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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  March 23, 2017 2:00pm-3:01pm PDT

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plot or whether it's something, again, it is entirely possible enough and happens here that police -- sorry, suspects are arrested under that term and later arrested. we'll be looking for that in the coming days. jake. >> already, phil black en, in london. that is it for "the lead," i'm jake tapper. thanks for watching. >> happening now, breaking news, the art of no deal. house republican leaders postpone the vote on their health care bill. still short of the numbers they need to pass the measure despite marathon negotiations. can they win over enough critics to keep the bill alive? coordinated with russia? u.s. officials tell cnn the fbi has information suggesting people with the trump campaign may have approved the release of democratic e-mails stolen by russia during the presidential race. is the evidence more than just circumstantial? as a top democrat now claims. intelligence risk, a growing
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split between republicans and democrats on the house intelligence committee. the gop chairman forced to apologize after sharing what he says is secret information with the white house, drawing fire from democrats. how will the infighting impact the committee's probe into russian election meddling? and mysterious deaths, questions swirling about a series of accidents and assaults involving critics of russian president vladimir putin. the victims possibly poisoned, pushed out of high rise windows, and even shot point blank. is the kremlin working to silence them? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> we're following breaking news. the future of the republican health care bill is in more [ inaudible ] right now. house leaders have been forced to postpone a final vote that was scheduled for today after hours and hours of negotiations
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with opponents of the measure failed to win over enough support to pass the legislation. also a cnn exclusive, u.s. officials are telling us the fbi is reviewing information suggesting that associates of president trump may have communicated with suspected russian operatives during the 2016 white house race. a source says people connected with the trump campaign appeared to be approving the release of democratic e-mails that were stolen by russian hackers. we are also following new developments in the controversy ignited by the house intelligence committee chairman devin nunes. a democratic law maker says nunes apologized to the panel for not first briefing members before telling president trump he'd seen evidence that his communications may have been incidentally collected by u.s. intelligence agencies. we are covering all of that, much more this hour with our guests, our correspondents and expert alan lifts, are also standing by. let's begin with the political drama swirling around the
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republican health care bill. our congressional correspondent sunlen serfaty is on capitol hill with the latest. the speaker paul ryan does not have the votes he needs to pass this bill. >> reporter: that's right, he doesn't, wolf. and that is exactly why we saw speaker ryan forced into delaying this vote that had been scheduled for today. that signals that this bill is in some serious jeopardy and the outcome very uncertain. the republicans health care bill thrust into a precarious state of limbo. >> they're not going to pass the bill. >> reporter: with no deal and no plan b, speaker ryan is trying to buy time, forced to delay a vote scheduled for today. a signal he still doesn't have the votes to pass the bill. >> are you a yes? >> i'm not going to say. >> reporter: the biggest obstacle, the hard right house freedom caucus, the chief critics and continued hold outs. >> we have not gotten enough of our members to get to yes at
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this point. under what we are currently considering, however, i would say progress is being made. >> reporter: republican leadership and the white house making a major 11th hour concession, placating the group to get their support. agreeing to eliminate essential health benefits in the bill, an obamacare provision that requires insurers to cover benefits like maternity, mental health and prescription drugs among others. but after returning from a meeting with president trump today -- >> there were no new concessions. >> reporter: house freedom caucus members say that's not enough. >> doing essential health benefits without changing other parts of the bill would actually make the bill worse. >> what other parts do you want changed? >> you need to look at community rating and other aspects of the insurance mandates. so, you can't just change one part. they all interact. >> reporter: the white house and republican leadership have been standing firm saying this is their final offer on the table. it's up to the house freedom conference to accept or reject it, which doesn't sit well with some. >> look, we've been told three
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weeks ago it was take it or leave it so this is not a new -- that would not be, you know, a revelation that that's what's being proposed . >> reporter: pedaling back on the hill today. >> in order to get the yes we have to bend the cost curve down. that's as simple as it is so we'll see what happens. >> reporter: they say they want a document with ironclad assurances from the white house that in the short-term premiums and other costs will go down. >> obviously we've come from six requests down to two. >> we're not adding anything other than we're taking what was supposed to happen in phase two and bringing it into phase one. >> reporter: but those last-minute concessions to conservatives risk the support among moderate republicans who were previously a yes. >> i never quite understood the mad rush. i think it's important that we get this right rather than get it done fast. >> reporter: cnn's latest vote count, a potentially ugly out come were the vote held today. 30 republicans oppose or likely oppose the new health care bill,
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but house leadership can only afford to lose 21 votes, meaning the real pressure is on now for leadership to stop any more defections and score the votes they need as the hours tick down. >> we are going to get to the finish line because the president is committed to get to the finish line. >> there is a lot up in the air as of this moment. when this vote will exactly happen at some point tomorrow, white house officials, they are pushing for friday morning vote. republican leaders up here on capitol hill, they are not firmly committing to any time line yet. much of that depends on a meeting that house republicans will have tonight with their full conference. that's at 7:00 p.m., really leadership getting a sense of where their members are, where everyone is at this moment, would have. >> sunlen, sthank you. sunlen serfaty. the situation seems to be changing minute by minute, phil. what are you hearing from members as of this minute? >> to give you a lay of the
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land, would have, clear there is still a lot of frustration. they are nowhere near a deal. there is a lot much of movement behind the scenes. you are looking outside the speaker's office where a number of house freedom caucus members just walked in to meet with the speaker. who else walked? ? steve bannon, the chief strategist from the white house also in the meeting. this is an important meeting and i can tell you for one primary reason, there has not been a lot of contact over the last couple of days between the speaker's house and the freedom caucus. the fact they are coming here is a step forward or a step somewhere at this point. here's kind of the other key points here as we go forward. as food is wheeled in, it's very clear this is going to be a late night. there is going to be a lot of negotiating here. the key is this. it's the 7:00 p.m. conference meeting, wolf, you heard sunlen talk about. that is a make or make moment as it stands going forward. if there is a breakthrough, leading into and during that meeting, then there is a very real possibility this bill will get a vote tomorrow. but the kia expects of a potential deal, the kia expects
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of the negotiations right now both sides are firmly entrenched in where they stand. so, the path forward as we are now just a little under two hours away from that very important meeting, it's very unclear, wolf. >> very unclear indeed. all right, we have live pictures coming in from just outside that office. we'll stay in very close touch with you, phil mattingly on the hill. let's bring in our cour correspondents and experts. it looked like there were 25 or 26 no's or leaning no's. now it's up to 30 republicans no's or leaning no's. if there were 21 it is over in the legislation. it seems to be going in the wrong direction. >> as long as the door is open to negotiation, nobody likes this bill to be clear. none of the republicans love this bill. what you're trying to do is get them to pass a bill in which there are irreconcilable policy differences between a mark meadows freedom caucus on the right and a charlie dent or some
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of the new jersey moderates on the left in the republican caucus if you will. i just did that backwards at the table. you just can't get them to agree on legislation. the only thing that can unite them is this is the best we can do, republicans have a responsibility to govern. everyone is going to have to swallow ton this one. as long as the door is open to negotiate, no one is going to say this. the leader should incomplained prior to the white house earlier this week saying the president at some point has to say, we're done. but the president hasn't done that and he couldn't do it today because the bill would have collapsed. he brought people in today to try to get this off. can you resolve this from a policy perspective to get republicans to say yea, this is something we love, you cannot. they have to use loyalty. why is boehner no longer speaker? why has paul ryan been frustrated on much smaller things than this? because you have a republican conference that has legitimate policy disagreements. this is not politics. they have legitimate fundamental policy disagreements over what the federal government's role in health care should be. and they do not have them resolved. they were trying to get this through quickly, at least to get it through the house.
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that is now in huge doubt and what most people are saying is either this is a predictable washington drama, they figured out overnight, 5:00 tomorrow we're sitting around this table how did they do it, or this collapses. it's ha part, if it collapses part that opens the door. >> another 24 hours, 48 hours or 72 hours, is that really going to make that much of a difference? >> it depends on what the argument is about. can you resolve the policy disagreement in 24 hours? no. somebody has to be told this bill is going to leave the house in a way fundamentally you don't like it but this is the first step. it has to go to the senate, then it has to go back. the argument the speaker is trying to make, the president is trying to make is we have a moral imperative, political imperative to prove we can govern. do not let the good be the enemy -- the perfect be the enemy of the good. let's move this forward. so far they've been unable to do that especially -- not just, the freedom caucus conservatives, remember they were elected to come here to say no. they ran campaigns during the obama administration. we will say no to everything he
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does, si no to our own speaker, no to spending bs, they have yet to be in an environment where they have to govern to say yes. actually get something to the president's desk they know he will sign. >> that's what's different than the obama years. i will add to what you're saying, john. this is just step one to get this out of the house. what i am hearing from some conservatives in the house and the biggest concern here is that they know it's going to change in the senate. and not in a way that is to their liking, most likely. and, so, there is this notion also of, you know, having to walk the plank on a vote that you are, you know, eating a crap sandwich, pardon the term. but you don't like -- as you said, nobody likes this bill. and, and you know it's not what's going to be the end product. >> because you know, rebecca berg, that if you make concessions to the house freedom caucus, the conservatives, some of the more moderate republicans from pennsylvania, new jersey, they're going to move in the other direction. they don't like those kinds of concessions. >> right. the moderates, remember, those are the republicans for the most
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part who actually have to worry about getting reelected. the house freedom caucus, these are guys from some of the most conservative districts in the entire country. they're not worried about getting reelected. their concern would be either a primary which for many of these people is kind of impossible because they're so far to the right already. a primary or they're worried about, you know, idea logical purity. groups coming after them from the outside saying you didn't stick to your guns and defend your principles. that's what these guys are worried about. but the moderate republicans, they are in districts that they could very well lose in this next election if they don't tread lightly on this issue. >> at that point it's a critical one. you have the koch brothers, tea party group who helped you get here. don't listen to the president. if the president doesn't get you what you want and need we'll back you up financially. the usual levers of power, we'll cut off your money, we'll primer you, they're not there. >> i want to come back to all three of you in a moment. stand by. joining us right now republican congressman thomas massy of
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kentucky who is against the bill. congressman, thanks very much for joining us. >> thank you for having me on, wolf. >> thank you. are there changes you're seeking that potentially could result in a yea vote from your perspective, but maybe that could doom the overall health care bill? because moderates won't like it? >> well, the biggest change we want should be acceptable to everyone, which is to make affordable health insurance legal again. and specifically what i'm talking about is the essential health benefits and dealing with preexisting conditions. not forcing healthy people to say pay the same price for health insurance as unhealthy people. those are the changes that we're hoping to make. so we can get back to health insurance that people can afford without subsidies. >> how do you expect your more moderate republican colleagues in the house, some of those who are in danger in districts in pennsylvania or new york or new jersey, how do you expect some of them to vote for the bill
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that strips what they would regard as essential health benefit provisions or includes other changes that are welcomed by your caucus, but are poisonous to them? >> well, you know what, they all ran on repealing obamacare. in fact, they've taken votes for bills that are, you know, much more conservative than this. the only problem i think now is that this is actually going to be signed by the president for them. but i would remind them that this vote is a very unpopular vote in their districts. i live in a conservative district, but i've got 275 calls opposing this bill and four calls supporting this bill. and that's half republicans and half democrats. there's literally no liberal or conservative constituency for this bill as it stands. >> congressman massy, what's your impression of president trump's deal making skills through this process? >> you know, if it were just about president trump, we would all caved a long time ago because he is very charming and he's very persuasive.
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but there are fundamental problems with this bill that even he can't overcome. so, you know, i think if you took the insurance companies out of this and the folks that have been in the swamp for 20 or 30 years and just let trump work on this with conservatives and moderates here in the house, we could come to a solution. the problem is you've got other people at the table that stand to lose money if health insurance prices go down. >> who are you blaming specifically? do you want to -- maybe you're referring to the speaker. >> i'll blame our leadership in the house. they have papered over differences for weeks. they ran this bill three weeks into committees and cajoled people into not offering amendments. this could have been solved in regular order, but it wasn't. they swept it under the rug these differences. it's a game of chicken. we're talking about a 6th of our economy and they want to write the bill in three or four hours and vote on it tomorrow. that falls on the shoulders of
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our gop leadership. a assume you're referring to the spaer paul ryan. is it halftime this this collapses for him to go? >> i'll give him a few other chances. if this thing collapses tonight it will be a big win for republicans. if it passes and becomes law it's going to be horrible. i give him a chance next week. let's go home and come back and work on this next week, or the week after that. there's more than one bite at the apple. this premise that it has to happen today because it's the anniversary, the seven-year anniversary of obamacare, that's ridiculous. we're talking about a 6th of our economy. let's slow this down and get the process right. >> as you know, the white house has said and repeated several times there is no plan b as far as health care reform is concerned. is that a mistake, either take this or leave it? >> that's a negotiating position, i do believe. i think there is a plan b, a plan c and a plan d, there is always another option. and the premise you have to take it or leave it is false.
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>> paul ryan, the speaker, has repeatedly also said that he's not going to try to jamb this bill down members' throats. but you believe that's what he's trying to do, right? >> well, if they bring this bill to the floor tomorrow, they're going to be jamming something down some throats because i'll tell you what, the votes aren't there right now. they are short votes. >> how short are they in >> i've been saying all week they're short two dozen votes. and they said oh, we're good, we like where we are. that's been false all week. the speaker could have saved us some trouble by acknowledging that on the sunday shows a week ago and i would say they're at least 20 votes short. >> 20 short, because if they lose 21 republicans, all the democrats are going to oppose it. let's say he loses 21 republicans. do you think there is another 20 besides the 21 who are going to vote against it? >> i think so. i've seen him whipping members who are on nobody's no-list. they know they're no because they have a whip count and nobody really lies about -- to
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the whip team how they're going to vote. but that's never announced. so, there were no no's than even the leadership was willing to acknowledge until tonight. finally we can dispense of this notion that they got the votes, right? because here we are and they don't have the votes. >> if the health care bill, this current bill fails, who broke the promise to the american people that there would be the repealing and replacing of obamacare? >> well, hopefully nobody breaks a promise if we can come back next week or next month and pass a repeal bill that conservatives can get along with. look, we've got the tale of two chambers here on capitol hill this week. in one chamber you have neil gorsuch who everybody loves among the republicans, and you know, he's sailing through as far as republicans are concerned. that's because trump took the advice of people outside of the swamp on that nomination. now he's taking the advice inside the swamp from the health care lobbyists and our leadership and you see how
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that's turning out over here in the house. not so good and not nearly as well. >> congressman thomas masse of kentucky, thanks very much for joining us. >> thanks, wolf. >> all right, david chalian, very strong words you heard from the congressman, not just 21. he thinks there may be 40 or 41 republicans who are ready to vote nay. >> no love lost there for the leadership of this party. >> no. >> whatsoever. this is why i think it's so critical, though, listening to congressman masse. if they can't get this volt done tomorrow, i think they're going to be in a real world of perk here. i don't see how it gets done because it's going to be death by a thousand cuts of this kind of talk and, so, i think that's why you see so much pressure right now coming from the white house, saying it's happening tomorrow, trying to will it with their words when clearly they still don't have the votes. and i'm not sure they're closer. they might be moving further away. >> once you get fractured like this that's what happens. listen to how he just said that in a telling interview, wolf. he's talking about repealing
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obamacare. the imperative of fiscal conservatives is repeal obamacare. repeal and replace because paul ryan has moderates from parts of where obamacare was popular. repeal and replace came up with presidential candidates who were trying to win blue states. they had to seri place. repeal is the marijuana tra of conservatives. they have the most votes blocking passage here. yes, they bought onto replace for the message, but the idea logical philosophical passion is to repeal. that is the difference. for all due respect to the congressman and trying to be nice to the president, remember donald trump is a candidate, as a candidate said, keep coverage for preexisting condition. keep on your health plan until you're 26. keep other important and popular expenses provisions of obamacare. they're boxed in because of the campaign promises of the candidate. >> that is one of the fascinating things how this debate has progressed, no matter what these conservatives like
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congressman masse have been so kind to the president, have not criticized him and you know why? it's because they come from districts where the president won by a lot. the buck or them will never stop at the white house. >> sorry about criticizing the speaker. we have just received a breaking news. we have just received the new brand-new congressional budget office report estimates on what this current legislation, the revised legislation would mean for millions of millions of americans with health insurance. we're going to give you that right after this quick break. ♪ ♪ ♪
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we're back with our correspondents and experts as we follow the breaking news. republicans still trying to put together enough votes to pass their bill to repeal and replace obamacare. and now the congressional budget office has just put out a revised estimate predicting the republicans new bill with all the changes will save about $150 billion less than the original bill, but still leave 24 million more people without insurance over the next decades, about the same number as in the republicans' original bill. let's bring back our panel. john king, we've taken a look at the numbers and they estimate in this revised version with all of the changes, 14 million more people will be uninsured under the legislation than under current law over the next year, but between now and 2026, 21 million would be uninsured, 24 million, 26 roughly the same numbers as the original version. but there is also effects on premiums and i'll point that out
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to our viewers. they estimate the congressional budget office, that single policyholders in the nonmarket group market would be 15 to 20% higher in their premiums under the legislation that is currently potentially going to be voted on. >> in 2018 and 2019, then they say -- >> the next two years. >> over the decade they would then go down, once the changes were worked into the system. the problem for the poling advertising on the ballot in 2018 you're going to go to the people who you said you're going to remeal and replace obamacare. you told them it would make their life more affordable, more choices, less money, you're going to go to em this in an election year, i know your premiums went up 15% in year, trust me they will go down. that is why so many politicians understand this is an incredibly difficult vote to take. this version also, one of the selling points to conservatives in the premium bill was that this would reduce the deficit by $336 billion over the next decade because of some of the medicaid tweaks they've made, the cbo now says that the deficit reduction would be smaller. so, you still have that number
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throwing the democrats will say throwing, republicans dispute the number, but democrats would argue you leave 24 million more people without insurance, now you get a smaller cut out of the deficit and in the short term premiums go up. you want to run for office on that? >> you've heard the criticism from some republicans, some at the white house says don't believe the congressional budget office. these numbers really aren't very, very reliable. even though the director of the congressional budget office is a republican who was recommended by the then budget committee chairman now the secretary of health and human services dr. tom price. >> the white house -- the cbo numbers last week, they're certainly not going to like these numbers. on the deficit point john was making, not a small cut, it went to 150 billion. that is dramatically cutting in half the savings that they could sell to some fiscal conservatives. >> rebecca? >> right. especially if you have the house freedom caucus as your biggest hold outs right now that is not going to be a compelling case for why they should support this bill. they would rather -- the government isn't paying anything
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into this and reducing the def cyst by much, much more. you're not seeing that in the cbo report. >> the cbo report says premiums would go up at least in the short term over the next two or three years, eventually they might go down. that's not what a lot of the -- >> they need that deficit savings, they need that to help pay for tax reform, the next big initiative they want to accomplish. >> stand by. there are more happening. a murder victim gunned down in public and he happened to be a prominent critic of vladimir putin. hello, i'm an idaho potato farmer and i finally found our big idaho potato truck. it's been touring the country telling folks about our heart healthy idaho potatoes, america's favorite potatoes, and donating to local charities along the way. but now it's finally back home where it belongs. aw man. hey, wait up. where you goin'? here we go again.
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breaking news this hour, house republican leaders postponing a vote on the health care bill as they scramble to
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get enough support from gop critics of the measure to pass it. let's get some more from our white house correspondent sara murray. sara, this is the first major test of president trump's ability to negotiate a major piece of legislation. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. this is obviously someone who ran an entire campaign, who ran his entire career on being the ultimate deal maker. now those skills are being put to the test. today the white house is not getting the out come it hoped for. donald trump failing to deliver the goods on a health care deal. the president posting conservative and moderate republicans today, but so far unable to could bble together t votes. the vote was delayed, the white house projected optimism. >> it's going to pass. >> reporter: as the first legislative measure hangs in the ballet slew of controversies are playing out alongside it. on wednesday house intelligence committee chairman devin nunes
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rushed to the white house investoring the president he had seen evidence that communications of trump and his associates may have been collected by intelligence agencies after the election. >> today i briefed the president on the concerns that i had about incidental collection. >> reporter: today nunes is doing damage control after that improve two visit set off a political fire storm. the congressman privately apologizing to his committee colleagues for scrambling to brief the president and the press before his fellow congressmen. >> i try to treat everybody fairly and the republicans and democrats, but this is not an easy mine field. >> reporter: but the move quickly drew fire from democrats who called it a politically motivated attempt to give trump cover for his unfounded claim that trump tower was wiretapped by president obama. house democratic leader nancy pelosi dug in saying nunes isn't qualified to preside over an independent investigation into the trump campaign's tie to russia. >> chairman nunes is deeply
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compromised and he cannot possibly lead an honest investigation. >> reporter: for the white house, it became a side show. on a day when the president hoped to notch a health care victory, trump's visibly frustrated white house press secretary pushed reporters to search for proof to back up the surveillance claim. >> i would implore, urge, beg some of you to use some of your investigative skills to look into what actually did happen. but i think that there should be a similar concern as opposed to figuring out whether he took a skateboard or a card here to investigate what happened and why it happened. the reality is whether he briefed us first or he briefed the democratic members and that's up to him to decide, the substance of what he shared should be troubling to everybody. >> reporter: and the president who made a habit of making spectacular claims appears unconcerned they might dent his credibility. he insists he's still going to trust his gut. telling time magazine, i'm a very instinctual person, but my ink extinct turns out to be right when everyone said i
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wasn't going to win the election, i said, well, i think i would. now, the wooing, the jostling, the deal making still continuing tonight. the more moderate house republicans are headed over here to the white house for some meetings. meanwhile, some senior administration officials are heading over to the hill to try to get some deals done. the white house is still hoping that this vote will be able to happen some point tomorrow. they are hoping for tomorrow morning. we will see if that is the case. wolf? >> we will see indeed. all right, sara, thanks very much, sara murray over at the white house. now a cnn exclusive report on information suggesting that trump associates may have coordinated with suspected russian operatives during the presidential campaign. let's get the latest information from cnn's jessica snyder who is watching this story for us. jessica, update our viewers on the latest developments. >> wfl, wolf, we've learned that fbi counter investigation have new information raising suspicions between trump associates and the russian
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government may have taken place and lawmakers now say they have also received new details that raise concerns. the fbi is examining information that associates of president trump may have communicated with suspected russian operatives during the 2016 campaign to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to hillary clinton's campaign, u.s. officials tell cnn. the fbi is reviewing information sources including human intelligence, travel, business and phone records and accounts of in-person meetings . one law enforcement official said the information already in hand suggests people connected to the campaign were in contact and it appeared they were giving the thumbs up to release information when it was ready. the information, referring to hacks into dnc computers and the subsequent release of campaign staffers' e-mails. other u.s. officials caution it's premature to so quickly come to that conclusion since a lot of the information gathered so far is circumstantial. but house intel committee
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ranking member adam schiff said the evidence he's seen is stronger. >> there's more than just circumstantial evidence of collusion. what did you mean by that? >> i don't feel comfortable talking about the particular evidence either that the fbi is looking at or that we're looking at. but i do think that it's appropriate to say it is the kind of evidence that you would submit to a grand jury at the beginning of an investigation. it's not the kind of evidence you'd take to a trial jury when you're trying to prove something beyond a reasonable doubt. >> reporter: officials caution they can't yet prove it, but the information suggesting collusion is now a large focus of the fbi investigation. sources would not say who connected to trump is being investigated, but the fbi is already investigating four former trump campaign associates. michael flynn, paul manafort, roger stone and carter page for their contacts with russians known to u.s. intelligence. all four have denied improper contacts. the white house insisted the information trickling out is too vague to prove anything.
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>> when you use a term like associates, you don't even put a time frame around it. it's a little bit nebulous at best to suggest that somebody over and over again making a claim the way you do and the narrative continues without any substantiation. >> reporter: the fbi won't comment. director james comey made that bomb shell disclosure that the fbi is investigating possible trump campaign ties to russia during a congressional hearing monday. but he refused to answer when a student asked him a question about the investigation this morning at the university of texas. >> i'm not going to talk about it. [ laughter ] >> reporter: now, as the fbi investigates, sources say there are mounting obstacles because of the intense public focus russian officials have now changed their methods of investigation, making monitoring a lot more difficult. wolf? >> all right, jessica, thank you. jessica snyder reporting. lets archipelago get some more on all of this with democratic congressman jim himes of connecticut. he's a member of the intelligence committee. congressman, thanks for joining us. >> hi, wolf. >> your colleague on the house
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intelligence committee, the ranking member adam schiff, he said earlier today that he's been presented with what he described as new evidence on the trump campaign's ties to russia that could merit a grand jury investigation. do you know what he's talking about? >> well, the ranking member and the chairman and the leadership of the two houses here in congress are part of a group that is known as the gang of eight and the gang of eight are a group of people with whom the intelligence community and law enforcement share particularly sensitive information. so, i think that that is what adam was talking about because the rest of the members of the committee have yet to see this piece of evidence. i will tell you that, you know, congressman schiff is a former prosecutor, a very, very careful guy. so, i take him at his word that this is something that presumably explains why fbi director comey used the words he did in our hearing when he said we are investigating links and cooperation between the russians and the trump campaign.
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>> you're on the intelligence committee. tell us about the apology you heard today from chairman nunes. >> well, you know, it was good to hear the apology, but sadly an awful lot of the damage has already been done, you know. the chairman has been quite constructive with us internally. he hasn't said no to us on a particular piece of evidence or list of things we want to see. but going outside and taking steps that are in the interests of the trump campaign or the trump presidency really casts doubt on our ability to produce an impartial and objective work product. and frankly, wolf, really make the case as many people around here are starting to realize that what is called for and what has always been called for here is an outside bipartisan commission of people who are not in the political fray like i am or like chairman nunes is. >> has chairman nunes made this information available to you and your colleagues yet? >> no, he has not, although he has agreed to do so. but look, let's make no mistake about what this information is. this whole thing, all you need
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to know about this whole thing is what president trump said yesterday, which is that he feels partially vindicated by this. now, mind you, you know, i don't know what it is because i haven't seen. it is incidental collection of americans. this happens every single day. wolf, right now someone in yemen is watching the two of us on television and skag, you know, what a couple of ugly infidels and that, if we are listening to that yemeni, that is incidental collection of us. it happens all the time and, you know, it's not a coincidence that today this is part of the story as opposed to what director comey put out there or frankly health care, right? we are talking about this and make no mistake this is a sonoma county screen set up designed to have us talking about the incidental collection of u.s. person information as opposed to the big stories of the day. >> so, you think that chairman nunes just did this for political reasons, is that what you're suggesting? >> well, let me say this. i've worked on the intelligence committee for a long time. it is almost inconceivable that
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you would receive an important piece of information that raises legal or constitutional questions, you know, anything that we might come across as part of our oversight duties, and that the first thing you would do would be go to the media. the second thing you would do would go to the very people who are being investigated to say, hey, look what i've got here. and not even share it with your colleagues on the committee or quite frankly with your own staff. that to me is so irregular and lo and behold a couple hours later donald trump gets to put the bear est of fig leaves on the outrageous tweet about barack obama wiretapping. by the way, incidental collection and wiretapping the trump tower have ash salutely nothing to do with each other, but guys like me are forced to spend time explaining that to people because of what happened yesterday. >> the president that was apparently conducting an interview with time magazine asked chairman nunes was providing his update yesterday. this is what the president's reaction was in the time magazine interview. and i'll put it up on the screen. oh, this just came out, this is
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a political story. members of the donald trump transition team possibly including trump himself were under surveillance during the obama administration following november's election. house intelligence chairman devin nunes told reporters, wow, nunes said, so that means i'm right. your reaction to what the president told time magazine? >> well, wolf, look at that. there is a reporter by a major u.s. magazine in the room and breaking news, there's information out that some bizarre way exonerates me. look, i mean, this was just straight from a vaud ville script to try to take the attention off matters that are serious like today's failure of their ability to do what they have been promising for seven years which is to repeal the affordable care act. of course the profoundly serious piece of information we learned monday with respect to the fbi investigation. but i mean, look, the worst vaud ville script writer would have done better than what you just recounted to me. >> just one final question.
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getting back to adam schiff's recommendation, maybe it's time for a grand jury. in comey's statement, the fbi director james comey's statement on monday, he said, as with any counter intelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed. based on what you know, congressman, do you believe crimes were committed and that you agree, do you agree with congressman schiff that it may be time for a grand jury right now? >> well, let me clarify what congressman schiff said. he was not saying that this is the moment for a grand jury. he was characterizing the evidence he had and i would probably say something very similar. we are being very careful on my side of the aisle and certainly adam schiff is being careful not to draw conclusions this early in the investigation. look, we are very early in this investigation. so, what congressman schiff was saying, not that we should convene a grand jury. he was saying the evidence i saw would be enough to cause law enforcement or prosecuteers to convene a grand jury. a grand jury, of course, being
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the body that decides whether there is enough there to pursue an investigation. he wasn't calling for a grand jury. he was just saying that's the kind of evidence that is out there. >> and you believe that he will share shall chair nunes will share the sensitive information with you and your colleagues maybe as early as tomorrow, is that right? >> well, the chairman did promise to share this information. but again, i'm going to be shocked if it's anything other than a prop that was used in the smoke screen that was set up by this whole episode. i was really sorry to see it happen. i'm friends with chairman nunes. i like the guy. you know, obviously what he did yesterday badly damaged his own credibility and certainly damaged the credibility of the intelligence committee investigation that we're really devoting a lot of time and energy to. >> one final question. should he step down? >> you know, i'm not reds i to say that right now. he has been, again, cooperative with us inside. there has been this troubling tendency over time to go out and make statements which are clearly about devin nunes as sort of trump transition team guy as opposed to the leader of
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an objective investigation. and, so, before i say that, i will say this. unqualified and unconditional, this is precisely the reason why we should have an outside independent commission composed of people not like me who are in the political fray day to day and composed of people who can really say, i'm not, you know, fighting democratic or republican battles here. i'm standing up for a really intense and important investigation about a profound attack on this country. >> any -- did he promise it won't happen again? >> you know what, let's -- he didn't make that president-elect obama -- promise, but he was contrite. this is more serious than an individual policy. this is a question in one of the most historic challenges to our country's democracy, whether we're going to investigate this thoroughly and then produce a product that every american republican or democrat can have confidence in and sadly yesterday's events did an awful lot to damage that ability. >> congressman jim himes, thanks
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very much for joining us. >> thanks, wolf. >> coming up, a shocking murder, the victim gunned down in public and he just happened to be a prominent critic of vladimir putin. choicehotels.com. badda book. badda boom. that's it? he means book direct at choicehotels.com for the lowest price on our rooms guaranteed. plus earn free nights and instant rewards at check-in. yeah. like i said. book now at choicehotels.com
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get back to the breaking news on the republican's healthcare legislation that's in deep, deep trouble right now. but there is other important news we're following including some new details we're just receiving about a brazen murder, another critic of the russian
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president vladimir putin. >> this man's name is denis voronenkov. he was a former russian lawmaker killed today in ukraine where he had been giving evidence to the authorities about vladimir putin's invasion of crimea. this makes three people who have become incapacitated or killed. >> reporter: gun down in broad daylight. denis voronenkov, a critic of putin killed in kiev. his horrified wife has to identify his body on the street. he was a former russian lawmaker who fled to ukraine last year. the ukraine government says it's an act of terrorism. and an execution of a witness. >> when he gets to ukraine he begins to give evidence about the russian connection to former, and annexation. >> reporter: he said he wasn't
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worried for his safety. >> translator: i believe that whatever will happen, will happen. i don't intend to hide. >> reporter: earlier this week, another man inconvenient of vladimir putin fell four floors from his moscow apartment. it is not clear whether he fell or was pushed. >> i think that foul play was involved. >> reporter: bill was the whistle-blower. a massive fraud which he and broader allege was convicted against their form. the attorney represented this man. >> he was going to show up in court with a bunch of new evidence which consists of e-mails and what's app evidence that they were communicating
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with russian police to try to cover up the furred of sergei and exposed. >> reporter: yet another putin critic who had some bad luck in recent week. the second time in two years he's fallen into a coma after a suspected poisoning. he called for more open elections in russia. >> i think what's not coincidental is all these folks are swimming in very dangerous shark infested waters. the message is out, if you are going to oppose very powerful interests in and around russia you're going to get hurt or killed. >> reporter: in 2013 bore ris w killed. >> there are layers and layers and layers and there is no specific order or time or any kind of crushing evidence that
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links him. >> reporter: we've been in touch with the kremlin about all these cases and vladimir putin throw his spokesman has denied involvement in just about all of them. they called the allegations that they were behind the killing of denis voronenkov absurd. they denied connection to the illnesses and the death. they have not commented on the mysterious fall of the lawyer from the apartment this week but have dismissed allegations that they were involved in the death of sergei. wolf. >> are we getting information about the man who killed the former lawmaker today? >> officials say the man was wounded in a shoot out with the bodyguard and that the assailant died in a hospital. the national news agency says this man was ukrainian. >> political drama on capitol hill on the future of the healthcare bill as gop leaders
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happening now. breaking news. last-ditch effort. president trump desperately tries to save the gop healthcare bill as house leaders put a pivotal vote on hold because of opposition within their own party. tonight republicans are heading to a closed door meeting amid growing questions whether the bill is doomed. secret evidence. the house intelligence chairman fails to offer any proof of his new claims of surveillance of the trump transition

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