tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN July 25, 2017 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
breaking news on a summer tuesday. you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. special coverage here on several major events. moments from now, the senate will hold this crucial vote on health care to see whether they will begin debate on some version. i say that on purpose, some version of the republican health care plan, a bill that's been really mysterious all the way up until now. you know senator john mccain has been away, undergone surgery, will be speaking live, we'll be back in washington speaking live on the senate floor, returning since being diagnosed with brain cancer just a couple of days ago so that's significant. we'll take that live. of course we're also watching the president, who is set to give this news conference as he
intensifies his own attacks against his own attorney general, jeff sessions. support among republicans for the a.g. is growing and fast, so we have those comments for you. but first, let's talk about the u.s. senate set to vote on whether to move forward on debate for this republican health care bill. it is safe to say this is one of those votes we have absolutely no idea how it will turn out. full disclosure. several senators, they're still undecided. is the plan to repeal and replace? is it to repeal only now and replace later? whatever the procedural vote is, majority leader mitch mcconnell could only afford to lose two senators, and the president is pushing members not to be the vote that shuts this whole thing down. so, let's go to dana bash, our cnn chief political correspondent there on capitol hill. first things first, do we even know what they are voting on?
>> reporter: well, in the short-term, the answer is yes. they're voting on, as you said, at the beginning of this show, they're voting on whether or not even to proceed with debate. and just sort of by way of context, this is usually a no-brainer, easy vote for members of whatever party it is who's generally in the majority or who are putting a piece of legislation on the floor. not about whether or not an amendment should pass, not about whether the final piece of legislation should pass. this is just about whether debate should start, and this is what they have been kind of toing and froing about for weeks and weeks even if they could get this vote over the hump of 50 votes, 50 republican senators. that's what they need and as we've said many, many times, it means that they can only afford to lose two republican senators. as you probably can see, a lot of commotion behind me. we are on the second floor of
the capitol, right next to the senate chamber where they're going to start to take the vote and the senate republicans are just about to finish up their weekly policy lunch where they have, no doubt, been talking x extensively about this vote, whether it can pass, whether they can start debate and of course as you alluded to, the question is f they do, then what? then are they going to vote for -- vote on a bill to -- excuse me, a measure to just repeal obamacare and put off replacing for a couple of years? didn't have the votes before. would it now? will they try anyway? who knows? and then several other iterations of ideas that republicans have in their search for 50 votes. right now, brooke, republican senators coming out. they're sort of starting to trickle out. they're saying the leadership is cautiously optimistic that at
least they can get that first hurdle cleared but even that is something we're going to be watching every single vote being taken to see if the vice president who i should say is here as well, should he be needed, if he needs to clear a tie breaking vote or if they even get that far. >> as you hit home, the math is so key and we know fact that senate john mccain, fresh off this brain cancer diagnosis and surgery will be back for the first time in washington. what should we expect from him? >> we expect that he should be returning to the senate this hour to be participating in this vote. he has said that he will join his party to do, again, what is usually a traditional, you know, ho-hum vote which is to proceed to a piece of legislation or at least an idea of legislation. he will vote yes on this and he will give a floor speech so he will be addressing the senate, addressing the nation, and you know, given john mccain and his
profile, indeed the world about what he thinks the state of play is. i was told that he is going to be talking about regular order in the senate. that is kind of a process-y term for how he thinks that things should be going here in the united states senate, in congress, and in washington. it is going to be emotional. there's just no other way to put it. this place has been stunned. i mean, he certainly is somebody who has gotten into tussles with members of both parties, but the members of both parties that he's gotten in tussles with wouldn't have it any other way. he certainly has a lot of respect and there's a lot of anticipation, a lot of -- anticipation is probably the best word for his return, and i'm sure that a lot of the desks in the united states senate will be filled with his colleagues wanting to hear what he has to say to them. >> you are at the perfect perch to listen for that and to grab some of those senators also coming out of the luncheon.
dana, we won't let you go too far from that camera. thank you so much for now. on top of all of what we just discussed, all eyes also today on the president of the united states who holds his news conference just a short time from now. his son-in-law, who was just questioned today, he was back on the hill, but this time he was questioned by the house intelligence committee. his ex-campaign chief just was subpoenaed by a senate panel, paul manafort. but it's his attorney general jeff sessions who is getting slammed. not by investigators, but by the president himself. for the second day in a row now, president trump has targeted his top law enforcement officer on twitter. let me read the latest missive. "attorney general jeff sessions has taken a very weak position on hillary clinton crimes. where are e-mails and dnc server and intel leakers." that tweet comes on the heels of the president bashing the a.g. for not first disclosing he was going to recuse himself from the russia investigation, right, that came out in the nugget from that "new york times" interview
from last week. today, the new white house communications director, anthony scaramucci, said this on the radio. >> why not just fire jeff sessions? >> well, listen, i mean, you know, i think the president has certain style, certain skill set. he's obviously frustrated. i said yesterday, i think, to sara murray, maybe the two of them could get together. my guess is that the president doesn't want to do that. >> it's clear the president wants him gone. >> i have an enormous amount of respect for the attorney general. but i do know the president pretty well and if there's this level of tension in the relationship, that that's public, you're probably right, but i don't want to speak for the president on that. >> let's go to our senior congressional correspondent, manu raju who is on the hill as well. you talked to a ranking member of senate judiciary, senator dianne feinstein about sessions and about this russia probe. what did she have to sty you? >> reporter: well, she actually
was a bit alarmed by president trump's attacks against jeff sessions. this is someone she's served with for some time in the senate, even though she is at odds with him ideologically, opposed his nomination to be attorney general. she said that he's a member of this body and, quote, it counts for something. and that actually means something. there are a number of senators, republican senators, who have come to sessions' defense today, including rob portman of ohio, lindsey graham of south carolina. last week, o rin hatch, the top republican, the longest-serving republican in this body told me that he does not understand why the president is going after jeff sessions and even dick shelby, who served as alabama senator now was jeff sessions's alabama colleague here in the senate said the -- he called sessions and said, he has a lot of support on capitol hill. so even as the president is going after his attorney general, he's almost on an island on capitol hill because a number of people on both sides
are perplexed at what he's saying, including his own party. >> listening to all of that also knowing on the hill today, jared kushner, the son-in-law, top adviser is being questioned on the house side. we know tomorrow the former campaign chief, paul manafort, is supposed to testify, a subpoena now is the piece of news on him. can you explain to me what's happening and thus he must appear? >> well, that's the subpoena is calling for his appearance in this public session tomorrow. it's unclear what he will do. manafort's lawyers as well as the senate jeeudiciary committe lawyers are engaged in discussions right now behind the scenes to try to avert a standoff tomorrow. this came after last week. they thought they had a deal to avoid this public session when both paul manafort and donald trump jr. cut a deal with the senate judiciary committee, agreed to provide records to the committee but that sort of fell
apart after manafort privately interviewed with the senate intelligence dme morning, a separate committee and he told the senate judiciary committee he would not agree to another interview, according to the judiciary committee, saying that. now, paul manafort could face a contempt of congress charge if he does not appear. that's what senator dianne feinstein said earlier today. here's what she said. >> we can hold him in contempt, and that's a more complicated process. i hope that's not the case. i think he has said that he would testify in public, and i think this is important that he do so. i think it's important that members of the committee have an opportunity to see him. he's a very complicated figure, and there is a lot of material there and a lot of questions that he raises. >> reporter: now, a source familiar with this morning's appearance before the senate intelligence committee the tells
me that paul manafort and the staff of that committee discussed that trump tower meeting from june 2016 with donald trump jr., jared kushner, and mr. manafort with the russians in which donald trump jr. was, of course, that we now know was promised dirt on the clinton campaign from people maybe tied to the kremlin. now, manafort only answered questions about that subject. i'm told, brooke, but he did promise to come before that committee and talk to the members and talk about a wide range of subjects at a later date. the question, though, brooke, is will he come before the senate judiciary committee which also wants to hear before him tomorrow in that public session. >> manu raju, thank you so much. covering all things, you know, testimony but also health care. so let's start there with my next panel. jonathan lemire, white house reporter for the associated press is here. jim garty and david catny, welcome to a slow summer tuesday, gentlemen. entirely facetious. so before we talk sessions which
is what i really want to get to your reporting with the a.p., david, i just got some news in my ear on this health care watch, and again to be clear, for everyone playing along, this is the procedural vote. again, this is not the up/down vote on health care, that apparently dean heller, the republican from nevada, who was a no on repeal and replace, who then, you know, the pro-trump super pac went after in nevada is now apparently a yes on the procedural vote. significant? >> very significant. although now the two senators i'm looking at are lisa murkowski of alaska and shelley moore capito of west virginia. we know susan collins going to be a no. but these two other female senators, considered moderates, have said that they would only vote with a motion to proceed if they know they're going to have something to replace the repeal with. now, i don't know what's going on behind the scenes on capitol hill. i would guess mitch mcconnell is working hard to try to assure them that he has some type of replacement eventually up his sleeve for them to get to yes.
it's just unclear. heller is very important but those two, i think, are what this procedural vote could come down to and if it passes, how they vote. >> how do they know what the replacement -- we've had weeks of discussion on capitol hill. jonathan, how do we know -- how do they know what the plan would be? because it's so far, the math just hasn't added up and i'm sure people watching at home are thinking, why are they voting on something that thus far has been a no-go. >> they think they'll figure it out. it is remarkable how this has been shrouded in secrecy, how very little has been broadcasted to the public or to the senators who are going to have to vote on this down the road. we know the white house is pressuring mitch mcconnell. they want to see this go forward. the president is desperate for a win. we remember how he celebrated the passage of the house vote, the rose garden ceremony. he's looking for something here to build off of. >> jim, i want to come to you in a second but back up to capitol hill, ryan nobles is there watching all of this. and tell me more about how this
senator heller vote has become a yes. >> reporter: yeah, this is really significant, brooke because dean heller was one of the first -- the first of this group of moderate senators that broke away from the pack when this initial run of the senate health care bill came before them and decided that he wasn't going to vote for it and when he initially backed away, that's when the first attempted passing something really fell apart so the fact that he has revealed in just the last half hour that he is indeed a yes on the motion to proceed, that he agrees that republicans need to get this bill to the floor to start this process, this shows that senate majority leader mitch mcconnell is starting to make some progress, and he's able to convince these senators about the importance of moving the bill forward. but we should caution our viewers, brooke, that this doesn't necessarily mean that they're any closer to actually getting health care passed. there's going to be a vote-a-rama here. there's going to be a lot of
back and forth before they get to the bill that they're actually going to vote on but this is still a very big development for mitch mcconnell and it likely signals that they have enough votes for this vote later this afternoon to get the bill to the floor. >> thank you. let me just remind everybody. if you don't know all these faces and names of senators who are key in this whole repeal and replace or just repeal, let's rewind to just last week. so the president's sitting at the white house, he has this lunch with a number of republican senators. i don't know who was up for putting this whole seating chart together but sitting to the president's right is the senator we're talking about, this republican senator who was the no vote, dean heller of nevada. listen to the president's quip and watch senator heller's face. >> this was the one we were worried about. you weren't there. but you're going to be. you're going to be. look, he wants to remain a senator, doesn't he? okay. and i think the people of your state, which i know very well, i think they're going to appreciate what you hopefully will do. any senator who votes against
starting debate is really telling america that you're fine with obamacare. but being fine with obamacare isn't an option for another reason. because it's gone. it's failed. not going to be around. >> there was more to that. jim, i remember, when he was specifically talking to senator heller and saying, hey, if you're not, you know, for this, wink, wink, and he had this uncomfortable smile, like, where's the butt approximateb b button. >> that smile was melting like an ice cream cone on a 150-degree day. it's like right now, think of the entire health care process, repealing and replacing obamacare as a giant jenga tower with all those wooden blocks. you don't want to -- all you're doing is saying, let's keep going. let's keep voting on this. let's continue with the legislation. you don't want to be the one guy who says, no, i don't want to do it and the entire tower comes
crumbling down. >> i like the analogy. we'll come back to that in a second. phil mattingly, i don't know if you heard the analogy. this doesn't make the whole thing crumble to the ground. so, how significant is this procedural vote and does it really matter initial no's or yes's, i mean, your thoughts. >> reporter: it's hugely significant. i think there's no question about it. i mean, we can read between the lines right now and dean heller comes out as a yes, when rob portman comes out, these are holdout senators who have had very serious and significant policy issues that have essentially, on their own, killed various iterations of this leading up to this point. they're going to be able to get 50, maybe more than that this in vote shortly. everybody that's been talking to you as made very clear the realities here. this doesn't, by any means, guarantee they're going to get this done in the end, this is a very convoluted, complicated and politically dangerous process that republicans would be
heading into. but it's important to note and i've had republican aides and frankly senate majority leader mcconnell make this point repeatedly. you can't move on unless you get past this first procedural vote and brooke, don't undercount the importance of momentum. each step in this process gets them closer to the finish. each step in this process makes it chb more complicated to oppose and i'll say another thing, when this process is all said and done, it will likely be at 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning. that is a difficult vote for an exhausted senator to vote against given all the work they've put in. there is a real reason -- >> phil, forgive me. we're going listen to the democratic minority leader here on the senate. >> has locked out democrats from the very beginning. the very first thing this republican congress said to the american people is that health care is going to be a partisan project, undertaken by republicans, and republicans alone. right out of the gate, democrats
were locked out. the majority leader elected to forge a bill in secret and bypass the committee process entirely. no public hearings. no open debate. no opportunity for the minority to amend the bill or even read it. no opportunity for the minority to amend the bill or even read it. before it emerged from the leader's office. their plan all along was to keep their bill hidden for as long as possible, evade scrutiny, hide the truth from the american people, and then jam the bill through in the dead of night on a party line. and now, here we are after so much cloak and dagger legisla legislating, about to vote on proceeding to a debate on one of the most important issues of our
time, a sixth of the economy, tens of millions, health and even life affected without knowing exactly what we'll be debating on. perhaps nothing could sum up the process that's gotten us here quite as well as this. now, the best the majority leader's been able to cook up is a vague plan to do whatever it takes to pass something, anything, to get the bill to a house and senate conference on health care. my colleagues, plain and simple, it's a ruse. the likeliest result of a conference between the house and senate is full repeal of the affordable care act or something very close to it. it will certainly mean drastic cuts in medicaid, huge tax cuts
for the wealthy, no help for those with preexisting conditions, and tens of millions losing health care, particularly in poorer and more rural states. the hard right freedom caucus in the house would never accept a republican bill that only repeals a few regulations in the aca but leaves much in place, and i would say to my colleagues, particularly those on the other side of the aisle, who have heartfeltly fought hard for not cutting medicaid drastically, for keeping preexisting conditions, for not doing tax cuts to the rich while you're cutting health care to the poor, don't go along with this motion to proceed, because you know and i know what it will lead to. all the things you've been trying to avoid will emerge from that conference and you will hurt the people of your states dramatically. we all know what's happening
here. the leader could not get the votes on full repeal. because it's so damaging to america. he could not get the votes even on the -- his own bill. so instead, the plan is to come up with a proposal that simply a means to repeal. a means to dramatic cuts. a means to getting us in conference, and we all know what the result of that conference will be. i would plead one last time with my friends on the other side of the aisle, and i know you've sincerely tried to modify and change things. turn back. we can go through regular order. we want to work with you. we know that aca is not perfect. but we also know what you've proposed is much worse. we can work together to improve health care in this country,
turn back now before it's too late and millions and millions and millions of americans are hurt so badly in ways from which they will never, ever recover. i
yield the floor. >> mr. president. >> majority leader. >> seven years ago -- seven years ago, democrats imposed obamacare on our country. they said costs would go down. costs skyrocketed. they said choice would go up. choice plummeted. now obamacare's years-long lurch toward total collapse is nearing a seemingly inevitable conclusion. and it will hurt even more americans on the way down. this, my friends, is the
obamacare status quo. this is the status quo. we had to accept it for a long time. we don't have to accept it any longer. the american people elected a house with a vision of a better way on health care, then they elected a senate, then they elected a president. now, having been given a responsibility to govern, we have a duty to act. the president's ready with his pen. the house has passed legislation. today, it's the senate's turn. that starts with a vote we'll take momentarily. the critical first step in that
process, the motion to proceed. it's the vote that determines whether this debate can proceed at all. whether we'll even take it up. after four straight elections in which this was a huge commitment to the american people, it's the vote that determines whether senators of both parties can offer their amendments and ideas on health care. well, i told the people of my state over this period that i'd vote to move beyond obamacare. and that's what i'm going to do today by voting yes. and i would ask all my colleagues to join me in doing
so. we've already shown it's possible to put legislation on the president's desk that moves us beyond obamacare and its years of failure. we did that two years ago. president obama vetoed what we passed before. president trump will sign what congress passes this time. i want to thank the president and the administration for all they've done on this issue already. they've worked with us every step of the way, and they, like us, know the consequences of failing to act. look, we can't let this moment slip by. we can't let it slip by. talked about this too long. we've wrestled with this issue. we've watched the consequences of the status quo. people who sent us here expect us to begin this debate, to have
the courage to tackle a tough issue. they didn't send us here just to do the easy stuff. they expect us to tackle the big problems. and obviously, we can't get an outcome if we don't start the debate. and that's what the motion to proceed is all about. many of us on this side of the aisle have waited for years for this opportunity and thought it would probably never come. some of us were a little surprised by the election last year. but with a surprise election comes great opportunities. to do things we thought were never possible. so all we have to do today is to have the courage to begin the debate with an open amendment
process and let the voting take us where it will. so, that's what's before us. colleagues. will we begin the debate on one of the most important issues confronting america today? it's my hope the answer will be yes. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that following the vote, senator mccain be recognized to speak for debate only for up to 15 minutes and that the time not count on hr 1628. >> is there objection? no objection heard. >> mr. president. i move to proceed to calendar number 120, hr 1628. >> clerical report. >> motion to proceed to calendar number 120, hr-1628 and an act
to provide for reconciliation pursuant to title ii of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2017. >> i see yeah's and nays. >> sergeant at arms will restore order in the chamber. sergeant-at-arms will restore order in the chamber, please. [ chanting ] >> sergeant-at-arms will restore order in the chamber.
>> yeas and nays. >> is there sufficient second? there is. the clerk will call the role. >> mr. alexander, ms. baldwin. >> so a couple of things. let me just let you know what's going on. the senate is voting on -- this is the procedural vote. this is normally the no-brainer vote. this isn't actually sort of up/down on repeal and replace. it's just so they can begin the debate on whether or not they're going to continue on with an actual vote. you heard some of the noise in the background, the "kill the bill" and the "shame" shouts. that was protesters in the senate visitor gallery. trying to restore order there as they continue on with this procedural vote. you heard also from the minority leader and then the majority leader there, speaking on obviously how they feel very differently, both of them, between chuck schumer and mitch mcconnell on repealing and
replacing obamacare. just wanted to give you the lay of the land as we await this -- the results from the vote. also since the last time we spoke a couple minutes ago, additional republican senators have gone to yes's, being senator -- we mentioned senator heller before. also now senator shelley moore capito of west virginia who was a no is saying yes to this procedural vote and also rob portman, senator from ohio, he was a no and now he's yes on this. let me bring in a couple more voices as we await the results. julie rovner, and we wanted to talk to you because you've been covering health care since 1986 in congress and you have never seen anything like this. >> no, this is an amazing vote. this is basically 51, presumably, republican senators proceeding to debate on a bill they don't know what the bill is. this is a bill that could, in theory, affect a sixth of the u.s. economy. there doesn't seem to be any consensus for any pieces that have so far been offered.
i think the hope of the smoenat majority leader is they get on this bill and put it on the fly as they go. >> i was looking at the face of the senate majority leader, mitch mcconnell, and he is -- what's he, a masterful tactician is what he's been referred to. he's used to getting these votes together and winning, and in this case, this is obviously, well, i shouldn't say that. we never know how this thing is going to end up, because to your point, we don't even know what they're going to be voting on. but what do you think this is like for him, and why are they going through with all of this? >> well, i think they really felt like they were in an impossible situation. they've been promising for seven years that they would repeal and replace the affordable care act, and if they couldn't even get a bill up for debate, that would be a big failure. now it's entirely possible that they'll get this bill up for debate and then they won't have a bill coming out the other end or they will have, what they're talking about now, a very, very minor bill, and then they would have to go back and negotiate with the house. that's going to hold up efg else
on the agenda that they want to do, like tax reform. there's a lot of spending bills. there are other health bills coming behind this so it's not a at all clear how this is going to come out but i think senator m mcconnell and certainly president trump really, really wanted to get this debate started on the senate floor. >> do you think that this is really about the republicans and about the senate majority leader being able to ultimately say, mr. president, we have carried this ball as far forward as we possibly can. we have done this for you and also to try to fulfill our promise of seven years of repealing and replacing. maybe it's not coming to fruition, sir. but we will now move on to tax reform. >> yes, i think that's absolutely one possibility. that was a possibility that senator mcconnell himself had raised, that they would try, and if it failed, they would move on. so now they want to get on the bill and if they can't actually find consensus to pass something, then i believe that senator mcconnell will want to move on to other things. >> okay. stay with me, and we also have, i should mention, as i also
bring in henderson. we know the vice president is presiding over all this as well. he could potentially be a tie breaker in the vote if need be. nia, you've been covering washington for quite a while as well. what do you make of this. >> big, big moment for republicans and it's clear that mitch mcconnell was able to move some of those senators that were no votes by essentially saying, this is only debate. this isn't about strictly a repeal, nor is it about repeal or replace strictly either, so he basically laid out a buffet of options there so he could get all of those folks on board. i talked to someone close to heller who essentially said just that. you know, that was what prompted him to switch votes, that they will have so many different options to go for. it's not clear what those options are going to be. they're obviously iterations of this health care bill that we've seen out of the house. there's a repeal only bill, there's a repeal and replace bill, so all sorts of options for everybody there and you see
mitch mcconnell there essentially saying, seize the moment, republicans. don't let this opportunity pass us by. he's obviously talking to republicans and schumer there also talking to republicans. and really, what i thought was telling about schumer, essentially saying to republicans that if you vote for this motion to proceed, you know what's going to happen on the other end, right, there are going to be taxes, tax breaks for the rich, there's going to be cuts in medicaid. obviously, we don't really know what's going to happen out of this, if they're going to be able to reach some sort of agreement where you can put together a bill that not only somebody like susan collins likes, that lisa murkowski likes, that dean heller likes, but also rand paul likes. that is a real big divide, ideological divide, and policy divide. i mean, one of the problems i think you've seen with this bill is that often, there's been sort of a political argument, sort of a political argument, but to really -- where there's a policy
disagreement and so that's where you've seen some of the mismatch here, but then you see, obviously, mitch mcconnell in the end, basically saying, you know, let's do this. let's move forward. this is the least that we could do at this point. open up this for debate and see what happens after that. >> take us inside. i mean, talking to a panel earlier, they were saying, obviously, this is a -- a lot of this is the work, especially those no turned yes votes, the shelley moore capito, rob portman, that is mitch mcconnell working really hard to flip those votes but beyond that, do we have any idea if now that we've had the president involved and really sorted of pressuring these republican senators, has he campaigned at all against these no votes? >> you know, from what i am hearing from people close to some of these senators, kind of the pressure from donald trump isn't necessarily as much a factor and it's more so their constituents back home, their own kind of policy considerations are around medicaid. i mean, we kind of talked about dean heller and donald trump and
sort of the threat there. it's not clear that he necessarily took it as a threat. i mean, he's obviously thinking about his constituents. people like susan collins obviously thinking about her constituents and also what she wants to do more broadly in her state, perhaps run for governor. if you look at a state like maine, for instance, that's a state where the legislature has said we -- they want medicaid and you'll see in november, there's going to be an initiative on the ballot expanding medicaid. that's not a state, maine, that has expanded. so there's all of these individual considerations. i mean, i think ultimately, it helps kind of the narrative for the president to be out in the way that he's been out over these last couple days, essentially saying win one for the republican party, win one for this president. so we can move on to other things. but i think for a lot of these folks, you know, 10 to 12 or so republicans, really is these individual considerations around policy that they're looking at.
>> and then we also actually -- this is -- as i'm talking to you, we're getting more information. as you just mentioned, senator collins of maine and also senator murkowski, alaska, we know they just voted no. so republicans -- those were the two, right? they could only afford to lose two votes and still hang in there. so, as we wait and they're voting right now, depending on -- obviously, if this thing falls flat, then that's it. case closed. if this does -- the procedural vote, nia, ends up passing, what's the next move? >> you know, it's -- you know, they're going to have a lot of debate. they're going to bring up a lot of different amendments. they're going bring up parts of all of the bills that we've seen and all the sort of iterations of it. and it's -- this is uncharted territory, right, that we haven't really seen this for this massive rethinking of one sixth of the american economy.
the fact that they're only bringing up, at this point, this motion to proceed. so we'll have a lot of people bringing up different amendments, different sort of parts of this bill or the bills that we've seen, for instance, stripping out the mandate, expanding medicaid or not expanding medicaid, block granting medicaid. i mean, you're going to really see, i think, the full spectrum of the republican party and their approach to health care and whether or not the federal government should have any role to play in health care, and that's why this has been so difficult. it's not like democrats who, you know, by and large were in agreement in terms of what they should do on health care. i mean, when you have republicans, it is just a very big span in terms of thinking about the federal government's role in health care. and they're just different states. and so i think you're going to see all of that play out over the next 20 or so hours of debate. >> they're voting. nia, let me let you take a breath. we'll come back to you
momentarily. let's go back up to capitol hill. ryan nobles is standing by. he's our correspondent up there. we've been reporting, ryan, on some of these no's turned yes's and now we know of the two no's, so they can't lose anymore, they, being the republicans. >> reporter: that's right. everyone forward has to be a yes and from what we're understanding from the senators we've been talking to, it looks like senate majority leader mitch mcconnell is going to get there. it may require vice president mike pence to cast the dinesh d'souzaing -- deciding vote. but take a look at some of these senators that even a week ago, brooke, we thought there was no chance they would be in the yes camp. shelley moore capito of west virginia is going to vote yes. jerry of kansas cast a vote in the affirmative. dean heller of nevada, perhaps the most vulnerable republican, he has a yes vote here. rob portman of ohio, who was waffling even as late as last week, i talked to him on friday and he was unsure if he was
prepared to cast this ballot in the affirmative. so this was a lot of work on behalf of mitch mcconnell and his republican caucus, and essentially, what he has done here is he's promised all these republican senators the opportunity here over the next couple of days to hash this thing out and come up with some sort of a plan that they can then take to conference with the house republicans and just continue this process along to get to a bill that they can all feel comfortable with, ultimately passing. but brooke, as you've seen over these past few weeks, that is still a tall order. this may be a monumental victory for mitch mcconnell at this point, but we are still pretty far away from them actually getting some sort of bill that can be sent to president trump's desk to be signed into law. >> right. >> so this is a big first step, but there's still a long way to go. >> so then, other than what you just mentioned t notion , the m opening the debate and get whag some of these senators want, ryan, really, what is it that's been credited with some of these
no, now yes, senators changing their minds. >> reporter: i think, essentially, what mitch mcconnell told them at this point is that, you know, we cannot leave this house and go to our recess in august, which they have extended the retess for two weeks, but we need to get this done now. we need to show the american people that we have done something. this was a promise that each one of you made, especially the republican senators, to their constituents, that they were going to do something on health care. and if they couldn't even get a bill to the floor to begin that process, he essentially made the pitch to them, and this is what he said all morning on twitter and in statements, he said it on the senate floor earlier today, that it amounts to malpractice. that you are not doing what you promised your voters that you would do. so, now, they can now have this debate on the house floor. it can be an open process but i have to tell you, brooke, democrats are screaming mad upset about this. they feel that even most republicans had no idea what they were doing to be voting on, you know, as late as an hour ago. in fact, one democratic senator, who did not want to be named,
told our m.j. lee off camera, he described this as something malpractice, and it's an expletive we can't use on television. essentially saying that this is a mysterious process that the republicans have engaged in and this is something that, you know, the american people should be upset and ashamed with, that this has all been done behind closed doors and that's true for the most part, all this negotiation has been done outside the eyes of reporters, outside the eyes of journalists, and been done behind closed doors. now, theoretically, that process should become a lot more open here over the next couple of days but we should stress it's going to be on a very condensed period. they may only have 20 hours of debate and the amendment process to push this through and democrats are going to make it difficult here over the next several days, but this is going to be a much different process here going forward. >> well, you mentioned m.j. so ryan, let me just bounce over to m.j. who's also on capitol hill. and m.j., ryan was just talking about some of these democrats
who are pretty perturbed and using -- some of them maybe using colorful language to describe what's happening there on the hill. but let's be clear. republicans as well. i remember reading guidance last week saying a lot of these are republicans were irked that they would have to linger around for another five to seven days to vote on something that thus far hasn't had the votes. >> reporter: yeah, and i just want to be clear. in talking about sort of the mood within the republican conference right now, this is not a situation where these republican senators are joyful to be voting for this bill. getting to this process and potentially getting to the 50 yes votes, it has been extremely painful. mitch mcconnell had to have a lot of conversations, as you know, a lot of setbacks to get to this moment and the fact that this has been mostly a closed-door process, that a lot of members felt like they, you know, were finding out about the plan for any given day, mostly from reporters, that, you know, even their aides or themselves, they didn't know what it is that would be happening in the senate on any given day.
that has created a lot of tension and i think, brooke, we're talking about sort of this bizarre situation right now where the lack of a plan from mitch mcconnell has almost worked out better for him than a plan. remember, he has tried many times to get senators behind an actual bill, an actual proposal. the repeal and replace bill version one. that didn't have new senators. a repeal and replace bill version two, that did not have enough senators and so then he moved on to the repeal only bill ask that drew a lot of concern as well. and finally, now that he has said, look, then we're going to move on to this process where hopefully every single person, every senator, every one of my colleagues can offer any kind of amendment that they want, an open amendment process, that is what finally, potentially, got -- and i'm still keeping my eyes on the vote count -- that is potentially what will get them to the finish line, at least for this first process. so it is just really, really striking right now that after all of these efforts, all of the
negotiations, it's the lack of a plan that potentially will get mitch mcconnell what he wanted. and again, very, very painful for these republicans who are going to vote yes on today's motion to vote -- motion to proceed vote, but then they will potentially face dozens if not hundreds of amendments on the floor and those are going to be tough votes. i was talking to a democratic aide earlier, and they were saying that they planned to be extremely aggressive in the amendments that they introduced on the senate floor because they want republicans to feel the pain. they want this to be extremely painful for them and to have to cast these votes that will be politically very damaging for them in the future. so, again, you know, i know ryan was saying this, nothing is certain right now, even if this motion to proceed vote is successful, the amendments that we are going to see and sort of the infighting and the tensions that we are going to see flare up as moderate senate republicans propose what they would like to see in the final bill and conservatives push what they want to see, this is far
from over and we are about to have a really long couple of days here in the senate. >> i am glad you pointed it out in the context because i feel like we need to pump the brakes on just perspective of this whole thing. m.j., thank you so much. and phil mattingly is also up on capitol hill. and phil, just to you, i know you're in the thick of this scrum, maybe where some of these senators are coming out, or obviously voting now and we have the two "no" votes but in terms of pumping the brakes, yes, this is a super significant vote, this opens the floor for debate on this whole thing, but then once debate opens, i mean, who knows where this could go in terms of reepeeling apealing ang obamacare. >> reporter: in the words of senator bob corken, a republican from tennessee yesterday, it's the wild west and make no mistake, when republican leadership was starting this process, they wanted to have this locked up before they got to the amendment process. they are very aware of kind of the danger of wandering into one of these vote-a-ramas or open
amendment processes and not having ensured that all of your members are protected, not having a very clear end game set to go, but frankly, up to this point, that simply hasn't been possible. still waiting on senator mccain to show up. still waiting on senator ron johnson. if they get those two, they will have the 50 votes needed. mike pence who's currently in the chair right now would cast the tie-breaking vote and move forward but m.j. did a great job of laying out the uncertainty of what happens in this amendment process and i want to lay out the context. a lot of the very senators who voted to move forward on this have basically -- are said previously when they sank previous efforts that they would never vote to move forward unless they had a full replace plan in place. they don't have a full replace plan in place, so if this moves forward, there's a lot of senators who changed their minds once essentially their bluff was called. >> and the fact that they don't have a replace plan in place,
then, thus, leaves the massive question over, well, then, what happens. they may be -- they may have been no's turned yes's for the procedural vote but who knows how this thing could go down the road. phil, thank you so much. we'll come back to you. talking to different correspondents on capitol hill, watching this vote very closely. we have the two no votes so far, senators murkowski and collins. they cannot afford another one. the vice president is there. he could provide the tie-breaking vote if need be on this procedural vote to open the debate on repeal and replace. let's go over to the white house, because also significant, in a couple of minutes, we'll be seeing the president himself standing with another world leader, holding a news conference in the rose garden and that's where we have jeff zeleny. we're watching for the president and some of the questions he'll be getting, how he's talked about publicly, tweeted about the current attorney general, but on what we're watching right
now, jeff, is the president tuned in to this vote? >> reporter: no question the president and his aides certainly at the white house are watching what is happening with this senate vote. the president himself is actually in a bilateral meeting with the prime minister of lebanon. his top advisers are as well. i was in there a short time ago as approximathe pool reporter. at the end about health care, he had a bit of a smile on his face, brooke. so the white house is feeling more confident about this than they were a few hours ago but i think important to point out, the context of all of this here, this is simply getting to a vote, as phil mattingly was saying. this is simply getting on to the bill. to call this a victory, if this vote actually happens, it is in the legislative sense for senator mcconnell but boy, in terms of what republicans have been trying to do, brooke, for seven years or so, this is hardly, you know, a major victory. this is just the continuation of what really has become a long slog here. so no question the white house
is watching specifically what is going on. the vice president, of course, on capitol hill has been, you know, playing such a key role in all of this, but you know, again, this is the beginning. the president will be traveling to ohio tonight. youngstown, ohio, for a campaign rally and i cannot imagine that he will not bring up senator rob portman, republican of ohio, who has been very skeptical of some of the particulars of this bill. he has said he'll vote to proceed on to the debate but of course he is one of those republican senators who will be watching here. but again for as much as health care is the attention at this hour, it is still what's happening with the attorney general, the white house and the extraordinary feud with the justice department that's top billing here this afternoon. >> the public bullying over twitter, referring to jeff sessions' weak position, calling him beleaguered, 24 hours ago. what's the end game. we're waiting, hopefully, for
the first washington out of the gate when we see you again and the president along with the lebanese pm in the rose garden. so jeff zeleny, stand by for me on that. i should mention that the vote underway in the senate, one very significant senator who will be there, this is his first trip back to washington since being diagnosed with brain cancer, undergoing surgery, he is back in washington to cast the significant vote. he is veteran arizona senator john mccain who will not only cast a vote but they'll open the floor for him to speak for just a couple of minutes, and so with that, let me go to our chief medical correspondent, sanjay gupta, who has had sort of unprecedented access into senator mccain's doctors and his condition. just on the surface level, sanjay, when we heard that senator mccain would be able to get on a plane and come back to washington, tell us more about his condition and how he's able to do that. >> reporter: well, you know, he
had a big operation, you know, it was a brain operation as you know. it was 11 days ago now. we know that he had a pretty quick recovery after that in terms of being able to get out of the hospital. he was able to go home the next day. speaking to his doctors, which senator mccain gave me permission to do, they sort of recommended that he stay home, not fly for about two weeks. 14 days. again, it's 11 days now. but i can tell you there's no absolute rules with this sort of thing. you know, the big concern just if you will, from a mechanical point is any time you do an operation, for example, if it's in a dane-- on your knee or something, you may have air within the area and when you go on a plane, those air bubbles can expand. that's because of the -- you're going up in altitude. same thing can happen in the brain and that's the big concern. but typically, you know, 10 to 14 days or so, the air is pretty much gone and doctors will say, look, we still don't recommend this for two weeks but we're not going to get in your way either. that's my guess is how his
doctors probably -- the recommendations to him. >> do you have any indication also from these doctors just how he's doing? i mean, obviously well enough to get on the plane and travel to washington. but -- and also just the future. >> reporter: yeah, well, you know, he was discharged from the hospital the next day, which is saying something. he's 80 years old. he had general anesthesia. he just had a brain operation and he goes home the next day. that's quick recovery by any standard, even for a person much, much younger. so, i think that the doctors were really encouraged by that. and you know, i think, again, they would have preferred, it sounds like, that he stay on the ground for two weeks but he wanted to go back within a week he was telling his doctor so i think it was probably a little gave and take there. but to your question, brooke, the diagnosis is now known as to what caused the bleeding in his brain and that is a glioblastoma.
it's a tumor that starts in the brain. and it's a difficult tumor to treat. it's a tumor that is a malignant cancer so the concern is that it comes back, even after you operate on it. so there's going to be discussions. he may have already decided to pursue additional therapies, which usually come in the form of chemotherapy and radiation, and those things typically start a few weeks after his operation. so he's 11 days out now. maybe a another couple weeks and he would likely start those treatments if that's what he's going to pursue, and all indications are that he's going to do that. >> we're talking about senator mccain, again, because as you're following along, procedural vote underway on the senate side. this is just to open the debate on a potential repeal, a repeal and replace, and sanjay's had all this access to senator mccain's doctors because he will be speaking as he casts his vote, he will be speaking and so we'll take that live. sanjay, stand by with me. nia-malika henderson, let me
bring you back in. and i'm being told in you look at the upper right side of the screen there, senators mcconnell, thank you for the spotlight, senators mcconnell and johnson are speaking. apparently senator johnson hasn't voted yet, so what do you think's going on? >> yeah, i mean, this is interesting. ron johnson, of course, from wisconsin, had expressed some displeasure early on with the way this whole thing was going. with sort of side -- his sense that sort of side deals were being cut or that the leadership wasn't being particularly transparent with members of the party, with republican senators. so unclear what they're talking about there. you imagine that john mccain will finally cast the final vote, and that would be a "yes" vote and maybe the idea is that johnson casts the vote yes before but certainly some drama as this thing comes down to the wire. with two outstanding votes out,
we know john mccain is a yes vote and it's unclear about what ron johnson is going to do, what he's talking about there with mitch mcconnell. but again, i think this is a testament to how difficult this has been. i mean, just this motion to open debate has really proven, i think, how difficult this entire process has been, all of these senators having to really do some soul-searching, talk to mitch mcconnell, be sort of promised certain things with this, which essentially is that they will be able to bring up all sorts of amendments on amendments that might be counter to other amendments that are brought up from republicans but my goodness, what an ending spectacle there. >> as i'm listening to you, nia, we're looking at this car. i think i spy arizona plates. yep, there he is. senator mccain. senator mccain walking out of the car and then into capitol hill. so i know we have cameras all over. so, we'll watch him and watch
for -- that's what you think, nia n nia, that he'll be that final vote. >> reporter: you would think. that would seem to be a really symbolic thing. i mean, he came all this way. imagine, i mean, he just had surgery ten days ago as sanjay gupta was saying, so here he is and you imagine that that's the kind of symbolism and moment they would want to have here. that's just my guess as someone who, you know, is thinking about the way they want to put together the optics of this. and then just kind of add -- it's more drama. i mean, not only do we have ron johnson there trying to figure out what he's going to do, but then john mccain making this dramatic entry that, again, echos in some way ted kennedy, also doing the same thing, a pivotal vote many years ago for obamacare. and here is john mccain in some way suffering from the same ailment, doing the same thing here for republicans with health care. >> let's listen. everyone on their feet.