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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  March 27, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT

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>>thy president of t the presid personal communications were collected incidental collection not in specific targeted way? >> it's possible. >> reporter: he said it happened in november, december and january, after the election, during the transition. still, despite his big announ announcement, nunes himself seemed unsure about all that he had been privy to. >> you said the president's communications were incidentally collected and then you said it was possible. were they collected or possible it was collected zbloorchltian the answer to that. >> we don't know if the president's communications -- >> i know there was incidental collection regarding the president-elect and his team. ian if it was actually physic physically a phone call. >> you don't know if it was the president himself, his communications? >> i do not know that. >> reporter: his press conference was just the beginning. that afternoon, chairman nunes had bigger plans. >> i will be going to the white
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house this afternoon to share what i know with the president and his team. >> reporter: but before nunes had a chance to brief he president, white house press secretary, sean spicer, was peppered with questions about the curious timing of it all. >> the president said he had additional information he believed the white house or he or his representatives would present related to this investigation, what congressman nunes has is not related to that? >> you're asking me questions he has not briefed us. he has not briefed the president. >> reporter: nunes was back in front of the cameras wednesday afternoon after talking to the president. when asked about those claims by donald trump that he was wiretapped, nunes' response was, you could say a bit complicated. >> this seemed to describe what the president was talking about, talking about quote wiretapping which they then said was broader surveillance? >> you -- when you -- what i've
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read seems to me to be some level of surveillance activity, perhaps legal, buttian that -- don't know it's right and don't know the american people will be comfortable with what i read. let's get all the reports. >> did you ask him -- >> it is possible -- >> the president said that president obama tapped his ph e phones. >> no, no, no. that did not happen. >> reporter: nunes was also asked why he made the decision to brief the president. >> why is it appropriate for you to brief president trump if it's his own administration or campaign associates part of this investigation in some form with an appearance? >> because what i saw has nothing to do with russia and nothing to do with the russian investigation and everything to do with possible surveillance activities and the president needs to know these intelligence
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reports are out there and id have a duty to tell him. >> reporter: later on fox news, congressman nunes went even further. >> i felt i had a duty and obligation to tell him. as you know, he's been taking a lot of heat in the news media. >> reporter: trpresident trump w and opening and took somewhat of a victory lap. >> i somewhat do. i very much appreciated the fact they found what they found. i somewhat do. >> reporter: by thursday, both democrats and republicans in the nation's capitol were reeling. democrats going so far as to suggest nunes is colluding with the white house. compromising his committee's investigation into alleged ties between trump's team and russia. they point to his campaign ties to the president as proof. >> in another diversionary tactic, deflect tore in chief created some kind of scenario where he either duped or the chairman of the committee was a
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willing stooge, he committed a stunt at the white house yesterday raising questions about chairman nunes' impartiality, especially given his history as a part of the trump transition team. >> we can't conduct a credible investigation this way. the chairnl really has to make a decision about whether that's his intention and that's what he wants to do or whether he is still acting as surrogate for the president. >> reporter: on friday to button the week, nunes abrupt lly conditions sold wh conditions -- cancelled what was supposed to be an open hearing and that he wanted james comey and mike rogers to be able to speak freely. nunes was blasted calling it an attempt to choke off public info. unlike the cancelled hearing the controversy was very much alive. congressman eric indicated it
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was something just around the corner. >> where did he receive this information? from our knowledge no one on his staff was part of this. that meant it had to be outside the capitol. did he do to another agency and was the white house a part of it? it sure seems the white house after monday was scrambling to do anything it could to put another smoke bomb in this investigation. >> reporter: was the white house part of this? that's the question we're asking because we now know chairman nunes was at the white house the day before his bombshell announcement. is 1600 pennsylvania avenue where he mysteriously disappeared to after abruptly leaving his staff. he did tell cnn he was not at the white house itself and no one in the white house was aware he was there. the purpose of his visit, he said, was to quote confirm what he already knew. it was a disclosure that put the white house on its heels today, namely, who at the white house cleared him for his visit?
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>> clarification on your answer to margaret, you saidian that members of congress have to get cleared in. there is some question about that. who in the white house signed him in. >> i don't know -- i will check on that and not sure that's how that works but i will follow up on that point. >> reporter: we followed up on that point and members of congress do have to be cleared onto white house property. it seems someone in the white house knew devin nunes was there. who that is remains a mystery at least for now. >> randy joins us. fascinating to see that long timeline. congressman nunes speak out this evening. what did he say about who led him into the white house grounds. >> as you know, he was asked directly who cleared him onto the white house grounds and he refused to say about the process. he would have needed a white house staffer to clear him through that gate and get onto the grounds. even though he's not giving out
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a name we know that's how the process works. nunes was quick to say this was not some big secret operation, he was there on the white house grounds during the day and the sun was shining and he spoke to people. he said if he was trying to hide it he could have gotten on during the night. the main reason for one reason to get into one of those secure rooms to look at the controversial documents. >> back on the panel, jason miller and angela, a former senior communications advisor for the trump campaign and transition. she's the former executive director of the congressional black caucus. does this timeline make sense? is it unusual? >> yes. it's all very unusual, particularly since you have foreshadowing of this kind of information that is going to be revealed from the president and then sean spicer. >> the president said we're
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going to be submitting something later on and sean spicer said, let's wait and see. >> then you have devin nunes showing up on the white house grounds. i was told today by a source familiar with what nunes was looking at, that the document mentation was in control of the white house. that's why he had to go there. you have to put one and one together and say, this is an effort to divert attention to change the subject. nunes may have very good reasons for complaining about the unm k unmasking of names in intelligence and this incidental collection. that's a legitimate thing to look into. it's not what he was supposed to be looking into, the russia investigation. >> what it looks like trump tweeted something that had no grounding in fact and so the white house and the house of the intelligence committee had to
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spend days what's something that could sort of be a fig the reef justify what he said even though it's not really what he said and that's what this entire process was and they turned to incide incidental collection as that fig leaf. >> even when he came out with what he said it wasn't actually what donald trump had alleged? >> absolutely. >> what's interesting in the timeline, it ends with dt.comin out and saying he's been vindicated, leading up to him being vindicated even though he wasn't, a charade. >> at first nunes said it was about surveillance activities he felt the president needed to be aware of and sean hannity said it was his duty to brief the president because he was quote taking a lot of heat in the news med media. >> the biggest surprise today is nancy pelosi is still around and we haven't seen her in a quite a bit. >> is it his job to protect the president from taking heat in the news media. >> i think chairman nunes saw
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something and brought it forward. the focus shouldn't be on palace intrigue and tick talk, but he should talk about what he was so concerned about he brought to the president. i don't understand why democrats are calling for chairman nunes to step aside. this is supposedly investigation into alleged collusion in the campaign. before the election chairman nunes said this was after the election, had nothing to do with russia. >> this has nothing to do with russia at all. >> that's my point, such a political stretch. as someone partisan, republican, i'm glad to see the democrats overplay their hand and it will be egg on their face. >> he did tell bloomberg news his source was an intelligence official, not a white house official. i think there's a far better way for him to do his job. i think it is his job to
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investigation as part of the house intelligence. because you're doing this other investigation, do it in the cleanest way possible, and you vet it in a very serious way and does not appear to be what happened here. i have no chill the idea of information on any citizen is passed around like candy in a fun way in any administration. we give tremendous power to these entity, as a libertarian, i want to say that can be a problem. the russian investigation is also an issue. >> speaking of no chill, i don't have any either. we're talking donald trump th w throwing a story line instead of talking about d.c. girl and white supremacist that killed a black man and had plans to kill more black people just because of who they were, instead of talking about the healthcare debacle we're talking about something that didn't happen your president can't even spell, tap. i'm not directing that to anybody else besides me.
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i think the bigger issue that i have, speaking of having no chill, is that if this would have been under the obama administration, there would be no end to this. bo had to be the next best thing to jesus and here we are just two months in and change there is issue after issue. maybe it's not russian collusion, maybe collusion with the intel committee chair. it's highly problematic. there are skiffs on the hill this chairman could have gone to get classified information he could be briefed on. >> not to contain that information he said today. >> the bigger issue, the intel committee chairman has forgotten what procedures he needs to undergo, study and learn and/or brief someone. >> there was the beginning of last week this bombshell of a hearing where director comey makes the statement and there was a certain amount of momentum to that and chairman nunes has made several unilateral decis n decisions basically to cancel
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the public hearing supposed to take place tomorrow essentially going advance this investigation, said it would be a closed door hearing with comey and rogers. that's been conditioanceledcanc. >> shift and nunes investigated a wide scope and after monday's hearing nunes said, wait a second, maybe i made a mistake here, these guys killed republicans talking about a criminal investigation of trump and maybe i need to put the genie back in the bottle. everything he has done since monday is to dismiss and put up a smoke screen of what happened in that hearing and shut down -- >> we will take a quick break. head of united fund and devin nunes had been presenting and schiff calls for nunes to step aside. the panel's take of blaming the white house far and wide for the gop healthcare bill.
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nancy pelosi has called on devin nunes with adam schiff to recuse himself in the investigation of the russian connections with the trump
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campaign devin nunes said the information may have begin le l legally swept up. >> the house intelligence committee said he was dedicated to pushing through, even after a wild week with the chairman of that committee, wanted to continue to press forward. today, that changed. take a listen as to why. >> you're making a point this isn't just because of the russian investigation, broader than that in your view? >> i believe much like the attorney general recused himself from overseeing the russian investigation at this point, it would be wise for the chairman to do the same thing, not just the russian investigation but if he is making claims about minimization of procedures of whether they were followed with respect to the transition team, the chairman was a member of that transition team so i don't think he can properly oversee
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that element as well. i would hope he would recuse himself from those two facets of oversight work because i think it would enhance the public trust we're doing our investigation credit blin a nonpartisan way insulated from inference from the white house. >> just context to underscore how big a deal this actually is. this committee is translati translationaltranslation lditio a bipartisan committee. they tend to work together very very closely and try to mimic what happenston the senate intelligence committee. this is a major break with major ramifications going forward not just with the russian's investigation but what the committee's about? >> it's what nunes discovered that ranking member schiff believes disqualifies him? >> reporter: that's right. it's not that he was too tight with the trump administration related to the russian investigation it's the chairman's own relationship over
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the course of the transition and how that ties in with what he saw. >> it's not a secret he was on the transition team and up to this point you were okay with him leading the investigation? just his visit to the white house that changed your view? >> two things. the dead of night meeting at the white house and returning to the white house with whatever information he got at the white house. more than that, to the degree his claiming now goes to whether there was incidental collection on members of the transition team, that's a different issue than we were looking at before. particularly if he says this doesn't involve the russian investigation. if we are going to look at whether proper procedures were followed vis-a-vis the transition team we can't have a member of the transition team doing the oversight. in those two areas it makes sense for the chairman to recuse himself.
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>> chairman nunes' defense has been as you heard ranking membership say what he is looking at nobody else has seen at this point had nothing to do with the russian investigation and because of that he should be able to maintain his role and pressing forward with that investigation. what ranking leadership is s saying specifically because he was on the transition team that chairman nunes is saying was surveilled and perhaps some individuals were unmasked he is now conflicted and the exact reason he needs to step away not from the russian investigation but everything that has to do with everything he's looking into right now. >> where does the investigation go? they were supposed to have a public meeting tomorrow and that was cancelled and private classified meeting behind closed doors. that was cancelled. >> reporter: this has been a deviivisive last eight or nine s for republicans and democrats.
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chairman nunes says he plans on pressing forward. i asked ranking member schiff at this point whether the relationship was essentially broken? he said, no, he still plans on working with chairman nunes on the other issues. but with the russian investigation and what he found he feels it's time for him to step away. democratic leader nancy pelosi called for him to step away and several others. chuck schumer called for the same thing and the question is, is anything going to happen on this? chairman nunes declined to comment specifically what ra ranking member schiff said. he said repeatedly he plans to press forward. speaker paul ryan said repeat repeatedly throughout the day and i have spoken to him and others have that the speaker himself remains fully confident not just in his ability to run this russian committee and as
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chair. we're at a tipping point and there is no real idea what will happen going forward. the question is not only does this investigation continue to move forward but how does this investigation continue to operate. >> thanks. >> for the american people wa h watching this and those who care about the possibility of russia's meddling and want a bipartisan fact-finding commission and want to get to the bottom of this, should this house committee continue? >> there's a lot of reasons to be concerned listening to different things that have been laid out, it raises questions whether congressman nunes can move forward in a way that makes people feel he can be unbiased. if he has these conflicts. even absent what phil mattingly was just talking about, the fact he has already raised these questions about how he got this
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information, did he possibly get it through the white house and did he possibly do this to help donald trump, he said in an interview donald trump was getting a lot of heat in the media and raises a lot of questions about whether this is a person who is an unbiased arbiter overseei ining an investigation. >> it seems both sides would want whatever investigations are done to be as transparent as possible and credible so whatever the resolution is people will believe it. >> this is the time you say, thank goodness there is the senate and house. because the house complete basically collapsed. >> what you saw schiff do very deftly with phil is call nunes' bluff. you're interested in this collection of people you shouldn't have unmasked. that was on the transition team and by the way, you were a member of the transition team and you can't do it because you're conflicted out of that.
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he just said to him, you just dug your own grave. >> he's no dummy. he was a very smart prosecutor. it sounds like a conflict to me. it sounds like everything nunes has done in the last week --an if this was his plan but essentially blown up this committee's investigation. they were supposed to have a big public hearing tomorrow. >> clapper? that's done and said, okay, instead of that we want this private hearing to bring tommy and rogers back in, there's nothing left for them to do. >> not exactly switzerland in this process. you look at his blind allegiance to loretta lynch last year and his support for hillary clinton, it's not that he's this truly neutral arbiter in this situation. >> again, we saw the divide in the first hearing when most of the questions from republicans were about leaks, and most questions from democrats trying to point a picture of collusion.
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is this really bipartisan? is this a fair commission? >> i think this is the way it plays out. you have republicans and democrats up there with their opportunity. the fact we're getting more into the intrigue and process, you saw ranking member schiff say the supposed dead of the night vis visits -- >> if republicans already think schiff isn't legit or that schiff clearly is not neutral, democrats clearly think republicans aren't -- >> i say, look ye not to the house to straighten this -- >> talking old english? >> this is extremely partisan at this point and intrigue is taking over because there is intrigue and trump surrounding circles tend to create intrigue. the senate and fbi seem to have healthy investigations going on, which is good because i am interested in finding out about secret deals with government or the possibility of trump colluding with russia.
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>> i'm glad jason brought up loretta lynch. if we're saying that was the desired outcome she recused herself from an ongoing investigation. let's be clear loretta lynch was not part of a transition team. yes, had a meeting that appeared sloppy, appearances terrible. him dropping down in the dead of night, i guess what i'm telling you is she recused herself. i'm eager to see him not only recuse himself from this investigation. >> that's not what schiff wanted. >> i'm telling you what i want. >> the house is going to be irrelevant. it wouldn't be the first time. but they are going to be irrelevant. the senate could take over and you could have an independent investigation also republicans don't want because those things tend to grow and grow and grow. i don't think the white house would want it or republicans want it. they could be backing into that
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now. >> a quick break. up next, the new tone from the white house after failing to get obamacare replaced and what the next fight is on tax reform. [ upbeat music ] strut past that aisle for the allergy relief that starts working in as little as 30 minutes and contains the best oral decongestant. live claritin clear, with claritin-d.
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different tone today from the white house after failing to get the gop healthcare bill passed last week. president trump blamed democrats for the failure on friday and then over the weekend -- the white house said the president is serious about working with democrats to get the next agenda. and talking to dr. reich and author of "saving capitalism" and former senior economic advisor of the trump campaign and now a distinguished fellow. the heritage growclub for growt. you're a senior there, i'm wondering your reaction is? >> i don't think it's an accurate portrayal of what
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happened. the real story of what happened, republicans made this much more difficult. if donald trump had a do-over, you don't get those in politics, i do think they will eventually get obamacare repealed. if they could rerun the last six weeks and run a straight repeal of obamacare, make it fflt january 1, 2019 so insurance have time to adjust. this got too complicated for people and the approval rating of the republican plan was falling and support fell apart. there is still plenty of support within the republican caucus. you have two-way team votes in the house by simply outright repealing the bill entirely. that is exactly where i think republicans should go at this point. >> i talked to one republican who was involved in writing the bill said it was the freedom caucus and what needs to be done is keep obamacare and try to fix it with some democrats. >> i'll tell you this, anderson --
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>> bob, one quick thing, if republicans keep obamacare if they haven't repealed it by november of 2018, they will lose the house and senate, that simple. >> that's ridiculous. absolutely absurd. one of the problems republicans ran into is the knowledge republicans had who will be up for re-election next year, next year alone, 14 million people would have lost their health insurance according to the congressional budget office if there was an appeal of the so-called obamacare affordable care act. they are not stupid and know their constituents want the affordable care act, want what they already have and don't want to see it gone. the so-called freedom caucus, this group of people all pledged to one another they would not go along with whatever trump wanted with regard to any kind of repla replacement. they wanted straight repeal, as steve moore just said. straight repeal would be a huge burden on americans, even more
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than 14 million would lose. if it's just repeal and not even an attempt to replace, that is cruel and unusual, wine the world would any republicans want to do that if they expect they will be re-elected? it hurts people. >> steve, let me ask you, my understanding is the strategy is pass a repeal for down the road and that forces pressure for everybody to get on board with some sort of replacement knowing it is going to happen. >> thank you for correctly characterizing my position. that was the position of a lot of republicans. voters didn't think you were going to get some contraption machine to deal with the healthcare, they thought obamacare -- the problem with your argument, bob, obamacare -- if we stay on the obamacare train we will see three times as many people lose their health insurance, there won't be a historians market left. >> that is simply untrue.
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the congressional budget office said -- >> people can't afford it! >> one at a time. >> the congressional office said there was no death spiral at all and there can be minor fixes. it's not perfect obviously. you don't want the major insurance companies to merge as quickly as they are merging into three or four giant insurance companies that have extraordinary bargaining leverage to jack up prices. >> the idea the white house could be willing to work with democrats just days after blaming them for the healthcare bill's failure, do you think the democrats would work with the administration going forward? >> i think democrats would be wise to say if you want to strengthen the affordable care act we would be willing to work with you and here are ideas we have including having a medicare option that was considered in 2010. it was never put in but if you want to make sure there are enough choices on the exchanges for the affordable care act you
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have the option to move to medicare. >> how difficult is to it move to tax reform given the inability to pass healthcare and some of the money that was supposed to be used for tax reform was supposed to come from changes to the healthcare system? >> one quick thing before i answer that. i have to respond to what bob just said about obamacare. i just got back a week ago from arizona. as you know, anderson, the premiums doubled in one year on obamacare. middle class families can't afford obamacare. >> you're absolutely wrong. in fact the affordable care act is designed so the subsidies go up as the premiums go up and the reason the premiums go up we have an entire healthcare system the premiums are going up because you have baby boomer des manneding more and more healthcare. this is why we need a single y payer system. >> are you in favor of all allowing --
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>> eventually we will have a single payer system. >> are you in favor of allowing people to buy insurance across state lines that. that would dramatically increase the competition. >> the republicans did not advance that. >> i wish they had. >> why did the republicans not even suggest that? that was not in the bill? >> let me answer your question, anderson about tax reform. it raises the stakes, republicans definitely need and trump needs a w here. they need a victory. i think we will get tax reform done. i'd like to see a bill even bob reich might support, cut the business taxes so we're competitive and bring business hope. add infrastructure spending in there and get democrats and republicans to have a jobs bill that brings jobs home. >> you said something i absolutely don't understand. cut corporate taxes so we can be competitive again. you think american companies now swimming in money doing better than ever in the past, you think
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they're not competitive somehow and need a giant tax cut? that is absurd. >> how many american businesses have to leave the united states, whether johnson control, pfizer, walgreens, they're all leaving because of taxes. >> they are doing extraordina extraordinarily well. they don't need a tax subsidy from americans. >> secretary rice, i appreciate it. to be continued, stephen moore. appreciate it. >> how president trump seems to shift the story when things don't go his way and a new tweet he posted before. and this tactic for many who have followed president trump for decades. to kill lawn weeds to the roottd without harming a single blade of grass. draw the line with roundup for lawns. a body without proper footd needssupport can mean pain. the dr. scholl's kiosk maps your feet and recommends our custom fit orthotic to stabilize your foundation
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more breaking news tonight as we continue to report on the calls for house chairman devin nunes to step aside. this evening, president trump tweeted why isn't the house intelligence committee looking into the bill and hillary deal that allowed big your rain num and money to bill. the hillary russian receipt praise of russia -- fbi director
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james comey said they're investigating possible connections between russia and the trump campaign. last week ended with mr. trump's promise and the obamacare bill going down in defeat. before he was president mr. trump often tried to change the storyline when it was casting him in unfavorable light and may explain his latest tweets. timothy o'brien, "the art of being the donald" that brought a lawsuit and the author of "the truth about trump." it is a tactic trump has used a lot of his career, don't accept responsibility for failure and assign blame elsewhere. is he using the same playbook as a politics as he did as a businessman? >> i don't think he can help it as throughout his life he's been insulated by wealth and in part
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from his own bravado of consequences of his own mista mistakes. there's been repeated examples since he was in his mid-20s. anything went wrong he would turn the radar in a different direction and blame it on everyone around him. he went into the usfl and essentially blew the league up and blamed it on the other teams, blamed it on everyone else's mistakes and the nfl. it wasn't his fault. goes to atlantic city and blows up a robust casino business and ends up saying it was because atlantic city was a tough place to do business a little bit similar to the automobile companies say thing they had problems because they were headquartered in detroit. last week you see all these same shortcomings haunt the process around healthcare legislation, his impatience, his inability to form teams, prioritizing charisma ahead of coalition bui building. when it all comes home to roost and they have to pull the bill
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he first blames the entire democratic party, then chuck schumer and nancy pelosi and the next day, it's the conservative wing of the republican party and the next night it's paul ryan and on and on. >> so interesting, one of the main selling points for donald trump as a candidate was this whole idea besides his communication abilities and positions many people supported this idea he was this successful businessman who could get deals done and get people in a room, democrats and republicans and make stuff happen and bring the business world to the government and clearly that was a massive defeat he got on friday. >> it was a massive defeat. one thing we didn't really appreciate about donald trump was that when he talks about making great deals, he was really just talking about making great deals for donald trump. these were never business arrangements where you heard
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lots of people come out of the room and say, we did really well, we're really glad to have been in partnership with mr. trump, we're all going to make a ton of money. this was a guy an entrepreneur and also the head of a family business where he could call the shots himself and take the gain himself or walk away. it's much different to try to influence 247 republicans in congress, to move men and women, many of whom he's insulted along the way, toward his position. i think the last thing that we need to appreciate is that his heart may not have been in this at all because he didn't take the time to learn the details of the bill and that was a complaint that came out of the republican caucus when they were finished meeting because he didn't know what he was talking about. >> it's interesting this whole idea of running a family
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business different from running a company with shareholders you are responsible for with public accou accounting, it is a much more insular world, a small grouping donald trump has always had around him. in some ways it seems like that's how the white house is organized unlike any white house we've seen in recent memory. >> right. he's come out of this mom and pop shop essentially where all the outcomes were essentially binary. he had one person across the table more-or-less bargaining over the same thing. he comes to washington and dealing with a population of politics whose have constituents back home, they have their own set of values and they have their own reputations to think about. none of that necessarily corresponds with the interests of a president who has a very out-sized ego. >> by blaming the freedom caucus encouraging people to watch judge jeanine pirro slam speaker ryan on fox news and maybe she
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did and didn't. it seems odd he would recommend people watch his show and it seems like inexperience. you're not a president who couldn't fire someone because they didn't do as expected. publicly he supports paul ryan and then tells people to watch a show where they're going after him. >> right. it seems when that happened it seemed to me he would pivot towards the democrats. what's interesting about trump and people have said this. he is a new yorker. he's not really a small government kind of guy. i think he'd be comfortable working out a deal with chuck schumer if schumer will talk to him. he'll do the dool. >> michael dantonio and tim o'brien. thanks so much. still ahead, the golfer in chief playing golf at one of his courses and we normally wouldn't report on something like this. he did say time and time again during the campaign attacking president trump playing golf he would never do it. details ahead.
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this weekend president trump visited the trump national golf club in virginia. it was his 13th visit to one of his courses since he took office in january. now, playing golf is something candidate trump sharply criticized president obama for while on the campaign trail. >> obama, it was reported today, played 250 rounds of golf. he played more golf last year than tiger woods. >> this guy plays more golf than people on the pga tour. >> golf, golf, golf, golf. more, more. learning how to chip. learning how to hit the drive. learning how to putt. oh, i want more. >> i love golf. i think it's one of the greats. but i don't have time. >> i'm going to be working for you. i'm not going to have time to go play golf. >> i wouldn't leave the white house very much because you know, like little things like these little trips where they get -- they cost you a fortune. >> if i were in the white house i don't think i'd ever see turnberry again. i don't think i'd ever see doral again. i just want to stay in the white house and work my ass off, make great deals, right? who's going to leave? >> but president trump does leave. in fact, he spent the last eight
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weekends visiting properties bearing his name. it is raising new questions about potential conflicts of interest. tom foreman tonight has more. >> unbelievable! >> reporter: a key question of the transition was how far would president trump step away from all his business interests. >> you sell water and we have water. >> we have trump steaks. >> we have trump magazine. >> reporter: the answer, not very. almost every three days since taking office he's stopped by a trump building, trump hotel or trump resort. according to a breakdown by the "washington post." and he's been to golf courses so many times his press secretary is playing defense. >> so on a couple of occasions he's conducted meetings there, he's actually had phone calls. so just because he heads there doesn't mean that that's what's happening. >> reporter: but all that activity behind closed doors with no oversight is making government watchdogs nervous. democrats are pushing for legislation demanding visitor logs at places like his mar-a-lago resort. >> he's really making his
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business part of the government, or the government part of his business. >> you know, i'm a good golfer, believe it or not. >> reporter: it's also presenting a big pr problem. when barack obama was president, no one was more critical of his time spent golfing than donald trump. >> he played more golf last year than tiger woods. >> reporter: when louisiana flooded, the candidate famously went after the chief executive for going golfing before going to the flood zone. >> and honestly, obama ought to get off the golf course and get down there. >> reporter: and candidate trump insisted if he won the election he might never see his own golf courses again. >> and i love golf. but if i were in the white house i don't think i'd ever see turnberry again. i don't think i'd ever see doral again. i just want to stay in the white house and work my ass off, make great deals, right? who's going to leave? >> reporter: but while president obama did not hit the links until april after his first inauguration, and he provided a list of his playing partners, president trump has visited golf courses 13 times already.
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and while he does not reveal if he's playing or with whom, it's clearly happening enough to shred his campaign claim. >> i'm not going to have time to go play golf. >> reporter: of course the president's defenders say this is just a bunch of petty political squabbling. but once again the question is in front of us. when is donald trump acting as a public servant and when is he a private citizen? anderson? >> tom, thanks very much. we'll be right back. we know business travel isn't just business. there's this. 'a bit of this. why not? your hotel should make it easy to do all the things you do. which is what we do. crowne plaza. we're all business, mostly.
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that's about all the time we have. thanks for watching. time to hand things over to don lemon. "cnn tonight" starts right now. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. breaking news. a stunning turn of events involving the house investigation into ties between the trump campaign team and russia. is it compromised? and can it move forward? this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. inls chief devon nunes defending his visit to the white house grounds to review classified information that he claims suggested trump team communications may have been picked up during surveillance of foreign nationals. did the white house know that nunes was on the property? and who gave him the sensitive material to review in the first place? tonight the top democrat on the committee says he has yet to see those documents and calls on nunes to recuse him