tv Inside Politics CNN March 3, 2017 9:00am-10:01am PST
you think should be a cnn hero. >> look how far we've come in a week. >> you can nominate someone in a few simple steps go to cnnheroes.com and fill in the form and tell us about your hero. it's that easy. you can help make your hero a cnn hero, shine some light on their amazing work. >> thank you. thank you. >> "inside politics" with john king starts right now. thanks, kate. welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king. remember that one? one of the many different ways president trump said there was no there there. >> during the election? >> no, nobody that i know of. >> so you're not aware of any contacts during the course of the election? >> look, how many times do i have to answer this question? russia is a ruse. >> a ruse, the president said. in the past 24 hours we've learned a handful of trump
associates including his son-in-law had previously undisclosed meetings with a russian ambassador. they say these meetings were about policy, courtesy and nothing more. >> this is just totally unacceptable. and the very idea that they're making excuses and splitting hairs, this and that. this is -- we have not seen the end of this. the recusal is an admission that something was wrong. >> as you can see, democrats are a little skeptical about that. but the attorney general's recus recusal of himself yesterday makes prosecution far less likely. >> and more debate over how to replace obamacare, but house speaker paul ryan says things are fine. >> i'm perfectly confident when all is said and done we will unify because we all -- every republican ran on repealing and replacing. we will keep our promises.
>> the speaker. there he's on the road today. with us to share the reporting and insides, margaret talob of the bloomberg news, molly hemingway, and jackie cue skuci. day 47 is not unfolding the way the trump administration had hoped. >> i am recusing myself from any existing or future investigations of any matter relating in any way to the campaigns for president of the united states. i feel like that i am -- i should not be involved in investigating a campaign i had a role in. >> now, for the record, it was jeff sessions right there, not democrats, who gave misleading testimony to congress. it wasn't democrats who met with the russian ambassador at last year's republican convention and it wasn't the democrats who invited the russian ambassador to a meeting at the trump tower. the president wants you to see this is all politics. the democrats are overplaying
their hand he said last night. they lost the election now they lost their grip on reality. the real story, the president says, is all the illegal leaks, classified and other information, it is, the president says, a total witch hunt. welcome to day 43. interesting politics. what the president is doing there is smart from a political standpoint when you're in a moment of crisis, keep your support, so you want to make it about politics. this isn't all about politics, but what is it about is the question? we learned about the previous meetings now with the russian ambassador. let's get all this out on your own, not knowing the president has been picking a fight with the intelligence community, let them do it to you. >> i think that ship has sailed. that's the problem. during the transition, which is the period of time when traditionally white houses begin to stand up working relationships with congress, to some extent to democrats who they feel they can work with, to the press setting up operations, trying to figure out how you
will fill out the tree with deputies, assistant secretaries that was not happening during this transition, but there were conversations with the russians. there was a time to disclose this stuff on the front end, to say, it's no big deal. flynn talked to the ambassador. didn't say anything. it was a courtesy call. yeah, sessions talked to the ambassador. the time has passed now. >> the question is, look, they don't like us. there's no secret, the trump people don't like us. they don't like to play by traditional rules. there is a playbook in this town. if you know there's stuff out there that will be used against you, you find a friendly setting, do a media interview, you do something, you get it out first. when the president is running around calling the intelligence community nazis, if i'm jared kushner i would leak that on my favorable terms. >> it's impossible to know -- you notice trump is being political, it is hard to plan for a leak campaign that involves so much disinformation.
this goes back to october. there was a story about a private server set up with a direct line between the russian tower and the kremlin. it was not true. a story in the "washington post" about russia hacking the vermont electric grid. it's not true. now we have this claim that meeting with the russian ambassador, which is something basically every senator does all the time, the democrat senators have done all this week this is an ambassador, now we're supposed to know saying that thing that -- >> my point is not that he did it. this is his job. donald trump is the republican nom nominee. you want to get to know him and his people. >> you want to go to know dianne feinstein, claire mccaskill. >> they met with him, too. claire mccaskill made a stupid mistake yesterday, saying she didn't meet with the russian ambassador when she had. the russian ambassador is doing
his job. they can say we're doing our job, too we're meeting with the russian ambassador. the question is -- i want to put up on the screen. we've seen the meetings now, some of them foreign policy advisers, or his campaign. nothing wrong in theory with them sitting down with the russian ambassadorment just be open and transparent about this. >> especially when it's such a vulnerability of the administration. trump's relation with russia. this is not just a democratic concern, this is also a republican concern. the issue for sessions is not that he met with the russian ambassador. as molly pointed out, democrats meet with the russian ambassador, too. he didn't disclose it. he said it was uncertain about the question, thought it was a campaign related questioning. he was meeting in the capacity of the armed services committee, but the fact he didn't disclose the meeting is what got him into hot water.
>> and the categorical denials. >> several times, including one of the gentlemen on that screen said there were no meetings, it never happened. >> but if there were meetings, just say what the nature of the meetings were. that's so easy. then you don't have us saying what are you hiding here? >> we don't have a -- we don't have anything about russians meeting with democrats. >> why would we? they're not in power. >> we don't have people pressing, hype hrventilating abt this. one of these meetings was at the republican national -- >> the russian amambassador, he known as an ambassador, but mostly as a spy, as an intelligence operative. that's their job.
there's nothing wrong with meeting with him. he was at the obama white house 20-something times. >> we're not having conversation about how troubling that is. >> it's not troubling. >> it depends on the conversation. if these are the only contacts between trump associatisoe assoe ambassador, then in the end there's no "there" there. i would be happy to say there's no "there" there. but when this becomes an issue, publicly disclose this and get it up front. this is not just the media. this is a republican congressman and an independent senator who leans with the democrats saying why are we still talking about this? >> i think the -- everybody who has had contact with the russians need to get practice in oversharing. >> i think the problem is is we're making this a partisan activity. >> the denials remind me of oeb
by within obi wan kenobi and these are not the droids you're looking for. it's in the interest of the president and the people around him to get this all out. it's the drip drip that is really going to be damaging. >> please, you're animated. >> you look at what the question was asked by al franken to senator sessions. it was obvious he was asking as a surrogate of the trump campaign, were you meeting with russian officials. no, i wasn't. that's true. we can talk about all these other things. you need the context of the question. the idea that -- >> did jeff sessions give hillary clinton that grace any time she said i don't recall or a half answer to a question? senator sessions may have took the context that way, fine. but he could have corrected the record after the hearing.
>> this idea that regular typical meetings with diplomats is something that should be -- that needs to be disclosed as part of a drip drip drip campaign -- >> when the fbi is investigating whether your candidate's associates had contacted with the russians during the campaign or is investigating the broader question of russia meddling in the election and you want to be the top law enforcement agent in the nation, yes. just say i had zero contact with him about the campaign. i had two meetings where we talked about the ukraine and other stuff i don't even understand. he asked for this meeting, i had it because i was on the armed services committee. >> what is the policy of the united states going to be towards russia? that's the heart of it are they going to loosen sanctions on russia? will they impose stiffer sanctions -- >> that is true. that is exactly right. you have donald trump advocating a completely different foreign apology approach. new ways of engaging with people. new ways of handling isis. you have ang establihave an estg
to box him in. that's the interesting story. >> but he won the presidency of the united states. he's a good communicator. if he wants to make a policy case, this is hurting him not helping him make that policy case. he's a good communicator, he can do that. these are his people hurting him. i have the right of private meetings, i have a right as a senator to meet a diplomat. the president wanted to have a big event yesterday, selling his big speech. the attorney general had to recuse himself from a big investigation. this is not good for him. this gets people emotional. one of the great parts about this is the other part of this the russians, let's say they're not exactly the most trustworthy of people at communications. i matthew chance tried to ask about the ambassador yesterday. he's known around the town ~. yes, he's a loyal ambassador to the kremlin but also somebody involved in spy work now and
then. listen. >> mr. kislyak is a world class diplomat, who was communicating with his american colleagues for decades on different fields. cnn accused him of being a russian spy, recruiting -- >> it was u.s. officials who accused him of that. >> stop spreading lies and false news. >> i love her spunk. >> false news. we've heard that before. >> i do think we should be careful about calling ambassadors spies. we understand they are involved in clandestine services, that's true of all ambassadors. >> i think if with brought in a group of people from capitol hill, they will tell you they're warned about certain ambassadors, this is one of them. it's a certain government. that's the way it goes. >> the larger concern, you hear this i spent all day interviewing people on both
sides. you hear concerns from both sides about the trump -- how the trump administration is going to deal with russia. and a lot of folks in the capitol view russia as the enemy. they're concerned about these meetings suggesteding a level of coziness that they're not comfortable with. this is something both sides want to look into. this is something the committees are looking into. we'll see if they find anything, maybe there's nothing there. >> more on this the politics of it and the policy in a little bit. next, obamacare, role reversal. remember those republican complains about a secretive process and hiding the details? that's when the democrats were passing the bill. now, deja vu. now some republicans are accusing others of a secretive process. (becky) i've seen such a change
her two daughteogs and the amer public have in common? they all haven't seen the new republican plan for obamacare. rand paul was searching paul s yesterday for the document. pelosi helped with the search, but turned down a different hallway to speak to paul ryan's office, you get a different answer about what's going on behind the scenes. >> we told america here is our vision for how we replace obamacare. that's the bill we're working on right now, that's the bill we're working on with the trump administration. we're all working off the same piece of paper, the same plan. so we're in sync, the house, senate and the trump administration. because this law is collapsing. >> look right here to try to
make that point. speaker ryan on the road today with the vice president, health and human secretary paul price, where are they? jamesville, wisconsin. they need to sell this bill. it's a work in progress. it's complicated. some say this is a sign of weakness, you could say it's a sign of strength. there are more of them. the more people you get at the table, the more different ideas you have. why janesville? there are other places he needs to sell this that are higher on the list than janesville. >> this is the start of this aggressive effort to coordinate a sales job within their own party. they had this meeting at the white house this week with the republican leadership and donald trump the day after the speech. and the discussion was how do we sell this to our party?
one of the things they're going to do is air cover it, so donald trump speaking in some of these districts where some of these members are in difficult position, as well as playing some inside game with tom price meeting with some members who are nervous about how to go forward. the question is will they get support from conservatives or concern about the tax credits in the bill that would allow people to buy health insurance? some view that as entitlement. can they step those losses, and from the more moderates, people with expanded medicate if they gut medicaid and will those people vote against it because of those provisions. it's a difficult balancing act. >> different because the politics are hard and this are different views. rand paul is worried on the senate side and tea party libertarian minded people think they have too big of a bill, too
much power. let's play a bit of rand paul. democrats when they pass this, nancy pelosi were said they were not consulted, bring this big bill out. vote. that was then, this is now. >> we're here today because i would like to read the obamacare bill. if you recall when obamacare was passed in 2010, 2009, nancy pelosi said you'll know what's in it after we pass it. republican party shouldn't act in the same way. we want to see the bill. we have many objections. >> how much of this is real? how much of this is stunt? politicians do things to draw attentions to their arguments. not in a bad way, stunts are a violent part of politics. >> at the end of the day, this is a stunt. this is a stunt. but they're going to need every single vote to pass this thing. it's going to be difficult. by alienating someone like rand paul, that may come back to bite
them at the end of the day. if he wants something in that bill and they want his vote, that could happen. >> or get a kickback. >> exactly. >> it's not just rand paul, when you think of why they're keeping it secret, it's for the same reason. in the obamacare bill, you had these subsidies for insurers, t that is also what's in that leaked draft that has some upset. and also governors putting forth a plan to keep the medicaid expansion and keep obamacare in many ways. people who want repeal and relation have every reason to be concerned. there are shenanigans going on when you're not being transparent. it won't work out well politically for them. >> when you are transparent you run the risk of everybody having enough time to figure out what to do about it, to whittle away the parts they don't like, come up with replacement language.
that's what's going on. that's why they're holding it in a secret room. you're right. the point is that all of the power right now for president trump is in the size of his republican coalition in congress. anyone can last in the cabinet job. any bill can go forward if he holds that together. if paul ryan and mitch mcconnell find something to agree on. the minute that coalition gets so big it splinters off, that's when problems begin. >> it's interesting. if you listen, in the house and senate, we will go through this on every big debate in washington. the house and senate are different beasts. you have a group in the house, most of them from safe districts. in the senate side, they're a different breed of politics, and they have to run statewide. you can't fully repeal obamacare if you keep certain parts. >> are you convinced that
expansion of medicaid will be in there? that doesn't go well with tax credits. >> it better be. i get that but that's an important thing to 31 states. we have governors, republican governors who have expanded. i would like to have the waivers and have more fexibililexiblilie governors to meet that. >> better be she said. >> but the question is will she vote against a bill that guts medicate or changes the program in any way? that's the question. in a lot of ways the republican strategy is daring republicans, if you want to vote against our one effort to repeal obamacare, you're the one responsible for keeping obamacare. >> it doesn't work if nobody has any time to think what's in it and what isn't. >> the speaker says he wants to start in six weeks. >> votes are happening in committee next week. >> this will be a key test of donald trump's arm twisting.
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, in the end, i have filed the right procedure, just as i promised the committee i would. just as i believe any good attorney general should do. and a proper decision, i believe, has been reached. >> so, now what? that's the question. the attorney general's decision to step aside means any investigation into campaign matters will be made by the deputy attorney general who is a hold over from the obama administration. democrats continued to call for an independent prosecutor, republicans say that's unnecessary and premature. the house intelligence committee said it would be a waste of time
and money to start over. >> this is the appropriate place for this to be done. we have a legislative branch that has the house intelligence committee what has broad jurisdiction over intel jenlige agencies. it's bipartisan. this is a long ongoing investigation and concern into russia. >> that house intel committee yesterday received an update from the fbi director, james comey. the top democrat emerged not happy. >> in ordert tofor us to do our investigation in a credible and thorough way, we need the fbi to cooperate, tell us the length of any investigations they're conducts. at this point the director was not willing to do that. the director spent about 3, 3 1/2 hours for us. on the areas he was willing to discuss, we had an in depth set of questions and answers. but there were very large areas
that were walled off. those walls have to come down if we're going to do our job. >> what's the source of the disagreement here between those walls as congressman schiff calls them? the committee thinks they're entitled to them, the fbi director thinks they're not. >> we questioned that yesterday. devon nunez came out in that press conference yesterday and said he has not seen evidence yet of connections between the trump campaign and russian officials during the time of the presidential election. i asked schiff the same question. he said he's not willing to go there. the question is is there any intelligence in that regard that they're not sharing with the committee. reading between the tea leaves that suggests that the independent prosecutor, that's something that schiff called for yesterday. i then asked devon nunez do you agree? he said no. so that's source of the disagreement. probably why there's not going to be a special prosecutor any
time soon. >> i think there's a couple things going on. the fbi is conducting investigations, for potential criminal activity. they're reluctant to talk to congress about this because they're in the middle of investigations. at least to talk to congress as fully as they might want. the second is the political question, what jeff sessions did yesterday was it enough to stop a special prosecutor or independent investigation? the answer is that was certainly the effort. it's enough until it's not enough. if you're devon nunez, richard burr, bob corker, any of these chairs in the house and senate you want to weigh your desire to have purview over this and your desire to keep this from being a runaway political train by democrats against your own reputation and this question of do you know what you think you know? when you're out there defending the administration saying there's no "there" there, do you know that? that's the nexus where things like jeff sessions statements in
that hearing become politically problematic. even if his nondisclosure of that was inadvertent, if you're in the committee chair and looking at that, you say do i know everything? >> there's no question there's anxiety on the republican side because they think how did this happ happen? how did this happen? if it happened, why didn't you clean it up fast? adam schiff says they have not received a full briefing, they did not receive an answer, but there is nothing that suggests anything nefarious, just a bunch of meetings that people are curious about. >> eric holder was held in congress for lying about a gun scheming ring, there was no special prosecutor there. so the bar for that is high. a usa sto sshgs ashgsa today st
how they knew sessions being a law and order type guy would recuse himself because he was involved in the campaign, they would call for the special prosecutor and right in line they were get the holder holdover -- >> though the guy there now, it was sally yates originally, they brought in this prosecutor from virginia. >> that's the day they realized what happened on the outgoing days of the obama administration. >> democrats in this environment, the attorney general's decision took any steam out of a special prosecutor, now it's let's see if we get to a point befothat there's something credible before we do that. the democrats say you can't trust these people. >> what do the russians have on donald trump that he would do that and i don't know who knew what in all of this.
it's important for us to find out. we must have that investigation. the very idea that the top cop would go to his colleagues in the senate and withhold the truth, this is not an unsophisticated person. this is a prosecutor himself. he knows what's there. it's just reflection of the weak moral authority of this administration if they support what he's doing. >> now, clearly and the democratic base is very active. she reflects the democratic base. she is saying sessions did this for nefarious reasons. he didn't make a mistake. senator sessions says he will correct his testimony to committee, which you can do in writing. now democrats wanted to call him back as a witness, because they see blood in the warning and they want a hearing where he will say on camera these things. where are we going here? >> the other thing that happened yesterday before sessions
recused himself, democrats like senator schumer said he should resign. the questions they're asking are important. some of the things that nancy pelosi said, they're questions that need to be answer the, that said, they run the risk of overplaying this turning something that's important to get to the bottom of in terms of the hacking into the campaign, the russian involvement into something to just bludgeon republicans with politically. there is a balance there. that's what you're seeing a little bit with the intelligence committee. you're seeing it -- seeing it woven throughout congress where you have some senators saying, okay, let's take a step back and not make this partisan. you have others, a lot of democrats making this extremely partisan from the get go without knowing all the facts. >> there's another danger there, too, and there have been laws that have been broken in this and it's leaking classified information. the second story about sessions, involves fisa, and the more you
get calls for investigation, you get the obama administration into that, nobody wants that. >> also the russian contact s that occurred, also part of that. the next step is sessions clarifying his testimony in a letter to the committee that could come as early as today. when he testifies, he will eventually testify with oversight rules and he'll be asked by democrats to respond there. democrats will do everything they can to keep the story alive. >> the saga continues. those are not the droids you're looking for. the trump white house says the judges are wrong and putting you at risk by blocking the travel ban. why is take two taking so long? never waver. ♪ because going around is rarely ever as enjoyable... ...as going right through. ♪ ♪
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welcome back this is day 43 of the president trump presidency, and it's been 23 days since a judge appeals court panel threw out a lower court ruling for a travel ban. in attacking those rulings, the president and his team warn the jumps they're putting you at risk. >> they wanted to take a lot o our powers away. some people with a lot of the wrong intentions, we have a lot of bad people out there. i think our security is at risk today, and it will be at risk until such time we are entitled and get what we are entitled to. we need security in our country. >> yet, still no take two from the white house. we thought this would come the other day. it was delayed. some people said the people delayed it because they wanted to enjoy the after glow of the president's speech.
is that it? it does undermine -- you can't go out and say this is urgent, judges are putting you at risk and wait. they know it will get bounced in the courts again. why are we waiting? >> we know in the interim, one of the things that happened was a meeting with the national security adviser, some of the other top officials, and this decision by -- push by mcmaster and mattis at the pentagon to pull iraqis out from that group of the seven countries. the debate that ensued prior to that decision involved questions like, number one, don't the iraqis have a special role with the united states? because we're fighting alongside of them. number two, a discussion and conclusion that iraqis had, in fact, imposed better vetting measures than given credit for. some of what slowed this down, independent of trying to enjoy the afterglow of this speech, it is legitimate tweaks and turns.
but at this point, as of today, as of friday, we're waiting to find out whether it's today, next week, after a long weekend in mar-a-lago. >> i think we expected it. they were signaling it could come out last week. this is consuming a lot of debate internally with the administration and also on capitol hill. they have to be careful in light of reports of an internal assessment suggesting that perhaps the travel ban would not go as far as the administration as far as protecting the country against terrorists. the question is how do they alleviate the concerns that a lot of people in their own party have over the travel ban, make sure it passes legal muster and deal with those internal concerns from their own report. that's a difficult line to thread. we'll see what they ultimately decide to come up with. maybe that's one reason why this is being put off. >> a cringe moment for the vice president of the united states. this is not apples and apples. i'm not trying to equate what
mike pence did as indiana governor to what hillary clinton did as secretary of state. he had an aol account as governor of indiana, and in that account they talked about federal investigations, crimes, terrorism, also security at the governor's mansion. the same mike pence who pressed a hard case against secretary clinton during the campaign. >> it's just more evidence that hillary clinton is the most dishonest candidate for president of the united states since nixon. >> that's a tough charge. >> it is a tough charge, chuck, but come on. >> if she were as dishonest as you claim, why isn't fbi prosecuting? >> hillary clinton, what's evident from the notes, what's evident from all of the revelations the last several weeks, hillary clinton operated in such a way to keep her e-mails and particularly her
interactions while secretary of state with the clinton foundation out of the public reach. >> hard to hear some of that because it's out at the state fair, he said hillary clinton was hiding these from public reach. these are not apples and apples, but when you make the case for so long, is it he had a private e-mail account or that he's still on aol? >> other than he is on aol and he was hacked, this is not an interesting story. there was no law breaking, there was no discussion of classified material, let alone top secret material, and no private server set up. >> there's a question of during his tenure, can you get through records request documents fast enough, but to his credit he told his staff, go through my personal e-mail, make sure anything that belongs to the archives goes in. there. >> shows you how ubiquitous this is -- >> setting up a private e-mail server is -- >> the private server was a huge
difference. especially when it's in your basement. i didn't want to go back there. coming up, buzz on whether key players in the debate of tax reform is ready to call it quits. what are you doing? getting your quarter back. fountains don't earn interest, david. you know i work at ally. i was being romantic. you know what i find romantic? a robust annual percentage yield that's what i find romantic. this is literally throwing your money away. i think it's over there. that way? yeah, a little further up.
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all right. let's head around the table and ask our great reporters to share a bit from their notebooks and get you ahead of big political news. >> big news today that i'll be watching, angela merkel from germany coming to the white house on march 14th to meet with president trump for the first time. this is important for so many reasons. he's met with many foreign leaders but this is the most
consequential meeting in person so far. she's been watching, we know this, for months now videos of old interviews with trump to see how he operates what makes him tick. she's doing her homework. look, everything from what to do with syrian refugees, russia, iran, the transatlantic relationship, this is all on the table. and how these two world leaders interact is going to be important. >> can't wait for that one. >> orrin hatch, who served in the body since 1977, the president pro-tem who is 82 years old, is torn about whether or not to run for reelection in 2018. i talked to him about this. he says he is getting a lot of encouragement to run this comes after 2012 when he said this would be his last term. he would be absolutely done. he's not going to run again. but he is, as chairman of the senate finance committee, central to the push to repeal and repair obamacare, overhaul
the tax code. if he gets reelected, he would play a huge role, assuming republicans keep the majority for donald trump's agenda on healthcare and tax reform. i'm hearing he's getting encouragement to run again from republicans in the leadership and white house. >> a known entity. they wanted to keep him there. >> molly? >> mattis is pushing hard for anne paterson, obama's ambassador to egypt to be the undersecretary of defense and policy. the white house is pushing back. since mattis has come n a boxing in of trump on some of what he called for, creative ways of thinking. the situation with paterson is interesting. she herself was architect of an egyptian policy that was unsatisfactory to people. she herself has viewed that are deeply in contrast to what mattis has said. i'm looking at that tension. >> jackie? . lost in the craziness of this
week was that the oversight government reform committee received something about kellyanne conway and what she did for ivanka's clothes. she will not be punished. they said it was lighthearted, she didn't know she did wrong, and she will not do it again. but elijah cummings is concerned about the precedent this sets. >> i want to give kudos from chelsea clinton saying kellyanne conway deserves an apology. i'll close with this, ben carson and rick perry, progress at the top, but below that the government remains a ghost town. still no candidates for hundreds of jobs important to the day-to-day management of the government. members of congress describe an often eerie experience when they
call and visit agencies looking for guidance. sometimes they're told to check back, that the new team is not ready to decide things yet or there's nobody in place to make decisions. in many cases, decisions are being made by obama holdovers. this morning the president said it is pathetic that the democrats have not approved his entire cabinet. pa thethetic is the word to fil open jobs, and it is not the democrats who have that responsibspon responsibili responsibility. hope to see you sunday morning. a quick break, and wolf blitzer is in the chair. blackberry complex. younger looking skin can start today. absolutely ageless® from aveeno®.
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hello, i'm wolf blitzer, it's 1:00 p.m. in washington, 9:00 p.m. in moscow. wherever you're watching from around the world, thank you very much for joining us. look at this live pictures from the orlando international airport. president trump just landed there moments ago. he's in florida today to talk about education, school choice, school vouchers among other things he'll tour a catholic school in the orlando area. we expect to hear comments from the president during that stop. we'll bring them to you live when it happens. from there, the president goes on to mar-a-lago, his estat