tv New Day With Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota CNN April 26, 2018 5:00am-6:00am PDT
likes ronny jackson as did president obama, can he stay on as the white house physician now? >> well, you know, i don't know what all the attention will be on that. the president could say, yes, i like him, i want him and i don't know if they'll be pushback from the military on that given this. i simply don't know and wouldn't speculate on this. you think it's going to be difficult given these allegations. jackson followed the script really that the president laid out for him which is why do i need this. you can deny the allegations, avoid trying to disprove them and avoid a fuller airing of those allegations, and, by the way, more cynically, the white house could use this to then go after democrats, ignoring the republicans concerns are indifference towards jackson and say this was just a smear job against him. but, you know, it goes back to what john was talking about this morning. the white house has to own this. whatever the circumstances, this is a nominee that went bad. they're barely getting pompeo
through. they've got problems with scott pruitt and this is because this is how the president operates, impulsively and in choosing jackson, again, i'll go back to what i said earlier in the morning, which is i think there's a lot that's very curious about this that people have come forward after he's been in a job like this which is pretty sensitive for a long time, but these are pretty serious allegations that he would have to deal with and for the white house to take on this fight that looks like a losing fight would be a lot. >> as we all know, when you really believe that they have nothing on you, it is easier to have the resolve to stay in. we also don't know that it was really ronny jackson's choice here. the president is the one that has to drive this. it's his choice. david gregory is correct when the white house needs to own this. he also knows very well as you do you that they won't, right? this will be about them saying that this is your fault, abby, you and the media, unfair witch hunt, this time on ronny jackson, unfair on the democrats, unfairly going after
him like they are with pruitt. isn't that the expected pushback here? >> reporter: we've already heard that from them, chris. in the last several days, the talking points from this white house have been that these allegations are unfair, that they really shine a bad light on ronny jackson because the media is perhaps going after him or giving voice to his political enemies and if -- even if that is true, the problem -- the underlying fundamental problem here is that ronny jackson was not vetted for this position before he was named. the white house was caught flat footed, unable to defend him in the early stages when some of these allegations first emerged and then it really snowballed after that. they came into this confirmation process really unprepared for what is actually a pretty standard practice in the process of confirming people in washington, that you go through a confirmation process, it's advice and consent on the part of the senate where they look into the person's background, they have hearings on the
subject matter, people come forward as character witnesses, and in that process negative information can and does come forward. in this case, ronny jackson has the presumption of innocence. all of these are allegations, of course, but clearly this was a white house not prepared to defend them. they didn't know all the facts behind the situations and he was left out to dry, but i think a lot of republicans are saying right now even that this is not any one's fault but the people who are supposed to be shepherding their nominee through what is always a very difficult process but especially in this particular job. >> let me just make one point that you think maybe obvious but i think it's worth saying. in washington in particular, whether it's in political circles or whether it's in media circles, when there's blood in the water, when you are injured, you have to have somebody who is prepared to stand by you in a really big way and in this case it would have been the white house being prepared to knock back these charges and knock
them back hard as abby says. they were not prepared to do that. they were blindsided by that and when it gets this far afield, it's almost impossible to hang on. >> but that also requires them knowing the fact pattern and doing the work before hand which is but as harry truman once said, if you want a friend in washington, get a dog. >> john, another question is what's the path forward. so kaitlan collins of cnn has reporting that part of why it took so long to get rid of david shulkin, who was the last v.a. secretary, even though president trump didn't feel that he shared his opinion about privatization, et cetera, was because there was nobody else and then it was like, you know, he was thunderstruck when he realized he could do ronny jackson, who he liked so much, so now what? who's going to head the v.a.? >> that becomes the big x factor. the drip, drip, drip over shulkin over a period of months. widely respected. the white house kept hanging out
to dry and some ethical concerns add to go his problems, but also some sort of, you know, opposition inside the administration. dr. jackson had that personal connection with trump based on loyalty, but that obviously isn't sufficient to run this massive bureaucracy that still needs reform. who he will be replaced by is an utter x factor at this point. >> it's so important because we know the trail of tears of difficulty of the v.a. and how it effects our men and women who are coming back from combat after afghanistan and iraq. there's so many well documented cases. we talk about a big bureaucracy but it's important to move on and get closer to a solution, because dragging it out is only going to make it worse. >> we know that polls from veterans groups showed they weren't in favor of jackson and this is a shame game. it is not just the white house. it's all politicians and fankly the media very often always.
we all say we support the troops but you don't follow their issues. they have over 20 people committing suicide a day. some of them are doing it right in the parking lots of the v.a. we're not doing the best by them that we can. he nominated his doctor who is in the military but that's the best they could find to run the second biggest bureaucracy. the president addressing this situation right now with the folks on the couch at fox news and i'm sure he's getting withering questions about this but he's not owning the situation. he is saying, this is about democrats, they are obstructionists, they're not approving people. it's a disgrace. nothing on him for picking his own personal doctor to head the second largest bureaucracy in our government. >> chris, this really should not come as a surprise to anyone, as you just pointed out, it's really important to note how different what happened here with ronny jackson is, from what
happens every other time when it comes to naming a v.a. second. everybody knows this is a very sensitive position. it's something that you want to find someone who is beyond reproach, someone who is nearly universally approved to do this type of job, not just being a doctor, not just being a veteran but being an administrator, someone who can run an agency and obviously the people who -- a lot of people who had had the job in the past have not fixed all the problems at the v.a. but this white house nominated, this president nominated ronny jackson essentially on a whim, catching his own aides by surprise and as john mentioned m of them didn't believe him when he was bringing it up in meetings. this is not something that went through a process here in this white house and as a result of that, we are where we are today. putting aside the allegations, i think republicans and democrats had concerns about this nomination from the very beginning. >> and the president doesn't deserve this tough guy approach how now this is obstruction.
let's be clear about one thing. he did not stand up for his guy. as president of the united states, when you stand up and you say, you know, if it were me i wouldn't do it, who wants to put up with this? why does he need it? but it's totally his decision but if he wants to stay and fight, fine. he opened both french doors for him to walk right through. >> well played. double kiss there. >> in all seriousness, his impulses to pushback on the media and he was vas lating. he has affection for dr. jackson. he set up the situation. when he just said, the president just said this is all about democratic obstruction he should speak to republican senator johnny isakson who was one of the first to raise concerns. you can criticize john tester and say his candy man comments were inappropriate but georgia
republican center from georgia johnny isakson was one of the first to raise a flag and that undercuts the president's claim that it's about obstruction. >> the president is saying john tester, democrat from montana, who, by the way, is known as one of the centrists. he works with both sides of the aisle, that he's going to have a big price to pay in montana because of this. if trump's so confident that this was so wrong, why dependents he stand by his guy? why didn't he exercise this famed loyalty that only seems to work one way and this is another example of it? he could've said i don't care what you people say about ronny jackson, you want to see proof, you want this confirmation to happen because you can't stop the confirmation hearing unless the republicans want it or stalled or stopped? why didn't he flex like that? >> reporter: it is surprising, chris, that the president didn't do more to defend ronny jackson in this situation. we also had heard from sources yesterday that he had wanted to
but was urged not to by his aides who understood that this nomination was essentially destined for failure. this nomination was so embattled so early that a lot of white house aides believed that despite their efforts to hang on to it, it was only a matter of time before something would happen which would cause either jackson to withdraw or the president to be forced to withdraw his name, and also at the same time, look, this is not a president who, as you mentioned, often displays the same kind of loyalty to his staff as they might display to him, so on some level we can't be surprised by that, but president trump had an opportunity, perhaps, to handle this in the right way and i think a lot of people say it's because he's a political novice but this is what staff is for. if we're going to announce this, we need to to some work at the front end, put in a few weeks of research, get him ready to go through this process. they didn't do that and ronny
jackson is the one who is going to pay the price, not just because his nomination is pulled. remember, he's still a military officer right now. he has a pending nomination for a promotion in the senate. we don't know what the status is of all of those things. his career right now is in a real holding pattern. it's beyond just this v.a. secretary nomination for him. >> this is an experiment the president launched. >> the president is saying in this interview that he has somebody in mind, but won't say who. >> now in the past, we should mention that the two names at least that were floated, david, were rick perry, former texas governor and pete hegseth on fox and friend weekends. those are the two names that he had talked about in the past. maybe that's who he has in mind today.
>> texas governor ran for president a couple times. he's got, you know, experience as a chief executive, the v.a. is still a daunting place. he's also i think -- he kept a low enough profile that president trump has liked that. look, i think you have to acknowledge, you know, where the president has a point. democrats were -- there was some zeal with which they enjoyed jamming him up on a nominee who was not ready to go to expose, you know, judgment and vetting problems because it's not the first time. it's one thing you can go after the media and say this is one of those media narratives about something else going on in the administration, but there is a pattern of bad judgment on the part of the president who promised only the best and the brightest. >> it should be the common ground. you have all these men and women down there talking the talk about wanting to help the veterans and do something different this time, and then
you put somebody up and it looks like he may do that again. rick perry's a chief executive. i don't know about pete heg instead of but being on fox may matter to the president but it won't matter to congress. you may lose that ground. >> this is a classic cabinet office that should absolutely be beyond partisan politics and that's part of the reason why it made sense that donald trump kept on an obama nominee, a gesture across the aisle, a recognition of the fact that this is something far beyond partisan politics. rick perry, by all accounts happy being energy secretary, he's already passed confirmation. he said i'm not interested. now whether that was about loyalty to shulkin or actual disinterest in the office, tbd. if its pete hegstef, that may create a comfort zone for the
president but i'm going -- it's going to be awfully hard to convince folks that that's a qualification for running the second largest bureaucracy in washington. that could be setting up another problem in the confirmation process. >> and just to underline that, i personally know some top health care executives in the country who turned down the job to v.a. secretary because they considered it to be just full of intractable problems, which is scary hear because they're so diicult, the issues at the v.a. but the jobs so important. the organizational skills, leadership skills here are pretty important even compared to some of the other cabinet agencies. >> abby, we're keeping one ear on the president giving an interview right now and he's moved on to james comey. he was i guess watching the town hall with anderson cooper last night and some of james comey's disclosures or explanations for what he did and the president is very exercised because he said that the memos that james comey turned over to his friend were
not declassified. now james comey has made the argument he was a private citizen at the time and when he wrote them, he was the fbi director but he knows what's classified and what isn't classified. >> more than he knows, he had the authority to classify and declassify. >> he was the chief person who would have classified them and so he says that he it not turn over any classified information, but the president feels tirchly. >> and the inspector general is not looking into the mishandling of classified information another clue as to whether or not the president's right about this. abby? >> reporter: this is the frontier for the president. he's been building up to this argument for some time calling comey a leaker, saying that he broke the law, that he should be in jail, you know. the james comey situation with the memos is a tricky one because comey's own explanation for why he released the memos tends to be a little bit fuzzy. he said it's because he thought it would be easier to get it to the media through his friend,
but at the same time the president is jumping -- leaping, really, to a whole other conclusion which is that the contents of the memos of the specific memos that he leaked to his friend who then gave to the media were classified and as you pointed out, there's not evidence of that just yet, but i think the president is trying to make the argument here that comey is the person who's committing the crimes. he's loong james comey in with hillary clinton who was accused of doing a similar thing, carelessly handling classified information, perhaps information that was retroactively classified. this is the way that the president is going to deal with this comey situation, essentially criminalizing james comey in the eye of the public. >> this is another version of, m not the puppet, you're the puppet. it's projection. what he's trying to do is play the court of public appeal particularly among his base.
the court of public opinion in real courts are not always the same thing and unless there's an ig report, this is not a great fact pattern for james comey, but giving that he had the power to classify, giving the fact that memoirs are standing operating procedures for folks that draw on their personal experiences and memories, it is far from clear that the president has a legal argument as much as he's trying to appeal to the base with a new narrative. >> comey, plenty of things to criticize him for, but in this instance, he's transparent about what he was trying to do. he's trying to get an independent counsel named because of how tainted he thought the justice department was at the highest levels and there's plenty of evidence for that in the book including the fact that jeff sessions is attorney general didn't protect the fbi director at all from a meddling president, and so he knew that if he could leave a trail here it would lead to an independent counsel. by the way, you have rod rosenstein who criticizes comey, who comey criticizes in the book, but rosenstein supports
the idea of independent counsel and names him and is now responsible for overseeing the mueller investigation, so, you know, there's a real basis to understand what comey did and justification for why he was getting that information out there. it's millie mouth the idea that if i do this greatly i'll have to take questions in my driveway. come on. you're a big boy. you can take it. >> bad facts on each side. if the president hadn't fired james comey, you wouldn't have a special counsel right now we know that from rod rosenstein. let's take a quick break. the president is also talking about michael cohen stepping away from him in a very meaningful way. we'll tell you about it when we come back. but on the inside, i feel chronic, widespread pain. fibromyalgia may be invisible to others, but my pain is real. fibromyalgia is thought to be caused by overactive nerves. lyrica is believed to calm these nerves.
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it has apple carplay compatibility. do those apps look familiar? ohhhhh. do you want to hit this button? there's a hidden compartment. uhh, whoa. mom, when i'm older can you buy me this car? i wanna buy me this car. announcer: this is cnn breaking news. dr. ronny jackson, the president's nominee to be the v.a. secretary has withdrawn from consideration. this comes after days of disturbing allegations about professional misconduct that added to almost unprecedented concerns about this man being well-liked, but not well equipped for the job. the president is responding to the news moments ago in an interview with fox news. >> when you're nominees don't fight back? >> well, i could say yes, i could also say no, because dock ronny, we call him, admiral -- he's an admiral, highly
respected, a real leader, and i watched what john tester of montana, a state that i won by like over 20 points, you know, really -- they love me and i love them, and i want to tell you that john tester i think this is going to cause him a lot of problems in his state. he took a man who was just an incredible man, an incredible man, respected by president obama, gave him his highest rating. you saw what president obama said. president bush. he was the doctor to president bush, to president obama and the family, he's been my doctor and he runs a fantastic operation. they have many doctors and they run a fantastic operation and honestly, i said it to him, he didn't come to me, i said you run a great operation, how do you think you'd do at the v.a.? how we can talk about experience? but the v.a. when you think about 13 million people, you could take the head of the biggest hospital corporation of
the world and it's peanuts compared to the v.a., so nobody has experience, you know. it's a big monster and i'm really proud of the job we've done for the v.a. because we got -- we're working right now on choice and really big, but we got rid of so many rules and regulations that made it impossible and we're doing great at the v.a., but i want somebody that's going to be great. he would have done a great job. >> let's bring back political analyst john avalon and david gregory and we have former fbi agent josh campbell who worked as a special assistant to james comey. this isn't on me, it's on the democrats and the media, nobody is qualified to run the v.a. said the president of the united states, and that he went to ronny jackson, ronny jackson didn't come to him and said, wow, you ran a great operation here, he would have been great and john tester, the democrat senator from montana, he's going to pay a big price, so everybody
is to blame except the man who chose his personal physician who's never run anything in his life to head the second biggest bureaucracy in the united states government. >> yeah. there's a couple problems with that. >> a couple? >> a couple glaring ones, which is you're setting him up for a very difficult situation, as difficult the job as the v.a. cabinet position is, the president conceding that, yeah, experience would have been an issue and he'd have to deal with that. this is the president who has no experience in government and he's president, so i'm sure he feels like anybody can overcome that kind of obstacle, but he wasn't preparing him for other questions that would come up that the president presumably didn't know about and i'm sure there were plenty in the white house who thought, look, dr. ronny jackson has been around, he served multiple presidents, he's widely seen as a good guy. it had to have been a surprise that people came forward, but they weren't prepared from a
vetting point of view to deal with something like this and so they were very much caught flat footed and the president -- i think this is typical of him, was certainly supportive of the guy he is, but at the same time made it very clear in front of the world two days ago that he should probably not go forward with the fight. that was a pretty strong signal to ronny jackson that i wouldn't -- i wouldn't go all the way with this, i'll support you but you wouldn't go all the way which is just not the strongest support. john tester who does face tough re-election in montana, you know, i don't know that he had particular zeal here to jam him up, you know, except for what came forward. i initially thought that tester was a little loose in his language repeating this candy man accusation when he was talking about handing out am bion on white house flights but there appears to be more to it than that. still, the president would do
well as in a lot of cases to write this off and move on to talking about how important the job is at the v.a. and how he feels they're doing well and who they'll put in there next. >> one other thing that's got to be called out is the president saying that the v.a. is such a monster, in his words, that if you were to run the largest hospital corporation in the country, you're not prepared, so there's no way to be experienced. >> what about that? is it jus behee muj. >> this is ridiculous. some experience running a large hospital bureaucracy is better than none, even if there is nothing quite like running the v.a. >> that's what david shulkin's background was. he ran hospital systems. >> not good enough. not good enough. >> look, this is -- he's taking on something else and once again distancing himself and once again it's going to call into question the president's noted loyalty. michael cohen is his personal lawyer by everyone's account, this man has given his life over
to president trump. here's what the president had to say about him. >> was handled by michael cohen. >> it's a percentage of my overall legal work, a tiny little fraction, but my goal would represent me and represent me on some things. he represents me like with this crazy stormy daniels deal. he represented me and, you know, from what you see he it absolutely nothing wrong. there were no campaign funds going -- >> then why is he pleading the fifth? >> because he's got other things. he's got businesses and from what i understand they're looking at his businesses and i hope he's in great shape, but he's got businesses and his lawyers probably told him to to that, but i'm not involved and i'm not -- i've been told i'm not involved. >> mr. president -- >> has he ever before said publicly he represented me in this stormy daniels deal? i thought the whole point was he didn't represent me.
that was different. am i right? am i hearing that wrong? >> i think you're hearing it right. >> he knew about the payment. >> you're hearing it right and it's important for the president to say that because michael cohen's argument is i had authority to do these kinds of transactions for the president, the confusion is, the president in the past has said he didn't know anything about this. >> right. so how could he represent him at the same time? >> you can have that type of authority, an agency power, but it is a mixed message. the other problem is, that he really minimized the significance of michael cohen in his life. tiny, tiny fraction of my overall legal work, this has nothing to do with me. it's only about his businesses and i've been told i have nothing to do with it. >> that's right. my personal opinion is, i don't begrudge mr. cohen for exercising his right to invoke the fifth amendment. every citizen has that right but there are two different campaigns here. there's the court of law and the court of public opinion and they
don't seem to be squaring. the administration is saying we have nothing to hide, but you look over in the court of law and you see somebody invoking that fifth amendment, it is it raise serious questions. there's an effort here to minimize what his role was, which on one hand he's a friend, been intimately involved in what the president was doing, and now to say it was just a tiny fraction. >> he's backtracking on his relationship with michael cohen. michael cohen has proudly and consistently described himself as the president's attorney. that relationship is at the core of his public self definition and the president has remained loyal to michael cohen in public, certainly, but that was a statement of definite distancing from michael cohen. now it may be related to what he's heard about the contents of the raid. the president it say that. this is about michael cohen's private businesses, it's got nothing to with me but that was not the two-way street loyalty
that michael cohen could expect after giving his undivided loyalty to donald trump. that was stark. >> go ahead, david. >> it's interesting if we pull back a little bit, one thing should be said, the president talks a lot and barks a lot and roars a lot and tweets a lot, but you do have to watch what he actually does. in this case he's clearly following his lawyers' advice to distance himself from michael cohen who could become a witness against him, who's testimony -- i'm sure he invoked the fifth because it could get into criminal matters that could affect him and donald trump, so he's huing to the line his lawyers gave him. look at ronny jackson, but in the end, he got out of the way and the people said to him, you got to let go of this and we'll have to cut him loose. >> the only question i would have there, was he following his lawyer's advice when he called
into fox news. he was on fire. he didn't hold back. he's letting us know what his opinions are. you want your client to speak less, so when he's out there phoning in to national news network and giving his opinion of anything you say can be used against you. >> he's talking about something that's of central concern to the presidency and will be of particular curiosity to you because you couldn't hear it because you're here right now, he's talking about the department of justice. here's what he said. >> you had a justice department that was doing their job -- >> it's your justice department. mr. president, mr. president, you're the republican in charge of -- >> you're right. i answered this all the time. because of the fact that they have this witch hunt going on with people in the justice department that shouldn't be there, they have a witch hunt against the president of the united states going on, i've taken the position and i don't have to take this position and maybe i'll change, that i will
not be involved with the justice department. i will wait till this is over. it's a total -- it's all lies and takes horrible thing that's going on. a horrible thing and yet i've accomplished with all of this going on more than any president in the first year in our history and everybody -- even the enemies and the haters admit that. we have accomplished more than any president in the first year by far. >> there's a lot to check there. that was steve doocy pushing back, saying, mr. president, that is your justice department, what did you think of the president's explanation? >> there's this issue of the destruction of norms we've been seeing in this country and one of those key norms has been this independence of the department of justice. they're in the executive branch, they're not of the executive branch. when i was hearing him say, i've been hands off, good, they're getting it. you have to keep -- it caused great concern but that may change because it shows that on a whim this could shift in a different direction. the last thing i'll say is this,
most of the people that are in the department of justice are career civil servants. when he says that i have questions with people that are over in the department of justice, i hope he's talking about the political appointees, he's talking about rosenstein and sessions, if he's broad brushing and bringing in the civil servants that's very questionable. >> of course he is. we've heard about the deep state. nonpolitical lifetime staffers in these key agencies are somehow a fifth column against the united states. what he's basically saying, josh, but, you know, one more pushback and good for the pushback, this is your justice department, because there does need to be ownership. this can't be purely oppositional and paranoid. the idea that he's had the most productive first year in the american histories and the haters agree on that. there are facts we can compare to, that's just not true. the president had some big accomplishments but the idea it's the most accomplished first
year in american history is a matter of consensus is wrong. >> yes, it's his justice department but his political appointee, jeff sessions, recused himself. we can't have it both ways. the justice department and the fbi should be independent of the administration as much as they can be. that's why the fbi director has a ten-year term and that's why sessions stepped aside. >> you do have a weird situation where you've got his attorney general that had to step away from the biggest thing he's looking at and you have this guy in the southern district had to step away from the biggest thing that michael cohen is looking at. >> there's a few weird situations we need to look in to. panel, thank you very much. the breaking news, dr. ronny jackson has withdrawn his nomination. will he now stay on after the president's doctor after stepping away from the v.a. nomination? dr. sanjay gupta is here next with that.
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in the united states navy assigned to the white house and is here at work today. is he going to stay there, though? let's discuss this. we have cnn's chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta joining us from rome. what do you think of ronny jackson's fate here, not just on the v.a. side but on staying on the house side? >> reporter: it's really interesting because i spent some time at the white house during that press briefing that he gave about the president's health and i got to tell you, chris, you talk to everybody within this administration, within previous administration, doctors that i know that have worked with him and everyone had, frankly, have good things to say about him. there was not a hint of this that i heard a month or two, if these things are true and there was dispensing of some of these controlled substances, not in a
very ethical way, whatever it may be, that's going to raise a lot of concern, obviously, for him to stay on even as the white house doctor. when you have multiple hats to wear, military hat, medical hat, like he does, there's a lot more accountability that comes with that. there's a lot -- we talked about this with a lot of friends even at the vatican, doctors, every now and then they may give ambien if they're taking a long flight, that happens. it does happen where doctors do this but the level of accountability here is obviously higher and i think it might throw his fate into question even as the white house doctor. >> isn't it the president's personal preference who he wants to treat him, who he wants to have as his personal doctor? >> reporter: i think so. i don't know what the hard and fast rules about this sort of thing are. when you're coming with this sort of background, i think
there's an assumption, sometimes that there's been a lot of clearing in terms of how he's conducted his medical practice, how he's interacted with patients, both the president and other presidents in the past as well. it's interesting, again -- everyone -- no one bringing up any of these things in the past but now making a larger issue of it, should it be as large an issue as it is? many doctors even here, doctors that i talk to will say, probably not, but i think it becomes a question of what is the bar of accountability for this particular job? it is the president's preference. i don't know how much the president knew about this. does it indicate a sort of laxity with regard to the rules of medicine? we don't know. we don't even know if these allegations are true, obviously, as of yet, if they are i think some would suggest that for this particular job taking care of the president and taking care of staffers in the white house, it's the highest level of accountability. >> just to be clear, sanjay, of the allegations that are out
there, what concerns you the most and what would you need to know? >> reporter: i think the dispensing of medications that are controlled substances. the ambiens one thing but dispensing of pain medications, opioids, these things typically, doctors who prescribe these medications you have to take it very seriously. a lot of people know what's going on with opioids. before you subscribe these you need to do an evaluation. if someone had been intoxicated at a point when they were on call, on call to be taking care of a patient, in any hospital, certainly in the hospital where i work and the hospitals where i've worked, you wouldn't last on the job if that were found to be true. i think those are the ones again. i don't know if this is true. i did not hear any of this before. it certainly came out of the blue for a lot of people.
if they're true, from a medical standpoint, i think, would be the most concerning. >> thank you very much. always great to get your perspective. let's bring back our cnn political analysts. so once again for our breaking news, john avalon, if he's out as the v.a. perspective nominee, then who's in? who could possibly be next? we've talked about how vital this agency is, how much these veterans need help and is there somebody else -- that's what took so long in getting rid of david shulkin, there was no plan b for who would run the agency? >> the president has teased the idea that he has quote/unquote, someone in mind previous to the nomination of interest jackson. there's been discussion about rick perry, somebody who has been already senate confirmed, a deep executive experience, not a medical background at all, and pete hegseth, the fox news host,
former veteran -- >> and ran a veterans group. >> not particularly directed to health but really more political, who the president likes anddmires from his comments on cable news. th would seem to be setting mr. hegseth up for a similar problem to dr. jackson, questions of experience running a bureaucracy at this level without the added benefit of a medical community. this is an x factor. this should be a position that's rooted in competence, that is well beyond partisan political considerations. if he does that with relevant experience without partisan considerations, this is a position that's so important that senators on both sides would love to support a qualified nominee. >> that's what got ronny jackson in trouble in the first place. he doesn't have the experience. however, his concern is not done, because if he wants to stay on as the white house doctor or even just now as a member of the navy, josh, doesn't he have to want these --
don't these allegations have to be investigated? >> you would imagine they would. people know that when you step up to a large high profile position like a cabinet secretary that you're going to be in the spotlight. your life is going to be investigated. it's the fbi that will dig into the lives of these nominees in order to determine what's their past, what's their suitability and that information is passed to the white house. there's a different perspective as you mentioned, if one were to be accused of something and he's accused of some very serious allegations, he should want those to be cleared because obviously there's this cloud over him now with these allegations. we don't know their true but to his -- to give him the benefit of the doubt here at least while the investigation is going on, he should want that to happen so they can clear his name and if these allegations are false, the public should know that. >> david, does something change with the white house vetting process moving forward? >> you can imagine in this situation that, you know, they're going to take a different look at this, i would hope, they would prevail on the
president to go through a more formal process to check with the committee head, run a name or two by them, by isakson in advance and say, you know, how do these people suit you, what do you think their prospects are. it's what's done with supreme court nominees or potential supreme court nominees. they should run those out and the president has an opportunity to put a real spotlight on what he wants to achieve at the v.a., the kinds of reforms that are hugely important and, again, i don't expect that he will do had, acknowledge any missteps but he's got an opportunity to put somebody very strong in there if they follow a much tighter policy and process here. >> interestingly, this morning, we saw the president step away from ronny jackson, okay. ronny jackson withdraws even if he believes all of these things are untrue because he doesn't have the white house support. that's just how it works. the president has tried to
shield him from that and saying it's up to ronny jackson. of course it isn't. it's up to the president. michael cohen came up in this interview as well this morning and that would be, which should seem like an obvious loyalty play for president trump but listen to what he said. >> how much of your legal work was handled by michael cohen? >> well, as a percentage of my overall legal work, a tiny, tiny little fraction but my goal would represent me and represent me on some things. he represents me, like with this crazy stormy daniels deal, he represented me and -- you know, from what i see, he it absolutely nothing wrong. there were no campaign funds going in -- >> then why is he pleading the fifth? >> because he's got other things. he's got businesses and from what i understand they're looking at his businesses and i hope he's in great shape. >> josh, let's look at this. there's nothing wrong with him pleading the fifth, even the question is a loaded question. only president trump thinks
there's something wrong with you when you plead the fifth. it's an obvious tactical move here. he has an open criminal investigation. let's put that question aside. he said this isn't a campaign finance situation because no campaign funds were used. that is a gross misstatement of what the issue is. the issue is whether or not the money that michael cohen used from his own personal home equity line of credit would count as a contribution. the president says he had nothing to do with me, he only had tiny amounts of my legal practice, this is all about his businesses. your take? >> you're right. you keyed in on the right phrase, the campaign funds. in an fbi investigation for example, rare is it that you will have a campaign or candidate say i'm going to take these funds and illegal provide them to someone. there's always a cutout. you're dealing with presumably smart people. these aren't your run of the mill criminals and drug deals. these are positions in power. they know how to launder money and move it around. these are serious allegations.
we don't know what happened but that's part of the investigation to determine if there was malfeasan malfeasance. >> gentlemen, thank you very much for helping us analyze all of the breaking news this hour. we'll be right back. grab your coffee and your xanax. ? absolutely. wait, is mom here yet? where's mom? she's in this car. what the heck? whoa. yo, whose car is this? this is the all-new chevy traverse. this is beautiful. it has apple carplay compatibility. do those apps look familiar? ohhhhh. do you want to hit this button? there's a hidden compartment. uhh, whoa. mom, when i'm older can you buy me this car? i wanna buy me this car. let's team up to get the lady of the house back on her feet. and help her feel more strength and energy in just two weeks yaaay! the complete balanced nutrition of (great tasting) ensure with 9 grams of protein and 26 vitamins and minerals. ensure.
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breaking news, dr. ronny jackson, president trump's nominee for v.a. secretary is withdrawing from consideration and you know why. there were real questions about whether or not he had the background for this type of bureaucracy at the v.a. and then there were all these personal allegations. we don't know the truth of them and ronny jackson isn't going to stick around to find out, but his problems with those questions will not go away if he wants to stay in the white house as the president's doctor. let's listen to the president just moments ago discussing this breaking news. >> i want somebody that's going to be great. he would have done a great job,
a tremendous heart. >> any idea -- >> these are all false accusations. these are false -- they're trying to destroy a man. by the way, i it say, welcome to washington, welcome to the swamp, welcome to the world of politics. >> sure. >> for john tester to start bringing up stuff like candy man and the kind of things he was saying and then say, well, you know, these are just statements that are made, there's no proof of this. >> all right. let's bring in paul rieckhoff, he's the founder and ceo of the veterans of america. we know that your membership conducted a poll on this, ronny jackson didn't have a lot of support. are you okay with the move of him stepping aside? >> we needed something to happen. it's chaos and still chaos. important to note the chapter is over but the saga continues. we don't know who the next nominee will be. that will be the eighth nominee since 9/11. 300,000 employees and millions of veterans around the country saying what's next. >> the president says two things, one, don't worry because
nobody is qualified to run the v.a. so ronny jackson's as good as anyone because he's a nice guy and he's in the military, and it really doesn't matter because i've already done so much for you guys, i've cut so many regulations, the v.a. is way better off than when i came to office. >> i don't think anybody thinks things are better off right now. we've gone through two secretaries in two weeks, three weeks and there are people who could be qualified. we recommended and many other veteran organizations recommended that trump consider keeping on bob mcdonald who was obama's secretary. there are people who manage other big organizations here, so that's really i think an empty statement. we'll find out now. who is it that can step up and take this on. they usually look to retired officers. >> do you feel that it is true that this administration has taken care of you guys better? >> no. i think that every administration says that and
every administration fails to deliver. they talked a good game but this is chaos. i don't think anybody thinks this is a good plan or good strategy or this is good for veterans. that should be a nonpartisan consensus at this point. >> do the people in your membership and you spend so much of your life advocating for the causes of veterans, the families of veterans, do they believe that we support them? do they believe that politicians see the fate of veterans as common ground that deserves the best? >> they don't believe politicians. we serve our members every year. they think the american public supports them, they don't think congress and the president supports them. and that's bipartisan. every one of the last three presidents has had to replace or fire a v.a. secretary. we're disappointed. we're exhausted and exacerbated but we're standing by to help. we want to step up and be part of the solution. we are partisan and nonpartisan.
we'll have to step up and answer the call and try to move forward. >> that's the worse part of it is that you guys represent the best of us and how we're taking care of you represents the worst of good government. p.j., thank you very much for your service. we will stay on the issues that matter to veterans. that's a promise. >> thank you. we will stay on cnn's breaking news coverage. the president talking about things that matter to you. cnn "newsroom" with john berman right after this break.