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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  July 27, 2017 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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of transgender people in the military. you were the secretary of defense that oversaw don't ask, don't tell in 2011. does yesterday's announcement make sense to you both how it was made and the policy itself? >> no, not at all. i think it frankly undermines something that has made the united states the strongest military power on the face of the earth. the fact that we allow everyone to serve our country, we have opened the doors to people that want to be good soldiers and serve this country, regardless of race, regardless of color or creed, regardless of gender, regardless of sexual orientation. if they can be a good soldier, then they ought to be given the opportunity to serve. >> secretary panetta, appreciate your time. thanks. >> thank you. lawmakers right now are soldiering on in the battle over health care. there are phrases like skinny repeal and voterama.
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and health care may be a mystery about what is going on tonight. ryan nobles joins me from the hill. so let's talk about this so-called voterama. where do things stand right now? >> we're still waiting for the 20 hours of debate to conclude before we get to that stage of vote-a-rama which is an opportunity for members to offer up a variety of amendments having to do with this health care bill. most of them, we should point out, will likely get voted down. once vote-a-rama starts, there's no telling how long it will go. essentially as long as these senators have in them to continue offering up amendments and keep in mind each one requires a full roll call vote. if they offer up 50 amendments, it could take ten minutes per amendment to get through so we could easily be here until well into tonight and into tomorrow morning. >> and paul ryan is seeming to
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make assurances to the republicans. is it enough for the republicans? >> reporter: well, assurance seems to be the key word. i want to play for you a bit of a press conference held earlier today where senator lindsey graham and others talked about this assurance that they need from paul ryan na if they pass this bill, it will go to conference. >> is it blood oath? i'm serious. >> we don't have it. it's like pornography. you'll know it when you see it. >> reporter: so has he seen it y yet? he put out a lengthy statement about an hour ago saying that he's willing for this bill to go to conference if it's passed but it's not enough for many of the senators. we talked to quite a few in the last hour. graham said he's still undecided. he wants to talk to the speaker on the phone himself. john mccain, who was also at the
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press conference, said, quote, it's not sufficient. and ron johnson said he appreciates the statement but he's still undecided. so anderson, this is very much a fluid situation. it is up in the air. we still don't know if there are enough votes to pass this so-called skinny repeal. >> we're going to be covering this all night long. the word came out in "the new yorker," a phone call from anthony scaramucci to "new york yorker" reporter ryan lizza. scaramucci was having dinner with the president and sean hannity a hannity and he wantsed to know who leaked that information. this is a rare moment in american politics. not that it was filled with curse words but the fact that it wasn't off the record and the fact that this whole staffing drama is playing out almost in realti realtime on television and in print. here's what ryan lizza had to say. i want to read part of what scaramucci said to you.
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"reince is a blanking paranoid skets frschizophrenic. bill shine is coming in. let me leak the blanking thing the way i blank blocked scaramucci for six months" didn't he just say that they were friends? >> yes. he did. he said at the end of the day that they are brothers and over the course of the last week i think anthony scaramucci has become increasingly convinced that every negative story about him somehow reince priebus was behind and when he got out of that dinner with trump and sean hannity from fox news, he saw either my tweet or other people asking him about the dinner and i think he got a little angry and sort of wanted to know who leaked that to me and called me
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and the first part of the conversation i had with him was just about who leaked it, who leaked it, him trying to get me to tell him that. frankly, anderson, i tweeted that -- it wasn't a significant enough scoop to write a story about it. it's interesting who the president is having dinner with but i didn't think it was a big deal but he did. >> i want to read another part of the conversation that you wrote. "i asked these guys not to leak anything and they can't help themselves. you're an american citizen, he was talking to you. this is a major catastrophe for the american country. i'm asking you as an american patriot to give me a sense of who leaked it. obviously you did not end up giving him your source. >> i didn't. if he tells me something in confidence, off the record or on background, i'm not going to go, then, to some other white house official and, you know, sell him out and reveal that he was the source for something. >> he also had some really choice words, i guess you'd say,
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for steve bannon. and i guess if you can -- >> choice words. >> maybe you can read what he said. >> make me read this one. >> use your judgment on this one. >> um, yeah. you've got to be careful with some of these. they're pretty salty. so we were talking about -- i was talking to anthony about, you know, our coverage and profiles about him and, you know, whether he would cooperate or not and he compared himself to bannon and he said, i'm not steve bannon. i'm not trying to blank my own expletive, i'm not trying to build my own brand off the blanking strength of the president. i'm here to serve the country." so he was really ripping into him saying that he's out for himself, craving the media spotlight and that he, anthony scaramucci, was going to try and stay more behind the scenes.
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you know, leave it to viewers to decide if that's what's happened over the past week. >> and jeff zeleny joins me now from the white house. jeff, it's interesting, anthony scaramucci just tweeted about ryan lizza. what did he say? previously he had put out a tweet which was sort of funny and said, look, i used this kind of language and clearly i won't in this arena again but i'm focused on the president's agenda. what's he now saying? >> reporter: anderson, it's clear there's still cleanup going here with anthony scaramucci. five minutes ago or so he sent a new tweet and said this directly directed at ryan lizza there. he said, i made a mistake in trusting a reporter. it won't happen again. of course, there's no apology in that tweet. he simply is saying, you know, not denying that he said any of those things. he said i made a mistake in trusting a reporter. but as you say, different language than what he said earlier this evening when he directly addressed that vulgar language he used. this is what he said then,
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anderson. he said, "i sometimes use colorful language. i will refrain in this arena but not give up the passionate fight for donald trump's agenda. #make america great again." again, no apologies for insults to the top high command of this white house, chief strategist steve bannon and reince priebus. >> what i don't understand, jeff, what he's mad at ryan lizza about, he called him up, never asked him to be off the record which any adult in the communications business knows to do if they want somebody to be off the record and then went on to try to get ryan lizza to reveal his sources which in the other thing -- like anybody in the communications business knows, that's a nonstarter. and then went on to call the chief of staff a -- all sorts of things and say other things about, you know, gymnastics with steve bannon. what does he expect?
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i'm not sure why he would be angry at a reporter for reporting something which was fully on the record. >> reporter: well, look, reporters are easy to be angry at. if you're him, you certainly can't -- i mean, i guess one option is to be angry at yourself for saying this but, look, this is a growing pain, i guess, i would say, or a lesson being learned here by anthony scaramucci to this new position. it's worth pointing out, he's been in this job less than a week. he actually hasn't even officially started. that comes next week. but boy, what a lesson he is getting in how this actually works. anthony scaramucci is someone who is used to talking to reporters a lot as an outside adviser. he speaks to the president of the united states and when he called up and had that colorful conversation after his dinner, it was recorded and the reality here is now the white house is left with a mess to clean up. they should be talking about, if you talk to republicans in this town, about health care. the president should be making
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calls at this hour trying to get people -- you know, senators to vote for this. anderson, tonight, we're still left with an uncertainty. does the president have confidence in his chief of staff? sarah huckabee sanders, the new press secretary, essentially didn't answer that and i caught up with her just a short time ago this evening outside of the white house here and she defended anthony scaramucci. she said he used a colorful language. he's passionate. he won't do it again. as we end this week at the white house, or begin to end this week, internal feuding and fighting is the story of the day. certainly overtaking their agenda. >> jeff, thank you very much. i want to bring back ryan lizza from "the new yorker." the new tweet was, "i made a mistake in trusting a reporter. it won't happen again." what's your response? >> i think he's taking the wrong lesson away from this. he's the communications director and when i called him and walked
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him through the piece and told him it would be hosting and i said, look, you're the communications director for the most powerful institution in the world. when you call a reporter and talk to them on the record about something that is newsworthy and then indeed when you talk about that same conversation this morning on the record, you know, there's no -- it's important that the public understands who the people at the white house are and, you know, it's not a matter of trust. it's a matter of we as reporters and journalists trying to explain who these people are to the american people and when you do an on-the-record interview with someone, it's standard operating procedure that those -- that interview, then, gets reported. >> right. if he had said to you for people watching at home and not following the ins and outs of reporter 101, if he had said, i
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want to talk to you off the record, then you would not have reported this. correct? >> that would be a very, very different. one of the things we talked about last night, the conversation started because he wanted me to reveal an anonymously sourced conversation. my whole conversation with him was, anthony, i can't do that. these are people that trusted me with information. i agreed not to tell the public who they are and i agreed not to tell other white house officials who they are. i sort of walked him through how reporting 101 in washington. so i think his lesson from this is, you know, it's a trust issue. i think he's taking the wrong lesson from this and, you know, he's a big boy in a big job and when you have it on the record conversation with a reporter
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about something newsworthy, you should expect that it's going to be reported. just like he goes on cnn's air, it's no different. >> be off the record and not reported, you can arrange that with a reporter. >> yeah. i've had cases with people in public at a rally and understand the rules of journalism, they say oh, i didn't want to be quoted on that and you can understand a civilian and communications director for the president of the united states calls you and you do an interview with them, you report what that person says if it's newsworthy and that's what happened in this case. >> all right. ryan lizza, appreciate you coming back. i want to bring in josh green, abby phillip, jeffrey lord an r aan and errol lewis.
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ryan lizza didn't do anything wrong? >> no, he didn't. anthony scaramucci learned a lesson here. he's not officially on the job. he's a smart guy. he'll be fine here. one thing that i would want to say, all of the attention, this is typical of all of the stories that get focused, our cnn colleague went to youngstown the other night and we had gary tuchman there. she interviewed a lot of people. at the close of her piece when she was talking about the enthusiasm, a woman said, look, what i love about him is he's not the traditional politician. he doesn't do things this way. i don't like the people that are there. he does it in a whole different way. they don't like it. that's why i sent him there. so i think as we go through this kind of a story, we need to remember that the audience out there, there's a lot of these people who think, yeah -- >> i don't think the story is that he used salty language.
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it's more about what it says about potential or possible dysfunction inside the white house. yes, the language may be getting more people's attention but that's the story that somebody is going on the record talking about the chief of staff. >> and not just somebody, anderson. the communications director of the president of the united states. i'm sorry. yes, he might just have gotten on the job but he's the communications director of the president of the united states. >> i think he communicated today. >> he clearly does not have the qualifications for this job because the first rule of communications is, you have to know when you're speaking to a reporter if it's on the record, off the record, on background, what the rules are. and he clearly was either clueless about trk didnit or di think that ryan -- >> i don't think he's probably in trouble, do you? this is something that the president -- to your point, there's a lot of people listening saying, yeah, he talks
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like me. i would say the same thing. more power to him. >> i've made a lot of calls to nonadvisers today and got mostly silence and it's clear that people want him to hang himself by his own rope, that there aren't other factions coming out and really trying to inject their viewpoints into the story. >> and you were saying, while he was talking to cnn this morning, you were there and you were getting actually messages? >> realtime texts of mines being blown and after that you didn't see a lot of people coming out and leaking and trying to make themselves part of the story. i think the bannons and priebuses scaled back and will let scaramucci clean up his own mess. >> there is a sense that this had really gotten kind of out of hand, that it had fallen off a cliff here. >> but didn't somebody -- one person who e-mailed you call it a car crash? >> yes. a car crash.
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another person said it's probably extended priebuses tenure. i think this was a clumsy attempt by scaramucci to try to show that he's cracking the whip and impose an order. i do think he was trying to communicate a message. >> i think it's worth noted that these people are being paid by the united states government, the american people to do a job. what they've been doing for six months is fighting for each other essentially. there's a lot of americans out there in youngstown who like donald trump and want him to be an unusual vehicle for change but he has to actually also change things and right now that's the big problem, is that the personality is there. the change is not there. and anthony scaramucci is feeding into that but he's also not facilitating this white house actually accomplishing their agenda. >> everybody is going to focus on the obscenities. if you go back to the tweet that he deleted last night, when he's
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saying publicly he's going to sick the fbi on the white house chief of staff, that's serious stuff. >> isn't that illegal? >> and if the first rule is to know when you're on the record is communications director, the second rule has got to be get your facts right. he was going crazy and alleging a felony against the chief of staff over what was in the end public information. he's got to get up to speed very, very quickly. >> we're going to have more with the panel ahead. we'll also hear more about scaramucci's interview on "new day" after he called ryan lizza and the so-called vote-a-rama. anyway, expected to begin in about 15 minutes. we'll get the latest on that. el, what is your nationality and i would always answer hispanic. so when i got my ancestry dna results it was a shocker. i'm from all nations. it puts a hunger in your heart to want to know more.
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hours after anthony scaramucci called ryan lizza, he called cnn's "new day." here's some of the highlights. >> the president brought me in, he knows i'm his friend first, chris. you're from new york, i'm from new york, the president is from new york. >> this white house leaks more than any i have been in contact with. >> it's ridiculous. >> but i don't know if i'd use the word ridiculous -- >> how is this, chris?
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unprofessional? you became a verbal proofreader overnight. >> i'm saying journalistically -- >> i didn't study that like quincy. i wasn't a coroner studying that. >> he was a medical examiner. not a coroner. >> i told the president this morning when the iceberg hit the boat, the rats start flying up and the water comes in steerage. so when you mentioned the fbi and the department of justice, you watch how the rats lift in the boat. >> i understand. but you know what the problem is you're putting -- the boat gets put into the iceberg. the iceberg does not hit the boat and my point of the analogy correction is -- >> that's really cute. you're doing a good job this morning. that's a really cute way to spin my metaphor but you get the point that i'm making. i told tapper i'll send him a box of clean knickleenex. >> i don't know why you said that, by the way.
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it's insulting when you say that. >> removed. what's that? >> it's insulting when you say something like that. >> all right. i'm teasing him. you guys are unbelievable. you're allowed to hit me. >> it's not nice. it's offensive. when you say to a journalist i'll bring you a clean knicks because you'll be upset if the president gets re-elected, you're suggesting that they are biased. it's not nice. >> i'm making a joke. what i love about you guys, you hit me three times hard, i say something teasing and you get upset. >> you think this is hard? i'm giving you paths s on the h like you're a puppy. these are just questions. >> it was quite a morning. back now with the panel, i mean, you were there. >> yes. it was -- what chris cuomo did to anthony scaramucci there is what the kids call getting owned. he just kept coming after him and after him and scaramucci was so uncomfortable and seemed to
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pivot between being aggressive and teasing. this kind of jockular towel snapping and ingriatiate himsel to trump and also what seemed to be menacing his own people on the press staff and saying i'm going to stop these leaks if i have to fire all of them. it wasn't clear what direction he was trying to take. >> it is interesting. it's got to be a difficult thing to go from a business person, successful, and then suddenly to be in this other role. it's a choice he made. he's a smart guy and he'll, you know -- he made the choice. but making that transition where suddenly you're -- >> it's easier and i think you might agree with this, it's easier to go from the government and the white house to the media than it is to go in the reverse.
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>> well, except for it wouldn't be that hard if when you went into the white house as communications director you had the qualifications to be the white house communications director which scaramucci -- >> that is jesubjective. >> no, it's not. i've been a communications director for my whole political life. that was my career. you get trained for it. you work for it. you understand the circumstances about which you can answer questions. >> they were talking about leaks and chris was talking about how much this white house leaks. isn't a lot of that sort of about allegiance and loyalty and respect? i mean, donald trump likes to make a big deal about how loyal he is. i don't think reince priebus feels that or sean spicer feels that or attorney general sessions feels that or a number of other people and if you treat people in a certain way or make them feel a certain way, they're
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not going to be loyal to you. you're not going to get the loyalty that you expect. >> and in fact he said something astounding this morning, which was that he said that there are people in the white house who believe they have to protect the country from president trump. that is astounding to hear from somebody who is supposedly a trump supporter appointing a political appointee who is supposed to underscore his agenda and be for it. >> to give you a sense as a reporter working with this white house, it has been notable that in this white house, you are much more likely to get an answer when you are writing a story about reince priebus or sean spicer or kellyanne conway than if you're writing a story about president trump. that's true. it is true that there are a lot of people within this white house who have allegiances to each other and not as many who have allegiances to the president. some of that trump loyalist blame on this idea that he brought in a lot of rnc people
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when he came into the white house. the white house is not a sort of trump camp. some of those people were kept out. but what i'm saying is, we've got to listen to what anthony scaramucci is saying. he's not making this up out of thin air. this is in part the view of the president and the people closest to him and he's not surrounded by loyalists in this white house and -- >> that's clearly something that they seem to want to vond hsurr him with. >> one thing scaramucci did do well was convey donald trump's wishes and concerns. i mean, there's one thing that came through in that conversation. >> yes. >> he did communicate and i think one of the difficulties was the media. he's a very polished, smooth cable news pundit by all accounts. and a very personable guy. i think calling into a cable show and not really understanding the medium, the venue and context in which it would be taken as white house communications director rather
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than anthony scaramucci the president's adviser clearly tripped him up. >> clearly he was not hired to be white house communications director. he was hired to be president trump's political hedge man. the way that he's threatening people because of these likeeak people in the white house are not serving the president but ultimately they serve the country and the united states and if they believe what trump is doing is being harmful to the country, you're going to get leaks no matter who -- >> but what's happening here is there is this never trump syndrome in washington. lots of people -- it's bipartisan. i'm not shocked that some of this made its way into the white house. so what he's saying here is absolutely correct. there are a whole lot of people when you listen to the conservative talk radio, they talk about a silent coup and insiders versus outsiders and the fact that you were getting these kinds of phone calls while he is on the air says everything you need to know about the depth of that kind of problem that is
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in washington. >> but i think even -- i think most observers listening to this interview would agree that it didn't exactly go well. even anthony scaramucci agreed in the interview that he felt he was being hit too hard. it wasn't like he came out of this thinking that it was some sort of home run for him. >> we've got to take a quick break. we've got more ahead with the panel. the senate is trying to repeal parts of obamacare tonight but may not be so easy. the voting will start at any minute. we'll take you to the hill for an update. of dissolved solids... pour it through brita's two-stage filter... dissolved solids remain! what if we filter it over and over? oh dear. thank goodness zerowater's five-stage filter gets to all zeroes the first time. so maybe it's time to upgrade. get more out of your water. get zerowater.
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well, back to our health care breaking news. the nate is about to start its so called vote-a-rama. where are things now and what is happening right now? >> reporter: well, we're still waiting for them to close off the 20 hours of debate. there's activity now on the floor. it would currently repeal the so-called cadillac health insurance plans, a tax on those health insurance pranlans. this is not part of the vote-a-rama. at any moement, this portion of the process should end. what we're waiting to see here,
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anderson, is whether or not these group of senators and republican senators are breepprd to vote for this scaled down version of obamacare repeal. there are many senators that will remain undecided. many were walking onto the floor. our team of reporters that scattered out by the chamber were asking the senators, have you made a decision? a couple of them said yes they had made a decision but they didn't want to reveal that decision until it went down. this whole process has been pretty peculiar. >> it's called a skinny repeal. what is being repealed? >> reporter: so the main crux of the skinny repeal is it gets rid of these big ticket items part of obamacare. the big thing is it would get rid of the individual mandate. that's the mandate that requires all americans to purchase health care. it also repeals the employer mandate, an important aspect of obamacare and also gives states more flexibility over how they implement health care decisions,
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including whether or not they have to make coverage for pre-existing conditions a requirement. one thing it does not do, one of the reasons it's considered a skinny repeal is that it doesn't deal with medicaid at all, including the medicaid expansion which was at a very important part of the original affordable care act, affordable health care act. so what they're talking about right now, anderson, the particulars of the skinny repeal are really not that important because there are very few people who want this to become law and what mitch mcconnell is trying to do tonight is convince at least 50 senators to pass something they don't ever want to see make it to president trump's desk and that's part of the reason he's having such a difficult time. >> ryan, thanks very much. it's a hard concept to wrap one's mind around. they are voting for something they don't want to come into law. >> it's mind boggling. and if they are seeking assurances from the speaker of the house promising to not take it up if they pass it and move it into law -- >> for those watching at home,
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they're afraid that the house is just going to take the skinny repeal. >> right. >> and vote on it, pass it and it will go -- >> on the verge of passing something that they don't care want to become law. i mean, it's just -- it's hard -- we've never seen anything like this, that i'm aware of. >> something that impacts so many americans and a huge portion of the economy, it's actually really unbelievable that they would do this because, you know, i think ryan made the point that it's not what the final product is likely to be but people need to know what is in the bill and the fact that they don't know what's in it now and they don't know how it will unfold over the next couple of days or weeks, i think is pretty much unacceptable. people waiting at home to find out what happened to their health insurance ought to know. >> lindsey graham got it exactly right. the point of this is to put pressure on both republicans and democrats to finally do something. and and in that sense it's absolutely right. if they pass this and if t got to the house and the president
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signed it, the heat would be on both parties to get their act together. >> i'm sorry. that he would be on republicans because you can't say that they are not ready to do something when chuck schumer is ready to fix obamacare, not repeal and replace it because they can't come up with a plan they haven't been able to in seven years that would actually work. >> amazingly enough. >> so i have an idea. if they are so afraid of voting for something because they are afraid it might become law, don't vote for it, right? try to figure out exactly what this will mean for the american people. this is too important. >> for republicans, the danger of, you know, going back to your district and not having fulfilled the promise to pass some sort of repeal and replace. >> that's right. this is a big deal. and, you know, just for a second, this dinner that ryan wrote about, it included sean hannity and for full disclosure, he's a friend of mine. so i don't know. i haven't talked to him about this. but i can tell you on his radio
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show, he's been relentless covering republicans on this health care situation. and it is not at all hard to believe that, you know, whether it's last night at the dinner or over there right this minute, there are republicans saying, if we don't do something, we are going to be done -- >> for people opposed to this, there's no guarantee that it goes to conference for the house and senate with their staffers and senators and congress people, there's no guarantee they will be able to come up with something. >> that's exactly right. all of the evidence is to the contrary. if they were able to sit down and have a conference, they would have done it by now. if they were able to arrive even -- and this is a republican-only process at this point. if they were able to arrive on anything, i mean, you know, you have differences in an inability to get to 50 votes up till now for wildly different reasons where there are people like rand paul who are kind of coming from one place and people like susan collins going in a different direction and they don't have
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any reason to think that they're going to fix it now. it could very speedily, if they were going to vote for this, it goes to the house, gets voted in and gets signed and then you have catastrophe and then perhaps something -- >> and that's how you wind up with a situation where republicans are both terrified to pass the bill and terrified not to. >> and here's what i don't understand. they're so terrified to do nothing and for their constituents to pummel them for not repealing obamacare when obamacare is more popular than any of them are and including the president and when most people in this country don't want obamacare to be repealed -- >> it's not popular for republicans, though. >> they want it to be fixed. guess what, the president is not just president of republicans. he's president of the whole country. >> right. >> we've got to take a quick break. more breaking news. attorney general sessions responding to the president's continued attacks on him. what he has to say when we come back. ays he walks 26.2 miles,
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more breaking news tonight. jeff sessions is responding to donald trump's attacks. the one-sided feud started when the president said he was disappointed with his decision to recuse himself from the russia investigation. sessions was asked about that on fox news. listen. >> he has said again that you should have acted it differently, you should not have recused hi recused yourself from the russia investigation. >> i understand his feelings about it because this has been a big distract for him, but i've talked to experts and department of justice people who are trained in that. i'm confident i made the right decision. the decision is consistent with the rule of law and attorney general who doesn't follow the law is not very effective in running the department of justice. i think as 15 years in the department and having served in
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that great department, knowing that integrity that's required of the attorney general, i believe i made the right decision. >> earlier i spoke with congressman peter king for his take on all of this. first, we discussed the newest wing drama that anthony scaramucci blasted reince priebus and steve bannon. congressman, i want to get your thoughts about anthony scaramucci calling reince priebus an f'ing paranoid schizophrenic. are you concerned about how the white house is run, being organized? >> again, it all depends on how it plays out. i don't know anthony scaramucci personally. i've met him a couple of times. i've known a lot of guys like him that talk that way. he's very smart and tough. i think if there was a tape recorder around when politicians hurt me in new york, you hear that type of talk. it can't go on forever but he was angry about something. so listen, if i were on the receiving end of that, i would take a shot back i would try to
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forget about it the next day. >> this is the lgb tapes talking to a were reporter not on backg even is it wise to say this to a reporter publicly? >> anthony scaramucci is a tough, smart guy. he has his own style of doing things. he's come to the white house with a purpose in mind. we'll see how it works out. this is an unorthodox administration and unorthodox campaign. president trump was elected and he's -- the white house is being run in an unorthodox way. we'll have to see. scaramucci is a tough guy. we'll see how this works out. maybe it will be like a cage match or something. >> and what about for attorney general sessions? i'm wondering where you stand on how he's being treated. does it make sense to you what the president is doing, the way he's publicly going after the attorney general or criticizing the attorney general? should he just fire him if he's
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not happy with him? >> i have a great regard for jeff sessions. i like jeff sessions. to put it in very basic terms, he's been the ultimate professional and certainly in dealing with his attorney general as a senator he was always the ultimate pro and nice guy as attorney general i dealt with him on the issue of ms-13. he came into my district, spent a good four, five hours meeting with the families of victims and meeting with the prosecutors, with the fbi, with homeland security, meeting with the local police and law enforcement officials. he's a perfect gentleman and so i think he deserves to be treated well. >> you would like to see him stick around? >> i would. listen, i think -- again, i can't speak for the president and maybe he has a different view of this. i don't know of anyone in the administration, anyone in the cabinet who can be more of a donald trump supporter than jeff sessions. he was the only guy that was out there and during the campaign i would see him and be with him on election night and he's calm,
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he's reflective and he is really -- he is a solid donald trump republican. >> was it appropriate that he recused himself from the russia investigation? because that seems to be what initially has brought the ire of the president on. >> i think he had to. i know rudy giuliani was asked that the other night. he thought that jeff sessions did the right thing. i understand why the president feels that he's being trapped in a way and i am not a fan of independent counsel, special prosecutors but i think at that moment in time that jeff sessions did what he had to do. >> scaramucci also said today the president might veto the russia sanctions bill or they might want something tougher. you voted for this bill. it over wewhelmly passed. if he wants something tougher, you can always add more sanctions afterwards. >> i did vote for the bill. i was proud to vote for the bill. i would hope that the president sign it is. >> would you try to override a
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veto? >> if it came to a vote, i would have to unless the president has another alternative that would be worked on at the same time. put it this way, i want this to be the law. >> congressman king, appreciate your time. thank you. >> anderson, thank you. up next, an update on the senate's health care efforts to report to you. we'll be right back. there's nothing more important to me than my vacation. so when i need to book a hotel, i want someone who makes it easy to find what i want. booking.com gets it. and with their price match, i know i'm getting the best price every time. c'mon, gary! your vacation is very important. that's why booking.com makes finding the right hotel for the right price easy. visit booking.com now to find out why we're booking.yeah!
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of more than 15 key nutrients. one a day 50+. want to give you a quick update on the health care battle in congress tonight. ron johnson says house speaker paul ryan gave him, senator john mccain and lindsey graham assurance over the phone he'd go to conference if the senate passes a peel to repeal parts of obamacare. senator graham says he will vote yes on the so-called skinny repeal. a lot of mystery surrounding the votes tonight, though. obviously a lot of controversy. protesters gathered outside the capitol, the so-called vote-o-rama is expected to begin at any moment. back now with the fanl. does anybody have a sense of really what is going to happen at this point? >> well, you know, i only have one -- my perception of this whole situation, the reason why we are here, is because there is a way for republicans to go back a little bit, take a step back. as mccain has staaid what he was to do, work with democrats,
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craft a bill that resolves whatever problems they perceive there to be with the current law and move forward with that. they don't want to do that so they are going with what is essentially a high wire act. they're basically saying, let's pass this skinny thing that no one thinks is good policy, politics or policy, and then let's hope that we go to conference, agree on something and then pass that. but there's not any reason to believe that in washington that sort of ultimatum-like procedure is going to actually be effective and that's why this is so dangerous. i mean, i think that, you know, that's why there are senators out there who are saying there's absolutely no way i'm going to put my eggs in that basket because there's not a guarantee that they will come up with something in conference that all republicans can agree on that will get this whole thing to work. >> here's what's really happening. republicans don't want to make a decision and by passing this skinny bill, it pushes off the day of reckoning to a future point. to a theoretical conference committee and allows them to
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maintain the high wire act that abby is talking about. >> also allows them to say, look, we're moving this forward, we passed this, we're doing the best we can. >> this has been -- i have to say, i mean, i'm embarrassed for these people. >> you should be. >> this has been an absolutely abysmal performance here. seven years of saying they were going to do this. just give us the house. they get the house. give us the senate. they got the senate. gave us the white house. they got them all now. this is what's going on? this is atrocious political behavior here. and i just -- i just think they've lost their backbone here. >> and if the skinny bill does become law which we talked about how there is definitely a possibility that becomes law, there are so many awful quotes from today's press conference, democratic ad makers are already writing these ads. they're going to urge if republicans pass this bill or anything else that repeals and replaces obamacare that has millions of people losing their health care coverage, they're going to urge voters to go to the polls in november in 2018 and repeal and replace
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republicans. >> and the unwinding of it, the core of any insurance scheme, making sure anybody who needs to be in the fool is in the pool, once you do away with that, it will be so horrendously unpopular to painstakingly put that back together again. >> all the talk of working with democrats, i mean, there's fundamental differences in, you know, whether it's the individual mandate or -- >> they'd have to feel forced. both sides would have to feel forced. >> i think that there is an incentive to do it because there are problems with -- there are problems with the marketplace as it currently exists. that need to be resolved. >> if you campaign for years on repealing, replacing obamacare, fixing obamacare -- >> sure, is not going -- >> -- is a hard sell. >> there really are things that democrats could grant, more flexibility to states to move away from a hard mandate. there is room for compromise if
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republicans can accept the idea that obamacare isn't going to be fully repealed. >> this is where it comes to true leadership. >> there's the problem. >> this is where it comes to true leadership from republicans. if they can tell their voters, we're going to repeal parts of it but going to really come together, work with democrats and fix the pieces of obamacare that we know there are issues with, and democrats agree with that, let's try to focus on that and maybe, you know, when they go to the polls in 2018, i still think it will be bad but maybe not as bad. >> ronald reagan used to talk about republicans, the difference between the bold colors and pale pastels, at this point i think most of these republicans have no color. they have no idea why they're there. they get pushed, you know, in the breeze this way, pushed in the breeze this way. some of them don't like the president. i mean, it makes no political sense and they're going to pay a price for it. >> does the difficulties going on in the white house now, i mean, we don't know if the president has been making calls tonight or what really what he's been doing.
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are the white house's problems having an affect on this? >> i would not think so for this reason. for some of the same reason. they've got to get this done. so everybody there has an incentive to put aside for the moment their whatever internal problems they are and focus on this. because this is the president's major -- >> this is a president who on the one hand, you know, had a celebration in the -- i think it was in the rose garden about when the house passed and then later on said it was me. >> well, i mean, you know, i think this white house is not necessarily an added value on this bill right now. i think that they're sort of standing back and allowing the senate and the house to do what they need to do and that's fine with mitch mcconnell and paul ryan for now, but there isn't that kind of leadership to say, okay, this is the directions that we're going to go as a party. the president of the united states is the leader of the united states, but he's also the leader of the republican party. >> republican party. >> there has not been a sense he is driving the train here and it's allowed the kind of horse trading to --
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>> he's clueless about the bill. he can't lead on it. >> we have to take a quick break. we'll be right back. when you think of saving money, what comes to mind? your next getaway? connecting with family and friends? a big night out? or maybe your everyday shopping. whatever it is, aarp member advantages can help save you time and money along the way. so when you get there, you can enjoy it all the more. for less. surround yourself with savings at aarp advantages dot com.
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that's it for us. thanks for watch. time to hand things over to don lemon. "cnn tonight" starts right now. see you tomorrow. this is cnn breaking news. >> breaking news. open warfare in the white house. a vulgar war of words. apparently with at least tacit approval from the president, himself. this is the with twith the cnn " i'm don lemon. remember when what was shocking in washington is president obama wearing a tan suit, oh, my gosh, the president wore a tan suit. well, no, this is shocking. the president's new communications director's scorched earth attack on the chief of staff and language that's so terrible, so explicit i can't repeat most of it on tv which is probably good because there are