tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN March 24, 2017 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT
thanks for watching. time to hand over to don lemon. "cnn tonight" right now. have a great weekend. breaking news indeed. trump administration reeling from a massive defeat at hands of members of its own party. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. we often say this is not politics as usual. certainly not for the president to be forced to pull his own health care bill at last minute when he can't get the votes from his own party. a staggering fail your for the man who prides himself on his ability too make deals, during the campaign promised so much winning you might get tired of it. gets a taste of defeat tonight. >> we were very close. very tight margin.
we had no democrat support. no votes from the democrats. they weren't going to given us a single vote so it's very difficult thing to do. i've been saying for the last year and a half best thing we can do politically speaking is let obamacare explode. it is exploding right now. many states have big problems, almost all states have big problems. in tennessee the other day and they lost half of their state in terms of have no insurer. that's happening to many other places. i was in kentucky the other day and similar things are happening. obamacare is exploding. with no democrat support we couldn't quite get there. small number of votes short in terms of getting our bill passed. i think the losers are nancy pelosi and chuck schumer because now they own obamacare, 100%.
this is not republican health care, nothing but democrat health care. they have obamacare for a little while longer until it ceases to exist which it will at some point in the near future. just remember this is not our bill. this is their bill. everybody worked hard. i worked as team player and would have loved to see it pass. but i was very clear. want a speech i made or very few where i didn't mention that perhaps the best thing that could happen is exactly what happened today because we'll end up with a truly great health care bill in the future after this mess known as obamacare explodes. speaker ryan worked very hard. lot of different groups. got a lot of factions, long history of liking and dislike even within the republican party long before i got here. but i've had a great
relationship with the republican party. seems that both sides like trump and that's good. you see that i guess more clearly than anybody. not going to speak badly about anybody within the party but certainly there's a big history. >> there's a lot to discuss over the next couple of hours. bring in nia-malika herchdson, mork preston. david gergen, jack kingston and salena zito. i should have listened to david gergen. i said would get it passed, i was wrong. let you gloat on that david. mark, disastrous day for trump. worst week in this very short presidency. hugely embaergs. what happened? who gets the blame? >> can be spread out a little bit. paul ryan for trying to push
this bill to the house floor when they clearly didn't have the votes. donald trump is to blame because as president he should be willing to invest all that he's got into something that he ran on. i put blame on the republican party as a whole to basically try to legislate by campaign promise, which was repeal and replace instead of saying go in and fix and make better. although it doesn't sound as good. i do think it is ridiculous for the president to go out there and say this is the democrats' fault. unless living in alternative universe and i might be, democrats had nothing to do with it. usually not that good strategically and very smart not to get involved in this at all. >> did any republicans vote for the affordable care act in the house or senate? >> no. >> i know i didn't. >> duh. so didn't quite understand why he said it.
maybe just in frustration. those guys didn't help us at all. but president trump is supposed to be the closer. this is what he promised on the campaign trail. watch this. >> i'm going to make the great deals. >> i'm going to make great deals for your country. i built an extraordinary business on relationships and deals that benefit all parties involved. always. we need somebody with great energy, passion and deal making skills. and we need a closer. we need closers. i've watched the politicians, dealt with them all my life. if you can't make a good deal with a politician, then there's something wrong with you. you're certainly not very good. and that's what we have representing us. >> that last one is particularly good. if you can't make a good deal. >> there's something wrong with him perhaps? >> i think democrats should not be gloating.
if they think they're winners should be -- we've said so much about the republicans and trump administration being sore winners. they should be gracious winners in all of this, could have easily been them. but he's said this over and over, only i can fix this. i'm art of the deal maker. >> i alone can fix it was his statement when he accepted nomination of his party last summer. all of this talk about being smarter than the folks who were in those positions, smarter than the establishment and idea he was part of this movement, leading a movement and could get it done, use the will and power of the people to get things done and shake up washington and do this. he said he would do it immediately. at some point he talked about repealing and replacing it at the same time. also talked about doing it on day one. he hasn't done it. now he's in position where he's just saying, you know, my name
is bennett and i'm not in it. >> it's funny but hearing revisionist history saying he didn't say repeal and replace right away. on day one there are -- >> over and over he said it. >> tens of sound bites. >> there is this sense of he only adopted the language of the republican party. adopted it, ran with it, and this is what voters expected from him. idea he can now say it's democrats' fault. hear some people like probably kingston there and jeffrey lord out toi touting those talking points but i don't think it's going to work. so people lose health insurance and say it's nancy pelosi's fault? >> a couple of things, knowing donald trump, this is part of the negotiation. >> come on. >> every single -- no.
>> i want to hear this. i really do. >> every single republican in the room in congress ran on repeal and replace. >> you said this last night. >> now going back home and got to face a primary opponent reminding them of that or they've got to get the job done. scenario where they go to the white house and say we've been thinking it over, hearing from the republican base back home and we have republican red districts, we actually do need to move something and ready to talk, i think puts him in the upper hand and wouldn't put it past a guy like donald trump who knows how to negotiate. >> made some of these points last night but david gergen, holdouts in the republican party were hearing what jack was saying from constituents, didn't like the bill and went with what constituents wanted, not
necessarily what president wanted. >> that's true. one of the lessons donald trump might draw from this is job as president is to be more than negotiator and inside came with members of the congress. first job is come up with policies he's passionate about and not outsource the ideas and structures of the bill on health care that he outsourced to paul ryan and came along on the ride. wasn't familiar with a lot of the aspects and not a good negotiator as a result. but other aspect of the presidency which i think would be good for his team to be thinking about and he could learn about, if there's inside game that you play in washington, there's outside game that's extraordinarily important to bring pressure on washington to do your bidding. mastered by people like reagan, fdr, go through the presidents who did it so well. build up coalition of forces on
the outside, doctors, nurses, hospitals the all went against him on this. he needed them on his side. needed to sell the bill to the public, instead sold the politics of negotiation to the public instead of telling what was it in. 17% approval rating for the bill and people are listening to constituents. and one last point. very important, other presidents stumbled in the first 100 days. real issue is do you learn from that? jack kennedy with the bay of pigs, it was disaster. didn't point fingers at everybody else but took it upon himself to relearn what he needed to know as president. callinged in eisen hour and other people, what do i need to know to do this better. cuban missile crisis came along, superb leader. this president is talented but doesn't know how to be
president. >> didn't today was the other party's fault. what do you make of the suggestion it's negotiating tactic? it's a good spin. >> if you're asking me, i don't understand it. >> here's what i'm saying. if i'm a guy who promised to repeal obamacare. >> and replace. >> and haven't been done and my party is in the majority, i'll be held accountable. i do think they'll start thinking we need to come up with plan b. >> got to get the others in here. salena. closer? the inside story of how trump and filed to make a deal on health care. for trump it was the lost art of the deal. it turns out donald trump is not an artist of the deal.
sees himself as deal maker. how is he going to react? another saturday morning tweet storm? >> somebody needs to take the phone away from him right now. even he can admit -- well, maybe. maybe he can admit this was not a really great day. best thing he could do at this point is move forward on another subject and try to put this behind him. i saw a lot of things coming out of the white house today about keystone pipeline and -- >> diversion. >> that would be smart. what good sales people do right? i think that's probably his best bet. interviewed a lot of people today p about this in ohio and pennsylvania, no one thought it was a great day. i think the part -- both the president and congress are going to struggle with the messaging
behind this. especially congress. it sort of reinforces that thing that congress just doesn't work. but president was brought in on this and it was a problem for him today for sure. >> jen psaki, i'm sure you're going i told you so. the question is, is there opportunity or opening for the president to brand coalition or support, bring in democrats, work to fix the affordable care act or to get them along with other legislative issues he wants accomplished? >> the credit here doesn't belong to democrats in washington but to a lot of democrats and people across the country who showed up at town halls and went to protests. start there. everyone from president obama to hillary clinton to bernie sanders has been talking about the fact there needs to be changes to obamacare, more
competition in the marketplace. that's the reality. certainly not in a death spiral. cbo said it wasn't. ridiculous republican talking point. but there are changes that need to be made. >> don't bear out that it's imploding. >> exactly. >> only way it will collapse is if republicans who have the majority want it to collapse. it's not imploegd. any fact check will tell you. >> fact is there are options out there. lot of democrats support a public option. if republicans have a better option for bringing more competition to the marketplace should bring it forward. now is test. democrats have indicated willingness to come to the table. will this go down as worst 100 days for any president in
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president trump made a lot of big promises for first 100 days but here we are, day 64, with what looks like one failure after another. back with me now the panel. big picture. failed on health care. travel ban blocked by courts twice. going to rip up deal with iran on day one. didn't happen. wall paid for by mexico.
didn't happen. they say no way. said wiretapped by former president barack obama, not true. under cloud of russian investigation. there's going to be so much winning. >> he said so much -- >> so much winning would get tired of winning. >> i'm tired right now. not about the winning. all kidding aside -- >> i'm serious. not kidding. about winning. he said -- listen there's a long way to go. >> nowhere to go but up. >> a lot of track ahead to do laps on. this is why it's a big deal, russian investigation is coming back fast. sidetracked for a day. coming back full force. will take him off message. members of congress now who might have been scared of donald trump, no longer. know they can defeat him on issues. you also have basically inability for the republican
leadership and donald trump to get together on the same page and get something done they've promised for so many years moving forward and made campaign promises. and frankly the issues they want to tackle moving forward, tax reform, not easy. >> how long does a honeymoon last? >> it's over. might have been the saturday after the inauguration when sent sean spicer out to -- >> jack wants to jump in. you have a suggestion. >> talking here and salena zito smartly said somebody should take away president trump's phone. nominating you jack. you have six hours to get that phone out of his hands. >> i'm going to make sure "the washington post" didn't run the honeymoon program next time also. let me say this, he did get keystone pipeline today. that was seven years of obama
delay, just announced that charter communication will have a $25 billion -- >> that's been in the works four years. announced -- did the thing last year and made announcement today. nothing to do with president trump. simply not true. >> i don't know about that. >> you should check it out. >> happened under his watch. >> go to cnnmoney.com, for the complete fact check on latest jobs announcement. said would invest $25 billion, this was announced -- been in the works at least one year. and been working on it. >> but listen don. >> almost four years. >> going to keep going on. carrier, lockheed, growth in the stock market. >> all of those. here's the thing. >> supreme court. >> that's not done deal yet. i want our viewers to be
informed. all of these jobs and carriers and all of this they've been announcing, people go back and look at original start dates of this. many of those had nothing to do with this president except that when they made the announcement, he happened to be president. but go on. >> when you are president and you are the regulatory king of the land, barack obama versus a guy who says going to deregulate some of the job killing problems and red tape out of washington on the businesses, businesses get optimistic and start investing, expanding and hiring people. exactly what is going on in the marketplace which is why the stock market has gone up so much. speak to a lot of businessmen. i can promise you, my friends are very optimistic under donald trump pause not going to have things like department of labor changing definition of fidelity. >> i think it's a fair point.
stock market is really about people's perspective and attitude and gorsuch, people think did a good job on his hearings and think he will go through. not a done deal though. david you said worst 100 days of any presidency? >> so far. >> full stop? >> cnn sent me a note about william henry harrison. caught pneumonia because he refused to have a coat. that was pretty bad start. but if you look at presidents who have gone through the first 100 days, lot have stumbled. no question about that. >> clinton had a tumultuous. >> don't ask, don't tell. slipped in when wasn't ready for that. caused uproar. other problems. all presidents make mistakes.
one of the paradoxes is you have to make some of the most important decisions when you're least ready and settled into the job. but as he's done in so many other ways, donald trump breaks all boundaries. had a terrible week. credibility badly damaged in the beginning of the week on the wiretapping business. clouds come back over the russian connections as mark just said, now his capacity as president, deal making capacity called into question. i think those are very tough blows for him. make one last point. what has been happening here now is beginning to make it harder to get his next things done. jack talked about the rally of the markets. notably the markets have been going south the last four days. this is not been a good week because a lot of investors are now worried he's not going to get the big tax cuts he's
promising or infrastructure bill. >> depending on this, part of it. >> becomes harder to get tax reform done after failing on health care. it was linchpin into getting savings on the deficits to make it easier to pay for the tax cuts. and now he doesn't have that. that's why paul ryan, who manned up today by the way, unlike the president said i take responsibility, i have things to learn. but pointing out tax reform will be harder now. >> jen, ask you, because i think that the former president, certainly president bill clinton realized they had to change their tactics in order to get things done in washington. donald trump is somewhat of a chameleon but been hard for him to change and become presidential in the normal way we're used to. become so presidential, be boring. hasn't happened yet. he's going to have to change to
get things done? >> absolutely. david is right, every president stumbles sometimes. but bad habits from donald trump over the last couple of weeks that included a lack of intellectual curiosity about the bill he was selling, selling politics and not substance. obviously didn't work. not able to pull a coalition together. didn't use outside game to get capital that helped him get elected. have to change. and tax reform is extremely difficult. reason it hasn't happened in 30 years. involves tough choices and donald trump made a lot of promises lowering corporate tax rate to 15%, not raising middle-class taxes, hard to do and not paid for by border adjustment tax that's dead in the senate. very difficult. >> also -- >> the people around him will
have to change. in the beginning of some administrations you start to see shuffling in white house staffs. talk about the failure and blame to go around, place some on bannon, priebus and kellyanne conway, in terms of how they dealt with people on the hill, threatening them sometimes, put a primary candidate against some of these folks. >> it's not working. hang on jack. salena, he needs wins. have to change, i don't know if base will like that but have to change, yes, no? >> somewhat. american politics about geography. latest nbc "wall street journal" poll, trump at 17% but in rural
areas, 55% to 65%. his voters are willing still to give him longer leash than all voters are. he's not losing them yet but certainly not a great day. >> interesting to see the polling after this. thank you all. coming back former director of the cia reveals shocking and possibly illegal suggestion that michael flynn made to members of a foreign government. i've found a permanent escape from monotony. together, we are perfectly balanced, our senses awake, our hearts racing as one. i know this is sudden, but they say: if you love something... set it free. see you around, giulia ♪ my insurance rates are but dad, you've got... ...allstate. with accident forgiveness they guarantee
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stunning new revelations tonight about president trump's former national security adviser general michael flynn. lost his job for lying about communications with the russian ambassador and earlier this month flynn filed paperwork identifying himself as foreign agent who did work for turkey. now revelations about a meeting between flynn and turkish officials. joining us james woolsey, former director of general intelligence at meeting and james graham
auldy, senior writer who wrote the story. i want to get this right. wording is information. attended this meeting with general michael flynn and turkish government officials late last summer in the campaign. what happened was disturbing enough for you to inform officials at the time. >> disturbing and also confusing. i was on television show and came late to the function. taking place 45 minutes or an hour. number of issues and points had already been talked about. what i saw and heard was sort of the end of a conversation. not entirely clear what transpired because of that. but it looks as if there was at least some strong suggestion by the -- one or more of the americans present at the meeting to the turks that we would be able, united states would be
able through them to get hold of goolan, the rival for turkey's political situation. and strongly feared by the current president. >> so who was at this meeting? >> don't have all the names memorized but there were two senior turks -- >> let me add to that, there were some government filings by mr. flynn and his lawyers that disclosed who were at this meeting on the same date. they included the son-in-law of president erdogan of turkey as well as foreign minister, equivalent of their secretary of state. between what we have from the public documents and what jim woolsey has told me, been able
to piece together what happened. and i've independently confirmed along with colleagues, the account we heard from jim woolsey. when these documents, foreign lobbying documents filed with the government by mr. flynn, it made reference to this meeting and staggering amount of money that he and his firm had received. half a million dollars for what supposedly was a film and little report they were going to do for israeli gas company. it didn't add up. i pressed jim woolsey to say what really was going on. what did you do? that's where we narrowed down on the meeting. >> cleric who turkey accused of the failed military coup in turkey. planning to do what with him.
>> he is permanent resident alien in the united states. he and erdogan were once close now greatest enemy. erdogan contended he was responsible for the coup attempt last summer and other awful things besides. he provides -- besides his being there, provides rationale for a lot of the incarcerations. >> in terms of discussions, they were trying to remove him from the country? kidnap him? >> want him out of the united states and in turkey. and the reason i'm being cautious about how this is worded, i wasn't there for much of this meeting. but i would say it was a little bit like if you see something, say something on the train. it was suspicious, concerning,
and i felt i needed to say something about it to someone. was it a clear plot they were going to seize him? no. in between. >> so james, from what you heard, was this kidnapping? want to kidnap him out of the u.s. to take him back to turkey? >> i think what we understood the discussion to be was almost a blue sky, how can we get this man out of the country? you have to understand that turkish government, erdogan, seemingly obsessed with him and tried desperately with obama administration to no avail to get him extradited. had not presented evidence that was sufficient in united states or legal court to get him extradited back to turkey so trying to come up with ways to figure out how to get him out of the country and back to turkey.
>> when you realized it was potentially illegal, what did you do? >> next day, i told several people, including one mutual friend of the vice president and myself. in order to basically report to the government. >> vice president biden at the time? >> friend, not the vice president himself. >> but he was vice president at the time. >> i think it's fair to say that it was a deeply concerning conversation but it was not one that i could in a court of law for example say there was a clear plot to kidnap him. >> this meeting happened september 19th of 2016. you resigned as senior adviser to -- i remember i had you on the show. january 25th of 2017. why did you say with the trump
team given what happened was so troubling to you? >> first of all, these things have nothing to do with one another as far as i know. only thing i was doing with the trump group is i had chosen to offer advice to the trump campaign rather than hillary's campaign and was available but i wasn't being used particularly because general flynn was the -- sort of traffic cop of who helped on what. and so i was not doing anything particularly for the campaign, and then when the transition came, i started doing a great deal of press but expressing my own view, i wasn't representing the trump campaign. and so -- >> did you ever give your concerns to the trump people at the time? >> what i did was, kept carrying me on chirons on television as
senior adviser to the trump group and ip wasn't. had them remove the designation. wasn't switching sides. before i supported nirngs i supported trump beginning in august, early september and rest of the campaign. >> stand by. vy to get to the break. then let james in here. general flynn is responding to this. we'll hear what he has to say and from my guests after this break. kevin, meet your father.
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intermediary, maybe blocking or preventing mr. woolsey from having many conversations with the trump campaign. in that sense when he talks about inability to converse on this, that's why he stepped back on it as he explained it to me. seemed like mr. flynn also was employing him or bringing him along to this meeting. and as mr. woolsey explained to me, he was not told this was going to be the discussion of the meeting but mr. flynn's business partner insisted he be picked up by car and brought over to the meeting. if you're going to have discussion like this, what better than have a former cia director. >> one thing i would like to emphasize, mike flynn asked me previously if i serve on advisory group for his flynn operation and agreed to do that, i took no money for it, went to
no meetings, had no telephone conference calls with the flynn group. basically had nothing to do with them. >> do you think he's trading on his relationship with the trump incoming administration for favors? what is going on here? >> it's hard to say. james might have a better idea. >> it's really sort of amazing. he took half a million dollars from this client for reasons still murky and unclear that included this meeting. at the same time he's advising the trump campaign, major nominee of the republican party, you know. it seems like the two don't necessarily go together. and he was really on i think shaky territory. i hasten to add that mr. flynn and his spokesmen have denied this occurred at the meeting. >> read their statement.
spokesman for general flynn disputed your account of the meeting ambassador saying quote the claim made by mr. woolsey that general flynn or anyone else in attendance discussed physical removal of mr. gulen from the united states during a meeting with turkish officials is false. no such discussion occurred. nor did mr. woolsey ever inform general flynn he had any concerns whatsoever regarding the meeting, whether before he chose to attend or afterwards. >> it's true i never informed flynn. never take that path. i informed other people i thought were responsible. i was -- i don't know what is going through flynn's mind in taking the course that he took. as i've said several times, including this evening, i'm not claiming there was a concrete plan being fleshed out at the
meeting. but there was a good deal of discussion of that general direction that james so well described, of trying to put gulen essentially out of action. >> i have to ask -- >> want to add two things. mr. woolsey told several people cont contemporaneous, i confirmed that and separately confirmed through another avenue. this is not just a one-sided description that we have. >> also want to talk about him registering as foreign agent and compensation he was getting from turkey and what sort of exposure if any does after the break. how about adding a third? we think there's a bajillion ways to measure success. and whether you have hundreds or millions...
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heck, i can get you over $600 in savings. chop, chop. do i look like i've been hurt before? because i've been hurt before. um, actually your session is up. hang on. i call this next one "junior year abroad." back now, learning more tonight about former trump adviser general michael flynn and his work as foreign agent. james woolsey and james grimaldi, the writer for "wall street journal" that broke the story. learned that flynn filed paperwork retroactively zloegz
work he did as foreign agent. what was going on? registered after he was fired for lie together vice president? >> and mike flynn is apparently a gift that keeps on giving. one of the things he did is register me as foreign agent and i'm not. so it really is quite striking. >> how can he do that? >> put my title and retired status in the filing along with three or four other people he may have -- >> anything else in the meeting that you saw that gave you pause? >> in september? >> or with your interactions with michael flynn. >> i just don't think that you register someone as a foreign agent of a foreign country without asking their permission or talking with them. i had essentially, after i agreed to be on his advisory board, i had essentially nothing
to do with flynn or month after month after month. and he i think used that meeting with -- with the turks, in order to try to create the impression that i was -- and he told people that i reported to him that he was my boss. none of that remotely true. >> do you think any of this coming out and your relationship with him, seemingly didn't think you were interested in helping him at all, do you think it hurt your chances with the administration? i don't know. i have no idea. >> what do you think of him being registered, registering retroactively as foreign agent after he was fired? >> seems like something the lawyers really pressured him to do when they looked at exactly what he was doing. they had a more andine description of what happened at
the meeting. but the person jim woolsey told to tell vice president biden told me that vice president biden was upset about this and angry. wouldn't be surprised if he didn't tell law enforcement and might have triggered some of the incidental wiretaps we keep hearing about from chairman nunes the other day or what have you. all of this could end up swept into overall fbi investigation for all me know. >> you think it was turkey rather than russia? >> could have been one of the things overheard in the incidental conversations. >> nunes said had nothing to do with russia. >> so could have been turkey. asked turkish officials about this carefully in multiple places, they acknowledged they had meetings with flynn and didn't say anything about our
very specific questions about what was discussed at this meeting. they did not deny it was discussed, just said that was not our meeting we went to. >> running up against time issue but what exposure if any does flynn have with this? >> talk of the logan act that he was representing u.s. government when he didn't have right to do that. but nobody ever charged under logan act. i believe mr. woolsey knows. adams administration? >> right. think one prosecution. >> why come forward now? >> because i asked him. i read the records they filed. these lobbying records and his title is in there. i wanted to know. >> i wanted to hear from him. didn't have to come forward. why? >> once he started using my name without my permission, i felt
like some kind of an answer was called for. i just didn't want to sit there silently while he was doing that. >> fascinating report. >> i was digging, going to find out what happened, and i persuaded him to go on the record with it. >> thank you james, ambassador, appreciate it. we'll be right back. yeah, then how'd i get this... ...allstate safe driving bonus check? ...only allstate sends you a bonus check for every six months you're accident free. silence. it's good to be in, good hands. i'm lumy bargain detergent shifcouldn't keep up.ter. so, i switched to tide pods. they're super concentrated, so i get a better clean. number one trusted. number one awarded. it's got to be tide
health care is dead. blame game begins. this is "cnn tonight," i'm don lemon. republicans control every branch of government, so who's president trump blaming for the biggest loss of his administration? democrats of course. now the president warns bad things are going to happen to obamacare. but if the deal maker in chief couldn't get health care done, what will happen to the rest of his agenda? plus under a cloud from