tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN May 3, 2017 11:00am-12:01pm PDT
i think, has some claim to privacy. it's done. >> we learned a lot today during those nearly four hours. we're going to have a lot more coming up. my colleague, brooke baldwin, will pick up our special coverage right now. >> wolf, thank you so much. i'm brooke baldwin. thank you for watching cnn. on this wednesday, we're juggling quite a bit this afternoon. we're waiting for multiple major live events at any moment sean spicer will be holding the daily briefing momentarily as the president is taking personal steps to advance republicans' plans to replace and repeal obamacare. also, we're watching baton rouge, louisiana. you have the department of justice today about to officially announce if it will charge those officers involved in the death of alton sterling.
sterling was shot by police outside of a convenience store in louisiana last july. a lot of unrest. we're watching the community very closely there. >> as we wait, other developments unfolding in the last couple of hours at the white house. could the press secretary sean spicer walk out with news about progress in the struggle to replace and repeal obamacare? we know that two key lawmakers have gone from "no" votes to "yes" votes after a meeting with the president. we'll go and get reaction on how they pivoted from "no"s to "yes"s and mike pence is heading to capitol hill to talk to lawmakers about health care. also, president trump just met with the palestinian president who says he has new hope for peace because of president trump. and then there was the head of the fbi on capitol hill today testifying for hours and hours.
this is one day after we saw hillary clinton saying that director comey played a major part in her bruising election defeat. jim comey stuck by his decision to reveal reopening the investigation 11 days before election day. here he was. >> speak would be really bad. there's an 11 days before the election. honestly, as between really bad and catastrophic, i said to my team, we've got to walk into the world of really bad. look, this was terrible. it makes me mildly nauseous for me to think we may have had impact on the election. but honestly, it wouldn't have changed the decision. everybody who disagrees with me has to come back to october 28th with me and stare at this. would you speak or would you conceal? and i could be wrong, but we honestly made a decision between those two choices, that even in
hindsight -- and this has been one of the world's post painful experiences -- i would make the same decision. >> all right. so as we wait for the white house briefing to begin, let's talk about that testimony today. let's begin with cnn's national security correspondent jim sciutto. jim, the headline, he said it wouldn't change the decision. talk to me through how he chose to go public on that but not on the probe into mr. trump and his associates and russian ties. >> listen, he twisted himself into knots a little bit making the distinction -- at least trying to make clear the distinction that he made between the clinton probe and the trump campaign/russia probe. the trump probe was too much in its early stages, in his words.
he made the point that it was only opened in july. the clinton probe had been started months before. he said he didn't comment on it until it was three months in, in effect. plus, it was already public so he felt compelled or that he had more freedom to comment on it. the trump probe was still early on and he didn't know what the final word would be. and then he said because of that distinction, he still feels he held true to that well-known fbi principle that has been talked about, they don't come at dawn active investigations. the time was a bit difference, so a few months off. but they were both still active investigations. both of them were still taking place in an election year, which is another rule that law enforcement, fbi has followed in the past, not to comment very close to an election. again, you heard his sound there saying, listen, he had a tough choice. they got new information about these other e-mails, as you
remember, on anthony weiner's computer, of all places, because he was married to huma abedin. he said if i go public, i'll get grief. if i go public after the election, people will say i was hiding stuff. he said he was comfortable that he made the right decision on a very difficult choice. i found this truly remarkable. you remember that famous press conference where he went to the cameras and said, listen, we've looked into this. i'm not going to charge her. she was definitely reckless but i'm not going to charge her because no prosecutor would bring a case. you remember that? >> yes. >> he said one reasons he went to the camera, he felt the senior doj leadership, attorney general lynch and others, could not credibly complete, in his words, the investigation. he was saying, indicating that they were somehow biased and he felt that even before that famous tarmac meeting between clinton and lynch. that's a remarkable thing for an fbi director to say. that lynch and others were biased and couldn't allow that
investigation to reach its conclusion by themselves so he felt the need to go to the cameras. it's a remarkable charge for him. >> on the credibility of the justice department. jim, don't go too far. let me pivot over to capitol hill to manu raju who i know is getting reaction from congress, and from senator blumenthal. >> that's right. what's your reaction to him saying that he didn't want to feel like he was concealing damaging information from hillary clinton, which is why he unveiled this information just days before the election? >> i accept his contention that he faced a very difficult choice between an alternative and catastrophic alternative. but the important question is how do we remove the taint and the question going forward about
his objectivity, questions that may be raised by the department of justice. his testimony makes an overwhelmingly powerful case for appointment of an independent special prosecutor. because that's the way that we can avoid this situation in the future and that, i think, is the lesson to be taken away from the choice that he faced. >> reporter: he made the point that he wasn't going to discuss the russia investigation that they launched last july because it was in a different time frame and not as advanced as the clinton investigation. do you accept his reasoning why he had not publicly disclosed the trump investigation last year. >> taking his logic that the clinton investigation was one of intense public interest, his words. the russian investigation, in my view, was exactly the same. and so i think, going forward, he has to make a report to the american people about the findings not only about that
russian meddling investigation but also the trump ties to the potential collusion and cooperation between associates in the trump campaign and the russian meddling, which i think is a matter of intense public interest. >> reporter: should he have revealed the trump investigation and russia investigation last year as well? >> that's the choice i would have made as a prosecutor, as a public official. to me, that investigation was equally of intense public interest. >> reporter: going forward, do you have full confidence in director comey as the fbi director and as this investigation is going forward into the russia and the trump campaign? >> i have confidence that director comey and the fbi as an institution will pursue this investigation. the only way to make sure and assure public confidence and trust is for an independent special prosecutor. not a trump appoint tea and make the ultimate decision.
because if it is director comey or deputy attorney general, the public can in no way be assured that there is complete objectivity. >> reporter: clinton meeting sf on the tarmac, when you look back at it, how big of a mistake was that, in your view, for loretta lynch and bill clinton to meet? and do you buy that that is why comey said that he had to reveal this? >> it may have been unfortunate. there needs to be a distance between the attorney general and a decision as to whether or not to prosecute. >> reporter: brooke, back to
you. >> manu, thank you. senator blumenthal, thank you. jen psaki is joining me, former obama white house communications director. jen psaki, you sat through all of that testimony. >> hi, brooke. >> good to see you. we heard from hillary clinton saying she believes essentially what comey did was roughly a third of the reason why she lost. your response? >> well, there's a lot to unpack there, brooke. i would say that my response to testimony is that there's an alarming level of inconsistency and what director comey is saying about why he released information about the investigation into hillary clinton's aides and why he did not release information about the investigation into donald trump's aides. yes, they were different timelines but they were all during the election. and ultimately, we don't know how much it impacted but it certainly had an impact. as it relates to hillary
clinton's comments yesterday, was the fbi comments of comey during the leelection and russia factor in the election? absolutely. but i think if democrats and people close to hillary clinton are going to stay in politics don't take from this that there are a lot of other failings, including where we didn't campaign, the fact that there wasn't polling in swing middle of the country states, the fact that democrats failed to have an economic message that connected with people, then we're really missing an opportunity and putting our heads in the sand to our own detriment. >> i'd like to come back to you about holoretta lynch and bill clinton's meeting on the tarmac. but quickly, i have phil
mattingly standing by on capitol hill. what are you learning? >> reporter: look, the top line that really matters is this. house republican leaders have made it clear, when they have the votes, they will have the vote. at this point, they still don't have the votes. but they are targeting a vote as soon as tomorrow. members are expected to go home for recess thursday afternoon. they will be leaving town, at least that's the current schedule. house leadership and the white house desperately wants to try and have this health care vote before that happens. they don't want their members to go home and face angry constituents and town halls. let this proposal out there linger. what's happening over the course of the last 12 to 16 hours is very important. we saw this morning two key members. billy long and fred upton, both who were firmly in the "no" camp on this new language come out agreed to an amendment with the white house with house leadership that they say addresses their concerns about the language that's been kicking
around up here would do to the price of pre-existing conditions. there's a lot of questions about whether the money that will be added through that amendment, $8 billion total, will actually address the problem at all or whether it will be nearly enough. those are the first two major "no" votes to move into the "yes" category giving momentum to this bill. brooke, here's what is happening behind the scenes. there is a full-on blitz going on between the white house, house leaders with rank and file members trying to get those undecided members and maybe those lean "no" members to come over to their side. mike pence will be on the hill shortly. paul ryan has been meeting with members over the last couple of hours. it's a steady stream of those undecided or not quite committed to this bill up to this point. what they are trying to do is get themselves settled on at least being comfortable with the fact that they can get to the 216 votes that they need to move this forward. i would characterize it as this.
there is cautious optimism amongst leaders but i would hedge it with this. we've been here before many times. to the point of scheduling the vote and pulling the vote. so i think caution is necessary here. they certainly don't have the votes yet but this morning was a big development. and the question remains, have they done enough to address the very real concerns about what this bill would do to those with pre-existing conditions. as of now, we haven't seen any major flips from "no" to "yes". >> phil mattingly, thank you so much for all of the incremental developments up there on the hill. i've got gloria borger here and, let's be honest, this is the president's personal touch. having the two members over to the white house and whether it's
his personal negotiating is helping or hurting his cause, why should we believe that this is going to work this time? >> well, we don't know. it's down to a few votes and you never know in congress until you have a final count. and i think what paul ryan is trying to do is get that count but for every action, there's an equal action. and that would be the freedom caucus and the tuesday groups. if you lose a moderate, you lose a conservative, potentially. i know they are trying to walk that line and work it out but i think the problem now has become a real public relations problem for them and their districts. if some of them go home with nothing, they are going to get
blamed. so i think this is a very, very tough vote for those republicans, particularly since they know this is going to be changed in the united states. they are going out on a limb for what? >> i think that's a great point. it's almost like these members of congress want to find out if they rebus their constituents back home or bus the president. >> gloria brings up a good point. even to get this through the house, there's a lot of lawmakers, everybody in the house up for re-election. do people want to stick their necks out on the line for a policy that the white house and presidents haven't really campaigned on the substance of yet. remember, they are talking about this bill really in strategic terms. we have to repeal obamacare because -- >> it's been promised. >> but they've never talked about the substance and the policy, what they would be giving to people. so democrats are able to frame this as, look, they are trying to take away your health care.
they are not on board with this stuff. they haven't been able to sell what they are giving to people. there are questions about whether this new amendment does that. >> gloria, you know that those house freedom caucus votes, those who were conservative, are saying, wait a minute, we don't want obamacare-lite. we want this repealed and replaced. >> it's this seesaw kind of thing. you start hemorrhaging moderate members. freedom caucus members are -- yes, they are up for re-election but in safe, conservative districts. their actions have really proved that they are not concerned about their own re-election. moderates, on the other hand, you have 25 republicans from clinton districts up for
re-elections, of course. that's a tougher sale for them at home. >> phil mattingly, i think i have you with us. was it just 24 hours ago where darrell issa was asked, sir, how will you be veoting and he said none of your business. >> it is indicative of what members are going through right now. they are staying undecided because they don't want to have to cast this vote, which they know could be politically damaging and they don't want to get out in front of this. they came out, said where they should on this very politically dangerous measure and then the vote was pulled to the floor and they were left hanging out there. a lot of members are staying undecided, keeping their powder dry until they know for sure something is coming to the floor. there's also a calculation of members who would like to be "no" on this bill but if
leadership asks them to come across to give them that 216th vote, they would probably do it. if they are the one that walks the plank, if you will, on this bill that as kaitlyn makes very clear may not walk in the senate, it's going to be fluid as we try to figure out where everybody stands on this. everybody's whip counts are up in the air at the moment. leaders behind the scenes are trying to walk through this and get their members comfortable with it. real quick, because this is an important point, adding money to this, $8 billion, does not shift the paradigm or change the dynamic. this is a way to say, look, we worked, fought, got a and if removing community rating for any state that opts out, which is what this would do, is a big
ideological concern that you will forever have problems with adding $8 billion to this bill does not answer that problem. that doesn't assuage to that concern. how many members wanted to get to yes and how many are deeply opposed to this ideologically or on the merits altogether? the answer to that question will determine whether or not this bill actually passes the house or not. >> gloria, why do you think the president, to kaitlyn's point about keeping a promise to these voters, why isn't the president more front and center on this issue? >> because he lost one time and wants to win again, once, and he's not sure whether that turns out. you know, he's not sure at this point whether to use the carrot or the stick. it's not like he's at 70% popularity. he's at 40, 45% popularity in the country. in some of these districts, he's very popular. in some of these moderate
districts, not so much i think they are trying to gauge how to handle this because he doesn't have a lot of people around him with a lot of experience doing this. and as they go along here, it's unclear what the president is saying about the conversation and taking the step back. i remember saying republicans had never known what they believe or what they agree on. he's been proven so time and time again and it was very easy for republicans to vote for repeal and replace when they knew that it wasn't going anywhere. and they knew they had a
democratic president who would veto anything should it ever really get past the congress. so, you know, this is something not new to republicans. they've had a long time to work on it and now this is reality for them. >> uh-huh. jen psaki, let me pivot back over to you and staying on this topic of health care, this was one of your former boss' piece of legislation during two terms in the white house. watching all of this, before president obama left, i want to say he went up to the hill and said, let this implode, right? what is it like right now for democrats to watch this time and time again and not still get the vote through? >> well, if you would have told me the day after the election that obamacare would be alive and well in the beginning may, i would not have taken that bet and i would have argued against you. so the reality here is that health care's hard.
nancy pelosi deserve as great deal of credit for pulling democrats together years ago. democrats aren't always entirely aligned on this issue either. what's interesting, i'm watching this play out is that they don't seem to have learned the lesson of the power of moderates, the first time this failed. and there was an assumption going to the negotiations that moderates would vote together. they are the members that are going to feel the most political pain at home and, believe me, there are democrats who are running for office who are waiting, they are just chomping at the bit for moderate members to vote for this. so the fact that they underestimated that is really surprising to me. >> i'm listening to you but i i'm -- phil mattingly, let me go to you on the hill. i'm sure he is -- they are capitalizing on the vice president's time in congress and his ability to, you know,
persuade folks from nos to yeses. do you know who he is meeting with? >> he's been meeting with moderate members, some who were outright nos and weren't changed in meeting with him. but the white house has been meeting and the health and human services secretary, tom price, he's been working to try and answer policy questions and concerns as well. the white house recognizes here that this is a very, very key moment. we've said it's a do or die moment over the last couple of months. but when you look forward to the agenda, what they actually want to accomplish, the white house grasps and the house leadership does as well, this is really their opportunity. there's no going back to the drawing board. when mike pence was a member of congress, he was a very conservative member of congress who wasn't striking a lot of back room deals and he hasn't
been able to close the deal. but it's worth noting, and i hear this from republican members constantly, they appreciate his knowledge of the chamber and of the institution and, brook, they feel like he understands what they are saying. the big question now, can he deliver? >> phil, thank you. here's sean spicer. >> the vice president just left a bit ago to meet with some of the lawmakers on capitol hill. the president was glad to meet this morning with representatives long and upton who voiced their support for the hca earlier this morning. it's especially important that we continue to make progress in repealing and replacing obamacare as rates skyrocket and insurers flee the market in anticipation of this impending implosion. earlier this week, aetna announced it will scale back its presence on obamacare exchanges
even further in 2018 withdrawing from the iowa exchange. aetna had already cut its participation from 15 states to 4 in 2017. iowa is going to be hit particularly hard by these recent developments as metic, the last insurance will likely stop selling health care policies in the state which will affect tens and thousands of americans. with reports like these coming every day, it couldn't be clearer that it's time for action on health care. we're glad so many members are with us and look forward to welcoming even more on board. also earlier today, the president dropped by an event focused on school choice with students ranging from kindergarten to high school. most of the students who visited the white house today are thousands of children who will benefit from the three-year extension secured by the president and congressional allies in the budget deal. the district of columbia's
opportunity scholarship program, launched in 2004, provides vouchers to d.c. students who family receives benefits under the nutritional assistance program known as s. snrn.a.p. and this program gets results. 98% of the d.c. scholarship students who received their high school diplomas last year. funding was one of our priorities during these budget negotiations and they are glad to have ensured the extension was taken place through border security. today, the president welcomed the president of the palestinian authority to the white house. the visit stems from a phone call the two leaders had on march 10th when president trum b
invited president abbas to the white house. to give you a few additional details, some of the topics that were discussed during their meeting and lunch were advancing the palestinian peace preventing incitement to violence and media direct directly connected and economic opportunity and concerns about the payments to palestinian prisoners in the israeli jails who have committed acts of terror. later this evening, the president along with the vice president mrs. pence will host members of the evangelical and advisory board for a discussion, prayer and dinner. the president is proud to welcome these faith leaders to the white house for the first
time and thanked them for their steadfast support. later, the vice president will deliver a keynote address at the campaign for life gala. the vice president's office has more details on that. and with that, i'll take your questions. ken? >> sean, on health care, does the president feel like we've reached an inflection point here with this make or a break moment in terms of getting the bill through the house and what precisely is the president doing and what is he telling members about why they should split still. >> he's making several points. one, the need -- that obamacare is failing. the need to have a provider is becoming greater and greater. two, the costs are out of control. these are two basic tenants that you've heard us talk about.
but i think overall the efforts are made to continue, especially the effort this morning with congressman long and upton to bring more people in and ensure that americans have a health care system that gets them the care that they need at a price that's affordable. >> is this a now or never kind of moment? >> i don't want to put it there. the president has made it clear before that he's not trying to set a date certain. that's up to the speaker and house leadership to determine when that time is appropriate. the number of members supporting it continues to grow further and further. that's a very promising sign. yeah? >> sean, yesterday the president tweeted that the fbi director james comey gave hillary clinton a, quote, free pass for many bad deeds. is the president comfortable with an fbi director who gave out free passes.
>> the president has confidence in the director but clearly his point was after the comments made yesterday, regarding the reason for the outcome of the election, i want to make it clear what exactly happened. >> on health care, the president appears to be directly involved behind the scenes. how much responsibility does the president plan to take for the outcome of the vote if it does occur this week? >> i think if we have a vote, which, you know, is looking greater and greater every day -- again, i'm not going to get ahead of the house leadership in deciding when that is. my assumption is they will call us when that number is over the top. two votes came down today. the president has been on the phone constantly. but i think we've made this an unbelievable bill and an unbelievable -- >> in politico yesterday, they
indicated that the president has signed an executive order tomorrow and will it enable discrimination against executive orders. tomorrow's national day of prayer, there will be a proclamation and i've never gotten ahead of executive orders and i'm not going to -- >> but the executive order -- >> i just answered the question. thank you. >> if the president -- >> blake? >> thank you. i want to get your reaction to former president obama. he tweeted yesterday after jimmy kimmel's monologue that went viral about his child. kimmel talked about the need to cover pre-existing conditions and the need for funding for the
nih and mr. obama said, well said, jimmy. that's why we fought for the aca and why we need to protect it for kids like billy. your reaction to that? >> well, i think we share that concern for the kimmel child as well as any child that needs care. that's frankly why the president made sure there was an extra layer of protection for anybody with a pre-existing condition no matter their stage in life. that's why we're fighting so hard for this. but i think most importantly, and i think at the end of jimmy kimmel's monologue, we need to have these things that are not republican or democrat, they are american policies. i think that's what the president is fighting for right now. to make sure we have a health care system that doesn't matter where you live or your background, that it takes care of people. we're making sure right now -- we've talked about this endlessly. we have a health care system not doing what it's supposed to. it's failing. costing people too much.
giving people a card, not coverage. what the president is trying to do, by working with these members of congress, is to make sure we have the strongest possible health care system that covers them, gives them the care that they need and allows them to see a doctor and covers pre-existing conditions and does so in a way that's not going to be out of range for most americans. >> i want to ask you about what hillary clinton said yesterday. she said, quote, if the election had been on october 27th, i would be your president. and on the hill today, james comey testifying said, quote, speaking about october 28th, he said, would you speak or would you conceal? james comey make the right decision on october 28th? >> i'm a patriots fan and i think if games ended in the third quarter, there would have been a different team here last week. but you play a game four quarters, you play election until election day. with all due respect to her, that's not how it works. you don't get to pick the day the election is on. it's set by the constitution.
the president won 306 electoral votes and i think there's been plenty of analysis on the election and where people chose to spend their time and resources and their messaging and i think it's somewhat sad that we're still debating why the president won in the fashion that he did. >> did he make the correct decision? >> again, i'm not going to -- i think with respect to the election, the american people made their decision. ammon? >> thanks, sean. there's been focus on ivanka trump's role in this white house. can you clarify for us what exactly her areas of responsibility are here and what her qualifications are and responsibilities? >> sure. i think ivanka has built a very successful business. she's been working with women to talk about empowerment and education for quite some time. it's a passion of hers and for her to bring both her business acumen and success, passion for
women and empowerment and education and they haven't been able to get to other areas is the reason that angela merkel asked her to come to the summit because they can use her voice to help bring attention to issues and help breakdown barriers that young women and older women face in education and business. that's where she has always had her passion. that's what she's working on now. >> for example, "the new york times" reporting this morning that she has a weekly meeting with the treasury secretary. >> i think that i've mentioned it. there's a lot of times where she's meeting with folks to understand an issue, to get up to speed, but i think her primary focus is where her passion and time is going to be spent and how to breakdown barriers whether it's in small business, education, women,
young women and how to help them. and additional folks and fix the government program. >> back to health care, an analysis from aarp showed that the sickest patients will pay nearly $26,000 a year in premiums under the new health care law and $8 billion is not enough to lower those costs. so i'm wondering, how does that which would be a major premium hike on the sickest patients square with the president's promise to lower premiums and take care of those with pre-existing conditions? >> so it sounds interesting to me that without -- there are so many variables that are unknown that to make an analysis of that level of precision is almost impossible. let me give you an example.
so right now pre-existing conditions are covered in the bill. they always have been. we've talked about that before. states have the right to receive a waiver. if someone has continuous coverage, that's never going to be an issue. if someone chose not to have coverage for 63 days or more and put into a high-risk pool for someone to know how many people that is, what number of states are going to receive a waiver is literally to do an analysis of any level of factual basis would be literally not an impossible -- >> a follow-up question. one, would the president prefer, does he have a preference as to whether or not states opt out, given that option?
and two, will people with pre-existing conditions pay higher premiums than they currently do? >> i think everything we've done, including the additional 8 billion this year, has everything that i've seen shows that the costs goes down for them in a lot of ways. so if you have pre-existing conditions -- and remember what a small pool that is. if you have a pre-existing condition currently, the bill protects you. the only factor would be if you live in a state that asks for a waiver and then subsequently you're granted it and you've gone 63 days without continuous coverage. if you have continuous coverage, it will never, ever be a factor. the president has to work to make sure in every single scenario, pre-existing conditions are covered and the costs continue to bend down. >> and then the congressman this morning was saying he's confident from conversations
with his governor that his state will not ask for a waiver. >> great. >> does the president have a preference as to whether or not states ask for waivers? >> the president's preference -- the president believes in state's rights. his goal is to make sure that the pre-existing conditions are covered, care coverage goes up and costs go down. those are the principles that continue to guide him. >> i want to go back to director comey and things he said about russia. one of the things he said is the russian government is still involved in american politics. is that the view of this white house? >> i think that's the view of the fbi. >> is that different than the white house? >> it doesn't go that way. the director and the intelligence committee update the president on all of the threats that the united states faces and all of the intelligence activity that need
to be briefed. >> and then does he accept that? >> i don't know what he has briefed the president on. i'm not trying to be coy. i know the question was asked during the testimony. i don't know what new evidence beyond what they've shared with the president in december has happened between then and now. >> one more thing on that front. he called russia, quote, the greatest threat of any nation on earth. is that something that the president agrees with? >> i think the president has been clear that a threat that north korea poses with a nuclear weapon with range capacity that is threatening to the lives of americans and our allies. alexis? >> i have a few health care questions. >> okay. >> can i follow up about the president's conversation with congressman upton. until yesterday, the president thought there was sufficient funding and congressman upton came to him and suggested a billion dollars more. you were just saying that it's impossible to estimate what
would be needed. my question is, why did the president think that there was sufficient protection for those individuals who had pre-existing health conditions yesterday but today he now believes $8 billion will cover it? what persuaded him that the number that he had embraced yesterday was not sufficient and that 8 billion is going to do it? >> so, in this particular case, congressman upton and congressman long addressed it, that he through a series of conversation that he had with the president, a concern that he had in their shared goal of pre-existing conditions. president long discussed outside that the pre-existing conditions were you covered. congressman long felt as though in which the high-risk pool and the president engaged in a conversation with them and through congressman long had
bun, the president agreed if we add an additional safety net, that the cost further gets bent downward and the president agreed. at the end of the day, the president wants to work with members to make it the strongest possible bill, to have the strongest outcome for the health care system and the costs continue to go down. and i think that's one point that we keep forgetting in this discussion with what we're tryi trying to do. it's not just replace obamacare. it's dying on the vine. deductables are going up. aetna, as we just discussed, is pulling out of states and counties around the country are now going down to one and in some cases zero choices. so this isn't a question of replacing something. we are actually at a point where if we don't do something, some people will have no options for
coverage. we've got to do something and that's where the president has been willing to work and figure out how americans get the coverage that they need. >> i want to ask about the next step. there are members of the house who are concerned on the republican side that they could vote for something that will change dramatically in the senate. what does the president's message to those members who were concerned about that? is he going to prep the senate to embrace whatever may or may not come out but you hope may come out of the house? >> well, of course. i think the legislative process works as well. both sides will have an opportunity to express any changes. how much stronger this bill has become to achieve the goals that he set out and continues to work with leader mcconnell and others when it gets to the senate to make sure that anything that --
there could be issues that come up between now and then. our number one goal is to get it out of the house and focus on the conversations with the senate and in a perfect world they would take it straight up and we would go but i have a feeling the senate is going to want to stay from this. john? >> [ inaudible ] legislative fix and turn there nos into yeses. are there any additional legislative fixes that need to come before this bill hits the house floor? >> the president is willing to hear ideas. this is a question for speaker ryan, leader mccarthy in terms of when is the appropriate time. if they feel they've gotten to a point where they have the votes necessary based on the suggestions and fixes and updates, that is up to them. i'm not going to prejudge in this case through those conversations and the president has been on the phone for the
last several days and continues to do so to hear members' issues and concerns. and so i think we're getting closer to that decision. >> on timing, i have heard different things from the president over the course of the last few weeks. at one point i heard the president say he wants the bill to be taken up now. other times, it's not important. we'll just get the bill right. what's your view? is it very important as far as the administration is concerned that this takes place sooner rather than later? >> we don't want to put it up for a vote. the goal is to pass it, which we continue to get closer and closer to every day. you don't want to put it off and not move forward. the president wants to make sure that the leadership is competent that it can pass a bill and he's done everything that he can in terms of speaking with members of the house to get there.
ultimately, that's going to be their decision to do it and i think we continue to feel optimistic about the direction that we've seen the legislation go. mike? >> i want to revisit the president's comments and his tweets about the spending bill he campaigned on his business record on his bill to make better deals than politicians in the past have. does the president view the spending bill as a good deal? >> yes. >> sean, can you say that no one with a pre-existing condition will not pay more? >> i think we've done everything we can to do that. and every measure that the president has taken further not only ensures that people with pre-existing conditions get covered in every scenario but also bends the cost curve down. >> can you guarantee it? >> with you'll due respect, i can't guarantee something but everything that the president has done, including the action
that he took this morning to work with members of congress does everything by every account to bend the cost curve down to help anybody that would potentially fall into that small group of individuals to get -- to bend the cost curve down who have pre-existing conditions. so the answer is, yes, we have done everything possible to get that thing down and ensure that, number one, the potential is as small as possible. it covers people with pre-existing conditions, number one. it does everything to ensure if a state seek as waiver that they are still covered. it looks at every single possibility to ensure that people get the care that they need. >> you criticized president obama rushing through his health care plan. is this not being rushed through, the legislation hasn't been put up for public debate, this latest piece of legislation? >> every piece of legislation evolves. we had a piece that makes it a
stronger bill. the underlying principles are something that republicans have been talking about and have the contours of for the last seven years. this is something that's part of the process for a very long time. >> do you expect to see a vote -- >> the president expects to see a vote when the speaker and leader and whip call a vote because they believe they have the votes to go on. john? >> the omnibus spending bill, senator lindsey graham said republicans got their clocks cleaned on this bill. looks like as many as 100 house republicans will vote against it. how do you square that with the pronouncements out of this white house that this was a big win for republicans? >> i think director mulvaney dealt with that extensively yesterday. this is a great deal for the president. he had $21 billion in military funding. that is a huge campaign pledge that he made very clearly to modernize and update the military. it fully funds the largest military pay raise in six years
and ends the sequestration bill and got $1.52 billion in border security, which is the first installment in securing our nation border. $1.3 billion to coal miners which delivers on another promise he made. there's no obamacare bailout. the csr payments, which is something that the democrats want. there's a three-year extension of the opportunity choice, the children that will benefit from that. it increases funds for opioid crisis and eliminates and rescinds 150 programs or initiatives. i think when director mulvaney laid this out yesterday, when you look at what the president came forward with, these are my priorities, he got what he asked for. i think that's big. so this is a -- the president feels very good about what he got and, again, i think it's important to underscore two points. number one, in a senate, we
needed 60 votes. this is -- this had to be a bipartisan action because it is a spending bill so, therefore, we needed to get democratic votes with us. but if you look at a one-for-one spending increase. we got that down to $1.20. that's a huge win for the president. he negotiated a fairly strong deal with what they got versus what we got. this is just the final five months of fy '18. any president coming into office wouldn't get the first shot at the budget until the end of september after the year they got elected. so in theory, he got to push for his priorities, military spending, d.c. schools, all of the things that i've mentioned, right out of the gate. something that should have happened during the obama administration, he got a priority, a down payment on them. >> this is at least the fourth administration in the row that
has come in with optimistic predictions of how middle east peace will go. what's going to be different this time? >> i think the demand. diplomacy is paying dividends. it's going to pay huge dividends in terms of economic interests, our national security interests, but this president's style is one that has developed a personal bond with individuals and i think you saw that today with president abbas, him talking so kindly about the president. you saw the relationship that exists and is only getting stronger between him and prime minister netanyahu. you have two individuals who, because of this president, are increasing their desire for peace. you've got an individual in president xi in china that has
taken fairly significant action to work with the united states, especially with respect to our desire to end the threat in north korea. it's been unprecedented. toe have back room diplomacy is something that will continue to pay dividends and get results for this country. >> follow up on john's question? >> charlie? >> in january, the president did an interview talking about the little toy wall on the southern border. that's a quote. and said i don't know why they are even wasting their time. why is the government focused so much on existing border security measures rather than fighting for the wall that he promised that he'd build? >> thank you for an opportunity to show you some things. >> sure. >> so if i can get the first image up. you asked.
you literally could not have -- this is what exists right now throughout our country. this is the barrier. you see a place where cars can literally create little things and drive over. you've got places that can get burrowed under. that one they've cut through. this is what those images represent our nation's current border security. according to a g.a. report from earlier this year, from fiscal year 2010 to fiscal year 2015, the customs and border patrol recorded a total of 9,287 breaches in pedestrian fencing at an average cost of $784 per breach to repair. so every time that they cut through, break through, put something over, it's costing just under 1,000 bucks for us to go out and have to fix it. now to the next slide. you had no idea you were getting this, did you?
so the bill that is about to get passed, title 6, which pertains to the department of homeland security's funding on additional appropriation, states an additional $497.4 million, quote, for procurement, construction and improvements. of that total, $341.2 million are to, quote -- and this is what it says in the bill. to replace approximately 40 miles of existing primary pedestrian and vehicle border fencing along the southwest border using previously deployed and operationally effective designs, such as currently deployed steel designs that prioritize agent safety. so that's your answer, charlie. hold on. we have -- we have a porous border right now. with broken fences, things that can be cut through, places that can be driven over. and to replace this with 20-foot-high ballard wall will protect our country. something that the dhs has
designated the most effective way to do this. so that's what we got out of this bill. >> photos of fences or walls? >> that is called a ballard wall and that is called a levee wall. there are various types of walls that can be built under the legislation that was just passed. it allows us to do that. as we've mentioned, that is called a levee wall on the left and that is called a ballard wall. >> it's the name of it. it is called -- >> the fencing? >> in this current bill, it allows us to do the following. so to be clear, in several areas along our southern border, we have what was in the first slide which are areas in which someone can literally cut through with wire cutters or put a barrier over it where a car can drive over the top. what we've done is taken the tools that we have to replace --
and if you look at that one in particular, you've got a chain link fence is what is currently at our southern border. that is down there now. we are able to go in there and instead of having a chain link fence, replace it with that bollard wall. that's what it is. >> jim, we're going to take turns. this is the 2017 budget. this is a undo payment on what the president is going to prioritize in the 2018 budget that starts october 1st. the idea that we've got a shot at this is something that should have been done last term under president obama. we have an opportunity to use the last five months of the fy '17 budget to get the president's priorities jump-started. he's using the kurn bill to get his priorities moving it's currently being built in
arizona, new mexico and we are going to be starting to do this in san diego, el pass so and gr valley. >> you've asked reporters to be satisfied with the tough guy fencing until he's ready to build a wall? >> no. what i'm telling anybody is that the president is building a wall and using the best technology and what the department of homeland security under secretary john kelly says it's the most effective way to keep people out, stop drugs, stop cartels and human trafficking and prevent illegal immigration. that's what i'm telling you. >> abbas is with the president today and said he wants to see east jerusalem as a palestinian state. yesterday vice president pence said you're still looking at moving the u.s. embassy in israel to jerusalem. what is the white house's views on those remarks?
>> it's still something being discussed and considered by the president. it will continue to be a discussion that he has with both prime minister netanyahu and president abbas. i will -- they had a series of private discussions. that is why the president was able to effectively get things done for this country, is to not negotiate out in public. he's going to continue to have president netanyahu and abbas moving forward and feels confident about where that relationship is in development. it's not a question of not decided. i'm not going to negotiate what they are talking about in private from this podium. i understand it. i'm just telling you that we are not going to negotiate from the podium. jim? >> just to follow up on the president's meeting with abbas, he did talk about middle east peace and palestinian conflict, maybe it's not as difficult as people have thought. why does he believe that the
toughest -- arguably the toughest foreign policy challenge in our lifetime may not have been as difficult as we thought. >> both of these leaders have expressed the confidence they have in the president's negotiating skills and the president's desire to get peace. the relationship that he's built with them individually and the trust and respect that they have for him. and i think that he -- in discussions there's a lot of issues that have to get covered. but the president understands that they respect his ability to want to get this done. his relationships and respect that has been developed and i think this is something that he really wants. >> why even monkey around with pre-existing conditions? that's the most popular thing in obamacare. why are you guys spinning your wheels messing around with pre-existing conditions? >> i wouldn't call it