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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  June 23, 2017 5:00pm-6:01pm PDT

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every meal, but really, really good. >> looking forward to this. anthony bourdain "parts unknown" will air this sunday on cnn. don't miss that, and i miraculously changed outfits. you can watch us anywhere, any time on cnn. have a great weekend. anderson is next. thanks for joining us. tonight, a new report is painting a dramatic picture of russian attempts to influence the 2016 election, revealing the cia learned that vladamir putin himself was directly involved in the cyber campaign to influence the u.s. election. the report is in "the washington post." it calls rushirushia's efforts influence the election the crime of the century. but keeping them honest, it seeseem -- doesn't seem to be raising
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much concern in the white house, even much curiosity. you'll hear from one of the reporters that broke "the washington post" story. it reveals intelligence that outlines vladamir putin's direct involvement, according to cia and cyber campaign, but it goes on to reveal a level of concern so grave over the following months, that then president obama approved planting the digital equivalent of explosives inside sensitive russian computer systems to be set off in the future if the cyber battle escalated. the story lays out how the obama administration did far less than many believe was warranted. ironically out of fear of being seen as trying to influence the election's outcome. and perhaps because they thought hillary clinton was going to win despite the hacking. but it does not reveal anything that the american public has not already known for almost a year now. namely that russia meddle in the the election. russia continues to meddle in other's elections, great britain
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and france just to name a two. moscow has its eye on doing it again. plenty of very smart people in both parties consider what russia did and continues to do to be a threat to western democracy. some even call it an act of war. yet the white house and the president continue to be blazee about it. here's kellyanne conway about it this morning. when asked about it, she answers instead about something else. >> what's the white house's response to this? >> the president has said previously, and we've got confirmation now from jeh johnson, from adam schiff, dan coats, jim comey, mike rogers, that there's no evidence of collusion, number one. and number two, this didn't have an impact on the lectelectoral results. >> we know that, as well. what about this new reporting, that there are three dozen high
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level officials that say they can connect president putin with given instructions that hacked the dnc computers and to plant fake stories. what is the current white house doing about this? >> well, alison, the president has said previous, and he stands by that, that he would be concerned about anybody interfering in our democracy. we saw a lot of people interfering with our democracy by saying he couldn't win here alone. >> against russia, what is he doing to try to stop this? >> i realize we just like to say the word "russia, russia" to mislead the voters. but you've asked me three times -- >> and you're not answering. >> he's the president of the united states. >> what is he doing? >> he's said very clearly that he wants the voter and ballot integrity to be protected. >> what action is he taking? >> at this very moment? >> yes. >> yes, because we have nothing
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to say about russian collusion affecting the electoral outcome. >> kellyanne -- >> if you were following that, she can't or won't name one thing that the president is doing to prevent future russian efforts to disrupt elections. late today, sean spicer was asked about russian hacking. we would show you the video, but no cameras were allowed. so we sent a sketch artist to the white house to draw pictures. >> is he concerned about that? >> of course. he's concerned about any country or any actor that wants to interfere in elections. >> good drawing. so sean spicer not able to single out russia. and kellyanne conway changes the subject to collusion with russia, which the administration says the president has been cleared on. or to the president's victory, which is undisputed. he won. in any case, avoiding the question is nothing new. in july, candidate trump treated
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it as kind of a joke. >> russia, if you're listening, i hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. >> by september, candidate trump was playing coy. >> it could be russia or china. it could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, snok yokay? you don't know who broke into the dnc. >> on october 7, the department of homeland security and the office of the director of national intelligence issued a joint statement warning that russia was behind the hacking. just three days later, candidate trump was focused not on the hacking but what the hacker got, information published by wikileaks. >> now, this just came out, this came out. wikileaks, i love wikileaks. >> that was october 10, three days after the u.s. intelligence community put out a statement.
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now look, things get said in the heat of a campaign, that's understood. but the election is over, donald trump is president. but what is being done by the white house? kellyanne conway didn't point this out, but she could have that the president has signed an executive order on cyber security that calls federal agencies to submit risk assessment reports within 90 days and give the military a larger share of responsibility for cyber security. oddly, it does not mention specifically russia or russian hacking. beyond that, from the president, we haven't seen much action or heard much real concern. although we're not privy to conversations the president has had with top intelligence and law enforcement officials, we do know from some of their testimony, from reports of their testimony, that he's very interested in the russian investigation, mainly as it relates to clearing him or his associates. the common thread seems to be a lack of interest in the actual threat. >> did you have any interactions
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with the president that suggests he was taking that hostile action seriously? >> i don't remember any interactions with the president other than the initial briefing on january the 6th, i don't remember -- i could be wrong -- but i don't remember any conversations with him at all about that. >> he never asked for a briefing or attended a briefing or read the intelligence reports? >> you might have been very critical of me, if i, as an active part of the campaign was seeking intelligence something that might be relative to the campaign -- >> i'm not talking about the campaign, but what the russians did. you received no briefing on the russian active measures in connection with the 2016 election? >> no. i don't believe i ever did. >> well, a bit later in the broadcast, we'll hear from a republican member of the house intelligence committee and get his take on how seriously he thinks the president takes the problem. right now, we're joined from the north lawn. i understand the white house formally responded tonight to
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the request asking for any evidence, recordings of any conversations with former fbi director james comey. what have you learned? >> reporter: that's right. they did respond. but in his usual fashion, and the response came from one of the president's staffers, top legislative affairs staffer, not from the president's attorney. and it refers back to what in this letter is called the statement, but is actually the president's tweet, that it was all reported intercepts unmasking, and illegally obtained information. i have no idea whether there are tapes or recordings of any conversations with james comey, but i did not make or have any such recordings. it is very short, two-paragraph letter. but it answers the question whether the president's tweets are really statements. this seems to clear that issue up. >> sean spicer had the briefing
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again today, no cameras allowed. any real news out of there? >> there was a briefing. you can see the sketches that we have in place of the live television images that we would normally have in a white house briefing. he did point out the fact that he believes that president trump is standing by his january comment, that the russians were the ones to meddle in the election. we haven't heard that from the president since january. and spicer defended these briefings saying it's a way to have substantive policy discussions. for what it's worth, that does not seem to be the case. there does not seem to be a difference in the substance in the discussion of the policiepo. but this is the tact that the administration is taking. much more on "the washington post" story. in the article, adam, you
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described russian interference in the u.s. election as politically the greatest crime of the century. >> right. when you consider what occurred in 2016, it is truly remarkable. spy services around the world are constantly stealing each other's streets. th -- other's secrets. that's their jobs. but typically this is done to benefit policymakers to have insight when they deal with that other country. what happened in this case is that the russians, according to u.s. intelligence agencies, not only were doing what they alway the computer systems of all political parties, but they made a decision to take e-mails that they knew would be harmful to one side and inject them into the public through wikileaks in this case, in order to try to shape the outcome of the election. >> jeh johnson, obama's former homeland security secretary, reported that it was vladamir putin himself who in fact signed off on these attacks and they have evidence of that.
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>> right. i think that was really the most remarkable, dramatic moment, if you will, that we discovered, which was basically the cia, in either late july or early in august, very sensitive intelligence from a very reliable source of information. it's very rare for the cia, despite a popular perception that they have information on everything, it's very hard for them to get putin himself, him providing an instruction. that is as close to a bombshell internal coup, if you will, for an intelligence service and for cia as ever. so for the cia itself to get this from such a reliable source of information was a turning point for the administration as it was trying to decide how to respond. >> that's fact, they know vladamir putin authorized this, was in on it. it makes the lack of comments by
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president trump about this and the doubts that he's raised about russian involvement even more stunning. >> yeah, obviously, you know, one should consider the fact that the cia does make mistakes. look what happened in iraq. so it's good to be skeptical. even obama had a measure of skepticism. he didn't just run with what brennan presented him, the former cia director. he instructed the other intelligence chiefs to go out there and confirm what the cia had shown him in early august. so the same information that was presented to obama was then presented in early january to trump. initially, he sounded like he was receptive, that maybe he was convinced based on what he was told in that early january meeting. but since then, you can see through his social media commentary and public statements that this skepticism is back, seems to be back. >> but you can't read your
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reporting on this and not be alarmed at the extent of russia's intervention, the high level support of it within russia itself, and seemingly the lack of interest by the current president in that russian intervention. obviously, there's a lot of issues, he's arguing there was no collusion. he feels that he's being unfairly tarred with that. but just the very fact of the intervention, you have both jeff sessions and former director comey testifying that they haven't had any conversations with the president, other than initial briefing with comey, about russia's interference. it doesn't seem like there's a lot of curiosity or alarm in this white house. >> right. in some ways that may be the most disturbing part of all this. obviously, something very important happened in 2016, and there can be disputes about, you know, what the intentions of the russians might be or there might be some disputes over, you know,
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whether or not this cast a cloud over trump or not. obviously, the fbi is investigating some of these issues. but really the issue is, is the government, is the united states government taking this seriously and prepared to do something to make sure it doesn't happen again? as far as i can tell, there is really no effort that i can see, certainly coming from the white house which, like you said, is not necessarily take thing seriously. or even for that matter from congress where divisions are so deep. it's just not clear if these divided leaders in congress and in the executive branch are prepared to compromise to try to address these issues ahead of the next election. >> one former senior obama official was quoted as saying it was the hardest thing my time in the government to defend. i feel like we sort of choked. was that the feeling of people in the obama administration that
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you spoke with? >> that is a sentiment of many officials we spoke to. >> was part of it just that they thought hillary clinton was going to win and they could deal with it in a clinton administration? >> i think, you know, that might have been part of it. certainly there's a certain amount of heartbreak for some of these people and some of them were counting on getting jobs in a clinton administration and now find themselves kind of in the political wilderness. but i think in this case what we're dealing with is somebody i know who personally felt like more should and could have been done. it's a reflection of frustration, but at the top, at the highest levels of the government, you know, the president and top advisers, who got to see all of the intelligence and had to weigh the pros and cons, this was very complicated. it wasn't black and white and cannot be oversimplified. these were tough choices people were making. >> it's incredible reporting.
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i encourage everybody to read it. just ahead, hillary clinton's campaign manager joins us. and whether or not he's concerned about russian hacking is one thing. there's the question of how much the russia investigation is getting inside the president's head, with reporting that he needs to vent daily on it. we'll be joined by three trump biographers, each with insight how the president reacts under pressure. americans - 83% try to eat healthy.
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before the break, you heard adam lay out details how the white house knew what it did and what it failed to do. next week, clinton campaign chairman john podesta will testify on capitol hill. joining us now is robby mook, cnn's newest political commentator. . robby, welcome to cnn. >> thank you. >> when you see looking back on it, do you blame the obama administration for how they handled this? because clearly they seemed like hillary clinton they thought was going to win and also felt like they didn't want to be seen as influencing the election. >> i think adam hit the nail on the head in the interview you showed earlier. this was incredibly complex. i think a lot of people thought
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hillary clinton was going to win. i think a lot of people decided not to turn out and vote or some people voted third party who would have not if they thought donald trump was going to win. but the whole system didn't work here. i think between national security, law enforcement, the administration, even the campaign, i think even the news media, i don't think any of us knew how to handle this situation. it's really important that we understand what happened, and look back. but i think we need to be spending just as much time right now looking at the future and saying what practically can we do moving forward? >> brian, what is president trump actually doing to prevent future russian hacking? >> first of all, he put together an election commission. he put that in the first 30 days, sort of a review of the election process. >> that was the thing about the illegal immigrants in california. >> absolutely. it's elections all together. it has --
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>> that didn't happen the first 30 days. he talked about it, but it was just recently discussed. >> like i said, we have this commission that's going to touch those processes. but when you look at what took place last october and november, it was a total failure on the obama administration. the question is, what has the president done? >> he's put together this thing that focused on what he calls voter fraud. >> you're deciding what it is focused on -- >> i'm just basing that on his tweets. >> the tweets don't lay out the complete agenda. >> other than that, anything else that you can point to? i pointed to the cyber thing. >> those are two important things. you have the security that needs to take place of our machines, and then you have the commission that is going to review what took place from i.d. stand point and other methods of how the election was interfered through these processes. >> anderson, in fairness, this commission, it's some activist secretaries of state. it's not national security officials. they are in no process to
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confront this issue in particular. >> it's going to include secretaries of states who put together elections. it's not going to be some outsider trying to guess what's going on. >> but they probably don't know anything about russia or hacking. >> but they know when things are being penetrated. >> with all due respect, you're missing the point. we're not alleging that russia hacked machines. what we're saying is that the hacking of john podesta's e-mails and skribdistributing t that's different than what the secretaries of state do. but even more importantly, until donald trump, because just this week, he said if russia was involved in any of this. i mean, if. until donald trump acknowledges that russia -- if he agrees -- you can shake your head all you want -- [ overlapping speakers ] >> one second. until he agrees with the
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intelligence community and backs them up and supports them and says what everyone else in this country knows, that russia interfered with our elections, all this is for thougnaught. >> jeffrey, unless you name radical islam or what the enemy is, how are you going to fight it, that was donald trump's criticism of president obama, rightly or wrongly. can you make the same argument on russian hacking? until he acknowledges that russia was behind this and will try to do it again, how can you -- unless you name it, how can you fight it? >> anderson, i hope you're sitting down, because i agree with you. my point is, let me just read you one part of a sentence from a "new york times" story on april 7 of this year. the american military strike against syria threatened russia relations on friday. in other words, when the
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president perceives a basic interest of the united states to be at stake, come hell or high water, he's going to act, russians or not. what we saw with the obama administration was an unwillingness to act -- >> i get the criticism of the obama administration. [ overlapping speakers ] the question is, what is he doing? >> i think he's going to take into account all the advice of what we're seeing here. we see, of course, the washington post in this story that you're quoting says despite the dire warnings, there was no meltdowns of the united states voting structure. he was just meeting with signer security people just this week. he sat there with all of the leading lights of the signer world and internet. >> that's more about updating i.t. systems in the federal government, which is a valid thing. [ overlapping speakers ] >> my point is the underlying
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attitu attitude. if your underlying attitude about the russians was appeasement, let's get along, hillary clinton and the reset button, you are just opening the door for this kind of thing. donald trump has sent missiles flying into syria, objected to by the russians. he has no fear of acting when he feels he needs to act. >> maggie, whatever the obama administration did or didn't do, no one can change that. the question is, what is the trump administration doing. is it clear to you what they're doing? >> no. and i don't feel i have any greater answers to this question than you do after listening to the white house gaggle today and listening to surrogates of the administration speak. there are legitimate reasons to criticize the obama administration, and adam covered that. but he correctly said this is a complicated issue where there is no clear, clean line how to handle it at the time.
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our system was not built to process what happened. we have seen that over and over in news stories, including a lot of aspects of this system. so the question becomes, what is this administration doing? and we have heard a variation of the news media is using this, or democrats are using this, or this is not an issue. and then we hear, you know, the president really of course he's concerned about this. the president this week tweeted the dnc hacks were a democratic hoax. so i'm not sure what we're supposed to take from that, that is feeding into a conspiracy theory that's been debunked all over the place, to use one of his phrases. so i don't see any evidence of the administration -- and by the administration, i should be clear. i'm talking about the president. he can't separate out, he takes everything about russia as an attack on him or questioning of his legitimacy. and he can't understand why people would like to see more done. there are a lot of people, including james testimony in the
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senate testimony, sounding an alarm, saying russia is coming. there is more at stake here. >> maggie raises a point here. kellyanne conway kind of verified it this morning. she wouldn't talk about what's being done, maybe she didn't know about the cyber security executive order. but she turned it to the media's obsessed with collusion, he won fair and square. that's not the argument. you can argue about whether there was collusion or not or obstruction of justice. there are investigations going on about that. and the president won fair and square. there's that is separate from what to do about russia. >> i think you have to look at it from a macro standpoint. what russia sees in president trump is somebody not afraid to act. >> how do you know? >> obama did nothing with syria -- >> that's not true. >> did he bomb any of the people who were -- [ overlapping speakers ]
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>> he made a red line -- >> donald trump called on the russians to hack hillary clinton. >> you have president trump who is not afraid to engage -- >> but see the problem with that statement is he won't even acknowledge russia was behind the interference we're talking about. until president trump acknowledges that basic fact, it's moot. you want to talk about barack obama did? he literally crippled the russian economy with sanctions. now we know donald trump is trying to weaken sanctions that the senate passed? we know that as a fact. russia's economy -- >> it didn't work. >> russia's economy was falling apart. they simply were. the reason that we know that vladamir putin wanted --
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[ overlapping speakers ] >> so afraid of obama that for eight years putin engaged him and every time obama backed down. >> this was the question that was said by republicans about president obama, at what point does president obama stop blaming president bush. at what point does the trump administration stop blaming president obama? [ all speaking at once ] >> in general terms, we're flying over the real problem here. a political committee was hacked. we think election administrators, e-mail accounts were hacked. the list of voters could be hacked. at some point we need to come down from tens of thousands of feet and go into the places that -- >> i have yet to hear anyone
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from the dnc to take responsibility not even believing the fbi agent who called them to tell them about the hacks. up next, president trump believes robert mueller is very good friends with james comey. we'll look at their history and how much of a problem it may pose. we'll be right back. z282sz zwtz
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today, the president again said he had no plans to fire robert mueller. however, he also continued casting doubt on mueller's objectivity because he said mueller's relationship with fired fbi director james comey. this is what he said this morning on fox news. >> he's very, very good friends with comey, which is very bothersome. but he's also -- we're going to have to see. we're going to have to see in terms -- look, there's been no obstruction. there's been no collusion. there has been leaking by comey, but there's been no collusion, no obstruction. and virtually everybody agrees to that.
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so we'll have to see. i can say that the people that have been hired are all hillary clinton supporters. >> as for the first part, cnn identified three did make political donations and campaigns since 1988 money totalling more than $53,000, went very heavily to democrats. about 30% of it to hillary clinton. we should point out that was as of the 13th of the month. on the 15th, a spokesman said as many as a dozen staffers had been hired and there's more to learn about their political affiliations. there's no record of any donations from mueller himself. he was appointed by fbi director -- appointed fbi director by george w. bush. as for comey and mueller being close friends, randi kaye is keeping them honest. >> reporter: no question, these two former fbi directors have a history. it dates back to 2004, when james comey refused to authorized an nsa surveillance
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program called stellar wind under george w. bush. comey learned members of the bush administration were heading to then attorney general john ashcroft's hospital room to get him to reauthorize the spying program. comey called robert mueller, who was the fbi director at the time, who alert him. >> i told him what was happening. he said i'll meet you at the hospital. he's one of the finest people i've ever met. >> reporter: comey was deputy attorney general at the time and serving as acting head of the justice department while ashcroft was in the hospital. he was later named fbi director in 2013 by president obama, right after mueller stepped down. >> so help me god. >> congratulations, mr. director. >> reporter: for years, comey and mueller have spoken highly of each other. >> it's daunting to follow bob mueller, but also a gift, given the way he's led this agency. >> i have had the opportunity to work with jim for a number of years in the justice department, and i have found him to be a man
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of honesty, dedication, and integrity. >> reporter: still, after breitbart quoted saying they are the best of friends and have been for over two decades, comey's attorney tried to set the record straight, saying jim and bob are friends in the sense that co-workers are friends. they don't really have a personal relationship. the attorney said they've never been to each other's house, and that the two men have only had lunch together once and dinner twice. another important note, despite some claims the two men are very good friends, comey had nothing to do with mueller's appointment as special counsel. president trump had already fired comey by the time deputy attorney general rod rosenstein brought mueller in to lead the russia investigation. now, whether or not mueller and comey have much of a friendship, they do seem to share many of the same values and beliefs. both were educated at virginia university. mueller at the university of
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virginia, and comey at william and mary. both had already given up big jobs at private law firms. and worked with eric holder during his time at the justice department under the clinton administration. wild the extent of their friendship remains unclear, they do both share a reputation for having a commitment to credibility, truthfulness, and honestly. >> regardless of your chosen career, you are only as good as your word. you could be smart, aggressive, articulate and persuasive. but if you're not honest, your reputation will suffer and once lost, a good reputation can never be regained. >> reporter: randi kaye, cnn, new york. up next, a new report about how president trump is handling the russia investigation. it's got some fascinating details about how the president
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tonight, "the washington post" is reporting that president trump starts each day with a ritual morning phone call, not with the key staffer or relative, but a member of his outside legal counsel to hash out the late nest the russia investigation. according to washington post reporting, 22 administration officials, the president is
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encouraging the call to get the topic out of the president's system before the rest of his day begins so he can compartmentalize it. joining me now are three men who have spent time getting in the president's head, all writing backs about civilian donald trump. tim o'brian is author of "trump nation," michael is a author of "the truth about trump," and fred thomas is author of "the trump factor" and a trump supporter. michael, this morning, this vent session with the president's attorneys, the idea is to do what bill clinton was able to do, which was compartmentalize the investigation pit clinton was under. do you think it works with president trump? >> i don't think it does work. i'm sort of reminded when i was a rambunctious little kid and my mother would send me out to play to burn off some of the energy.
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within an hour of coming back inside, i was bouncing off the walls again. i think president trump is very much like a kid with attention deficit disorder who is easily distracted in one moment. so such a phone call with the lawyers or meeting with attorneys might help briefly. but if he's given a pause, he resentment about an issue like this, his anger and obsession is going to come back. so later in the day he may still come back and he's obsessing about this being fake or something that the democrats or press have trumped up. it's why he can't move on to actually helping the country deal with the threats of russia, rather than just talking about how the threat doesn't really exist. >> tim, over the years, you've been a source of the president's anger. is it something that he can't extend that sort of get it out of his head and move on from?
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>> no, because i think he's very afraid of the russia investigation. the core issue here, which has morphed from simply being a obstruction of justice investigation or a collusion investigation, i have serious doubts he cares about the collusion piece of it, into a financial investigation. i think he's been concerned about that from the beginning. i think that's why he's been so aggressive in trying to derail it, and put it so front of mind all the time in his administration, because it's going to come back to the money trail. and that is going to lead to his wallet, his business operation. and the thing about someone who over the course of his business career doesn't have a closet of skeletons, he has a warehouse full of them. >> your feed is breaking up. brett, you knew the president as a businessman. you reported on im. would certain issues -- how do
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you see his ability to compartmentalize? >> first thing, the obsession with donald trump is his work ethic. he works harder than any other president we've seen in the white house in a long time. so he does get up early in the morning. but he knows how to focus -- >> when you say he works harder than any president, how do you know that? >> we know he gets up early in the morning and stays up late at night, and i've seen him on the campaign trail. i campaigned with him over a year, went to rally after rally. i've seen that work ethic, believe me, it's there. so as far as the focus, donald trump understands what a circle of confidence means. that's how he built a multibillion dollar portfolio, because he knows how to take a project, health care, corporate taxes, and focus on those and he's not scared of anything. donald trump is not scared of russia -- >> i've got to jump in, because you're describing a guy who is laser focused on a particular
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issue until it's done. his tweets seem to indicate the exact opposite. whether it's infrastructure week that begins with him tweeting about everything other than infrastructure. >> we know what his tweeting is all about. he's directing his message to his 35 million or so voters who voted for him. that's where the twitter comes involved. he's directing that message to his people. he attended a rally this week. that same message going out to the people at the rally. he's communicating effectively with his audience. twitter is a method that uses that communication, obviously. >> so you think his tweets are not him venting or in anger, just grabbing the machine at 6:00 a.m. and late at night, you seem to be indicating that it's a very well thought out orchestrated plan that's nothing but good for him, yes? >> absolutely. i think that's worked effectively and why he's in the white house. >> it certainly worked on the
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campaign trail, but people would argue the exact opposite. a lot of the things -- we have a special counsel now because of a tweet the president went out. is that how you see his work ethic? >> no, i don't. i mean, i've seen no evidence prior to the presidential campaign that he was especially hardworking at all. we now know that he gets very tired. when he was in italy with european leaders, he was the one in the golf cart following everyone behind while they were walking. so this is a person who may have good stamina for someone his age. he doesn't exercise. he eats poorly. the tweeting, to me, is evidence of a mind that is not very well focused. and when you listen to him talk, he can't stay focused on a topic long enough to make one coherent sentence, let alone a paragraph. so that's why he's always contradicting himself.
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he'll say, we have an answer in two weeks and a month goes by. i don't have confidence that he's focused at all. >> tim, i apologize, we lost the skype on you. up next, another gop senator comes out against the republican health care bill. others say they're still looking at the plan. we'll speak with one republican senator who falls in the undecided camp at this point when we come back. that we find a cure? i think how much i can do to help change people's lives. that helps me to keep going to cure this. my great great grandfather lived to be 118 years old. i've heard many stories from patients and their physicians about what they are going through. i often told people "oh i'm going to easily live to be 100" and, uh, it looks like i might not make it to retirement age. we are continually learning
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cancer treatment centers of america. care that never quits. appointments avale now. the health care bill has been public 24 hours. there are five republican senators who say they cannot support it, at least so far. others have been non-committal, saying they need more information and are reviewing it. one republican senator set his litmus test when the house version of the bill came out in may. take a listen. >> could you support a bill that allows insurance companies to cap their payouts to customers? >> as you present that, i ask, does it pass the jimmy kimmel test? a child born with congenital heart disease be able to get everything he or she would need in the first year of life? i want it to pass the jimmy kimmel test. >> the republican from louisiana joins me now. >> thanks for having me. >> can you say in your mind, if
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it passed, the senate version passes, it passes the jimmy kimmel test? >> yes, it does. there's no lifetime limits. it lowers the cost of premiums. a big thing is you can have insurance but if you can't afford the premiums, you don't really have insurance. it lowers the cost. other things to consider, which is what i'm looking at now. simply put, if your child is born with a congenital heart problem, there would be no lifetime limits on the cost of the care he or she could receive. >> are there limits on sort of how detailed the plan is that people are going to be able to get? people may be able to get a cheaper plan but doesn't have as much coverage, basically? >> it's essential health benefits. again, it does not repeal the essential health benefits. covers maternity, addiction and all the other things you'd expect it to cover. probably pretty good. turns out those are only 4% of the total cost of the premium. so i personally think that is a small price to pay. >> are you ready to support it
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at this point? >> no. i'm still working through it. we're 2/3 of the way through it. my staff and i are looking at it. i get texts this afternoon. stakeholders back home if you will looking at it from back home. we're trying to put it back together. >> what are you hearing from constituents? i assume you hear from both sides. >> i smile because i get one text. the guy is saying, listen, my premiums are $1700 a month. deductibles are $6,000 for me. $13,000 for my family. you have to vote for it. the next text is, omg. you can't vote for it because this is actually not right for our state. >> i get the same texts every night. >> what i'm trying to do is cut through it. i e-mailed one friend back and said, listen, i'll explain how it works. he e-mailed back in a conciliatory tone. what people are getting is almost if you will slamming the bill without understanding the bill. i seek to understand it. >> the president campaigned on not cutting medicaid at all, not having any reductions to
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medicaid. from a number of early analysis, the senate bill seems to limit medicaid over the years. >> couple things. if someone gets off medicaid on to private insurance, that can be a good thing. so first, some of those patients going off medicaid will go on private insurance. secondly, what is poorly understood, under current law, the medicaid expansion is not really sustainable for states. one example, in california, under current law, by 2020, they'd have to put up $2.2 billion for the state of california share of obamacare. for the expansion. my state, $310 million. really a big chunk of change for our state, which is relatively small. so under current law, medicaid is not sustainable. it has to be fixed for the states themselves. i would say also for the patients. >> do you have a sense of when you're going to make a decision on this? >> me personally? >> yeah. >> i'm working through on the weekend. i'll go in on monday. i'll take as long as i need. obviously, leader mcconnell wants a vote next week. >> right.
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>> we're not cooling our heels. we're working hard. i'd like to know soon. i will not decide until i feel like i understand the bill. >> senator cassidy, thank you for joining us. >> thank you. breaking news, president trump tweeting moments ago on russia. we'll have that for you in a moment. [vo] what made secretariat the greatest racehorse
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