For the Record with Greta, Transcript 3/8/2017
Show: For the Record with Greta
Date: March 8, 2017
Guest: Angus King, Matthew Miller, David Priess, Jim Jordan, Howard Dean, Jenna Johnson, Jay Newton Small, Matt Viser
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOR THE RECORD HOST: Demanding answers. Now it`s both
parties calling for proof from the FBI about President Trump`s explosive
claim that President Obama wiretap him. Will the FBI talk? Well, they
might have to and sooner than you think. Also, he rolled his eyes. Not
reporting on President Obama`s reaction to Trump`s twitter accusations.
We`ll tell you what the former president is reportedly really worried
about. Also, the right hits back. Conservatives defy GOP leaders with
their own version of a bill to gut Obamacare. What`s the next move from
President Trump and from the Democrats? Plus, women`s marches coast to
coast calling for equality, and many taking a stand against the new White
House. We`ll have live coverage.
Yes, demanding proof and it`s not just one party, now both Republicans and
Democrats are demanding information, proof on President Trump`s stunning
claim that former President Obama wiretapped him. The drum beat on Capitol
Hill increasing. And just a short time ago, senate judiciary committee
members, Senators Graham and White House firing off a letter to FBI
director James Comey requesting the Department of Justice provide copies of
any warrants, applications and court orders related to wiretaps of
President Trump, the Trump campaign or Trump Tower. And Republicans on the
house judiciary committee also calling on FBI director Comey to investigate
President Trump`s wiretapping claim. So what if the Department of Justice
and the FBI flat-out refuse to answer? Our Kasie Hunt asked Senator Graham
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KASIE HUNT, NBC NEWS: Would you subpoena this information if you don`t get
LINDSEY GRAHAM, U.S. SENATOR: Well, there`s no reason for them not to give
it to us, all we`re asking for is the warrant issued. And if they don`t
give it to us, yes, I`ll subpoena it. I`m not trying to compromise
classified information. I`m not trying to compromise an investigation.
The question is has it ever been a warrant issued? This is a major deal
for the country. I want to get to the bottom of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Senate intelligence committee members went to CIA
headquarters today to look at the raw Russia data. Kasie caught up with
the vice chairman of the committee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK WARNER, U.S. SENATOR: Just came back from the CIA, where there were
four senators and we`ve got a chance to look at some of the raw intel
product. In many ways, we got even more questions now. We`ve got more
information we`ve got to get access to. I know as the committee gets into
this next stage of listing who we want to have conversations with. But
main thing is that, you know, we`re all committed, Democrats and
Republicans there today to keeping this bipartisan. The American people
deserve to hear all of the facts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: With me, Senator Angus King, independent of Maine, who
serves on the senate intelligence committee. Good evening, sir.
ANGUS KING, U.S. SENTOR: Hello, Greta, how are you?
VAN SUSTEREN: I`m very well. So, Senator Warner who went over to Langley,
CIA, which I understand you were just over there, yourself, said that after
going over and looking at information, he has more questions. Do you have
more questions after your trip to Langley today?
KING: Well, I do have more questions, but I also have more answer. I was
there for most of the afternoon. Marco Rubio and I were both there. And I
think it`s important that people realize that this is a bipartisan
investigation and it has nothing to do with party. We`re just trying to
get to the facts. Yeah, there are certainly questions to be answered but,
you know, one of the – one of the factors here, which I think is really
well established, is that the Russians did interfere in our election in
2016. They intended to do so. The orders came from the very top, and I
think that`s clearly established. The documents I saw today confirm what`s
already been released in a non-classified manner. So, I think we`re very
far along on that aspect of it. The other piece, Greta, that hasn`t gotten
as much attention that I think is really important, was that there were
Russian attempts to get into state voting system, registration rolls,
voting machines, things like that. All the indications are it didn`t work,
that they weren`t successful, but they weren`t doing it for fun. And what
worries me is they were practicing, they were probing, they were looking
for vulnerabilities, and I`m worried about the next couple of elections
coming and what mischief they could be up to on that front which would
really be a catastrophe. Imagine this election if we had found out a
couple days later that voting tallies had been changed in one or the other
of the states. It would have really been a blow to our democratic process.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Would some of the states so close like
Pennsylvania is one of them, it actually seems to me important, whether we
knew of the Russian meddling in our election, you know, when we knew it.
Did we know it last fall? Last summer? And what efforts were taken?
Because, you know, that makes a difference to me or did we just learn
recently? Did we just figure it out recently?
KING: No, there was a report in because it came out in sort of the middle
of the campaign. It didn`t get as much play. But October 7th, the
intelligence community, the leaders of the intelligence community, issued a
report which said the Russians are trying to interfere with our elections.
We know that they`re trying to get into our state election systems. That
was in October. And what we need to learn from that is how do we protect
the state election system, things like don`t attach voting machines to the
internet, always have paper backup for your ballots and those kinds of
things, but this is something we really need to be aware of. And, of
course, the good news is that they couldn`t get in. The bad news is that
our system is very decentralized and that helped them – it helped to keep
us safe, but we`ve got to have the states really have their guard up.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. In the beginning, I think if – am I correct,
sir, you said the Russians did interfere. So naturally I`m focusing on
whether, you know, the integrity of the election was compromised with those
very close states. Can you say categorically or can the CIA say
categorically that they have had no impact on the states that were so laser
close, for instance, like Pennsylvania?
KING: I can say now that – you know, categorically is now, forever, and
always, but there`s no indication at this point that they had any effect on
vote tallies or election results in that sense. In the sense of messing
around with voting machines or registration rolls. But what bothers me is,
what worries me is, they tried or at least tried to figure out how they
could do it, and so I`m worried about `18, 2020, 2022, in terms of the
series of elections.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Senator – White House, Republican – Democrat,
and Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican, has sent us a letter over to
justice – to the FBI. They want all the information of any possible
wiretaps by the administration of President Trump, his campaign, or Trump
Tower. What`s your thought about this?
KING: I think they`re doing exactly the right thing. It doesn`t surprise
me. Those are two senators who work well together on a bipartisan basis.
I think our committee, the intelligence committee, is going to be looking
into the same subject. But, you know, one way to verify this is for the
president of the United States who`s in charge of the entire executive
branch to pick up the phone and call the FBI and say were there wiretaps at
Trump Tower? That would be a short way to get the answers to these
VAN SUSTEREN: I`ve heard that, but then it occurred to me that when –
first of all, I don`t think he`d get an answer – I don`t know if he`d get
an answer in a criminal investigation, but when Reince Priebus tried to
correct the record on a New York Times story that the FBI tipped him off
was a story that used the term B.S. on, is that we in the media jumped them
that they`re trying to interfere with criminal investigations. So, you
know, I would actually – you know, if the president said to me, should I
call the FBI and see what`s up, I`d say you better leave that one alone,
let the FBI do its job.
KING: Well, and of course, if he called and the FBI said we can`t discuss
that. That would indicate that there was an investigation. But, I think
this is something we can look into. It`s fairly easily verifiable whether
the FBI was involved. And it may be that there was some investigation that
didn`t involve Mr. Trump, himself, but involved servers somewhere in the
organization, and I don`t know about that. But I think it is something we
should get to the bottom of. But I do feel if the president is going to
make a charge like that, he should put forward some evidence other than a
story in a newspaper or a talk show host. Not just say people are saying
the president bugged me. I think he owes the American people some further
explanation and evidence. But, in any case, we`ll get to the bottom of it
here, I`m quite sure.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know the problem is, I mean, I trust – you know, I went
to earnest wanting to get to the bottom of it, but the problem is –
certainly, the intelligence committee, so much is done behind closed doors.
And with the temperature in this country right now, I don`t think people
are going to be happy with things done behind closed doors. Would not an
independent commission, perhaps, be wiser? Just because they`re more
likely to do it in open. I realize you can see more of the classified
stuff. But the American people right now are – the temperature is up
pretty high in terms of being poisoned and biased.
KING: Well, I completely agree with you. Except there`s no rule that says
the intelligence committee has to work behind closed doors. We do have
public hearings, and I think our first set of hearings should be open. I
think we should have as many – much of our work as possible that doesn`t
compromise intelligence – the mechanics of how we gain the information
should be public. I absolutely agree. The problem with an independent
commission and we may end up going there, is they`d have to start all over
with clearances, who would be on it, how would they be appointed? You
know, does the president get an appointment, the two parties? It would be
six or eight months for them to get where we are now. And my view is we`re
going to do everything we can to get to the bottom of it, to get all the
facts to be straightforward, to follow the facts where they lead. If they
doesn`t work, if I sense that this is turning into either a witch hunt or a
whitewash, I`m out. And I`m going to say so publicly that this – the
intelligence committee isn`t working. I don`t believe that`s going to be
the case. So far, bipartisan, lots of good, strong members on the
committee and I think we`re going to be able to do the work the American
people trust us to do as openly, and not behind closed doors, as openly as
absolutely possible while not compromising national security.
VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, thank you for joining us, sir.
KING: Thank you, Greta, glad to be with you.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, now, all of this coming as FBI Director Comey making
his first public speech since the president took to twitter accusing the
former president of wiretapping him. Director Comey carefully avoiding any
mention of wiretapping.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: You can ask me about anything. I`m very
slippery. I`ll avoid talking about things I don`t want to talk about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: So he avoided talking about it today. But can he avoid it
12 days from now? Because that`s when the house intelligence committee
hold the first public hearing in to the Russian hack of our election. And
guess who was invited to testify? Yep, you guessed right, the FBI director
James Comey. But he`s not the only one. NSA director Mike Rogers. Former
CIA director John Brennan. Former director of national intelligence James
Clapper. Former acting attorney general Sally Yates. What might we find
out then? Well, Matthew Miller is the former Department of Justice
spokesperson under attorney general Eric Holder. And David Priess, a
former CIA intelligence briefer both of George W. Bush and Clinton
administration, and author of the President`s Book of Secrets. Matt, first
to you, what can we learn at this hearing? You think who`s going to talk,
first of all?
MATTHEW MILLER, FORMER DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE SPOKESPERSON: I think so. I
think Director Comey will be very reluctant to talk about the facts of the
underlying investigation. But I think the questions about what the
Russians did, we`ve already know some of that from the intelligence
community report that was released in January. I think we`ll see more. I
think we`ll also see Jim Comey asked, obviously, is it true that the FBI
illegally wiretapped, and illegally is the important part here, illegally
at the president order wiretapped Donald Trump during the campaign? We
know that Jim Comey wants the Department of Justice to make a public
statement denying that. They haven`t done so yet. And if they haven`t
done it by March 20th, when Comey steps to that mic in that hearing, I
suspect he`ll come out and defend the integrity of the FBI, and the
prosecutors who the president accused of breaking the law.
VAN SUSTEREN: David, if you were designing the questions, you got to draft
the questions because you`ve been inside the CIA, and so what questions
would you have – what would you ask, and ask of whom?
DAVID PRIESS, FORMER CIA INTELLIGENCE BRIEFER: I`m fascinating by the
senator`s comments about the open and closed hearings because it`s very
hard to just say everything should be open except for the sensitive
intelligence. Well, that`s the whole nature of a closed hearing. The
questions that need to get at the core of this may start in closed
hearings, but they`ll end up open one way or another.
VAN SUSTEREN: So what would you ask of whom?
PRIESS: Yeah, I would want to find out what the intelligence community
knew and when. And what they did about it at the time in terms of
informing customers. Because you have to remember, there`s a whole
executive branch process through the president`s daily brief and other
sensitive intelligence that does not necessarily go to the intelligence
committees as such. But that information can be made available to the
intelligence committees through briefings and other materials. When were
those products given? How were they given? What was known when? And how
is it communicated to senior officials? Those are all crucial questions.
VAN SUSTEREN: Matt, are we going to learn anything at these hearings, you
think? (INAUDIBLE) Are we really going to learn anything?
MILLER: I think so. I don`t think we`ll learn much at all about the
question of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence.
VAN SUSTEREN: I keep saying this because it was – the DNI Clapper said it
on Meet the Press and, you know, I hope he`ll come and talk to us and give
us more information. But he said that there`s no evidence of collusion.
Which, you know, would have been, to me, would have been what I would have
run with if I were the Trump White House.
MILLER: Yes. It`s one thing for Clapper to say that. He can say up to
January 20th, the last day he was in office.
VAN SUSTEREN: The campaign`s over at that point.
Mat: Right. But it`s a different thing for the FBI director who is still
apparently investigating that question. I don`t think he`ll talk about
that given that they still have an open and active investigation. One
thing I think Democrats will really be interested in asking, though, is not
just about the underlying investigation, but how the White House is
responding to this investigation. You know, we`ve seen questions about
Reince Priebus talking to Director Comey, talking to the deputy director of
the FBI about that story.
VAN SUSTEREN: See, maybe I don`t have all the facts, but I`m somewhat
sympathetic to Reince Priebus on the whole business of when he walked out
of the meeting and the way it`s portrayed in the media. I have no personal
information is that the deputy director came up and said, hey, that story
was bad. And it wasn`t like he was digging for information.
MILLER: But when the deputy director called back and said, you know what,
we can`t make a public statement. Priebus didn`t let it drop at that.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know what, frankly, if that were said about me that I
was doing that – I was colluding with Russian intelligence and that it was
false, and a deputy director of the FBI came and told me that, but he
couldn`t say anything. I`d get on the phone and make phone calls to ask
for help. Not to knock it down but to correct the record.
MILLER: It`s not just that, there is also the report in the Times this
weekend that the White House counsel was calling over to the Justice
Department to try to find out if there was a FISA warrant into Donald
VAN SUSTEREN: But that`s a different topic.
MILLER: There`s a lot of those type of questions.
VAN SUSTEREN: That`s different.
MILLER: . with the campaign.
PRIESS: Let`s not forget the closest historical parallel we really have to
this is 9/11 and the 9/11 commission. Well, the 9/11 commission started
with investigations in congress with congressional committees. Then it was
determined this really had to be an independent commission. That`s a
similar road. Not an exact parallel. There are no such things. But it`s
the closest one we have. We may be getting to a position where some of the
thing comes out in the open testimony next week, some things revealed in
the close the testimony make it clear to all involves, there will have to
be an independent.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, and the senator said it would take six, seven, or
eight months to do it. I nomination Alan Dershowitz who`ll do it in a
week. Right now he`s retired. I mean – you could get together this
commission of good, smart Americans.
PRIESS: Commission together of people with clearances or people who are
eminently clear in a brief period of time, and get this together in a
VAN SUSTEREN: No one is going to be satisfied with a behind closed doors
investigation. I don`t care what happens. You know, the 50 percent of the
country is going to be mad.
PRIESS: Because they want a commission to happen, and it`s going to happen
VAN SUSTEREN: And they should. I at least, think so. Anyway, gentlemen,
thank you, both. Coming up, the new Republican civil war. Conservatives
rising up against party boss on Obamacare. We`re going to talk to
Congressman Jim Jordan, who is going rogue. He`s defied GOP leaders with
his own version of a bill to repeal Obamacare. And, women on the march,
coast to coast action from women`s day rallies. And guess who is coming to
dinner, President Trump, Senator Cruz, and their wives, sitting down
together tonight. I wonder if they`ll talk about this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Everybody hates
Cruz, lying Ted Cruz.
TED CRUZ, U.S. SENATOR: Donald, you`re a sniveling coward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Wow, to be a fly on the wall. That`s ahead.
VAN SUSTEREN: Moments ago, the president wrapping up a meeting with
leaders of conservative groups who do not like the new GOP plan. After the
meeting the leaders saying the bill needs changes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: He heard our concerns. Our very serious concerns with
the house draft bill. And I`m encouraged that the president indicated
they`re pushing to make changes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: This morning, speaker of the house Paul Ryan defending the
GOP bill saying it will pass.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL RYAN, HOUSE SPEAKER: I have no doubt we`ll pass this because we`re
going to keep our promises. This is a team sport. This is an all hands on
deck because, you know what, we all ran on repealing and replacing
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Today, two house committees started debating the health care
bill. Democrats trying and failing to get the hearings adjourned. The GOP
bill has trouble not just with the Democrats but also facing opposition
from some Republican lawmakers. So, what is President Trump`s plan? He
may be hitting the road to shore up support. He`s considering heading to
Louisville, Kentucky, next week. That`s the home state of Senator Rand
Paul who mocks the new GOP bill calling it Obamacare-lite. Joining me,
Republican congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio. He is the co-founder of the
house freedom caucus, and today he introduced a clean bill calling for
repeal of Obamacare. Nice to see you, sir.
JIM JORDAN, U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Good to be with you, again, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is your bill that you introduced today, is it identical to
the one that was introduced 15 months ago in which all the Republicans in
the house voted for it, all the Republicans in the senate, I believe, voted
for it. It went to President Obama`s desk. He vetoed it. Am I right on
my facts? And is that what you introduced today?
JORDAN: You`re exactly right. That is what we told the voters we were
going to do. That`s the legislation we passed and put on President Obama`s
desk. Why shouldn`t we put the same thing on President Trump`s desk? And
that`s what we introduced just actually a few minutes ago.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Now, so I take it to Speaker Ryan, did he vote
for that bill 15 months ago?
JORDAN: Sure did. Sure did.
VAN SUSTEREN: And Senator McConnell?
JORDAN: Yep. Yep. Republicans voted for it overwhelmingly.
VAN SUSTEREN: So we know of that one – I mean, in theory that one should
pass. The house and the senate. Since you still own the house and the
senate. Maybe a few changes in 15 months. And I assume – you own the
White House at this point.
VAN SUSTEREN: So what happened? What happened? So tell me what happened?
JORDAN: Well, we think what happened is the bill that was introduced
earlier this week, 48 hours ago, that bill says we`re going to repeal
Obamacare, but we`re going to keep some of the Obamacare taxes in place.
It says we`re going to repeal Obamacare, but we`re going to take the
Medicaid expansion and we`re going to extend it. So I don`t think that`s
what we told the voters we`re going to do. Talking about keeping our
promises, that`s exactly what we should do, keep our promises. That`s why
we introduced this bill. Repeal Obamacare. We can agree on that, so let`s
do that. And then let`s work on a separate piece of legislation that would
replace the bad policies in Obamacare, put policies in place that would
bring back affordable insurance.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Do you have a repair, a new health care bill, do
you have one?
JORDAN: Yes. Senator Paul introduced one on the senate side, Congressman
Sanford introduced one on our side, and we believe if implemented would get
to the goal of lowering premiums, lowering deductibles for the working
class and middle class families who`ve seen such an increase in those
VAN SUSTEREN: Can you see how American people would be rather sort of
distressed if they`d gotten used to Obamacare, gotten insurance on
Obamacare, if they find you want to repeal it and don`t have something
ready to go, and they could be caught in the lurch sort of like the
uncertainty and fear because health is so important?
JORDAN: No. Good point, Greta. But the bill we introduce, and the one we
passed a year ago, gives a two-year kind of glide path to get a market in
place. And you got to remember where we`re at today. Right now, today,
Americans have fewer choices, higher costs, higher premiums, higher
deductibles, so never forget the context we`re in right now. Obamacare`s -
- think what it said, Obamacare said we`re going to put all these taxes,
regulations, mandates on the insurance industry. We`re going to drive up
the cost of insurance. We`re going to mandate that you buy it, and if you
don`t, you`ll get penalized. Such a deal. That`s what we`re living under
now. So we want to bring back affordable insurance, not put more people on
government health care, not put more people on Medicaid. We want to bring
back affordable insurance so working class families, middle class families,
can buy the plan that fits their families` needs. That`s the model we
think makes sense and that`s the model consistent with America.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. All those Republicans 15 months ago who voted
for repeal, did they ever vote on your plan that you just outlined now?
Has that ever been voted on?
JORDAN: No, but our plan was taken from a lot of other plans. The idea is
we think there`s common agreement on, expansion of health savings accounts,
easier formation of association health plan, tax deductibility in the
individual marketplace for those who don`t get their insurance through an
employer-sponsored plan. That`s the kind of plan we think will lower
costs. So these are ideas that many people have. We combine it in one
piece of legislation. These are ideas Republicans have championed for
years, so let`s pass that replacement bill, too.
VAN SUSTEREN: So why does Speaker Ryan not like your idea?
JORDAN: I think there`s concern amongst a lot of folks, particularly some
Republican governors about the Medicaid expansion, about making sure that
stays in place for longer than two years. I think there`s that concern
that`s out there amongst some members probably. And, of course, I think
some governors that they`ve heard from. In fact, one is the governor from
our state who`s been pretty outspoken on this. But what we say is, look,
let`s go with the – you still have that for two years, that`s time for a
marketplace to begin to form. And then those same people who are on
government health care now, we believe will have the ability to purchase
private insurance and meet their families` needs.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Yes, no, because I only have five seconds left.
Is this bill going to pass?
JORDAN: I think it`s got real problems right now, Greta. We had our
freedom caucus meeting last night, and with strong opposition amongst our
members last night.
VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, thank you. Hope you`ll come back. Thanks,
JORDAN: We will.
VAN SUSTEREN: Up next, we`re going to look at the Democrats battle plan to
take on the GOP health care bill. How will they respond to the new sales
pitch coming from President Trump?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is decision-making without the facts, without
the evidence. Afraid of the facts. Afraid of the evidence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Former governor Howard Dean is next. Plus, the two were
bitter rivals, but at this very moment, President Trump and Senator Ted
Cruz are having dinner at the White House with their wives. What could
they be talking about? Well, we have a few ideas. Coming up.
VAN SUSTEREN: We have breaking news. NBC News is now confirming that
former Utah governor Jon Huntsman has been offered the job of U.S.
ambassador to Russia. A source close to Huntsman saying that he has
accepted the position. He was formerly the ambassador of China for
President Obama. And now, the Democratic strategy to defeat the new GOP
health care plan. Today, the newly elected chair of the Democratic
national committee, Tom Perez, huddling with house Democrats strategizing
on how to defend Obamacare.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM PEREZ, DNC CHAIRMAN: This is the dog that caught the car. They caught
the car and now they don`t know what to do with the car, because they
realize that their alternative facts of the last eight years, the
affordable care act, is a job killer, are in a collision course with
reality which is the affordable care act is a life saver.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Joining me, former Vermont governor and former DNC Chairman
Howard Dean, nice to see you, sir.
HOWARD DEAN, FORMER DNC CHAIRMAN: Thanks for having me on.
VAN SUSTEREN: Ok. What`s the strategy, to watch the Republicans fight
over their program?
DEAN: Yeah, the truth – Perez is actually 100 percent right. The
alternative facts that they`ve used which are basically lies are about to
catch up with them, because now they`re in a position to do something, they
have all this rhetoric, and it turns out that Obamacare, while far from
perfect, is a lot better than what the Republicans are proposing in terms
of coverage. The people who are going to get hurt the most by this are the
people who voted for Donald Trump.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Do you think that – I have heard today that
Obamacare could not survive, that the price is going up so high it`s going
to collapse anyway so they sort of looking down the road? Is that not
DEAN: That is completely untrue. Premiums are going up for some under
Obamacare, because health care costs continue to be out of control because
neither party has done anything about them for 30 years.
VAN SUSTEREN: It isn`t that some insurance companies pulled out of some
markets, no competition, so people are stuck with whatever what`s laid out
in front of them?
DEAN: That is true, but it was worse before Obamacare, because there were
insurance companies pulling out of markets before Obamacare. Look, I am
not defending Obamacare. It`s not perfect, but I will defend the idea of
insuring 30 million more Americans whose insurance will be taken away if
the Republicans pass this nonsense crack pot right wing theory which has
nothing to do with how you really deliver health care.
VAN SUSTEREN: You say crack pot. Do you think that Paul Ryan is a crack
pot show, I mean, I think –
DEAN: I don`t think – Paul Ryan I think knows nothing about health care.
VAN SUSTEREN: He says he is been doing it for 20 years.
DEAN: He is not been doing it for 20 years. He is the free market
ideologue who doesn`t understand how the healthcare market works which is
mostly true of all of the people involved, including some of the doctors
there. The reason healthcares costs are going up are not because of all
the things they list. It`s for one reason alone. If you keep paying
people a lot of money to do stuff, they`re going to do as much stuff as
they possibly can. The key to this system is to go on a capitates basis.
That is the key. The rest of is it all we can fight about. Until you do
that, you`re not going to control health care costs. The best you can do
is to make sure as many people as possible get health care costs – get
health care access. That is not on the Republicans` radar screen. They
simply don`t give a damn. The only reasons they are fighting now, because
they`re afraid the American people are really going to let them have it in
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. You support Obamacare?
DEAN: I –
VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, don`t love it, but you support it?
VAN SUSTEREN: Does it have problems?
VAN SUSTEREN: So, what would you do to fix it?
DEAN: I will get rid of the individual mandate.
VAN SUSTEREN: How do we pay for it?
DEAN: There is no payment for getting rid of the individual mandate. What
is the individual mandate says if you have to buy insurance whether you
like it or not. It makes everybody mad. It was a political mistake. It
doesn`t really affect the insurance market as much as all the gurus in
academia think it does, because we had this system for kids under 18. All
our kids have been insured under 18 for the last 25 years, because we
expanded Medicaid. We didn`t have an individual mandate. 1 percent of the
people chose not to get insurance. That is –
VAN SUSTEREN: So are you saying the mandate in terms of the funding part
of Obamacare was minuscule? It was an insignificant in terms of funding?
DEAN: The individual mandate. The employer mandate is a different – the
individual mandate made no difference and all it does was make people mad,
it was a mistake politically. Look, if I could design any health care I
wanted, I could go back to the public option, I`d let people who are
dissatisfied with the insurance markets or only have one insurer buy into
Medicaid, Medicare. It`s a really well-run system. It is better run that
most insurance companies. It gives good service. What`s the matter with
Medicare? Why can`t we buy into that, if we want health insurance? Every
American should be able to do that.
VAN SUSTEREN: Where`s this headed? Where do you see this all headed?
DEAN: Like everything else, who knows with Donald Trump in the White
House? I think these guys are in trouble, because if they pass something,
it`s likely to take people off their insurance and it`s the very people
that elected Donald Trump. If they don`t pass anything, they look like
VAN SUSTEREN: And of course, 15 months ago they had this repeal that they
all voted for. All the Republicans in the house, in the senate and
President Obama vetoed it and that was repeal and not a repair only one-
half of this.
DEAN: This is what happens when you play political games. No honesty in
what the Republicans were doing. They weren`t serious about collaborating
VAN SUSTEREN: You say that – I always hear - I mean I see it in both
parties that they both play political games.
DEAN: They do. It`s true. They both play political games, but I think
the Republicans are simply dishonest in their propaganda. They have said
things that are not true for eight years in opposing this and the problem
is it`s now about to catch up with them, because they`re in charge.
Trumpcare is going to replace Obamacare and we`re going to make the
Republicans remember it`s Trumpcare.
VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, nice to see you.
DEAN: Always a pleasure.
VAN SUSTEREN: Coming up, new reports on how President Obama reacted to
President Trump`s explosive claim that he wiretap him. We have come a long
way since this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We now are going to
want to do everything we can to help you succeed.
DONALD TRUMP, THE 45TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`ve now gotten to
know President Obama. I really like him as a person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Plus with the Trump/Cruz dinner tonight, we`ll look back at
their long and complicated relationship.
VAN SUSTEREN: Whoa, talk about chilly. The relationship between President
Trump and former President Obama is, well, chilly at best. NBC learning
they have not spoken since former President Obama got on this helicopter
minutes after President Trump`s inauguration. In a source close to the
former president telling NBC that President Obama rolled his eyes when he
heard about President Trump`s wiretapping claim. “The Wall Street Journal”
reporting, the former president was, quote, livid after hearing about it.
Quite a turn for a relationship that started early, seemed to start on a
positive note in the days after the election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: We are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the
TRUMP: I very much look forward to dealing with the president in the
future including counsel.
OBAMA: I don`t think he is ideological. I think ultimately he is
pragmatic in that way. Do I have concerns? Absolutely, of course I`ve got
concerns. You know, he and I differ on a whole bunch of issues.
TRUMP: I`ve now gotten to know President Obama. I really like him. I
really like him as a person. We get along. I don`t know if he`ll admit
this, but he likes me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Jenna Johnson is a White House Correspondent for the
“Washington Post.” Jay Newton Small is a contributor for “Time Magazine”
and Matt Viser is a National Political Director for the “Boston Globe.”
Well, what do you think John? Do they like each other?
JENNA JOHNSON, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I think it`s becoming very
difficult for them to like each other. The president according to those
around him is convinced the former president is out to get him.
VAN SUSTEREN: What was the tip off to that or the hint?
JORDAN: Well –
VAN SUSTEREN: I`m kidding.
JORDAN: Which one?
VAN SUSTEREN: Just, Jay?
JORDAN: I mean, the bromance, if there really was much of a bromance, I
think is definitely over but I also think they were saying everything they
had to say to do a peaceful transfer of power to sort of say it`s all
right, the country is going to survive, and it`s going to be great. I
don`t think they were ever really going to be besties here. I don`t know
that that was likely considering all the antipathy that went into the
relationship before that. And even right afterwards, I mean, Obama did not
waste a lot of time to begin his criticism of Trump after leaving office.
VAN SUSTEREN: But Matt, the president – President Obama has been quiet,
pretty quiet, since he left office, reasonably so. President Trump,
obviously, he says that he really likes President Obama. I don`t know
exactly what`s going on now between the two of them.
MATT VISER, BOSTON`S GLOBE: I think it`s one of the more intriguing
relationships in Washington, or matches, you know, they`re so different.
No drama Obama and sort of all drama with Trump.
VAN SUSTEREN: Say he is livid, just not publicly.
VISER: I don`t know what livid with President Obama looks like. We never
saw that in him. And even with, you know, president – now President Trump
sort of calling of his birth certificate, I mean, he dealt with that mostly
in good humor. There wasn`t a flash of anger with that. Now a similar
thing where he is being accused of something he says he didn`t do.
VAN SUSTEREN: I don`t think I`ve seen President Trump livid, either.
VISER: Not publicly, although you hear more about that privately, you
know, that Trump will not, you know, hesitate to sort of throw out some
expletives and sort of scream at people. You didn`t hear that as much, I
guess, with President Obama.
VAN SUSTEREN: It`s international women`s day and in that spirit, some
organizers of the women`s march on Washington launched a new event today, a
day without a woman, encouraging women to skip work or school and to hit
the streets in rallies around the country and around the world. House
Democratic congresswomen were among those walking out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: We don`t want the world to know
a day without a woman, but we want people to understand what that day would
be like and it would not be a day that takes us to our fullest aspirations
for the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: President Donald Trump tweeting today, “I have tremendous
respect for women and many roles they serve that are vital to the fabric of
our society and our economy.” Jenna, what do you think about today?
JOHNSON: Well, the White House seemed to be very careful with this day.
The president put out a couple tweets this morning saying that he respects
women. I noticed that that caused a lot of people to tweet back at him
about some of the things that he has said about women over time. The White
House put out a very lengthy statement gushing about women and the role
that they played. During the briefing today, Sean Spicer was careful not
to criticize protesters to say anything about teachers who were skipping
out on classes. And to just kind of keep this positive tone and to not go
negative as the White House sometimes does on protests.
VAN SUSTEREN: We`re looking at live pictures of some rallies for women.
Jay, I wouldn`t have – I guess that is New York City. Jay, I would not
have said that in a tweet if I were the president, “I respect women”
because that did invite a response back and they have the rather tortured
history. I would have just tweeted, you know, some of the accomplishments
JAY NEWTON-SMALL, TIME MAGAZINE CONTRIBUTOR: And it`s certainly been his
Achilles` heel, the biggest problems of his campaign, the biggest sort of
vulnerabilities were when he went after women, talked about Carly Fiorina`s
face, or when he went after Hillary for playing the women`s card.
VAN SUSTEREN: Or Mrs. Cruz, which we`ll get to in a second.
NEWTON-SMALL: Exactly, talking about Heidi Cruz`s appearances, threatening
to spill the beans on Heidi Cruz, whatever that meant, which he never
explained. I mean certainly it`s always been his Achilles` heel and he is
always very tentative, I think, to criticize women which he should be
because it`s a huge, really big problem for him and it is very striking to
note that the opposition has taken the form very much so of women against
Donald Trump. You see now 13,000 women running for office inspired by his
presidency to take action and all of these ongoing protests.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, Matt, it`s like a self inflicted wound, some of
the way he responds on these tweets.
VISER: Yeah. You see that over time, you see that overtime, you saw that
too, with their statement about the holocaust remembrance day. They were
cautious about how they worded the statement but the tweet invited some
VAN SUSTEREN: All right a quick break.
Coming up, I know you want to be a fly on the wall for this. Right now,
President Trump, Senator Ted Cruz and their wives having dinner at the
White House. Remember what candidate Trump said about Mrs. Cruz, awkward.
That is next.
VAN SUSTEREN: Oh, to be a fly on the wall. At this moment, Senator Ted
Cruz and his wife, Heidi Cruz, are dining at the White House with President
Trump and the first lady. They are dining amid a disagreement over the new
health care bill, but this certainly isn`t the first disagreement between
the two former rivals for the GOP nomination. Roll the tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TED CRUZ, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We destroy the country if Donald Trump
is the nominee.
TRUMP: Everybody hates Cruz. Lyin` Ted Cruz.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Donald Trump retweeted a supporter who put two
pictures of the wives back to back, one less flattering photo of Heidi
Cruz, the other a more flattering photo of Melania Trump.
CRUZ: Donald, you`re a sniveling coward. Leave Heidi the hell alone.
That pledge was not a blanket commitment if you go and slander and attack
Heidi that I`m going to nonetheless come like a puppy dog.
TRUMP: His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald being, you
CRUZ: Yes, my dad killed JFK, he is secretly Elvis and Jimmy Hoff is
buried in his backyard.
TRUMP: What was out of line politically and historically was for Ted Cruz
to basically snub the candidate for president.
TRUMP: He is a tough, smart guy. He is got an amazing future. So I want
to congratulate Ted.
CRUZ: This election was a powerful mandate for change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: President Trump has now sat down at the White House with
several primary rivals including Senators Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio
and Governors John Kasich and Chris Christie. Back with me, the panel,
Jenna, Jay and Matt. Matt, you know, looking at that tape, you know, and
then, like, to say lyin` Ted and Cruz firing back.
VAN SUSTEREN: Tonight. Then they had the big praise for each other. Then
they`re having dinner tonight with their wives.
VISER: I know. Trump is so has sort of insulted just about every member
of Ted Cruz`s family that you can imagine. His kids we`re told are going
to be there, Ted Cruz`s, maybe to ease the tension among the parents in the
room. I mean, this is –
VAN SUSTEREN: Cruz fired back. I mean, Cruz said mean, nasty things back.
VISER: Yeah. I mean, this is sort of – you see this recently with Trump
where he is met with Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham, several of his rivals who
he called losers during the campaign.
VAN SUSTEREN: Little Marco.
VISER: Lyin` Ted.
VAN SUSTEREN: Rick Perry got glasses to look smarter.
VAN SUSTEREN: Now he is Secretary of Energy and he wanted to destroy the
VISER: And he needs these people now. I mean, they are in power if they
are together to stop some of what Trump wants to do as president.
VAN SUSTEREN: Which is actually, Jenna, which is very smart. I mean, you
know, you think about it, what Trump is doing is really smart. He is
taking his – what would be his political enemies if not regular enemies
and he is probably going to turn them into allies.
JOHNSON: This is something he is done his whole career. Back during
business deals, he was proud of – he would get in these horrible fights
with fellow real estate developers then end up bringing them on and doing
work with them.
VAN SUSTEREN: Smart to do that. That is smart to do that.
JOHNSON: Exactly. I mean – these are members of his party. Just going
back through lists of examples, Ben Carson who he compared to child
molesters, I mean, is now in his cabinet, someone that he trusts and
someone that he talks to. So, I mean, this is the way he works. He says
that he can go after someone and then embrace them and work with them.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Jay, you have the worst question, why do people
laugh when he does that?
NEWTON-SMALL: Laugh when Donald Trump –
VAN SUSTEREN: When Trump insults people.
NEWTON-SMALL: Because it`s the whole point is the reality TV show, right?
It`s meant to be entertaining. That is why people don`t take it too
seriously, either, right? If he was really being vicious, people wouldn`t
actually condone that. Because he is sort of saying it in a funny,
entertaining way, it`s sort of okay, we can all laugh, sort of move on.
VAN SUSTEREN: I don`t even know what to make of most of this stuff.
Anyway, here`s good news/bad news situation for President Trump. A new
Suffolk University poll finds for the first time the president`s
favorability is higher than former secretary of state Hillary Clinton`s, 45
percent for Trump, 35 percent for Secretary Clinton. But here is the not
so good news for the new president. President Trump`s mid-February
approval rating was 40 percent. Now that was lower than any of his
predecessors had at the same paint I point in their presidency dating back
to President Eisenhower. Let me go back to you, Jay. Good numbers or bad
numbers for the president?
NEWTON-SMALL: Well, there are both, but generally not so great. I mean, I
think what you see – what you don`t see in the numbers you quoted there is
the fact that he is got a really high approval rating amongst Republicans
and that is the good news for him. In the sense he is I think over 80
percent, 80 percent amongst registered Republicans. That is where he needs
to be with his base and that is what going to happen in his legislation.
VAN SUSTEREN: And I think if I`m right, my memory said he is up 14 percent
since July on those numbers in that same poll and Secretary Clinton who
hasn`t been doing anything, she is gone down seven points just not even
being in the public eye.
VISER: The problem, though, is that Secretary Clinton is no longer in
public life at all.
VAN SUSTEREN: But she is going down. How can your approval rating go
down? You know, when you`re at least not even out there doing anything.
VISER: I think the approval rating ticking up for him is a good sign. He
had a good half a week last week. Tuesday night was a good night for him.
Maybe you`re seeing a little bit of that in the numbers. He is still
fairly low and as Jay is pointing out, I mean, the Republicans, you know,
he is faring well among Republicans but he still has yet to win over broad
swaths of the electorate.
VAN SUSTEREN: But it certainly is going in the right direction. The poll
numbers are improving for him.
JOHNSON: I think this poll was a reminder that while the president is very
unpopular, everyone`s unpopular. Pretty much all lawmakers on the hill,
parties, a lot of Americans, they just – they don`t like politicians.
VAN SUSTEREN: His are going up.
JOHNSON: But his are –
VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, they say they`re all unpopular, at least I think
from his perspective, he thinks like, at least mine are going in the right
direction, congress is so low, it can`t go down.
JOHNSON: Right. He is a little bit ahead of congress in most of the polls
I`ve seen. His seem to be ticking up. I was out in Iowa last month
talking with voters there about why his approval rating is so low in Iowa.
A lot of people were saying that when they went to the polling booth, it
wasn`t that they were voting for the person they really, really liked, they
were voting against Hillary Clinton. They were picking the lesser of two
evils. So these weren`t always enthusiastic votes going in. I think it`s
important for him to remember that.
VAN SUSTEREN: Panel, thank you.
All right, viewers, there`s something I do not want you to forget. In
fact, I need your help. That is next.
VAN SUSTEREN: I have something to say “For the Record.” Tomorrow marks
ten years since former FBI agent Bob Levinson vanished in Iran. His
heartbroken family, wife and children do not know where he is or whether he
is alive, but Iran does. This is so cruel to the Levinson family. In
April 2011 the family was sent this proof of life photos, but they have not
heard of Bob since then. The Obama administration said was committed to
finding Levinson but it failed. Now it is President Trump`s turn. One
year ago then-candidate Donald Trump said this about Bob Levinson`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I will get down to the bottom of that. I think it`s a disgrace.
Please give his family my regards. I think it`s a disgrace. I think they
know where he is, one way or the other. I think they absolutely know where
he is. If I am elected president I will get to the bottom of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: I do know the Trump administration is talking to the
Levinson family but we need more than talk. President Trump needs to keep
this promise. We all want Bob Levinson home. And a note to the media,
take a cue from Barry Myer at “The New York Times” and help keep Bob
Levinson in the news. We need to keep the pressure on this story. The
Levinson family, they`ve waited long enough. Too long, ten years is way
too long. And Iran needs to come clean. We don`t forget our fellow
Americans. We all need to help on this one. Thanks for watching. I`ll
see you back here tomorrow night 6:00 p.m. Eastern, if you can`t watch
live, set your DVR. If you have something to say about, go to twitter
@Greta, well say what you want about me.
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