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tv   Washington Week  PBS  March 10, 2017 7:30pm-8:01pm PST

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robert: we peel, replace, revolt? president trump rallies rebellious republicans to get behind an overhaul of obama care. but many conservatives, democrats, and health care providers are rejecting the plan. i'm robert costa, and we'll talk trump care and wikileaks tonight on "washington week." >> this is the closest we will ever get to repealing and replacing obama care. the time is here. the time is now. >> the bill that's been introduced is obama care light and conservatives across the country aren't going to accept it. robert: president trump's skills as a deal maker will be put to the test as he faces democratic and republican resistance to the gop's replacement plan. >> it's really a cruel bill that the republicans have put
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forth. it will increase the number of uninsured in our country. robert: on capitol hill, lawmakers prepare to investigate the current president's claims that the former president wiretapped his campaign. >> i will take up that challenge. either they're lying to me or there is no information and i don't believe they would lie to me about this. >> donald trump is destroying the credibility of the office of president 140 characters at a time. >> and the continuing fallout from wikileaks, posting thousands of top-secret c.i.a. documents. we cover it all with peter baker of the "new york times," margaret brennan of cbs news, and yamiche alcindor of the "new york times." >> celebrating 50 years, this is "washington week."
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announcer: once again, from washington, robert costa of "the washington post." robert: good evening. the house republican health care plan to replace obama care cleared two major hurdles in congress. a wall of conservative resistance remains. most americans just want to know, how will it affect me?
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here are some basics of the proposal. young people would be able to stay on their parents' plan until age 26. insurance companies would have to cover people with preexisting conditions and offer essential health benefits like preventative care. there would be no annual or lifetime coverage limits. the house plan would not require people to purchase coverage. employers would not be required to provide affordable insurance to employees. also, federal subsidies for out of pocket expenses would be eliminated. in addition, the expansion of medicaid that was part of the affordable care act would end in 2020. it's not just democrats, though, who oppose the plan. one of the president's strongest supporters is telling fellow republicans to slow down. >> there's no urgency here. there is no deadline. we need to get health care reform right. we don't have to get it fast. i think we just need to take a pause and deliberate more
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carefully and more openly and get to a result that is actually going to make health care more affordable and more hassle free for americans. robert: peter, i keep wondering, who owns the republican health care plan? is it congressional republicans or president trump? peter: well, you show the picture of professor ryan giving us a lecture about what is in the plan and what's not in the plan. clearly, he is the owner and author of this plan. ultimately it's going to be president trump. he is the one who is out there promising the people of america he was going to repeal and replace obama care. it's his party and his white house and his administration. so he has to step up at this point and take ownership of it or he'll find himself in a place he doesn't really want to be. it also is key to so much he wants to do from here on in his domestic agenda. if he can't get this done what does it mean for tax reform, overhauling the tax code? what does it mean for the budget? and so they've set themselves an extraordinary schedule to try and get this done. very little sense at this point
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they've got the consensus to do that. margaret: everyone in the republican party seems to want to repeal obama care but no one wants to put their name on it with the exception of maybe paul ryan who is left with the white board and drawings. part of that is because there is such a high political cost to getting something like this wrong. regardless of party, when you start hitting people's kitchen tables or their health care plans, that will matter to them when they go and vote in 2018 in some of the down ballot races, so there is a high cost to that. however, what is so interesting is that you're trying to sell something that's not fully written as yet. it's not clear why there is such a push so quickly by the white house to get this done when you don't even know the cost to taxpayers yet. we've already had the white house sort of setting expectations it might have a bigger price tag attached from the official estimates from the congressional budget office than they might like to see. >> part thaff push though for getting it done so quickly is because he, when i say president trump, over promised in some ways the fact that he
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was going to get this done very quickly. all of his supporters are saying, look. we want to see you do something quickly and we want to see you affect our lives. the idea is they know this is a political liability because since the vast majority of people that are benefiting from the expansion of medicaid are college, noncollege educated white people in rural areas, so to think about it, this policy is something that goes not just to someone's kitchen table but really into the car, into their parents', to everything about their lives. this is also something that is not very hard to understand in terms of health care, what you need to do, how you need to pay for it. i think they are really i think up against a timeline in that donald trump wants to look like a winner and if they don't get this done, it could really blow up in their faces. >> it seems like so many inside inners washington are wondering will the freedom caucus, the conservative hard liners come along. the key question is what do people out in the country actually think? you look at this medicaid expansion and how it is going
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to be rolled back under this plan. how are people reacting in the country to this? it seems like a lot of governors are frustrated with the idea and it could have real consequences for a lot of people. >> it does. as yamiche was saying a lot of people in theory are trump base supporters. if his message last year was pop lift and it's the working class left behind by the wealthy in america they'll be left behind even further if they don't have health care coverage. 20 million people have it today that didn't have it before. half of them on the medicaid expansion plans. if that goes away 10 million people roughly wouldn't have it. you know, having said that there are a lot of people offended at the idea the government should be providing free health care to people who have jobs and work but don't make much money. that that is the market. they should be out there on their own. there is this central tension inside the republican party and between this philosophical belief in limiting government and the sort of electoral message donald trump succeeded with last year. >> a great point. margaret, you've been focusing
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on vice president pence. he'll be going on the road this weekend to try to sell the plan and he's been trying to sell it to conservatives. but is president trump, who is really not acid logical as his vice president, is he more open to negotiation here? margaret: perhaps. he'll have a working weekend at the white house but he hasn't seemed to be negotiating on this. it seems to be more vice president pence who has emphasized he was in washington before. he knows this sort of how to make the sausage process and he is the one who's going to be the face out there this weekend with some of those republican governors like you talked about particularly in kentucky with the republican governors very skeptical, agreeing with rand paul, a senator whose clip you played at the beginning of the program talking about this being dead on arrival, obama care light, because he doesn't like some of the tax credits. that is a state with about 500,000 people on obama care in some form or fashion. that transition is something that they're really going to have to get right. so pressuring the constituents
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to support it when their representatives do not is a really interesting sales proposition for mike pence to be in this weekend. and the president is going to be doing his from behind closed doors. peter: it's funny they're doing the opposite roles, right? you assume pence is the insider who can negotiate and trump is the salesman, right? his great strength. getting out there, big rallies, thousands of people. we haven't seen him do that yet on this issue. he is supposed to go to nashville in the coming week so he might do it then. but the moment -- at the moment he hasn't gone out publicly and made a big push. margaret: he has talked more about the urgency, that obama care is going to be collapsing and this has to get done. he said in his remarks today the one event the press was allowed into with the president today he talked about that but not on the details of what is in the proposal. robert: what about the popularity of obama care? it is very popular in some parts of the country. democrats think they can pressure republicans in town halls.
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yamiche also the tea party was birthed in some parts out of the fact that people were really upset, that they were force today have this mandate to buy health insurance. so while there are some people that were very excited about the idea they could keep their children on their plans, you had a number of people and i would say a number of trump supporters i talked to who are very, very angry about the idea, you talk to people who have small businesses who said i couldn't afford this. that this was forcing me to buy insurance for my employees when i couldn't have it. so i think that in some ways the democrats are forcing them somehow to not do anything to obama care i think is not going to happen. but i think that in some ways if you think about the fact that they're calling it obama care light is really interesting to me. i see on the horizon the republicans saying we tried to fix obama care. we just couldn't get it together. it's not ryan care. not trump care. just obama care 2.0. to me that is really interesting. you think about the idea they're talking about the c.b.o. and trying to already say they're going to be wrong. i think to myself, okay.
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it's because you know they're going to come out and say millions of people are going to lose their health insurance and that is a nonpartisan body that trump is already going up against. peter: such a key variable. the congressional budget office will come out with this score for how much the legislation costs next week. that could upend the whole process. as margaret said we're already seeing the president and the white house starting to discredit the organization before it even weighed in which is a pattern with this president. if any institution challenges him or provides numbers he doesn't like, sudden tally is because they're rigged, because they're dishonest, fake media, what have you. until they put out numbers that he likes in which case he holds them up as the exemplar of all knowledge. margaret: like the jobs numbers today. robert: look at the opioid crisis across the country. a lot of people dealing with that addiction are on medicaid. trump ran on trying to help some of these people. do you think the white house is really thinking through all of the trickle down effects this kind of legislation could have on his own base? peter: nobody knew health care
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would be this complicated. that's what the president said. well, actually a lot of people did of course but he didn't because he has never been a policy maker. it's very easy as a businessman to say, this system stinks for all the reasons yamiche just said. i don't like the paperwork. i don't like the cost. it's going to put me out of business. it is another thing to be a policy maker in washington dealing with all the different constituencies, putting together something that is coherent and affordable. robert: what is in this bill? most critics of the bill are framing it as a lot of tax credits that are going to help republicans. it has individual health savings plans. what are people supposed to take away from the legislation policy wise? yamiche i was talking to liberal think tanks today asking them what is the bottom line of this plan for you? for them, they say the tax credits amount to you taking away health care from working class and poor people and giving rich people tax cuts. now, of course, that is the liberal take on it. this idea is you're saying you're essentially going to be
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pushing people off of health insurance and saying, look. you should be able to afford this on your own. that i think was a large takeaway from the experts i was talking to today. peter: part of the issue here, you said, did donald trump over promise? he said we'll keep the parts of the plan you like and get rid of what you don't like. the parts you do like are expensive and the parts you don't like are how we pay for it. so, you know, they're now in this conundrum of how to make this work on a balance sheet. they haven't gotten to the essential part of how do you drive down health care costs overall? president trump says that is coming next. it'll be about competition. they'll be able to open up state boundaries and people will find prices will come down. for all the reasons you just said people can't afford in a lot of cases the market place insurance plan because it's just too much. margaret: that is what is so interesting about the sales job on this. the president, while he talks about real estate he was really a branding guy. they're trying to sell something now that they're telling you is not fully written yet, doesn't have a cost associated with it yet. but making promises to groups
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like some of them more socially conservative groups that the vice president has been meeting with that once we get it fully formed you will get what you want i.e. we will do things like defund planned parenthood and we will do things like continue the ban on using federal funds for abortions. it is sort of a, we're not there yet but we promise we will get you there. just sign on now to what is partially written. that is a very hard proposition for many of theas groups. we'll see if they get there. robert: it's complicated. i spoke with kevin mccarthy this week and he kept coming back to the idea this will be done in phases and people will get what they want down the line but first they need the votes for this. beyond health care, the white house was working overtime to answer questions about president trump's allegation, made without evidence, that president obama wiretapped him during the election. margaret, you've been focusing a lot on this from the white house press room this week. you had an exchange with the press secretary where it really didn't seem clear or clear all week to a lot of people where
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the white house actually stood on the president's comments about president obama. margaret: well, i think where we ended up was that the white house doesn't have any evidence and has admitted it doesn't have any information from the justice department that would back up the president's claim. they say, well, that's yet to come and will come out through the intelligence committee hearings that will occur later this month related to russia. but it puts all the adrianza at the white house -- aides at the white house in a very uncomfortable position. the line continues to be the tweet stands for itself and we should take the president at his word. if we do that as reporters, then that leaves you with the president implicating himself as part of some form of investigation that would legally give the grounds for him being wiretapped. that's where i got into this this week with secretary spice inner trying to answer that question. the justice department did not give those assurances to the white house even though the white house would have led many to believe in saying that the
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justice department was not --. robert: why didn't f.b.i. director jim comey speak out on this? why was he quiet? margaret: well, what we know from reporting is that he did actually want to speak out on this. and had asked the justice department to do so. we know behind closed doors that he has given assurances to , in classified settings. we don't know exactly what was communicated. what we've been told is that he said this was patently false. now, why he didn't come out, i think the f.b.i. director has had many reasons to reconsider publicly speaking out and he was very much criticized for doing so immediately before the election. march 20, he's going to be one of the people up there on capitol hill testifying, and that question will, no doubt, be asked. it is going to be interesting to see how the white house handles his answer. peter: one the things that i think james comey actually did in fact communicate to us, he just didn't do it on camera in a public statement with his name attached but the leaks
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that came out obviously suggesting that he had asked the justice department to do this. margaret: unnamed sources. peter: pretty clear what his position was. people familiar with that position wanted that out there. you know, it's an extraordinary situation where you have one president accusing another president of something like this. now, there are obviously wiretaps. there is a lot of confusion about this. when they asked the white house for proof one thing they do is point to articles written by some of our newspapers. they are confusing what the articles actually said. some of the people in mr. trump's circle have been caught on tape talking to russia or people -- having intercepted communications involving russians talking about with people around trump. now, the united states taps russian phone calls all the time. there is no evidence public at this point they were wiretaps specifically on mr. trump's phone or on necessarily even people around him. we don't know that yet. that is still to be determined. there is an easy way to find
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out. it's a five-minute investigation. doesn't have to have congress involved. robert: a phone call. peter: the president picks up the phone, calls the f.b.i. director, calls the attorney general, calls the director of national intelligence, is there a warrant on this yes or no? robert: but to me the president didn't do this. a lot of people follow breitbart which had the articles, the so-called silent coup against president trump. this is the information the president is digesting. yamiche i would say he had his aides doing back flips all week mainly because this is something i think goes to the heart of president trump. it got him elected. in some ways he is someone who says bombastic things, conspiracy theories and people get in the same boat and say that's true. it's probably something and we're living in this age where everything reported is questioned. on this issue i think he's getting to the point where people are saying, wait. why are you saying this? are we still talking about
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president obama? at this point if you're president and you are going to lead and you think about immigration, health care, tax reform, all these other things you could be doing the fact that you're talking about president obama possibly wiretapping you without any evidence i think starts to get even his own party wondering what is going on here and who did we back. robert: speaking of the intelligence community, the c.i.a. is investigating its own operations after wikileaks released thousands of documents about the agency's electronic spying techniques. wikileaks publisher julian assange called the c.i.a.'s failure to secure top-secret information devastating incompetence. what about the timing of this, peter? julian assange has been linked to russian officials though he denies that link. peter: interesting. in some ways almost as interesting as the substance of what was released is the timing, the fact that it came up now. we're talking about wiretapping and the whole russia investigation. what is going on here?
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somebody somewhere has a plan. we just don't quite understand it. it doesn't necessarily mean it has anything to do with russia. it is very possible it is a c.i.a. disgruntled contractor or whistle blower to use a phrase much like edward snowden with the n.s.a. we don't really know the answer to that. but it does raise these questions again. what's going on here? who's, you know, what is the purpose of it? who was trying to accomplish what? i don't know the answer to that. robert: there are a lot of unanswered questions. another question somewhat related to wikileaks in the trump administration is former national security adviser flynn. he's revealed now that he registered as a foreign agent. he had been paid by a turkish linked organization as a lobbyist of sorts. so you have wikileaks. you have all these questions about flynn. it raises big picture questions, margaret, about the trump administration, about all of this chaos around it in terms of the intelligence community. margaret: certainly with the case of michael flynn it raises a lot of questions if he is part of this broader probe on russian contacts with u.s.
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officials to have this finally declaring himself legally to be a foreign agent having worked on behalf of the turkish government. he basically for hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbied for the turkish government. the point is that it wasn't disclosed when he was sitting in the white house as national security advise tower the president of the united states. for a government that the u.s. has had some troubled relations with even though they are part of nato. it's a really unusual position. i thought the white house again, more back flips. sean spicer the spokes person from the podium partially defending michael flynn which i think was really about defending the vetting or lack thereof and the legal issues the transition team and michael flynn's personal lawyers perhaps should have reconsidered at the time not having filed this before he entered the white house. then you have the vice president of the united states on television making clear that he found this deeply troubling. i think he called it disturbing and he said that this affirms the decision to have him
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resign, which the white house basically says was a firing of flynn. so that is also a big disconnect between what has been represented in regard to the vice president as a violation of trust and misleading him and by the white house as oh, it is a personal business matter. it raises even more questions about who is working in the white house and what the vetting was. peter: thanks everybody. robert: we could go on all night. our conversation continues on line with the "washington week extra" and we'll talk about the latest legal challenges to the trump administration's travel ban plus why the president tapped a former rival to be the next ambassador to russia. find that at pbs.org/washington week later tonight and all weekend long. i'm robert costa. have a great weekend. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
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steves: this region's breathtaking coastline is traversed by three coastal routes -- the low, middle, and high corniche. the low corniche strings ports, beaches, and villages together. it was built in the 1860s, along with the train line, to bring people to the casino in nearby monte carlo. the middle corniche comes with views of impressive villas, and the grande corniche caps the cliffs with staggering mediterranean vistas. while hailed as napoleon's crowning
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road construction achievement, it actually sits upon the via aurelia, a road built by the ancient romans as they conquered the west. a towering roman ruin celebrates that conquest. caesar augustus built the trophy of the alpes to commemorate his defeat of the region's many hostile tribes. with this victory, the completion of the main artery connecting italy and spain was made possible. this opened the way for the continued expansion of the roman empire. the inscription tells the story. it was erected by the senate and the people to honor the emperor. carved below is an inventory of all the feisty barbarian tribes that put up such a fight. and on either side are the vanquished in chains at the feet of their conqueror, a reminder to any who would challenge the empire. nearby, standing high above the sea, is touristy but magnificent eze.
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the once-formidable town gate, designed to keep rampaging pirates out, leads into the medieval village. this self-proclaimed village of art and gastronomie mixes perfume outlets, upscale boutiques, cobbled lanes, and scenic perches perfect for savoring a drink. the more adventurous can climb even further up to the scant ruins of the eze chateau. the paths leading there host a prickly festival of over a hundred varieties of cacti. looking beyond the flowers, you'll enjoy a commanding riviera view.
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>> explore new wororlds and new ideas through programs like this made available for everyone through contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> i'm paula kerger, president of pbs. ken burns is a national treasure. he's been working with pbs for over 35 years making films that changed the way we look at our history, films that challenge us, start conversations and help us prepare for the future by better understanding our past. it is all made possible because of the financial support of viewers like you. to say thank you, we are taking a look back across ken's many

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