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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  March 24, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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happening now. breaking news. no vote. speaker paul ryan withdraws the republican health care bill rather than see the legislation go up in flames on the house floor. what's next after this enormous setback for the president and party leaders? trump's gamble, the author of the "art of the deal" tried and fail to win over rebel republicans who doomed the health care bill. tonight mr. trump says he's going to let obamacare explode. i'll get reaction from the top senate democratic, schumer. and russian probes. canceling a public hearing.
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democrats are accusing devin nunes of trying to protect the president even as some key former trump advisers offered to be questioned about their russian ties. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in the "the situation room." >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. breaking news this hour. president trump says he's going back and let obamacare explode after his efforts to replace and repeal it were blocked by members of his own republican party. mr. trump says republicans were very close to pass the health care legislation in the house trying to put the best face possible on a huge and stinging political defeat. the house speaker ryan pulled the bill and canceled the scheduled vote at the last minute after failing to win conservative votes despite the
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campaign led by the president. chalking it up as growing pains for a party that's not used to controlling the congress and the white house. tonight there are very serious questions about efforts to move the trump agenda forward. also breaking, three key former trump advisers have volunteered to be questioned about russia ties including paul manafort this as the chairman cancels a hearing on russia prompting the top democratic of accusing him of trying to keep information from the american public. i'll talk about this and more with the senate democratic leader chuck schumer and our correspondents and analysts standing by as we cover all of the news breaking right now. first let's go to phil mattingly, up on capitol hill. phil, walk us through the truly historic and dramatic developments. >> a wirl wind the last couple of days that came to an end,
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trump is done. that was the message from house leaders behind closed doors korg to sources in the room, they were pulling the health care bill and moving on from the issue they campaigned on year after year after year completely. >> reporter: the pressure, the arm-twisting, the ultimatum, they have all fallen short. >> i will not sugar coat this. this is a sad day for us. doing big things is hard. all of us, all of us myself included will need time to reflect on this moment. >> reporter: house speaker paul ryan deciding to pull the obamacare repeal and replacement plan hours after traveling to the white house to tell the president he didn't have the votes to pass it. and the loss on the house floor could be big. >> obamacare is the law of the land and will remain the law of the land.
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we did not have the votes to replace this. so we'll be living with obamacare for the foreseeable future. >> reporter: a jarring realization, hours after the president made his offer, vote now or we have to let it go. >> i'd love to see obamacare do well, but it can't. it can't. it's not a question of, gee, i hope it does well. i would love it to do well. i want great health care for the people of the country, but it can't do well. it's imploding and soon will explode. >> reporter: democrats taking a victory lap. >> frankly i thought they might have accomplished something in the first couple of months. i think the mistake was they were so focused on embarrassing the affordable care act rather than trying to improve it. >> reporter: the health care set back a stunning turn of events from the cautious optimism of the morning. >> how are you feeling this morning? >> great. >> do you think you'll get the votes. >> getting it done today.
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>> reporter: and after that. >> from cnn, wondering how are things going. >> going great. continuing to talk to members, and moving it forward. always confident. >> reporter: sources tell cnn the votes never materialized and it became clear they were losing votes based on the compromise to bring conservatives aboard. the deal on the table would strip the ten essential health benefits required in insurance plans by obamacare, something moderate republicans already wary of the bill were telling leaders were a bridge too far, sources said. this happening as the debate on the bill was going leaving critics to question what path remained and the president to question about the looming failure of his biggest and first legitimate push. >> did you rush it? >> we'll see what happens. >> reporter: and wolf, the rekrim nations the blame game already started. you can hear it from aides
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behind closed doors. the big question, as you noted the growing pains as the peaker noted. the house and the leadership wants to accomplish, starting with tax reforms. is this a harbinger of what's to come or can they grow and make it pass. >> phil, thanks very much. phil mattingly up on the hill. let's get reaction from the top democratic in the united states senate, the minority leader chuck schumer. senator, thank you so much for joining us. >> hi. how are you doing? they were turning the monitor off. >> i know you have a nice smile on the face. i want to you to listen to the reaction of the president to having to pull the health care bill back. >> i think the losers are nancy pelosi and chuck schumer because now they own obamacare. they own it, 100% own it. this is not a republican health
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care. this is not anything but a democratic health care. and they have obamacare for a little while longer until it ceases to exist, which it will at some point in the near future, and just remember, this is not our bill. this is their bill. >> okay. senator, your reaction. >> well, it's a tall tale, another one by president trump. they never reached out to us, they never talked to us, they never said how can we work together to make it better. the failure is completely among the republicans. president trump and the congress. they weren't even trying to get democrats involved. and now it's about time for the president to lead, not to name call, not to blame, but to lead. to simply say people are going to suffer, and someone is to blame, that makes no sense at all. if you're a real president, you care about people suffering and we're ready to work with the president. let him take repeal off the table. let him, speaker ryan, mitch
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mcconnell, and say not repeal, and we'll work with them on working on obamacare and improving obamacare. but for the president to have to make obamacare worse and make people suffer, to say it doesn't work when cbo says it does work. that's not being president. >> listen to how speaker of the house paul ryan reacted. >> we were probably doing the democrats a favor, we were doing the architects of obamacare a favor by pass this law, and it's going to get worse. i don't think the architects of obamacare -- i'm sure they may be pleased now, but when they see how bad it gets, they're not going to like that either. >> go ahead and react to the speaker. >> well, again, obamacare is working for millions of people. that's why there was such an outcry when this he decided to repeal it. can it be improved some?
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of course. we've always said that. once republicans are taking repeal off the table, we're willing to work with them to improve t. but it's far better to have it than not have. 23 million people covered, preexisting conditions covered, college kids taken care of, women's care, seniors getting taken care of. that's why the public was on our side. last polls i saw, 57% against trumpcare rather keeping and improving aca. we're willing to work with them, but they've got to take repeal off the table. you know, it was very easy for seven years for them to decry this. but i will say this. you know, there were two problems, two reasons, this failed that president trump failed. one is incompetence. i've never seen such incompetence. they put together a bill that doesn't have the support of so
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many of their own party, nobody, hardly anybody on the outside supported it. aarp against it, hospitals against it, nurses against it. a lesson for them in the future. you cannot govern from the hard right. this bill, the only people who really benefited were the very, very wealthy, people above $250,000 a year -- >> who do you blame for their failure? >> pardon? >> who do you blame for their failure? i'd like you to woname, names. >> president trump proven incompetent, no "art of the deal." even his technique, i'll threaten them and they'll come back. leader ryan, i like him, he's a good man, but i don't understand how you can put a bill on the floor before so many of your members have signed off on it,
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so there is a lot of blame on the republican side to go around. >> if republicans can't come together and agree on a new health care bill to repeal and replace obamacare, what are you as the democratic leader in the senate going to do to reach out to republicans and try to work with them on a bipartisan basis to find some solutions to fixing obamacare? >> that's just what we want to do. if they take repeal off the table, we're willing to sit down with them and improve obamacare. it's doing a good job, but there are places that it can be improved. no question about it. >> where would you want to improve? >> there is a whole lit. i'm not going to get into it now. drug prices lower, providing medicare for more people, making sure that insurance companies don't get away with everything by giving more power to the insurance companies, more competition through a public option. there are all kinds of options we're willing to take to make
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obamacare better but they've got to get off the kick of repeal. and i did not see speaker ryan saying that, and donald trump is say, ha ha, everyone will suffer. only if he tries to make it worse. >> even as this legislation was going down and pulling the actual bill, the president phoned bob costa at "the washington post" and he said this. as you know i've been saying for years that the best thing is to let obamacare explode and then go make a deal with the democrats and have one unified deal. and they will come to us. we won't have to come to them after obamacare explodes. will you come to the president now and try to make what he calls a unified deal? >> as i said, if they take repeal off the table, absolutely. they've tried to repeal it, they failed. if they keep trying to repeal it, we won't be able to do anything. of course, we'll come to them.
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it's time for the president to act like a president not make people suffer, not make things worse by making obamacare worse. it's a good deal now, he can try to make it better. but the idea of this will fail. we're sad that they won't improve obamacare. >> what will you take from this health care episode now to apply to upcoming president's agenda. he says the priority number one for the white house is tax cuts, tax reform. >> okay. the number one lesson here is to do -- to aim things at average families, working families. obamacare had huge tax cuts on the very rich and then they made everyone else pay more and the very focus was to give tax cuts to the rich. if tax reform is the same way and the overwhelming benefit goes to the top 1%, it will fail
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again. so the lesson that they should learn is focus on middle class people. the president talks about average working families, but it seems every one of his policies moves in favor of the powerful few special interests, the very wealthy. >> are you willing to work with him on legislation and tax reform? >> well, we have to see what the legislation is, but if it's anything like -- like health care, they don't talk to us, they just put down a piece of legislation and say if you want to be bipartisan, you have to support it even if it doesn't help the american people. that didn't work last time, and it won't work this time. obviously, if they're going to help middle class people, it's something we'll look at. they have to put a proposal down first. we'll see what it's like. >> we'll see what it's like. the house intelligence committee chairman devin nunes he canceled a meeting scheduled for next week that the committee will no
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longer be hearing in open session from the former director of national intelligence clapper, john brennan, and general sally gates, the chairman devin nunes still hasn't shares, he says what he calls incidental collection of intelligence on the president or sources. how confident are you in this investigation right now? >> well, i don't have much confidence in chairman nunes, the intelligence committees and the house of senate have had a grand history of bipartisanship. they put their politics aside when they go into the scif. nunes seems to be a partisan, and that is a bad, bad thing. and it could destroy tradition. i hope he comes to the senses or speaker ryan replaces him.
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>> do you think there is better cooperation in the senate intelligence committee -- >> yes. >> burr and warner. >> there have been a few bumps in the road, but burr has done a great job -- so has schiff, but mark warner has done a great job and even though on occasion chairman burr lost our full faith and when he tried to call reporters and taut the administration line, i think things are working better in the senate, absolutely. >> do you think there needs to be an independent and outside commission to investigate? >> look, i've always thought that the best way to go was that way, particularly if the intelligence committees can't do it on their own. so we'll have to wait and see. you know, i have faith in mark warner and the democrats on the intelligence committee. some of the republicans have been very bipartisan as well. we'll see where that goes. >> is there evidence of collusion? >> well, i'm not going to get
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into any details about classified briefings i've heard. >> can you give us a sense -- >> no. >> you don't want to say anything about that? >> no. i'm very careful about that kind of thing. >> if they were to find some collusion or cooperation between what they call trump associates and the russian government and their meddling in the elections going ahead in the cyber attacks, what would be the remedy? >> i'm not going to -- again, wolf, i'm not going to speculate on something like that. >> i understand. >> good try. good try. >> all right. it's always a good try. before i let you go, your party now you say plans to filibuster president trump's u.s. supreme court nominee, gorsuch. you say if he doesn't get 60 votes you say the rule is to change the nominee. isn't that -- mitch mcconnell could unload the nuclear option that could require 51 votes. >> i hope he won't.
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i know there are members of his own caucus who don't want to do it. let's not forget, had mitch mcconnell not held up merrick garland for a year, we wouldn't have been talking about this. i always believed it should be 60 votes, you call it a filibuster, but it should be 60. the two george bush nominees, roberts and alito, the two barack obama nominee s, kagan and sotomayor, all passed the 60 votes. there is no reason why gorsuch shouldn't. if he can't is not change the rule, change the nominee. >> alito had 58. >> there was a cloture vote where he had over 70. >> he wound up in the end with 58. >> i said each justice met a 60-vote threshold. >> the american bar association says that neil gorsuch is highly
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qualified. do you believe that he's highly qualified? >> the issue is what his ideology is. he says he's going to call it down the middle. someone sofer eventually supported by the federalist society which has a history of moving the courts to the right. why are they doing that and spending $10 million these hard right groups to support him? is it because he's going to be a neutral judge and call balls and strikes? i don't believe so. if you look at his early history and court cases that doesn't support that. he has an instinctive reaction in too many cases to side with the big corporate special interest rather than the individuals. and supreme court is the only option some of these people have. >> senator, you've appreciated. >> it's always good to be with someone from the buff loanians.
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flonase. 6>1 changes everything. breaking news we're following. the president and the republican leadership pulled the house health care bill. mr. trump responding to the defeat by promising to let obamacare, his word, explode. our political team is here. there is a lot to talk about. let me play this clip and john king is with us right now. listen to the speaker reacting to the news. >> obamacare is the law of the land. it's going to remain the law of the land until it's replaced. we did not have the votes to
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replace this law so we'll be living with obamacare for the foreseeable future. >> that is a dramatic statement. >> they ran four election cycles in a row. this was the foundation of the republican message it was we will repeal the obamacare and then it became the repeal and replace. then it was the message in 2012, 2014, when republicans took the senate back, 2016 when they won everything. to hear the speaker of house who made this his number one priority who helped convince president trump saying obamacare is the law of the land. >> it shows the power of the fangts on the ground. the reality is you have 20 million people who did not have it before the law. you have developments in place to respond to the nudges in the law. it's difficult to think of another legislative loss this
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big this early. i was talking to david gergen. having said that he may be better off than having this go off for more weeks in the senate, and then in a radically different way unacceptable to the house. the republicans don't have a clear vision of what can replace it that is acceptable in the world where 20 million people have health care. >> the other interesting thing paul ryan said in the presser, he said are all of us willing to give something to get something done. he's speaking to the freedom caucus. he's suffering from the same problem that john boehner suffered from. and he understands he's going to get tax reforms through it all, these are the same people he's got to talk to people. >> and the debt ceiling. short term. >> to keep the government open. and he was basically pleading with them, saying we have to give something to get something
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done. >> he's been saying for so many years that the republican party needs to evolve into not an opposition party. the part of the problem is you have a quarter of the house republicans right now, not just the freedom caucus, who have never been in a republican majority at the congress when there is a republican president. you have people who don't have governing experience. that's a long-term problem. >> john until today, this afternoon, the officials of the white house sean spicer, they were upbeat about the chances of success. listen to this exchange sean spicer had. >> how confident are you that the bill will pass and if it doesn't pass, is there a plan b? >> no there is no plan b. there is a plan a and plan a. we're going to get this done. i'm not looking -- as i mentioned we're not looking at a plan b. we have plan a and it's going to pass. >> you said there is only plan a. >> right. >> at this point is there an
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acknowledgement that there will have to be a plan b. >> no. >> is there sort of plan if the plan doesn't pass? >> no. it's going to pass. so that's it. >> well, it didn't pass. >> it didn't pass. and look, again, it's his job to go out and be optimistic and talk for his boss. it's one of the toughest jobs. we both covered the building. there is questions about the credibility of the president, the things that the president says in that podium. now there is a performance question. rebecca is right. this is a preexisting condition, they were there when john boehner was speaker. he left town. they frustrated him. the fractures in the republican party are preexisting conditions. this is why donald trump won. if you're a senator and republican -- he was and he said this himself i alone. he was the businessman who was going to be able to negotiate these big, tough deals.
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he said i have tom pens and mic mall vainy. he said i can do this. on challenge number one, he failed. >> they need a plan b. they don't have a plan b. the problem is that their base wanted to repeal and replace obamacare. issue number one. and so the notion today, and we seem to be hearing this and correct me if i am wrong, if you guys are hearing the same thing that they don't have another plan. and so -- so they're going to -- so their base is not going to let them get way with that. >> he did sort of suggest a plan b, which is you kind of go forward and the existing obamacare becomes so onerous -- it is also something that is not true. the congressional budget office in their analysis of the bill concluded that obamacare and the republican replacement both would produce stable insurance markets. it is not clear that obamacare
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would die from natural causes, somebody will have to hold a pillow over its head. stand by. a lot more on the breaking news. what's next on the political battle over health care as republicans face the reality that obamacare isn't going anywhere at least for now.
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we're back with the breaking
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news. president trump says he's going to let obamacare explode after republicans were forced to pull the house health care bill because of a lack of support within their own party. listen to the president speaking just a little while ago about this huge political defeat. >> obamacare is exploding. with no democratic support, we couldn't quite get there. we're just a very small number of votes short in terms of getting our bill passed. a lot of people don't realize how good our bill was because they were viewing phase one, but when you add phase two, of secretary price, and add phase three, it became a great bill. premiums would have gone down and stable and strong. but that's okay. but we were very, very close, and again, i think what will happen is obamacare unfortunately will explode. it's going to have a very bad
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year. last year you had over 100% increases in various places, and in arizona, i understand, it's going up very rapidly again like it did last year. last year was 116%. many places, 50, 60, 70%. i guess it averaged, whatever the average was, very, very high. this year should be much worse for obamacare. what would be no good with no democratic support, if obamacare explodes, which it will soon, if they got together with us and got a real health care bill. i'd be totally open to. i think the losers are nancy pelosi and chuck schumer because now they own obamacare. they own it. 100% own it. >> they owned it before too. you know, rebecca, the president unlike the speaker, he's not really taking personal responsibility to this. >> it's reasoning to see, wolf. he did see in the statement it's
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our bill. so there is some sense of ownership in that remark there. but the president is acting more like an innocent bistander than a stakeholder in this thing. this was a cornerstone of his campaign for president. now he's telling "the washington post" he just felt like he had an obligation to go along with it, that he wanted to be a team player. it is stunning to see, and i would be amazed personally if he's able to create the separation between his failure and the bill. >> he can't. >> he can't. >> and the most telling quote today i think was when he said the best thing that could happen is what happened today. huh? your bill just lost. this was your number one issue. and it was a statement that was above all else i think. >> he was suggesting that if obamacare explodes in his words the democrats will be blamed and it will good to be the republicans. >> how cynical is that? coming from the president, who is the president of all people, and if he thinks obamacare will
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explode and implode, then you have to care about the people who could suffer as a result. >> just to underscore, the cbo said, yes, obamacare has some problems. but the congressional panel said it will not explode. from the beginning this was off brand in the sense that the president said he was going to protect older, working age aultimate dids on medicare and to endorse a health care bill who would hammer those voters, the republican voters. and to lurch the bill so far to the right by eliminating maternity care, and mental melt and drug addiction and not realize that would expose you to risks on the other side of the party. >> i think there was a moment at the end of february when the president acknowledged this. listen. >> now, i have to tell you, it's an unbelievably complex subject. nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.
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>> well, a lot of people knew it was so complicated. >> and he does tonight. this is not donald trump's republican party. he took it over in the republican presidential primaries, but as a governing president he went to the conservative members, freedom caucus, he ran about even with them, this is where he's most popular and won, 65, 70% of the vote, they would not give them their votes. the moderates in the northeastern part of the country who hillary clinton carried the districts, sometimes you take a bet on the new president. they wouldn't do it. this is a lesson to this president who needs to cut a lot of deals that this is, again, supposed to be his strength and the party said no. >> you and i john, we can personally testify, we were white house correspondents, in '93, '94. in the bill clinton.
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hillary -- this got through the house. >> it never did. >> it collapsed in the house and the senate and they paid a serious price. >> they failed. donald trump has defied every rule in american politics. let's not rush to judgment. the midterm election -- >> whose counting. >> but failing matters. it matters. especially if your brands is i do deals and i alone can do this. when that's your brand and you fail, there is usually consequences. we don't know. donald trump defies gravity. we'll see. >> you know who predicted this? john boehner, the former speak of the house. let me put it up on the screen. this is what he said last month. in the 25 years that i have served in the congress, republicans never ever one time agreed on what a health care proposal should look like, not once. >> it was unremarked by any of us not to involve democrats
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either in process or substance of the policy. what that does is give a veto power to each wing of the republican party because there are no democratic votes. it is a very different congress if, in fact, you were going to bring democrats in you would not be talking about, for example, repealing the medicaid expansion. as they go forward to tax reform and infrastructure, if they maintain this posture of essentially doing this solely within the republican party, you see the result. you're empowering each wing. >> they believe that the sheer power of his personality could get him through this. i mean, remember win one for the gipper? you can't do that anymore. politics doesn't really -- i don't know if the gipper could win one. >> the gipper governed a very big complicated state. >> that is true. >> he was willing to compromise. >> but donald trump believed in the powers of persuasion that he would have over these, you know -- over the freedom caucus.
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believing that they would be ultimately loyal to him. but what i don't think he understood is that the freedom caucus would have won their districts anyways because they have -- many of them have very big margins. mark meadows had a very huge margin. so they're not ultimately beholden to donald trump. they're beholden to the districts. it was a less on for him to learn. >> he didn't leave everything in the map. he didn't use all of the tools in the tool belt. he could have done town halls, talked to the media. >> the speaker, paul ryan sounded like bill clinton when he was admonishing the freedom caucus, don't let the -- >> remember how paul ryan became speaker when john boehner left town. as the kids say "lfmao."
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the challenge for the speaker who is a policy guy. he is a policy guy. he wants to get the agenda through, he understands the fractures have not healed and on round one the president did not prove that he could pull it together and get through it to gloria's point. >> tax reform, the president says that's the next big legislative reform. what's next for president trump and the republican leaders after the failure of their health care bill and the republican leader of the house intelligence committee cancels a hearing on russian election meddling, escalating partisan tension on the panel. your insurance company
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we're following the dramatic collapsing of the republican health care bill and the fall-out from president trump. right now we have more breaking news. we're also following in the house intelligence committee's investigation of russia's election meddling. the top democratic on the house accusing the republican chairman of trying to choke off information from the public. let's go to our senior congressional reporter manu raju. manu, the partisan split is widening as three key witnesses are offering to appear before the panel. >> those three witnesses, carter page, paul manafort, roger
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stone, trump advisers from the campaign season who have agreed to come forward if the house intelligence committee wants to hear from them, carter page telling me earlier he wants to have a public hearing to clear his name, believes he's been smeared by lies and innuendos in his words. this comes as a lot of tension between republicans and democrats on the committee. devin nunes earlier this week decided to brief president trump over new information that he obtained from a secret source showing that some trump communications may have appeared in some intelligence reports, something that he believed was alarming enough to brief president trump before his committee members. this came as today mr. nunes also they also canceled a meeting. democrats are sounding off but some saying nunes should step down as chairman of the committee.
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adam schiff, the top democrat, also raising concerns earlier today. >> to take evidence that may or may not be related to the investigation to the white house was wholly inappropriate and of course cast grave doubts into the ability to run a credible investigation and the integrity of that investigation. >> do you believe that he can still run this committee or should he step aside? >> ultimately that's a decision that the speaker needs to make. and i think the speaker has to decide as well as our own chairman whether they want a credible investigation being done here, whether they want investigation that the public can have confidence in. >> reporter: devin nunes also coming under fire after saying on sean hannity's program last night that one reason he briefed donald trump was, quote, to ensure -- because donald trump had been getting a lot of heat in the news media. and also devin nunes taking questions earlier today about
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whether or not he would allow paul manafort to testify publicly, suggesting he's willing to do so if mr. manafort is, addresses those issues today. >> he voluntarily offered to come to the committee. we will work it out. our lawyers, republicans and democrats, will work with his lawyers. if he wants a public hearing, he's more than welcome to do that. if he wants a closed setting, that's fine with me. >> sean hannity said one reason you prefectured the president because he was taking a lot of heat in the media. >> i'm stating the obvious. >> reporter: the reason why mr. nunes canceled that tuesday hearing was to hear from a private briefing from james comey and mike rogers in a private briefing on tuesday, that's before the house intelligence committee next week. >> mike rogers, the director of
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the national security agency. thanks, manu raju. more breaking news ahead.
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much more ahead on the breaking news. today's collapse of the republican health care bill. we're also watching intriguing developments involving a top u.s. ally and adversary, a leading candidate in the upcoming french presidential election who shares some of president trump's nationalist, populist positions, sat down with the russian president vladimir putin today. brian todd, what kind of message is this send? >> reporter: this far right nationalist surge in france is gaining momentum.
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many americans are worried about it and vladimir putin is embracing it. today he met in moscow with french presidential candidate marin le pen, who could turn mesh's alliance with france on its ear. vladimir putin's latest attempt to manipulate another country's levers of policy. he meets in moscow with marin le pen, a woman who, if she wins, could turn a key u.s. ally upside down. le pen says she'd like to lift sanctions on russia, to recognize putin's annexation of crimea. and another bold prediction. >> it's the world of vladimir putin, the world of donald trump and the united states. >> reporter: analysts say it's a stunning image for a top candidate in a western democracy to unabashedly embrace moscow at a time when in america president trump's campaign is being investigated over whether aides coordinated with russian operatives. >> i think what's unusual is how much russia is now playing into our daily news cycle, our daily consciousness. russia is very much at the
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center of our attention, and that's exactly where putin would like to be. >> reporter: why is marin le pen a favorite french candidate of putin's? >> because le pen wants to break euro/atlantic institutions. le pen wants to bring france out of nato, wants to bring france out of the euro, she wants to break a bloc which putin sees correctly as preventing russia achieving the dominant position in europe as a great power. >> reporter: and tonight there's serious concern that putin will meddle in france's election like he allegedly did in america. cnn has learned french officials are worried that putin's hackers will fish for damaging information using similar tactics to how u.s. intelligence says they targeted hillary clinton's campaign. russian hackers are believed to have targeted france before with a devastating cyberattack in 2015 of a top french tv network. putin denies trying to tilt the french elections. >> translator: we do not want to influence events in any way.
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>> reporter: but marin le pen has already got an boost from russia, a loan, three years ago, of about $10 million to her party from a bank owned by a close friend of putin's. >> the very fact marin le pen is in moscow this week and is there to drum up support from putin, has received a $10 million loan from the russians in 2014, that putin is trying to boost the far right forces in france, all this does suggest that le pen is rather beholden to putin and the kremlin and russia. >> reporter: analysts say putin's attempts to help far right candidates with his world view win power in europe is just one waipio tin is moving towards his ultimate goal, staying in power himself. he's got an lex coming up next year that experts say he's fairly paranoid about, even though he has manipulated the political machinery so heavily, there's almost no chance he's going to lose. he has neutralized about every potential opponent he has.
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>> see what if anything the house and senate intelligence committee investigations into all of this develops. brian todd reporting for us. thanks very much. that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. i hope you have a great weekend. "erin burnett out front" starts right now. "out front" next, breaking news, the president tonight lashing out at democrats and threatening to let obamacare, quote, explode after a shocking and embarrassing defeat. did the closer blow it? plus, why was jared kushner skiing in aspen as his father-in-law's health care bill was going downhill? and he calls them the failing "new york times" and dishonest "washington post," so why were they some of trump's first calls after the vote got pulled? good evening, everyone. i'm kate bolduan in for erin burnett. the art of no deal. president trump in a stunning defeat abruptly cancels the vote on the republican health care bill facing what would


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