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tv   Inside Politics  CNN  July 26, 2017 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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welcome to inside politics, i'm john king. right off the top, republicans have moved to their obamacare repeal and replace debate. we'll take you live to the senate when they get around to that debate as republicans try to sort out their path. another big story in washington today, white house aides tried to calm a brewing war between the president and the attorney general, but will the boss go along? and the traveling road show visits blue collar ohio, is it a campaign revival? >> sometimes they say he doesn't act presidential. and i say, hey, look, great
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schools, smart guy, it's so easy to act presidential. with the exception of the late, great, abraham lincoln, i can be more presidential than any president that's ever held this office. >> he said that, he really did. with us to share their reporting and their insights, abby phillips of the "washington post." and cnn's dana bash. cabinet members, the old saying goes, serve at the pleasure of the president. except for attorney general jeff sessions, he now serves at the displeasure of the senate. >> i want the attorney general to be much tougher on the leaks from intelligence agencies, which are leaking like rarely have they ever leaked before, at a very important level. these are intelligence agencies, we cannot have that happen. i told you before i'm very disappointed with the attorney general, but we will see what
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happens, time will tell. time will tell. >> time will tell, the president said there, that was yesterday. earlier today, detaunte appeared to be in the works, for the white house to crack down on leaks, and white house aides appeared -- just an hour ago, the president asked, quote, why didn't a.g. session replace acting intelligence director. mccabe, more importantly, as promised congress to make sure that special counsel robert mueller has all the resources he needs to conduct his russian meddling investigation. sessions makes no secret he blames -- if jeff sessions didn't recuse himself, we couldn't even being talking about this subject. so it did appear this morning,
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perhaps they were trying to find a face saving way out here. jeff sessions gets tougher on leaks, the president backs off. what's the end game here? >> the best thing that jeff ske sessions can do for president donald trump is to not resign. if trump gets his way here, we know he wants sessions gone, we know he's not willing to do it himself, otherwise he would have done it. he has the power to do that. but that could touch off a series of very explosive events on the hill. republicans are signaling very strongly that they would push back hard on trump's move to get rid of sessions and what would be taken very clearly as a signal that what he wants to do is install someone who can act on the russia probe. this is a point at which people who are close to trump know that there's really no way to get him off of this issue, the best
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thing that sessions can do is stay on, try to signal to trump very strongly that he's enacting the agenda that he's dealing with leaks. but there are a lot of people both within the administration and out of it who understand that trump firing sessions, no matter how angry he is, would be a really catastrophic mistake. >> is there nobody that can go to the president and say, sir, agree or disagree with the reasons you're mad at jeff sessions, you're hurting yourself, you're undermining your own legal standing. now you're mad at the social counsel, you're mad at the fbi director. you keep acting like you have stuff to hide. >> if they are, he's not listening, because you do have political allies of jeff sessions speaking out telling the president, listen, this is a guy you need, particularly on the immigration issue, sessions announced yesterday that sanctuary cities might not get
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the funding that they used to get. so he's already, sessions is enacting parts of trump's promises and agenda. and trump doesn't seem to care. and the backlash from that community, which was very supportive of this president, would be harsh and it would be loud. >> and the answer to your question, my understanding, the question of isn't there anybody around who could say this is going to hurt you? over the past month or two, however long ago it was, that sessions recused himself, the president has gotten more and more worked up, more and more angry about it and what the repercussions are and the president has sent people to try to get steessions to quit, and didn't happen, and the president took it in his own hands, first with this series of tweets and statements like we saw yesterday to try to force him to quit. and i think that the fact that he's not quitting, and he's
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being encouraged to over the past 24, 48 hours, you've seen this ground swell of support to try to signal sessions, conservatives have your back, don't go anywhere, focus on immigration and other issues is really fascinating push back from republicans. >> the domino effect from other people in the cabinet, if you're treating jeff sessions today, what does it say about your management style. this is the attorney general who has a unique place because of the investigation. >> and it wasn't just a month ago that sessions recused himself, it was five months ago, it was more than two months ago that he offered to resign reportedly and trump turned him down. he could have done it now. why now? it could be because the president feels so up against the ropes somehow about the russian investigation. >> and he knows a lot more about what's happening than we do. >> and how his son-in-law and
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closest confidant has already undergone two days of questions from the house intelligence committee and their staffs, so he knows even more, i'm sure they have talked. it makes everything he wants jeff sessions to do, which by all indications jeff sessions already was, as much as any cabinet member carrying out trump's agenda, but it makes everything he does now look like it's so political because he's trying to save his job. >> and abby mentioned this at the start, one of the interesting things at the start, you see a break from the president on this, the trump base has been very loyal. you have seen part of the conservative base sayi ing if w have to choose between trump and jeff session s we'll choose je sessions. and listen to part of this here, including lindsay graham, one of the things saying that jeff sessions was very weak. >> the weakness is that the
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president is trying to not use his power, he's trying to get sessions to quit, and i hope sessions doesn't quit. and if the president wants to fire him, fire him. >> we don't have to sit around and say we like what's going on, and we like somebody that's obviously being brutalized when he shouldn't be and he doesn't deserve it. >> and i think it would be incredibly disruptive and make it more difficult for the president to accomplish his agenda. >> the number two senate republican disrupted, more difficult to accomplish your agenda. they're having a hard enough time doing anything anyway. and senator is shelby is from jeff sessions home state of alabama, brutalized? that's a senior republican senator saying that the republican president is brutalizing the top law enforcement officer of the united states. >> what's really interesting about this is the irony is this drawn out humiliation of a former united states senator, his first and for the longest
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time the only senator who had endorsed him during the campaign and this is the man who became famous over 14 seasons for saying decisively, you're fired. >> and that's not a small matter, because that was the persona that a lot of people were voting for. they liked it. it's been just really striking to see how the revisionist history of trump's relationship with sessions, telling the "wall street journal" that it didn't matter that sessions endorsed him. that is not at all true. sessions stuck his neck out and lent, ideological legitimacy to ru trump and his message. i talked to a senator member this week, that sessions has been stronger on border security for longer than trump has. people in the republican grass roots understand that.
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they don't necessarily want to stick it to donald trump yet, but they are standing up for jeff sessions. >> long time ally of jeff sessions says all the trump supporter who is have suddenly turned on sessions because their cult leader has turned on sessions will soon find themselves cheering on the very amnesty they have long opposed. sessions is the last major line of defense against amnesty in this administration. they think he made these endorsements to trump to make it through the republican primary. >> i think that's what you were trying to get to, abby, is that sessions and the legitimacy that he handed to donald trump at a critical part of the republican primary season, legitimacy, with sessions own conservative base to say, come on, guys, he's fine, he's one of ours. you cannot underestimate. but the sound bite you played
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from john cornyn, who's is top senate republican, talking about sessions being disruptive. the question has been over and over again when are republicans on capitol hill going to say, stop, enough? maybe this is the point where it's going to happen, maybe this is the point where they are genuinely going to go to the white house and say you cannot do this. i don't care if your back up against the wall on the investigation. you cannot do this. >> work will come to a screeching halt if he fires jeff sessions. to say that that would create the spector of crisis in this town, i think is an understatement. >> you do see that one continue throughout the show. also some good news for those of you watching jo-- scalise was discharge from the hospital.
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the hospital says scalise now starts some intensive rehab. we wish the republican whip the best as he starts that rehab. and we'll also have more on the president sparring with his attorney general. over a candlek onto the shag carpeting... ...and his pants ignited into flames, causing him to stop, drop and roll. luckily jack recently had geico help him with renters insurance. because all his belongings went up in flames. jack got full replacement and now has new pants he ordered from banana republic. visit and see how affordable renters insurance can be.
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welcome back. live pictures, that's democrat ron widen on the senate floor, the democrats are voting no on just about everything, we expected a vote on that this hour. let's get straight up with cnn's phil mattingly, who has the
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unenviable tasks of sorting this out. >> reporter: what we're waiting for is the repeal only. the to 15 repeal bill, something that had been brought up as a possibility by majority leader mcconnell last week, they clearly didn't have the support for it. that's been delayed until at least 3:30. as you go through this process, it's very complicated, people are trying to file amendments, trying to figure out timelines as we move through this process, this 20 hours of debate they're currently allowed to have on health care. but the big overarching question that repeal only vote is expected to fail. and then what happens next? we have a series of amendments republicans want to put up. are they able to get the required 50 votes? right now the answer is no. what can mitch mcconnell do to
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get the 50 votes to this bill can actually move forward. this idea that we're going to ratchet back, kind of a pared back plan that everybody can get on board with. just keep moving forward, at some point we can get to the point where we can actually start making the hard decisions? is that where we're going to end up? i think it's important to note, over the course of the next 36 hours, we have seen dozens upon dozens of amendment votes. and i think a lot of pressure as well trying to get this to the next stage. will they get there? right now, it's still an open question. >> phil will come back with more information on the vote we thought was going to happen this hour. and donald trump's defense secretary said -- the president said he is restoring the ban on
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transgender individuals serving in the united states military. the announcement came in a series of morning tweets. after consultation with my generals and military exefforts, please be advised that the united states government will not accept transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the u.s. military. our military must be focused on decisive an overwhelming military. thank you. those details from the president this morning. barbara starr at the pentagon live. i thought that the secretary wanted six more months to think this through? >> there was a memo from secretary james mattis just a few days ago about having this delay and spending a lot six months thinking about how this will work. already there is some bipartisan criticism on the senate.
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because just last month the house defeated the -- and senator john mccain, republican chair of the senate armed services committee, this morning issuing a statement about his concern on the very point you made, john. the pentagon was supposed to spend some time, some months, very rationally thinking all of this through, looking at what would be involved. would there really be disruption? would there really be large medical costs? the estimate from the rand corporation is there could be 1,300 to maybe 6,000 people who are transgendered persons who serve or want to serve in the u.s. military. one of the key, perhaps the key, unanswered question that is so concerning that the president put on the table with his tweet is that he said that people will not be able to serve in any
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capacity. that would open the door to commanders forcibly removing people from military service who are already serving honorably, whether they get an honorable discharge or not, forcing them out of the military if they are a transgendered person because the president says will not be allowed to serve. so two questions, should the people who are recruited into the military, could transgendered people be recru recruited in or people that are already serving, will this country really force them out of uniform, out of military service, john? >> i suspect this also might end up in the courts, let's bring the conversations into the room. the president is the commander in chief, the president has the right to set policy. everything about this president is different, this is certainly different. your own defense secretary, general mattis said i need six months to think about this.
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the obama administration just said a year ago let's not let transgender people serve in the military, but let's take some time to figure this out. the general stayed give us six months. the president can make a big policy announcement. the pentagon is ready with a policy paper, ready to answer questions, instead the president tweets and the pentagon goes, oh. >> that's exactly the issue here, is that we are not really sure how this plan plays out, which decisions are made in the west wing and they don't necessarily permeate the rest of government. but on this, we have between 11,000 and 15,000 people serving in the military, and that's why
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y you're seeing even republican senators staying this is not the kind of thing you announce on twitter. >> yet another example why major policy announcements should not be made via twitter. he also goes on to talk about the senate, no american, no matter their sexual orientation or sexual identity should be prohibited from the honor of serving our nation. >> i think you said it of course exactly right. the issue is process and surprising everyone, and not really knowing what the policy is, but also just kind of taking a step back, how far the culture of this country has come. i mean in 2010, john mccain voted against repealing don't ask, don't tell. now seven years later, in addition to him being upset by the process, he explicitly says that people who want to be in the military should be allowed
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to regardless of their gender identity. it is kind of amazing if you take a step back, that there is bipartisan outrage, not just about surprisingi inbut about t fact that a lot of republicans say they should be allowed to serve. >> remember donald trump, some social conservatives got mad, caitlyn jenner can use any bathroom she wants in the trump tower. he's not perceived as a cultural warrior. >> he also said in the campaign and they didn't like it, lgbt people, i will fight for you, now he doesn't want them fighting for him or any other american. the only way to see this says a play to his base at a time he's feeling so beleaguered. >> let's not forget who his vice president is, vice president pence is very conservative. tried to implement some policies in indiana that he ended up getting in trouble for, shaving
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to do with restricting the rights of lgbt individuals. so this white house is not -- we know they got some advice from the hill, people like mark meadows who are socially conservative. so they did sort of reach out to that branch of the republican party for guidance on how to move forward with this and there are people on the other side of this, if ivanka trump has been jvr -- >> every patriotic american who wants to serve should be able to serve. americans who are caqualified a can meet the standards to serve in the military. another veteran, tammy
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duckworth, she said i didn't care if those americans risking their lives trying to save me were trangay, straight, transge or anything else, all that matters was that they saved me. >> this is what happens when a politician's back is against the wall and they see their support slipping to a danger zone, particularly among their base, and as i just said about republicans -- >> that's all he has. >> exactly, republicans, whether it's cory gardner of colorado, a purple state, or john mccain who tends to be nowadays more moderate on those issues. and there are those who may not be happy about how jeff sessions is being treated and saying he's got us on this particular issue. >> i lost this lever, so i'm
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going to go over here and pull this lever? >> yesterday he was in ohio with a campaign like speech, and the day before he gave a campaign like speech to a group of boy scouts. he's formed a campaign committee this early in his presidency. but whenever he's in trouble, you can count on him throwing something like this into the next to play to the base. >> he's raised a very significant policy issue for the pentagon, and it's going to reverberate all across the country. the president, youngstown, ohio, campaign redux? congress repeated? we'll give you the score when we get back. for the strength and energy to get back to doing... ...what you love. ensure. always be you.
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or a little internet machine? [ phone ringing ] hi mom. it makes you wonder... shouldn't we get our phones and internet from the same company? that's why xfinity mobile comes with your internet. you get up to 5 lines of talk and text at no extra cost. [ laughing ] so all you pay for is data. see how much you can save. choose by the gig or unlimited. call or go to introducing xfinity mobile. a new kind of network designed to save you money. i rode through your beautiful roads coming up from the airport. and i was looking at some of those big, once incredible job producing factories, and my wife
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melania said, what happened? i said those jobs have left ohio. they're all coming back. they're all coming back. coming back. don't move. don't sell your house. >> don't move, don't sell your house, the jobs are coming back, that was the president of the united states, blue collar youngstown, ohio last night, the president promising those jobs will come back to those communities hard hit by manufacture job losses. has the president kept those promises yet and what is the outlook for those -- people who said 72% of americans said no, 26% said yes, six months later, pretty much exactly the same, so as yet, people aren't satisfied by the direction of the country, no change during the six months of the the trump administration.
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to trump's credit, any president likes this, a low unemployment rate, 4.4% nationally, it's actually gone up a little bit during the trump presidency. in youngstown, what kind of jobs do they care about? look at the pace over the last six months, this president actually below in his first full five months, he'll actually a little bit behind the pace of his predecessor's pace last year. the kind of jobs in youngstown, ohio, they want mining jobs in that region. construction jobs up a bit, but it's health care, social assistance that is driving the jobs growth we do have right now, the president's promise to drive more on infrastructure and mining, if you listen to that speech last night in the president of the united states,
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it was a nostalgic trip back to 2016. >> i just want to tell you right now, our second amendment, 100%. our second amendment is very, very sound again, that would have been gonzo. it would have been gone. obamacare has to be replaced, and we do it and we will do it very, very quickly. the senate is working not only to repeal obamacare but to deliv deliver great health care to the american people. we will end the sanctuary cities that have resulted in so many needless deaths. my administration is launching a nationwide crackdown on sanctuary cities. >> we mentioned this a bit earlier, he thrives in this setting, and there's actually nothing wrong with the president of the united states going on the road to talk to his supporters, the question is what
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is the purpose of talking to your supporters, my question in six months is going to be has the president delivered, is youngtown, ohio's economy is better. those people will start to think about it. but what do we make of -- is this helpful or is this just therapy for the president? >> can i make one comment about youngstown, ohio? this is a former steel town. but while trump is talking nostalgia. it's also a place where high-tech manufacturing is taking hold, 3d printing, relying on new jobs instead of those jobs they know are not coming back. people like him, but he's taking them back to a point in time that they're moving fast. i just wanted to point out that
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youngstown isn't the dilapidated -- >> in the past 15 years and in the next 20 years, can politicians connect with people honestly about what we can fix and what can come back or about the new economy we need to move to, whether it's college education or trade schools. that's one of the reasons why trump is president. >> to your point about campaign promises, that's actually the divide between a campaign promise and governing. you go from making promises to people that might be as big as their expectations as big as their hopes and dreams to helping actually get things done that are practical. and trump has never made that switch from the campaign to governing. that is evidenced in his activities over the last several months, but it's also evidence in the fact that we still don't know what the president's vision is for a lot of things, including health care, tax reform, infrastructure, where are these plans? >> when you say tax reform.
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here's one, the president goes on the road to talk about his agenda, but he also talked to "the wall street journal" yesterday, americans are stuck on health care, the first six months of the trump presidency have been spent with republicans in the congress talking about health care. the republican president does not want to raise taxes. the people i care about most are the middle income people in this country who have gotten screwed. and if there's there's an upward provi provision, it's going to be on high income people. >> none of the tax bills that he put out as a candidate, and there were at least two, and his one pager as president. they do not give big tax cuts to the vast middle income people, they give big ones to top earners and it will be really
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interesting because getting it out of the congress, i see a real parallel, a repeat of the health care fight they're having, where he is saying in his rhetoric, we're going to give tax cuts to the middle class, we might even raise taxes on the rich, where in that same "wall street journal" interview on health he's said what he's often said, is we're going to cover everybody. i didn't want to do just repeal, i wanted to do repeal and replace because millions will go uninsured in the lurch. but he still seems to think it will cover everybody. so the real disconnect between what he says in rhetoric, whether on taxes or health care and what he delivers in legislation is inexplicable. >> this is an area where democrats will look at -- if you took that quote, and just took the name out of it. democrats would say, we could lower taxes on the rich, middle income people will go down.
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>> clinton actually did that. >> the leadership doesn't extend farther than his rhetoric, and that's why democrats say we can't trust this guy. >> do you think he's going to pull a fast one on tax reform? >> it hasn't mattered because the legislation has been stuck in congress. but if that legislation actually becomes law, let's just take health care because that's the only one that's actually on the table right now, and it didn't cover everybody and everybody's premiums won't go up and the rainbows are going to come out and the birds are going to chirp and everything else they say is going to happen. he and the republicans in congress are going to be in trouble with their voters and that's what happens in a
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democracy. >> that health care debate is playing out on the floor of the united states senate. republicans just barely got to bring that debate to the floor, do they see a finish line? to knowing they are. going beyond expectations... because our pets deserve it. beyond. natural pet food.
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her long day as anne. hair stylist starts with shoulder pain when... hey joanne, want to trade the all day relief
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of 2 aleve with 6 tylenol? give up my 2 aleve for 6 tylenol? no thanks. for me... it's aleve. welcome back, live pictures here on the floor of the united states senate. ron white is still talking. democrat of oregon on the floor. republicans are trying to vote today on several of their proposals to repeal and replace obamacare. there was supposed to be a big vote this hour, it has been delayed until the 3:00 hour here on the east coast, we're told because of the senate parliamentarian rule because they had to deal with planned parenthood funding. the vote has been delayed because of that. this is what they're supposed to volt on, a number of republican alternatives, they're all expected to be voted down. but what they were expected to vote on this hour is the repeal
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and replace of obamacare. which eliminates individual and employer mandates, and eliminates obamacare subsidies including medicaid expansion. and eliminates aca taxes. we're going to vote on a plan, we're going to vote on a bigger plan, we think they're all going to fail because we don't have the votes to do it. so part of this process argument is a bit of a show trial. with the ultimate goal of getting those bills out of the way so that they can return to the conference committee? >> getting repeal and replace which is a scale that's just as it sounds, is a scaled down version. >> so it eliminates the individual and employer mandates and eliminates tax on medical device makers and keeps
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obamacare subsidies and medicaid expansion. >> democrats are not going to be on board with any of that. even if it does get to a conference committee, what we just saw is doa. >> have the republicans just prolonged their misery here, that maybe they get to a bill that gets to a house conservative and the house sits down with the senate moderates and find out they will never agree on issues like obamacare subsidies, on issues like the medicare expansion. they have significant, legitimate real policy differences, are they going to run out the first year of the donald trump presidency debating something they can't resolve? >> if that's what they're going to do. let's just assume that they can get that skinny repeal and replace out of the senate, which is a lot to assume anything. but let's just pretend that's actually going to pass for sure. then the two options are, bring
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it to what's known as a conference, so that the house and the senate can resolve their differences, which is the way it's supposed to work, anybody who's seen "schoolhouse rock." or, maybe this is impossible, but maybe they can convince the house republicans, this is the best we're going to do over here, we're not going to get anything else, let's just pass this and claim victory and move on. >> and again we'll watch the president's words on this because this morning he was tweeting attacking lisa murkowski on the no vote to proceed. he said in the "wall street journal" the trouble with repeal is that you will have millions of people out there that say how will we know we'll actually have health care. and i hate to do that to people. last week the president said if they can't get repeal and
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replace, then go ahead with the repeal vote. >> and he also said that he wanted obamacare to collapse. the house knows they have to try and try until they get something done and i suspect that they've determined at this point that the skinny repeal is all that it is, that going into the repeal does nothing in their hands. i mean the bill that they had wasn't that great anyway. so it's not like we're dealing with two good options, we're dealing with to bad options. >> i can only speak for 33 years. but i have never seen norms fall in the legislative process, both at the executive branch end and the legislative branch end since i got here in 1984, at the end of the reagan first term. and i have covered a lot of big bills. i have never seen anything like this process. and it for a cause that affects tens of millions of people and 1/6th of our economy.
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arizona senator john mccain's emotional return to washington as a kind of human drama. senator mccain's vote was critical to moving forward, but the senator, just days removed from a brain cancer diagnosis, made clear that he has giant doubts about his party's ideas on health care reform and more broadly about its ability to get much of anything done. >> we're getting nothing done, my friends, we're getting nothing done. and all we have really done this
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year is confirm neil gorsuch to the supreme court. our health care insurance system is a mess. we republicans have looked for a way to replace it with something else without paying a terrible political price, we haven't found it yet and i'm not sure we will. >> his lecture included this mccain prescription for improving polarized politics. >> stop listening to the bombastic loud mouths on the radio and television and the internet. to hell with them. let's trust each other, let's return to regular order. we have been spinning our wheels on too many important issues because we keep trying to find a way to win without help from across the aisle. >> fascinating speech, most of us had to watch it on television. dana bash was there.
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some would say it's hypocritical that he intends to be a maverick and vote against the republicans. >> first it was up against the backdrop of legislate ive drama the question of whether they would be able to go to debate. and that all evaporated when senator mccain walked on to the floor of the senate. and there was an impromptu kind of receiving line. and mccain, we have covered them both for so long, he was so happy to have the respect, and he has so many friendships that he really cherishes, but you can tell he was a little uncomfortable, because he knew why this was happening because of his very bad prognosis. for me, watching that was one thing but then i looked up at the visitor's gallery and his wife cindy mccain was in the
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front row and she was looking down on that before he even spoke, and she was wearing this bright yellow dress, hoping that would make her feel better. she was pushing back tears, she was clutching a tissue, it was really, really emotional to see that, people who have gotten to see their relationship and their partnership through all these years in washington. >> she's sensing the gravity of the moment. we'll see you right back here same time tomorrow. wolf blitzer is up after a quick break. have a great day. ♪
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hello, i'm wolf blitzer, it's 1:00 p.m. here in washington. the fate of the united states attorney general, the future of trance gender members in the u.s. military and the fate of health care here in the united states, we're following new developments on all those major stories, we're also waiting for the start of today's white house briefing, we'll have live pictures coming in from the briefing room. sarah huckabee sanders will go in front of the microphones at the top of the hour, we'll have live


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