For the Record with Greta, Transcript 3/9/2017
Show: For the Record with Greta
Date: March 9, 2017
Guest: Hakeem Jeffries; Michael McFaul; Julian Borger; Joel Brenner
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: . to pay for the wall. Today, Wisconsin Democratic
congressman, Gwen Moore, is moving to block any federal funding with no
taxpayer funding for the wall fill, another issue where President Trump may
get some pushback from Congress.
That`s all for tonight. “For the Record” with Greta starts right now.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOR THE RECORD HOST: Is President Trump under
investigation or not? What are the facts? The White House says, “No, he is
not.” The justice department will not say yes or no. And where was the FBI
director today? Why was he on Capitol Hill? Meanwhile the Russia story
getting hotter and hotter. We`ll talk to a key lawmaker who has a new
demand. Plus one of the country`s top legal minds, Alan Dershowitz (ph) is
here. What if it congress subpoenas FBI records? Also, the massive hunt is
on for the mole who leaked to WikiLeaks. Founder Julian Assange on the
Internet just a short time ago talking wiretaps Obama and Trump. Plus GOP
leaders hitting back on Obamacare trying to squash in revolt in their own
party. We will talk to a key leader in this fierce debate. The Marathon Man
who lead the 27-hour hearing, Chairman Greg Walden. And we`re going to get
you an opposing view from the head of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards.
Back only the Hill, late this afternoon, NBC cameras caught FBI director,
James Comey. He was on Capitol Hill and congressional source telling NBC,
“Comey was there discussing matters related to Trump Tower.” Comey did not
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: That is House Democrats rev up the heat demanding more
information about potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Two
Democrats introducing the resolution asking the president and justice
department to turn over documents related to communications with Russia.
Also, the “New York Times” reporting that justice department is refusing to
confirm the White House`s statement that there is no reason to believe
President Trump is a target of any current intelligence investigation.
Reporters asked White House press secretary, Sean Spicer about the report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yesterday you said there`s no reason to believe
there`s any part of the investigation with respect to the Department of
Justice. Did the justice department give you that assurance in telling “New
York Times” (inaudible)?
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I`m not aware of it. That`s my
point is that we`re not aware of anything and that`s why .
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You were not told about the justice department that
there is no investigation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, you just don`t know.
SPICER: No. I said it – right. I said I`m not aware and I`m not aware. And
that`s why we want the House and Senate to do what the president has asked
of them to look into this. Right now, we`re not aware.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Now, all of this coming after Vice President Pence was asked
about the president`s wiretaps claims.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president alleged that the former president
committed a felony in wiretapping Trump Tower. Yes or no, do you believe
President Obama did that?
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF America: What I can say
is that the president and our administration are very confident that the
congressional committees in the House and Senate that are examining issues
surrounding the last election – the run up in the last election will do
that in a thorough and equitable way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, this morning, Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnlell
saying he has seen no evidence of wiretapping.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you believe Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower?
MITCH MCCONNELL, SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: There`s no evidence of that. I
have not heard of it before, but that`s an appropriate subject for the
intelligence committee to take a look at.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: NBC`s Kelly O`donnell is live at the White House. Kelly?
KELLY O`DONNELL, NBC NEWS POLITICAL REPORTER: Good to be with you, Greta.
What`s notable about Mitch McConnell saying that is he is in that very
small club of top officials from Capitol Hill, the leaders in both chambers
and in both parties, who get heightened access to classified information.
So that kind of a comment or assurance is notable. Also from the White
House, again, parsing carefully here, Sean Spicer is saying that he and
other White House officials are not aware of the president being the
subject of any kind of investigation. That is not the same as saying there
is no investigation. We just don`t know. And of course, the White House
would say trying to prove a negative is a burden that is great on them and
very complicated and frustrating to them. At the same time, we just don`t
And as you well know, as an attorney, also when there is an investigation
going on, the justice department would not, at this point, necessarily tell
someone who is a target of that investigation that that`s the case. There`s
a certain timeframe and certain definition around being identified as being
the target of an investigation. So, it`s a lot of information swirling
about topics relating to Russia that are in separate buckets. We tend to
see that Russia is a term that`s getting so much attention right now when
we`re talking about Russian interference in the 2016 election, which led to
some of the hacking at the DNC. We`re talking about were there questions
related to something happening at Trump Tower during the election season,
which is part of what the president was alleging.
And there is the issue of associates and officials related to Donald
Trump`s campaign that may have had interactions with Russian officials and
how does that all sort out. It does get complicated. Seeing the FBI
director on Capitol Hill today, I spent a lot of time on Capitol Hill and
it is not unusual to see him. But when you do and when he says nothing more
than a hello, it does tend to line up with the opportunity for lawmakers
who have jurisdiction based on their committees to be led in on government
secrets. So, we don`t know specifically what they were told by the nature
of it, but his presence here is certainly an interesting clue about where
things are. Greta?
VAN SUSTEREN: So, we know Sean Spicer says he has no information that
that`s going on. Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell says he has seen
no wiretap information. Have we heard from President Trump himself in the
past few days and where was he today? I mean is there going to be an
opportunity to ask him?
O`DONNELL: Well, there have been attempts by our colleagues who were in
what we call the press pool, which is a rotating group of us who attend the
most closed up position on a daily basis to attend to other events that the
president was having today, and he has been asked and did not respond to
what we call shouted question where you`re asking something that`s not the
subject matter of the event. So, we have not heard him on this yet. And so,
that will certainly be a question that will continue to hang in the air
until there is a chance to question the president. Angela Merkel will be
visiting the White House often. There is a news conference there. Perhaps,
it will happen there unless the president gives the opportunity to talk
about this before that time. Greta?
VAN SUSTEREN: Kelly, thank you. With me, Democratic Congressman, Hakeem
Jeffries, he serves on the judiciary committee and is spearheading today`s
call for more information. Good evening, sir.
HAKEEM JEFFREIES, U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Good evening. Thanks for having me on,
VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, the White House says the president is not under
the investigation. And when we went to the justice department to ask them,
what the justice department was saying is that it won`t say yes or no. Do
you know if President Trump is under investigation?
JEFFRIES: Well, it`s been unclear to me and unclear to many members of the
Congress and the American people. What we do know is that there are a whole
host of connections as it relates to Donald Trump, his cronies, and Russian
intelligence agency at a time when they were hacking into our elections for
the sole purpose of helping to elect Donald Trump according to 17 different
intelligence agencies. That in and of itself suggests something wrong may
have occurred. We`re not sure. And we need to get to the bottom of it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Great. In your mind, could there also be an innocent
explanation or the facts could be wrong as you asserted them?
JEFFRIES: Well, I don`t think the facts are wrong. First of all, 17
different intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia interfered with
our election to help Donald Trump. We also know that at least eight top
Trump cronies including Carter Page, his foreign policy advisor; Michael
Flynn, his first national security advisor; Paul Manafort, his chairman,
Jeff Sessions, his attorney general; Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, on and
on and on, had communications with Russian officials while they were
hacking into our elections. We also know, Greta, that Donald Trump has no
hesitation when it comes to denouncing friends like Mexico or France or
NATO or the European Union. However, he can`t utter a negative word about
Vladimir Putin and Russia. Now, this could be the greatest coincidence in
the history of our democracy or maybe there`s something else that is more
(inaudible) in terms of what`s going on. The American people deserve to
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you worry that your – interesting getting this
information that the American people, as you say, should know is somehow
diminished or diluted when you refer to some of these people as cronies?
JEFFRIES: Not at all. Cronies, allies, friends, those words are
interchangeable. They were clearly individuals who were closely associated
with Donald Trump who were having communications with Russian intelligence
agents and we`re just trying to figure it all out. Again, I think something
stinks at 1600 Pennsylvania avenue, but the American people deserve to
know. Does the right go all the way up to the top? Maybe it doesn`t .
VAN SUSTEREN: Who would be – who would be the best in your mind to do this
investigation because we seem to have a lot of companion investigations
going on? Frankly, I don`t like the one being done by intelligence simply
because it`s done behind closed doors and I think we need more information
there for people and not less. But I mean, who in your mind or what`s the
best way to get to the bottom of this?
JEFFRIES: That`s a great question. I think that it`s probably an ongoing
FBI investigation whether Donald Trump is a target or not remains to be
seen. But ultimately, we need a special prosecutor appointed by the
Department of Justice who can run an independent investigation so the FBI
ultimately reports to them with their findings and special prosecutor can
sort it out. That would be fair and just in the right way to get to the
bottom of what may have occurred in this situation.
VAN SUSTEREN: Would you be – would you be satisfied with the commission –
special prosecutor most of us think that first you got to see the evidence
of a crime or probable cause to believe there`s a crime before we go sort
of use the term prosecutor? Will an independent commission much like 9/11
would that be something that you think would be, you know, a good avenue to
JEFFRIES: Well, I do support the independent commission proposal that has
been put forth but Elijah Cummings and other members through our Congress
including myself as a cosponsor of that legislation. So far, Republicans
have indicated that would not be an appropriate way to go. One of the
reasons why we introduced the resolution of inquiry today, which hopefully
would either get a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives or be
referred to the judiciary committee and so we can have a debate. All we`re
asking for are documents that may evidence some form of a relationship
between Jeff Sessions and folks on the Russian side of the equation, Donald
Trump or allies of Donald Trump. It`s reasonable things that the American
people should be able to get the evidence, connects the dots, and we`ll see
what happens from there.
VAN SUSTEREN: And I think you even have some support for getting that
information from Republican Senator Lindsey Graham as well. I think he
wants some of those documents as well as do others. Congressman, thank you
very much for joining us. I hope you come back.
JEFFRIES: Thank you very much.
VAN SUSTEREN: And today, the Kremlin is speaking out about the news that
Governor Jon Huntsman is likely to be the U.S. ambassador to Russia. Today,
a Kremlin spokesperson said Russia will welcome any ambassador who supports
improving dialogue between the U.S. and Russia. With me, Michael McFaul,
who served as U.S. ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014. Good evening,
MICHAEL MCFAUL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: Thanks for having me,
VAN SUSTEREN: Ambassador, what do you think is the challenge for a – I
assume that Governor Huntsman will be confirmed as the ambassador. But what
will be the challenge for Ambassador Huntsman to Moscow with Russia?
MCFAUL: Well, his biggest challenge would be implementing and representing
a policy toward Russia that so far is very ill-defined. Because of the
things we were just discussing before, the administration is distracted.
The administration has not formulated a policy towards Russia. We`re not
talking about the violation of the INF treaty, for instance, right now.
We`re talking about this investigation. And until you know what the policy
is, it`s very difficult as an ambassador to execute it and to implement it.
So, I hope we`ll get there, but we`re not there yet.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is this – all of this discussion about Russia here in the
United States with all of these companion investigations, is this good for
Russia and Putin or bad for them or something in between?
MCFAUL: I think they love it. We are polarized. We are divided. We have the
president talking about the former president being bad and sick, which
further polarizes our society. And that makes us weak. We look weak to the
outside world. We look distracted. We look like we`re turning inwards and
that allows President Putin to do what he wants with respect to his foreign
VAN SUSTEREN: What does President Putin wants?
MCFAUL: Oh, well, one, he wants us to be weak because we have always been
the chief competitor for him for the entire time he`s been president and
really his whole career going back to his time in the KGB. We have always
been the competitor. So, just seeing us in disarray, number one, that`s
good for him. Two, we`re distracted from Europe. Nobody is talking about
what to do about Ukraine, for instance, in the United States of America.
That`s good for him because he is focused on what to do about Ukraine. And
three, the debate about NATO and the future of Europe were they want
reassurance from us. I was just up in Munich (ph) security conference a few
weeks ago and we feel like we`re absent from that debate because, again,
we`re so focused internally. That`s good for Putin, but that`s not good for
the United States of America.
VAN SUSTEREN: There`s been such a focus on these any potential or real
contacts between people here in the United States whether it`s General
Flynn or someone else with the Russians. Are these alarming to you or do
they surprise you or it`s just sort of – is this way it has always is and
we`re just putting the big spotlight on it or is this really sort of a
great concern to you?
MCFAUL: Well, the number of contacts most certainly during the campaign
between Trump campaign officials and the Russians is more than normal. I
mean I worked on the 2008 campaign – 2008 campaign for eventual President
Obama. I was the Russia guy. We didn`t have nearly this amount of contact.
But at the same time, this contact should not be declared illegal unless
there was something in the content that was illegal. And I worry that we`re
criminalizing the work of diplomats.
Ambassador Kislyak`s job – I know him well. I worked with him for many
years – his job is to interact with the government, but also to interact
with the opposition, to get to know as many people as he can, to report
back to the Kremlin about what is going on here domestically, and prima
facie that there shouldn`t be anything wrong with that. That is to say
people should be able to talk to diplomats, Russian diplomats, German
diplomats, and not have to be in fear of it. It`s the coincidence of all
that contact and the fact that when it was happening Russian intelligence
officials and their surrogates were stealing data from the DNC and
publicizing it in a way to influence our election. It`s the coincidence of
those two events, of course, that need to be investigated. And I fully
support just to piggyback on your last discussion, we need a 9/11 like
commission. It will never know the truth unless we have an independent
VAN SUSTEREN: OK. Would you have expected the Russians to have contact with
the Clinton campaign in the 2016 election about commensurate with the Trump
campaign or can you really compare those two? I mean I realized that
Secretary Clinton had been the secretary of state and probably knew many of
the people, you know, all over the world, but would you have expected to
serve the same contacts with the Clinton campaign?
MCFAUL: To the best of my knowledge, there was not. I`m pretty sure –
again, to the best of my knowledge, Ambassador Kislyak did not attend, for
instance, the Democratic National Convention. He did attend the Republican
VAN SUSTEREN: Is that odd – is that odd – would that be .
MCFAUL: And I don`t know why and I don`t know if that – I`m sorry?
VAN SUSTEREN: Is that odd to you that he would be at the Republican and not
the Democratic? I`m not trying to put suspicion where there shouldn`t be
some, but is that odd?
MCFAUL: I do think it`s odd. When I was ambassador in Russia, I was very
careful. When I was ambassador of Russia, I didn`t talk to anybody in the
opposition. I rarely talk to any people because there was such a
conspiratorial time when I was ambassador. But most certainly, when meeting
with different people in society, you want to be neutral. You want to meet
with the communist. I met with the communist as well as the liberals. And
so, I do think it is a bit odd. But to your point, maybe Ambassador Kislyak
already knew the Clinton folks and didn`t feel like he needed to spend as
much time learning about them.
VAN SUSTEREN: Ambassador, thank you for joining us, sir.
MCFAUL: Yes. Thanks for having me.
VAN SUSTEREN: So, how would the FBI respond to subpoena from Congress?
Would the FBI be forced to hand over any at all information? Alan
Dershowitz joins me. Also, an exposed and new charge in the WikiLeaks
founder, he says the CIA has lost control of its cyber weapons and wonders
if the CIA spied on President Trump. And Speaker Paul Ryan turns into
seller (ph) Paul Ryan urging his party to get behind the GOP healthcare
plan. You will hear from both sides of the debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This bill as written today simply would not pass the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump care helps the rich and hurts the average
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This just came out. This just came out. WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks.
Wikileaks has provided things that are unbelievable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: What a difference six months make. That was then candidate
Donald Trump praising WikiLeaks. Fast-forward though to right now and to
today. He had less to say when asked about WikiLeaks` massive CIA document
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any document dump from WikiLeaks, any thoughts?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, did have words
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPICER: There`s grave concern that the president has about to release of
national security and classified information that threatens and undermines
our nation`s security. Obviously, he believes that the systems of the CIA
are out dated and needs to be updated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Today, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange talked about the
leaked documents. A senior intelligence official confirms to NBC News the
WikiLeaks document dump contains authentic materials about CIA hacking
methods. Assange says the documents do not shed light on President Trump`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIAN ASSANGE, WIKILEAKS FOUNDER: The question about the story that`s in
the press, the possible hacking monitoring of President Donald Trump and
his team, do these revelations shed any light what is possible in this
regard, has the CIA done that, this material does not comment on whether it
has done that to President Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Assange also criticize former President Obama saying he
should have told the American public that the documents were leaked.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASSANGE: It`s a very interesting question I think about who was told in
government and when. Has it told – did it tell Barack Obama? Did Barack
Obama conceal that during the election or after the election? Does – was
President Donald Trump informed?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Now, the hunt is on. Who leaked these secret CIA documents
and are there any ties to Russia? Two intelligence sources telling NBC news
that Russia is a major focus. Joining me, Joel Brenner, former head of U.S.
Counterintelligence for the director of National Intelligence, and Julian
Borger, who is reporting for the Guardian on the suspected links between
WikiLeaks and Russia. Julian, first to you, what are the suspected links?
What`s the information?
JULIAN BORGER, WORLD AFFAIRS COORDINATOR, THE GUARDIAN: Well, the U.S.
intelligence agencies are certain that the source of the data leaked
WikiLeaks about the DNC about the Democrats during the election came from
Russian military intelligence. WikiLeaks hasn`t leaked anything about
Russia secrets and Julian Assange has a relationship with Russia today,
which is a Russian government propaganda channel. So, you know, there are
many leaks .
VAN SUSTEREN: So, WikiLeaks isn`t getting the documents by hacking into the
CIA or hacking into something independently. They`re getting it from
someone else who has done it.
BORGER: That`s right. Whether these are cutouts for Russian intelligence or
whistleblowers or leakers, that is what the question now with these CIA
VAN SUSTEREN: Julia, tell me – I mean, Joel, tell me, is there any way
that, you know, Russia could not be involved in this? Do you see any way to
sort of cut Russia out of this or are they up to their eyeballs?
JOEL BRENNER, FORMER HEAD OF COUNTERINTELLIGENCE: No. Sure. It was – I
mean the leading theory we read in the press is that there is a leaker,
probably an employee of contractor to CIA who is apparently the principal
theory that the government is going on now. I think it`s – the Russian
connection cannot be ruled out and I`m confident that if the Russians stole
some part of this information, it doesn`t all have to have come from the
same place. But if they stole any part of it, they would have given it to
WikiLeaks through a series of cut-outs and I`m sure that Julian Assange
would not know where it came from.
VAN SUSTEREN: Joel, what seems interesting to me – I don`t know if it`s
interesting is the right word – but that this is more recent information.
This was not from Snowden because Snowden has been out of the – you now,
he`s been out of the United States and he has not been a contractor for a
number of years. This would seem to me if it came from a contractor this is
– this is a new contractor. Someone who has at least within the last eight
months been active.
BRENNER: This is – it does not appear to be related to Snowden at all. And
if in fact it was in whole or part a leak from a contractor, we`re dealing
now with not one but a series of massive leaks from people in the
government who turned out to be untrustworthy. You know, part of the
difficult, Greta, is that we share our secrets very widely, internally in
the government to people who are cleared to receive them. That`s what we
make us efficient, but that makes these secrets a lot less secret. Ben
Franklin used to say three could people a secret but only if two of them
were dead. And we put this information and call it secret into systems to
which thousands of people have access. That means that the likelihood of
the secrecy being breached goes up exponentially in cases like that. That`s
a condition of being wired for efficiency`s sake and it`s a condition we`re
living with. This is not a one-off. It`s not going to go away. It won`t be
the last one.
VAN SUSTEREN: Julian, there`s first the fact that there are the leaks.
That`s horrible in and of itself. But the actual material that was leaked,
is it significant?
BORGER: Well, I think what it – this crime is significant. The tools
themselves, the hacking tools, ways of getting into different .
VAN SUSTEREN: But the CIA uses?
BORGER: Yes. Those tools themselves are not in the leak. It is a
description, so the summary of what the capabilities are. And this is
distinct from the Snowden revelations, which were about the issue of
massive surveillance. These are targeted tools aiming to go after
individuals. So, this sort of things that you would think that the CIA
VAN SUSTEREN: Is there any indication, Julian, that any of the leak shows
that the CIA was spying on any Americans including President Trump?
BORGER: No. Nothing at all. It`s really a description of tools.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Thank you both. The head lawmakers of both parties
demanding answers on President Trump`s wiretapping claims. What legal power
do they have to subpoena information from the FBI? I talked to Professor
Alan Dershowitz about that. Plus Republicans fighting for other Republican
votes on healthcare. House Speaker Paul Ryan breaking out the PowerPoint.
I`ll talk to one of the healthcare bill authors, GOP Congressman Greg
Walden, fresh from a 28-hour long debate over the measure. Will senators in
his own party support it?
(START VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL RYAN, SPEAKER OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: We as republicans
have been waiting seven years to do this. The time is here, the time is
now, this is the moment, and this is the closest this will ever happen. Now
is our chance and our opportunity to do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOR THE RECORD HOST: Literally rolling up his sleeves.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan making the case today for his just believes
GOP health care plan. Today, two house committees already voted to pass
their portions of the bill after a combined 46 hours of debating. Still,
this GOP health fund is harming a done deal.
There are many hurdles ahead including many top medical groups voicing
concerns including the American Medical Association. But that`s not all, so
are some leading conservatives including The Club for Growth. And today,
republican senator, Tom Cotton, giving this warning.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
TOM COTTON, JUNIOR U.S. SENATOR FROM ARKANSAS: The fact that this bill as
written today simply would not pass the senate because it would not reduce
prices for insurance and make care affordable and personalized.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: But President Trump expressing confidence in tweeting this
morning, despite what you hear in the press, health care is coming along
great. With me, Congressman Greg Walden, a republican for the great state
of Oregon. He is an author of new health care bill and chairman of the
House Energy and Commerce Committee which just approved the bill after more
than 27 hours of continuous debate. Nice to see you, congressman.
GREG WALDEN, CONGRESSMAN IN OREGON, CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE ENERGY AND
COMMERCE COMMITTEE: Yeah, nice to be here, nice to be out of the market.
VAN SUSTEREN: Okay. So you started yesterday at what time?
WALDEN: We started yesterday at 10:30 in the morning. We went all day and
all night and we finished this afternoon about I think 2:00.
VAN SUSTEREN: Have you had any sleep at all?
WALDEN: I have not slept since 5:30 yesterday morning.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I will give you some coffee. All right.
WALDEN: I bet a lot of that.
VAN SUSTEREN: So tell me – so that the viewers at home have some idea of
the process, sausages made in some part. Tell me what the first 12 hours of
this whole process mark up was what? I know what it is but.
WALDEN: Yeah, so we had what we call opening statements, everybody gets to
talk a little bit about it. It`s fairly short couple of minutes. Peace. You
got 55 members on the committee, so if you give everybody a minute, that`s
an hour, some more than that, so an hour and a half. Then they get to offer
Amendment in the nature of substitute, I had that. We debated that for a
long time. And then you can amend the amendment in the nature of substitute
and the democrat`s first amendment was to rename the bill, just the title
of the bill from the Health Care Act, American Health Care Act to something
VAN SUSTEREN: And how long did that take?
WALDEN: Between the time we started at 10:30 and the first vote on the
amendment the democrats offered was 12 hours. Somebody in the press, I
don`t know who calculated that rate, but the number of amendments the
democrats have filed, we would be finish April 6.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right.
WALDEN: April 6.
VAN SUSTEREN: To be fair, the republicans have done it historically to
WALDEN: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We have (inaudible) that long. But you are right.
I mean, this is the legislative process. This is making sausage. But the
thing is where did you end up? I think we ended up with a biggest
entitlement reform since Medicare was created, more power going back to the
states, and more options for people who are getting priced out of the
health care market.
VAN SUSTEREN: How do we know that? There has been no CBO score. I mean, the
CBO (inaudible) cost and everybody voted without knowing the cost.
WALDEN: That`s not unusual in the legislative process because.
VAN SUSTEREN: But this is a big bill (inaudible) post office.
WALDEN: That`s correct, it`s a very big piece of legislation. Remember, it
also is the market at the same time in the ways and means to me. If changes
have been made to the bill there, the CBO would have to then start over on
their scoring. So now it comes together as a package and goes up to the
budget committee that accepts or rejects those proposals.
Now, they will begin to get a score put together. They had some reasonable
idea, but they hadn`t finished because we don`t know if there`s gonna be
amendment. So now we get a score before it goes to the floor, that`s pretty
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have a reachable estimate?
WALDEN: I haven`t seen one yet. No. But look, what we also have to be
careful of, whatever score they come out, and they`re good people but
sometimes they missed the mark, this is hard stuff to calculate. Remember,
it`s in isolation with the entire effort. There are three buckets. One,
what we are doing legislatively and this particular legislative vehicle.
Two, is what Secretary Price can do. Remember when President Obama and the
VAN SUSTEREN: They had 1,400 things that.
WALDEN: Yes, they never expected Tom Price to be (inaudible).
VAN SUSTEREN:- All right. It`s just, you know, people sometimes like the
CBO and sometimes don`t, depending what they think the score is going to
be. All right. In all fairness but – all right. What happens with planned
WALDEN: What happens to planned parenthood? So we have had a provision in
law dating back I think to the early `90s, if not before that at the Hyde
amendment. It said, we won`t use federal tax fair funds to support
abortion. And what this legislation does is continue that on for the
refundable tax credits and things of that nature.
For district like mine, we have three planned parenthood facilities in my
district. We have far more community health centers. (inaudible)
Mississippi, so what we say is rather than go to one organization, spread
that out to these community health centers. I`ve got tons of them on my
VAN SUSTEREN: Why does planned parenthood think that this does away with
planned parenthood? If the Hyde amendment has been there and I assume that
they – they don`t agree with it, they would rather be more contented that
Hyde amendment stay there, but you`re doing something else to.
WALDEN: Yeah, so what we are doing is trying to put more money out, working
to do more good in more communities than an isolated one group. And so
that`s what this does. It moves it into the new direction of the federally
qualified health care centers.
Again, huge district like mine, my constituents are far better off to have
that money in more health care centers than in isolated, just three of
them, the two (inaudible) in my district. Now, they would be out in
communities that really lack access to coverage. I have three counties.
VAN SUSTEREN: Planned parenthood go to business?
WALDEN: No, I have three counties that have no hospital, no doctor, but
they got a federally qualified clinic. These are remote areas. This is
where we really have an access to health care for women, for men, for
children. And so I want – I want to push that money out into more
communities and more areas that need more help.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. I assume that you expect that house is gonna vote
WALDEN: I hope so, right.
VAN SUSTEREN: Senate, do you have as much optimism?
WALDEN: Oh man, I spent the last 27 hours and 27 minutes of marking up the
bill in the house. We had a good presentation opportunity, thanks to Mitch
McConnell in the senate, to present to the senate republic a week or so
ago. We spent more than an hour answering their question.
Kevin Brady, chair of Ways and Means Committee and I, chair of the Energy
and Commerce Committee, and we were able to walk through and get their
feedback in some of that effect to the bill as it finally was finished and
put online on Monday.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Congressman, get some sleep, thank you.
WALDEN: Thank you.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you for joining.
WALDEN: Thanks, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: We have some breaking news, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
is recusing himself from any issues related to the keystone pipeline.
Environmental groups have been calling for Tillerson to step aside on this
because he used to be CEO of Exxon Mobile which has oil investments in
What does republican health care bill do for many of President Trump`s old
voters? We`ll hear from the head of planned parenthood Cecile Richards on
it. Also, subpoena threats. What happens if the FBI gets served?
VAN SUSTEREN: The GOP health care plan cleared its first hurdle today at
the house. Ways and Means Committee passing it. But the selling is just
starting. The White House announcing today Vice President Pence is going to
Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday to sell the GOP proposal. As you might
expect, democrats are skeptical.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK SCHUMER, SENIOR U.S. SENATOR FROM NEW YORK: Plan he has embraced,
Trumpcare, helps the rich and hurts the average American.
ANGUS KING, JUNIOR U.S. SENATOR FROM MAINE: The real people who are injured
the most by this proposal are people between the ages of 50 and 65.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: The plan hits planned parenthood funding, cutting federal
funds to organization fighting abortion except in the case of rape, incest,
and if the mother`s life is in danger.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
DEBBIE STABENOW, SENIOR U.S. SENATOR FROM MICHIGAN: It cuts maternity care,
birth control, and planned parenthood funding. 97 percent of which goes for
primary care services.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe the planned parenthood, the planned
parenthood thing will survive? The cutting off funding for planned
MITCH MCCONNELL, SENIOR U.S. SENATOR FROM KENTUCKY: I hope so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Cecile Richards, the president of planned parenthood, joins
me. Nice to see you.
CECILE RICHARDS, PRESIDENT OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Good to see you too,
VAN SUSTEREN: Just so we`re clear. So the Hyde amendment has been in effect
for a long time which said that no federal money went for abortion, is that
correct? Federal money?
RICHARDS: That`s exactly correct. It`s very misleading when they say they
are going to de-fund planned parenthood because the fund that actually come
to planned parenthood are reimbursements for preventive health services.
Birth control, breast cancer screening, wellness visits, and in fact
VAN SUSTEREN: Except for people who are Medicaid illegible.
RICHARDS: Yes, primarily Medicaid illegible, that`s right.
VAN SUSTEREN: So people who are below or so.
RICHARDS: That`s right which is the majority of the patients that we see.
Many of the women who comes to us, we`re their only medical provider. But
the other thing that`s important is that we operate just like every
hospital and the other health care provider. And what they are doing is
singling out the only national women`s health care provider, planned
parenthood, in this bill. And it will prevent millions of folks from being
able to come to us for basic preventive health care.
VAN SUSTEREN: So I don`t – explain to me. If the funds don`t go to planned
parenthood, separate out the Hyde amendment and abortion funds issue, is
they`re going to go someplace, are they gonna go to community clinic and
get this health care?
RICHARDS: That`s the problem. And that`s why you are seeing so many
organizations come out in opposition to this bill including the American
Medical Association which singles out this blocking of patients from going
to planned parenthood.
Because for so many women, they live in, half of our health centers are in
rural or medically under-served communities, and there simply aren`t other
options. As in Speaker Ryan`s own district, where we have three health
centers that provide only preventive health care, women there are panicked
because they don`t know where they`re gonna go.
VAN SUSTEREN: Have you spoken to him at all?
RICHARDS: I have not. I would love to. In fact, we brought one of our
patients whose ovarian issues were detected by planned parenthood. That is
why she was able to have her daughter. She brought her daughter here. They
tried to meet with Speaker Ryan. They live in Kenosha, Wisconsin. I think
he needs to listen to people in his district and particularly women who are
really gonna be hurt with this bill.
VAN SUSTEREN: Here is what I also don`t understand. There are a lot of
unknown at this point so we are trying to sort through this. Under the
proposed GOP bill, there is defunding for one year, is that right?
RICHARDS: That`s what they say.
VAN SUSTEREN: In what I understand, this is what even stranger, is that one
year defunding would mean according to what we fear is $225 million in
federal saving. But if the total defund you got beyond that, it would be
less, it would be $130 million for the same period under the assumption
that if – is that if they defund you, there would be more pregnancies and
it would be added to Medicaid cost. This is confusing to me.
RICHARDS: For understandable reasons, this is completely confusing because
in fact, I mean, just to kind of cut the chase here, we are actually
because of getting better birth control to women, that`s mainly what we do
at planned parenthood, we actually at a historical all-time low for teenage
pregnancy in America. We are at the at 30-year low for unintended
All of that, not only it`s great for women, obviously, they can finish
school, they can get a job, but it`s great for American business and it`s
great for the economy. This would cause the taxpayers money to defund
planned parenthood. And the irony is that public health community has the
Community health centers refer their patients to us because if a woman has
a lump in her breast and she can`t get into a community health center for a
month or two months, they send her to planned parenthood because we can see
her that day.
VAN SUSTEREN: How much federal funding do you get a year?
RICHARDS: This would be about $500 million and reimbursement is about ,
about 1.6 million patients who would have been affected.
VAN SUSTEREN: What`s your other funding?
RICHARDS: Private donations.
VAN SUSTEREN: Any idea how much that is?
RICHARDS: Not quite the same because we also have insured patients. We have
a whole mix of patients. But I will tell you, Greta, you know, even though
we see 1.6 million folks through the federal programs, we raise dollars to
help supplement that care because frankly, even federal reimbursements as
any health care provider will tell you does not pay for what the care
costs. That`s why so many women come to planned parenthood because we see
VAN SUSTEREN: Cecile, thanks for joining us.
RICHARDS: Yeah, good to see you.
VAN SUSTEREN: FBI Director James Comey briefing lawmakers about matters
related to Trump Tower wiretapping but is the FBI director about to get
subpoenaed and what is his legal obligation if he does? One of the
country`s great legal minds is here to break it down, Professor Alan
VAN SUSTEREN: FBI Director James Comey on the hill today briefing lawmakers
about allegations that Trump Tower and President Trump were wiretapped.
Someone in the hill had been frustrated by the lack of information from the
FBI. Senator Lindsey Graham is even threatening to subpoena the FBI. How
would that work. Alan Dershowitz is a constitutional law, scholar, and
professor at Harvard Law School. Nice to see you, Alan.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, SCHOLAR, PROFESSOR AT HARVARD LAW
SCHOOL: Thank you. Nice to see you, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Okay. Suppose that Senator Lindsey Graham falls to his threat
and issues a subpoena to FBI Director Comey for documents, what happens?
DERSHOWITZ: Well, Comey either submits documents over or he has executive
privilege claim on his behalf or he can claim that there are ongoing
investigations. There are variety of privileges he can claim. In the end,
congress generally gets what they want when they issue subpoenas and I
suspect that a compromise would be struck.
And if reasonable requests were made limited to certain documents, the
courts would sustain that subpoena as they did when President Nixon was
subpoenaed through his tapes and Bill Clinton was subpoenaed to testify in
front of deposition. So I suspect that the congress will get its way.
VAN SUSTEREN: Okay. In the end, I think is the operative term, when is in
the end would that be like within a couple of months or that be like, you
know, eight years from now?
DERSHOWITZ: No, it would not be eight years from now. It would be sooner
rather than later. Look, the agencies would understand and the Justice
Department would understand whether they win or lose. If they are gonna
lose, they would turn them over sooner. Remember, we are also not dealing
with the united executive branch.
The president may himself not want certain documents to be turned over and
the Justice Department may say, well, might as well turn them over to FBI
which has a different interest. So I suspect we`re going to see some
material turned over rather quickly that goes to coordinate. It might take
months but its not gonna take years.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Following this, I have been talking about this for
some time, since the last time we spoke, are you more suspicious, a little
bit suspicious, not suspicious at all, think this is a waste of time or
this is a very important thing that we should be focusing on?
DERSHOWITZ: I`m not suspicious, but I do think it`s not a waste of time. I
think the president has called for an investigation. Congress wants an
investigation. We know certain things. We know that the Russians wanted to
influence the election. What we don`t know and there`s no evidence to
support this is that the Trump people in any way cooperated with the
Russians, that`s just speculation. And so I think we all want to get to the
bottom of this.
This is something that affects democrats and republicans because if the
Russians want to influence the election and (inaudible) with the
republicans today, then they may want to influence the election against the
republicans the next time around. I think we as a sovereign nation want to
make sure our elections are conducted without the undue influence of any
other countries. So this is something that a bipartisan would be
established to look into.
Democrats, republicans, independents, experts should be able to look into
this and get to the bottom of it without having to point fingers. It may be
very well be that there are no crimes, that there nobody is at fault to the
United States, that it`s all Russian situation. But we have to know what
their weapons are and what they are deploying to try to influence American
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, (inaudible) that you should had the commission. I
keep trying to get you a job and keep you busy. But, you know, why do you
think – there`s no commission. It seems that everyone is in favor of it?
DERSHOWITZ: No, everybody says they are in favor of it. But I think there
are a lot of people who would be fearful of what would come out. Remember
that democrats in congress and the senate, they don`t know what they don`t
know, they don`t know whether this will help or hurt the Trump
administration. They`re not part of really the inner circle.
The only people who know are probably people very close to President Trump
and he said, let`s have an investigation. So let`s have an investigation. I
take him at his word when he says that there were no direct communications
involving the election with the Russians. But let`s find that out. Let`s
find out if there were wire taps, if the court issued wire taps.
If so (inaudible) wire taps were, was there probable cause against whom and
under what circumstances. So I don`t think a special prosecutor is
warranted because I don`t think there is evidence (inaudible). I don`t
think we should be convening grand juries. This is (inaudible) objective
investigation simply looking to find the facts.
VAN SUSTEREN: Alan, thank you for joining us.
DERSHOWITZ: Thank you.
VAN SUSTEREN: Coming up, would you agree to buy a car without first seeing
the the price tag? I`ll tell you why I asked. That`s next.
VAN SUSTEREN: I have something to say for the record. I love when things
move fast, but sometimes its too fast. Making me wonder, is this really the
right way to do it? I`m talking about the GOP health care bill. For
starters, I want you all to know, I want people to have medical care and I
want it to be affordable. And how we arrive at an important goal? That`s
not my job. It`s a job of congress and the president. But here is what
worries me about the GOP bill. It may be the dumbest or the smartest or
fairest or unfairest.
But how do I know what to think about it when I don`t even know the
estimated cost? Who in his right mind buys anything with a blank check? You
don`t buy a car without knowing the cost or a house, even menus in a
restaurant have prices. Common sense is get an idea of cost and we
typically get legislation cost in the Congressional Budget Office. They
score the bills. The CBO estimate for the GOP health care bill is expected
in the coming days. But the lack of the CBO score now did not stop two
house committees, Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means, for voting to
advance the bill.
And White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and several republican
lawmakers are already dismissing the CBO`s analysis before it`s even
released, even questioned the agency`s track record to Obamacare
projections. Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said today that
the CBO estimate is important and the lawmakers need to know the financial
impact of the bill and I agree. I know there`s a big rush to get something
passed, but I don`t have a whole lot of sympathy when the people whose job
is to fix or pass something are only working eight legislative days in
I`m working a full month, how about you. So, lawmakers need to see the
price tag of this legislation before moving forward. It`s common sense.
Thank you for watching. See you back here tomorrow night at 6:00 p.m.
eastern. If you can`t watch live, set your DVR and follow me on Twitter
@Greta and tell me what you thought about tonight`s show. Go to Twitter and
send me a little message on Twitter using @Greta. Facebook also is a great
place to find out behind the scene things of what`s going on in the show.
“Hardball” with Chris Matthews starts right now.
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