, that's worth commenting on. >> although he was distinct from the candidate. let me move on. >> uma wasn't, so, the fact was that the reason it was is because she, who had all that classified information. obviously put it there. >> let's move on only because there are so many things in the news and i want to get your opinions on it. we now have confirmed that donald trump's national security adviser, his choice for national security adviser communicated with russian ambassador to the u.s. on the very same day that the obama administration was
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opposing new sanctions on russia for election-related meddling. is that a appropriate time for the national security adviser to speak with russian officials? >> well, what i understand is that he was talking about a potential call. may have even been saying in light of this we have to delay the call. i can't know the details of it. you know, only one president at a time. the president set an agenda and decided to do something that i think all of us know hehead have done months earlier. he should have done it when they knew what they were doing. >> that's the criticism of the policy. you say there is only one president at a time and that was obama at the time. >> jim, the president chose a day. the fact is, the incoming administration was dealing with 200 heads of state around the world and communications with limited staff. so, the fact that it occurred on the same day is only important if there really was a link, which i don't understand. i understand there wasn't. you know, to be honest, i've had
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conversations with heads of state that i was trying to get in the cue to talk to the president. on the day that i had those, i have no idea what else was going on necessarily. and you make those. i think that general flynn has given an answer, if that answer is truthful, then i don't think there's a story there. >> let me ask you this. cnn was the first to report this week about intelligence chiefs prepting the president and the president-elect with unsubstantiated, i will specify -- >> without research from a former mi 6. >> originated and to report our reporting a former mi6 operative that has provided credible information to u.s. intelligence agencies in the past. i want to ask you this. donald trump and his team have given multiple explanations and sometimes inconsistent alte alternative narratives as it were that, frankly, contradicted the facts. as we know them from the director of national intelligence and the vice president.
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but does that concern you? concern you that the facts are fuzzy with the incoming administration? >> i lived through in my early political life when i was just getting going. i lived through the constant history of bill clinton. whitewater, the various affairs and women coming forward. >> i don't want to relitigate a previous -- >> here's the reason i'm putting it in context. it is always inappropriate to bring up things from before the election if they're not directly related to go forward. donald trump has been divorced a couple times. donald trump has had a life. if we constantly are looking and saying, what about this, what about this, then we never get to the clear four or eight years of his administration. the fact is he should be held accountable for his conduct while he is in office from this day forward. and to keep digging up the old was generally inappropriate with
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bill clinton. it was generally inappropriate with a host of other people. i think that's the one thing washington has to learn. >> well, to be clear, let me be clear. this information was not brought up because anyone wanted to dissect donald trump's marriage. it was the reason was germane to the conversation because they wanted to make him aware that there was this material russia claimed to have which they might use as compromising information. so, the question i have is a bigger picture one if i could just ask you. do you believe donald trump takes the russia threat seriously? in the broadest strokes. the threat of cyberattacks in syria, et cetera. >> i think this president elect, when he becomes president, like his two predecessors will underestimate at first the danger of president putin and this evil, smaller but still empire. >> you believe he underestimates
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the threat from putin. >> i believe he will underestimate it. he has surrounded himself with some very good people, including jim mattis, who are very quickly going to bring him up to speed on the fact that this is an evil government that is very, very similar to the one that ronald reagan faced 36 years ago when he entered office. the difference is, it appears more binine. it does deals and talks about different world. i believe just as president bush, george w. and president obama clearly started off thinking they could work with this man and ended up feeling very differently that this president will do so. it is for all of us and i was on his national security advisory team. i take an active role that he needs to find out sooner. but the moment he becomes president, when he begins looking at and he has begun looking at the breath of their bad conduct around the world, he will be more cautious. and that's important. and i say this because no matter
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who is in the white house bush, obama or trump, we cannot underestimate this country who seems to have so many problems at home that their best out, the best way forputen to keep power is to screw around with everybody else's things, including potentially our elections. >> and potentially the u.s. national security. congressman issa, thank you very much commenting on so many issues. more breaking news into the situation room. the senate intelligence committee announced it is launching an investigation. i want tago back to cnn's phil mattingly. phil, what are we learning? >> we are just learning about this right now from the committee. a bipartisan committee-wide investigation into russian intelligence activities as they related to the campaign and the details here are what matters. this review is going to include a look into that assessment from the intelligence community that was released about the election hacking. but also a review, and i'm going to read this, of
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counterintelligence concerns related to russia in the 2016 election including any intelligence including links between russia and individuals associated with political campaigns. that will be a direct focus of the committee's inquiry as to what kind of power they have. they will hold hearings but perhaps more importantly they will be interviewing people on the campaigns from the incoming administration, from the outgoing administration and, jim, they will have subpoena power which, according to the committee, they are willing to use if they need it. so, you hear from capitol hill now a lot of clamor to start these investigations to learn more about things and there's a good reason for that. we talked aboutthe frustration from democrats who heard it from evan, as well. that classified briefing between debbie wasserman schultz and james comey it was sharp and lasted for more than ten minutes and echoed cat calls from democrats throughout that private briefing that were very, very frustrated and not happy with what they heard.
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i talked to comings when he left that classified brief g briefing, he was extremely disappointed by what he heard. starting to question whether or not jim comey should resign. i reached out to debbie wasserman schultz office about this. they are not going to comment on what happened at a classified briefing but did say according to debbie wasserman schultz jim comey has more questions to answer, jim. >> phil mattingly, thank you very much. a lot of lawmakers have talked about it and now we know it is going to happen. investigation of the russian hacking. new information on the recent contacts between a top trump adviser michael flynn and russia. they were happening at the very same time as the obama administration was retailiating for moscow's effort to undermine the u.s. election. joining me now is "washington post" columnist and associate editor david ignatius. the first to report these
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contracts with general flynn and the russian ambassador to the u.s. thank you for joining us tonight. >> thank you, jim. >> so, tell me, david, how significant is this kind of contact, particularly knowing it was on the very same day that the obama administration was imposing new penalties on russia for meddling in the election. >> well, i think your previous guest, congress missa made clea what the concern was. as he put it, this evil regime in russia headed by vladimir putin, which assaulted the u.s. election process and was about to be sanctioned by the obama administration. was it appropriate to have conversations with the russian ambassador on that day. trump says december 28th. about the sort of future of the
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u.s./russian relationship. the future meeting between trump and vladimir putin and also we are just learning that the future attendance by the united states at a conference sponsored by russia about syria, something that russia had sought to exclude the u.s. from previously. was that appropriate? >> let me ask you this as you look at this and you speak to other government officials. i just wonder about a mixed signal possibly being sent to a foreign government, particularly anned aversarial foreign government. one the outgoing administration posing new sanctions and the other one coming out and wishing them a happy holidays, in effect. talking about further communication. does that risk, you know, threatening this question that there is this rule in effect that there is only one president, one policy at a time? >> jim, that's precisely the issue i tried to raise in my column this morning.
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we have a piece of legislation that's never been enforced. never been a prosecution. the logan act. and it basically says that u.s. private citizen somebody not representing the government should not be involved with a country with which the united states has a dispute. i mean, we had a real dispute with russia about their hacking. these expulsions of diplomats was imminent. was it appropriate to have that contact as you put it that we can only have one president at a time. soon that president is going to be donald trump. that president was not donald trump on the day this conversation happened. >> david ignatius, you heard congressman gop issa tell me a few moments ago and he's been a trump supporter that donald trump, in his wurords, underestimates the threats from russia. you now have a bipartisan investigation of election meddling and a host of other issues. were there real differences syria, et cetera. how concerning is that and to
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hear that particularly from a republican, criticism from a republican. >> i think you're hearing that more and more including from members of trump's perspective cabinet. the testimony from general mattis and mike pompeo made very clear that they're taking a much harder line towards russia, toward what they see as a threatening, aggressive russia than president-elect trump has. and i think in some ways that's reassurance. should be a reassurance to the public that if strong cabinet members senior officials, cia directors who are going to be prepared to challenge trump if he does things with russia that they think are inappropriate. >> and, david, our reporting now is that there was contact on the 29th of december. the very same day that the obama administration was opposing these new sapgznctions. have you learned of other
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communications, whether by telephone or text between flynn and the russian ambassador to the u.s.? >> i should just note that trump transition team spokesman sean spicer says the conversations were on the 28th. that was the day when many news organizations were reporting that the sanctions were on the way. so, it's really, i think, not a significant difference. i'm aware of texts between the ambassador and general flynn on christmas day, warm wishes back and forth i'm aware of communications to set up this phone conversation. i can't speak with confidence about additional conversations. we do know that general flynn has believed in and has worked to advance the idea with russia. he believes strongly it's in the u.s. interest. that's a policy issue that and
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the specific conversation is the one that i mentioned. >> certainly. a legitimate policy question, you could say. the thing is general flynn has his own personal ties taking a paid speaking engagement from the russian propaganda network and just for folks at home, david ignatius. you know this issue very well. should they or how concerned should they be about communications like this that you and we are reporting? >> well, i think the question is one of timing. it's, obviously, appropriate for our diplomats and our national security adviser to be in touch with russian ambassador. the ambassador from anywhere. was this the right time to be doing it? just a note about russia today. the channel that general flynn
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has appeared on as a guest and that he is said tahave received a speaking fee from. well before the trump campaign got rolling. this has been identified in the unclassified version of the intelligence agency's report on hacking as a key propaganda channel for the russian government of vladimir putin. it's not just cable news channel. this is described by our intelligence agencies as a propaganda outlet. i do think there is a question whether somebody who is going to be a prominent official and adviser. they should be appearing on a propaganda out let. >> and, listen, this is information war as much as anything between the u.s. and russia. david ignatius of "the washington post," thanks very much. one of the breaking news stories we're following this hour. congressman john lewis declaring that he will not see donald
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trump's president daes in his words as legitimate because of russia's meddle in the election. our political team is here now to talk about that. i want to remind our viewers exactly what the congressman said. have a listen. >> i don't see the president-elect as a legitimate president. >> you do not consider him a legitimate president. why is that? >> i think the russians participated in helping this man get elected. and they helped destroy the candidacy of hillary clinton. i don't plan to attend inauguration. it will be the first one that i miss since i've been in the congress. you cannot be at home with something that you feel is wrong. i think that was a conspiracy on the part of the russians and others. to help him get elected. that's not right. that's not fair.
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that's not open, democratic process. >> that was john lewis there speaking. gloria borger revered by both parties. i had darrell issa on and that is the first thing he said, he respects him very much. this is a very strong charge to make. when donald trump puts his hand on the bible a week from now, he's not legitimate. >> it is. look, if you watch john lewis, you can tell he's speaking from his heart. you can tell that he's very pained by what he is saying. this is not something that he didn't think about before he said it. it was clearly something he wanted to say. i think what it does, though, we're sort of on the eve of the inauguration is unsettle the country in a way. and unsettles this bipartisan investigation into the serious national security issue of the russian hack. which is something that both
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democrats and republicans agree needs to be investigated. look, i've been around long enough. i remember after bush/gore there were people questioning the legitimacy of george bush's presidency. but the kind of feeling about it and the sort of underlying feeling about donald trump himself versus the way that people felt about george bush himself is very different. very emotional and very raw right now. and, so, if the new president wants to sort of calm the country down, he's going to have to do something to, i think, address the unease. >> david axelrod, i want to ask you and with this particular preface. you working with president obama when president obama came in, it was a stinging charge, i'm sure, when you heard some republicans question his legitimacy as president. so, now, the table turned in
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effect. was this a legitimate comment for john lewis to throw at the president-elect? >> i'm not comfortable with it, jim. i understand it. i understand where it's coming from. i know there's a great deal of outrage about some of the irregularities that we saw in the election and this russian incursion on our democracy. but the greatest triumph for russia would be to legitimate their charges about our democracy and i worry about our institutions. i worry that we're in this mad cycle of destruction. i remember what was done to barack obama in 2009 and forward by this president-elect and others who questioned his legitimacy as president based on an outright lie that he wasn't an american citizen. i understand the outrage. but where is this all going? one of my great concerns about the president-elect is that i think sometimes he has disregard
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for our institutions and norms and that contributes to a weakening of our democracy. so, i just don't want to see this constant churning that leads to kind of reflexive reaction. every time a president gets elected who we don't like. >> abby philip. we may want to put this behind us as a runt. certainly i'm sure the president -- for some people, john lewis among them. that will raise questions about the election. is this a sign of things to come? >> i think what is happening on the hill is in some ways a reflection of what's going on in the american public. there are still a lot of americans, maybe they voted for hillary, maybe they didn't vote at all who are looking at this situation and they want something to latch on to. they want an opposition to latch on to. and john lewis is in some ways
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giving voice to that. what we might end up seeing on a lot of these battles going forward, as we prepare for these investigations and i suspect are going to seem never ending. you're going to have democrats having to decide how far they're willing to go on this issue. and many like david said are not going to be willing to go as far as john lewis did because of this idea that perhaps this is feeding into what vladimir putin wanted by meddling in the u.s. election. and also that it contributes to a destabilizing of the process as a whole. i think that's a legitimate concern for them to have. i think the destabilizing of the process as a whole is one of the things that contributed to the comey situation. i think democrats would have wished that this sort of -- that things had been followed by the book lout tthroughout the campa >> everybody stand by. the first step towards dismantling obama care.
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we're back now with our political team, but also breaking news. the first official step in congress to repeal obama care. i want to bring in cnn senior political reporter manu ra jja. >> the house and the senate to develop legislation to appeal obama care. what republicans will find out very shortly they're not yet united on the specifics. >> concurrent resolution is agreed to. >> reporter: the house taking the first step to repeal obama care. >> this law is collapsing while we speak.
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>> reporter: congress approving a budget that will now give republicans the authority to repeal much of the affordable care act on a party line vote. >> repeal and replace is going great. >> reporter: the move is intended to fulfill one of the main campaign promises of president-elect donald trump who wants to replace the law at the same time as repealing it. >> it will be essentially simultaneously. it will be various segments, you understand, but will most likely be on the same day or the same week, but probably the same day. could be the same hour. so, we're going to do repeal and replace. >> reporter: but trump's comments undercut the plans of gop leaders who want to take their time developing a new health care law. house speaker paul ryan even said last month that a replacement would not be ready by the next football season. cnn's town hall a shift ryan now promises to move quickly. >> so, we want to advance repealing this law with its
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replacement at the same time. along the lines of what i just described. something definitely is a plan within the first 100 days to get moving on this legislation. >> reporter: but they are already running into problems. the party is divided over how tareplace the law. in some influential voices are asking party leaders to hit the brakes. >> i think the repeal plan needs to be fully, fully developmented and better articulated prior to moving forward. i have some resser vacations about moving as quickly as we are. >> do you have concerns at all about the time table then? >> i think it is going to be a very, i think this is going to be a very long process. >> you don't think it is going to happen right away? >> no. >> reporter: individuals to buy insurance across state lines and to receive tax breaks for getting coverage. >> why don't we do replace and repeal. you know, we can do those things. we can be putting those things on the floor this week. >> reporter: democrats are warning that the gop will pay a
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political price for scrapping the law that's helped insure an additional 20 million people. >> what are they doing in this bill? overturning the affordable care act, undermining the health security and financial stability of america's working families. and defunding planned parenthood. that's their, that's their manhood thing. >> reporter: and, jim, republican leaders are telling me they do not want to do a large, comprehensive, full-scale bill to replace obama care. instead, they want to approach it piece by piece, step by step. include some provisions and the bill draft in the coming weeks and deal with some things administratively when tom price is confirmed assuming he is confirmed as the next secretary of health and human services. is that enough and will the party get behind that approach? jim? >> manu on capitol hill. we're back with our political panel.
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dav david axelrod, i would like to go to you first. you were with president obama at the time the affordable care act was passed. difficult to repeal it? >> i think it is hard to replace it. replace got added to repeal when there was a realization on the part of the republican party that there was some very popular elements of this plan that people wanted to keep. such as not allowing people with pre-existing conditions to be refused insurance and insuring kids up to the age of 26 on their parents' insurance. and there are a series of things that are in this law that people like and they want to maintain. it's very hard to do that without the whole plan. without having everyone in the system, which is what the mandate requires. so, they are now the dogs that caught the car. they repeal this law 50 times knowing that the president obama would veto it. now they have the authority to do it and they don't have a plan
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to replace it. and they have a lot of political headaches in front of them. >> rebecca berg, it's clearly -- certainly a political promise, right, of house republicans, senate republicans and the president-elect. but it's hard to dotop is it a smart place politically to start? >> well, there's really not much of an option for them. right. they've been promising this for many years now. this isn't just in the context of this presidential election, but this is something they have been talking about since the original law was passed. for republicans to now have a governing majority throughout washington and then to not do anything with health care, i think their constituents would be a little surprised and maybe disappointed if they were to take that course of action. so, they definitely need to address this issue in some way. but, of course, the reality facing them now is that replacing it becomes very difficult because you need some democrats to come along on the senate side. you need 60 votes or else they can block the legislation from moving forward. when you're looking at this from
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a political perspective, there isn't a lot of political ince incentive for democrats to help republicans replace this law. if they repeal the entire thing ask take away parts of the law that people like. and there are parts of that people like and republicans realize that. then politically this could hurt republicans in the next election. >> gloria borger, we heard him put himself out there saying it is going to be simultaneous and in the first 100 days. how much pressure on him to deliver? >> a lot of pressure on him to deliver. he has to come up with details, that rebecca is talking about. when people say, okay, they're repealing it. it was terrible and my premiums went up and i don't want to lose the pre-existing conditions premiums and i want to keep my children on my health care until they are 26 and things that people like about it. what are they going to do? if you lose these insurance pools, what are the insurance companies going to do? are we going -- are the american
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taxpayers now going to have to subsidize the insurance companies here, which i don't think is a great political move. so -- >> jim -- abbie philip, we're not far away. two years away from midterm elections. obviously, political mind field for republicans, if it doesn't go well. >> right. and let's be clear about what paul ryan said. he said we would start this process within the first 100 days. i think he recognizes that the legislative process can drag on and take quite some time. you heard the congressman say in manu's story earlier that maybe you should start with the replace part and then move on to repeal. and that's a reflection of this idea that what they really want to do is fix a lot of parts of the affordable care act, but they've made it such a behemoth of a political football that they have to deal with the obama care, which has really put them in a political box. they have to do something that seems like a repeal, which is very dangerous from a political
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and an economic perspective. >> trump -- >> going to have to leave it there. quick thought, david, before we go. >> we shouldn't forget there are 20 million >> there have been insured under this law so that's no small matter either. >> many trump voters as well. just ahead, sasha and malia obama are getting advice on life outside the white house from two women with unique credentials they know and a familiar name, bush.
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exactly one week from today, two young women who grew up in the white house will begin their own personal transition as sasha and malia obama face life outside that white house bubble. they're getting some heart felt advice from pair of sister who is know exactly what they're going through. cnn's sara ganim is with me. george w. bush's daughters wrote a touching letter to the obama girls. >> jenna and barbara bush first met president obama's daughters when the bushes were moving out of the white house and sasha and malia were moving in. at the time they showed them around the white house, they wrote the obama sisters this touching letter back in 2009 about how to grow up in the spotlight. and now the bush sisters are writing another letter, explaining what life is like after the white house.
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>> jenna and barbara bush first met sasha and malia obama in 2008, giving them a tour of their new home, sliding down hallways, warmly welcoming them to the white house. >> the four of us wandered the majestic halls of the house. you had no choice but to move into. >> reporter: now as the obamas prepare to leave the house, the bush sisters are giving more advice, reading a new letter to the obama daughters on nbc's "today" show. >> now you're about to join another rarefied club, one of former first children, a position you didn't seek and one with no guidelines. but you have so much to look forward to. you will be writing the story of your own lives beyond the shadows of your famous parents, yet you will calls carry with you the experiences of the past eight years. >> reporter: the bush daughters encouraging the current first daughters to enjoy life outside the white house. >> enjoy college.
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as most of the world knows, we did. >> reporter: and telling them to remember those experiences few others can relate to. >> you attended state dinners, hiked in national parks, met national leaders, and managed to laugh at your dad's jokes during the annual thanksgiving turkey pardon. all while being kids, attending school, and making friends. and through it all you had each other, just like we did. >> reporter: and while the white house is often seen as a seat of power for the first family, it's also a home. michelle obama telling jimmy fallon it will be hard to leave the place where her children were raised. >> once you're out, you're out. it's good to have a few photos to remember what the rooms look like. >> reporter: eight years ago when the bush sisters left 1600 pennsylvania avenue they wrote their first letter to the obama girls, encouraging them to be kids, to dress up an halloween but also go to everything you possibly can and remember who
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their daddy is, something the president addressed in his emotional farewell address. >> malia and sasha, under the strangest of circumstances, you have become two amazing young women. you are smart and you are beautiful, but more importantly, you are kind and you are thoughtful and you are full of passion. of all that i have done in my life, i am most proud to be your dad. >> reporter: those two little girls america welcomed in 2009 now young women. 18-year-old malia, who was moved to tears by her father's speech, is now a high school graduate. she will be attending harvard university in the fall. 15-year-old sasha, a high school junior, had to miss her father's farewell speech to study for an exam. >> she had a final, and -- you know the obamas, girl. sorry. got to take your test.
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>> sorry. >> you can say good-bye later. >> reporter: the obamas are staying in washington after they leave the white house so that sasha can finish high school, a new chapter for all of them. >> you have lived through the unbelievable pressure of the white house. your parents who put you first and not only showed you but gave you the world. >> as always, they will be rooting for you as you begin this next chapter. >> and so will we. >> reporter: i'm told it's very unusual to do this letter writing so publicly. steve ford, the son of gerald ford, actually did write to chelsea clinton and told her to befriend her secret service agents as she was moving into the white house. you saw a similar message from the bush sisters to the obamas, telling them how important their relationships with those white house staff members were to them after they left, after they moved out. >> what an incredible childhood, challenging at times but, well,
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unique for sure. >> such an exclusive club to hear from someone who's gone through it, i'm sure. so important. >> witness history every day. sara ganim, thank very much. tune in tonight as cnn explores the life of michelle obama. that's going to be a special. thanks very much for watching. "erin burnett out front" starts right now. up next, new details about the top donald trump adviser and a russian official, a phone call on the same day the u.s. punished russia for cyberattacks. was it coincidence? a fight breaks out between democrats and the fbi director. the congressman inside that room my guest tonight. and the spy who wrote the report about russian claims of having compromising information on trump. who is chris steele? let's go "out front." good evening. i'm

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