tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN March 24, 2017 11:00pm-12:01am PDT
and thanks for watching. it is time to hand things over to don lemon. cnn tonight starts right now. have a great weekend. breaking news indeed. the trump administration reeling at a massive defeat at members of its own party. we often say this is not politics as usual. well it's certainly not pull tks as usual for the president to be forced to pull his own healthcare bill at the last minute when he can't get the votes from his own party. a staggering failure from the man who prides himself on his ability to make deals. he gets a taste of defeat tonight. >> we were very close. it was a very, very tight
margin. we had no democrat support. we had no votes from the democrats. they weren't going to give us a single vote, so it's a very difficult thing to do. i've been saying for the last year and a half that the 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. i was in tennessee the other day, and they've lost half of their state in terms of an insurer. they don't have an insurer. and that's happening in many other places. i was in kentucky the other day, and slr things are happening. so obamacare is exploding. with no democrats aboard, we couldn't quite there. we're a few 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% own it. this is nothing but democrat healthcare. and they have obamacare for a little while longer until it ceases to exist, which it will at some point in the lanier future. and just remember this is not our bill. this is their bill. i worked as a team player and would have loved to see it pass. there wasn't a speech i made or very few i didn't mention exactly what happened today. we'll end up with a truly great healthcare bill in the future after this mess known as obamacare explodes. my house speaker ryan worked very, very hard. there's been a long history of liking and disliking even within the republican party long before i got here. but i've had a great lelgzship
with the republican party. it seems like both sides like trump, and you see that i guess more clearly than anybody. i'm not going to speak badly of anybody within the republican party. >> there's a lot to discuss. i want to bring in cnn political analyst, former congressman, jack kingston who was a senior advisor to the trump campaign and senior contributor zito. >> david, i'm going to let you gloat on that for moment, but i'm going to mark preston first. mark, the worse week in this president's, this very short presidency. what happened? who gets the blame here? >> i think the blame can be spread out a little bit. i think paul ryan gets the blame
for trying to push this bill to house floor when they clearly didn't have the votes. i think donald trump is clearly to blame because as the president he should be willing to invest all that he has got into something that he ran on. i probably put blame on the republican party as a whole to basically legislate by campaign promise, which was repeal and replace instead of saying we're going to go in and fix and make better although it doesn't sound as good. and i do think it's ridiculous for the president to go out there and say this is the democrat's fault because unless i'm living in an alternative universe, and i very well might be, the democrats have nothing to do with it. and they were smart not to get involved with this at all. >> did any democrats vote in the house and the senate?
i didn't quite understand why he said it. listen, president trump is supposed to be the closer. this what he promised on the campaign trail. watch this. >> i'm going to make the great deals. i am going to make great deals for our country. i've built extraordinary business on relationships and deals that benefit all parties involved, always. we need somebody with great energy, with great passion, with great deal making skills. and we need a closer. we need closers. i've watched the politicians. i've 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 saying if you can't make a deal with a politician -- >> there's something wrong with
him. >> listen, i think democrats should not be gloating. if they think they're winners, we've said so much about the republicans and the trump administration being sore winners. he's said this over and over, only i can fix this. >> that's right. only i can fix it was his statement. and this idea that he was part of this movement, leading the movement and getting it done and use kind of the will of the people and kind of the power of the people to get things done and shake-up washington and do this. and remember, he said he would do it immediately. at some point he talked about repealing it and replacing it at the same time. he also talked about doing it on day one. and he hasn't done it. and now he's in this position
where he's just kind of saying my name is bennett and i'm not in it. >> yeah. but i'm hearing some parts of history where he's saying i didn't say i would repeal and say it. there hundreds of them saying -- >> he adopted it, he ran with it, and this is what voters expected from him. and this idea he can just now say it's the democrat's fault, i think you'll hear some people like probably kingston there and jeffrey lord talking i don't think it's going to work. is he going to standby while premiums drive and people lose their health insurance? >> say what you want. >> this is part of the
negotiation. every single republican -- >> come on. >> i want to hear this. >> every single republican of congress in the room ran on repeal and replace. so now they're going back home and they've got to face a primary opponent who's reminding them of that or they've got to get the job done. so the snafr yo where they go to white house and say mr. president we've been thinking it over and we have very republican red districts, we actually need to move something and we're ready to talk, i would not put it past a guy like donald trump who knows how to negotiate. >> you made some of these points last night. but david gurgen the fact is they have hearing what jack was saying. they were hearing from their
constituents. >> that's true. and i think one of the lessons donald trump might draw from this is the job of a president is to be more than a negotiator in an inside game with members of congress. the first job of the president is to come up with policies of which he's passionate about and not to outsource the ideas and the structure of the bill on healthcare. he outsourced to paul ryan and then he sort of came along for the ride. he didn't do his homework. he wasn't a good negotiator as a result. the other aspect of the presidency which i think would be good for his team to think about and learn about is that there's an inside game you play in washington and an outside game that's extraordinarily important in order to bring pressure to washington to do your bidding. and that pressure is you build up a coalition of forces on the
outside, doctors, nurses, hospitals, all of which went against him on this. he needled them on his side. he needed to get the public -- he needed the public on this bill. instead he sold them on the politics. you know, one last question i'll make very briefly, very important for it president. other presidents have stumbled in the first 100 days. he took upon himself to relrn what he needed to become president. he called in eisenhower. how do i fix this, how do i get better? and 14 months later when the cuban missile crisis came along, he was a superb leader. he's talented but he doesn't
know how to be president. >> hold on, jack. what do you make, david, of jack's assessment oh, this is negotiating tactic on the part of trump? it's a good spin but -- >> if you're asking me, i don't understand it. >> here's what i'm saying, if i'm the guy who promised and repeal obamacare and it hasn't been done and my party has been in the muskrrt, then i'm going to be held accountable particularly in my own primary but generally as well. >> okay, i've got to get the others in here. so, salina, i want you to check out these headlines. inside story of how trump tried and failed to make a deal on healthcare. it turns out donald trump is not an artist of the deal. so he sees himself as a deal maker. how is he going to react to all
of this? are we going to see another saturday day morning tweet storm? >> something needs to take the phone away from him right now. you know, even he could admit -- maybe. maybe he could admit maybe this was not a great day. the best thing he could do at this point is to move forward on another subject and try to put this behind him. you know, i saw a lot of things coming out of the white house today about keystone pipeline and -- >> diversion. >> diversion, it would be really smart. this is what good sales people do. i think it would probably be his best bet. i've interviewed people about this, out in ohio, in
pennsylvania. i think both the president and congress kr going to have struggle with the messaging behind this. especially congress it sort of reinforces that thing that congress just doesn't work, right? but the president was brought in on this, this was a problem for him for sure. >> jen, i want to get you in on this. so the question is is there an opportunity or opening for the president to broaden his coalition or his support, bring in the democrats, work with the democrats on fixing the affordable care act or in some way to get them along with other legislative issues that he want to get accomplished? >> well tlsh credit here doesn't actually belong to democrats in washington. it belongs to democrats and people across the country who showed up at town halls and went to protests. so let's start there. but the fact is everyone from hillary clinton to bernie sanders has been talking about the fact there needs to be
changes to obamacare, there needs to be more competition in the marketplace. that's the reality. but there are changes that need to be made. so the question is -- >> the facts still out there on that, obamacare is imploding. but the only way it will collapse is if republicans who now have majority want it to collapse. but it is not imploding amch. >> that's right. and the fact is. let me finish. the fact is there are options out there. if republicans have a better option for bringing more competition to the marketplace, they should put that forward. so now's a real test. and certainly democrats have indicated a willingness to come to the table. >> stick around everyone. mark, hold that thought. when we come back, will this go down as the worst $100. plus stunning two revelations about michael flynn's work for a
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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. it is coming back full force. that is going to take him off message. you have members of congress now who might have been scared of donald trump, they're no longer scared of donald trump. they know they can defeat donald trump on issues. you basically have an inability for the republican leadership and donald trump to get together on the same page and get something done they have promised for so many years moving forward and have made these campaign promises. and really the issues they want to tackle, the healthcare reform -- >> quite frankly it might have been the saturday after the inauguration when they sent sean
spries spicer out -- >> jack, as we were talking here and salina so smartly said that someone should take away bruchl's phone, i am nominating you, jack, to get that. >> i'm going to make sure the washington post doesn't run the honeymoon program next time also. but let me say this. you know he did get a keystone pipeline today. that was seven years of obama delay. he just announced that charter communications is going to have a $25 billion -- >> jack, that charter communication thing has been in the works for four years. they did this last career, and announced it today. it has nothing to do with president trump. it's simply not true. >> i don't know about that. >> go to cnnmoney.com. it's got the complete fact check
on that. trump's latest white house job announcement charter said it would invest $25 billion. this was announced it's been in the works for at least one year. and they've been working on it, right, for almost four years. >> all right, don, i'm going to keep going on. >> you can look at all of those -- here's the thing, that people should be informed. i want people -- i want our viewers to be ininformed. all these jobs and carriers that they've been announcing, people should go back and look at the original start dates of this. many of those have nothing to do with this president except when they made the announcement he happened to pea president. go on. >> okay, when you are president and you are the regulatory king of the island versus obama who
says i'm going to deregulate some of these job problems, what happens businesses get optimistic again and they start investing and expanding and hiring people. that's exactly what's going on in the marketplace which is why the stock market is going up so much. i was in business, and i can promise you my friends are very optimistic under donald trump because they're not going to have things like the department of labor changing the definition of fidelity and -- >> i think you have a fair point of that because the stock market, which is really about people's perspective and their attitudes on that. also, gorsuch, people think he did a good job on his hearings. but people don't think it's a done deal yet. david, you said this was the worst 100 days of a president daens? >> so far. cnn sent me a note saying you
forgot -- he was the guy who caught pneumonia because he rufeuds to have a coat, caught pneumonia and died. well, that was a pretty bad start. but if you look at donald trump in the first 100 days -- >> so clinton -- >> he got into the don't ask, don't tell. you have some other problems like that, so all presidents make mistakes. one of the paradox of the presidency is you have to make the most important decisions when you're least ready and haven't settled into the job. having said that, as he does in other ways, donald trump breaks all boundaries. and he's had a terrible week. terrible. and his credibility was badly damaged on this wiretapping
business. the terror has come back over the russia connections. and now his deal making capacity are called into question. and i want to make this 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 for the last four dpas. this has not been a good week because a lot of invessers are now worried he's going to get the big tax cuts he's now promising. >> it depends a big part of this, right? >> it becomes a lot harder to get tax things done after failing on healthcare. healthcare was getting some savings on deficits, which would then make it easier to pay for the tax cuts. and now he dup have that. and that's why paul ryan who manned up, by the way, unlike
the president. what he was pointing out though, tax refofrm is going to be a lot harder now. >> jim, i want to ask you because i think that former president and certainly president bill clinton realized they had to change their ways, at least their tactics in order to get things done in washington. donald trump has sort of been a chameleon. but it's been hard for him to change and become presidential in the ways we're used to seeing. he's going to have to change, right, in order to get things done? >> absolutely. david's absolutely right that every president stum bms later in the program either way. but there are some bad habits we saw from donald trump over the last couple of weeks. that included a lack of intellectual curiosity about the bill he was supposed to be selling. he was selling the policy, not the substance. he did know pull the coalition together.
he didn't use the outside gain. so there's a number of things he's going to have to change. mark also tuchd on the fact tax reform is exly difficult because it's very hard. it involves very tough choices. and again donald trump made some very tough promises on the trail that are very hard to do. so this is also very difficult. >> but, remember one thing -- >> but also the people around him are going to have to change. in the beginning of some administrations you also start to see some shuffling in white house staffs. we talk about the failure squh the blame to go around. i think you can place some blame on bannon, preibus, on kellyanne conway in terms of how they dealt with people on the hill, threatening them sometimes. it didn't work. >> it's not working.
salina, he needs wins. and if that's going to have to change, he's going to have to change to get some wins. yes, no? >> yeah, somewhat. american politics is all about geography, right? if you look at the latest poll it shows trump is about 35%. but if you break it down if you look at people in rural or urban areas, he's about 35 or 50%. so his voters are still willing to give him a longer leash than all voters are. he's still not losing them yet, but this certainly was not a great day. >> it's going to be interesting to see the polling after this.
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former national security advisor general michael flynn. he of course lost his job for lying about his communications with the russian ambassador. and earlier this morning flynn filed paperwork as a government agent working for turkey. joining me now exclusively ambassador james woolsy and james, the senior writer for the wall street journal who broke the story. the wording is important here. so you attended this meeting. this was late last summer during the campaign. what happened there was disturbing enough for you to inform u.s. officials at the time. so please tell me what happened at this meeting. >> well, it was disturbing but also confusing. i came late to this function.
it had been taking place for i don't know, are 45 minutes, an hour. so a number of issues and points had already been talked about. and so what i saw and heard was sort of the end of a conversation. it's not entirely clear what trance pired because of that. but it looks as if there was at least some strong suggestion by one or more of the americans present at the meeting to the turks that we would be able, the united states would be able through them, to get hold of goon, 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. one was -- >> let me add to that that there were some government filings by mr. flynn and his lawyers that disclosed who were at this meeting at the same date. and they included the son-in-law of the president of turkey according to the former minister and their secretary of state. so what we have between these documents and what jim woolsy has told me, i want to point out that i've independently confirmed the account that we heard from jim woolsy. when these documents, these former lobbying documents were filed by the government by mr. flynn, it made reference to this meeting and this stiggering amount of money that his firm
received. half a million dollars that was supposedly a film and a report they were going to do. it didn't add up, and so i crash jim woolsy to say it didn't add up and what did you do? and that's where we zeroed in on this meeting. >> so what were they planning to do with them, james? >> he lives in southwestern pennsylvania, has a green card, was a former resident of the united states. he and erdue wan were very, very closely. he has contended he was responsible for the coup attempt last summer. he provides the rationally, his
being there, provides the rationale for the incarcerations. >> so in term of discussions there, they were trying to move him from the country. is that kidnapping? >> they want him out of the united states and in turkey. and the reason i'm being cautious about how this was wordered is because 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. it was concerning, and i felt i needed to say something about it to someone. but was it a clear plot that they were going to season? no. >> so james, from what you heard was this kidnapping? did they want to kid nap him out of the u.s. to take him back to turkey? >> i think this discussion is
almost sort of a blue sky, how can we get this man out of the country? you have to understand were seemingly obsessed with him and had tried desperately with the obama administration to no avail to get him extradited. they had provided no evidence sufficient that would get him extradited back to turkey. and therefore they were trying to come up with waz in which they could figure out how can we get him out of the country and back to turkey? >> so ambassador, when you realize what was going on, what did you do? >> well, the next day i told several people including one mutual friend of the vice president and myself in order to report to the government -- >> this was vice president biden
at the time. >> i think it's fair to say it was a deeply concerning conversation. it was not one that i could in a court of law, for example say it was a clear plot to kid nap him. >> so this meeting happened in 2016, right? you were advised to the senior advisor who had you on the same show. why did you stay with the trump team given what you found? >> the 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 was not doing anything particularly for the campaign. and then when the transition came, i started doing a great deal of press. but i was expressing my own view. i wasn't representing the trump campaign. and so -- >> did you ever -- did you ever give your concerns to the trump people? >> what i did was they kept carrying me on some television show as a senior advisor to the trump transition group. and i really wasn't. i didn't want to fly under a false flag, so i had them remove that designation. but it wasn't i was switching sides. before i supported anyone, i supported trump beginning in early august, september. and then for the rest of the time, the rest of the campaign, i supported hillary. >> hang on james.
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stunning revelations about former trump national security adviser general michael flynn and his work as a foreign agent. with me now james woolsey and james grimaldi. you wanted to talk about relationship between mr. woolsey and mr. flynn. >> in flynn acting as a bit of . >> well, mr. flynn was really acting as an intermediary from blocking mr. woolsy from having any administration in the trump campaign. and in that sense, that's why he stepped back from it as he explained it to me. and it seems like mr. flynn also was employing him or bringing him along to this meeting. and as mr. woolsy explained to
me he was not told this was going to be the discussion of the meeting, yet mr. flynn's business partner insisted that he be there, insisted that he be picked up by a car and brought over to the meeting. and, you know, if you're going to have a discussion like this, what better than to have a former cia director. one thing i want to emphasize is that although mike flynn had asked me previously if i could serve on an advisory group, and i agreed to do that. i went to no meetings. i had no telephone calls with the flynn group. i basically had nothing to do with -- >> do you think he's trading in for favors? what's going on here? >> it's hard to say.
james might have a better idea. >> it's really sort of amazing he took $1.5 million from a client for reasons that are still kind of murky at this time. at the same time he's a nominee for the trump party. it seems like the two don't necessarily go together. i hastily add that mr. flynn and his spokesman have denied this occurred at the meeting but this -- >> let me read their statement. as you said a spokesman for general flynn disputed your statement. the claim made by mr. woolsy or anyone else during a meeting with turkish officials in new york is false. no such discussion occurred nor did mr. woolsy ever inform
general flynn he had any concerns whatsoever regarding the meeting either before he chose to attend or after it. what's your reaction to that? >> well, it's true i never informed flynn, and i definitely would not take that path. i informed other people who i thought were quite responsible. i was -- i don't know what was going through flynn's mind in taking the course that he took. and as i've said several times including this evening, i'm not claiming that there was a concrete plan that was being fleshed out at the meeting. but there was a good deal of discussion of that general direction that james had so well described of trying to put a goo on essentially out of action. >> i want to ask you -- >> i have two things.
we've independently confirmed it through another avenue, and therefore it's not just sort of a one-sided description that we have. >> i also want to talk about registering as a foreign agent, also the compensation he was getting from turkey and what sort of exposure if any does michael flynn have in all of this. (vo) ahhhh, all right. all right flows downstream... both ways. all right says i dare... and sometimes i do... all right is our most precious resource... and you can only find it in jamaica. the home of all right. for deals on your trip to jamaica, book with delta vacations.
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we're back now learning more tonight about former trump adviser general michael flynn and his work as a foreign agent. back with me, ambassador james woolsey and james grimaldi, the writ writer. we learned that this month flynn filed paperwork with the justice department retroactively disclosing work that he did during the campaign as an agent. this report gives insight into what he was doing. what was going on? he didn't -- he registered after he was fired for lying to the vice president. >> mike flynn apparently is a gift that keeps on giving because one of the other things he did in that registration was to register me as a foreign agent, and i'm not. so i mean it really is quite
striking. >> how can he do that? >> put my title and retired status and so forth in the filing along with three or four other people. >> was there anything else in this meeting that you heard or saw that gives you pause or that gave you pause? >> in this meeting? you mean the one back 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, without talking with them. i had essentially, after i agreed to be on his advisory board, i had essentially nothing to do with flynn for month after month after month. and he, i think, used that meeting 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's true, even remotely true. >> do you think any of this
coming out hurt your relationship with him because i think seemingly he didn't think you were interested in helping him at all. do you think it hurt your chances with the administration or any -- >> i don't know. i have no idea. >> so what do you think of him, james, being registered -- registering retroactively as a foreign agent after he was fired? >> well, it seems to me that it's something the lawyers really pressured him to do when they looked at exactly what he was doing. they had a more an oh dine description of what actually happened at this meeting. but i can tell you that the person that jim woolsey told to tell vice president biden told me that vice president biden was very upset about this, pretty angry. i wouldn't be surprised if he didn't tell law enforcement, and that might have even triggered some of these incidental wiretaps that we keep hearing about from chairman nunes the other day or what have you. and all of this could get -- end
up swept into an overall fbi investigation for all we know. >> so you think it was turkey and maybe not russia? is that what you're saying? >> it could have been. that was one of the things that was overheard in the incidental conversations. you know, what's interesting about -- >> nunes said that the new information had nothing to do with russia when he came out yesterday or the day before. >> right. so it very well could have been turkey. and, in fact, when we asked the turkish officials about this very carefully in multiple places, they acknowledged they'd had meetings with flynn, and they didn't say anything about our specific -- very specific questions about what was discussed at this meeting. they did not deny that that was discussed in the meeting. they simply said that was not our meeting that we went to. >> i don't know if this is a yes or no answer because i'm running up against a time issue here. but do you think there's -- what exposure, if any, does flynn have with this? >> there's been talk of the logan act that he was representing allegedly the u.s. government when he didn't have a
right to do that, but no one's ever been charged under the logan act. i believe mr. woolsey knows what the adams administration -- >> yes, i think your right. i think the adams administration, i think there was one prosecution. >> just real quick, why come forward now? >> because i asked him. i read the records that they filed. these lobbying records, and his title is in there, and i wanted to know what he'd done. >> he didn't have to come forward but why? >> once he started using my name without my permission, i felt like some kind of an answer was just called for. i just didn't want to sit there silently while he was doing that. >> fascinating report. thank you. >> i was digging. i was going to find out what happened. and i persuaded him to go on the record with it. >> thank you, james. thank you, ambassador. >> thank you. >> i appreciate it. we'll be right back.
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