tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN October 13, 2017 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
>> wow. >> and it is some of the tripiest, wildest, most awesome music and we look deeply into that subject. >> how deeply? >> deeply, man. >> don't miss anthony bourdain parts unknown in layingos this sunday here on 9:00 p.m. that's it for us. have a great weekend. time to hand it over to don lemon. cnn tonight starts right now. breaking news on the russia investigation. this is cnn tonight. i'm don lemon. former chief of staff reince priebus answering questions from investigators today. we're going to have more on that in a moment. plus does president trump have an obama obsession. remember when he said this about his predecessor? >> we get along. i don't know if he'll admit this, but he likes me. >> well, that bro manslaughter is over. if it was ever the real thing in the first place. the president making it his mission to undo every last bit
of the obama legacy. today the iran deal is on the chopping block. >> our participation can be canceled by me as president at any time. >> that's after with the stroke of a pen while once he remembered to sign. he dealt with what may have been a fatal blow to obamacare. nobody should be surprise ds by this. elections do have consequences. so is the president delivering on his promises or is it all about the former president barak obama. let's get right to it. jim, what do we know about reince prescribe's interview. >> we know it took place today. took place interviewed by members of his team at robert mueller's offices here in washington. priebus's attorney tells cnn it was voluntary. he was happy to take part but clearly a central figure to this investigation. remember, not only was he the president's chief of staff, he
was during 2016, during the election, the chairman of the republican national committee and of course it was during the election when russian election meddling took place. that meeting at trump tower in june 2016. so he able to answer on a number of the topics that we know that the special counsel is looking into, including the firing of james comey, the fbi director, is the firing of the national security adviser, michael flynn. but also this famous meeting on air force one when the president and others constructed what turned out to be a misleading explanation for that june 2016 trump tower meeting. so just one of several interviews of senior white house officials that the special counsel intends to conduct. >> so many questions. jim, i want you to stick around. bob cusack is the editor in chief of the hill. thank you all for joining the panel with jim and i here.
david, what does this say about the speed of this investigation to you? >> well, i'm not sure it's speeding up, but it you're is moving towards the highest targets. they've clearly waited toward the end of the investigation to go for the chief of staff of the white house. you know, you gradually build it up to the top and that suggests we're not far away from asking questions of the president himself. >> margaret, how does the white house see this? we know former and current officials are going to speak with robert mueller. >> well, there's certainly been a sense of neft ability about this. they've known not for weeks, for months that all of this is coming. and the question is where is it all leading. what can reince priebus tell robert mueller that robert mueller didn't already know. and is the nature of those conversations with current and former white house aides going to be the most important element
of mueller's team's discovery or does it have more to do with paperwork, e-mail chains, telephone calls, financial relationships and advisers, past advisers who left the white house months ago or maybe even never entered the white house. >> interesting. the russia cloud is continuing to hangover the president no matter how much the white house attorneys are saying that they are cooperating. it's still hanging over them. >> yeah. it's interesting. you've heard some theorizing about what the white house legal strategy is here. perhaps they want to be more cooperative because they want to move this investigation along because they are recognizing that it does hang a cloud over the president and his administration and it's even come up in meetings with foreign leaders, the egyptian president mentioning it when he met president trump as well. they want this to go away. they want him to complete the work, but of course, they want him to cleat the work without finding prosecutable crimes by
people close to the president. and as you see the special counsel conduct these interviews, it shows that he's taking these lines of inquiry very seriously. >> bob, they do want this to go away, but what does this say to you that reince priebus and hope hicks and all of these folks are -- is it just a normal investigation how things run? >> i think they're getting closer to the finish line, don, if you look at the big picture. if he's close to the finish line and we don't know that for sure, he's got to finish it soon because this can't go deep into an election yearment so i think this is an indication that maybe eventually, we've heard speculation that mueller could purview trump himself. maybe that's coming. >> interesting. in the past 24 hours, david, president trump has taken two key actions to further chip away at president obama's legacy, lilg obamacare subsidies, decertifying the iran deal. is this all about blowing up the former president's legacy? >> i think it's more about blowing up the former president's legacy than anybody
wants to admit. anything which has the name obama on it, it automatically becomes, you know, a target for donald trump. and he's trying to rers as much of that as possible. what was worrisome about this, don, is that what this means is is that the poisonous relationship that now exists on domestic policy issues is creeping into foreign policy as well, and that is that one president can make a deal and the next president, because the former -- he doesn't like the former president, different party, he's the enemy, therefore, we have to cancel the deal. and that obviously winds into this iran situation. but it also winds into the obamacare. one of the reasons he saab tanld -- he looks like he's sabotaging or laying the groundwork for sabotaging the iran deal. >> he is. >> in the same way he looks like he's trying to sabotage obamacare. it has the former president's name on it, former party. he wants to appeal to his base.
everybody -- the country overwhelmingly in polls said we don't want to repeal with no replacement because it leads a lot of people to suffer and insurance market that become chaotic. and why we would do this when the country itself is so opposed to it suggests that it's the president's internal urge. and what we did in iran was to scratch his itch, you know. we didn't need to go this route on this, but his aides said let's find something that's going to keep the president feeling somewhat satisfied. we're doing the same thing on obamacare. i've never seen a situation where because a president has an impulse, because the president has a dislike, that policy is suddenly bent to sort of sea some psychic inner need of the president. >> bob, smiled if i asked if it was about blowing up obama's legacy. i think it's fairly obvious. >> it is. but as you said earlier in the show is that this is what trump
ran on. and you look at his biggest promises, getting rid of obamacare, hasn't happened yet. his number one promise. build the wall, it haflkt happened. i think trump is thinking -- >> i've got to do something. he's obsessed. >> without a doubt. was there anything that trump ever praised obama for? i can't remember. any program that he liked? no. >> no. especially the today with obamacare, iran. i've got to do this because i want to -- because it is the former president and i'm not getting anything done. >> and i can't get congress to do it, so i'm going to do it myself. >> margaret, weigh in on this. is the base happy about this? >> well, i think there are really two different issues to look at and i think the president has signaled very clearly in terms of health care that he not only is willing to but wants to blow the whole thing up. i think on iran it's a little bit less clear, and some of his aides, maybe they're just fooling themselves, but continue to hold out hope that this at least for the next two months
and perhaps longer, will keep that deal alive, long enough for european allies to convince the president not to blow it up, for congressional republicans to convince the president not to walk away from the deal, et cetera. when it comes to health care, though, for now and you saw the president talking at the value voter summit, some of the moves on health care have involved taking away coverage of birth control and that sort of thing. that absolutely is red meat for the base. one of the longer term questions is how some of those members of his base will feel when they themselves lose health benefits as a result of some of these changes. >> those are the people who are more -- most at risk of losing it is the trump voter. but go on. >> certainly in terms of two things, number one, this move toward the association and the shorter term medical coverage which he announced yesterday and then the subsequent move today, last night and today that looks
at removing those subsidies. that's going to have an effect on millions of people, and many of those millions of people are trump supporters. and the question politically is will they blame him or will they blame barak obama. the question substantively is what's going to happen to coverage for those americans. >> well, he certainly will blame barak obama. and it's interesting because he has fooled his base into saying that it is fake news, that the exchanges obamacare is collapsing and into believing it. and then when they start losing health care he's going to say you're losing your health care because of obamacare, because of the former president. david, if congress doesn't act on this iran deal -- excuse me, jim, if congress doesn't act on this iran deal, democrats don't come to the table on health care, is it on trump or congress? is president trump attempting to skirt any of the blame of failure here? >> well, if you listen to the president's words today, he said if congress doesn't act to kproou the deal to his satisfaction, he will cancel the deal. now, whether the president
follows through on that after 60 days, we don't know whether -- he could punt again. we don't know. but he did lay out the possibility of walking away from this deal. just to your larger point, don, about -- and to david's point as well about the intention behind this. you know, this iran decision, it's a decision looking for a rational really, right? because the certification process was imposed by congress on this deal to make sure in effect that iran doesn't cheat on the deal. to give congress an opportunity and the president an opportunity as the deal was functioning, that if iran doesn't fulfill its part of the bargain to pull away from it. now, the fact is iran is fulfilling its side of the bargain. don't listen to me. listen to all of trump's senior advisers, his defense secretary, his secretary of state. listen to the allies who signed the agreement. iran is in compliance. iaea which oversees the agreement said the same today. so there's no actual rational
here here for the president to decertify, but he's losing the language of that congressional oversight to find a way out. again, it's a decision looking for a rational. he's found that rational, but it certainly doesn't match the outlines of the agreement as negotiated by the u.s. and its partners. >> the rational rhimes with obama. thank you all. thank you. i appreciate it. when we come back, what's the reaction around the world to president trump's threat to kill the iran deal? will anybody trust us at the negotiating table? ♪ ♪ you nervous? ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
called the iran nuclear deal the stupidest deal of all time, so it should be no surprise that the president today is refusing to certify the deal. >> our policy is based on a clear eyed assessment of the iranian dictatorship, its sponsor ship of terrorism and its continuing aggression in the middle east and all around the world. based on the factual record, i have put forward, i am announcing today that we cannot and will not make this certification. >> cnn's senior international correspondent frederick ply con live for us in take ran.
what's the reaction there? >> reporter: well, there certainly is a lot of anger and frustration here in iran. almost an unheard of response from the government. coming up only minutes after president trump spoke and dpaif his own speech blasting president trump saying, look, the u.s. can't leave this deal unilaterally. he accused president trump of lies and also said that basically everything that president trump was saying was wrong. now, ra haen also said that iran is going to stay in the nuclear agreement unless the u.s. walks out. now, one of the most interesting things that he said, though, is he defended iran's revolutionary guard, which is a hard line organization and he's a moderate. so if president trump wanted to divide the moderates and the hard liners here in this country it seems as though actually the opposite is hangment they're actually banding together and both of them now saying they don't believe they can trust the united states. but, you know, don, one of the most interesting things that we do when we come here is obviously we try to speak to regular iranian folks on the
street here. we spoke to both hard liners and moderates who are at odds with each other a lot of the time. and the moderatesment better relations with the united states. they thought the nuclear agreement could bring economic benefits. a lot of them said they were very disappointed in what they were hearing today. and many of the hard liners said, look, we told you will all along you can't frus the u.s. at the negotiating table. >> thank you so much. i want to bring in now david road, online news director at the new yorker and robin write who writes for "the new yorker" as well. thank you both for joining us. so robin, this is perplexing because our european partners, top officials in the trump administration say iran is complying. trump says they arement. he's the only one that's saying they are not. he says they're not living up to the spirit of the deal. the president tweeted this and this is just tonight. many people talking with much agreement on my iran speech today. participants in the deal are making lots of money on trade with iran. so i mean p what's the
discrepancy here? what's your reaction to the president's tweet and his discrepancy? >> well, the reaction has been clear across the world and that is from not just our european allies who have long spoken with a single voice with the united states. for the first time we see a real split between the europeans and the united states on the issue of iran. we see a split when it comes to china and russia. you've seen across the world very important institutions, whether it's the u.n. weapons inspectors or the united nations itself challenging the president whether its being excluded from certain military sites on inspections. there have been eight u.n. reports that have certified that iran is in full compliance with all the terms, all its obligations. and so one of the things that's really quite interesting is to
see the plit and that has repercussions far beyond iran. it will impact our ability to deal with the growing challenge with north korea. it has implications for u.s. credibility on any international accord. we've been moving away, whether it's trade or the environment, from a number of agreements made by not just the democratic administration before the trump administration but others earlier as well. and so that's -- so the kind of rat cal shift, total reversal of policy, the walking away from an international accord really has a sweeping impact on our ability to negotiate on a lot of other crises around the world with both our allies as well as some of our adversaries, including russia and china. >> here is what the defense secretary mattis told reporters today. he says i give advice to the president. he was leektd by the american people, and i stand by the iran strategy as it came out today. what's wrong with the president
wanting a broader deal beyond curbing iran's nuclear production? i mean, isn't iran's involvement in terror, isn't that a legitimate concern? >> it is a legitimate concern rs but the basic problem here is this is another issue where donald trump has an easy answer to this incredibly complex problem. how do you contain iran and he just says you tear up the deal and walk away from it and we'll solve it. trade, we're going to involve solve that. health care, we're going to solve that. and the speech today was full of exaggeration and false statements. and he's keeping his campaign promises, but, you know, will those campaign promises actually lead to a better foreign policy? >> i was watching the speech today and some of the other comments he made, and i wonder -- i said -- even someone who is not that versed on these issues will come away looking at him wondering if he knows what he's talking about. let's just be honest. does he ever know what he's talking about on these very important issues? >> i don't know. i mean, i can't get in his head. >> but as you watch him your
assessment. >> he's presenting an alternate version of international relations. almost an alternate reality about iranian history and this deal and how bad it is and exaggerating, saying it doesn't last long. it actually lasts -- >> his own advisers are saying that they're complying. >> yes. the secretary of state and the secretary of defense, every other party in the deal says they're complying, but he's doing this over and over again on multiple issues, domestic and foreign policy. >> how do you see -- robin, same question for you. >> well, the president made a statement today that iran was not in compliance with the spirit of the accord. this is a 159-page document. he's referring to one sentence in the preface which says that the deal -- that those who are party to the deal hope that this will lead to greater regional and international cooperation. and it's the kind of language that often goes into a deal, and it is not referenced any place else. >> do you think that's all he
read? >> well, i don't know what he read. but, you know, it's hard to believe that he really understands the full scope of the deal or that he has a viable alternative. the danger is if the deal should collapse, because the united states makes it difficult for iran to do business, even with europeans who want to continue engaging with iran, that what incentive is there for iran not to move forward, not to enrich european yum, not to feel threatened and feel like it needs to advance its arsenal? and so there are a lot of tripwires that are set off by making the kinds of there et cetera that he has, particularly when we're not even convinced that he can get congress to move forward, and that leaves us in kind of a policy purgatory. >> that was my question to david. i mean, he kicked this back to congress. so what do you see happening, because they're going to have, what, 60 days to do something? >> yeah. they have 60 days. there will be a push for a bill
to set some new sanctions. i don't think they'll act. they're going to need 60 votes to make that happen. i think the tone today, though, i think he'll eventually terminate this deal. i don't know if it will be in 60 days, six months. but he is so systematically going through and reversing obama's achievements. i think he'll do it. in his defense, again, he's carrying out every single campaign promise. it's just, again, all these promises, all these wild statements about well, with mks co, all these problems that he was going to solve, given his it seems limited knowledge in all these areas, will all these proposals actually work. >> the campaign promises are often just red meat for supporters. they don't necessarily move the country forward. once you get in that seat you realize -- >> yes. will this style of governing work. >> it's frightening. so, listen, by the way. senator corker, who trump is fighting request, the chairman of the foreign relations committee he told the
"washington post" this tonight. he said you cannot publicly cass straight your own secretary of state. the tweets, yes, you raise tension in the reason and it's very irresponsible. but it's the first part, the castration of tillerson that i am most exercised about, robin. those are strong words. does this, i don't know, does this pack the future of this deal? >> i don't know whether it affects the deal itself, but the fact is he is certainly insulting his own cabinet ministers. he did that with jeff sessions at the juftd. he's done it with tillerson. we know that there's deep tension within the administration, that he continues to have these fits of fury, taking it out on the people who are most trying to help him negotiate, whether it's domestic or foreign policy. and that does not body well. i mean, you have to hope that the wiser heads, particularly secretary of defense mattis and the national security adviser
mcmaster and john kelly, these are all military men who have long experience in dealing with conflict zones and with running huge institutions. >> so far he hasn't taken their advice. >> well, it doesn't look like he's taken their advice completely. it looks like there are some hard line voices that have managed to circumvent those who are closest to him to weigh in and have influence, inject these lines like talking about terminating a deal when there's no real alternative out there. and it only invites iran to engage in a nuclear program again. >> thank you both. i appreciate it. when we come back, the real reason the president is set on dismantling obamacare and what it could mean for you.
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the president making another major move to dismantle obamacare, immediately ending federal subsidies to insurance companies that help lower income americans afford insurance. getting rid of obamacare was one of his big promises on the campaign trail. >> together we're going to deliver real change that once
again puts america first. that begins with immediately repealing and replacing the disaster known as obamacare. you're going to have such great health care at a tiny fraction of the cost, and it's going to be so easy. >> repeal and replacing obamacare, that's what he promised. i want to bring in now, hello to both of you. so here we go now. so getting rid of some of the subsidies. steven, that was the campaign trail. the president just indicating this indicating it may not be that easy so far. he's seeing it's not that easy to repeal and replease. he says obamacare is causing such grief and tragedy sore many. it is being dismantled but in
the meantime premiums and dublt i believe so way up. >> let's start by the way with something you were just talking about earlier. maybe i'm old-fashioned, but i think there's something really refreshing about a politician who actually keeps his promtsz. i campaigned with donald trump. this was one of his single most important promises, and i'll even make the case that he had a mandate from the voters to get rid of obamacare. so obviously congress struck out on this, and now he's trying to do as much as he can independently of congress to roll back obamacare. it's in a state of financial collapse. that's the reason it needs this multibillion dollar bail out. >> steve, you know that's not true. you guys keep repeating that. the fact don't bear that out. >> what isn't true? >> that obamacare is collapsing. >> it sure is. i mean -- well, let me put it like this, don. >> it's not collapsing under its own weight. it may be collapsing because the president is forcing it to.
fact check, go on. >> let's do that. this law is seven years old. it's not as if it started to collapse under donald trump. as you know, it started to collapse four or five years ago when people started paying, you know, a premiums that were as much as double what they used to pay. >> so how -- >> they can't afford it. >> i want to stick with the question. >> okay. so how does that help? >> what donald trump did yesterday, which was something really significant, which is allow people to essentially opt out of obamacare and buy much cheaper policies. so americans are going to save thousands of dollars from that provision, allowing people to buy policies that fit their needs and that they can afford. because people can't afford the 3 and $4,000 extra cost of obamacare. people can now join associated health plans that will be a lot cheaper for people. and then what donald trump did today suspect basically said, look, we're not going to bail out obamacare exchanges and insurance companies.
what's going to happen now is that the democrats are going to have to come to the table and negotiate with something. i think trump will fund these if democrats will allow, for example, more choice for people, more competition, allowing people to buy insurance across state lines. >> go ahead. >> you know, i'm so glad you started this by focusing on donald trump's promises last year. and things he's done over the last two days violate every single premise he made. first of all, he said repeal and replace, there's no replace am. he said he would lower premiums for people, lower health care costs, today president donald trump took action to increase premiums by 20% in 2018, 25% by 2020. not lower premiums, increase premiums. he said everyone would stay covered. a million yon people will lose health care according to the congressional budget office. and finally, he said he'd protect pre-existing conditions. and the policy that steven moore lauds completely undermined
pre-existing conditions. so you can get cancer and one of these junk plans, associated health plans, junk plan can drop you. that's what it makes it cheaper. they don't have to cover preexisting conditions. that is what makes it cheaper for that part. if you're concerned about cost, then why have a policy that basically says we're going to increase premiums by 20%? what happened here is that the president betrayed the voters. he said that he was going to help. he made all these promises. and out of spite, okay, out of spite for the affordable care act he is victimizing people who have health insurance through the affordable care act. >> but he did say he was going to repeal and replace. this isn't a repeal or a replace. this is sort of a dismantling. >> he did say he was going to repeal and replace. and i sure, okay. try doing that. you can't get it through the congress. so you're instead just destroying and destabilizing the health insurance markets. that's not what he promised to
do. >> let steven respond. >> first of all, are you really saying that donald trump is the one who is breaking his promises? >> yes. >> name one promise of -- no. really. go back to the things that barak obama seven years ago every single promise was violated. he said if you like the insurance you got, you'll be able to keep it. >> yes. >> you said that it wouldn't have the -- now you need 10 to $15 billion to bail out the insurance companies. all of these things -- >> right there, steven moore, that was inaccurate. in fact,el affordable care act reduced the deficit. it has actually saved money. the proposal the president made today by executive action, oh by the way, that was another promise, he wouldn't do executive action. if you're concerned about deficit reduction, you should support the affordable care act, which actually reduced the deficit, not what the president did by executive action today. >> how is the affordable care act reducing costs for anyone? i mean, look across the country.
everybody is paying -- no, no. hold on. hold on, neara. >> i'm sorry but the president lied occasion after occasion after occasion. >> one at a time, please. >> come on, let's be honest here. americans are -- >> please try. >> please try 30, 40, 50. i just got back from arizona. explain to me if insurance costs are coming down why people in arizona are paying double what they used to pay for insurance. >> i'll tell you why. >> go ahead. explain. go ahead. >> let me just say i think you've dealt with propaganda from the last couple of years and not with the facts. first of all, there's not a single bare market in the country. insurers are everywhere. premiums have been going up. and you know why? insurance companies say the premiums are going up? not me, not my -- insurance companies say premiums are going up because the president is threatening the -- >> stop. stop for a minute. >> out-of-pocket -- >> hold on. if that's the case, explain to
me why the insurance premiums went up a year and a half before donald trump even announced he was rining for president. >> yes. and before, just to be crystal clear -- >> they went up before donald trump announced he was running for president. >> do you understand how the affordable care act works? when the premium goes up, there's a subsidy increase. 90% of the premium increases have been effectively not -- what the president did today was say i'm going to take away the subsidies. so when your premiums go up, you pay for it, not anyone else. that's what's destructive. if you are so concerned about premium increases, why would the president take action to increase payments by 20%. and don't listen to me. listen to the insurance companies, the doctors, every staple in the insurance -- >> got to go. >> the insurance companies, you're right -- >> president did was wrong. >> the insurance companies love obamacare. >> cancer patients -- >> i've got to go, guys. >> they say their insurance
premiums are going up 20 or 30%. >> pause of what the president -- >> thank you. always a pleasure. you guys don't need me. i'm going to go over a glass of wine or something. thank you very much. when we come back, the country is focused on the iran deal, health care, aid for puerto rico. but the president, this is what he cares about. >> guess what? we're saying merry christmas again [applause] . give up, skeletor! you're finished! curse you, he-man, you interfering imbecile! give us one good reason we shouldn't vanquish you to another dimension! ok, guys, hear me out. switching to geico could save you... hundreds on car insurance. huh, he does make a point... i do like to save money... catch you on the flip, suckas! geico. because saving fifteen percent or more on car insurance is always a great answer.
president trump speaking today at the values voters summit of evangelicals telling them his administration is stopping attacks on ju day oh christian values and that america is a nation of believes. >> we know that it's the family and the church, not government officials, that know best how to create strong and loving communities. and above all else, we know this. in america we don't worship government. we worship god. >> i wanted to bring this cnn
political contributor maria car doena also margaret hoover and scott jennings. hello to all of you. thanks for joining us. by the way, merry christmas. i've been saying it all along. i'd better get with the program. i can't say that anymore. well, maybe it's back now. so margaret, president trump spec about ending a tax and returning moral clarity to our worl. how does that message resonate coming from this president? >> well, to whom. to whom does it resonate? how are you asking? to the people with whom he was speaking, i think they, you know, accept it because they have basically two choices, right. i mean, in their minds they could have had donald trump or they could have had hillary clinton and they made that sort of moral compromise themselves back when they decided to get behind donald trump, knowing that he was an imperfect man but believing that on the political issues that are most important to them as a cohort, mainly life
and abortion, that hillary clinton would have been worse, and that donald trump was the lesser of two ooels and they were that these on their side and they have his back. and the rest they have decided doesn't matter. >> moral compromise. that is an excellent way of putting it. here is the president. this is him speaking at this values voter summit. this was in 2015. >> i've been so nice. i've been so nice. >> so, scott, he got booed back then. perhaps the moral compromise hadn't started yet. but he got standing ovations now. why the big change in reception, do you think? >> well, i think politics is comparative. and in 2015 he was being compared to other republicans, who were closer to the christian values voters than donald trump was. today he's the president and he's being compared, as margaret said, to the alternative, which in the last election, of course, was much worse in their minds. so i also think today his ret,
on was right on track to what he wants to hear and a lot of his actions are right on track where they think the president ought to be. so in both words and deeds he's been very appealing to the values voters and i suspect they're going to then this political traction for the next three years because they want to maintain their policy influence over the white house and of course the president wants to maintain this part of his base. >> so president trump also reignited his war on christmas rhetoric. >> they don't use the word christmas because it's not politically correct. you go department stores and they'll say happy new year or they'll say other things and it will be red they'll have it painted, but they don't say, well, guess what? we're saying merry christmas again. [applause] >> i mean, happy new year and merry christmas. sorry. >> thank god, don. >> they're two different things, but i'm just saying. honestly, i mean, come on. have you guys really been to a place and someone has not said merry christmas to you?
this is made up. margaret. >> well, it's all for the -- it's for the base. i can't even tell you -- sorry if maria is going. >> look, i was going to say thank god that the president addressed this, don, because i know that this is what keeps every single american up at night. this is a huge problem in the country. so i'm glad the president is focusing on it. i'm being facetious for those of you -- >> political crack to thiz base. why do you say that? >> yes. it is absolutely political crack to his base. because, to margaret's point, the audience that he was speaking to today eats it up. and what is so ironic about the words that have been used today is they're absolutely right. it is a moral compromise. i would go even further. these christian values voters have made a deal with the devil. this is a president who during the campaign said he has never even asked god for forgiveness and didn't even know what that little white waiver thing was. and so this is also a group -- and this is what i think makes
him going to speak to this group, you know, kind of historic and not in a good way. there's a reason why presidents when they're presidents have never gone to this group. this is a group that has been categorized by the southern poverty law center as a radical right hate group. they put out pamphlets today, don, about how home sexuality is hazardous to your health. i mean, there is a reason why going to this group does nothing to really focus on the issues that we're facing today, which is the divisions of this country. the way that this president likes to divide us instead of unite us. >> you're saying he's playing to an extreme and you're saying that this group -- >> he's playing to the most extreme right. >> so you think the value voters are the most extreme right. >> i do. >> margaret takes exception to that. >> of course maria does and maria should because that's her point of view. look, i can't even tell you when i was a commentator on bill oh
rile's show on fox news how many segments we had to talk about how the left was going after christmas. >> that was ten years ago and christmas -- >> it is an evergreen for his every his base and it's the same people and maria is right. but the reason he stokes that fire, right, the reason he goes out on the rallies. the reason he goes out to throw red meat to that base is because, truthfully, to keep the base energized he just needs to sing from their hymnal. >> i've got to go to the break. >> because there's no policy deliverances. >> we'll be right back. kyle: mom! mom! kyle, we talked about this.
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tell your doctor about all the medicines you take... ...and if you're pregnant or planning to be. ask your dermatologist about otezla today. otezla. show more of you. we are back now with my panel. so scott, the credit ib critics president say his speech is supercritical given his history with women and other things. why do evangelicals overlook his inappropriate comments? >> with president trump as with many politicians they recognize they're not perfect people. no one is arguing that donald trump is a perfect christian.
in fact, i think there's only one perfect christian. before we went to break, my democratic counterpart tonight sat here and said that people who take their christian values into consideration when making up their minds on who to vote for are a hate group. if you needed a succinct explanation for how the democratic party has completely lost connection with middle america and may apparently never regain it, that's all you need to know. >> the southern poverty law center has categorized them as subpoena. >> as doing what they want versus maria's viewpoint that christians are a hate group for taking those values into consideration. >> i'm a christian, by the way. >> that's all you need to know about american politics. >> i'm a christian and it's not me that categorized them as a hate group, it's the southern poverty law center that categorized them as a hate group. why would a christian group put out a pamphlet that says how
homosexuality destroys your life. how is that not filled with hate and bigotry? i'm sorry if i said that the president of the united state, the united states, not the divided states, which is what i know trump wants to be, should never go and speak to a group that would have the gall to put out a pamphlet like that. >> he's the first sitting president to do it. >> and there's a reason. >> look, guys, i mean, what you have here is nobody defending the president, right? and this is what the far right has to do. the far right has to hit the left. you can't defend the president in terms of his moral authority here. we all know this is transactional politics here. he's made a deal with those voters and the bottom line there is judges, judges, judges, life, life, life. and as long as president trump remains true on that issue, they will be solidly behind him. >> scott, did you say that donald trump isn't a real republican and he isn't a real
christian? >> well, donald trump is certainly not a christian in the sense that many of these value voters have practiced for their whole life, but i think today -- >> that's putting it lightly. >> as margaret just said, he's engaged in the transaction that fuels american politics. they want influence over policy. he wants their votes. so they've made this bargain, and this is what they're doing. and it's good for both groups. i understand why they support him. because he's doing what they want him to do. and they have this influence which they didn't have in the last eight years of the obama administration. >> do you think it's appropriate for the president of the united states to go speak to a group like this? why is he the first -- >> to go forward with his agenda -- >> to speak to this group? >> i think it's fine for the president to speak to people who support his agenda. >> oh, so you're saying that -- >> keep making fun of people who are christian voters. >> i'm not making fun, scott, i'm just saying facts.
>> -- that election again. >> appropriate for the president of the united states to go speak to the neo-nazi group and the kkk because they certainly support the agenda of this president. >> if you want to compare christians to the kkk, you keep dealing that hole. >> you just said, scott, that you thought it would be appropriate for the president of the united states to go speak to any group that supports his agenda, the kkk and the neo-nazis and white supremacists support his agenda. >> that's not true. >> no, they do! >> this isn't where we are. thank you, and this is where we have to end. when we come back, a white house insider now talking to investigators. who are these people?
it's me and it's you. don't stop now, it's easy to add to the routine. join energy upgrade california and do your thing. this is cnn tonight, i'm don lemon. we're live with breaking news tonight. former chief of staff reince priebus answering questions from russia investigators. we'll have more on that in just a moment. plus president trump working to dismantle the legacy of his predecessor, barack obama, putting the iran nuclear deal on the chopping block. >> our participation can be canceled by me as president at any time. >> joining me now is fareed zakaria. it's friday, and here we are with more russia