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tv   At This Hour With Kate Bolduan  CNN  March 7, 2017 8:00am-9:01am PST

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eliminate? >> thank you, senator feinstein. i am aware of those executive orders generally. i haven't studied them as i'm not yet in the department. with respect to the executive order, ordering a review of regulations on the books, my recollection is that president obama issued something quite similar during his term in office. and i haven't studied what the results of that study were. in terms of the other executive order, i haven't studied it, but i think that any regulatory action taken by any agency of the government has to comply with the requirements of the administrative procedure act which require reason decision making. that statute remains in place. as to the interplay between the apa and the executive order, those decisions would fall in the first instance to the regulatory agencies themselves, but i would have to study it further. >> thank you very much. thanks, mr. chairman.
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>> senator hatch? >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me first say that i -- >> i'm kate bolduan. you've been listening to senators on the senate judiciary committee questioning the nominee to be deputy under attorney general jeff sessions. rod rosenstein would be the man in charge of the investigation into russia and the trump administration. you can see where the line of questioning is going though he's saying he's not in the positioniot and doesn't know the facts so he's saying he can't answer the question about should there be a special independent prosecutor yet.
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we are going to discuss this in just a moment. we're also following breaking news on the other side of the hill. house republicans right now defending laying out rolling out the obamacare replacement bill. let's listen in. >> -- to not pull the rug out from anyone, including those on medicaid. we are also creating a new and repair the damage done to state insurance markets by obamacare and we return power back to the states. we strengthened medicaid and prioritize help for our nation's most vulnerable. simply put, we believe we have a better way to deliver solutions to patients, not washington bureau kratzs first. we provide the american people what we've asked for and what they've asked for. greater choice. lower costs and flexibility to choose the plan that best suits their family's needs. introduction of this bill is just the first step in helping american families across the country obtain truly affordable health care and we're eager to get started. now turn it over to my colleague, the chairman of the ways and means committee. >> greg, thank you all for joining us today. seven years ago, obamacare put washington in control of americans' health care. and for seven long years this
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failing law has hurt more people than it's helped. families can't afford their premiums. patients can't visit the doctor that they like. and fewer insurers are often coverage options every day. it's getting worse. with president trump now in office, house republicans are taking action to deliver relief to americans now. this week, house republicans have introduced legislation to repeal this failing law and to help ensure americans have access to health care that's tailored to their needs. not health care dictated and tailored to washington's needs. the american health care act transfers power from washington back to the american people. we restore state control of health care so it can be designed for the families and communities in each state. we restore the free market so americans have a greater choice of products tailored again to what they need, what their family needs.
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so in the ways and means committee, our role is first to act now, dismantle obamacare's unpopular taxes and mandates that have hurt jobs and driven up health care costs. to enhance and strengthen health saving ofs accounts so people can spend their health care tax dollars the way they need to. and we're going to help low and middle income americans access affordable, quality health care with a monthly tax credit. it's immediately available. as health and human services secretary price wrote today, this morning, our legislation aligns with the president's goal of rescuing americans from the failures of the affordable care act. secretary price also wrote that our bill, our bills are a necessary and important first step toward fulfilling our promises toward the american people. i encourage you to read the bill and cover our action tomorrow.
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this bill is available to the american public. contrast this to the affordable care act. 2,400 pages written in the dark of night and rushed through congress. this legislation is a little over 100 pages. and every american can read and understand it. house republicans promise to deliver a step-by-step effort to provide relief from obamacare and give people the health care they deserve. we take that critical first step tomorrow. >> with that, we'd be happy to take your questions. >> you criticized democrats for years for pushing through obamacare before people had a chance to read it. but now you're holding committee votes as early as this week on a bill nobody knows how much it's going to cost. nobody knows how many people will lose coverage. aren't you doing the exact same thing? >> no, not at all. in fact, the bill went online live for the entire american people, all of you, all of us to read. all of our colleagues to read. at 6:00 last night.
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it's as my colleague said, not that much to get through. it's pretty well understood. and it's keeping in practice with reconciliation legislation. as you know when the democrats did reconciliation, they didn't have a cbo score before it went up to the budget committee. that's pretty much how it operates. we'll proceed with our mark-ups. there will be a cbo score coming and we look forward to that before it comes to the house floor so all the members of our congress have an opportunity to see that. >> critics are already blasting this as obamacare lite. what's your message to senate colleagues saying this will not pass? >> we had a good brief with our senate colleagues last week. walked through with them the various provisions. i'd encourage them to read the bill, find out what's in it. i've sent notes and copies over to some of the senators who are seeking the bill. so they can read through it. we are repealing and replacing obamacare. we start with the 2015
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reconciliation legislation. the underpinning document. and we're moving forward to get health insurance where it's affordable and available to create more choices in the marketplace and to do the biggest entitlement reform since bill clinton signed welfare reform into law. so these are big measures moving forward. we've certainly met the test of the president and secretary price who believed this is repeal and reform. we will work with them but we need them to board to make this happen. >> i might add, too, this is obamacare gone. this is the first and most important step to giving relief to americans from this terrible law, and to begin the replacement principles of restoring state control and restoring the free market that conservatives, moderates, all republicans have built consensus around. dr. price's own legislation last year, which we embraced in our republican plan had an 84 co-sponsors, including members
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and leaders of the freedom caucus, the roc and the republican conference. we're following that consensus. and here is i guess my main point. as republicans, we have a choice. we can act now or we can keep fiddling around and squander this opportunity to repeal obamacare and begin a new chapter of freedom for the american people. house republicans are choosing to act now. >> comment on the president's -- [ inaudible ] and opening negotiation. so how much of this bill are you guys willing to negotiate? on the one hand you have conservatives in your own caucus that are going to hold a press conference later today and say they don't like it. on the other hand, they're going to attack you because it covers less people and it's going to reduce the protection -- >> this is -- we've held a lot of listening sessions with our
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conference members. i've met individually with the leaders of the various groups within our conference. a lot of discussions over the weekend with the white house. and various folks there. it is a legislative process. we now have a bill that's available for all to read, and i encourage you to do it. i'd encourage them to do it. i'd encourage them to look against their own bills and what they've supported in the past. and then let's have a thoughtful, legislative discussion. there's a process before each of our committees. a process at the budget committee. a process at the rules committee n then it will come to the floor. so this is an important step moving forward, though, to fulfill our promise to the american people to repeal and replace obamacare. >> the metric of how many people are covered is not the proper way to engage the success of the health care program? >> it's interesting because if you go back to what cbo predicted would be covered on the exchanges today, they are only off by about a 2-1 ratio.
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so there were 21 million they projected would be covered. 10 million are actually covered and we're chasing young people away from insurance coverage through the various obamacare mandates. so as a result, 45% of those people who decided not to sign up for obamacare and pay the penalty instead or get an exclusion are people under the age of 35. we need to reform those markets to give options that are affordable and available to more people to actually come on to insurance coverage. we also believe the reforms under medicaid will allow states to innovate and drive more of their dollars into coverage rather than into the bureaucratic process they have to go through to get waivers. >> [ inaudible ] was one of the main options they were looking at to pay for it. what was the thought process behind not putting that in the final bill and is that something you decided on -- >> we have been listening very carefully to house republicans.
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the entire conference, across the philosophical spectrum about how best to restore state control. how best to return -- create a free market and how to make sure we do that in a way that balances in the budget. we looked very seriously at the option of actually providing the same health care available work to others through the exclusion. at the end of the day, our conference, the direction they gave us was that was not a provision they were comfortable today. and so we decided to again go a different direction. yeah? >> will this cover more americans or less americans than it covers right now? >> will it cover more americans with affordable health care than today is probably the key question. here's what i know in texas in our district. more people have opted out, found a way to get out of obamacare than are taking it. and those who have it, frankly,
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can't use it. the deductibles are too high. co-payments are too high. it's just a card. it doesn't help them. under our approach, by returning innovation to the states and actually giving americans a broad choice of plans they can actually use, i believe we're increasing access to affordable care for those who want it. and i think that's an important distinction here. and as i see the tax credit, i have a small business background as a chamber of commerce executive. so for decades i watched small businesspeople, entrepreneurs, mom and pop companies struggle to get health care. while workers and big businesses got all the help. so under the republican plan for the first time, look, if you work hard and play by the rules, you were treated equally. you get that help as an entrepreneur. so those businesses frankly
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aren't taking the affordable care act. those small businesses, it doesn't help them. >> here's what we do know. that last year, 225 counties in america had one option left for people to choose from on the exchange. this year it's 1,022 and that was before humana pulled out. this insurance market is collapsing before our eyes. the ceo of aetna said it's in a death spiral. those are his words, and he's in that market. as i talk to insurers, they are looking whether they can sustain the losses they're now enduring because the way the market is created. the facts of the matter are not what this will or won't do going forward. we've arrived at the scene of a big wreck and are trying to clean up the mess. if we don't intercede now, fewer will have access to insurance, period. we're not kicking anybody off medicaid that's on it today. you can read that in the bill pretty clearly. we're going to devolve power back to the states, decision-making back to the states and hopefully expand access to affordable insurance
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that people can take advantage of. when you're down to one out of three counties in america, one plan and in some cases next year we're hearing there may be zero, that's the gap that we're trying to prevent. >> candidate trump and president trump have been promising better coverage, lower costs and better health care. do you think you're on the road to that, meeting that goal right now? >> not only do i think that, i think secretary price believes that and president trump believes that based on the letter that they've sent -- the laters they've sent us, the communications they've issued. >> so do you have internal numbers of how many people may lose their health care? and is there a reason you won't share that with us or the american people? >> we're waiting for cbo to give us a score. >> when do you think you'll get that? >> that's up to cbo.
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>> can you explain a little bit about this insurance cap, premium or hike or fine or whatsoever it's being called and how that's different than the current individual mandate? >> sure. so we're looking at continuous coverage. this is not a novel concept. it's -- you'll find a similar version of this to cover pre-existing conditions in medicare part b, medicare part d and in the employer market. so we modeled it after that. one of the issues we found is that some people were gaming the system with guarantee issue. it's not that they had a pre-existing condition necessarily. it's they pay for nine months of insurance, get 12. the other three for free, automatically come back in the market. that was part of what's causing this spiral downward. we want to make sure if you have a pre-existing continue, you get coverage. and that the coverage is not rated based on that condition. it's just if you let it collapse. if you didn't pay the premiums. there was a marginal penalty
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there going backwards. it's a little bit like you don't get to buy fire insurance for your house when the roof is on fire. you have to buy it ahead of time. it's a little different i realize when it comes to health care but the concept is continuous coverage. you can have a gap of 63 days. basically that's two months. that's how it is in other areas of federal law today. our goal is to make sure that if you have a pre-existing health condition you're not denied insurance or priced out of the market because of that pre-existing condition. that's what we accomplished here. >> [ inaudible ]. >> yeah, i disagree. you know, i look at the 20,000 jobs that have left america because of the irresponsible medical device tax. i look at the health insurance taxes and others that drove up health care costs on americans,
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especially those who could least afford it. you run down tax increase after tax increase after tax increase, they hurt the economy. they hurt health care. they achieve nothing. i don't want americans to continue to struggle under the obamacare taxes which is why we are moving to repeal them, as well as the subsidies. and at the end of the day, for this to pass the senate, this has to balance within the budget and the window that we've been giving, and we'll make sure it does. >> where are the deviations between the 2015 bill and this bill this year? >> so on the side that we're focused on, very little from the standpoint of repealing the taxes, the penalties on the mandates and the subsidies, as well, making sure that we are defunding planned parenthood and redirecting those tldollars to
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community health centers so women have those services where they need them. so we use the 2015 reconciliation bill as the foundation for repeal, but we go farther with those two key principles. returning state control so communities can get health care designed for them. restoring the free market so people can choose health care they need. >> we have crafted the biggest entitlement reform in the last 20-plus years by going to a per capita allotment back to states for the traditional medicaid population. i don't believe that was in the 2015 reconciliation bill. that's important to empower states, and to put medicaid on a budget. so that's probably the biggest, and we have the patient stability and state stability fund in here as well because there's been all this damage done to the market itself. we want states to be able to come in whether it's texas or oregon. we have vastly different decision making that's gone on
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in health care in our states to be able to help out. >> is that going to be an annual pay-in by congress, or is that going to be set up as an endowment that just -- >> i think it's $100 billion fund over ten years. it will be about $10 billion a year out to the states if they could know that it's coming to their states. >> have you talked to any states that didn't expand and determined if they will expand if this law were -- >> we've talked to a lot of states. as you might imagine i've heard from a lot of governors. had some very productive discussions. they can -- i don't believe they'll be allowed to expand if they haven't expanded before, but if they have the expansion they can add new people on. now why do we do that? because the states have told us, and others have informed us that you have got to have a transition period here that works for the people that are on medicaid and that works until mr. brady's tax piece is up
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online and, remember, with the insurance markets, it takes them a year or so to come up with the new plans and policies and get them out there. what we're trying to do is what we pledged we would do. not pull the rug out from anybody. make sure there's a transugs to a better way with more policies, more opportunities and a more fair health system. >> [ inaudible ]. >> you'd have to ask the individual governors. >> on the tax policy -- >> yeah. >> [ inaudible ] small businesses. so this is going to reveal that net investment tax. how does that fit into your broader tax vision with the rate cuts? >> clearly, we have an economy that's struggling. worst recovery in half a century. we have some young people that can't find good paying jobs. a lot of people have given up. so part of this is to remove the damaging, we think job killing taxes in the affordable care
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act. to lower the cost but also it fits in to our vision of the tax reform proposal that's built for broeth. built for the growth of jobs and wages in the u.s. economy. n a key element of the tax credit is that it is really targeted and tailored to the individual. it's a credit that's immediately available to them. it grows and increases with age because your health care costs go up as you get older. expands with your family because you have greater needs as a family. it's a credit that you can take from small business to small business. from state to state, home if you are starting a business or raising a family, even as you are approaching retirement. this is unprecedented freedom. and i would note, too, that in this legislation, thanks to the work of chairman walden, that those who are on the aca today who are watching it slowly
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collapse, they'll actually be able to buy products off the exchanges, including catastrophic coverage that's very important to them as we make this transition. and so it is very carefully and deliberately thought out. >> thank you. >> there you have it. chairs of -- let's just call them for the architects of the republicans replacement to obamacare. they promised it. campaigned on it. won elections on it. energized a huge swath of the country on it. today is the day. republicans finally roll out their plan to replace it. and already, as you can see from the line of questioning, the fight is on. not just with democrats but among republicans themselves. president trump, where is he on this? he tweeted this this morning. our wonderful new health care bill is now ougt for review and negotiation. let's get to this. congression correspondent sunlen serfaty is on capitol hill. we've got the sales pitch from kevin brady and greg walden but sum it up for everybody who
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needs to know. what stays? what goes? >> that's such an important question, kate. especially as you noted that one of the main lines of attack and a catch phrase that's quickly catching on up here on capitol hill among some conservatives is that this bill boils down to, in their words, obamacare 2.0 or obamacare-lite. you heard representative brady trying to beat back on that criticism. defend the bill saying this is obamacare gone. so those semantics aside, here's what would stay and what would go according to this new plan. what stays is this plan still allows children to stay on their parents' plan until age 26. it largely keeps the obamacare protections of those with pre-existing conditions in place. and keeps the no annual lifetime limits in place. but there are still many notable differences. it repeals the individual and employer mandate. repeals out-of-pocket subsidies and changes medicaid expansion.
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and as you know, you've been covering that specific point. the restructuring of medicaid. makes many republicans very nervous. especially those republicans from the medicaid expansion states. kate? >> medicaid expansion. tax credit. a real issue there. sunlen serfaty. great to see you. my panel, mark preston is here with me. gut check. greg walden, kevin brady, they think it's great. they think it's -- they have -- probably didn't say perfect but this is what they've got. here is the big replacement and the big reveal. can it get to the president's desk? >> in its current form, absolutely not. it's not even democratic opposition. it's the republican opposition. not only in their own chamber but from what we're seeing from united states senators across the capitol. >> it's for various reasons. rhonda, one of the big questions is how much is this going to cost? you heard from the lawmakers. they don't need that cost estimate from the cbo. that will come later.
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if they're working without it right now is that telling? >> there's a lot of concerns on cost. let's start by saying that obamacare was unpopular in many ways because the whole u.s. system is screwed up. you have a mishmash between public and private. the u.s. has the world's most expensive health care system. about 2500 more per capita than switzerland which is the next most expensive. terrible outcomes. i don't think this plan actually moves us away from that. what we need is economies of scale. i think that that means more government involvement in health care. that's an ideological issue between republicans and democrats. that's not what you'll get here. you get rid of individual mandates and employ eer mandate you'll get less people. sicker people staying on the plan and healthier going off of it. i don't see the economics working. >> there's one tough problem. the other is markets, too. simply numbers. i'm talking about the vote count
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in the senate. the vote count in the house. if you are losing the house freedom caucus. you already have republican senators coming out of the senate saying they have an issue. if they can't get there, they have the heritage foundation coming out against it. where are they? >> this is the beginning of the process. i don't expect they'd put out a bill today that every republican would in lock step say, yes, this is the plan i support. especially after seven years of all these members working on their own plans and own ideal version of what would replace obamacare. i do think this is a very good first step. not only because you have house and senate leadership united behind this plan but president trump tweeting out a plan this is a plan they support. if he's able to put his political capital behindthis plan, put some shoulder into this plan they can earn those votes but they have to earn them. that's what today was the start of a long campaign to win passage. >> the most important thing other than everything you say is important. one of the most important things there is if the president -- if he puts some skin in the game.
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i get the sense from republicans so far they haven't seen it. and that is a concern. the statement coming from the white house so far. we read -- we read that tweet. i read you the tweet from the president saying our wonderful new health care bill is out for review n negotiation. the white house putting out a statement yesterday from sean spicer, the senate. president trump looks forward to working with both chambers of commerce to repeal and replace obamacare. is he really sticking his neck out for this? >> i think he is. there's a lot of intentional positioning going on behind the scenes. he did call it our bill. he did call it wonderful. he is endorsing the bill. this bill was intentionally put out in a form less than appealing to the conservative hard liners to the house freedom caucus because what was so interesting about the president's tweet is he called it a negotiation. what does the art of the deal tell us? you put forward the strictest most hard line position and negotiate and give a little. don't put out like for instance, crossing state lines, allowing
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insurance companies to cross state lines. allow that to be something you give to conservatives. there's a lot of conservative proposals not put in this because those will be the carrots given to the conservative wing of the party to ultimately get the votes needed. >> paul begala, democratic strategist. from a communications standpoint if you have conservatives calling this obamacare lite, how do you beat back that narrative? >> as they move to the right, kayleigh is almost certainly correct this will move to the right. thn they'll lose votes in the middle. a lot of senate republicans who are worried this will cripple the medicaid expansion in their state. they still can't tell us two questions. two most important. how much does it cost? who does it cover? we don't know yet. and we'll find that out in time. they'll score this. we shouldn't debate it until they have. before the congressional budget office has reviewed the bill, i bet my lifehouse republicans
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keep their health care on this. senate republicans keep their coverage. congressmen and senators, they are not going to kick themselves off, but they're going to kick millions of americans off. and that's the political problem they'll face. they'll go home to their town hall meetings and people will say, i work for a living and you work about four days a month and you make me pay for yours? it's untenable politically. >> and that is one question that's already, nia mallika, join us here, that republicans are facing. how many are more or less americans going to be covered on the plan? so far, the answer has not been an answer. you heard kevin brady say they're going to be increasing access to affordable care for those who want it. that might be great for some, but on the issue of especially access to health care for low-income americans, this is how congressman jason chaffetz answered that question this morning on cnn. >> americans have choices. and they've got to make a choice. maybe rather than getting that new iphone they love and want to
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spend hundreds of dollars on. maybe they should invest that in their own health care. they have to make those decisions themselves. >> he's trying to clean up -- already trying to clean up those remarks, but are remarks like that going to come back to bite him? >> i think so. it might come back to bite him in terms of donald trump. donald trump has been the one thing that he wants people covered. he doesn't want to see people dying on the street and not having health care. so i think to his ears, that might not sound so great. in terms of entitlement reform and being a compassionate conservative, in the way he has talked about medicare, medicaid, in social security, he has said he doesn't want to be cut on that. it's going to be a problem when he starts to hear people talk like that and hear all of it that people might be kicked off of medicaid, the most vulnerable people in some of these states. and red states like west virginia. red states like ohio. red states like kentucky who have expanded medicaid.
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this is the part of the obamacare debate that hasn't been discussed as much. 10 million folks have been covered because of that medicaid expansion. and it looks like when folks talk about it, the congressman we heard today, they are focussing on middle class people. and obamacare has been tough and toughest in terms of middle class people who don't necessarily qualify for the medicaid expansion. may be in different states where they didn't expand medicaid. so in many ways it seems like a lot of this is tailored to those folks. it also seems like seniors might have to pay more because, remember, the individual mandate was really designed to spread around the sort of expense and cost of this to make older folks be able to get into this system. so, you know, donald trump is going to negotiate. he's going to figure this out. but a lot of what he's going to be hearing today, i think is going to be comments like jason
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chaffetz. he's been watching "f "fox & friends" and tweet back at the screen talking about expa expanding state -- so you can buy coverage across the states which, guess what, is already offered. this idea that somehow that's going to be the quick fix to obamacare and quick fix to the health care industry and insurance industry is sort of ludicrous because a lot of states have tried that and it doesn't work. if you're in new york, you don't -- you're not going to want to buy health insurance in mississippi because a health insurance plan isn't going to want to have the cost and sort of expense of putting together a network in new york. so it's -- the devil is in the details. we'll fig are those out going forward. >> with health care, the details of messy. you have got kevin brady laying out this is a little over 100 pages versus 1,000 pages when it came to obamacare. dmocrats will acknowledge that obamacare needed fixing but you also -- but this is where the
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rubber meets the road. is this where one longtime republican rick wilson tweeted out, i think the house is learning the -- what the bumper tastes like when the dog catches the car. >> yes, that's absolutely makes a lot of sense. the thing that's interesting to me here. the iphone comment made earlier. actually underscores the whole problem. we have a global economic system in which things like iphones keep going down in price. jobs, everything can be outsourced. but health care is something you get at hom and something that operates on a national level. something you need to be middle class. that's going up in cost. education is going up in cost. all the things you need are going up. stuff like iphones are going down and that's part of the entire economic backdrop of the election, really. and it's one of the reasons trump was elected. >> a bad metaphor on multiple
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levels. >> a lot more to discuss. stick with me. the man who could be in charge of the justice department's investigation into russia contacts and hacks into the election is facing tough questions on capitol hill as we speak. you see congressman lee, senator lee right there asking questions there. is this -- this is also important to point out. this hearing is getting a let more attention than it normally would. we'll take you there. a lot more to discuss. plus, president trump once said the fbi director had a lot of guts for investigating and coming out talking about the investigation into hillary clinton's e-mails. but now is that praise and trust on shaky ground? and president trump gets a rock star welcome when he surprised the white house tour. it wasn't just schoolchildren in the room, though. why was hillary clinton there? (vo) maybe it was here, when you hit 300,000 miles. or here, when you walked away without a scratch.
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in the hot seat right now on capitol hill, rod rosenstein. he is facing his senate corn
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firmation hearing to be the number two at the justice department. deputy attorney general under jeff sessions. usually a hearing like this would go largely unnoticed. but today, because now that attorney general jeff sessions has recused himself, rosenstein will be the point person to oversee any investigation into the trump campaign and russia's alleged interference in the election. one of the first questions rosenstein was asked related to that situation. listen. >> have you ever met with representatives of the russian government? >> over the course of my career from time to time i've spoken to groups of visiting lawyers and judges from foreign countries and certainly possible there may have been russian officials there, but i don't recall any such meetings, no. >> congressional reporter manu raju has been watching all of this. this hearing has been going on. what's some important bits we've heard so far? >> it's about that independent prosecutor and whether or not mr. rosenstein would support an independent prosecutor. this is an issue that
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republicans and democrats have been pushing him on to get a commitment given that as the number two of this department, he'd oversee this investigation now that jeff sessions has recused himself. mr. rosenstein really not saying one way or another how he come down on that issue. here's his exchange with dianne feinstein and mr. rosenstein. >> do you support the appointment of an independent special counsel to look into these matters? >> senator, my understanding of this, and it's based solely on media accounts at this point. at least one of your colleagues called for a special counsel for something related to this matter while attorney general lynch was in office in early january, and she rejected the request. she said exactly what i said that she had confidence in the career professionals at the department. but she had an additional piece of information. she presumably knows the facts and i didn't and she rejected that request. we have an acting attorney general for this matter. dana boente was appointed u.s.
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attorney by president obama. if there were a need for special counsel, he currently has full authority to appoint one. i don't know at this point if attorney general lynch or acting deputy attorney general boente are right or wrong but i certainly wouldn't be in position to overrule them without having access to the facts that are the basis for their decisions. >> so clearly that's not an answer that democrats are looking for. patrick leahy, also a senior member of that committee, just emerged from the hearing room telling reporters he expects, he wants him to make a commitment to back an independent prosecutor. and this all comes, of course, as the senate intelligence committee is taking part in this investigation. on that committee is senator john cornyn saying just moments ago out here in the hallway, telling me he went to the cia yesterday. got information about the help with his russia probe along with the top two members on that intelligence committee. so these investigations are going forward, but democrats want a little bit more.
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they want that special prosecutor, but they're not getting any commitments as of yet, kate. >> manu, great to see you. let's bring back the panel for this side of the story. mark preston, rod rosenstein is seen as a straight shooter. by and large, he worked for bush, worked through obama. he's seen as a straightforward guy. conventional pick. obviously, never thought he'd be in a position like this to have to deal with this kind of thing. did democrats really think they'd get him to come forward and say, yes, absolutely, i'll support a special prosecutor as i sit here before you. >> if you don't ask, you don't get the answer. >> i'm told that all the time. >> i just want a little more. just a little more. >> exactly. >> bottom line is that this is a political play by democrats. and also really trying to elevate the issue even more than it already is right now. and what better way to elevate it than to do it with somebody who is going to be jeff sessions and will eventually become jeff sessions' number two. now as you said, he is very well
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respected. i don't think that democrats in bloc will not support his nomination. you'll get all the republicans there anyway. he is the longest serving u.s. attorney at the justice department right now. as you said, he's also very well respected. he's really become a proxy in this battle right now with the trump administration. >> and clearly they're not there yet, alex, in terms of the justice department is not there to say, they are going towards a special prosecutor. do you get a sense where the tipping point would be that there would be outcry or enough pressure from capitol hill that the justice department would feel the need to go that route? >> i think the democrats are in real risk of laying their politics get ahead of the process here. there are existing investigations, ongoing investigations in the senate intelligence committee. the fbi has its own investigation. they need to let those investigations play out. a special prosecutor would only be appropriate if those investigations found something that was worth prosecuting. and we're not nearly at that
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stage. we have months to go before we get close to that stage. the democrats by insisting on the special prosecutor at this early stage are not only undergoing the nonpartisan investigations, they're making this clear this is about politics for them, not about the actual results. >> paul begala, democrats overplaying their hand on this? >> that's the -- cnn poll this week says two-thirds of the american people want independent counsel on this and for good reason. here's why. operationally, i used to work in the white house. the deputy attorney general is someone you deal with a lot. let's say that this man is appointed. first, let me just say, really intellectually dishonest to saylsa say loretta lynch didn't appoint one so we don't need one under trump. he'll be working every day with jeff sessions who was a high ranking official of the campaign, who met with the rush ran russians and misled the senate. he could be a witness in any investigation. he's work with him every day. and then you go to the white house and you're deal with jared
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kushner, his son-in-law who met with the russians during the transings. even with president bannon who clearly was top aide and ran the campaign. >> paul. >> you are deal with people who will be witnesses or maybe even subjects of the investigation. you can't be unbiased. you have to set this outside of your own decision-making. no matter how much hype you come in with, oh, i'm totally nonpartisan. it's a human interaction every day. this is why when jim comey was faced with the same choice in the valerie plame case, the first thing comey did, brought in patrick fitzgerald, the u.s. attorney in chicago. brought him in to deal with that leak case because he couldn't deal with white house officials who he was having to investigate at the same time. >> we'll see if he gets confirmed, we'll see if his opinion changes when he becomes deputy attorney general. all of this, of course, against the backdrop of the president's allegations against president obama that president obama wiretapped him. jamie, you have been talking to
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a lot of republicans. it seems by and large the sense that i get, most everybody, probably everyone, was caught off guard by the president's -- the president's tweet, the president's allegation. what are you hearing from republicans on how they are deal with this? >> bewildered, frustrated. they all woke up saturday morning and said, not again. whatever happened to that guy who addressed congress, who stayed on message? what about that nice gorsuch? they feel frustrated about it because they feel there are important things to do, to get done, and this is getting in the way of the message. they just don't want it, you know, going on. it interferes with it. >> kayleigh, you're shaking your head. >> look, i think president trump has very fair points on this matter, particularly when you had a january 19th "new york times" headline that read, wiretapped data used in inquiry of trump aides.
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further, you look at mike flynn's communications, which were intercepted when they were allegedly monitoring russian diplomats which is a commonplace thing to do. something also commonplace is minimization tactics. when you come across a u.s. citizen in the course of general monitoring of communications, you are supposes to minimize what you do and monitoring those individuals. >> there's a lot of questions about -- there is a lot of questions about that minimization, if you will. but i will -- i want to get to something fun and delightful. is that in the end, do you really want a congressional investigation or just want the president to pick up the phone and talk to the justice department and get this figured out? this is knowable. this doesn't need a congressional investigation. i'm going to throw that out there as a wild idea. all right. but then there's this. please roll the video. [ which acheers ] >> so president trump surprises the white house tour as they are just reopening white house doors
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today. he surprises the white house tourists as far as we're told by the pool. it's a big group of schoolchildren and chaperons and parents from alabama. i saw a couple of things. let's start with this. first off, what i see is, mark, do you remember when kellyanne conway said donald trump needs to do these rallies because they are his oxygen? this, to me, is a smart white house play to get that man the oxygen that makes him happy. get that support and that love that he needs to maybe keep him off twitter. >> yeah, the adoration he's getting right now is the fuel. and for all the criticism that i have for donald trump, which has been, you know, quite a bit in the past few months, i like this. i like the fact that he would actually go out and meet with the people and these kids will always remember it. >> and paul begala, you can't miss we put the image and that hillary clinton was part of this surprise as well. her portrait right there. would you like to have a caption
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contest? >> the caption should say trump with the woman who got 2.8 million more votes than he did. >> kayleigh, would you like to take a stab? >> yeah, we won, and look who is in the white house. >> and look who is watching over your shoulder as you speak. all right. great to see you. >> he's going to be tweeting -- president trump is going to be tweeting his caption in about 10, 9 -- >> exactly. thank you, president trump. we always appreciate your viewership. okay, everyone, that was fun. coming up, president trump praised the fbi's director's guts during the campaign. so why won't the white house say right now if james comey currently has president trump's confidence? that's ahead. with l'oréal's new extraordinary clay. this hair rebalancing system with 3 refined clays... purifies oily roots... hydrates dry ends. for up to 48 hours of fresh hair. l'oréal's extraordinary clay. from l'oréal hair expert/paris. won't replace the full value of your totaled new car. the guy says you picked the wrong insurance plan.
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of james comey right now? does he have the president's full faith and confidence to stay on? >> i don't think -- we've only heard unsubstantiated anonymous sources make those claims.
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i don't think director comey has directly commented on anything he has allegedly said. i'm not going to comment on what people say he might have said. i think the director is more than capable of speaking for himself. >> what about the president's view of the fbi director? >> i haven't asked him that yet. i think, obviously, is he focused today, first and foremost, on this toefrt keep the country safe. >> that was sean spicer declining the opportunity two times to say whether or not the president has his full confidence in the fbi director james comey. this is after sources say that comey was incredulous over the president's allegation that former president obama wiretapped his phones during the election. comey was so concerned that his staff asked the justice department to publicly reject the president's claim. cnn senior white house correspondent jeff zellaney is joining me with more on this. where do things stand at this moment 11:53 on the east, between the white house and the fbi? >> kate, excellent question.
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we don't know the answer to that. you can be assured that sean spicer will be asked about that again today in his white house daily briefing. now, we know the fbi director james comey was furious by this. we know there are divisions inside the fbi, the department of justice over this. what we don't know is how it will manifest itself, and will the fbi director ever go public with this? certainly that was not a ringing endorsement from sean spicer there. it's a yes or no answer. you have the president's confidence until you don't. he will be zd that again today. important to remember the fbi director was appointed, of course, in 2013 by president obama, but president trump said he wanted to keep him on. he basically embraced him in the blue room of the white house earlier this year. now it appears that he is incredulous. we'll see how that plays out, kate. >> the status of that relationship is key on many fronts as many investigations
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are underway. great to see you again. as jeff points to sean spicer holding a briefing in a short time. big interest in that briefing as they normal will are. this also just in. i a key moment at the hearing of rod rosenstein who, if confirmed, would oversee the investigation into the trump campaign's ties, alleged ties, to russia. now that jeff sessions has recused himself. patrick leahy, he asked about the president's claim that he was wiretapped by president obama. listen to this. >> the question is does the president have the unilateral authority to wiretap somebody's phones? >> i don't know the details, and i'm reluctant as a lawyer to comment on that. in a criminal investigation, the answer would certainly be no. >> retired -- james galliano. thank you for being here. >> it's good to be with you. i want to get your take. what is your sense of the
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relationship right now between the fbi director and the president? how critical that relationship is and what the statement that you heard -- nonstatement that you heard from sean spicer there means? >> sure. just to unpack that, a couple of things here, kate. first of all, the fbi director from everyone i have talked to in the fbi has the trust and confidence in the rank-and-file agents as well as the folks, the senior executive at fbi headquarters. his relationship with the president, of course, that's something i certainly couldn't speak to. in the history of the fbi only one director has ever been fired when he served in the bill clinton administration. it's not unheard of. obviously it's happened one time before, but for it to happen, he would have so resign. the fbi director would have to be fired by the president. he serves at the pleasure of the president, so that could occur, or congress would have to impeach him. he is unimpeachable integrity.
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if you look at when he was the deputy general in the first bush administration, if you look recently in the obama administration when he pushed back and said, hey, there is a thing called the viral video effect or the ferguson effect, and that was, you know, refuting what the obama administration was saying. he is an apolitical actor. i know this for a fact, and i -- >> of course, a lot of folks during the election, they thought he did very -- he did enter into politics in speaking out publically about that investigation. do you think that james comey should speak out now? >> i do not think he will. in fact. >> why? >> i do not think he will for this reason. the clinton investigation was a closed case at that time. >> they reopened it. >> they did, but at that time it was a closed case as far as the fbi was concerned. in this instance the russian investigation, which everybody knows that the fbi is handing on the counter intelligence end, is an ongoing investigation. i can't see him seek speaking
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out on it. >> if he does speak out, though, how does that relationship work from here on out? that is critical. what the president is charging is that the fbi was involved while comey was the director, was involved in tapping his phones. >> sure. i saw the director of national intelligence, am former mr. clapper speak out about that and say absolutely unekwifically he knew nothing about that. the very possibility in a fisa court, that the director of national intelligence might not have known about. yes, but very unlikely. the rumors about the fbi director pushing back the department of justice to say, hey, you need to get out in front of this because i shouldn't be in the business of stepping out and saying we either had something to do with it or we didn't. >> it seems as though something has to give, and i'm not sure what it is. the allegations and the silence. thank you for being here. >> quick break. we'll be right back. ♪
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there are complaints galore. left and right. >> show us the numbers. show us the numbers what the impact is personally on people. show us the numbers as to how many people will be thrown off. it couldn't be worse. >> there are many americans that will not have health insurance. many that have health insurance will not have a policy as protected today under the affordable care act. >> to suggest that what we put on president trump's desk, you know, sets a new entitlement, keeps in taxes, doesn't repeal all of obama care. we have to do better. >> this is obama care light. it will not pass. conservatives aren't going to


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