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tv   Wolf  CNN  June 22, 2017 10:00am-11:01am PDT

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prompted the naming of special counsel. so in many ways, by tweeting this out initially, which was essentially based on nothing, the president sort of created his own worst situation. the worst outcome. this is what he had been hoping to avoid. in many ways he precipitated it. >> very interested. i know you're getting ready for the white house press briefing over there. sara huckabee sanders, the white house deputy press secretary, is going to be briefing you and all of the reporters. unfortunately, the white house has decided that the american people will not be able to see this briefing live. we're not going to be able to hear it live. neither cnn nor any of the other cable news networks, msnbc, fox, c-span. why have they decided they don't want the american public to see and hear this briefing live? >> reporter: that's right. again they've decided this is going to be an off-camera briefing. we're hoping to bring the audio to viewers later on after this has concluded. this is something the white
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house has been moving more toward, taking cameras outside of the briefing room, something that's traditionally been done on camera. and no longer having to answer questions to the american public. really gives these administration officials an opportunity not to have to have their faces on camera while they're questioned about things like why the president would float the notion of tapes that don't exist in the first place, or really any questions about russia which we've seen this administration dodge over and over again. of course, it is a blow to transparency. it's a blow to those viewers out there who fund this white house, who fund these people's salaries with their own taxpayer dollars for these folks not even to answer questions on camera. >> especially on an important day like today. the president's announcement now on twitter that there are no tapes or recordings of any of his conversations with the fired fbi director, james comey. also the senate -- the senate republican leadership has finally released their version of health care reform, repealing and replacing the affordable
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care act, obamacare. you would think that an important day like this they would want live coverage of what the white house reaction to all of these developments is. but they've decided, what, only after the briefing will we be able to play the audio only but no video. is that what i'm hearing? >> reporter: that's right. it's essentially embargoed audio until after the briefing concludes. you will not be able to listen live. and one of the things that's worth pointing out is obviously people who are watching this at home, people whether they vote for president trump or not, may not agree with every question we ask in a briefing. some may or may not be relevant to them. this is the point at which the administration has to answer not just to people who voted for donald trump but people who did not. as you mention, it's a critical day. not just in terms of the russia investigation, in terms of what is going on with these tapes, but in terms of a huge health care initiative. this is what president trump and other republicans ran on, repealing and replacing obamacar obamacare. you would expect the white house
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to put someone in front of a camera to answer questions about whether the president is happy about this bill. whether he agrees that this is not a mean bill as he described the houston? whether he believes that this is legislation that has more heart. that appears it is not something we're willing to do today, wolf. >> all right, i know that they're going to force our cameras to go down and show the floor, if you will. we're not going to be able to show live pictures of this briefing when sara huckabee sanders walks out. we'll touch base. we're anxious to get more details on the president's tweet that he posted. no recordings or tapes of his conversations with comey. we'll also get more reaction from the white house on the republican health care bill that's been released. i want to bring in our chief analyst gloria borger, chief correspondent dana bash, and cnn politics reporter eugene scott. let me read, gloria, the tweet, first of all. once again, to our viewers. president saying, no tapes, no recordings of his conversations
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with comey. even though he's the one in early may in a separate tweet who raised the possibility of records -- recordings or tweets. whooe here's what he posted -- "with all of the electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking, and illegal leaking of information, i have no idea whether there are "tapes" or recordings of my conversations with james comey, but i did not make and do not have any such recordings." as i say, he said the other day we're going to be disappointed, the news media, when he tells us if there are recordings because we would have liked to have had those recordings, presumably. this is the president who raised this possibility, and it was seen initially as a threat to comey, you better shut up because there could be recordings. >> maybe that's what it was. i mean, you have to ask the question, why did the president tweet this in the first place? was it as a threat to comey, or maybe there's another possibility. does he believe he's actually
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being secretly recorded in his own white house? recorded by law enforcement? we don't know the answers to those questions. the third thing to think about here is as we're looking at this empty podium is the president once again believes he's his own best spokesman. he didn't have his press people release this. he released this. the timing, of course, coincides with a briefing that we will not be able to see on camera because he once again wants to be his own spokesman here. and here's the tweet -- let me put it up again, in early may that the president initially posted. this is the tweet. let's get it up on the screen now. there you see. it "james comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!" he's the one who raised this first, and it's now taken well over a month to get a final answer from the president. in his new tweet, "i did not
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make and do not have any such recordings." >> look, he was incredibly frustrated. we know that he doesn't maybe always use the take a deep breath and count to ten rule before he uses social media. he at the time, the context is he had seen probably a story out there not long before he sent that tweet that, you know, talked about a private conversation that he had with james comey. sarah's right. and we were talking about this. that because he didn't kind of withhold his own emotions and anger and frustration, okay, people get frustrated, it's understandable, but he didn't stop doing it on twitter. you have comey testifying publicly that the reason he got his memos out there was a direct reaction to that tweet. he said, oh, there's the
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president, you know, basically threat earning me. i better -- threatening me. i better get my side out first. then the domino effect has just continued over and over and over again. >> called self-sabotage. >> exactly. >> he could have clarified this a long time ago, right after that initial tweet of his and said, you know what, there are flow recordings. it's taken all this time. why do you think it's taken so long for the president of the united states to say no tapes? >> i feel like he thinks this is in the best interests of people to keep them waiting and keep them intrigued. it's almost a concept he perhaps picked up from being a in reality television. suggests to some that he doesn't grasp the seriousness of what this concern was. i think he could have made it clear as quickly as possible when he mutt it out that -- when he put it out that that perhaps was not the best thing to do. that's not something he has a track record of doing. it will be interesting to see what changes come from here, from his communications department after he see that's this perhaps was not received --
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he sees that this perhaps was not received as well as it could have been. >> he's never going to see that. donald trump doesn't admit that it was a mistake. as dana and sarah pointed out, this original tweet led to a whole chain of events that have not, one would argue, worked in the president's favor because of the appointment of a special counsel. i don't think donald trump will ever say, oh, i made a mistake. in fact, i think he's revel iin in this, to a certain degree raising the prospect that perhaps he is being taped in the oval office given the number of intercepts that had been publicly repealed. >> i think the no idea part of the tweet is worth paying attention to. i think he made it clear, he said, "i didn't record it, and i don't have any tapes, but i have no idea if tapes exist" which implies that perhaps someone else could have them. we don't know now. >> can i say given the number of unanswered questions we have from this white house, of this white house about all things
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that and other issues that the president has thrown out there and not followed up on, i have to admit i was kind of expecting the week to end without the answer on whether or not he did the tapes. he actually did decide to tweet it. and so, you know, we can cross this off the long list of unanswered questions that we have. >> his lawyer, a private lawyer, said over the weekend there would be an announcement on the tapes by the end of the week. and sean spicer said something similar. i want to bring in evan perez, justice correspondent. what are they saying there about the original trump tweet which was seen at least by some as a veiled, maybe not so thinly veiled threat to comey to shut up? >> well, you know, wolf, part of the issue here is that if there were -- the president raised the possibility that there were these tapes, it created a legal issue for him. he has to -- he would have to turn that over obviously to any investigation that is ongoing.
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certainly the members of congress had already written letters to the white house asking for those tapes to be turned over if they existed or anything that memorialized the conversations. certainly robert mueller, special counsel, would want to have access to those. those are government records. they're supposed to be preserved, and they need to be turned over because there is an ongoing investigation. so i think the reason why you heard jay sekulow bring this up and sort of address this in past few days is simply because they were under some kind of legal pressure there that they had been created, frankly, by the president's own tweet. and really the other important part of what has happened now is that with the president's clarification today, is that essentially this means that it's his word versus the word of james comey, right? we're not going to have some kind of neutral party here which is in a recording that really could -- that really put to the final end here what happened in those conversations.
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that's an important thing because it makes it so much harder for investigators. both in robert mueller's special counsel's office, and also in the senate and the house which are also doing their own investigations for us to get to know what exactly happened in those interactions. >> we have done, evan, several of freedom of information requests to various government agencies including the secret service asking if there are tapes, and tell our viewers, i think all came back in recent days and said they have no -- no recording devices there. >> they have no recording devices. that's what they came back. it wasn't a surprise, per se, because everybody seemed to be completely flummoxed when the president raised this issue in the first place with his tweets. it wasn't a shocker that they tweeted, the secret service had no record of it, none of the other agencies could say they had anything like this. if there was some kind of recording, it would have personally perhaps been made by the president using his phone or perhaps some kind of tape device
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which we know he's used in the past. during his private sector days. so that's the way it stood. and it was a matter of time for him to have to either put up or shut up about the recordings because it was a big, big part of this investigation now if there were -- if there were recordings of them. >> when you say put up or shut up, tomorrow is the deadline. the house intelligence committee had asked for any recordings if there are recordings by tomorrow, right? >> right. there were deadlines put forward by these committees. again, these are committees that are chaired by republicans. it's not like just democrats are hunting and asking for things. the president created this uncertainty, and so the committees which are chaired by republicans wanted access to that information. >> i want to go sara murray at the white house. you're in the briefing room. they're going to be forcing our cameras soon to stop live coverage of the upcoming press briefing that's about to begin.
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the deputy press secretary about to brief reporters on this and the health care bill that the republicans introduced in the senate. but you're getting more reaction to the final word from the president. i'll put it up again, his tweet he just posted. let me read it for viewers who may be tuning in. "with all of the recently reported electronics surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, i have no idea whether there are "tapes" or recordings of my conversations with james comey, but i did not make and do not have any such recordings." what additional reaction are you getting? >> i think one of the things we're hearing, one of the things my colleague, jeff zeleny, is hearing is this was a misstep by president trump to suggest that these tapes existed and to sort of leave that notion hanging out there for so long. this is also what we've been hearing from others close to the president who have suspected for weeks that these tapes don't exist. that the president essentially put this out there, friends of
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his believe, to try to intimidate james comey. to try to get him to tell the truth, in the president's view. and james comey eventually went and testified under oath about his conversations with the president. he provided a number of details from the memos he kept. and he said all of this was a result of the president's tweets, a result of that notion that there may be tapes of their conversations. there are many people close to the president who feel like this was not a great move on his part. they feel like it was a mistake. they feel like in many ways he misjudged the environment he was in. he was acting like a businessman approaching a lawsuit where he was now the president of the united states dealing with an investigation that was being overseen by the fbi as well as a number of committees in congress. i think there is a bit of dissatisfaction from some of trump's allies. i'm willing to bet that we will not see the president out there saying that this was a misstep or saying this was a mistake. he does not tend to do that. obviously we'll see what sara huckabee sanders says, but that will not be a reaction we're expecting to get on camera
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today. >> here's what intrees me. i -- intrigues me. i want to get your reaction. if you read the tweet he says, "i have no idea pregnanter th - whether there are tapes or recordings of my tapes with james comey, but i did not make such recordings," he has had weeks to look at this. he's the commander in chief and president of the united states. and he action angeknowledges no no idea if there are recordings or tapes? that sounds strange to me. >> reporter: it is a bit strange. luckily for the president, a number of news organization vs. done some of the legwork on his behalf and gone to a number of government agencies and said, hey, do you know of any recording systems in the white house? any new recording systems installed? are you aware of any? one of the requests went to the secret service. they responded by saying, no, we've not aware of any new taping systems. i think maybe the president leaves the door open to the fact that i guess comey could have been recording his side of the
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conversation. obviously in some ways he did. he reported them in memos. but there don't seem to be tapes of the interactions. i think there is another instance of the white house essentially not getting to the bottom of something they don't want to talk about anymore. we've seen it over and over in these briefings, them punting questions they don't want to answer. >> stand by. the deputy white house press secretary is about to begin -- unfortunately, they're not going to allow any of the cable news networks to broadcast it live. we would, of course, taken that live. they will later allow us to air some of the audio of this briefing, but no video. for some reason they decided the american public should not be able to get reaction to this tweet from the president about no tapes or reaction to the senate republican health care bill which has just been released. we'll get back to you shortly. i want to bring in laura coates, our cnn legal analyst. it all started early may with that original tweet when the
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president said, you know, comey better hope there are no tapes before he leaks information to the press. >> we do know that. we know that set the ball in motion at that point for james comey to in the middle of the night begin to remember that he had memos of his own that could verify his recollection of what he talked to the president of the united states about which then set in motion the appointment of a special counsel. and so when the president made the statements, i know the assumption is that social media is not somehow a presidential statement, perhaps shouldn't be taken that way. in fact, it was the most presidential and led to a turn of events that has placed the magnifying glass of the russian collusion investigation squarely on top of the president. and his statements about there not being tapes, i don't think it's a big surprise to many that there may not have been tapes. he's been hedging for a long time. but the shock of it is the lack of foresight and wherewithal to understand what the role of that
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statement may have been in the overall investigation that was already ongoing in terms of the russian counter espionage attacks. >> going to be a lot more on this story developing. certainly more reaction coming in throughout the day. the president tweeting, "i did not make, do not have any such recordings" of his conversations with the fired fbi director, james comey. we're going to get back to all of you. i want to turn to the other big story we're following right now -- health care. the republican bill is now officially out. republican leadership in the senate. they have finally revealed their plan to repeal and replace the affordable care act. the plan has been shrouded in secrecy and drafted behind closed doors. now it's out in the open. so let the debate begin. >> when legislation does come to the floor, it will present the senate democrats with another opportunity to do what's right for the american people. they can choose to keep standing by as the failing law collapses
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and hurts more americans, but i hope they will join us instead to bring relief to families who struggled under obamacare for far too long. either way, either way it's time to act. >> simply put, this bill will result in higher costs, less case, and millions of americans will lose their health insurance. particularly through medicaid. it's every bit as bad as the house bill. in some ways, it's even worse. the president said the senate bill needed heart. the way this bill cuts health care is heartless. >> we're going to get reaction to the republican health care bill in a moment. first, let's take a closer look at what's in the so-called discussion draft released by senate republicans. joining us from new york are cnn "money" senior writer tammy lubee. what are the highlights? what's in and out of this bill? >> the bill largely mirrors what's in the house bill.
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it eliminates the individual mandate. it suspends funding for planned parenthood for a year. that was all in the house bill, as well. but there are some significant changes. it maintains the cutting -- the deep cutting. medicaid. however, it would extend medicaid funding for the expansion population for one year, and then it would phase down the funding more slowly over sleethree years instead of steep cliff. that's going to be a plus for some moderates. what's really also going to hurt a lot of krvconservatives, they going to be unhappy, because it keeps the obamacare subsidies largely in place. the house wanted to convert it to age-based subsidies. the senate continues to make it a more income based and geographic-based subsidy. the conservatives are not going to be happy about that. some of the moderates will be happy about that. on pre-existing conditions, it maintains some more of the obamacare protections for pre-existing conditions. those who have the conditions will not have to pay more for
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their health insurance. however, they may find that they can't get comprehensive policies because the plan would allow states to waive out of what's called the essential health benefits which requires insurers to cover ten essential health benefits such as medications and hospitalizations and other things that are important to people who need medical care. >> all right. there's a lot we need to unpack from all of this. we're going to be doing that here not only this hour but throughout the day and evening, the days and weeks to come, as well. tami, thank you very much for that reporting. let's get reaction now from capitol hill to all of the late breaking developments. democratic senator richard blumenthal of connecticut is joining us now. he serves on the senate judiciary committee. senator, thank you very much for joining us. >> thank you. good to be with you. >> so let's get to the -- one breaking news development. minutes ago we did hear from the president in this tweet that as far as he knows there are no recordings, no tapes of his conversations with the fired fbi
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director, james comey, there you see it right there with all of the recentlyrected electronic -- recently released electronics surveillance saying, "i have no idea whether there are tapes or recordings of my conversations with james comey, but i did not make and do not have any such recordings." what's your reaction? >> as well thethere are v been have been a lot of surreal and strange comments from donald trump since he became president, but he seems to outdo himself. this certainly is at the top of the list. the recent certainly is that he is the commander in chief, as you observed earlier in this show. he has access to all of the most sophisticated electronics surveillance and monitoring equipment in the world. the intelligence community can certainly tell him whether there have been any kind of electronic surveillance of him since he's been in the white house and perhaps before. so to say he has no idea is
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absolutely preposterous and really an insult to the intelligence of the american people. i called for a subpoena of these tapes by the intelligence committee some time ago. unfortunately it wasn't done. the special prosecutor may issue subpoenas simply to verify whether or not there are any tapes because the president saying he has no idea simply is not enough. >> some have suggested that that original tweet the president posted in early may in effect warning comey don't leak information because you better hope there are no tapes, they've suggested that could have been witness intimidation on the part of the president. do you believe that? >> it certainly smacks of intimidation and threats. when it was issued at the time, in the context, involves potential intimidation and is part of a larger unfolding obstruction of justice case that no doubt the special prosecutor
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is investigating actively. he'll have to consider that tweet as so many other tweets will be relevant, too. >> you said on cnn last night, senator, that you think there may have been others at the white house involved in a conspiracy to obstruct justice. i want you to elaborate. what did you mean by that? >> there are a variety of staff at top levels but also at lower levels in the white house, who may have been involved in conversations with each other or with the president about the conversation with comey to let flynn go, or the conversation with comey, as well, asking for a pledge of loyalty. these kind of conversations need not involve knowledge about the whole scope of the potential conspiracy but simply a part of it. the law of conspiracy is very broad. a co-conspirator need not know the full scope of the conspiracy or all of the action that's are
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taken. -- actions that are taken. or with donald trump or members of his staff. so the law of conspiracy and the fact that the special prosecutor's investigating is very important. >> senator, i want you to stand by for a moment of we've got sara murray, our white house correspondent in the white house briefing room right now. i just want you to explain why unfortunately we're not going to be able to show the white house briefing live to our viewers here in the united states and around the world. >> reporter: we are now about two minutes away from the white house briefing. we just got the announcement over the loud system. again, this is an off-camera briefing, something that the trump administration is doing with frequency in a way that we did not see in previous administrations. normally someone would stand at the podium to my left. they would brief the american public. it would be on camera. it would be on the record, and we'd be able to bring it to you live. that's not the case under this administration. we are expecting sara huckabee sanders to come out. we are expecting to get audio from the briefing.
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it's going to be embargoed until after it's over. that means there will be no live coverage for us to bring you. again, this isn't -- there is breaking tradition. it's something new. huckabee is coming out now. >> unfortunately, you saw sara huckabee sanders walk up to the lectern at the podium. the white house rules are that none of the cable nor broadcast networks are allowed to carry this briefing even though it's a briefing that's very, very important on a day where there's a new republican health care bill that affects tens of millions of americans out there. one-sixth of the economy. a day when the president tells the world that as far as he knows there are no tapes or recordings of his conversations with james comey. unfortunately, the white house won't allow us to bring that briefing to our viewers here in the united states and around the world live. we'll get audio of it later. we'll get a report of the briefing but can't show it live. it's strange to me, especially as a former white house
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correspondent, why an important day like this they don't want the american public to see this live. those are the white house rules that cnn, fox news, msnbc, c-span, all of the broadcast networks, abc, nbc, cbs, we all have to live with those white house rules. let's hope they change the rules. let me get a quick reaction from senator blumenthal. what's your reaction to this decision by the white house that we can't show the american public this briefing live? >> i never thought, wolf, in america that i would see broadcast news excluded from a white house briefing. i'm in total disbelief and shock, not just as a public official but as a citizen. frankly, there's a pattern of secrecy and concealment here in this white house, secret conversatio conversations, conversations with diplomats and bankers.
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frankly, the health care plan which was shrouded in secrecy. we now know why -- they were probably ashamed and embarrassed about it. with this pattern is so -- but this pattern of secrecy is so antithetical to american values. i want to say that as a citizen and as a public official, that when the history of this area is written, the free press and independent judiciary will go down as our heroes because they've tried to -- the secret dealings with the russians and the emoluments and payments going to governments. we know so much simply because the free press, including cnn, has been so dogged and determined to get the truth to the american people. >> senator, thank you very much for joining us. >> thank you. let me bring back our panel, globia borger, our chief political analyst, with us. our chief political correspondent, dana bash, cnn politics reporter, eugene scott.
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also join us, justice correspondent evan perez. i want to quickly get your reaction, all of us are journalists. we've worked covering the white house over the years. it's pretty surprising. there are gag else that they do at the white house that are off camera, usually in the press secretary's office where they want to review certain issues. when the press secretary goes into the briefing room where there are a lot of cameras, usually almost always they allow us to take that live if we want to. >> you know, the press secretary and the staff of the white house work for the american public. the job of the press secretary is to tell the american public what the president is thinking. and what the white house is thinking. today, as you point out, is a heavy news day. i would say that just minutes before this briefing was originally scheduled to begin, the president tweeted about the tapes. and i think that that leads us to believe that the only person who can speak on camera perhaps for this white house is now donald trump himself.
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and perhaps that's the way he wants it. there are important stories here. the tape story is an important story since the president over a month ago said pra month ago th perhaps there were tapes. now we've learned there weren't. there's a new conspiracy theory started by the president regarding the tapes because he implied unless there's another taping system that i don't know about. and we have a health care bill that is important to millions, as you point out, that has been produced by the senate. i think the american people deserve to see what the white house is saying about it from that podium. >> they certainly do. and you know, i'm wondering -- we're being watched not only in the united states but around the world, what viewers in europe or asia or africa or south america are saying who have always looked up to the united states as a home of the free press. they're wondering what is going
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on. >> or countries where you have leaders that are rightly berated by our state department and former presidents for backsliding on a free press, who are looking at what we showed there which was pretty remarkable. if we can kind of think about the imagery that we showed on cnn. sarair isara murray doing a liv. the press secretary walk information to talk to the podium, in which we usually stop to listen, and we're cut off. we've covered the white house. there have been many, many times where there have been off-camera briefings. that's okay. but not at the expense of and in lieu pretty much across the board of on-camera briefings. it's not about whining, it's been television production. it is about transparency, end of story. >> your reaction, eugene? >> yeah. my first thought is that many of the questions that journalists ask the trump administration in these brief regulars questions that the american people asking them. they've contacted us directly
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via social media. we get questions all the time in our tweets, ask this, ask that. we have an administration led by a man who said he enjoys social media because it allows him to get directly to the voters. this press briefing is another opportunity to get directly to the voters. him not allowing us to show people who are watching, hoping to hear from his administration what he has to say about all of these issues we were hear about today harms him more than it helps him. >> it does come on the day when the republicans have finally released their health care bill. i want to get to that in a moment. let me -- let me evan perez, justice correspondent, weigh in. it was the president in theficial tweet back in may, what, six weeks or so ago, where he raised the possibility of tapes. in this tweet as we've been pointing out, he's saying, i have no idea whether there are tapes or recordings of my conversations with james comey, but i did not make or do not have any such recordings."
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as gloria's saying, is he raising the possibility of another conspiracy out there against him? >> i think he's trying to have fun with us, wamolf. he knows that this is the kind of thing that will keep us coming back. this is like a reality tv show and so the president wants us to keep coming back i guess for the next episode. that's what's happening. i don't think there's another recording system. certainly james comey, the fbi director, indicated that heeft the interactions and immediately tried to memorialize them in these memos that he's since shared. that's the only way we know what might have happened is from those conversations and if the president ever gives under oath a response to that and is ever questioned by the committees on the hill or by the fbi and robert mueller, the special counsel. those are -- that's how we'll
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get to the bottom of what exactly happened, whether or not the firing of james comey -- that's really the big question here. that's what the tweet was about. whether or not the firing of james comey was an attempt to interfere with an ongoing fbi investigation, that's something that is still very much ripe in the air for us to answer. the president basically today is telling us that it's going to be his word versus the whether or not there's any other proof that the fbi is able to cobble together. >> i think there's also a question now that the president says there are no tapes that he knows of, was that tweet an effort to intimidate comey? it had the absolutely opposite effect effect, one would argue, because it led to the chain of events to the special counsel, but it the tweet an intimidation of the former fiber director? >> we have -- former fbi director? >> we have breaking news. a senate gop source says at least three republican senators
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are expected to publicly oppose the senate's health care proposal later today. as you know, there are 52 republicans, 48 democrats. 46 democrats, two independents, who side with the democrats. if they lose three, the republicans, no democrats are going from to vote for this republican health care bill. it's over at least for now. >> it's over. that's right. i've been looking at my phone, forgive me, trying to report on this. phil mattingly got this reporting. we might hear from these three even potentially in a group very, very soon. like the next half hour or so to know what's going on. we'll know more about how to interpret the opposition then. but assuming it is conservatives which we beliet is conservatives, the question is going to be whether they are not gettable or whether they are -- this is a smart tactic. it's not just the bill take it or leave it.
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there are going to be amendments during the debate process next week, and the question is whether or not the people who are opposed, never mind the people on the fence, the people saying, huh-uh, can be brought to yes with any kind of changes that will not end up losing the moderates on the other side of the republican spectrum. >> it's interesting because by our reporting, we have about 12 republican senators who it's unclear where eventually they stand. there you see them up there, some moderate republicans, some conservative republicans. for different reasons, they're on the fence. a senate republican source telling us at least three republican senators are expected to publicly oppose the senate's health care proposal later today. as dana says, it could be very, very soon. if they stick to that, at least for now, it's over even though the house passed a health care bill. if the senate doesn't do the same, it dies at least for the time being.
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>> absolutely. frankly, it's not that suppliesing considering what's come -- surprising considering what's come out of the bill. there are things that conservative lawmakers wanted that the bill doesn't meet. and we've heard complaints say that it's too close to obamacare for those who want to see a complete repeal of obamacare. i think what's also interesting is this isn't a new argument. this is what people have been saying in the more conservative components of the republican party for months since we've been talking about this. >> can i say for people maybe watching, looking at the screen, trying to figure out what at least three republican senators means. the math is that the republicans can only lose two and still get the bill passed -- >> if they lose two, it would be 50/50. the vice president mike pence, he would break the tie, and it would pass. if they lose three, it's over. >> exactly. >> you know, you have the conservatives saying, wait a minute, this is too much like obamacare. we don't want anything that resembles obamacare. then the moderates are worried
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about medicaid for their constituents who use this medicaid expansion in their states, who say we need it. it's difficult to figure out how you get around that, at least how you get around that in four or five days, and this is all before, of course, we get the cost estimates on what this bill is going to cost and how many people would be left uninsured. >> and remember, just -- tactically, politically, philosophically, if you have these conservatives who we believe are likely to come out, the rand paul, mike lee, ted cruzes of the world, we don't know what they're going to say, but assuming it is on the conservative side of the republican party, they don't feel like they have anything to lose. >> sure. >> they have enough of a reservoir with conservatives as people who have fought the fight to repeal obamacare, and if they
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go to constituents and say i didn't do this because it didn't do what we promised it would do, it's hard to imagine them not feeling the heat from people in their states. unlike moderates -- >> they may feel vulnerable. the moderates do feel vulnerable. they do having to lose like dean heller of nevada, for example. they're going to oppose it for different reasons. they're going to be out on the line. and their constituents are saying we need this, we need this medicaid money. >> one factor that is involved in all of this, i've been told by rare yours republicans, they -- various republicans, they were caught by surprise when the president the other day, e jeug, said that the bill that passed the house and was championed in the rose garden at the white house by the president, president later told senate republicans that was a mean bill. he used the word "mean," and said publicly last night, earlier he said privately, the senate's got to spend some more money. they have to have heart in their legislation, in their bill. and that was not very satisfactory to a bunch of republicans wondering well, where exactly does the president
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stand, can they rely on him. >> not thea all. this press conference would have been a perfect opportunity for the white house to explain what the president meant exactly, what he would have wanted to see in this bill to make it less mean. we know that chuck shurms thinks what is represent -- chuck schumer thinks what is represent sudden meaner than what the president saw. what the republicans are doing to make changes is not yet clear. but it's very clear, i think, that it won't happen by july 4th. >> can i just say something -- this white house has essentially ced ceded everything to congress. when you look at what happened on the health care bill in the house written by paul ryan, et cetera, the president got involved in the late stages of i it. you look at this bill, white house staffers only went to the hill to be briefed on it last night. this president has ceded an awful lot of authority to the leaders of congress on the major substantive issues that he ran
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on, and we don't know if he'll be that way on immigration, for example. but as it pertains to health care reform, this is a huge matter, and it has been written behind closed doors in the senate, not by the white house, not with input from the white house so far. we'll see what happens after. >> my understanding is that that is very much by design, that mitch mcconnell, the republican majority leader said, mr. president, white house, we've got this one. let us take care of this one. >> it's -- >> the house got mucked up. >> that's right. it's interesting to me that -- ran as a strong leader, strong executive, has essentially said to the congress, you do this. you do this. i don't want to get involved until i absolutely have to. >> go ahead. >> i think what's odd is that people in trump's base, they look at the leaders in the republican party and say those are our people, those aren't the people that are going to put
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forth the agenda that you campaigned on that we voted for. they're looking at this guy who they thought would take over the white house and advocate for them, and he's passing the ball to people who make them go he's not one of us. ryan's not one of us. mitch mcconnell is not one of us. trump, what are you doing to us? the people who put you there? >> the when the president says he wants this health care bill to have more heart, spend some more money, don't worry about it, it reminded me during the campaign, you remember this, he often would say, "i'm not going to cut social security. i'm not going to cut medicare, and i'm not going to cut medicaid." this bill, the republican bill in the house, republican bill in the senate, does cut medicaid. i think we have a clip from the campaign. let me play that clip. as i recall, the president often said, i know this will irritate, this will irritate some of my base, this will irritate some conservatives, but the president said this is what i believe, that medicare, medicaid, social security, should not be touched.
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we'll get that clip. you remember that? >> i absolutely remember that. i remember doing an interview with donald trump almost two years ago, that was a big part of his discussion. him saying that, he used to say, i'm not going to throw people on the streets. people were probably -- some of the people in the republican base aren't going to like that. and then he built on that notion throughout the campaign saying i'm not going to cut entitlements. tweeted, saying i'm the only one on the stage the day after a debate promising not to cut entitlements. whether he knew it in his gut or had the sense or somebody explained the demographics, it turned out that a lot of the people who rely on those kind of government benefits come from trump country. >> yeah. >> right. >> i have the clip. let me play the clip now. then we'll continue this. watch. >> save medicare, medicaid, and social security without cuts. have to do it. [ applause ] get rid of the fraud.
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get rid of the waste and abuse. but save it. people have been paying in for years, and now many of these candidates want to cut it. >> i'm not going to cut social security like every other republican. and i'm not going to cut medicare or medicaid. every other republican is going to cut. even if they wouldn't, they don't know what to do because they don't know where the money is. i do. >> you weheard him. he said it -- he has a haerkear and he's not going to throw people on the street. >> you see what's happening with the health care bills which have, you know, states could have opted in or out of medicaid subsidies. and now this senate version that gets phased out by the year 2021, that is what is giving some moderates real heartburn here. they know how much their constituents depend on medicaid. so i think if you look at it as a presidential promise, you'd
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have to say, well, broken. what we don't know because we're not watching this presser is whether the president believes the senate bill does have enough heart for him. maybe the white house doesn't know the answer now because they just saw this version last night. we're not knowing the answers to these questions. hopefully we'll get them later. >> we are being told that later one of the senators who will come out and oppose the current republican draft that was released today in the senate is senator rand paul of kentucky. ly doesn't like it. >> yeah. that is not a surprise. he has said he -- you can't get him to yes on this. no matter what they brought out of that room, given the fact that he had a pretty good idea of what the broad parameters are. rand paul was already going to be a no. i don't know that he's ever going to be gettable.
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presumably if he's joining up with people, he's not joining up with people in the left of his party. he's joining up with people who are more of his sort of philosophical comrades in arms, which are republicans -- excuse me, which are the true conservatives. >> the ones who think it's too much like obamacare. >> right. >> everybody, stand by. there's more breaking news coming into cnn. we've got to take a quick break. we'll resume all of our special coverage right after this. i'm ryan and i quit smoking with chantix.
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the white house press briefing has just wrapped up. the reason we weren't able to watch it live here on cnn or on any of the other cable news networks or broadcasts is because the white house decided to bar the news media from airing the briefings live for the american public for people who may be watching around the world as well. the white house has, however, now given us permission to air audio, audieno only, from the briefing now that it's over. here's the white house deputy press secretary. >> this morning, the senate released a discussion draft of its healthcare bill. the president looks forward to seeing a finalized bill on his desk so that we can finally repeal and replace obamacare
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before it completely collapses. just yesterday, at insurer announced that it's pulling out of obamacare. anthem is leaving the exchanges in indiana, the state in which the company was actually born, and is currently head quartered. and also in wisconsin. finally, i want to welcome alex pfeiffer to his first white house briefing. alex is young, so he may need some help from a few of his colleagues to help him with this process. and with that, ladies and gentlemen, i'll take your questions. >> i'm just curious about the president's revelations by way of twitter that he has no knowledge of any tapes, doesn't have any tapes, doesn't have possession of any tapes. what can you tell the american people about why he decided to sort of make the inference, at least, at some point, that maybe there would be tapes? >> look, i think the president's statement via twitter today is extremely clear. i don't have anything to add beyond the statement. >> can i follow up really quickly on the wall. i was at the rally last night, the president seemed to get
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great reaction to the idea that the wall was moving forward, and he mentioned the possibility of solar as a means to not only pay for the wall itself but also to enhance the wall. can you sort of help me unpack that idea. is this something that he's been kicking around for quite some time? he said it was the first time he'd made it publicly known. >> i think it's something he's considering, certainly nothing final, but just an idea that he is considering and reviewing. nothing more than that at this point. >> i have a health care question but i just want to follow up on kevin's questions on the tapes situation. i get that the tweet is speaking for itself but i'm curious why it took so long, 41 days, for this to be laid to rest. the president is recording any oval office conversations. >> you guys asked for an answer. he gave you one. he said he would have have it to you by the end of this week, which he did and beyond timing of that, i can't speak anything further. >> and on the oval office recordings. >> i think his statement is pretty clear. >> i'm asking more generally. >> not aware. >> no oval office recordings
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that you're aware of. >> not that i'm aware of. >> is the president confident that he will have something to sign in the next few weeks? >> i don't think we're as focused on the time line as we are on the final product. we're looking for the best bill possible, and we're going to continue being part of technical assistance and providing that with both house and senate members as we work to get the best bill we can. >> and on that final product, the senate bill analysis so far cuts medicaid, it doesn't look like it will cut deductibles for folks. does that have enough heart? does the president think that is a bill that is not mean? >> i haven't had that conversation but i know he made a statement earlier that said this is a negotiation so he's going to continue that process with both house and senate members and his administration until we get the best bill that we can. >> so sarah, what was the president doing with this? he let it go on for 41 days as hallie referred to. that tweet 41 days ago seemed to be, you know, very kind of
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ominous message to comey, he better hope there are no tapes. and then he was asked repeatedly during the intervening weeks whether or not the tapes existed. you were asked many times. sean was asked. why -- why the game? what was he -- what was he doing? >> i don't know that it was a game. again, he's answered the question. he gave a time line and the frame that which he would and he did that. he said by the end of this week and he's done that. >> but do you have a sense for what was behind the original suggestion from him 41 days ago that there may be tapes? >> look, i think it was pretty clear in that original statement that he hoped for his sake and that was, i think, the very intention, and he's laid out his position on whether or not he personally was involved in that in his tweet today. >> thank you, sarah. back to the original tweet. did the president intend to threaten james comey with that tweet? >> not that i'm aware of. i don't think so. >> and so why, again, why was --
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deadline to be this week to clear it up? >> i mean, that was -- has been laid out, i believe, also by congress. they wanted an answer by the end of this week. peter. >> sarah, if i can, the tweet ultimately, according to james comey, led him to share the memos publicly, which led to the hiring of the special counsel, robert mueller, which ultimately led to the reports the president himself is being investigated for possible obstruction of justice. does the president regret the tweet? >> i don't think so. >> broadly, he said you can't say whether there's any oval office recordings but he did say that i did not make and do not have any such recordings. did he ever have recordings of conversations with james comey? >> again, not that i'm aware of. >> on health care, the president said when he first became a candidate, he tweeted the republicans who want to cut social security and medicaid are wrong. a robust economy will make america great again. so if cutting medicaid was wrong when he was a candidate, why is it right in the new republican senate bill? >> i don't believe that the
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president has specifically weighed in that it's right to cut medicaid. i know one of the big parts of discussion is giving states flexibility, and again, the president hasn't weighed in specifically on any specific measure in this bill. and as he said earlier today, this is a negotiation between the house and the senate and we're going to play a part in that. >> to be clear, the president stimbelieves -- >> i'm sorry, guys. one at a time. >> does the president still believe as he did as a candidate that there should be no cuts to medicaid? >> i haven't had a specific conversation to see if there's an update to that but i do know that he wants to protect that as much as possible. david. >> what will the white house be doing with the senate as this health care bill moves forward. you mentioned technical shings. what does that entail. >> i know members of omb, treasury, and certainly members of the hhs and senior staff have been involved in the process. they're going to continue to do that. this has been one of those things where, from the very beginning, we've wanted all the stakeholders involved and we're going to continue to do that until we get the best piece of
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legislation. >> will the president be involved or is he going to wait for the conference committee. >> i know he's been involved by having members of his administration. i think it would be hard to deny the fact that they're an extension of the administration when you have cabinet secretaries and staffers that are in meetings and conversations regarding the legislation. >> sarah, 12 days ago the president announced the press conference in two weeks on these anti-isis -- can we expect a press conference in the coming days. >> i wanted to ask about some of the reaction from the left that we've seen this week. >> i'm sure it's friendly. >> well, our microphones caught a woman who was dragged off from mcconnell's office this morning. she was screaming, my child is going to die, and my family is going to die. and they don't give a damn about it. senator chris murphy said the democrats are going to lie down on the train tracks to stop this
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bill. what do you make of all that? what's your reaction to it? >> i certainly think that not just republicans but i think any american would certainly not support something that allows a child to die and the goal is, again, to look for the best health care possible that actually provides care, not just gives insurance, but actually provides care. that's been a goal from the administration front end and we're looking for ways to do that. right now, we know obamacare is not sustainable. it is literally collapsing under itself. providers are pulling out every single day, out of states. we are down to multiple counties that don't have providers, and we are working day in, day out to make sure we have the best piece of legislation possible. if democrats really cared, they would try to be in on the process. they said from day one that they didn't want to be in the conversation if it had anything to do with repealing or replacing obamacare. i think that it's sad that they've chosen to play partisan politics instead of trying to have a seat at the table.
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>> the intelligence community has concluded that the dnc hack was part of a russian plot to disrupt and influence the 2016 election. i'm wondering after the president's tweet this morning, why does he continue to dispute that finding and call the hack a hoax? and then a follow-up to that. >> i believe that the president said even back in january and i'll read the statement from then, that he thinks it's a disgrace, thinks it's an absolute disgrace. as far as hacking from russia but i think we also get hacked by other countries and other people. i think he's made it clear and been consistent that while everyone agrees the result of the election wasn't influenced, he thinks that it probably was russia and i think that regardless, president trump has made it clear that we have to protect the integrity of the electoral system. that's one of the reasons he's a vo strong advocate for voter i.d. laws and why he's also put in place a voter integrity
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commission chard by the vice president which i think shows the level of importance he's placed on that to make sure that the integrity of all of our elections, particularly moving forward, are as sound and correct as possible. >> so then, thank you, just a broader follow-up on that. so, like i said, this morning, he called the hack a hoax. he hasn't accepted the popular vote tallies and touting job numbers that he used to call fake. he won't tell us where he stands on climate science so i'm wondering why does the president choose to accept certain facts but dispute and reject others. >> i'm not aware that he accepts certain facts. i think we accept all the facts. >> popular vote totals, climate science, you still haven't told us where he stands. >> the president won the election. i don't know why we have to continue debating this. the democrats lost because they didn't have a message. they had a poor candidate. we had a message and the president won. i'm not really sure what fact we're dispute hearing. there's only one wi