tv At This Hour With Berman and Bolduan CNN January 31, 2017 8:00am-9:01am PST
speeches. truth be told, he is expected to be confirmed as the attorney general. things will get interesting at 8:00 p.m. tonight when donald trump is in the white house in the east room and announces his pick for the u.s. supreme court. democrats have been fighting against those picks even though they don't know who they are as yet. thank you for joining me. i'm carol costello. "at this hour with berman and bolduan" starts now. >> this is cnn breaking news. >> i'm john berman. >> i'm kate balduan. today -- >> the president gets to make who to nominate to the highest law in the land. there's different kinds of legal drama. the acting attorney general -- >> president trump sent --
fire her for refusing to defend his travel ban. he named a temporary replacement to defend the law -- there is so much going on. there say revolt on capitol hill. democrats in the senate finance committee are boycotting the nominee for health and human services secretary tom price. we're waiting to go to capitol hill to hear from cnn congressional correspondent phil mattingly. we're having some communications issues. we got -- >> all right. i've got you now. i think the big thing we were surprised about this morning is we knew senate democrats had a lot of problems with pretty much everything that's been going on. particularly these two nominees. tom price, health and human
services secretary nominee and steve mnuchin. but it's the mechanisms they're using to try and hold up those nominations causing real problems on capitol hill. republicans hold 52 seats in the u.s. senate and no republican has voiced any type of opposition to either of these nominees. that leaves democrats now as they try and figure out what little leverage they have with things like this. they decided to boycott the senate finance committee hearing on this issue today. last night, they decided to reject kind of the senate procedural area to postpone the mnuchin hearing as well. this is what you're starting to see as they figure ot a path forwar forward. ron wyden believes both have lied to democrats. it's backed up by some of the stock trade and mnuchin's
unwillingness to give information about some of the foreclosure issues at his bank that his team used to own. have been dealt with right now. how do republicans feel about this? senate finance chairman orrin hatch said this is, quote, amazingly stupid and made the point he believes this is because they are frustrated with the president. they are frustrated they did not win the election and these nominees will likely, almost certainly be approved going forward no matter what happens. what is most interesting in the wake of what we've seen on the executive order, last night with sally yates is does this become an issue that democrats use to slow things down to a complete halt. talk about a supreme court nominee coming soon. they don't have a lot of leverage on these cabinet picks. it can slow things down. in the senate you can slow everything down by refusing to consent unanimously, if you want to get into procedure on these types of issues. so the big question now is, is this a concerted strategy we're going to see going forward or something they're going to do, pick their spots.
i would note senator jeff sessions, obviously the attorney general nomnominee, his vote is still moving forward this morning. it's moving forward this morning. and that is expected to happen. obviously, you are seeing a lot of talk about what happened last night on this committee. but i think what's really important right now is actually talking to the members. seeing what's going on. who i want to bring in right now, senator sherrod brown. he's on the senate finance committee. and senator brown if you can just lay out, what was the rationale for the decision to not show up to the senate finance hearing? >> the rationale was every democrat on this committee has pointed out that these two nominees lied to the committee. the columbus dispatch, one of the most conservative newspapers in my state, pointed out how steve mnuchin lied about robo signings causing the foreclosures on many, many homes in my state. i live in zip code 44105 in cleveland. ten years ago that zip code had
more foreclosures than any zip code in america. i know what that does to people's lives when they are foreclosed on. and i want secretary design mnuchin to tell us what he did. he's called the king of foreclosures by a number of people because of his work with this one west bank. congressman price came out last night in "the wall street journal," another very conservative newspaper in america, and said congressman price lied about a stock transaction he had basically inside information or was given an advantage that few had while he was in the house and working on health care bills and amendments. he was buying and selling stocks. we want to know more about this before we vote on them. it's what the american public wants to know. these are two people, if they are willing to lie to congress like this on something as important as foreclosures and health care, what would they do
in these very important jobs? >> senator, you want specific written responses from each of these individuals or the strategy or kind of repercussions, you will continue to boycott en masse on block if you will going forward for these nominees? >> i would like these two nominees to go back in front of the committee and explain themselves. two major newspapers, columbus and "the wall street journal" said they lied. these are papers that there's no political slant they have except to be pretty pro-republican most of the time. i want them to explain how they lied, why they lied. i'd like them to apologize. i don't know that people in this administration will ever do that. but fundamentally, the impact they had on foreclosures in my state and that mr. congressman price will have on wanting to raise the eligibility age for medicare. there are public positions they've taken, and we want to know more and we want them to come back in front of the committee. i'm happy to vote on them at that point.
but they have to disclose what they've, in fact, done. >> the big question is, obviously, senator hatch, the chairman of the committee said that's not going to happen. this has happened with a couple of nominees. they feel they've run the process as far as they're going to before a vote. what does it mean when senator hatch calls a vote again? >> i'm surprised senator hatch, who i have a lot of respect for, i've known for years, that he would put his name out there in support of two people that lied to his committee with him sitting in the chairman's seat. they lied to him. they lied to all of us. they lied not about something minor. they lied about foreclosures and robo signings. they lied about stock trades that they profited from -- probably profited from the position they had as members of congress. that's a pretty serious thing and i would think chairman hatch would want to put his stamp of approval on two people that did that without clearing it up to the satisfaction of most members of the senate and certainly the satisfaction of people in this
country who will suffer from this kind of activity. >> senator hatch said he called what happened today with democrats did today the most disappointing moment of his career. obviously, he's the longest running senator in the u.s. senate. >> senator hatch has been here 36 years, 40 -- 38 years, i think. i can't imagine this is one of his disappointing moments. i thought he'd be -- i'd be more disappointed if i were he and the fact these two nominees of the trump administration lied to his committee with him sitting in the chair. and i believe they both took an oath to tell the truth. that's a lot more both aresoers me than whether we showed up to the vote after it was postponed one other time. i'm always willing to work but my work is going to be for those people who secretary mnuchin, if he's confirmed, the damage he could do on home foreclosures and to housing in this country
or when secretary designee price would do raising the age of medicare. that's more important than hurting the feelings of a united states senator who has a good title, well paid job. >> is this the kind of thing we could see from senate democrats going forward repeatedly on multiple nominations? slow things down? use the limited leverage you have in the minority? >> it's not a question of leverage in the minority or being upset by an election. it's a question of how to make insure this process has some integrity. if we hadn't done this, these guys would have been confirmed and three weeks later, more stories break about their dishonesty and then you have a scandal in the administration. so, frankly, we may have done a favor for donald trump here by exposing this before these guys are in office and then the press figures out how they lied on other things, too. we did the right thing for my state of ohio and senator casey in pennsylvania and others.
did the right thing for our states and country by exposing this before they come to a final vote because this is serious. these are basically illegal or illicit activities on stock trades for people voting on health care bills and for a guy that was a banker in foreclosure and a lot of people that were innocent and lost their homes and lives turned upside down. >> senator sherrod brown, democrat from ohio, on the committee that democrats just chose not to show up for to help move forward some of president trump's nominations. thank you for your time. kate and john, you can see, obviously, a lot of things moving right now on capitol hill between the hear,s, the nominees, what's happened over the last 24 hours. don't forget. we have a supreme court nominee tonight. i don't think things are slowing down any time soon. >> we can see and we can hear. thank you, phil mattingly. >> thank you, phil. let's now go from there. let's go to cnn's evan perez for more on president trump's decision to fire the acting
attorney general after she refused to defend the travel ban the president rolled out. evan, how is the shake-up playing inside the justice department now? >> well, kate, you have a couple different sides here of the opinion inside the justice department. on one side, people who believe that sally yates was a hero for defying the president and essentially standing up to him and daring him to fire her. on the other side you also have some lawyers inside the department who are very concerned about this type of showdown. they think sally yates did not want to defend the executive order that she should have just resigned and not issued that order to the justice department lawyers not to defend the travel ban. and certainly not to call it. that she called it unlawful, if you recall from her message to lawyers in the department. what this means, though, is that you have a new acting attorney general who is going to be just there for a few more days until jeff sessions is able to take
office. but one of the more interesting things this morning is that senate judiciary committee hearing where you heard dianne feinstein, the top democrat essentially point the finger at sessions as someone essentially behind the scenes bringing forward this travel ban and this executive order. we know from some of our report, our capitol hill reporters and the ones at the white house, that, indeed, some of jeff sessions' former aides helped write this executive order and, in fact, kept it secret. and that's one reason why everything was so chaotic. they did not really share it with sally yates. they did not share it with some of the agencies. and that's why you had such a chaotic roll out over the weekend. now we know that sessions is going to be the attorney general, most likely, in the next few daus. we'll see the justice department defending this executive order. kate and john? >> evan perez in washington, thanks so much. sally yates, you heard him talk about it there, she was an
obama appointee but received bipartisan support when being considered for the deputy attorney general job. she had to have a hearing for that, and she was asked very specific questions about how she would react to political pressure. look who is asking these questions. >> you have to watch out because people will be asking you to do things you just need to say no about. do you think the attorney general has a responsibility to say no to the president if he asked for something that's improper? a lot of people have defended the lynch nomination, for example, by saying, well, he appoints somebody who is going to execute his views. what's wrong with that? but if the views a president wants to execute are unlawful, should the attorney general or the deputy attorney general say no? >> senator, i believe the attorney general or the deputy attorney general has an obligation to follow the law and the constitution and to give their independent legal advice to the president. >> if you didn't recognize him,
that is current attorney general nominee jeff sessions who was asking those questions. >> absolutely right. joining sussomeone who knows both sally yates and her replacement. former u.s. attorney for the middle district, michael moore. michael was also an obama appointee. you know sally yates and dana bente. do you think sally yates right made the right decision? shoos a good friend and obviously a good colleague and she did what she thought was right. to look at an order that came down from the administration and whether or not the president had abused his executive third to such an extent it wouldn't withstand scrutiny. given her discussion at the hearing with senator sessions. we want our attorney general to have a backbone. we want him or her to have a spine to stand up to the
administration, to the president, if necessary. if we're not going to have that. if we need somebody who is going to be a rubber stamp and we can take a first year lawyer out of a night law school or wherever and put them in the justice department fd say, why don't you be a attorney general and just do what the president wants you to do. we want people to have an understanding of the constitution. we want people who have real life experience who understands how these executive orders and the laws that are passed affect real people. and how they are applied in realtime in america. >> so -- but critics would say the opposition sheer not being a rubber stamp. she didn't have to be a rubber stamp but if she didn't want to carry through with defending the president's orders she could have resigned rather than say she wouldn't do it. doing what she did, critics say, was a political move. >> i think everything that happens in washington has some tinge of politics to it. we like to say that the department is free from politics. the truth is, it's not. it's a branch of government and with executive branch a part of government, an agency there. and i think sally came out, told
the people that she was supervi supervising, the people in the department of justice that she did not think the order was appropriate. now you remember that in her letter, she did say that we're not going to enforce it unless i'm later convinced, in fact, it does comply with the law. i don't know that she came out and snubbed her nose at the president. she said i've looked at it. i've read it. i feel like the application is not going to comport with constitutional requirements and until i see something further, we're not going to move forward. this order was ill-timed, ill-peeped. it was ill-executed, poorly communicated to the field. you could see that all weekend long as you had different reactions in places across the country. and i think that's -- it speaks for itself. she stepped in and did what she thought was right. i applaud her for having the backbone to do it. >> you have dana boente in this position for a short period of time.
but you know dana boente as well. does he have the backbone, even though he says he'll defend this? >> dana -- my time with him was a little shorter. he came in later in the second term of the obama administration. he's been called on to fix some problems in other districts. he is a career prosecutor. he has a good understanding of the department and the requirements for the federal prosecutors. i think he has a love for the department. and i think he's a good guy and an honorable gentleman. i think he'll come in and look at the orders, whether it be this one or others that come down during what we believe will be a short tenure and make a decision on whether or not they need to be moved forward. >> michael moore, great to have your perspective withior close relationship with both of these people. a lot going to happen there going forward. we appreciate the time. more on our breaking fuse this morning. a revolt on capitol hill. democrats boycotting two votes. more details on that coming in. we'll be right back after a
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democrats on the senate finance committee will boycott -- boycott votes on two key cabinet nominees from president trump, the nominee to be secretary of health and human services and treasury secretary. so what does this mean? what will the effect be? joining us, doug hye, also republican strategist and rnc communications director. and senior congressional reporter manu raju. democrats say we're not voting so that means what going forward? how much can this muck things up? >> a significant amount, kate and john. the senate finance committee, the rules of that committee require at least one democrat to be present before that committee can vote and before the full senate can vote to confirm that nominee. if democrats refuse to attend these votes, that creates a problem. that means they cannot actually bring it directory to the floor
according to a top republican official who is involved in these discussions. now what does that mean for mr. mnuchin's nomination to be treasury secretary and dr. tom price to be health and human services secretary. it means that donald trump would have to recess appoint these two nominees, avoid the senate altogether and directly install these cabinet nominees when the senate goes on their recess which the president is allowed to do under his constitutional authority. it's something that presidents tend to avoid doing as well because there's some limitations to the extent these members, these officials can stay in office if they are recess appointed. we don't know if democrats will eventually acquiesce and eventually attend these committee votes. they are saying they want more information from congressman tom price. they say he was not forthright with the committee during his testimony. similarly with steve mnuchin who has sort of been wrapped up in
this as well because of committee votes on both nominees. we'll see how this plays out. for right now, the last week could be a recess appointment. >> at a standstill at the moment. and you say the democrats say that mnuchin and price were not forthright. sherrod brown said earlier straight out that they lied when asked about things. so take us behind the scenes. orrin hatch, republican chair of the committee, not happy where things stand right now. what's going on behind the scenes. >> that's putting it mildly. you have the staffs working, trying to work with each other to get some kind of accommodation. to have committee democrats go up and do their job and if you go back to what we've seen the past couple of weeks, the optics of this. whether you like what donald trump has done with executive orders or you don't, you see him sign them and hold them up. you see him doing things, being active, leading. if that room is empty, that's going to be a terrible optuc for them. their base of supporters may not
mind whether talking about tom price or steve mnuchin or whatever, but the optic to the rest of the country will look terrible. it will look like the same old washington that doesn't do anything and that's why senate republicans and their staffs are working hard to avoid that situation and also to have the nominations approved anyways. >> well, doug, i think democrats will look at this and say, we are capitalize, they might say, on the situation where the president has had a tumultuous several days with, whether it be the travel ban, whether it be arguments about voter fraud, whether it be about arguments about crowd size that president trump has had an interesting time here. and they may see him as potentially being vulnerable. and this may be a time, they think, to stand up to him, doug. >> certainly that's one of the calculus decisions they're making. at 1:30 p.m., sean spicer will be giving his briefing. and he's going to say what he's said every day this week. he's going to talk about the number of nominees confirmed and compare thad to eight years ago.
much lower than eight years ago for obama. if people want washington to get things done and we want the water to not be so choppy because you don't think donald trump is preductable, having a secretary of hhs and treasury is one of those things that can still those waters. >> manu, not to put you on the spot, but have we seen in recent memory democrats or republicans boycotting a confirmation vote like this? i remember i feel like one side or the other boycotting a super committee hearing when it came to the debt negotiations. but i can't remember something like this. >> yeah, it's very, very unusual, kate. and remember when actually the -- one of the supreme court nominees, elena kagan -- actually sonia sotomayor, jeff sessions at the time was the ranking republican. he told me they were threatening to boycott that committee vote because of his concerns with
sotomayor, but they didn't do that because it was seen as such a drastic and unusual and maybe even unprecedented move. that's why this caught republicans by surprise. they were not expecting that. how do they get out of that? we don't know that quite yet but republicans have tools in their arsenal to push back. democrats don't have much incensive to work with the republicans on this. republicans didn't work well with democrats on their supreme court nominee and they were rewarded by keeping the senate majority. i don't know if the democrats are taking lessons to work with republicans after their handling -- >> some of the big news overnight, there were reports there were staffers on capitol hill brought into the planning of the travel ban issued in the executive order. staffers on capitol hill who did not tell their bosses. and then also the word that people on capitol hill were not brought into the loop. you talked to congressman pete s
king. what did he say about all of this? >> he thought the trump administration completely bungled the rollout of this plan because congress overall was not looped in, even a few staffers were discussing this. king is a close trump ally but he didn't sound like a close trump ally when i just talked to him, guys. >> i fully support the thrust of the executive order but i have strong issues with the way it was rolled out. the fact that all these contingencies were not planned for. >> did they consult you in drafting this executive order? >> not at all. >> what about other members of congress or staff? >> as far as i can tell, no. i think there were staff who have been work with the white house since the transition, and they may have been involved. i don't know. >> so i asked peter king, what do you think that the trump administration should take away from this? he said i take away that they have a, quote, severe learning curve going forward. maybe in the first month of the
administration there may be some hiccups but they need to get their act in order moving forward. such controversial policies. and notable because peter king works closely on national security issues. he did during the campaign with the trump team. he was not involved in this. even if there were house judiciary staffers involved, larger, most of them are influential members of congress, including the republican leadership, paul ryan saying earlier that he was not involved in the drafting of this. one reason why there's been some significant pushback on capitol hill, guys. >> referring all questions, paul ryan did, to the judiciary committee if people have questions about that. not taking them himself. doug, manu, thanks so much, guys. we have more breaking news. as she faces a committee vote right now, cnn is reporting that education secretary nominee betsy devos lifted -- did she lift quotes for her senate questionnaire? we'll have details next.
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did president trump's nominee for secretary of education lift some of her written responses to senate questionnaire ahead of her confirmation hearing? betsy devos facing some very new questions this morning. cnn politics producer dan merika is joining us. what do you know? >> after the betsy devos hearing was limited to one round of questions, democrats submitted hundreds of questions to the michigan republican asking for her answers. she answered a lot of them and submitted them in written form. in these answers, it appears that betsy devos, trump's pick
to lead the department of education, lifted text from an obama administration official. i want to read exactly what she said. she was asked about lgbt youth and bullying in schools. every child deserves to attend school in a safe, supportive environment where they can learn, thrive and grow. but earlier in the year an obama administration official, the head of the justice department civil rights division said this. every child serves to attend school in a safe, supportive environment that allows them to thrive and grow. now this comes as betsy devos' confirmation is in question. democrats see her as possibly the most vulnerable nominee that trump has put up. and some republicans have not committed to voting for her in the open senate forum. her hearing is actually going on right now in committee. and it is likely she'll get out of that committee but remains to be seen whether she'll be confirmed. this is after her confirmation
hearing, even republicans admitted it was less than stellar. she speculated about the use of guns in schools to combat grizzlies and chalked up a 20-year clerical error that left her as one of the senior officials on her mother's charity that donated to groups like focus on the family that believe in conversion therapy for lgbt therapy. >> dan at the white house with new reporting, thanks so much. david french is a writer for the national review. brad woodhouse is a former communications director for the dnc and abby philip is a reporter for "the washington post." david french, full disclosure, we are just hearing dan's reporting for the first time, seeing what betsy devos said in that questionnaire, which is awfully similar to what an obama administration official said earlier. and there are some other examples of similarities as well that we haven't had chance to
dissect fully. let me put it this way. if it does turn out there are more than one example, several examples of betsy devos seemingly lifting lines from something someone else said, how much trouble would she be in? >> it would have -- if it's large scale plagiarism on the order of what you saw from monica crowley it would be an issue. that phrase right there, i've heard that phrase, variations of that phrase constantly. it's almost like a mantra in the education community. that particular phrase. so i don't find that to be all that interesting. i'd have to see what else is out there. >> yeah, i think more to come. and we'll stick by with you and look into more of those examples. brad woodhouse, the other breaking news play out this hour. senate democrats boycotting basically two confirmations for the treasury secretary and health and human services secretary, bringing the machine to a halt because of the
committee rules. why are they doing it? are they going to -- we were talking to doug heye just before this. are they going to look like they're just blocking and not helping with progress? >> i don't think so at all. senate rules are there for a reason. and i think democrats have every right to exert these rules to the best of their ability and to highlight the qualifications of these nominees and also use this as an opportunity to shine the light on this administration rit large. last year, senate republicans are in the majority, used their prerogatives and their rules to block president obama's nominee to the supreme court for an entire year. so them boycotting a hearing, boycotting a vote, slowing down the confirmation of people they don't believe are qualified, that have ethical problems like price, i think it's appropriate, and i applaud them for doing it. >> the question is, are they
just obstructing to obstruct? there's that old saying, two wrongs don't make a right. but there are other sayings -- >> but this is washington. >> what goes around, comes around. abby, let me press forward. this has been an unbelievably fast-paced few days here. much of it by choice from the trump administration. much of it not by design but the reaction to some of the things they've done or tried to do. in just a few minutes john kelly will be holding a news conference about the travel ban, discussing ways they'll implement it going forward and take questions. is this a sign that the administration is trying to get ahead of some of this conflict that's been going on? >> well, you see pretty clearly a signal from congressional republicans about what they're willing to stick by the administration on and what they're not. and paul ryan earlier this morning said he supports the overall executive order but he pointedly said that the roll-out was not what it should have been, and i think john kelly is
responding to widespread concerns among republicans this roll-out has been so messy and has rated more political problems for them. even if they are going to stand by trump on the foundations of this order, the way in which it was implemented, you know, in trapping green card holders and valid visa holders in the process isn't going to work. what we're seeing on the hill right now is democrats trying to adjust to the pace, but also they have to kind of get organized themselves about how far they want to go with deal with trump. and i think this moment, these next 48 hours will be a key test of how coalesced they can be around some of these issues, particularly the executive order and what impact that will have on trump's nominees as well. >> let's be honest. republicans on capitol hill are also trying to adjust to the pace this white house is moving. david, you are no fan of donald trump. obviously we spoke with you many times. you sourcely considered running against him in the presidential
election because of it. your reaction to this travel ban and the protests and backlash. afterwards you say it's overblown. why? >> well, let's -- the executive order itself is a huge climb down from a lot of donald trump's campaign promises. the executive order itself caps refugees at a level higher than george w. bush administration levels, puts a really short 90-day pause on immigration from seven countries that with the most problematic exception of iraq are war-torn countries that are, in many cases, enemies of the united states. 120-day refugee pause is not that long in the scheme of things. the really interesting part of his immigration policy and refugee policy is what comes next. but the implementation, the roll-out was such a disaster. it was so incompetent. the protests at the airports, for example, all of that was
entirely avoidable. you let in green card holders, let in people with valid visas n, good grief, you let in translators who have sacrificed and risked their lives for american forces overseas. that's so easy to do and the administration didn't do it. it's quite telling that only now is general kelly really, seemingly, beginning to assert control over the process. he should have been in control of the process from the beginning, not steve bannon. >> one thing david wrote is that he doesn't see this as a muslim ban. it's a ban on seven countries. it's not as much as the president said at one point during the campaign. but you are shaking your head. >> i am shaking my head. you cannot -- john, you cannot separate the sentiments of this president and those sentiments that he expressed on the campaign from his actions in office. this is a ban of muslims. it's a ban of muslims from those countries. rudy giuliani this weekend
called it a muslim ban. the son of the national security adviser who was working on the transition for much of the time after the election called it a muslim ban. and the fact of the matter is whatever the text of it is, the sentiment behind it, how people around the world are reacting to it and what it will actually do. it sends a signal that we do not welcome people of this religion in the united states, and it will not help us in the war on terror. it will hurt us. every expert that's been interviewed has agreed with that sentiment. former cia officials, former national security officials believe that this will be a black eye on the united states and will hurt us in the war on terror and not help us. >> there are people -- >> well, everyone i've read. >> everyone that brad -- >> got to read more. >> david french. >> very well written piece. thanks for being with us.
right now president trump's team making the final preparations for tonight. he's going to nominate someone to fill the supreme court vacancy tonight and we've barely talked about it. will the decision leak out early? for the first time since president trump's travel ban was put in place, the new homeland security chief general john kelly, he's going to be holding a news conference to talk about the implementation of this executive order. and maybe answer some questions of why it didn't go so smoothly in the beginning. he's about to speak to cameras. we'll bring it to you in just moments. be right back. n and 26 vitamins and minerals. for the strength and energy to get back to doing... ...what you love. ensure. always be you.
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vacancies. sources say thec concontinueders has been narrowed down to two. neil gorsuch and thomas hardiman. hardiman has become the leading contender but president trump could surprise everyone. with us it joan, a supreme court biographer and legal analyst. so joan, looking into your crystal ball, if it is down to these two, hardiman and gorsuch, if either of these is theic about for president trump, how hard -- how difficult do you think the fight is going to be that democrats are going to put up? >> first, isn't this an amazing moment where on the day of the announcement, and we haven't been able to extract who the nominee will be, probably because of all the other news going on, but they are an interesting pair of neil gorsich is very much a product of washington d.c.,
elite institutions, ivy league degrees. he has a firm thought out well articulated approach to the constitution. i think it would appeal to the president in one way, but thomas hardaman is someone who scrapped his way up, come from a family that ran a cab driving business, went to notre dame in georgetown. he would be the only justice on the court who didn't have ivy league credentials. intriguingly, he also worked with refugees and knows spanish and did a lot of pro bono work. he would present a different kind of model to the american public if he is unveiled tonight. it's close, but i think that i can't remember the last time we had this kind of surprise going into an announcement. it might even have been back in 1986 when ronald reagan unveiled antonin scalia, who says being replaced tonight. >> on that point, there's some game theory going on. we have some reporting from capitol hill that says, you know, democrats are saying they'll fight this, but they're
want going to go to the mattresses on this because this is justice scalia's replacement. you're replacing a conservative, so they may be willing in the end to allow a conservative to get in. however, they're saving the fight for what could be the next time. >> right. just look at the reality of the math. the republicans hold the majority in the senate chamber with 52 votes out of the 100 member senate, so the democrats are already going to have an uphill climb. if they try to block it and especially with any kind of a filibuster, which i think the democrats are going to struggle with. do they -- could they potentially overplay their hand at this point and then make it harder when there's a more consequential seat? you nailed it. this is antonin scalia's seat. he was argue blue the most provocative conservative on the supreme court. the next one to step down is likely to either be centrist conservative anthony kennedy or perhaps liberal -- senior liberal ruth baiter ginsberg who
turns 80 in march. >> you have a lot going on today, and we barely even had a chance to talk about it. thanks so much, joan. appreciate it. >> just getting started. >> why? because we are following two great big breaking stories right now. first, there's a revolt on capitol hill. democrats now say they will boycott confirmation votes in key committees. we'll have details ahead. plus, in just minutes we are going to hear directly from the new secretary of homeland security for the first time about how he and his department planned to implement the executive order on the travel ban. these remarks ahead.
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executive action the rest of that, repeeling and replacing is going to be left for congress to figure out. joining us, the former ceo of health care.gov kevin kuhnihan. this happens just as the trump administration just pulled i think it was $5 million of ads promoting enrollment. you know you have a republican president, republican administration. why is that upsetting to you? >> the major concern, of course, is that the affordable care act is still the law. it should be administered obviously both with the explicit and implicit provisions of the law as long as it's on the books irrespective of administration. >> you feel like that lack of $5 million in advertising at the end could have a real impact. how? >> for a couple of reasons. one is that many people, like myself, which is they p procrastinate and wait until the last minute. the enrollment ends at midnight tonight. it's the last time people can
enroll. >> maybe ever. we know that young people in particular tend to wait until the last minute, and those are the kinds of folks that insurance companies are looking for to have a more balanced risk pool. >> as you look ahead, you have been involved in the health care reform and health care.gov more than almost anyone. where do you think all of this goes from here? >> you know, it's great question. i think it's hard to say. you heard some of the discussions in philadelphia last week with the republican retreat that there's a lot of confusion and concern about what to do. it's always hard to replace a replacement, and, of course, the affordable care act is actually the republican replacement to clinton care from 25 years ago. it's obviously going to be a challenging thing to do. i personally hope the following. i think health care is far too important for americans, for kids, families to be subject to
too many political cheap shots. i'm hoping that the two parties can work and understand that millions of people depend on this, and hopefully everybody will do the right thing. >> you were in the arena, and you know how difficult health care is to administer to huge numbers of people -- >> the first thing i think i would do is have a summit with the insurance company ceos that the president has been having with people from the auto industry and the drug firms and things of that sort. number two is that i would take a very good look at exactly how things have progressed so far. we've had four years of progress so far. i think there's a fairly decent understanding of what needs to be tweaked and what's worked. it's so much easier and cheaper to build on what we have as
opposed to try to dismantle and reinstruct. those efficiencies hopefully can be built on. >> thanks for your expertise on this. >> thank you. >> and thank you all so much for joining us at this hour. >> inside politics with john king starts right now. welcome to inside politics. a very biz action-packed hour ahead. we'll show you some live pictures. the senate judiciary committee on capitol hill about to vote on the controversial nomination of jeff sessions. senator from alabama, to be the next attorney general of the united states. the snu secretary of homeland security john kelly about to brief reporters. it's his job now, despite his differences, to implement the controversial travel ban president trump implemented the other day. we'll go live as soon as that happens. let's set the table. taking charge.